Anime Spring Season 2016 – Final Thoughts

I am not entirely feeling up to this, but I’m hoping it’ll get easier as I get into it.

Spring season is winding down, as Summer season is gearing up to get going. I’ve not looked at any spoilers or lists for Summer, so I have no idea what’s coming ( except a new Love Live that everyone has been talking about everywhere ). Should hopefully be exciting.

Spring season turned out to be quite exciting in and of itself, and I stuck to the end with more shows than I normally would. Maybe a new record so far? I’d have to go back and count, and it’s not that important.

Let’s just hop in! You can see the early impressions here, and mid-season thoughts here.

Dropped Shows

Almost 30 fucking characters.

Mayoiga

Aka The Lost Village.

Only one from the mid-season list I dropped.

I couldn’t be arsed any longer. I just couldn’t. I heard from someone who stuck with it to the end that it is not worth it. You’re probably better off not bothering either.

Such a shame, because it had a promising set-up. It just didn’t make good use of it.

Ongoing Shows

Sing your song!

Macross Δ

Aka Macross Delta.

Good news, it picked up again! After that one awkward episode I talked about last time, the show has settled into a good groove again.

This is not to say it’s entirely free of worrying signs, but at least it’s keeping things interesting again. There was even a shocking scene I didn’t see coming, which set a rather stark exclamation mark on an episode.

While the show is set to go to 26 episodes, after the 12 I’ve watched things seem to be coming to a head. The end to the first arc, perhaps? Because it kinda seems like an all-or-nothing situation at the moment. I’m curious to see where it’s going, and what might come next.

Haa-chan is cute!

Mahou Tsukai Precure!

Aka Maho Girls Precure!

Haa-chan is still dangerously cute. Aside from that, I don’t have a whole lot of things to add, which feels like a similar issue I had with Go Princess Precure. It’s still good, but I’ve already said so much.

The stakes have changed a bit since last update, which has been interesting. As the girls have been gaining new additions to their powers through the support gems, so have the villains stepped up their game and shown they can do more with their powers than previously alluded to. As we’re not even halfway in, I didn’t expect things to escalate so much so quickly.

Part of the Precure formula is coming up with new tat to sell, and they’re now close to collecting everything on the initial list. When they finally have the Emerald, what then? Go Princess had a pretty clear next step with Towa, but I’ve yet to notice anything like that with Maho Girls. So your guess is really as good as mine.

Tricky, tricky...

Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Aka Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-.

Well, this has left me in an awkward position at the moment. The first 11 episodes of this show are stellar. Absolutely fantastic. Up until the end of ep 11 I really felt like this was my favourite show, and the one I anticipated the most every week. The suspense was intense, the stakes were high, the mystery intriguing, the characters interesting, and the repeated loops fascinating to behold. Subaru seemed to be learning, and finally managed to pull off a plan that got more or less the best possible result. At the end of it, beat up as he were, it seemed to me he was a better person, ready to take on the next challenges, and more secure of his place in the world.

And then episode 12 happens, and the gear shift is so drastic as to be called jarring. Suddenly Subaru seems to have not grown better, but worse. His behaviour is reprehensible, disrespectful, desperate, and self-serving on a level never before displayed. It is really cringe-worthy to watch as Subaru just makes a bigger and bigger ass of himself, seemingly far more unravelled than he seemed to be an episode or two ago.

Took me several days to get through episodes 12 and 13, as I kept having to pause and take breaks to keep going. Even muted the sound and covered up the screen so I could only read the subtitles to make it more bearable, yet I still needed breaks.

It doesn’t help that the show seems to have changed genres, from magical time-looping mystery intrigue, to political jealousy drama, or whatever I should call it. I get that this has been an important plot point from the start, and we probably needed some exposition on the matter, but the transition was rather drastic and poorly handled. I know nothing of the light novel/novels the show is based on, but with how abruptly things changed, and how differently characters have acted, I would guess this was the start of the second book or something. As if the author forgot certain things between ending the first novel and starting the second.

