Yet another sequel, but this is one that I looked forward to greatly, because Natsume Yuujinchou is one of my favourite series of all time. It was, however, at its time of announcement, quite a surprise to me that Season 6 would air only 3 months after Season 5 ended, considering there were 4.5 years between Seasons 4 and 5. The dramatic change in scheduling is probably related to the fact that Seasons 5 and 6 are handled by a different studio than the first 4 seasons, but in any case, I’m extremely happy to have more Natsume to watch.
I’m also surprised by how different Season 6 feels compared to Season 5. While Season 5 felt more like a continuation of the worldbuilding established in Seasons 3 and 4 where many of the stories connected to each other, Season 6 has so far been much more similar to Seasons 1 and 2, that is to say it has consisted mostly of episodic stories. And I really prefer it this way. Season 6 feels like the show is returning to its roots, and that’s wonderful.
More sequels! This one wasn’t a big surprise, though, because it was announced at the end of the previous season which aired between Spring and Fall 2016, following the first season that aired between Spring and Fall 2015. Also unsurprisingly, Season 3 is just more of the same of Season 2, which was more of the same of Season 1.
Which, unfortunately, might not be good enough for me anymore. I’ve watched over 50 episodes of this series, and it’s getting seriously stale in certain respects. Sakura’s indifference to everything and everyone is still funny (which is why it’s unfortunate that she seems to be showing up less and less frequently), and the narrator is entertainingly self-aware, but the rest of the running jokes are very old at this point. This might be the season when I finally drop the show. We’ll see.
Another new series for a change which, like how I did with Kabukibu, I initially compared strongly to Shirobako, another show animated by P.A.Works. Shirobako was one of my favourite shows of 2014/2015, and so I was very harsh on Sakura Quest. It probably didn’t help that the character designs and art in general really reminded me of Shirobako as well. However, Sakura Quest managed to surprise me pleasantly.
Sure, it’s about a tourism agency instead of an animation studio, and it’s not quite as exciting as Shirobako was, but many of the same elements regarding adult life, careers and related things are there. In addition, Sakura Quest also includes a depiction of the effect of urbanization on rural communities, which I think is very interesting. Sakura Quest is one of my favourite shows of the season.
An interesting original series by Toei Animation. Due to my internal association of Toei with traditional animation, I was surprised to find Seikaisuru Kado an almost entirely 3DCG production. It looks pretty good, though, so I’m not complaining about this aspect of it. I don’t concentrate very hard while watching it, but it’s an enjoyable show to watch.
The most interesting thing about it is the lack of action, adventure or any of the aspects I usually associate with sci-fi shows. Instead it’s a relatively dry drama about politics, science, technology and philosophy, but its subject matter (an alien coming to earth, offering mankind technology) makes for some good entertainment in a “what if this happened in reality” sense. It’s a delightfully different kind of show.
We had to wait 4 years for this, and this time it’s only 12 episodes long. This pretty much “killed the hype” of the second season for me. Combined with a lack of faith in Wit Studio’s ability to not screw up the animation at least somewhat, I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this sequel very much.
When I started watching this second season, however, I was once again pleasantly surprised. The first episode brought with it a cool twist to the lore of the series, and every episode since has been very densely packed with new information about the world and the characters. There’s been basically no filler so far, and the stories haven’t been dragged out. I’m actually really sad now that this season is only 12 episodes long. I hope we get more of it in the near future.
Aka High School Star Musical 2nd Season. This is on of the sequels that’s just “more of the same”, but that’s by no means a bad thing here. I was never extremely excited about the series during Season 1, but I did like it a lot. And I’m liking Season 2 a lot as well.
I haven’t been following the story very intensely, but the characters and the crazy performances keep me entertained. It’s also nice to have an idol show to watch in a season where there aren’t that many, if any (I guess Cinderella Girls Gekijou kinda counts).
This was the biggest surprise of the season for me. It’s a very atmospheric romantic school drama about junior high school students, and it actually reminds me more of some anime movies I’ve seen (Tamako Love Story among others) than anime TV series. It also features a few new voice actors, which is always fun to see.
The thing that baffles me the most about this series is that it’s directed by Seiji Kishi. I do like some of the shows he’s directed (or at least Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita), but one thought that tends to keep coming up when I watch his shows is that there’s usually a lot of drama and a very ambitious story that ties into that drama. Tsuki ga Kirei does have its fair share of drama, but story-wise it’s very subdued. As I said at the beginning, the show relies heavily on atmosphere instead of having the characters constantly do stuff that somehow relates to a grander story. And I really like that. I think Kishi is doing a great job with this series.
I round this post off with another sequel, a greatly anticipated one in this case. Uchouten Kazoku was my favourite show of 2013, and I honestly never expected it to get a second season, but here we are. It’s real. And I love it. The first season ended in a pretty satisfying way vis-à-vis the Shimogamo family, but the first episode of Season 2 showed that there were still many stories left to tell. It also introduced a new character, Nidaime, who is setting up to be the “antagonist” of this season.
My favourite thing about Season 2 is that it seems like it will focus heavily on Benten (it’s almost guaranteed, really), who just happened to be my favourite character in Season 1. The first 5 episodes have been great in that respect, even though Benten didn’t even show up in the first two episodes. Ah, I love watching this show.