Impression of Anime Winter 2016: A Competent Season

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The following post is the result of your humble blogger not having kept up with the current season, with the exceptions of Gate, Erased, Ojisan to Marshmallow, and Shouwa Rakugo.  Usually, I’d be giving a rundown of what I thought of each show, but I haven’t been able to give enough attention to anime recently for that.  (At least, not yet.)  Here is the complete list of what I’m trying to follow:

1) Active Raid
2) BBK/BRNK
3) Dagashi Kashi
4) Dimension W
5) Erased
6) Gate
7) KonoSuba
8) Norn9
9) Ojisan and Marshmallow
10) Sekkou Boys
11) Shouwa Rakugo
12) Utawarerumono: The False Faces

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Here is a season bursting with competent shows!  I can only point to one show which is actually bad on the list above: Utawarerumono.  (It saddens this avid fan of the prior series to have to write that.  Sed, semper vera dicere decet.) At the same time, only four shows have struck me as beyond competent: Erased, Shouwa Rakugo, and Ojisan and Marshmallow.  (Gate almost falls into this category–almost.) Unlike the other shows in the list above, I feel involved in the hero’s journey or daily life in each of my three favorites.  Part of me does not want them to end, even though I know that none of these three is of the sort to remain interesting for more than two seasons.

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Here is an odd fact: it is very easy to write a competent show these days.  (Let me point out that I have written about this before in my article “Zankyou no Terror and Following the Handbook.”) The entertainment industry is a giant factory for the production of competent stories.  Most of the writers know the rules for constructing a plot which engages the viewer and the rules of character building.  Apply these rules to a certain premise, and voila! Entertainment!  One is almost tempted to say that it is easy to write a good story these days.

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Creating an original and competent story is much more difficult.  Most stories have been told in one fashion or another.  But, a story which captures an author’s unique insights and elevates us from our everyday life or edifies us concerning the truth is very rare.  Amusingly, original stories are often badly done.  Take Gate for example.  I enjoy Gate, and it is original; but, the plot meanders and I doubt even the author knows where he wants to take it.  Dagashi Kashi also strikes me as original, but I can’t watch more than two episodes in a sitting before the comedy is not enough to keep me interested.  Still, these two shows are original even if somewhat incompetent, and I have no doubt that I shall remember them long after I have forgotten shows which were technically better.  To borrow an example from literature, Jim Butcher is a far better writer than Sir Walter Scott and Charles Williams in terms of technique.  Yet, people will still be reading those two long after Jim Butcher, enjoyable as his novels are, has passed on.

What shows have left the biggest impression on my dear readers this season?  Any which strike you as rather original?

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5 comments on “Impression of Anime Winter 2016: A Competent Season

  1. Annalyn says:

    I love Rakugo Shinjuu and Erased, of course, although I’ve gotten behind on that second one. I won’t be forgetting either of them anytime soon. I wouldn’t go far as to say they’re very original, but Erased has struck me as a different combination of fantasy (because it’s not sci-fi), mystery, and other story elements. When I try to think of stories that work with time in an at all similar way, I only think of American films, and even those are inadequate comparisons.

    I’m watching three shorts, including Oji-san and Marshmallow, but my favorite of those three is Sekkou Boys. Sure, I have a hard time keeping the different busts straight, but it’s fun and different… and I feel bad for the manager. She had my sympathy from the very first episode, and she hasn’t lost it. I think this short is a successful example of someone’s goofy idea becoming entertainment.

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    • Erased does kind of sag around episode five, but my interest picked up a couple of episodes later. This show would be good to watch as a marathon.

      I suppose your right in that neither show is very original in the prime meaning of the word, but no original story in that sense has come about since Don Quixote. But, the stories strike me as quite refreshing, and that’s the most we can hope for these days, until we enter a dark age and all human literature and history is lost, I suppose. 🙂

      Sekkou Boys is pretty funny. The hashtag joke in episode two nearly toppled me from my chair with laughter. I really need to catch up with the show tonight.

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  2. ERASED!!! omg I am super obsessed with that show. Haha

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    • It is an awesome show, perhaps the best of the season. Though, it does have strong competition from Shouwa Rakugo. With Erased, I like the question of what would people do if they could change the past, and the murder mystery aspect makes for a gripping plot. I just wonder whether they shall wrap everything up in one season or go for a second.

      Liked by 1 person

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