Fall Anime 2016 Review (Part 3/3)

The finale of our fall anime 2016 review!

JoJo no Kimyou Na Bouken: Diamond wa Kudakenai
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures: Diamond is Unbreakable

Kaze – 8/10

And so part 4 of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures comes to an end. As always, it was a fun ride and an excellent adaptation by David Production. In some ways, part 4 is the most interesting part so far in the way that the world is not even remotely in danger. Instead, the main antagonist is a mere serial killer who has no intention of leaving the small, remote town of Morioh. The series starts out by elaborating on the mystery of stand powers as seemingly random citizens awaken new powers and it’s up to our new JoJo, along with some family from previous seasons, to stop them. As always, the highlight of the Jojo franchise is that the battles are almost never about strength but about wit. While like most any shounen series, there is rarely any doubt that the protagonists would ever lose a fight, but with Jojo, it is always a question of just how they will go about winning. Especially when there are multiple people fighting, how powers might work together or counter each other remains a strong point of the battles. Still, the series’ biggest weakness, if you can call it that, is how “monster of the week” it can tend to be, with the overall plot not really being very strong. Nevertheless, particularly in the case of the end of part 4, Jojo manages to do an excellent job of switching up perspectives and showing that even the antagonist has his own share of troubles and battles he must overcome that are unrelated to the protagonist. When a show manages to create episodes of high tension for the antagonist, that is when you know the writing is pretty amazing. Overall, Diamond is Unbreakable was a very fun watch with a great cast of characters in a setting quite different from previous installments of the series.

Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Gale: Crane Game Girls 2
Crane Game Girls Galaxy

MRNewman – 6.5/10 

I loved Season 1 of Crane Game Girls. I still am not sure exactly what drew me to this oddly drawn, short form anime series about…science fiction, idol battles, and crane games. But, regardless – I was anticipating Season 2 with excitement with how much I loved Season 1. Season 2 was a lot of fun, but it felt different from the get go. Still a short form series, albeit longer episodes, Season 2 tells a new tale. The Crane Game Girls are now the most successful idol act in the world after saving the planet via their skills at crane games in Season 1. Enter Dark Cherry, an “evil” idol group hoping to invade the Earth using their idol powers on behalf of Dark Gorilla. Yes, that is the plot. Dark Cherry are a trio which includes a bubbly goofball, a sullen quiet girl, and a pair of boobs. For the first three episodes, Lumie, a member of Dark Cherry, is used as a boob joke. That’s about her entire role. After episode 4, the series hits its stride, returns to its goofball, off-the-wall, self-referential humor that made me enjoy Season 1. It even made fun of it’s lack of crane game action in each episode. Also, the members of Dark Cherry get more depth to them after Episode 4, including Lumie, who is a huge fan-girl of Japanese culture and idol music, willing to ignore her own career just to enjoy a show. All in all, I still enjoyed the show, but not as much as Season 1. Part of this was due to the sudden shift into idol series territory. Part of it also was the ending of each episode was literally a long, mostly uninteresting advertisement for online crane games. If you liked Season 1, watch Season 2. If you didn’t enjoy Season 1, I’d pass on it.

www.Working!!
www.Working!!

Japesland – 8/10

I’m about to state a controversial opinion. I like WWW.Working!! better than the original anime series.

The original Working! series has received many praises, at least from my acquaintances, for its stunning cast of lovable and hilarious characters. I thoroughly enjoyed all three seasons of the original, but my biggest complaint with the series was that, while it was generally incredibly funny and entertaining, it delivered too many dud episodes to be considered consistent (especially the third season).

WWW.Working!! has, at least in its first season, not had a single dud episode as far as I’m concerned. I quickly fell in love with all of the cast, their quirks, and their repeated gags, and every single week I’ve not failed to burst out laughing. The family restaurant setting is a very simple, but effective breeding ground for comedic relationships, and I don’t think I would complain about getting a new Working refresh every few years with a new cast, if WWW.Working!! is anything to go by.

