Today is a time to rejoice as we celebrate six years of Avvesione’s Anime Blog. And while I typically use this post as an excuse to post screenshots of Setsuna from Needless to write about my lessons in anime or blogging from the previous year, I find myself lacking in subjects or ideas that weren’t communicated in years passed. But I suppose I should consider myself fortunate for reserving the time to pen a post; this is just my fourth post in the last seven months. Or perhaps more sobering truth of my current situation: in my first 3 years I published exactly 500 posts, whereas in the last 3 years I have only completed 139.
Really, I’d love nothing more than to continue to write about anime and to discuss anime with others, but it’s nearly impossible to find the time these days. Instead of doing the usual for my anniversary posts, I’ll do what I’ve longed to do these last few months and write about the Autumn 2016 anime season!
This post attempts to summarize my thoughts and opinions on everything I’ve watched to date, including all the shows I’ve dropped or decided to 4x. This post will review: Shuumatsu no Izetta, WWW.Working!!, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, ViVid Strike!, Tiger Mask W, Trickster, Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume, Nobunaga no Shinobi, Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans S2, Hibike! Euphonium S2, Brave Witches, Yuri!!! on Ice, Flip Flappers, Keijo!!!!!!!!, Drifters, Long Riders!, Girlish Number, Occultic;Nine, 3-gatsu no Lion, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari, and Stella no Mahou.
Shuumatsu no Izetta
The first of many yuri/shoujo ai anime this season, Shuumatsu no Izetta is a decent, albeit shallow, anime about a witch and a princess who fight off a Nazi Germany Germania invasion during the Second World War… or at least that’s what I think it wanted to be. In reality, Shuumatsu no Izetta is an anime about how a war negatively affects the relationship between a witch and a princess. It’s a real shame because Shuumatsu no Izetta shines brightest when the story and characterization is about Izetta and Finé, developing these characters and their story about saving their nation. The anime could do well without all the cookie-cutter WWII fights and Izetta’s trials of using magic to blow up tanks and warships and whatnot. Too often the series is distracted by these disconnected war scenes that do little to facilitate either character or their story together. It’s disappointing because without these scenes, and with the focus being placed on Izetta and Finé, the series would’ve been more alluring and interesting. Nonetheless, the anime is a net positive with remarkable visuals in its backgrounds and an outstanding soundtrack. However, there were issues with the production quality (especially after the first few episodes) and the fanservice felt out of place most of the time. Shuumatsu no Izetta was never able to capitalize on its potential but was still a delightful anime for Autumn 2016.
My favorite part about Working!! is that, even though it’s called Working!!, all the skits are about the characters not working. That and all the relationships in Working!! are not working, either. Maybe the title is supposed to be interpreted as sarcasm? Well, whatever it is, WWW.Working!! is a workable comedy that has grown as the season has progressed. The characters do feel more stiff and one-dimensional compared to the cast of the original Working!!, but Miyakoshi is a phenomenal star, and certainly one of the most unforgettable characters of the year. Miyakoshi and Higashida do their best to carry this show along and help to keep it as one of the more enjoyable anime this season.
Nobunaga no Shinobi
Cute, chibi and humorous; Nobunaga no Shinobi is a delightful 4-koma short about a ninja girl killing a lot of people… and yeah, that’s about it. That and you have your typical cast of Sengoku period characters who all have their various jokes and whatnot, but their role is muted compared to the protagonist, Chidori. It’s a short with appropriate comedy, so it functions well as a relaxing break between regular TV anime.
Hibike! Euphonium S2
Hibike! Euphonium is simply amazing, brilliant, and outstanding. Its masterful use of dialogue and storytelling allow this anime to weave a complex manifestation of passion, relationships, and their fateful drama to create a compelling and emotional anime that is a pure delight to watch. Hibike! Euphonium hasn’t missed a beat with this second season and I am thrilled with how this sequel has progressed. Easily one of my favorite anime of the year, Hibike! Euphonium is deserving of another encore.
Perhaps the most surprising anime of the season is Keijo!!!!!!!!. There’s no denying that Keijo!!!!!!!! is an ecchi fanservice anime about girls in swimsuits battling with their boobs and butts, but it’s this unequivocally ridiculous premise with its extravagant battles and outlandish attacks that make it genuinely entertaining. Keijo!!!!!!!! knows how preposterous it is and it’s using this awareness to its advantage. It understands its style, its humor, and how to maximize entertainment and amusement. It’s not about a story or characters or a theme or an idea… it just wants to be fun for people to watch and enjoy. And yes, I am watching and enjoying Keijo!!!!!!!!. It’s nowhere near the top anime of the season, but Keijo!!!!!!!! is a satisfying anime if you’re looking for over-the-top comedy and an endless display of fanservice.
