Friday, April 7, 2017

Countdowns with The Rock Otaku 05: Top 10 Spring 2017 Anime I’m interested in checking out.

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.

I’ve already did this spiel here back in January here:  This is to keep those who came in later up to speed on what I do here.

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.

Note: I may have to continue this spiel unless I can trust my audience enough that they don’t have to be reminded how Japanese television and simulcasts work.

So here’s the list, the Top 10 Spring 2017 Anime I’m interested in checking out:

10.       Tsukigakirei (on Crunchyroll)
A series about a boy and a girl who are both shy, awkward, and have certain quirks to handle certain situations?  And there’s a likelihood of love?  While I don’t need the last one, the idea of two outsiders having a bond growing is one that can lead to great drama.  Hopefully we get something amazing here.

9.         The Laughing Salesman (on Crunchyroll)
Based on its retro designs, you can guess that this is based on an old manga from the 60s or 70s.  But the whole concept of a creepy-ass man being able to grant the wishes of the lonely at a very steep cost gives off a “be careful what you wish for” vibe.  On the one hand, that could allow for some dark, twisted storylines where wishes go wrong, and the fun factor is seeing how things go wrong.  But if it’s just that, on the other hand, it may get old after a while.  Sometimes, I need dark and twisted, and I might give one episode or two a watch just to see if it’s worth it.

8.         Sakura Quest (on Crunchyroll)
So this series is about a girl who needs work, but finds it as serving as some sort of “Queen” to a tourist attraction.  And this will be for a year rather than a day.  In a way, this might serve as a fun little comedy about somehow getting into something way over your head and having to adapt quickly.  And for a good chunk of you, who may have dealt with difficult job searches with little-to-no success and somehow getting the ideal career by accident, this may be a relatable series for a lot of you, especially on the young and female sides.  I may take the plunge to tell you if you’ll like it, but if this series’ quality is like the concept of the premise, getting into something supposedly amazing despite not thinking it that way, then it’s probably a good idea to check it out.

7.         Boruto: Naruto Next Generations (on Crunchyroll and Hulu)
With how much of an institution Naruto became as an anime staple, anything involving the yellow-haired ninja will be seen as a big event.  And this new series to jump off of the ending of Naruto Shippuden is emblematic proof that this series has a long way to do before being put to rest.  However, due to how this series is supposed to be where Naruto Uzumaki is now Hokage and has a kid, I don’t think that you really need to invest too much time in the original anime to give this one its chance.  In a way, this feels like a sudden reboot sequel that gives us a new cast to root for and the old group serves as mentors and authority figures helping out, The Force Awakens.  If I do give this series a chance, I really do hope that it’s more that than Jurassic World.  Plus my knowledge and experience with Naruto is limited towards the beginning anyway, so something like this may be more interesting than I’d think.

6.         KADO: The Right Answer (on Crunchyroll)
So this series has a more mature premise than the others this season, but it’s also pretty fantastical at the same time.  And it’s about a man with a strong sense of analysis, a great attention to detail, and a handy skill in negotiation dealing with an alien puzzle box that consumed his plane, causing a flurry of issues.  But it’s a CGI anime.  Great, but don’t those tend to have bizarre issues with how they’re rendered, coming across as less interesting, impactful, and more rigid and stiff than old-school traditional or cel animation?  Hopefully the premise makes up for the bizarre visuals, as I feel it to be a very interesting adult drama.

5.         The Royal Tutor (on Crunchyroll)
Between Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor and this series, I get the sense that this will be the series to watch.  Not to say that it’s going to be bad, but this might actually be a good one with its premise of a teacher having to teach a king’s sons to not be royal pains in the ass and possible Caligula wannabes.  So for this, I expect fun, hijinks, shenanigans and hopefully the good ones and not ones like Farva’s, and possibly some character development.  As for the latter, since this is seen as a comedy, there’s a likelihood that this will aim for belly laughs than dramatic touches despite the posh feel.  If it’s really good, I hope it gets a dub with comedic talents as the characters.

4.         Alice & Zoroku (on Crunchyroll)
So from what I’m getting at with some of the words from ANN involving this, I can see this as a lighter, more father-daughter version of Elfin Lied (with hopefully less creepy themes).  And as a result, I can see myself showing my dad, or any fathers who has daughters in their lives, this series if it’s great and gauge their reactions as well.  But for me, some of the Alice in Wonderland-inspired themes and terminology may get me into this.

3.         The World of Yami-Zukan (on Crunchyroll)
Wait a sec?  We’re getting an anime version of Tales from the Crypt and/or The Twilight Zone?  Will it have the same levels of creeps, scares, and feelings of terror of both series?  Will it be as though-provoking and bizarre as the latter, inspiring a “runaway elevator” drop ride at a theme park like it?  Does Japanese mythology translate well to this type of storytelling?  Who knows, but I’ll need to take the plunge.

2.         My Hero Academia S2 (on Crunchyroll and Funimation)
So in preparation for this run of the superhero-based anime hit, I’m checking out the first season of it.  And my thoughts?  If it’s as interesting as what I’ve seen of the first season story-wise, then I’m definitely in for this ride.  The characters are interesting, especially the main hero, Deku, and his mentor All Might (a hero so many that Kenta Miyake and Chris Sabat had to play him in Japanese and English, despite an interesting twist on the Superman idea with him that involves spoilers), and the side characters are a lot of fun.  There’s a sort of superhero cartoon/shonen anime mix with this series that’s also very interesting and fun to observe in motion, especially if you’re a fan of superhero comics and cartoons, shonen manga and anime, or all of the above.  However, there’s a major flaw with this series, and that it’s not as big of an event (and a long-awaited return) as my number 1 pick.

