Let’s all be frank here: Winter Anime 2017 was a disappointment. Where I can usually have the guarantee of at least four or five good shows per season, winter had just one. That being Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. While there were a couple of other good ones depending on your taste, the season was under an overwhelming cloud of lackluster disappointment. Will the spring anime season pick us up out of our doldrums or will it just be more of the same?
A majority of the good shows coming out this season, unfortunately, aren’t new. While I’m all for extended series and love progressing storylines, there is no risk in continuing something that was already successful. That’s why the anime staples I grew up with, like Bleach and Naruto, were drawn out and beaten until they could barely limp to a finish. It’s profitable but it also rarely captures the spark of the original. Just scrolling through the list of this season’s anime, nearly half are continuations, spiritual successors, or set in the same place as a previously popular work.
That being said, there still are some good ones. My Hero Academia Season 2 is golden like always! This time featuring a tournament arc with all the fantastic shenanigans that entails. The Attack on Titan series finally received a season 2; which has finally been released after a 4-year hiatus (way to stay on the hype train guys). It had a rather slow build; but the currently released episodes have all the titan-fighting gloriousness that had fans falling in love to begin with. While the old always hold sway in my watch list, I want to know what new anime is good to watch!
That’s where things get interesting. So… the anime community has been abuzz lately because of one particular show: Eromanga Sensei. From the creator of “it’s okay to have a romantic relationship with your sister” Oreimo (No, literally… the full title translates to “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”) comes another anime with sibling romantic tension! And… it’s cute, I guess. It has the “Sweetness and Lightning” technique of hitting all the right cuteness notes in a character to make you want to see more.
It’s up to six episodes now; I would suggest trying at least three to see if it’s something you’d be into. The story itself is mundane in a slice-of-life sort of way; it does have significant romantic tension between the brother and sister (albeit step-brother, step-sister so no incest this time).Oh and the sexualization of a 12-13 year old girl, so there’s no judgment if you decide it’s not for you.
Boruto is another one that everyone was talking about. Essentially, everyone expected Boruto to be terrible, but became pleasantly surprised after watching. So, is it good? Surprisingly, yes! I fell out of my Naruto phase a long time ago, so most of the returning characters I didn’t recognize. However, even coming into it with fresh eyes, it was a new, fun take on an old series! It took just enough from the old to appeal to long-time fans and created just enough cool, interesting ideas to get new fans.
The closest comparison I can make to it is how Avatar the Last Airbender’s studio created Legend of Korra. Avatar the Last Airbender is a classic with widespread appeal that gained a huge following. Recapturing that was a hard act to follow; so instead the studio set Korra’s story in a modernized future with all new culture to explore. This made the new show seem like its own thing rather than just a retread.
Similarly, Boruto is set in a modern Konoha Villiage with trains and soda and other such modernization. The main character, Boruto, has a huge shadow to live under (his father Naruto), and wants to work hard to forge his own path. It has all the heart of the first seasons of Naruto with new elements to keep it interesting; so if you have nostalgia for the original, or are just curious, check it out!
The Honorable Mentions:
There were so many series that came out that it is nearly impossible for me to cover them all. So, here’s a “yay” or “nay” on some that caught my eye but didn’t give me enough to give them full reviews.
- Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is a standard, trite magical school drama with an incompetent teacher who turns out to be better than everyone thinks. Think Great Teacher Onizuka at Hogwarts. It’s probably amusing to some but I just ended up bored. It’s a skip.
- Alice and Zoroku essentially are kid friendly Elfien Lied meets Alice in Wonderland meets an old curmudgeon. Outside of truly horrible CGI integration, it seems charming. I’m torn as to whether I want to watch more. The intro grabbed me and I want to know where the plot is going, but it could also turn out really stupid depending on how the studio handles the story. I’d suggest watching the first three episodes to gauge interest, then decided whether or not to continue.
- Oh, Clockwork Planet. So I don’t know what to make of Clockwork Planet. For about ninety percent of it, I was so bored. It is super standard and cliche. The only interesting thing was that everything was steampunk and made out of gears. But even that was boring because the gears were poorly integrated and almost looked photo-shopped in half the time. The only time I wasn’t bored was somewhere around the 14 minute mark, when my mind devolved into “nooope, anime was a mistake”. I won’t spoil it, in case you’re curious and do end up watching it, but I would not suggest this show. There is nothing that is good and too much that is bad…
- Love Tyrant is a basic trope parody anime that seemed fun in a blatant sort of way. That is, until the nightmare fuel popped up on screen. It seems like a show that could be interesting, though, so I suggest to give it three episodes and see if it goes anywhere.
- The Royal Tutor is fangirl pandering in a similar way as Ouran High School Host Club was. And honestly, I found myself laughing and enjoying myself in much the same way. It is standard rich, pretty boys getting into shenanigans; but it was really enjoyable if you find that sort of thing funny. If you liked Ouran, I would suggest you want The Royal Tutor. Otherwise, it’s probably not for you.
Altogether, the Spring Anime season is shaping up to be… interesting. While again I was loathe to find any powerhouse hits that drew me in, there are quite a few that I am going to keep my eye on. There seems to be a good variety of shows for most fans this season, so plop on the couch and check out one of the new anime ripe for the picking! With this season, I can guarantee you the experience will be unique! That, or completely boring…