Spring 2017 – Final Thoughts

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I honestly can’t believe that we’re already at the end of the season but here we are 12 weeks in and the summer season is closing in quick. I wasn’t entirely sure if I had time to do this for spring, but with a 4-day reprieve in between the summer semesters I’ve found a little bit of time to get back into writing. Luckily things haven’t been too busy for anime so I’ve managed to finish a good amount of shows – and some real good shows at that.

This season of anime has been one of the more enjoyable ones from recent memory and naturally that means that there’s a lot for me to talk about. So without any further ado, let’s talk anime.

Attack on Titan Season 2

As I mentioned in my first impressions post, I had mixed feelings about the first season of Attack on Titan. Although the introductory episodes drew me in (as was the case for many of us who watched it at the time), the show had some serious pacing issues at about the halfway point and the subject matter and general atmosphere were unsettling enough for me to drop it. I did eventually pick it up again and finish it, but it took about 2 years.

This time around though, I found Titan to be pretty good. I kept up with it week to week without missing an episode and that’s usually a good indication that I’m enjoying a show. The show kept in it a lot of what made it successful the first time around – with new takes on the horror and mystery of the titans, but also added in what it really need the first time around, better character definition. I don’t remember very many character building moments from the first season (other than a certain potato incident) so the focuses on various members of the cast was really good to see and it made characters like Ymir in this season much easier to empathize with.

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Along with all that, this season of titan added in some unexpectedly funny moments (intentional or otherwise). Reiner’s “gotta marry her” bit came out of nowhere and absolutely killed me. Armin and Mikasa’s angry ration bar chewing and Armin’s ineffective sword waving in the last episode were moments that were probably meant to be serious, but gave me a laugh regardless. I don’t remember even smiling very much while watching the first season so this kind of thing was a nice change.

Otherwise, Titan’s action, music, art & animation, were all top notch as expected (barring the CG colossal rubberman) and the twists and turns of the show kept me interested throughout. I liked this season of Titan and I’d like to see more of this kind of stuff from this series. The third season has been announced, but I’ve heard that the material that’ll be covered in that season is less than spectacular so I might just wait to see the general reception on that one.

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Saekano – How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend .flat

I was really not expecting to get so invested into this show, but somehow it happened. Saekano’s first season from my memory (which is really hazy at this point) was rife with parody, pervy camera angles, tropes, reverse-tropes and meta jokes. Some things don’t change with time and this second season of Saekano still contained many of the items on the aforementioned list (especially with the camera angles), but it also carried in it some honest and engaging looks at the three girls and their relationship with their work as creatives, their relationships with each-other, and their relationships with Aki (I guess).

I don’t think it would be too far off to compare Saekano’s second season to Oregairu’s in their reduction of comedic moments to make way for exploration of its characters through more dramatic and sensitive lenses (as compared to both show’s first seasons). With Utaha’s graduation coming up and their game quickly coming to completion, the question of “what happens to the group after” became increasing relevant. It was almost an expectation of mine that the group would stick together forever, not for like of each-other but because the three girls were love interests of the main character. In that case, the show would just go on as a comedic parody, and the girls would go on as they were – mostly shallow troupe based characters in a light novel adaptation.

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But as the series tended to emphasize, alongside Kasumigaoka Utaha was Kasumi Utako, and alongside Sawamura Eriri was Kashiwagi Eri. They were both the creatives – the talent of their circle, as well girls in love. And the balance between these two sides was what drove the conflict in this season. Their desires to stick with the people they care about flew in the face of their futures and their individual growth. Each of their character arcs felt satisfying to watch as their internal conflicts and situations felt realistic and were easy to empathize with.

And I’d be remiss to not talk about Kato and her development throughout this season. Kato growing passion for their project and unmistakable love for their circle were ever-present throughout this season. She was the backbone of the group and that made her exclusion in the crucial final moments of the project that much more painful for her. In her confrontation with Aki in the aftermath, she realized that she found her passion which made for an incredibly important and endearing moment.

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But aside from all that, I honestly just loved seeing the relationships between the characters develop. Eriri and Utaha’s relationship was reaffirmed right from episode one and carried through to the final episode. They were rivals, friends, and fans of one another and that made their decision to stick together that much more satisfying.

The fact that show decided to hit on all these notes was seriously unexpected and I felt that the show pulled it all together really well by the end. At the end of the final episode I found myself wanting to see more, not for lack of conclusion but simply to continue seeing these characters. And I think that pretty well sums up my experience with this series. Nice job Saekano.

Eromanga-Sensei

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So… Partially out of morbid curiousity and partially to keep up with the memes, I did managed to finish up this show. And well, Eromanga Sensei was mostly bad… But watchable, I guess? All things considered, it was a good looking show, it was paced fine and what-not so I had no issues with the production or the structure. In fact, the animation and art style looked really good. The music (BGM, OP, ED) sounded really good and the voice acting was top notch (I almost did a spit take at Matsuoka’s “STARBURST STREEEEAM”). And there even moments in which I could relate to some of the ideas touched on in the show, which isn’t super surprising since the show’s main character is a writer.

