Reflections on Anime in 2016 – The Best and The Worst of the Year (in my opinion)

It’s the first day of the year so let’s look back at the year that was. I know that at the end of Summer I did my first reflection post looking back at the anime I’d watched and  I purposefully left D Gray Man and Sailor Moon Crystal 3 off the lists because nostalgia was strong with those two. But now we are at the end of the year and I’m not playing nice anymore. I’m giving my lists of top 10 best and worst for 2016 and finally the results from the reader’s poll.

My rules:

  • I need to have watched the whole series (or as much as has aired in 2016 – I know some of these are continuing on).
  • My judgement is entirely based on the entertainment I got out of watching the anime.
  • Feel free to suggest your own top 10 best or worst in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. Yuri on Ice
  2. D Gray Man Hallow
  3. Natsume Yuujinchou
  4. Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
  5. Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
  6. March Comes in Like a Lion
  7. My Hero Academia
  8. Alderamin on the Sky
  9. Erased
  10. Sailor Moon Crystal 3

Yeah, I can’t believe it either but Yuri on Ice actually edged out D Gray Man Hallow on anime I enjoyed watching. Neither anime is perfect (and I’ll happily admit to the flaws in both) but when it came to pure enjoyment I couldn’t beat either of these and in terms of the anime I’ll rewatch the most from this year, these 2 are the top picks. So why Yuri over D Gray Man? D Gray Man Hallow always had the advantage of nostalgia, but if I take that away, while I would have still enjoyed Hallow (assuming it made sense) it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as the viewing experience for Yuri. In terms of the anime I sat waiting to the minute for the episode release, Yuri on Ice definitely won out.

However, for everything you enjoy there is a show that you watch and wonder why. Once again, I know there are worse anime out there, but these are the anime I watched all the way through and really wonder why.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Taboo Tattoo
  2. Big Order
  3. Lost Village
  4. Hitorinoshita
  5. Divine Gate
  6. Dimension W
  7. Nazotokine
  8. Norn 9
  9. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
  10. Bloodivores

What was pleasantly surprising was how few of the Autumn season found their way onto this list. Mostly the shows I watched in Autumn were more boring than terrible (though I did avoid a few shows that I knew were going to end up in this category so they didn’t count on the having watched them criteria).

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The Reader’s Poll

I was surprised by some of the results and not surprised by others. Probably the biggest issue is there were only 54 votes total so from a data point of view this probably isn’t the most valid survey. Anyway…

  1. Yuri on Ice (7 votes)
  2. Assassination Classroom 2 (6 votes)
  3. Mob Psycho 100 (6 votes)
  4. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (5 votes)
  5. Bungo Stray Dogs (3 votes)
  6. Erased (3 votes)
  7. March Comes in Like a Lion (3 votes)
  8. Kiss Him Not Me (3 votes)
  9. Flip Flappers (3 votes)
  10. Grimgar of Fantasy of Ash (3 votes)

With that I say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017 for a whole new year of watching anime.

By the way, over the next 4 weeks my Tuesday’s Top 5 post is going to do a recap of 2016. Top 5 Female Characters of 2016 is up first, followed by Top 5 Male Characters of 2016, Top 5 Visually Interesting Anime of 2016 and finally Top 5 Opening Themes of 2016. Then I will move on to something different but I felt January was a great time to recap the previous year.

Over to you: Which anime was your favourite or most hated from 2016?

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Friday’s Feature – On Watching Trash and Finding Gems

If you’ve been reading my blog you probably already know that I watch a lot of anime. Watching anime and reading novels are my two main forms of entertainment when I’m not working and I consume a lot of stories. I previously did a top 5 list on reasons why I drop a series that I’ve started watching but in today’s feature I want to look at why I continue watching some anime even after it is quite clear they are going to be complete and utter garbage.

Just warning you that this one is definitely more of a ramble than a focussed post.

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Storytelling isn’t a science. Two stories with a nearly identical plot structure and character archetypes can be told in two entirely different ways and feel completely different. One might be amazing whereas the other might be ordinary or dreadful. Good storytelling involves the careful manipulation of a range of elements in order to convey a decent story. Even then, just because overall a story isn’t well handled doesn’t mean that everything in it is bad. There could be one idea, one character, one scenario that just nail whatever impact the author was hoping for.

