Tuesday’s Top 5: Visually Interesting Anime in 2017

Tuesday's Top 5

The final top 5 of 2017 list and this week I am focusing on those shows that I just found interesting to look at for whatever reason. Maybe they were pretty or set somewhere interesting, or maybe they were just plain bizarre, but they are shows that when I think about them I remember the visuals as keenly as I remember the story or characters. I’d love to know which shows you found visually interesting in 2017.

Please Note – Some spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week goes to The Laughing Salesman.

Number 5: KADO The Right Answer

There’s certainly room to argue that the mix of 2D and 3D as well as copious  amounts of CGI didn’t really go so great in KADO. I found it very interesting to watch but found the characters and their movements to be at times really unnerving. That said, the visualisation of the inside of KADO and some of the devices was really impressive. All and all, with an interesting story and characters, the visuals still managed to be a large part of what defined KADO as a show and it is something people remember after the viewing.

Number 4: ACCA

ACCA first caught my attention because of its character designs and colour scheme which aren’t exactly pretty but certainly are eye catching and at least feel a bit different from the norm. However, what earns ACCA its place on this list is that each of the districts Jean visits have quite distinct visual feel about them. As Jean travels around from episode to episode, the scenery is never dull and the world constructed in ACCA is one that becomes quite interesting and a lot of that is because of the way each setting is visually presented (though attention to small details in each of these settings also helped). Whichever way, while ACCA may not visually appeal to all, it was certainly distinct.

Number 3: Land of the Lustrous

This show is stunning and beautiful and captivating and pretty much any other adjective I can throw at it. While I’m not a big fan of CG Land of the Lustrous manages to use the style to create its own alien feel that fits perfectly with the story and characters being portrayed. This is a case where the visuals have been masterfully thought out to bring out the best of the story and it really should be celebrated. While I really don’t want every show to adopt this style, Land of the Lustrous shows us what possibilities are out there as we increasingly blend old and new technologies in animation.

Number 2: March Comes in Like a Lion (first and second season)

This one may not be as pretty as Land of the Lustrous, but the visuals get my attention for the simple reason that they do a lot of the heavy lifting in conveying the story and the emotional tone of the episode. Normally visuals are an after thought for me as a reviewer but in March Comes in Like a Lion it is the powerful visuals that need to be discussed more often than not because very little of the story is explicitly said but rather it is visualised through symbolism on the screen. How the show manages to continue to perfectly convey each moment is truly wondrous and the impact of these visuals is quite clear given how emotionally invested I’ve become in this show and these characters.

Number 1: 18if

For a show that ultimately isn’t very impressive as a story, the visuals are what will really stick. Each episode is a new dream and has a new art style and this makes for a fairly fascinating experience as you never really know what to expect from the next episode until it is upon you. Some styles are better than others, but overall, 18if remained a visual feast even when the narrative didn’t really hold up its end of the deal. As a result, it is the anime I found the most visually interesting throughout 2017 even if I didn’t think much of the anime as a whole by the time it was done.

Which shows in 2017 caught your eye?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

 

Advertisements

18if Series Review: Great Individual Moments in an Ordinary Series

Overview:

Haruto wakes up in a strange place and soon learns he is inside a dream where a sleeping girl has become a witch. Lily recruits Haruto to save the witches and help the girls wake up.

Review:

18if is one of those stories that you know at the beginning you can’t really judge until the end. There’s a lot of weird stuff going on, not just because it is inside of a dream, and as an audience member you are largely kept in the dark. What 18if did very well was to continuously give the audience enough prompts to keep thinking something was coming. What it did poorly was deliver an ending that was satisfying enough to make the overall journey feel like it was worth the effort.

18if8c

Despite that, I still kind of liked watching this show. I don’t think I’ll bother with a rewatch because the ending really isn’t particularly interesting or satisfying, but the individual stories of the witches were entertaining enough. Not to mention, the sleeping beauty syndrome that then turns into a rant about females, purity and god was kind of hard to swallow. While there is nothing wrong with the idea, the execution left a lot to be desired with little groundwork of that kind of overall theme being laid down in the earlier episodes that seemed to focus instead on subconscious desires, freedom and identity.

18if2b

Which leads me to the other issue with 18if. Each week we have a new witch as our focus and a new art style to accompany her. This makes the show fresh every week despite the basic story being boy meets witch in dream, witch throws a tantrum and then boy talks to her and ‘saves’ her before witch wakes up. And some of the episodes were absolutely gorgeous to look at. However, what it meant was that some weeks were misses both visually and from a story and character point of view. Some witches were really interesting and others were horrible. I found myself see-sawing between really loving this show one week and the next just kind of being indifferent to it, and at one particularly horrible episode I found myself actively disliking the show. It isn’t a very cohesive way to tell a story, though cohesion clearly wasn’t what they were going for as their main focus.

