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Summer Anime Season 2016 – Review September 25, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This season was comparatively light in terms of must watch animes. A couple of them were from series I’ve watched before, some were short series anime, and the rest were just casual watch ones. Still entertaining, but nothing special. 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:

Amaama to Inazuma

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV

Love Live! Sunshine!!

Momokuri

New Game!

ReLIFE

Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Amaama to Inazuma

amaama-to-inazuma

This anime is one that makes you smile as you watch. Also know as Sweetness and Lightning, it’s about Kouhei Inuzuka taking care of his young daughter Tsumugi after the death of his wife. As he’s no good with cooking, one day they go out to eat and stumble across a closed small diner that is run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori Iida. It turns out Kotori is often alone since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.

The adorableness of Tsumugi and the hard work of her dad Kouhei to take care of her makes this anime bittersweet, as they find the little things in life that makes them happy, but at the same time still struggling with the relatively recent death of the mom/wife. Most of the time the atmosphere is light, but when things get sad you can relate to the characters as their situation is probably common in reality. The main theme that keeps everyone happy in this anime is everyone getting together, whether it be for a party, school, or cooking tasty foods. Even if you are alone, there are others like yourself that probably see themselves in the same situation. Just reaching out towards one another can bring up everyone’s spirits, which is what helped Tsumugi and Kouhei to get together with more friends who can understand and support each other in times of need.

Food is what brings everyone together in this anime. Because Kouhei couldn’t cook, and found himself at a restaurant that was mostly closed because Kotori’s chef mother was always out and busy, he decides to learn how to cook more. Under written instructions from Kotori’s mother, Kouhei, Tsumugi, and Kotori work together to learn how to make great food that is best enjoyed with company. They are eventually joined by more friends which almost makes it a party every time. The directions for making the food seem simple enough that you could possibly make it real life, as the instructions was written for people new to cooking.

I enjoyed this anime for the simple fact that it made me smile. Seeing that Tsumugi was in good hands from friends and family despite losing her mother at a young age, makes me think that she will grow up happy and healthy none the less. Of course if this was an anime that showed her at an older age, such as middle school or high school, I could see it being more of a drama type anime exploring how many years of growing up without one of your parents affects you. As this anime revolves around Tsumugi at around the age of 4 (I presume), within a year of her mom passing, she doesn’t have the full understanding of what it means for her mother to be gone. It would be interesting if this series were to do something along the lines of a new season that takes place 10 or so years in the future, but that would dim the lightness this anime has, unless they don’t go in the direction I imagined. Either way, I recommend this anime for casual watchers.

——

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV

ff-xv-brotherhood

With the soon upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV, in order for people to get a taste of what’s to come, a five episode ONA was broadcast on Crunchyroll. In this this short series anime, our main characters (Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, Gladiolus) are traveling by convertible car towards probably the capital city where a war is taking place. Each episode focuses on one of the characters, showing their backstory and relationship with Prince Noctis. As a prequel to the game, this series introduces us to the characters in anime fashion.

I enjoyed watching the 12 minute ONAs, though I wasn’t sure (and still am) if they were going to the Kingdom of Lucis to deal with the problems that seem to be happening there. Maybe it was because there was a lot of dialogue for me to keep up with in the beginning, or my unfamiliarity with the setting, probably both. What I mostly got out of it was learning more about each of the main characters that will be part of the game when it comes out in November. As for whether or not this animated series attracted me more to the game, it didn’t really. I’m probably not going to get the game, at least not right away anyways, especially that I don’t have a PS4 yet, but I will be keeping an eye out for it at the very least.

——

Love Live! Sunshine!!

love-live-sunshine

Love Live! Sunshine is a spin-off title of the main Love Live! series. After the success of the school idol group μ’s, a new generation follows their footsteps. Chika Takami aims to form a high school idol group, inspired by the past school idol group μ’s. With friends by her side who join up one by one, she also learns that her school is planned to be closed down in the near future due to low amounts of new applicants. Naming their group Aqours, they aim to attract attention to their town and school and save it from closure, all while doing their best together as school idols.

This new entry into the Love Live! series features an all new cast of characters, each of which also features relatively new seiyuu (voice actresses). I thought that these seiyuu did a very good job, despite having limited roles in other animes. Each character of the main cast is unique in their own way, though can be compared with some characteristics from μ’s. While Sunshine is its own story, the similarities between it and its predecessor are numerous and sometimes takes away from its uniqueness. Whether or not intentional, near the end of the series it’s made certain that Aqours, while inspired, will make their own path and will not follow in the shadow of μ’s, which I felt was a step in the right direction, but a little forced at the same time. The reason I say forced is because I felt that the last few episodes were rushed to get the story to an ending. The majority of Sunshine focused on the relationships between Aqours members and not a lot of actual idol training. I’m not saying that they did not do enough training (it’s probably implied that it was done off screen), but compared to what we saw with μ’s which I would say had a 50/50 idol activities/character focus airtime, it didn’t seem enough to justify how they were able to become as good as they were in the end. I doubt that all of them had the ability to sing and dance well in the beginning, but maybe I’m not suppose to think that way, I don’t know. In my opinion it didn’t seem realistic. (Its an anime I know.)

I enjoyed Love Live! Sunshine, like I do most idol animes as I like seeing the progression from beginning to end. Seeing something come from nothing is a great example of results coming from passion and hard work. I just wish it was fleshed out a bit more to give it more individuality. I know its using the brand name to its full advantage, but if showed more of their idol and character progression more gradually, it would of been more enjoyable I think.

