Running a smidgen late here since one anime started a week later than everything else I’m watching, and boy howdy! I’m watching a lot!
So, let’s rank the eleven anime I’m following this season from my least favorite to my most favorite now that all of them are at least six episodes in.
Je suis Japonais.
Giant monsters called Nemesis fall from the sky and wreak havoc upon the world. The only beings capable of fighting them are humans who have survived Nemesis attacks before–Sorcerers. Sadly, Sorcerers are persecuted by humankind as a whole just for being different. Seth is a young Sorcerer who wants nothing more than for everyone to be safe, happy, and accepted. Thus, he dreams of finding Radiant, the mythical home of the Nemesis, so he can destroy it. Joined by his new friends Melie and Doc, Seth sets out on his long and impossible journey to save a world that hates and fears him.
This is actually based on a French comic. Wild, right? I mean, it’s not unheard of for there to be an anime adaptation of a foreign work (ex. My Hero Academia adapting the hit film Sky High), but said foreign work is so heavily inspired by Japanese manga, you almost can’t tell. I’m having a lot of fun with the show so far. It’s the very bottom because it hasn’t done anything to really wow me or break from its shounen-inspired mold yet. Got some cool character and monster designs, though. And hey, it’s a two-cour show. It’s got some breathing room.
10) Iroduku: The World in Colors
A picture’s worth a thousand colors or something.
Hitomi Tsukishiro is a 17-year-old girl living in the year 2078. She comes from a family of witches, but she holds no love for magic herself since she lost the ability to see colors when she was a child. Her grandmother, Kohaku, then comes up with the brilliant idea to send Hitomi back to 2018 in order to meet Kohaku as a teenager and to see if there’s someway for Hitomi to move out of her stale world. Certainly a bold strategy, but it just might pay off as one of the first people Hitomi meets is an artist, Yuito Aoi. And somehow, inexplicably, she can see the colors of his drawings.
My goodness, this is a beautiful show. Each episode of Iroduku is just PA Works taking another opportunity to show off their mastery of creating eyeporn. Also, Toshiya Shinohara is the director of this series, and he directed A Lull in the Sea, which I love to pieces. Basically, this anime has some pedigree behind it, and it shows. I love the characters and the world, and the budding romantic tension is the kind of stuff I live for. Hard to believe it’s this low on the list, but that’s how stacked this season is.
9) Run with the Wind
Kageyama? Is…is that you?
Kakeru Kurahara is a former high school running ace who finds himself on the run one night after he steals some food. As luck would have it, one of the few people who saw him, Haiji Kiyose, chases him down on a bike and offers him a place to live at Chikuseisou–a student dorm for Kansei University. Being a student at Kansei himself, Kakeru chooses to accept the offer. The other residents at Chikuseisou include a pair of girl-crazed twins, a chain smoker, a foreign exchange student, and an otaku among others. Which means it’s insane when Haiji reveals that Chikuseisou is techinically the dorm for the college’s track and field team, and by living there, they’ve all agreed to become members. Haiji’s not looking for anything casual either–he’s aiming to enter the team into the Hakone Ekiden, one of the most difficult races in the country. This is certainly not what any of them were expecting.
As with the aforementioned Iroduku, Run with the Wind has some pedigree to it. Not only is it from the awesome studio Production IG, but the original story is also by Shion Miura, the author of The Great Passage. And again, the show doesn’t disappoint. Strong character work each episode makes each Chikuseisou resident feel more and more real, while I find myself proud of them each time their respective times get better (mainly Prince). It’s also a ridiculously good-looking show, and I mean, come on, y’all, it’s a sports anime. Really solid stuff.
8) Karkuri Circus
Welcome to the Cirque des Marionettes!… Lot of French jokes this post.
The young boy Masaru Saiga has recently lost his father and inherited a vast fortune, but he’s given no time to mourn as nefarious individuals are at work trying to steal his inheritance. One faction wants to kill him, the other wants to kidnap him. Both sides, however, have hired mercenaries of a particular clan trained to control giant lethal puppets. Masaru has no hope against such odds, but his grandfather told him long ago to find Shirogane if he ever found himself in trouble. With the help of genuinely decent human being and kenpo master Narumi Katou, Masaru does just that, and it turns out Shirogane is a puppet master, too. This is just the beginning for the trio, though, as the dangers of the world are much more numerous and seem to be drawing ever closer.
Ushio and Tora is one of the most underrated shounen anime, and you should all go watch it. That’s relevant since Karakuri Circus hails from the same creator, Kazuhiro Fujita. There are some similar themes and motifs (similar protagonist dynamic, ancient power used to fight a great evil, etc.), but they are very few. Anyway, I don’t think I’m liking Karakuri as much at this stage as I did Ushio and Tora. The first arc has been wild and messy (Giggity). Certain aspects of the characters are grating at first, too, but I’m still having a helluva time watching it. For the most part, the pacing has been breakneck, but in a good way. There are things that happen in the first six episodes that I would expect to happen much later in an anime’s run. I’m loving it.
