Brief 'early' impressions of the Spring 2016 anime season so far

April 27, 2016

It's time for my usual early impressions post for this season (as before). This one has been delayed for various reasons, including that I'm still not clear where several shows are going. Also, if I'm being honest, doing my first episode takes drains some of the urgency from the process.

Clear winners:

  • Concrete Revolutio: In retrospect, it seems that the first season back in the fall was there to set the scene and give us the background. Now we're starting to get explanations, painful revelations, and likely more forward developments. I wave my hands here; the show has me fully in its thrall. CR is not without flaws, but the heights are worth it.

    (I'm sounding ambivalent here because the most recent episode was a much smaller, modest, and ordinary thing than the first two. I've got to hope that future episodes look less like it and more like the others.)

  • Flying Witch: This has been my great surprise of the season, because quiet shows like this don't normally click with me. This time, though, I'm charmed by pretty much everything going on. It helps that the show's humour is understated and doesn't try to oversell things, but really it's the characters and the quiet goings on that sell it. I never thought watching people weed a back garden would be so engaging.

  • Kiznaiver: I don't know what to feel about this show because I don't know where it's going to go, or rather I don't know if it's going to become something more than it currently seems to be. If it carries on with the character exploration it's doing right now, I don't know if it will really hook me because frankly I'm not sure it'll make high school students sufficiently interesting. But it's dropping hints about various conspiracy theory things, so it could go somewhere with them.

    In the mean time, the show is quite well put together. It has solid animation, good directing, it looks nice, and overall it's pleasant and fun to watch. Some of the characters are even reasonably interesting; I think my current favorite is the multi-faceted Nico.

    (And who knows, every so often high school drama works for me.)

I'm enjoying:

  • Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: This continues to be a great show within its genre, with interesting characters (some of them really obnoxious ones), good action, and so on. Even when it's doing somewhat annoying things it does them in a way that easily holds my interest and is fun to watch at the time.

  • Macross Delta: I go back and forth on Delta. Sometimes I love what it's doing and find it exciting; other times I sort of roll my eyes at the characters, especially Hayate. It's certainly well put together and doing some interesting things, so I can't fault its execution. Even the 'slow' episodes have had exciting and beautiful sequences that were a pleasure to watch.

  • Kuromukuro: The first three episodes have been a solidly engaging, well done, and actively exciting action show. It's probably going to slow down some now, but I'm certainly willing to keep watching more so far.

Hard to categorize:

  • Space Patrol Luluco: For me this is sort of like Yurikuma Arashi except funnier and more manic and Trigger-minimal. By that I mean that I'm not sure I find it very straight up entertaining, but writing such as Emily Rand's has shown me that there's pretty interesting stuff going on here and I want to watch Luluco for that, much as I watched YKA. See also.

Okay for now:

  • My Hero Academia aka Boku no Hero Academia: This is just the kind of Shonen Jump tentpole show you should expect, except that it's moving really remarkably slowly. It's still enjoyable to watch but everything feels so drawn out. I'm finding it charming so far, although in a very 'earnest kid's show' way.

  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: This is quite loud and rather 'stock Hollywood action movie' show. Everything is big and dramatic and overwrought and obvious. It's spectacle for the sake of spectacle, glued together by dialog administered by club. At the same time it is spectacular and dramatic and actually well directed and put together. I may laugh at the show, but so far it's exciting to watch.

I'm still watching:

  • Twin Star Exorcists aka Sousei no Onmyouji: This is making the most of its unusual visual style, and the second episode managed some genuinely funny bits. However I won't be surprised if it slides into shonen manga cliches at some point and gets boring; it's already kind of on the edge.

  • Haifuri: It's okay but it's no Girls und Panzer. I'm not sure that its mix of big conspiracy goings on is going to end well, or ultimately go well with the light 'sports show' tone of the rest of it. It also needs more interesting and compelling action, either visually or at the level of tactics.

Dropped already:

  • Hundred: This was this season's extruded Light Novel magical high school product for me. It had an okay start with a few interesting bits and then went boring and cliched. I give a show or two like this a try every season; every so often we get an Asterisk or a BBK/BRNK, and even without that a competent iteration can be an enjoyable popcorn show. Sadly, this is not such an iteration.


  • Bungou Stray Dogs: In two episodes there wasn't much there other than reaction faces. I didn't like episode 2 much at all.

  • Bakuon: It was okay but it's primarily a humour show and its humour doesn't click with me.

  • Endride: It's already fading in my memories; I have nothing to add over my tweet at the time. Apparently it doesn't improve in further episodes.

  • Seisen Cerberus: In the end Evirus put it best on Twitter; like him I mostly wanted the first episode to be over when I watched it.

Not for me:

  • JoJo's: Diamond Is Unbreakable: All of the JoJo's seasons so far have had a clear, distinct sort of style to them. This style just doesn't seem to be my kind of thing, and this time around I bounced out of the first episode halfway through.

Not considered for various reasons:

  • Joker Game: I've waved my hands about the setting but ultimately even the premise failed to sell me. Various reviews of early episodes have not changed my mind. It's possible that I'm missing something great here, but I'm probably not going to check in.

    (Other people are pretty enthusiastic, though, so maybe you should ignore me.)

  • Sakamoto desu ga?: It's humour, which almost never works for me. Reviews have not made it sound funny enough to get me to check it out anyways.
  • Tanaka is Always Listless: Ditto.

  • Mayoiga: I have no interest in watching horrible, over the top things happen to a bunch of horrible people, no matter how that's presented. Ridiculous, silly horror is no more my kind of thing than straight horror.

  • Re:Zero: By all accounts the double-length first episode is mostly annoying and not worth it. As standard, I will pass on having my time wasted in order to theoretically get to better stuff.

  • Big Order: Allegedly much like Mirai Nikki, including in themes, and I dropped that like a hot potato exactly because of the theme. So pass.

When I started I was going to say that I wasn't all that enthused about this season, but no, that's a passing bad mood. Concrete Revolutio has a shot at being stunning, my other top two shows look solidly good (although with cautions for both), Asterisk remains a really well done and entertaining genre work, and there's plenty of decent stuff beyond those. By my now traditional metric of 'do I have to agonize over my APR ballot for good reasons', this is a solid season.

Written on 27 April 2016.
« My (Twitter) reactions to the first episodes of the Spring 2016 season
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Last modified: Wed Apr 27 21:58:42 2016
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