You know what – the summer season this year was low-key a really good season. Sure, I dropped a fair bit, but everything that aired really did leave a strong impression on me. It was never a drag, I was excited to watch every new episode, it was just great.
But, ah, it’s over, and once again we cast our eyes forward to the 3 months that unfolds before us… or has already started unfolding, because this is a couple of days late to the start of the season. I was busy! I often am. I was busy not only with writing reviews (god damn I managed to stay on top of everything this time!) but with Netrunner! Netrunner is a good, deep, complex cyberpunk asymmetrical expandable/living card game and you should play it if you like card games or if you are curious about card games. I’ve gotten really into it. It’s good!
Oh yeah, cartoons or something.
Custom chart kinda courtesy of anichart.net, but their image generation server was down so this was stitched from screencaps
- 3-gatsu no Lion
- FLIP FLAPPERS
- Fune wo Amu
- Girlish Number
- Hibike! Euphonium 2
- Long Riders!
- Lostorage incited WIXOSS
- Luger Code 1951
- Natsume Yuujinchou Go
- Shuumatsu no Izetta
- Soushin Shoujo Matoi
- Stella no Mahou
- Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
- Yuri!!! on ICE
Gosh that’s a lot. Would you believe this was culled quite heavily from the original list?
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Posted in 2016, Fall 2016, Preview | Leave a Comment »
For whatever reason, serious, mature, thoughtful anime about actual adults is pretty uncommon. Rarer still for it to not be couched in excessive violence, and even more so for it be grounded in actual history. Joker Game from earlier this year was a solid attempt, being about Japanese spies in World War II, but failed to leave a strong impression due to inconsistent episodes and no over-arching narrative to tie it together. It wasn’t bad by any means, and with that impression left so recently 91 Days was approached with cautious optimism.
Set during the prohibition-era United States, in the fictional city of Lawless (established to be near Chicago), 91 Days draws an immediate comparison to Baccano!. However, it is far more grounded, far more serious, and not even close to being hyperviolent; 91 Days takes full advantage of its setting to tell a story that’s inextricably tied to the period in a way Baccano! could never have been.
A mafia crime drama, 91 Days follows Angelo Lagusa 7 years after the Vanetti mafia family killed his family when he was just a child; he only survived by hiding and fleeing. He receives a letter naming three of the four murderers. Angelo leaves for Lawless in pursuit of revenge.
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Posted in 2016, Review, Summer 2016 | Tagged 91 Days | Leave a Comment »
Mob Psycho 100 is one of ONE’s other manga series, with his best known work being the now-famous One Punch Man. One Punch Man’s anime adaptation received widespread acclaim due its hilarious premise, breath-taking animation, and irreverent tone that went out of its way to undermine superhero fiction at every turn. Not that it was without its criticisms, mind you; it received the nickname ‘One Punch Line’ due to most jokes boiling down to “and then Saitama beats it in one punch”, and the story definitely felt tacked on as a way of extending a one-off gag into an ongoing series.
This left Mob Psycho 100 in an interesting position. Coming off the back of One Punch Man it had VERY big shoes to fill. Would the animation compare? Will it be as funny? Is the anticipation warranted? Living up to something that popular is stupidly difficult! But with challenge comes opportunity; it had the chance to tell a more coherent, engaging story, as well as show off a more diverse sense of humour.
Fortunately the premise was promising. Kageyama Shigeo is a middle school psychic, and a dangerous one at that – when his stress and emotion levels reach 100% so to speak, he loses control and causes massive destruction. So to prevent this as much as possible he’s developed a boring, unassuming, forgettable personality and appearance, rendering him a background or ‘mob’ character that no-one would even care to bother. But of course, a peaceful life isn’t going to be that easy.
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Posted in 2016, Review, Summer 2016 | Tagged Mob Psycho 100 | Leave a Comment »
If you knew exactly what was going to happen each day, would you be able to change the future? Would you live without regrets?
Would you be able to save your friend’s life?
These are the questions Orange asks of Naho. She receives a strange letter allegedly from herself 10 years in the future. The letter details exactly what’s going to happen that day, including a new student, Kakeru, transferring into her class from Tokyo.
