Spring 2016 anime review

Spring 2016 anime review


With the Spring 2016 line-up now at a close, I thought I would take a quick look back over the anime I have reviewed this season and do a swift summary and conclusion on them all. Many of my reviews were written only a few episodes in, and some of my opinions may have changed since all those months ago. Besides, one of the things that I think makes a good anime (or book, film or game, for that matter) is how good the ending is. Here I will take a look at those very important endings and rate them, in reverse order. Since these are ending reviews, there will be spoilers!

11. High School Fleet
…Eh. You’d think with all the drama, camera switches and urgent music that I’d feel some of the tension that High School Fleet is clearly trying to project on me… but no. Again, this was yet more cute girls doing cute things, but they tried to throw some action in there too and the mix just didn’t work. I was hoping that this would be something similar to Bakuon where I could enjoy the shenanigans and the theme/focus, but I just couldn’t keep track of all the characters or understand just what exactly was going on with that weird virus or between all the ships. Where were all these other ships crewed by young girls coming from? What was happening?!

10. Big Order
For an anime based on a manga written by the same person that wrote the fantastic Future Diary, I was quite disappointed. The characters all seemed like watered down versions of Future Diary characters. Things got quite boring within the middle, a little disjointed, as they tried to cram in everything they could from the manga even if it meant it didn’t quite make sense. Things got more interesting as of the penultimate episode, but by that time, who really cares? Was expecting big things from Big Order, so it was a shame that it never really delivered.

9. Pan de Peace!
More cute girls doing cute things, but this time only for three minutes, heavy on the moe and based around bread. Easy enough to watch, but it wasn’t anywhere near being my favourite anime-short series. The girls were very cute, and the bare minimum references that they actually made to bread was interesting, but mostly the bread-thing was there as a springboard for the girls to be even cuter.

8. Bungo Stray Dogs
I wasn’t too sure about this one at first, but found that it was worth staying with as we were introduced to more characters and found that they all had personalities underneath all the zany off-the-wall banter and quirkiness that was being served up. I appreciated all the context and research that went behind creating the characters and their varying abilities, but it didn’t grab me like it seemed to grab everyone else. The pacing felt a little off and it was clear from fairly early on that this one would probably benefit from having a second series in order to flesh out the antagonists and all the latecomers.

7. The Lost Village
I had a general feeling from the anime community that no one really knew what to make of this one. Was it meant to be a dark comedy? Something supernatural or did the large cast of characters going off to some unknown village another return to the delights of Battle Royale? In the end, I can’t say that I was disappointed. With people’s fears appearing as real life apparitions and things taking quite an interesting psychological turn there was always something interesting going on. Things became a study in humanity and and examination of what we fear and why. I just wish things weren’t always so dark. A large cast of characters and not one of them ever did anything worthwhile in the daytime? I don’t believe it.

6. Bakuon!!
A great little anime with decent animation that generally made me laugh. I think it really jazzes the slice-of-life genre up when there is a focus of all the everyday-ness of it all, and motorcycles was just as good a subject as any. The main characters were varied and energetic without any of them being annoying. A little bit of fanservice, though not enough to put me off or get in the way of enjoying the shenanigans. Fun, colourful and doesn’t take too much effort to get into.

5. The Asterisk War
This one just kept getting better and better. What I enjoyed most about the second series was all the action that the first had been lacking in. We had some really great fights within the Festa and saw the characters begin to develop  instead of just being the typical girls in Ayato’s harem. Even Ayato’s himself made a leap from potential personality-less harem lead to something more substantial. The final episode left with a bit of an allusion to perhaps a third series, which sees the full cast of characters forming a team in order to take on the next Festa despite challenges and consequences. I’m looking forward to seeing just what else this one could offer.

4. Kiznaiver
I could see why there was a lot of fuss over this one from the get-go. From the very first episode I found myself liking everything about Kiznaiver, from the ideas of having modern deadly sins , the concept of sharing pain with those around you all the great and quirky cast of characters. Not only were the foundations of this anime interesting. There were some fantastic elements of humour that had me laughing out loud as the ability to literally share physical and emotional pain was backfiring on the characters. But the final few episodes were very moving, too and I always looked forward to leaning more about the deepening relationships between those connected. Even the design style was memorable: colourful and sharp. Overall, the whole anime was very satisfying.

3. Flying Witch
Another one of my favourites this season. It was so calm, laid back and feel good that I just couldn’t get enough. One of those anime series that doesn’t have an antagonist or a threat to be vanquished, but is just traditional slice of life. The supernatural twist was brilliant and it was great to experience it all much like Chinatsu did – all for the first time whilst maintaining a sort of childlike wonder. Every episode gave us a small window into the magical world. So very cheerful with normal characters with just a twist of magic. I’ll miss watching this.

2. Super Lovers
I wasn’t really expecting too much from Super Lovers, but it ended up being me of my stand-out favourites for this season. It was just a bit more unusual, a little more off-beat than the fare I usually watch. I have to admit, it was a little cringed in some places, but you can identify with the characters and take an interest in the lives that they’re leading. It’s also got its fair share of pretty boys, so a girl can’t complain too much.

1. Anne-Happy
I loved the concept here. Putting girls into a ‘happiness class’ to help them overcome their unnaturally bad luck and try to go on and live fulfilling lives. Though it is essentially ‘cute girls doing cute things’ I felt that there was a bit more substance to be had here. There’s a great friendship between the main cast – the kind that just warms your heart to see. There’s also plenty of humour; one girl can’t help but be followed by any female animal that senses her and another one is in love with a construction sign and things never failed to amuse me. Whilst not the most serious series this season, it still has its poignant moments that were, at times, quite sad whilst still maintaining a light touch of humour throughout.

Continuing series’