Welcome to the inaugural round of impressions for the Spring season of anime! This season is jam packed with high quality shows so it's been a blast so far, though because of the sheer number of good shows even the average ones might be put to the wayside!
Shokugeki no Soma
Soma is a cook at his father's restaurant, until his dad closes the restaurant for... two to three years... This was a fairly straight adaptation of the manga, which for fans of the series is great, but is probably not the most appetizing first course for newcomers. I will say it does tone down the fanservice and focus on the cooking battles more and more as the series goes on, though it's still there, even if it is played for laughs.
Verdict: I'm following this because I love the manga, quality be damned.
Oh god the feels. This show is very reminiscent of Blade Runner, though it swaps out the neo noire vibe for a more comedic tone for parts of the show. While I feel like there's a little bit of mood whiplash because of this, the overwhelming gut punch of emotion near the end of the episode overpowered any sense of problems that this episode might have had, will that wear on me as the season goes on? Who knows, but this series has set a record with how fast a show gets me to tears.
Verdict: THE FEELS. I'll continue watching, I love Blade Runner after all.
Tohru is a student in the future happy not to stand out, despite his more than considerable talents. He is held down by a class system and rather than rebel decides to live with his rank. That is until a little girl from another world draws him into something more. Despite some absolutely terrible animation, the story was intriguing enough, but there are some definite trope characters, especially the female ones, that hold this episode back from being anything more than just average. In this season that's a death knell for me, I probably won't be watching this all season, though I added it to my backlog for later.
Verdict: maybe later after all the goodness of this season dies down.
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru Zoku.
SNAFU returns for another season, and this time with a shiny new coat of paint. I'm not sure if I love the new look yet, but it is certainly higher in production values. If you liked season 1 season 2's start doesn't disappoint, though I've heard it is rushing through a lot of content from the Light Novels. I wouldn't know, seeing as I haven't read the source material. Some promising new threads for the season and I can't wait to see where it goes.
Verdict: Shiny and great!
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
DanMachi is a show about Adventurer Bell Cranel trying to advance in "Dungeons" using the power of his patron deity Hestia and in the process pick up girls. Typical Harem fare, not bad, definitely not good, just kind of there. If you feel yourself wanting for a show to watch this season, you could do worse, but I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend this one to anyone outside of the diehard harem fans. It just kind of feels like a rehash of a ton of different ideas.
Verdict: Eh, it's not bad...
One of the surprises for the season, a show about a girl who can see ghosts and talk to cats. It also mixes horror and comedy into one wacky blend that I don't think I can say I've seen before, but the animation is not the best. Overall I enjoyed the episode, especially Neko-san, he was one of the better gags I've seen in a while. Hopefully it continues to mix horror and comedy rather than just sticking to one or the other.
Verdict: A nice surprise, I'll give it a few more episodes to make sure though...
Seraph of The End
Seraph of the End is a story of revenge, in the future a virus has killed every human being over the age of 13, Vampires then take over society and enslave the children to be their livestock essentially. The story follows one boy who wants to get strong enough to take back the world from the vampires. Seraph is the best of the non-sequels I've seen so far this season. This is a GORGEOUS show, the background work alone is worth the watch, but it also set up an interesting, if unoriginal, world and a compelling protagonist. I already have a few ideas of what's going to happen down the line, but the execution of the episode was so good I didn't really mind.
Verdict: I'll be following this one.
This episode is about the story of a young prince learning what it takes to become a good king, and meeting the members of a rival nation. At least that's the way the story has been presented so far. The animation is great, it's definitely good to see the style similar to FMA, it has an almost nostalgic feeling to it, but it also takes steps to make it feel unique to this series. The music is pretty great, but the one thing I had a problem with is the characterization. Sometimes it can be a little too on the nose, maybe there will be a little more subtlety as the series goes on, but for now it's a little much. I also think that because we've focused on a time period before the main events of the series (which take place 3 years later) there is a sense that I was waiting around for the real stuff to get started.
Verdict: Good, but far from perfect.
A young genius physicist who is also a NEET, is forced by his little sister to find a job. She has applied for him to be a teacher at a high school! Here he uses his unorthodox methods to teach his students and quell any problems in his classroom. The set up of otaku teacher who does whatever the hell he wants feels a little weak and I'm not particularly fond of it, but to give the show credit, it only uses it as a plot device and rather generates most of the comedy from the character interactions. The animation was below the quality of most of the other shows this season, but the music and the voice acting make up for it, for the most part. The only other thing that irks me is how brutal his methods are at the end of the episode, like shouldn't he go to jail for that?!
Verdict: Funny and pretty good, but not without some issues
So this one has me in a bit of a bind, the episode starts out super weak, with one of the worst narrative structures for an episode that I've seen in a while, but then hits its groove about halfway through. Seriously though, if there's a recap of the first five minutes of the story about ten minutes into the episode I get more than a little worried about the quality of the writing. The story still doesn't make much sense, but it is studio Bones so that's to be expected. At least it seems that they've simplified it a little from some of their other past works. The setting is super cool and the animation is fairly stellar with some nice use of old school title animations for attacks. The soundtrack is probably the best of the season with a great jazzy feel to it. Definitely getting a Cowboy Bebop influenced sound to it. Here's hoping that the first half of the episode was just getting the world building stuffed in through exposition as fast as possible so that it could move on to the story. I just wish they had done a little more showing, rather than telling for this episode.
Verdict: Beautiful and totally bonkers
So that's my first round of impressions, I'll be back early in the week with the next round of shows, and I'll continue adding to them as new shows premiere. How about you guys? What have you thought about episodes you've seen so far?