Another ecchi anime, Brave Witches is a parallel series to Strike Witches which shares a familiar premise, but features an entirely new cast of characters and an upgrade in the setting, too. Brave Witches takes place over the frigid, wintery skies of Orussia, and follows the efforts of the slightly more clothed 502nd Joint Fighter Wing as they fend off the Neuroi alien invasion. The scenario and storytelling and episodic content could be mistaken for Strike Witches as both anime share the same issue of “character of the week” episodic content while forgetting a central storyline beyond fighting “aliens of the week (who just so happen to be weak to whomever the character of the week is)”. That said, I think I’m enjoying Brave Witches more than Strike Witches because the snowy, Russian landscape kicks ass and I don’t hate as many characters in Brave Witches as I did with Strike Witches. The fanservice also seems reduced compared to Strike Witches, but it’s hard to quantify when half the characters are in their panties and you still get a dozen pantyshots and whatnot each episode. Brave Witches is far from great, but I am enjoying this anime for its successful chemistry, adequate fight scenes, gorgeous scenery, and enchanting soundtrack.
Flip Flappers has an impressive combination of talent and energy behind it, creating one of the most dazzling, vibrant, and creative anime of the season. At times, Flip Flappers seems like a pure illusion, what with its distinctive style, vibrant colors, engulfing emotions, and elegant animation. Where Flip Flappers comes up short, though, is its storytelling and characterization. Though Papika is a leading character, her development is stagnant or nonexistant and Cocona, the other main character, seems to go through cycles of growth and reset, growth and reset, growth and reset. And while the story and central theme of the anime is to remain mysterious throughout, I feel that the series stretches itself too long and too thin, almost as if this were originally created to be a movie but then adapted as a TV anime. To me, Flip Flappers would fit ideally in the runtime and flow of a movie, as it feels too prolonged or extended with not enough to fill the voids when fitted across 13 episodes. Still, Flip Flappers is one of the most marvelous and fascinating anime of the season, thanks to its visual fiesta and effervescent themes.
3-gatsu no Lion
I feel like I’m missing a significant chunk of 3-gatsu no Lion given that I don’t fully understand shogi. And if that’s the case, I can’t help but wonder how magnificent this anime truly is. Even with my understanding that shogi is a lot like chess, 3-gatsu no Lion is a phenomenal anime that centers itself on conflicts on and off the shogi board. Indeed, this anime emphases themes of uncertainty and family, of depression and friendship, of being alone and not being alone. And thanks to production by Shaft, 3-gatsu no Lion is a visual treasure in terms of its style, directing, and quality. 3-gatsu no Lion is a powerful anime, both in terms of its aesthetics and themes, and is certainly one of the top anime of the season for me.
I didn’t anticipate keeping Girlish Number this season given that it’s yet another seiyuu anime, but Girlish Number continued to grow on me with each passing episode. At first, I thought about 4x’ing it simply as an excuse to save screenshots of Chitose’s amazing facial expressions, but I never found the opportunity to speed through an episode as I was drawn to the stories and personalities and humor. Eventually, I found myself content to watch Girlish Number for reasons beyond Chitose and, while she’s still the best aspect about this anime, I find myself pleased with watching Girlish Number this season. Girlish Number is an anime built on excellent chemistry, charming characters, and an easygoing style that makes it a joy to watch. Another plus is that the anime focuses on the characters and their struggles and conflicts rather than serving as an educational series on the seiyuu industry or anime production or the entertainment industry. I appreciate what Girlish Number has been able to accomplish and would easily recommend this to anyone looking for some lighthearted drama and carefree comedy.
Mobile Suit Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans S2
Although I am still technically watching Iron Blooded Orphans, my focus and interest in this series have long since faded. The anime was never able to recover from the middle of the first season when it skipped around with tiring content in space and failed to rekindle my interest with this second season.
Makoto, the only female member of the Detective Boys Club, is the only reason why I’m 4x’ing the series. Her scenes, though infrequent, are cute and funny and worth the few minutes or so blazing through each episode. I have a fair understanding of the story and, if given the opportunity, would steer people toward Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace if they were interested in any Ranpo anime.
Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku
Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku had a decent start and interesting premise, but it felt a bit too manufactured and artificial to be enjoyable. That and probably laughing at the end of the second episode was probably the wrong reaction from me if I planned on continuing it.
Tiger Mask W
Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume
Yuri!!! on Ice
When watching the first episode of Occultic;Nine, I couldn’t focus on anything besides those two huge, gigantic, and obvious issues. One is that Yuuta was beyond irritating and two was that Ryouka was even worse. Oh, yes, and the boobs. How could I forget about the boobs? Yeah, that’s also a no, but not as egregious as the personalities and dialogue from the two main characters.
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
Stella no Mahou
Next up, I hope to reserve more time to pen an abbreviate 12 Days of Anime post and complete a final review for 2016, allowing me the opportunity to touch on all the anime I missed writing about this year. Then again, I had plans that this would be a first impressions post out the first week or so of October and we can see how well that turned out.