Fall 2017 Anime First Impressions

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The new season of Fireball is out and it is the best anime of the season. Yeah sure the entire anime from start to finish will only be 7 minutes and 30 seconds long but it’s still the best and you will all bow down to Drossel. In the meantime there were a bunch of other, lesser anime that I suppose I could talk about as well.

Black Clover

Black Clover - 01 - Large 09I remember reading the manga and thinking the main character seemed like a shouty, highly annoying twat who was going to be so much worse in anime form because they give a voice to his whiny mug. Turns out I was underestimating just how terrible he could be with a voice as they gave him the worst voice imaginable. It’s like a moeblob who exclaims in random verbal tics the whole time, except his verbal tics are moany whines of exertion and he fights to be the best ever. It almost feels like a parody of shounen protagonists who go so far to prove they’re the best that their actions are construed as basically sexual harassment to the girl they like. The show isn’t poorly made per se, it’s just not particularly notable outside of the horrible protagonist who is more than enough on his lonesome to keep me away from the series altogether.

Juuni Taisen

Juuni Taisen - 01 - Large 26For something that seems like it should be wonderful campy fun, boy did that first episode feel completely joyless and miserable. We spent most of it following some fucked up lady mentally torture someone into becoming a sadistic murderer, as meanwhile we have a bloke in a black speedo, bunny ears and massively oversized tail wanting to murder people. The two feel so incongruous to each other and it annoys me how deadly seriously it seems to be taking something that really doesn’t deserve it. It hasn’t presented a good reason to care about these characters or this game they’re playing or why they are playing it as of yet. It really feels like it should be the plot of something far more ridiculous but goes in with completely the wrong tone which makes it so staid and unpleasant to watch.

Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

Kekkai Sensen Beyond - 01 - Large 09The first episode was incredible! Any fear of Blood Blockade losing the wonderful pacing and tone the more crazy and fun episodes of the first season had were instantly dashed by the first episode. The new director has taken Rie Matsumoto’s directorial style and just fucking run with it. Yeah the first episode was more of a reintroduction to all of the characters, but if the style of directing and tone remains largely similar, this could be the greatness the first season only ever so briefly hit. That one episode with the crazy lady injecting the blood of the guy she liked into a guy she thought was pretty – this first episode was that tone and style throughout and it was fucking wonderful. It’s the story-related episodes and the terrible plot that dragged down the first season in the end, so how this new season goes from here on will be very interesting to see. It could be so, so, so wonderful if it gets it right. It’s like an even better version of Baccano when on form. One can only dream it keeps it up.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride

Mahoutsukai no Yome - 01 - Large 36I’m starting to wonder if maybe I just don’t like The Ancient Magus’ Bride. I thought the OVAs moved too slowly for my liking, but figured that was more of a directing problem. Plus they were prequel materials anyway and it wasn’t even in the original manga so maybe the actual main story that so many people have been going nuts over is more to my taste. Having watched this I’m less convinced. I still find the pacing too plodding and it doesn’t make up for that with its atmosphere enough to be worth stewing in. It seems to want us to feel comfortable in its embrace of warmness of this magic countryside home, but I’m not feeling it myself. I hate to say it, but I think it’s because it feels a rather too much like someone’s highly specific ram’s skull daddy fetish fantasy story where this ancient powerful being does technically have total control over you and bought you to fuck you, but instead is your wonderful dad instead. It’s like one of those seinen manga where the lead girls gets a father figure who they later fuck and I’m left scratching my head over all the mother-fuckers Japan supposedly had. I thought younger siblings was your fetish Japan?

Kino’s Journey

Kino no Tabi -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series - 01 - Large 06It’s Kino. More expressive people than in the last season, although weirdly I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Kino was often best when people were left saying things with strangely blank expressions because it left it up to you to interpret what they really thought. Although in Kino usually everyone means everything very literally. It’s tough for me to really make a statement on way or another after one episode. Safe to say they haven’t RUINED EVERYTHING but still, ask me again in a month and I’ll make a more definitive statement on how good this actually is.

