Waited a week to write this just to make sure everything I started last season was definitely finished. And, other than Yowamushi Pedal: New Generation, they are!
As always, the anime that I watched this season shall now be ranked from worst to best. Hobey-ho, and so we go.
Ya know, I didn’t really expect Fuuka to get better. Sure, the characters became more likable, but nothing I ever saw made me go, “Man, this show right here is gonna be great.” I do hate being right sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, I did overall somewhat enjoy watching Fuuka. Just never felt like there was any heart or ambition behind the decisions made for the show. Oh no, Yuu hooks up with pop-star childhood friend Koyuki which forces jilted Fuuka to abandon the band she created and go solo. Certainly a neat twist for those familiar with the manga (spoiler alert: Fuuka gets run over in the manga and is later replaced by another Fuuka for Yuu to woo), but there was nothing to it! It never felt like a big deal. I was excited to see this turn of events, but the anime just sorta mozied on along to the end. At least most of these crazy kids get a happy ending.
I’ll give it a 5.5 out of 10. Better than average…not by much, though.
I wanted to love Masamune-kun’s Revenge. I wound up just liking it. It really did not utilize its set-up to its full advantage. Guess I was hoping for more plotting or chicanery on Masamune’s part. But, he is–deep down–a decent person, and the anime probably would’ve been intolerable if he was a genuine asshole.
The most confusing part is how the female lead, Aki, doesn’t feel all that important when compared to best girl, Neko. Like, I know the confusion from when they were kids shaped them into the people they are in high school (show definitely should’ve explored that more), but Masamune’s revenge on Aki takes a backseat to Neko’s story and influence on him. That’s how it seemed to me. Or maybe that was just the more interesting part. The episode where Masamune goes to her apartment is by far the best of this first(?) season. Also don’t think the Impostormune arc was that compelling.
But hey, I’ll give this anime a 7. I did really like the characters, and there’s enough there that I’d be more than happy to watch a second season.
Interviews with Monster Girls
Oh, goody! I get to talk about shows I love now! Woo!
So, Interviews with Monster Girls was definitely my cool-down show of the season. If I’d had a rough week or needed to get my emotional state back on track because other anime threw me for a loop, Interviews was waiting for me with open arms. It’s just one of those cozy slice of lifers…that happens to star a handful of monster girls and one buff teacher.
One thing I really appreciate about Interviews is how down-to-earth it approached the physiology and problems of the titular monster girls. Yuki slowly opening up to her fellow demis, Machi learning more and more about her nature, Hikari gaining friends she can be herself around, and Sakie finally meeting a man she can fully trust are all situations that many have struggled with just presented with a supernatural edge. I can definitely sympathize with what they go through. Sure, I don’t think this show does all that it can with its premise, but there’s certainly a lot of heart on screen. Like, you can tell the people who made this want to be friends with all of these characters.
This is a solid 8 for me. Also, Sakie is best girl of Winter 2017. Praise be to Succubus-sensei!
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Never thought an anime about a dragon becoming an office worker’s maid would be one of my favorite shows of a season, but here we are. If you want a funny, legitimately heartwarming show, look no further than Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
The cast is charming, the animation is beautiful, and the stories are often fuzzy. The thing that cements Dragon Maid as a pretty darn good show, though, is its exploration of loneliness. One of my favorite vignettes details how Kobayashi and Tooru met. Both lost due to how alone they are, and somewhere in their drunken bonding, they realize they could make each other’s lives better just by being together. And they were right! The other dragons who follow Tooru’s example and escape to Earth see what having someone can do for one of their own, so they, too, find people to spend their time with. It’s just great seeing how connections with others can positively effect those essentially dealing with depression.
Throw in all that good stuff and you get a show I’m giving an 8.5 that is sometimes a 9. Check out Kyoto Animation’s latest if you haven’t already.
Didn’t know when I wrote the first post for this season that KonoSuba 2 was only going to be ten episodes. They need to stop teasing me like this. These shorter than average seasons just ain’t right! Anyhoo, KonoSuba 2‘s last four episodes are just as funny as the ones previous. Might even be funnier.
The last arc of season two sees the gang go to a town that actually worships Aqua, and–even though they expect the worst of those crazy enough to follow the impetuous goddess–it’s somehow more awful than they imagined. Well, better for best girl Darkness as a follower of Eris since she likes the abuse thrown her way, but Kazuma and Megumin are horrified. It remains consistently funny, and the final battle is as outlandish as the big throwdowns in KonoSuba always are. Man, I love this series.
Easily a 9 out of 10. Go. Watch. Laugh.
Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Yeah, absolutely no movement on the board this season. The second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is just that damn good. Everything about this show sounds like something I would never watch (save for best woman Konatsu), but this series is solidly in my top ten. It’s exploring what art means to the artists and audience, it’s the great characters, it’s their struggles, it’s their lives, it’s everything about this anime that makes me love it so.
Well, almost everything. There’s one little hiccup of an implication that I found…off-putting, but I choose to ignore it. It’s just not often an anime comes along that effects me on such a deep emotional level. I was crying tears of joy along with Yotaro and Konatsu when she told him she was pregnant with his child. I was devastated when Yakumo finally passed on with the first genuine smile he’d had on his face since Sukeroku died. I was overjoyed to see that Matsuda had grown old enough to see Yotaro not only save rakugo, but to also make it better than ever. I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Tye Dillinger, tell the people what I’m giving Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.
And that is it for Winter 2017. Gotta say, if the first season of the year is this good, I can’t wait to see what the other three will bring us.
Peace out, and stay bizarre.