Summer 2017 Season Preview

At this point, I’ve kinda accepted that season previews are more or less useless. Alright, that’s a bit harsh. As a way of pointing out promising staff, or a breakdown of the merits of source material, they definitely have their uses. But gauging shows based on their premises is basically pointless, and a first episode is a far more useful predictor of quality than pretty much anything a preview can tell you. I’m gonna be frank with you – I’m writing this preview mostly because I have a slavish dedication to routine, and also because readers just kinda seem to like them. I hope those reasons sound reasonable enough!

All that said, we’re sticking with my usual format here. I won’t be breaking down every single show that’s coming up – I’m just gonna be highlighting the shows I actually have some reason to be excited about. I also won’t be offering synopses, which are easily available elsewhere – instead, I’ll be focusing on the specific reasons I think some show has a shot at being good. With all that qualifying and justifying behind us, starting with my top choices, let’s preview some shows!

Owarimonogatari 2nd Season

First up, let’s get the obvious sequels out of the way. The Monogatari franchise is possibly my favorite anime-thing period, so it’s no surprise that I’m super pumped for this allegedly final season. The show’s mix of rich characters, thoughtful reflections on identity, and distinctive visuals have kept it fresh through a truly absurd number of episodes, and it actually does feel like we’re moving towards a real conclusion. If you’re here for Monogatari, Monogatari is here.

Here’s the PV.

Symphogear AXZ

Next up, and at possibly the exact opposite pole of my anime-viewing preferences, we’ve got the reliably ridiculous Symphogear. If I describe Symphogear as “Idol JoJo,” I hope that the concept comes through. Symphogear marries a great cast and very goofy dramatic sensibilities to truly absurd drama, featuring hard-punching girls who sing about their feelings while firing rockets into evil robots. It is a friggin’ wonderful time, and I recommend it to anyone who prefers their action with a whole lot of silliness and charm.

Here’s the PV.

A Centaur’s Life

I’m going largely off word of mouth with this one. I haven’t read the original manga, but have heard repeatedly from a variety of friends that this is the thoughtful, thematically rich take on the whole monster girl phenomenon. With strong source material behind it and a generally compelling promise of slice of life plus societal commentary, I’m hopeful this one turns out well.

Here’s the PV.

Welcome to the Ballroom

Finishing up the source material-based predictions, Welcome to the Ballroom’s source manga also enjoys nearly universal praise. The director also has a pretty reasonable resume (he was animation director for Miss Hokusai, and has an animation-focused resume that includes a variety of other prestigious projects), so if you’re at all interested in the ballroom dancing sports drama concept, there are definitely enough reasons to give this one a look.

Here’s the PV.

THE REFLECTION

I have super mixed feelings on THE REFLECTION, but I’m willing to give it a chance. On the plus side, Hiroshi Nagahama is directing, and he’s likely one of the most talented directors in the industry today. Between Mushishi and The Flowers of Evil, I’m willing to give pretty much anything he touches a try. On the minus side, western superheroes are an incredibly played-out and fundamentally boring genre, and Stan Lee’s involvement here makes me think this story is going to be as boilerplate as they come. Hopefully Nagahama can rise above the expectations of this zombie genre.

Here’s the PV, where Stan Lee personally warns us that even though this is a Japanese cartoon, it will appeal to everybody.

Kakegurui

Moving to more general staff predictions, Kakegurui apparently comes to us courtesy of the same director and series composer who worked on Garo, the surprisingly excellent fantasy series from a few years back. The premise of this one also seems like a whole bunch of schlocky fun, and the aesthetic already dives into the same gleefully ornate gothic look that helped lift Garo up. It’s not much to go on, but hey, previews.

Here’s the PV.

Princess Principal

My expectations here are based on a hodgepodge of small leads. First off, anime-original productions are pretty much always worth some kind of look, and generally have a higher ceiling than manga or light novel adaptations. On top of that, director Masaki Tachibana has a fairly solid resume (he directed Barakamon and contributed to a variety of Kenji Kamiyama projects, the guy behind Stand Alone Complex and Moribito). Finally, the series composer was a key contributor to Code Geass, and that experience seems very relevant to this premise. All that together amounts to a show that at least has the chance to be good.

Here’s the PV.

Vatican Kiseki Chousakan

Finally, Vatican Kiseki looks interesting for exactly one, admittedly flimsy reason: it just looks interesting. The premise of vatican-employed experts crossing the globe to debunk miracles sounds cool to me, so I’ll give it a shot even though I’ve got no real staff leads to go on. Sometimes you gotta go with your heart.

Here’s the PV.

That’s about it for me! Considering the summer season will also contain the second halves of My Hero Academia, Sakura Quest, and Re:Creators, I’m not expecting to keep up with even half of these shows. But hey, too much anime isn’t a bad thing. I hope you found something interesting here, and let me know what else you’re looking forward to in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Summer 2017 Season Preview

  1. A Centaur’s Life is probably the most thoughtful approach to monster girls so far, but it’s very low-key and slowly paced so it will depend a lot on the direction to make it not boring. A lot of its better material also doesn’t come until later.

    Kakegurui is very schlocky fun but a lot of what sets it apart from typical schlocky gambling manga is the ornate artwork and expressions that manages to capture the high tension of gambling. Not sure whether that can be captured in motion.

    Pseudo-historical fantasy drama might not be your thing. but I think Shoukoku no Altair is worth a mention. The manga’s pretty well received of those who read it, though it’s not as well-known as the others.

  2. As a practicing Catholic who’s like been to the Vatican and stuff,I can testify that the premise for the Vatican series is more or less an actual thing. In reality, it’s definitely less adventurous today and a lot more paperworky than it probably was like 200-500 years ago, but still, we did that once upon a time

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