This may be a little late considering the Fall 2016 lineup has already started, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this latest season by explaining the best and worst of all of the shows I watched.
Best Show Overall– Amanchu!
Amanchu was my favorite show for many reasons. Firstly, I liked the overall message of the show: that trying new things is scary, yet exciting and fulfilling. In the anime, Teko moves to a new town and doesn’t know anyone. On top of this, she is extremely shy and nervous. However, Teko meets Pikari along with some other friends, and realizes that the ocean offers her a plethora of new experiences. The ocean, beautifully drawn and depicted, is a metaphor for the unexpected adventures that are available to all of us as long as we “take a dive” into the unknown. If you would like to read a more in-depth analysis of Teko and her anxiety, click here. I admit that the theme did become redundant at times with Teko constantly repeating it, but that was part of her personality.
It isn’t just the message that was beautiful- the art is colorful and unique. The characters’ odd facial expressions really add a silly and comical feeling to the anime. On top of this, the characters are lovable and relatable. My favorite aspect , outside of the message, had to be the music. It was serene, different, and calming, adding to the overall aesthetic of the show. I need point out that there were some yuri undertones between Teko and Pikari in the show, which is an added bonus for me!
Runner Up: ReLife
As I explained in my post The Work Place In Anime, I found Kaizaki’s experience in ReLife to be very similar to my own. I was able to relate to the bad experiences he had in the work place and the depression he had after quitting. The show also portrayed a very good message about always being able to start over, which is important for many people going through rough times.
I liked how the story unfolded, and how we slowly learned about Kaizaki’s past, as well some of the other character’s backstories. At first they made Kaizaki seem like a deadbeat, but as the plot progresses, the audience realizes that he is actually a very good and hardworking person. Another aspect that stands out to me was the music. The soundtrack often used rapid and abrupt piano, which added a layer of stress and chaos. This was fitting for many of the show’s situations and just the overall anxiety of being a student.
Worst Show Overall– Mahou Shoujo? Naria Girls
What I thought was going to be an adorable magical anime was… I don’t even know. This anime was so all over the place and bizarre that I didn’t even get through the first episode, which is only 8 minutes long. I skipped ahead to some of the later episodes, but it doesn’t seem to get any better. Based on the description given, I guess the strangeness of the show makes sense, but I honestly can’t even describe it. So instead of trying to explain it, I am going to put a link here if you want to attempt to watch it.
Runner Up: Qualidea Code
This show could have been decent, but there were just too many flaws. Depending on the episode, the story either dragged on or was rushed (which is a shame because the show had an interesting twist). Although there were some great characters, many of them were just comprised of typical anime tropes, which made their personalities one-dimensional at times. The worst character, however, happened to be the main character Ichiya, who was just a complete egotistical jerk. He alone was enough to make me want to give up the series, but I watched it all the way through. If you would like to read about the series in more depth, check out my review of it here.
Most Surprisingly Good Anime– Ange Vierge
I am choosing Ange Vierge as the most surprising anime because the first episode was honestly absolutely dreadful. It is no exaggeration when I say that the every character was naked for the entirety of the first episode. I don’t mind a little fan service, but this was just ridiculous. On top of this, nothing exciting or plot-progressing happened during this episode. The characters just spoke to one another while naked (and no one seemed to be bothered by this) for about 20 minutes. I felt like the purpose of the first episode was to get all of the exposition out of the way while trying to reel in a male audience. And the result was awful.
Despite this, I continued watching and as the series went on, the story became much better and the over-exaggerated fan service appeared less often (although it did show up a couple times an episode). Did the show turn out to be a masterpiece? No. I would rate it a 7 out of 10, but I did like it. I came to admire and care about the characters. The anime did a good job of portraying the different struggles that each individual character was facing without making it too overly dramatic. As a side note, I need to point out (once again!) that this anime had yuri undertones, but they were actually very strong and almost canon in this anime (it’s a miracle!).
Most Disappointing Anime– Rewrite
First things first, Rewrite is not a bad anime and I enjoyed it, but this show did leave me disappointed. This is mostly because Rewrite is an adaption of a Key Visual Novel. Other adaption series by Key are some of my favorite anime of all time, such as Clannad After Story and Angel Beats! which, in my opinion, are masterpieces. Both series have made me cry and pulled at my heart strings, and I was expecting the same thing from Rewrite. Except it didn’t happen. Although I loved the characters, I didn’t well up when their tragic backgrounds were revealed or when they went through hardships. It’s hard to explain, but there was just something lacking when it came to the emotional moments of this show.
The story also skipped around and didn’t fully explain a lot of important details that were crucial to the plot. In good news, a second season has been confirmed. I feel like there is much more to the story that we haven’t learned yet and perhaps the second season will fill in the missing pieces and make up for some of the pitfalls of the first. Hopefully, the end result will leave me breathless, just like the other Key series I love so much.
