We are almost five weeks in the Spring Anime Season 2017, which means it’s time to reflect on our first impressions. Some series took everyone by surprise, while others ended up being a let-down. Here’s our list of recommendations!
The best, and the sleeper hits
KADO: The Right Answer is, without a doubt, the sleeper hit of the season. Some viewers dropped it, or straight-up skipped it due to reasons such as fujoshi-looking art, the CGI, or the confusion caused by Episode 0. However, if there’s a series you should be giving a chance, it should be this one. The CGI looks actually much better than anything done in recent years, the soundtrack seems to come out of something like Interstellar, and the whole series has a cinematic vibe to it that almost feels like could be adapted into a live-action film. KADO is very dialogue-heavy, and it poses questions of philosophy, physics, linguistics, and a genuine nature of human beings as a species. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a good sci-fi series that will make you think, this is it.
There was a lot of hype around Re:Creators from the get-go: it’s an original two-cour, it’s got an interesting premise, and it’s by the creator of Black Lagoon. However, there were also many reasons to be worried about the outcome: the concept sounded a bit too ambitious, which meant that it could easily end up in a writing disaster. Fortunately, Re:Creators is meeting expectations so far, and it has become one of the most talked-about series of the season. There have been some great fights, and each episode has been entertaining, surprising, and has posed new questions for future episodes. The series has a lot of time to develop and deliver its message, so it seems like it’s worth sticking with it.
Boruto is actually… pretty good? The Naruto world has been receiving some negative backlash for its desperate attempts to milk the franchise to the max. Boruto: Next Generations is an example of that. However, this anime (based on a manga NOT written by Masashi Kishimoto) is actually way more fun than expected. Naruto fans will be able to enjoy this without feeling like they’ve seen it all before, and those who never watched a single episode of Naruto will still be able to follow the story without a problem. Boruto feels different from Naruto because there are new characters with new motivation (physical appearance aside, Boruto and Naruto are quite different), the village is much more technologically advanced making it feel like an entirely new setting, and the post-Ninja war atmosphere is pretty impressive. No matter what you thought of the original Naruto, Boruto is a fun, heartwarming, and a beautiful well-animated shonen.
Better than expected
These series are all here for the same reason: they looked like the typical harem/ecchi series but ended up being parodies of the genre and straight-up hilarious. Starting with Love Tyrant, the series takes the concept of the ‘Death Note’ to make instead of a… Kiss Note. The people whose names are written on that note will have to kiss within the next 24 hours, or they’ll be a virgin forever! It’s ridiculous, and the series uses it to its advantage by playing with the genre and all the harem clichés. It’s got everything from the hilarious and adorable shinigami (or angel?), the psychopathic yandere girlfriend, and even yuri… incest? Everything goes!
Looking at the poster (and the first episode), Akashic Records seems like yet another average ecchi magic school series. And, for the most part, it kind of is, but it does have many redeeming factors. For one, the main character might as well be the most likable and funny character of the season. He’s not amused by magic, and he has a very particular history and point of view of this art. Contrary to most series of this type, Akashic Records puts a lot of detail on the explanations of how magic works and the world-building exceeds all expectations. Watch it for the laughs, the main character, and the great magic battles!
In all honesty, most anime fans (myself included) didn’t have very high expectations for Eromanga-sensei out of fear that it would be just OreImo 2.0. But while it does have some ecchi, little sister-clichés, and fanservice, but Eromanga-sensei is as funny as it is self-aware. The main character is likable, and Sagiri is so adorable that it’s making it hard to miss Kanna. Their sibling relationship is quite heartwarming, as these two only have each other after their family was stricken by tragedy. Eromanga-sensei is mostly comedic, but it’s also a nice criticism of the state of the industry concerning ecchi manga writers and illustrators.
Similar title to Re:Zero, similar medieval fantasy feel, and same studio. Grimoire of Zero offers everything you would hope for in a magic/fantasy setting. The central trio is as likable as it is diverse: a “beastfallen” (Half-man, half-beast mercenary), and two witches, a boy, and a girl. The three of them go on a long journey to retrieve the Book of Zero. It’s an adventure series with the right mix of world-building, action, and fun. What’s most interesting about this anime is that in this story, magic is something that is still in its early stages. There’s a fear of witches and beastfallens, so there’s also themes of discrimination, persecution, fear of the unknown, and slavery.
Sakura Quest turns out to be exactly what it promised: a fun, relaxing slice of life about a girl starting out a new job in Tourism in a small rural town. It’s the typical story of a city person moving out to the countryside, hating it at first, but growing to love it by the end (see: Barakamon). The cast is likable enough, so if you like this type of anime, you’ll be happy to know it’s recently be announced to be 25 episodes!
(Because the original title is way too long). Much like Grimoire of Zero, SukaSuka does everything a fantasy series should do. For starters, the setting already makes it stand out: it starts from a point in history in which humanity has been wiped out, and everyone seems to live in islands in the sky. The main character is the last human, and he’s in charge of taking care of a group of adorable girls who are actually… leprechaun-weapons! Despite giving heartwarming nanny-vibes, SukaSuka is a series that promises a lot of drama and messed up situations in its future.
Popular sequels like Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Rage of Bahamut, Natsume Yuujinchou, or The Eccentric Family are all meeting expectations too. Any of this could either go in the “Best” section, but we saved that part for new releases.
The type of series that was hyped to death and ended up disappointing from the very first episode. In this case, it’s not entirely the original work’s fault, but the poor adaptation by studio Xebec. The animation is subpar (and the art is fairly different from the light novel), the pacing is all over the place, there’s pointless fanservice, and the main character is honestly quite annoying. By all means, keep watching if you’re into the action and steampunk art, but it seems to be pretty far from what made the original work worth reading.
Despite being a 2-cour anime original that is even getting a live adaptation, Sakurada Reset has not met the high expectations. It had one of the worst first episodes of the season: the pacing was incredibly slow, the directing was dull and uninspired, and the dialogue was pretentious and made little sense. The series saw a slight improvement in its second and third episode, and some viewers believe it will continue getting better. For now, there’s no way to know, but its beginning has been far from what viewers were hoping for.