Seasonal Thoughts: Man, this season’s kinda… eeeeeh. I was right when I said to expect a subpar Winter from a craptastic Fall 2015. I was only really entertained by a few shows. And nope, I didn’t like Erased as much as you wanted me to; I’ll just save you the disappointment. I mostly spent time watching stuff on Toonami and in my backlog, and getting a handle on Bayonetta in Smash. Man, whatever happened to the really good Winter from last year? Was that just a fluke? The fact is that we’ve had four less than subpar anime seasons in a row, which hasn’t happened since Fall ’13 until Summer ’14, and that’s worrisome. About as worrisome as the likelihood that the Ben Affleck-directed Batman movie could get axed. But, don’t worry. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think the quality of next season will determine the remainder of the year. Not sure about The Batman, though. Well, at least there’s LEGO Batman.
So Deadpool was fun from start to finish. Fun enough for me to forget Fant4stic was a thing. Enough said about that. But seriously, Hollywood? Just because Deadpool was a big success doesn’t mean we should start making every superhero movie R-Rated. It only worked because Deadpool couldn’t work the way it did it was PG-13.
On a more exciting note: Symphogear seasons 4 and 5, baby, YEAH!
On a not-exciting note, freakin’ movies for Sword Art Online and Mahouka, two of 2014’s biggest piles of hot garbage; which means, once again, Aniplex (and A-1, in the case of SAO) has ahold of your dicks. I’ll go into that at a later date, but I’ll just save you the trouble of those movies:
- In the SAO movie, the bad guy’s a rapist, because Kawahara only follows one rule when it comes to writing bad guys and it’s “all bad guys are rapists.” Heck, I won’t be surprised if the Accel World movie has a rapey guy too, because why the hell not?
- The Mahouka movie will consist of Crystal Dragon Jesus Donald Trump Onii-sama doing bloody everything, including turn water into wine, and his sister who’s waiting to dryhump him the first chance she gets.
There, that’s money and time saved for something worthwhile.
Believe me, folks. Despite all the shit people give Active Raid, you can do much, much worse than that (Divine Gate and Infinite Bahamut, to name a few). That doesn’t mean I’m gonna let this one go easy. This show doesn’t have anything resembling an overarching plot. I’ve said this before: An overarching plot ultimately matters, because that’s how the entire show comes together. I mean, it’d be interesting if they explain that there’s a person or persons operating behind the scenes causing everything that happened, but all of that is vague. However, I am not without forgiveness as long as it doesn’t go out their way to piss me off and will give this another chance next summer. But dang it, Active Raid, you gotta get to it. [Score: 6]
Erased (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi)
OK, so it’s only a matter of time until Aniplex and A-1 blows this. Just gotta wait for it. Waiting… Waiting… Still waiting… Aha!! Told you so! Guess it isn’t as great as people made it out to be. I wasn’t fully convinced that Erased was gonna cover the entire story. When the show was halfway done, I just couldn’t see it happening. Also, I thought they were going to save the three kids that go missing, not just one of them. You spend 2/3 of the show saving one kid that the other two becomes a complete afterthought. Let’s also point out one thing: The “hero has to jump back and forth between past and present to save the life of a close friend” premise. Now where have we’ve seen that premise before? Steins;Gate? Madoka Magica? Life is Strange? Yeah, Erased doesn’t sound so original now, does it? Don’t get me wrong, my disdain towards Aniplex and A-1 notwithstanding, I really wanted to like Erased, but logical issues with the plot that runs on plot convenience and lack of common sense, predictable plot development, child abuse that’s only really there to get a shock, a trio of final episodes that hands Satoru the idiot ball, and a rather complex story that couldn’t flesh much of anything out in the course of 12 episodes only makes me see it as just mediocre and forgettable. Is Erased one of the better things to come out of Aniplex and A-1 Pictures in the past few years? Maybe, but looking at their current track record, it does not say anything remarkable about it. [Score: 5.5]
Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation
What would happen if you made a .hack// anime into a pretty lackluster slice-of-life show (Yeah, I’m going to start comparing every “You’re In the Game” anime to .hack// and not Sword Art Online. That came first, and it did it best)? You get Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation. which is, essentially, yet another “You’re in the Game” anime. You already have the blank slate main character, which is already a blatant sign of laziness on the writing’s part. That aside, just watching some high schoolers playing video games is much less fun than playing it yourself. And I’m still somehow burned up over that with the press of one button, the main character has an in-game avatar look exactly like him. May I remind you that I spent a whole hour spent on designing my character in Xenoblade X? I have just one thought: Why couldn’t they just adapt the game’s story, or maybe create an original story set in the game’s universe? Either one of those would’ve worked way better than yet another “You’re in the Game” anime. [Score: 5]
