The Summer 2017 season for me was actually rather … subdued. There were definitely series I enjoyed, and even a coupe of great ones – but by and large for me most of the series turned out to be “not bad” or “just okay”, with a few being downright disappointing, either from the get go or else imploding and fumbling on the five yard line. But first and foremost I should sing the praises of what turned out to be a fantastic anime adaptation of a fantastic source manga, and that is the series I had the happy circumstance of blogging: Made in Abyss. This series was just superior in most every way for me, and I am very grateful something so lush, skilled and beautiful is still being produced! Although it was not a series per se I would also add the final OVA of Mahoutsukai no  Yome Hoshi Matsu Hito series. Every episode of those OVAs was fantastic and hopefully the upcoming series in the Fall season will be up to snuff as well! There were also a handful of other series in the summer season which I anticipated a lot and which were consistent week in and week out. These included Princess Principal, New Game s2 and Isekai Shokoudo. The former I kind of expected to be my cup of tea, the latter I was less sure about, but I wound up thoroughly enjoying it. Finally, there were a fair number of series which, while not spectacular, were nonetheless solid and entertaining enough for me to follow them through to the end. These include Centaur no Nayami, Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou, Shokoku no Altair, Tsurezure Children, and the weird, adorable, red-headed stepsister of a series barely anyone seemed to watch called Action Heroine Cheer Fruits.

As an unexpected category there were quite a few series that just came across as bland. Which after the first (or second at most) episodes just made me shrug my shoulders in indifference and immediately forget them. These series might have had potential or might have been able to do something with the premise, but just felt … not even grey, just … colorless somehow. Konbini Kareshi is a good example of this category. The other stand out in this area would be The Reflection, though that one became lifeless by episode 2. Then, though, come the disappointments (sigh). One of the things I found myself disappointed the most by (which may come as a surprise) were the shorts series. Nearly every single one I was looking forward to was … well … unsuccessful for me. If it were not for season 2 of Nobunaga’s Shinobi the season would have been a total disaster on that front for me. Then, there were the disaster’s – at the front of the pack was Vatican Kiseki Chousakan. I am at least glad that there were some for whom this idiotic series was so idiotic they appreciated it for that fact alone (rather like the Mayoiga series of some seasons back). Another unexpected failure was Kirakira PreCure a la Mode. Everything about is fine EXCEPT the writing. (You must have good writing people!) But probably the biggest disappointment of the season was not one that looked so when out of the gate, and not only out of the gate but running spectacularly into it’s second season right up until episode 22 when it spontaneously combusted, killing both steed, rider and a fair number of viewers, too. I am referring to Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul. Just … ARGH!

However, the upcoming Fall season looks … remarkably strong, and has looked so for many months now – so much so that already in Spring I found myself looking forward to the Fall. So many series that are coming our way are series I have enjoyed before (some times a lot) or adore the source material for. And at the forefront of the pack are some pretty strong thoroughbreds, too. And to have these fine animals coming our way after the subdued season that Summer 2017 was for me is a consolation. As before, there are a number of sites that have well developed anime previews, including the sites at: livechart and anichart. Well then, let’s get to the preview for Fall 2017!

My Most Anticipated Series....

First comes the section dedicated to my most anticipated anime in the coming season.

Mahoutsukai no Yome

  • Air Date: 7 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Wit Studio
  • Episodes: 24
  • Blogging? No

Hatori Chise has lived a life full of neglect and abuse, devoid of anything resembling love. Far from the warmth of family, she has had her share of troubles and pitfalls. Just when all hope seems lost, a fateful encounter awaits her. When a man with the head of a beast, wielding strange powers, obtains her through a slave auction, Chise's life will never be the same again. The man is a "magus," a sorcerer of great power, who decides to free Chise from the bonds of captivity....

Hands down this is my most anticipated series of the Fall 2017 season – no contest. The 3 episode prequel OVAs were lovely and even breathtaking at times, and the same studio and staff look to be continuing their work with the two cour series. I have followed the source manga almost from the get go of it’s release and it is one of the ongoing series I enjoy the most at present.

For those who enjoy Celtic mythology and folklore from the British Isles the series will likely be intriguing, with the sources … hmm … “respected” and handled with care to a level not often seen among Japanese mangaka – all of which results in a beautiful and very authentic feeling result that draws one in.

Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World - The Animated Series

  • Air Date: 6 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Lerche
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

The story follows the travels of Kino, a young adventurer who rides a talking motorcycle named Hermes. They explore the people and cultures of different places throughout their adventures, spending only three days at each location.

