Spring 2017 Anime Thoughts

The Beneath the Tangles team was asked about their favorite and most surprising moments of the Spring 2017 anime season.

This season, the Beneath the Tangles team decided to do something a little differently. Instead of asking every staff member for  a number of detailed reviews, we are asking each staff member who watched new anime during the Spring 2017 two questions: What was the biggest surprise of this season for you? What was your favorite series of the season?

So, without further ado, let’s see what our staff enjoyed this season!

JP

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Generally speaking, whether because it was a strange season or simply because working full-time in Japan has had some unforeseen effects on my viewing preferences, a lot of anime I assumed I would fall in love with I didn’t, and the anime I had assumed would either be easy skips or just something to put on in the background became my meat and potatoes. More specifically, I loved the second season of Attack on Titan and the first cour of season two of My Hero Academia.

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

As much as I want to answer this with Tsuki ga Kirei, if I set aside my critic’s monocle and just go with the thing I most enjoyed watching this season, the answer is easily Attack on Titan. I am not at all a fan of the first season. In fact, I couldn’t have told you more than one or maybe two characters’ names just a few months ago. I felt the characters were shallow and the pacing frustrating, in spite of an interesting premise. I don’t think I can quite pinpoint what was different this season, as I feel too far removed from when I watched season one while airing, but something just clicked, and the giddy little boy inside me won some sort of battle against my shounen-avoidant ego.


Medieval Otaku

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you? The Royal Tutor happens to be the biggest surprise of the season for me.  I mostly watched it because I saw it on Crunchyroll and thought, “Why not?”  It turned out to be a hilarious show with some very amusing personalities.  A serious undercurrent of the struggle for succession led to at least one arc with some excellent drama.  The only thing that I can’t bear about this show is the opening song.

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season? My favorite show also counts as a show I did not intend to watch: World End: Etc.  This show combines several genres into one: war, fantasy, slice-of-life, and romance.  This show has the most likable characters of the season–even more so than Alice to Zouroku.  Only teenage girls being able to use magic weapons and to fight monsters is a frequently used trope.  However, the series makes this especially poignant through the love of the hero for one of these girls and the frequent suspense over her fate at the front.  The world building is also well done.


MRNewman

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

100% Pascal-Sensei. The show is ridiculous on so many levels. It’s a show about a bad alien teacher (I think) in an elementary school class. What I find most surprising? How much my son enjoys the show. He asks to watch and re-watch episodes of the show. It’s not perfect anime. It’s not the greatest show ever. But it has been so much fun watching my 8 year old son watch, read the subtitles, and get huge chuckles out of this completely ridiculous series.

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

Sakura Quest hands down. It could have been under surprising as I ended up jumping into this show on a lark as I saw a lot of people talking about the first few episodes. A show about a group of women working together in a small town to help it’s tourism bureau. It doesn’t necessarily match other shows I generally watch. That said, I was excited to watch this show every week. It kept me drawn in with the plot, characters, and the scenarios they kept coming up with for them to deal with. Watching them grow as individuals and as a group was fascinating while concurrently seeing them deal with the reality of small town life. They also accurately captured the angst of life post-college in a way I wasn’t expecting. Let us also not forget the sleepy town of Manoyama, which was a character into itself. It’s not a perfect series, by any means, but it’s well written, well drawn, and well implemented.


R86

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Watching Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine, I was certain, was not even going to be a thing for me. I watched the first episode strictly because I had tried everything else, figuring it would be a plot-free vehicle for bad fanfics written by the always-prepared fujoshi. While I was almost certainly right about the fanfics, I was quite wrong about the plot. Before long, hoping for everything to work out well for the four younger brothers of the crown prince, and for their diminutive but formidable sensei, was a regular part of my week. Way back in history, I had a similar experience watching Kin’iro no Corda, although Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine has a far better script (not that it could have been much worse). Let me be clear that, like Kin’iro no Corda, Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine is no masterpiece — I gave both a 7/10 at MAL — but there is no doubt it was the single biggest surprise for me. I wonder if there will be another season?

