With the Autumn 2017 line-up now at a close, I thought I would take a quick look back over the anime I have reviewed this season and do a swift summary and conclusion on them all. Many of my reviews were written only a few episodes in, and some of my opinions may have changed since all those months ago. Besides, one of the things that I think makes a good anime (or book, film or game, for that matter) is how good the ending is. Here I will take a look at those very important endings and rate them, in reverse order. Since these are ending reviews, there will be spoilers!
9. Evil or Live
I couldn’t even finish this one. Things just got absolutely ridiculous that I couldn’t even convince myself to continue watching past the halfway point. The animation was getting worse. I couldn’t summon up any sympathy or identify with any of the characters. Their personalities, in some cases, ended up doing unexplainable 180s. How did Hibiki go from simpering inmate to clever tough-guy in almost no time at all? Why was there time to dedicate a whole episode to the backstory of one of the instructors? Who cares? If nothing is coming together by the halfway point, I’ve got better things to invest my time in. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting this anime to be, and I’m not really sure if it knew, either. Avoid.
Entertaining to the end, Blend-S had me chuckling almost to the end. I say almost to the end, because the more I watched the more I realised that there’s a 10-year difference between Dino and Maika and it all just got a little bit… creepy? There was a part of me that was hoping for a real conclusion to this will-they-won’t-they sort of situation, but overall I was happy with how it ended. It would have turned into a completely different genre of programme otherwise and the way things were wrapped up were very fitting to Maika’s character. It had an interesting twist on a basic shop setting and became more zany with every new staff member.
7. Dream Festival – Season 2
Dream Festival‘s second season technically finished one episode early, where Kanade ended up injuring himself the day before the final Dream Fes line-up. So what do the team do to ensure that they put on the best performance of the evening? Why, team up with rival band Kurofune of course, and make up for the fact that their centre isn’t able to perform to his usual ability, of course. The last episode was a bit of a cop-out, if I’m honest. Although I enjoyed watching all the recaps of the catchy songs I’ve watched be performed along the past two seasons, I would have liked a bit more exposition towards the end rather than have and episode dedicated to looking back. On the plus side, I’m glad to see that the 3D animation used here has developed since the first series.
I never got tired of watching this amusing nonsense. It kind of struck a chord with me by watching these lovable otakus come together to share their love for anime in general and bring to the club their knowledge and passion from a certain section of the fandom. You could identify with Minoa for being the anime newbie, not knowing much about anything anime but only having watched one episode of an anime that she couldn’t remember the name of, but knew she really enjoyed. This one probably made me laugh out loud the most this season with its amusing-yet-true facts about anime and its tropes as well as a bit of satire thrown in for good measure. Even when things started becoming completely insane with the revelation that the anime world and the real world were merging and Minoa and the anime club’s talking cat mascot Neko-senpai had to try and convince Nakano to change his mind. Even so, I felt that this wasn’t completely out of character for this story as it’s always been a bit more off-the-wall than most school club-centric anime that I’ve seen.
5. Recovery of an MMO Junkie
What started as something that was mildly amusing and a little bit twee became something that I became really invested in. The relationship between Moriko and Yuta outside of the MMO was depicted so well and so realistically, I couldn’t help but root for them. Things were so desperately awkward that occasionally I found myself clenching because I could barely stand it. But there was something beautiful about it, too. It seemed plausible and realistic and the way Moriko got anxious and het-up of her reluctantly-developing social life did make me smile. I was pleased to see them walking hand-in-hand at the end of the anime. What I wasn’t too sure about was the last episode, which was essentially the first episode again but obviously part-way through development as the visuals were just sketches with the voice-overs. If that was meant to be filler, it wasn’t particularly good filler…
4. Juni Taisen: Zodiac War
Not only do I love a battle royale, but I also love it when they take the time to develop the characters. When the victor was revealed, I can’t say that I was surprised but what was interesting was the way in which they won – their power and how they used it. And the story didn’t just finish on who won. They were given the option of a wish, and they took some time to think about it. And it really made me think “If I was to have one wish granted, what would it be? What would the repercussions be? Would it make me happy?” The last episode was spent given this question due consideration and looking back on the other competitors and seeing what they would have chosen had they been the lone survivor. At the end, it was clear that there was only one real option that had the potential to make them happy, and it was a very human choice.
3. Love Live! Sunshine!! – Season 2
What started as a bit of a lukewarm story concept off the back of the original Love Live! ended up being quite an emotional show in the last third of the episodes. It all started when Saint Snow didn’t make the finals and then, when Leah and Ruby realised that this would be their one and only Love Live attempt with their older sisters, and then deciding to but on a concert for them was just a beautiful moment. And then when they realised that they couldn’t stop Uranohoshi from merging with another school despite their best efforts, their decision to still go through with participating in order to immortalise their school’s name, holding the closing festival and seeing the support that they have in their fellow students… I don’t know if I was feeling particularly emotional this day, but it all really got to me – in the best way.
2. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – Season 4
Always completely invested in Yukihira and his fellow student chefs at Totsuki Academy. And with the return of Azami, Erina’s mysterious father, the stakes have just been raised again. There were some great food battles waged, particularly the one where Soma takes on the First Seat in a tense battle. It baffles me sometimes just how they can make cooking so appealing and develop so many characters enough to give them their own personality and cooking styles. The ending wasn’t exactly a real ending, but I’ll forgive that knowing that there will be more from Totsuki Academy in the future – and I can hardly wait.
1. King’s Game
Despite the crude way things were executed, I was completely addicted to King’s Game from beginning to end. I had to know how things ended: just who was the King? Who would be around at the end? Who would survive? It was further heightened by how they combined Nobuaki’s first experience of the King’s Game with the game he was in. You were actually watching two King’s Games throw down at one time, and even so, at least with the main characters in each instance, you could identify with them to an extent and tell the difference between who they were. Towards the end, things did get a bit wishy-washy, with references to Natsuko’s previous King’s Game and flashbacks to characters we’ve never met before, which confused things. I was further frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t seem to access this story by any means – novel, manga… and I really wanted to read about it. As a result of this anime, I devoured the manga story of the original King’s Game in Yonaki Village and am currently looking for more ‘elimination game’ manga and anime to sate my craving.