Tuesday’s Top 5: Shows of Summer 2017 That Weren’t As Bad As Their Synopsis Made Them Sound

This might seem like an odd choice for a list but I’m going to be honest, going into Summer 2017 there were only a few shows that on reading the synopsis made me want to try them and then most of those were unavailable to me. I did get to watch Elegant Yokai Apartment Life and it had the opposite problem of the write up makes it sound more fun that it is. So instead I got to just randomly sample shows that I went into expecting not to really like them very much and in some cases the results have been pleasantly surprising. That’s not to say these are the best shows I’m watching or the best on offer, only that they are actually more fun than I initially thought they would be.

Anyway, I’d love to know if there’s a show that has surprised you this Summer season by not being dreadful.

Please note: Probably only limited spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week to Princess Principal. Not only is it one of my favourite shows of the season, it is one that from the short synopsis I read and the character designs I was pretty positive I was going to drop, not because it sounded bad, but because it just didn’t sound or look like something I would enjoy. So glad I watched the first episode because it was great fun.

Number 5: 18if

After going to sleep like normal, Haruto Tsukishiro wakes up to discover something unbelievable—he’s stuck in dream world! Here, witches plague the dreamscape and are more than dreamy figments—they’re the trapped souls of young women who’ve rejected reality and are afflicted by the “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome.”

The above is the Crunchyroll synopsis and reading that it just screams that this is something to be avoided. Stuck in a dream world? Okay, here’s another chance for a writer to just be totally random for no reason. Oh, there are witches who are actually the trapped souls of young women? Suffering from a syndrome named after a fairy tale character. It all just seemed far too much like a desperate cry for attention and to be honest with each episode featuring a unique art style and tone you could be forgiven for thinking this entire story is just a project being made by an over-zealous art class full of students that all just want their turn at creating someone for Haruto to rescue. Despite that, it actually hasn’t been a bad watch. There’s been quite a bit of heart in some of the stories and there’s been enough cohesion with Haruto to carry us from story to story without too much confusion. Admittedly, this could still end very badly or not at all if they don’t bother to get to some sort of more definitive point before the season draws to a close.

Number 4: Gamers

“Would you like to be with me… in the Gamers Club?” Amano Keita is a perfectly mediocre loner with no particular distinguishing features other than his love for games. One day, his school’s prettiest girl and Gamer Club President Tendo Karen suddenly calls out to him. That moment changes Keita’s life forever, as he now finds himself in the midst of a romcom with beautiful girl gamers… or, well, that’s how it usually goes. Not with him, however.

As much as I like games and gaming, this anime didn’t exactly scream that it was something I wanted to watch. Everything about the synopsis is cliché and high school, club anime about loner boy getting targeted by the school’s ‘prettiest girl’ to join a club just didn’t seem like something I was going to get into. And the first episode more or less confirmed those fears and then it didn’t. Gamers managed to turn the trite and overused scenario on its head and admittedly it has marched us through a lot of tropes and clichés the way it manages to continue to defy audience expectations while remaining watchable is pretty amazing. The narrative is completely shot at this point because of all the twists they keep building in but it doesn’t really matter because I’m just caught up with these odd characters and their odd but charming interactions.

Number 3: Fastest Finger First

Bunzou High School is welcoming its new first-year students. One of them, Koshiyama Shiki, is chosen to participate against his will in an impromptu fast-buzzing quiz meet by the president of the Quiz Bowl Circle. As a quiet boy who loves reading and doesn’t want to stand out, Shiki is overwhelmed, but his classmate, Fukami Mari, is able to hit the buzzer and answer questions before the full question is given.

Once again, high school club with quiet boy getting dragged into things. What actually drew me to this one is that it was about quizzes and I really enjoy them so I ignored all my trepidations and took on the first episode. While I can’t say that this has truly defied any of my expectations, it is really quite watchable and mostly that is because of Koshiyama as the protagonist. He might be a quiet kid who doesn’t like standing out but there’s more to him than just that and he’s actually proving to be a reasonably well rounded protagonist. Does that make the show particularly good? Not really. Unless you like quizzes there really isn’t a lot to get into with the story. However, given what my initial thoughts were when reading that synopsis I’ve ended up finding this fairly okay.

Number 2: Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun

Aoyama kun is a hot, young soccer prodigy who plays midfielder for the National U-16 Soccer Team. But he’s also an extreme germaphobe! The TV anime adaptation of “Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama kun!” (Clean Freak!! Aoyama kun) portrays the friendships he forms and the challenges he overcomes in a “spotless” coming-of-age story!

