Musings and Reflections – end of Summer 2016

The season overall proved to be an ok one. Some shows I liked more, some less, but there wasn’t any that would have made me regret time spent watching. On the other hand, the season didn’t provide any masterpieces. ReLife and Mob Psycho 100 will probably receive my attention some time later as well as Berserk but this one will have to wait a lot more since I’m still catching up with the manga before I’m ready to complete the old series and then move to the new. Now, turning to the watched shows…

Orange

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    I still remember with joy how energetically the show opened my summer season – a very catchy (will come back to this later on) OP, some mystery motives, quite distinctive usage of colors (occasionally washed out scenery (like in Steins;Gate and that’s no wonder since both of the shows share the same director) and extensive green tones everywhere)… Many of the positives remained for the whole show, also Orange managed to create a sense of a very realistic group of friends whose actions between themselves just speak of warmth, trust and just joy of being together. Sadly the studio that made Orange wasn’t that prepared to tackle all the problems – many times production flaws were very visible, lack of more frequent sakuga or pretty easily noticeable CG elements didn’t help either. The story as far as it concerned the relationships between the characters was very enjoyable but the mystery aspect that depended on some sci-fi premises felt very out of place. Where Orange tried, it did well but other times the show could look surprisingly bad. By the way, as far as I understand, the title of the show doesn’t have pretty much any connection with the show itself. Weird.

Tales of Zestiria the X 

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    Oh, Ufotable. Probably much of the budged of the show was spent to put some salt called ‘CG dragons’ in the wound of studio Deen. As it’s the custom of the studio, there’s little that can be criticized about the production. Still, 3D backgrounds didn’t feel that connected with the 2D characters, especially during some early episodes. Yes, everything was beautiful and technically stunning but it’s hard to immerse completely when flat and not flat objects try to convince you that they can belong to the same space. That aside, the story felt not the most impressive and many times reminded me of a standard RPG with characters fighting, walking, talking, doing some other stuff and then repeating everything all over again. I’m not sure that the writers chose the most appropriate way of adapting the original game. Many things got only a small touch of light and you just feel the need of playing the game to know something for sure – the world is vast but getting only hints doesn’t always bring satisfaction. Also, the insertion of a part that was basically the new Berseria game advertisement certainly didn’t help the pacing, overall story or anything else.

Tales of Zestiria the X  receives the award of most impressive scenery of the season. How else.

Amaama to Inazuma 

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    To summarize everything into two words, the show was just a recipe book. It sounds very unfair to demand some action from a slice of life show but Amaama to Inazuma just didn’t dare to stray from its comfort zone. Exploration of the relationship between a father and a daughter sounds good, some life wisdom sprinkled here and there each episode also makes the show more appealing, introducing the viewers to the Japanese cuisine and showing how to prepare the meals again is a positive but when you do only the same stuff for the whole season, want it or not, it becomes painfully repetitive and boring. Even if it’s a slice of life show I’d like some uncertainty about  the next episode, some unexpected events or just the change of the setting. When everything happens over and over again without anything substantial changing, I have to point out that even a slice of real life doesn’t always act according to all your plans and expectations.

91 Days

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     So, the final show of the season but certainly not the least enjoyable. Generally 91 Days is The Godfather: The Animation come into being with some flavor of J.R.R.Martin’s “everyone dies” mindset. Even if it’s possible to define the anime using very little words, watching it proved to be a very rewarding experience. Studio Shuka might not be the one you think about when asked about highest production values (and it certainly showed), the characters tended to be immersed into themselves and rarely showed their true thoughts and intentions but part from that I hardly have anything to complain about. The feeling of a real life when you don’t know for sure which characters are going to survive a single episode felt refreshing, various mind games, even if sometimes lacking a more personal approach usually looked enjoyable enough, the soundtrack gave just the right atmosphere of jazzy prohibition era. The show probably wasn’t the most visually stunning but its setting and stories proved to be more novel and entertaining than many other anime.

91 Days receives the award of the most memorable character of the season, that being Mr. Fango – the spiritual brother of Ladd Russo is very distinct from the entire cast of the show as well as the whole season. You just can’t be any more extravagant and quirky, especially when it comes to food being offered to your guests. If that’s not enough, 91 Days receives the awards of favorite OST  and favorite anime of the season. I guess if you kinda like something, you like it whole.

     Favorite OP not without competition was that of Orange. Contrary to the show actually providing some animation as well as giving energetic, youthful and joyful impression proved to be enough for me to eagerly await it every episode and hum along. OP of Tales of Zestiria the X also had a very catchy song but I take some minimalism rather than a bunch of random action stuff, as cool as it was.


     91 Days would get a favorite ED award but after thinking a bit I decided to trash that away – the shows OP is much more memorable, setting the mood well and giving some insight into the mischievous dealings of the mafia world and unexpectedly changing allegiances. If I didn’t try to like Orange as much as I did, 91 days could have had a total musical victory over the other shows.

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2 Comments

  1. By about midseason the lack of connection between characters and setting in Zestiria finally stopped annoying me and I could just enjoy it, but those first episodes were horrible because everyone kept telling me it was beautiful and all I could see were these cut out characters prancing around on a background they didn’t match. Admittedly, when I finally got over that, the scenery is beautiful and the characters are beautiful. If the two could just together it might have been really pretty.

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    • Yeah, it got better as the show went on. I wonder if I rewatched the beginning would everything seem more normal and natural? Or the staff really started to pay attention into what they were doing?

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