Winter 2017 Final List

As the title says, this is my final list for the Winter 2017 season. This was not an amazing season of anime for me. Lots of rom-coms and slice of life shows that just didn’t do much for me (though I’ve enjoyed shows in both of these genres previously), a few sequels that didn’t manage to hold up to the first seasons, and then just some passably entertaining shows. Still, I’ve enjoyed discussing these shows with the blogging community and I’m certainly looking forward to the Spring 2017 season. And while I know a couple of shows have yet to close for the season, this is my final list for Winter 2017.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows so let me know what ended up being your best and worst for the season.

yuri10d

Must Watch

  • ACCA (Finished)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Finished)

I think ACCA is going to stay on top (at least while they are both so fresh in my mind) simply because it has decidely resolved its story whereas March Comes in Like a Lion is still a work in progress, despite having twice as many episodes. That said, while ACCA is the show I’m choosing as more entertaining now, I get the distinct impression that in the long term, March is going to be the one I end up watching more times and enjoying more. Still, ACCA was pretty amazing to watch through.

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Usually Entertaining

  • Spiritpact (Finished)
  • Chain Chronicle (Finished)

Chain Chronicle never rose above what it started out as but that is fine. Fans of straight fantasy won’t have anything to complain about other than a lack of anything to distinguish this from any other sword and sorcery story. Looking forward to that moment in a few months where I just binge this in one day.

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Okay, I Guess

  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 48)
  • Blue Exorcist (Finished)
  • Super Lovers (Finished)
  • elDLIVE (Finished)
  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 12)

Iron Blooded Orphans actually kind of reconnected with me this week. It isn’t really enough to make up for the last however long where I’ve just kind of been waiting for the inevitable end, but I genuinely felt for a character for the first time in awhile. Of course, I’m also looking forward to what comes next because I’m thinking this is going to explode now.

elDLIVE remained pretty ordinary until the end. It was never unwatchable but never rose beyond being kind of tolerable. A shame for a show with an interesting concept but it just never really rises above watchable.

Tales of Zestiria the X continues to just kind of meander along. Despite how difficult armatization with Dezel was, apparently Rose can now just armatize given she did it with Mikleo without any kind of discussion mid-battle. And now we’re going for a ‘by our powers combined’ kind of ending, which I guess I expected from the beginning but at this late stage just seems kind of like a tacked on power up given it wasn’t previously discussed as a possibility.

Tattoo6

They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Finished)

Seriously, I need my head examined for not dropping Hand Shakers. That is all I have to say on the fact that I got through 12 episodes of that.

gangsta6

Tried and Dropped

  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 10)
  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Winter 2017 done. Let’s see what Spring brings us.


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ACCA Episode 12

Review:

While I suspect not all will be thrilled with the way this resolved, for me it was the perfect way to end this story. At all times, things have been pretty laid back and resolved without much in the way of violence, and for the coup to end the way it did works perfectly in terms of being true to the feel of the story and characters. It probably would have been unnatural for this to end any other way.

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There’s something immensely satisfying in seeing where the characters end up after the ceremony and while this journey was meandering at times, it doesn’t feel like any of it has been wasted. I fully enjoyed every moment of this story. I’ll do a full review of the series soon and I’m definitely going to rewatch this series later in the year just to see if it can stand up to a second watch (I’m still concerned that half the fun of this show will vanish when you know where it is going).

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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ACCA Episode 11

Review:

ACCA has been a great watch and while part of me wondered if the final episodes could deliver after the last of the mysteries seemed revealed, episode 11 answers the question with a resounding ‘yes’. Everything about this episode worked and continues to tie the plot together while continuing to give us highly nuanced and interesting characters.

A few points to touch on (so 100 words bye-bye).

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Firstly, Nino came back in one of the most dramatic ways possible. I won’t spoil, but this was actually the first action-like scene this show really delivered on and provided both a great reunion between Nino and Jean and pushed the plot forward. No tugging heartstrings just for a cheap emotional outcome. This scene was used with purpose and did no overstay its welcome as it was one of many major plot developments in the episode.

