Spring Anime: 2019 Season in Review!
Helloooo, weeaboos, and weea… weea-gals? (Does distinction matter?)
Here we are at the end of the season, and the new series of shows are coming in quick!
We’ve got little time until we get moving in on the anime headed our way, so let’s take a moment and reflect on the shows we’ll be saying goodbye to.
The Season Summary
Spring 2019 was chocked full of content. But unfortunately, the shows weren’t as strong as the Winter season. We had the good, the bad, and the ugly, with the bad and the ugly having worn sheep’s clothing (per the norm).
Yes, we were experiencing plenty of disappointment with such shows, but lucky us! Other shows managed to sate our tenacious anime hunger!
Anime In Review
Unfortunately, I’m unable to watch every show, but I try to watch as much as I can. This is a list of the anime I was able to ingest and they will be briefly (or not so briefly) reviewed for your convenience.
So apologies in advance! If you don’t see your favorite show here, please leave a comment below about which shows you watched and what you think of them 😀
Rising of the Shield hero: 7.5/10
This was an absolute fan favorite for the anime community. The show started very strong and managed to keep us all coming back despite a great drop in quality as it continued. The pacing started to suffer but the writing and characters still made it a fun, if not mildly entertaining watch. We got a revenge story that threw a satisfying justice-punch in the face of those who’d dared hurt our Naofumi-Sama. All in all, the show stuck the landing while promising us so much more.
The only problem is… We don’t know if we’re getting a season 2!
This is a consistent struggle, waiting with no guarantee of a continuation. But seeing how popular it became in the US and in Japan, I’d say we’ve got a good chance of seeing Naofumi and friends again.
“Party is overrr.”
*Sniff* *Sniff* Indeed it is.
Dororo is most definitely the dark horse of its original airing season. It was a show of such high quality, but didn’t seem to have enough people behind it to build a train… a hype train, that is. But I have no doubt that this incredible anime has managed to find a place on a top ten list for those who stayed with it.
The animation was spectacular, with only a noticeable quality drop in one episode in particular. The music was was excellent and sustained the atmosphere of the show. The writing often blew me away and surprised me. When you think you know what’ll happen, it will continue to prove you wrong. The characters are great, people we only meet once manage to make an impact on us.
This adventurous story of tragedy and redemption was very well made, every episode was something special, and not one was wasted. It’s very rare that a show is so efficient with its story and character writing. When it finally ended, it tied up most of the loose ends, leaving the rest to our imaginations, but despite missing out on a completely tight ended story it left us with a beautiful ‘farewell.’
Let’s hope we get an OVA or movie to tie up the rest of it. Because COME ON! We need more Hyakimaru and Dororo!
Karakuri Circus: 7/10
Karakuri Circus, a Shonen about large marionettes being used as weapons by puppet masters. Action filled and suspenseful, this anime was proving to be one of the greats!
But it ran for 36 episodes straight without stopping, and I think that was to its detriment. It had an incredible first impression and held onto that quality for quite some time, but then it started getting complicated. Suddenly we’re introduced to a bunch of characters with various backstories and backgrounds, and it seems as if they didn’t have the adequate time to spend on them.
The plot started getting a bit convoluted and so confused that they spent 3 episodes in straight exposition. While the story on paper is very good as well as expansive, it seems as though they didn’t have time to make 3/4 of it as digestible as it should’ve been. Perhaps the directing is to blame? Because you can tell that the material is strong but the execution feels a bit off. This could be a sign of just a bad manga adaptation, but I firmly believe it would’ve been ten times better if the direction was as solid as those first eight episodes.
Besides all that, often times we’d meet a new character and then they die three or four episodes later, and you begin to wonder why the sad music starts to play. But to its credit, it does start fixing this problem later on. Seemingly throwaway characters suddenly become sympathetic and when they’re gone you really do feel a bit sad.
