This was a good opening week. Sort of.

That’s something I don’t say very often these days.

I know a lot of sequels are up this season (Haikyuu!!, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Ajin). Many of us were overjoyed to hear Hibike! Euphonium was to return too, and that episode 1 would be a long one. I figured that they did this not only to remind people of the club drama of season 1, but also to act as a primer to what we’ll get. That means plenty of outstanding animation, and plenty of yuribait.

Neomo's Otaku Theater

After the conflict of selection for the competition team, rumours of favouritism by the teachers and a face-off for the trumpet solo, a chief part of the drama that split the club apart (a third of the club just up and left) has crept back, when a second-year wants to return. While it’s a plot I welcome, I hope it’s something that doesn’t take up the entire show…because the one thing I’m desperate to know more about are the third-years. Why Kaori chose to throw away her chance for a trumpet solo, why Haruka has such an inferiority complex, and especially why Asuka has some kind of invisible iron grip over the club.

You see, the reason I’m so conflicted with Asuka is because she reminds me a lot of myself, when I get frustrated with people. I can be a angel with people I like, but when it comes to people who really annoy me, I can be truly merciless and blunt. I already know that Asuka has her own reasons to be truly committed to the club (reasons which may well crop up this season), but it’s her neutrality that makes viewers’ opinions of her so divided, myself included.

Moving onto my favourite studio, Sangatsu no Lion has turned out to be something I didn’t expect at all. It seems like it has made a coming-of-age story into something with touches of both comedy and tragedy. Although we only really learn about the time he spends with these 3 sisters (not related to him), pretty little is touched on concerning him. Is this intentional?

Main character Rei is living a life where his genius success in shogi is slowly wearing him down and making him anti-social. I especially liked the line where he mentioned how every shogi move he made felt like hard punches to his opponents. Rei reminds me a lot of Kousei from Your Lie in April; this sport has become so engrained in his brain that he can’t think of anything else. These 3 sisters appear to be acting like a counter to the anti-social life he’s living, but how he came across them is a bit of a mystery to me.

While Sangatsu no Lion retains a lot of trademark SHAFT animation, it introduces some new animation styles; more watercolour-style and more comical… but not like Nisekoi or Hidamari Sketch either. I’m really looking forward to watching this!

[4 things out of 24 have been marked on the SHAFT bingo card so far in the opening episode. But no head-tilts…yet…]

From two excellent shows to a very meh show, Long Riders! has, so far, been not quite like I expected. In this opening episode, it felt like watching two plots at once. On one hand, we had the passion for cycling from Yowamushi Pedal, and we have the moe girls from any generic slice-of-life show. Main character Ami just echoes Yui from K-on! immediately; she’s ditzy, she trips up, she forgets to eat, and she names her new prized possession.

This moe girl cycling team that is due to be set up in the show sound like a good idea though, and strangely enough, this along with Yowamushi Pedal, is actually influencing me to get into long-distance cycling. I say it’s strange because so far Long Riders! hasn’t been very awe-inspiring. Even the OP is poorly put together; I’d estimate that about 80-90% of the OP are all scenes copied and pasted from the show.

Speaking of not awe-inspiring shows and characters, I haven’t been too impressed with Brave Witches either, despite being a fan of the franchise, albeit with new characters and a new squadron.

In the preview, it wasn’t really shown who was to be the main character, but this Hikari girl is not original in any way. By that, I mean that she’s not that different from miracle girl Yoshika from the original Strike Witches. We’ve had no chance to see the squadron though, as this episode was just an introduction, not just for her but for her older sister too, who I believe will be a part of the squadron this girl will be stationed to.

Also, something I think is going to be a let-down is the studio. Season 1 was done by Gonzo, season 2 and the movie was done by A-1 Pictures, while this is by Silver Link. Gonzo and A-1 were not afraid to show the one thing Strike Witches is famous for (panty shots), but something tells me that Silver Link isn’t going to do that here.

Now to the show that left me scratching my head, thinking that it would be some kind of animated Persona wannabe…well it appears I was spot-on. Occultic;Nine revolves around a nonchalant group of people who have little to do with each other. Affiliate blog owners, creepy goth lolis, local idols, misanthropic college students…all of them though appear to be sceptic of the paranormal and the supernatural in some sort of way, and that it must be explained by science.

Actually keeping up with the show was a task in of itself. I can only describe it as a complete mess. None of the character is likeable, the animation isn’t very good, and no character ever needs to speak that quickly, no scene in any show needs to be that short and in-your-face. So, after 25 minutes, while I get the general idea of what the show is about, I think if this show ran at half speed, then I would understand it more, and likely enjoy it more too.

Something tells me that this will be another 5pb. adaptation that will disappear into obscurity when the Winter season comes, like the first Chaos;Child show did oh so long ago.

So a good opening to the season so far. Some excellent, with some meh shows, and one unspeakably terrible one…

…but Ribbons made my week. Dat look.