The Best Anime of Fall 2017
Another fall season has crept up on us, with a lot of brand new anime to sample. The anime landscape has changed so much, even since last season. There are so many choices for official streams. Daisuki is no more, but other streamers have risen up in place of it. Even though people felt sour about Netflix of Amazon's stranglehold on exclusive content, there is still a lot of choice around the internet. Let's see what made the cut this season!
Finally Got to See It!
There is one undeniable fact about the Fate series: it's beautiful. As someone who doesn't follow the various Fate anime, I still know that the animation is top notch. I don't know if the writing for the Fate shows is as strong as the fighting. I only ever watched 2 episodes of Fate/Stay Night and one episode of Fate Zero, so the most I know about Fate is that the action is great. Fate/Apocrypha is astounding, as far as visuals go. I haven't watched many episodes, but I'm not at all disappointed so far. In thids Fate, we have twice the servants, so the action may be more satisfying than all Fate shows that have come before.
Sangatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)
Masterpiece. Is it too much to say that March Comes in Like a Lion is a Masterpiece? I'll take the shot to give this series the highest praise I possibly can. March Comes in Like a Lion is an utterly powetic bowl full of heartbreaking drama combined with adorable comedy and pro sports action. Hey, board games are sports of a sort! Our protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, is a young pro shogi player, and he's really good at it. In his personal life, there have been tremendous struggles. He's dealing with depression, and he doesn't have any family to turn to. That's where an adorable family of sisters comes in. Rei transforms professionally- and I'd say spiritually- in the first season. His transformation and growth continues with season 2. If you were to just stop reading this to go watch March Comes in Like a Lion, I wouldn't be mad.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
Food Wars! is going though some growing pains. Season 3 looks (there was a lot of chibi) and sounds (Erina Nakiri's voice actor had to be replaces) different now, and there has been less food porn. Why so few foodgasms? Regardless of that, I still love Shokugeki no Soma. We still have the eclectic characters, fun moments, and new threats to the Polar Star gang. It might be slow to start, but Food Wars catches fire soon enough!
Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)
Some people have no tolerance for wackiness; I have too much. I liked Blood Blockade Battlefront, but I won't portray it as a show that tells a great narrative. Mostly, B3 is about a supernatural transformation of New York being destroyed countless times, and the heroes looking badass with their blood-based abilities. Why does blood allow you to fly or encase people in ice? I don't know, but it looks awesome. I expect even less of a narrative to occur in Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond, but I never needed a central antagonist in B3.
Garo: The Animation was my first Garo series. I didn't watch any of the live action shows because I'm more into streaming than watching blu rays at this point. I loved the first Garo anime, so, naturally, I watched the second series, Garo: Crimson Moon. That made me less of a fan of Garo. Crimson Moon was not a failure, but it had big shoes to fill. Garo is back for a third time, and this time it's in America, and in the present. I love Garo again! Garo: Vanishing Line is not a deep and thoughtful series. It's meat-headed and has a thing for women's curves.
The stereotypically meat-headded attitude is represented in Vanishing Line's Garo, named Sword. He looks like a character straight out of the game Gears of War, but he doesn't need a gun to fight horrors. Sometimes, he'll straight up punch demons in the face, or chase them with his bike. I know not everyone's into the tokusatsu stuff, but Garo Vanishing Line has entertained me with every episode.
I don't know what to call this. Is this a Negima sequel? There are a lot of moments in the show that connect directly to Negima, but this show takes its focus away from Negi and introduces us to a world that has discovered the reality of magic. One student has a very unfortunate introduction to magic and the supernatural. I typically give a show one episode to impress me, and UQ Holder's pilot episode definitely did. I expected a Naruto-like tale of a jolly kid who becomes powerful, but UQ Holder decided to tell a somewhat different hero origin. If you don't know Negima, it's one of those classic ecchi shows. So expect lots of awkward sexual situations in UQ Holder.
What would you get if you combined Hurricane Polymar, Gatchaman, Tekknoman, and Casshern? A kick-ass TV show! A girl named Emi Kaido becomes a central figure in this battle for multiple universes, even though she has little idea what's going on. Dark forces are attempting to destroy universes in order to create a single, supreme universe. That doesn't sit well with these four heroes, who have been taken from their native worlds.
I think I haven't ever gotten over Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, because I have never lost love for tokusatsu. I love any kind of superhero, so shows like Infini-T Force suit me well. If you want to just watch superheroes attack with cool moves, you have to check out Infini-T Force. If you've never seen any of the Tatsunoko hero shows, consider this an anime history lesson.
Code: Realize - Guardian of Rebirth-
I have found it hard to like anime adapted from otome (reverse harem) games. It's not that they are terrible, but they all follow the same formula, as dictated by the game genre they originate from. Code: Realize is a bit different. First off, they have a corgi with a steampunk prosthetic leg and a top hat! Job done! Oh, and they also have a cast of characters who come from all over classic fiction. So you have Lupin, Dracula's kid, Van Helsing, and more. The fantasy and steampunk mingling with each other is my main draw to Code: Realize. It's definitely not the animation or the lead character, Cardia, whose dialogue is interchangeable with most females in otome anime.
Kowabon is another anime short with a horror theme. Think Yamishibi, Kagawani, or The World Yamizukan. These are all short shows, with an incredibly low budget. Maybe Kowabon has the highest budget, because it uses rotoscope, a form of animation using real human acting. The difference between this show and all the other ghost stories is that these are modern ghost stories, having to do often with technology. Also, there is no narration. The only "storyteller" is the camera (web camera, security camera, phone camera) we see the action through. It's not Black Mirror level creepy; it's more like The Grudge.
