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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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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.

——

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….


 

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