Because of this, while I might drop an anime in the initial few episodes if it fails to grab my interest, once I’ve decided I’m interested in something (whether it be the premise, a character, a setting or whatever else it might be) I rarely let something go. The result is watching and reading a lot of things that I probably should have let drop.

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Here’s the thing though, if you don’t finish it, you’ll never know. You’ll never know if they somehow brought those elements together. You’ll never know where those characters ended up. You’ll never know if you missed that one moment with a character that could have changed your entire outlook on them. And maybe you’re fine with not knowing. If something is bad enough you may be perfectly happy to cut ties and to never speak of it again. But… that nagging voice always gets to me.

When episode 10 of Taboo Tattoo came out I actually didn’t watch it on my usual day. I found other things to do. It wasn’t a conscious decision but I just wasn’t in the mood. The show was dreadful. I hated most of the characters. The action had never looked as interesting as the first episode and the plot had seriously thrown itself off a bridge more than once. The next day I saw it still sitting there in my Crunchyroll queue and I sighed. I wanted to drop the show.

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So, I continued. Did it get better? Nope. Was it still pretty much trash? Yep. Do I regret that I didn’t just let it go at episode 10? Surprisingly, no (although while I don’t regret dropping it I do wonder if maybe another show could have entertained me more for the season). At least now I know that the show didn’t ever rise above it’s first episode (which was completely generic but watchable with a half-interesting set-up). Every episode after seemed to find a way to cripple the plot or the characters and visually it deteriorated as well. I’m not having to rely on others telling me it wasn’t good. I know it wasn’t and I judged that for myself.

More importantly, if it had become a hidden gem, I’d have had the chance to see it.

And even when something is bad it provides opportunities. You can think about why it isn’t working and compare it to other stories and why they are better. You can discuss it with others and either share a dislike for something or have a fun back and forth about the redeeming qualities or lack thereof. You can imagine ways it could have been better and share your views with others.

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The other reason I feel watching shows that just aren’t good can be helpful is because it definitely puts things in perspective. I remember after the summer season ended reading the views of the reviewers on Anime News Network as they selected the best and worst shows of the season. While they are entitled to their opinion, the number of them that selected Cheer Boys as the worse show kind of stunned me. Sure, Cheer Boys has a lot of issues, but it is hardly a walking disaster of a show. Which made me wonder how many of them had waded through some of the truly worst shows of the season? I also wonder this when someone spends a long amount of time trying to convince me that SAO is garbage. Is SAO perfect? No. Is it garbage? Not even close.

All and all, sometimes it’s watching the not so great anime that make the great anime shine.

 

Friday’s Feature -Poor Pacing

Poor pacing isn’t a new problem by any means; ask anyone who has watched Dragon Ball Z or Bleach about battles that just don’t ever seem to end. However, both the Spring and Summer seasons in 2016 have given us new examples of shows that manage to kill interest with pacing issues so I thought I’d touch on it briefly this week.

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That said, pacing is as subjective as every other element in entertainment. Slow can be really good when done well and fast paced doesn’t always equal exciting. So what am I defining as poor pacing? Essentially anytime you are watching the clock instead of the episode and wondering when it’s all going to wrap up or when you feel like you just got whip lash from trying to follow all the plot changes that just got thrown at you.

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Let’s start with Flying Witch. This is supposed to a slow, slice of life. It’s character driven rather than plot driven (which is probably a good thing given in the episodes I watched other than a witch moves in with relatives who aren’t witches I didn’t really pick up much of a plot). So, slow paced is fine, right? And for some people, Flying Witch was a relaxing and enjoyable watch. For me it was fingers tapping, pausing to go get something to eat or drink, clicking over to other websites, and generally getting frustrated because none of the characters ever seemed to do anything. I get that pacing is subjective but Flying Witch was like trying to admire the formation of mountains in real time (okay, probably not the best analogy ever but I really didn’t want to go with paint drying because underneath the slowness of it there was something actually quite wonderful in Flying Witch).

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Secondly, The Asterisk War and Food Wars. Let’s take them both simultaneously because they both did more or less the same thing and both of them nearly threw me from their audience in the process. They set up a school situation with our protagonist being the underdog/fish-out-of-water and yet super strong at their respective trade. We spend most of season one in minor challenges, making friends and meeting potential rivals and it’s all kind of enjoyable fun. Then a tournament is announced and our protagonist will just happen to end up in it. Season 1 ends with the tournament just getting underway. Annoying, but sure.

