Winter Anime 2016: First Impressions

So the first episodes – in most cases second – of the Winter Anime 2016 season have aired. I’ve waited so long to write this blog post because I wanted to included Ajin, which aired a week later than other shows.

So here’s what I think if the Winter 2016 season so far…

Ps. I’ve already written this blog post once, but I somehow accidentally deleted it and had to write it all over again! Gaah!! *shakes fist at WordPress*

Musaigen no Phantom World

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As I feared from when I first saw the promotional poster this show is very guy fanservice orientated. Although, to be honest, it’s not that bad. It some parts – I’m talking about that limbo scene – it’s almost funny. The amount of animation they put into the female lead’s boobs is made up by how badass they’ve made her. She’s awesome. I like how all the women are the forefront fighters while the guy stands in the back to offer support.

Having said that, I found the finger moment in the second episode rather uncomfortable to watch… That was taking things a little far.

The plot is an interesting take on the traditional demon anime genre – this time a virus has been released that has allowed humans to see demons from another world. Then people with powers – including high schoolers – go around kicking the asses of the more troublesome demons.

I’ll keep watching this show, unless the fanservice becomes too uncomfortable to watch.

NB. I actually found the third episode rather touching and sweet… It was a really cute episode.

Assassination Classroom Season 2

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I’m so glad this anime is back.

I’ve missed the characters so much. Especially Karma – aka. Red Haired Psycho No. 2.

The first two episodes were so funny and also started a chain of events I look forward to seeing playing out. I felt they should have tagged the first episode of this season onto the last one since it concluded the island arc, but it was a nice bridge between the first and second seasons.

I can’t wait to see what this show has in store for 2016. It looks like things are about to get serious.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

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I think this is the best new anime of the season – my favourite is Assassination Classroom, but this is my favourite show that isn’t a continuation.

It’s so dark, yet so funny, with an intriguing plot I look forward to seeing resolved.

Definitely one to watch if you enjoy mysteries with a touch of sci-fi.

Divine Gate

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Oh dear.

This anime is not very good.

The main characters is super deary – he spends most of the first episode standing in the rain spouting emo lines while being followed around by a demon child. The world idea is a little vague – there’s a gate, if you find the gate you get wishes…granted…?! Although someone seems to have already found the gate…?! Yeah. I have no idea what is going on.

The script writing is pretty terrible. Instead of subtly and cleverly showing us how this world works, the writers just info dumped on us in the worst way possible.

This tweet nicely sums up that scene:

The housemate and I will keep watching this one, but only so we can take the piss out of it.

Gate: Jieitai Kanochu Nite, Kaku Tatakaeri – Enryuu-Hen

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I really enjoyed the first season of Gate. I loved the original take on the fantasy genre, where you had people from our world in their military battle gear rolling into a fantasy land. I thought it was a nice way of combining the two worlds.

But in this season there is a worrying amount of pervy men hitting on young girls. Itami’s choice between the three female leads – Rory, Leilei and Tuka – has always troubled me. I know Rory is supposed to be nearly 1,000 years old, but she looks like a young girl. Itami shouldn’t even be thinking about her, let alone considering having sex with her. And Leilei, although she is 16, looks so much younger – not an option for a 30+ man. Just…no! The scene in the first episode of this series, with the Japanese ambassador responding to the advances of that little girl, was a little too close to pedophilia for me. That girl looked like she was 11 or 12.

Anyway, rant over I’m so glad Prince Zorzal got his ass handed to him by Shino. Damn girl! That was some fine work! That bastard got what was coming to him.

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

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Yay!

Durarara!!!

Exactly. They split the anime in an annoying place and now I can’t remember what the hell is happening. There are now so many characters and interlocking story lines that I can’t remember what is happening in all of them. I wish I had recapped before watching this season, or that the anime had done a longer recap at the start.

I still love this show though. The urban fantasy setting is just so awesome, as are the characters. I hope Mikado doesn’t lose himself, and finds his way back to the others soon. He’s becoming lost in the Tokyo underground world.

