Anime Winter 2017: End Season Impressions

In Anime Season by fahcy0 Comments

What a fine season

The winter season came to an end and it’s been a great season, surprisingly! Putting aside the sequels, there were lots of stand-alone animes that I’ve been greatly enjoying. Almost every series I’ve been following (even Naruto Shippuuden) concludes, only exception is Little Witch Academia which is a 2-cour (25eps) anime ending next season. This post is a continuation to my “Winter 2017: Mid-season impressions” post. Like last time I’ll be sharing my thoughts to every single anime. Initially I planned to provide my seasonal rankings too, turned out to be harder than expected so I let it be.

I’ll be providing a temporary score, which I also set on my MAL (Myanimelist) page, for each anime, it’s temporary since I might be changing my score in the following weeks +/-1. It’s my personal scoring so don’t be surprised about the rather small score range. Series I overall enjoyed and didn’t perceive as a nuisance have a score over 5 usually. I score short series tad differently than full-length animes.

Some reviews turned out to be really long, others rather short! Few entries contain minor spoilers, be warned.

My season roster

Explanations to the roster: quick infos in the brackets, „2-cour“ means the anime is in its second cour meaning it started in the previous season and at episode ~24, „short“ means the episode length is about 2-5min

Click on the anime name to be directed through the post

STAND-ALONE ANIMES
3-Gatsu no Lion

Episode count: 22, studio: Shaft. 3-Gatsu proved to be a really interesting series over the last two seasons. The last few episodes dealt more about the tournament surrounding Souya, the current master of shogi, and Shimada, a close friend of Rei. Not much has been shown about the actual gameplay, fortunately since I still don’t fully understand shogi. Instead the staff magnificently displayed Shimada’s way to professional shogi, Rei’s great loneliness he suffered throughout his life and the ray of hope he attained through Akari and her sisters.

I feel deep respect for Rei’s teacher at school who’s always been pushing Rei whenever he felt dejected or to actually ask friends for help in times of need. Everyone needs a supporter like this in real life. I will miss this feeling of joy that I got from Akari, Hinata and Momo. Lovely sisters, fortunately a sequel season has already been announced for fall 2017! Happy to hear that this will keep on going, hopefully there won’t be too much drama. I want to keep this joyful feelings I connect with this particular anime.

Temporary MAL score: 8/10

Rei has always been alone in his grey world….

…until he met a new family

All Out!!

Episode count: 25, studio: Madhouse. It was my first time ever watching anything of rugby, so I obviously don’t know anything of its rules. After watching the anime I was still clueless. Main reasons for watching All Out were actually my curiosity towards the sports and the studio choice. In the end I need to say though, I might have been better off without it. I was so annoyed by the characters since the very first episode. The character design is fine, that’s not the problem but the way they move and stand were so irritating. So I did a quick check on the original manga, it’s been created by a woman. This is not a bad thing, but you can clearly see that she influenced the characters in a feminine way. The way they act – not all characters, just a few – is really feminine which is not befitting for such a setting. And, the most crucial thing, the use of blushies is so disturbing. It just seems to be a minor fact but what am I supposed to think of a 2 meter guy who hides his massive body by entangling his arms while having blushies? It just sends off the wrong vibes. The rules have been explained along the way I admit, I didn’t get them though.

So, I seem to have spouted lots of hate towards All Out, however the coach changed this. He clearly carried the whole series for me. He combined the messy components and managed to create an anime that’s slightly over the average. The story behind him, including his wife, and the development he went through the series was interesting. He seemed to be a bored old man who trained some kids, but he eventually became a caring man who considers the boys as his own kids. It might not be the best sports anime and the characters fail to captivate you, however you can find a few short scenes that can radiantly shine through this mess.

Temporary MAL score: 6/10

Demi-chan wa Kataritai

Episode count: 12, studio: A-1 Pictures. Demi-chan continued being a slice-of-life anime with the touch of a life counselor for half-humans.  The characters are easy to get attached to. Personally I took a great liking towards Sakie. Expected lots of fanservice since she’s a succubus but in fact there were really rare moments where she revealed anything of her making these few short scenes golden. Never saw this before but they were even trying to get a better understanding of a dullahan’s anatomy, like how these beings are actually eating and such. Just one episode, still shows how much thought the author has put into this.

