Fall 2017 anime season
October 8, 2017 6:21 PM - Subscribe

Stand up and blab: What anime this season are you watching, or wanna watch, or wanna avoid, or wanna hatewatch?

AniChart's table of the fall 2017 season.

Anime Feminist isn't providing a roundup of the fall season previews, but they've been knocking out reviews of a lot of first episodes, so I recommend checking those out.
posted by ardgedee (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So far we haven't seen much, but...

The new season of Blood Blockade Battlefront (Kekkai Sensen & Beyond) opened with nonstop action and apocalyptic levels of violence and yet it somehow felt lacking. Maybe the director wants to grab viewers with a bang and not get to business until the second episode, we'll see. Despite having a cheaper, less atmospheric production and a less satisfying soundtrack, it's still good popcorn-and-pizza viewing so I'm willing to stick with it.

Love is Like a Cocktail (Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara)... I can't quite tell after one episode whether I'll like this or not. The premise is straightforward: The wife comes home from her office job, the husband fixes her a cocktail, she gets drunk and cute and silly. It would be harder to take if the episodes were more than five minutes long, since -- unusual for a food series -- the focus is primarily on the wife acting drunk rather than on the drink of the week.

We watched Urahara with extremely low expectations, since it ticks most of the boxes of things we hate in anime, but. I think each of us remarked to the other at some point during the first episode, "I want to hate this, but I'm failing." The deliberately sketchy, blobby art style that hearkens to fan animation and 1970s-era freehand ink-drawn commercial art does a lot to help set it apart from everything else on offer. So maybe there's hope for the "Cute girls winning the universe at cuteness by being cute, and also there are cute aliens" genre.
posted by ardgedee at 6:37 PM on October 8, 2017

I'll watch the continuations of Love Live Sunshine and Yuuki Yuuna, and at least try out the new Idolm@ster, but I haven't heard anything too exciting about any of the new stuff so far. Probably take a look at Houseki no Kuni sometime.
posted by one for the books at 8:57 AM on October 9, 2017

Yeah, I would be all over Love is Like a Cocktail if it was at all educational, like Oishinbo or Dagashi Kashi for mixed drinks.

The one that has convinced me with one episode is the Ancient Magus' Bride.
posted by RobotHero at 9:19 AM on October 9, 2017

Kino no Tabi is looking good. First Ep was basically a weird pro 2nd amendment episode. Next up is Colosseum, so I donno how many episodes will be shared, but it seems like a non-zero number.

Otherwise, a bunch of shonen. Juuni Taisen maybe?
posted by pwnguin at 1:43 AM on October 11, 2017

I enjoyed the first episode of Blood Blockade Battlefront, but it's missing something compared to the first season, maybe due to the change in director (Rie Matsumoto is not the director this season).

I rather liked the first episode of Recovery of an MMO Junkie, but am watching with some trepidation, as it has the potential to go from pleasant watch to unwatchable non-stop fan service.

I am looking forward to the second season of 3-gatsu no Lion. On that note here's Bump of Chicken's "Fighter" pre-dating its use in the anime.
posted by needled at 1:04 PM on October 12, 2017

Here's Anime Feminist's full preview roundup, with summaries of each show('s premiere) and links to fuller descriptions, preceded by a lengthy discussion of what their reviews do or do not try to achieve.
posted by one for the books at 5:24 PM on October 13, 2017

Something to look forward to in December, assuming the official channels release a subtitled version promptly: Thunderbolt Fantasy Gaiden: Life Or Death Sword.* I have no idea if it'll make any sense whatsoever if you hadn't seen the first series, but considering how crazy the first series is that might not matter anyway. *(I guessed at that by hacking around in Google Translate; I have no idea how the title will be officially translated.) There's also a placeholder on the website for a second TV season, which is also going to be worth anticipating.

If you haven't seen the first series, which aired last fall, make an effort to. It's one of the most over-the-top things I've seen, so don't worry about what's going on, just relax and drink in the eye candy.
posted by ardgedee at 4:12 PM on October 14, 2017

Interesting that Thunderbolt Fantasy is getting a second series. I loved many things about that show, the great characters, the over-the-top wardrobe, the semi-coherent plot, the hilarious deus ex machina -- but I could not get over the immobility of the characters. When they spoke, instead of lips moving, the entire puppet bounced up and down, which is just not convincing. I suppose it worked in Punch and Judy shows, where the average viewer was twenty feet back from the stage, dodging horse-drawn carriages, and couldn't see anything anyway, but it's not right for TV.

