Spring Season 2016 First Imprressions - Part 1

Spring Season 201 First Impressions - Part 1

As I was grinding for some uber-gear for my blademaster in Blade & Soul (those stingers are a pain to farm), I decided to take a look at the upcoming spring season. So, I put on my glasses and got into the whole Gendou Ikari pose in front of my screen, trying to pick anime to watch. And to my surprise, there were a few promising titles among the mountain of stuff that was going to air. Wit Studio, White Fox, Studio Deen, MAPPA, Bones, Trigger, Production I.G., J.C. Staff, Sunrise, the list was full of all these big names that had me all pumped up for the new season (Madhouse is taking a break though. Interesting...). But as the number of episodes increased every week, so did my disappointment in the season. And now here we are, halfway into the season. Let's see what we got.

The Macho men with fancy hair have returned (and will go into my eternal plan to watch list with the rest of the JoJo series); a studio and a director that need to get their shit together and make the next season of Attack on Titan, which they clearly aren't planning to any time soon; some guy who got thrown into the anime version of Dark Souls 3, where he just dies every other episode (git gud pleb); more super-hero shounen stuff *sighs*; a courtroom drama which makes a joke of the court of law; cute girls on motorcycles; more fanservice, more moe, more compulsive teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands, more swag, more seinen and flying witches and pedo bear.
The season looks full of crazy stuff with potential, but it doesn't execute it right. Without further ado, let's dive in. Here's the list of anime covered in this part 1 :

     • Ace Attorney
     • Bakuon!!
     • Big Order
     • Boku no Hero Academia
     • Bungou Stray Dogs

Ace Attorney

Studio : A-1 Pictures
Genre : Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Police

I don't have a great relationship with anime based on video games. In a video game, you are, in a way, directly involved in the story. You, as the main character, take all the decisions and the story progresses accordingly. But when that video game gets adapted into an anime, you are removed from that front seat, and are instead placed into the audience, with your power of decision taken away from you. So, there's this detachment that you feel, which, mostly comes out as the show not being good enough as the game. But you give it a shot anyway.
So, when I saw that a famous game by Capcom (which I haven't played by the way) was getting an adaptation, I was slightly excited. And the fact that it was going to be a courtroom drama made it even more exciting. But then the first episode aired.

Ace Attorney, at first, to someone who hasn't played the game, will look like a piss poor drama show, where the court of law is treated as a joke. Especially to those of you who are used to the hollywood seriousness. Things like the way the victim is treated, how the judge actively asks questions and how the prosecution and the police seem to work closely, will strike as odd to you. At least it did to me. So, here's the thing. The game/ anime's court system is influenced from the civil law inquisitorial system of Japan as opposed to adversarial system that most of us are used to. Things like 'guilty until proven innocent' and the judge actively participating in the trial (instead of acting as a referee between the defense and the prosecution) are part of it. Secondly, the game, as far as I have researched, is a parody of the court system and not to be taken seriously.

So with all that out of the way, how well does the series fare? From the perspective of someone who hasn't played the game, not so good. Even though the show isn't supposed to be taken seriously, I had a hard time getting over it (I desperately wanted it to be serious). But, even if you take it as it is meant to be, it still isn't great. The trials are really rushed, to the point that there isn't much room left for the detective work (or for the audience to think), and the characters take a hit from it as well. I can't say how faithful of an adaptation this is, but from my point of view, I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. If you have played the game, you should go check this out (if you haven't already), else, I don't guarantee an amazing experience.

Bakuon!!

Studio : TMS Entertainment
Genre : Seinen, Slice of Life, Comedy, Ecchi(?)

Do you like motorbikes? And do you like moe? Would you like to see the traditional cute girls doing cute things... but on motorcycles? (legendary idea, right?)
Well, if you are a motorcycle enthusiast AND love moe at the same time (which is a pretty rare combination), then this anime is for you. Filled with ridiculous situations and all kinds of references (from Top Gear to real life motorcycle champions to the illuminati), Bakuon!! takes you on an entertaining ride.

