Musings and Reflections – end of Spring 2016

     It wasn’t a bad season and even if no show managed to charm me as Rakugo of a previous one did, still it was pretty good. Probably the biggest hit (that I haven’t watched) besides Boku no Hero Akademia was Re:Zero that really looks good enough but I’ll refrain from any comments and intentions to watch it (or not) until it ends. Of other shows that didn’t catch up my eye at the start of the season probably only Tanaka-kun sounds interesting enough to try it out. Speaking about the shows I did watch…

Sakamoto desu ga?

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     I went into the show expecting a few things and Sakamoto desu ga? delivered that. Basically it was just one cool guy acting cool, and when some other people in the show saw that and though “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we make him do something uncool?”, it actually made the protagonist look even cooler, if that’s possible. The formula with slight variations remained for the full cour, but I can only applause the mangaka for thinking up many very different scenarios to tell virtually the same thing. Personally I just didn’t find all the jokes very funny and the whole repeating idea, even if very diversely portrayed, after several episodes ceased to be that interesting – pitting anyone against Sakamoto was doomed from the start since the result was always very clear. Sakamoto being this perfect guy didn’t really make me care about him and hardly any other character was interesting or at least not too simplified. These and other things make me think I’ll just forget the show next week even if it had its moments.

     Sakamoto desu ga? receives the award of the most memorable character (guess who) of the season.

Joker Game

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     Who doesn’t fancy a cool looking show from the period of WWII? One of the better aspects of watching anime is that you can approximately see how people lived in Japan during certain periods of time. Joker Game grabbed the idea and sometimes made it really interesting to watch but those pleasant moments were diluted by other not so good stuff. Spy stories generally are a very captivating thing to experience but the show managed to keep the viewers fairly bored. Changing the whole cast nearly every episode is a very dangerous gamble at best of times and that paired with stories that don’t form a cohesive and engaging narrative or some plot armor for the good guys doesn’t look like a mix for a good show. Not to mention that all the spies looked pretty much the same. And come on, if you have some cool dudes, why wouldn’t you use them all together? Composition of Joker Game wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen. After the second episode all the episodic stuff began quite unexpectedly with all hopes for a single but good story fainting, the ending felt like a random episode from the middle of the show and it itself wasn’t that great. I guess even Production I.G sometimes blunders.

Koutetsujo no Kabaneri

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     Koutetsujou no Kabaneri was fun. Certain elements of many aspects of the show had flaws but how couldn’t it be fun to watch people running and slaughtering zombies even if they form some enormous piles hugely reminiscent of Titans of a certain other show. Things that deserve applause are plentiful. Let alone the artstyle from character designs to lush backgrounds, no shyness of blood and gore, maybe not the most original but nonetheless quite intriguing setting. The first half of the story did surprisingly well introducing everything and especially portraying mistrust and fear based selfishness to the point of stupidity among people that must worry almost every second about their lives. Later on the villain that had gone nuts was introduced and that felt pretty generic considering all the available possibilities concerning the setting. Ultimately if more battered, all the important characters felt pretty much the same after the first half and after the whole show. Looking how much effort was put into the show I guess the staff are hooping a green light for a second season and well, if they get one and come up with some engaging story, I’m all in.

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri  receives the award of most impressive scenery of the season.

Flying Witch

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     It’s not that often that a show grabs me right from the first second (especially with the soundtrack) and practically holds its place the whole time. Flying Witch did exactly that and I’m quite amazed it did. It’s very difficult to make a slice of life show have that special healing ingredient, but I believe the mix of mundane tasks, setting in a countryside (and mainly not in a high-school for once), and a bit of friendly magic tricks works perfectly. As the genre suggests, everything goes on pretty slowly and all the details about dealings of everyday life steal much time from potential expansion of all the magic stuff. Again, that either tells to go and find the manga or just hope for another season. To be frank, the show feels a bit like an introduction to all this world with witches and stuff and one or two extra episodes about exactly that certainly wouldn’t have spoiled anything. But I can’t complain. Interactions between characters that genuinely feel like a true family with everyone’s little quirks, likes, dislikes and preferences make a very compelling work of art.

     Flying Witch receives the award of favorite OST  and favorite anime of the season.

     Favorite OP without much thought was that of Sakamoto desu ga?. The animation without much sophistication emphasized once again who’s the best guy, but the chosen style and very unpredictable song stood out among all the other OPs.

     Favorite ED must be that of Koutetsujou no Kabaneri. I’m definitely not alone who just enjoys the voice of Aimer. Flowing peaceful images pretty much worked as a contradiction and deepened the effect of all the bloody events of the show. Plus you can’t be amazed by the quality of the images, especially that of Mumei. Even if it looks almost like a very elaborate fan art.

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