First Impressions Spring 2017 part 1

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Sorry, okay there actually are other anime than Attack on Titan Season 2 this season, but who cares about them, it’s here!

Attack on Titan season 2

For years humans have lived safe behind the walls, beginning to forget the titans, gigantic mindless monsters that have an appetite for humans, which lurk just beyond the stone. That was until the Colossal Titan came and smashed down one of the walls. On that day Eren vowed to kill every last titan and years later joined the Survey Corps in order to find a way to push back the titans and find the secret lurking in the basement of his former home. But there is much to learn about the titans, including the fact that some humans can transform into titans. So the question must be asked, who among the terrified humans is a secret titan and just why exactly are there titans inside the walls?

It’s back! About bloody time, it’s been what 4 years and honestly watching this series it feels like no time has passed at all. It helps that the story pretty much picks up straight where the last season left off (probably a good idea to go back and watch season 1 then) and we’ve got the epic action, the raw emotions and the sheet terror of watching a tiny human take on a massive titan knowing full well that character shields can fail at anytime. I also like the fact that several of the secondary characters are getting some of the spotlight while we wait for Eren and co to come save them. Now I have read a bit of the manga (I just couldn’t wait) and all I have to say that this arc is going to be epic, all they need to announce now is that this season is going to be more than 12 episodes as I’ve heard.

The Silver Guardian

Suigin is a part-timer caretaker at a posh school and full-time gamer, he’s recently got into the game Dungeon Century and met a cute girl who he spends all his time playing alongside. It comes as quite a shock when Suigin learns that the girl he’s been playing with in is real life Rei, the most beautiful and popular girl in school. Suigin is just happy to keep playing, admiring Rei from afar, but then its announced that the game will be discontinued. That’s about it so far, apart from a strange first episode that so far has nothing to do with the rest of the show.

I really don’t understand this series. I mean with shorter anime like this you can’t really do full stories, you need something short, sweet and fun (like Space Patrol Luluco), but if you do it the traditional way then you end up with a show where you’ve just about gotten something going and then it’s over. It would also help if there weren’t a full-length opening title eating into so much of the runtime. The Silver Guardian isn’t a bad show, the characters are likable if with no time to develop and on occasion are a little weird. I mean who takes their computer outside to play a game? Also what exactly are the mechanics of this game? How does the controls relate to what we’re seeing, that would be nice to know. I don’t think we’re going to get it because there’s just no time. 3 episodes in and it still feels like we’re stuck in the intro. Not sure about this one.

Granblue Fantasy: The Animation

Gran is a good-natured kid, always happy to help and pretty good with a sword, who happens to live on a floating island. He longs to leave his island though, to find his father who’s supposed to be waiting for him in the legendary Island of the Astrals. Then a girl falls out of the sky and an evil empire comes calling for her. Now Gran gets his wish and an adventure to go with it, yeah it’s not all that original, but who cares? Looks there’s dragons and skyships! Sign me up!

This is very much a classic fantasy. The story and a lot of its elements have been done before in one form or another by plenty of other series, but I just really like this series. It may not be new, but I like the world this series presents, I like the designs of the characters and the ships and just the general landscape. It probably helps that this series is just so gorgeous, with great action, lots of bright colours and did I mention some really lovely designs? I also kinda like the rough edge around the characters as if they’ve just been drawn, it gives a different feel and aesthetic to the whole show. There’s a sense of adventure about this series that puts a smile on my face every time I watch.

Alice and Zoroku

Sana has the power to create anything she wishes for, but what exactly should a little girl with the powers of a god wish for? When she escapes the shady research facility that has been holding her captive, she has no idea where she’s going and is pursued by people who share her abilities. Luckily there are those who want to help her and those who will guide her. Enter Zoroku, an elderly florist with a nonsense attitude, but is a good heart and a firm hand enough to control powers that could rip the world apart?  It’s an unusual story, but one worth hearing.

I really like this series; it’s a little slow but immensely interesting. I like that it breaks some common troupes with this type of story, I mean typically if you have a girl with supernatural powers escaping a facility the first person she’d run into would be some average teenage boy and no doubt high school hijinks would ensue. Here though it’s an old man and that gives us a unique dynamic. Zoroku is clearly there to guide Sana and teach her to use her power responsibly, but how is he going to deal with the fantastical and the two competing factions that both have their eyes on Sana. Its one part fantastical slice of life comedy and one part supernatural thriller and I really like that.

Tsugumomo

A tsukumogami is an object that develops a personality and spirit of its own. One day the obi that belonged to Kazuya’s mother, the same one he carries around with him wherever he goes, transforms into a blue-haired girl. This isn’t the only strange event to happen to Kazuya as all sorts of spiritual shenanigans have been going on, from being attacked by a possessed wig to getting locked in an equally possessed library. Could all of this have something to do with the dreams Kazuya has been having of late? Of memories he doesn’t remember? Whatever it means, this is clearly just the beginning.

I like this show, it has the feel of an old school shonen, similar to the recent Ushio and Tora, except not as well animated and with way more fanservice. Still the concept is interesting and so far the monsters of the week have been a little different to the usual roster of bad guys that turn up in these shows. The characters are fairly stock but they’ve got plenty of room to develop so I’m happy to see where they go. The things that are really keeping me around though is that the animation really steps up to the mark in the fight scenes and that soundtrack is just pure awesome.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor

Glenn is the new substitute teacher at the very best Imperial Magic Academy, where all the best and brightest go to learn about the forces of magic (anything else would kind of be a let down since it is a magic academy). Unfortunately Glenn isn’t really in the mood for teaching and instead just lazes around and annoys the students, until that is, a group of nasty wizards take over the school in search of one of the students. Now Glenn gets to show his stuff, including his blood-soaked past and the fact that he’s probably one of the most skilled magic-users around. He’s still kind of a jackass though.

I’m really scared of this series. I mean on the one hand I like the characters and the ideas at play, well, once you get to episode 2, episode 1 isn’t all that interesting and is really just one long joke with an unlikeable main character. Once we get to episodes 2 and 3 though, Glenn finally gets to show a few positive traits, showing off his extensive knowledge of magic and some decent (though not mind blowing) fight scenes. I really like the magic in this world, the idea that if you just ignore the textbooks and just change a phrase one way or the other, you can control the effect of a spell. What worries me is the writing. I mean it’s fairly straightforward and predictable, but the scene that raises a red flag is when one of the girls is nearly raped by a soldier. One, what the hell is that doing here? Two, get that the hell out of here! Rape should not be used just to show how evil the villains or as a bit of fanservice! It is a vile and terrible act and should always be treated as such. Gods, way to wreck a semi-decent show guys, way to go.

Right, okay, I need to go wash the bad taste out of my mouth, so we’ll continue this next week. Next time: working women, alien invasions, stupidly long titles and, oh yeah, let’s see what Naruto’s kid is up to. See you then!

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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