Beneath the Tangles | Fall 2016 Anime Reviews

Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou
Haikyuu!!: Karasuno High vs. Shiratorizawa Academy

Annalyn – 8.5/10

If I were to rate anime purely by how much they make me smile and squeal, this one would earn a 10/10. Win or lose, the Karasuno team members are so cute and cool and expressive (goodness, those wonderfully drawn expressions!), I can’t help but grin and awww at them until my cheeks hurt. And then there’s the gameplay itself, which has me squealing and holding my breath… I really like this show. And I can’t forget the opening and ending themes and their accompanying visuals (see above), which also make me very happy…

Alas, I can’t rate anime purely by my emotional reaction, not here. I must admit that the plot isn’t majestic—the entire ten episodes focus on a single 5-set match between Karasuno High and Shiratorizawa Academy. There are occasional flashbacks to emphasize character and strategy development, but it mostly stays in the game. And yet it works. In fact, I don’t see how they could have done this arc any better. Suspense levels are high for most of the season, but there are enough breaks to allow the audience to recover and properly feel the suspense when it picks up again. And while this season doesn’t show how characters developed, it does show the fruit of development—Tsukki, Hinata, and the rest are mentally and physically stronger than they’ve ever been, and it’s very satisfying to watch what they make of it.

Let’s see… is there anything negative I can say about this? Only one: I’m sad that Coach Ukai’s original seiyuu, Tanaka Kazunari, died, and I wish he could have finished the season first. I miss his voice, but the new seiyuu, Egawa Hisao, is doing fine, and I’ll get used to him eventually. And this doesn’t affect my scoring.

Other than that… look, I just finished the show, and I’m still fangirling about it. This is the most even-keeled critique I can manage.

Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
Poco’s Udon World

stardf29 – 8/10

Shows like Bunny Drop and the recent Sweetness and Lightning have proved that shows about parenthood are well-loved by many anime fans, and now we have Poco’s Udon World, which combines that with a bit of Barakamon and a city guy who returns to the countryside. How does the result turn out? The first thing to note here is that, unlike the aforementioned two parenthood shows, the child himself, Poco, is actually a tanuki in human form, and his more animal-like nature means that his behavior is closer to that of a toddler. As such, Poco, as cute as he is, is much less interesting as a character than Rin or Tsumugi, lacking any real personality. The flip-side to this is that he serves to drive developments around him, in particular turning the focus of the show on its various adults. And this is where this show shines: it is a wonderfully bittersweet picture of entering adulthood. From the trials of becoming a parent to learning to reconcile personal career desires with family, this show definitely has many moments that can be incredibly emotionally poignant. If you are a fan of shows like Bunny Drop and Sweetness and Lightning or are looking for a heartwarming show about adults that isn’t afraid to hit you in the feels a couple of times, this show is highly recommended.

Group shot of HEAVENS, STARISH, and Quartet Night.

Uta no Prince-sama Maji Love Legend Star
Uta no Price-sama Legend Star

Emdaisy1 – 7/10

I’ve been following the Uta No Prince Sama (Uta Pri) series for a while, and it’s easily one of my favorites. So, I’ll note a slightly more objective ranking (which may still contain some bias, because I really love this series) and then my own personal ranking after. Regarding a more objective ranking, I’d give this season (the 4th season) of Uta Pri a 7/10. This is under the assumption you’re watching it as someone familiar with the first three seasons – you can’t just pick up the show at season 4 or none of what’s going on will make any sense to you. You’d probably give it a 4/10 or 5/10 because it would seem rather weird and disjointed. I’d rank it at 7/10 because it is essentially a music anime, and the music is fantastic. The art is also quite nice, in my opinion. The episodic style where each week features a different set of characters, culminating into a few group-focused episodes works well for the show. Some of the things that happen in these episodes, however, are too coincidental and take away from a feeling of authenticity of the events. Additionally, some of the scenes, particularly those that occur during the week’s featured song/piece can be a little bit strange (e.g. ghost versions of characters floating around, or them facing masks of themselves). There were also some parts that even I, with a high tolerance for cheese if it’s “cute”, found cheesy and melodramatic. For the genre and audience of the anime, it’s relatively done with just those few gripes.

My own personal ranking of the show is a 9/10. I’m a little bit more biased because I’ve grown really attached to the characters, watching them grow over the 3 seasons before this one. This meant I was incredibly happy to see Quartet Night get a brief moment in the limelight, and even happy to look deeper into some of the members of HEAVENS I initially disliked. This is also an anime based on a dating sim, though, and it’s a running joke among the staff that I’m Beneath the Tangles’ resident dating sim player, so that may help explain my personal versus objective ranking. The show’s not really for guys (though it can be, if you view it for the music and character progression), as it’s obviously aimed at females. So, fellow girls, if you want to watch something with a pretty solid plot, good music, and lots of cute and talented guys, this is a show for you! Guys, you may like this show for the humor and the music, or for Nanami, but I’m not gonna’ highly recommend it to you to be safe. It’s also worth noting it looks very likely this is getting a 5th season, so you’ll have more to look forward to!

