Wow, it’s been a whole year since I did one of these? Not sure why I haven’t done these more since they’re a great buffer in between longer editorials for this blog… Well, whatever, while I work on reviews for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie and Megalo Box, I figured I would give you another (long-overdue) a glimpse into what is currently consuming my free time.
It’s not a long list, as I’m not one who can consume too many new shows in a given season and is even less capable of finishing those in my backlog. Regardless, hope you will all sound off in the comments about your thoughts about the shows on this list when all is said and done. Now let’s get on with it.
My Hero Academia, Season Three
… to the surprise of no one. Before I die I want to at least have stayed up to date with one big shonen action series. One Piece is too long, I’ve heard Bleach’s quality is mixed, and Naruto- despite incredible fights- seems pretty slow. Of course, each of those qualities could be applied to all of them and yes, I would likely really enjoy at least one of them, but… time. Time is very precious to me.
My Hero Academia has certainly been breaking new ground, but what it does differently is in regards to how it is produced and released. Instead of being released in these long stretches that seem to transcend the seasonal schedule, it is released in 12-24 episode seasons with year-long gaps between start dates.
There’s no filler as of yet and consistent animation quality. After all, it is being produced by Bones, who now that I think about it, is the best pick to do a shonen anime, especially if they are going to do it in this way. After all, Bones shows typically have really good action thanks to animators like Yutaka Nakamura, who I’ve praised no shortage of times. He has also produced the most memorable cuts of animation for Hero Aca as well.
Oddly enough though, it seems that the consistency that is so frequently praised has led to another recent school of thought. One that says Hero Aca’s action and animation are less thrilling than that of other shonen series. I can relate because even without watching Boruto, that recent fight between Naruto, Sasuke, and Momoshiki was thrilling. It was beautifully animated and wonderfully choreographed.
Compare that to action in Hero Aca, where the fights are engaging because of writing and characters, but the animation- at least in this season so far- has not been too astounding. We occasionally get a beautiful cut by Yutaka Nakamura, but thus far season three has impressed on the merits of writing alone, not so much for fight animation.
And yes, that includes All Might vs All for One. Engaging, emotional and well written, yet never quite reaches the heights of the tournament arc one season prior. Still, I’d be a fool to say the show isn’t still a blast to watch. My Hero Academia is here to stay and I am with it for the long haul, and it is still a shonen worth getting into while its young.
Also, I know it was easy to hate on the first opening when season three started, but it grew on me and it is a fucking jam.
My Hero Academia is available for legal streaming through Crunchyroll and FunimationNow
Attack on Titan, Season Three
What, did you think I was gonna sleep on season three? I waited four years for season two, you think I’m gonna get bored after just one? I am one of Attack on Titan’s most dedicated defenders. It is the show that made me an anime fan and I still look back on it fondly, even as my tastes changed and public interest waned during the four-year miasma of stasis. Now, AoT is back, potentially with a full two cour season, meaning we will get more than 12 episodes.
Granted, I would be fine with one 12 episode season each year. Had they done that, they could have minimized the wait between seasons. Regardless, this season is moving along at a great pace. I was curious how the writers would handle the shift from titan battles to political fiction, but they have impressed me, as I should have expected. Not only does it look like the uprising arc will be covered promptly, they will likely get to the next arc, which is past where I stopped reading the manga.
It’s an exciting time for the series, more so because the writers seem to be trimming the fat as it were. I’ve said in the past around the release of season two that Studio WIT does a better job of telling the story of Attack on Titan than the manga did and that has not changed. Here, they have breezed past slower sections and even cut or altered scenes, without sacrificing the good shit. That is not to say the writing’s shortcomings can’t be a detracting factor, however.
I really feel like Hajime Isayama does not understand how human beings interact. The awkwardness that occasionally creeps into the series is at max this season. I can’t determine whether or not it is the product of the author’s weird sense of humor like in Jojo. On the visual end, the art is beautiful (much more than the manga), but there are still really awkward shots and expressions.
But when the show moves, by god, does it move nice. Levi was basically dormant ever since the end of the Female Titan arc in season one, so seeing him make his return to field work was glorious. His return and the introduction of a new antagonist produced one of the best cuts of animation in the whole series.
As for the music, it is still Hiroyuki Sawano deliciousness, but the opening… sucks. It is the first opening not done by Linked Horizon and the song is just so slow. When I watch an Attack on Titan opening, I want that shit to be intense and heroic. Linked Horizon do the ending theme though, which is really good. Let’s hope they do the opening if the season goes past 12 episodes.
