Anime Weekly: Winter 2016, Week 3

Yet another narrative adventure through my weekly watching schedule, courtesy of a revival of sorts in my drive to blog and write things. I do apologize for the lack of updates recently; I think I burned out more than I realized. But I’m feeling it again, so let’s go!

Swing low, sweet anime chariot.

Konosuba

When I last left you all with the Winter 2016 Anime Party post, I was feeling pretty good about this season. Turns out, two weeks later (aside from despairing in the intervening week between episodes of Konosuba), this season is still really rocking. Anime Power Rankings (APR) even returned from near death with a post for the first two weeks of the season, and as I was filling out my ballot (a sublimely easy task), I realized what an utter blast I was having with this season. Now, I know I’ve been hyped about seasons early on in the past (I’m thinking of last season, in particular) and then cooled off by the end, but Winter 2016 absolutely seems like a season where this isn’t going to happen. To show you guys why, I’ll start off with my APR ballot to show you how I’m stacking up the season’s shows in comparison to each other.

  1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
  2. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2
  3. Konosuba
  4. ERASED
  5. Dimension W

Episodes have come and gone since I filled out this ballot, but my rankings here haven’t changed at all. I’m (admittedly) an episode behind on Rakugo Shinju, but that’s because you can’t rush a show like this. Watching an episode of Rakugo Shinju before I’m read feels like trying to drink a nice wine on an empty stomach—wasting something that ought to be enjoyed to the fullest. That being said, I may be acting a bit dumb, as Rakugo Shinjua also seems like the kind of show that you can watch an any mood and still get swept away by. I just wish it didn’t come out on Fridays, at the end of the work week… (check out my essay on Rakugo Shinju that I wrote for Crunchyroll!).

Meanwhile, I’m also an episode behind on Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2, but I count that as a more forgivable offense since the reason for it was that I spent all of Monday writing my Aniwords post on ERASED. So, while I don’t know what happens in episode 3 yet, I can still marvel at the elegance and dignity that Masahiro Ando and Michiru Oshima’s joint efforts (along with all the BONES animation directors) continue lend to this beautiful show. Shirayuki-hime is a soft show, but it’s by no means a weightless show. Sequences like the four shots I’ve posted above wordlessly emphasize the trust and intimacy that’s grown between Zen and Shirayuki. The long shots cuddle them together in small spaces with the close-ups allow us to be privy to the true closeness of their love. I love, love, love it. And now, with the two of them facing the first legitimate challenge to their relationship (long-distance, how appropriate for us viewers in the modern era!), we may even get some drama out of this sweet little show. It can do no wrong.

On basically the other side of the spectrum of comfy watching lies Konosuba, which (as I’ve already mentioned) has been absolutely torturing me in the weeks between episodes. I love the heck out of this show, its derpy sense of humor, and the benevolence with which it bestows jokes that would otherwise seem downright mean. Aqua is a champ, and an inspiration to me (more on that in a later post, probably), Megumin is a hoot, Kazuma continues to be one of the better straight men I’ve seen in a comedy, and Darkness…well, we’ll find out today how good she really is. I’ve have some suspicions as to why Konosuba is working as well for me, but that’s another post (likely next week’s Aniwords) coming, and I don’t want to spoil it before I’ve done my research and planned it all out.

Dimension W 3 Mira Cute

I spilled a bunch of digital ink yesterday on ERASED, so I don’t have a lot to say about it right now, but I do want to make sure I note how grateful I was for the ending of the episode at the “Christmas tree.” It was a genuinely peaceful, comforting, kind moment out of a show that’s been fairly brutal to watch, and I really appreciated everything about it and the respite and hope it offered. The foxes running in circles, the lights of the tree, Kayo’s quiet “baka…” It was lovely.

