Brave Witches Episode 12: Shining With Light [Final Impression]

We won’t know until we try.

Impression

Those are words to live by. They may be a little reckless and impractical in real life, but the sentiment is a valuable one. And when applied to this episode, I don’t think it was purely a case of Hikari demonstrating her spirit, but also a way of proving to Takami that she has indeed grown a whole lot stronger since they both left Fusou and that she’s a capable Witch in her own right now. As I watched Hikari, I teared up thinking back to all the training and growth she’s been through – she started off as someone who had trouble crossing the sea using her magic power and couldn’t operate a Striker Unit or dodge projectiles to save her life, and now she’s running across the sea on magic circles, blowing up the mini-Grigori Neuroi snakes and making a valued contribution to the 502nd in a way that only she can.

I have to say though, things was looking really bad at first. Takami did end up failing, as would have been necessary in any case to get Hikari up in the air via the Chidori, but I didn’t expect it to not be her fault, especially since the 502nd pitched in to support her whilst she was vulnerable. I have no idea how these Neuroi nests generate the ‘protective’ clouds they do in such an efficient way (and I was kind of impressed by how proactive it was in systematically destroying the rest of the ground weaponry with its lightning just in case) but I guess the failure of the tank and AP round ties in with the underlying rhetoric of the franchise that it’s primarily up to the cute girls, and not conventional military methods, to save the day. Although to the army’s credit, there was nothing fundamentally wrong or unethical with the initial plan this time round, and there’s only so many spares you can produce given the amount of magic power that goes into each of those rounds.

Tsurugi Issen was great. It’s perfect as a finishing move, and honestly I would have been perfectly fine if it was Kanno who ended up delivering the final blow on Grigori. I’d actually entirely forgotten about the pistol Krupinski loaded with a single bullet and gave to Hikari, which was probably for the best in hindsight as I’d have spent the entire scene waiting for it to appear if I’d been anticipating it. This is the first time Hikari has saved the day to this extent, and her long path to becoming a capable Witch made her moment of triumph all the greater.

Overall Thoughts

I can’t believe it’s over. I feel very similar to how I did when the two seasons and movie of Strike Witches ended – a sense of lingering emptiness and a slight regret that I didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have whilst it was still airing. The latter rings especially true for Brave Witches, as I remember going into it with a bit of apprehension (and an enduring attachment to the 501st) and having it slowly but surely finding a place in my heart as the season progressed, much like Hikari did for the rest of the 502nd. I was also worried about the implications of Silver Link taking over from Gonzo, but in hindsight they were a fairly solid choice. Although they’ve inflicted a lot of pain on me and have had some magnificent screw-ups in the past, their track record is pretty good as far as cute girls as concerned, so in hindsight I shouldn’t have been so sceptical.

I can see the criticisms, though. I know there are many fans of the wider World Witches franchise beyond Strike Witches who would already have been familiar with the Break Witches before any sort of anime adaptation was announced, and I think the reaction to having a brand-new, original Fusou Witch as the protagonist (as opposed to someone like Sadako, who had some pre-anime support as a contender for protagonist) was mixed, especially with the initial (but incorrect, as I’ve learned) similarities to Yoshika. The argument continues by saying that her relation to Takami, who originally belonged to another JFW, by definition reduced the screen time and focus that could have been placed on the core members of the 502nd. A glaring example is the lack of a Rall episode, as well as the relative lack of attention paid to Sadako, Georgette and Krupinski (at least until the latter part of the season). That’s not to say they don’t have very important roles like healing for Georgette and Sadako being the only one able to make decent meals, but both of them got a total of one episode’s worth of focus, and it kind of biased towards Sadako. In contrast, there was lots of recurrence for Kanno and Nipa – which makes sense story-wise as they’re Hikari’s closest friends in the 502nd, but all this is still something Silver Link has a lot of control over. The World Witches franchise here provides the framework, but beyond that it’s basically up to them as to how things are done. Similarly, from an objective point of view the almost unconscionable amounts of Eilanya was kind of scandalous given that this is an anime about the 502nd in the end.

Of course, I don’t mind at all because Eila and Sanya were my favourite of the 501st, Kanno is great, and Nipa is my cute wife. In other words, Silver Link pandered in the correct direction this time. That sledding scene as Kanno and Nipa watched the sunrise with Hikari was probably one of the comfiest moments in the entire season. If you haven’t heard, there’s even going to be an extra Episode 13 released with the BD and aired in Japanese theatres that focuses on… you guessed it, Eilanya and their time with the 502nd over Christmas. Someone at Silver Link has really, really good taste.

Anyway, I’m definitely hoping for a second season. I haven’t been following sales lately (although I plan to for Winter 2017 in order to watch Konosuba’s unstoppable financial momentum first-hand) but it shouldn’t be impossible, especially as this episode ended with the 502nd heading to a new conflict instead of being disbanded. And Brave Witches is only ever going to be able to capitalise on its potential with a sequel given that, like with Strike Witches, so much of this season was spent setting up its characters and developing Hikari. So watch this space! And I’ll love Silver Link forever if they go to Suomus next.

WINTER 2017 ANIME PREVIEW

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:Resources:
Anichart, ANN, CR, LiveChart, MAL

:Excluded Titles:
Sentai Heroes SUKIYAKI FORCE; Yami Shibai 4

:Continuing Titles:
Sangatsu no Lion; ALL OUT!!; ClassicaLoid; Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekk?etsu no Orphans 2; Monster Hunter Stories: RIDE ON; Pokemon Generations; Tiger Mask W; TRICKSTER: Edogawa Rampo “Shounen Tantei-dan” Yori; Yasamura Yasashi no Yasashii Seikai, Yu-Gi-Oh ARC-V

Last Updated: 20/12/2016


Hiatus Announcement from Eva

Today I will be announcing my indefinite hiatus. I am saying indefinite because I have no idea what the future holds for me, and I have yet to determine whether or not I just need a break and a change of pace. I have been managing and writing on this website for seven years now, and I have noticed as early as the end of the summer season that just how burnt out I was, and how sorely lacking the enthusiasm to participate in the upcoming seasons. The reason why I stuck around was because of two specific reasons: Finish covering Yu-Gi-Oh ARC-V and cover the second season of Gundam Tekketsu. At the time I thought my sheer determination to do so would allow me to persevere and cover some other shows along the way, but between now and then, a lot of things has happened in my life and my stamina and enthusiasm had virtually diminished. The only show that I know in my heart that I have the determination the finish covering for the sake of closure is Yu-Gi-Oh ARC-V. But it’s not only because I have invested three years of my life covering and being a passionate fan of this show, but to avoid the same fate which had befallen onto Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds no thanks to my health condition at resulted a mandatory 9 months hiatus.

I poured my entire soul into building this website, and passionately written over one thousand four hundred (and counting) entries. It is time to try something new and when life is not as havoc and my passion and interest in anime reignites, perhaps I will make a return. But until then my friends, I hope you continue to support our amazing writers who will be now taking care of the blog in my stead, and I thank you for the bottom of my heart for your love and support you have given us. It is exactly why I hope to one day be back with refreshed and ready to start again! <3

Inb4 I cover the next YGO Series 😉 Like seriously, if it looks good, that’s going to be hard to keep away from me.


Vantage: My reign of terror begins here! From today, this blog shall be known as the CuteAnimeLolis Anime Blog Eva has put in a tremendous amount of effort and hard work into AAB over the years. I’m sure I speak for all of the writers in saying that she’s been a great inspiration and that we’re very unfortunate to have her leave us for now. I hope you’ll join us, either in the comments section below or in the formal Hiatus Announcement post that will follow separately, in thanking her for all of her work and wishing her the best for the future!

There are two more changes to our line-up of writers to announce. Charibo will also be taking a hiatus for the time being to focus on her studies, but please welcome Sidekick back, who will be returning for the season!


193363ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

Animation Company: Madhouse
Website: http://acca-anime.com
Genre: Drama, Police
Airing Date: 10 January 2017
Summary: The kingdom of Dowa, which is subdivided into 13 states, is celebrating its monarch’s 99th birthday. These 13 states have many agencies that are controlled by the giant organization known as ACCA. Within ACCA, Jean Otis is the second-in-command of the inspection agency. His agency has ten people placed in each of the 13 states, with a central office in the capital city. They keep track of all the activities of ACCA across the kingdom, and keep data on each state’s ACCA office flowing toward the central office. Jean also often has business trips from the capital to the other districts to check on the situation and personnel there.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Apparently this will be quite good. I’ve noticed a lot of interest in it.

Berry: Yeah, this looks like it’ll be good. I wasn’t sure at first but the PVs helped.

Nikolita: Meeeh.

Oki: I love the premise of this show, based on the pv.

Sidekick: Really hoping this one will be good, the original creator Natsume Ono made some pretty neat stuff (eg. House of Five Leaves) but I will say the PVs have left me a bit cold. Art direction is a bit on the flat side, not much showy animation which I was expecting…but given that there really isn’t much this season I’m more than willing to at least give it a chance. Seems like it’ll have a good OP too.

Possible Bloggers
Sidekick


2AKIBA’S TRIP: THE ANIMATION

Animation Company: Gonzo
Website: http://akibastrip-anime.com
Genre: Action, Adventure, Ecchi, Supernatural
Airing Date: 4 January 2017
Summary: Akihabara, a broad-minded neighborhood where everyone from beginners to masters are welcomed. Even when you’re alone, if you go to Akiba, you’ll find someone who understands you. It’s a neighborhood where anything is possible, where anyone can do seemingly anything; a place where you can lay bare your body and soul. In this neighborhood of Akiba, which has everything including anime, games, maids, idols, secondhand parts, and cheap food, battles are fought against the “Bagurimono,” and a steadfast “boy meets girl” story begins!

The Akiba’s Trip games take place in a reproduction of Tokyo’s Akihabara district, where the player must fight vampires by tearing off their clothes and exposing them to the sunlight.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I know it’s supposed to be Akiba’s Trip, but it might as well be titled Akiba Strip as far as the PV is concerned. Not very interested in this at all, although oddly the art style feels like a toned-down version of the in-house style used at Trigger.

Berry: As long as their skin is touching the sunlight, it’s unnecessary to rip off their clothes. Nope!

Nikolita: No interest.

Oki: I am beyond sick of this premise in anime.

Sidekick: The games aren’t terrible but there’s nothing about it there’s going to be worth watching.


3Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen

Animation Company: A-1 Pictures
Website: http://www.ao-ex.com
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Shounen, Supernatural
Airing Date: 7 January 2017
Summary: Second season of Ao no Exorcist. In the late Edo Period, a demon known as the Impure King killed thousands of people. After defeating the demon, the Knights of the True Cross kept its left eye safely sealed away on Academy grounds – but now someone has stolen it! Hearing the thief has taken a child hostage, Yukio and Rin go to help. The investigation and pursuit will lead Rin and his friends to Kyoto and involve them even deeper in a sinister plot! But will his friends’ knowledge that Rin is the son of Satan drive a wedge between them?
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: It’s been quite a few years since I first watched Ao no Exorcist. My memory is really, really fuzzy, and all I can recall these days is that it became something of an entry-level series. I guess I’ll continue with it if the first episode can remind me enough of what happened last season and it’s still as interesting as it was back then.

Berry: I plan to watch the first season someday.

Nikolita: Not a fan, pass.

Oki: I wish I was up-to-date on the anime but I will have to pass.

Sidekick: I’m excited! I know a lot of fans didn’t like the anime original content from season 1 but I thought it was pretty serviceable. Blue Exorcist in general has a bit of a soft spot for me since I’m just a big fan of stories about familial bonds. That, and the Blue Exorcist movie released a few years back was just stunning. There’s a lot to like here, and people I know that’ve read the manga are saying this is a great arc, so I’ve got my fingers crossed it’ll be a fun watch.

