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Anime Recommendations and Open Thread

(One-Punch Hero t-shirt on sale at the NeatoShop)

Every few months, I write about good anime series that I've seen and ask you for your recommendations. My last such post was only two months ago, but there has been so much excellent new anime this spring season that I have no fewer than six exciting shows to tell you about.

It hasn't gotten a lot of attention from fans this season, but I think that Kuromukuro is a sleeper hit. It's a fast-paced action series with charming characters and engaging dialogue. Kuromukuro tells the story of a 450-year old samurai who awakens from suspended animation. He's confused about the modern world of 21st Century Japan, but he instantly recognizes the aliens who invade the Earth. They're the "demons" that wiped out his clan long ago.

In an alternate reality, high school girls train as the peacekeepers of the sea on World War II-quality school ships because plot device. This is the world of Haifuri or High School Fleet. It's an exciting and endearing action/comedy/slice of life show reminiscent of Girls und Panzer, KanColle, and Is the Order a Rabbit? It strikes the balance among multiple genres that makes me happy whenever a new episode arrives. If you like to see carefree moe girls shooting at each other and no one getting hurt,* then try Haifuri.

Re: ZERO: Starting a Life in a New World approaches an emerging subgenre. Like Konosuba and Overlord, it's about an ordinary young man who finds himself a real-life role-playing game. The main character, Subaru, has either seen those anime or something like them and thinks that he knows what he's getting into. He's convinced that he's prepared to live inside a video game. He's wrong.

Re:Zero is at the outer edge of the blood and gore that I'm willing to tolerate. It's a comedy at times, and a blood bath at others. But Subaru takes it all in stride, which makes the story entertaining. Other anime fans agree, which is why it's among the most popular new series of the spring season.

Speaking of games crossing into reality, that's also happening in Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta. Hardcore gamers decide to meet in real life and find that they all go to the same high school. Among them is Ako, a girl who is so far into the game that she can't distinguish between fantasy and reality. Her new IRL friends decide to help her.

There's a nice touch to the subbed version of Netoge. I'm not a gamer, but I can tell that whoever writes the subtitles has an encyclopedic knowledge of English-language gamer slang. This makes the show extra funny.

Normally, I don't go in for slice-of-life shows. But I'm really glad that I tried Bakuon!! It's a story about a group of high school girls who like to ride motorcycles. They geek out in detail about the merits of particular bikes and motorcycling practices. It's a funny show with well-designed characters who play off each other effectively.

Bossy blonde tsundere? Check. New guy with amazing combative powers? Check. Childhood friend who's in love with him? Check. Military school run by the students themselves? Check.

There's nothing radically new in Hundred, an action and harem story which goes over common tropes. But it keeps a lively pace going in a way that inspires me to keep watching. As Shakespeare demonstrates, originality is overrated. A familiar story re-told well is worth your time.

What anime do you recommend watching?

*This line sounded better in my head.


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Well, I know you said you don't normally go for slice-of-life, but if anyone liked Non Non Biyori, this season's go-to is Flying Witch...
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