The Best Anime of Spring 2016

Spring 2016 was ridiculous. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched 10+ shows in a season, but this season made me do it. In addition, the top level of shows this season were ridiculous. We had basically two competing AOTS shows (fortunately, only one actually ended this season). In short, I had a whole bunch of fun—my weekly schedule this season felt like coming home each time I started in on it.

[If you want to recap the entire fall season, from my first impressions all the way through the stuff I managed to write this season, you can hit up everything I’ve written in the Spring 2016 tag!]

9. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (4/10)

Perhaps appropriately for a show like this, I felt like Tanaka-kun is Always Listless kind of ran out of steam after the first few episodes. The big charm point of early Tanaka-kun was the combination of sleepy humor, neat art design, effective Non Non Biyori-like direction, and quiet reflections on friendship and high school identity. The later two of these I felt was mostly lost as the show tracked on, as things turned more towards self-contained jokes that fell flat about as often as they landed. All the characters in the show are, actually, pretty good, but Tanaka-kun never really did much with them and Tanaka’s final realization in the show’s finale felt like too little, too late. In the end, I suppose I really just prefer my slow slice-of-life anime with a bit more atmosphere to them, and Tanaka-kun never really ended up providing that, which feels like a bit of a waste.

Awards: (Honorable Mention: Best Visual Aesthetic)

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

8. Bungou Stray Dogs (5/10)

I usually don’t rank shows that I didn’t finish, and while I technically didn’t finish Bungou (I skipped episode 8, the finale of the anime original arc), I feel like I got a good enough sense of its character from what I saw (everything else) to let it show up here. The last Igarashi show I watched in full was Captain Earth and while Bungou isn’t really much like Captain Earth, I feel it’s plagued by some of the same issues (characters feel weightless, narrative is pretty much a mess), but fortunately those issues are less an issue given Bungou‘s somewhat lighter feel. I generally enjoyed the comedy in Bungou, which also served to cushion some of the other issues by way of keeping me entertained. That same humor did feel rather at odds with the sudden violence that punctuated the show. In the end, I never did feel Bungou bridged that gap very well, but both sides were fun enough (especially after Kyouka’s entrance) that it all wound out okay! I’ll be watching season 2.

Awards: (Honorable Mentions: Best OP—”Trash Candy” by GRANRODEO, Best ED—”Namae wo Yobu yo” by Luck Life)

Bungou Stray Dogs

7. Sansha Sanyou (5/10)

Time for moe! Sansha Sanyou‘s definitely at the lower end of Dogakobo’s comparable shows, but with a great OP and some pretty solid characters, I enjoyed it well enough. These kind of shows live and die by A) the characters being independently fun, and B) the show moving along at a good clip between bits, and Sansha Sanyou managed that quite well in Yasahiro Kimura’s directorial debut. Futaba, Hayama, and Yoko were a solid trio, and some of the peripheral characters (Kou, Sonobe, and Nishiyama) did a good job of supporting the central dynamic. Futaba, in particular, was a standout, backed by Mai Kanazawa’s astounding vocals. As always, one of the pleasures of watching Dogakobo shows was seeing some of the production quirks, like Enishi Oshima’s solo KA episode and all the cats in the show being animated on the 1’s (what the heck). Cute show, good watch.

Awards: (Honorable Mentions: Best OP—”Clover Kakume-tion” by Triple Feeling, Best Female Character—Futaba Odagiri)

Sansha Sanyou

6. Space Patrol Luluco (5/10)

Someday, Trigger will stop being so freaking in love with itself and actually make a total complete good show in the Trigger style, but Space Patrol Luluco was not that. With flat visuals (even as a joke, they’re unengaging) and a seemingly endless chain of self-references, some effective and some much less so, Luluco often felt too indebted to Trigger’s previous works to actually be fully its own thing. And that’s a real bummer, because the core of Luluco the character’s story was great! When the narrative actually focused on Luluco’s journey (and when the show was actually animated), it was charming, fun, and even touching. Sadly, the Trigger mania never quite let the glimmer of Luluco’s crystal heart show through the way it deserved to.

