So. Many. Harems.
All right. So for the first of these, I’m going to keep things very simple. Just the quick reviews of each new show, up to this point, and the episodes I haven’t covered of my returning shows. None of the fancy award stuff, just in the interest of getting everything caught up, nice and quick.
Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs
Episode 1 – 2
And the harem shenanigans ensue. Harem anime are a tricky thing, honestly. They can be done incredibly well. But there’s a unique balance that kind of has to be struck. I’ll probably do a full article on the subject later, but the first two episodes of this show seemed to very much paint-by-numbers. And that’s unfortunate. Sure, it’s entertaining and may get a chuckle in that very moment if you’re like me and not difficult to please. But if you’re also like me in being extremely difficult to actually impress, this just isn’t going to do it. Nothing’s especially interesting aside from the basic concept itself of “Exorcist meets cute ghost girl and wants to help her pass on so she doesn’t become evil.”
Very little humor that stands out. In fact, it pretty much shamelessly falls back on nothing but “accidental pervert” setups with very little put into the humor of any other type. There’s hardly any actual characterization and just a steep reliance on the tropes to do all the heavy lifting. Some potential, if the OP is to be believed, but if it doesn’t deliver on it by Episode 3, it may just be too late. In its current state, I can’t say this show is any better than Harmless. All the usual trappings of a harem comedy, but without much of anything to make it uniquely engaging at all.
The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar
Episodes 1 – 3
Significantly more interesting than the previous offering, actually. Bucks some of the trends of its peers. I like the setup of Yuuto having already been in this world for two years. And I like him using his phone for knowledge of warfare and such. Though I think it’s a bit odd how this can be Earth in the past when there’s superpowers and magic and all that, yet no indication of such things existing in his modern world. But it’s a fairly minor plothole that could potentially be explained later.
The harem, itself, is… fine. The characters do appear to have a decent amount of depth to them (especially those he already knows in the beginning, likely because he’s been around them for upwards of two years). That said, few of them are fully fleshed out yet, so we’ll see where that goes. Though I do like the idea that he’s loyal to his best friend/girlfriend/whatever from his own time. It’s actually really sweet and his taking time to contact her is nice. Though I have to question how, exactly, he’s charging that phone. Unless he somehow managed to not drain the battery even once across two years. But whatever. Could also be explained later. Overall, I’d say this one is a nice helping of Junk Food that could go either way.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Episodes 1 – 3
Oh. Another one of these. Fantastic. All smarm aside, this actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. In fact, the first three episodes were pretty okay. Egregious fanservice aside, it’s suitably entertaining. If nothing else, I like how the show just kind of drops you into everything. Similar Einherjar in a way. Probably because it goes out of its way to establish plot early on. Also, the characters go a bit deeper than just being one-dimensional tropes. They’re still trope-y, but multifaceted, making them seem like more rounded characters, even if they’re not really all that impressive.
But the setup of “shut-in gamer gets sucked into MMO world” does little to help it stand out. Diablo is pretty transparent and a rather shameless use of his particular archetype with little to help him stand out. But the show’s visuals are cool, it’s got a vaguely interesting plot setup, and it does get in the occasional chuckle. So I’ll call this one Junk Food as well. I’m not really sure what’s winning out between this and Einherjar. They have pretty similar strengths and weaknesses. This one seems much more steeped in purely dumb fun whereas Einherjar takes itself at least slightly more seriously. But only just.
Episodes 40 – 41
Well, holy crap. It actually took them 40 episodes to go near a beach. Color me impressed. That shows some actual restraint. But as that lead-in suggests, episode 40 is basically just there to be a time-killer. Though it does also set up for this cour to feature a lot more of Noelle. It’d certainly be nice, given that she’d been basically shafted for the last two cours. And, true to that prediction, episode 41 was pretty much all Noelle. Specifically all about her learning a bit more control. Does it mean she’ll have total control from this point forward? Doubt it. But it’s a nice step forward for her after accomplishing almost nothing for the past several episodes.
Episode 40 is basically just Harmless. Not really a high point, even for this series. But Episode 41 deciding to actually use Noelle gives it a bit of an edge. There were also a couple of admittedly amusing jokes in there, regarding her royal status. The new character, Kahono, is… interesting. I’ll wait to see where that goes. But overall I’d say 41 is decent Junk Food, as far as this series goes. Also, just to put this out there, I’m not really digging the new OP and ED. Though they’ve generally been pretty inconsistent for me overall. I wasn’t really fond of the ones for the second cour either. Though I did like the most recent ones, Black Rover and Black to the Dreamlight. Eh. C’est la vie.
My Hero Academia
Episode 52 – 53
Aaand we’re right back to the best of the bunch with a cooldown episode and a setup episode. Well… two setup episodes, really. But one was more substantial than the other. The students of UA are about to take their provisional license exam, which promises to be really fun (though I already know certain pieces of the outcome). Episode 52 may have been lighter, but it was a lot more of what I loved about this show’s lighter episodes. It still contained those thoughtful character moments, but also managed to squeeze in some genuinely good laughs (a lot of which brought on by the return of one of my favorite characters from the tournament arc). It’s also nice getting to see the three amigos together again. Izuku, Uraraka, and Iida haven’t shared much screen time lately.
Speaking of Uraraka, in the next episode, they decided to bring back her whole doki-doki syndrome for Deku, which we’ve not seen in a while. Though knowing this series (and the Shounen genre, in general), I’m skeptical that it’ll end the way one would expect it to. The rest of Episode 53 was a lot heavier on the setup and I’m really excited for the test to truly get underway. I like getting to see the little steps that the characters take in growing. And Deku’s new fighting style is one such step. Not getting rid of the old one, but adding some new tricks to help him further come into his own. These episodes may have been on the light side, but with this series that only ever means they’re Super Effective at worst. And for the record, no. I’m not digging the new OP or ED. Though to be fair, I didn’t like either of the last OPs initially either, and they grew on me. So we’ll see how this one goes.
This has been an interesting season. Black Clover and My Hero Academia are pretty much locked into their current positions. Both delivered solid episodes (based on their respective peaks). Then there were the new additions, all of which just happen to be harems. And while those three don’t really have a clear winner, there’s so far a very obvious loser. Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs is just painfully standard. It’s like it’s ticking off boxes on a checklist. The only thing keeping it from being dropped is that it’s only two episodes in, where the others each have three. So that next episode may just decide its fate. We’ll see. Anyway, that’s all for me, folks. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome.