Hey guys! Sloaner here with some of my thoughts on the Winter 2016 season! I have rounded up all the episodes from this week (organized by day they aired). This week marks the oh very special halfway point in the season!
Instead of my usual specific top 5s, I am going to give a complete countdown of all the series (including what I have dropped), and also write a little something about the series as a whole. I am also giving each a rank out of 10, so stay tuned!
I also have some extended notes below for each series overall thus far. I hope you will take the time to read them and comment!
The Great Winter Anime Countdown!
33 |Reikenzan [Dropped ep 1]
32 | Norn9: Norn + Nonet [Dropped ep 3]
31 | Schwarzes Marken [Dropped ep 3]
30 | Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut [Dropped ep 5]
29 | Aokana [Dropped/On Hold ep 5]
28 | Ooya-san wa Shishunki!
27 | Divine Gate
26 | Tantei Team KZ
25 | Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
24 | Active Raid
23 | Dagashi Kashi
22 | Sekkou Boys
21 | Dimension W
20 | Galko-chan
19 | Konosuba
18 | HaruChika
17 | Utawarerumono
16 | Musaigen no Phantom World
15 | Niijiro Days
14 | Luck & Logic
13 | GATE 2nd Season
12 | Prince of Stride
11 | Heavy Object
10 | Shiraiyuki-hime 2nd Season
9 | Osomatsu-san
8 | Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
7 | Erased
6 | Durarara!!x2 Ketsu
5 | Ace of the Diamond 2nd Season
4 | Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
3 | Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
2 | Ajin
1 | Haikyuu!! 2nd Season
Below, you will find my notes on each of the series this week. My notes are just little things about the series that I keep track of. Any good notes, or problems will be noted below. The information will be marked [G] for good/improved, [N] for neutral/no change, or [B] for bad/got worse. If they are mixed like [B/N] or [G/N], that means they are a mix, or I am unsure. The letter that comes first is the feeling I am more inclined to.
These lineups are pretty much final! I will not be dropping or picking up any new series.
Osomatsu-san (ep 18) – [G] Just when I though this show was running out of ideas, it comes up with this. First of all, I have to tip my hat to that sweet animation at the ends. It is a better idea to spend on complex movements like that, than on the idol forms. Also, if you paused to look at the rules of Itami Kart, you would find that they hold the pure spirit of Osomatsu-san. This episode also did well to capture the essence of each characters almost perfectly.
Series Overall: [8/10] Osomatsu-san is a phenomenal show. It is not masterpiece, nor is it the greatest anime ever made, but damn this show has mastered what it knows how to do: make something so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh. My favorite part about this show is how the VAs have run wild with their characters. This show started with a basket of identical sextuplets and assigned each of them a troupe to follow, then after a while you see the weird side of the character and the troupe-ness of the troupe fades away. You can see this especially since the 12A special episode (you can find that on Crunchyroll), which was a commentary episode. They call Todomatsu “Totty”, Jyushimatsu (Daisuke Ono) is just going crazy and doing his own thing while the others just roll with it, Karamatsu is always ignored and painful, and more. If this show didn’t have such a golden army of VAs, I don’t know if it would be anywhere near this level of great. Osomatsu-san contains great use of gags and never takes itself very seriously. If you still haven’t picked up this how, then you may be wasting your time and sparing you abs.
Ace of the Diamond 2nd Season (ep 44) – [N/G] And then the tea realized Miyuki was injured. A little late if you ask me, but it’s better than never. I love how Eijun’s maturity is used as a comedic device. I also loved that Nori got some much needed screen time with this arc. One moment that was important to me was when Eijun said knows how Nori feels to be ripped of the mound. Having followed Eijun from the beginning, we know the gravity of his sympathy, and how meaningful that interaction was.
Series Overall: [9/10] You must be new around these parts if you don’t already know I’m a huge fan of Ace of the Diamond. Right now, I feel like the first season was a bit better, but that is heavily influenced by the upperclassmen. I am about ready for the new conflict/interest: new additions to the team and how the soon to be second years will embrace/grow into their new roles on the team. From what I have seen, the upcoming Seido first years are pretty interesting and I want more of them. Per usual, the animation is fantastic and I will be sad to see this opening leave. When I really want is a new side character to focus on for a while, maybe Kanemaru or Aso. Ace of the Diamond is great at character development, and it is not as present in games, as it is during practice or at school. Some of my favorite moments of this series happened while during practice. The art of learning is not to be looked down upon. Overall, this series continues to be awesome, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a new sports anime, or to someone who is a fan of primarily male casts.