Awards: Best Short, Best ED—”Pipo Password” by Teddy Loid feat. Bonjour Suzuki (Honorable Mention: Best Female Character—Luluco)

Space Patrol Luluco

5. Flying Witch (6/10)

I keep telling people J.C. Staff is good, but nobody listens to me. I sadly doubt Flying Witch cause any changes on that front, but I guess I can be happy it was received as well as it was. And deservingly so! Flying Witch is really good! It’s not quite in the top tier of slice-of-life shows, but it has some truly sublime moments in the matter of fact way it overlaps the mundane world and the world of magic (the first moment Makoto flies in episode one, the entrance into the cafe in the middle of the show, and the floating fish lights in the season finale all stand out as prime examples of this). I’m always a sucker for combinations of magic and the real world and the way Flying Witch does it makes it seem almost possible, almost real. That’s a special thing, and while I sort of wish the show had gone that route more often than it did, there’s probably something to be said for moderation. Would have liked more Nao, by the way, but that’s neither here nor there.

Awards: Best Slice of Life (Honorable Mention: Best OST)

Flying Witch

4. Mayoiga (6/10)

Probably the most difficult show of the season to rank on my personal scale – I simply don’t have established patterns for shows like Mayoiga to slot into. What do you do with shows like this, where the primary attractions are absurdism and formal experimentation? How do you assess that sort of thing – even on just a personal basis? For me, I ended up just coming to the realization that messing around with form just isn’t as valuable an endeavor to me as those the shows above attempted. That being said, wow, was Mayoiga a fascinating work. There was no show this season that I had more fun writing about and talking about that Mizushima and Okada’s formal shitpost, a show that could seemingly do anything and everything. It was funny, it was touching, it was tense, it was dumb. It was no Kill Me Baby, but it was pretty darn good.

Awards: Best Adventure, Best Comedy (Honorable Mention: Best OST)

Mayoiga

3. Kiznaiver (7/10)

Mari Okada the anime filtered through first-time series director Hiroshi Kobayashi’s brilliant cinematographic eye was a really a wonderful thing to watch. Although I felt the back half of the show after episode 7 sort of lost touch with the things that made the first part of the show special (lighter character interactions, small moments of friendship), Kiznaiver never fell apart the way I feared it might. I suppose that sounds like damning with faint praise, and yes, there were issues like the failure to effectively reconcile Sonozaki and Katsuhira’s narrative with the “misfits become friends” stuff, but on the whole Kiznaiver is something I’m glad I watched and something I’m glad exists. If nothing else, it reaffirmed my positive feeling about Okada and gave me a promising new director to keep an eye out for. Oh, and Chidori was really cute. I wanted to give her a hug. Actually, I basically wanted to give all of the main cast hugs. And adopt them. Dumb kids, I love you.

Awards: Best Drama, Best Visual Aesthetic, Best OST, Best OP—”LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME” by Boom Boom Satellites, Best Female Character—Nico Niyama (Honorable Mention: Best Story)

Kiznaiver 11-12

2. My Hero Academia (7/10)

That My Hero Academia didn’t even come close to hitting the ceiling of this adaptation’s potential and still winds up in this spot is a testament to just how strong the source material is. While the adaptation strictures clearly had an impact on Kenji Nagasaki’s ability to pace the show in a non-glacial way, he and composer Yuuki Hayashi made magic moment after magic moment in episode after episode in a way I frankly didn’t think was possible. Nagaski clearly had his finger on the pulse of what makes this manga great and to be able to tap into that wellspring of inspiration whenever the opportunity was offered despite everything blocking the way, well… it’s incredible. I cried so many times watching this show, and often it felt like it came out of nowhere. Hotly anticipating the second season and rumored increased episode count—here’s hoping Nagasaki will get a little bit more room to breath. But, for now, My Hero Academia is super solid, even if it fell short of being everything it could have been.

