Winter 2016 Anime – Early Thoughts

This season is 90% me picking things based on an image and one paragraph (at most) of information, so basically I went in to a bunch of stuff totally blind. This won’t include continuations (such as Gundam) or films, but will include season 2s that are just beginning. This time I felt like doing it a little differently than the usual just list of shows and my thoughts – while I’ll still be basically doing that, I figured I’d split them into groups based on how much I’d recommend to watch them or not. Surprisingly a lot falls into things I feel everyone should give a shot – honestly this season is fantastic so far and features a fuck ton more Zura because of course it does, he’s in everything lately. Of course this could change whenever – I won’t edit it but if I say something is definitely worth watching and it turns out to be shit 5 eps in don’t blame me, this is based entirely on episode 1 and overall directing and feel during that episode.

This might not be up to par with my usual posts, I didn’t really feel like writing it…well, I did, I just couldn’t get into it though like usual because of everything going on in my life right now and being kind of sick too, but I did my best! Even just getting screenshots (or googling for an image at the very least) was just the most frustrating thing in the world and I just couldn’t find the words to put behind anything I was thinking because how I’m feeling and how annoyed it’s making me. So, sorry, hopefully it’s not too bad and helps you find some shows that might interest you!

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You DEFINITELY Should Watch

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Boku Dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED

This is probably the show I’m most interested in this season and that hooked me the most, somewhat thanks to the very familiar directing right off the bat. It felt like Tokikake and that lead me to finding out it’s by a guy who was the assistant director on Tokikake and Summer Wars (bleh) so it makes sense. Anyway, speaking of Tokikake, time travel is a big thing here too – though I wonder if it will still be after episode 1, I’m not really sure what to expect. The MC basically gets forcibly rewound in time anytime someone dies or is in serious danger nearby, seemingly forcing him to solve it – though the show hasn’t said if he’s stuck this way indefinitely and continues to rewind or if it’s a one-time thing for each situation. Either way, he gets rewound anywhere from seconds to a few minutes and has to figure out what the problem is. That’s already pretty interesting and could be a great show to watch – instead we go a lot darker very quickly into the realm of child abduction and murder, which by the end tosses us all the way back into childhood to solve the murder of a certain girl and save her as well as possibly save many others in the future, including someone very close to him. It’s a really serious and dark drama that gets pretty tense already, with a lot of sometimes unexpectedly heavy stuff and a cool direction with the time travel stuff. A very powerful first episode that you should give a watch because chances are it’ll get you interested.

Also for all the retards praising the MC’s seiyuu for “being amazing for his first role ever”…this is not his first role ever. He’s an actual actor, just not a voice actor – and it’s been proven time and time again that actors do a fantastic job at voice acting because they already have to act with their voice AND their entire being in their regular job, so it’s actually an easy thing to slide into as a secondary job and even outshine much of the talent who only works in that field.

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[HorribleSubs] Dimension W - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.00_[2016.01.11_18.00.40]

Dimension W

I know I really like this show, but I’m not sure how to talk about it here, so I kind of don’t want to bother. It’s really cool, I like the fact the MC uses only old school (even by modern real standards) stuff both in life and in combat, and I like all the characters so far. We basically follow a guy (and probably in episode 2 and on a cute girl-robot as well) who hates “coils” and see there I’m not about to sit here explaining what the fuck that is that’s not my job, so he collects illegal coils from gangs and such for a whale of a woman who runs what seems to be an organized crime group of her own, meanwhile the authorities are also after them because they’re “illegal” coils and this and that and I don’t fucking know just watch the fucking episode. It’s not even weird or hard to follow, I just don’t really feel like I have much to say aside “this is really cool and incredibly entertaining already”.

