Well, what a season. My own personal Soul Eater Excalibur has once again appeared to make me make ‘that’ face at the braying fanboys...

… whilst a titan of an entirely different type stopped mooching around outside the walls of our little fandom and instead Kool-Aided its way to prominence by taking the majority of the high-quality shows for its premium service and therefore out of reach of the majority of people. The “Shows You Should Be Watching But Probably Can’t” section’s future seems assured.

Amazon’s haul includes the breakout “What if anime were real?” Re:Creators, and by breakout I mean through the in-universe 4th wall, as well as the sequel to the well-received Rage of Bahamut anime which took a card game with a blank-slate story and built a plot to fit; something you wouldn’t think would be too difficult yet somehow rarely seems to work (I’m looking at you KanColle). A sequel to Saekano (not Saikano, very different series, and one for which a sequel would be… difficult) and a spinoff to DanMachi (not featuring Bell the Obsessive Stalker or Loli BigBoobs, and better for it) were also lost to the jungle.

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Meanwhile, over in the realm of commoners popularity seems to have gone to a show which, despite its title, is not the new Naruto series, but rather Tourism Idols trying to revive their town (should just hold a Sensha-do match, it worked for Oarai) as well as crying faeries, grumpy old men, human-faced dogs and a show which is entirely correct in its assertion of being “The Right Answer” merely by not being Attack on Titan.

Come at me.


The 6 New Shows You Should Be Watching

Sakura Quest

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Written By: jonuiuc

Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Drama

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Spoiler-free Synopsis: Yoshino Koharu’s post-college plan was to live and work in the big city, but her Tokyo job search has not been going well. When she is given the opportunity to do some contract work for the small village of Manoyama as their “Queen” she hesitantly accepts the job. Sakura Quest follows Yoshino as she fulfills her duties as Manoyama’s reigning Queen and gets to meet all of this little village’s colorful inhabitants. If you have enjoyed comedic slice of life anime in the same vein as P.A. Works other shows such as Hanasuka Iroha or Shirobako, then Sakura Quest may be just what you are looking for.

Why You Should Be Watching: Sakura Quest is a variation of the “cute girls doing cute things” slice of life show that refreshingly is not centered on middle school or high school. Rather, the show is set in that wonderful time in people’s lives where they may have education, but don’t have any work experience to speak of. Many people become too concerned with finding work or a purpose at that point in their lives to really notice how much they are actually enjoying themselves (myself included). Sakura Quest does a good job of capturing the little moments that everyone has in those times, from the fun times to failures. I find this show, it’s setting, and its cast of characters quite charming and very watchable.

Recommended by: DilKokoro, Exile, Grex, Gugsy, jonuiuc, Koda, Messiah, Protonstorm!!, Ryoma-Nagare, ShadowHaken, Stanlick, Thatsmapizza

KADO: The Right Answer - [Seikaisuru Kado]

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Written by: Koda

Genre: Sci-Fi, Psychological

Spoiler-free Synopsis: While taking a plane to a business trip, expert negotiator Kojiro Shindo and his co-worker Shun Hanamori, along with everyone else on the plane, are engulfed by a massive extra-dimensional cube named KADO that suddenly manifests itself on the runway. Shindo becomes the negotiator for Yaha-kui zaShunina, the being who controls KADO, as zaShunina tries to communicate with humanity and bestow upon them his advanced technology.

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Why You Should Be Watching: KADO: The Right Answer is science fiction at its finest. Through the strange nature of zaShunina and the advanced, literally otherworldly technology he brings with him, KADO puts a microscope on humanity. It focuses on how humans react to objects that can lead to boundless possibilities. Further than that, it focuses on human nature itself. The show is also methodical, carefully calculating everything it wants to say, which is a breath of fresh air in a medium that likes to throw things at the viewer at a breakneck speed and this ends up giving the show an aura of maturity not many of its compatriots hold. KADO also features some of the best, if not the best usage of CGI animation in a TV anime to date. Above all else, though, the main reason you should be watching the show is for Shindo and his relationship with zaShunina, whose intentions have yet to be made clear and is a fascinating creature to watch in action.

[In fact, our own KODA stands as our Right Answer this season, the question being “Who is going to write all these shows no-one wants to do?” - Exile]

Recommended by: DilKokoro, Exile, Grex, jonuiuc, Koda, Messiah, Requiem, Stinolez, ShadowHaken

WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? - [Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?]