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Secondly, Jean, who I have always found fascinating, actually emoted regularly throughout this episode and yet didn’t break from his usual stoic character. It is amazing how they made him seem more involved and emotional, while it didn’t seem like they’d just transformed his character for narrative convenience.

Thirdly, of course, we have the coup which is pretty much out in the open at this point. I’m still not certain whether Jean seriously intends to go through with the plan as laid out or if he has his own agenda and thoughts about how it will end, but he’s certainly letting things run its course at the moment. Still, a few of his lines this week made it seem as though there is one more secret to be revealed and I hope that I’m not disappointed.

And finally, the Prince is heading to Badon for the ACCA centennial (or whatever it is) and it seems like Maggie was trying to give him one last chance to not be a moron which the Prince utterly and completely threw away. Regardless of how the coup turns out, I’d really like the Prince to be brought down several pegs. Not necessarily killed (though I probably wouldn’t shed many tears) but at least soundly given a reality check.

Okay, I loved this episode and I cannot wait until next week.

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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Winter 2017 Week 10

And we’ve made it to week 10. Part of me is amazed that we’re finally here and part of me is wondering why I’m still watching some of the shows I started this season, but there’s still that end of season anticipation that is so much fun. Even if a show hasn’t been great there’s always kind of a hope that the finish will be amazing. Or at least amusing. Though in the case of Interviews with Monster Girls I finally gave up hoping this week.

Over on patreon, patrons will find my highlight of the week and my lesser top 5 list for the week. For everyone else you can find my screen cap of the week and my reviews of season 2 Super Lovers over on patreon.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 21)
  • ACCA (Episode 10)

March Comes in Like a Lion was truly great thisweek. It feels like such a perfect way to look at Rei’s emotional journey so far. I know there is one more episode but I would have been happy with him reuniting with the sister’s as an end point to be honest.

ACCA on the other hand slipped just a bit this week. It wasn’t a major issue but it certainly wasn’t the usual clever writing I’ve come to expect from the show and as a result has made it easier for me to split these two shows at the top of my watch list. We’ll see whether ACCA can pull off its ending.

days11

Usually Entertaining

  • Spiritpact (Finished)
  • Chain Chronicle (Episode 10)

Spiritpact – Apparently done at episode 10. Definitely the surprise of the season. This show went from disaster to compelling over its 10 episode run.

Chain Chronicle seems to have launched us toward a final battle though there are definitely a few issues with logic coming through at this point. Great fun to be had though.

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Okay, I Guess

  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 46)
  • Blue Exorcist (Episode 36)
  • Super Lovers (Finished)
  • elDLIVE (Episode 10)
  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 10)

Iron Blooded Orphans brings us more space battle and then we get into mopey regret this week. This show seems determined to extinguish any kind of hope people might have for change. It will be interesting to see what message it ends on but at the moment it all looks kind of bleak (expected from Gundam really).

Blue Exorcist finally took out the impure king in a suitable display of blue flames. Not sure what they are aiming for next week and it still doesn’t fix the very slow climb to get to this point, but this episode was definitely getting closer to entertaining.

Super Lovers is being reviewed on my Patreon site (available to everyone).

elDLIVE was also pretty weak this round and given the show as a whole hasn’t been overly impressive, floundering at this point in the season doesn’t seem like a smart move.

Tales of Zestiria the X is desperately trying to wrap things up and bring everything together. The fact that some of the ideas are getting squashed is more or less inevitable given after doing very little for many episodes we’re not having an epic, fate-of-the-world kind of battle being set up. All and all, the fun this show gave us in season 1 has been utterly replaced by an increasing need to make excuses for charactisation, poor writing and pacing. No more excuses Zestiria.