Awards: Best Action (Honorable Mentions: Best Male Character—All Might, Izuku Midoriya)

My Hero Academia

1. Concrete Revolutio S2 (10/10)

Despite the gap between second and first place, the scores still don’t do an adequate job of reflecting just how far ahead of the pack Concrete Revolutio‘s second season was. The first season was my favorite show of 2015, but this season was even better in a way I didn’t believe was possible. Despite being mostly episodic and only really closing out its overarching storylines in the final two episodes, Concrete Revolutio S2 managed to be emotionally impactful nearly every week – and it always had something to say. And then to cap all that off with a phenomenal windup and absolute titan of a finale… what more is there to say? This is Shou Aikawa’s baby and his masterpiece. It’s the best show of the season, potentially the best show of the entire year, and without question one of the top shows of the decade. Yes, it is that good. Shows like this are the reason I keep watching anime season after season.

Awards: Best Story, Best Fantasy, Best Male Character—Jiro Hitoyoshi (Honorable Mentions: Best Visual Aesthetic, Best ED—”ALL-WAYS” by Yohske Yamamoto feat. Nami Tamaki)

Concrete Revolutio


 Ongoing

Macross Delta (13/25 – currently, idols/10); Re:ZERO (currently – 5/10); Mahoutsukai Precure (16/48 – currently, 6/10)

Dropped

  • Bakuon!! (1 ep)
  • Joker Game (1 ep)
  • Twin Star Exorcists (1 ep)
  • Haifuri (1 eps)
  • Pan de Peace (1 ep)
  • Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (2 eps)
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (8 eps)

 Unawarded

  • Pet Show of the Season, Honorable Mention: Best Story, Best Harem, Best Sports

And so, we move on to the summer season, carrying presumed AOTS Macross Delta with us (Macross Delta is stupid good, by the way). The way things are looking right now, it’ll be another busy season, but I’m hoping for a slightly better spread of values this time. We’ll see! Anime almost always seems to have some sort of surprise in wait for us each season!

16 thoughts on “The Best Anime of Spring 2016

  1. I warmed up to My Hero Academia…it was the kind of show that grew on you as it went further along. Bungou Stray Dogs floundered a bit in the middle and seemed to suffer from some tonal dissonance but pulled itself together in the last third. Kiznaiver was a bit of a mixed bag for me as I felt that the message and direction the show went (“you don’t need some dodgy technology to empathize and care for human beings!”) seemed almost too simple. The highlight of spring for me has surprisingly been Sakamoto-kun. I rarely watch comedies and while Sakamoto-kun is comedic, what drew me was how serious that humor was and how the show wasn’t afraid of taking us into some pretty dark places. I know you dropped the show a few eps in but I highly recommend watching the finale, which really is a perfect culmination of the character moments that this series spotlights on and takes on the poignant (if traditionally overdone) transitory moment of high school graduation and facing the unknown depths of adulthood and real life.

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    • Yeah, I also felt Bungou‘s final episodes were its best – felt a bit like it kind of finally figured out the show it wasn’t to be.

      And yeah, I’ve heard good things about Sakamoto-kun! I really did enjoy the first episode a whole lot, so maybe I’ll pick it up at a later date again!

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  2. Disagree with Tanaka-kun but I can see your points on everything else (Even Mayoiga which I thought was terrible but I can understand why quite a few critics like it, including yourself).

    But be glad you never bothered with Big Order. One of the worst anime I’ve ever seen.

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  3. Heh, this might be the season where our tastes are the most out of touch since I’ve followed your blog. My top shows were:

    Flying Witch: Surprisingly, I ended up really, really, really liking this one. It’s calming and cute and magical and fun and with a fully likable cast (I liked everyone, which is very rare for me). Very good entertainment.
    Concrete Revolutio: I’m not as taken with the second season as I was with the third. The finale, though, was great and appropriate, even if it quite what you’d expect. Other than that: awesome aesthetics and a worthwhile story make this one a winner. (I wish they’d kept up the narrative technique of the first.) Not as good as the first cour, and thus graded down.
    Tanaka-kun: I never got tired of the show. It’s just wonderfully charming.
    Shounen Maid: The almost universally ignored, excellent feel-good show, with none of the skeeviness the promo material might suggest. More people should give this one a chance.

    Then there were some shows I was consistently enjoying, but had some aspects I didn’t like:

    Kuma Miko (cute and fun, but humiliation isn’t cute); My Hero Academia (likable protagonist and a fun game of guess the quirk; but ultimately its a standard shounen fighter with the I-wanna-be-a-hero trope I find annoying).

