Spring 2016 Spotlight: Surprise and Disappointment of the Season

There’s no Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu this season. There’s no one new series that has blown my mind in ways that I would never have imagined. There was, however, an announcement that Rakugo Shinjuu would be getting a sequel, which is nice, but I must digress because it has nothing to do with this particular anime season. But, while the Spring 2016 anime season has not been mind-blowing, at least not yet, it has been surprisingly solid. There are several shows that I think are quite good, and a few that I outright love.

Among the shows that I think are quite good are Boku no Hero Academia with its solid delivery of shounen drama and action, Bungou Stray Dogs with its “very Igarashi” character relationships and humour and Sousei no Onmyouji, which is trying very hard to (probably unintentionally) fill the boots left by Owari no Seraph when it comes to supernatural fighting shows. Also on the good side are the returning Ushio to Tora and Concrete Revolutio. Ushio to Tora is maybe not quite as enjoyable as during the first 2 cours, but Conrevo has improved a lot (at least in my opinion). On the more ridiculous side of enjoyable shows, I actually like the blatant Attack on Titan ripoff that is Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, and Mayoiga has the absurdest cast of characters I’ve seen in a while, which makes it pretty fun.

As for the shows I really love, first of all there’s Kiznaiver. It hasn’t done anything terribly new or anything, and it’s not like the character are super unique, but I just think it’s a solidly fun time. In a fairly unexpected development, my craving for cute slice of life shows is satisfied by two different shows this season: Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge and Flying Witch. Both also look better than average, which is a nice bonus. However, my undisputed favourite of the season is…

Surprise of the Season: Macross Delta

Spring 2016 Spotlight Surprise

To be completely honest, this should not have been a surprise. After all, I already saw (and absolutely loved) most of the first episode back on New Year’s Eve. But it turns out that I could not imagine the show being even better than what I saw in the preview episode. It’s visually pretty consistent, by which I mean that the character art and animation didn’t take a huge dive after the first episode. In fact, I feel like the show has gotten even more visually interesting over the course of the last few episode, at least when it comes to animation. The story and characters are also much better than I expected (probably because I haven’t been the biggest fan of characters and story in past Macross shows I’ve seen). Hayate is definitely like a Macross protagonist, but Freyja feels more like an AKB0048 character, and I love that. Story-wise, the inter-planetary politics are very interesting, and I love the small details like the cat mermaid things.

But the greatest thing about the show is the songs and the music. In episode 1 I fell in love with both Love Halation The War and Ikenai Borderline, and I’ve liked all the other songs since. Macross Delta has that special “something” (that it shares with AKB0448) meaning that it actually manages to make me care about the songs. This is not really something that any other idol show has managed to do (except for the aforementioned AKB0048 and maybe Symphogear). So, Macross Delta has simultaneously become my new favourite installment of Macross and one of my favourite idol shows ever. I expected to like it, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be that good. Well, it was, and it still is.

Like last season, I think I’ve gotten better at identifying what I will and what I won’t like, so I haven’t actually dropped many shows because I found them disappointing. Wen it comes to Endride, I didn’t really expect to like it in the first place, so there was no internal drama when I eventually did drop it after the second episode. The same goes for Re:Zero, but Re:Zero actually managed to pleasantly surprise me first by having an interesting world. I actually dropped it quite reluctantly. As for Big Order, which I decided to leave out from my first impressions series, the first episode was ridiculously stupid, almost hilariously so, and I didn’t really have any other thoughts regarding it when I dropped it then and there. When it comes to true disappointment, there are really only two shows to choose from.

Disappointment of the Season: Kuma Miko

Spring 2016 Spotlight Disappointment

This was actually a rather close race, the other contestant being Anne Happy. I gave both shows two episodes, but I ended up dropping them for very different reasons. The first episode of Kuma Miko had some very creepy jokes about bestiality and minors, but the reason I dropped it is because I fell asleep during the second episode. The second episode didn’t have many creepy jokes, but it also didn’t have any new stuff, it just continued and exhausted the first joke from the frst episode. I was not having a good time with it. Anne Happy, on the other hand, was a more straightforward case. I expected it to treat neuroses and mental disorders with respect, and instead it just made bad jokes about the subject and about anime tropes in general. The second episode did pretty much the same thing, and I saw no reason to continue it.

The reason that I chose Kuma Miko over Anne Happy in the end is that I feel like Anne Happy still has opportunities to redeem itself. I won’t be watching it, but it can still take it’s subject matter more seriously, or it can be a feel-good kind of show (kind of side-stepping the issue, but that’s not too bad). Kuma Miko, on the other hand, apparently got even worse with the sexual harassment in episode 3. I don’t know the full context of the scene in question but frankly, I don’t even want to know. I didn’t exactly expect Kuma Miko to be the best thing ever (I mostly just hoped it’d be better than Gugure Kokkuri-san), but it actually managed to be worse, and boring to boot.


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