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It’s been a while since I’ve written about anime so here’s a quick check in with what I’m currently watching in the Spring 2018 season. This is more or less in the order they were added to my queue on CrunchyRoll[1].

Fairly long post after the cut.

Toji no Miko / Katana Maidens

Yes, I’m still watching Toji no Miko.

No, I’m not sure why. Except maybe post-gym brain deadness of a Saturday morning[2].

Toji no Miko has moved into a second arc that is VERY IMPORTANT but once again just can’t carry the weight of its own plot. It’s still amusing enough watching Toji no Miko try though, at least for now.

Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card

Early on I wrote about the Law of Diminishing Returns as applied to Card Captor Sakura.

Sadly I wasn’t wrong. There’s nostalgia of a Sunday afternoon here but not much else[3].

The best sub-arc so far has been the return of Mei-ling in full Shipper on Deck mode. For those episodes she was far and away the best character in Clear Card, to the point that episode 16 was the first truly good episode with a real emotional resonance to it in the series so far.

It also appears that, possible time-travel shenanigans aside, CLAMP have adopted the Leiji Matsumoto approach of style first, continuity second.

Without spoiling details, Clear Card manages to simultaneously break and require the continuity of The Sealed Card.

I’ll see where it goes since I’m still invested, but I suspect that once Clear Card is over I’ll walk away from it and never look at it again.

Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family

This show has a lot to answer for.

No, really.

As in: this show is why I started in on the Fate/Stay Night franchise to begin with.

Emiya Family is a short of about 12-13 minute episodes and is, as the name suggests, a cooking show.

Emiya Family is also on a slow release rate, I think the episodes are being dropped monthly, with a different focus character that was being cooked for in each episode. So far it’s been Saber, Lancer, Illyasviel, Assassin, and Shinji (who still needs to be whacked upside the head for being a jerkface).

It’s adorable, and I’m really enjoying it.

Amanchu! Advance

I was so pleased to see Amanchu! return, and even more so for Tekochin to set an early goal of an advanced license (hence the season name) that would let her dive deeper, and truly be Pikari’s diving buddy.

BUT… as most of you know I’m a huge fan of Kozue Amano’s other major work ARIA, to the point of heavily backing the blu-ray kickstarterIn ARIA there’s a number of supernatural episodes and they’re the ones I generally like the least.

Mostly because I want them to be unnecessary to the emotional healing and joy that ARIA is to me. The idea of a future where humanity has grown up enough to actually build that sort of healing for itself without resorting to the supernatural really appeals to me.

Alas, although it’s been borderline, then there’s been almost a theme of supernatural elements in Amanchu! that has been dampening my enjoyment of the show.

I am still enjoying Amanchu!, just not as much as I’d hoped.

My Hero Academia: Season 3

The emerging shounen juggernaut that is My Hero Academia rolls on into season 3.

My reasons for enjoying My Hero Academia haven’t changed. This is the show for people who don’t like a grimdark Superman.

There are some persistent problems with My Hero Academia that I would dearly love to see fixed:

  1. Can Ochaco drop kick Mineta into a decaying solar orbit? Soon? Now would be good.
  2. Would the writers please give Momo a decent chance to be awesome rather than a fanservicey punchline? Maybe promote her into the same level that Todoroki has gotten to in terms of story role?

Kakuriyo –Bed & Breakfast for Spirits-

Aoi Tsubaki is a college student who discovers that her late grandfather owed a debt to an Oni innkeeper in the spirit world… and who promised him her hand in marriage in payment of the debt.

Aoi’s response is to try and pay off the debt by opening a restaurant in the Tenjin-ya’s grounds.

Aoi is basically carrying Kakuriyo for me, she’s an engaging young adult character with the agency to face her own problems and find her own solutions.

The biggest problem for me with Kakuriyo is the pacing with the Moonflower restaurant finally opening in episode 6. Granted this may be a result of Yorimoi spoiling me for shows that don’t mess around with their premises.

Umamusume: Pretty Derby

Yes, I’m still watching this one too.

No, I’m still not sure why.

Overall the execution of Umamusume is competent enough, and the diversions into the creepier aspects have been kept to a minimum.

Whether Umamusume has a good story to tell is yet to be seen, but I can see where the showrunners are trying to go. Essentially the races up to episode 7 Promise have replicated the historical outcomes of the original horses… including the race where Silence Suzuka fractures a leg.

For the real horse? That’s where it ended (and in the way you’d expect).

In the anime? Silence Suzuka ends up in hospital and her promise to race with the other main character Special Week is obviously going to be in the final episodes.

The question is whether “competent enough” can turn into “a decent story” in the remaining 6 episodes.

HINAMATSURI

This is one of the few genuine stars of the current season. Hina is a girl with psychic powers who is dropped into the lap of Nitta, a yakuza, who is currently living the single life of luxury whilst collecting rare and valuable vases.

Many of which don’t survive Hina’s arrival. Or her food poisoning that one time…

HINAMATSURI is part of that genre of parenting anime that we’ve seen an upswing of in recent years since Usagi Drop, only with unexplained powers and a look at the darker elements of Japanese society. Among other things HINAMATSURI is tackling homelessness with surprising sensitivity.

The comedic elements of HINAMATSURI are generally both appropriate and effective. Recommended at this point.

Crossing Time

Crossing Time is a short of about 3 minute episodes with no recurring characters. Each episode is two characters stuck at a railway crossing and interacting whilst waiting for the gates to lift. A mixed bag – one or two have been creepy, some have been genuinely funny.

Yotsuiro Biyori

Or as I refer to Yotsuiro Biyori on twitter: the pretty boy café anime.

It’s a slice of cake, er, life show with four guys running the café that will solve everyone’s problems. I wouldn’t call Yotsuiro Biyori brilliant, but it’s certainly pleasant enough and I’m enjoying it so far.

Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World

Isekai Izakaya is another show that I really look forward to, especially since another series of Restaurant to Another World doesn’t seem to be in the offing yet.

The Izakaya Nobu is an ordinary Japanese restaurant except that the front door opens into another world, which seems to be a mostly European/Germanic fantasy world of some sort. The back door still opens into Tokyo, and no-one seems to be questioning this (or making use of it).

Short episodes again, about 8 – 10 minutes, plus a live action sequence which will either be a cooking demonstration or a food critic looking for the dish of the episode. Total run time is about 13 minutes.

Basically Isekai Izakaya is a lot of fun, and Shinobu-chan is adorable. And quite possibly evil with how she’s always just right there with refills, especially of the salty appetisers that will make you drink more.

Wrap-up

Overall the Spring 2018 season feels a bit… meh for me. Then again coming after Yorimoi and Yurucamp that was always likely. But  I am still watching anime in addition to doing the Weekly Photo Project, and watching a fair bit of it as well.

I’m just not writing about it as often.

Question of the Post: Are you watching any of the above shows? Any particular favourites in there, or any other shows you’d suggest[4]?

[1] I’m not watching anything streaming anywhere else. If CR doesn’t have in for Oz, I’m not watching it.

[2] There’s a lot that can be blamed on burpees, 300 metre sprints on the rowing machine, and/or the assault bike.

[3] I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet.

[4] Noting that I may have already dropped it or not have easy access to it.