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Spring Anime Season 2016 – Review July 4, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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Another anime season is over and this one was a mixed bag of the good, the weird, the relaxing, but overall entertaining animes. Initially there wasn’t much I was looking forward to until browsing the web, but as usual it grew to be a decent number. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Bakuon!!

Flying Witch

Kiznaiver

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?

Pan de Peace!

Sakamoto desu ga?

Shounen Maid

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge

Uchuu Patrol Luluco

As usual, SPOILERS will be avoided as much as possible, but sometimes may pop up through my writing if I think it’s not too much of a SPOILER.


Bakuon!!Bakuon

This anime can only be described as K-On!, but with motorcycles rather than music. It uses real terms and brands when it comes to explaining things, and each character is assigned to liking particular brands like Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Ducati. It’s another one of those animes where cute girls do cute things, with motorcycles. Because real life brands and models are referenced a lot, this anime is also probably a marketing tool for those brands to appeal to more audiences, specifically anime fans.

Did I like this anime? Sure it was entertaining. It was a bit weird at times, especially when fan service was used. Did I learn things about motorcycles? Not so much as a lot of the terms sailed over my head, though I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to say that. I’m not a motorcycle enthusiast, though if I were asked if I wanted to try and learn, I’d be willing to try. This wasn’t because of me watching the anime though, I’ve thought of this idea even before this anime came out.

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Flying WitchFlying Witch

One of the most relaxing animes of this season, Flying Witch is about Makoto, a witch-in-training who moves in with her Kuramoto relatives in Aomori. Her unmagical family members are treated to her little bouts of magic as she continues to study. While staying in Aomori, she also discovers other witches and magical places and things in the peaceful town in the countryside.

I didn’t really know what to expect when starting to watch this anime. I decided to watch this because it was going to be about a flying witch…. Like I said, didn’t know how the show would be, but I am attracted to flying and magic, so that was enough for me to try and watch.

This anime has been compared to other animes such as Non Non Biyori, in that it takes place in a rural setting where nature and slow days mesh to create a soothing but still interesting show to watch. The magic that happens in this show is subtle, not flashy that you’ve seen in many other shows. It’s also nice to see that the magical characters don’t worry about being found out by the public, which is usually a theme in other shows like it. (Probably there are automatic spells in place that prevent magic to be seen by people who shouldn’t, like when they fly around.) Flying Witch focuses on the day to day adventures of Makoto as she continues her witch training while living in a new town surrounded by her family and friends. It’s a nice slice-of-life type of anime with the added theme of magic, as a small spark that makes things a little more interesting.

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KiznaiverKiznaiver

I first heard about this anime back when I attended Sakura-Con earlier this year in March. There was a premiere event at the con for the first two episodes of the series at least two weeks before it was to officially start, where we also got posters of the series too. For the first 10 minutes of the premiere, it was a little hard to read the subtitles as it was on the bottom of the screen, so anyone who wasn’t in the first row had trouble reading it because peoples’ heads in front blocked it from sight. Luckily it was resolved by making the video player a little smaller and higher so that everyone could see. After that it was smooth sailing for the rest of the premiere, followed by a live stream from Japan for people who saw the premiere with people I think who were asking how they thought the first two episodes were.

The rest of the season I watched on my own, and I have mixed feelings about this one. First off, I feel that maybe going to that premiere affected my initial impression of it. I tend to like watching animes on my own, specially episodes I have not seen before because I want to have my own experience and impression uninfluenced by others. During the premiere, there were times where the audience would audibly respond in different ways. At those times, I felt myself going with the crowd, but if I were alone I would of stayed quiet and took the situations in a more serious way. Also because I didn’t know anything about this anime prior to watching it (besides it being a Trigger anime), this was a true first impression for me, though influenced by others’ reactions.

Now to my actual thoughts of the anime itself. The beginning made me feel that the main reason for doing this whole experiment to connect peoples’ wounds was for a war or something. I was thinking more of the physical level as I took the word wounds on a literal level. As the anime progressed, and it became clear that it was meant more so to connect both peoples’ physical and emotional wounds, it also took away my expectation of a final battle of some sort. Maybe it was because it was also my expectation of a Trigger anime to be something always actionly. While this did detract my interest a bit from this series, I was still invested to see what would happen to the main cast once things really got moving, especially during the emotional breakdown of everyone by transmission of wounds of the heart. The finale was alright, but a bit anticlimactic in my opinion partially due to my own initial over-expectation. It did wrap up most of the plot, and now it seems that most of them have hooked up with another, making this experiment a success in connecting several people together. As for whether we’ll see more of this series in the future, I don’t know. But if an example in the form of Trigger’s other anime Space Patrol Luluco has anything to say (or any anime after Kill La Kill at least), maybe we’ll see references to it in the future.