Other members of the demi-chan crew kept on improving, except of Yuki. I somehow felt that having more people understand her actually backfired on her. I like her nevertheless but she lost her value as the silent and cold Yuki-onna she was in the beginning. It’s definitely better seeing her laughing with other people, even so she’s almost merging with the background characters leaving not much impact on me sadly. In any case every week has been lots of fun, it’s been a worthwhile ride. There was less brainless comedy, more thoughtful reminders of getting a better understanding of each other. I hope to see more of Sakie & co.

Temporary MAL score: 8/10

Sakie – my favorite character from Demichan

Kyouko, Hikari and Yuki probably agree

Gabriel DropOut

Episode count: 12, studio: DogaKobo. Never expected a devil and angel setting to be that entertaining. Gabriel Dropout doesn’t offer a deep or complex plot, just a really high comedy level. Since the beginning I love the character constellation: Gab(riel) the fallen angel who just lazes around all-day, Vigne the thoughtful and caring devil contrary to her actual nature, Raphiel the somewhat sadistic angel (ironically) who enjoys teasing Satania who on the other hand is like the anime mascot. This ironic setting proved to be the perfect ground for an extremely good (manzai) comedy routine. I just love animes who follow the same kind of principle – someone’s saying a dumb line while another one is retorting. So, yes the comedy and characters were the most entertaining parts of the anime.

However, the plot went for an interesting direction when they started to introduce the families of the main crew who eventually joined the comedy routine. So glad to see more insight about them, especially when Vigne and Satania played with their servants. Surprised to see that Gab actually has an older sister who also appeared in the last episode fortunately. Would love to see more of her interacting with Gab. Satania along with the other girls are a legit contender for the best girls of the season. Alone they’re not that strong, however in combination with their “counterpart” – like Gab x Vigne and Satania x Raphi – they prove to be real strong. So, yes I greatly enjoyed the anime. I often read that people were bored of the monotonous comedy. This might be true, I don’t mind that though.

Temporary MAL score: 8/10

Typical Raphi x Satania comedy scene

Gab deeply cares for her friends…. I think?

Hand Shakers

Episode count: 12, studio: GoHands. People who read my mid-season post might know my opinion to Hand Shakers. The second half couldn’t change this. The plot couldn’t convince me, I just can’t come to accept and like the concept of the story. The action animation continues being extremely poor and weak. Combining unhealthy-looking camera direction with a weird combination of somewhat decent action movements and cheap 3DCG objects. I mean, the movements are fluid and consistent but don’t seem to fit in with the rest of the scene. However, the character designs are on a really high level. You probably need to get used to the design but once you do you might see the beauty hiding within. This is sadly the only positive feature of Hand Shakers I can mention.There were a few really well made background and CG objects, they didn’t manage though to create a „natural viewing“ experience. The plot and animation were just so devastating for me that I don’t want to keep prying any further. A prequel episode is supposed to follow, hopefully that’s it.

Temporary MAL score: 4/10

Screenshots can hardly display the animation work

True art can still be found

Kemono Friends

Episode count:12, studio: Yaoyorozu. Lots of great animes aired in this winter season. According to the community, various statistics taken from MAL and common sense, the top series are probably Gintama, KonoSuba, Youjo Senki etc. (just a few selected animes, no deeper meaning intended). However, this only applies probably to the western world. In Japan the list is looking tad different. Kemono Friends is easily at the top, breaking the viewing records of Gakkougurashi and Shingeki no Kyojin on Nico Nico Douga. It’s a phenomenon I hardly could understand, I saw the key visuals for the characters and was sure “Yep, I’ll better not watch this”. After a few weeks I couldn’t resist anymore and wanted to know more about this particular anime so I dived in.

What I’m trying to write here would most likely be too much and doesn’t fit in this format, so I’ll keep it short. Kemono Friends is a series I totally don’t regret watching. The staff was able to create a beautiful and warm atmosphere despite the low budget and shortage of manpower. The plot might be simple but has a great development towards the end and answers many questions that you get along the way. Another great and probably the most crucial element: the characters. Extremely vast variety of personalities and voice cast. Really, every character got a VA (Voice Actor) which is not easy to pull off considering how many characters need to be covered. Also, the soundtracks are noteworthy.

So, Kemono Friends probably will never be fully accepted by the community but I can say for myself that I really liked it and see its potential. Pixiv and other artist platforms keep bursting out with great Kemono artworks. There were hints of a sequel or something else. Let’s see what’s coming.

Temporary MAL score: 7/10

Kaban seeing….

