Winter 2016 – Weeks in Anime 10 and 11 (Part 1)

Sorry, I never thought creating a Best-of-Anime list is kind of hard so here’s a sort of double post for this week.

The Eh? shows are not shown in this post since I want to dissect Dimension W and Phantom World in detail. Rest assured that it will be out some time next week. Erased stumbled real hard in selling the mystery while other shows  in this post excelled in whatever they know best.

 GREAT

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Bubbles and sparks, baby.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu‘s breather episodes are nothing short of amazing. Episode 10 is the ugly fallout of emotionally charged ninth episode and the most recent one is a pleasant setup for the climax. The former is a dark revelation on how history repeated itself as well as Kikuhiko’s macabre definition of loneliness.I buy the seventh master’s character because we saw how he devolved from a loving father to an internally wrecked guy who is worse than Kikuhiko. Poor Sukeroku is the real victim in this tragedy – which is really sad because of his talent and passion with rakugo. By the way, who is not creeped out by Kikuhiko’s amazing take on Shinigami?

On the other hand, I do not know how were they able to do fan service while sticking to rakugo because my face is just like Konatsu’s during the brilliant (and borderline homoerotic) duo of Kikuhiko and Sukeroku. That aside, yes, this show is a masterpiece of direction and focus and can be a compelling case on how to make a brilliant anime despite the budget constraints. The director has a knack on making powerful scenes just by showing a character’s back or a certain part of his body then make it convey a good message. Lastly, we are now nearing the dreaded part of Sukeroku’s death and I kind of prepared myself to bawl a lot when that happened. Gone are the happy days. I am waiting for the inevitable despair. I must be optimistic, Konatsu and Yotaro will be present again! So yay?

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Season 2 has officially taken my heart again for the cutest and fluffiest romance this Winter. Love stories built on trust (as opposed with the usual love at first sight thing in anime) are quite rare and come off with excellent outputs. I am really glad that this show solidified that claim on its tenth episode with Zen’s marriage interview and his insistence that he wants Shirayuki and nothing else. I am stupidly grinning over my computer screen last time because Zen and Shirayuki are just, (internally implodes). Izana’s approval with the pairing just made me smile over how far this couple has gone through over the course of two seasons. On the other hand, Kiki is the best girl in this show and Mitsuhide is a big idiot for not knowing she is a freakin’ girl in their second meeting. This show is preparing us to end this season with their pairing (Obi supports this! LOL) so I cannot help but think Akagami no Shirayuki-hime might as well departs on a very high note.

Then there’s Lupin III (2o15) which excels in both episodic and linear storytelling with Leonardo da Vinci as the main antagonist. His dreams about redesigning the world is insane but fits with the wacky nature of this series. Smart, comedic and coherent, this series stayed true to its hijinks while inserting dark thoughts like world domination and mind control. Well, I really like Rebecca as a character despite being flawed because she made this installment a certainly interesting one. It is kinda sad but we have to say goodbye in this series for now. How’s that Dimension W, since you also tackled something about dreams and subconscious?

ALMOST THERE

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Apparently, Merribit is the only sane character in this series.

Grimgar is an inconsistent series. One minute it is great but the next moments will squander its potential to be a real gem this season. It seems like Erased got the animation budget and this one became product on how to creatively cover up budget constraints using pretty imagery presented a la MS Powerpoint. Nonetheless, the emotional resonance of this series remains high even if I want to kill Ranta right now because he is darn annoying. Episode 9 is thrilling, riveting and built a good setup on developing the already developed characters of Haruhiro and Mary. The mine is surely a dangerous place and Ranta just won’t cooperate with his co-party members. Seriously dude, what’s your problem? Nonetheless, It is a nice chance for Mary to move on similar to School Live’s emotionally charged climax.

The concept of family in Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans is just disturbing at best and downright screwed at worst. Merribit is the only sane being in the group for thinking the kids’ safety but Orga and others are like, “We are going to take revenge… waaaaa!”. Well, it is not actually my concern. Do you actually expected me to be attached with a caricature antagonist in the name of Carta and be moved with her death scene? No – I rolled my eyes as a response. This episode wasted some good minutes on developing her backstory to no avail. Nonetheless, Tekkadan made this one beyond average. Mikazuki is a guy with a questionable moral compass and the duel (no, massacre is the right term) is just spine-chilling. The installation of the system to Ein also bordered on being creepy so this episode mostly won me anyway. I hope there is a second season for this thing. They will not be able to end this series in a good note, either way.

For the others:

  • Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko crossed from melancholic to simply depressing in a span of two episodes. The second one delivered Daru’s wide eye naivety as his master is about to leave him alone if not for a last-minute change of mind. Its resolution is kind of sweet actually, since there are times when the owner and her pet meet on their thoughts without understanding each other’s words. The latest showed how time has done in Daru’s state. He is growing old with his master but the two have a different concept of time so… it’s bound to have a sad ending. We are reminded how life is hard for our MC and Daru is now really old. The line “I want to help her but I cannot reach her anymore”, broke my soul.
  • Ajin remains a compelling case on exploring conflicting views but not without concerns. Where the heck is Kai? What is Kei plotting? What else is Kou beyond stopping Satou’s actions? How grand is Satou’s plan? How these questions will connect? Sure, Kou is relegated to the white knight trope but I want to know him as a character than a plot device. Err… Just what is Tosaki’s involvement in this show?  Are there enough episodes to deliver what is needed to make Ajin a excellently written series? Better answer these questions neatly as I am growing anxious.
  • Assassination Classroom Season 2‘s hitting the stride this season and I find it great that a sequel is much better than its predecessor. The Cultural Festival Arc is nicely done, contrasting the manner in getting the means of Class A and Class E. The latest episode dealt with the topic I liked the most in this series. It seems like this is a provocative piece asking the Japanese Education system but is lighthearted enough (thanks Karma, seriously) to poke fun at its own quirks. I guess the Ministry of Defense got the wrong memo since Principal Asano is more monstrous than the lovable Korosensei.

