Anime Winter Season 2016 – Mid-Season Thoughts
We got there! Well, here.
I have not been feeling too well so far this year, so there was a couple of weeks where I simply forgot about watching anime.
However! I have now caught myself up to episode 6 of what I’m still watching. I probably ended up dropping more than I normally would, just because I didn’t feel well enough to actually handle watching some of it.
I have also noticed that I have developed trust issues towards some anime now. I have been betrayed- actually, that sounds rather dramatic, but at least there’s been several instances now where a show has broken the trust I had given it. Which has in turn made me more wary of future breaches of trust from other shows, and it’s like I’m both consciously and subconsciously picking up on warning signs that a show might be about to do something I really won’t like.
This opening has already gone on for too long, so let’s just jump into it, starting as usual with what I’ve dropped since last time. Early impressions here.
Boku dake ga Inai Machi
I was not exactly happy about dropping this one. It is a very interesting show, it’s different, and it tackles harder subjects in a more… realistic manner, if you will. But damn if the show shouldn’t come with some trigger warnings.
Already in episode 2 I was feeling like the show might be too heavy for me to handle, but I wanted to persevere. Yet I only lasted till episode 3, because it got into the topic of child-abuse, and was depicting it in a very stark and brutal manner. I don’t think it was handled insensitively or badly, but it was definitely too dark for me. For my current state of mind.
So with a feeling of disappointment in myself, I decided to drop the show. But if you feel you are able to handle the darkness this show grapples with, I do highly recommend giving it a look. I want to promote stuff that tries something different in a competent manner, even if it’s not my style of thing.
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri S2
Aka GATE S2.
I already talked about my misgivings with the first episode and its rape scene in the early impressions, and as I feared it didn’t really get better from there. Early on in the second episode there’s an abuse scene that also gives off the impression that it’s still trying to be a little titillating, and at that point I was just out.
GATE is not a show I trust to deal with any serious topics in a suitable manner, and from what I’ve heard from people who stuck with it further, it really doesn’t. I think someone said that an episode or two later they were misrepresenting PTSD, so…
Luck & Logic
I really thought this was going to turn out all right. I guess I still have some naivete in me.
I didn’t even last through episode 2. It started out okay! The room-sharing arrangement between main dude ( already forgotten his name ) and Athena seemed very comfortable and nice, and I thought it spoke highly of their relationship.
And everything was basically fine until he and the girls had their first joint training session, and wow did things come crashing down hard.
Their team leader is Tamaki, the girl in the top-right of the image up there, in the red and pink outfit. There’s suddenly a scene where main dude ( Tsurugi, I looked it up ), looks at her and starts blushing, she notices his look, also starts blushing and holds up her arms as if trying to cover herself up, and I didn’t get it. I rewatched that little sequence several times to see if her dress had slipped down in any way or anything, but I couldn’t see anything like that.
And then he says as an excuse “it’s your fault for dressing like that”. He just… I guess he just got a boner from seeing her in that outfit? I kinda blew up then, as people who saw me on Twitter can attest. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her outfit. It’s fine. It’s perfectly fine. It’s demonstrably fine. It’s. Fine! And he just… acting like it’s some revealing… wow. Just wow. Puritanical, misogynistic asshole.
Shortly after he overrode her authority and negated one of her orders in favour of one he thought was better. And no one calls him out on this. Not a single person mentions it, they just go along with it. Because… he’s the dude, so he knows better? Like, fuck that attitude. It’s not been demonstrated or explained or insinuated that he has any relevant team-work experience, much less leader experience or ability. As far as we know he’s always worked alone in the past, so… what the fuck?
The third and final strike for me was when he went off on a “I know better” excursion to confront the “100% Bullshit” guy, and when Athena was trying to dissuade him from going into something he didn’t know the full story of, he just went “shut up, Athena”. With all that attitude of “shut up woman, I’m a man, I know better”.
Fuck this show, and fuck Tsurugi in particular.
Ooyasan wa Shishunki!
Aka The Landlord is in Puberty!
Morbid curiosity kept me watching this for a couple more episodes to see where they were going with it, as if I didn’t already know the answer was “nowhere good”.
Best to stay away from this one altogether.
Aka Please tell me! GALKO-chan.
It’s not the worst, I just kinda got a bit tired of it. Cute and subversive in certain ways, and then it will occasionally treat bullshit as valid in regards to the rather rude questions that are asked. So yeah, just not my thing, really.
Tabi Machi Late Show
Didn’t really turn into anything interesting in episode 2 either. I found it to a bit too boring to stick with.
I watched two of the one-shot films that have come out this season, so I’ll be including those in the following section.
Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai
Aka Garakowa -Restore the World-
The two girls up in the foreground up there are anti-virus programs, Dual and Dorothy, installed in a virtual library containing loads of compacted archives of various moments in human history. Their job is to protect the library from virus outbreaks, and unpack the various archives to scan them for viruses. If an archive is infected, they are to delete the whole thing.
