First Impressions: Fall 2016 Anime (Part 1)

Ah, fall is in the air and new anime are coming to our screens. Nobody really knows what’s going to turn out well and what’s going to wind up being crap, but the fun of making those discoveries is at least half of why I enjoy premiere season as much as I do.

Of course, some things will end up bumming us out and some things will wind up exciting us. And as I continue to pay less attention to the general selection of upcoming shows each season aside from my few most-anticipated, who knows what I’ll find!

Show by Rock!

WWW.Wagnaria!!

The first Wagnaria!! series (which, at the time, was the first two seasons) was on the original version of my top shows list over two years ago, and while it’s no longer there, I still have many fond feelings for the franchise. Those affections, along with the news that the series would be directed by a woman, got me to check out the show despite my reservations about its quality based on the PV.

Sadly, those reservations were mostly justified, as the premiere of WWW.Wagnaria!! was a rather dull affair. A combination of labored comedic timing, plodding episode pacing, and a visual identity somehow even less interesting than the original series (aside the neat texture effect in the characters’ eyes) made the episode quite a chore to get through. This could have been salvaged by a cast as memorable as the first series, but sadly, except for casually mean Kamakura and (to a limited extent) the quirky Miyakoshi, the characters in WWW.Wagnaria!! fail to be as immediately lovable as they could have or should have. In particular, protagonist Daisuke seems to be a pure straight man, meaning he lacks the zaniness and personality Takanashi had.

So, I’m sad to that I won’t be following WWW.Working!!

wwwworking-6

Magical Girl Raising Project

Let’s get this out of the way first—I do not like these character designs. I think they’re generally unattractive with a few major exceptions (Top Speed’s witch design is shockingly cute), and they were a major reason I was not planning to check out the show until a few folks told me it was worth at least a look. And worth a look it was! While I don’t think Mahouiku is really anything special (and in a season with WIXOSS also on the schedule, it’s working in a niche that’s already well-filled), I found it well paced, produced, and reasonably engaging once I got through the first few minutes.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that one of my perennial favorites, Nao Touyama, is voicing the lead character, and the central conceit of tension and conflict between magical girls seems like it could be one that offer some solid entertainment value down the road. If the show decides to go super dark on us, it’ll likely lose my interest quickly, but for now I’m happy to watch as Snow White carries old ladies up the stairs with her mahou shoujo powers. Oh, and to listen to that nano ED song. Even if Mahouiku turns out to be a flop, at least it’ll have brought nano out of anisong retirement.

Not sold for sure yet and it could be a schedule casualty, but it’s not an automatic drop.

Shuumatsu no Izetta

Among all the things that could have caught my attention most in Izetta‘s premiere, it certainly wasn’t the strength of princess Finé’s character that I was expecting to win the top spot. If Regalia and Izetta are the vanguard of a new wave of competent, kind, action-taking princess characters in anime, I am all for it, because these combinations of kindness, true nobility, and agency are extremely gratifying to watch. This is particularly true in premieres like Izetta‘s, which felt like it both covered a great deal of plot ground and accomplished a lot of important setting work very effectively.

In many respects, the real show will start next week now that the titular Izetta has awoken, so it’ll be interesting to see where my man Hiroyuki Yoshino and the rest of the creative staff of Izetta are going to be taking this show. I’m looking forward to seeing Finé back in her home country, learning more about who Izetta is, and listening again and again to that sweet, sweet May’n ED song.

Cross your fingers for Macross Frontier Yoshino and hold on for the ride!

shuumatsu-no-izetta-14

Show by Rock!! #

I actually dropped the first season of Show by Rock!! partway through, but I wound up coming back to it later and was really glad I did so. For a show that could have been a boring, cynical cashgrab from Sanrio, it really wound up being an energetic, passionately put together show. While I can’t say I loved everything about it—the cast was a mixed bag for me and the storyline took some less-than-compelling turns on its way to the conclusion—the ending was fantastic and the music was great throughout.

Where does that leave us for Show by Rock!! #, then? Well, if this premiere is anything to go by, it seems like we’ll be seeing lots of reprises from the original cast, which is something I’m glad of even if I didn’t love all the characters during the first outing. In addition, the first season was at its best when it was going for the wacky, and my impression of the new season is that it’s going to be far more beholden to that kind of attitude than the first was. This can be nothing but a good thing. It really feels like Show by Rock!! # is planning on doubling down on the best elements of the first, and combined with the nostalgia effect of seeing the gang all back together (evoked most powerfully with the reprise of Best Song “Ryusei Dreamline”), I’m feeling excited!

Here’s to having a nice music with Show by Rock!! #!

