Actually, I Am…
Aoharu x Machinegun
Rokka: Braves of Six Flowers
Ushio & Tora
Actually, I Am…
Japanese title: Jitsu wa Watashi wa
|I've got a secret... to tell the truth...|
This show is effectively a harem romantic comedy, albeit one that centers around one particular couple while other girls hang around to make things more interesting. And rather than going for more fanservicey hijinks, the show simply makes use of fun personalities and the various secret identities the girls have. It’s a show that’s both fun and charming, feeling almost like one of the romcoms of older anime days (not that I have that much experience with those), which all help make it one of the favorites for the race.
Aoharu x Machinegun
Japanese title: Aoharu x Kikanjuu
|You’ve ridden the blue spring, now time to shoot it!|
This is the third anime based on survival games (shooting each other with pellet guns) we've had in the past couple of years, with 2013's Stella Women's Academy High School Division Class C3 taking an ostensibly cute-girls-oriented approach and pushing it in a more dramatic direction, while 2014's Sabagebu! was more of a madcap black comedy that uses survival game sequences that take inspiration from famous movies. What about this show, then? The original manga this time was a shoujo series, so expect another dramatic approach, with possibly a romantic angle to be included. At any rate, right now it mostly finds itself in the middle of the pack of the race, and will likely need to find some strong angles to approach its drama to break forward.
|Picture above: no one actually named Charlotte?|
So this show is the latest original anime from Jun Maeda, who was the original creator of Key's visual novels Air, Kanon, Clannad, and Little Busters!, as well as the original anime project Angel Beats!. Of all those shows, Charlotte is probably most like the last one, especially considering that both shows are animated by P.A. Works, bringing their high production values yet again. With an interesting storyline, some solid emotional moments and some fun moments with these "incomplete" superpowers, this show has definitely established itself as a frontrunner in the race.
|Yet another anime in a classroom... except not really.|
What sounded like just another high school rom-com with a futuristic setting turned out to be something quite different: namely, a politically-charged business drama. That at least makes the show a fair amount more interesting overall. If the show can take advantage of the unique aspects of its premise, it could very well turn out to be the dark horse show of the season.
Japanese Title: Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
|Outbreak Company, but with an army company.|
While the premise obviously has some similarities to Outbreak Company, this show takes an overall darker and more militaristic approach, with the fantasy country's "attack first, ask questions later" approach to colonialism and the very vested interests the US and Chinese governments (among others, possibly) are shown to have in the land. It's admittedly not my preferred sort of tone for this show, but for now, it's making good at least on a fun trio of main girls that join up with the SDF: the sorceress Lelei, the elf-girl Tuka, and the goth-loli "prophetess" Rory. There are some interesting ideas in here, as well as the potential to maybe go down a bit too far with Japan's more radical nationalistic ideals, but if the show can manage to keep everything in check and explore inter-world relations well without pushing anything too far, it might stick around for a while.
|An MMORPG, but without the massively multiple players.|
"Trapped in an MMORPG" shows are really starting to become common now, huh? This one manages to have its own interesting angles it pursues, such as how most of the characters are "awoken" NPCs, with the potential presence of other human players a mystery at the outset. The most interesting part, though, is how Momonga has to maintain an air of an oppressive-looking overlord, despite his actual personality being much more mild-mannered. This makes for some very amusing contrasts as we get into his thought processes. All in all, it's a show that has turned out to be surprisingly interesting, which bodes well for its potential standing in the race if it can keep things up.
Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
Japanese title: Rokka no Yuusha
|Nice mole you've got there.|
As an action fantasy series with an obvious mystery element, this show goes at a surprisingly slow pace, with the big reveal only coming at the end of the fourth episode. It does help keep my interest in the show, as more time can be given to exploring the characters' various thoughts and motivations. Likewise, I'm not as interested in who the fake Brave is, as much as why exactly they have taken on that "fake" role and how they and the others react. There's certainly some interesting directions this show can go, and its performance in the Race has been improving, so we shall see how well it can hold up.
Ushio & Tora
Japanese title: Ushio to Tora
|Don’t let the art style fool you; it’s still 2015.|
Ushio Aotsuki was cleaning his house's storage room when he found a secret cellar that contained... a ferocious youkai, pinned to the wall by a spear. Turns out that spear is a seal for this youkai. When other mysterious spirits attack, Ushio is forced to remove the spear and ask the youkai, whom he names Tora, to help him. Tora just wants to eat Ushio, but between that spear, which has special anti-youkai powers, and the fact that other spirits threaten his intended meal, he finds himself teaming up with Ushio more often than not.
Here's a show that really is a blast from the past. Based on an old manga and with an art style that harkens to 90's shounen shows, this show knows how to have a good time. Between the antics of the leads and the action that surrounds the show's plot, this show is plenty entertaining, and has moments of a deeper storyline to it as well. It's another show that has performed consistently well in the race so far, so we'll see if it has enough to convince me to go through with all 39 planned episodes of this show.