If I were to sum up Divine Gate in 10 words, I’d say: “Some rat bastard edgelord got paid to write this crap.” That is exactly the words I say to myself whenever I watch an episode. I could just keep it as self-explanatory as possible, but you know how I do. No, but seriously, the ideas this show has sounds like it came from the mind of a 13-year old. And believe me, as much as I want to rag on the script because it’s that mind-boggling dumb, the writing as a whole is a big ball of incompetence as a whole. It’s all a bunch of ideas that probably sounded cool in the writing staff’s heads, but when it’s put it on paper, it sounds pretty stupid. I don’t even know if the actual game was as dumb as this (and if it was, then shame on them for thinking nobody would find it dumb). Divine Gate is just a badly written emofest, if not one of the worst shows to come out of an already lackluster season. I think someone might like Divine Gate if they liked Akame ga Kill!, but that would mean they’re teens that think pointless angst is cool. [Score: 3]
So after a shaky first part, and somewhat improved second part, the third part made me realize something about Durarara!!, something that I never realized when I watched the first season on [adult swim] five years ago: Everyone and everything in this show is batshit insane. And that’s cool. Somehow, I never would’ve imagined that watching Ikebukuro fall into total anarchy would be a joy to watch every week. But the problem is that there are so many characters, yet there are only so little to care about. That’s usually a common issue when there is a cast as big as this show has. I don’t think I’ve seen a show that stumbled at first but got itself back up ever since the first season of Log Horizon. All in all, production issues and a sloppy first part aside, Durarara!!×2 was good ride, probably as good as Season 1, but I’m not exactly sure because my memories of Season 1 is really bad. [Score: 8]
When it was first announced, I figured that Dimension W would be a big deal, considering that FUNimation not only licensed it, but was also on the production. and even produced a dub and aired it on Toonami, and I admit, Dimension W has some cool ideas and some good production values to understand why they banked on it. Like, the idea of mankind achieving unlimited energy But, I don’t think the story is all that great. Like I don’t understand what this show is trying to achieve with its story. I feel like the show only starts working towards some sort of end-goal only like two-thirds of the way through, and the rest of it is just Kyoma and Mira meeting other characters and having random adventures that sometimes matter to the overall plot, and others is really just there to fill some episodes. Dimension W sounds great on paper, yet the hit-and-miss execution makes it feel like wasted potential to me. Let’s hope it doesn’t speak the same for everyone involved in the production. [Score: 6]
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (Hai to Gensou no Grimgar)
In case you haven’t figured it out since Overlord, I hate “You’re In The Game” anime. It’s nothing but wish-fulfillment fantasies for teenage loser males who live in their mothers’ basements. That being said, although Grimgar is marginally better than all of the “You’re In The Game” anime in the past two years, it’s still not enough for me to consider it anything better than crap on its own. There’s not much to say about direction in the story, like they’re trapped in the game world and they don’t know how they got there. It doesn’t help that that plot point is never discussed as much as it should. Even if you can say that the characters have no memory before then, it still don’t make them any better, nor do they give me one reason to have any emotional connection. It’s fortunate that it’s not downright insulting like Sexual Assault Online was, let alone make me feel insulted as a gamer, but that also doesn’t help its case because I can’t bring myself to care because of how dull and pathetic everything is. At least PSO2 was something worth snidely watching. Maybe if it weren’t set in a video game and maybe if Japan would take a hint and try a fantasy setting that’s isn’t in a virtual realm for once, I would actually give a crap, but I find Grimgar yet another unneccessary addition to an already tired genre that has overstayed its welcome and is in dire need of a moratorium. [Score: 5]
Snow White with the Red Hair (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime)
Remember last year when I said that I couldn’t consider Snow White with the Red Hair on my Top 10 of 2015 list because it wasn’t fully concluded yet? Well, it’s fully concluded now so Snow White on my Top 10 of 2016 list is fair game. And as far as I’m concerned, a show so heartwarming and pleasant as this deserves its spot. I’ve already mentioned last summer how much I enjoyed watching Shirayuki grow into a strong heroine, but it’s not just her what made me love this show. It was basically how she influenced everyone around her and help each other grow as their own individual person with their own strengths, even a certain spineless prince whom, if you remember, they started off on bad terms, but as the show went on, he found his strengths too. Honestly, if it weren’t for Snow White, this entire season would’ve been a total drag for me. I bet if there are any shoujo series that had the great things that this one had, then they’re probably worth watching. [Score: 8.5]
Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle (Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut)
Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, Pfft. More like “Undefeated Harems”. Seriously, putting one boy in an all-girls school will obviously result in a harem. Honestly, I didn’t like this show. Mainly it was because I was expecting one thing and ended up becoming something else entirely. I mean this show lured me in with its awesome visuals and mechasuit action and revealed itself to me as just a generic harem anime. …Yeah. It was pretty boring to me to the point that I didn’t really care that I fell behind. And I pretty much regret ever watching this show from start to finish.