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Koutetsujou no KabaneriKabaneri of the Iron Fortress

This was the anime I was anticipating ever since I heard about it for a couple of reasons. For one it has a cool setting that probably many compare a little to Attack on Titan, though I was more interested because the anime’s soundtrack was being worked on by none other than Sawano Hiroyuki (Aldnoah.Zero, Guilty Crown, Blue Exorcist).

The first couple of episodes jumped right into the action, explaining along the way what was known about the Kabane and Kabaneri. What was not fully explained however was how Ikoma’s machine made him into a Kabaneri besides him explaining that he prevented the virus from getting to his brain. As the Kabane seems to come from a virus than a supernatural phenomenon, the question popped up into my head about whether or not a source for it will be revealed in this show, similar to how Attack on Titan was trying to find the answer to where the titans were coming from. That never happened as for the most part, the crew of the Koutetsujou, the name of the train they were riding in, was just doing what it could to survive. Their final destination was to the Kongokaku, the fortified capital city where the Shogunate lives. Along the way, they faced countless Kabane and hopeless situations, but always managed to pull through by fighting together.

While stopped at one of the station cities, the Koutetsujou crew met with the Hunters, a special division dedicated to hunting Kabane. At first appearing to be the heroes and hope for the people who fear the Kabane, they are revealed to the main characters to be planning a revenge attack against the Shogunate for what happened 10 years ago. Biba Amatori, leader of the Hunters, is also the son of the Shogunate who was disowned by his father. 10 years ago Biba was a young general who was dispatched around Japan to destroy the Kabane, which is how the stations were able to be built up without problems. However supplies and support from the Shogunate suddenly stopped and Biba was nearly killed due to it. His hatred grew for his father and his thirst for revenge created the Hunters who all share his goal.

Mumei knows Biba as he was the one who taught her that the strong survive and the weak die, as well as turning her into a Kabaneri through scientific research. When the Koutetsujou and Hunters link up and travel together to the next station, their true intentions are shown and are taken prisoner by Biba to be used as tools to get him to his father. Once they reach the Kongokaku, the Koutetsujou crew are forced to pretend that they captured Biba to present him to his father. Once face to face, he exacts his revenge on his Shogunate father and destroys Kongokaku, by using Mumei as a weapon of mass Kabanes. Ikoma however vowed to save Mumei from her fate as a Kabaneri and comes back from the grave to take on Biba with a power up knowing that it very well might kill him. After a relatively short battle, Ikoma saves Mumei and brings her back to her Kabaneri form before Biba stabs him. Mumei returns the favor to Biba, and alongside Kurusu return to the escaping Koutetsujou crew. Ikoma looks to be dead, especially after we know that by using the black blood as a booster, there was no way to return to normal with out the white blood antidote, but miraculously he recovers. It is hinted that Biba used his own on Ikoma during their fight, probably when it seemed that he fatally stabbed him. Biba probably realized in his last moments that being weak doesn’t necessarily mean the end, and that Ikoma is proof of that. He gave Ikoma a second chance to protect what he cares about the most. The final scene shows the Koutetsujou riding off into the distance, uncertain of its future in the burning land of Japan.

I enjoyed the anime for what it was, even though the issue with Biba felt slightly petty. I know that it was a big deal for the Shogunate to stop supporting the cause to fight the Kabane, even more so towards his own son. The reason he stopped sending supplies was never said by the Shogunate, but I think it may be because the Shogunate wanted to keep a certain level of control over the country by using fear of the Kabane, but that’s just my two cents. I do also wonder if the rest of the world is dealing with Kabane or similar beings, as we know it takes place in an alternate version of the real world based on the fact that the whole country of Japan is shown in the intro, burning away. If not, could this be an attack on Japan for reasons unknown? I don’t expect there to be a continuation to this series, at least anytime soon. But if there is a future season, I’d watch it with these questions in mind.

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Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?Netoge

NetoYome (short version of full Japanese name) is an anime about people in real life who play an MMORPG, but rather than focusing on the video game aspect, it’s more about the relationships and interactions in the real life. Synopsis ahead courtesy of Wikipedia (I felt it makes more sense to include an official synopsis this time instead of me trying to explain in my own words):

Hideki Nishimura plays the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Legendary Age under the alias Rusian. One day, after he proposes online to a girl who says that she is a man, Hideki swears off online marriages. Two years later, the persistence of Ako Tamaki, another Legendary Age player who is in the same guild as him, wore him down, and he accepted her in-game marriage offer. When he finally meets up with the rest of his guild members in the real world, he is shocked to discover that not only are they all actually girls, but that they attend the same school as him.

After Nishimura meets his guild members in real life, they learn that Ako confuses the video game world with real life. The guild decides to guide her to like the real world more by creating a club at school where one of their main goals is to help her realize that these two worlds are separate.

