Anime Summer Season 2016 – Mid-Season Thoughts
This summer has certainly been something. Between depression, Pokémon Go, Fire Emblem Fates, and more recently No Man’s Sky, it’s been hard to keep up with everything. Yet somehow I have managed to not lag too far behind, so I don’t think this post is that late.
I am still watching more shows than I expected I would be, so there’s been no real option to reach into the maybe pile. While the mid-point has often been where a lot of shows lose their way, I can’t really see too many of the shows I’m still watching falling out that badly. Then again, I have been surprised in the past.
You can go back and look at my early impressions, but right now let’s get this started.
Edit: Realised I should probably add some trigger-warning info for Orange.
Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
Aka Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-.
Let’s just get this out of the way. I’ve put Re: Zero on hold, indefinitely. I just can’t deal with this right now.
I’ve tried several times to get through episode 14, but each time I’ve had to give up after a few minutes. I just can’t stand this Subaru. This self-important, self-righteous, obsessive, possessive, arrogant little prick, who keeps taking out his pain and trauma on everyone he cares about.
I don’t even really understand how he turned into this. The end of the first arc ( that’s what I’m calling episodes 1-11 ) left him scarred, but not in a way where it makes sense to me that he’d behave as badly as he does in episode 12 and onwards. It didn’t feel like a natural transition from where he was. Maybe it’s done better in the books, and it’s just the anime studio fumbling the execution on his development, but I don’t know.
I’ve heard there’s finally a great pay-off in episode 18. I would love to get there, but in my current emotional state I just can’t endure four episodes of this ugly Subaru before he finally starts learning to behave again. If you are able to sit through it, then you might have something great waiting for you at the end. I’m not sure I’ll ever find out, but maybe some day.
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! LOVE!
Aka Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!
I had a feeling there wasn’t much meat left on this bone, and I would say I was correct in that assumption.
They’re trying, bless them, but the joke has already been played out. It doesn’t help that the new villains don’t seem to have a single interesting thing about them. Their defining characteristics seem to be: Perfect bishounen, evil, good at absolutely everything in every way, and evil.
Granted, I only got a little past halfway in the second episode before I felt like this had nothing to offer me. There is always the possibility things will improve later. I just don’t really care to find out.
Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu
Aka The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi.
I don’t even remember what it was that made me drop this show… oh. Right. I wish I hadn’t remembered now, but it was when one of the characters started groping the ass of one of the others against his will. I don’t really like that type of “joke”. That’s just assault, and this show really isn’t worth putting up with that shit.
Fukigen ga Monokean
Aka The Morose Mononokean.
This one is a bit trickier to explain. It’s not that the show did anything wrong in any specific way. It’s more that I just grew really bored watching it. In both the third and fourth episodes I spent half the time being really bored, and the other half was not so interesting as to really make up for the boring part. Figured it was best to just leave this one behind.
I’ve heard other people who seem to have had a better time with it, and that’s good.
Dear gods, the second episode… I don’t regret giving a recommendation based on the first episode alone, as I still maintain that was pretty strong in unexpected ways, but the second episode… ugh.
It’s like they went “okay, we have probably reeled them in now, commence the gross ecchi!” In the first episode he at least showed some restraint, but the second episode just went further and further. I cut it way more slack than I normally would have a show like this, but eventually it got too much. I kept telling myself “if I just ignore his perverted assholeness, I can still enjoy the show”, but after the fourth or fifth time those words just sounded really hollow.
I probably should have seen it coming.
Turns out I was wrong, and it is actually set in America. Not a huge deal as such, but I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed. It’s not like anime is set in a European country very often, especially not within the past hundred years.
Speaking of, we did have a year stated! 1929, which means the events at the beginning happened in 1922. Nice to have that cleared up.
Avilio/Angelo progresses in his plan to get revenge for the murder of his family, and I must admit things are moving more quickly than I expected. I wonder how it’s all going to play out in the end, whether he’ll succeed, or have a change of heart, or what.
