Despite the best of intentions… I have not managed to keep to a consistent posting schedule this season. Ah well, so it goes. Despite all that, here’s my quick overview and thoughts on the season so far. Hit the jump and check ’em out!
The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics,
strikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.
(*) After School Dice Club / Houkago Saikoro Club
Though I’m a couple of eps behind, I don’t think it’s going to vary much from formula. It just not interesting enough to watch weekly, but just interesting enough to catch up whenever I remember.
On the other hand, the reviews I keep seeing tell me I should do so sooner rather than later.
Bananya and the Curious Bunch / Bananya: Fushigi na Nakama-tachi
Honestly, I kept skipping over watching this show and I’d all but forgotten it existed. It just too weird and disconnected to really hold my attention. I’d hoped for more of what the made the first season so good, and I didn’t get it.
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious /
Kono Yuusha ga Ore Tueee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru Ep 3
When Ariadna mentioned a world she’d failed to save, I thought for a moment that they might mix up the formula a bit. Nope, within seconds that hope was crushed. The show just doubled down on it’s formula. And it’s just not a very interesting formula.
Chihayafuru dropped us straight back into the action… I didn’t rewatch the first two seasons as I had intended to, but it didn’t take long to catch up. They did a good job of reminding us of all the important stuff without resorting to a recap episode or excessive flashbacks.
I am enjoying the heck out of the show, but the changes in the last episode leave me curious. Both Taichi and Chihaya seem to have abruptly zigged when I expected them to zag. Neither development is necessarily inconsistent with What Has Gone Before, just unexpected.
The village is now firmly on Senku’s side… as if there was any question of that. I just didn’t care too much for the “100 Stories” wrinkle, and the unexpected involvement of Senku’s dad. It just seemed too pat.
So, now we’re back to the high stakes chess game between Senku and Tsukasa with the future of humanity on the line. It looks like the next arc will be all about both sides making preparation for the Spring Offensive, and I’m not sure how to feel about that. Dr. Stone is at it’s strongest when it’s character driven rather than (pseudo) science driven, and I don’t see how that’s going to work with the foundation laid so far.
Also, I don’t see how Senku can plan out a roadmap towards some form of wireless communications – but not towards making more revival fluid. That seems more like plot blindness than anything else.
Kemono Michi: Rise Up / Hataage! Kemono Michi Ep 4
Last week I said that I was looking forward to see how the new cast members might change up the show… Well, now I have my answer: they don’t change things one bit. Kemono Michi went right back to formula, only with more characters.
Kono Oto Tomare! 2nd Season
After the tentative and umpromising 1st season, the 2nd just keeps going from strength to strength. A large part of that is that despite it’s problems, the 1st season did lay a reasonable foundation. Using Akira to explore the relationships of the main characters to playing the Koto has worked out well… But it does leave us with a bit of a question as to where it’s going to go from here. The concentration on music and friendship has worked, but the foundation isn’t quite strong enough to support any exploration of the budding romances in the club.
My Hero Academia 4 / Boku no Hero Academia 4
If I have to say one good thing about HeroAca – it’s that it’s consistent. But really, that’s damming with faint praise because that consistency lies in taking a long time to set the stage and build momentum. Still… I hope they go further down the road of exploring All Might’s fate. One way or another Deku is going to have to learn to stand on his own two feet without having All Might to fall back to and rely on. He’s growing up fast, but he’s a long way from grown up.
ORESUKI: Are you the only one who loves me? /
Ore wo Suki na no wa Omae Dake ka yo
If there’s a show I’ve ever watched that absolutely revels in being utter trash… ORESUKI is probably that show. I’m sticking with it largely to see just how completely ridiculous it’s going to be this week, and it has yet to disappoint.