That’s another thing Karakuri Circus did well; the death scenes. Even though we may not have spent much time with half the characters who died, you actually felt bad for them. Sort of the same way Akame Ga Kill did. But again, not all of the emotional deaths were unearned, in fact, there were many that carried real weight in the latter half of the series.
As always, I’ll try to find ways to praise something when it does something right, so here come the positives:
– The music: Thematically fitting and genuinely touching at times. The creative choices in this area really did enhance the overall experience I had with the show. So where is it?! No seriously, you can’t find these tracks anywhere (as far as I know). except for the OP’s and ED’s. If you’re interested, please listen to its first ED. It’s called “Marionette”.
– The characters: Even though there are so many, the ones who do stand out are a joy to watch. Namely, the main trio is the heart of the show, and they go through a lot of character development. So much so, the protagonist (who’s a young boy) does a lot of growing up throughout the series, and by episode three he becomes a protagonist you’d be proud to cheer for!
– The artwork: The art in this show doesn’t always shine, but when it does, it’s truly a treat. The style is reminiscent of anime’s past, having been an adaptation of a manga that was made in 1997. This will no doubt please the older anime fans, as well as newer fans who have an appreciation for its style.
– The philosophy of a smile: This show really uses smiles in its story to great effect, and there’s really no way I can say that without making it sound cheesy, but for those of you who’ve watched it all the way through, you understand. It had a fascinating effect on nearly every character in this show. In fact, it’s so important to the story as a whole, that the entire plot revolves around it. We see smiles played out as terrifying, scary, charming, and heartbreaking, and this show uses those smiles to great effect.
Ultimately, this show is a fun ride and truly a great experience that I’m glad to have finished. The emotional katharsis is satisfying and everything ends with a fond “Goodbye”. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone due to the plot whiplash and heavy exposition throughout, but if you’re interested in puppeteer warriors fighting each other over righting the wrongs of the past, I’d say it’s definitely worth a watch 🙂
(Lol, sorry that was so long!)
New Spring Anime
Attack on Titan – Season 3 Part 2: 9/10
This season of AOT had the most satisfying exposition anyone could’ve asked for.
Season 3 part 2 could be called “The answers you’ve been waiting for since 2013” because now we have almost the entire history of the Titans revealed! The characters keep getting the development they need, continuing the mission that season 2 started. We continue to realize that not everyone is who they seem, and their motives aren’t always as heroic as we would’ve hoped. They show us sides of themselves that you may not have expected and used this new information to create some of the most emotionally gripping scenes in the entire show. As far as plot and emotional effectiveness go, this didn’t disappoint.
The animation was very well handled and the Sakuga more than made up for what little CGI there was. There’s no denying that WIT put in all they had for this season despite the troubles they may have had behind the scenes. Even though we had to wait for the conclusion of season 3, I’m so glad they took their time, because we would never have had this level of quality if they hadn’t taken a break.
The music took a back seat to the voice acting and let the Japanese voice actors’ talents shine through beyond what we’ve heard before. When the music was present it did its job well enough, although, I would’ve liked more bombastic tracks for the action sequences…
In summary, if you’re an Attack on Titan fan, this is an experience you’ll NEVER forget.
We’re still waiting to see how this show turns out, but with the declared “last season” of Attack on Titan confirmed for Fall 2020 we won’t be waiting for long. Rumor has it that we’re in for the most legendary ending for one of the most loved anime of our generation.
Keep up the excellent work, WIT!
Demon Slayer: 8.5/10
Tanjiro has to be one of the greatest anime protagonists I’ve seen. He doesn’t complain or keep asking why terrible things happen to him. No, this guy is a rarity. We see him train for over three years in a matter of episodes and the anime is all the better for it. He’s nowhere near the whining or pervy protagonist, he’s the bonified hero who knows what needs to be done and how to do it. His skills are nearly fully developed and what gets him out of tight corners isn’t the power of friendship or a random power he never had before, it’s intuition and a tactical mind.
