Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Anime in 2016 : An insight

Flying Witch
2017 is going to end soon as the fall season of 2017 looms closer. However, what happened back at 2016? Why don't we take a small step back to our archive book and look back to what 2016 brings, specifically in the anime industry.

2016 is filled with lots of anime. Actions, comedy, romance, rom-com, slice of life, tragedy, drama, you name it, everything is there. One problem is... There was just too much of it. It’s like every week, there’s 30 or so anime that airs every night. There’s just not enough room to watch it all. In this article, I shall talk about several things that happened in 2016 that merited my attention, as well as my personal best and worst anime list in 2016.

2016 hits a new low, I think, as there are several titles that just fade out to the horizon by the time it ended airing. I don’t want to point names, since it might create backlash. But, everything is made from the scratch and it’s not easy making anime, so before bashing something, make sure you thank the staff for all the work they put into. That’s the lesson i learned from New Game! And Girlish Number.

While there are many lows during 2016, there are also many high points during that particular year. One of the instances being the advent of Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, or Re:Zero in short. Re:Zero takes the anime world by storm due to it’s new take on Isekai and causes a lot of opinion changes on the tired genr. And of course, who could not forget the character war between Rem and Emilia? Fans of the series were torn between the two characters and had no choice but to start a tug of war between both character for the main character to pick, although one of the character is highly in favor of the main character. Despite the impact this particular anime brings to the anime industry, I did not watch the anime. I hope you forgive me for that.

Re: Zero leaves a lasting impression during much of 2016

Also, there is the advent of Yuri!!! on Ice. It raises a brief controversy of how the anime was thought to be plagiarized by a film, although the creator of the film had no idea of the anime according to this article. The anime was a hit to the audience, though once again I did not watch it, due to it’s beautiful animation of the choreography of ice skating and the feeling of anxiety, as well as how it covers yaoi, according to some audiences. It’s status as still in limbo this year, with no season 2 announced despite it’s success as the best anime in 2016 through several polls, merits this anime to be called the second coming of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Both were particularly successful, yet there is no announcement for the continuation.

Yuri!!! On Ice handles it's genre very well and receives critical reception from audiences

And during 2016, there were several anime already announced for 2017, which were still forthcoming a tthat time. I had high hopes for Kobayashi’s Chi no Maiddragon simply because it was going to be made by Kyoto Animation and it delivered, despite the fact that this is the first time Kyoto Animation on making a monster musume-esque anime. For more information of the anime, you can click on this link to see my review of it.

KyoAni's adaptation of Kobayashi-san Chi no Maiddragon was announced in 2016 and was impressive when it did air

Some would say that 2016 is the year of sequels, but I beg to differ. After carefully looking at the anime list of 2017, I can safely state that 2017 is the year of sequel, which I shall talk about at a later date, when I created this kind of article that covers 2017. 2017 was, in my opinion, still the year of action-oriented anime, as there are a lot of title that covers the genre during that year. But, if there is one thing that uncommon, it is the focus on children during that year, to a great success.

The reason I’d say that is because the advent of Amaama to Inazuma and Udon no Kuni no Kiniro during that year. Both anime utilizes children as their central focus, as well as children voice actor to accompany their voices, and both anime were successful. How they’re focused, how their antics mimic the real-life children of the same ages, perhaps not, and how parenting feels like. I just could not stress out that those two anime were very good, so good that I think Yotsuba!? might not stand a chance when it come out, but we shall see. See my article to read a little bit of cover for it.

Were those two anime trying to emulate the success that Barakamon had in years before? We did not know. All we know that there was a prequel of sorts to Barakamon in 2016, Handa-kun, which tells the story of Handa Sei in his teenage years. It was good, but it was not as great as the anime it prequeled.

There’s also the controversy of the eventual demise of Keijo!!! manga, due to the lack of success the anime had for bringing in new audience for the manga. Rumor has it that the manga was canceled due to how the anime series did not sell, though the creator of the manga denied the rumor and blames his own skill for it . That, however, was a shame as the anime is mildly enjoyed in the west, as the west appreciated the sports and how it was delivered, as well as several unique jokes it might had. See this article and this article to see the apparent outrage caused by it and how the creator dismissed the initial rumor.

The cancellation of the Keijo!!! manga causes a bit of an uproar

Lastly, I want to talk about the soft reboot of Pokemon anime, which happens in 2016. As XY comes to an end, another series came into prominence, and this time, it is called Sun and Moon, which is set in Alola, a new region based on Hawai. The reboot is not about the region, but it is regarding the entirety of the series itself. 

First up is the animation. You can say that entering Alola has caused Satoshi to enter Toon World, a card from Yu-Gi-Oh! That turns all the monster on your arena into a toon version of it’s former self, and that what has happened to Satoshi. Many of the fans hated the new animation, simply because the new-look has caused the anime to look goofier than usual and more cartoonish than ever [Thus the reference of Toon World by me]. However, the new animation could perhaps be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed Satoshi to be even more expressive than usual, and the goofy nature of the current animation adds to the charm which we will not see again in the future iteration of the series. Sure, the anime is slowly holding back it’s goofy nature in the new episodes, but I cannot argue more that the animation was okay for me, despite it’s cartoonish look. 

Second, and this is perhaps the biggest change of all, is the slice of life-approach that changed the entire series. Now, the series seems like it has been revitalized due to the new approach that moves away from the tired formula of Satoshi going on a journey and more to Satoshi attending class and enjoying life more in Alola. The soft reboot worked wonders for me and if you are willing to read yet another article by me that covered this, see here

Despite the backlash to the cartoonish look, Pokemon Sun and Moon has revitalized the series

There are more things to talk about, such as how Kuma Miko’s failure and it’s controversial last episode, Gyakuten Saiban’s failed adaptation, Berserk’s horrendous animation and CGI appliance, the return of Love Live! in the form of Sunshine, and many more things. But, I just don’t want to take up more time writing this article.

Next up is my personal 5 best and worst series that premiered in 2016. Continue below if you want to read.

Best 5 Anime that premiers in 2016

2016 has been a hectic year. So many anime came out and with little time i had to enjoy it, i had to be very selective in picking the appropriate anime to watch. I managed to watch over 20 anime in this year and in that number, there’s bound to be one or two anime that is good or bad. In this list, i will list 5 anime that i think the best that came out in 2016, of course, the one that i watch. And this is a personal opinion and thus, expect several entries that might sound strange.
The list are in descending order

#5. Udon no Kuni no Kin’iro Kemari [Poco’s Udon World]
My number fifth pick would be Udon no Kuni no Kin’iro Kemari [God that’s handful, i’m calling it udon from now.]. This anime had the same pattern as the anime Amaama to Inazuma, where a young man had to take care a small kid, or in this case, a tanuki that can shapeshift into a kid. What makes this anime so special is the relationship between Shota and Poco, or the tanuki, is so deep that i can’t help but feel it everytime i watch it. Watching their relationship grow is something else. Aside from the intriguing story, the setting is also what makes this anime far more superior than Amaama to Inazuma. Udon’s setting is located in Kagawa that offers a lot of greenery and beautiful panorama, and the anime utilizes on this advantage a lot. I can’t help but feel captivated whenever the background is focused. However, even if the background isn’t focused, i still feel the same way. The resolution is great as well, making me feel satisfied by the end of the episode and not begging for  another sequel or season. You know it’s a great anime when you know it’s over and there’s no need for sequel, even if the manga is still running. 

#4. New Game!
After watching Sansha Sanyou, which was also produced by Doga Kobo and consequently, one of the most unoriginal and boring anime that came out recently, my expectations for this anime is pretty low. But all that changes upon watching the first episode. It’s rich with humor and color, as well as a good setting. I’m not a big fan of watching anime set in an office or workplace setting  (Such as Working! Or Servant and Service), but New Game! Manages to change it. I knew that making anime was hard, never knew making a game was that hard. To make a character, you need to spend at least one or two weeks and that just changes my view in every game, so that before i call any game bad, i will appreciate the staffs first for all the work they put in. The characters has a great personality,each one of them, and they all are animated vividly and wondrously colorful. While not all the comedy hits, it hits homerun when it actually hits. Of course, i can’t say much about the setting, since i don’t like workplace setting in the first place, however, i can’t hide the fact that it is also richly coloured and whenever i see it, i never felt bored. I enjoyed my time watching New Game!, though i felt that it was incomplete upon watching the ending and the feeling of wanting more struck me after the last episode.

