Samui’s Summer 2016 Watchlist

Summer tends to be the worst season for a year in anime IMO and last year almost made me quit watching these Japanese shows. However, I am willing to give benefit of the doubt and see how these new series will fare.

Truthfully, Summer 2015 is simply bereft of outstanding titles. I mean, we had the first season of Akagami no Shirayuki-hime and Rokka No Yuusha but the former is just fluff and the latter kicked us in the guts because of its ending. My sour reaction exacerbated with the downfall of Gangsta (and Manglobe), Charlotte and God Eater.

Several titles like School Live! and Shimoneta are decent but there are corresponding equivalents of Rampo Kitan and the godawful Chaos Dragon to negate my overall impression. Gatchaman Crowds insight is harmless albeit too simplistic and an unnecessary sequel and Jokoumachi no Dandelion (Monster Musume too) is just okay. Do I also have to mention it is where JC Staff went nuts and adapted the trashtastic Prison School? Hence, I am not expecting that much this season.

I don’t watch PVs so let me place my expectation based on their respective synopsis. Don’t take this post so seriously as I am as good as doing some shady fortunetelling at this point. Shall we start?

What I Won’t Absolutely Watch

Magical high school LN harem-y Adaptations, male idols, 4-koma loli high school slice of life, series with disproportionate number of girls (or males) in the cast and halfhearted ecchi. To be fair, I am also disinterested in fujoshi-baits this season. Cheers Danshi and Servamp look like nondescript shows from its kind and I will wait for some feedbacks from a certain blogger I trust (hi Caraniel!). So that removes about 75% of Summer 2016 offerings.

Remembering the lowest points of Active Raid made me decide to ignore its sequel until feedback becomes positive. I haven’t seen the original D’Gray Man, Seven Deadly Sins and Berserk so color me clueless about their respective new shows.  Lastly, I will also take this opportunity to express my disgust with Hatsukoi Monster because of the creepy-as-heck premise. Studio DEEN is wasting its newfound directional prowess with that show!

One Episode Rule

Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu

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Summary: “The comedy depicts the daily life of Sakaguchi, a high school boy and also a “fudanshi” who loves boys-love stories. Fudanshi is a wordplay on fujoshi (literally, “rotten girls”) — the slang for women who love boys-love/yaoi stories.”

Expectations: My anime friends tell me that I should see an anime about me (yeah, a fudanshi) so I read the manga right away. Frankly, it was cliched and boring. The jokes ran dry even before the second chapter. I do not know if the author is glorifying the fudanshi lifestyle or making a bad parody of it. Eitherway, I am not pleased.

ReLife

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Summary: “The story follows Kaizaki Arata, a 27-year-old jobless man, who fails at every job interview he had after quitting his last company. His life changes after he met Yoake Ryou of the ReLife Research Institute, who offers him a drug that can change his appearance to 17-years-old and to become a subject in an experiment for one year. Thus, he begins his life as a high school student once more.”

Expectations: The premise sounds serious enough for me to take a look with this show. Five seconds later, I am having a cold feet because this might be another show where the 27 year-old MC will act like a teenage horndog who engages with ‘accidental’ ecchi situation with teenage girls. Or some insubstantial plot devoid of entertaining moments or character development. Bad humor killed my interest with Plastic Memories so I pray ReLife won’t go the same path. Gross.

Canon Fodders

(Or… the shows I will watch just because I have a habit to check at least 10 series per season.)

Kuromukuro – 2nd cour

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Expectations: The first cour is too slow for its own good that nothing much happened. Despite the leisurely pace, it fails to develop Yukina as a convincing lead. My fascination with Kennosuke (and his backstory) remains the sole reason for me to follow the second cour.

Mob Psycho 100

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Summary: “The story revolves around “Mob,” a boy who will explode if his emotional capacity reaches 100%. This boy with psychic powers earned his nickname “Mob” because he does not stand out among other people. He keeps his psychic powers bottled up so he can live normally, but if his emotional level reaches 100, something will overwhelm his entire body.”

Expectations: So… another anime adaptation of One Punch Man’s mangaka, huh? I am fairly lukewarm to One Punch Man thanks to Madhouse’s insane animation. Don’t get me wrong, Bones is a studio where I gobble their shows in instant because of my trust with them. It’s just that Madhouse is more capable of animating sakuga scenes if there isn’t much story to back the series up.

