Thursday, January 19, 2017

Winter 2017 — Must Watch Anime of the Season!

Hi hii minna-chan!

At first, I thought Winter 2017 was going to be an off-season, but now that we are a few weeks into it, there are so many simply INCREDIBLE anime that I have to share them with you in case you too wrote off Winter 2017.

Every single one of the shows I'm listing today are either 9s or 10s for me for the episodes that have aired so far in terms of sheer enjoyment. It's a really incredible season so far and I don't know how these shows will be able to keep up such quality, but here's hoping!

Scum's Wish (Kuzu no Honkai クズの本懐 )

This one's officially available through Amazon's new "Anime Strike" service (for one of the first times, I'm saying, "fuck you, Amazon"). Two episodes are out so far.

It's a truly incredible show though. The basic premise is Hanabi and Mugi both like teachers at their school who happen to like each other, so they decide to be in a relationship together until they can get what they want. It starts as a love quadrilateral, but it increases from there. Even though it's not the most original of content, they've done everything perfectly in the first two episodes.

It's a very mature series with adult themes. The style is manga-esque with a lot of cutouts and minimal animation, but this may be my favorite show of the season. Both episodes have been 10s and I'd recommend it to any lover of romance that's willing to get their heart torn out. (I can't imagine a good end for all of the characters, so you know someone is going to be left hurting).

Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki 幼女戦記 )

Available at Crunchyroll with two episodes out so far (and the third dropping shortly!). (Image from the LN)

Here's another resurrection anime (which have significantly increased in number the last few years), but we have an adult Japanese salaryman resurrected into the body of a girl in a fantasy pre-WWI Germany-like country.

I thought I was going to hate this one (namely because at a glance the promo art is terrible and I figured it would be another Nazi fetishistic show). In reality, the fantasy country in question is actually the "victim" in the war and it is WWI, not WWII. Furthermore, the art doesn't measure up to the art from the LN and manga that you can readily find through Google, but it's nowhere near the terrible promo art I saw for the show.

The show itself is another treat for adult viewers. The character of Tanya is by no means a "good" character, and I'm a little surprised she made it to the age of 10 in this world, let alone as a commander (you'd think her own soldiers would have shot her by now). There's magic somewhere on the order of sub-atomic weapons, but it's generally used for observation to aid artillery fire. Even though Tanya is a villain, so far I think she's very interesting and you're able to root for her. This is another 10 out of 10 show thus far, and the action and animation is a real treat.

Interviews with Monster Girls (Demi-chan wa Kataritai 亜人ちゃんは語りたい).

Another Crunchyroll show with two episodes ^__^ (image from the manga)

My only complaint with this show is the title. I think it makes more sense to translate it as, "Monster Girls want to Talk!"

This is the first entry I'd say is OK for all ages, and it's great. The premise behind the show is that certain people are born as monstrous humanoids (vampires, dullahans, succubi, snow girls, and the like, collectively referred to as "demi") and they're pretty fully integrated into society—albeit rare. The biology teacher at a certain high school wants to research demi, and lucks out this year by having three demi as students and one demi colleague.

Some would call the appeal strictly moe, but the personality of each character so far has been so interesting and spot on. Although they may fit certain personality types, I feel like I'm watching the interaction of characters I've never seen before done in ways I've never seen. This is the first show where I wouldn't rate it a 10 in terms of quality, but my interest in the characters and their interactions makes the show a 10 for me. The vampire especially is completely wonderful.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon 小林さんちのメイドラゴン)

Yet another Crunchyroll two episoder.

Kobayashi-san drunkenly saves the life of a dragon one night and invites her to come live with her. I wasn't prepared for how heartwarming and funny this show was going to be. I initially overlooked it because I thought it was just going to be cute fluff and nothing else, but yet another show where the personalities and interactions of the characters are all top-notch.

In episode 2, they do a ridiculously incredible short action scene as if to say, "just so you know we can", but the show revolves around Tohru the dragon's devotion to Kobayashi-san, an overworked programmer with a maid fetish. Although the art seems straightforward, it's precise and clean AF. It's a really fantastic program.

Little Witch Academia (リトルウィッチアカデミア)

This is unfortunately a Netflix exclusive and they won't release until the end of the season in Japan. There are two episodes out so far though.

The first episode starts out pretty identically to the first OVA (available on Netflix), but diverges from there. To be honest, I wasn't hooked with the first episode, but I think I was mainly comparing it unfavorably to the OVA and that wasn't fair. The first episode I would have ranked a 6 or 7 (although I've read many other people speak with joy on how much they loved it).

The second episode however I adored. It was so snappy and great. It had a complete arc, progressed from beginning to end, introduced new characters. By the time the second episode ended, I realized that the first episode was actually pretty great also! This series is going to be nothing but good.

I think this is probably the most child-friendly option, but it's enjoyable for all ages. For me, it's impossible to not compare Little Witch Academia to Harry Potter, but I think I'll end up liking this anime more than that franchise.

Blue Exorcist 2 (Ao no Exorcist  青の祓魔師エクソシスト )

Two episodes available at Crunchyroll da yo.

The only continuation on the list (and the last entry), the second season of Blue Exorcist completely ignores the terrible last few episodes of the first season of the anime, and continues the original story from the manga. Although I love Blue Exorcist and I really do think that the show is worth your time, it's primarily on here because the quality of animation is at film level. It's absurdly well-done, and I'd be crazy not to point to it this season. If you loved the first Blue Exorcist (up until episode 17 or so), then here's more. Go watch it ^__^

Notable mentions include Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu and Sangatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion). The former is getting a second season and the latter is continuing into this season. I can't outright include them because I'm not caught up in either case. I have started them and I can attest to the quality of both though. If you haven't checked these out, now might be the time to start catching up like I am ^__^

Anyway, what are you loving this season? Have you seen these shows? What did you think? I can't imagine not thoroughly loving all of these for the entirety of the season, which is possibly more shows than any other season in recent memory for me. AND I THOUGHT THIS SEASON WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WEAK?!

Thanks for the read!

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