In addition to gaming, there’s always TV. My television viewing habits have slowed down quite a bit, but I was able to juggle a few shows during the summer. I actually skipped the summer 2017 anime season—at least for new shows. There was one show that I watch every week. Otherwise, it was season three of Rick and Morty all the way. As for the fall anime season, I have returned to see a few must watch shows.
The Rickest Comedy
My enjoyment of TV week-to-week during the summer depended heavily on new episodes of Rick and Morty. While I’m not a super fan of the show, I did enjoy the sporadic episodes I saw in seasons one and two. I especially loved the season two ending which excited me for season three. While many fans argued that the latest season was a disappointment, I more or less enjoyed all of the episodes. Some episodes were absolutely amazing such as the “Ricklantis Mixup,” and others left a little to be desired like “Pickle Rick.” For the most part, the show did a wonderful job of keeping with the overall theme of nothing matters and no one is special. [Spoiler alert!] By season’s end everything done in season three was undone and Rick’s status in the family is essentially what it was in season one. Fortunately, it wasn’t a true reset, as the characters have shown small amounts of growth. Beth now sees her father for the asshole he is while having a stronger appreciation for Jerry. (She also may or may not be a clone.) Morty is slowly breaking free of Rick’s influence and isn’t afraid to stand up to him. Summer reveals more and more of her genius although she remains an interesting wild card when she does appear in episodes. [Spoiler alert over.] I’m looking forward to season four whenever it drops. Just hold the Szechuan sauce and rabid fans, please.
My other big show of the summer was in fact an anime. Namely, season two of My Hero Academia. I admit I was a little late to the party because I didn’t actually watch the show until it hit Crunchyroll. Once I caught up with season one in preparation for the spring 2017 season two premier, I was all in. In short, I’m a sucker for superhero shows, especially anime that has an American flair. I loved 2011’s Tiger & Bunny and 2015’s One Punch Man for those reasons. My Hero Academia is no exception, in fact, I regret not watching it sooner. While it has touches of an American aesthetic, it’s still very much a shonen series. I won’t lie, I enjoyed the “Believe in yourself!” and “Do your best, no matter what!” aspects of the show. This production features great animation from Bones and a fantastic soundtrack by Yuki Hayashi. At its core My Hero seems to be asking “What drives someone to be a hero?” and “What is the difference between a hero and a villain?” These questions are asked in a world where almost everyone has superpowers of some sort. This also helps My Hero stand out because it is more than just a rote series where some people have powers and others don’t. While the entire premise of the show is extremely interesting, I’m mostly interested in the main character, Deku (aka Izuku Midoriya) and his growth throughout the series. He started as nobody without powers (rare in this universe), to someone who has been given incredible powers and must learn to use them without destroying his own body. Season three has been confirmed and I could not be more excited for 2018.
The Brief Fall Rundown:
I may have taken the summer off from anime, but I’m back and ready to go for fall. The shows that have my attention this year are Food Wars: The Third Plate, Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond, Fate/Apocryphia (November on Netflix), Dies Irae, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, King’s Game, Black Clover, and Juni Taisen: Zodiac War. For me, Food Wars and Blood Blockade Battlefront are returning series, as I’ve stayed current with the former and just recently caught up on the latter show. I liked Blood Blockade, but I wasn’t in love with it like critics were when it aired in 2015. I’ve managed to get started on a few shows this season. Here are my brief thoughts:
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War– This show is definitely a big dumb action show, with a fun Battle Royale style twist. Only one participant in a 12-way deadly fight to the death can survive. It kind of reminds me of Fate/Zero, minus the Masters. It isn’t particularly deep or thoughtful, but I’m really enjoying the mayhem. The crazy animal themed character designs make it hard to take the show seriously at times, but that’s also part of the fun.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride– I saw the three OVAs before watching the anime, and those set the tone for me. I’m in love with the magic of this world, the slow world building, and the sense of wonder seen through the bride, aka Chise’s eyes. Fortunately, the idea of Chise being married off to a mage with a horned dog skull head is more heart-warming than creepy. This anime reminds of a Ghibli movie.
Black Clover– I’m not sure I’m going to stick with this show. Everything about it screams generic shonen action and everything is so bland. Worse yet, the lead constantly yells his lines and instead of being funny or endearing, my patience is tested. I doubt I’ll finish this show. If I was just getting into anime or if I were 20 years younger, this show might appeal to me more, but right now it reeks of “been there, done that” and doesn’t have an interesting gimmick to stand apart from the crowd.
Food Wars: The Third Plate– The start of the show was fairly low key and even a bit dull for me. However, all of the antics that make Food Wars a hit are there and I’m positive the action will pick up shortly. After all, Soma is challenging a member of the Elite Ten and it’ll be fun to see how he gets himself out of a bad situation (or doesn’t).
Dies Irae– I watched the OVA prequel, known as Episode 0 and absolutely hated the show. I tried the first true episode of the anime since the premise sounded interesting. Everything I saw on screen was hot garbage. The plot doesn’t make a lick of sense, characters are just thrown at the audience without explanation, and any attempts at mystery are just confusing at best. Also, being beaten over the head with meaningless symbolism isn’t fun. I’ll give this series one more episode, but I’m pretty much done at this point.
Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond– Even though this anime has a new director, the animation studio and the staff are still the same. This beautifully animated series is as weird and violent as ever. As always, it is a weird juxtaposition of going on with everyday life in former New York City among the supernatural, weird demons and aliens everywhere, and super humans just doing their thing. I may not be in love, but I will be tuning in weekly because the show is so much fun to watch. After all, I have to get my Bones animation fix somehow now that My Hero is done for the year.
With two more shows to check out and lots of video games to play, I’m quite certain that my fall will be extremely busy.
So what are you watching or playing this fall?