Week #1 – Winter Anime 2016

Well a new season of anime is upon us, so like every season, I try to watch whatever I can and thin out the pack in the first few weeks. So here’s everything I bothered to watch out of all the winter shows.

Two things. One, I don’t watch everything, so bear with me, I try to watch as much as I can. I also don’t watch a show that’s already started if I haven’t watched the initial season(s) before it. And two, you’ll notice a few things next to the ratings I give to each show. Only one can be the Best of the Week, while there are two notable statuses to give the rest. If I put a show “On Notice” it means the next show has to impress or I will drop it. If a show is in “Dropped” status, regardless of how much better it is afterwards, I will not review the series again. I may watch it on my own time (though I’ve never watched something I intended to drop after), but it will no longer be covered here. This can be for a multitude of reasons, ranging from it being too confusing, not my cup of tea, or straight up pissing me off.

So! Let’s hop to it!

Active Raid

This show is confusing! Essentially the show is about a squad in the police department that is pretty much all the guys and girls who do anything to get the criminals they’re after, which includes thinking like destroying property, crazy maneuvers, all that badassery. The problem is I was not given really any time to sit down and prepare for the show, it literally just throws you in blind and keeps going further and further over the top, seemingly making stuff up as it goes. I supposed the lone part that stood out was the main character Asami trying to get there in time before her colleagues go too far. Turns out the skin-tight mech suits the boys are in if they use up all their power just melts off. So she shrieks due to seeing two naked men and is now visible shaken. So that was a thing. It’s got enough of something there that I’ll watch the second episode to see if it picks up, but I’m not holding my breath.

Episode Score – 1.5/5  {ON NOTICE}

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue

Asuka is fucking hysterical, I love her. The series so far is set on a set of islands and apparently people can fly because of Grav-Shoes which if they ever become what they are in real life, that would be fantastic. Other notable characters include Misaki who adds a bit of kitty-speak to her dialogue. Masaya so far is your typical male character, nice but annoyed by people. Madoka seems a little flirty, but i’m unsure and Mashiro clearly needs a Misaki body pillow as she seems to want to hold onto her whenever she can. We also discover these shoes have anti-crashing safe guards in them. Man, I want these shoes now. May I ask the question now though? If the girls can fly, why in god’s name are they not wearing tights or at the very least shorts? They have to know, right? Also Masaya lives next door to Asuka and of course their bedrooms cross each other. The second half of the episode introduces us to Flying Circus, a sport involving the Grav-Shoes. We also meet Reiko who so far is a bitch, go figure, we need one at some point. For some reason she chooses to fight the bitch in a round of Flying Circus and even though she can’t fly we get the trope of her figuring out how to do something and she manages to get a single point, the conditions of her victory. The show itself is really good, I just hope they explain how she suddenly went to falling constantly to an impossibly difficult maneuver.

Episode Score – 4/5

BBK/BRNK

Probably going to be the best looking anime of the entire season, this show’s world and character designs are off the charts awesome! The story has yet to really develop, we have a small amount of villains and heroes in place, but nothing of real significance as of yet. The main character Azuma is a little bit cowardly, but shows some real emotion when his (likely) deceased mother gets slandered by those who call her a mass murderer. It seems like we’re going to have a pretty crazy super-weapon anime with a few giant mechs through into the mix. So far it seems really interesting, but until the series really gets started, I’m not prepared to throw this at the top of the list yet.

Episode Score – 4/5

Dagashi Kashi

The intro reminds me a little bit of Persona, already a plus. The lead Kokonatsu is the son of a candy shop owner and would rather be a manga artist instead. But it’s when meeting the lovely violet-haired Hotaru who’s the daughter of the owner of one of the top chocolate manufacturers. She is fucking incredible, her character is all over the place, and I love it! She transitions from super serious to flamboyantly flying about in an instant. Because she wants his dad to work for her father’s company, she makes it her personal mission to get Kokonatsu to become the new owner of the family store. Now onto the biggest thing with the show…WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH SAYA’S EYES?! She’s like the female Ryuuji from Toradora! The longer the show goes on too, we find that Hotaru is further off her rocker. And she and Saya together are an interesting duo. This is easily my favourite show of the week, which pisses me off further that it’s pretty much the last one I’ll watch every week. Oh well, saving the best for last, I guess.

