These series brought me so much sadness and joy this season, most from excellent writing and one from an ending no creator ever wants to see.
As much as I love fantasy and science fiction, there are times where I just want to relax my mind and spirit with something softer and more tangible. I want to be enveloped by a warmth that makes me feel at home. This year and the last, these moments could be found with March Comes in like a Lion, a two-season anime that started in the autumn season of 2016 and began once again this past October. It seems more than appropriate that one of the most heartwarming shows I know begins in the fall, my favorite time of year, and wraps up in the spring just as the buds are blooming. There’s a lesson to be seen there with the path from harvest to birth.
Now that everything I’m interested in has finally aired, I can finally discuss all of the shows I’ll be watching this autumn. I decided to go back to an older style of organizing these season previews by arranging them by priority. Don’t be too thrown off by the lower shelving, though, since those shows still comprise of stories I find intriguing, even if I’m uncertain about keeping them on my watch list. Let me know if this presentation doesn’t work for you, or if you like it.
This season includes plenty of sequels, from guaranteed classics like March Comes in like a Lion to guilty pleasures like Food Wars! There are also a surprising number of big idol anime sequels. If sequels aren’t your thing, then rest assured that this fall brings with it a handful of promising new works whose stories not only sound unlike anything I’ve seen before, but whose characters and backgrounds also look phenomenal on screen.
I’ve started to notice blossoms along the path I take when walking my dog, and I haven’t had to adjust the heater for a few weeks now, so I guess winter is finally coming to an end. As much as I detest being cold, I hate heat even more, so it is with mixed emotions that I say farewell to the winter season. There were a number of gems this time around that I am sad to see end, namely 3-gatsu no Lion, Demi-chan, and Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. They each impacted me in unique ways and left me thoughtful of my own relationships and contributions.
This anime season seemed to fly by even more quickly than usual, perhaps due to me actually keeping on schedule for the first time in a long while. I have decided to split my season review into a couple of posts, largely because Tales of Zestiria the X announced a delayed final episode. If you don’t see one of your favorite shows listed immediately below, see if it is included in my list at the end of this review.
“It’s rushing towards me, Mr. Shimada’s thoughts. Like water that’s been let loose from a dam. Sudden and forceful!”
-Kiriyama Rei, “Torrent,” March Comes in like a Lion
Happy March! And what better way to enter this month than to touch on the show March Comes in like a Lion? The anime has been a favorite of mine from the beginning, but I’ve neglected discussing it until now. Part of the reason for that is the amount of material worthy of analysis and commentary felt daunting. Unlike Onihei, which I talked about in my previous post, March Comes in like a Lion receives plenty of spotlight from fellow bloggers and anime critics. However, the past few episodes featuring the character Shimada Kai reminded me of my own unpleasant and ongoing experience with stomach pains.
Shimada makes his living as a professional shougi player and suffers from chronic stomachaches. Although he ranks as an eight dan, he continues to look upward towards the top Meijin title. Shimada plays mentor and role model to younger players like Nikaidou and Kiriyama. While he guides them in their never-ending quest to improve themselves, he also paves the way for their paths to the top. As if to echo the weight of such responsibility, Shimada endures daily, near-debilitating pain in his gut.
Here comes my favorite season, with its cooler weather perfect for cozy hats, mittens, and scarves and its turning colors of purple, red, and yellow. This season is also when I start craving soups and stews, and my hot beverage intake skyrockets. We also have our fair share of rainy weekends leading up to the winter months, so that hopefully means plenty of time for anime and gaming.
Right now, KWoo and I are working our way through the final portions of the PS3 version of Tales of Graces F. I had played it several years ago, but never finished it. He’s liking it much more than Tales of Symphonia, which we completed earlier this year. I actually found a rough draft for my initial review of Graces F, so I’m hoping that I’ll have the time this second play through to actually write about it.
But back to this season’s choices in anime. As usual, this “set menu” is subject to change as the weeks progress. For now, this is what I have chosen: