As we prepare to trade in the sunscreen for sweaters, the Summer season draws to a close over the anime world as well. So what were the best and worst of the bunch?
Voyager: Told you. Sparse.
EvilBob: I mean… dang. Talk about slim pickings. And they got even slimmer as the season went on!
Voyager: …nah. Too easy.
Voyager: Nothin’. So. The people demand a recap list, yes? Let’s give ’em what they want.
EvilBob: Wait, you mean they aren’t demanding a sacrifice? Then… what am I supposed to do with-
Voyager: Oh, don’t worry. They’ll have their turn. In the meantime, on with the show.
EvilBob: Should I get my tap shoes, or…
Voyager: …*sigh* You people see what I put up with?
Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
EvilBob: So. This was a surprisingly good anime. For the most part. The filter still gives me headaches. But the story and action sequences kept it going for me. And then there’s that ending. I’m… still impressed that not everyone died. I mean… I went in expecting everyone to bite it. Funny thing is that we never got to see where that first scene in the show came from. I’m guessing that means there’s gonna be more and they’re going to Japan, after this. From what we got, it was a solid Killer Robot Army (8) level series. Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse. Pretty good, overall.
Cells at Work
EvilBob: This… was a hard choice, for me. To be fair, the top two jumped back and forth for me a lot. It was a dead tie for ages. Buuut, someone had to be second, so… this one was it, in the end.
Voyager: …is this because you didn’t get your precious Cancer in the climax of the show?
Voyager: You never cease to amaze me…
EvilBob: Thank you!
Voyager: That’s not a compliment.
EvilBob: In all seriousness, there were some creative liberties I feel like they could’ve taken to make this show better. They’re mostly just little gripes, to me. I get that the show was going for something fairly accurate to actual biology, but it did kinda make me squint from a storytelling standpoint. So maybe if they weren’t such slaves to the actual science of things-
Voyager: …What the hell was scientifically accurate about their depiction of a sneeze?
EvilBob: You mean to say that you don’t think a sneeze is a rocket launcher in your nose?
EvilBob: But yeah. Everything I have “wrong” with this show is basically a nitpick. That and Cancer not being the final boss.
Voyager: …This is a seriously disturbing thing to fanboy over.
EvilBob: Well, anyway, this show was, of course, a solid Super Villain (10). It was funny, creative, and surprisingly educational! And weirdly action-packed…
Chio’s School Road
Voyager: Give him a minute. He’s taming his inner fanboy.
EvilBob: Y’know… for a show with the most boring description, this season… this show really went out of its way to shatter my expectations. I went in thinking it’d be, at best, just a silly little comedy. What I didn’t expect was the side-splitting, over-the-top comedy that we got! Even the cringy episodes made me laugh so hard I was crying! You know how hard that is?
Voyager: Not very. Bit of a giggly boy, you are.
EvilBob: …I mean laughing while being nervous about the… y’know what? Nevermind. I gave this show a solid Super Villain (10) as well… and yeah. I don’t regret any of it. Still wanna know why Chio and Manana are friends, though. Seriously! Why?! They’re horrible to each other! … *glances at Voyager*
Voyager: *blinks* …May I help you?
EvilBob: Oh, no. It’s nothin’. Nothin’ at all…
Voyager: So to the surprise of absolutely no one, Black Clover walks away with the third place in this bout. And I can honestly say that that’s not because it’s bad. Quite the opposite. While it definitely still faces a lot of those Battle Shonen problems (especially with the ones created by Pierrot… Naruto), it picked things up and found its stride. The emphasis on Noelle was good for the arc and its storytelling, the rest of the Black Bulls are looking like (slightly) more rounded characters, and Asta pretty much only screams when he’s fighting. All-in-all, a marked improvement that’s actually pretty fun to watch at times… despite the show’s veeery questionable animation style and art direction. So it walks away with the Bronze medal for the season and a placement in the Junk Food tier.
My Hero Academia
Voyager: Pretty much everyone was united in thinking this cour was actually a bit weaker than the series has generally been in the past. The Provisional Licensing exam arc was certainly not bad. But it was just serviceable, not being quite on the same caliber as anything in the previous cour, let alone seasons 1 and 2… but let’s be real, here. Even at its worst, My Hero Academia dominates Black Clover. So it getting the Silver is only a surprise to people expecting it to be my number one of the season. Despite the cour’s problems, it was still engaging, entertaining, and displayed a thorough understanding of its characters. The arc, itself, lent to the show falling into a lot of traditional Shonen trappings. But I watch a lot of Shonen. At this point, I just don’t care about that stuff. So this cour of My Hero Academia might not walk home with the top spot, but it was definitely still at least Super Effective, in my eyes.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Voyager: Aaaand, then there’s this. Not gonna lie. When I first started paying attention to this, my expectations were at rock bottom. “Oh. Another Isekai Ecchi series that involves a gamer sucked into the world he’s been playing in.” As a general rule, that isn’t the sort of thing that turns me away from a series. But I do generally have an idea of what to expect from them and, uh… well here’s the part where I eat some crow because damn was I wrong. So unbelievably wrong.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord was the most fun I had with the season. Filled with genuinely likable and engaging characters, surprisingly fun action for having such an OP main character, and a really strong handle on storytelling. I mean… the second arc of this series, in particular, was just so good. Yeah, sure, there was fanservice, but we know I don’t honestly care about that. And it was also… you know… funny. Not gut-bustingly, side-splittingly funny… but funny. A large portion of that came from Diablo, whose reactions were just perfect. And he’s yet another character I need to give an honorary Spirit Animal Award to. Overall, the show had some issues (the last couple episodes were, uh… less than perfect), but I really enjoyed it, and would say that it deserves it’s place among the World’s Finest. Oh. And also the Gold it walks home with.
Voyager: Okay. Now we can offer the sacrifices, Bob.
EvilBob: Oh… good.
Angels of Death
EvilBob: …I tried. I really did.
Voyager: Uh oh.
EvilBob: I gave this show way too many chances. I mean, it was fine for the first few episodes. Stuff actually made sense. I could follow along with the story without getting a headache. And then episode 10 happened. And all that “sense” stuff just flew out the window. If not for that, I probably could’ve made it. But the way things were, if I kept going, the headache might’ve evolved, I just don’t wanna put myself through that much pain. Overall, this series was just…
Voyager: A hot mess?
EvilBob: Yeah, that! So it got dropped.
Holmes of Kyoto
EvilBob: All right, I’ll just come out and say it. This one was just boring.
Voyager: Oh. The worst thing any piece of entertainment can be.
EvilBob: Could be worse. Could’ve also given me a headache. The characters are cute, and all. But cute characters can only keep you interested in something that doesn’t move forward for so long.
EvilBob: You wound me, sir!
Voyager: email@example.com, folks. All your hate mail is welcome there.
EvilBob: …Well played.
Master of Ragnarok
Voyager: …Y’know… I make it a point to cover a lot of “fluff” on this site. I mean, my whole thing is looking through stuff that might seem mindless and pointing out the layers of complexity or areas wherein the series put a lot of its effort… and yet halfway through this, try as I might… I just. Couldn’t. Do it. I stayed optimistic and stuck with it for way longer than I should’ve. I can’t find anything about this that was actually worth praise. At all. It’s just that paint-by-numbers… and I can almost say I mean that literally. Just look at the art direction of this mess! Was this animated out of a coloring book? But it’s a good thing I abandoned ship when I did, evidently. Because based on what people say about the ending, ye gods I dodged a bullet. Or… well… I would’ve. Except something compelled me to just watch the last episode anyway. Hoo boy, it was, uh… it was a special kind of bad. Just do yourselves a favor and Pass on this one.
Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Spring
And then there’s this. To be fair, this show isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just not my thing so I bumped it off the list early. But even then, the first few episodes of it are, in retrospect, more competently put together than anything I got to see out of Master of Ragnarok. I personally just don’t think there’s much of anything for me to say about the episodes. While I certainly don’t mind fanservice (for crying out loud, I have no problem with, of all things, Highschool DxD), there’s a certain point where I kinda just lose interest. If the show’s balance skews the fanservice more than, like… 60%, it’s gonna lose me. Just because it doesn’t really appeal to me. And it’s clear that the majority of this show’s appeal was focused there. That and… well… humor. But… I didn’t find it funny (Monster Musume, for example, is hilarious despite that heavy fanservice slant), so… yeah. I wouldn’t say to Pass on it. It was mostly Harmless. Just not something I’d care to invest a large degree of time into.
Voyager: Aaand now for the one show that we didn’t cover and probably shouldn’t have.
Voyager: It’s a mecha show. So obviously not, generally speaking, my cup of tea. But I’ve heard a lot about it and I actually wanna give it a look, now. Hooowever. The actual reason I didn’t bother looking at it? I barely knew it existed. That is not a joke. For the first few weeks of the season, I didn’t know a blasted thing about it. Somehow it just skipped straight over my field of vision when we were looking at what to cover for the season. So missing out on this one was basically all on pure lack of information. I do, however, plan to binge through it (when I have the time) and maybe do a full series review on it… soon-ish. (I actually would’ve done so sooner, but, uh… this past weekend was… a little on the busy side).
