The longer I keep up with seasonal anime, the more evident it becomes that most anime are vehicles of stealth marketing. You can watch anime-original projects full of SAKUGA like the above, but most shows are 350-minute long advertisements of a manga/novel/game/whatever. Why bother sticking to just anime for your weeb entertainment in today’s media mix environment?
These days, I usually go directly to the source material unless I really like the anime staff. There are very few anime that fall into this category this season, unfortunately. I would have liked to watch Little Witch Academia, but unfortunately there’s no legal streaming option outside of Japanese Netflix. And as much as I like Yasuhiro Takemoto and KyoAni shows in general, Maid Dragon Kobayashi isn’t my kind of thing.
But whatever, I’ve still been getting into some interesting stuff this season, so here are some vague impressions.
I watched the first episode of the anime for this. Turns out that it has nothing to do with the games, other than sharing the same premise. The animation for this one is pretty energetic, with lots of smears and loose movements for people who are into that sort of thing. The ED, which was storyboarded by the director Ikehata himself, was my favourite thing about this, and I especially liked all the superimposed layers combining “2D” animation and the “3D” reality of Akihabara.
Overall, I’d say that the aesthetic fits the tone of the story well, but Akiba’s Trip is still not a good anime and will be quickly forgotten. From what I’ve played of the second game, though, it’s pretty fun. I’m supposed to write an article about that for Crunchyroll, so look forward to that sometime this season! In the meantime, I’ve already written a bit about the history of Akihabara, so do give that a read.
The manga is pretty mediocre from what I’ve read of it (around 40 chapters). I think I’ve gotten too used to Kouji Seo’s shenanigans to get riled up about the plot. But it does still entertain me, mostly because I think the girls who aren’t named Fuuka are cute. I’m supporting the idol childhood friend because I’m a masochist, but Sara-senpai is the clear best girl.
However, it sure does suck that the MC eventually “mans up” and stops using twitter, thereby losing his sole relatable trait. Try as I might, I struggle to give the slightest fuck about the music plot.
Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki)
The novel for this is really hard to read in Japanese. It’s full of philosophy and military jargon, to the extent that even Japanese readers have complained about its readability. The plot itself is… well… let’s just say that nothing fucking happens in the story. The anime is a significant improvement because it actually has explosions and Tanya interacting with people, and also there’s a cute girl whose name I have forgotten.
On the other hand, I do think that the anime portrayal has messed up Tanya’s character… The scenario that plays out in the first episode is very different from the novel, and I preferred the desperation Tanya showed in the original version of the story. She’s more pragmatic and self-serving than outright sadistic, I feel, but the way she values her own life far, far more than others marks her very clearly as a sociopath.
Hmm, I’ll do a more detailed writeup about this when I finish reading volume 1. If I ever do…
I marathoned all the available chapters of this a few weeks ago. Every character is such trash, it’s glorious. I especially like how this manga took the lesbian option seriously, even if the lesbian character herself freaked me out a bit, kinda. (It was still hot, though.)
What I like most about this manga is how emotionally complex the relationships are. The characters show sexual attraction even to people they’re not “in love” with, and they also desire physical intimacy even when it’s destructive for them. I never felt as if the author was judging these characters negatively for their actions, no matter how emotionally confused they were. While there’s no romanticised “one true love” in this series, the relationships still feel very genuine, and you get the impression that the characters care about each other. The manga is brutal, but not cynical.
Tales of Zestiria
Fun game. It’s basically like every Tales of game, but that’s okay, since I enjoy generic JRPGs. For some reason, I’ve yet to actually finish a single Tales of game, though… Maybe I’ll finish this one, because Sorey and Mikleo are so cute together. The yaoi shipping is motivating me to keep playing this. I really hate how the game is so laggy on my computer, though.
Also, this is a random thing to note, but I’ve been playing the game in English with Japanese audio, and the word they use in Japanese for “Shepherd” is doushi. This confused me, because it’s not the Japanese word for shepherd. I looked it up, and apparently doushi is written in kanji as 導師, which is Buddhist lingo. The definition according to Kotobank is 人を正道に導く者の通称, which translates to “A person who guides people down the right path”. So I guess “Shepherd” gets the gist of it. I can’t help but think it sounds rather lame, though.
Other plans for this season
I will read and review the Konosuba light novel when it comes out in English. Well, to be more precise, I will do a “Novel vs Anime” feature on Crunchyroll and piss everyone off by claiming that the animation in the anime version is Good, Actually. (It is, though!)
I’m also planning to read Blue Exorcist soon because I can’t for the life of me remember what happened in the first season of the anime anymore, even though I remember liking it at the time.
Has anything caught your eye this season? Let me know in the comments!