Before we get to the top spot, here are the honorable mentions:

HM1:   Granblue Fantasy: The Animation (on Crunchyroll)
So this is based on a mobile game, huh?  Hopefully it’s good.

HM2:   Starmyu S2 (on Crunchyroll)
I haven’t seen the first season, and there’s a guarantee that I’ll only check this out if there’s a chance for me to get with a cute nerdy chick into this.  That’s probably due to the whole boy-band premise here.

HM3:   Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor (on Crunchyroll)
With a title like that, it’s easy to see this as a bizarre comedy about an asshole teacher who may or may not be talented in what he’s teaching and a female prodigy under his tutelage.  Something tells me that this is going to be a group watching series rather than one to watch critically, as in watching it with buddies, pizza, sushi, and beer is the way to go to not get pissed at the characters.  Rather than that, I’ll put this on the caution list while checking for anime groups that get together to watch schlock, and see if this among the titles rather than subject myself to this.

HM4:   Clockwork Planet (on Crunchyroll)
So we have a story dealing with the ramifications of the destruction of Earth in the past, and somehow, humanity has a new world to live on.  And we have a young boy who has to take care of a female automaton and keep her fixed, plus military conspiracies.  And the consensus is that this is a rather clichéd story to begin with.  Should I skip, or does all the gear imagery make this a spectacle.  I mean, it’s weird that the series deals with a youngish boy maintaining a mature-looking robot girl, as if it’s going to become a fanservice fest.  But this one may be a group watch series as well.

HM5:   Love Tyrant (on Crunchyroll)
Here’s an idea, take Death Note and make it about smooching.  Yes, imagine the anime classic as a romantic comedy, and this series comes to mind.  And that’s from the premise, and the phrase “Kiss Note” is so blatant in what it’s a parody of that it becomes easy to call this a parody version.  And there’s a sense that it’s probably funny, considering the whole angle, but I feel like watching Death Note to understand the punchlines here.  Not to say that that’s a bad thing, but it’s something wrong.  But I did see enough parodies with and without knowledge of the existing source material that I had a good time, so this may be like Spaceballs to Death Note’s Star Wars.  Hopefully.

HM6:   Hinako Note (on Crunchyroll)
So we have an adaptation of a 4-koma (a gag manga) that’s pretty much a girl show.  I might check it out in the near future if I can put my dimwitted, hyper masculine, nu-metal supporting side to the side for this.

HM7:   Twin Angels Break (on Crunchyroll)
To sell me on a magical girl show, you need to have interesting characters (with some cuteness), a fun concept, an interesting setup, and kickass action.  And the whole idea of a hedgehog taking on the role of Luna from Sailor Moon is an interesting setup.  The only issue is that this is a spinoff of another series, but thankfully, it’s a standalone series.  And yes, this could be a good watch if there’s some kickass action.  We’ll have to see.

HM8:   Berserk S2 (on Crunchyroll)
Does it suck that Berserk when the CG route for its revival?  Yes, but it doesn’t mean that this series isn’t worth checking out at least once.  Hopefully, with a fan favorite character like Griffith joining the bleak, bloody fray, this season shall be one hell of a good time.

HM9:   Eromanga Sensei (on Crunchyroll)
So we have a comedy about a high school-age writer learning that the art in his light novels are done by his little sister.  And she’s the eromanga sensei of the title.  Is it me, or could this lead to a very fun, funny, and entertaining show or a mindless waste.  Depends on when it comes out.

HM10: Natsume's Book of Friends S6 (on Crunchyroll)
If I’m going to see this series, I really need to start watching this series.

1.         Attack on Titan S2 (on Crunchyroll and Funimation)
Let’s face it, if you weren’t under the impression that this wasn’t a big deal when it was announced, where were you in 2013?  In geek culture, anime culture respectively, a little manga series got an anime adaptation, one from a small studio branched off of Production IG, one that somehow had an all-star cast behind the voices, and one that was so bloody, gory, nerve-wracking, and surprisingly thought-provoking that, in the same time period we got a bunch of big genre films but grosses were low unless you had Iron Man in the movie, the usual for TV, and a pretty mediocre music scene, this, alongside Frozen and Steven Universe, was probably the biggest breakout hit of that year.  That hit was Attack on Titan, and it became a massive phenomenon, leading to merchandise, spinoffs, cosplay groups, and fan parodies paying tribute to Eren Jaeger’s quest for justice and revenge.  And it took us 4 years before we got any more animated material while the manga kept moving on.  Thankfully, based on the first episode, I can easily say that Titan is back, bigger than ever, and more promising of something grand (though if it’s slow like some moments in the first season, expect some rage from yours truly).  And with a new director focusing on more intense action than the last, I can say that this may be one wild ride this Spring.

So that was my countdowns for Anime I’m interested in checking out this season.  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, Play Hard, and for the love of humanity, HIDE YOUR POTATOES!

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

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