This season has actually been a carnival for me, because there are so many different shows that appeal to me in different ways. Nyanbo is a cute mix of CG and live-action, Shuumatsu no Izetta scratches that alternate history universe itch (though the boob jokes are pretty stale), Gakuen Handsome is a visual marvel (of sorts) and Yuri on Ice exceeded all of my uncertain expectations (way to go, Sayo Yamamoto). Among the other new shows that I like are also Flip Flappers, Girlish Number, 3-gatsu no Lion and Fune wo Amu. They too have their unique charms.
But it’s not just the brand new shows that have caught my eye. I’m also happy to see that many sequels have either managed to be as strong as their prequels or even surpassed them. The first 4 episodes of Bungou Stray Dogs S2, as well as all of the episodes of Hibike Euphonium 2 so far, have impressed me greatly, and I have to say that it’s great to have Teekyuu back again after half a year. To be honest, the first arc of Bungou Stray Dogs S2 was so good that I briefly considered making it my surprise of the season (if you compare it to how lukewarm I was on the first season), but I ended up going with a brand new show this time.
Surprise of the Season: Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume
It’s not perfect. The panty jokes put me off, as does the fact that the character designs are not what I want out of a show with suggestive jokes. The characters sweat a lot, and they make borderline lewd faces, and one of them is called Munemune-senpai. Yeah, I have to mention all of this stuff, because it genuinely does bother me, and I understand it if it happens to bother other people as well.
But the ping pong more than makes up for all of that, at least for me. Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume is probably the closest thing to a Saki-esque non-Saki anime we’re going to get in a while, and so far it’s doing it brilliantly. When it comes to the ping pong in particular it doesn’t hold a candle to Ping Pong the Animation, but it’s a very enjoyable sports anime, with a cast of mostly very entertaining characters. I’m excited to see more of it.
Compared to most other seasons, Fall 2016 has been surprisingly devoid of big disappointments, at least for me. It’s probably partially because I was more conservative than usual when selecting shows to do first impressions of this time around, but I’m still delighted to announce that I’ve only dropped 3 shows so far this season. The other shows that I expected to disappoint me – Soushin Shoujo Matoi, All Out and WIXOSS – actually ended up being pleasant surprises. And two of the disappointments were not that unexpected. The only show that I really wanted more out of than it delivered was…
Disappointment of the Season: Touken Ranbu – Hanamaru
I really wanted to like Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru. I liked, and still like, fan art of the characters, and I liked some of the things Dogakobo tried to do with the comedic side of things. But it just wasn’t enough. The serious stuff did nothing for me, nor did the action (though it occasionally looked pretty good). I wouldn’t say it had anything to do with the fact that the characters were all boys and that Dogakobo usually do shows about girls, I don’t think their comedic talents are by any means restricted to one gender or the other, but Touken Ranbu just felt… soulless.
As did the OP. It’s by far my least favourite OP of the season, because not only was it bland, I think it just sounded lazy and bad. I tried watching the show for 5 episodes, but it was difficult, even if it did give me a chuckle or two from time to time. By the sixth episode, I realised that I no longer even cared to have it on in the background while reading twitter on my phone, and so I dropped it. It was a bittersweet decision, but sometimes we just have to let shows go.