It is now Spring 2019, the season of cherry blossoms! Fruits Basket (2019), a classic shoujo anime from the 2000s, comes back with a remake, while the Armed Detective Agency continues their work in Bungo Stray Dogs 3. The team was definitely hyped for these two anime, but our writers were also eager to share their thoughts on Carole and Tuesday as well as Demon Slayer. Check out the Spring 2019 edition of AniBitez!
Ace of the Diamond Act II: Kings of Koshien Stadium
Upon its long-awaited four-year return, Ace of the Diamond Act II starts off with some refresher episodes for everyone who’s been following the series. There is a ton of old and new characters in the story, and so far Komadai Fujimaki High, the previous champion, is certainly a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Hitting slippery baseballs with a bat during the Hokkaido winter with snow in their eyes? Pitching on a mound that’s frozen over? Even our protagonists from Tokyo can’t fathom practicing in those conditions. Regardless, Seido has finally made it after seven years of not qualifying for nationals. The underclassmen still have a promise to fulfill toward the upperclassmen who have graduated, and most importantly, toward their coach. The boys have got it in them, and they’re only going to grow more during this fierce tournament.
The hype for nationals is real as Seido High aims for nothing less than to reign as champions. While the anime slowly ramps up to the first detailed showdown, the pitching battles this season will surely set the tone for the epic quarterfinal matchups. Only the best of the best are allowed to play at Koshien Stadium, and it’s up to every single member of the team to give it their all to advance in the tournament. How far will Seido go, and will Eijun finally be a worthy rival against the team’s current ace, Furuya?
Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2: For high animation standard and story quality, SASAGEYO!
It’s not often that an anime series has amazing animation and cinematography in its first season, and continue to maintain that quality throughout sequential seasons. Only a few studios have the willingness and budget to accomplish this, and Wit Studio is one that bears this title. Attack on Titan first aired as an action shounen with hero X with special ability Y trying to kill all the Zs. However, throughout the episodes it’s become much bigger than that, throwing in political intricacies, heavy lore, and deep character backstories and motivations. All of the battles have well thought-out strategic complexity and incentives, and these can really get the audience pumped up as the action has more meaning behind them.
Season 3 part 2 is no joke in this regard, as the season starts out with a major offensive campaign by the Scouts. Both the humans and titans are fighting a game on both the physical and mental plane as Commander Erwin and the Beast titan tries to outsmart and predict each other, while Eren and Reiner put their titan form powers to the test. The animation is top-notch as per Wit Studios standard, and the scene of Levi’s attack on Reiner sent a shiver down my spine.
Attack on Titan will be one of those shows that is going to be talked about years after it finishes, and Season 3 part 2 has so far been an excellent addition to the series. I have somehow avoided manga spoilers (especially from Reddit) and I honestly can’t wait for the next episode to air. This was one of the first shows I watched after becoming a weeb, and I will gladly follow this journey until it ends.
Bungo Stray Dogs 3: The Battle of Two Minds
As a huge fan of Bungo Stray Dogs, I was definitely hyped for Season 3, secretly looking forward to more mind-boggling strategies from Dazai Osamu. Throw Fyodor Dostoyevsky into the picture, and we get one hell of a mind game. The first episode, however, doesn’t dive straight into the conflict between the two. Instead, it shows us Dazai’s time with the Port Mafia and paints some of his history before he joined the Armed Detective Agency. It specifically talks about how Dazai started out as a Port Mafia member after watching Mori Ougai murder the previous boss, and how Dazai meets Chuuya Nakahara. What amused me greatly was how Chuuya and Dazai started out. They evidently didn’t like each other despite being the same age, but they were forced to work together after something threatened Mori Ougai’s position as the Port Mafia’s boss. ‘Brat’, ‘kid’, you name it, they probably would’ve insulted each other with it. This probably was the basis of their love-hate partnership . While they certainly can’t put up with each other at times, they’ll definitely run to each other’s aid, as most best friends would do.
I’m looking forward to discovering more of their past, but I also would like to watch the mind battles between Fyodor and Dazai, which will probably be the focus of the next few episodes. Both have brilliant minds, are extremely similar yet extremely different at the same time. But this time, it doesn’t feel like it’ll just be a battle of abilities.
It’ll be the collision of two minds, playing a game that hopes to end it all.
