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The Best of Autumn 2017

And the Autumn Season has come to a close bringing an end to the 2017 year in anime. While the poll for best of the year will get going tomorrow, for now it is time to reflect on the final anime season that 2017 had to offer. Starting with my picks, we’ll then look at the results of the reader poll. This was incredibly close this time with three titles changing back and forth with barely a vote in it for the entire duration of the poll.

My Favourite Show

Well, if you’ve followed my weekly season overviews you know season 2 of March Comes in Like a Lion has been on top every single week. However, it isn’t finished yet so it isn’t taking this out (though it so should by a million miles as I’m completely obsessed with it at this point). Yes, I rewatched season one and all episodes of season 2 that were out over the Christmas break and no I didn’t get around to watching Full Metal Panic for a review so, whoops.

With that one ruled out though, what took it’s place?

It came down to Land of the Lustrous and Girls’ Last Tour. I loved both shows but considering the final episodes and which one gave me a greater sense of completion and I have to give favourite show of the Autumn 2017 season to Girls’ Last Tour.

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My Favourite Character

This was super, super tough as there were so many great characters this season. It finally came down to two and I have to give it to Phos from Land of the Lustrous. I didn’t much like Phos when I first met them but over the course of the series and following along with Phos’ transformation as a character, they really captured me. However, other great characters from Autumn included Rei from March Comes in Like a Lion, Chito from Girls’ Last Tour, Morioka from MMO Junkie (okay, I just loved her), and Ena from Just Because.

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My Favourite Story

My favourite story was absolutely Land of the Lustrous, but for that whole slightly unfinished feeling. I still think it was the best story of the season. March and GLT are both more slice of life and drama driven than story driven. That said, I personally loved King’s Game because it is a completely terrible story delivered in a fairly terrible way. So, personal enjoyment fairly high but quality pretty low on that one.

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My Favourite Opening Theme

So many great ones this season. I mean I loved the King’s Game opening as it fit the trashy feel of the show, Juni Taisen was amazing with Rapture (my favourite thing about the show), MMO Junkie was just upbeat fun as was Girls’ Last Tour. However, my favourite for the season needs to go to March Comes in Like a Lion. I loved how the opening theme really captured the progress Rei has made in his journey over the course of the first season and where he is now. And, once again it beautifully matched the visuals to the lyrics and tone. Still, this one was incredibly close this season.

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My Favourite Visuals

No competition at all here. As much as March remained on point with its visuals (and is glorious as always) Land of the Lustrous was truly exceptional at showing us all what CG could do when handled well and not making our eyes bleed.

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Reader’s Choice – Best Anime of Autumn 2017

Here it is:

Best of Autumn

Yep, the Ancient Magus’ Bride stole it in the last couple of days thought early on it looked like Girls’ Last Tour would take the lead before March Comes in Like a Lion managed to pull ahead. For so much of the vote these anime were within one vote of each other and the lead swapped a number of times.

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That of course brings us to the end of the best of Autumn 2017. Get ready to vote for best of the year with the top 3 titles from each season going head to head and that poll should be open tomorrow.

As always, I’d love to know what you thought about the season so please share your thoughts on the poll and any of the other shows in the comments below.


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Just Because Episode 12: The End

Review:

This final episode adequately brings their high school life to an end and resolves most of the romantic tangles. It does however take its sweet time about doing so and by the time I was waiting for the post credit scene to get to the final resolution of Eita and Natsume’s relationship I was very much over the episode. Which is a shame because while the show has been slow it has never felt dragged until these final episodes.

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Still, despite that complaint, the story brings itself neatly to an end and while I’m not jumping up and down about this show it was certainly a fairly consistent watch this season with characters I found very recognisable even if I did want them all to take lessons on communication at one point or another. Obviously not everyone gets a happily ever after but no character gets totally thrown under a bus either so that was something I was pretty happy about (really was worried about photography girl).

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I’ll get to a whole series review of this soon.


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Just Because Episode 11: This Certainly Is Roundabout

Review:

With Soma and Morikawa coming to a tentative understanding last episode we really now are just waiting on Eita, Natsume and Ena to get their acts together and actually have a conversation. However, they are all waiting on something as well and episode 11 finally gets to that point.

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Eita and Natsume sit their respective entrant exams while thinking they’ll talk to the other after they get accepted (they probably should have had the conversation earlier but that’s life). Meanwhile, Ena works on the yearbook before finding out the results of the photography competition.