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

Sure, Shingeki no Kyojin and Boku no Hero Academia both continue to be awesome (as any of us would have expected). And sure, Seikaisuru Kado is far more daring and expansive than the continuation of Naruto (I only hope its ending doesn’t make me want to stab my screen with a butter knife). But when I watched the first episode of Boruto: Next Generations, I never expected anything that followed the long-awaited and filler-delayed end of the Great Ninja War to be all that interesting. But the antics and struggles of the children of the original Naruto characters, growing up in a peaceful and technologically-enhanced Konoha, drew me in before I knew it. How will they meet the brand new challenge that faces them and their parents? Who exactly are the good and bad guys, anyway? What I expected to be a fanfic gone horribly wrong has turned into something I look forward to each week.

 


Stardf29
tsuki ga kirei

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Count me in as the 200,000th person to have fallen in love with Tsuki ga Kirei. I had no idea what to expect going into an anime original middle school romance, other than a journey into some adolescents’ first romance, but the approach this show took worked wonders. It’s always a toss-up with what kind of tone a romance story takes, and while there’s a time and a place for highly idealistic fairy tales and super-cynical stories of love gone wrong, but I think this show’s tempered optimism works the best. It’s clear that the main couple are way too inexperienced at romance for their relationship to be anything but messy, but the constant efforts on both sides to draw closer to each other makes you hope that they’ll make it through somehow. Add on to it a pleasant watercolor art style and an overall laid-back atmosphere that minimizes melodrama and feels a bit more like a slice-of-life show, and you have a recipe for one of the best romance anime in recent memory.

alice zouroku

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

If you know about my love of slice-of-life shows and shows about parenthood and adoption (or if you read my most recent post), it should come as no surprise that Alice & Zoroku was my favorite show of the season. The heavier action elements in the first half of the show might have been a jarring contrast, but one that works in the show’s favor, as it shows what kind of chaotic environment the lead girl Sana came from, and in turn, just how much she grows to love the more laid-back life she finds herself in after being adopted by Zoroku. The second half gets even better, though, with a shift to a more dramatic story with fantastic elements and an additional protagonist that serves as a foil to Sana, with a story that allows both of them to learn more about themselves and each other. It’s a rich show full of themes that I’ll be writing an entire post on it just to begin breaking them all down, and that’s on top of just how utterly adorable and heartwarming the show is. It’s a show that hit all the right notes for me, and that’s why it easily takes my Anime of the Season title.

If you want to know my thoughts on (and reviews of) all of this season’s shows that I watched, I’ll have a blog post going up soon on my own blog.


TWWK

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Season two of Attack on Titan was so much better than I thought it would be. While I wouldn’t say every episode was good, and the writing wasn’t as weird as in season one (part of the show’s original charm), the episodes moved along pretty well, the story progressed, and the CGI looked really good in some places. We got far more depth from a number of the characters (Reiner, Sasha, Ymir, Historia), which helped outweigh the lack of surprise for me as a reader of the manga. This was a win, Attack on Titan. Now let’s see how you deal with more political material (if I’m remembering correctly) in the next season.

kotaro x akane

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

I love love loved Tsuki ga Kirei. On the surface, it appeared to have so many elements I enjoy in anime – the watercolor style animation, love story among youth, high school setting, but shows like that are also very likely to disappoint me when the reveal a lack of depth and quality. But Tsuki ga Kirei bucked the trend by telling one fluid story with consistent, realized characters. The star of this series isn’t either of the protagonists, though they are cute, but this sort of quiet longing for youth, as the series just perfectly encapsulates a sense of nostalgia for the innocence, peace, loveliness, and passion we never had as adolescents, but wish we had. Plus, a strong ending that was fully earned. Absolutely beautiful.


So readers – now that you’ve read our opinions, how about you? What was your favorite show of the Spring 2017 season and what surprised you? Join in the discussion!

Matthew Newman is an environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He's also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he's not chasing his kids or working, he's probably asleep.
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