So, a high-school girl riding a bicycle uphill on her way to school sees a girl riding a motorcycle and is fascinated by it. She works her way up the hill and reaches the school, only to find out that the girl she previously saw is a student there. And after having a nice conversation with her, she decides that maybe she will find love in motorcycles. And so she joins the motorcycle club, where she is taken on a ride on the club leader Raimu's Kawasaki ZX-12R, which ends up inciting her love for biking. And from here on out, the show is full of the adventures she has with her club buddies. This involves getting her license, her first bike, road trip, camping, etc.

The show is just like your regular slice of life show, where there isn't any main storyline and the focus is on the characters doing everyday things in their stupid, ridiculous way. Which, here, is riding bikes and doing things related to the hobby of riding motorcycles. You will often find the characters discussing about different motorcycle manufacturing companies and models and their features, what some of them are famous for, etc (with all the spoofs and references thrown in between). The characters are a nice bunch of weirdos, you have the generic kind hearted airhead Hane on her Honda CB400SF Hyper VTEC Spec III (called Su-Four for convenience), the wild & adventurous Onsa on her Yamaha SEROW225W who likes to give speeches and stuff, 'the Stig' Raimu on her Kawasaki ZX-12R who never talks or ages, the rich wannabe delinquent Hijri Minowa in the sidecar of a Ducati 750SS Imola Replica driven by her butler Haykawa, and last but not the least, the well endowed tsundere in her pink racing suit, Suzunoki Rin on her Suzuki GSX400S Katana.

The show is made to appeal to a very small audience and I would not recommend this to everyone. However, if you are a not-too-serious bike enthusiast with love for moe and fanservice, then you will probably get some good laughs from this. Maybe even feel a little bit of nostalgia when you find the characters in situations you yourself were in (like buying your first bike, getting a licence).
P.S. There's quite a bit of fanservice here, which could get ridiculous at times, so watch out for that.

Big Order

Studio : Asread
Genre : Action, Shounen, Super Power

A guy with super powers wants to take over the world to create a better place for his crippled sister. Now where have I seen this before? Hmmm...
With the author of the infamous Mirai Nikki behind the script, I would be lying if I said I wasn't expecting 'something' out of this. Boy I was so so wrong. Because this is much much worse than Mirai Nikki. There, the characters got screwed because the show was trying to one up the suspense and thrill with every episode by introducing plot twist after plot twist, but here, the characters are already downright terrible. Even if you take into account the fact that 10 years ago the world was almost destroyed and that could make people crazy and full of hatred.

When he was a little kid, our main protagonist saw a fairy like being who asked him what he wished for. And like any other emo punk depressed MC, he wished for the end of the world. And so, the world ended. The end. No, wait, actually it didn't because.... plot? (Maybe the guy was tripping on acid and wished for Evangelion to come true or something)
But, as the guy himself says, he wished to rule the world... and that somehow ended up destroying most of it. After that event, people called 'Orders' with special powers started emerging all over the world because that angelic being granted their wishes as well. So how does our MC 'rule the world'? Well, he has this boundary around him, you can call it an aura of sorts, and anything within his physical domain is under his control. Be it wind, gravity, people, flying bullets or whatnot. And this is achieved via this 'Ajin like being' called Bind Dominator ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). He is being forced by a mysterious group of people to conquer the world so he can find an Order with the ability to cure his sister's disease (because he can manipulate the air, gravity, the laws of physics / literally anything and everything in his domain, but somehow he can't cure the disease. Or get the crazy Yuno look-alike to cure it/ revert the damage caused by it with the regeneration).

Long story short, save yourself some couple million brain cells by not watching this illogical absurd unreasonable casuistic clusterf*ck. It has good potential for a lot of mind games and chills and thrills but it just tramples all over it.