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Written by: Stinolez

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance, Fantasy

Spoiler-free Synopsis: It’s been over 500 years since the humans went extinct at the hands of the fearsome and mysterious Beasts. The surviving races were forced to flee and make their homes up on floating islands in the sky, to keep out of reach of most of them. Only a group of young girls can wield the ancient weapons strong enough to fight them. In this world when certain death could come at any moment it’s difficult to open your heart to somebody. Things start to change when Willem, who lost everything a long time ago, accepts a job as a warden of those girls. He cares for and nurtures them, but then he has to only helplessly wait for them to return home from battle as he cannot fight himself anymore. Little by little he and all people come to understand, what is truly important and what is worth protecting in their lives.

Why You Should Be Watching: Light novel adaptations are usually hit or miss, but it’s great to see WorldEnd continue the trend started by Youjo Senki and KonoSuba earlier this year. Everything from vivid colours, likeable characters to foreshadowing of your heart to be shattered speaks in favour of this show success. Especially impactful is the never-ending feeling of tension and waiting when things will go horribly wrong. Despite WorldEnd having the right setting for being another boring harem show it successfully dodges the bullet and occasional fan service is not disturbing. It perfectly balances between romance and drama with hint of action thrown into the mix. Characters are another strong point of this show. Everybody seems unique with distinct personalities and thus seems to have their place in the world and not being there just for the sake of being there. One of the best examples would be Willem, who is well-rounded, emotionally competent but also caring with deep backstory. You cannot help yourself but to care for all the girls he is overseeing and more importantly fulfil that father-like figure. So, what do you do on Tuesdays evening? Are you busy? Will you watch?

Recommended by: Grex, Gugsy, Koda, Stanlick, Stinolez

Tsuki ga Kirei

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Written by: Gugsy

Genre: Slice of Life, Romance

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Kotarou Azumi and Akane Mizuno are attracted to each other but struggle with expressing it. But damnit, it’s their last year in middle school and they’ve got to find a way to overcome this! It will take a concerted effort from the two of them to reach out will help them mature, overcome this challenge and connect.

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Why You Should Be Watching: Anime romances are a tricky thing. Most scream at you every single thought their characters have. Most leave the relationship for last and force you through the “Will they or won’t they?”. Most have every dramatic hurdle between the two be misunderstandings and lack of communication. Tsukigakirei has navigated it’s way past all of that. It is thankfully subtle. It’s the most realistic look at middle school age-ish romance, and yet doesn’t prolong the inevitable with nonsense. It’s beautiful and simple at the same time. None of the usual anime romance shenanigans are here to prolong the inevitable. It hits home because of how realistic it is, that’s what love really did feel like back in middle school.

Beyond that, there are also skits after the ED that take place with some of Kotaro and Akane’s friends and their significant others and these are incredible. Dealing with little minor relationship issues, you’ll find yourself laughing at all the relatable issues these couples find themselves, like finding the right angle for a couple’s picture, or deciding what food to eat. These serve as both comedic moments, but also to flesh out the side characters at the same time, and are superb, can’t-miss vignettes. And that’s not even saying anything about the job Studio Feel has done with the art, animation and music. Whoever’s in charge of the music there has long deserved a raise. Feel hasn’t scrimped us in any way in the presentation, and for an original project with this much thought put into the story and characters to make it as un-anime as it is, it’d be a shame for you to let this one go.

Recommended by: DilKokoro, Grex, Gugsy, Koda, Messiah, Protonstorm, Stanlick

Alice & Zouroku

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Written By: DilKokoro

Genre: Action-Adventure, Slice of Life, Mystery, Seinen

Spoiler-free Synopsis: A young girl named Sana escapes from a secluded facility where test subjects have abilities that allow them to materialize objects, known as “Alice’s Dream”. After ending up alone in the city, she gets mixed up with a man of a matured age who owns a flower shop named Zouroku. The man unexpectedly finds himself aiding the girl from the lab’s relentless pursuit as well as helping her find a place to call her own.