Handa-kun

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Summary: “Handsome teenage calligrapher Sei Handa is worshipped by all his classmates as an aloof superstar–too bad Sei’s inherent negativity makes him believe that everyone actually hates him…?! A youthful comedy of misunderstanding and melancholy unfolds.”

Expectations: I adored the original Barakamon series so I decided to watch Handa-kun. Nonetheless, I am not that excited with this because Barakamon is not the type of series that warrants a string of spinoffs and sequels.

Rewrite

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Summary: “The story will portray a “sixth” route left untold in the game, which will tell the story of ‘that girl’.”

Expectations: It is Key and their shows are never boring regardless of quality. However, we also learned that it takes at least 24 episodes for them to properly lay out the story. What did 8bit do? Cram freakin’ Rewrite to a mere 13 episodes! I am waiting for the disaster to break out and have a replacement for Mayoiga as my pet show next season. KyoAni…. why did you ignore this?!

The Morose Mononokean

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Summary: “Ashiya has spent the first seven days of high school stuck in the infirmary because of a “mononoke” attaching itself to him. He ends up asking the owner of a small tearoom – Mononokean – for help. A series of mysterious stories involving the very morose owner of Mononokean, who guides mononoke to pass on to the next world.”

Expectations: Holy cow to that pretty promotional art! Yeah, this automatically gains a slot in my watch list because of these two good looking dudes the traditional Japanese theme akin to Hoizuki no Reitetsu. However, similar to the latter, the humor might be too Japanese for me to appreciate. I also hope that it tackles multi-episodic arcs instead of skits.

Obligatory Sequels

Dangan Ronpa

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Summary: uhh…

Expectations: I enjoyed the heck out of Dangan Ronpa thanks to its ridiculously fast pacing and ugly artwork. This is a video game adaptation and the feel was retained when it was animated. Just do not ask me which of the two Dangan Ronpas because I am torn between plot continuity and seeing new faces distrusting each other.

Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

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Summary: “Yukihira Souma’s dream is to become a full-time chef in his father’s restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skill. But just as Yukihira graduates from middle schools his father, Yukihira Jouichirou, closes down the restaurant to cook in Europe. Although downtrodden, Souma’s fighting spirit is rekindled by a challenge from Jouichirou which is to survive in an elite culinary school where only 10% of the students graduate. Can Souma survive?”

Expectations: I am pleased with the first season enough to see the continuation of this series. The characters (Megumi fanboy here!) sans Erina are darn likable and Souma is just the type of shounen lead I want to see in screen. In addition, it balanced the presentation of food porn and some seriously creative (and juicy) fan service. Now, to my concern. My love for tournament style shows faded out after YuYu Hakusho and I am afraid that its pacing will suffer because of it.

Noitamina Slot

Battery

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Summary: “Meet Harada Takumi – not even in junior high and he’s the best pitcher in the region, although he’s frustrated and ready to give up, because he can’t find a catcher who is good enough to keep up with how he pitches in this backwater town his family has just moved to. Then along comes a kid named Nagakura Gou…”

Expectations: Let me see if this show wins me despite my disinterest with baseball. We had Rampo Kitan last Summer and I experienced (first hand) that even this time slot is erratic in producing quality shows. Nonetheless, the unique premise noitamina shows are still worthy of peeking.Sure, 2015 might not be kind to it (save Punch Line) and ERASED was good enough to sustain my faith this year.

Genuinely Excited (and Cautious)

Honobono Log

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Summary: “The anime offers heartwarming peeks at the lives of close couples and families.”

Expectation: The quality of Tabi Machi Late Show or She and Her Cat. In other words, a very lovely  (and heartwarming) short.

