Top Winter 2016 Anime: Final Ratings

The Winter 2016 season of anime was a weird one for me—one where the unexpected winners of the season were shows I had fully intended to ignore from the start and one where old standbys didn’t manage to impress me the way they had in the past. That all being said, I’m pleased with this season, even as I look forward to the bounties of spring.

Konosuba

[If you want to recap the entire fall season, from my first impressions all the way through the penultimate week, you can hit up everything I’ve written in the Winter 2016 tag!]

9. GATE S2 (3/10)

Ultimately, being kind of fun sometimes can’t hold your show up underneath the weight of bearing numerous ugly philosophies. For every scene of Lelei being awesome, GATE throws in a scene of chilling violence. For every fun moment with Rory being Rory, the show constructs outrageous strawmen to perpetuate its regressive views on the world, humanity, and might. I’d say I had a positive experience watching GATE, but that experience was largely due to what I brought to the show (a fascination with the absolute lack of nuance in its ideological positions and a fondness for the characters I’d met in the first season—most of whom weren’t really given all that much screentime in this one).

So, while GATE is certainly a unique product of a specific kind of worldview, I can’t at all recommend it in good conscience. There are moments of fun, but there is altogether too much in the show that tends towards the dark and the disturbing and the gross.

GATE S2 12 Lelei Magic

8. ERASED (4/10)

I said early in the season that ERASED was an 8/10 show at best, but then it proceeded to upset me in a way only matched by GATE with its treatment of Airi in episode 4 and 5, and my opinion of the show never really recovered. ERASED was a show torn in half between a thoughtful character drama (which was, generally quite good) and a part-good, part-bad thriller. It was never able to reconcile these two distinct and opposed selves in a satisfying way, which meant I was never really able to connect with the stuff I wanted to like. This is no way to watch a show, really, and with my emotional investment and trust in the show shattered, it kind of stumbled along to the end until it finally fully embraced WIXOSS-style camp and suddenly became entertaining on the most base level a show can be without being utter garbage. I don’t bear ERASED any ill will, but I wish they’d started tipping people off roofs earlier if that’s what they were going to do.

Awards: (Honorable Mention: Best ED—”Sore wa Chiisa na Hikari no yō na” by Sayuri)

ERASED

7. Durarara!! x2-3 (5/10)

I’m left wondering if Durarara!! x2 might have felt like a better, more successful show had I marathoned it rather than watched it weekly. The extra distance between episodes made an already disjointed and scattered story even more difficult to follow, and keeping tabs on the various characters’ physical locations (let alone their psychological motivations) nearly impossible. However, I don’t think even a marathon could have saved Durarara!! from the character saturation that continually teased brilliant concepts and just as frequently withheld satisfying conclusion. There’s both a poignant human story and an incredibly smart sociological tale in Durarara!!, but it never manages to really articulate either of this elements clearly—and that’s a real shame. None of this reflects negatively on my thoughts on Durarara!!‘s first season, but it would have been so cool to see this story ends its run in a better fashion.

Durarara!!

6. Haikyuu!! S2 (5/10)

Speaking of sequels that didn’t live up to the charm of their original seasons, Haikyuu!!‘s second season wound up being a show I’m quite ambivalent on. The highs—Yachi’s wonderful arc and the entire Seijoh-Karasuno match—far outstripped the first season’s best moments, but the lows were far lower. From the tepidly paced training arc to the meaningless matches in the first part of the tournament, Haikyuu!!‘s consistent entertainment value from the season vanished, replaced by occasional burst of excellence in the midst of long stretches of dull. Worse, the previously charismatic Karasuno team (not a deep bunch of characters even in the first season) suffered greatly as the show expanded its focus on side-characters, leaving them feeling almost unlikable by the end of the show. My outrage over Oikawa and Seijoh’s (inevitable) loss to Karasuno is, I think, indicative of how completely my feelings on Haikyuu!! since the first season. Will I watch season 3? I’m honestly not sure.

Awards: Best Sports (Honorable Mentions: Best OP—”Fly!!” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES, Best Male Character—Tooru Oikawa)

Haikyuu!!

5. Konosuba (6/10)

I wasn’t even intending to watch Konosuba at the start of the season. While I liked the character designs, the promise of overbearing ecchi content had made me decide to leave it alone. And then, suddenly, people started talking about how the first episode was great fun because of two jerks being jerks to each other. I was in the mood for something like that at the time, but what I found was something completely different. I found a show with a sense of benignly acidic humor… and I found Aqua. I could talk about the other elements of Konosuba, but my overall feelings on the show are so colored by my immense love for Aqua that it would be impossible to talk about it without talking about her. Aqua’s one of my favorite anime character of all time. She’s lazy, petty, naive, rash, foolish, and she walks into dumb situations without a second thought. She gets beaten down by the world thanks to her own idiocy, but she bounces back. She’s all of the worst  (and some of the more neutral) parts of me and I love her for that.

On the whole, Konosuba wound up being a show I laughed at a lot, but not one that really is going to stick with me the way other pet shows might. But Aqua. Aqua will remain in my memory and my heart for a long time.

Awards: Pet Show of the Season, Best Comedy, Best Female Character—Aqua, Best ED—”Chiisana Bōkensha” by Sora Amamiya & Rie Takahashi & Ai Kayano

Kononsuba Exalt Aqua

4. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2(7/10)

While the kidnapping arc was a significant blemish on Akagami no Shirayuki-hime‘s second season, it wasn’t enough to keep down the best parts of the show—which bloomed in the first quarter and absolutely flourished in the final few episodes of the season. This is a remarkable show. A special show. One with a character that it unparalleled, at least amongst the anime I’ve watched. What we got in Shirayuki-hime was an elegant, intimate pseudo-narrative (but, certainly, a story) of two friends who became lovers and how their love and kindness spread to those around them. Massive credit is due to both director Masahiro Ando, whose wonderful touch made the show sparkle visually beyond the shoujo glimmer, and composer Michiru Oshima, whose score was absolutely divine and a pivotal element in making numerous scenes work. This is one I can’t wait to buy.

