Oh how time flies! One day after another and the Winter 2016 season feels like it ended ages ago! I’m starting a new series for this site under the name Don’t Forget ‘Em to commemorate all the great animes that we may or may not have already forgotten about. Even week 10 of the season I will recount great animes that ended in the last, so hopefully, we remember those worth remembering. Since this is hard I’ll split it into three sections: Great animes, comedies, and honorable mentions!
Great animes huh…
I start this great list off with one om my personal favorites: Ace of the Diamond. Though critiqued for cliches and repetitive scenarios, AoD is under appreciated for all the positives it brings to the table, such as stellar character development, impressive visuals, and some catchy tunes. The original series began in Fall of 2013, and the second season picked up right after in Spring of 2015, until the series finally ended last Winter. I will save you the counting; that is a total of 126 episode, not included OVAs and specials. This series will be missed by sports anime fans, including myself.
Another debated anime that I loved from last season is Ajin. Though many complained about the awkward animation and unlikable characters, I found that those people also missed the point of the series. I saw Ajin as another study of what makes humans “human.” Similar to other animes, we see characters caught in situations that challenge their moral compass and find where they stand. What makes Ajin exceptional is that it allows characters to be displayed in a way where there is no clear side to justice. One moment you side with the police force, another moment you side with the Ajin. In both instances, the viewer’s moral scale has been bent to reconsider their ideas that might have been clearly enforced or contradicted. I also find Ajin to be interesting because it features a true psychopath as the protagonist, as opposed to a justice lover or emotionally scared person. Lucky for us, Ajin is getting a second season in the fall, so our drama shall continue!
The third great series we saw laid to rest is the widely popular Durarara. Maybe it is just me, but the original season could not be beat by the three following cours. Perhaps I am a little bit overwhelmed with nostalgia, but this series has a pretty special place in my heart. The original series aired back in 2010, and the revamped cours took place in the Winter and Summer seasons of 2015, until the final cour aired last season. With a vibrant cast and twisting, complicated network of connections, Durarara can be a little difficult to follow at times. I think the inherit complication gives the series that charm that doesn’t come naturally. Durarara is on my list of series to re-watch in full! Needless to say, Durarara will be dearly missed.
Back to the sports vibe, Haikyuu also proved, yet again, that it is an excellent watch. Seriously, this series has mastered the art of balancing drama and comedy. The entire cast is likable in some way or another, and the comedy is a reason in and of itself to watch the show. Although the focuses on other teams can be a little bit tedious, the heart of the show, Karasuno, is more than enough to stay tuned. The character design, development and interactions are probably my favorite part. This is one of those shows where you just have to give it a couple of episodes to shatter your expectations. Haikyuu fans will join once more next fall to see what may be the final season of this enjoyable show.
The following two series have made their way into my top ten anime, and I would highly recommend giving them a try.
My second favorite anime from last season is Hai to Gensou no Grimgar. Many discounted this anime on the fact that the pace was slower than most, and the anime possessed a very relaxed and calm air. A cheap way to describe this anime would be a fresh, elegant take on the “stuck in a game” story. Between the beautiful animation, charming music, and genuine characters, Grimgar shows something of a perfection in the art of anime. Elegant pastel colors sweep the backgrounds and character designs, paired with calming piano and string based songs that make you want to cry they are so beautiful. Perhaps the undoubted best part about this anime are its genuine characters and their way too realistic interactions. Grimgar captures humanity. Awkwardness, fear, love, acceptance, sadness, joy: Grimgar catches all these emotions in the rambling interactions between cast members. It is truly a work of art in that manner. Although we have seen the premise many a time before, every other part of the anime outweighs this fact. It was a joy to watch, and we can only hope to be blessed by a second season.
My very favorite anime of the season was Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. I cannot accurately describe the grace and beauty of this anime in words. Seriously, this production is in a league of its own. The music is authentic, but never annoying, and always perfectly timed to add emphasis to the storyline. The animation is not flashy or bold in presentation. Just like the anime, the animation is diverse, expansive, and captures the human soul and emotions. The dry premise about Rakugo artists growing old is nothing like you would imagine it to be. This series is full of life anf love, always throwing the audience a slight curveball. Something about their performance, Rakugo, leaves you hanging on every word, even when you don’t understand the language. The anime captures and perfectly conveys the emotions and characters in the rakugo stories themselves. The actual characters are worlds better than most all others. I feel like I went to school and grew up with these guys, even though they aren’t even real. This series allows you to understand the character and their emotions, to understand something about another’s portrayed humanity. If the point of making art is to learn about humans, and therefore learn about yourself, then this series has hit the nail on the head. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu will grace our screens yet again at an unknown date.
Next up I have my favorite Comedies!
First on tap is Konosuba, another quirky remix of the “trapped in a game” story. Konosuba focuses on all of those unfortunate realities and ridiculous situations that you are bound to face in a game. With his wonky crew of misfit girls, the character interactions are always for the humorous. Although this anime has its very fair share of downfalls, the dark, condescending comedy is certainly not one of them. Konosuba will pick up again for a second season at an unnamed date, most likely in 2017.
Osomatsu-san is, by far, one of the best comedy animes I have seen. With no other purpose other than to entertain the viewers, you get such a fun vibe from this show. After the 12A special, I think Osomatsu-san really took off. The voice actors really took this production by the reigns and threw in all their charm to make this series incredibly relatable and hilarious. The sextuplets are some of my favorite characters ever, and I love how the VAs customized each archetype character to be unique. I’m going to pray to the comedy gods that Osomatsu-san gets a second season, or something more.
As far as honorable mentions go…
I just want to mention one: Erased. A lot of you will disagree, but this anime had so much potential, but was crushed with a handful of poor storyline choices. The characters were reasonable likable, the premise was well thought through, and the animation was great. Every couple of episodes would be a dud. Whether it be the disappointingly ungraceful (grown up) character interactions, or the immensely disappointing presentation of the big reveal, Erased just missed the mark in my book. With a little bit more organization and investment in subtlety, Erased could have shinned as one of the greats of the season. Instead, it will be remembered for what it did accomplish, which is still something pretty dang good.
Well, I am not sure is this blog is well justified or made, but I hope you enjoyed it and remembered some goodies from last season! Leave my a comment, because I’m sure people are bound to disagree with what I have said, especially with Ajin and Erased.
See you all next time and Happy anime hunting!