Friday, September 23, 2016

Summer 2016 Anime Season Wrap-up

Summer 2016 Anime Season Wrap-up

Warning: The following post may contain spoilers from the shows I watched from the Summer 2016 anime season. If you wish not to know some plot details in the stories, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series that are mentioned, please exit the tab, and come join me once you've watched the first few episodes. But than again, if you don't mind spoilers, feel free to stay put.

Also, the pictures for my special posts are chosen at random. Rangetsu's art is awesome, and so is this picture. Plus, it perfectly fits summer as a season in my opinion.

So with that said, let's get started:

Ah, summer! The season of relaxing by the beach, tanning in the sun, taking long hikes in the woods, and for incredibly cool vacations. But for me, it was time to see which anime series that were coming out this season would be great to watch as summer continued onward. Once again, I decided to tackle more shows than just 2 that stood out the most for me due to more time to just sit down and relax while watching an episode, as well as seeing that this anime season seemed to have a lot of promise.

Basically, expect that there's going to be a lot of shows on the back-burner that I still need to actually see. XD But I still managed to watch and follow 5 series that managed to come out (one is technically 4 episodes, so I could consider it an OVA if I really wanted too). Though I didn't watch any of the shows from my past wrap-ups, I did get one dropped show this season, and it was after the first episode.

But before we get into that, time for my mandatory announcement that the opinions on these anime are all my own. If you disagree with me, I don't really mind, just as long as you don't complain about it if you do decide to comment and you liked/disliked the show in question. Remember, I think it's better to have discussions if opinions are polar opposite, not arguments. That even goes to people who might disagree in the comments as well. 

So, let's unveil which show I wasn't able to finish, that being:

First Love Monster.


When I first heard about this series, I wasn't sure to take the whole situation of the main male cast being all 5th graders (despite the fact that they look like teenagers) seriously or as a joke (or a mix of both), but I was curious to see how this would turn out, either by manga or anime means. Considering that this is a comedy series among other things, and that I typically like those types of shows, maybe I would end up liking this one, considering that it's in my vein?

Well, unfortunately, I didn't. Which is a shame, considering that I hoped to at least like this show enough to watch it for a few weeks. And the lead writer for Snow White with the Red Hair worked on this in the original Japanese (FUNimation did give this a Broadcast Dub), and that hopefully would have balanced out the director of Sky Wizards Academy leading the project (granted, he also directed Rosairo + Vampire, which I still need to rewatch). But in the end, First Love Monster is clearly a show not meant for me. But I might give the first volume of the manga a chance in the near future.

For starters, the animation could definitely be better. The first episode just felt kind of cheap and under-saturated to the point where it was just numbing to look at, the most iconic part of the episode coming from a rainbow effect on Kaho's face that looked like it was done in Windows Live Movie Maker (which isn't a bad editing program, but not something animators should use) which is repeated twice. It's honestly quite laughable.

What wasn't laughable was the comedy, which was more poop and penis jokes more than anything. I don't mind this kind of crude humor, but when it's repeated in the span of five minutes over and over again, it's bound to get on my nerves. Plus, several scenes either unintentionally made me die because I laughed too hard or just weren't all that clever. I probably could write better comedy than these writers can, and I'm not even a professional.

I didn't really care for the characters (other than Kota, who was super adorable), nor for the score either. I would watch the Broadcast Dub, but there's better shows that I could watch that aren't this. It's not as rage-inducing as other anime I've dropped (see Sky Wizards Academy and The Testament of Sister New Devil for reference), nor is it really memorable. Again, I may give it a chance in the future, but as of now, it's undecided.

Overall, I'd give the first episode of First Love Monster a 4 out of 10.

Time to move on to the shows that I watched as they were coming out during this season. Short discussions are a go:

B-Project (Kodo Ambitious joke will be saved for the review, which will be a collab with Luke), Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi, Qualidea Code, Servamp, and The Morose Mononokean.

Good news is that I started all of these shows on the day/week they came out, though I'm behind on the last show mentioned (The Morose Mononokean), so hopefully I'll be able to catch up with that in the upcoming weeks, along with the last two episodes of Servamp. Both B-Project and Qualidea Code I saw as episodes came out weekly, and the Nanatsu no Taizai OVA as soon as fansubs came out (hopefully Netflix will get the rights to it as soon as possible) after a few days of waiting.

But for now, let's go over each show briefly and just let my main thoughts out.

B-Project is another entry into the foray known as male idol shows (though it's based in multimedia), and I was expecting it to be pretty cheesy before I started watching the series. Truth be told, that is what I got, but B-Project did show more promise and intrigue than Uta Pri's third season ever did, but that gets squandered out in the second half in place of bland and just over-the-top drama (which I expected to happen, and I'm not really happy to see).

There's also inconsistent writing throughout the series for both the story and some of the characters, as well as some shoddy animation. However, there's some great aspects such as strong character interactions, the male idols actually showing more personality than STARISH post Season 2, and a good score aside from a few pieces. But in the end, this deserved a bit more fire that, unfortunately, it just didn't get (and no, I'm not talking about the manservice, which I also had some issues with. I won't discuss them now though).

Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi serves as a middle point before the end of the actual series, starting somewhere around the last episode, and potentially ending right before or on the dot of the Season 1 finale (official confirmation of a second season just recently was announced, so we're getting more NNT). Nakaba Suzuki, the original manga author and illustrator, helped plan the story for the 4 episodes, which gives it a place in the anime's canon. And so far, it's been pretty enjoyable. Granted, the Melioda groping Elizabeth gags aren't going away anytime soon, and the score still doesn't work for me, but there's been a fine balance between light-hearted moments and foreshadowing at what's to come. Plus, the Ban and Meliodas fight in Episode 2 was all kinds of awesome.