Carole & Tuesday: Magnificent Martian Melodies
As a music enthusiast, I was happy to learn that Carole & Tuesday was going to be a show focused on music. My mind quickly flashed back to Kids on the Slope, and hearing that Mamoru Miyano had a part just served to increase my excitement.
Set in the future on a colonized Mars, two young girls, the titular Carole and Tuesday, are going to change the world with their music. Or at least that’s what the narrator says, and so far, I am more than happy to believe him. The animation is pleasing to look at; the characters’ physical proportions are more realistic, and the clothing designs do an excellent job capturing what kind of people Carole and Tuesday are without a need to wait for someone to explain it to the viewer. The vocalists that perform the singing parts for both characters have delightful voices to listen to, though the first song sung in the episode left a little to be desired, both lyrically and composition-wise. However, it’s the first episode; it’s supposed to sound a little unpolished. The references to Cyndi Lauper in the script and in the eyecatches are also pretty neat. I look forward to seeing a bunch of new Cyndi Lauper fans after this show is over.
Based purely on the first episode, Carole & Tuesday is going to be a sweet show with some beautiful music and hopefully, some intense emotions. Finally, the ending theme is a bop. It reminds me a little bit of “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers. If that style of music is going to be indicative of the music in the show, then I’ll be one happy man.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Fear the night
As an avid reader of the manga, Demon Slayer is definitely one of the shows I’m looking forward to this season as supernatural historical fiction shows have always been my favorite. The romantic appeal of the Taisho era mixed with the mystery of supernatural beings like demons is a recipe for success in my eyes.
In a fictional version of Japan where demons kill people in the night to feast on the flesh of their victims, Tanjiro comes back home from a trip into town selling charcoal to find his entire family killed. Discovering that his sister Nezuko is still breathing, he attempts to bring her to the town to find a doctor, but Nezuko has transformed into a demon!
The art style is very appealing, especially with the extra attention spent on the details and shading of the characters’ faces. Demon Slayer sports the best blending of CG models with standard animation that I’ve seen in recent years. The scenes with Tanjiro running through the woods are CG, but unlike other shows, this running animation didn’t remove me from the world of Demon Slayer. I am really truly excited for this show. Also, Giyu is nice to look at.
Fairy Gone: Hype Gone
In Fairy Gone’s world, there is a government organization, Dorothea, which handles fairy-related matters. They employ ex-Fairy Soldiers, or military personnel who received a special surgical operation to summon fairies into battle, and normal citizens who have somehow acquired the same power without needing the surgery. The existence of these two types of soldiers make the show fairly interesting. Fairy Gone also packs in flashbacks, a tragic past, unexpected reunions, mysteries, friendship, and action into its first episode. Unfortunately, the set-up suffers from a middling script, and the surprising amount of action does not make up for this weakness.
The action and visuals are of better quality, albeit below the usual P.A. Works standard. Some may also lament the use of CGI for the characters’ summoned fairies, but their designs are satisfyingly strange and otherworldly. They wouldn’t look out of place in a Guillermo del Toro movie, although the summoning aspect also makes them slightly reminiscent of Ajin or Jojo’s Stands. The characters are also well-designed, and the badass knife-wielding Veronica easily leaves a strong first impression. She seems to be the tritagonist, while her gun-toting old friend, Marlya and ex-Fairy Soldier Free are the protagonist and deuteragonist respectively. Up until now the show is far from atrocious, but Fairy Gone should’ve started off better than it did.
Fruits Basket (2019): Furuba: Brotherhood
Fruits Basket is one of the top shoujo manga and anime from the early 2000s, and the series became a type of standard with regards to other shoujo anime. A comedy romance with a twist of Japanese and Chinese culture, Fruits Basket excels in portraying magical realism, especially with the story’s ties to the zodiac. The mystery behind the Soma family and their zodiac-animal turning abilities interests the audience, and Tohru’s interactions with the family is also entertaining to see as she starts meeting each of the family members, one at a time.
The reboot of the series for 2019 looks very promising. There are nicer visuals, great opening and ending themes, and the new voice acting cast is excellent as well. The show has thus far adapted the original material quite closely, so watching and experiencing Fruits Basket again feels quite nostalgic. I completely forgot about Yuki’s fan club, Hana’s wave-sensing ability, and how much of an influence Tohru’s mom had left on her. Moreover, the reboot isn’t just for fans of the original anime or manga – I’m sure new audience members will enjoy the anime too. Since this Spring 2019 season has been labeled as the first part to the remake, I’m hoping this adaptation will be able to faithfully bring this lighthearted and heartwarming story to life.
Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu: Watamote’s happier cousin
Hitori Bocchi is a socially anxious girl. To make matters worse, her only friend from elementary school, Kai, is threatening to cut her off, but with good intentions. She wants Bocchi to overcome her social anxiety, and thus assigns her the task of befriending all of her new middle school classmates – or else. But her method seems questionable and cruel, and makes Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu’s premise sound downright depressing without the right context.
Fortunately, for both Bocchi and the audience, this is an adaptation of a 4-koma manga. What could have been a soul-crushing story is instead a sweet and cute slice-of-life. It’s surprisingly easy to ignore how ill-advised Kai’s plan seems, and even though the humor isn’t great at first, the depiction of Bocchi’s social anxiety is never mean-spirited. However, things only become truly charming when Bocchi starts interacting with her blonde classmate, Nako. As an anime about making friends, things couldn’t be any more fitting.
One Punch Man Season 2: 100% more powerpoint animation!
One Punch Man blew up when it first came out in 2015. It took the anime community by storm and even reached mainstream media. And there was a good reason for it too: ONE’s satirical slapstick comedy combined with Madhouse Studio and a lot of outside talent was a match made in heaven. When Season 2 was announced, my heart sank when I saw that it would be handled by J.C. Staff. I had high hopes that they would try extra hard in the animation department due to the massive popularity of the show, but the first episode proved otherwise. The action scenes in Season 2 are mostly quick, flashing cuts to give the notion of movement while in Season 1, they were much longer. Due to longer cuts and better choreography, you could easily follow the locations of characters during a fight, while in Season 2, I have no clue who is where doing what.
That being said, I am glad that they got the other half of One Punch Man right. The humor is still there with the classic ONE charm. Saitama is still nonchalant yet perceptive, Genos is still obsessed with his master and becoming the strongest generic shounen hero, and the other heroes reveal small faults behind their high status and ridiculous powers. So yes, while Season 2 may not be the action masterpiece that was Season 1, that does not mean it will be a bad show. Stick around for the hero shenanigans, as I’m sure it will still make us laugh all the same.
Sarazanmai: One heck of a ride
Watching previous works from Ikuhara like Mawaru Penguindrum and Yuri Kuma Arashi is unlikely to prepare anyone for the one-of-a-kind experience that is Sarazanmai. The Utena director’s latest work was bound to be quirky, but Sarazanmai exceeds expectations with its outrageously bold content. To say that it features some imaginative and very odd sequences that burst with color and life is an incredible understatement. For the unprepared, the sheer energy and audacity on display might feel overwhelming, bewildering, and utterly wild. No one should watch this at work.
Married to all this strangeness is the more accessible story of three boys: Kazuki, Toi, and Enta. After an encounter with a kappa, a river yokai from Japanese folklore, they find themselves turned into kappas as well. This is where things take a fantastical, anus-centric turn, but its themes of human connections and acceptance allow it to maintain a strong link to reality. How the show handles these themes – especially given the first episode’s ending – will be crucial to the story’s success.
We Never Learn: And neither do I
Somebody’s gotta watch the schlock and it might as well be me. We Never Learn is another harem-esque romcom that has come to grace our computer and television screens. Similar to last season’s Quintessential Quintuplets, We Never Learn follows the adventures of a super poor dude who is asked to tutor a bunch of girls who are bad at school, but there are a few differences between the two shows. In We Never Learn, each of the tutees are actually incredibly good at one particular topic, but are abysmal at the specific subject they want to pursue in the future. The protagonist, Yuiga Nariyuki is not naturally talented, but rather just works really hard to get to where he is. Even in the first two episodes, there seems to be a theme related to working hard and struggling to achieve your goals buried in all the wacky physical situations and awkward verbal misunderstandings.
The animation leaves a bit to be desired. There are more than a few instances where characters’ faces needed a bit more work, and some sequences felt a bit disjointed and jerky. However, We Never Learn is the kind of silly show I plan to watch when I want to turn off my brain, see something goofy, and have a good chuckle. (Mostly, so I can fight against the howling loneliness that surrounds me day to day.) But hey, if you want a lighthearted romcom, this might be the show for you.