Summer Season 2016 Review - Part 2

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So that's what suffering from a painful debilitating disease feels like.
Sorry I'm late, like really really late but since I made part 1, gotta finish what I started. So, here we are with the rest of my picks from the summer season. Honestly, this season wasn't really all that exciting (despite the painful experience). There were a couple of 'good' shows, but unlike last year, there wasn't anything too out of the ordinary. Anyways, here it is.

Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru

Studio : Feel.
Genre : Comedy, Romance, School
Episodes : 12
Status : Finished. Somehow.

Quick, 2D or 3D, which one do you prefer?
If you ask our protagonist here, he would answer 2D in a hearbeat. Highschooler Uchimaki Subaru is a 2D worshipper through and through. His hobbies include watching anime, reading manga and drawing his own waifus. To further cultivate his passion and love for "art", he joins the art club of his school, with one ultimate goal in mind - to draw a perfect waifu.
Enter, Usami Mizuki, embodiment of what the "normal high school girl" in anime should be like - kind, caring and friendly, with a touch of tsundere and a crush on our protagonist. And like any normal girl, she doesn't approve of our protagonist's infatuation with 2D. Which leads to sarcastic remarks and tiny farces between the two. But sadly, the main focus of the dynamic is the romance (mainly Usami's inner conflict, and by conflict I mean the tsundere part of her) and not the comedy routine that they go through, the occurrence of which gets rarer as the show goes on.

At least, that was how I pictured this show. But as the name says, the show is about the art clubroom and the things that the characters do there. Things like characters goofing around, people sleeping, people passing out, budding romances, jealousy, chuunibyou and whatnot. It's about the members of the art club (official and unofficial), and all the events that happen in any other slice of life setup. You know the whole yearlong routine of events like the cultural festival, sports festival, tests, valentines and whatnot (I wish I had a link for the whole compendium). Basically, it's not that different from any other slice of life show out there. If you've seen one, you'll know how things will progress, and all that's left is the question whether or not the comedy (or a character) is amusing. For me, there wasn't anything that interesting. I liked Usami at first but as the show went on, she turned into just another one of those thirsty tsunderes that I don't like watching.

Now, for a show like this, the enjoyment depends upon one's sense of humour, so if you are interested, I'd say give it a shot. I, didn't like it, so I am not recommending it. Well, at least it doesn't look ugly and there are few good puns... and apples.

Mob Psycho 100

Studio : Bones
Genre : Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Episodes : 12
Status : Did you seriously think I wouldn't watch this? Finished.

A lazy unmotivated egghead with immense power. I think I've seen this before.
Mob Psycho 100 features Kageyama Shigeo aka Mob, a shy anxious grade schooler with low self esteem, an inferiority complex and very strong psychic powers. He goes about his life disjointed because he can't figure out how to deal with the powers that he has. One day, he meets Reigen Arataka, a con artist who claims to be a psychic. And after 'plot' plays out, Reigen ends up as Mob's mentor. And his 'training' involves him exorcising evil spirits around town while Reigen rakes in the cash. Now this goes on for a while until other psychics show up and from there on out its just a big mess.
Basically, you have your 12 year old kid running around town, with a grown up, playing ghostbusters until your usual evil organisation enters the scene and now you're trying to stop world domination. It's like watching a magical girl series except its not a magical girl and there's a little bit of symbolism thrown into the mix. And did I mention the "Psycho" and the "100" part?

Since our main character is a little slow on the uptake and he can't really deal with his emotions or people, he bottles it all up. And thanks to ONE, we have a nice little numerical counter for measuring that, which goes from 0 to 100. So when Mob has had enough, the counter hits 100 and he "snaps". The subsequent outrage is determined by the dominating emotion at the time of the outrage. Basically, the guy loses control and shit goes down.
But there's another side to Mob's personality. He believes that having supernatural powers doesn't make you "special" or "better" than anyone, you're still a normal person. He also doesn't want to hurt another human being with his psychic powers and truly believes that psychic powers are unnecessary, that they aren't required for him to live a normal life. The guy is an anxious dimwitted socially awkward saint.

The point is, the show is full of events and dialogues which point to a greater meaning to this mess (particularly, a moral lesson of sorts). Now, you can happily indulge yourselves into it and love it or you can just totally ignore it. Either way, the show is above average, and you will probably like it. Just try not to think that the animation is ugly and you'll be fine.

Alderamin on the Sky

Studio : Mahouse
Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Military
Episodes : 13
Status : Watched. Not sure why.