Shiraiyuki-hime 2nd Season (ep 5) – [G/N] I enjoyed pretty much every moment of this except for one. That little skirmish between Obi and Itoya was one of the worst instances of action animation I have ever seen. Exaggeration animation is one thing, but that was just plain sloppy. Despite that, it was nice to see Kazuki in a nice light of someone other than the villian. I also like what I have seen of Itoya so far, even though he is a very small part. Another good note is Raji’s resolve.
Series Overall: [7/10] I really want to like this anime, but for some reason I can never get it all together and forge a liking of this show. My reasoning for marking it down is the icky opening song and the sometimes haphazard action animation. Seriously though, this anime should stick to sparkly moments. The characters themselves aren’t bad, in that they do have development and play into the plot quite well. Many side characters, particularly ones that don’t have a major place in the plot, are treated as almost completely expendable and often follow a troupe. The main characters have charm, which keeps me watching, but sometimes really get on my nerves. Sometimes this series is a little bit predictable, and that kind of ruins a portion of the suspense that was supposed to be building. There is a small part of me that wants to like this series, but something I can’t yet recognize holds me back from really loving it.
Prince of Stride (ep 6) – [N/G] I had a lot of thoughts for this episode, some along the lines of: “Why is the opponent relationer a total asshole?” “I though girls couldn’t run in stride.” On a serious note, it was good to see Kuga in action, and watching him and Heath slay Sakurai’s orders was somewhat funny, but also cool. I especially liked when Kuga got to reconnect with Hozumi, and they were able to repair a burned bridge. I also like how Kuga still acknowledges Ayumu, even though he is useless and injured.
Series overall: [7/10] Prince of Stride has improved a lot for my since the first couple of episodes. I think the focus on the upperclassmen has been quite beneficial to the show’s survival. The first good thing they did was redirect focus towards Ayumu, who is interesting enough and has enough personality to hold your attention. The misunderstanding between Hozumi and Heath regarding Kuga’s incident also added. They didn’t try to make this issue easily solved by words. In fact, they let the complexity and emotion be brought out by character dialogue, and then let Stride itself solve the problem. I found this to be an effective tactic for solving problems in a new way, and differentiating the series from others. I also have to add that the addition of Kuga is stellar. Fujiwara is simply too weird to play the stoic characters, but Kuga is more believable in the role. Overall, I’m glad this series is trying to make a name for itself, and it does best when the show focuses on the main cast and not the opposing team, for not enough is revealed/developed about the opposing team for them to be likable.
HaruChika (ep 6) – [G/N] Well that was a much better episode for Chika. I also liked how the whole mystery vibe was greatly toned down for a more slice of life feeling. This new half-deaf girl is a lot more likable than I expected her to be, and I like the pretext from introducing the drummer guy. It looks like we might see him next episode and that has me excited. I hope that HaruChika gives a little bit more love to Chika and adds more interaction between her and Haruta because they are cutest together.
Series Overall: [6/10] Shoot me, but I have done some source material research. The original light novel, which seems to be brimming with detail, actually manages to respect Chika as a characters. I have kind of liked Chika from the beginning, and having her be run over for Haruta’s detective services is shameful considering her role in the novel. The main difference is that in the novel, Chika’s thought serves a narration for the emotions circling the room and help ground the series in reality, while in the anime, Haruta’s monologue serves to explain every detail of the situation, so that little is left to the imagination. The anime also fails to capture some of the minute details of scenes, and which leaves them feeling less life-like. The anime also seems to blow moments from the novel out of proportion, for example: the volleyball scene in episode 1 never actually happened. Either way, this show is a bit all over the place. Haruta the kid detective is overdramatized in the anime and it gives me a headache. Despite all that, this series still has its fair share of really good moments that make it all worth it.
Tantei Team KZ – [5/10] To my surprise, this show actually ended last week, and I just didn’t notice. Inner thoughts: “Well shit now I have to redo the banner” On a more serious note, this series was a cute watch and I am glad I picked it up, but at the same time it wasn’t all that great. The art was subpar and the music is eh. The characters are meant to be the shining point of this anime, and they do a decent job at doing so. There is not much character development at all, but this show does well to avoid annoying troupes. For a short series, it is by far not the worst I’ve seen, but is also not the best. I don’t have a lot to say about this series. It was quite forgettable, but not necessarily bad. Let’s just say that I won’t really miss it.
