Musings and Reflections – end of Spring 2017

     Yet another season has passed and while I can’t say it didn’t have its moments, it’s really hard to single out its key features. Even the huge hits like Boku no Hero Academia and Attack on Titan were only second seasons, and while they seem to had gathered some audience, I can’t say they brought much novelty to the table. Seikaisuru Kado might be a show to check out later on, but I guess I chose my seasonal watchlist pretty well. All of the watched shows somehow feel very similar in terms quality and while their stronger and and weaker points vary a lot, I doubt that any of these will be that relevant two or three years later, though by no means I can consider them bad.

Re:Creators

    I decided to try Re:Creators only because of the staff and some initial warm reactions from some fellow anime fans. What’s it like? Lots of talking, talking and talking. The main guy even after so much time doesn’t feel like he has a slightest reason to be in the series. But it’s not bad. Fictional characters becoming real, bringing with themselves their outlooks on everything based on the stories they were created for, some mystery elements whose explanations (e.g. more talking) are taking forever and are getting more and more complicated… Well, usually it’s fun, especially since Maya Sakamoto’s character is always there to liven up the pace (otherwise dead from talking) and add some more chaos to already not that clear mess of various motivations and goals. I wouldn’t call the show that exceptional but there’re far worse ways to kill your time. Oh, I almost forgot. There’s some talking.

     Re:Creators receives the award of the favorite OST of the season. I can’t say it stood out that much above others but Hiroyuki Sawano is a thing. Or rather the thing. Probably no other music (maybe besides made by Yuki Kajiura) can pump you up that much during an action scene.

Little Witch Academia

     Probably everyone who watched LWA can summarize it in a very short sentence – good, but not enough. It’s almost impossible to top the effect of the original OVA, and the series clearly showed that. I was quite happy when the second cour turned the wheel to a different direction compared to the first one, deciding to scrap episodic nature and add an overarcing story. Some steps towards the finale were rather unimpressive, other times some of the original LWA spirit was just burning through, but in the end the level of excitement wasn’t that high. The side characters more often than not felt abandoned and forgotten, the final goal felt too vague and unimportant for day-to-day use. The last episodes despite trying hard to provide as much sakuga as possible, wrapped everything in not the most satisfying way full of conveniences and a sense of never really providing enough satisfaction.

     LWA receives the award of the most memorable character of the season – Akko showed lots of spirit and to deal with some crushing news she got by the end of the show for her was very hard. Nonetheless our enthusiastic heroine retained her grin and by the effort alone came out on top.

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku

     Well, it was just more of Natsume. The 6th season had both great and endearing moments that probably only Natsume can provide, but also the show wasn’t free from less interesting stories. Content-wise this season wasn’t exceptionally better or worse compared to previous ones but what really caught my eye was the presentation. Studio Shuka never has been praised for perfect scheduling and flawless visuals and sadly more times than not it was clear watching Natsume. Characters barely moving, getting off model more than is comfortable to look at and painfully rare sakuga moments often got more attention than all the stories. Sure, Natsume’s source material usually is strong enough to carry all the weight despite the lack of support from the visuals but at this point it needs to be addressed. Such Natsume is better than no Natsume, but come on, Shuka. With some slight but very interesting developments by the end of the show I look forward to the possibility of getting the 7th season very much. Shuka, at least don’t get bankrupt until then.

     Natsume Yuujinchou Roku receives the random award of keeping the top-notch quality for the 6th season, but that only applies to non-moving side of things.

Sakura Quest

     The show was advertised as an anime about girls working, and that’s ultimately what we got. Seeing what problems might a random rural Japanese town face has been very educational and provided enough material for the characters to deal with. It doesn’t look like each of the girls received much focus individually but in the end I became more or less attached to all of them. You can easily believe that such a team could really work someplace and come up with the ideas they do. And there are plenty of ideas, taking advantage of many possible marketing areas – be it local cuisine, crafts or even weirdos (everyone loves Sandal). The novelty of constantly learning new things about  the characters and the town itself, providing an endless stream of various situations and problems a tourism board could have to take on – what else could you ask from a piece of entertainment?

     Sakura Quest receives the award of the favorite show of the season. The competition was very tough but I guess the least flaws and very relatable characters are attributes the show can boast of. Sakura Quest also gets the award of the of the most impressive scenery of the season. Manoyama might be a rather dull town but the girls brought lots of colors. It might be a bit too far-fetched but the attire of the heroins must also be mentioned – someone must’ve spent lots of time designing a multitude of different clothes.

Tsuki ga Kirei

     Oh, the lovable kids. A love story without any hidden twist like “but look, one of them is a zombie (or a vampire)” and staying very close to fundamentals of romance wasn’t probably the most exciting show ever but it did hit pretty much all the points needed to make an entertaining show. I can’t deny that some of the actions of the characters reminded me a bit of myself when I was a school-kid, and that itself makes a show far more relatable. Sure, there were some missteps like CG extras everywhere and very limited animation to save resources for other times that probably contrasted too much to poorer parts of the show. Nonetheless, the story was told, and I’m very glad that it didn’t end like many anime – a kiss and an unfulfilled promise to tell what happened next. The end of the final episode showed exactly that and, when you realize that you care for our couple, feels very gratifying for deciding to stick until the end.

     Tsuki ga Kirei receives the random award of having the most disturbing CG students from time to time.

     Favorite OP of the season was that of Re:Creators. I guess Hiroyuki Sawano is a point that almost automatically throws out any competition, though Sakura Quest this season also got quite a good OP. Sawano’s heavier (compared to usual J-pop OPs) sound paired with some serious-faced character motion scenes creates enough suspense to say that the show means business.

     Favorite ED of the season was that of LWA. Again Sakura Quest again came close but the sheer effort of Masanobu Hiraoka who soloed the  incredible and unique animation and a nice song to go with it – what else can an ED need?

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