Tales of Zestiria

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Summary: “Sorey is a human youth who grew up among the “seraphim” (tenzoku), spiritual beings not visible to humans.  Sorey believes in the folklore that says “long ago, every human was able to see the seraphim” and dreams of unraveling the ancient mystery to make the world a place where people and seraphim can live together in peace.  One day, Sorey visits the human capital for the very first time. He becomes embroiled in an incident during which he pulls out a holy sword imbedded in a rock and ends up becoming a “Shepherd,” one who casts away calamity from the world. He begins to realize the gravity of his mission, and his dream of coexistence between mankind and the seraphim becomes more intense—”

Expectations: Who cares if the story will suck? It’s freakin’ ufotable and this is their first 2016 show! The visuals alone might suffice the lack of engaging (aka mediocre) story in Tales of Zestiria if the studio brings in their A game. Nonetheless, I hope they won’t experience production delays this time because that really killed God Eater’s chance to succeed last year.

orange

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Summary: “Everyone has regrets in life. So who wouldn’t take the chance to change the past if given the opportunity? When sixteen-year-old Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter, claiming to be from her twenty-seven-year-old self, her life is suddenly thrown into flux. The letter informs her that a new transfer student by the name of Naruse Kakeru will be joining her class, and to keep her eye on him. What is Naho to make of the letter’s contents and its cryptic warning?”

Expectations: As if ERASED, Norn 9, ReZero and Concrete Revolutio are not enough, we got another  show with time travel element this year! What I am afraid is the sci-fi element will be relegated to the sidelines to make room for shoujo tropes I am not that hot with. Well, it is currently ranked in top 30 of MyAnimeList so there must be something in it.

91 Days

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Summary: “The time is 1920, 5 years after National Prohibition Law took place at a city called Lorel in the United States. Main character Avolio arrives to join the Vampiro family mafia undercover in order to seek revenge of killers who killed his parents and brother in this mafia.”

Expectations: What do you expect me to do when I read a premise about two dudes chasing each other because angst? I will gobble it without second thoughts! On a serious note, I am really (really) cautious to approach 91 Days because Gangsta. and Joker Game already betrayed my perception that anime casting adult characters are good.

Lastly, thanks to livechart for compiling these summaries. So what’s your general expectation this season?

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9 thoughts on “Samui’s Summer 2016 Watchlist

  1. “What did 8bit do? Cram freakin’ Rewrite to a mere 13 episodes”
    You can’t say that – there’s been no confirmation of the episode count. It might be 13 episodes, but presenting it as a fact is misleading at this point in time.

    Now, for next season… I’m fairly cautious, to be honest. Being a huge fan of the franchise, I’m obviously super excited for Love Live! Sunshine!!, but that’s about it.
    I loved the Rewrite VN, and the anime including original material is actually something I feel optimistic about – but that doesn’t guarantee a good show, so I’ll tread carefully. With these shows, there’s also the worry that they might not be accessible for newcomers (F/SN UBW anyone?)
    There’s also New Game! – I read the first manga volume, loved it, so it’s going to be my obligatory fluff show for the season. Absolutely looking forward to it.
    As for Zestiria, even though it’s ufotable, I’m a fan of the Tales franchise, so I’ll play the game before.

    Orange looks interesting, so that’s one I’m looking forward to. It’ll probably be called the “new Steins;Gate” (especially as they share directors) and fail to live up to the S;G name, but it could very well be one of the more enjoyable shows. Same goes for 91 Days – this one seems to have an interesting setting, and the atmosphere that surrounds it is, well, really appealing to me. There’s also Shokugeki no Soma, the first season of which I really enjoyed (it was pure entertainment), so I’m pretty excited to watch Ni no Sara.

    Moving on from the shows I’m looking forward to, The Morose Mononokean and Battery I might well dislike, but I won’t rule them out just yet. ReLife also falls under that category. I haven’t watched OPM & it still doesn’t look any more appealing to me, so I’ll skip Mob Psycho 100.

    Finally, Kono Bijutsu-bu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! & Amanchu! look like they could be nice SoL (the latter is adapted from the manga of the same name by Kozue Amano, the author of ARIA), so I’ll be keeping an eye out for them. Amaama to Inazuma could very well do the trick as well – if anything it looks utterly adorable.

    Finally, there’s Qualidea Code… I just want to see if Watari Wataru really slapped his name on a generic distasterpiece.

    It might well be a very decent season for me, especially if the Rewrite anime fares well, but I’m not overly excited for it. Lots of shows I’ll be watching & that seem to have some level of potential, but I’m not really that enthusiastic about anything. Well, at least it can’t be worse than this Spring, eh? (I mean, c’mon, it’s been so bang average, it became the first season where I placed a short as my top series – and I used to think that’d never ever happen!)