Musaigen no Phantom World (ep 6) – [N] Holy shit talking teddy bears. Now here is one series that can kind of pull of ridiculous stunts like that. Kurumi is pretty cute, and I like how in her flashback we found out she was strong enough to get over her fear of talking to people by herself. I always like a strong female, and I’m not necessarily talking thorny or outgoing, but just up for the challenge and more than willing to take on their own work and/or a challenge. I kind of like how we have gotten a spotlight on each girl, despite some being better than others.
Series Overall: [6.5/10] As much as I want to say this series is really great, I can’t. For sure, this series has its moments, but there is also a lot of ick mixed in with that. As I may have mentioned, this series is actually pretty great at character development. Yes, pretty much every character follows a troupe, but I find that easy to overlook wen their development is well done. Another reason I like this series is that the girls don’t have a romantic-competitive relationship with Haruhiko or each other. Yes, he seems to bring out the best in them, but I think it is easy to say that they see him as a friend rather than a romantic interest. I also like Haruhiko as a character. He is not the average guy, or neet character, but instead he is a bookworm with an expanse of only somewhat useless knowledge, and a believable intellect. The parts I don’t like about this series revolve around moments that are too cliche. For this show especially, they seems to be a huge cop-out to having a slightly more unique moment. I also dislike when this series tries to make too sexual of a pass at the girls. They are great, strong women and it upsets me to see them sexualized. Overall I like this series and think it is a pretty decent watch, even if it isn’t the best.
Konosuba (ep 5) – [N/G] I’m glad this episode brought the goodness back to Konosuba. I actually love watching this show. Kazuma makes for a really great and understated straight man amongst the army of complete weirdos. I really liked how they toned Darkness down this episode. She was starting to get a little bit annoying, but this understated masochist thing is working much better. Also the cage bit (at the river and in town) was especially hilarious.
Series Overall: [6/10] I’ll tell you straight up: this is one unique anime. Instead of using Japanese-type humor, it turns to a more western version, which is a slight bit more brutal. I think it works quite well for this otherwise pretty shitty show. The cast is plenty unique, and it is pretty fun watching them all bond over literally nothing. Kazuma in particular is fantastic. He has exceeded my expectations for a “trapped in a game” protagonist. Yes, the art is awful, and the music is eh, but everything else is pretty much there. I think it is better to judge this anime as a parody, in part because there is no way this weird, cynical mix is meant to be serious, but also because it just makes sense that way. When the humor is on point, this show shines. It is actually one of my favorites to watch (like Osomatsu-san) because it is a really easy watch. You don’t really have to be on the lookout for deep metaphors and such, simply because they aren’t there. Overall, I would recommend this series because it is the funniest of the season in my opinion, and it is easy to have fun with Konosuba.
Assassination Classroom 2nd Season (ep 6) – [N] Leave it to Karma to help a brother out. This episode was good because it let E crew get a feel for normal people. Having done so much training over a long period of time, they did not realize that they were so much more powerful than the average person, and it nice to see them come to terms with that. I also had a good laugh when Karma came to put the A squad in their place. If the E crew had put in some effort, they would have slayed yet again.
Series Overall: [8.5/10] As a disclaimer I will say that this series is one that I have a high affection for, and that I do not take this series very seriously. This series uses ridiculousness to push the comedy, and successfully entertain the watcher. Unlike Active Raid, Assassination Classroom is ridiculous from premise to follow through. Although Assassination Classroom allows itself to get dark at times, the series always balances itself with humor and/or meaningful character development. This series has incredibly consistent character development, and of every member of he cast. Assassination Classroom shares the love to all of its characters, even the supposed villains. As I have expressed before, this series is really good at giving reason and background to conflicts. Such creates a domino affect of character and plot development that is utterly enjoyable. I also like how after characters are introduced and have initial development, they keep coming back and contributing to conflicts and other issues. Despite some relaxed plot issues, this series makes up for it with the characters. Overall I am so happy that this series made a comeback and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has to offer!
Erased (ep 6) – [N/G] Nice showing of Airi, even though the screams “plot device” significantly more so than Hinazuki. Finally, Satoru is caught. I would have been worried if this continued because it only underlines the uselessness of the police. The mom’s friend is very mysterious to me, and I want to know what importance he plays in the plot. Also, the hook at the end was a little bit dramatic, but very effective. I can’t wait to see what is up for next week.