#3. Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!
To say that at first, i was put off by the title was an understatement. I was actually avoiding this anime. However, that time, i didn’t  know that this anime was one of the genre that i actually enjoy, romantic-comedy. And upon watching it, i immediately fall in love with it. Richly-animated characters with colorful personality all of them, good settings in the school, and easy to follow story makes this anime a good pick for my number 3. But, what makes this anime places number 3 is it’s innate ability to make me laugh all the time whenever watching it. The comedies that are placed within the show almost never misses it’s mark and tend to strike me in a way where it could make me laugh so hard. And also, another top mark that i would give to this anime is Usami and her romantic interest in Subaru. Everytime i watch them and especially when Usami is hoping for a progress with Subaru, i just know that, at that time, it will definitely fail. I guess this is what you call a lesson from another show (I’m looking at you, WWE commentators), though their interactions with each other are always good and for me, ranks as one of the best interaction between a couple *cough, sorry they’re not a couple. It’s unpredictable at times and god, i can just go on and on about how funny this anime is. However, one bad thing i found in the anime is that several characters aren’t given enough time to establish themselves in the anime, namely their advisor, Yumeko Tachibana, whom i still had a hard time remembering her name. I personally found their last advisor, Koyama, better than her, though she is not with several good moments of her own. If you are a fan of romantic comedy genre, much like myself, you’ll find this anime a great pick.

#2. Flying Witch
Do you know that this is an Iyashikei anime, or a Healing anime? I didn’t, until i watch it completely. It is filled with several things to make you feel soothed everytime you finished watching it and god, i very, very enjoyed watching this anime up to it’s resolution. Each episode is filled with several factor that will make you feel soothed, whether it’s the story, the interactions between the character, the background, or the magic. Honestly, the magic is even unseen at times, and most of them were just a food or silly things such as crows, but all of them are funny.The background are vibrant and the countryside of Aomori is truly highlighted in the show, it’s the background that truly steal the show in my opinion. Hot-damn it’s very beautiful. The characters are also funny and relatable at times. The air-headed Makoto, the calm Kei, the child-at-heart Chizuru amongst others. Unlike Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!, every characters are given enough time to make their mark on the show, though one of them just constantly sleeps around. One of the memorable things when i watched this show is to witness a flying whale in the sky that has city above it. I just like whales (Of course, that’s one of the reason i don’t like Re:Zero since they kill whales) , and when it appears, i was filled with joy. Honestly, to me, this is one of the most memorable anime to come out this year, especially since it is a healing anime, which doesn’t click with several audience. Yeah, that one is worth mentioning. Healing anime is not popular with several people so i advise you not to recommend this beautiful anime to an action-loving fan. This anime is severely restricted to those who just want to enjoy a soothing time watching.

#1. Hibike! Euphonium season 2
The sequel to the critically-acclaimed Sound! Euphonium last year. Though unlike it’s predecessor, the only thing that held this anime back is that the last year version was so good, that it reveals all the flaws in this anime. Still, that doesn’t stop this anime to be my number 1 pick for this list. The dramas are well-played and well-structured, though not as good as before, the characters are all vibrant and has a good personality, though not as good as before, and the performance is better than ever. There were 4 performances in this anime, which was two up from the last season and all of them were good in my opinion. According to Nick Creamer, several anime (He mentioned Yuri on Ice) has a copied animation during the performance. However, in the Hibike, i found no copied animation and all of them was animated individually different from each of them. It was good and i was feeling goosebumps on how beautiful their performance was and was feeling the same thing when the result that they actually won (Not national) is announced. Of course, still feeling down from Kyoto Animation’s clunky attempt at another action anime (Musaigen no Phantom World), the anime has revitalized and restored my faith in Kyoto Animation once again. While i mentioned that the characters are not as good as before, several main characters are given a limelight and shines under it, notably Tanaka Asuka and Noboru Taki. We are finally given the background of the always mysterious Asuka and the always cool Taki, and those moments are the best in my opinion. The performance of Tomoyo Kurosawa as Kumiko and Minako Kotobuki as Tanaka Asuka is also what’s best from this show. Tomoyo’s voice perfectly captures how Kumiko would act at times and Minako’s performance as Asuka is always one of the best thing in the show. And since Hibike! Euphonium 2 finishes almost during the year’s end, i think it’s the right time for me to say what a way to end this year. Thank you Kyoto Animation, for this great anime 

Honorable mentions :
These anime are all good, but is not enough to knock all the 5 anime above out of the list, but still very good. So i’ll just put them on the honorable mention list. What are they? They are in order by the way.

Oshiete! Galko-chan (Please tell me! Galko-chan)
An anime about dirty jokes and all. It’s very well-made and funny, thought the only flaw is that this anime is a short-anime and runs only for 5 minutes. However, i can say that this anime is very good and you should try to watch if you want to laugh at some dirty jokes.

