Another season, another selection of anime! Of course the Pandemic is still in full effect so the number of actual releases is still less that what we’ve become accustomed to, but I’m not going to complain. I’d rather companies take their time, protect their staff and just slowly move back to normality rather than rush it to pander to my anime addiction. Still there are plenty of appetising shows on offer this season, from returning contenders like Fire Force and Re: Zero, to brand new shows like Deca-Dence, there’s a fair bit I’m looking forward to. Enough waffle though, let’s get into those first impressions!
Fire Force Season 2
For the people of Tokyo, the number one fear is that of human combustion. That’s why the Special Fire Force was developed, specialised fire fighter with pyrokinetic abilities who fight against the Infernals, monsters created by human combustion. After many hard battles, including a showdown with the Evangelist’s forces in the Nether, the members of Fire Force Company 8 have finally started to unravel some of the mysterious of human combustion, but there are still many more questions to be answered. What exactly are the Adolla Bursts? What are the Pillars that the white-clad seek? Just who is the Evangelist and why is he so keen on re-igniting the great fire that almost wiped out humanity so many years ago?
Fire Force is back and it’s better than ever! While I certainly enjoyed the first season it also had some very clear problems that needed addressing (you can check out my review HERE). So far season 2 has either avoided or addressed the issues I had, we have a clear goal in front of us in finding the Pillars before the Evangelist does, and the fanservice has been greatly dialled back. Heck, Tamaki actually got to show off her fighting prowess in the first episode, it’s almost as if she’s an actual character! Admittedly the cynic in me does keep reminding me that I’m only three episodes into this season and the old problems could come back as soon as this arc is over, but I’m holding on to the hope that they won’t. Also, on a last note, has the animation taken a step up this season? Season 1 had some impressive fight scenes, but this season even minor skirmishes look amazing so far. Really hoping that keeps up too!
The Misfit of Demon King Academy
Anos Voldigoad was once the tyrannical Demon King, he waged war on humans, spirits and gods alike, and yet this demon died for peace. When confronted by the Hero Kanon, Anos admitted that he was tired with the endless warfare and proposed a solution, he would give up his life energy to separate each species into their own realms for a thousand years. This would end the war and bring the potential for peace when the species finally do make contact again. However, two thousand years later, Anos is reincarnated and can’t help but feel that something is wrong. Enrolling at the Demon King Academy, where his own descendants are taught, his vast power has him branded as a misfit with only the quiet Misha and the tsundere Sasha as his allies. Can Anos work out what changed two thousand years ago? More importantly, can he put it right?
I did not have high hopes for this series when I decided to start watching it, I am so sick of the overpowered protagonist and I really just tuned into this show because I was bored one evening. The first episode really didn’t impress me, exactly as I’d feared the fights had no tension whatsoever as Anos bulldozes his way through his fights and stands around explaining how clever he is. Not to mention the fact that Anos is technically a month old and his parents should really have some sort of reaction to that, but no, that’s just a one-note joke that gets repeated. It was the start of episode 2 that really got my attention, when we learn the details of how Anos died two thousand years ago and that piqued my interest. With each episode the series takes a step away from being a power fantasy and more towards a mystery, clueing us in that the past has changed, but we don’t know why or how. If the series keeps going in this direction then there’s some real potential here, because it’s not an obstacle that Anos can just muscle his way through. Here’s hoping!
Digimon Adventure: (2020)
Fifth grader Taichi is all set for his upcoming camping trip, but he’s destined for an entirely different adventure. Mysterious digital life forms have been causing havoc with computer systems, taking control of trains, launching nuclear missiles, and now they’re systemically plunging the Tokyo into a blackout. The only way to stop the approaching disaster is to travel to the home of these strange new life forms, the Digital World. Together with his Digimon partner Agumon, Taichi heads to the Digital World, where he discovers that he’s not the only kid answering the call of adventure. He’ll have to pick up his fellow chosen ones along the way though as dark forces are on the move and an ancient battle for the world itself is about to reignite.
Digimon Adventure is back and I couldn’t be happier. I know I should just judge this series purely by itself, but it’s just so fascinating to compare this to the original Digimon Advnture. Same characters, similar kind of set up, a bunch of kids travelling across the Digital World, and yet the results are so different. Whereas the original started out with more of a surrealist streak, with the children trying to survive as best they could in the strange place they found themselves in, while also uncovering the mysteries of the Digital World. Adventure 2020 feels more like an epic quest, the Digital World is a lot more solid, with a concrete history that the franchise has been developing over the past couple of decades. As such there’s less mystery to this series, but it still holds on to that essential spirit of adventure and I’m loving it. Also, I’ll say it again, it’s so good to see a Digimon series with a proper budget and some, occasionally, fantastic animation.
Tiara is a young magic user with a dream! She wants to be like her big sister and graduate the Flora Girls Academy, a school for young women who want to become ‘lights’ to cleanse the world of magical beasts. The lessons will be tough, and she’ll have to climb up through the ranks, but with her friends, both new and old, by her side what could possibly go wrong? Well, aside from the fact that her friends are all on the verge of dropping out unless they earn themselves some points pretty quickly, and Tiara will be dropping out with them if they don’t succeed! Warm up your vocal chords, put on your fanciest costumes and prepare to take to the stage! It’s the Magical Cute Girls Do Cute Things Idol show!
Last season I made an effort to try shows that I normally would have turned my nose up at, and I was rewarded with some truly fantastic shows on my watch list. That hasn’t worked out so well this time. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing really wrong with Lapis Re:Lights, but there’s nothing all that exciting either. The characters are cute, there’s a few decent laughs each episode and it all looks pleasant enough, but for something that tempted me with the promise of a Magical Girl/Idol/CGDCT genre mash up, there’s been precious little of the first two. We’ve had one mention of magical beasts and two decent, but pretty short songs in the first three episodes. The rest has just been the girls playing around, we’ve had one episode chasing a duck and another with a magical game of dodge ball. I expect we’ll get to the other two genres in time, but this series hasn’t really done anything to ensure I’ll stick around that long. It better start getting interesting soon or I may just forget this one even exists.
The God of High School
High school can be a real battle some times, but never before like this! For those that enter the ‘God of High School’ tournament one promise is made, win and any wish you make will be granted. That’s a tempting offer for anyone and it brings out all sorts of contenders, from martial artists and swordsmen to even pro wrestlers, the tournament isn’t picky about how its entrants choose to fight, just that they do. For Jin Mori, he doesn’t really care who he fights against or even what the end goal really is, he only wants to fight the strongest opponents and now he has the chance to do just that. But just what is the ‘God of High School’ tournament? Can it really grant any wish? And what does it have to do with a tropical island that was flattened by a giant hand?
And here it is, Crunchyroll’s next original that they are promoting the heck out of and it’s…okay. Don’t get me wrong this series is a tremendous amount of fun, but so far that’s all it is, which isn’t a bad thing. I feel like I’m being overly critical with this series, not every series has to be some grand masterwork in character and storytelling, sometimes you can just be fun and so far ‘The God of High School’ fits that perfectly. The fights are tremendous, from the choreography to the animation, these are some exhilarating fights and well worth the price of admission alone. As for the characters, well they’re little more than tropes and the story is just a tournament. There’s potential here, a few mysteries that we can work on behind the scenes, but my suspicion is that 90% of this series will be fighting and, you know what? I think I’m okay with that. Pass the popcorn.
We’ll leave it there for this week, but next week we reunite with Subaru and the gang to restart our life in another world, samurai take on CGI monstrosities in the year 2030 and the end of the world isn’t quite what you think it is…
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.