Tattoo6

They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Episode 10)

I think I expect nothing from Hand Shakers at this point and its certainly delivering on that nothing.

gangsta6

Tried and Dropped

  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 10)
  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Finally gave up on Interviews with Monster Girls. It could be argued I should have just finished it given how far I’ve come, but to be honest I was just bored crazy during the first half of episode 10 and really there are so many other things I could do with my time. What really did it in was trying to write 100 words on it each week has become a challenge. Normally the challenge is cutting words out of episode reviews but with that one I just had nothing to say.

That’s week 10 done. What are you looking forward to in the Spring season?


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ACCA Episode 10

Review:

There’s no doubt ACCA has been an amazing watch so far and even this episode works very well and continuing the narrative and driving us ever closer to a climax that is definitely taking shape now.

However…

The writing this week has to be questioned. Now that Jean knows he is royalty it seems like every character in the entire show knows and just casually mentions it in passing like it is nothing. Previously cigarettes arrived in unmarked envelopes, now characters hand them to Jean with speeches about why they are betting on him to become the next King. Its weird and is probably the first major mis-step this show has taken.

ACCA10

Still, the end game of this show is far clearer now even as we anxiously await the final pieces to slot into place and all and all its been an outstanding ride. Let’s hope it makes it to the end without any more intrusive blunders.

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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Winter 2017 Week 9

Week 9 has come and gone and we see the shows that are finishing up launch their final few episodes. This should be a realy exciting time and a couple of shows seem to acknowledge that, but there’s a lot that are just going through the motions and may or may not deliver a satisfying conclusion. There’s a lot of shows I’ve dropped from Usually Entertaining to Okay, I Guess for the simple reason that ignoring the entertainment value of season 1, seeing how these shows have played out and what they are tipping for a conclusion, they just aren’t that entertaining. They aren’t bad enough to drop given attachment to the story and characters formed in season 1, but they aren’t good enough that I would tell someone with excitement that they exist.

If you missed my tweet, my apologies for being a little bit disappeared this week. I was crazy busy with work the first half and then got taken out by a fever for the second half of the week (which hasn’t helped the crazy busy work given I’ve had to take sick leave). I’m finally starting to recover though I’m still getting hit off and on with fever so I’m thinking I’ll be a little hit and miss for a few more days before I make a full recovery. Hopefully I’ll catch up with everyone else’s blogs then.

Over on patreon, patrons will find my highlight of the week and my lesser top 5 list for the week. Last weeks, I posted my responses to my genre challenge so if you missed it patrons, all of those posts should now be available. For everyone else you can find my screen cap of the week and my reviews of season 2 Super Lovers over on patreon.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

  • ACCA (Episode 9)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 20)

These two shows are going out of their way to make it impossible to choose which is the better of them this season. I like them both, for different reasons, and both are unmissable for me at the moment.

days11

Usually Entertaining

  • Chain Chronicle (Episode 9)
  • Spiritpact (Episode 9)

Chain Chronicle continues to throw every fantasy stereotype at us but its doing it in an entertaining manner and wow its been awhile since I’ve seen a story so generically fantasy like that wasn’t a parody or sarcastically self-aware. Really enjoying this show.

Okay, I have no idea what Spiritpact is setting up at thisp oint, I just know that I want the next episode and I want it right now. So I’m guessing I’m enjoying it or at the very least I’m caught up in the story at this point.

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Okay, I Guess

  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 9)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 45)
  • Blue Exorcist (Episode 35)
  • elDLIVE (Episode 9)
  • Super Lovers (Episode 9)
  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 9)

Honestly, I’ve given Tales of Zestiria more than enough time to sort itself out this season and now I just have to acknowledge, it’s not that good. It’s finally heading somewhere, but this show is kind of just watchable at best at this point. There’s no depth and no real tension. You just kind of watch the pretty lights play out, smile at one or two bits of dialogue, and then the episode ends and you move on.

Iron Blooded Orphans is in exactly the same position as Zestiria. First season was pretty good (actually I really enjoyed it) but I’ve given season 2 more than enough time to figure itself out and really it hasn’t taken us anywhere of interest. Now its just watching the final bullets fly and I’ll guess we’ll see who is still breathing when we get to the end.

