Wicked Anime’s Must-Watch Spring 2017 Anime
The spring 2017 anime season is so, SO good. Not only are there more new shows to fall in love with, but there are also a ton of returning favorites. As always, the Wicked Anime crew and Nerdy Show affiliates valiantly sort through all content to bring you a curated list of the the spring 2017 anime you MUST be watching!
Jonathan’s Pick: Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor
Glenn Radars is a new, reluctant substitute teacher at the prestigious Alzano Imperial Magic Academy. The students and administration can’t figure out why he’s there, as he seems to be completely useless. What purpose does Glenn serve at this Academy and what will become of his career as a magic user?
Why I Recommend It
What may be the longest titled show of the season I fear may also be the shortest lived. Usually I wouldn’t write about a show if I didn’t believe in its ability to entertain through the entire season. But Magical Instructor has proven itself to be an entertaining show from the start. While filled with anime tropes and some of the most bizarre school uniforms I’ve seen in mainstream anime, it’s also got great humor and a lead character to keep you coming back.
Glenn Radars is the glue that keeps this show from being swept under the rug this season. I haven’t met a more uniquely written character in a show filled with clichés in my career of watching anime. His demeanor toward the students is hilarious and his incompetence and laziness is well-written. Not to mention, the staff and administration at the school around him are equally funny. They argue his place at the school in the same way the Germans argue amongst each other in Hogan’s Heroes.
When we get to the inevitable point where Glenn finally has to get serious, let’s just say: I’ve been waiting a long time for a show based on magic to do what Glenn brings to the table. Seriously, I cannot stress enough how awesome of a character Glenn Radars is; he makes the show what it is.
Now, granted this show is far from perfect. As I mentioned before, the designs for the school uniforms seem unnecessary. There was also some more than inappropriate content at the end of episode 2. (Which was saved only by Glenn being a great character, by the way.)
For the first time, I’m writing about a show that I’m not sure will survive my interest until the end of the season. The content is moving very fast and I’m afraid that the shtick will get very stale very quick. I hope in all cases that I’ll be proved wrong. After all, the first three episodes came out swinging (pun intended) very strong. Some have disagreed with me for making this my pick, but this is my testament to good writing and characters being able to save a show, even if it’s just one. Give Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor a shot for yourself. It’s the only way to be sure!
Where to Watch
Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor can be viewed on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Funimation.
Andrew’s Pick: Boruto: Naruto New Generations
We have a bit of an unspoken rule with this article that we don’t write about sequel seasons. We share our favorites, because we want people to find something completely new that they may not get into on their own. However, this season I felt it was more than relevant to choose Boruto as my show for this season, even as a successor to the Naruto series. Though it may be a successor to Naruto, it feels less like a sequel and more like and actual new show aimed for the new generation as the given title suggests.
If you’re even the slightest anime fan, you should have heard of Naruto and possibly know what it’s all about. You’ve probably also heard that the TV anime finally ended on it’s 500th episode — long after the manga series had ended. The characters we’d watched since we were kids ourselves grew up, got married, had families, etc. And we finally got a conclusion to the series that we longed for and hoped it would at least be a little good. (It was great!)
Now we have Boruto, a series centered on Naruto and Hinata’s son. He’s joined with the kids from all the other Naruto characters who got married and had families of their own.
Boruto is a confident kid with a bit of a problem-child streak, like his father, but has no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. With the world around them quickly changing and the need for ninja training also taking a different role in the world, Boruto struggles to find the motivation he needs to do anything other than just hang out with friends and play video games. (A new generation indeed!) In the midst of this lurks a mysterious force controlling the kids put under a unique stress in their daily life. And only Boruto can see it.
Why I Recommend It
The anime takes place before the events of Boruto: Naruto the Movie so it takes the liberties of re-introducing new characters in a more episodic forma. It also spends more time focusing and developing them to build this new, yet familiar, world. The old generation of Naruto characters still make appearances, but they’re not in the main cast, which feels more like the passing of the torch in some ways. After all, most of them are slower and more relaxed now that there’s no war.
