Best of Spring 2016 – Ranking The Shows From This Season

My apologies for the late post. Real life is as busy as ever and it also does not help that watching Death (Desu) Note eats much of my time. Let’s start?

THE RANKING

I tried to read back my end-of-season post last Winter 2016 and even I got tired of scanning what I posted back then (aka too long). Without further ado, I present the ranking right away after using some weird mathematical formula I devised last Fall 2015.

  1. Concrete Revolutio – The Last Song
  2. Kiznaiver
  3. Assassination Classroom – Final Season
  4. My Hero Academia
  5. Flying Witch
  6. Mayoiga
  7. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless
  8. Bungou Stray Dogs
  9. Rainbow Days
  10. Kotetsujou no Kabaneri
  11. Kagewani – Season 2
  12. Joker Game
  13. Sakamoto Desu Ga?
  14. Kuromukuro
  15. Kuma Miko

Shows I consider for  the year-end ranking: Concrete Revolutio – The Last Song

Shows I consider decent: Shows which are ranked above Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.

Shows to skip: Anything that is ranked below Kagewani Season 2

I will catch on Luluco this week and see how it fares against these shows. I ‘might’ watch Re:Zero but my trusted bloggers (Bobduh, Caraniel and Flawfinder) aren’t that hot with it so I guess I’ll skip after all. Below is my supporting explanation regarding this ranking.

THE GOOD

vlcsnap-2016-06-25-15h51m51s322
A feels’ trip. *sobs.

If Winter 2016 is the season of drama and shorts, Spring is a collection of watchable new shows but never tried to do that much. Assassination Classroom Final Season and Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song mostly wowed me during their respective run. The former has gone to a direction I am super-pleased, since it managed to give Koro-sensei some real development in his character that I was left devastated in its climax. On the other side of the spectrum, Concrete Revolutio just made its plot so thick that I felt I was like reviewing some notes during my undergraduate days for its intricate storytelling. It was one of the few shows where I have to pay attention to almost everything because these play parts in the story’s bigger picture. The sequel is a bit weaker than the first season thanks to the lack of episode count but I get its fully materialized take on the superhero genre so I still included it in my most favorites list.

Seriously, protect Nico’s smile!

In the end, I think Kiznaiver has the boldest concept as far as new shows are concerned, but it falls short on mixing high-glossy science fiction and convincing character moments. Color me disappointed with Sonozaki’s role and the way she tainted this otherwise very good show. The laboratory-experiment-gone-wrong approach of Kiznaiver also fell flat for me because I am not a fan of the way it was handled (exposition galore!). Nonetheless, the pros far outweigh the cons (Maki and Nico are simply amazing characters, or I have a biased with guarded characters in general), hence, Kiznaiver is my best new show this season.

My Hero Academia took a last ditch attempt in redeeming itself and succeeded in bringing my belief back to this traditional shounen show. The pacing is quite to relaxed for me to appreciate but darn those feels-y moments that tickled the kid in me.  Episode 12 in particular is just spectacular in terms of animating the amazing All Might v. Villain’s fight. Now that a second season has been confirmed, I hope this show gathered enough steam to propel itself similar to what happened with Noragami Aragoto. Meanwhile, there’s not much to say about Flying Witch but I am pleasantly surprised that JC Staff took the courage to animate a purely slice of life series devoid of moe, fanservice and annoying imoutos. The show could have used much more magic for amusement factors though.

Thank you Mizushima. Thank you!
Thank you Mizushima. Thank you!

You know what? I enjoyed the heck out of Mayoiga since it managed to make me guffaw past episode three. I know enjoyment is subjective but we can never be 100% objective anyway so I turned my brain off and witnessed the craziness unfolding in my screen. I sincerely believe that this series is a product of squeezing three cours’ worth of content to a single one and color me happy on how bad it went. The dialogue is plain bizarre, the characters are nuts and the main conflict is so anticlimatic I cursed my laptop when I saw Yottsun reappearing in that episode. God bless this mess. At least, we got Lovepon who bent the definition of a best girl this season.

Yet why do I consider Mayoiga good? You know, there’s a fine line between bad horror and unintentional comedy and Mayoiga did not only accidentally walk in a fine line – it ran towards the weirdly funny territory since episode three. Yet yeah, liking it is similar with boozing ourselves out with alcohol. The hangover is just that bad. I feel a bit ashamed reading my posts about it now. Teehee.

