Spring Anime 2017
Spring Brings New Anime To The Front, and I’m POLLEN in Love!
More Spring Puns!
By: Head Writer – J.R Tafoya
Hello again, Giga-Friends! I hope you’re doing well in this beautiful season of Spring. Spring Anime, that is! I may be a day or two (or three) late, but you can’t rush brilliance! Also, that, and I may or may not have been slacking and playing a certain new Persona game. Maybe. That is beside the point! If you’re one to wait for a few weeks for anime to come out so you can pick out the gems from the coal, look no further!
Today I bring you another look at some anime that may have been buried beneath the epic return of some amazing anime. While giants like Boku no Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, and Shingeki no Bahamut are all getting second seasons this time around, it’s easy to overlook some of the new gems that spring has brought in. While I tend to always look for things that might be a littler overlooked to try and find some anime I like, both are now one in the same this season!
First we have Shuumatsu-really-long-name, an anime about a lone man making a home for children who are treated like dirt. A strong familial core with some fantasy/action in the background it’s one of my favorites this season. Secondly is Zero, a fantasy about a beast-man with no place to go, and no one to go with, and a young witch with a silver tongue in need of her powerful tome and maybe a friend to help her along the way. It’s definitely a slower anime but the relationship between the two is adorable and a little sad at the same time. Nothing special to look at, but definitely fun to watch, it’s another gem for the fantasy lovers out there. Finally, we have Renai Boukun, an anime about NOT Death Note and a Yandere who is extremely lucky her lover is immortal . . . though not everyone else is quite so lucky. Turn your brain off and get ready for a zany ride into a comedy that pitches jokes faster than the eye can see!
Have a quick look in to what makes my anime bones tingle in these fine reviews! A little overlooked, but fun nonetheless, these will definitely be something at least check out this season, if you aren’t already watching a boat-load of second season anime! More to come on anime that I liked significantly less this season!
As the wind beneath your wings and blood that runs through your very veins, I bring you the slightest of previews so you may, or may not, decide what you want to watch this season!
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?
(WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?)
Outlook: “I Want a Short Title for My Book”, Said No Light-Novelist, Ever. . . –
Honestly, the only reason I picked up this particular anime is because of its title. Probably the longest name in a title I’ve seen in awhile, I went in with zero expectations except for thinking that maybe we’d get another “Issekai” (trapped in another world) light-novel turned anime. Because, you know, those are all the rage now. But, what I got was something much different.
World End starts with a cold open where literally “everything is terrible”: Heroes sitting in pools of their own blood, islands crumbling and falling apart, young girls falling off said islands to their imminent deaths . . . the works! Cut to a crowded alleyway and a chance meeting between boy and girl where things look a lot more normal. We’re introduced to Willem Kmetsch , our protagonist, and Chtholly, a young blue-haired girl lost in a big city. Their chance meeting starts when she loses her hat revealing her very human features as compared to the animal-like ones of literally everyone else around her, except for Willem of course. Their meeting is cut short when the young girl is escorted away by Military personnel, but their separation wouldn’t be for long, obviously.
Willem, as something of a wanderer, takes an odd job for the military to “take care of some weapons” on a far removed island. He reluctantly agrees and upon arriving finds an orphanage full of young girls, one of whom is Chtholly. Now tasked with taking care of these girls and becoming their stand-in father, Willem looks deeper into the construction of this seemingly innocent orphanage to find something much deeper, and much darker, than he’d ever intended to sign up for.
As the cold open shows, the anime is going to get bad, and fast. Or, I should say “worse”. I put a lot of emphasis on the people around our heroes, and the way they look, for a reason. You see, Willem is just another run-of-the-mill human . . . to us. But, everyone aside from the people at the orphanage are more animal than man. It turns out that humans such as Willem are something of a rare commodity in his world. So rare, in fact, that most people consider humans to be monsters or defects.
Where the story really comes in to its own is when Willem takes over the orphanage. Willem seems cold and detached at first, but we find that he’s got a very caring and father-like nature, despite how young he looks. Though he comes in with nothing but money on the mind, Willem soon forgets what his job is, and focuses more on the well-being of these little girls rather than taking care of some weapons he could care less about. Though, his caring nature isn’t met without opposition at first. When Willem first arrives, the children tend to keep their distance from him because of his, well, human-ness. Having never seen a human before, the children are understandably scared and often put out by his looks. However, Willem’s plans to get the children to open up to him, and how he starts to become a caretaker they can love all makes it easy for someone like me to like the anime.
