In which we get what we expected (mostly).
Going into this season my expectations for Glasslip were sky high and while the premiere did very little to surprise, it also did nothing to turn me away from my initial hype levels. This episode mostly served to lay the groundwork for what is to come and it did so in a very smooth and natural way without any unnecessary exposition to get in the way of our view of the daily lives of the cast. The visuals were superb as is to be expected from PA Works. There were some questionably long still shots but they mostly worked within the nostalgic aesthetic they seem to be setting up here where the events on screen almost feel like something out of a memory rather than the present. At its core, Glasslip is PA Works doing typical PA Works things which is exactly what I want out of my anime.
Speaking of premieres that did little to surprise, Barakamon’s first episode was an almost perfect recreation of the first chapter of the manga with the addition of all the little bonuses that come with the anime format. That’s a very good thing because the first chapter of the Barakamon manga is great and if Kinema Citrus can recreate the atmosphere and tone of the manga then Barakamon should be an excellent show. The episode demonstrated the contrast between the feel and pace of city life compared to life on a rural island. While fish out of water stories are fairly common, Barakamon still feels fresh and intriguing. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Aldnoah.Zero started out with a bang as it pulled out the big guns for an explosive premiere that really blew me away as it- okay, I’ll stop now. Explosion puns aside, the first episode Aldnoah.Zero really was quite good. It took care of setting up the premise of interplanetary conflict very quickly without feeling like anything was rushed and combined this with enough actual plot to keep the episode from dragging. The events of this episode raise a ton of interesting plot specific questions in addition to setting up the typical thematic and philosophical issues that characterize an Urobuchi Gen production. Gritty sci-fi/mecha shows aren’t exactly my cup of tea but the pedigree of Aldnoah.Zero and this solid first episode have me excited for more.
4. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
I actually liked the first episode of the Nozaki-kun anime considerably more than I liked the first couple chapters of the manga. Part of it was the fact that Chiyo is much cuter in anime form than in manga form but I also thought the comedic timing was much stronger in the anime than in the manga. The 4koma format in the manga made it hard for gags to develop as there was always the need to come up with a punch line every four panels. That’s not to say every problem with the manga has been eliminated. There’s still the issue of Chiyo’s frustrating inability to express her feelings to Nozaki. This is the kind of gag that will wear thin pretty quickly so the writers here need to be careful in how they use it. In my mind she either needs to succeed in confessing or the gag needs to go away completely. If they keep trying to use it throughout the show I can see it becoming a big issue for me. Other than that there’s the generic question you have with any show like this: can they keep the material fresh? I can envision Nozaki-kun as a light-hearted and amusing look at the world of shoujo manga or as something that wears out its welcome very quickly. We should know pretty soon which one it will be.
5. Space Dandy 2
Space Dandy is back with an episode that almost perfectly encapsulates everything that the first cour was. It had some very funny moments, some nicely animated parts and was extremely surreal at times. The episode, like the show, was mostly a mixed bag for me as I found myself laughing out loud at some points and found myself quite bored by the show at others. Still, Space Dandy’s second cour exactly replicating the first is probably a good thing since I don’t see the flaws in the show being inherent in what the staff is trying to do so I’m left hoping that they don’t do anything to mess with what works in Space Dandy. So far so good.
6. Futsuu no Joshikousei ga Locodol Yatte Mita
Local Idols ends up in the five spot more by accident than anything else due to the limited selection of shows for APR this week. The show is pretty much as silly and pointless as I expected but the last few minutes of the episode had considerable charm and actually got me excited for more of the show. It’s anime junk food to be sure but if each episode can have a few moments like the best parts of this episode then I can see myself liking this show quite a bit.
As Haikyuu moves into its second cour it looks like it’s time for the obligatory tournament arc. The set up here was pretty awkward with the coach literally reading all the other schools we’re going to see off for the viewer’s benefit. The annoyances in gameplay are getting to be less noticeable but my volleyball nostalgia is also starting to wear off. We’ll see how far I get here but Haikyuu might end up on the drop list sooner rather than later.
8. Bakumatsu Rock
Bakumatsu Rock is a dumb show. Like, really dumb. That said, it’s often endearingly dumb. It’s hard to not to chuckle a bit when the main cast rocks so hard that their clothes explode. If that’s the kind of show Bakumatsu Rock is going to be throughout then it should be a pretty fun ride. It could also turn out to be complete garbage within the next two weeks but there’s at least something here.
9. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
First the good news: somebody other than Tatsuya actually got to explain something! Now that thing was a completely absurd technique that didn’t make much sense (making the water dark so the people in dark glasses don’t think it’s there? Really?) but at least it’s something. On the other hand, Rising Hope is no more which takes with it about half my reason to watch the show. Also, Mahouka seems to be getting less aggressively bad and has opted instead to just be plain boring. Boring might be artistically superior to flat out bad but it’s less fun to write about so Mahouka might also not be long for this list. We’ll see what “guy who totally isn’t Suzaku from Code Geass” can do for this show and maybe that will make me keep with it.
10. Rail Wars
It took about five minutes of watching Rail Wars before I thought “oh right, this is a light novel isn’t it?” Despite the unique premise, Rail Wars is very much full of typical LN characters and plot points. The only distinctive thing about it is the premise and that isn’t something that will take the show very far. Also, the show opens with the narrator stating that the Japanese rail system “is made possible because it is a virtually untouchable state-owned enterprise” which is patently untrue since in the real world the system exists and isn’t government run. Say what you will about Mahouka’s questionable politics but at least it didn’t open with demonstrably untrue statements. Dropped.