Well, I've started a bunch a series & anime this year that I didn't finish, and a few that I did finish, plus the usual series that I continued, so let's do a headcount :TV Series :The Expanse
- season 2 : As good as ever, I don't think a SF series got me this excited right from the get go since Firefly & BSG. It's got tight action, engaging political intrigue, interesting character, great special effects and firmly stands on the hard side of science fiction, breaking the long-held assumption that hard SF would be boring on screen.
I very warmly recommend it, even if you are not a SF fan.Dark Matter
- halfway through season 2 : Kinda felt like a low-brow SF series at first, some off-brand Firefly with caricatures as characters. I you give it a chance, it grows on you, the characters become less cardboard and there's some interesting ideas here and there. I stopped watching it because I got somewhat distracted by real life stuff earlier this year, so I'd need to refresh my memory on what's going on before continuing.
In the end, it's quite enjoyable, I'd recommend it to people looking for a softer SF series.Rick & Morty
- season 3 : That series is a blast, reveling in self-awareness, poking fun at anything and everything while doing bat**** crazy stuff that nobody else would dare put on screen. Basically, it's kind of Community's cynical younger brother, with a healthy dose of black comedy.
Highly recommended, though one should be aware that it can get gory and/or unexpectedly dark.Star Wars Rebels
- season 4 (still running) : Pretty good series overall, it's got a few clunky moments, but some really awesome episode, especially during the season finales. It feels held back by being a family show in several places, but it still does pretty well under the circumstances, and contains a whole bunch of nods to the old expanded universe.
Recommended, even if you don't have much interest in Star Wars, it's still enjoyable on its own merits.Game of Thrones
- season 7 : Not really much to say here, although I will mention having some fun with my coworker figuring out how fast ravens & dragons would need to go in order for the timeline of one specific episode to make sense (roughly a minimum of mach 0.5). Offscreen teleportation has sure been handy this season.The Last Ship
- a quarter into season 2 : Good gods this is such an american series. I really like the premise & setting, but the execution is really meh. The action bits are really enjoyable, but it's way too black & white for its premise. The characters are especially disappointing, being quite bland and easy to figure out, although I do like the absence of inter-personal conflict among the crew - even as the whole world is burning around them, they do their best to remain professional. The villains are very much cardboard and caricatural, sometimes offensively so.
If you can get past the America-****-yeah attitude and don't mind the weak characters, it's an enjoyable naval action series, otherwise I'd pass.Star Trek Discovery
- three quarters into the season : This is probably the biggest surprise I've had this year. I expected this series to be unwatchable cheap standard pulp science fiction garbage - basically Star Trek at its worst, but it turned out to be pretty interesting, and I'm still not sure what to make of it. Its science is questionable of course, but hey it's Star Trek, what can you expect. Character-wise it's a bit all over the place, some are very standard, others are bit more complicated - the lead's all right, the captain is a bit standard although atypical in a Star Trek setting, the second in command is excellent, the engineer guy is fun. The series also broke the long standing Star Trek gay embargo, so that was unexpected. The effects and sets are absolutely gorgeous for a TV series, with a fair number of action scenes. The series has got its fair share of clunky moments and the Discovery's "specialness" is a bit on the WTF side, but it compensates with some original ideas or original takes on old ideas, so I tend to tolerate its flaws.
Highly recommended, although if you are familiar with the old Trek series & films, forget about them, this is trying to be its own thing.Anime :Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
- halfway though : Pretty enjoyable fluffy slice of life thing that for once focuses on adults rather than teenagers. It's actually really unsually down to earth in its portrayal of Kobayashi's every day life - japanese media tends to go over the top no matter what it portrays, and it's got some interesting, mature under-themes on same-sex relationships that you don't find often in japanese media. The maid stuff, I could probably do without, but hey it's Japan. It stopped watching it after I canceled my Crunchyroll account.
