First Impressions – Summer 2016 Anime

Long time no see. I’m going to keep up with a few shows this season, so let’s see how it goes!

For the record, the few shows that aired in the winter and spring that I finished will be lumped in with the “final thoughts” post for the summer. Assuming I do one. Anyways, I’m starting out with eight shows here. Maybe I’ll add more down the line.

Amanchu!

My face during the entirety of the episode.

My face during the entirety of the episode.

Before I started watching, all I knew about this show was the weird faces everyone seemed to post everywhere. Based on that alone, I wasn’t sure if the show was about someone who was clinically insane and/or a drug addict. To my disappointment, it’s about neither of those (I think).

After the first episode, it looks like it will be a coming-of-age slice-of-life story, which in itself isn’t the most appealing for me. My biggest issue is just how goofy the show is – goofy, but never funny. The faces are strange, Hikaru is obnoxious, and that’s pretty much all that stuck with me. I’ll keep watching it for now, but I’m hoping it improves.

Also, don’t do drugs.


Mob Psycho 100

[HorribleSubs] Mob Psycho 100 - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.55_[2016.07.17_12.38.27]

After hearing that this was an adaptation from a manga done by the same guy who wrote One-Punch Man, I thought it might be worth checking out. Unfortunately, it’s like One-Punch Man with nothing good. OP protagonist? Check. Any (effective) humor or other conflicts to keep the OP-ness from dominating the story? Nope. The visual style isn’t quite my cup of tea either – it’s sort of life FLCL’s very erratic personality and colorfulness slapped onto One-Punch Man’s designs for a more cartoony and stylized approach.

So what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t like the first episode much. Nothing about it is particularly enjoyable, and a few things are a bit annoying. I’m going to forget about it for now, and maybe come back to it down the line if other people’s final impressions are good. Maybe.

On hold/dropped?


orange

2016-07-11 (5)

I watched the Orange live-action movie back in April. I did not like it at all. People seem to praise the shit out of the manga and movie though, so maybe I’m missing something. Maybe the movie just wasn’t a good adaptation. I doubt it.

So ignoring all that, I decided to check out the anime. Based on the first episode, it’s not going to be much better. The primary concept still comes out of left-field for no particular reason other than “We need some contrived setup for the plot!” The characters are fine except for Ms. Generic Shoujo Protagonist whose name I can’t even remember. The whole connection between the group and Kakeru is the only thing the anime seems to be doing better than the movie, but still, I just cannot care. It’s another one of those “feels” shows that I’m not going to connect with, so I’m not going to bother.

Dropped.


Shokugeki no Souma – Ni no Sara / Food Wars – The Second Dish

[HorribleSubs] Shokugeki no Soma S2 - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.06_[2016.07.11_19.16.12]

If you’ve read anything I’ve ever posted on this site, there’s a good chance you’ve seen me talking about food and/or pretty young anime girls. The first season of this show handled both of them well, so to say I’m excited for more would be one of the biggest understatements of the year.

As for the first episode itself, there is one clear issue – they barrel through everything. I haven’t read the manga, but the events of the first episode seem to cover about as much material as two episodes from the first season would have. This season’s going to be half as long as the first, so I hope every episode isn’t like this. As for the actual content, it’s good. At some point during every episode of this show, I feel like crying. Not because it’s sad or anything. The food just looks too good.

And then there are the pretty young anime girls. They look good too.

(¬‿¬)


Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu / Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-

[HorribleSubs] Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.35_[2016.07.16_15.14.50]

Unlike everything else I’m watching this season, this one is carried over from the spring. I only started watching it this weekend, but either way this is more of a “thoughts so far” bit since I’m currently caught up to the latest episode. I’ll keep it short.