And Blue Exorcist finally remembered it can occasionally be cool, even if the bad guys are now mocking the exorcists for having committee meetings mid-fight. Alas, the start of what might be a decent fight sequence isn’t really enough to make up for 9 and a half episodes of mostly tedium so this series really isn’t moving on the list.

elDLIVE continues to be kind of okay with a few moments of great in amongst a lot of ordinary. Again, perfectly watchable but nothing really to get excited over.

Super Lovers is being reviewed on my Patreon site (available to everyone).

Interviews with Monster Girls remains much the same as always. Actually, the first half of this week’s episode was pretty good, then we returned to business as usual.

Tattoo6

They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Episode 9)

I wish they would stop trying to make me feel sympathetic for those that lose in this show. Given they go all out to defeat their enemy, once they are beaten they try to make us feel for their loss but it is all back to front. If I didn’t care about them before they lost I’m not going to care after they lose.

gangsta6

Tried and Dropped

  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Week 9 over. Truthfully, which anime is likely to be your worst of the season that you didn’t drop?


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ACCA Episode 9

Review:

Part of me is really happy to find out the Grossula is not the mastermind, but I’m not certain about the actual reveal. Sure it fits but it didn’t quite feel satisfying, mostly because we still don’t know what’s actually behind everything. Hopefully that reveal is coming soon.

ACCA9

Jean is all but absent from this episode though things certainly escalate as Lotta is forced to flee from would be assassins. However, in true ACCA fashion, this isn’t resolved through some sort of fight but merely a few words from the Chief with an implied threat and Lotta is momentarily spared.

This episode is intriguing and things are definitely moving. I just wonder what the final outcome will actually be.

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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Winter 2017 Week 8

Week 8 and things are heating up in some shows as we close in on the end of the season. I’m genuinely going to be sad to see March Comes in Like a Lion come to an end. I really enjoy waking up on Sunday to a new episode of it. ACCA I’m looking forward to the resolution of. I’ll miss this show but I’m happy they don’t seem to be unnecessarily stringing out the content and it feels like it is coming to a resolution. The other shows this season I’m reasonably indifferent to at this point in terms of whether they end or continue. It’s kind of sad but true.

Over on patreon, patrons will find my highlight of the week and my lesser top 5 list for the week. Remember also, I’m posting my responses to the genre challenge I made over the next week. For everyone else you can find my screen cap of the week and my reviews of season 2 Super Lovers over on patreon.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

yuri10d

Must Watch

  • ACCA (Episode 8)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 19)

As ACCA starts pulling everything together it is moving from being interesting and compelling to being something really great. Even an episode that was pretty much entirely backstory felt meaningful and it felt like it appeared exactly when it needed to. I’m really loving watching this show. The reason I’ve moved it above March is because there’s more balance. March I’m really loving for the characters and visuals but there really isn’t much in the way of plot. ACCA has taken a bit longer to draw us into the characters but everything is coming together with this show now.

March Comes in Like a Lion really gave us a strong episode this week. In terms of story it was very quiet but the characters and visuals did everything they needed to. This show continues to be quietly impressive.

days11

Usually Entertaining

  • Chain Chronicle (Episode 8)
  • Spiritpact (Episode 8)
  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 8)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 44)

Chain Chronicle continues to be fairly standard but fairly entertaining fantasy. I could be super critical of a whole bunch of things but really it is accomplishing what it is setting out to do and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is.

Spiritpact has jumped up this list again. Mostly because if you were to ask me which episode I was most looking forward to the next part of, it easily beats all the sequel series this season has rolled out. There’s definitely still issues with the show in terms of production but the characters and story get better each episode and I’m genuinely caught up in the events at the moment, unlike the other shows where I feel like I’m waiting for them to stop stuffing around and do something.

