Winter 2017 – First Impressions (Part 1)

Well, now the first five shows of the season under my belt…  and things are shaky so far.  Two immediate drops, one meh, and two that might not be entirely bad.  Not a promising start, but there’s more premieres to come so I have hope.

See more after the jump, then let me know about your season so far down in the comments.

Akiba’s Trip: The Animation Ep 1

Gotta shake my head here.  The first half, which was mostly about otaku, wasn’t all that bad.  The animation was a bit on cheap side, but the writing was clever in spots.  Then we hit the second half…  All about fanservice, setting up the harem, and lamely scripted battles.  (And the cheap animation only made these battles worse.)

Honestly, I knew about the game and should have expected this going in…  But as I said I only checked it out of the OP by Earphones.  I won’t be back.

Verdict: Currently in that Wile E. Coyote moment where it’s stepped off the edge of the cliff but hasn’t yet realized it. 

Forest Fairy Five Ep 1

Never, ever ask yourself “how bad could it be anyhow”?  Because the answer is Forest Fairy Five.  Quite possibly the worst CGI ever, and how they managed to overexpose a CGI image is beyond me…  but at least the glare hid most of the psychotic colors some of the time.  We meet three of what are supposed to be five main characters, and learned mostly that they are interested in cute things and happenings on Earth (while they stood in one place and bobbed and weaved)…  And that’s it.  No plot.  No real characterizations.  And did I mention the world’s worst CGI in psychotic colors?

Oh, and the fairy girls are named after mushrooms.  Maybe that explains the colors.

Verdict: Gone baby gone… and pass the brain bleach.

Masamune-kun’s Revenge Ep 1

Cute in spots, flat in spots… and the main characters are both pretty much unlikable.   But for reasons I can’t quite articulate, I want to like this show.  Maybe it’s the girls in Matsume’s harem, one of which is voiced by the inimitable Hayami Saori.  Maybe it’s that the writing isn’t bad in spots, maybe it’s watching Matsume cringe (his reflexes honed by years of being a fattie) before he realizes what a ‘hot guy’ can get away with (and he does know that he’s a fraud). Maybe it’s the death flag I think I spotted.  (And I have not read the manga, don’t spoil it!)

I’m not ready to sing any praises yet, but it’s not teetering over the edge either.  It will take an episode or three to find out.

Verdict: Keeper for now.

Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club Ep 1

And here we reach this week’s meh.  Quite possibly the slowest paced opening episode I’ve ever seen.  This one wasn’t on my radar, so I didn’t know much going in… and I don’t have much more after watching it.  We meet two of the MC’s (presumably being about a club, there’s more coming) and learn about their personalities – and other than some screen time for a possible third MC, that’s about it.  We don’t even see the titular cycling club except for a brief (brief) flash right at the end.   So boring that I kept checking my watch… and skipped the “for newbies” edutainment segment at the end so that it would mercifully be over.

And 1998 called and wants it’s character designs back.

Verdict: Goodnight Westley, I’ll probably drop you after the next episode.

Schoolgirl Strikers Ep 1

We’ve all seen this anime a dozen times before…  Schoolgirls with secret lives defending the world from threats from beyond space and time.  But it’s not all bad, I liked the character designs and the animation.  The wide variety of weapons and skills used by the girls were refreshing too.  Given that the entire episode was given over to infodumps and stage setting, it’s pretty hard to tell where this is going – it could be total genericsville, or it could be average.  (Given that it’s based off a mobile phone game, I don’t hope for much more than that.)  My current guess is average.

And honestly, what’s wrong with a guilty pleasure in the lineup?

Verdict: Keeper for now.

And yes, I know Fuuka has already premiered – but my wife wants to watch it too.  So I’m going to wait for her to get home from work and then we’ll check it out together.

In other news:

Still trying to find a decent and workable style for postings…  Overall, AML is still something of a work in progress.  Let me know what you think.

Bought two tickets to the one-day Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale showing.  Looking forward to it.   We chose a theater that’s a bit of pain to get to since it’s over in Seattle, but there’s a conveyor sushi restaurant next door so we’re going to make a date night of it.

11 thoughts on “Winter 2017 – First Impressions (Part 1)”

  1. I have seen… no new anime yet, as I wait for one of my 5 most-hoped for shows to appear. Rakugo just released today I guess, but I’m not feel like I absolutely have to keep up with it. Maybe I’ll finish Fune wo Amu first…

    School Girl Strikers, from screencaps alone, reminds me of Ao no Kanata, which I recall you liked.

    Put Hayamin in a good show, please!

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    1. Hayamin has a role in Fuuka, which is off to a rough start though it shows promise. I know I bitched about her work in Shirayuki, but for whatever reason she’s starting to grow on me.

      I don’t recall what your hyped shows are, though I can guess Konasuba 2 is on that list.

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  2. You got further into the Fairy Show than I. I saw ugly CGI and that was it. A few seconds, the End.

    I also didn’t get very far into Schoolgirl Strikers, since it bored me.

    Akiba’s Trip could have been better, could have been worse. I like the character designs, but they could have used more care in the actual execution. I like the direction they’re going for, but despite not being slow-paced, it feels like it doesn’t have much momentum. If the season wasn’t so slow, and it didn’t air in the middle of the week it wouldn’t look good for the show, but as it is, I’ll probably keep up with it. I hope it acquires more energy; the entertainment potential is there.