Things got more bearable again towards the end of episode 13. At the end, Subaru got what was coming to him, and in spite of what he’s gone through, I don’t really feel sorry for him. I just wonder what he’s going to do next. Subaru is shown as an ugly human being, obsessive, jealous, no self-control, petty, thinking he can do no wrong and that his judgement is superior to everyone else’s, and I get the impression that’s all intentional. “Give me a reason to trust you.” Well, he didn’t.

Still, it’s nice to reclaim that feeling of “I’m looking forward to the next episode”, even if it comes with a few caveats now. Episode 14 will probably be a make-or-break moment for the show.

Completed Shows

Exceptionally unfortunate.

Anne Happy♪

Aka Unhappy♪.

Concluded at 12 episodes.

Okay, yes, that teacher is absolutely terrifying. And Anne’s bad luck can be even more catastrophic than I ever imagined.

I loved this show. It has such a strange approach to things. The girls often try so hard, seem like they’re about to win out in some way, but then they don’t. They might get really, really close, but then they fall short due to misfortune, or just lacking ability. There seems to be an effort to keep them grounded, as it were.

Yet they still remain strong friends, and find their source of determination and happiness in that friendship. In its own way, it’s rather uplifting. Things don’t go their way very often, but they form strong bonds along the way, and look out for each other as best they can.

I liked the ending, too. Felt pretty much like the ending there should be, with a “life goes on” message which I’m sure in part means they could do another series if they wanted to, but they can also leave it off there if not.

Kitty!

Flying Witch

Concluded at 12 episodes.

It was nice. It was really, really nice. Flying Witch is a nice show. While it might not be entirely unfair to claim it’s one of those shows where “nothing happens”, I think it followed a nice curve of exposure as it gradually introduced us to more concepts and stuff about the magical part of the world. Easing you into this world of wonder that seems at once normal and fantastical.

The artwork stayed great to the end as well. Helped give the show a Ghibli-esque vibe, in my opinion. I honestly hope they’re going to do more. There seems like there’s still a lot to tap into here without ruining any of the mystery or wonder.

Of the two relaxing and relaxed shows this season, this one is more fantastical and unconventional and certainly the better-looking.

The only thing that took me out of it is whenever the show would voice some old-fashioned, outdated point of view or opinion. That made my mind screech to a halt and go “wait, what? Seriously?” This could be where my unfamiliarity with Japanese culture comes in, because maybe to them these views are still seen as valid.

Not quite James Bond.

Joker Game

Concluded at 12 episodes.

This is such a weird one. Really good! But weird. Basically every episode had a different spin on it. It might not even necessarily be the spy of the week who is the character we follow. Sometimes it’s someone else related to the case/event going on.

Because of how different each episode can be, I wasn’t even aware I had watched the finale until days later. I looked at my list and saw I had watched episode 12, so I decided to look up how many episodes were planned. It really didn’t feel like a finale.

If you’re interested in spy thrillers, or just want something different from the regular crop of anime, I highly recommend checking out Joker Game. Does a very good job both of being a period piece, and a thriller. One of the absolute highlights this season.

Quite creepy.

Kagewani: Shou

Concluded at 13 episodes.

The curious beast is dormant once more.

Upon reflection, I’m not sure I’d say Kagewani S2 is as good as S1, but it’s still quite interesting. It’s some good monster horror with an interesting art-style. I wonder if maybe they got a bigger budget for S2, since they seem to be obscuring less, and animating more.

Also, part of what I like about watching a wide variety of different shows, is that I feel like I’m gaining a better understand of Japanese story-telling techniques. Not enough to explain in words yet, but I somewhat understand now why certain things are as they are, and end as they do.

