Brief impressions of the Winter 2017 anime season so far
We're three episodes into everything I'm watching, which is long enough for shows to get at least a bit established and for my opinions to firm up (and for me to drop some things). So here's how my views of this season have shaken out, following up on my first episode reactions.
Good trending to excellent:
- ACCA - 13-Territory Inspection Department: The show has managed to
nail being stylishly cool and intriguing. Things have been developing
slowly, but it's clear that this is deliberate; the show is building
a particular mood, one where it's increasingly obvious that a lot is
going on underneath the surface.
- Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: This is the rare comedy that works for me, and on top of that it's charming and heart-warming. The addition of Kanna and the third episode as a whole made it more or less explicit that the show is partly about family and being family, in its own quiet way. Part of what makes the show work so well for me is that every so often the dragons are terrifying (and once upon a while, so is Miss Kobayashi).
As for my one ongoing show, March comes in like a Lion continues to be somewhere between good and excellent depending on the individual episodes (and even the segments within episodes).
- Little Witch Academia: This is basically just as charming as the OVAs. It's not particularly deep or complicated, but it's telling its story pretty well and it has very good (genre) characters.
- Blue Exorcist - Kyoto Saga: This has the leisurely progress of an adaptation that is going to faithfully follow a manga arc and then stop. It's okay, but either the original was not as good as I remembered or something has fallen off in this version. There are flashes of the old magic every so often in the character interactions, but I couldn't describe this as a quite good shonen fighting series. It's okay and I have enough affection for the whole thing to keep watching.
Holding on for now:
- Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2: KonoSuba is KonoSuba,
for better and for worse. People who've been watching know what to
expect and the second season is more or less delivering so far. Kazuma
grates on me more than he used to; I'm not sure whether he's just
getting more dialog this season or I'm more aware of his annoying
Darkness has been pleasantly absent for the last two episodes, but I don't expect that to last or for her to be any better than before.
- Chain Chronicle (TV version): There's nothing wrong with this but
it's uninspired and has a little bit too much emphasis on what are
clearly game mechanics. It just failed to make me care enough to
(I've decided that I refuse to use the show's ridiculously long full official name here, just because. You can see that on Crunchyroll.)
- Akiba's Trip The Animation: I realized that I didn't care about
either the characters or what was going on in the show.
- Interviews with Monster Girls: Too much emphasis on student romantic
feelings about the male teacher, too little Hikari being Hikari. There
are the bones of an interesting show underneath the harem setup that
this apparently has decided to be. I'm not interested in harem shows
in general, and student/teacher romantic yearnings make me grind my
teeth almost every time.
- Schoolgirl Strikers: This isn't so much bland as flavourless.
As I put it on Twitter:
It's striking how inoffensive it manages to be. It feels like the safest, most cautious take on this genre ever.
'Fighting Girls' shows usually manage to have some sort of spark, even if it's a bad idea carried through badly. SS has thoroughly drowned any such things that came near the show, just in case. See also Nick Creamer's one sentence summary.
I have been enjoying watching people watching Gabriel DropOut on Twitter more than I suspect I would enjoy watching the actual show. The same is sort of true of Saga of Tanya the Evil, but an increasing chorus of people like Nick Creamer may get me to give it a two episode audition at some point.
(Watching people watching shows on Twitter gets me a suitable diet of jokes and reactions and funny faces and moments from the shows and so on. It's not the same as the actual shows for good and bad, but it's a lot more lightweight.)
I'm not going to say anything about how I feel about this season because there's still a lot of ways that things could go wrong. ACCA is writing a lot of narrative cheques that it may not be able to actually cash, and Dragon Maid needs to stay fresh over its entire run. But I've certainly got my fingers crossed (as I do most seasons, to be honest).