18if4c

Still, it isn’t like this is just a disconnected ramble. Haruto as the central character is pretty consistent in his actions and thoughts. Even though he is tasked with saving witches, his methods are at times interesting and he isn’t above being underhanded to get things done.  Yet he isn’t a villain or a jerk. He’s a mostly nice guy that doesn’t like being bothered and is a little bit confused because he realises he’s stuck in this dream and not waking up.

18if10a

While I mostly enjoyed the early episodes, formulaic though they were, I really do think the show needed a bit more depth in the characterisation of the witches. Some of their motives just made them seem really and incredibly childish. It is hard to get behind their sometimes murderous actions when they just seem to be so petty. And yes, I get they were all hurt by whatever in the real world, but lots of people get hurt in the real world and don’t build a dream escape where they torture people If this is what the story wanted to do, then it needed to give us more time with each witch and they needed to really flesh out that witches pain and make the audience connect with it. Make us feel she was possibly justified in her actions and make her eventual change of heart actually touching or meaningful. Really, the whole way through the show, that emotional depth and connection was missing from a show that seemed entirely about human emotions.

18if10d

The Professor is another character I struggled to connect with. You get that he is researching the witches and dreams because his sister is one of the girls trapped in the dream world, but it just seems so convenient that he walks in and out of the dream world seemingly at will. And then he has a phone that connects between people in dreams and people in the real world. They never explain any of this other than saying ‘research’, without specifying what kind or anything else that might actually make this in anyway logical. More importantly, for all that the Professor is sometimes acting as the voice of Haruto’s conscious, you have to wonder why the Professor didn’t do more to help Haruto out earlier. Mostly, he’s a bystander but occasionally he jumps in and does things. It makes him inconsistent and kind of annoying. Though he does have a cat avatar so maybe we can forgive him.

18if11b

Though, it is the ending where this show truly suffers. Once the witches are all woken up and Lily directs Haruto to kill Eve who is apparently waking up and that will destroy the world. I know they spend a lot of time in the final three episodes hitting us with exposition to try and make this make sense, and there’s some weird Eve worshipping cult in the real world, and some stuff about getting revenge on god by destroying the world, but really given the story we were watching and the final, they really feel like two entirely separate stories and neither really got enough focus to be satisfying.

All and all, I ended up disappointed with 18if, but I don’t regret watching it. For all its flaws, it was still a mostly entertaining watch for the season, and visually it was quite memorable.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

The Best of Summer 2017

Okay, we have made it to the announcement for the best of Summer 2017. Starting with my favourites of the season and then the reader’s poll results. With over 100 votes again, and a few more than Spring, I am hoping that the poll is becoming more reflective of the feelings of the community, however nearly 50% of the votes were split between three titles. Read on and all will be revealed.

My Favourite Show

My Hero Academia has sat at the top of my list each and every week and looking back over the season, I don’t see any reason to change it. If Princess Principal had wrapped up its story, it may have pushed past My Hero Academia, but without a full conclusion, it just couldn’t beat the ongoing story of the high school wannabe super heroes.

Hero34

I’ve really enjoyed this show over the last two seasons and I’m glad there’s been an announcement of a season 3. It isn’t the most amazing anime ever, but it is good fun and I could certainly stand more shows that I just enjoy watching because they are fun.

My Favourite Character

Uraraka from My Hero Academia. She’s adorable but really got to shine at times during the second season of My Hero Academia.

Hero31c

Admittedly though, she did not have a lot of competition this season as a number of shows saw me struggling to even remember character names because I was that disinterested in remembering them.

My Favourite Story

This is actually really tricky because honestly the stories this season were… bland (well, quite a few were broken but I was trying not to be too critical). Princess Principal left itself wide open for a sequel as did My Hero Academia. Gamers and Fastest Finger First weren’t overly concerned with telling a story. A lot of the other shows the story was just complete rubbish when you broke it down (at least the ones I was watching). So… Okay, I’m going to give this one to Sagrada Reset.

Sagrada12b

I absolutely loved the way this story brought everything together in the end. The presentation of the story might be questionable, but the narrative itself is pretty amazing once you get to the end of it and realise how cohesive they manage to make it.

My Favourite Opening Theme

Very easy choice. Princess Principal was by far the best theme of the season for me (though I kind of liked 18if as well but for a very different reason).

Princess6c

The opening of Princess Principal just captured the feeling of the show beautifully and I loved the visuals that went with it. I really enjoyed listening to and watching the opening theme each week.

