Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fall 2016 Anime Round-UP

After a bit of a quiet year from me it's here:

too many shows for me possibly watch at once.

As has become the norm for me, I didn't have any carry-over shows from the summer unless you included Kuromukuro (which I guess you could count since Netflix released the second half right in the middle of the season preview week). I'm cutting out summaries this time for brevity and also assuming that by this point in the season that everyone has already heard the basic gist of all of the interesting shows (but if I somehow covered one that was new to you I will be happy to elaborate on the plot more in the comments).


Flip Flappers
Going into this season this show looked like it was going to be all razzle-dazzle animation with no story and, while the plot is unfolding slowly so far, we're now three episodes in and the story doesn't seem like it's going to blow up. In fact, the small ways that the story and the setting have been explained so far actually fit the tone and mood of the show really well, everything is confusing to Cocona, the viewer, and possibly Papika as well! I'm looking to JoseiNextDoor's posts on Anime-Evo to catch what symbolism I'm missing and the fact that there is something to catch is also reassuring. I feared that this show might be dead on arrivial but instead I'm already thinking about how it might be a fun one to rewatch a year or two down the road. 

Haikyuu!! 3
I still think that this show should have three exclamation points and still worry that the show is shooting itself in the foot by trying to give every character on every team a backstory and making this sport's show more emotionally complicated than it needs to be. I do say this and am still really enjoying the show week to week however, but I am dreading this season a little. Pacing an entire, 10 episode season around a single match is not my preferred way to watch a sport's show (Big Windup was probably worse in that regard to be completely honest) and for me that also highlights a few ways that Haikyuu!! could be a better sports show, but I feel like these thoughts are better discussed at the end of the season after I have a chance to see what the story and the characters do against their biggest challenge yet.


Izette the Last Witch
I've seen this show before! I've seen shows with a bland, European-style pastiche setting, cute but slightly military-inspired outfits, and the promsie of young characters becoming the movers and shakers of a grand conflict. I couldn't tell you why I never seem to see this story work but I've been burned with this set-up too many times before to continue on (the last time being The Pilot's Love Story which I'm still bitter about). I gave the show three episodes but titular Izette was shockingly under-developed and the story gave me no hope that it could do something new and interesting, flashy and fresh, or even solid and competent about this war (but without too much gore) story that I gave it a drop.

Also apparently there is "groping for humor" (both the boobs AND the ass in the same sequence!) in episode 4 which is never an indicator of greatness.

Matoi the Sacred Slayer
I was drawn in by potentially cute magical girl outfits but this one is a stinker. As far as I'm aware the story is an anime original but it's first few minutes are nothing but light novel tropes, as if the show is ashamed of it's origins, plays out with a rather generic "this character is about to become involved in larger events!" for the rest of the episode, and then ends with the father groping her daughter. Granted, he didn't think it was his daughter at the time and the grope might've been accidential, but if it wasn't then I'm skeeved out that the show thinks I should be laughing at "look at how this man thinks he's greeting his wife he hasn't seen in years!" or for any reason that I should find groping funny.

Apparently the second episode ends with the character naked and yelling "don't tweet this!" as people take her photo so I feel pretty justified in dropping this show now, thank you twitter for taking the worst hits for me this season.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans
Wow, I've actually seen a good bit more Gundam since the first season of this show wrapped, although I'll still be relying on Laruen Orsini on ANN quite a bit since I'm still going to miss 70% of any Gundam references the show makes (like hmmm, double Char oooooh?). I'm still enjoying this as a mecha anime fan regardless and still intrested to see just how screenwriter Mari Okada continues to make the relationships just a bit, weird as the characters find themselves with more allies, enemies, and layers to everything. I might have an essay on that as well depending on how it all plays out, I expect that everything is going to end up blowing up in the Tekkedan's face by the end of the show but if it plays out in the right way it could be really interesting (I totally think Okada was holding back on the tragedy in the first season and am ready for her to bring it on).

Natsume Yuujinchou Go
I'll admit, it's been so many years since the last season that yes, I have read a bit ahead in the manga and know at least some of what's coming. I thought that would dampen my excitement for this season but no, it's made me realize just how much I've missed this show! The first season of Natsume and the Book of Friends wasn't even close to my first anime and yet it's really left an impact on me over the years and I often find myself comparing nearly every similar type or yokai or even supernatural story to it. By now the story has a very comfortable rhythm and I'm excited that the story is even slipping in a few bits of foreshadowing earlier than they appeared in the manga. I like the episodic stories just fine but my favorite episodes have always been the ones that bring back old characters, probe Natsume's family past, or even just have stories long enough that require more than one episode. Along with Yuri on Ice this is my most anticipated show of the season and wish it was all out already! 