Possible Bloggers
Sidekick


4BanG Dream!

Animation Company: Xebec
Website: http://bang-dream.com
Genre: Music
Airing Date: 21 January 2017
Summary: A next generation Girls Band Project which links characters with real live performances! BanG Dream! is a media mix project featuring animation music videos, comics, song releases, and many more. What’s more, the voice cast for the characters of BanG Dream! will also hold real live performances as the Girls Band, “Poppin’Party”.

Kasumi Toyama felt a fateful meeting with a star-shaped guitar in a pawnshop one day. There are four girls who, like Kasumi, have a dream of looking for a place that can spark them.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I have to say, I thought this looked really endearing and sparkly until I realised that they were being quite literal about it being a multimedia project with live-action performances embedded into the anime.

Berry: The actual show itself looks fine. If it weren’t for the live-action performances randomly thrown in, I think I would consider blogging it.

Nikolita: It looks fun but generally speaking unless it seems like something really special, I avoid idol shows because I figure I’ll lost interest.

Oki: This looks so generic to me…

Sidekick: There’s not much about the promotional content that stands out, and the whole live-action footage thing doesn’t sit right with me. Feels kinda lazy.


5Chaos;Child

Animation Company: Silver Link
Website: http://chaoschildanime.com
Genre: Harem, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural, Sci-Fi
Airing Date: 11 January 2017
Summary: In the original visual novel, after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hits Tokyo’s Shibuya ward on November 6, 2009, a black fire spreads and causes mass panic on the day of the earthquake. The sudden disaster that becomes known as the “Shibuya Earthquake” kills 3,851 people and injures 30,927 more.

ChaoS;Child takes place in October 2015, in a reconstructed Shibuya district six years after the events of ChaoS;HEAd. A string of mysterious deaths occurs in Shibuya amidst the reconstruction. People begin to take notice as the strange events start on the same day that chaos broke out in Shibuya with a certain incident six years earlier. The events are called the “Return of the New Generation Madness.”
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I’ve never watched or played Chaos;HEAd, but I believe the general consensus was that the anime wasn’t all that great. Silver Link isn’t particularly renowned for saving adaptations, so I haven’t exactly got my hopes up that this will be any better. Not that I can even watch it without being confused.

Berry: Chaos;HEAd literally killed me. No way.

Nikolita: Curious, but not enough to try.

Oki: I think I’ve heard enough about how weird this show was to pass.

Sidekick: Chaos;HEAd was terrible. Pass.


6Chiruran: Nibun no Ichi

Animation Company: LandQ Studios
Website: http://www.chiruran.jp
Genre: Action, Historical
Airing Date: 10 January 2017
Summary: Adaptation of the spin off manga, Chiruran: Nibun no Ichi. It follows the everyday lives of the members of the Shinsengumi, who are depicted in SD form.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Not interested. But at least it’s got nothing to do with the Sengoku period, right?

Berry: No thanks.

Nikolita: Art style is a huge turnoff, so pass.

Oki: Hahah no.

Sidekick: I don’t know anything about this and the promotional art isn’t really doing anything to get me interested.


7Demi-chan wa Kataritai

Animation Company: A-1 Pictures
Website: http://demichan.com
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Supernatural
Airing Date: 8 January 2017
Summary: Succubus, Dullahan and Vampire. They are known as Ajin, or “demi”s and are slightly different than the average human. They have lived alongside humans for ages under persecution. However, in recent years, they have become accepted as members of society. This manga follows a high school biology teacher who has a great interest in demis and his interaction with the various demis in his school, each with their own cute problems.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I really like the blonde vampire. I have no idea whether I’ll even have time to watch this, but my best girl senses are tingling. Come to think of it, this is also pretty unusual fare as far as A-1 is concerned.

Berry: Looks harmless enough but this show isn’t for me.

Nikolita: You know what? It looks cute and it’s a supernatural show, so I’ll give it a try.

Oki: Cute? Ugh….

Sidekick: Maaaaaybe…? I dunno. I’ll give the first episode a try at least, could be charming.

Possible Bloggers
Nikolita


10Fuuka

Animation Company: Diomedia
Website: http://fuuka.tv
Genre: Drama, Ecchi, Music, Romance
Airing Date: 6 January 2017
Summary: The story centers on a young man named Yuu Haruna who has just switched schools. He’s a bit shy, and he’s constantly glued to his smartphone so he can check Twitter. He meets a girl named Fuuka Akitsuki, who doesn’t even have a cell phone, is free-spirited, and naturally fascinates others. Yuu recently has been getting back in touch via Twitter with his childhood friend Koyuki Hinashi, who is now a popular singer. One day Yuu invites Fuuka to one of Koyuki’s concerts, and there the three meet for the first time. The story follows the love triangle between a love that started through electronics, and a love that didn’t start through electronics.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Fuuka makes me angry. If you’re familiar with the manga, you will know why. Even if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s not all that unlikely that you’ve independently heard about a certain truck-related plot twist that occurred in it, because at the time it all but caused an internet meltdown. I can’t remember the last time I got so pissed at a manga. Oh wait, I do. It was only the entirety of Kimi no Iru Machi, not-coincidentally also by the same mangaka. When I was compiling this preview I actually saw one source tagging this as a comedy. Maybe it’s a comedy if you find suffering funny.

Berry: I literally know nothing about this but Vantage mentions suffering and plot twists…so I don’t know?

Nikolita: I don’t find suffering funny, I have enough drama in my life. Pass! o_O

Oki: I know the spoiler and let me say, hell no.

Sidekick: I hate everything written by Seo Kouji.

Possible Bloggers
Vantage


11Gabriel Dropout

Animation Company: Dogakobo
Website: http://gabdro.com
Genre: Comedy, Supernatural
Airing Date: 9 January 2017
Summary: The comedy follows Gabriel White, who graduated at the top of the class at angel school and attends a human school on earth in pursuit of knowledge, but then gets engrossed in a web game and decides its too much trouble to go anywhere.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Wait, based Kirara made Archangel Gabriel a cute loli? Starring in her very own CGDCT? I’m in!

Berry: No no no

Nikolita: The summary made me lol. I might watch this.

Oki: I don’t like loli shows.

Sidekick: Dogakobo make decent comedies. I’m willing to give it a shot, but I doubt I’ll be blogging it.


12Gintama. (2017)

Animation Company: BN Pictures
Website: http://www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/gintama/index2.html
Genre: Action, Comedy, Historical, Parody, Samurai, Sci-Fi, Shounen
Airing Date: 9 January 2017
Summary: New season of Gintama.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I’ve never watched or read Gintama, I’m afraid.

Berry: The more seasons of Gintama they make, the farther I will be and will never catch up. ;_;

Nikolita: I know nothing about Gintama, so pass.

Oki: I’m not up to date ;_;

Sidekick: I’m in the same boat as Vantage. At this point the series is a tad too long for me to ever be willing to give it a shot.


13GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation

Animation Company: A-1 Pictures
Website: http://anime.granbluefantasy.jp
Genre: Fantasy
Airing Date: January 2017
Summary: Video game developer Cygames announced during the Tokyo Game Show event on Thursday that its Granblue Fantasy smartphone game will receive an anime adaptation.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I think I’d be a lot more interested in this if I played the mobage. Unfortunately, I’ve already sold my soul to a certain rhythm game and I don’t think KLab accepts refunds. We hope you continue to enjoy Love Live! School Idol Festival.

Berry: Oh no, this is a definite pass.

Nikolita: Paaaaaass.

Oki: I pass.

Sidekick: IT’S HERE. I’ve been a massive fan of the game for months now and it’s pretty much consumed my life. Granblue Fantasy has a great story…. when you’re 40 chapters in. Everything about the beginning is a huge snooze fest until the crew reaches…I dunno…Amalthea Island? Which would take at least 20-24 episodes. That said, I’m somewhat hoping the fact that I’m already invested in the characters (Lyria is an angel and I will not accept any other opinion about her) will help me sit through the not so fantastic beginning arcs.

Possible Bloggers
Sidekick


14Hand Shakers

Animation Company: GoHands
Website: http://project-hs.net
Genre: Action
Airing Date: 11 January 2017
Summary: The anime takes place in Osaka in “AD20XX,” and revolves around the Hand Shakers — partners who can summon “Nimrodes,” weapons born from their deep psyche by joining hands. In order to grant the pair’s wish, the Hand Shakers compete with and fight other Hand Shaker pairs. The top pair will then meet and challenge “God.”

“They, the receivers of the Revelation of Babel. They, the challengers to God. They, who inevitably throw themselves into battle with their partners. What does God want from them? And did they want powers exceeding that of Gods? The chosen ones, their souls linked, join hands and head for the Ziggurat where the fighting shall ensue.”
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: This screams GoHands. Or maybe, going by everything from the eclectic colour schemes to the albino female lead and deadly competitions between various factions, some sort of weird mash-up between K and Guilty Crown. Hahahaha, remember Guilty Crown?

Berry: The summary literally makes no sense and the PV didn’t help either. No thanks.

Nikolita: Errr…. what?

Oki: The art, the studio, the plot…AND the weapons are one letter from being called nimrods? Sounds like that’s what the creator is.

Sidekick: GoHands consists of people that never ever learned about color theory and love blindly clicking on random photoshop filters. That and they make bad anime.


15Idol Jihen

Animation Company: MAPPA
Website: http://idoljihen.jp/anime/
Genre: Music
Airing Date: 8 January 2017
Summary: Part of MAGES’ multimedia “Idol Jihen” project. The story follows 47 idol members of the seven parties in the Japanese Diet elected from each prefectures and focuses on their efforts to change Japan with their dance and songs and to give smile to everyone in the country.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Wait, let me get this straight. Japanese political parties, as entities, are being personified as idols? And they’re planning to make Japan great again through aikatsu? I’m sure I’d find it hilarious if I knew enough about Japanese politics to understand it properly.

Berry: What the actual fuck.

Nikolita: Nope nope!

Oki: I think this oversimplifies the entire concept of how to bring peace.

Sidekick: This could be really funny if they somehow….nah. Who am I kidding.


16Kemono Friends

Animation Company: Yaoyorozu
Website: http://kemono-friends.jp
Genre: Comedy, Action, Fantasy
Airing Date: 11 January 2017
Summary: The anime’s story takes place in Japari Park, a “gigantic integrated zoo.” In the zoo, due to the mysterious “sand star” substance, the animals start turning into human-shaped creatures called Animal Girls. Japari Park is a place where many people visit and have fun at, but one day a lost child wanders into the park. The lost child starts a journey to return, but because so many Animal Girls join in on the quest it becomes an unexpected grand adventure.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: It’s like someone took a safari park landscape and crudely stuck an anime girl with ears and a tail on top of it using MS Paint. I have to say though, Yaoyorozu sounds like the comfiest studio ever.

Berry: God no

Nikolita: Way too cutesy for me.

Oki: No thanks ugh!

Sidekick: I don’t really like the zoo.


17Kirakira?Precure A La Mode

Animation Company: TBC
Website: http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/precure_alamode/
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Slice-of-Life
Airing Date: 5 February 2017
Summary: The website teases the premise: “Make food! Eat! Fight!”
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: That feel when you suddenly realise that there’s no-one more capable of filling Eva’s shoes than Eva herself.

Berry: I watched some of Go! Princess Precure and was really enjoying it but then I fell behind like I always do with kid shows. This Precure sounds adorable because it sounds like desserts will be involved but…I’m scared. Eva literally has a Precure following and I’m afraid that if I decide to blog this show and screw up, Eva’s fans will come into my house and kill me. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating…maybe. I’d maybe be willing to cover it.

Nikolita: Never seen anything Precure.

