Good Bye, Spring 2016

 

I’m not particularity proud of this article, and I wasn’t originally going to release it, but longer I didn’t publish it, more it bothered me. I’m sorry about that but i had to release it for my own sake.

Oh my, is this that time of the year already? I just can’t believe that half of year has already passed, let alone that I have (hopefully) finished my second year of University. This is crazy.

With me hopefully going up to 3rd year of study at University, new chapter of Spice and Wolf sequel to look forward to, waiting for steam summer sale to totally ruin my wallet with games that I will never get to play, and DX2 for me and Alexis to translate, this summer seems to be good one and I can’t wait for it to start. But before that, as usual, I’ve got some list of anime that I’ve watched over the course of spring, in hopes that if nothing less, anime + booze will keep me from going insane with all the troubles of exam.

Now, as always, this is not a review, but my humble opinion so with that, let’s gets to it.

Seasonal Anime.

Anna Happy (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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Light hearted show, following a group of unfortunate girls at this academy where they try to make the girls happy and bit more fortunate.

Well, what can I say? I am sucker for slice of life show. This is show where characters have varying degrees of unfortunateness that by training they will hopefully get rid of it and be happy. Characters are Hanakoizumi (Hanako) An, most unfortunate person in the class where nothing goes right, and despite that always bright and cheerful, Hibarigaoka (Hibari) Ruri, girl who fell in love with impossible love, Kumegawa Botan, girl who get injured/ill very easily (how easily? Anything will make her sick), Ekoda Ren, a girl who attract any living female life, well except her friends, and Hagyuu Hibiki, who gets hopelessly lost all the time, childhood friend of Ren who helps her everyday to get to school and has secret crush on her, she also had one sided rivalry with Hibari for some stupid reason.

There’s not much to talk about this show since it really is what it says on the tin. We get little bit of character development here and there between characters, we can also see how (dare I say it) their power of friendship (God it hurts just typing that) overcome many obstacles together, deepening their friendship further. It is show that can give people hopes in their life, even if they think they are unfortunate and things doesn’t go the way you want, with enough effort and few friends by your side, you will overcome it. Am I overthinking this show? I think I am, but whatever I still enjoyed it’s comedic scenes. However since the comedy of this show comes from the unfortunate events that occurs to these characters, comedy routines always get recycled and repetitive, making it boring at some points. For example, you can bet that Botan will break at least 10 bones in her body by the end of an episode, and you can bet that Hibiki will try to get friendly with animals and they will scratch/bite/beat her, so on and so forth.

 

Bakuon!! (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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Basically K-On esqu anime, but with bike.

No, it really is like K-On, but instead of Light Music Club, it’s about characters joining (Motor)Bike Club. It starts off with novice who doesn’t know anything about motorbike and gets interested by seeing someone else ride motorbike (Similar to K-On) then she joins the club for said activity and make friends in the club (Just like K-On), she also has very responsible younger sister that does everything for her (Just like K-On.) There’s energetic one, bit more sensible one, happy-go-lucky one (Similar to K-On) and lastly, they get underclassmen who initially doesn’t get along with rest of club members since her philosophy and views on motorbike are different to rest of the club (Just like K-On) but unlike K-On!, it will most unlikely get second season. by the way, they don’t ride scooters, they ride proper bikes (well, except one.)

This show is basically (initially four) five girls nerding out over motorbike and their adventure while riding them across the country. They argue which bike manufacture is superior, they talk about trips that they want to go, they even hold a bike race for cultural festival where students can actually bet on the outcome, heck the principle allowed that having been bike club member at that school before and knowing the mystical Raimu-senpai have high chance of winning (How old is Raimu anyway?) it’s comedic show.

It’s not perfect though, their argument between which bike manufacture is superior does get old and dry, the gag where Raimu-senpai always get blasted away due to unforeseen accident is also repeated way more than necessary. And you know that joke sentence at the beginning where I say this show is basically K-On with bikes? It really literally feels like studio watched K-On, shuffled some characters around, and changed the topic from music to bike and voilà.

I still enjoyed this show, but like many shows I watched this season, repetitiveness gets boring and story is average at best.

 

Flying Witch (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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Probably my favourite Slice of Life this season and maybe this year, beating out Tanaka-san by very narrow margin and beating out Kuma Miko by huge margin.

Story synopsis is that young witch called Makoto has moved to countryside where her relatives live in order for her to train her magic and to become fully-fledged witch, but instead of magic itself story focuses more on the everyday-life of characters around her.

