A look at 10 Non-Sequel Anime from Spring 2017

A look at 10 Non-Sequel Anime from Spring 2017

So, umm, here I am! You guys probably don't remember the mess my previous seasonal post was, right? Right? I put out one post on ACCA and then the rest of the season was... gone. Well, you see I bought a new computer — i7 7700K 4.2GHz, Gigabyte Z170 HD3P, 16GB Corsair Vengeance 3000MHz, with a GTX 1050Ti, in case you were wondering, and a new hard drive as well. I installed the OS on the new HDD and to merge the partitions on the old one into one clean drive, I formatted the windows partition on it. Aaaaaaand that was a stupid thing to do because I had all the write-ups stored on it. So, well, that happened. And my lazy ass didn't bother with rewriting those.
Sorry about that.

Anyways, with that out of the way, let's start this post again from the top.

So, with the Spring season of Anime coming to an end, you're probably wondering - "What the hell am I going to watch after my favourite sequel ends?" The answer is JoJo (cuz I finished DiU recently and it was amazing), but since we're talking about this season, here is a list of 10 non-sequel anime you can watch from Spring 2017.

Alice to Zouroku
Studio : J.C. Staff
Genre : Adventure, Mystery, Seinen
Episodes watched : 10

Super short version : Hungry girl with superpowers meets grumpy grandpa and they get involved in some deep sh*t, at least for the first 5 episodes. It quiets down after that.

Back when I was going through the synopsis of various Spring Anime, the story of a child, who has the ability to do anything she imagines, meeting an old man, sounded really intriguing. I was particularly interested in the dynamic between an old man and a child, two people who are on the opposite ends of life - a child with its new perspective (or "no" perspective) and a "seasoned" old man with a lot of experience. I wanted this show to go along the lines of old-man Zouroku taking care of Alice as she causes trouble for him, him teaching her some lessons as well as learning something in return. All this in a way which hopefully won't be plagued by immature cliches. But the show takes a different route altogether. Without getting too much into the details and nitpicking things, let's just say that it unnecessarily dragged things on and didn't follow through a lot of ideas/subplots it presented initially (at least it hasn't so far).

So, what is this show about? Well, there's a girl, there's a research facility, girl runs, gets saved by an awesome mysterious woman with powers, meets the old man, gets taken care of (there's a car chase involved), some moe break time with old man's granddaughter, more running, kidnapping and rescuing, there's some violence and blood involved for a moment but all's good cuz magic, and after a refreshing bar of snickers we're back in the old man's house to continue the moe break.

See the thing is, I have too much to complain about but not enough things to praise. But those complaints are more on the side of why the show just "ignored" certain plot-points which were given time in the beginning, rather than the show just being plain bad. There are some things they do really well, like Sana's characterisation as a child. It is really consistent with her character and you don't see her acting all mature couple of episodes later. Then there's all these well animated references to the original Alice in Wonderland which is also consistent with Alice's character as she "grew up" reading picture books with a couple of twins. On top of that, the OST is pretty nice.

See, the thing is, this show is... unexceptional. It's good points aren't strong enough for me to highly recommend it, but it is not so bad that I'd tell you to skip it. So, if you are interested, try 3 episodes.

Granblue Fantasy the Animation
Studio : A-1 Pictures
Genre : Fantasy, Action
Episodes Watched : 11

Super Short Version : Generic RPG setting, plays out in a generic way.

Before we even begin this I'd like to give you a little bit of info on the source material for this show. Granblue Fantasy is based on a role playing game developed by Cygames for android and iOS platforms. The game was first released in Japan in March 2014 and it has quickly risen in popularity with its total downloads crossing the 10 million mark. The game also has a light novel adaptation which was released the same year.
Now why did I mention this? See Cygames' previous game instalment - Shingeki no Bahamut has a fabulous anime adaptation (whose second season is currently airing). So, I was pretty excited for this, given the game's reputation. But, the show isn't nearly as satisfying as I thought it would be. To put it in so many words, let's just say it is... generic, very generic. Let's get into it then.

