2016 anime retrospective (Whimsical Weekend #7)

Nowi Wins Happy new year! Farewell 2016, hello 2017!

Well, that’s what I would say, but when it comes to the new year, I can’t help but to reflect upon the old year. After all, reviews are more fitting for past happenings than for future happenings, right?

2016 has been a whimsical year as a whole—what with a dead gorilla becoming an Internet sensation, the crowning of a new 602 champion (Vallu111), and Donald Trump becoming president (just to name a few things)—and the anime aired throughout the year is arguably proof of that. This post will cover the anime that I have watched this year, as well as that which I didn’t watch before but might consider watching in the near future (excluding sequels, as usual). Along with giving a brief synopsis of each anime, I will mention some pros and cons thereof. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Winter

Musaigen no Phantom World

The Phantom World is a place where, simply put, illusion becomes reality. Workable premise for a fantasy story, right? It’s the sort of anime that alludes to real-life brain teasers while remaining faithful to the popular genre of fantasy. The trivia-dropping Haruhiko Ichijou, his fairy companion Ruru, the tomboyish but busty Mai Kawakami, the cute glutton Reina Izumi, the antisocial music lover Koito Minase, and the bear-loving child Kurumi Kumamakura band together to fight off rogue illusions that interfere with their daily lives and those of others.

+: Interesting concept
+: Likable characters (particularly Koito)
-: Not too stellar as a whole
-: Kurumi’s voice is annoying

Dagashi Kashi

Kokonotsu Shikada is an aspiring manga artist whose family runs a sweets shop in the countryside. Things are difficult for him because Hotaru Shidare, the representative of a sweets manufacturing company, wants to bring Kokonotsu’s father into her company, which would mean that Kokonotsu would have to run the shop all on his own. Kokonotsu, more interested in manga than the shop in question, is in adamant opposition of the idea, but circumstances threaten to change his mind. Oh, and his childhood friends, Tou and Saya Endou, get involved from time to time.

+: Odd but somehow mesmerizing art style
+: Comedic
+: Involves trivia centered around sweets
-: The way they sexualize Hotaru is…eh

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo

Shut-in Kazuma Satou dies a laughable death and is invited by the “goddess” Aqua to an RPG-like world to which he is allowed to take any one thing…and he chooses Aqua. So, this fledgeling shut-in and demoted goddess are stuck in the world to make a living and get stronger in hopes of defeating the demon king. On the way, they meet the explosion-obsessed chuunibyou arch wizard Megumin and the masochistic blonde crusader known as Darkness, and a stalwart(?) party of four is formed.

Say, the second season of this anime is airing really soon!

+: Parallel world fantasy
+: Comedic (more so than Dagashi Kashi, I would argue)
-: Art style
-: Outfits of the quest giver (Luna) and Aqua…what’s up with that exposure?

Spring

Uchuu Patrol Luluco

Each episode is only 7 minutes in length, and the content is so wacky that a simple description wouldn’t do justice for it. I’ll try, though: Luluco is a girl who just wants to live a normal life, but she becomes part of some space patrol and…um…becomes able to transform into a gun to fight baddies. Also, there’s light romance involved.

+: Short and sweet
+: So wacky it’s funny
+: Midori’s voice
-: So wacky it’s confusing

Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu”, Igi Ari!

Based on the Ace Attorney video game series (a.k.a. “Gyakuten Saiban”) centered around the budding lawyer Phoenix Wright (Naruhodo Ryuuichi) and his life journey to serve justice where it is needed…but of course, not without assistance from the Fey (Ayasato) sisters.

+: Nice refresher/storyteller for those not overly familiar with the series (like me)
-: The art style is a little…uncanny

Boku no Hero Academia

80% of the population is born with “quirks,” a pet term for super powers. Izuku Midoriya is part of the other 20%, but his obsession with heroes leads him to enroll into UA, a prestigious university for only the best of the best heroes. Although he is looked down upon (particularly by Bakugo) for such high aspirations, he has a fortunate encounter with All Might (a famous hero and his idol), who is secretly deteriorating and in need of a successor. As a result, Izuku trains hard to prove his worth as such a successor, and he eventually earns a fragment of All Might’s power. However, one other issue arises: being able to harness the power while not placing too much strain on his child-like body.

Say, this anime is also getting a second season soon, although not as soon as that of KonoSuba.

+: So many interesting super powers
+: Action-packed
+: Tsuyu Asui: such a cute little character!

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

Another story about a shut-in who dies and is taken to a parallel world, except this story is more morbid. This shut-in, Subaru Natsuki, falls in love with Emilia, a denizen of the parallel world, and darn near literally puts himself through hell primarily for her sake. He looks useless on the outside, and this much is reiterated throughout the first few episodes, but his curse—which not only revives him after death, but also makes it so that mentioning the curse causes some sort of witch to make direct contact with him—allows him to gain the upper hand in most situations.

Re:Zero is perhaps the most controversial anime of the year; some people (like me) loved it for what it was, while others disliked its jaded ending. Some people were bitter about episode 18 when Rem confessed her love to Subaru, who responded with “I love Emilia.” Although I can agree that Rem is superior to Emilia, I have to say that I am indifferent towards that moment because it’s plain as day that Subaru has always been after Emilia and no one else. Regardless, I prefer other characters of the series, namely Crusch and Felt.

