Don’t let the new season get you down.
I’ve seen quite a bit of chatter about this season (Spring 2017) as not being a particularly enticing one once a couple of heavy-hitting sequels (such as Starmu S2) have been set aside. Not to worry, though – there are literally thousands of other fish in the sea! And I am here to highlight some of them.
Weiß Kreuz is actually a bad show. But it is also exactly my kind of bad show. Attractive assassins afflicted with angst (bloodlessly) slice, dice, and stab their way through unsavory underworld figures in a world unfettered by consistent character models. The OAV ups the game by letting everyone bleed like a hemophiliac on warfarin when they so much as stub their toe; the sequel ups the game by being even more flagrantly stupid. Surprisingly, the original TV series has a really solid ending – fits the series perfectly while also being much more clever than anything to that point had really managed to be. Not a show for WEAKLING BEGINNERS as it gets so visually horrific in the middle portion of its run that I can only assume it’d drive off those not of strong will. But then how can I recommend it? Because, well, look, there’s assassins, and there’s attractive men who have a lot of angst, and lots of death, and drugs, and black market organ snatching, and illegal fight clubs, and even some incest? This stuff is A+, Grade A, ii desu ne crap.
Released in North America under the title “Knight Hunters”.
The Restaurant of Many Orders (1991)
An OAV adaptation of the Kenji Miyazawa story of the same name (there were other adaptations done in 1993 and 2003). Short, unsettling, and visually unique, its about a pair of British hunters who happen upon an odd little restaurant after losing track of their hunting dogs. Horror fans will likely be the happiest to give it a go, but its preference for atmospheric creepiness over outright jump-scares or gore means it is at the very least accessible to folks not normally into horror.
Shion no Ou
Mute girl whose parents were murdered in gruesome fashion when she was quite young plays shogi against a backdrop of attempts to integrate the sport. There is certainly a murder mystery plot at play here, as the culprit is still unidentified when the show begins, but it is simply one part of the story of Shion maturing and improving her shogi. I was surprised at how much of a role the matter of integrating shogi played within the story, as I hadn’t run across anything that acknowledged that this even had a place at all in the show. Stories focused on female characters playing these traditional board games are fairly uncommon as it is, so one which also argues for equality in one of the specific fields stands out all the more.
Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross
One of the two less famous shows which were blended with the original Macross to make Robotech. A giant robot show which does make some attempts to be more serious and profound, but which will surely be more remembered for the totally groovy music, fantastic helmet designs, and its heroine, Jeanne. I love Jeanne; she seems to invest as much effort into enjoying herself as she does into carrying out her military duties, but is skilled enough (sometimes inadvertently) at the latter that she avoids coming off as a bubble-head. It helps that her soldiers are all pretty much on the same wavelength. This isn’t by any means a particularly good show, but it is a fun one, and its nice for a change to have a mech show in which the lead is a woman as are the lead’s rivals.
I once gifted the complete collection of this to a friend, and for some reason she decided to give it a try in a public place, and, wow, lol, whoops. I guess I should’ve warned her. I would hold this up as the pre-eminent trashy yuri anime, the show to watch if you want girls kissing girls, melodrama, and occasional boobies. It especially stands out in comparison to some of the more recent trashy yuri anime, as it has the guts to tackle the thorny problem of climate change. It also lets its cast have sex instead of just giving us close-up shots of jiggly thighs. Sure, it doesn’t have the classiness of Maria Watches Over Us or Sweet Blue Flowers (both of which I love!), but class is sometimes something we don’t need.
A fifty-episode series about a girl finally finding her niche in the world and pursuing it whole-heartedly at a fancy, fancy culinary school. This should surely be enough to keep you occupied through the spring! It also has a twelve-episode sequel, although I swear it only proved to be maddening by being so short. Anyway, YumePati is a charming show, and didn’t test my patience like many of the anime centered on food preparation do (I am not, nor could I ever be, a foodie, even if I did adore Yan Can Cook as a small child) (I will at this juncture confess to owning one of his cookbooks, over which I occasionally weep as I prove an immense disappointment to his declaration “If Yan can cook, so can you!”. I am so, so sorry, Martin Yan.).
St. Luminous Mission High
You know what? This probably hasn’t withstood the test of time at all, so why don’t you watch it and let me know if it was actually any good? A guy enrolls in an all-girls high school per dictate of his grandfather’s will, except that this isn’t a harem show and he isn’t forced to crossdress. Instead, his friend, a true bro, inexpertly dons the school’s uniform and a pink wig so that he won’t be all by his lonesome. But then girls start mysteriously vanishing! ~Mysterious~. The answer is unexpectedly philosophical in nature. There’s a surprisingly decent yuri storyline in the back half of the series. I’m thinking the show as a whole probably isn’t as good as I recall, though.
Mouryou no Hako
It totally pisses me off that this still hasn’t been licensed for an English language release, although you can pick up the novel that precedes the novel this adapts from Vertical in English (Summer of the Ubume). Was that a confusing enough sentence or could I have tried harder? A dense tale with a baffling disappearance at its core which takes place in post-war Japan, featuring the best episodes of sitting-around-a-table ever seen in anime. It also features a cast that is largely made up of adults, so if endless high schoolers are starting to make you prickly, well, there you go.
This show is terrible, but like WK, it is totally my sort of terrible. Actually, it honestly comes across as WK but with way more women and likewise way more fanservice. Oh, and instead of being florists by day, the assassins are almost all doctors and nurses. There’s this really great theme of using medical terminology to describe the whole assassination thing – excising a cancer, writing a black prescription, etc. At one point a villain declares that he isn’t a polyp. It’s probably only fair to warn that this is from the same author as Highschool of the Dead, so, well, that level of fanservice (he also has penned another manga entitled “Semen High” – sounds edifying!).