Musings and Reflections – end of Summer 2017

     Well, better late than never. I guess  if we choose to forget Made in Abyss, the season was quite bland. Yes, there were some ok shows but in the grand scheme of things very few series might stand a chance against the tide of time. From the shows that I missed only Princess Principal and Tsurezure Children seem to be worth noting but again, there still are vast numbers of older shows that deserve more attention by far. I guess summer seasons by default tend to be less memorable.

Ballroom e Youkoso

     Even if the show started the new arc before the end of the season, I guess it’s more appropriate to say some words only about the first arc. The biggest effect Ballroom has had on me is quite weird – I started to appreciate Yuri!!! on Ice more and more. The latter sure had its problems but it’s not even comparable with Ballroom – despite being tagged as a sports anime the series barely has any dancing. Sure, there are some incredible sakuga moments but if you can appreciate only 10 seconds through 2 or 3 whole episodes, there’s something not right about it. The story itself is very basic and filled with endless tropes. I probably don’t even need to mention the way Ballroom treats its female characters. I’ll somehow finish the second cour of the show but it still borders the category of “things that wasted my time”. Even after so many episodes I’m not sure I understand mechanics and technicalities of ballroom dancing better, and that should tell something about taking advantage of the setting. Or not.

     Ballroom e youkoso receives the random award of giving more attention to the necks of the characters than the actual dancing. Come on, show, it’s supposed to be called animation not without a reason.

Made in Abyss

     Well, I can only say that if you haven’t watched it go and do it right now. Even the mere idea of exploring a huge hole feels far more interesting than pretty much any story tied with high school but that’s the least I can say about it. Incredible backgrounds, more and more unforgiving nature the deeper we go, unsettling monster designs by Kou Yoshinari, very fitting soundtrack and many other things make this anime worth your time. There are some minor quips here and there – some out of place jokes, a bit uneven end after the culmination during the memorable episode 10, the the fact that the story extends far after the end of the show, but these things aren’t that important after all. Made in Abyss offered a truly amazing adventure story, one that I’ll remember for quite some time. And, taking advantage of the situation, I must thank a fellow blogger Kyra for recommending the show. Thanks a lot!

     My appreciation of the show makes it very unsurprising that without any comments I give Made in Abyss awards for having the favorite OST, the most memorable character (that being Riko), the most impressive scenery and , of course, the favorite show of the season.

Re:Creators

     The second cour was vastly different from the first one. Especially towards the end Meteora’s talking scenes were fewer (thank goodness), and more and more action was present. The recap episode and some scenes here and there implemented many meta elements so considering them and the story in general I can certainly praise the anime for its uniqueness. Nevertheless, being unique doesn’t necessarily mean being good. The show spent a lot of time building everything up but in the end there still was a need to pull an unlooked for twist because the expected strategy didn’t work. That’s ok but felt underwhelming nonetheless. I guess you can’t do anything when you have omnipotent characters that solve all your issues. Also, having such a handy character like Magane and just forgetting her for the most of time feels like a grievous sin. The main guy could’ve been cut completely and the show would’ve been so much better – in the end it was Magane’s power that saved the day and the main dude never did anything noteworthy. The show for the most part certainly was fun and ideas about celebrating creativity and emphasizing problems that creators face are commendable but pacing at times, magic without clear rules and still unexplained plot holes leaves me rather disappointed.

     Re:Creators receives the random award of losing itself in meta so much it forgot to wrap everything up. I still can’t forgive severely underusing Magane and not giving her storyline any conclusion.

Sakura Quest (Ep. 24)

     Nothing to write home in terms of animation, but the narrative of Sakura Quest in its second cour tried to make little stories more connected, implementing everything into the grand arc of reviving the festival. Still, as in its first season, Sakura Quest has been that kind of show that seems to unfold very slowly, taking time to observe the characters and even more slowly bit by bit change and mature them. In the end it turns out that the characters were truly lovable people, someone you’d love to have as friends, someone you’ve grown to like and appreciate, someone whose company each and every week seemed to be a usual and normal thing. And that only becomes clear once everything ends. I don’t know what kind of slice of life show I need to pick up to be able to fill up the hole that suddenly appeared after the show ended. It’s definitely that Sakura Quest ended while it still had something to say and it didn’t end up being dragged and over stretched. That story is ended. It’s sad but inevitable. Let’s move on.

     Sakura Quest receives the random award of actually having an ending. Too often these days shows only work as an add for some manga or light novel series that extend far beyond the reach of an anime.

     As in the previous season, favorite OP  was that of Re:Creators. It took some time to get familiar with it but again, it’s Hiroyuki Sawano, so what else did you expect?

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     How surprising, Made in Abyss triumphs in another category, grabbing the award of the favorite ED of the season. Not particularly memorable, but cutsy characters reminding of the whole journey and thus providing even more contrast between the layers of Abyss is a decent mix.

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