What I like about this anime is that it focuses more on real life than that of other recent animes about online gaming; It’s more casual and relatable. One of the things that initially caught me off guard was the fact that when Nishimura met his guild members in real life for the first time, that the others besides Ako were girls as well, but really that should not have surprised me. (They were shown in the opening, and would of made sense if I thought about it a little. Just a little note for what I first experienced when watching this one.) This anime was an enjoyable one, more cutesy with Ako’s antics. In the end not much changed, but at the very least progress with Ako’s intergration with the real world is going steady.

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Pan de Peace!Pan de Peace

It’s an anime short series about girls and bread. Not much more to say than it had some obvious animation flaws, but as a short series, its expected.

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Sakamoto desu ga?Sakamoto

I first got interested in watching this series from seeing from random clips online. It became another weird anime of the season for me, but in a good way. Also as the alias holder of “Coolmikeol”, I wanted to watch an anime series about a cool guy too. If I were to describe this anime, it’s basically about a high school student named Sakamoto who does everything in a cool way, even if it may look out of the ordinary. He’s a bit hard to figure out sometimes, but he always seems to do things to help others no matter who they are.

For the first half of the season, it was more or less separate skits of Sakamoto encountering different situations. The connecting events during this part was dealing with the many delinquents in the school, and helping out and interacting with his fellow classmate Kubota. The second half had the school festival and revealed a mastermind of trouble named Fukase, a long overdue to graduate senior who manipulates people psychologically to get them to do what he wants.

What made it a little weird was the fact that in the beginning of the season, that there was some yaoi undertones because of how the guys act around Sakamoto. Of course the girls act more aggressively than the guys in this case, but it was played more comically than literally. I can understand at least how anyone would be infatuated with him with his own cool style.

The finale of the season ended pretty well, and I liked how you could feel how the many of the people of his school were truly touched by his actions. He was never selfish, always did things in his own stylish way, and was humble about it too. He always knew how to resolve the drama that brewed every so often, into a positive learning experience for everyone. The final scenes do leave it up to imagination what happens to Sakamoto in the end, but it seems at least that it’s a good one. If you’re into overly dramatic but still normal school anime, then I recommend this for you.

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Shounen MaidShounen Maid

Shounen Maid is an anime about a boy named Chihiro who, after losing his mother, moves in with uncle as a housekeeper of sorts, under the philosophy that his mother taught him, “Those who do not work do not eat”. As a result of this, Chihiro is a hard worker who does things thoroughly and responsibly. The name of the anime comes from the fact that Chihiro’s uncle, Madoka is a clothing designer who likes frills and cute things, and as such made Chihiro an outfit befitting his role in the house. Chihiro was not forced into this new life, but rather given new opportunities. He himself agrees to live in his uncle’s house under a give and take policy, which works out for him as he gives more than he takes. This also gave Chihiro an opportunity as well to learn about his family he never knew, as his mother was disowned from the main family before he was born.

On the outside, this anime may look and sound like one for cross dressing genre, but in actuality it feels more like a mild drama if you take away Chihiro’s maid outfit. This is why I enjoyed watching this series, as the pacing was good, the characters were interesting enough and reliable, and the story and relationships between the characters understandable and relatable. Chihiro reminded me of myself when I was around his age. I was known for liking to clean a lot back then, and also now that I think about it, was also just with my mom without really knowing my dad back then too. In conclusion, this anime is a good slice-of-life but still story driven show that most anyone can casually watch.

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Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo KedarugeTanaka kun

Started watching this anime a few weeks into its airing, as initially it did not catch my interest. This show is about Tanaka, a high school student who is always listless. In other words, he’s never interested in doing much than sleeping and relaxing as much as possible. While this may sound like an annoying trait to have, Tanaka is praised for this and the people around him are used to him being the way he is. Even though he looks to be uninterested in doing anything, what he does quite well is give useful advise that usually coincides with his listless nature. This helps him with his relationships with the people around him.

I’ll admit, I have fallen asleep a couple of times watching this anime, though it’s more of that I watched it late at night when I was tired. I’ve making an effort to not watch anime super late which is when I usually do.

Most of the people who regularly interact with Tanaka are pretty interesting. Oota is always taking care of Tanaka, very much used to how he is and what is best for him, known for carrying him around on his shoulder. Miyano, the super energetic girl who wanted Tanaka to teach her how to listless to look more mature, is always a bundle of fun who respects Tanaka as her “Master”. Rino, Tanaka’s little sister who looks similar to him but is actually reliable, initially doesn’t look to like her brother that much but seems to secretly to have a crush on him. And of course Shiraishi, a girl who changed her outward appearance upon entering high school from that of a introvert in order to attract more people and gain a social life. Tanaka however sees her secret true self one day and accepts that side of her too, allowing her to be herself a little more in public. She develops a crush on him after this, and tries her best to interact more with Tanaka in order to get closer to him.

