Recently, I’ve come to a terrible realization about my presence on Twitter. No, that discovery is not that I have no presence at all (I’m already well aware of that fact); but instead, my tendency to be super awkward in many of my attempts at conversation have likely given off an impression of moe to others. From joke after joke going over my head (I’m utterly terrible at telling when someone is serious or not), to needing 3+ tweets to respond to even the smallest comments, I’ve come to realize today that my awkward, [unintentionally] moe tweets almost certainly make me the Mikoto Mikoshiba (from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun) of Twitter. I can’t say I’m really that upset about that, but it’s certainly been an… interesting realization from this morning, to say the least.
Why do I take like 5 tweets to say anything
Why must I be so awkward at times
Why is talking casually so hard
— Zubat (@PuellaMagiZubat) January 22, 2017
At any rate, I am glad that I’ve been able to talk with people more on twitter over the past few weeks, even as I continue to be my usual, awkward self. I know I’ve gone on at least a few [unsurprisingly] long-winded tweet chains about this, but I really am glad for even just being able to follow others and hear from them; to be able to chat back and forth every so often and get to know others better is something truly wonderful. And this goes to everyone reading this as well – feel free to reach out to me whenever at @PuellaMagiZubat! I can’t say I’ll respond to everything (it can literally take me over a half-hour to respond to the smallest tweets), but I’d love to get to know anyone who reaches out to me as well.
So onto anime itself! Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to write anything over this past week – even though I have some blog post ideas, I haven’t been able to really convert those into written form quite yet; and there have been other pressing events for me IRL that I’ve needed to take care of, not the least of which has been needing to go to bed earlier each night for an earlier workday start time. But the cool thing is that at least one of those IRL things should become a blog post in the future – it’s not something I can comment on quite yet, but I’m excited to see that come together in a few weeks.
For now, we’re almost finished with our third week of the Winter 2017 season, which means we’re almost a quarter of the way done with the first season of 2017! January feels like it’s been flying by to me, and that’s showing in my thoughts on the anime I’ve been watching as well – how are we already at the 3 episode mark for many of these shows? On top of that, somehow I ended up with 13 airing shows on my watchlist this season, which is a shocker to me considering how sparse I thought this season would be compared to the past few seasons. And although as I type this I’m already a few episodes behind on some shows, it’s certainly not too much to catch up on over the next couple of days, especially with new episode releases balanced fairly evenly across the week. If you want to see the full list of what I’m watching currently (both airing and non-airing), feel free to check out a summary at the Current Watchlist page I added yesterday, or check out my Kitsu for a full list with frequent updates to what I’ve been watching. And keep reading below for more detailed thoughts from me on what I think is trending up or down this season and on other shows I’ve watched recently!
ACCA – Truth be told, I actually debated passing on ACCA before even starting the first episode. Though I’ve been watching police dramas and procedurals my whole life, military, police, and crime anime aside from the Gen Urobuchi’s excellent Psycho-Pass don’t really grab me that much. Both the mafia-focused 91 Days and Baccano! weren’t really my thing; Active Raid was fun when it wasn’t taking itself too seriously but otherwise was quite weak; and Fall 2015’s Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru showed promise but ultimately didn’t quite match its potential. But ACCA has managed to hook me from the first episode by simply being fun, despite being a show about audits and bureaucracy and routine inspections. There’s a definite feeling of scheming beneath the surface of nearly every character, but it’s packaged in a way that feels delightful, entertaining, and most importantly stylish. Bright color and character design helps makes the visuals stand out too, and I’m excited to see where this one goes over the next few months.
Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish) – Let’s get this out of the way: Kuzu no Honkai is not a show you watch when you want to feel bubbly and happy and warm on the inside. Its characters are highly flawed – even through two episodes there are multiple points where they are miserable, terrible people to each other and to themselves. But it never feels like the show blames them or condemns them for those things; instead, the show paints these things in a light of compassion for their hurt and confusion. It shows up in delicate linework; or the soft, blurred backgrounds in the show’s manga panel-esque sequences. The show uses narration from each character’s thoughts to help us understand their feelings and emotions, even as their actions or words contradict or worsen the pain they might be feeling. At its core, Kuzu no Honkai may be a show destined for sorrow, but by stepping into the melancholy of its characters the show conveys a sense of empathy that feels special and important to the core of the show.
Gabriel DropOut – In a season loaded with strong slice-of-life comedies and moe/CGDCT shows, Gabriel DropOut is definitely the one that I’ve enjoyed the most so far. A hilarious and likeable core cast makes this show feel strong (HanaKana’s sadistic Raphiel is my early favorite, but each cast member is great in their own way), and none of the heaven/hell or angel/demon jokes have felt old or overused through these first two episodes. Whether that continues through the rest of the show remains to be seen, but through the first two episodes with another one premiering tomorrow Gabriel DropOut is already a clear winner in my book.
