12 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

May 2017 Anime Roundup

IMG_0556It’s a week later than planned, but here’s my roundup of all the anime I watched last month. This month even included a much anticipating movie that has been wowing audiences everywhere, and no I’m not talking about Your Name. Also includes a catching-up process to a completely ignored full CG anime that’s not streaming anywhere. Guess which one I liked more, me being the big contrarian I am.

…at least, I pretend I’m being contrarian, but then the rest of the preview is just more Titan and Hero Academia.

A Silent Voice

IMG_0557The big hit movie that wasn’t You Name finally came out for streaming services, so the wife rented it out from Amazon and we gave it a watch. I enjoyed it quite a bit for the first maybe two-thirds. It was an effective low-key drama and the world’s greatest friend was a highly amusing character. But after that it all went a bit k-drama. Everyone started yelling or falling into comas, we had people running from hospitals after mysterious dreams. It annoyed me in a similar way to how Ano Hana did, except maybe not quite as bad. Me and these sorts of gaudy melodramas don’t sit well with me, which is a shame because I was enjoying the story of this deaf girl and how it sucks to be a teenager. Perhaps it’s just me and I find the bear-your-heart scenes gaudy and eye-roll inducing. A Silent Voice just wasn’t for me in the end.

ID-0

IMG_0561The show nobody is watching because there’s no legal streams of it and it’s a full CG anime original thing with promo material featuring cute girls but no hints of its hard sci-fi roots. I feel almost old school watching it myself, downloading fansubs that leave in the “Coral No Supon Sowa Oh Christmas” bit. Which is a shame because it’s really quite good. Apart from the absolutely abhorrent character designs and the fact that I’m pretty sure I don’t actually like any of the characters. It’s by Goro Taniguchi, director of Code Geass and Planetes, but the anime by him it’s arguably most similar to so far is Infinite Ryvius. Group of people on a ship on the run from a massive organisation because they have technology on their ship so far beyond their own understanding. Although unlike Ryvius and its cast of horrible characters, I think I’m supposed to like the characters in ID-0.

So why do I like this then? It’s the story and the world they’ve built. It’s a fantastic example of hard science fiction in the sense that it builds its science excellently so you can almost predict what’s going to happen next because you have a clear understanding of the rules of the world. Unlike the more drab sci-fi, each new rule is only introduced as it becomes relevant to the plot, and each one helps deepen our understanding of the characters or actively drives the plot forward. Plus they all have cool English names, like Evertrancer, the term given to someone who put their mind in a robot but now has no human body to return to. I feel like they took the complete wrong direction with it visually. Even CG is less of an issue if you embraced the hardcore sci-fi nature of it and went for less anime character designs. I feel like the people who are less bothered by CG anime are the more casual fans. Although I suppose that wouldn’t have helped either since casual fans aren’t downloading fansubs anymore.

Attack on Titan

IMG_0559Titan is at its best when its going full throttle, no breaks on the action and the tempo. Which this month thankfully had a lot of, so I enjoyed myself a lot. The problem is when it slows down, I realise I don’t really care about any of the characters. I’m one of those people who actually really likes Eren, but I like him more as a force of nature. A single entity representing pure fury at humanity’s position, which is best demonstrated in the higher tempo moments. The same comes with dramatic plot reveals. They work when part of a high tempo where the twists represent themes rather than a coherent, logical world. The more you think about their place in the world, the more they start to feel a bit stupid. On the other hand, you need those down moments for the higher tempo bits to feel more impactful. All screaming all of the time doesn’t really work either. So I’m not really sure how to solve the problem. Maybe have more interesting characters that work on a level above the raw emotion they’re supposed to represent, but it’s probably too late for that now.

My Hero Academia

IMG_0555Using a highly contrived shounen tournament arc to draw suspense and weighty battles feels really cheap. That said, holy shit it works, and I’m almost angry at myself for how much it has worked on me. This is so bloody contrived but its working and I am so invested in these fights. It’s even fun to predict who is going to win, not based off power level, but in who makes more sense to progress on a story level. Of course Bakugo was going to win his fight, but I liked them building up the justifications to how they reached that level. It’s a weird way to put it since it seems like a clinical way to enjoy a show, but I enjoyed the craft of the sob stories put into their motivations. Yeah sure it’s very X-Factor, talent contest stories, but it’s a formula that works and I can appreciate My Hero Academia using it effectively.

Kado

IMG_0558Is there a new rule that good, hard sci-fi anime have to be in bad CG? At least more people are watching Kado than ID-0. See what happens when your character designs aren’t terrible! Although in this case they replaced terrible designs with generic ones, but at least it kinda works in Kado because the boring humans contrast well with the alien figure of zaSushina. Also the real reason more people are watching this is because it is actually being legally streamed. Anyway, my enjoyment of Kado has really jumped up a bunch lately. The entire episode where they move the cube was one of my favourite moments from anime this year in a way I’m not entirely sure I can describe. We had surrogate Google CEO step in and demand an interview with an interdimensional alien who gave him a magical brain so he could commit, in the show’s own words, video terrorism. It’s also been dropping some heavy plot-twist bombs lately that my brain, so addled by watching Code Geass repeatedly, has been trained to automatically love.

