Guest writer: Zenpai#0069
As an introduction, I want to make it clear that this is in no way meant to be a comprehensive or exhaustive list that touches on every genre throughout 2019 year, or 12019 if you follow Kurzegesagt’s drift. Rather this list is mainly what I have found noteworthy enough to touch on, so please don’t hurt me. We’d all be here a lot longer if I covered every single show that came out; I am also being an anime purist in these brief opinions, meaning that I only care about how well it is adapted to a television of streaming series, not how good the source material is. Additionally, I do not necessarily think it is fair to rank these shows with each other. It would take far too much time to make a list of factors to judge these shows on while failing at being comprehensive and is subjective to my personal opinions as well. With all this jabber out of the way, let’s get to the list and my opinions on the shows.
My overall opinion is that the franchise as a whole is excellent for someone who enjoys mystery, psychological, or philosophical implications. Likewise, season 3 continues on that cycle while maintaining interest in the show overall. It is critically important to note that the 4 movies prior to this season 3 should be watched for this season to make any sort of sense. Unfortunately, I am unaware of any legal sites that are hosting 3 of the 4 movies. Funimation hosts both season 1 and 2, or the extended version if you’d prefer that, and the first of the 4 movies. The three other movies are not legally hosted anywhere outside of Japan. The movies don’t build on each other and will smoothly transition you into season 3, which is available on Amazon Prime.
Hopefully I didn’t scare you off yet. While neither the opening nor the ending makes or breaks a show but it is still significant enough to draw attention to them. Both the opening and ending are completed with similar care compared to the first 2 seasons. The opening is more stylized than the previous seasons and the ending follows similar motifs and camera shots from prior endings. The art is on par with the Sinners of the System movies and it feels like the quality is turned up from the second season. While there are still many unanswered questions for the time between seasons 2 and 3, season 3 is still able to make a different take on the story enjoyable while still keeping the same mysterious aspects.
Maybe we’ll get to find out what exactly happened to Akane in this season? Overall, if you enjoyed season 1 and 2, or even if you’re lukewarm on season 2, season 3 is still worth getting caught up for.
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
Cautious Hero initially flew under my radar as a new show. However, while scouring the internet for accounting memes, I came across a meme with this show in it. I became interested enough to take a look, and I was not disappointed. Funimation carries the show, and it is currently airing at the time of writing. Cautious Hero is a comedy that plays on the common isekai tropes that seem to have taken mainstream viewers into its firm and deadly grips, and Cautious Hero is everything you would hope to see in a comedy of this nature. The art isn’t bad but it isn’t particularly great either, which is completely fine for the number of art styles they end up growing through for the number of scenes they have. Cautious Hero is on par with many other comedies that are on the list. While not necessarily suited for younger audiences, for more mature individuals it is certainly a blast to watch.
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Seiran Movies
Firstly, I should state that I have nothing against the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which has a legal streaming option, HIDIVE, if you’re interested. Personally, I think the original series is a bit long at 110 episodes and perhaps that has discouraged me from starting it. However, the graphics or eye candy if you prefer, is a definite improvement in the new retake of the show. Slight alterations were made from the original but I still find the work to be a compelling story to watch. The Seiran movies released in Japan as actual theatrical releases. However, Crunchyroll has chopped up the movies in bite sized 20-minute videos for you to binge-watch–isn’t that convenient? Like I mentioned previously, the eye candy is good, similar to the first season with a couple of new scenes they worked hard on in terms of the art department. It has some good twists and turns, and the feels got me too.
It’s a shounen-ai, so do I really need to go into depth? Turn back now or forever see two males sitting next to each other as couples! Jokes aside, I found Given to be less cringey than other shows of a similar nature. That doesn’t mean it’s completely devoid of cringey aspects, though. There are some scenes that I didn’t like but what can you do. The art I would say is better then Hitorijime My Hero in most places. The focus of the show isn’t on the musical aspect though it does play some role. Given is on Crunchyroll for legal streaming options, and Hitorijime is on Amazon Prime. I’m waiting for Ten Count in 2020 and I’ll be severely disappointed if it isn’t released.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kurenai Densetsu
Promoted by Crunchyroll, it has a theatrical release earlier in the states but should get picked up on Crunchyroll’s streaming service eventually if it isn’t there already. To your potential surprise, I rated the movie as a 10/10 on MyAnimeList. Unfortunately, the writers were told to tone Darkness down which I truly believe was the biggest let down of the show. They did make up for that lacking masochist by placing Kazuma in many more interesting places and roles. Overall, I think the movie was a blast and went beyond my expectations for a regular Konosuba show. I would definitely give this a watch if you’re on the fence about it, but be aware that Konosuba tends to be more on the lewd side of things, and even more so in this movie.
