This is honestly a great season of anime, one of the best in recent memory, which is great since it looks like we might get more lockdowns coming soon. Either way I figured the laziest thing I could do, besides not write anything for yet another couple months, was put together a brief summary of all the shows I’m enjoying this season. I will not include sequels or the Higurashi reboot because I’m either not watching them or they are the exact same as prior seasons. Also not watching Noblesse, gave it a try and dropped it in 3 episodes, the warning bells were going off right from the get go and it sucks, don’t bother unless you have to. Without further ado let’s get to the good stuff, there will be spoilers, you’ve been warned.
Hanyou no Yashahime
Despite what I just said about the good stuff I’d be lying if I said this was really worthwhile for most people, it’s ok at best, it’s definitely the least interesting of the shows I’m sticking with. Which sucks, because I really wish this better. I mean I’m going to keep watching because Inuyasha was the first anime I ever watched and holds a special place in my heart but this is a pretty lackluster follow up. It looks great which is nice and the soundtrack is back to remind everyone that Inuyasha fucking nailed the soundtrack whatever its faults may be but the battles remind of D Gray Man Hallow – which was honest to God some of the maddest I’ve ever been at anime for wrecking a great IP. All the titular Half Demon Princesses all use massive, powerful attacks, the kind that you usually get after a training montage or because of special weapon or curse, constantly against trash mob level demons. Most hilarious was just how much they struggled with that centipede demon lady that was the first enemy in Inuyasha. I mean, it was a fun throwback but damn if they struggle with her they will be in trouble later.
The tension is very low and I feel like the show is already treading water, mainly because the characters are not developing very much and there’s barely a plot. Even more strangely none of the main cast has appeared except for the flashback episode which was extra awesome fanservice because we finally got to see the original gang using all their powers in the glory of modern animation. I don’t want to say there’s no potential here because there could be if this decides to pick up and stop treading water, but unless Inuyasha is a big nostalgia show for you, you’ll probably want to give this a pass.
Majo no Tabitabi
Majo no Tabitabi is also somewhat of a disappointment, that’s not because it’s bad it’s because the fight scene the main girl has against her teacher during episode 1 was so goddamn good it set the bar really high. The emotional twist of episode was made all the better because of just how brutal that lesson via fight was. Sadly the show is mostly fun and laid back, with episodic adventures that vary wildly in quality. The world is quite interesting with so many locations that are all so very different, but a lot of them are very iyashikei, with occasional standouts like the bit about Javalier and the ruined country up north or the fact our normally good main character just ignores a magic flower field that is ensnaring people from nearby countries and turning them into plant-zombies. Kinda thought she would burn the field down after watching a poor guardsman fall victim to the plants in a scene of somber justice or vengeance, but nope she just leaves as more and more people fall victim to the flowers.
I’m guessing there won’t be much else to this show, hopefully some more magic fights or more serious episodes but if nothing else this is mainly a feel good show with an interesting world and pretty lovable main character. It’s very solid for something in its genre, which I have to admit is generally not my thing. Trust your own judgement on this one, though everyone should at least try episode 1 as that’s where the show really makes a splash.
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
Despite the nonsense name of this show and the cutesy thumbnail that might put off some viewers this is actually a very good isekai so far. It’s about a girl who appears to have almost no connection to her family and instead is a stock market genius with fat stacks of cash who lives alone by choice, using video games as an escape. She’s a great contrast to most isekai heroes because she’s not a hiki-neet or loser nerd or generic good guy who likes games, she’s super competent but awkward in her own way because she’s built up some serious walls around herself, walls which the people in this new world are much better at breaking because even the kids are hard at work to keep their families going.
And in case that sounds too boring keep in mind that when she was brought to this world she got a message from God telling her to enjoy the new world and her ludicrously op bear suit. The bear suit has stupid good stats and is constantly granting our leading lady new powers at the cost of her looking totally ridiculous and being stuck with a teddy bear motif because she’d actually be pretty weak without the bear suit. The episodes are fun and feature some good light-hearted adventures and violence, though any time it gets a bit too emotional it definitely takes a hit. Overall this has been a good time so far and unless it drastically changes it should be a good time for anyone who can get past the cutesy bear aesthetic.
Jujutsu Kaisen is the show I’m most nervous about this season. That’s not because it’s bad, in fact it’s been really good so far, with great animation some interesting if basic characters and a power system that looks like it has lots of potential. But at the same time there is not a lot to inspire confidence in the writing side of things. Visually it’s great, but we know so little about Curse Powers, the setting or much about how the plot will go. The search for the fingers is very Inuyasha-esque while the tone, brisk pace and appearance of the traitor guy give this more of a Bleach feel. Neither of these shows were very good at plot, at least not in the long term. Sure, Soul Society was great but Bleach rapidly drops in quality as each incoming group of characters gets less attention and care than the last.
