Friday, January 27, 2017

Countdowns with The Rock Otaku 01: Top 5 Winter 2017 Anime I’m interested in checking out, and the 5 I need to catch up on.

Hello degenerates, heathens, weirdos, and deviants.  I am the Rock Otaku, and I’m here to show you worlds such as hard rock, metal, punk, alternative rock, movies, TV, anime, video games, and anything that makes us scream, shout, and let it all out.

As some of you may have noticed, I tend to have that opening slogan in my blogs when I do something big or based on a series, but I seem to only discuss the first two (and three after that when the opportunity arises) in my blog overall.  As for the others, they end up serving as times to make references or jokes in my main series.  And this is the main reason why I am now going to try to fit in more anime reviews, news, and countdowns into my blog.

You know what, I’ll use the extra week I’ve added to my time to make my LET THEM EAT METAL series bi-weekly to create a series of countdowns.  And they don’t have to be just about anime.  I can use this to mention movies, TV shows, episodes of shows, news, games, and even other musical artists I want to talk about but aren’t able to usually thanks to my current load.  But I’ve set my mind to anime, so we’re starting there.

Specifically the series that are premiering this season and may (or may not) have a simple 12-13 episode run, with some going for 24-26 episodes or longer.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, TV seasons in Japan work differently then they do here in America.  In America, a season could be considered a block of episodes that occur during the year or a part of it, specifically during the time between September and May, with certain shows having their run between those months.  In Japan, seasons work more like the actual seasons of the year; certain shows are run on a weekly basis during a 3-month timeframe, like the Winter season, which runs from January to March, in this case, and then end.  If the show is popular enough or has enough material, which is where anime comes into the equation, the run will extend into the next season, which is the Spring season, which runs from April to June.  Same with the Summer season (July to September) and the Fall season (October to December).  As a result, you get a steady stream of entertainment that comes out throughout the season, but tends to start at the very beginning of it, and ultimately one or two become massive hits.  There are surefire hits that have been planned to run during multiple seasons, but usually it for one season, and that’s all the time a show can tell its story or show the lives of its characters.

And that’s where I come in to decide which series I myself would stream weekly or seriously need to catch up on, as in right now.  With how online streaming has revolutionized how anime is viewed, it’s possible to go on a site like Crunchyroll (my main source), Funimation, Daisuki, Hulu, Anime Network, Amazon, or even Netflix and watch the show as it runs on Japanese television (not sure about the last one), usually premiering new episodes a certain time after it came out in Japan (which can lead to wonky subtitles at the beginning).  As a result, American (and most western) viewers can get to be able to watch a majority of what airs in Japan every season.  This may lead to oversaturation, but at the same time, it allows for content that might have not been able to air on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block to have a chance to be viewed.  And with the deal between Crunchyroll and Funimation, both services can provide the same shows to their install bases while the former handles most of the subtitle work and the latter dubs the show as it airs in Japan (or simuldub, as they call it).  You noticed that despite me saying how Funimation is a streaming service, I can verify that they are the same Funimation that releases anime, a lot of it with good and serviceable dubs, on disk as well and gets to air it on Toonami.  As a result, I have many options.

The rules for the first list are as follows:
1.         The shows must have premiered this season.
2.         Both Crunchyroll and Funimation are streaming it (I’ll add Hulu and Amazon in the future).
3.         If they are a sequel to an ongoing series, how far I’m at in the ongoing series might have a factor, and the new run had to premier this season.
4.         I’m going by premise, as there’s a guarantee that I haven’t started watching it.  It’s in my queue, and it might be bumped up based on this list.
5.         I will not discuss huge spoilers that are not in the show premise.
6.         This is based around speculation and fresh eyes, and I’ve only done basic research from news and previews, not the actual Wikipedia pages.

As for the second list, it’s an anything-goes kind of deal with series that I feel that I’ve been skipping on for reasons that are either reasonable (like time and interest) and bull (such as if it’s something that’s talked about, and I somehow have access to it but don’t notice, because I am an imbecile sometimes).  Plus, this can be done for shows that are older but have intriguing premises anyway.

