Before we get into the post, I have to give a big shout-out to my ISP (who shall remain unnamed) for all their amazing work making sure my internet connection stays up and stable when I really need it to. Thanks, guys. You didn’t screw this one up at all.
Seriously, though, I hadn’t initially planned on writing a post about my shows I’m excited to watch this season—initially, I was simply going to share my thoughts during the Log Time General Podcast #2, which if you haven’t given a listen, you absolutely should. It’s filled to the brim with some fantastic discussion about some of the earlier episodes of this season’s shows, all nicely wrapped up in sweet, sweet banter between Mythos and Owningmatt (and myself, for all of about twenty minutes).
With that in mind, I should go ahead and mention that this is in no way meant to be an exhaustive preview of this season—due to the technical difficulties during the recording of the podcast, I still had some things I wanted to mention about the few shows that I definitely plan on watching this season; thus, here we are. So let’s get started.
3-Gatsu no Lion
Perhaps one of the most important factors of 3-Gatsu no Lion that got me consistently watching is that, from the start, the show is visually stunning. The first episode is in its own way a tour de force, providing us with dialogue when needed, but often conveying a great deal of insight about the characters or the scene at play through its visuals alone.
This particular clip manages to combine the show’s thematic centering on water and Rei’s seemingly deep anxiety and depression in one visceral, remarkable sequence.
Many of the deeper points that we learn about Rei from just the first episode do come from just the show’s visuals, in some way, whether it is introducing us to some unexplained familial break, or if it is this sense of distancing that Rei seems to feel from much of the world outside of his interactions with the abundantly cheerful Kawamoto family.
I’ve found that I already have a good deal of concern for Rei, and I’m compelled to keep watching to find out, in his own words, what specifically happened to him to place him in such a gloomy predicament. By the same token, however, the Kawamoto family is a great boon to the show, offsetting the darkened atmosphere of the show that comes through the cracks when Rei is left to his own devices. Their enthusiasm seems to be boundless sometimes, and it is the mix of their encouragement and Rei’s own lack thereof that seems to keep the show going for me. I am definitely feeling some tears from this one in the future, as well as more deep smiles, and for all of these reasons and more, 3-Gatsu is definitely a show I am looking forward to seeing more of this season.
When I heard that we were getting another Kouta Hirano anime this season in the form of Drifters, Jesus Christ, was I excited. As a fan of Hirano’s over-the-top vampire-action-horror series Hellsing, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into: pretty nice action sequences, hilariously dramatic characters, a fairly ridiculous plot, gratuitous violence, and characters spilling far more blood than they should be able to hold in their bodies. In many ways, I was right. The first few minutes alone had more decapitations and severed limbs than I could count on two hands, they introduced us to Shimazu Toyohisa, our protagonist bound to fight to the death for the honor of his clan, and also to a slew of historical figures, all brought to an alternate world to do battle as the titular “Drifters.”
The show doesn’t take itself entirely too seriously, and I deeply appreciate that distinction about it. If it tried far too hard to be an entirely serious action drama about time-traveling warriors from history, I honestly don’t think that the show would be anywhere near as entertaining to watch as it actually is. It’s easy to take a seat, watch each episode’s plot unfold, and not worry too much about a deeply-woven, intricate plot. If you’re actually looking for a strongly historical-driven, deep plot, I have to say that Drifters is pretty decidedly not that. If you liked Hellsing, and you want another show that gives off a lot of the same vibes minus the vampires (so far, anyway), though, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it. Either way, I highly recommend giving the show the benefit of the doubt. You just might find that you’ll love it.
Flip Flappers is, for lack of a more suitable-sounding word, bonkers. The vastly different “Pure Illusion” worlds that the show sends its two main heroines to, whether they be a winter (wonder)land filled with snow beasts or a dark, somber version of their school always seems to keep the show interesting, and they also allow the show to flex its visual muscle, which is something that the show excels at. Though I haven’t watched quite as much of this show as I have a few others so far this season, I nonetheless always find myself wondering what kind of gorgeous or bizarre new reality Papika and Cocona are going to be tossed into with each new episode.
Fune wo Amu
Fune wo Amu does not initially sound like a thrilling concept to most people: it follows Mitsuya Majime, a young salesman-turned-editor, as he works in his company to help create a new dictionary called The Great Passage. However, for myself, the show and its characters are fascinating to follow as we get into their preoccupation with words, and the ways that this manifests. These details range from consistent points like the careful attention to detail that Mitsuya takes in considering the definitions of words in everyday conversation, to small details such as Kouhei Araki’s tendency to jot down notes about definitions to clarify, words to consider adding, and so on. These, along with numerous other details great and small, all work to create a cast of characters that seem to leap out of the screen with life.
