Quick Takes from Anime Summer 2016

Of late, I’ve been hankering to write a less formal blog post than the essays posted recently.  I’m not sure how many of my dear readers remember Nami, but she’s the blogger who introduced me to Quick Takes, where one simply rambles on seven things which are on their mind.  You can count this as a mid-season review if you will, though I’ll be talking about a 90’s anime as well.  Without further ado, let’s proceed!

predator-and-prey

– 1 –

The new anime adaptation of Berserk surprised me by not revolting me from episode one.  (The manga succeeded in doing that by the time I reached the halfway mark of volume one.)  This series is causing me to modify my opinion that only the Golden Age arc was worth an anime adaptation.  Still, I find myself skipping the most unsavory parts of the anime.  (Similar to how I read Akame ga Kiru.)

I have to bring up the shot of the torture chamber from Nina’s point of view.  (I swear, if Nina weren’t a helpless blonde woman, I’d hate her to the same level as Suzaku Kururugi.)  It struck me as a perfect image of a soul entering hell.  (Click here for the rather disturbing and gory picture.)  The shot conveyed the horror, disgust, despair, gruesomeness, and inhumanity of the place.  (Not bad for a director who loves his pastels.)  But, I must remind myself that even that torture chamber pales in comparison to the real hell.  God have mercy on those currently impenitent!  Berserk’s ability to portray evil and ugliness counts as its greatest strength and greatest weakness.

-2-

Alderamin on the Sky has cemented itself as my favorite show of this season.  (No, for some strange reason I have not gotten around to Arslan Senki–despite Angryjellyfish’s glowing endorsement.)  It exudes an interesting fin de siecle vibe in its fantasy world.  (It’s similar in feel to Gunka no Baltzer, which greatly deserves its own anime adaptation.)  Despite the comedy and lightning victories of Ikta Solork, the show frequently turns deadly serious with plenty of despair to go around, especially when troops are wasted in “unscientific” warfare.  (For that reason, a wag on Crunchyroll dubbed it “WWI the anime”.)  Yatori’s fights stand as one of the biggest highlights.  I watched her aristeia at the end of the fifth episode five times over.  Did you notice that she never aimed for her opponents’ armor?  That’s rare!

sl

-3-

Sweetness and Lightning takes the edge off of watching Berserk for me.  The characters are endearing, and it offers a nice slice-of-life scenario.  Even more endearing to me is the presence of conflict (Something often missing in slice-of-life anime) and being able to learn about Japanese cuisine.  Though, Sweetness and Lightning does not accomplish the latter nearly so well as Wakako-zake.

look-back

-4-

I have yet to progress far into 91 Days, but I’m enjoying this Prohibition Era tale of revenge.  Vanno was perhaps the most interesting character thus far.  What a shame that he met an early demise!  Click here for an excellent article about Vanno’s empty prayers by Annalyn of Beneath the Tangles.

emilia-edelman

-5-

Active Raid has again found itself on my watchlist.  Decent action and likable characters keep me coming back to this admittedly mediocre series.  I’m curious as to whether Emilia Edelman (pictured above) is the first Polish character ever to grace an anime?  I tried to think of another Polish anime character, but no names came to mind from my career of four hundred twenty-three watched anime, the other ten I’m currently watching, one hundred twenty-seven dropped, and forty-nine stalled anime.  Is this really a first?

rl

-6-

As one who has suffered recurring dreams of being sent back to high school, the premise of ReLIFE caught my attention from the beginning.  Due to releasing all its episodes at once for premium members on Crunchyroll, this counts as the first show I became hooked on.  The characters are very likable with plenty of drama to go around.

vbs

-7-

Ever heard of Virus Buster Serge?  One gets the impression that the entire thing is a commentary on Neon Genesis Evangelion with the creator giving Virus Buster Serge the ending he would have wished for Evangelion.  The whole series is very introspective.  The main message the writer seems to wish to ingrain in the viewers is “Remember that you are loved,” which are the first words spoken in the very silent first episode.  This is certainly a comment on Shinji’s vain desire for parental approval!  The first three episodes take some getting used to as the style and mood are a great departure from the average anime series–especially how the first episode barely contains dialogue.

So, that’s part of what I’ve been up to.  How are my dear readers enjoying this season?  Have you discovered any old shows?

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9 comments on “Quick Takes from Anime Summer 2016

  1. Karandi says:

    I’m also really enjoying Alderamin on the Sky and I quite liked Relife. 91 Days I’m kind of finding a bit ordinary (beautiful to watch but I’m not really into the story or the characters).
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these shows.

    • You’re welcome! I understand what you mean by 91 Days ordinary: simple story of revenge in a realistic setting. The watercolor backgrounds are awesome, and I’m a big fan of stories set in the 20’s and mafia anime. (I can’t say the same for American mafia films, but the Japanese seem to do those stories just right for my taste.) I hope that 91 Days will get more interesting towards the finale.

  2. Paul says:

    I’m really enjoying 91 Days. There are quite a few twists and turns I didn’t expect, particularly the last episode that just aired to day.

    The others I’ve enjoyed are also Sweetness and Ligntning, Rewrite (although less than the VN), Planetarian ONA, Arslan, and Orange.

    I really have to see Alderamin in the Sky.

    • With Rewrite, I read part of the manga first and liked the feel of the manga more, so I never kept up with the show. Arslan is great so far (just started watching it), and I should see Planetarian one day.

      For some reason, I like gangster anime even though I can’t bear American shows and movies of that sort. I’m also greatly enjoying 91 Days, especially for its artistic backgrounds and general attention to detail.

  3. Cheers for the mention! Arslan is definitely worth a watch, though.

    The only other Polish characters that spring to mind for me are Schwarzesmarken’s Sylwia Krzasinska, Upotte!’s Tantal (very minor character, based on the assault rifle of the same name), and the nation of Poland himself as portrayed in Hetalia. 😛

  4. MIB says:

    I didn’t even make it through the first episode of Aldermin. :/

    ReLIFE was crazy fun at first but has slowed down a bit. 91 Days has some great action but I’ve not paid to much attention to the story. Same with berserk the story is non-existent and the animation is horrid but the gore is delightful! 😛 !

    My fave shows this season are Handa-Kun, Orange, Amanchu and Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan! 🙂

    • Alderamin had a very slow start, and I found Ikta particularly annoying at first. But, the show got better after episode three.

      With ReLIFE, I basically watched it assiduously until episode eight and then took a long break. Much of the novelty wears off by then. Still, the characters are interesting enough to keep me coming back to it.

      Berserk’s episodes go too fast and too little happens. The sword fights are fun, and some of the characters are decent. The gore falls thankfully far short of the manga. 🙂

      I might have to take a look at Saiki Kusuo no PSI-nan!

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