Guide to Summer 2017 Anime Part 1

We are now reaching the end of the Spring 2017 anime season and it was downright amazing… if you only watched sequel series. Had you focused solely on the new series offered this soon-to-be past season you would have no doubt clung to one or two decent shows while wading through a sea of  unmemorable shows that were forgettable at best and painful at worst. Hopefully the upcoming summer season will turn out to be more worth the time investment and so it only makes sense to go through a complete rundown of all the new shows starting this season and whether or not they’re worth a shot. It should be noted that none of the series listed here have begun airing at time of writing and as such the impressions described below will be solely based off of premise and promotional material.

Owarimonogatari Season 2

Worth watching: Yes

Here is a series that needs no introduction. The Monogatari series is an incredibly popular multimedia franchise that has reached widespread acclaim for its inventive animation and gripping plotlines. I won’t be watching it as it airs, since I would need to sit through the 8 previous iterations of the series (even though it’s the second season of a show, that show is only one of many entries in the franchise) beforehand, but I absolutely intend to marathon the show once I get caught up.

Fate/Apocrypha

Worth watching: No

Speaking of multimedia franchises, this season marks the return of the Fate/ series. Like the Monogatari series I have yet to watch any of the previous shows to completion but unlike Monogatari this franchise has a rocky reputation of peaks and very low valleys that has killed any interest in seeing the series that I may have previously had. Well, that’s not entirely true, I would still consider sitting through some of the older entries in the Fate/ series for their reputation of high quality animation. Sadly, with Apocrypha the series’ reins have been taken from its previous studio, Ufotable, and given to the consistently underperforming A-1 Pictures. With the famous animation quality gone, I honestly cannot think of a single reason to watch this show.

New Game!!

Worth watching: Yes

Finally, a continuation to something I’ve seen! Yes, that second exclamation point is really supposed to be your sole indication that this is a second season, because what else would you need, I guess. New Game! became one of the most memorable slice of life series of last year thanks to its witty charm and attention to detail in its characterization and environmental design and so any fan of videogames should be excited to see this entertaining riff on the industry make a return.

Gamers!

Worth watching: No

Speaking of New Game!, here’s a show desperately trying to cash in on its success. It follows a predominantly female cast of video game fans and even has an exclamation point at the end of its title for no apparent reason. It does add a highschool romance at least, just the thing New Game! was missing. Not an actually engrossing romance, mind you, just a vapid romance where the only conflict and the only source of humor is a never-ending marathon of exaggerated misunderstandings. That’s not me being presumptuous by the way, the show’s description literally refers to itself as “filled with a non-stop sequence of comedy scenes and misunderstandings”. I can’t help but wonder if that includes the show runners misunderstanding what makes a series appealing.

Hajimete no Gal

Worth watching: No

This is a show where a male highschool student with self esteem issues ends up with a girl who he thinks is too good for him and there doesn’t seem to be anything more to it than that. Combining that tired premise with the fairly unknown Studio NAZ does not inspire much confidence at all, but it’s only supposed to be 10 episodes long, so I suppose it could fill a craving for an especially short highschool romance series if that’s what you want.

Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu

Worth watching: No

Putting aside the fact that this show is based on a series of games I’ve never played, there doesn’t seem to be anything very fresh about it. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a good old fashioned samurai story, but the fact that the previous anime in this series haven’t made such a big splash and the fairly uninteresting previews leave me with a lack of interest that not even Ufotable’s great character designs can save. It doesn’t seem bad, but I doubt it will be worth the time investment.

Kakegurui

Worth watching: Yes

This show seems like a typical battling highschool story, only with the twist that the battles have no fisticuffs or magic powers and instead center on high stakes gambling. Not only is the premise already interesting, but the original manga has grown a great reputation, even here in the west where it isn’t legally available yet. With such promising source material in the hands of a talented studio like MAPPA, there’s little chance of this series lacking in entertainment value.

Love and Lies

Worth watching: No

The character art in this series sucks and that’s the bulk of my reason for not wanting to watch it. I don’t mind the shojo art style in general, but this series is incapable of pulling it off well. The characters’ heads are so overly round and ovate that they look like someone superimposed some anime eyes, mouth and blush effects onto an egg and the show’s garishly pale colour palette doesn’t help. The plot sounds stupid too. It involves a future where people are assigned marriage partners by the government. What led to this bizarre and seemingly completely unnecessary overstepping of parliamentary boundaries? I don’t know and the series doesn’t seem to know either. This show is a textbook skip.