Another note on the relative strength of this season comes from the variety of stuff that’s turned out to be good. Rakugo Shinju is one thing and Shirayuki-hime has a bit of the same blood running through it, but ERASED and Konosuba are good in completely different ways. Likewise for Dimension W, which gave us a relaxed sort of episode this week that really humanized (ironically) Mira and gave the show some room to just breath and show that it has a (good!) sense of humor. Mira firmly laid down her claim for being one of the pillars of cute anime girls this season (Guppy from Phantom World and Yume from Grimgar are there as well), but also got a lot of nice characterization as a somewhat naive, definitely kind-hearted, and genuinely pleasant character. A lot of times, characters like Mira are just pure moe and get a free pass as “nice” just because of their looks, but moments like Mira talking Kyouma’s ear off in the car and her patient interactions with the kids really set her apart from this mold. Thank you, Shoutarou Suga, you write anime good.

Also, Dimension W got Stereo Dive Foundation to produce their best anisong since they did the ED for Beyond the Boundary, which I’m glad of.

You wouldn’t guess this about a show whose screencaps got me over a hundred retweets on Twitter, but I’m literally only watching Phantom World for Guppy at this point—and by literally, I mean I’m just skipping through the episodes to get all the good screencaps of her. I feel it’s important to my online brand to continue to champion Guppy, even if I don’t have the patience to deal with Phantom World itself directly.

Speaking of shows I’ve run out patience for (or, at least, shows I thought I was out of patience for), GATE surprised me this week by, uh, not doing anything at all with its story—and thus having its best episode of the new season. When GATE‘s trying to seriously engage with its overarching story, it really falls flat on its face, ranging from outright offensive to laughably dumb (as I’ve chronicled before). However, this episode was mostly fluff, and GATE was better for it. We got some Rory, we got some Tuka (who’s still just window dressing, sorry Tuka), and even got a little bit of Lelei. Better yet, by sending Itami out to fight a fire dragon with a posse of girls, we’re basically guaranteed that this will be the main focus of the upcoming episodes. No more bad politics, yay!

Grimgar‘s more or less continuing to be itself at this point; unlike Phantom World, it has more than a single redeeming feature to elevate it above its (admittedly infuriating) banalities, such as the whole post-peeping debacle. Yet, even that incident ended up having some more significant effects than expected (awkwardness in the party), so somehow Grimgar manages to stay a step ahead. With what looks like an upcoming death next, I’m interested to see if the show shifts in focus next week. Also, the marbles in the OP! I love them!

Grimgar

We’ll end with the Saturday Sequel Hour this week, with Durarara!! trending up and Haikyuu!! S2 continuing to be something of a disappointment. I talked to a lot of people this week about Haikyuu!! and what’s happened in this second season to make it feel so much less engaging than the first, and we’ve come up with a wide variety of answers: the music’s not being used as well, more frequent cutaways from the court to spectators, fewer conversations between the players themselves, and the momentum-killing length of the training arc from the first half of the show. Whatever it is (and it may be a cumulative effect), it’s kind of sad to see—please Oikawa, come back soon.

And as for Durarara!! its push upwards may be nothing more than a temporary thing, but a combination of surprisingly good storyboarding that actually conveying the emotional realities of the characters on screen without overstating things and a return of focus to Mikado and Anri (along with Kida, I think they’re still the most compelling part of this franchise), Durarara!! felt engaging and, more importantly, focused this week in a way it’s not been for a long time. I’ll drop some screencaps below, where you can see visually the difference between the ways Mikado and Izaya interact with the world, as well as a few shots that just look nice. These kinds of visual excellences are not something I’m used to seeing from Durarara!! and I hope they continue.

I’m not going to follow Bubuki Buranki weekly, but I may check in with it every once and while. It’s definitely a show better taken a few episodes as a time.


Hyouka posts will resume this coming Sunday.

17 thoughts on “Anime Weekly: Winter 2016, Week 3

  1. I still seem to like GATE better than you do, but I’ve read the manga and know roughly what to expect.

    Apart from that, the new shows I’ve been trying this season:

    Active Raid: chaotic mecha action, bargain basement Patlabor, decent but no more

    Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: fantasy sports show with cute flying girls, fun as long as we don’t have through suffer through mopey generic lead guy’s inevitable background trauma.

    Boku Dake ga Inai Machi: Second best show this season with some of the best voice acting, especially the lead character. Judging from some reviews though you have to be as old if not older than the protagonist to fully get him.

