Looking back at the Summer 2018 anime season

October 7, 2018

Once again it's time for my traditional look back at what I watched in this past Spring season, to follow up on my early impressions and my midway views. As in the spring, this is a pretty easy wrap-up since I only watched three shows all the way through this season.

Excellent:

  • Planet With: The show always wore its heart on its sleeve, and on the whole I think it worked, but I was left feeling that it went a bit too fast at the end. The show's breakneck pace was great when it was moving briskly over the standard robot show beats that we've all seen many times before and that carried no real emotional weight, but it felt less successful when it was speeding over things that would have built more emotional investment. But reactions here definitely differ (cf).

    (Unlike some shows, it doesn't feel like Planet With was forced to condense itself because of limited run time. All of its choices about speed seemed carefully designed and entirely deliberate, although they were obviously strongly influenced by its episode count.)

    On the whole I think Planet With was a great show, always enjoyable and exciting, with excellent characters and many little touches. It left any number of things not said explicitly but implied sufficiently much that we could get it if we paid attention, which is something I always enjoy. It also deliberately made it clear that we were not seeing everything important about the lives of these characters, just a small slice; this was most explicit in the last two episodes, where it made a point of alluding to various off-screen things.

  • Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight: In the end the show's strong focus on its message and the theatrical parts of its presentation left me with a lack of emotional investment in the characters and the show as a whole. I like and admire the show, I think it did some really impressive things on a technical level (with its directing, layouts, and so on), I'm glad that it exists, I enjoyed watching it, I believe that it's doing good work, but in the end I don't think I care very much emotionally or that the show will stick with me. My involvement in the show was mostly intellectual, apart from Daiba Nana (who needed a hug and got one in the end, good for Revue Starlight).

    Revue Starlight is very entangled in the Takarazuka Revue, so it will perhaps land with more impact on people who care about it and who are sufficiently familiar to clearly see the messages RS has to send without the guidance of something like Atelier Emily's essential writing on the show.

    (See also this review, which hits a lot more points. Also, my tweets in reaction to the last episode.)

Popcorn educational entertainment:

  • Cells at Work!: This slowed down in the last portions in the sense that they seemed to run a bit low on interesting educational things to show us and wound up leaning more on the characters to carry episodes. Since Cells doesn't really have characters that it's possible to become strongly invested in, this didn't entirely work for me. But the whole thing was still worth watching as popcorn entertainment.

I feel satisfied with this season as a whole, partly because I no longer feel compelled to fill up all of my spare time with anime.

(I also watched some of the first Overlord series and plan to get back to see more at some point. It's ridiculous and overpowered in a way that amuses me.)


Written on 07 October 2018.
« The unusual theatricality of Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight
My (Twitter) reactions to the first episodes of the Fall 2018 anime season »

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Last modified: Sun Oct 7 17:04:38 2018
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