Oki: I think only Eva can do Precure justice.

Sidekick: I’ve tried getting into Precure tons of times but it’s just not really for me. I do hope the fans find this new series enjoyable though.


18Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon

Animation Company: Kyoto Animation
Website: http://maidragon.jp
Genre: Comedy, Shoujo-Ai, Slice-of-Life, Supernatural
Airing Date: 12 January 2017
Summary: Miss Kobayashi is your average office worker who lives a boring life, alone in her small apartment-until she saves the life of a female dragon in distress. The dragon, named Tohru, has the ability to magically transform into an adorable human girl (albeit with horns and a long tail!), who will do anything to pay off her debt of gratitude, whether Miss Kobayashi likes it or not. With a very persistent and amorous dragon as a roommate, nothing comes easy, and Miss Kobayashi’s normal life is about to go off the deep end!
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I have no idea why Kyoani have decided to abandon all recent precedent and adapt something as unusual as a supernatural slice-of-life comedy (cf. Lucky Star). Kyoani will still probably find a way, as always, but I have no doubt that this would get almost zero attention without their brand attached to it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m just counting down the days until Violet Evergarden saves anime.

Berry: Sorry but this sounds really dumb. Also that girl is definitely not a D-Cup.

Nikolita: Not interested in shoujo-ai, so pass.

Oki: They made everyone look too young for me to be cool with this.

Sidekick: I’ve developed a soft spot for Kyoani comedies over the years. They’re nice and pleasant. This should prove to at least be watchable.


19Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2

Animation Company: Studio DEEN
Website: http://konosuba.com
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Airing Date: 12 January 2017
Summary: The second season of Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!

The popular “alternate world home comedy” centers around Kazuma Satou, a hikikomori (shut-in) die-hard fan of games, anime, and manga. A traffic accident brings his disappointingly brief life to an end … or it should have, but he wakes up and sees a beautiful girl who introduces herself as a goddess. “Hey, I have some good news — would you like to go to an alternate world? You may only bring one thing you like with you.”

He responds, “…So, I’ll bring you.” With that, he is transported to another world and his great adventure subjugating the demon king begins … but first the hard work of finding food, clothing, and shelter begins. Kazuma wants to live in peace, but the goddess raises one problem after another, and then the demon king’s army has its eyes set on him.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Exactly this time last year, a legend was born. Despite the shoestring budget allocated to it by Studio DEEN, Konosuba created a sales phenomenon out of nowhere. It was a commercial success. It made Amamiya Sora relevant after Sony stopped feeding her sometime last year. It introduced me to my one true goddess, Megumin. In other words, it made anime great again. You could even say it won bigly. And it’s going to keep winning. It’s going to win so much, you may even get tired of winning. And when you tell Studio DEEN that you can’t take it any more, that all this is too much winning, they’ll say no! Konosuba must win some more!

Berry: I know for a fact that this show’s comedy is not my taste. Nope.

Nikolita: Vantage wins the internet today.

Oki: I love how much Vantage loves this.

Sidekick: Haven’t seen the first season, but good for the fansVantage.

Possible Blogger
Vantage


20Kuzu no Honkai

Animation Company: Lerche
Website: http://www.kuzunohonkai.com
Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Seinen
Airing Date: 13 January 2017
Summary: 17-year-old Awaya Mugi and Yasuraoka Hanabi appear to be the ideal couple. They are both pretty popular, and they seem to suit each other well. However, outsiders don’t know of the secret they share. Both Mugi and Hanabi have hopeless crushes on someone else, and they are only dating each other to soothe their loneliness. Mugi is in love with Minagawa Akane, a young teacher who used to be his home tutor. Hanabi is also in love with a teacher, a young man who has been a family friend since she was little. In each other, they find a place where they can grieve for the ones they cannot have, and they share a loneliness-driven physical intimacy. Will things stay like this for them forever?
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Is this the next iteration of Keit-Ai? While the two chase their respective loved ones, will DRAMA ensue as they begin to fall in love with each other instead and question the NATURE of LOVE? In all seriousness, this looks really good. I haven’t come across it before, but I’m feeling a sense of impending angst. Also tears everywhere. And Hanabi is super cute.

Berry: Hey it’s something I’m actually interested in. Sounds like lots of drama and I like me some drama. Interesting how it’s both of them in love with someone else and not just one. Hoping this will be a good watch.

Nikolita: Is the ending as predictable as it sounds from the summary?

Oki: I like the premise and the pervert in me is interested.

Sidekick: I read the manga a few months back and honestly? It’s just an average teenage drama that tries a little bit too hard. Characters are so immature they hate themselves over nothing, and the entire story is revolved around that. It also has this really….infantile view of the adult world in general. I don’t hate it, but it’s not very good. If you want a manga where the characters really are scum and really screw themselves over go read Himegoto: 19sai no Seifuku instead.

Possible Bloggers
Berry, Oki


21Little Witch Academia (TV)

Animation Company: Trigger
Website: http://tv.littlewitchacademia.jp
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Airing Date: 9 January 2017
Summary: TV series of Little Witch Academia. The story revolves around Akko, who as a child watched the witch Shiny Chariot perform a show, and from then on dreamed of becoming a witch. She enters the Luna Nova Academy, a school for witches that Shiny Chariot attended. In this new town she meets new friends and starts a new school life. At the school she has lessons on riding brooms and the wonder of magic, but Akko and her friends Lotte and Sucy keep getting wrapped up in tumultuous events.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I have a confession to make. I’ve never seen the original animated short for Little Witch Academia. But I do know that it’s supposed to be amazing, and that a full-length TV series may well have the potential to save anime before Violet Evergarden ever gets round to doing so.

Berry: And the other thing I’m interested in! I’ve waited a thousand years for this show to finally get a proper TV anime. If the anime is going to be as good as the movies then I’m all in.

Nikolita: Another big no. I’m not a huge Trigger fan either.

Oki: This sounds like pure joy.

Sidekick: Little Witch Academia is the formula for pure joy. If there’s anything to look forward to this season, it’s this. A shame the art direction took a huge step down from the specials but I guess it’s to be expected.

Possible Bloggers
Sidekick, Berry


22Marginal!#4 KISS Kara Tsukuru Big Bang

Animation Company: J.C. Staff
Website: http://marginal4-anime.com
Genre: Music
Airing Date: January 2017
Summary: The anime follows the Marginal#4 idol unit, who made their debut at Pythagoras Production on February 13. The members give their all for their fans in their idol activities, but they are also normal high school students. The anime will follow both their everyday lives as high school students and their lives as idols.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Why separate the two occupations? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to become, for example, a school idol?

Berry: They’re cute but I hate their hair colors.

Nikolita: Idol? Pass!

Oki: Nope. No thanks.

Sidekick: I’ve kind of grown out of my otoge and male idol loving phase, sadly. The character designs look nice, at least.


23Masamune-kun no Revenge

Animation Company: Silver Link
Website: http://masamune-tv.com
Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Harem, Romance, Slice-of-Life
Airing Date: 5 January 2017
Summary: As an overweight child, Makabe Masamune was mercilessly teased and bullied by one particular girl, Adagaki Aki. Determined to one day exact his revenge upon her, Makabe begins a rigorous regimen of self-improvement and personal transformation. Years later, Masamune re-emerges as a new man. Handsome, popular, with perfect grades and good at sports, Masamune-kun transfers to Aki’s school, and is unrecognizable to her. Now, Masamune-kun is ready to confront the girl who bullied him so many years ago and humiliate her at last. But will revenge be as sweet as he thought?
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I remember reading this manga quite a while ago. It’s a perfect fit for Silver Link! Will definitely watch it if I can find the time to.

Berry: The main dude has the most generic anime guy appearance holy shit. I hate the premise too.

Nikolita: I don’t like the concept, so pass.

Oki: I would like this more if his harem didn’t exist and this was a story about forgiveness and growth.

Sidekick: Friends that’ve read the original material have told me it gets kinda nasty and misogynistic, and based off the summary I think it’s quite evident. Pass.


24Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-Bu

Animation Company: J.C. Staff
Website: http://minakama-anime.jp
Genre: Sports
Airing Date: 7 January 2017
Summary: The story begins with Hiromi Maiharu, a girl who moved from Nagasaki to Kamakura. She begins her new life in Kamakura and her first day in high school by bicycling to her school, but she has not ridden a bicycle since she was young. On the way to the ceremony for the first day, she meets Tomoe Akitsuki, and Tomoe helps her train to be better at bicycling.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I remember looking at Shakunetsu Takkyuu no Musume during the Fall season preview with amusement and thinking it might be fun since I enjoyed Ping Pong. I sure didn’t expect to get a sweat-filled, sports-oriented version of Saki with copious amounts of yuri. I’m going to try this hoping for something similar.

Berry: There’s a better cycling anime this season, no thanks.

Nikolita: Also still not a fan of sports shows. I know I know, I’m so boring!

Oki: I hate sports.

Sidekick: Could be somewhat pleasant, and I’m always up for good shipping. More likely to be kind of bland but there’s not enough anime this season for me to be picky.


25Onihei

Animation Company: Studio M2
Website: http://onihei-anime.com
Genre: Historical, Seinen
Airing Date: 10 January 2017
Summary: The historical novel series depicts Heizo Hasegawa, who metes justice on wrongdoers and supervises the crackdown on arsonists and robbers in Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868).
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Again, I’m not too interested but anything other than Nobunaga must be a welcome change of pace for any fans of historical Japan.

Berry: I usually don’t watch historical stuff so no.

Nikolita: Historical is not generally a genre I frequent.

Oki: I DO love history.

Sidekick: I do like me some historical anime, and this one’s based off a novel so it could be decent. Will give it a shot.


26Reikenzan: Eichi e no Shikaku

Animation Company: Studio DEEN
Website: http://reikenzan.net
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Airing Date: 8 January 2017
Summary: The second season of Reikenzan: Hoshikuzu-tachi no Utage. In the story, a comet falling will bring about a great calamity, and in order to choose a child fated by the falling comet, the family of the “Reiken” clan with a long storied history is once again resuming its entrance examination process to find disciples. The protagonist Oriku (Lu Wang in the original novel), who possesses a special soul that is only available once in a thousand years, decides to take the exam, and he starts down the path toward becoming an exceptional sage. Studio DEEN notes that the anime will be full of gags.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I didn’t know that anime series based on Chinese web novels were even a thing. When are we getting an adaptation of I Shall Seal the Heavens?

Berry: Don’t know how the first season did so idk about this.

Nikolita: Say what?

Oki: I think that a premise this serious deserves having gags means I will hate it.

Sidekick: I’ve never heard of this in my life?


27Rewrite 2nd Season: Moon-hen/Terra-hen

Animation Company: 8bit
Website: http://www.rewrite-anime.tv
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Supernatural
Airing Date: January 2017
Summary: Second season of Rewrite. It will cover the Moon and Terra routes of the original game by Key. Moon is the penultimate route of the visual novel, which unlocks after the five heroine routes are finished. Moon gives focus on the mysterious Moon Kagari, her relationship with Kotarou, the nature of Aurora and the Theory of Life. Terra is the final route which unlocks after Moon is finished. The route focuses on Kotarou’s struggle to belong, while shedding some light on the personality of Earth Kagari and giving an answer to what the ‘good memory’ she has been looking for is. “In this dark world, you were the only thing that ever seemed truly bright to me.”
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Meet Bond. Kazamatsuri Bond. The legendary spy, UMA-hunter and saviour of the Earth. When he’s not fighting in Middle Eastern civil wars or stopping Greenpeace terrorists from committing genocide with their army of dinosaurs, he goes to bed at 9 PM every night. In the future, he’d like to become a civil servant and get married. His hobbies include knitting on weekends, bullying little girls and making case-by-case decisions. Join Bond as he tries to save the world by turning into a tree, building a canoe using his wood, flying to the Moon and terraforming it! It’ll be fun. I promise.

