Anime of Spring 2016: Mid-season Review, part 2

Here is the second part of my mid-season review.  Looking at what’s written below, the general mood seems to be one of criticism, except for Kiznaiver, anyway.  With that note, let’s get into my thoughts on MayoigaKiznaiverHaifuri, and Flying Witch.

Kyoumi aru

5) Mayoiga (aka The Lost Village)

At this point, I’m sticking around merely to see the end of the show.  I had hopes of these characters overcoming their fears and behaving rationally, but no dice.  At last, we have discovered that a village adjoins Nanaki village beyond the tunnel and that the monsters are both produced by our characters fears and truly are able to interact with the real world.  Our heroes must overcome their fears lest their phobias cause them more than mental harm, but can they?

Grandma in the Attic

This anime strongly reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, where the characters board a bus and enter a sort of purgatory, where they must grow larger than their past selves if they are to enter heaven.  The characters in Mayoiga are also very small: slaves to their fears or their hobbies.  However, they have it worse than the characters in The Great Divorce in that they have no guides for showing them how to overcome their small-heartedness.  The opening of the show had a sad beginning, as we see these half-persons choosing exile from everyone and everything they know over facing their fears and failures.  Normally, that would make me expect a happy ending, but I can find no reason for hope in the story thus far.

Intense Parenting

Disgusting Natto

6) Haifuri (aka High School Fleet)

The best part of this show is the naval battles.  I’ve warmed up to some of the characters, especially the zany Kouko Nasu, the ship’s secretary.  With advent of the extraterrestrial rodents, the plot has taken an interesting turn.  Still, if we are to compare this show to Girls und Panzer, it falls short on so many levels.  I must admit that the moe girls animation is bugging me too.  Girls und Panzer also featured moe girls, but the action kept me from paying minding too much.

Plotting

Victory Onion

7) Flying Witch

Gosh, there’s so little of substance to this show, i.e. no high story.  I wonder how realistic their portrayal is of people when none hold strong opinions or conflicting views.  Sure, Flying Witch is part of the slice of life genre, and people do not generally watch slice of life for conflict, which is why I generally have a low opinion of the genre.

Otona ni naru made

Still, the cultural notes, beauty of the backgrounds, comedy, and above average animation make me enjoy the show despite the above imperfection.  It is cool to see glimpses of life in northern Honshu and to hear a different dialect of Japanese in Kei Kuramoto’s father.  All the characters are likable, and the scenario rather relaxing.  Still, I’m probably going to give it two and a half stars.

Frog on Neko

IMG_9361

 

8) Kiznaiver

Now that I’ve gotten my negative opinions out of the way, let’s move onto my third favorite show of the season.  Kiznaiver‘s beginning annoyed me so much that I almost dropped it, but Trigger has a knack for creating interesting characters and depth of story.  (Yes, I’m convinced that they have depth under all the style.  You may disagree, my dear readers, but you’d be wrong.)  I mean, the characters of one of their prior works, Inou Battle Within Everyday Life, rendered the show interesting through their mere interaction despite it not having a cohesive plot.

IMG_9357

Trigger pitched in an interesting question into Kiznaiver: would we be better people if we directly felt another person’s pain?  After all, the Latin word for mercy is misericordia, which combines the Latin words for miserable and heart.  This implies that compassion is a prerequisite for mercy.  The worst people are often those who are unable to empathize with others, and so, the show creates a scenario where complete empathy is imposed on the actors.

IMG_9252

But, I wonder whether perfect empathy would impede mercy in certain circumstances.  Some acts of mercy involve rebuking or even punishing people in order to deter them from evil.  As the famous song goes, “We gotta be cruel to be kind in the right measure.”  How much less inclined would we be to do this if we felt their humiliation, anger at being admonished, despair of change, and the swirl of negative emotions confronting those who refuse to change or suffer difficulty on the path of virtue?  We naturally hesitate to bring up the faults of others least they become angry at us or love us the less for pointing out their faults.  Yet, can we really be said to be merciful when we refrain from admonishing the sinner–a spiritual work of mercy?  Of course, we cannot be busybodies or throw pearls before swine, but much of the time when we avoid pointing out another’s faults, we exercise mercy towards ourselves rather than the other person.

IMG_9241

I write the above in order to suggest that fellow-feeling might not be the complete guide to virtue and mercy, even if it is very helpful.  I’m curious to see what Kiznaiver‘s final opinion on the matter will be.

So, what shows are you watching and enjoying?

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7 comments on “Anime of Spring 2016: Mid-season Review, part 2

  1. Paul says:

    I’m being a little lethargic for spring 2016 shows. I’m still only watching Haifuri. I’m mainly watching older anime series and movies. Haifuri is still enjoyable, but you’re right about it falling flat compared to Girls und Panzer. The soundtrack also is a bit weaker compared to Girls und Panzer.

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    • Watching older shows is not a bad thing: all the junk shows have already been sifted from the better quality shows, so one usually sees better anime that way. For example, just about every anime I’ve written about in my “Examining Old School Anime” column on Beneath the Tangles have been great.

      The soundtrack in Haifuri is certainly nothing special, and I doubt they can beat the “Katyusha” song in Girls und Panzer. Still, it is a fun show with some high points.

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  2. While at first I was merely following Kiznaiver because it was studio Trigger, I’ve come to really anticipate each episode as they air. I can’t recall whom, but somewhere, someone made me realize that, in a way, the characters share more realistic and deeper relations when they actually aren’t being subjected to Sonozaki and the Kizna experiment’s musings. It was an interesting thought, at least.
    As for Mayoiga, yeah, definitely only following that one to see just how far it’ll go. “I’m interested in the results.”
    It’s cool to see we share the same thoughts. Hopefully these shows manage to pull through the season successfully!

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    • The idea that the characters of Kiznaiver have deeper and more realistic relations outside of the experiment does indicate that the show will deny the efficacy of it. That denunciation will make for an intriguing finale, but we’ll see.

      We are indeed on exactly the same page with Mayoiga. It had so much potential, but the plot is utterly bogged down by the character’s suspicions and too much conversation. I have little hope for the finale, but we’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. MIB says:

    I’m a little surprised you don’t rate Flying Witch higher.

    For me it is one of those nice calming anime that one can put on and not be bothered about having to follow a complex plot or be bludgeoned by fan service, absurd violent action or shonen posturing.

    It also provides a welcome insight into rural Japanese life, tinged with a respect for tradition and some light comedy to boot. Not a huge paradigm shifter by any means but an enjoyable show to chill out to. 🙂

    Like

    • I agree that Flying Witch is very relaxing. The characters are very likable, and the cultural asides quite interesting. Still, I look at all that peace and quiet, and say to myself that we shall not find that outside of heaven. Most characters of Flying Witch seem to have been immaculately conceived and preserved from all stain of sin.

      It is common in fiction to have characters who are completely good, but such characterization is usually deemed an error, simply because people are all sinners in real life. Still, I am being very critical and likely over-critical of a show I do enjoy.

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