….Serval after waking up

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Episode count: 13, studio: Kyoto Animation. Maid Dragon was probably one of the most iconic animes of the season for me. Looking back 13 weeks ago, I didn’t expect much. Only watched it because of its studio, KyoAni. Now, after finishing the anime…. I’m so happy to have watched it. I’ve grown so attached to this series, mostly because of the characters: Kobayashi a normal human, Tohru her dragon maid, and Kanna another dragon who is like the daughter of the family.

Really grown fond of the gluttonous and cute Kanna <3

Precious dragon daughter riding to victory

I wasn’t sure if it was the right choice making Kobayashi a woman in the beginning. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean to sound homophobic. I just thought having a male part would be easier for possible fan service scenes and the standard romance plot. Since I didn’t know how things would turn out, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, now I see both Kobayashi x Tohru as the best couple of the season, an undeniable fact. The last episode perfectly supports this ship. I wasn’t sure if Tohru’s love was sincere or if she was actually planning to exploit Kobayashi, fortunately this wasn’t the case. Along with Kanna, who acts like their daughter, these three make a fine, little and adorable family. I will keep fond memories of them for a long time, hopefully.

Kobayashi got a fine little family there

Best couple of the season

The animation was top-notch, the epitome of 2D animation out there. Just as I would expect of the studio. They managed to create really unique pieces throughout these last 13 weeks. Every week, I was deeply impressed and filled with joy. Looking at the plot, however, shows that there wasn’t much plot progress. Yeah, I admit the last few episodes had more development.

Various characters have been introduced that went through a character development to a certain degree. Only exception: Elma. She hardly had any air time and just appeared as a „side-kick“ sadly, which may sound really harsh I know. Considering her late introduction, it’s understandable though. Just hoping for more to get more insight on her.

Elma had hardly any air time, sadly

In any case, we got little input on the other dragons: Lucoa who apparently used to be a goddess and slowly growing attached to Shouta – his name…. they’re definitely implying something with this pairing; Fafnir the cursed dragon, initially despised humans, but finally found a human he can open up to – lovely story; Tohru the dragon maid who initially seeked to cause trouble in her world (Chaos faction) but eventually learned to love the world and humans as they are, and Kanna, the precious dragon daughter who made my twitter timeline and pixiv feed explode – my personal favorite. Unique characters with lots of lovely details.

Lucoa, handling the fan service and slapstick comedy

Fafnir grew into a hikki, great development anyway

So, yes, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon turned out to be one of the hidden gems in this season. A fantasy plot combined with the usual struggles of the every-day life and precious characters, made this a worthwhile trip. KyoAni managed to create the right atmosphere and made every week filled with pure eye candies. The last episode left one last mortal reminder: We need to enjoy the relatively short time we have left on earth to the utmost. Thanks for this, hoping to see more one day.

Temporary MAL score: 9/10

The little time we have on earth is precious, savor it

Koro-sensei Quest! (semi-short)

Episode count: 12, studio: Lerche. Assassination Classroom (the parent story) was a great success, which I also enjoyed to a certain degree. Watching this short spin-off wasn’t as dragging as expected. I consider this more to be a side-kick, thus you shouldn’t compare my score to an actual series score. It fulfilled its task in a “hero adventure” setting, however I would have liked it to be even shorter like 3-5min at most. It’s funny to see how every character is interacting with each other, it lost its novelty after a while though. Watch it if you care to spend a little time and enjoyed the parent story!

Temporary MAL score: 6/10

Terasaka as Guts from Berserk in the last episode

He actually looks really authentic

Kuzu no Honkai

Episode count: 12, studio: Lerche. Well, this is a difficult take. First, the series composition is really unique. The imagery and scene direction is really rare which makes this alone already a true piece of art. The staff managed to create a novel/manga/anime combination I’ve never witnessed before. Anime visuals, manga-like scene direction and novel narrative style, this combo created a unique atmosphere that perfectly describes Kuzu Honkai. Now, we have the frame for the artwork, what about the content? Let’s say, it’s just color that’s been clashed on some wall…. which turns out to be a decent looking piece of art, surprisingly.

Kuzu no Honkai follows a somewhat immoral plot that I partly described in my mid-season post. There were lots of events and wrong decisions that eventually led to a great end in my opinion. The characters grew up along the way, especially Akane-sensei. So, yes Kuzu no Honkai is a unique romance anime. I’m glad to have watched it despite its controversial plot. The final episode was among the strongest finales of the season.