    Bubuki Buranki: the characters are mostly assholes, the CGI is incredibly distracting at times and the story is slapdash. The mecha are cool and some of the character design is great.

    Dagashi Kashi: First episode was the funniest, but so nice to see a show where the two lead girls aren’t competing over the protagonist, rather conspiring against him, all in the name of candy.

    Dimension W: the show I was most hyped for this season, but the first episode was a letdown. The next two have improved considerably though.

    Divine Gate: three episodes in I’m still not sure whether the mopeyness of the protagonist (he has a cold heart so he can only eat cold food!) is meant seriously or not. Poe’s law was never so relevant.

    Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: the trapped in a fantasy video game world genre gets a much needed dose of realism, from the brutal murder of a boblin in the second episode, to the fallout from a peeping event in episode 3, not played for laughs.

    Haruchika Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru: started promising with a refreshing take on the old fashioned love triangle, but Haruta is a dick, constantly rooting around in other people’s pain while Chika gets too little screen time.

    Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: I fell in love with this show at the time that our hero decided to be a dick and choose the goddess to take with him to the fantasy world. The chuuni wizard joining the party in episode two was the icing on the cake.

    Koukaku no Pandora: lesbian cyborg magical girls who have to finger each other to get powered up. ‘Nuff said.

    Luck & Logic: surprisingly decent action fantasy series; nothing you’d miss not watching, but fun.

    Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara: dumb shorts about a magical girl

    Musaigen no Phantom World: guppy is best girl, KyoAni is wasting itself on this.

    Nijiiro Days: pretty boys in a show called Rainbow Days but none of them is gay?

    Norn 9: Norn + Nonetto: the blond fellow macking on the main viewpoint character is a total creep.

    Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R: idols become magical girls, don’t know it about each other.

    Ojisan to Marshmallow: young office girl has the hots for her midle aged, fatter than me cow-orker; he only cares for her marshmallows (not an euphemism)

    Ooya-san wa Shishunki!: lolicon falls in love with his middle school landlord.

    Oshiete! Galko-chan: a gyaro, an otako and an ojo-sama girl talk to each other about various NSFW topics. Funny, because it’s so direct.

    Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation: so you want to promote your MMORPG by giving it an anime series, then not set it in your universe but rather create a generic high school setting and have the student council president order the protagonist to report regularly on how awesome PSO2 is? Seems legit. The train wreck watch of the season to me.

    Prince of Stride: Alternative: the swimbros from Free take up parkour.
    Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut: Did you like Asterisk Wars last season? Or Chivalry of a Failed Knight? Heres your chance to watch it all over again.

    Schwarzes Marken: Muv-Luv tie in set in East-Germany in 1983. Everybody talks how fearful they are of the Stasi, but they sure don’t show it in their actions.

    Sekko Boys: marble status become idols. Your ability to enjoy this show depends on how hilarious you find this.

    Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu: black haired strange girl wants the protagonist to make a visual novel with her, in a tie-in series to an upcoming visual novel. Much better than it has a right to be.

    Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju: best show of the season, and it’s all kinds of awesome that it pulled off presenting complete rakugo performances, keeping your interest not just through the dialogue and the stories themselves, but also the performer’s and audience’s reactions.

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    • Guppy deserves a better show! She does! But she doesn’t have one…it’s sad…

      I’m a fair bit away from Satoru’s age, but I don’t think you really need to be 29 to fully “get” him. His broken dreams and his worldweariness are things I think most people have experienced to some degree.

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  2. You know, sometimes it’s good to take a break, stop writing, and just indulge in watching good stuff for a while – and from your twitter feed it looks like you’ve been watching a ton of good stuff. I’ve been doing those weekly short anime reviews over on MAL for four or five months now, and when I took a break around Christmas (partly enforced because I’d temporarily run out of titles to write about), I definitely felt a renewed enthusiasm coming back to it.