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Why You Should Be Watching: When the lineup for this season came out, A&Z looked really vanilla - lab experiment with powers escapes and takes refuge with a family in a city. It sounds horribly like a manufactured story that is ridden with predictable characters. Thankfully, it only takes a few episodes to realize just how unpredictably unique this series is. Zouroku brings so much to the show in being a very thoughtful individual far more concerned with giving the best life for young Sana than whether or not she is a dangerous creation or the mundane questions of humanity and ethics that plague these sort of shows. The antagonist doesn’t reek “bad guy for being a bad guy” with surprisingly strong passion and gut-wrenching conviction driven by convincing love.

Most of the time when a show tries to wear multiple hats at once, something suffers at the expense of the multitasking. What really sticks out is just how well Alice can give multiple layers so thoroughly. The action is objectively more exciting than several shows purely dedicated to that genre, drama strikes in ways that a plot about runaway test subjects has no business doing so well, and there are moments that pluck on the heartstrings in a lovely fashion. This jack-of-all-trades series has all of the makings to be one of those most underrated gems of 2017.

Recommended by: DilKokoro, Grex, Gugsy, jonuiuc, Koda, Ryoma-Nagare, Stanlick, Stinolez, Thatsmapizza

Love Tyrant - [Renai Boukun]

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Written by: Rock

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Supernatural, Yandere, Insanity

Spoiler-free Synopsis: For Aino Seiji, life was pretty normal until the moment he opened that door. One day, an angel named Guri knocks on his door and tells him that if he doesn’t kiss someone, Guri will die. Thankfully, Guri has the Kiss Note, a notebook that will make people will fall in love if they kiss each other, but unfortunately for Seiji, Guri accidentally writes down his name on it! Hilarity ensues: Seiji soon learns the girl he had a crush with, Hiyama Akane, is a Yandere for him, and Guri decides to take this into her hands by writing Guri herself, Seiji, and Akane all in one chaotic ship on the Kiss Note, quickly leading to amusing insanity.

Why You Should Be Watching: Sometimes, insanity can be the most enjoyable thing possible. While from the premise Love Tyrant is a show that may seem like a bad and generic romantic comedy with no real merits or differentiators in comparison to its peers, what Love Tyrant does is dial the tropes and insanity to 11, leaving you with a show that has you constantly simultaneously in complete disbelief and consistently dying of laughter. There is never a dull moment with its oddball cast of chaotic cupid, stabbing yandere, wincest yuri sister and complete sadist, and the result of all of this is continuous amusement for those watching, a humorous show that is worth giving a try.
Recommended by: DilKokoro, Koda, Requiem, RockmanDash12, Shadow Haken, Stinolez, Thatsmapizza


The 4 Sequels You Should Be Watching

Atom: The Beginning

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Written by: ShadowHaken

Genre: Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Seinen

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Spoiler-free Synopsis: In the near future, Japan suffered from a huge catastrophe of unknown origin; five years later this nation started recovering by using robotics. Now Japan has entered into a culture that is amazed and centered in the Robots. These machines have gotten so advanced that they can serve as pets, information givers and entertainers. Still, these robots aren’t considered nor treated as human beings or mere servants but only as tools with a certain function. In the 7th Lab of Nerima University, 2 young men are trying to change that. Their names are Hiroshi Ochanomizu and Umatarou Tenma, the developers of the A10 series and the creators of the “Bewußtsein system” that will enable the Robots to act and even think closer to a human being, especially on the case of their new Robot “A106” or Six. What these scientists, their friends and A106 didn’t know is that these were the first steps towards the creation of Earth’s mightiest protector and the bridge between Human and Robot…

Why You Should Be Watching: While Atom: The Beginning is clearly a prequel to the Anime and manga classic “Astro Boy” it is still a good tale on its own that can be held as a standalone story. This is because of a series of factors that ranges from the setting and the introduction of the characters.

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Still, what makes this show great is the chemistry between the characters, how the different personalities align so well and the world building around where the story takes place. For starters, the personalities of Tenma and Hiroshi complements each other so well. Adding that the characters of the socialite Motoko, the shut-in Ren, and even the gentle talk of Six (who basically is a talking Wall-E) makes for a good circle of main characters.

At the same time, the world building has made its rules and follows these characters along, and how they interact with such rules and try to resolve the conflicts that come to them. In short, if you want to see a more grounded sci-fi story or if you are curious about Astro Boy, Atom: The Beginning is a good place to start.