Series Overall: [8.5/10] Something about this show has made me lose my connection to it. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a pretty good series. Just in comparison to the first couple episodes, these last handful have lost track of where the series wanted to go. This show started on the premise that Satoru is going back in time in order to save his mother. The events happening now, seem to have a very lose connection, and I feel like the wrong things are being emphasized. For example, Erased focuses on an inconclusive argument about who the killer is, rather than trying to draw comparisons and contrasts about the current case to the old one. Instead, Erased and Satoru turn to a short list of names, all of which seem incorrect. It’s the little things that ager me about this series. Also, Satoru seems way more inclined to try and save Hinazuki, instead of trying to save his childhood friend Hiromi. Satoru also easily forgets that all this flashback stuff happened because his mom was killed. Don’t mind me trying to pick at this series. It is still pretty damn good. There is a strong cast, valid themes and issues, great animation, and a bomb opening. I really like this anime, but do feel like it lacks a certain charm: it just isn’t captivating me anymore.
Active Raid (ep 6) – [N] Kasumigaseki-hakuse!!! Shit man try to say that three times fast. Yet again, Active Raid is almost completely ridiculous. The only realism here is in that having a giant ass robot makes for a huge waste of money and products to power it. It was a step up from the oh so boring last week, but not my much, or rather, not be enough. On the other hand it was a nice spotlight on the old guy who I thought was the leader, but I guess it is actually just the little girl.
Series Overall: [5/10] There is not really a way to look at this series and be like “wow this is the best anime ever made,” like that is just too far out for critics and non-critics alike. As of now, MAL has this rated a 5.91, which, surprisingly, I can accept as a perfectly accurate score. I have kind of given up on this show. From the first episode I was miffed by just how ridiculous this show was, and stupefied at how they tried to work in modern work place issues. The whole point of Asami going there was for her to spy on and reform Unit 8. Sadly, she completely forgot her mission after just a couple of episodes, and of course has had not a single reminder to get back to work. I also have to point out that her, and every other girl in this series look like they are 7 years old. Maybe they just want to punish all the cute girls by sending them to some weirdo-ridden, dysfunctional unit. Whatever reasoning there is for that, I can’t imagine it being very great. I have actually heard that Active Raid is supposed to be a parody of oversaturated police dramas. If that is the case, then I am fine with it and they should make it a bit more obvious. Overall this show is just kind of a huge letdown, and not really worth your time unless you like mecha and ridiculousness (the shows only semi-redeeming factors).
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu (ep 6) – [N] For a fanservice episode, that wasn’t half bad. I especially appreciated the little plot drop at the end there. I also have to mention that I relate to Kuroda a bit, wanting to try all the typical beach episode cliches and such. In comparison to other fanservice episodes, this one was quite tame, and the fanservice itself was balanced by Kuroda being a weirdo. I can also appreciate that the guys aren’t outlandish perverts.
Series Overall: [5/10] I kind of want to believe that this series is parodying various super cliche moments, but something tells me that is not the case. Something about this series is fundamentally boring to me, and that would be the first reason I marked it own. The “group comes together to make a game” is nothing new to the anime industry, and this series has done nothing successful to differentiate it from the most basic form of this presence. Thus far, the characters have been used as ineffective plot devices to try and develop this bland series without much success. The characters have few moments in which I actually feel like they are remotely likable. I would actually go so far as to say that this anime has some of my least favorite characters of the season. The opening is also kind of horrendous. The art style is unique, and I think it works well for the series, but I wouldn’t call it stunning by any means. By far, I think this is the least entertaining anime of the season. Sure, Utawarerumono is boring but I still get off by laughing at how bad this series is, and believing that the old cast will get some good screen time.
Dagashi Kashi – [No episode this week]
Series overall: [5.5/10] For how much hype it received, I am actually quite disappointed. First, let’s talk positives. When Dagashi Kashi is doing well, it is actually pretty funny. There are a lot of gags, but the ones that shine best are between Hotaru with Kokonotsu, and Hotaru with Yo. Sorry, but Saya and Tou aren’t stealing the show anytime soon. My personal favorite interactions are between Kokonotsu and Hotaru for a number of reasons. I feel like when it is just them, Hotaru is treated more like a weird person, rather than a sexy object of desire. When she is with Tou, or even with Kokonotsu and Yo, there is a different underlining feeling that I’m not a fan of. This series also shines when the scenarios are ridiculous. The caramel running scene was pretty great, in part because the one sided sexualization was not present. I also have to mention that the accuracy of the candy is very accurate, which adds to the fun aspect of the show. Sadly, this series lack a real plot, and depends on the 5 characters to hold up the show, which they are actually pretty good at. Overall, I like this series, but I don’t think it is all that good.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (ep 6) – [G/N] Though not as exciting as some of the previous episodes may have been, we see the most vital change in Bon, which made this episode all the more worthwhile. Also, maybe it was just the scenery , but did the art get better? I really like how Bon hit his stride this episode, and his Rakugo was amazing to listen to. Sukeroku was also great, but his is not as serious or as captivating as Bon’s is now.