So, another one of those lazy geniuses huh?
Studio "Season Two? What's that?" brings us the origin story of the "lazy invincible" General Ikta Solork, in a light novel adaptation by the name of Alderamin on the Sky. You have your usual medieval era military setup - two empires that are at war with each other. A main character, who detests war, and is accompanied by a red haired woman who bears the mighty family name of "Igsem", a classmate by the name of Matthew, the rifleman Torway Remion, and the medic Haroma Becker. While on their way to the preliminary exams, they encounter a storm, due to which their ship sinks and they find themselves behind enemy lines with their Empire's Princess in their custody. With the help of his remarkable "intelligence" and allies, Ikta Solork gets them out of there without a scratch. Impressed by this extraordinary feat, the Emperor bestows upon them the title of Imperial Knights. And so, "unwillingly", our protagonist gets himself involved with the military affairs of the Empire.
From here on out, the show is about how situations between the two Empires escalate and how our protagonist makes a name for himself through his accomplishments on the battlefield.

To be honest, I'm not completely sold on Alderamin. I mean it does a lot of things right - like how Ikta isn't a total hax, and that the "if you follow this guy, nothing is going to happen to you" strategy doesn't always work, or how the show doesn't make a total mockery out of war and shows us the aspects of controversial decisions and whatnot. It still isn't enough for me. You see, in terms of characters, the show isn't all that great. Take the main character for example. His whole "I'm lazy but when the time comes, I'll come through" routine is nothing new. And besides his dynamic with Yatori (that's the redhead Igsem), there isn't much to build upon. Not to mention, the fact that the guy is lazy and detests war, doesn't agree with the whole "invincible general" act (or maybe that irony is the punchline).
But that's not all, the show throws out a lot of terms for it's world, but it never gets to the worldbuilding part. It shows us that all soldiers have a "spirit" as a partner, but it never tells us anything about those beings. Same goes for the political situation of the empire. We're told that the Kioka Empire is the only enemy but out of nowhere... well you can guess where I'm getting at. And that's the thing with light novel adaptations, A LOT of the info is left out. And as a result of that, the show feels rushed, incomplete and lacking.

So, should you pick this up? Well, if you want to see the lazy clever bastard doing his thing on the battlefield, sure. There's some good action to go with that as well (courtesy of the badass redhead). If you want to see those fantasy wars with guns and swords and cannons with all the bloodbath, then you should check this out. But if you're looking for a story, with character development and everything, then don't bother.

New Game!

Studio : Doga Kobo
Genre : Comedy, Slice of Life
Episodes : 12
Status : Dropped on episode 4. My expectations were too damn high.

"Hey look, an anime about making video games. That sounds interesting..."
Anime that focus on behind the scenes portion of an industry, whether it be the animation, sound, compositing, manga etc, tend to feature characters with a lot of passion, creativity and heart, in an environment that nurtures those qualities by providing adequate challenges. Different character roles are established and we're shown how all those roles contribute to the whole thing (for a simple example, take the mangaka, the assistants and the editor) We see the little subtleties and the tricks of the trade, and that makes us feel that we're a little more intimate with the thing that we love. Now, I love playing video games, and I would love to know what goes into creating those awesome games. So, when I heard about a show that focused on game production, I was really excited. I was expecting to see a lot of cool stuff, the creator's thought process and how they approach the whole "we're gonna make a game" situation, softwares and whatnot. But then I watched the first episode... and there were grown up lolis, one of them in her panties. Now, I don't mind moe and all the other cutesy stuff that comes with it, but I was appalled. Still, I thought it would get better, so I kept on watching. But the moe train never stopped.

New Game is NOT an inside look into the gaming industry, it's more like one of those high school slice of life shows that feature a club. Name it game creation club (or something like that) and you're good to go. The cast is all female, the character designs are noway near the age of the characters and they fight over food.
Thing is, I went into it without checking anything about its source material. So when I found out later that the show is adapted from a 4-koma manga, I realised I was expecting to see a tiger jump at me while it really was just a little kitten hiding in a box (I hope that makes sense). Point is, it was never about the gaming industry, they just wanted to give you a few laughs and giggles and have a relaxing time. And that's what the show tries to deliver with its "misleading" premise and characters.
Now the question is, do you like the cute girls doing cute things premise? If yes, then you might wanna check this out. But don't trust me, I dropped it at the 4th episode.

Orange Anime

Studio : TMS Entertainment
Genre : Drama, Romance, School, Sci-Fi, Shoujo
Episodes : 13
Status : This is why I have lost faith in Shoujo genre. Finished.

What if one day, you wake up and find your future self standing before you with a letter. A letter that contains a list of all the bad decisions you'll make, ones that you will regret later on. Telling you exactly what happened and all the do's and don'ts about that particular situation. What will you do if you received such a letter? You'll probably punch yourself in the face first and ask where the lottery numbers are, but since you'll see that coming (cuz you came from the future), you won't deliver the letter personally. So, you'll mail it. But seriously, what will you do? You already know that if you don't follow the letter, something bad will happen. But if you do follow it, there's this discontent that you're not your own master anymore. Especially when you're in the hormone-induced-rebellious-teenager phase. But then again, who doesn't make bad decisions? So, what's the point?

