The new season has arrived, and (so far) it’s looking pretty darn good. Four keepers, one drop – not a bad batting average at all. Hit the break, and let’s run ’em down!
The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics, and
strikethrough marks dropped shows.
Chio’s School Road / Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro Ep 1
Actually, pretty funny. Not really laugh-out-loud funny, but a steady stream of chuckles and grins. Nothing at all wrong with that. There was two segments to the ep, and that was just enough to wring the maximum fun out of each segment and bring it home before it wore out.
Encouragement of Climb 3 / Yama no Susume 3 EP 2
I should have expected the first ep to something of a re-cap/introduction, after all it’s been four years since our mountain climbing quartet has graced our screens. Literally, four years – the second season aired in Summer 2014. Even so, my review/first impression can be summed up as “it’s so good to be home”. I don’t think I really need to say more.
If you haven’t watched Yama no Susume, I think you can grasp the basics if you watch the first season (currently streaming on Crunchyroll). In fact, I recommend you do… If you liked Yuru Camp, I suspect you’ll also like Yama no Susume.
Status: If you know me, you wouldn’t have to ask. KEEPER!
Hanebado! EP 1
First premiere of the Summer 2018 season, and seriously… I think I’m in love. Hanebado is almost as if Euphonium and Scorching Ping Pong Girls got together and had a love child. Seriously intense, the first ep establishes some strong characters and potential conflicts. The new coach though… Something of a doofus-almost-pervert. He reminds me way too strongly of Trainer-san in last season’s Uma Musume. I hope to hell they tone that down going forward, as he’s a weak point in an otherwise well done cast.
My other big worry is the animation quality – outstanding here in the first ep, and I hope like hell they can keep it up. No matter what else, I suspect Hanebado will live or die based on whether or not they can keep the action scenes so fluid.
Some folks have made a great deal of the fanservice-y bits, and I have to disagree somewhat. Though it could be turned down a bit, none of it was gratuitous.
Status: Strong keeper.
Harukana Receive EP 1
In my Summer 2014 Preview, I expressed concern where on the spectrum between “fanservice” and “actual sports anime” Harukana would end up… I have to say the jury is still out. There was a bit of gratuitous at the start, and maybe some of the action could have been framed a little better… But then, doing so might have been less dramatic and eye-catching no matter how the characters were dressed. If you have girls in bikinis, you can only do so much after all.
So, what else do we have here? A slightly air headed but very enthusiastic newbie, and it’s hinted she’ll be an outstanding player. (Hell, we all know how these shows work… will be an outstanding player.) Her partner, the Girl Who Quit – she used to be good but under mysterious circumstances no longer plays and is now going to be dragged back in. On the other side of the net, the tsundere dominant player (and former rival of the Girl Who Quit)… and her mostly colorless partner. (Said partner mostly being there to ignite the fantasies of the yuri shippers and to occasionally chide the tsundere.)
Yeah, pretty much a checklist of the required character types for a bog standard sports anime. The plot doesn’t vary too much from that either. But, nothing actually wrong with that, it could still be fun.
Status: Provisional keeper under the “sure, why not” category.
Just… too much weirdness. When the third mysterious girl in budding harem made her appearance, I was done.
Status: Dropped without the faintest shred of regret.
And there you have it… Look for part II next week, and I’ll round-up the last of the premieres in my first weekly post the week after. About the 18th or so? It looks like Wednesday will again be a good day for my weekly post.
No, don’t ask about the season review. Just Don’t.