Summer 2017 Anime Hits, Maybes And Misses: Princess Principal, Magical Circle Guru-Guru And Classroom of the Elite

What’s in your queue?
Princess Principal.
Princess Principal. (c) Studio 3Hz

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.

Princess Principal



I wasn’t over-impressed by Princess Principal ’s first episode. I found it muddled, over-serious and forgettable. I’m not a big steampunk fan, so the aesthetic charm was lost on me. The action scenes didn’t mean much because I couldn’t tell the characters apart, and character always comes first: who cares about even the coolest, slickest action if we don’t know why it’s happening and don't care who lives or dies?

Well, color me surprised. Princess Principal ’s second episode does a lot to address the character issue. Even better, we see who the characters are by how they move through the story, a story that’s not a one-off wonder but instead has deep implications for the rest of the show. The stakes are high and feel high. The tension is thick and we care why.

Princess Principal moved from “meh” to “okay, I can see why people are responding to this so positively.” The jump from episode 1 to episode 2 in terms of narrative clarity and emotional impact was major. Episode 3 maintains this flow with another interesting, relevant plot that, while self-contained, still has an impact on the rest of the show. To keep up with the summer 2017 anime season conversation, and on its own merits, Princess Principal belongs in the queue.

Magical Circle Guru-Guru



Magical Circle Guru-Guru started out cute and funny and continues to be cute and funny. I don’t think this is an absolute must-watch in terms of keeping up to date with what’s hot, hip and fresh in anime, especially since this is based off an older property that already has its own series and doesn’t do too much to really change things up. But why mess with a winning formula?

A lot of anime humor is really corny, or stupid, or fanservice-based, or just plain mean. But Magical Circle Guru-Guru continues to make me laugh out loud. I think this is a really delightful palate cleanser after watching some of the more serious or deep shows. You can miss it, but you shouldn’t, especially if you’re into retro games.

Classroom of the Elite



I’m pretty disappointed by Classroom of the Elite. The first episode had some fanservice, but I didn’t feel it had crossed the line into the kind of grotesque sexual objectification that prevents me from enjoying a show because I’m just soooo aware, because the show makers are soooo aware, and want you to be soooo aware, that all these female characters have boooooobs and buuuuuuuuutts. It forces you to become a party to a creep gaze and I really object to that.

But four episodes into Classroom of the Elite, not much has happened. There’s so much we still don’t know, like who our protagonist really is at heart, and the plot feels stalled.

What we know so far: friendly little ball o’ sunshine Kushida Kikyo is a sinister minx in disguise who is more than willing to use an idiotic sexual assault ruse to blackmail the lead unless he keeps her little secret, and Horikita’s big brother is a very creepy creep. Great. I’m rolling my eyes so hard at a show that has so much creepy, random fanservice, yet makes the female the source of sexual threat, wrapped up in deceit. Ah, those lying females and their lying ol’ lies about sexual assault simply to threaten the reputation and success of virtuous, innocent men. Thanks for that stupid, regressive plot element.

But all we’re learning about this school, whose dysfunction is the premise driving this entire show, is that students in higher-ranked classes are real mean to students in lower-ranked classes. Well, duh! Not a shocker! We want to know why. And we still don’t have a clue. But we have boob shots. Great. Go ahead and miss this one.

This is just the first of our mid-season anime report, so look forward to more. In the mean time, 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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