Here’s what I’m watching this season.
Mahou Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride): This show is pure poetry.
Hatori Chise, a Slay Vega, sells herself at a magical auction and is bought by Elias Ainsworth, a mage. He makes her his apprentice and also decides to make her his bride. Funny thing is – as a magical being that’s not really human and not really fae either – he’s not got a good grasp on what having a bride entails. Despite him being hundreds or thousands of years old (not sure which), he still doesn’t have an idea of how to communicate and connect with humans all that well. Since Chise – as a Slay Vega – is very rare, he decides to take her on in order to help her and himself. Chise came from a broken home environment where her father ran away and mother commit suicide in front of her. Due to her ability of “sight” (seeing magical creatures) she’s run into the same problems that Natsume Takashi does in Natsume Yuujinchou – she’s considered strange and a liar. Like Natsume, Chise was passed around from one abusive relative to another, only seen as a problem child until she’d had enough and voluntarily sold herself at the auction. Elias introduces her to a world of magicians, sorcerers and alchemists who help and support her.
I forget how I’d heard of it, but I started reading the manga first. I think I saw some scans of it on tumblr and then decided to give it a try. I love it. It perfectly tickles my childhood love of all things related to English folklore with faeries, magicians and dragons.
The prequel series (3 episodes) was even a delight. I watched all 3 on Crunchyroll and even went out to see the first 3 episodes of the anime in “movie” format at a theatre.
When I was little I read all sorts of books about magicians and dragons (and even wrote a hypothetical essay in grade school on the origins of flying dragons based on lizards and dinosaurs. I aced that report because the teacher loved how I made a convincing argument for it.) I also had the faerie lover’s bible – Brian Froud’s Faeries and another encyclopedia of faeries. I’d read all about Arthurian Legends and Merlin was like a god to me. I carried around glitter as faerie dust and coveted silver goblets and small dragon figurines in gift shops and medieval faires. I also wore a lot of velvet. Yep, I was that kid….
So reading Magus’ Bride was a treat for me and now the anime airing this season is completely blowing away my expectations of it. The first three episodes were the same as the “movie” version I saw this past summer.
So far so good with the anime adaptation. In fact, I think the anime has a spectacular job of showing and not telling the finer emotional moments of the series. It has the same, comforting melancholic tone Natsume Yuujinchou does, but throws in a several moments of sharp humor, punctuated by chibi styled characters to emphasize it. I also think this show has more of a dark streak in it emotionally than NY. I’m glad to say that the balance has been very well done so far. I might do some episode reviews for this show.
Juuni Taisen: This show is a gratuitous display of violence, war and chess just for the sake of it. I wasn’t too keen on it at first, but I can’t seem to stop watching it now.
12 warriors representing the 12 signs of the zodiac do battle every so often just because highly rich people want to place bets on who will win. It’s a for-shits-and-giggles with money and lives at stake game and yes, it is rather sick when you think about it.
Btw, I’m year of the rabbit, so this psycho represents my zodiac character. He’s a huge muscley rabbit-man with an enormous puffy tail, stilettos and… a speedo? A thong? I’m not sure but it looks like he’s a demented playboy bunny. I kinda dig it.
So far – 4 or 5 episodes in- and several of the warriors have died. I think half of them maybe? Episodes are split between action fighting between the warriors and flashbacks so you kinda get a feel for what kind of person the warrior was – right before they die. If you see a flashback, chances are that character will die in the same or next episode. I’m rather glad Monkey died early because I really didn’t like her at all. She was the one supposed pacifist who tries to stop wars and bridge negotiations, but all her philosophy sorta felt shallow and self-serving for her own back-patting purposes. I do like Rat and I have a strange feeling he might be one of the last two characters standing.
Black Clover: I really REALLY dislike Asta. Actually, I really dislike all the screaming the seiyu (voice actor) does for Asta’s character. It’s so annoying I muted most of the first two episodes and just read the subtitles in silence. That’s how bad all the screaming is in the show.
Asta and Yuno were abandoned as babies at a monastery where a monk and several nuns raised them. They live in a magical world where 99.99999% of all people have some sort of magical ability. If you don’t, you’re a freak and Asta is the freak. He’s got zero magic juice, so he makes up for it by screaming all the time (compensating much?) and building himself up physically. He and Yuno set off to enlist at a magic school of sorts to become magical knights and see who can one day become the fabled Wizard King of the land. This is based on a fairly popular manga, but I’ve not read it.
The general consensus so far is – just read the manga and forget the anime. The first three episodes were definitely rough with Asta being the Screaming Annoying Shit of the show, compared to Yuno’s cool and collected attitude. Yuno is so cool in fact I wonder if he’s got a pulse because other than a childhood flashback the character is totally deadpan. I am more interested in Yuno than Asta, but in general the show isn’t really all that impressive. I’m somehow still watching this, but not sure how long I’ll last. It’s been extremely predictable and boring.
Kino’s Journey The Beautiful World: This show is nice to watch with each episode being mostly stand-alone self contained stories. I am glad I’m watching it, when I’m watching it, but getting myself to remember it’s in my queue to watch is difficult. There’s something about it that I like, but it’s not drawing me in and making me happy to see another episode each week.
