Spring Anime 2016 Review (Part 1/3)

shounenmaidpromo

Shounen Maid
Shounen Maid

stardf29 – 9/10

This is the show that I noted early on to be a candidate for my favorite of the season, and in the end it has become exactly that. Once you realize that the actual story is nowhere near as creepy as the premise might have originally seemed, what you have is a very heartfelt tale of a young boy finding family after having lost his mother, and his uncle who takes care of him in honor of his late sister. It is a show that uses its slice-of-life nature very effectively emotionally, and beyond all of that it is also just a very fun show with a great cast of main and supporting characters. As I have mentioned before, this is a show that is very much worth checking out, especially if you like heartwarming family stories.

Boku-no-Hero-Academia-Opening

Boku no Hero Academia
My Hero Academia

R86 – 7/10 

It is, I assume, a commonly held desire to be a hero, or at least to be thought of as heroic. Hit anime series such as Tiger and Bunny and One Punch Man have capitalized on this desire, to say nothing of countless live action series. But what if one lived in a world where super powers were commonplace, in fact where it was rare not to be born with at least some minor supernatural ability or “Quirk”? In such a world, one would expect, the people with the strongest super powers would decide to be either “heroes” or “villains,” depending on their underlying motivation.

And it is into such a world that Midoriya Izuku (or “Deku” to some of his classmates, using an alternate reading of his given name) is born. Unlike his classmates, Izuku develops no Quirk during his early childhood years. If it were not for the intervention of super-duper-hero All Might (I am not making this up), Izuku would without a doubt have been unable to attend the hero academy — but it is to their surprise (and, for some, chagrin) that he shows up with them on the first day.

This series is fast-paced to say the least, of necessity, as Izuku learns to control his newly-bestowed Quirk. The humor is snappy and witty as well. I have to think that the creators are trying their best to get one or more subsequent seasons for this anime series, which as far as I can tell from its popularity, I would expect to be no problem. The series might suffer the same Too Many Characters flaw as Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, but if it continues past its first season as I anticipate, we will eventually get to know them all.

Boku no Hero Academia is, to be fair, the only show of the season that I am watching. And my score of 7/10 at MAL is, to be fair, the score I give almost every series out of the gate, as long as I find it to be watchable and not overly cringey. Depending on how the season ends, I could easily imagine upgrading it to 8/10. I hope that it impresses me enough for me to do so.

Turning down the Childhood Friend

Hundred
Hundred

Medieval Otaku – 4/10 

As a fan of harem shows, my season lineup felt lacking without one; so I eventually added Hundred to fill this void.  What we have in Hundred is a harem show which borrows liberally from both Freezing and Infinite Stratos but fails to be as good as either.  Though it has a fair beginning, the way the plot meandered between action and romance made for a mediocre show.

The fault perhaps lies with the animators attempting to pander to both men and women in the way that Neo-Shonen attempts to do.  It has a combination of action, fanservice, likable female characters, and romantic struggles.  Yet, one can be certain that the fanservice drove away most female fans, the male fans would have appreciated better action, and both would have preferred more consistent comedy.  The show has its high points in the realms of comedy and action, but their quality declines over the course of the show.  The creepy and frenetic childhood friend Claudia Loetty and the courageous yet sensitive school president Claire Harvey stand as the best characters of the lot, and Claire deserved far better than the ending had in store for her–knocking off half a star from my final score.

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Kuma Miko
Girl Meets Bear

Japesland – 6/10 4/10

Kuma Miko had a pretty dang weird first episode. Talk about some pretty strange bestiality references and near-NSFW content in an otherwise ecchi-free, family friendly anime. It also rather suffers from a somewhat slow pace and reliance upon trope-driven humor propagated by many shows that preceded it and executed it much better. Without reading any further, you can pretty much sum up the series as follows: another slice-of-life comedy.

Yet in spite of being generally unremarkable, unlike the ten or so shows I dropped this season, this one kept me coming back. Some (coughkazecough) have complained about its inconsistent or slow gag pacing. Plus, I won’t back down from any of my complaints in the paragraph above. But there’s something kind of special about the relationship between a moe miko and a talking bear. The irony of a bear using an iPad and teaching his rustic roommate and neighbors to use the Internet still managed to bring a smile to my face each and every week, and that’s worth something.

Well, the last two episodes (viewed after writing the above content) were pretty awful both from a creative perspective and, really, in regard to its message. By the end, Kuma Miko devolved into a sub-par series about a girl unable to overcome her social anxiety, finally settling for the inability to succeed… as encouraged by her closest friends. Despite a rather solid middle leaning toward the first half, I just can’t recommend it for its awkward pacing and downright nasty treatment of the main character, despite its otherwise unique and well-written characters.

Haifuri

Haifuri
High School Fleet

Kaze – 5/10

I expected cute girls doing cute things. I got cute girls doing cute things. Sometimes. Sporadically placed throughout a series that attempted to be serious. This is not inherently a bad thing; there are series which are able to pull off a balance of comedy and seriousness. However, instead, Haifuri failed on both fronts, never really managing to produce anything beyond surface level entertainment. There were plenty of individual scenes or even episodes that may very well have been entertaining on their own. But in the context of the attempted serious plot and how randomly placed some slice of life episodes were in between serious “life and death” battles, it just didn’t make any sense in terms of scripting. If I were to have one thing to praise about the series, it would be that there are some amusing characters, even if they tend to repeat their antics which can get tiring.