[HorribleSubs] Dimension W - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.45_[2016.01.25_16.30.40]

It also features a really cute robot girl.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Josei writers tend to publish the most unique, mature, and interesting stories out there when they’re not pumping out 50 Shades of Grey, NTR, and yaoi – and Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (let’s just call it Rakugo) is a perfect example of that unique and wonderful storytelling. The MC is an ex-con fresh out of prison (the episode literally starts with him leaving after his sentence ends) who, while in prison, was able to watch a Rakugo show put on by a famous dude who does that stuff and ended up falling in love with the art. If you don’t know what it is, Rakugo is basically a form of comedic (sometimes subtly humorous) storytelling put on essentially as a one-man always-sitting stage play with no props aside themselves and their fan. It’s something that the staff knows most people even in Japan don’t know much about now, so don’t worry if you come into this completely ignorant of what rakugo is, it’ll explain very well. Hell, in the first episode you get a full performance by the main character. That was one of the best parts of the episode; not only does it really let you get a good understanding of what Rakugo is, it’s actually a genuinely pretty funny story and helps make you interested in hearing more. The series seems to have a good balance of comedy and character drama.

There’s a lot more going on as well as you’d expect from a josei – a lot of character focus and drama that I felt was done really well throughout all 47 minutes of the special extended first episode. They went pretty far in making this adaptation too – the art is fantastic, the characters very expressive with their faces and animations (important for rakugo), and the seiyuu choices were perfect for the rakugo focus as well with a lot of people with very distinct voices with a lot of range.

This is easily in my top 3 favorites of the season so far, alongside Dimension W and ERASED, and is something I really recommend giving a shot even if it doesn’t sound like a show you’d usually watch.

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Ojisan to Marshmallow

This is a short-episode series but definitely one to pick up. It’s sweet, cute, and a little bit sexy all at the same time – rather, the lead girl is. All she wants is this fat dude at her job go out with her and bang the shit out of her and she’s constantly teasing him with marshmallows (all he cares about) to get it while even outright saying she wants him to impregnate her in return for them. It’s great fun and something everyone has the time to easily check out and is not nearly as lewd as it sounds, rather it’s really cute.

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[HorribleSubs] Dagashi Kashi - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.44_[2016.01.11_17.09.31]

Dagashi Kashi

This is essentially a fantastic advertisement for various types of Japanese snacks. I mean that very literally. There are definitely very defined and incredibly lovable characters (all of them already), and there’s kind of a story, but it all boils down in the end to telling you about different snacks and how amazing they are. That’s not a bad thing, in fact it’s really fun and interesting because of it. The main draws are the cast and the artstyle though, all of which is wonderful. A hilarious shitty dad, a very cute but incredibly weird girl, another very cute ex-delinquent looking girl who hates sweet things but loves bitter things and loves the MC who loves sweet things and hates bitter things, and her brother who seems really fun and cool and looks like a low-level thug with shark teeth and a Hawaiian t-shirt. They all have great chemistry, their designs are really neat, and it’s just a really great show already.

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[HorribleSubs] Prince of Stride - Alternative - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.07_[2016.01.13_16.06.26]

Prince of Stride: Alternative

Do you like watching track meets? No! Who does? Fucking losers, that’s who. What about track meets that are actually parkour races through obstacles and over buildings and such and the feeling of Initial D bringing it all together? If that sounds like something you might enjoy then this show is worth picking up. Not only does it deal with something incredibly unique and surprisingly cool to watch, but it also has a great cast already both in terms of seiyuu and the actual character personalities. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this aside the fact HanaKana was in it, but it ended up really cool and…well, honestly not that surprisingly given Madhouse just fucking loves making alt-sport shows, actually really good. Chihayafuru (which they paid for season 2 out of their own pocket), Kaiji (gambling is essentially a type of sport), and several others – all of which range from fucking amazing to really great. Prince of Stride takes great characters, good bits of humor, parkour, and relay races, mixes them together, and pumps out what is just Initial D on-foot.