I think that my record for finishing slice-of-life shows is pretty poor, but I think I could finish watching Just Because! There's nothing too special about it, but I think that an adorable series about young love and relationships is soothing to peek at every now and again.
Our Love is 10 Centimeters Apart
This was a late entry in the fall calendar, and I just happened to see that it came out by coincidence. Lucky me, because this is a cute tale of high school romance. The aspect of these characters that appeals to me is that they are both creative people: one is a videographer and the other is an artist. These are minor details, but when you've seen so many romance shows, it benefits the viewer if the characters don't feel similar from show to show.
Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous)
Anime fans and CG have not gotten along well. Even in 2017, people are still CG averse. I dare anyone to tell me that the CG animation of Land of the Lustrous is not comparable to 2D animation. It's a beautiful series, and the fluidity of the animation allows it to blur the lines between whag we expect from 3DCG and what 3DCG can accomplish. I won't act like there's a marvelous, deep story to go with the great animation, but at least we get to look at sparkly haired people run really fast.
Love is Like a Cocktail
Sometimes, you can just have simple fun with anime. Love is Like a Cocktail is a short anime, and it's only about one topic: adult beverages. A woman is married to the most wonderful husband ever: a guy who not only loves her, but also makes the perfect drink for her! If you liked Wakako-zake or I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying, you would be punishing yourself if you don't watch Love is Like a Cocktail.
We always get one of these shows: an anime about anime. Previous to Anime-Gataris, we had Shirobako, and before that was Genshiken. The industry likes to take a look at itself every once in a while, sometimes with hilarious results. Anime-Gataris is for people who love references to all sorts of anime, from the recent to the obscure.
Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World
I never got to see Kino's Journey when the first anime rolled around, but I heard praise for it, and the images kept my interest. Anime always surprises, and so a new Kino anime popped up this season. I felt apprehensive , because I knew that this was an older Kino. Should I hop in, or wait for some far off day when the original series is streamed? I learned that it doesn't matter too much that you jump into Kino's Journey with this series. The nature of the tales in Kino's Journey are episodic, so the amount of previous history Kino has is not crucial.
The story is basically this: Kino, a person who does not ascribe to any gender (Kino is just "Kino") travels from country to country, staying for a few days and then continuing to the next country. The twist is that every one of these countries follows their own distinct laws. So in the first episode, murder is allowed in one country. In another country, you fight to the death to become the leader. So Kino's Journey was a shock. I didn't know that these crazy things happened, or that Kino's bike is actually sentient . All I knew was that Kino...went on a journey, and had two guns. Talk about avoiding spoilers! For a decade and a half, I had no idea how surreal Kino's Journey really was. A beautiful world, indeed.
The Best Anime of Fall 2017
Juuni Taisen (Juni Taisen: Zodiac War)
"This is just a death game! What's so special about Juni Taisen?" I could understand if people wondered why this anime kept my attention. Well, I think that it's a combination of liking death game anime (good death game anime, I must specify), liking the aesthetics of the zodiac warriors, and being surprised about the winners and losers. Juni Taisen was a lot of fun to watch, unlike most of the anime that fall under the same category.
Netojuu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
I'm 30-something, so it didn't take long for me to feel a connection to Recovery of an MMO Junkie. Although our heroine, Moriko Morioka, is way more awkward than I would be in a relationship, I can relate to her in some ways. Besides the geek sympathizing, I also like Mori Mori as a character, from her quirks, to her insecurity to her desires. I root for her as she struggles with her life in the MMO world and the real world, and I hope that everything works out once both lives crash into each other.
You know, Gantz was a bit much. Maybe that's an understatement. Inuyashiki is from the same creator, Hiroya Oku, but I don't feel like Inuyashiki is quite as extreme as Gantz was. Inuyashiki is definitely violent- extremely violent- but the placement of Ichirou Inuyashiki, an elderly man, as the protagonist, gives the show a gentler heart. I love having an old dude being the hero! Who needs another teenager saving the world? Give this geezer a shot, for chrissakes.
The Ancient Magus' Bride
There was a short prequel for Ancient Magus' Bride before this fall's series debuted, and I am so happy that I didn't miss it. The Ancient Magus' Bride: Those Awaiting a Star is not absolutely necessary to watch, but it gives viewers of the series greater context for Chise, a girl who has been put through a lot, and has entered a world far from the one she started in. When we meet her in this series, she's at her lowest point. She's being sold as a slave, and she doesn't care. Then comes Elias Einsworth, a mage who looks more like a monster than a man. It's not spoiling anything to say that Elias has plans for Chise, and one of those plans is to make her his bride.
There's a level of discomfort with this whole situation. There's slavery, a young girl being in a relationship with an older man, and a relationship with someone who doesn't appear to be of the same species. I'm not letting any of that slide, but none of it would make me disregard such a beautiful series. I love a world that seems well realized, and the juxtaposition of the real and fantasy realms is always interesting to me. The Ancient Magus' Bride is beautiful in so many ways. Even though it's dangerous and wild, it's one of those fictional worlds you would want to live in.
That's it for me, and that's all for the fall season. If you don't see your favorite anime here (any King's Game fans out there? Dynamic Chord, anyone?) it's because they didn't quite make the grade. I spent many months watching a LOT of Japanese animation, so I feel secure in my decisions. So, see you next year, and see you in the winter season!