It makes sense, of course. Across Western Europe and North America we have a certain formula for story-telling, that most movies, books, games, etc stick to, however loosely. What we expect from an opening, how it’s supposed to progress, and what we expect to be part of an ending to really understand that it’s done. Even when someone tries to break conventions, that’s usually just in terms of how the plot works, not by changing the formula itself.

So it makes sense that Japanese story-telling would not have an identical formula. What they see as a “normal ending” does not necessarily conform to what we would expect.

Erm… that turned into quite a tangent. Kagewani is good. Give it a look.

Gay bread buddies!

Pan de Peace!

Aka Peace Through Bread!

Concluded at 13 episodes.

Short, cute, and fluffy. Which can really apply to the main characters as well, though some are shorter and/or fluffier than others.

While not quite as gay as it had teased early on, it was still a nice palate cleanser.

This show is wild.

Sakamoto desu ga?

Aka Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto.

Concluded at 12 episodes.

This has been a wild ride. Sakamoto is not like any other anime I’ve watched, and I really don’t have a better word to explain it than “wild”. Outside of the first 11 episodes of Re: Zero, Sakamoto has been my favourite anime this season, and I still don’t really know how to explain it. Just… try an episode. I don’t think you need to watch more than one to get whether you’ll like it or not.

More curiously, the final episode actually felt like an ending. I feel like I need to go check out the manga to see if it continues beyond that point, or whether it’s just over.

Probably best to sit on Sonobe so she doesn't misbehave.

Sansha Sanyou

Aka Three Leaves, Three Colors.

Concluded at 12 episodes.

While certainly not a bad show, it does kinda feel like it falls just short of its potential.

I have a lot of love for the characters. I love the way Teru and Kou’s inner evil manifests in different ways. I love Teru and Selena’s shared love of cats, even though they can’t get along about anything else. I love Sonobe, she is amazing. I love Yoko, she tries her best. I even love Futaba, even though she doesn’t quite the same development as the other two. I love the short, blue, gay girl. I love Selena’s friend who has no tact, though I can’t recall her name. I even like Yamaji, to an extent. And I love the strange nigh-supernatural elements the show has going at times.

Yet for all that, I feel it could have been better. The only big issue I’ve found is that the show is too hung up in trying to have us believe these characters are such extreme stereotypes/archetypes, when it doesn’t really show that. The characters themselves will at times act in slightly exaggerated manners, but all in all they feel pretty grounded and like actual people, aside from a few quirks. But when characters talk about other characters, they make them out to be these extreme types that they don’t actually act like.

It feels like they’re trying to tell us what the characters are like, but they fail at showing us that they are like that. It was really the only disconnect that took me out of what I otherwise found to be a very enjoyable show.

Cuties.

Shounen Maid

Concluded at 12 episodes.

I enjoyed that. It was a good run. Shounen Maid is far more heartfelt than you might expect out of the premise of a boy who takes on the job of a maid.

It deals with various subjects; like grief, abandonment issues, adjusting to new family, family rifts… yet it is also in its own way a slice-of-life show. It tries to show that life goes on, and maybe not everything works out as you want, but… I don’t know how to put it in words. It’ll work out somehow. That’s a phrase that keeps being repeated. Maybe overly optimistic in a way, but I feel it’s a nice thing to cling to.

Also, I cried so much at that final episode. I’m a big sap, so it doesn’t take a lot to make me cry a bit, but this one strummed my heart-strings better than most. Kinda feel a bit exhausted after that.

I’m not sure I’ve explained it well at all, but this is a prime example of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. If you want to check it out, it will probably take 2-3 episodes to get a good feel for it.

All he wants is sleep.

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge

Aka Tanaka-kun is Always Listless.

Concluded at 12 episodes.

This is adorable. Also: poor Shiraishi. She tries so hard.

I’m so glad I picked this show back up. It turned into a highlight of the week. Sure, it’s technically another anime in a high school with high school kids and romances, but it’s also… different. How can I even explain?