In a world where people live on floating islands in the sky, lives a boy named Gran. With his talking lizard friend Vyrn, he lives a normal life on an island whose name I can't pronounce, which holds many mysteries. One day, a damsel in distress appears, being chased by the evil men of the evil Empire. Our protagonist, being a good person, just like countless other protagonists of an RPG game, decides to help her. And now he is involved in some stuff he shouldn't be involved in. But hey, it's a good excuse to go on an adventure. And that's all we need. To put it simply, the setup of the show is fairly generic. You have the goody-two-shoes protagonist, damsel in distress, her bodyguard, a pet mascot, evil empire to supply a countless number of bad guys and a vast world to explore with lots of mysteries waiting to be unraveled.

This show is more for the casual viewer who wants to get into a simple fantasy story with amazing scenery and a vast cast of characters (our main characters picks up new members as he goes along). The usual fantasy elements are there - flying ships, dragons and other mystical beings along with magic and different races of people. Watch this if you want a simple clear-cut fantasy story which progressively gets better (or so they say it does). Or if you want to watch a guy dunk a giant bomb down a monster's throat.

Quan Zhi Gao Shou
Studio : G.CMay Animation and Film
Genre : Action, Game, Adventure, Comedy
Episodes Watched : 12

Super Short Version : Ex-pro player wrecks some noobs in an online video game. Lots of action involved.

Yay! It's that Chinese cartoon everyone's been talking about. Once again, before we begin, some info time! (keep the booing down please, I'll keep it short) Quan Zhi Gau Shou (English title : The King's Avatar) is based on a Chinese Web novel with the same name, written by Butterfly Blue. The Novel received the title for Best Work in 2013 and has 1728 Chapters worth of material (and it is very descriptive).
Reason for this info? Well, you might have heard that flying rumor which says that this show is about Esports and professional gaming. But it is not. At least not in the sense you might be thinking. It has the premise of Esports as a plot element, used to bring together players for our MC to beat, but it is not sincerely trying to be a show about Esports (at least this first season isn't).

It's a show about a pro gamer who loves this MMO game called Glory and has been playing it for the past 10 years since it's beta release. He competed in the pro scene for his team and won several titles. His exceptional prowess at the game earned him the title of "God of Fighting". But now, even after being with the team for almost a decade, he is being kicked off of it for "some reason", and forced into retirement for a year. Distraught by this sudden change of events, he takes up a job as a night shift supervisor at an internet cafe and decides to log into his old glory account. We follow him along as he goes from just killing time playing Glory (and stomping noobs for stress release), to start thinking about getting back into the pro scene with players he met during his time as a netcafe manager.

The show features bits and pieces from the usual MMO game mechanics like Aggro, Tanking damage, APM, DPS, PK etc. But it still isn't fully dedicated to it. It is centered on Yu Qiu, his "love" for the game and his carnage in the 10th server. To conserve time and to keep the show from being overbearing, the mechanics of the game are not explained to us. Which leads to a few issues. A major one is that the main character comes off as absurdly OP in game. Yes, there is a backstory that he has been playing the game for 10 years and was the top player, but an explaining for why or how he can beat every single kind of player is missing. So watch out for that.

Another big hurdle is the voice acting. Since the anime is in Chinese, there isn't as much emotion in the sound, or should I say, the kind we are used to experiencing when watching Japanese dubs (with all the Masaka! Nani! Kisama! & Hayai!). Gladly the show is densely packed with action sequences and there aren't many exposition heavy instances, so you will get used to the Chinese voice acting really quickly (or even if you don't, it won't be too much of hindrance).

To conclude, this show has my recommendation but with a piece of advice attached - take this as an action show only and not as a serious sincere portrayal of the Esports scene. Because while this show has some great looking visuals, it lacks substance to chew on.

Studio : TROYCA
Genre : Action
Episodes Watched : 11

Super Short Version : What if anime/game characters came to life and started bitching about their ideals and how hard their life is as they engage in battle destroying everything while some kickass music plays in the background.

