Summer 2017 Anime Thoughts

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

Just like in Spring 2017, the Beneath the Tangles staff has been asked a few questions about the Summer 2017 season – what was your favorite and what surprised you the most. Their answers follow:

Annalyn

Summer Anime Thoughts | Beneath the Tangles

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

“Surprise” might be an exaggeration, but I was certainly interested to see just how far In Another World with My Smartphone would take its clichés and wish fulfillment. I knew from the get-go that this show was ridiculous and required no deep thinking from me. The main character, Touya, is so overpowered, there’s never any suspense. It’s not even a real spoiler to say that he can and will take care of any threat without trouble. And then there’s the harem piece. I won’t spoil that part, but let’s just say I’ve never seen the harem idea taken this far before. While I somewhat expected the ending, I also expected them to thwart my expectations, if that makes sense. So that’s where the biggest “surprise” of the season came from for me.

Please note that I do not recommend this show for everyone. In Another World with My Smartphone has a more-than-fair amount of fan service and unsavory humor, especially in later episodes. And while it starts out in the “so bad it’s good” category, for me, the fan service and such eventually tipped the scales toward “just plain bad.” Still, if you want to watch it, it’s available for free at Crunchyroll and Yahoo View.

Beneath the Tangles | Summer Anime Thoughts

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

I wasn’t able to follow more than three anime this season. All three were in the same vein: just plain fun, minimal thinking required. Of these three fun-filled shows, my favorite was Nana Maru San Batsu (aka Fastest Finger First). I’m a known fan of anime involving sports and competition, so it’s no surprise that cobloggers recommended I try this anime about a high school quiz bowl team—or that I ended up really liking it. I can’t say that it’s a fantastic, unique show. It follows a familiar path with a brand new club (or “quiz circle”), a newbie (Koshiyama Shiki) with natural skills that will soon put him on par with the best players, and predictable rivalries. But I still enjoyed it. I found myself literally at the edge of my seat during quiz meets, hoping that Koshiyama would click the buzzer first and answer correctly. The characters’ varied approaches to quiz bowl interested me. So did the mechanics of question construction and inflection. Nana Maru San Batsu required just enough attention from me to understand the game and strategy—but not so much attention that it was a chore to watch after a long week at work. That means it was both interesting and easy fun: exactly what I needed most.

Fastest Finger First can be streamed on Crunchyroll.


Thathilomgirl

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

So, in My Hero Academia, the students of Class-1A find out from their teachers that instead of fighting off robots again for their practical exam like they heard earlier, they’re gonna be facing them off instead. Now, story-wise, this doesn’t sound too surprising, especially with some of the foreshadowing scenes that were shown in the current OP. However, as someone who had read the manga, what got me shocked was that the anime had slightly changed the narrative format of this arc, from having all 10 pairs of students facing off their respective teachers at the same time within one 30-minute timeframe, to having the teams rostered up so that each of them can be given 30 minutes to face their teachers. On one hand, the anime-only fans won’t experience the same frenetic anticipation of guessing which team would make it before time was up; on the other hand, the new format made it easier for me to follow up what happened with each team, and even expands more on how each of them dealt with their specific challenges. Overall, I thought this change was both a good and unique way to present this arc.

My Hero Academia can be legally streamed on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

Of all the shows I watched that premiered last season, Tsuredure Children would have to be my number one, with Restaurant to Another World coming close as runner-up. This show is filled with a lot of things that made me love it almost immediately: likeable characters that you want to root for, cute romantic scenes that make you feel all kilig (the Tagalog word for that exciting thrill you get whenever your ship has a moment), and impeccable comedic timing to balance off all that sweetness. At first, I was somewhat 😞 when I found out that it would be focusing only on half of the couples shown in the manga, but the small cameo teases of those other characters near the end of the season have me convinced that season 2 may be coming sooner that we think. And I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Tsuredure Children can be legally streamed on Crunchyroll and Funimation.


MR Newman

Pikotaro Lullaby La La By – West Side

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Pikotaro is weird. He’s a Japanese comedian and my kids found everything about Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen to be hilarious. When I discovered he was doing an anime series where he was going to re-tell fairy tales (Pikotaro no Lullaby Lu-llaby), I knew I needed to investigate further. The surprise? Everything about it. It’s weirder than I expected. It…isn’t really animated all that much. The art is both well done and sloppy simultaneously. It occasionally curses (more than I like since my kids are watching). But, overall – I’m enjoying it. I’m surprised by how much I’m finding it at times laugh out loud funny.

