DISCLAIMER: The following conversation was held weeks prior to it’s actual post date. As such, opinions as they relate to the shows we discuss were formed having only seen no more than the third episode of any given series. A few of us may have changed our tunes as we’ve kept watching – check the comments below for updates.
Jimmy Gnome: Hello everyone, and welcome to another exciting episode of Wave Motion Conversation!
Today we’ll be discussing the spring 2016 seasonal anime lineup. It’s one of the most jam packed seasons in a while, with plenty of fan favorites airing along with other more controversial titles. There’s a lot to cover, so to make things simpler we’ll be taking turns bringing up series we each have been fond of so far.
We’re going to start things off with Josh. What have you been enjoying?
Josh: I just got done watching the recent episode of Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge (Tanaka-kun is Always Listless) or Tanaka for short.
At first I was charmed, but after that glorious third episode, I am sold.
It’s not a very active series, and to be honest, I kinda appreciate a more restrained style of storytelling at this point. It’s truly a ‘going into Summer’ type show, and what I mean by that is that all the colors, sounds, tone, and pacing are set up for this change in season. I think it’s brilliant.
Has anyone else seen this?
Chris Hitchcock: Nope.
Subtle Doctor: Nein.
Josh: Swing and a miss, that was fast. Jimmy, save me, man.
Jimmy Gnome: That one is actually my favorite show of the season. I think it was a great choice to bring the staff of Non Non Biyori onto it, because their laid back style adds so much to the series.
Also it has the best OST of this season, easily.
Chris Hitchcock: I think Jojo’s Diamond is Unbreakable has the better OST, but it’s hard to beat Sound Garden. -He said with a snarky grin.
Subtle Doctor: I wasn’t planning on watching this one. Sell me on it, guys.
Jimmy Gnome: What makes it so excellent is how the direction suits the material. Since the show focuses on gags about being slow and tired, the visuals are appropriately spacious with frequent wide shots and often plain white backgrounds. The pacing is very meticulous, with a huge emphasis on silence that adds a lot to the overall atmosphere as well as timing gags. Finally, the whimsical soundtrack seals the deal and creates the perfect relaxing comedy atmosphere.
Josh: It’s not a show about what happens, but kinda how it doesn’t happen, if that makes sense? Our main character, Tanaka, is super lazy, doesn’t do anything that leads to a measurable amount of work. That alone leads to some funny situation, but the show it’s just a sitcom, the whole essence of the radiates this aspect of Tanaka’s personality to the ‘t’. The very lighting is warm, yet Summer-esque. The score, as Jimmy said, is brilliant and never over done, just right I’d say.
But what gets me is that no matter how laid back it is, things are still going on, so the show itself is not boring. At least, not these three episodes. And I agree, Jimmy, Tanaka has COMPLETE control over it’s tempo, pacing, and tone. My god that tone…
Jimmy Gnome: The ED is really good, too.
Josh: I love the opening. Listening to it now actually.
Jimmy Gnome: I love how they start the opening in each episode.
There’s always some long pause before it drops
Josh: The actual freaking title card itself is a joke. So brilliant.
Jimmy Gnome: Seriously, if you’re into pleasant slice of life comedy series, this one is one of the best in a while.
Also, Josh, if you like this show you should try out Non Non Biyori since it’s by the same people and has very similar pacing, though it is less comedy and more slice of life.
Josh: I don’t want to call it that, even though it is, just because it kinda adds this negative stigma, one that the show does not exhibit. It’s kinda ‘mature’ actually. I mean, this is for older fans who get how boring life is sometimes.
Subtle Doctor: Sounds like if I was in the mood for that kinda slow paced, fun thing, I’d be up for it.
Chris Hitchcock: I don’t think Slice of Life has a negative stigma. It’s just generally Hit or Miss. I haven’t watched that one mostly because I tend not to like a lot of anime comedies as they tend to fall into the “Middle School” setting and character troupes. I might check it out later since I’m not watching much this season, but I’m just kinda meh on the concept of the series as a whole
Editor’s Note: Since this conversation took place, CJ has seen this series and he didn’t like it. Mostly because he’s not a fan of the style of humor. To Quote his Twitter account, “A lot of the humor depends on if you find dead air and awkward pauses to be funny. I don’t.”
Josh: I guess my only warning is don’t go into this expecting Golden Time.
Jimmy Gnome: It does have a stigma with some, but it’s the kind of genre that relies completely on execution.
And this one has damn good execution
Chris Hitchcock: Good, because I hated Golden Time.
Josh: By the time it ended it grew on me.
Chris Hitchcock: Like cancer?
Subtle Doctor: Fuck you, CJ.
I love you, but fuck you.
Jimmy Gnome: Let’s not argue about shows not airing this season.
Josh: I wouldn’t call Golden Time a great show, it was kinda whatever.
Subtle Doctor: We can’t do this right now.
Chris Hitchcock: They brought it up…
Josh: Yeah, we have Ticket to Ride/Attack on Titan still ahead of us.
Chris Hitchcock: Titans on a Train.
Josh: WHO PUT THESE MOTHAFUCKING TITANS ON THIS MOTHA FUCKING TRAIN?!