Between Kobayashi's daily life with her Dragon Maid (& dragon friends) spicing things up, it's a solid series I found quite relaxing, so I'm recommending it.Haiyore! Nyarko-san
- a third though season 1 : A Lovecraft harem(ish) series ! That is probably one of the weirder series I've watched this year, so I'm not sure what to make of it. I get the feeling that it's poking fun at the harem genre, but I'm not familiar enough with it to get it - the only other harem series that I've followed is Daily life with Monster Girls, which it fairly atypical itself. I also feel like there's not enough insanity given its lovecraftian theme, so after a little while I just stopped watching.Attack on Titan
- season 2 : I didn't expect it to be so short, although that could mean we'll get a new season each year now - the manga's got enough material right now to go up to season 5 or 6, and by the time they get there, the manga will either be over or have produced 3-4 more seasons' worth of content. It continues to be very faithful, but it's doing something really funny to make the series more tame & less gory : I uses blood
(and clever framing) to cover up how gruesome some of the injuries are
. They probably already did it back in season 1, but back then I hadn't re-read the corresponding chapters to compare the two. For example, compare season 2 episode 6 (or episode 31) when **** gets real 19 minutes in with chapter 42 - 27 pages in :
we can't see Reiner's flesh and bones from the cut hand because it's just out of frame and blood gushes out, the anime also obscures how deeply Mikasa's blade embeds itself into his arm and a moment later into Berthold's neck.
There's a couple of other places where they do that, and it's kinda funny once you notice it
Overall, the season left me with the feeling that not a whole lot had happened, but in retrospect that's probably because I already knew the big reveals, they happened years ago and there's so much stuff that's happened since then, and I can't wait for them to get to the juicy bits that happen later on.
So in short, if you were disappointed by this season, stay tuned for the next ones, things aren't as simple as you think they are.Arpeggio of Blue Steel - Ars Nova
- two thirds through : I gotta say I'm not too impressed with this adaptation, although part of it is due to it being so damn short, leading to a number of simplifications & stuff being cut out, and again attempting to make the series more viewer friendly in some ways. It certainly manages to capture the epic feel of some of the battles, but overall they seem to have dialed down the action (possibly due to budget constraints), dialed up the fanservice and missed out on some of the comedy bits. As a stand alone, it does alright as an fanservicey action series, but as an adaptation I can't help but feel a tad disappointed. I'm gonna delve a bit into my grievances regarding the adaptation, so feel free to skip to the TLDR bit
- First, simplification leading to missed out comedy bits : while they expand on some of the gags (Haruna's change in personality when she is not wearing her badass long coat), there's a few bits that don't make it in, for instance the chibi duplicates of Iona & Takao's mental models didn't make it in so gags related to them are cut out, Iona herself has been turned into a standard emotionless girl, so we miss out on her dry sense of humour plus her hanging out with the crew. The genius girl's character arc is also massively simplified, the professor only makes it in long enough to provide exposition as to why this girl is supposedly important, so we miss out on the girl's adorable outsmarting of her guardians & a couple of other bits while she sneaks out.
- Second simplification leading to missed out action (& some more comedy bits) : the man-made submarine has (quite understandibly) been cut out, so action bits related to it have either been cut or transfered to I-401 herself, and some fun bits related to its crew are naturally out. The complexities of the japanese government are also out so we loose out on a couple of things here & there, but the biggest impact is related to the attack on genius girl's mansion, where's there's basically two taskforces being sent there, one to take out the girl, the other to rescue her. The professor isn't locked up in bed to spew exposition, but actually a parental figure to genius girl (actually her designer "dad"), and dies while killing one of the remaining snipers from the kill-the-girl task force, which leads to one of my favorite moments in the manga : Haruna flipping her **** over the newfound rage she feels at having watched genius girl's father (whom she is friends with by now) being killed in front of her eyes, and preparing to unleash a massive
offshore bombardment over this. The battle of Iwo Jima is also quite different since it involves an hostile japanese task force instead of the Fleet of Fog (and some sort of Waaagh!).
TLDR; It's alright as an action series with fanservice, if a bit heavy on dry exposition, although I'm not sure how it compares to the other ship-girl series adaptation Kantai Collection (couldn't get more than a few episodes into that series).
OK, writing all that **** took way longer than I expected.
Question, I've seen Made in Abyss pop up quite a few times over the past few month and I'm considering having a look at it, but I have no idea what type of series this is ?