Touken Ranbu – Hanamaru

I had to go look up the actual title of this one for the post because I genuinely didn’t know it as anything other than “Sword Boys.” And, frankly, that fan-given title really is pretty darn appropriate considering the fact that “sword boys” could adequately sum up pretty much everything about this premiere. There are sword boys in this show, and there are a lot of them. I of course already have my eye on a few for best boy candidates, but since I’ve got no familiarity with the mobile game from which they originate, I actually don’t know any of their names. But I will try my best.

We’ve got the top candidate—the red half of the main pair (cool earrings, beautiful scarf, red fingernails, ability to protect you and cause dokis)—and then the rest of the pack in contention, including the blue half of the main pair (very fluffy, tries hard, backwards scarf), the tiny genki scamp whose eye appears underneath his hair, and the Kiriko lookalike who seems kinda serious. And he should be serious, because best boy races are serious stuff. Other than all of this, the premiere felt just a bit slow-paced to me, but it looks nice and inherent has the potential for exciting battle stuff (something I appreciated about KanColle, too).

Not sure I’ll stick with the show beyond this episode, but I enjoyed watching it.

Touken Ranbu


Still to Watch: Bungou Stray Dogs S2, Yuri on Ice, Flip Flappers, Girlish Number, Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, Sangatsu no Lion, Idol Memories.

Oh, and since you guys will ask if I don’t mention it: I’m not planning on following the second season of Sound! Euphonium as it’s airing. I’ll watch it on my own some time after it’s finished its run.

23 thoughts on “First Impressions: Fall 2016 Anime (Part 1)

  1. If the show decides to go super dark on us, it’ll likely lose my interest quickly

    It should be obvious from the extremely bloody first minute of the show that it will “go super dark on us”. Unlike you, however, I am hoping that it is actually dark, though.

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    • See, I’m still holding out (false) hope that the first minute was just a bait-and-switch overdramatized from within the game.

      That being said, I don’t mind if it goes somewhat dark—it’ll probably just depend on how dark.

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      • It’s in the synopsis that it’ll go dark, so there’s no doubt.

        What I DO hope is that it won’t do it in a super-cynical way. Since the objective is to halve the number of magical girls that means they won’t have as many qualms to working in teams as they would in a Battle Royale-style “only one winner” kind of game. I’d also hope the protagonist’s idealism will be of some inspiration in overcoming the situation – a bit like seen in Danganronpa, where despite the killing games hope and the value of cooperation, rather than a celebration of social Darwinism, are still the core themes of the show.

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      • Now that I think of it, there was another Madoka-inspired magical girl series which had the most ridiculously obvious death flag I’ve even seen, but actually had nobody die. So maybe your hope might not be false after all… maybe.

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  2. http://WWW.Wagnaria. I might like it a bit more than you do, but I’m generally with you on everything you said here. Luckily none of this comes as a disappointment, so I can enjoy it on its own terms.

    Magical Girl Raising Project. I liked this quite a bit more than I thought it would, but I expected to drop it after the first episode. Like you I’m not a fan of how the character designs look, but they do a good job of character building and work well how the characters are actually built up. There’s a certain subtelty to the bodylanguage, for example, I didn’t expect, and casual way they treat the boy –> magical girl issue was a pleasant surprise, too. From what I hear about the story, it’s going to be the Magical Girl Razing Project, but we’ll see. Good enough to watch more, but not good enough to inspire high hopes (yet?).

    Izetta. The scene where Izetta stands up to the pseudo-nazis, gets that kind look on her face, and then launches into her proud speech? That’s the aspect of the show that’s going to grate on me, especially in a war context. I dislike that sort of grandstanding. The standout for me, in this show, is the setting. Everything looks gorgeous. (The less we see of war-gear, though, the better.) I’m pretty much neutral on everything else.

    Show by Rock is Show by Rock. They pulled it off, and that’s almost all I have to say. I really loved the singing-together-separately sequence.

    Touken Ranbu. Great character designs, good energy. I don’t care about the story at all, but it’s good fun.

    I watched a few other shows, too, but nothing that’s worth talking about. So far, it looks like most of my favourites this season will be continuations. I have some hopes for Fune wo Amu, Udon no Kuni, Sangatsu no Lion and Occultic;Nine, but they’re really just hopes (especially with Udon no Kuni, which I probably more want to be good than expect it to).

    Also, older show I’m currently watching: Basquash. It’s street basket ball in giant robots. There are talking wearable pets. There’s a character named Iceman Hotty. They integrate baloon-breast jokes, which I normally hate, into the setting. It’s full of anarchic energy, with lots of characters all of which have their own motivation. And they’re threading it all together into a plot whose general direction is clear, but which I still can’t figure out. It’s set on planet Earthdash, and everyone wants to go to Mooneye, the ever sparkling city on the moon. The cinematography is awesome, the soundtrack fitting. I’ve ignored the show so far, because neither sports nor mecha are my genre, but… but… this show is nuts! Instant recommendation.