Berry: Nopey nope no.

Nikolita: Have fun Vantage!

Oki: God speed Vantage.

Sidekick: Didn’t see the first season and don’t intend to. That said, good for the fans.

Possible Blogger
Vantage


28SCHOOLGIRL STRIKERS Animation Channel

Animation Company: J.C. Staff
Website: http://sgs-anime.com
Genre: Action, School
Airing Date: 6 January 2017
Summary: An adaptation of Square Enix’s smartphone “light novel-style RPG” app Schoolgirl Strikers. The game is set in Goryokan Academy, a new private senior/junior high school for girls with a vast downtown campus. This highly popular school has “another face” — a secret hidden side. It organizes and trains the special unit Fifth Force to protect the world from invisble supernatural entities known as “Oburi” that are devouring the world. A team of five trained with powers against the Oburi is to be chosen from the student body to perform missions. A new team leader has been appointed to assenble the five students.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Why does that synopsis feel so much more substantial than the key visual? If I were made to guess what this was about based solely on the latter, I’d have said it was something like a CGDCT about five girls in an art club.

Berry: I’m so bored.

Nikolita: Animation looks ok, but I have no interest in the premise.

Oki: I like school girls doing cool things, but I’m not sold.

Sidekick: Wow. What a ground-breaking, unique concept. Schoolgirls…that fight! Wow!!


29Seiren

Animation Company: Studio Gokumi
Website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/seiren/
Genre: Romance
Airing Date: 6 January 2017
Summary: An original TV animation. The anime is an omnibus work that will consist of four-episode arcs focusing on each of the main heroines. The three planned story arcs will focus on Hikari Tsuneki, Touru Miyamae, and Kyouko Touno. The love stories take place in the summer of the main characters’ second year of high school. The protagonist Shouichi is anxious about growing up, and his homeroom teacher calls him to talk about his career plans. Shouichi meets various girls and heads to an unknown future.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: If it looks like Amagami, sounds like Amagami and tastes like Amagami, is it Amagami? I know this is supposed to be its spiritual successor in all but name, but it’s so eerily similar that I’m not sure how to react. The only differences appear to be that the main character now looks like the male lead in a Korean drama and that there’s no best girl Ai-chan.

Berry: Not for me.

Nikolita: This was one of the shows I was interested in. I do not know what Amagami is, but I’m curious about this one.

Oki: I will pass for I do not like school girl stories.

Sidekick: I dunno, this kind of stuff is usually not my thing.

Possible Bloggers
Vantage, Nikolita


30Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen

Animation Company: Studio DEEN
Website: http://rakugo-shinju-anime.jp
Genre: Drama, Historical, Josei
Airing Date: 7 January 2017
Summary: Second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I haven’t watched the first season, but I’ve heard very, very good things about this from a friend whose judgment I respect a lot.

Berry: I watched the hour long first episode and loved every second of it. I’m definitely going to catch up so I can watch this!

Nikolita: I know nothing about this series, so pass.

Oki: No.

Sidekick: OH BOY, OH BOY IT’S HERE. THE SAVIOR OF THE SEASON. Rakugo Shinjuu is such an incredible series, and season 1 is easily my favourite anime of 2016. While the focus will be shifting from Yakumo (such a fantastic character, excuse me while I cry a bit) to Yotarou, I’m confident it’ll ride on all of season 1’s buildup perfectly. A guaranteed watch from me, and what I’ll most likely be blogging this season.

Possible Bloggers
Sidekick


31SUPER LOVERS 2

Animation Company: Studio DEEN
Website: http://superlovers-anime.com
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shounen-Ai, Slice-of-Life
Airing Date: 12 January 2017
Summary: Second season of SUPER LOVERS.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I remember this! It’s that shounen-ai about the dude who fell in love with a little boy, right?

Berry: I was hoping that the main guy wouldn’t fall in love with his adoptive little brother. WELL GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? I didn’t watch it, I just heard. Why did this get another season? ;_;

Nikolita: WHY DOES THIS HAVE A SECOND SEASON?? >:( You know what would be an awesome BL adaption? That manga I covered awhile back, The Rule of Standing on Tiptoe.

Oki: NOPE.

Sidekick: When are we going to get the good BL adaptations? Where’s my Dear Mr Hatter anime?


32Tales of Zestiria the X 2

Animation Company: ufotable
Website: http://toz-thex-anime.tales-ch.jp
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural
Airing Date: 8 January 2017
Summary: The second season of Tales of Zestiria the X.

Sorey is a human youth who grew up among the seraphim, spiritual beings not visible to humans. Sorey believes in the folklore that says “long ago, every human was able to see the seraphim” and dreams of unraveling the ancient mystery to make the world a place where people and seraphim can live together in peace.

One day, Sorey visits the human capital for the very first time. He becomes embroiled in an incident during which he pulls out a holy sword embedded in a rock and ends up becoming a Shepherd, one who casts away calamity from the world. He begins to realize the gravity of his mission, and his dream of coexistence between mankind and the seraphim becomes more intense–

And thus, the Shepherd embarks on a journey with his companions.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I need to watch this. I’m sure I would have loved playing through it if I had the hardware to.

Berry: Haven’t played the game or watched the first season.

Nikolita: I’m in the same boat as sidekick, so pass.

Oki: Is it good? I’ll never know.

Sidekick: I didn’t watch the first season and haven’t played the game, so I’ll have to pass.


33Urara Meirochou

Animation Company: J.C. Staff
Website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/anime/urara/
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Historical, Slice-of-Life
Airing Date: 6 January 2017
Summary: The story is set in Meiro-chou, a town where all-female diviners (uranaishi) live and where girls from all over the country yearn to become the top diviner — “Urara.” Today, a solitary girl named Chiya enters the town’s gates. However, she has another purpose coming here, besides becoming the Urara. Chiya’s days as an apprentice diviner begin as she meets three friends — the earnest Kon, Koume who is a fan of Western culture, and the shy Nono.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I’m getting serious Aria vibes from this. Replace the word ‘diviner’ with ‘undine’. In fact, it feels like a comfy blend of Aria and Kiniro Mosaic with maybe a touch of Gochiusa. It’s even a serialisation in Manga Time Kirara. By definition, that would make this the cutest and the best. If this is what I think it is, I may not be able to physically live without it this season.

Berry: P A S S

Nikolita: Looks cute, but pass.

Oki: Nope.

Sidekick: It could be cute and pleasant I guess. I realize I’ve said this for like 3 anime now but honestly there’s not much to go by with series like these.

Possible Bloggers
Vantage


34Youjo Senki

Animation Company: NUT
Website: http://youjo-senki.jp
Genre: Magic, Military
Airing Date: 6 January 2017
Summary: The novel series centers on a young girl who fights on the frontlines in war. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and nearly transparent white skin, and she flies through the air and mercilessly strikes down her opponents. Her name is Tanya Degurechaff, and she speaks with a young girl’s lisp and commands the army. Tanya used to be one of Japan’s elite office workers, but because of a wrathful god, was reborn as a little girl. Tanya prioritizes optimization and career advancement above all, and she will become the most dangerous entity among the Imperial Army’s sorcerers.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: This loli scares me. But I tried out the few chapters of the light novels that have been translated, and really enjoyed what I read!

Berry: This actually slipped past my radar. Kinda hard to take seriously because a little girl is taking charge, but this sounds creepy and just something I’d watch. I’ll check it out.

Nikolita: The key visual for this show legit scares me. O_O

Oki: I am terrified of this little girl.

Sidekick: The key visual’s interesting but I’m worried it’ll be kind of creepy and perverse.

Possible Bloggers
Berry


35Yowamushi Pedal: NEW GENERATION

Animation Company: TMS Entertainment
Website: http://yowapeda.com
Genre: Drama, Sports, Shounen
Airing Date: 10 January 2017
Summary: The third season of Yowamushi Pedal. Sakamichi Onoda is a rather timid, anime-loving first-year student at Sohoku High School. Since the fourth grade, he had been riding his commuter bicycle 90-kilometers to and from Tokyo’s otaku hot spot, Akihabara after school. Upon entering high school, he tried to join the anime research club, after meeting Imaizumi Shunsuke, a renowned cyclist since middle school, and Naruko Shoukichi, who swept the Kansai cycling championship, he ended up joining the competitive cycling club. All kinds of trials and rigorous training awaited Onoda, but with the support of his many friends and upperclassmen, the talented road racer inside him began to awaken!
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: What the fuck happened to Izumida’s hair? I’m definitely watching (but not blogging) this, Yowapeda is super exciting. I stopped following the manga scanlation since its translation speed slowed to a crawl once the first Inter-High was over, so I know pretty much nothing about any events past that point.

Berry: Love Yowapeda but I’m not blogging this. Some episodes go slow and I know I’d have a hard time.

Nikolita: Didn’t watch the first season and have no interest, so pass.

Oki: I haven’t read or seen any of it.

Sidekick: I never finished season 1 of Yowapeda.


8elDLIVE

Animation Company: Studio Pierrot
Website: http://eldlive.tv
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Space
Airing Date: 8 January 2017
Summary: Chuuta Kokonose is an orphan who lives with his aunt. For as long as he can remember he’s had a voice in his head, but other than that he’s a normal boy – right until the day when a strangely-looking thing follows him home and teleports him to a place filled with more fantastic creatures. It’s a space police station, and Rein Brickke, the Chief of Solar System Department, tells him that he’s been chosen by the computer as a possible candidate to join the police force, although Misuzu Sonokata, a girl from Chuuta’s school with an angelic face and ill temper who turns out to be one of Rein Brickke’s subordinates, doesn’t think him suitable for such a job. Chuuta, who was shocked at first, decides to take aptitude test after being urged by the voice in his head and to prove Misuzu wrong.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I might give the first episode a go, but honestly this doesn’t really interest me.

Berry: Not interested.

Nikolita: Doesn’t really interest me either.

Oki: I feel bored by this premise.

Sidekick: Woah, it’s like we’re back to 2006 with this! Has a real old-school shounen vibe, which may not be a bad thing. I’m long past my Reborn phase but I’m hoping this will at least be mildly entertaining.


194175Ai Mai Mi: Surgical Friends (TV Short)

Animation Company: Seven
Website: http://www.dreamcreation.co.jp/aimaimi3/
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life
Airing Date: January 2017
Summary: Third season of Ai Mai Mi.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: What a wholesome Christian anime. How has this escaped my attention for so long now?

Berry: Why are they naked?

Nikolita: …?

Oki: I love the boobs but I’ll pass.

Sidekick: I’ve never seen Ai Mai Mi but it seems pretty bonkers.


195130nyanko-days (TV Short)

Animation Company: EMT Squared
Website: http://nyanko-days.com
Genre: Slice-of-Life, Comedy
Airing Date: 8 January 2017
Summary: The four-panel manga follows a shy girl named Tomoko who comes home from school and is greeted by her three (personified) cats.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Could be cute. But not as cute as Urara Meirochou.

Berry: Sounds cute but nah.

Nikolita: I love cats, but no.

Oki: I have literally no interest!

Sidekick: No thanks.


194781One Room (TV Short)

Animation Company: Typhoon Graphics
Website: http://oneroom-anime.com
Genre: TBC
Airing Date: January 2017
Summary: The series will tell “three stories raised in your (one) room”.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: This looks lewd. It kind of reminds me of Tawawa on Monday from last season.

Berry: No…

Nikolita: One of the shows I was interested in. Will give it a try at least.

Oki: I …. no.

Sidekick: Pass.