Boku no Hero Academia

Studio : Bones
Genre : Action, Comedy, School, Shounen, Super Power

Recently, action shounen anime have been coming out one after the other, with little differences to the already successful formula of the underdog MC. It's like every other Samsung smartphone, practically the same thing as before, just with a bigger screen and some extra but useless features (and people go crazy over it). While Boku no Hero Academia might seem like a breath of fresh air to some, it doesn't actually do anything new. It's the same old underdog story where the main character goes from zero to hero, growing together with his bunch of nakamas. The only thing that might be new here is that the protagonist cries too much, at least once every episode.

So, in a world where 80% of the population has some kind of superpower called "Quirk", our poor unlucky protagonist doesn't develop one around the time he's supposed to. And so his dreams of being a superhero are crushed at a very early age, and everyone around him, the doctors, his friends and even his own mother is convinced that he will never become a superhero. Even when faced with such a hopeless situation, our tough little Deku hangs in there and doesn't give up on his dream. And after plot happens, he gets his hands on an incredible Quirk, and gets accepted into the UA Hero Academy where he will now learn how to become a hero. Sounds like a fun ride, doesn't it? The classic zero to hero transformation, filled with lots of screams and sweat and blood.

Well, the show isn't as bad as your typical action shounen tend to be. Now, besides the protagonist crying every episode, there is one major downside to this show. It is the pacing. For a show that has only 13 episodes in it's vault, it proceeds at the pace of a 200+ episodes shounen. It exaggerates the simplest of situations (like one friggin softball throw), and there are unnecessary flashbacks at every other minor event (where the protagonist cries afterwards or during the moment). We are 7 episodes in and we have yet to find out where this show is gonna go, because no villain or an equivalent plotline has showed up yet.

Overall, it is a nice show. I like how they are slightly creative with the superhero abilities and how the protagonist doesn't just cheese his way through situations with just talk or brute force. It isn't anything new, but you can sit down and watch it and hopefully get some fun out of it since Bones is doing the animation. Recommendation is a yes.

Bungou Stray Dogs

Studio : Bones
Genre : Action, Comedy, Mystery, Seinen, Supernatural

Suicide isn't funny you know.
So, a series where the main characters share the name (and in one case, a couple of traits) with famous Japanese authors had me interested (it was also studio Bones). Not to mention the mystery, seinen and supernatural tags in the genre. I was wondering what kind of show it would be, but after watching 6 episodes now, it isn't as good as I expected. Mostly because of the comedy, which has a very inappropriate way of making it's way into the scenes.

The story is about an orphan Nakajima Atsushi who gets kicked out of an orphanage with no place to go and no food to eat. On the verge of death from starvation, he sees a dumbass floating in the river and decides to rescue him. As it turns out, the dumbass he saved is a suicidal maniac and also a member of the Armed Detective Agency. All the members of this agency posses some kind of supernatural ability, and they use that to solve cases that would be too much for the police to handle. So, he gets himself involved with them and now him and the other dumbasses of the agency solve cases.

The characters are usually messing around, with Dazai Osamu always busy trying to find the best way to kill himself (interesting how his ability 'No Longer Human' is named after the famous work of the author), while his parter Kunikida Doppo is always trying to straighten him up (the guy is crazy and has a notebook filled with his ideals about everything), while the newly recruited Atsushi is just standing around clueless. Besides the lacklustre comedy, the anime gets good when it comes to the serious scenes where the action is decent and the characters behave in a likeable manner, though all that does is makes you wonder whether you should take this show seriously or not.

It's a nice show, but it could certainly do a lot better if they were to tone down the comedy and all the suicide jokes a little. And maybe not have their characters behave either too seriously, or too immature, and give them a middle ground where they can be a bit more human and relatable. Watch the first couple episodes, if you can stomach the comedy and the suicide jokes, then you'll probably end up liking this.


With that, part 1 of the Spring Season 2016 First impressions ends here. Thank you for reading.