Fall Final Update
2015 year in review

I strongly considered watching no shows in Winter due to a complete lack of things hat interested me (or at least, interesting things that weren’t licensed by Funi). In the end though, I tried out one show on positive feedback and after finishing that crammed in another very different show that also had good buzz behind it. Neither was a favorite, but they were entirely competent examples of “being good at something that doesn’t inherently interest me”. Which means I enjoyed them, but not in the way I would enjoy the shows I get truly passionate about.

Please note that I’m not a reviewer and these aren’t recommendations, so THIS IS NOT SPOILER FREE. I’m talking about my reactions to what I’ve watched and anything goes.

I believe this is my first season without an import since I started seasonal importing in Summer 2009. 26 season import streak broken. Oh well!


Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
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My feelings echo what I’m reading from others. Very well executed, subtle and nuanced, offering much that is uncommon in other anime… yet emotionally distant to a point that I had difficulty feeling the show in the ways I like, beyond general “appreciation of craft”. I’m not someone who can enjoy a show based purely on its craft. I need to connect to characters emotionally, and Rakugo struggled there.

Structuring an entire show as a flashback weighs on both your characters and audience. Inevitable outcomes dampen my emotional response in a way not entirely dissimilar to spoilers. When you approach a story this way, the unpredictable becomes a precious commodity.

And no one in Rakugo was more unpredictable than Miyokichi. She was some of the best and also the worst the show had to offer. Not in the choices she made and whether they’re right or wrong; I think her situation is far too difficult for me to pass judgement here. But Miyokichi complicated events in ways that were good for the story. Her genuine love and desire for Kikuhiko clashing with her independent streak and inability to trust men after a life of being used and discarded was engaging, powerful conflict. There’s a whole show to tell about her life, without a doubt. She was the most dynamic character in the cast, while also being the most trapped by her circumstances.

This peaked in ep8-9. The conversation at the festival with Sukeroku and parting with Kikuhiko created both potential and peril for her, and my immediate reaction was concern. I’m disappointed those concerns were validated. For her primary role after this to be to abandon her child and get herself and Sukeroku killed in a fit of emotion felt like a waste of a fascinating character. Nothing about how her final scene was executed worked for me. It’s not just that she died, I accept that. But it fell so flat. I’d always felt that she had a twisted sort of agency before this. Downtrodden and tragic for sure, but harboring a spark of resistance and ingenuity that mirrored Japan’s fraught post-war modernization.

What’s frustrating is I’m not entirely sure how else her story could have ended. In the end, inevitability won out, and she was mostly just there to be the reason Sukeroku is dead and Kikuhiko is haunted by the past. Ehh…

And yet, that scene came at the tail end of the two best episodes of the show. Kiku’s trip to find Sukeroku and bring him back was the best thing to happen to him and it brought a (much) younger Konatsu into the story! Never did the show, and certainly Kikuhiko, feel more alive than in those two episodes. I’d gladly watch a whole show about Konatsu and her two dads, but fate had other plans.

The rakugo performances were generally excellent, which counts for a lot. Yotarou’s ten minute performance in ep 1. The clear distinction of styles between Kiku and Sukeroku portrayed in ep 6. Kiku stunning the audience as the shinigami. The duo performing together for a young Konatsu. Sukeroku’s final performance. Over and over the show was able to use rakugo to convey the emotions the characters had trouble expressing otherwise, without coming off as clumsy or overly obvious. That I felt most connected to the characters when they were telling stories about other people in some ways reiterates my complaint about the show’s emotional distance, but if you’re going to have a show named Rakugo, giving us great rakugo performances is essential, and this show definitely does that.

Now to hope that season two gives Konatsu the focus she deserves! Though if she doesn’t get to perform rakugo I will be platinum mad. Either way, she and Yotarou won’t have the dagger of inevitability hanging over the heads in the ways Kikuhiko, Sukeroku, and Miyokichi did, so I feel like their story has significantly greater potential, if that’s what we’re going to get. I’ll be watching it.

 

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
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MEGUMIN

IS

REALLY

GOOD

Butt, gotta say Aqua isn’t bad either.

Alright why exactly did I watch a “boy gets thrown into a fantasy world” light novel adaptation? ::shrugs:: I had gone through most of the season without watching a single show and this one was getting a thumbs up from a bunch of people, including those who (like me) generally don’t like this sort of show. last time I acted on that I got Danmachi, which… ehh ended up not being great but had moments (esp eps 3 and 8). But before that I got Chaika and No Game No Life, both of which I really, really love. So sometimes it pays off!