Recommended by: jonuiuc, Ryoma-Nagare, ShadowHaken

The Eccentric Family 2 - Uchouten Kazoku 2]

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Written by: Koda

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural

Spoiler-free Synopsis: The city of Kyoto and the magical inhabitants therein are still trying to move on with their lives in the fallout of the first season. In particular, the tanuki clans find themselves with a massive power vacuum in the form of the position of Trick Magister, who oversees all of the tanuki in Kyoto. All the while, some new eccentric and highly powerful tricksters find their way into the mythical city, adding even more wildcards to the mix.

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Why You Should Be Watching: The first season of The Eccentric Family was not only one of the better shows of its year, but quite possibly of all time. I am happy to state that the sequel maintains all of the qualities that made the first season such a wonderfully magical viewing experience. If you’ve never seen or even heard of The Eccentric Family, the best way to describe the franchise is it is basically a Mamoru Hosoda or Hayao Miyazaki film that has been split up into a full-length TV series. The franchise is filled with the theme of family, while also mixing in some of the most visually stunning magical set pieces I have even seen. The cherry on top is the show features not only some of the most complex characters I’ve encountered in fiction, but some of the most complex character interactions and relationships as well.

No character best exemplifies the strengths of The Eccentric Family than the character of Benten, who is such a complex and fascinating character to see in action that I can’t give her the full rundown she deserves in such a small writeup like this. Suffice to say, watching Benten go is like watching a tornado. Both are forces of nature that are beautiful to look at, but leave a path of destruction in their wake. It is actually really hard to give the show its just dues because the show is simply so one of a kind that it is difficult to put into words. Make no mistake, though, at the end of the day, The Eccentric Family is living proof of what makes anime special.

Recommended by: Grex, Gugsy, Koda, Messiah

My Hero Academia Season 2 - [Boku no Hero Academia 2]

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Written by: Koda

Genre: Action, School, Superhero

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Not even an attack by would-be supervillains is enough to deter the U.A. Academy for heroes from hosting its prestigious yearly sports festival, an athletic event so popular it has even supplanted the Olympic Games in this universe. With so many eyes around the world on the students of U.A., the festival makes for a great opportunity for them to show off to professional heroes and companies that may be interested in hiring their services once they graduate. With only three total chances to make a name for themselves during their tenure at school, the students need to put their best foot forward.

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Why You Should Be Watching: The first season of My Hero Academia was an emotional and inspiring tale about Midoriya’s growth and realization that he can become the hero he always wanted to be. It was a highly entertaining series to watch, but ultimately ended up being the “Izuku & All Might Show, Featuring Bakugo”. Basically, what I am trying to say is the show had a massive cast, but an extremely narrow focus on character development. This wasn’t necessarily a big issue, and in fact was rather understandable given that the show was adapting a continuing manga series. Nevertheless, this season seeks to remedy one of the biggest perceived flaws of the first by greatly expanding the scope of the characters being developed this time around. Izuku’s friends Ochako and Iida get some time in the spotlight, but the biggest benefactor of newfound character growth is Shoto Todoroki, who was essentially a background character in the first season.

This isn’t even counting the myriad of new characters introduced this season thanks to the sports festival involving all the classes. Thanks to the sports festival we get to meet students in Class 1-B as well as the Support Course. The events in the sports festival have also allowed the characters to showcase some new uses for their abilities, showing that even the seemingly comical powers in the classes have a purpose. The show still has that nagging pacing issue, but aside from that, My Hero Academia continues to improve by leaps and bounds with each passing season. If the series can continue on this upward trajectory, it can cement its place as one of the strongest action anime series around.

Recommended by: DilKokoro, Grex, Koda, Messiah, RockmanDash12, Ryoma-Nagare, ShadowHaken, Stanlick, Thatsmapizza

Attack on Titan Season 2 - [Shingeki no Kyojin 2]

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Written by: Koda

Genre: Action, Dark Fantasy, Horror, Partially-Redeeming Production Values

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Following the events of the first season, the rookies of the Survey Corps are split up as a precaution against any further traitors being among its members. While the rookies are under quarantine, it appears another breach of the walls has occurred, sending the rookies and their guards scattering to the winds to warn the nearby villages about another onslaught from the man-eating Titans.

