What Looks Review-Worthy This Season (Spring 2016 Edition)? — Part II

Second part of this series. Let’s get to it.

Hundred

See that image right up there? That’s just a small sample of how retarded Hundred is, and if you can’t see what’s wrong with it, this is obviously your first anime and you should have picked a better one to start with. It’s like Production IMS saw this light novel, realized how similar it was to Infinite Stratos, and yelled “brilliant!” at the top of their lungs. It’s so unoriginal that I swear the episode itself sped through the checklist as if it was saying “yeah yeah, you know what’s coming, so we’re not even going to bother hiding our laziness”.

Review-worthy? We’ll see.

Joker Game

Well that was really dull. The first episode just drops us into the main character’s life after he’s already been recruited into the spy business, then proceeds to talk me to death with lots of dialogue regarding the spy trade and joker metaphors and pretty much anything that ignores any sort of characterization or semblance of a story before ending on a cliffhanger that I have no investment in because the show hasn’t made it clear why I’m supposed to care about anything going on. Don’t care about the Baccano comparisons because in addition to the fact that that show has aged really poorly over time, the characters are more subtle here to the point that they have no discerning identity whatsoever, so it’s not a comparison that works in the show’s favor either way. Oh and did I mention it’s the director of Robotics;Notes who’s doing this thing? Yeah, I’m not a fan of his visual direction in the least bit. In fact, when the first episode was over, I had to rewatch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy again just to remind myself how spy thrillers are supposed to be done.

Oh yeah, I also checked out the live-action movie the day before the anime got released. It was pretty terrible. The story gave up on the characterization fifteen minutes in and just turned into a flavorless spy thriller that’d give James Bond’s worst movies a run for their money.

Review-worthy? I guess. It seems to have gotten enough attention to be worth talking about at the least.

The Asterisk War 2

Actually forgot I watched this show when I wrote the first part of these impressions. Just sort of slipped my mind, although Asterisk War doesn’t really make a good case for being memorable to begin with. Anyways, the show is still continuing the tournament stuff from last Fall and whilst I’m nowhere as angry with this thing as Digibro (twelve Youtube videos dude? Really?) it’s still really retarded and really boring. The action scenes try too hard to be cool and the downtime scenes are as cut-and-paste as always. Nothing really deserving of all the praise/hate it gets, and yet it gets it.

Review-worthy? I never actually reviewed the first half because I was waiting for the second half to finish as well. What do you think?

And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?

There are people who are legitimately surprised that ANN’s reviewers were so harsh on this first episode because of the potential it has. I don’t know what they’re smoking either, because whatever satire you can get extract out of this show is so fucking weak it couldn’t make a dent on a piece of paper if it punched it. First off, it’s Project No. 9 who’s doing the animation, and it looks the exact same as Shoujo-tachi’s (really ugly) except with worse character designs so it’s not good on a visual level. Secondly, the humor sucks balls and there’s no story beyond the girls obviously wanting to bang our loser male lead with the MMO stuff being no more than another gimmick all these MMO anime use to accomplish that. Third, the characters are not the least bit relatable because they’re too exaggerated. So why am I supposed to like this?

Review-worthy? Sure, but goddamn anime fans and their low standards for these sorts of stories.

Twin Star Exorcists

Boooorrrrriiiinnnngggg!

Review-worthy? Uhhhhhhhhhh…

Bungou Stray Dogs

If it wasn’t for the fact that this is just another one of Bones’ “let’s introduce a naive newcomer who happens to be special into a gang of other special supernatural beings and have him go on wacky random adventures with them” series, I’d swear this was animated by Shaft. Whilst the visual quality is generally high, there’s very little actual movement in the show, mostly relying on quick cuts and far-away shots whilst the characters partake in overly long monologues and out-of-nowhere gag humor/reaction faces that distract from any actual story. Why exactly Bones is resorting to such a cheap and outdated style when they’re so much better than that, I don’t know. Maybe the pressure of doing three shows at once this season got to them. Anyways, this show is as typical of the studio’s output as it can be, so I don’t really have much to say at the moment. Just looks to be the Star Driver/Ouran Host Club team’s Blood Blockade Battlefront except Shaft-ed up. A combination of some of my least favorite things in anime resulting in…well…Bungou Stray Dogs.

Review-worthy? Sure. I like reviewing Bones shows.

Kabenari of the Iron Fortress

Of all the premieres that I’ve seen as of this point – discounting sequels and Luluco – this is the only one that I consider half-way decent. It’s a little too similar to Araki’s other stuff at the moment and I really hope it establishes its own identity in the future, but I liked it more than the premiere of last season’s “well-regarded” noitamina show because the main character actually has a personality that matters to the story in this – even if it’s over-the-top as all hell. The animation is good, the characters are serviceable enough, and the pacing is decent in terms of hooking the audience with understandable motivations and delivering on the action. From what I heard, the next two episodes will keep the quality up, though what happens later is up for grabs. So whilst it’s too early to say that this team has got a new hit with Kabaneri, the show is watchable so far. That’s more than I can say for every other non-sequel series this season has dished out.

Review-worthy? Definitely.

Minor Quips

  • I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad that I can’t watch Kuromukuro until Netflix releases it because I like to watch all the big studios’ shows, and yet the premise looked really boring.
  • Still prefer A Most Wanted Man to Tinker Tailor. And speaking of John Le Carre stuff, you know he’s got a new miniseries on AMC starting soon (or already released if you have access to the BBC)?

9 responses to “What Looks Review-Worthy This Season (Spring 2016 Edition)? — Part II

      • While I haven’t seen hardcore Henry, I did read on your twitter page you aren’t familiar with Russian cinema…in that case I think you need to go and watch Stalker and Solaris =)

  1. Joker Game: The strongest aspect of the 1st episode is the OP. Not a great sign so far. Also, I really dislike the main character’s condescending, black-and white attitude to spies. Hopefully he gets the reality check he deserves in the next episode.

    Kabenari of the Iron Fortress: Better than Seraph of the End that’s for sure. Yes, it’s kind of hard to escape the AoT comparisons but we’ll see. Also, minor thing; am I only one that got distracted by the colour of the main character’s hair? Odd choice but I suppose it was deliberate to make him stand out within a grisly, industrial world.

    • I don’t care for Joker Game’s OP. Too generic a jazz sound for my taste. As for the main character, he was bullied in the film by the other spies for his military background so the attitude sort of made sense, but in the anime it feels kinda forced.

  2. Just a quick note on joker game flawfinder, I asked around regarding the film adaptation and while the guy didn’t go into specifics he mentioned that the film is different from the novel, so I’m not too ready to throw the series away yet.
    Some parts had too much exposition yes but I found the conclusion card game scene and the cliffhanger enjoyable, there was some tension in that first episode. It almost nails the spy atmosphere. Of course it could easily turn to shit in a few episodes.
    I am a huge John LeCarre fan and I would highly recommend you check out all the film adaptations of his work when you can and I’d be glad to give a recommendation list if you take those.
    As much as I enjoyed Most wanted man, I still prefer tinker tailor, Smiley has more charisma, it has better characterization terms of the Colin Firth’s character and also the character of riki Tarr, most wanted man, possibly because I’m European i found Hoffman’s attempt at a German accent unconvincing.

    • there was some tension in that first episode

      Didn’t feel any myself. We know the main isn’t going to die so soon and I have no reason to care about him or what’s going on at the moment.