Episode Score – 5/5 *BEST OF THE WEEK*

Dimension W

A fourth dimension that supplies us with infinite power, sounds original. Aside from that though, the show is badass! It’s like some Fifth Element shit going on, just a couple centuries before. Kyoma is a very mysterious badass character, he reminds me a little bit of Spike from Cowboy Bebop, just obviously without the smart aleck comments. But he can fuck you up big time, that’s for sure. Mira is double as awesome, an android who’s beautiful and holy fuck can she kick some ass too. Mira is an android created by the man who made the infinite energy possible and after a series of murders, the man kills himself and in the process seemingly destroys a fuckton of the tech his energy helped make possible. After all this, we find Mira is far more human than everyone first thought, she even gets super embarrassed when she wakes up in just her “underwear”. She’s a girl in mind, that’s for sure. As it ends, she wishes to join Kyoma and the others in hunting down all illegal coils in the world, essentially illegally created power sources. This show was pretty good, the music is fucking fantastic as well, check it out!

Episode Score – 4.5/5

Divine Gate

This show seems really cool and then at the same time goes and feels very pretentious. The art style is really cool, the character designs and voices are all pretty good, but the story is just a real handful and quite honestly in this first episode does almost nothing to really tell you what’s going on. They simply talk about this Divine Gate like it’s a children’s story and talk about this other world like it’s nothing special, yet it appears to be an extremely integral part of the universe. They play up the main character Aoto’s backstory as if to say “Look how sad this is, don’t you feel sad watching this?” instead of just allowing us to feel sadness for the character, it truly does feel like we’re being told how to react and that we should already understand the story they’re telling us no real information about. It’s a decent show with writers who think we’re all far deeper than we actually are.

Episode Score – 2/5 {ON NOTICE}

Erased

Well this show picked up fast at the end. The concept of this show is that 29 year-old Satoru has the power to go back in time to prevent deaths and catastrophes. The catch, he doesn’t choose to do it, the power will constantly re-activate until he prevents it. This time, after finding his mother stabbed and killed, he’s framed for the murder and before being arrested, his power activates and sends him all the way back to when he was in grade school, likely before a series of child abductions and murders that happened not long after. The show is very slow and methodical, has a very tense vibe about it. I’m normally not too heavy on these kinds of shows, but this one connected real fast. I’m super interested in where this one goes.

Episode Score – 4/5

GATE – Season 2

Awww shit! One of my favourite shows from last year is back, baby! If you haven’t watched the first 12 episodes, I strongly suggest you do! Before even starting the episode, I had a lot of questions? Will there be an actual threat on the other side of the Gate this time or will it be centering around the Americans and other countries trying to pilfer from the world? And many others, so we’ll see what gets answered as the series goes along. So…it may have started with rape. I think that answered my question about the other world threat. He’s a real prick and the series needs that going forward, there really wasn’t a true enemy last season. Turns out dickhead is Pina’s brother, so that’s a thing now too. The Empire still continues to insist that they will not lose to an enemy that could kill them all in one fell swoop, so the series continues to progress without suddenly introducing an all-powerful godlike warrior. The episode ends with a potential large earthquake hitting the area, which is an occurrence the people beyond the Gate aren’t sure is a thing until it hits. Overall it’s nice to see the series back, but there’s nothing special that really happened yet.

Episode Score 3.5/5

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

I thought for a second this was a game anime but I was wrong. Side note, I don’t usually say this, but the first glimpse you get of Haruhiro when he wakes up, he’s drawn flawlessly, not overdone like the Free! guys, but not so plain that he looks like your average dude. About five minutes in I realize what might actually be going on (we’ll see if I’m right at the end): We’re watching the characters of an MMORPG being played, but without them being based off the person playing them. It’s like they’re not aware of what they are. But I was wrong and it seems like they are indeed real-life beings transported into a game, except they’ve now lost essentially all memory of what was outside of this world, as if the moment they entered the game, they started at Level 1, with no memories yet since they haven’t played. But they say words the outside world would use, like “game”, “cell phone”, etc. The group we focus on are a group of six who are just the worst, can’t even kill a single goblin. Most of the characters are passable at best, Yume being my favourite so far. However outside of the six, the one who trains Haruhiro at the Thieves Guild, Barbara is probably the most intriguing of them all (plus she’s sexy as fuck!). Ranta eventually gets super annoying, being very sexist about how he can forgive Shihoru but not Yume only because she is flat-chested (which she’s not, she has Bs). He’s seriously fucked up. Speaking of fucked up, I’m unsure if Yume can even have a single scene where she’s either not being a little flirty or her butt is facing the camera. I still like her, but that little thing is starting to get to me. The episode ends without much happening, which is disappointing cause I like what I see so far. A few interesting characters and a storyline that I’m still not 100% sure what’s going on. Not bad, takes a lot to keep me guessing.