Anticipation is killing me, I hope it will last!

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

There are few shows I looked forward to more each week than Sakura Quest. The character development was fantastic. The individual story narratives kept moving so well and seeing the way this group of women interact in this small town was such a delight to watch. The characters were very well written and realistic in their characterization. It really captures the feeling of being fresh out of college, trying to find your place in the world. What I also appreciated was that it did not try to force any romantic narratives on the main female cast members. They were just adult women working for the betterment of the small town of Manoyama. Also…the characters changed their clothes. Like normal people do. It felt so jarring when compared to most anime I’ve seen and made it, quite honestly, have a more real feel to it. It’s an odd point, but it added to the charm of the series. I enjoyed it and it had a satisfying ending.


R86

Apparently Gojo missed the memo that his party, from the beginning, has consisted of nothing but four guys.

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Probably my biggest surprise was that this last season had nothing for me, other than the continuations of Boruto and Boku no Hero Academia (both of which I continue to enjoy), and of course the return of the Saiyuuki boys. Easily a close second in surprising me was that, much as I loved seeing the Saiyuuki cast in action again in Saiyuuki Reload: Blast, the phrase that kept occurring to me is “the fire’s out.” I think one reason that we all look forward to another installment of an older series that we loved is that we’re hoping to recapture the same emotions, or at least the same sense of newness, that we had when we first saw it. And although it’s obvious to everyone, what I realized is that this is impossible, or at least unlikely. So while it was great to catch up again with Genjo Sanzo, Gojo, Goku, and Hakkai, at the same time I found myself bidding them a fond farewell, but still a farewell. Don’t misunderstand me, though: if there ever comes along a Saiyuuki Reload: Blast: Explodiations, even with different voice actors, I’ll be all over it anyway.

“In other words,” says Hakkai, “we’re only mostly dead, not all dead.”

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

My comments above don’t mean that I didn’t try to watch several new series, including Nana Maru San Batsu, which I figured would be this season’s Really Important Show. I dropped all of them except Clione no Akari and 18if, to both of which my response is “meh.” So Saiyuuki Reload: Blast wins on a technicality. Now I have commented on the Saiyuuki series before. I argued then, and will still argue, that this series is high quality, even if perhaps it doesn’t dare to try great things. But every episode in its sixteen-year history has had something for everyone. Those who like humor will find it, those who enjoy fight scenes will get plenty of them, those who like folklore will get their fill, certainly those who are looking for handsome young men will find numerous examples, but those who are looking for beautiful women will find them too, and of course, those who prefer action and explodiations will get them as well. I’ve enjoyed the protagonists from the beginning, and appreciated their banter and their dedication to their goal. Reload:Blast delivered on all of these things. But like I said, the fire’s out. It makes me wonder how I’ll respond if, to my amazement, they actually do make a third season of Ookiku Furikabutte one day. I will certainly watch it and enjoy it, but whether the fire’s out or not remains to be seen.


Stardf29

hina logic liones nina

Last I checked, Flying was strong against Grass…

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

I never (and still haven’t) watched the original Luck & Logic anime, and given that I’ve heard pretty bad things about it, I certainly don’t plan to anytime soon. I only watched Hina Logic because the spinoff required no prior knowledge of the franchise and a cute-girls-doing-cute-things spinoff can hardly go wrong in my eyes. What was particularly interesting, though, was seeing this show end up near the top of my favorite anime this season. I will go into more when I highlight this show in a separate post, but the show actually makes some good use of its setting, allowing for some solid character development for an overall very likable cast. In a season where most shows ended up falling somewhat below what I thought their maximum potential could be, this show leaped high over the relatively low bar I set for it to create something quite good.

new game kou yagami aoba suzukaze

They’re not quite role model and student anymore…

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

NEW GAME! was one of my favorite shows of last year, because the unique (and more adult) setting and greater focus on character growth added much to the usual cute-girls-doing-cute-things genre to create something quite impressive. Season 2 of this show, then, took everything special that season 1 did and cranked it up even further. This was a show that was not afraid of putting its cast in uncomfortable situations–nothing seriously threatening or dramatic, but just uneasy enough to challenge their growth. It’s still a charming and funny show about girls at a game development company, but it has a heart to it that few shows can match. It’s easily my favorite show of the season, and also one of the best cute-girls-doing-cute-things shows overall, and I would definitely be up for a Level 3.


