Due to my condition (partly), I couldn’t complete many animes in this cour. However, there were some impressive ones (as always). This cour can be remembered as the themes prevail over characters. I will talk about it at the conclusion.
Saga of Tanya The Evil (幼女戦記)
This is my personal best of this cour. At the first impression, I thought it was another typical alternative history anime. But watching the second episode, I was shocked. It was very similar feeling of when I looked at the end of the third episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Historically animes have had the themes about the relative justice and understanding different stances of each other. This show also has the same awareness but (interestingly) it does not tell it directly; it just presents the situation and makes the audience think about it themselves.
This show has more strength in settings than characters. I think the staff intentionally weaken the ‘moe’ style of characters. The anime character design is much more like Chucky-style comparing with the original illustrations. There was almost no exhibitionism – no swimsuit scene.. ah.. actually there was one scene, but it was of men-soldiers. But on the contrary, it makes us more concentrate on the situation itself.
The acting of Aoi Yuuki as Tanya is marvelous (as always). It was very fun that I could find the mix of Tatsumaki (of One Punch Man) and Clementine (of Overlord). However, I think the characters of this show are relatively monolithic (and it also makes us more concentrate on the settings).
The animation studio is ‘NUT, ’ and it is their first production. (Yes, the name of production is NUT…) You can check the mini animations ‘ようじょしぇんき’ (a little different pronunciation of the original Japanese title) which is from studio Pu-Yukai (the production of mini anime of Overlord).
Favorite Character: Viktoria Ivanovna Serebryakov – I couldn’t help laughing a lot when I saw this shot.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
This is from Kyoto Animation this cour. It might look like a comedy because KyoAni has made comedy animes from time to time such as Lucky Star and Nichijou, but it is more a serious one. The art style is different from the usual KoyAni’s works, but on a closer look, we can find it is very high-quality. I love the cut in the opening that Tohru rushes into Miss Kobayashi.
It looks like just a love comedy, but it shows many good perspectives about how we can face for differences; It is abstracted as the difference between species (human and dragon). One thing impressive for me is that it is ‘Miss’ Kobayashi, not ‘Mr.’ Kobayashi. It extracts the ‘usual love’ property from the story and makes us more think about the theme.
It was a warm and lovely story. Especially the last episode was touching, and I really want to see another season coming.
Favorite Character: Elma
Interview with Monster Girls
It was another anime about the differences. The world of this anime is just very contemporary human society except there are demi-humans such as vampires, dullahans, snow women and so on. Although they are well accepted into human society, there are still mental distances and subtle discriminations. The course of understanding each other is the theme of this show.
There was a good balance between the topic and characters. The four main demis had lovely character settings. The tone was not so severe but not so light also. With the abstraction of demis, it reflects our days with minorities. It does not claim anything exaggeratedly but let us think about it by ourselves.
Most of all, the opening theme “Original” by TrySail is my best opening song of this cour.
Favorite Characters: Yuki Kusakabe
Kemono Friends (けものフレンズ)
This is a huge hit of this cour in Japan. (I’m not sure about the other countries though) You can easily find tweets from Japan that start with ‘Wa~i,’ ’Sugo~i’ and so on.
This is a kind of a road movie style and a cartoon-rendered 3D animation. I cannot tell the quality is great. It seems to be a low budget B-movie. It is so painful to see the line distortion (especially) on a big TV screen. But I think the weird(but attractive) world settings and unique characters ignite an unexpected success.
The central theme is well expressed by a phrase in the opening theme: “There are ‘kemonos’ but no ‘nukemono’; Nukemono means the ‘outcast.’ The world setting is somewhat gloomy (not disclosed at first) but everyone is going to understand the others, and they are ‘friends.’
I heard that it was originally a media-mix project of comics, games(mobile) and the anime. However, the anime was delayed more than a year (somewhat rare case in these days) while the game was released (by Nexon) on schedule (also rather rare case…). Unfortunately, the game service didn’t get good numbers, and the service was shuttered. But the anime comes later and get a big hit. (What an ironic!) We can expect other games of Kemono Friends with this popularity (and there was one announcement a few days ago).
Favorite Characters: Kaban-chang
Recently, (especially after the hit of the Puella Magi) there are many animes present radical settings and radical retroflection. Among those, there are some propagandas that try to instill inappropriate ideology (at least, from my point of view). There have been some universal values that the anime has pursued. I believe they are the relativeness (there is no only one answer) and the understanding of others. It is about embracing other minorities, and it is the stance of Otakus who are also in a kind of minority. However, those propagandas aim at the more opposition and blame them; which I firmly object to.
Therefore, it was really happy to watch those animes this cour. They reflect the real world in a marvelous abstract. The good works make us think and decide by ourselves.