So here’s list Number 1, the Top 5 Winter 2017 Anime I’m interested in checking out:

5.         Saga of Tanya the Evil (Crunchyroll and Funimation have this):
Yes, the basic premise has been spoiled to me, specifically which the 10-year-old girl who headlines the series is actually a Japanese middle-aged man.  Specifically an office worker.  One who suddenly dies, then God decides to resurrect him as a girl in a war-torn country.  And as a likely result of the experience from her past life, Tanya becomes Second Lieutenant and uses her abilities to cause mass destruction.  And she’s an evil little bitch to boot.  Yep, this is definitely something I’d check out due to the premise and some of the reviews telling me that the war in this series is based on World War I.  So my interest in history and combination of fantasy and warfare (which got me through GATE) may definitely lead me into giving this series a shot.

4.         Gabriel DropOut (Crunchyroll has this):
The story sounds hilarious.  Essentially, it’s about an angel who’s the embodiment of holy goodness, to the point where she’s the top of her class, getting sucked into geeky hobbies and becoming a mess when she’s sent to our realm.  Also, the demons sent here are actually decent folks.  This flip on the stereotypes of Christian figures of good and evil when applied to the real world is not just an entertaining pitch, but one that may reflect on both our best and worst qualities as a species.  Plus, the titular angel causing the apocalypse may be icing to a pretty tasty cake.

3.         Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (Crunchyroll has this):
So what you’re telling me is that this is a series about a dragon that is in love with a princess (who really isn’t one) and is willing to be her maid.  That is a very absurd premise, but I’ll give this a shot due to the fact that we’re dealing with a dragon maid.  That’s already absurd as it is.  You know what, I’ll see this series to check for if it has anything in common humorwise with Monty Python or Mel Brooks (or maybe Edgar Wright or the Zuckers).

2.         Interviews with Monster Girls (Crunchyroll and Funimation have this):
Before you ask, I have seen the Monster Musume anime.  Every.  Single.  Episode. Of that series.  As a result, you can fancy me as a monster girl fan (even funnier if I revealed that I’ve seen Rosario+Vampire, and it got me more interested in watching more anime).  Now that I embarrassed myself in front of sane people, this series has an interesting premise.  Essentially, it’s about a teacher who’s interested in demi-humans more for how they function in modern society as well as their biology (Not that kind of biology, you perverts!).   As a result, after hearing of a succubus becoming a teacher, he gets the opportunity to not just teach but interview a vampire, a dullahan (think Sleepy Hallow), and a snow woman (like Mizore from the aforementioned Rosario+Vampire).  What catches my eyes about this series is not the monster girls but the tone.  It’s meant to be more of a slice-of-life series with a monster twist, and it’s more about learning how demi-humans function in society.  As someone who’s familiar with dealing with the fact that he’s different from most people, I have definitely some strong interest for this one.

HM1:   Fuuka (Crunchyroll and Funimation have this):
So the premise is about a shy teenager who lives with his sisters, having to move in with them due to his parents working overseas, and he meets a random girl that may change his life.  Is that a generic premise?  Yes, yes it is.  But if there’s one thing that may get me to watch this, it’s the fact that the protagonist is a Twitter addict, and having some experience getting sucked in with using it (and dealing with what others say on it), I kind of relate to the initial premise already.  Plus, it has a nice art style that has some elements of Angel Beats!, Clannad, and other similar slice-of-life shows, so it has that going for it.  As a result, like how Doug Walker tends to find such stories interesting, the basic life of a person and getting into their head, I might definitely check this show out.

HM2:   BanG Dream! (Crunchyroll has this):
So this is also part of a mixed-media series, but unlike the other one, this is more interesting to me in concept.  The idea that a young girl finds that her path may lead down the wild and fancy road of rock ‘n’ roll, she decides to form a band.  Where I’m optimistic is that the band members are voiced by the actual band Poppin’ Party, a band of voice actresses that apparently can play their instruments, so the voice work and music should be good at least.  Where I’m cautious is that this might be more of a commercial to their music than an actual story being told.  So call me cautiously optimistic with this.

HM3:   Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (Crunchyroll has this):
I missed out on Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju due to time constraints, but this being a sequel might convince me to check the overall series out.  Hopefully, its premise dealing with a Japanese drama style and the people who perform it strikes my fancy.  Overall, this is to say that I have interest in the series.