Orange is a story about a shy, timid highschool girl Naho Takamiya, who, one day receives a letter from her future self saying something along the lines of "listen to me, you're terrible at making decisions, so from now on, do what I tell you or you'll regret it later". Actually she sent herself a detailed account of everything major that was going to happen in highschool involving the death of a boy she had a crush on. Anyways, the letter's purpose is to save that guy from dying, and fall in love with him and have little babies and stuff. Sounds like the kind of stuff a 12 year old girl would fantasize about during a boring history class. But meh, lets go on. So, in order to save that guy from dying, the letter describes certain events that need to be changed. And that's what the show is about. Naho and company, trying their best to prevent Naho's crush from dying.

Doesn't sound too bad, right? Then why did I "lose faith" in the genre?
Let's start with Naho, the saviour. Have you ever been in one of those moments where you're watching a character do something stupid, which they know is stupid, but they do it anyway? The excruciating feeling and the irresistible urge to punch them in the face which magnifies exponentially with every passing moment? That stupid character is Naho, in a nutshell. She knows that her actions determine whether Kakeru lives or dies, but she still remains indecisive, inattentive and runs away from circumstances. And I'm not even going to talk about her "crush" and other characters. Not to mention the "time travel" theory they throw at you.

To me, this whole thing was sloppy, immature and at times, a pain to watch. Even the romance wasn't interesting. So, no, don't watch this.

Saiki Kusou no Psi-nan

Studio : J.C. Staff, Egg Firm
Genre : Comedy, School, Shounen, Supernatural
Episodes : So good, I lost count.
Status : Anime of the Season my friends. It's still airing though.

Just your everyday psychic with god-like powers trying to live a normal life... but something always goes wrong.
Saiki Kusou no Psi-nan is a story about a guy who has incredibly strong supernatural powers since birth. He can teleport, move things with his mind, fly, change gender/species, hypnotise anyone, read people's mind... and any other insane psychic power you can imagine. But unlike most "ordinary" people, he finds these powers to be a pain in the ass. So, he tries his best to hide them and live like a normal person. He always ranks in the middle in whichever competition he participates in, be it the academic tests or sporting events, never tries to get attention, etc. But sadly for him, blending in the crowd is not an easy task. Thanks to the people around him - mom, dad, friends, classmates, strangers, cats etc, he can never find peace. The show is about him trying to deal with all of this.

Since we're talking about a guy with crazy powers, people around him can never be normal. I don't mean everyone else has superpowers, they are just... crazy. The show features a cast that is full of weird stereotypes with the crazy meter cranked up to 11. They range from the idiot gorilla to guy with extreme chuunibyou to the popular princess/angel to a cat who thinks he can subdue any human with its cuteness. Heck, even his parents are weird, especially the dad. Add your usual high school events - tests, sports festival, cultural festival, trips, vacation, new year, christmas etc, and you have one hell of a show. In short, the cast is very unique and their interactions with Saiki are hilarious. And that's all there is to it.
In the end, I'd say this is a must watch for this season. Of course with the usual warning. The one about comedies and sense of humour. You know what I'm talking about.

Tales of Zestiria the X

Studio : ufotable
Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Episodes : 12
Status : Well, that was a really long promotional video. Finished.

Anime about video games. I've talked about this before on why it's usually a terrible idea to make an anime based on a video game, and it looks like even the mighty ufotable can't make it happen, not even in round 2.
Tales of Zestiria the X is just a 4 hour long promotional video to a game which is the fifteenth instalment in a series of role playing games, a series that started in 1995, 20 years ago. Now, I don't mind the celebration but to think that for a game to last this long, it must have one hell of a story, characters and gameplay. But then again, you know how RPGs are. They can be very demanding and long. So to compress a game whose playtime is around 43 something hours (story only) into 12 20 minute long episodes isn't a great idea to begin with (shut up, I know about the 2nd season). So, how does this disastrous idea play itself out?

The story is a bit too much to explain so I'll give you the short short version. It's your classic good vs evil story. In ancient times, Seraphim and Humans used to live together and everyone was happy, but then man started to do what they do - lie, cheat, get violent and greedy etc. This pissed off the Seraphim and they started living away from the humans. Now, out of all the hate and the malevolence, these evil entities called Hellions were born. Stronger the malevolence, the stronger the Hellion. Their forms range from a simple possession to a dragon, with the final dark lord in command. So, to stop these evil creatures, a Seraph is 'chosen', who can combine with a Seraphim and use their power to get rid of/purify the dark forces. And our story is about one such Seraph by the name of Sorey and the other Seraphim around him.

It's your usual cut-and-dried story where most of the characters are stereotypical. The "I'm nice to a fault" main character is a perfect example. Though I did like the character of Alisha, I still wouldn't give it too much credit. The only thing that was left to hook me up were the eye candy visuals. And ufotable did what they do best - gorgeous visuals and fight scenes. I would have preferred more close quarters combat but I am still okay with what I got. So, if you're here for the visuals, you'll get them. As for the story, characters and whatnot, try the game.
And that is all for this Summer Season review post. And since we're already this late, I'm thinking of picking up a handful of shows from the Fall Season and do a separate first impression for each. So, any suggestions?

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