Anime Taste Testing: Fall 2016 (Part II)

3-gatsu no lion
The second part of my anime taste testing and wow, this season is way more decent than I thought it’d be. I’m still dropping things left, right and centre of course, but only so I have time to bask in all the good stuff coming my way. This particular post covers the premiers for Flip Flappers, Watashi ga Motete Dosunda, ClassicaLoid, 3-gatsu no Lion, Occultic;Nine, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari, and Ajin season two. For every other premiere I watched, see this post.

Occultic;Nine
Score: 3/10 (Dropped)

occultic;nine
I know a steaming hot mess when I see one. This show seems to be under the impression that breakneck speed delivery will somehow make the show more palatable; that it’s ‘wacky’ characters with their ‘quirky’ dialogue will be seen as cool and trendy if only the pacing is fast enough. As a result, I found it genuinely hard to keep up with who was saying what and why, and still the ending could not come soon enough. I can’t even remember anything about the plot, assuming we got one, though I do at least remember the hi-larious jokes about boobs. It’s funny because that one chick has huge knockers. Otherwise, just about the only compliment I can give Occultic Semicolon Nine is about the background artwork, which is highly detailed and intricately coloured – though unfortunately even that counts against the series, since it really only adds to the sense of rambling and pointless confusion. I guess at least the voice actors are giving it their all? Sure hope they’re getting paid well because the writing is horrendous.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda/Kiss Him, Not Me
Score: 4/10 (Dropped)

watashi ga motete dousunda
I’ve watched plenty of shows with dodgy premises over the years. Some of them were every bit as awful as they sounded on paper, others were shockingly decent despite their potential for terribad. This falls somewhere between the two in that it’s watchable (just), but still a far cry from being good. The synopsis deserves some serious side-eye, no question about it, but the real problem here lies in the execution. It’s possible to make almost any premise, no matter how shallow or offensive on the surface, entertaining if presented in just the right way, but Watashi ga Motete Dousunda doesn’t push itself anywhere near hard enough for that. While I can clearly see that it’s intended to be a tongue-in-cheek comedy, all I’m really getting is yet one more cliché-ridden shoujo story with dull stock characters and entirely average production values to top them off. It might have made for a good parody if there was any heart or flair to it – Ouran High School Host Club did – but fujoshi themes aside, this is unfortunately closer to The Wallflower.

ClassicaLoid
Score: 6/10

classiccaloid
At least a few viewers out there will think this is one of the funniest and most original anime ever created. Just not this particular viewer. I’ll say this for ClassicaLoid, it commits to absolutely everything 110%, and it’s that kind of energy which makes such a gimmicky premise work in the first place. However, it’s also all too easy to see how people could think the entire series is too… well, gimmicky, to truly be enjoyable. Yes, the show is bold and colourful and it knows it’s idiotic, the latter of which certainly helps, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good. I also think the story would be way more interesting without Kanae and Sousuke, our two resident ‘normal’ characters. They add nothing much of value and just naturally fade into the background in comparison to the classicaloids anyway. And think about it: an anime with just Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc. having to co-exist and get by in modern-day Japan? It’d be the composer version of Saint Oniisan, kept fresh by the promise of an actual antagonist and still purposefully over-the-top. As it stands though, I’m unsure about this ones potential.

Flip Flappers
Score: 7/10

flip flappers
Huh. This is weird. Good, but weird. Actually, its weirdness is what makes it good, otherwise the show wouldn’t have warranted my attention in the first place. It’s less magical-girl and more like some kind of surrealist dreamscape exploration a la Alice in Wonderland, even though the events are actually taking place in reality. Flip Flappers also has a highly distinctive art style going on which very much suits the bizarre but beautifully understated direction, and the combination of these two things demands the viewer sit up and take notice. On the downside, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. We could’ve skipped the robot almost-but-not-quite groping scene, surely, and the consistent suggestions of yuri-baiting? To say nothing of Papika’s weird outfit which, you guessed it, gets ripped up some and leaves her with even less covering her body. Credit where credit is due, I don’t think the camera was getting creepy to the point of actual sleaziness, but the constant little reminders that it very well might have at any moment kept jarring me out of the otherwise lovely storytelling.

