Fall 2017 – Week 6 / Midseason thoughts

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.)

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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.
Status: Keeper

Anime Gataris

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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.
Status:  Keeper

Blend-S

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

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Midseason thoughts:  Simply wonderful…  A slow wandering exploration of their internal and external worlds.
Status:  Firm keeper

Idolmaster: SideM

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.
Status: Keeper

Inuyashiki

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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.
Status: Keeper

Just Because

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

Kino’s Journey

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.
Status: Dropped

Konohana Kitan

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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

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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

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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.
Status: Keeper.

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.
Status:  Dropped.

Wake Up Girls: New Chapter

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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.
Status:  KEEPER!

Yuki Yuna is a Hero

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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!

13 thoughts on “Fall 2017 – Week 6 / Midseason thoughts”

  1. Ah, makes sense why you dropped the ones you did. Kino’s I haven’t even bothered with, I have the old one and want to watch that first. Plus the art style in the new one is off-putting. Any way, I’m with you for our overlap shows (even if I’m still a bit behind). You are making want to watch the ones I can’t though… T.T

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  2. I’m very likely going to drop Animegataris. It’s really only just dull, for me. The occasional high points are too occosional and not really worth it. Blend S had a rather terrible beach episode, but apart from that it’s pretty much what it always was to me (which isn’t much, but at least it’s not as boring as Animegataris).

    I get what you mean about Ancient Magus’ Bride. To some extent it’s getting lost in the spectacle, with not enough progress. But the spectacle itself is absolutely worth it. It’s such a beautiful show.

    I honestly believe Girls Last Tour has gone and become the best show of the season. Highly consistent, excellent mood, and the occasional stand-out scene in a generally great show. Not what I thought I’d place highest.

    MMO Junky is good fun. I’m think Koiwai is also in the game, but I’ve forgotten what made me think that. He strikes me as a well-intendioned meddler, who enjoys seeing people be awkward, which is a horrible combination on a regular basis, but can jumpstart bogged-down situations.

    Urahara is getting really, seriously good. The latest episode was surprisingly hard-hitting, and current developments look more like end-game than midseason, so I’m curious what they have in mind for future development.

    Children of the Whales isn’t what it could have been. The setting’s great, but the plot isn’t too interesting, and the latter is taking precedence and doesn’t lead to much exploration. It’s still one of the better shows this season, but a bit of a disappointment, considering what it could have been.

    Juuni Taisen may be the most consistent series this season. If you like the first episode, and if you don’t mind predictablity, you’ll likely like the rest of the show. Converly, if you don’t nothing will change your mind. It’s the easiest show to check out, this season.

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    1. Sorry for the late reply, housework and not feeling well has left me behind.

      I agree, Girls is far and away the best of the season. LandLust should be up there too, but it’s just not pulling it together for me.

      MMO Junkie will never be a classic, but it is awfully good and better than it has any right to be. It’s only ten eps though, so they better step up their game.

      I actually watched the first ep of Juuni Taisen as part of a Crunchyroll promotion, and it’s so not my bag. I can take or leave battle royales, but I just couldn’t warm enough to it given the load I was already under.

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      1. Hope you’re feeling better. (My impression is that it wasn’t a very good week, on the whole, as far as the well-being of both man and machine is concerned. A lot of people were feeling a little under the weather, around here, and quite a few electronic devices had some unusual… stutters.)

        @Juuni Taisen: Even among the people who like it, I haven’t seen anyone call it a must-watch. It’s silly and fun if you like that kind of stuff, and sometimes (as in my case) even if you’re so-so on that kind of stuff.

        @Land of the Lustrous takes its time too much. Or, no, not quite. It’s more… nothing happens for a long time, than something happens that changes the game, but not immediately. It’s… strange. Like a continuous, gradual exploration of setting, with erratic, sudden plot that slots back into the setting. So you have a strange sort of progression: It’s both sudden and gradual, and I’m never quite sure how deal with it. (Also, Phos is starting to get on my nerves.)

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  3. I’m pretty much in agreement with your thoughts on Magus Bride. It’s a good show, but it’s not what I was expecting. It’s not iyashikei material, but it almost feels like that’s the mood they’re going for sometimes with the way everything’s been paced and presented so far.

    Is it wrong of me to wish that Washio Sumi had been 12 episodes instead of 6? I mean, what we got was terrific, and it adapted the source material really well, but I wish they could have expanded the adaptation and allowed us to spend more time with these girls. But I suppose that’s just because I liked them so much and didn’t want to say goodbye so quickly, especially to Gin. Anyway, a very worthy followup to the original. Now if Pony Canyon would just rethink their pricing structure so that I won’t have to take out a second mortgage to buy it….

    Sunshine S2 so far has not been the improvement on S1 that the original S2 was for u’s. It’s still a fun show with good character interactions, and one of the better light entertainments out there, but through these first six eps it feels kind of stuck in a rut of predictable storytelling to me. And when the hell am I finally going to get my Ruby episode, huh, Sunrise?

    I’m a few episodes behind on Girls Last Tour. Haven’t had quite as much time for anime watching the last few weeks, and that’s been the casualty (along with not being able to get to any more backlog shows), but I WILL catch back up to it, hopefully by the end of this weekend. I do have a few days off next week with Thanksgiving, so at worst I should be caught up by next weekend. If I’m not, you have my permission to point a paintball rifle at me and demand my extra slice of white meat.

    Food Wars S3 continues to be a marked improvement on S2, and I’m back to eagerly devouring each new episode as soon as they come out, like I did with S1. Especially now that it’s moving into the biggest arc of the series so far and going beyond the point where I’ve read up to in the manga.