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Phantasy Star Online 2

Something I’ve wanted since .hack//sign has been a show that featured an MMO as .hack did minus the stuff with Tsukasa – basically, I wanted a series about characters in their daily lives along with their time playing a completely normal MMO. It’s a weird thing to want, I suppose, but it’s something I was always interested in seeing. PSO2 is exactly that. The main cast is just a bunch of normal high school kids in a (mostly) normal school (Se”i”ga Academy featuring a totally-not-Sonic mascot in their courtyard) who also happen to play the popular MMO Phantasy Star Online 2. So far there is absolutely ZERO implication the story will be anything more than that, and that’s a great thing. Honestly, it feels like this is kind of a very fun advertisement for the game as it even goes through the paces of explaining what an MMO is and how it’s totally amazing that you play with other people on the internet and such. The series also does a really good job at, for the most part, being pretty accurate about the game and MMOs in general, though it does have unbelievable situations like the MC getting his very basic name accepted for his character with ease and the randomize button popping out someone identical to him. The way people act in the game, the actual accuracy of the show’s version of PSO2 to the real game as well, are both fantastic though. I also like how this has CG but only for the in-game graphics which makes the CG in an anime not feel awkward or bad for once because, hey, it’s a video game!

I would have really loved if they did something akin to what Matt and Trey did for South Park when they did the WoW episodes though, in which case they actually got some of the dev team to work with them and they used the actual game to make the in-game portions. It would have been great to just have them use PSO2 for this, but what they did works fine too.

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EXCLUSIVE STREAM (that’s there because THIS IS THE FIRST FUCKING FRAME OF THE EPISODE)

Oshiete! Garuko-chan

I doubt it, but have you ever seen a show called Girl’s High/Highschool Girls/Joshi Kousei? If so, this is literally that in a more condensed and slightly less dirty form. Garuko-chan is a short-episode series that basically revolves around three high school girls who basically do girl talk – including all the weird and sometimes gross shit girls talk about to each other. Things ranging from nipple size to thickness of pubes show up in episode 1 right alongside less sexual things like how eating hot food will make your ass burn when you shit next time and how “maybe if I put sugar on my ass it’ll feel beter instead”. It’s dumb and not the cleanest show, but in the best way possible.

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[HorribleSubs] Akagami no Shirayukihime - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_22.34_[2015.07.06_17.43.51]

Akagami no Shirayuki Hime 2 (If you’ve seen season 1)

Season 2 to a show that was already fantastic the first time around. I definitely recommend this if you’ve seen 1 of course, and if not I definitely recommend watching 1 then. I’d say more but it’s a sequel and continues with the same quality as season 1 so far. The story seems like it’ll involve a lot more Obi and his feelings for Shirayuki and the troubles that’ll cause with them and the prince as well, along with the OP clearly showing the prince of her original kingdom being someone important this time around. It IS worth saying that this season feels like it’s going to possibly get a lot more serious, as this first episode heavily implies such in a lot of ways.

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You MIGHT Want To Watch

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Active Raid

Do you know Goro Taniguchi? If not, you should, he’s the man who created GunxSword, Code Geass, and directed Planetes and Infinite Ryvius among many others. This is another series from him and boy does it ever show – I actually went into this without a clue he was involved and all I could think was how much this felt like one of his shows (not to mention the OST which is also the same guy as always for his projects). This definitely, so far, falls onto the sillier GunxSword style of show rather than the more serious stuff he’s put out there, but it’s hard to be sure where this show is going this early on. Right now it’s a fun and over the top show about a special police unit who has special suits similar to the ones found in AntiMagic Academy that envelop the person and basically make them a small mech. Lots of humor, lots of senseless shit like this unit using a TRAIN as their main means of transportation and shooting out their people from it, and just over the top stupidity like a random old WWII era plane flying over 10 feet off the ground for the bad guys to grab on in their giant suits and fly off in out of nowhere because why not?

Another thing I really enjoy about it is the light bit of police procedural thrown in, with the guys all having to actually go through the motions before being able to do anything. Want to arrest this guy who just robbed this place? Well, you have to first announce who you are and ask them to give up, then wait x amount of time before going to the next phase depending on what they do or do not do, and so on, and each phase requires authorization from the brass. It’s kind of cool to see a series actually deal with that stuff and show what a pain in the ass all the red tape is and how stupid it is while also using it as a way to make fights interesting.

