Hey guys, it’s time for the Week in Review. I got pretty complacent over the summer season, what with the total absence of watchable anime and all. With only three shows to write about weekly, I was able to show off by tossing in random episodes of Game of Thrones and Rick and Morty, adding content and still not having to write as much as usual. But here in Fall 2017, the Week in Review has come roaring back. As I write this opening paragraph, I’ve still got maybe half a dozen shows left to watch, and that’s after already getting through five this week. Sanity will demand I cut my schedule down to reasonable size at some point, but for now, you all get to enjoy the hard-fought fruits of my endless labor. From a season of drought, we’ve arrived at a season where the anime is just too damn good. Make up your minds, you friggin’ cartoons.
Alright, enough grumbling. Let’s start wherever we can and run this towering week down!
A new anime season has begun! As it turns out, in spite of last season’s incredibly tepid lineup, the reports of anime’s demise were greatly exaggerated. This season is looking to easily be the strongest of the year overall, and likely one of the best single seasons in the past several years. Offering phenomenal shows in a wide variety of genres, a strong mix of sequels, originals, and adaptations, and an absurdly deep bench, Fall 2017 looks to be one for the record books. After a season where my weekly diet was “Made in Abyss and Tsuredure Children,” it feels nice to actually have to pick and choose what I have time to watch.
As usual, my work on ANN’s preview guide has given me an exhaustingly full perspective on the season’s offerings, and so I’m here today to rank my selections from the highest highs to the lowest lows. I’ll be grouping shows by vague, perhaps even meaningless tiers, and trying to offer a brief summation of my overall feelings. All of these titles will also have links to the guide itself, so if you want my more extended and theoretically professional critiques, click on through and search for Nick Creamer. Let’s start at the top and run this season down!
Holy crap everyone, it’s time for the season preview. Season previews are exciting to me even in the most mundane of times, and this is far from that. Personally, this summer season has been the least interesting batch of anime since I started watching seasonally (which was… three… five?… nevermind years ago). In contrast, the upcoming season is packed with returning favorites, unexpected revivals, intriguing adaptations, and promising anime originals. It would be very nearly impossible for this coming season to undercut my current 3.5 show roster, and it’s actually looking quite likely that I might have to sacrifice even some promising shows just for the sake of time. Summer may be ending, but a new anime dawn is approaching!
As usual, I won’t be running down every single upcoming show in this list. You can check a site like anichart if that’s what you’re looking for, and can also easily find all upcoming synopses there as well. What I will be focusing on are the shows I think are promising, along with laying out whatever reasons I might have for believing in them, be that solid source material or talented staff or just a great first season. Let’s start with my most anticipated prospects and run this season down!
I’ve fallen behind on linking all my reviews this week, so here comes the friggin’ flood. We’re starting off with The Ancient Magus’ Bride, which saw Chise embracing the role of dragon detective. It’s quite a volume!
Today I’m back with the latest Ancient Magus’ Bride. This one’s a bit of a mixed bag – the fantastical adventures are as strong as ever, but Alice’s story felt like it was held down by the author’s awkwardly vague impression of what her life might actually be like. Still, I can’t blame the author too much for trying to write beyond her comfort zone. And the second half is still pretty great!
Welp, this volume was basically perfect. The Ancient Magus’ Bride was at its best this time, mixing evocative fantasy with rousing character drama in some of the manga’s most beautifully and affecting stories yet. Even the paneling demanded to be noticed in this volume, as Chise and Elias’ distinct fears were contrasted across a stunning finale sequence. This manga is super extremely good.
Welp, fell a bit behind in my Magus reviews, so here we are. The manga is maintaining a strong balance of fantastical digressions and sturdy character-focused material, and continuing to have a solid grip on the compelling weirdness of Chise and Elias’ relationship. I’m pretty happy with my review of this one, so head on over and check it out!
The Ancient Magus’ Bride’s first prequel episode came out last week, so of course I had to dig in for Why It Works. This adaptation is definitely doing a strong job of capturing the offhand style of magic that makes the manga so charming, even if its story isn’t really focused on the relationship that keeps it strong. My only real complaint is the somewhat impersonal CG layouts – I briefly mention them in this article, but they were certainly at the back of my mind pretty consistently through my viewing. But aside from that, this was a beautiful and very atmospheric premiere!
And we’re back to ye olde fairy tales. This volume of Ancient Magus’ Bride was actually fairly light on the magical vignettes, because it was instead focusing on what has always been the most difficult element of the story – the uneven relationship between Chise and Elias. I’ve pretty much been continuously worrying about how the story would eventually handle this, and this volume went a great distance to assuage my fears. It’s clear in how Chise is framed and how those around her talk to her that the story understands this is a messed-up situation born of an unhealthy psychology on Chise’s part. She’s a broken person, and that’s a big part of the story. I’m happy the manga was willing to directly engage with this, and impressed with how well it used Chise’s story to reflect Elias’ own narrative in contrast. Ancient Magus’ Bride continues to be a very engaging story all around.
I’m back on the manga train with more Ancient Magus’ Bride, as I review a second volume just as magical as the first. This is one of those manga where it’s hard to think of bad things to say about it – Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer is kind of scrappy, and even Bride’s Story can sometimes dither, but Ancient Magus’ Bride is just a beautiful production through and through. Hopefully that comes across in my review – I was going for a pretty specific tone in this one, and I think I hit it.