Aaand… we reach the middle of the season. Time to reflect on what’s happened so far and look forward to the rest of the season. (And drop a few shows along the way.)
So, without further ado, let’s hit the jump and dive right in.
Just as a reminder, shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.
Ancient Magus Bride
Midseason thoughts: A truly wonderful show, but honestly it’s starting to frustrate me with it’s lack of progress. We get it already! Chise is something different, something powerful, and quite possibly doomed if Elias can’t change her fate. Get on with it.
Midseason Thoughts: Anime Gataris has settled into what I think is best described as “comfortable mediocrity”. There’s not anything actually wrong with that., it’s keeping me entertained and the game of spot-the-reference is fun… But it appears the early ambitions to having any kind of ongoing plot have vanished.
Midseason thoughts: Like Gataris, Blend-S is currently sitting at “comfortable mediocrity”. Unlike Gataris, it’s still moving downward… The early energetc rapid-fire comedy has been replaced with a more tropish variety, and the one-note characters and the stock workplace aren’t enough to sustain that. There’s still one more character to be introduced though, so I’m hanging on hoping she’ll restore the earlier energy.
Status: Entering the drop zone
Girls Last Tour
Midseason thoughts: Simply wonderful… A slow wandering exploration of their internal and external worlds.
Status: Firm keeper
Midseason thoughts: I’ve bounced hard off of any number of male oriented idol shows, but I’m enjoying the hell out of SideM. A huge part of that is that it feels so much like the original iM@S series, one of my poster children for handling large casts.
Midseason Thoughts: A puzzle wrapped in an enigma… They keep going into unexpected places, but somehow it all works. Inuyashiki is as much about humanity as it is about heroes, and hard on the heels of My Hero Academia‘s relentless emphasis on heroism and heroics that humanity for a refreshing change.
Inayushiki is essentially the Wake-Up Girls of superhero shows, taking a long hard look at places other shows don’t or won’t go.
Midseason Thoughts: What can I say? In a season chock-full of dark horses and sleepers, Just Because still stands out from the pack. A slow thoughtful show about the insecurity of standing on the cusp between childhood and adulthood… No tropes, no stock characters, just stark realism. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Status: Strong keeper
Midseason thoughts: The best I can say here is that Kino’s hasn’t exactly bored me… But after 6 eps it hasn’t exactly wowed me either. The quality (crap story or decent story) is all over the place, and frankly that’s starting to annoy me. A “best of” anthology may work for long term fans, but it’s not working for me.
Seriously, is there anything cuter than baby Yuzu? But even this flashback sequence carries a powerful message of finding a home and your place in the world.
Midseason Thoughts: Kitan looked like it was going to be CGDCT, but it’s gone in an unexpected direction and become something different entirely. Underneath the surface layer of fox girl yuri, there’s a deeper look at friendship and romance. The use of supernatural elements to illuminate things that might become too sappy otherwise has been especially interesting.
Status: Firm Keeper
Land of the Lustrous
Midseason thoughts: LoL is quite possibly the most frustrating show I’m watching this season. It keeps playing the same notes again and again and again… Phos is every “absolutely determined to gain approval and play with the big kids” character I’ve ever seen. But then there’s Cinnabar and her lonely and pointless vigil that’s lead her to unexpected knowledge and wisdom. The lovely and gentle Dia, the hardest yet most fragile of the gems – who seeks to escape the bonds of the overprotective Bort. The world weary Yellow Diamond, who runs to survive but no longer knows why… It’s the characters who aren’t Phos that keep me coming back.
Status: I just can’t help myself – keeper
Love Live Sunshine, Ep 6
Once again LLS‘s pacing problems come to the fore. Ooh, we’ve got some students but not enough! (scene change) Ooh, what is Aquors? What makes us special? (question dropped, scene change) Chika spends the lion’s share of the episode practicing a difficult dance maneuver – and masters it at the last minute! (scene change) And we’re air-dropped into the middle of a performance, the regionals? We’re never told. And the difficult dance maneuver they spent so much time on? Not even emphasized. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Midseason thoughts: As much as I gripe about LLS, you might form the wrong opinion. I do like the girl’s characters, their interaction, and the overall story beats… But, as in the first season, the execution all too often falls short. I stay for the highs, and grumble through the lows.
Status: sigh Keeper.
March Comes in like a Lion
Midseason thoughts: It took a couple of episodes to find it’s feet, but wow… The current (bullying) arc is as powerful as anything they’ve ever done. And considering March’s track record to date, that’s saying something.
Status: Absolute Keeper.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Ep 6
The whole “date” thing between Moriko and Yuta was handled with surprising grace and subtlety for a show not noted to date for either quality. Kowaii on the other hand, what is his deal? Is he trying to facilitate Yuta and Moriko’s relationship? Is he trying to form a relationship with Moriko himself? Either way, I’m getting a seriously creepy vibe from him.
Midseason Thoughts: Slowly and quietly what started out as a comedy has slid through rom-com territory and now edging up against being a decent drama. It’s an odd hybrid to be sure, but one that’s working for me.
Two Car, Ep 6
Yet another series of practice runs, yet another driver-passenger pair having issues. At least this pair was kind of original – the twins aren’t having issues with not being close enough, their having issues with being too much alike.
Midseason thoughts: After six eps, we’re pretty firmly in repetitive crap territory here. The MC’s aren’t even really MC’s, just puppets putting on the same show week after wearying week.
Wake Up Girls: New Chapter
Midseason thoughts: Fanboy mode on! I’m flat out loving it. While it’s not going on the darker side as the original series did, it still strongly echoes the “us-against-the-world” themes. The narrative is wandering a bit, but so what? I still love WUG-chan. I think the only complaint I have is the lack of new songs so far… It’s all been retreads from the first season.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero
I had tears in my eyes watching this sequence. I had tears in my eyes finding the screenshot…
The last three episodes have been among the hardest things I’ve ever watched. We all knew how it was going to end, and kudos to the staff for not pulling any punches.
I can’t really have any mid-season thoughts, because the mid-season is also the end of the prequel Washio Sumi chapter. But I will say, it’s a solid keeper. If the sequel chapter is half as good as the prequel chapter, it’s going to be fantastic.
And, there you have it folks! What are your thoughts on the season date? What’s surprised you? What’s hit the discard pile? Drop a comment and let me know!