By: Mithrandiel & Scarlette
We are just past the halfway mark of this spectacular Spring season, and we figured it was a good time to check in and let you in on some of our favorite shows, some of the dark horse series that have surprised and delighted us, and more! Enjoy!
Mithrandiel’s Spring Season Picks:
1) Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World
This season is host to a number of surprising and delightful titles, but the standout of the season, for me and many others, has been the fantasy/psychological thriller Re:Zero.
Centering around perfectly ordinary teenage boy Subaru Natsuki, Re:Zero follows his misadventures as he finds himself transported to a foreign land of magic and fantasy. Shortly after his arrival he discovers that he’s picked up a unique and troubling ability: every time he dies he is revived at a specific moment in time in the hours or days before his death.
While this power may seem like an immense boon, Re:Zero artfully depicts what a curse this is as Subaru encounters some horrifying and painful ends, only to awaken with full memory of each grievous wound, each moment spent in agony and suffering as he eagerly welcomes death like an old friend. This element of suffering and trauma transcends the typical fantasy genre, and certainly lends some credibility into the psychological/thriller classification, though there’s certainly plenty of comedy to be found between bouts of drama. Of course, romance is far from forgotten in this series as well, as Subaru falls head over heels for the beautiful and endearing witch, Emilia. She becomes his muse and motivation through his trials, and their evolving relationship makes you come back week after week.
In short, Re:Zero continues to impress week after week with its spectacular voice acting, superb animation and heavy doses of drama. If you haven’t caught this show yet, you need to.
2) My Hero Academia
Shonen anime seem to be a dime-a-dozen. Take your underdog protagonist, rally an eccentric group of allies/friends, give him a good rival or two and send them on their way. However, every once in a while there comes a quality shonen series that leaves its mark on generations of anime-watchers. Dragonball Z, One Piece, Naruto…these shows have spanned over years and years and amassed impressive fan-bases that have helped to fuel the growth of anime as an industry; if you are currently watching My Hero Academia, you may be witnessing the birth of yet another shonen giant.
Izuku Midoriya lives in an amazing time: nearly 80% of the population has acquired superpowers, otherwise known as “quirks”. These powers range from the mundane (being able to levitate small objects) to fantastic (being able to produce, control and manipulate elements like fire and ice). Ever since he was a little kid, Izuku dreamed of growing up to be a hero like his idol, All-Might. Tragically, Izuku is among the rare individuals who are born “Quirkless”, dashing his dreams of making his mark on the world from a very young age, and making him the subject of bullying and ridicule. One day, his courageous actions catch the eye of All-Might, and with his blessing, Izuku obtains a quirk of his own and begins training to be the best hero ever!
There are lots of things that My Hero Academia is doing well: the art is striking and is a wonderful homage to superhero tropes of both western and eastern background. The story and world is being built slowly and purposefully to give you a hint at its scope and depth, and while there are a wealth of characters to be introduced to, it never feels like too much is happening at any given time.
My Hero Academia is a terrific series, and likely the start of another shonen classic. Don’t miss it!
3) Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto!
I am a huge fan of the absurd and ridiculous. Like shonen, quality comedy series can be difficult to come across. Thankfully, this Spring season has provided us with a comedic gem in the form of Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto!
High school students aren’t exactly known for being the most suave or sophisticated species. Social anxiety and awkwardness often plagues them throughout these formative years, but this is not the case for our central protagonist, Sakamoto.
Sakamoto is stylish with everything he does: wiping down the chalkboards, sliding past the school gate at the last second, even flying around during a fierce storm with his umbrella. Just when you think it wouldn’t be possible for Sakamoto to succeed, he does so with ease and grace. He’s just that good. Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto! follows him on his adventures as he overcomes obstacles and dismantles nay-sayers, all while looking incredibly cool.
From the moment that I saw the first preview I knew what kind of show to expect with Sakamoto, and so far it’s lived up to my ridiculous expectations. Every week has got plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and with great animation and music that falls right in line with the spirit of the series, it all combines for a refreshing experience for any anime fan. This is especially good when you’re watching some of the more intense series this season such as Re:Zero. Overall, Sakamoto is a great pick-me-up series that’s sure to have you doubled over with laughter.
Mithrandiel’s “Let-Down” Of The Season
Bungou Stray Dogs
Bungou Stray Dogs follows a group of supernaturally talented individuals collectively known as the “Armed Detective Agency”. These gifted men and women battle against criminal forces and wage war against supernatural creatures that could cause mayhem/destruction. They also all happen to be inspired by actual Japanese literary giants and influencers, each echoing a unique trait or ideal of that person within the series.
At the center of Bungou Stray Dogs is the pitiable orphan, Atsushi Nakajima. Blessed (or cursed?) with the ability to transform into an exceedingly powerful were-tiger, Atsushi has no control over his ability and becomes the target of some very powerful and unsavory characters. After being rescued by the Armed Detective Agency, Atsushi begins to work for them, all while the gifted members of the Agency fight to keep the city safe.
