Highlight: Spring 2016 anime season

JokerGame_header
The only thing that awaits you all is black, empty solitude — Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki

Let’s not talk about Camp NaNoWriMo in every seasonal review, okay?

Oops, did I just…never mind!

The majority of shows this season are decent. Among those “decent” ratings, some fell short of their potential while others exceeded it.

Kumamiko had a strong lead almost the entire season. I was expecting it to be highlighted but the last few episodes did not live up to the standard. Sakamoto desu ga consistently delivered; the first episode felt the strongest but the “cool, cooler, coolest” idea got dull fast. On the flip sides of things, we have Space patrol Luluco, which started off weak but got better later on (typical Trigger production).

For a brief moment, Kiznaiver (also by Trigger) showed immense potential. Really now, that love pentagram was wickedly mind-blowing but talk-jutsu ending ruined it. In the end, the highlight this season went to a show that is both Sakamoto-fabulous and Kiznaiver-philosophical.

Seasonal Selection

Show Expectation Rating
Joker Game Star Highlight (1)
Flying Witch Question mark Highlight (2)
Boku no Hero Academia ss1 Star Highlight (3)
Kuma Miko Question mark Decent
Sakamoto desu ga Star Decent
Space patrol Luluco Question mark Decent
Bungou Stray Dogs Star Decent
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri Cash cow Decent
Kiznaiver Star Mediocre
Haifuri Question mark Mediocre
An Happy Question mark Trash

Highlight: Joker Game

The formula-breaker and the highlight show this season is Joker Game. Featuring gentlemanly James-Bond-like (but less flashy) spies, super cool gadgets and espionage mind games; this is an anime series without disproportional female characters, without humors and even without an overarching plot.

If you’re looking for a story-rich show, you’re looking at the wrong place, Joker Game is in episodic format, there is no single plot in this show. In fact, this is the most criticized flaw (?) of the show, mainly because of the viewers’ unrealistic expectations from the premise. I’ll be honest, I was disappointed as well but that’s just how it is.

Joker Game told the story of the secret agents of D-agency, an espionage agency in Imperial Army, Japan, during the war. Each episode revealed a story and a facet of their unglamorous life. These stories told their cold and pragmatic philosophies, so pragmatic that they are often discounted and looked down upon by the idealistic team, symbolized by the various “mainstream” hard-head militants who came into contact with D-agency men.

This show is created by Production I.G., one of the wealthier studios of the industry, so I can expect the animation to be detailed and excellent. The washed out color and more serious art style are atmospheric to the theme of Joker Game. The OP is a true ear-worm, I can’t get that song off my mind since I started taking screenshots from the show for this review.

JokerGame_snapshot
There are also very bright and colorful shots as well and that guy with the cane is so not a “just a random passerby”. Shhh, don’t blow his cover!

The majority of show, though, involves a great deal of talking, close-up shots and dark room or night scenes so it is difficult to judge just how well their sound or art department did. I only know that they didn’t get anything wrong…noticeably wrong that is.

I will recommend  this show to fans of mystery and spy genres, and to the older audience who can appreciate the seriousness of this show. As for those of who prefer something more…light-heart and mainstream, check out the runner up this season!

Runner up: Flying Witch

My first impression of Flying Witch wasn’t a terribly good one. Let’s just say, I hold grudges against J.C Staff, the studio behind this show, for their blunders against my previous favorite series. However, I have to admit, the show they made this time is very decent, production-wise, and that’s all they need.

As always, they hog the best materials there are and slap their “from mediocre to acceptable” animation on top of it. Many times, when they do roll the “acceptable” rating on the animation side, it’s an easy overall “decent to good” for the show. This time too, the majority, if not all, of the background are CGs; extremely obvious CGs they are.

At least I know there’s one thing J.C Staff don’t fail to deliver: their music. Despite their horrible directing skills in ongoing series and meh art style, J.C.Staff (kinda like Kadokawa) are good at songs and they got another catchy OP right this time.

