Yeesh. I really kind of feel I like crapped the bed this anime season. In that I just fell off so many of the shows that I seemed to feel like I was pretty interested in based on my Three Episode Rule series. I guess I shouldn’t feel married to the verdicts I arrive at after the first three episodes, but I feel kind of bad when I end up falling off a series immediately after posting the 3ER of it on here.
I don’t know if it’s just me and the less than healthy headspace I’ve been in this year, but 2021 doesn’t really feel like it’s been an especially astounding year for anime in my opinion. Maybe it’s been me watching less, or maybe we’re just feeling the effects of COVID on the animation industry.
Either way, thinking back on the past 12 months, there are very few shows that jump out at me as being these amazing shows I’m jumping about and telling my two anime friends that they need to try and watch.
Not to be a massive downer about it or anything. Again, maybe it’s a “me” thing. I know I’ve not been in the best place personally this year, and maybe that’s just bleeding over into making it difficult for me to really have any strong feelings about the media I’m consuming.
Whose to say, but I can’t spend this entire post being melancholy. Let’s talk about this season of anime:
Peach Boy Riverside:
For some weird reason, this ended up being the one new show I continued watching all the way to the end this season. I wrote the above piece about half way through the season to express my frustration at the show’s director making the bizarre choice to adapt the manga totally out of order.
While I still think it was a boneheaded move, ironically, it was a move that gave what would have otherwise been a super generic fantasy anime and gave it something to at least make it controversial. I’d honestly not have anything to say about this series outside of how cool Frau is if it had not been for it’s haphazard jumping around in its own source material.
So maybe, in the end there was some method to the madness.
The Aquatope on White Sand:
This is probably the series I feel the worst about dropping away from. For some reason I just never found the time to pick it up again after posting my 3 Episode Rule post. It’s one I still want to want to get back to, but as the episode count steadily increases, it seems like so much more of a daunting task.
I want to say I’m going to try and make an effort to get back to this one. But seeing as how it’s getting a 24 episode run, combined with how many shows I’m interested in looking at in the Autumn season, I feel like it’s ultimately going to be very unlikely that this gets another look-in.
This is another show that fell away from me. I don’t feel as bad about this one getting away from me though. I did continue watching it a few more episodes after my 3ER, but the strangeness of the world it was set in, combined with the very subdued nature of the characters ended up being that little notch of off-putting that ended up making me want to spend my time elsewhere.
And maybe I’m not missing out because I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talking about this show at all on social media or here on WordPress. At least one always falls through the cracks and this was probably always going to be it.
As I mentioned in this post linked above, Shaman King isn’t actually an anime from this season. It’s just the latest victim of “Netflix jail” and the streaming service’s resistance to simulcast anything. So adamant that they adhere to their binge watching model that they only just dropped the first 13 episodes of the series.
While the show continues to air in Japan week to week, we’re going to have to wait another 13 weeks to get the series here in the west. Like I said in the post though, despite my complaints about Netflix’s model, it might have been this exact thing that allowed me to watch this series like I did. My befuddled brain being what it is this year.
I liked Shaman King though, it’s a nice throwback to a style of shonen anime from my youth. Which was the intent I suppose. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the rest of it when it eventually finds its way onto Netflix.
Star Wars Visions:
This counts right? As I’m writing this, I’m still only two episodes into the series as I chip away at it for the purposes of reviewing each episode for my blog.
Miss Kobayahi’s Dragon Maid S:
The above post doesn’t actually have a lot to say about this second season of Miss Kobayahi’s Dragon Maid. But I thought I’d link it anyway, because why not?
Like the first series of this show though, I loved it by the time it was over. A sweet little nonsense slice of life about the stoic Miss Kobayashi and the ever growing cast of goofy, ecchi dragon girls that surround her. The genuine sweetness, combined with the stunning animation just keeps you sitting there with a big goofy smile on your face.
Not to mention the occasional breath-taking action sequence that, like with the first season, ends up being looking better than anything I’ve seen in actual shonen battle anime all year.
This season introduces a new character of Ilulu, one I ultimately feel contributes to the one major shortcoming of the show. The series is at it’s strongest when it’s focusing on the main family unit of Kobayashi, Tohru and Kanna.
When it spends more time focusing on the other members of the cast, I just don’t feel as invested. After Ilulu is introduced in the first couple episodes, she just kind of fades into the background, despite living with the main trio. While I do like her once we get to know her, she’s just not as strong on screen as the other three and their mom/dad/child dynamic.
When the series refocuses though and does what it does best, it’s amazing. I loved it and watching it was super heart-warming. Both for the content of the series itself and for the behind the scenes tragedy Kyoto Animation came back from to make another fantastic series of this show.
My Hero Academia (Season 5)
I gave a pretty comprehensive account of my feelings on My Hero in the post linked above. I wasn’t especially blown away by this fifth season of My Hero and feel like the studio might have lacked a little focus in the way they chose to adapt the Meta Liberation Army Arc. Which felt like a bit lacklustre to me compared to other big climactic final battles from the series’ past.
Like I said in the post itself though, I’m not too down on the series though because it looks like season six is going to spend an entire season covering the next story arc; one of the biggest and most dramatic in the manga so far. So I’m still super excited about My Hero.
Fingers crossed, coming out of COVID and not being distracted by a movie will give them the time to give this arc the weight and attention it really needs.
As I said somewhere in the sea of text above; I’ve already made up my shortlist of anime I’m interested in watching for the year’s final 3 Episode Rule series. And it’s a big chunk of anime that’s caught my eye. It’s a good thing I’ve got a lot of holiday from work to use before Christmas, let me tell you. The final few months of this year are going to be busy ones for me.