Spring 2016 Set Menu

This is essentially my face right now as I realize that I am once again biting off way more than I can possibly chew through the spring season. To make it even more difficult, the good majority of them are new series, not continuations or spin-offs. We’re already into week two or three for the season, though I’ve mostly only seen one each of the twenty shows I’ll be talking about. As usual, please do let me know if I’m overlooking something you’re loving!

  • Anne Happy♪
  • Bakuon!!
  • Boku no Hero Academia
  • Bungou Stray Dogs
  • Endride
  • Flying Witch
  • High School Fleet
  • Joker Game
  • Kiznaiver
  • Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
  • Kuma Miko
  • Kuromukuro
  • Kyoukai no Rinne 2nd Season
  • Macross Δ
  • Mayoiga
  • Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?
  • Sansha Sanyou
  • Shounen Maid
  • Sousei no Onmyouji
  • Ushio to Tora 2nd Season

Anne Happy♪ (1 episode)

This show was too adorable to not give a chance. It’s fluffy and full of sweet nothings, but I like the chemistry between the three girls and look forward to seeing them turn misfortune into a stepping block. The teacher’s use of an egg as a take-home project was pretty clever–it proved to the students thrown together into her class that their placement was not a mistake. Having “happiness” as a goal is a pretty lofty idea, but smaller goals like keeping an egg safe for 24 hours is a great way to take little steps towards success.

Status: Maybe

Bakuon!! (1 episode)

I’ve actually been looking for more anime revolving around road bicycling for KWoo, like YowaPeda and Over Drive. Unfortunately, I’ve been hitting a dead end and Bakuon!!‘s motorcycles seem like the best substitute. I took particular glee in sharing some screenshots of Amano hating on cyclists with KWoo, who is currently in the process of putting together his third bicycle for an upcoming trip to Hawaii to take on his second volcano. We also have a friend who recently got her motorcycle license and rides a Ninja–I felt like a little girl sitting on it pretending to vroom-vroom!

But back to this series–protagonist Sakura is a cheery, sometimes air-headed, girl completely knew to bikes. The thought that riding a motorbike instead of cycling a bicycle up the hill to school every day was her impetus for learning cracked me up. The rest of the humor in this anime is similar–light and teasing. The bit making fun of Suzuki bikes had me giggling madly about how mean but how accurate the critique was.

Status: Likely

Boku no Hero Academia (1 episode)

I really, really like the art style used here for this hero anime. The setting and topic are here at the perfect time, and the main character’s hopeless chance of developing a super power encourages you to cheer him on. I want to see him defy everyone’s lack of expectations. I want to see that tiny body fulfill all the dreams listed in his hero notebooks.

Status: Likely

Bungou Stray Dogs (1 episode)

Okay, so the truth about Atsushi was pretty apparent from the beginning of his story, but I still had fun seeing Osamu bring it to light. If you aren’t already aware, the members of the Armed Detective Agency are all famous writers. Many of them are ones whose works I’ve read, and a good number of them I have not yet had the pleasure of trying. The twist here is that not only are they all in the same place at the same time, but the each have their own supernatural abilities and work together to solve mysteries.

Status: Likely

Endride (1 episode)

The premise of world jumping is nothing original, but Endride gives it a bit of a twist by incorporating mysterious crystals and weapons. I’m still holding off my final decision as wary as I am, mainly in part because I keep being reminded of Arata Kangatari, a similar show where the two main males swap places in their respective worlds.

In Endride, Shun is transported from a normal world very much like ours to fantastical Endora, where it appears many people have the power to manifest weapons from their bodies. Instead of swapping places, he ends up assisting prince Emilio escape from the palace. Emilio’s own circumstances are strange; rumors abound that his uncle killed the former king of Endora, his own brother and Emilio’s father. But from the limited scenes I’ve seen so far, King Delzaine doesn’t seem the type. I have a feeling the truth has been muddled so as to purposefully turn Emilio against his uncle. But, we’ll see!

