Anime summer season afterthoughts (aka. ASSA)


No way am I walking out of September without posting anything! (evidently too late at the time of publishing)

Just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean I haven’t been watching anything.

The truth is I’ve been diverting practically all my writing energy to work (having taken over my company’s regional monthly newsletter) and studying (I’m taking my JLPT N2 exam in December, so am practising my kanji an hour a day).

But when I’m not doing any of those, I spend my Tuesdays and Saturday nights catching up with six shows a week.

And now, to cut to the chase, these are my ASSAs, starting with which one aired first at the start of the week.

Re: Zero – Starting Life in Another World – re-zero

Granted, this started in Spring. I didn’t think it was that interesting, especially when Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress was engaging enough (unfortunately the final episode fizzled like a coke that lost its gas). But after reading several good reviews and commentaries on the storytelling in Re: Zero, I couldn’t help but be intrigued.

So just as the spring season was ending, I decided to watch Epsiode 1. Then 2. And the next thing I knew, I was having an impromptu marathon session for the first 12 episodes.

Pros: The premise that a young hikikkomori was transported to another strange world where furries and humans co-exist was quite simple. But I wasn’t counting on a the protagonist “reviving” to a starting point everytime he dies. It’s like a real-life video game, except the emotions are real and the characters are multi-dimensional. You can’t help but root for the guy to win every time he reaches the “boss level”.

Cons: Too many new characters. I can’t help but feel that other than the protagonist and he two love interests, everyone else was an extra – even those who showed a lot of promise to be secondary characters. As I was watching the last few episodes, I couldn’t help but think back on the characters who appeared in the first five episodes – and how I couldn’t even remember their names.

The story also got a little convoluted and muddled between episodes 12 and 20. I couldn’t remember what happeend at all.

And that last episode where he reconciles with his love interest – after she disappears for nearly half the season. His love for her is disturbingly unrequitted. What about the feelings from the ogre maid? She who literally gave her life and time and energy to keep him out of trouble – only as  a stepping stone for him to reach his final goal to love another.

I couldn’t feel happy for him when his feelings were finally returned. The only word that came up throughout the show was “asshole”.

Rating: 9/10 (first 10 episodes), 7/10 (ep. 11-20), 8/10 (ep. 21-24), and 5.5/10 (ep.25).

Mob Psycho 100

mob-psycho-100It was hard not to set expectations when the creator of Mob Psycho 100 was the same guy behind One Punch Man. So having a different take on artwork felt like a smart move. The lines don’t look as polished and the colours are vibrant while keeping to the integrity on its energy.

Pros: I thought the story was more relatable, both for youths and adults. The protagonist reminds me of my hypersensitivity, how I’ve bottled my emotions, and how I exploded when I was in middle school. As an adult, I’ve learned to bulls*** my way out of things.

Cons: None that I can think of. This was hands down my favorite series of the season.

Rating: 9.5/10 (consistent throughout).

D.Gray-man HALLOWd-gray-man-hallow

I watched every episode of D.Gray-man in the 2000’s. Allen Walker was such a sweet, sweet guy. I discovered Kenichi Suzumura. I fell in love with Tyki Mikk (even though he’s pretty awful).

Then the akumas evolved to level 3, then 4. And I felt sick. And then the manga artist got sick and the series was put on hiatus. And then I stopped following up with this series altogether.

So when HALLOW was announced, I thought, sure why not follow up on this again.

Pros: Ayumu Murase was announced as the voice behind Allen. I could not think of anyone else who could fit the role better.  Yu Kanda’s backstory was also one of the more engaging points in the series.

Cons: Things went downhill really, really fast. I was not impressed with the casting. I don’t even recall if the original cast was ever invited back to the show. I felt that they should have.

I wasn’t sure what the main story was about. Is it about Yu Kanda’s history? Allen Walker as the fourteenth Noah? The scandal behind the order? And why suddenly so many Noahs? What the hell is this mish-mash of stories?

The whole show felt like the criticised remake of the Powerpuff Girls – disrespectful and shoddy.

Rating: 8/10 (for the Yu Kanda/Alma arc), 6/10 for everything else.

Berserk 2016

I can’t remember how I came upon this show, but I read the synopsis of what happened up to the point where this series started, and let’s just say I spent a lot of time cringinberserk_2016g.

Pros: the artwork, animation, and music were flawless. The animation reminded me of Knights of Sidonia and Ajin, and the music took me back to Paprika.

The story, while grotesque, was engaging. I could not stop watching. You want to keep rooting for the black knight and wish him every success despite his (understandable) cynicism.

For such a dark premise, it also showed me the dangers of cult-like religion – something that was on my mind for the past few months.

Cons: Depressing and not for children. I’m usually left with a sick aftertaste in my mouth.

Rating: 7/10 (consistent throughout)

91 Days 

I don’t quite know where to start with this. I knew the show was related wit91-daysh mafia activity, betrayal and revenge. I also knew this wouldn’t be a show for laughs.

Oddly enough, this reminded me little bit of Mean Girls, when Regina went undercover to dish out the dirt on all of the horrible things that Regina and the Plastics did, except with guns and alcohol.

Pros: It convinced me that delicious beer can be made and is out there, just for me, just like Lawless Heaven.

Oh, and it was also interesting to watch how an orphan took years to take revenge on a mafia family for murdering his parents and younger brother.

Cons: I got bored very quickly. Too many dialogues, too much fuss over revenge and too much obsession for beer to reach the climax.

Ratings: 6.5/10

Kyoukai no Rinne

kyoukai-no-rinneIt’s literally the last thing I watch after watching the last two, to get a sense of balance and make myself laugh again.

(It just occured to me how many dark shows were released even though it was summer).

I’d described this show before in a previous post, so I won’t go through that again.

Pros: It’s Rumiko Takahashi’s work with familiar randomness. It’s like comfort food for me. Playful, ridiculous, but otherwise fun.

Cons: not much in the way of character development. It got dry in certain episodes.

Rating: 7.5/10 (consistent throughout)

Coming up in the fall season:

Ajin 2

Bungou Stray Dogs 2

Haikyuu: Karasusno Koukou vs Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou


Luger Code 1951

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru

Fune wo Amu

Leave a message if there’s any you’d recommend!


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