Fall Anime 2016 Review (Part 1/3)

Our fall anime 2016 review begins!

Natsume Yuujinchou Go
Natsume Yuujinchou 5

Annalyn – 7/10

Natsume Yuujinchou Go is good. Not great, but good. This is the fifth season of one the most pleasant episodic anime around, so I knew what to expect: lovely colors, amusing antics with Nyanko-sensei, youkai of all shapes and sizes, a pleasant OP and ED, and an all around soothing feel. A couple of the episodes stood out to me—especially the one about Natsume’s foster parents, Touko and Shigeru, before they brought him into their home. Another episode focused on the exorcist Natori’s past—in fact, the lovely screenshot above is of a young Natori, not Natsume. I usually don’t like being taken away from the main character, but in these cases, I rather enjoy the jaunt into other characters’ pasts.

This season feels more static than some past seasons, even considering the limitations of an episodic show. Natsume doesn’t grow much in any of the episodes, let alone in the season as a whole. He’s comfortable with Touko and Shigeru but still hasn’t told them about his abilities. Loneliness is no longer an issue, so that conflict is gone. Basically, while each episode has a good, pleasant story, the season as a whole didn’t lend the same satisfaction I hoped. So it earns a 7: good, but just good.

Magic Kyun Hoshi Fest group shot casual

Magic-kyun! Renaissance
Magic-Kyun! Renaissance

Emdaisy1 – 6/10 

I probably ruined my chances of being able to thoroughly enjoy this anime when I thought of it as another Uta Pri (far superior in my opinion). They are both anime based on otome games by Broccoli and are both about a girl who winds up with multiple attractive, artistic guys around her (who, as it’s based on a dating game, fall for her). Uta Pri just translated into anime better than Magic-Kyun. The show wins major points for gorgeous art and fantastic music (if you like Japanese music). However, the plot was rather cookie cutter and predictable for the most part, plus it totally derailed after episode 9 or 10. It felt like the show just threw in a completely unnecessary plot twist and opted to leave some key points from earlier entirely unresolved. If you’re just looking for something cutesy and light-hearted (as well as filled with bishounen), then this show could probably grab an 8/10, but if you want something with a deep plot that makes sense, this is a 6/10.

 

Show By Rock!!#
Show By Rock!!#

stardf29 – 7/10 

If you’ve already watched and liked the first season of Show by Rock, there is no reason to miss the sequel. Everything that made the first season a fun musical romp is here in the second season: the colorful cast of characters that includes both cute girls and handsome guys, lots of music, and plots that have just enough heart to them while still fully indulging in the power of music to defeat world-threatening monstrosities and save the world. For those who have not yet hopped on this band wagon, you will want to check out the first season first, of course. It might not be the next anime musical masterpiece, but it is an incredibly fun time still.

 

Shuumatsu no Izetta
Izetta the Last Witch

Kaze – 7/10

Shuumatsu no Izetta was definitely the most surprising anime of the season for me. While it certainly wasn’t anything amazing, it did a lot of things right that I don’t see in anime too often. Hayamin made for a very well written female lead who was both the stereotypical “ideal princess” while still being able to make tough decisions when the time called for it. The pacing of the show was excellent, and a great example of how to do a successful 1 cour series. While many anime have the tendency to have rushed endings that often are open-ended with the chance of a sequel, Izetta keeps things interesting from the beginning and ends in a fairly satisfying way. The music was perhaps the most impressive thing about the show, with a great soundtrack that matched the scenes pretty perfectly. My biggest complaint would be the progression of dealing with how OP Izetta is as a witch and how to balance that power in a war among humans. Some of the plot developments surrounding this were rather annoying, but I think the anime handled it better than most shows that go off the deep end with their plot twists. The anime also does a good job of just showing how characters deal with the situation at hand. There is very little time wasted on “character development” – something that is too commonly done for the sake of it but ends up being facetious and a waste of time (*ahemyurioniceahem*) – and instead the focus remains on the action. Finally, big shout out to Ten-chan’s voice acting in here which was some of the most amazing acting I’ve heard from her yet.

 

Stella no Mahou
Stella’s Magic

Japesland – 7/10

Of all the anime that aired this past season, if I can identify the one that I liked most subjectively, regardless of its objective quality, it was Stella no Mahou. High school club anime are hardly new (boy, is that an understatement), even a club focusing on the production of doujin, and neither are moe anime (perhaps even more of an understatement than the last). However, if you’re a fan of both of those things, I’d be surprised if you didn’t enjoy Stella no Mahou.

Stella no Mahou has perhaps one of the cutest art styles I’ve ever seen in my years of anime fandom, and perhaps one of the most adorable main characters as well. Quite frankly, I think the writing, animation, and even subject material could have been completely awful, and I still would have enjoyed simply because it fits the criteria of many of my guilty pleasures. When it comes down to it, if you like cute girls doing cute things, you’ll like it. If you don’t, you won’t.

Bloodivores
Bloodivores

Annalyn – 4/10

Bloodivores isn’t completely horrible. This show centers on Mi Liu, half human and half bloodivore (a bloodivore is basically a vampire, and they turned into such due to a medicine’s side effects). He and his bloodivore friends rob a bank, get blamed for a much bigger crime, and end up in this place called Aori, where they have to fight monsters to survive. Between Aori, Mi Liu’s backstory, and a few other elements, there are some interesting mysteries. The story even seems a bit complex at times. In fact, despite not-so-great execution, I thought, at one point, I’d give the story part a 6, just because I was a bit intrigued.