Possible Bloggers
Nikolita


195487Piace: Watashi no Italian (TV Short)

Animation Company: Zero-G
Website: http://piace-anime.com
Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life
Airing Date: 11 January 2017
Summary: High schooler Morina Nanase starts work at Trattoria Festa, an Italian restaurant filled with various and sundry quirky characters…and where through its unique cuisine, she will begin to mature as a person.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: Cute. If this ever gets subbed (it’s certainly not getting picked up by the Crunchyroll machine) I’d like to watch it.

Berry: I might watch it because it sounds sweet.

Nikolita: Pass.

Oki: Much comic such slice.

Sidekick: Ehhh. It seems harmless enough, but I almost never watch shorts unless they’re Teekyu.


9Fate/Grand Order: First Order (TV Special)

Animation Company: Lay-Duce
Website: http://anime.fate-go.jp
Genre: Magic
Airing Date: 31 Dec 2016
Summary: The story is set in the year 2015, during the final era over which magic still held sway. The humanity survival and security organization Caldea was established to observe the world that can only be seen by magic and the world that can only be measured by science — as well as to prevent the final extinction of mankind.

Thanks to the efforts of many researchers, the path of human history has been ensured for 100 years into the future. However, without warning, the realm of the future that was under constant observation by Caldea vanished. The extinction of humanity in 2017 was observed — no, confirmed.

The apparent cause of the extinction was in the Japanese city of Fuyuki in 2004. In that city, there was an “unobservable realm” which had never existed until now.

Caldea issued the Grand Order for a “Holy Grail Expedition,” to investigate, uncover, and possibly destroy the singularity that apparently will cause the extinction of humanity.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2

Team Impression

Vantage: I’ll watch this since it’s part of the Fate franchise, but I know nothing about the game.

Berry: So this is separate from the main Fate story? UBW was okay, Fate/Zero was great, I’ll probably check this out.

Nikolita: Never seen anything from the Fate franchise, so pass.

Oki: FINALLY SOMETHING I WANT TO COVER! In fact, shotgun.

Sidekick: I hate this game, but I adore Nobunaga Shimazaki and will watch this for him. Just for him.

Possible Blogger
Oki


Overall Thoughts

Vantage: Looks like it’ll be a dry season. Winter has always traditionally been quite dry, but recently there hasn’t been enough tanoshii in anime. I’m probably most interested in blogging Konosuba and Rewrite, but both of those are sequels. To be honest, almost everything worth watching this season is probably a sequel. There’s hardly any new stuff that genuinely excites me, with the few exceptions being Little Witch Academia (if that even counts as new), Youjo Senki and possibly Seiren (if it ever manages to stop being compared to Amagami) and Kuzu no Honkai. Urara Meirochou will also be my much-needed IV drip of CGDCT that will drag me through the next three months. And it’ll be entertaining to watch people reacting to Fuuka. I’m just hoping that the airing dates for Violet Evergarden will be announced soon. I don’t think I can take it much longer.

Berry: This season is poop. The winter season is always poop. I’ve never been so uninterested in so many shows before. For I really only care for Kuzu no Honkai, Little Witch Academia, and maybe even Youjo Senki. Other than those, I don’t think I’m going to watch many shows. I might check out the first episodes of some shows but I think I’m going to use this season to catch up on shows I fell behind in summer and this past fall because of work and school. Good job Winter season for always being poop.

Nikolita: There are a couple of shows I’m curious about enough to try blogging, but the only show that’s really got me captivated is the next season of Berserk, which airs in the spring. In the meantime I think two main shows and one short should be enough to fill my days and entertain me, providing I like them enough to keep blogging them. I don’t know, maybe I’m just too picky? As for which show in the winter season that has me the most curious, I’d have to say honestly it’s One Room, despite being a short.

Oki: This season sucks so hard. I honestly went through the catalogue and almost picked nothing. Thank God for Fate or I’d be stuck with cat girl shit and 50 slice of life’s.

Sidekick: I picked a bad season to get back into blogging but eh. Aside from Rakugo S2 and Little Witch Academia there isn’t much. I’m trying my best to stay optimistic about the Granblue Fantasy anime but I get the feeling I’ll most likely just…go back to playing the game instead of actually watching it. Also hoping ACCA and Kobayashi-san will be good.

ViVid Strike! Episode 12: Within Clasped Hands [Final Impression]

All’s well that ends well.

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Impression

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-00-03-53A cute and comfy ending. I don’t think there’s actually much for me to say. I probably smiled more throughout that one episode than I did over the rest of the series combined. Fuuka really is amazing, she managed to protect my smile as well! The lewd hand-holding with Fuu-chan and close physical contact were really sweet and yuritastic. It was all I could have asked for, although some nose-bumping as Rinne and Fuuka stared into each other’s eyes would have been nice as well. Surprisingly, Carrie and the rest of Rinne’s victims made an appearance after having been inspired by her bout with Fuuka. I’m not sure exactly how much of the inter-match conversation they heard (to some extent they should already know of her history if Yumina was able to find it) but it’s great that no-one seems to have any hard feelings towards her. Well, no-one except Sara and the other two. Whichever one Sara was. It’s probably for the best that those bullies weren’t featured, assuming they’re not dead or severely handicapped. They’re sort of like the Quattro and Scaglietti of Strike. The cast are willing to let bygones be bygones for most of the Combat Cyborgs, but Scaglietti is a different issue. And Fuuka might have asked what the bullies were called, and all based Rinne could have said was that one of them was Sara but she didn’t know which.

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-00-05-31Einhart is really strong. I honestly don’t remember Sieg ever having been shown fighting in the ViVid anime (all she did was jog and eat popcorn cutely) so it was really nice to see her actually do something here, if only for a few seconds. With there being no Hayate in Strike, I’ve also been suffering from a severe lack of comfy Kansai accents this season. I’m just wondering whether Sieg got tired out because Einhart managed to push her that far, or because she had to hold back too much for fear of killing Einhart. As expected, though, the results of the Winter Cup don’t really matter. We came to realise halfway through the series that they never did. Still, I thought it’d be nice to try to figure out who won, but unlike Rinne’s trophies the inscription on the cup just says ‘Winter Cup’ and not the name of the winner. Nove is holding it in their commemoration photo, which further adds to the uncertainty. But given that Fuuka looks a lot more scratched and torn up than Einhart, I think the implication is that the latter won. As expected of Haru-nyan.

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Overall Thoughts

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-00-06-47So after all those months of silence in the wake of the ViVid anime, the next entry in the Nanoha franchise was Strike. Who’d have guessed? I do think it’s served its purpose of re-igniting interest in all things Nanoha, however. The irony, of course, being that it wasn’t marketed as having anything to do with two particular ‘elite government officials’ at all. Further adding to its unusual nature was the drift away from the traditional focus on magical combat that’s come to be so definitive of Nanoha over the years.

Will the franchise continue developing down this sort of path? I’m not sure. ViVid was only ever a spin-off to begin with. You might argue that the same could be said of the first Nanoha, but the issue with focusing on martial arts as a sport is that there aren’t really any possible plot lines beyond tournament arcs. Strike was pretty innovative in that respect, in that in reality it had its Rinne-centric plot dressed up in the language of the Winter Cup without the tournament itself actually mattering much at all. And I’ll never forget Episode 4. That was, without doubt, the most memorable moment of the entire season to me. But even then, none of its characters had their lives threatened by deadly combat in the same way as Nanoha, Fate or Hayate did as children, even though they have their own very real struggles and issues. It’s a different genre, ultimately. And I don’t know whether I’d like to see the Nanoha franchise expand under this genre after the precedent it has set with the first series, A’s and StrikerS.

In truth, I think I would have been quite happy if StrikerS ended up being the last TV series. There wasn’t much Nanoha-related noise in the years after that ended, and we could all enjoy the two movies and chapters of the ViVid manga whenever those turned up. And Force was also a thing, although as I understand it, the consensus on that is mixed at best. It’s sort of like how I loved Code Geass, and enjoyed its spin-offs, but thought it didn’t really need any sort of sequel (for those who are unaware, a third season has now been announced). That said, I’d be lying if I claimed to not be excited for Reflection, especially since it appears to be a step back in the direction of A’s, which is what I and many others believe to be the pinnacle of the franchise. I’m also glad it’s not dead in the water entirely, which is what literally everyone assumed after it was announced, given a title and then seemingly abandoned. Reflection also means another prominent role for Yukarin, which is good news. I think she’s getting TV anime roles again as well, like Seiren next season, so I hope her wellbeing is improving.

I’ll be back for Reflection. Until then, I would like to reiterate that Rinne is the cutest and the best.

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Lostorage incited WIXOSS Episode 1: Memories / Front and Back [First Impression]

Are you ready for the suffering?

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Impression

Are you ready for the suffering? I guess the first matter to address is that you probably weren’t expecting me to put out a post on this. Nor did I initially have much interest in doing so – it’s supposed to be Berry who does WIXOSS, and I was perfectly content with just following the series and discussing it online. But Berry is a little short on time this season, and because I feel that this deserves blogging I decided to step in. Asenshi only released their version on Sunday anyway, so if you’re a particularly selective person and decided to wait for them, then from your perspective this post isn’t even that late! Hooray! I should be able to do weekends this season too – it would be a different story if this aired on Wednesdays. So unfortunately, instead of Berry’s insightful commentary you’ll have to put up with my waifu chat and regular best girl discussions. I’m not sorry at all.

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In terms of my familiarity with the franchise, I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it at all. I mean, I’ve diligently followed the first two seasons, and I remember doing a quick post when the first season first aired a few years ago, but given that I don’t know much about the plethora of other material that’s now out there (including a movie, several spin-off serialisations and an entire collectable card game) I’d say I’m only barely qualified to discuss this to the depth that I’d like to. I’m marginally acquainted with Peeping Analyze, and I want to watch the movie at some point, but that’s about it. I do have opinions though! Now’s not the best time to elaborate too much on them, but as far as a quick rundown is concerned – I loved the first season, thought the second one could have tied up its loose ends better (not least of all the stuff surrounding the town being destroyed and Ruu’s suspicious grandma) and haven’t seen the movie (yet). I think Ruu is very cute, I think Piruluk is cuter and Aki-lucky was my secret guilty pleasure. Hanayo did nothing wrong, and Chiyori was far too noisy for far too much of the time she spent on screen.

wixoss-1-img016All that… probably doesn’t matter, in all honesty. It’s not like Lostorage is unwatchable if you haven’t seen the two seasons of the original anime. Even after all this time I legitimately have not the slightest clue how WIXOSS is even played. I’m not joking. I know the aim is to destroy the opponent’s Life Cloth and that you grow your LRIGs and that there are SIGNI cards and that’s about it. I’m certain this was the intention of the creators too (speaking of creators, I don’t think Okada Mari is on this anymore) because if they’d spent precious airing time on explaining how the game works, the anime would have been nowhere near as good as it was. As I said two years ago during the first impression post, it’s not actually about card games. It’s about sinking cute girls into the depths of despair using a mechanism disguised as a card game. But anyway, given that Ruu basically solved everything where we last left off, I’m pretty sure this is a separate continuity or a completely different Selector battle entirely, and all we’ve seen so far with regards to the rules and the concept of coins and what’s at stake seems to confirm that. That, or it’s all Piruluk’s fault because for some reason she’s back.

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wixoss-1-img014If you put together everything you learn from the episode, you come to some interesting conclusions. For one, the LRIGs aren’t hiding anything from the Selectors this time – or at least, they don’t seem to be. Instead, everything’s been placed up front on the table and the Selectors are aware that it’s not some sort of benevolent opportunity. Yet at the same time, I’m getting this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that there is something Suzu has not been told, and that this something is going to ruin her. Unlike with Tama, Ril isn’t Suzu’s friend. She’s supposedly part of Suzu, but her relationship with her is more like an administrator of the Selector battles and an occasional guide who will help her past her initial stage of refusal and confusion. I’m already kind of biased against all LRIGs because of the Yuzuki and Hanayo thing during the original series (although as I mentioned above, I don’t think she did anything wrong given the position she was in) and so I simply can’t discard my wariness towards Ril.

