Time for the beginning of the end! PHEW! About time! I am glad I made time to actively finish the shows from the Spring season and come to at least a consensus on what I feel about each of them. Unfortunately this is where placing the shows actively becomes a problem to me and why this list took so long to finally finish as I myself didn’t know where to place most of these works. I had to come to a decision and with a wing and a prayer let us move onward!
Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu/ Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
The most popular series of the season is without a doubt Re:Zero. I am more on the negative side of how to perceive Re:Zero even though I have it up quite high as I do still see why people enjoy this series. It is a very smart time to release this anime, especially after the popularity of Boku dake ga Inai Machi, though this has more meat to its narrative and a more fantastical element to get drawn into. Boku dake takes a more realistic setting (coupled with the obvious melodrama) to create its narrative, yet Re:Zero takes place as our protagonist Subaru is transported into a fantasy world. Imagination is key here as Boku dake stays more into the relatively realistic world, whereas Re:Zero manages to shine due to how it creates a fantastical setting for us to explore. We get more sucked into magical settings than realistic ones as often mystery is not the most well-received type of anime if you compare it to fantasy.
Now Re:Zero may be interesting in the way Subaru often realizes his surroundings and adapts quickly, yet there is more continuity breaks because of that. How come he can handle being randomly transported into a new world and not freak out negatively, yet not recognize that he has reset to a certain point once he dies? Those inconsistencies in his intelligence do show up from time to time and unfortunately he is the only character that grows as we see through the repetition of the same events every section as others are not allowed to grow until after the specific event Subaru needs to deal with. This can cause some sections to feel like a slog as you will see the same events done again and again to ad nauseam. This shows up at the mansion section of the show and even in the beginning but to a lesser degree as I think it handles itself well enough to showcase more than one focus.
I am more mixed about the series than anything and rest more in the middle on how people receive the series. Is it perfection incarnate? No because at times its tone clashes far too often and you can only do the scare tactic of pep followed by gore a few times before you can tell it’s coming. I felt like most of the time I was watching two shows fighting one another for supremacy and, to me it gets jarring. Is it a wretched, horrible and unwatchable piece of filth? No, there is still redeemable qualities that can make you continue. Some moments are legitimately well done, especially when it comes to the action and the tension it provides. The premise and idea of a Groundhog Day set-up in a fantasy world that happens after death does work out for the most part. It is more popcorn material and average to me than it is either of those extremes and I find myself both agitated and content to watch this show. This is only my thoughts for the first cour though, my full thoughts will come with the next season.
I don’t think I have clearly expressed my feelings for this series enough and potentially this could cause some contention/confusion. That being said, I don’t want to ramble on forever about one singular show in a list of shows which I discuss my likes and misgivings on each respectively. There is a lot to go into when discussing the ups and downs I felt with this series and it’s already far too long as it is. These descriptions are not meant to be the most in-depth but rather giving my opinion in a broader sense without honing in on specifics.
Boku no Hero Academia/ My Hero Academia
Now let me preface this as I have read the source manga and while I do like how Bones brought to life some iconic scenes, there just wasn’t as much tone or detail as I found within the show as I saw and felt in the panels. With that being said, I think there was too much of a leisurely pace and execution to the anime where I felt a lot of sequences or shots were padding. Unnecessary prolonged shots on random spots, shoved in lines that didn’t need to be there, and a beginning that ended its episodes without payoffs. Technically I think this is a messily put together adaptation, yet it still shines in sequences and through its characters. The impact of Midoriya becoming our Superman is still just as compelling on-screen as it was in the manga, which coupled with the musical score allowed me to actually get a bit choked up.
Now the content I feel is a complete homage to Western Superhero culture and it is interesting to theorize some of the potential inspirations for some characters. I do think though that the best part and what originally hooked me on the series is in what would be the next season, and thus I felt none of the material got me hyped up until the end even though we do have some great clashes during the middle. Padding was what my main problem was with this season, and hopefully next season they trim that in order to make a more easily digestible pace and action sequences.
P.A. Works takes it shot at making a mecha series and it actually isn’t that bad. The CGI mecha are rough in their movements more so in the beginning than anything, often having clumsy battle choreography on both sides. I can tell because other series like Break Blade only have such a thing as a positive point and thus it can become quite noticeable when it is done poorly. Whenever the mecha are not in play though, the characters help to create a fun fish out of water story especially with its two leads Kennosuke and Yukina. They are relatable and more interesting protagonists than most generic mecha series and it shows.
My problem comes from the highschool hijinks that interjects itself from time to time as often it is quite dull and stereotypical (Plus that camera kid is such a twerp!). I feel like they created characters more for a sense of it being filler instead of being there for a purpose of developing or having depth. There is a change in focus once the aliens show their true face, and that is where my interest is taken back. I find it a rough series to sit through sometimes, but PA Works are giving it their best to make a more unique mecha series for the anniversary and I applaud that.
Flying Witch is a soothing episodic tale of whimsical magic more akin to that found in Harry Potter, but a lot more modern and earthly. The beauty of Flying Witch is in its more laid back tone to its magic setting, often melding mundane everyday tasks into its routine making the magic seem like just an everyday task. I originally thought this was weird because why would you not want to highlight the magic, when in fact I was more impressed/content when it was eased in to juxtapose other elements. It teaches you about how the world works without shoving every nitty gritty detail down your throat in one go. They may talk a bit about something, then talk nonchalantly about something else only to come back to the same discussion later.
It’s pacing and tone allows you to be relaxed in the face of fantastical elements and it gives you a more interesting ride because of that. Though the series does not only focus on the fantastical imagery or events and often delves into more realistic events which I found myself fading in and out from. The tone and pacing is only spiced up due to the fantastical elements yet when it lacks those very elements it is more boring than anything. I found myself then becoming mixed almost every episode as most times it would be half and half often opting for a combination of the two. I liked it, but in the end it never truly stood out due to its subdued material with the truly memorable parts only coming from some unique visual imagery.
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – The Last Song
Still all the pacing and storytelling issues I had with the first one, yet it still manages to have the thematic punch needed to stay afloat for me. I would argue they toned down the time jumps to a lesser amount of time, but it is still jarring to see all the dates appear on-screen (being a soon to be ex-history major I know that is no fun). That being said, when it dedicates time to actively developing the plots of each episode and the characterization of its characters is where this series truly shines. It truly comes into its own as an almost “Marvel Civil War” type feel with its cast as they try to fight for what they believe in as sides change continuously and the episodic stories keep on rolling.
My problem with this series was I thought it could be much cleaner if they held back on some of the more episodic parts of the story to focus more on telling a more streamlined one to make it more cohesive and less jarring as I thought the set-up was the first season. There are easily some of the best moments of the series and potentially of the season with some of its more episodic content (such as with the girl band) and how well they managed to flesh out characters even more through their actions and what they find out. Yes, the ending to me was lackluster as the villain was really boring and I can never truly remember his plan exactly and that is my harshest criticism on the show. The Last Song works so well on a thematic and character level that if they cleaned up the story elements then I would say this would be one of the best of potentially the year yet it still made its mark to those who enjoy it for what it is, a unique spin on the superhero culture and potentially one that may become a cult classic.
Spring certainly has not disappointed with some interesting shows that took some unique chances. A lot of interesting superhero shows which stood out among others for either invoking a sense of nostalgia or even trying to interject an interesting commentary upon the genre and its usual core themes. Sadly not enough mecha this season…that seems to be how it is these days. Though I digress, next time it shall be the final five! What did you think of these anime? Make sure to put down some thoughts down below and have a great day!