I’m excited to see where season three will end and all the same terrified of the wait for what comes after. Although, as I’m aware there is a time skip, after which the quality is contested among readers, I’d be fine with them ending the show after three seasons.
Attack on Titan is available for legal streaming through Crunchyroll and FunimationNow
The Garden of Sinners
Writer Kinoko Nasu has created a modern fantasy world so vast and complex that it is comparable to that of the works of Tolkien. I have been in love with the fate series ever since I finished Zero and Unlimited Blade Works and my admiration for the man’s work has only expanded with this series of films. Garden of Sinners, or Kara no Kyokai, is a series of films produced by Ufotable, the studio responsible for many of the new mainstay Fate adaptations.
These films follow the misadventures of paranormal investigators set against the backdrop of 1990s Japan. If that didn’t sell you, these films are also beautiful, if Ufotable’s involvement didn’t tip you off to that. Every film feels different from the last and the six films I’ve watched so far have all been very entertaining (with few exceptions).
The timeline of these films is pretty jumbled and thus you will likely have a lot of questions going into it. The first is a slow burn that does not explain itself very well but drew me in with the abnormality at the center of the story. Number two bored me, to be honest, but what is less understood at the time becomes clearer as the later films fill in the blanks. Next is the third film, which was my first exposure to the series and one of my favorites, thanks to a great cast and an easier to grasp narrative.
Film four is when I got some much-needed answers to my questions, though not all of them. The fifth film is a straight-up masterpiece, which likely contributed to the sixth film is such a disappointment. Film five is one of the longest, while also featuring some of the coolest antagonists, the best new characters and even some major developments in the arcs of the main cast.
Following that, the sixth film just sorta happened and with the least likable character in a leading role and a lot of changes from the original novel according to my friend, I was glad to be done with it. I look forward to the rest of the films, though it will be hard to top the fifth one. If you’ve been looking for a good adult mystery show and love rich world-building, or if you just like artsy films and great directing, check this out.
(This is the best trailer I can find in HD. It’s fan made and the audio mixing is a bit off but it is still cool)
Garden of Sinners is available for legal streaming through Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime Video
Sirius the Jaeger
Masahiro Ando, freed from the shackles of Under the Dog, is back to do what he does best: direct shows with bitchin’ action scenes. And motherfucking hell did he accomplish his objective. Whether its the Bebop movie, Canaan, Sword of the Stranger or even Snow White with Red Hair- a show that by no means required great action-, the man is an exceptional director.
Sirius the Jaeger is about a group of individuals named Jaegers who travel to Japan under the guise of the front company, V Shipping. Their real objective, however, is to hunt vampires. The main cast is diverse in some very interesting ways, electing to show men and women of varying age range and nationality, giving the crew a more world-traveled feel. It helps that the character designs by Sako Souichirou look beautiful as well.
The vampires, adopting a Darwinian outlook, see themselves as the highest species in the food chain. The Jaegers adopt a similar attitude as operatives trained to kill vampires and see themselves as heroes killing monsters. Permeating the story is a quest for a magical ark of some as of yet unelaborated importance.
Six episodes in, I don’t expect the thematic elements of this setup to be explored, as the story is more character focused, though the conflicts that could potentially arise from that setup are not absent. The main character, Yuliy, is a Sirius (part-werewolf) who is the most vengeful of all the jaegers and the most reckless because of it.
As of six episodes, Yuliy is beginning to question his motives after encountering a vampire tied to his past. As for the rest of the story, it sets up some likable characters that I’m excited to see developed more before the series’ end. Even the character whose purpose at first seemed merely for comedy and romance managed to win me over by virtue of just being as badass as everyone else.
This show is produced by P.A. Works but feels like a Bones show, and that is a very good thing. For action a step above what you find in most anime seasons, some great character designs and an overall fun adventure, I can’t think of a better show to sink my teeth into this season. Definitely, expect a review of this show come to the end of the summer.
Sadly, Netflix in their infinite wisdom has not yet learned how anime fans watch seasonal shows and have not made the series available yet. I get that American Netflix is known for binging, but I would much prefer them to just update it week by week. Please, Netflix for the love of god listens to this community. In the meantime, I’ve found the show online, but be wary of bad fansubs. You’re better off looking for sites that are one week behind so they can get the subs right.
Sirius the Jaeger will be available for legal streaming through Netflix this coming Fall.
What shows are all of you watching lately? What do you think of the shows above? Let me know in the comments below and tell me what I should talk about next. Thanks for reading and as always, I’ll see you next time.