    As for me, my viewing plate is getting very, very full right now. I may have to start holding or dropping some things soon. The big update to my seasonal list is that I have also now picked up Konosuba. Did you know that I have literally never watched a “living in a game world” anime before? Even though I play lots of JRPGs (but not MMOs), I’ve never watched .hack, or SAO, or Log Horizon, or any of their numerous progeny – Danmachi is as close as I’ve gotten to that genre. Between your enthusiasm and talking to some people about it on another forum, though – my big question being how accessible it was to genre novices – I decided to give it a shot. And you know, it’s not bad. I don’t think I’m as high on it as you are, but I definitely liked both episodes – Megumin was 20 minutes of comic brilliance – and just for weekly entertainment value it’s a clear cut above Phantom World and Four Rhythm so far.

    Full-length series rankings through week 3 (overall, not weekly, since I’m only caught up on about half of these):
    1 & 2: Erased and Rakugo Shinju can flip a coin on which one gets top slot so far – I can’t decide yet. I still haven’t watched the third episodes of either one, though.
    3: Dimension W makes me sad that I’m stuck being a week behind for every new episode, but it’s worth waiting for. The character of “Loser” in ep 2 was giving me some serious flashbacks to Professor Clover from Kaitou Joker, right down to the “phantom thief” modus operandi and artificial hand, though unlike the Professor he doesn’t seem to be outright evil. I wonder if we’ll see him again.
    4: Shoujo-tachi continues to be consistently solid, but gave me nothing else to talk about this week.
    5: Konosuba debuts on my list here, with a legit chance to climb if it stays this enjoyable – I think it has a higher potential ceiling than Shoujo-tachi does, but also a greater risk of crashing if it takes a misstep.
    6: Four Rhythm isn’t off probation yet, but it is improving. The main girl has gotten a lot less irritating since ep 1, and ep 3 offered the first extended look at how this sport is played, which ended up being pretty fun to watch.
    7: Phantom World continues giving me too much of what I don’t want and not enough of what I do want. It’s teetering very precariously at the edge of the cliff now, and the wind is getting stronger….

    On the shorts side, Oji-san to Marshmallow is still a hoot, and Tabimachi Late Show’s third episode was the best one yet – it feels weird how that series is almost over already even though the season just started. Do pick TLS up if you ever get around to the “shorts roundup” you were thinking of doing, it’s worth your time.

    Catalog titles:
    I started watching Non Non Biyori Repeat to fill my pre-bedtime SOL viewing slot. The “repeat” caught me off-guard at first, but now I’m really into the concept (the rulers game in ep 2 was fantastic!). I also just started my own re-watch of SDF Macross last night, in preparation for Delta. Counting the Robotech version, this will be my third watch, with the last one about 11 or 12 years ago now, so it’s a good time for another go-round. It was fun reading all your tweets about it too – your reactions to that scumbag Kaifun were perfect. I hope I have time to revisit Frontier, too – I only saw that once about 7 or 8 years ago, so I don’t remember a whole lot of it at this point.

    Also speaking of shows I now need to make time for, I just borrowed Squid Girl and the first half of Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 from one of my friends. Haven’t started either one yet, but I’m looking forward to both. I should have more time once this LLSIF Honoka event is over – this was my first time trying to tier for an event card.

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    • I have been watching some good stuff! So much good stuff! Seriously! It’s been nice and all the Macross I’ve been consuming has been getting me back in the mood to write again. Thank you, Shouji Kawamori.

      I still need to get myself rolling on Repeat again, but it’s another one of those shows you can’t really rush through. When the time comes…

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  3. And we’re back for another week! And a significant one at that, it was January 28th, 2015 that I hesitantly asked for permission and posted the first Weekly Wall. (Though I’d been commenting here and there for a while at that point.) It’s hard to believe I’ve managed to keep this up for a year modulo a few interruptions here and there. Looking forward to another year! Kanpai!!

    Another thing to note is modest change in format… I’ve long wanted to differentiate between ‘me’ and ‘we’ shows (shows I’m watching alone and shows I’m watching with my Lady), and I can’t believe I never hit on the simple system TheMythPoet used last week. I’ll be using the split list system from here on out.

