Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer 2016 Anime Round-UP

For what is I believe the third season in a row, I don't have any continuing shows (currently my plan is to catch up with PreCure in time for the 2017 series, ehehehe), but I have read the manga for quite a few of the shows here so very little of this season feels new to me. Honestly my favorite "new" show is Kuromukuro which just popped up on Netflix and that I've been watching in chunks. I'm not sure when I'll review it (since they only have half of the show up now and probably won't have the second half until it ends in September) but I do want to mention that yes I'm enjoying it really well so far both for the characters and the fight scenes are actually really cool since all of the different mechs have very different, fitting fighting methods. 

I usually also note what's missing from this list (not available legally etc) but honestly I don't think I skipped anything that I'll be trying out later. I haven't tried out Gen Urobuchi's puppet show, Thunder Fantasy, and everything I've seen about ReWrite is either a one star or five star review so I'm avoiding that title right now as well so honestly guys this may be it, another small season for me (but it's more spread out than spring at least, five shows in three days was way too much for me!). And it's been too many years since I read or watched any of D. Gray Man, I remember I read a tiny bit after the long hiatus and I think D. Gray Man Hallow picks up even after that, so unless I find the time to marathon a heck of a lot of episodes (looking at lists, out of the 103 original episodes only about 25 are filler) I'm not sure when I'll ever get to that show.

Oh, I do still want to watch Macross Delta, once I finish Kuromukuro and I'm back to having no mecha in my life it's going to be even harder to not give into fansubs for that one.

91 Days
Years after his family was murdered by the mafia, depression-era Angelo begins his revenge.

I thought I would like this show more than I did and just, didn't. Despite having a lengthy intro to explain how main character Angelo ended up where he did in life (and it's well done too!) I just found myself not caring about him or some of the more cartoony side characters, I guess I don't like gangster shows when it's more gangsters than anything else. And I also wasn't as impressed with the visual, the movie-like opening credits were very pretty with photo realistic shading, and again the intro looked very nice, but the b-part of the episode looked just, more basic, more "anime" and less inspired.
I don't mind giving this show a second episode but I'm not so sure I'll give it a third.


~Crunchyroll~

Cheer Boys!!
Haruki is secretly relieved when he can finally quite judo due to a shoulder injury, although he wasn't expecting his best friend Kazuma to quit along with him. And Kazuma has an unusual idea for what they should do next, he wants to form an all guys, competitive cheerleading squad!

Well this was fun. I've seen some folks say this anime is based on an actual book-book, and others say it's partially based on a real-life, all-boys cheerleading team in Japan, but regardless of it's source it's nice to see a sports anime that's not baseball/soccer etc again (which is my main reason for not trying out Days or Battery this season). There's plenty of low-key bromance in the show if that's your kind of thing and if not it's totally possible to watch Haruki and Kazuma hang out and act as nothing more than really good friends. I am a little suspicious of the show, the ending theme seems to suggest that every single side character that appeared on screen in this episode will eventually become part of their team, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out and crossing my fingers for some cool choreography later on.

-Funimation-

The Morose Mononokean
Ashiya is having a crappy first week of school, he thought he was doing a good deed by picking up an abandoned stuffed animal on the road but surprise, it was a yokai who latched onto him! The yokai is sucking more and more energy out of him and Ashiya is desperate enough to call a number for an exorcist he finds at school, although with his new ability to see spirits Ashiya might be getting into the exorcist business himself!

One of several shows where I have read the manga (and talked about it at length) and I thought this was a pretty okay premier. I'm still surprised that they decided to keep some of the gradient coloring (it looks pretty on the covers but weird in animation) and also surprised that they've made the yokai all CGI considering that the designs are a little simple (maybe it's to encourage the uncanny valley?) but the episode was paced well and my favorite lines were included so I'm content. I've seen a lot of people say that this is "a poor man's Natsume and the Book of Friends/a holdover until the new season) and guys, we gotta remember that Natsume's heights are really freaking high, you don't really find any other supernatural manga telling that kind of story of friendship as well! So stop making me defend both of these shows and just settle in for it's cute comedy and Fuzzy.


~Crunchyroll~

orange
Naho oversleeps for the first day of her second year of high school and only has a brief chance to glance at the strange letter she receives that morning from her future self. She's then unnerved when the letter perfectly describes her days and even the handwriting matches, there's almost no reason to believe it's not from her. And Naho's future self begs her to live more boldly so that she won't have the same regrets. Some of these changes are easier to make than others, but some of them, related to her new classmate Kakeru, are very hard.

*First things first: this is a story that deals with suicide. I think most viewers will work that out by the end of the first episode but since I know this can be a pretty upsetting topic for some folks I'm putting it out here now so that no one goes into the story completely blind*

Another series where I have read and talked about the manga before, although I haven't finished it! I even own both of the omnibus volumes but I can't bring myself to finish it yet, I'm not actually sure if I'll finish the anime or the manga first. And even though I've already read most of the manga I'm sure this series will wreck me, I'm seeing little bits of foreshadowing earlier on and even the visuals are contributing to it, look at how the foreground is bright and cheerful and yet the backgrounds are dark in nearly every outdoor (and even some interior) shots. The show nails the manga's tone as well, the idea that just because you know what you should do differently in life (future Naho even tells her past self what the baseball pitches will be so that she can clean up as the pinch hitter) doesn't mean you can automatically do them, your own feelings don't suddenly go away. It's a really touching series and even though parts of it look a little weird (there's something off about the mouths) I am all on board for this feels fest.