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Why You Should Be Watching: Attack on Titan Season 2 is the Attack on Titan franchise at its best. In its second season Attack on Titan finally nails that balance between action and horror that it struggled to get just right in its first season. The fight scenes against the Titans in this season are more tense and even better animated than in the first, with Hiroyuki Sawano’s always reliable soundtrack making the scenes even more frantic. However, the real highlight of this season has been the gaps between the fights, which have done an excellent job of building dread in both the characters and the viewer. This season has also been filled with even more big reveals than the first season had in only a fraction of the time, both in terms of quantity and quality. If you enjoyed the first season of Attack on Titan, know that the long wait was worth it. Attack on Titan is back, and better than ever. [Not saying much - Exile]

Recommended by: Everyone that’s not Exile or Gugsy or Stinolez or Requiem, Idiots, Stanlick


The Short You Should Be Watching

Ninja Girl and Samurai Master 2 - [Nobunaga no Shinobi: Ise Kanegasaki-hen]

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Genre: Comedy, Historical

Written by: ShadowHaken

Spoiler-free Synopsis: The Sengoku period, the warring states, between the myriad of the different warlords that lived in Japan at that time, there was one called Oda Nobunaga; a man who decided to join the whole land under his command. But this task might be too much for a single man, luckily he is surrounded by… a bunch of morons?! From his famous retainers like Hideyoshi, Mitsuhide, his wife Kichou and especially his most powerful titular ninja girl Chidori, this gang of loyal oddballs will be the people that will surround Oda, which begs the question… Will Oda´s dream come to fruition or he will fall to the craziness of these people?!

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Why You Should Be Watching: Following where the first season left, the second season will continue being a comedy look to one of the most violent periods in Japan, by seeing what happened in the story while at the same time one can laugh from the different oddities of the characters. We follow the cutest Ninja Girl, as she faithfully aids Oda Nobunaga and his retainers in his conquest of medieval Japan. Ninja Girl manages to combine historical accuracy, with rapid-fire comedy, making it that rare form of Edu-Tainment. At only 3 minutes long, the jokes come fast and furious, meaning if anything doesn’t hit you, another will be closely followed. So if one liked the first season there is more to love from the second, just with more characters that will either join or be the enemy of the famous warlord Nobunaga, and seeing how different (and comic) their personalities are, it is what makes the story a very entertaining way to know some of Japanese history!

Recommended by: DilKokoro, Gugsy, Koda, Requiem, ShadowHaken


The Show You Should Be Watching But Probably Can’t

Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul - [Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul]

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Written by: Ryoma Nagare

Genres: Fantasy, Adventure

Spoiler-free Synopsis: 10 Years after the events of Shingeki No Bahamut Genesis, we follow our new main character Nina as she tries to earn a living in the glorious imperial capital of Anatae. Under the rule of a new monarch, economy and arts are booming, and she’ll meet with returning characters from the original show as she gets involved in a revolution to overthrow the King. Turns out the booming age of wonders we first believe to be a Utopia has been brought on by enslaving Demons and Angels alike.

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Why you should be watching: When the original arrived in 2014, it was an unlikely hit. Based on a mobile game, everyone assumed it would be little more than a licensed mess. Luckily for us, Cygames just gave the then newish studio MAPPA a wad of money and creative control - as a result, the 12-episode epic Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis was one of the best shows of that year. Equal parts Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings, it had great characters, a fun adventure, and truly amazing production values.

This sequel ”Virgin Soul” has big shoes to fill then. Amazingly the guys at studio MAPPA have delivered yet again, introducing us to Nina, a young a carefree country girl trying to make a living in the big city. It is through her naïve outlook we get to experience what has been going on in the world since the events of the original. We’ll meet with old friends as well as once-villains who are now improbable antiheroes in this High Fantasy new adventure. Nina turns out to be more than meets the eye, and her unlikely powers are probably one of the best metaphors for a coming of age story. The animation and music are truly top of the pack, by far the best of the season (yes including Attack on Titan) with a level of expressiveness rarely found in seasonal anime. Key Animator Shinsaku Kozuma has been a revelation, with lavish animation effects that truly enrich the experience. As was the case with the first show, the soundtrack is outstanding, mixing medieval instruments with orchestral hits. Truly bringing to life the atmosphere of this world. If you ever start feeling jaded or tired about “anime”, give this show and its prequel a watch and you’ll fall in love with what this medium can deliver.