Outburst Dreamer Boys / Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy
Hoo, boy… Where do I start? Hands down, Gekihatsu Boy deserves praise for sticking to it’s guns. There hasn’t been any attempt to “cure” the boys of their delusions. They aren’t treated as objects or scorn or pity… It’s just a bunch of crazy kids doing crazy stuff and somehow it all manages to work out in the end. Dawn is probably going to scoff at me, but I want to say that it strongly reminds me of Mitsuboshi Colors in that respect.
Most importantly, it makes me laugh each week.
Status: I can’t actually believe I’m going to say this… But I’m gonna tag it my second strongest keeper.
Stars Align / Hoshiai no Sora
As we round the corner in midseason… I don’t quite know what to make of Stars Align. On the surface, it’s a serviceable school club/sports drama. Worth watching, but nothing to write home about. Underneath the surface, there lurks a deeper and darker thread of child abuse and broken families. Pretty much every character we’ve seen in detail has something unhappy in their background.
Problem is, the two halves don’t mesh all that well. The background keeps popping up just often enough that we aren’t allowed to forget it… But is promptly forgotten soon after. There’s a ton of tension building… so it does keep me coming back.
Midseason thoughts: Middling keeper.
Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld
I have to say… so far, this is much better than the first season of Alicization. With only a couple of exceptions, it’s stuck to the character beats and action scenes that are SAO at it’s best. (With the exception of my usual complaint of the lack of Asuna.) Except for the flashback episode, we haven’t been bogged down by the exposition and repetitiveness that made the first season such a long slog.
There are those who say SAO is at it’s finest when the camera swings away from Kirito, and I’m afraid this season is going to be another arrow in their quiver. On the other hand, it’s been a strong demonstration of the effect that Kirito has on those around him.
Well, that’s my really quick and short overview of the season so far. What are your thoughts? Your keepers and drops so far? Hit the comment section, drop a comment, and let’s chat!
10 thoughts on “Fall 2019 – Midseason(ish)”
Beastars – probable AotS, in the running for AotY. Too bad about the Netflix jail.
Vinland Saga – really hitting its stride now.
SAO Alicization 2 – my beef with SAO is the wild inconsistency in quality from arc to arc but this arc is a good one.
Houkago Saikoro Club – like you, I’m not caught up with it but occasionally binge a few eps at a time.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes – another series I’m not caught up with but am probably going to stick with.
Dr. Stone – I’ve made my peace with it being a shounen actioner with a quasi-science veneer.
Ore wo Suki na no wa Omae Dake ka yo – guilty pleasure.
Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai S2 – even guiltier pleasure.
Africa Salaryman – guiltiest pleasure. I spend most of the episodes thinking this is the stupidest shit I’ve ever watched and yet I end up with a goofy grin on my face. I’ve had coworkers like Toucan. At least he totally owns his asshole-ness.
Babylon – watched first ep, got lost in the crowd, may pick back up now due to the buzz over ep 7 and the show going on hiatus for a few weeks.
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The Netflix jail really pisses me off sometimes. I just can’t grasp why they treat the US different from the rest of the world. Amazon, for all it’s indifference to the shows it does get, at least airs them as intended.
Which surprisingly works… It’s a slow burn, not great but well worth keeping an eye on.
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While my enthusiasm for Stars Align may have waned a little, it’s still my favourite show of the season. And that’s in a season where Vinland Saga, Hi Score Girl, and Beastars are all pulling their weight. If there’s a weakness in the show it’s that all characters seem to have home problems; at some point you just start counting. But I love the look of the show and the characters are all relatable and have good chemistry. For me, the two halves actually work well together.
I dropped Bananya, too. It’s turned into a fairly rote children’s show, with its own setting and… ninjas… and mad scientists? That’s just not what attracted me to the first season. The utterly ridicolous creatures worked best in an utterly mundane environment (and with the awesome narrator).
Kono Oto Tomare is okay for me. Not much better, not much worse than the first season. The shows biggest sin is that they sometimes use a non-koto soundtrack when they’re playing the koto. It makes the show feel undedidacted to its topic. You just don’t do that.
