Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring 2017 Anime Digest of Series I am watching with First Impressions

Alice to Zouroku: The story of a tightly wound old man and the magical little the invades his life this is a series that has alternatively heart warming slice of life moments like Zouroku's granddaughter Sanae cooking for and trying to befriend the skittish Alice. to nicely choreographed action scenes in the first episode to long view flash backs of one of the antagonist's past that helps humanize her. The series is a little rough to look at in places but the overall soft character design and muted pastel color scheme makes up for the conspicuous CGI and backgrounds that don't stop moving in one scene in episode one. In short it's a nice series that while it may have it's dark elements still has a heart and knows when to use drama effectively and when to be cute without being saccharine or anodyne Atom: The Beginning: A prequel to the original Astro Boy this focuses on the hardscrabble college years of Drs. Tenma and Ochanomizu it's enjoyable enough but I have never been a big Tezuka fan (his works and those of Studio Ghibli are two of the biggest holes in my Anime library). And watching the first episode I found myself trying to remember the origin story for Astro and trying to rework it back into this series. While it stands on it's own as an interesting meditation on AI and a look at the early years of two iconic characters from Tezuka's "star System" my lack of familiarity with the parent story keeps me from completely loving this as much as I want to. Still the Mecha design is impressive the classic Tezuka character design mixed with soft pastel colors makes this at leas visually nice to look at even if I'm a little on the fence about fully embracing it Berserk (2017): What can I say the first season of this series was on my worst of the year list and this season does nothing to dissuade me from my continued distain for this grim dark power fantasy almost all of the characterization feels shallow and the new Band of The Hawk simply feels like reskinned versions of the old Band of The Hawk. While visually it is still the same garish mixture of CGI and quasi-traditional animation. The only reason I will keep watching it is simply because I can put it on my end of the season worst of list if not worst of the year list. Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: I have never been a huge Naruto fan I have only seen a handful of the Anime series one of the movies and read a sporadic amount of the Manga. All that being said Boruto chronicling the adventures of Naruto's son Boruto as he tries to become a Ninja and gain his Father's attention. I really enjoyed this it captures what good Shonen Manga and Anime can do taking a character and see them grow. While also having the second generation of Ninja the children of most of the supporting cast from the original and despite having to google a few names it was fun to go on that kind of scavenger hunt and learn. Also it looks all shiny and happy while having a refreshing sense of earnestness to it as well. Armed Girl's Machiavellism: there is not much to say here it is a big dumb action series set in my favorite subgenre of big dumb action series the "battling school" story in which one character has to fight a school full of opponents. In this a juvenile delinquent gets sent to a former girl's school and has to fight the all female student council. Some have seen this as sub textual misogyny but I think that's a stretch. That being said the series is looks like the first season of Battle Vixens and plays like the firs arc of Tenjo Tenge wich makes me like it despite bad character animation. Anonymous Noise: An High school romance about music I really only picked this up because Saori Hayami is voicing the female lead. So far with only one episode not much has happened our heroine Nino is an introspective girl who constantly practices her singing hoping to be reunited with her childhood friend Kanade only to do so and than Nino wows everyone in an live performance. While thinking of her other childhood friend Momo. Honestly this has the makings of really good romance if Momo gets some good character development in the next episode. Kanade is a rare example of a well written male Tsundere as he comes off as flustered and a little snarly but not border line abusive. While the ending performance works Hayami is considered one of the better singers in her generation of Seiyuu and while for the most part she is known for either powerhouse ballads or slick J-Pop. Hayami pulls off an anguished and almost wounded performance of some decent J-Rock that shows that the girl with the voice of a princess can pull off an emotional range that works. This series could end up like PG-13 Nana but that's actually a good thing. Kabukibu!: A series about a group of boys who want to set up a Kubuki club in High School feels like is could either end up being Cheer Boys or Meganbu it's not one of the stronger looking series from Studio Deen and all fels kind of aimless but it's a sight better to look at something cheery and goofy after watching Berserk if nothing else. In short it is slight but feels to at least have a love for the thing the charcters are all expressing an intrest in and makes me care. Which is important Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys: A short Anime about a girl who has to infiltrate a school chockablock with Yankees it's badly animated with background characters being barely animated silhouettes it's again another slight series but considering some of the heaver series I'm watching escapeist entertainment is not all that bad and at only eight minutes it's not that much of a comtment. Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt 2nd Season: An continuation of season one of the ONA this continues to have the deeply unpleasant feel of the darker iterations of Mobile Suit Gundam while looking fantastic from an animation standpoint while only so much spit an polish can cover the bleak withered heart of the series. I may joke that it's the series that makes me want to hide all the sharp objects in my house but it honestly captures the moral gray scale of warfare while simply observeing it with no real judgment on either side. A dark moody and haunting depiction of war. Re:Creators: Super meta and clever while at times being funny in a way that only other Otaku would understand it Re:Creators is an exploration of what would happen if fictional characters ended up in reality and by it's first episode it is so far in the front running for best of the season and a slot in my best of the year. Capturing taught action scenes winking references to everything from the Persona game franchise to Light Novels to RPG games. Sakura Quest: A lazy rural series about a girl who tries to find work and gets roped into trying to revitalize a town that has fallen on hard times it looks nice but is so slow and has such one dimensional cast that it all feels kind of meh so it's costing by mostly on visual shine and occasional shenanigans. Sakurada Reset: Overly cerebral this series makes Kana Hanazawa into a lifeless dirge of a character with plot convenient powers and while the writeing does some good things with her inner life it is so ponderously philosophically as to be soporific. Still it feels like it's going places so I'll stick around but so far it is dull with a capital D. Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul: A continuation of Rage of Bahamut Genesis this is all swashbuckling action and epic battle with unattained mysteries and an peppy and likeable female lead in Nina the adventurer a great continuation of the first season with enough callbacks to the first season to make it a special treat for fans of the first season. World Break: Set five hundred years after humanity has been eliminated this is a series that has a mixture of sweetness and impending doom with adorable children being possibly used by the beast people in this post apocalyptic world as human weapons. Along with odd bits of humor like a Troll maid who matter-of-factly admits to wanting to eat the protagonist. To flashbacks to centuries past in the protagonist's past. It has the potential to be a solid fantsy on par with last year's Re:Zero. Tsuki ga Kieri: Sweet understated awkward teenage romance with an Dazi qouteing protagonist and a shy female lead this is a series that captures the feelings of the early teen years while neiter doen playing them or making them overly important. With it's muted color palet and insuler dialogue this feels like good Mari Okada. Laughing Salesman New: An strange monkey's paw like episodic series about people who get their heart's desire but are undone by their own overweening desire for things. With an old looking charcter design mixed with odd colorful scenes it makes for a chilling morality tail spun out of the mind of one of the creators of Doramon Grimoire of Zero: Middle brow fantasy described as "Berserk with furries" by an Anon on 4chan is a sometimes funny sometime somber contemplation of fantastical racism and the excesses of organized religion. While also having a thoughtful relationship between the two main characters solid meat and potatoes middle brow fantasy. Simple and economical in it's characterization shile never looseing it's heart.

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