Now that the Spring season for 2017 is coming to a close it is that time again to begin looking towards the coming anime season of summer and … well … to be honest it looks “only okay” at best for me. Not because there are not good or interesting looking series out there, but moreso because a fair number of them are not as much my taste, though of course I suppose that opens the door for a decent amount of pleasant surprises as well! The Spring season itself now almost over proved to be a … curious one, but one that was generally characterized exactly by … pleasant surprises! Probably the biggest surprise for me were Uchouten Kazoku s2, Shingeki no Bahamut s2 (thankfully carrying over to next season since it is a two cour series) and SukaSuka. There were other hits as well, expected ones: Natsume Yuujinchou s6, Tsuki ga Kirei (which was probably the best overall series of the Spring season for me), Alice to Zouroku and Kabukibu (which was way too neglected).

Of course there were disappointments as well, and of various sorts, which one will find in any season. One exampe of an outright disappointment for me would be DanMachi: Sword Oratorio – the adaptation choices made were … poor, and quite frankly made the first few episodes downright tedious – which was a pity since I enjoy the manga still. Re:Creators had an interesting idea but I kinda felt that it dropped the ball mid way through the first cour – which is a pity; I thought it had real potential. Then there were series that were decent to pretty good but to my mind could have been much better, like Zero Kara was for me. All in all it seemed a fairly good season overall, and there were definitely some bright spots in it all. 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 Summer 2017:

My Most Anticipated Series....

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

Centaur no Nayami

  • Air Date: 9 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Encourage Films & Haoliners Animation
  • Episodes: 12
  • Blogging? Maybe

Being a teenager is never easy...especially for a centaur! Himeno is a sweet, shy girl, who like many teens her age, struggles with the trials and tribulations of attending high school. The difference is she's a centaur; but she's not alone. In fact, all of her classmates are supernatural creatures... Yet despite their fantastical natures, Himeno and her best friends ... are down-to-earth, fun- loving teenagers who grapple with issues of of life and love in a mostly normal daily school setting.

As a very big fan of the source manga this is based on I am anticipating this one quite a bit, but am (together with quite a few other people) unsure about the studio(s) producing it.

Nailing this adaptation will be tricky due in part to both the manner of presentation of the material in the source (it changes from chapter to chapter almost randomly) and the capacity to suddenly strike out into surprisingly thought provoking commentary on contemporary situations using a fantasy setting.

If the studio is able to pull it off, though, it could easily become one of my favorite series of the year.

Made in Abyss

  • Air Date: 7 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Kinema Citrus
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? Maybe

An enormous pit and cave system called the "Abyss" is the only unexplored place in the world. Strange and wonderful creatures reside in its depths, and it is full of precious relics that current humans are unable to make. The adventurers who venture into it are known as "Cave Raiders." A little orphan girl named Rico lives in the town of Ousu on the edge of the Abyss. Her dream is to become a Cave Raider like her mother and solve the mysteries of the cave system. One day, as Rico is exploring...

I will be frank here. This series has a very dark setting. I could easily see it getting quite gory and graphic.

That being said the setting is also at the same time quite an interesting one, I thought. It’s sort of a fantasy style setting (complete with Lovecraftian monsters that regularly eat the abyss delvers) with technology from an advanced sci-fi’ish age being exceedingly rare, but found further and further one delves deeper. The orphanage the MC grows up in is also … well, it is not a pleasant one.

The source manga has a “cluttery” art style as well, and that together with the fluffy/disturbing elements all mixed together reminds me a bit of the Yume Tsukai franchise (for any who have seen or read that). Still – gotta admit that the adaptation could turn into something really good in the right hands.

Princess Principal

  • Air Date: 9 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Studios 3HZ & Actus
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? Maybe

The "spy action" series follows five girls in 19th century London, a city within the Albion Kingdom divided into east and west by a large wall. The girls serve as undercover spies enrolled as students at the prestigious Queen's Mayfair school. The girls make use of their individual abilities to remain active in the underground world of disguise, espionage, infiltration, and car chases.

Oh come on! A Victorian setting with goth-loli characters, animated by Studio 3HZ with music by Kajura Yuki?!? Did someone somewhere decide “let’s make an anime with lots of elements that the blogger who goes by the name of Flower will like” or something? XD

Yeah … in terms of pure enjoyment and entertainment value this looks so up my alley that it approaches the surreal – a “summer time popcorn chewer” to be sure, and both the visuals and audio look to be quite good. Now … if only the writing is up to speed. Looking forward to this one!

Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito OVAs

  • Air Date: 18 Aug 2017
  • Studio: Studio Wit
  • Episodes: 3
  • Blogging? Yes

Three-part OVA chronicling a story taking place before Chise meets the Magus. Chise Hatori 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.

When the first OVA (of three) came out last season many, including myself, were (rightly) floored and blown away by the absolutely beautiful work Wit Studio did. You can totally bet your boots that I will also review the third and final episode!

The series itself is based on a stupendous manga, and the speculative buzz and high hopes (of whom I am numbered) that this three OVA series would eventually bloom into a full fledged series has indeed proven to be true! It will be airing in the coming Fall 2017 season. I can only hope that it will be done by the same staff doing these OVAs. They “get it”.

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:

Clione no Akari

  • Air Date: 12 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Studio drop
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

The story centers around an illness-stricken, constantly bullied orphan girl named Minori. After one rainy day, she doesn't turn up at school, having been admitted into a hospital in a distant town. Two months pass, and the girl's two school friends, Takashi and Kyouko, receive a mysterious email with no sender listed. The email reveals a summer festival taking place at a nearby town...

It looks possible that this might be a short form anime series. There are a lot of question marks at the moment, but hey – it is an anime original series attempt and a new studio stretching it’s fledgling wings for the first time, so I am hoping they do a good job.

Tsure-dure Children

  • Air Date: 4 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Studio Gokumi
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? No

A series depicting various scenarios of young love. These stories range from a boy, crippled by his absolute lack of confidence in himself, cannot even accept the fact that the girl of his dreams actually asked him out on a date, to the near-psychotic girl that pours her own blood into her homemade chocolate in order to win his heart.

This mangaka has written a handful of manga all set in the same setting that periodically cross over to each other character and setting wise, and they are almost all pretty darn funny – though I guess the writing might not be for everyone. I do like it, though, and follow most of the manga series.

This adaptation looks to be made up of half length eps, and I think it would be able to work for it, like it did for Nijiiro Days from a few seasons back.

Isekai Shokudou

  • Air Date: 3 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Studio Silver Link
  • Episodes: TBD
  • Blogging? Maybe

There's a resaurant called "Youshoku no Nekoya" (Western Cuisine Cat Restaurant), located on the first basement floor of a building at a corner of a shopping district. While it normally feeds salarymen, there is a secret. Every Saturday, the shop takes a "day off" and is full of special customers. For the office workers, it is a familiar place with familiar dishes, but for Saturday customers, it is nothing but cuisine never imagined.

There are a passel of light novel adaptations this season, but the main one that has caught my interest is definitely this one (although technically it is a web novel still if I remember correctly).

In some ways it reminds me a little of a curious mix of  Shoukugeki no Souma and Koufuku Graffitti with a “door to another fantasy world” element thrown in. A fair number of people I have come across speak well of this series and it should be an enjoyable watch if nothing else. ^^

New Game!!

  • Air Date: 11 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Doga Kobo
  • Episodes: 12?
  • Blogging? No

Meet Aoba Suzukaze, a fresh high-school graduate easily mistaken for a middle school student who joins the game company that produced her favorite game as a 3D artist, and her cute antics as she gets her way through work and deals with her rather wacky co-workers. The second season of New Game! Continuing to show the daily grind of the game development studio, Eagle Jump.

This is undoubtedly more of the same of season one, although this time around with a few new characters. Season one was well done and enjoyable, so season two promises to be more of the dame – especially in the light of following the manga, which is still ongoing.

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:

Shoukoku no Altair

  • Air Date: 7 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Studio Mappa
  • Episodes: 24?
  • Blogging? No

Mahmut is a young Pasha serving on the general's council of Turkey. The clouds of war are gathering over his country. With Turkey's council split between the warmongers and the pacifists, Mahmut begins his quest to keep the peace at any cost. As he finds himself deeper and deeper in the politics of the ancient world, new enemies and allies surface. Who will prevail? What will Mahmut do if war proves to be inevitable?

I can’t tell you how much good press I have heard about this series, and from a wide variety of people too. The studio is Mappa (which is doing quite well of late in terms of steady, high quality works in my opinion) and it looks to also be two cour, which means it will be able to somewhat take it’s time presenting it’s story.

For me this could be the darkhorse hit of the season.

