Summer season preview and thoughts

I’m usually not one to cynically comment on every season how “this will be a perfect time to focus on my backlog”, but truth to be told, the upcoming season really is the perfect time for that. Not because it would be so ridiculously boring, (in fact it’s not even the worst season in recent memory), but because the current spring season is so ridiculously good. If you only follow 4-5 series in a season, then you are better off with picking only the 1-2 best from the next one, and supporting it with the remaining great series of this season, than with any top 5 that the next ones could throw at us.

Even if you are watching 10 series like me, there are still some more that are worth of watching. I’m still backlogging Lupin III,

But enough gushing about this season, and let’s look into the next one. After all,  it still can have some pleasant surprises:

Kokoro Connect

When looking at the promo picture of this one, first you need to get past the initial assumption that it must be exactly like that other show about a group of girls. After that, the PV, the description, and the first manga chapters,  all seem to suggest a relatively serious story with an overarching plot. (Serious in the sense that it’s not gag-centric or surreal, but “intended to be identified with”. Otherwise, it’s still relativerly light-hearted).

It’s studio, Silver Link, was formerly known as a “poor man’s Shaft”, but this time they finally have someone else than the Shinbou wannabe Oonuma Shin at the helm, in another great proof of how actual artists are more relevant to style than brand names.

Binbou-gami ga!

The first chapter of this manga somehow reminded me of Panty & Stocking, in the sense that it had a strong “girls being anything but moe” vibe to it. And when I say “anything but moe”, I mean “bitches and psychopaths”. I have a feeling that a lot will depend on how well it is animated, because it was one of those manga  where I could barely make out what is going on. If the anime solves that one problem, I’m sold.

Ebiten 

I’m pretty sure that this will be really, really stupid. The incredibly generic character designs are one more thing. It’s not like I ever cared about character designs, other than the cases of a few extremely good examples.  It’s “plot”, if you can call it that,  is one more thing. After all, the “surrounded by fujoshi” theme could still allow a wide palette of specific sub-jokes. But if, as one description implied, it’s really all about the protagonist not recognizing that he isn’t in the astronomy club, then it is hopelessly doomed by the “based-around-one-joke” pitfall, combined with an “incredibly-oblivious-protagonist-makes-development-impossible” groaner.

I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one.

Hagure Yuusha No Estetica

It’s plot description somehow reminded me of those “post your anime/game/movie ideas” threads on forums, where everyone is desperately trying to sound as original as they can, but they mostly end up with putting one delightfully random subversion into the old formulas, such as “A harem  anime but with one of the girls as the POV protagonist”, or “A K-on-like series, but in ancient Rome”, or “Olympic athletes are forced to play a  Battle Royale against each other”.

While we often protect traditional shows with cries of “execution is more important than an original premise”, it’s also important to remember that phrase when we hear a relatively refreshing premise.  “A high fantasy Light Novel that takes place after the Hero defeated the Big Bad?” Well, it sounds interesting. About as interesting as the ones that I made up on the spot above. But truly interesting stories come from dialogue writing, from director techniques, from funny jokes, and from deep characterization, not from one-sentence  premises that we never heard before. I am not a talented artist, so I couldn’t actually write the above stories to be interesting, and there isn’t any guarantee that the creators of this series can, either.

Tari Tari

Just like Kokoro Connect, this seems to be another show with three-girls-and-two-guys character dynamics,  that tries really hard to appear more similar to that other show on the promo picture, than it really is. Maybe I’m biased by the Hanasaku Iroha art style, but it really seems to be more like another “true slice of life” story with occasional themes of coming of age, drama, romance, and with a complex cast, than just a more formulatic “moe show”.

By the way, what’s up with that newly common cast type, the school group with the two almost equally important male characters? A few years ago there was Toradora, and then nothing for years. Now there is AnoNatsu, Acchi Kocchi, Hyouka, Kokoro Connect, and possibly this one at the same time.

It seems like a clever combination of the girl-group genre, the harem comedy genre, and the love triangle-melodrama genre. It can have the romantic themes of the latter two, but it can still fall back to the first one’s “just friends hanging out and living their life” atmosphere, while  a single guy and a couple of girls doing the same would feel inherently more sexualized and less believable.

Dog Days’

Have you ever noticed, how sometimes certain shows randomly seem to get a certain oddly specific word, that is always used to describe them, almost like an epiphet? Even though if you think about it, that phrase isn’t necessarily true for the show, or if it is true, it isn’t more so than to a shitload of other shows, yet the Internet collectively decided that every paragraph written about that show must contain that certain phrase at least once.  For example how AKB0048 has it’s “Unintentional comedy”, how Nisemonogatari’s fanservice is always described as artsy, but still “Smut“, how  Suzumiya Haruhi is “Overrated“, or how Legend of the Galactic Heroes is always “truly Epic“, and of course, K-on is always described as Moe. (much more frequently than any other show of the same genre, art, or content style).

For Dog Days, ever since the first reviews of the first season started to arrive, this epiphet was agreed to be “Inoffensive“. Apparently, the Internet decided that Dog Days was supposed to offend us, but it failed at it.

I personally enjoyed the first few episodes the most, with it’s whole universe’s rules elaborately designed to allow for an unique friendly fighting theme. If anything, it was a shame that the last episodes tried to be too exciting and dangerous for their own good, and ended up feeling tackled on to a universe that was already decided to be friendly and peaceful.

From the next season, I have moderately high expectations from Becky’s character being part of the plot. She didn’t actually do anything, so I have no reason to like her, but by the way Cinque was always motivated to go back home to her, I always had a feeling that her presence would have a more interesting effect on the harem dynamics than the average childhood friend tends to have.

Moyashimon Returns 

I guess I will have to watch Moyashimon before summer.

Utakoi

Looks like a noitaminA show. Anyways, I liked Kana-chan from Chihayafuru, so I guess I have to check it out. If that makes any sense. Though the description says that it’s a super-liberal reinterpretation of the 100 poems, so maybe Kana-chan would be turning in her grave.   I mean, if she would be dead.

Joshiraku

I read the first manga chapters, but I already forgot what happened in them. It wasn’t even exactly “girls doing cute things”, just girls talking about random stuff, like the first episode of Lucky Star.

Probably I’m not going to watch it.

Jinrui Wa Suitai Shimashita

A big wildcard. In the pv, there are Fractale-like peaceful post-apocalipctic grass fields, cartoonish “fairie” characters, and flute music in the backrgound. Based on that, my money would be on that it will be a healing anime, but then there is the original creator Tanaka Romeo. Him writing a healing manga is about as suspicious as Urobuchi Gen writing a  genuine Magical Girl series.

Sword Art Online

Unlike most of the blogosphere, I actually enjoyed Accel World, so the writer’s fandom’s cries of “he get’s better, I swear!” had an effect on me this time, given that I already found his style good, I am actually excited to see it getting even better. 

 

That’s all that I had anything to say about. Other than these, I will also check out Arve Rezzle, Natsuyuki Rendezvous, and Muv-Luv, plus anything that others report to be less of a pile of crap than they seem to be.

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