So far the characters have not been given much development and they’re already gearing up for a tournament arc. I feel like we definitely need more to go on if this show ever wants to be great and it’s a bit odd how the show is just fine breezing past anything beyond some very basic archetypes, as far as characterization goes. I don’t want to be much of a downer though because the fights have been fan-fucking-tastic, visually very interesting with grotesque monsters, brutal violence and a power system that looks like it has all kinds of really unique and niche abilities that I want to learn more about. I am worried that this show has a lot of room to fail but I’d be happy to be proven wrong, and hope it keeps up, and even better, improves on the quality it has put out so far. Very solid so far, let’s hope it stays that way.
Maoujou de Oyasumi
Now we’re getting to the real hits of the season. I imagine some people passed this up because it’s a about a cutesy princess trying to get her sleep on in a generic Dragon Quest fantasy world. And it’s hilarious, easily the funniest show out now, and one of the best comedies I can think of off-hand since Konosuba. The princess is taken hostage by the Demon Lord right away but he has no plans to hurt her, he just wants the hero to come and fight him. So our bored and lazy princess fills all her spare time trying to improve her sleeping conditions, improving her bedding, getting nicer sheets, etc. That might sound boring but she does all of these things in the most heartless was possible, stealing and breaking all kinds of magic items for temporary convenience, butchering random demons for materials and generally abusing the shit of the nice and gullible creatures who are her jailors.
For example, one of my favorite bits was when she died. The first time that happens she falls into some lava with a slime, she and the slime are promptly resurrected by the Demon Lord’s top cleric. She revives in an open coffin and immediately decides she wants to sleep in it because the demons have been loud recently and she needs some peace and quiet. But the coffin is badly worn, the edges could easily give her splinters and the woodwork is rough. Her solution? She grabs the demon cleric by the horns and uses said horns to sand down the rough edges of the coffin, then she grabs the slime who was revived with her and uses it as lacquer, then she takes the remnants of a ghost she cut in half for sheets and crawls into her coffin for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. All to this a surprisingly energetic and memorable theme that makes all of the best scenes even better. Everyone should watch this, it’s so good, definitely worth your time.
Akudama Drive is fucking wild. I walked into it expecting nothing, because honestly the description made it sound kind of lame and I wasn’t sure this would be any good. Boy was I wrong, as this show just hits the ground running with a brief intro followed by a tons of violence, stylish character introductions and almost no information about the setting. Like what are Akudama and what the hell is going on in this cyberpunk setting? It blasts right past all of that giving every character a super basic name and a criminal sentence length. And it looks amazing the setting is full of all kinds of lights and tech, and the team behind this did not skimp on animation or detail either for the characters or in the backgrounds. The first episode is this frenetic burst of chaotic violence with almost no semblance of plot beyond a massive reward for freeing Cutthroat, a super serial killer scheduled to be executed that day. A lot the characters are just nuts too, with extreme personalities, quirks and the absolute clusterfuck mishmash of aesthetics common to cyberpunk settings.
The episodes have kept up the visual quality thus far and even have clever little info dumps in the form of propaganda shorts, giving us the info we need and a quick breather while preventing long boring scenes of characters standing around talking to progress the plot. Who needs that shit when you can fight policemen with lightsaber batons in rooms with holographic textures that react to the physical impacts of the fights in real time? And yes a story does seem to be shaping up though there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. And I’m really digging the fact that main girl is not a true Akudama but has no been roped into this scenario and has to work her way through it with her more normal talents and sense of morals. It’s been a ton of fun so far, a total feast for the eyes and I’m super interested to see where it goes from here.
Munou na Nana
But as with every season there can only be one best show, and right now Munou na Nana is king of that hill. But show of the season is a serious understatement, this is looking like show of the year territory and may even be the best thing I’ve seen in a couple years. The best part is how this show total misleads you, the first episode seems like a really generic superpowered kids high school show and then right at the end, after getting the Deku stand-in all pumped full of confidence, our titular leading lady pushes the motherfucker off a cliff with the coldest and most menacing gaze I’ve seen in quiet some time. I love it.
From then on we get more info, Talenteds – the kids with powers, arose naturally out of humanity but almost destroyed the world as they ran amok. Humanity eventually won but more Talenteds kept arising from the populace, usually as teens and their powers seemed to evolve when they were put under threat, with one kid’s minor power evolving to the release of a potentially world-ending virus, which led to the humans nuking the area he lived. Because of this the government has created a system where they isolate the Talented for training in island schools under the pretense that they need to get ready to fight some monstrous threat to humanity and send in infiltrators to kills the kids off. This is Nana’s job, and she’s all in because her parents were killed by a Talented. She transferred to the school pretending to be a mind reader with no social skills, but in reality she applies psychology and deductive reasoning to amazing effect to pass as a mind reader, putting on a nice and airheaded front while she schemes about how to kill her targets, whose powers she has to figure out along the way.
It has a ton of twists and turns already and is fast becoming the most intense game of Among Us ever played. Nana is an extremely impressive character in her ability to assess and gather information, plan and deceive as she is forced to react the complete nonsense laundry list of powers the Talented have. And she’s not flawless so it’s not like she’s just getting by with ease, it’s a total nail biter with each new Talented presenting so many problems and complications that she needs to really work hard to overcome them without revealing the truth. This show is amazing and I can’t wait for the next episode to come out as I write this. Try this, it is absolutely worth every second of time you put into it.