Demon Slayer // Kimetsu no Yaiba
As much as I distaste plain shounen shows because of their overused tropes, plots, and character design, I will bring up two that I think are worth mentioning. (Right in a row too, almost like I wanted to tackle them at the same time). Before I forget, Demon Slayer is available on Crunchyroll. It was average at best, in my opinion. The art is unique and interesting but the storytelling, or the least the mono/dialogues are not up to par in my opinion. The backstory isn’t bad and is actually interesting but it’s ruined by too many “chance” encounters that only serve to push the plot along in a rather inorganic matter. Some of the character designs so far haven’t been that interesting. In fact, I was rather disappointed about how Inosuke turned out. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but definitely something different. If shounen shows are your thing, it’ll probably be a good show for you.
Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2
I couldn’t tell you what this season was about initially until I had to look back at the episode list. It’s shorter than normal with 10 episodes, and much like the legend of the galactic heroes and psycho-pass series, it requires some time commitment if you haven’t been keeping up with them. In my opinion, season 2 of Attack on Titan was such a let down that hasn’t really recovered. Sure, some action seasons came up and yes, a lot of people died, but I’m still missing the critical story that I would expect to go along with this show. Killing everyone off only works in Game of Thrones. I would again list this as an average title. Its saving graces come at the end with the remaining cliffhangers. The disconnect for me personally is what ruins the show. Will I watch the conclusion of the series? Yes, because I’m already too invested not to watch it.
Yakusoku no Neverland
Now that the shounen fans have been hopefully (
probably not) subdued in their perception of a lack of genre inclusivity, we move on to a title that deserves a higher ranking compared to the last two shows. The Promised Neverland has excellent visuals considering it focuses on the psychological horror aspect while being mainly light on the gore. To make this point clearer, The Promised Neverland is far from other gore focused shows like Another, Higurashi to some extent, and Corpse Party. I will admit that some of the CGI scenes moving between rooms definitely could have been better (taking them out would probably be best). However, the scenes involved with this were not exceptionally critical to the storyline and is really more of a side note. It truly terrifies you when it’s needed while making you feel for the characters throughout the story as it progresses. It is another excellent choice for mystery fans. I’m especially excited to see what happens in season 2, and I truly hope it doesn’t flop on the great foundations it’s made.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War
I tried my best to separate out the comedies on this list as best I could to give them a fair shot at standing out, especially when we all need a laugh or to relax. Kaguya-sama is an excellent choice for those who enjoy more psychological shows. Only in this case, it’s between the President and Vice President of the student council who attempt to outwit each other and force each other to confess to their love first. I’m sure you can picture how well this goes. Additional characters get added slowly. Overall the show didn’t lose its comedic value, the visuals are great, and the plot does move along, albeit slowly. Apart from that, I would place it on par with the other comedies on this list, a somewhat comparable anime could be Takagi-san, but Kaguya-sama is leaps and bounds above that. Also, Crunchyroll streams both of those shows.
Dororo started out with an interesting storyline and good animations. Having 24 episodes, it felt like the story stretched on a bit too much. Overall, I found the show to be about average of what I would expect. It had some more mystery aspects to it compared to other action shows in this list. The downfall, though, would be the repetitive nature of the introduction of a new monster, which is taken out and repeated for each episode. It didn’t exactly follow that formula but it is a little too close for comfort for me. I would still recommend watching this show though; there are enough good aspects that I can’t make a recommendation to not watch it, even if some of these aspects could be more polished. It is available through Amazon Prime as a legal streaming method.
This is the second season of Kakegurui, and like the first season, the opening was excellent and overall, the visuals are good. The biggest challenge it faced was keeping the story interesting. You can only gamble on so many different types of games and I suspect they will run out eventually. However, the second season strayed from the usual concept of having a card type game to more situational betting, something the first season alluded to anyway. There was enough politicking to keep the premise of the student council election interesting although it didn’t feel 100% aligned in that premise. During the games, there were enough twists and turns to keep the interest going between episodes, if it was needed. Ultimately, I think it is a bit lackluster from the first season but it does still shine in some aspects. Netflix carries both seasons as a legal streaming method.
Even though I didn’t touch on every show (not that I want to either) I hope you enjoyed the small blurbs. If you haven’t seen these shows before, I hope it peaked your interest to give them a watch. Except for the shounen shows; they don’t need any more help. That’s all I have, so please enjoy your holidays.