TWWK

ayanokoji and kushida

What was the biggest surprise of the season for you?

Classroom of the Elite has surprised me, over and over again. I tuned in at first because I heard it resembled my favorite series, Oregairu. Though there were some surface-level similarities between our main trio in that series and this one, Classroom of the Elite appeared to be an attempt to emulate the success of that series and several others. It was trying to be smart, but wasn’t smart enough to be smart! Toss in moments of fanservice and surprises that weren’t, and I was pretty much done with the series a few episodes in. But by mid-season, the series found its voice. It became genuinely engaging and often funny. And now…now I’m hoping there’ll be a season two.

My Hero Academia can be legally streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

What was your favorite series of the Spring 2017 season?

I don’t like picking long-running shounen series, but Boku no Hero Academia is an exception. There’s been a lot of character development this season, and I like the show has approached it. Bit by bit, piece by piece, with little moments for some characters (ex. Tsuyu) and just conversations between others here and there that help us know this large cast better. The series shouldn’t be as good as it is: there’s only really one main character, the setups are typical (boss fights, tournaments, etc.), and I personally haven’t watched an episode that affected me deeply, unlike say a Naruto. But every episode is of consistent, strong quality, and the story is obviously moving somewhere, and that makes me believe that this might be a rare series that doesn’t get lost in an incredible amount of episodes and popularity.

My Hero Academia can be legally streamed on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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.

7 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

  • MithrandirOlorin
    30 September 2017 at 6:06 pm

    The best show of the season was Princess Principal by far.

    As someone who made a full blog post on Anime Fanservice, Smartphone is relatively tame I would say.

    Leave a Reply
  • R86
    1 October 2017 at 9:55 pm
    • MRNewman
      2 October 2017 at 10:29 am

      Really? better than the “West Side” screenshot from Pikotaro Lullaby LA LA BY? I think not!

      Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      2 October 2017 at 7:47 pm
  • Cytrus
    2 October 2017 at 11:15 am

    So TWWK, you’d recommend finishing Classroom for people who dropped it? I think I lasted until ep 3, but the series expecting me to be surprised by the most inane and cliched “twists” was far too much for me. (And when people commented that the goody two shoes blonde actually turns out to be all dark and stuff, I could only facepalm.)

    Leave a Reply
  • stardf29
    2 October 2017 at 12:34 pm

    In Another World With My Smartphone was… something. I watched it in part for my “isekai” posts, to get a better understanding of what I like and don’t like about the genre and its execution in recent anime. Going into it I knew of the heavy wish-fulfillment nature of the original light novel, and I think I did at least kind of want to enjoy the silliness of it all too.

    I definitely wouldn’t call it a “good” show, nor can I really say it’s “so bad it’s good”; it definitely has its writing issues and even as a wish-fulfillment isekai it falls flat, as I rarely felt I particularly wanted to be the main character. Yet, despite all its problems, I still enjoyed it. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, but I guess I do appreciate that, for better or for worse, the show accepted its own silliness and pushed things as far as it did on those ends. I guess there’s something inherently enjoyable about a show that knows exactly what kind of a show it wants to be, even if I don’t always agree with it.

    At any rate, the first two volumes of the original light novel are available for the Kindle rather cheap, so I’ll be looking at that a bit; they seem to go more into the protagonist’s head and thought processes, which I think will make for some amusing insight as to what exactly he thinks of everything going on.

    On another note, I finally caught up with and finished Sakura Quest, and now I’d say it’s the second-best thing I watched this past season, though for bookkeeping purposes I consider it a Spring show. There’s a lot to like about that show, but one thing that stood out to me was how in a way, it’s a show of adventure, exploration, and discovery, all within one small countryside town. Each episode, you learned a little bit more about the village, its people, their traditions, their ways of life, and their hopes for the future. It really was a “quest”, maybe not the grand fantasy quest we normally think of, but still very inspiring.

    Leave a Reply
    • MRNewman
      3 October 2017 at 8:45 am

      YAY! I love when others share the fun and wonder of Manoyama. I get considering it a Spring series as that’s where it started, but the Summer portion of it was so wonderful I just couldn’t stop talking about it.

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