Replaying the slam dunks, swishes, and bricks of summer.
Sure, we’re neck-deep in Fall premieres, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pause to say goodbye to the summer shows! If you’re wondering why this took so long to go live, blame The Reflection: I got sucked into it and decided to wait to post the retrospective until the final episode had aired.
While this was an inconsistent, up-and-down kind of season, very sparse on shows I always liked, I somehow wound up finishing a whole bunch of them. I even picked up some previous “drops” along the way, with… mixed results, we’ll say. Not a ton of wholehearted recommendations, I’m sad to say, but if you’re interested in my summer season thoughts, you can either listen to the Chatty AF summer wrap-up podcast, or hit the jump for some written mini-reviews.
Beating the heat with some cool summer series.
I’m writing this fresh off an Otakon Anime Convention whirlwind of a weekend, and dear readers, I am T-I-R-E-D. The thought of catching up with and writing 2-3 paragraphs on 11 series sounded so exhausting that I wound up dropping two of the shows I was still kinda on the fence about just so I could make the post shorter (I still talk about them a little, though). As I said after my June beach vacation, there’s truly nothing like a week away from your regular schedule to help you trim the ol’ watchlist.
Even with those dropped shows, my queue is still pretty packed thanks to sequels and surprise successes. Lots of variety too! Hit the jump to find the nice comedy, smart spy drama, or sprawling fantasy that sounds good to you.
Are you not entertained?!
Waiting on slowpoke Gamers to air its third episode meant a whole bunch of shows had already made it to their fourth, hence the “ish” in that title. Ah, well. Just means more tasty content for you dear readers, right?
I’m not sure this is what I’d call a “good” season, but it certainly is a fun one. Pleasant surprises, ambitious messes, exquisite piles of trash, and (sigh) Welcome to the Ballroom rule my summer watch list. While several of them could fall off a cliff in a hurry if they aren’t careful (and some maybe already have?), overall I’m having a pretty good time. Hit the jump to see who’s gaining ground and who’s falling behind 3-4 episodes into this wild, wacky season.
Let’s see what sort of treasures we can excavate this time!
I’ve been hard at work writing and editing the full-length premiere reviews for Anime Feminist, so you’ll have to excuse me if the write-ups for my digests have gotten smaller along the way. Writing lots of words about a few series means fewer words about a lot of series, it turns out. The good(?) news is that I actually watched the shows on Amazon Strike this time around (I signed up for the free trial so I could help AniFem–and yes, I feel dirty about it, too), so they’re included for once.
The categories are a little different this time because there were only a couple of shows that “wowed” me but a whole bunch that fell in a “let’s give it a couple and see what happens” range, so I adjusted accordingly. Overall, the Summer premiere week started slow, peaked in the middle, and finished with a rollercoaster of “pleasant surprise” crests and “utter garbage” valleys. I wound up with a lot more balls in the air than expected. Here’s hoping we can all catch a few good ones as they come down.
Hot sequels, cool tutors, and. Um. Kado.
This is a sparser list than usual, jam-packed with sequels but relatively light on everything else. I took a vacation in early June where I didn’t have time to watch anime, and lemme tell ya, that week away really puts into perspective which series you’re invested in and which you’re just watching for the sake of having something on the TV. At the end of that week, three series were on the cutting-room floor, which I think is the first time my Midseason and Series Review posts have differed so dramatically.
It was the kind of season that started strong and then kind of petered out, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some great showings along the way (mostly in the form of sequels), a hidden gem or two (mostly in the form of The Royal Tutor), and a show that just… um… what? Hit the jump to learn more about that last one, as well as overall thoughts on all the others, too.
Think of them as delicious s’mores roasting on this fire of a year!
We can pretty much all agree that 2016 was, er, not the greatest. But there were a few bright spots, at least, and one of them was definitely the anime. Each season had its standout hits and surprise treasures, filled with compelling characters, stylish animation, striking cinematography, and stories that ran the gamut from clever silliness to sincere enthusiasm to gripping tension to wrenching drama. I watched about 30 shows to completion (yeah, that scares me, too) and would recommend almost all of them to someone, depending on what kind of genres they enjoyed.
Problem is, this makes it nigh impossible to pick just 10 series to highlight as The Best Of The Best. How can I bear to ignore this hidden gem or snub that enjoyable blockbuster? The answer, it turns out, is to just straight-up abandon any pretense of critical distance. Or any modicum of Serious Blogger Professionalism whatsoever, really. That’s why this list has a whole slew of Honorable Mentions before even getting to the Top 10, and why the Top 10 is really just “the 10 shows I liked the best.”
It’s also why there is no #6. Instead, my Top 5 will have 6 shows in it. My blog, my rules, suckas!
Gold and silver and bronze and on.
Spring might have been lacking the standout masterpiece and shoujo gem that Winter had (Shouwa Genroku and Snow White, respectively), but it more than made up for it in sheer quantity, offering up a variety of lively, stylish, and just downright fun series. In that respect, this season feels a little like last summer: I’m not sure how many of these shows are gonna make my 2016 Top 10 list, but I enjoyed watching just about all of them.
In other news, I think this is the last time you’ll see my Totally Arbitrary Rankings used in a season retrospective. More and more I’m realizing I don’t love the ranking system–it forces me to list shows one after the other even if I think multiple shows may have all been equally worthwhile for very different reasons. It’s reductive and misleading but, more to the point, not that fun. So enjoy the numbers for today, bid them a fond (or not) farewell, and look forward to a new format from here on out.
For now, though…
Pick a show, any show.
We’ve reached the midway point and Spring shows no sign of slowing down or dropping off. From calming comedies to urban fantasies to action-packed (melo)dramas to whatever-the-hell The Lost Village is supposed to be, there’s a lot of variety and remarkable quality, with most shows building on themselves nicely or, at the very least, maintaining a steady course.
While I wouldn’t say there’s a ton in the way of jaw-dropping creative ambition at this point (aside from Concrete Revolutio anyway), if you’re in the mood for entertainment, Spring 2016 has got you thoroughly covered. Hit the jump to check in with our motley crew of anime titles.
Don’t mind me, I just fell over under the weight of my watch list.
I hemmed and hawed about exactly when I should post this sucker. Due to a combination of already offset premiere dates and delays caused by the Kumamoto Earthquake (a list of ways you can help here, if you’re interested), some of these are into their fourth episode while a couple have only aired two. So consider this more a rule of three-ish review, I s’pose.
The number of shows that made it this far is, uh… not insignificant, with a good mix of comedy and drama (or at least loud glorious trashy action) to offer a little something for everyone. Even the stuff on the bubble is pretty solid, and would have been a lock during last season’s sparser schedule. I’m going to try to be brief here so as not to overload you on word count, but let’s see if I can’t praise some favorites and maybe point you towards your next favorite along the way.
So many shows, so little time!
It’s a little late out the gate, but here’s the first batch of panning posts. I’m doing my premieres a little differently this season: I still watch every new, licensed full-length show and talk about ’em, but I’m rolling them up into just 2-3 “digest” posts and forgoing my usual extended meet ‘n’ greets for shorter blurbs divided into three basic categories: “Guaranteed three episodes,” “On the fence,” and “Probably dropped.” Not sure if I’ll stick with this in future seasons or not, but it’s how I needed to do it this time around.
If a title catches your eye, you can find out where the show is streaming by using this handy search engine. Now hit the jump to ding the bell for Round 1—FIGHT!