Netsuzou TRap

Worth watching: No

I’ve been wondering when Yuri will make a comeback for a while now. While boys love anime seems to be in somewhat of a golden age, the gender flipped equivalent seems oddly absent, which is especially unfortunate for straight men like me who would love to see a show that follows a romance between two attractive women. It saddens me to say it, but all signs point to Netsuzou TRap (yes, that’s how it’s spelled, I’m not making a typo) not being the show to lead the Yuri revolution. The story involves a complex web of relationships and emotions as two girls with boyfriends realize they have feelings for one another and struggle to balance fulfilling their desires while still remaining with their boyfriends. That’s a fairly complicated premise and it does sound pretty interesting, but then you realize that this series will be made of episodes with a running time of about 10 minutes. A plot this complicated would need an extremely competent staff to work with such a short running time, but sadly that won’t be the case. The studio producing this is known as Creators in Pack and if you’ve never heard of them before, it’s probably because they’ve produced a mere 8 TV anime in the past, none of which have attained as much as a 7 on myanimelist.net. Additionally, their most immediately recognizable work is the hilariously bad Bloodivores. Nothing about this adaptation shows the least bit of promise, but if I had to say one positive thing about it, I hear the manga is pretty good.

In Another World With My Smartphone

Worth watching: Yes

It’s a story about a guy, he’s in another world and he has his smartphone, pretty complicated stuff. I kid of course, but this is definitely the kind of show where what you see is what you get. Our hero gets transported to a land of fantasy and magic with his only tool being his smartphone, which I guess is still somehow receiving data. The conflict of the series seems to revolve around using said smartphone to resolve various issues plaguing the show’s world and so far I can definitely say that I’m cautiously optimistic. The premise and artwork seem fun but the character designs and limited animation bring my elation down a bit. Nevertheless, I have faith that Production Reed will live up to their reputation as a solid anime studio and so I’m dead set on sitting through the premiere.

Welcome to the Ballroom

Worth watching: Yes

I’m probably not going to watch this one myself, since I’ve already recommended so many other shows and I’m really not a fan of the changes they made to the manga’s beautiful art style, but I’m still confident it will appeal to those who are interested. The series follows a group of competitive ballroom dancers as they compete for the top of their extremely niche sport.  The manga has become well-known for its endearing character chemistry and sweeping choreography, so if you liked Yuri on Ice then you’ll probably like this too.

Chronos Ruler

Worth watching: Yes

In case dancing isn’t your style, here’s a show that’s all about people with superpowers fighting against demons trying to destroy time itself. It sounds silly, but that’s just because it is. What really sold this show to me was the presentation. The art is crisp and the animation is smooth, both of which are complimented by a bombastic jazz soundtrack. This may not be the best show of the season, but it definitely had the best looking and sounding previews.

 

Tsurezure Children

Worth watching: No

This show follows a protagonist who tries to get with the guy she likes by putting her own blood into chocolate and then feeding him the blood chocolate. Also, the previews make it seem like we’re supposed to think that’s a good thing. Yeah… no.

Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e

Worth watching: No

This is the story of a class of high school students who are treated as inferiors because of their poor grades, but thanks to an unexpected mentor, they can catch up to the other students and earning respect from their peers and from themselves. Wait, sorry, I was writing the synopsis for Assassination Classroom, silly me. Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e is the story of a class of high school students who are treated as inferiors because of their poor grades, but thanks to an unexpected mentor, they can catch up to the other students and earning respect from their peers and from themselves. In case you couldn’t tell, the joke is that this series is distractingly similar to Assassination Classroom, hell, it’s even being animated by the same studio, Studio Lerche. Unlike Assassination Classroom, however, Lerche seems to have no confidence of any kind with this show, having released next to no promotional material for it to date. I can also safely say that I firmly agree with their level of confidence in the series.

Hell Girl Season 4

Worth watching: No

Hell Girl does not interest me. I find the characters unmemorable and the action scenes dull. How it even got 4 seasons is beyond me, but I’m not sure the fans of the franchise even know since this is yet another show with minimal promotional backing. Not exactly a great sign.

Restaurant in Another World

Worth Watching: I guess not?

I honestly have no idea what this is supposed to be. I could bring back that joke from earlier and say that it’s about a restaurant that’s in another world, but I’m not even certain that’s actually true. The synopsis says the eponymous restaurant gets its name by serving exotic food, so is it actually in another world or is that just a contrived nickname? Either way, colour me uninterested.

Shokoku no Altair

Worth watching: Yes

Yet another offering from Studio MAPPA, this series is adapted from a popular manga about war in a high fantasy setting. It doesn’t seem like the kind of show for everyone, but it has more than enough visual flair to remain interesting. Also helping it stand out is its main character, a pacifist whose role in the war is that of a peacekeeper instead of a soldier. It’s an interesting shift in focus that can give us a new perspective on a familiar setting.

Knights and Magic

Worth watching: No

Well apparently Studio 8-bit is still upset that season 2 of Infinite Stratos bombed because here they are giving us almost the same show again, except now the focus is mechs in a fantasy setting, so it’s totally different. I’ll give them credit for at least having some good mech design, but that does little to hide how redundant the series feels.

That’s the end of part 1 of the guide to the summer 2017 anime. Share your thoughts on the shows discussed here in the comments and be sure to come back later for part 2.

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Will Bertazzo Lambert
Will Bertazzo Lambert has recently risen above doing nothing but watch anime all the time and has now taken up talking about it on the internet. He hopes you will listen too, since he intends to talk for a long, long time.