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Thread: Last season's top 3

  1. #141
    ANBU Captain neflight86's Avatar
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    3. Ishuzoku Reviewers: Raunchy soft-core premise aside, the art of review and the context brought with it is adequately explored in this piece. While dialogue had to pull double duty expositing the criteria that the various… girls met or did not to grant the advertised experiences kept the proceedings interesting. The world building and context (for the ‘adventures’) established outside of the sex implicit scenes also kept what could have quickly become boring from ever really approaching it.

    2. Boku no Hero S4: The sometimes unfortunate tempo of a MHA season (alternate a villain arc and end with a low stakes training/certification/world build arc) was thankfully ended in stride by a fiery (pun of course intended) confrontation at the by the new number 1 hero. Still going strong, as far as shounen series are concerned.

    1. Eizouken ni wa Te wo Das una!: This was actually difficult to finish, as it lacked a strong unifying narrative aside from the girls striving to make animation a viable pursuit. That being said, nothing felt more satisfying to watch and did actually showcase some good creative animation and Miyazaki-style hijinks. World building seems to be a theme this season, and Eizouken was at the top of its game in that regard. Highly recommended for wannabe animation aficionados.

    ______________________

    I’m told that special awards are a part of my being now, so I don’t want to rock the boat too much…

    The “mood casualty” urn is presented to Runway de Waratte: If my mindset were turned just a little bit, I can imagine this could have bene a contender for anime of the season. Most similar in recent memory to Welcome to the Ballroom, this is an example of the new age ‘drama shounen’ that I can certainly get used to. Half plucky challenger, and half reality check, the characters struggling against a world seemingly designed to keep them from their dreams was very interesting, when the subject (high fashion) was decidedly not so.

    The ‘edgy death game’ trophy is non-conforming for Darwin’s Game: There is always room for a series like this, because the audience who might find it fresh isn’t old enough to have seen any of the better efforts of previous years, while those who watch this in spite of knowing what it is by the nature of its audience are clearly damaged anyway. Various characters kill each other via games with super powers managed on their smart phones. Topical. At least the shedding of innocence was handled well enough here to give me hope if another season comes out.

    The “is this funny to anyone else” chuckle stick went to ID: Invaded: Part Inception, and part butt-pull mysteries, the real takeaway here is how often characters referred to themselves as ‘brilliant detective’. I guess everyone needs to psyche themselves up every now and again. Unfortunately, mysteries weren’t ‘properly’ structured, meaning the audience could only wait for characters to piece together clues and logic not presented to the viewers to advance the story. Not really satisfying, but somewhat different.

    The (un)prestigious ‘clean conscience’ award is split between Pet, Hatena Illusion, and Plunderer: Three shows sharing nothing but boredom and a nagging suspicion that someone out there who is just getting into anime could like them. Pet was the most high concept (and potential to be good) with memory manipulation, and if you don’t mind a lot of exposition- I actually recommend it. Hatena Illusion is another boring slog through nonsensical contemporary fantasy that felt too pedestrian to grip. Plunderer is only notable in that it sprung to mind when I wondered what the worst anime I saw so far this year was. Generic fantasy setting made to serve as a groundwork for arbitrary rules that ensure fighting, fanservice, and a cool dude main character shaking up the established order… I’m pretty sure I copy-pasted that from some other clumsy wish fulfillment piece years ago. All three shows gave no discomfort to simply cease watching…

    “Number one derp” helmet is presented to Murenase! Seton Gakuen’s Lanka. Great voicework by Hina Kino, this character actually sounds really stupid, as I hope was the intent.

    “Grinding” timed event trophy goes to Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu: While perfectly adequate as yet another fictional videogame story, two episodes in it felt like a titular grind to progress, as the main character was rewarded for simply continuing to spend stat points on defensive ability, and there were no signs of that strategy being challenged. Low tension, low interest.

    Somali to Mori no Kamisama gets on the ‘watch list’: While time doesn’t permit completing it now, the first episode did show enough promise to add it to the ever growing backlog. I like the dangerous undertones that the other races aren’t perhaps being fully honest/informed about the reasons for the delicious humans’ disappearance.

    The “lunchtime” show award goes to Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita: Cute rom-com about two scientists exploring and (failing to) quantify their mutual affection makes for good episodic eat-while-you-watch anime.