Tired of the whisked away to a fantasy world setting? How about the reverse? What if characters from a fantasy world were imported here. A couple of examples include the Fate Series and the Devil is a part timer. Where the former was more serious in it's approach, the latter was more on the playful side. Re:Creator lies more on the serious side of this spectrum. Different characters from popular anime and video games are forcefully transported into the real world by a square pupil-ed girl in a military uniform with a strange strange power. Her aim? Wipe out everything.

So, you have characters confronting their creators about how messed up their world is, and the fact that they did just for kicks, which is something totally new for a show. It is very serious about it's approach of transporting fictional characters into real life, and it tries to be as thorough as it can. How these fictional characters view this world, who they are, how they deal with their creators and how different characters from different worlds clash - in action and in ideals. And we have quite a cast here, where not everyone is the main character from their respective game/anime.
Here's the lineup - Girl in a military uniform with a weird power, Sword wielding female lead from an anime without her Mecha, an NPC Mage from a video game, a Magical Girl, Guy with a『Stand』, A teenage soldier MC with a mecha, some old guy with a gun who can fly, a very creepy looking evil Woman in a sailor uniform with OP magical powers, and lastly Saber with a giant lance riding on a flying horse.

Now you might be thinking about all the interesting ways these characters can engage in battle. Well, don't get your hopes up too quickly. Because there is a lot of exposition here, which is a bit off putting and done in a way that is a little overbearing. And while that is a realistic scenario, a very important part of characterisation and is consistent with several character's personality, it could have been presented in a much better way.

This show has my recommendation but I'll let you know that this requires quite a bit of patience to sit through (and maybe a bit of contemplating as well).

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashik Records
Genre : Action, Magic, Fantasy, School
Episodes Watched : 11

Super Short Version : Magic high school anime #42069

Here comes another magic high school anime, with tournaments, magic, skimpy uniforms, a tsundere, tsundere's cute bffs and a possible harem (and don't forget the beach episode). But, here's the catch. The main character is not a student, he is a teacher, a lazy, usually unmotivated and dead broke guy with a dark past.

And so the students and their teacher were having fun playing games and learning magic. The lazy bastard teacher was being a lazy bastard at first but after getting scolded & beaten by tsundere-chan and forced by the sassy female mage, he started doing his job. For an episode or two, they were seriously discussing magic and I was thinking, "hey, this isn't so bad now is it?" And everything was going great, but then... the evil organisation attacked. Because no magic high school story can be done without an evil organisation. And from there on out I found myself often playing Clash of Clans on my phone instead of watching.

So, what is this show doing in this recommendations list? Well, I'll be honest. I made this list when the season started, when only a few episodes had aired. But then I procrastinated more and more and now here we are. So... Yeah. I don't like this show now. But you can still watch it, for a number of reasons. For example, if you haven't seen a lot of magic high school shows, or you just want to see a bunch of silly characters going through pain and joy. The show is a bit high on the moe side of things, so maybe that will pique your interest. But my recommendation is a no.

Sakura Quest
Studio : P.A. Works
Genre : Comedy
Episodes Watched : 11

Super Short Version : Cute adults doing responsible things, while changing wardrobe every episode.

Ho boy! Responsible, mature, adult characters doing life. What can possibly be better than that? The third entry in the "Working Girls" series by P.A. Works, Sakura Quest is about a girl who is accidentally given a job to re-establish a small town's tourism industry to it's former glory. She has one year to make things happen, and so she assembles her squad of super stylish ministers and starts working her butt off.

The series is very interesting in the way it presents the themes of rural vs urban life and the problems rural cities face in the modern era with the youth migrating towards the big cities. It also shows how changing a town is not an easy task. How it involves it's culture, it's history, it's current state, it's people and most importantly what those people do. But it's not just that, the characters also tackles some of the personal questions of life regarding things like career, love, finding one's place in society and the problems that arise when one starts pursuing them. The cast is quite loveable and the show is mostly devoid of your usual cliches. Not only that, there is some good, often subtle, humor sprinkled throughout.