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    • My lady and I were discussing Bannanya over dinner, which reminded me that I wanted to thank you for mentioning it last season. It was totally off our radar, and we’d have missed a very cute show.

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    • I was just hoping for more the original series’ charm for WWWWorking, but I never felt like I got it, sadly. I wanted more of the same, but I wanted it on my terms, dangit!

      Aww man, I loved that scene in Izetta that you disliked, but then again it’s like, kinda, coded exactly in to the sorts of bombastic stuff I tend to like (thinking Macross here). It got me so good.

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      • I can see you liking that scene. I mean, even I can tell it’s well done. It’s just that I tend to prefer understatement (or complete and utter disregard for any sort of restraint; that’s fine, too). I think my biggest problem is that, here, it comes in the context of war. [i]Especially[/i] in the context of WW2. This is where I have to emphasise that I’m Austrian and grew up in the 70ies during the “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” movement (~ “Coping with the past”). This is sort of relevant. Resistance may be a necessity, but if it becomes a matter of pride you go down the wrong the path. Or something. (So, it’s basically a personal sore spot – rousing speeches in general, but especially in the context of war.)

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  3. In what seems to me like a generally meh season, I’ve been hoping so hard that Izetta will be as amazing as it looks. After reading what you had to say, I’m so excited to start it tonight. And yes, the world needs more ass-kicking princess.

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  4. This is already turning into a weird season for me and I haven’t watched anything yet! Some shows I wanted to watch are banished to third-tier streaming sites where I’m not going to follow them (Long Riders, Flip Flappers), and Vivid Strike will no doubt follow the proud Nanoha franchise tradition of being completely ignored by American companies. So at this point my only definite pickups for weekly streaming are 3Gatsu, Kaitou Joker 4, Euphonium 2, and Stray Dogs 2. Assuming I have to fansub Vivid Strike, I’ll wait until the whole show is up after the season and I can grab it in one download.

    I’m considering Izetta and Raising Project, but I’ll probably wait a few weeks on both and then mini-marathon their first few episodes. I still need to finish a few more summer shows anyway, so I don’t want to start too many new things until I’ve wrapped those up. I have 3 more episodes of Sweetness & Lightning, 4 more episodes of Rewrite, and 5 more episodes of LL Sunshine to watch, and then I’ll be done with my summer slate.

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    • Glad that the streaming situation has improved a little bit since this comment!

      As for your plans, I think waiting a few weeks on some of these shows isn’t a bad idea. Lots of potential to go up or down, I’m seeing.

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  5. Aaand, here we are again! Start of a new season, stretched out in my favorite spot here at the Barrel. Comfy.

    So far, I’ve only watched what’s available on CrunchyMation… Mostly because I loathe Daisuki and it’s not available on the Roku. Watching stuff on the PC kinda sucks when it’s both of us, and if I watch IBO by myself I’ll be sleeping on the couch for the rest of the season. There’s a couple of shows there I might check out depending on how the rest of the season goes however. With the number of shows available on Crunchy this season, time might be a factor – plus, being fall, Agents of SHIELD is back and there’s an hour gone already. (Plus I’m in the middle of a major challenge in Kerbal Space Program, and that’s eating my daytime.)

    So, off the Wall O’ Text – My shows are in italics, shows we’re both watching are bold.

    Dream Festival: Not really a fan so far. Not so much because it’s bishonen (with about as obvious a gay subtext as you can get), which isn’t normally my thing, but because it’s also an idol show – a very bad idol show. Absurdly trope heavy and with the level of overacting that I was very surprised that Brian Blessed wasn’t one of the VA’s. I like idol shows, and I want to like it… but I’m bouncing hard. (On the other hand, it’s very much in the AKB0048 mold – you might enjoy it Bless, but that’s another show I didn’t care much for.)

    Izetta: The Last Witch Wow… that was good. Unexpectedly so given the premise. Finé is one hell of a character, but if they don’t turn down her tendency to give grandiloquent monologues they could get old very fast. Did you catch that Finé has a scar where the peasant girl in Izetta’s flashback was injured? There’s more going on here than meets the eye I think.

    Kaijuu Girls: Ok – that was, different. And probably not long for my watch list. They didn’t so much phone in the first ep as sleepwalked through it.