Now, with name Flying Witch I thought that this show will have more pronounced focus on magic and spell, and somehow incorporate Slice of Life aspect as secondary objective, however to my surprise magic isn’t really main focus of this show, or rather you will forget that Makoto, our main heroin, is in fact a witch. As I said above, this show focuses on life around our main heroin and all the magic that is shown are very subtle and not flashy magic, it goes against somewhat traditional imagination of magic being flashy, cool and have noticeable effects, and I think this is the beauty of this show.

For me, this show has it all. Animation is amazing, artwork on both characters and the background are just simple amazing. Soundtrack that goes along with this show fits perfectly to what this show is about; the soundtrack has this calming effect that I can’t stop listening to it when I’m working. Characters all have great personality, Makoto is kind but is klutz and has extreamly poor sense of direction, Chinatsu is lively and fun to watch, her every reaction to magic is just perfect and fitting for her age, she is also very smooth operator. Kei is not as profound as others but that’s why he’s so great, Nao is usually cheerful and compared to other characters, she’s the one who acts most like her age between her, Makoto and Kei, Akane is just funny most of the times and Chito the cat can easily win Best Cat Competition 2k16, for a cat she’s got such wide range of expressions that she makes to describe her thoughts.

Its calming show with hint of magic world sprinkled on top, this show differs from other shows with the way it portrays magic and witches. Instead of flashy animation and grand magic that can change the universe, this show focuses on simple magic that looks more like ‘trick’ than anything, it shows that witches aren’t much different from humans that they live alongside with, and you shouldn’t be afraid of them.

 

Joker Game (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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Story about group of Japanese spies during the World War II.

Story just before and during the outbreak of World War II, around the time Germany have occupied France, and Japan is about to make an alliance with Germany. Japanese government and their imperial Army have set up an agency that trains spies that will work for Japanese government during world war. Story mainly focuses on 8 individual spies and their role as spies throughout World War, in various countries at different points of time.

I’ll start off by saying this. I like that this show was episodic instead of following continuous arc, I think that by having episodic show, they can focus on individual spies and allow them to tell their own story. My feeling is that if this show followed continuous arc, the story would have become harder to follow, convoluted and less appealing. One reason why I prefer having episodic show is because that way, we don’t get development between characters, we don’t see much interaction between spies that trained there and in my opinion, that’s how it should be. Let’s not forget, they are spies. They lie to others as well as lie to themselves in order to achieve their goal. They don’t know each other’s real names, or their real background, they may act friendly to each other but remember that they are training to be masters of disguise. We aren’t meant to see the human side of these spies, what we are supposed to see is their skills, their abilities to solve problems in tight situation, and characters own development. I felt that by making these episodes standalone, show was able to achieve all these and avoided having too much interaction between spies.

That being said, some episodes were greater than other with some stories were better written and told but that depend on person to person. I suggest people to check out this series, it is interesting and joy to watch, ask people for recommendation on which episodes to watch if you don’t particularly want to watch all 12 episodes. Stories are told out of sync but that doesn’t affect the story at all so you can ignore the dates that comes up at the beginning of each episodes.

 

Kuma Miko (MAL, Funimation)

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Slice of Life show about this miko girl who lives with talking bear. Didn’t like the first episode, and it still hasn’t by the end of the series.

Village called Kumama village is in rural japan where people worship talking bear. Machi, our middle school main character and so called ‘Bear Maiden’ wants to go to High School in big city. Natsu our talking bear is worried that Machi won’t get used to the big city and discourages her. But seeing her determinded he gives her series of ‘Big City Test’ where if she can do certain tasks he will let her go to big city. Meanwhile Kumada village is facing a decline and Yoshiro, Village Officer, is trying to promote the village at Machi’s expense…

It was an interesting concept of talking bear that pulled me toward this anime at first, and within first 10 minutes I got the jist of the situation. Machi, our main protagonist is very shy and reserved and despite that wants to go and study in big city without actually been to one. Natsu, our talking and knowledgeable bear is trying to discourage her and wishes that she would stay with him. Yoshiro is genuine guy but bit of a dimwit. The “comedy” of the show is supposed to be drawn from Machi’s inexperience with technology, her shyness and deservedness getting in a way of her accomplishing a simple task that girls her age should be able to do by then such as going to a mall, and Yoshiro’s constant attempt at trying to get Machi to become some kind of Locodol (haven’t used that word in a while, next OVA when?) even when she’s refusing to do so due to her shyness.  Here’s a thing, I put the word comedy in quotation mark because… well, I didn’t find them funny at all. I’ll admit, I gave some chuckle here and there when I was watching it but I didn’t laugh as much as I thought I would. In fact, I even felt sorry for Machi since it felt like she was taken advantage of her kindness and willingness by other’s selfish reasons. I know this is suppose to be light hearted show that shows a country girl’s struggle in comedic way but…. I don’t know, I just didn’t enjoyed it as much as I though I would.