  • Further Reading:
    • Josei Next Door’s Series Review of Shirayuki-hime is excellent.

Awards: Best OST, Best Romance (Honorable Mentions: Best Visual Aesthetic, Best Female Character—Shirayuki)

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

3. She and Her Cat -Everything Flows- (7/10)

An unexpected treat that came short and late in the season, She and Her Cat deserves the spot its getting here for its quiet depiction of a young adult going through the difficult transition from college to the real world through the eyes of her cat. Although I had a few minor issues with the way the Daru’s narration was handled throughout the series, overall it was a lovely piece of atmospheric anime. Highly recommended alongside the Animator Expo short “tomorrow from there.” as required viewing for young adults struggling through the pains of transitional life periods.

Awards: Best Short, Best Slice of Life

2. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (7/10)

Another fantasy light novel adaptation I didn’t even intend to watch at the season’s start, somehow Grimgar found its way almost to the very top of the metaphorical seasonal pile. The merits here, I’m told, are almost entirely due to the scriptwriting and directorial efforts of director Ryousuke Nakamura, who transformed a run-of-the-mill light novel that peaks through the cracks ever now and then into a far more mature, intelligent, and valuable production. Grimgar‘s certainly got its flaws—irritating fanservice, insert songs that take over the scene at inopportune moments—but it’s also got huge strengths in its notable aesthetics and thoughtful writing/pacing. There’s a lot to enjoy here, and a lot of heart. And Yume is a joy.

  • Further Reading:
    • I’ll once again highlight my friend Garlock’s excellent reflection on Grimgar in the wake of episode four.

Awards: Best Fantasy, Best Adventure, Best Visual Aesthetic (Honorable Mentions: Best Story, Best Female Character—Yume)

Grimgar

1. Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (9/10)

And so we arrive at the best show of the season—my pick for the title from week one, and a pick that never wavered. Although we had our fair share of good (and even great) episodes from various shows this season, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju was consistently a cut about everything else that aired this season. While, at the time of this writing, the finale hasn’t yet aired, that doesn’t matter. Rakugo Shinju is a show that inspires absolute confidence. Although well-written, it was truly carried by the excellent cinematography under the direction of Shinichi Omata, whose command of close-ups, blocking, and impressionistic shots gave us a rich and varied visual tapestry on which to see this story play out. It’s a beautiful show, and I highly recommend it.

Awards: Best Story, Best Drama, Best Male Character—Kikuhiko (Honorable Mentions: Best Visual Aesthetic, Best OP—”Usurahi Shinjū” by Megumi Hayashibara, Best Male Character—Sukeroku)

Rakugo Shinju


 Ongoing

Mahoutsukai Precure (8/48 – currently, 7/10)

Dropped

  • Active Raid (1 ep)
  • Haruchika (1 ep)
  • BBK/BRNK (2 eps)
  • Prince of Stride (2 eps)
  • Dimension W (5 eps)
    • Award: Best OP: “Genesis” by Stereo Dive Foundation
  • Phantom World (6 eps)

 Unawarded

  • Best Harem, Best Sci-Fi, Best Action, Honorable Mention: Best ED

Mahoutsukai Precure


And that’s a wrap for the Winter 2016 season (although we’ve still got an episode of Rakugo Shinju left). On the whole, I’m pretty  happy with it, but I’m excited for spring to come! See you guys next week for some premieres and stuff!

23 thoughts on “Top Winter 2016 Anime: Final Ratings

  1. Durarara and Grimgar occupy opposed spaces in my mind. I realize from a technical standpoint DRR is a shambling mess, and it’s story is better explained outside the show in a retrospective “that is a cool idea” way. But I feel for its characters, as long as they all ended up happy, I was more than satisfied in an immeadiate sense.

    Grimgar is great in theory! It’s really really pretty. The level of catharsis Nakamura was able to wring out of this standard light novel is amazing. I want more shows like this, but I really really don’t care about it’s cast. at all. Haru is a boring plank of wood, Minato was marked for death almost immeadiately so I was just counting time. The girls are fine, Yume especially, I wish was in a better show. And I hate Ranta, not to ignore his growth, he becomes tolerable certainly his “last stand” and asshole demon familiar are good, but I like Kazuma from Konosuba, and I just wanted to punch this kid… constantly. Sorry for the rant

    The only bad thing I’ll say about Rakugo, is that I’m genuinely worried it’s set the bar too high this year already. I mean Macross and Jojo airing at the same time will feel like a homecoming to me, but Rakugo is a prestige work that only comes every so often… ok, actual complaint. As much as I’ve enjoyed muh-heightened theatrical tragedy-yo, I’m a little bummed that doofy former con-man was just a framing device. Here’s hoping s2 will come so I can get more Yatora, and actually see how Konatsu reacts to hearing about her mom and dads {plural intentional} sordid pasts.

    In the wake of Hiakyuu finishing, is it a faux pas for me to plug Yowamushi Pedal and Baby Steps as other good sport shows you may enjoy!

    Oh and Konosuba is great. especially Aqua. But super especially Megumin. I wish we had more Wiz, but I’m a Yui Horie fan. As I said earlier Kazuma is good, and Darkness works I guess when she’s not… too much being the one joke. Favorite episode is 8, worst is 3.

    I didn’t catch your reply soon enough last week, but regarding Precure: since you’ve already seen the best {Heartcatch} I’ll reccomend Splash Star and Go!Pri from last year as the best of the rest. All Precure are fun tho, if you’re in that mahou shoujo mood, except for Dokidoki which is a travesty that needs to burn.

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    • Huh, and it seems our feelings on the characters in Durarara!! and Grimgar were reversed, too! Very interesting. And I understand the impulse to punch Ranta! I do! I just found his character really important to what the show was trying to say.

      And no, you may plug other sports shows! Although I probably am more likely to rewatch Kurobas than I am to take on a new sports series…

      Ah, yes, the many Precures. I might actually try something of a bit different flavor (Rayearth perhaps) before I pick up another already aired Precure, though.

