Now the other half of shows recently airing.
Meganebu! is about as ridiculous as you expected it to be. It’s a show about five pretty boys wearing glasses, and the first episode has them try to finish their X-ray glasses on time to peep at a female nurse. It’s colorfully animated in a style that reminds you of Baka and Test though, and it knows the entire idea is silly at heart. This makes it a little more tolerable than Free! Both are pure fanservice for a fujoshi type, but at least one doesn’t try to think it’s more than that.
Strike the Blood is okay, but nothing we haven’t seen before. A young vampire who is an inheritor of a progenitor’s bloodline hangs around a town where demons, therianthropes, and other vampires can exist in peace. It reminded me of Black Blood Brothers, and I get the feeling it will be an okay, but average story.
Beyond the Boundary though is very interesting. A half-demon (youmu) boy is repeatedly killed by a shy Spirit Warrior who controls blood. Can the two make an uneasy peace, and help the girl survive not only youmu, but the attention of other Spirit Warriors? Unlike what you’d expect from the premise, it has a completely different vibe and pace that makes for intriguing viewing. It’s not easy to describe in a review; everything is so matter-of-fact, and yet when the battles come they are dramatic and fast-paced. This one has the potential to be a sleeper hit.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel is okay. In the future, a ghostly fleet has managed to take over the seas, and isolate every nation from each other. Japan’s only hope is the Iona, a rogue Ship of the Fog bound to the son of a traitor captain. Of course, this ship also has a very moe avatar in a young girl named Iona. The enemy ships seem to also have moe avatars as well.
The need to make all the ships cute girls drags the idea down a bit, but if you like an Atragon/Blue Submarine 606 combo, you could do worse.
Nagi no Asakura though is probably the best anime of this season. It starts off as a group of friends beginning their first day in a new school, except they all live underwater! In this world, humanity has split into two tribes. One still remains under the water, loyal to the sea god, while one has shed their protective coating and exist on dry land, unable to go back.
It’s amazingly animated, and has a tremendous amount of potential. You get a strong Shin Sekai Yori vibe, which isn’t a bad thing.
Non Non Biyori is also great. It’s the story of four girls out in the sticks. It’s pure healing anime, and strong too; very slow-paced and atmospheric. The jokes are good, too, and they are so far out in the country that all four girls (and one guy) are the only class the school has. Most people will find it too slow-paced, but it’s great chillout anime.
Outbreak Company is better than it should be. An otaku is hired for a job, but they drug his coffee. When he wakes up, he finds himself a cultural ambassador to a fantasy land full of magic. As a raging otaku, it’s his dream come true but can he avoid making a mess of things?
This could have been really bad, but some clever writing lifts it up a bit. It still could be really bad, but given the premise a lot of us were expecting it to be face-palmingly awful fanservice, and the first episode manages to avoid this.
I found a lot more series I wanted to watch in this part of the first impressions than the last. There are some series I won’t, mostly the sports shows Ace of the Diamond and Yowapeda, and the second seasons of shows like Magi or Valrave that I never caught the first of. There are a couple that I haven’t watched yet, like Samurai Flamenco and My Mental Issues, but I’ll follow up on those later. This collection of shows looks pretty good for the most part.
Ratings. Non Non Biyori is G. So far, nothing at all offensive. All of the rest are PG to PG-13. It’s striking how this half doesn’t really have a lot of visible fanservice animes apart from Meganebu!, and the violence for the most part is limited. Beyond the Boundary is probably the most violent, but manages to actually defuse the violence with some clever writing and situations.
I think my favorites so far are Nagi no Asakura, Beyond the Boundary, and Non Non Biyori. I think my tastes lean towards healing anime, and non-traditional takes on anime genres that don’t overload themselves with graphic violence. It’s going to be a fun season with all of the different shows on.