Then Tanaka-kun is Always Listless proves that you do not need a plot to make your show good. I think I need to commend its creativity in pulling a one note joke all over and over again without getting stale. The use of side characters are also well-executed in this show since Tanaka alone cannot successfully deliver the jokes. Honestly, Echizen and Shiraishi lifted this show from a fujoshi-based one to a clean slice of life comedy series. Do not look for character development though because it is not the show’s intention. Ahhh.. That too, is something I like with Tanaka-kun is Always Listless.

THE DECENT

Left: Bungou Stray Dogs. Right: My reaction with the series.
Left: Bungou Stray Dogs. Right: My reaction with the series.

Well, my online friend says that I might be too harsh on Bungou Stray Dogs and he might  be right. I cannot contain my frustration with this show because it looks good and it can be really engaging when it tries. The Akutagawa – Atsushi fight is just amazing that I changed my opinion on this show from meh to something special. Bungou Stray Dogs also excels in tackling multi-episodic stories rather than a character of the week. Kunikida’s arc, while slow building, gave us some real good payoffs which changed his beliefs. Then there are inconsequential filler-ish episodes devoid of plot development. Remember Rampo-san’s episode or that finale where nothing much happened until the end of its run? Yeah, this show is darn inconsistent!

Well, Rainbow Days is still reliable in making me smile like a teenager but the lack of episode count rendered it a bit lacking for me. Nonetheless, I am glad I saw a generic romantic comedy show done right with real characters, while trying to exert some efforts  in deconstructing shoujo tropes.

Lastly, Mayoiga is not the most talked show this season – it’s Attack on Trains! I enjoyed the hell out of it when they were killing off zombies in trains for the first seven episodes. Then Biba came. Then he became Lelouch minus the Geass (or Gai, whatever). Some forced drama ensued later and we got a show that tried to shift its gears on the second half only to derail later on. I wouldn’t call it a trainwreck because what they are doing still makes sense but I am not pleased with Araki’s direction with the show. In the end, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is a missed opportunity in making a faster Attack on Titan which exudes awesome steampunk zombie-killing flair.

THE BAD

Sure, it looks visually cool.
Sure, it looks visually cool.

Dear God, the second season of Kagewani sucked big time! I know the science research trope will appear sometimes later but… I didn’t expect that it ate two-thirds of this cour. What have you also done with Banba-sensei? He was relegated to the sidelines in exchange for the good-looking  caricature-ish Kimura. This is a letdown.

For the others? Joker Game, Sakamoto desu ga? and Kuromukuro have a common weakness which made my opinion ticked across bad – they’re all boring and lifeless.  Joker Game in particular exudes high production values and some tightly written script but the lack of any meaningful characterization and the sanitized approach in World War 2 simply felt soulless and rendered me to sleep. Sakamoto desu ga? does not know how to properly utilize side characters so the joke ran out of steam after two episodes. I was more creeped out than entertained with this series because Sakamoto is either a Gary Stu or a mentally challenged lead. Lastly, Kuromukuro is fine – only if you play it at 120% playback speed because the show is too slow in revealing plot development! Yukina and Kennosuke are fine but darn this show’s overly leisurely pacing. Where’s your Shirobako and Nagi no Asukara greatness PA Works? Ugh.

THE WORST

kumamiko_title_01
It’s cute, isn’t it?

Yes. Kuma Miko reached Dimension W’s level of atrocity on its last three episodes and I am so disgusted with how it sugarcoated the lack of Machi’s mental capacity and this bear’s perverted desires to remain with her side forever. You know, the final episode could have been cute if not for the fact that the show has a tendency to physically and psychologically torture our country bumpkin while these elders are blissfully doing these deeds.

The characters are not spared either. Yoshio is a persistent and annoying freak who has a good intention but cannot read the darn atmosphere. Machi is socially retarded (seriously) and she never made an effort to surpass her fear of cities and modern technology. Natsu is cute at first, but grew too preachy and weird during the last few episodes. The drunkard old dude who looks like Yoshio is simply annoying. Well, Hibiki is okay but she cannot save the show alone!

Do you want a show where a loli is objectified, traumatized, physically abused and sexualized while a cute background music is playing? Yeah, sure watch Kuma Miko. It’s cute so this cannot be that offensive, isn’t it?

EDIT: I might have gone overboard with lashing out Natsu but man, the show is still my personal worst this season. I cannot appreciate this creepiness disguised as cuteness floating in my screen, you know.

Then there’s my Spring 2016 assessment. Any wild reaction? None? None. Okay. See you next season!