My Favourite Visuals

Relatively easy choice this season. As fun and colourful as My Hero Academia is, it is pretty standard from a visual point of view. Most of the shows I watched this season were a bit hit and miss. Knight’s & Magic had pretty fights and not a lot else, same as Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu. Ultimately, my favourite overall visuals had to be from 18if.

18if6c

That was also hit and miss from a quality point of view but each week was interesting to see what style we were going to get.

Favourite Screen Capture

I haven’t had this category before but I just had to share this one. It is going to be my favourite for awhile.

Vatican12d

I quite like it visually but the quote is kind of priceless and I really want that on a book mark.

Reader’s Choice – Best Anime of Summer 2017

Here it is:

Best of Summer

For the second season in a row, My Hero Academia snuck in a win. It was losing to Made in Abyss for a lot of the voting period and Princess Principal was a close third for most of the vote. However, in the home stretch, My Hero Academia bounced into the lead position. I’m glad it won this time given the season is now finished. I really had a lot of fun with this one and from some of the posts I’ve read on other blogs it is pretty clear that a lot of people have enjoyed following Midoriya’s journey.

Hero31

That is officially the end of the Summer 2017 anime season for me though most of the full series reviews are still to be posted. As always I’d love to know your favourites so please leave a comment below. Also, later today the worst of Summer post will come out so be sure to check it out.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

18if Episode 13: We Came, We Saw, We Drank Tea and Ate Cake

Review – With Spoilers:

While I’ve enjoyed 18if all the way along, what this show really needed to lift it to something I would actually enjoy rewatching was a strong conclusion that really brought all those weird elements together. While they certainly brought back all the characters this episode, what we didn’t get was anything particularly satisfying about this conclusion.

18if13a

The revelation that Lily is Eve even though Lily wants Haruto to kill Eve (kill turning out later in the episode to mean sully her purity, as in kiss her, which doesn’t happen either mind you so seems like an incredibly pointless part of the narrative) was pretty obvious when you sat and thought about it and again, does it matter? They don’t do anything with this idea of Lily representing Eve before and Eve being who she was after so is it necessary at all?

18if13c

On the other hand, Eve has the incredibly clichéd motivation of being annoyed at god and clearly that means you should hate men and destroy the world. I really find this kind of motive for a bad guy dull. And even the writers must have realised how petty Eve was being given they appeased her by throwing a tea party. Not even joking. The witches all come back and eat cake and drink tea and that more or less stops Eve from destroying the world.

18if13d

And then we finally get to Haruto, the one character the audience have had a chance to actually connect with. We know he’s in hospital in a coma and then… Then he decides to go with Eve through some door to someplace humans can’t go but says he’ll come back. Cut to scene in hospital where essentially he flat lines. No more from Haruto.  I’m not entirely convinced that this is in anyway a satisfying way to wrap up this show. Basically, I’m still glad I watched it because it has been visually interesting each week and some of the dreams have been quite fun, but the overall narrative has falled pretty flat in the end.

I’ll do a full review soon.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

18if Episode 12: I’m Feeling This Was A Little Anti-Climatic

Review:

This kind of seems like 18if has finally pulled everything together and is moving toward the final showdown between Haruto and Eve in the dream world, which means it really should be feeling exciting. We learn this episode where Haruto is in the real world (though no actual hints about how or why) and we also finally find and save the professor’s sister. That’s two big mysteries from the series solved and yet it all just felt kind of ho-hum.

18if12c

What made it worse was the show seemed to be trying to set up various characters in a sinister light in the real world but that has no weight given everything of interest that’s happened in this story has happened inside the dreams. More importantly, even the witch that died came back this episode which means even death lost its weight and importance in this particular story.

18if12d

While it is coming together, it is more working on paper than in reality. The feeling that you should have when watching this episode just isn’t there and the confrontation with Eve that will occur next week probably won’t fix the problem.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Summer 2017 Week 12

Okay, some shows are done and others are close to drawing to a close and I’m now having to seriously think about my plans for the Autumn season. Here’s my list but there will be one more to draw the season to a close. Remember polling for the best and worst anime of the Summer 2017 season is on so if you’d like to vote, jump on over. The polls will close on the 2 of October with results announced soon after. Write in votes are allowed so if I missed your show, please feel free to add it.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so please leave me a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

My Hero Academia (Episode 36)

While this second last episode was a little bit on the flat side, nothing is really going to squish my enjoyment of this second season overall. Still very much looking forward to the last episode of the season and really I just have to wonder whether they are going for the ridiculous kids take down All Might finish or whether All Might will gently crush them in order for them to learn some valuable lesson. Guess I’ll find out next week. Or hey, maybe the test will get called off for some contrived reason. Whichever way they go, I’m almost certain I’ll have fun with it.