Tales of Zestiria finally gave us an actually fun episode and remembered there was supposed to actually be a villain somewhere to fight. Amazing how much better things get when there is a point to them. Anyway, let’s hope we can now end the season strongly but really there’s no saving the poor start to this season and the rewatch value up to this point is nil.

Iron Blooded Orphans gives us more foreshadowing of a very bad ending looming over most of the characters. Seriously, is anyone going to be alive at the end of this?

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Okay, I Guess

  • Blue Exorcist (Episode 34)
  • elDLIVE (Episode 8)
  • Super Lovers (Episode 7)
  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 8)

Blue Exorcist has fallen to just being okay because this season has just not delivered. We finally get into a fight and it isn’t the fast paced fun adventure of season 1 but another talky choppy mess of scenes where nothing is given the attention it deserves and the enemy is all but forgotten in most of the exchanges.

elDLIVE remains… odd? Strange? Occasionally really good with moments of eye-rolling idiocy mixed in? It’s hard to know given from one section to the next of a single episode I can be having a great time to being annoyed with this show. The second half this week was excellent and then they all enrolled in school at the end. Seriously? We’re going there?

Super Lovers is being reviewed on my Patreon site (available to everyone).

Interviews with Monster Girls just continues to do its thing. I’m neither particularly interested or particularly annoyed with this at this point.

Tattoo6

They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Episode 8)

There’s really nothing left to say about this anime at this point. It hasn’t got better or worse (though my tolerance for some of its nonsense is getting lower).

gangsta6

Tried and Dropped

  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Week 8 has drawn to a close. Has you opinion changed about any of the shows so far this season?


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ACCA Episode 8

Review:

ACCA continues to know when it is time to make a reveal and this week the focus is entirely on what happened with the Princess and how Nino ended up watching over Jean and Lotta. Normally I’m not big on flashback episodes where we’re told what happened back when, usually because we’ve already made the logical assumptions and it feels like we’re treading over old ground while the main story stagnates. ACCA doesn’t have that feeling. Yes, we’d kind of put the pieces together during the previous episode but due to the ambiguous nature of so many statements seeing the reality of what happened and seeing a lot of it from Nino’s view has really consolidated the plot up until now. Its satisfying in that it confirms most of what we’ve suspected but at the same time it doesn’t feel like we already had all the answers.

acca8

Though probably the biggest surprise is the age difference between Nino and Jean. Earlier in the episode I wondered how Nino had met Jean in high school given how much older he was supposed to be and ACCA didn’t just ignore that point. It addressed it head on (though I’m still not convinced people won’t guess your age just because you wear glasses).

All and all, this was another solid episode. The last few minutes where Jean returns home leave me feeling uncertain about what is going to happen next. He is always hard to read but in this case it kind of feels like even he doesn’t know what is next.

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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ACCA Episode 7

Review:

If you haven’t watched the episode, spoilers ahead.

This show is a joy to watch. After weeks of holding off on giving us anything solid this week seems all about having characters just dropping major reveals casually like it is nothing into their everyday conversations. We don’t learn everything, and there is still the question of whether what we are being told now is absolutely correct, but it feels like things are coming together in a big way even while we still have quite a bit of story still to come.

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Nino is out of sorts for a lot of this episode and I would have loved to have known what was going through his head while taking photos of Jean eating with the King. It was more or less at this point that I decided the royal connection was absolute rather than just a theory and I’m glad that the series decided to confirm that later this episode rather than dragging it out any further. There’s probably more to the story, but what we get this episode is quite a satisfying bit of intel.

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Mauve finally talks to Jean again and doesn’t say what we would have suspected. In fact, she’s the one who clues Jean in on why so many people seem fixated on him.

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Despite having so many reveals, this episode doesn’t seem to make the mistake of giving away the whole game. It is too early yet and once again ACCA proves it knows what it is doing with the pace of these reveals giving us just enough when we need it without throwing their whole hand on the table.

ACCA is available on Crunchyroll.


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