First Impressions Roundup — Fall 2016

Kept you waiting, huh?

I think I’m watching less this season than I usually do. Still a bunch mind you, but this Fall made it easy for me due to the fact that the majority of its output belong to genres I wouldn’t touch unless you paid me a million dollars. I mean what the fuck is up with Sunday’s output anyways? Nothing but slice-of-life, cute girls, and kiddy shows. It’s like that day is begging me to spend my free time on more productive things. Well, thanks for making my life a little less crappy by ensuring that your anime that day weren’t worth paying attention to, Japan. Now I can focus on Saturday’s garbage without dealing with as massive a hernia as before.

Anyways, here’s all the anime I checked out this season, except with a slight twist: I’m only going to give attention to the shows I bothered to keep on with. I mean what do you want me to say about Nanbaka, Classicaloid, or Time Bokan 24? That sitting through any other comedy on FX or Nickelodeon right now would be less of a mistake? And as for Tiger Mask W, I have a limit to how much manly shows I can keep up with at a time (which is incidentally why I didn’t bother with the rugby anime) and I’ve still got to watch the new noitamina show, so fuck it.

Yuri on Ice

As expected, this show is very pretty with some great visuals, excellent direction, and surprisingly good music. Also as expected, it’s not really drawing me in so far because most of said visuals are going into sports anime cliches and fujoshi-baiting rather than the actual wonders of ice-skating. There’s one cool scene where the main character, Yuri, copies a routine performed by his idol, but even that suffers a bit when the announcer has to point out what moves he’s performing when we can clearly see it. I know it’s more realistic that way given that’s how actual ice-skating competitions are done, but there are sacrifices one must take in regards to entertaining the audience, and realism is usually at the top of the list.

Trickster

So underwhelming that I’m struggling to find something to say about it. It’s another Edogawa-inspired show that’s focused on a bunch of detectives pursuing criminals like the Man with Twenty Faces, but there’s also a subplot about some dude who can’t die no matter how many times he tries, which leads people to believe that he’s a monster. However, one of the detectives invites him to join with the promise that his death will be granted one day and…that’s pretty much it. The characters are defined by the tropes they adhere to, the external conflicts are arbitrary, the internal conflicts are painfully forced, and the animation is plain. Not terrible. Just boring.

Bloodivores

Another Chinese/Japanese collaboration effort, and just like Hitori no Shita: The Outcast, it is horrendous. The animation is absolute shit, the story is uninspired (rob bank, go to prison, yawn), and the characters are nothing but stereotypes who have no history or reason to be the lead characters in the first place because everything that happens to them is entirely circumstantial. Only reason I’m watching it is because A) I want to see how much worse it gets B) no one else is going to watch it, so no one will complain if I slap it silly.

Addendum: Second episode has since aired and it’s even more retarded than before. How many lame animated Battle Royale ripoffs can you possibly make?

Natsume Yuujinchou Go

Natsume isn’t a bad show or anything, but it got repetitive long ago, and this season hasn’t done anything to convince me otherwise so far. I mean what was different about the first episode of this season that was different from all the other Natsumes except with a few tweaked details? It’s the same formula. The same style. The same music. The same characters. The same lessons. I don’t care about the overarching plot with Reiko and those youkai hunters, and neither do the fans because they’re minor in the grand scheme of things. It’s something I can watch to pass the time and it keeps the fanbase happy, but if you were to ask me why this show needed to exist, I’d be at a loss.

Bungou Stray Dogs 2

Snore.

Drifters

Aside from the style, there’s not really much to recommend regarding Drifters. It pretty much exists to have crazy characters do violent things under the guise of some sort of time travel plot that we all know exists in order to justify the action. And to be fair, the action is decent for the most part. There’s no censorship and the characters commit to their atrocities even if the result is more Jojo-ish rather than Kabaneri. But I seem to be one of the few who prefers the latter to the former, so I’d say knock yourself out if it wasn’t for one major problem: the fucking shonen-esque humor. The second half of the first episode was basically Nobunaga, the dude who looks like a girl bar his manly chest, and our main protagonist getting annoyed at each other in a “comical” way that not only doesn’t really tell us anything about them that we couldn’t discover in a character glossary, but it jars heavily with the violent atmosphere this show sets up for itself. At least Kabaneri’s humor was mostly black and the characters never made stupid reaction faces in it. When you put this sort of “not-black-at-all” teenage humor in a show that wants to sell itself on adult violence, it comes off more like Akame ga Kill rather than an action show that wants to coast by on camp value.

Izetta: The Last Witch

Not really sure what to say about this show at the moment. So far, it lacks focus, jumping from conversation to conversation without establishing any sort of an overarching plot or giving me a reason why I’d want to follow these characters in the first place. I heard some people talk the animation up, but I don’t recall seeing anything particularly special about it. They haven’t even established what connection the red-haired girl (Izetta) has with the blonde princess (Fine) other than they possibly met each other when they were kids. Yeah, if there was a show that established how much better off anime would be if they allotted an hour timeslot for their premieres, it’s Izetta.

Addendum: The second episode establishes said connection between Izetta and Princess Fine a fair amount, but it wasn’t really anything special, and the story doesn’t really go beyond the last witch in the world wants to protect her princess friend from danger. So far, this show just seems like another “competent, but uninteresting” product that you’d only really appreciate if you like yuri-bait and the WWII setting.

