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Summer Anime Season 2017 – Review October 9, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This season was sort of a strange one for me, watching wise. Because I was busy with other stuff while these aired, I didn’t get to watch them until most of them were completely done. I’m usually the kind of person who watches week to week rather than binge watching. I noticed that most of the animes I watched this season were romance based. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Aho Girl

Gamers!

Hajimete no Gal

Netsuzou TRap

New Game!! 

Re:Creators

Sakura Quest (Dropped)

Tsurezure Children

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Aho Girl

This was the first show I checked out of the Summer Season as it was one of the short episode animes that were easy to digest. The name of the show pretty much explains the main character; a stupid dumb girl named Yoshiko obsessed with bananas and doing what she wants. All of the other people around her have their quirks as well, like an abusive childhood friend, a perverted disciplinary committee member, etc. I found the show to be annoying at times, mainly because of Yoshiko. At times though, while she has showed that while she lacks book smarts, she knows how to enjoy life and tries to spread that to others, whether it’s wanted or not.

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Gamers!

This is a story that revolves around certain students and one hobby. Amano Keita is our lonely protagonist who has a passion for gaming and becomes friends with Uehara Tasuku, who is secretly a fellow gamer and is someone who believes his life is perfect. We also have Karen Tendou, the club president of the video games club and Chiaki Hoshinomori, who constantly bickers with Keita. This is a story filled with a non-stop sequence of comedy scenes and misunderstandings. Our chaotic romantic comedy now begins!

Gamers! was a good anime that kept throwing the misunderstanding ball back and forth, enough to make you pull your hair out. The main character Amano Keita is not quite your typical lonely protagonist. He initially makes himself this way because he thinks of himself as inferior to others around him as a self-proclaimed gamer. As a person though, he is passionate about games that he will converse and argue with anyone who shares his interests. He eventually opens up to the people around him to the point where he cannot be called a loner anymore, and can easily talk to people without being nervous sounding.

The show had a load of references to games that were easily recognized, especially in the opening intro: Horror games like Resident Evil, Shoot Em’ Ups, the Super Smash Bros. Series, FPS (First Person Shooter) games like PUBG (which I’m real surprised to see here as it’s a new and upcoming game that apparently is popular enough in Japan for it to be perfectly shown in anime form), platforming games like Mario, Visual Novels, Rhythm Games, RPGs (Role Playing Games), Classic fighting games like Street Fighter, and MMORPGs set in a fantasy setting. Within the show were some direct usage of game footage as well like from a Persona fighting game. Crane games (UFO catchers) and smart phone mobile gaming was also shown as well. The last episode was almost all about explaining DLCs (Downloadable Content).

In this show, love triangles are overrated; it’s more like a love star as the five of them were constantly in doubt of who liked one another. That’s one of my issues with Gamers!, is that the beginning and end of the anime had game aspects, while the middle was more of just a rom-com style of anime. You could entirely remove the game aspect with another topic and still have the same dynamic and situations. The series was created to cater to games and the culture that goes along with it; to attract said audiences that have been increasing at a steady rate due to the development in technology and ease of obtaining.

The conclusion of this series’s season was no conclusion at all. It was just simply another episode that offered no closure for the characters or plot. The only thing that it did was sort of sort out the love star but besides that, not much progression in terms of their relationships. Sure I did say that the romance is more like the filling in the middle of the sandwich, but it’s still part of the series none the less. And because of its integration with the story and characters, I wish it was more fleshed out and balanced so that it did not feel like a completely separate topic from the title of the show. It was the characters themselves that tied the “games” and “romance” themes, and I do hope that if another season is created, that these could be blended in a way that shows that only Gamers! can do it right.

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Hajimete no Gal

This anime was a mixed bag of sorts. This show is basically about a virgin guy trying to lose his virginity to a gyaru gal he confesses to as part of a prank from his friends, under the misconception that they are sluts. Most of the main male characters were immoral and sometimes downright wrong to the point where he not being a part of the show would have decreased the cringe factor. Besides that point, the show worked to try and show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case a gyaru/virgin guy.

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Netsuzou TRap

Emotional tug-of-war between two girls who have boyfriends basically explains what happens in Netsuzou TRap. Here’s an actual synopsis from MAL.net:

Yuma and Hotaru have been friends since childhood, so it’s only natural that when Yuma is nervous about her new boyfriend, she asks Hotaru for advice. But when Hotaru starts coming onto Yuma for what feels like more than just ‘practice,’ what does it mean…? With boyfriends in the foreground but a secret, passionate tryst in the background, will Yuma and Hotaru try to forget what happened between them or have they fallen into a trap of true love and betrayal?