Series Overall: [9.5/10] Out of all the new series this season, this is the one that I might love the most. Between the captivating Rakugo, effective, deep characterization, and stunning storytelling, this anime knows how to do it all right. I have never crossed a series that possessed the unique charm that Rakugo does. One of my favorite parts of this series is the accuracy of the Rakugo itself, the music, and the setting. Historical anime done right! The setting is well flushed out and the events both make sense and function to further both the characters and the plot. The attention to detail in this anime is also amazing; whether it be in conflicts, or in characters emotions, it all comes to life with the vast amount and consistency of the details. The only real reason to mark this series down is because we don’t know a lot about many of the side characters. For the most part they are left to be part of the setting, or used (pretty well mind you) as a plot device. Even then, I think it works for the series. The art isn’t flashy, or significantly eye grabbing, but it does do the job and when you do look at it, the backgrounds are stunningly beautiful and detailed. I want to write a recommendation for this series, but don’t have to words to put into affect just how good this series is. Overall i would deem this a must watch!
Heavy Object (ep 18) – [G/N] I’m glad this show is on an upward trend. It is kind of sad that we had to lose some characters, but there was never much opportunity to gain affection for the characters, so not much harm done. That little intel session in the mine was super helpful and I appreciated it. I can’t wait to see how this is resolved next week! The buildup to these issues was really well done: now we can confirm the interests of the given groups.
Series Overall: [7/10] It is still shocking to me about how many people really hate this series. Yes, this series starts really stupid and has unconventional mecha, but it does have some very good things working for it. Once you get into it, the politics and drama of this show are actually fairly interesting. Like GATE, this series has some very questionable military and political moments. What Heavy Object does much better is provide explanation and allows actions to have repercussions. Heavy Object is built in reasoning out the given problem, and then acting courageously to fix the issue at hand. The current issue has been building for a while now, and it is clear from looking at the follow through that Heavy Object has fastened a nice base to this show. Despite the horrific first handful of episodes, this show has been on an upward trend since, and it has become great fun. There is only one major thing that hurts this show: lack of significant character development for almost all the characters. Even though they aren’t developed much, the characters are still pretty enjoyable. Overall, this anime is not as bad as you think, and I would recommend mecha fans check out this unusual bit.
Galko-chan (ep 6) – [N] Man, sometimes I want to hate this series, but I really can’t bring myself to. Galko’s shopping outfit though lol. I have heard that bras in Japan are crazy frilly, and this seemed to sustain that notion. When I go this summer, I’ll have to bring my own. Also love how bashful Otako is.
Series Overall: [6.5/10] This show has some of the only acceptable female on female harassment that I find acceptable, and actually enjoy. The characters are key in keeping this series together. Otako and Galko make perfect contrasts for each other, and since they embarrass each other about evenly it works out pretty well as a comedic device. I also think it works because it is really different when a girl teases a girl about girl things than when a guy teases a girl about girl things. The unconventional subject matter that this show covers ranges and is a little hit or miss, but overall paints a pretty funny picture. The main reason this series only gets a 6.5 is because it doesn’t have a real plot, and the music, art, and animation is not noteworthy. I don’t see this show running out of weird feminine topics to chat about anytime soon, so I am just looking forward to the show continuing all the good stuff that it is doing.
Sekkou Boys (ep 6) – [N] Ahh Hermes you scumbag. So we learn that Hermes, who was somewhat of the groups stabilizer, is actually an oily salesman who is a full statue and has baby Dionysus on his shoulder. I wrote a research paper about Dionysus last year… How nostalgic. Also tip my hat to Super Saiyan Manager.
Series Overall: [6/10] Hey, I’m not even going to try and trick you into thinking that this is some revolutionary show that will change your life. It is simply a crafty short that will give you a good laugh and a new perspective on voice actors. To expand on the perspective thing a bit, what I mean by that I never expected a character to be brought to life without any facial emotion or action, but rather with just a lively voice. With all the VAs in this making it so great, it is hard to try and imagine what this show would be like if it had terrible VAs. You also have to wonder what Daisuki Ono is thinking of this season, being in all these alternative comedies and such. I also have to tip my hat to all the little greco-roman references. It really adds to the humor of the show. Overall I find this show to be great, and I wish more people would check it out!