Almost every issue I had with the show was strictly because of the content. I’ve written a little before about how much I disliked the implications of writing something like this and my position on this hasn’t really changed. But to add on the incest fetishization, we also got some sexualization of minors, and a character whose sole purpose is to act horrified at implication of homosexuality.

So yeah, Eromanga sensei was pretty bad on that front. I don’t like that shows like this and of this quality continue to be produced and while other more palatable stories fall to the wayside, but everyone’s got to make a living somehow and I suppose if this is the kind of thing that sells it’s more of a fault of the audience than anything else. Solidly not recommended.

Eccentric Family Season 2

The Eccentric Family was one of two shows in which I decided to catch up on the first season of in order to watch the second – and man was it worth it. For me, the Eccentric Family never hit the emotional highs that I’ve felt from other shows but I don’t think that what its primary goal was. The show crafted some of the most complex but simultaneously understandable characters I’ve seen in a surreal but grounded setting. This version of Kyoto certainly isn’t one that can be found in real life but its roots to the real place and the real people there can be easily seen. And the show features a number of exuberant and entirely cartoon characters that often feel relatable and realistic in some unexpected ways.

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So for me, the characters really stole the show. The Shimogamo extended family (including Gyakuren and Kaisei) had some amazingly lovable characters. From Souichirou, their deceased father of whom we hear about only through those that he’s encountered throughout his life, to Yashirou, the youngest of their family and the one with the brightest future (probably literally). Throughout the show we see their characters fleshed out and we see them grow and grow together in the absence of Souichirou. Out of these characters I was most interested in Yasaburou (but Kaisei’s the best). His seemingly endless confidence and his actions of which can only be described as “excessive screwing around” made him a bit of an enigma to me since he was basically my exact opposite. Perhaps this was his way of honoring his father or maybe he was just running from his feelings of loss – I can’t be sure. Either way, he was a really fun main character to follow through the show.

The other thing that I wanted to mention was the matter of Benten and the Nidaime. These two were complex characters and the show made it a point not to explicitly say anything about these two. Their story was told through their actions and a bit through the ED. I’ll admit, I couldn’t completely grasp all that happened in their final conflict but I felt I got more value from that. My sister and I talked for a long time after we finished the episode, speculating about their feelings, thoughts, and pasts with one another – and that was pretty great.

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So for the Eccentric Family 2, there was a lot to love. Its portrayal of family, its lovable characters, its strange complexity, and its incredibly warm and welcoming atmosphere kept me coming back episode after episode. Much like Saekano, I’d love to see more of these characters again and again and I really hope I get the chance to.

Tsuki ga Kirei

Tsuki ga Kirei started off extremely strong for me as one of my favourite shows to follow early in the season. My interests in it dropped off a little in the middle episodes just because of my personal annoyances with the middle school drama and some of more irritating side characters but as a whole, I enjoyed Tsuki ga Kirei. The show is at its best when it’s describing its characters, their feelings, and relationships through small, but important details. The show seems to effortlessly communicate to us the thoughts going through the minds of our main characters who lack the ability to easily express themselves vocally (at least when it counts). This is done through their facial expressions, their body language, where they look as they speak to each other, the things they idly do as they chat with one another, and their LINE messages. And all of this helps fill out their characters in our mind and make them easier to both relate and empathize with.

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And on the topic of relatability, Tsuki ga Kirei for myself and many of my friends, felt incredibly realistic in a lot of ways. The way that it depicts middle school and the intricacies of that time feels accurate and that made some parts of the show hit that much harder. This was however somewhat to a fault since some of the show was a little hard to get through because of how irrational and juvenile some of the characters and situations feel now.

The only other issue that I had with the show was with its presentation some of the time (with its CG monstrosities), but otherwise I quite liked Tsuki ga Kirei. It took an approach to character portrayal normally seen in KyoAni productions and pulled it off pretty well. I cared about the characters and some parts of the show hit me hard so I’d definitely recommend it.

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Ongoing shows:

Surprisingly enough, there’s a whole ton of shows that I’m watching that are continuing into the summer season and while I honestly don’t have too much to say about many of the shows, I’ll try and get something down for their respective midpoints just for the archive.

My Hero Academia Season 2

MHA’s second season has pretty much turned out to be as amazing as the manga readers promised. The tournament presented the best of the show and its characters, showing off the powers, resolve, intensity, emotions, and heritage of all of the participating kids at UA. And that last bit is a pretty important one for this arc. All of us come from somewhere and for most kids, they are most affected by their families. This arc showed us exactly how important the love and support of the people around you affect your perspective, your identity, your empathy, and your strength. With all of this wrapped up in a beautiful and incredibly animated package, there was really nothing else I could’ve asked for.

