Once again, the spring anime season is upon us and it’s been a while since I’ve been this excited for a season (a whole year to be exact). There’s a lot of variety this time around so if you’re a fan of anime I expect you will find something to your liking. I, personally, won’t be watching every anime available, due to being busy with Dark Souls 3 and maybe school?, but I’ve picked up a few of the highlights. As a reminder, I’m not an anime critic. I’m a fan of the medium, like most of you, and am giving my personal opinions. Hopefully by reading this, I can provide some quick insight on some anime you might not heard of or are not sure about. So, without further ado, here’s my list.
Warning: Impressions may contain Mild Spoilers
My Hero Academia
One of the biggest series to come out of the season would be My Hero Academia, based on the hit manga written by Kōhei Horikosi. The story follows main protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, as he peruses his dreams of becoming a hero in a world where 80% of the population is born with superhuman powers. Between the excitement generated from positive reception of the manga and the fact that it would be animated by the highly respected studio Bones, My Hero Academia is an anime everyone has their eyes on. What I found most enjoyable so far is the main protagonist, Izuku, is more realistic and genuine than most shounen protagonists. When confronted with an enemy and an impossible situation, Izuku doesn’t run in head first to save the day with the power of friendship or a perfectly timed deus ex machina. He helps those in need, fully aware that he can’t change things on his own, because he cares.
In terms of animation, the art style is colorful and flashy while maintaining consistent high quality. Where the series struggles is in its pacing. The first two episodes cover the entirety of the 60 page first chapter of the manga. Usually, two episodes is long for an opener and you can tell it feels a tag sluggish at times. Episode three and seemingly episode four are adapting two 20 page chapters per episode, which does leave me wanting more by the end due to the lack of content. The pacing could be due to the low amount chapters available to adapt and possibly the studio planning ahead if it wishes to do a second season without being left waiting a couple years for material.
Overall, My Hero Academia is one of the series I’m looking forward to the most this season, despite its slow pacing. Its “underdog” story brings a lot of energy and excitement (as a sucker for those types of things) and makes you want to keep following the main character to see how he grows. I plan to see this one through to the end and recommend watching both episodes one and two, the full opener, before deciding if you want to continue.
Episodes Watched: 3/13 Excitement Level: High
Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
Re:ZERO is a series that caught me by
surprise. Having heard nothing of it prior to episode one, I assumed it was another “trapped in a fantasy world” anime looking to capitalize on the boom Sword Art Online brought to the anime industry. Luckily, I was wrong.
Warning: Episode One Spoilers ahead
The series follows Subaru Natsuki who, after finding himself transported to a fantasy world, discovers he has the ability to go back to a certain point in time but only after he dies. Subaru gets stuck around the moment of his arrival in this new world, repeating the same events over and over trying to change the outcome. The series is a “Groundhog Day” story adapted by the studio who animated Steins;Gate (so there’s a lot to look forward to out of this). So far, the animation quality has been consistently good, with episode three providing some stunning actions sequences. The character interactions have been charming and the story’s premise has managed to repeat same event for three episodes but make each new attempt feel fresh, making you hopeful that this time it works out for our characters. Subaru is also an interesting main protagonist as, despite his ability to start over, the fact that he has to die to use his power scares him to the point that he’s not willing to use it so easily, making him feel more realistic in the story. Re:ZERO has given us a great first few episodes and I can’t wait to see what’s in store. I highly recommend people to give this anime a try.
Episodes Watched: 3/25 Excitement Level: High
And You Thought there is never a Girl Online?
Let’s take a break and look at something different, shall we? Every now and then, I like to give one of those generic “harem comedy” series a try as they’re a sort of guilty pleasure of mine, unfortunately. (Do not get this type of series confused with those “battle harem” anime. Those are the real garbage.) I didn’t expect anything going into Netoge Yome but to my surprise I actually liked it. A lot. It’s not something I recommend to everyone but if you find yourself enjoying these types of shows I’d say, so far, its one of the more promising harem series to come out in the past few seasons.
