It’s been a pretty good summer season, hasn’t it? Especially next to terrible winter and spring, it’s nice to know that good anime are still being made and I’m not just beginning to hate anime or something stupid like that. Hum dee hum…I never know what to say at the start of these monthly roundups. Hum dee hum have you read the season preview yet? You should. Just don’t steal all my picks for the new Fantasy Anime League season. Hum dee hum. I heard Miyazaki retired. Hum dee hum.
Scamp: Servant X Service
While it’s not my favourite currently airing anime (writing about Watamote two months in a row is redundant), I want to pay lipservice to Servant X Service for really surprising me. I thought what it needed to do was focus more on the jokes about working in the public service and less on acting like they’re all in highschool. Turns out what it actually needed to do was turn it into an office romance series to keep me highly entertained. What makes it work is that Lucy [name shortened] and Hasabe’s relationship is held back by problems the two of them has as people and they use their budding romance as a means to explore the two of them. Same goes with the other character’s and their various failing romances. It tickles my romantic bone (Hasabe’s line at the end of episode 9 was enough to make me kyaaa like a teenage girl) while making them interesting people so I want to watch their relationships. I just seriously hope the relationship goes somewhere before the end.
Shinmaru: Silver Spoon
Silver Spoon feels like a show I don’t appreciate as much as I should. It’s quite low key and by far the most grounded show I watch each week. Silver Spoon is also one of the few anime that teaches of message of harmony with and respect for nature in an intelligent way that doesn’t bash the viewer over the head with its message. Hachiken learns through his experiences and not through guilt as he gets closer to realizing what he wants to do with his life. The comedy is often quite amusing, as well, with a good balance of silly stuff and good dark humor. (The scene in a recent episode where the deer gets hit and dies, and the immediate reaction to it, is priceless.) Also, Silver Spoon makes me unbelievably hungry every week, so there’s also that.
Inushinde: Love Lab
Now that the full ensemble is here, Love Lab has finally hit its stride as a comedy. The first few episodes were let down by the fact that the two leads didn’t have enough chemistry with each other to sustain a show just based on their interactions, but the integration of peripheral characters into the main cast has done wonders for expanding the number and quality of the gags. It’s not the best show of the season; hell, it’s not even in my Top 5. Some of the gags are too repetitious, and attempts at injecting even the tracest amounts of seriousness have met with a lack of success. However, I’ve grown to look forward to it every week as a nice piece of harmless fluff to round out the existentialist treatises of Free! and Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music…
What’s not so Hot
Scamp: Gatchaman Crowds
Something interesting has finally started to happen in this show, but it doesn’t matter because I now actively dislike all the characters. I hate the way they speak, with that irritating way their voice jumps UP IN A LOUD IRRITATING SQUEEK and then draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaws out every oooooooooooooooother syllable. I hate how they all talk past each other, particularly how Hajime’s TOOOOOTEMO GENKIIIIIIIIIIIINESS means she never actually responds to what anyone is saying, just yells her own interpretation of events seemingly without listening. The colourful artwork and GENKI personalities imply are totally at odds at a show that’s trying to be dark and deep and has people dying every single episode. A lot of this is the same problems I had with Tsuritama. I like Kenji Nakamura’s willingness to be crazy with his style and I wish I liked more of his anime, but I think in the future I’d prefer to see him do more adaptations as he did with Trapeze.
Shinmaru: Attack on Titan
As usual, by now I’ve dropped everything I outright dislike and/or don’t have time for, so I’m left with something I’m a bit meh on rather than a show that makes me claw my eyes out when I think about it. With Titan, I care about a lot of little things but not so much the big picture. My interest in the battle against the Titans dropped substantially after the Battle of Trost concluded. The stuff involving protecting Eren, seeing if he can control his power and herding him to the next place is all right, but it’s just not reaching me for whatever reason. I still enjoy how utterly weird the characters are and how this plays out in their interactions, and Titan is still capable of neat action sequences and such. But I suppose if the goal is to get the viewer to care about the overall story, then Titan’s just not working for me right now.
Inushinde: Railgun S
Railgun S and Love Lab occupy a similar space in my taste spectrum: Perfectly alright, but not daring enough to warrant any sort of reaction beyond lukewarm acceptance. Unfortunately, that reaction is a bit disappointing for Railgun, where people who essentially derive their powers from PCP are thrown by the wayside in favor of boring child characters that serve roughly the same purpose as Index from the series’ inferior parent story. What bothers me is constantly missed potential, since most of the fun in Railgun is watching it try to tenuously place progressively stupider powers within the realm of natural science. Until Railgun has PCP Girl fight Uiharu, with Uiharu somehow winning by keeping the room at the same temperature throughout, it will forever be a disappointment.