Status: Maybe

Flying Witch (1 episode)

This show is so ridiculously cute and weird and reminiscent of Natsume Yuujinchou, that I can’t help but watch it! From appearances, the Japanese village is a completely normal and peaceful place to live. The arrival of Makoto throws common sense into the air once we find out that she’s a real, honest to goodness witch, completely with flying broom and all.

Very much like in Kiki’s Delivery Service, Makoto must live on her own now that she is of age. Also similar is that she brings with her a black cat, whose voice only she can understand and respond to in kind. And like Kiki, Makoto has absolutely no qualms in sharing the fact of her identity with others. Forget that in this world witches don’t announce their abilities! Forget that normal humans have no idea how to treat a gift of mandrake root! Makoto is here to finish out the rest of her high school days and become a full-fledged witch.

Status: Definitely

High School Fleet (1 episode)

I was worried this would be another Kantai Collection! Instead, we have something more along the lines of Girls und Panzer, where Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School girls aiming to become “Blue Mermaids” man their own destroyer ships. They also come fairly well trained on the first day, I’m assuming either from the studies required to get into the school in the first place, or from prior experience from family.

Main character Misaki Akeno goes beyond her cheery, ditsy persona to give commands under pressure with a level head as the newly designated captain of the Harekaze. Even though she doesn’t yet know any of the girls of her crew, and already has a jealous rival in Mashiro, she doesn’t hesitate to grab the reins of leadership. I was pretty puzzled in this opening episode with the first battle, since the situation leading up to the fight don’t make any sense. Why would a teacher ignore their reports and attack? And why are they now considered sailors under mutiny?

Status: Likely

Joker Game (1 episode)

This was a pretty cool opening episode! Joker Game takes place in an fictional history during Japan’s early occupation of Manchuria. The main focus is the Greater East Asia Cultural Society, which is actually a front for a Japanese spy training facility. Its members are exceedingly normal-looking men with exceptional abilties in a wide range of skills needed for infiltration and sustained occupation in foreign contries. They will one day reap information and report back to their home country for the rest of their lives, receiving zero recognition or glory. It’s a messed up life, and those who live it have their own twisted way of thinking.

Narrating these observances is Sakuma, a man who is a normal as he looks. There are no deceptions to his words and thoughts; he is exactly who he states he is. Through his eyes, we see just how messed up the spies must become to succeed in their field.

Status: Likely

Kiznaiver (1 episode)

While I love that Kiznaiver came out with a pre-episode featuring the staff of the series, I couldn’t make myself watch it all the way through without first seeing an episode of the actual series. I can’t really appreciate their discussion without knowing more.

The actual first episode turned out just as strange as I usually expect for Trigger shows. Agata Katsuhira feels nothing, neither physical pain nor strong emotions. While I taste bitterness watching his classmates bullying him, I don’t get any sense of care from his character through the beating. I always struggle with apathetic characters like Agata, and that hesitance is again true here–I’m not sure if I care enough about him to go through with watching the full series. What keeps me watching are the much more colorful characters who surround him, and the entire notion of “Kiznaiver.” Their physical bond to one another is horrifying and fascinating at the same time. I can’t believe that shared pain would actually bring about world peace, but I’d sure like to see this world try.

Status: Maybe

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (1 episode)

There was quite a lot of hype for this show during Sakura-Con this past spring, so I was perfectly excited for the premier. The creators of Attack on Titan have done it once again: brought us a post-apocalyptic thriller with terrifying monsters, heart-pumping action, and beautiful girls. And while the packaging looks very much like a re-purposed AoT, I’m all on board to see if Ikoma can turn around the fears running rampant in his world.

When asked why I liked this world more than AoT, my first answer was its steampunk stylings. Then I was reminded of the maneuvering gear. Regardless, there’s a more overt portrayal in Kabaneri from the steam engines to Ikoma’s gadgets. We also have a distinct Japanese culture–the architecture, the Bushi, even the sacrificial code of conduct once infected. Old Japan mixed with steam technology looks both strange and gorgeous together on the same screen. I’m crossing my fingers this story will continue to engross me, and not leave us stranded at a cliff by its last episode.

