Spring 2017 – Mid Season Impressions

Ah – these shows are fizzling real quickly.

It seems like I found the reason why I was not able to pinpoint my general assessment towards Spring 2017 in my last post. My curiosity turned to frustrations and these shows have become so dull I can drop any of these anytime and I won’t lose a thing. Probably it is because I watched ridiculously excellent ones along with it (Princess Tutu, Nodame Cantabile and A Silent Voice) and these made me realize the ones airing right now are akin to boors (sasuga Tengenji-sama).

Seriously, I do not know how people perceive this season but I find it really drab. You know what’s worse than a bad season? A very boring one – and Spring 2017 is veering towards that territory.

MIDDLING GOOD

1. Little Witch Academia

Grade: B

Samui’s Take: What initially started as a competent second half downgraded with episodic offerings containing the usual Little Witch Academia’s tropes, and I swear to God my patience is running out. Akko has stilted character development that makes me assume that the episode order was messed up. Diana was gravely shoved to the sidelines to give way to side leads we may never care for the next episodes. Worse, Lotte and Sucy are just there despite being Akko’s side kick for most of the time…

…. Seriously. If you have the time to parade your side characters, you might as well move the plot forward or at least insert it in a way it does not feel jarring to the show’s construction!

2. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2

Grade: B

Samui’s Take: You know what? This is a very competent sequel and I blame the time gap between this and the first season for the anemic reaction of the community with it. Too bad since Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 was able to fix parts of the wobbly pacing of this series, and it packed the most breathtaking action scenes it has to offer. Eren is also more palpable here so seeing him in the screen won’t irritate you that much. However, I feel something is missing here. Is it the horror? I mean, remove the scary nature of these Titans and this series is just your by the number mecha show. The plot twists so far also ranged from meh to stupidly funny in terms of delivery, but that’s a good thing since storytelling has never been its strength anyway.

3. The Eccentric Family Season 2

Grade: B

Samui’s Take: Okay. I did not see the need to create a sequel for the already warm The Eccentric Family until the fifth episode aired where Benten miserably lost to Nidaime. That pivotal moment somehow won me over, along with the budding romance of Yaichiro and Gyokuran. These two plot points were enough for me to rank this sequel this high, probably a testament that this show’s best can make me ignore the retread it employed for the first three episodes.

4. Tsuki ga Kirei

Grade: B-

Samui’s Take: For a show that nothing much happens per episode, I love how Tsuki ga Kirei fills the quiet moments with characters’ nuances. Perhaps the insertion of romance dulled this a bit for my taste but I cannot discount the portrayal of these adorably awkward characters trying to figure out how to do the right things  in middle high school.

JUST DECENT

5. Seikaisuru Kado

Grade: B-

Samui’s Take: Now that I moved on from the visuals, I can now say Kado boasts the most compact story out of the new Spring shows. A homage of sci-fi flicks, this series gracefully lays out the plans of the unknown and treats the story similar with Hollywood movies. I daresay the world building is the best part of the series since I never cared much about the characters anyway (except if you consider Shindo’s looks. Yum). If you have to move in a glacial pacing, at least give us some glimpses of things occurring outside the lens of the main characters. Thank God, Kado excels in this regard.

6. High School Star Musical Season 2

Grade: C+

Samui’s Take: With the exception of episode 5, I think the first season is better. Starmyu 2 has still problems in fitting all these damn characters in the screen and Team Hiragi’s exposure was unfortunately sacrificed because of it. Part of my fondness with this series is the way it contrasts the two teams – the former Team Hiragi is the polished one but never bitches about their goodness anyway. Then there’s Hoshitani’s group which is crude, but always defies the expectation with their performances. Now that this comparison is gone, better make Ageha a convincing focal character or this sequel will lose all of its steam.

7. Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul

Grade: C+

Samui’s Take: For now, I think this is my most disappointing series this season granted how well it started until it settled on Nina’s (un)fortunate circumstances with boys. Damn, enough of world building and just move! Storytelling has never been your strength. Make Nina and the other characters clash. Damn it!

PS: Also, the dialogue sucks. However, the tap dance last episode was probably the best animated scene this season and I am loving it.

8. Saekano 2

Grade: C+

Samui’s Take: I never expected I am going to associate ‘substantial’ with Saekano but here I am saying this sequel is producing some tasty drama laced with coherent pacing. Every character is now facing their own demons and I am sure this series will end up as one of my favorites if it continues with this brilliance. Welp – kill me now.

9. Boku no Hero Academia 2

Grade: C+

Samui’s Take: Okay. This show is back to its bad habits of talking things out and the damn slow pacing. It was a shame given the strong episodes it offered earlier. Next!