The letter states that the Naho from the future has lived with many regrets, and requests Naho do things differently, armed with foreknowledge, so that she may live a better life.
So that she may save Kakeru’s life.
(Note: this review largely avoids spoilers except for a relatively minor one from the second episode. It is a twist, but is so fundamental to the overall story and is so early that it’s unavoidable)
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Posted in 2016, Review, Summer 2016 | Tagged Orange | Leave a Comment »
The best introduction I can give Amanchu! is that the original manga is by Amano Kozue – the mangaka behind Aria. And like Aria, Amanchu! is an iyashikei – or ‘healing’ – anime. You can expect a slow pace, charming characters, and an upbeat story that leaves you feeling refreshed and all the more positive about life and the world.
Amanchu! is significantly more grounded than Aria, mind you (no pun intended). Gone are the terraformed Martian landscapes of Neo-Venezia, the fame of the Undine, and the wide scope of seeing everything the world has to offer and then some; Amanchu! is set in contemporary Japan, and follows the schoolgirls Hikari (‘Pikari’) and Futaba (‘Teko’) as they enjoy their time in the diving club. Instead of exploring the stories of everyone Akari meets and letting that shape her, the focus is squarely on Futaba and her growth as a person.
Aria was a contemplative, philosophical, humanist work about the beauty in people’s lives and the goings-on happening around you. Amanchu! opts for something more personal and intimate.
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Posted in 2016, Review, Summer 2016 | Tagged Amanchu! | Leave a Comment »
Momokuri is a romantic-comedy about a slightly odd couple: Momotsuki ‘Momo’ Shinya is a 1st year high school student dating Kurihara Yuki, a 2nd year student who asked him out. Momo could best be described as ‘adorable’, being teased by all his friends for being shorter than average, timid, having a slightly girly face, and getting bashful over the slightest thing. Even though he doesn’t always quite ‘get’ her, he just wants Kurihara to be happy. Kurihara, on the other hand, has a hard thirst for Momo, basically stalking him prior to (and never stopping) dating him, sneaking photos of him at every occasion, and drooling every new side of him she sees. She has absolutely no shame… but when actually with Momo she completely falls apart, getting hugely embarrassed and overwhelmed, and becoming a lot more ‘reserved’ (albeit not necessarily for good reasons…).
That is essentially the gist of it, and all you really need to know. Momo and Kurihara don’t have that much more going for them than that (although Momo dealing with his jealousy and insecurities lends a small amount of depth to the characterisation) and the side characters – while entertaining – are nothing to write home about. Their relationship isn’t particularly compelling as it progresses absurdly slowly as a result of them being utterly useless around each other, but it’s very fun and cute and thanks to Kurihara’s personality it makes for a reasonably original and unpredictable romance.
What Momokuri is is extremely cute and sweet. Momo and Kurihara are adorable around each other; their mutual embarrassment is endearing, their inability to get over their timidity is oddly heart-warming, and their naïve tenderness just puts a smile on my face. It borders on saccharine and is utterly insubstantial – ‘cute romance’ really is all it has of note – but I really liked it. If candy floss were anime, it would be this.
Bonus points for some nice aesthetics and style. The art contributes a lot to the fluffy, sugary feel, and it has some fun little visual motifs it likes to use, lending it a strong visual identity.
Posted in 2016, Review, Summer 2016 | Tagged Momokuri | Leave a Comment »
Hidamari Sketch, Sketchbook: Full Color’s, and, uh, GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class I guess – the holy trinity of cute-girls-doing-artsy-things anime (I mean GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class isn’t that great, but whatever). Is Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! – This Art Club Has a Problem! – primed to join their hallowed ranks?
Well, uh, not really. But not because it’s bad!
Rather than being about a bunch of art students going about their daily lives, Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! is more of a rom-com set in a school’s art club – and the art club setting isn’t anywhere near as essential.
Usami Mizuki is a second year middle school student and member of the art club, and she has a crush on Uchimaki Subaru, another member of the art club in the same year as her. But he doesn’t realise her feelings! And on top of that, he’s a massive otaku who has zero interest in 3D women and opts to spend his time and amazing talent to draw waifus, to Usami’s endless frustration and disgust.
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Posted in 2016, Review, Summer 2016 | Tagged Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! | Leave a Comment »