The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

Spring 2017: Anime 1st Impressions

Spring 2017: Anime 1st Impressions

We’re about a month into new a season. What season you ask? Spring, of course! Though, it seems spring forgot how to . . . spring, since it’s still chilly as a penguin's nipples where I am, instead of you know, the refreshing warmth and sunshine that spring is supposed to exhibit. The one thing that is going as it should is the Spring season of anime is in full swing, chock full of both original shows as well as sequels. A whopping 68 shows (that I know of) premiered this season, and I watched at least one episode of most them. So, which ones will I be sticking with?

My Hero Academia (2nd Season)

Easily my most anticipated show this season, My Hero Academia returns, and surprise surprise, it lives up to the hype. For those who don’t know, MHA follows young heroes-in-training who have Quirks (which are basically superpowers) who are looking to make it through the hero academy to become full-fledged heroes. Now why was I looking forward to this show so much? Well, because the first season was soooo good! I mean, I watch nearly every genre when it comes to anime: romance, action, shounen, mystery, seinen, horror, ecchi and the shows that meld more than one of these genres together. MHA is a shounen through and through, meaning it’s typically aimed at young men, centering on themes of friendship, rivalry and has tons of action.

Where MHA outshines most other shounen, the main protagonist doesn’t receive some ass-pull powerup by believing in the power of friendship or believing in himself. Challenges are confronted, and not always overcome, but when they are, it is done by using experience, intellect and sometimes teamwork. It’s a smart, fun anime that allows its ensemble cast to shine while simultaneously making sure the mc—and his journey into a hero—is the focus of the show. Every week, I eagerly await each new episode. You can’t go wrong with this one. Can be found on Crunchyroll.

Sword Oratoria

 

Sword Oratoria is a spin-off from Danmachi, a 2015 anime that has adventurers becoming part offamilias (which are basically guilds), of literal gods. This affords them abilities and skills normal humans don't have, in order to explore dungeons and defeat monsters. Their triumphs bring fame and notoriety to the familias (families) of the gods they are blessed. While this is a spinoff from the aforementioned Danmachi, instead of focusing on the mc from that show, Sword Oratoria looks at things from the perspective of the most skilled swordswoman, Aiz, even going back to scenes that happened in Danmachi. It was interesting seeing those scenes from her perspective, considering she was one of my favorite characters from Danmachi. I think watching this show solely to see what Aiz does is reason enough. She’s a badass through and through. Can be found on Amazon Strike.

Love Tyrant

Have you ever watched something that doesn’t really have a strong plot, but has characters that are so entertaining and funny that you can’t help but continue watching? That’s what Love Tyrant is for me. The story is about a cupid who is able to make people couples by getting them to kiss. Only this cupid is so bad at her job she is paired with a human boy, who is then paired with his crush, who is then paired with her adoptive sister. Yeah, I know. Gotta love Japan huh? Still, Love Tyrant’s character interactions are so entertaining, I’m willing to overlook the absurd premise. If you’re in need of mindless fun and a good laugh, don’t pass this one up. Can be found on Crunchyroll.

SukaSuka

 

So, SukaSuka’s actual English title is World End: What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?  That’s more than a mouthful, so we’ll go with the title’s Japanese abbreviation: SukaSuka. This anime is a fantasy, where young girls (fairies, I believe) are weapons used to fight monsters that have wiped out humanity, save for one lone survivor. This survivor receives the job of being their caretaker, and has to deal with taking care of young girls who are effectively seen as little more than weapons to be used, all while being able to do nothing but wait for them to return from battles that could at any moment result in them having to forfeit their lives to destroy their enemies. It’s a tragic story that tugs at the heartstrings, while allowing for lighter moments of levity to offset the bleak futures the girls have. Humans are gone, war is constant, and themes of self-worth and the value of life are explored. Darkness with a little light, life with imminent death, despair with the slight possibility of hope? Well, that’s just my sort of story. Can be found on Crucnhyroll.

Re:Creators

 

Re: Creators is an anime that has the characters from video games and light novels brought to the real world (with all of their abilities from whatever game or book they came from). Most yearn to meet the one(s) who created them (their gods, for lack of a better term) and their fictional world, to understand more about who they are, why they were created and how they can get back to their respective worlds; some on the other hand, seek nothing more than chaos. That is Re: Creators in a nutshell. We have the fictional characters coming to the real world, upsetting the balance of things, all the while trying to figure out a way to return to the worlds from which they came. This show tackles what it means to exist, or better yet, what it means to live a real existence, even if you were born from a fictional place. If that makes any sense. I just know that I’m enjoying every minute of it. Found on Amazon Strike.

Clockwork Planet

 

This one is something that I got the first volume of the manga of and enjoyed immensely. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but I have fun with it. The synopsis is as follows:

“Earth died a thousand years ago, and a legendary clockmaker known only as "Y" rebuilt it using clockwork. Naoto Miura, a failing high school student, encounters RyuZU, an automaton that "Y" left behind, and the genius clockmaker Marie. When the abilities of these three come together, the gears of fate begin to turn. The cycle of failure and success repeats endlessly as the three of them work to repair the endangered "Clockwork Planet" in this clockpunk fantasy!”

Like I said, nothing groundbreaking, but the main characters are engaging, their interactions are memorable, and RyuZU is one of my favorite character from any anime this season. Her sharp tongue and just all around badassery makes this show for me. Also, her relationship with Naoto (the mc) is fun as well as heartwarming.

Boruto: The Next Generation

Naruto was a show and manga that helped shape my childhood. The themes of friendship, perseverance and redemption that were prevalent throughout the show resonated with me like little else did, and I grew up with these characters. So, I think it’s a given I’d be a little interested in seeing what happens in the lives of the children of the characters I spent so many years following. Even if I’m not that big a fan of Boruto himself, I’m having a blast so far learning more about the new generation of ninja. I’ll without a doubt be following this one till the end, however far away that may be.

Matt Doyle's "Addict"

Matt Doyle's "Addict"

Ingrid Seymour's "Keeper"

Ingrid Seymour's "Keeper"