New season, new format, and watching a classic show.

The propaganda over Yuri!!! on Ice and Flip Flappers has now stopped (or slowed down at least) and it leaves me wondering what shows will be next to sweep Anitwitter.

A couple of shows have started early; from the rather predictable school show Masamune’s Revenge, to the downright ridiculous alternate dark fantasy Saga of Tanya The Evil (the show’s so ridiculous in fact, that I might have to talk about it in the Winter review post in March!). Fuuka was an early show too, and it didn’t fill me with that much hope for the winter season, sadly.

The titular girl is one of those atypical eccentrics who reject the norm…apparently. However, someone who just doesn’t like cellphones just isn’t abnormal anymore. I have seen more eccentric characters in other shows, all of whom have much better character design; Fuuka Akitsuki is just too dull and uninteresting. In any other rom-com, it would be the girl’s character design who would stand out, and it would be the boy who would suck…Yuu Haruna’s Twitter addiction has caught my interest, which is bizarre as it’s only a small part of who he is: a very shy young man transferring to the big city from the countryside, living in a house full of his sisters.

Fuuka‘s first episode didn’t impress me at all, though; everything that was worthwhile to watch in this episode could fit in the space of somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes. I understand that the manga has been out for a while, and I can already picture people moaning on how this ought to have not had an anime adaptation. Don’t worry though; this is a watchable show, but it’s like everything just seemed to feel a little…forced in this first episode. Main character introductions, one of the characters transferring into school, the reason the parents don’t live in the house, the panty shots, even Fuuka standing out on a horizontal pole in the middle of Tokyo shouting seemed…emotionless. But was in the second episode where Yuu and Fuuka begin to form a friendship (and decide to form a light music club at school) when the show began to shine a little more. Girl number two (Koyuki) is introduced, she most likely will be the third wheel in this show. Why do I think that? Because she is the one who pines the most for Yuu, and nice girls always finish last in rom-coms. Always. At least there’s no competing male just yet; Mikasa coming out was rather amusing.

I understand Little Witch Academia is currently being shown on Netflix Japan as well as regular Japanese TV, so both Crunchyroll and Funimation are out of the question. Netflix has not given out any details on whether they will air it outside of Japan a couple of days late…or even leave us hanging until Spring, and show the whole lot then (along with the English dub)!

But the opening is just a refresher of how the first mini-movie began: our protagonist Akko watches a magical show hosted by Shiny Chariot as a kid, and is thus influenced to attend Luna Nova Magical Academy, and become a witch just like her. As the episode goes on, we’re not entirely sure if she is portrayed as some kind of muggle or not, since there’s only one way to get to the Academy (flying up a hollow tree on a broom, instead of going to platform 9 and three-quarters). After befriending Lotte and Sucy, it isn’t long before they crash into a forbidden forest on the way to, and confront a flying cockatrice that breathes fire……this show doesn’t mess around, and gets stuck into the action straightaway.

I love this show already as it doesn’t change anything from what the mini-movies were like; helps having the exact same crew behind it. As Netflix haven’t given us news yet on when they’ll simulcast outside of Japan, reviewing episodes might be a little delayed; out of my hands, sadly. People called this another Harry Potter before it even aired, but I think that it’ll go its own direction in time to come. I don’t picture warring houses or a Lord Voldemort or any hidden metaphors like the Harry Potter books did. Akko is hardly some chosen one with a scar on her forehead either; she’s naive and air-headed, but that’s what makes her an excellent protagonist, as do her classmates.

Last week, Sangatsu no Lion had one of those recap episodes. I think they’re allowed one, since there was little point in having an episode released in the new year weekend, as since the show is aired on NHK, the network would be more concerned with showing fireworks in Tokyo or something. Now that things are back to normal, a new plot has arrived in the form of a major tournament…and an antagonist (of sorts) has emerged in the form of Gotou. A fierce and ruthless player who has physically attacked Rei in the past, and who Kyouko is currently stalking, despite him already being married. A match between the two is inevitable, and the show has that angle about it that could result in Rei winning or losing. A win would majorly boost his confidence, but perhaps a loss could help him see that there is more to his life than shogi. A difficult arc to read, and I look forward to seeing what’ll happen.

It was also nice to see VOFAN (one of my favourite illustrators) come back to do the end card too:

Now, to something new: my out-of-season show. I had a quick glance over the plot and characters of Chihayafuru and wasn’t overly impressed and blown away. People do rave about it though, so it’ll be curious to see what people find so charming about it. I still have to say that I have found the game of karuta very fascinating so far.

I like how it gets straight into the flashback and stays there, instead of going back and forth over again. Tomboy Chihaya gets into karuta when she sees the aloof Arata play at lightning speed on his own. With the kid already under the spotlight in elementary class for coming from a poor family, Chihaya sees something more in him, and so the incredibly bratty Taichi challenges him to a game (while stealing his glasses). The result of the tournament, and this ‘glasses’ story-line in episode 2 results in the three of them getting into karuta. I can see Taichi only getting into it as a hobby, but both Chihaya and Arata look keen in going further; Chihaya is already shadowed by her model sister, so finding something she is good at (and is passionate about) will drive her into making some money and show off to her annoying sister.

I’ve still got to wait a while to see the first episode of Gabriel Dropout…but so far, I’m happy with all of my choices. I’m glad I didn’t choose the flying Imperial evil loli mage show, but some others this season look just as interesting as the ones I chose. I’m also going to watch Akiba’s Trip and season 2 of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu by myself, plus Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid looks stupid enough to watch too.

Maybe I’ll grow to dislike Fuuka or Gabriel Dropout in time, but Little Witch Academia is definitely one of the best choices I’ve made for this column so far (next to Hibike! Euphonium)…so that’s saying something.