This was a super slice-of-life anime, and when I mean super, I mean in a slow and relaxing kind of way. This doesn’t detract from the experience as the times where there is a long pause, it’s meant as a way to build anticipation towards the situation. Entertaining with a bunch of characters, this anime is one that I’d recommend to a slice-of life genre fan.

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Uchuu Patrol LulucoSpace Patrol Luluco

Unexpectedly one of my favorite animes of the season, Space Patrol Luluco is another one by studio Trigger. This anime short series is about Luluco who joins the Space Patrol after her father is frozen and has to take his place. As Space Patrol, she travels the universe alongside her branch when her city is stolen by her Space Pirate mother in her quest to get it back.

While the synopsis sounds quite basic, things ramp up quite a bit once the true adventure begins. Because Luluco’s city was stolen and sold and transported through a portal, they travel to all sorts of planets and places that have references to studio Trigger’s previous works, such as Kill La Kill and Little Witch Academia to name a couple. It was so awesome to see such blatant use of things from their other animes rather than just cameo background appearances, like how life fibers were seen a couple of times in Trigger’s anime When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace. The moment I heard “Don’t Lose Your Way” during the Kill La Kill segment in Luluco, I was ecstatic.

What also made this anime short a unique one was the fact that while each episode was only about 8 minutes long, the creators managed to create a plot that was easy to understand, but play it off on a much larger proportion as they usually do. I love how during the second half of the series, the story shifts to add the Nova/Luluco relationship. While it was hinted from the very start of the series, I like how it became the main plot-line to wrap up everything nicely. I’ll admit, it was a little odd to see Nova with emotions, though I accepted the explanation that he was a being that did not have any to begin with, at least until Luluco filled it with hers.

As you can see by how much I wrote for this anime, I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe it was because I recognized the references, or how I’m a sucker for sweet love stories. Either way, I would recommend this anime, mostly though to people who have watched other Trigger animes.

One more thing, that high five at the end between Luluco and Akko of Little Witch Academia is a perfect sendoff. A great way to say good luck to Akko in the future with her newly announced TV anime series. Trigger is on a roll, wish it were the same for Kiznaiver….


 

FanimeCon 2016 June 5, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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It’s that time of year again! I attended this year’s FanimeCon which took place May 27th – 30th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. FanimeCon is an anime convention “by fans, for fans”. I’ve been attending this anime convention since 2011, and I do intend to attend it annually as long as I’m able to, as it is one of my favorite cons around.

For all of my photos taken at the con, please check out my Flickr set FanimeCon 2016.


Day 1 – May 27

Got up early in preparation for the first day of Fanime at around 6am. After showering, I had to do some quick shopping at my local Safeway. I waited for the arrival of my friend who was tagging along for the first day of the con before we headed to Safeway, also grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast there. I came back to my place to drop off the groceries and grab the things I needed for Fanime. We left SF at around 8am.

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After about an hour drive, I was able to find parking within the San Jose Convention Center quite close to the doors that lead from the parking lot directly into the con center. We proceeded to line up to pick up our pre-reg badge. Because I heard of the long lines from social media the day before during Day 0, I brought mini chairs in anticipation of being in line for a while. During the wait, I was on my 3DS sorting through Streetpasses on multiple games. I never really used the chairs I brought because the line was consistently moving every couple of minutes. 1 hour and 27 minutes later, we got our badges.

Because most major events were not happening until a few hours later, we decided to tour around San Jose State University, which is only a few blocks away from the convention center. Afterwards my friend and I split up to do our own things.

At this point it was about 11:45am, still more than two hours until Opening Ceremonies which I planned to attend. In the meanwhile I went around getting myself familiar with the area.

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Quarter before 2pm I made my way to Stage Zero to prepare for Opening Ceremonies. I always like to attend the opening and closing ceremonies because I they make it truly feel like the con has officially started/ended. It also is a way for me to preview the guests of honor, as well as feel the vibe the con has.

After the Opening Ceremonies concluded, I made my usual rounds of checking out the Dealers Hall and doing cosplay shots primarily in the convention center lobby. Normally there would also be a bunch of cosplayers in the tree area on the left of the entrance of the convention center, but unfortunately it was occupied by the badge pick up lines. At least this would only affect Day 1, as the rest of the days of the convention they moved the entire line inside, for both the sakes of the people in line from the heat outside, and the cosplayers and photographers who use that area as a backdrop.

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At 7pm I called it for the day, called my friend to regroup, and headed back to SF. It wasn’t quite the end of the day yet for me as we called my other friends to come over so that we could go out have dinner at local restaurant. By the time I got home, I didn’t have much energy to do much else than go to sleep with Day 2 directly ahead.

Day 2 – May 28

Day 2 started almost the same as the previous day did, though I did wake up slightly later to give myself some more sleep. This time my sister was tagging along for the day. We left for Fanime at around 9:15am and arrived just after 10am. I parked at a different parking lot about a block away from the convention center as it was going to be cheaper than the convention center’s $20 parking. To my surprise, this parking area was nearly empty despite it being a peak time for people to park. I guess its because it is sort of hidden, and some people would rather park in the obvious places.

I helped her get her at-con badge, which luckily had a much shorter line than the pre-reg badge pick up line, though it still took about an hour for her to do so. Afterwards we went around the con a bit together before grabbing some lunch from a food area in the back of the Dealers Hall. We split off afterwards, so I went back to do my rounds of photography.

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There were a few cosplay gatherings I wanted to check out. That’s one of the things that makes Fanime great in my opinion, the cosplay and the gatherings that form at this anime convention. Most of them are visible and easy to get to. Maybe it’s more so than other cons I’ve been to because I’m somewhat familiar with the area, but also because everything is generally in one place. I don’t have to commute back and forth a large distance every time I wanted to check something out on the other side of the con.

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Once things started to settle down, we decided to leave at around 8pm. To my pleasant surprise, when paying my parking fee, it was only $7 for pretty much the entire day. Compare that to $20 at the convention center and it was an easy guess for where I will park in the future for Fanime.

Day 3 – May 29

I felt good after two days of relatively solid shooting of pictures, already about 1K taken. I was actually worried that I’d fill my 8GB SD card to the max for once. I also have a 32GB, but delegated it to my small point and shoot for video shooting purposes back when I went to Sakura-con. I didn’t think I’d need to use my 32GB SD on my DSLR, so I kept it in my small camera from then. I’ll have to buy either at least a 16GB or another 32GB for my DSLR now, so that I don’t run into this issue again.

For today I was going alone, which is an advantage for me as I would have less to worry about. Leaving at around 9am, I decided to stop by a local McDonald’s to pick up breakfast as I didn’t eat before I left home. I got back to Fanime at around 10:30am, on time for another cosplay gathering I wanted to go to at 11am. As I was getting out of my car and gathering my stuff, I noticed I didn’t see my DSLR camera bag. Looking around the car it was nowhere to be found. To my horror, I realized that I probably left it at home, which is roughly an hour drive back, two hours round trip. I called home to confirm that I left it there and sure enough I did. I wasn’t about to go through a whole day without my DSLR, especially as a photographer. I knew that going back and getting it would cost me about two hours, but it was worth it in my opinion. Since I was already here though, I decided to go to the cosplay gathering at that was happening soon. I figured my point and shoot would be good enough for that. Luckily by 11:30am it was over for the most part, so I bolted for my car for home to get my camera.

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I got back to Fanime with my DSLR in hand before 2pm and I immediately went to work. If you didn’t know, this year’s Fanime was quite hot, literally. Temperatures were running in the mid 80s, though being directly in the sun made it much worse. Cosplayers were mostly in the lobby area inside the convention center, or in shady areas in the outside. I didn’t get any sunburn because I avoided being in the sun for an extended period of time. I do feel bad for the people who were wearing cosplays that made them hot, as is one of the few reasons why I don’t cosplay much myself.

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I got myself an early dinner from Subway, and afterwards shot some more before going to The Best of the Angry Video Game Nerd showing at 9pm, something that I go watch every year. I prefer the older episodes of AVGN (1 to 100), but this year they were showing some of the new ones I haven’t watched yet which were good too. I left the con at around 10:30pm and got home an hour later. I was very tired after the events of the day so I think I went to sleep right away.

Day 4 – May 30

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 The final day of con finally arrived. A couple of my friends wanted to tag along, one of which came on the first day. We left a little past 9am to arrive as usual an hour later. I planned to park at the cheaper parking lot, but it was closed probably due to Memorial Day holiday. I ended up parking at the Convention Center, which is at least convenient if not for the price. At con, It was pretty dead looking during the last day. Combined with that and the badge requirement, the main floor of the con had the least amount of people I’ve seen during all the times I’ve been to Fanime. My friends went to do their own thing, and I went off to do my own, photos and stuff.

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I stayed around for Closing Ceremonies, which is usually not really eventful besides officially ending the con. They had a little (poorly put together) slideshow of some photos from the con, as well as a couple of performances and speeches from the remaining guests of honor. Q&A took place at the end, but that’s when most people leave, myself included. The only somewhat important info that was revealed at the Closing Ceremonies was the theme for next year’s FanimeCon, Magic, as well as the announcement for the first guest of honor, an American voice actor (don’t remember the name). It does sound like Fanime wants to fix the issues that plagued it this year, by also giving some information early for Fanime con goers of next year. Even the website is updated with the date of next year’s con and info.

