Winter 2016 – Mid Season Report

Instead of doing a Week 7 Overview today , I decided to present the ranking of shows I am currently following this season. This is purely subjective but I am doing this thing every week yet chose not to show the results. Instead, I opted to make a general assessment of these shows. Then I made a weird mathematical formula to sort them out. Shall we start?

I personally think Winter 2016 is much better than last year. Aside from Death Parade, I think there are no other winter shows which grabbed my attention back then if you take out carryovers. The diversity of offerings this season is also something I really appreciate because Fall 2015 was full of gar and shounen shows and LN magical high school adaptation. I guess it’s no spoiler that Rakugo is the faraway winner if I am asked but it will not kill some of your time to see how other shows fared so far, isn’t it?

22. Haruchika

Haruchika

It should not come as a surprise by now that this show is intended for insomniacs. Hyouka also dealt with mundane mysteries but it worked because it packs a powerhouse of characters and Oreki is actually thinking before he can solve a mystery. Haruta, on the other hand, is just like a laptop connected to the internet and all you need to do is type the keyword and he explains all the mysteries! He is killing this show.

21. Kono Danshi, Mahou Ga Oshigoto Desu

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The show’s background pictures are really pretty. Character designs? I bet it is the ugliest this season. You also cannot expect to deliver a solid romantic story if the show tries to cram many plot points in seven minutes per episode. Nonetheless, it managed to keep me awake so Kono Dashi is not the worst this season.

20. Dagashi Kashi

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Seeing how its MAL score falls over 6 episodes, I am sure I am not the only one who has waned his affection with Dagashi Kashi. Being very Japanese is one thing but bad comedies will leave the audience puzzled with your jokes. It has Saya so it still managed to give me a chuckle or two.

19. Divine Gate

Divine Gate

Pretentiousness galore! I can only hope that Divine Gate now moves its plot as the first six episodes are basically lazy setups and the super serious lines are the only thing which keeps me watching this show. Unless they will explore the nature of the Gate this season, I do not think the story will be better at this point. Dangan Ronpa is a better show from a video game if you ask.

18. Active Raid

Active Raid

Boring, campy, disgusting, touching and exhilarating – pick any of those words and it can actually describe an episode of Active Raid. It is not a good show in any means but if episode 6 is the indication, this might get better soon. The comedy is never funny though but I love to see Division 8 causing ruckus whenever they attempt to make a good rescue. Being an annoying show has also its perks in the end, I guess.

17. Prince of Stride – Alternative 

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This is Haruchika if you remove Haruta in the show and replace him with another Chika. Hence, it is watchable at best thanks to Yagami’s genki-ness. My only problem with this show is it does not leave any impression even after you just watched an episode. Prince of Stride feels dry with its rushed execution, undeveloped characters and the rules of stride are really arbitrary. I do not know if it can capitalize in the fujoshi market since fujoshi bait shows are really strong in the character department. Unfortunately, it is not strong in this aspect so far.

16. Bubuki Buranki

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Bubuki Buranki’s randomness is a double edged sword. It can never leave you bored but have you asking what the heck is happening in your screen if these glorious CGI scenes are removed. Episode 5 is a bit better than the rest since it managed to incorporate some nice backstory to Kinoa. Other aspects that also hurt the show are its doormat MC and much more compelling villains.

15. Norn 9: Norn + Nornet

Norn

Strong character interaction is the only thing that saved this show from being bad. The story is all over the place, the plot at this point is rushed and there are too many side characters in this show given that it has only 13 episodes. Nonetheless, it is technically pretty to look and to listen at. It is also quite an aberrant for refusing to become a reverse harem despite the preponderance of male characters.

14. Phantom World

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A bit better than Kyoukai no Kanata but this show is not doing anything new for Kyoto Animation. Thankfully, the tasteless ecchi has been muted since the infamous first episode but it became just another show by this studio in exchange. The visuals are pretty much Kyoto Animations if it is inspired to wow the audience with episode 6 as its pinnacle. I hope that the plot moves at this point as we are already done gathering Haruhiko’s pokemons team members.

13. Dimension W

Dimension

Dimension W is really wobbly when it comes to quality. The first three episodes are above average then it took a nosedive for the next ones. If Divine Gate delivers its ridiculousness seriously, this one has a very pompous approach in doing such that has caused this show to sink this low. The coil-of-the-week format is not also doing any favor in Dimension W lately.

12. Sekkou Boys

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This is probably one of the few shows where stupid as a description becomes a real complement. Why not? The premise is stupid, the statues are stupid and Isshie is the only character that thinks in this show. Then it is still funny in the end. Sekkou Boys is not a consistent show though. This episode might leave you in stitches but the next one is a borefest. Yet it only runs for 7 minutes so you will not suffer long enough if that week’s offering is a dud.