    Masamune Kun’s Revenge is among my favourite premieres so far, but in a weak season this isn’t saying much. I agree that the leads are both unlikable, but I’m fairly certain that’s deliberate. My main problem is that I expect them to mellow each other down and it will devolve in a rote harem. However, I adore the show’s execution. One of my favourite scenes was the spider scene (not the stumbling-into-the-room follow-up, which I found loud and annoying). I also love the soundtrack, but I wish they’d turn down the volume in relation to background noise and dialogue. I’m fairly sure I’ll make it through the show, but how much I’ll enjoy it by the end I don’t know. There are already some things that worry me – please don’t go for an escalation of meanness for the sake of it, show.

    The cycling show whose name I can’t remember (I could scroll up, I know) I find decently charming, if a tad sleepy. At least I made it through the first episode, unlike last season’s Long Riders. I didn’t notice that the character designs were late-90ies, but that might explain why I feel so comfortable with the show. It might just be a vaguely felt nostalgia.

    Other shows:

    Youjo Senki. Not for me. Military anime aren’t my thing. The pathos was off-turning, and the character designs were even more off-turning. Run for the hills.

    Fuuka was okayish. One of the better premiers, but again it’s a week season. I might grow to like it, but at the same time it might get on my nerves eventually. I’m also reminded that my interest in anime does definitely not come from under schoolgirl skirts.

    Seiren appears to be exactly what I expected: a weeker version of Amagami SS. Bonus points for a great male-best-friend character, though.

    Then there’s the second season of Ao No Exorcist, which I liked about as much as the first season – decent entertainment.

    Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju saves the season for me. At the start of the episode: A summary of the season Rakugo style? Clever. But all in all not as good as the first season. At the end of the episode: No way this was 20 minutes! Where did the time go?

    Rather weak season, so far. Rakugo saves anime. But with that and probably Konosuba, all the best anime are either sequels or two-cour carry overs (3-gatsu no Lion, Tiger Mask W, Sengoku Choujuu Giga, Classicaloid are all better than the new offerings). I’m putting my hopes in the Maid Dragon show, since I learned that it’s based on a manga by the guy who wrote I don’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying and Komori-san Can’t Decline. KyoAni are pretty responsible with other people’s properties; they tend to mess up only their own.

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    1. So far the season is mostly saved for me by holdovers (March Comes in like a Lion, Iron Blooded Orphans) and the hope that the shows left to premiere have a better track record than we’ve seen so far. Masamune Kun and Fuuka both show promise, but could also so easily go off the rails… (And yeah, I’m not one to complain about fanservice, but Fuuka leans a bit too heavily on it.)

      Overall, it is a bit of weak season… But that’s also something of an advantage for me because watching fewer shows will make learning to write regularly easier. I don’t know how Bless managed it.

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      1. I hadn’t realised that there was already a second episode of Fuuka. That one was better. I hope the trend continues. Also, if I’m not mistaken, they’ve pretty much confirmed that Fuuka is the daughter of Suzuka (of the anime of the same name), and I liked the Suzuka anime well enough.

        And, yes, so far I’d say Masamune-kun and Fuuka were the best new-show premieres, with one recent exception…

        I can see how having a slow season can help with learning the ropes of blogging. On that note, though, don’t miss Demi-chan. It’s the first genuinely good premier this season that isn’t a continuation (like Rakugo). Easily the best new show of winter so far.

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  3. I watched the entirety of Forest Fairies Five waiting for the jokes to show up. I thought ‘surely they must be building up to some sort of major comedic moment as that’s the only thing which can make a show with simplistic visuals and a basic concept entertaining’, but I was disappointed. Even comparing it to cheap Western children’s animation, there didn’t seem to be much going on.

    If you wanted to see this kind of show done right (terrible CG visuals but with fairies that are actually entertaining to watch), you should check out gdgd fairies, also on Crunchyroll, home of the short-form anime. I don’t think everyone would like the brand of comedy, but I really enjoyed it and it actually felt like it knew its limitations and worked with them and some very solid writing to create a decent show.

    I almost want to watch the second episode of Forest Fairies Five to see if they’re hiding some jokes in there, but I probably shouldn’t delude myself.

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    1. That was me too… Surely there has to be a point to this! – only suddenly the ep was over and there wasn’t. I’m not even tempted to check out the second ep.

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  4. Out of these five, I watched only Masamune-kun’s Revenge. (I’m very picky with my anime.) I previously had worries about this show since its genre list had “harem” in it, and I’m not particularly fond of those. However, I didn’t it to be just my kind of comedy. It really reminds me of Girlish Number with its cast of horrible people just being horrible. (I am weak for extremely flawed characters.) I could only hope (in vain) that this show ends up as good as GN, but I’m already pretty sure I won’t drop this show.

    Maybe it’s the girls in Matsume’s harem, one of which is voiced by the inimitable Hayami Saori.

    Uhh… that character is apparently a boy. But to be fair, I didn’t know that either until I read the reddit discussion thread.

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    1. I was… not fond of Girlish Number. Between Chitose being abrasive and Kuzu-P generally being a douche, it just grated. Flawed characters are one thing, jerks and idiots another. Masamune seems (so far) to be handling that much better.

      (And seriously, a boy? That’s different.)

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