Ajin (ep 5) – [N] I told you: Kei’s torture is significantly worse than that of Kaneki. I’ll admit, this is the least climactic episode so far, but it was still pretty great. We see that Kei’s morality and resolve is challenged, and his reason for trusting Kai is brought out as well. Also that ending hook though! I remember reading this and thinking about how great a guy Kei is! Once I read a little farther, all that disappeared. Kei Nagai only feels for two people: Kai and his sister.
Series Overall: [9.5/10] First, I will admit to being a huge fan of the manga, so of course my opinion is a bit biased. This series does a great job at keeping up the atmosphere. I can’t think of a moment in this series when this show felt very soft and/or fuzzy. In moments when lighter emotions are present, there is a bigger conflict to overshadow the light feeling. This works well for the series, because all these light moments break up what would otherwise be an overly dramatic and dark atmosphere. Ajin also has great characters that take note of human flaws. Izumi, Tozaki, and Tanaka are an excellent example of this. Tanaka allows his entire existance to be determined by Satou, simply because he isn’t strong enough to figure it out himself. Izumi had a hard childhood, but now, when she is able to create a life for herself, she is bound to Tozaki, who has his own issues that will be revealed later in the series. As for the art, which seems to be the main reason people write this series off, I can’t say that I don’t deeply enjoy it. I never thought I would say that I like CG, but here I am saying that it looks pretty good in this instance here. The motion is fairly smooth and the level and consitancy of detail is fantastic. Ajin is making out to be one of my favorites of the season.
GATE 2nd Season (ep 6) – [N/B] That episode came off as somewhat icky. Something about Itami just traveling around with all these random native girls and looking for resources without military officials comes off as quite disturbing. The whole King assassination scene was way overdone and too dramatic for how little buildup it got. I also hate how this series can’t decide how they want to treat Zolzar: is he a hopeless idiot with big plans? Or an evil scheming guy who is unintentionally dorky.
Series Overall: [7/10] I’ll start by saying that I really enjoyed the second season. Sure, some of the politics and military details are a bit questionable, but I can appreciate the effort. At the same time, the effort to be politically accurate is not going to save this show from being a little bit too dramatic. GATE takes itself extremely seriously, even though there aren’t really enough scenes for that viewpoint to be justified. Sometimes, the moments in this show are not explained with enough context, so it kind of feels like things are coming out of nowhere. You have too look a little bit to find what justified the action. Despite some of these issues, GATE is not all bad. The cast can be fun (when it isn’t being creepy) and the action in this show is very much enjoyable. GATE shines the brightest when it refers to its roots of mixing the modern Japanese context with a magical fairytale world. When themes such as misunderstanding, fear, and cultural differences are brought to the table, GATE uses them well and is able to incorporate all the ingredients to make a solid final product. So while GATE could be much better, it still holds some potential for the future.
Divine Gate (ep 6) – [N] I’m actually all in for the opening. This episode we got a little spotlight on Arthur, who is pulling all the strings in the operation that the kids are in. The narration is getting less and less painful. I’m starting to think that sometimes the narration is not meant to be super fascinating, but rather just a time save, although that is me trying to make this series seem better than it is. Overall it was a fine episode that set the stage for next week.
Series Overall: [4.5/10] A much as I want to like this series, I have to admit that it is pretty bad. There are a lot of troupe characters and the development doesn’t have as much as an effect as you would want it to. The art is also unimpressive, mostly because of the low detail and the heavy reliance on color. This series has some ridiculous fascination with color, along with assigning names personalities to be fitting to the characters image. You won’t really find that any character in this anime has an image that you wouldn’t expect having never watched the anime. This aspect is just irritating and gives the show a very childish vibe. The narrations are also extremely childish and given how unoriginal the appearance-personality aspect of the characters is, they don’t add much at all. On the other hand, I do feel like the series is building up to something, and it has improved in the last couple of weeks. Despite how apparently awful the series is, if it were executed in a different way, with more imagery, different names, and no narration, then I think Divine Gate would be a pretty solid series. Overall, I am looking to Divine Gate to improve, and I think it can if the show sticks to subtlety.
Utawarerumono (ep 19) – [G/N] Well people call idiots “bird brain” for a reason. This episode was a nice improvement from the previous slow drawn out nothing with close to no significance. There are two things I liked about this episode: Atui’s character is explained a lot when we meet her father, and we get to see some of the Tuskuru gang (notes the preview for next week). When I saw Benawi I actually screamed with excitement. I wonder if Haku is finally going to be genuinely useful, I mean after all that conflict he better be.