Looking forward to seeing this arc wrapped up. Crossing my fingers Kadota comes out the other side of his accident without too much damage…

Dimension W

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I had really high hopes for this anime, but I felt they were let down by the first episode (haven’t watch the second for this one, because waiting to watch it with the housemate).

The world idea and plot are pretty awesome – that humans have found another dimension from which to pull energy.

But the fighting scenes were really sloppy. When Kyouma dropped down into the gang den they missed a trick by having the fight scene portrayed through a montage, rather than a smooth sequence. I just thought that was poorly done and lazy.

Kyouman is also lacking a certain something. He’s your typical badass seinen male lead, but unlike characters such as Worrick from Gangsta, and Saitama from One Punch Man, he hasn’t got that characteristic which makes him really likable. At the moment he’s rather flat. Hopefully his character will start to develop soon, or we get to see that other side of him.

I thought there was a little too much fanservice with Mira, the cyborg girl. I was rather hoping we won’t have that in this anime because she was AI, therefore there would be no romance between her and the lead. But I guess time will tell.

However, looking forward to watching more. It’s got a few steps to climb to improve though.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

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I am in two minds about this anime.

One one hand we have the good points:

  • Beautiful animation
  • An interesting scenario with the characters finding themselves in a fantasy world with no idea how they got there or any memories of the real world
  • Fantastic morally conflicting scenes such as the one in the 2nd episode when they kill the goblin – seriously, that scene was AMAZING! Brutal and realistic. Watch the anime just for that scene – it really takes a turn on the traditional fantasy outlook where the heroes kill creatures without any thought.

And then on the other we have:

  • Awful portrayal and depiction of women with fanservice shots, and scenes like the one where the male characters sit around talking about their companion’s boobs like the women aren’t there
  • Seriously slow moving episodes – a 1/4 of the 2nd episode was taken up by that stupid montage scene

I actually felt angry after watching the scene in the first episode when the dark knight slandered the girls, and then neither of the girls stood up for themselves, and neither did any of the other boys. I was so glad in 2nd episode when the girls kicked that pervy knight out of the baths when he tried to spy on them. Much more like it! I can’t stand female characters that don’t stand up for themselves.

As for ideas about what is going on in this anime, I liked the theory Anime News Network came up with – that the main characters are living a second life in this world, they died in ours and have been reborn in this fantasy one. It seems that Shihoru is suffering from severe body issues, and Manato is an alcoholic who suffered abuse at a younger age.

At the end of the first episode I was seriously thinking about dropping this anime, but after watching the second, and with the promise of more unique takes on a traditional genre, I think I’m going to stick with it. I just hope they start speeding things up soon.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Season 2

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This anime is seriously beautiful. Not just in animation style, but also in plot and characters.

I love the romance between Zen and Shirayuki. It’s just so sweet. Can’t help but feel a little sorry for Obi though. Glad things haven’t changed into a traditional love triangle – you can sense the possibility is there, but Obi is being a sweetheart and hanging back because he knows how Zen and Shirayuki feel about each other.

It’s quite slow moving at the moment, but with Shirayuki back in her homeland with the approaching ball things are bound to speed up soon.

Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

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This isn’t the sort of anime I’d normally watch. It’s a little cute and girly for my taste, but I am enjoying it.

I love the setting – a group of islands with a school where students can travel using anti-gravity shoes. I also like the main idea behind the anime, which is essentially a shoujo sci-fi sports anime.

I’ll keep watching this one to see where it goes. It’s a nice calm one to watch among the shouty, screamy action shounen anime that always dominate my watch list.

Ajin

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I would have absolutely loved this anime if it wasn’t for the animation style.

The set up and start to the world and characters was amazing. I loved how fast the pacing is, but I really disliked the type of animation style they used. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s the same type they used for the first part of the Kingdom anime (which I also stopped watching because of the animation style).

I can understand why they chose to animate in this way – it suits the dark tone of the story and the style of the manga, but I much prefer the traditional 2D animation style.

I will keep watching it though, because the plot is seriously interesting and I know it’s only going to get better!

What do you think of the Winter 2016 anime season so far?

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