I was in love with this show at the start. Interesting characters, striking animation…it had all the elements of a truly entertaining series that felt like it was going to leave a lasting impact. Unfortunately, the show has fallen very flat since then, largely due to the fact that it became too interested in the secondary characters. As a result, the main character, Atsushi, often finds himself standing in the background wondering aloud how he got himself into these dangerous situations, without making any solid progress as a character.
The series has become very episodic, and it gets harder with each passing week to connect the dots and care about the characters or where they’re going. Many of the interpersonal relationships in the show rely heavily on gimmicks and lack any serious depth. Overall, it’s devolved into a pretty distraction, and not much more. I’m still in it for the long haul, but I don’t expect it to achieve anywhere near the expectations I had for it at the start of the season.
Scarlette’s Pick of the Season
1) Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World
Re:Zero didn’t make it to my list of animes for the spring season to watch out for—and that was dumb move on my part. Re:Zero has managed, every week, to deliver a consistent episode that makes me want to keep coming back for more. The series is interesting, the premise is different, and is aware that it’s breaking molds that anime before it have set. I love how the protagonist thinks the same way a regular anime viewer does and attempts to translate the world around him using that same reasoning of the viewer. The pace of the show has the right amount of story and character development. It has enough mystery to have the audience guessing, but reveals just enough to keep us satisfied and not frustrated by having some of our questions answered. It also doesn’t hurt that Re:Zero hits some emotional chords–a few hit close to home for me, personally–but blends it wonderfully with action, mystery, and even some horror elements against a fantasy backdrop. It’s a lot for one series to encompass but Re:Zero executes it wonderfully.
Scarlette’s “Dark Horse” Anime Picks!
These are series that, at first, didn’t catch my attention, but now I tune in weekly for them!
1) Tanaka-kun is Always Listless
This was one series that I started watching on a whim–I needed something easy to kick back with and watch, and I figured why not watch a show about a guy who’s ultimate goal is to be as slothful as possible? I admit I was hesitent because the show really didnt sound all that entertaining, but Im glad I watched it. From the first episode I was laughing pretty good, and what I like about Tanak-Kun is Always Listless is the kind of humor it portrays. The humor isnt loud or obnoxious (Like Sakamoto!) but it’s this very quiet. By quiet, I mean that the jokes in Tanaka-Kun is usually not at the expense of other characters (with the exception of Tanaka-kun himself), but the situations that they find themselves in. The show doesnt require alot of thinking, its an easy watch, with a comedy duo that most audience members will be able to relate to or want to watch. But the greatest part of Tanaka-kun is it refeclts piece of everyone’s life at some point, or a part of their personality: the part of yourself where you don’t really want to do anything at all. Tanaka-kun is the emodiment of this part of everyone’s personality, and that’s why its hysertical to watch. You wish that somebody would carry you from class to class because you’re too busy taking a nap; Tanaka-kun has got it right.
2) And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online
Again, another one of those series that didn’t make it on my radar at the start of the season. I came up about three or four episodes late, but as I started watching I couldn’t stop. Never a Girl Online takes this really interesting story of online friends and dropping them into real life scenarios. It primarily focuses on how these game players translate their game relationship into real life relationships. If you’re husband/wife in game, does that automatically mean you’re a couple together in real life as well? It touches on these online/off lines social aspects–and sprinkles it with humor– that we’ve all encountered to some degree, because most of our lives, interactions, and realtionships have an online aspect. Never a Girl Online handles these topics with a bit of fan service, wit, and gamer knowledge which makes the series so much more appealing. As a an online gamer, I found myself laughing at some of these situations or scenarios because Ive lived through them or heard about them from friends. Never a Girl Online is highly relatable, but is just amazingly funny to watch at the same time.
3) Flying Witch
I cant tell you what caused me to pick up Flying Witch. I love any kind of anime with a magical backdrop, so pair that with some really clean animation and I was willing to give it a shot. Flying Witch isnt a flashy anime–there is no extensive fan service, no over the top voice acting,fight sequences, or flashy magical spells. It’s a simple series about a young witch trying to learn how to make it on her own with some help from her extended family. The best way to put it is: If you liked Kiki’s Delivery service–the slice of lice, coming of age story–then you’ll like Flying Witch. If Kiki had to have a series, instead of a movie, Flying With is would be it. The pace can seem kind of slow, but fits the show and its back drop–a sleepy country town who now has new resident witch, and these are her every stories. It’s pretty simple, not hard to watch, doesn’t make you think, but instead you’re jsut enjoying the ride and watching a simple story unfold. I mean, I watched an episode of the cat taking a walk by itself in the town and had no complaints.The characters are enjoyable, especially since they feel very real becacuse you’re watching their every day lives in each episode. Long story short, if youre looking for a slice of life story, but mixed with some magic, Flying Witch is a great show.
That’s all we’ve got for now! We’ll definitely be doing a recap podcast once the Spring season wraps up. Until then, let us know what you think of the current shows in our comment section, or come chat us up on our Discord server!