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One episode to go and then this sleepy little love story will draw to a close. I’ve had fun with this show but it is incredibly slow moving at times.

Remember, time is running out to have your say in the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season. This week the winner of the best anime poll has swapped three times so it is ridiculously close. If you haven’t voted click here.


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Autumn 2017 Week 12

And now we see the season trickle to a close and say farewell to some pretty good shows, though some are carrying over into the next season and others still have an episode or two to go. It has been a great way to end the year and I’m bringing my first complete year of blogging (2017) to a close.

 One week left to vote in the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season. If you haven’t voted click here.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 32)

Finally a slightly less amazing episode which means I can stop repeating the same gushing words. This second season is still amazing mind you, but this episode is definitely more just your average slice of life fair. If you were marathoning this show, you’d be happy with the relax while watching this but week to week it just kind of makes you wait for the next week.

Land of the Lustrous (Episode 11)

Land of the Lustrous has been a really interesting watch this season, though it seems like it may drop below Girls’ Last Tour when I reflect on the season as a whole. I guess we’ll see what final episodes deliver from each of these shows. Still, despite the slight mis-step this week, there’s a lot of room for this show to end well.

Girls’ Last Tour (Episode 11)

The cat has actually proved itself to be a fine addition to the very small cast in this show and I wonder if we’ll get answers or merely continue to paint the outline of the past in this show before the end. Either way, it has been a very satisfying watch and one I would fully recommend.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 11)

We see the continuation of Elias’ story and his history is interesting. It will be good to see more of his story later as clearly there’s a lot of steps in between what we’ve seen and him choosing to buy Chise but that is a story for another episode. Overall this remains really great viewing though I am finding myself more put off by the slow pace at times.

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Finished)

Just Because (Episode 10)

While this remains slow and has some issues with its production, it remains quite a good high school coming of age/romance story and I’m glad I picked this one up. Looking forward to the final two episodes.

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Okay, I Guess

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart (Episode 5)

I said last week the stretching of the conflict between Haruki and Miou was reaching silly proportions but this week proved me wrong with Haruki finally making me dislike his character with his actions this week. Still, they did finally bring things to a head so next week should be back to sweet again.

King’s Game (Finished)

At some point you just have to wonder what were they thinking and just go with a story particularly one like this. Much like everything else, from a logical or sensible point of view the conclusion is pretty terrible, and yet I can’t say I disliked watching it. Applying any kind of logic filter to the events will just end poorly but if you just want to see a death game play out you will get exactly that (just don’t ask for reasons why or any kind of satisfactory conclusion).

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 11)

And this show remains strictly functional. The story works well enough and we’ve built to a nice and dramatic climax. No real complaints except nothing really to compliment either other than being a functional story.

UQ Holder (Finished)

Right. Um, so that’s finished.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 11)

Episode 11 may have been a reasonably good one, had it come in the first half of this series. At this late stage, all I can really say is it was okay, better than last week, and move on.

Black Clover (Episode 11)

And episode 11 killed the tiny little bit of hope that episode 10 gave me that this show might be improving. But at least they didn’t let me get my hopes up too high before dashing them on the rocks of mediocrity and repeated punch lines.

Anime-Gataris (Episode 11)

And this show continues to fall down the list and may end up being classed as ‘they made this’ after the show has finished depending on how the last episode plays out. Bizarre is about the nicest thing I’ll say for the most recent episode.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Finished)

Well, still no real clue as to why they bother holding the whole Juni Taisen thing (vague indication that it is some political thing but no detail) and no real indication as to what, if anything, changed as a result of the winner. However, this still gave us a fairly decent final episode. Overall, this wasn’t great, but I didn’t dislike episode 12.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 11)

Yep, this continues its pattern of being boring even as it attempts to set up a final battle for the season’s end. Maybe that will give us a minor thrill in closing but to be honest I won’t expect much and that will limit my disappointment.

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Episode 10)

Stuff is happening and things are getting burned. There’s also now giant skeleton things that set stuff on fire. Oh, and the main character just stopped time. I guess there is an audience out there for this but it is just too random and incoherent for me.

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)

 


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Just Because Episode 10: Being Resolved Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Falter

Review:

The forward momentum of the girls continued this week though even though Natsume is now admitting she hadn’t been choosing her own path with school and that she likes Eita, that doesn’t make it smooth sailing. Ena continues to be adorable as she pursues her crush on Eita but supports his feelings. Meanwhile, the entrance exam gets closer.