Now, while I have somewhat adequately praised this show, I'll have you know that it will still be a matter of your own personal taste. Whether or not an all female cast is something you want. And when I said it features rural culture, I meant it. At times it is fascinating and makes you wonder that people are capable of creating beautiful things, but then sometimes it just goes over your head because of the cultural gap and sometimes it is just plain old second-hand embarrassment.
Long story short, this show is not everyone's cup of tea. I don't expect a whole lot of people to go crazy over a show about revitalising a rural town. So if you're bored by it after 3-4 episodes, don't shove the rest of the series down your throat. Though I still stand by my opinion that this is an excellent show and you should watch it.

Seikaisuru Kado
Studio : Toei Animation
Genre : Sci-Fi
Episodes Watched : 10

Super Short Version : What if some guy at Toei Animation saw Arrival and said, "I can do that. Here, hold my beer."

With the advances in science and technology, we have reached a point where the primitive nature of our psychology and biology are a hindrance to our progress as a species. We are inefficient at properly utilizing the Earth's resources, we are divided among nations and our primary form of communication as well as our language is full of flaws. So, what if an otherworldly entity comes here and shows us the way? Similar to the movie Arrival from last year, Seikaisuru Kado, has an alien being visiting the Earth to help mankind. So, how does the extra-terrestrial being go about doing it? Well, step one is infinite energy. Now if you're eyebrow is raised in curiosity, and you're thinking about all the applications of it, then this show is for you.

The show is mostly dialogue oriented rather than action and it talks about a wide range of concepts like language, communication, energy, morality, politics etc. The selling point here is the fancy alien tech and it's impact on humanity as a species (especially how much the viewer can speculate), granted most of it falls under the esoteric territory.
The cast is composed of mature adults and there aren't any of usual cliches and gags. But the show isn't devoid of humour either. It has some light moments here and there to keep the atmosphere from getting too heavy. So far, Toei's execution of this premise has been excellent and very entertaining. The way things are going right now, this will end up in my top non-sequels from this season (things have changed as of episodes 9 and 10).

Even though the current situation of the show is not looking as good and it has betrayed my expectations, still, the first 8 episodes of this series had me hooked and I was pegging it for best non-sequel of the season. So, while I am furious, I am still recommending this series.

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka Isogashii Desu ka Sukutte Moratte ii Desu ka
Studio : Satelight, C2C
Genre : Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance, Fantasy
Episodes Watched : 11

Super Short Version :
Me : Oh, doesn't this series look wonderful. Look at all these adorable little characters.
Heart : hahahaha, yay! Weeeee!
Plot : Start counting backwards from 1000 by 7.
Heart : Eh?

Long light novel titles. A measure to get people's attention in this fast moving social community.
Well this particular one features a dystopian world where human beings were wiped from the surface of the Earth 500 years ago by some unknown entities which they unleashed in some experiment. And so the remaining species have inhabited these floating islands in the sky. As a measure for defending themselves from those vicious creatures they have developed some glorious weaponised lolis who are able to wield some ancient magical swords. Our protagonist is the last remaining human being(?) who was awoken from his petrified state from 500 years ago and is now incharge of taking care of these "weapons".

The show certainly has an interesting premise along with an interesting pilot. But things soon go downhill with the appearance of the usual rom-com cliches. It has presented tragedy for the sake of emotional manipulation of the viewer which often feels cheap and misses the mark. Still, it has hints of being a good story later on which is evident from the light novel's good reception, and also by the way they are handling the mystery aspect of the show. But anime adaptations don't usually deliver the same level of quality entertainment as the source material.

One of the better things about this series is it's easily consumable nature. If you are still interested in it after 3-4 episodes, you will probably end up bingeing the rest. Sadly, with every step this anime takes forward, it takes two steps back by doing things like out of place cliches and character developments that don't make sense. Still, it has been entertaining so far, so this show has my thumbs up.

