Seeing as the New England weather has finally begun to feel like spring, it’s high time for hanging out with friends, soaking up the sun, and studying for those darn finals.
Or, we could just stay in and watch anime.
While I was hardly impressed by last winter’s lineup – with the exception of ERASED, of course – the current season definitely has a few shows worth looking into. I have a strong preference for anime featuring strong female protagonists, so the following list of three may seem limited to the Magical Girl genre. This is an issue I’ve had with Japan’s latest releases since, well, the beginning of their rise in popularity in the U.S. But nonetheless, Aggressive Retsuko, Flying Witch, and the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal have plenty of action and comedy to offer.
What are you waiting for? Let’s get watching!
1) Aggressive Retsuko
Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty and friends, just released a new mini-series featuring an adorable and hardworking Red Panda named, “Retsuko.” But don’t let Retsuko’s cute looks fool you – she’s a critter with a dark side. The very first episode of the show plays with what it means to be a career woman. Badgered by annoying coworkers and a lazy boss alike, the aggressive Retsuko unleashes her rage in the form of spontaneous death-metal ballads. With such an utterly explosive personality, it’s impossible not to like this cutie. Considering the fact that we still live in a male-dominated society, I found Retsuko’s frustrations hilarious and above all, relatable.
2) Flying Witch
This show is sure to please fans of Harry Potter and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Witch-in-training Makoto Kowata moves in with distant family so as to further develop her powers. Unlike many of the Magical Girl series I’ve been exposed to, Makoto’s story is that of a grounded urban fantasy. This young witch navigates a new school and friends amid the expected supernatural elements of the show – a perfect balance of the fantasy and slice-of-life genres. Overall, I look forward to unraveling Flying Witch’s worldbuilding and finding out how much of it may or may not stem from its predecessors. The beautiful art style and charming cast of characters certainly don’t hurt.
3) Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3
Like many fans, I was thrilled to hear that the Sailor Moon reboot was getting a third season – one promising the debut of fan-favorites Uranus and Neptune. Oh, and there’s Saturn. Quite frankly, this season might as well be its own anime. The animation for the show has completely changed, sporting old-school transformation sequences and sleeker character designs for all. While I didn’t have a problem with the first twenty-six episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal, the changes made for the Death Busters Arc are most welcome (though the “Moon Pride” theme song will be missed). As a plus, the tone of the series hints at something much more human and sinister than the cookie-cutter “big bads” of the first two seasons. Needless to say, I’m expecting big things from the Sailor Guardians this spring.