Seasonal Sawce: This Summer Animain’t No Bummer 2016, Part 1

I hope you all cringe at that title.

Yes, believe it or not, dear readers, I’m going back to the Seasonal Sawce well!  Could I write about something other than anime for once?  Certainly, but that scares me.  (I promise, I will diversify this blog.)  Similar to last season, I’m going to write a smidgen about each of the anime I’m watching week-to-week now that they’re all at least six episodes in.  I did consider just listing them alphabetically, but I’ve decided to also continue placing them here in order of least hype to most hype.  There are a couple of cheaters on this list (i.e. continuations of previous anime).  Whatcha gonna do, though?

I also want to bring up a couple other things before I get started.  First off, The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance will not be on here.  I was originally gonna watch it along with the others this season, but when I found out it’s only going to be eight episodes, I decided to wait on it.  Secondly, I won’t be writing about the three I’m watching that are carrying over from last season (Re:ZeroJJBA, and Twin Star Exorcists).  I still don’t know how I’m gonna write about them, but hey, that’s a problem for future Sawcy…. I’m having deja vu.

8) Taboo Tattoo

Taboo Tattoo

Appropriate they’re all in front of a doodoo brown background.

Justice Akatsuka is a middle-schooler trained in martial arts who prefers to go by his much less impressive nickname “Seigi.”  As his name suggests, the kid very much believes in using his strength to defend the weak.  Well, one time he fights off some thugs who were harassing an old homeless man.  To thank Seigi, the old guy places a magical tattoo on his hand.  (As you do.)  Seigi turns out not wanting the man’s thanks when the tattoo is revealed to be some secret weapon developed in the arms race between the good ol’ U.S. of A and the kingdom of Selinistan.  Now under the guidance of lieutenant Bluesy Fluesy (I sh*t you not), Seigi looks to make the best of his odd situation and find out what he truly believes justice is…other than being his name.

The kid is named Justice.  I’m pretty sure you can tell what sort of show this is.  It’s another of those “let’s give some ridiculous power to this child ‘cuz maybe he’ll save us” genre, and I gotta tell you something:  I kinda like it.  Yeah, it’s dumb, the animation is usually nothing special, and you know exactly what you’re getting when you see these characters.  But that’s sometimes fun, isn’t it?  You get to see these not-too-terribly-originally designed characters with sorta cool powers (Iltutmish’s is definitely the cooliest so far) duke it out with vague political and militaristic motivations.  It’s pretty run-of-the-mill so far, but I do love my dumb fun shows.  I mean, the kid’s name is Justice!

7) Rewrite

Rewrite

…Key, is that you?

Kotarou Tennouji is a mostly average second-year high school student in the town of Kazamatsuri–a very “green” town full of trees, shrubberies, and the like.  He’s only mostly average because he often sees a girl with red ribbons on her arms whom no one else can see, and he can rewrite his own body in order to make it harder, better, faster, stronger, etc.  Ya know…neat stuff.  Taking this into account, Kotarou eventually resolves to do more with his life than just hit on Kotori Kanbe and pick on local delinquent Haruhiko Yoshino.  He decides to investigate all the weird crap in his town and find out just what the hell is going on.  Oh, and to also make girls fall in love with him.  ‘Cuz you can’t investigate the occult without doing that.

Visual novel adaptation!  Was there any doubt?  Just look at that picture.  Just read that set-up.  I was going to pass on this one, but then I saw who made the game this anime is based on:  Key.  If you’re an anime fan, and that name isn’t familiar to you, then you should definitely look into their body of work.  Some adaptations of their stuff are great, some are okay, and one or two are a little dull.  Still though, you gotta admit there’s a lot of good stuff out there with their name on it.  That said, this is looking to be in the okay category.  Key can make some pretty likable heroines, and this is no different (Akane Senri and Lucia Konohana should be the main leads, if you ask me).  But, Rewrite has also inherited the overly weird plot that Key is so fond of.  The show’s already halfway in and all of the players in this strange, mystical, possibly apocalyptic (apossilyptic?) story haven’t been introduced yet.  It’s a bit too out there, and it’s really taking its sweet time.  It’s Key, though, so I’ll stick with it.

6) Berserk

Berserk 2016

That moment when the poster looks a lot better than the anime.