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6 thoughts on “Best of Spring 2016 – Ranking The Shows From This Season

  1. Kumamiko is admittedly quite a strange anime. At times I’m not sure whether to laugh or feel sorry for Machi. The show’s comedy is mainly derived from Machi being a country bumpkin with little to no knowledge about the outside city life and hence she doesn’t know about technology and everything and isn’t good in public places. With regards to this part, I find things funny most of the time, like Machi getting a cell phone for the first time and acting all sophisticated, but things do become difficult to laugh at here, like Machi giving out free samples. She does make an effort to get over her fears as she takes on Natsu’s challenges. It’s just that she hasn’t been that exposed to technology since she lives in a secluded village, much like the rest of the villagers. And that’s pretty natural. I mean, you seriously don’t expect a little girl living in a village far-away from the city to know all about the advancements of modern society. People making less effort to become modern is also natural as many do believe that there’s no need as long as things are going smoothly. That’s the situation the village, and thus Machi is in. She lives in such a place which is why she is in this ignorant state. And since she doesn’t know much about modern life and hasn’t been properly exposed to the outside world, she is “socially retarded”. The anime is pretty much showing things a bit realistically with slight exaggerations here and there for comedic effect. I wouldn’t call Machi being ignorant like this a flaw – the flaw would be how effectively they use this in comedic situations. As far as sexualizing the loli, that’s different for everyone because I certainly didn’t mind all that stuff.

    I wouldn’t call Natsu’s desire to stay with Machi “perverted”. It’s pretty obvious from the flashbacks that they’re basically family and obviously Natsu wouldn’t want his only family member to stay away from him. Yes, Yoshio is an annoying idiot and I really wanted to punch the guy in the face for being unable to see that Machi isn’t made for talking in public. And I’d rather ignore that drunkard because he really isn’t important in any way whatsoever.

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    1. “I wouldn’t call Natsu’s desire to stay with Machi “perverted”. It’s pretty obvious from the flashbacks that they’re basically family and obviously Natsu wouldn’t want his only family member to stay away from him.”

      – Uhh.. I am pretty sure the segment where Yoshio devised some new Miko clothes for her generated some not so family-like reaction from the bear himself. That aside, I find Natsu okay for most of the time. It’s just his very weird prayer in episode 11 that drove me nuts.

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      1. Dude, that was just one scene. It was supposed to be funny with Natsu indirectly telling that he wants Machi to wear that outfit because of the bear ears since he’s a bear and obviously thinks it’s cute, all while trying to not let his true feelings surface. That wish in the end was his selfish desire to keep Machi from going away not because he wants a loli by his side at all times, but because he doesn’t want the only family he has to be away from him. He was even crying ffs. Natsu is usually calm and collected and doesn’t show such feelings, always keeping Machi in mind and doing whatever he can to help and even repenting if he hurts her. But he couldn’t control his feelings when thinking that his only family wouldn’t be with him forever. That’s what the whole wish part was showing.

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      2. I have two other scenes I (regrettably) remember to support my claim:

        1. For what purpose does Yoshio’s cheering for Natsu serve then?

        2. I remember an episode when Machi is about to well, show the new clothe she bought from whatever that store name is.. and when she’s about to undress and color the glee to that bear’s face.

        I still stand by the fact that Natsu harbors more than just familial affection to Machi.

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  2. You sure threw me with the Stray Dogs rating. I thought you hated it mid season. Wow, the Kuma Miko ending has got everyone talking. I don’t think the series has ever been such a hot topic. I guess Kiznaiver is the Punch Line of this season where everyone (barring you) hates it, with most of my MAL friends and Anime News Network roasting it in their podcast. Oh, my fave from Winter 2015 was Maria, so I can’t judge.

    Joker Game’s reception was a surprise, but it seems more, as you said, like a whimper than a flaming mess. Kuromukuro was kinda expected for me, as PA Works seems like KyoAni where their few action focused series fall flat on their face. I think including Re:Zero would get more people checking this out, as it’s consensus seems to have taken an upswing as of late. Well, all things considered, a fair follow up to last season. Let’s hope that Summer is at least okay, and that I can survive three, more, excruciating, weeks of study here. I think these people are trying to kill me :(.

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    1. Bungou Stray Dogs made a stupefying leap in quality for its second half. As I prefer anime series getting better in the end, so this surely racked up to the rankings.

      Kuma Miko is just creepy even if you discount the ending because the show does not even know itself whether it wants to take social fear seriously or as a comedy. Watching Machi regressed as a human is reaaaalllly disturbing.

      As regards to Kiznaiver? Remove Okada’s name in the writing staff and people would have liked it more. Darn that negative bias towards her.

      Well, hang in there. The end is near yet I hope you aren’t in the edge of your sanity by now.😂

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