HM4:   Yowamushi Pedal New Generation (Crunchyroll has this):
So we get to the other cycling series this season, and it’s the more notable one.  While I have interest in checking this one out, I have not seen enough of this franchise to go in with the experience, but this might be a way to get into the franchise as a whole.  I mean, there are times when I watched one episode or a sliver of a series and went back to the very beginning.  That has happened enough times that I completely lost count.  However, with the acclaim this series gets, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to watch this series first.

HM5:   KONOSUBA season 2 (Crunchyroll has this):
I have not seen the previous series, but from what I’ve heard, I missed out.  This might be on my overall radar once I catch up on the previous series.

1.         Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga (Crunchyroll has this):
Thankfully I’ve seen the first run of Blue Exorcist, so I’m familiar with the characters and the premise.  It also helps that I’ve seen the first episode, so I know what we’re going for this time.  Specifically that there will be some demon hunting in Kyoto, and that Rin will have to master his powers and prevent the will of Satan (who’s his and his brother Yukio’s father, for those who haven’t heard of this series).  As a result, this is definitely going to be a pulse-pounding shonen action series, with the fun characters to boot.  Thankfully, if you’re wondering if this show is for you, or if you’ll be able to get this, the first season is on Crunchyroll with this new season, plus the earlier season has the English dub to boot, so no reading is required, and you get to hear Bryce Papenbrook and Johnny Yong Bosch bicker at each other.

And here the other list, the 5 anime series I need to catch up on:

5.         Dragon Ball Super:
The fact that I am a Dragon Ball fan (with nostalgia for DBZ, knowledge of the characters, and affection for DBZA), and the fact that I haven’t even started watching this is a massive screw up in my eyes.  Hopefully soon I’ll remedy that.  But while I have heard that there are good arcs, what probably caused me to skip it was the criticism of earlier episodes.  But now that the growing pains are over, I’ll give this a shot.

4.         Fist Of The North Star:
I have gotten five episodes in.  I like those five episodes.  I am fond of the setting.  One of my favorite movies of the last few years was Mad Max: Fury Road.  I need to keep watching this 80s classic.

3.         One Piece:
Of the series here, this is the one I’m the farthest in, but I feel that I could go farther in (and with at least 700 episodes, it will take a while).  The amount of material I need to see is enough that it’s daunting, and why this is at number three.

2.         Gintama:
This comedy series is one that I just got into, but I haven’t gotten far enough in to enjoy the story behind the series’ best jokes.  Hopefully I can remedy that, and with a new season, I hope to.

HM1:   Re:Zero:
Interesting concept, though I feel that KONOSUBA may have done it better.

HM2:   Drifters:
I am currently giving this series and the next one a shot, and I feel it deserves it.  And now for a way to check out Hellsing Ultimate without relying on the abridged version.

HM3:   Bungo Stray Dogs:
Like Drifters, I decided to give this series a shot.  It may be due to the literary allusions.

HM4:   Keijo!:
A fun, raunchy action comedy that knows it’s a fun, raunchy action comedy?  WHY DID I MISS THIS?!

HM5:   One Punch Man:
I may have access to Hulu for this one, so me being in the dark of this modern classic will hopefully be over.

1.         Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:
I haven’t finished this modern anime classic, but I’ve seen the original, inferior version, in its Japanese track.  But from what I’ve seen of this series, both in Japanese and English, this is a great series to watch, with its themes, characters, humor, setting, and so on, all wrapped around a story dealing with discovery, adventure, and, yes, brotherhood.  This is a show that I’m in desperate need of finishing, and there are more than enough ways for me to do so.  Unlike the other series I need to catch up on, there is a definitive end, and I’m closer in reach than the others.  As a result, I plan on giving this my attention in the coming weeks (as long as other things don’t get too much in the way).

So those were my two countdowns for Anime I’m interested in checking out this season, and series I need to hurry up on.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.  If you like any of these series, also feel free to leave your opinions and praises in the comments below.

Until next time, this is The Rock Otaku.  Love Loud and Play Hard.

All used references are done under the rules of fair use and are owned by their original creators. 

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