The source material for this anime adaptation a light novel series that has spawned 20 volumes from 2000 and through the present. My familiarity with it came from the first season released and adapted back in 2003. Since then it also received two short films and a game adaptation. This is a re-release of the novels proper, a sort of reboot, and one with Aoi Yuuki VA’ing the lead role.

The first anime adaptation had a very … quiet and thought provoking, even pensive quality to it. It seemed to rely primarily on asking questions without giving direct answers and yet sort of directing the viewer to face in a particular direction to search for possible solutions.

Himouto! Umaru-chan R

  • Air Date: 8 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Doga Kobo
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

Umaru is a renowned beautiful 16-year-old girl in town, living with her elder brother Taihei. She acts a perfect sister with a kind heart, intelligence and popularity, who everybody admires. So who would believe how true Umaru is at home? Sleeping, gaming, watching TV, eating junk food, drinking cola… that's almost all she does at home, leaving all the housework to her brother.

The first season of this series was one of my biggest surprises in 2015, even making it into my top ten listing by the end of the year. The adaptation was marvelously done, and on so many fronts. Hopefully the standard of enjoyment will continue in the second season!

Part of the most interesting aspect about the adaptation for me, though, is something the studio (Doga Kobo) also was able to pull off well in other 4koma adaptations … and that is hinting at the background aspects of the story not spelled out in the episodes (or the manga itself).

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

  • Air Date: 6 Oct 2017
  • Studio: White Fox
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

Civilization is dead, but Chito and Yuuri are still alive. So they hop aboard their beloved Kettenkrad motorbike and aimlessly wander the ruins of the world they once knew. Day after hopeless day, they look for their next meal and fuel for their ride. But as long as the two are together, even an existence as bleak as theirs has a ray or two of sunshine in it, whether they're sucking down their fill of soup or hunting for machine parts to tinker with.

To be honest this is a series I did not expect to receive an anime adaptation, but it’s source material (a manga) is one that relies on the visuals to create a very strong atmosphere somewhat similar to Yokohama Kaidashi Kiko, yet not that combination of “peacefulness” and “wistfulness”. If I were to compare it Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou might be characterized by “quietness” and “lonely solitude”.

It will definitely not be to everyone’s liking, but I think White Fox could be able to do an admirable adaptation of this series – they are very good at evoking atmosphere, especially through their combination of visuals and audio. I do find myself wondering how far they are going to adapt the source material, though….

Series I am Mildly Anticipating....

There are also a handful of series that look mildly engaging that I am looking forward to trying out, including some source manga adaptations, these include:

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau

  • Air Date: 8 Oct 2017
  • Studio: J.C. Staff
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

Chakuro is the 14-year-old archivist of the Mud Whale, a nigh-utopian island that floats across the surface of an endless sea of sand. Nine in ten of the inhabitants of the Mud Whale have been blessed and cursed with the ability to use saimia, special powers that doom them to an early death. Chakuro and his friends have stumbled across other islands, but they have never met, seen, or even heard of a human who wasn't from their own. His destiny changes one day when visiting another island....

Now this one is a toughie to write about, because it is a fascinating premise with a bunch of unexpected story elements all intertwined. Hmm. I guess for me I sorta think it will be a niche hit … perhaps a bit like the “K” franchise?

The source manga is interesting but the story somehow meanders for a while, and if J.C. Staff faithfully adapts that particular tack on things it may be a tough one for people to adjust to – on the other hands if they rush things they could totally fumble the ball on the 1 yard line. But if handled rightly (please?) it could really be something intriguing, exotic and engaging….

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond

  • Air Date: 7 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Bones
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

After a breach between Earth and the netherworld opens up over New York, humans and creatures from other dimensions become trapped in an impenetrable bubble that surrounds the city. Forced to coexist in a new city known as Salem’s Lot, the shaky peace between humanity and the netherworld creatures is protected by an underground group of super humans known as Libra. When a case of mistaken identity brings not-so-ordinary delivery boy Leonardo Watch face-to-face with this group....

Season one of this series was downright fantastic, even with an ending that was a bit less than all the eps that preceded them. Part of it crowing success could be related to the spectacular directorship of Matsumoto Rie (who cut her teeth in the directing field on many different PreCure series, by the way) who is also well known for the brilliant Kyousogiga.

Season two, while still relying on the source material as far as I know (which is good, of course), has a different director – and I am curious to see what this interesting setting and character cast will show themselves to be in different hands. Hopefully it will be another enjoyable season!