Season 2 picks up with the tournament in full swing and then continues to make us watch match after match with very little diversion in between. Gone are the cute encounters between characters, a sense of a world outside of the arena, a sense of time period. Episode after episode of repetitive battles. Then the tournament ends, before the end of season 2. And instead of offering any kind of resolution to season 2, both felt the need to introduce a new challenge and then stop (although Food Wars kind of gave the second challenge an ending). It’s aggravating to the audience and you constantly wonder why you are still bothering to watch. Sure there are great characters in both and both protagonists have an ultimate goal and perhaps what they are doing will help them get there, but in the meantime we’re all just watching them go through the motions. Have we never heard of a montage to compress a period of time? Sure, the animators get to show off some impressive battle effects (either with weapons or food depending on the show) but the plot and characters stall. For most of an entire season.

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Last ones I want to touch on (but not the last to have pacing issues) are Big Order and Taboo Tattoo. These don’t know what they are doing in terms of pace. They rush over essential plot points (the few plot point there are) and then dwell on totally unnecessary things (fan service, sadistic characterisation, moping). It’s frankly a mess and neither the plot nor the characters come out of it unscathed. The sad thing is that both shows could have been reasonable even without major plot or character changes just by pacing them appropriately (they still wouldn’t have been good but they could have been far more watchable than they were).

Other shows in Spring and Summer that made me wonder about their pacing include Days, Orange, Bungou Stray Dogs, Kiznaiver and Super Lovers.

So far we’ve only seen the first half of most of the Autumn shows but I dropped Occult;Nine in episode 1 because of the pacing (and just being unable to care about where any of the introduced characters were going) and I’ve found Izetta increasingly frustrating in the way it is rushing forward over what feels like should be far more important plot points.

So now over to you. Which shows do you think suffer from pacing issues?

Taboo Tattoo Series Review

Overview:

Seigi is an ordinary teenage boy in Japan (who is of course trained in martial arts) who is given a tattoo that has some mystic powers and then gets caught up in a battle between nations that may or may not have world ending consequences.

Review:

If you followed my week to week posts you probably already know my opinion on this one. While the first two episodes were generic and cliché, they didn’t really do anything too wrong but everything after that went down hill. Given I’ve already done the episode by episode break down, I am not worried about what might be a spoiler so if you haven’t watched this yet and you intend to, maybe pass on the reivew. Overall opinion is to give this one a miss.

Let’s start with the plot because this is probably a good study in how not to write a story. Firstly, let’s introduce way more characters than we actually need and ensure that they each take up screen time while we introduce their particular one note quirk (because that’s how you distinguish characters) and then let’s ensure we knock them off unceremoniously and without any reason in a battle we aren’t going to explain or justify other than these two groups are opposed. And then let’s do it again only bigger and with less purpose. And let’s splinter off one group from the two main ones just so we are clear on which characters are going to somehow survive even though they also serve no purpose.

The motivation driving the characters is weak, generic, or insane. At no point do the writers ask you to care about why the characters are doing things because the explanations are dreadful and actually make you care even less. The consistent introduction of characters who are unlikable and fairly pointless (and their pointless deaths) just disconnects you further  and you cease even trying to remember the names of the latest character/victim who has entered the scene. Trying to give us a ‘mentor’ type character mid-series was an improvement but I’m still not actually sure what his goal was or why he though Seigi (the apparent protagonist) could pull it off or why Seigi felt any sense of obligation to adopt his goal so all and all while BB (the mentor) did help improve the show nothing was going to save this ship from sinking.

The villain is equally unrelatable. Her goals make no sense (I’d even prefer the old I’m going to destroy the world because I’m evil motive over the I’m going to save the world by destroying it) and her actions make it impossible to believe that she actually thinks she’s saving anything. More importantly, why did she turn into that monster thing in the last episode. Seigi did (apparently) because the science guy made him drink something and then activated it during the battle, but given advantage it gave Seigi during the battle it made no sense for the Princess to follow. And the throw away explanation that somehow Seigi and the Princess linked because she kissed him however many episodes ago does not make sense.

And that is the problem with the plot. The logic behind it has failed horribly and completely. It doesn’t even work using narrative logic in which rules are established early in the plot (that may not make sense) but are at least consistently adhered to. This show just throws new ideas and new rules at you to justify increasingly illogical actions and powers until we are literally left with two monsters pounding each other into the ground before one of the characters runs away. The end.