Little Witch Academia

IMG_0560My enjoyment of Little Witch Academia has dropped a bit lately. Like I said in the last monthly roundup, I’m struggling to care about Akko and her quest to find these words. I think the reason is because I don’t feel like she’s earned the right to all this development the show is claiming she has gone through. I don’t feel like she’s changed or really learned anything. Maybe a much longer show would have helped this, but she’s still kinda rude, stubborn and intrusive to people. She is now really good at turning into a mouse, which is nice I suppose. The background story of the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and Sex Goddess Turned Frumpy Busybody is definitely the most interesting part, and usually where the anime gets more visually inventive too.

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul

IMG_0562I’m worried. I still continue to mightily enjoy Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul. I’m an episode or two behind, but the last one had Fava, sorry, FAVAROOOOOO appear briefly so that’s exciting. But the show has taken a more serious turn lately and this is around the same point the last season of Bahamut got a bit shit. The story, while more interesting than last season, is still not particularly great and not the reason I enjoy this show. It’s the fun adventure romp. When people start getting crushed to death and tortured in dungeons, it starts to drain the fun out of the show. Don’t try to be Berserk, Rage of Bahamut. Just be Rage of Bahamut. There’s no other anime out there doing fun fantasy as well as you do. Stick to that and you’ll be fine.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted June 8, 2017 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Is A Silent Voice UK only on Amazon? It was on my watchlist but it wasn’t until I went to this manga event where Kodansha was talking it up that I put two and two together. The promotional version of chapter one they gave got me hooked and I binge-read the rest. Made me realize how formulaic manga can get with the lather “things are boring, let’s introduce a new character and create a conflict involving this character that you didn’t know existed two chapters ago” rinse. repeat.

    But still enjoyed the manga until its rather sudden end and then finding the movie just became available was crazy: seeing the signs animated, hearing her vocalizing, fangirl-ing over kyoani, etc. They made some sensible edits to the plot, imo. It didn’t feel rushed to me, having read the source material, but I wasn’t sure about people who hadn’t.

    I’m pretty sure you dissing The Kings Avatar is what made me pick it and its web novel up. Now I’m on the lookout for more Chinese web novel or manhua adaptions.

    Oh, and Fukumenkei Noise has got me looking for any and all unbearably stupid romance anime that I haven’t already watched.

    Maybe I’ll pick up the anon translated ID-0…

    Did you not pick up Eccentric Family S2?

    • Outcast
      Posted June 8, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      He didn’t like Eccentric Family S1

  2. Posted June 8, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    “My enjoyment of Little Witch Academia has dropped a bit lately. Like I said in the last monthly roundup, I’m struggling to care about Akko and her quest to find these words. I think the reason is because I don’t feel like she’s earned the right to all this development the show is claiming she has gone through. I don’t feel like she’s changed or really learned anything.”

    That’s pretty fair, and honestly one of the more straight to the point criticisms that I’ve seen on Akko in a bit.

  3. megaroad1
    Posted June 8, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    First I hear of ID-0!! Why o why doesn’t something like this get licensed? If Crunchyroll finds the means and energy to license Akashic records or Sekai no Yami Zukan, surely they could have tried, right?

    • Karl Eriksson
      Posted June 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s licensed by Netflix, has an placeholder page and won’t come out until July, so the producers and studio earns a profit for in exchange for having to wait a season until it can get any worldwide streaming.

  4. Ken
    Posted June 8, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Funny, I felt the opposite about A Silent Voice. I enjoyed the final third more than the first two. Maybe it’s just me. I confess to drinking the KyoAni KoolAid a while ago and my eyes glaze over whenever I look at their amazing character animation. I also read the manga and I thought they did a great job of chopping it down to a 2-hour 9-minute movie.

  5. Ken
    Posted June 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I dropped ID-0 after 4 episodes because it sucked too hard.

    • AH
      Posted June 8, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      I feel the opposite. For me ID-0 got better every week. Episodes 3, 4 and 5 were pretty hype. Te second half has become quite interesting too, with new information about the setting, more character work which has made me like the cast, and some nice story developments. Looking forward to the climax.

  6. Pete
    Posted June 8, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I am amused by everyone using caps and several o’s for FAVAROOOO. But yeah I hope it doesn’t change its tone now, FAVAROOOO works better in adventure mode.

    Still liking Kado, huh? I guess I should finally try it.

  7. Canary Paint
    Posted June 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hooray! Someone else likes ID-0!!!

    You have made me curious about Kado.

  8. meh
    Posted June 19, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Yay, you’re alive! Also, have you checked out Kizumonogatari or are you done with -monogatari series now? (Completely understandable)

  9. Nigouki
    Posted July 5, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I read this post before I decided to watch season 2 of Boku no Hero, and I had the exact same thing happen to me in the end. I think I was really in the mood for this kind of anime, because I remember watching the finale to season 1 without much hype. I might’ve been burnt out on anime at the time, or maybe it was stress from school, but I guess what you’re in the mood for can really impact your feelings about a show going into each episode.
    By the way, I watched all of the aired season 2 episodes in one night. I can’t believe I got so into this.

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