Series Overall: [6.5/10] If you want to see this series in any kind of positive light, then it is best to pretend that the prior series never existed. The original Utawarerumono is so freaking good, it completely and fully puts this shitty spin off to shame. This series has disappointed me in a number of ways. Let me start with the first half of this series: it is basically a series of unimportant bath scenes that fill the time while various members of Haku’s harem are introduced. That in and of itself is pretty bad. Next we move on to what this season has mostly encompassed: war with no sensible conflict or understandable logic. I am still trying to figure out why exactly Yamato is going to war with Tuskuru. Maybe I missed something, but it would have been one tiny, insignificant moment that explained this, because I was paying pretty good attention. This series has just one thing that is keeping me hooked: potential. Although I initially picked up this series for the cat people, I stuck with it because I went back to watch the original series and fell in love with it. Since it is clear that the Tuskuru cast will be making an appearance, I am hoping that the moments they are on screen will make the disastrous hole this show has dug itself into. I am going to write a blog, focusing on everything that went wrong. In the meantime, I want to predict the outcome of this series: Kuon has an uncanny physical resemblance to Yuzuha, Oboro’s younger sister who died of illness last season. Kuon has said before that she is the only one who can bridge the gap between Tuskuru and Yamato, and I think what she means by this is that she can convince Oboro, the current King of Tuskuru, to try for peace because he has a soft spot for her. Let’s see how this turns out!
Luck & Logic (ep 6) – 
Series Overall: [7/10] You know, I really want to say I dislike this series, but I really don’t. I actually really like this anime.
Haikyuu!! 2nd Season (ep 19) – [N] Yeah, it was nice to see Aoba Johsai in action again. The one I really miss is Bokuto, but i kind of doubt we are going to see him again this season. Also where is the stripy hair that Oikawa recruited earlier go? Maybe they just didn’t need him for Date Tech? Either way, I am SO pumped up for the game next week. I want to see Karasuno is hardcore volleyball action once more! And this time I want to see them win! Also Yachi and Yamaguchi are so cute!
Series Overall: [9.5/10] Hi, yes, I’m sorry, do you think Haikyuu is bad? Well then please leave. I’ll admit, I enjoyed the training camp episodes the best out of this season, mostly because we got all the super fun personalities like Bokuto and Kuuro from other volleyball clubs, but also because there was more humor. Haikyuu is great at doing slice of life and humor. It makes for a really great contrast to the sometimes a little too dramatic game scenes. I would totally watch Haikyuu if it was more slice of life than sports. If that was the case, then you might come out with something like ping pong, which is a masterpiece. I like this series for a number of reasons: first off, I love the music and art styles. The music might not be for everyone, but I am a huge fan. The art style is tweaked from typical, which I think adds to the effect of the anime, along with super smooth and real to life movements (as a volleyball player I approve) that show really shines. The characters are also kind of gems in their own rights. I would say some are very similar to troupes, but there is always a little something that sets them apart. I find the cast to be incredibly charming and lovable, and I love how there isn’t just one character that everyone in the fandom is obsessed with; the love is evenly spread. The only “bummer” is the typical shounen plot, that can be a bit predictable at times. Acknowledging that it is pretty typical, and considering the other typical shounen sports plots I have observed, I can safely say that Haikyuu has one of the best executions of this type of storyline. I went a little long on this, but the point is: IF YOU AREN’T WATCHING HAIKYUU THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Durarara!!x2 Ketsu (ep 6) – [G] That was a fantastic episode. We got to see just how crazy and surprisingly stable Mikado has become. Between Izumi, Izaya, and Mikado himself, we are painted a picture of what Mikado has become. Also, that scene with Izaya was loaded with hints, and also showed something that I didn’t know about Izaya: he doesn’t mind being a pawn. I have to tip my hat to the classic Durarara scene-skip-around style that made a comeback this episode. Also Chikage is a fave.
Series Overall: [8.5/10] I feel like this series has some really great moments, but mixed in are a number of not so great ones, which end up having a large effect on the outcome. Durarara shines when it skips around frantically from conflict to conflict and only focuses on a couple characters per episode, while also tying them into the master plot. The 3 Saikas episodes were not nearly as strong as some of the other mini arcs, and it damaged the pacing that Durarara has been working on since the first season. Criticisms aside, Durarara is a fantastical series, and it remains one that I have a lot of fun with. The vivid, lively cast (which might have been extended too much this time around), fully drives the plot of Durarara. With all the conflict building up, I think it is safe to say that the Durarara series finale will be quite epic. I am going to have to go back and rewatch the series from start to finish. Watching week to week makes it harder to remember specific details that you can catch when rewatching. Overall I would say that Durarara continues to be fantastic.