I did watch the show to the end. I will try TF Gaiden, and hope that lip flap technology has improved.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:56 AM on October 15, 2017

I didn't find the minimal lip movement in Thunderbolt Fantasy to be distracting, probably because there was so much else is going on visually.

I think even with improved lip flap technology getting lip movement to match the dubbing would be difficult - from what I recall when I was reading up on Taiwanese glove puppetry, all the characters are voiced by a male narrator / voice actor, and in the case of Pili productions a Chinese dialect prevalent in Taiwan is used. Typically the voice work is done before shooting the scenes with puppets, to better synchronize the two. For Thunderbolt Fantasy, the Japanese language dubbing happened after shooting and recording in the dialect had been done. So there was no avoiding the Japanese voice acting not quite matching even the minimal lip movement of the puppets.
posted by needled at 8:51 AM on October 15, 2017

> lip flap technology

Yeah, I think it's partly because the mouth movements are synchronized for the Chinese dub, not the Japanese dub. And partly because they're basically handheld marionettes with solid heads, so trying to engineer mouths with sufficient movement will mean having the sort of detached jaw that cheap ventriloquist dolls use and that would be even more of a visual disruption. I found the mouth movements distracting for a while, but only for a while. There was usually too much else going on to care, but I definitely get what's bugging you about them.
posted by ardgedee at 10:32 AM on October 15, 2017

Recovery of an MMO Junkie seems like it could have so many problems, but so far it's so much better than I expected. Like--I was never an MMO player but I had my own online RPG stuff, and a lot of my friends are current or former WoW or other kinds of serious gamers, and a lot of it feels almost excruciatingly authentic. And adorable. And improbable. Did they just pitch an entire show for the very specific demographic of women gamers in their 30s? It could go south, but I'm at this point feeling really good about it. I don't think it's going to wind up saying anything particularly deep about gender, but it effectively captures the very mundane weirdness of presenting as a different gender on the internet. Het romance usually isn't my thing, but I'm here for this one.
posted by Sequence at 11:03 AM on October 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Don't bring a trombone flamethrower to a gun fight.
posted by RobotHero at 1:45 PM on October 20, 2017

Recovery of an MMO Junkie continues being cute. I am really appreciating the depiction of the main character - how many female protagonists in their 30s does one see in TV anime? Despite the plot contrivances MoriMori as a character rings true emotionally.

Garo: Vanishing Line is a train wreck and watching to see how much worse it can get. Also because I have this inexplicable fascination with the Garo franchise.

Code: Realize sports some amazing visuals - costume design, the steampunk London with giant gears everywhere. Plot and characters seem pretty humdrum so far, though.

Don’t have opinion on Ancient Magus Bride as fall 2017 anime, having already seen the three episodes released over the summer (at the time I thought it would be an occasional episode released type of project) and followed the original manga prior to that.

TsukiPro the animation is my guilty pleasure pick - there’s nothing redeeming about it, even the music is terrible, but the male idol stage outfits and hairstyles are extremely entertaining.
posted by needled at 6:57 AM on October 22, 2017

It's from the Summer season, but I've just plowed through Made in Abyss and oh my god. Stunning soundtrack.
posted by lucidium at 9:27 AM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fall 2017 shows I've sampled:

Black Clover. In a world run by magic, two orphan brothers grow up, one a skilled magic user, the second born without magic, everyone's laughingstock. Both vow to grow up and be the Wizard King. Not a bad concept, but horrible execution. The same unfunny joke over and over and over. Constant yelling instead of acting. Dead slow plot. Unlikable characters. This was a fan favorite at the start of the season. Maybe it has a good manga? But the anime is terrible.

Evil or Live. Boy is sent to boot camp for 'internet addiction', where he is physically and psychologically abused by sadistic guards. Uninspired animation, slow plot. I quit after one episode.

