Spring Anime 2016 Review (Part 2/3)

Sousei no Onmyouji
Twin Star Exorcists

Medieval Otaku – 7/10

Twin Star Exorcists proves that rather unoriginal shows can still be surprisingly entertaining.  The plot naturally unfolds from what we know of the characters’ personalities and histories.  The characters strike one as deftly portrayed: each flashback feels appropriate and engaging, and we learn about the characters mostly through their actions.  The fluid animation adds to the exciting and often suspenseful battles.  The comedy, both within and without the relationship between the hero and the heroine, usually hits the mark.  I’m very much looking forward to the next installment of this demon-slaying epic where the hero learns to be true to his calling.

So, besides having seen this story before, what other downsides are present in Twin Star Exorcists?  The viewer can become easily annoyed with the head onmyouji’s antics and some of the interplay between Rokuro and Benio.  On a subjective note, I and likely others are too old to identify with the two main characters.  For me, Subaru Mitejima–a tea sipping and gun weilding beauty (pictured above on the right)–stands as the best character of the show, and the more scenes with her the better.  All the same, this show is solid entertainment.

Sakamoto desu ga?
Haven’t you heard? I’m Sakamoto

Annalyn – 6/10 

Combine the school idol trope from shoujo anime with the pure-hearted, charismatic shounen hero, and you get Sakamoto: the guy all the girls swoon over and all the boys hate—or at least, hate until he wins their loyalty by thwarting their plans in a way that preserves their pride. He acts oblivious to others’ lust and hatred, even as he solves the problems that result. It’s hard to tell whether he’s naive or crafty. I’m not even sure that Sakamoto is really a teenage boy. Maybe he’s something otherworldly, and he uses some fey-like glamour to charm his classmates—really, that’s the only explanation for how his strange antics could possibly be seen as “cool, cooler, coolest!” instead of just weird. 

It’s hard for me to rate this show. I can’t take it seriously, but I’m not supposed to. The characters range from ridiculous caricatures to annoying caricatures. The animation does its job. The jazzy background music and cool OP fit the show perfectly. And as an experienced anime fan, I find the use of tropes somewhat amusing. Actually, that sums up my review: Sakamoto desu ga? is somewhat amusing. That’s it.

Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu,” Igi Ari!
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

CutsceneAddict – 4/10 

The grain-of-salt wackiness of this series demands a painful pun, so here I go: I wish I could say that I had no “objections” to the anime adaptation of one of my all-time favorite video games/visual novels. But if justice is blind, then the development team behind this anime is blinder—at least when it comes to the know-how involved in translating one medium to another.

Where the anime ultimately falls short is its inability to engage. Unlike its visual novel counterpart—which requires players to process its detailed information, probe the psyches of its characters, and logically connect clues in order to progress through the story—the anime feels like an utter spectator sport. Even the famed courtroom segments (despite clever use of the game’s “objection” mechanic) feel unrewarding and info-dumpy, with very little room for key character developments. Latter episodes begin to capitalize on Ace Attorney’s trademark, over-the-top visuals and action, but by then it’s far too late to get distant viewers invested. (To remark briefly on the animation: even reoccurring characters frequently fail to stay on-model.)

To its credit, the script (selective as it is) stays almost verbatim to the source material, likely due to Shu Takumi’s involvement and supervision. Plenty of Easter Eggs indicate that at least the development team seems to understand the broader scope of the franchise (even if they struggle to adapt it properly). The cast does an admirable job breathing life into the stunted characters (though schoolboy Edgeworth seems to have hit puberty early), and carry-overs from the original soundtrack definitely score nostalgia points.

At absolute best, Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu,” Igi Ari! lends itself well as “bonus content” for long-time fans. Given its direct adaptation of the original trilogy, though, it’s clear that the intent of the anime is to catch the 3DS generation up on the DS-origin titles they probably missed. As an alternative to those games, the anime is far too abridged (cutting out crucial character arcs and case logic) and ultimately fails to live up to its source material. The jury’s still out on the quality of the next season, though this die-hard fan plans to continue watching, regardless of the final verdict.

In the meantime, go watch the live-action Gyakuten Saiban film. Or, better yet, go (re-)play the games.


stardf29 – 6/10

So here’s a fun show about girls riding motorcycles. The show has a lot of silly moments, including some moments that reach levels of “weird Japanese thing” with problematic childhoods played for laughs, a female version of The Stig who is definitely more than a normal high school girl, lots of slapstick motorcycle comedy, and some fantastical scenes involving someone I can only describe as Motorcycle Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. This show can also be fairly sacrilegious. And it does admittedly have some problems, especially with some out-of-place fanservice moments and perhaps a bit too mean-spiritedness in some of the humor. However, by and large, this was a highly entertaining and fun show backed by a lot of love for motorcycles (except for Suzukis). Those looking for a silly comedy, as well as motorcycle enthusiasts, should find plenty to enjoy here (as long as you’re not a diehard Suzuki fan).

The Lost Village

Emdaisy1 – 4/10

Mayoiga was one of the shows I was really looking forward to this season. This show had the potential to be a really solid anime. Intriguing concept, interesting group of main characters, and a lot of leeway to present a solid, believable story. However, the factors it had going for it all kinda’ failed. The concept for the plot isn’t really revealed until the latter half of the show and when it is, it’s inconsistent. The show seems to try to give about 3-4 different explanations for, well, the whole show… in the course of the last 2 episodes. The main characters of the show could have been interesting. but because the cast was so large, and the characters had basically no character development (some actually seemed to move backwards?) it was hard to get attached to any of them (and frankly some of the ones that got more screen time annoyed the heck out of me…). The leeway (working in a made up village, so no rules) to present a solid story instead ended up letting the story have a bit too much freedom, trying to pass off overly-convenient plot twists as believable, despite the fact they totally weren’t.

The only reason this show’s getting a 4/10 and not less than that is because I wouldn’t say the show was horrible per say. It was just, overall, bad. It keeps a 4 for a small selection of really solid moments. The show’s whole plot relates to dealing with your past self and/or “psychological scars” (your past traumas). While it was way off-the-mark at most times, there were a couple moments (e.g. a daddy-daughter moment) that made me cry. For those few solid points in the show, and the fact it is an interesting look at how people deal with their “scars of their past”, it gets a 4/10. I was gonna’ give the show a 5, until I remembered the painful romantic sub-plot that was completely not needed in the show (just friends woulda’ worked fine) but was forced into it anyways and wasn’t realistic. Summary: “Hey, I just met you! And this place is crazy! But here’s a deep look at the psychological scars of my past! So love me maybe?” So yeah, 4. I honestly wouldn’t really recommend this show. I can’t see myself ever watching it again, either – particularly not after enduring 12 episodes of a few characters that ticked me off in the first 12 minutes the first time around.

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

Japesland – 7/10

I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but Tanaka-kun managed to snag my anime-of-the-season this time around. Much like Kuma Miko, it’s hard for me to peg what exactly I enjoyed about the series so much, as it, also like Kuma Miko, abused and overused many anime tropes that have simply been done to death in the last decade. Unlike Kuma Miko, though, which only entertained me by exploiting its differentiating factor in setting (including characters) and let me down without making full use of this setup, Tanaka-kun‘s differentiating factor was within its writing.

If you’ve ever seen Aria, the manga of which is listed on our Manga Recommendations page, you’ll totally understand what I mean when I say that some slice-of-life anime adopt slow pacing and own it. While Tanaka-kun doesn’t do so quite as well as Aria, it by no means does a poor job. In an era of entertainment that rewards instant gratifying habits, scene transitions taking more than a few seconds and seconds void of dialogue, music, or significant motion are rare. By slowing down and still maintaining at least an above average level of consistent comedy, this show is an easy recommendation, though its final episode leaves some to be desired.

Black Corpse

Kaze – 6/10

Honestly, I feel even a 6 is too high for this show, but my opinion of it is in a rather strange place. For one, it definitely turned out better than I expected. But I also expected it to be terrible, so that’s not really saying much. As much as I dislike PA Works in general, I have always admitted what they make definitely looks wonderful. So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that when they decided to do a mecha show, it actually does look decent. The fight scenes are definitely better than average. They then mix in slice of life, which PA Works is praised for by many, just not me. In the end, I’d call it pretty average mecha: nothing interesting or special but the decent fight scenes are just barely enough to keep me watching. If you like both PA Works and mecha, then this will probably be a great watch, but if don’t, then you might find half of it too boring to continue.

Uchuu Patrol Luluco
Space Patrol Luluco

Medieval Otaku – 8/10

Rating a short is like rating a vodka: even if it seems perfect, one never feels justified in giving it full marks.  I can’t rate a short more than 8/10 and 8/10 Space Patrol Luluco gets.  Besides being great for laughs–as one expects from a short, it offered some adventure and touched on more serious topics like the nature of evil, how the highest goods are intangible, and that intangible goods can never be destroyed.  Space Patrol Luluco tells a more interesting story in an hour and a half than many shows of twenty-four full length episodes.  Kudos to Trigger!

Nijiiro Days
Rainbow Days

stardf29 – 5/10

The good news is, some romantic progress does happen in the second half of this show. The bad news is, not enough progress happens to really make up for the flaws I mentioned when I reviewed the first half last season. At least our sadist guy gets a love interest that is perky enough to keep him on his toes a bit, and the already-established relationship between Yukirin and Tsuyopon is always nice to watch. Also, the show did at least give at least some background to Mari’s man-hating issues and some development with her playboy love interest, which made their relationship a little more interesting to watch. However, Mari is still incredibly annoying with her clinginess to Anna, and outside of the pre-established relationship, the couples’ romantic progress end at an awkward point (better read the manga if you want any more). Overall, it is not a bad show by any means; it is pleasant, cute, and entertaining enough for those wanting some shoujo romantic fluff. With its issues, though, I probably won’t remember it much afterwards, nor can I really recommend it to others.


Look forward to our finale tomorrow!


Leave a Reply