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It's fair to say that so far, 2017 hasn't been the most exciting year for new anime.
I have enjoyed a number of new shows but nothing I would consider to be a year's best work.
Thankfully, the fall season is just starting and there's a handful of shows i'm excited
to check out.
Fall is generally one of the stronger seasons in the year so i'm going to have a look
at a number of the season's shows and put together a list of 5 anime from fall 2017
that are worth checking out.
The first series I watched was Kino's Journey, some of you might already be aware of the
original series, which is a personal favourite of mine.
It follows a pair of travellers as they visit different cities that all have distinct values.
The story explores these values with each episode, considering human nature and our
own society.
The original was very well put together with a really unique melancholic atmosphere.
But this one isn't a sequel or anything, more so a reimagining so i'm interested to check
it out.
And thankfully, the first episode was really strong.
Kino visited a town where murder wasn't illegal.
The build-up suggests that it would be an insane, wild west town but it wasn't.
Instead people used their ability to murder to instil order and peace.
It turned out that when given the choice to kill, most people just don't.
The story's are presented as old philosophical ponderings.
Using discussion and basic examples to present its idea.
Like in the first episode, Kino discusses the concept with a number of different people,
all with different viewpoints.
Then we're given a number of examples of how the idea is put into practice with firstly
the shop and then the murderer at the end.
Kino then summarises his discoveries and alludes to possible conclusions.
This is the kind of structure Kino's Journey follows.
It's not trying to tell the most heart-warming story or showcase the most realistic characters,
It's trying to explore fundamental questions about society.
Where the series loses out in relatability and realism it gains in unique storylines
and perspectives.
The visuals are probably one of biggest changes from the original and the area i'm most
worried about.
The series has drifted from the absolute simplicity of the older series, using instead a more
modern, refined style.
There's a lot of detail and fine line work that is quite a new addition.
There's also the implementation of CG that in some scenes, is quite jarring.
I think this new style maybe takes away from the allusive atmosphere.
That being said, the episode was directed fantastically.
The town is shot in this eerie artificial way, it really reminds me of the tv series
Westworld.
The highlight has to be the action scene at the end, so many great perspective shots that
kept me on the edge of my seat.
And the story was spot on, it was well structured with very few moments that felt out-of-place.
It considered its themes in a way that stays true to the essence of the series but doesn't
come across preachy.
I don't think everyone's going to like the series, it's going to be missing elements
that some people will consider essential for a story.
But for those that like Kino's approach to narratives, this will be a real gem.
It's definitely the first on my list of shows to check out this season.
Mahoutsukai no Yome was the next series I checked out.
This has had a interesting release, some of the episode had previewed in the summer season
at events and theaters but it's only now available to the public.It's a unique fantasy
series that I think will have a love/hate reaction from the community.
The first half of the episode is hit or miss to be honest.
The story stays very secretive and some moments are quite creepy.
It opens up with a really well shot sequence that seems to be a girl being sold at an auction.
The story references a lot of events that we're not aware of yet and we don't know
why or how she's being sold.
It looks like it could get really dark but the story shifts as they return to the mysterious
character's house.
It introduces a fantasy world with magic and mythical creatures.
I wasn't sure about the series until this point where the tone switches and the characters
open up.
We even have some lighthearted comedic moments that seemed a million miles away 10 minutes
ago.
Even now i'm not completely sure what kind of story this is going to be but the characters
are already intriguing.
One of the best aspects of the episode was the sublime background art, done by a studio
named Bamboo who've already worked on a number of series and have an impressive portfolio.
The backgrounds lured me into this mysterious world with their immense detail and beautiful
composition.
Aspects like lighting were used fantastically to create a really immersive fantasy setting.
Easily a highlight of the show so far
It's hard to say who i'd recommend this to specifically since we know so little about
the story dynamic but it was a very attention grabbing first episode.
Some of the elements were fantastic and the finale scene was breathtaking, if not a little
creepy.
I'm gonna have to make this the 2nd entry on the list.
Black Clover was next, and with Boku no Hero's recent episode impressing me, I was open to
another battle shounen, unfortunately Black Cover didn't scratch that itch, instead, it
made it worse.
It opens up by introducing our main character which might be one of the most annoying protagonists
i've ever seen, his voice actor does nothing but scream his dialogue, which is little more
than a collection of cliche hero phrases.
Which isn't helped by the abysmal written dialogue of the supporting cast, with moments
like the priest entering a scene and arbitrarily blurting out a plot point for no apparent
reason.
The more and more it went on, the more and more it felt like some kind of battle shounen
fan fiction.
Nothing of the happenings on screen seemed to relate to each other, things just seemed
to happen without any effect or purpose.
The episode manages to pull itself together for a short period during the middle as it
introduced its premise, but this is rudely interrupted by possibly one of the worst villains
i've seen in an anime for ages.
Again, it is like i'm watching a 15 year old's naruto fan fiction, which might even
be an insult to all the 15 year old naruto fans.
Our protagonist continues to screech out tag-lines like some kind of soundboard, then the episode
finally does something right..
And ends.
I wasn't expecting to be blown away by Black Clover, but I wasn't expecting it to be
that bad.
It has no self awareness and seemingly no grasp of storytelling.
