Checking in on the Fall 2017 anime season 'midway' through
It's time once again for a much of the way through update on my earlier impressions of this season. By now the shows have all shown their cards and my views and expectations have been solidified. In the process one show is turning itself into something amazing.
- Land of the Lustrous: This has just gotten more and more stunning
as it goes along. The show has steadily ratcheted up the tension and
the stakes, all the while with excellent execution in so many ways.
The latest episode (episode 9) is a stunning peak of atmosphere and
all of the crows coming home to roost at once, and nothing bad even
happened in it.
(LotL was good from the start but the early episodes weren't as excellent as the later ones have been. Not because they were bad, but simply because the show had to patiently build up the background and the overall situation before it could start all the rocks rolling downhill.)
- Girls' Last Tour: This continues to be beautiful and touching,
among other things; it's been quietly and subtly exploring various
bits of philosophy amidst the ruins of humanity's time on Earth.
Each episode always pulls me in so well that I blink and it's over.
(Recent episodes increasingly make it feel like the show as a whole is going somewhere, in a way that's slowly increasing an unseen tension. Parly this is because the show's increasingly making it clear that this setting is basically the end of the road.)
One thing worth mentioning is that Girls' Last Tour has really amazingly good sound direction and design. The show's sound work is an important part of the overall atmosphere and mood it achieves, and the show make it sound effortless; the music and atmospheric sounds simply work so well.
- March comes in like a Lion: The recent arc around Kawamoto Hina has been generally stunning and wrenching in a good way, and in the process has pulled March back from brink of semi-boredom. Hina's story is so oppressive that I'm glad March has moved the focus mostly off it for the past few episodes.
Land of the Lustrous is more my kind of thing than Girls' Last Tour is, but otherwise I wouldn't want to rate them against each other. Land of the Lustrous is more straightforward and so comes across as more powerful to me; Girls' Last Tour is a lot more quiet and indirect, and it seems very likely that we'll get less answers from it (partly because answers aren't the point).
Very enjoyable to me:
- The Ancient Magus' Bride: This has continued to be a solid anime of a manga that I love. I don't think it's stunning and there have been some bits that were awfully anime in a conventional way, but the whole thing remains very enjoyable to watch; I really like seeing these stories animated and enjoying my foreknowledge of what's coming. To its credit, the superdeformed comedy bits have gotten better and better integrated over time.
They're okay and I'm getting what I expected:
- Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond: I've recently realized that this
is basically an anime version of an American superhero team comic book.
We have the same team of powerful people who have reasonably spectacular
episodic fights and adventures, and the same fact that there is no
overall plot or story movement. As an anime this is far more hard-edged
than an American superhero comic would be, but it's basically the same
I'd probably be more enthused about BBB & Beyond if I cared about the characters, but I don't. Not even Leo, not any more.
- Kino's Journey (2017): I've realized that a major problem with the
show is that it's simply shallow. It wants to address big philosophical
issues, but its approach is bluntly obvious and feels like we're being
beaten over the head. This would be okay if the show was otherwise
beautiful or interesting, but it's not; it's generally flat otherwise.
I've said on Twitter that Girls' Last Tour is what Kino's Journey should be and I stand by that. GLT is graceful and beautiful where KJ is straightforward and plain.
(I don't remember what I saw of the original Kino's Journey being like this, so I should definitely go watch it at some point. Probably not this season, though.)
Neither of these shows are exactly good, but they're okay and at the moment I'm willing to keep watching them at a popcorn show level. To be honest, part of that is due to the name and history behind each of them. If I hadn't seen the first season of BBB, I might not be watching this one.
I'm getting tempted to check out Just Because!, so I may have something to say about it soon. I've officially dropped Recovery of an MMO Junkie after pausing it early on; the romance story may be charming, but I'm apparently not in the mood for that particular take on it.
Written on 03 December 2017.