So, another season of anime is wrapping up, and the next one is already starting. I ended up watching a lot of stuff over the last three months.

Planetarian – This surprised me by being just five episodes. But its a very good five episodes, and I highly recommend it. Bring tissues.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – I’m watching this in the dub, so I’m a bit behind, but the current story has been quite good, especially as we get to see Silver Mask being quite human.

Food Wars – This series is still working for me. Parts of it get overblown, and some of the characters really go overboard into testosterone-laden fight anime land. But, towards the end of the season, Sukihara has discovered a whole new challenge of Man vs Self; what exactly is his cooking about?

Tales of Zestiria the X – I’m also a bit behind here, as I’m watching the dub. This one I run hot and cold on. It’s well done, but… just takes itself way too seriously. And… the switching to completely different story lines every five episodes or so may get wearing. (We’re just about to switch in the next episode; not sure if it’s back to the first one, or if we get a third one next.)

That’s all the new stuff I’ve seen; here’s the older series that I just got to:

Noragami – Japanese contemporary fantasy really is it’s own genre. The ‘main character almost gets killed and is now partway in the spirit world’ start makes me think of the excellent start of Yu Yu Hakusho, but that turned into a boring fight anime after the first arc, while this maintains a focus on the main character, and the tension between her normal life and her friends in the spirit realm. Well, kinda. Her normal life doesn’t get a lot of attention. Actually, if this series makes me think of anything else, it’s Natsume’s Book of Friends.

Snow White of the Red Hair – This was especially nice; it’s been way too long since I’ve seen a shojo manga title get turned into a good series. This is essentially a fantasy romance, and it proceeded just a bit slow for me, but it’s also about an interesting group of characters who are well done, and it doesn’t turn into a love dodecahedron. …I just wish there was a bit less damseling (is that a word now?) of the female lead.

Re: Zero—Starting Life in Another World – We just started this a few days ago, and are about halfway through. Quite good. Yet another otaku gets pulled into a fantasy world… and his main power is having a saved game to start over from after he dies… usually fairly messily and painfully. One of the nice bits it that it pays attention to the effect this has on him.

Magi: Adventure of Sinbad – Smudge and I definitely liked the original Magi series, and have been hoping for more of it. Well, this prequel didn’t give us the continuation of all the dangling plot threads we wanted, but it was a good story about the start of one of the major secondary characters. I’d still like more Magi, but I’ll settle for more Sinbad.

Voltron: Legendary Defender – Another modern reboot, this time through Netflix. I had problems with it at first, as the characters were too whiny and incompetent. A lot of the beginning stuff was really unbelievable to me. (Really, one of the lions is hidden on Earth, sending out energy to be tracked down, and no one else noticed?) Once past that, it got a lot better and really fixed a lot of problems the original series had. New Allura? A+! “Form Blazing Sword” not the solution to every problem? A+! (In fact, the idea that each lion can contribute its own special weapon is a great.)

Little Witch Academia: Enchanted Parade – A second short film of Little Witch Academia? Sign me up! I’d say it’s not quite as good as the first, but it stands on its own well, and tells a different story. I’m looking forward to the announced TV series.

Fairy Tail – I’ve now seen through the first part of the Tartaros arc, but have paused because Funimation has a big gap in the dub on their streaming service near the end of the next plotline.

Girl Meets Bear – The name is a complete misnomer: they don’t meet, they’ve known each other since they were little. It was a very fun series, but the first episode sets up for a character arc that never happens. And as a result, Machi is never allowed to grow as a character, and it holds the series down, despite some good comedy.

Pokemon – So, with playing lots of Pokemon Go, Smudge has been watching this, and I’ve caught pieces of it (I’m now going back and slowly filling in gaps). You know, its really annoying, since it’s almost impossible to get a hold of a complete series without going to an illegal site. Anyway, given the age group it’s aimed at, it’s good more often than it’s bad (Smudge is right, Ash is a lot more likable in the recent stuff). The first episode is effectively a buddy film between Ash and Pikachu, which worked for me. And there’s some interestingly done scenes, like the transition from the Game Boy game to the Poke-match at the beginning of the first episode. Smudge also showed me Pokemon Origins, which is an interesting retelling of the original game, and the Hoopa and the Clash of the Ages movie, which had a very solid plot. That last is definitely recommended.

And a couple of ‘tried, but didn’t stick with it’ series:

Amanchu! – By the creator of Aria: The Animation, which I enjoyed. You can tell: the girls tend to wear the same design of dress. But, after one episode, it hadn’t done anything for Smudge and I. I have the feeling it could easily have gotten better over the next few episodes, but we didn’t give it the chance.

Thunderbolt Fantasy – It’s a really interesting production, using puppets and some special effects. But Smudge was having trouble following the action, and the fastball down all the typical Eastern-fantasy tropes wasn’t cutting it for me. (I kind of feel like this wasn’t live action purely because Mifune’s no longer with us to do the samurai character.)