Unfortunately, very little is followed up on properly. Questions are left unanswered. The final episode doesn’t feel like the final episode—if there’s resolution in there, I missed it. So there go my positive feelings for the story/plot/pacing. As for the characters… well, Mi Liu wins some sympathy, but the rest can die for all I care. All the characters are flat and uninteresting at best, annoying at worst. And the visuals do not help Bloodivores out much. Sometimes, they just look wrong. Sometimes, faces are warped—particularly when they’re drawn at an angle.

I enjoyed parts of Bloodivores, so I won’t call it horrible. But I can’t call it good, either.

Long Riders
Long Riders

stardf29 – 6/10

Ever since Yowamushi Pedal ignited interested in two-wheeled travels, anime has sought to bring the subject matter into the realm of cute girls. Earlier this year we had motorcycling girls with Bakuon that took more of a gag comedy approach, and this season we have Long Riders, which focuses on non-competitive distance riding. The overall approach is more relaxed and puts more focus on the lead girl Ami’s own growth as a bicycler (as well as the realities of just how expensive such a hobby can be). In that way, it works decently enough. That said, the production values are overall subpar, detracting from the idea of cycling to enjoy scenery, and the story has some issues with creating issues for Ami that wouldn’t be issues if her teammates would help her out more. Due to production issues the last two episodes won’t be available until March, but hopefully they can close out this show with more of its positive elements of personal growth and achievement.

Yuri on Ice!!!
Yuri on Ice!!!

Emdaisy1 – 7.5/10

Yuri on Ice!!! is one of those shows I hate to say I loved. The main reason for this is because the fandom over-hypes it a lot, and honestly goes way too crazy for a maybe-canon yaoi pairing (dubbed “Victuuri”). However, if you can ignore the fandom, this show was actually pretty good – it was a weird curve ball for sports anime but, judging by its popularity (there’s Yuri on Ice!!! cafes in Japan currently), it succeeded. The main character of the show is rather easy to relate to for the most part. He’s every person who’s ever started to see their dream become reality only to have reality hit them in the face just as they were going to reach their final goal. The problem is, the maybe-love-plot with another main character can be bothersome to some people as it does border on yaoi (I personally chose to see it as a good friendship, but the fandom has deemed it yaoi). IF YOU CAN LOOK PAST THAT, though, along with some reused animation during skating scenes, this anime is pretty solid. It actually didn’t follow the expected sports anime path, which was a great change, the skating choreography and music choices are fantastic, and the opening and ending songs are AMAZING (saying that in Victor’s voice in my head, haha). Not to mention, there’s a nice focus on more than just the 2 main characters, as well. I wanted to cheer for Yuri but also for Phichit and even J.J. at times. So, overall, this show loses points for the strong yaoi undertones (just not my cup of tea) and some reused animation, but gains points for being a totally unique thing to sports anime as well as having awesome music and characters.


Look forward to our upcoming reviews tomorrow and Friday!

Kaze is graduate from the University of Tokyo. He currently works in the U.S. working on HIV drug testing and development. In contrast, he is a huge fan of the anime culture, including the visual novel medium. He is also a dedicated and loyal fan of the voice actress and singer Nana Mizuki.
6 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

  • netbug009
    4 January 2017 at 7:24 am

    Oh! I didn’t realize we had a cycling anime like that this season. I’ll have to check that one out.

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  • MRNewman
    5 January 2017 at 9:36 am

    I too really enjoyed Yuri!!! on Ice. I actually wrote up a rather detailed review for my own site (which will go up on Monday), but I loved seeing something much different than the normal sports offerings, a sport which does not get as much attention. Also, the international nature of the cast was very cool. We had Kazakh, Russian, Japanese, Thai, and Canadian characters who all were different in appearance playing dominant roles in the second half of the series. I liked that element.

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  • Stardf29
    6 January 2017 at 1:14 pm

    It’s kind of interesting how we got Magic of Stella right after another cute-girls-making-video-games anime in New Game!, and seeing how the two differed from each other. New Game! plays more strongly into the corporate part of video game creation, which did make it seem more of an office work-com than something specifically about making games; in contrast, Stella looks at the unique challenges faced by doujin game makers who are still high school students, though that does make it seem more like the usual high-schoolers-do-club-stuff anime.

    While I personally like New Game! more, I loved both shows, and I think having them close together like this actually helps both of them rather than hurt. Having the two different approaches to game-making made for a more complete view of the subject overall, and both shows used the particulars of their approach to squeeze in a fair amount of character development, too. I really hope we see more of both shows in the future.

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  • medievalotaku
    7 January 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Bloodivores is definitely a 4/10. For me, it was the most frustrating show of season, showing a very interesting scenario and good action. Still, the story hardly went anywhere, and I can’t help but feel like I wasted my time–even if the show isn’t atrocious.

    I’m going back and forth over whether to give Izetta a 7/10 or an 8/10. It was second only to Bungo Stray Dogs of what I watched this season.

    Leave a Reply
    • Annalyn
      8 January 2017 at 4:46 am

      “Frustrating” is a good word for Bloodivores. I’d say it’s like a messy, underdeveloped first draft, except it’s based on a manga. If anything was wasted, I might suggest it’s the scenario. It’s a lot less frustrating when an uninteresting scenario is poorly developed.

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  • MithrandirOlorin
    25 March 2017 at 2:43 am

    Yuri and sometimes Yaoi are one of the main things I look for, it’s not a problem for this Christian.

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