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I met up with my friends shortly after I left the con at my car, and we headed in the direction of home. We went to a Red Robin to eat some dinner, while the Golden State Warriors were playing game 7 for the chance to be in the NBA Finals. They won by the way if you don’t know. Afterwards grabbing a pie from a place called Nations which are very good. We headed home and I showed some of the pictures that I took before disbanding. That is the end of my FanimeCon 2016 story.


This year’s FanimeCon felt a bit off, and seeing other people I know say the same thing online on social media at least tells me that I’m not alone. I guess some of this stems from issues that were arising even before the start of the con. The first I remember was the housing problems with hotels reservations. This was the first year that I did not attempt to reserve a hotel, and I’m glad I did so. Fanime did a thing where people were given priority to reserve hotels if they also had a registration badge with the con. While this sounds like fine idea to avoid scalpers (people who go to con without a badge) to book hotels, it also made problems to people who also reg with Fanime as well. Bear in mind that this information is some that I’ve heard on social media, so I’m going solely on that. In the end, some were not able to get the rooms that they were probably able to get in previous years, some even learning they got double booked day of. Definitely not fun.

The second thing was the changes made to registration. For the past two years, Fanime put a lid on what’s known as LineCon, long lines from people picking up their registration badge. I was expecting the same this year, as many were probably too. Unfortunately last minute changes to the registration system caused LineCon to return in a explosive fashion. I remember monitoring social media on Day 0, reading about how long the lines were. Wait times of a few hours were reported, and videos coming from the pre-con were not very comforting to people who were to face the lines the next day. It was explained that there was some sort of software/equipment malfunction with the previous system and had to be replaced entirely with a new system, which explains the new barcodes that were E-mailed a few days before the start of the con.

Personally I didn’t have much problems with the con. I thought the new policy about the second floor being badge only fine. It definitely lessened the amount of people on the floor, though the Dealers Hall wasn’t too different in terms of it being crowded. For the most part the staff had most entrances to the second floor locked down. Though there was one point where I thought I found a hole in their net with the elevators, the ones near the convention center parking lot. I took it up to see if someone could get on to the second floor unchecked, but low and behold there was a staff there the moment the doors open up. I had my badge then so no worries on my end, though I thought I did see some people without badges try this.

I also didn’t attend any panels/events at all, besides going to the viewing rooms every once in a while. While they had some decent guests of honor this year, they just didn’t pique my interest enough for me to check them out. Nothing really different from previous years, but at least the main reason why I come to Fanime is still fantastic.

Overall, FanimeCon 2016 was alright, but it feels a little underwhelming when compared to my previous years going to it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t stay at a hotel this year thus breaking the full experience, or that I had to take a detour to go back home to retrieve my camera. Could of also been LineCon or the bad things I was hearing about before Fanime started too. A mix of all these things could of caused my feelings to by mixed on the matter. All I know is that I still enjoyed myself, and that I will plan to come to Fanime next year. Until then, see you all later.

Winter Anime Season 2016 – Review April 4, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku, Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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After a relatively dull year of anime back in 2015, the first anime season of 2016 is strong and enjoyable. We had some pretty amazing anime from the get go this Winter Anime Season, like Aokana and ERASED, and I’m definitely looking forward to the other seasons of the year. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

Boku dake ga Inai Machi

Dagashi Kashi

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season

Heavy Object

Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

Musaigen no Phantom World

Ooyasan wa Shishunki!

Oshiete! Galko-chan

As usual, SPOILERS will be avoided as much as possible, but sometimes may pop up through my writing if I think it’s not too much of a SPOILER.


Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm

Aokana

Aokana was a joy to watch, I’ll start off with that. In this anime, advances in technology has allowed for the creation of Grav-Shoes, shoes that allow flight with balancers built in to prevent loss of control and falling out of the sky. Because of this, a sport called Flying Circus was created; To score points, they either touch buoys floating above the ocean, or their opponent’s backs.

I’ve been fascinated with flying for a bit of a while, and if I had to choose just one superpower, it would be to be able to soar freely through the skies. If Grav-Shoes were real, I’d probably would have played FC as well. As to whether I’d do well or not is purely up to imagination. While the game rules are simple, the techniques in order to score points and outwit opponents are surprisingly deep. I also like how each character seems to have their own styles of playing FC. I remember someone commenting online about wishing that the word of Aokana was real, and I would probably wish that as well.

Another reason that drew me into this anime is the music, specifically the opening that is sung by none other than Mami Kawada. First time I heard the song I recognized her voice, and was glad to hear her again doing an anisong after such a long time. The happy news was short lived though, because I would later learn that she had announced her retirement from singing at the start of this year, with her performing her last concert in May 2016.