Seriously? It is a story about a ‘hot’ soccer player who is a germaphobe and in case that isn’t enough to make your eyes roll right out your head at the sheer gimmicky nature of that match up we then get an incredibly tacky pun dropped into the synopsis just for fun. There was absolutely nothing about that write up that made this seem like it would appeal and to be honest, there’s nothing about the show that really should given its basically an episodic comedy that has a cast of overly zany characters that each seem to get one episode in the spotlight where their extreme dysfunction takes centre stage as we circle around Aoyama and then we move on. Despite that, I’ve been finding this anime oddly charming. Not every joke is a winner and some episodes are more tiresome than others, but overall, Aoyama has been kind of interesting and part of that is probably because despite the cheap jokes and gimmicks, for the most part it seems to respect people with conditions. There are a lot of tacky jokes in the series but Aoyama’s need to clean has for the most part been treated as a setting rather than the target of the humour.

Number 1: In Another World With My Smartphone

After dying as a result of God’s mistake, the main character finds himself in a parallel world, where he begins his second life. His only possessions are the body that God gave back to him and a smartphone that works even in this new world. As he meets all kinds of new people and forges new friendships, he ends up learning the secret to this world. He inherits the legacy of an ancient civilization and works together with the kings of some very laid-back countries on his carefree travels through this new world.

Right from the title you know what this show is giving you. It is another self-aware isekai story about an overpowered protagonist trapped in another world. Gimmick to throw in is he gets to take his phone with him and somehow it works. There’s really no reason at all this anime should have appealed to me and yet there’s just something about how it delivers its tropes that manages to entertain. It seldom crosses into overly cringe worthy territory and even though the last couple of episodes have started to become a little repetitive, due to Touya being all but an unstoppable force of nature at this point, there’s still plenty to make me smile about this show. Nope, it has no depth and it isn’t trying to actually make itself distinct or a satire on the genre or anything else. What it does is simply remember why these clichés became cliches and what makes them fun. It delivers lines that in most shows would all but be followed with a nudge to the audience to let us know that they are aware it is an overused line in an absolutely serious manner. Just as it delivers cloth dissolving slimes without a hint of shame. All and all, of all the shows I tried without really expecting anything from them, this one is the one I’ve ended up having the most fun with. Again, not exactly the best anime of the season but nowhere near as terrible as it could have been from that synopsis.

Over to you, which show this Summer did you find to be oddly not terrible after reading a synopsis that kind of made you wonder why you were even pressing play?


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Karandi James.

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19 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Shows of Summer 2017 That Weren’t As Bad As Their Synopsis Made Them Sound

  1. I was half-expecting Gamers to be #1 from your episode reviews.

    True that none of these show’s synopsis sound all that appealing. Good to know you’re having some fun with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I started watching 18if the other day, and I did have the same initial concerns as you. The synopsis gave a very vague and weak description.

    I’ve only gotten through two episodes but it’s pretty decent at the moment. I haven’t seen enough to really make a stance. But I do have to say, the changing animation styles already has me very intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s been one or two episodes that have been misses, but the rest has been pretty decent, and particularly after the last episode I’m now a little bit more hopeful of some kind of ending so we’ll see how it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To be honest I’ve only watched 3 shows from summer 2017. My Hero Academia which doesn’t count, Restaurant to Another World which I was excited for because of the description, and Fastest Finger First which I was also excited for. Having field school for 6 weeks really interrupted my viewing of these shows. I’ll be sure to watch the ones in your list though because they look interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an interesting concept for a list. It’s true that sometimes the synopsis don’t actually do justice to the show at all and can be very off.
    Funnily enough, I’m not watching any of these shows except one, because the synopsis put me off.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is neat idea to do for a top 5 and I had fun reading it. I definitely agree about Gamers! I was prepared for one of the most generic high school stories ever but decided to try it because of the theme. It’s been rather fun though and I’m surprised how much Tasuku’s maniac face still entertains me.

    I’m glad Smartphone wasn’t as bad as it made itself sound. Still don’t think I’ll go back and watch it but “better than expected” is nice after you’ve already invested time.

    The one show I would mention that you don’t have here is Fox Spirit Matchmaker. Its premise isn’t immediately interesting and its execution has all the low points of Haoliners/Emon’s last release Spirit Pact and then some, but just like Spirit Pact there seems to be a decent story behind it all and the characters are oddly charming after a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See if you tell me that it means I’ll have to go back and watch it at some point. I really didn’t like the first episode of Fox Spirit but I didn’t like the first episode of Spirit Pact either and that ended up being pretty decent by the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, well yes the first episode of both shows were pretty awful. I got curious about where the show would be going once they got into the background concepts. A lot of the humor after the first couple episodes worked for me too so that might be why I didn’t drop it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a quite a few shows here that normally I wouldn’t have tried or would have dropped early on. I’m kind of glad I’ve stuck with most of them. Even though they haven’t been amazing, there’s certainly been some fun to be had with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Even though they haven’t been amazing, there’s certainly been some fun to be had with them.”

        Though this generally hasn’t been one of them, there have been seasons where that’s the best you can hope for. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Normally I don’t have this many shows in my line up that I thought would be terrible that ended up okay. This season just happened to be one with very little available in my preferred genres so I’ve been improvising and ended up find quite a bit that was ‘okay’ but not a lot that amazed me. And so a list was born.

      Liked by 2 people

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