And we are back with the Spring Taste Testing! So far, I have not been very impressed with the picks this season, with only JoJo’s, My Hero Academia being the major ones to watch. I have not yet decided which anime to write about weekly quite yet, but I will keep you in the loop. There are a ton of shows airing in a short amount of time, so let’s hop right in!
First off, we have Bakuon!, an anime about high school girls who find the appeal of motorcycles. Since the premise is pretty ridiculous, I did a bit of research. People love this anime for the silly humor that is consistently thrown about the production. I’m not expecting much other than cute girls doing
cute badass things.
The episode starts right off the bat with an angsty atmosphere set with rock music and a girl who seems to be rushing towards adulthood. We then contrast that completely with a dorky happy girl sweating as she pedals up a hill to school. The dorky girl, Sakura, has killer eyebrows. I want to say the plain stupid dialogue annoys me, but something about it is humorous. I’m not sure how to describe what I’m watching, but I can say that the humor keeps me invested above any deep plot or radical animation. Oh my the bikes can talk? “It’s good to inspect your bike before mounting it, but it’s even more important to inspect a man before mounting him” geeze this bike is a little out there huh. Oh we have a blonde twin tails let’s go! I actually looked up a Honda Super Four, and I must tip my hat to the attention to detail in the bikes. Oh man twin tails is a Suzuki fangirl; the world must be ending. And then a rivalry was born, would you just look at that. I’m not sure how I feel about this anime, but it is not good or bad. I’ll give it some more time.
Next up we have Endride. A trusted source gave this anime a 3/5 to start out. They are a pretty harsh critic, so I believe this anime may be worth checking out. The premise is a happy-go-lucky guy is sucked into another world by a special crystal. In this world he finds a lot of magical people and someone gives him a sword and tells him to fight. It’s safe to say I’m not expecting much.
My first impression is that the art reminds me of cartoons/anime that would have come out a decade ago or so. The opening sequence gives off some shounen ai vibes, and the song itself does the series zero justice. Next we switch over to a scene of our MC geeking out over crystals. This series is actually doing decent job when it comes to defining character. Granted, Shun is a pretty basic guy, it is refreshing that “show not tell” is being employed here. Wait I think Shun has his pants on backwards the pockets are in the front lol. Don’t touch the crystal boy, it will take you to another world. Oh boy he touched the crystal, and it went inside him. With the 4:3 midway panels, I really do believe this show could be 10 years old. Now we switch to focusing on Emilio’s (much more dramatic) storyline. Really nice animation around these parts. Oh my Emilio just pulled a weapon out of his sternum. The fight scene was kind of lame. Shun’s weapon is an acient war relic that has great power, and he somehow uses it perfectly right away. Shocker. Our two young heroes escape the castle prison, only to find an angry lion man. I have to say this show has been slowly sliding into a downward spiral of generic. Endride wouldn’t be complete without the annoying monster thing and random cute girl. This show is giving off Comet Lucifer vibes, mixed into a Legend of Legendary Heroes context. I am not very amused with this.
To continue with the magical land animes, next up is Seisen Cerberus. Just be looking at the photo, you can probably tell me exactly what this anime is about: evil dragons, kingdoms, and magic. Okay done. Just double checking.
The episode starts out panning across an army done in pretty good CGI. The story wouldn’t be complete without a helpless girl all set up for dragon’s dinner! Oh whoa wait, hold the phone, she is actually capable and they all meant to do that. Sucks that the dragon won, but good job to Seisen Cerberus for giving the viewer a general backstory to refer to. We quickly skip some time, where the little boy (Hiro) has grown up. I like the (though not so subtle) buildup of a kingdom atmosphere. Most of the children are thieving or working dirty to get by, since this ruler has taxed them to poverty. Hiro wants to be good, but lack refinement, and is more inclined to befriend younger people. We skip from the liveliness of the children and merchants to an ice woman of sorts. The short lived ice woman scene then comes back to the children, where we yet again encounter Hiro’s connection to children. Skipping again to the execution, this anime is not without it’s fair share of problems. The animation and art are fairly lacking, and the music isn’t quite right. A lot of Hiro’s honorable swordsman attitude was explained very quickly. His upbringing was influenced by the large knight man that was looking for “young master Hiro.” Oh geeze the dragon reappeared. I’m guessing Hiro has this curse or link to the dragon because his father cast something or another. Well, that was not as bad as I was expecting, and I actually want to check out more episodes. That being said, this is not some amazing anime.