Mid Season Thoughts: This anime is one that makes me sort of hate it, in a good way I mean. I find it interesting to see the amount of people who don’t like what’s going on in the anime, from comments I’ve seen from each episode on Crunchyroll. Naturally the anime is trying to evoke mixed to negative emotions. It’s as if people don’t see the capitalized letters of the show’s name “NTR”. If you want to know the full meaning of the genre term, just do a search of it on your own, but in basic terms it’s “designed to provoke jealousy in the audience by proxy by having a character indulge in sexual activity with someone other than the protagonist.” I obviously don’t like what’s going on storywise, but I’m still interested to see how it all ends. Everyone involved just seems to get deeper and deeper predicaments, and it will have a bad end…. probably.

Overall thoughts: Now that I’ve finished the anime, it’s time for me to lay out my thoughts. I suppose things ended in the best way possible: The girl gets the girl, stays friendly with the guy she was going out with (Technically they never officially broke up so ???), and it’s assumed that the abusive boyfriend leaves them alone? Sounds ideal I know, but I’m not sure whether or not this is a true end, or just a conclusion that everyone watching can digest. I was expecting things to spiral all the way down, but it didn’t. On an emotional richter scale I felt it never went beyond a 5.5/6.0 out of 10, so it was relatively mild. I think that’s for the best as it probably didn’t want to scare people away from the NTR genre, rather it gave us a taste of the delicious poison that could potentially have people wanting more.

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New Game!! 

In this second season anime about the game making company Eagle Jump, progression through trials and competition that create drama sums it up. After finishing up Fairies Story 3, a decision is made to create a brand new game. Ideas from employees of the company put theirs’ out, but Aoba’s is chosen. While her concept wins, to the company it may not sell without a notable name behind it so Yagami Ko is directed to be the public character designer, while Aoba is the internal (and true) character designer. With her co-workers and new interns on board for this new series, they work to create a cutesy game called Peco.

I enjoyed the increased drama when compared to the first season. It gave the characters more of a push to work harder at their goals, instead of the show being more like a slice-of-life kind of show that the previous season felt like. I also noticed that the shippings between most of the characters was much more pronounced, but at the same time a bit lighter at the same time. Think of it as more love spread evenly all over.

The ending summed up everything nicely, and with an important moral ending: Keep working hard towards your goals. Don’t stay in your comfort zone too long or you’ll grow complacent. By going beyond your comfort zone, you can learn and achieve more than you would if you stayed safe. Don’t just survive, live. I won’t spoil the ending, so that you can experience that feeling yourself, that moving forward is the way to accomplish things that you may or may not have expected to.

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Re:Creators

This review for Re:CREATORS is for the second half of the season episodes 13-22, as well as an overview for the entire series.

Episode 13, aka the recap episode was done in a way that I’ve never seen before. It summarized the story up to the current episode, but with a few twists from narrator Meteora. I loved how besides just retelling the story, it also threw in some jokes about the creation of the anime, such as the difficulty of animating Altair’s hair or easing qualms about the use of a recap episode, which is usually seen as a cheap way to have filler.

Mid Season Thoughts @ Ep. 15: I’m liking the set-up that’s going on for the final battle. Whether or not we’ll see any kind of major fighting between now and the end, I’m not sure. As they said in the show, “No one knows how the story is going to end”, and I feel this can be interpreted in a couple of ways: The first interpretation is what most people would think; that because the “story” is being created to prevent an end-of-the-world crisis, and with the many uncertainties that lie within that plan, the characters in the show won’t know how it will all unfold when the end happens. Maybe though, there’s another reason why the characters in Re:CREATORS won’t know what will happen until the end. My second interpretation is more out there than feasible, but it would be quite amazing if it was the case. The way the show uses the term “audience” and talking about getting “acceptance” from them, in order for the elements that they are planning to use to lure and trap Altair, feels like they are talking about not only about the people in the world of Re:CREATORS who consume media related to the characters in said universe, but also directly to us viewers as well. After all, the main world that the anime takes place in is parallel to our own, a place where we create stories for our own entertainment and business. Imagine if our feelings and “acceptance” affected the series ending as well. That the creators of the anime were tracking our ratings of the show and incorporating it’s influence as part of the show. I know it’s a far fetched idea as most anime productions are done under a strict schedule, but it would be so meta if it was possible.

