Checking in on the Summer 2016 anime season 'midway' through
Once again it's time for a slow-moving midway update on my early impressions. We're well into the dog days of summer and here in Toronto the annoying heat is lingering far longer than it ought to, which doesn't make me enthused with things. This has been a season where I've been grumpy with perfectly good shows, or at least perfectly ordinary ones. On the other hand, there's an amazing winner here.
- Thunderbolt Fantasy: Here is something that I totally didn't expect and didn't see coming; TF has very good writing and solid characters (really). They're over the top wuxia characters, of course, but they're all fully realized people with smart interactions. I was particularly taken when what had been a comedy relief character up to that point made some sharp observations that were never the less perfectly in character, and also as the scene played out they screwed up in a way that was totally true to their comedy relief nature.
- Twin Star Exorcists: I know, I don't usually mention ongoing shows carried over from previous seasons in these things. I'm making an exception for TSE because TSE has been really quite good (within its genre). It's become my second most anticipated show this season; it's always a pleasure to watch, it has excellent character interactions, and it is still totally owning its style and limitations.
I'm still watching:
- Qualidea Code: The show may be developing it a bit too slowly, but this
has an actual interesting and unpredictable (to me) plot in addition
to reasonably appealing and interesting characters and a good popcorn
nature in general. I'm actively enjoying every episode and I want to
know what's going on, which is a good sign.
Also, this is not a typical show in this genre. For example, the nominal protagonist has been almost completely pushed off to the side for several episodes now (he's barely appeared and is barely discussed). The focus has moved to several other characters, all of them interesting in their own right.
On the edge:
- Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 3rei!!: To absolutely no one's surprise, this slowed down and has sort of been ambling around a bit. At this point I'm two episodes behind, although I intend to catch up; it's been decent enough and it makes a good popcorn watch.
- Alderamin on the Sky: I didn't really care any more and
it was moving too slowly and in a direction I wasn't all that
interested in. It did do some interesting things while I was
watching it (there was an impressive fight scene and its aftermath, for
example). But the good stuff wasn't enough to keep me going in the face
of the stupid and goofy bits, the pace, and the general developments.
- Battery: There's nothing wrong with this and it's actually quite
good. But I just haven't found it compelling. Apparently
I'm not in the mood for a show like this right now, and it doesn't
help that I feel that the protagonist should really chill out a
(Perhaps I'm almost never in a mood for such shows, and Cross Game was an anomaly. Battery is the kind of show that you're sort of supposed to like just because it's good, much like serious literature fiction. And in books, I've always been a SF/F person instead.)
- Taboo Tattoo: I dropped it for no particularly compelling failing or reason. I just decided I was done.
In other shows, I gave Mob Psycho another chance and it continued not to work for me. This show may be the most impressive show this season that I'm not watching; certainly lots of other people love it. I've also definitely dropped Macross Delta.
This is a quite low number of shows to be watching in a season but I find that I'm perfectly fine with this. I have plenty of things to do with my time other than watch anime, and so I'm doing some of them.
(Unsurprisingly it feels good to not sort of force myself to watch things just to fill up time. And yes, maybe I should do this more often.)
Written on 28 August 2016.