Brief 'early' impressions of the Summer 2016 anime season so far
This time around, my early impressions have been delayed not just because I'm slow to write these up but also because I really don't know how I feel about a bunch of the shows in this season and I wanted to watch more episodes to try to figure it out. My first episode takes were reasonably optimistic, but then my gut started sending out various warning signs and I've wound up in a surprisingly grumpy mood with currently airing shows, the kind of mood where I start aggressively trimming the fat.
- Thunderbolt Fantasy: It's wuxia with puppets, and grand over the top
wuxia at that. I like wuxia, and I'm willing to live with the puppets
in order to get it. The show is absolutely committed to its various
things and this alone is glorious to see. Hopefully I won't get fed
up with the puppets.
(I expect that many people will hate this show for any one of its various sins; puppets, absurd grandiosity, etc.)
- Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 3rei!!: This is my surprise show of
the season. After my last experience I
didn't have high hopes, but so far the show has been making things
happen and delivering various fights. This is much more like the
relatively action-filled first season than anything since.
- Qualidea Code: This is definitely a 'light novel' style show but it's delivering a bunch of enjoyable things, including repeatedly dunking on the lead character instead of puffing him up as secretly the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Almost not for me but okay for now:
- Battery: So far this is good character drama (although not flawless). I'm just not sure if I'm all that interested in the story it's telling. In some ways the lead characters feel like they're in no way only 12 years old; in other ways they feel very much like they're 12, by which I mean that they can be little shitheads. I find myself hoping that they'll start actually playing baseball soon, because that's probably going to be the most interesting part for me.
I'm still watching:
- Alderamin on the Sky: It's a popcorn watch, but I suspect that the
charm is going to wear off. There are probably only so many times I
can watch the protagonist be clever and right before I get bored.
(A show like this is not the place to look for compelling characters, interesting plots, or even genuinely clever solutions to tactical problems.)
Teetering on the edge:
- Taboo Tattoo: I thought I quite liked this, but the latest
episode headed in the wrong direction and even
before then it was merely entertaining, not compelling. My gut is
saying that I probably won't miss this if I drop it.
- Regalia - The Three Sacred Stars: The first episode was great, the next two episodes were merely okay (and a clear letdown), and now apparently new episodes have been suspended for two months. I'm not feeling too much of an urge to watch the last pre-suspension episode right now, or to continue watching it in general once it resumes new episodes (cf).
Probably dropped already:
- Scared Rider XechS: The first couple of episodes were interesting, but the third episode headed in a predictable and uninteresting direction. My gut currently says 'dropped', even if I might be bored enough to watch a bit more.
- Tales of Zestiria the X: I ranted about this on Twitter, but the third aired episode saw me disengage with the show in a big way. I just wasn't interested in slogging through a chunk of boring stuff that I'd effectively already seen in order to get to some okay action. In other seasons I might have continued, but not in this one.
- DAYS: This is an ordinary and at least somewhat absurd and over the top instance of its genre, and its genre doesn't work for me most of the time.
Not for me:
- Mob Psycho 100: It's very pretty and stylish, but I realized that I
don't really care about the premise or the characters, the humour
doesn't work for me, and the first episode didn't really do anything
to change that. Other people love it, though, and it's well made.
(Part of my disinterest is that I've heard that a lot of it is basically about Mob going through ordinary life issues and experiences.)
- 91 Days: I was quite enthusiastic about the first episode, but then
I realized that I wasn't actually interested in watching a show about
some mobsters killing each other. If this genre is your thing the
show seemed competent but not exceptional, although it didn't make
the characters particularly stand out from their archetypes.
(I thought this show would be my thing sort of based on my love of Baccano, but Baccano is a very different thing and its characters are about ten times more interesting than the sane, ordinary lot in 91 Days.)
- Planetarian: It's a tragedy. I'm sure it's a very good tragedy, but no.
- Orange: I think I'm basically done with straight high school
dramas, especially when they involve romance. I'm sure Orange
is good and moving and all of that (and apparently kind of tragic),
but I have a vast indifference in practice.
(So what about Sound! Euphonium, you ask? Well, apparently there are special cases everywhere. See also Toradora.)
- Sweetness and Lightning: It's an ordinary life setting and thus in a genre area that almost never works for me. Maybe its quality and charm would overwhelm that, but I don't feel like finding out this season.
I feel irrationally guilty about not giving either of these shows a chance, since lots of people say they're very good, but this season I'm in a grumpy mood with almost everything and I'm just not interested. Apparently this season I mostly want to watch a few popcorn shows and be done with it; high drama can take the season off. I have other things to do.
In ongoing shows, Kuromukuro fansubs have disappeared and I find that I don't miss the show all that much, and I'm significantly behind on Macross Delta with little interest in fixing that so I think I've de facto dropped or abandoned it. This dovetails with my general mood this season. However, I'm still watching and quite enjoying Twin Star Exorcists; it's not high art, but it remains quite competent and has carried forward all of its attractive qualities (especially the character interactions).
Four shows I'm genuinely enjoying is not very many for a season, but whatever. Maybe I'll get up the energy to give Macross Delta another chance.
(Am I burned out on anime right now? I don't think so, but I'm certainly out of patience.)
Written on 29 July 2016.