10. Re: Creators

Grade: C+

Samui’s Take: My assessment for this show is pretty much the same – a confident presentation marred with dialogue-heavy execution that lulls the viewers to sleep. At least create a Monogatari head tilt! Damn. Yet hey, there’s hope. The last episode was action filled and it offered some pretty nice conflicting ideologies. The new character was also fun to watch but that’s just me liking scum ones anyway.

EH?

11. Sakura Quest

Grade: C

Samui’s Take: I am patiently waiting for this show to take off and this never goes anywhere so far. Six episodes in, the development has become so contrived I am rolling my eyes on how PA Works destroyed the fresh cynicism on young adulthood this offers earlier. Moreover, why did this show ditch its quirky comedy that actually works? Shirobako was fun despite being vanilla. Sakura Quest, on the other hand, was needlessly somber and trite.

12. GranBlue Fantasy

Grade: C

Samui’s Take: The thing is, GranBlue’s predictability is its greatest strength and weakness. For once, I never thought that a pure fantasy show without the unnecessary fanservice still exists, so I am happy this is adapted as an anime. You get a group that embarks on a journey, they meet people and encounter problems, all dealt in two to three episodes. In a way, this brings nostalgia and it wears the trope faithfully. Now, this verges on being boring at times especially when they are just strolling around.

13. Kabukibu!

Grade: D

Samui’s Take: This is your typical high school club and Kabuki is the only good thing in this show. I could have ranked this higher but then, the stupid conflicts appear out of nowhere and Kuro has now to solve some mommy issues and taming the unreasonable club president? Give him a break!

14. SukaSuka – World End

Grade: D-

Samui’s Take: I sincerely believe the source material is more nuanced that this mess of an adaptation. The tone is so jarring I ceased to take anything from this show seriously. Every episode has also this randomly inserted dark moment just for the sake of adding edge to it.  Damn, where has the spark of the first episode gone to? Perhaps Chtolly and Willem are the saving grace of this show, but their romance is clunky as hell too. Do not also get me started with its lack of proper world building I am scratching my head with the terms they throw as if I understand what they mean.

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4 thoughts on “Spring 2017 – Mid Season Impressions

  1. Fourteen….? I mean, I think this is a good season, but I can’t imagine watching 14 of them this season. Or in any season, actually (although I tend to mercilessly drop anything once it falls below my relative B+ grade, hahaha). I’d be really interested to read your thoughts on those non-seasonal stuff you mentioned (I also watched Silent Voice recently, and I think it was excellent; Tutu and Nodame have been on my to-watch list forever).

    So Sakura’s Quest is a poor (wo)man’s Shirobako after all? I was thinking of checking it out sometime in the future.

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    1. Man, I wept when I watched A Silent Voice and there was a point in the movie where I covered my eyes because my poor kokoro cannot take it anymore (the scene where Ueno fights back on Nishimiya’s mom and that moment where Nishimiya’s mom bowed down for forgiveness for what happened to Ishida). The movie is great, and might be my favorite anime of 2017 (although Rakugo S2 is also excellent).

      As for my watching habits, I still think I am behind to my usual 15+ shows per season. I hope Summer 2017 revives my (general) anemic perception towards anime this year.

      Princess Tutu is great so far (I am now on episode 10), Nodame Cantabile made me a waifu-hunting dude again (the romance is A+) if you can ignore the Paris-hen Chapter. Also, yeah, Sakura Quest is treading the contrived road. Such a shame.

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  2. Can someone please explain Granblue’s killer sales? I mean, the line work is nice, but just about nothing else sticks out about it.

    Are you in some Internet vacuum? Titan videos are trending like crazy and critical reception is at an all time high (See ANN). Even people I know who don’t normally watch anime are excited about it. Are you sure it isn’t just your mood at the moment. I’m personally holding out until it’s finished and my studying isn’t suffocating my anymore to dive into it. It’d probably be completely dubbed by then. But aside from Titan, my recently bought console and post-graduate preparations have made anime watching less enticing, even though with the new Funimation app in Australia there are some good new options (Shiki, Blue Gender, Jyu-Oh-Sei).

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  3. “Are you sure it isn’t just your mood at the moment.”

    – The thing is, Amazon Stalker (the reliable provider of BD sales estimates) is projecting Attack on Titan 2 selling between 3,500 – 8,000 copies on its first volume. That is a far cry from the juggernaut 52,000 average sales it had last 2013. Sure, the second season is much better but the gap between the two seasons surely killed the hype, at least in Japan.

    “Can someone please explain Granblue’s killer sales?”

    – Apparently, GranBlue is one of the biggest mobile games in Japan. Probably A1’s competent adaptation clicks enough with the gamers so it has a hit there. To be honest, why can’t every single anime hit that level of sales? Oh well.

    For me? I can only watch anime during trips back and forth to the house I am living at the moment, and during Saturdays. My other job, (being a ghost writer in the internet) eats a lot of my time during weekdays. You sure love to study though. Haha!

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