Best of Summer 2016 – Ranking The Shows From This Season

Another season closes its curtains, and color me happy with Summer 2016.

I am really thankful that these shows do not exhibit the same pattern as its counterparts last year. I can say this season is good (great even, thanks to Mob Psycho 100 and orange), although this is far from perfect. There are a lot of middling shows you can watch to kill your time, yet I do not think you will be fondly remembering these in the long run. Heck, even the top tier shows didn’t create much impact for me to place any of these in my most favorites.

Don’t be discouraged though, as this season might be the most diverse this year. These are not totally original (ReZero’s Subaru begs to differ though) but they are more or less entertaining enough. Mob Psycho 100 and Tales of Zestiria – the X are also visually outstanding.

THE RANKING

Without further ado, let me present my ranking for Summer 2016 anime series.

  1. Orange
  2. Mob Psycho 100
  3. Planetarian
  4. 91 Days
  5. Amaama to Inazuma
  6. DAYS
  7. ReLIFE
  8. Honobono Log
  9. Shokugeki no Souma Season 2
  10. ReZero
  11. This Art Club Has A Problem
  12. Cheer!! Danshi
  13. Kuromukuro
  14. Momokuri
  15. Tales of Zestiria the X
  16. Fudanshi Koukousei no Seikatsu
  17. Battery
  18. The Morose Mononokean
  19. Rewrite

Shows I consider for the year-end ranking: Orange, Mob Psycho 100, Planetarian

Shows I consider decent: Anything ranked above Fudanshi Koukousei no Seikatsu

Shows to skip: Battery, The Morose Mononokean and Rewrite

Thankfully, there are mostly no duds in the shows I watched this time. This could probably be that change in my preferences since Mayoiga or the way I ignore others which will never suit my taste.

THE GOOD

My problem with this season is even top-tier shows have glaring flaws I usually don’t see with their respective caliber. Orange has god darn production issues (which ReLIFE does not have, so why?!), but the story itself is darn strong to the point of uneasiness. I think it is a good sign when you criticize characters for their actions rather than the way how the story is told. That’s what happens in Orange. The looming sense of dread has been finally revealed and I am happy it is what I expected. Kakeru’s distant characterization works well for someone who has depression. It pains me to say that we cannot just say he should just grow up. It’s all up to Kakeru if he ever wants to be saved.

Meanwhile, Mob Psycho 100 is unleashing all of its animation prowess without forgetting to make these characters at least two dimensional. I guess that’s what One Punch Man lacks, so I like this better. Reigen is darn fun to watch and might be my most favorite for this year (Sorry Subaru, Kikuhiko and Yotaro). Luckily, Mob is also a fairly compelling lead despite his deadpan reaction. Now to my problems, Mob Psycho 100’s effectiveness as a show diminished when Claw was presented along with these paper-thin antagonists. The saving grace might be they’re necessary to move things along. Well, the epic eleventh episode proved that so… yeah, I think I should let that pass. Of course, the last minute plot twists were awesome but man, the whole affair will be really boring if not for the glorious visuals.

Lastly, planetarian excels in setting up the atmosphere of a sad show. My only real problem is it didn’t quite pull the feels in the end. Nonetheless, I am really happy that it chose not to employ cheap emotional manipulative tricks. This could have been worse. The death scene of Yumemi is also too long and the fate of the Junker is presented a bit too short. Other than that, planetarian benefited from the short airtime it had this season. Why can’t Rewrite be like that?!

THE DECENT

This is where these shows become quite homogeneous in terms of quality. Some might even argue that 91 Days and Amaama to Inazuma should be in the good, since these are really consistent after all. Unfortunately, these are also their biggest problems.

91 Days has been picking up steam for the last few episodes, but I cannot help but feel disinterested with the presentation. The whole thing goes too fast for me to absorb its apparent grim nature. Worse, the artwork is meh and can go really bad at times (*cough episode 11*). Unlike Orange which has the characters I can support, 91 Days is kind of weak in terms of characterization. The backdrop of these warring families in the Prohibition Era is slick in paper and 91 Days gave its best to evoke that feeling. Maybe the presentation kinda lacks though. It is a kind of show that is good when you zoom things out, but fails when you take a look at the ones who play the parts. Say, do you care for characters whose name is not Avilio in this show?