   Amaama to Inazuma
  Like i mentioned in the Udon, this anime has almost the same pattern as it, though Udon is far more superior in background and relationship between characters. Amaama to Inazuma is better in terms of how a kid behaves and how easy cooking is done, but all that is not enough to beat Udon. Still, it’s very good and has a well-structured plot. Honestly, this and Udon will just undermine Yotsubato in the future if it ever had an anime. Just like it’s name suggest, this anime has stole it’s thunder.

Ansatsu Kyoushitsu Season 2 (Assassination Classroom season 2)
A good anime that suffers from several adapted out materials. Honestly, i think several good part in the manga that were left adapted out makes me feel this anime didn’t live up to my expectations, though it’s good enough to make this list. Jun Fukuyama’s performance as Koro-Sensei always admirable and again, i think it’s one of the reasons that this anime is succesfull. The story is not bad, but not good, just fine. That’s all. If you’re a fan of a Save our students trope, this anime is it and you should watch it. It may not be as good as GTO, but it certainly is a worthy successor to this dying trope.

Worst 5 Anime that premiers in 2016

As the title suggest, this will list 5 anime, which i think has a very bad quality, that premiers this year. There are a lot of anime that i watch and i managed to round up at least 5 that i think were bad, so bad that i need to state my reasons here . Of course, much like above, this is a personal list, so please bear with what i said.

Like above, the list is on a descending order.

#5. Sansha Sanyou
       This came out before New Game!, and considering that i have high hopes for Doga Kobo and their production, it was a bummer to see this anime here. But, i’m not without my reason though. It has bad characterization, lame pun, and... Well, the jokes never work. But, it’s most punishable sin is that almost ALL of the character looks completely unoriginal, if not, plain. Honestly, Yoko looks almost like Senjougahara from Monogatari, Futaba looks like Yukko Aioi from Nichijou, and worst of all, Nishiyama looks completely like Hinagiku Katsura from Hayate no Gotoku, so much that i think they were like a peas in a pod.  And aside from them, the rest of the cast looks plain, like i think that’s regular in another anime, that’s all. It’s not without it’s positives though, the character were richly coloured despite being plain and unoriginal and was beautifully animated, though the model and the animation of every cats are enough to make me groan. Totally a big  letdown from a studio in the level of Doga Kobo. Good thing New Game! Managed to restore the trust i had in that studio, but the damage has been done.

#4. Dagashi Kashi
What a total letdown. I was actually looking forward for this anime, and with my friend, to be honest. But, once it airs, boy, i was let down so bad that i considered dropping the anime altogether. Bad puns, lame characterization and totally oblivious to the one thing that makes the anime so good, the background which looks vibrant and all, Dagashi Kashi was bad. Everytime i watch, i can’t help but feel either confused or just plain don’t get what is being told around. I guess it’s working in the manga, but the anime is on a different level and you need to do something better to make it working. To make matters worse, aside from Shidare Hotaru, no one gets a good characterization. Kokonotsu appears to be a lame protagonist who tends to play along with Hotaru despite having a good background to go with, Saya appears to be a smart girl who got this crush on Kokonotsu, and To is... I don’t know... A funky man who wears a hawaian shirt and a sunglasses? Godforsaken damn it... The only thing that keeps me watching this until the end is that Hotaru is so vibrant and rich in animation, color, and everything. She looks totally original, unlike the rest. Also, a honorable mention is also in order for Kokonotsu’s father, Yo, who is always funny everytime he appears.

#3.Naruto : Itachi Shinden
Don’t get me wrong, okay? I disliked the Naruto series. However, i have this special place on my heart for the anime’s most dangerous group, the Akatsuki, as well as Itachi Uchiha. So, when the anime announces that it will adapt Itachi Shinden : Book of Light and Darkness as a separate anime series, i was over the moon. However, instead of being a separate series, it continued as episode 426 or so in the anime. I guess that’s okay. Watching the first, second, and third episode of the series, it was hard to see why this series is in this list. However, once you got to the next episode, it was bad. Didn’t the title is about Itachi? Why are we focusing on Deidara? Why don’t we focus on Itachi AND Kisame? One of the best partnership i’ve ever seen in anime? Sure, i know Tomoyuki Dan has passed away, but instead of going for one scene with one simple recording, why not hire a voice actor that almost resemble him in order to adapt a better story at telling their stories togheter? Additionally, it was coupled with bad stories and, like what i said before, why are we focusing on Deidara and Sasori? I felt blessed watching  up to the fourth episode, but once it progresses, i was groaning all the time and complaining. And of course, adapting out several important material is also one of the factor that this anime is bad. Sorry Itachi, i think you didn’t get the one thing that you truly deserved, a great anime series telling your story, this anime isn’t it. By the way, i was in-between putting either this and Netoge to this list, and this number. Ultimately, Naruto : Itachi Shinden was just worser than Netoge.