Best Female Character– Teko and Pikari from Amanchu!
You can’t have one of these girls without the other, which is why Teko and Pikari are both my favorite female characters. The reason why Teko is my favorite is because she is a carbon copy of me. A doppelganger. She is shy, self-conscious, and very nervous, all traits that are part of my personality. This makes me her extremely relatable to me, but also makes her more realistic. She constantly questions herself, which many people do. She gets anxious when doing something new or talking to people she doesn’t know. There are many people who struggle with these kinds of issues, and yet I feel they are not really represented realistically in anime because the shy girl in almost every anime is exaggerated into a moe trope. Teko is a real-life version of an introverted girl who struggles with anxiety. In the future, I plan to write a piece analyzing if Teko fits into the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.
Now Pikari, on the other hand, is basically crazy, but I say this lovingly. She does whatever she wants, she makes strange noises and does unexplainable things. She is childish and silly, and yet she is a great support for Teko who doesn’t like to do things without reassurance. If you are wondering if these kind of characters exist in real life, my answer is yes. Pikari is very similar to my fiance. Sam is a goofball and is always doing something insane, but I couldn’t survive without her. Pikari’s character is definitely exaggerated- most people don’t walk around with a whistle in their mouth, cheering “whoop!” But whether realistic or not, Pikari is an unforgettable character.
Runner Up– Yohane from Love Live Sunshine
I admit that I have a soft spot for chuunibyou characters. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Yohane and I thought I might be disappointed when I saw she was trying to act normal. After the girls in Aqours go to Tokyo, however, Yohane seems to let herself go and completely releases herself to her chuunibyou persona, which is that of a fallen angel. Her chuunibyou tactics as an angel are not only funny, they are original as well. I was glad that she didn’t have a dragon or demon sealed in her eye like other chuunibyou characters, although she does do the iconic hand gesture shown in the gif. One thing that I find adorable about Yohane is that she will try to act all calm and serious in her angel character, but when she gets frustrated, her voice cracks and she loses the persona.
To find out why Love Live! and its other characters are so massively popular, check out my list of reasons here.
Worst Female Character– Rena from ReLife
I know she is young, not fully matured, and hormonal, but I could not stand Rena from ReLife. She was constantly taking out her feelings on someone else unjustifiably, and she did many questionable things, like trying to steal Hishiro’s bag. I honestly wanted to give her some self-help books or a good smack in the face. Toward the end of the series, she apologized for her actions and became a little more tolerable. But even then, I didn’t like her attitude. If there is a second season and we get to see Rena a little more grown up and mature, perhaps then my dislike of her will melt away.
Best Male Character– Uchimaki from The Art Club Has A Problem!
How can you not love Uchimaki-kun? He is a physical representation of the otaku phenomenon- people obsessing and falling in love (?) with cutesy 2D women or attractive 2D men. But Uchimaki takes it to the next level and has no interest in real women. His over-exaggerated personality and otaku life style is hilarious. To make things even funnier, his fascination with anime women makes him completely oblivious to the affections of his female classmate Usami. Every week I laughed at his and Usami’s antics. Uchimaki’s relinquishment of reality fascinates me and I feel like I am going to end up writing about him in more depth at some point.
Runner Up– Sakuya from Rewrite
In Rewrite, Sakuya is Chihaya’s personal bodyguard. He also moonlights as a butler. My favorite manga of all time is Black Butler and Sakuya reminded me of Sebastian. He even kind of looks like Sebastian and has similarly demeaning personality. As a butler, Sakuya can cook, clean, and fight. Many of his butler-y actions are made comical, such as when Kagira rejects the fancy coffee he brewed. Seeing Sakuya parade around as a butler was very nostalgic and made me want to go and reread Black Butler for the umpteenth time.
Worst Male Character– Ichiya from Qualidea Code
As I stated earlier, Ichiya is a jerk. He is arrogant, disrespectful, and looks down on everyone. He is literally one of the worst characters I have ever encountered.
*I don’t want to babble on too much, so here is a list of all of my other favorites from this season!
Best Loli– Aoba from New Game!
Runner Up– Tsumugi from Sweetness and Lightning
Best OTP– Chika x Riko from Love Live Sunshine
Runner Up– Kaizaki x Hishiro from ReLife
Best Character Design– Elel from Ange Vierge
Runner Up– Sofina from Ange Vierge
Best Opening– Love Is My Rail From Ange Vierge
Runner Up– Sakura Skip from New Game!
Best Ending– Futari Shojou from Amanchu!
Other New Chuunibyou Characters– Collette and Imari from The Art Club
My Latest Waifu– Riko from Love Live Sunshine
And Hifumi Just Because She’s Awesome!
Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Comment below to discuss!