This is the second of three posts that will close out the 2017 Summer of Anime. Don’t worry; I’m not cheating. All of these have been finished. I’m just slow when it comes to writing stuff. *Looks at the Drafts tab and apologizes to Digi-Ramblings again.*
This time around we have seven anime to talk about. No Elegant Yokai Apartment Life since it’s still going, though. Without further ado, let’s get to the anime I watched during the summer season of anime and rank ’em from worst to best.
Knight’s and Magic
This was a consistently underwhelming show. I hate to say that because I normally really enjoy isekai and mech series. Knight’s and Magic was just…there. I guess the only thing that struck me as neat was depicting the two weapons engineers as the driving forces of the war. Even then, there’s something a bit wrong with that, right? Like, our main character, Ernesti, never bats an eye when he kills people. He’s smiling and laughing and reveling at piloting a mech better than the soldiers he’s massacring. And he’s a kid. Everything rang dissonant in this anime.
Hell, the most fascinating character arc was relegated way into the background. Dietrich “D” Cunitz ran like the coward he was in the first big fight of the series. Thought he was just a spineless creep, but by the time the series ends he’s become one of the finest knights in his order. Fleeing that fight haunts and drives him to become better and never abandon his allies again. But he was the least important protagonist of the, like, ten or so. The most interesting part about the show was a sidenote.
I dunno, y’all. There’s nothing glaringly bad here, but it’s all mostly just been done before and better. I’ll give it a 5.5.
My First Girlfriend Is a Gal
Did I expect better? Oh, heavens no. Did I want better? Well, yeah. My First Girlfriend Is a Gal just didn’t succeed as the sex comedy it wanted to be. Much like with Knight’s and Magic, pretty much everything the show has had been done much better elsewhere. But, this anime actually entertained me. I wouldn’t call it good, but I did look forward to it every week. Sure, the girls are mostly great, but the main draw for me was the main couple.
Junichi is established early as a sh*tty dude who only asked out Yukana because she’s hot and his friends pranked him into it. So, it was a little off-putting to see her being genuinely interested in him while he remained kinda sh*tty. But, credit where credit’s due–he grows as a character and comes to love Yukana for the actual person she is on the inside. Not the best start to a relationship, but I like where it’s heading. Just wish it was in a better anime.
And, honestly, most of my disdain for this anime stems from Junichi’s friends. Especially the fat one. He’s a pedophile, and it’s played as a joke consistently throughout the show’s ten-episode run. It’s not funny. It’s gross.
It’s a 6. Objectively, it’s worse than Knight’s and Magic, but subjectively, it had more than one character I cared about.
A Centaur’s Life
The previous two anime on this list are ones I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Yeah, I gave them positive-ish scores, but I’m usually pretty nice when it comes to that stuff. I would suggest checking out A Centaur’s Life, though. Probably to very specific people, but still. For such an easy-going slice-of-life show, it has some really cool world-building. Everything looks like nice and pristine, and there’s so much put in there to accommodate the various body types of the world’s denizens. But, it’s continually hinted that such order is only maintained through strict laws about racism and prejudice. There’s even an episode that follows a young boy in World War 2 to see how it played out there, and another that follows a frog-man visiting his home country after he’d been raised abroad. Legitimately solid world-building. For reals.
That’s easily the biggest draw for A Centaur’s Life. I do mostly like the characters. They’re a fun cast of teenagers who happen to have tails, wings, horns, etc. There’s just something missing, though. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s just not as funny or as feels-y as I like my slice-of-life shows to get. I guess they just put all their efforts into building the world and forgot to give the characters the heart they’d need to carry the show.
I think I’ll go with a 6.5 leaning toward a 7 here. I love the world-building a lot, but it doesn’t have that special something to make it fully click with people.
Restaurant to Another World
When the isekai genre meets the food porn genre, you get Restaurant to Another World. I never necessarily looked that forward to it every week, but I enjoyed every episode. The world-building isn’t as in-depth as A Centaur’s Life. Restaurant succeeds with its characters, though. They have the heart, stories, and lives that the former anime was missing. I appreciate the history and culture in Centaur, but Restaurant always knew to give enough to get me interested in pretty much everything in the other world. That’s unfortunately a double-edged sword here.
