Unlike previous seasons, this season kickstarts with two massive hitters. Will they be able to continue on from their First Season popularity? Let’s find out
Alice to Zouroku
There’s an inherent advantage with a double episode premier. You have longer time to build on the characters and the tone of the series without having to restrict yourself within 22 episodes, and thus there’s more leeway onto the pacing of the introduction to the viewers. This show also capitalised on the crowd favourite trope of old man with a loli, and this time in a more extreme dichotomy by having an actual old geezer. It’s an urban supernatural action show with the dynamics of an old man and a loli seemingly as the overarching theme, and as of so far the chemistry between the deuteragonist gave me plenty of confidence in the direction it’s going. Within the 45mins we can already have a great idea as to what kind of character those two are like. Visually this show suffers from yet another case of the background being too busy for the flat cellshading, and having the same character as for Alien Nine gave me some unwarranted subconscious fears. It does decent action, and everything flows at a nice pace. Overall speaking, this is a very strong start, and one to watch this season.
Hype Level: 5/5
Frame Arms Girl
It’s kind of fascinating how the little joy of figurine assembling can translate so well as part of the anime story. Build Fighters was great, and here we are seeing something that taps onto the same fun. Unlike Busou Shinki, the emphasis here will be more about the combat it seems. The first half is essentially a tutorial clip on how to assemble those toys.While the 3 little figurines are definitely the stars, I actually found myself more interested in the lively human girl instead, probably due to her upbeat mannerism and the excitement shown at learning the new craft. The entire thing has this low budget look to it, with low quality footage both on the traditional and the cgi sections, not to mention they didn’t really put in too much effort into harmonising those two properly. It didn’t stood out like a sore thumb too much, yet I feel like a lot more effort can be put into it to smooth it out more. This episode also suffers from the abrupt shift in order to incorporate a battle sequence, interfering with the overall flow.
Hype Level: 2/5
I’ve seen this before. All those setting, the typical prologue story, the outfit, the setup, this screams of 90s JRPG style. Just like the Chain Chronicle the season prior, this one sticks to the well tested JRPG format, with extra emphasis on the typical “boy meets girl” formula. None of the events in episode one was out of ordinary, but having too many derivative stories lately it’s come full circle and making the cliche actually refreshing. This entire episode feels like a tutorial first stage. Even the character and the music feel homey in that respect. Personally I love the broken outlines that accentuates well with the busy background, but again at the same time the cel-shading method is falling behind in the level of visual complexity. Washi has wrote a great article on Photographythat highlights some visual issues found in ep1 on that regard. The combat is decent even if unspectacular, and I can see some people having issues with the summons given they are CGI. While I’m kind of disappointed that it isn’t the female protagonist, as long as this show handles the basics well I can see it being quite enjoyable.
Hype Level: 4/5
Zero-G studio isn’t exactly new, but they don’t have much titles under their name as main production studio. Hence why I was genuinely surprised when the battle actions involving soft weapons looks really good in this show. The original long running manga is known for its fluid action and shameless ecchi moments, aspects that both will be taxing and restrictive for anime adaptation especially for a new studio. As of moment, other than the character models look old school (early 2000s), it’s a solid and rather pleasant starter. I just hope that they don’t burn out too much while maintaining the quality seen from the very first episode, because there’s quite a high number of frames during the action moments. The music leans towards the oriental side with liberal uses of the wind instruments. The initial plot progression also resembles a number of those old school harem combat series (e.g. Tenchi Muyo) with some flavours of perversion, so it’s yet another series that just needs to do the basics well. So far it’s looking to be enjoyable to say the least.
Hype Level: 4/5
Warau Salesman New
On one hand it’s refreshing to see the really old artstyle from Fujio A in this remake, on another hand it felt rather blunt in its trying to say. The two short stories made up of fairly harmless portrayals of people succumbing to the material joy, the way it approaches those social commentary is very heavy-handed, and lacks any signs of satisfaction at the end of those short stories to the point of making the feel meaningless. For a show that seems to emphasis on those anecdotes, I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the first two stories. At the same time, by adapting those older style designs outright without modernising them it also looks quite archaic. I would love for this show to provide more interesting snippets down the track, but it didn’t really start with some strong ones at the moment.
Hype Level: 2/5
Boku no Hero Academia 2
The manga for this series is described as extremely fast paced for a Shonen Jump series, yet the first season suffers from the issues of prolonging and reusing scenes to the point of being quite tedious. There also just wasn’t enough moments to build up the classmates. While Season 1 is strongly carried by All Might’s performance, its portrayal of the students is quite lacking. Season 2 seems to be aiming to rectify this issue. Yes there’s quite a number of recap moments, but there is more moments devoted to the students as a whole to make this cast more memorable. Otherwise there’s no noticeable dip in the production quality. It’s the return to the same old, and sometimes that’s more than enough for this show.
Shingeki no Kyojin 2
After 4 years of wait, this show comes straight back into the action that was left off from the first season without any hesitation. New powerful enemy appeared, and the rules of safety established in the first season completely obliterated to the point that it’s a brand new ball game. The support cast has the centre stage here first as the main trio were having their adventures elsewhere. It maintains the high visual fidelity as in the previous season, and with the same production staff returning there’s not much differences in the presentation other than overall technical improvements. It’s still loud, it’s still bombastic, and it’s basically the style you were familiar with. I just wish that Revo would stop trying to sing though as while he’s a fine composer he’s not that good in singing, and the new Opening is hampered by both that and the fact it wants to keep up with the same style. I’m sure I’ll like it later on, but the first impression of the song wasn’t great.
Gin no Guardian
I have a very strong discrimination against Chinese produced anime. They are often shoddily written/animated, with outdated web-novel style comedy that are just full of cringe. This one isn’t an exception. Character motivation badly presented, atmosphere is filled with weakly structure chuuni, and character interactions pathetic. Despite being a 13mins short, I got really bored fairly early on into the episode. One thing it did well however is the battle scene during night time. Horrible choreography and strategy aside, visually it’s impressive on the rather careless level. It flows nicely to say the least, but by itself it isn’t enough to make me really interested in the battle at hand. It tried to build up this world of loneliness, but without proper backup it just felt like a hollow premise. Having too many unintentional humours also made this one seem a lot worse as well.
Hype Level: 1/5
Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni…
The version you will watch is most unlikely to be the porn one. There are 3 versions for different age ratings, but it’s obvious that this is an ero story that’s trimmed/censored for public viewing. The pacing for the first episode felt like the first 3 minutes of a hentai OVA, and probably will end up that way for the rest of the season. Put it bluntly, this is smut, and that’s basically it really. Go look up the R18 version if you wish.
- Gin no Guardian
- Frame Arm Girl, Warau Salesman New
- Granblue Fantasy, Tsugumomo
- Alice to Zouroku
Both sequels carried on nicely from their predecessors, and there are some pretty strong openings for the series as well. At the very least, this season is looking good.