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  2. There were enough shows to even warrant a post?!

    Kidding, Kidding. Kind of…

    This season ended up kind of pitiful for me… Only ended up liking maybe three shows?

    I still need to watch Rakugo and finish Shirayuki. Konosuba, Phantom, and Dagashi were the only ones I can say I enjoyed. Grimgar droned on too much, Bahamut was simple harem (with decent characters), Dimension W, Pandora, Luck & Logic, Divine Gate, ShoujoTachi, Aokana, Erased, and BBK/BRK all just fell flat on their way to the end and made me drop them.

    The shorts were all fun and sweet. Especially liked Oji-san to Marshmallow and Oshiete! Galko-chan (thought it’s jokes were pretty crude and crass throughout) .

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    • Yeah, this season really seemed to be a good one for shorts! And, of course, it’s the first season in a long time where I didn’t follow a single short from the start of the season. Tastes are weird…

      But yeah, it’s a bummer how many things tripped over themselves on the way to the finish line. I don’t regret finishing any of the shows I did, but certainly they weren’t all as consistently great as Rakugo.

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  3. If we’re going to criticise GATE for being a show that requires you to bring a lot to it as the viewer to enjoy it, then criticism of ‘ugly philosophies’ becomes far less definitive.

    A small shame to see an ideological review for a show that never takes its ‘philosophies’ seriously.

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    • As far as your first thought goes, I’ve honestly got no idea what you’re trying to say.

      For the second, I’m curious where you get this idea that GATE doesn’t take its philosophies seriously. Despite its relatively lighthearted tone, it seems obvious to me that its worldviews are deeply embedded in the show’s DNA. Most of us don’t take our most deeply held philosophies and ways of seeing the world “seriously” because they’re so ingrained in our perception of things that we can’t actually get outside them to notice them. Thus I think it is with GATE.

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      • ‘Philosophies’ seen as ‘ugly’ is down to a qualitative judgement based on what the viewer brings to those philosophies. Thus, those ‘philosophies’ work in the same way as the positive aspects of the show that you felt were only realised due to the part you played as audience. We can therefore conclude that your negative reception of the show’s ‘philosophies’ has come from your end of things, and since your review claims that such viewer-weighted involvement is a weaker approach to things, it follows that your criticism of the shows’ ‘philosophies’ being ‘ugly’ is weak.

        Secondly, I agree that GATE’s ideas and ideologies feel naturally ingrained into the production rather than actively worked into it. It’s that laxness that makes me not view the show as taking its worldviews seriously. Emphasis on taking as the active verb. The casual, bizarre nationalism can be engaged with enjoyably if you put yourself in a character’s shoes.

        When I watch a fantasy, I suspend my own sense of national identity; unless I feel personally involved as a ‘character’ in the work, I end up adopting whatever worldview characters have ingrained in them and I see if I’m comfortable with it. I was more than comfortable with GATE’s – I enjoyed it! If you didn’t, then that’s what you’ve brought to the show; a barrier to relaxing around the nationalists when the nationalists were the first to ask you to relax, have a laugh with it, and relate to it best as the kind of heroic dream every country would wish to be in the dominant position of.

        It’s a caricature of wonky worldviews you can relax into and laugh alongside with while not adopting anything yourself, as long as you’re ideologically flexible in the realm of fiction.

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        • I don’t think I ever claimed view-weighted involvement is a weaker approach (although I’m frankly not even sure what that’s even supposed to mean). And yes, of course, my feelings on the specific philosophies is going to be qualitative and subjective and personal and evolve from me—worldviews are inherently such. But a lengthy discussion laying out all the suppositions behind my views and unpacking GATE‘s positions and why I think they’re harmful would be entirely out of place in an overview piece like this.

          If GATE‘s hook was solely nationalism, I think I’d agree with you that it’s probably harmless enough. But that’s not the case. GATE is not just a nationalist fable, but an expression of numerous other interlocking worldviews that accompany that primary idea. As for the seriousness of it all, you seem to be saying that GATE is conscious of all its ideologies and doesn’t actually believe them. To an extent, I agree that GATE revels casually in its philosophies, but underneath that is a deep lack of self-awareness that informs the pieces of it that I consider truly ugly. GATE‘s like when someone makes a joke at your expense, and then keeps making it for so long that you understand it’s not a joke at all.

          As for the last parts, it sounds an awful lot like you’re implying I watched the show wrong, and that if I had just watched it the same way you had I would have had a different experience. It’s true that your way of watching the show enabled you to have a particular experience of it, but it’s not superior to the way I watched it. I had plenty of fun watching GATE. It was just a different sort of fun than you had.

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          • Not that it doesn’t believe them; more like it doesn’t care whether you do or not. It’s such a caricature; it would have at least a modicum of subtlety if it wanted to affect or challenge your worldviews.

            I never found any moment of it ‘truly ugly’; I’m interested as to what moments those were.

            And yes; your review implied in the first place that your take on the philosophies got in the way of the ‘moments of fun’.

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  4. GATE is a product of its source material. And ultimately, the source material was a series of web novels written by a former JGSDF soldier who had flights of fancy, is extremely JP right-wing, and according to various sources, is the type to want to dissolve the Mutual Defense Treaty.

    Even for an unrepentant, military-focused person like me, there are bits where I honestly felt uncomfortable. All of the Japan arc for example. It was little better than it was in the manga. The end of the novels is even more of the same.

    Enjoying GATE was when it moved away from fully surfacing that completely different wolrdview away and going to Itami and others, focusing on the conflict between Japan and the Empire for example. But if you come and stop and think about it, it’s still there.

    And it’s a troublesome show if you follow anything happening in East Asia nowadays. Something I’ve done since college. I would be very selective in recommending GATE.