I’ve touched on the character flaws already but beyond them having no sensible motivation or taking appropriate actions, they just aren’t good characters. Even if we ignore the side-note canon fodder characters the ones we are asked to care about give us little to no reason to do so.

Somewhere from the first three episodes to the last three we are asked to transition our thinking about Izzy. She starts off as the brazen person in charge who sweeps in and changes Seigi’s whole life. Then, mostly through the introduction of BB and that story, we’re somehow supposed to start seeing Izzy as a victim(?) of the tattoo’s and someone who needs to be saved. Why does there need to be someone to save? Because Seigi is apparently completely incapable of seeing bigger pictures and needs to fixate on something concrete and childhood friend girl get’s knocked off during the first major battle. If this transition in Izzy’s character had been dealt with well maybe the series could have pulled it off and some of that last episode might have made sense (maybe). However, the transition is clunky and after one flashback it is as if the writers just assume the audience have made the leap and they don’t bother trying to do any further development they just give her the new character.

The Princess is… who knows. She leers and makes speeches and occasionally kills people but in honesty I have no idea what I was supposed to think about her. Was I meant to see her side but dislike her methods? Was she supposed to be a monster? I am absolutely clueless as to what they were trying to do with that character. Which makes it really, really hard to care about events when the villain is that clouded.

Before I move on from characters I am just going to touch on Tom. He’s there from the start but is not important, interesting, and he does not develop. He exists only to ask question, scream, and occasionally carry another character. Why?

Having failed to deliver a plot that makes sense or characters who are interesting or develop in any kind of logical fashion, does Taboo Tattoo succeed at anything?

Episode 1 would have you believe that the fights will be visually impressive. Does that standard get maintained? No. Battles become increasingly messy affairs with a focus on reaction shots rather than combat and then we just shed any kind of elegance for two giant monsters flailing at each other in the final episode.

The music is forgettable but not back. I don’t know why they felt the need to play the opening theme over the final battle (maybe it was to avoid more character dialogue but who knows) given it didn’t seem to match the tone at all, but that’s the least of the show’s problems.

There are some themes touched upon that might have been interesting but the messages are buried (when they aren’t entirely contradictory) beneath poor plotting and characters.

Alright, I hated this. I don’t say that very often, because usually I find something to appreciate in a show I’ve watched all the way through. But there is just nothing. Episode 1 was okay but everything after that just got worse and worse.

Feel free to disagree but I am interested in what you thought of Taboo Tattoo if you managed to make it through.

 

Friday’s Feature – Comparing Apples and Oranges

With the new season of anime starting, I’ve found myself doing a lot of episode 1 impressions and trying to write a basic overview of a lot of different shows. The number of times I found myself falling back on the “it’s like …. with a bit of ….” in order to describe a show kind of got me thinking. Is it fair to compare one show to another?

In honesty, when I write a review of a full series, I generally avoid comparing one anime to another. Occasionally it seems necessary to make a point about one particularly aspect. Whether it be a character, a bit of music, or a particular plot point, sometimes drawing a comparison can be really helpful in order to explain where you are coming from. However, I avoid falling back on this as my main form of review for the simple reason that I feel things should be taken for what they are and not what other things are that might be better.

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Erased is a good anime to look at when we think about whether or not we should compare anime. If we look at Erased as a mystery, even taken by itself you can see that the mystery itself is flawed due to the lack of viable suspects. This makes the guessing who the culprit is pretty easy and takes away any dramatic reveal that might occur later in the series. So even without a comparison Erased isn’t going to stand up very well as a mystery. But if we then played it against a mystery (something like Blood C or Paranoia Agent which leave you guessing until the reveal) Erased starts looking even worse.

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Is that fair? Admittedly, if I were doing a Top 5 list of best mystery anime, Erased wouldn’t be on it, but when I reviewed Erased I was looking at more than just the mystery component. So comparing it to something else only as a mystery takes away from what Erased actually is as an anime.

My review of Erased focussed very much on the characters within Erased and their reactions to the situations. I looked at the characters I liked and didn’t and the events that shaped them. Are the characters perfect? Not really. If I compared Erased to other character driven dramas would Erased be the best? Probably not. But Erased is a character driven drama with mystery and supernatural elements thrown in. It is the combination of all of these things (working together) that make watching Erased a reasonably entertaining experience.

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But if we start classifying things like that I may as well say that Taboo Tattoo was the most interesting anime about princesses trying to rewrite the world via the power of sentient tattoos. I’d be right (at least I hope there aren’t any others), but that doesn’t make it a good anime either.

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Another anime that I really liked recently was Alderamin on the Sky. I really enjoyed each episode and getting to know the characters, however I found myself regularly pointing out that this anime wasn’t trying to be the most exciting thing in the world. Looking back at my weekly thoughts, I said this a lot. Why? Because when you do a surface comparison of Alderamin to any of the big anime, Alderamin is going to come off second best. Not because it isn’t a good story with good characters but because it just doesn’t have any of the flash of some of the big names. Any kind of comparison is going to go badly for Alderamin but I would still say you should watch Alderamin.

I also remember a lot of people comparing Shirayuki (from Snow White with the Red Hair) to Yona (Akatsuki no Yona). Yeah they were both red-haired heroines who appeared at around the same time and both ended up being quite independent, female leads. It seems natural to compare them. Except that does it matter if Yona is more active than Shirayuki and learns to shoot a bow? Does that make Shirayuki any less of a positive, female character in an anime? Does it matter that Shirayuki has far more self-determination right from the start of the series than Yona does in hers? Does that make Yona less of a heroine because her direction was chosen for her by destiny at first?

I’m not actually criticising comparisons. They do work well at highlighting similarities and differences and make you really consider stories and characters. I just wonder what the purpose of some comparisons are and whether there has to be a better or a worse option when things are compared?

What is your view on using comparisons as part of a review?

Taboo Tattoo Episode 12

Review:

This is going to be difficult. Let’s just go straight to the end and skip over the absolute non-sense of Seigi being dragged out of the cave, the cave being blown up by the Princess having a tantrum after Izzy landed a hit, Seigi jumping out of a helicopter and somehow catching a falling Izzy (thought I do not know how or why she was falling particularly when the other guy ended up buried), and then the fact that we are now going to a giant monster fight for a finale. Let’s skip all that.

Let’s just focus on the fact that the episode is called The Deciding Battle and then nothing is decided. Seigi makes some half-hearted remarks about carrying on BB’s will and being able to see clearly and a whole bunch of others in amongst fight sequences that are completely dull and so detached from the characters that any care you may have carried into this episode will quickly dissipate. The one thing Seigi says that makes sense is that he would be completely useless along and to be honest he’s completely useless regardless of who is with him. Anyway, individual character epiphanies aside, Seigi goes to land the decisive blow (leaving the monstrous form behind somehow even though it was imposed on him externally apparently he can just jump out of it) and the Princess runs away.

What is decided by that?

Then after the credits we get a preview of something but is there a season 2 because according to MAL this anime had 12 episodes and is now finished airing. And wow, if there is a season 2 there is no way I am putting myself through that. The last time I am touching this is in a whole season review and then I am going to firmly remove it from my memory (much like Big Order from last season).

Taboo Tattoo is available on Crunchyroll.

Summer 2016 Week 11

Week 11 and it is the home stretch. After last week’s rather ho-hum performance from so many shows, it seems like some of them were just saving up for this week. Other shows are taking the interesting approach (though one that is common in the anime world) of continuing to derail as the end draws near.

Just as a heads up, I’ll be travelling over the next week or so and while I’m mostly going to have internet access so mostly should continue posting without disruption, there may be some gaps or it may take me a little longer than normal to respond both here and on twitter.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the season below.

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I Must Keep Watching

  • D.Gray-Man Hallow (Ep 11)
  • Alderamin on the Sky (Ep 10)
  • Tales of Zestiria (Ep 1)
  • Days (Ep 11)

D Gray Man, I know I should gush about you every week but I just love watching this show so much. Great to see Lenalee back this week and some great plot reveals just make me want to watch it all the more.

Alderamin on the Sky is an anime that you need to check out if you have not started watching it yet this season. I normally do not recommend things prior to their completion but this one is worth getting on board with. It isn’t the most energetic action spectacle of all time but it is a nice bit of storytelling with some interesting characters and it just manages to balance all its elements in a way that makes it a very satisfying watch.

