Spring 2016 Anime Season Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

I actually had this write-up 90% written for 3 days, but just didn’t put in the last 10% and didn’t release it. My bad. Been feeling badly, so aside from not finishing the post, Kuromukuro, this week’s Joker Game, and Kagewani are missing. Enjoy! I’ll try to get to comments this weekend, on the Snow White with the Red Hair post as well.

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). This time ordered by “tiers”, in each tier most shows are about equal for me, organized alphabetically within tiers. Was a weird week in a way.

Tier 1) My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia Episode 4:

Boku no Hero Academia anime / My Hero Academia anime episode 4 - Midoriya Izuku is very cool

Can only punch once before he’s out ? The new One Punch Man, now +heart!

It seems as if My Hero Academia operates in “Tick-Tock” cycles, where we have an episode that’s mostly build-up and is slow, and the episode that follows cashes in on all that build-up, giving us cool action sequences, tearful thematic moments, and the desire to watch the next episode right away. Thing is, as good as those “uptick” episodes are, the time until we get to them is frustrating. I’m not sure whether covering these 4 episodes in 2 would’ve been workable, or if covering them in 3 would’ve had good stopping points for episodes 1-2, but there’s definitely an uneven quality to the show due to its pacing.

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Spring 2016 Anime Season Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

Third week is here, and only a couple of premieres were left. This show is ridiculous, I mean, due to the earthquakes in Japan, Sakamoto and Kabaneri were both delayed, and I still found myself almost overwhelmed by the number of shows I’m covering. I didn’t get to watch Joker Game this week, because of how busy I am, and how tired watching shows in one-episode increments makes me, but more on that in the overview at the end of this 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).

1) Concrete Revolutio Episode 15:

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 15 notes - Haruka Aki wants to be a free superhuman

I wonder if such an episode could have taken place in a show other than Concrete Revolutio. There were elements here that could’ve existed in Samurai Flamenco but didn’t. The raw number of topics brought up was very Gatchaman Crowds-esque, and the spin on history was necessary. So, what did we have this episode, if we boil it down? How we’re shackled by society and expectations, and how the quest to not be beholden to others is the quest to end society, or remove ourselves utterly from it. But not because we want to be “free”, but because the specific laws in place constrain us. So, we deal with how idols and superheroes are shackled by public expectations, and discrimination against homosexuals, and those who go against the government, and superheroes. Because all of these go against the order of “How Things Should Be™.” Idols are so powerful and so held in line because they are the epitome of how things should be, how people should be, how they should be kept safe. Not from harm, but “under control”.

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Spring 2016 Anime Season Week 2 – Even More First Impressions (Anime Power Ranking)

The second week of a season is where I expect to mostly cover second episodes, but not this time! We’ve had many more premieres this week than shows airing their second episodes, and as such, we’re still in premiere-coverage mode! A short to medium write-up on each, with links to full first-impressions for most. At the bottom of the post I also order all the premieres of the season by how much I liked them, alongside helpful links.

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) Ushio to Tora Episode 28:

Ushio to Tora anime episode 28 - Crying Inoue Mayuko

Ushio to Tora’s last episode was sad. Really sad. It had shown us the cast, working their way through their issues, only to be torn apart and for a character to feel lonely, for a relationship to be torn asunder. This episode was worse. Much worse. By which I mean, it was so very good at being painful. It had evoked the show’s most heart-rending moment to date (Jie Mei and Giryou’s role in crafting the Beast Spear in episode 20), while making sure its cast is given agency. No matter what, someone had to sacrifice themselves, because they could not live with the knowledge the other one died for their sake. A selfishly unselfish decision. A save in the nick of time, and our heroes, well, also sacrificing themselves. This episode was a string of heavy moments, of the youkai crying as they look on at another’s sacrifice for their sake, for their desperation. The show did have a moment or two of levity, but it didn’t feel as if it robbed the other moments of their effect, but as if the show were giving us a moment to catch our breath, so we could keep on going.

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Spring 2016 Anime Season Week 1 – First Impressions (Anime Power Ranking)

Another season, another slew of premieres! A short to medium write-up on each, with links to full first-impressions for most.

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) Ushio to Tora Episode 27 (2nd Season Episode 1):

Ushio to Tora anime episode 27 - Crying Aotsuki Ushio hugs Tora

I missed you too, buddies.

The gang is back! I actually found myself surprised as this episode started because it felt as if we’re going back to the episodic structure of the show’s start or the first season’s last few episodes, and it’s not like this show has much time to waste. But worry not, the show quickly moved from establishing normality to shattering it in a manner that made me tear up, because I care for all the dorks in this show. Stakes raised, action, emotions. Everything that made me care so much for Ushio to Tora is here. Silly faces too, I’m glad to report.

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Spring 2016 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

It’s now two weeks before the spring 2016 anime season begins, which means it’s time to look towards the new season, and put behind us a season with a few great shows, and little else to recommend beyond them. Will this spring season finally save us from the drought of the last 3 seasons? It seems as if it might actually be the case!

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category describes shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that. You’re likelier to end up with good shows that way. Link in anime title is to the show’s page on MAL, in case you want to check out the premise and details yourselves.

Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).

Sunday:

Concrete Revolutio anime 2nd seasonConcrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou – The Last Song / Concrete Revolutio: A Superhuman Fantasy 2nd Season – Concrete Revolutio’s first cour was good enough to end as my 6th best show of 2015. With a nuanced approach to “multiple justices,” of trying to do the right thing while accepting that the other side believes they’re doing the same thing, the show also takes a close look at how shaping the way people perceive justice might be more important than being “just” to begin with. The first cour intertwined a continuing and developing character drama with episodic vignettes.

I was wondering for a moment, “Where will they go from now?” as we “found out” what led Jirou to leave, but since the show has never been a mystery and we’ve known all along, the answer is clear – they will tell us more of the struggle, while exploring moral and social questions. They’ll also have Urobuchi Gen writing an episode or two, for those to whom it makes a big difference. But since it’ll exist within the larger narrative, I don’t find it particularly important.

I do recommend picking this show up if you hadn’t before. If you’re having trouble with the time-skips, check my episodic write-ups, which aside from a thematic discussion of each episode also provide an up to date timeline.
Hype Rating: 2.5/3. A second cour of a show I liked? I’m on board. This show rarely “excites” me, but I expect to enjoy it and find a lot that is worthwhile there, with a few touching moments and moments of highlight animation tossed in.
Airing Date: April 3rd.

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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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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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