Is it really another new anime season already?! Its like these happen every three months or something! Wild. Anyway, here’s a brief rundown of the shows I’ve tried and plan on watching. So far I’m keeping with everything I’ve tried, and its actually a decently long list. So lets get to it.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ (3 Episodes)
Its Symphogear, what more is there to say? Ok, well, a lot probably. This is the fourth season of the Symphogear franchise, which is pretty impressive for a show about girls who fight candy-colored monsters and absurd villains while singing songs for power. If you haven’t watched it, go check it out. I’ll wait.
Ok, back? AXZ has so far been very strong. The new villains are a lot of fun, and their backstory ties them into the previous seasons in some fairly interesting ways. The new songs are good, if maybe generally not quite as strong as previous ones. I do think Tsubasa’s new battle song is her strongest since season 1’s Zettou Ame no Habakiri, while Maria, Kirika and Shirabe’s Trio song is one of the best group songs yet, right up there with GX’s Radiant Force.
We’re only three episodes in so far, but its on track to be the best season yet. Hopefully it manages to keep it up!
New Game!! (1 Episode)
I’m still upset this wasn’t called “New Game+”, but that aside, episode 1 was very strong. Easily one of the strongest episodes so far. It revisited some imagery from episode 1 of season 1, while also reintroducing the cast in a natural way that didn’t feel overly forced or gimmicky. It also looks fantastic. Gorgeous all around.
The real highlight of episode 1 was the scene with Umiko and Nene. They were perhaps the surprise break-out ship of the first season, and this episode leaned into their surprising chemistry really effectively. Hopefully this season will also explore Aoba and Hifumi’s relationship more, it got kind of sidelined in season 1, but the OVA and this episode definitely have started to push it into the spotlight.
Centaur no Nayami (2 Episodes)
This show is weird. Also its this high on my list purely due to how much I love the source material. The anime itself is at best a mediocre production on all levels, the sheer strength of the manga is all that is keeping it afloat. That being said, the manga is really good, so even a mediocre take on it is fascinating to watch.
Its hard to even explain what this show is about. Its classed as “Monster Girls”, which is not wrong, but also completely misses the point. Its a surreal exploration of society, biology and assumptions that go with them, framed with cute monster girls in a world everyone is a “monster”. The manga is one of the strangest, most magical things I’ve ever read, and so far the anime has been quite faithful, so it should go some very interesting places before it is over.
Princess Principal (2 Episodes)
This is a very silly show. Its also a hell of a lot of fun. In an alternate history, London is split between two competing superpowers, and a hotbed for spies and assassins. Among these spies and assassins are five high school girls attending a prestigious girl’s school. This is their story. If that sounds ridiculous, you are right, though its actually even more absurd than you are imagining.
I don’t want to say too much, because a lot of the magic of the show is its wild ride of utterly implausible dialog, ridiculous gimmicks and twists every five minutes. I will say that while normally I find this trick tiresome, episode 1 being a story set later on, while episode 2 returns to the “beginning” worked really well, and made episode 2 one of the strongest episodes I’ve watched this season.
Hina Logi (4 Episodes)
This is technically sort-of a sequel to last year’s “Luck & Logic”, an utterly forgettable haremish action show that no one remembered five minutes after it finished. Hina Logi has zero characters from that show and just takes place in the same general setting. Or, rather, world. Because the immediate setting is very different as well. Hina Logi is basically a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things show where all the girls happen to be magical girls as well, but there isn’t really anything for them to use their magical girl powers on anymore.
So what do they do? Mostly goof around and have fun. The main cast is super fun to be around. Main character Lion is a delight at all times, and her crush on quiet Nina, who misses being on the front lines, is amusing. It also has one of the best Ojou characters in a while, in Yayoi. She’s friendly and helpful and has two amusing best friends/bodyguards in set of twins, who both care deeply for her, and she reciprocates fully. All in all, its a show about watching cute girls who like each other have fun. What more could you want.
Made in Abyss (2 Episodes)
This show came into the season with a bit of a history, but regardless, I decided to give it a shot. And dang if it isn’t gorgeous. Just an absolutely beautiful show to look at. The plot, so far, is pretty interesting, and has me on board simply because I want some answers. Basically, there is an island with a huge cavern down the middle of it, reaching into unknown depths. Over more than a thousand years a city has grown around this Abyss, based around its exploration. Its dangerous and grueling work.
Our heroine here is one Riko, aspiring Cave Diver. She’s just gotten her apprentice whistle and has started to dive into the Abyss. Where she promptly meets a robot boy and things start to get interesting. The Abyss itself is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the show overall. What is it? What is at the bottom? Why has it fascinated an entire culture for nearly 2000 years? Hopefully we get at least some answers, but the journey should be a lot of fun!
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits (2 Episodes)
Its basically Locodol. That being said, its pretty fun. In the same vein as Locodol or Sakura Quest, a group of girls are on a mission to help revitalise a town. Though instead of “Local Idols” or “Local Mystery Creature” the gimick here is “Local Heroes”. Based on the idea of the Japanese Hero Show (basically versions of things like Power Rangers/Super Sentai performed as stage shows, not TV series), it has at least chosen a novel subject.
The cast is surprisingly large, to the point where its actually difficult to pin down a “main character”, though that honor seems to go mostly to Akagi An, despite her being secondary to Kise Mikan in episode 1 and Shirogane Misaki in episode 2. One thing I like is that one of the characters, Aoyama Genki, is in a wheelchair. Its not actually mentioned at all, its just treated as a thing for her, which is neat to see and unusual for media, honestly.
Re:Creators (15 Episodes)
Ongoing from last season, so not much has changed since the Spring wrap-up post. That being said, episode 14 was one of the greatest “recap episodes” ever made, and well worth watching, while episode 15 moved us into the second half, and introduced a new Creation on the protagonist side, a girl from a visual novel. What they seem to have laid out for her is interesting, though I still miss Mamika.
Sakura Quest (15 Episodes)
Sakura Quest opened the cour with two really strong episodes, two of the best of the series thus far. Really excited to see where they can go from here. Otherwise still pretty much where I stood on it at the end of last season.
Isekai Shokudou (2 Episodes)
I have this show down towards the bottom, but that has less to do with its overall quality (which is quite high) so much as it doesn’t quite hit me where some of the shows higher up do. Basically, the idea is that there is a perfectly ordinary restauarant in Japan, it happens to serve mostly “western” style cuisine. Except, one day each week, its door is transported to various locations in a fantasy world.
The unnamed chef/proprietor takes this in stride, he has no issues serving food to the various fantasy stereotypes who walk through his door, and they in return quite enjoy the food he serves. Then one day, he finds a half-demon girl named Aletta asleep in his kitchen. He hires her on as a waitress for the days the restaurant is in the fantasy world, and thats the show. Its a fun take on “another world” shows, and it has lots of really good looking food.
Netsuzou TRap (2 Episodes)
Actually its pretty garbage. Unlike above, this show fully deserves to be down here at the bottom, and I’m only watching it out of what you might call obligation. Its the first Yuri Hime manga to get animated since Yuruyuri, but do not at all take that as a recommendation.
The “Trap” of the title refers to, well, cheating. The basic idea is that Yuma and Hotaru are two childhood friends, now in highschool. They each have a boyfriend. Hotaru then starts to make moves on Yuma, under the guise of “practice”. This will presumably escalate into a full-blown love affair. Everything about the setup and execution is skeevy and uncomfortable. Not helped by a production that manages to look worse than Centaur no Nayami’s. Please do not watch this.