Tales of Zestiria the X continues to be an enjoyable fantasy. There are issues with plotting and the like but they aren’t distracting from the overall enjoyment I get from watching these characters go about their business so this one continues to be a great watch.

Days continues to surprise me. It’s spent three episodes on one soccer game and I still haven’t quit watching or wanted to drop it down. Logically I know there are a lot of issues with the show but I really want to see Tsukamoto continue to grow as a player.

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Still On My Radar

  • The Morose Mononokean (Ep 11)
  • Momokuri (Ep 22)
  • 91 Days (Ep 9)
  • Food Wars (Ep 11)
  • Cheer Boys (Ep 10)
  • Orange (Ep 11)

The Morose Mononokean delivered a fairly good episode this week. Overall this series hasn’t been as good as I would have liked it to be but it is certainly a pleasant and enjoyable series to watch. I’m thinking it would be good to marathon on a rainy afternoon once it is done.

Momokuri is kind of my surprise for the second half of the season. It’s still a generic romance (with some creepy aspects thrown in hidden by overtly cute character designs and pastel colour schemes) but it has been consistent in delivering its story and characters. I find as the end of the Summer season get’s closer, I’m enjoying this more each week because I know what I’m going to get and it delivers.

It seems like 91 Days has finally come back to Avilio’s revenge and the episode felt a lot stronger because of it. If this can stay a focus for the next few episodes this might actually have a really interesting ending.

Food Wars picked up after leaving the election behind but with the focus on two characters I don’t much like (in addition to Soma) I still wasn’t really drawn in this week. Plot wise, I definitely preferred this.

Cheer Boys should be congratulated on it’s narrative choices this week. The show is still fairly average but continues to entertain.

Kakeru and Naho continue to annoy in Orange but this episode did do something right in the focus on Suwa and having the characters actually begin to question the logic of messing with the past. It’s the first time the show has really taken the time travel aspect seriously and it makes you wonder where they will go next with that (or will be back to high school drama).

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Not Dropped But Close

  • Hitorinoshita (Ep 10)
  • Taboo Tattoo (Ep 11)

These two are still competing for the bottom. Hitorinoshita is kind of holding on to its ‘not the worst thing I’m watching’ status but episode 10 was pretty appalling. That said, Taboo Tattoo continues to show us that it can become even more flat even while it seems like the events should be dramatic and interesting. This is a great lesson in what happens when you skip over character and plot development and opt for ‘isn’t this fight cool’ story development.

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Dropped

  • Cute High Earth Defence Club Love (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Sweetness and Lightning (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Danganronpa 3 (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Mob Psycho 100 (Dropped at Ep 1 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Servamp (Dropped at Ep 2 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Rewrite (Dropped at Ep 2)
  • The Disasterous Life of Saiki K (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Ozmafia (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Scar-red Riders XechS (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Qualidea Code (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • First Love Monster (Dropped at Ep 1)

The question becomes which show will have the best ending? Which shows won’t resolve? And which shows will just splutter quietly into the night?

Taboo Tattoo Episode 11

Review:

More people died. Some of them you may even remember the names of. Most likely not though. There’s an extended duel between Cal and Seigi (which BB is kind of part of due to ghostly presence) and that’s probably the best part of the episode. Even then, it’s pretty ordinary. And then we blow up all the extras before Izzy and group race in to the underground ruins to see that the Princess is once again using Seigi for a pincushion. The issue here is this show hasn’t made us care about the Princess and her plan (which still makes no sense). Seigi’s motivation has shifted drastically because of a death that was poorly executed and so the audience doesn’t much care that it happened so don’t feel any need to get behind Seigi. And, lastly, this fight at the ruins feels exactly like the last one which also had minimal impact. Oh well, this show will soon be over and then I just need to decide if this is worse than Big Order or not.

Taboo Tattoo is available on Crunchyroll.

Taboo Tattoo Episode 10

Review:

This is how Taboo Tattoo does a time jump: change scenes without warning and then have a character very clumsily comment on the fact that it’s been a year before noting another character is taller. Totally seemless transition.

All I have are questions.

Why am I still watching this?

How does BB think it is fair to drop a burden he couldn’t carry onto a high school student? (And the I’ll fight with you even though I’m dead line does not take away the trauma he just inflicted.)

Why hasn’t the American military gotten any smarter or more powerful in the entire year they’ve apparently had since their last defeat?