    Also, this is Week Three – the traditional drop zone for marginal shows. Some shows are going to escape this week simply because I’m behind (we moved this week and there’s a lot of other stuff going on). One of the side effects of the move is that for the first time in almost four months I’ve had my desktop machine available, and a good chunk of anime time was instead taken up by playing Kerbal Space Program.

    Warning – may contain spoilers for those an ep or so behind

    Of to the Wall!

    My Shows

    Divine Gate ep3; On pause Due To Real Life.

    Luck and Logic ep2; Leaning heavier on the tropes… Ep3 on pause Due To Real Life.

    Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu kara ep2-3; While the characters are not genre savy, the show very definitely is – and it’s humor and appeal rest on that.

    Prince of Stride: Alternative ep3; On pause Due To Real Life.

    Schwarzesmarken; Sitting in the queue, just haven’t gotten to it yet.

    Sekkou Boys ep 3; Gotta hand it to them – because they have no arms! You won’t get it if you’re not watching, but that’s typical of the show… they’ve taken a ridiculous premise and then subsequently played it absolutely straight. Short form comedic genius.

    Our Shows

    Akagami no Shirayukihime eps 2-3; Nailed it! Obi did in fact end up accompanying Shirayuki to Tanbaran. And the feelings that they hinted that Obi had for Shirayuki are coming to the fore. But overall, I’m moderately annoyed because in some ways, Shirayuki is becoming more like Asuna in Sword Art‘s ALO arc. More of a quest object than active control of her own destiny.

    AOKANA eps 2-3; Mostly Harmless. Though the training camp mini arc was particularly well done, like Martin I’m dreading the Oncoming Storm. I mean the inevitable drama surrounding the male lead’s past and background ruining what otherwise is a fairly decent show.

    BBK/BRNK ep 3; Ugh. Infodump and background city. (With a touch of truly pointless fanservice to boot.) I know that we need to eventually have that background to grasp the story, but they basically dedicated an entire ep to it, and executed it in a particularly leaden fashion. BBK/BRNK is fast moving down the charts and on pace for a midseason drop.

    Dagashi Kashi ep 3; A fairly funny ep, and which would have been far worse (given it’s tendency towards being a one trick pony) if not for the character and relationship building bits they kept slipping in.

    Dimension W eps 3; While nowhere near AOTS territory, DW is shaping up to be a very solid show. They’re managing to work in what we need to know without much in the way of infodumps. Of particular note this week was how well they handled the relationship between Kyoma and Mira… and how well they handled expressing her character. The expression of sorrow and remorse on her face during the discussion in Mira’s trailer was very well done.

    ERASED ep3; WOW See what I did there? I said the same thing I did last week, but kicked it up a notch by bolding and italicizing it. That’s kinda what happened this week in Erased, but without the cheap special effects I used.

    Seriously, they started out by mostly repeating last week, with Satoru stumbling through the repetition of his daily life… But the back half, and especially the ‘Christmas Tree’ scene really changed everything. The brutality of the scenes with Kayo were disturbing, but necessary. Serious kudos to the staff for being willing to tackle those scenes and themes head on.

    Gate ep3; Mostly a lame waste of time meant to remind us that there were still political machinations going on, with a modest amount of time spent setting up Bilbo and the Dwarves for their journey to Erebor. Like Akagami no Shirayukihime, Gate is taking a different tack in the second cour and not executing it particularly well.

    Girls beyond the Wasteland ep2-3; Ick. Saekano with all the life, fun, and anything else interesting sucked out of it. (Sayuki is particularly annoying.) Unless it really picks up in the next two weeks, on track for a mid-season drop.

    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash eps 3; While everyone is busy watching Rakugo and Erased, Grimgar is steadily and quietly churning away unnoticed in the background. This is a mistake.

