Previous update!

Busy busy season. Only doing very brief comments for each show.

[Standard disclaimer: Not spoiler free.]

Full Series
1. Flip Flappers [◄new►] – 3 eps, 9.5/10 – [99% import]
I don’t understand how this show is real, but it’s got masterpiece-tier potential. Every once in a while these industry talent showcases come along, but they’re typically things I have little to no interest in from a premise/format standpoint, like Space Dandy or Mob Psycho or the Animator Expos. Flip Flappers, however, is so incredibly my thing.

The bond developing between Papika and Cocona is the one stable element binding together three episodes that have taken us through a series of bizarre, abstract, hyper-inventive, and stunningly gorgeous landscapes. The third episode in particular is one of this year’s highlights. Flip Flappers is about something, some quest to obtain some artifact from some strange dreamscapes… but that doesn’t matter right now. The core of this show is and hopefully will continue to be Cocona’s experience of being thrust into these new worlds alongside Papika, the girl who had tuned her life upside down and inside out. They’re coming to depend on and care about one another under the strangest of circumstances, and at a speed neither one of them is able to process in real-time. Watching their brains try to catch up to the physical experiences they’re going through mirrors the audience’s struggle to comprehend what the hell is going on.

I haven’t the slightest idea where Flip Flappers is headed, but I do know that it’s a treasure too good for this world.

2. Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume [◄new►] – 3 eps, 9.0/10 – [95% import]
A shockingly well put-together sports drama. The initial draw for me was how squarely within my character strike zone Agari is, but it’s handled both her and Koyori as co-leads really well. Koyori’s rise up the ranks and Agari’s reaction to a challenge to her personal space have been deftly executed. So have the table tennis matches. It’s not an animation showcase, but there’s a lot of great angles and impressive climaxes to the matches. Episode three dialed that all up to 11 with the Agari vs Koyori match. It intensity was reflected both in their physical states (heart pounding, heavy perspiring, deep breaths) and emotional states (they establish an intimate connection through competition that they couldn’t they establish through words). The music drove home the feeling and the whole thing climaxed in the most satisfying way. Agari’s walls were broken down, Koyori’s love for the game hit a new peak, and they were finally able to reach one another.

It’s intense stuff. Takkyuu Musume hasn’t missed a single beat so far.

3. Shuumatsu no Izetta [◄new►] – 4 eps, 8.5/10 – [90% import]
Izetta and Fine is one of those relationships I become instantly and deeply invested in. If anything bad happens to either of them – or the show pulls something idiotic with a sudden male love interest, I’ll be devastated. Their relationship is the center of gravity around which the rest of the show revolves. It’s not that the rest of the show isn’t interesting, although it does have its flaws. It’s that I’ll never be able to care as much about military operations and political machinations as I will about Fine and Izetta’s happiness together. They’re such immediately endearing and sympathetic characters that all else seems to fade away. Sure I want an interesting story to frame their relationship, but as long as everything that happens ultimately serves the aim of telling their story, I’m almost indifferent as to how the exact plot beats play out.

4. Vivid Strike! [◄new►] – 4 eps, 8.0/10 – [90% import]
Hoooo boy, Rinne’s flashback is the episode I watched just before this. It’s… something you have to see for yourself. The Nanoha franchise is a bizarre animal. Five seasons thus far, which could essentially be four different franchises: 1st/As, Strikers, Vivid, Vivid Strike. All so similar in some ways, and so very different in others.

I’m intrigued about where they’re going with Rinne now, that’s for sure. I’m also digging Fuuka well enough as a lead. She can never be Nanoha, but this has always been a series that thrived on duos anyway. I also appreciate the show’s meta humor in teasing at but never confirming its place, if any, in Nanohaverse continuity. If the Nanoha franchise is surreal clusterfuck these days, might as well embrace that.

5. Gi(a)rlish Number [◄new►] – 2 eps, 8.0/10 – [80% import]
It’s annoying to be behind on this one, so no thanks TBS for delaying the legal streams by a fucking week. That’s how you convince people to watch fansubs instead. I’m waiting for the streams now (hence no ep 3 yet), but if spoiler-prone stuff starts happening I may need to change that.

