Winter 2016 – Week 9 in Anime (Part 2)

Definitely the weaker batch but Ajin, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime and Rainbow Days saved this group from being meh. This is my last weekly overview for Winter 2016 so thank you to everyone who followed me from Week 2 until now. However, expect my Best of Anime list on March 19 and my final ranking of Winter 2016 offerings on March 26. Then, Spring is here – another season where I am about to watch too many shows.

This is how I feel about still hanging on Dimension W after 9 episodes.

Let’s start with the worst dud in this batch. Dimension W has a plot but is rushing it too much that the final product was not only muddled but also slapdash. Worse, I was still bored even after this train wreck of an episode. Sure, it went meta this week but this did not add anything at all with Kyouma’s characterization. I am mildly amused at the montage of him punching himself though. Worst, he is the pivotal character in this show since Loser stated he has the key over this convoluted mess. Several questions run in my mind as I watch this episode.

What the heck do these numbered coils do? Where are the other participants in this prince’s game? That’s what happens when you spent two episodes over a filler pseudo-mystery stint. You stumble at the most crucial parts. The visuals are also on the verge of degrading too. Still images marred this episode, character designs get deformed and the action is ho-hum. It’s perks? Take a look at the photo above and I gave a good chuckle too in that case. I have to admit that I was amused when Kyouma did not actually wake up but darn, the messy adaptation left me rolling my eyes in boredom. Mira is the last hope of Dimension W for that one last ditch twist that left me mildly interested. Better not character assassinate her.

Let’s take a diversion from that acid trip and relax with a setup episode of Akagami no Shirayuki-hime. Thankfully, this week’s offering touches what the first season excelled at and that’s showing how strong the relationships of these characters. This time, it gave us twenty minutes of filling Obi’s characterization and man, I am loving it (He is my most favorite character in the series, that’s why). Another thing that made me love this week is the explanation on how strong romances develop. Zen thinks that the core of his relationship with Shirayuki is intact, hence, things might change around them but not how they see each other. Wait, is this show beginning to present hints of shipping Kiki and Mitsuhide? Color me excited.

PS: So this is Shirayuki-hime’s way showing fanservice, huh? Can’t say that I was attracted at all given the nature of their characters. The artwork continues to get worse though so Erased gets the upper hand against it this week.

Then things get better with Bubuki Buranki‘s admittedly poignant episode since at least it managed to develop its characters to some extent. I always like Hiragi since they were able to make Oubu work as his abrasiveness toned down and he is the only character that thinks in the group. This episode cemented his role as a good supporter to our doormat MC who received some progression to his character – well, passively ,but it can do. Shizuru also found her resolve too. What left me irked is its jarring comedies in between but those are ridiculously stupid that I will let it pass. I’d be darned if I say I was not impressed with the skillful use of CGIs in this episode. Now that the ridiculous Bubuki’s #TeamAmerica and #TeamRussia are out, maybe this show can do straight narrative now?

They say lightning does not strike at the same place for the second time but this dude is just unfortunate to encounter two conflicting interest chasing him.

The other CGI show that looks inferior but is actually the best written this season (and the best in this batch of anime) makes a comeback. Ajin showed a fascinating episode on how to explore the various colors of human nature and a chilling cat and mouse scene about a random Ajin dude. The action this episode made me utter wow because these moments are really that well-orchestrated. On the other hand, Satou’s plan is not unanimously agreed by his kind and things are also not going well with Tosaki’s side. It feels also refreshing when the opposing sides are also giving us compelling reasons like Satou’s plan could lead to a nationwide hunt for Ajins or Tosaki’s unconventional plan for capturing Ajins. Show us further on how ugly  humans can be Ajin. I am liking it. For Kei’s side, I will never get bored from his uber-logical mind that has a default button on being a normal guy but does not have any sense of empathy at all. The opening scene is just great – a creepy kind of great if you ask.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash went back to its AMV styled patch work and called it episode 9. It’s not bad but I have two issues. The direction is pretty all over the place because how on Earth why did you spend half an episode on these characters doing nothing. In its defense, it added some depth to Mary, Moguzo and Yume but what happened next made my eyebrow raised. That was just fanservice – nothing else, then this episode ended where stuff finally begins to be interesting. Seriously?  Another thing, Grimgar’s musical score is too muted. This is one of the shows where dramatic background music works, you know, a la Sword Art Online.

That moment when you are not believing any word your friend says. I can really relate with it.

For others:

  • Rainbow Days showed how generic high school romantic comedies should work. This week is all about Natcchan mustering his strength to confess his feelings for Kobayakawa-san and how his friends messed up every possible scenario they could think of. Weird thing is, this humble show is actually one of the better offerings this winter. Personally, it is my comedy for this season. Sorry Osomatsu-san and Dagashi Kashi.
  • Koyomimonogatari featured its lamest mystery for this week but Shinobu’s cuteness made up for it. I was reminded that Araragi-Shinobu combination is actually the best of this series for their playfulness. I was actually smirking with their antics this time. Then a wild Hanekawa appeared. I also don’t agree with the lesson of Shinobu sacrificing things for her master. That loli vampire is about to eat all of Ararararagi’s donuts you know. Ugh.
  • Mikazuki is one heck of a scary character in Mobile Gundam Suit: Iron Blooded Orphans. This week is the fallout of Biscuit’s death but Grimgar did a better job of portraying this. The last few minutes of this episode worked though thanks to Mikazuki’s broken moral compass. What I don’t get in this series is the plot kept on expanding that it is really impossible to settle it in a span of three episodes. Unless there’s a second season for this, which I doubt.
  • Nothing much to say about Osomatsu-san‘s episode. It is what it is. Neurotic but hits or miss in terms of humor.
  • Divine Gate thankfully slowed down and delivered an entertaining episode to make fool of our leads. Man, it worked especially with Akane’s side reaction while being manipulated by a loli writer.

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