Fighting the virus takes the form of a fairly typical anime aerial battle, where Dual and Dorothy fly around, erect barriers, and hit the viruses with projectiles.
Then one day they come across the girl in the background there. She doesn’t remember who she is or where she came from, but she definitely turns out very quickly to act more human than either of them. The first thing she says is “Remo”, so that’s what they call her. They end up forming into a family of sorts as they start looking through various archives to see if they can find any clues as to where Remo came from, and hopefully recover her memories.
It’s a feature-length film, and I admit I found it very sweet. It’s not great, but I think it’s good enough to be worth watching.
Go! Princess Precure
Concluded at 50 episodes.
It is done. It is actually done. Feels weird. No more Puff. No more Haruka, Minami, Kirara, or Towa. But more importantly, no more Puff.
It was a very good ending though. I really liked how they wrapped it up. The happy, the sad, it all felt very fitting. I cried a lot.
Even though I know Precure as a franchise basically has all the money in the world, I still find it amazing that the show managed to keep up such a high quality for 50 episodes, 50 weeks in a row. I might be wrong, but I don’t think they took a single week off. That is frankly astounding. Some shows can barely manage a few good episodes in a row. Many can’t produce any good episodes at all.
I assume that from the very start, the team knew they had a year, so they were able to plan out the story accordingly, following the girls from first-year initiation to third-year graduation.
Very good run. Very good. Looking forward to what the new Precure series will bring.
It’s a half-hour short film about an ancient super-vampire named Raizel who has been sleeping for 820 years when he is awakened, like the title says. He finds his way to his loyal servant Frankenstein, who is apparently also a super-vampire, just not as super. Frankenstein is also the headmaster at a high school now, and arranges for Raizel to join as an “exchange student” to learn more about current-day society.
And oh my gods, I loved this soooo much. The first act is basically just set-up, the second act has some amazing comedy and more good world-building, and the third act is awesome badassness!
In addition, it all has a very Vampire Hunter D feel to it. I’ve read about a dozen of those books, and this has a very similar feel, even if the story and setting are clearly different.
I highly recommend watching this! I am slightly torn on whether I’d like a whole series of it, or if I’m happy with it just existing on its own. I want to see more of this, but I’m not sure if the concept of a super-powerful vampire that regular vampires have no chance against could last a whole season? Though a few more short films could probably work. There is certainly more story and world to explore.
Kono Danshi, Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu.
Aka This Boy is a Professional Wizard.
While looking this up, I learned that this is another entry in a series that already numbers three other shows.
While there are different characters in different settings for each of them, it’s still the same style, and the same topic of yaoi, or boy on boy love, if you will. Actually, I think it’s just referred to as BL these days?
A talented wizard named Chiharu considers himself to be a bit boring, so he puts his all into his work, as he thinks there’s nothing else he’s good at. One night he runs into a guy named Toyohi at his favourite bar, and Toyohi immediately is very friendly towards Chiharu. At the end of the night when they’re walking home, Toyohi confesses he’s fallen in love with Chiharu, and tells him to call him.
Apparently it’s only going to be four episodes, and I’ve watched two already. It also has pretty short episodes at just 7-8 mins, but I’ve found myself liking it more than I thought I would. It’s very cute. The promo blurb I read has spoiled what’s happening in the next episode, but I still look forward to watching it.
Oh, and if they bang, I get to say “a wizard did it!”
Mahou Tsukai Precure!
Aka Maho Girls Precure!
The new Precure series has started! Though I have only been able to catch the first episode yet.
I was immediately struck by how different it feels from Princess. I wonder if it’s a different creative team. Looking at the credits on MAL, it seems like that is the case. The episode director for Princess returns as Producer here, and the Original Creator stays the same, but otherwise it seems to be all different people. The Princess team have definitely earned their rest. Might be they’re starting pre-production for the next show soon, though.
The story this time centres around two girls. Mirai comes from a regular non-magic family, and she desperately hopes that magic is true. Riko is a magic user, and even goes to magic school. When she first meets Mirai, Riko’s searching for a fabled gemstone said to hold immense magical power.
Mirai is so extremely excited to learn that magic is real, and decides she has to get to know Riko. It’s easy to notice that the comedy is much stronger here than it was in Princess. Not that Princess was bad at comedy, but Maho Girls is definitely better at it. Granted, this is just based on the first episode. It’s also less concerned with taking things slow, and rather seems to want to rush to the good parts.
After encountering a baddie in the form of the magical vampire Batty ( yes, really ), the two accidentally trigger a reaction between their pendants that transforms them into Precure. Mirai becomes Cure Miracle, and Riko becomes Cure Magical, which allows them to fight off Batty with the magic of super-punches.
Riko then takes Mirai along to go to Japanese Hogwarts, and that’s where episode 1 ended.
While there is no Puff, the new mascot Mofurun is still pretty cute. Just not Puff-level cute. Assuming the show can hold up the same standard as Princess, I am happy to see more of this.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2
Aka Snow White with the Red Hair.
