I knew it was coming, but I still feel like this spring season took me by surprise. Maybe it’s because this is the first season that I can remember since I started watching seasonal anime where I didn’t have some kind of major life transition or important obligation concurrent with the start of the season. Maybe it’s because I was so focused in on Macross Delta‘s premiere that I forgot to emotionally prepare for everything else. Whatever the case, it’s here now and it’s time to take a look at what we’ve got!
Look, I’m not going to try to play coy here. There was one show I was looking forward to above all others, very nearly to the exclusion of all others. It was Macross Delta, and although I’d already seen most of the premiere episode (approximately twenty times, but that might still be low) thanks to the pre-air from three months ago, the premiere proper delivered on the promise almost beyond my wildest dreams. I mean, sure it was basically the pre-air episode (minus some cuts that I actually really missed!) up until the very end, but when you love an episode enough to watch it twenty times and then get a burst of incredible fun crazy enough to have you literally pounding the arm of your office chair so hard you’re afraid you’re either going to A) bruise your hand, or B) break your chair, little details like that don’t matter.
I’d actually like to write about Delta intelligibly and intelligently, so I’m considering writing episodic posts for it. I also hear it has much akin with the much-maligned Macross 7, which I want to watch somewhat soon to get a little bit closer to completing my watch of all the main Macross TV series (and Macross is nothing if not a franchise both self-referential and constantly in conversation with itself), so it seems the stars might align for me to start blogging about a show episodically for the first time in quite a while. I mean, other people are already writing really great stuff about Delta. I want to keep up! And also Delta is great so far, and I have things to say!
I also really enjoyed Mari Okada and Tsutomu Mizushima’s Mayoiga (on Crunchyroll as The Lost Village), which truly had… well, it certainly had a premiere. Ballads were sung of hippos. A girl puked her guts out a bus driver. A guy was named Speedstar (I mean, sure, it was his internet handle [cool post on that here], but still. All in all, it was certainly an adventure of a first episode even though nothing really much happened. I actually already wrote up some thoughts on the first episode for my weekly column over on Crunchyroll, so go check those out if you haven’t already if you’re interested in checking out my specific take on the show. The long and short of it is that I think Mayoiga‘s destined to become some kind of crazy ridiculous trainwreck (maybe intentionally, maybe not) and I want to be there to witness it when things get weird.
Joker Game seems to be the “responsible and mature anime fan” show of the season, following up Rakugo Shinju‘s period drama—albeit with the relationship drama replaced with a large crew of super arrogant, super hot spy dudes in suits doing cool spy dude things. That… makes Joker Game sound a lot less legit than it actually is, though, so what you should know is that I was quite impressed by Joker Game‘s first episode for reasons deeper than the superficial. What Joker Game seems to be is a very well-executed thriller with the undeniable style of cigarette smoke in the air, slick haircuts, and I’m back to style again. Okay, it was a stylish premiere and I really dug that. Who knows if it’ll have non-nationalistic themes (GATE was enough for me on that front) and continue to be good. And this premiere didn’t even hint at what the actual story will be. But style like this is a rare thing, so we gotta appreciate it when it comes.
A Short Interlude: Space Patrol Luluco and Pan de Peace
Space Patrol Luluco: One of the dangerous secrets I hold within me is that I have never much liked Trigger’s stuff. Kill la Kill had many issues even excluding all the fanservice, Ninja Slayer was totally lame, and even Little Witch Academia failed to engender much affection from me beyond simple appreciation. The fact is that Space Patrol Luluco‘s director, Hiroyuki Imaishi, generally seems to have a sensibility to his stuff that is pretty oppositional to what I like in my shows. It’s got a lot of flash and color and personality in the presentation, but I often feels there’s a lot of emptiness behind it. This doesn’t just go for his Trigger work, but also for some of his other stuff, too (like Abenobashi and his Animator Expo short, “SEX AND VIOLENCE AT MACHSPEED”). Without the substantive spirit of something like Gurren Lagann (or even FLCL, which I didn’t care much for when I first watched it) behind his stuff, Imaishi feels like so many banging pots. And so it is with Luluco, sadly. Dropped.
Pan de Peace: On the other side of the short spectrum, we have something that’s largely lacking in ambition—but also something that exists in a universe where people carry baguettes in their backpacks to school, and for that alone I’m sticking with Pan de Peace for another episode. Plus, I happen to really, really like bread. So, feed me.
And now for the pure fun stuff, starting off with My Hero Academia, which had a great first episode that stuck really closely to the manga. All my hopes for this show were more or less confirmed by this premiere—Kenji Nagasaki (Gundam Build Fighters) was absolutely the right choice to tackle a show like this. Nobody in the industry right now understands the kind of naive glee of innocent youth the way he does. And man, if there is a show that embodies the naive glee of innocent youth, it’s totally My Hero Academia. This anime LOVES heroes, and it loves them deeply, generously, and honestly. I’ve had some good conversations with people already about some of the deeper genre and media landscape implications of HeroAca (partially in relation to One Punch Man), but the core essence of My Hero Academia is one entirely without guile and completely given over to hope and kindness. We can talk about some of the other stuff later; for now, let’s just root for Izuku.
We’ll finish off the day with Bakuon!!, which is certainly an anime I watched. On the whole, I enjoyed the premiere. There’s a bit of dumb humor in it that I appreciate and it’s fun seeing the mangaka geek out and run his mouth about these bikes through his characters, but I’m not sure if it’s got enough hook to keep me watching throughout the season. In fact, the most fun I had with Bakuon!! was actually on Twitter when a couple people I follow who actually know about and like motorcycles in real life started tweeting about the episode. I felt like I learned something, which is cool and actually a bit unique.
And that’s all I’ve got for the season so far! Macross Delta is here and that’s all that really matters to me right now, but there’s a bunch more stuff I’m looking forward to on the horizon.