    The ‘neglect’ award goes to Haikyuu!! To the Top: Years I waited for a follow up to the spectacular season three, but alas, I had read the manga since and that drains my desire to watch by at least half, though what I saw looked as good as ever.

    The ‘sweaty tryhard’ soaked towel goes to Mairimashita! Iruma-kun: I gave it my all. At least 11 episodes I think- they blur together- given in hopes that this would be/get better. No such luck. Watchable with some gags you’ve seen before in other shows- tripe.

    The “Capstone” award goes to Psycho Pass 3 First Inspector ovas: If you loved Phycho Pass season 3 (like me), these ovas, essentially three extra episodes, conclude its story arc properly AND set up the next potential one. Highly recommended.

    Lastly, the “two thirds” rule goes to Drifting Dragons: In a silly sort of way, I see that anime can excel for me in three major areas: plot, character, and production. Being as I am essentially racist against CG anime, this fell short of the last one. I still can’t get over the sometimes awkwardly animated 3d models, but the rest of the show is a pleasure to watch. I like the setting, episodic story, and characters, but the act of visually perceiving CG anime always offends me just a bit. A nice enough show, but I wouldn’t want my daughter dating a CG character. Recommended if that doesn’t bother you.

    A weaker season, but some goodies buried in there if you wade through enough.

  2. #142
    Linerunner MFauli's Avatar
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    Regarding Eizouken: I actually dropped it after episode 5 or so. As you say, it lacked a prober narrative and that just didn't feel right for me. There was a lack of characters, always just seeing the three girls do whatever they want felt almost like, dunno, South Park.

  3. #143
    Procacious Polymath Ryllharu's Avatar
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    Normally I don't, but this time I will rank them.

    1. Nami yo Kiitekure - This was the clear winner for AOTS. Earlier in the season it was a tossup between this and my number two, but by episode 5, there's really no question. A series, starring all adults, mostly the working poor, trying to find a different direction in their life. And it is funny. It's firmly rooted in reality, except for the radio broadcast scripts themselves. A real-life series with all adult characters alone is rare. But it is entertaining the entire time, without even a single dull episode. There's a fair number of archetypical characters for sure. The pining potential love interest, the cool mature woman, the sweet and polite younger employee, the quiet and gruff older guy, the mustached producer gambling on success. But Minare, the female lead, is the standout shining star of this series, and a breakout performance from her VA, Sugiyama Riho.

    Just like, holy shit. Dialogue that's fired out a million miles a minute, all-encompassing dramatic range, but what really stands out between the writing and her performance is charm. Plenty of series tell their audience that so-and-so is supposed to be charming, some even show it through other characters reacting. But it falls short because it is fake. Minare is played charming. Her character is naturally charming without it being forced in any capacity. She feels very real because we see the majority of the series from her POV, and not all of it is flattering. She draws people into her pace. I laughed at least every episode, and smiled pretty much throughout each one.

    And if all of that isn't enough, this is a slice of life series from the Blade of the Immortal author, and it really, really works. Great OP and ED too.

    Downside? Funimation's subtitle format and timing sucks ass, particularly for series like this.

    2. Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta... (aka Bakarina or Hamefura) - I will admit that I've become a fan of the higher quality "villainess" sub-genre of isekai. There's hundreds of these series now, and we're just starting to get anime versions of them. Bakarina was always one of the better ones. It's a pure, low-stakes comedy series that is simply enjoyable. Catarina is stupid to a degree that crushes the densest of male leads, the side characters are all funny, and the good nature of her trying to save her own life while accidentally triggering every love flag along the way is endearing. The art is detailed, but not extraordinary, and it doesn't have to be. The characters are the usual tropes. Nothing about this series should work as well as it does. But it is really, really good.

    If I had to give it a downside, a few of the side characters have somewhat weak voice acting.

    3. Gleipnir - So, downsides first. The story is a mess, the supporting cast is inconsistently used and not brought back enough for the audience to be given a proper impression of them so subsequent actions make sense when they return. Certain events simply aren't closed correctly. Almost all of this is a worse problem in the monthly serialization of the manga. So I was hoping the anime would streamline it, clean it up, and produce something more clearly impactful.