This is a good show. In purely technical terms, I’d say this is the best show this season. The best-produced, most competent. The art is excellent, the characters are well put-together, the acting is great, and the whole setting is very well realised. And it’s just nice to have something that’s different.
Though with the OP being from the same artist that did the Tokyo Ghoul OP, every time I hear it I wish that Tokyo Ghoul had turned out good.
Amaama to Inazuma
Aka Sweetness and Lightning.
It has dialed back the heart-wrenching a bit after the first episode, apparently to focus more on being absolutely adorable. Watching those two dorks slowly figure out how cooking works, and Tsumugi’s excitement both watching and helping out, is really heart-warming.
It also makes me think of my own experiences with learning to cook. Pretty much every episode involves me starting to reminisce about my own cooking adventures and lessons learned. I go on such long tangents that for nearly an hour my anime live-tweeting account is filled with cooking chatter.
I don’t think I have much more to say besides that it’s worth giving a watch. Oh. And why would you put chopped onion in a roux? People seriously put too much onion in things.
Yep, I’ve not seen anything to make me believe this is not a girl-meets-girl romance story. I said something on Twitter along the lines of: “a show about lesbians so thirsty they have to throw themselves into the ocean”.
Not that the show doesn’t have some problems. Like putting too much stock in the wisdom of what certain characters say, those twins where the sister is far too abusive of her brother, the cats have butt-faces, or occasionally the moral of a situation seeming a little odd. But it’s very earnest, sweet, and cute, plus Pikari and Teko make a really cute couple. So I’m willing to look past those things.
Most of the show happens from Teko’s point of view, as she slowly opens up to Pikari and learns to become more like the person she wishes she was.
I have no idea how far the show is willing to go with the premise, or how far the manga has gone, but we’ll see. If nothing else, that’s what we have head-canons for.
I’m still a little surprised at how much I’m liking this show. I’ve ended up falling out with similar shows before, and part of me keeps expecting I’ll lose interest in this one as well. Yet so far that is not happening.
In fact, the more I see of the guys, the more I’m enjoying watching them. Both in how their personalities are, and in how the show really likes to find excuses for them to take their shirts off. They’re a bunch of good-looking and charming young men, and seeing them gradually rise as B-Project is just nice. They have a lot of obstacles to overcome. As they’re from three different groups, it also takes some effort for them to get to know and trust each other.
I suppose the only thing I wish for is that Tsubasa had a more active role. While she was quite prominent in the first episode, she is largely relegated to being a supporting character. I suppose it’s to be expected when she’s not on the promo image, nor do I think she appears in the OP. She is certainly getting better at being the A&R, and she’s good at coming prepared for most anything. But when it comes to things actually happening, she is almost always on the side.
Though I understand why she can’t be too active or assertive. The show is focused on showing off the boys, so she can’t take too much of the spotlight. She could be a little more strict with them, though.
This is even stranger than the first episode made it seem, but I’m having fun watching these banana-cats. Even when they talk about how their dreams are to be turned into yummy treats and eaten.
Aka Cheer Boys.
As Cheer decided to just put out a recap episode this week ( which if often not a good sign when it happens this early ), and I don’t want to wait another week when the rest of this post is done, I’m just going off the first five episodes.
Short story: I’m having a lot of fun with this show.
Long story: I feel like their progress in skill and attitude feels natural, for the most part. And it’s cute that they named themselves Breakers because they want to break through their own limitations. They’re a varied group, with varied issues they want to overcome. Like Haru overcoming his fear of heights by learning to trust the others will support him. His fear might not be gone, but the trust he feels and the confidence he has attained lets him overpower that.
They really are doing things step by step, and in episode 5 they put all their effort together in a demonstration that brought a tear to my eye.
I also find it cute how the show does its best to seem it’s totally straight and not at all gay like other sports anime. Just keep telling yourself that~
Speaking of cute, all of the boys are just that. Mizoguchi especially. He made quite the entrance, and he’s continued to be a delight.