11. Tabi no Machi Late Show

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Aside from Shouwa Rakugo, this is also an underrated show this season. It is really poignant and has managed to tell stories that do not only feel complete but also engaging even in under 7 minutes. The animation is the big hole for this show though. Tabi no Machi Late Show is more of a storybook than an actual anime and is sometimes hard to look at.

10. Osomatsu-san

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First, this is the best selling anime in terms of disc sales for the last five years. Let that information sink in your mind first before I continue my comment. I do not get why though, perhaps it is very Japanese? Is it a fujoshi show? No, the sextuplet are not bishies but man, the epicness of Osomatsu-san rivals that of Carnival Phantasm at best. If you are a person who likes neurotic animes, this one will surely hit your sweet tooth.

9. Assassination Classroom 2

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It feels like this season of Assassination Classroom is still on its set-up phase even after six episodes. Yet these are some good warm ups for what will happen for the main plot. This show remains funny but the lack of Karasuma and Irina-sensei sort of diminished its impact for me. If the seventh episode is the indication, this quality of this show will soon skyrocket. On the other hand, The conflict between Class E and Class A also leaves much to be desired. Koro-sensei remains cool though.

8. Koyomimonogatari

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Koyomonimonogatari lives and dies with the characters Araragi is with in that certain week. It is at its best when Kaiki and Mayoi appeared on the screen but is tame during the episodes with Hanekawa and Kanbaru. The mysteries are really lame but the resolutions are quite interesting to hear.

7. Rainbow Days

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Who would have thought that this subdued shojo show is my comedy for this season? Bar the animation tricks to save cost, this is what your G-rated show should look like. Squeaky clean, fun characters and simple comedy that works. If this is only a full show though…

6. Mobile Gundam Suit:Iron Blooded Orphans

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Pacing problems, flat dramas and undercooked politics bogged this show’s second cour. I am not sure if Kudelia’s character development is all worth it if IBO has become a muted version of Nagi No Asukara. It is kinda sad that it forgot that its main strength lies on Tekkadan and their moments but tried to expand the plot. Well, we still got to see them during Atra’s cover up for Kudelia and their escape towards the space but… these last episodes really wasted what this show could have been. Mind you, the action scenes are really great that’s why it is ranked as high as here but that might be due to the lack of real competition between top tier shows this season. Can we just forget episodes 14 and 16 altogether?

5. Ajin

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Now I wish Bubuki Buranki’s meticulous CGI artwork went to Ajin because it is the best paced and best written series this Winter. This is what Tokyo Ghoul should have been and this is what Shinsekai Yori would be like if the pacing is fixed. I still think that the latter is superior but Ajin is giving its all despite its major drawback: the visuals. I am not a detractor of CGIs but the facial expressions are not quite there. The story as well as the plot is top caliber though. I am much more afraid how low humans can get in Ajin rather than the terrors Ajin unleashes if I am being honest – and I think it is a big plus for this show.

4. Lupin III (2015)

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This installment is the midway of your goofy Lupin III episodes and the dark Fujiko spinoff. Except for two decent episodes, everything about this show works perfectly and it also begins to tie up its main plot while still giving out episodic offerings which contribute to the bigger picture. The humor is also in top form this season with Lupin III being a likable MC as ever. This is how you make the story of the week format Dimension W.

3. Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2

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This Summer 2015 anime remains solid and is currently making a name of its own. I am happy that this really feels like a sequel and the plot is now moving on a graceful pace. Moreover, Shirayuki-hime seems like it did not forget its fundamental building blocks as this season becomes action-oriented but still unmistakably this show. I have some major concerns on how anime tropes in the form of side characters taint its poise but it seems like the main leads are still excellent on their own.

2. Erased

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First, I love this show because it feels like the first proper mystery series since like, Rokka no Yuusha. Second, it is not the second coming of Stein’s:Gate. I do not know if it will secure a spot in my top 10 shows this year but it is threatening to be one. However, I am now getting tired of how it overuses cliffhangers every end of the episode and the ridiculous focus to Hinazuki as the central plot line. I think it is one of the highlights of Winter 2016 BUT I am beginning to think that this show just crossed the line of being overrated.

1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

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Do I have to fanboy again? I don’t think so. I just want to say that this is the only anime in this list that does not have trace of any anime trope. The characters are realistic, the story has some historical value and the plot is moving on a nice pace. If there is something I can nitpick on its excellent offerings is the absence of Yotaro and Konatsu. Nonetheless, Kikuhiko, Miyokichi and Sukeroku are enough… more than enough actually. I only pray to kami samas that this will not turn out as another White Album 2. Please.

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