    Episode by episode, it’s quietly building a structure of restrained elegance and excellence. Most shows would take the easy and fanservice laden route of showing the peeping scene and dropping it thereafter. Grimgar takes the higher and harder routes, skipping the peeping entirely and instead spending it’s time dealing realistically with the aftermath. The same theme reappears and repeats while the party is hunting in the abandoned city, their habits and plans are shaped inescapably by the near disasters of the first hunts. (And it’s interesting how the rest of the party is hanging back to allow the murderous and troubled Ranta take the lead in the dirty and distasteful work of actually killing their prey.) Their approach to food shaped by their earlier near starvation. Etc.. etc…

    Like Erased, there’s a great deal of ‘past is prologue’ going on here – and the characters are only dimly aware of their pasts and the role it plays in shaping their current behaviors.

    I especially enjoyed the bit about the underwear and the character’s poverty. Silly and stupid on the surface, but with like the rest of the show – with depths underneath.

    Gundam Tekketsu ep 15; Whatever else she is, Kudelia Aina Bernstein is a complete ditz. If she’s the Maiden Of The Revolution it’s only because like Katniss Everdense she’s being manipulated and used by other people for their own reasons without her being notably aware of it. In retrospect, the shopping scene and her complete lack of preparations and plans for arrival are Dort just make this stand out even more starkly.

    KonaSuba ep3; The best way to sum up this show to date is to quote from Music That You Can Dance To by Sparks – “No heavy message baby / Just the perfect blending of sex and noise”. Quite frankly the funniest long form of the season and an end-to-end simple delight. Megumin’s scenes this week were just a joy.

    Lovely Muuuuuuuco! ep15; “Ushikou-san is a snow eating bug!” “Don’t talk about me like that, I’m a main character, I’m in the OP and everything!” Though the fourth wall breaking was a bit unusual, Muuuuuuuco! remains entertaining as hell. This isn’t damming with faint praise, it’s just increasingly hard to explain it to people who aren’t watching it… It’s a serial, and the funniest bits often rely on the viewers knowing What Has Gone Before. And like most short forms, it’s hard to say anything substantial week after week.

    Norn9 eps 3; On pause Due To Real Life. May end up being a habit drop (we get in the habit of not watching so it becomes a drop by default).

    Ojisan and Marshmallow ep 3; While sticking to it’s relatively shallow over-the-top comedy… they also slip in a bit of poignancy at the end. Entirely unexpected – Wakabayashi has it bad, and they don’t let us forget this. There’s some serious lurking about, where will they go with it?

    Ouya-san wa Shishunki ep 3; Short form and very funny even if we’re not sure what the heck the show is actually about.

    Nervously ready to click and see if he breaks the comment system with the length.

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    • P.S. the donor ‘Interim Books’ is me… Someday I’ve got to get around to changing the name on that account, it dates back to when I used it for my bookstore.

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    • Wow, has it really been a year since you started commenting with your weekly walls? Crazy. Time flies.

      The thing that caught my eye most here were your comments on Shirayuki, as I don’t particularly agree that she’s been reduced to a quest object. There are certainly forces at work outside of her control, but I think that’s realistic and important. Shirayuki does the best she can in the situation she’s in—she’s stubbornly herself and always growing, even as people seek to capture her, love her, and pull her many charms nearer to them. I think that’s important and really neat.

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      • sigh I almost edited that line out because I knew people would focus on it and misconstrue it. She’s not becoming a quest object, just more like one – no longer in complete control of her own destiny, delivering more rote lines, and the focus of the show is being pulled a little away from her. The show is very much weaker for it.

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  4. I’m mostly in agreement with your major points about the shows I’m also watching – which is nearly all of them. I’m not watching Konosuba (I haven’t even tried it), but mostly only because I’ve already got a bigger weekly anime schedule than I thought I would.

    Erased and Rakugo Shinjuu continue to be the easy front-runners on my list – and so it seems on nearly everyone’s. I’m used to my tastes differing a fair amount from at least half the blogs I’m subscribed to, including this one (not that that’s a bad thing), but those two titles really seem to be bringing people together.