Outburst Dreamer Boys is fun, but nothing special for me. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Sket Dance, it sort of reminds me of that, with a pinch of comedic harem shows (such as Dame X Prince). It doesn’t remind me of Colors at all, but I’m not scoffing.
I’ve sort of lost interest in Cautious Hero after episode 1, but I’ve become more interested again lately, which translates to an okay watch. My excitement for Kemonomichi has subsided a little, but I still enjoy the show enough for it to be a solid second-tier show this season.
Chihayafuru 3 is great. I found that I remembered the first season pretty well, but that I’ve forgotten the second season club members even existed. I still barely remember them, and they don’t factor much into season 3 so far either. So far, it looks like season 2 was the weakest, which is a relief, as I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much as I do after all. More Arata is good for the show; he’s sorely needed for the show’s core chemistry. (Plus I just love his accent.)
Oresuki… I’m always this close to drop it, then the show does something that’s mildly interesting, and I keep watching, but the always drag it down to the usual level. I find not only the characters, but the show itself unlikable. I should drop it, but probably won’t at this stage. Meanwhile, I’m watching season 2 of We Never Learn, which is perhaps the most haremy harem anime since Nisekoi, but here I find the characters just likable, harem-lead included. Adorable dorks.
After School Dice Club is good, with occasional scenes that are very strong. At worst it’s a pleasant, relaxing show. Good mid-tier entertainment that occasionally outdoes itself.
The surprise of the season has to be Null Peta; what I expected to be a simple absurd comedy, actually turns its setting into a mystery while giving us emotionally poignant development (with the absurdist layer working like some strange, indeterminate metaphor). At around 6 minutes per episode it’s not much of a time investment. I suggest waiting for the season to finish and the bingeing it (although that might make it feel like a disjointed movie?). It’s a very smart show – not something I expected to say about it at the start of the season.
People should also not forget about Beastars when it finally comes out of Netflix detention. It’s every bit as good as its reputation suggested.
And the most underrated show of the season is probably Actors: Song Connection. It’s got a score of 5.99 on MAL last I checked, and in MAL terms that’s horrible. Nobody talks about it either, and… well, it’s not like people are missing a master piece or anything. But it’s pleasantly fun to watch. Everyone’s being nice and there are goofy looking cats. I sort of like the show.
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Absolutely agreed. The deadpan play-it-straight narrator really made the first season work.
As I said on another blog, Arata has always served as Chihayafuru‘s “negative space”. He’s central to the narrative, and shaped it even in his absence. It’s been interesting to see him become an actual player.
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Huh? Oh yeah, there’s a season going on. Well I am enjoying FGO Babylonia, which has fully lived up to my expectations so far. I wish I wasn’t stuck being a month behind the conversation, but it is what it is.
Outside of that I picked up the game Disgaea 5 last weekend. Been waiting years for the price to drop, and finally found a copy in the range I was looking for, so that’s been consuming a lot of my leisure time lately. Really good game, though. Also just placed a big RightStuf order – two more volumes of Toradora LNs, four more volumes of Silver Spoon manga (up to v11, which will go past the end of the anime), and Heaven’s Feel II on Blu-Ray. So lots to look forward to.
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There are a few bright spots… :)
I hear you… I’ve dived back into City of Heroes, and man it’s been a blast. But given it’s status (pirate), I’m reluctant to make a full blown blog post about it. They say you can’t go home again, and that’s true. But it’s pretty darn close.
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Alright Derek, let’s catch up a bit! I haven’t talked to you in FOREVER!!!! So let’s see what kind of overlap we have and some thoughts so far. Just gonna go through my list and such:
Assassains Pride – I don’t think you’d like this, but for something that is the definition of LN trash, it’s surprisingly decent. Nothing is really explained and stuff is just kind of happening all the time, but it is compelling none the less. Helps that there is a fair bit of effort in the directing, music, and animation (at least where it counts).