Thus far it’s a just sarcastic piss-taking gag after sarcastic piss-taking gag. Chitose is a indefensibly smug garbage baby with a rotten personality and no regard for other people, and that’s exactly why we love her so much. It’s taking shots at directors, producers, light novel authors, production committees, music labels, on and on and on – it’s playing inside baseball with its humor but damn it work. Having the most attractive character art of the season is a pretty solid plus too.

6. Lostorage incited WIXOSS [◄new►] – 4 eps, 8.0/10 – [80% import]
WIXOSS RETURNS. The existence of male selectors is a truly awful development I can’t believe anyone in their right mind would greenlight, but the old Wixoss staples of rigged games and impending despair around every corner are back, baby. I mean, Chinatsu’s life went to hell at a speed that would make Aki-Lucky dizzy. And when Suzuko and Chinatsu reunite next episode, I have no doubt it’s gonna get very ugly before it gets any better. Lostorage’s game’s rules actually manage to be even more rigged and unfair than Selector’s which is saying something. Still, Chinatsu and Suzuko’s reliance on and feelings for one another have been the undercurrent of the show thus far, and I can only hope that at the end of all the despair they’re able to save each other. Don’t think I could stand to see anything else.

7. Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Kekikaku [◄new►] – 4 eps, 7.5/10 – [40% import]
Ah, what I wouldn’t give for fans to just let shows exist without comparing them to some more famous example of the genre. Yes, Mahoiku is a dark mahou shoujo with deadly stakes to its competition that drive conflict between magical girls. But the Madoka comparisons feel shallow already. I think it stands on its own just fine – it’s no masterpiece but I’m having a lot of fun with it. I find myself a little worried about it knocking off some of the more interesting girls too early, but it’s been doing it in interesting enough ways (goddamn, Swim Swim) that I’m excited to see how each new episode plays out.

8. Natsume Yuujin-chou Go [◄new►] – 3 eps, 7.5/10 – [40% import]
Three episodes in and it’s hit all the franchise’s main beats: vaguely-threatening youkai incident with Reiko flashbacks, heartwarming yet fleeting and bittersweet human-youkai interactions, and exorcist-related plot-focused shenanigans. Natsume has always been a fairly interesting mixture of calm iyashikei and more intense youkai folklore stuff, and I’m content for it to continue along those lines. Part of me does want to get some movement and closure in the overarching story, but the other part expects to like those plot-heavy episodes less (unless we get a lot of Reiko). So I’m not sure exactly what I want. I’ll just let it do its own thing.

9. Keijo!!!!!!!! [◄new►] – 3 eps, 7.0/10 – [10% import]
Charmingly idiotic. Behind the Vacuum But Cannons and boobology classes is perhaps a semi-serious sports drama but if you can’t get a kick out of the absurdity that drives every scene, you won’t last long. Personally I find the main four a lot of fun (especially Miyata ♥), and it’s not like we can object to the fanservice as feeling “out of place” in a show literally about battling butts and boobs.

10. Stella no Mahou [◄new►] – 2 eps, 7.0/10 – [50% import]
Cute and relaxing, though rather by-the-numbers. A very average production means we can’t rely on superior craft to elevate the mundane material, so it’s going to have to live or due by its characters. Then again, that’s the most important aspect of any show. There’s not a lot of spark in the cast at the moment, but I don’t dislike anyone, so that’s fine. Yumine resulted in episode two being stronger than episode one, so the more involved she gets the better it’ll be for the whole cast, I think.
Higher import chance than some above it because I’m morally obligated to do all I can to support Manga Time Kirara/Houbunsha adaptations.

 

Short Series
none

 

Pre-Summer Series
Kemono no Souja Erin36 eps, 6/10

Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai29 eps, 6/10

 

Dropped Series
none yet

 

There are three shows this season with a serious shot at a yearly top 5 position. Izetta holds both the most potential reward and biggest risk, so it’s the one I’m the most apprehensive about. Takkyuu Musume is quite “safe”, it’s just a question of whether it can pivot from the literally flawless execution of its opening arc to the larger competition. And Flip Flappers… yo I don’t even know, it’s just gonna be what it’s gonna be, I’m just along for the ride, clinging on for dear life.

10 Responses to “Fall 2016 viewing update #1”

  1. riinno says:

    I don’t watch anime on a weekly basis, so I’ll end up watching these between December and March, so I can only predict on what I’m going to import at the moment:

    • Yuri!!! on Ice, 95%: Good character design without looking incredibly unrealistic like Free!, there are some mild bishies, but the main character is not, and he’s looks completely up my alley, so it’s all dandy fine. I’m pretty sure this might top Battery for me this year, let’s see if it’s go “all the way” with its subtext.

