Samui’s 7 Days of Anime #3 – Best of Fall 2016

Okay, let’s have this seasonal post first before anything else.

What a strong season that was! I originally intended to watch twelve shows but I guess good word of mouth happened so I finished sixteen (and counting because of Bungou Stray Dogs S2). In fairness to this season, I have no show to hate like what I did to Dimension W and Kuma Miko (Occultic;Nine was well, semi-okay in the end). Nonetheless, I also had the same issues with Fall 2016 as compared to Fall 2015. Sequels are mostly better than the originals, yet the latter are also (super) strong this time around. Let’s begin ranking the shows as I always do.

THE RANKING

  1. Sound Euphonium 2
  2. Ajin S2
  3. Yuri on Ice
  4. Fune Wo Amu
  5. Flip Flappers
  6. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans S2
  7. Girlish Numbers
  8. Sangatsu no Lion
  9. Udon no Kuni
  10. Bungou Stray Dogs S2
  11. Drifters
  12. DAYS
  13. Kiss Him, Not Me!
  14. Keijo!!
  15. Occultic; Nine
  16. Classicaloid
  17. Shuumatsu no Izetta

Shows I consider for the year-end ranking: Sound! Euphonium S2, Ajin, Yuri on Ice, Fune wo Amu and Flip Flappers

Shows that I think are decent: Anything above Occultic;Nine

Shows to skip:  Shuumatsu no Izetta, because Occultic;Nine is never boring despite the messy adaptation

THE GREAT ONES

yuri-on-ice-12-27

 

Perhaps my top picks this season showcased unique strengths that were executed exquisitely. First, Sound! Euphonium S2 has a tight writing and some masterful storytelling which rivals that of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. This season also improved in a way we get less of filler-ish content and more of subdued but layered drama. Well, do not forget that basically all of the important characters got their moment to shine so this series is (really) done. However, my big complaint is the excellent parts do not make the big whole. I get it – the drama is there and this is really tasty but what’s the long run effect? There’s no need to mention how sublime the visuals in this show. This is Kyoto Animations and creating a superbly animated series is their forte.

Ajin S2‘s strength actually addressed Sound! Euphonium’s biggest weakness. Everything connects to a big picture. I suppose Ajin isn’t only the best written show in 2016, but is also one of the best thriller show in years. The character drama and thrill are there, and color me happy with a sociopathic lead named Kei. Yet it seems like Ajin decided to be Sound! Euphonium’s antithesis in a way that you can reject it because of its awful CGI visuals. This show can be a pain to the eyes if you are not used with the low frame rates and the lack of facial expressions.

Up next is the ever-celebrated Yuri on Ice. If Fall 2016 is a classroom, the show itself is the popular ikemen who is a member of the sports club but still gets high grades. It seems like the show gets it all to be honest. Exhilarating is the best word I can associate with Yuri on Ice. If entertainment value is your metric in measuring the best anime, I guess this show should crawl to your list. Now to my complaints. Animation in this series can be wobbly in the mid parts. Character writing beyond the two Yuris and Victor is partly eh? and episode 11 is really a momentum killer.

I guess it is no understatement that Fune wo Amu is the quietest series of 2016. There’s virtually no melodrama in the show. The characters do not confront each other, nor their conflicts were magnified. What we got is a tranquil and realistic show tackling office works and some artsy executions of making a dictionary. The premise alone deserves respect but it does not give Fune wo Amu excuse for its shortcomings. The show could have spiced more its presentation though. I can’t pinpoint the word for this but I hoped it didn’t gloss some potentially great conflicts. In the end, Fune wo Amu remained very good, but not great. I only gave this a pass since slice of life is my thing, but this can render you to sleep at worst.

Lastly, Flip Flappers is a wonder of animation but can be a chore if you want to take a look at the story or the characters. Seriously, the show is simply the best in this year if you only take a look at the visuals. Action scenes were carefully choreographed, the world building is simply astounding and the artwork remained consistently great from episode one. I just can’t bring myself to care more for Cocona and Papika though. I want to love the two but… I guess that’s the aftereffect of Flip Flappers’ loose storytelling. Sigh.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans fell short of my consideration for the year end ranking because I still cannot connect to its second season’s first four episodes. The brisk presentation coupled with introduction of the characters I never had much time to care for are my reasons. Rest assured the show is back on track this time. Plus, it’s still not yet done! If this goes on to this trajectory, I am sure the show will end up in my 2017 list.