Recommended by: Exile, Grex, jonuiuc, Koda, Messiah, Ryoma-Nagare, Stanlick, Thatsmapizza


Honourable Mentions

Granblue Fantasy: the Animation

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Written by: Requiem, ThatsMaPizza

Genre: Fantasy

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Based on a cell phone game and set in a fantasy world where people live in islands floating in the sky, the story follows a young man named Gran and a young girl named Blue… wait, her name’s Lyria? She’s not Blue? “Granblue” doesn’t make a lot of sense, then.

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Anyway, we follow Gran and his mascot character… I mean, winged friend Vyrn, living in relative peace but yearning to follow after his missing father to a place called Estalucia, Island of the Astrals. This peaceful existence is interrupted when Gran comes to the aid of Lyria, mysterious girl with mysterious powers, and her protector knight Katalina, on the run from THE EMPIRE WHAT IS EVIL. This leads to a journey into the skies, where they’ll find monsters, gods, annoying halfings Harvin, and maybe... their destiny.

Why You Should Be Watching: GBF is based on an (apparently very popular) mobile game, and a lot of the conversation around the anime has revolved around what did and did not make it from the game to the screen. But we should look at Granblue Fantasy: The Animation for what it is, on its own, individual from its source material. And what it is, is a simple, fun fantasy romp. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Visually, it’s very pretty with an excellent design aesthetic. It’s very traditional JRPG-ish, and it works really well. The plot’s pace languishes a bit and the show could use more large-scale action scenes, but the ones it does have are executed well. It’s got a well-rounded cast of likable characters who fit their roles in the story and are fun to watch interact. Is any of this incredibly groundbreaking? No! Some foolishly call it “generic”, but I prefer to call it ‘classic”; and it’s not a sin being classic-in-form if you do it right.

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You want Fantasy genre stuff to take you on a journey to new worlds and places, the kind of places where dragons exist and a giant wooden ship can fly because screw physics. GBF does the job. It’s a solid little slice of fantasy: enjoyable to watch, pretty to look at, and manages not to have a main character who got sent there from our world with a smartphone or a harem or the ability to reverse his own death.It’s an interesting world with likeable characters going on a journey, and it’s a journey worth going along for.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Watching: The first question you should ask yourself before watching Granblue Fantasy: The Animation is “What am I expecting from GBF: The Animation.” If you’re expecting anything more than mildly generic fantasy anime with a unique aesthetic then you will be disappointed. GBF:A has a barebones plot which is mainly an excuse for the cast of the anime to explore various fantastical settings while meeting equally enchanting creatures all the while being harassed by your stereotypical Evil Empire. This type of setup common to the fantasy adventure genre and it lives and dies on the execution of the adventure and GBF:A’s adventure is barely passable. For starters, GBF:A has some attractive character designs and environmental designs, but due to the detail of the characters and environment the show is barely animated. A majority of the show is characters standing around talking, which can be baffling for a show with “animation” in its title.

The characters in GBF:A aren’t too complicated and are executed fairly well, but there are a few exceptions that drag the entire show down. Specifically, the child characters, halfling characters and the mascot character are so annoying when they are on screen. When these characters aren’t dumping exposition, half the time they are shouting their catch phrases in their high-pitched squeaky voices. My ears can handle a few squeaky shouts, but when they keep coming at a constant rate, I get an extreme urge to mute the show whenever these characters are on screen.

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With multiple great anime coming out each season and the stockpile of great non-seasonal anime out there in the wild web, it’s hard to recommend you watch GBF:A over those other excellent shows.

Tsugumomo

Written by: Shade, Gugsy

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Genres: Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Ecchi, Seinen, Totally (Not) Shounen

Spoiler-free Synopsis: Kagami Kazuya, after waking up to himself groping his female classmate’s/childhood friend’s breasts and almost getting killed by a sentient wig, witnesses the obi he always carries with him transform into a girl — a demanding, loud-mouthed one, at that. Her name is Kiriha, and she is an existence known as a Tsukumogami, a spirit who dwells in an object or tool. Their meeting leads to encounters with the supernatural and other Tsukumogami (who all happen to be women). [Male ones should appear - Exile]

Why You Should Be Watching: If you can’t handle the occasional ecchi series thrown out into the vast ocean known as anime, this may not be for you. Despite that, Tsugumomo still has more to offer than pervy antics. The comedy, while often complementing its unabashedly perverted nature, has at other times been successful without resorting to the ecchi schmuck (such as Kazuya ditching Kiriha to not follow him around the school, along with Kiriha’s frustration when failing at video games). Oh, and I mention the action? Because hot damn, it has some excellent fight choreography. The studio, Zero-G, is one I’ve never heard of. They seem to have been assisting more projects than heading them. But they must have some great staff on board, because these fights are animated smooth — liquid butter smooth.