Status: Definitely

Kuma Miko (1 episode)

Bears! Shinto priestesses!  Wahhh! Cuteness overload! I felt like one of those kids meeting Natsu for the first time: a little scared and overwhelmingly curious. The old tale of the village’s bears and people becoming entangled because of a sacrificial virgin and a lecherous bear is just as ridiculous as it sounds. I’m down for the rest of this series if the humor continues to be just as surprisingly bawdy and realistic as the opening episode.

Status: Maybe

Kuromukuro (2 episodes)

It’s no surprise that I’d pick up P.A. Works’ spring release; what is new is the direction they’ve chosen! Instead of every day high school life in peaceful cities, we have a soft sci-fi featuring mecha and a long-forgotten legend come to fruition. The “demons” of Yukina’s childhood stories are back just as her father had warned. Instead of demons with the appearance of beasts or monsters, these demons look to be made of advanced biotechnology. The invaders look like your typical man-shaped mecha, but seemingly without human pilots. When stabbed, they spill blood-colored liquid.

In addition to these mysterious demons are the people who oppose them. Yukina’s mother is a big shot in the UN, who reverse engineered the organization’s own mobile units from an artifact very similar to the demons. Also discovered was a cube whose purpose remained a mystery until the day of the demon attack and Yukina’s curious touch. I’m excited to see where P.A. works will take us–perhaps this will be the start of many new directions from them!

Status: Likely

Kyoukai no Rinne 2nd Season (1 episode)

The first episode to this continuation felt exactly like the first: a little dumb, innocently funny, and right where I want it. Rokudo is still poor and Ageha is just as stupidly selfish. Mamiya Sakura continues to delight with her unimpressed reactions to their shenanigans.

Status: Definitely

Macross Δ (1 episode)

My one and only experience in the Macross franchise is Macross Frontier. I remain a fan of that show to this day, and will always hum “Aimo” in the shower. Here we have Delta, a story apparently in the same universe and about eight years later. Even though I read that, this world looks pretty different. The Delta Squadron is flashy on a Sheryl-level with their battle singing and idol-status among fans. The main girl, Freyja, reminds me a lot of Ranka with her love for singing and alien trait found in what I originally thought was a hair pin. Her introduction to to Hayate (c’mon, “Immelman”? Really?) and the ensuing Var Syndrome outbreak is a page right out of Frontier. Maybe this is just a set-up used in all Macross series? Someone else will have to tell me.

Status: Likely

Mayoiga (1 episode)

After just one episode, I had to fight myself from immediately dropping Mayoiga. At least I was able to make it all the way through the opening, unlike with Sakamoto-san. I’m sure it’s the whole point of the show for all the characters on this bus headed to nowhere to be thoroughly unlikable, but I can’t bring myself to be interested in any of them. I’m totally on the bus driver’s point of view about these bratty young kids thinking themselves special in their suffering and actually just giving up on life. I’m giving it another episode to work up a good mystery.

Status: Maybe

Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? (1 episode)

I am the victim of my pursuit for KWoo shows. I thought he might like this one due to its setting and harem casting. I didn’t find this first episode too bad, in truth, and am a little curious to see how the guild will fare now that they’ve met in real life. The ridiculously long title perfectly describes the set-up of the story–Hideki has no idea that the people who make up his 3-man, 1-woman guild are in fact all girls who *gasp* go to his same high school. His trauma of having proposed to a girl character in game only to find out the crush was actually a guy had convinced him that all other players were males just as hopeless in romance as him. Now he find himself surrounded by women and will likely go through a bunch of contrived scenarios pairing him off with one of them each in turn.

Status: Maybe

Sansha Sanyou (1 episode)

Hmmm, something looks familiar…three girls, three messed up personalities…oh, well! I find these girls just as adorable and look forward to seeing them get to know each other more over the spring season. The mean comments given in a sweet tone of voice are just too perfect!