MIDDLING GOOD

yuri-on-ice-12-62

Girlish Numbers is one of Fall 2016’s better shows but unfortunately was not aware whether it’s gonna poke the industry or settle with Wataru-style character development. The show did great in both departments but just can’t mesh the two well in the end. I hoped for a sequel if it warrants though. Sangatsu no Lion could have ranked much higher if we didn’t have loads of awful Shaft-branded humor. The series can be really introspective when it minimizes the lighthearted tone. Similar with Honey and Clover, all these characters have palpable stories to tell. Then SHAFT JOKES! Talk about some mood whiplash. Well, not all of the jokes are bad though. I remember laughing in the episode when Rei became friends with Hina’s crush. That was a riot to be honest.

For the others:

  • Damn Poco’s Udon World. The ending alone is one of Fall 2016’s highlights. My problem is the show is kinda middling before that episode.
  • Drifters is good sans the tone deaf humor. Watch it for Oda and Toyohisa.
  • DAYS kinda ended. Seriously. Yuri on Ice got everything from MAPPA in this season. Poor show.
  • Then there’s Kiss Him, Not Me! which is the equivalent of your junk food. It’s fun all throughout but the show never really got anywhere thanks to the awkward rearrangement of adapting the chapters. #TeamSenpai and #TeamIgarashi all the way!
  • Keijo!!!!!!!! is okay. That’s the best/worst thing I can say about the boobs and butt hyperfighting anime.

MEH

yuri-on-ice-episode-11-recap-episode-12-spoilers

I guess I should begin with the most frustrating show this season, Occultic;Nine. I don’t know if it’s the limited episode count that rendered this show a mess, but then, we can also trim 50% of the dialogue and still call it a show. Something in me says the characters talked too quickly but damn the snail pacing. It also do not help that the leads save Ryo-tas are blah (I want Sarai though… yum… err) and some plot points were awfully jumbled together in the last minute. Back to its premise, I found the 256 incident a really stupid move from a large organization.

Given its shortcomings, Occultic;Nine did not bore me at all. I went back watching week after week even if I know I won’t get much from the show. I guess its irritating trait has some perks in the end.

Classicaloid is the most harmless show this season. Yet I guess that’s a backhanded compliment granted its larger than life premise. Episode 12 signified what it can do when the crazies kick in high gear, but most of its run were fillers that are mildly enjoyable at best. I may not watch the continuation next season but I guess the cour finale was enough to convince me this show isn’t totally blah.

Then to my personal worst this season, Shuumatsu no Izetta is akin to the teledramas shown here in my country. Just when we thought the philosophy of war be tackled in detail, we get a mumbo jumbo catfight between two witches. That was the point in the show I had to throw my white towel and quit finding any good trait aside from Fine and Izetta’s friendship. The production really sank towards the end, filled with weird scene transitions which are too jarring to my eyes. It also had the same problem with Occultic; Nine in a way it spent time idling around then rushed the plot when it needed to move forward. Worse? Why am I sleepy half of the time while watching a supposedly gritty show? Ugh.

That’s it folks! Here’s my end of season post. Any wild reaction? None? None. See you tomorrow!

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2 thoughts on “Samui’s 7 Days of Anime #3 – Best of Fall 2016

  1. For me, a season that only grows stronger as it goes on. Love Fune wo Amu, Udon, and Natsume S5, they’re in three-way tie for my favorite.

    ….almost forgot Euph still existed, haha. I like the S1 enough to watch a few episodes of S2, but kept in on hold to make some space in the schedule. Good show, never really resonates with me even at its strongest. Do they eventually expand the perspectives beyond just Kumiko/Reina? I wanted to see more of Asuka in particular.

    Like

    1. Yes. Asuka’s characterization was fully realized this season. Eupho S2 is more about the characters than the plot beyond episode 5… and it’s for the better to be honest.

      Like

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