Now that it’s October, we once again have a new anime season and it’s looking pretty good so far. As usual, I can’t (and really don’t want to) watch everything in a season, but here are my reactions to the shows that caught my eye this season. I won’t be doing any plot summary here, so I included links to Anime News Network that include plot summaries. I’ll be categorizing them by how strongly I would recommend them based on the first episode. Now without further ado, here are my reactions to the new anime season.
I didn’t quite know what to expect going into Izetta. The head writer has worked on plenty of well liked shows (Code Geas) but also some not so well liked shows (Guilty Crown). Luckily, Izetta’s off to a strong start. The first episode did a great job establishing the alternate history World War II setting and introducing Fine as a strong lead and even had time for some political drama and action. The animation and music are both high quality, and the introduction of Izetta herself had a Ghibli-esque vibe to it. There are some hints of yuri, which I wouldn’t mind, although it may just end up being bait. Still, I have high hopes for this.
Drifters is exactly what I expected from the an adaptation of a manga by Kouta Hirano, the creator of Hellsing: plenty of action, plenty of gore and some hit and miss comedy. The first episode did it’s job introducing the lead characters and providing a hook for the rest of the show and did it well. Historical figures fighting in a fantasy world is an interesting, if not wholly original, idea and has a lot of potential. Drifters isn’t going to amaze anyone with its deep story, but it still had one of the most entertaining premiers of the season.
Bungo Stray Dogs 2 starts out with Dazai’s backstory, something that season one hinted frequently hinted at but never showed. Episode one showed the same mix of solid action and solid comedy as the first season, but had some surprisingly strong direction. The use of mood lighting in some scenes was much more noticeable than any directorial choices from season one and is a nice change. Bungo Stray Dogs isn’t going to amaze anyone, but is still solid entertainment and is worth watching for anyone who liked the first season.
March comes in like a lion (lower case is how it’s written) is probably the most interesting anime of the season. Studio Shaft is known for creativity if nothing else, and this is no exception. The art is highly stylized without going overboard and the direction is excellent. Rei’s depression is conveyed completely through coloring, facial expressions and shot framing at the start and he doesn’t actually have any lines until nearly nine minutes into the episode. His depression is clearly the focus of the show, and it colors almost everything. The way it’s portrayed is very realistic, with him just struggling to enjoy anything instead of just being sad all the time. The comedy comes off as somewhat jarring, but still provides a nice contrast with his inner thoughts. March comes in like a lion is guaranteed to be interesting if nothing else.
Wait and See
Flip Flappers had a pretty good first episode, but I’m not entirely sure what it was a first episode of. Both characters were introduced and have pretty good chemistry (that may turn into yuri later on) and the art was creatively done, but I have absolutely no idea where it’s going. There was very little done to establish the setting or the rules of that world, and I’m not entirely sure where the story’s going. The animation was also an odd mix of smooth movement and jerkiness. There’s potential here, but I’d rather wait to see what kind of show it turns into.
It’s basically impossible to do a darker magical girl show now without people instantly thinking of Madoka Magica. Magical Girl Raising Project was pretty obviously influenced by Madoka and probably wouldn’t exist without it, but there are still some original ideas here. Koyuki’s love of magical girls is endearing and all of the secondary characters at least have some personality to them. Sou is especially interesting as a boy who likes magical girls and actually becomes one. A lot of how this ends up depends on if it can do its own thing and avoid becoming a copy of Madoka Magica. It also needs to make sure not to just be dark for the sake of being dark and do it for the sake of the story. It could turn out well, but it could also become a generic Madoka clone. It’s hard to tell which way it’s going to go at this point.
Occultic;Nine was the biggest disappointment for me this season. It has a strong staff: the director of Your Lie in April, from the creator of Steins;Gate (one of my all time favorites) and animated by A-1 Pictures. It had potential but the first episode didn’t do much to impress. There was some impressive animation, but the storytelling felt like the writers had had too much caffeine. Characters were introduced rapid fire without much to endear them to the audience and half the cast talks at about x1.5 speed, which is both annoying and makes it hard to keep up with the subtitles. It has the seeds of a good supernatural murder mystery, but needs to relax a bit and do more to create an atmosphere instead of rush everything. Also, the character designer needs to tone it down with the breast sizes. Ryo-tas just looks ridiculous.
Everything listed here is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.