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[HorribleSubs] Divine Gate - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.59_[2016.01.09_14.44.24]

Divine Gate

First off, this has NOTHING to do with the show GATE, thankfully. Secondly, this is one of those shows that tries to cram WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION into the first episode. I like it but fuck if I have a clue what’s going on aside some divine gate and people with powers and the worst parents imaginable who locked their second son up in a fucking shack in the backyard and gave him cold scraps to eat once a day along with some random stray dogs – creating an incredibly emo character who actually is a rare case where it’s understandable why he is how he is. I like it though, but I can’t really say much about it because I don’t know much about it because it was doing a bit too much right off the bat and introducing too many characters, groups, and ideas. Seems alright though.

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Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

Is this .hack, SAO, or Danmachi? I’m still not sure because neither are the characters, and the show is done in a really well done way to keep you from being able to figure it out easily as well. A group of teens wake up with complete amnesia and walk out to a fantasy world knowing nothing and being lead to a ‘man’ who welcomes them to town, explains what they should do now, and even gives them some money to support them for the time being – somewhat akin to a starter tutorial in a JRPG or MMO, though perhaps this place is ‘real’ and just knows random people from seemingly another world show up here sometimes and so they’re used to it. Either way, the show’s setup is what drew me in and has me really interested still. Not only are we a bunch of barely-affording-food idiots who suck really bad (can’t even take on 2 goblins without almost dying and having to run away), but – and this is what really got me – the characters sometimes just accidentally naturally remember things for a second. For example, early on, one of their minds clicks when someone brings up money – and he goes to check for his wallet and his cellphone, and he even says “oh that’s right, where’s my money and cellphone?” before then questioning what the fuck a cellphone even is. They consistently keep using words they don’t remember are even words and that felt really cool and well done and has me both really wanting to find out what this world is as well as just wanting to see where things go with this group.

The group itself is also pretty likable, there’s a good bit of chemistry already and even in their relationships there’s hints of the real world that come up like school bullying mentally scarring one of the characters (yet not remembering school at all) and things like that. On top of that, this sort of feels like for a good portion of it that it’ll just be a slice of life about this group and developing the cast – I could be wrong, but that sounds like it’d be real enjoyable to me. This is definitely a unique series that sets itself apart from things like SAO, .hack, and Danmachi in many ways – so don’t think it’s just another copy.

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MEAT

Ooya-san wa Shishunki

Cute show about a middle school girl who runs a small apartment complex.

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Sekkou Boys

With Sugita, Fukuyama, and Ono D playing living statues as a new idol group, that’s already kind of enough to justify at least trying this one out. It’s a very silly short-episode series and feels like the creator had some bad time in art school through their life and wanted to turn that into something purposefully dumb – so they did. The main girl hates statues after having to draw them forever and never getting to do shit else with her art but ends up being the manager of these statues.

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You Shouldn’t Bother Watching

[HorribleSubs] Haruchika - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.48_[2016.01.08_12.45.41]

Haruchika

Haruchika is a show that just isn’t really much of anything – it’s not bad and it most certainly is not GOOD, it just kind of exists and is a bit boring. The cast is eh, the story is eh, and the “mystery” this episode was definitely also eh. It’s not something that will grab you at all or has anything worth spending the 24 minutes on…except a twist at the very end which, hopefully, is not undone soon later. It was PRETTY FUCKING CLEARLY STATED by the boy himself that he’s gay and in love with his male teacher – who the lead girl is also crushing on, creating a love rivalry between herself and her male childhood friend who has the same target. If this does end up some INCREDIBLY UNBELIEVABLE misunderstanding where he said something crystal goddamn clear but meant something entirely different there goes the one single interesting thing in the whole show – however if it’s legit that could go some unique directions I’m pretty interested in seeing.

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From the game, but I don't really care right now.

From the game, but I don’t really care right now.