    • Ajin 2nd Season, 95%: First season was very entertaining despite Kaito only showing up for the initial episodes, so I really hope he returns for this season. This is the first CG anime that I enjoyed and if Polygon keeps it up with its realistic face expressions and eye movements, it’ll have my import.

    • Hibike! Euphonium 2, 90%: This is an odd one, I usually don’t import stuff that has girls as the main characters, because I tend to really hate female characters on anime, but that’s not the case with Euphonium… I completely fell in love with Reina, she’s just too sincere and real, everything I could ask for. I’m not sure what direction they will go in this season but I’m sure KyoAni won’t fuck it up.

    • Fune wo Amu, 75% / 3-gatsu no Lion, 75%: Seinen stuff. Not too sure about these, but I’m confident seeing the PVs they might be at least on a watchable level.

    • All Out!!, 50%: Dudes playing Ruby, lots of manly thighs and ass, which is good, but will the characters be of any worth? This is labeled as a Seinen, but it really feels like a Shounen by the previews. This has a long way for me to watch since it’ll end up only next year.

    • Girlish Number, 25%: Looks like it has some witty writing about the anime industry while still having “cute” girls in the main cast. Should I laugh? It’s pretty hard to break the 4th wall without resorting to this type of character design? C’mon. I’ll give it a shot anyways, why not…

    • Occultic;Nine, 5%: Probably a flop, but the blonde boy might drag me into it. Not optimistic for this one after seeing some gigantic boobs filling up my whole screen.

    Yeah, this might be the best season of the year, lots of good stuff compared to the disappointment of the previous seasons.

    • riinno says:

      I will lower Yuri!!! on Ice to a likelihood of 40% import right now, I’m not exactly content with the screen caps I’m seeing of the show as the weeks go by, plus for whatever reason, Pixiv is flooded with fan arts of it which is making me quite sick (thanks for traumatizing me HQ!!), so I’ll stop hyping this one for now, but! I’ll still give it a shot because the ice skating scenes are not bad at all.

      Also lowering 3-gatsu no Lion to a 35%, mostly because I didn’t saw it was a 2-cour and a Shaft show, but there’s still a chance nonetheless. Besides that I might give Flip Flappers a chance, it’s really damn gorgeous to look at and Cocona seems the type of character that I might care about.

      …So yeah, Ajin and Euphonium might be the only ones locked in at the moment for me.

  2. AholePony says:

    Wow you really are watching a lot this season compared to what I see from you normally. Can’t say I blame you, all of these are fun to watch. That Vivid Strike flashback! Wixoss is the only one on here I’m wishy-washy about, I just KNOW it’s depressing so I have to kind-of force myself to watch it because I watch anime to escape depressing crap, it’s still not bad though. I dropped Stella no Mahou after 2 episodes because I wasn’t feeling any connection with the cast and there’s just too many series this season. I might re-visit and marathon at the end of the season depending on what you end up thinking about it.

    • something
      something says:

      Wixoss is depressing in the sort of way you can still laugh at because it’s so over the top, so it’s like… amusing depressing? It really works well, whatever it is. But if it doesn’t end happily, at least for Chi and Suzu, my opinion will change. Seeing everyone suffer is the charm, but I don’t want it to end in suffering.

  3. hpulley says:

    I am more worried about Izetta. My Tragedy Meter is tingling in a bad way… My feeling right now is that it will NOT be a happy ending for our favorite couple. I hope I’m wrong…

    There have been a lot of game-making anime lately but I’m still enjoying Stella no Mahou for now.

    I want to enjoy Long Riders but just a couple of episodes in, Actas is already facing delays. The carry-over from Regalia being delayed a month.

    WIXOSS is “suffering the anime” so it should be like that but I hope we get a decent ending. So far the male characters are just opponents so it is still quite watchable for me.

    Flip Flappers I have no idea what to think. It’s fun but I guess we’ll see if/when an actual overriding plot arrives. They are hinting at one… that could be good (usually I need an overriding plot) or bad as it could spoil the random zaniness of the series so far.

    Takkyuu is fun, silly. Not quite as silly as Keijo!!!!!!!! but not to be taken as a serious table tennis anime, even though they are describing spins and so on.

