Anime Winter 2017: My Initial Impressions

Hello everyone, Lance here ^^, been away for a week on break and what spare time I had was absolutely devoured by the Witcher 3 (more on that some other day). But now I'm back and will give my impressions on the anime currently airing this season after watching of episodes... those I had the time for at least ^^'' 

Well here goes!

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans
First up is of course one of my personal favorites from 2016, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans. Now approaching its last dozen or so episodes, the show is gradually ramping up to a climactic finale. AAA production in visuals and sound design goes with a strong script by Okada Mari that charmingly complements the melodramatic nature of Gundam make it easily one of my favorites in the franchise. Definitely watching this band of brothers till the end.

Tales of Zestiria the X season 2
Up next is the second season of last year's Tales of Zestiria anime. Back from a season break, it picks up straight off where season one left off, with our heroes continuing on journey after their encounter with the final boss. Sorey now seeks to better understand his duty as the Shepard and learn more about the nature of human malevolence as he aims to become stronger. The idealistic and innocent (though not ignorant) Sorey is the hero the story requires and all, but he's hardly the most interesting person to watch. That and the chemistry between him and his seraphs which were the highlight of last season takes a bit of a backseat for the these initial episodes, but in its place we get to see more of the compelling duo of Rose of Alisha, the former of which who can and will perform the necessary evils that Sorey cannot, while the now emboldened Alisha heads back to reclaim her country. Tales of Zestiria never was the most engrossing nor impressive tale (ha!) to grace us, but I find it interesting enough to stick with it for another season (or more?). At the very least, there is plenty of very pretty eye-candy with studio ufotable's now signature production standards, its not very often you get to see a fireball colliding into a tornado before going full supernova, and its resultant shock-wave doing some PhysX level destruction to city walls (drolls). Here's to hoping we don't get more Beseria episodes....

Chain Chronicle: Haecceitas no Hikari
Boasting its roots to a mobile game of the same name, the Chain Chronicle anime interestingly enough chooses to start of right near the very end of the game (the story of which is outright unimportant outside of good vs evil), with the Hero, Yuri and all his allies gathered from the far reaches of the world facing off against the final boss in a climactic battle, only to lose. His opportunity gone, his allies scattered, and the land now doomed, Yuri and co must now pick up the pieces and try to reorganise, though much of their efforts seem maligned, with every step forward coming with two steps back. Its dialogue however can really fall flat at times and its visuals can be weak in its quieter scenes (though the fights are pretty excellent with some surprisingly pleasant use of CG in fight choreography), but its core tale is solid enough that I may pick it up later when it finishes.

Scum's Wish / Kuzu no Honkai
Let's put aside all those escapist fantasies, melodrama, and romcoms common for anime a bit, for this is quite the little oddity. Scum's Wish is a story about a central couple who knowingly got together as mere substitutes for partners they clearly want but (they think) they couldn't have. It's an unhealthy relationship, and they know it very well. They are adolescents high on hormones stuck in the rather awkward period of not-quite-adults who are aware of the non-rationality of what they are doing but think their emotions are something that cannot be helped, with the self-loathing that comes with wanting something (they believe) they don't deserve, hence the title. Impressively enough the script so far treads a thin tightrope of not flaunting the wrongness of its melodrama to the effect of comedy/horror (School Days... oh god), nor tragic enough to make audiences take pity on its characters, and instead portrays it as it is, adolescents who need to comes to terms with their emotions as a part of growing up. The central story is strong enough on its own for me to keep me watching for now, never mind the fact that its one of the best looking, best directed shows this season.

Gabriel Dropout
Moving on to something lighter on the slice-of-life comedy front is Gabriel Dropout. Its basically about an valedictorian angel Gabriel who descends from heaven to learn more about human life as a high school student (where else?), only to very quickly catch a case of Umaru, becoming a hedonistic misanthrope after succumbing to the allure  of MMOs. Joining her as the core cast is another sadistic fallen angel and a couple of demons that are too altruistic or naive to be of harm to anyone. It's a good comedy show, and outside of the first episode which I found rather bland, its jokes stay strong and never outstay their welcome. The solid comedy and strong cast of characters definitely make it one of the better comedies this season. Will stick with it for now.

Masumune-kun no Revenge
As the title probably suggested, our protagonists Masamune, once a chubby piglet of a kid, felt wrong romantically by a girl he admired, and now many years later had forged himself into the finest specimen on the male species aims to get back at her. His plan? Make her fall for him only to reject her, his charming allure only matched by his comedic lack of experience with women. It's silly really, and if you aim to take it seriously what you'll find are some rather unsavoury individuals. Take it for what it is however, and it quickly becomes rather apparent it's a surprisingly simple romance tale and less of a harem it appears to hint at, with some comedy sprinkled in for good measure. Decent comedy and likeable side casts make it a pleasant enough watch, but ultimately it's an average tale with production that looks decent enough. Just don't expect to be surprised by it.

Konosuba season 2
The dark horse from last that turned out to be a real standout comedy show returns for its long awaited second season. And so for it seems to be in top form, the jokes and numerous jabs at other titles in the genre are on point, and it's always amusing to see Kazuma and co. doing dick moves at the cost of others only for it to boomerang back at em'. My one complaint is the artwork this season. Studio DEEN's more... fluid approach to character designs means that characters and faces get to contort into all sorts of weird, hilarious shapes to fit the scenes they're in, often to good effect. But when it goes too far, and stationary character look to be melting (yeap) while standing still with neutral expressions, that might need a little looking into. Otherwise, so far so good.

And that's all I've managed to view so far this season, I'm not sure how many of these I'll manage to keep up with on a weekly basis, and I'd like to add Demi-chan and Dragon Maid to the list at some point. This season is already shaping up to be more promising than my preliminary impressions of it just by looking through their previews, so I hope you all are enjoying it as much as I am ^^ next time.


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