Norn9

I was going to keep watching this one, but I’ve decided to just PTW it for another time (and for better subs, as Sentai decided to go with the 90’s look of blocky yellow text you’d find on VHS and early DVD subs for some reason). I don’t recommend it because it didn’t really feel interesting either. It had some stuff I’d like to know more about and maybe see the story play out with this girl and this group of characters in this weird giant floating ball city in the sky – but at the same time there’s just something about it that makes it all feel like a hassle to watch.

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Koukaku no Pandora

Generic low-budget fanservice. No thanks. If you’re going the ecchi route, throw a shit ton of money onto it and make sure your art team knows what sexy is.

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Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R

I haven’t seen the original Komugi-chan in long time, but I gave it an 8 when I did so I guess I liked it. What I remember of it is a blurry mess of Nabeshin style comedy, a cute short haired nurse witch who acts in commercials and wants to be an idol, and a clusterfuck overall (in a good way). The new Komugi however took a drastic plunge in the art department and even moreso in the character designs, Komugi now looking like a generic twin-tail love live character and even (during a dream) becoming awful CG. The thing is this wasn’t some intentional parody joke or something, it was just there as part of the show. That’s the problem here – it feels like it’s trying to be satire but instead just is all these things unironically. I’ll come back to it someday but I’m not feeling it right now.

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What To Absolutely Avoid

Anything I didn’t list.

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Surprisingly enough there was nothing this season that I bothered to pick up that ended up BAD, and that’s a real good sign for the new year. Hopefully the following seasons will continue in that direction. That’s not to say nothing bad came out, plenty of pure shit is airing right now, but it was much more easy to see this time around either quickly into eps or just by reading about them. Of course you never know how shows might turn out, ERASED might be another Gakkou Gurashi, Divine Gate might end up SAO, and so on – but right now? Really good season. Plus we’ve got Gundam Orphans still airing alongside it which is of course fucking great still and a few others that are also really good still going.

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6 responses to “Winter 2016 Anime – Early Thoughts

  1. Thanks for the recommendations, just watched the first episode of Oshiete! Garuko-chan and found it pretty funny.

    I was going to ask what you thought of Musaigen no Phantom World, but then I remembered you’re not a big fan of Kyoani in general.

    Like

    • Glad you liked Garuko-chan, it’s pretty dirty from what usually comes out of anime and yet avoids being tryhard or edgy about it like some others that try to do similar, it’s pretty neat and silly for sure. Plus the gal is GOOD LOOKIN though I wish she was darker skinned, a full on gal not just halfway like she is.

      And yeah you’re right, I’m not just “not a big fan” I’m also really fed up so much with them at this point, along with Shaft honestly, that I have absolutely zero interest in even trying anything from either. There’s even a Shaft series coming this year that – before they were announced as the ones making it – I was incredibly excited for when it was stated it would get an anime…and now I plan on completely avoiding it. It’s not some kind of fandom war or trying to feel special or anything, there are a lot of real legitimate reasons I just cannot enjoy anything either of these companies makes anymore (including the end product especially, obviously).

      I REALLY wish that wasn’t the case, both KyoAni and Shaft used to make FANTASTIC stuff and really put in a fuck ton of effort into their work, but that stopped being the case for a very long time now and it’s only gotten worse and worse. I hope some day that will no longer be true, but for now, yeah, I really have no opinion on Phantom World and no intention of giving it any attempt at all.

      If you try anything else I recommended that you weren’t already checking out I hope it works out well! This season is full of really great stuff so there’s bound to be plenty of shows you’ll like.

      Like

    • Looked into it (phantom world) a little just so I could give you SOME kind of comment and it’s not only their same homogenized shitty otaku pandering – but this one (as their recent ones tend to) is full of fanservice as the main focus. Another show purely for jerking off and fantasizing but with bad lazily done art and pure shit accompanying it.

      Like

      • Yeah it seems like a generic Spirit Detective anime only with more boobs. Oh well, at least there’s plenty of other good stuff this season.

        Like

  2. I’d say this turned out pretty good for not really feeling like doing it. I’m giving you some SINCERE CONGRATULATIONS on that?

    Like

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