Tsuki ga Kirei
Studio : feel.
Genre : Romance, School
Episodes Watched : 10

Super Short Version : Umm.. blushes Unnn... Ah.... more blushing Eh... Ano... Oh just get on with it you idiots!!!

Tsuki ga Kirei is an anime original by studio feel. which features a romance between middle schoolers in their final year of junior high. Now, I'll be completely honest here before I declare my judgement. I could not relate to the characters of this anime on any level, because of
A) Cultural differences. My school did not work like this and it didn't have this kind of environment,
B) I cleared 9th grade about 10 years ago. And the only cellphone we had in our family was a Nokia 3310 which belonged to my mother, and
C) When I was is 9th grade my life looked like this : Wake up → Go to School → Play Football or Cricket with friends → Come back home → Play Video Games on whatever I could get my hands on → Do homework and stuff → Sleep. Love? Who cares about that.
So, I am not going to pretend how relatable, realistic or nostalgic this romance is. I found it rather uninteresting except for the short episodes after the credits. They were very amusing. Still, I've put this show here for a reason, so let's talk about its particulars a bit.

What is this show about? It's a standard romance. Guy A likes girl B. But they can't straight up tell each other because both guy A and girl B are very shy and they don't get that many opportunities to talk to each other in their everyday routines. Still, they muster up the courage to make a move, and thanks to chance and social networking they are able to have a conversation. From there, things are set in motion and we proceed down the usual route. Good thing is, all this happens without your usual cliches of interruptions, misunderstandings or drama being dragged on unnecessarily. But that's all there is to it. It is just like your everyday romance between a couple of teenagers - cute, but at the same time, boring and a bit shallow.

See, because the characters are young teenagers, their views and their reactions to these emotions have this immaturity to them. Even though it is handled well, it is still something I am not too fond of or eager to see.
Anyways, just because I did not enjoy this show for my own stupid reasons, doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. I mean, if you counted the number of cliches in every romance anime ever and ranked them accordingly, then, this show would be somewhere at the bottom of that list (I guess that's not the best way of putting it). Also, this show is full of cute moments, and its world is filled with positive energy. So much that it is blinding and I have to wear sunglasses every time I watch this show.
I mean, there's middle schoolers falling in love and kissing around, and here I am sitting here as a 23 year old single guy. Man, f*ck this show!

Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho
Studio : White Fox
Genre : Action, Fantasy
Episodes Watched : 10

Super Short Version : A witch and her grumpy cat look for a lost book. Also, lots of "Wagahai".

Setup in a time when burning people on the stake was all the rage, Zero Kara Haimeru Mahou no Shou features your everyday witches fighting for survival killing people, burning villages, and unleashing plagues because the big daddys at the kingdom won't quit teasing them. In the midst of this rave party, our little powerful witch, who used to live in a cave by the way, is trying to find the lost grimoire that could "destroy the world". Along the way, she meets a really grumpy cat, well a humanoid-cat, a mercenary, who is often hunted by the witches as his head can serve as a powerful ingredient for a magic ritual. They make a contract and the cat becomes a magical girl that the mercenary would protect her from harm and in turn, after they find the lost book, she will turn him into a full fledged human being.

Despite it's rather interesting premise, the show's execution is mediocre. It lacks the ability to draw the viewer in. The developments are mostly predictable and the lingering sense of mystery isn't interesting enough nor is the suspense to grab 100% of my attention. Characters besides Zero are pretty bland and her interactions with the mercenary don't seem to move beyond a certain glass wall. That is not saying that I didn't find their banter entertaining. It was. But it didn't move past it in a way that would astonish me. So, my overall impression of the show is that it is average. I did not find it interesting enough for a recommendation.
Well, with that we are done with this season. Seeing how many sequels are piled up this year, I'm thinking I might have to release two lists for my yearly top 10 - one for sequels and one for non-sequels. That would be fun, I think. Anyways, which of the non-sequels did you guys think was the most entertaining from Spring 2017?