The most tragic man in anime continues trucking on in this follow-up to the Golden Age Arc films.  Guts is now even more infamous than he’s ever been as the “Black Swordsman” thanks to surviving the massacre of the Band of the Hawk and still cutting a bloody swathe through the land he roams.  His brand ensures demons will hunt him ’til the day he dies, and the Holy Chain Iron Knights are after him to find out what happened to his comrades.  Guts’s path promises to be a brutal one, but against all odds, the vengeance-driven former mercenary begins finding new allies in the elf Puck and young thief Isidro.  Perhaps Guts won’t have to go it alone.  Or maybe he’ll just kill everything.

I want to love this anime–I really, really do.  I’ve always had an aversion to starting Berserk because I do legitimately feel it often gets gruesomely dark for no other reason than because it can.  Now that I’ve seen the movies and I’m six episodes into this series, I still feel that way.  Like, I know it’s the pivotal moment in the series, but the opening really doesn’t have to have a lingering shot of Casca’s rape.  Nobody wants to see that again.  That is not why this series is so low on my list.  Although it loves getting all dark just ‘cuz, the story is pretty engrossing, the characters are often compelling, and the mythology is fascinating.  The reason this is so low is simple:  It looks like garbage.  There is no excuse for how bad this show looks.  The ’90s anime should not be more visually appealing than this one.  It’s unforgivable.  Dammit if I don’t look forward to it every week, though.  I just hate how it looks.

5) Days

Days

Look at all the ships.

Seiseki is a school nationally renowned for its soccer team.  Frail, timid first-year Tsukushi Tsukamoto doesn’t know that.  See, the class pretty boy and soccer prodigy, Jin Kazama (no, not the Tekken Jin Kazama), one day invites him to play a game of futsal (tiny indoor version of soccer) since Jin’s team is one guy short.  Everyone quickly realizes how utterly bad Tsukushi is, but they can’t help but be in awe of his spirit.  The kid injures his foot and has no stamina, but he never stops running for his team.  Even though he headbutts the goal itself, Tsukushi winds up scoring the winning point.  This game not only convinces Jin to stick with soccer, but it also inspires Tsukushi to try out for the team so he can continue playing soccer with his new friend.  It’s a lot easier said than done, though, since most of the players have been footballing since they were wee little lads and don’t take kindly to this kid stepping in so late.  But dammit, they can’t help but admire his spirit!

This is a bit of an odd duck.  I think it’s pretty well-documented by now that I love sports series.  Manga, anime, movies…show me the sports.  Thing is this isn’t a traditional sports anime.  Days is more of a slice of life anime that happens to be about soccer.  Think Cross Game but with soccer and not as good.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like Days.  It’s just that I was expecting more rivals, serious games, and intense training montages.  We kinda get the latter with how much Tsukushi runs to build his stamina (the kid is going to be a cardio beast), but the rest is nigh nonexistent.  The jokes are usually amusing, and I appreciate Tsukushi’s pure drive to better himself.  His voice can be a bit grating, though.  But, as with everyone else in the series–dammit, I like the cut of his jib!

4) Orange

Orange

…Why is this called Orange?

One day, Naho Takamiya receives a letter sent from herself ten years in the future.  Being the teenager she is, Naho dismisses the odd situation.  She begins to question her decision, though, when the letter’s predictions start coming true.  See, future Naho has many regrets, and she hopes that by sending these letters her past self will lead a happier life.  The biggest one being the fate of new transfer student, Kakeru Nanase.  Kakeru isn’t around in ten years, and future Naho believes she can change that.  So, Naho and her group of friends take in the distant newcomer in hopes of saving him.  This starts to mean even more to Naho when she realizes she’s falling in love with him.  Makes ya feel all orange, doesn’t it?

This immediately interested me when I saw it listed as being in the shoujo/seinen genres.  Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s a mix that certainly caught my eye.  I assume it’s gotten its seinen listing since it deals with time travel and suicide.  Other than that, it’s all gooey romance.  And I think I’ve established by now that I enjoy me some boy-meets-girl or vice versa stories.  I’ve avoided a vast majority of shoujo because a lot of the tropes of the genre don’t appeal to me.  This is one of the few I gladly started watching.  The anime looks pleasant enough, and you can’t help but want Naho to overcome her shyness and save her friend.  I’ve often fist-pumped when she finally does what the letters tell her to do.  Also, I just want everyone to know right now Hiroto Suwa is the damned best.  Hands down and without question.  Bless him.

3) Sweetness and Lightning

Sweetness and Lightning

It’s. So. CUTE.

