Spring 2018 Anime Recap

The spring season has come and gone and it was absolutely insane. Going in, I highly expected my viewing schedule to be packed to the brim all season long with great stories and stunning animation.

My two-part season preview covered 14 shows, eight of which I was still enjoying enough to continue watching. That didn't even look at all the returning series like Shokugeki no Soma and Yowamushi Pedal which I already knew I'd be watching religiously. However, as the end of the season approached, I found my schedule at a moderate level of full. Not empty, but not packed to the brim. Some series fell off my radar as quality dropped or the story failed to materialize, leaving the season as a whole feeling good, but not great.

This time around, I decided to change up the format just a little bit for the season-end recap. How to present my thoughts at the end of a season is still something I'm experimenting with, but this might be just about the closest I can get to organizing the chaos.

Shining Gems

Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori

Japanese Title: 鹿楓堂よついろ日和
Studio: Zexcs
Available On: Crunchyroll
Rating: 9/10; Great

Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori takes all the aspects of a great healing show—no physical conflict, and an idealistic location that helps you escape reality—and amplifies them. The show centers around four men who run a tea house called Rokuhoudou, each of them responsible for different areas. Though many of the episodes are episodic, with the men helping a customer or passerby overcome some difficulty in their own lives, there's a small underlying plot thread that helps pull the whole series together. Sui's struggle to cope with his twin brother abandoning him is something that's sprinkled throughout every episode, making it feel realistic and believable. 

One of my biggest frustrations throughout this season was how few people actually gave Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori a chance. Having a primary cast of four men made many people push the show aside without even giving it a chance, which is a real shame. Dealing with topics like issues men face with their own self-confidence, overcoming fears, and coping with the uncertainty surrounding the future every teenager feels. Sure, Rokuhoudou's main cast is a set of "pretty guys", but the show's themes are what shine so brilliantly.

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These

Japanese Title: 銀河英雄伝説 Die Neue These 邂逅
Studio: Production I.G (Haikyuu!!, Psycho-Pass, Kuroko no Basket, Ghost in the Shell, Ballroom e Youkoso)
Available On: Crunchyroll
Rating: 9/10; Great

It's probably crucial for some that I preface this with one statement. I have never watched the original 100+ episode Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu OVA from the late 1980s.

I didn't originally plan to watch the revamped version of Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu when the season began. The previews never really looked interesting and whenever 3D character designs are involved, I'm immediately cautious. However, the series' promise for a tactically-focused space military epic intrigued me and I gave the first episode a shot. Now that the season's over, I'm so glad that I did.

Die Neue These provided me with all the strategic military and political intrigue I could want. The pace was quick enough to where I never felt bored or bogged down by extraneous details, and the main characters on both sides (the Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance) were developed enough to make you feel invested in both their storylines. I didn't want Reinhard van Lohengramm or Yang Wen-Li to fail, which makes their admirable rivalry even more intriguing. It's disappointing that the season was only 12 episodes because I wanted so much more. The story will continue in the second season, which will air in three "films" made up of four episodes each, in 2019.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii

Japanese Title: ヲタクに恋は難しい
Studio: A-1 Pictures (Fairy Tail, Black Butler, Silver Spoon, Your Lie in April, Doukyuusei)
Available On: Amazon Prime
Rating: 8/10; Great

If you loved the adult otaku romance that Recovery of an MMO Junkie showcased last year, then you should definitely check out Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii. Centered around four working-age adults who are secretly different kinds of otaku, the series deals with different situations that the four find themselves in as they develop their friendships and relationships.

The best part of Wotakoi is how it shows off the different kinds of otaku. Momose Narumi is a fujoshi who has tried her whole adult life to hide her otaku life from anyone she worked with or dated. Nifuji Hirotaka is a shameless video game addict who doesn't really care what others think about him (with one pink haired exception). Koyanagi Hanako is a strong-willed woman who is a notorious male cosplayer in her spare time. Even Kabakura Tarou, arguably the most "normal" of the main cast, has a bishoujo figure obsession. The series captures adult otaku in such a realistic and relatable way that the series feels like the anime equivalent of a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter day.


Shokugeki no Soma S3 Cours 2

Japanese Title: 食戟のソーマ 餐ノ皿 遠月列車篇
Studio: J.C. Staff (Bakuman, Toradora!, Prison School)
Available On: Crunchyroll
Rating: 8/10; Great

The second half of the third season of Shokugeki no Soma was a welcome return to the show that makes me hungry every episode. Picking up with the intense and obviously rigged Advancement Exams, the Totsuki Train Arc gives off that tournament feel that every shonen series dives into at least once.

