Brief impressions of the Fall 2017 anime season so far
I'm now anywhere from three to five episodes into everything I'm watching, which is long enough for most shows to show their cards and for my opinions to firm up. So, as usual, here's how my views of this season have shaken out, to follow up on my first episode reactions.
- Girls' Last Tour: This is beautiful and touching and funny; it makes
cartoony character art fit into its scratchy desolate setting art,
and has very good use of background music. I called this 'slice of
post-apocalyptic life' initially, and it is that but it's also much
more. It's also quietly sad and tragic, because this is life after life
has stopped and periodically Chito and Yuuri will have conversations
that remind you that their lives are startlingly desolate. I keep
hoping for a good ending for the two, but I don't think we're going
to get it.
- Land of the Lustrous: Above all, what makes LoL great is the
characters and their interactions, especially
Phos. There are plenty of excellent things in the rest
of the show; it's beautiful (in an unconventional way), the setting
is full of interesting and intriguing questions, the building they
live in is great, the show makes excellent use of CG and integrates it
wonderfully with conventional 2D animation, and so on. But none of them
would matter half as much without the compelling characters.
(Following my standard views, I hope that the show never tries to explain the mysteries of the setting. It's based on an ongoing manga, so I suspect that this is a good bet.)
Very enjoyable for me:
- The Ancient Magus' Bride: I love the manga and this is very much my
kind of thing, so I can't possibly be unbiased here. With that said,
this is a good, solid anime version of the manga, but there's nothing so
far to elevate it over the manga or add much unique to the manga. It's
beautiful but not stunning, and if you've read the manga I don't think
this is essential to watch (although you'll probably enjoy seeing
Ancient Magus' Bride animated well, in a solid adaption). People who
haven't seen the manga are apparently enjoying this, too.
In a side note, I continue to think that AMB's periodic brief digressions into superdeformed comedy are a mistake in animated form. They work in the manga, but I think that's because manga panels are more isolated from each other than moments in a TV show are. In the animated version, the SD moments undercut the mood and impact of the beautiful regular animation. The comedy would be just as good without the characters going so SD.
(The realities of TV anime production were always sort of tilted against AMB being stunning in the way I wanted it to be. But then, Flying Witch arguably managed it, although the manga was sparser than Ancient Magus' Bride.)
As good as always:
- March comes in like a Lion: On the one hand, this is still the same show it was before it paused. On the other hand, I'd like things to be moving more than they are; the first few episodes this season have mostly been fiddling around with small things.
- Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond: This second season is a perfectly
acceptable and decent episodic action/comedy show. It's
competently directed, with decent production values, animation,
background art, and so on. But it's not anything more, and the
first season definitely was more, for all that it was also flawed; the first season had Leo learning about
his powers and an overall plot arc.
I'm watching BBB & Beyond this season as my empty popcorn action show watch, which it's reasonably decent at.
- Kino's Journey: At first I thought that this had some interesting
editorial things to say about Kino through
its choice of which stories to adopt (and when). Then I
discovered that the stories it was adopting had been chosen by an
audience vote. A popularity contest is not the way you get a good
adoption that has something of its own to say, or even one that
illuminates the characters to people who aren't already familiar with
If I was a smart person, I might drop this and use the time to watch the original Kino's Journey series, which didn't suffer from this issue and apparently does have things to say.
Probably being dropped after the next episode:
- Children of the Whales (#4): I can't do better than my Twitter
I would have to describe Children of the Whales as some combination between 'lethargic' and 'tiresome'. But it's very pretty so far.
I'm watching the next episode only because I want to find out some secrets about the setting and they're probably going to explain them next episode. Otherwise, this has turned out to be an essentially empty and flat show, one that is paced far too slowly for its own good (some of the character dialog is also pretty painfully direct and obvious).
Paused and probably dropped as not for me:
- Recovery of an MMO Junkie (#2): This is charming but I haven't found it particularly compelling. Perhaps some parts of it also cut a little bit too close to the bone for me.
- Garo - Vanishing Line (#3): This is a completely straightforward but
unexceptional show, and unfortunately what it's about isn't very
interesting to me; it's a monster of the week tokusatsu show
in animated form with a specific and not entirely attractive
atmosphere. The result is an okay action show and I like Sophie, but it has
no spark and
this season my slot for an empty action show is better filled by BBB
(Some people like Gina but I'm not entirely sold on her.)
I keep hearing good things about Just Because!, so I may look at it at some point despite what I said in my first episode reactions, partly because the season is slowing down for me (I've basically dropped three shows at this point).