Winter Anime 2017 Review (Part 2/3)

Youjo Senki
Saga of Tanya the Evil

Kaze – 7/10

Youjo Senki was a very different kind of anime than we normally get, and in this case, that was a good thing. Although it still has some of the familiar tropes like starting life in a new world (although in this case, literally starting life back from a baby) and magic being used in wars, there is enough originality deserving praise. With an incredibly self-centered MC who sends her (or his; pronouns are confusing with this character being reincarnated as a different gender) subordinates off to die for disobeying her and a story based in alternative history where WWI Germany is portrayed as the protagonists, this is certainly not what you normally expect from anime. The battles are often a thrill to watch and the references to actual history are very spot on, especially with the MC using her knowledge of our own history to help the war efforts. While the show does include the annoying overpowered MC who never loses, her personality and lack of empathy make for a entertaining watch; however, the almost anti-theist approach to life may bother people even more, even if it’s clear the god portrayed is not the Christian God. The biggest flaw is definitely the animation which suffered enough to warrant a recap episode, but the staff managed to bounce back from it and have some decent animation towards the end. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot for being full of action yet also very different from your standard action anime.

BanG Dream!
BanG Dream!

stardf29 – 6/10 

Note: this show is still currently airing, with 3 episodes left to go, though I doubt anything will happen that will significantly change my opinion on it.

Personally, I’m enjoying this show quite a bit, and my own rating would probably be a 7/10; however, there’s honestly not that much to recommend about it. All I can really say is that it’s a competent show. The story works, the characters are likable, and the music… actually, the music is excellent, so if nothing else, take a listen to the franchise’s music somewhere. If you want a story with cute girls starting a rock band that takes a more dramatic route than K-ON!, this show does just fine.

(A somewhat more meta complaint I have is that there are four other major bands in the BanG Dream! franchise that are all quite interesting in their own way, but get very little attention in the anime. You can download and play the mobile game for more on them, but that’s another whole can of worms…)

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka
ACCA: 13-Territories Inspection Department

Lynna – 7/10

When I started ACCA, the first impression I got was that it was going to be a little different: not necessarily good or bad, but different. The result was that the first half vastly exceeded my expectations as the story became subtly clever before my eyes and I grew surprisingly attached to these somewhat nonchalant characters. The story was going somewhere, and it was very exciting to watch; unfortunately, the latter half only partially delivered. The mysteries in this anime were indeed intriguing, but the storytelling kept us in the dark on too many things for too long with minimum foreshadowing, so when the ending came it felt anticlimactic. Some events were terribly executed and there was a lot of missed potential. Still, the ending wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad either, and the majority of the story was engaging, and held an interesting balance between being light-hearted and intense. It explored some interesting questions on trust and leadership, and although not all of the characters were fully developed, the ones that were made up for that.  In the end, it was an enjoyable story, and if the idea of a slow-paced political drama appeals to you, I would recommend it. Of all the shows I have followed episodically so far, this one is probably my favorite.

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Impure King Arc

Annalyn – 6/10

Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga (also known by the above names) started out at a disadvantage. It aired almost six years after its first season finished airing. So I, along with many other viewers, had forgotten much about the series. To make matters even more difficult, the first season’s last eight episodes were not canon (according to the manga). In fact, they departed from the original tone and story in a dramatic way, having the characters become comfortable friends again when a rift had opened between them just an episode before. This new Kyoto arc completely ignores those non-canon episodes, starting where episode 17 of the first season left off.

For once, a recap episode would have been nice. As it is, it was difficult to reorient myself to Blue Exorcist. And even by the end of this season, I had a hard time connecting with many of the characters the way I’m pretty sure I connected with them last time. (Actually, wait, I don’t think I ever connected well with most of these characters. Especially not Shiemi, so I wish she didn’t get all this sappy screen time.)

Disorientation aside, the Kyoto Saga’s quality is similar to that of its predecessor, an average shounen anime: There’s fun action and humor. There are cliché, in-your-face lessons for various characters about friendship, treasuring family, doing what’s right even when it’s hard, and self-confidence. And every now and then, the story goes a little deeper—especially when it comes to the main character, Rin, and his brother Yukio. The anime is helped along by some repeated themes woven through the episodes—themes of trust, duty, family, and self-perception—although the actual execution of these themes is sometimes clumsy and overdone. Basically, once I got through the disorientation, my reaction fluctuated between “hey, this is actually kinda cool” and facepalming at clichés and sappy moments.

Piace: Watashi no Italian
Piace: My Italian Cooking

MRNewman – 3/10

Imagine the worst anime series ever. This isn’t it. Imagine the best. This is not that either. Piace: Watashi no Italian is a show about Festa, a small Italian restaurant in an unnamed village in Japan. Each four minute episode involves the misadventures of the Festa crew as they cook and serve their customers. Behind the very rambling story of everyone cooking lies Morina, who enters thinking she wants to be a chef. Or not. It’s never very clear. In four minutes each episode, you would think things would sometimes be a bit more clear. All in all, I can’t say I regret watching the show, but I didn’t look forward to it each week. Each week I watched as tired, uninspired jokes about working in a restaraunt were told. Some hit, some did not. Mostly misses with an overall uninteresting cast. I wouldn’t recommend it. Then again, it’s less than an hour of your time – so you be the judge. You can stream the show legally on Crunchyroll if you are interested in seeing more.

Chain Chronicle: Haecceitas no Hikari
Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas

Medieval Otaku – 6/10 

Chain Chronicle stands as one of those well-crafted, derivative fantasy anime.  The animation is fluid and beautiful, and the characters are likable; but the plot represents the good vs. evil, RPG-ish fantasy of which the audience is well familiar.  Despite feeling a little bored at times, the anime had good entertainment value from beginning to end.  The long goodbye makes me think that the animators believed that they actually created memorable characters, but this simply isn’t true and I doubt that I’ll watch Chain Chronicle again.

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu
Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club

stardf29 – 6/10 

Cute girls going biking is nothing new: we just had Long Riders last season, after all. MinaKama does lack some of the particular frustrations I had with the other show, and even had some exciting moments rivaling sports anime during the bike race in the middle. However, it offers little outside of that. When the main thing people talk about a show is its background art—which admittedly is incredibly gorgeous—it’s not exactly the best sign for a show’s narrative. It’s not bad by any means: the girls are interesting enough, the biking is educational, and the story is serviceable. It just doesn’t have anything especially notable to warrant a wider recommendation. Fans of biking and cute-girls-doing-cute-things might find enough to like about this show, but that’s about it.

Look forward to our final reviews tomorrow!


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