However, there is a completely different side of the story that runs along with his orphanage caretaker duties. Humans aren’t rare for no reason, there was something in the past that caused their numbers to dwindle. Finding out what happened to his race, and just who the children at his orphanage are and what they’re meant for can really pull at your heartstrings. Especially when our heroine, Chtholly, takes up the mantle of a Military Specialist of sorts, a role she neither wanted or was ready for. It leads to a B-plot that runs very well with the main story of the estranged children that also sets a good contrast for the rest of the show.
It’s long been a fact that I love strong familial stories. Families broken apart by drama or strife, rebuilding a cohesive whole with others in the same situation, and being able to rely on another person to take the role of a lost family member are all things that make it extremely easy to love or relate to an anime and this is no different. How Willem is able to ingratiate himself with the kids helps to draw you closer to the anime is it starts to establish not only main characters, but a family as well. Though, from the first scene alone, I wonder just how long that family will last, honestly.
The cold open was a good start, and it keeps you on your toes whenever “plot things” start to happen in the story. I realize that I’m being extremely vague and/or cryptic about the story, but the plot elements definitely deserves to be experienced on their own. The humans’ past, what the orphanage is meant for, and how Willem and Chtholly play a bigger part in the story than they realize is definitely a huge draw for the plot in general.
I can’t say this is a particularly exciting anime, as a whole, as there really isn’t much fighting or action to speak of. Instead, the mystery of what the kids actually are is what drives the story forward. The story and a lot of the world’s specific vernacular is really taken as matter-of-fact a lot of the times, so it takes some inference on the watchers part to piece some things together. But, all in all, I’m enjoying the show so far, but I just can’t put my finger on why I like it so much, despite it being fairly overlooked. If you are looking for a good fantasy story, something with a strong mystery to back it up, a good familial story as a core, and a tragedy occurring in past, present, and future, you’ll definitely want to give this show at least 3 episodes.
Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho
(Grimoire of Zero)
Outlook: The Boy and the Beast! . . . And the Girl . . . And Also Magic –
In this all-too-original world of swords and sorcery, the Church had always known that magic and witches existed. Though, all they cared for was a chance to strike at the users of the Dark Arts: the things they saw as the bane of civilized society. Now hated and unknown by the normal man, witches became hunted on a regular basis as bounties were placed on their heads. Though not wholly innocent themselves, the witches would strike back laying siege by magical warfare.
Stuck in the middle of this is our hero, a mercenary born as a monstrosity known as a “Beast-fallen”, an amalgamation of man and beast believed to be cursed upon birth for past life misdeeds. Our Mercenary takes on the form of a white tiger and while still extremely similar to humans, aside from the fur and tail, he is still hated by man and hunted by Witch no matter where he goes. Though, with the strength of beast on his side, and the beastly sword he wields, not many people dare attack him in open daylight.
While running for his life one terrible night, the Mercenary encounters a young woman who goes by the name “Zero”. Picking up young Zero purely out of care for her well being, his demeanor instantly changes when she reveals herself to be a Witch, his natural enemy. Zero pleads with the Mercenary to escort her along her journey to find a mysterious tome she calls “The Grimoire of Zero”. Her pleas falling on deaf ears, the only thing that changes the Mercenary’s mind is her promise to change him into a normal human once their journey ends. Along with a stray witch-boy named Albus, Zero and the Mercenary start their journey to find the mysterious book Zero claims to be her own, and maybe find that the war between the Church and Witches isn’t all it’s chalked up to be.
So, my “back of the DVD-Box” description aside, you probably noticed I did something different this time. Something I’m guilty of doing in every single one of my reviews . . . and that’s naming the protagonists in succession. This is because the show has been keen on hiding his name from everyone, including Zero. Though this comes at the behest of Zero herself. The Mercenary is much deeper than he seems at first glance and often takes care of his companions like an older brother or father would. Though, my thoughts aren’t exactly backed up by his “tsundere-like” behaviour, but you take what you can get with anime sometimes.
I honestly think the show is fairly interesting, although slow, and presents a coherent story and decent characters for us to follow. Grimoire of Zero presents fairly logical points when it comes to war, and brings up the topics that only someone caught in the middle would be able to notice. The Church seems bad on the outside, but if a witch had plagued your cities with disease and famine, wouldn’t you strike back too? The witches often seem like they’re on the attack or carry a deep hatred of the church, but when their most prominent and pacifistic leader is murdered without reason, it’s almost like their indignation is justified. The story carefully strides the middle-line making sure to let us know that neither side is right, but also lets us know that striking back at your aggressor isn’t wrong either.