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    • Ah, man, as soon as I saw your name pop up in the comment notifications I thought you were going to rake me over the coals for not writing the more in-depth essay on GATE I promised you after the first season! And I was super excited to tell you I was working on it tonight! I guess that’s all okay, though ^_^

      And yup, GATE is absolutely a product of its source material. It’s still amazing to me that the anime is supposedly two-levels toned down from the original web novels. I can’t even imagine what those must have been like…

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      • It’s several levels down in my eyes. The manga flowed much most smoothly when you just focus on Itami and the girls doing things. The anime flowed smoothly when you did that AND focused on Zorzal being a massive cock.

        Then the Japan arc goes and reminds me I’d rather listen to Donald Trump’s speeches.

        And I completely forgot about that. XD I did say I enjoyed GATE, but I also noted it’s a Your-Mileage-May-Vary series. I look forward to your obviously more in-depth essay.

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  5. “the unexpected winners of the season were shows I had fully intended to ignore from the start and one where old standbys didn’t manage to impress me the way they had in the past”

    If one includes KyoAni as an “old standby” for me, then this statement basically sums up my entire experience with this season as well. Back in November/December, this was the six-show lineup that I had picked out to start the season: Phantom World, Dimension W, Erased, Rakugo Shinju, Haruchika, and Macross Delta. It looks like I’m still going to finish six shows this season (maybe seven; I’m still on the fence about going back to Erased), but only Rakugo clearly survived from that first group of six (though Delta of course ended up not being part of this season’s lineup at all, so that doesn’t really count). I never even started Haruchika after Funi picked it up and the first episode got panned, while the rest were just varying degrees of letdown. But hey, as to what I DID finish, or will finish.

    #1, Rakugo Shinju. Agreed, this is easily the AOTS for me. It’s been slow going catching up with it once I fell behind, because I find I usually can’t watch more than one or two episodes at a time for some reason, and I’m still a few episodes behind, but that’s okay because it’s also a show that’s worth savoring. Top quality all the way around.

    #2, She and Her Cat. Now this would have been on my preseason list, had I known back then that it was coming out. I had already watched and liked the original Shinkai film last year, and had that on my list of shorts to Spotlight in one of my future columns (I eventually posted that Spotlight at the end of February, when this series was getting ready to premiere). But honestly, while I still like the original short, I thought this series was an improvement on it in pretty much every way, and a very emotionally satisfying anime.

    #3, Konosuba. Like you, Bless, I originally had no intentions of picking this up. I’m not generally a fan of either ecchi or cynical/mean-spirited comedy, plus the fact that I don’t watch “trapped in an MMO” style anime anyway, and it sounded like another one of those – literally, I’ve never watched SAO or .hack or any of their brethren. I’m glad I gave it a chance, though, since I ended up enjoying it so much (and it didn’t turn out to be very cynical either, fortunately). I’ll definitely be lining up to watch whenever season 2 comes out.

    #4, Aokana. This season’s winner of my KanColle Spirit of Fun award, given to the show that best fits the description of, “My inner critic wants to rip this thing apart, but as a viewer I’m having way too much fun with it to care.” And I did have a lot of fun with Aokana. Aside from the twist of being primarily adapted as a sports anime instead of a VN romance (which as I said before was a change that I personally welcomed), there wasn’t anything too unusual about it, but I liked the characters a lot, the visuals were generally good, and even if the story was mostly predictable to anyone who’s seen enough sports anime, the execution was competent enough that it still worked. When I’m watching the Inui-Tobisawa semifinal match in ep 11 with a quickened pulse and gripping the arms of my chair, I know I’m fully engaged with the story, “predictable” or not. Most of all, though, it was just a great mood-lifter for me most of the time; I came away from almost every episode feeling happy and refreshed afterwards.

    #5, Tabi Machi Late Show. January’s four-episode series in the same short anime block that aired She and Her Cat in March. TMLS wasn’t quite as strong as its stablemate, especially in the animation department, but it was still a good little anthology series, with the second and especially the third episodes being the ones I’ll remember most fondly. If you’re ever in the mood for a quiet but meaningful little drama show, this is one I can definitely recommend.

    #6, Ojisan and Marshmallow. This time, the lowest series on my list was still pretty good. Even though most of the series revolved around that one running joke of, “She wants him, he’s oblivious,” they played it with enough twists and turns and variations that it never became tedious (and the final twist in the last episode was both unexpected and yet from Hige’s perspective made total sense). I can’t imagine ever re-watching it, but for three minutes of entertainment a week it was definitely worth my time.

    Still in limbo: Erased (4 episodes)
    Dropped: Girls Beyond the Wasteland (5 episodes), Phantom World (3 episodes), Dimension W (3 episodes), Galko-chan (1 episode)

    Favorite characters of the season: Aqua & Megumin (Konosuba), Tobisawa (Aokana), Sukeroku & Kikuhiko (Rakugo Shinju)
    Favorite OP: Dimension W
    Favorite ED: Aokana
    Favorite episodes: Rakugo 1 & 5 (so far), Konosuba 2 & 5, Aokana 9 & 11, Tabi Machi Late Show 3

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  6. OK, off to the massive wall o’ text…

    First, a note about ratings – I use a five point scale to match my ratings on Anime Planet. (http://www.anime-planet.com/users/DerekL) I’m not all that consistent about my scale though, but I am slowly getting more consistent and editing my ratings. A numerical scale doesn’t really convey all the nuances though… a 2.5 can mean very different things between different shows. One 2.5 might suck balls, another might be worth watching if you have the time to spare, so I supplement them with a comment for clarity.

    Akagami no Shirayukihime: Poor Shirayuki… In an anime bearing her name and which she was the notional heroine of, the bulk of the season was devoted to Princes Zen and Raj and secondary characters. She spent most of the season as a largely inert quest object. Similarly, two events about her that should have loomed large (finding her long lost father and becoming a Court Herbalist in her own right) were offhandedly handled in few lines and thus had almost zero impact.

    Final ranking: 2.5/5.0 Mostly meh.
    Special Award: Silver raspberry for wasted potential.