The style of the opening music and the cute character designs reminded me of trailers and openings of visual novels, and sure enough I found out that the Aokana anime is adapted from its eroge counterpart, minus the adult content. In the final episode, an insert song plays during the climax which is actually the opening song from the visual novel, “Wings of Courage (Sora o Koete)” by Mami Kawada. The combination of the action and feelings of the characters in the final battle with Kawada’s song from the Aokana visual novel gave me chills, happy chills that made my heart fly with the characters.

This anime may not look like much, but it struck a chord with me on multiple levels. I enjoyed the characters and their personalities, and it was also refreshing to not have any form of harem or relationships form throughout the story in the anime. It was straight up all about the main characters striving to win the Flying Circus Tournament, learning through trial and error alongside friends who support each other all the way. It’s a simple, beautiful thing that made Aokana an enjoyable experience to watch.

——

Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)

Boku-dake-ga-Inai-Machi

The best anime of this year so far, ERASED has brought back the excitement of waiting for the next episode with their cliffhangers. Time travel and mystery, mixed with some good characters and music made this a fantastic anime to keep me on my edge of my seat.

In the opening and throughout the series, the characters around Satoru were all subject to being the murderer, besides the ones who were killed. Hinted by censors on the eyes in the intro and red eyes usually when someone seems to act suspicious, the anime tried to throw us off to who was really behind it all. I’ll only say this much: The answer is simpler than you think. If you’ve watched the first half of the anime, you may have tried to guess who the killer is. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be as simple as that, but that’s the beauty of it. I ended up thinking in a loop of who was the killer, analyzing each character, but the most obvious one ended up being it. I felt that we were psyched out at times to make things more interesting, and it most certainty was, but a little boring considering that you could theorize that the killer was the one the moment you saw him.

The music in this anime is another reason for its success. One of the things I didn’t realize until later was that the anime’s music was composed by the famous Kajiura Yuki. I knew it was good but for some reason didn’t recognize it as her work until watching a piano cover on YouTube. I also love the opening theme “Re:Re:” by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION. Didn’t realize that this song is quite old, first being released back in 2004 as part of their Sol-fa album. Listening to the live versions by AKFG and covers by others on YouTube makes this song sound even better.

I’d recommend this anime to pretty much anyone, whether you’re an anime fan or not. It’s more of a drama that uses time-travel to add to the mystery to the story. A nice touch to these aspects is that in episode 11’s opening, Satoru is completely missing, explaining the reason for the title of the series, and the consequences to his actions. The ending of this anime wraps up everything nicely, without leaving questions behind. Please try this show for yourself if you haven’t yet, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

——

Dagashi Kashi

dagashi-kashi

Dagashi Kashi is an anime primarily about dagashi, Japanese cheap snacks that are targeted mostly to children. I had heard of this anime from hype that was on the internet and decided to watch it based on that. Each episode is split into individual sections, and in each section a particular real dagashi is the subject of the main characters attention. Using history and humor, Dagashi Kashi basically is trying to sell the snacks to the viewers.

While I bought into the hype that was Hotaru, it pretty much ended there. I did enjoy the humor that was tried, but that was really the only thing that kept my interest. There was times that I’d fall asleep while watching the episode, and didn’t really care much about missing some info about a dagashi that I never heard of. This is the most marketing I’ve seen an anime do directly to its viewers, and I don’t think it was a bad thing, it just wasn’t my thing.

——

Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season

GATE II

The second cour of GATE has wrapped up, and it was quite an adventure. I like the progression with all the characters, and how the SDF was ramping up it efforts to create peace between Japan and the empire. Unfortunately the creation of peace hit roadblocks, as it was indirectly caused because of one’s wishes to destroy the empire for revenge. This reason is not known to anyone, which is why this problem won’t go away until it is revealed.

While the focus is still on Itami and his fantasy squad members, the anime has also put a lot of the side characters into the limelight to show what was going on in different parts of the world at the same times. In doing so also shows their importance towards the overarching goal of peace, or the opposite.

I’m hoping the anime advances into a third season, but I’m prepared to wait a bit until then. I’d like to see if the root of the problem with the empire will be exposed, and how the SDF handles it. We already see that deeper relationships have formed between some of the SDF forces and people beyond the gate. How this translates towards a better tomorrow will only be seen in a future season, as the ending of this second season didn’t feel like a true end which I feel will end up being akin to the closing of the gate.

——

Heavy Object

Heavy Object

Heavy Object has just concluded, and it was an alright series. There wasn’t much to the plot, as each segment was about a standalone battle or mission, and while they each were linked in chronological order, it wasn’t that important than the present. The main thing that made this series interesting was mainly Qwenthur, whose unorthodox plans to disable or destroy Objects by themselves, made you wonder how he was going to pull it off.

