Kefka’s Winter Season Round-Up (2016)


winter2016roundup

With the spring season already well underway, it’s time for me to recall what I thought of the Winter season shows I completed. Some quick thoughts on these series and a basic score at the end of each review. I want to get this over with so I can watch some airing shows…

Dropped: Musaigen no Phantom World, Sekkou Boys, MSG: Iron-Blooded Orphans

 

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!

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Konosuba is a rarity in today’s cluttered anime industry. It’s been a while since I’ve been surprised by a show’s parallel between expectation and reality. After reading the synopsis I didn’t have much hope for what I was getting myself into, but when I heard the praise for it there wasn’t a reason not to give it a try. I don’t regret it either. I’m not really a guy who’s into the typical “mc is sent to fantasy world” genre with SAO and other numerous projects leaving a real bad taste in my mouth. In actuality, Konosuba, is a real breath of fresh air. Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate a well written serious story that takes place in a scenario like this, but Konosuba feels like it was clearly made to prove how dumb and idiotic the tropes of the fantasy genre are. Unlike Grimgar, (another show I’ll mention in this post) who uses harsh reality to emphasize how difficult life in a fantasy world is, Konosuba uses it’s endless gags and stupidity to get the point across well if not better. This whole show is a joke. But like, in a good way. The same jokes are thrown your way, but rarely do I see them coming and the reactions from the rest of the cast to said gag is refreshing in a comedy. Repetition is used well. In a way, repetition in Konosuba is like your best friend butting an elbow at yours and then you punch him in the gut for being so annoying. It’s great slapstick and rids the tension in the room whenever a proper fantasy situation arises. The series constantly reminds you that this is a world where the characters are dumb, the world isn’t that threatening, and you should never get your hopes up on making a proper income doing this. Hell, the entire series is them stuck in the beginners town because the world doesn’t exactly need adventurers.

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Every character in Konosuba is likable for their weaknesses. Although I was a bit annoyed by Aqua’s lack of common sense and obsession with overspending, her gag of fake crying and begging for pity made up for it considering she’s an over privileged goddess. I couldn’t help but love everything this show had going for it. Silly faces, titty physics, good animation, hilarious writing, and every performance by the VAs. (especially Kazuma) I honestly can’t wait for season two and if you haven’t watched Konosuba then get on it. It is easily the most digestible for all types of anime fans from this past Winter Season. One word to sum up this show? Fun.

Rating: 8/10

 

Oshiete! Galko-chan

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Galko-Chan is strange. Being the stand out short anime of the season, it really didn’t stand out other than having something to say with the redundancy of cute girls always talking cutesy. Many pit this show as ecchi, when really, it’s about highschool girls talking about girly things in a dirtier or more down to earth way. Galko-chan is how i’d like to imagine women talk to each other when they’re alone. There are dumb bits about how to locate someone else’s areola or how holding in your shit is bad. It’s the real essence of it’s comedy. There are the occasional social comments on how gal girls are treated, the perceptions of beauty, and dating. But otherwise, it’s a simple dumb question = dumb answer comedy show. You can get through this one with ease since it is only 8 minutes per episode with 1-cour. It’s got some decent budget behind it as well. Also, you’ll like it if you appreciate the artist’s character design. Hint: Voluptuous

Rating: 5/10

Boku dake ga Inai Machi  (ERASED)

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ERASED has been the talk of the town this past season so I won’t talk about it all that much. It’s a good show. That’s for sure. But the last few episodes felt lacking with intention. They almost blew right past me. Much of it probably has to do with it jumping from one prevention of a murder, to two more, to focusing back to the killer’s identity all within one episode. Ridding the previous nine or so episodes of struggle and drama to ignore two other character’s struggles is a bit distracting to me, but did not pull me out of enjoying the show overall. Despite being extremely predictable, ERASED did a fine job with it’s scene direction, episode cliffhangers, and good riddance to the main character’s tropes. (mostly)

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ERASED’s ending has been a hot topic of discussion between fans on the anime atmosphere. Ignoring that I used the term anime atmosphere, I really don’t understand the heat it’s getting. I felt everything was wrapped up well, I understood the killer’s intentions, and the final final scene was everything I wanted from a show with a theme about fate and connectivity. If anything, those who have watched this show or are planning to should realize one thing: Production value carries. It carries this show hard. The outcome in question should be clear to everyone with the terrible hints it gives you every episode. Without a decent script, great premise, pretty colors, and soundtrack this would no where be near considered anime of the year or whatever. Personally, I don’t think it deserves to be up there at all, but I can appreciate what A-1 has given us. It’s a step in the right direction for anime and it having a serious future overseas.

Rating: 6/10

 

Dagashi Kashi

[Doki-Chihiro] Dagashi Kashi - 09 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [EF3396CB].mkv_snapshot_00.54_[2016.04.16_23.14.23]

I like candy. I liked snack time. I liked my childhood or at least most of it. Dagashi Kashi is not only a giant advertisement, but a great nostalgia trip! At least, if you throw away your cynicism of it only being about Japanese snacks. Maybe I’m a bit fortunate because I’m half asian, but I can relate to and enjoy this show for what it is. It’s really easy to chew on. Being educated on different types of candies, snacks, and drinks is a real treat. Man these puns are sweet and salty. I watched Dagashi Kashi as a historical-slice of life-trivia show and it worked out great. If you come into it expecting a kawaii-desu romance then you’ll leave really disappointed. The characters, albeit there are only five or so, are likable and have some interesting quirks when talking about candy or each other. Like I said it has some slice of life elements. So if you’ve touched anything within that genre, you’ll know what you’re getting into.