It also seems like LRIGs themselves could be slightly different entities this time. Instead of being passed around between Selectors and battling to switch places with their owners in order to escape being a LRIG, a Selector’s LRIG in Lostorage seems to be a representation of the Selector created from a blank slate LRIG who reminds me of Mayu for some reason. In fact, the process Suzu went through when she first met that blank LRIG was very similar to what Yuzuki experienced when she first became an Eternal Girl. It’s all very unclear at the moment – are the LRIGs formed from detached aspects of the Selector’s personality? Is that why that random fodder guy who lost to Suzu this episode had such a shy and kind LRIG? You know, if I became a Selector and got a LRIG, I think she would be a cute loli. Just saying.

wixoss-1-img008It’s worth noting that Suzu’s dementia is already happening, and has happened. For every moment she spends not battling, her memories are being eroded. It’s not that a chunk of her memories gets carved away with the corrosion of one coin – it’s a gradual thing. The mere fact that so many coins turned black before her first Selector battle implies that something irreparable has happened to Suzu, and Ril’s words later on confirmed exactly that. I don’t know if you noticed, but ‘Suzu, ganba’ was not what Chinatsu said to Suzu in that flashback. She said ‘ganbatte’ instead. ‘Ganba’ is super cute, but it’s different. And I think that is really, really important, because it’s simply not what loli Chinatsu said. In other words, her memories have now been falsified. I’m pretty sure this isn’t just an oversight or something. Memories are basically the central theme of Lostorage, and here the implication is that after becoming a Selector, Suzu can no longer be sure that her memories are accurate – are what she thinks they are. And the worst thing is that she has absolutely no clue. I can already see it now. Suzu finally meets with her precious Chii-chan after so many years of being apart, but one or both of them no longer recognise each other or have twisted their memories of the other irreparably.

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wixoss-1-img018If there’s anything I can predict about this season of WIXOSS it’s that a happy ending is very unlikely. I don’t know about you, but thrusting estranged childhood friends together in a high-stakes supernatural card game in order to reverse your forced gradual onset of dementia doesn’t seem very cheerful to me. That opening scene of Suzu and Chinatsu playing together is probably the happiest this anime is ever going to get. I’m actually not sure what the plot twist this time will be, because I don’t think they’re going to be reusing the whole concept of successful Selectors being cruelly denied their wishes and turning into LRIGs – with the end of the OP showing all the Selectors inside cards, it’s almost as if they’re telling us that they know we know, and that as a result they won’t be trying that again.

At the same time, there is absolutely no way that everything will end happily ever after if all five of a Selector’s (very beautiful) coins turn gold. If you seriously entertained that thought for even a second, you haven’t watched the first two seasons properly. It’s a lose-lose situation for poor Suzu, we just don’t know exactly how she’ll despair the moment she thinks she’s won. If turning all coins gold really was a goal to aspire to, then why have that random draw at the start where your LRIG assigns you a number of coins to start off with? It’d make things ridiculously easy for some Selectors. And there’s not even an incentive like there was with the first Selector battoru – if you win you just get to leave with your life and memories intact, from how things currently seem. Nothing’s been mentioned about getting a wish granted or becoming an Eternal Girl, although I do accept that the threat of losing all your memories in itself is likely to be a good enough incentive to make you keep on participating.

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wixoss-1-img021Apart from the coin system, there have been some other changes as well. The most obvious of them is that there are now male Selectors, which further reinforces the idea that the Eternal Girl mechanism isn’t coming back. We won’t be getting YOBs any time soon, in other words. I know there are some who will be rather disgruntled by this, but I don’t really mind. Piruluk has lots of more important things to justify first, like why she’s doing what she’s doing (if it’s her fault at all). As for the new LRIGs, I’ll have to get used to them but they seem cute. I think Nanashi is an absolute semen demon, and I hope to see lots and lots of her especially if the Selector girl in her school ends up befriending her like the preview suggests. Mel is cute, Ril is cuter. Guzuko is a waste of a design, and I mean that in the best way possible. She’s great, but I just can’t see that dude being very relevant in the story at all, and so nothing good will happen to Guzuko nor will she be around for very long. If anything, they’ll be used as an example to show Suzu (and us) exactly what happens when your five coins all turn gold or black. Poor Guzuko.

Shit, this got quite long. But yes. I’m quite excited. It’ll be hard to properly compare this to the original two seasons until we’ve seen more of both the format of the current Selector battoru and the wider plot, but there seems to be lots of potential and lots of suffering. I don’t know whether I’ll ever come to like Suzu as much as I did Ruu, but only time will tell. Pick a best girl and a best LRIG, and let’s see whether either of them still have their smiles protected by the end of the series. If that’s even possible.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High

Brave Witches Episode 1: The Witch of Sasebo? [First Impression]

Hikari a cute.

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Impression

How fascinating. I haven’t been keeping up with the Strike Witches franchise ever since I watched the movie several years ago, so I was looking forward to finding out how they would handle this spin-off, especially since my traditional stance is that I’m quite averse to this sort of new production arising out of an existing series. My enjoyment of Strike Witches primarily derived from not the setting, but rather the cast of characters and my familiarity with them. You could make me watch Sky Girls or anything where humanity develops new technology powered by cute girls while under threat from an alien species impossible to communicate with, and it wouldn’t be the same because Erica or Sanya or Yoshika aren’t in any of those. So, like with Love Live Sunshine, you can imagine that my initial reaction wasn’t great the very first time I heard about this. I’m attached to the characters in the 501st, and all of a sudden there’s this new anime featuring girls who look awfully similar to those in the 501st but with changed personalities and edited designs. Apart from Not!Yoshika there’s a more serious version of Shirley, an untanned Lucchini, and so on. I think I can see Eila and Lynette in some of the others, too. That being said, the last time I reacted like this was with Sunshine, and over the summer I watched it nonetheless and fell in love with Aqours. I decided to therefore begin this with a different mindset – I’m not attached to any of these characters, but that may change in the future and the important thing is to keep an open mind for now.

bw-1-img003Not!Yoshika is a more fitting name for Hikari than I expected. I intended to use it in jest, but she really is not Yoshika yet a a lot like her. It’s probably the case that Hikari’s talent is buried a bit deeper in her than Yoshika’s was, possibly due to Hikari having lived in the shadow of her sister for her entire life. But both are energetic little girls from Not!Japan with short brown hair and cute tails who will end up somewhere in Europe in a Witch unit together with other girls from countries like Not!Germany, Not!Finland and Not!Russia. I actually really liked how they’re portraying Hikari as the underdog – it’s a nice change from Yoshika, who although was inexperienced had a habit of pulling miracles out of her panties. In contrast, Hikari is clumsy, is struggling to achieve as much as her sister and doesn’t particularly stand out in school. I’m sure she’ll still end up saving the day somehow when she’s with the 502nd, but the way that’ll happen may not be as we expect. Speaking of her school actually, I’m surprised Witch schools are a thing. As I understand, Brave Witches takes place around the same time as Strike Witches, right? That must be the case if Yoshika is with Sakamoto-san, but no-one from Fuso has ever heard of her – it means that all her achievements haven’t happened at this point. So schools existed, but they were never really featured in Strike Witches. It might just be because Yoshika got into the 501st through unorthodox means instead of properly enlisting into the military like Takami did.

bw-1-img006I also enjoyed the relationship between Hikari and Takami. You’d almost expect Hikari to be bitter about the disparity between her and her sister, but I’m glad there’s none of that sort of drama. Takami is also a nice girl, which is not what I’ve come to expect from series featuring a high-achieving onee-chan. I almost expected her to treat Hikari like Maho treated Miho, or like Teru still treats Saki. Both sisters are now heading to Europe, but they’ve made it unclear whether they’ll both join the 502nd – I’ve fallen out of touch with all sorts of Strike Witches-related content, so I have no idea. I do think it’ll be harder for Hikari to grow as a character if Takami is always around, however. A related issue I’m interested in is Takami’s age. As you might expect from a series like this, one of the significant characteristics of Witches they made sure to highlight in the original anime was that they lose their magic as they get older. Sakamoto Mio suffered from this exact problem as the anime progressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a mini-arc revolving around Takami and her magic deteriorating, which would explain why she’s only standing on the deck of a ship in the OP and not flying through the sky with Hikari.

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bw-1-img010I do have a small gripe with how Hikari even has this opportunity to be deployed to Europe in the first place – what can she possibly do there? She’ll do something major because she’s the protagonist, but what were the top brass thinking in asking for a single student to be deployed to Europe? And the school decided to select people by asking for ad-hoc volunteers? I can see that they do genuinely need reinforcements, which explains why Takami was immediately sent out so soon after returning to Fuso. But if they want to make a real difference, then either send all vaguely competent students or no students and find other girls. Hikari going to Europe almost feels like an exchange program in disguise. Oh, and for what it’s worth (because I doubt she will be very relevant) it was nice that Hikari sort of became friends with Misumi after saving her. I kind of expected Misumi to be less grateful than she was, so her thanks was a pleasant surprise.

bw-1-img005As you might expect, just like with its predecessor Brave Witches is likely to have a couple of lewd scenes. I loved the scar scene, and I’ve always been a fan of how the girls wear nothing but bloomers (which effectively function as panties) when putting on Striker Units. And you can stare at them all the time, because Gonzo went out of their way to animate lots of close-up shots (like with Perrine) and I’m sure Silver Link will do the same. At other times they look like they’re not wearing any because of the length of their other clothes or the camera angle at which they’re being depicted. Truly a work of art, this series is. I’m neutral about the kemonomimi ears and tails. They’re cute, but they’re not really my thing and so I don’t really care either way.

I hope to have the time to cover this. I can’t guarantee it, because Hibikek comes out on the same day and my love for that is greater than my love for this, not going to lie. But this is interesting, and the aerial combat scenes get really exhilarating so it’s worth a watch for sure. The animation quality is also noticeably higher now that almost a decade has passed since it first aired. I’ll have to see what my schedule is like on Wednesdays and see if I can fit in two posts a day, although at first blush that seems unlikely. Maybe I’ll defer posts to Thursday?

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High

Hibike! Euphonium 2 Episode 1 [First Impression]

Yuri is the purest form of love.

Impression

I would like to remind you all that I’m going to marry Natsuki-senpai. You’re all cordially invited to the wedding. Yes, even Yuuko. I gave some thought to marrying Reina, but she’s already in a loving relationship with Kumiko. I wouldn’t want to intrude. Look at them h-holding hands! How lewd! Think of the children!