If we’re talking about a show teasing you some good points, Amaama to Inazuma did a great job. Hence, I am frustrated with it in the end. Don’t worry, this is a good watch if you’re up for a show that makes you feel relaxed. Just do not expect anything grander than what it is promising you. I was a bit bummed that we don’t get to see flashbacks of Kouhei’s life with his dead wife, even if the show teases hints of it through the end. UGH. On the other hand, it succeeded in showing kids are rather irritating (and adorable) to have. To be fair, I can sit through an episode where we see Tsumugi’s adventures as that sheep. There was a nice balance of fiction and realism in her case.

PS: Can I ask for a Yagi episode in the future?

I don’t know if ReZero is good, bad or simply meh. Subaru is surely the most interesting lead this year (not necessarily the best) but he alone cannot carry the show. Tell me, where the hell is Felt since episode 13, or Rem in the finale? Worse, why do these arcs feel unnecessarily long even without a filler episode? Why does this show divert to other paths when we need Subaru to face the problems head on? Lastly, ReZero lost the steam it had past episode 18 (and so with whatever that makes Rem adorable).

That quite feelsy ending will not fool me into asking these questions to be honest. Given its immense popularity, there must be a second season to answer these questions. Other than that, this is a memorable series for better or for worse. Yeah, it won’t land in my year-end ranking but this is a darn sure enjoyable ride.

Well, my opinion about ReLife did not change that much anyway. This is a very pleasant show but it never quite astray far from its comfort zone. When you got heavy topics such as suicide or darkness of the human nature, why not make the most out of it? The resolution felt like it was a kiddy version of resolving issues in the end. In terms of the characters , Arata is a fairly good lead (and so with Chihiro) but the side leads aside from Kariu are just… eh?

For the others:

  • DAYS maybe took the courage to wreck our hearts this time. It’s not bad, but the animation cannot sustain the sheer joy of watching this show.
  • The same can be said with Cheer Danshi yet it has worse problems in the production department. Characters get deformed most of the time, and they can’t even animate actual cheerleading. Gah. Don’t worry, the story is good enough to keep you invested if you are not that keen with visuals. It hits the right notes too when you are asking for some nice (but understated) drama.
  • Speaking of good art, Tales of Zestiria is a sheer pleasure to watch for that alone. If only the plot could be any more exciting though. My attention drifted somewhere else at a third of its airing. Uhhh… I think I need to address this, this show (and Rezero) does not have godly animation despite popular beliefs. I am not an animation expert but the movements in both series are nothing above average.

THE BAD

Botched potential is what I can say about the most of these shows.

Battery didn’t go anywhere despite the introspective earlier episodes. Is this a coming of age anime series? Is this a pure baseball show? Sadly, it didn’t hit anything clearly with all the premise it tried to present. This is a bad baseball show (seriously, the ending, is that it?!) and it is a half-cooked bishie drama. Battery went south when Shun and Shuugo were introduced in the latter half. I couldn’t quite get their significance to the story. Worse, they just made it more murky. The blossoming potential of Go-Takumi’s partnership in a baseball game was also squandered for a four-way drama fest I can’t get into. Mind you, the clash between our battery has never been resolved too.

What happened to Seiha’s apparent sickness? To Takumi’s grandpa’s or the coach’s involvement to the story? Will we ever get an actual baseball game from it?! Are these the entirety of the award-winning source material? It seems like Noitamina got a miss in this one.

I am already fine with a boring The Morose Mononokean. A prickly Abeno is what I can’t absorb in the story. That’s all. His actions give me a sour feeling about the show. I know you are acting tough but… man, to say Ashiya is useless just because he can’t see yokais anymore felt like an acid trip. Can’t we just return Ashiya’s ability to see yokais? This final arc is driving me to sleep too.

Lastly, Rewrite is Key at its nadir. This show is just my personal worst this season because the plot was put through a blender, and we are left with no idea as to its proper sequence. Rewrite did a fairly passable introduction but killed itself when it tried to drop foreshadowing one after another and revealing the events via dry exposition. Episode 12 also left me speechless on how bad that is. The pacing is criminally fast, character motives change in an instant and we got another subplot just before the finale! Man, this anime series is surely a disservice to the source material. Are you up for some drama that fizzled? See Shizuru and Akane’s episode. Needless fillers? See Kagari’s first episode as the main heroine. Man, I cannot see a redeeming point in this adaptation if we’re talking about the way on how the story goes.

Do not recommend Rewrite to your friends. Do not also recommend this to your enemies unless you want them to hate you more. At least it has Koutarou? Yeah but I cannot see the logic behind his actions as of late. Bleh. That’s all.

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