Thursday, February 9, 2017

Anime Fall 2016 Season Wrap Up

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Out of all the new releases for Fall 2016 that caught my eye I ended up watching 8 new shows.

6 - Completed Season Ones
2 - Abandoned

All eight are listed below in rank order from my favorite watch of the season, Yuri on Ice! to my least favorite Occultic;Nine and its gonna be a long one...

Yuri!!! on ICE


5/5 Stars
Fall 2016 Season
Episodes: 12
Genres: Sports, Comedy, Romance
Studio: MAPPA

Originally I did not plan to watch Yuri on Ice.  I don't typically watch sports anime and I had suspected the promo material was "queer baiting" (including material that would appeal to fans of queer romance but never actually intending to fulfill the promise of including a queer romance).

But I was WRONG!  And as soon as I received word that I was wrong I watched the entire series in two days.  I enjoy romance stories, especially ones which depict a healthy, realistic, relationship.  And Yuri on Ice did just that.  I love how the relationship between Yuuri and Victor is important, but instead of being the focus of the story it is a part of the larger whole.

The pressure on professional ice skaters to preform their best during their peak years of performance creates high stress when something goes wrong.  This anime tells the story of Japan's skater Yuuri Katsuki miraculously obtaining everything he ever wanted to get him back into competitive skating after a crushing defeat the year before.

This anime has a relatively large cast.  I enjoyed all the character story lines and individual perspectives, especially as they compete for the same title, but angsty little Yurio has a special place in my heart.

And while I preferred the moments off the ice to the scenes of actual competition, the championship had me on the edge of my seat.

Fune wo Amu, The Great Passage 


Rating: 5/5
Fall 2016 Season
Episodes: 11
Genres: Slice of Life, Drama, Work, Romance
Studio: Zexcs

I feel like I am the only person who watched this anime in which a small editorial department creates a new dictionary called "The Great Passage" over a period of fifteen years.

This slice of life, drama, is intellectual and motivational.  It has the tranquility of an anime set out in the countryside, even though it occurs in a dank forgotten office space in the city.  The drama includes the characters lives in and out of work.

It is widely known that their publishing company thinks producing a dictionary is a money pit, but the team perseveres because they believe their work will help others.  Check out this passage that I transcribed from episode two.

Araki: "Majime, do you know why we're trying to create a new dictionary?"

Majime: "No."

Mr. Matsumoto: "A dictionary is a ship that navigates an ocean of words.  Without words, you cannot express your thoughts or be able to have any sort of deep understanding of others.

People board the ship we call dictionaries and find the perfect words to gather the small lights floating to the top of dark waters.  Words are lights.

But in our ever changing world, unable to find the right words, there are those who lead troubled lives, caged with their own trapped feelings.  We need a ship people like that can feel safe boarding.

That is the dictionary we are trying to create.  Written with characters meaning 'to cross the vast ocean'.  It's called The Great Passage."

As a writer and a lover of words, I fell for this anime hard.  I even cried at the end of it.  The emotion is only heightened by the excellent choice of instrumental music throughout.  And the upbeat opening song: Shiokaze by Taiiku Okazaki is now one of my favorite songs.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, Kiss Him, Not Me!


Rating: 4/5
Fall 2016 Season
Episodes: 12
Genres: Comedy, School, Harem, Romance
Studio: Brian's Base

I thought this anime was hilarious and relateable.  Serinuma is a major otaku fujoshi with a passionate love for her favorite BL character Shiro.  As the result of fujoshi related heartache, she loses a bunch of weight and returns to school a traditional shoujo beauty.

And to her eminent dismay, attracts the special attention of four handsome boys and one handsome girl.  This entire series surrounds the antics that occur when someone who is uninterested in romance is perused romantically.

I enjoyed this anime for the comedy, plot wise and message wise I recognize it has quite a few issues and do not think it should be taken very seriously.

I really loved the friendship which reluctantly blooms among this group.  Also, that each member of the harem got an episode dedicated to exploring their character.

The ending was lackluster and I was disappointed in the lack of character growth in Serinuma, but maybe, she isn't the character that needs transformation after all.  I think it's too soon to tell.

What's that?  You want me to pick only one member from the harem?  I couldn't possibly--Igarashi--yeah, definitely Igarashi.

Soushin Shoujo Matoi, Matoi Sacred Slayer 


Rating: 4/5
Fall 2016 Season
Episodes: 12
Genre: Magical Girl, Comedy, Supernatural
Studio: White Fox

I watched Matoi last out of all my watches for this season.  It caught my eye initially because the animation looked clean, stylistic, and colorful in a psychedelic sorta way.  Also, the story about exorcist girls who live at a shrine sounded interesting.  Despite that, out of everything I chose to check out during the season, I really thought this one was going to disappoint me--I was super wrong!

