A few thoughts on what’s available so far….
Dive! – I’d rather just re-watch Free!
Princess Principal – Not bad. The teens-as-spies has been done to almost an annoying degree, but so far I’m digging the weird steampunk-victorian-Berlin-wall-schtick the show’s got going on. May give this a few more episodes.
Hitorijime My Hero – Had no clue what to expect with this BL other than the usual tropes, but was very pleasantly surprised. It’s the troubled-teen-becomes-inspired-by-senpai usual, which may be uncomfortable for some since the senpai is the guy’s teacher. That being said, I thought the show did a great job. There’s pretty much zero indicator it’s a BL (if you don’t watch the OP or ED), but just tells the story of a troubled teen (that chain necklace kills me, so kawaii!) who hung out with the wrong crowd and is getting his shit together. I can really relate to that as a whole, so I’ll give it a few more episodes.
Altair: A Record of Battles – Very Prince-of-Arsland-y, but that’s not a bad thing. I rather like the designs in this and so far it’s been entertaining. Will give this more time.
Made in Abyss – Freaking adorable. Chibi-like kids in a totally Ghibli themed world who go cave spelunking to find artifacts and figure out what to do with a cute robot they found. The kids themselves are cute, but can get a little annoying on the squee factor. But the backgrounds and animation more than make up for that.
Welcome to the Ballroom – Eh, will give it a few more, but I’m not overly wowed so far. This one has been promoted as much as Yuri on Ice was, which is to say – it’s been in-your-face since last year. The animation is really good and the character designs are pleasant to look at – bonus points for making each character look very distinct and different. However, I felt the initial premise of how the kid got into ballroom dancing a bit of a hard sell. I mean, if the kid was really that gullible he’d have been in 20 clubs by now. If it’s just as simple as dragging him into one practice…. yeah. Also, he was punched in the gut…. dancing all night….. hmmm… Hopefully these levels of ridiculousness will settle out now he’s doing it.
Katsugeki Touken Ranbu – This is so much better than the last version. I’d dropped the last Touken Ranbu because it was just annoying as hell to sit through. It didn’t even click with me that this was another version of it until I started watching it and thought: wait… I’ve seen this somewhere. I looked it up and realized it was a new production of it and wow, this is so much better. Two episodes in and so far so good. Famous Japanese swords personified do battle with the Time Retrograde Army, who attempt to re-write history.
Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun – Aoyama is a germaphobe, who loves soccer and hates to lose. His quiet way of dealing with this phobia is interested and also highly comical due to how it affects his teammates. The show does a good job of giving the phobia the proper gravitas nod that it deserves for those who do deal with it while putting a light-hearted, comic spin on it. It’s decent, but not sure it can hold my attention for an entire season.
Knights and Magic – A programmer geek guy who loves mecha models dies and is reborn as some rich kid in an alternate universe where magic is used alongside huge mecha machines to fight off beasties. He’s completely aware that he’s been reincarnated as a little kid and totally shrugs off that the whole world he’s now in is completely different from what he’s known. All of this because hey look – BIG MECHA MACHINES ARE FIGHTING AND HE CAN GROW UP TO USE ONE TOO – COOL BEANS! Eh? So he’s totally obsessed with his new life of being a shrimpy kid who has to grow up (again) so he can fit in the mecha machines he loves so much.
Fox Spirit Matchmaker – It’s the Chinese production anime of the season and it’s just as ridiculous as the above image would have anyone believe. I did actually like SpiritPact, so I was sorta hoping for that same kind of vibe: cringe-worthy, but still adorkable in the right ways to be tolerable for a season. So far, no dice with this one. Don’t like the main dude, whose voice sounds way deeper than it should for such a young looking character. Also, his don’t-give-two-shits-except-will-fight-for-candy attitude isn’t really endearing him at all.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life – I love Natsume Yuujincho and even liked The Morose Mononokean (I do read the manga for both), so this was right up my alley. Dude doesn’t want to be a pain in the ass to his extended relatives so he tries to move out of the house asap. His dorms burn down, but he miraculously (or was it planned with that spirit…..?) finds a place in his budget at a house that looks like the Japanese version of the Addams Family estate, but filled with yokai (spirits). His reactions are gold, which makes this an easy pill to swallow. Nothing and no one seem to be what they appear so watching him figure it out will make for some good comedy and possibly several D’awwwww moments.
Love and Lies – Boy and girl are totally in love with each other and the moment they get their hot, saliva streaming kiss scene the boy gets noticed of who his future betrothed will be. Spoiler alert: it’s not the girl he’s kissing. In a world where kids are assigned life mates at age 16 to keep the population going true love isn’t taken into consideration. The animation for this is nice, but the bug eyes on the kids is a bit distracting (although I think it’s meant to be pretty?). The whole premise of how the two fell in love was also eye-roll worthy.
Restaurant to Another World – Very cute premise. The first part of the episode was a bit annoying, but eventually got much better towards the ends. I’m more interested in what the restaurant contract entails than anything else so far.
Fastest Finger First – Sport show in the same vein as Chihayafuru, but with quiz bowl. I was kinda hoping for more of a Chihayafuru vibe, but wasn’t really getting much and got a little bored by this.
Saiyuki Reload Blast – Four bishonen tropes are actually a badass group of yokai killers. I foresee lots of shipping with this show among the the fandom. This is ridiculous, but simply fun.
So, this was a long post. These are all the premiers I’ve watched so far – still a few more to go. I have a feeling I’ll be dropping many of them.
Still watching – mild spoilers:
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul and finding it somewhat difficult to stay excited about it. The whole dungeon arc dragged on for much longer than necessary and I feel like the show is scrambling to get back up to speed. Nina x Charioce is officially a thing now, which I’m not sold on in the slightest. Charioce’s interaction with Nina feels more done out of general curiosity and simply because he can than actually having anything remotely concerning feelings. If Nina’s standards include good looks and dancing skills then well… her standards are rather piss poor IMO. The guy still tried to kill all her friends and enslaves demons and wants to wipe out angels. The hug scene didn’t strike me as him having any emotions for her either but more or less curiosity about what would happen so, why not. And so far she STILL feels like more an accessory character than an actual asset to the show. It’s like she’s sorta there to push the rest of the plot along, only it’s not happening right now because it’s gone all shojo on us with her crushing on a bad dude, but like, you know… dancing. Favaro is MIA – again, damnit – and Kaisar is in jail – again, damnit and Rita is most likely going to save them both -again, damnit. And…. wait…. something’s missing. Oh right! It’s Azazel, who, besides Kaisar, was the most interesting part of the whole first cour and has been MIA for 8 episodes now. Jeanne has been the only saving grace over the past few episodes for me.