JUST DECENT

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This is the face of a Kayo x Satoru shipper in this episode of Erased. Burned.

Some MAL users are weird. There are major issues with Erased but Kayo not becoming Satoru’s pairing as a criticism is not the best you can have in this series. Go write some doujins or fan fictions if you like to in that case but it is a directional choice with a good reason. Satoru’s in a coma for 15 years! Things changed back then and Kayo surely have found another along the way. They were kids back then and mostly charged with infatuation disguised as a thought of love. I personally have a puppy love back then and it did not work at all. Is it that hard to accept? Now, to my criticisms. Erased is composed of two shows whose quality are in big disparity. The slice of life/drama part is at par with Rakugo (even better at times) but the mystery component is just… well, Ranpo Kitan-like. The revelation of the killer on the 10th episode is just cringe-worthy and Yashiro’s delivery is too hammy for my suspense of disbelief. Adaptation issues aside, we knew along the way that its main genre is not its strongest suit but with Kayo gone, its weaknesses as a series are now widely seen. The next episode began with a pretentious dialogue about hamsters which makes The Perfect Insider blushed and felt like an aftermath of a series’ climax. I felt I missed an episode between this and the last one but I think the director’s choice was the safest bet in tying the knots of this series. It was great actually until the dumb revelation of Satoru’s memory regain and Yashiro’s questionable moves on the former. All in all, a disjointed series which I think is a product of wrongly advertising it as a mystery anime.

Rainbow Days is moving on a nice pace where you cannot accuse it for being boring but is all unoriginal. I do not care that much about derivative series if these are done carefully. This anime is a well done one about high school romantic hijinks and how normal dudes spend their time idly. On the other hand, Tsuyoppon and Yukirin are the real deal. Real live yuri? Yeah. I lolled with that.

For the others:

  • Koyomimonogatari‘s getting a nice rhythm of deceptions and red herrings. Ononoki’s reason is quite thoughtful but the delivery is quite confusing this time, similar to Ougi’s episode.
  • Sekkou Boys went from comic to sappy but I don’t mind that much since it’s a short. Isshie’s brand of comedy never gets old and I want more of this show.
  • Active Raid‘s driving to the main plot and I am glad for the staff to finally explore Logos and its terror over the city. I haven’t seen the latest episode so this will be updated later this day. Nonetheless, should this end correctly, I might check its second season.
  • Divine Gate‘s hammy but entertaining enough to get a pass this week. Seriously, just how campy this series can be?! Akane went on to see his dead father who died later, Midori got to meet her best friend again who was killed and Aoto just walked, literally. All for despair. Uhm… The trio already found what they are looking for – so maybe come back to your places now? Or destroy the Gate? Well, things aren’t making sense with Divine Gate (the existence of other characters actually but…) who cares if you are still awake and laughing with the unintended mess?
  • Dagashi Kashi‘s good with Saya but let me echo Coconuts-kun’s comment that Hotaru is abnormally annoying in these episodes.
  • Norn 9 is just the serious version of Angel Beats without the feels but with a better plot. The lack of episode count rendered this adaptation as merely decent but I hope its target market liked it enough for a sales boost in the Norn 9 otome game.

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6 thoughts on “Winter 2016 – Weeks in Anime 10 and 11 (Part 1)

  1. Rakugo: I’d love to see Konatsu and Yotaro get a full cour treatment, yeah.

    Erased: that complaint about Kayo-Satoru is definitely the most asinine one I’ve seen throughout the series, but to be fair, I can see myself making that kind of comment 10-15 years ago. I tend to avoid forum discussion on on-going shows for that reason, especially for something like Erased, which attracted both reactionary hot takes and incessant backlash from manga fans. It’s getting to a dangerous point where I may remember people’s opinion about the show rather than the show itself, if that makes sense.

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    1. As regards to Erased, I only happened to visit its forums for the first time given its dwindling score… man, that was the majority of their argument. Well, I agree that I might have done the same too as I can see where they are coming from.

      For Yotaro and Konatsu, they’re like the only reasons I wanted to see the end of flashbacks. Next week’s gonna be a real heartbreaker. Not gonna lie, I am a rakugo fanboy and I am waiting for this.

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      1. The tragic end of the past generation makes me really need to see the continuation of the story for Konatsu and Yotaro, if only for the cathartic closure. Really want to see how they develop their respective rakugo (and if Konatsu could ever break through as a female performer…), too.

        Looking forward to that Top Anime list.

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  2. Agree that ERASED is logically – and thematically – better without a KayoXSatoru ending. As for the mystery, the killer was only interesting while he stuck to the shadows. We could have kept the explicit hints at him being the teacher but never had this overstated act on the teacher’s part. The whole plot has become so undynamic, it makes me forget how naturally everything seemed to flow together before. I felt sorry for the ‘cliffhanger’ after Satoru’s delivery of that final line…

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    1. That’s my concern with Erased – it really lacks subtlety in playing the mystery card. Not that it diluted my view with the series since I view it as a strong SoL/Drama offering rather than a thriller.

      As regards to the Kayo x Satoru pairing, yes, I find it really logical and just right. I don’t want this good show to be overly sappy similar to the likes of Your Lie in April (although that is a MAL bait for the users to hit 10 in their scores.).

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