As another instalment of seasonal anime draws to a close, it’s time to look back on what Summer 2016 had to offer (click on the titles to see my first impressions!)
Equal parts heart-warming and heart-breaking; Orange was one of my favourites this season. Even though the whole idea of a reverse time capsule was never truly explained, there was just the right amount of pseudo-science and philosophy to excuse it. Anything more would seem out of place in an anime like this, which sometimes feels more shoujo than seinen. Kakeru’s depression isn’t something that’s dismissed as easily ‘cured’, and his friends don’t expect him to cheer up overnight but they’re still there supporting him. I liked how everyone got letters, and not just Naho, because the pressure of saving him would be too much by herself. And it works, because it really felt like there were in it together. This series is definitely reminiscent of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, but coming from a different angle. Plus, I was totally rooting for Azu and Hagita to get together.
This series honestly had the most plot suspense I’ve seen in a long time. Even murder mystery Erased didn’t leave me guessing as long as 91 Days did, because I’d been able to deduce who the killer was halfway through. The very first episode implied that Avilio, a.k.a. Angelo, would exact his revenge, but as he grew closer to the Vanettis and as his spiral into the criminal underworld continued, it was harder to tell if he’d lost sight of his goal. 91 Days stands out, refreshing in its realism and set in a time period not often found in anime (save for a few series like Baccano). Unlike some animated media, this plotline wouldn’t feel out of place in a live action drama. The actual animation itself does cut corners in places but definitely pulls itself together when it really counts. I may not have seen all Summer 2016 had to offer, but I nominate the Corteo and Fango scene as the goriest of the season*.
*We’re not counting Berserk, from reputation alone.
This short anime was definitely not made for my demographic… probably not even made for any demographic on Crunchyroll. Extremely childish and sometimes coming across as a less interesting version of Toy Story, it’s not that engaging for older viewers. Its length was always going to be an issue, because it doesn’t allow Bananya and his friends to get a real adventure, like in early 2000s series Hamtaro. It mainly sells itself on the novelty of a cat living inside a banana, but as soon as that’s worn off, there’s not much left. However it could work as a tool to study Japanese, because the narrator speaks relatively slowly and doesn’t use a lot of complicated language. Although it wouldn’t be very effective vocabulary-wise because the topic is always cats! If you’re looking for a short and sweet anime of the feline variety, Chi’s Sweet Home is a better alternative.
New Game! has been one of those series that just gives you the warm fuzzies all the way through. Never too dramatic and never too sad, it’s just genuinely a good time. With all the anime about unemployment and horrible jobs around lately, it’s a ray of sunshine that’s more than welcome. Aoba may have to work hard and stay overtime and hit deadlines, but she loves her job and gets to share an office with her hero every day. She’s following her dreams and it’s actually kind of inspirational. The art style is cute and the animation is consistently good. Each character is endearing in their own way, even Nene Sakura, who sometimes seems a little too immature. The Kou/Rin dynamic makes for perfect yuri subtext, but that’s just the cherry on top of a cake I’d definitely eat again.
First off, I want to commend Ange Vierge’s commitment to including a bath scene in every single episode. If there’s one thing this series has, it’s consistency. And not just in its fanservice. The whole thing is formulaic, and so sequential that it’s possible to guess where the next episode is going to take place. Predictability isn’t always a bad thing but Ange Vierge borders on boring a lot of the time. I’ve never played the card game that the anime is based off, but I’m supposing that a lot of the terminology is better understood if you have. Anyone can tell that Saya and the others are lower ranked than most but specifics are rarely mentioned, so it almost assumes that you already know. The characters are the saving grace of this anime, with their personalities and relationships driving the story.
I don’t really have a strong impression of this series, to be completely honest. An easily forgettable anime that pretty much flew under the radar for the whole season, I probably would have lost track if it was longer than three minutes. The ‘no homo’ jokes grew old very quickly and a lot of the cast were generic stereotypes. That being said, it was slightly self-aware, highlighting several tropes from BL manga such as crossdressing and the jealous uke. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the yaoi subgenre as a whole so maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea, but points for trying different things.
I posted a full review of ReLife last week. Click here to check it out.
What was your favourite summer anime? Were there any you’d want to see return for another season? For more Summer 2016 coverage, click here.