Since the death of his wife, teacher Kouhei Inuzuka has done his level best to take care of his little daughter Tsumugi (and she is adorable).  All in all, he’s done pretty well.  Only real problem is he’s an atrocious chef.  This has led to him and Tsumugi eating almost solely ready-made meals from convenience stores.  Kouhei finally notices how much his daughter wants to eat actual food, so he takes her to a restaurant run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori Iida.  Unfortunately, Kotori’s mom is rarely around, and the constantly hungry high-schooler can’t cook.  After some convincing from both Tsumugi and Kotori, Kouhei decides to start learning how to cook with Kotori so the three of them can eat good home-cooked meals together.  Did I mention how cutesy it is?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned to fear in anime, it’s a plot that involves a grown man and a little girl.  It just never ends well.  Thankfully, nothing anywhere near that awful will happen in Sweetness and Lightning.  By the by, that’s an awesome name for a slice of life series.  The three leads are so likable.  Kotori’s constant eating and desire to be with a stable family, Kouhei’s drive to provide for his daughter as best he can, and Tsumugi’s endless cuteness just pull you into a cozy embrace and gently rock you back and forth.  You also get hungry watching this, so be sure to have snacks on hand.

2) D.Gray-man Hallow

D.Gray-Man Hallow

Hello, old friends.  It’s been too long.

Set not too terribly long after the first anime, D.Gray-man Hallow finds the Black Order moving into their new headquarters.  Lenalee Lee and Allen Walker can’t wait to break the place in, but almost as soon as he returns, Allen is apprehended and taken to meet with his teacher, General Cross Marian.  During their conversation, Cross tells Allen that the 14th Noah implanted his memories within him and will soon take over his body.  Having spent a nice bit of his life exorcising Akuma and fighting the Noah, Allen doesn’t take the news well.  Things get even more complicated when Cross Marian is possibly murdered wlater that night.  Now, with the specter of the third side of the war Cross mentioned, the continually questionable methods used by the Black Order, the Noah Clan making their move, and the 14th’s eventual revival looming over him, Allen’s path to protecting his friends and saving everyone has gotten even harder to walk.

I haven’t talked about it much, but I love D.Gray-man.  It’s probably the first big anime I ever streamed, and thus the first I ever watched week-to-week.  When that ended, I immediately started buying the manga (I’m four volumes behind now…I should rectify that).  So, when this new series was announced, I darn near soiled my breeches.  I even cursed Funimation when I saw it wasn’t on Crunchyroll!  (Thankfully, a good friend has lent me his Funimation info).  So yeah, to say I’ve been looking forward to this is an understatement.  Why isn’t it number one, though?  Well…I guess it’s because it’s still adapting stuff I’ve read.  I know we’re getting to stuff I haven’t seen soon, but right now, I’m familiar with what’s happening.  The new voice cast still has me thrown off, and the pace seems a little more breakneck than I was expecting.  Still, though, I can’t wait to watch more.  I had somehow forgotten just how dark this series can get–in a compelling way, though.  I love the world, characters, and all the trials they have to overcome.  Don’t leave me again, D.Gray-man.

1) Food Wars! The Second Plate

Food Wars! The Second Plate

Food tournament.  Oh my.

The coolest food battle anime is back with its second season, and it’s tournament time, y’all!

Yeah, I wrote out a number of different introductory paragraphs, but nothing really felt like it worked.  It’s Food Wars! The Second Plate, people.  If you aren’t watching it, then you should be.  The first season did a great job of introducing and building up quite a few characters, so this series doesn’t waste any time whatsoever jumping into the Autumn Election.  In fact, it may be a little too fast.  Similar to HallowSecond Plate is moving along with the quickness.  Six episodes in, and there’ve already been five matches.  Now, I haven’t read the manga, so I don’t know if that pace is accurate, but it comes off as a bit much to me.  I mean, I love the showdowns in this anime, so I’m glad I’ve now seen five more, but I feel like I’m inhaling food and not savoring the umami (don’t even care if I’m using that wrong).  That’s my only complaint, though.  This anime is downright beautiful when it wants to be, balls-to-the-wall awesome, over-the-top as hell, and pretty darn funny.  Basically, the tournament isn’t the only reason this is currently my most hype anime every week.  Although, it is an admittedly big reason.

Whew!  That’s it for this one.  These eight anime bring my currently watching list to 11, and that really is just too many.  To anyone who reads all this, thanks for stopping by and comment below on what you’re following this season.  To those who don’t read all this, I totally understand–I have a short attention span, too.

Peace out, and stay bizarre.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Seasonal Sawce: This 2016 Summer of Animain’t No Bummer, Part 2 | The Sawce Pot

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