Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Weeks 6-7 (Anime Power Ranking)

I’ve barely got any shows to bring up this time around, as I’ve dropped most, and Ajin didn’t get the subs I’m waiting for yet this week. I guess I’ll cheat a bit, and even though the main focus would be week 7’s episodes, I’ll throw a few words about last week’s episodes as well, where relevant.

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). Though it might be a bit more “tier”-sorted this time, as I’ve got some ties I don’t want to pick between.

Tied 1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episodes 6-7:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 7 - Hinazuki Kayo on Funjinoma Satoru's fatal flaw in the hideout

After episode 5 hadn’t been as good at maintaining the tension that this show lives off of, in part because its direction felt relatively flat, certainly compared to the heights of the first 4 episodes, episode 6 was much better, though not as good as episodes 2-4, and episode 7 was a true return to strength. It coincided, though perhaps not by coincidence, with the return to the past – as Kayo, and her fate, feel much more tense than anything that happens in the present.

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Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 5 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, and since proper subtitles for a show I was awaiting began appearing, and as my docket keeps dwindling, I actually checked out another show! This season’s “average” shows are falling behind, but the new show might be a keeper.

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) Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episode 5:

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 5 overview - Sukeroku and Yakumo after their performance, cross-dressing Kikuhiko

If it weren’t for the premiere, with the knowledge (or is it?) that Konatsu is Miyokichi’s child with Sukeroku (Shin) rather than with Yakumo (Bon), and that Bon and Shin had a falling out, of one sort or another, this episode would’ve been just another building block in a solid and endearing drama, a coming of age story of a couple of young performers trying to find their place in the world, and what they mean to one another, and how to handle frustration, jealousy, and attempting to help one another in spite of all of it. But as it is, there is a very clear sense of impending doom. A tragedy will come upon our cast, and if not a tragedy, then revelations that will lead to much drama.

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Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, and since proper subtitles for a show I was awaiting began appearing, and as my docket keeps dwindling, I actually checked out another show! This season’s “average” shows are falling behind, but the new show might be a keeper.

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 4:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 4 - Fujinuma Satorou awaits Hinazuki Kayo in the snow

I’m melting!

My main reaction after each episode of BokuMachi is the same – “Why do I have to wait a whole week for the next episode?” Yes, episode 1 ended with a massive cliffhanger, and so did this episode, and episode 3 ended with a sort of ominous foretelling that was a bit of a misdirection, but it’s not really about that, because in my memory, episode 3 ended after Kayo and Satoru went to the tree. And yet, what I want, what I need is more of this show.

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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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Fall 2015 Anime Midseason Overview

Well, this was supposed to go out Wednesday, of last week, but I’ve been busy with all sorts of things. I usually split these mid-season posts into “Great”, “Good”, etc., but since things aren’t really looking hot in that aspect, I’m just listing them by how much I like them. Anyway, if you’re thinking of what to pick up at this point into the season, and I hold 5-6 episodes in is exactly when you know whether a show’s worth picking up, welcome to my corner, where my Good Taste Opinions™ will be dispensed.

Ushio to Tora / Ushio and Tora:

Ushio to Tora anime episode 20 - Crying Aotsuki Ushio

The last arc really delivered on the tears.

Man, this show sure is delivering. Ushio is cool, Tora is becoming more dere and less tsun, and together they kick ass. We’re seeing some elements of old-fashioned machismo, but even if the way the girls had been grouped was a bit eh, and the delivery at the end ran a tad too long, it was not only fun, it was emotionally touching, and this show really knows how to deliver emotionally touching moments, though mostly by pressing pretty hard on the tear-ducts, but the last couple of episodes had delivered slow and long-awaited pay-off. I’m enjoying this episode every week.

Episodes Watched: 20/26.
Current Rating: A-. Still not “special”, but a lot of fun, and emotional. This is what I’m looking for out of my shounonsense, though better animation would’ve been nice too.

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