7) Hinomaru Sumo
How Rodney Anoa’i got to the WWF.
Odachi High School’s sumo club is struggling, to say the least. It’s one and only member is president Shinya Ozeki, and he’s been forced to construct his own dirt ring outside as a gang has kicked him out of the sumo club room. Things change when the diminutive Hinomaru Ushio visits and utterly destroys the leader of the gang. The following school year, Ushio officially joins the Odachi High sumo club, and his charisma draws in enough people for them to have an official team. It’s astonishing to think such a small man can aspire to greatness in a sport dominated by larger than life individuals, but Ushio is one of the respected few in the sumo world to hold the title of a national treasure–Onimaru. Now they seek to become the high school champions so that Ushio can become the high school Yokozuna.
Will Run with the Wind go down as the better sports show of this season? Probably, but I’ll be damned if I don’t have a lot more fun watching Hinomaru Sumo. It’s just so manly! Just look at them! Look at the muscles and the fire and the determined glares! And the music! The OP and ED get you so hype! Get pumped! Manly! But yeah, this is a fun show. It’s not re-inventing the shounen sports wheel, but it’s playing so expertly into each of the tropes for maximum enjoyment. Now that we’ve gotten to the first real competition, I’m even more excited.
6) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Now airing on Nickelodeon!
Satoru Mikami is stabbed to death while protecting his co-worker. In his dying moments, he laments never losing his virginity, not experiencing more of the world, wishes for the pain to stop, and begs to never feel this hot or cold ever again. Well, someone was listening because Satoru is reborn in a fantasy world almost impervious to harm or temperature with an ability to devour anything and learn all about it while acquiring any traits from it he may need. Pretty great, right? Well, yeah, except he came back as a slime. He’s somehow able to use these new abilities to befriend the legendary dragon Veldora, and the two become brothers of sorts taking the last name Tempest. Now named Rimuru, the reborn slime monster and his dragon companion travel out into the vast world to see the sights and win the fights.
It seems like every season there’s a new take on the isekai genre that pulls me back in. This time around it’s That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. I know the premise sounds stupid as hell, but the show is actually really good. Especially if you like goblins. Since it’s the best anime airing this season featuring goblins. Rimuru is a great–if overpowered–lead with whom to experience this world, and most of the other characters have been fantastical yet fun and believable. I know I’ve been using “fun” a lot this post, but man, that’s what this anime season is. Just a lot of good, fun shows. I can’t wait to see more of Slime‘s wonderful world.
5) Zombie Land Saga
Shoulda called it Love School-Live!, am i right? (I tried.)
Sakura Minamoto is your average high school girl who dreams of becoming an idol. One morning before school, she gets together an audition packet and runs outside beaming with optimism…and then she gets run over by a truck. Somehow, though, Sakura wakes up in an unfamiliar house infested with the undead! She runs out into the rain and begs a police officer for help. He shoots her, and that’s when Sakura realizes she, too, is one of the undead. The mysterious and boisterous Koutarou Tatsumi brings her back to the house and reveals that she and the other six zombies there have been brought together as an idol group so that they can save the declining Saga Prefecture. It’s an obviously stupid and outlandish plan, but with the devil’s luck, they might pull something off.
Best OP of the season, and it’s not even close. Just wanted to get that out there.
So, if you’ve read any of my blog, then you’ll notice that even though I’ve watched a lot of anime, there’s been no mention of any idol shows. Well, that’s because I’ve never seen one. With this set-up, Zombie Land Saga got me to check it out, and it’s been a great surprise so far. I love most of the characters. Each of the girls is different and brings a lot of personality and joy to the dynamic. And Koutarou, y’all. Mamoru Miyano has got to be having the time of his life voicing that idiot. I don’t much care for the big CG performances, but damn near everything else in this show is pulled off so well. Also, the legendary Yamada Tae is best girl.
4) Boarding School Juliet
Here, Juliet is the west.
The nations of the East and the West have been warring for generations. The two countries now exist in a ceasefire, and there’s even a school erected on the border between them–Dahlia Academy. Old hate is rarely so easily forgotten, though, as the students at Dahlia continue the war-in-miniature on an almost daily basis with the East “Black Dogs” and the West “White Cats” constantly fighting. Romio Inuzuka, leader of the Black Dog Dorms and fiercest fighter among the first years, often goes easy on his White Cat counterpart, the petite Juliet Persia, whenever they face each other on the battlefield. This pity infuriates her to no end, but Inuzuka doesn’t pity her in the least. In fact, Inuzuka wants to end the fighting because he’s so in love with Persia. Which he finally tells her one night during a secret duel. Impressed with his impassioned actions and words, Persia reciprocates his feelings and the two begin dating in secret while they someday hope to change the world.
