jump to navigation

Winter Anime Season 2017 – Review April 10, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

This anime season was one of the weaker ones I’ve probably watched. Minus Gundam Orphans, I initially started watching a few of the several shows airing, only adding Masamune-kun no Revenge and Seiren mid season to the list. I also had a lot of things going on IRL that kept me from watching consistently each episode every week as I usually do. 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:

Demi-chan wa Kataritai

Gabriel DropOut

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Masamune-kun no Revenge

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2nd Season

Seiren

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


Demi-chan wa Kataritai

From a first glance, this anime doesn’t seem to be anything too special besides the “Monster Girls” aspect. However, instead of the “monster” being the main focus, the anime explores the themes of understanding and inclusion of different people into a normal modern society.

The main character Takahashi-sensei is a biology high school teacher who has an interest in studying and understanding demi-humans. Luckily for him, there are three students and a teacher who are different demis. Through certain events, he finds himself helping the Demis by helping them understand their own nature though science and logic, and in turn gets to interview them for information that sometimes breaks stereotypes of their kinds. In short, he lowers the wall that may keep normal humans and demi-humans from interacting normally, possibly from assumptions made based on fear or rumors.

I like how this anime stayed on focus with this theme, as well as keeping a light atmosphere even when dealing with sometimes sensitive issues. A lot of what is discussed in this show regarding the differences in people and how they should be seen by others can be used in real life. In essence, don’t judge a person based on rumors or stereotypes, try and get to know them personally and understand who and where they’re coming from. Your opinions about them can come after, but only after you attempted to have some dialogue.

——

Gabriel DropOut

This anime was my typical “slice-of-life school comedy” of the season. The show is basically about the life of an angel named Gabriel who has transferred to an Earth High School as part of her angel training. Originally a textbook example of a perfect angel, during her early days on Earth she discovered video games which quickly took over her life. She became a “fallen angel” of sorts, now being a stereotypical hikikomori. With her at the Earth school is Vignette, a very responsible and nice person, contrary to her actual role as a demon; Raphiel, a fellow angel who tends to enjoy teasing her friends, especially Satania, self-proclaimed future ruler of the underworld who tends to run into back luck with her schemes as a demon.

It was an alright series, entertaining in it’s own right about how modern day angels and demons would interact with each other and the world between them. One thing I’d like to mention, I noticed a reoccurring theme going on with some its dialogue scenes, using just a character head in a bubble while they’re talking off screen. While that’s nothing new in anime shows, the abundance of its use here made it stand out to me. Whether or not it was to save on the animation budget, or if it was actually following how the original material looked (I’ve only seen the anime), I don’t know. It may sound like I’m saying this was a negative aspect, but I don’t think that way. The humor was enjoyable, and the characters were unique in their own ways. Not a standout anime, but at least one that I don’t fall asleep to.

——

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Another KyoAni classic, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid may sound like a comedy fan-service anime, but it’s actually much more than that. First thing that came to mind when I first saw this series, was Lucky Star, because of how Kobayashi resembled the character design from that show, at least in my opinion. I’ll leave a synopsis from MAL that will do better justice than I can write up at this point:

As Kobayashi sets off for another day at work, she opens her apartment door only to be met by an unusually frightening sight—the head of a dragon, staring at her from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute, busty, and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, introducing herself as Tooru.

It turns out that the stoic programmer had come across the dragon the previous night on a drunken excursion to the mountains, and since the mythical beast had nowhere else to go, she had offered the creature a place to stay in her home. Thus, Tooru had arrived to cash in on the offer, ready to repay her savior’s kindness by working as her personal maidservant. Though deeply regretful of her words and hesitant to follow through on her promise, a mix of guilt and Tooru’s incredible dragon abilities convinces Kobayashi to take the girl in.

