This is the good batch. The eight shows I was most looking forward to out of the whole season. As I begin this post, I’ve not watched a single episode of any of them—and I’ve avoided most reactions to them as well. Come the end of this post, I’ll either be joyful…or miserable, depending on how it all shakes out.
And, for fun, I’m trying something new: live blogging. For the rest of the night, I’m just going to be watching anime and blogging my thoughts on them—one at a time. That rounds out to something like an update every 30 minutes. Strap in—it’s gonna be a fun ride (I hope…)!
Danchigai: My third short of the season, but easily my favorite. I’m the oldest child, so my situation isn’t exactly the same as Haruki’s, but I did have three younger sisters, so man oh man did Danchigai resonate with me. The annoying-because-they-like-you-so-much younger sisters who always do things together. The older younger sister who also likes you, but is too independent to really express it (minus the annoying incest tsundere stuff). And, actually, I always wanted an older sister like Mitsuki—someone who would be responsible and boss the rest of us around. So, yeah, I loved this a lot. I don’t really feel the need to complain about the length, either—it’s perfect as is to have one little scene out of this odd-duck family’s life a week and I really look forward to seeing them again next week. Verdict: absolutely a keeper.
Gakkou Gurashi: I refuse to call this show School-Live!, even though it’s not a bad title by any means. Anyways. Wow. I hope you all have seen this episode, because for the one absolutely stunning moment near the end of the runtime—it’s worth it. Although, it seems a bit silly to say that because it’s not like the rest of Gakkou Gurashi was bad. On the contrary, I found it charming, a bit offbeat, and funny (not to mention cute). Taroumaru was an excellent device for showing off the school building and Yuki’s happy school life, the perfect combination of—******static**$)((@$%()…”can you h..er me? am i g….tt…g th–and then, there’s that stunning moment. The incredible moment of payoff. And it was chilling. Frightening. Disorienting. Compelling. And there’s no way I can look away from this show now. Not after that. Verdict: so very, very, very much keeping.
Castle Town Dandelion: Man, what did I deserve to start off with such a great run of episodes? Dandelion was pretty much everything I’d hoped for when I first read the premise—a great large family dynamic, just enough supernatural touches to delight the part of me that wants fantasy elements in everything, and a lighthearted premise that should let the characters and their relationships with each other stand out as the highlight of the show. The premiere itself was a nice blend of humor and character introductions and I was a pretty big fan of the way they used a game to introduce all of the siblings’ superpowers. There are a whole lot of them (9!), so it’ll take some time to get their names down, but the character designs are really great (for all genders—not just the girls) so that’ll help. The other big thing I noticed about Dandelion is that it really didn’t read like a 4koma manga despite being adapted from one. That’s definitely to the show’s credit and maybe is the reason it felt really fresh to me. Verdict: I can’t let these siblings go—keeping.
Durarara!! x2-2: Well, I’m sad to report that this iteration of Durarara!! features what’s definitely the most inelegant of the franchise’s signature OP styles. Fortunately, that didn’t extend to the rest of the episode, which (besides looking like Studio Shuka finally got their production consistency back together for the most part—and some sections of the episode looked legitimately good) served very well as both an introduction back into the world of Ikebukuro and a reminder of where we left off three months ago. All in all, it was kind of a lighthearted episode, at least as much as one featuring a stabbing, Izaya helping two girls commit suicide, and a dangerous-feeling Mikado could be. Watching Izaya’s bored angst was a delight (although I wish he actually suffered more from it, grr), and even just the act of physical moving around the players in this gigantic board game set the ball rolling for new, exciting things to come in x-2-2. I, for one, am really hoping to see Kida back for real soon, but who know when that’ll happen… Verdict: like I could quit DRRR now!!
Classroom☆Crisis: From the director of the beloved Gundam Build Fighters comes another show with a beautiful soul and a warm love for all things excited and joyful and exuberant. And I’m delighted. Everything about this premiere was fantastic—the tropey beginning-of-the-school-day start overlaid with a tense interstellar hostage crisis, the small A-TEC class being filled with super lovable super nerds, the breathless jazz-filled rescue mission, and the nasty new transfer student’s mission pitting him against the characters we’d already come to love by the time he showed up. But, seriously. The way Kenji Nagasaki directed this premiere was thrillingly recognizable—not from any particular visual quirks or directorial tendencies, but from the way he handles everything he touches with an obvious love for the medium, the characters, and (most of all) sci-fi. And it all just breathes in the most inviting, comfortable, and charming way. Fantastic. Verdict: I’m in love already.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime: This has been an unbelievably good night of watch anime, and it’s still going on. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is being directed by Masahiro Ando at Studio BONES, which is, incidentally, a combination that also produced a title called Blast of Tempest—you know, my all-time favorite anime. And Ando is in fine form here, winding together beautiful visual, absolutely gorgeous music, and a cast of charming characters to produce one of the most pleasant premieres of the season. Saori Hayami is a joy as Shirayuki and the rest of the cast (including a delightfully overblown Jun Fukuyama as the nasty Raj) is likewise. I haven’t read much of the manga, but if Shirayuki-hime can stay the narrative course, I have no doubt Ando will take it great places. Verdict: Who knows? Maybe this’ll be my new favorite anime of all-time!
Working!!!: And the final installment of tonight’s live blog is Working!!!, a show that you might recognize from my the lower end of my top anime list. I’m happy to report that everything that made me love this franchise in the first place is back—and with none of those pesky production issues that sometimes plague sequel series. It seems A-1 Pictures know Working!!! is a good property, and it’s really good to see them treating it well. It’s also a joy to have Kana Asumi back in a lead role—Popura’s not my favorite role of hers, but who cares about that at this point? Anyways, we’re plopped right back into the world of Wagnaria and it’s honestly like we never left. I don’t entirely recall all of the glacial romantic developments (and not) that happened in the first two seasons, but the easy chemistry Working!!! has going between all of its characters is so addictive and so nice to watch that there’s really no issue there at all. Verdict: as if Yamada would let me leave.
And that’s the end of tonight’s blogging! Man, 7 episodes of premiers and not a single dude among them—in fact, they were all good. Since when do all the shows you’re most excited for in a single season all turn out well? Never, that’s when! And since I’m not at all worried about Gatchaman Crowds Insight at this point, that’s 8/8 for my most anticipated shows being good.
I dunno if anyone actually kept up with this post as I was blogging live, but if you did and liked it—let me know! If you did and hated it, also let me know that, I guess.
Remaining Premieres: Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Game of Laplace, Prison School, Charlotte, Chaos Dragon, Aquarion Logos, Venus Project(?), Sore ga Seiyu, Himouto! Umaru-chan