The little snippets of the characters’ lives and homes are good. But, you always want more. Not enough happens. Everyone has a little story of how they find the door to Nekoya, they eat some food, they love it, and then they leave. That’s pretty much every episode. Each of the cultures the beings come from are neat from what we’re given. It’s just never enough. I desperately wanted to see more than two of the legendary dragons and to explore more of their world. This isn’t that kind of anime, though.
I’m giving Restaurant to Another World a 7 because I really like what it did right, but I can’t get over how much I wish it would’ve done.
Fastest Finger First
First sports anime I’ve ever watched where I actually competed in said sport…even if it’s just quiz bowl. It’s still real to me, dammit! Yes, obviously Fastest Finger First struck a chord with me, which might explain why I loved it much more than I assume most people did. It made me remember the days of memorizing questions from year to year, trying to predict how certain questions will go, and practicing every week with my school’s academic team. Fun times, y’all. Fun times.
I thoroughly appreciated the unique rules of the tournament in the show’s second half. The written exam, the two-person teams, the semi-free-for-all where you could subtract another competitor’s points, and then finally, the classic fastest finger first showdown. Loved it. Loved the characters, too. Pidge (I’m just calling him Pidge) is a solid lead whose background makes him both well-suited and a little handicapped when it comes to competing in quiz bowls. I’m glad Mari is more than just the romantic interest in that she can more than hold her own in competitions, but I wish her voice actress had more experience. Too often her line delivery felt stiff. I also love all the rivals that are set up in a dominating yet reachable fashion.
Since I lived the life of a high school quiz bowler, this one’s an easy 8 out of 10 for me. I love the subject matter and characters, but I wish it’d been longer and had more time to develop its whole cast.
Classroom of the Elite
You could accuse Classroom of the Elite of being up its own butt. I, however, had a lot of fun watching it. I don’t think Kiyotaka is the best “better than everyone else at everything secret badass” main protagonist out there, but I do think he holds his own. He’s not really out to help people (or he believes he isn’t), and he’s not looking to make friends. He’s here to win. However he was raised, he seems to have this compulsion to succeed at any challenge presented to him. I’m genuinely curious to see how his story–and those of his classmates–plays out in a second season I really hope happens. Given his tactic of remaining in the background while allowing others to take credit for his victories, you can’t help but compare him to Hachiman of Oregairu. Actually, the two main-ish female characters seem to be subversions of Yukino and Yui’s character types. Probably wasn’t intentional, but they are strikingly similar.
As much I love the characters, it’s the miniature battlefields they compete on that really sucked me in. There’s so much politicking and strategizing going on, it’s fun to figure out what exactly all the students are up to. Hell, it looks like even the teachers are playing a larger game. The second half’s big story sees the four first year classes left on an island to survive for a week, and it was great wondering how each of the leaders were trying to out-maneuver the others.
I’m actually gonna leave this one at an 8. I enjoyed it and Fastest Finger First about the same amount, so I had to struggle deciding which one to put ahead of the other. Classroom just edged it out because of best girl Airi Sakura.
And to think I wasn’t gonna watch Gamers!. Yeah, it stayed my favorite show from beginning to end. I love rom-coms, but the tropes can get tired after a while. Keeping true to its name, Gamers! plays with all the cliches and ups them as far as they can go. And the misunderstandings that would normally make a drama instead make this a genuinely funny comedy. Different characters think there’s a love pentagon when there’s only a love triangle…or love square, really. Like I said last time, Gamers! is Shakespearean.
I love the main characters and want the best for them. Even while I’m rooting for Keita and Karen in their odd relationship where they clearly like each other but they’re both convinced the other’s just going through the motions, I can’t help but hope Chiaki can somehow win over the impossibly desirable Keita. And Aguri and Tasuku’s budding love (even though they’ve been dating for some time before the show begins) is delightful fun to watch. Chiaki’s little sister Konoha showing up as her wingman was also a welcome addition.
Although a lot is taken to extremes for comedy, Gamers! remains one of the more realistic shows I’ve seen since teenagers do always misread each other and try to figure out what everyone’s up to. Gamers! also has my favorite soundtrack and art style of all the shows featured in this post. It gets a 9. Everything just clicked for me here.
That’s it for all the shows I started and finished this season. There are still a few short series I plan on checking out now that they’re over, and I’ve got one more post on the way to wrap up this year’s Summer of Anime.
Plus ultra, y’all.
Peace out, and stay bizarre.