Contrary to popular belief, winter does not start on December 21. No, winter starts when the new season of anime comes, Winter 2017. As with any season, we get a fair share of good and a fair share of bad. So, let’s go through some of the new titles by their Crunchyroll summary and I’ll predict whether it’s good, give it a chance, or bad. At the end of the season, we’ll see whether my predictions were correct. Let’s go!
“When she was a child, Kasumi Toyama always felt a heart-pounding thrill every time she gazed at the stars. Ever since then, she’s been looking without success for something that could inspire her the same way. One day, she comes across a star-shaped guitar in a rundown pawnshop! Kasumi becomes determined to form an all-girl band, and her search leads her to four like-minded souls: Saya, Arisa, Rimi, and Tae. Does this band have what it takes to make their dreams of stardom come true?”
In the time-honored tradition of “Yuri!!! On Ice,” this title seems like the butt of too-easy-to-make jokes. Outside of the interesting title, though, this seems like a run of the mill girl-band anime. Unfortunately, the first episode has yet to become available so I can’t give you the scoop, but this one looks like a skip.
“Middle school student Chuta Kokonose has heard a voice in his head ever since he can remember. When a strange creature recruits him to the space police force, he learns that the source of the voice is a Monitalien, a symbiotic creature who is living inside his body! Now Chuta must prove his mettle to his cold-hearted coworker, Misuzu, and the rest of the department by protecting the universe from otherworldly criminals.”
Just to clarify, this is pronounced like “el dlive.” Also, this one looks super generic. The animation is polished but everything else is standard. It’s basically a sparkly “Men in Black” with middle schoolers and acid-trip aliens. The first episode held my attention, but it was nothing to rave over. This one is a total skip unless you’re looking for a bubblegum anime. It’s inoffensive!
“An angel at the top of an angel school has descended to the human world! However, she has already acclimated to the life of the human world so much that she ends up leading a self-indulgent life, skipping school all the time and being absorbed in online games. Gabriel soon forgets about her original goal to make human beings happy and has turned into a lazy and hopeless angel, or a ‘sloppy angel’ in short. Amazingly, she swears to continue to fully enjoy the pleasure of various entertainments of the human world.”
This idea has been done to death. Not only is it the “other-worldly creature comes to Earth and becomes entranced by human things” but it’s also a slice-of-life comedy. It did intrigue me, though. While pretty much everything was standard, from character design to music choice, it still had a certain charm to it that had me smiling a bit. I’m probably going to give this one a chance.
“Tazuna is a high school student, living in Osaka, who loves to fiddle around with machines. One day, he receives a repair request from a university laboratory. He accepts the request and ends up meeting a girl named Koyori, who has been bedridden for a very long time. Suddenly, Tazuna and Koyori get pulled into a whole different world called ‘Ziggurat’. In this world, there are Hand Shakers, two people who touch hands and create the Nimrod. Their goal is to defeat other Hand Shakers in order to gain an audience with ‘God’, who will grant them wishes. Protect with your own Hands!”
I wanted to see what this one was like mostly due to the truly bewildering synopsis. It didn’t disappoint. Hand Shakers was made by an independent studio, GoHands, and you can tell. The badly integrated CG is only the tip of the iceberg. Now, being an independent project doesn’t always mean bad. In this case though, it’s kind of really terrible. This one is definitely a skip, unless you want to watch it for the “so bad it’s good” quality. I was definitely smiling a lot while watching it.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
“Miss Kobayashi is your average office worker who lives a boring life, alone in her small apartment – until she saves the life of a female dragon in distress. The dragon, named Tohru, has the ability to magically transform into an adorable human girl (albeit with horns and a long tail!), who will do anything to pay off her debt of gratitude, whether Miss Kobayashi likes it or not. With a very persistent and amorous dragon as a roommate, nothing comes easy, and Miss Kobayashi’s normal life is about to go off the deep end!”
I had a lot of fun with this one. The jokes had some bite to them and, though the concept has been done so often you can tell what’s going to happen beat by beat, this show still felt fresh. The characters were engaging and I certainly want to watch more!
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
“Chise Hatori, 15 years old. Lost, without hope, and without family, she is bought for money – not by another person, but by a non-human sorcerer named Elias. Though she hesitates, she begins life anew as his apprentice and future wife. She moves on with her new and peaceful life, slowly but surely, until one day, when she finds a Japanese picture book among the many sent to her from London by Angelica. It is a fateful book that discovered her in her younger years, when she was still troubled and lonely. This piece is a prequel to Chise’s encounter with the Thorn Sorcerer.”
I was really looking forward to taking a look at this one, since my friends recommended it to me and usually they don’t disappoint. They didn’t in this case either. The premise seems intriguing and I definitely want to check out more. To top that off, there was such a nice sense of peace early in the episode. It struck me because in many anime, bombastic flair is oftentimes substituted for calm character moments. This one, though, maintained a peaceful calm to most of it, which was actually quite refreshing. I’m excited to watch more of this!
Altogether, there doesn’t yet seem to be a huge quantity of stand-out anime to rally the people. There were two, “The Ancient Magus’ Bride” and “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid,” that I feel will blossom into really good shows. However, most of the shows run the spectrum from generic to bad. There were a lot whose poster art and/or title didn’t grab me, so maybe some good ones were missed. One thing I did learn, though, is that whoever makes Cruchyroll’s synopses is a gem. Regardless, I hope this helped you get a better idea of what’s coming out this season and we’ll see how Winter Anime 2017 turns out!