Spring 2017 Mid-season Mega Post Part 1

Well, it hasn’t even been 2 weeks since my final regular post was published, and already I’ve come crawling back to the world of blogging. I really have no self-control, do I…

Just kidding, I do this because I love it and, to be honest, I’ve really wanted to write about this new anime season, but I unfortunately didn’t have time to stop writing lab reports. Now, however, I’m basically free for the summer (though I should also be working on my bachelor’s thesis, and people keep telling me to get a job), so I have all the time in the world to write about new and old anime alike.

For now, though, I’ll focus on the newer stuff:

 

Atom the Beginning

Which is apparently a prequel, originally written by Makoto Tezuka, to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy. I don’t know much about Astro Boy so this connection doesn’t have much significance for me, but I really appreciate it as its own thing. Some of the story and visual elements feel pretty archaic compared to other contemporary anime – some of the character names seem unusual, one of the main characters has a comically sized nose, and the romance element feels pretty blatant – but as a whole it’s definitely a show that functions in the modern world of anime.

Atom 02

It looks great (not just the OP), and the themes surrounding intelligence in robots are interesting. The (literal) little sister character, Ran, is also a great touch. As a storyteller she’s much more engaging than the two main boys. In some ways she, and some other elements, make Atom the Beginning feel like a children’s show, but I mean that as a compliment. It’s really fun to watch, even though the story may not be the most interesting thing ever.

 


Berserk

This is a sequel to the 2016 adaptation of Berserk, which I initially tried and didn’t like, but later came back to and loved. In particular, I fell in love with the lore and world of Berserk, so much so that the occasionally jarring animation and unpleasant story elements didn’t turn me off from the experience as a whole. I mean, part of it is probably due to the fact that I love the lore of Dark Souls and it’s fun to finally see the origins of some of its elements, but I definitely think Berserk 2016 is worth trying even if you don’t know much about the stuff that it inspired.

Berserk 13

Berserk 2017 is, well, mostly more of the same. It’s taking a bit longer for its story to get going compared to its prequel, which means I’m not enjoying it quite as much in terms of the action, but in contrast there has been a lot of character development. Or, rather, the characters’ personalities have been elaborated upon, and that’s also interesting in its own way. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes after the conclusion of the current arc. Oh, and also Griffith is in this, so that’s awesome.

 


Cinderella Girls Gekijou

This is actually a simultaneous release of two short-format anime. One is a regular TV broadcast consisting of ~5-minute episodes, the other is a web series with ~2-minute episodes. It’s not a particularly story-driven show, it reminds me a lot of Puchimas without the “puchiness”, but it’s fun to watch, because it basically lets the characters of Idolmaster Cinderella Girls be caricaturised versions of themselves. Miku in particular is extremely entertaining in this version of the show. My only problem with the show so far has been the fact that I’m not familiar with all of the characters, which means that some jokes, and even whole episodes, fly right over my head. But that’s just me.

Cinderella Gekijou 1

 


Fukumenkei Noise

I’m watching quite a few shows at the moment that could be interpreted to be at least partially aimed at girls, but this is the only one (or one of only two) that is not a sequel. And, to be brief, it’s a solid shoujo school romance anime. There’s a lot of drama, yelling and general angst, and some not so subtle character backstories, but it’s very sweet and moving in the way that shows about confused teenagers sometimes are.

Fukumenkei 1

It’s also visually interesting. It’s not the most detailed or nice-looking of shows, but the character designs draw attention to themselves. The main character, Nino, is very angular, while Yuzu is unusually small and beautiful (in my opinion). He’s also somewhat angular. Anyway, all in all this is a comfortable show, or at least I like it.

 


Boku no Hero Academia 2nd Season

Another sequel and, to be honest, not one I was looking forward to a whole lot. I liked Season 1 of Hero Academia, but I didn’t love it. The second season, however, has been great so far. I like the broader focus on the cast of characters, instead of the Deku-centricity of the first season, and the second season immediately dives into a tournament arc, which has turned out to be much more exciting than I imagined it’d be.

HeroAca 17

Also, this season will be 25 episodes long, so there’s still a lot of time for hero-villain conflict, which I’m looking forward to. Yeah, this is not a shabby show at all. Sure, I’m not the biggest fan of these “big” serialised shounen stories, but Hero Academia is exciting to watch, and that’s the most important thing.

 


Hinako Note

I would describe this show as the resident moe show of the season. Its cast consists entirely of cute girls, it’s full of anime-isms (maid uniforms, the teacher looking really young, etc.), the OP and ED are just the main characters singing and dancing. There are jokes about breast size envy, and some fan service (which is occasionally taken to surprisingly sexualised lengths).

Hinako Note 1

Unfortunately, it doesn’t manage to be one of the more memorable moe shows. It’s very mediocre in how it looks, as well. To be honest, the only reason I’m still watching it is that it’s one-of-a-kind among the shows that I’m watching at the moment.

 


Kabukibu

This is the other entirely new show that I’d say could be considered aimed at women, at least in part. I say this because the show actively challenges traditional gender roles (the issue of women acting in kabuki comes up very early on), preconceived notions about sexuality and body image. Not that these aren’t things that men could be interested in, but in my experience it’s precisely shows aimed at women that tend to bring up these themes.

Kabukibu 2

So, what’s the show actually about? Simple: It’s about a bunch of high school kids who want to do kabuki. A pretty mundane story, especially considering I initially tried to compare it to last season’s Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (same studio, both about forms of theatre). That ended up being a big mistake, because the shows are nothing alike, but I’ve come to like Kabukibu over the first 5 episodes. It’s a very positive show.

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