Weekly Check-in: September 27, 2017 (October Premieres & Neo Yokio)

Screenshots from promo videos for The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Children of the Whales, Dances with the Dragons, Girls’ Last Tour, Himouto! Umaru-chan R, Osake wa Fūfu ni Natte kara, Recovery of a MMO Junkie, and Two Car.

A new crop of anime series debut next month and I’m interested in a handful of them. I also sampled Neo Yokio and didn’t like what I watched.

I have eight upcoming anime series I want to try watching, although some may be stuck in paywall hell for a while and one has been pushed to next year.

  • I liked the three episodes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride that were screened at Crunchyroll Expo last month and it could become a weekly show for me. Crunchyroll will be simulcasting the series and Seven Seas has been publishing English volumes of the manga.
  • Children of the Whales has a fantasy setting with an art style that looks like scenes are drawn on parchment. Netflix will stream the series worldwide in 2018.
  • Dances with the Dragons was supposed to begin in October but has been delayed until April 2018. It appears action-focused and involves something called “spell equations”.
  • Girls’ Last Tour depicts two girls traveling across a barren landscape while scrounging for supplies and wondering about the past. The series will be streamed through Amazon’s Anime Strike channel in the United States. Yen Press has been publishing English volumes of the manga.
  • The first season of Himouto! Umaru-chan in 2015 grew on me so I want to see if season two (Himouto! Umaru-chan R) will improve on that first series. Like Girls’ Last Tour, it will be streamed through Anime Strike in the United States.
  • Love is Like A Cocktail (Osake wa Fufu ni Natte Kara) features a female office worker relaxing at home through cocktails mixed by her husband.
  • Recovery of a MMO Junkie has a 30-year-old woman trying to find solace in online games after quitting her corporate job. The series has been announced as part of Crunchyroll’s simulcast lineup.
  • Two Car‘s cast of all-girls high school racing duos reminds me a bit of Girls und Panzer – for example, there’s a gothic lolita pair and an elegant pair.

Aunt Agatha and a wine glass in Neo Yokio

Neo Yokio was the talk of Anitwitter last weekend with many viewing it as a “terribad” anime-inspired show, enjoyable for its poor quality. I watched the first episode tonight and thought its writing & upper crust characters were boring. It felt like an average adult cartoon with competent animation that might appear on a cable channel. (The show was first announced as a production for Fox’s now-defunct Animation Domination High-Def block.) There are some star names among its cast including Jaden Smith as mopey pink-haired protagonist Kaz Kaan, Jude Law as Kaz’s robot butler Charles, Jason Schwartzmann as Kaz’s blond-haired rival Arcangelo, Susan Sarandon as Kaz’s exorcism mentor Aunt Agatha, and Richard Ayoade as a few minor characters, but they all seem underutilized.

Lauren at Otaku Journalist explained in a blog post why she considers Neo Yokio to be “anime”. I wouldn’t go that far but it does appear to take some thematic influences from anime, like Charles’ mobile suit design and Kaz’s depression that reminded me of Evangelion’s Shinji Ikari but less dire. Asking “is this an anime?” sounds similar to discussions from a decade ago surrounding Western-produced manga/comics, debates about the “game”-ness of Flower and Gone Home, and even broader conversations about purity and authenticity (“true patriots”, “real fans”). Such questions are sometimes framed in ways to dismiss people and things that don’t meet established concepts or definitions; they feel less relevant questions to me in an era of greater cross-cultural exchange, particularly through digital networks and communication channels. Omo wrote a better post than I could write on classifying something as “anime” and also encouraged fans of all types to learn more about how their favorite things are created.

About Tom

I have been blogging about anime for more than a decade. My other interests include sports, business & legal affairs, and philosophy.
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