With the Winter 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!
11. Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas –
A fairly typical fantasy anime, Chain Chronicle was entertaining from beginning to end. They made enough time to develop their rather large cast but didn’t do it at the expense of action or story progression. Though it was a bit of a slow burner to begin with, the pace really started to pick up. The fight scenes were really special, managing to integrate all the different character skills together to form a decently-thought-out battle tactic, with everyone having their part to play. There were also some moments that stood out to me towards the end, such as when Juliana faced off against Burckhardt and what he had become. Easily forgettable, but an enjoyable watch nonetheless.
CHAOS;CHILD was an anime that went weird, got better, went weird again and then managed to finish rather bizarrely. Some psychologically thrilling elements and a particularly grisly murder scene compensates for most of the fact that, sometimes, I didn’t even know what the hell was going on. Things weren’t best explained due to the obvious time restraints and there were at least two characters that didn’t even need to be there. I kind of wanted CHAOS;CHILD to be a little bit more than it ended up being. I loved the psychological elements and the twists, but towards the end things just stopped getting explained and I got so confused. Memorable ending – just wish I understood it more.
9. Konosuba – Season 2
Oddly enough, I began warming to Konosuba a lot more towards the end of the season. The antics became genuinely funny and I was pleased to be finally enjoying it. Like, really, enjoying it. There have been a few times with this anime where I’ve thought: “Am I watching this because I like it or because I’m supposed to like it?” There was a little bit of story progression right at the end, which leads me to believe that things will start heating up in the third season. If there is a third season, that is…
Piacevole was such a great little anime short. Morina was simply adorable and the cast of characters surrounding her were colourful and funny. Those real-life images of food that they make in each episode was one of my favourite things by far about this anime. Its light-humour and upbeat ending credits made it a mild and enjoyable watch for when I didn’t have time to sit down and watch a full anime episode. One of the more higher-ranked anime shorts I’ve seen recently.
7. Fate/Grand Order -First Order-
Hmmm. If I’m honest, I would say that Fate/Grand Order is more of a scene-setter rather than having a definitive ending. But it does a suitably good job at that and has the viewers eagerly waiting for the next instalment. If it can promise some more character development, something that means that its main characters don’t just seem to be watered-down offshoots of the Fate series’ more popular franchises, then we will definitely have something to look forward to. I need another chunk of this in order to make my mind up.
6. BanG Dream
The reason this whole review is so late coming out this time around is because of the BanG Dream finale – 13 episodes with a couple of weeks postponed meant I was kept waiting to see is Kasumi and company’s live performance was going to be all I hoped it to be. Thankfully I was prepared to wait for it since I’ve been enjoying the show so much. The girls really came together in the end with a hard-won victory to play in SPACE. Kasumi’s confidence took a knock during the first audition when she was told that she was by far the weakest member, but she overcame it to sparkle like the stars she’s always talking about. Well-paced, satisfying ending and with a statement from Poppin Party about playing again soon – in a second season, perhaps?
5. Hand Shakers
Ah, Hand Shakers – the Winter 2017 show that I thought the community was most vocal about. In a negative way, at least. But on the whole, I enjoyed this. The story line didn’t really make the most sense and tended to disintegrate if examined too closely, but between the kaleidoscopic fight scenes in the Ziggurat and the ethereal beauty of Koyori, it wasn’t too bad. She emerges from her shell by the end of all proceedings and we learn a bit more about her past and that he had an older sister that has now become a Hand Shaker, too. It wasn’t a particularly impactive ending, which leads me to wonder if there will be a sequel. Tazuna won all his battles and yet didn’t get to ‘confront God’ or have a wish granted or any of the celestial stuff that was affirmed at the beginning of all this. Will the beautiful craziness continue in the future? I’m kind of hoping so.
4. Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club
This was always one of my favourites and I took to it immediately after watching the first episode. It was a great slice of life anime that was funny, interesting and didn’t have any annoying or over-the-top characters along the way. It was just five girls, supported by family and teachers, finding a common hobby and building an official club. Because of the nature of the anime, i.e. riding bikes, we saw some truly gorgeous scenery and some genuinely humorous moments. I also really enjoyed the real-life information parts of the show afterwards, where viewers are taught more about how to choose the right bike for themselves, stay safe and have fun. I love how some anime have this at the end. They should have it on more shows in the UK.
3. Twin Star Exorcist – Season 4
After a slightly disappointing end fight against Abe no Seimei after all the build-up and everyone banding together to lend their power (“All right, you’ve convinced me that this world is worth saving and can be changed for the better – guess I’ll check back in another 1,000 years. Later!”), the ending was otherwise quite satisfying. It ends with a wedding (not Rokuro’s and Benio’s, despite me jumping to that conclusion early on!) and looking out to a brighter future. Really enjoyed watching this one and seeing how Rokuro and Benio’s relationships grew and matured along with them.
2. Gabriel DropOut
Gabriel and company never failed to entertain. When Gabriel’s sister, a high-ranking angel, showed up and saw what an absolute mess her younger sister had made of her life on Earth, she took her back to Heaven in order to show her the error of her ways. However, Gabriel pretends to be the perfect angel in order to get back to her MMOs and slob about. By using her friends as an excuse, she fools her sister into letting her stay on Earth… but Zelel has to stay with her. Gabriel is just about to kick off when Satania’s dog turns up and scares Zelel away. Turns out big sister is terrified of dogs. There’s no big reveal here, but it is amusing to see the lengths that Gabriel will go in order to maintain her life of doing absolutely nothing. It would be good to see more of this.
1. Super Lovers – Season 2
It’s no surprise that Super Lovers ranks high on my anime list this season. I’ve enjoyed this one from the very beginning and it only continues to deliver more of what I want – excellently-drawn characters, humour and and a story with a bit of a twist to it. That the characters themselves think and act as real as you would expect them to in real life is an added bonus. The most over-the-top character is Haru himself, but that is his personality and he has his fair share of serious moments. I’d hope for another season of this to be on the cards perhaps next year!