~Crunchyroll~

plantarian 
30 years ago a major city was abandoned but left behind was one, lonely robot girl. When a junker stumbles upon her she tries to once again perform her work as a gracious planetarium host but such an innocent worldview is at odds with what her world has become. 

I heard "Key visual novel but before their 'sad girl in the snow' phase" and a bunch of praise for this anime, which wasn't on my radar at all, tried it, and concluded that I was right to keep it off my radar. Honestly the only part of the story I found funny, forget engaging or connecting, was how having our unnamed human lead meet Yumemi really felt like "2010s moe anime fan meets 90s anime girl" in a screenshot (although her design wasn't quite atrocious enough to be from the 90s, her outfit is missing shoulder pads for one thing). I didn't see any reason to like either of these characters, I couldn't even really summon pity for Yumemi, and the story was so overtly trying to tug on my heartstrings that it made me shy away instead. So, a drop from me, come to think of it I haven't liked any Key visual novels yet (unless we count anime-first Angel Beats as one), although I am a bit curious how this story is going to play out given that the visual novel clocks in at under 5 hours on autoplay....

-Funimation-

ReLIFE
Arata's life isn't going well. He's 27, only had a "real" job for 3 months before he had to quit and he's basically hit rock bottom already. He thinks it's shady as hell that a guy approached him in the street at night with a drug that would de-age Arata and a plan to send him back to high school but, well, Arata wakes up the next morning only to realize that he's already taken the pill and has to prepare to relive his senior year of high school all over again.

You guessed it, ANOTHER manga I have read and talked about before, heck The OASG is so used to me talking about ReLIFE that apparently it's my duty to review the anime there as well! Which will be sooner than the rest of these shows, for some reason ReLIFE dropped all at once in Japan (IIRC on the Comico app that hosts the manga) and Crunchyroll has put up the entire series for subscribers. Frankly I wouldn't mind bingeing this series anyway since again, I'm familiar with the manga, I already basically know what it's going to do (I think it's going to catch up with the published manga volumes so nothing new for me) and it is a relief that I can tell people that no, it's not going to get creepy with romance (side note, I've also read some of Sweetness and Lighting and can promise you guys the same thing there). I'm still a bit grouchy that the character designs were changed a little, everyone looks a bit more angular and scratchy now, so I almost like the chibi-humor segments more since that looks closer to the original art style. Honestly there's not much else for me to say here, it's a good adaptation so far and I'm enjoying it for the same reasons I liked the manga and I've already talked about that quite a bit!

~Crunchyroll~

Servamp
Two things define Mahiru: he likes to keep his life simple and after living as an orphan he can't stand the thought of "abandoning" someone. Which is how he picks up an adorable kitten on his way home from school and why he is NOT pleased to learn that this kitten is actually a vampire. This cat would honestly like to live a lazy life as well but with other vampires on the loose, Mahiru discovers a way to make Kuro fight for him as a servant vampire (servamp) and both of their lives become much more complicated.

Once more with feeling folks, I have read some of this manga so I know a bit of what to expect. Servamp is one of those stories with an overly complicated set-up (set of vampires who are powerful on their own but ultimately supposed to be subservient to a human master) and in some ways it really reminds me of an early 2000s manga/anime. It has gothic art elements that don't quite fit the setting (and aren't matched by gothic story elements), set-up is trying a bit too hard, and the character designs are super hit or miss on a character by character basis (some look normal and some have "look I'm an important character, I have green hair!" going on). I did like what I read of the manga, it was cute and I liked the characters, but I didn't feel quite that same spark here. It's easier to skim over moments you don't like in a manga than it is in an anime, honestly if my library had the manga I might have skipped watching the anime altogether but it doesn't. So, I'll give it another episode and see if it clicks but I'm not holding my breath. On the plus side, Kuro is possibly an even cuter mascot character than Fuzzy and I want merchandise of both please.

I mentioned that this season looks like it'll be more spread out than spring and while that's true, honestly I might end up watching only four or five shows this season as well. Currently I'm looking at:

Sunday: Monokean and Orange
Monday: none
Tuesday: Servamp and Cheer Boys
Wednesday: none
Thursday: none, okay this is getting weird
Friday: 91 Days (and technically ReLIFE)
Saturday: none wait what?!

One thing I realized last season is that, while I didn't feel stressed about "oh I'm so far behind on my shows", I did miss having a more regular viewing schedule, I missed being able to destress with a new show on most days. I could always do that with my backlog (yes I see Ushio and Tora lurking there) but it's not quite the same without the community. As far as I can tell everything I'm excited about is going to be airing this fall (minus Rakugo where we haven't heard a peep about when the second half is going to be???) so I'll live, hey maybe I can catch up with some American tv in the meantime too!

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