Once again, a new anime season is upon us. It could not have come at a better time – I need some sweet new forms of escapism.
Honestly, it’s been a rough few months. I’m sure I’ve said that a million times by now. Things simply haven’t been going too great in the mental health department, and I’ve decided to actively avoid social media, as the online realm has been a bit…exhausting lately, to keep it vague.
Perhaps somewhat ironically, my complete and utter mental exhaustion has made me want to write like a mad(wo)man again. Writing is a sweet release, after all, even if I’m just writing a quick seasonal round-up. Hopefully, I can hop back into a semi-regular routine soon – I’m trying to dip my toes back into my hobbies so that I can actually ENJOY them again, instead of doing them out of necessity or a sense of forced productivity. Thankfully, all these new episodes have given me plenty of fodder to write about. Here’s my thoughts on what I’ve seen so far.
Zombie Land Saga
An anime that takes a seemingly cute, normal girl and then turns her into a zombie while queuing up a bunch of metal music? Also, they’re idols? Hmm…this could either be incredibly great, or incredibly trash.
Based on the trailer, I was leaning towards “incredibly great,” but I don’t really trust the whole “cute girls doing creepy things” shtick anymore. I’ve seen so many different variations of it at this point that it fails to shock or impress me. Plus, there have been quite a few “they’re idols, except _______” series that have fallen flat for me, so I went into episode one cautiously…
…and within about two minutes, Zombie Land Saga proved to me that it was better than the lackluster series my brain immediately compared it to. This one was probably one of the most entertaining first episodes I saw. The way the opening scene plays out is genuinely shocking, and the scene where Sakura first wakes up is actually fairly gripping. But, instead of leaning too heavily into the “ooooh spooky dead girls horror twist” angle, it shifts gears and gets goofy and campy instead – which is a win in my book.
There were some genuine laugh out loud moments here (“The Legendary Tae Yamada!!!”), and I got a big kick out of the series amping up to a classic impossibly idealistic idol moment only to have it flop after the zombie girls start attacking the crowd. I think this one’s going to be a win.
(also, can we talk about how Sakura Minamoto is just a few characters away from Sakura Kinomoto?)
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
This is my boyfriend’s favorite series, so I’m being a good girlfriend and finally watching it with him. However, this is the first arc I’m watching through – I’ve seen a couple of episodes sporadically via him, but that’s about it.
I…don’t know what’s going on, and he tried to explain something about Dio stealing someone’s body and vampire masks to me, but…I’m just gonna have to catch up on my own, I guess. There’s not much I can confidently say, being such a newbie, but I will say that I’ve always been a fan of how this series looked. I also liked: all of the titty window clothing, the body horror, and weird licking.
I love this already. Episode one throws you right into the world of Yuuta as he wakes up to find that he’s lost his memory. Oh, and he can see giant monsters and hear robots for some reason, too. I’m digging this trend of anime protagonists having amnesia and seeing strange things, only to calmly continue on with their lives – you see this with Planet With‘s protagonist, too.
This is already looking to be my pick for “Best Directed Series” of the season, thanks to the talents of Akira Amemiya. This anime is a re-imagining of a tokusatsu series from the 90s, and the campy charm that’s expected of something like that is certainly present. Yet, it feels incredibly down to earth, despite its fantastical premise. The pacing really sells the teen realism by utilizing awkward, bloated pauses while taking the time to show shuffling feet and nervous hair twirls. I especially enjoyed how long the volleyball scene was left to sit with viewers, letting the embarrassing moment stretch out as the schoolbell rang.
I’m really happy to see a true Studio Trigger series in the lineup once again. Most of all, I’m happy to see a mecha that wants to be FUN instead of ~making a statement~ or focusing on being grim as hell. Those anime have their place, sure, but this is a nice change of pace. (I promise this wasn’t a Darling in the Franxx dig, I’m done beating that dead horse…well, okay, maybe it was a little bit of a Franxx dig.)
Bloom Into You
GOOD. SHIT. RIGHT. HERE!!!! I’ve been wanting a nice yuri like this for a long time now. Citrus was fun and all, but like…it was also pretty garbage. Give me that sweet schoolgirl love story I’ve been craving. No step-sisters or questionable consent this time around, please!
I’m not that familiar with the series, and I’ve been warned that it’s not exactly wholesome. But honestly, so long as it gives me a relatively realistic romance, I’m happy. This feels more reminiscent of Aoi Hana than Citrus, so I have a good feeling about this one.
(my big dumb brain is still going to constantly compare it to Citrus, though, just because it was the last yuri I watched…)
I just gushed about Gridman‘s directing, but I have to shout-out this series, too. I’m a sucker for pretty-light-filtering-through-the-trees shots, and this gave me lots of that, along with other warm scenes speckled with subtle shadows and a twilight color scheme. The scene where Yuu imagines herself being pulled away from her friends struck a chord with me, as it reminded me of the feelings of isolation I felt myself in high school. It was a very pretty visual, and reminded me a bit of some of the magical realism we got in season two of Amanchu!
Ahhh, I love pretty anime. Maybe I’ll take the time to write about the visuals every few weeks on this one. It was a beautiful first episode, albeit a relatively quiet one.
Release the Spyce
And now, on the complete other side of the yuri spectrum, we have Release the Spyce. This opener was filled with anime nonsense – schoolgirl lesbians, a pink haired protagonist, girls licking each other, a girl accidentally kissing another girl…I loved it. This is the content I crave. Thank you, Lord, for bestowing yuri nonsense unto me. It’s what I need in this trying time.
To reiterate what I was getting at earlier with Zombieland Saga and Gridman – I just want to have some fun, and this series is going to give it to me. I’m really happy to just kick back and watch things that are FUN!!! Between Bananafish‘s ultra-rapey tragedies, Happy Sugar Life‘s “shivering pure love psycho horror story,” and Hanebado’s absolute inability to be anything but overwrought and dramatic…plain ol’ fun is all I want to see this season.
And fun doesn’t mean substance-less, either. We get hints of a tragic backstory with Momo’s dad, and her insecurity/tendency to freeze up is both endearing and relatable. The action scenes here are very well-done, and they deserve to be recognized for being so fluid and visually interesting. I trust that this series will end up having a bit of depth to it, and maybe deliver us some surprises with its direction along the way.
Hooooo! Writing that round-up was thrilling! Feels good to dust myself off and jump back into the world of anime and writing. These series are giving me exactly what I need right now – engaging, enjoyable escapism. You can keep that Goblin Slayer shit to yourselves, y’all, cuz Jenny needs some FUN and SMILES!!
Anyone else watch any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts, if you haven’t already written your own round-ups. I’m behind on posts, but like I said, I’m dipping the toes back into the blog, baby! I’m ready to interact and share anime thoughts! YEEHAW! WE LOVE FUN!