Previous update!

I’m watching a little less in Summer but there’s some really good stuff here.

[Standard disclaimer: Not necessarily spoiler free.]

Full Series
1. Amanchu! [◄new►] – 4 eps, 8.5/10 – [95% import]
If anything will challenge Flying Witch this year, it may be Amanchu. Aria comparisons come natural thanks to it being an Amano manga, but they’re quite different shows thus far. If Aria was a story about the vibrant community of Neo Venezia and its inhabitants, Amanchu is an intensely more intimate story about the relationship between Pikari (Hikari) and Teko (Futaba).

The show’s gorgeous art (full of exceptional hair animation and stunning close-ups) is reflected in the beauty of its lead characters. Teko is a new transplant from Tokyo, depressed, alone, introverted, and lacking a sense of purpose and direction. Pikari is a bizarre, alien-like bundle of energy, obsessed with diving and super outgoing.

But as we’ve gotten to know both girls better and they’ve grown more comfortable around each other, they’ve revealed more complex personalities. Teko finds herself opening up quite freely to Pikari, to her own surprise. Pikari admits that her goofy behavior (the whistle, the strange vocal tics) is largely a coping mechanism for her own insecurities and inability to express herself clearly. They’re a lot more alike than they know, and the process of watching them realize this and become consumed within each other’s presence is incredibly beautiful (and romantic, even if the show will never acknowledge it as such).

Amanchu has the potential to be a truly stand-out production and episode two in particular showed that. I don’t know how far it can get in one cour, and its ranking so far sure doesn’t make me enthusiastic about its chances for a sequel. But if it stays laser focused on the relationship between Teko and Pikari, I have very high hopes for what it can achieve.

2. New Game! [◄new►] – 4 eps, 8/10 – [95% import]
This is more like it. I’m already enjoying this a lot more than Sansha Sanyou, and I feel like it’s nailed those quiet moments I love so much in slice of life shows. Episode three in particular (Aoba refining her NPCs and then the discussion with Nenecchi at the end) was one of the best episodes of the season so far.

It’s not quite as heavy on expressive character animation as Sansan but makes up for it with the kind of really clean, colorful character designs I like so much. Everyone is adorable and they dress damn well too, especially Kou. Visually, this show could hardly be more My Thing.

The workplace setting is also unusual for a slice of life show. School is fine and all but sometimes it’s nice to move into a new setting. Functionally it’s not a lot different from a school club anime, but the professional environment does allow for slightly different dynamics among the characters.

The show also wasted little time in letting you know who the pairings (something else Sansan lacked) are: Aoba/Hifumi, Kou/Rin, Hajime/Yun, Shizuku/Umiko. I’m a-okay with all of these. That said I do have some questions about how the show will handle this. The last gag in episode four was slightly frustrating. Framing a romantic scene then derailing it with a gag is the kind of thing you can get away with a couple times, but eventually it grows tiresome. Yes, I know not to expect these shows to actually get serious about yuri, unfortunately. But there’s a fine line between being mostly benignly ambiguous and being actively frustrating. I hope New Game can at least stay on the right side of that line if it’s not going to actively commit to anything.

3. Amaama to Inazuma [◄new►] – 4 eps, 8/10 – [90% import]
Exactly what I hoped it would be. Just a single dad and his adorable little daughter doing their best to figure each other out. Kouhei wants Tsumugi to have good meals. Kotori wants someone to make and eat meals with. Tsumugi just wants to eat. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.

The main fear I had was how they’d handle a potentially tricky relationship between Kouhei (a teacher) and Kotori (his attractive young high school student). Any attempt to develop a relationship between them would come off as skeevy, but so far the show has done nothing of the sort. He’s an adult and a dad and sees nothing in Kotori but a nice student who helps him make his daughter happy. And Kotori doesn’t seem interested in him that way either. She really just wants to share meals with someone.

I won’t necessarily be opposed to her developing a crush on him later -if- it’s nipped in the bud quickly and doesn’t turn serious. After seeing those two interact for four episodes, I understand why she might enjoy being around him, and that feeling can rather naturally turn into a form of attraction. Just don’t let it go beyond that! The focus of the show should be “Find more ways to put tasty food in Tsumugi’s belly and make her smile” every week.

4. Ange Vierge [◄new►] – 4 eps, 7.5/10 – [50% import]
I expected this to be garbage but it turns out it’s… actually… GOOD. Alright, the dialogue is garbage, overloaded with references to game mechanics and power levels, with characters explaining basic facts of their world to each other as if they somehow wouldn’t already know. But it’s charming garbage, and the dumb dialogue is part of the fun at this point.

It’s also a better production than I expected. I fully anticipated a bunch of ugly 3DCG characters when they’re flying around fighting, but nope! The enemies are CG but they’re also just random geometrical blobs like Strike Witches neuroi so whatever. The OP sequence and song are also great.

The cast offers a bunch of excellent ships, the character designs are great, the seiyuu are an all-star lineup, and it’s just fun fun fun. Definitely recommended if you like Sky Girls or Strike Witches of just anything with cute girls flying around and blowing stuff up and being dumb.

 

Short Series
none

 

Pre-Summer Series
1. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu18 eps, 8/10
I feel like I’ve said so much about this show already that it’s hard to summarize it here, even though I’ve not discussed it here before. I started Re:Zero when it was already 10 episodes in so I don’t have any comments from early on, but here’s some of my thoughts from elsewhere:
On the show in general through ep 12
On the arc ongoing as of ep 14
On my hesitant reaction to level of violence in ep 15
On the female cast as of ep 18

2. Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai18 eps, 6/10
Give more Reimi. Reimi cute.