    Nice to see the return of APR as well; I was seriously starting to wonder whether or not it ever would. For the very first time in the history of me voting on it, the top 3 titles were also my own choices and order for top 3 – Erased, Rakugo Shinjuu, and Shirayuki-hime. I’m still enjoying Dimension W as well, albeit not quite as much as I guess a lot of other bloggers are. I also voted for Grimgar and Osomatsu-san, but I completely get why those shows aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

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    • Well, when shows are unequivocally good as Erased and Rakugo Shinju are—particularly with the general tastes of the aniblogging crowd being what they are—I think it makes sense that we’re seeing a lot of people rallying around them.

      I didn’t quite get my votes in order, but there were all on there for me! Surprised me to see that happen—dunno if I remember the last time it’s been true (if ever).

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  5. Hmm, among things I’ve tried…

    Rakugo + Erased>Shirayuki>Sekkou Boys>Dagashi Kashi>Dimension W>HaruChika>Sushi Police>Marshmallow. Won’t continue to watch the last four for now.

    Yeah, I was hoping Haikyuu would pick up once the tournament started, but it remain disappointingly flat. Competent, but seriously lack the spark it used to have. The remaining matches all have to be really special for this 2nd season to be a net plus, but it doesn’t feel that likely.

    Speaking of losing steam, you dropped/suspended Gundam? Not that I’m surprised; it somehow feels weaker just when the plot is revving up, and while it doesn’t do anything horrible, it also doesn’t feel special anymore. Plus, the dramatic missteps continue to pile up.

    I’m enjoying Garo: Guren no Tsuki. It’s a cold and lonely place to be…

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    • Yup, I’m in agreement with you re: Haikyuu!! It doesn’t seem likely this season will wind up ending anywhere the near highs of last. A shame. If there’s a third season, I dunno if I’d even bother checking it out.

      And yeah, I put Tekketsu on hold. Just wasn’t interested in keeping up with it weekly anymore. It’s in the dangerous, “Oh, I’ll probably get back to it realm,” which means I may never return to it.

      Someone is still watching the new Garo!? Holy cow… 😛

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  6. (1) Take all the breaks you need. Anime viewing needs to stay fun.

    (2) Yay, Hyouka posts resume!

    (3) Season is great. Also, I’m more in touch with the fandom this season than I’ve ever been in 2015. It feels… odd. The only outlier is that I’m actually enjoying Koukaku no Pandora. The fanservice isn’t too bad (it’s more silly than anything, and maybe it’ll tone down). But I find the main pair charming, and their caught between two mad scientists (who I nickname kitsune and tanuki, because they both feel a lot like tricksters). Apparently, there’s going to be a plot. I hope that won’t get in the way of my enjoyment.

    I’ll also throw a word out for Nijiro Days, which isn’t what I expected at all. Currently, it appears like a cross between boy-based slice of life and one of those rare romances that has multiple pairs (e.g. KimiKiss Pour Rouge, or Hatsukoi Limited). Doesn’t seem to have the best production values, but it’s quite charming and pleasant to watch. A nice surprise.

    I’m undecided whether I want to watch Bubuki Buranki. So far, it’s been trending downwards pretty consistently (though I think it might bottom out at the current level). Maybe I should just drop it and pick it up again if I hear good things?

    @derekl: Yup, still watching Muco on this end. It’s hard to explain isn’t it? It’s full of bouncy energy and naive misunderstandings. I love this show, and I’m actually a cat person.

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    • (1) That’s the plan! I’ve taken these kind of breaks before, and I’m sure I’ll need them again in the future. I appreciate you guys’ supportiveness and patience.

      (2) I’m excited, too! Finally checking this project off the list is gonna feel good.

      I actually had Nijiro Days pegged as a show I wanted check out before the season, but I just never got around to it. Have been hearing good things about it, though. It’s on the list in case I ever decide to blaze through a bunch of this season’s shorts all at once.

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  7. Which 3 anime do you recommend so far for this season, including sequels?

    Have you tried Hai to Gensou no Grimgar? Interested to see your opinion on this. Game style anime always have a special place to me.

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    • Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, ERASED, and Konosuba are my top picks for new stuff from the season, although Shirayuki-hime S2 would top Konosuba and ERASED for making my top three.

      And I have been watching Grimgar and I’ve been writing about it!

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