Ajin 2nd Season
Score: 7/10

ajin
This picks up right where the first season finished off, so if you haven’t seen that then season two will make zero sense; a meandering episodic show this is absolutely not. I really do recommend anyone interested in supernatural/sci-fi horror anime give Ajin a try though – it’s for the most part pretty well-written, much of the cast (particularly its antagonists) is genuinely interesting, and the CG is perfectly watchable. C’mon guys, you know you regularly watch anime that’s uglier than this. If on the other hand you weren’t being snobbish and purposefully avoiding season one for that sole so far reason, the sequel seems just as enjoyable, wasting no time and jumping right back in on the action – though there’s a brief recap at the start of the episode to serve as a handy reminder of what went down previously. My only complaint about this season is that the OP and ED, while still very visually stylish, don’t have anywhere near as good musical choices. I happen to like both angela and fripSide, but whoever thought that song was the right fit for Ajin was an idiot.

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari/Poco’s Udon World
Score: 7/10

udon no kuni no kiniro kemari
If the likes of Usagi Drop and Amaama to Inazuma were to your taste, this show probably will be too. It also has me written all over it. I mean, why would I not want to watch a show about the reluctant owner of an udon restaurant in rural Japan and his accidentally-adoptive tanuki child? The fantastical element definitely adds its own twist to the adult-looking-after-adorable-child plot, and while I’m not suggesting that Udon no Kuni is anywhere near as gorgeously subtle or emotionally compelling as Usagi Drop (and is also not a cooking show, in case you were wondering), it has that same general vibe about it – warm, gentle, and heavy on the slice-of-life angle. The colouration of the character designs even seems highly reminiscent of Usagi Drop, come to think of it, although that could just be me projecting. Either way, Udon no Kuni is plenty cute and it knows it. I’m also wildly excited to finally be getting an anime set on Shikoku. That seems ridiculously late in coming but hey, better late than never.

3-gatsu no Lion/March Comes in like a Lion
Score: 8/10

3-gatsu no lion
Wait, a Shaft anime I actually like? Quick, someone fetch my smelling salts and the fainting couch! I haven’t enjoyed a thing from them since Madoka Magica, so the fact that I have such an overwhelmingly positive response to most of 3-gatsu no Lion comes as a very pleasant surprise. Granted, that probably has far more to do with the source material than the studio adapting it, but the fact remains I like what I see. The premise has a ton of potential, the warm, familial touches of comedy keeps the drama from becoming overbearing, and the background art is a delight. Actually, the cinematography deserves a mention all on its own, because there are some truly breathtaking shots and fantastic camerawork going on here that negates any need for exposition, in much the same way as this season’s Yuri!!! On Ice does. Out of the two shows I know which one I’m more fired up for, but that I’m comparing them at all is a huge compliment to 3-gatsu no Lion.  I’m ecstatic to be getting not one but two exceptionally well-crafted and heartfelt dramas this season.

Question of the post: Now that all the premieres are done airing (and some shows on their second episode), which have left the very best and worst first impressions on you this season?

Note: I’ll also be trying out Fune wo Amu/The Great Passage, but that’s not scheduled to air until the 14th and I’ll probably be too busy this weekend to do a write-up. Rest assured it’ll make an appearance on my mid-season impression post in a few weeks, regardless of whether or not I end up keeping it on my weekly watch-list.

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12 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Fall 2016 (Part II)

  1. I admit I was waiting for Ajin and the CG isn’t disturbing anymore. I don’t like the songs though. Generally I’m not fond of female vocalists and the ED is just horrible. However the plot is really good so I can’t wait for the next episode. As for ClassicaLoid I haven’t watched it yet so I’m pretty curious. I liked Saint Oniisan but this time I don’t expect fireworks.

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    • I never really minded the CG in Ajin, but it’s also grown on me throughout the series. But yeah, the OP and ED music this time around is a bit disappointing. Ironically, I think the ED is a better fit for Ajin than the OP even though I don’t like the song at all… and while I don’t dislike the OP song, I just think it’s a terrible fit for Ajn. Still, relatively minor issues overall.