Hundred is up next in my little taste testing experiment. It looks like a typical harem anime to me, but has apparently been hyped as the “ultimate school battle action” anime of the year. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that is a shitty anime indicator.
The episode begins with a frantic scene featuring (couldn’t you guess?) a dragon/beast of mass destruction. That’s totally savage. Oh spooky the dragon shoots beams of light. Well I have no idea what just happened but there was a time skip. I guess the boring male lead is going to narrate for us, but before he picks up the typical (boring) narration, the “almost good” opening will interrupt. Well the guys here seems to be assholes, and the girls are about 12 years old. Oh wait, just kidding at least one of the tiny ones is actually a guy. Of course this anime wouldn’t be complete without a busty, blonde, curly haired, twin tailed student council president. Hayato you asshole, getting these girls into trouble, and then not having the balls to correct your mistake. Well he tried to fix it, but this writing is so bad, I’m getting a headache. Student council president, more like supreme leader. Shocker, they are going to duel. Then we are going to find out that the blondie is actually a tsundere and crap like that. Hayato is going to win by the skin of his teeth or another enemy is goign to show up, yadda yadda. There is my prediction, so let’s continue. Hayato goes t meet the researchers, Char and Meimei, who are pretty much what you would expect from a loli scientist and a cat maid. Wow, Char has the opening in her computer now isn’t that something. Time to dazzle the audience with the animation so they forget about the horrific writing! Another proposition: Emile is actually a girl, but she doesn’t have large enough boobs to qualify as one, so she is disguised as a boy. Hayato’s younger sister is going to be used as a plot device, and my proposition about Emile is correct. What the hell: PTSD so I’m going to suck on her finger? Now THAT is a great way to cat diseases! Well this is your typical harem show. It hasn’t made itself stick out in anything other than animation quality, so I would have to deem this show: icky.
To contrast the ridiculousness of Hundred, next up we have Joker Game, which focuses on Japanese secret agents in World War 2. It seems that the general consensus on this anime is pretty positive, and people have been comparing it to Baccano, which is a fantastic historical anime. I have pretty high hopes for joker game.
We start up the episode up with some shifty english. There is a conflict presented between the foreigners and the Japanese soldiers. We then slide right into a catchy opening with notes of jazz. I found it be be delightful. Moving on, we skip to a scene panning around an excited crowd. Slowly, but surely, this anime is building up the context and premise. I like the fast paced, and somewhat impersonal overview of the context by our to-be main character. Our story teller, Sakuma, separates himself from the trainees he deems to be monsters. Sakuma was trained differently, and denies the way they live. I like how Joker Game is taking time to build a contrast, but works it into the context of the show. Despite denying their way of life, he joins them in a game of poker. As the game goes on, we get to hear some really nice jazz music, accompanied by very solid animation. Oh, they were all playing him. The so called Joker Game (poker) they played was very revealing of the series: smart, calculated, and featuring manipulation. Sakuma is obsessed with the notion that spies are cowards. So far, Joker Game has done a good job at paining contrasts and establishing context. When Sakuma is talking about monsters, he is actually referring to psychopaths or sociopaths (aka someone that lacks genuine empathy). This anime is pretty slow paced, but it still feels very exciting and new. The agency is presented with a case, so we finally get a chance to see the spies in action. Miyoshi is used as an example of the spies’ immense pride. We jump back to the opening scene, which now makes perfect sense. I’m not sure what that ending met, but yet again we see the difference in the way spies act, vs the way soldiers do. Overall I thought it was a pretty good start to a series that has seriously caught my attention.
Up next we have the highly anticipated Twin Star Exorcists. I used to think that this show was about twins that were overpowered exorcists, and the series was to cover their life/adventure. Apparently, the show actually follows the “weak boring guy wants to be good at something but to super useless until he pairs up with over powered girl” premise. That kind of bummed me out, but I have some hope set aside for this.
