Another season of anime has come to an end and for the first time in a while I actively watched several series and with the exception of mainly watching series with an all-female cast, as is the norm for me these days, I’ve managed to pick a nice variety of series this time!
So let’s run down the list and see what I thought of them.
Episodes: 12 (Finished)
Source: 4-koma Manga
Comic Girls was our mandatory Manga Time Kirara adaptation of the year and as far as I’m concerned it was one of the stronger series to come out of said magazine in a while. Following in the footsteps of other popular slice-of-life series in the last few years, Comic Girls is about a group of creators. Four high school-aged manga artists who share a dorm together, each of them based on a manga age-group archetype.
Our main character is a nervous wreck who goes by the penname Kaos (played by Akao Hikaru). She’s not very good at sequential art and she’s got no shred of self-confidence in herself or her work, but by a stroke of luck she’s been offered to stay in the dorm in hope that it helps her cultivate new ideas for storyboards. She befriends the energetic shoujo-manga author Koyume (played by Hondo Kaede), the boyish shounen-manga author Tsubasa (played by Takahashi Rie) and the ironically pure-hearted softcore-manga author Ruki (played by Oonishi Saori).
While a lot of the jokes themselves are repetitious and rooted in the character archetypes, solid delivery and a clear sense of character growth helps keep the series fresh throughout the entire cour. Kaos is painfully relatable to anyone who’ve suffered anxiety or self-deprecation and while it’s often used for comedic effect, it never feels like it’s making fun of her predicament in itself. You really want to root for Kaos, especially once you realize the (frankly quite obvious) allegory she has to the author of the series, Hanzawa Kaori, herself.
Hanzawa-sensei started the manga in 2014 and while she’s contributed to anthology manga for series such as NEW GAME!, School Live, Three Leaves, Three Colours and Aldnoah.Zero over the years, it’s her only original work since then. The series also has its fair share of girls love elements, both in terms of subtext and directly stated affection. If you want a cozy comedy series about a group of unique personalities, check out Comic Girls.
Rating: 8/10 (Very Good)
Original Title: Fumikiri Jikan
Episodes: 12 (Finished)
Studio: EKACHI EPILKA
One of the two short-shows I watched this season was Crossing Time which have a pretty solid concept. Each episode is about people who happen to be waiting at the same railroad crossing. Encounters stem from awkward to sweet, with (almost) every episode featuring a new cast by the side of the rails. The main problem with the series is that while the good episode are really enjoyable, the bad episode are downright awful.
At its best, Crossing Time is about a girl confessing her love for her classmate, a teacher trying not to come across as awkward when waiting with a student and so forth. At its worst its about voyeuristic perverts. The mixed bag nature of the series makes it hard to recommend despite its short length, each episode only lasting 3 minutes. I have a feeling a lot of the jokes and punchlines work better in their original printed format as well.
But it was the better of the two short-shows I watched at least.
Rating: 5/10 (Average)
Episodes: 12 (Finished)
Hinamatsuri is about an average Yakuza man named Nitta (played by Nakejima Yoshiki) who one day finds a young girl named Hina (played by Tanaka Takako) in a giant metal capsule in his apartment. Upon releasing her from the capsule he learns that she has psychokinetic powers and suddenly he’s forced to take in her under the guise of being his daughter. The rest is the mess that follows.
It’s hard to explain what makes Hinamatsuri so good without just explaining each story-beat in detail. But the mix of supernatural powers, the underground world of the Yakuza and Hina’s school life makes for one of the most entertaining and fresh settings I’ve seen in anime for a very long time. The cast is amazing as well, my favourite being Hina’s classmate Hitomi (played by Hondo Kaede) who thanks to Hina’s underworld associations wind up living a double-life in middle school.
For all its bizarre story-beats, morally flawed characters and supernatural elements Hinamatsuri manages to mainly be a heartwarming tale about family. The series’ biggest strengths comes from when it even makes you forget about all the unrealistic portions and just leaves you enjoying seeing the life of adopted children and their new parents. While it doesn’t reach the heights if A Place Further Than The Universe from earlier this year on the emotional scale, it’s easily the closest to do so this season. Hinamatsuri is a must-watch.
Rating: 9/10 (Great)
Episodes: 13 (Ongoing)
Studio: Dongwoo A&E, Tatsunoko Production
Source: Arcade Game
Following up on PriPara, my favourite kids anime of all time, was never going to be an easy feat for Kiratto Pri☆Chan. While the Pretty Series is no stranger to changing things up, there’s never been such a sudden stop for the anime portion of the franchise before and I have to admit I was very worried that this new series wouldn’t do it for me with its change in focus from magical girl idols to …YouTube personalities.
However, I’m happy to say my worries were for naught as Kiratto Pri☆Chan is an absolute delight so far. While it’s toned down from its predecessor, there’s a clear focus on giving the kids watching a variety of things to try out. The mandatory singing and dancing is there of course, with PriPara‘s signature Cyalume Change concert finales being swapped for new Kiratto Chance bonus performances where the performer is adorned in a bright shimmering outfit.