The second opening “Sh0ut” is another Sawano Hiroyuki masterpiece. What I love about his style when it comes to him making anime openings is that they are straight up serious songs with attitude. The beats and drops he uses are so addicting to listen to, even if it can get a bit overused at times. Either way, he’s my favorite anime soundtrack composer and I almost always check out an anime that he’s involved in. The opening sequence that goes with “Sh0ut” is simple yet effective, and is amplified by his music. The timing of the transitions, each character’s showcase at an angle where you can’t see their face directly deep in thought preparing for the final battle, Altair’s cute faces (which look so unlike her from what we’ve seen in the show so far), sneak peak of the battles yet to come, along with foreshadowing for additional story elements in between. I’m enjoying it so much that I can’t help but wave my hands to the transitional beats that is the second opening sequence of Re:CREATORS.

Direct after thoughts: I just finished watching the final episode, and else can I say but that this anime was exciting and emotional all the way to the end, in a word fantastic. While this anime was a great watch I will not say that it is flawless, but it definitely was interesting meta wise. As I mentioned in my mid-season thoughts, I had speculated that the “audience” could of referred to us actual viewers as well. Now that I’ve finished watching I can say that this is probably false, but it definitely still could of influenced how the audience was talked about in the anime. Most of what was explained about how they would approve what was shown, I could understand if those theories were used for actual shows marketing.

This next part will be my summarizing of the story episodes 14 through 22. SPOILER ALERT if you don’t know already.

Episodes 14 though 16 was the set up towards the final battle, which was called the “Chamber Elimination Festival”. This was the lull of the series, where scenes dialogue and work by the Creators to prepare for the finale. This part got a little repetitive with the episodes ending with the reinforcement that their plans will bear the fruit that they’ve planted, even with the amount of uncertain factors in play. Luckily when this thought came to my mind, it was the last time this was used.

The final battle started in episode 17 onward, and it was all over the place, in a good way. We didn’t get the usual match ups which was a breath of fresh air. I didn’t want to see more of Alicetaria vs. Selesia, Yuuya vs. Blitz, etc. What I didn’t initially know was that Alicetaria had already planned to change sides to fight against Altair. It wasn’t obvious to me, but there were some hints when I look back, like when she visited Magane and what her Creator hinted she would do in the battle. I suppose that she decided to take a step back and look at things in a more clear perspective. Whether or not she knew that Altair killed Mamika before telling her so I’m not sure. It started with Alicetaria attacking Kanoya who hasn’t been in much of the battles sue to his large mecha. I did find it to be a strange matchup at first, but it was exciting none the less, to see how powerful Alicetaria was against a mecha defending with an energy shield. This was when it was obvious that she was planning to team up with him against Altair when she lead both of them away from Altair to avert her gaze during her clash with Selesia to set up for a combined attack against her.

All of these episodes had something different towards the progress of the battle, with trump cards being played by each side when the timing was right.  The first trump card was the reuniting of Blitz with his daughter. The creator of his story used the crossing of Meteora’s story from the overarching Chamber Elimination Festival series as a way to introduce magic that could bring back his daughter in a convincing manner. By doing so gained Meteora another character who would fight against Altair. In the combined attack with Selesia, Kanoya, and Alicetaria, things were going according to plan; Selesia was able to trap Altair while Kanoya and Alicetaria teamed up to charge at her. This was when Altair played her card, Charon, to stop the attack and to cause ruckus between Selesia and Kanoya. Charon is Selesia’s battle partner in her story who she sees as a mentor and love interest(?). She ends up having a conflict of interest when he explains his stonewall thoughts about how the world of the gods (the real world) should be changed or destroyed for their gain or revenge for how their fictional world turned out to be, as Kanoya and Charon fight each other. As this new fight began suddenly, Alicetaria makes her stand known to Altair, who tells her that indeed she was the one who killed Mamika, a relief of sorts because of how strong minded Alicetaria is. They attack one another, with Alicetaria ending up on the receiving end of her own attack, thanks to Altair’s own powers. This eliminates yet another Creation from the story.

The next trump card in my opinion was the new and improved battle version of Hikayu Hoshikawa. Her first appearance in her new gear was used as a comedy/fan service break, but she showed that she could fight in her own right with her martial arts super powers. She gained her new abilities through acceptance from a spin off fan disc that her Creator made for the battles. She could pack a punch that blasts the ground, even easily kick away a fully charging magic mecha without problem. The complete change from a non-combatant to powerhouse fighter made her an easy target for Altair’s reset-to-origin ability, which reverted her back to a regular high school girl in love.

An unintentional trump card came from spoilers of Sho and Yuuya’s series, where Yuuya revealed that he did not in fact kill the ones close the Sho as he thought Yuuya did, and that the one who gave him his “persona” like partner is the one responsible. Apparently Yuuya played along with this lie because he thought that was Sho’s way to hang out with him. With this fact now public, Sho and Yuuya partner up once again, alongside Blitz and Hikayu against Altair and Charon.