The only thing I feel like I’m missing is any reactions from Haru’s family. They were quite prominent in the first episode, his sister especially, but since then she has barely appeared.
Love Live! Sunshine!!
Ruby is my daughter now. I have definitely officially adopted her, and I will raise her with care and affection.
With that made clear, let’s talk about the show.
I do not feel bad for saying this show has “basically the same set-up”, especially after it was revealed that this school is also in danger of shutting down due to a sinking number of applicants. So they’re running through more or less the same steps, yet I will be bold enough to claim they’re doing it better this time. I’m sure that won’t be a controversial statement at all.
You can of course clearly see the various character traits from the μ’s girls reshuffled into new combinations in these girls, but they’ve also done a good job of establishing each of them as their own persons. I’m really enjoying the progression this story has had so far, and I like the fresh take of involving more of the surrounding community now. Which makes sense, as this is a smaller place, so of course everyone would be more close-knit.
And I absolutely love Ruby. The other girls are good too, but Ruby is my favourite. Her voice is adorable and really helps sell the whole character. I looked it up, and this is actually the VA’s first role. Furihata Ai. Good job! Hoping I’ll hear her in more roles in the future.
There is also the sensation that Sunshine might be trying to out-gay the first Love Live, especially in terms of how the third-years interact. It probably won’t go anywhere in the show, but it’s certainly fanfic fodder. There’s not much in the way of fan-service as we’ve come to understand the term though, if you’re worried about that.
Aka Macross Delta.
Yup, we hit the end of the first arc, and I’d say it transitioned pretty smoothly into the second arc. As per anime tradition, there’s a new OP and ED now. I much prefer the new OP to the old one.
The dynamic of things has shifted, the stakes are higher, and the revelations more interesting. As we’re past the warm-up/learning stage for the characters, they can focus on their roles and we get to see more of their personalities, and the powers they awaken in each other and themselves. Still feel like we could do without the awkward love triangle, though.
I’m still not entirely sure where this is going, but I’m enjoying every episode. The last I watched, episode 19, was basically all exposition. Explaining and theorising about things I thought they would already be aware of in the Macross universe, but I guess only a few people had actually stopped to think about it. Of course music has power! How is that “just a theory”? Have you not been paying attention to what you’ve been doing this whole time, and what those in previous shows did before you?
In other news: That one asshole who somehow manages to be a bigger asshole than any of the other assholes no matter what the situation is, remember him? He’s still at it, and pulling it off in a way that seems effortless. I guess “being the worst” just comes naturally to him.
Mahou Tsukai Precure!
Aka Maho Girls Precure!
So they defeated the big villain, found the emerald, and restored the realm. So far, so good. But of course that’s far too early for a Precure show to end, so they had to find a way of prolonging things.
Enter a djinn. Now instead of being the new main villain himself, he thought it would be funny to resurrect that lizard-man who worshipped Dokuroxy.
Quickly figuring out that Dokuroxy was defeated, he swears revenge and grabs some of his old master’s bones to create stronger Yokuborgs to fight the Precure and reclaim the emerald. He also goes a bit funny, and makes an effigy of Dokuroxy that he talks to and seems to receive instructions from. There is magic in this show, so who knows how real it actually is.
Things have changed for Mirai and Riko as well. There’s a third Precure now, and it’s Haa-chan. Haa-chan is now grown up to the same size as them, and has officially moved in with them. A daughter and her two moms.
I was wondering whether they would add another Precure, and how it would work. Their transformations and attacks are heavily focused on them being a pair. So I’m not sure I’d say it has worked… well. Haa-chan uses the emerald to transform, and so far only the emerald seems to be available to her. This makes her really powerful, but she lacks the control of the other two, so they still have to guide her.
