Anime Winter Season 2016 – Final Thoughts
Hahaha, I managed to catch up! Go me!
Ahem. Yes, we have reached the end of yet another anime season. One of the more interesting ones since I started doing this, even though I didn’t stick with any of the “interesting” shows for one reason or another. I appreciate their existence, even if I’m not able to watch them.
I also discovered another new thing that I assume is not new for other people: Short mini-series. Two shows I watched this season were just four episodes long, with about 10 mins to each episode. I’m not sure how common this format is, since I’ve not noticed it before, but I could just be bad at paying attention.
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
Aka Girls Beyond the Wasteland.
Seems I forgot to add this one to my mid-season thoughts. That’s a bit embarrassing. Well, I was still watching it at that point. I got all the way through episode 8 before I realised I just… didn’t care any longer.
Shokomeza, as it was known in short, started out very interesting. The art was gorgeous, the characters felt fleshed-out and fresh, and the story revolved around a bunch of highschoolers getting together to make a game. It gave the impression that they were bucking trends and wanted not only new ideas, but a different spin on old ideas.
Whether I was reading it wrong, or it genuinely failed to live up to its promises… I suppose that’s a matter of debate.
Halfway through it started feeling like they were running out of ideas, and at that point I became more aware of the show’s weaknesses. The issues it had tackled so far had been handled in a fairly shallow manner, and they seemed to be discarded as soon as the episode was done. Then as soon it had run out of ideas, it seemed to just fall back on the same old tropes as everyone else. It’s not really parody if you’re just doing the same thing without a hint of irony.
I was rapidly losing engagement with the show, and by the time I got to episode 9 I couldn’t be bothered any longer. I didn’t feel like I owed the show anything, so there was no reason to stick with it just for the sake of it. From what I read over on Pirate King’s blog, it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway.
Mahou Tsukai Precure!
Aka Maho Girls Precure!
This show is so excessively adorable, oh my gods. Everything is cute. Even the villains. They seem far more spoopy than spooky, to put it that way. Like they went to the wrong aisle in the interior decorating store.
I’ve only gotten to watch four episodes yet, due to a busy schedule, but so far I’m completely loving it. I especially love how everything and everyone is wearing hats. I love hats. There’s these magic carpets, right? They’re like the taxis of the magic world. They have little spirit-looking chauffeurs, in green jackets, with little pointy hats on top. It’s too much, yet I can’t stay away.
I am also quite happy that each of the transformation gems for the Precure comes with a different outfit. While Go Princess Precure had different dress-up keys, they were always wearing the same outfit, with different level-up versions. For Maho Girls it’s entirely different outfits depending on what they transform with. Several pretty dresses, yay!
Another thing I have been picking up on is that there seems to more… how do I put it? More subtext in this show than Go Princess ever had. Mirai and Riko are so clearly a pair that they almost seem like a couple. Of course, this could just be me interpreting things wrong. I’m from a different culture, after all, and what I would consider a clear indication of this might not mean the same for them. So I’m not going to say it’s definitely that, just that it looks that way to me. Head-canons are allowed.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2
Aka Snow White with the Red Hair.
Concluded at 12 (24) episodes.
Short version: It’s not as good as S1.
Long version: Hoo boy. Right, I will be using the numbering system I got with them, that this was episode 13-24 of the full show. I liked S1 quite a lot, so for ep 13 and 14 I was pretty happy just to see the characters again. Though I will admit I was feeling a little uneasy by the end of ep 14. As I mentioned in my early impressions, I thought the show was throwing in too many complications at once, and I didn’t entirely trust its intentions. From ep 15 to the end of ep 19 I had a pretty hard time watching. I feel like they were not only undermining Shirayuki as a character, but the whole spirit of S1. I think I mentioned this in my mid-season thoughts, but I genuinely went and looked up if they had changed the creative team between S1 and S2. They hadn’t. Same people.
It didn’t help how much the whole arc from 15 to 19 involved, even focused on, Prince Raj. A kidnapper and would-be rapist ( think about it, he tried to make Shirayuki his concubine ) whom I had absolutely no interest in seeing more of. I am not automatically opposed to the trope of “bad person learns to be better person”, but when you push the original “bad person” personality too far, I just stop caring about wanting to see them improve. Yes, Raj got better. I still resent his presence here.