 

Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? (MAL, Funimation)

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There’s grill in online game?! What?! Who would have guessed Rule 37 would have been broken…

Story evolves around a guy who enjoys his time in MMORPG with his fellow clan mates, even to a point where he’s married to one of them (Online of course!) When their guild decided to have offline meeting, it turned out that everyone in the guild is actually people they know from their school. After they have met with each other, they try to bring Ako to real world logic via setting up Online Game Club or something…

This was an interesting show, and I truly enjoyed it through and through. There’s not much for me to say about this other than that. i don’t know why but i always have difficulty explaining these kind of shows…

 

Nijiiro Days (MAL, Funimation)

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Technically, it’s leftover from last season, but I didn’t put it in the last season because I forgot about it, so here.

Half-length Slice of Life show that focuses on four guys and mostly their romance with their partners/interested partners. Not a show that I normally watch but man, it has quite good storyline.

This show is simple, characters are quite likeable and sometimes witty, you just want to cheer for them. The female characters are also interesting and you can see various developments that occur during 24 episodes, although at the time of writing, I have yet to watch 24th episode but from reading the manga, not everything will be adopted so it looks like I will have to continue the story by reading the manga.

 

Pan de Peace! (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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Short that I thought was about bread, but turns out it wasn’t. What a surprise /s.

 

Sansha Sanyou (MAL, Funimation)

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Former High Class lady, gluten, and seemingly nice girl with heart that’s darker than black hole. Turns out they make quite a good group of friends.

Show evolves around three friends, who happens to meet outside during lunch time and quickly became friends. Well, more specifically Futaba and Hayama, gluten and Black Hole girl, quickly befriends lonely Former rich girl Yoko, who had to adopt to ‘poor people lifestyle’ after her father’s company have gone bankrupt. As like many Slice of Life shows, there aren’t any overarching storyline, but several side characters make their appearance regularly.

I think this show is underrated due to relatively newer VA cast for main three characters, generic art style and over-saturation of slice of life shows. Story isn’t that impressive either, apart from unusual set of characters, all we are introduced to is generic high school SoL story that revolve around these three with addition of recurring cast, comedic scenes are mostly repetitive and goes for individual gag, like how Futaba is such a glutton, Yoko now tries to save money on ridiculous things and so on. I just listed many things that may discourage people from watching this show, so why do I say this show is underrated?

Because these ‘problems’ are not problems at all, yes the story line is quite generic but isn’t like 90% of SoL show like that anyway? SoL shows replace general story arc with witty, quirky characters and this show defiantly delivered that. Yes, the gag they do are repeated almost every episodes but for me, they are actually funny! (Unlike some other shows I mentioned before…) and honestly, I really like Futaba’s voice acting (Japanese voice acting and English voice acting), I really hope that VA for Futaba will be able to succeed because man, I would love to hear her voice more.

… Maybe I like Futaba because I also love to eat, who knows.

 

Shounen Maid (MAL, Funimation)

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A boy, that actually likes to do chores, while wearing maid outfit… huh, I wish all kids were like this in real life… (Minus maid outfit…)

Story revolves around primary schooler Chihiro who used to live with his mother that is until his mother died from heart attack. Now he is living with his uncle who turns out is super rich outfit designer and wants to have close relationship with Chihiro. Chihiro, following his mother’s will that says ‘those who doesn’t work doesn’t get to eat’ doesn’t want to be indebted to Madoka, his uncle and decides to become his house keeper, wearing a maid outfit that Madoka has designed for him.

I heard this story and one show immediately came to my mind, Hayate the Combat Butler. Basic outline of the show is similar to each other; a boy suddenly became homeless due to unfortunate events, now they are indebted to some rich person and become their butler/house keeper. But as soon as I started to watch this show I realised how wrong I was. This show’s main focus is on Chihiro and Madoka’s relationship with eachother, and as show progresses it is seen that Chihiro starts to open his heart to Madoka slowly but surely, while Madoka does his best to tries to give his nephew a life without worry. Obviously there are side characters that help along the way that they have their own little quirks. There’s ever so Keiichirou who basically acts as Madoka’s manager/parent figure and gets along well with Chihiro due to that, Hino who’s very loyal to his friend Chihiro, Miyako who was able to befriend Chihiro quite quickly and learns cooking from his etc, I would watch this show just because of interesting characters that this show is able to bring.

