Looking back at the Spring 2016 anime season

July 15, 2016

Once again it's time for my usual look back at what I watched this past season to see how my early impressions and my midway views held up. As always, I write these partly because they keep me honest and partly because it's interesting to go back later and see how I was feeling about a show at the time.

Fully enjoyable:

  • Flying Witch: This wasn't grand and ambitious the way some other shows were and it's not flawless, but Flying Witch totally and absolutely nailed its execution. As a result it was the most consistently good and enjoyable show of the season; it didn't necessarily aim really high, but it always delivered joy and wound up being a great show. One of the many good things about FW is that it generally knew to not oversell moments; often it let them be quiet and short, whether that was for humour or for impact. I really liked the ending.

    (We could at this point have an interesting discussion about whether consistently delivering joy and sense of wonder is actually grand and ambitious in and of itself. But for this entry, I'll go with the common view that addressing big moral questions and so on are what's ambitious.)

  • Concrete Revolutio: On the one hand, I feel that CR is amazing and really delivered a powerful show overall, and this season had a number of amazing and affecting episodes. On the other hand, it's far from flawless in various ways, including basically reducing various nominally important characters to standing around as spear carriers. I accept that in in retrospect a number of the weaker episodes were laying necessary thematic groundwork for the climax, but they're still weaker episodes. As a result, my tentative view is that Concrete Revolutio as a whole is a flawed (near) masterwork.

    (I'm still not sure what I feel about the ending.)

  • Kiznaiver: I really liked this overall. The weakness of the show wound up being the sci-fi plot and the character of Sonozaki herself. The great strength of the show was everyone else and their interactions, which really worked very well. I think the show's ending mostly worked on an emotional level, although I was relatively indifferent to the plot details.


  • Twin Star Exorcists: This is another show where the real strength is the character interactions, not the plot and the action. Our two protagonists feel real in their interactions and the show's doing a good job of having them grow slowly closer in a natural way. On the flipside, it suffers from being a long shonen action show (it's planned for 50 episodes, apparently); we're clearly not getting anywhere fast, even if TSE keeps throwing new escalations at us.

  • My Hero Academia: I griped throughout the show's run about its slow pace, but recently I found myself thinking 'damn, I wish there was a new MHA episode to watch this weekend'. If I miss a show, it did something noteworthy and worth recognition.

  • Gakusen Toshi Asterisk: Watching Asterisk made me realize that this sort of show lives and thrives in significant part in the variety of the fights. Unfortunately Asterisk's tournament arc gave us a whole series of fights that were too much the same despite being individually interesting. The departure from that at the end was a breath of fresh air, even if I find Flora's squeaky voice almost intolerable.

    I'd be happy to watch another season of Asterisk if it isn't another tournament arc, but I won't be particularly troubled if we don't get any more (cf).

Special merit 'I want to like it' award:

  • Space Patrol Luluco: Several women I follow on Twitter say that this really speaks to their adolescent experiences in a way that very few other shows do. I'm not sure that this was fully intentional on the part of the creators, but so what. My personal view is that I could clearly see this in early episodes but then the show was mostly eaten by its fanservice crossovers with other shows. The ending wound up being okay but didn't particularly move me.

    (See also Bobduh's review.)

Okay, or maybe on the edge:

  • Macross Delta: I've realized that this show's basically fallen in my view to being a decent, ordinary show. It's okay. I've enjoyed watching it, there are nice character moments, sometimes the action is great, sometimes it lands a solid emotional connection, but in the end I'm just not feeling any real passion for it any more the way I did in the beginning.

  • Kuromukuro: I like the character moments and broadly like the action, but the show is moving too slowly to really hold my attention. That people in the show quite often don idiot hats doesn't help, and the show playing coy with its many mysteries isn't working.

    (I'm now several episodes behind and I'm finding that I don't really miss the show; if I never see any more, that's okay. This is probably not a good sign.)

I finished it:

  • Haifuri: I dropped this for wasting my time then un-dropped it to watch the last two episodes, because I heard they were the action episodes. Which they were, for low expectations of 'action'. So I can honestly count this as a show that I finished. I wouldn't recommend that anyone else bother, though.

The top three shows this season were each very good in their own different ways, and then I had about two and a half enjoyable popcorn watch shows. That makes this a pretty good season by my standard (probably better than last season now that I cross-compare things).

Written on 15 July 2016.
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Last modified: Fri Jul 15 15:59:03 2016
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