    Magical Girl Raising Project An interesting premise… but let’s see how it goes. I kinda hope we’re being trolled by the game footage/flashforward, because it doesn’t feel like they could handle grimdark very well. I enjoyed how matter-of-factly Sou’s presence and transformation was handled. I like the real-world character designs, the deformed designs in the chatroom drive me batty though. I hate super deformed.

    Magic-Kyun! Renaissance Magical Battle at Magic High School in a Battle Royale format and a reverse harem tossed in… It’s almost as lame as it sounds. The premise could be well done, but so far the prognosis is grim. But it’s only the first ep, and now that infodump is over maybe it will get better.

    Time Bokan 24 A five minute drop, it’s not the show though – it’s me. I think this is aimed sharply at middle schoolers and I haven’t been one in a very long time.

    Scorching Ping Pong Girls This one wasn’t on my radar until I found out that WUG-chan was singing the ED. I watched it just for the heck of it, and it’s not really all that bad, more a sports anime than CGDCT. There’s a couple of things that bother me, notably the bipolar main character, but not so much that I’m not willing to give it a chance and see where it goes. (Especially since so far there’s no other real candidate for my CGDCT-of-the-season.)

    http://www.Working Man.. where do I start? Heck, what do I even say? Bless covered most all of the show’s faults already. So I’ll just say, “what Bless said” and that we’re both bitterly disappointed.

    There’s a lot more to come as Crunchy has a lot of unfilled boxes on their lineup page. (Whoops! They just announced Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara season two as I’ve been typing this… I need to finish season one before Wednesday.)

    And no, I’m totally not checking the anime news every half hour watching for the announcement of Euph. I totally didn’t marathon the first season just two weeks ago.

    Ok, yeah, I am. And I did.

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    • “I kinda hope we’re being trolled by the game footage/flashforward”

      See above… the synopsis of this show found in the AnimeCharts alone is enough to know that we’ve NOT being trolled, so you may as well put your expectations in line with that. Doesn’t mean much about what the tone will be – could be super-forced grimdark, could be power of friendship vs. adversities, or anything in between – but yeah, There Will Be Blood.

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    • Yes, yes, welcome back! First off, I’m curious about your loathing for Daisuki—it’s irritating in terms of splintering offerings, but I’ve generally found the service pretty okay. Certainly better than Funi’s site has been for me.

      Your description of Dream Festival sounds utterly unlike something I’d like, but maybe that’s because you were so down on it haha. Regardless, not in my plans to check out, at least for now.

      And I thought it was supposed to be obvious that the girl protecting Izetta in the flashback was Finé. I mean, same scar, but even the shot composition was the same. And given the fact that they’re clearly familiar with each other, I think there’s not supposed to be much doubt there.

      Wahh, I liked the cute chibis in the chat haha.

      RIP wwwworking, more like lollollolworking :,(

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      • I loathe Funi’s PC site too… 🙂 Anyhow, Daisuki doesn’t keep me logged in, it’s UI is even more braindead than Funi’s, and the player is unreliable. And three quarters of the time if I try to go back to check a certain scene, it plays all the commercials to that point.

        Plus, it’s pretty uncomfortable for both of us to try and watch the PC screen at the same time.

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  6. First the Fall season is a mess for several reasons .

    The most obvious was the lack of a good roll-out bt CR for show infro . You would think after all these years it would have gotten better.With FUNI as a partner shows should have ben esy to acquire wrong ! Daisuki grabbed a few and CR now has some delaycasts Then SEntai which started way back in FEB and a few bloggers talked about was hlargely ingnored until licenses strated being yanked from HULU / CR / FUNI Now this probally pushed the CR / FUNI Partnership . There are denials everywhere but looks like SENTAI gave shows to TAN instead of CR rightaway but then offered a couple as not to totally burn the bridge but maybe because anime fans here were incensed BTW SENTAI is an AMERICAN BASED company in Houston Texas not Japan.

    So there seems to be more infighting than caring about the fans and will probally continue for awhile.

    I am behind and watched ust a couple Izeeetta lokks good but haveny got past all the SAT shows yet.

    I least Saiki still continues I get more smiles out of that than a lot of comedies combined !

    This 50 plus shows doesnt mean better qualitly but maybe more garbarge . Even recently good material source can quiclky become garbarge. Again this the new 12 EP one cour crap we get ! I am an oldtimer used to 26 / 52 or more . Now I am not talking about Bleach pr Naruto something reasonable to tell the story correctly

    Well sorrry for the rant anime finally got me more talking about the industry instead of shows and that is a very bad sign. Shame on them1

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    • Yeah, streaming’s been kind of a mess this season. I’m kinda with you on the Crunchy talk about the 50+ shows. That doesn’t impress me much, lol. I’d prefer they focus on the most important stuff and leave the other nonsense to AnimeNetwork, etc.

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