New series are starting up, and I’m still finishing up the old stuff, so yeah, I’m still behind on things.

Star Driver — Smudge introduced me to this since was a fairly light season for us. This is largely the team that started Trigger, before they had done so. And indeed its very Trigger in scope. I’m currently deep in season 2, and it’s doing a good job on the character front, while having all the usual giant robots action, and girls in improbable uniforms. It started off reminding me a bit of RahXephon, and I’ve described it as ‘Utena with giant robots’ (it had some of the same ‘ceremonial’ feel to the conflict at the start).

Beastars — This has been on the vague ‘to watch’ list, and we watched it with Baron and Dave, who seem to get a bit more out of it than me. It was certainly well-produced, though the use of mo-cap animation bugged me a bit, especially for the first couple episodes. This is one of those where I kind of wonder ‘just how did this world get to here’, but it is otherwise a well-done world. (With some discordant notes—carnivores are given as universally stronger than herbivores, instead of just better armed. There’s a reason why wolves hunt in packs.) Still, does a great job with presenting internal feelings and doubts.

Cromartie High School — This has been on the ‘to watch’ list for ages, since we saw the first 2-3 episodes on a sample disk. It kind of reminds me of Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast. Stream-of-consciousness writing, limited budget, and random electric guitar wailing for the ending credits. It’s random, sometimes painful, and sometimes screamingly funny.

Flip Flappers — I want to know what the creative team was smoking, and like Abe Lincoln, send some to a bunch of other creators. Smudge and I are most of the way through this, and it’s still really hard to say what I think of it, because it’s all so, so weird. It’s certainly offering up lots of trope-parody salad, but the overall plot is just coming into focus at the very end.

Black Clover — Okay, we’re now through the entire real arc that this has been pointed at all this time, and did a great job of it (and it was a nice example of focus that these long fight-series have problems with). Now, we’re in unknown territory—will it hold together? So far, not bad, and we’ll see how it goes. Since everything prior to this point, the writing just kept getting better, I have hopes for no more than moderate sequelitis.

Thermae Romae — Holy low-budget, Batman! The high concept for the series has a lot of fun to it (cross over the two great hot-soak loving cultures: Japan and the Classical world), so this as been on the to-watch list. Given the… splash… the manga originally made, I’m quite surprised that this is such a low budget show with limited animation that makes Hanna-Barbera look good. Writing has also been all over the place, with some episodes being hilarious, and others just not living up to the high concept.

And of course Smudge and I have re-watched with the guys:

Acca 13 — If re-watching wasn’t a separate section, this would be top of the list. It really is well done, and both Baron and Dave have really appreciated it. I’m also newly thankful that Smudge spotted the soundtrack at Crunchyroll Expo a couple years ago; it’s extremely well done.