Deus Irae. Show can't decide whether it wants to be SF drama with emo Nazi supermen invading from another dimension, or a high school ecchi comedy of boob and panty jokes. The result is disorienting. Odd animation, with hyper-precise CG and a weirdly desaturated color palette. I've watched two episodes, will try another couple, but I have my doubts.

Garo - Vanishing Line. Beefcake guy with bishie partner rides an overwrought talking motorcycle and fights supernatural beings called 'Horrors' in NYC. Sidekicks: a teen geek girl and a nun, and a sexpot girlfriend for fan service. Reminds me of Trigger's weird-ass "Inferno Cop," but with vastly better production values. Trashy fun.


Sequence, thanks for recommending MMO Junkie. Very enjoyable. After the "Stop spamming the cry emote!" line I giggled for fifteen minutes. On the surface it's sort of a rom-com/bedroom farce, but a little deeper, there issues of identity, and even epistemology and ontology: which is more real, the selves we were born with in the 'real world', or our chosen selves, in the MMO? And how we know what is real? Is the MMO just an alias for the real world? What do we mean by 'real'? Etc.

lucidium: I was amazed by Made in Abyss, too. Starts out as a light-hearted show, hey, let's do Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider with schoolkids! Then it gets darker, and darker and DARKER, until by the end the world is pitch black, a hell of exploited children. Reminds me of Puella Magi Madoka Magica that way, but PMMM pulled itself out by the end, and MiA never did. Of course, there's more story to go, and there will surely be another season, but still. Powerful show.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:20 PM on October 28, 2017

I've been thinking about making a post about it, as well as recommending it to all of my friends, but it is hard to give fair warning about the darker parts without it sounding like that's the main selling point. It's the quality of the art and sound design along with the imaginative world and bestiary that drew me in. I'm really interested to see where the story goes with the human curiosity and the human / inhuman themes. Also it's the only time a montage about a balloon has made me cry.
posted by lucidium at 2:10 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I hate to say it, but the second season of Blood Blockade Battlefront has become kinda' boring. There's no visible story arc, the events in each episode seem anecdotal and inconsequential -- they don't develop the milieu in any meaningful way -- and the animation lacks the richness and inventiveness the first season had. The characters seem to have devolved. In the first season, Leo's passivity stemmed from his confusion and fear of hurting others, but now he's just a weenie punching bag even when he intends to fight. Others have similarly been simplified to stereotypes and sketches of their former selves.

I'll continue watching it, but increasingly out of inertia more than interest unless they turn things around soon.
posted by ardgedee at 9:31 AM on October 30, 2017

Some more impressions:

Love is a Like a Cocktail. 3 minute episodes about a woman who becomes 'cute' when she's drunk. Her enabling husband presents a new cocktail recipe to the viewers each episode. I wonder how cute she is when she's dying of cirrhosis, with hepatic encephalopathy? Japan, Japan, WTF are you thinking?

Code: Realize, Guardian of Rebirth. Incoherent steampunk nonsense, with a bunch of 19th century literary characters and a 'The Girl' character who has no heart but a big gem stuck on her chest instead and speaks in monosyllables. Weird animation, with CG-sharp characters but blurry backgrounds. It's steampunk because there are giant turning gears attached to everything. There's something weird about the dialog and timing, too. The actors' lines always sound out of sync. I quit after two episodes.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War. A fantasy version of Battle Royale. Twelve fighters, mildly augmented with supernatural powers, who represent the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, try to kill each other. Violent and bloody, with some psychological horror as well. Decent production values. This isn't the sort of show I normally like, but after two episodes, I'm intrigued, and continuing to watch.