The world around the characters is changing drastically from what we knew in Naruto, making the show feel truly different from its predecessor. A slight feeling of what the old generation gave us still lingers, but if you were to play the two side-by-side, it might feel like two different shounen shows all together.
On top of everything else, the art is finely polished, the animation is well above normal standards, and all the action scenes are incredibly fluid. All the character designs are well-thought-out; the mixing of the parent characters gives a nice sense of familiarity for us older generation fans, while still providing a great starting point for new fans who don’t know Naruto.
Overall, I’m ready for this new show that isn’t just Naruto with a new coat of paint, but rather a new show with some old familiarities and great characters. It stands on its own as a new shounen series for a new generation of anime fans.
Where to Watch
Evan’s Pick: Alice and Zoroku
A young magical girl named Sana escapes from a lab, only to be attacked by her would-be friends Asahi and Yonaga. During a violent game of cat-and-mouse Sana runs into an elderly man named Zoroku, who finds a way to guilt-trip her and the powerful twins to cut it out. Soon Zoroku and his granddaughter Sanae find themselves caring for Sana to give her a normal life, despite the efforts of the mysterious lab and its cohorts.
Why I Recommend It
Alice & Zoroku had me interested just by the promo pic alone: a grumpy old man sharing the same space as a spunky little kid. It sounds so sitcom-ish, but in the opening moments of the show you quickly realize it’s anything but. The two-on-one fight between Sana and Asahi & Yonaga is surprisingly action-packed, with the recent Magical Girl Raising Project first coming to mind when you see how brutal it is. (Thankfully, it’s not as bloody.) It’s when Zoroku enters the picture when you realize what the show is attempting to convey.
Zoroku, who seems ready at any moment to utter Danny Glover’s famous Lethal Weapon line, tries to push Sana down to the norms of society. No battles, no magically creating anything out of thin air, and no acting like she’s the queen of everything (despite her mysterious Red Queen Codename). The banter between the two of them are just as funny, with Zoroku showing that he’s ready and willing to discipline any brats by any means necessary. Thankfully the show gets to goof off when the granddaughter Sanae enters the fold, where giant pancakes and abrupt trips to Antarctica happen within minutes of one another.
I’m always a fan of what J.C.Staff has to offer, as just about everything they do has a great balance of quality & quantity. What they’ve done here with Tetsuya Imai’s original manga is combine action, humor, drama, and a large dosage of adorableness in one series. And it surprisingly works! While we’ll probably be learning more about the secret organization and Sana herself, what we’ve seen thus far has made Alice & Zoroku easily be the top contender for this season’s best show. With that being said, can we do something about those weird Carl’s Jr. tie-ins?!
Where to Watch
Alice & Zoroku can be viewed on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Funimation.
Jess’ Pick: Sakura Quest
Koharu Yoshino is running out of options. After 30 failed job interviews, she must either face unemployment in Tokyo or return home to the small town she despises. To bide time and make some cash, Yoshino agrees to be “Queen” of a small village for a day. But upon arrival she learns the village tourism board actually wanted someone else. Even worse, the contract is actually for a whole year! With no other prospects, Yoshino decides to stick it out in Manoyama. Can this reluctant queen and her court breathe new life into a failing town?
Why I Recommend It
Sakura Quest is relatable AF, and is one of the most clever anime I’ve seen since Eden of the East. The show’s premise is one we’re all familiar with: finding one’s place in the world. Whether you’re like the protagonist, Yoshino, out of college and unable to find work, or Kouzuki Sanae and Midorikawa Maki, tired of fast-paced city life and looking to recenter, or even Shinomiya Shiori and Oribe Ririko, girls happy with their small town life, but desperate to show others its beauty (or weirdness) — we all know what feeling lost feels like.
