Fall 2016 – First Impressions (Part 1)

So… why are these shows taking a while to be aired? Let’s start!

Sound Euphonium Season 2

Is this even a competition at this point? Sound Euphonium 2’s double length offering shows how an opening episode for a sequel should be made. No unnecessary recaps, but it embraces you in an atmosphere of familiarity. Start right after where the first season ended, then introduce new plot elements. Nozomi’s plea to re-enter the music club is a potential source of good drama. This act leaves many possibilities Euphonium can explore. Maybe we can finally look back to whatever happened to the second years who quitted a year ago. Or crack Asuka’s honestly scary characterization all told in Kumiko’s point of view. With the competition coming up, color me excited to what will happen this season. People say that nothing happened in this episode. I disagree – this was successful in setting up the base for good drama and plot continuity such as the case of this great series.

Coupled with Kyoto Animation’s fine attention to detail, the whole affair feels natural, yet a bit melancholic. Sound Euphonium 2 just released a monster of an episode threatening Rakugo as my anime of 2016. My biggest concern about this episode is Kumiko’s VA. Why does her voice sound too stilted in the first half? I don’t know.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans  Season 2

Speaking of sequels, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans also kind of did whatever good Euphonium does. You get a continuation of what happened last season while you get to know new characters. Tekkadan finally made it big, with Orga somehow bringing these child soldiers a place they could call home. I also got shivers by the blatant presentation of its twisted ideas. Yes, Gglarhorn is in shambles and there’s a rise on the recruitment of underaged soldiers all thanks to Tekkadan. Then there’s the unhealthy dependence of Mika and Orga with each other.The show isn’t shy to flaunt what made people cringe to its ideals last season, huh?

Iron Blooded Orphans still swings between nice SoL moments and gripping mecha action. It’s a nice gesture that side characters received the treatment they should have last season. Eugene is now a Deputy Commander, and Shino gets the right to torture (err… train) the new recruits. Akihiro and others are rightfully performing their roles. For once, I felt some sort of relief that Kudelia didn’t get much role in this pilot episode. Tell me, how much screentime did these Tekkadan boys get in exchange for showing Kudelia’s slow evolution as a character? That said, I miss the dynamics between the members of this group. So what’s not to like?

Color me unimpressed with the way it executed things in this episode. Things went a bit faster than what I can absorb and they just introduced a heck of characters right away. Whether Middy’s going to be a pivotal character in the next episode is yet to be known. Yet what I am sure of is this dude needs something more other than his good looks. Why not deal with the aftermath of that messy finale of season one first?

Yuri on Ice 

Yuri on Ice is actually good – if you can slash the awful comedy that eats a quarter of its first episode. Its tonal dissonance really left me conflicted. This show is excellent for whatever else it does, with MAPPA channeling their awesome animation prowess. In instance, Yuri’s ice skating performance paralleled with Victor’s is just that great. The artwork is also vivid but I hope it won’t slip to DAYS’ dismal level in the end. Just do not ask me about the attempts for humor.

As I said, Yuri on Ice’s brand of comedy is bad. It reminds me how awful the comedic timing of Your Lie in April is when it aired. I am not a despair-seeking anime watcher. It’s just that, there are better ways to mix these two opposite moods over an episode. Moreover, the protagonist veers on being bland and predictable. Yet if viewed differently, Yuri is darn relatable as a lead. Who does not want to escape after experiencing failures one after another?

Flip Flappers

While everyone is gushing over Flip Flappers, I am left confused as to why. Sure, the show is great from an animator’s point of view but what about the plot? I see some allusions to Alice in Wonderland but perhaps its overly serious tone left me cold. I am all in for unpredictability (coming from a dude who loves Samurai Flamenco), but the amount of unknown in this show is too high. Actually, we never even got much more aside from there’s an experiment conducted to Papika and Cocona.

We already saw other series which utilized the trope in the form of MC’s dilemma so I am not sure what’s unique in this show, plot-wise. Do you want something crazy but entertaining? Go watch Gatchaman Crowds and FLCL instead. More so, I already have the artistic (yet melodramatic) Kiznaiver in my hands. Am I going to watch the next episode? Probably, if I don’t have other things to do.

Shuumatsu no Izetta

Shuumatsu no Izetta is okay for most of the part. The series gets a big plus for having a strong willed female lead. Yet I am not particularly hot with the presentation. Is it a bit too dry for my taste? To its defense, the first five minutes was whimsical. It succeeded with foreshadowing something magical, then proceeded with a convincing cat and mouse chase. The next ten minutes of this show was not that good though.

I thought Izetta has the opposite problem of Flip Flappers, in a way that this is too predictable. The use of events surrounding WW2 without much creative tweak is just… disappointing to be honest. I am already prepared to drop the show midway, especially when the not-so-German soldiers showed up. Urgh.

However, I ate what I thought when the witch appeared in the last five minutes. Now, color me intrigued as to where Izetta goes. At worst, this can be another Comet Lucifer but at best, hey, Little Witch Academia is what this show might reach.

Keijo!

Keijo is surprisingly good to be honest. I was expecting a trashy ecchi show (regards to Masou Gakuen) but we got something that has its own legit excuse to flaunt fanservice right away. The butt fight does not feel forced or anything that could detriment the show. Instead, I was amused on how creative these Japanese could get. It’s a tall task to slip something, well, ecchi, to Keijo without me feeling I just watched a porn. I am also happy to report that this show isn’t just showing skin for the sake of showing it. No blatant yuri baits, nor horndog leads is seen in Keijo.

To my cons, Keijo is a by the numbers sports show if you remove its ridiculous premise. We got some good action, weird characters and a straightforward plot. Frankly, these are what usually utilized in this genre. Yet this is a good news. It means I can see this show as a sports oriented one, than as a trash I might never relate to.

DAYS

Lastly, we get a proper filler episode from DAYS. I guess the timing’s really appropriate after an emotionally powerful season closer. The episode was fun, even if these characters do not play soccer. It is kind of nice we see what are they like during their free time. This opening episode is entertaining enough on its own. Seriously, I never get tired of Mizuki’s antics as that dorky Seiseki captain. Ooshiba also got his fair share of screen time too, so we get to know this yandere of a vice captain. My only complaint? Perhaps Tsukamoto needs to develop soon – or I might get tired of his demeanor sooner or later.

PS: The childhood friend suffers even in DAYS, poor Sayurin.

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2 thoughts on “Fall 2016 – First Impressions (Part 1)

  1. This season has a good few surprises. I hadn’t even heard of Flip Flappers before it impressed with its first episode. If things hold up (which would be very difficult) it will be the most visually impressive of the year, with very strong style combined with technicality, and that’s a high bar to leap over. I won’t watch Hibike till probably the middle of December, so I can steamroll over it, but I’ll attempt to keep up with Izetta, Lion and Flappers for the moment. I wonder what will be the most popular of the Season?

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    1. Flip Flappers is surely a visually impressive show. Add some good story and I will probably enjoy it more than I did.

      Lion has some real hype to it but… man, that first episode is just.. okay?

      Like

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