I skipped a year, woo! Presented here is a list of final impressions for anime I watched from the Summer 2015 season, in no particular order. Possible spoilers may be discussed.
Shall we get this fire started?
Rather than pulling a Shirobako clone, “That’s a Voice Actor!” uses this opportunity to showcase the world of voice acting. You get many examples of voice acting not only for anime but for games, dubs, narration, and many more where vocal talents are needed. Add onto this a cast of extras that are actually cameos of real voice actors and you get a feel that this anime was made as a kind of “behind the scenes” tour. As for the main cast, it’s satisfying to see these aspiring girls traverse various hardships in hopes of becoming a voice actor. “Little victories” is the main theme for them, from being accepted to play minor roles, to establishing a talk radio show, to creating an album label (sort of). It was a fun watch and certainly an educational one too.
One popular trend in anime and manga has been is the addition of monster girls. The manga Monster Musume is based on has consistently ranked high in popularity both locally and abroad. Naturally, this adaptation cashes in on the fame. But to capture the same raunchiness as the manga, the anime needed to make compromises for the airwaves. Unless the home release reveals more, the anime adaptation was mediocre. But there was a nice showcase of monster girls packed in the 12 episode run, more than I expected. And like an encyclopedia, the end card bios add a nice background for these girls. Choose wisely. Oh, my favorite one? That would be Lala, the dullahan. I wish she had more airtime.
This anime was silly all throughout, from the premise, to the setting, to the plot, just about everything was in the realm of WTF is going on? If anything, this anime was a commentary to the recent political and cultural changes happening to Japan in terms of healthy childrearing. It is a response to the extremes the Japanese government may take to control lewd content, starting with what it believes are its worst offenders, anime and manga. Surprisingly not as ecchi laden as I thought it would be, but definitely filled with innuendo, which too was censored. But still, the anime was too wacky for me to even comprehend; I’ll just throw reasoning out of the way if I decide to replay this.
Wakako-zake (Short Anime)
There seems to be an uptick in “food porn” anime. This time it’s cuisine you typically see at Japanese bars and pubs. Our main character is an office worker who regularly visits these bars to unwind. Her trademark expression of joy while eating is a swoosh cloud, accompanied by a “phssuu” sound. One of the finer points for this show is the pairing of alcoholic drinks with the food. I did enjoy her musings about food and drink; it makes for good advertising, especially to foreign viewers who may want to give odd foods a try.
What an interesting color pallet this anime has. Each female character has a vibrant hue to their hair and eyes; color combinations that kept me intrigued, if not repulsed at times. As for the story, it’s your typical high school romantic comedy. But with a vampire, an alien, a werewolf, a devil, and a possessed object. Actually, that still sounds typical… Romance at the beginning, romance at the end, and comedy with the other characters in between.
Non Non Biyori Repeat (Sequel)
Cute country living, repeated! More of the same, and I’m fine with that.
Since Umaru in that image I guess next will be:
Do you have different personalities when at school, work, and home? Do you consider time away from the public as time dedicated to playing games, watching shows, and general laziness? Then I think this is the kind of show that will interest you. Umaru does what I assume most people do when they switch between their personalities. While we gon’t actually transform, she does. Her transformation is a simple one, between a beautiful schoolgirl and a rambunctious chibi. What’s tossed around is the notion of “she’s so lazy, but she’s just like me!” The anime explores her daily life, mostly in her chibi form. She plays games and watches anime, all the while eating junk food and drinking soda. That is why most can relate with her.
Key’s storytelling started off strong but almost had a misstep near the end. As the mystery of their superpowers gets exposed, the greater plot overwhelms what the writers have to cover. There seemed to be no bookend to the revealing mystery, making me worry that the building changes may be too much. But the writers “covered their asses” by tying things together in the finishing episode. I wasn’t too happy with that episode but overall the show did have its emotional ups and downs. Key still manages to create dynamic characters that have likeable qualities, all animated to PA’s perfection. It was a good show, but not as good as previous works in terms of storytelling.
Working!!! (3rd Season)
It’s been just over 3.5 years since the last installment aired! What a wait! So naturally, I was a bit lost at first about all the characters and their personalities. But it picked up quickly and I was happy to relearn what they were, and how funny this show got at times. There were some loose ends to finish, especially in relationship department. And like with the last, this season does not disappoint in tying those ends.
