Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, and the number of shows I’m watching kept dwindling, so I actually checked out a new show! This season’s number of shows I’m watching is low, but the top end remains very high.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 3:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 3 - Fujinuma Satorou and Hinazuki Kayo under the Christmas Tree

This episode was good, once more! I really felt the absolute need to watch the next episode right after this one ended, only to find out that it doesn’t yet exist. Interestingly enough, the last time this happened to me was with another show directed by Itou Tomohiko – when I caught up with Sword Art Online’s first season around episode 17. Well, this was really good, and the emotional scene was very tightly directed. The music is very restrained for a Yuki Kaijura soundtrack, and the pieces seem almost copy-pasted over from Madoka, but as Satoru left Jun’s place, you could feel the mounting tension in the music.

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Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 2 (Anime Power Ranking)

Second week is here, so which shows got cut cause I can’t stomach more of their badness, and what did I think of the other episodes? Read on to find out!

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 2:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 2 Notes - Fujinuma Satorou and Hinazuki Kayo

This episode was really good. As good as the first one? Maybe it was, or the tiniest fraction lower, as this episode lacked the premiere’s “hook”, but had anything else. Strong direction and good shot composition were evident throughout, with many beautiful and/or impactful shows throughout. This was discussed somewhat back when Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resoannce) aired, but everything in an anime shot has to be drawn, someone has to consciously think of it, so seeing characters through metal bars as they speak is very much a conscious decision by the artists and director, even more than in a regular film where if you film outside, these things are usually present in the actual locale. So, a lot of thought went into this show.

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Winter 2016 Week 1 – First Impressions

Well, the new season is here, and I’ve watched a bunch of premieres. It’s time to tell you what I thought of each of them. As I actually wrote something longer for each of these shows, I’ll keep it brief, and link to the lengthier impressions post.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst). I’m also going to give each premiere a couple of scores, “Premiere Score” for how well it did its job as a premiere (introducing characters, establishing situation, providing a “hook”), and “Episode Score”, for how well it worked as a regular episode. “Enjoyment Score” should be obvious.

1) Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episode 1:

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 1 overview - Yotaro's toothy smile in the performance

Anime humor usually fails for me. Japanese humor routines also usually leave me cold. I also don’t hold any particular interest for Japanese culture over other cultures (but I do find most cultures interesting), so while I had high hopes for this show, aimed at adults and directed by a director I appreciate, I really wasn’t expecting to also be interested in its cultural content, the Rakugo performance. Imagine my surprise and delight when the highlight of this double-length premiere was a 10 minute long Rakugo sequence, where I sat through the final 7 minutes with a smile on my face, and chuckled and laughed a number of times through the final 3.

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Top Nine Anime Series of 2015

Another year has come to an end, and with it a bevvy of shows, of which I’ve sampled over 40, and finished about half of these. Not as good as past years, but there were a couple of pretty underwhelming seasons this year. You’ll note there are 9 shows in this post, not ten. I’ve decided to go back to my 2013’s list method, and have as many shows as I think deserve being on the list, be it 3 or 13. And this year has 9 such shows, for me. There’d be “Notable Absentees” and “Honourable Mentions” at the end of the post, so if you don’t see a show, keep on reading!

Only full series had been considered, no OVAs or movies of any sort. The names link to the show’s description and information on My Anime List (MAL).

9. Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)

Hibike! Euphonium / Sound! Euphonium anime episode 11 - Kousaka Reina and Oumae Kumiko look into one another's eyes - Top anime shows of 2015

Euphonium is not a perfect show, which you can tell from its position on the list, but it’s still good enough to make the list. Ironically, even though it’s not a split-cour show, it feels more like half of a grander show than actual split-cour shows I’ve watched this past year. It tells a small and coherent dramatic story, while hinting at much more to come. Its characters, of which there are many, range between fully-realized to not fleshed out sufficiently yet, but they feel real, and they, and the show, carry the charm of the so-called “KyoAni Mastery of Small Moments.” The show had several highlights, and was consistently good after its first arc. Recommended, but I’d recommend waiting for the 2nd season, myself.

You can read my editorial on the show and its ensemble nature here.

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