First Impressions of Anime Winter 2017

Konosuba 2

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I’ve already asked this on Twitter a couple of times, but I want to repeat it because I still haven’t really gotten an answer: Is it just me or is this season of Konosuba way funnier than the last? I say this because I find myself laughing much harder and more frequently in these past two episodes than I feel I had in the entirety of season one. That isn’t to say season one was bad. In fact, that set up was entirely necessary, as without it season two (especially the first episode) could never had hit as hard as it did. There were so many hilariously references to their past misadventures that I couldn’t keep count, utilized in the brilliant way of trying to provide a defense for Kazuma’s character, but ultimately backfiring and proving himself to be a perverted, panty-stealing delinquent.

This season feels like an amplified version of season one. The scenarios in which the core cast finds themselves in feel far better plotted and executed. In episode one, they go from the accusation to the jailbreak, then the interrogation to the court hearing, and each segment is brimming with comedy gold. During the opening accusation, Kazuma tries to defend himself and the guild backs him up, until they realize  only one sacrifice is needed, to which they then turn on Kazuma in a moments notice. The jailbreak is full of Aqua gags, as she fails numerous times at busting Kazuma out. My favorite was when she gave him a lock pick only for him to find out it’s a combination lock. And don’t even get me started on the interrogation scene.

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One more thing I’d like to point out is that the character dynamics seemed to have evolved since last season. Aqua was more stubborn and unhelpful in season, and while she definitely hasn’t stop being that now, she definitely seems to get along with Kazuma more. In fact, the whole group seems to get along better, and the sense of community with the guild has also improved. Konosuba’s starting to feel like a living world with characters that exist outside of the storyline we’re shown, and I think that makes it much more enjoyable this time around.

Masamune-kun’s Revenge

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This anime has been pleasantly entertaining so far, but it’s also one false step away from becoming utterly generic. It almost feels too harem-y, yet at the same time I feel the main character really keeps the show on course from becoming that. His motivation is seemingly unique in romance anime, where he’s guided not by infatuation, but rather hatred. I like these kind of ulterior motives as they tend to remind me of The World God Only Knows. Having an objective perspective on romance, trying to methodically capture and play with one’s heart…it’s really intriguing to see the conquest of love through this lens, as it is morally ambiguous if not actually kinda dark.

I especially like this in a character because it typically makes them more self-aware. I’ve seen plenty of anime with incredibly mundane romances, following a bunch of teens that don’t know what to do with their feelings and other bullshit. It’s derived and boring, and I just prefer characters that at the very least vaguely understand what they want, and put genuine thought and effort into trying to obtain it.

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If Masamune-kun’s Revenge plays out exactly how I think it will…I’m not sure if I’ll actually be disappointed by it. I’m sure everyone who has watched the show so far has probably gotten the idea in their head that a possible, if not likely outcome for this show is for Masamune to actually fall in love during his revenge quest. He’ll learn things about the “Cruel Princess” that’ll make him rethink what he’s trying to accomplish, his plan will eventually come out and she’ll hate him for it, that maid girl will fall in love with him along the way, and things will inevitably workout in the end. If it all goes down like this, I think it’ll be a fun ride. If the show manages to surprise me however, I could very much appreciate that as well. All I really hope is that it wraps up in 1-2 seasons.

Fuuka

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Here’s another show that’s walking the dangerous line of generic garbage. I original found myself liking and relating to the main protagonist because of his introverted tendencies and affinity for Twitter. That being said, as the episodes progressed I found myself liking him much less. He’s quite indecisive and reluctant to try to understand or communicate his feelings, like any other teen with romance problems. Fuuka relies on stupid mistakes and misunderstandings to fuel its drama far too often, which is definitely one of my most hated clichés.

I find misunderstandings to be far more appropriate when fueling comedy rather than drama, because at the end of the day it’s just a silly lack of communication. When used to invoke drama, it just ends up feeling like a pointless grind to me that can be solved by something so simple as FUCKING TALKING TO EACH OTHER. The audience already knows both sides of the story, and they also know it will always reach a reconciliation and then go back to normal. All this is just wasted time that could’ve been spent actually doing something fun or inventive with the narrative.

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Anyway, the show has very basic animation that can be very obvious just by focusing on reading lips or their movements during concerts. Fuuka looks fine in some moments, but terrible in others, and the soundtrack doesn’t leave much of an impression at all (not the actual concert songs, just the background music). Hopefully the show can carry itself on its narrative alone, otherwise it’ll be just another underwhelming love triangle that’ll surely be forgotten.

Scum’s Wish

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Here’s a much more interesting and fresh high school drama, one that doesn’t rely on the stupid mistakes of its characters to pretend like its actually compelling. Scum’s Wish is a story that’s about falling in love with the wrong person. Relationships that can never be, a morose look at unrequited love and the pain that comes with it. With some truly unique relationship dynamics, this anime is definitely out to try something different as it plays with emotion and perception.

Whether it be idealizing the one’s you love but can’t have, or trying to use each other to help lessen the burden of keeping not only their mental, but physical desires to themselves, Scum’s Wish is a genuine attempt at trying to understand human desire and necessity that also seems like it’s trying to make sense of superficial relationships. Hanabi looks down at those more concerned about what they get out of a relationship rather than just feeling a love for the person themselves, yet she herself is in a relationship that is nothing but a façade. Perhaps this is a tale of her downward spiral, or it could be a story that leads to acceptance of one’s own desires. That’s part of the fun with Scum’s Wish, because I truly can’t see where it is going. I definitely look forward to more.

Others

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Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club and March Comes in Like a Lion are both shows I’ve already discussed before, check out my episode reviews the former or my final thoughts on last season for the latter. I will say that I am currently enjoying both of them very much. As for Little Witch Academia, the episodes aren’t available yet so I haven’t watched it.

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4 thoughts on “First Impressions of Anime Winter 2017

  1. Fuuka’s over-reliance on overblown teen drama and a lack of communication to create any kind of tension in an episode is really incredibly lame. Given the main characters social awkwardness (though that seems to come and go at the whim of the writers) and Fuuka’s uncertainty about her future would be enough to create some real tension in the story but the show doesn’t seem to want to focus on that and is rather dropping them into contrived, generic set ups which play out as expected. It isn’t bad, it is just really frustrating to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David says:

    I’ve read a lot of the manga for Scum’s Wish, and from the beginning It’s been one of my favorites. The anime so far has been even better, selon moi, being easier to understand. T

    Liked by 1 person

    • David says:

      This is mostly due to the medium, actually, since there are some points in the manga where it’s not clear who is speaking, and the translation seems a little sketchy. Additionally, the color scheme and music of the anime, two things not present in the manga, are very fitting for the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m enjoying it a lot so far, it feels quite fresh and mature to me. I’ve noticed that high school anime usually handle sex in one of two ways: Either like a badly written soft core porno OR just with a lot of flustering and no overtly sexual content whatsoever. So I’m very glad Scum’s Wish seems to be doing something different.

        Not that high school anime necessarily needs sexual content, although I do find it to be much more realistic because, at least in my experience, that’s just what teens do. Drugs and not going on dates with me are also typical teenager things, though times might’ve changed, plus Japan has a different culture than the U.S.

        Like

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