It’s the final stretch for the summer previews. I honestly wanted to put another four in this round up, but the remaining titles didn’t inspire me as much, so I’m finishing off this list with three more titles: a psychic, a bunch of cops, and a father and daughter. Summer 2016 really is an odd mix of titles, and I’m kinda amiss to guess where any of these titles are headed. It’s a wild card game indeed, but that ain’t stopping us from having fun. Let’s do this!
Psycho Mob 100
Coming from the mind that brought us One Punch Man, Psycho Mob 100 easily falls into a very peculiar demographic, what with its decidedly unique character designs and off-the-wall humor. There’s a mix of hype and high expectations when this is paired with the talents of Studio BONES, but this first episode hardly meets any of that. For one, it’s quite dull, underwhelming and pretty much not that engaging. Apart from the hit and miss comedy, there’s the obviously sloppy-looking character designs that might not exactly be inviting for the average viewer. But for its worth as an animation, this is definitely top tier. The overall flavor and use of pencil lines as visual flourishes harks to the original style of the manga, and all-in-all, the uniqueness to the entire production is a welcome break from your typical midnight anime. But “unique” tends to be a buzzword, especially when that’s all you’re trying to be. I can understand eccentricity, but if you’re trying to grab people’s attention, you better do so without alienating them in the process. Unfortunately, Psycho Mob does just that in its first episode, striking things off as weird and (sometimes) even ugly. I’m pretty sure the show can be more engaging than this, but as a pilot episode, this wasn’t really the best the show could have offered.
Initial Rating: 7/10
Active Raid 2nd
I wasn’t really expecting much for the second season of Active Raid, but man was this premiere episode a lot of fun to watch. The kooky, almost ridiculous antics of the show are still on full display, and the transition of the team to a more recognized form of law enforcement is actually a fun spectacle to see. Their whole operation was actually quite smart, with small meta jokes on corporate life nestled into its comedy, as was the style used in the previous season. Regardless, this show has had a history of starting off strong and losing itself in the nonsense of its villains. Mythos is brought up again, and the thought of such a villain nosing its way in again kinda brings chills down my spine. But let’s see — the whole Active Raid unit has always been a fun group of people to watch, so I’m actually quite excited to see these corporate misfits back in action.
Initial Rating: 8/10
Sweetness & Lightning
I picked this show up after a friend of mine described it as a combination of Koufuku Graffiti and Usagi Drop. Minus the sexual innuendoes of the former, I can say with much confidence that, yes — he’s absolutely right. And for me, those two shows are pretty much no-brainers, and sweetness & lightning shares a similarly endearing story of a single parent raising a child and the challenges they face together. Unlike Usagi Drop, sweetness & lightning pits a 4 year old as its central figure, and the dialogue and interactions she has with her father are both convincing and touching. Just like a child, the simplest of statements that she utters are pregnant with meaning, and the ways in which these simple gestures of love move the characters feels touchingly real. Even the animation boasts of subtle, yet very effective cues that highlight the minute dispositions of its characters. Detailed close ups on hands and shifting tendencies of characters are some of the many effects used by this show, all of which heightens the experience into something that feels more than just an average cartoon. And this is surprising coming from director Tarou Iwasaki, who’s closest claim to a slice-of-life is probably One Week Friends. This show is definitely a keeper, and is perhaps one of the best I’ve seen this season.
Initial Rating: 9/10
And there you have it! Fifteen shows all-in-all, but some have to go. Stay tuned for a summary of all titles and where they stand on a power ranking basis. Until next time!