Winter Anime 2016: End of Season Roundup

Now that Ajin has finished I can finally do my end of season roundup. (Man, that show started late in the season, but it was worth waiting for).

WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD

As anticipated I dropped a few shows, which were:

  • Divine Gate: because despite all the mockery my housemate and I could come up with while watching it, it was just too bad to continue with
  • Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: because it was too slow for my liking and I couldn’t engage with the characters or find the story interesting

God Eater

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I’m putting a review for God Eater here because it FINALLY finished airing during this season. After three months of waiting for those last few episodes… It’s so odd that they split the series. Not in the middle, but three quarters of the way through.

But it was worth the wait.

The episodes that came after the break were amazing. We finally got Lenka’s backstory, the final boss battle was ace, and reveal at the end that Lindow was alive made me so glad. I was a little disappointed that no one died at the end – it felt like a little bit of a cop out. I loved the big reveal and the dark, unresolved ending – planning to get 1,000 people off earth on a rocket and come back later to restart the earth.

I felt Soma’s character wasn’t explored as much as it should have been. Because of his origins I thought he was gonna be an over powered God Eater who had hidden powers, but he was just as strong as everyone else, which I found a little disappointing.

For an anime that was based on a game, God Eater was bloody amazing.

MUSAIGEN NO PHANTOM WORLD

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This series grew on me. I felt meh about it for the first couple of episodes, but it grew more emotional, and delved into the character’s depths. Some episodes were particularly touching – e.g. the one when Haru is turned into a kid and lives with Mai.

The fan service, which was quite strong in the first couple of episodes, petered out, which greatly pleased me. That was probably another reason why I grew to like it more. There were lots of strong female characters, and the harem element didn’t bother me that much. That element was downplayed compared to other anime of the same genre.

I did think the final boss battle was a let down. It wasn’t particularly exciting and I didn’t like how Haru got his powers back, and therefore won the battle. The tension in the penultimate episode was better than the ultimate one.

I also thought Haru’s message that was given at the end of the series – “this is the world we live in and I like it” or something – wasn’t pretty shit (especially compared to Durarara!!‘s). I thought the characters didn’t grow and develop. If they had had some sort of character arc then they would have had a message to give at the end of the series.

There was also the unresolved issue of Mai-senpai’s heart/chest pain from episode 11 that wasn’t mentioned again. I thought in the penultimate/ultimate episode that was going to be explored more – that it was going to turn out she has something wrong with her. I hope it wasn’t a random plot device to make her falter in battle, cause that would be a massive let down otherwise.

BOKU DAKE GA INAI MACHI

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Overall, I really loved this series.

There were so many good animation and story telling touches, such as how the film strips at the top and bottom of the screen showed that what was happening was set in the past. I also liked how when Satoru woke up from his 15 year sleep his internal voice was his kid voice, rather than his adult voice as it was when he was in the past.

However, I didn’t find the revelation of who the murderer was particularly shocking. It was obviously Yashiro, just because of the similarities in ages and appearance. It was also blatant because of the whole student/teacher trust bond – if anyone was going to be able to get close enough to kids to lure them away and murder them, it was going to be a teacher. I wish they had planted more red herrings and made you guess harder more about who the murderer could be.

I wasn’t sure about the Kayo x Hiromi ship. It seemed really unlikely. Kenya x Kayo would have made more sense.

I read the manga ending before watching the anime ending – don’t judge me, I was VERY ill at the time – and I was sad they cut down Yashiro’s backstory in the anime. The fact that he had a brother who was sexually assaulting girls, forcing Yashiro into becoming his accomplice, and then making him help him cover up a murder, gave Yashiro’s character a depth that was skipped over in the anime. Yashiro was probably twisted to begin with, but the role his brother forced him into really molded him into the psychopath who kidnapped and murdered children.

In also didn’t like how Yashiro stopped Satoru from going over the edge of the building in the final showdown. It didn’t make sense that Yashiro would go against the drive that’s been forcing his actions for all this time. I preferred the manga ending where Yashiro and Satoru had a tense final showdown on the bridge, and Yashiro was willing to kill Satoru.

Even though I thought the final show down was sketchy, I loved the final scene. When Satoru and Airi were reunited…it had me on the verge of tears. I’m glad they kept the original manga ending.

GATE: JIEITAI KANOCHU NITE, KAKU TATAKAERI – ENRYUU-HEN

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It wasn’t too fussed on this season.

The opening arc that resolved the dragon arc was really good – the dragon fight was amazing – but rest of the season lacked tension.

You had the feeling that everything was going to work out in the end, and there was going to be no sacrifices.

I also didn’t like how Pina’s imprisonment was done. That was another element that lacked tension. She was bought out of her cell once and then rescued. She just spent the rest of the time sobbing in her cell. And the rescue scene was also a cop out. They won too easily. That dick of a prince didn’t give them a hard enough time.