There's lots of great character development in this section of the season, especially for Erina and Hayama. We get just enough backstory to make whatever's happening in the show make sense and hit all the right emotional targets without completely taking your attention away from the cooking action. The return of Joichiro toward the end of the 12-episode section and the dive into a large part of his backstory really helped rejuvenate the show's vibe coming out of a big plot point that left the characters (and in turn, us as viewers) feeling a little defeated.  

Overall, the Totsuki Train Arc is just another shining example of the engaging storytelling that Shokugeki no Soma has proven it's capable of.

Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai

Japanese Title: 多田くんは恋をしない
Studio: Doga Kobo (Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, New Game!, Yuru Yuri)
Available On: HIDIVE
Rating: 7/10; Good

Aside from an underwhelming finale, Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai is an enjoyable romantic comedy series. Its charm doesn't really lie in the plot, which is actually pretty unoriginal and predictable, but in its character interactions. Similar to Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, seeing what the cast of unique and sometimes over-the-top characters get up to next.

The different scenarios, from the moody Nyanko Big suddenly falling in love (and explaining the 8-second eye contact rule) to the wonderfully crazy day that is The Kaoru Ijuiin Show, put the cast in such different situations that it keeps their interactions fresh and interesting episode after episode. Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai isn't something I would consider a must-watch, but Doga Kobo's stellar animation mixed with a decent story makes the whole season something fun to watch if you're in the mood for silly romance.



Japanese Title: カリギュラ
Studio: Satelight (Log Horizon, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, Macross)
Available On: Crunchyroll
Rating: 5/10; Meh

Between Caligula and Persona 5 the Animation, this season's anime adaptations of Atlus games certainly fell flat. While I never played The Caligula Effect, the idea behind the game—and in turn, the anime series—seemed intriguing. A virtual idol gaining sentience then creating and luring people into what she imagines is a virtual paradise where people can escape from their suffering in the real world is a premise with a lot of promise. If done correctly, the idea of being trapped in a digital oasis thanks to a rip-off Hatsune Miku could be fascinating and terrifying.

Unfortunately, Satelight didn't manage to pull things off. Within the first third of the season, the entire concept of Mobius, the digital world that the characters are trapped in, is barely explained. Even then, what little explanation is given is nowhere near enough information to really create the suspense that the series desperately needs to sustain itself.

Along with that, none of the main characters are really, well, good. Shikishima Ritsu is obsessed with philosophy and psychology to the point to where he spews off random "knowledge" left and right, despite no one else understanding or really caring about what he's saying. Satake Shougo is a stereotypical "good guy thug" character who feels more forgettable than his weird hairstyle suggests he should be. All of the female characters, with the exception of Morita Naruko, are basically interchangeable both in design and personality.

Long story short, Caligula has a strong base idea, but fails to build on that in any way.

Complete Season Watched List

Key: Series Name [Watch Status] - MAL Score/Kitsu Rating

  • Akkun to Kanojou [Dropped, Ep7] - 5/Meh
  • Black Clover [On Hold, Ep33] - 6/Meh
  • Boku no Hero Academia S3 [Ongoing] - 9/Great
  • Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari [Dropped, Ep2] - 5/Meh
  • Caligula [Dropped, Ep5] - 5/Meh
  • Comic Girls [Completed] - 7/Good
  • Darling in the Franxx [Completed] - 7/Meh
  • Fumikiri Jikan [Dropped, Ep4] - 4/Meh
  • Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These [Completed] - 9/Great
  • Golden Kamuy [Dropped, Ep6] - 6/Meh
  • Gundam Build Divers [Completed] - 7/Good
  • Gurazeni [Dropped, Ep2] - 7/Good
  • Hinamatsuri [Dropped, Ep2] - 6/Meh
  • Mahou Shoujo Ore [Dropped, Ep4] - 5/Meh
  • Megalo Box [On Hold, Ep9] - 7/Good
  • Nil Admirari no Tenbin [Dropped, Ep2] - 4/Meh
  • Persona 5 The Animation [Dropped, Ep5] - 5/Meh
  • Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori [Completed] - 9/Great
  • Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru [Dropped, Ep2] - 4/Meh
  • Shokugeki no Soma S3 Cours 2 [Completed] - 8/
  • Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai [Completed] - 7/Good
  • Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii [Completed] - 8/Good
  • Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line [Completed] - 7/Good

It's looking to be an interesting summer season, so stay tuned for my first impressions. As always, you can keep up to date with all the latest posts by following me on Twitter and Facebook, or by supporting the blog on Patreon.