    There were shows that were an okay watch, like Kiznaiver or Luluco or Sansha Sanyo, but I’m not going to remember any of them with any degree of affection. (Luluco comes closest.)

    I’m mostly on board with you, when it comes to dropping shows:

    I initially liked Sousei no Onmyoji, but it ran out of steam very quickly and had what must have been the most annyoing mascot character I can remember. I didn’t drop it yet, but I came frightfully close. It’s on probation.

    Pan de Peace was boring.

    Joker Game gave off off-turning vibes I can’t quite pin down, because I didn’t watch enough of it (what I watched felt like unlikable cynics against unlikable idealists, in the most non-descript fashion I can imagine).

    Bakuon had some great humour (my favourite was the episode whose lesson was that being kind to biker Jesus gets you the holy grail, while being kind to red foxes gives you parasites, but it’s not about the reward, because being kind is good). But there was also some really awful fanservice, which I think was what kicked me out.

    Sakamoto was repetitive and occassionally irkesome, but I haven’t dorpped it.

    Haifuri was extremely vapid and boring; I got bogged down, so rather than deciding to drop it, I decided not to catch up with it, which amounts to much the same thing.

    I thought Kabaneri was okay, but it was definitely best early on.

    All in all, I found it was a decent season, with all the best shows clustering around the weekend. The weekend is usually packed, but I’ve never seen such a lopsided season.

    Random comment about the coming summer season: Re:Life started and finished on the same day? I accidently watched episode 13 first and was very confused. Luckily, I don’t mind spoilers, but a word of warning: don’t just click the Re:Life link, because the show is new. Check if it’s the first episode, first. (I don’t think I remember a case like this.)

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  4. Yeah, this was a really good season. After my initial drops, I was basically carrying nine shows all the way through the season, which is high for me, but I was enjoying all of them too much to drop any of them. Two are still going, but these are my rankings for the other seven.

    #1, Flying Witch – The first series of 2016 that’s going to be a definite “buy” for me. Great characters, great atmosphere, a pitch-perfect sense of wonder and whimsy – this was just my kind of series all the way around. Also had my favorite OP of the season – as soon as I heard it I thought, “That has to be the same group that did Silver Spoon’s OP,” and sure enough it is. I do agree I would’ve liked more Nao, but I could say the same thing about a lot of the characters.

    #2, Kaitou Joker 3 – continues to be a rock-solid reliably entertaining series for me. This one wasn’t quite as strong as season 2, but it was at least on par with season 1, and that’s all good. Looking forward to season 4 in the fall!

    #3, Joker Game – generally scratched my historical fiction and spy story itches in very satisfying ways, though unfortunately after being pretty consistent all season, I was a little bit disappointed with the ending. Didn’t really hurt my overall opinion too much, though.

    #4, Bungo Stray Dogs – early on I wondered if this series might be my fifth drop, but darned if these characters hadn’t started worming their way into my heart a little bit by the end of the season, while the story started picking up and getting more interesting, too. I really liked Kyouka – that was one of the big turning points for me, when she was introduced – and hope we see a lot more of her. Incidentally, you should catch up on episode 8. I thought that was actually one of the best of the season. Not just because it introduced Kyouka, but because it’s the first time we see Atsushi taking some initiative instead of being baggage, and showing us a glimpse of his potential and why the agency wanted him – it’s an important episode for his character growth.

    #5, High School Fleet – The Jekyll and Hyde show of the season. It could be frustratingly inconsistent, and there were a couple of times where it came dangerously close to capsizing altogether, but it always managed to stay afloat, and when it was at its best it could sure be damn good and tense and exciting. It pretty much nailed the ending too, which also helps a lot. Also had my favorite casting joke of the season – they named the ship’s helm girl Rin, and then essentially cast Hanayo to play her (same VA, Yurika Kubo, and basically the same voice and timid personality)

    #6, Space Patrol Luluco – I’m with you on this one. I was really enjoying this through the first half or so, but once they started visiting all the Trigger-themed planets it kind of lost me. Luluco had my favorite ED of the season by a landslide, though. This is the only ED that I never skipped once all season.

