Spring 2017 premiere rankings

Another season of premieres watched and reviewed! There are a ton of shows this season and multiple big name sequels getting a lot of attention, so let us help you choose how to curate the rest of your viewing.

Which shows do you review? 

We don’t review shows that are sequels, shorts or for young children. This left 24 eligible premieres in 16 days.

The villain character in a long, military-style coat and hat, stands holding a sword in a circle of flying swords. Subtitle: "We still lack sufficient strength and manpower."
Re:CREATORS

How do you write the reviews?

This time Dee and Vrai took on a number of the premiere reviews, for which I am extremely grateful. We don’t always like or dislike the same shows, or to the same extent, but I agree with their critiques absolutely.

Both Dee and Vrai will be paid, and once we have more funding I aim to set up our own version of ANN’s Preview Guide, to give our readers a range of explicitly feminist views for each premiere. We’re a long way off that funding goal, but it’s been a personal wish of mine since launch and I know we’ll make it happen someday.

Naoto, a teenage boy in headphones, smiles. Subtitle: "Are you supposed to be so sharp-tongued?"
Clockwork Planet

What do your reviews focus on? 

Now that more of us are reviewing this will vary (I rarely comment on animation because it’s neither my expertise nor my priority, while both Dee and Vrai have made comments about production values, for example) but as a feminist site it is of course essential that we raise any issues of feminist interest. When you read an AniFem review you’re likely to learn about female character designs, representations of queerness, analogies to real world marginalisation, and so on. If you think we missed something, please comment under the review and let us know!

Teacher Glenn stands in a shirt and tie, holding out one gloved hand, palm outstretched as he makes a declaration. Subtitle: "There's something I'd like to say about this commonplace, cliched turn of events."
Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor

Why rank them?

As always, the purpose of these reviews is simply to give our readers more information so that you can decide for yourselves whether or not to watch the show. There is greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find anime you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show which contains an automatic dealbreaker, be it fanservice, homophobia, the sexualisation of children, etc.

Individuals can find feminist value in the unlikeliest of places, and we will never lead a boycott of a particular show, but we want to make it easier for you to get the most out of your limited time. The ranking is according to feminist merit rather than quality or personal preference, with shows containing feminist themes at the highest end and those containing anti-feminist themes at the lowest. We expect some disagreement and welcome debate, so if you have any objections to the order of this list by all means let us know in the comments!

Super-deformed royal tutor and prince, who is smiling, winking and doing the peace sign in front of a bright, flowery background. Subtitle: "Yay!"
The Royal Tutor

SPRING 2017 PREMIERE RANKING

Feminist themes

  1. Grimoire of Zero : Core themes of power and discrimination with parallels to racism
    2. Sakura Quest : Challenging the princess narrative with an adult female lead in the workplace
    3. Kabukibu! : Overt acceptance of cross-gender performance
    4. Granblue Fantasy : Consistent emphasis on agency and consent

Feminist potential

5. Re:CREATORS : Powerful female characters challenging anime tropes
6. WorldEnd [SukaSuka] : Marginalised characters in a gender-balanced cast
7. KADO : Prominent professional women in the mostly male-led cast
8. Alice & Zoroku : Premiere hints at a much larger cast of female characters, including adults
9. Tsuki ga Kirei : Inevitable relatable character growth for the female lead

Harmless fun

10. The Royal Tutor : Focus on male characters
11. Atom the Beginning : Gender-balanced cast, representation of disability
12. Hinako Note : Cute girls do quirky things

Feminist red flags

13. Anonymous Noise : Female lead motivated exclusively by male characters
14. Twin Angels Break : Class S notes with accepted crossdressing, a little fanservicey
15. Sagrada Reset : Uneasy power dynamics, lots of mansplaining potential
16. The Laughing Salesman : Everybody is equally awful on the inside, but ugly women are the worst

The fanservice selection

17. Tsugumomo : Boob grabs never get old
18. Frame Arms Girl : Little girl robots, lots of exposed underwear
19. Clockwork Planet: Willing contractual servitude to a teenage boy, via finger fellatio
20. Seven Mortal Sins : Enormo-boob porn with mostly non-consensual touching

Pit of shame

21. Love Tyrant : Homophobia is bad
22. Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor : Sexual assault is bad
23. Eromanga Sensei : Incest is bad

Worst anime of the season 

24. Armed Girls Machiavellism : A premise rooted in misogyny AND transphobia is REALLY BAD

 

Masamune smiles, looking at Sagiri in excitement. Subtitle: "[Did you say] 'Touch me there'?"

…But let’s just say it was an extremely close contest.

 

 

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  • Oh, I love this! A preview guide like ANN on this site would be so awesome. Thanks Amelia, Vrai and Dee for the hard work! What you guys are doing is so valuable, i’m certain this site will reach all its goals.

  • GreyLurker

    What I find frustrating is there are several shows that have some decent stuff in them, and then it gets buried in horrid.

    the 2nd episode of Akashic Record had some great stuff in it when they started analyzing the setting’s magic system as well as the practical applications of magic and what it means for humanity. The argument between Magic is for the betterment of people vs. Magic is great for mass murder, I felt had real impact and was an interesting philisophical difference of opinion. But then the ending had to go for full on misogynistic villains assaulting school girls.

    Tsugumomo has the potential to be a decent action series, there have been some flashbacks to the main character’s mother that frankly makes her look awesome. But then there is, as the review said – the other half of the show, which gets annoying fast.

    Even Seven Sins has some interesting ideas buried under all those boobs.

    I get that alot of these are aimed at teen and pre-teen boys but come on, there should be a limit.