The story itself is really starting to move along, and the episodic nature works very well to show us the kind of experiences Demon Hunters go through. Most recently we’ve started to meet new characters who are… truly fascinating, to say the least. As soon as you meet them, you immediately want to learn more!
It’d be stating the obvious to say that the animation goes above and beyond the call of duty and looks as if God Himself had blessed its production… but I will. Ufotable is branching out beyond the Fate series and shows us that they’re more than capable of handling manga adaptations.
Here’s hoping they’ll continue down this path and adapt more! Perhaps they might take on the Berzerk series one day? Then manga readers can finally be at peace.
Carole & Tuesday: 8/10
The amount of effort Studio BONES put into the animation and music is absolutely breathtaking, and it’s difficult to accurately describe how the music has impacted us. Every song is incredible and would no doubt be real life hits in the world of music.
Carole & Tuesday is a very well crafted slice of life music anime, and it’s too bad that people are unable to watch it legally. That’s right, this show is in the dreaded NETFLIX prison, and we’ll have to wait until it has finished airing before we can watch it on a legal streaming site. It’s a shame really, you can tell that BONES has put their heart and soul into this project.
As far as the story goes, it’s a bit of a slow burn, but nonetheless a great experience. It takes its time in the most beautiful way as we gradually watch this loveable pair grow into musical stars, with stardom seemingly so far from their reach. Carol and Tuesday are some of the most loveable anime friends in recent years and are an absolute joy to follow. Personally, I can’t wait to see what they’ll get up to next.
With all the laughs and goosebumps we got from this show so far, we’re all looking forward to seeing where we go from here.
One Punch Man – Season 2: 6/10
The sequel season of the 2015 anime giant has finally arrived after a four-year wait, and it turned out… okay. The characters we love and the heart of One Punch Man is still present and is honestly one of the few things left to appreciate in this season. The villain is outstanding and complex, being one of the greatest parts of the story. Meanwhile, Saitama has become more of a cameo character in what used to be his story, but his presence is always a laugh and a joy.
This anime adaptation continues to add commentary on what a true hero is, and the essence of heroism itself. Just when you think it’s said everything it wanted on the matter, One Punch Man continues to say more, and always stirs up that feeling you get when you find yourself inspired. But without the direction of the previous season, it’s missing a lot of what made the emotional beats hit so hard in season 1.
The build-up, the suspense, the gravitas… it’s just gone.
Most would say it’s because of the animation (or lack thereof), but that can’t be the case. The animation of season 1 was no doubt a thing of legend, but what really made it work was the impeccable visual, audio, and story direction. In comparison, this season just feels like a diet coke; Similar to what the original was, but ultimately a cheap disappointment with a bad aftertaste. I know that’s a bit harsh but that’s kinda how it feels.
What matters isn’t just what we see, but how we see it and the effect it can have on us and the atmosphere as a whole.
Rather than it feeling important, it’s as if the show is trying to tell you that it’s important. MadHouse didn’t just throw scenes at us, it made everything meant to be suspenseful and dangerous feel suspenseful and dangerous. Remember when we saw Mumen Rider stand up to the Deep Sea King? That moment and everything building up to it felt like the world was ending like everything was life or death with the characters nearly on the brink of despair.
I haven’t felt that since.
The sequel season isn’t bad by any means, and the efforts of J.C. Staff are admirable when they try their hardest, but that’s just it. No matter how hard the studio tries, it could never compare to the first season, and that will never have been their fault.
It was a terrible decision for them to pick up the rest of the series. An anime producer should be able to recognize when they’re about to bite off more than they can chew… but apparently, they didn’t. Let’s just hope they hand the series off to a better-equipped studio.
Well, that’s it for Part 1!
Part 2 will focus more on some of the more disappointing shows of the season, along with a few that I couldn’t fit here.
See you all later! What was your favorite anime this season? Let me know in the comments below!
(Was originally written and posted on the “Lost Otaku” as an unpaid contribution)
Please feel free to check out their blog here: https://animationmangaisfun.blogspot.com/