Netoge Yome revolves around the main character and his guild (who are not all that they seem to be) as they play an online MMO. The female lead, Ako, is a wonky, cute character with “yandere” tendencies who, at times, will even make you cringe but that’s why she’s fun to watch. Her character tends to tread down some heavier topics of escapism and loneliness without ever escalating too far. Hopefully as the anime continues they explore these themes with her character deeper and give us someone that more than a cute face. The show does a great job at making the “gaming” aspect not feel half-baked like other series (“cough” SAO) and using legitimate gaming terminology. Lastly, while considered a “harem” genre, Netoge Yome doesn’t fall into the harem tropes of having the entire female cast bending over backwards for the main character. Only Ako shows affection to the main character where the others are just along for the ride and to play games. It’s a breath of fresh air to not have a clueless protagonist and a love-stirred female cast. Without wanting to spoil too much of episode one, I’ll just say it’s an entertaining anime that blends the gaming and harem genre without falling prey to your regular tropes. It’s not for every one but I plan to stick with it this season. Also, after watching the characters play their net game, I even got the desire to play a similar game. So, if you need me I’ll be playing Tree of Savior.
Episodes Watched: 3/12 Excitement Level: Medium
Kabaneri and the Iron Fortress
My first impressions and thoughts about Kabaneri and the Iron Fortress can be found here.
Spoiler Alert: I like it a lot so far and am cautiously optimistic about its future.
Episodes Watched: 2/?? Excitement Level: Medium
Kiznaiver is another show that you want to succeed, due to the studio name behind it, but you have a lingering feeling that it might collapse on itself. The anime original by Studio Trigger (Kill la Kill, TTGL) revolves around a group of teenagers who have been connected by their wounds. When one feels pain so do all the others. Through their shared pain, they can come to understand each other at a deeper level than most. The premise is interesting but needs to be fleshed out more before we can truly know if it’s worth our time. We’ve had minor introductions from the characters but very little information on why they’ve been brought together and what for. It’s still early so I plan to give it a few more episodes as, at the very least, it’s been fun to watch for the stunning visuals and crazy touches Trigger is known for. Kizaiver does a great job at grabbing your attention in the first episode so it may be worth a try to anyone intrigued by the plot description or those who are Trigger fans.
Episodes Watched: 2/12 Excitement Level: Low
Joker Game is a military anime about nine Japanese spies during the beginning of World War II. The spies are sent out on missions where they utilize their training in deceptions, strategic planning, and infiltration. While the anime has moments that can get your heart pumping with tense situations, it can sometimes bores you with too much exposition. The show has a tendency to explain rather than show. With the airing of episode three, we’ve seen that the show will be taking an episodic format, focusing on a different character. This was an unexpected direction as the first two episode revolved around a military soldier, outside of the nine spies, making it seem he would be the main protagonist. Overall, the show can keep you at the edge of your seat and its attention to detail to the situations and time period is impression. Unfortunately, Joker Game has yet to do anything particularly special outside of attempting a rarely used premise in anime. Only time will tell if the anime picks up but I can’t help feeling it has a lot of potential. Until we have more to go off of, I say hold out on Joker Game.
Episodes Watched: 3/12 Excitement Level: Low
Magi: The Adventures of Sinbad
Unfortunately, as of right now, Magi: The Adventures of Sinbad has been licensed by Netflix. This means we will not be receiving a method to stream the series until it has fully aired in Japan. The Adventures of Sinbad, a spin-off series of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, was my most anticipated anime this season and I’m depressed that I may not get to see it for some time. Sure, I could go the fan subbing route (something you may want to consider if you enjoyed Magi like myself) but I personally don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of hoping a capable subbing group will sub the series and in a timely fashion. For now, I’m just going to consider the series dead to me until it’s completed. I’m real sad about it.
Episodes Watched: 0/13 Excitement Level: Dead (for now)
And with that, my Spring 2016 first impressions have come to a close. To wrap up, the main series I’m invested in this season would be: My Hero Academia, Re:ZERO, Netoge Yome, and Kabaneri.
Thanks for visiting. Have an anime you think is worth watching? Leave a comment below for myself and others and we might just check it out.
(4/21/16) – More detail on Netoge Yome