    #7, Bakuon!! – Not terrible per se, and in fact many of the individual episodes were pretty enjoyable on their own, but in the end, the show as a collective whole just felt like a sexed-up K-On knockoff that didn’t really understand what it is that actually makes K-On good.

    On the nine-show list, Delta would be #1 (I’m a few episodes behind on it, but don’t see that rank changing), and Twin Star Exorcists would be #6 ahead of High School Fleet. TSE is basically becoming my pet show at this point – it’s getting savaged by reviewers, especially fans of the manga (which I haven’t read) who are howling about all the changes, but while I freely admit that it’s a flawed show, I’m still enjoying it and I’m getting to the point now where the louder the criticism gets, the more I’m digging my heels in about liking it.

    Dropped, with no regrets: Ace Attorney, Anne-Happy, Mayoiga, Wagamama High Spec

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    • I’ve got two more finales to watch (hopefully tonight) before I can write my list… (We’ve been moving this week/end.) But I have to agree with you on Haifuri. When it was good, it was very good. When it was bad, it was very bad. From the naval geek point of view, they screwed up paravanes… but then, oddly enough, they got the timing of big gun (Mushashi’s) firing right. How do you get something wrong you can look up on Wikipedia, but then get a very obscure piece of naval nerd trivia right? And that’s typical of the entire show.

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  5. I thought this past season was intensely mediocre. I rated pretty much all the shows I watched 7/10. They all seemed to fall into the same “decent, but not especially good” bucket. I doubt I’ll ever recommend any of these shows, or even mention them again.

    To be fair, though, I haven’t finished ConRevo, Kiznaiver or Re:Zero. I’m about 6 episodes into ConRevo, but it feels worse than S1, with many of the same isses as Gatchaman Crowds: Insight. I’ll take heart from your rating, and assume that they managed to stick the landing. Kiznaiver felt like it was heading for that 7/10 zone as well. I didn’t like the main character of Re:Zero and dropped that at Ep 4. There does seem to be a lot of buzz around that show though, so I might pick it back up.

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  6. Hey, I’ve been reading your blog (and Aniwords colum on CR) for a while and I’ve noticed you tend to enjoy shows with positive, uplifting themes, so I was kind of curious why you dropped Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress at the point that you did, and if the bleakness of the show at that point had anything to do with it (sorry if you posted about that anywhere, if so I missed it). If that’s the case, just as a tip from someone who has similar taste in that regard, you may wish to reconsider. 🙂

    Also, while I’m at it, I want to say that I love reading your blog and am really looking forward to your thoughts on the Summer season. Cheers!

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  7. I will just do my TOP 15

    WATCHED 37 Shows 27 Full / 10 SHORTS PLUS 25 OVA’s and 2 MOVIES

    1 Assassination Classroom 2

    AC Turned out to be one of my all Time Favorites ( And I am not the ony one !) The Next to last Episode is in My TOP 5 of all time ( People were just wiped out ) But The last episode was a great like lesson for the Class / Koro is not only the best Teacher of All_ time but redeemed himself / The Manga Adapatation was Panel for Panen and any editing by Yusei / Lerche made the anime better. BTW Lerche also worked withe Author of Schhool Live but changed things around They know how to use the mangas correctly

    BTW that is how you end an anime closure / A great epilouge withh the students 7 years later No gussing no OVA’s

    People were saying this replaces Clanndad / Angel Beats for emotional endings / Just a shame people ignored this !

    2 My Hero Academia / You said it

    3 Shonen Maid The most misunderstood Title / This was just the Right amount of comedy / emotions / Slice of Life with great life lessons / Shame on people!

    4 Flying Witch
    5 Three Leaves, Three Colors

    4 and 5 were very good animes Can’t say much more BTW I am a big JC STAFF fan Hit or miss I like their animation style reminds me of older animes ( like hand drawn )

    6 Macross Delta ONGOING

    This is a very good anime too bad about The Harmony Gold disaster and why it cant be streamed in The US

    7 Tanaka is Always Listless I liked this but there were some off moments

    8 Bakuon!! Despite what may be absurd a lot is closer to real life than you think ( believe me I rode motorcycles ) and so did the author . I looked forward to it each week.

