Summer 2017 Anime Hits, Maybes And Misses: Clean Freak Aoyama, Convenience Store Boyfriends And Knight's & Magic

What’s in your queue?
knight's & magic summer anime season 2017 episode 1 review
Knight's & Magic, part of summer anime season 2017. (c) Studio 8-Bit

The summer 2017 anime season is now well underway, which means it’s no longer time for episode 1 reviews. Now that we’re four, five, even six episodes into these shows, it’s time to judge. Did Made in Abyss' brilliant episode 1 presage a sudden, sharp decline? Did the terrible first episode of Vatican Miracle Examiners somehow lift itself up from disgrace? Did the promising episode 1 of Elegant Yokai Apartment Life live up to what it could be?

Let’s find out by assigning each show a verdict: “Hit” for the top-tier shows and conversation starters, “Maybe” for fun shows that you can live without if you haven’t got the time or it’s not to your taste, and “Miss” for the shows you just don’t need on your queue.

Clean Freak! Aoyama kun

via GIPHY

VERDICT: HIT

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun has a lot of humor and heart. It takes Aoyama’s germaphobic, OCD nature very seriously; not only do his friends protect and defend him, so does his coach. His skills are acknowledged as are the limitations he faces. It’s a surprisingly refreshing and empathetic take on something that could easily have gone the other way.

But as the show goes on, it extends this humor and empathy to other characters as well, like lovestruck Gotou Mako, who becomes the sport’s club manager. It also manages to stretch out its premise with plenty of sincerely funny gags, like the magical scent of Aoyama’s towel or the intense battle between Aoyama and a hidden germaphobe. The one guy who trots out in every episode to wriggle his abs at Aoyama makes me break into laughter each time.

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun also has, by a far mile, the most enjoyable ending theme of the entire season. This show is super underrated and deserves a spot in the queue.

Convenience Store Boy Friends

via GIPHY

VERDICT: MISS

The first episode of Convenience Store Boy Friends was bad … really, really bad, like, “how can this boring, mediocre drivel possibly redeem itself” kind of bad. When your major charm point is the presence of a convenience store, you’re starting from the bottom.

But several episodes in, it’s not charming, it’s not funny, it’s not cute. By this point you should be rooting for everyone and invested in where they’re going. Instead, you’re intermittently asleep or annoyed. I’m not invested in the future of these boring, cookie-cutter characters.

Not to mention, they really jam the convenience store thing in there, the pace ambles along at a catatonic pace even for a slow-paced slice-of-life show, there is no larger plot providing interest and context for all these romances, and there’s so little background music that when the generic Casio keyboard defaults kick in every full moon, you twitch with surprise. This is not a show you need to watch unless you are obsessed with badly-paced heterosexual high school romance. Pass.

Knight’s & Magic

via GIPHY

VERDICT: MAYBE

The production values aren’t great. The plot is goofy; the whole “programmer reborn into a little cute fantasy boy’s body” remains as unnecessary as it was in episode 1, played for laughs so randomly that you actually forget this jarring fact before it’s jammed back into your consciousness. The setting is generic swords and sorcery, with old-timey mecha providing the swords. The pace is uneven as well, swinging from montages and time-skip voiceover to detailed battle and equipment test sequences. The side characters have very little purpose. The main character’s a Gary Stu.

But Knight’s & Magic is joyful and charming as it hits its stride thanks to Ernesti’s unquenchable zest for robots. Sure, Ernesti’s exceptionalism can get pretty tired (what, no one else in this world has a logical, engineering-oriented mindset?), but his enthusiasm makes the show. He spills ideas like a fountain spills water, freely burbling to everyone around him. We even start getting into some light political intrigue as well.

I don’t think this will be anyone’s favorite anime, and I don’t think anyone will be talking about it much once the season’s over. But if you’re a big fan of mecha, fantasy settings or light novels, a big enough fan to overlook the absurd wish fulfillment and patchy writing, the show is enjoyable enough to fight for a spot in your queue.

Don't miss out on our past reports, and look out for new ones. Meanwhile, os there an anime not on this list that we should all be giving a shot? What’s the state of your anime queue? What are you watching faithfully each week? What do you plan to ignore? Are you really mad at my terrible choices or are you relieved someone finally said it? Turn on your location, I just want to talk. Follow me on Twitter at @ndmedinaaa, follow us at @PlayerDotOne and feel free to chat about the current anime season in the comments section below.

 

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