Princess Principal (Episode 11)

The story of Ange and the Princess remains fantastic. The rest of the story, probably belongs in the next category down. It is usually entertaining but not unmissable. So, a little bit torn as we seem to head toward the end.

days11

Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Finished)

Exorcist18

Okay, I Guess

18if (Episode 11)

Way too much recap even as the story tries to steer us toward the conclusion. Seriously tiresome episode even as it gave us information we needed so you can’t even skip it.

Gamers (Episode 10)

This show is definitely going to finish the season in the just okay zone. There have been some highly entertaining moments within the show, but overall, it just isn’t the kind of thing I intend to rewatch or recommend to others. But hey, if you are into love pentagons, this one is really working hard to put as many miscommunications in as possible.

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 11)

Honestly, this episode was entertaining but if you are over jokes about breasts or panties, this is not going to work for you at all because the majority of the content this week is definitely focused in that direction. There are enough other things going on that I didn’t do an extremely late season drop on this, but it is hardly the cleverest of developments.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 11)

Back to the annoying character, but somehow this episode wasn’t as annoying as their last appearance. Possibly because the quiz seemed to remain the main focus and most of the other characters have kind of stopped over-reacting to that character. It makes their intrusions less intruding.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 10)

Another pretty ordinary episode. And now I know that these episodes are in fact repeats so I’m ending my viewing of the series and just going to review the first half of the series that was new material. Apparently Hell Girl is more forgettable than even I believed.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Finished)

Well, this show ended more or less how it started which was okay but nothing particularly exceptional. I am pleasantly surprised I made it through a whole season of this, but there were some funny moments along the way. Okay, there was also a lot of stupidity and one or two groan inducing episodes, but overall, still better than anticipated.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 12)

They managed a slightly more serious tone for most of this episode, but it really is too late to make me care. The issue with the teacher came back to the usual theme of humans being pretty terrible without the help of monster possession, and other anime may pull this story line off beautifully, but here, due to a lack of general care for the characters, it just comes off as preachy and pointless.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 11)

Not sure where to next given they kind of wrapped up their mystery last week, but I guess we’ll see where it goes.

Tattoo6

They Made This

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 12)

I’m going to be honest, so many things in this show have annoyed me that now I’m actively annoyed by more or less anything it does. This week even the sound effects were bugging me and they are pretty harmless. Some of the fight sequence were interesting, but they were pretty repetitive, and nothing is going to fix the story or the characters at this point.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 11)

Fight, fight, fight. Admittedly, this show has been worse than this, so I’m still not actually disliking the last couple of episodes. But, it all would have been so much more dramatic if earlier episodes had given me a reason to care about this current confrontation.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 12)

Certainly this show is having a good go at trying to up the ante in the final two episodes but just throwing more of the enemy at us while not fixing any of the plot or character issues really isn’t the way to make a grand ending. Basically I’m just glad that there’s only one more episode.

gangsta6

Tried and Dropped

Restaurant to Another World (Episode 1)

Centaur’s Life (Episode 1)

Convenience Store Boyfriends (Episode 1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast (Episode 1)

Battle Girl High School (Episode 1)

Hina Logic (Episode 1)

Tsuredure Children (Episode 1)

Fox Spirit Matchmaker (Episode 1)

Aho Girl (Episode 1)

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor (Episode 1)


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

18if Episode 11: Does This Count as Recap?

Review:

This episode of 18if was both satisfying, in that we are finally see them trying to connect all of these incidents and give us some explanation about Haruto, and also incredibly frustrating. Frustrating because we spend a large part of the run time flashing back through all ten withes we’ve previously encountered.

18if11a

While Haruto’s mystery is one I’ve wanted dealt with, and I wouldn’t have minded one flashback through the encounters just to remind me because some of the earlier ones have become hazy, by the third time we cycled through the 10 girls that Haruto saved I was more or less over it and just wanted them to get on and make their point.

18if11b

That said, we do get a direction for this show to go with the introduction of Eve. Some cult the Professor is encountering in the real world want Eve to wake up full of love to save the world (yeah, that seems dodgy no matter how you look at it). Lily wants Haruto to kill Eve. The Professor is still in information gathering mode, but is probably going to run out of time given Haruto is working with Lily and heading for Eve by the end of this episode.

18if11c

Not that we have any idea what Haruto has decided given pretty much all we know is that he wants out of the dream world and he’s well aware at the moment that he can’t do that on his own. So the overall story is interesting, but this episode was a lot of recap and it felt like it dragged.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar