Spring 2016 – season end ranking

Spring has finally drawn to a close, and man was it crazy. I burned myself out half-way through the season, and apparently so did the CR staff handling the newsletter. As a result, NONE of my articles were ever published this spring, leaving a bitter taste in an otherwise enjoyable season. But my “enjoyment” was only to the extent that the shows were pretty much there to fill a void. It certainly wasn’t as dismal as the winter season, which only had one or two titles which I could consider worthwhile. But at the same time, Spring 2016 wasn’t exactly what I would call stellar, either. Sure, I was quite delighted mid-way through to have a pretty good spread of titles, but as the season dragged on, things began to stagnate. In the end, majority of the shows were pretty ho-hum with one ending up in the “dropped” category on its final episode before proceeding on to a double-length cour (which I’ll get to in a bit). So after all is said and done, though nothing was really “bad”, nothing was all too memorable, either.

So just what happened this season? Let’s run down all the titles, season end ranking, from worst to best! Continue reading

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Spring 2016 – Week 4 in Review

There was some misunderstanding over at Crunchyroll, hence my writeup on Asterisk War didn’t get published in time for the April 27 edition of the Crunchyroll Takeout. Oh well, no biggie. I just decided to edit it up a little and post it here. But the process of reviewing Asterisk War actually made me realize how well-constructed it was as a battle show, and so if you have yet to pick up the show and are looking for a reasonably competent battle anime to watch, then by all means watch this show.

Otherwise, the fourth week was pretty much the settling period for most shows. It’s that sort of tentative period before the mid-season where shows have gained a rather comfortable rhythm for themselves, not opting for anything too daring (or too risky either, for that matter). So just how did the shows fare? Read on!

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The Asterisk War – Review

This article was originally for publishing on the latest edition of the CrunchyRoll Newsletter, but due to some issues, it was not released. Currently talking to them about it, but I spent too much time on this piece to not have it released. Anyway, here goes…

School battle anime premises are nothing new. In fact, the genre itself is littered with titles like Highschool DxD, Trinity Seven, and to a certain extent the Fate Stay series, and maybe even When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (AKA Inou-Battle). Asterisk War is no stranger to such titles, which makes it run the risk of anonymity in an otherwise saturated playground of shows. And it didn’t help much either that its first cour was placed directly alongside evil look-alike Chivalry of A Failed Knight, whose premise, main character pairing, and even general background were almost eerily similar.

And my initial misgivings about the series in general were predicated on the fact that the show does little to convince the viewer that it is anything BUT just another battle show with harem-esque trappings. Indeed, Ayato — the ostensible protagonist but otherwise skilled swordsman acting as the knight-in-shining-armor-type hero — is surrounded by anime-trope favorites. There’s Julis, our resident tsundereSaya plays the role of the taciturn kuudere; Claudia is our well-endowed student council president, complete with hidden agendas and a predilection towards sexual harassment; and finally Kirin as the bashful but similarly well-endowed lolita character. This alone puts the show and its premise in a seemingly uninspiring light, and if we were to judge shows like this on sheer “pleasure factor” alone, Chivalry of a Failed Knight would undoubtedly win through its sheer audacity and shamelessness.

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Spring 2016 – Initial Impressions

So this is what it feels like.

I’ve been writing casual articles for Crunchyroll for a while now, but ever since I started this blog, I’ve come to realize how taxing this kind of work is. I have to watch shows I normally wouldn’t watch, but even then I probably only watched a fraction of what other seasoned writers had to go through. Plus the fact that for whatever shows I did watch, I had to go through them with a sharper eye for detail to actually piece together the thoughts I’d use in my articles.

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It’s been a very humbling experience to be honest. Writers may look like they’re simply watching anime and spewing out criticisms and whatnot, but it’s actually a very carefully calculated process of discerning the media we consume. To all the writers out there, I salute you.

Of course, it didn’t help that this season was just full of really great shows — shows that have a lot of potential, or have a strong premise — and for once, I went back on my promise to actually cut down on shows to watch. But that’s precisely what this post is for; this is the tl;dr of the past four entries. Though it’s only a smattering of what other writers probably had to dig through, I hope this helps in trimming down your own list of things to watch. I ranked them based on overall (personal) impression, not just the initial scores I gave in previous posts. Think of it as a sort of prospective list of hopefuls that is bound to change throughout the course of the season.

Anyway, enough talk. Let’s do this! Continue reading

Spring 2016 – Episode Previews (Part 2)

Still so many shows, still so many thoughts! Here’s part two of the 1st episode reviews for the Spring 2016 season. Let’s do this!

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The Asterisk War continues its run this season in uninterrupted fashion, and does so without any unnecessary exposition on previous events. It’s reassuring that the show decided not to waste any time with its limited run, but instead chose to integrate a review of the tournament standing through an announcer’s rundown. It also allowed the series to introduce a couple new characters without any unnecessary digression, including a little characterization on Jie Long’s student council president, who only had a mere cameo appearance in the first season. Continue reading

Spring 2016 Preview List

Winter is coming to a close, and it’s about time for Spring! Yes, that means dusting out the closet and throwing out the remnants of a season that was, well, pretty okay when you think about it. Rakugo Shinjuu and ERASED were probably the highlights of last season, but there were still a couple other titles that were, if not memorable, enjoyable at the very least. After all of the shows of last season have finished their run, I’ll be compiling a recap post for Winter 2016. Look forward to it!

But yeah, we’re talking about Spring now. The line up is pretty so-so — a mix of hype and intrigue — and it’s pretty much a random bag of titles that are hard to anticipate. I haven’t read the source material for a majority of these titles, so who knows. But I’m not here to predict which title will succeed and which will flop — it’s all about what I want to watch!

You can check out my MyAnimeList for a summary of the titles I’ll be watching this Spring. So enough talk and let’s do this!

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