Ah, fall is in the air and new anime are coming to our screens. Nobody really knows what’s going to turn out well and what’s going to wind up being crap, but the fun of making those discoveries is at least half of why I enjoy premiere season as much as I do.
Of course, some things will end up bumming us out and some things will wind up exciting us. And as I continue to pay less attention to the general selection of upcoming shows each season aside from my few most-anticipated, who knows what I’ll find!
The first Wagnaria!! series (which, at the time, was the first two seasons) was on the original version of my top shows list over two years ago, and while it’s no longer there, I still have many fond feelings for the franchise. Those affections, along with the news that the series would be directed by a woman, got me to check out the show despite my reservations about its quality based on the PV.
Sadly, those reservations were mostly justified, as the premiere of WWW.Wagnaria!! was a rather dull affair. A combination of labored comedic timing, plodding episode pacing, and a visual identity somehow even less interesting than the original series (aside the neat texture effect in the characters’ eyes) made the episode quite a chore to get through. This could have been salvaged by a cast as memorable as the first series, but sadly, except for casually mean Kamakura and (to a limited extent) the quirky Miyakoshi, the characters in WWW.Wagnaria!! fail to be as immediately lovable as they could have or should have. In particular, protagonist Daisuke seems to be a pure straight man, meaning he lacks the zaniness and personality Takanashi had.
So, I’m sad to that I won’t be following WWW.Working!!
Magical Girl Raising Project
Let’s get this out of the way first—I do not like these character designs. I think they’re generally unattractive with a few major exceptions (Top Speed’s witch design is shockingly cute), and they were a major reason I was not planning to check out the show until a few folks told me it was worth at least a look. And worth a look it was! While I don’t think Mahouiku is really anything special (and in a season with WIXOSS also on the schedule, it’s working in a niche that’s already well-filled), I found it well paced, produced, and reasonably engaging once I got through the first few minutes.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that one of my perennial favorites, Nao Touyama, is voicing the lead character, and the central conceit of tension and conflict between magical girls seems like it could be one that offer some solid entertainment value down the road. If the show decides to go super dark on us, it’ll likely lose my interest quickly, but for now I’m happy to watch as Snow White carries old ladies up the stairs with her mahou shoujo powers. Oh, and to listen to that nano ED song. Even if Mahouiku turns out to be a flop, at least it’ll have brought nano out of anisong retirement.
Not sold for sure yet and it could be a schedule casualty, but it’s not an automatic drop.
Shuumatsu no Izetta
Among all the things that could have caught my attention most in Izetta‘s premiere, it certainly wasn’t the strength of princess Finé’s character that I was expecting to win the top spot. If Regalia and Izetta are the vanguard of a new wave of competent, kind, action-taking princess characters in anime, I am all for it, because these combinations of kindness, true nobility, and agency are extremely gratifying to watch. This is particularly true in premieres like Izetta‘s, which felt like it both covered a great deal of plot ground and accomplished a lot of important setting work very effectively.
In many respects, the real show will start next week now that the titular Izetta has awoken, so it’ll be interesting to see where my man Hiroyuki Yoshino and the rest of the creative staff of Izetta are going to be taking this show. I’m looking forward to seeing Finé back in her home country, learning more about who Izetta is, and listening again and again to that sweet, sweet May’n ED song.
Cross your fingers for Macross Frontier Yoshino and hold on for the ride!
Show by Rock!! #
I actually dropped the first season of Show by Rock!! partway through, but I wound up coming back to it later and was really glad I did so. For a show that could have been a boring, cynical cashgrab from Sanrio, it really wound up being an energetic, passionately put together show. While I can’t say I loved everything about it—the cast was a mixed bag for me and the storyline took some less-than-compelling turns on its way to the conclusion—the ending was fantastic and the music was great throughout.
Where does that leave us for Show by Rock!! #, then? Well, if this premiere is anything to go by, it seems like we’ll be seeing lots of reprises from the original cast, which is something I’m glad of even if I didn’t love all the characters during the first outing. In addition, the first season was at its best when it was going for the wacky, and my impression of the new season is that it’s going to be far more beholden to that kind of attitude than the first was. This can be nothing but a good thing. It really feels like Show by Rock!! # is planning on doubling down on the best elements of the first, and combined with the nostalgia effect of seeing the gang all back together (evoked most powerfully with the reprise of Best Song “Ryusei Dreamline”), I’m feeling excited!
Here’s to having a nice music with Show by Rock!! #!
Touken Ranbu – Hanamaru
I had to go look up the actual title of this one for the post because I genuinely didn’t know it as anything other than “Sword Boys.” And, frankly, that fan-given title really is pretty darn appropriate considering the fact that “sword boys” could adequately sum up pretty much everything about this premiere. There are sword boys in this show, and there are a lot of them. I of course already have my eye on a few for best boy candidates, but since I’ve got no familiarity with the mobile game from which they originate, I actually don’t know any of their names. But I will try my best.
We’ve got the top candidate—the red half of the main pair (cool earrings, beautiful scarf, red fingernails, ability to protect you and cause dokis)—and then the rest of the pack in contention, including the blue half of the main pair (very fluffy, tries hard, backwards scarf), the tiny genki scamp whose eye appears underneath his hair, and the Kiriko lookalike who seems kinda serious. And he should be serious, because best boy races are serious stuff. Other than all of this, the premiere felt just a bit slow-paced to me, but it looks nice and inherent has the potential for exciting battle stuff (something I appreciated about KanColle, too).
Not sure I’ll stick with the show beyond this episode, but I enjoyed watching it.
Still to Watch: Bungou Stray Dogs S2, Yuri on Ice, Flip Flappers, Girlish Number, Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, Sangatsu no Lion, Idol Memories.
Oh, and since you guys will ask if I don’t mention it: I’m not planning on following the second season of Sound! Euphonium as it’s airing. I’ll watch it on my own some time after it’s finished its run.