Episode Score – 3.5/5 

Luck & Logic

Damn, this almost beat BBK/BRNK for design, this one looks fantastic as well. The premise is slightly more easy to understand, blah blah blah chosen few have special transformational abilities, they have essentially a God as their partner and he’s the only guy in the group so far. Yup! Sounds like a fun action-packed harem anime! I’m down! Otherwise, the action sequences were really cool, the characters are all super unique and beautifully drawn. The monsters as well are super badass and then super adorable when they’re back to their tiny form. This anime is definitely going to be one I keep up with for the time being, can’t wait to see what awesomeness we see next.

Episode Score – 5/5

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiidesukara

This was an odd, yet kind of adorable 4-minute magical girl parody kind of short. Yuzuka is adorable and everything seems all right, but then the stereotypical cute tiny mascot plushie looking thing shows up and gives her the power to transform into a magical girl, except her outfit ends up being a swimsuit. So yeah…that was a thing.

Episode Score – 2.5/5

Myriad Colors Phantom World

The concept of this show is bonkers and yet really interesting at the same time. Essentially, a terrorist attack caused a virus to leak into the air and slightly alter human brains to the point they can actually see phantoms (ghosts, monsters, etc.) and the initial humans exposed to the virus began having children with powers to fight against the hostile ones. Haruhiko can seal them by drawing them, Mai has elemental powers (that require her to touch herself in various places, only have seen waist and breasts so far, unsure if I need to place a bet for self ass gropage or not) and Reina is a Phantom Eater (literally, she sucks phantoms down like she’s freaking Kirby!). They’re all awesome characters, the animation looks solid and while it looks like a harem anime, so far other than Mai squeezing her tits and bouncing around, the first episode managed to go without a single panty shot. I’m not sure how I feel about Ruru though, the fairy the follows Haruhiko around. She can be funny, but other times hits Navi levels of annoyance. Solid effort so far though, more than interested in seeing where this show goes.

Episode Score – 4/5

Nurse Witch KOUMGI R

It’s an idol anime, it’s unsurprisingly cute yet at the same time a little much at times. Komugi’s voice goes from cute to annoying to what accent is that?! Kokona’s about the same. Usa-P though…what the fuck? Then again, it’s anime so I just go with it. Tsukasa on the other hand I am happy to put up with, cause you know how much I love tomboys. The magical girl stuff is so over the top in this show I don’t know if they’re being serious or a super-parody. Either way, it’s a half and half for me. It’s cute, but is sometimes unbearable with all the high squeaky voices.

Episode Score – 2.5/5 {ON NOTICE}

Ooya-san wa Shishunki!

A middle school girl is the landlord of a building and is named Chie Satonaka (which really pisses me off, cause it’s not Persona related). She is adorable though, so I’ll let it slide for now. It’s a 2-minute short, so I didn’t exactly have enough time to see anything out of it. It’s not bad though, it’s just way too short, why isn’t this a 3-minute 30-second kind of short? Two minutes, you barely have time to let your eyes settle down.

Episode Score – 2/5

Ojisan and Marshmallow

Uh…I mean it was kinda cute…it was also kinda…somethin’. It’s a 3-minute short so obviously you have to get right to the point. Far as I can tell, the lady likes the guy so she tempts him with marshmallows as a way to gain his affection? Yeah, I’m lost. Not interested.

Episode Score – 1.5/5  {DROPPED}

Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn

I don’t know what the fuck’s going on…but I love it! It’s like a crazy cross between Vividred Operation’s setting, Chobits’ requirements to activate an android’s abilities by touching…”there” and the sex appeal of your average ecchi anime. The relationship between Nene and Clarion is the star attraction in this show. Nene is fucking adorable as hell and Clarion’s facial expressions in response to Nene’s random affection and touchy behaviour towards her is reminiscent of Akatsuki’s expressions from Log Horizon. I’m not sure where the story’s going here, they’re on a really rich island, there’s robots out of control, Nene needs to slide her hand into Clarion’s…special place to get…special abilities. It’s ludicrous. And sometimes I love that.

