So I’ve gotten myself into quite a situation here. 5 new shows I’m watching this season, and also keeping up on Darling in the FranXX, which I will address next season once it’s over. Before I get to this season’s shows, I have one thing to address. I said last time that I didn’t know how I felt about Violet Evergarden, and that I would address it when I’d seen more of it. My opinion is much clearer now, and while it is very flawed, I really do like it. It can’t hold a candle to a lot of other great Kyoto Animation shows, this is most apparent in episode 7, which just makes me wish I was watching Clannad again due to how it seems to pay homage to it, but it does get a decent recommendation for me. Finally, I would like to wrap up on the other Winter shows that I finished. The Junji Itou Collection was pretty good, but wasn’t anything to set the world on fire. Poputepipikku was every bit as bat shit amazing as I had hoped, and every single episode was a riot. And After the Rain was fucking fantastic, currently the favorite for Anime of the Year. Alright, now, onward to the Spring season.
Because none of the high profile sequels this season are on my watch list, I’ll start off with the only one of these shows that could conceivably be called high-profile: Persona 5 the Animation. But first, a disclaimer. I will not make any comparison to the game, as I have never played it (I do not own a PS4 and my PS3 has been broken for almost 3 years). So, I really was going in blind. Now, my opinion on episodes 1-3. The opening scene, while stylish, was a bit confusing, though I would imagine it would make more sense if I had played the game. The voice work is excellent, as is to be expected from a cast like this one. I mean, Aoi Yuuki, Rina Satou, Soichiro Hoshi, Tomokazu Sugita, these are top of the line actors. The ones who have appeared so far are all fantastic. So those aspects of the show are pretty solid. Indeed, the entire first episode is really good. It does a good job at keeping the audience up to speed on what’s going on, and I didn’t feel I was missing out because of my inexperience with the game. Of course, I had 2 more episodes to go. I was warned before getting to them by my friend EdgyWeebLord, who has played the games, that they did a phenomenally poor job of explaining themselves and that huge portions of information would be lost on people who hadn’t played the game, primarily in things like character motivations. As such, I was apprehensive going into episode 2. It was off to a good enough start… and then came the CG background characters. Just… why? It was utterly hideous to see one walking away from the camera in the most disgustingly exaggerated way I’ve seen yet. I know that could be considered a nitpick, but I really can’t ignore stuff like that when it’s thrust right in my face. The rest of the episode was also pretty good. Whatever may have been missing certainly didn’t affect the plot in a tangible way, at least not yet, so I was able to enjoy it almost as much as the first one. As for the third episode, that’s where the cuts began to be felt. The first half is fine, but according to what I’ve heard, they completely drop the bit where they explain how they plan to change Kamoshida into a better person, which is by stealing something dear to him that manifests in the palace. Though because they haven’t gotten that far yet, it’s plausible that they’ll explain it next episode. So, anyway, my overall opinion. Take this with a colossal grain of salt, because I haven’t played the game, but I do indeed like it, despite being annoyed by shit like the CG students and all the Sony product placement. Maybe I would be angrier if I had played the game, but as is, this one’s alright.
Next up is Megalo Box, the spiritual successor to Ashita no Joe, a show which I have not seen. I know, I know, I live under a rock. But my friends pushed me into watching this one, so here I am. I fucking love boxing, so this show appears to have my name written all over it. It starts off decently enough, establishing the protagonist as a seemingly punky and rebellious type, who nonetheless gets the shit beaten out of him in the ring. And it also sets up the story to be a big damn boxing tournament with the protagonist climbing his way to the top. I also like this kind of story, so the show was hitting all the right buttons early on. Junk Dog’s design is very good at establishing him as an underdog, what with his run down gear and smaller frame. Yuri is perfect as the top rung on the ladder, and the structure of the first few episodes is excellent. That little moment where he names himself Joe is a nice touch as well. Everything in this show so far, except the OP, has been great, and it’s easily a frontrunner for seasonal darling, possibly even Anime of the Year, if it keeps going like this.
Next up is Golden Kamuy. Premise seems solid, a gold rush show starring a veteran of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. Opening scene is intense, depicting the battle where the protagonist got his title of “immortal”. The hook of a lost stash of treasure is nicely done as well. The motive of protecting a friend’s widow with the money is an easy cause to get behind, and the first episode does very well. Except the CG animals, those looked like absolute shit. The two leads seem likable enough, and the show does a very good job holding my attention and keeping me invested. Villains seem interesting, pacing is good, really looks like a winner. Definitely keeping an eye on this one.
Next is Last Period. Dunno why I picked this up, other than Yukari Tamura. It seemed like it would be middle of the road, but I figured I would give it a chance anyway. Opening scene was pretty barebones, but it did at least convey the basics of the show. Op was kinda cute, nothing special. Because I was watching this entirely for the sake of Tamura, I’ll start with her character. Yeah, she’s fun to watch. Yukari is great as always, her character is just weird enough to be likable without getting annoying, and her design is certainly… distinct. Not a big fan of the giant hair, but I like that shade of white. The others are okay, nothing special. Honestly, that sums up my thoughts on the entire show. It’s okay, nothing special, not really something I’m interested in, so I will not be keeping this up. And that’s the end of… okay, you got me. You know full well that I cannot leave this show behind without bringing out the elephant in the room. Episode 3 features an appearance by all the main characters of Higurashi, with Yukari reprising her role as Rika. I cannot ignore so direct a challenge, and obviously I had to mention it. It was awesome to see that, but not enough to maintain my interest in the rest of the show.
Last up is Tada-kun Doesn’t Fall in Love. Studio Doga Kobo is one I certainly like, Yuuichi Nakamura is voicing the protagonist, and it’s an original show. Deck was stacked in its favor coming out of the gate. Started off with a good impression, looks good, English speaking characters actually sound like native speakers, and there’s a shot in the opening scene that gave me acid flashbacks to the opening scene of Clannad, albeit not as genius. The immediate impression the protagonist gives off is certainly reminiscent of Tomoya Okazaki, albeit not to the same degree of cynicism. The OP is okay, not something I would listen to on its own. Main characters seem very likable, Teresa especially, and I’m invested in the show. Definitely gonna stick with this one.
Overall, we’ve got 3 really good shows, and 2 okay ones. All in all, looking like a good season. Will return in 3 months to give my final thoughts.