My love for S1 was the only thing that kept me pushing through these episodes, and it did get better afterwards! Episode 20 introduced a lot of neat and interesting things, and I was relieved I was finally able to smile, laugh, and enjoy the show again. Yet also annoyed that it took so long to get there.
I enjoyed ep 20-24, and thought it was a neat touch that they hinted that Shirayuki could be bisexual. She’s in love with Zen now, so she won’t follow up on it, but I still think it’s neat. I don’t know whether that was intended, but that’s become my head-canon.
So with all that said, I’m not sure how to feel about it. Even if you liked S1, I’m not sure I can recommend sitting through seven episodes before anything good actually happens.
Concluded at 12 episodes.
This was certainly a show. Yup.
Okay, so the central premise of this show is that Hotaru is there to convince to Kokonotsu to take over his father’s dagashi shop, so said father can come work for Hotaru’s father’s large candy corporation. Yeah, none of that gets resolved. If that’s what you were looking for, you might as well spare yourself the trouble.
The whole final episode was underwhelming, with the exception of one scene I shan’t spoil.
Yet, I can’t deny the show has been entertaining. It’s basically just 12 episodes of Hotaru doing and saying nonsense, with the others either being perplexed, or getting caught up in it. The thing seems to be that the more you hang around Hotaru, the more you start to clue in to her train of logic. For a given value of logic, that is. So what she says and does almost starts to make a strange kind of sense. You can kinda see how it makes sense to her, at least. That might be the most scary aspect of the show, honestly.
I suppose the best way to sum up the show is calling it: Slice-of-life nonsense. Quite entertaining nonsense.
Concluded at 12 episodes.
I am impressed. I admit that freely. I not only stuck with this one, but it was very easy to do so. My rants about misrepresenting Africa aside.
First and foremost: I really, really like Mira. While the show likes to show her without clothes when it can get away with it ( since she’s an android and it doesn’t count ), I think she was for the most part used really well. I’ve noticed the tendency that if you have an android in a show, they’re just… a person that happens to be an android. Outside of the way they talk, or maybe a little bit of how they look, they’re not really different from the human characters in terms of capabilities.
Not so with Mira. The show makes good use of her super-human strength, speed, jumping ability, and so forth. She often uses her advanced eyes to scan for things, and she has sensors that detect stuff nearby, especially if it has a coil. There’s also her tail that seems to function much like Robocop’s hand-spike, in that it can access computer systems and tech for her.
Secondly: This show plays things very tight. Almost all of the plot threads that appear tie back together and form a solid story rope that wraps up everything in a satisfying manner. Not everything makes sense right away, but I always noticed later that “hey, this ties right into the main story they’re telling. Neat!” Considering how much anime I’ve seen just fall apart as the story rope gets too frayed, I consider that seriously impressive. It had a story to tell, and it told it.
I feel that things wrapped up so well, that even though “life goes on” there aren’t really any sequel hooks here. If they were to do a sequel, they’d have to come up with something fresh. Or maybe retcon something… so I accept this story as finished. I would probably still watch a second series just to see more of Mira.
Itoshi no Muco
Aka Lovely Muuuuuuuco! or just Lovely Muco.
Concluded at 25 episodes.
I was hoping this would go on forever. Muco was such a sweet point of light every week, and she will be missed.
Looking more into it, apparently this was the third series of the show, but I don’t feel you really need any prior knowledge to appreciate this one. I might still go back and watch the previous two series just to get more Muco, but that’s a different story.
It’s very funny and lovely, and worth looking into if you want/need something light and fluffy.
Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows
Aka She and Her Cat: Everything Flows.
Concluded at 4 episodes.
A beautiful and very human little show a young woman and her cat.