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    1. As much as I would love to love 8bit, Comet Lucifer and the second half of Grisaia no Meikyuu remind me that the series fell on the wrong hand. I am not familiar as far routes go in a VN but, is one cour enough to complete a route?

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      1. Oh yeah, 8bit is definitely a worrying choice.
        Honestly, if the anime is going to try & adapt as much as it can, it’ll need to be as long as the CLANNAD anime. Though since they’re adding a route for the anime, they might be cutting some content, which frankly I’d be okay with (Rewrite has some really poor, barely relevant content in its heroine routes, so that can be taken away fine). So it depends on what the anime-original stuff is, and what it means for the rest of the adaptation. It could warrant cutting a good chunk of the VN, which would make a 26-episodes adaptation doable; if doesn’t, however… well Rewrite is longer than CLANNAD, so well…
        It definitely needs two cours at least though. Let’s pray for 26 episodes or more.

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      2. I’ll be really happy if this is a two-cour show.

        Wait.. CLANNAD is already looong… so you mean, Rewrite is.. waaaaaaaaaaaa!

        I hope the animation kamisamas will spare this from botched adaptation. (Looks at 8-bit)

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  2. Zestiria, Orange and Mob Psycho have my attention, albeit only lightly as I don’t expect them to be that good. Berserk, I feel, is the attention grabber of the season, continuing the highest rated Manga on MAL (for good reason) with questionable audio-visuals. Can it capture the atmosphere the way the 4C movies did? Only time will tell. Atmosphere and pacing will be the deal breaker for me. At least now I can catch up on everything, because I’m way behind.

    Zestiria might be the best looking series of the year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQdzvcA4S6Y) and Orange has promise, but I will not hype it up; I’ve been burnt too many times. One Punch was as Luke warm for me as you, so Mob Psycho probably won’t last long till I drop it. Fall and Spring are usually the best seasons, so 2016 should be a good year for anime overall.

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    1. Yep. So far 2016 is a good year in anime. Even I am just okay with this season, plenty of shows are watchable. Fall 2016 looks like the seasons of sequels. Again.

      And yeah, it could be either Eupho S2 or Zestiria for the prettiest series this year.

      I think I need to see the original Berserk as well.

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  3. They’re really obsessed with re-winding the time and re-living past life, aren’t they. I agree that Re:Life could be interesting, but of course they had to set it in high school with its likely disturbing implications.

    I’ve read Orange. I don’t love it to the extent that I’m willing to re-experience it in anime form, but it’s pretty good and I could see a stronger art direction elevating this a lot. Doesn’t have that many shoujo tropes (at least the bad/problematic ones), and if you like Kayo’s bit in Erased, good chance you’d like this one. The Golden Age arc of Berserk (the focus of previous anime series) is very good low fantasy tragedy, but I’m not sure how interested I am at the narrative afterward. Damn that CGI looks really bad, too.

    I do recommend to watch previews, at least on shows you’re interested about, to get a better feel on a lot of these. I also thought Cheer Danshi is going to be a generic fujo-bait, but the trailer gave me a very good impression (I mean, there’s still going to be fujo-bait, but it looks like it’s going to have actual substance on what it means to pursue a passion in male cheerleading).

    Thanks for the information, especially on that fudanshi show. Am anticipating Battery the most.

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    1. So orange will be similar to Kayo’s arc? Now that’s something I really dig.

      I think I want to be surprised at their first episodes so I don’t watch PVs. As regards to Cheers Danshi, I almost dismissed Starmyu (Fall 2015 male idol show) and I got a sincere (and poignant) show about reaching your way to the top. I might watch Cheers Danshi’s first episode after all.

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      1. A lot is going to depend on how it’s visually executed, but yeah there’s a big similarity in the way it’s also about “reaching out to a very troubled person and making sure they know they have a place to belong” (bonus: no hamster murderer in this one). Like Kayo, I think the author did a good job making the relevant character someone the readers care about and want to see being saved.

        Yeah, I’ve got good vibe from Cheer Danshi. It’s also based on a novel, apparently (as opposed to say, an otome game where guys constantly fall on top of each other).

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