Cheating Craft
Cheating Craft

Annalyn – 5/10

I rather enjoyed this series of 12-minute episodes. That said, it’s not great.

Cheating Craft is set in a world where students’ futures ride on whether or not they pass a big university-level exam at the end of their schooling. These students spend their education perfecting their approaches to exams as L-types (learning types who just take the test honestly) and C-types (cheaters). C-types like the main character, Mumei, come up with very elaborate ways to both cheat and to fend off other cheaters. It’s quite amusing, really, to watch Naruto-level fighting techniques performed over school exams.

As ridiculous as this show’s scenario and episode settings are, it still has potential for good, silly-but-coherent plot… and it sort of squanders that potential. Certain details of Mumei’s family situation aren’t followed up on properly, and the plot twist in the last episode, though amusing, doesn’t flow with the rest of the show’s plot at all. In fact, it requires giving one of the characters a personality transplant, and I don’t think that transplant is excusable, regardless of the reason they give.

But again, I enjoyed Cheating Craft, despite its faults. The visuals are decent, and the show is fun as a whole. So while many people might give it a 4 or lower, I must insist on giving it a 5.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku
Magical Girl Raising Project

Kaze – 4/10

Ever since Madoka took the anime world by storm, becoming one of the most popular shows around, anime has tried to replicate the idea of a dark mahou shoujo series (often forgetting the true pioneers of this idea). Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku is just one of the many stories that have been made in such an attempt, and like all of them, has failed. Granted, I think Madoka is vastly overrated in the first place, so maybe my opinion is already skewed. The premise is a simple one: magical girls are forced into a battle of kill or be killed. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all the show is about. There are references to a greater magical world out there and how the situation was brought about without their knowledge, and sure, the source material goes into that more. But even so, as a single cour anime, that information is pretty much ignored and so, there is really no good explanation as to why it turned out this way. It just does because a battle royale to the death of cute girls is dark and interesting. On top of this, there are so many girls involved that there is a distinct lack of character depth or development to every single one. The show even goes the Akame route where characters get flashbacks, obviously in a poor attempt to make the viewer empathize with them (because we literally know nothing else about them prior to the flashbacks), right before getting killed.  The anime doesn’t even have good music or voice acting, but I suppose the animation maintained a passable level of quality. If you want to watch cute girls suffering as they try to kill each other for reasons only because the plot said so, then I guess you’ll enjoy it.


Thanks for reading all our reviews! Be sure to comment below with any of your own thoughts and opinions.

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.
3 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

  • TWWK
    8 January 2017 at 11:24 pm

    I agree that there wasn’t a dud among the http://WWW.Working episodes – although I didn’t like it as much as the original, I would say it was more consistent than any of the previous seasons.

    Leave a Reply
  • Stardf29
    9 January 2017 at 2:12 pm

    I definitely enjoyed http://WWW.Working for what it was. My biggest issue with it was that, while the episodes themselves were consistently funny, the characters were overall much less memorable. Shiho and Yuuta were great, but most of the characters had less interesting quirks or were just overall uninteresting, and that did lead to many dud segments. With the original Working, the cast itself was so much fun that I could still enjoy the dud episodes as simply just spending time with the cast, but the dud moments in Web Working were much more of a drag, though mitigated by at least having good content elsewhere within the episode.

    One thing I do appreciate about Web Working is how they actually developed relationships within its one season of material. It definitely led to a very rushed pacing, though with the characters themselves being less interesting I think that actually works out better for the show, and it at least allowed me to get some satisfaction out of the less interesting characters’ stories (to say nothing of the two actually interesting characters’ story). Even then, though, I couldn’t really get behind the main guy and girl.

    All that said, I knew going in not to expect anything as amazing as the original Working anime, as the source material for this came before that of the original anime. I just expected a fun Wagnaria-esque diversion and that is exactly what I got, so overall I’m happy with Web Working being what it is.

    Leave a Reply
  • MithrandirOlorin
    25 March 2017 at 2:49 am
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