We’re a few days into September, and its time to take a look at August and then look forward into September. The summer lull is finally beginning to come to a close, the summer anime season is well underway, and Winnipeg has had the craziest summer weather I have seen in my 30 years here… it’s been a strange month and a stranger summer, but things are getting back to normal.
Now that we’re finished the Spring anime review blitz, it’s time to rank the best shows of the Winter and Spring anime seasons. In Autumn and Summer, we had Trinity Seven, Sabagebu and HaNaYaMaTa taking the top spots while last year’s Spring and Winter had No Game No Life and The World is Still Beautiful in the top spots. What gems will this year’s Winter and Spring highlights showcase for us?
Sound! Euphonium is a slice of life show about the Kitauji High School band who are striving to make Nationals after some heavy drama last year left the band stripped of most of its talented players and motivation.
This is the band that protagonist Kumiko Oumae and her classmate Kousaka Reina step into after her Junior High band gets ‘false gold’ during their last year – meaning they got gold, but weren’t considered good enough to proceed to the Nationals. Kumiko came to Kitauji seeking to get a fresh start, to escape the uneasy feeling she had following the end of her last school year. But why did Kousaka, so eager to make it to Nationals, come to a school with such a notoriously weak band?
“Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”, hereafter referred to as ‘Dungeon’ because the title is ridiculous, is not what you might expect from the title. Dungeon takes place in a city that seems to surround a massive tower known as ‘Dungeon’. For some reason not yet explained, the Gods and Goddesses have descended from the heavens, giving up their powers in exchange for the opportunity to assist humanity in their exploration of this strange and mysterious tower.
Each of these deities forms a Family out of adventurers they’ve chosen to bestow power upon. These adventurers then get a tattoo in their back that indicates their skill and strength, basically a D&D character sheet, that gets updated by their respective God or Goddess when they return from the dungeon. They gain levels, acquire skills, and learn magic as they adventure… with profit and strength as the only stated goals.
Wish Upon the Pleiades is a unique Slice of Life Magical Girl show. There is no real violence and virtually no fighting or combat of any sort… it focuses on girls collecting parts of an alien’s spaceship’s broken engine. These parts have manifested themselves as shooting stars, and the girls must use their magical powers to reclaim them, with only a strange red haired dude to stand in their way. Of course, he doesn’t actually fight them so much as confuse them and steal their stuff.
But don’t be fooled by that, the show doesn’t focus on that… it in stead focuses on this strange concept of ‘potential’. The premise is that when you are young, you haven’t yet become anything specific… so you still have the potential to be anything. The alien mentioned above is able to tap into that potential and allow these girls to act outside of the laws of the universe – aka. perform magic and become Magical Girls.