Normally I wouldn’t do a mid-season check-in, but I’ve come to realise I don’t really know what I love this season anymore since I just watched a few weeks’ worth of anime over the past few days…
After all my lamenting of being behind in this Demon Slayer collab post, the side effects are starting to show up – namely, I tried my darnedest to catch up. Then I see this tweet by Karandi just as I’m about to start on my final show:
…and my mind goes blank.
That’s why I need to reason things out here…
You’ll find first impressions and what made the cut for this post here. Number of episodes watched up until the point of writing are in normal brackets, while the change in position from last time is in square brackets.
Meta context: I was writing this in advance, hence the notes from my future self (as of writing this post).
1. Dr Stone
(6 eps) [up 1]
Dr Stone is finally getting into its groove by having Taiju + Yuzuriha and Senku split. (Then again, I vastly prefer the village arc over the initial bit, because Kohaku is a lot more active than a lot of other Shonen Jump girls.) The adaption hasn’t lost anything of particular note, but it hasn’t gained anything either.
(6 eps) [down 1]
Astra, on the other hand, is a funny case. Recent revelations remind me of one of the books that was almost overdue as of the time of writing the aforementioned Demon Slayer collab post – a bunch of unrelated kids suspect they’re adopted and meet online as best friends, but also go to the same high school as enemies. That sounds kinda like Funi and Luca’s scenario, right? Well, turns out [highlight for spoilers to the book] the kids are adopted – they were originally from a colony of subterranean humans, the males of which develop claws as part of becoming an adult. Not only that, but one of the kids is gay. That makes me worry that Charce is going to be the traitor, because the best match to Charce’s character in the book – the spacey handsome guy who brought everyone together – [highlight for spoilers to the book] was in on the subterranean humans’ plot. (The book is only published in my country according to a dig into Goodreads, so I won’t reveal the title for the sake of my own privacy.)
Outside of that, Luca’s revelations are what made this show move down in the rankings, since I find it hard to believe he could hide something like what he did for 50 days…
The adaption’s gained tiny bits of fleshing out in places that aren’t particularly noticeable – since I’ve only read the initial 2 volumes, the scene in ep. 1 where the girls dress into their spacesuits was an addition, while Yunhua’s singing got proper lyrics (and it was awesome!).
3. Demon Slayer
(18 eps) [up 3]
Maybe it’s because I’m finally warming up to characters not named “Tanjiro”, but the payoff is real enough that Astral offered me a trial code to see ep. 19. (Too bad I was playing catch-up and decided to make watching ep. 19 my last priority…since I’m typing this about an hour from ep. 20’s debut for those who aren’t restricted by a 1 week wait, I won’t get to use it for the purpose you intended, so sorry, Astral…)
Still, we’re catching up on that collab
(although I’ll have to nag Ply into getting ep. 17’s post out soon), demons are being slain left and right, characterisation aplenty is happening and sakuga/good CGI integration is coming out of the woodwork. It’s “everything is happening at once”, but in the most positive way possible.
Future!Aria: Ply dropped out of the collab again…
4. Fruits Basket
(19 eps) [down 1]
With the proper introductions of Ritsu and Kisa, I’m finally getting to the point where I clearly remember manga frames and not just sketchy details. (I also clearly recall – even without the help of the text on Hatsuharu’s manga – that was called Mogeta and the Ant (with “ant” being ari in katakana).) However, Mitchan’s humour is a slap in the face that this is a manga from the 90s, while quite a few characters remind me of the “double personality” OC I mentioned in the Demon Slayer collab – that’s because I read Fruits Basket around the same time I conceived that character.
Sidebar: This “double personality” OC’s name is Martin, whose alter ego was the angel of death, Azrael. In “default mode”, he was a teary-eyed coward who didn’t have much faith in himself (and, like Ritsu, at one point tries to commit suicide for drama out of a feeling of unworthiness) but after ingesting his own blood, he went into berserker mode…as you can tell by the description, I was at peak edginess around the time I read Fruits Basket. (Also note the past tense – I’m currently revising this character…at least in my head.)
I also used Fruits Basket as an opportunity to (attempt to) watch episodes on my phone. I’ve done that before – notably with Yuno, where the subs only worked on my phone – but turns out because there’s no adblocker, I don’t get the weird buffering, but I do get ads. Weirdly enough, the ads take up less time than the buffering…which, in retrospect, makes me wonder why I bothered wrestling with adblock for Yuki Yuna…
(2 eps) [no movement]
I encountered the tweet just before I was about to tackle eps. 3 – 5 of Given, so I don’t think my thoughts have changed too much from what they are here. There’s no hint of romance to be seen at this point, although accidentally reading snippets of reviews for those eps. reveals ep. 3 is the turning point for the romance so I shouldn’t speak so soon.
When I was thinking about this show one day, I used the words “understated brilliance” to describe it, which is a testament to how even the bottom tier of this 6 show system isn’t necessarily bad – it’s just not something I prefer over the other stuff enough to shake the rankings up too much.
6. Cop Craft
(5 eps) [down 2]
Mostly this is going down because of its shaky pacing and overall action scene trouble, which makes a few scenes a bit hard to follow. I’m still enjoying it, just not as much now that it tried to cram an entire season’s climax into a single episode, then throw Tilarna out, then bring her back again as a proper partner to Kei...
So there you have it. I tend to go off on random tangents during these ranking posts, so hopefully I’ve stayed on track enough that it makes sense.
So, how’s your season going? If you’re not a seasonal watcher, have you found any cool backlog shows as of late?