    AOKANA: I didn’t read much about this beforehand, I just plopped it in my queue when it appeared on Crunchyroll because it seemed like it might be a kinda interesting harem show. Boy was I in for a surprise – not only was there no harem, it was actually a decently written show with a better than average plot and considerable character growth across the season. Like last season’s Asterisk War, it was simply better than it had any right to be, and well worth watching. It left me with a smile on my face each week, and really – who can ask for anything more?

    Particularly enjoyable was Kurashina’s characterization in finding FC and flying FUN!!! while all the others around her took it so seriously. Shindo Kazunari was also an interesting character, taking FC very seriously, but not forgetting to have fun and treating losing as a learning opportunity rather than something shameful. He’s headed for the pros, but he’s still thoroughly grounded.

    Final Ranking 3.0/5.0 Above average, and I’m glad I watched.
    Awards: Best Girl: Kurashina Asuka, Best male supporting character: (tie) Shindo Kazunari.

    Dagashi Kashi Review pending as the finale has not aired.

    Dimension W Sigh DW started out with great promise and actually delivered… and then episode 4 happened. Rarely does a show so obviously go off the rails and drop headfirst into a lake of mediocrity. But it wasn’t content to rest in the mud on the bottom of the lake, instead it began busily digging itself into an ever deeper hole. In the end, as someone on the ANN forums pointed out, the best part of the show was watching the ANN episode reviewer desperately trying to come up with something to write each week other than “jeez, this week is worse than the last”.

    I really should have dropped it along about the mid season gut check, but I kept hoping it would get better.

    Final ranking 2.0/5.0 Just not worth it.
    Special Award: Gold Rasberry for wasted potential.

    ERASED: Probably the hardest show this season to write about. It’s high points were flat out among the best I’ve ever seen, but these were accompanied by low points that really made me wonder WTF the show staff as thinking. In the end they pulled it out and all the plot points were neatly wrapped up, but Erased never really completely recovered from it’s mid season fumble.

    But the scene in the penultimate episode where Kayo and Satoru meet will live with me for a very long time. I have to give them that – despite it’s larger plot fumbles, ERASED consistently nailed the Big Moments.

    In some places, I saw some complaints that Revival was never adequately explained… Personally, I’m OK with that. We don’t really need for it to be explained, as it’s not really the point of the show. I think we’re spoiled by the tropes of American superhero media and the technobabble of SF which often leaves little mystery. I like a little mystery. (And boy are those folks who complained going to lose their stuff when Orange hits the screen.)

    Final Ranking: 3.0/5.0 Amazing in the beginning, but loses a lot of steam in the middle third and never completely recovers.

    Awards: Best OP Animation (There will be no award this season for Best OP or Best OP theme), Best male supporting character: (tie) Kobayashi Kenya.

    Gate: Like Shirayuki, another show where the sequel didn’t quite live up to the promise of the original. A lot of the individual episodes were very good, but the arcs kept feeling as if they were chopped short so they could fit everything into twelve episodes.

    In the end it delivered on it’s basic premise though, lots of action with no more introspection or exposition than was absolutely required.

    Final Ranking 2.5/5.0 Mostly just there.

    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash: Wow. Flat out head and shoulders the best anime of the season. The basic premise, folks transported to a fantasy world and left to fend for themselves, has been done to death. We’ve seen legions of people lost in a world they never made. But Grimgar takes this hoary old trope and turns it on it’s head in a way SAO tried but fell short of.

    I honestly can’t summarize Grimgar or dispose of it neatly in a handful of sentences as I do so many other shows. It did so many things well… from the small details of their struggle to find enough money to eat and clothe themselves, to the larger struggle of dealing with death and change. From quiet moments among friends around the fire, to the almost unendurably strong bonds forged in blood and sorrow… Few shows ever so consistently hit their marks.

    But despite Manato’s death in episode 4 and how it drove the plot for the rest of the series, the primary theme of Grimgar is life. The goblin howling in despair and challenge in episode two was a chilling moment… At first, I thought it was just a howl of pain, but right alongside the characters I realized the truth – it didn’t want to die. (The “monsters” were a crowning achievement, they were consistently shown to be living and thinking beings rather than the more usual disposable red shirts.) The main characters face the same struggle, to live, especially as they deal with their grief over Manato and the daily struggles to find enough money to live off of even though they don’t feel like they can go on. This struggle to live, to find a way out of despair, ultimately defines the show. The final moments of the show were a masterpiece… Most shows would have ended after all the tying-up-the-loose-ends scenes, but showing the characters setting forth into a new day tells a different story. There’s not really an ending, there’s always a new day. Life continues.

    Final Ranking: 4.5/5.0
    Awards: Anime of the season, Best female lead (Mary), Best character arc (Mary).

    Gundam Tekketsu: Review pending as the finale has not aired.

    Konasuba: I’m really not as high on this show as Bless is. It was funny, and it certainly had more than it’s share of moments… but the comedy often seemed forced and all too often was a little repetitious.

    Final Ranking: 2.5/5.0 Funny enough to watch once and to look forward to the next season.

    Ojisan and Marshmallow: A consistently funny short about a man who has an obsession with marshmallows and a younger woman in his office who is obsessed with him (though he doesn’t quite grasp that).

    Final ranking: 3.0/5.0 And I wish there was another season.
    Award: Best Short.

    Ouya-san wa Shishunki: A moderately funny short about a small apartment complex and it’s middle schooler landlady.

    Final Ranking: 2.5/5.0 Mostly average.

    She and Her Cat: Everything Flows: Despite having only four eps, the third best anime of the season, coming in close behind Erased and Grimgar. And another show that it’s hard to say much or anything about, because it’s both so simple and so complex. The last ep had both my lady and I in tears, the only show this season that really, really managed to hit the feels in the finale.

    Final rating: 4.0/5.0
    Awards: Best Female Supporting Character She.