Kino travels the world on her motorrad (talking vehicle – in this case a motorcycle) named Hermes and carries guns for protection. She doesn’t spend too long in each country she visits so she doesn’t get too attached to each place. Kino’s rule is to not spend more than 3 days in each country, but so far half the countries she’s been in have had issues where she’s spent anywhere from 5 to 15 days in them. Each country is unique and has some sort of quirk or issue Kino has to deal with before she leaves.
I might just binge the rest of this when it’s over because while it’s good, I only find myself watching it when I’m really bored.
(Kekkai Sensen Beyond) Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond: This is a sequel that I was very much looking forward to because the first season was amazing. I love all the characters and the setting. Much has been said about the original director (I think? maybe producer?) not being part of B3B but I’ve honestly not seen much of a difference. The tone is a little different, but it’s still the same fun raucous, dirty show I loved the first time around.
This season is threading an arc around Leo’s guilt over what happened to his sister, Michella. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m enjoying it being random and goofy for now. So far, episodes have focused on minor characters that were never really given any depth at all in season one. I absolutely LOVE the Stephen Starface/ Chain Sumeragi dynamic. The episodes around these characters have been my favorite so far. I really wanted to know more about Stephen in season one but that focused more on Leo adjusting to joining Libra and helping out the team in general. The fact that Leo is taking a back burner this season doesn’t hurt it at all. I like knowing more about the other characters.
Code Realize – Guardian of Rebirth: I might be wrong, but I think this is based on an otome game? It feels like it. It’s a reverse harem styled show about a group of thieves/ misfits who kidnap/rescue a girl who is like a doll and has next to no memory. She’s been subject to her scientist father’s experiments and now her skin is like poison and melts everything it touches. She has to have special clothes and even bedsheets and pillows made so she won’t destroy everything. Crystal things were imbedded in her chest called a Hologrim? Hologruim? I don’t know. She’s got crystal thingies near her boobs and they channel her poison/power whatever it is. The band of misfit bishonen friends try to help her solve the mystery of her poison and find out all the secrets her father kept from her.
I’m not sure where this is going, but I somehow get the feeling it doesn’t really matter because that’s not the point. The point is to show a weekly pick-your-hot-boyfriend-lead and have an adventure with him. All of this is loosely surrounding something that’s supposed to be a plot but whatever – bishonen boys! Van Helsing (the blonde w/ specs above) is my favorite because Suwabe Junichi’s voice is like sex to me. It really doesn’t matter what character that man narrates. If I hear it, it’s my favorite. Apparently the anime has determined Lupin is the end BF if you base that on the obvious preference towards him in the OP. However, I wouldn’t put it past the show to just leave it open ended.
Oh – I just looked it up and it is based on an otome game where you get to choose which hottie you end up with. Some of the screen shots for the endings in the game are hilarious.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie: I had no interest in this one at first, but now, next to Magus’ Bride and B3B, I look forward to this one each week.
Morioka, at 30, left her corporate job to become a NEET and play online video games at home. (I rather like how she says it’s a lifestyle she chose as if it’s some exclusive aesthetic kind to live up to. I can get behind that.) She joins an online adventure game where she does quests with other online friends and gets invited into a guild. Her guild family become close “friends” to her, but when she confides in one of her online buddies about a real life incident with a guy she ran into, her online life and real life clash together. She plays a boy in the game and is afraid to admit she’s 30 and a NEET so she ends up lying and says she’s a college student, which explains why she’s online all day long.
Or is it….? That’s the question and this show keeps pulling the punches emotionally and with perfect comedic timing. I love how Morioka has issues identifying with her online female friend when she’s supposed to be a guy. The double-entendres abound and I’ve laughed more at this show than I have in a long time at an anime comedy.
Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous): The first episode of this was rather meh, but I’ve warmed up to it and like it a lot. It’s definitely pretty. Genderless immortals called Gems inhabit the earth in the future. Each gem has a name based on a crystal and the crystals fight off the moon people, Lunarians, based on their Moh scale ability. Therefore, strong gems like diamonds are more suited to fighting and more brittle crystals have other duties. One Gem named Phos (I forget the full crystal name) is brittle but she’s determined to become a warrior gem.
I’ve no idea where this show is headed, but it’s fun to watch and so incredibly beautiful. Some might find the animation style in this a bit jarring and too weird, but I really like it.
Just Because: A boy moves (away? back?) to a town for his third and final semester of school, which is odd, but apparently it was for family reasons. He meets up with some of his old school friends from middle school, who went to attend the local high school now. His old crush is still there and this slice of life is just a stumbling teenage romance of goo and tugging heart strings. It’s good goo, but it’s still goo and while I like it, I find myself only watching it when I’ve already watched everything else in my queue. This and Kino’s are both good, but end of the list sorta shows because while I don’t mind these kinds of show, I can get a little bored of them or have to be in a very specific mood to want to watch them.
Still watching the following shows:
Welcome to the Ballroom: Despite the awful amount of sexism in this show, I somehow can’t quit it. I don’t think it’s a good show. It’s just more of a train wreck I’m interested in seeing crash at this point.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life: I couldn’t tolerate this one anymore and after episode 14 I dropped it.
Garo – Vanishing Line: The only one out of this whole series worth watching was the very first one.
Dies Irae: After the first episode glorified the Nazi villains I wasn’t too keen on it. The second episode was better but only because it had a somewhat coherent structure. The characters are all boring or awful.
Inuyashaki Last Hero: The violence in this show serves a purpose, but it’s a bit too much for my taste. I don’t care for any of the characters at all.