I might check out a few more episodes out of sheer curiosity, but I don't know who
would enjoy this so it's definitely not making it onto my list.
I was hoping the next series wouldn't be as disappointing, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou.
And what a nice surprise it was, exactly what I needed after Black Clover.
It's an interesting little story that follows two characters as they explore a seemingly
abandoned world, destroyed by an unnamed war.
The characters seem just as clued up as us about what's happened to their world, which
makes all the little discoveries they make exciting.
It seems to be structured similarly to Kino's Journey, as the characters have a basic philosophical
approach to everything they encounter.
Questioning topics without the pre-established values of society.
And much like last season's Made in Abyss, there's a fantastic sense of mystery.
From the first episode, I might even prefer Shuumatsu.
The expansive, abandoned battlefield they explore is visually dull with no colour or
warmth but there's so much to read into, with every little detail hinting towards what
might have happened.
I think the episode's atmosphere was topped only by the fantastic episode direction.
This is Takaharu Ozaki's first time directing a full project and he's off to a fantastic
start.
He uses perspective shots in a way that i've very rarely seen in animation.
As if he's attached cameras to objects in the world.
This perspective shot of a bullet flying out a gun or in this scene where a camera overshoots
its shot as the characters play around on a plane propeller, are both great examples.
His framing and slow paced camera movement give the whole episode a mysterious undertone.
His style is certainly unconventional and it's hard to see how the episode would have
held up without it.
I'm extremely interested to see where they take this series, both visually and thematically.
I really like the duo's naive outlook on topics of war and i'm hoping they build
on that.
Without a doubt the next on my list of shows.
And the next series i'm checking out couldn't be further from Shuumatsu.
Juuni Taisen, a harsh, fast paced action series.
Showcasing 12 mystery characters in a last-man-standing situation where they essentially just run
around trying to destroy each other..
I was so conflicted as to if I wanted to add this to my list or not.
On one hand, the raw action and brutality of the series is right up my alley, but halfway
through the episode, the show got a bit bogged down with its backstory.
A little bit is fine, but for a show that's so ridiculously violent, it's hard to care
about the little details of the sub-plot.
It can't take itself too seriously when one of the characters is a machete weilding
bunny man.
Thankfully the episode ends well by disregarding any more backstory and just jumping into the
action.
If the series is just characters fighting from now until the end, i'd be satisfied.
The story doesn't need much depth to be successful, its strengths seem to lie in finding
creative ways to be brutal.
And sometimes that's fine.
The strong point of the episode would have to be the visual presentation, specifically
the animation.
Every second of animation in this episode was fantastically put together with seemingly
never ending fast-paced variation.
It made it a thrill to watch.
And the unique character designs, all drawn with a sketchy art style kept everything fresh.
This obviously isn't going to be for everyone and it won't go down in the history books.
It's a bit of a novelty series and could quite possibly fall apart at any moment, but
personally, I really enjoyed the first episode and already want to see the next.
Any show that does that has to be doing something right, so i'm going to add it to my list.
Children of the Whales was next, I went into it completely blind and it's quite possibly
my favourite of the season so far.
It tells the story of Chakuro, a boy that archives the happenings of a floating mud
turtle, sounds good already.
It uses his writings of a specific adventure to show us a beautiful fantasy world.
I don't want to describe any details about the world or the story because having it all
unravel before you is one of the show's strongest aspects.
I love how they've chosen to tell the story.
Our main character is a scribe, someone who records events, and it's a telling of his
perspective mixed in with real time dialogue.
This gives the story a fairytale feeling, which is helped by the psychedelic imagery
and the paper effect on the background art.
The world of Children of the Whales is brought to life with a similar level of creativity.
Having a floating town that sails a sea of sand, it's like something from an ancient
folktale.
The highlight of the episode was of course the production, specifically the art direction,
which is fronted by industry veteran Toshiharu Mizutani.
He's worked on some of Dezaki's classics like Aime for the Ace and Space Adventure
Cobra, he worked as Art Director on Akira and has even done some modern classics like
Summer Wars.
He's got a lot under his belt, and it really shines through here.
Not only the fantastic design of each scene, but the way in which it's all presented,
the sense of scale in the shots of the floating town or the mystery evoked by the abandoned
settlements.
The episode was a real change from a lot of season anime this year, it felt completely
new, not just someone's take on an already established concept.
And because of this, i'm extremely interested to see what kind of story they choose to tell.
Will it lean on the episodic side to focus on character narratives or will it open up
into an overarching story.
Who knows, but i'm really excited to see what's next.
Which fills up our list.
Firstly we had the really solid first episode of Kino's Journey, then the haunting Mahoutsukai,
after that was the delightful Shuumatsu, then Juuni Taisen and finally, the wonderful Children
of the Whales.
A real mixture of genres and styles.
I think there's something for everyone on this list.
I'm not sure if all of these shows will stand the test of time and be equally as exciting
come the end of the season, but it's a good starting point.
I want to hear your opinions about the shows i've mentioned and maybe even some I still
need to check out.
Post your thoughts in the comments.
I'll be keeping up with all these shows so expect another video at the end of the
season, and if you want even more, follow me on twitter for more regular updates.
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Fall 2017 Anime Season: 5 Must Watch Shows

96 Folder Collection
二百五 published on September 11, 2019
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