    Dropped Active Raid (1 ep), BBK/BRNK (4 eps), Divine Gate (2 eps), Girls Beyond the Wasteland (5 eps), Haruchika (1 ep), Luck and Logic (3 eps), Myriad Colors Phantom World (1 ep), Norn9 (2 eps), Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R (1 ep), Oshiete! Gyaruko-chan (1 ep), Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn (1 ep), Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation (1 ep), Prince of Stride: Alternative (4 eps).

    Aaand… that wraps up another season!

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  7. Looking at your Rakugo verdicts: I’m so angry I want to stalk the address of your home and ship you the two volumes of OST for that show, then strap you in your chair with the speakers cranked on max. 2mm from your face.

    I like Oshima, but I honestly think Rakugo had one the best anime OST in perhaps years.

    Japan. Shaming Americans with Jazz since 1957 (I think).

    Like

  8. I didnt post for awhile weeks were missed and the site seem neglected Not Angry as you have your life to take care and I put a lot into my thoughts ( at least an hour 3 tonite if not more)so I waited for the Final even though are some EP 13’s yet or Ajin which is a week behind

    So I am trying something different will go through your list first and comment / then do my TOP 12 if not in your list! I wiil post my reasons as everybody is different I use did it entetain me as my main factor.

    After that wiil be my Top 2 Tiers ( 34 ) Remember I watched 45 shows So I have more to pick from.

    Also there animes with only 4 EPS that performed well and RWBY was my #1

    YOUR TOP 9

    GATE S2 / MY RANK 13th I have more of a problem with presentation than the violence which is mild compare to some other Winter anme ( Ajin / Mobile Suit Gundham / God Eater to name a few.) It is toned down from the written material.It got knocked for the sloppy last episode.
    ERASED / MY RANK 9th ( Pretty close ) 2 Weak points for me ( but still enjoyed it) the obvious teacher did it and the rushed yet tied up all the loose ends last EP
    Durarara!! x2-3 / MY RANK 17th one of my biggest letdowns 2 problems for me and this isnt the first anime to do this, An overuse of endless dialogue from like Ep 8 on. Make the point if you have so much going Celty the biggest story was a period until EP 12 . Izana Shizu fight was teased then like 2 / 3 minutes the most This is course the problem with the last episode just a rush job. I heard a lot of people dropeed it entirely.
    Haikyuu!! S2 / MY RANK 5TH Very true to the source material In fact Shouen Jump mamga / animes stat very true to the written material (Assassination Classroom / World Trigger / Food Wars are others ) which I am reading or Finished !

    Watching those matches were intense after all it is a rebuilding to the former glory. The chemistry and growth is just a thing of Beauty!

    Konosuba / MY RANK 16TH I liked it a lot it was of DRRR / just a lot of othersin the mix I liked I and happy an S2 is coming
    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime S2(7/10) / MY RANK 7TH Pesrsonally the Pirate Arc was important as Shirayuki was reunited with her Father. Also Obi is now the 3rd in line of exporsure. If anything yjere are slow moments in the show. And the lasr EP semeed rushed . But it was high on my list and the DUb is excellent!
    She and Her Cat -Everything Flows / MY RANK 22Th Maybe I underanked this a bit I compared it to some other 4 EPS anime Like RWBY / GOD EATER (In MY WORLD if it airs it gets ranked )so even though it was excellent my scheme of ranking comes into play.
    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash / MY RANK 6th which is really good It was presebted differently. OUTSTANDING OST!!
    Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju / Not Ranked Dropped after 2 episodes put me to sleep

    MY TOP 12 if not mentioned 12th to 1st

    12 GOD Eater ( EPS 10-13) I am glad they took a break because this was really good great action / Oh the weapons / backstories / and maybe more to come! One of a few apocalypse type anime that performed well!

    11 Mobile Suit Gundam/ Iron-Blooded Orphans / Started slow for me but Winter side was really good Alliamces / insane betrayals / the will to win. / sadness always good a recipe if done right.

    10 Dimension W / I feel sorry for this anime .A great sc-fi with an interesting story but has some presentation issues like too much material for one season. Mira was a cool Robot and Kyoma a human with Mad Skills. Stiil glad there was a lot of Sci-Fi

    9 Erased / Your Rank 8th

    8 Dagashi Kashi / This has a Non-Non Biyori feel even with all of the innuendo’s. Candy Store would fit right in. It reminds me of of the candy snack shops / or Drive ins back in the day . The anime even gives homage to America Toostie Rool Pops .Candy Apples / and of course Cotton Candy. Hotaru is as Zany as anybody Saya is as nice as a girl in any anime

    7 Snow White with the Red Hair 2 / Your Rank 4th

    6 Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash / Your Rank 2nd

    5 Haikyuu!! Second Season / Your Rank 6TH

    4 Ajin – Demi-Human / Ajin IMO raised the bar on violence. Also who is good ? A well presented story. And Satou has become easily one of my Top 10 villians and a high I.Q

    3 Heavy Object / People who dropped or didnt watch the anazing growth of the two main heroes who take no-win scenarios missed a good one yes it’s a mix comedy / military like MASH A disclaimer this show became a favorite of a lot of reviewers and fans. I never had one letdown. Author Kazuma Kamachi gave us this spinoff from A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun, BTW Object Baby Object/ Milinda helps Index in the Light Novels

    2 Assassination Classroom 2 / Again very true to the source material The combination of their skills and their academic growth continues . But very important is the life / human lessons given by Kore -Sensei. Of Couse the villians a as bad as ever. Karasuma skills are over the top. Irina (B-Sensei) a growing I have read and finished the manga The Revelations and the ending(s) are really compelling. The sales of the DVD/s and The Live action movie which beat the new Batman / Superman movie raises some eyebrows.

    1 RWBY VOL 3 / Another anime with just 4 episodes that floored me and others.The Show Forum on CR was one of the most posted

    The “Dark’ tone S3 took surprised some but was warned . I couldn’t wait every rwo weeks . Good people died and the apocalypse approaches.