It’s a show for adults. Not in that it is explicit, violent, sexual, or any of the typical “mature” things, but in that one of the main themes is what it’s like when you’ve moved out on your own. You’re a young adult in your 20-somethings, and life can be difficult. You struggle to find a job, you’ve argued with your parents, you’re stubborn about doing things by yourself, and some days you can barely get out of bed, so you just spend time with your adoring cat.
Just stuff you probably can’t relate to unless you’ve been through something similar.
A very nice and heart-felt show to watch, so long as you’re okay with crying.
Kono Danshi, Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu.
Aka This Boy is a Professional Wizard.
Concluded at 4 episodes.
It’s cute. It’s a cute little love story that is as much about learning to love yourself as falling in love with someone else. It’s rare enough to see gay men in anime who aren’t blatant stereotypes, so just having two normal guys ( okay, one of them is literally a wizard ) falling in love and going on dates was nice and sweet.
It’s just four episodes, and will take like 30-40 mins to get through.
Koukaku no Pandora
Aka Pandora in the Crimson Shell.
Concluded at 12 episodes.
Definitely my favourite show this season. I love Nene and Clarion and them being together so much, and I will miss them so much, and can you please give me more?
It’s just really fun, and sweet, and cute, and romantic, and weird, and I think I might have to get the manga for this.
That’s it, really. Just because I loved it, doesn’t mean I have a lot to say about it beyond that. You’ll just have to watch it for yourself.
I suppose I can add that I will never get tired of watching Clarion hiss at things.
Oji-san to Marshmallow
Like the marshmallows it’s about, this show turned out to be mostly sweet fluff.
I’ll admit I was losing interest a little bit in the final couple of episodes, but I think the ending itself was a pretty nice save.
Decent little time-filler, I suppose that’s my final verdict.
Prince of Stride: Alternative
Concluded at 12 episodes.
Aaaaahhhhh, so intense! This is an amazing show, people! It’s just… they’re cute, they run, and there’s a lot of tension when they run, good times are had, and sometimes bad times, but they rise again!
I swear I’ve never felt so tense and hyped just to watch boys race each other. Even when I was sure of the outcome, I still felt really jittery and excited!
Nana, Riku, Takeru, Heath, Hozumi, Ayumi, Kuga… they’re all lovely people! And omg, when they model fashion as well… hngh. I just want to…
There’s also Himemiya Yuri who is like the prettiest boy ever, oh my gods! He’s grumpy, and he does the hair-twirling thing that Maki from Love Live does, and aaaaahhhhhhhhh!
I just want to hug them all to bits and kisses! Wait, that’s not how the… eh, whatever. Watch it!
Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen
Aka Utawarerumono: The False Faces.
Concluded at 25 episodes.
Well, this was certainly a thing. I talked earlier about story ropes fraying, and this is a very good example.
Utaware started really strong, I feel. It drew me in right away, and it ranked among my favourites last season. That didn’t really last.
The issues started already halfway into last season, as the show fell into the “we need to introduce all the girls” filler section. So there were several episodes where more or less nothing of importance happened. It was just fluff, and not interesting fluff at that.
Things picked up again somewhere in the ep 10-12 range, as the plot got going again, and we got some interesting and important information revealed. It is also where the next section of issues started cropping up. The show picked up a bad habit of starting up new plot threads, then not following up on them.
This trend kept going all the way to the end, by which time there were enough loose plot threads about that you could call it a ruined fishing net. And even at a point when it seemed to actually resolve one of those threads, it had to drop a hint that maybe it wasn’t resolved anyway. It was like a hoarder that didn’t want to throw anything away.
All of which led up to a supremely unsatisfying ending where nothing was solved and more questions were raised. As if this was all just setting up for a sequel. If it gets one, which I am not convinced of, I will probably give it a look. However I am not confident they can sort this tangled mess into something good any longer.
Atui still has the best voice, though.
Winter season is over, and Spring season has already gotten started before I was able to finish this post, since Dagashi Kashi’s final episode released so late. I don’t intend to rush things, though. I’ve not looked at what’s coming this season, though I’ve had a couple of things spoiled. I’m hoping for some good surprises, and I feel it’s best to go in with as fresh a mind as possible. And it would be nice if just for once there is nothing that offends me so much I just want to light it on fire.