+: So many amazing voices (particularly Beatrice (voiced by Satomi Arai!), Felt, Roswaal, Puck, and the Pearlbaton kids)
+: Such craziness going on, especially in the middle stages of the anime
+: Even if some would argue that it didn’t end well (and, moreover, ended contrary to light novel canon (or so I have heard)), at least it ended conclusively

Summer

New Game!

Cute girls work together in a game development company, particularly newcomer Aoba Suzukaze, energetic and busty Hajime Shinoda, self-conscious Yun Iijima, and taciturn Hifumi Takimoto. Aoba, the main character, becomes a character designer under the guidance of Kou Yagami, a name that she just so happens to recognize right off the bat…

+: As someone obsessed with games and the idea of game development, this anime is a great fit for me
+: Likable characters (particularly Hifumi and Umiko)
-: Nene Sakura has an annoying voice

Kimi no Na wa.

Through some phenomenon, small town girl Mitsuha Miyamizu and city boy Taki Tachibana (tried to find the words to say and somewhat accidentally ended up with a Journey reference) are affected with a condition that causes them to swap bodies every other day. As a result, they become a part of each other’s daily life without meeting each other, but then a compilation arises with the possibility of Mitsuha’s entire town being wiped out. The two hope that someday, somehow they will unite, no matter how much fate tempts to separate them (physically and psychologically).

This anime has been #1 on MyAnimeList for a while now, but I didn’t really get into it until my brother suggested that we watch it together. It’s great, though, trust me.

+: It’s a feature length film, therefore shorter and easier to get into than a regular series
+: Not all superheroes wear capes
+: So much mystery and craziness
+: A few comedic moments here and there
+: Has a sort of…romantic vibe, I guess?

Fall

Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume

Agari Kamiya has always been the top member of the table tennis club at her middle school…that is, until Koyori Tsumujikaze comes out of left field and knocks her off her high horse (but, y’know, in a way that warms her up). Before long, it seems more like the two share the top spot instead of competing for it. They are not the only ones to be focused on, however; four other capable players—including the temporarily retired captain who had just recovered from an injury—are with them in their competitions against other schools to rise to the top.

This is another series that didn’t interest me immediately; although I had watched Ping Pong the Animation (also introduced to me by my brother, who also piqued my interest in the sport as a whole) and enjoyed it, I was skeptical about the loli version. However, when my brother talked about it one day, I thought that I would give it a try in due time. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but I have to say that I prefer Ping Pong the Animation.

+: Hokuto Itsumo and Kiruka Ushirode are particularly likable characters
+: Kururi Futamaru is voiced by Shiori Izawa
+: A few comedic moments (most of which poke fun at Mune Oomune)
-: Doki-doki (freaking Koyori)

Keijo!!!!!!!!

Keijo is a gambling sport wherein competitors are placed on a buoyant platform on water (known as a “Land”) and attempt to push each other off using only their butts and breasts. The competitors have their reasons for competing in such a crude sport, and that of Nozomi Kaminashi is…well, money. She had the opportunity to take up gymnastics, but she figured Keijo would be more profitable with its cash prizes. As a result of her interest in the sport, she ends up befriending Sayaka Miyata, Kazane Aoba, and Non Toyoguchi. The quartet, in spite of their initially low position, manage to quickly rise to the upper class with their own unique talents.

+: Perhaps it’s the sports aspect of the show that had me the most interested…
+: Likable characters (particularly Kazane, even though she always seems to lose by a hair)
+: Diverse body builds, not just slim figures (exhibit A: Nagisa Ujibe)
+: Rockin’ opening theme
o: It’s centered around the most sexualizing idea of a sport that can be shown on non-X-rated media
o: So many nonsensical moments
-: Also some not-so-likable characters, particularly Mio Kusakai
-: Plenty of manga canon was omitted in order to fit the pacing (particularly the untold dangers of the sport)
-: Is that enough exclamation marks for that title?

(I actually added some neutral points here because they are simultaneously notable and both positive and negative.)

Up for hindsight consideration

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (winter)

I tried to watch an episode of this, but I got bored halfway through. That’s a pretty lame excuse to avoid getting into a series, though. It’s supposed to be an MMO virtual reality series like Log Horizon, so I might give it a second chance.

Mob Psycho 100 (summer)

Similarly to the previous, I only watched one episode of this (granted it was the whole episode, but that’s not much different). It’s by the creator of One Punch Man, which is probably the main source of the hype behind it, but two main points deterred me from it: the art style, and Arataka Reigen. Art style as a whole usually isn’t enough to turn me off (and I usually judge that from the cover, in spite of the age-old saying to not judge a book by its cover), but I didn’t really like Reigen’s personality, and that’s the main thing that prevented me from going beyond the first episode. Apparently, though, he is the most popular character of the series, so I was thinking perhaps I shouldn’t judge based on my preliminary thoughts on him, and instead…y’know, watch more than one episode.

Stella no Mahou (fall)

I don’t know why I never bothered with this. I mean, I had already watched New Game, and why should this series deserve any different treatment? I mean, I didn’t even try to watch it; I just avoided it entirely. What was I thinking, assuming that I wouldn’t be interested in two series with the same sort of premise? I mean, it’s not like it’s exactly the same, because I’ve heard based on the synopsis that the company in this series is a doujin company, which should make me all the more interested. (As a side note, the cover art is reminiscent of Love Lab.)

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

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