    The revelations / implictions are many. Cinder Fall is a Top Villian! THE OST is another great one
    Salem looks like the bad bos

    WATCHED 45 SHOWS / 33 Full / 12 SHORTS

    WEEK 12

    TIER 1 TOP FAVORITES

    1 RWBY VOL 3
    2 Assassination Classroom 2 NW
    3 Heavy Object EOW
    4 Ajin – Demi-Human EOW
    5 Haikyuu!! Second Season EOW
    6 Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash EOW / LAST EP was Great!
    7 Snow White with the Red Hair 2 NW
    8 Dagashi Kashi
    9 Erased (Boku Machi) (The Town Where Only I Am Missing) NW
    10 Dimension W EOW
    11 Mobile Suit Gundam/ Iron-Blooded Orphans
    12 GOD Eater EP 13 FINAL EOW (4 EPS Only)
    13 GATE 2 NW
    14 Pandora in the Crimson Shell EOW
    15 HaruChika [blue]FUNI [/blue] [b]Daisuki[/b] DONE
    16 Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku(Give Blessings to This Wonderful World)
    17 Durarara!!×2 Ketsu
    18 World Trigger [
    19 Lovely Muuuuuuuco! SHORT
    20 TEEKYU 7 SHORT
    21 The File of Young Kindaichi Returns

    TIER 2 Good / Enjoy watching ! Shows

    22 She and Her Cat -Everything Flows SHORT EOW
    23 Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note SHORT
    24 Oshiete! Galko-chan (Please tell me! GALKO-chan) SHORT
    25 Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: Beyond the Sky, Into the Firmament
    26 Myriad Colors Phantom World / Musaigen no Phantom World
    27 Norn9 Norun + Nonetto
    28 Maho Shojo Nante Mo Ii Desu Kara / (I’ve Had Enough of Being a Magical Girl) SHORT
    29 Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R
    30 Ojisan and Marshmallow SHORT
    31 Ooyasan wa Shishunki !SHORT
    32 JK-MESHI! SHORT
    33 GIRLS Beyond The Koya
    34 Sekkou Boys SHORT

    WINTER 2016 DUBS

    Assassination Classroom 2
    Dagashi Kashi
    Dimension W
    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
    Heavy Object
    Pandora in the Crimson Shell
    Snow White with the Red Hair 2 / Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

    OVA / ONA / Specials / Movies

    Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt ONA EP 1
    Aria the Avvenire Winter 2016 / Spring 2016 / SUMMER 2016 ? 3 Part Series ?
    Marcross Delta Special Or EP 1 [red]( Will be Spring Anime ) [/red]
    Nisekoi OVA # 4 / Newlyweds / More Magical Girls 9/ 10 / 11 / Final or Not Very Funny
    Aoharu x Kikanjuu Special
    Big Order OVA
    Kamisama Hajimemashita: Kako-hen OVA 2
    Akagami no Shirayuki-hime OVA
    To Love-Ru: Trouble – Darkness OVA
    Garakowa -Restore the World- – Movie / Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai
    Okusama ga Seitokaichou! OVA
    Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist. Special 1
    Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt ONA EP 2
    Durarara!!x2 Ten: Onoroke Chakapoko Special
    Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist. Special 2
    Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist. Special 3
    ONE PUNCH MAN Special # 3
    Prison School OVA
    Date A Live Movie: Mayuri Judgment EOW
    Bakemono no Ko The Boy and The Beast 1:59:06 EOW
    UFO Gakuen no Himtsu The Laws of The Universe Part 0
    Noragami Aragoto OAD 2

    Like

  9. I just wish to pipe in with the fact that finding out Nijiro Days is a two-cour made me a little happy. Which surprised me, since it wasn’t one of the shows was going to be missing. One of the underappreciated shows this season (cute, but still no must-see).

    I may be a little more positive on Erased but ultimately I do agree with the drive of your criticism. The way to watch the show, IMO, is as a psychological character drama for the main character. The mystery elements suck and the attempted whodunnit-suspense amounts to a meta-game of they-can’t-be-that-obvious. The child-abuse angle amounts to little more than a rescue fantasy (girls, because they’re more rescuable; and none of the pesky self-blaming of parent-excusing you often encounter, either, because we want a little angel). At least, as far rescue-fantasies go, it was very rewarding and emotionally satisfying. On the psychological angle, there’s a fairly consistent journey of learning to trust people, although there’s a lot of missed potential (e.g. if they had stuffed the whodunnit aspect, they could have developed the murderer in paralell and made the show a study in obsession; elements of this exist but are sparse [see red-eyes effect for both Satoru and teacher; and the teachers line that heroes and villains aren’t all that different]). I do think that the race to save people from a murderer and the underlying psychological aspect made for an entertaining show, but it just wasn’t what it could have been, after the first episode.

    I pretty much agree withRakugo, except I have more superlatives to offer. Haikyuu got good again near the end, but like I you I have no idea whether I’d watch next season (depends on what else airs on its day, I suppose). I’m definitely more positive than you are on Durarara, mostly, I think, because I have a tendency to prefer multi-character shows to protagonist-centered ones, when it comes to light entertainment. I’ve got a very similar take on Gate, but I’ve said that. Grimgar is good, but I don’t like it nearly as much. Konosuba was fun, and I’m looking forward to season 2. She and Her Cat wasn’t that good for me; I loved the cat animation (best I can remember in anime), but the feel of the show was too one-sidedly sentimental for me (the original used counterpoint to end up in a similar place [i.e. faceless girl and cartoony cat, with mostly setting-stills telling the story – IIRC] – I like it better). And finally Akagami no Shirayuki Hime is… okay.

    I liked Dimension W for what it was; entertaining pulp SF. I actually started liking it more when other people starting being disappointed. I breathed a sigh of relieve when I realised this wasn’t going to be Cowboy Bebop (a show I never clicked with).

    Also, I did end up loving Pandora all the way through. I loved how the show had a villain who took himself seriously and failed because the world was nuts. It’s the first time, I think, I’ve seen a show use a villain as the straight man to the entire world’s idiocy. (Though I do seem to remember some villain side-kicks that would fit that role, it’s not quite the same.)