——

Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows

She and Her Cat

This was a nice little 4 episode anime that I picked up casually. As the Japanese title says, its about she and her cat, a story about a college student girl and her cat who has been with her for most of life. The story is mostly told through the cat’s point of view, where he speaks about his life with her and the feelings he can sense from their bond. As it’s a short anime series, there’s not much plot to it, but I enjoyed it because of how the anime was able to relay the emotions the characters felt to us viewers, by showing us their highs and lows we all feel in real life.

——

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

Gundam Orphans

Gundam Orphans was a fantastic way to get into the franchise, as it’s a standalone series from other Gundam series which I think have continuing timelines. It’s always hard for me to try these kinds of series that have been spanning for a long time, because I wouldn’t know where to start. It’s similar to why I watched Magic Kaito 1412 featuring Kaito Kid, a spin-off series of Detective Conan, which has been going on for hundreds of episodes. Just like in my previous review of the first half of this series first season, the pacing of the story has been consistently good. I never felt that things were happening too quickly or too slow, which is probably why I don’t think any of the episodes are fillers.

Most of the Gundams in this series weren’t very noteworthy to me, but maybe because it wasn’t the only focus that this anime had. The characters were the ones who shined the most and made the anime what it was, hence why the name of the show is called “Orphans” and not “Barbatos”. The theme of family was strongly presented throughout the series, showing how it can transcend both the body and the reaches of space.

The conclusion of this first season of Gundam Orphans has built the foundation for what’s to come in the next season. The main story of Kudelia’s mission to Earth has been completed, but now has opened into the next conflict, which is the destruction and reformation of the corrupted Gjallarhorn, sparked by none other than McGillis who holds rank within said organization. It will be interesting to see how the small company of Tekkadan plays into this upcoming revolution, now supported by many, friends and family alike.

——

Musaigen no Phantom World

Musaigen no Phantom World

This is Kyoto Animation’s latest anime series, and in general it has performed not as well as its previous animations. For starters, the fan service was over its head in the first few episodes. It’s a bit tiring when an anime has to use fan service right at the beginning in order to attract viewers. I’ve seen many that have done so, and it’s apparent that it used it in that way when the fan service starts to die down relatively significantly midway in the season. The second reason why people probably were not entertained was that there didn’t seem to be a plot at all. Each episode had it’s own standalone story which usually didn’t matter in the next episode. The slice-of-life aspect aside, they felt too separate to be side by side episodes, rather it felt like I was watching OVAs. It was only in the last two episodes that I felt something much bigger was lurking in the shadows. Kyoani found a way with the action, story, and feels, but a little too late. If they only brought it out at least midway in the season, this anime wouldn’t be getting as much flak as it’s getting. I still enjoyed watching the colorful action and potential that Myriad Colors Phantom World had to offer, but it missed the mark for it to be another good anime of their’s. However if a new season is announced, I will watch it in hopes that it progresses in the right direction.

——

Ooyasan wa Shishunki!

Ooyasan wa Shishunki!

An anime short series about a guy named Maeda that lives in an apartment complex, who finds out that he shares the building with his middle school girl landlord Chie and neighbor Reiko. In this slice-of-life show, it shows his casual interactions with the two during his day to day life. It’s an adorable series to watch, seeing how Maeda and Reiko dote on innocent Chie even though she is just their landlord, as if they were almost her parents (which are never shown or explained). I did notice that in some of the episodes, 2 minutes each, that the events and dialog in an episode were rushed to fit that timeline. It’s slightly annoying but I remember it only affecting a few of the episodes mid way in the season. Either way I think it a nice little series to causally check out if you’re into slice-of-life and moe.

——

Oshiete! Galko-chan

oshiete galko chan

This anime is basically girls talk, combined with breaking stereotypes of character looks. It’s an anime short series that I picked up fairly late in this anime season, as I was bored waiting for new episodes of the animes I was watching and decided to try this one while browsing on Cruncyroll. I’ll admit, this anime doesn’t seem to be aimed towards people like myself as it’s all about girls talking about things that guys wouldn’t really understand, though I can try to put myself in their shoes to somewhat feel their pain. Besides those topics which were more prevalent more so in the beginning than the end of the season, I enjoyed watching the interactions between not only the main three characters, but also of the other characters that were introduced as well. Each character may use design stereotypes, but their personalities and beliefs are different and unique. This is done to illustrate that you can’t judge a book by its cover. For example, Galko who has the style of a gyaru, is a good innocent girl who is friendly with everyone; Otako is an otaku who tends to like mocking Galko and asking her about suggestive topics; Ojou is a rich, friendly airheaded girl who tries her best to understand non-rich people’s problems. All of them may look and play the part for which their appearance suggests, but they are much more than meets to eye. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable series that I think most mature audiences can relate to, both for girls and guys.


 With a strong start to this new year of anime, I’m hoping that this momentum will continue into the next anime season. I’m looking forward to it.

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