Alright, an explanation. I originally made this ‘what I watched’ post not too far into the new season, slightly delayeddue to being busy and Dragon Maid not finishing before the new season started. However after posting it I realized I’d somehow forgotten Rakugo Shinjuu (SOMEHOW) and so took the post down so it could be edited before going back up. With a bunch of things going on like Skins and then Junko visiting, this kept getting more and more delayed, and then I suddenly realized it was June 1st and there were literally 4 more weeks until the next anime season.
So uh…sorry for the delay! Here’s that post again.


Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (Season 2)


I don’t use the word ‘masterpiece’ lightly, says me, who has probably used the sentence ‘I don’t use the word masterpiece lightly’ more than once on this blog before. But there’s simply no other way to describe part 2 Rakugo Shinju. This show was absolutely phenomenal.
If season one was the slow-burn gradual creeping sadness, season 2 is an all-out assault on the tear ducts that sees our sad grumpy old Kiko getting even sadder, grumpier and older. The opening couldn’t be any more blunt about it – this is a story of a man trudging wearily to his death whilst still being haunted by his past, and yet its compelling in a way I never would have expected from the first episode of season 1 all these months ago. There’s plenty of anime out there that we all recognize as being really good, or ‘masterpieces’, on lofty pillars where no criticism can reach them, and yet at the same time we deep down admit that some of those are just a little bit boring, or it might be far from our ‘favourite anime’ but we’ll still list its name in a list of the Greats to prove that we’re high-brow and sophisticated. (Don’t deny it) But Rakugo Shinju isn’t like that. It feels like it should be like that, the kind of show that I’d appreciate on a cultural and technical level but secretly find a little bit dull or with no rewatch value or have nothing particularly interesting about its characters. Even my description there of a man trudging to his death sounds like tragedyporn oscarbait and nothing else, but it’s just good, and the journey through time its characters took me on are going to stay with me for a long time.
There are probably hundreds of reviews for this show that wax lyrical about this shows writing and characters in a sophisticated and beautiful way, so let me be the person who says ‘this show was fuckin amazing ok’.
Out of 5,

 

Kobayashi-san chi no Maid Dragon/Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

I did a first impression for Dragon Maid back when it first aired and decided it was merely ‘okay’, but to be honest I kind of wish I’d blogged it because it really does turn into quite the charming series. Especially after the introduction of Kanna, the tremendously adorable tiny-Dragon who requests permission to go to school just because she wants to make friends, the show gradually becomes a surprisingly pleasant slice of life about an odd family. It’s touching and heart-warming, whether its about the growing bond between Kobayashi and her dragon housemates, her coworker and his dragon housemate, or the various people who live around the town and contribute to Kobayashi’s life in some way. Also, Fafnir is the best and every scene with him in it is the best scene.
The problem with the show, unfortunately, is that an awful lot of the time it acts like a horny fanservice romcom just straining to be on its best behavior. Usually, its best behavior is the genuinely touching and funny things the show has to offer, but then you let your guard down and a dragon is engulfing an underaged boy in her watermelon tits. A little word about that. One of the recurring characters is a cute little mage, imaginatively called Shouta, apparently from an entire family of mages, who ends up being the housemate of Lucoa (AKA Quetzacoatl) who is almost ridiculously well-endowed. She likes him an awful lot, and theres a running gag that she gets her boobs up in his face all the time, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose. A lot of people outright hate these characters for this reason but I’m torn because Shouta is adorable, but I’m also irritated because the show literally teases us with this info that he has a family of mages and has magical powers himself, all of which is infinitely more interesting than dragon tits mashing in his face every episode, but the show never focuses on the former whatsoever. To be honest, I would have forgave a lot of this highly questionable fanservice had Shouta been allowed to do literally anything else any time he’s on screen. The show thinks that this is so funny as a recurring gag that it’s even referenced in the opening. The thing is, I eventually discovered that the original mangaka kinda…uh, has a huge boner for this kind of thing, and frequently draws very young looking boys being boobily attacked by older women.
It’s weird that its part of the same show because of how different it is in tone, and I know a lot of people refuse to even watch it for that. To be honest I think the good parts more than make up for the more problematic aspects of it and if you can shrug off that one incredibly repetitive, kinda creepy recurring gag it’s a solid show with a touching final episode that I genuinely enjoyed watching. It’s actually the show I most enjoyed on this list.
Out of 5,

Demi-chan wa Kataritai/Interviews with Monster Girls

To be honest even though I did like this it’s hard to find things to say about it other than the fact that it was pleasant to watch. I liked the characters, and the idea of normalizing monster girls (in this universe they are just randomly born to human parents rather than being separate races like in other series) is a unique one, but the cost is that some may find them a little too human and thus boring. Other than Machi the Dullahan, none of these girls actually resemble the mythical creatures they are and could easily be mistaken for any regular anime girl. However, I think that their increased human-ness actually makes their stranger qualities stand out a little more, and it works well with the mood of the show.
The teacher works as a likeable protagonist and his quest to find out as much about the DemiGirls as he can has a charm in his earnestness without him seeimg patronizing or like he’s exotifying them. It’s also interesting to see the theories he comes up with, which are surprisingly grounded in realism, of the girl’s qualities. The fact that he has his own personality rather than just being some generic placeholder guy like another series might do is also a plus.
The main problem the show has is pacing – it doesn’t really seem to follow any narrative structure and then ends at a bizarre place. Then there’s the issue with the character Kurtz, who as Ariana mentioned contributes basically nothing to the plot of the anime despite presumably doing a lot more in the manga. Unlike Ariana, I actually liked him a lot, but why the anime chose to bother including him at all and hint about how important he is if they weren’t even going to explain his purpose is beyond me. It’s possible they were anticipating a season 2, but as of writing this that has yet to be announced.
Out of 5,
1/2

