Brief impressions of the Spring 2018 anime season so far
As before, it's time for my relatively early views of how this season has shaken out so far, following up on my first episode reactions. At this point I've seen anywhere from three to five episodes of the shows I'm following (or two for one special case), and that gap says a lot about how I seem to be feeling this season. There are a couple of shows that I enthusiastically follow, and then a big gap to a bunch of things that I'm watching without much drive. As a result, this season I'm using a different rating breakdown than before.
Eagerly watching immediately:
- Sword Art Online Alternative - Gun Gale Online: If you'd told me
before the start of the season that a SAO show would be one of the
top shows I look forward to every week, I wouldn't have believed
you. But GGO is almost nothing like regular SAO (for example, it's
completely Kirito-free), and the result has been pretty sharp and
definitely enjoyable. We're not getting deep or complex storytelling,
but it's a fun ride and the show pulls off it straightforward story
(In other words this is pretty much a popcorn show, but it's a great popcorn show so far.)
- Hisone and Masotan: Unsurprisingly, the show didn't manage to stay quite as manic and stunning as the first episode, but what we've got since then is still quite good (although I wish the show would stomp on one particular thing). I'm not sure we need an overall plot, since what I'm really here for is all of the characters interacting with each other, but I suppose it gives the show an excuse for that to happen.
- Golden Kamuy: This has all the ingredients to be a show that clicks
with me but it hasn't so far. It's fun to watch, though, and genuinely
tense and compelling on a moment to moment basis when it wants to be
(as well as periodically funny). I just can't bring myself to care
about all the maneuverings and goings on yet.
- Megalo Box: This has done various things that I really like and
it can be quite good on a moment to moment basis, but right now I'm
an episode or two behind so it clearly hasn't grabbed and compelled
me. I wish the artwork didn't look as blurred as it does.
- Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory: It's been so long since the
last Full Metal Panic! show that my feelings for these characters
have grown distant, and unfortunately the show did basically nothing to
rekindle them before throwing us into the press of various events. The
result is something that feels not so much unnecessary as if its time
has passed, and that makes me sort of sad. I feel that I should love
this, but I don't.
- My Hero Academia: I think I may be burning out on this long-running
shonen show. Everyone says that the latest episodes are really great,
and maybe they will be once I watch them, but at the moment (when I'm
not watching) my reaction is muted. I've seen a lot of these characters
already and I know that nothing big is going to happen, because that's
the nature of long-running shonen works.
(Possibly I'm wrong about the 'nothing big', because MHA has had character development for many characters, but still.)
I'm also backlogged on Darling in the FranXX, which continues to be very itself for both good and bad.
Suspended and pretty much dropped:
- Hinamatsuri (#3): It's reasonably charming and funny but it's not
Alice & Zoroku, and in practice I haven't been able to summon enough
enthusiasm to watch more.
- GeGeGe no Kitaro (#2): Sadly, that it's a kids show is a bit too apparent for me to get pulled into this. It's nice and I'm sure it's quite watchable, but apparently 'quite watchable' is not what I'm looking for this season.
- Lupin III Part V (#2): I think that The Woman Called Mine Fujiko has
basically spoiled me for most Lupin TV series. This was perfectly okay
but it didn't leave me with any burning desire to see the next episode.
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (#2): I would have to call this 'ponderous'. If you're already sold on the franchise and the characters, I imagine that this is a good version of it, but I'm not and I've read enough science fiction that does this sort of stuff better (or at least in ways that keep me reading it).
I'm really enjoying my two anticipated and watched as soon as I can shows, and otherwise I'm hoping that something will re-ignite my interest and enthusiasm about the other shows, even to the extent that I stop putting off watching them. Perhaps my gut is speaking to me here, but only watching two shows this season would be a really big change (and I do want to see where Darling in the FranXX goes, even if it winds up being a trainwreck).
Looking back at the Winter 2018 anime season
Once again it's time (and past time) for my traditional look back at what I watched in this past Winter season, to follow up on my early impressions and my midway views. In general this has been a reasonably good season, with some very nice high points.
- Laid-Back Camp: This stayed the course all the way through and then gave us a great epilogue at the end of the last episode, one that showed how both our protagonists had developed. Rin was always the heart of the show and I'm glad that the show respected her and her independent ways, while still gently involving her in the Outclub's activities.
As it ever was:
- March comes in like a Lion: As I pretty much expected, this didn't come to any particularly definite conclusion but instead just sort of found a good ending point in the last episode, one that emphasized how time had passed and characters had changed.
Good but could have been much more:
- The Ancient Magus' Bride: Despite showing flashes of more in the ending couple of episodes, I can't get over my feelings that this doesn't measure up to the manga and was in the end a merely ordinary adaptation. As an ordinary adaptation it's not a bad thing, it's just what I wanted more.
- Violet Evergarden: After writing up my midway views, I decided I was done. I don't regret my decision.
In ongoing shows, Darling in the FranXX is ongoing and remains essentially a popcorn show for me. It's a nice looking popcorn show with good production values, but I'm not really expecting anything from it any more. In Netflix shows, I have yet to finish A.I.C.O. - Incarnation but I probably will at some point.
Finishing only three shows this season (and with a fourth one continuing) feels like it's below par but probably isn't all that far out of line with my general trends in anime watching, where I've steadily become more selective and grumpy.
(Also, I actually finished five shows if I count Devilman Crybaby and B - The Beginning, which I really ought to, since they took up their own share of my anime watching time. When I put it that way this isn't such an unusual season any more.)