Temporary MAL score: 8/10

Akane finally opening up

Hanabi, you made the right choice

Little Witch Academia (on-going)

Episode count: 25, studio: Trigger. Magic, fun and Akko. For real, I really like Little Witch Academia. I’m sad to see that there’s almost no plot progress though, in the recent episodes we see Akko actually training and being tutored by Ursula-sensei. The most crucial reason why I usually start to hate animes is mostly due to the characters, however so far I like every character. The overall concept and character constellation are appealing and serve their purpose – like Akko and her team being the “idiots” and Diana acting all high and mighty.

Well, it’s not like there are only these slice-of-life episodes, but most of them serve to be really entertaining like Akko attending a bouquet at Andre’s residence. I couldn’t help but laugh, the idea of Akko using that love bee was rather simple but I don’t mind – whoever is being stung by the bee falls in love, you can guess who was its first victim… yes it was Andre and Akko. So glad to see that there is a potential male counterpart to Akko, unlike in the movies. They’re leaving this “K-on and Love Live sphere” where only girls seem to exist. The plot is also slowly getting deeper and more interesting with the 7 words and Akko’s staff. Trigger kept a decent level for the animation. Few short scenes are on a high artistic cartoony level. Looking forward to the next season and the second half of Little Witch Academia.

Temporary MAL score: 8/10

Come on accept it, Akko

Lovely trio

Masamune-kun no Revenge

Episode count: 12, studio: Silver Link. Masamune-kun was definitely one of the most… disappointing animes of the season for most people probably. It had a great start, around episode 7-8 it began to change however. Aki having the cruel princess image and not being much of a tsundere – which would have been typical for this kind of setting -was kind of refreshing. It was also nice that Yoshino is still the revenge supporter in the background. So far so good but once Neko appeared it started to change. She took on the role of one of Masamune’s love-interested girls, who’s been eventually rejected by him. He gave up a great person – yes I liked her – to follow his (stupid) revenge.

The staff managed despite all this to display this particular key scene between Neko and Masamune pretty well, praise for that. The drama afterwards didn’t leave much impact and to top everything another love rival appeared for Masamune. Aki seems to like the chubby side of Kanetsugu, supporting the rather superficial concept of the whole anime. Masamune follows the idea that beauty means everything and Aki has been cruel towards any boy approaching her except of Kanetsugu. I’m fine with that, anyone can love anyone he wants but this anime is telling me somehow that chubbiness is a bad asset that needs to be pitied by love. In a world where only bishounen and bishoujo (characters with ideal bodies) characters are dominating the anime industry, this seems to be a bad excuse. Masamune in the end managed to kiss Aki, probably earning a big advantage in the love battle.

Getting back to the topic, talking about Masamune-kun no Revenge there’s not just bad words from me. Big praise for the visuals, they managed to keep the high level till the end. Animation, character design and the characters were really great. I really like RomCom so it was more an enjoyable ride that I don’t regret. The plot is the only controversial element to me, it even somewhat reminds me of the Nisekoi plot – both series have an event that happened in the past, which is the starting point of both plots and seems rather trivial. The end scene most likely implies a sequel or another anime work at least. Let’s see what’s that about.

Temporary MAL score: 7/10

Stunning visuals until the end

Maybe there will be more of Aki & co

Nobunaga no Shinobi (Short)

Episode count: 26, studio: TMS Entertainment. Cute short series, Chidori is also being voiced by Rem’s VA (ReZero). Surprised to see that there’s a sequel already airing in the spring season.

Temporary MAL score: 7/10

Season 2 is already airing in the Spring season

Nyanbo! (Short)

Episode count: 26, studio: Shirogumi. Nyanbo continued being rather average. It’s nothing more than a short anime. Fascinated about the well-elaborated CG animation, plot and characters didn’t offer much though. It’s just a short anime, so no hard feelings.

Temporary MAL score: 5/10

Nyanko Days (Short)

Episode count: 12, studio: EMT2. Another cute short, there’s not much plot. I doubt they planned to go for any plot in the first place considering the short episode lengths. Fine thing

Temporary MAL score: 6/10

Cute „Kitties“

One Room (Short)

Episode count: 12, studio: TYPHOON GRAPHICS. Really gorgeous visuals… that’s it sadly. Interesting idea making a POV anime, rarely ever see this. Plot and characters seemed rather weak and loose.