Show By Rock#
I still think they really missed an opportunity to call this show "#ShowByRock" but I'm honestly a little surprised that there is a second season of this show at all. To the story's credit it doesn't have the lamest idea ever for "oh we need to bring Cyan back from her own word into Sound World!" and the show is still rather charming and fun, plus I can finally appreciate Sanrio's cutesy character designs with the show's rapidly expanding side cast. I'm expecting that this show will play out a lot like the first season, mostly fun antics up until very nearly the end and then a dramatic send-off for both the villain and Cyan but I'd be happy with that. That's what I think we'll get and that's also what the show has shown before that it can do well, it doesn't seem like setting the bar low or anything like that.

Sound Euphonium 2
I'll admit that every time I've seen an episode of this new season it hasn't been under the most ideal circumstances but I've also seen a lot of consensus that this new season just isn't as strong so far. My favorite parts of the first season were when we had very internal, contemplative moments with Kumiko and Reina, as these two somewhat-socially-awkward girls try to navigate their own feelings and passions in a very blunt manner. So far this season has redirected most of Reina's feelings towards "being aggressively heterosexual towards their teacher" (to the point where it is jarring) and Kumiko has gotten wrapped up in other band member's drama and watching her awkwardly navigate situations where everyone else is being even more awkward and close mouthed just isn't as engaging. It's a shame since the show has had some lovely conversations about competitions and such but they just aren't in the best places, it really feels like a let-down. Hopefully the story will move forward but since so much of the concert band club's drama is about the club's past I fear that this sesaon will never be able to escape the shadow of it's own making.

Yuuri on Ice
While a lot of people were cracking "oh too bad it's not YURI on ice" jokes before the show started, I don't think anyone expected that this show might be Legitimately Gay which has been an interesting and welcome development. To be clear, I'm unlikely to come down and say "this felt like actual LGTB characters" or "this was just queerbaiting" until the show is completely said and done* but what I do feel confident saying even so far is "this is a show made for woman and I don't mean 'just straight woman'" which I barely get to say about ANY female-targeted show! Expect an essay on that somewhere this season (this season has me all excited about writing!) and outside of that: wow I like this show so far. Japanese Yuuri is a really nicely balanced character and his mixture of confidence and lack of feels very personal and real to me, something you don't see as much in sports anime focused on younger characters (even Yuurio's own balance is different because he's 8 years younger!). I am a little curious/worried about where the story is going to go with Victor, as someone else put it he is very much a "manic pixie dream boy" so far but, so far his role as both mentor and basis for inspiration is doing good things for Yuuri and since both Yuuri and Yurio feel like well-rounded characters after just three episodes I'm going to stay positive and not fret yet.

There are several shows that I haven’t even tried yet which is a bit surprising since they all caught my attention, but I just feel pretty full with even this viewing schedule. My podcast co-host Justin keeps trying to get me to watch Girlish Number but he 1) hasn’t even seen Shirobako so he’s not qualified to make that comparison (which he has) 2) it’s by the same writer as SNAFU which I didn’t like terrible well. I feel like my sports needs are being pretty well set so I don’t need All Out (also not as into the character designs), as of writing the first two episodes of Occultic;Nine have actually been pulled from all sites which makes things a little difficult (actually they're back now and I'll admit this did pique my interest a tiny bit....). I’ve heard so many mixed things about March Comes In Like A Lion that I’m holding off to see how it finishes (as an adaptation, the manga at least seems universally praised), and I honestly meant to try Fune wo Amu/The Great Passage but that’s actually not being streamed! I remembered that back in the spring Amazon made a grand announcement about being the exclusive streamer for noitaminA titles ("oooooh this is not a good idea Amazon") and they are currently streaming the series in the UK, but upon looking back I could only find an article on it, not the original presser, so I guess Amazon is trying to quietly cut their losses there or something. I am quite tempted to find fansubs for the series since it was one of my most anticipated fall shows! If I end up picking any of these up later I’ll make a note with some quick thoughts in one of my weekly round-ups but at this point I don’t think I have much time to add anything else in!

Sunday:
IBO Gundam
#ShowByRock (plus catch up on thoseshorts)
also that Turn A Gundam group watch on twitter (#TurnAgw)

Monday:
nothing! I should watch more Kuromukuro!

Tuesday:
Natsume Yuujincho the 5th

Wednesday:
gay day: Sound Eupho and Yuri on Ice

Thursday:
Flip Flappers

Friday:
Haikyuu 3

Saturday:

Nothing! Hey I should work on that backlong….


*for extra hilarity, it airs on the same day as Sound Eupho

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