The time has come for my season review. The seven anime I watched rated from two to four and a half stars with only two shows receiving the same rating. This is to say that my shows run the gamut from disappointing to near masterpieces. Fall 2017 well rounded out a good year for anime: the quality of the shows were generally good even if nothing truly spectacular came about. I’ll write more about this when I write about my top five shows of last year. The shows below rank from least to greatest.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
7) Dies Irae ★★
As a cross between Fate/Stay Night and Hellsing, this show boasted a unique atmosphere–one of the most unique of the season. It also boasted some likable characters, and one really roots for the hero to overcome the immortal Nazis trying to massacre his city. The above makes me sad that I cannot in justice give it more than two stars. Though the plot eventually becomes discernible, the events in the anime tend to be scatterbrained and the tale descends into bloody and disturbing violence. The flashback to Sister Liza Brenner’s past as the mother of Lebensborn was probably the most disturbing part of the anime.
Despite my low rating, I’ll probably watch season two when it comes out. Despite how poorly executed the anime is, it managed to make me invested in what happens to Ren and his friends. At the same time, I foresee a point at which the show becomes to twisted for me to endure–like what happened while reading Hellsing. Until that happens, I’ll hope for better next season.
6) Code: Realize ★★ 1/2
I have less to say about Code: Realize than I did about Dies Irae. Code: Realize is a classic example of a show which takes no risks and tells a standard story while making the characters decently likable. One imagines the animators aiming for a 5/10 rating and happy they achieved it. I can’t call myself either sad or pleased at having watched it.
Well, I will admit to liking the costuming and backgrounds set within Victorian England. I took a fair number of screenshots from this anime. The visuals did add more much needed flair to the series.
5) Love is like a Cocktail ★★★
This show was cute and amusing. If anything was off about it, the married couple acted together like they were dating rather than that they were married–as MRNewman points out. One gets the impression of the husband being the wife’s favored servant rather than her husband–though there is nothing domineering in their relationship.
One of the main reasons I picked up the show was to see whether it would recommend any interesting cocktails–it did, but none a man would enjoy. Nothing beats the manga Bartender in that regard. I still enjoyed how cute and heartwarming most of these shorts were, and I found myself looking forward to each new episode.
4) Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond ★★★
My writing in “Fall 2017 Anime Thoughts“ reveals the reasons why this show disappointed me. In essence, the sequel did not live up to the original. Where the prior season had an overarching plot and meaning, the second tried to engross the viewer in the fights and worked on an episodic level. Our hero, Leonardo Watch, worked much better within the scheme of the first show than the second. I imagine that part of the reason Chain received more screen time in this season is because heroic types like her work better in an episodic show which attempts to be fun.
Still, it did turn out some fine episodes, the one with the terroristic bacterium and the one where K. K. attends Parent’s Day while providing battlefield support to Libra particularly stand out in my mind. So, while not a bad show, I don’t have it in me to rate it higher than three stars.
3) Kino’s Journey ★★★ 1/2
Yours truly rated the original four stars, so how did the sequel fall short? The anime repeated episodes from the prior season, and one rather got the impression of this show being an advertisement for the light novels, which currently span twenty-one volumes. (For English speakers, you’ll have to learn Japanese to read them.) The original series struck me as a much more sincere effort to make a memorable show.
Oddly enough, the most moving episode in the entire show featured very little of Kino and concerned the sufferings of a slave girl at the hands of people who did not appear to care either for her welfare or that they would get good service from her. (This turned out very badly for them indeed!) The episode delved into the idea of whether treating wicked people with kindness could change their hearts, and the episode answered this question quite negatively.
*SPOILER IN PARAGRAPH BELOW!!!*
On top of so much rehashed material, the crazy sheep-slaying finale was rather refreshing. Only in anime could something like that count as a finale! As a gun nut, I found it fun to see Kino’s M14 Rifle, Colt 1851 Navy London Model Revolver, Colt Woodsman Match Target Pistol, and Taurus Judge Revolver in action. One day, I’d really like to own an M1A, the civilian version of the M14–which, to tell the truth, functions about the same way: most combat soldiers found the M14 ineffective at fully automatic fire and tended to keep the setting at semi-automatic fire.
2) Recovery of an MMO Junkie ★★★★
Here was a truly heartwarming show. Each character stood out as being eminently likable, and one roots heartily for the show’s main couple. Jinto and Lafiel of Crest of the Stars used to count as my favorite couple in anime, but Moriko and Sakurai are truly adorable together. I liked how the series was just long enough for all of the romantic tension to play out and could be absolutely hilarious at times. If I could have wished for anything more from this series, it would be that the other characters’ stories would also have been told. One can’t speak long enough about how likable the characters are in this show!
1) Land of the Lustrous ★★★★ 1/2
At last, we reach the top of my list. Many have raved about the CG animation and the visuals in this show. After doing a little more research, I discovered that this show has been in production since at least 2013 and 2D animation was often mixed with the 3D animation in order to improve it. Well, the result was well worth the wait!
Each character stands out from the other in a way that’s seldom seen in anime. It’s well known that things like hair color often indicate the kind of personality a character has. Land of the Lustrous may be dubbed a physiognomist’s dream, as each character’s physical appearance seems to mirror their personality. Despite the large number of Phos’ fellow gems, one can easily remember each one by name.
Outside of the show being a visual treat, the heroine’s yearning to find her purpose in life is something many people can relate with. The barrenness of the place Phos lives as well as the constant threat of attack from the Lunarians give the world a very haunting feel. At the same time, the lighthearted and friendly interactions between Phos and her companions add much needed warmed to this cold and cruel world. The mystery behind the three humanoid peoples, what happened to humanity, and why the Lunarians constantly attack the gem people keep the audience fascinated. I very much look forward to the next season of Land of the Lustrous–even if it takes another four years to make.
What were my dear readers’ favorite from this season?