    9 RINNE

    This a very overlooked comedy / The guest VA’s that were on would make your head spin ( I think they want to be on an episode !! BTW Rinne being orr reminds me of he Devil is a Part Timer / Norgami / Good Luck Girl -Binbō-gami ga!

    10 Concrete Revolutio 2 Again a good anime but felt rushed at the end

    11 Sailor Moon Crystal 3 This felt like the Original Sailor Moon / Very nice

    12 Joker Game / Despite being single themed episodes they were good

    13 GIRL Meets Bear This like my Top 5 / 6 until the last EP But it had enough good episodes / BTW The OVA makes you rethink the Natsu / Machi relationship they were super close when younger

    14 Kuromukuro. Netflix ONGOING Not a bad anime it has ups and downs but the basic story / animation and action are very good

    15 Haven’t You Heard ? I’m Sakamoto ? Sakamoto when doing his antics is the best but some segments are dark / cringeworthy. BTW Having EP 13 dropped I things leaves fans hanging

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  8. Looks like our rankings overlapped a bit.

    Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song- (9.5/10): Great series, I haven’t seen something like this in a while. I don’t want to talk about it too much because I have no idea where to start.
    Tanaka-kun Wa Itsumo Kedaruge- (8/10): I liked this show a lot better than you did. It never got boring for me, and even if all of the jokes didn’t hit I feel that the atmosphere and characters were more than enough to make up for that.
    Kiznaiver- (7/10): Really liked some of the characters, and the direction and animation were great. The story itself isn’t very strong, but the pros outweigh the cons.
    Mayoiga- (hippos/10): poor hippopotamus.
    Boku no Hero Academia- (6.5/10): I was entertained throughout the entire watch, but the pacing was slow and I didn’t really feel that it set itself apart from other shonens enough.
    Flying Witch- (6/10): Really cute and calming show.
    Shonen Maid- (6/10): See Flying Witch
    Sakamoto desu ga?- (5/10): Some episodes were extremely entertaining, some were downright disturbing, and others were a bit boring.
    Bungou Stray Dogs- (4.5/10): Fun, but there were some inconsistencies in character writing, and pacing was off.
    Sousei no Onmyouji- (4/10): Textbook shonen.
    Koutetsujou no Kabaneri- (4/10): Very good looking, but plot falls apart towards the end. Writing and direction both have problems.
    Big Order- (0.5/10): If you didn’t watch this, be thankful.

    Still Airing:

    Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable- (8/10): Really entertaining so far. The standard craziness of Jojo in a mundane setting is working way better than I thought it would at first, and the latest episode had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

    Re: Zero- (7/10): I have lots of things I want to say about this, but have trouble putting it on paper so I’ll just leave it like this

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  9. And now… the big wall o’ text. Sorry for being a bit late, but we’ve been moving into a new place.

    A reminder on my rankings… they’re on a five point scale to coincide with my rankings on Anime Planet. But one 2.5 can often be different from another 2.5, so when needed I supplement them here with verbal comments to clarify.

    And you thought there is never a girl online? An interesting twist on the ‘trapped in a game world’ genre mixed up with the ‘school club’ genre. Well done overall, and while game mechanics played a role they didn’t overemphasize them.

    Final Ranking: 2.5, above average but pulled down by the tropish elements and excessive fanservice. Really, the story stood on it’s own and they didn’t need to go to those lengths.

    Flying Witch In the end, I’m truly ambivalent about FW. Each of the individual themes of the show were handled extremely well… But the whole ended up being less than the sum of the parts. Too many things raised, and then dropped as the focus shifted with the next episode. It seemed like they couldn’t decide what kind of show they were making, or at least couldn’t consistently stick with one for longer than an episode. In then, I’m glad I watched and I enjoyed the heck out of it… But there’s also in the back of my mind a lingering sense of “Eh? what did I just watch?” But it did consistently bring a smile to my face!

    Final Ranking: 3.0 Well above average, but pulled down from “an anime for the ages” level by the lack of consistent focus.