Temporary MAL score: 5/10

Solid visuals

Sousei no Onmyouji

Episode count: 50, studio: Studio Pierrot. Never expected to see Sousei no Onmyouji running for 4 whole seasons. The very first episodes were already weak, after like 20-30 episodes it became tad better. I didn’t read the manga but I heard that the anime is covering in the first 15 episodes manga material, afterwards it’s just anime original. So not sure how much they adapted of the manga events. Anyway, I need to point out that the opening and ending visuals are nicely done, beautiful animation sometimes and I also like the songs. The actual anime visuals though didn’t seem to be as well-elaborated as the opening and ending visuals. It’s not on a high level that would stand out, but they managed to create a unique animation style. Last few episodes, especially the last episode (!), were visually different from the rest.

As for the story, well, I’ve never been a fan of onmyouji settings. The author seems to have put lots of thought into the plot though. It’s deep – the principle is simple, yes – and well-thought. Since I already didn’t like the setting it didn’t captivate me however. Still, the character development was impressive. The character constellation with that love triangle in the beginning seemed to be not too promising since one person was bound to be hurt. Adding a new character to dissolve such a love triangle is not easy and rarely ever satisfies the watcher, the author managed this here though. Rokuro and Benio developed sincere and deep feelings over these 50 episodes and matured along the way. Happy to see that. Looking back it was a beautiful run – putting aside the plot. I see Sousei no Onmyouji more as a really good love story than an action anime.

Temporary MAL score: 6/10

Strong development between Benio & Rokuro

Beautiful finale, contrary to the early stage of the anime

Youjo Senki

Episode count: 12, studio: NUT. „A devil is hiding inside this girl“, yeah that’s Youjo Senki. I often read and thought for myself when watching this anime “My commander can’t be this cute”. Really, Tanya – putting aside her past as a man, seriously I need to cringe every time I think about that fact – is so cute and evil at the same time. She has this merciless attitude but is a great captain which she often proves to her platoon. Despite being a little girl she is a monster or devil on the battlefield. Youjo Senki has an interesting war setting, great display of strategical warfare and combines lots of other great components. I’m deeply impressed how everything turned out.

The empire thought to have won the war but just as Tanya assumed there are still more enemies hiding. I thought her fight and struggle against Being X would turn out to be monotonous and boring, I’m glad I was wrong. Other humans who have been blessed by Being X appeared and eventually fight against Tanya (the last person probably appeared in the last episode). Episode #11 has shown the potential and skills of the studio NUT. Impressive show-off of animation techniques and complex scene directory. So, yes the plot, characters, visuals and music proved to be really entertaining and convinced me. I need to see where the plot is heading to, looking back not much happened in this section. Youjo Senki certainly is an iconic series that I’m happy to have watched. End scene (hopefully) implied a sequel.

Temporary MAL score: 8/10

Episode #11 was a festival of animation work

Maybe there will be more of Tanya soon!

Sequels
Ai Mai Mii S3 (Short)

Episode count: 12, studio: Seven. Ai Mai Mi has always been sheer stupidity and brainless plot. In fact I can’t remember anything from the previous seasons, I mean it’s been like 2-3 years already. Usually I would consider this to be an anime that can be easily forgotten but exactly this sheer stupidity is the unique feature of the series. I’m starting to like this more and more, there was even a bit plot involving Mii’s past. Animation might seem like a big mess but I can see the artistic work the animators did at some parts, especially in the last episode. Not sure if there will be more but I’m fine with anything that comes – as long as it stays a short anime.

Temporary MAL score: 5/10.

Nonsensical scenes …..

…and weird design that might scare off most people

Ao no Exorcist S2

Episode count: 12, studio: A-1 Pictures. Season two proved to be a solid comeback of the first season that aired 6 years ago. Following my surprising impressions towards the cast and staff in my mid-season post I’m happy that everything stayed as it is. Rin finally came to an understanding with his friends who started to doubt and despise him for being Satan’s spawn. Yukio even managed to awake something inside of him; this might be interesting later on. However, the rest of the story…. was rather boring and seemed trivial to me. I admit, it was essential for Rin since he got to get a better control of his powers and Yukio understanding more about himself. We also got to know that Mephisto is plotting something, in that sense it was a great season.

However the fight against the impure king involving Todo and his disciples was too dragging and too long for a whole 12-ep season. They didn’t shorten or rushed anything, at least I didn’t notice that, but after 8-9 episodes I had enough and wanted to move on. Regarding the staff, too bad there was not much to hear of Sawano’s music genius, hardly noticed anything. It wasn’t the same kind of magic he applied in Guilty Crown or Shingeki no Kyojin. So to end this with a nice sentence, Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen is a worthy sequel to its predecessor that you should definitely watch; great action handling with high-level visuals. Considering the events of the last episode and the popularity of the manga, there will be most likely more in the future depending on the manga progress.