The Ancient Magus' Bride. A teen girl, orphaned, neglected by her relatives, is won at auction by a skull-headed magus who announces that she will be his apprentice, and bride. Ick? The three OAVs which preceded the TV series told a prequel story, sweet and sad. But the TV show isn't working for me. Slow, plotless, managing to be both twee and sexually creepy, a unique achievement. Nice animation isn't nearly enough to save the show. I quit after three episodes.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:49 PM on October 31, 2017

Hmm, as somebody who's been reading the manga, I didn't find The Ancient Magus' Bride anime to be sexually creepy, but I could see how it could come across that way. Ainsworth isn't human, and his understanding of humans is ... incomplete? And that includes his understanding of the concepts of 'bride' or 'honeymoon.' I expect this will become clearer as the series progresses. I do think it was hinted in a big way when Ainsworth was warning Chise about fairies.
posted by needled at 5:39 PM on November 2, 2017

This may be a case of low expectations, but I think I've been okay with that because it doesn't feel like the show is exploiting that aspect for prurient interest. Like, you can easily imagine a show where, "he doesn't understand about what humans find creepy" becomes an excuse.
posted by RobotHero at 8:54 AM on November 3, 2017

Sure, at face value, threats against women, children, elderly, minorities, etc., are pretty great dramatic tools that aren't by definition exploitative. It's just that these are tropes that get used a lot, they're easy crutches for lazy writers so they end up exploitative anyway, and are used for kidding-not-kidding didactic purposes by bad people (cough Michael Bay cough). So leaning on those tropes yet again requires extra effort by the creators to demonstrate they're trying to stay on high ground.

Which I'm kind of saying out of the blue because I haven't watched The Ancient Magus' Bride yet, but in the context of society these days and, well, of having watched a lot of anime in my time, I think it's forgivable when people want to preemptively nope out of a series that looks like it's going in a questionable or triggering direction. Because even if it never succumbs to the trope, the tension it causes can be too distracting for the series to be enjoyable.
posted by ardgedee at 1:34 PM on November 3, 2017

So far, two of the five drinks in Love Is Like a Cocktail have been non-alcoholic, and another one was probably below 5% alcohol since it was more or less a mimosa made with sake. So the producers seem to be taking pains to not look like they endorse a steady diet of booze.
posted by ardgedee at 4:57 PM on November 4, 2017

About Love Is Like a Cocktail. I don't want to sound all puritanical here -- I'm a current rare drinker, a former moderate drinker -- but it seems to me that the show teaches that drinking makes you more interesting, which is a dangerous lesson to teach. Another thing: having your personality undergo a dramatic change when you drink is a red flag for alcoholism. Sorry, but alarms bells go off when I watch this stuff. To draw an analogy, it's like a show about children having fun playing in the street. It's really bad advice.

I know, Japanese standards are different. And doubtless one of the reasons we like anime, me, and probably most here, is that Japanese aesthetics and culture are different in interesting ways from what we're used to, which is probably Western culture. Sometimes those ways are shocking and disturbing. I'll tolerate a little of it. A scene with a bunch of happy drunks? Fine. A pantyshot or two? Fine. Suggestion of lolicon? As long as it doesn't go too far. But when a show is about the fun of drinking too much, is nothing but pantyshots, and starts getting deep into lolicon, I head for the exit and try another show instead. Everyone has their gag point. I watched three episodes of LILaC, and that was enough for me. 15 minutes of Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA was too much lolicon for me.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 3:40 PM on November 5, 2017

Sorry if I'm being too fighty. Let me throw in another couple of shows, as a more positive contribution.

Just Because! Mimetic high school drama. Amazing production values, nearly movie quality. Great direction and cinematography, integration of music and story, GORGEOUS nearly photorealistic backgrounds. Just lucious to watch. Catches the insecurity, anxiety, desires, dreams, "twitching like a finger on the trigger of a gun" feelings of teen life, and depicts them with subtlety and poignancy. First half of first episode is confusing, as several characters are introduced in brief flashes; in second half, the delicate webs of relationships between these kids begin to appear. I really want to watch this show, but I'm terrified to watch a second episode, for fear it won't keep up with the promise of the first. Does this ever happen to you?

King's Game. High schoolers get messages on their cell phones, telling them to perform certain embarrassing actions or they will be killed, sometimes publicly and bloodily. Not knowing who's behind this, they turn on the closest Other, our transfer student protagonist. Yeah, this is a known trope, similar in some ways to Mirai Nikki. Animation quality average. I'll watch a few episodes to see how it well the trope is executed. Show is based on a cell phone graphic novel. I'm skeptical of anime based on games; I'm not sure I've ever seen a successful one.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 3:45 PM on November 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Ancient Magus' Bride. A teen girl, orphaned, neglected by her relatives, is won at auction by a skull-headed magus who announces that she will be his apprentice, and bride. Ick?