The episode starts out with a young boy getting his arm ripped off, and then apologizes to his dead friend, all of which is underlined by over dramatic music. Thus far it has a very Attack on Titan feel. And then we switch to the soft-spoken black haired girl, who is (of course) the “chosen one.” We then switch back to Rokuro, our pervy main character (who has regained his arm). I like the at style, with the bold colors, bold lines, and decent use of exaggeration. The whole high school lie premise is really boring me to death. I am currently quite lost. Rokugo lives with the cute/mature exorcist guy? The anime is skipping past key details in the context of the story, and consequently losing the audience. Leave it to bae (Ryougo) to clarify some things. And that hardly lasted 30 seconds dammit. Again, I have to praise the visuals here. The bold style is really eye catching and cohesive. The moment of greatness when our protagonists meet is pretty underwhelming. Right now, I really don’t understand why people love/hyped this series so much. I’m not sure quite how to comment on this, since none of it sticks out to me as very great. The creepy evil laughs of the giant ugly spider thing really aren’t doing it for me. ONE PUUUUUNNNNCHHHHHH!!!! Okay, but that was pretty cheesy. I think this show is entertaining and gorgeous, but looking closer I am pretty disappointed. The plot is not as original, and the characters are archetypes.
Let’s go for something on the opposite side of the spectrum: Super Lovers. This is a shounen ai story about a little boy who learns social lessons from his honorary big brother. Despite the title, Crunchyroll is airing this, so it shouldn’t be straight up porn. For this, I am hoping this turns out to be similar to something along the lines of Hybrid Child, which is a beautiful anime all around. Side note: In looking for a photo I realized that might have to take back any statement deeming this anime “clean.”
The episode starts with some reminiscing, following by an adorable little boy jumping off the roof onto a car, and then bitting the main guy’s hand. It’s caught my interest. We then slide right into the typical shounen ai opening, if you know what I mean. I guess it would only make sense to pass on the troublesome kid to the next oldest one lol. Oh shit the little boy (Ren) was raised by wolves! Oh I see why: the mom is a fucking savage bitch. Also, I see why Haru is super nice to Ren. Having gone through a similar experience, he can relate. About half way through, the episode takes a turn for the dark. And the silence breaks with a typical young boy compliment: “your eyes are weird.” Kids are savage. I feel like the character development happening is a little bit fake or insincere. Well a Super Lovers also wouldn’t be complete with out a creepy cuddling scene right! Okay yeah this is a little creepy. I think this anime is going for a long term timeline, which is why every issue feels extremely rushed. That was not a very good episode. There are so many shounen ai that are worlds better than this.
Moving on from the previous train wreck, let’s take a look at another highly anticipated anime: Bungo Stray Dogs. I actually tried to find the manga online about a year ago, but was short on luck. The story along the lines of “a boy who, by a strange turn of events, gets caught up in an organization and comes into his own” type of story. Yet again, I have high hopes.
The episode begins with our cowardly MC, Atsushi, recalling his favorite meal at the orphanage, while he lies starving on the ground. I must say, this is some of the most beautiful animation thus far this season. OH MY I didn’t expect this series to be so funny! I actually laughed! The characters have proved themselves to be quite charming thus far, and at the very least, incredibly entertaining. Okay so we finally get a plot drop: there is a tiger that follows Atsushi and causes him trouble. Sorry, these notes are going to be lacking because I’m actually enjoying watching this anime. It was a little bit predictable, but whalla, Atsushi actually has superpowers and is the tiger. Dazai! I’m sorry but quick photo break:
Back to the anime. Okay so basically Dazai is a boss, and I can’t wait to find out what powers the other people have. Overall, I thought this episode was fantastic. It is the kind of show that draws you in and keeps your attention. A great mix of humor and substantive story. The art is beautiful, and I would deem it the best this season. Bungo is a must see!
With that I have concluded my second taste testing of Spring anime! there is still plenty more to come! I believe I am going to write in-depth about Mayoiga, since it is just sane enough to write about, but also exhibits some interesting themes.