Fall 2016 Roundup (Part 2)

This week is the last week of the season and I still have two Fall anime yet to catch up on: Flip Flappers and Sound! Euphonium 2. As of 30th December, I haven’t finished these two shows; but I shall try to update the entries in this post whenever I complete them in the near future. So here are the shows I watched that finished this week.

  KISS HIM, NOT ME

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This show wasn’t boring but rather an annoying harem comedy where the jokes got stale pretty early in the series. The characters are very cookie-cutter and without any semblance of dynamic; and whenever there is a pretense of such character development- it stays enclosed in that episode only and rarely permeates throughout the show. The comedy centralizing the ‘character’ shift of  Serinuma from cute girl to thirsty fujoshi was funny but then again, this is a one-trick pony. The cute, vibrant and fun character of Kae-chan rotted into an annoying and shallow self-insert protagonist as the weeks passed by.

I was really surprised at how the show continually brought up exhausted ideas with such blatant and garish presentation that it made my head scream “Why am I still watching this anime?!”. I don’t mean to burn this show to dust, this anime had good use of parody and interesting early episodes with solid attempts at character development before regressing into an itchy and cringey teenage… crap. Rating: 2/5.

GI(A)RLISH NUMBER

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Girlish Number has been an interesting show for me. If  you didn’t watch this anime because you assumed this would just be about cute idols dancing and singing- well, you are sort of right- this show does have that incorporated, but it is not just that; the bigger picture that this show paints is a cynical commentary on the voice-acting industry and how the lives of voice actresses are not as ‘fuwa-fuwa’ as many might think. The protagonist is the ego-queen Chitose, new to the industry and she thinks she has everything in the bag. Now, out of all the characters in this show- Chitose felt more of dynamic character; sometimes she seemed more like a patient suffering from the worst form of egomania possible, while at other times she seemed like a sociable, balanced human-being; and I really liked the character writing in this show. Although the character writing does not (and does not need to) reach the level of Yuri On Ice- this show still holds out to be a solid character piece.

I will admit that the cynicism sometimes reaches an ugh-level, but nevertheless it remains pretty tonally balanced throughout the show. The art style of this show is pretty vibrant. Interestingly, the dialogue in this anime is pretty trimmed and ‘normal’ compared to SNAFU’s (both anime written by the same LNovelist) soliloquy style dialogue. If I had to point out an incongruity to the anime’s theme is the incorporation of an otaku-pandering AMV in one of the early episodes which was just blatant air time filler (or killer). Thankfully, this doesn’t happen again- okay, not a full length performance at least- except in the last episode: which was performed in the ending slot. Overall, a solid show-3.5/5.

OCCULTIC; NINE

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Occultic; Nine is an ambitious anime where it tried to tell an intelligent sci-fi narrative, with a good mystery and innovative visual style. The level of ambition reminded me of another ambitious show of this season: Yuri On Ice. Except, that Yuri On Ice was much more successful in that regards than Occultic; Nine.

Occultic; Nine had a simple, long story to tell in a rough time frame of 270 minutes: that is what I tell myself to explain the consistent, fast pace  of the narrative. It is not just the dialogue, scene transitions and animation seemed to be fast too. It was like as if the staff increased the playback of a longer than 22 minute episode. The pacing isn’t an issue for me if it is consistently fast or slow in an anime. Tatami Galaxy also had a similar nice, fast pace that helped with its flash comedy. But what did this lightning pace do to Occultic; Nine?

The pacing did not help with character development. Sure, character development was there in substantial amounts. But I really didn’t get the time to process all the extensions for each of these members from quite a heavy cast. I really cannot say this breakneck pace actually helped to develop the mystery but it did really contribute to the suspense. Here too, like Erased, genre diverges from mystery to thriller in the later parts of the show.