Ooya-san (ep 6) – [N] Very cute episode. This show has established that Chie is cute for her age, and really just in general. The terrifying Bento got her some friends, now isn’t that nice?!
Series Overall: [4/10] It’s not all that horrid for a short series. I have it marked so low because this series sports some majorly creepy/rapey vibes at times. If this show was just one minute longer than it really would be just that much better. This last conflict was the best by far, and even though it was solved in about 3 minutes, it was still quite enjoyable. I want this show to stay wholesome like these last two episodes, simply because Chie being cute and weird is better than the neighbor’s creepy imagination.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (ep 6) – [G/N] Nice episode. This time around we see everyone opening up and getting closer to each other. Shihoru starts talking in the group context and her voice is getting louder. Moguzo gives Ranta a little sass and starts to contribute to group conversations. Haruhiro also tries to step up at the leader more and is now significantly more aware of the state of his group members. Mary also opens up a little and it was nice ti learn about her.
Series Overall: [9/10] I love pretty much everything about this series. For some, it may lack excitement, but I find it to be somewhat of a masterpiece. Grimgar has a very relaxing charm that pulls you in. Between the art, music, and effortless transitions from scene to scene, Grimgar has mastered the art of calm. In contrast, the characters can be quite lively, and bring the series to another level. The attention to detail is sensational. Minute changes facial expressions mean the world when you are trying to capture specific emotions. The consistency in personality is also fantastic. Take Moguzo for example, he can spot and enjoys little details in items, as shown by his wood crafts and cooking. In settings, he is usually the first to notice when there is a small change in environment. Moguzo is really great at reading people and what they mean, which goes along with his attention to detail. For example, after Matano dies, Haruhiro is having a difficult time coping and coming up with a plan, so Moguzo starts contributing to conversations more and tries to help control Ranta some. That is just a short spotlight on just one of the characters! The only thing I dislike about Grimgar is the infrequent, but insulting sexual commentary. Overall, I love this series and I think it is a very special watch!
Dimension W (ep 6) – [N/G] It looks like we have something to look forward to for next week. Finally, we have an actual plot building up. For a while there this series had me thinking that it would just be there mini arcs that amount to pretty much nothing. I liked how we got a little more on Mabuchi this episode. Although we can’t really say why he acts the way he does now, I think that we are getting to the point of understanding what he means when he does certain actions and says certain things. Next week, I expect even more: That preview is promising!
Series Overall: [6/10] Maybe I set my expectations way too high, because this series is one of the biggest disappointments of this season. The themes are a jumble and the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. I really want to like this series, but a number of approaches are keeping me from doing so. For one, Mira is heavily over sexualized. Granted, she is the only character that could be effectively sexualized, as the other women in this series leave a lot to be desired. This series is also heavily lacking in character development. Sure, we have some with Mabuchi, Mira, Albert, and Loser, but even then there isn’t much detail. We can only come to the conclusion of a vague disaster that happened with coils five years ago, and since we have no information about what the three (Albert, Loser, and Mabuchi) were like prior to the incident, mentioning it doesn’t really do much. In that way, Dimension W ask you to infer what kind of character development the three have gone through, which I find to be a bit of a cop out. This series redeems itself by pulling off high action scenes quite well, and has perfected the ins and outs of the premise, so there are not plot holes in the premise. Overall, I thought this series would be better, and I am disappointed with the outcome, but it is watchable nonetheless.
Nijiiro Days (ep 6) – [G/N] Okay that was a really great episode. We establish that Anna is indeed gaining an affection for Natsuki, and that Kei is actually pretty nice. It kind of mystifies me how Anna’s friend can still act her norm around Matsun.
Series Overall: [7/10] Yet another series where I didn’t get what I was expecting! Unlike some of the others, Nijiiro Days has surprised me in a good way. Something about this series captures teenage brutality quite accurately, while still maintaining a happy atmosphere. For example, the functional awkwardness around girls and relentless teasing from guy friends is something that occurs so very often in real life, but is not often captured in anime. I certainly don’t know any guys who would play super nice with their best friend if he had a crush on a girl. Either way, I find this series to have a certain charm that I don’t see anywhere else this season. Despite this, the show does poses a certain discourtesy to females that is, perhaps, more on the traditional side of dealing with gender equality. Nijiiro Days doesn’t exactly go out of its way to avoid troupes, and might actually be the most typical series I’m still watching, but there is always a little twist in the resolution, which I can appreciate. Overall, I like this series and it makes for a entertaining, and pretty cute watch.