It’s been a good few weeks since the Winter Anime Season started, which means we are past the 3-episode rule, and it’s time to give our first impressions. As always, there’s hidden dark horses, surprises, and disappointments. These are our initial thoughts and recommendations for the first round of anime of 2017.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
We’ll admit it was initially hard to take this show seriously based on its title and premise. Anime is packed with cute maids and lolitas, and having one that’s also a dragon seemed like a bizarre concept that would lead nowhere interesting. Fortunately, not everything is what it seems. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is an adorable Slice of Life including surprising good comedy, yuri, and more depth to the dragon mythology than you might have expected. The animation from Kyoto Animation is also as amazing as always: its comedic scenes are reminiscent of Nichijou, while the little action we have seen so far reminds us of Beyond the Boundary.
As a drama/romance seinen, Scum’s Wish was already on our list of series to keep an eye on. As a seinen, the series has more freedom to go into detail when it comes to themes such as sex and intimacy (elements that are often taboo in romances with high school settings). It does so in a mature and realistic way, and it never crosses the line of being pointless fanservice. Scum’s Wish also includes some yuri, even venturing into exploring the main character’s potential bisexuality. It’s not really a harem, but more of a love hexagon, and with only 3 episodes out, Scum’s Wish promises a lot of dramatic complications.
Saga of Tanya the Evil
We are adding Saga of Tanya the Evil here despite already being in our anime-to-check-out list for several reasons. For starters, even though its first episode was somewhat disappointing, the series has been getting better and better after that. Showing us Tanya’s backstory (including ‘Being X’) has been the right choice, as well as something that should have been done since the very beginning. The series is doing an excellent job at making Tanya surprisingly likable for an antihero, and as a result, the show has become one of the most discussed series every week. However, we have been told the light novel and manga are way better, so you might want to check those out if you end up really enjoying the series!
Hand Shakers is a candidate for the worst anime of the season, maybe even of the year as a whole. There’s not enough space to elaborate on all the wrong things that happened in the first episode of the series alone. There was no nice twist from the premise – it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. However, the worse thing about it is the offensive, stupid fanservice, along with some of the worse-looking use of 2D CGI animation. Taking a look at stalker sales from Amazon, it’s also selling very poorly. It’s just a shame that so much money was invested in such a poor series.
To be fair, I wasn’t even expecting too much from this one, and yet it still managed to disappoint me. Fuuka is not even enough for a guilty pleasure. So far, there’s only been cliche tropes and tons of eye rolling worthy fanservice. According to manga readers, there’s supposed to be a big game-changing spoiler happening soon. Having been spoiled myself, it’s still not worth it. I say give it a try/continue watching if you’re new to romance anime, or if you don’t mind cliches and are willing to put up with it for the nice visuals, music, and the occasional good moments it has.
Finally, there’s the series that are performing as expected, but that still deserve honorable mentions.
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga can come off as standard shonen (it is), and so far the beginning has only been focused on the build up. However, the second half promises a lot more action, and the animation seen in the short battle scene from Episode 4 is reason enough to get excited. Little Witch Academia is really similar to the movies, so you will enjoy it if you liked those. However, keep in mind that this is an anime for kids, and at times it can come off as way too similar to Harry Potter. Konosuba 2 is as funny as ever despite the complaints towards its “quality.” Lastly, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen is as good as its underrated first season.