In what seems to be a weird trend that I did not initially realize among most of the shows I’m following this season, Fune wo Amu is such a joy to watch in the visual sense in addition to its structural greatness. In just the first episode, the show manages to do a few neat screen transitions that caught my eye, such as a few short picture-in-picture overlays, and the frequent visual references to the “sea of words” that Majime finds himself caught up in. The production values seem (for the most part) to be pretty consistently high thus far, as well, making me want to draw in as much of every shot as I possibly can.
I suppose that above all, the show is just a relaxing watch. I love seeing Majime and the rest of his group work so diligently on this project that they are clearly passionate about in their own ways, and it is immensely gratifying to see this passion manifest in different ways for each character.I generally try not to do anime of the season predictions early in in a season’s run, but Fune wo Amu absolutely seems to be a strong contender for this position.
Girlish Number is another series this season that I have not watched quite as much of, as some other series thus far, but I’m certainly enjoying it enough to continue watching. It takes up the mantle of the somewhat-meta status of the anime series that is making some kind of parody of or commentary on the anime industry, and so far, it’s doing a pretty solid job of making its points known and funny without falling into the habit of being preachy or pedantic about them.
Beyond the commentary on the industry and seiyuu work, the show functions as a fairly enjoyable slice-of-life series, which I personally wasn’t getting from any other shows in the same vein this season, and frankly, that’s about all I honestly expect to get out of it. I wouldn’t recommend going into the show with crazily high expectations, but I can pretty safely say that you can probably go in expecting to have a fun time with the goofy, diverse (and albeit trope-y) cast of characters.
The first thing that I thought when I watched the first PV for Keijo!!!!!!!! was “what the hell?”, followed not long after by the sense that it might have been the dumbest show I had seen leading into this season so far. Several weeks and episodes in, I’m really not tempted to say that this initial reaction was wrong. Keijo!!!!!!!! is unapologetically ridiculous—it’s an ecchi show about a future where girls participate in the titular sport, and we follow a group of girls hoping to go pro. Participants battle to knock each other off of a floating platform into the water below with only T&A at their disposal, and with a premise like that, it’s pretty hard to initially have ideas that the show is going to be anything other than what it has advertised already.
Before the show actually aired, I didn’t think that Keijo!!!!!!!! was going to be a show that I would actually follow on a weekly basis, or at all, for that matter. But honestly, despite the show’s gratuitous amount of ecchi-level fanservice with boobs and butts everywhere, the show is so far in the territory of being ridiculous that it would be hard for me to say that there was anything arousing about the show to me at all. I’m too busy nearly dying when a character tosses out a move like “Butt Guillotine,” or one where the player “shake[s] the brain and knock[s an opposing player] unconscious,” or where a player somehow makes an illusion wherein which the victim mistakes the opponent’s butt for a giant pair of boobs. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
I do have more to say about the show, especially in the ecchi fanservice department and how that affects the quality of the show, but I’m going to save it for the next upcoming post I have for the blog. In its stead, I will just say to you that you should at least watch the first episode of the show, even (especially) if you’re on the fence about it. As I have heard it said before, for many, myself included, the show is “way too hype to be fap bait,” and who knows? You might find yourself reveling is the sheer absurdity of the show.
Yuri!!! on Ice
I’d have to say that the biggest surprise hit for me this season aside from Keijo!!!!!!!! has been Yuri!!! on Ice. I went into the show having only watched a very early PV of the show, and for some reason, I recall going into the show with this idea that it was going to be somewhat more dramatic than what the show has actually turned out to be. In one sense, the show is very much a sports anime, although ice skating is certainly unusual for the genre. That being said, it does bring with it a solid sense of hype for the sport that the show revolves around, and the show takes leaps and bounds to bring ice skating neophyte viewers into the fold.
The ice skating itself generally translates very well into the show’s animated medium, and god almighty, it looks beautiful in some sequences. The show doesn’t just excel in its centering on ice skating and gorgeous animation, however—in the first few episodes, the show does a fantastic job of introducing us to its main cast, and developing them in such a way that they all seem to be living, breathing characters, and I love the amount of character progression we see in just the first three or four episodes alone.
Overall, I’d have to say that Yuri!!! on Ice is also up with Fune wo Amu for my potential AOTS thus far, were I pressed to try to categorize in that fashion, and I’m incredibly excited to see where the series goes from here in the following weeks.
In short, I’m not following quite as many shows as I initially thought that I would (because who has time for like seven mahou shoujo shows in one season?), but I’m pretty comfortable with this core batch of shows that I’m currently following. I might go for a few others as the season chugs along, but for now, I’m feeling pretty satisfied. So what do you think? Are there any series that I’m not watching that it’s a crime to be missing out on? Do you think any of these shows are a dumpster fire just waiting to happen? Let me know! I’m curious to hear what you all think about this season, and I hope you found a series that you might not have considered before.