It can be quite funny, but the humour is often more deadpan and unspoken than it is exaggerated and highlighted. It can often be quite blunt when it comes to characters talking to each other. Tanaka especially has a way of just saying flatly what he means with little to no embellishment. He probably thinks it’s too much effort to lie or embellish, yet he’s good at finding praise-worthy attributes in other people.

Miyano is basically his mirror image. She is high-energy and enthusiastic, but like him she is also really blunt and straight-forward, letting people know exactly what she means, but in a passionate way that Tanaka could never match.

And all the others are just sweeties in their own way. Without looking it up, I am going to make a guess this is based on a manga. It seems like the kind of show you’d get out of a yonkoma (4-panel) manga. Like Flying Witch it didn’t really have a grand finale as such, but it had an ending that fit the show, and left open the door for maybe doing another series if they wanted to. But it might just as well be bait for us to buy the manga. I’m considering it.

Maybe I should actually look up if there even is a manga… web manga, it says. Guess I’ll have a look later.

Give it 2 episodes before you cast a verdict if you’re picking it up. The first episode doesn’t represent the show too well, it’s mostly an introduction to Tanaka and Ohta.

Well...

Uchuu Patrol Luluco

Aka Space Patrol Luluco.

Concluded at 13 episodes.

It’s a Trigger show. That’s for sure. I can’t deny that.

While I lost a lot of my interest in it, I wouldn’t say that’s because it’s a bad show. Judging by how others reacted, it’s probably a pretty good show. The ending certainly lived up to what I would expect of Trigger in terms of visuals/spectacle.

My only problem is that most of my investment disappeared when I realised it was ultimately a love story. I think I might be a little burned-out on those. Or maybe I just wasn’t feeling this one.

Whatever the reason was, my final rating of this show is: it’s okay. It’s fine. It’s okay. I wouldn’t really say more than that, but maybe it suits you better.

But hey, I hear they’re doing a full Little Witch Academia series, which I’m looking forward to.

Bonus Section

Cuties x_x

Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita. OVA

The second and last OVA of this batch is out! And I’m both glad I got to see them one more time, and sad it’s probably the last time I’ll see them.

It’s very nice and sedate, as the show usually was. This time the girls have to film a PR video for Nagarekawa, which Nanako at first misinterprets as Promotional Video (PV) for Nagarekawa Girls. Essentially a music video like what Awa Awa Girls had done, and she has been watching obsessively. Apparently PV encompasses more than I first thought.

I am a huge Nanako/Yukari shipper, and I think the show is well aware of that part of their audience. They have been teasing that kind of thing from very early on in the show, and the teasing continues in this OVA. Yukari is basking in it, while Nanako still seems fairly oblivious to Yukari’s feelings, and possibly even her own. I can dream, at least. My future head-canon for these two is they end up married and living together. While it still hurts a little, I have mostly made my peace with never actually getting to see that.

Getting close to the start of the Summer season now. Actually looking forward to just diving into some new stuff again, even though some of it will probably blow up on me. Or I’ll blow up on it. Either or.

Spring was a good season! Seems like pretty much everyone found at least one thing they liked, as the diversity was pretty wide. It’s going to be hard for Summer to match that breadth of quality, but it’s still highly possible that there are at least a couple of really good shows. We’ll see.

Additionally: By the time I got to the final episodes of everything, Summer season had already started putting out the first episodes of some of the new shows. I’m going to take a few days off before I look at any of it though. I want to get through Zero Time Dilemma first.

Final note: Based on what I’ve heard and read from others, I don’t feel at all bad that I dropped out of Kiznaiver early. Come to think of it, Gurren Lagann and Little Witch Academia might be the only Trigger creations I really, really like. Everything else has I’ve seen has ranged from crap ( Ninja Slayer ) to pretty good ( Kill la Kill ). But at least they always seem to be trying to mix things up. When you experiment a lot, you’re bound to get some failures.

~Wulf

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Posted on July 3, 2016, in Cartoons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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