Checking in on the Spring 2016 anime season 'midway' through

June 4, 2016

Once again it's time for a 'midway' (or much of the way through) update on my early impressions of the season. This one is kind of delayed, partly because many shows entered a holding pattern early and partly because I've been blathering away with episode impressions on Twitter. Or at least that's my excuse this time around.


  • Concrete Revolutio: While CR is my favorite show this season, it's been frustratingly inconsistent, partly because it's had a significant number of one off episodes. Some episodes have been amazing, some of have been good, and some have banged thematic drums so hard it was almost deafening. Things have been developing, but I wish the whole season had the sense of forward momentum that the first season had.

  • Kiznaiver: I started out wanting more science fiction stuff here, but not any more. Now these people and their interactions have hooked me and I'm happy to leave the whole Kizna system and so on as an excuse to have them bounce off each other. It's a delicate balance and I'm hoping the show can sustain it.

  • Flying Witch: Pretty much every episode, this show demonstrates that it knows how to make quiet moments work. Sometimes they're absurd moments, sometimes magical ones, sometimes perfectly normal ones, but they all keep me engaged and enjoying the atmosphere. It's pretty surprising, but I'm really enjoying this and its laid back charm.

    (The show probably wouldn't work without the magic, at least for me.)


  • Macross Delta: The show is solidly made, but only some of it really clicks with me. The other parts are clearly structurally necessary, but not engaging. The show can do good work, but I just wind up feeling distant from it. It doesn't help that I'm not really hooked on any of the characters for various reasons.

  • Kuromukuro: This has wound up being a perfectly serviceable SF action show. I like those, and this has some decent character moments and other bits to add to its appeal. It is naturally somewhat less engaging when it drops the action in order to fiddle around with character development and hint at mysterious conspiracies and so on, as it has in a few episodes lately.

  • Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: I still like the show and it's still good at all of its usual things, but the unrelenting sameness of the tournament arc has dragged it down and kind of made it a slog. Episode after episode had us in the same fight situation and the same fundamental setup, and it just didn't work.


  • Twin Star Exorcists: This has developed into a solid show with good character chemistry. It's not exceptional by any means (and it's not even up to Asterisk's normal levels), but it is nicely entertaining and I enjoy its unusual visual style and periodic deliberate absurdities. One thing that makes it work is that the interactions of the protagonists are refreshingly devoid of pretty much all of the romance/LN cliches; these are people who can talk to each other and who get over things.

  • My Hero Academia aka Boku no Hero Academia: This is excellent fundamental material being dragged down significantly by a glacial pace. Episode after episode we get perhaps ten minutes of material that must be padded out to 24 minutes in various bad ways.

On the edge:

  • Haifuri: This show has two flaws; it hasn't fully committed to any of the various things it's done, and it doesn't understand how to stage and direct interesting action sequences. It's just entertaining enough to keep me watching it while I drink a cup of coffee.

  • Space Patrol Luluco: As Emily Rand has written about, the fanservice references have eaten the show lately. At this point I'm mostly watching because apparently there's a big Evangelion parody in the last episode. If the show ever really cared about the allusions it was apparently making in the first few episodes, it's stopped now.


  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress: After four episodes I still didn't really care about any of the characters and there were all sorts of things that irritated me about the show, so the end of the first arc seemed like a good place to get off this particular train. One of the primary irritations is that it was clear that the show ran primarily on 'rule of cool', yet wanted me to take it seriously. Sorry, show, you can't combine those two (or at least Kabaneri wasn't good enough to pull it off).

    (I'm actually peculiarly happy that I've dropped Kabaneri for reasons that don't fit in this entry.)

This is a pretty solid season so far. My top three shows are all great and I'm solidly enjoying most of the remaining shows (Haifuri is partly coasting on inertia, much like Luck & Logic last season).

Written on 04 June 2016.
« Brief 'early' impressions of the Spring 2016 anime season so far
Why dropping Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress makes me oddly happy »

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Last modified: Sat Jun 4 18:44:42 2016
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