Summer 2017 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

Times are tough, my friends. Having just powered through every season premiere that’s available on basically any streaming service, I am left with mere grains of sand, anime fragments that tumble through my hands as I seek to shape them into watchable shows. Seasons have been dry before, but we are in the desert now. My first recommendation for the summer season is “I hope you’re still enjoying My Hero Academia, Re:Creators, or Sakura Quest.” My second recommendation is “I’m sure there’s some backlog you’ve been meaning to get to.”

But still, I didn’t watch through all these friggin’ premieres for nothing. There are least a couple bright spots in the gloom, and even if there weren’t, I’m sure most of you are just here to watch me descend into gibbering and howls as the shows get worse. As usual, I’ll be starting with my top picks and grouping the season’s offerings into general descending tiers. For longer thoughts on all of these shows, click through the title and check out my full ANN reviews (look for Nick Creamer). Buckle up, cause it’s gonna get bumpy. LET’S RUN THIS SEASON DOWN!

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Summer 2017 – First Impressions, Part Two

And we’re back with the second volley of new premieres! The summer season continues to be pretty much terrible on the whole so far, with my prospects at this point basically just amounting to one new show. Fortunately, that new show was actually terrific – I’ve heard questionable things about the source material, but Made in Abyss’s first episode was phenomenal. And hey, you guys don’t actually have to watch everything else, you can just enjoy me suffer.

As usual, you can see the full list of reviews over at ANN, or click below for my latest scores and direct links. Happy hunting!

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Summer 2017 – First Impressions, Part One

Preview week is in full swing now, which means it’s time to to briefly take stock of all the nonsense I’ve watched. So far, Restaurant to Another World is pretty much the only thing I might follow up on, and that one’s honestly more likely to be dropped. With Kakegurui having been swept up by Netflix and Symphogear nowhere to be seen, the season’s still looking pretty barren. That’s okay, though – I’ve still got three continuing shows, after all, and there are plenty of contenders left to come. We’ll ride this storm out like we’ve done before!

You can check out my scores and links to individual writeups below, or just head to the overall preview guide right here.

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Spring 2017 – Week 12 in Review

Things stayed at a pretty even keel for this week in anime, with my precious surviving shows offering neither stunning highlights nor frustrating failures. In The Eccentric Family’s case, the fact that this episode wasn’t a standout was itself kind of a disappointment – this was the final episode, after all, and so if this season had any pretensions of matching the original, now was the time. But overall, this week mostly just demonstrated that shows like Sakura Quest or Re:Creators have become very adept at maintaining their good-but-not-great dramatic ratios. With The Eccentric Family suffering a pretty meaningful decline from the first season, there’s nothing here that seems likely to claim the top spot of the year. Alright Kemono Friends, you’ve still got a chance!

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Spring 2017 – Week 11 in Review

The anime this week was… confusing. On the negative side, my two favorite shows of the season had pretty mediocre episodes. My Hero Academia was stuck in transition land, while The Eccentric Family decided to lean even more heavily into the same conflicts as the first season. On the positive side, basically everything below those shows had a terrific showing, with all of Sakura Quest, Re:Creators, and Tsuki ga Kirei pulling off some of their best episodes yet. I suppose that’s the advantage of watching this many streaming shows – even if the heavyweights momentarily stumble, there’s always something putting its best foot forward. Anyway, I’ve got a million words on Re:Creators this week, so let’s start at the opposite end and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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Spring 2017 – Week 10 in Review

After a serious dip in general show quality, the anime returned to something of a neutral setting this week, lifted largely on the back of The Eccentric Family’s terrific performance. Sakura Quest, My Hero Academia, and Re:Creators were all just kinda middle-of-the-road, though their particular brands of middle-of-the-road all gave me unique things to talk about. So in terms of this particular article, I guess you guys once again get to reap the benefits of less than stellar cartoons. This season isn’t ending as well as it started, but basically none of them do – it’s a whole lot easier to make a great first episode than it is to make a consistently satisfying full season narrative. Let’s start out in the weeds of Manoyama and run this week down!

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Spring 2017 – Week 9 in Review

I guess I should have stopped talking about the anime being good! The cosmos apparently did not appreciate my joy, and so this week in anime was pretty friggin’ bad. The Eccentric Family had easily its worst episode of the season, Sakura Quest kinda fell into its lazy sitcom mode, and Re:Creators took a couple of turns so disappointing that I felt tempted to drop the show altogether. Not really a good showing for what had looked like a pretty bulletproof season.

Still, My Hero Academia had a fucking amazing episode, and one bad week isn’t really enough to shake anything I’m watching. Plus I know you guys love to read through my suffering, so I guess at least one audience gets to benefit from this week’s disappointments. Let’s start with the good news and run this week down!

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Spring 2017 – Week 8 in Review

The anime… is good. Really, if anything, I can only complain that this season’s incredibly consistent quality has made it a whole lot harder to come up with reasonable topics for these intro paragraphs. I’ve been leaning on the meta well a bit too heavily, but given I’ve dropped everything that ever caused me any pain whatsoever, it’s just hard to stay even-handed here. Sakura Quest has shrugged off its early messiness, My Hero Academia is slam dunking its brilliant source material, and The Eccentric Family 2 likely had its best episode yet. I try to stay impartial, but folks, it might be time to recommend you try Anime. I’ve heard it’s pretty okay.

Alright, I think that’s around my required word count. Now let’s both of us escape this preamble and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!

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Spring 2017 – Week 7 in Review

Look, this season is just great, guys. I don’t know how many times I can say it. A season that’s simultaneously airing one of My Hero Academia’s best arcs, the sequel to one of my favorite shows ever, and the spiritual successor to Shirobako would frankly have a damn hard time being bad. Even with Tsuki ga Kirei taking the week off, there were no shortage of high points this week – Sakura Quest had one of its best episodes, My Hero Academia ran through an entire goddamn tournament bracket, and even Re:Creators pulled off some of its most rewarding conversations yet. This is a fine time to be an anime fan!

Alright, let’s get right to it.

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Spring 2017 – First Half in Review

Well folks, it looks like we’re somehow halfway through the spring season. Things have been insanely busy on my end, as I’ve been scrambling to deal with a bunch of work-related backend stuff that’s altogether far less exciting than watching cartoons. Fortunately, the cartoons themselves have been as strong as ever – this spring has an extremely sturdy lineup, so stuffed with watchable shows that I’ve essentially had to shave off an entire second tier of contenders. Keeping up with my Current Projects means I don’t really have the time to watch nine airing shows a season anymore, but I certainly can’t complain about having too much to watch!

As usual, this is the point where I vaguely rank the shows I’m watching in some kind of descending order. Also as usual, these rankings are essentially meaningless – I like making ranked lists, but I don’t think they have any meaningful value, and establishing this hierarchy while none of these shows are actually completed only underlines that. So sit back, relax, and let’s have an enjoyably pointless time!

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