Episode Score – 4.5/5

Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation

So the SEGA anime of SEGA’s newest game, Phantasy Star Online 2 (made by SEGA) is rather interesting to say the SEGA least. It really feels like a giant advertisement of the game that just happens to have a barely cohesive story in it. The idea of claiming the main character has to play the online MMORPG as part of his job as student council vice-president is absolutely ludicrous, whoever thought that was a good way to write the story is an idiot. There are a ton of different ways they could’ve gone about having a story whether the game and real life mixes, this was definitely one of the dumber options. Aside from that though, the anime’s all right, the animation’s pretty good, the in-game character designs are fantastic (while the real-life characters are meh at best) and the action’s all right as well. It’s basically an okay show.

Episode Score – 2.5/5

Please Tell Me! Galko Chan

It’s nothing overly special, but it’s an enjoyable 7-minute short. Galko’s appearance just turns me off, but her personality is actually rather enjoyable at times. Her relationship with friends Otako and Ojou is surprising given the differences between them, but they work off each other very well. A lot of boob and butt jokes contained in this, some are facepalm worthy others aren’t so bad. It’s all right for what it is.

Episode Score – 2.5/5

Prince of Stride: Alternative

Awesome first episode. I don’t know if this’ll turn into a reverse harem or not, but regardless I think this will be a show I finish if it’s as intense and badass as this episode was. The concept is essentially street-running or parkour if it were a competitive school club. The animation is flawless, fits the speed it has to be going for such a concept and the music matches it just as well. The characters have their own quirks, some are shining above others. Takeru and Yuki seem like they’re be the runaway favourites, but we’ll have to wait and see as the show moves forward

Episode Score – 5/5

Schwarzes Marken

I didn’t know this was Muv-Luv until the screenshots! Holy shit! I wasn’t expecting an eroge visual novel to have an anime, especially this one. The universe is an alternate reality where aliens landed on Earth not far after the aftermath of World War II (where East/West Germany still exist to the present day) and completely changed the fabric of mankind. Mechs were then created to fight the alien threat (BETA) and we ride along with the 666th TSF squad as they battle the BETA forces. One of the members however is a complete trainwreck and in a way causes the death of one of her comrades. Did I mention this shit’s happening in an anime based off an eroge visual novel?! One of the male pilots has a real problem with protecting others, also playing a part in costing the comrade’s life. The one he has to save the second time is a girl who looks a lot like his long lost sister. Dem feels! The girl wants to join the 666 and is assigned to work with Mr. Douchebag here. This is going to be a tough series for me to watch for multiple reasons. Theodor (aka Douchebag) is well…a douchebag. Katia’s voice is absolutely annoying as shit and doesn’t belong in a series like this. And most of all, I can tell this will be a very bloody anime and I’m not too great on gore. I don’t want to put this show on notice, but there’s too many red flags to ignore here already.

Episode Score – 2/5 {ON NOTICE}

Sekko Boys

It’s so fucking weird. Young lady Miki gets a job working as a manager for a foursome group of male idols…except they’re all statues named after Greek and/or Roman figures (don’t know my history as well as I used to). She also used to be an artist and lost her shit from drawing nothing but statues at every art school she intended. So of course that makes this absolutely ridiculous concept a complete disaster for her. They’re literally rolled out (on a cart) for her to see. Look, I know the whole Hatsune Miku hologram thing exists, but this is fucked up. Look, it’s not that it’s not entertaining, because it was kinda funny. But it’s like Hatoful Boyfriend for me, it’s just too odd for me to watch consistently. Monster Musume was human enough to work, this however is not.

Episode Score – 2/5  {DROPPED}

Tabi Machi Late Show

The stop animation was a little hard on my eyes, I will admit. But the relationship with Nagi and Azusa is actually kind of adorable, whatever it may be, it’s hard to tell if they’re family or not and if so, how close or distant they are in the family tree. The story itself is kind of interesting, though there’s really nothing special to it, it feels like just a normal life story. But there is definitely something there to offer people. The problem is however that despite how emotional and nice to watch, I don’t feel like it belongs on Crunchyroll, it would’ve been nice as like an internet series, but on Crunchyroll it just feels off compared to everything else. I may watch more of it down the line, but for me while it was actually really nice to watch, I don’t see enough in it to keep talking about it here.

Episode Score – 3/5  {DROPPED}

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