Plus, the animation in the best out of the shows that A-1 Pictures animated this summer that I've seen (there's also B-Project and Qualidea Code), with this series looking more polished and not as funky, staying mostly consistent throughout each episode and finally getting Ban's body proportions stable. The story has been more of a slice-of-life one, but I like the aspect of focusing on particular characters each episode, and seeing more of Merlin.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to do a full review of this short series, but we'll have to wait and see.

Qualidea Code is based off of a multimedia project created by Marvelous, a company that develops video games and produces anime, along with three light novel writers known under the group name of Speakeasy (I'll go into specifics in the review). This show sounded really interesting before I started it, albeit a little cliche, but I was curious to see where it was going to go and how it would turn out,

Though the story for this anime is very confusing at first (and stays somewhat so throughout the show if I'm being honest), things do get explained later on down the line, so patience will be rewarded in the end. There's also a good group of characters despite some shaky development, and an awesome score courtesy of Taku Iwasaki that suits the anime to a T. But the main downfall of this show is the animation, which is a complete mess all around, not getting really bad until about 4 episodes in (though there are some episodes after the first 3 that look decent). It reminds me of another show that A-1 worked on, that being Togainu no Chi's anime adaptation, but I'll make sure to discuss about both and comparisons between the two in my review.

Servamp was probably the most hyped show for me because I'd seen the manga around at Barnes & Noble. Plus, the series itself sounded awesome. It started off as the most enjoyable show in the bunch, with some great action and interesting story. But around Episode 5, the pacing starts to move at the speed of sound, leaving character development and chunks of a coherent story in the dust. This is a shame, since some of the characters are fun, and the animation and score are really good.

In the end though, Kuro is the star of this anime through and through, and I'm definitely excited to talk about him since he is legit the best.

The Morose Mononokean had some shoes to fill, because it's a supernatural comedy. I've seen a few supernatural comedies in the past, and this series needed to proved that it could provide something different (like Gugure! Kokurri-san) so that it could differentiate itself from the shows in that vein. Eventually, it ended up doing so, with the show managing to put a big smile on my face every episode and being incredibly heartwarming. Hanae and Abeno interact incredibly well, and this anime was actually funny! Though it does have its somber moments. The animation has managed to stabilize after the first few episodes, and the score is also pretty fun.

I have a few minor nitpicks of this show, but overall, it's been a really smooth and nice lazy river to float in, and I'm looking forward to finish it.

Reviews on all of the 12 episodes series will be coming soon in the next few months (again, I'm unsure about Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi), so make sure to be on the lookout.

Now let's move on to the shows that I'm still interested to watch from this season that I haven't yet (not including shorts):

Both arcs of Danganronpa 3.

Granted, I haven't seen the first anime adaptation full yet, nor have I actually played the games this series is based on (I have seen playthroughs though), but no matter if the first anime series is bad or not, I'm still making plans to watch these two arcs. Both sound incredibly interesting, though I'm personally looking forward to the Despair Arc since I finally get to see Ibuki animated. And considering she's my favorite character out of the franchise, I'm mega hyped to see her.

Plus, I've heard both anime are full of twists and turns, which makes me even more excited to watch both. I hope to enjoy both these stories, and of course watch them back to back. ;)

New Game.

I'm still not exactly sure why I'm interested in seeing this show. Maybe because it's light-hearted and focuses on the gaming world? Yeah, I think that fits the bill just fine. But overall, this sounds like a cute and funny slice-of-life that has promises of fanservice (though let's see how much I get annoyed by it), and I may end up enjoying it if it's not too boring.

Plus, it looks to be a better animated effort from Dogakobo like Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun was, so further thumbs-up for that.

Taboo Tattoo.

Ah, and here we have the turd of the season. So many people have basically said that this series is complete s**t, but I'm still incredibly curious to see just how bad it's going to end up being. Takashi Watanabe is directing this series, and I haven't experienced a truly bad anime series from him yet. Plus, the animation looks really interesting, and the seiyuu lineup is pretty good as well.

Though I'm mainly just curious to see R.R. Lurker in action, despite the fact that he sounds like a character I wouldn't like. But his design and the fact that Kenijro Tsuda's voicing him makes me feel good.


Hello yet another male idol show! Granted, I did get annoyed out of my mind listening to the opening (there's only so many "Shakin', sugar, sugar"'s I can take), but I want to see how good this series will be compared to B-Project. There's also a good line-up of seiyuus I like in this show, so that's a positive. I'm not expecting this to be amazing, but let's hope it's entertaining enough for me to finish at least.

Now onto the topic of FUNimation's Broadcast Dubs for this anime season. We have 14 shows (including short anime) that managed to get the coveted treatment, and I'm curious to see how Servamp and Danganronpa 3's dubs will turn out (the former due to some of the casting choices being really unexpected, but they could still work; the latter because the script better be better if you know what I mean). On the topic of short anime, there's the Show By Rock shorts that I still need to watch since Season 2 is right around the corner, but aside from that, I don't think I'm invested enough to explore the other dubs (unless I watch Barakamon soon).

And that'll end the summer wrap-up for this year. What shows did you all find to be the best this season, and which ones did you think were the worst? Do any of you agree with my opinions on the shows I discussed?

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