Down another, but still five active series. Four imports this season!
[Standard disclaimer: Not necessarily spoiler free.]
1 Flying Witch [▲0.5] – 8 eps, 9/10 – [Imported]
Flying Witch has really run off with the season now. It’s hands down the best show of the year so far and I’ll be very surprised if this ends up outside the top three for the whole year. If Summer or Fall have *two* shows better than Flying Witch, they’re going to be a treat. In a show where everything is delightful beyond description, the greatest joy of all comes from Chinatsu’s rapidly increasing confidence and boundless wonder at all things occult and supernatural. I know it won’t happen but I’d do anything to get a sequel that has her undergo actual witch training, partly under Akane’s tutelage and partly bumbling her way through spells with a maturing but still inexperienced Makoto. We just need to find her a cat! And after the latest episode I’m also really craving a crossover between this and Natsume Yuujin-chou.
“Rural supernatural” is such a good aesthetic.
T2. Bakuon!! [▼1] – 8 eps, 8/10 – [Imported]
(I’ve not watched today’s episode as of writing this) Slight markdown for letting the fanservice stray into somewhat tasteless territory (the drunk teacher groping + body washing the bikes) and just being an uneven series in general, but it’s still a total pleasure when it hits the right notes, and holds onto #2 on the strength of a fun race episode and Rin being SUCH A GOOD GIRL. Rin is very much a character written just for me. A bit rough on the outside, but a genuinely hard worker who cares deeply about her friends and the hobbies she’s passionate about. Gets beat up by the show (even mall Santa shits on her dreams…) in ways that you can’t help but smile at (because it’s never -truly- malignant), but that only makes her occasional triumphs that much sweeter. I genuinely teared up a little when she won the culture festival race. ♥
T2. Anne Happy [▲3] – 8 eps, 8/10 – [Imported]
I’m immensely pleased with how good this show has become. It’s not just because of Hibiki, but she’s certainly my favorite character in the show. The story about how she met Ren was delightful, right up there with episode four. It also further progressed Hibiki’s integration into the group through Hibari, which is important for Hibari given that she’s kind of the weak link otherwise. They’re really nailing the comedy too, between the trip to the mountains and the search for Hanako, and the latest episode’s VR battle game and crazy precure/mahou shoujo parody. Some extended scenes with Hanako’s mom were very welcome too. I’m also pleased that, while in the end it’s still not going to go anywhere serious, this show is doing a decent job respecting Hibiki’s feelings for Ren. It’s a shame Ren is the quiet type and won’t openly reciprocate the emotion but it doesn’t feel frustrating in the way these relationships often do. Ren certainly doesn’t come across as dense in the way, say, Youko from Kinmosa or Rize in Gochiusa are.
4. Sansha Sanyou [▲0▼] – 8 eps, 7/10 – [Imported]
Sansan is the sort of show I consistently enjoy but don’t know how to talk about without spending most of my time pointing out the downsides. That makes it sound like I like it a lot less than I actually do. But it’s such a good example of a competent show with great production values that impresses in the moment then leaves me with a wish that it would do a bit more. While Anne Happy has been delivering some really poignant moments alongside the cute comedy, Sansan has stuck purely to the comedy. And it’s good at it, but the stand-out slice of life shows for me are those that make an effort to go beyond the jokes.
The latest episode is a good example. A slightly more serious story about Kondou actually having a fight with Nishiyama (now my fav character, for similar reasons to Hibiki and Rin) and bonding with someone like Youko (who knows what it’s like to be lonely) would have been so my thing. Instead, it was just Youko’s misunderstanding. It can be a little frustrating because there’s also a ton of Teru/Nishiyama stuff that could get very good but will probably remain limited to frenemy gags. Good gags, expressively animated gags, but that only takes a show so far.
This show also has a systematic problem with obnoxious side characters who burst into a scene, do something annoying, and run away after kicking up a lot of unnecessary fuss. First it was Yamaji, then the stupid little kid who wants to marry Youko, and now it’s the blue-haired twins. I don’t find these characters funny or endearing. Sasame showed some potential as Youko’s first friend from her class, but in the next episode she was back to crying in Futaba’s general direction about her annoying brother’s one-sided rivalry.
It’s not that Sansan is entirely devoid of quieter moments. There was a nice bit between Teru and her sister early on, and again when Futaba and Teru visit Youko’s place to cook with her. But these scenes are rare, and I’d love to see more like that!
5. Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai [▲1] – 9 eps, 6/10
Jojo is still Jojoing like a Jojo.
none, clean slate this season!
Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge – 6 eps – I regret everything.
Pan de Peace – 5 eps
I don’t think I’ll be picking anything else up, especially considering we’re less than a month out from the Aria the Origination BD box. That means I need to start my rewatch with season one, and getting through all four cour plus OVAs will easily take me two months.
For today though, my priority is the next episode of Bakuon and then, finally, the Garupan movie!