2016 Midyear Report – My Favorites and The Duds

I might as well make this post while I am still not yet bombarded with shows from the surprisingly promising Summer 2016 season.

Yes, we’re done at the first half of 2016 and time really flies fast when you are tracking time via anime season. Following dozens of shows for a span of three months now felt like more of a chore than a hobby at this point, but I don’t regret anything since watching anime series somehow saved me from my chronic boredom (insert some Key VN lead here folks).

Now to the serious point. While I can say that 2016 is a tad better than the abysmal 2015, the lows of the latter are much worse. I somehow witnessed the highs and lows of being a seasonal watcher ranging from anxiously waiting whether your favorite show will get a second season to simply cursing whatever’s shown in the screen.

THE RANKING – BEST OF MID-2016

I know creating a ‘Best of’ list is too early at this point but I am a geek with numbers anyway. For notable omissions, Ajin and Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans are excluded because their respective second cours will air in Fall 2016. Should I place them right now in the rankings, perhaps Ajin will sit right after ERASED and Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans is placed after Kiznaiver. On the other hand, I did a last minute swap of My Hero Academia with Flying Witch because I think the latter was more coherent in presenting its world. Well, the sleepy mid portions of My Hero Academia killed its chances to be one of my favorites anyway.

Without further ado, here are my best ten shows from the first half of 2016.

  1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (Winter 2016)
  2. Concrete Revolutio – The Last Song (Fall 2015 and Spring 2016)
  3. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Summer 2015 and Winter 2016)
  4. Lupin III (2015) – (technically a 2015 anime series but was broadcasted in Winter 2016)
  5. ERASED (Winter 2016)
  6. Kiznaiver (Spring 2016)
  7. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (Winter 2016)
  8. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (Winter 2016)
  9. Assassination Classroom – Second Season (Winter 2016 and Spring 2016)
  10. Flying Witch (Spring 2016)

I noticed a pattern to the shows I like so far in 2016. Are Showa Era as setting and flashbacks as plot device became the new good in anime? I mean, my top two shows this year (even my potential AOTS orange) judiciously utilized the two above and presented flawed masterpiece that will stand through time. Shouwa Rakugo is a period drama weaving complex human emotions and their apparent inability to communicate and the dying Japanese artform called rakugo. Sukeroku’s death scene might be too calculated for my taste but everything that comes before and after it was just magnificent all I can do was throw confettis in order to praise it. Concrete Revolutio hits more of your intellect and gave a very promising argument as regards to the nature of justice and discrimination set in 1940s alternate universe. Heck, even ERASED was in its full glory when it recalled the events of 1988 for Satoru to save Kayo yet the present time is just bonkers and that hurt the series big time.

We are still not yet moving on to the present because Lupin III (2015) and Akagami no Shirayuki-hime look like they were shown in the 1970s and the medieval times, respectively.  I included Lupin III (2015) in my list because of the very beautiful artwork and animation plus Lupin’s gang has never been this fun before. Leonardo da Vinci as the main antagonist was a miss but whatever it has presented until that point reeks of awesomeness. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime suffers from cliched plot tropes (Welp, Shirayuki being kidnapped by pirates and Raj’s siblings) but the characters remain rich and the potency of Shirayuki-Zen couple reduced me to a high schooler gushing over his senpai. Not only that, the execution was pure gold even if you are already accustomed with shoujo tropes.

The next five are still good to some extent but not without flaws that made me irk. Kiznaiver‘s main plot was meh but the characters make up for it. Grimgar was great when it focuses on Haruhiro’s hardships as a clan and the ultra-realistic drama in a RPG world. Yet it stinked when it shows fanservice that feels out of place to the somber approach it tries to take. The final blow from reaching its full potential was the inconsistent production values. One minute Grimgar looks great and the next frames just destroyed its most crucial moments.  Meanwhile, KonoSuba is a hell lot of fun to watch and I was left guffawing for the most of its run. It feels like the anti-RPG anime which feasted on tropes squandered them big time for maximum fun. It’s just that Kazuma is a take-him or kill-him lead and his perverted acts turned some people off. For me? Let him do whatever he wants to and just kiss Aqua-sama already!

THE RANKING – SHOWS I SHOULD HAVE DROPPED

I do not know if this section equates to worst, granted that Dimension W received some acclaim from its first three episodes. Then it nosedived when it tried to present different genres for the sake of presenting the nonsensical dimension W. Kuma Miko sugarcoats creepy with cute so I abhor that show too. Well, I really did drop Ace Attorney so it is not included. I created a separate post for Mayoiga as to why I like intentionally bad shows and Divine Gate survived the chopping block for the same reasons. Kuma Miko aside, I think none of Spring 2016 shows is bad but their entertainment value is of a different matter nonetheless. Well, there’s the ranking anyway.

  1. Dimension W (Winter 2016)
  2. Kuma Miko (Spring 2016)
  3. Haruchika (Winter 2016)
  4. Bubuki Buranki  (Winter 2016)
  5. Active Raid (Winter 2016)

Going back to my justifications, Haruchika is a good treatment for insomnia once you get past the omnipotent Haruto. Chika is a bouncy lead but… she alone cannot save this lifeless show! Bubuki Buranki is actually decent until other bubuki users showed up and threw the plot away for these unorganized action scenes. Active Raid swings between awful and just okay but the downs are far more irritating than any other shows in the list. Logos is just that bad to mar the mediocre quality of this show.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS

I know I loathed Spring 2016 for failing to produce a great new show but all of these are watchable. I am still sad for the lack of Sound Euphonium! and the bold PunchLine  but these are hardly waste of time. Looking back, Spring 2016 is more consistent than that of Winter 2016’s offerings IF we’re talking about the overall quality.  Comedy is also its greatest point, because shows like Tanaka-kun, Flying Witch and Mayoiga are simply fun and these never bored me.

Well, I am more okay with a treasure looming over trash and I got three (or four, including Lupin) excellent shows in Winter 2016 so I prefer it after all.  

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