It’s spring, the season of rebirth and new life and new anime! Due to the whole Easter weekend thing (HAPPY EASTER BY THE WAY!!! AND TO YOU HEATHENS YOU DON’T DO EASTER, I LOVE YOU ANYWAYS :D) this has been kind of a scattershot first impressions—I didn’t go in order and, in places, picked up either the show I was most excited for or the show I thought would fill out the post the best. In any case, I’ve generally been delighted by the season so far, primarily because my chosen shows—Danmachi, Show by Rock!, and Blood Blockade Battlefront—all had great premieres! You won’t find BBB in this post, though, because it is totally episodic post material, so look for that post soon!
Still to Watch: Re-Kan!, Owari no Seraph, Plastic Memories, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Hello!! Kinmoza, Mikagura Gakuen, Euphonium, Pleiades, Ore Monogatari!!, Punchline, Urawa no Usagi-chan, Ninja Slayer, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Kyoukai no Rinne, Yamada-kun, Nisekoi
Too Cute to Be True: Danmachi, Show by Rock!
Danmachi: Also known as Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (yeah, right, like I’m going to type that out every time), Danmachi was one of my most anticipated titles for this season, mostly due to the fact that I reviewed the first volume of the light novel for Otaku Review a while back and was excited to see how the things I liked about the LN translated to the anime. Well, the pacing is a heckuva a lot better, Yoshiki Yamakawa’s (Kill Me Baby) talent for building affectionate comedic chemistry between duos was on full display, J.C. Staff’s production looks good but not exceptional, the reaction faces were stellar, and the nastier elements (mostly involving the costuming of the female characters) weren’t as pervasive as I was expecting them to be. Overall, it was a really charming premiere and I’m excited for the rest of the show. I expect the first volume’s material to be burned up by the end of episode 3, so stuff I’m unfamiliar with is on the horizon soon. And, of course, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka voicing a moe shota is pretty much the best thing ever, so decision: keeping this one until it lets me down (hopefully never).
Show by Rock!: I knew this would be cute. I didn’t know it would be this cute, nor this awesome. Show by Rock!‘s premiere was basically everything I ever wanted from this show, including the surprisingly excellent CGI (don’t quote me on this, but it looks to me like BONES has entirely outsourced the CGI to a different studio—probably a great idea for production purposes). It was energetic, funny in places, had adorable faces, lots of music, and just enough of a touch of zaniness to make the whole thing shine. And I’ll admit it, the unabashedly moe furry designs have crashed through my normal dislike of furries and hit me right in the cute nerve. Part of that, I think, is due to the CGI versions looking mostly like animals and the animated versions actually being a bit subdued in their animal influences. In short, it was a great premiere, leaving BONES with the top two premiers of the season so far. Decision: Too cute to let go.
Inappropriate Stuff(ing): Shokugeki no Soma
Whew, that was some raunchy stuff—and I don’t mean like the salad dressing! …sorry… Anyways, Shokugeki no Soma was just as over the top as I’d been promised (including Soma’s dad just going for the, “Yeah, sorry son, I’m out” exit) and, well…I’m not entirely sure how much I liked it. Unlike the other J.C. Staff show on the docket (Danmachi), Shokugeki no Soma‘s charm lies entirely in its flash factor and appeals to awesomeness. The thing is, when that’s all Soma shows off in its first episode (and in large quantities), it worries me that the show might ultimately end up being a one trick pony. Can Shokugeki no Soma be more than just a flash in the pan? Will it have nutrients to balance out the calorie-heavy fair it seems to be dishing up? Are there any more food-related puns I can put through my mental blender before I finish writing this blurb? Decision: Waiter, hold the seconds until I see what else is on the Friday menu for this season.
Sequel Land, Part 1: Oregairu 2
So, I remember liking Oregairu quite a bit when I marathoned it towards the beginning of last year (I don’t just hand out 8’s on a whim, but Oregairu was a really easy choice), but the fact is that I don’t remember a whole lot about what actually happened in Oregairu. Beyond the characters’ base personalities, I seem to have forgotten most all of the main drama that occurred, including the basic pillars of Yukinon, Yui, and Hachiman’s relationships. The fault there is obviously on my bad memory, but the fact is that Oregairu 2‘s premiere felt a bit…weird to me as a result. Without remembering why I liked this show or why I liked the characters, seeing their story move on like this (thankfully, with only an improved concert scene by way of recap) left me feeling like I was missing all sorts of stuff. Oregairu 2 certainly has last none of its quality from the first season, it’s just that it’s been so long that I can’t fully appreciate it. Hopefully other people remember better than me, because decision: I’m a bit unsure what to do with Oregairu 2 from here. Rewatch S1? Just go with it and hope it sticks? Just rewatch the episode again?
Bad Stuff: Gunslinger Stratos
Gunslinger Stratos: Phew, that was bad. I never thought I’d think of last season’s World Break ever again, but Gunslinger Stratos was bad enough through the first half of the episode that I almost missed World Break‘s chunni skywriting spellcasting. Then I took a break for dinner, came back, and Gunslinger Stratos suddenly seemed less bad. Turns out, not being hungry can really help your impressions of a show, even if that show’s art is horrendous, writing is abysmal and boring, music is absent for long stretches, and actual animation is limited or poor. The twist at the end—the hero finds himself face to face with an alternate, much cooler version of himself threatening the one person who has ever been nice to him—actually did introduce an element of interest to the final seconds of the episode, but all the parts of my brain that aren’t stupid are telling me to rid my schedule from this show. Sorry, pink-haired girl who was a bit interesting, your show sucks and decision: it’s dropped.
Denpa Kyoushi: Denpa Kyoushi rounds out A-1 Pictures’ dominance of the very crappiest of the crap show this season, gaining the the dubious honor of joining the very small number of shows who have had a first episode not even worth finish. I didn’t have a lot of prior goodwill to give to a show about an otaku teacher (NEET/otaku protagonists have never gone over well with me thanks to the self-congratulatory vibe they give me—”Aren’t I awesome for being a YD?!”), and Denpa Kyoushi rand out of the rest of my tolerances halfway through the episode courtesy of a terribly written bully story, the main character’s general obnoxiousness being framed as either awesome or funny, and the tasteless use of a stalker trying to grope a high school girl. Naw, I’m good. Maybe this could turn out charming or at least entertaining later on, but there’s far too much gold already in this season (with plenty more to sample) to put up with junk like this. Decision: dropped.
EDIT: To my lovely commentors—for my own sake and the sake of other readers who might be behind, please try your best to limit your own discussion of premieres to the shows addressed in the post. I promise I’ll get to everything on my list eventually, so be patient with me, please!