My biggest issue is that she does not really fit the style of the other two. She almost seems like she belongs in a different Precure show, and she has no combinations or symmetry with the other two. The only combo they’ve done so far is that Mirai and Riko use one of their finishers to counter and/or incapacitate a monster to allow Haa-chan to finish it off.
Maybe this will be improved later. See, there’s also been a curious lack of new tat since Haa-chan appeared as Cure Felice. There’s now been several episodes that are just the three of them going around and letting Haa-chan experience the world, with no new discoveries or powers happening. Considering that at first Mirai and Riko seemed like they were absolutely no match for the new Yokuborgs, I figured the new quest would be to find a way to power them up. Yet there’s been nothing yet. They just seem to have gotten better at it through experience.
I’m not complaining about that, it’s actually a bit refreshing, it’s just also rather puzzling. Granted, my only previous experience with Precure is Go Princess, so I have no idea how the shows before that did things. It just felt like the franchise was built on continually introducing new tat for kids to buy.
Aaaahhh, this is so adorable, why is it so adorable? Yuki is such an awkward pervert, and every episode is its own kind of delight. Somehow she manages to rope more and more people into her schemes, though the degree to which they are aware of her depravity varies.
For Momo it’s just about doing his best to be good with Yuki, and not always really getting what is going on. I wonder if he’ll ever be let in on what she’s been doing. Sure, it might freak him out, but it might also help him feel less left out. He gets a bit jealous when she’s getting along well with someone else. Though he is certainly more aware and attentive than she thinks he is, so he might just stumble upon the truth on his own.
Cute show about cuties, one of whom just happens to be a massive pervert. I’m okay with this.
There is more to this show than I probably made it seem like last time with my one short paragraph.
Aoba is a new hire at game studio, and she’s gradually learning how to model and design characters, and she’s working under her design idol: Kou. Along with the others on the team they’re working on a sequel to the game that made Aoba want to become a game dev to begin with, and she’s discovering just how hard work it can be. And that being an adult is tough.
It’s shown itself to be a much more solid show than the simple moefest I expected, and that really elevates it in the rankings for me. The one sticking point I’d say is that the fan-service does go quite far at times. While I’ve found it best to just let the pervert in me enjoy it, I can see how that would be a problem for people.
Now the most important part is who I ship. I am reasonably certain that Aoba has a crush on Kou, but I don’t think that would work, because Kou and Rin are practically a couple. Basically married. Kou was once a little mischievous and sent Aoba and Hajime out on a tiny “date”, and Aoba certainly seems to have some appreciation for Hajime. Yet it’s Hifumi who seems to have developed a crush on Aoba, and I can see that working.
I’d say Yun is the wild-card on the team. I’ve not figured her out yet. And Shizuku just seems to like to flirt and tease mercilessly. I’ve not seen much of Umiko yet, but apparently she’s prominent in the latest episode I haven’t yet watched.
TW: This show talks about suicide and suicidal feelings. I really should have thought to mention that right away.
Well. I admit I was wrong. Slightly right, but mostly wrong. I got what had happened, but I was wrong about why and how. So I can’t give myself any points there.
They’ve not really explained how Naho got the letter, but that probably won’t be until quite late.
I’ve found myself enjoying this show more than I expected. ( I keep saying that this season. ) It is very competent. It handles the story and characters with a deftness and skill I rarely see in any piece of media. It’s simply very good. The creators know what they’re doing. It sometimes feels a little too real. Definitely worth checking out.
I also have to state for the record that Naho is really dense. She is so dense. She’s like a whole new class of dense. There’s regular dense, and then there’s Naho. If she was fog, you’d be safer not going outside.
Regalia – The Three Sacred Stars
Well, this is a strange situation. After four episodes, the studio said they’re re-doing the show. They’re working things over from the start, and will release episodes again from the start of September, beginning at ep 1 again. The reason they gave was that they were not satisfied with the quality of what they had done so far, and felt it was best to give it another go. Never heard of that happening before.