Temporary MAL score: 7/10

Not much but glad to see more of Rin x Shiemi

There might be an interesting plot later involving the two brothers

ChaoS;Child

Episode count: 12, studio: Silver Link. The anime started off to be so promising, this changed however after the second half. My problem about the first season (Chaos;Head 2008) was the story surrounding the logic behind the Gigalomaniacs. So, I was happy to not see them in Chaos;Child. The first half (episode #1- #6) had a unique atmosphere which I’ve never seen before in an anime. I highly praised this in my mid-season post. The staff managed to create a setting and atmosphere that you would only see in horror and thriller movies. I lost sight however of this great fact due to the events in the story.

Chaos;Child was like a big puzzle that has been slowly solved, Takuru learns more about his past and gets a better understanding about the recent events. So far so good, but the direction the plot eventually headed was so disappointing. The murders kept happening and people who were really close to Takuru were now the victims, which I greatly despise. The choice of victims and reaction of the characters in the anime seemed so crude to me. After the first murder of one of Takuru’s family members there was a decent reaction but lost its value after a few episodes. Sure, other events happened after the murder but it’s still an event that I can’t get out of my head. The overall character constellation just fell apart, in the end I even noticed that some characters hardly got any attention like Kazuki. In any case, the plot steadily kept on progressing. It’s getting harder to describe so I’ll keep it short.

Start of the downswing – Episode #7 was really disturbing

The final turn of events involving Takuru and Onoe was the most devastating part for me. Onoe revealing her true plan proved the whole series to be so trivial. I understand her reasoning but not her deeds. Roughly said in that sense Chaos;Head – its predecessor – is about a boy who’s been created by a gigalomaniac while Chaos;Child is about a boy who created a girl due to despair. This might not sound too bad but reversing a plot idea doesn’t make it good automatically. As for the animation there’s not much to complain about, Silver Link did their job and created some beautiful and brutally detailed scenes.

Chaos;Child could have been way better considering its staff if it were in another setting. Yes, its demise was its setting. Sad that there was almost no connection or mention of the first season’s characters, just the murder events have been mentioned. Makes the whole concept of prequel and sequel look almost nonsensical. The anime concluded in a beautiful way but left the plot with an open end. The character affairs haven’t been fully resolved leaving an unsatisfying taste in the mouth.

Temporary MAL score: 6/10

Kazuki who hardly got any screen time in the anime

Onoe waking up after being freed from her Raison d’Être

Gintama S4

Episode count: 12, studio: Bandai Namco Pictures. Since I’m reading the manga I mostly knew what was going to happen during this run. I was overjoyed to see that I finally got to see Kouka in animated form. The story continued progressing, there’s like in the previous season less comedy and more story. The most crucial thing for me though is the way Gintama handles action scenes.

Gintoki still up for comedy

I already noticed this in the manga, surprised to not have noticed this in the previous anime seasons. What I’m talking about, the action scenes are often really predictable. Usually, when someone has been lethally hurt he lies down and can’t move. However in Gintama this is not the case, a person might even stand up even if he’s dead (just kidding). Gintoki and the others were hit and rendered unable to move, a comrade is about to be beaten but Gintoki manages to stand up and blocks the attack so his comrade stays out of harm’s way. That’s nice but hardly makes any sense. You just know that someone is about to get up and block the attack.

It was a nice change to see Umibozu fighting Utsuro seriously. Great fight, a true clash between gods that defies the logic I described before. So, the plot is still on Gintama level and interesting. The action handling is the only thing that ruined my (biased) perfect score.  I still think that Gintama is better off with comedy and a few short action arcs inbetween. But yes, every good series needs to become serious for a great end.

Temporary MAL score: 9/10

Kouka and Umibozu – Kagura’s parents

Great introduction of Kouka’s past

KonoSuba S2

Episode count: 10, studio: Studio Deen. I often laugh about comedy animes but rarely I cannot stop. Gintama and a few others were such series where I just couldn’t stop laughing and was even moved to tears. KonoSuba can now officially join these ranks, it was fantastic. Starting with episode one of this second season, every doubt of following its previous success has been washed away. Darkness and Kazuma carried the whole series for me this time. Aqua also had really strong moments, even Wiz had more air time which I really appreciate. Megumin and Yunyun sadly didn’t leave as strong impressions on me this time.