      Classicaloid isn’t like Saint Oniisan at all, but I thought it could’ve been if it wanted. Possibly a major missed opportunity there, though I’ll be tuning in for at least one more episode to get a better idea of where things are going. It’s basically still on my maybe list.

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  2. My husband really liked the pre-opening sequence of Classicaloid where they didn’t talk at all and everything was conveyed through emoting and music. But once the opening ended and normal speech started, he lost interest, as that beginning was unique, while a feminine boy with pink hair and angry girl aren’t. I still like its craziness, tho.
    We watched only two first episodes until the end – Keijo, which was awesome both as ecchi, sports show, and character comedy, and nicely looking all the time, with diverse bodies (Mermaid instantly became his fave). Also Magic-kyun Reneissance, which was so dumb he couldn’t believe it was not a parody and promised me to watch the next episode together, as it’ll be about the guy who’s my type the most (and he can’t believe he shares similarities with the autismo calligrapher)
    I also love the return of Teekyuu and waited for Nobunaga’s Ninja which delivered, while Chi disappointed me with trying too hard to incorporate manga emoting into French-like CG cartoon.

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    • I quite liked the very start of Classicaloid too – that was a really strong opening, but my interest started waning a bit after that. It perked up again nearer the end, but the middle 15 minutes did seem to drag.

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  3. I kept up with the manga for “Watashi ga Motete Dousunda” until just recently. I love reverse harem, but I just couldn’t stay interested in this one – pretty disappointing. After reading your reaction and doing a quick search online, I will most definitely be giving “3-gatsu no Lion” a watch in the near future! Thank you!
    So I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but I love “Magic-kyun! Renaissance.” I read your other blog post and saw what you thought about it, and I do agree to an extent – it’s clearly an overdone theme – yet I love the idea of inherited magical art forms! It’s extremely reminiscent of “Dance with Devils,” from the characterization to the music, but I can’t help but like it. Haha, I guess I’m just too much of a sucker for magic-related reverse harem.

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    • I’ve heard from numerous sources that the Watashi ga Motete Dousunda manga is a lot better done than the anime, which doesn’t especially surprise me. I have to judge anime purely on its own merits though, and what I saw didn’t encourage me to watch any further.

      Oh, I don’t think you should never be ashamed to admit that you like an anime. I like a few shows that, objectively, I think are basically trash but that I’ve still found personally very enjoyable. And since no anime is absolutely perfect, I think that being able to critique something you like, even if it does happen to be high quality, is important too. If you like Magic-kyun! Renaissance then that’s great – I’m certainly not about to tell you not to watch it.

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  4. Motete Dousunda’s creator actually specialises in BL and yaoi manga – I’ve heard as it goes on, the series uses Kae as a vehicle to parody BL cliches through her fantasies vs interactions, similar to how the Nozaki-kun series parodied shoujo cliches through its cast.

    Do you plan to look at the new Wixoss series or Magical Girl Raising Project?

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    • All well and good, but hardly an inspiring start and I’m really not inclined to give any more of my time to the series. Plenty of other genuinely good stuff to watch instead.

      Nope, I hadn’t. I think I’ve got more than enough to be getting on with for now. Unless I hear absolutely rave reviews about any other series (and you never know, though I don’t expect to), my line-up for the season seems pretty much sorted.

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  5. Pingback: Anime Taste Testing: Fall 2016 (Part III) | OTAKU LOUNGE

  6. I was quickly checking through your lists for the anime tasting, and I noticed you haven’t mentioned Drifters and Keijo. Have you seen these ones or did they not take your fancy?

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      • I don’t know whether keijo would appeal to you, but even though I don’t like fan service in anime, this anime employs a lot of absurd humour. And it’s bombastic 😄 I just wanted to use that word hahaha
        But I think you are missing out on Drifters because you get to see various figures from Japanese history such as Abe no Seimei and Nobunaga. And Jesus is even in it 🤣
        Plus the anime is a nice mixture between action, and comedy. And it is being made by the same company that made Hellsing, if that persuades you.

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