    Haifuri Another show that, like Flying Witch couldn’t quite make up it’s mind what it wanted to be… But unlike Flying Witch, not in a good way. As WingKing said above, when it was good it was very good, when it was bad, it was very bad. Worse yet, too many stock situations and stock characters handled in a rote fashion. This could have been the next Girls und Panzer, but in the end it just couldn’t get out of it’s own way.

    Final Ranking: 2.0 Just a below average mess despite the brighter elements and better done pieces.

    Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto Overall, loved the heck out of Sakamoto, but also somewhat uneven. Great individual gags, but they dragged some of them out a bit overmuch. The less said about the hot mess of the final episode the better.

    Final Ranking: 3.0 Above average, but just missing that ‘something’, that bit of final polish, to put it over the top.

    Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress I really don’t know what to say here. Up through the first half, maybe three quarters it was a brilliant show. Plenty of action, plenty of well handled introspection, nicely done characters, nice plotting and pacing… But then, in the final arc, it just came off the rails. The plot didn’t follow from the premise, and the whole thing got a bit rushed to fit it into the remaining episodes. If it were me, the Biba arc would have been the meat of a second season rather than the rushed capstone of the first.

    Final ranking: 3.0 It really could have been a contender, but lacked the stamina to go the distance.

    Kumamiko: Girl Meets Bear In retrospect, I wish I could send a letter back to my past self telling me not to watch this… Individual episodes were decent enough, but the final episode revealed the rot at the core.

    Final ranking: 1.0

    My Hero Academia Another show I don’t know quite what to say about… Brilliantly done, outstanding characterizations (especially Bakogou), well paced… But it kinda just, ended. I think it’s deepest flaw springs from it mostly being an extended prologue and betting on getting a second season. A second season I am stoked for and will unquestionably be queuing up.

    Final ranking: 3.5 on it’s own strengths and ignoring the glaring flaw and the problems stemming from it.

    Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal A season heavily packed with action and new characters… but suffering from the same problems as the first two, namely lack of character development and odd pacing. It continues to be a shame that such a classic show is being so shabbily treated.

    Final Ranking: 2.5, just painfully average.

    Three Leaves, Three Colors (Sansha Sanyou) A quiet standout in a season filled with good-but-ultimately-flawed shows. This is what a CGDCT slice-of-life should be, purely episodic and character driven. Even the inevitable character roulette episodes were well handled. The side characters… not so much. They were basically dolls that delivered their pre-recorded shtick at the pull of a string.

    Final ranking: 3.5, almost but not quite reaching the heights it could have because of the handling of the secondary characters and the resulting impact on the plot.

    The Asterisk War (2016) A worthy successor to the 2015 series… an above average harem/magical battle show. But like the 2015 season, it fumbled at the end, pulling the whole thing down. With a little better pacing, the whole Liseltania arc could have been pushed off to a third cour.

    It did have one incredibly memorable moment though… One of the MC’s companions has been kidnapped (to blackmail him into throwing the tournament), and while searching for her he encounters a Strega (a magic user) who is a Songmistress (uses song to activate her powers) who agrees to use her powers to help find the missing girl.

    https://streamable.com/rokh <- subtitled version without the MC speaking over her song.

    I’ve been known to hum that song at odd moments over the last month and some.

    Final ranking 2.5, as with it’s predecessor pulled way down by the final fumble.

    Not formally dropped, but not interesting enough to go back to after the first episode: Bakuon!!, Crane Game Girls,

    Dropped: Anne-Happy (1/2 episode), Big Order (6 eps), Pan de Peace! (2 eps), Space Patrol Luluco (2 eps), Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (1 ep), Lost Village (5 eps).

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  10. Try as I might, I just can’t figure out your taste in anime. I originally came to your blog because of your posts about Akatsuki no Yona and Kekkai Sensen. But since then I’ve disagreed with your assessment of just about everything. Which is why even though sometimes I’m tempted, I’m not going to bother watching Concrete Revolutio. 😛 And I’ve also come to the conclusion that Mari Okada is WAY overrated. 😉

    And man, I’m getting tired of everywhere I look people just being really critical of every anime they watch. It’s like people have forgotten that this is entertainment and they’re expecting some kind of perfect artistic experience from every single episode. I can’t imagine watching anime with that kind of attitude is much fun. Why would you do that to yourself?

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