——

Momokuri

momokuri

Momokuri is a romance, slice of life comedy that has a simple synopsis, courtesy of MyAnimeList : The story revolves around Yuki Kurihara, a girl who has finally been granted her wish of dating her crush Momo. At first glance, she just looks like a normal but very cute girl. However, she is in fact a maniac over Momo, taking notes of his activities and never missing the chance to see him in a cute moment. Momo, on the other hand, is inexperienced in love, and just wants to make Yuki happy.

This series was originally aired earlier this year in an OVA format that was reformatted into full 24 minute episodes for TV broadcast, which I watched on Crunchyroll.

I decided to watch this series as it seemed to fall into the categories I usually watch. Since this series was originally a 26 OVA episode series, I felt that the progression of the story and characters would be better paced than if it had less. On the exterior, it looks to be a charming but simple story of a young couple. However in some scenes, it tackles the more subtle but important issues and feelings of being in a boy/girl relationship. I felt that this gave the series some depth and serious tone, that its exterior doesn’t show outright.

As for the other characters surrounding our couple, they are helpful and supportive of them. None of them are annoying like some can be in other anime series about couples. They give advise when needed, and help to ease tensions when one or the other is stressed out. In general they’re all good friends, even though other alternative shippings are hinted….

——

New Game!

new-game

If you’re looking for a moe comedy about making a Japanese game, then New Game! is for you! Aoba Suzukaze is a new hire at a game company that made her favorite game series. Learning on the job, she gets to work on the latest installment of the series under the mentoring of the character designer who made her love the games in the first place. Alongside fellow friends and co-workers, they strive towards completing a new game together.

I like New Game! for a couple of reasons, mainly that the characters were cute, and that I wasn’t overloaded with production terms like I experienced when watching another anime about making something, namely Shirobako. With at least several main and supporting characters weaving in and out of the spotlight, the anime did well to balance out each of their appropriate airtimes with their importance to the show. The comedy gave me some laughs that didn’t feel added out of necessity. Towards the end though it did feel a little rushed, but satisfying none the less for Aoba and her team. Make sure you watch after the ED on the final episode, as there’s a little scene after it.

——

ReLIFE

relife

ReLIFE was a nice little high school drama about Arata Kaizaki, an unemployed, single 27-year-old who has just been cut off from his parents’ financial support. Unable to find a job due to him leaving his previous employer within three months, he meets Ryou Yoake, a man who offers Arata pills to turn him back into a 17-year old so he can redo his life. After agreeing to the experiment, Arata joins a high school class, and meets Chizuru Hishiro, a socially-awkward silent beauty who yearns to have friends. Through connecting with her and other classmates, Arata must find what he lacks to live a happy life in the real world within a one-year time limit.

It came to my surprise that all 13 episodes were available on Crunchyroll all at once. Even so, I paced my watching so that I’d finish around the same time as the other animes of the season were ending. I enjoyed this series, though something felt a bit off about it. Not necessarily in a bad way, but maybe it’s because it was released all at once that it makes me think that it wasn’t worth taking up airtime in Japan. Like I mentioned, I liked the show but it felt like a budget anime. The art, music, and character designs were nothing fancy, only the story itself shined. As a person around Arata’s age, I can relate to his situation and feelings, and that is what I think made this anime a great example of having a second chance at life, even in a restricted fashion as the anime used. The ending of ReLIFE ties up most of the branching plot-lines, but does not conclude this series proper. This may give way to another season in the future, but that will remain to be seen.

——

Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

shokugeki-no-soma-s2

The second season of Shokugeki no Soma continues directly from where the first season ended, during the Autumn Elections. The top 8 compete for their ranking among the first year Totsuki students. The majority of the season focuses on the cooking battle between the 8, showing each of their unique talents and skills. After the end of the elections, the students are put into a Stagiaire program that requires students to take up residence at various restaurants outside of the school, aiming to leave their own impressions there in order to pass.

I was a little surprised that at the start of the second season, there was no recap at all, as if this was just more episodes to the main season of the series. I did remember generally what happened at the end of the first season, so I wasn’t lost on what was going on. As usual Soma’s ability of adaptability makes him a high contender, but it also shows that he has a lot to learn and that he’s willing to put the time and effort to show that he’s in it to win it. He’s confident, but humble. Experienced, but curious about new experiences in the cooking world. Wins most of the time, but that doesn’t stop him from improving over his victories. Soma is a character that exemplifies how a passion can drive oneself to achieve great things.

The other characters also show great ways of cooking, which is probably done in real life by chefs. It’s cool how this anime really showcases deep levels of cooking, down to the science. It’s not always taste alone that dictates how good the food is, sometimes food can affect all the senses, even psychological ones. I guess that’s why I was not totally surprised at the results of the Autumn Elections, because they’re all excellent chefs in their own regard.

I know that this anime is not for everyone, especially with the fan service that the series could do without. What is serves to do is to overemphasize and sell how the judges of the food experience it. Anyways, with what I’ve noticed with other animes, the fan service is more so used in the beginning of the series, especially in the first episode of the first season of this series, to attract fans with eye candy. Later on however the story sets in, which becomes the main course for entertainment. Fan service decreases and is used more sparingly, only used for emphasis for certain scenes, but even then it’s not too bad. I wish that either animes would not use fan service in this manner, or people try and give a series more of a chance down the line even if its initial “cover” looks one way.

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