What I really did like was how the Bunny Warrior Queen was bringing down the empire from the inside, but felt that arc didn’t amount to anything. I didn’t like how she felt empty at the end of everything. I wanted her to keep trying to get revenge for what the dick prince did to her and her people. In the end she just sort of gave up.

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

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FML.

This was one of the tensest anime finales I have ever watched.

Mikado’s character development was truly insane. The final showdown with him and Kida on the rooftop was terrifying. The moment Mikado turned up the whole atmosphere changed from safe and hopeful to “HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN NOW?!” Because you had no idea what Mikado was going to do. The whole show was about him spiraling down, moving further away from Kida and Anri, and becoming this whole other person. By the end we had no idea of his motive, or who he cared about. Then when that rooftop scene was FINALLY over – when Mikado was saved from suicide – he ended up getting stabbed in the stomach anyway.

OMG.

It was all so amazing yet so terrifying.

This season was a little confusing in places, especially at the start. There were too many characters at the end – so many you’d forgotten who they were aligned with and what they wanted. Everything got too complicated for me when the Yakuza were introduced. I felt that Shizuo’s brother and his girlfriend were forgotten, and their story line needed more attention.

I loved the ending. That final scene was so emotional, and I loved the epiphany Mikado had. Throughout the whole series he was about chasing the extraordinary, but after all the shit he went through – realising he had gotten too out of his depth – he was going to concentrate on the reality that was in front of him. So sweet!

DIMENSION W

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The plot of this show really confused me. I don’t know whether it was because it was a sci-fi, and I always find it hard to understand sci-fi, or whether they didn’t explain everything properly. Although the housemate found it hard to comprehend too.

The plot did start to make sense by the penultimate episode, although I still felt meh about the whole thing in the end. The concept of the coils and Dimension W were lost on me, which is probably why I found the whole thing hard to follow, since they were central to the plot.

Kyoma remained flat throughout the series. That was another element that made me feel meh about the whole thing – if you don’t have an interesting character then the whole shows apart. With a little extra personality to Kyoma the whole series would have been lifted up just that extra bit it needed.

Some of the other characters were pretty neat. Mira was pretty cool. I always love a good strong female character. She was better developed and sympathetic character than Kyoma. It was a shame about the fan service. Loo was favourite character overall. He was just so cute ^^

HAI TO GENSOU NO GRIMGAR

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Slow.

This show was *Franky pose* SUPER slow.

There were some amazing elements to the story though. The way they portrayed the characters learning to kill, how they made the goblins seemed alive rather than just monsters to kill – I’ll never forget that scene in the first or second episode when the party kill their first goblin, and the poor creature is crying out in fear – and how the series dealt with the issue of grief.

However, I’m annoyed there wasn’t even a hint about how the characters came into the world. No nothing about where the characters are from – whether they are from our world, why they were in this fantasy world etc. The series left a tone of unanswered questions, which is really frustrating. I wish there had been more hints about the character’s origins.

The harem element did my head in a little, as well as the amount of fan service surrounding Yume. There was too much, and it put me off. I’m glad they toned down the sexism in the later episodes. Ranta became bearable, almost likable even if he was a despicable pervert.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Season 2

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This was a really sweet series.

I found it less interesting than the first season – slower perhaps. There was plenty of action during Shirayuki’s kidnapping arc, but it slowed down a lot after that. In the end it’s a typical slow paced shojo.

I’m glad things are moving between Shirayuki and Zen – that it has some relationship development, rather than it being a long drawn out romance when the two main characters take AGES to get together. At the same time, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Obi though. He’s such a sweetie. Can’t help but feel bad for him as he watches the girl he’s fallen in love with be swept off her feet by another guy.

This is a really nice shojo series. I like this anime – it makes me feel warm inside.

Ajin

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I loved this show. So so much. I didn’t want it to end. It was definitely my favourite of Winter 2016.

Despite the animation style, which I didn’t particularly like, this show held high on suspense and action.

I really liked Kei as a main character. He wasn’t a typical shounen hero at all. He only cared about himself and seemed a little off hinged. Really unique.

I hope they do a second season of Ajin, if they don’t then I want to watch the films they did, which I think overtake the anime. The housemate is thinking about getting the manga, so would love to read that as well. There are so many unanswered questions, especially about the black ghosts, and I can tell the series is just going to get more epic as it goes on.

Yeah, I seriously recommend Ajin.


I’m still watching Assassination Classroom season 2 and I picked up Nijiiro Days as well this season. Both of them finish at the end of Spring 2016, so I will do a roundup of those series when I review Spring 2016.

What was your favourite anime of Winter 2016?

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