Each episode essentially follows out main characters, Mirai (played by Hayashi Koko) and Emo (played by Kubota Miyu), as they try making a popular live stream focusing on various subject. From running a flower shop to …cat videos. Yes, there’s a cat video episode. I told you this was about YouTubers. It’s very entertaining and the new voice talents from the idol unit Run Girls, Run are doing a fantastic job fitting in with the returning Pretty Series veterans. If you missed out on PriPara as it was airing, I highly recommend following Kiratto Pri☆Chan.
Preliminary Rating: 8/10 (Very Good)
Original Title: Tachibanakan Triangle
Episodes: 12 (Finished)
Studio: Creators in Pack, Studio Lings
In a Girls Love Roundup post from early last year I talked about the manga Love-to-LIE Angle that I recommended people pick up now that it’s getting localized. If you are one of the people who decided to hold off and watch the anime instead, I’m very sorry. At its core, Love-to-LIE Angle should have made at least a decent anime, but as with so many other adaptations, it being stuck into a 3 minute format all but destroyed the series.
Love-to-LIE Angle is a classic early-2000s style ecchi harem series with a small twist. Mainly that the cast is made up of lesbians with no men in sight whatsoever. It’s silly misunderstandings and goofs that you’ve seen a hundred times before but given some new life thanks to the focus on women. Sadly, what is entertaining as a manga doesn’t translate well when everything feels simultaneously rushed and stale. For reference, the first episode doesn’t have a single calm moment and yet it doesn’t manage to cover even one chapter of the manga in said episode.
The fact that it goes nowhere while also stressing you out means that there’s no developments to care for but also no real depth to the characters to keep you entertained when things remain at status quo. As someone who is a fan of the manga, I hate to say it, but this adaptation is just not worth your time. While one or two episodes did make me smile, it’s not worth it for the mess you have to sit through for basically no reward at the end. Perhaps one day it can be adapted properly… Until then, this is only for those utterly starved for any girls love content at all.
Rating: 4/10 (Bad)
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
Episodes: 12 (Finished)
Studio: Studio 3Hz
Source: Light Novel
Simulcast: Wakanim, Crunchyroll
Okay, backstory time. Back in 2010 I stopped watching anime on a regular basis, I didn’t start again until summer of 2012 when a certain anime called Sword Art Online first premiered. I was very impressed by the pilot episode and kept watching and picked up other anime alongside it, which have remained my regular season approach since then. Now, a few episodes into the original SAO I stop caring about most things and eventually I just find myself hating every single development and character in the series. So I leave the series on a bad note and despite giving Sword Art Online II a chance a few years back, it did not change how I felt about the franchise.
Then last year I find out that the author of Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-, Sigsawa Keichii, have been writing his own SAO spinoff series and that it’s getting an anime adaptation from the same studio that gave us Flip Flappers and my anime of the year 2017 Princess Principal. I’m now very excited to try out a SAO series again, hoping that a different author might make the series work for me. And it did. This is my favourite anime of spring season. I am in love with Sigsawa‘s Gun Gale Online.
Our main character Karen (played by Kusunoki Tomori) is a college student who suffers a height complex. She’s 183 cm tall and always wished to be able to feel cute about herself. Hearing about the new safe VRMMOs she decides to give them a shot at fulfilling her dream of being a cute and short girl, eventually landing her in the world of Gun Gale Online, a post-apocalyptic wasteland invaded by aliens and scavengers, where she plays the short and deadly LLENN.
Narratively, the series is split between a battle royale event called Squad Jam in-game and Karen’s real world growth and interaction. GGO boasts a sizable cast our of which almost every named character is a woman with their own personalities and quirks. The series also features some surprisingly open queer representation as well, with two characters openly expressing same-gender attraction and at least two others hinting at it. This isn’t new to Sigsawa-sensei‘s work of course, as his most famous series stars an agender asexual protagonist who have interacted with people of various orientations throughout the 18 years that Kino’s Journey has been running.
With a focus on overcoming trauma and feeling better about yourself, Gun Gale Online takes a ultra-violent setting and manages to make a truly uplifting experience in the end. If you’re like me and weren’t a fan or the existing SAO series, or if you’re a fan who just want a new take on the universe, I can not recommend checking out GGO more. And if you do, don’t skip the recap episode in the middle if you have time to watch it, because it’s quite a fun watch that gives some additiona insight into certain characters.l
Rating: 9/10 (Great) – ANIME OF THE SEASON!
There were other series that I watched but did not finish that I decided to leave out of this post. This included the incredibly mediocre Umamusume: Pretty Derby that despite two years of hype did not impress me in the end. I tolerated half of Mahou Shoujo Site before reading through the manga just to be done with the story, and well, that series’ reckoning day is coming… In time.
I also had early drops like the god-awful Mahou Shoujo Ore and the disappointingly boring Cutie Honey Universe, but overall, I was pleasantly entertained with this season. I’m going to try and get summer impressions up soon as well.
Thank you for reading and let me know what your favourite or least favourite series of the past three months were in the comments below!