  • Eric Iacono

    Great work here! One thing I would be interested in seeing would be maybe a retrospective of the last season as well. Like re-evaluate the shows that did or didn’t hold up to feminist potential. I know Demi-chan for example, kinda stumbled here. And even Dragon Maid had some… issues.

    Also, did anyone figure out if there’s a way to watch the shows on Amazon legally in Canada? Trying to navigate that space is a nightmare.

    • GreyLurker

      I asked amazon directly about that and they said they had no plans to offer Strike up north just yet, but probably in the future. Probably want to see how it dose this first season. Even if it was up in Canada I think the cost for anyone not already getting their prime service is going to be an issue.

      Double Pay Wall is just a bad idea

    • Belaam

      Love the idea of a brief retrospective.

  • Belaam

    By my count, Vrai “got” to do the reviews of Seven Mortal Sins, Eromanga Sensei, and Love Tyrant. First off, I suspect that someone lost a bet? 😀

    Secondly, the comparisons may be skewing the KADO review, which I did not really find all that interesting.

    • Believe it or not, every one of the reviews they did was volunteer only… Apparently Vrai is drawn to trash like it’s treasure, and I intend to take full advantage of that from now on.

  • Snap Wilson

    Watching Grimoire of Zero, Sakura Quest (my favorite of the young season so far), GranBlue, Re:CREATORS and intending to watch WorldEnd, (plus the second season of AoT and Scum’s Wish from last season).

    GoZ threw up one red flag when the new kid (who I already wish would go away) started talking about big boobs, the Beastfallen approved, and Zero started comparing her own chest.

    Wondering if anime films are within the scope of this website? Would be curious to hear thoughts on YOUR NAME, A SILENT VOICE, etc.

    • Eric Iacono

      WorldEnd also threw up some red flags for me in the 2nd episode. One particular scene was just a shot of a character’s crossed legs for… no reason? As was the non-consensual ‘massage’ scene.

      • That’s a shame, though stuff like this always makes me glad I didn’t rank it higher just because I liked it and there was technically not much wrong with the premiere!

  • Dawnstorm

    It’s a pretty good season for me. My favourite new shows are:

    Tsuki ga Kirei (it’s reassuring to watch those kids get their act together, and the show is really pretty)

    Alice to Zouroku (After three episodes there’s a lot more plot and a faster pacing than I expected; at the same time they’re not sacrificing anything of the surreal feel and emotional levity of a slice-of-life show. If they keep it up like this it’s a real winner.)

    Grimoir of Zero (It’s surprising how much dignity the show affords the characters. I like the show’s pragmatic outlook, too. And the end-credits animation is likely going to be among the most adorable of the year.)

    Suka Suka (Great world building: unexceptional but competent. All the emotions make sense)

    Re:Creators (Looks like good metafictional fun. It’s not going to be deep, but they get it.)

    I also enjoy Love Tyrant a lot, but it totally deserves the pit of shame. The homophobia is extra disturbing because it’s so casual; there’s none of that I-know-it’s-bad-but-surely-you-have-a-sense-of-humour vibe I usually get from the bad jokes. It’s less malicious and more thoughtless, as if it was a done fact. I have no idea what the show would do if challanged (i.e. if they were to respond to such criticism with an episode). The show’s weird like that in other respects to. An example follows from the second episode. It’s technically a spoiler, so if you wish to let yourself be surprised stop reading: episode 2’s main stick was student-teacher romance. They go through a couple of twists and turns and end up with a surprisingly good resolution: the student asks the teacher to wait for her: she’s going to graduate and get a good job (because a teacher’s salary is bad), and then she’ll come back. Doesn’t endorse student-teacher relationships, doesn’t belittle the feelings either, empowers the female student. Good, right? The catch (because, of course, there is one)? The show treats the girl with the same old “calculating=evil” trope you see a lot in harems: apparently you’re not supposed to have a good head on your shoulder. And that with the same casual attitude they treat their homophobia. I find that mix more confusing than off-putting, to be honest. I always feel as if I’m misunderstanding something (though that’s probably just me wanting to think well of people). Anyway, the comedic pacing is excellent that the show leaves you no time to think, so it’s still quite entertaining (if you can get into it). The good thing about the show is that what you see is what you get. No more than five minutes are necessary to find out if you’ll enjoy it.

  • Eric Iacono

    Out of curiosity on the review policy, can I ask what’s the principle for not reviewing sequels?

    • The aim of the ranking is to help people curate their viewing in order to find new anime they can love. If there’s a previous series around you probably already have an idea of how feminist-friendly it is and whether or not you want to watch it, so a review would add little practical value. We have limited time, and reviewing all new premieres is a gruelling task as it is. Adding in reviews of MHA, AoT, EF, Boruto is a pretty significant extra workload that wouldn’t actually help many people find new anime they can love. Does that make sense?

      • Eric Iacono

        Sure. Although I hope some exceptions are made (like the FLCL sequel coming out later this year)

        • No exceptions, not for reviews. For a series like FLCL I’d much rather publish a feature from a knowledgeable, enthusiastic fan than a premiere by one of us squeezed in amongst all the other shows we have to cover over two weeks. The reviews and ranking are simply a practical tool, relevant to a very specific period of simulcasting, nothing more, and a show like FLCL definitely deserves more!

  • lmao where the heck is Boruto on this chart (it’s probably low since the mangaka fucked up the strong female characters from Naruto and turned them all into housewives, but the show seems really fun?)

    • It’s not here because we don’t review sequels! Glad you’re enjoying it though.