Despite being extremely efficient at her job, the maid’s unorthodox methods of housekeeping often end up horrifying Kobayashi and at times bring more trouble than help. Furthermore, the circumstances behind the dragon’s arrival on Earth seem to be much more complicated than at first glance, as Tooru bears some heavy emotions and painful memories. To top it all off, Tooru’s presence ends up attracting several other mythical beings to her new home, bringing in a host of eccentric personalities. Although Kobayashi makes her best effort to handle the crazy situation that she has found herself in, nothing has prepared her for this new life with a dragon maid.

What I liked about the series, besides the obvious adorableness of Kanna, and the awkward naiveté that is Elma, was the interactions between Tooru and Kobayashi. Focusing on the main internal conflict Tooru has with herself about humans and the world she comes from, you can see that she has had a hard life. Whether it coming from her upbringing from her parents, to the constant human raids attacking her when resting, or the wars between the dragon factions, she has been fighting for a long time during which materialized and cemented her hatred for humans. Only on the verge of death did she find one human who would not only listen to her, but save her life as well. You could say that Kobayashi was totally drunk, which seemed to be the case, but even after meeting Tooru and listening to her stories about her past, she still listens, understands, and accepts her for who she is despite her differences. They are both able to live together, even if the laws of the universe are against it. Tooru learns to treasure those special fleeting moments, rather than having doubts about the future, because they may be more valuable than a lifetime of memories.

——

Masamune-kun no Revenge

I started watching this anime a bit late in the season, as it did not have my initial interest at the beginning. I eventually decided to watch it because of video clips I saw on social media. This anime is about a guy who was rejected by a girl when he was younger. During his young days, he was fat and a bit snobby, gaining the nickname “Pig’s Foot”. Due to this, he decided to change himself by working out into a handsome young man, to shed his former image. Upon entering high school, he finds himself in the presence of the girl that rejected him all those years ago. This time though, he plans to get revenge on her; by dumping her as bad as she did to him. However for this plan to work, he has to make her fall for him. This is where the story starts and gets interesting, sort of.

The anime for the most part was alright, getting a laugh or two every time a part of Makabe’s plans fall though. But that was more of less the bulk of the anime, the tug of war between progress with his plan, and her tsundereness kicking him away when he makes a critical mistake. What I didn’t like was the wrench in all of this, Gasou Kanetsugu, the proclaimed Masamune of Adagaki Aki’s past. I knew that he was going to play some sort of role towards the second half, due to him appearing in the opening sequence looking against Makabe, though at the time not sure how. I at first thought that he was a younger middle school version of Makabe, staring back at him as a reflection of some sort. First off, Kanetsugu doesn’t seem to be a mean person at all. He’s nice to everyone, including Makabe, and even volunteers himself to help Makabe’s class when he did the same for his. He seems to be playing the Masamune role under someone else’s instructions, possibly for financial reasons as he would be marrying into Adagaki’s rich family. He’s not unlikable, but because he’s tricking Adagaki he’s framed in that negative way to the audience.

Overall, the ending of this season ended with a number of questions, as well as a hint of a future season. I do hope that more of the story of the past can connect with the present, because we are still more or less running with the basic facts of girl dumped boy, boy seeks revenge by doing the same to her, an eye for an eye. There must be more than meets the eye, more facts to the story that can explain everyone’s actions both then and now. I will look forward to a new season if it can clarify and progress its plot line.

——

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans 2nd Season

Gundam Orphans is finally over, a what a roller coaster it has been. Spanning two seasons with 25 episodes each, I felt that we went a full circle in terms of the story. Struggling at the beginning to create a name for themselves, to the edge of glory at the end of the first season/start of second season, to the fall and destruction of Tekkadan, I feel more or less satisfied with the ending, even if it was bittersweet. At least it wasn’t predictable or cliche like them getting all the way to the top, as they were always the underdogs who just got by. Their luck wasn’t always going to hold, especially with their small group size and resources against Gjallarhorn, a full military might that spans multiple regions of the solar system.