    And it does, mostly.

    This series shines the most about proper subversion of expectations. Not twists for the sake of having a twist, not poorly foreshadowed garbage turns. What you as a viewer or reader know is based solely on the POV's of the main character, who isn't the male lead we see most of the series through. It's the female lead who is the audience surrogate.
    This series really plays to the strengths of series with unreliable narrators, without being cheap, without lying to its own audience. You simply don't know what you don't know, but in retrospect, a lot of things become obvious when you actually look for them or pay attention to them.

    A lot of people are turned off by Clair, the female lead, because she's annoying or comes off as slutty. But the important part to remember is that she's a liar, mostly to herself, and almost everything she does is an act.

    There's a slow boil on the truth as the series progresses, and it is good stuff. I just wish the structure of the series was tighter, and the editing had been a little stronger.

  4. #144
    ANBU Captain neflight86's Avatar
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    It took me a bit longer to finish give up on the stragglers this season…

    3. Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen 2nd Season- Finally, we get to the subject of books and then… more obstacles- servants, class disparity, and other complications that were certainly more interesting than welcome in this “Dr. Stone for girls” show. It pulled some heart whenever it counted, and the off-model art sometimes actually made Mein look more sympathetic, in a weird way.

    2. Tower of God- I’ll take shounen when I can get it, and while the storytelling is certainly of a different style than I’m used to, I will say that it evoked some of the better mental battle shounen memories of times past. Hopefully it gets a continuation.

    1. Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta…- This really shouldn’t be here, but the main character was actually cute enough in her wholesomeness to win me over. I like how she expected everyone to turn on her always, not as a manifestation of distrust, but because she felt it fated to be so… so her decency itself actually spared her passively from the fate of the evil game character (though that didn’t stop her from studying horticulture). She really was “#humblepopular” and a joy to watch, as were her less fleshed out companions.

    ___________________
    Turns out there’s a clause in my forum contract to give out some special awards…

    Kakushigoto – “Standards have risen award”: Ten… fifteen years ago, I’m convinced this would have been a classic due to its watch-ability and a real lack of competition. The loli is cute, and the dad’s gag didn’t really get old, and I imagine there was plenty of creative space for jokes around the concept. But in 2020, however, I couldn’t find the drive to complete it… Truly an embarrassment of riches.

    Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai? Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen gets both the “Voice Work Matters” and “Catchy OP” awards: I really do take special notice of the V actors in Kaguya; especially Prez and vice prez. You really gotta pull double duty to make monologues engaging when they are supporting jokes the audience sees coming a mile away, and they pull it off.

    Gleipnir teases, in the most trashy way possible, the “glorious mess” award. As a euphemism on teenage relationships, this grimdark battle series is about as subtle as a train wreck… But its production (in the early episodes) makes it worth wading through teen non-drama as a vehicle for another death game with supernatural powers. Worth it for fans of the genre.

    Nami yo Kiitekure gets the ‘adulting’ award: I suppose this is how it feels to recognize the act of growing up is more than just worrying about paying your bills- in developed countries, that isn’t the hard part, it is finding purpose and joy in the life you lead. That is what made Nami yo Kiitekure engaging to watch. Minare is fun to watch narrate herself through all of her existence because she really seems to be commentating from a place of emotional insecurity, and it works well off of the rest of the cast. Different, and worth a watch.

    Yesterday wo Utatte picks up the “lowest stakes possible” award up off of the floor (5 second rule!): Pure romance series, aside form being relatively rare in anime, also face the challenge of engaging the audience with character interaction and growth alone. Both of those things take time or really strong, punchy writing. Thankfully, Yesterday invested a bit of both to keep a good balance of progression and character- this is the first series I thought I would drop, and yet it completed it.

    Shachou, Battle no Jikan Desu! Gets the “backlog bait” award. This disposable story of destitute adventure guild revitalization in yet another fantasy world will be perfect to archive for watching when the world ends.

    Princess Connect! Reive gets the reversed colored can of “Diet Konosuba” honors: It tastes kind of like Konosuba, but it isn’t… but I really like Konosuba, so I’ll try it anyway, and it was good enough, but I can taste the aspartame.
    Last edited by neflight86; Thu, 07-30-2020 at 07:30 PM.

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