With Charon being Altair’s shield, it became evident that he needed to be removed from battle to get to her. Because he was in his own flying mecha, this only allowed Selesia and a damaged Kanoya to do battle with him in the sky, with the others attempting to fight Altair. They both are unable to singly keep up with Charon, who was a formidable fighter in his world. His motivation for fighting through Selesia’s understanding and acceptance of her Creator and his world, is that he is tired of fighting and just wants it all to end, regardless of how it ends. Selesia ends up having to sacrifice herself to take out Charon as he will not back down, assisted by Kanoya who initially refuses to but does under the honor of being a hero in his own story. With this Altair was now on her own, but with the loss of yet another couple of characters.

Even with the loss of troops on her side, Altair was able to gain sympathy and acceptance from the audience giving her control of the story within the Birdcage (separate dimensional space). In order to get control of the situation, the Creators summon their secret weapon, a new character based on older designs of Altair that shared the same power as her, the Holopsicion (reality bending powers). This new entity named Sirius is able to fight on Altair’s level and is even able to seemingly subdue her by trying to take over her being. However, it seems the opposite took place as Altair gained control over Sirius, changing her appearance to look like a mix of both characters. With most of the characters out of commission to take on Altair, the end loomed near.

Souta who was watching with the audience decides to try and use his secret weapon that he ran by Matsubara. Souta’s plan was slightly hinted earlier, so it wasn’t totally out of left field, but I figure for people who were not expecting it, or that it felt out of place, that the anime tried to justify it by explaining it thus so. Souta created a new character for the story, or rather one based on who was central to the conflict of the story, Shimazaki Setsuna. Yes, Souta created Setsuna so that Altair can meet her Creator. A Creation meeting another Creation who was created by a close friend, who both created Altair. When Setsuna was talking with Altair, I felt that Setsuna wasn’t just talking for herself, but also for Souta as he is partly her creator as well. I could feel the emotions coming from Altair, who only wished to meet her Creator. Because her motives came from Setsuna’s feelings towards the world at her own end, it was sad to hear that Altair’s life was caged to those feelings as well. I felt sorry for Altair at this point, as she simply fought for the injustice that she felt Setsuna was subjected to. Setsuna explained to Altair that while she created her, she is also everyone else’s creation as well. While she may be trying to destroy the world, she is not just a villain but also a protector and inspiration for the weak, like Setsuna. Altair’s Creator accepted her fate, but Altair herself would not take that as the only path for Setsuna to take. When Setsuna was created, she was also formed at her final setting, a train station. An alarm signaled the arrival of a passing train, which she attempts to fall in front of. Altair sprung to action to fight her creator’s destiny, by trying to destroy the train and reaching out to her. Altair says that she can use her power to create a world for Setsuna who can then make stories once again. Upon grabbing her hand they are transported to another world where they will both exist as Creations and Creators. Setsuna remembers Souta, who tears up thinking about Setsuna and what she meant to him, before the screens glitch out towards a “The End” screen.

It seems that the audience mostly approved the story as Altair is now gone, in a better place in everyone’s minds. The Birdcage disappeared and the world was saved from destruction. While losses were made like with Selesia, Meteora assures Matsubara that even if she died in this world, that was only one of the many possible branches her story could have gone. She still exists in the story that he continues to write.

With the world slowly but surely stabilizing its Restorative (logic) Power, the Creations decide to return to their own worlds while they still can. They say their final goodbyes to their Creators before leaving through a magic gate created by Meteora. As the final Creation left, the Creators say their goodbye’s to her. However, it is revealed that as the caster of the Gate of Return, she is unable to go through it herself, hence she decides to stay in the real world, to everyone’s disbelief. She eventually loses her magic power due to the world’s logic, and states that she wants to become a Creator of her own right. The overall moral of the story of Re:CREATORS is that everyone has the ability to create something beautiful. Whether or not it is widely accepted, it does not matter. What does is how you express your passion and despair into a story that captivates and motivates others to read and relate.

There are a few things I want to address that affected my overall rating for this show. The first obvious one is the lack of Magane at the very end. All of the Creations whereabouts except her were shown. I can only assume that she stayed in the real world as she was not present at the Gate of Return. I doubt that she would been able to go using her own power based on the fact that a large amount of power is needed. If she did decide to stay in the real world, she would eventually lose her abilities as well. If spotted she might be arrested for her previous actions before being allowed to live freely in the real world. Knowing how she is, without her power she would just be seen as a sort of creepy character. I don’t know how she would live in a world like ours without her power to make things “interesting” for her. The only hint of what might have happened to her was from the last time she makes an appearance. She is seen at an airport when aiding Souta to summon Setsuna. She probably planned to journey far away, probably to never be seen again.