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Re:Creators

Re:Creators is a bit of a hard one to talk about. It’s a show that I’ve been looking forward to week-to-week but I can’t say that it was for one standout reason. The show’s a well-produced, gorgeous spectacle and has in it some really interesting characters. It’s self-indulgent as hell and sometimes gets as meta as Saekano, but that was never something that annoyed me, in fact I found it hilarious. As I mentioned in my speculation post, the show touches on some cool ideas and themes, but never really goes into depth with them.

All-in-all it’s an entertaining show with a lot of little things that keep me interested, but at the end of the day, it’s a little hard to pin down my exact thoughts for it outside of “I like it”.

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Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Bahamut was the other show that I decided to catch up to including the first season. And well, I can’t say that it wasn’t worth catching up to, but it certainly wasn’t as satisfying as the Eccentric Family. This season of Bahamut started out really strong with its introduction of an awesome new main character in Nina and an interesting shift in the state of the world. The show kept on strong through to the midpoint of the series after which I felt that it made the same mistakes that it did in the first season, and then some.

My problem with Bahamut is that while the characters are really great, they feel as if they lack all sense of agency in the series. These are characters that go where and when they please as gods, demons, or bounty hunters – their freedom defines them. But by the midpoint in this season and the latter half of the first, the plot seemed to drag the characters here and there, leaving them to save the day at the end of the series while the world moved them around like pawns. These amazing characters weren’t paving their own path forward and this was and always will be incredibly disappointing.

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The added problem in this season was how irrational and honestly kind of stupid the actions of some of the characters were. Azazel was painted as a smart character in the first season (at least a little bit) with his manipulation resulting in the death of Kaiser’s father. In this season however, his plan to kill the King depended solely on Nina’s cooperation and ability to transform on command but that was left until the final moments and if it failed, he had no backup plan. The death of the demons in that episode felt cheap, unnecessary, and entirely avoidable. And in the most recent episode, the angel Gabriel tried to call back the attacking angel soldiers without any explanation whatsoever which meant that they had no reason to back off – this of course meant that they were doomed to die. And again, this felt pretty cheap.

I’ll keep on watching to see where it goes since there are characters that I really like in the show, but I worry about how the final couple episode in the second half will go.

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Sakura Quest

I’ve been keeping up with Sakura Quest in the hopes that something will click in the show for me. It’s a fine series with some cool characters and some feel good moments, but I often find it hard to empathize with the main characters. It feels as if their individual dramatic arcs came a little too early, before I could get attached which made it that much harder to care about the main girls. The show’s not as atmospheric as something like the Eccentric Family, the characters aren’t as interesting as those in Bahamut, and the fairly normal situation isn’t as relatable as Tsuki ga Kirei. I guess in a season like this one, it was just a little hard to find some love for this show.

This’ll probably be a show I’ll drop out of necessity if something doesn’t click soon, but I guess we’ll have to see.

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And that’s everything! This was a pretty loaded season and I’m glad that some of it is extending to the comparably weaker summer season. That hopefully also means I’ll be following less shows in the next season for my schedule’s sake but that won’t be confirmed for a couple weeks at least. Next up will hopefully be my seasonal impressions posts so look forward to that. But for now, let me know how y’all felt about the spring season below.

And as always, thanks for reading.

Carriage

 

3 thoughts on “Spring 2017 – Final Thoughts

  1. Good post :D. I really enjoyed saekano. And yeah agree, the 2nd season did a lot of character development. It did curb alot of the stuff that were evident in the 1st season. Sadly there won’t be a 3rd season. As the series has caught up to the manga. The source material is also coming to an end. The last vol will 13. AoT dropped it, Eren just did my head in. Useless main character. When he begs Mikasa to allow him to protect her…you know you’re useless as a male character. I’ve heard alot about eromanga, but haven’t seen it yet. I’m guessing some idiots will like it because it looks “cute”?.

    Like

    • Oh really? Wasn’t it based off a light novel, not a manga? Well it ended pretty conclusively, so I wouldn’t be too sad about not seeing a season 3 but it would’ve been nice.
      And I didn’t really mind Eren too much this time around since he really wasn’t in the spotlight too too much.
      Hm, well with Eromanga sensei… I can see there being a lot that appeals to people from the aesthetic alone and I’m sure a lot of people would initially watch it ironically but the issue comes with what the show perpetuates even if you go in knowing what it wants to say.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Apparently they based the anime off the manga. Which has come to an end. The story continues on in the LN. And well, from the snippets; yeah he realises his feelings for Kato.
        That’s probably the one positive out of this series. Not having Eren shouting at the titans all day.
        Guess I’ll just have to take the plunge and see for myself. Just how it is.

        Liked by 1 person

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