Spring Anime 2016 First Impressions

12:49 AM


We're a week or two into the new Spring season, and I'm back to do my usual first impressions of the stuff I've watched. The list has changed a bit since I first put up my anticipated list, with a couple falling off the list, and another sneaking it's way on. 

So far, it's been pretty good. Sakamoto's first episode was fabulous and good fun, but how it does in the long run is still up in the air. flying witch is pretty much everything I hoped it would be while Twin Star Exorcists fills my shounen needs.

I couldn't get through the first episode of Bakuon!!. I just hate Sakura's character so much that the moment she starts talking I hit the back button. Nope! Not this! See ya! Onsa could very well be the lead, on a quest to convince others that motorbikes are really cool, but nope. We get shit-for-brains Sakura Hane, who's as if someone took a look at K-ON's Yui and somehow managed to make her even more unbearable. She's even got the reliable younger sister (and she has to be because her older sister is a mess in every possible way) who looks a whole lot like Ui. I can tolerate goofy characters - I love absurd comedy. But numbskull characters like Sakura and Yui (I actually feel kind of bad putting Yui on the same level as Sakura) make me question who exactly is vouching for these kind of characters? WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF A CHARACTER WHO'S DUMB AS A GOD DAMN DOOR KNOB?

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri looks really, really good. Like I really like the art and the character designs. The character designs are really striking, mainly reminding me of the old Macross characters. It had what can only be called a 'propulsive' first episode that played out incredibly similarly to Attack on Titan. There's something poetic about a series directed by Tetsuro Araki featuring a train and steam gauges, because the gauges are always at 100% tension and always going full speed ahead. These series could really use some downtime to just cool down, but nope. Everything has to be terrible, people have to be shouting all the time and no one can relax. 

Also, for an armoured train, the Koutetsujou seems to have a whole lot of weak points. Between vulnerable windows, giblets getting caught in gears and steam valves always breaking, you'd think that they might consider refurbishing that thing to be a little more reliable?


Anyways, enough rambling and onto the actual impressions.



Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto

It's a really fun show that's as crazy and fabulous as the trailer suggested. Everything Sakamoto does is done is the coolest fashion possible, from the most mundane tasks, like cleaning a desk, to the outlandish feat of saving a bird from a storm. The character designs have a slight realistic bend to them, being reminiscent of something like...Cromartie? That's the first that comes to mind, but I'm sure there's other more notable series that match the description much better.

My favourite gag? It'd probably have to be the rapid fire ones as the trio try to pull one over on Sakamoto. They're just at that sweet spot between fabulous and ridiculous.

While this kind of comedy is right up my alley, the series, at least in the first episode, has a few problems going for it.

The episode is broken up into sometimes related segments, but are rarely connected with any sort of transitional filler. It gives a scattershot feel to the episode, making me wonder if it might be better as a bunch of shorts with occasional running story lines.

Accompanying Sakamoto in everything he does is a cool, upbeat jazz track. As fun as it is, it starts losing its charm after the 10th time, as it literally does accompany him in everything. At this point, it might as well be titled Sakamoto because of how often it plays. I honestly can't remember any other tracks that play outside of that. And on the topic of getting old, the punchline of the series could get old after a bit. If they can't vary it enough episode to episode, “Sakamoto is god damn fabulous” might run it's course prematurely and become less and less funny every time he does something.

I'd recommend checking out the first episode, particularly the first main segment with the trio. I'll seee how the second episode goes and consider whether to keep it on a weekly basis or a “every now and then”.


flying witch

This is my jam. It's slow paced, with a gentle, super relaxing feel. It's not an outright comedy, with rollicking good laughs (like say, Konosuba), but it's got enough chuckle worthy moments to keep it from becoming too slow. The characters are great. While their designs aren't anything special, they actually work really well as they all react more or less as regular, actual (normal) people should. Well, more than most anime does anyways. There aren't loud reactions, but rather maybe a moment of disbelief, blankly starring into the distance. Chinatsu acts a lot like you'd imagine a child would. Wary of strangers, particularly ones behaving “strangely” though no one seems to care, as well as unbridled excitement – loud, joyous and like the Energizer Bunny. She keeps going and going and going and going and going.

