Failed expectations galore!
Probably this is going to be my most divisive post in this blog so I guess I have to explain my reasons in this list. This is not a ‘Worst of 2016’ article nor I hated these shows in full (except for Rewrite). Let me remind you that the term disappointment does not equate with bad. These shows are there because of the following reasons:
- The show received hype that wasn’t delivered. I am not normally into pre-season buzz but when you got a great source material or an A-list staff, the actual output must be something.
- The series is doing great until it went south towards the end. What was the point of this show after all?
- There are confusing directional choices that destroyed its mood. Hence, defeating the purpose of its premise.
Some of these might even end in my year end list. Again, this is not a worst of 2016 list. Most of these shows are okay, it’s just that I hoped for something more than what I have seen in the end. Shall we start?
10. Active Raid (Winter 2016)
Perhaps this series is a victim of hype towards its production staff. Code Geass is anime’s mascot for camp and we were thrown into believing this will follow suit. What we actually got? A sentai-ish sitcom that throws outdated jokes which it still thinks are funny. Worse, you get some blah characterization and incest and you get an equivalent of acid trip at some point. Worst, the villains are one note, and their actions do no make sense at all. If Active Raid is meant to be a parody, then why I am not getting the humor?
Turns out, it is also the lowest rated Winter 2016 show in MAL. In fairness to Active Raid, the show can be poignant at times, as evidenced by its tribute to the mecha genre on episode six. Other than that, the whole affair is just not worth your time.
9. Handa-kun (Summer 2016)
I checked Handa-kun in the hopes of seeing what Handa Sei was like in high school. Turns out, he is a Gary Stu a la Sakamoto if I am going to believe in the anime adaptation. Where did you put the magic of the original Barakamon series Handa-kun? That Handa-sensei and your Handa-kun are worlds apart! Even worse was the constant jab at the fourth wall as if the joke’s still relevant up to this day. I had to bail out in episode 3 as I didn’t want to taint my fond memory of the original Barakamon series.
8. Kotetsujou no Kabaneri (Spring 2016)
Kabaneri was fun until Biba became a central figure in the show circa episode 8. Forced drama and stupid daddy issues ensued, then my initial amused stance became disappointment towards the end. I guess I was not alone in this regard. Even MAL users were irked, causing the show’s score to dwindle from 8.3o-something to mid 7s. Some may argue that it’s just an arc that should not be that detrimental, but hell, it was poised to be the show’s climax! How underwhelming was that?
7. Sakamoto desu Ga? (Spring 2016)
Studio DEEN has a knack of picking quirky shows that can be jewels in the long run. KonoSuba for instance, has literally no fanbase at the beginning until the wacky animation technique was used to the Studio’s favor. Since DEEN opened 2016 on a high note, I guess I expected it will be that way for the rest of the year. Heh, one note jokes galore! This is the first time I was irked by a Gary Stu even if that was used for comedic purposes. No – I don’t even want to be friends with the dude as he makes everything around him really drab. It even took us 12 episodes to realize Sakamoto has a freakin’ personality. Too bad, I ceased to care at that point.
PS: I enjoyed One Punch Man despite the one note jokes. Why? At least the villains are more cartoon-y than this show.
6. Battery (Summer 2016)
I guess I should stop expecting something great from award-winning source materials. Say, where did series go when Shuugo and that annoying dude became important characters? Nothing happened in the show in the end! I mean, nothing. The baseball thing it promised was a scam. All of its interesting subplot it offered in the beginning was a scam. That was a shame granted the show offered a moody and melancholic take towards loving something you want to do. It could have been also a good coming of age show since Takumi is initially a prick. Instead, we got a half-baked drama involving these bishounen who appeared too late in Battery. Who are they and why should I care for them in the end?
5. Joker Game (Spring 2016)
Perhaps we were fooled by the three episode rule because the show pretended it will have an overarching plot. Alas! The spy of the week format from characters whose name I still don’t know until now was used until the last episode. Note that the production and direction are actually excellent as expected from Production IG. We get some nice plot backdrop each week but these left me cold as these characters were not given proper introduction. Seriously, who is that old man from the D Agency? Crap.
4. Musaigen no Phantom World (Winter 2016)
I guess even Kyoto Animations cannot save an inherently trashy show. Now to my concern – why did they even animate this? While this is not as bad as people claim it to be, I am still baffled why Kyoto Animations joined the ecchi group in anime industry. The demographic itself isn’t that profitable as against the fujoshi or their usual stuff. Free, Amagi Brilliant Park and Sound! Euphonium sold much more than this you know. Phantom World is a visual feast but was not as funny nor entertaining as I hoped. What a waste of visual talent.
3. Sangatsu no Lion (Fall 2016)
The show is actually great if not for the weird directional choices it received. Granted the source material is from an award-winning manga, it was no brainer that Sangatsu no Lion was one of the most hyped shows in Fall 2016. All Shaft has to do is to animate it like what JC Staff did with Honey and Clover. Then the first episode aired. Talking cats are funny, they say. Those exaggerated chibi sequences are also funny, they say. The Shinbo Style fits in Sangatsu no Lion, they say. All these quirky choices rendered me distracted from its totally introspective nature. In the end, my Sangatsu no Lion experience turned from ‘this is good’ turned out to ‘meh, another Shaft quirk again’.
2. Rewrite (Summer 2016)
Ah – My trust issues with 8-bit intensified with this adaptation. Rewrite was supposed to be the most complex Key Visual Novel ever, featuring themes the company has never explored before. I thought at least it will be action packed and steadily paced. The opposite happened. Rewrite – the Anime was filled with filler-ish interaction between Kotarou and the girls around him. When the show needed to present drama, the staff decided to cram all the contents in an episodic flair. Am I supposed to cry? Wait. Tell me what happened first?!
I can actually forgive the show if not for the underwhelming finale. Where’s the action when we need it? It could have been a well choreographed fight, or something (I mean something!) that may redeem this from a disappointing adaptation.
1. ERASED (Winter 2016)
Erased was at par with Rakugo when the focus was with Satoru finding ways to save Kayo. Satoru was dull, but Kayo’s circumstances plus his desperation was good to watch. It makes me think ERASED could have been an awesome show all around if that stopped on episode nine.
Then episode ten happened. I guess Yashiro-sensei watched too much Dragonball Z so his (obvious) revelation as the suspect felt too caricaturish to be taken seriously. “THIS IS MY TRUE FORM! BUWAHAHA” – Oh God, I think I should have taken a selfie back then to express how disappointed I was in that revelation.
Yet hey, there’s more!
I don’t care about how the Satoru x Kayo ship sank which angered people. What I got disturbed was Yashiro-sensei actually waiting for Satoru to wake up from his coma. Then the drowning hamsters happened, and that yaoi conversation in the rooftop happened. Are you messing with me ERASED? Well – the last five minutes of the show were excellent though. I mean, the kind of finding an oasis in a chock full of desert.
This post is sort of divisive, I know. Share your thoughts in the comments!