So, another season of anime is just getting going, and it’s time to take a look at what I’ve been watching lately. There was actually a good number of new things that Smudge and I watched this time, and I was pretty happy with most of them. As usual, this is presented in rough order of recommendation:

Vinland Saga: We’ve just started the second series. Was not expecting effectively a whole new start and change in focus. I’m sure we’ll get out of the current part soon, and find out what happened to Thorfinn, and start him on the road to recovery. That said, the climax of the first arc was… epic, and featured a lot of unexpected plot twists, really well done.

Frieren: I first heard of the manga about a year ago, and have been looking forward to the series ever since. It has not disappointed, and the entire household is liking it a lot. Very well done, fairly deep, and I can’t help thinking the unstated point is just how long it took Frieren to realize how important a ‘brief’ ten-year journey has been to her (in a life of thousands of years).

Ancient Magus Bride: Still working our way through the latest season after a late start on it. The alchemy school plot has just layered on levels of characters and plot points, and it has been getting better the more layers are added. Frankly, any of these top three could be the top slot, they’re all very good, and well liked by the entire group here.

To Your Eternity: We’re now into the second series. This involves a fairly significant time skip, and a mostly-new cast. The story is continuing to be good, though with new characters and new situation being introduced, we’re still finding out just where this part will take us.

Goblin Slayer: The latest season was basically three stories (as I recall it) with the major one in the middle. It was definitely interesting to see the homeland of the elves, and certainly interesting to see the focus events also having effects on the greater good/evil struggle that has been defined as happening off-screen. Priestess’ story to basically get her adventuring proficiency exam wasn’t as interesting, but important, and helped with her being a major focus again in the last story.

My Daughter Left the Nest and Came Back an S-Rank Adventurer: Yeah, with that title, you can’t expect much. But, was actually a series I enjoyed a lot, and the one I most looked forward to for Smudge and I’s anime nights; in other seasons it could easily have a higher slot. It is generally light-hearted, but the characters are all interesting, and the primary motive in the first arc is just that Angeline wants to get enough time off to visit her father. This grounds it a very human motivation as the plot gets going, and we see more and more pieces of the overall arc, and I hope we get more.

Rising of the Shield Hero: This was much better than the previous season, which was fairly disappointing. We’re between major events (with the world-turtle down, and phoenix not yet free), so the plot is mostly about… ‘cleaning house’. I suspect there’s still motivations we haven’t seen behind breaking up the Cardinal Heroes, and their still damaged goods. But the story has been good, though I’m a little concerned about the major side story/road trip that got introduced at the end.

Shangri-La Frontier: Okay, it’s fun, and it’s nice to see a series that definitely gets some of gaming culture. The main character is a fan of ‘so bad it’s good’ games, and gets sucked into the current top-rung AAA+ MMORPG. It’s also a fantasy on two sides. One, there’s adventuring inside the fantasy MMO. Two, this is far enough in the future for full-dive VR to be real, reliable, and at least a decade’s worth of games out—and you still have physical game stores (that apparently only sell games; there’s no signs of related merch). I can see why it was the main push of the season, but there was a lot better out there this time.

Dr. Stone: Smudge and I waited on the dub for this, so we’re still really getting start on the current season. In the main, it’s pretty much what you’d expect; more of the same kind of science hijinks, but it’s certainly got a lot going on important to the foundational plot. We’re close to seeing the device that caused world-wide petrification, we’ve gotten a much better idea of how that was supposed to work (on people just petrified, instead of thousands of years later). Things are working too well too easily, but it’s still good science-based ‘kids adventure’.

Daigo: Rescuer in Orange: This one is more Smudge, but it’s good enough. Drama-based adventure following the elite of the Tokyo fire department. They’ve established that there’ll be a big disaster later, but this is currently focused on training and initial incidents. So, take the typical manga/anime series that does a deep dive into a particular subject, and cross it with Emergency.