I have no idea what they are referring to as lacking the quality they expected. I did not notice anything about the art or animation that didn’t seem good, so I’m not sure what they’d fix there. Are they wanting to re-do the script somehow? Add scenes they feel are needed? I suppose we won’t know until September.
As I don’t know what they intend to change, I’m not sure how much of the first four episodes is going to still be relevant in a couple of weeks. But I can still talk a bit about what I’ve learned compared to what I first thought.
First off: There is a difference between Regalia and Regalia Gear. Regalia are age-old beings. In their human form they are little girls, but their true form is that of a giant mech. They are named after the furies of Greek myth: Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. Though in their human forms they go by Rena, Kei, and Tia, respectively. They also seem to refer to Tia’s mech form as Tisis, rather than the full Tisiphone. We didn’t get to actually see Megaera’s mech form, so she never referred to by her mech name.
All three of them were involved in the incident that happened in Rimgarde, though exactly what happened and who did what was not fully explained. It does seem like Kei and her partner blame Rena for what happened, and are out to take revenge on her somehow. They keep demanding she be handed over, and they keep testing her. To what end we still don’t know.
Regalia Gear are mechs piloted by humans, created to equal Regalia and be able to stand against them.
Regalia are also able to take on a human partner, and judging by Tia and Sarah, I’d say that contract grants the human eternal life to be able to stay with the Regalia. Rena is hesitant to do that with Yui, because Rena has a lot of guilt to deal with, and considers herself dangerous. Especially as she’s plagued by her darker, destructive side wanting to take control.
At least, that’s how it looks so far. How much of that will still be the case once things are redone, and how much will be revealed as false assumptions later on… I’m looking forward to seeing. This was one of the shows I was most looking forward to each week.
Oh, and I’m a bit bothered by how Ingrid was claiming that because Rena is not human, she is also not a person. Is that how she views Kei as well? I resent the idea that being human is a prerequisite for being a person.
Show By Rock!! Short!!
I don’t know if there’s much to say about this. If you liked Show By Rock, then this is more Show By Rock, only in bite-sized chunks. I’m enjoying it.
Tales of Zestiria the X
Since this show cheated by starting on ep 0, I’m going to be talking about it as it was at the end of episode 5. Which was weird.
For episode 1-4, we follow Sorey and Mikleo, the main duo for the game, as they meet Princess Alisha, and end up travelling to her city to take part in the sword festival. Things go tits up, Sorey pulls the sword out of the stone, and becomes the Shepherd with the help of Lailah, the Seraphim in charge of guarding the sword. He defeats the first boss, then goes searching for the second boss while learning about what Malevolence is and how it manifests.
Then episode 5 is in a completely different place with different characters, the main of whom seems to be a lady called Velvet Crowe. I was really confused by this, as it didn’t seem to tie into the first four (five) episodes at all, and wasn’t even using the same terminology. I was later told this was a tie-in with Tales of Berseria. So I wonder if that’s where the X comes in? In Japanese they say that as Cross, so are the worlds of Tales of Zestiria and Tales of Berseria going to cross over, and everyone parties up?
I suppose I’ll find out.
Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume
Aka Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet.
Concluded at 5 episodes.
Very good. It had an exact story to tell, and it told it in as much time as it needed. I kinda wish more anime was free to do that.
Yumemi and Kuzuya form a strange dynamic throughout the show as he is compelled to help her, and she is just so happy to have company.
And the ending is just… I’m not going to say any more. You’ll have to watch it yourself.
So here we are, middle of August. It’s nice and sunny right now, but knowing Norway I’m sure autumn is going to set in soon enough.
As for anime, while I still maintain that spring was the stronger season just because of the sheer variety of good stuff, I have still ended up sticking with a lot of shows this season. In part because more shows just cater to my tastes this time, rather than it being more spread out as in spring.
I do feel like I have figured out the main thing that is missing from anime though: Not enough hugs!
Now I have other stuff to take care of. See you again around the start of October!