[Doki-Chihiro] Dagashi Kashi - 09 (1280x720 Hi10P AAC) [EF3396CB].mkv_snapshot_00.34_[2016.04.16_23.15.22]

If you want a quick laugh, like your anime simple, want an excuse for eating junk food, or just like the way the iris’ are drawn then give Dagashi Kashi a shot. Funnily enough, I got a care package from my uncle in Japan when this show was airing, so that was an immersive experience eating japanese candies while watching a show about them. Fujiya Milky is some good shit dude.

Rating: 7/10

 

Dimension W

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Dimension W had a lot of potential in it right out of the gate. Do I think it met expectations by the end of it all? Well, yes and no. The idea that we could have another series on the level of Darker than Black is daunting since so many other series’ have come and go with the same intentions. I’m not saying they’re really hoping to garner as much praise and success as that series did, but rather we’re all hoping that something comes close to it. Like any other action show, Dimension W does a decent job of executing “Cool Japan” aesthetics, but it fails on explaining anything within the world with a grain of salt. Questions are answered and it’s head tilting as to why we can’t be given subtle hints as to what happens. Instead, we get the answer through a memory loss trope and so suddenly that it’s kind of a boner killer. I did enjoy Dimension W for what it was. It hit all of it’s marks with themes of advancing artificial intelligence, over reliance on technology, and the oil dependency situation. Where the show fails is producing a believable main arc that seems to be a little over stretched to fill in the plot holes that weren’t developed in the stand-alone episodes. I think it could’ve benefited from being a 2-cour with more filler to explain the world we’re supposed to believe, but instead we get an explanation and villain without knowing why we should care.

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Dimension W separates itself with one of the more interesting pairing dynamic in the action/mystery genre: A cute android with a humanity complex and an ex-military ninja bounty hunter. They’re the best part of the show and make the blatant rush of the main arc and ending a bit easier to swallow. I wasn’t sure if Mira’s overt cuteness was going to get to me, but in the end I actually loved her character and naive tendencies. Mabuchi is a very conflicted protag with it feeling like someone with the old world ideology holding him back from fulling committing to this crazy influx of new technology. With great characters, an interesting world, great animation, and above average action scenes Dimension W is worth the time to watch. A basic popcorn popper with a decent err somewhat lackluster payoff. Still worth those wanting something original in the action genre and not completely terrible in execution.

Rating: 7/10

 

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

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I usually don’t subjugate myself to watch two shows with similar premises in the same season. Luckily, Grimgar is very different from Konosuba and especially different from other shows within it’s “trapped in a fantasy world” genre. Again, I was genuinely surprised as to how much I liked this! Grimgar is mostly, at heart, a character drama. It doesn’t ever go in depth as to how it’s characters got into this world, but rather, it uses their fear and inexperience as a catalyst for their adventure. The series is spent entirely in the town they arrived at from the very start and they seem to be very much okay with this. Grimgar’s themes, tension, and drama all stem from one thing: Survival. It’s strange to see this in a show about magic, goblins, and dungeons but it works so wonderfully. Backdrops and what i’m assuming are hand drawn environments make this one a really slow burn with the end result emotions being a mixture of beauty and fear. The main cast struggle with being poor, being the weakest adventurers around, and grief. Although it can be a bit annoying for some people to watch, the theme of grief plays a huuuge part of their crisis and interactions throughout the series. I really didn’t have any qualms with it since the performances given, scenarios, and reasoning are all sound.

[HorribleSubs] Hai to Gensou no Grimgar - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.10_[2016.04.16_23.12.34]

There was a point when I was watching grimgar that it almost felt more like a live action drama than an anime. I really liked that. All of the voice performances, especially Haru’s, are extraordinary and are all extremely believable. Being the weakest of the new arrivals, the group’s emotional struggle seems very believable because they really are lost as to who they are, what they are doing here, and how to go about surviving in a world basically from birth. We see the group grow their friendship through teamwork and important conversations that seem completely real and necessary. Most other situations and “happy go filler time” is secluded to peaceful montage intervals. There were times when I was surprised that an anime of this genre wanted to have their characters interact in a platonic way without almost no romantic tension. It may sound like I’m dragging this show into the soap opera tear jerker pit, but in reality, it goes about it’s drama very maturely and I am kind of taken a back as to how much I enjoyed it. The action and adventure serves most of it’s purpose to fix our appetite of mmorpg tropes, with skills and classes explained well enough, but does so tastefully through believable tactical espionage and grit; something that other shows have a lot of trouble working with. Because our characters are so vulnerable and can actually die, there are a lot of situations where I actually felt tense watching this. Not to sound like a fanboy, but I really didn’t want some characters to get hurt. It’s similar to the feeling of watching a zombie series. You know this cast can be killed and you don’t want to see them suffer any more than they already have. I’m going to stop my rambling here and say that this show won’t be for everyone. I feel as though Grimgar can turn a lot of people off with it’s slow burn and less campy presentation. This show was a nice gem. It relaxed me, it made me nervous, it made me think, it made me want to get up and make some progress in my life. If you can enjoy a show with a main ensemble that are perceptive to each other, love a good zero to almost heroes story, and can be patient with delivery. Then go watch Grimgar. It’s pretty good.

Rating: 8/10

 

So that’s it. Those are my reviews and now I can go into the Spring Season with no regrets. Fuck yeah. What a solid season winter was. Personally, I do believe this was one of the better cours in a while. There was a bit of everything for me to watch. Hope you enjoyed reading! Until next time!

 

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About Kefka
Writer for NeoParadigm City. Aspiring Jpop gravure idol. Look out Shakira.

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