First Impressions: Autumn 2016 part 2

And we’re back! On with the first impressions!

Sound! Euphonium 2

My favourite school band anime is back! Which thinking about it isn’t too hard since this is the only school band anime that I’ve watched, though it’s still one of my favourite anime in recent years. This time around the band are making preparations for the Kansai competition, but could trouble be stirring when a student who dropped out of the club last year wants to rejoin? It seems the shadow of the incident from the previous year, where a bunch of students walked out because some people weren’t taking it seriously, is still hanging over the group and with new band members coming to foreground what drama will the club have to overcome this time?

Everything that made the last series so great is back, that gorgeous animation, the music, the characters I’ve come to love and all their interactions and relationships. I am interested in these new characters, though I just hope it doesn’t push existing characters to the sidelines. I’m glad we’re getting more of Asuka as I’ve been wanting to know what her deal is ever since the first season started and Kumiko and Reina are officially the cutest couple in existence (I shall ship them ‘til I die!). On a side note, I don’t care how much the show tries to convince Yuko is a good person I ain’t buying it, after the crap see pulled last season there’s no coming back.

Bungo Stray Dogs 2

The super powered members of the Armed Detective Agency are back, kind of. We’re taking a trip into Dazai’s past as we see what it was like when he was a member of Port Mafia and deals with the disappearance of another of their members. With a mysterious group called Mimic striking against the Port Mafia and questions being raised about just where the missing member’s loyalties lie it looks like dark times are ahead. Back in the present things aren’t any rosier though as a three-way battle for survival is kicking off between the Agency, the Port Mafia and the Guild! Will anyone survive? We’ll just have to wait and see.

This second season started in a weird place, but I’m kind of glad of it. The humour is more turned down and the action, drama and seriousness are turned up to eleven, couple that with an interesting mystery and conflict and I’m hooked. It’s different from the last season, but I cope with that for something this good. I like seeing this younger and darker Dazai, I mean he’s still the goofball I know and love (even if he is toned down a little) but there’s definitely something a lot more threatening and dangerous about this version from the past. I even like the new characters and wouldn’t mind a series getting to know them. Back in the present things pick up pretty much where they left off and the anime doesn’t waste anytime in getting to the conflict. I can’t wait to see the powers of the Guild and how this is all going to work out.

Flip Flappers

Cocona is a model honour student, cautious of change and struggling to find her path in life, but all that changes when she meets a mysterious girl called Papika. Together the two of them travel to bizarre and wondrous worlds and realities that are apart of something called Pure Illusion to collect strange gems. They’re not the only ones after the gems though. What are these gems and, more to the point, what is Pure Illusion? I hope the series is going to tell us at some point, but for now I’m just enjoying the visual feast that this anime is.

I really love this anime. A Studio Ghibli film on acid is the best way I have of describing it, each episode so far has presented us with a strange new reality that a different mash up of art styles, genres and influences. You never quite know what you’re going to get. True the actual plot is fairly vague at the moment, we don’t know much about anyone outside of our leads and we know even less about what’s actually going on. There are hints at something bigger, but so far no real clue as to what they mean or where they’re going to lead, well, outside of something equally wacky and gorgeous. This series is worth watching just for the animation and artistic style alone, but if it can ace the story as well then I think we have a winner here folks. Weird and wonderful, just the way I like my anime.

Drifters

Moments from death famous historical figures find themselves before a strange man working at his desk. The next thing they know they wake up in a fantastic land with no clue of where they are or what they’re meant to do. They are the Drifters and unbeknownst to them they have become involved in a battle to the death between other famous historical figures. Let the bloodshed begin.

Be prepared for violence and blood, lots and lots of blood. This is definitely one for my inner man-child, there is action galore here and it is gloriously animated, the story so far is a bit thin on the ground as basically we’ve just met some of the characters and watched them kill things, though to be fair I don’t think the story is going to be much more than that. I will warn you not to come to this series expecting anything near an accurate representation of the historical figures involved, Joan of Arc is a pyromaniac for an example and sometimes the humour can be a bit strange as it whiplashes between the dark and violent scenes and the characters being goofy. Still, as an action romp it’s fun.

Lostorage incited WIXOSS

Suzuko has just moved back to the town where she grew up and is hoping to meet her childhood friend Chinatsu. Before that though she gets involved with the WIXOSS card game and is chosen as a Selector. Now she must battle with other Selectors with her memories on the line and if she loses all together then she’ll be reduced to blank slate. What Suzuko doesn’t know is that Chinatsu has been chosen as a Selector as well. What will happen when the two friends come face to face as opponents?

I never got around to watching the two previous seasons of WIXOSS, though they did catch my interest and I’m sure I’ll get round to them eventually, for now I’ll dip my toe into this series since it looks to have a completely new story and characters to the previous seasons. It should be perfect for newbies like me, that’s the theory anyway. I do like the concept of the story and I think it could lead to some really dramatic and harrowing moments, but for the moment I’m just not all that invested. The characters are fine but nothings given me an emotional gut punch yet to get me to care. Everything just feels a little too constructed, like everything is being made to go down this route rather than a tragic twist of fate, the characters need to do a bit more to convince me to care. It probably doesn’t help that I have no idea what’s going on during the fight scenes. I hope the card game itself was explained a lot better in those other seasons because here it’s just kind of there, it’s a bunch of people shouting out stuff and some flashy effects and I don’t really know whether what’s happening is good or bad. I’ll stick with it for now though.

And that’s that for now. Next week we’re back to the regular anime reviews!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

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