Musings and Reflections – end of Autumn 2016

     It wasn’t a very outstanding season, was it? It had its fair share of quite original shows (talking about you, Keijo (I don’t even know how many exclamation marks I should add there), among others) but apart from them and some second seasons of already established franchises there wasn’t much that could possibly be remembered for a long time. I picked my shows this season quite randomly but it looks that probably apart from Flip Flappers there isn’t any more prominent show that I should catch upon some time later. Oh well, a pretty peaceful autumn.

3-gatsu no Lion

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     There isn’t much to say since the story is only halfway through. Well, the backgrounds are amazing, as expected from Shaft – you can make countless wallpapers during a single episode. The story could have been more condensed as sometimes a segment or two doesn’t really contribute to the development of the story or the characters. Anyway, I don’t think that anything we’ve seen so far will be that different from what is yet to come. Rei will still struggle, Kiyoko will weave her plots, Nikaidou will occasionally bump in with his unending optimism and unrequested care, the sisters will also continue their daily life without too much worries. The story will probably still use flashbacks from Rei’s childhood and the sisters’ family situation could be explored in more detail. More shogi training with cats. More incredibly unappealing lips. More terrible transitions between heart-clenching moments and comedy. But the show, when it’s being dark, is enjoyable, I can give it that.

      3-gatsu no Lion receives the award of most impressive scenery of the season. It’s usual Shaft – what did you expect?

Natsume Yuujinchou Go

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     If anyone reading this has already seen at least a couple of episodes of Natsume (no matter from which season), I can just confirm that you know perfectly well what generally happens in this season. Sure, there are some slight developments, Natsume gets to know more people and more youkai, but the general feeling of the series is retained, and thank you very much for that, Shuka. After this studio took over the show from Brains Base the visuals have had a little step back (and there was that special created almost ages ago that had none of the usual Natsume spirit), but everything else thankfully remains the same. I’m not even bothered that there barely is much going on but even stops taken to dig deeper into some of the characters’ pasts deliver just as well as Natsume usually does. Rarely these days shows earn even a third season, so receiving a 5th one with an announcement of the upcoming 6th is a very joyous news. Natsume may not always present anything that hasn’t been seen in it before but even for purely nostalgic reasons this show is very dear to me and I can do nothing but be grateful for what we got.

     Natsume Yuujinchou Go receives the award of the most memorable character of the season – somehow even if there were some quite appealing guys and gals otherwhere I don’t think anyone was relatable enough or provided enough fun to rival Natsume. I guess nostalgic reasons again prove to be stronger than everything else.

Yuri!!! on Ice

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    Yep, the show that will probably define this season for the future anime viewers – an incredible first episode, not that common relationship (in anime that isn’t specifically targeting a certain audience and no one else) growing, and sadly a usual conclusion that didn’t actually resolve anything but got our hopes high for a second season. I truly appreciate what the show was trying to do, but as original as it was, some things weren’t to my liking. Concentrating on figure skating, while outstandingly beautiful, later on gave the animators a bit too much work to do in order to repeat the greatness of the first episode. Also it turned out to get a bit boring – come on, to make guys skating the same programs in six or so episodes consecutively without much else going on in a way that manages to avoid dullness is a devilish stunt to demonstrate. Indecisive ending, comedy not always on point, and ambitious stubbornness to put as much figure skating in as possible no matter the result make Yaoi!!! on Ice slightly less than it could have been. Still, it was something really different from usual light novel adaptations and stuff so despite anything that wasn’t quite as good I must applaud the staff and hope for fruitful future projects.

Fune wo Amu

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     Last but certainly not least there’s a show that almost no one watched (thanks, Amazon) and oh boy how much they missed. Sure, guys making a dictionary may be one of the most bizarre and unfit premises to make an anime about. Well, the novel which the show was based on has already received a live-action adaptation, so it’s not that obscure a story. The animation for a studio, whose creation among others was that infamous Aku no Hana adaptation, was unexpectedly well made. Getting a truly capable cast of voice actors and getting Yoshihiro Ike to create a soundtrack just couldn’t backfire and certainly didn’t. As an adaptation of a novel the show could have used one or two extra episodes to compensate for that rather unexpected time jump, but providing a very satisfying conclusion that also for me might have been one of the most emotional episodes of the whole year was more than I could have wanted from not that popular anime. I just hope that Fune wo Amu will eventually receive the praise it deserves, just as Rakugo managed to do to a certain extent.

     It’s yet another season when my favorite anime and favorite OST awards were taken by the same show. Fune wo Amu was the only show this season that managed to wrap everything it started perfectly and even if it didn’t try to be as ambitious as say, Yuri!!! on Ice, it completed its initial goals and out of all shows gave me probably the least things to be concerned about. And go listen to the OST.

     Favorite OP didn’t require much thought to select. Probably the majority of anime viewers will not object that among all the shows this season and not only among these four I watched Yuri!!! on Ice provided something memorable. To get a song in English without a slightest trace of Engrish in itself is an achievement, but the impressive animation of characters with enough weight and expression was just jaw-dropping.


      Favorite ED also was a pretty easy choice. As original or catchy other EDs were, I can do nothing but to give the award to Aimer who once again proves to be the queen of EDs. Natsume EDs always are a thing but just listen to this. Just do. And I don’t have to mention that the ED was solo-animated by Norio Matsumoto. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.

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2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed your round-up. I’m a fan of Natsume – it’s a good choice when I want to watch something uplifting and relaxing though sometimes the relaxing place becomes a little too slow. Slice of life is my favourite genre – will look further into the dictionary one – thanks for the tip off!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thanks for dropping by!
      Yes, Natsume is one of the top choices when thinking about slice of life anime with some deeper meaning but enough laid-back-ness.
      Fune wo Amu in that respect is not very dissimilar from Natsume, so I guess and hope that you’ll have a good time.

      Liked by 1 person

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