 

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedruge (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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My second place Slice of Life show this season. And man, I wish I had dependable friend like Ohta.

As the name suggest, Tanaka is always listless, and only way he can get around and do stuff is because his best friend Ohta is there for him. Story revolves around Tanaka and situation he gets into because he is so listless. Although the title of this show makes it seem so boring but, by contrast it is quite enjoyable Slice of Life show with great characters to fill the story.

As the name suggest, our main character Tanaka is always listless. He has no desire for anything but to rest and anything that makes him tire out is absolute no no for him. He is able to function everyday because of his trusty friend Ohta, who from first glance has scary face with tall body build that doesn’t help him at all, but is very kind and gentle in nature. He always carries Tanaka around the school everywhere and is willing to help his friend most of the times. Show mainly focuses on how Tanaka stumble upon a problem that he deems “too much effort” and his struggles to get rid of that problem, this includes trying to figure out how to get rid of his classmate who somehow idolise him, walking around the school, trying to drink milkshake from fast food chain, and obviously his nightmare, cultural festival. We are also introduced to their list of friends that may or may not help Tanaka with his goal of ultimate listlessness. There is school idol Shiraishi, who in fact used to be recluse nerd until her high school debut, Miyano who idolises Tanaka and want to act mature (mostly due to her small figure), and there is Echizen, out wanna be delinquent who actually turns out to be gentle girl, good friend with Miyano. Mix these cast of people and you get surprisingly well thought our SoL show, that doesn’t get boring week after week.

One thing to note, unlike Flying Witch, my favourite SoL show this season, I wasn’t able to relax and enjoy this show as much. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, i absolutely loved this show, in fact, this is only one out of two shows that constantly made me wonder how fast 20 minute have went (with other anime being Flying Witch), but what I mean as relax, I mean I can just put this show on and forget about everything else, the shows that I am able to relax and watch are ones that I am able to get absorb into, shows that are so calm that I myself feels relaxed and in tranquil. But for some reason, even though this show is about a guy who wants to be super relaxed at all time, wan’t able to manage that. Maybe because of it’s more up beat soundtrack compared to Flying Witch which has calm and slow soundtrack, or maybe because the setting of the show is mostly in High School where they are always busy with activities, I don’t know. That is why I have to give Flying Witch very slight edge over Tanaka-kun. Regardless of the reason, this show probably is one of the best SoL show I’ve watched that doesn’t rely on moe-blob characters full of high school girls.

 

Wagamama High Spec (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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I know this was supposed to just sell the game but 3 minute short, with 1 minute ending credit with 30 second post credit scenes? Come on!

 

Non-seasonal Anime

Aiura (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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With three seconds of gif I saw on reddit, it reminded me of Yuyushiki. That was all the reason that I needed to go and watch the entire short in a day.

It is basically like short Yuyushiki, we’ve got three heroines, serious one, playful one and a girl that gives off rich-girl vibe. And they go off and do random stuff for 3 minutes. Nothing more I guess.

and also, what is up with crab at the beginning of the show? really?!

 

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (MAL, Crunchyroll)

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Yes, I have finally watched it, and boy am I glad I’ve watched.

Brief synopsis is that this kid died of quite a funny occurrence. And instead of going to heaven, goddess appears and gives him a chance to start his life over at fantasy world, and he can chose one item to take it with him. She also acts quite arrogantly and snobby as well. To cheat the system and take petty revenge on the goddess, he decides to take the goddess with him to fantasy world. And the hilarious adventure ensues.

Let’s be honest, the male MC can be only be described as slightly less cynical version of SAO Abridged Kirito. This show takes everything that is fantasy world and RPG and just deconstruct it perfectly. You want a goddess that actually can’t do jack shit? You’ve got it! You ant a wizard that in theory is amazing at everything but can only do one spell and not only that, can cast that single spell once a day? Useless person, let her join! Super masochist knight who want s to be hurt more than anything? Who would want her?! Well, not our MC but she joined the group anyway! God, I love how this show loves to make our male MC’s life harder and harder, always figuring out how to screw him over. It is refreshing to see a show where they don’t give two shit about their male MC and even though everything will work out in the end, the ordeal that he had to go through never ceased to amuse me.

Ah, and also, second season hype!

 

Kyou no Asuka Show (MAL)

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Wow, this was actually funny without relying on too much fan service! Said no one ever.

This show is about a girl called Asuka, and her daily life where she usually likes to think out side of the box, and in many occasion results in her looking sexually suggestive without her understanding.

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