At first, I wasn’t going to give this show the time of day. I kinda hate Romeo and Juliet, and since I have a degree in English, I’m right. But, I heard this isn’t actually some melodramatic retelling, so I checked it out. Boarding School Juliet is one of the most adorable, funny romcoms I’ve watched in a while with an absurdly endearing, wholesome romantic leading pair. I can’t even begin to tell you how fuzzy my heart feels when the two are on screen together. It’s great seeing two people in an anime actually work at their relationship. It’s such a sweet anime. Not saying it’s all lovey-dovey. It’s got your fan-service, genuine laughs, great supporiting cast, drama, and action scenes. This is a legimately good show, which almost makes up for all the times in school I had to read/watch that god-awful play.
All hail our lord and savior, Servo.
Waking up in the apartment of a cute girl from your class sounds like the dream for any high school boy, but it’s a little different for Yuuta Hibiki. Mainly because he can’t remember anything. At all. Rikka Takarada thinks he’s full of crap, but she still tells him to contact his best friend Shou Utsumi just in case. They finally believe his odd story, and Yuuta attends school like he normally would. Akane Shinjou, another girl from their class, even thinks his amnesia sounds cool. It all gets much stranger later that day when an actual kaiju attacks the city and Yuuta somehow joins with the computer-being Gridman in order to become a giant robot and fight off the monster. The battle is forgotten by everyone else the next day, but Yuuta, Rikka, and Utsumi all remember. Just what the hell is going on?
This animated remake of the critically acclaimed ’90s classic Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad has been awesome from the get-go. Trigger may have burned me with Darling in the Franxx, but they’ve been doing a fantastic job on SSSS.Gridman. The twists have been surprising, and the atmosphere is equal amounts tense and light-hearted. It does have standard anime tropes like amnesia and thicc, but I feel like they’re being used correctly and for optimum effect. I really love the monster designs, too. I kinda need a kaiju Anti figure. Now I’m just waiting for Matt Lawrence and Tim Curry to be cast for the English dub.
2) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
BEEN SPENDING MOST OUR LIVES LIVING IN THIS GANGSTAR’S PARADISE
Josuke’s buddy Koichi Hirose is sent to Naples by Jotaro to find Haruno Shiobana since Jotaro fears he’s the bastard son of DIO and may have inherited his father’s wickedness. As it turns out, Haruno now goes by the name Giorno Giovanna, and even though he does have Stand powers and swindles Koichi immediately upon meeting him, he’s a mostly good kid. So much so that he convinces mafia enforcer Bruno Bucciarati to join him in his climb up the ladder of the Passione organization so he can take down the mysterious leader and rid the country of his evil. This is the beginning of Giorno’s dream to become a “Gangstar,” but this is JoJo’s, so we know there’re plenty of weird, difficult obstacles standing in his way.
Look, I love JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. You know it, I know it, anyone who speaks to me for 30 seconds knows it. Of course I’m watching Golden Wind. Of course I’m loving it. Each part of this epic saga is vastly different, and here we have Hirohiko Araki’s rendition of The Godfather. I hate that “Gangsta’s Pardise” isn’t the ED, but that’s my one complaint.
Now, shoo! Go watch it.
1) Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
“Adolescence Syndrome” is the name attributed to the phenomena experienced by teenagers where unbelievable things happen to them for no discernible reason. This is the prognosis Sakuta Azusagawa gives when he’s in the library one day and sees his celebrity senpai Mai Sakurajima walking around in a bunny girl costume being completely ignored by those around her. She’s surprised to find someone who can see her, and she’s even more surprised to find out Sakuta understands her situation since his sister experienced something similar in the past couple years. Mai’s conundrum isn’t the end of it, though, as Sakuta seems almost drawn to others plagued by Adolescence Syndrome. What’s a rascal to do?
Hey, I’m as astonished as you are that JoJo’s isn’t number one. But, if I’m being honest with myself, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is easily the show I look forward to the most every week. It draws on themes from other popular light novel series like Monogatari and Oregairu, but…I won’t say it pulls them off better. It’s more like they’re done in a different enough fashion with enough heart to feel fresh and new. And since this comes from the creator of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, I guess that’s to be expected. These characters are all excellent and likable, the soundtrack is great, and the stories have enough weight to them to make even the expected emotional. If you’re not watching it, you should be.
WHEW! That’s gonna do it for this Seasonal Sawce post. Eleven shows with a good chunk of them carrying on to next season. Too much anime.
Peace out, and stay bizarre.