Voyager: Wait. Here’s a thought. Let’s give out some awards!
Voyager: Hm… what shall be the categories. Well, let’s get the easy one out of the way.
Voyager: I mean… it’s gotta be Diablo, right? The dude picked up the whole show, tucked it neatly into his backpack, and hard-carried the entire thing.
EvilBob: And he didn’t even need a back brace.
Voyager: Oh. You’re here, now.
EvilBob: Yeah. I watched it after you were done. Enjoyed it, myself.
Voyager: …Okay then. So yeah. Diablo’s the carry of the show, by far. He was extremely entertaining, yet surprisingly complex. At least more so than most protagonists of shows like this. Sure he’s joined by a cast of likable and entertaining ladies, but he’s the glue that held it all together by a longshot.
Best Fight Scene: Midoriya vs. Bakugo
Voyager: Over the past few days I’ve seen a lot of praise going out to this episode again, largely thanks to the dub of the show. Of course, this came with plenty of arguments about whether the dub or sub was better, because we’re apparently still having that debate in 2018. Fact is, it doesn’t really matter. At all. They’re both damn good and did an excellent job of capturing the emotion of the fight extremely well. So shut up and enjoy watching Bakugo and Deku punch each other and sort out their issues, dammit!
Best Girl: Shera
Voyager: …Do I really even need to get into this? Shera is precious. She’s a treasure and we don’t deserve her. What Shera brings to How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is a heart that the show would’ve otherwise lacked, at least in part. An innocence and earnestness that Rem lacked. And also a deviation from her usual archetype in that she has motivation of her own. It isn’t exclusively tethered to the lead. Furthermore, Shera is the focal point of what is easily the best arc in the show, bringing in a level of emotional impact that I don’t think anyone expected to get out of it. So I can think of no character that deserves this honor more than her. And seriously. Look at that smile. That smile is heaven.
Weakest Arc: ???
EvilBob: Well, none of my shows really had “arcs,” so…
Voyager: …Oookay, so here’s the thing. So all three of my show’s had some fairly weak arcs, but each was weak in a bizarrely unique way. The Provisional Licensing Exam is contextually weak, when compared to pretty much the entirety of My Hero Academia before it. It didn’t really possess the same level of excitement that previous arcs did, which ain’t good for a battle Shonen series. Then there was Black Clover, which greatly improved with this arc in some ways… but still dragged the arc out for much too long. And on the exact opposite end of that was How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, whose final arc did not have the time it needed to get the most out of its story, and could’ve used one more episode to give Alicia the proper amount of focus that she needed. I legitimately can’t determine which arc was the weakest to me. So… yeah. They tied. I guess, to their credit, none of these arcs were bad. Just… we have a three-way “meh” on our hands.
Worst OP: Master of Ragnarok
Voyager: A much, much easier one to reward, however, is this category. Worst OP…
EvilBob: You see, upon careful review, we have come to the conclusion that…
Voyager: This OP is garbage.
EvilBob: Yes. What he said.
Voyager: I’m not going to sit here and analyze every other OP just to tell you why they were all at least kinda cool, by comparison. I’m just gonna say this one was mired with problems. Crappy music selection, for one…
EvilBob: Awful animation, especially when the “action” stuff starts to happen in the second half…
Voyager: Which is par for the course, really, as far as the series is concerned… Oh. And false advertising. If it looks even remotely cool, it’s not in there. So yeah. Congratulations… or something.
Voyager: That’s all, folks.
EvilBob: Wait. That fast?
Voyager: I mean… we had, like, half as much stuff to cover. We had to pad this out by aping the Weekly Anime Redux and shoving in awards.
Voyager: Yeah. Anyway, now there’s nothing left but to look forward to the Fall Season.
EvilBob: Wait… does that mean-?
EvilBob: …See you in a few minutes for another article! Bye, guys!
Voyager: Keep up the Awesome.
I really enjoyed reading your recap of the season and your reasons for where the shows were placed. Realistically, if I could do the season over again I’d tell myself to not pick up the Master of Ragnarok and actually just sit through the first episode of Planet With no matter how much it wasn’t clicking. I still need to go back and binge watch Planet With given how many positive reviews I’ve read of it.
Looking forward to hearing what you guys are up to for the Autumn season.
Oh, next season is gonna be a beast. In fact, our plan is posted now.
I really wish I’d had half a mind to check out Planet With. I’m not sure where my head was. But yeah. Ragnarok just gets worse in hindsight. Thanks!