Sangatsu no Lion 2nd Season

  • Air Date: 14 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Shaft
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

This is a gentle tale about people trying to regain something. And it is a tale of battle. The main character, Rei Kiriyama, lost his family in an accident when he was young. Now he is a 17-year-old pro shogi player who is burdened with deep loneliness. Rei lives alone in an old town in Tokyo, but after becoming acquainted with three sisters, Akari, Hinata and Momo, he begins to change little by little…

The source manga of this series is GREAT. Really great, in fact, and the arc which looks to be advertised to be adapted looks like it is showing up in the second season. So – I am definitely going to watch it.

The first season and the studio, etc., and my uneasiness and gripes with it has been discussed in other places, and … well … it is what it is. No getting around that. It’s not “bad” per se, it’s just not what I think it should have been (famous words, eh?) or perhaps moreso what I feel such a great story deserved.

Oh well – at least it has done the good work of getting viewers interested in the source manga; that is a worthwhile thing, I think.

Konohana Kitan

  • Air Date: 4 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Lerche
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

In a village inhabited by youkai, the lives of several fox mononoke working in a hot spring inn. The stories revolve around a new employee, Yuzu. Yuzu had always been living in the mountains, but now has to adjust to a new life working in a high class inn. She is oblivious and clumsy at first, but with her simple cuteness, she is able to get along with all the other foxes.

This one … is sort of a weird blend of elements that looks like it could be interesting and yet extremely “safe SoL’ish cgdct” – something which I happen to be fine with, by the way, so will definitely give it a try if nothing else. Studio Lerche can definitely bring the art and animation when they are inspired to do so, and the preview seems to hint they could be “in the mood” with this one.

This is one of the series I have only read a very little of the manga chapters of, and that was a while ago, and it did not leave much of an impression (I barely remember them). But hey – why not?

Series I am Mildly Curious About....

Then there are a fair number of series that I am mildly curious about, and more than I can list in this article. A couple of examples of these, however, include:

Just Because

  • Air Date: 5 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Pine Jam
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

It is winter of their third year of high school, near the end of the second semester, when students have very little time in high school left. Everyone was just waiting for graduation. Until he suddenly came home. He was their classmate in middle school who had moved far away. He transferred in at a peculiar time, which reunited them. It was as if a go signal rang out to the feelings of the students who had just thought to end their high school life without fanfare.

So much of me wanted to say that I was going to try this series out “just because”, but then that would be … oh. *cough cough* Never mind then. Right then!

Anyhoo, this is another series by the slowly growing new studio Pine Jam, who began making short anime series (some I enjoyed) and “debuted” last season with their anime adaptation of the manga Gamers!, which, while a well written and engaging story made me want to eat rusty nails in frustration. Myself aside though, more people that I expected found it quite enjoyable, showing Pine Jam can bring it in a full cour format as well.

This looks to be a delightful and straightforward shoujo story, and I am always up for giving such things a try at the very least!

Inuyashiki

  • Air Date: 12 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Mappa
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

Inuyashiki has a family, a wife and two kids, none of which care about him. When he learns that he has only three months to live, he realizes that the only one who will miss him is his dog. Shortly after this realization, he is killed in a crash landing by aliens. He is rebuilt by them as a machine with a human exterior. How will his life change now that he isn't human?

This one … well, to be honest this one is another series that hit me smack in the face with sleeper vibes the moment I saw the first PV some months ago – Studio Mappa can definitely do a good job with the sci-fi’ish animation, so I guess the question is what they will do with the storytelling.

I have deliberately avoided reading the manga chapters of this one, wanting to be surprised and have the anime medium being my first exposure to the franchise proper. Hopefully that will turn out to be a good decision!

Houseki no Kuni

  • Air Date: 7 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Orange
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

The manga's story takes place in the distant future, where a new life form called "houseki" (gems) is born. The 28 gems must fight against the "tsukijin" (moon people) who want to attack them and turn them into decorations, so each gem is assigned a role such as a fighter or a medic. Although she hopes to fight the moon people, Phos is a gem who is given no assignment until the gems' manager Kongo asks her to edit a natural history magazine.

Now this series … this one is a hard one to summarize. Wistful and a bit ethereal, perhaps, but also … odd, but odd in a way that the true “land of faerie” is not a place of cuteness, but a place of “other” and “not human”. In the same way this series has a similarity, but it is not a fantasy’ish setting but rather a sort of “ghostly sci-fi’ish” one.