Miss Monochrome: The Animation 2 (Sequel, Short Anime)
More antics with the Vocaloid knock-off. This time with a more involved cast. Silly as always, even acknowledging this in its own deliberate product placing. More to come with the 3rd installment in the following season. I don’t think I’ll be watching this anymore.
Ah yes, the cute girls slice-of-survival-life show. Let’s get things straight, this is a zombie apocalypse show, but heavily downplayed under the guise of an innocent school club. But things do gradually ramp up, similar to how “Shawn of the Dead” played into its disaster with a nontraditional “casual” encounter. As usual, the manga it was based on has a much better story and goes though a lot more than what the anime did in its 12 episode run. But still, zombies are a popular genre, and this show did rank high in “most anticipated next episode” of the season. Here’s hoping for a sequel!
This show asks the grand old question: “Who done it?” But before anyone actually gets killed. I did enjoy the pinning of suspects and the tumultuous quest in clearing one’s name. Though explanations and reasoning can be daunting at times, leaving me perplexed as to how they came upon the solutions. That aside, this anime has some pretty good scores for background music. Orchestral is how I put it; no synthesizers and distracting effects added, it was great to listen to. Character costumes are also a plus; a well defined fantasy but not overpowered, like those ones with lots of zippers…
Okusama ga Seitokaichou! (Short Anime)
Wasn’t Japan cracking down on nudity shots by adding that conveniently placed streak of light? This show willfully goes full frontal with its female lead at some point in almost every episode, catching me off guard since she has a cute face. That face does not match that body! This heavy ecchi soft-core show had your most basic plot, one with the arranged marriage trope. Really, I was just in it for the other type of “plot.”
Superpower exhibitions and elections. That’s all this show was about, but that’s not what I initially read from the synopsis. My understanding was that it would be about Akane and her siblings being followed by surveillance cameras. It gave me the impression that it would be a reality type show, a welcome change from your typical anime. I was wrong. Reality show it was not. Also, Akane wasn’t the main character most of the time; each sibling had equal time in the spotlight throughout the series. This made it episodic in the notion that it could be picked up anytime. In fact, my friend watched only the first and last episodes and was satisfied with it entirely. I was not.
My favorite sleeper hit of a show this season! My gosh, how many times I laughed out loud for the jokes, moments of irony, and situational predicaments these men and women get into. While seemingly highly sexualized at first, the consistency at which this is presented desensitized me to look for true strategy. What I mean is that I no longer get fazed by the fanservice moments as I focus on how these men plan an exit from their prison. And I have to hand it to them, some of the escape plans were clever. Another aspect that made this show great is in the art style. Characters are colored in was seems to be like an oil brush. Mix this with extreme expressions of pain and joy in the close-up, and you have a stunning show. If one can handle the mature themes, then this would be a great recommendation for anyone looking for a great laugh.
This anime seemed promising. What with its future setting and cast of capable engineers, technicians, and accountants. It seemed like the show would focus on them, heck the title made me believed it to be so. But what we get is a bigger focus on political and business interests to keep the A-TEC alive. Frankly, those moments were boring. Most of the time I didn’t care for it, but the show was all business 70% of the time. This left little to finish the show off but with last minute character developments that did help, but not enough to make me recommend it.
Wakaba*Girl (Short Anime)
Aww, how cute. Yui Hara, known for Kiniro Mosaic, has made another adorable slice-of-life comedy. This time it’s about a rich girl fitting in to a normal high school life, with the aid of caring friends. Nothing remarkable here, but they sure are cute! One gripe though, the voice of Moeko sounded like the actor was forced to do it at a high pitch, above her range. Aside from that, this short anime was a fun and most adorable watch this season.
I do appreciate the realistic representation of the JSDF (and modern military in general) in this anime. I also appreciate the fast pace it took to establish relations with the other world, skipping things such as first contact, language translation, and beginning culture assimilation. But they did leave the warfare battles intact so as to establish the difference in technology. And the show really involves international conflicts from both worlds, rather than pinning it to one world like how Outbreak Company went. You get political espionage and outright spying from other countries. There are negotiations, trades, and deals to be made in the new world too, with many split screen shots so as to not get boring. Speaking of boredom, how does it not become a strict military anime with all battles? Well, add an otaku solider along with a cute elf, a magic user, and a demigod. Factors such as those will get me to automatically watch it with praise, like many have.