 

Dropped Series
none yet

 

Crunchyroll sweeping everything I’d want to watch this season was great. Re:Zero is showing a strong second cour and four new shows to watch in Summer is enough for me.

My Aria the Animation rewatch stalled at episode 9, and I really want to to pick that back up. I also have a chance to finally get around to Owarimonogatari, so I want to watch that soon. But between the new season and playing some games (more Project Diva Future Tone, a second Fallout 4 playthrough w/the DLC, Idolmaster Platinum Stars just came out this past week, and Diablo III resets for a new season this weekend, ahhhh) and other stuff, I’ve got barely a fraction of the time I need to do the stuff I want to do.

15 Responses to “Summer 2016 viewing update #1”

  1. Vin says:

    Ange Vierge episode 3 for most FUN episode of the season so far.

  2. BlackPoint says:

    How about this ones
    Kono Bijutsu-bu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!
    Momokuri
    Handa-kun
    Hatsukoi Monster (though personnaly kinda get myself to like it, just feels all so wrong =/ but well since i got time i still watch it^^)
    they are kinda up you you taste since i see ya like kinda SOL stuff with school/comedy.
    Though ye there are few other really good ones not SOL ye but still worth watchin like Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin,91 Days,Tales of Zestiria the X

    • BlackPoint says:

      ugh so many typos where i can buy an EDIT button *-*

    • something something says:

      None of those four really look like they’d be up my alley. They’re either het and/or licensed by Funi from what I know, both of which I stay away from. I don’t think I have any shows I’m on the fence about this season like I did in previous seasons. Ange Vierge was my one late pick-up and I’m enjoying it a lot but nothing else on the season list is tempting me.

      Maaaaaaaaybe Fukigen na Mononokean since I sometimes like youkai stuff, but I can just wait for Natsume s5 if I’m gonna watch a male lead youkai show and with four ongoing shows plus two continuing Spring shows, I’m pretty full up.

      • BlackPoint says:

        I see and yeh ange vierge was a pleasant surprise for me too this season kinda has is own charm which makes me always look forward to next ep :)

  3. Oil says:

    I was caught off guard by Ange Vierge as well. It’s just the staff having a fun time with the cheesy as fuck campy drama, bath scenes up the wazoo, and that really silly rice ball scene with the two sisters. I’m glad they didn’t take the overtly serious route that the second episode seemed to imply.

  4. Nico says:

    Amanchu! and New Game were basically blind imports so them two for sure. Will probably start importing Re:Zero too because it refuses to get worse.

  5. Jim says:

    Don’t know how it’ll translate to hard disc sales yet, but it looks like Amaama is pulling good audience numbers in Japan.

    http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2016/08/23/sweetness-and-lightning-makes-a-good-start-for-animenome-slot

    • something something says:

      Yeah, discs will do mediocre at best but it actually getting ratings in a late night slot is impressive. Whether they actually had any ad buys lined up to take advantage of it is another question, I guess… The line about it being on “27 streaming services” is one that should be repeated far and wide, though, because there’s still a persistent idea in the foreign community that Japan doesn’t have much streaming, which isn’t true.

      • hpulley says:

        IMO Japan has too many streaming services, too fragmented. I cry about having to pay for Crunchyroll and Funimation but having to pay for so many fragmented services in Japan can be a real pain, or just expensive. It wasn’t too bad when I lived in Tokyo, I could PVR many shows and watch them when I had time (yeah right, working until 11pm most weekdays, I watch way more anime while I’m here) but when living anywhere outside of Tokyo it is terrible. Not many stations carry anime at all and the ones that do are often days or even weeks behind Tokyo, as is Nico Nico Douga. Otherwise you have to decide which streaming services to subscribe to or buy episodes a la carte… It is a bit shocking that Japan still lacked a true national broadcaster but I suppose nowadays it doesn’t matter anymore.

        When I am on short trips there in hotels then I can watch anime when I’m jet lagged but otherwise there is no legal way to watch it for the most part. Nico Nico is so behind I can only see episodes I’ve already seen here in the west and otherwise my only choice is a la carte streaming.

        • something something says:

          Yeah. I get why it’s so fragmented, though. When it’s the domestic market and you’re dealing with a patchwork of TV stations and involving a lot more companies, there’s no way it can be as centralized as a secondary foreign market like the US where there were never all that many licensing companies to begin with (because the market wouldn’t be able to support them) and even less for streaming. And each individual show is handled by a single company in the US (usually) since they’re doing nothing besides localization and distribution vs a whole bunch in Japan getting it made in the first place. That fact that CR/Funi are specifically dedicated to anime streaming also centralizes it a lot more, whereas anime is just one type of program among many in Japan.

          Not that you don’t know all of this, just thinking out loud about why it’s so much more centralized in North America. But yes, at least in the US/Canada where there’s less region restrictions, these days we have it much better than most fans in Japan do.

          (We have it much much worse in literally every other area related to being an anime fan, and half of all streaming licenses go to a super garbage company, but I’m purely talking access.)

          Edit: Though, that said, I don’t really know what non-anime streaming is like in the US. Is it nearly as fragmented as JP streaming? I know we have Netflix and Hulu and Amazon but I’m not sure how many other ones there are.

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