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For Soma, he finally gets some closure on his confession and while it may not have been what he wanted, it seems everyone realises it is the right outcome. I’m looking forward to the final two episodes of this and finding out what happens for all of these kids.


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Just Because Episode 9: Renewed Purpose

Review:

There’s a sense of movement this episode that has been lacking in this series and that primarily comes across because our three female characters are all actively taking steps to decide what they want and to achieve it. Shame the male characters are still passively waiting for some kind of neon sign, but the girls’ actions have all given this show a new sense of life even while the pace remains very everyday and slow.

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Small steps such as a haircut or having a conversation that was needed a long time ago all give these characters more purpose than we’ve seen from them in the last handful of episodes where they were drifting somewhat lost. It is a refreshing feeling and made better because the characters themselves aren’t sure if their actions will accomplish anything but they are tired of waiting around.

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Overall this show continues to build a believable group of characters with problems and concerns that are fairly relatable and yet somehow manages to make it seem interesting. Though with Valentine’s Day coming up I’m definitely sensing some looming drama.


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Autumn 2017 Week 10

Here we are in week 10 and it is now make or break for so many shows (though quite a few will continue on to the next season). Autumn has been great fun so far. By the way, voting for the best and worst of the season has opened and if you missed it, go here and have your say. As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the season in the comments below.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 30)

Have I recommended this show enough yet? Seriously, this one is defining what a must watch anime is at the moment. I’m hanging on every word and every image and I’m desperate for the next episode. I’m going back and watching previous episodes to catch bits or to learn more about scenes, and basically just to get more of March in my week. Loving this show even if it does leave me crying most episodes.

Land of the Lustrous (Episode 9)

Superb character development complimenting beautiful visuals and this story continues to be impressive and engaging. Really loving the journey that this story has taken me on and Phos is definitely a contender for one of my favourite characters of the season.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 9)

A nice transition episode moving us away from the darkness of last week and consolidating character relationships. That said, not a lot happened in the episode and it is one of those episodes that will be appreciated more during a binge watch than during seasonal viewing. Still, good quality and progressing the characters nicely.

Girls’ Last Tour (Episode 9)

I continue to be completely impressed with the amount of thought that has gone into Girls’ Last Tour. Don’t let the moe character designs fool you. This show is really fantastic at asking the hard questions and leaving you pondering once the episode is done.

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Finished)

With episode 10 being the final episode (as far as I am aware) this is now done and managed to end as it began, cute and interesting but not outstanding. I’m certainly glad I picked up this romantic comedy this season because even though it felt a little bit slow in the mid-season, the story here is quite adorable.

Just Because (Episode 8)

Should have trust photography girl to stir things up and get them moving again. The only problem is I want her to win and not just be the catalyst for other characters and I don’t think that is the path we are on. Poor Komiya. Anyway, this remains a highly entertaining high school romance slice of life thing as long as you don’t mind the slow pace and the occasionally poor animation sequence.

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Okay, I Guess

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart (Episode 3)

This continues to be a fairly solid cute romantic drama set in a high school. There’s not a lot about it that is unique but it continues to be fairly well delivered and so far the narrative has been nicely constructed.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 9)

And now the show just gives us snippets of stories that might have been interesting but apparently even the writers couldn’t be bothered to flesh them out. Now, short stories can have impact, but each of these were more outlines for ideas that might have been developed and not one of them was. It was really just kind of dull to watch as we skipped from story to story and country to country. Overall, this show is pretty flat at this point.

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 9)

Still not exactly exciting, Code: Realize is playing it pretty by the numbers at this point. It isn’t bad by any means, but nor is it exciting or memorable. Cardia is working decently enough as the lead here and has at least developed a personality over the course of the show, but that isn’t really enough to make this any more than just a once watch.

King’s Game (Episode 10)

Things are getting fairly tense as the kids are ordered to run for the day with the person furthermost from the goal getting punished at eight hour intervals. I’m actually amazed only one character decided to take out the competition and the rest are just running along. This show remains pretty terrible but entertaining enough for fans of bad horror.

UQ Holder (Episode 10)

Well, we finally ran into the plot though I’m not sure the audience has been made in any way to care about the supposed villain. Either way, a decent enough episode with a lot of clichés but also some reasonable action and drama so all and all this show maintains its watchable status that it has held for most of the season.

Anime-Gataris (Episode 9)

Yep, this show used up all its bang and sparkles early in the season. After a mid-season slump it did indeed try to recapture the earlier tone of the show but just has not managed to re-engage the appeal of those earlier episodes. As a result, we get this mangled mess of an episode.