Girls’ Last Tour

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou - 01 - Large 29This has been a very strange, neat little anime. Two moe blobs putter through the industrial wasteland of snow and guns, blabbing to each other about life, death, war and other high-concept philosophical themes. All while pulling silly faces with their elastic oval heads. It can maybe be a little too heavy handed at times. “Can you eat a tank” is heavy but works. Pointing a gun at your friend as a hilarious joke so you can eat some rations is a bit silly and makes me doubt your own ability to trust your audience. That said I really do appreciate it having that depth because ultimately that’s what’s making it interesting for me. Plus it seems like the staff are flexing their own creative muscles with shot compositions, musical choices, the OP and ED animations. It’s a unique little show and I’m very glad it exists.

Land of the Lustrous

Houseki no Kuni - 01 - Large 27Another strange little show that I’m very much into. A island of androgynous crystal creatures with fantastic butts and their one mysterious Buddha sensei fight against hindu-inspired archers made of cream that appear in the sky having travelled from the moon via the transportation method of ink blots, while also having angsty teenage fits. It wouldn’t even need to be that good because it’s just so out-there and different I’d be into it anyway. As it is, I like some of the incidental humour it brings in, and also enjoy how they use the strange CG. More than anything though I’m just fascinated by the whole construction of the world. These crystal creatures and their melting and cracking and rebuilding. It’s such a strange world and I’m enamoured by it.

My Girlfriend is a Faithful Virgin Bitch

Boku no Kanojo ga Shobitch na Ken - 01 - Large 16Give me this show to adapt because holy shit I would do such a better job argh I’m so mad. You get the story of some girl who only knows what girlfriends are supposed to do via the medium of hardcore pornography but is paired with a gormless male lead. Like holy shit it doesn’t even need to be that inventive to make some funny jokes with that premise. Really lean into how totally innocent and gormless the main character is to her advances and requests would be a fucking start. Instead it’s the laziest adaptation around with its boobs that operate under zero gravity rules and the least effort put into the whole thing. I don’t care if this isn’t how you saw yourself when you entered the world of animation. The team who adapted Sankarea didn’t think they’d be stuck with some shitty weird zombie fetish gag manga, but they made something so much more interesting than the source material they were eventually picked up to adapt Shouwa Era Rakugo Shinjuu. Even the guys who made Shimoneta went and found the pool used in many old erotic photoshoots and made their own fake vagina there in an instructional video for an ending credits sequence.

UQ Holder

UQ HOLDER Mahou Sensei Negima 2 - ED - Large 01Maybe I’m being too harsh on some of these shows. I’m calling animators and directors talentless lazy fucks when I have no real insight into what’s actually happening in the studio, what pressures they’re under, and why something turns out to look like the staff scribbled it out in the afternoon then fucked off to a hostess bar. Maybe they animated a legitimately great OP and had this super ambitious storyboard until some suit ran in and yelled that it must look more like the dreadful early 2000’s Negima anime because we’ve decided fuck trying to bring in a new audience, we only want fans of an anime from 15 years ago even the fans of the manga hated, oh and in the meantime make it look like it was animated in the early 2000s. Even the running animation depresses me. I didn’t like Black Clover but evidently they did all right with what source material they had. UQ Holder looks like a poorly animated early 2000s anime and it’s fucking depressing.

Osomatsu-san 2  & March Comes in Like a Lion 2

Osomatsu-san S2 - 02 - Large 12Bunging these together as there’s little to say about them. Both of them are basically the same as the first season. Osomatsu-san’s irreverent sense of humour and March’s fluffy blanket made of thorns remain largely unchanged as they just continue like there was no break at all. I like them both a lot and am happy to see them back. I hope Osomatsu-san doesn’t run out of ideas and I hope March focuses on the more interesting characters.

Inuyashiki

Inuyashiki - 01 - Large 07Just finished this about an hour ago and it’s neat. Feels a lot like a dad fantasy though, or more specifically an older man fantasy. Here you are, an utter loser with a family indifferent to you and a failing body. Welp, now you’re a robot and you’re going to show those mean kids beating up the homeless guy who’s boss. It works better in anime than it would in the west because it’s a field largely untapped by anime and only very rarely covered in manga, while an awful lot of Hollywood seems to be dad fantasies ever since Taken. It also works because it makes you feel truly sympathetic to the old man and his struggles of loneliness, hopelessness and general helplessness at the sad sack of shit he is and his life has become. How nothing he does will ever impress anyone he wants to impress. It also works though because it hasn’t gone full wish-fulfill-y as his new form isn’t exactly fun times. When he has an attractive younger lady lusting after him is when I’ll start to call bullshit.