Matoi and Yuma are young girls whose exorcist girl powers have recently awakened.  They get tossed into the world of fighting demons along side a veteran fighter, the super stoic Claris sent to japan by the Vatican.

There is not much time for these girls to train their skills.  The barriers between dimensions are weakening and the demons are getting stronger.  There is a mystery surrounding Matoi's powers and what happened to her mother.

It was really good.  Essentially, this show is an even mixture between a satire of the magical girl genre, and is also, somehow, a kickass magical girl show itself.  It sounds like a weird concept, but they managed to strike a perfect balance.

Characters break the fourth wall to make jokes about including fan-service for ratings and yet each battle scene is accompanied by an epic battle song with strong vocals.

Also! Hot dads aren't my thing, but dam Shingokun...


Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru


Rating: 3/5
Fall 2016 Season
Episodes: 12
Genre: Game Adaptation, Samuri, Slice of Life, Comedy
Studio: Doga Kobo

This anime is based on a game where swords of historical significance are summoned and anthropomorphized into males of varying degrees of typically masculine traits.  It is fantasy and comedy, so they already understand what it means to be human and come into the world fully formed with their own baggage and issues.  

They have memories of the battles they have faught, and who their owners were, but not every blade was used in battle, and some are reforges.  All of this plays into their current personalities.  

Through scifi/fantasy magical ability, the master sends these swords back in history to fight an evil force that is trying to change the outcome of past battles.  And in other episodes they cook food, do chores, and greet the new swords as they are summoned.

The plot feels pretty random, and I think I would have understood it all better if I had played the game or knew more about Japanese history.  I almost abandoned it, but after watching episode three I became emotionally invested in the characters.  

Some story lines were super cheesy, and I definitely do not remember more than half the characters, but I did enjoy it at the time. 

3-gatsu no Lion, March Comes in Like a Lion


Rating: 3/5
Fall 2016 Season
Episodes: 22 (I watched 12)
Genre: Drama, Slice of Life, Game
Studio: Shaft

This is a very emotionally driven anime depicting the stark difference between a lonely, solitary, life and a life full of love and family.  

Rei is a highschool aged boy who is also an orphan and a professional shogi player.  He is currently living on his own in a starkly furnished apartment near the big river in his city. 

This show is moody, somber, and beautifully stylistic in animation.  Seriously, the sky makes appearances cosplaying as a Van Gogh painting.  There are drastic animation differences between the scenes which occur inside the Kawamoto house, (which is full of family, young girls, delicious foods, and cats), and the scenes outside of it.

Rei thinks he has nothing but his shogi talent, and this anime chronicles how he deals with knowing he has "ruined" the lives of his opponents who have lost to him.  

While watching this anime, you get the sense that everything is on the verge of crumbling in some tragic way.  I was paranoid the whole dam time.  And I think this feeling instilled in the viewer is mimicking how Rei is feeling.

Rei has an adoptive family, but has a very strained relationship with them.  And when his step-sister appeared I wanted very much for Rei to throw her in the river.  

Even though Rei is struggling right now, episode 10 leads me to believe that he will survive, but honestly, I am not sure when I will be in the right frame of mind to watch the second half of the season.  This show probably deserves a higher rating, but I'll need to finish it first to decide.

Trickster: Edogawa Ranpo "Shounen Tanteidan" yori


ABANDONED
Episodes: 24
Fall 2016 Season
Genres: Mystery, Supernatural, Futuristic, Police
Studio:  TMS Entertainment 

I abandoned this anime after watching three episodes.  It was very fast paced, futuristic, and action packed, but nothing about it appealed to me.  

The main character, who is a teen boy detective was the arrogant type of character and his partner was a technologically advanced teen girl who is a shut in.

Occultic;Nine


ABANDONED
Episodes: 12
Fall 2016 Season
Genres: Supernatural, Scifi, Mystery
Studio: A-1 Pictures    

I thought the plot of this anime sounded really cool, but wow, it was awful.  I abandoned it after watching three episodes.  The main character seems arrogant and unlikable.  He runs a website that curates supernatural stories from around the internet for the sake of making money off of the traffic.

Every character talks extremely fast.  I had a hard time keeping up with the subtitles.

And as if that did not make this anime difficult enough to watch--then there were the boobs.  For whatever reason, the main female character was animated with huge boobs that moved around in every which way, at all times, and even got in the viewers way of seeing the scene.  I could not even consider it fan-service.  It made no sense.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these shows!

Until next time,
thanks for reading! 
Manda

All anime images taken from MyAnimeList.net
Blog post graphic made on canva