FEATURE: Why It Works: Nick's Picks for Spring '17

With the spring season in full swing, it's time to take a look at some of the most promising new contenders!

Hey all, and welcome back to Why It Works! The spring season is finally upon us, and as has become tradition (this is the third time, I’m allowed to call it a tradition now), it’s time for me to celebrate a few of the new shows I found interesting. As a writer at Anime News Network, I end up watching the first episode of nearly every single show for their preview guide, and so I get a somewhat bird’s eye view of the overall landscape. This time, the view is great! It was actually kind of hard to narrow this down to just a few shows, since the breadth of quality premieres was so extreme.


With that in mind, I decided to restrict these new recommendations to new productions only - no sequels here. That said, this season is brimming with great sequels, so if you haven’t checked out the first seasons of My Hero Academia, The Eccentric Family, or Rage of Bahamut, I urge you to give them a try. They’re all great shows, and their new seasons are starting strong as well. But let’s put all that aside for now, and run through a few promising new challengers!


sakuraquest


First off, Sakura Quest seems to be aimed squarely at filling a Shirobako-sized hole in my heart, and so far it’s working pretty well. The show is a mix of solid comedy, generally fun characters, and occasionally heart-squeezing reflections on trying to find a job, all placed within the backdrop of an old rural town that’s trying to get its spark back. If you’re in the mood for a more grounded but still goofy character drama starring actual adults, I’d highly recommend it.


Next, if you’re in the mood for an unusual fantasy adventure, WorldEnd might just fit the bill. Instead of focusing on an immediate, propulsive adventure or clear threat, WorldEnd offers a more laid back and character-focused approach. The show’s first episode reminded me of last year’s underrated Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - lots of focus on the natural beauty of the world, sprinkled with conversations that feel just a little more natural than your average show. The story could go anywhere from here, but it’s off to an interesting start. Incidentally, if you’re looking for a more traditional fantasy adventure, Granblue Fantasy offers a somewhat less auspicious start in that particular wheelhouse.


Tsukigakirei


Moving back to the more realistic dramas, I was really surprised by the strength of Tsuki ga Kirei’s premiere. The show promises adolescent romance, and adolescent romance we received - but the execution of this one really put it in a special tier. From its lovely art design to its careful character acting and endearingly awkward leads, Tsuki ga Kirei is a warm and remarkably well-observed story of young love. The first episode’s dramatic centerpiece is a scene where the two leads notice each other at a family restaurant, try to pretend they didn’t notice each other, and then get awkwardly introduced when their parents see each other. If that isn’t quality drama, I don’t know what is.


Finally, Alice & Zoroku offers a pretty unique take on the “adult and child learn to get along” subgenre. Alice is a superpowered girl in a frilly dress, Zoroku is a grumpy old man who just wants to tend to his floral business, and together they have a variety of improbable adventures. The show is a little scrappy in its visual execution, but the characters are so charming that it’s hard not to like. I may be a sucker for this genre (as my history can attest), but this still seems like a solid take on the concept.


alicezoroku


That’s it for me! I’m sure many shows will rise and fall throughout the course of the season, but I’ve already got a pretty full plate of sequels and new favorites to enjoy. Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any other new hits worth sharing, and I wish you luck finding whatever suits your own taste. There’s something for everyone this time!

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Nick Creamer has been writing about cartoons for too many years now, and is always ready to cry about Madoka. You can find more of his work at his blog Wrong Every Time, or follow him on Twitter.

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