When I started Re:Zero, it seemed pretty uninteresting. It’s yet another show where the protagonist is stuck in a different world for some reason and ends up tied up with some pretty young anime girl (one less flattering description I heard was “this season’s boy-meets-waifus show”). But once the story got properly rolling, it definitely caught my attention, even if I’m not a fan of many of the characters. Subaru in particular is dense, stupid, and often difficult to watch as he does things that are utterly moronic. Some episodes he’s better, but often I’m left groaning. The general progression of the story leaves a bit to be desired, but I am definitely interested in seeing where it goes.

Rem is best girl. Although I’m not on the “Rem 10/10 GOAT” hype train.


Handa-kun

[HorribleSubs] Handa-kun - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.21_[2016.07.17_12.09.58]

I’m quite confused by this show. The setup – a group discussing and then watching a show about a character who also exists in their reality – is a weird meta mess, and the attempts at humor by breaking the fourth wall rarely land. However, the sheer bizarreness and unexpected nature of some of the events are very effective.

The entire package is a bit underwhelming though. The Handa-kun in the in-universe anime is the kind of protagonist who is a mixed bag – while many of his misunderstandings lead to funny conclusions, most of the time he is just boring. I don’t know how much of the in-universe anime is going to be shown relative to the main group of characters and/or real Handa-kun. This probably makes no sense if you’re not already familiar with the series.

Don’t do drugs.


Tales of Zestiria The X

[HorribleSubs] Tales of Zestiria the X - 00v2 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.53_[2016.07.12_18.46.31]

I don’t know anything about the Tales series of games. I decided to watch this because some people kept saying good things about it right off the bat. At this point, I have just watched the prologue episode and the first proper one.

One of the first things to catch my attention was the abrupt pacing of the prologue episode. First they’re in a ruin, then BAM chatting in a city, then BAM some festival thing. The transitions are pretty much nonexistent, making it a bit confusing to keep up with. I guess all that really matters is that Alisha has a pretty shitty day. The first episode is a bit more coherent, even when it spreads the focus to other characters.

Visually, it looks great, which is pretty much expected from ufotable. The fight scenes look smooth and fluid, with a good rhythm and no apparent cut corners. At this point my only concern is how the story might play out, and how quickly. Hopefully there aren’t further pacing issues. For better or worse, I’m not familiar with the game, so I won’t have expectations set from that.


Amaama to Inazuma / Sweetness and Lightning

Best girl of the season confirmed.

Best girl of the season confirmed (unless Megumi pulls out all the stops).

So far, this is absolutely my favorite of the season.

Without being able to relate directly to Kouhei from personal experience, the way his life is portrayed makes it very easy to understand his situation and struggles as a single father. While the focus isn’t so much on them, you can also easily understand where his daughter and Kotori are coming from in wanting something more like a proper “family” as a group. And, it never gets too serious, so you get the best of both worlds – characters that you can connect to and understand in their realistic lives, and a lighthearted experience that is both relaxing and funny. I was looking for a show to fill the Flying Witch void, but this could potentially turn out better. I expect to have a lot more to say once it’s over.

As a weird side-note, one big part of the show is a bit odd to me for an odd reason. Kotori is Kouhei’s student, yet she tries to connect with him and his daughter outside of school, which is worrying for him as a potential conflict of interest. Personally, I have had one student ask if he could add me as a friend on PSN, another ask if we could go see The Force Awakens when it came out, etc, so it’s a bit unusual to see a somewhat similar situation. It’s a very very thin line, and I’ve always erred on the side of caution. It’s bad enough when I have to ask a student to be quiet because she’s shouting random nonsense questions at me from across the street.

Anyways, Kotori has a fantastic ponytail.


If you’re curious, the shows from the winter that I actually finished were Boku dake ga Inai Machi / Erased, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season / Snow White With the Red Hair, and Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! / KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! For the spring, all I watched was Flying Witch.

As a bit of an update on me only posting one (bizarre) thing since the end of March – the initial circumstances around then threw me out of whack, and the unrelated ongoing circumstances after that have now been resolved at this point (sort of), so hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things before too long.

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