The anime has one large shortcoming though, and it’s the pacing. The show is often interesting, sure, and I love the very human conversations that Zero has with her bodyguard/only friend, but these exchanges are so sparse that it hardly makes up for how slow everything moves. Albeit, a lot of the pacing issues come from random bits of exposition, which could definitely have been handled better. Though, I must mention that it isn’t all bad. One of the more interesting parts of the show comes from the Beast-Fallen himself and how he describes the world around him as compared to what a witch or normal human thinks. This all plays well into how Zero perceives the Mercenary and helps to deepen not only their relationship, but our understanding of them as well.
I can definitely tell you that I’m enjoying the show so far despite how slow it is and how sparse the fighting is. The world-building is great, the character development has been so far solid, and the interactions between them more than make up for its shortcomings, in my eyes anyway. If you want a fantasy that focuses more on the world and the adventure than it does on fighting and killing, you should definitely watch Grimoire of Zero. Zero and the Mercenary have a bit of cute relationship that I can’t help but “HNNNG” at once in awhile, and sometimes that’s all I want.
Outlook: Tyrannical TV Tropes Taken to Terrible Terrains! –
I’ll be the first person to moan and complain about anime tropes making their way into my anime, especially if they’re only present to fill a specific role. I am, however, OK with those particular tropes being blown out of proportion to create an insane comedy (slash something) anime that plays on its tropes as if the entire show hinged on them!
Ladies and Gentlemen I bring you Renai Boukun! An anime where Aino Seiji, our Protagonist/Main-Character McEveryMan/Central Love Interest to Many Women/Pin Cushion for a Yandere lead, meets a young cosplayer named Guri. Upon meeting her, she introduces herself as a “Cupid” who uses something called a “Kiss Note”. And, yes, Seiji definitely brings that up. The Kiss Note is a book where, if you write the name of two people in it, they will be forever linked in a bond of love and eventually marry. Unfortunately for Seiji and every male in sight, Guri has revealed herself as a hardcore “fujoshi” who is only interested in Boy-Boy relationships . . . which she demonstrates by making the Japanese politicians fall in love at a meeting on live TV. . .
Seiji’s role in all this is that Guri has accidentally written his name in her Kiss Note and unless he finds someone else’s name to write in the book, he will die sad, alone, and a virgin. Seiji instantly takes it upon himself to confess to his long time crush, Akane, which is met with a surprisingly positive response from the school’s #1 beauty. Though, again, unfortunately for Seiji, Akane has something of a violent streak in her and she becomes insanely jealous of any female remotely close to him. Yes, friends! We have an open Yandere female lead in this anime! And she is more than happy to share her love (and her knives) with Seiji (and his internal organs).
As Guri becomes more interested in Seiji, she decides not only write Akane’s name next to his . . . but also her own. Believe me, the only benefit to this is that Seiji receives an “Angel’s Blessing” that makes him basically immortal, protecting him from Akane’s yandere advances. You thought balancing a relationship with a single girl was hard? Try having one with an insatiable fujoshi, a murder-happy yandere, and an incestuous tsundere!
As you can tell, this anime is by no means serious in any way . . . at least at the start. Renai Boukun is primarily happy taking a lot of anime’s tropes and turning them up well past extreme and just seeing what comes from it. The fast paced comedy keeps you on your toes as a lot of jokes come flying in, one after the other, with barely a moment of rest at certain points. Hell, some of the jokes come by so quick it might even take your brain a second to recognize the punch line! But, therein lies the problem: This show is out-and-outs a comedy on all fronts and is more crazy than a lot of people seem to be capable of handling. It’s a dumb comedy and the show constantly pokes fun at itself for that.
As of the episode three, we have a bit of a tonal change in the entire show. Going from dark humor to just plain dark, the change of pace may be something to note if you’re looking for pure comedy this season. If you’re looking for a comedy to turn your brain off with, Renai Boukun will most likely be a lot funnier than most of the other shows airing this season. If you want something a little less self-aware, Uchouten Kazoku or Little Witch Academia might be more suited to your tastes. For me personally, though, I’m enjoying it and intend to see where this particular thread leads.