Konosuba was no Chaika or NGNL (and episode 9 was outright bad) but I liked it better than Danmachi. The secret to its success? NO ROMANCE. As is usually the case, removing harems and love triangles makes an unexceptional male protagonist at least tolerable. Kazuma was a dick but the show’s style of humor kept it from feeling overbearing. Although that brand of protagonist misanthropy still wears thin if it’s not being constantly complemented with good hijinks from the girls. Thankfully, they provided that. Well, except for Darkness, her gimmick was old as soon as it began.

The other secret to its success is probably obvious from my selection of screencaps. Right now I’m ambivalent on whether I’ll watch season two, but I know I’ll give in at the first cute Megumin screencaps. She’s got one of my favorite character designs of the last few years and is just a joy of a character.

 

Ongoing shows
none

 

Dropped shows

Oshite! Galko-chan (watched: 1)
• I immediately got the vibe that it wasn’t my kind of humor and went no further.

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen (watched: 9)
• This is a Fall 2015 show, but I never got back to it, so I’m making a note her that I dropped it. I’m not sure if anyone on my twitter timeline managed to finish it, come to think of it.

 

Spring 2016 Viewing Plans

1. Anne-happy: Of course.
2. Sansha Sanyou: Funi got it and Funi is garbage, so I’ll be watching raws because it’s core Manga Time Kirara stuff I have to watch.
3. Pan de Peace: I’d strongly consider watching this raw if CR doesn’t get it, but no streams announced yet so I’m just waiting. [Edit: fuck yeah CR got it, onto the guaranteed list it goes.]
4. Bakuon!!: Okay, CR got this after all, so I’m sure I’ll check it out.
5. Flying Witch
6. Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken S4: I guess I’ll keep watching Jojo, even though I’m not sure why.

13 Responses to “Winter 2016 viewing update #1 (final), Spring viewing plans”

  1. Jim says:

    Aniplex’s streaming plans for Hai Furi haven’t been announced at this point. Yeah, Funi’s press release mentioned they’ll be carrying it and Asterisk War, Aniplex’s other show, but it didn’t mention that they’ll be showing Asterisk War on the one-week delay because CR has the priority stream for it. We still don’t know which one’s going to end up with first dibs on Hai Furi.

  2. jimmy02 says:

    Bakuon (and Kabaneri) on Amazon Prime.

    • something
      something says:

      What the fuck would Amazon want with Bakuon? What the hell?

      Well that’s off the list then. Blah.

    • Jim says:

      Are you sure about Bakuon? Sentai’s original announcement said that Bakuon would be streaming on Amazon Prime IN JAPAN, but it didn’t say anything at all about their plans for North American streaming beyond the standard “plans to offer a simulcast via select digital outlets” disclaimer, and I haven’t seen any more updates from them on their website or twitter feed since.

      Not that it would be an issue for me either way, since I already have an Amazon Prime subscription anyway, but that’s one of the shows I’m looking forward to so I’ve been keeping an eye peeled for any more news on it. I double-checked my Prime streams just now and don’t see it there either.

  3. something
    something says:

    Pan de Peace is a 3 min short… FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. It’s cute and gay, which are two very important things, but the only short (sub-15 mins) I’ve seen that’s avoided feeling hollow at the end is Yama no Susume.

    I am pretty disappointed in how Spring is shaping up right now. At least there’s two Kirara shows, which is a big deal, but that’s all I’m going to be passionate about, it seems.

    • BlackPoint says:

      Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu had an awesome beginning you should perhaps give it a try :) or you are not a fan of thoose type of animes^^

      • something
        something says:

        Not my kind of thing, no. These days I watch a lot less, so I only wander outside of slice of life shows in very special circumstances (or when there’s just no slice of life available like in Winter).

    • rederoin says:

      Sadly, with it being the first anime from comic cune and lack of materiaal(comic cune launched in late 2014), I was not surprised.
      Just hope it works out for comic cune and we get more anime from them.

  4. AnimePhoenix says:

    Dropped:
    – Endride

    Watched so far:
    – Kumamiko
    – Uchuu Patrol Luluco

    Unsure:
    – Mayoiga

    Yet to watch (Will probably drop a few on this though):
    – Joker Game
    – Bungou Stray Dogs
    – Kiznaiver
    – Kabaneri
    – Kuromukoro
    – Hakuouki short
    – Sakamoto desu ga
    – Shounen Maid
    – Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge
    – 12-sai
    – HeroAca
    – Gyakuten Saiba

    Sequels:
    – Kyokai no Rinne season 2

  5. rederoin says:

    Kouka no Pandora is worth if you can find fansubs/watch it raw.
    Gayest anime if 2016 winter.

    • AholePony says:

      It was pretty cute and it was plenty gay. Also happy to report the cast of Bakuon is more goofy and funny than I had expected, hopefully it can keep up the comedy this season.

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