Status: Maybe

Shounen Maid (1 episode)

Maybe it’s an upcoming family visit that has has me in complete sympathy with Chihiro, but I am horrified at his uncle’s complete lack of house order! I like that this show has tossed out misgivings of gender expectations, and portrays a young boy who is very good at and even enjoys cleaning, as well as an uncle who makes a living with costume-making. I’ve met quite a few men, admittedly mostly Asian, who regularly keep house better than most of my female friends, so it’s not strange at all to me that Chihiro just wants to live in a cleanliness. What is odd is his age–I don’t know any elementary kids who are as thorough as he is with chores. While I remember being made to dust and clean windows at his age, I also missed spots that my mother would inevitably point out.

Status: Likely

Sousei no Onmyouji (1 episode)

What is with anime’s fascination with super young protagonists experienced far beyond their years? These kid exorcists act must more confident than I would have ever felt at that age, and don’t seem to have any sort of adult supervision.  Maybe I’m revealing my age a bit with this thought, but I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at what greatly looks like recklessness.

As in most other exorcist-type shows, Sousei no Onmyouji takes place in a world where the seen and unseen overlap. Evil spirits bent on human meals move in and out of our dimension. Only trained specialists have the know-how and capability to combat and purify them. Rokuro is a boy who once fought with conviction, vowing he would purify all Kegare. But a past event robbed him of his confidence, and now he dodges all jobs in an attempt to live a normal life. Benio is a girl who lives much like Rokuro once did–she takes every chance to rescue others and banish evil spirits. The two of them will probably end up forcefully paired by their peers and made to take on the biggest and baddest.

Status: Maybe

Ushio to Tora 2nd Season (3 episodes)

Ushio is back! And what a hell of an opening to the sequel!  There was zero hesitation in throwing us right back into the fray by means of the most terrifying trial yet. I found my heart breaking with the close of the first episode–thankfully, I already had the next two to ease the pain somewhat. Ushio is alone now more than ever, and I can’t wait to see more.

Status: Definitely

Ongoing:

  • Aria the Avvenire
  • Nijiiro Days

Dropped:

  • Sakamoto desu ga?
  • Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season
  • Gyakuten Saiban
  • Hundred
  • Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge
  • Uchuu Patrol Luluco
  • Pan de Peace!
  • Wagamama High Spec
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096
  • Usakame

16 thoughts on “Spring 2016 Set Menu

  1. Woo! Fast for you! Good job!

    For me, the two runaway shows so far are Anne Happy and Flying Witch. Flying Witch is just so gorgeous, lovely locations, beautiful music, and a wonderful feel. I’m really looking forward to it each time.

    And Anne Happy is really so much better than I could have hoped for. I wrote about how it’s a perfect show for Shin Oonuma, given his success with other ‘losers’ in shows like Rokujouma, Rakudai Kishi, Nourin, WataMote, and even Prisma Illya, and so far through the first two episodes, it’s been great. I think it has a lot of depth to it, with great messages in the way that Hanako and Botan treat Hibari’s crush, the way that Hanako is so positive and sees the best in things (“it’s not unlucky I was bitten by a dog and hanging from a bridge, it was lucky you came along and helped me!”), and the way that the three (so far) friends cover so perfectly for each other’s weaknesses and bolster their strengths. And the OP is just so great.

    Bakuon!! is right up there as well, and licensing the brand names helps it tremendously. I fairly gushed about the OP for that show as well (in my 2nd episode post), because it’s rare for me that music and visuals so instantly and perfectly convey the spirit of the show. Plus, I love motorsports, and motorcycling might be a much better way for anime to do that than cars.

    HaiFuri has been surprising in that they went with such a serious plot, and kinda weird in that they still throw in cute and fluffy moments the way they have. It’s also the show that seems to be engendering the most speculative discussion in my circles about what’s REALLY going on.

    Like you, my only other Macross experience is Macross Frontier (and only the series, not the movies), but I enjoyed it, and I’ve enjoyed these first two episodes of Delta. The way they tested Freya was just great, and the action and singing have been spot on so far. I also like that they made the members of the triangle different positions (unlike Frontier, where it was two singers).