Well… I’m kinda still watching. I’ve watched the first four episodes. I’m waiting for a bit more to come out before I watch any further, because the ending of ep 4 (16), and the preview for ep 5 (17) made me really not want to watch 17 on its own.
The difference in feel and tone between S1 and S2 is so stark that I actually had to make sure it was still the same team working on it. And yeah, it’s the same people, which makes me wonder how it got to this.
The show is no longer about Shirayuki’s agency or strength. Now she seems to just be there. The boys all want her, they squabble behind her back about who gets to have her, and she speaks in ways that can be easily misunderstood by any of them to think she is interested in them. Well, okay, it has mostly been with Prince Raj so far, a character I had no desire to see return, and certainly didn’t want to see take such a prominent role.
So we have Shirayuki suddenly put in a very passive role, the kidnapping plot happens, and now all the boys have to stage a rescue, I guess. I don’t know, that’s the part I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch yet.
Ever since the second episode I have had this bad gut feeling of “I don’t know if I can trust you any longer” with regards to the show as a whole, and the direction it is taking. Unfortunately it seems my fears are coming true rather than being laid to rest.
Honestly, the only reason I want to see this through is because of how much I liked S1, and there’s still a small part of me that holds out hope that they will somehow make this all good in the end. But so far: very disappointing.
While I am starting to feel a small worry that the concept is getting old already, I have enjoyed Dagashi Kashi a lot so far. Hotaru is a big reason. I don’t think I’ve seen her do or say anything that makes sense yet, but that’s part of the charm, really. It’s very entertaining nonsense.
The way the others are quite nonplussed at her antics just makes it better, yet they occasionally get swept along with her enthusiasm, even if it is nonsense.
I am not sure what end-goal the show has, if any. Hotaru is still trying to convince and/or trick Kokonotsu into taking over the dagashi shop, so maybe she finally accomplishes that in the end?
And while Hotaru and Saya seem to be the favourite fan-pairing, and the ED plays that up, I think the show itself is still pushing the feelings between Saya and Kokonotsu.
I guess we’ll see where it all ends up.
I am still watching this, which I admit I am somewhat surprised at. The main reason is of course that Mira is still amazing, but it’s done some decent story-telling as well. It’s become an interesting mystery show, in a way.
Though with all they’ve set up, I am not sure they will be able to properly wrap things in just a single season. Especially considering the arc they just started.
Episode 6 raised a couple of warning flags, though… I ended up asking myself twice whether it was being racist. I think it was, though I have a feeling it wasn’t intended as such, it just happened anyway. Which isn’t really any better than intended racism, it’s just the other side of the racist coin, I suppose.
Also, Africa isn’t a country! It’s a continent! And a really big one at that! How is this is still a thing…
Itoshi no Muco
Aka Lovely Muuuuuuuco! or just Lovely Muco.
Muco is so great, and I love her a lot, and I want to keep watching for a long time, okay, thank you.
Koukaku no Pandora
Aka Pandora in the Crimson Shell.
This has turned into my favourite show of the season, and I was quite surprised by that development. I love it so much, though.
Nene and Clarion are super-cute, both on their own and together, it has some great comedy in it, often using the simplified art-style to great effect. I will never get tired of Clarion hissing at things.
I also think it’s a really cute love story, as the two of them walk around the island meeting different people and helping them out via the Pandora device, while they grow closer.
This is one of those instances where I recognise it has flaws, but they don’t impact my enjoyment of it in any way. I just don’t care, because I love it too much.
I think part of it is because they’ve made everyone feel like they have very strong characters. Even BUER is amazing in his own way.
Oji-san to Marshmallow
The Paul Blart anime continues to be a bright spot every week.
I do wonder if Wakabayashi and Hige are going to actually hook up? I mean, I hope so. But it kinda seems like a thing the creators might just hold out of reach forever.
Prince of Stride: Alternative
I can’t find any flaws with this. It’s so good. It is still only my second favourite after Pandora, but it is so good.
While I did watch Free!, this still feels like my first true foray into sports anime, and I am having a blast. Episode 6 was all about a single race, and it was so intense I was practically vibrating with excitement.
And there was a super-pretty boy. Named Yuri. Who has twin-tails ( I think ). And plays with his hair like Maki from Love Live. Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh, it’s too much!
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen
Aka Utawarerumono: The False Faces.
The show has truly shaken off its filler slump, and the plot has gotten going in earnest. I’ve watched to the end of ep 18, and we’ve really learned and seen a lot regarding the story and backstory of all this. Things seem to be on a good pace now. I do wonder what they’ll do for the big finale? How are they planning to wrap this up? I guess I’ll see in episode 25.
Sidenote: Atui has the best voice, and I really could just listen to her talk all day. I think I’ve said before how it really reminds of Chitose’s voice in Yuru Yuri, and I stand by that. It’s just so warm, soft, and calm.
How does this always turn into so much text? I like typing out my thoughts, I guess.