HeroAca – I’m in general agreement here. I still think the show has too much recap, it feels like it only recently got started despite being several episodes in…
Choyoyu – Title is too long! Anyway, another one you would hate :p It’s so dumb, but I’m having fun. I expected another Arifureta, but this is a lot better than that.
Dr. Stone – I’ve really come around on this one from the start. I was feeling pretty meh on it, didn’t love it or hate it, but now it is comfortably in the must-watch category each week. An aside, I was really impressed with the singing during the “100 tales” bit. Did not expect that.
Fire Force – Big :( from me. Technically impressive at times, but I’m just not loving it.
Bookworm – You aren’t watching this? Did I just miss it in your lineup? This seems like a thing you would enjoy.
Dice Club – Actually, I’ve been surprised at the show’s ability to actually mix things up. Yes, it still follows that expected formula, but the games they play and some plot progression has allowed it to stay just fresh enough that I’ve been enjoying it weekly. I’ve always thought an anime about board games could work, so I’m just happy it exists to be honest XD
Kabukichou Sherlock – The weirdest adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and the Jack the Ripper story I’ve seen. Is it good? No. Do I like it a lot. Yes.
Special 7 (Another title that is TOO LONG) – There are a lot of cop/detective type shows this season. No complaints from me, I love that stuff. This one is pretty middling. You aren’t missing anything.
No Guns Life – My expectations were for a show kind of like Ergo Proxy mixed with some SoL comedy. I still don’t know if I like this show or not. Granted, I’m not super far into it at the moment. Right now, would say you aren’t missing anything.
Null & Peta – It’s a short, but I like it. You usually watch shorts, but not this one I see. Maybe too light for you?
Psycho-Pass 3 – I’m pretty meh on it. Episode 4 was the best episode yet, and happens to be the one I watched most recently. Gonna finish but I need it to start telling the actual story. It’s already halfway and I barely care.
Radiant S2 – Great. After S1 got going, I’ve been enjoying. S2 hasn’t disappointed me yet. It’s still a typical shonen show in a lot of ways, but I appreciate the darker slants and general storytelling here. Feels more grounded than most.
Cautious Hero – I don’t blame you for the drop, I was pretty unimpressed too. The formula doesn’t change moving forward, BUT, I can say that it has improved. The other cast members helped a lot, not to mention a few jokes actually landing for me. However, this is pretty close to the bottom on my priorities list. If my mom didn’t want to watch it each week, I probably wouldn’t have even started it.
SAO – Yeah, I agree with you. In general, this feels like the strongest installment to the franchise so far. Mother’s Rosario is still the best arc if you ask me, but I’d only give S2 an 8 on the whole. This has potential to be a 9 or 10 at this rate. Some stuff I’d still like to see, like Asuna joining, but even if we don’t get that until next season, I’ll live. I just want this to keep things up.
Average Abilities – Finally hit the last show I’m watching (phew, a lot, huh?). Really nothing special, but I like it :)
That’s it for me. Hope you enjoyed the extra big comment XD
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As usual, I’m going to cherry pick a few bits… :)
Dropped it early on because Myne was annoying git and the worldbuilding had increasingly growing holes in it.
I often tell people that GGO is eminently skippable, you literally miss nothing by doing so. Which I guess is no longer strictly true, because fallout from the Death Gun incident gets the action going in S3/Alicization.
I’m trying to remember if S2 started off the same way or not… I know it was a little slow, but we got pitched into the Sports Festival arc pretty quickly.
I always enjoy thoughtful comments! But I notice we don’t overlap on Chihayafuru, you’re missing out there!
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Well that explains it on Bookworm lol. I liked S2 of SAO but to each his own. Also yeah, S2 was particularly egregious with recap. My friend had it on the other day and almost every episode is a minimum 5 minutes of it every episode. Finally, for Chihayafuru, I need to watch S1 and 2 first (own them).
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