Great shots sometimes

Among the best faces of the season

I didn’t realize or remember this too well but Kazuma is a true party player genius. They might be all idiots but he can combine these morons and pull off brilliant plans. The last episode has shown this very well.  The comedy was on the highest level with the usual Kazuma’s muttering in-between, Darkness masochistic side, Aqua’s stupidity and Megumin’s delusional personality. Animation-wise the season started off to be not too promising, this changed later on fortunately. In fact there were really unique eye candies like Kazuma firing an arrow in one quest and the final battle against a demon lord army general.

Aqua & co consider him as scum and a pervert. Despite this they really depend on him, it’s nice to see them showing this occasionally or Kazuma falling victim to his adolescent side trying to peek into the girl’s bathroom. Putting aside all these kind words, there’s one bad thing about KonoSuba S2: They dared going for another 10-episode-run. I was devastated when I realized this but yes everything needs to come to an end. I so hope to see more in the future, hopefully with more plot progress and higher episode count then. I will fall in love with this every time anew.

Temporary MAL score: 9/10

Darkness (Lalatina) and Kazuma were most entertaining

Aqua is also sad to part

Gundam Tekketsu S2

Episode count: 25, studio: Sunrise. This second season strongly remembers me of the Game of Thrones series. So many important people who I hold dearly died throughout its run. The people who I expected the least just had to pass away and died a somewhat meaningless death – still significant for the plot though. I was swept along by the feels, I admit this. Watching Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans (short: IBO) was like revisiting the Legend of Galactic Heroes anime from the ’90s. Interstellar warfare, machines, politics and love, that’s what IBO is made of.

It’s sad that relatively few people know and watched this series. Lots of character development, interesting plot progress and a fine conclusion. I would have liked to see a different end but I think that turnout was inevitable. The story as it is should be concluded with these two seasons so I doubt there will be anything again of this in the future. Maybe time for a new Gundam show to appear?

Temporary MAL score: 9/10

Time has passed, even my favorite Kudelia got a bit older

Orga (left) fought for a cause. Mikazuki (right) fought for him

Rakugo Shinjuu S2

Episode count: 12, studio: Studio Deen. I remember having lots of problems with the first season. I couldn’t come to like rakugo (roughly said Japanese story telling), the characters were good except of Yotarou. He seemed like a nuisance to me, the story on the other hand was interesting, especially the end. However, everything changed with the second half of this season. Time can’t be stopped so certain things couldn’t be prevented like the death of a certain person. Even though it was bound to happen, I was still surprised that they’re actually going for it. They’ve covered everything relevant for the story, like who’s the real father of Shinnousuke. Glad to see great development between Konatsu and Yotarou and also between her and Yakumo. She’s finally shown gratitude towards him and accepted him as a father figure. The shinigami play that’s been played more often by Yotarou and his master Yakumo in the end had a really creepy feeling that’s been magnificently conveyed by the characters. I could literally feel the tension rising in the air /goosebumps/.

Finally development between these two

Konatsu eventually sees him as a father figure

The world after life turned out to be a pleasant place hilariously. We got to see characters from the first season again, really happy about that since I liked Miyokichi. Around this time Yotarou developed to be less annoying to me, since he realized the fragility of his master due to his advanced age. Following the said death there’s been another time skip, probably like 10-15years. People aged and Shinnousuke is doing his first big rakugo performance. Seeing Yotarou’s family was like seeing something out of Naruto, I love that.

Miyokichi appeared one last time

Shinnousuke’s time to shine

So, what’s so great about all this? Well, we’ve been following a character, Yakumo, from the very beginning till his death, the hardships he had to go through and the people he met and lost. Stories like this are really strong. JoJo Bizarre Adventure is another masterpiece in this category. Putting aside the rakugo performances, which might be hard to approach for a vast audience, the scenes have been magnificently supported by a unique camera and scene direction. The stage plays received beautiful visuals too (mostly only visible for the watchers), like Miyokichi taking on the form of the lost lover as well Sukeroku taking on the form of the shinigami in Yakumo’s play were a great contribution to creating the right atmosphere. The story should be concluded unless they want to adapt more with Konatsu’s children or other rakugo performers.

So looking back, Rakugo Shinjuu turned out to be a hidden gem among this season. A series that I didn’t enjoy and highly anticipated in the beginning has grown into a warm memory that I gladly reminisce about. The last few episodes made the crucial change from my mid-season impressions to this current state.  If you’re ready to listen (and read obviously the subs) to the stage performances you will see the magic unfold.

