I went into this season thinking there wouldn’t much I’d watch. But after rejecting one or two shows, and then nearly rejecting two more, the list really filled out, and the viewing schedule’s been very full for the last three months.

Little Witch Academia — So, Netflix finally got this over here. My coworker AJ and I are a bit concerned that by that point they released it, all the hype was over. But, as I expected from the short and OAV, the series was very good, and they came up with a good full-season story arc. It… gets a bit odd towards the end, and the last third rates a “Trigger warning” for going off into their tropes unexpectedly.

Last Man — A French production that’s just coming over here on VRV, it’s apparently the prequel to a graphic novel series (with the same name) that I’m going to have to look up. The characters are all great, and the writing is extremely tight and snappy. A real joy to watch, and very highly recommended.

My Hero Academia — Mostly actual ‘superheroing’ this season, with a big, well-handled fight that also is leading to further plots, and shows the aftereffects of the previous season. The fact that all the major arcs are having an impact on the series as a whole really helps keep this one together. I still can’t help but be concerned that it’ll dissolve into the usual Marvel soap-opera mess of unresolved plotlines in the long run, but so far, so good.

Restaurant to Another World — The foodie show of the season. It maintains a manga translation format of two stories per episode, but was very sweetly done. A (Japanese) Western Cuisine restaurant is mysteriously connected to a fantasy world every “Day of Satur”, and the stories are all about the patrons who come through the door—and the delicious food they eat. There’s an interesting mix of stories, like the one about the lizardman tribe picking their champion to visit the restaurant done as something of a documentary.

Knight’s and Magic — Apparently this is based off a series of stories on the web (i.e., fanficish). And I assume that’s why we have the Engrish title (which they really should have cleaned up). Gundam-loving otaku dies and is reborn in a fantasy world where magical giant robots are used to fight demon beasts (with spillover into regular wars). Horrible, horrible premise that should be a mess of a series. But it works, and it’s actually a very good series. There’s some problems (especially later) with things coming too easily and working right the first time, but that’s not entirely true, and overall the writing is pretty good.

Voltron: Legendary Defender — With only seven episodes, one has to wonder just what happened with season three. Still, the writing is very good, and Prince Lotar is being a very competent villain (as opposed to the goofball of the original).

The Ancient Magus’ Bride — This has been a very charming OAV series, in which the third one just came out. It’s a prequel to the main story, and apparently that’s about to start in a regular anime series, which I’ll be more than happy to watch after this.

18if — This was a strange one. Apparently, most episodes were farmed out to different studios, and the art styles can be very different. Which works, since almost everything is happening in various dream worlds. From the start, its obvious that there should be an overarching plot as while the main character is helping various ‘witches’ who are girls effectively stuck in comas, he isn’t ever awake either, and there’s no explanation as to why he’s stuck in the dream world. However, this doesn’t get any real acknowledgement at all until the final four episodes, when it’s suddenly time to tie everything off. Other than that problem, it’s a good series worth watching, and I really appreciate that the end involves more discussion than fighting.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life — Standard Japanese contemporary fantasy: young man stumbles into the world of spirits and the occult. In this case, after the dorm for the high school he was about to attend burns down, Yushi ends up at an apartment were most of the tenants are in the spirit world. It manages to be be very charming (and the building itself is beautiful), with a large cast, and the main character grows nicely, and goes through different struggles, both internal and external. It seems to be continuing straight into a second season, which I’m happy to see.

Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu — Heard about the recent genre of anthropomorphizing just about anything (like warships) as young girls? I understand I’m not missing anything by skipping it. This, however, is anthropomorphizing famous Japanese swords as pretty-boys. I was pretty much giving up on this series at first, as it was just a bunch of fighting against enemies who didn’t have any real motivations given (though they’re nicely creepy). But, as the series goes on it turns into a ‘man [sword] vs self’ story, which gets pretty good. It turns out this is the second anime done off the Touken Ranbu browser/card game, so we’ll give the first one a try too soon, though it’s obviously very different.

Pokemon Sun & Moon — As I was expecting last time, the expanded use of secondary characters is paying off. Also, they seem to be trying to round out their depiction of Pokemon a bit, like with Litten being a stray and on-again-off-again character over several episodes before joining Ash.

Classroom of the Elite — I also call this ‘Classroom of the Elite Bust’ as all the females are a bit overendowed, though there’s not a lot of direct fanservice. Plot-wise, it’s pretty good, and very intelligent, though it has something of a Lord of the Flies vibe, which is something of a turn-off for me, despite good writing.

Chronos Ruler — Smudge and I nearly dropped this several times, but it kept turning around the writing at the last second and keeping us going. (Like one over-done over-dramatic fight that had us rolling our eyes in disgust… and then we lost it when it’s shown the ‘villain’ is really a nice boy trying so very hard to be evil, and he allies with one of the heroes because ‘that’s the most tragic backstory I’ve ever heard!’) The concept with monsters that eat time, and are attracted by regret is good, but the writing keeps veering back and forth between good and bad.

Children of Ether — This was a one-shot that promises more. Worth seeing, as the characters were well done, though the plot and setting are a bit cliche without enough chance to get their own feel.

A Centaur’s Life — We nearly gave up on this one several times for excessive fanservice. It seems to be an off-branch of the recent ‘monster show’ fad, and is at least a lot less fanservicey than those have been. The excuses given for all the various types of people doesn’t really fly, but some of worldbuilding on top of that gets interesting. When they aren’t going for the cheap fanservice, there’s some really sweet stories, which get more common as it goes on, which is what kept me and Smudge on board. But it’s over, I doubt it’ll come back, and I’m fine with that.

And there’s been some watching of other things, and older series, though not a lot, thanks to the crowded schedule.

Your Name — Got to see this a few weeks ago, and it is excellent! There’s a very good reason why this is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time in Japan, and it really needs to make more of a splash here. Our copy was borrowed, which is a pity, because I’d like to re-watch a few bits, because I know you don’t catch it all the first time.

Sweetness and Lightning — This was in Smudge’s queue of ‘things to try out’ a season or two back, and we happened to see a clip that was extremely adorable. And the series as a whole lived up to that. I think this is part of an effort I vaguely remember hearing about of a Japanese cultural office funding series to promote ‘cultural’ activities (in this case cooking); certainly there’s a fair amount of practical advice on more intermediate/advanced cooking tasks in here. But they’re part of the story instead of taking the place of it, and it’s amazingly sweet.

Kokoro Connect — The series came up in connection with Your Name at one point, so we tried it out. Smudge had originally skipped it as it looked like standard high school drama. No, not quite standard. A club of the school misfits keeps getting screwed with by bored ‘Q-like’ being (starting with body swapping). I think it doesn’t entirely live up to the premise, but I did find it interesting that despite what gets said, it seems like the real point is for the club members to get over some problems.

Pokemon Advanced — The latest boxed set collection. Ash being on his own for a couple episodes was interesting, but it went back to the usual party pretty fast. May is a nice changeover in viewpoint that was echoed with Serena, Max is annoying, and Brock… is actually being allowed to be in domestic mode instead of girl-crazy mode most of the time. This is also the generation where they start spreading out the starters among the crew instead of giving them all to Ash, which I think is a good idea.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya — Got the boxed set on sale, and found even more annoyance than I expected. Not only is the original series shuffled into chronological order, but both seasons are shuffled into each other for chronology. So I’m stalled partway through, hoping Dave and Baron will catch up before continuing on to new episodes.