Sound Euphonium 2

I’ve already written quite a bit on the show’s premiere. Go read that.

Haikyuu 3

I know the name of this show is actually “whatever Hinata’s school is called” versus “the rival school they’re going to be playing against for the entire season”, but fuck it. It might as well be called Haikyuu 3. Or Haikyuu: The Almost Four Hour Long Movie, but let’s not make its existence any weirder. Anyways, besides the fact that once again, the Haikyuu fanbase are notoriously enthusiastic about this show in an After Story/R2-kind of way (it was #2 on MAL for a bit before the first episode even aired), there’s not really much to say about Haikyuu 3’s start other than the players meet each other and begin the match after a lot of bad jokes are made. Having never seen the previous iterations and using my phone to watch a stream that was clearly suffering from some problems at the time, I can’t say for sure, but the animation is nowhere near as good as its reputation led me to believe. It’s fine for the most part, but not one moment stood out at all except for maybe the opening minute. I’ve heard that the quality dropped in the second season as well, so if that’s the case, my god this show’s fanbase is sycophantic, because without the visuals, there’s nothing in this show that separates it from every other sports show ever.

Occultic;Nine

In case you’re one of the few people who didn’t check out the latest semicolon anime, the first episode establishes no story (as expected) and the characters are nerdy stereotypes (as expected) with the only reason people would want to watch further being scattered hints of something greater with its science-fiction themes that the show isn’t guaranteed to deliver on, as well as fond remembrance of the greatness that is Steins;Gate that was somehow not tainted by the shitty sequels and other semicolon anime that have come since. Except whilst previous iterations generally aimed for a more subtle melancholy approach to their storylines, Occultic;Nine aims for a wacky, Shaft-like, Ryogho Narita/Danganronpa-ish approach with its giant cast and high-speed energetic presentation. And it does it horribly. The giant cast is almost impossible to follow let alone understand why anyone would want to watch a show about them, and the episode ends with the main NEET character discovering a dead body, but because the show never shuts up with the comedic tone, all the tension of that scene is instead replaced with annoyance. Oh, and just to hammer the nail in, the animation is crap and the character designs are simplistically lame. Just another shitty effort from A-1 Pictures.

March Comes Like a Lion

Probably my favorite new series of the season so far, but I have a few problems with it. Similar to Yuri on Ice, Haikyuu, and Drifters, I don’t like when the show tries to be funny. That sort of Honey & Clover style humor may work in a romantic comedy, but it’s jarringly out of place in a show about a depressive shogi player, and it’s even more out of place when Shaft exaggerates the humor in their usual annoying way. I’ve been told it disappears later in the manga, but for every Rakugo and Mob Psycho that gets adapted successfully, you get at least two critically acclaimed comic adaptations that end up disappointing a nation, so I take those claims with a grain of salt. Also, this show is going to be two cours long, and whilst I enjoyed following Rei’s angst for the most part – even if it’s not exactly clear what he’s suffering from other than loneliness that the three females he lives with can’t seem to cure – it does get a little repetitive at times and it can grow to be insufferable (or introduce other problems) if it gets dragged out too long. But those are problems I can deal with when the time comes. For now, I’m hoping this show can grow from here and become the first good Shaft show in…um…actually I can’t remember the last time I liked a Shaft anime, and the ones I liked in the past don’t appeal to me anymore. Anyways, here’s to a clean slate for the studio and hopefully they don’t waste it.

Minor Quips

  • On the bright side, I have more time to watch horror movies and play horror video games this October.
  • And of course Bobduh would think that Izetta’s premiere was strong enough to the point that he’d devote an entire Crunchyroll article to it.
  • Never really expected Yuri on Ice to be the highest ranked new show on MAL, but at least it has the swagger to back it up.

6 responses to “First Impressions Roundup — Fall 2016

  1. Whelp, you’re gonna be disappointed with 3-gatsu, like I was. I can see why Umino picked Shaft over J.C.Staff for the adaptation now – she wanted to keep all her not really funny humour bits and Shaft is really compatible do illustrate that.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’ll prolly still be pretty good and many people will love it, but fuck, man. Umino sensei is a master when it comes to writing drama not quirky humour, and Honey and Clover’s adaptation proves it when you compare it with the manga and realize how much useless humour bits were cut. Until Shaft stops doing a panel-by-panel adaptation (using those non-speech-bubble dialogues, like really? ) of the work and actually distill material, we wouldn’t get the next jousei masterpiece that we deserve.

    Ps: How’s life?

    • we wouldn’t get the next jousei masterpiece that we deserve.

      There’s been several good josei anime since Honey & Clover. Rakugo is loved by a lot of people, and I thought Natsuyuki Rendezvous & Sakamichi no Apollon were awesome.

      Ps: How’s life?

      It’s fine.

      • You should actually watch it. It will probably hold up compared a lot of other things this season. It doesn’t take itself seriously – or lemme say it takes itself pesudo-seriously. It’s a fun time, follows your average shonen sport plot with a bunch of ridiculous fanservice thrown in.

        If that’s your thing. Which it isn’t since your taste tends to run the opposite of anything that’s not very obscure or unpopular, and I’m not just talking about anime/manga.

      • You should also know that I have rules against watching shows about little girls, especially when they’re half-naked or trying to convince me that they’re sexy.

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