This episode bounces from scene to scene and ends with our characters entering another fight and this one I care about even less than the last. Oh well.

Taboo Tattoo is available on Crunchyroll.

Summer 2016 Week 9

Here we are in week 9. This week has been a real mixed bag with some shows dropping the ball entirely (or tossing it away) while other shows have really gone forward full steam ahead. I’m starting to look now to see what is ending in a few weeks and what is continuing but there are a couple of shows that I won’t mind seeing finish sooner rather than later at this point. I’m also now down to only 4 series in my must watch.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the season below.

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I Must Keep Watching

  • D.Gray-Man Hallow (Ep 9)
  • Alderamin on the Sky (Ep 8)
  • Days (Ep 9)
  • Tales of Zestiria (Ep 8)

D Gray Man continues to be my favourite watch (and yes I am aware that it may not be the best show of the season but it is the one I am loving the most).

Alderamin on the Sky delivers another solid episode. It’s moving slower now but with established characters and a fairly clear direction, this is still a really enjoyable show to watch.

Days wasn’t as strong this week as we spent most of the episode watching the game and it didn’t finish by the end of the episode. I get that this is a pretty major game but one of the things I’ve liked about this series is that even though it is an anime about sport they haven’t made us watch episodes of people playing sport.

Tales of Zestiria the X is still pretty interesting. I’m probably enjoying more because I really like fantasy and its been awhile since I’ve seen something with a dragon that has been even vaguely watchable. I get the feeling that this is a show that really shouldn’t be scrutinised too closely because it just won’t hold up.

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Still On My Radar

  • The Morose Mononokean (Ep 9)
  • Cheer Boys (Ep 8)
  • Orange (Ep 9)
  • Food Wars (Ep 9)
  • Momokuri (Ep 18)
  • 91 Days (Ep 7.5)

Okay, The Morose Mononokean delivered a fairly ho-hum kind of episode. It tried to bring some emotion to the scene but it just didn’t really work and to be honest the whole episode felt filler worthy. While I really held onto this one with high hopes because it was generally sweet and kind of reminded me of Natsume Yuujinchou, this series has just consistently failed to deliver a solid performance. There are definitely good moments and it is certainly watchable, but it is also going to be fairly forgettable unless they do something amazing in the next couple of episodes.

Cheer Boys continues to be light and entertaining. They resolved some of their issues and are driving toward their next challenge so the feel good continues even if it lacks depth.

Orange gave us another significantly weaker episode. This second half of the season is seriously faltering. It just can’t hold up visually or dramatically to the first half and it seems like the story has all but run it’s course. That isn’t to say it couldn’t recover from this but this week was disappointing.

Food Wars also gave us a fairly lack lustre follow up. Last week I liked because it was the set-up for the finals but this cooking match was kind of dull. It doesn’t measure up to some of the previous efforts either visually or in terms of excitement. I’m not sure I even care who wins (which of course has not yet been revealed).

Momokuri resumes being adorable this week while still not really doing anything new. The thing with this show is, if it just stopped, I probably wouldn’t care, but I do enjoy watching the episodes when they come out.

91 Days recapped the story. Thanks but no thanks.

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Not Dropped But Close

  • Hitorinoshita (Ep 8)
  • Taboo Tattoo (Ep 9)

Hitorinoshita… Well, it’s kind of continuing on. I’m sure there’s a point in here somewhere. There’s some fight sequences? Okay. I don’t know. Stuff is still happening, everyone still wants Soran, and to be honest it doesn’t really feel like anything is going to come together in this anime any time soon.

Taboo Tattoo… Flash back to a more interesting character? Doesn’t that just make us realise how rubbish the rest of the show has been?

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Dropped

  • Cute High Earth Defence Club Love (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • The Highschool Life of a Fudanshi (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Sweetness and Lightning (Dropped at Ep 4)
  • Danganronpa 3 (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Mob Psycho 100 (Dropped at Ep 1 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Servamp (Dropped at Ep 2 – Revisited to Ep 3)
  • Rewrite (Dropped at Ep 2)
  • The Disasterous Life of Saiki K (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Ozmafia (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Scar-red Riders XechS (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • Qualidea Code (Dropped at Ep 1)
  • First Love Monster (Dropped at Ep 1)

Is it just me or has this summer season flown by really fast?