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    1. I agree that Foodwars 3 is better than season 2, but I’m also a little confused by the current arc. On the positive side, the dramaturgy is great, it promises to be an epic, multi-person brawl, and it focuses on the core-philosophy of the show, but on the other hand it continues the rather strange de-clawing of Erina, and her father’s strategy makes little sense to me (it appears to me, that he’s going to attract the people he’d most like to get rid of, while his current cronies are all going to graduate pretty soon; what’s the long-term plan, here?). So, yeah, I’m enjoying it, but it’s not without its downsides. Still doesn’t quite measure up to season 1, for me (a huge part, for me, is diminishing returns, too).

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      1. Erina to me always had that feel about her of a character who was going to be declawed eventually. Even though I don’t really like her, she never came off as someone who enjoyed being a jerk, it was more that she came off as an overly proud pampered princess with terrible social skills who couldn’t see beyond her own blinkered, one-percenter worldview (which we now know was literally beaten into her by her father). So I don’t find that development strange at all, rather I expected it.

        As for Azami, there’s a lot more to what he’s up to than what we’ve seen so far. I won’t spoil any specifics, but keep in mind that this is a world where cooking is Serious Business, and Totsuki stands right at the center of the Japanese culinary world. We were told in season 1 that just getting admitted to Totsuki’s high school program practically guarantees a student’s future in the food industry, even for the 99% who do get expelled. Just for that reason alone, controlling Totsuki and its curriculum would give Azami an enormous amount of power and influence even if he had no other plans beyond that.

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        1. @ Erina: She was always going to warm up to Soma; not only to him as a person, but also to his way of seeing things. It’s a classic tsundere theme that seems woven into very fabric of the narrative. Her current development makes a lot of sense. It’s just…. I feel the show hasn’t been writing her very well. She never really did anything, and then it just felt like the author got bored with her opposition (somewhere between the end of season one and the beginning of season two; I might have missed an OVA or two?), turning her into a stock-tsundere (which she wasn’t quite as much in the first season). And now we get to see why she is the way she is, and if that had come on the heel of season one it might have worked out better for me, but season two has already chipped away at her character, and now the passivity and shock she displays feels a little… damsel-in-distress-ish. I expect her to make a comeback; it’s fairly obvious that they’re going to bring in Soma’s father soon, which is likely going to be a key-moment for her development. But I’m wary.

          @ Azami: That’s pretty much why I wonder what the long-term plan is here. He’s far too openly antagonising a lot of the elite. This is a rather risky game, so I assume he has some sort of master plan. The problem is that I’ve never seen Foodwars as a show smart enough to pull that off. As it is now, it feels like he’s actually undermining Totsuki’s reputation. Basically, Totsuki’s always been elitist, and now the elite is mad that someone even more elitist has shown up. More precisely, the social darwinists are mad at the fascist. But the most egragerious problem I have is that Azami seems to be an obsessive perfectionist. So, yeah, what’s the long-term plan, here? It seems to me the best solution is to wall off Totsuki and keep him and his cronies inside; that way everyone can go along their way. This should be an intriguing set up, but to me it’s mostly just infuriating on the authoritarion front, while I don’t care one bit about the school itself. Don’t tell me we’re heading towards a world-wide dystpopia, and Totsuki is inventing Soylent Green!

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          1. Ah, I see what you’re getting at with Erina. What you’re seeing right now with her is the aftershocks of seeing her father again. The fact that he reduces her, one of the proudest characters in the series, to a quivering wreck the moment he walks in the door of her booth, is supposed to be our first warning that this guy is bad news, even before we find out who he is. His training regimen, besides sharpening her God Tongue, was also deliberately intended to make her submissive, isolated, and dependent on him for everything – the guy’s a massive control freak if you hadn’t already figured that out, and his master plan includes plans for how he intends to use her, as well. Right now she’s fighting an internal war between the submissive, unthinking obedience to his orders that Azami drilled into her, and her grandfather’s efforts to repair her psyche in the years since she was freed from his control – this upcoming arc in many ways is Erina’s arc, as much or more than Soma’s.

            I will also say that the anime has to some extent truncated the development of almost every character other than Soma. The secondary Polar Star members have taken the worst of it (manga!Ryoko is one of my favorite characters, for instance, while anime!Ryoko has all the personality of a fanservice blow-up doll), but it’s also affected Erina to some extent. In particular, the manga took time to show us several scenes of what Erina is normally like with her other classmates when Soma isn’t there to irritate her. Most of those parts ended up getting abbreviated (like her stagiaire with Megumi) or eliminated in the anime, although one of the side stories – “Erina’s summer vacation,” where Alice and Hisako persuade her to come to the public pool with them – did get adapted as an OVA that I haven’t seen.

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          2. Unfortunate manga cuts make sense. And, yes, it’s quite clear that Azami is a control freak, to the extent that I wouldn’t be suprised to learn that he chose Erina’s mum for her “cooking genes”, or some such anime nonsense.

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    2. Sorry for the late reply, but as I told Dawn I’ve been not feeling well and what energy I’ve had has had to go to housework…

      Magus Bride is dang good on a per episode basis, but overall does seem like they don’t know where their going. My thought is that maybe they’re going for a too-faithful adaptation. That is, they’re thinking open-ended rather than paced for an anime season. That’s not a bad thing per se depending on how they hit the final ep.

      Given it’s a prequel with the ending foreknown, I think Washio Sumi could have used 8 rather than 6, but a full season might have been too much. I’d have liked to have known Gin a little better, and the intro to the revised Hero System was a bit abrupt. Depending on how they play the sequel, we may not have seen the last of Sonoko.

      I watched the first ep of Food Wars as part of the Crunchyroll promotion, and saw nothing to give me any reason to doubt my decision to drop it back in the first season…

      Now, where did I put my CO2 cylinders… (Seriously, eps 7 and 8 of Tour have been the best to date – and that’s not a low bar!)

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