Winter 2016 Anime Review

With many new anime having aired their third episode, the time is not only ripe but even over ripe for a review of the anime of the past season.  So, I shall not now review Dagashi Kashi, Dimension W, Norn 9, or Utawarerumono, since I have not finished them yet.  I will say that Dagashi remaines pleasantly amusing, Dimension W is ending on a stronger note than it started on, and even Utawarerumono’s doing much better of late.  (I stalled Norn 9 on episode 4, but I want to get back to it.) I hope to get around to reviewing these shows at a later time.  You know, I feel bad for not finishing everything I started, but looking at my watchlist makes me realize that I have watched plenty of anime this season: part of the above four, six shows of regular length, two shorts, and one movie.  Not bad, even if it was more than I could chew!


For the sake of brevity, let me point out that I have reviewed Active Raid here, Bubuki Buranki (aka BBK/BRNK) here, and both KonoSuba and Gate here for Beneath the Tangles.  Also, I have given my opinion of the bold ideas behind Garakowa here.  So, that leaves Sekkou Boys, Erased, Showa Rakugo, and Ojisan and Marshmallow for review below.


1) Sekkou Boys★★ 1/2

I had little idea what I was getting into watching a show about a boy band made up of famous sculptures and the sufferings of their manager.  This short made me guffaw several times, especially the hashtag gag in episode two.  A friend of mine commented that I chuckled all throughout the last two episodes; yet, I cannot rate the show higher.  Generally, I would be willing to re-watch anything three stars or higher, and I don’t see myself watching this show again.  It was okay all the same.


2) Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu★★★ 1/2

Anyone else surprised and appalled by Miyokichi’s self-destructive antics at the end of the show?  The ending made me dock half a star from the show.  We knew that Sukeroku and Miyokichi died, but did they have to die at that moment?  Still, this series stood as the most unique of the titles offered last season with its focus on the little known art of rakugo and its setting in antebellum and postwar Japan.


But, Miyokichi and Sukeroku’s death bothers me.  I could not but recall the Fall of Adam as I watched their fatal fall.  Miyokichi, like Eve, wishes most of all for Kikuhiko, who is forbidden to her by her marriage and Kikuhiko’s position.  Her lust leads to her tumbling off the inn’s balcony with Sukeroku, like Adam, jumping after her.  Many theologians saw Adam as eating the forbidden fruit less because of the tempter’s suggestion and more because he feared separation from Eve if he separated himself from her sin.  This interpretation both shows Adam as a tragic romantic and lacking confidence in God. 


St. Symeon the New Theologian (a great Orthodox theologian, dubbed “new theologian” because of how original and outside the box his ideas were) famously wrote that God would have forgiven Adam and Eve if even one of them had owned up to the sin instead of passing the buck.  What if Adam had overcome his fear of being separated from Eve, trusted in God’s mercy, and refused to partake of the fruit?  Would not Eve have had an easier time owning up to her offense and gaining forgiveness if Adam was not standing also guilty before God?  What would have been the shape of mankind had not they both fallen?  Those questions are interesting to ponder over.


3) Ojisan to Marshmallow★★★★

I found this to be a gut-bursting comedy.  The comedy ranged from ridiculously goofy to over the top sexual humor, but funny all the same.  A friend of mine did not enjoy the show because he could not get over a twenty-four year old office lady falling for her overweight, marshmallow-chomping colleague of over forty years of age.  This and some of the sexual innuendos might prevent some people from suspending their disbelief enough to get into this comedy.


4) Erased – ★★★★

Here is my second favorite show of the season.  My dear readers could see how it sparked my imagination to write one post on reprobation and another on salvation.  The initial three episodes swept me along in the intense mystery presented by the plot.  The show unfortunately suffered from a sagging middle where Satoru is lost and does not know what to do.  I feel like it would be half a star higher if not for that. 

There you have my thoughts on the past season.  Stay tuned for the seven shows (excluding shorts) I pick from the fifteen shows I’m sampling from the current season!  I don’t want to overdo things this time.

4 comments on “Winter 2016 Anime Review

  1. MIB says:

    I have to say I wasn’t aware until the last episode that “Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu” was a two cour show as I was getting a little bored with the story remaining in the past. I wanted to see how the ex-con would get on as a Rakugo performer more.

    I do agree that Miyokichi’s actions by the end were disappointing but perhaps this was a way to explore the problem of how depression can hit even the most ebullient of personalities? Depression wasn’t something people understood in the first half of the 20th century so the only way they could handle it was to let it take its grip and try and fight it with booze and decadence.

    Anyway, I’m still keen to see how the second part plays out. 🙂


    • The promise of a second season also came as a surprise to me. I suppose the conflict of the second show will revolve around Yotaro keeping Rakugo alive and perhaps strain his marriage to Konatsu. (The ending clip makes me assume they get married, but we’ll see.) That should make for another interesting season.

      Miyokichi’s character does offer an interesting way to view depression. Like a depressed person, she does not seem to be able to be content–even achieving her stated desire of belonging to a man does not give her peace. But, people did understand depression at that time, just not in the way we do now. The Art of Manliness published a very interesting look at the history of how depression was perceived throughout the centuries: A while back, I reviewed an excellent book on the vice of acedia, which is how Christianity dealt with depression from the Age of the Desert Fathers until the Renaissance, when acedia increasingly became replaced with sloth on the list of Deadly Sins. Sadly, there seems to be no easy cure for depression or acedia, though some are effectively helped with medicine these days and some escape the black dog through work or service. But, I suppose booze would be the only remedy to come to Miyokichi’s mind at the time she lived. Then again, I hear that the stigma against mental illness is quite strong in Japan, so it might also be the only medicine to occur to even most modern Japanese.


      • MIB says:

        We’ve definitely comes a long way in understanding and dealing with depression. In the old days they’d automatically lock people up in mental hospitals; the British army apparently had a very dim view of depressed soldiers in World War I, calling them deserters if they couldn’t cope with the stress of war and would often shoot them!

        At least now there is counselling, controllable medication, and alternate therapy to help people but some people back then – and still today – were worried of the stigma of depression hence their solution was at the bottom of a bottle.

        Back to the show and there is a chance that Sukeroku’s own problems with depression and booze rubbed off on Miyokichi since she essentially settled for second best with Sukeroku, and shared in his destructive behaviour as away to keep the peace and the marriage in tact.

        I didn’t assume Yotaro and Konatsu would get married but I do suspect a romance of some sort may (inevitably) develop between them, albeit a presumably short lived one.


      • That is a big problem with depression: people don’t want others to know about it and cope with it in unhealthy ways. With the reactions to depressed people you mentioned, I can see why people of times past would especially not want to air their malady! Though, I can understand the British officers’ reaction to people who cracked, even if severe: the last thing one wants is soldiers deserting. If one guy gets cut a break, another person wants the same break and so on.

        I basically assumed that Yotaro and Konatsu would get married because in that final shot in the theater they looked really chummy with Konatsu holding a baby. Not Yotaro’s, but he did volunteer to be the father of the child and his liking for Konatsu appears mutual. But, we’ll see.


Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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