Hina Logi: From Luck & Logic

  • Air Date: 1 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Doga Kobo
  • Episodes: 12
  • Blogging? No

Liones Yelistratova, a pure princess from a small country, enters a school in Hokkaido on a spring day. The school is a specialized educational institution operated by ALCA to train Logicalists, who maintain world peace. Liones enters class S, where she meets many classmates with unique personalities, like Nina. A lively and cute everyday life begins now.

The first season of Luck and Logic … did not work for me. Not that it was bad per se, mind you, but in some ways even worse: it was utterly nondescript and uninteresting.

This series appears to be a spin off from the same general setting, though, and seeing as it is still in the hands of Doga Kobo I would not be surprised if it were a fluffy “cute girls doing cute things” series (a genre I think that studio understands and is quite good at).

So I am at least willing to give it a try.

Ballroom e Youkoso

  • Air Date: 8 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Production I.G.
  • Episodes: 24?
  • Blogging? No

Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something - anything. Unfortunately, he's about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this, and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku's not the neighborhood watch, though. He's a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will never be the same.

This one is a huge “I don’t know” for me, though there are many, many aspects to recommend it as a solid offering.

There are a handful of “professional classical dancing” manga out there right now (three come to mind including this one) and the themes of them all are generally similar, of course, but the art of the source manga of this series is quite impressive, and Production I.G. is definitely plenty skilled when it comes to animating athletic movements!

The preview art, though, honestly got me concerned – although solely on a personal level; the manner of art for drawing the characters was … too unrealistic for me to digest, although I can obviously see it is a conscious stylistic choice reflecting the original mangaka’s drawing style. We will have to see….

Action Heroine Cheer Fruits

  • Air Date: 7 Jul 2017
  • Studio: Studio Diomedea
  • Episodes: 12?
  • Blogging? No

Set in Hinano City, a tranquil area that cultivates fruits, but has lost its vitality. For the town she loves, high school girl Misaki Shirogane and other girls become local heroines (at the urging of Misaki's aunt, the prefectural governor) and vow to produce action live events. The teen story depicts their strenuous efforts to revitalize their town.

Hmm … another anime original series here, and to be honest it looks just ridiculous and light hearted enough to be enjoyable for me. This series looks to be along the lines of LocoDol, but focusing on Live Action Heroes rather than Local Idols. I enjoyed LocoDol, and am more than willing to give this one a try. ^^

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

There are a few carryovers from the previous season that I will continue watching in the summer. First and foremost there is Shingeki no Bahamut s2 – if you are not watching this one you should give it a try – it is much better than s1 and is quite enjoyable. Another I will continue viewing is Kirakira PreCure a la Mode, which is slowly getting better, though at a snail’s pace. In some ways it is a pity it had to come on the heels of Mahoutsukai PreCure, which was downright fabulous for a PreCure series.

The Short series for next season look sparse once again. I suppose Tsure-dure Children counts as one (see above), and I will also give Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart a try. If Clione no Akari (also see above) is a short that could be promising as well. There is one short series based on a manga that I don’t especially find funny, but will have Aoi Yuuki voicing the MC, which I may have to give a try just because it is her: Aho Girl.

As far as OVAs three of them have caught my eye: the first two are for Kabukibu and A-Channel (it will be nice to revisit this series again), but the main one that I am interested would definitely definitely have to be the Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen – Prologue Sakura to Futatsu no Kuma OVA, which will bridge the main anime season to the upcoming Clear Card season that will begin airing next Winter. A lot of anticipation with this one.

Movies in the theatres look actually quite interesting. The leader of the pack for me would have to be Mary to Majo no Hana. The previews for it look right up my alley. Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru ka? and Kimi no Koe wo Todoketai look like interesting possibilities (with regards to the latter I have spoken a fair number of times on volunteer radio stations on various things and appreciate the medium itself). The Yuuki Yuuna movies continue to air and if they are anything like the other ones I have seen getting more information about the franchise’s setting in general will continue to be interesting. Finally, the Suki ni Naru Sono Shunkan wo Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai movie is one I have already seen and … to be honest I … kinda really liked it. Good, simple shoujo well done. Maybe I will do a review one of these years. XD But perhaps the biggest news for Movies in the Summer 2017 season will be the BD/DVD releases of Kimi no Na Wa and Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni. I am very much looking forward to both of them!

Blogging plans next season are … kinda still up in the air. The only thing I can 100% commit to at this point in time is the third OVA of the Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito OVAs. Other possibilities? Well, at the moment other than the Suki ni Naru Sono Shunkan wo Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai movie I could anticipate Centaur no Nayami, Made in Abyss, Princess Principal and … Isekai Shokudou. But we will have to see!

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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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