Checking in on the Summer 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 this point both my views and my expectations have solidified, although I'm still hoping for a surprise or two.
- Made in Abyss: I recently characterized this as a quest without
active opposition (so far), where the
obstacle in the way of Riko and Reg is the Abyss itself, with its
creatures and its very nature. The show is doing extremely well at
portraying this and making things feel real, and it's been a very
enjoyable ride despite the fact that we keep being told that Riko
is never coming back from the journey she's making.
With that said, I have no idea where the show is going and how it's going to come to a satisfying ending point. But the ride is so interesting that I don't care.
Very good, surprisingly:
- Princess Principal: The show has remained fully committed to its
core nature and as a result has delivered a whole series of episodes
with pretty solid impacts (and a few that were just fun), even if
they're nothing novel in terms of plots. I've been particularly taken
with the writing, which is often (although not always) willing to let
things be indirect and count on us to get it.
This has turned out much better than I would have expected from the premise.
- Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ: It's more Symphogear and it's
being very itself by leaning into its over the top stuff and
building on bits and pieces of past seasons in a way that makes
its world feel real and lived-in. It's absurd, of course, but
Symphogear has always been an absurd show.
- My Hero Academia: The show continues to move along pretty well, mostly avoiding the pacing pitfalls of the first season and the tournament pitfalls of the first part of this season. MHA isn't great but I do like watching it. It has charm.
- Knight's & Magic: This remains more or less pure-hearted fun, although
in the long shadow of Gundam it's hard to
have the cheerful reaction to a war between two groups of humans that
I think the show wants me to have, especially when it kills plenty of
people on screen. For now I'm ignoring the cognitive dissonance and
enjoying it anyway.
- Fate/Apocrypha: This has mostly delivered on a stream of reasonably spectacular fights with only a few diversions into annoying attempts at philosophy and character development and so on (all of which Fate is generally terrible at). Unfortunately, while I enjoy Astolfo and Mordred goofing around, my actual investment in any of the characters is almost nil so all of the action mostly feels empty and pointless.
- A Centaur's Life: I wound up feeling that the only thing the show
had going for it was its gimmick, and with the show's bland and so-so
production, that wasn't enough to keep me watching. I have some
theories about why this material worked much better in manga form than
animated, but that's for another entry.
- The Reflection: After watching a number of episodes I realized that I was only interested in it as a peculiar and interesting artifact, not as something to actually watch. I wasn't particularly invested in either the characters or the plot and the writing could be painful.
I've got enough shows that I want to watch that I've felt no particular need to seek out more or dig into my backlog (the latter is kind of a pity, since I have some good stuff I want to get to someday). More shows and more good to excellent shows would be nice, but I'm okay with what I have.
Written on 04 September 2017.