Attack on Titan Season 2
Short Synopsis: Eren and the rest of humanity face a greater threat when a monkey like Titan appears within the walls.
Thus we have the return of the biggest mainstream anime hit in recent memory. I still stand by my assertions in the season preview that this season will likely turn a number of people off the series but admittedly the production values are making it one hell of a return to form. Besides some CGI horses this episode will likely have fans right back into the world of titans and scouting legions. The biggest highlight is of the appearance of the titan with the fan name “Monkey Trouble” With him being one of the first titans who can talk and control other titans, this series may have gotten it’s main antagonist for the season. We also got a peek into some conspiracy as it was revealed at the end of the season that Titan’s reside within the walls and the wall cult seems fully aware of this. Though we didn’t get any real answers as to why there are titans within the walls and that lack of answers is something I suggest people get used to. Sadly the opening didn’t quite match the grander of the first opening but all things considered the first opening set a pretty high bar. Seeing as it topped the poll in the preview I will be covering the show this season and I hope it turns out to be as explosive a season as this first episode.
Mario: Anime fans rejoice for arguably the most crossover anime hit in this decade. I’m guessing you all have an idea of what Attack on Titan is about, right? Well, this episode certainly won’t disappoint you. Right in this first episode, the show sets up for 2 interesting premises that the human kind wish they didn’t know about Titan: the Titan(s) who stay within the Walls that supposed to protect human, and Titan who has human intelligence and even speaks human language. As expected, the visual and the amount of animation are top-notch and highly-detailed and they get the Titan feel just right. Like after 4 years of waiting, all it takes is first few minutes for us to get back to that dread and heart-pumping universe. While personally this kind of high action work isn’t my cup of tea (I’m a coffee drinker, and I’m a minority who don’t care about Marvel movies either so you know where I come from), Attack on Titan is a must-see for every anime fan out there. It packs one of the best production values this industry has to offer and it’s highly entertainment. Although with only 12 episodes I hope they will at least finish one arc before make us wait again for god-knows-how-long.
GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation
Short Synopsis: In a fantasy world a boy finds a girl with strange powers who is on the run from an evil empire.
This makes me feel rather nostalgic. This first episode was essentially set up like an old school JRPG, hitting every cliche in the genre. You can clearly see this was based on a game as you can make out the points of the first dungeon and boss. What further adds to this is that Noburu Nematsu is listed as a composer, most likely of the original game’s soundtrack. Noburu is a legendary figure when it comes to RPG music, having made some of the best soundtracks in the genre. So this is story is standard JRPG through and through which means if you have played a lot of rpgs, or watched standard fantasy in general, then this story is going to feel very familiar. The animation is quite impressive and makes me think that Fate/Apocrypha may not be in such bad hands after all if they can make animation like this. However the characters are all standard stereotypes lacking any defining characteristics and the worse is that mascot character Dragon. Adds absolutely nothing but annoyance. If you are going to have a mascot in your show then the best thing you could do is ensure they shut their mouth. If you are a fan of fantasy anie this might tickle your fancy but I say it would prove too by the books to keep your interest.
Mario: A harmless old-fashion fantasy fluff, that what Granblue Fantasy is. Every set-up feels like you have watched in other anime before, and that old feel of more straight-forward fantasy fare makes me questioning about the age of this source material until those CGI monsters appear screaming to my face “Are you impressed with this updating?”. No sir, not one bit. The actual story flows nicely but it’s as generic as it could get. Cliché upon cliché (the girl fall off the sky, guy happens to be nearby to rescue her, guy happens to be bad-ass and many more) and after seeing many protagonists redefining what a “true” hero entails (just pop up my head: Subaru in Re:Zero for the dark side of becoming the man to save the day and Kazuma in KonoSuba for arguably who we would likely become if we were sucked into another world for real), a straight-face hero like this feel just plain and no personality. Everything here is decent, the world-building is alright, the production’s still on par so far, the characters aren’t overly bad, but nothing really memorable either. Also that annoying flying lizard can fly without clapping his wings in one scene? That’s sadly the only noticeable details after watching this episode.
Alice to Zouroku
Short Synopsis: A superpowered little girl on the run from the government decides to stay with a gruff old man.
A 45 minute pilot episode and my overall experience with this show is rather mixed. The car chase was the worst part of the episode with some truly terrible CGI and a couple of animation goofs. Action in general seems to be this show’s weakest aspect as it has a relatively uninspired setup and there doesn’t really feel to be any real danger in regards to stakes. The government is acting suitably shady but the little girls don’t seem to be mistreated or malicious. One of the things that made the action fall flat was in how no one looks to be taking it seriously. It’s hard to feel a sense of danger when the ones fighting are little girls making jokes and talking like it’s some kind of playdate. What works here and made this episode stand out was the main character, who happens to be an old man who just doesn’t put up with any of this nonsense. His reactions are remarkably refreshing in comparison with your normal anime leads and his grandfatherly care of the girls is rather heartwarming. While this episode displayed a lot of action I have a feeling this show is moving more into slice of life territory which I am all for surprisingly. Normally I wouldn’t prefer a show trade off action for slice of life but seeing how this show pulls off action scenes I think it’s the safer option to forgo it from this point forward. What will decide this show’s fate is how much it plans to dwell on the government science facility as frankly that aspect has been done before and to a much better degree. If it’s a tale of a girl hanging around a grandfather figure then I say it’s worth checking out but if it’s a tale of a girl fighting her fellow lab rats with lame superpowers then I say it will not be worth your time.
Mario: Boy, I certainly didn’t expect this much action for this show. But here the thing, the action part is a weaker part of the show. After watching the show I have a really mixed feeling about it. While many elements make it a must-watch for this season, other elements are uninspiring and below-par. For example, the action. While the actual fights are fine, showing right in the beginning when we don’t have a clue about the girls’ gifts make more confusing than aspiring. Moreover, the CG cars moving on the road feel very out of place and terribly unconvincing (remember the scene where the old man stopped the car and asked Sana out? The background scene was MOVING on its own). Likewise, I feel whenever the research institution is mentioned, the show goes heavy-handled, and it’s boring. Evil facility acts like an evil facility isn’t something new. The main beef of the show, however, is the relationship between Sana and old man Zouroku and their chemistry is amazing. They act their ages and they bounce of each other well (love the no-nonsense attitude of the old man) and it was those small moments that bring out so much warm and heart to this show. But seeing how the plot advances, I’m pretty sure that we will have an uneven show of one-half taking itself too seriously with plot-driven MESSAGE, and the other half of endearing slice-of-life of Sana and old man. Weight your choice. I will be on this board as the latter clearly outweigh the former.