#2.Musaigen no Phantom World
Oh boy, i just had to put this one on the list... Saying this anime is bad is an understatement in my opinion, this anime deserves to be called a trainwreck that manages to repair itself at the last minute. Honestly, when this was announced, none other by Kyoto Animation, i was left confused and saying “Didn’t they learnt their lesson from Kyoukai no Kanata that they cannot animate an action genre?” . Kyoukai no Kanata was filled with so many bad things that i might need to review it again, and Musaigen did the same thing. Undoubtedly, it has several good factor, such as very colorful cast and crisp animation, as well as beautiful background. But, that isn’t enough to cover the worst thing from this anime. It focuses itself on  fanservice, the one thing that Kyoto Animation has avoided in the past. Sure it was good, but i’d prefer my anime to not to be riddled by fanservice. Honestly, for the first few episodes, why does the main heroine need to grope herself to activate her powers? And several boncing boobs were particularly a groan-inducing for me who hates fanservice (Fanservice lover might love it). And... Well, the anime just wanders off after quite several episode. The first 4 or 5 episodes were used to tell the background of several main cast. Sure, that’s a good start, let’s get to the main plot, shall we? Nope! We’re going to feed you with several spin-off stories before going to the main act! Yes, that’s what actually happens. The plot wanders off and was playing around for like 6 more episodes before Finally going to the main plot at almost the last episode. Sure, those episodes weren’t bad, but it didn’t help the progression of the anime either to be honest. Chuunibyou was filled with several new things, but it certainly helped the progression between the main characters, but this one didn’t. It just undermined the story more and more as it continued. However, one of them was particularly good, the one where Haruhiko turns into a kid and Mai had to nurse him. That showed Mai’s character pretty well. And well, the resolution, in just one episode, seems rushed to be honest. Not to mention that the first ever kiss scene that Kyoto Animaton did was with Haruhiko and his mother look-alike. And the second one was him again with his small fairy-like creature, Ruru. Both didn’t look like they were actually looking forward to it, so i’m going to have to cross them off the list, but... Of course, the damage was done. Thankfully, Hibike! Euphonium 2 managed to restore the faith i had with Kyoto Animation once again.

#1.Time Bokan 24
Did I really watch this? This was the worst anime in 2016, no, i think in my whole life that i’ve ever watched. Why do i watch this? I was still hot after watching Yoru no Yatterman and it’s plot, as well as several nice things about Gatchaman Crowds :  Insight. so when this was announced, i was hoping for either a good storyline or a dark storyline. Instead, we are served with a piping hot mess. The Time Bokan team is actually looking to uncover the true history, which according to them, is a history far more funnier than what it appears in the book. I guess that’s a good start. But, what follows is not. It was horrible. It was cringe-inducing several times and i was never moved by either the jokes, the plot, the anything that the anime offered me. The more i watched, the more i want to drop it, that’s why i dropped it on episode 7. And Shigeru Chiba’s narration is, by far, the most annoying thing on this anime to the point that i kept screaming whenever i heard him speaking the same thing over, and over, and over, and over again. Just stop will you? I know, it is for kids, but... Please put more effort into this? This is to remind people for their childhood, not for actual kids on our age... The characters were a mess, only the bad guys were better, but not good enough. Tokio, the main character, was bland to the point of extreme suffocation, Celine was annoying as heck, and the stupid bird kept pestering around. The Mechas look good, unlike one anime that was suicidal, but it was not good enough. The plots are understandable, but the jokes are meh. I don’t know, throw it to the fire? Sorry Tatsunoko production, but you have failed Time Bokan series, and let me stress it once more, this was the worst anime in 2016.

I should have put the worst list first instead of the best one, right? Well, i'll keep that in mind for future release.

That’s it. That’s my list for 2016. By the end of 2017, I might be creating the similar list again, so be on the lookout. Thanks for reading the article.

Personal note : The articles that came out from here on out might be slower than usual, due to my college commitment. However, I shall try and update it weekly, like  always.

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