Summer is over, and some of us go back to school or college. Not me as I’m still out of work. Besides, I devote all of my time to review shows for you wonderful people!
I took a break in the spring, and this format of collectively doing 5 or 6 anime has worked out much better than before, when I was doing whole posts for each episode. Well over 30 posts per season, that was! What about the anime I chose for this season? Some were good, others not so, and others just plain confusing.
Love Live! Sunshine!! was a good show, and the 9 girls all had some good characteristics about them…well most of them; we were stuck with first-year Hanamaru saying “-zura” all the time (I recently learnt that this was actually because of her Shizuoka accent), and third-year Kanan only featured towards the end of the show. Aside from that, it was difficult for me to connect deeply with them all. Sure, it wasn’t a show that we were supposed to take really seriously, but the Aqours girls just lacked something the μ’s girls had. When Chika and You started it up, Aqours was meant to emulate μ’s, and despite the episode when Chika realises that the group has to choose their own path, you can still see that the 9 original girls are still firmly on her mind. There can not not be a 2nd season, as the finale was just too open-ended; we never got to know if the school was to close, or whether Aqours would genuinely make it further in the Love Live! competition.
When it came to season 2 of Shokugeki no Soma, it merely continued from where it left off: Soma and Megumi had both qualified for the Autumn Elections contest, and a good 75% of the show covered it. Sure, he didn’t win, but we’ve reached the stage in the manga where they all go off on their apprenticeships (with Soma ending up in the kitchen of a mortal enemy). I believe that another season will come, but not for a long while. We can wait, of course, as nothing changed whatsoever, and this show did not suffer from ‘sequel syndrome’.
Moving on, I chose Danganronpa for the sole reason that I love both the franchise and the games. The first anime wasn’t great because it skimmed too much on the characters and didn’t cover them as much. I think they learnt their lesson this time, with two arcs going on at the same time. Unfortunately, I had to abandon one of them (Future Arc), in favor of the other (Despair Arc), but I’m glad I did since from what I heard, the Future Arc was no different from the first show (in terms of skimming over characters’ personalities). The Despair Arc, on the other hand, brought us characters we already knew, brought in new and likeable ones, and led us on the atypical Danganronpa path: happy school life, to gripping thriller, to psychological horror, to tragedy. This was something the Future Arc lacked; I felt nothing at all for the new characters, and only cared for the remaining three who came back (Makoto, Kyoko and Aoi).
Overall, this was a nice (and interesting) take on the 3rd actual instalment of the franchise (the next Danganronpa game is coming soon in Japan).
However where there was good, there was bad.
Everyone loved orange……except me. It certainly wasn’t because the story was wishy-washy (it was certainly an original idea), but instead it was both the character design (which was poorly transferred from manga to screen) and the rather flat artstyle. I began the show having not read/watched the other adaptations; it took me watching the movie (on the flight home from Atlanta) to see that an anime adaptation was not really needed…the manga and the live-action movie were fine enough.
I’ve had a long liking to Studio Key and their adaptations; my favourite is the original adaptation of Kanon (the 2002 one, not the KyoAni one), plus I must be the only one who really enjoyed Little Busters! Sadly, Rewrite is going to be the last Key show I ever watch. Last year Charlotte wound me up so much, and went into a weird direction (plus the fact that P.A. Works made it…), and so with Rewrite introducing the supernatural, the occult, and two magical forces of good and evil who have their own interpretations on how the world should be, I lost it completely. And I heard recently that it’s getting a second season too!
[Oh, that’s right. I promised that I’d put $1 in a jar for every time I say Charlotte when referring to this…so Justin is now $11 richer!!]
So, while I felt some anger watching Rewrite, I just felt confusion when it came to season 4 of Prisma Illya. The show is infamous for combining the grandiose Fate franchise with ridiculous 12-year-old magical girls, and lots of ecchi. The end of season 3 merely showed everyone having a good time when we realised that Miyu was in fact a princess. I can understand why, in this season, the general storyline was her abduction and her rescue, but did it really have to be so dark?!
Illya was effectively put through hell, as her magic was rendered useless, was constantly being beaten up, and the doll-transformation episode was just something else. This is coming back, by the way…a surprise movie announcement in the finale…but there’s no way I can ever watch any more Prisma Illya, knowing that Illya (who has been emo a lot in the shows) could snap at any moment. Just let her and Miyu disappear off to yuri Valhalla already.
I only chose 6 shows for this column, but there were 2 other great shows that caught my eye, two slice-of-life shows. I was back in my element.
Sweetness and Lightning had both original and unoriginal ideas, but that’s why I liked it so much. A widowed teacher who has to take care of his young daughter (who can only be described as the most adorable thing you will ever see on screen this year!) is in a rut because they can’t really cook and end up with instant food, so one of his students approaches him and lets them into the tiny restaurant her parents own so they can learn to cook. If you watch this for their various adventures in the show, that’s great…but if you only watch this for Tsugumi then that’s just fine too. Maybe it’s even better. Her voice actress wins bonus points, by the way; not everyone can pull off a voice of a 5-year-old hyperactive girl and get away with it.
New Game! especially got my attention too. Again no original idea (the adventures of a high-school graduate who landed a character design job at her favorite game studio), but what it lacked in that department, it greatly made up in outstanding character design, colourful artstyle and a good storyline.
It interested me how easily she landed this amazing job which some of us have to work hard for (especially since I’m trying to find work in the field I got my degree in: media/design); I eventually found out that, in Japan, a lot of in-house training happens to new employees (as opposed to the West, who prefer to employ people with pre-existing skills like degrees and knowledge in x, y and z).
Fact: New Game! has influenced me to save up for a brand new computer, as opposed to using this super-slow laptop. I need a desktop computer like these guys have in their adorable cubicles, so I can finally use Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and such with ease, as well as learn how to use Maya…finally.
Well that was my summer. Roll on Fall…
Come on…tell me you haven’t missed this girl, I dare you.
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