GomaChan_Ep05_GomaOrca

Shounen Ashibe: Go! Go! Goma-chan
Shounen Ashibe: Go! Go! Goma-chan

MRNewman – 7/10

Shounen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan is a short-form series for kids about a 1st grade boy and his pet seal. Yes, that is the basic premise of the show. Yes, it’s weird that a 1st grader has a seal. He also brings said seal to school, to the bathhouse with his Dad and friends, and to the aquarium (which is where the screen shot comes from). The series follows Ashibe immediately after moving to a new town. It also follows his friend he left behind, Sugao, whose adventures without Ashibe start off sad, but turn into some fun moments with Yeti sightings! As someone who likes short form anime, this was an easy one for me to get drawn into. Yet, the real reason I was interested was to see if my kids would like it.

You see, I have a first grader who’ll be in second grade in the fall. I also have a 5 year old and twins who will be 2 next month. So, I have children in the target demographic for this series. Their thoughts? They love it. Watching them sit on my lap and giggle at each new episode, at the absurdity of a boy bringing a seal to school, or seeing Sugao hand a cookie to a Yeti is precious. The subtitles at CrunchyRoll (which is where we watched it) are fine and were paced well enough that my now 7 year old was able to read them.

Why the high rating? It’s not a great show. It’s pacing is slow and the production delays are annoying. But, as a children’s show it works well. The content is unoffensive. The characters are cutely designed and fun. The situations they get into are silly and easy to follow for young children. So, for what it is – I give it an 7 out of 10. My kids have watched programming that is far less successful and entertaining than this series. If you have young kids, I’d recommend it as an easy introduction to anime. If you don’t? It’s cute and funny in tiny bites, so I think it is still worth watching.

sanshasanyoureview

Sansha Sanyou
Three Leaves, Three Colors

stardf29 – 8/10

As I mentioned when I went over the slice-of-life anime of this seasonThree Leaves, Three Colors is a very balanced slice-of-life show, having many of the appeals of other slice-of-life show. The characters are charming and cute and the show does have some nice emotional moments in it. One aspect I particularly like is that, as likable as the main girls are, they are also notably flawed and have trouble getting along with certain side characters. This allows them to have some hints of character development as they try to improve their relations with them when the situation calls for it. Overall, this is definitely a great show for fans of cute-girls-doing-cute-things shows, as well as a good choice for anyone looking to get into the slice-of-life genre in general.

reZeroCalisthenics

Re:Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu
Re: Zero Starting Life in a Different World

Emdaisy1 – 9/10

First, the screenshot is NOT a spoiler for the show. Since it’s only half-aired, I have no idea if it’ll end in “victory” (or what that would even mean) at this point… Second, keep in mind this review is only based on the first half of the show so far!

So, I honestly picked up this show half expecting that I’d have to drop it. When I read the description and got to the bit about “a mysterious beauty named Satella” saving Subaru, I started worrying that this show would turn into some fanservice-filled plot-light story-light tale of the dumb but lovable protagonist and his “mysterious beauty” savior/new girlfriend. So far, I am happy to say I have been proven wrong! I gave the show a shot, despite my doubts, due to the explanation that Subaru keeps reliving the same scene(s). As someone who loves Doctor Who for the beautiful paradoxical, time-jumping story arcs, this concept really drew me in. I’ve gotta’ say, the show does a really good job of it, too! The plot was a bit slow for about 3 episodes (basic explanation of backstory to show where Subaru is and how he keeps reliving the same things) but episode 4 picks up the pace and it hasn’t slowed down since!

The show’s not a 10/10 because it does have the odd crude joke/reference as Subaru can be a bit of a pervert at times, plus I’m still rather frustrated with the lack of explanation of why Subaru suddenly appeared in that world (here’s hoping it’s explained in the latter half of the season). However, it’s still a solid 9/10 for everything else. The characters are great. Even Subaru makes up for his odd pervy moment with his genuine selflessness and how simply he finds joy. I love how every episode has kept me not only guessing what’s really going on, but has made me genuinely want to know. It’s kind of like the anime love-child of Sherlock and Doctor Who, at times. So, if you want a show that’s a nice mix between light-hearted laughs and serious food-for-thought, with a nice dash of beautiful art and a great soundtrack, check out RE:Zero!

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri - Banner by Sawlyn @ Shinkai Fansub
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri – Banner by Sawlyn @ Shinkai Fansub

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
The Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Japesland – 5/10

There’s really not much to say about Kabaneri. It is Attack on Titan 2.0, created by the same studio to fill the same void. Compared to Attack on Titan, which I view as just moderately better, Kabaneri does even less to expand upon a genuinely interesting premise. Why create such an interesting world, only to leave all of its lore untouched and almost entirely unexplored? Additionally, while Kabaneri attempts to solve Attack on Titan‘s cast issue, namely that it is too large to be fully developed in the limited time given it, it does not manage to succeed.

Quite frankly, the only area in which Kabaneri excels over its older brother is that it packs in its beautifully-animated action more consistently. I think that if it had focused on the areas of production in which is vastly superior to the competition (namely: action) this could have been a solid 7/10. As it stands, it is otherwise an enjoyable watch one time around, but falls flat on its face when it tries to be anything more.


Look forward to our other reviews tomorrow and Friday!

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