And completely understandable if you dropped it because of it. I had the same problem attempting to read the original manga, taking three tries to get through the first few chapters.

Things do get better though, there are reasons for why both Chise and Ainsworth are the way they are at the start of the series and as Chise recovers from a long history of neglect and abuse and opens up, their relationship becomes more healthy (and does not, so far, go into a romantic direction).

Furthermore, the manga at least seems to know that what happens and how Ainsworth acted towards Chise at first is Not Okay.

TL,DR: it gets better while not ignoring its own problematic aspects.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:29 AM on November 7, 2017

> About Love Is Like a Cocktail. [...] it seems to me that the show teaches that drinking makes you more interesting, which is a dangerous lesson to teach.

The most recent episode was about getting drunk vs. getting tipsy; the main character's coworker is shown being a weepy drunk out of losing a competitive proposal, and the whole time the main character declines offers of drinks. Later, at home, she's shown having one and only one drink.

So it continues to be an interesting line they're walking. They're more direct about the collateral effects of drinking (eg, it gets you drunk, and subsequently you might embarrass yourself) than food anime like Wakakokaze is about the consequences of eating out too much.
posted by ardgedee at 1:12 PM on November 8, 2017

On the surface it's sort of a rom-com/bedroom farce, but a little deeper, there issues of identity, and even epistemology and ontology: which is more real, the selves we were born with in the 'real world', or our chosen selves, in the MMO? And how we know what is real? Is the MMO just an alias for the real world? What do we mean by 'real'? Etc.

I think there's something to the idea that this is what makes "light" things really work--if there's nothing at all more there, it's not fluff, it's nothing. Fluff has a little bit of substance, puffed up with air, and there's not THAT much to it but the fact that there's SOMETHING to it means that when it comes together it melts in a very satisfying way. I don't expect or want this to be heavy, but there's still enough there for it to feel authentic and to make me care. And oh god, I care. Is it Friday yet? I need it to be Friday.
posted by Sequence at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Slithy_Tove: I happened across the original manga version of "Love is Like a Cocktail". The lead character presents much more like a problem drinker there. The anime continues to not set me off in that regard, though. I wonder whether the series's director was concerned about it and had the scripts changed to lighten up the alcohol consumption.
posted by ardgedee at 5:23 PM on December 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Crunchyroll did something it rarely does, which is stream the OVA bonus episode for "MMO Junkie". If you've been watching the whole series, it's a lovely denouement.
posted by ardgedee at 8:36 AM on December 17, 2017

Better than expected:

ANIME-GATARIS - starts out seeming like predictable generic anime club drama. Hits all the tropes almost like an educational program. Then goes off the 4th wall breaking rails as the world of anime starts to infect the "real world". By the end, it's like the MC is on shrooms and the world around her is blinking through all of the anime you've ever seen, characters change, art style changes, maybe the director quit after episode 7?

A SISTER'S ALL YOU NEED - I didn't watch past the first episode because ewww. Then a reddit comment made me go back and watch the rest. A group of erotic/fetish/etc LN writers hanging out and role-playing and dealing with the day to day of editors and illustrators and tax accountants and deadlines and publishing and getting a manga/anime adaptation of their work. It's slice of life, they just happen to be in the porn-ish writer camp.

TWOCAR - This just filled the spot left after the end of Formula One Racing season ended. Cute girls doing side-car motorcycle road racing. VROOOMMM VROOOMMMM SQUEEL. Guilty pleasure.


KONOHANA KITAN - Fox girls at an inn between worlds. Very episodic and happy. Had me bawling my eyes out one episode because it was just so perfect.

The rest have mostly been covered and I pretty much enjoyed well enough the slice-o-life things and didn't bother with the actiony things.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:05 AM on January 1, 2018

A thought about Recovery of an MMO Addict:

Come to think of it, they haven't shown us any of the NPCs, and I think that's an interesting choice. NPCs may have served to distract from the story being told. IIRC, the original webcomic does depict NPCs -- around the same time frame, episode 1 could have included a scene involving Lily taking Hayashi to a blacksmith.
posted by redrawturtle at 1:38 AM on February 26, 2018

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