Let’s change the format a bit since the shows gained a steady momentum at this point that I will sound like a broken record. Other than that, this will be my last weekly overview post in Winter as I am preparing for my Best of Anime List for the coming weeks. I will post the final rankings of these Winter 2016 shows though.
Unless Dimension W flops harder next week, I think Phantom World is still the worst show in this batch. Showing gags is one thing but doing the same brand of gag for the last four episodes is mind numbing and not entertaining anymore. I guess its falling MAL score means that I am not the only one who is not enjoying this. Well, thank God for its visual goodness. Then there is Erased‘s latest episode that caused me to roll my eyes because of the hammy and melodramatic resolution of the Kayo arc and the stupidity of the candy man trope. The other parts are still consistently good but mystery and heavy drama are simply not its forte. Erased excels with understated drama as it can sink its fangs of melancholy to the viewers. This episode did not do anything for me in terms of that. I would even call the resolution anticlimactic and not in a good way.
Norn 9 continues to roll its plot this week but there’s too much happening actually. The traveler Koharu mentioned is Kakeru’s father. Senri is Syukuri’s brother and Ron is the biggest jerk in the show. Then there’s the Reset. Hey, do you actually expect me to get a grasp of what’s going on in a span of two episodes? It’s like Dimension W only if I care about these characters and there’s something actually progressing in the series. The revelations piling one after another is fascinating at least. Too bad, it needs two cours to pull this grandiose premise.
On the other side of the spectrum, I liked Assassination Classroom‘s handling of parental issues more than that of Erased. While it lacked the eloquence of Erased, Nagisa’s mother is a more convincing villainous figure than Kayo’s mother. Both involved abuse but I like how neat and neurotic the presentation is this week, rather than Erased’s drama fest that actually didn’t go anywhere. Hey, the comedy works too in this episode especially when Karma and the kinpatsu are teasing Nagisa for being a trap.
Seems like Lupin III (2015) went Kanon 2006 and gave the girls their needed development for the last two episodes. It seems like this show did not forget its characters outside the main cast. There was Nix, then Rebecca. I love it. Lupin III is the linchpin this time due to the cool bet he made with Jigen. On a more serious note, Rebecca resembles a young Fujiko during the Lupin’s 2012 spinoff.
For the best short this season, Kanojo to Neko has one heck of a poignant opening. Well, it’s Makoto Shinkai so there’s no wonder here. What I am pleasantly surprised is the decent animation. Tabi Machi is a moving story book, Kono Danshi looks like an AMV but Kanojo to Neko really feels like an anime.
For the others:
- Sekkou Boys did not disappoint me this week as statue idols got some scandal issues too! Great. How on Earth did these dorks get one? Color me amused for the stupidity.
- Active Raid shows its plot at this point. This is also the first Active Raid episode I genuinely liked that did not involve appealing to the feels of the audience. I think there will be a second cour for this series. There should be and it should be more serious.
- Wait… Are you trying to lure my fujoshi tendencies with that jarring week Prince of Stride – Alternative? The first half is actually good, then the second half shatters everything it built this episode. Again, make your characters at least memorable for them to obtain some shipping rights, you know. At least, it knows its pairings which might appeal to the fujoshi fan base?
- Haruchika? Zzz….. Yes. That’s it.
- There’s more Saya this week on Dagashi Kashi! I am happy that the best girl is getting equal airtime to our resident chuuni (Hotaru). Coconuts, you know who to choose. I can’t help but squeal with a cute Saya clinging to Hotaru in fear.
Saving the best for last, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu transcended from anime to a breathtaking piece of art. No, I am not fanboying this time. It seemed like Studio Deen made this episode ahead of time because everything worked fluidly in terms of presentation. You can take some screenshots in this episode and make it your wallpaper and it will be fine. This is the most beautiful Rakugo episode to date and is the best episode I have seen this season. Everyone fell into despair this time. Sukeroku’s ideals got him expelled in the rakugo world, Kikuhiko is now disillusioned since his best buddy is now thinking of quitting the thing they both loved. Then there’s Miyokichi who is beyond broken and sprouted some very haunting lines in the likes of “The next time I will see you will be in Hell”.
It feels like knowing something like a car crash will happen in advance but you cannot do everything about it but watch and shout from a distance. Simply said, it broke my heart in many ways I can think of. The only question I have in my mind as of the moment is whether it will be one of my most favorites of all time. It is not even a competition to know the best Winter 2016 show (and possibly, of 2016) at this point.