Temporary MAL score: 9/10

One last promise between friends

 

Rewrite S2

Episode count: 11, studio: 8bit. People following me on Twitter might know my hate-love relationship with Key’s Rewrite. For starters, Key is the creator of other sentimental stories like Clannad and Air. It’s hard to top its previous successes obviously so I didn’t expect much, the first season however turned out to be even more disappointing than I could take. Set with the usual school “harem” setting and lots of stereotypes, Rewrite was the very image of mediocrity supported by awful and unsympathetic CG monsters. I can see the usual sentimental and dramatical events that are typical for Key, they didn’t hit you though as hard as they should. Well, with this feeling I went to into the second season.

The world has been destroyed in the first season and another word line was the core of the plot now. Being slightly confused in the beginning, everything started to get surprisingly better with each episode. First, they got rid of the school setting – I’m not against school settings in general but they hardly stick out nowadays – second, they got rid of the stereotypes – no tsundere, chuuni character or other deres – and lastly the protagonist matured. This greatly improved the whole series concept. Complicate topics like sending young soldiers into war in underdeveloped countries and children that lost their parents in these wars were now part of the plot. Kotarou took on the role of a mercenary and we got to see how he has grown up from a kid to an adult in this cruel world trying to defend the key, Kagari. Everything strongly reminded me of the Grisaia franchise, since it seems much more cruel and mature.

Koutaro is much older now

And the plot became more cruel and serious

The age difference between Kotarou and the girls was another crucial element for me, because the series won’t fall back into its baseless romance comedy routine. The story idea is about the same as in the first season, the world is about to meet its destruction and the two world-organizations clash with each other trying to achieve their goals. However we get another approach this time, the anime seems more like the actual game. Yes the monsters are still being animated in this awful CG but I hardly noticed this since they didn’t appear as much as in the previous season. The newly introduced characters aren’t unique but have more personality than ever. Following Kotarou’s death the world recovered and some time has passed. The girls have grown up and are about to summon their servant who turns out to be Kotarou. The end scene was a bit over-the-top I admit – the group traveling to the moon to meet Kagari who’s been watching them from there – it’s still nice to see them reunited again. There’s not much being implied about the future of the anime, I’m not even sure if they’ve covered the whole game now.

CG aside – gorgeous visuals

Solid character design

So to sum it up, Rewrite has grown from an anime that I could only connect feelings of hate, into an entity that has risen beyond the mediocrity threshold. By distancing itself from the hard-to-get-out typical school setting and embracing another level of magical warfare, Rewrite season 2 turned out to be an acceptable sequel. Despite all this praise, I would appreciate not to see anything of this again in the future. The plot is still controversial; yes, but the overall developments in the other sections made me change my actual score.

Temporary MAL score: 7/10

For a better world, sacrifices need to be done

Will there be more in the future?

Tales of Zestiria the X S2

Episode count: 13, studio: ufotable. Tales of Zestiria was actually planned to have only 12 episodes. A 13th episode has been added, which is airing now on a later date on April 30. So, the past 12 episodes proved to be entertaining. Plot progressed in a steady pacing, glad to see that Rose and Alicia joined the group for good. New Seraphims appeared and joined too. Needless to say, ufotable kept the high level of visuals and animation which I really appreciate. In the first season they showed 1-2 episodes with Velvet starring, now it finally makes sense. Even though the plot is steadily progressing I need to say it’s not that captivating. I doubt the last episode will change my current score.

Temporary MAL score: 7/10

Episode #11 – Great scene between Dezel and Rose

As a team they can beat their enemy

Yami Shibai S4 (short)

Episode count: 13, studio: ILCA. Apparently ILCA went for another approach for this season. Before Yami Shibai has been told by one narrator who barely ever spoke. The stories were mostly carried by the respective characters. In season 4 the staff went for rotating narrators and the stories were actually being narrated for once. This was a nice change and made the whole concept more authentic. In any case, while the concept and series composition changed, the stories were mostly really boring and didn’t shock me as much as they should….. too bad.

Temporary MAL score: 5/10

 

 Thanks a lot for reading, I had lots of fun while writing this wall of text. Also thanks again to Shizuda for letting me write here on his site for the Winter Season. This will most likely be my last post, so I hope some of you enjoyed the season just as much as I did! Have a nice day ~

About the Author

fahcy

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Male student, 20 years old from Germany. Wants to share his thoughts on anything anime- and manga-related. Follow me on Twitter and get to know me, if you can handle it!

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