Netflix (Little Witch Academia) – Ahhhh Netflix. As someone who actively tries to avoid relying on illegal streams or pirated videos of anime wherever possible, it’s frustrating to see Netflix keep another show under lock and key until the end of the season once again. It puts anime fans in a hard spot – many of us prefer to watch on a weekly basis, but we fail to support the creators when we choose to watch shows illegally. At this point I haven’t even decided myself whether I’ll be watching fansubs weekly – I’m not that crazy about Little Witch Academia, but I do like the show and find it much easier to get through shows on a week-by-week basis than having all episodes available at once. It’s a decision with no good outcomes, and ultimately it once again reflects on Netflix’s poor understanding of what the anime fandom would prefer.
Bungou Stray Dogs S2 – The second season of Bungou Stray Dogs was everything I hoped the first season would be, and more. The setup of the first season pays off with a complex, entertaining, and emotionally satisfying conflict between the Agency, Port Mafia, and Guild; and the addition of American authors allowed me to better understand some of the literary references made by the show. Atsushi’s orphanage story felt like it was used more effectively here than nearly anywhere in the first season, and the 4-episode backstory of Odasaku and Dazai was likely the best storyline the show has yet offered. The second season of Bungou fully capitalized on the setup of its 3-way conflict, and I’d be delighted to see the return of Atsushi, Dazai, Kyouka, and others in a future season.
Magical Girl Raising Project – I wrote a review of this show about a week and a half ago, which you can find here! Magical Girl Raising Project was a hard show to determine my opinion on – there’s inherent problems with the idea of mixing mahou shoujo with the death game concept (young girls killing each other isn’t exactly the best); and the show fails to definitively choose between mindless thriller fun and introspective ideological clash, and instead ends up halfway in each. But despite that, I did enjoy watching the diverse characters of MGRP and a satisfying, if open-ended, conclusion to the story. I do think the story would be set up well to continue forward with perhaps a bit less of the issues that plagued this season, but even still it’s not quite a show I can wholeheartedly recommend. An intriguing show, but ultimately more an enigma than something special.
Houkago no Pleiades (Wish Upon the Pleiades) – For a show about magical girls going to space, Pleiades actually surprised me with how reserved and grounded it felt at times. Focusing more on the relationships between its main cast and the experiences and struggles each character brought to the table, Pleiades was less about what the magical girls could achieve with their powers and more about them each coming more into their own. I definitely don’t feel like I picked up every plot detail or theme on this first watch, so I’m definitely looking forward to a time where I can return to the show and perhaps pick up some of the things I missed this time around.
Amanchu! – A show I missed from summer last year, I’m finally getting around to watching Amanchu! after hearing positive recommendations for many different parts of the series. I wasn’t a huge fan of what I’ve seen of Aria (the source material for both series share the same mangaka), but I’m already really impressed with the show’s atmosphere, a crucial part of what makes many iyashikei (healing) slice-of-life shows so great.
Koufuku Graffiti – There’s something about Koufuku Graffiti – and indeed many SHAFT/Shinbou shows in general – that feels so, so special to me. Just 3 episodes in, the feeling of warmth created in the times Ryou, Kirin, and Shiina share together has brought me to tears on more than one occasion; it’s something I don’t feel I fully understand or could explain yet, but it’s clearly impacting me on a deep emotional level. Though I still have much of the series to go, it seems like a near certainty that I’ll have something to write about Koufuku in the future; and even at this early point I know that I’m watching something that I will treasure in my heart for years to come.
AKB0048 – I recently released my writeup on episode 2 of AKB, but reflecting on it I think there were a lot of things I could’ve done better. For a writeup I spent so much time on, I think I didn’t give enough words to how I felt about the episode and failed to really hit home on what stood out to me. It feels like I spent less time sharing my own thoughts and more time summarizing the episode, which isn’t really what I’m looking to get out of writing episodic posts on AKB or any other show. And I think it’s ok to acknowledge that! It may not have been exactly what I wanted to write, but I can’t expect everything I write to be great off the bat, and I also can’t expect to have “deep and complex thoughts” on every single episode of any show I choose to write about. I’m glad I wrote it, and I want to take what I see as flaws in that post and work to improve them for future writeups. So, I still intend on writing on AKB0048, and I’m hoping that what I’ve learned will help me continue to work on and improve my writing and better establish my own voice and style as something to be proud of.
As I mentioned above I’ve had a busy week up to now and that’s likely to continue looking ahead for at least the next week or two as well, but I’d like to get one post out per week each of the next two weeks, hopefully including the next part in my AKB writeups as well. And until then, let me know in the comments below or on twitter what shows have stood out for you guys this season – I’d love to hear more about what anime you all have been enjoying as well!