…Oh, what’s that? This review is nothing but a copy-and-paste of my Infinite Stratos review back in 2011? Well, Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle is nothing but a copy-and-paste of Infinite Stratos. This oughta teach you something: When you copy-and-paste something that’s already generic and uninspired to begin with, you’re pretty much not even trying to write something worth giving a crap about. Heck, you’re probably better off watching Infinite Stratos (Just the first season, because fuck Season 2). [Score: 2.5]
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
As far as I know, I don’t think we’ve had a legit good Gundam TV series (No, the Build Fighters series doesn’t count) that held up as much as Iron-Blooed Orphans did in this millennium.
“Oh, but 00 held up.” Actually, not really that much, looking back at it…
“But G-Reco–” WILL YOU QUIT DELUDING YOURSELF?!
“But SEED and SEED Destiny–” Shut up, get out, and delete your Gundam fan card.
Anyhoo, call me crazy if you want, but I’m saying it right here and now: Iron-Blooded Orphans is the best Alternate Universe TV Gundam series of this current millennium, and probably my favorite one thus far, dethroning Mobile Fighter G Gundam. This was the kind of series where strong character interaction and the hardships of being a child soldier during times of war takes center stage while giant robots in space bashing each other’s plays second fiddle. It’s a strange departure from your usual Gundam series, but it all works out very good. To be fair, I feel like this season ended fairly well on its own, despite there being other threads left untied for until the next season this fall, like maybe getting Barbatos’ original mace back… [Score: 8.5]
OK, so I picked this one up out of a total whim, and because it’s from one of the few animation companies I can trust, and actually kinda forgot about it moments after I watched it. Yeah, that usually never happens for shows that I at least liked what I saw. However, the story felt kinda empty and didn’t make much sense. It sounded interesting when I looked it up, but when I watched it, I was barely invested into it. Was it because it had vampires? I bet it was! Maybe it just wasn’t really anything to write home about. [Score: 7]
Digimon Adventure tri.: Determination
I’m beginning to think that Toei should’ve released Digimon Tri as a TV series instead of a six-part movie series. Waiting for September for the next movie is gonna be hell. That being said, I haven’t seen a movie have alot of ‘splaining to do since Evangelion 3.33. The only difference between Eva 3.33 and Digimon Tri. movie 2 is that the characters aren’t douchebags that outright hate each other to the point that they refuse to explain anything. I do like how it continues a trend of deconstructing individual characters’ traits, this time Mimi and Joe gets theirs, which the movie states is the key to unlocking their Digimon partners’ Mega-level evolutions. Yeah, we Persona now. Also,you can’t watch Digimon and not expect Leomon to die every time, but at least let him go out in a better way than that. Also, Ken became the Digimon Emperor again, for some strange reason. Why, I don’t know. And where did Imperialdramon come from? I’m confused. [Score: 7.5]
Nowadays I find “grimdark” a big negative for a show, because “grimdark” means that I shouldn’t give a care for any character and, at worse, make me wish for all of them to drop dead horribly. Although that is not the case for Ajin: Demi-Human, it still has its fair share of grimdark. For one thing, I find it hard to root for anyone when the characters, even the protagonist himself, are basically selfish and amoral at their worst, whether they be Ajin or government. Here, it’s just dark vs. dark. And like Bob Ross said, you gotta have opposites. As for the CGI, yeah, you pretty much expected it to be all-CGI when Polygon Pictures was attached to it, and while it moves more smoothly than Knights of Sidonia, it still staggered at some points. To be fair, Ajin wasn’t a bad watch, but there’s very little that interest me. [Score: 7]
Winter 2016 Season APR
1: Snow White with the Red Hair
2: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
4: Ajin: Demi-Human
5: Assassination Classroom, 2nd Season (ongoing)
6: Dimension W
7: Active Raid (2nd Part in Summer 2016)
9: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
10: Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation
11: Divine Gate
12: Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
Favorite Theme Songs
- “Genesis” by Stereo Dive Foundation (Dimension W Opening)
- “Steppin’ Out” by FLOW (Durarara!!×2 Opening 3)
Next Season Preview: Aside from Assassination Classroom Second Season, there will be a lot to look forward to. Spring 2016 is gonna be loaded for me as I’ll be picking up 15 new shows, which is the most I’ve picked up at once: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, My Hero Academia, Perfect Bones, Space Patrol Luluco, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (A-1, if you fuck this up…), Flying Witch, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Joker Game, Kiznaiver, Hundred, the second part of Ushio and Tora, the second part of Concrete Revolutio, the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal (Please don’t blow this one, Toei. The Death Busters arc is the best arc), the second season of Rin-Ne (blech), and the second part of The Asterisk War (YARG! More like Ass War). Even though my expectations for this Spring are low but open as always, this season is looking like it has a lot of promise and I’m actually looking forward to this one, which is something I can’t say about the last two Spring seasons.