The character designs were pretty well done except for Ryo-tas and her ‘front’ just seemed so outlandish and I am pretty sure those basketballs do not even exist in most ecchi anime. I don’t know, that gimmick of Ryo-tas was pretty disgusting to me. Overall, a pretty diverse, vibrant and weird cast of characters.

I have to say this anime has interesting visual style from rotated shot composition to scene transitions or even that Fight Club-like shot flashes in the middle of a frame. This visual style becomes more prominent in the later episodes. Like the following screen shots are all from episode 10:

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Flipped and Rotated
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Showing the picture in hand in the same frame
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Showing both the characters faces when they are facing away fromeach other.
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I dunno what THIS is going for…

Speaking of visuals, the opening was another interesting take on innovative visual style. I think this shows opening is one of the best of the year. I really liked patterned layers and the interesting typeset of the credits and how the credits are incorporated in the opening animation rather than non synchronized floating text.Screenshot (894).png

This long section might seem like I am giving more praise to this anime than it deserves, but this was an eye-catching anime of this season for me. The story may not have the best execution possible and it certainly needed more time to flesh out the story chunk by chunk rather than just ripping it to pieces by the sharp blades of the fast pacing. A decent show: 3.5/5.

POCO’S UDON WORLD

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I have watched Poco’s Udon World more consistently than the other shows mentioned. The only other anime that i watched the day it came out were: Haikyuu and March comes in like a lion. I liked the pacing of this anime. The drama and the slice-of-life elements are nicely placed throughout the show. The character writing is pretty well-tied… except Poco. This tanuki lacked character, sure, he is cute and all- but I have seen better ‘versions’ of this character in similar anime. The most memorable is Naru from Barakamon; she was this kid who was interested in calligraphy, had a desire to grow up and was an actual kid instead of a plushie character just saying cute things. I liked Souta and how the anime wraps up the story as perfectly as it possibly could. It started with a theme and ended with it. A very tight, short and enjoyable narrative. but if you are not a fan of SoL, I don’t recommend this anime. Otherwise, watch it because it has a bit more to offer than Sweetness and Lightning. Less Udon than you would expect, though. Rating: 3.5/5.

WWW.WORKING!!

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This season of Working has a different set of characters. And these characters are not better written than the first seasons. Partly because not enough time is spent on character development (obviously) and the a few skeletons of the previous cast are still pretty detectable in this season: like, the superhuman strength and orange hair is inherited by Miyakoshi from Mahiru, and the same lazy character of Manager had been translated to Kisaki. However, the majority of the cast is more weirder and diverse than the last batch. The comedy style has remained largely unchanged and because of this, this season got fewer laughs out of me compared to the last seasons. The goal of the series was similar to the last seasons- overcoming a sickness (in this case acute bad cooking syndrome which seems to be a thing). The dramedy parts are well done complemented by good character interactions. The show does not try anything different from the last seasons but fresh characters in this seasons are pretty solidly designed. Rating: 3/5.

Also, Muranushi Sayuri best girl.Screenshot (876).png

MARCH COMES IN LIKE A LION

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March Comes In Like A Lion is my favorite show of the season. I love the visuals in this anime, the watercolor backgrounds and the use of background shots in between frames; the silent moments and the use of character expressions as an integral part of story-telling. Apparently, each episode adapts one chapter but the way it is paced does not seem awkward at all;  I guess that’s the magic of use of silent shots. I like the process of Rei’s character development and how subtle the show is in its narrative. Every frame has something to say in this anime and I am kind of struggling to uphold an aspect to criticize in this beautiful anime. Okay, the cat shogi CG video was pretty obtrusive to the flow of the show. The OP and ED both carry that water color visual aesthetic well. It’s unfortunate that this anime cannot be in my top 10 because it hasn’t finished airing. Rating: 4.5/5.

That’s all for Fall 2016. I am planning to post my top 10 of 2016 on the 31st and probably best ops and eds. But for sure, the top 10 is coming. Thank you for reading through this.

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