As for the second season’s main plot dilemma, it was McGillis Fareed versus Rustal Elion for who should rule Gjallarhorn in their own way. Because McGillis allied himself with Tekkadan and vice versa, we more or less viewed Rustal as the bad guy of the show as he was the one who always tried to plot their demise. As Rustal was the cold and calculating type, it was easily assumed that he had larger ambitions for ruling Gjallarhorn than McGillis, who proclaimed that he would destroy the corruption that had grew within it since its beginnings. However, when McGillis sought power from the original founder of Gjallarhorn, Agnika Kaieru’s Gundam Bael, things wern’t so clear as to who was right and wrong anymore. McGillis’s grab for power from a relic of the Calamity War was seen as nothing more than a coup d’etat for greedy reasons. Tekkadan’s decision to pair up with McGillis did not happen easily, nor did it seem likely that at that point that things would end well for them in the end, seeing as what happened to the Turbines who were destroyed by Rustal’s Arianrhod Fleet prior to McGillis obtaining Bael. As the end grew closer in this season, the odds were becoming more and more stacked against Tekkadan and McGillis, to a point where winning a battle against Rustal was out of the question. Surviving was all they could try to do, reminding us of Tekkadan’s beginnings of being human debris. Slowly the footprints left behind by McGillis and Tekkadan were wiped out under the rule of destroying out of control elements.

With their total destruction, things moved forward in a way that was quite unexpected; Rustal became the leader of Gjallarhorn, reforming it into a more democratic organization than one that was once ruled by the Seven Stars families. He downsized the Gjallarhorn Mars branch giving the people there the independence they always wanted, and finally worked together with the Martian Union to create the Human Debris Abolishment Treaty in order to prevent further exploitation of children as soldiers. He also meets with now Chairwoman Kudelia Aina Bernstein and promises to support her endeavors. In the end, everything is settled in the way mostly everyone wanted by one man, a man that was the antagonist for the entire series that won a decisive victory over the protagonists, as ironic as it seems.

When you think about it, there may have been a way that this all could of happened without the loss of McGillis and Tekkadan. Each side wanted more or less the same thing in the end, but what differed was their methods, both seemingly extreme. The main difference that separated Rustal and McGillis/Tekkadan was that the rebel duo were both people who were treated as disposable individuals; Long ago McGillis was a kid on the streets who learned the hard way that power was the only way he could survive, and once adopted into the Fareed family, learned of Agnika Kaieru and the power he possessed. From then on his goal has always been to become the ruler of Gjallarhorn and finally have the power he always craved. Tekkadan, being an organization consisting mostly of kids without a home, their goal was loosely to find a place for themselves without having to fight anymore, to live a life they feel they deserve. While they may have gotten lost along the way a few times, their end lead to their future, not just for them but for the future kids that would be saved from becoming human debris. While not much is known about Rustal Elion’s past, his actions seemed to be shrouded in vagueness as he always took the opposite stance against out protagonists, basically looking like a villain. Because of this it was automatically assumed that he wanted power for his own reasons. However, seeing what he does during the epilogue conflicts with the feelings I had (or probably most of us did). Whether or not there was a chance for any type of dialogue between the two without it blowing up, I’m not sure, but it was their means that created the war, not the shared end everyone wanted.

I enjoyed this series from start to end. It was my first Gundam series that I watched. I liked that this series is independent from the other Gundam series, so that I didn’t really need to know history or terminology of the series to understand and enjoy. It definitely didn’t feel like 50 episodes, and that’s a good thing as there wasn’t much fillers for the story. Interesting how the “bad” guy won, but at the same time things end on a high note with no loose ends. I’d probably like to try watching future Gundam series, but probably ones that are independent from its parent story like how Gundam Orphans was.

——

Seiren

Synopsis via MAL:

“Shoichi Kamita is an ordinary high school boy, who is faced with the university entrance exam and worried about his future. This campus romantic comedy, “Seiren”, which means honest in Japanese, depicts his pure relationship with three different heroines. Each story is the unique and mutual memory between him and the heroine.”

This series was a nice casual watch about anime romance. Out of the three heroines, I thought Kyouko Touno’s was the cutest and sweetest, though Hikari Tsuneki was the most complex, and I like how she was still somewhat involved in the other characters’ routes.