As we approach the halfway mark of the anime season, I wanted to give my early impressions of the many series I’m watching this spring. It’s been quite some time since so many enticing anime have aired all at the same time, so I’ll do my best to provide a list of impression with a solid level of diversity. While I can’t possibly watch and discuss all shows, this list will give a one paragraph run down on each of my surprises and disappointments with a short recommendation for those who wish to go in blind. So, without further a do, let’s jump into some anime, shall we?
New and Noteworthy
Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor
I would be remissed if I didn’t start off these impressions with what may be my big surprise of the season. Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor follows the story of a bastard Magical Instructor (substitute) who displays zero interest in teaching or any affinity in magic, all while making a mockery of his students. Plainly put, Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor is a generic magical battle harem. It’s riddled with the usual clichés and fan services this new tokened subgenre is known for. However, despite it all, the series actually manages to be entertaining as it rides on the coat-tail of the bastard magical instructor, Glenn. For a main character, he takes advantage of the tropes while being absolutely ridiculous every step of the way. It’s far from the best written series of the season but with the right expectations it’s nothing short of fun.
Recommendation: If you’re interested in a “Generic Magical Battle Harem” that has a worthwhile main protagonist then give this a go. At the very least I’d call one of the surprises of the season.
Erogmanga-Sensei is the spiritual successor to Oreimo, the sibling romantic comedy by the same author. It’s a series about exactly what you think with an emphasis on letting you know they’re not actually blood-related. Eromanga-Sensei is trashy, adorable, and funny as it spoofs on otaku culture and the light-novel industry it belongs to. If you’ve abandoned your anime morality like I did a couple of years ago then I can honestly say to you it’s not nearly as bad as it may imply (for now, hue hue hue). Thus far, the show has been a fun romp and if you find yourself interested in other otaku-spoof RomComs then give this silly anime a try. What do you have to lose? Dignity? Nah.
Recommendation: Watch if you have taste. But really only watch if you hate yourself like me. I’m enjoying it. :3
What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to properly give WorldEnd’s the viewing it deserves. The first episode had me curious but didn’t necessarily grab me in order to keep it high on the priority list. WorldEnd throws somber undertones at you throughout its first episode, rightfully so as it reveals just how damned the world is and the state of humanity. After the world was ravaged by what are called “beasts”, the renaming species of this world continued on by living on floating islands above the clouds, a series of small towns that make up Regal Ele. The first episode doesn’t get far into even setting up the overall plot and for that it feels slow, part of the reason my attention has yet to fully catch on. Regardless, the world we’re introduced to and the characters we come across are interesting and mysterious enough to entice me to give episode two a shot soon enough.
Recommendation: For now, it’s too early for me say. It’s intriguing and I hope to get into it soon.
The Season of Sequels
Attack on Titan Season 2
With the lack of Eren this first half of the season, Attack on Titan Season 2 has felt like a steady improvement. Focusing more on side characters this time around, the anime has been exceeding my expectations, granted after four years they’ve become pretty low for AoT. While pacing is still a problem and the series still relies to heavily on edgy cheap deaths (see end of episode one for example), I have to say the story has been the most enticing the series has been to date. With the introduction of the beast titan, everything you thought you knew begins to unravel and that’s what makes a story interesting. For the first time, we’re being introduced to an intelligent antagonist shrouded by mystery. Regardless of how I feel about Attack on Titan, there’s no disputing it’s a high action, high intensity anime that appeals to the hardcore and casual crowds alike. With zero fanservice bogging it down, AoT is the among the most casual-friendly series anime can offer. If you liked season 1, well then this is definitely worth the watch.
Recommendation: Might as well. High Production Value. Fun Action. You already know if you’re going to watch this or not.
My Hero Academia Season 2
Despite a slow start, a norm given the pacing of manga adaptation, My Hero Academia Season 2 has been blowing me out of the water. With the introduction of the Tournament Arc, the series ramps up past what Season 1 was able to bring to the table as we watch Deku take on other heroes-to-be. Personally, while I quite enjoyed the first season, I’d say Season 2 is proving to be where the series truly takes off and solidifies its place in the top caliber of shounen anime. Up until now, we’ve seen Deku take on minor challenges using his limited power and quick-whit. However, having only his ownself to rely on this time, we’re beginning to see a main protagonist with confidence and the skill to back it up form before our very eyes. My Hero Academia is easily in the running for my top anime of the season so I can’t recommend this series enough to anyone who wants to see what a true fighting shounen anime can accomplish when it understands the space it’s working within. My Hero Academia Season 2 is exceeding my expectations as I fight the urge every week to now jump straight into the manga.
Recommendation: Watch it. Do it. Feel the HYPE.
Boruto: The Next Generation
As much as I hate to admit it, Boruto: The Next Generation is better than it has any right to be and is the first time in over year I’ve taken time to, well, watch a Naruto anime. Now I don’t mean that Boruto is anything stellar and, while episode one was actually pretty damn good, the anime quickly reverts to its usual ways of poor animation quality and meh story beats by episode three. However, there’s enough behind Boruto and the way they’ve managed to capitalize on the world of Naruto, even when taking place a decade later, that I’ve been enticed back, even if it’s just for a moment. Currently, Boruto: The Next Generation is in its academy days of Boruto and the crew, so some episodes feel like glorified filler but the set-up created so far has me interested in if Boruto can capture that early Naruto-era nostalgia once we get into the first major arc of the anime. Fingers crossed they at least don’t crash and burn this anime after having a solid opening run.
Recommendation: More Naruto. Better than I expected, though.
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend ♭ (Season 2)
As one of my favorite series, I may be bias when I say hell yes for Saekano Season 2. Saekano wastes no time returning to the wacky off-humor parodies and assortment of high quality waifu material its known for. Episode 0, mimicking the original episode 0 of season 1, left something to be desired and made me question, for a moment, if this season could live up to my exceptions but a few episodes in and I see now that Episode 0 was just an anomaly. Season 2’s actual opening jumps right into important backstory, flushing out Eriri and Utaha in ways the original season failed to do in it’s 13 episode run. For those unaware: after a “fateful” encounter Aki Tomoya decides he wants to make the perfect visual novel, based around a girl he’s never met. After his expectations don’t mesh with reality, he forms the group Blessing Software as he attempts to make his visual novel and teach Kaotu what it means to be a heroine. That is the story of Seakano: How to Raise a Boring Heroine. So far, the anime is making good on everything Seakano promised with it’s original premise and I expect this season will be the prime of the what series has to offer (I know some story beats of the light novel).
Recommendation: Self-aware harem about making a visual novel? I can’t recommend this series enough to those who enjoy RomComs, harems, or fun parodies.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria
DanMachi: Sword Oratoria (shortest version of the name I can muster), the companion series to DanMachi, has thus far been, to put it plainly, disappointing. While DanMachi was never really revered highly, even though I found the first half the series to have an endearing sort of charm, Sword Oratoria fails to make good on really anything the original had going for it. Between fanservice being the forefront of the anime, the awkward pacing that comes with skipping middle chunks between previously set-up moments of the original series, and lackluster characters with no reason for us to care for them, Sword Oratoria feels like a cheap cash-in. As a companion series taking place along side the events of the main story, there was a lot of potential to flush out side characters that took a back seat to Bell. However, even in episode one it fails to exhibit any level of character growth. Of all the series I was excited for this season, Sword Oratoria is one to skip.
Recommendation: Puts fanservice above all else. Had potential to be a cool companion story to the main series but fails to capture any of the original’s early charm. Skip it.
Thanks for reading and for more Anime articles, keeping checking back in with your anime weeb boys at The DigiQuest.