The juicy part of Flying Witch lies in its unconventional ideas of the world of witches and the serene tone of the show. I like how the writer mingled magic in normal life. Magic is neither flashy nor complicated, as long as it is effective and it is capable of incredible feats, it is magic. It can be as simple as burning some hair or a drawing on paper and no light, no special preparation, no channeling.

Also, when a witch rides a broom, she’s not “riding” on a flying broomstick, she’s flying herself while holding a broomstick. It’s a simple and brilliant justification for the concern of…her crotch. You did it wrong, Makoto!

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And then, there’s the giant flying fortress that is a living sky whale. Blow my mind away!

The humor isn’t very well done in this show. I personally feel the jokes were a bit scattered and slow. Perhaps a light chuckle here and there but not a burst of laughter like when I watched Kuma Miko (shame, that show had a lot of potential). The strength of this is its ability to induce an unbelievably calm feeling in my heart. It is a very relaxing anime, it is healing and amusing at the same time.

Extra: Kuma Miko

Let’s talk about Kuma Miko. I strongly believed this show would be the highlight this season from the get-go. It consistently delivered strong comedy scenarios in the first…eight episodes? Then, it went downhill fast. So fast it wasn’t even funny.

Kumamiko_snapshot
Oh boy she did go downhill too fast, but it was funny in this case.

The first symptom of its mediocrity was, perhaps, from Shiomura shopping episode (which wasn’t that funny). And in the following episode, they committed blatant advertisement for Shiomura. Discreet advertisement is fine but damn obvious advertisement is not.

The good bits and the ugly bits maintained an acceptable ratio until episode 9 hit.

The entire village advertisement shooting seemed to me like a lampshading attempt the studio took at their sponsors. And that was its sole purpose. Nothing was funny there except very awkward and facepalm-worthy scene. The entire idol arc after that was complete garbage, chock full of cliche and insanity. Insane was the right word to describe Machi’s reactions in idol arc. Her paranoia was no longer cute, it was disturbing, the same kind of mental-disturbing episode 1 of Gakkou Gurashi! was.

Okay, so it has 4 good episodes, 4 decent episodes and then 4 horribad episodes. In short, it disappoints me, I cannot give highlight to a show like this but if anyone want to try some partial recommendations, I recommend the first 8 episodes of this show.

Extra: Boku no Hero Academia

This show is worthy of the highlight. However, I dislike how mainstream-shounen the show is. It’s not entirely a bad thing, it’s personal taste. The fight scenes are good, the philosophies are good, the characters are likable and All Might is plain awesome (so is his theme song). Since there’s a second season, it’s natural that the show feels incomplete and thus I’ll reserve judgment for the time being.

That being said, in the past there was a show which received two seasonal highlights. Yes, I’m talking about Akagami no Shiraiyukihime. The difference is that, Akagami no Shiraiyukihime season 1 wrapped up most of its loose ends and can be considered a complete open-ended story, good enough to secure highlight as it is. Boku no Hero Academia isn’t. It will take a bit more time to develop the story further, otherwise, I fear it would fall out of favor if I were to consider its plot in the current state.

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Published by

fujihita

Self-learner, designer, author and programmer.

2 thoughts on “Highlight: Spring 2016 anime season”

  1. yay, i will watchkuma Miko and joker game then
    heve you watch re:zero? what is your opinion about it?
    and thank you for the highlights

    Like

    1. I have. It’s on a two-season cour so I’m listing it in the next seasonal review.

      From episode 1 to 12, it’s a good watch and it reminds me of Steins;Gate’s time loop death ploy with an (unfortunate) share of Zero no Tsukaima’s idiotic-fantasy-harem action. Episode 13 and 14 are bad imo. The imperial court scene was basically fueled by Subaru’s idiot ball (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiotBall).

      Then the next episode, it was all about the world creating the circumstances for Subaru to redeem himself. I don’t think this character deserves effortless redemption, he needs to change if he were to be redeemed and he seems to be getting more and more unlikable every episode since.

      And as in the case of Machi in Kuma Miko, if these flaws persist, they’ll reflect poorly on the overall rating of the show at the end of the season.

      Like

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