Subtle Doctor: ~screaming~
Chris Hitchcock: Alrighty
I’m not watching much this season. Out of the five shows I’m currently watching, two of them are out of pure spite and I have a feeling we’ll talk about my favorite show this season later, but right now I kinda wanted to focus on the complete train wreck that is Ace Attorney.
I’m gobsmacked with just how atrocious this series is in terms of just about every single considerable angle. The animation looks like it’s from that era of Anime where we were going from the transition between traditional cells to computer cells. There’s absolutely no sense of framing or cinematography. The pacing is neckbreakingly fast between a serious tone and comedy. There’s no context for the plot as its happening on screen and acts more like cliff notes of the game’s plot and I’ve never seen so many animation errors from a new title before.
I wasn’t expecting Modaka Magica or Death Parade levels of quality from this one, but I wasn’t expecting “My First Flash Animation Project” levels of failure from it.
Josh: CJ, you are my hero.
Subtle Doctor: Yeah, I stayed away ‘cuz video game anime.
Jimmy Gnome: Yeah, anime adaptations of video games are almost always garbage, especially if they’re handled by A-1.
Chris Hitchcock: I’m going to fight you two on that concept that Video Game Anime Adaptation = Bad.
Subtle Doctor: Now that the cat is outta the bag in terms of its quality, I doubt I’ll ever think about watching it, except for Worst of The Year considerations.
Jimmy Gnome: It’s sort of sad, though, since Ace Attorney could work well as an anime in theory.
It already feels like a Saturday morning cartoon in many of the cases.
Subtle Doctor: It does equal bad. CJ, but more often than not…
Josh: But VG anime is usually bad…
I watched the first episode, and it made me sad for much the same reason CJ outlined. This was supposed to be a chance for something better. I’m not really sure where that idea came from, but it seems a lot of people had that and this fell far, far, far too short. I was saving screencaps to my PS1 memory card.
I think it’s really cool Crunchy subbed it to preserve the localization of the game though.
Subtle Doctor: Yes, agreed, Josh. But why did they chose to adapt the material already out there? Original Phoenix Wright cases would be dope.
Chris Hitchcock: Because Ace Attorney should have worked. This is a series fans have been asking for since it originally came out on the GBA. There was time to making something worthwhile. If the creators gave a damn, this could of been worthwhile. Have any of you guys seen the Live Action Movie?
Jimmy Gnome: Yeah, that one was pretty good. But it had competent staff and budget.
Josh: I’m not watching Ace Attorney, it was too horrible. I got my jabs in on Twitter and then I was done. I don’t know who’s still watching it and enjoying it.
Subtle Doctor: Think if they started doing original stories that could save it? Or is the visual presentation bad enough that it kills it dead in the water?
Jimmy Gnome: I hope they do original stories honestly
They could at least have some fun with it.
Chris Hitchcock: It really focused on what made the series fun. Good dialogue. Over the top acting. Worthwhile character arcs. And it’s fun. You could of easily done that with an anime adaptation. I’d actually argue, doing that story with live action should of been more difficult considering the lack of interesting locations and how there isn’t much to generally look at, but the movie made it work.
Josh: Visuals are bad. CG back from Golgo 13 days man…
Though, it would be great if the Golgo 13 helicopter flew by, shooting up the CG courthouse. I would watch that.
Subtle Doctor: As someone who watched and enjoyed the entirety of the Violinist of Hamlin TV series, interesting stories can win me over in spite of bad visuals. The fact that they are doing a shot for shot rendition of what I’ve already seen is just…disappointing.
Chris Hitchcock: The audience members in the Courtroom are CGI and they are absolutely terrifying if you watch them move. It’s just a creepy animation loop of guys rocking back and forth with their hands moving awkwardly.
Josh: Peeping Life people watch the case as it unfolds.
Chris Hitchcock: Pretty much. Fuck Peeping Life and Everything it stands for… But that’s Ace Attorney. I could go on, and I might talk about it more in depth at a later date.
Subtle Doctor: Let’s talk about The Good Anime. Let’s talk quality. Let’s talk about The Lost Village.
We haven’t gotten a Good Bad anime in a long time. Most Bad anime is just mediocre or gross. Mayoiga is hilarious and non-stop entertainment. It is incredibly dumb, with one of the most ridiculous premises of the year, and it’s got a collection of characters that are…just a bunch of idiots. But man, it leans into it. Mayoiga embraces it’s stupidity. I haven’t laughed so hard at an anime in a long time. The fact that the show is leaning into this indicates a level of self-awareness, but that could just be confirmation bias on my part.
Whether they’re trying to make a Good Bad anime or not, they are succeeding with Mayoiga.
Jimmy Gnome: I have heard so much about this show, but I don’t think I’m going to pick it up because I am too busy to spend my time watching bad anime.
Josh: I don’t believe in making bad things on purpose. Sharknado was garbage, devoid of real and meaningful artistic merit in my eyes. This is the same. To me it begs the question, is Okada a hack?
Chris Hitchcock: I’ve been avoiding this one because I’ve only heard terrible things about it.
YOU TAKE BACK THAT COMMENT ON SHARKNADO
Subtle Doctor: It’s not the same kind of terrible as, say, Cerberus. It is so much fun. Like, I’m am legit having a good time. And I am finding myself becoming attached to some of the dummies who volunteered to go on the Do-Over bus tour.
Josh: It’s really not funny. It’s painfully bad. It’s honestly one of the worst things I have seen in a long time, and I wish I could go back in my Delorean, fall in love with my mom, punch Biff, and never watch this show again.
Subtle Doctor: Almost all of them have some kind of over-the-top mental illness. At the end of episode three, a girl called Lovepon gets mad that the main character isn’t going to kill another character. So, she chokes him and dives off a bridge with him. And the episode ends with her trying to drown him in the water. It’s so good. Good-Bad isn’t for everyone. But if you like terrible things… Mayoiga.
Chris Hitchcock: I get liking the “So Bad, it’s Good” titles, I like collecting Anime VHSs after all. So I’m not going to hold it against you. Although just going from second hand knowledge I’ve gathered on the show, it seems like this one might just be bad bad. There is a difference between cheese and mold.
Subtle Doctor: Yeah, no one wants to talk about good stuff…
Chris Hitchcock: There’s not much that’s good this season is the problem.
Subtle Doctor: Gotta see for yourself, CJ. One episode is enough of a litmus test that you’ll know if it’s for you. Not asking for a big time commitment!
I wonder if there is a show we will all have seen and agree on…
Jimmy Gnome: I have not seen JoJo’s.
Subtle Doctor: Haven’t seen it. Not caught up.
Josh: my god…
Chris Hitchcock: I skipped everything and just started on Part 4, and I’m able to follow it.
Subtle Doctor: I haven’t seen Egypt yet.
Josh: It’s kinda bad. Not bad bad, but like a 6.
Chris Hitchcock: Lost Village bad?
Josh: No. That’s like a 2.3
Subtle Doctor: Oh…that’s unexpected.
Jimmy Gnome: Alright, back to legitimately good anime, Flying Witch is another great slice of life series. Whereas Tanaka-kun’s strengths are in its minimalist presentation, Flying Witch is all about the details, with beautiful backgrounds that create a warm and inviting country atmosphere where fantasy and reality mix. The show lends itself to being more of a pure slice of life with lighthearted comedy sprinkled in. It also has a really great soundtrack with lots of variation. Overall, it’s a lovely, down to earth experience that I would highly recommend.
Has anyone else watched this show?
Josh: This show has flown (pardon the pun) under my radar. I haven’t seen much on it, but it seems that whenever I do, it’s positive. How are the aesthetics?
Chris Hitchcock: I wanted to, just haven’t made the time for it. Would you compare it to something like Tomako Market?
Subtle Doctor: I’ve heard nothing but good things, but I haven’t been in the mood for this sort of show.
Jimmy Gnome: You would much rather watch some Mayoiga, am I right? It’s not really the much like Tamako, honestly.
It’s like Natsume’s Book of Friends, if you’ve ever seen that. It’s not the prettiest show this season, but like I said, the backgrounds are great.
Subtle Doctor: That’s the death knell for me Jimmy. I couldn’t finish Natsume. Pace was too slow for me.
Jimmy Gnome: That’s sad, are you not able to get into Mushishi either?
Subtle Doctor: Nope! I got 8 eps in and couldn’t deal with watching the same story play out slowly for a ninth time.
Chris Hitchcock: Let’s all judge Doc harshly for his taste in anime.
Jimmy Gnome: I am judging.
Josh: Damn man, that’s harsh.
Subtle Doctor: Some context: I’m a father of three. I get little sleep and have busy busy days. I fall asleep during slow things these days. I recognize its a personal flaw.
Chris Hitchcock: I don’t think Anime fans sleep.
Subtle Doctor: You are always asleep.
Jimmy Gnome: Well, I guess since nobody else has seen this show I will have to pass, but you guys should check it out.
If you like that style, anyway.
Subtle Doctor: The praise it’s gotten might tempt me.
Chris Hitchcock: I might.
Josh: I might see it. It can’t be worse then half the other shows on this list maybe?
Jimmy Gnome: Definitely one of the better ones this season, yes.
Josh: So shall we address the Elephant in the room? JoJo’s part 4.
Part four has restored my faith in the JoJo’s series that part 3 part 1 kinda ruined.
Subtle Doctor: It’s not as good as Battle Tendency for sure. But I liked it, though I haven’t seen Stardust Crusaders part 2.
Jimmy Gnome: Truth: I did not really care that much for the first season (parts 1 or 2) of JoJo’s.
Part 4 looks better but I probably won’t pick it up.
Josh: For me, limited animation is more how you use it more than trying to breakthrough the limitation of not always having Akira levels of animation. And Part 4 did that, but kept all the best parts of JoJo’s.
Not to mention, the story itself has been an improvement over Part 3, and the Stands are much more fun to think about. But damn, those transitions! Every episode there’s a new transition that boarder-lines on Satoshi Kon-esque creativity. And that’s all it takes it some thought. That is good anime.
If you haven’t seen any JoJo’s just pick up Part 4. Your Duwang demands it.
Jimmy Gnome: I think it’s mostly because I have an aversion towards battle shonen in general.
So even though I like JoJo’s style I still doubt my ability to enjoy it as a whole.
Subtle Doctor: There’s some watchable shonen this season.
Chris Hitchcock: I checked out Jojo Part 4 mostly because of the artistic style of the animation. Like Josh said, the animation is limited, but how it handles those limitations is great. Reminds me of some of the better Shonen Fight titles from the 90’s.
But this is my first time jumping into the world of Jojo and I think Diamond is Unbreakable is a good launching point for everyone who’s new to the series. It’s over the top, exciting and a hell of a good time. I highly recommend checking it out.
Josh: If it keeps up at this rate it might just be the next Yu Yu Hakusho.
Jimmy Gnome: I honestly don’t even know what that means even though I’ve watched some YYH. I know Shinbo did episodes so it’s probably something I will watch more of at some point.
Chris Hitchcock: I wouldn’t take it that far, Josh, but it is good.
I’m kinda surprised no one wanted to talk about Kiznaiver. I want to mention it real quick, but I’m not going to dwell on this one for too long unless it turns into a conversation.
Kiznaiver is hitting a personal spot for me and this is the first series in a very long time where I felt a connection between myself and the main character. Those feelings of being numb and disconnected from social interactions is something I’ve struggled with for a very long time and I really want to see how Kiznaiver is going to tackle those emotions. It does feel like a slow burn, but from what I’ve seen so far, this might become a new personal favorite.
Josh: I’m liking it, but Okada is a time bomb.
Jimmy Gnome: I am surprised at how much I am enjoying it. It has a lot of issues, but it is shaping up to be my favorite Trigger show. I know it will probably fall apart in the end, though.
Subtle Doctor: I respect CJ’s personal connection to the material, but from a writing standpoint, I feel the show is very messy and has ultimately been a disappointment to me. It looks fantastic. I enjoy looking at the thing. But the writing, both in terms of plotting and dialogue, just rub me the wrong way.
Jimmy Gnome: I definitely agree that the writing has been messy, but it is still a step above most of Trigger’s output.
Also the disco hospital scene might be my favorite scene so far this season. It was an absolute treat and I want more like that.
Subtle Doctor: Hard to argue that at this point in time in Trigger’s history . That studio, man. 3 years ago I expected them to become the next gigantic studio. Didn’t really pan out that way. But yes, that was a cool scene.
Jimmy Gnome: I’ve honestly never been much of a fan of Imaishi’s crew anyways. It’s better when they are working under someone else.
Subtle Doctor: Someone to focus the energies and direct the insanity. I’m with you, I think.
Jimmy Gnome: This new guy has done good stuff, though, including some of the Kill la Kill episodes I actually enjoyed. Kiznaiver totally is a step up in terms of visual direction for the studio.
Josh: I like the show, but I feel like it just hasn’t started yet. And three episodes in, even the slower shows have at least begun approaching the main theme, where I feel like it was only talked about, still looming in the distance. But the flip side is this can all change at any moment, any episode.
The problem is Mari Okada. She write these stories that really only need to fit into half the amount of episodes they give her, and even then, she approaches things with a ‘practice makes perfect’ attitude, probing until she find the right tone, if she ever does. And by then it can me too late. I do not want Kiznaiver to be a waste of Hiroshi Kobayashi’s directorial debut.
Subtle Doctor: The outlining is superb. I love the way the characters look against the backgrounds. Small thing, but I really dig the look.
Jimmy Gnome: I don’t know, the themes seem pretty clear. It’s really the plot that isn’t moving. Kiznaiver definitely feels more meaningful and honest than most of trigger’s ironic humor and reference filled series.
Chris Hitchcock: I am a fan of Studio Trigger. I like the energy they put into their animation and I enjoy their goofy side projects like Ninja Slayer and this season’s Space Patrol Luluco. But I’m enjoying that they are tackling a serious topic like depression and loneliness where these topics can often lead to emo heavy levels of cheese. With Kiznaiver, the show still feels generally positive and it might all depend on where the story goes, but I’m invested in this one a lot.
Josh: Hitch is right, this is TRIGGER’s chance to step up and make something more mature then Saturday morning cartoons (mind you that those ‘Saturday morning cartoons have all been great, except the William’s Street shit).
This could be something cool and fun, yet rich like Persona in my eyes. I’m just really not sure if Okada is able to dig deep enough for something like that. She has yet to prove that to me as a consumer.
Subtle Doctor: I love the theme. I think lack of empathy is a real problem with people raised in online culture. But the method they have chosen to address it is just…it’s very contrived and makes the themes totally transparent, which undercuts their poignance.
Jimmy Gnome: See, I don’t really mind that too much because they are reinforced by more subtle techniques. Like, consider all of the imagery in the series of ‘connection’. Like the frequent shot of the two pointed towers intersecting, or hands being clasped.
Subtle Doctor: It’s easy to consider all of it, b/c the show is constantly reminding me about it. Like, directly via dialogue. Then, they punch each other. And complete vague missions. People can handle more subtlety than Kiznaiver employs.
Josh: I think the use of a scar to symbolize a connection is subtle unto itself if I may be so bold. There’s a sense of duality there if you think about it.
Jimmy Gnome: Katsuhira is just plain boring. I understand making him that way because of the themes of the show but they could have at least given him some character. He is just waiting for the development to happen. Look at Shinji, he was a character unfamiliar with making interpersonal connections, but he was also interesting.
Subtle Doctor: If everything only felt more organic…more natural…the premise, the dialogue, it all feels so stiff, so as hoc to enforce their messages. It kinda robs Kiznaiver of some relevance it might have had b/c the scenario is becoming so fantastical and unrelatable..
Something like Eden of The East did a great job of setting up a game with weird rules and high stakes but also having the messages hit home and feel relatable.
Jimmy Gnome: Uh, I sort of disagree with that, but okay. It’s probably easier to classify Kiznaiver as something like Yuri Kuma Arashi, where the themes matter more than the plot or characters, but I don’t think it has enough thematic complexity yet to compete on that front.
Subtle Doctor: Totally agree.
Chris Hitchcock: I disagree with that. Shinji’s just kind of a spoiled brat with a lot of Daddy issues. I wouldn’t consider that to be interesting, but that’s a personal hag up I have with the show that not everyone is going to agree with.
Katsuhira is numb. Those basic emotions people have to interact with each other on a day-to-day level are missing and don’t click with him like they are suppose to. Again I might be injecting myself into this character, but that’s what I see. The series is about having him grow out of his shell and learn how to feel basic emotions again. To learn what it means to be human. It has a real sense of character progression that I don’t see tackled very often.
Jimmy Gnome: I will spare you an argument over the complexities of Shinji’s character, but I see where you are coming from with Katsuhira.
Subtle Doctor: Don’t open the Eva can. Also, that EoE burn was sick, dude :). I deserve that for Mushishi though. I’m glad Kiznaiver is clicking for some people. That production deserves to be appreciated.
Jimmy Gnome: Yes you do. But I guess that’s the end of Kiznaiver talk? An interestingly ambitious show with hit or miss execution?
Chris Hitchcock: You’re right. Lost Village could turn around and have an amazing ending that rivals School Days.
Subtle Doctor: That would actually make me like it less.
Chris Hitchcock: I personally hope every show I watch ends with a woman cutting open a pregnant woman’s stomach looking for the baby. This goes for Gundam, Jojo, Ace Attorney and Sakamoto.
Jimmy Gnome: That’s how they make a real Iron Blooded Orphan.
Josh: My god…
Chris Hitchcock: -slow clap-
Subtle Doctor: I want to add to the contention here, and keep the arguing going. So, let’s talk about Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress.
It has probably my favorite setting and atmosphere of the season. The steampunk meets feudal Japan thing is really working for me. The world it builds I just find super compelling, but I still like zombie stories. I think the show looks amazing, but I know some don’t agree. The two main characters are awesome. The action is great. The soundtrack is great. It just feels like a solid, blockbuster thing that is very very well made. I dunno..,I just can’t wait to watch the next episode, man. It’s an epic actioner that seems to have something for everyone.
Also, it is not Attack on Titan redux like I feared it would be. It’s a zombie apocalypse, so whew.
“It’s not a rehash of an insanely popular show, just an insanely overused and tired genre that desperately needs to take a break”
Josh: Allow me to quote Ebert himself, “I would rather eat a golf ball than see this movie again.”
Jimmy Gnome: I hate this show.
I watched one episode and dropped it for good. Total waste of Mikimoto designs.
Subtle Doctor: Oh, also the soundtrack is very good.
Jimmy Gnome: Doc, please. I almost died at the generic Sawano drop
I didn’t even know he was doing the OST, but in that moment I lost all hope. I seriously do not understand how people still enjoy Sawano.
Subtle Doctor: It was so great, you take that back.
Chris Hitchcock: This is the one that was snatched by Amazon Prime right?
Subtle Doctor: Yes. Which will limit the exposure, sadly.
Chris Hitchcock: That’s why I haven’t seen it.
Jimmy Gnome: The show’s staff is basically a reunion of the Guilty Crown team. I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea. Even Egoist is on it.
Subtle Doctor: I’m sure the money makes up for it in their minds.
Which is insane, b/c I hated Guilty Crown.
Josh: Let’s be fair here, there are moments of great, wonderful nearly still frames of animation. They look like something that you would see out of an 80’s OVA. As for everything else, including the lack of plot, gore exploitation, and edginess akin to a My Chemical Romance single, it also looks like something that you would see out of an 80’s OVA.
Jimmy Gnome: Guilty Crown was at least funny. The first episode of Kabaneri was just plain shit.
Subtle Doctor: 80’s OAVs are good.
Chris Hitchcock: Agreed.
Jimmy Gnome: There are some good 80s OVAs, but the gore is not what makes them.
Josh: Psychic Wars was high art to be sure.
Subtle Doctor: I can’t help it if people don’t enjoy the simple pleasures of a cute girl flipping around a village killing the fuck out of zombies with steam knife guns. If that’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
Jimmy Gnome: Reading that made me cringe for real.
Chris Hitchcock: Same.
Jimmy Gnome: Steampunk should have stayed dead.
Chris Hitchcock: As long as you know you’re wrong. I’m fine with it.
Subtle Doctor: That’s all from me. Nothing more I can do for you people.
Josh: It’s not the simple pleasures that we’re missing, its the constant hammering over the head with unearned melodrama and self seriousness that turns me off. It is the worst tropes that anime has to offer, and that is not what anime needs right now to be recognized as a legitimate art form here in America.
Things like this make people think that Miyazaki is the only respectable Japanese export besides motor vehicles and the Sony Walkman.
Subtle Doctor: Oh goodness. That is such hyperbole.
Chris Hitchcock: I do love my Walkman.
Subtle Doctor: Titan was a huge crossover hit and it was steeped in melodrama and self-seriousness. It earned them about as well.
Jimmy Gnome: Titan was also shit.
Josh: And we all called it on the carpet.
Tomino ‘Mr. Reconguista’ was our champion.
Subtle Doctor: People watched it. Anime got noticed. Mushishi isn’t going to get anime recognized, if that is something you care about.
Chris Hitchcock: I enjoyed AoT, but it’s not going to replace Berserk like a lot of fanboys seem to keep telling me.
Subtle Doctor: Anime doesn’t have to always try to convert Westerners.
Josh: Anime would be much better off if we had two Mushishis vs Ticket to Ride on Titan.
Jimmy Gnome: Kabaneri is basically everything I dislike about anime. Made by one of the worst director/writer combos in the industry, scored by one of the most insufferable composers, animated with overwhelming inconsistency, and set in an absolute mess of a teenage fanfiction writer’s fantasy.
Subtle Doctor: And more people here will care about it than Flying Witch or Listless Guy. Which is a metric Josh introduced…that doesn’t matter as much to me personally. But if you come from the position of wanting anime to be recognized, Kabaneri has a better chance of that than most shows this season.
Chris Hitchcock: For a second I thought, “Flying Witch or Listless Guy” was suppose to be an insult towards Jim and Josh…
Jimmy Gnome: That’s fine if you like it, it seems a lot of fans agree with you, but it is completely misaligned with my tastes. I don’t really think I want anime to be recognized for this. If Kabaneri pop figures at hot topic is what you want out of western anime recognition, then I gotta say that’s a low bar.
Josh: I don’t think anyone is saying don’t enjoy it, I mean, to be fair, I loved Inuyasha, still do. But I’m not telling other people to go and watch it. Why? Because a lot of it is a waste of time, not really needing to be made. I still enjoy it, but I would not present it with any sort of accolade like Kanbanrei seems to be receiving (not from you, but on the net). I can easily see why it’s enjoyed, but I have a problem with it getting raving reviews on ANN by the same tasteless reviewer who gives Wolf Children a scathing B and says this is the best anime of the season.
Subtle Doctor: Jimmy: as I said, that stuff doesn’t matter to me, but that metric was introduced, so I thought I’d point it out.
Jimmy Gnome: “a scathing B” lol Josh
I haven’t read it but a B is pretty good. I’d probably rate it the same.
Josh: And anime would be better off if all those same people knew about Tanaka and Flying Witch or Mushishi is my point. Put good shows in their hands.
Subtle Doctor: I’m not sure most people would warm to those shows though, says the biased guy.
Chris Hitchcock: I know this is a little off topic, but I think why Titan and shows like it do will here in the states is because those types of shows go over well with military types. It has similar themes of protecting your follow soldier and the general hopelessness that war brings. I don’t think a lot of people actually put much thought into the plot holes and lack of character development that Titan and other shows of this nature have.
Jimmy Gnome: I agree with you, Doc. People don’t normally get into more slow paced stuff.
Subtle Doctor: Stuff people are used to at that level of entertainment generally has plot holes, so that probably bounces off people.
Jimmy Gnome: And we could probably talk for hours and hours on why. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want more people to try them.
Subtle Doctor: That is fair.
Josh: My point is anime would be better off without this show. And I mean that.
Jimmy Gnome: I also don’t want Titan or Kabaneri to be the face of anime in the west. Because there are different kinds of shows that get ignored because of that. Shows that I like. And I understand that it’s a fairly childish plea.
Josh: I think Kanbarei stole all of Ace Attorney’s money. That makes Josh mad.
Subtle Doctor: It’s true, Jimmy. This is likely a problem fans of most mediums face. “Why is Superman the face of comic books?” Etc.
Chris Hitchcock: Well I agree with Miyazaki. “Anime was a mistake.” We should all just give up and start a Wrestling Podcast.
Subtle Doctor: I’d have to pick wrestling back up…
Jimmy Gnome: So yeah, Kabaneri: total shit.
Subtle Doctor: Genre entertainment: Hated by most of WMC.
Jimmy Gnome: Another show I’m really into this season is Macross Delta, which is probably something fewer people would be that into. Like all of Macross, it is very fun, doesn’t take itself very seriously and has lots of idol goodness. The visuals are pretty top notch and the characters are likable so far. It’s sad that Harmony Gold won’t allow the series to see any official Western release, though.
Subtle Doctor: I am a gigantic Macross fan. I can’t deal with waiting week to week, so my plan is to watch it all at once when it’s over. Though I’m not sure my resolve will hold out…
Josh: I haven’t seen it. Kinda waiting to see some feedback before I jump in. I kinda wanted to see it though.
Chris Hitchcock: I’ve only seen Robotech…
Subtle Doctor: Macross should be the face of anime.
Jimmy Gnome: Macross is the good kind of genre entertainment.
Subtle Doctor: How does it compare to other iterations of Macross?
Jimmy Gnome: I feel like this one is giving more focus than usual to the idol side so far. People have been comparing it to Kawamori’s AKB show, which I haven’t seen.
Subtle Doctor: Seems like the thing to do these days, the idol thing. I adore basically the entirety of Macross except for Zero. If it keeps up what Frontier started, then I’m all for it.
Jimmy Gnome: Things should be picking up sometime soon, they’re still sort of introducing the characters now. Idols are good if they’re mixed with other things like mecha planes.
Subtle Doctor: Satellite seems like they are becoming the studio that just does idols + machines shows.
How is the music? It’s always been great even in Zero.
Jimmy Gnome: Pretty great so far, I need to look up some of the idol songs on youtube.
Not a big fan of the OP though.
Subtle Doctor: One more thing I need to know before we move on.
Ranka or Sheryl?
Jimmy Gnome: Ranka.
Subtle Doctor: Noooooo! Goddamnit.
Chris Hitchcock: -High Fives Josh-
Subtle Doctor: Sheryl is one of my favorite characters in all of anime, especially after seeing the Frontier movies, which are incredible. See those if you haven’t, Jimmy.
Jimmy Gnome: I actually haven’t. Will do.
Subtle Doctor: The story changes a lot. Second movie is actually all new. Sheryl’s character has a totally different arc. I loved it in the TV show, but it’s even better in the films. And the Macross callbacks are plentiful. And it looks gorgeous of course…anyway…this didn’t air this season. But I like Kabaneri…so can I be trusted?
Chris Hitchcock: Nope.
Josh: I trust you still.
Jimmy Gnome: You like other things I like, don’t worry.
Subtle Doctor: Thank you, J. And other J.
Josh: Ok, so my last go around is a toss up between Luluco and Sakamoto, but let’s go with Luluco.
I am kinda sick of Imaishi’s short anime scheme. It’s like he’s caught in this slump of making shows that are too long and too short at the same time. Luluco falls into that too short category for me – I feel like it needs to decompress some, slow down, breathe.
I’m kinda on the fence with it right now, but Nova-kun is Imaishi’s Kaworu, so I’m still watching hoping that this won’t just be the Happy Meal version of Gunbuster.
Jimmy Gnome: I don’t think Luluco has such ambitions. It is better than the other Trigger shorts, but it still suffers from being ironically bad is many ways. I also think the ED is the best of the season.
Chris Hitchcock: I like Luluco. It goofy. I don’t think, it wants to set the world on fire with anything meaningful, it just wants to have a laugh.
Subtle Doctor: If it’s not advancing the medium, fucking burn it. 😉 (Sorry Josh, couldn’t resist)
Chris Hitchcock: It’s also one of those shows with background gags I like. With this one, I love how the Dad keeps popping up in the background still frozen in the police station in every episode.
Jimmy Gnome: I wish Imaishi would use his talents better.
Like, I love seeing an Imaishi episode in older Gainax stuff like Kare Kano or Mahoromatic, but when he’s director it just doesn’t do it for me.
Josh: The more I see of Imaishi the more I wonder if he needs to be on a team and reigned in a little. I loved Kill la Kill, Gurren Lagann and even Panty Stocking. I would like to see him return to more full length series projects.
Subtle Doctor: Didn’t like Gurren Lagann, Jimmy?
Jimmy Gnome: Not particularly. It is probably my favorite of his original works, though, because at least it is honest. Either that or Dead Leaves.
A wild Anti-Spiral appeared! What will Josh do? ►RUN Got away safely!
Chris Hitchcock hides his GL poster
Subtle Doctor removes Team Gurren sunglasses
Josh: I guess if I look at any other ‘auteur’ I can see them telling bits and pieces of a giant overall story (maybe unintentionally) and I saw that at the stort. now I see a plateau he’s reached. It’s a somewhat enjoyable one, but nothing I care to rush out and see or evangelize with spamming screencaps.
Jimmy Gnome: I don’t particularly dislike Luluco in the same way I do Inferno Cop and Ninja Slayer, at least. I think it is a fun show. It hits the right balance for me and I think it works as a short.
Subtle Doctor: Knowing you, I can see you hating those other shows.
Jimmy Gnome: I absolutely hate Ninja Slayer, to be true. Worst show of last year.
Chris Hitchcock: If you don’t like Ninja Slayer, check out the Manga for it. It’s kinda amazing and fits that medium better.
Subtle Doctor: Jimmy, I don’t think Mayoiga is for you.
Jimmy Gnome: Mayoiga is Ninja Slayer bad? Like, it’s intentionally garbage and revels in it?
Josh: Ninja Slayer may be too Japanese for localization to work. It makes fun of the American stereotypical view of the Japanese. Something that gets lost in translation.
Subtle Doctor: Mayoiga is not as much of a jackass as Ninja Slayer, but it knows it is dumb and embraces it.
Chris Hitchcock: Again, the manga for Ninja Slayer actually makes that concept a lot of fun.
Jimmy Gnome: What baffles me is that the people who did Ninja Slayer’s OP, one of the worst in recent memory, also did Kiznaiver’s OP, which is the best of the season.
Subtle Doctor: It is a killer OP!
Josh: Oh wait, the Boom Boom Satellites? They’re badass bro!
Chris Hitchcock: I enjoyed the crazy nature of the anime and enjoyed it’s off brand visual style.
Jimmy Gnome: Ninja Slayer’s OP drained my life away. Seriously, that show made me dumber. I could not do work after watching it.
Subtle Doctor: My final pick is a show I did NOT expect to like. It was getting universally panned after its first episode. But, at the end of the year, the site has to pick a worst anime. On that basis, I thought Is try out Re:Zero. And I actually liked it quite a bit.
It’s by no means original. It’s actually derivative wrapped in even more derivative in terms of its premise (modern boy transported time dieback fantasy world, treats it like RPG). But, something about the look of the thing and the characters themselves really drew me in. It’s not dissimilar in setup to Deen’s last show, but the cast is WAAAAAY more likable.
The final bits of episode one were also brilliant and really hooked me. There’s a time travel mechanic that the show hasn’t defined rules for yet, but the MC dies at the end of ep 1. And as he’s dying, his killer is saying “Slowly, slowly” and he begins to travel back in time to before his death. The killer’s voice, his own internal voice, and the time displacement are occurring simultaneously and the visual and audio effects they use are just super cool. Really indelible scene.
It’s not always super heavy or anything, though. There’s plenty of fun to be had. I dunno… maybe this thing caught me on a good day, but it really clicked with me. And I usually don’t go for high fantasy stuff.
Josh: I was recommended this, but I there are too many shows this season to see, so I didn’t go after it. Was that a mistake?
Subtle Doctor: Give it a go. I was totally surprised at how taken with it I was. Very enjoyable world to be in, and enjoyable main characters. And the localized time travel creates interesting relationship dynamics.
Josh: Now, you and I both watched BoobRibbon the anime. How does it compare to that?
Subtle Doctor: I found Danmacchi relaxing.
Chris Hitchcock: I didn’t care for Boob Ribbon. I mean, I like the Boob Ribbon costume and Boob Ribbon cosplayers are amazing. Because I mean, its literally a Boob Ribbon. Just that was the only thing about that show that was worth remembering about the show. There was a woman with large breast who wore a plain white dress and used a blue ribbon as a bra. I remember absolutely nothing else about that show. It made me want to brush my teeth.
Jimmy Gnome: Okay, for the last one I’d like to briefly talk about my feelings towards Bungou Stray Dogs. When this season started it was my favorite show, which took me by surprise because I thought the source material was going to be irrecoverably bad. Fortunately, Igarashi is amazing and made me fall in love with it. Unfortunately, it seems he can’t keep it up, because the most recent episode was absolutely terrible, becoming basically what I thought it would be from the beginning. I’m hoping there will be a few more good episodes in there, but I’m honestly pretty pessimistic about it all.
Subtle Doctor: What happened to those two? Star Driver was really good. Not above reproach, but good stuff. But first Captain Earth and now this.
Jimmy Gnome: Yes, I love Star Driver. Captain Earth was really just a misstep, but this is a very different kind of bad.
Chris Hitchcock: Star Driver is awful.
Subtle Doctor: (Ignoring CJ) Yeah, the setup for Stray Dogs struck me as very odd and kinda off-putting.
Josh: Stray Dogs was a decent first episode, but it was very lukewarm with great shots but meh story and characters. The suicide jokes got old after the first try for me, so that was another factor. However it did have a Grand Rodeo OP which is all I need. Not sure I want to pick it back up, reminded me too much of BBB.
Jimmy Gnome: Like, Captain Earth was at least somewhat interesting and unique, whereas Stray Dogs is just an adaptation of a generic seinen.See, I actually liked most of BBB because at least its episodes were consistently fun and interesting.
Subtle Doctor: Do you think those guys can’t do something that isn’t trope subversion? They were just in their element with Ouran and Star Driver. Confident as fuck.
Jimmy Gnome: Episode 3 of Stray Dogs was a slog. I think it’s more that they have to channel shoujo elements. Igarashi is so much better at that.
Subtle Doctor: What do you mean? (Colton is going to be so mad)
Jimmy Gnome: He’s more suited for doing shoujo material like ouran, or material that borrows heavily from shoujo like Star Driver.Very flamboyant.
Subtle Doctor: Gotcha. I dig it.
Josh: From what I’m hearing, it sounds like the first episode is very much a tell for the rest of the series.
Jimmy Gnome: I feel like it was the opposite, Josh. The first episode was very Ouran feeling to me. It was fun and had great direction. Episode 3 has none of that. The interactions, the pacing, the compositions, all of it screamed Igarashi. And I just love his style.
Subtle Doctor: The first episode felt very weird to me. Just like the creatives were going “Welp, here’s a thing.”
It felt to me like an episode that would feel more at home in the middle of a series, with characters I knew and liked. As an introduction to them, I didn’t feel it succeeded as well as it could have.
Jimmy Gnome: Maybe so. I was just too thrilled to actually be enjoying a show I thought I wouldn’t like.
Chris Hitchcock: It didn’t leave much of an impression on me.
Josh: Hmmm, sounds like I was right to drop this one.
Jimmy Gnome: And now here I am, tricked by the wiles of a good director. I will stick with the show until the end, though, in case he comes back for another good episode like some of the later Captain Earth ones.
Subtle Doctor: I want to go back and finish Captain Earth.
Jimmy Gnome: It really isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, but it isn’t very good either.
Josh: Take us home, Jimmy. TacoBell closes in an hour.
Chris Hitchcock: I want Taco Bell. Take me with you.
Jimmy Gnome: So there you have it, folks. Lots of different things to try out this season means lots of things to argue about, too. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this, and please stay tuned for more of our ramblings in the future. Goodnight!