After egregiously skipping over many anime film and TV releases for 2017, I did at least felt like I owed it to myself to jam pack 2018 trying to unearth the best of the best from the past year. With so many great choices too numerous to name, Napping Princess immediately caught my eye. Whether it be the astonishing box key art, outlandish premise, or even Kenji Kamiyama (of Ghost in the Shell and Eden of the East directing fame) leading the charge, I could tell this probably would make for an unforgettable experience. Needless to say, that assumption definitely holds true and glad that I finally decided to give it a go.
For a long running and expansive franchise like Final Fantasy it is rather difficult for even the vicarious of fans to keep track of all the media that exist. From blockbuster films that flopped to neat smaller projects, there is something enjoyable about flipping through the portfolio of sometimes forgotten projects. Gonzo’s 2001 anime production of Final Fantasy: Unlimited under the supervision of Square Enix definitely fits the bill of an obscure piece of media and probably deservedly so for the reasons you might already have in mind.
In most fantasy tales, it is a common precept that when the hero defeats the demon lord, peace and harmony is restored to the world along with all problems plaguing it fading into the abyss. Endearing and timeless as the trope is, it doesn’t exactly make for riveting storytelling, but desirable in its own right. However, what if defeating the demon lord didn’t end the worlds problems and instead the hero and villain actually team up to find a solution to the underlying issue? Would the story still carry the same endearing mantle? From this simple shift the idea and premise of Winter’s 2013 Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (stylized as Mayou) is born, one that provides an interesting mix to the classic fantasy milieu, but also one that is something of a double-edge sword when it comes to doing it successfully.
Airing back during the Fall 2014 season, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is another copious light novel to anime adaptation produced and directed by studio Trigger. After the runaway popularity of Kill la Kill, the studio’s first full-length original project, it is sort of a surprise to see them dabble in already established property that does seem to be of the same stock they are use to dealing with. Revisiting the series a year later with an official English release, does it manage to hold up?
Airing during the Fall 2013 season, Yu-sibu (or Yushibu) is one the titles that did manage to leave a lasting impression on my viewing list. Besides having an absurdly long name, it is also very similar to Spring’s 2013 The Devil Is a Part-timer, another fantasy/comedy themed work spawning from a light novel. Both being very different and unique in their own ways, Yushibu did manage to standout more for me even if I can’t necessarily deem it the better production, but do think of it being more of a guilty pleasure than anything else.
Airing back during the Fall 2015 anime season, Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation would have my vote as being one of the more fascinating and visually impressive shows of the season. Alongside the Perfect Insider it was also one of the few mystery series airing last year, however, I do think that the categorization doesn’t quite do the show justice or accurately describes it, despite what the title may imply. Nevertheless, whether you agree with that statement or not, I will say that it does some appealing things with the genre that other series of the same tapestry fails to get right. So what does it do so well and does it really make for a better show overall? Here is my evaluation…
Without fail, every season seems to bring a couple of novel adaptations that have no relation to or lend themselves all that well to anime whatsoever, but always a joy to see. Part of me is thankful for this since it gives a glimpse into works I would otherwise come into contact with let alone be able to read, yet the other part of me also wonders if it is even remotely close to the source material or having the original authors vision in mind. In the case of P.A Works adaptation of Sei Hatsuno’s Haruchika (Haru and Chika alternatively), I would like to believe that the anime represents Hatsuno’s brainchild unfettered, then again, not if it’s insipid as this turned out to be.
Airing back during the Spring 2014 anime season, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii or The World Is Still Beautiful is a shoujou and fantasy mix that I have always wanted to get back to in passing it up. Not exactly in the mood for another romantic comedy, the murmurs and whispers on the internet of how decent it was didn’t fall on deaf ears and decided to bump it up on my priority list. Of course, tempering my expectations from anything gleaned by word of mouth, I was actually taken aback by what I seen. Is that a good or bad thing? Well, here is my evaluation.
Airing back during Spring 2015, Hibike! Euphonium or Sound! Euphonium is another original novel adaption and Kyoto Animation’s next foray into the school life genre dealing with music as central theme since K-ON. Of course, not as bright-eyed or wholly orientated on the slice-of-life front as the aforementioned, it does manage to tackle the story of what youth entails in a fairly interesting way from past productions. The question is how much of an impact does it make?
Airing back during the Fall 2013 anime season, Kyokai no Kanata or Beyond The Boundary wasn’t a series that too many people viewed positively or at very the least, felt was out place among Kyoto Animation and it’s usual campy comedy-drama adaptations. Having more of that campy spirit than the dark fantasy edge most people excepted, after revisiting the series I do feel that is a much better production than its made out to be. Not a personal favorite, but one that proves itself to be a nice change of pace.