This group of wayfarers is an ensemble cast at its finest. And bonus points: it’s a female ensemble who don’t run around in their underwear or come out baths topless. (Looking at you, Fuuka.) Every character plays well off one another, and no one character outshines the rest. Together, they feel like friends you’ve known for years.
The show also has some pretty clever comedy. It’s not slapstick or over-the-top, rather it’s more subtle and situational. You’ll often find the most hilarious moments are like ones with your own friends. They’re jibes and social commentary that leave you in stitches. (Just wait for episode 2, where Yoshino and the gang try to describe her beauty in a way that makes her comfortable.)
Not a drama, yet not quite a comedy, Sakura Quest owns the space between. It’s a captivating show that should definitely make it on your watch list this season.
Where to Watch
But wait! There are great sequels, too!
My Hero Academia Season 2
If you have seen season 1 of My Hero Academia, what more is there to say?! If you haven’t seen it, then where have you been? We’re talking about the continuation of possibly the greatest shonen anime that my have been released since, I don’t know, ever!
Season 2 starts off right where the first season ended. This show barely messes around when it comes to bringing us new content, though sometimes, it feels like there’s no rush in moving along the plot. Character backstory and flashbacks thus far have been brief and delightful, All Might continues to be one of the greatest heroes ever created, and did I mention we’re in an action-packed tournament arc? That’s the kind of thing you want to hear from an anime that Studio Bones is working on! It’s amazing to me how fluid and consistent character development is and how we see these characters grow stronger right before our eyes.
Some people, like me, cringe at the idea of having to stick it out with a new shonen. They can be tedious and be packed to the brim with filler, so that studios can cash in on good content. Not here though, this is the show that I strive to see every week and I promise nothing but quality entertainment. So, go beyond, PLUS ULTRA!!!
The Laughing Salesman
You may be scratching your head over what The Laughing Salesman is, but its return is a big deal in Japan. Written by Doraemon co-creator Fujiko Fujio A, the series (first adapted into an anime back in 1989) follows the mysterious Moguro Fukuzo and his quest to fill the gaps in the souls of humanity. No money is ever asked from him, as the satisfaction of making someone happy is all he needs. However it’s the “customers” he lends a hand to that don’t seem to be satisfied, only for them to be punished by Fukuzo for their greedy ways.
The Laughing Salesman is certainly a cautionary tale of sorts, as it’s teaches its viewers that desires can be your downfall. Fortunately it’s not with a wag of the finger, but rather the tickle of the funny bone. One episode involves a woman addicted to shopping, with Fukuzo offering her a credit card that lets her buy anything she wants. The catch is everything she buys will be repossessed the next day, so when she tries it on something that can’t be returned like a day in the spa…well, you’ll see what happens when one’s beauty is taken away.
It’s hard to truly describe the draw of The Laughing Salesman without actually sitting down and watching it. I often get this David Lynch vibe from Fukuzo, and while his mannerisms always seem to have good intentions it always appears that he’s waiting on the person he’s helping to fall off the wagon again. Then again it’s always entertaining to see how the unlucky joes in the world will fall victim to their wants, and even though the outcomes can be a little bit predictable, it’s fun to see how the dominos fall one-by-one through an episode’s run. It may not be for everyone, but The Laughing Salesman is certainly a returning show worthy of resounding welcome.
The Laughing Salesman can be viewed on Crunchyroll.
Hey! Remember good Harems? How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend was one of my new favorites when it came out a couple years back and finally we have a second season! It’s a little cute, a little dirty, and all harem.
I wouldn’t call it “classic” harem like the days of Love Hina, but it certainly has a cultured taste far beyond just throwing bouncing breasts in your face and a naked girl (though it doesn’t throw it out completely). The story centers on characters trying to build a visual novel for winter Comiket, and is very self-aware. The show deconstructs the harem genre while poking fun at classic tropes and even breaks the fourth wall from time-to-time. The characters are all fun, and well-designed and the story is well-paced on how it decides to both progress relationships and focus on the task at hand.