Panning the Stream: Fall 2017 Midseason Review

I may have chipped away a few series, but this season still rocks.

An androgynous person with short, iridescent hair picks up and hugs another androgynous person with messy grew hair, who has their head buried in their knees.

Unsurprisingly, given the strength of this season, I’m watching way too many shows. I also wrote way too many words about them. So let’s skip the preamble and dive right in, shall we? Away we go, to mages and musicians and MMOs!

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Rule of Three Review: Fall 2017 Anime Digest

Now with friends!

Four girls and two boys in school uniforms stand around a table covered in boxes filled with what look like blu-ray cases. A pink-haired girl looks startled, while the other seem happy. Subtitle: "We have plenty of time to watch and discuss anime."

Change of pace this season: I participated in a three-episode check-in roundtable with Amelia and Vrai over at Anime Feminist. So instead of doing my usual solo act, I’ll just direct you over there for all the chatter. More shows, more voices, and more recommendations for you dear readers!

Oh–and we didn’t mention sequels, but I’m also keeping up with ClassicaLoid (still a delight), Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond (still weird and entertaining), Hozuki’s Coolheadedness (still uniquely silly), and Mr. Osomatsu (still tastelessly amusing). Truly, my watchlist runneth over.

Click here for the full post on AniFem!


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Panning the Stream: Fall 2017 Premieres Digest

Let the battle for a spot on my watchlist begin!
A blonde girl in a school uniform stands with her eyes closed and one hand stretched out to the side. Beside, her someone in a black suit and gloves stands, their face and most of their torso hidden by a tall stack of what appear to be blu-ray cases.

This. Season. Is. STACKED. Or, at least, that’s how it looks after a deluge of strong premieres. Six shows impressed me enough to earn a guaranteed three episodes, not including the four sequels I’m locked into; and honestly, in a normal season, at least a few of the fence-sitters would have been “guaranthreed,” too. I eventually had to start dropping stuff not because I hated it, but because I was terrified my watchlist would topple sideways under the weight of all those shows and crush me beneath it.

Point being, there’s almost certainly something listed below that will catch your fancy as much as or more than it did mine. So let’s dive right into ’em, shall we?

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Glancing Upstream: Winter 2016 Retrospective and Review

Something something “the winter of our discontent.”

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This is my shortest retrospective to date, thanks to a pretty dismal season in terms of incoming series. Some of that had to do with my own time constraints and self-imposed ranking rules (there are four shows in the “unranked” category this season, three of which I’d happily recommend to others), but some of it had to do with there just not being a lot that caught my eye this time around. Still, the top two were pretty special, and if an anime season can give you even one incredible series, then it’s hard to call it a true disappointment, I s’pose.

If there’s one positive trend to take from this season, it’s that we’ve got some good artists and directors in the business: people able to take into account all elements of a production and elevate the source material, whether that’s from “meh” to “good” or “good” to “great.” So take heart! The blueprints may be rough at times, but at least they’re in the hands of skilled builders.

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Panning the Stream: Winter 2016 Midseason Review

The party is shrinking faster than expected.

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While it’s not unheard-of for me to drop shows between the third and sixth episode, my retention rate is something like 80 percent. Basically, if you can hook me after three, I’m usually invested enough to stick around through the whole cour even if I wind up with a negative opinion of the show.

This season, though? This season there was enough mildly entertaining mid-range stuff that I threw it all at the wall and waited to see what would stick. Not much of it did, and some of the results surprised even me. Hit the jump to see where we stand halfway through this chilly season.

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Glancing Upstream: Fall 2015 Retrospective and Review

The autumn colors were certainly on display, I’ll give Fall that, at least.

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This was a slim season for me in terms of overall series completed, and would have been a pretty disappointing one if not for a couple happy surprises and a pair of standout shows from the ever-reliable Studio BONES. Still, there’s good variety here, with a strong focus on action/adventure titles, so there’s a pretty good chance something out there will speak to everyone’s tastes.

One thing Fall did have in droves was plenty of style. From the jaw-droppingly dynamic animation of One Punch Man, to the ’60s comic book-inspired design of Concrete Revolutio, to the painted landscapes of Seraph, the glowing monsters of Noragami, and even the washed-out color scheme and bursts of acid-trip weirdness in Perfect Insider, a lot of creative teams threw themselves into making the shows this season visually striking, and they by-and-large succeeded.

While ultimately I’m the kind of viewer who needs a developed set of characters and a meaningful (or at least entertaining) narrative to keep me invested in a story, that should by no means take away from the sheer amount of hard work and talent on display this Fall. Animation is art, and (narrative content notwithstanding), these creators have made that abundantly clear.

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Panning the Stream: Fall 2015 Midseason Review

The trees outside are looking almost as sparse as my watch list.

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It’s a fairly quiet season on my end, as I’m only keeping up with eight full-length shows and one short(ish), as compared to last season’s whopping thirteen. While that’s partly out of necessity (there’s nothing like a packed month of travel and writing projects to make you shed shows), it also speaks to the kinds of series airing this season. I wouldn’t even call it a bad season, just one with a lot of mid-range shows that don’t appeal to me personally. Sometimes that happens.

A packed month of travel and writing projects can also tell you a lot about your own preferences, turns out, and mine are pretty solidly turned towards character-driven writing and/or offbeat or ambitious narrative structures. The general craziness of my schedule as of late has also led me to seek out lighter, sillier shows, which is likely why this list is so heavy on the comedies and over-the-top “dramas.” Never let it be said that personal tastes and circumstances don’t affect judgment, because oh man, do they ever.

Hit the jump to see what’s stuck, what’s slipping, and what has the chance to be truly special.

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