Thoughts on Summer 2016 Shows

As I said in my Fall 2016 Expectations post, Summer was a great season for me. I didn’t like everything I watched, but I enjoyed quite a bit, and just like last season I’d like to go through the shows I watched. I’ll go through them from worst to best, and talk about why I felt the way I did about them.

Dropped:

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Fate/Kaleid liner Prisma Illya 3rei!:

I was hyped for this before the season started, but once I actually started watching it I realized why I like Illya so much less as an anime: I block out all the bad parts. In the manga I can quickly scan over all the stupid loli fanservice and boring slice-of-life/comedy parts, which is easy to do while reading, but just doesn’t work for an anime. There’s no way to get away from it without totally skipping the scenes. I might watch the Shirou arc movie, but I’m done with the Illya anime now. That said I’ll keep up with the manga since it’s still hype.

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Orange:

There were a few things I liked in Orange. The group of friends actually acted like friends, and Naho was somewhat relatable to me, as a somewhat shy and dense person. But the show just wasn’t all that interesting to me. The group dynamics were alright, but they couldn’t carry a show, and I had no interest in the drama that was being presented. It didn’t offend me, but it didn’t draw me in, so it’s not likely I’ll ever be coming back to this, especially seeing how much the production exploded after I dropped it.

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Amaama to Inazuma:

This is the one I’m saddest about dropping. Initially I loved this show. It was cute as fuck and it had good emotional moments as well. Unfortunately it failed to evolve. Every episode was basically the exact same, and not in a good way. The themes in each episode rarely changed, and the actual plot in each episode was too similar for my liking. The cooking seemed shoe-horned quite often and overall it just became boring. I really wanted to love this shoe, but it just didn’t change enough to really keep me interested.

Completed

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Cheer Danshi:

This was just a solid sports anime. There wasn’t much special here, but it was decently interesting throughout the whole run, and it was nice to see cheer-leading, which isn’t covered very often in anime. It didn’t offer all that much, and if I had seen more sports anime it would probably appeal less, as the production was hardly great and the pacing was disjointed at times. Overall though, it was fairly enjoyable and worth watching.

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91 Days:

I haven’t really seen any mafia shows or movies outside of Baccano, which might not count, so I had no idea what to expect. From what I’ve heard this is a fairly standard mafia show, but seeing as I had no experience, it was quite enjoyable. It wasn’t all that thematically deep beyond the fairly cliche but strong “revenge doesn’t amount to anything” theme, but the actual plot beats were enjoyable enough that I was interested every week. A show with more thematic depth but similar narrative structure would be something I could come to love.

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ReLIFE:

I watched this during the season, but because of the way it was released I didn’t watch it until pretty late into the season. I watched this in a day, and I thought it was pretty good. I’m interested in the idea of people having a chance to relive their pasts, and I think the show did a good job of making Arata feel like an actual adult instead of being the exact same as his classmates. That said, the volleyball arc was a bit boring and Kariu gets a bit too much focus in general. It was an enjoyable show though, and it satisfied my urge for a romcom show this season.

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New Game:

This show was great. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best CGDCT show since K-On! which if you’ve seen my recent essay you’ll know is high praise. New Game managed to not only make all the characters interesting to me, but their interactions were all great. Not even factoring in the great shipping content that the show presents, the characters play off each other quite well, which keeps the jokes funny. Aoba finding herself and working towards bettering her art was also something I could relate to. This show was just fantastic, and may have been a 9 in a lesser season. I liked it enough to buy the 5 volumes in Japanese, which should make it clear how much I liked it.

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Mob Psycho 100:

I had doubts early on about this one. OPM was enjoyable, but it was boring thematically, became less interesting as it went on, and I only found about half the jokes funny. Mob Psycho thoroughly topped my expectations though, and became one of my favorite battle shounen. I don’t have time to touch on everything I liked, but the characters, animation, and sound are obviously great.

What I really love about the show is how interesting it is thematically. I love the idea that even if we all have talents or things only we can do, we shouldn’t value ourselves as above others just because we can do one thing that they can’t. ONE clearly believes people and society are flawed, but he thinks it’s better to engage with it anyway, and this connected with me really well. This would have been my AOTS in Spring or most seasons of 2015, but the next two managed to pass even this.

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Love Live Sunshine:

I enjoyed the first Love Live, but I loved Sunshine. Sunshine is an improvement on the original in virtually every department: animation, themes, characters, comedy, plot beats, etc. Sunshine takes everything the original does and goes one step further. The focus on μ’s early on eventually being shed since Aqours must go beyond them was the perfect way to deal with the fact that, in many ways, Sunshine is a retread. But it’s a great retread, because as I said, everything is better.

One thing I really liked was that Sunshine was practically a romance. The undertones between the third years and second years could hardly be called such. I would go so far as to call ChikaRiko a canon couple, because it’s just so thick. And including the romance is part of why I like Love Live in general. It does so many things, and while it hardly does them all perfectly, it has heart in everything it does, and it’s only gotten better as it goes on. I eagerly await the second season.

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Amanchu:

What. A. Masterpiece. Amanchu is the best show I’ve seen airing, and Shirobako is the only show which even comes close. I knew I would love this show, just due to the connection to Aria, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Much like Aria this show had a perfectly calming atmosphere. I loved the way Teko and Pikari were used to tell a very different story to that of Akari, despite their similarities to Akari in many ways.

I can’t say I remember every the me the show had. I hardly recall some episodes, because this show calmed me so well. But the overall themes, of loving the world around you, are still great, if similar to Aria. I also love the theme of trusting in your partner which is established by the relationship between Teko and Pikari. I would go so far as to say that this is the most romantic relationship I’ve ever seen, more than active romances, because of how strong their emotions toward each other are, and how much they matter to each other. This is just a great show, and while I’m unfortunately fairly sure it won’t get a second season, I will be buying all the manga and will keep this in my favorites for a while.

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