The second factor that bugs me slightly is the story convenience factor. Playing off of the “impromptu” idea that the Chamber Elimination Festival was based around, the Creators had ideas that they would implement for the Creations to use as firepower against Altair. How it was used was purely up to them, which is what made the ending mostly unpredictable as I like it. However, what I found didn’t seem to flow well with the story was the sudden “flashback” to Setsuna. If I was an audience member, and I’m seeing the moment where Altair takes over Sirius, it would have seemed a bit weird if all of a sudden a flash a light happened and another new character showed up that was emotionally close to the main character Altair. Maybe the premise was suppose to be that Sirius, who was an earlier version of Altair’s concept, at the very least awoke memories within her of her Creator, hence the flashback looking setting. I didn’t have these initial feelings when I first watched this scene as I was in the moment, emotionally invested to see how it would turn out. Now that the high of binge watching this show has faded away, I notice how planned the final battle was; organized but fragmented so that the story ideas could be used whenever was best. Even thorough this negative aspect, the show acknowledged this from the scene where it was shown that some people did not like how the story seemed to be made up along the way.

The third is the lack of explanation for how all this could have been possible. We already know about Setsuna and what caused her to die. What I don’t understand is where Altair came from in terms of her materialization into the real world with powers that are beyond logic. After that it’s easy to say that everything that’s happening is because of Altair and her reality bending Holopsicon. Altair’s abilities comes from the many fan created stories that have spawned on the internet. However if the Creators world is suppose to be a reflection of our own real world, then what can explain how enough “acceptance” can create magic and weapons that can not logically exist in said world. This is what I cannot wrap my head around, and I wish there was something to fill in this gap in the story, so that I can accept it as well.

The visuals and story may be the cake, but for me the music is the frosting, or flavor. As I mentioned earlier, Sawano Hiroyuki’s music is what gives life to this show, and others he’s a part of as well. I don’t think I would of liked this anime as much if he wasn’t doing the music for it. The atmosphere the music gives the battles, as well as the calm times, it’s almost always perfect for the situation. The only kind of Sawano music that I don’t like are for funny scenes which end up sounding either cheesy or just strange, but I can live with those as long as I get everything else he creates. My only complaint is the overusing of some songs for certain scenes in this show, especially “BRAVE THE OCEAN”, which was first played during the first fight between Selesia and Mamika, but more known in episode 10 during Selesia’s Revise temporary power up. It has that “miracle has happened” or “going according to plan” aura that faded with each use.

Overall this anime is my favorite of the year and probably will be a recent favorite for a while. Yes it may be dialogue heavy, and yes it has issues and plotholes, but that’s besides the point. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching this show from start to end. I may have been in the heat of the moment during my marathon of the second half, but to me that does not change my feelings for this show even after looking at it after cooling off. Re:CREATORS was an exciting show that I had on my mind most of the time before I had a chance to finally sit down to finish it. I just wish I knew people who liked the show as well.

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Sakura Quest

I stopped watching mid-season and never had enough interest to continue it. It’s not that Sakura Quest is a bad anime, but it’s extremely laid back. Compared with the other interesting shows of the season, I ended up dedicating my time to them over this.

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Tsurezure Children

This short episode format anime was a breath of fresh air for the rom-com genre for me, as it wasn’t the usual scenario where the progression is slow and cliché.

Tsurezure Children depicts various scenarios of young love coming to fruition, along with the struggles and joys that it entails.

This description courtesy of MAL.net is what makes this a good watch for people who like romance animes. It has multiple couples with their own circumstances, with similar reactions to how you’d expect it to turn out in real life. (Hard for me to say this as I don’t have experience of my own….) I enjoyed watching how their relationships struggled and grew through like and love for one another. My favorite couple was Sugawara and Takano, a classic couple where Sugawara likes an oblivious Takano, who slowly grows attracted to him due to his kindness. Takano’s love inexperience makes it entertaining watching her deal with her new feelings, to the point where she likes him too.

I do hope for another season of this anime, as it only gave a couple of the couples a conclusion at the end. There were maybe as much as 10 couples/pairings, and with the episodes only being half the duration of a standard episode, there was just not enough time to give justice to them all. I want to see more of the pairings that are working steadily towards the couple status, as well as seeing the progression of the couples that have established themselves already.

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