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  10. I watched quite a few Shows this Season and there were some really good ones in it.

    Akagami no Shirayukihime S2:
    Solid Show and probably best Romance, plus beatiful Artwork.
    Story was okay, no real surprises there.

    Ao no kanata no four rythm:
    Decent Show. I really liked the focus on the Sport itself.
    Wish they had shown more of the Flying Circus Sport.
    Mashiro best Girl!

    Boku dake ga inai machi:
    One of the best Shows this Season for me.
    The way they animated the Flashbacks or the time when he was a Kid again was really good.
    Story itself was good too, I just didn’t like how they made it obvious that the teacher was the Murderer.
    Best ED of the season

    Dimension W:
    Okay Show. Mira kept it alive, but I really disliked the verbal abuse from Kyouka all the time.

    GATE S2:
    I was on the verge of dropping this after the 1st Episode.
    Was the same when they showed that scene in the Manga. Dunno why they have to show something like that, it is disgusting.
    Didn’t like the show that much. Was a disappointment.

    Hai to gensou no Grimgar:
    One of the better Shows, probably 2nd or 3rd best this season.
    The slow progress they made, made it kind of “realistic”. They were no overpowered Characters in a MMO-like World, no, they struggled to survive in an MMO-like World.
    I loved Yume’s character and she was best girl till Mary showed up.
    This show made me start reading the LNs and I already completed the first one.
    After the big fight were they “avanged” Manato was Anime-original I guess and if I am not wrong the LNs don’t go for the Mary x Haru route.

    Heavy Object:
    Really enjoyed this show. It was not that good, but a really enjoyable watch and that is what Anime should be. Good show!

    KonoSuba:
    What a great show it was. Can’t wait for the OVA and season 2.
    This was one of my most favorite shows this season and it made me shed a lot of tears (from laughing).

    Luck & Logic:
    Mediocre show. Not that bad, but not good either.

    Musaigen no Phantom World:
    As a big Fan of KyoAni shows I just had to watch it.
    The animation was beautiful, but there was not much of a story, except the last two episodes.
    Best part of it was the VA from Reina, which is the same as Shirayuki. I love her voice so much. It is kind of relaxing, I could listen to her voice for Days

    Nijiiro Days:
    Best Short. season only half done. Very good comedy. Marippe best Girl.

    Ojisan to marshmallow:
    Good 3 Minute long show. Wakayabashi-kun was adorable, but not taken seriously, sadly.

    Prince of Stride:
    Another Sports show and I like Sport shows. This one was better than AOKANA.
    Not much drama in here and the sport itself and the races were interesting.

    Shoujo-tachi wa kouya wo mezasu:
    Hoped for a kind of “How to raise a boring Girlfriend” show, but was disappointed to no end.
    This show was just bad. I kept watching it, because I liked Yuuka and wanted to see what happens to her.

    Utawarerumono:
    I don’t know why so many people like this show.
    It was boring. Point.
    Didn’t like it at all.

    She and her Cat:
    As I am a big fan of makoto Shinkai, I was excited about this one and it did not disappoint me.
    Nice story, nice animation, really liked it.

    Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu:
    Still one episode left, but damn is this show good.
    The first episode was not that interesting for me, but I kept watching it and it just got better and better. Best show of the season and probably one of the best shows I have ever seen.

    Mobile Suit Gundam – Iron blooded Orphans:
    A Mary Okada show and it did not disappoint me.
    To be honest, it was my firstshow from the Gundam franchise, but it was good.
    Very good character developement and good story. 2nd season coming soon.
    Orga is by far my favorite character from this show.

    God Eater:
    Dunno if you can count it to this season, but the last episodes finally aired.
    Really good action packed show with nice animation.
    The artstyle is somewhat unique and I needed to get used to it, but it really is beatiful.

    I dropped almost every other show that was airing after 3 Episodes.
    The only thing worth mentioning is the HaruChika OP from fhána. Best OP of the season, but the show itself was a big disappointment. don’t do that again P.A. Works !!!

    And now let’s wait for Macross Delta!

    Like

  11. Top Five:

    1) Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju: head and shoulders above everything else this season, possibly the best series of 2016 depending on what else wil be on offer
    2) Hai to Gensou no Grimgar: slice of life trapped in a fantasy world, where the heroes aren’t ridic overpowered and have to struggle with the actual business of, you know, murdering sentient beings and the mess that is as well as grief for their own. Hit me emotionally in ways few other series have.
    3) Boku Dake ga Inai Machi: and the same goes for this. Deserves third place if only for mum.
    4) Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: did sort of the same things as Grimgar, but funnier. Made me laugh at least once every episode
    5) She and her Cat: alll the feels.
    5) Oshiete! Galko-chan: the other show that made me laugh every time and one that’s atually honest on how teenage girls talk with each other. What other series has mentioned period pain/tampons multiple times?

    Note: differences between 2-5 are minimal and ranking could differ on other days.

    Honourable mentions:

    Prince of Stride: Alternative & Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm — entertaingly done future sports underdog stories where you’d never know the second one was adapted from a harem visual novel as the protagonist of it was largely a side character here.

    Nijiro Days: entertaining mix of school boys clowning around with each other and fairly realistically done romance

    Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn: cyborg yuri maho shoujo win through the power of their love over villains that take themselves way too serious, even if nobody else does.

    Maho Girls Precure: adorable.

    Dagashi Kashi: Japanese sweetshop comedy with a bit of romance but not too much

    Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation: I thought nobody watched this but me until I ran into a fellow fan at a con this weekend. For what’s essentially just a commercial for the MMO, it turned out surprisingly decent, especially in the early episodes when they still pretended PSO2 was just a game. Protagonist is made the student council vice president just to get him to play the game and because the president would like to jump his bones.

    Haruchika Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru: a mix of Hyouta and Hibike Euphonium that could live up to neither, with the promise of a gay semi protagonist that never went anywhere much, but still surprisingly decent.

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