    Vivid Strike. While the flashback was intense I found it beyond even anime believability. Not sure it’ll turn me right off the show… don’t want to get into all my problems with that episode here (unless it’s OK) but I wish they’d thought about that one a little bit more. Spoiled itself in the previous ep’s PV too, that removed a lot of the tension; it was just a matter of when we’d see that scene.

    Girlish Number is a lot of fun. Wataru Watari poking fun at himself and the rest of the industry is really good. Can he keep that up for the whole series? I’m not so sure. This show, Qualidea Code, the Oregairu Game… he is working on just about everything but Oregairu novel 12 though I hear it was sent back for rework by his editor.

    Mahou Shoujo Ikusei is really interesting. It seems to be more of a game than an anime, more of a puzzle than anything but the characters still come through. It has taken the tragic mahou shoujo genre to new heights. Really enjoying it though I am in constant fear for the lives of the characters. Tragedy Meter not needed for that show, tragedy is just oozing out of the screen.

    Keijo!!!!!!!! is really, really silly. It is fun but with so many good shows this season I might forget to watch it as it isn’t really THAT memorable so far aside from the silly vacuum cannons and ludicrous visuals.

    Udon no Kuni isn’t cgdct but it might be Japan boonies slice of life, supernatural and foodie enough for some people to pick it up. It is a very pleasant surprise for me.

    3gatsu no Lion probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I’m really enjoying it so far. Not going to be a big seller for Shaft but I am going to watch this one to the end for sure.

    Brave Witches seemed like just a rehash at first but after a while it got a bit better. Seems like it might be worth watching.

    Occultic;Nine is crazy though it has a familiar sort of Drrr spastic feel to it. It seemed really awesome at the start but it seems to be getting worse by the episode. Will see how it goes.

    • something
      something says:

      Takkyuu Musume is very much in the Saki mold, though how close it is will depend on whether it takes a similar approach to the rival schools. It pains me so much that this is only one cour…

      • hpulley says:

        Takkyuu Musume’s disc sales look like dirt and the manga has never ranked on Oricon. I think this is another one where we should just be happy it got made at all. Same goes for Flip flappers.

        Sales of what I’m watching are looking bad this season. If Izetta gets 3-5K I guess it won’t be a complete disaster but that still isn’t exactly great. I am watching Gundam and Haikyuu but they aren’t the sort of shows I actually buy. Another season of reminding myself that streaming and merch counts for more now…

        • something
          something says:

          I’m thinking 3k ceiling for Izetta barring a burst in popularity later. Ep 3 got it ranking half-decently, but that didn’t last long and ep 4 had much less of an effect.

          And yet, it’ll very likely be the best-selling thing I watch this season, with the exception of presumably Natsume (which has women to drive its sales). RIP me.

  4. AnimePhoenix says:

    Fall has showered me with so many shows but it looks like Winter might be pretty bare.

    Yuri!!! on Ice – This show. THIS SHOW. It exceeded my expectations and it continues to make me look forward to it even more as each episode airs. I’m so happy it’s well received. I hope it sells really well. 10k would be a dream!

    Maji-kyun! Renaissance- This show is actually decent, being a reverse harem. The heroine actually has some depth and no despicable Do-S scums in sight, way better than UtaPri season 4 which has no reverse harem elements left. -_-

    Haikyuu!! season 3 – RIP Coach Ukai’s VA Tanaka Kazunari. I was so heartbroken when I saw the news. Season 3 is amazing so far. I can’t wait to see how my boys do against Shiratorizawa.

    Touken Ranbu Hanamaru – I thought this would be meh but it’s actually pretty cute. I really like it. Full of cute swords doing cute things.

    Sangatsu no Lion – I didn’t think much of the first episode but this show is growing on me.

    Nobunaga no Shinobi – My favorite short anime this season.

    Gakuen Handsome, ClassicaLoid – I like them enough.

    Watashi ga Motete Dousunda – Do yourselves a favor and just read the manga. Sigh. So low budget. But I’ll take what I can get for a shoujo manga anime.

    Drifters, All Out!!, Nanbaka and DoriFesu, Trickster – All nice but I might drop a few because this season is so stacked.

  5. Chad says:

    Is Sound Euphonium 2 any kind of improvement over Season 1?

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