Spring Anime 2016

Anime spring came with a lot of easy-going shows, additional seasons and a few surprises mixed in. The shows I was anticipating did not let me down so far but the anime I’m enjoying the most at this point are somewhat unexpected choices. I’m going to talk a little about those series that have caught my interest the most so far.

Favourite Anime of Spring Season 2016

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Agetarou at his first gig

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou (とんかつDJアゲ太郎)

Agetarou works at his family’s tonkatsu restaurant to succeed it one day, but the routine bores him. One day, a delivery leads him to a club where he eventually gets hooked on DJing and now he is determined to master both being a chef and a DJ…

I  feel like this is an anime that is mostly overlooked by people, maybe because one episode is only about 9 minutes long or maybe because the art and animation style are a bit different from what most anime looks like nowadays. But, in my opinion, that is what makes it all the more interesting. For a fact, the style becomes less important in the light of the fun characters and unusual theme: DJing. I didn’t know anything about it before but this humorous short series has brought the topic a little closer to me with ease. In this anime we get the unique setting of DJing in combination with Japanese cuisine. The cast is incredible good as well, with seiyuu like Kenjirou Tsuda , Keiji Fujiwara, Tomokazu Seki and Daiki Yamashita as Agetarou. Studio Deen definitely knew what they were doing when they adapted this manga and chose the cast. When Agetarou had his debut performance at a club I was captivated and thrilled by the scene, hoping that he wouldn’t mess up at his first chance. Or last week’s episode, when the suave journalist who was voiced by Seki, made me chuckle non-stop because of his comedic acting. The show is short and sweet and delivers everything to me that I want from an entertaining anime. It’s not incredibly smart or deep but it makes me look forward to more every week. And it makes me hungry for tonkatsu as well…

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A few thoughts on some other anime:

  • Tanaka-kun is always listless (田中くんはいつもけだるげ): This anime might be my favourite this season, if we disregard the TV shorts for a moment. It has a very pleasant, slow momentum and it’s the kind of Slice of Life anime I’ve been missing since Kimi to Boku aired in 2011. Kenshou Ono as Tanaka’s seiyuu was a fantastic decision because his voice alone can be really soothing and the rest of the cast is just as outstanding and does a perfect job at portraying the versatile characters. One of the anime’s strong points is definitely the situational humour, another is the pacing and how it’s not afraid to give us less to create more as a result.
  • KAGEWANI:Shou (影鰐-承-): I was absolutely overjoyed when a second season for Kagewani was announced. I adored the first season, it’s a really unconventional show with an amazing art style and interesting animation technique. While S1 was truly creepy and disturbing, S2 goes even more into depth regarding the plot and the characters we got to know in the previous season and I’m enjoying it just as much.
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Sousuke Banba in Kagewani:Shou
  • Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活): Re:Zero is an anime that took me completely by surprise. After watching the first episode I hadn’t expected much, it seemed like a typical romcom fantasy adventure and I even considered dropping it. But oh, how I was mistaken! When Subaru, the protagonist, dies, he comes back to life, but not of his own will. Once brought back to life and back in time, he has to change something to make the outcome different and survive. The audience knows as much as the character about the mysterious events and how to cope with them and this is why it gets so thrilling. The story steadily develops as Subaru is able to survive day for day, slowly unraveling his purpose in this new world. The constant shift of atmosphere, between happy slice of life and crude murder and conspiracy, is amazing and (if you haven’t read the manga) this anime is always throwing yet another surprise at you to catch you completely off guard.
  • Space Patrol Lulcuco (宇宙パトロールルル子): I generally watch everything by TRIGGER, it usually doesn’t disappoint me at all. Luluco is another TV short and it’s as wild as I had expected. There are many cameos of other shows by TRIGGER in the anime and every week the episodes are extremely fun to watch. Regarding the plot, it’s nothing new or particularly outstanding but the characters and their universe are charming so the story’s just enough for this show to form a complete, coherent anime.

The anime I had been anticipating beforehand:

  • Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 ダイヤモンドは砕けない): Jojo is love, Jojo is life. And part 4 was my favourite part in the manga. Therefore I was extremely hyped for the animation. Nevertheless I started out with rather negative expectations. They changed most of the cast who had voiced the characters in the official games and CMs and made a few changes to the character designs that I didn’t like too much. By now, I’ve gotten used to most of the things that had me disgruntled at the start and I am enjoying the anime so far. But as soon as the animation gets to the part where one of my favourite characters appears, I might have yet another opinion…
  • Bungou Stray Dogs (文豪ストレイドッグス): One thing is for sure,  what I love most about this anime is its score since it is composed by Taku Iwasaki and in BSD he’s at his best once again! I also love the bunch of different characters in it, the beautiful animation, the elite cast and surely the plot ain’t too bland either. It’s a typical shounen series, with a touch of supernatural at that. And still, I feel like BSD is resting on its oars a little too much because it is widely featured in Japanese media and has a lot of bishounen for the ladies to swoon at. The anime has recurring flaws too but I also believe that on the whole (after the second half has aired in fall) this show will be a very coherent one if they manage to maintain the atmosphere until the very end.
  • Joker Game (ジョーカー・ゲーム): I heard a lot of people complain about how the story isn’t consecutive in Joker Game. Every episode features a different spy of the central spy agency. They each get their very own case and story. In fact, I like that sort of story-telling though. I think, it’s a nice change and something we don’t get that often in season anime. It’s a good chance to approach the story or rather stories from different angles and I am convinced that in the end we will get a connecting episode as well. For now we can get to know the different characters better and learn how they do their work. I must admit, they all do look very similar but I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…
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Joker Game
  • My Hero Academia (僕のヒーローアカデミア): Before this anime started airing I heard many people talking about BnHA with utmost admiration and dedication so I, too, was very excited to see the recently so popular Shounen Jump-series animated. And now I do understand where that fascination comes from. Boku no Hero Academia takes a lot of time to properly establish characters and emotions and that is something I treasure the most about any kind of media. If I’m not emotionally involved I will certainly not become attached, however  e.g. psychologically challenging or relevant for modern society it may be. Sometimes a series can be simple and “old school” in its essence but be the most outstanding nevertheless. BnHA appears to be on its way to become a promising new SJ series, hopefully not ending up like many of its most popular ones…
  • Kiznaiver (キズナイーバー): It is TRIGGER. Like Kyoto Animation, I feel obliged to watch it, merely because the animation is irresistibly beautiful. Kiznaiver’s opening song is performed by the Japanese Electro-Duo Boom Boom Satellites, whose music I enjoy a lot and of course, as soon as I heard the song I fell in love with it. Another tempting factor. But if I look at the actual anime I can’t really make up my mind. Nothing strikes me as particularly captivating, some characters are bland and annoying while others are interesting and more complex. The main plot could result in something deep or it might just end up nowhere and waste all that potential. It’s hard to tell where the anime wants to go because they throw in some new components every week. When it was about overcoming past traumas I thought Kiznaiver was actually good, but now they are going with some suspicious forced romance. Great, the thing I hate about anime the most…For now, I will wait and see where this TRIGGER aventure will take me eventually…
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