It's my favourite series airing currently, and I'm going to stick with this one all the way. It's been a while since I've seen anything exhibiting the same kind of aura that ARIA did. Also, super glad that Crunchyroll picked it up.


HaiFuri

The title actually stands for Highschool Fleet, in reference to the fleet of cruisers and destroyers the characters are on, but you'd never know it based on the title alone.

Boy this series was not what I expected. Looked at the title. Looked at the promo art. Wrote it off as a “cute girls do cute things” kind of series and ignored it. Picked it up on a whim and boy did it go places I wasn't expecting.

So I expected this to be a fluffy, slice of life moe series. Well, it's shaping up to be closer to Girls Und Panzer, which I really, really liked. So that's good and all. Then, the last scene of the episode pulls the same shit that School Live did, showing us one thing, and saying “haha, this is what this is going to actually be”. It might be a little bit more tense than I ever expected this one to be, now that the main group is on the run, everything's possible. My reaction to this series is basically this tweet, except put GuP in where K-ON! is. (Girls Und Panzer is really good by the way, you should watch it.)



I love it when I'm surprised by a series like this. The fact that it's an original anime makes me excited for where this can go. My guess is that Mike (pronounced Mee-Kay. Confusing, I know) was set up to fail, and that she'll have to blast her way through to old friends (quite literally), sinking some, and recruiting others to form her own little armada to go head to head against the big bad guy, who's most likely the very pretty instructor lady but could very well be her superior.

I'm keeping this one up until it disappoints me massively, which I sincerely hope it doesn't do.


Twin Star Exorcists

Alongside Ushio to Tora, Twin Star Exorcists is the other big name shounen title this season. The characters have an energy to them that really makes this one tick, and keeps my interest in this one. The main pair play off each other well, and after the 2nd episode, it looks like we'll watch them grow as characters together.

The art is real good on this one. Really clean and crisp looking. It's high production values really make this one be a contender in “best looking” of the season.

Music in this series is pretty slick, but the opening is probably the best this opening this season. Wagakki Band provides the opening, and it's probably the most fitting band possible for this kind of series. Have a listen to it, and probably their other stuff, because the band is rad as heck.


Macross Delta

What do you get when you have Magical Girls, who are also intergalactic space idols singing music to keep a dangerous virus at bay, fighting alongside transforming space jets with a giant transforming colony ship standing in the background? The magical idols kind of have a transformation sequence, they block missiles with techno-magic, and fight mech units that are at least 10 stories tall. Well, you get something like Macross Delta. I don't even know where to start with this, but say that everything sort of somehow manages to works maybe. Let it be known that I will have the utmost respect for the staff of this for managing to make this gaggle of ideas congeal into something cohesive and entertaining.

Set as a sequel to Macross Frontier, basically meaning that it's set well after the events of Frontier, but in the same general universe (not part of the universe mind you), as well as a sequel to the earlier series of Macross. Here's a thing: have a main character with the same last name asj an iconic character from the first series, and it's automatically a sequel. Genius. Well, no actually more like, Jenius. That's the name that's come up at least a few times to connect a Macross story back to the first one. Max Jenius and his Meltrandi wife, Milia. Melyne Jenius, who plays along side Basara in Macross 7's Fire Bomber. Now, in Delta, the Jenius bloodline returns with Mirage Farina Jenius, who (based on the OP) forms one of the corners of the Macross staple - the love triangle. 

I feel like this is the natural evolution of Macross. It's basically the first series to break big with an in-universe idol, and now that idol units have taken over, why the hell not?

I don't remember Macross series really introducing many other races, outside of the Zentradi and Meltrandi, so seeing all these other planets with alien (and suspiciously humanoid) races was a little surprising, but hey – space techno-magical idols.

Space Techno-magical idols, people.

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