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Why You Shouldn’t Be Watching: Tsugumomo is a series that almost seems a blast from the past. How many anime have there been where a mysterious, demanding girl magically appears in front of Generic Male Insert, and forces him to fight Mysterious Forces of Evil? Before the “Teleport to a Fantasy World” recent craze that we’ve been in, this was the major story type flooding the anime airwaves. Tsugumomo’s manga started 10 years ago so this makes sense, and it seems perfectly content to just hit the usual story and character tropes without doing anything new. Childhood friends, plenty of loli girls, big breasted shrine maidens accompanied by cows mooing, which is always hilarious, the usual stuff. The comedy is itself just a repeat as well. 90% of the “punchlines” is Generic Male Insert getting physically attacked by any of the female cast. It’s not even good ecchi if that is what might hook you. Tsugumomo is strongly mediocre. You’ve seen this show before, so you’ll have to have either somehow avoided many of its predecessors or just be a huge fan of the same old same old to enjoy this rendition.

Re:Creators

Written by: Rock, Gugsy

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Spoiler-free Synopsis: One of Humanity’s oldest traditions is the art of telling stories. No matter what we do, we always find a way to learn, evaluate and even pass along stories. The best of stories and their characters have a way of almost leaping out of the page and resonating with us. Now these characters are literally leaping out of the page! Characters from many popular stories are emerging into present-day Japan. Whether it’s light novels, games or children’s anime, characters are appearing with their powers one after another. And everything seems to be connected to a high school student, Souta Mizushino, and a mysterious woman in a full military regalia.

Why You Should Be Watching: With a promising reverse isekai (another world) premise and an amazing staff list comprising of greats like Ei Aoi, Rei Hiroe and Hiroyuki Sawano (director of Fate/Zero, the writer behind Black Lagoon, and composer of many popular works like Attack on Titan and Kill La Kill, respectively) behind the helm, there were little doubts that Re:Creators would be the standout original show of this season.

Re:Creators stands alone for its unique spin on a tried and true premise and its determination to let that said scenario shine. To me, it’s a show that has some of the most substance and attention than any other shows in this medium, a work that actually serves to explore the nuances of what they built instead of just using it to make the show work. While this won’t be appreciated by all, it’s an approach that makes the world feel all so much more engaging and real, a big part of why I personally enjoy it so much. It does this all while utilizing the assets that it’s fantastic staff list has produced to their fullest potential, showing some of the most breathtaking fights we’ve seen in anime and using the score to set the perfect atmosphere at all times. It’s not the balls to the walls action show that it would seem to suggest, providing more of a Fate/Zero style than a Black Lagoon style with exposition and ideals filling in for the meat of the show instead of the fight scenes, but it’s a show that is definitely worth watching regardless, and depending on what kind of show you enjoy, it could easily be the best anime you’ve seen in quite a while.

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Why You Shouldn’t Be Watching: I’ll be the first to admit, when Re:Creators is on, it’s ON. Episode 2 might be the best episode of the entire season, regardless of what happens elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s sort of been treading water for an unnecessarily long time since then. We can call this worldbuilding, we can call this character exploration but in reality, nothing of merit has been happening since that fantastic episode 2. We’re trying to learn about the world, and why these characters are appearing, but it’s almost like reading a book that has small font trying to fill space. You’ve got all these great characters (minus the MC. He is absolutely completely useless, but what would we do without a generic male insert). You have the budget clearly, Studio TROYCA. You have this great music by the legendary Hiroyuki Sawano. Use it! Stop stalling! We’ve been in neutral in this story for greater than half the runtime (as of this writing) and for a show that can clearly reach the heights of greatness when it wants to, it’s inexcusable to keep us twiddling our thumbs until Re:Creators decides it wants to go for it again.


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This article was a collaboration by several people of the AniTAY community on Talk Amongst Yourselves. You can join the fun by posting your own articles on Kinja with the Ani-TAY tag.


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