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It’s been about a year and a half since we were treated to this beautiful orchestra drama, right? It feels like a lot longer than that, especially since their last production was the unfortunate dud that was Phantom World. So in essence, Kyoani haven’t produced anything noteworthy since the first season of Hibikek! Yuriphonium. All is well, however! It’s now back, and hopefully gayer than ever. Strangely enough, it was an hour-long special, but who cares why it was so long? They have money! Whoever it was who said that money can buy a watch but not time was simply wrong. Kyoani can buy time. Kyoani finds a way. But remember, everything they’re doing now and have done over the past few years is essentially a gradual build-up to the moment when they proudly present their magnum opus, Violet Evergarden, next year. And then anime will be saved.

hibikek-img013Okay, I’m done with my obligatory Kyoani dick sucking. In all seriousness, this pilot episode was as good as I remember the first season being, if not even better. Although there were a few flashbacks (which they probably had the luxury to insert given the episode length) I felt like it was the kind of second season that you could jump right into without having to refresh yourself of the finer details beforehand. Even if the original season didn’t leave a big enough impression for you to remember what happened during it (in which case you weren’t watching it properly) it all almost immediately comes back from the way everyone acted and how much of a contrast that was to the very start of the story. Remember when there were so many beginners, and now the quality of their playing is such that even Team Monaka have gotten good? Remember when no-one had any motivation, and now random background characters are taking the initiative to practice by themselves even when the school is being closed and even when Taki-sensei is giving them a rare break?

hibikek-img048I’m not sure whether the overall indication is that things are getting better for Kitauji, however. Instead of motivational issues, there’s now something else that’s rearing its ugly head – the drama surrounding the current second-years was never properly alluded to in the first season, and the fallout from that is being re-ignited once more. It seems to have a lot to do with Nozomi, who was apparently a former flautist in the concert band. I assume she quit along with half of the other first-years (as they were at the time) who did, but there must have been more to her involvement than just that. Yoroizuka Mizore, who it seems has been elevated from being a generic background character to someone significant, was most likely okay up until now because Nozomi wasn’t around. All we can do is speculate at this point – but it’s interesting that all of the girls the current drama revolves around went to the same middle school. It’s also worth noting that Kumiko saw fear in Mizore when Yuuko told her about Nozomi wanting to return, which surprised me a bit as I only saw shock. As close as they seemed to be during that middle school flashback, it’s likely that Mizore wants nothing to do with Nozomi now – and actually, that flashback tells a lot about what the drama could potentially be about.

I want to be wrong – I love to be wrong when speculating, because that indicates that a series is being innovative enough to go against my expectations. But here’s what I’ve come up with for now. If Minami Middle School was at the standard of a top-tier, gold-winning school, it’s understandable that they would be disappointed about not getting the gold during that one year. It also makes sense for them to resolve to work extra hard and win gold once with their concert band in high school. My idea is that their problems all started with the fact that the high school they all went to was Kitauji and not a place like Rikka. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that, when they arrived, they found a sub-par band which was not as prestigious or famous, with people who couldn’t really care less about going to Nationals or winning gold. And so they quit. If this is true, it would make Mizore one of the formerly frustrated girls who didn’t quit, and would explain the grudge she holds towards Nozomi for breaking their promise together, if any.

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hibikek-img042Under this scenario, Asuka would have many reasons to withhold her approval for Nozomi to rejoin. Aside from any issues as to her technical ability (of which I kind of doubt there are any) her presence could potentially cause a lot of havoc amongst the upper years that they really could do without for now. And there’d be a nagging feeling at the back of everyone’s minds that Nozomi only wants in on the bandwagon because Kitauji have won the prefectural competition and are going to the Kansai regionals. It doesn’t, however, explain fully why Mizore reacted like that when hearing Nozomi’s flute playing. If she wants to throw up, it sounds like there’s more to it all than just some regular drama, not least off all because she seems oblivious to everything that the band went through last season. It’s to do with Nozomi in particular. I guess one solution would be to have Nozomi play with Team Monaka, but I suspect Asuka is rejecting her out of principle more than anything else. Nozomi re-entering the club itself, even if she doesn’t play in the competition, is tantamount to her running away and successfully coming back afterwards. Asuka is most likely as enthusiastic as Reina about the idea of her doing that.

It’s good that new characters are being introduced, though. It’s great to see more of the band, the second-years especially. There’s still a lot of development to be had with them. Both Mizore and Nozomi are cute, but it’s hard to come to any conclusions about them as we hardly know a thing at this point. Nozomi is hotter, I think? There’s something about her that makes her really attractive, I’m not sure what it is.

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hibikek-img053Either way, as characters they can’t hold a candle to Natsuki-senpai or even Yuuko. By the way, is it just me, or does Yuuko actually have a really sexy voice when she’s not screaming like a whiny bitch? That sarcastic exchange between her and Reina was probably my favourite scene of the entire one-hour special. I wonder whether it was intentional to make her more erotic now that she’s a frenemy instead of an annoyance. I will admit that she’s growing on me slightly now, and if nothing else she’s an easy character to figure out because she always wears her heart on her sleeve. Certainly didn’t expect her to be as good friends with Mizore as she is – both her and Natsuki-senpai will be pretty involved this season if the drama revolves around Mizore and Nozomi purely due to the relationships the two have with them.

hibikek-img050Finally, I just wanted to say that Reina a cute! A CUTE! Anzai Chika really has the best voices. Who else thought that she would want to go up another mountain when she awkwardly invited Kumiko to the festival? As ever, it’s ridiculously hard to let go of the notion that all this is just yuri bait and that Reina is in love with Taki-sensei. I know she’s said it multiple times. I know that. But they’re sending incredibly mixed messages here you know – all the hand-holding, the snuggling into each other while sleeping, the intimacy and change of mood when it’s just them alone on the train after Hazuki and Midori have left. And the very moment Shuichi tries to get close to Kumiko, Reina blows him out of the water. It’s not just me, right? Someone tell me it’s not just me. It wasn’t as evident last season amidst all the drama, but Kumiko has been a good influence on Reina. She’s smiling more, and making friends with people other than just Kumiko. I liked the cold, indifferent Reina, but this Reina is cute too. I should also, of course, confirm that I will indeed be covering this as you might expect. Not just for Natsuki-senpai, and not just for more gay orchestra drama, but also because if Kyoani can put this much effort into it every week to the point that even their freaking sinks look real, the least I can do is to acknowledge that they did good. So, without further ado – you did good, guys. I don’t know why this was necessary, but I remember that button from the first season. It was almost as good as this sink.

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Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: Guaranteed

ViVid Strike! Episode 1 [First Impression]

Thou shalt not be afraid, I am with you.

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Impression

strike-1-img006I want to start off by saying that watching this definitely wasn’t on my plans for today. It wasn’t even on my plans for yesterday! I’ve actually been struggling to catch up with the remainder of the last season, let alone contend with a whole new one. So I hadn’t even taken a good look at the airing schedule for the season until literally just now, where I learned that there was a disgustingly disproportionate number of shows that were to air on Saturdays. I then saw that ViVid Strike was out, and my next thought was that there was no way that this would be subbed any time soon. The original ViVid indicates just as much, right? Because obviously it wouldn’t be given a second glance by the modern oversized distribution machine that is Crunchyroll (ft. Funimation) as they most likely think it would be underappreciated by the majority of its patrons, despite the fact that it’s technically (loosely, maybe even formerly) supposed to be about magical girls and lolis. Which should be right in the strike zone for lots of people, right? At least, it is for me anyway. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was subbed almost instantly after airing. Good thing I won’t have much to do on Saturdays this season.

strike-1-img003Anyway. I’m quite excited about this. More than I thought I would be, actually. It did feel pretty unsettling until about halfway through the episode, because I don’t think I fully appreciated exactly what the implications of a Nanoha without Nanoha would be. Even calling it that is slightly wrong. It’s more like a ViVid without Nanoha, the result being that it’s more ViVid-like than ViVid itself ever was. I hope that makes sense – anyone expecting the traditional magical combat featured in the original season, A’s and StrikerS is going to get even less of that than what they got in ViVid. Strike Arts is the new black now, and they’ve probably already done us a favour by having mana-infused punches and kicks added to the mix. As I mentioned in another post’s comment not too long ago, I think it’s really odd that they’re attempting to re-ignite interest in the franchise through straying away from an aspect that so heavily defined it and contributed to its success. Not that there’s anything wrong with ViVid, but you have to remember that that originated as a spin-off manga. ViVid Strike is therefore a spin-off of a spin-off. Or is it better to describe it as being set in an alternate universe? I’m not sure whether the events of the ViVid manga are reconcilable with the events of this original anime, but I like the idea watching a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off, as Nanoha was of course born from Triangle Heart all those years ago.

What exactly was unsettling, I hear you ask? I’m not too sure myself. Part of it was the setting, I guess – I wasn’t confident that we were still on Mid-Childa at first, with biker gangs and impoverished areas and shipping yards definitely not being sights I expected to see in such an advanced magical and technological society. Then there’s Fuuka herself, who I keep overlapping with Nanoha’s image in my head because their hairstyle and hair colour are somewhat similar even though they’re not very much alike at all, in either personality or combat style. And there’s also that feeling of having missed a huge chunk of the story, because ViVid left us hanging halfway through the Inter-Middle, and Strike is clearly set after the end of that tournament. My memory of events is even fuzzier than it was during ViVid, but I’m pretty sure there was no Nakajima Gym during the Inter-Middle.

At the same time, there are lots of good things. Seven Arcs returning is a definite blessing, you can’t call yourself a Nanoha fan if you think A-1 does a better job with Nanoha than Seven Arcs. I also really, really dig Nove’s new hairstyle. Now that she’s grown out her hair she can make people think she’s a harmless, kind onee-san even though she’s anything but. And Einhart also seems more mature and collected than she was before. For some reason Harunyan also has a waifu named Yumina, which makes me wonder what’s happened to poor Vivio.

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strike-1-img010I do like Fuuka, and I think that’s important. The biggest challenge this anime faces is to make its viewers like Fuuka, because Nanoha was a very well-liked protagonist – and switching to Vivio for ViVid wasn’t the end of the world because (i) Nanoha was still a character; (ii) Vivio is related to Nanoha and isn’t unlike her in personality; and (iii) Vivio was a character from StrikerS. Filling that protagonist role with someone completely different is a pretty bold move, all things considered. It’s going to take some getting used to her either way, but I’ve accepted her and that’s going to go a long way in terms of how much I’ll enjoy this. I’m sure part of it is the Minase Inori effect. Once again she displays her surprising versatility, and it’s good to hear her Carol voice reappearing at times, just like when she played Rem. It was Carol who made me her fan after all, not Chino.

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strike-1-img005I’m not so sure about Rinne, on the other hand. She’s super cute, for one. She’s also more my type than Fuuka ever will be. But Fuuka makes your blood boil, you know? Kaiser Arts was also always the cooler one. Being Fuuka is suffering, and that’s why she’d be by far the better protagonist. It’s sort like how Hibiki gets me pumped up every time even though I’m more of a DMJii person. I have no idea whether Rinne will be the Fate-chan to Fuuka’s Nanoha, but I’m sure she’s a good girl at heart. One thing I’m confused about is how she’s ranked #1 by the DSAA despite Einhart being the current world champion, and despite her having lost to Vivio. Maybe rankings aren’t determined by single wins or losses? Or even single tournaments? And what happened to Sieg? Either way, Rinne is now the ideal befriending target, except here people are befriended via fists instead of oversized laser beams. I’m just waiting for Fuuka to do a Touma and punch Rinne in the face while telling her that she’s not living her life correctly.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: High

Rewrite Episode 13: The Promise I Made With You [Final Impression]

Holy fuck.

Impression

I’m actually stunned. Of course, I was fully aware from the very first episode that salvation would most likely happen, and that humanity would (for all intents and purposes) be completely exterminated. Hoping for anything different would be far too optimistic. But I don’t think that made it any less shocking to see it actually happen in animated form. As profound a story as visual novels can tell, they often lack the sheer visual impact that motion pictures have. In particular, I actually found it really haunting to see Kotarou turning into a tree this time. From the moment he overwrote himself to match up to Esaka and his wound turned into bark, I had a feeling it was inevitable, but it was pretty gruesome watching it actually happen. In the game, we mostly got descriptions and not his anguished cries as he turned into what was essentially a familiar.

