Winter 2017 Mid-Season Review

Wow, halfway through the season already! Time sure flies doesn’t it. Lets see where everything stands after six episodes. Whats on the up, whats on the down, and what is just continuing as expected. The tiers should be fairly obvious. Within each tier the shows are organized alphabetically.

Anime of the Year of the Season

Kobayashi-san Chi no MaiDragon (6 episodes)

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This may be my favorite Kyoto Animation series of all time. It will probably be one of my all time favorite anime as well. In fact, if I made a list right this second, it would probably only lose to Flip Flappers. In short, the Gay Dragon Maid show is even better than I could have possibly imagined. What is most surprising about it is I think just how warm and comfortable it is. Being with Tohru, Kobayashi and Kanna gives a feeling very few shows ever manage. This weird, unlikely family has made its way into our hearts like only a few ever can.

すごーい!

Kemono Friends

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So it turns out this stupid show done in D-grade CG is actually one of the most fun shows of the season. Who’d have guessed? What do I even say here? Its a meme sure, but it took off because its completely sincere, not a single ironic bone in its body. Its backstory/lore is also surprisingly interesting. Just what happened? Are there no humans left other than Bag-chan, how did the Friends become what they are now? What are the Ceruleans? Will we ever learn these things? WHO KNOWS BUT ITS SO MUCH FUN.

SUGOI

Excellent

Gabriel Dropout (6 episodes)

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Gabriel Dropout is significantly better than it really has any right to be. On paper its basically a rehash of  Himouto Umaru-chan, also by Dogakobo and sharing a significant amount of staff, it somehow manages to be a much funnier and more interesting show. This despite each of its 4 main characters having pretty much exactly one joke that defines their entire personality. Its sharply written (and helped by one of the most excessively good translations we’ve seen in a while) and the animation and art keeps things fresh and fun to look at.

Little Witch Academia (6 episodes)

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Little Witch Academia has not really hit the highs of the original OVA, but its still a super solid show all around. Akko’s a lot of fun, and seeing her grow, however little so far, has definitely been one of the highlights. The best part however is its secondary cast is super solid, filled with fun characters who could easily carry their own stories. Diana has also turned out to be perhaps one of the best takes on the “Hypercompetent Ojou-sama Rival” character archetype in quite some time. She really feels like Akko’s true opposite. She’s flawlessly good at magic, everything coming to her with ease. Yet she’s not satisfied or fulfilled. I’m excited to see if they keep up with this, it could go some very interesting places.

Urara Meirouchou (6 episodes)

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Urara continues to be very strong, mostly through its incredibly well realized interactions of the main quartet. The show gets a ton of mileage out of them just bouncing off each other, and it sells their friendship and affection for each other very convincingly. Its also excellent at casual intimacy, making those scenes feel very real and comforting. Its not really doing much in terms of moving the overall plot forward, but it really doesn’t need to either. Its comfortable just being a fun time.

Very Good

BanG Dream! (4 episodes)

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BanG Dream! is an interesting show. Its very clearly aping Love Live, but its actually doing a pretty good job of still being its own thing. By far the most unusual aspect is just how annoying Kasumi is. Generally saying the protagonist is annoying is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it works here. Kasumi is energetic and outgoing and always wanting to hug and moving from one thing to the next. She’s fun, but also exhausting and a little irritating to be around. She can also be insensitive to how other people are feeling and bad at picking up the mood. Episode 4 was in fact based entirely around this concept. Kasumi makes a new friend who can teach her about guitar, and becomes so focused on this she ends up ignoring Arisa. Arisa’s tsundere and also kinda codependent, and it just ends up in a big crying mess with the two of them.

Anyway, the show feels a little weird being 2 episodes behind everything else, but its shaping up quite nicely overall.

Nyanko Days (6 episodes)

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Not only is it a show about cute anthropomorphic cats, its also turned out to be a yuri show! Anyway its a crime this is only effectively 90 seconds each week.

Youjo Senki (6 episodes)

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So yeah, I picked this up. It turns out is actually a lot of fun. The first episode was just…not a very good indication of what the show was actually going to be like. It turns out that it was mostly going to be about God clowning on Tanya. Which is excellent. The string of episodes where Tanya thinks she’s finally achieved her anticipated safe, headquarters job only to get tossed into ever more danger were excellent. The last couple episodes where shes’s running the elite mage battalion have been low on her getting screwed over, but the show has become pretty interesting on its own merits. I don’t want to see her succeed too much, but its still pretty fun seeing other people falling for her little girl shtick. Also maybe the big lesson here is when God stops to talk to you, don’t argue about whether or not they exist. That just makes them mad.

Perfectly Fine

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu (6 episodes)

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Its no Long Riders.

…ok fine. Its a pretty decent show. It managed to find its stride around episode 4 and has been going pretty strongly since then. It looks good, its got a bunch of generally fun characters and does a good job letting them bounce off each other. It just really suffers from comparison to Long Riders. Thats probably a discussion for some other time though. Episode 6 has the crew in their first “real” race, which is neat, though it doesn’t get off to a very good start for them. And we’re still waiting for the gaijin girl to join. I wonder whats up with her taking so long, she’s just as prominent in the OP as the other four.

The tiny catgirl woman from the 90s is definitely the best character though.

Schoolgirl Strikers (6 episodes)

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Schoolgirl Strikers continues to be one of the most aggressively average anime I have ever watched. Honestly, I’m only continuing it because the girls are cute and Io and Mana are a nice couple. Episode 6 had everyone running around in bikinis and it was still very, very uninteresting. Hopefully some of the plot stuff indicated in the OP happens soon, but its unlikely Schoolgirl Strikers will manage to rise above where it is now. Its just spent too long doing not really much of anything at all.

Io’s boobs are pretty nice though.

Dropped

Demi-chan wa Kataritai (3 episodes)

Not interested in seeing sensei get a harem, also someone please write a story about a succubus and have it not be just porn or slut shaming. It could be really good.

Idol Jihen (3 episodes)

This is why you don’t base an entire series around your rejected pitch for a B-tier Aikatsu episode.

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