Black Clover (Episode 10)

Okay, some actual forward progress here. I’m still not a fan of this show, ti is still really struggling to hold my interest and not annoy me, but episode 10 shone a little tiny light of hope that maybe this will improve.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Episode 10)

This continues to be a really bland and dull action show with little purpose and a fairly linear and straight forward plot. No tension, no excitement and little reason for the audience to get invested.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 9)

The tragedy here is I very nearly forgot the heroines name this week. Plus this show seems absolutely unable to have a single actual villain and it will apparently just be the monsters that we’ll end up seeing all the cute warlords fighting. Oh well. I guess they couldn’t agree on which fan girls to let down but actually having an antagonist in the story.

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Episode 8)

“Can these guys please destroy the world already so that the show will end? Or at the very least can the ‘hero’ find someway to not seem totally useless just for one episode. That would be the best I can hope for from this show at the moment.” – My thoughts from last week and my opinion has yet to change.

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)


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Just Because Episode 8: When You Know The Path is Wrong

Review:

The love triangle between Natsume, Komiya and Eita continues with Komiya making her move and asking Eita out on a date (even if it was facilitated by her cat). What is interesting is that Natsume calls Komiya on the point I raised in my last post asking her why she even bothered to ask permission, to which the show gives a flippant ‘just because’ response. But it is an interesting point given Natsume never had any right to say no so Komiya asking her about Eita was pointless from the beginning. However, it is pointless in a way that emulates so much of human interaction that you just can’t help but feel how real these characters are sometimes.

Eita and Natsume however continue to both be maddeningly self-defeating. It doesn’t make them bad characters, contrarily it gives rise to the only kind of conflict this show is really interested in dealing with, but it does make them frustrating to watch sometimes.

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Part of me wanted Komiya just to actually confess and not be half-hearted about it (“if the photo wins…”_) but I guess that wouldn’t fit with anything else this show has delivered so her backhanded confession will have to be enough. It isn’t as though Eita isn’t now clear on her feelings.

In case it sounds like I dislike this show, I will point out I really like it (so long as I don’t have to watch the animation of people walking or running, I think that is getting worse). It really does feel like they’ve captured a lot of what it is to be in high school and on the edge of having to figure out what your life is actually going to be about (and realising that whatever you decide probably won’t stick anyway).


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Just Because Episode 7: Just Because You’re Indecisive, Doesn’t Mean You Can Deny Others

Review:

Natsume is really annoying me as a character. Okay, Eita is just as indecisive but accepts the consequences of his indecision. He never told Natsume how he felt because he knew she liked Souma (because of some eraser incident that apparently was pivotal in her world despite every flash back we saw this episode giving us the impression that she had a much better relationship with Eita). But, he made that choice and Eita knew that meant not getting Natsume in the end because he never told her how he felt and he accepted that. He didn’t like it, but he would have dealt with it had she ever ended up with Souma or anyone else (or at least that is the impression he’s given). He doesn’t act, but he accepts the conclusion so I can kind of respect that even as we watch him miss out on what he wants time and again.

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However, Natsume doesn’t act. She uses studying as an excuse, she never says how she is really feeling, but she gets jealous and holds in resentment towards others as if somehow the fact that they are having more fun than her is some grand conspiracy to prevent her somehow moving forward. Basically, she likes to play the victim but doesn’t like to do anything about the situation. She had plenty of time to tell Souma how she felt but didn’t feel any compulsion to act until it was too late. She could have accepted Eita’s feelings when she realised how he felt but instead she got angry with him and dumped a lot of the blame for her own actions on him.

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And this episode brings us Ena (photography girl) who has decided after chasing Eita around to get permission to use his photo that he is actually an alright kind of guy and so Ena is asking Natsume permission to go on a date with him. Why Ena would need Natsume’s permission is also beyond me. Even if Ena knows how Natsume feels, which it is pretty obvious, it isn’t as though Eita and Natsume are together. More importantly, it isn’t as though Eita is actually going to say yes to Ena when clearly he is hung up on Natsume. It kind of makes you wonder if Ena is just trying to spur Natsume into some sort of action, but then it kind of seems like the wrong way to go about it. Either that or she genuinely likes Eita at this point which is very likely and to be honest Ena would be a better match.

Okay, I’m invested in this sleepy little love story and I actually want the characters to get a happily ever after but I would really like Natsume to actually do something and not just sit around moping or hiding behind the excuse of studying.


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