ACCA

ACCA, for whatever reason, didn’t end up getting a First Impression at all, and somehow it slipped my radar completely until it had already started airing. ACCA is the name of the organisation that monitors the kingdom of Dowa, a (somehow bird-shaped) continent divided into a number of 13 vastly different regions/states (although they seem more like separate countries themselves) each with their own climate, customs and products. Apparently ACCA hasn’t had a great deal to do yet…until rumours start brewing about a coup planned by one of the districts, that the lead character Otus gets wound up in.
ACCA is intended to be a ‘political intrigue’ story, but I have to be real here. As much as I like Natsume Ono’s art and all, I honestly did not find the central plot intriguing at all, and to be honest it’s rather poorly plotted and developed.  There was probably one character in this show I was all that invested in and that’s only because he reminded me of a blond Waver Velvet, and only now I am realizing I literally have no idea what his name is. I can’t remember anyone’s name except Otus because everyone left that little impression on me even after watching the entire thing, and that’s mostly because my younger sister used to always draw a cat called ”Otis” and the name is similar. What the show actually excels at, and seems to dedicate a great deal more time and effort to, is its world-building. (unfortunately this strength doesn’t translate to the names of the districts. The district with lots of flowers is called Furawa, for example.). In Otis’s travels to the various districts he encounters various climates, customs, and most importantly, food. He usually brings back the famous food from each region as a souvenir for his ACCA branch or for his sister, and there’s a whole lot of time spent discussing it. Some of these are pretty interesting and just one of them is completely stupid (‘the food here is comically huge, so all the people are also comically huge!’ Come on, that wouldn’t be out of place in One Piece or something but it’s pretty hard to take your political plot seriously when you do something like that.)  I honestly would have been fine with the show if it was just entirely this because the whole coup plot is not only sloppy, but the ‘big reveal’ kinda…unfortunate. (This is a vague spoiler, so stop reading now if you want to watch this blind but here’s a little tip for writers. If you’re going to make a bunch of separate districts/countries/whatever, and then go out of your way to make just one of those districts be entirely dark-skinned and every other one populated only by white people, maybe don’t also make the dark-skinned one be the one that turns out to be the sneaky ones. I was already getting sick of the plot by that point and then it just kinda just soured my opinion of the whole thing. Granted it would have anyway because the ending felt like such a fizzle regardless.) At least the theme song is catchy?
Out of 5,

Kemono Friends

Ariana did the First Impression for Kemono Friends and mostly dismissed it (and also mistook it for a kids show, which is kinda understandable given the content, but this actually aimed in an otaku tv slot (ie stupid o’clock in the morning). Unbeknownest to basically everyone else who did the same thing, this show – part of a multimedia project – would go on to become the smash hit of the season. I am pretty sure absolutely no one saw this coming –and certainly not the production team; after all the app part of the project had already gone offline due to a lack of popularity before the anime aired and the budget for the show was dismally low with a very small team to boot. The sudden explosion of popularity came with such intensity that companies are literally scrambling to fill in the merchandise gaps as none of them would have predicted they would be selling much whatsoever. Even Good Smile, in an effort to get that Serval-chan nendoroid up for preorder as soon as humanly possible, did so before the prototype had even been coloured. If nothing else, Kemono Friends’ success is somewhat inspiring in that ‘underdog rising above the odds’ way.
I started watching it myself once it suddenly got huge, mostly just to see what the fuss was about. While I definitely wouldn’t call it the show of the season, and it certainly took a good deal of episodes to win me over, it’s easy to see its simple charm. While mostly about a human and a serval-girl on a slow-paced adventure, the two end up meeting a whole load of other animal girls – it’s a show with a million different characters with cute designs, making it easy to pick a favourite one. (Plus its the only anime I’ve ever seen to reference a Tasmanian Devil so it gets points for that, even if she only appeared for two seconds) It’s gentle and somewhat relaxing (despite the ”surprise” reveal a few episodes in, although anyone paying attention to the state of Japari Park would have seen that coming) and despite how simplistic everything is there was something bizarrely comforting about it.  True, I primarily watched it in the background of doing something else because the content was never quite thrilling enough to give my full attention, but as far as otaku flavour of the months go, it’s nice to have one that is completely and utterly inoffensive for a change. It’s greatest crime is being occasionally quite dull, and, given that this seasons otaku flavour of the month is this piece of shit, that really ain’t bad. And the character designs really are cute.
Out of 5,

So there you have it – I didn’t watch a great deal last season, and I’m not watching a great deal this season either, but I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop. I tend to only do these posts out of obligation for not blogging anything in that season so I don’t know if I’m going to do another one for the current season once it’s over, but we’ll see.

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