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In fact, it’s a bit strange that this ending was as despair-filled as it was. A lot of it was subtlety, but it was made clear that many of the characters died before the final stage to salvation even happened. Imamiya died before the episode even started. Esaka and Nishikujou were clearly corpses when they turned into light – Nishikujou had a sword stuck through her. All the Bayern Knights most likely died fighting against Sakuya. From the fact that Chihaya mentioned Sakuya being really heavy, Sakuya was no longer granting her super strength and so he too was already dead by the time Chihaya was carrying him through the ruins. And why did Lucia and Shizuru have their minds broken before they disappeared? What the fuck, this is too depressing! I know each character route ending (arguably apart from Chihaya’s) is supposed to be a bad end, but did they really need to make it so tragic?

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rewrite-13-img078Who else was surprised by Kotarou’s decision? Any Gaian would argue that he chose the planet’s future over humanity’s present, but really it looked like he chose to be with Kagari and sacrifice all of humanity in the process. Salvation was still avoidable at that point, and it was the whole reason as to why Esaka fought him – the natural disasters may have already happened, but it’s not like everyone was dead yet. I was initially rather shocked, but in the end I guess it’s a Kagari route and it wouldn’t be strange if he did really fall in love with Kagari as various events occurred. It might have all been skipped in the adaptation due to time constraints, so maybe Rewrite+ goes into more depth on this. I was really sad though! Seeing Kotori cry is the worst thing ever, I love her so much. I mean, I love Akane the most, but… I want to protect Kotori’s smile the most? Is that allowed? I’m not sure how to explain it, I’m still reeling from the episode. For all the shitty quality throughout the season, I have to say 8-bit did pretty well with the finale. The Rewrite anime has never felt more Key-like than it has here.

rewrite-13-img063I want to mention a bit on salvation, as an important thing I paid attention to during all of the character routes was to see exactly what happened during salvation and how it was triggered. It was really interesting that they subtly told us that Akane shot both Kashima Sakura and Nagai to death, but was then fully brainwashed and became the next holy woman. I presume that’s why the song of destruction stopped before continuing again. If that’s the case, Akane should have killed both Shimako and herself, but she’s probably too kind to kill a cute loli in cold blood. I would have started questioning my devotion to her if that’s what she chose to do. I seem to recall that in some routes, salvation consisted of the disappearance of humanity, but in others that disappearance wasn’t magical and instead occurred due to natural disasters killing everyone. What we got in this Kagari route was both, which is slightly strange. I wonder whether it’s because those disasters weren’t enough, and the second time salvation started up Kagari decided to go with another method? It’s also really cool seeing salvation happen all over the world, instead of just in Kazamatsuri. The entire thing felt really biblical actually, although I’ve never really thought about it in that way before.

rewrite-13-img048Most of all, this final episode was a massive hype train for Moon and Terra. The last few seconds of the episode featured Moon Kagari and her blueprint, in an anime rendition of what is probably Moon’s most famous CG, whilst the entire episode was filled with references to Terra. Bond made a final appearance in a Kotori flashback as she narrated how she saved Kotarou’s life, and Chibimoth turning back into Pero was pretty heartbreaking. Yoshino fighting the familiars was similar to what he did during Moon, and you could tell that, just like what was going through the minds of everyone who’s played the game, Esaka was thinking about his Guardian training with Kotarou all those years ago, that the current Kotarou in his ‘half-baked condition’ has forgotten all about, although his ‘body seems to have remembered’. In the state he’s in now, he’s forgotten his youth. At 27 years old, he has no idea what youth is, and he wants to set out on a journey to discover what it is. His true youth happens during the events of Terra, and that’s what we’re getting next.

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Overall Thoughts

Rewrite is actually such a fantastic story. It’s been my favourite VN ever since I finished it exactly two years ago now, and although it has many flaws, this adaptation has made me remember many of the reasons why that is. I’ve talked about those flaws countless times since the anime began, so there’s no point in me beating a dead horse any further – I’m still unsure as to whether it should have existed at all, but it has served its purpose as fanservice really well. From the point of view of a visual novel reader, it’s extremely interesting to explore another one of the dead end routes that Moon Kagari has spent so long studying within her blueprint.

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Remember this post? In the end, the anime chose to opt out of dealing with the potentially very messy consequences of adapting multiple routes and chose to go with an original one to be properly fleshed out as an individual Rewrite+ route. Come to think of it, I’m not actually sure whether the route was first envisaged through the anime and was later expanded in Rewrite+, or whether it was vice versa. As you probably know, Moon and Terra are next, and thus they’ve decided to adopt the latter part of how I originally thought an ideal adaptation of Rewrite would play out. I predicted that the common route, all the character routes and Moon and Terra could be accomplished within three cours, whereas 8-bit have decided to go with a Kagari route as the first season, followed by another cour consisting of Moon and Terra. And I’m sure Moon and Terra can be finished in a single season, Moon isn’t very long at all. In retrospect, three cours for everything might have been a little ambitious actually.

key-4I’m looking forward to it. It’s slated for Winter 2017 (i.e. Rewrite has ended up being a split-cour adaptation) and so it won’t be too long a wait. 8-bit will be around to make things worse as usual, but the times during which I felt the most excitement about their work on this was during the opening scene of the hour-long first episode, featuring the start to Moon, and the anime rendition of Philosophyz during which Bond faces off with Kagari. It’s fucking Kazamatsuri Bond, fighting Middle Eastern terrorists and shooting little girls’ parents in the heads in front of them, how much can they mess up? And I just realised, we’ll get to see young Nishikujou. With short hair. I love short hair. Not to mention loli Akane and Kotori. That being said, I’m more excited about Moon as a whole. It was extremely surreal when I first played through it, but in retrospect I really enjoyed it. It’ll be interesting to see what the Kotarou formed by the culmination of all Kotarous is like on screen, and as I’ve said before I believe that there’s more intimacy between Kotarou and Moon Kagari during Moon than there ever was between him and Earth Kagari in Terra. The rooftop dancing scene, that time when he ascends to a higher plane of existence and has to be brought down by Kagari, even the three cups of coffee scene – it’ll all be really good. Hopefully.

Finally, if you’ve reading this post about Rewrite for the first time, or if you’re an anime-only who even vaguely liked the story that you’ve seen thus far, please play the visual novel. It’s extremely long (>50 hours) but it’s well worth your time. That I can promise you. It’s at least as good a work as the rest of what Key and Visual Arts have produced, trust me when I say that their prestige and name brand means something in the industry they compete in. Just like with Little Busters, don’t let the relative lack of money thrown at its anime project dictate the quality you perceive either the original work or the story to have.

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Rewrite Episode 12: Song of Destruction

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Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu Episode 25: That’s All This Story Is About [Final Impression]

It’s over!

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Impression

re_zero-25-img003Huh. It’s over. Is that really all this story is about? I’m actually quite surprised – that felt like a fairly standard ending, in that everyone’s smiles were protected and everything went perfectly. It was so standard that I didn’t expect it at all, because the way this show has worked up until now is that it pretends everything is okay before stabbing you in the back and shoving you off a cliff, replacing a safety mat you see at the bottom that’s supposed to break your fall with extra-sharp spikes just to get another laugh before you die a gruesome, despair-filled death. I was almost expecting hell, and to not get it makes the ending a little underwhelming. I have no idea whether it was anime-original or not, but I wouldn’t put it past White Fox to go down that route given what they did with Underwater Ray Romano a couple of seasons ago. Time to finally read the web novel, I suppose.

re_zero-25-img012An example of things going wrong would have been the bag of magic stones exploding and grievously wounding Emilia and the children, but it just ended up being one of those added complications that pop up during the later stages of an arc to add extra suspense, a bit like what happened near the end of the mansion arc. Stuff like that usually fails to add any suspense at all, purely because from a technical perspective the series is about to conclude and you’re not supposed to do cruel stuff because a happy ending is the norm. The difference is that Re:Zero has spent the last six months doing exactly that, with the result being that the first time I didn’t expect a happy ending was the first time we actually got one.

I loved the Satella scene, though! She’s the cutest. I was under the impression that she wouldn’t really interfere with Subaru other than in the event that he gets killed (i.e. in the absence of his physical death, she won’t intervene no matter how much suffering he goes through or even if the consciousness controlling his body isn’t his any longer) but I guess she wasn’t really happy with Betelgeuse being there instead when she arrived to take advantage of her chance to lewdly caress Subaru.

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re_zero-25-img007I’m also now reconsidering whether there’s any merit to the Satella-Emilia theory. It’s the first time she’s spoken, and if I’m not wrong that voice should be Takahashi Rie’s. At least, it sounded awfully similar to her. It’s most likely intentional if so, but I don’t know whether it’s bait worth taking. Both are silver-haired half-elves, for a start. And it just doesn’t make sense for an all-powerful, supposedly evil (but kind of cute) witch to unconditionally love a random human to the point of summoning him from another world and making sure he stays alive at all costs. One way of explaining it would be the love that Subaru feels for Emilia, right? Even if Satella isn’t Emilia from the future, I really doubt that the two aren’t related whatsoever. We have no idea whether Satella really wants to take over Emilia’s body (she clearly gives no fucks about the cult that worships her) but if she does, there are probably reasons as to why she can’t do so just yet (or she’d have done it by now) and why it has to be Emilia. Because if I were her, I’d just take over Reinhard and she would literally be set for life. Unless Reinhard has some sort of blessing that prevents him from being taken over by qt yandere witches, which he probably does.


Overall Thoughts

re_zero-25-img009I’m actually surprisingly mellow about Re:Zero ending. I don’t really feel much. I’m not sure whether it’s just my mood today or otherwise, but I don’t feel that hollow feeling I usually get when a two-cour series comes to an end. Next Sunday will be my first Sunday in six months where I’ll have no Re:Zero to watch, and for some reason the current me is okay with that. It’s strange, because it’s definitely a successful anime given how popular it is – if there’s anything that’s turning (or has turned) semi-mainstream from this season without being shounen, something like what Tokyo Ghoul or Kiseijuu or Kimiuso did in their respective seasons, this’ll be it. It’s just that the ending sort of petered out in a way that’s not really definitive of what the series has been all about up until that point. I’m not saying everyone should have died, but this show wouldn’t be the same without the suffering. It wouldn’t have been as emotionally heart-wrenching without it, and so an ending without any plot twists was weaker than it could have been, as nice as it is to see Subaru actually smiling. At the end of the day, I could have predicted everything that ended up happening this evening with complete accuracy, and that’s not what I’ve come to expect from Re:Zero. It was such an orthodox ending that it was unorthodox, in other words. Truly slothful.

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re_zero-25-img005It’ll get a second season though. I’m almost certain of that. White Fox has produced many sequels before, unlike studios like P.A. Works who are traditionally very sequel-averse (although with Uchouten Kazoku 2 announced this morning, that trend has now been broken). I also hear that the author wants to animate all of what he’s written, and that’s a good sign. It’s most likely popular enough, both in Japan and in the West to turn over a hefty profit, and in the end that’s what’s most important. This author seems to absolutely love Emilia though, for some strange reason – she has a pretty face and a kind heart, but her lack of development leaves me unable to sympathise all that much. Hopefully that’ll change in future arcs – her single most memorable moment for me was that first lap pillow where Subaru cried his heart out (come to think of it, that’s probably the precise moment he fell in love with her, if there ever was one). Other than that, I’ve ended up taking a lot more interest in the other girls, from Rem to Beatrice and even Satella. Rem wins a whole case of trophies for having the best moments by far. Episodes 15 and 18 are what will leave an impression on me in the years to come, trailed only by the White Whale battle.

At it’s core, Re:Zero has only been as successful as it has because of its plot twists and its suffering. It’s not so much a successful example of the isekai genre as it is a supernatural fantasy that just happens to involve isekai, because the fact that Subaru has been summoned to a different world has hardly been a focus at all relative to him encountering and resolving his many personal and emotional struggles. Seeing him tackle those ups and downs is what’s made it so satisfying.

Finally, Rem is objectively best girl.