Truth be told I am VERY curious to see what Studio Orange is going to do with this series. It’s source is a manga series which has existed for some time now, and … erm … hmm … I think this is moreso something one has to see and experience and consciously rein in one’s kneejerk reactions to immediately assume “Oh, it’s like that”. Because … it isn’t. It is rather … different.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season

  • Air Date: 7 Oct 2017
  • Studio: Studio Deen
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

Hozuki is the aide to the Great King Enma. Calm and super-sadistic, Hozuki tries to resolve the various problems in Hell, including a rampaging Momotaro and his companions. However, he also likes spending his free time on his hobbies, such as fawning over cute animals and raising ‘Goldfish Flowers.’

Season one of this series is … very much it’s own peculiar brand of humor – but the humor works for me much of time. One thing I also like about this series is how much it respects the viewer in the sense of “expecting” a lot from them in terms of the literary, historical and artistic references it makes. That is well and good, but this series does it in a way that does not come across as “artsy” or “snobbish”, but rather “natural” and erudite! I wonder if the series will be able to fill the shoes of the first season though, a season I enjoyed, yes, but was not floored by.

Shorts, OVAs, Movies and other things....

After a lengthy testing and hoping that things would get better I finally decided to drop Kirakira PreCure a la Mode, which mainly suffered from odd, weird and meandering stroywriting that was inconsistent and … frustrating to be honest, because I thought the overall premise had potential. Hopefully the next PreCure season will be better done.

There are a few carryovers from the previous season that I will continue watching in the summer; Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou has had a pretty good first half, and hopefully will continue on in it’s being quiet and steadily enjoyable – a pretty steady adaptation of the manga thus far. Another good ongoing series for me is Shoukoku no Altair, which unfortunately got derailed for a while interest wise because of sports events airing and a few weeks needing to be taken off.

And once again the Short series offerings for the Fall season look … thin. At the moment only the second season of Cinderella Girls Gokujou looks interesting.

As far as OVAs a couple of them look interesting at the moment…. Itsu Datte Bokura no Koi 10 Centi Datta could be promising (though I don’t know if it would technically be regarded as an OVA per se). The Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen – Sakura to Futatsu no Kuma prequel to the upcoming new season in Winter 2017-8 already aired, and it was enjoyable as usual! A new OVA of the series A-Channel: Nabe o Tabeyou is coming out, and another installment episode the Yama Susume series titled Omoide Present looks promising. An extra ep of the lamentably ignored excellent series Kabukibu will show up, yes, but also another interesting OVA that is coming loks … curious. It is titled Hizukuri, and seems to be a sci-fi setting.

Movies in the theatres look … thin yet again. Only two caught my interest – one is the (now rather late) Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? Dear My Sister episode (been really looking forward to more GochUsa), and the other is based on a manga set in Tokyo in the early 1920’s titled Haikara-san ga Tooru Movie 1: Benio, Hana no 17-sai. I think it could have potential.

Blogging plans next season are … well, to be honest next season I am taking a break from blogging. My daily life has gotten really busy with both family and work related things, and things like sickness, folks getting older and needing to be cared for me closely and carefully just … well … it will not leave me anyway near as much “free time”, and likely for some time yet to come. The other writers on the site have understood this and been very kind and gracious with me in this regard, and it may be that I will be able to return at some time in the future, but at the moment I simply will have far less time to spend with my more enjoyable pastimes.

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About

Currently the “oji-san” of the staff members age wise (in his mid 40’s) yet the most recent addition, he is also a Japanophile from his teen years while not quite an “otaku” who lives in the United States. Came to actively following anime late in life (in 2008), but in general loves the traditional arts, history and culture of Japan as a whole, both ancient and modern.

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  • FlareKnight

    Fall definitely has a good look to it when seeing your preview.

    There are some interesting shows to look forward to. And some good thoughts on the season we just went through.

    • Flower

      Actually it was the first time I can remember dividing things up into a “Yay!”, “Pretty Good”, “Meh” and “Argh” separation for these preview posts. XD

  • Random Wanderer

    Your list mostly looks like what I imagine my list would look like, with a few execptions (none of the season 2s are anything I’m interested in, and Konohana Kitan is much higher on my radar). There seems to be a fair amount of decent-looking stuff coming up this Fall.

    • Flower

      No season 2’s? Umaru-chan season 2 is something you are not interested in? Surprising….

      • Random Wanderer

        …Almost no season 2s.