    Netoge is a show that’s executing its premise very well, and resonates a little with me as a long-time WoW player. I see it as one in the same vein as a show like Haganai, and hope that it kinda goes over the same kind of self-discovery that Haganai did, where people who feel like they have no friends finally realize that they do have friends (oh, and Haganai is another pretty good harem show). I’d even like to see some self-awareness of their transition and maybe hypocrisy in that.

    I was kinda surprised to see that Re:Zero isn’t on your list. It’s been pretty good from an adventure and story standpoint. Fantasy world, special power, multiple story threads. The focus character has a pretty good personality, too.

    Shounen Maid was completely not what I expected, but seems like it’ll be good if it can keep the same emotional depth. Sansha Sanyou I’m having a little bit of trouble finding the handle on, and hope that Youko is able to calm down about her friendship with Futaba and Hayama fairly quickly and not feel like she has to try so hard. I understand where she’s coming from, as I’m the guy who feels like he has to try hard in friendships (the one who goes to talk to the other people, the one who confirms the plans, the one who gets left out when he doesn’t do that kind of stuff), but it makes me a bit uncomfortable to see her striving so much (probably because of that).

    I’ve dropped Asterisk as well. Unless I hear that they do something different than “Tournament Battle of the Week”, I’m just not interested. It’s disappointing because I think there are some good possible characters in there, and A-1 is just saying “screw that, we wanna show fighting!!!”

    I’ve been calling Hundred “Ripped-off-from-a-Hundred-Other-shows”. I know people pitch things as “A + B”, but this one feels like it’s taking elements from EVERY show. It hasn’t been eyerolly or cringey for me, yet, but it might get there.

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    • Okay, I’ll admit that I DO have Re:Zero on my queue; I just haven’t gotten around to watching it. I was anxious to get out my spring menu this past weekend before I was swamped with work and wedding business this week. I try to watch at least one of everything before passing judgement, but based on the synopsis, I thought I’d probably drop Re:Zero. If you’re surprised I don’t have it on here, I guess I must go try it now!😛 Another thing that helped with my pace was that I only watched mostly one episode each instead of pushing to try three or four before sharing my list.

      I just watched the second episode of Flying Witch and was so delighted with Chinatsu’s reaction to the harbinger of Spring. I had lunch with a coworker and her 2-year-old daughter today, and that childish openness from delight to dislike to fear was frankly hilarious to watch. Chinatsu is much older, but she still gives off an appealing innocence. Blahhh, who would want to eat bitter weeds off the side of the road? (of course, I know I would)

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      • I like the quicker response, it makes it feel more timely, and I think you’ve gotten a pretty good handle on the shows through one or two episodes.

        Chinatsu’s a wonderful character for Flying Witch, and in my first impression post I talked about how I think she plays an important role for the show in keeping the rest of the characters more laid back and adultlike by giving the show an outlet for excitement and wonder. I absolutely love the scene in the first episode where she and Makoto fly and see Kei and Nao talking, and Kei calmly introduces Nao and Makoto talks to her calmly and happily, while Chinatsu cavorts and gambols in the background exclaiming how wonderful flying is. It gave the flying just the right amount of wonder: Chinatsu super excited by it, Nao dumbfounded by it, Kei thinking it’s normal, and Makoto enjoying it.

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  2. Flying Witch is awesome.

    That is all!
    😄

    Okay, okay … truth be told atm the top three series of the season for me are: Concrete Revolutio pt 2, Flying Witch and Ushio to Tora (2016).

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ushio to Tora is just really good on all levels, and that is coming from one for whom the shounen genre does not do much, for what it is worth.

        As for Concrete Revolutio, it is definitely an acquired taste. In terms of the reactions it elicits from a wider audience it reminds me a little bit of the recent Gatchaman Crowds and Gatchaman Crowds Insight anime – plenty of content to ponder on, but the manner of presentation pushes people away. (Truth be told, I enjoyed both seasons quite a bit, though of the two I preferred season one.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wasn’t confused by Concrete Revolutio in the first season, just not very entertained. So I dropped it about 6 episodes in. The parallel storytelling thing was ok as a gimmick for a while, but then they kept doing it.

        I stuck with both series of Gatchaman Crowds, tho. Insight was better than the first one.

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