Seasonal Sawce: This 2016 Summer Animain’t No Bummer, Part 2

That’s right, everyone!  Combining the Seasonal Sawce and Summer of Anime once again.  This post is even more special, though.  The 2016 Summer of Anime comes to an end here.  Decided it was appropriate to end that series of posts with the end of the summer season of anime.  I think I’ll continue to do Seasonal Sawce like I have been since I’ve been enjoying doing those.

Now, as with last time, I’m listing these in order from least favorite to most favorite.  Which will actually be a little difficult near the top.  Not because everything I watched was great (oh, we’ll get to that), but because all of these had the misfortune of airing at the same time as JJBA and Re:Zero.  It’s just hard to compete against those two.  But, let’s get to it, y’all!

Taboo Tattoo

24-taboo-tattoo

Best character in the show.  Which isn’t saying too much.

Someone once said of Taboo Tattoo, “It’s pretty run-of-the-mill so far, but I do love my dumb fun shows.”  (It was me.  I said it.)  Boy howdy, I bet they wish they knew how this series would go.  This anime is a hot mess.  That character in the pic?  Doesn’t show up until late in the second half, and he’s far more compelling and entertaining than any main character who’s shown up before him.  Know what else?  I couldn’t tell you his name without looking it up.  Yeah, the best character the anime had, and I don’t know his name.  I’ll give ’em this much, though, I’ll always remember Bluesy Fluesy.

I just don’t even know where this series started to go wrong.  Is it when the childhood love interest was brutally murdered for no real reason other than just ‘cuz?  (Spoilers, I guess.)  Is it when the show changed the rules of the powers every freaking episode?  Is it when the creators couldn’t decide whether it’s supposed to be a comedy or a super serious dark for realsies anime?  I dunno, but this show really wound up pooping the bed.  Some of the fights were neat, I dug a couple of character designs, and…something.  Whatever.  I’ll give it a 4 out of 10.  It only gets that high because it was hilarious seeing how everything in the show just fell apart.

Rewrite

26-rewrite

Colonel Sanders had a couple of cameos this anime season.

Oh, Key.  You’re so very Key.  I read over what I said about this in the last Seasonal Sawce, and my thoughts really haven’t changed.  Rewrite is just too…Key.  I mean, I love Clannad, really like Angel Beats, like Kanon, enjoyed Air, and…was sometimes entertained by Little Busters.  It’s not like I’m a Key hater.  Quite the opposite, as you see, but Rewrite just went off the rails a bit.

I know Key is all about rebirth and different worlds, but that doesn’t translate so well into a mostly rom-come anime.  Sure, I realized it was apossilyptic (I like my made-up word) early on, but the extent to which it went was a little ridiculous.  None of the emotional stuff really hit me since most of my reactions were, “Oh, okay.  I guess that happened.  Wonder what happens in the sequel.”  And we are most certainly getting a season two!  Don’t know if I’ll watch it or not.  Who knows?  I’ll give it a 6.  Might be my least favorite Key anime.

Berserk

21-berserk

He’s happy it’s over.  Or angry.  It’s Guts, so I’m sure those’re the same.

Guys and gals and everything beyond and between, Berserk is good.  It really is.  I have a few friends who read the manga and tout it as one of the absolute best things they’ve ever read.  The first anime is still decently highly regarded, and I quite like the movie adaptations.  This series, though?  It just doesn’t live up to what’s come before.  And yes, it is mainly the animation style they chose to use.  For me, at least.  Everything looks…off.  I like being so engrossed in something because of how well the story is being told and how it blends with the animation.  This ugly 3D style constantly pulled me out of the show.  That’s really my only major complaint.

I very much looked forward to watching this every week.  Yes, it is a little suffocatingly dark, but it’s one of those stories you can’t easily walk away from.  Guts has been set up as such a strong and driven character we just have to see how he’ll come out on the other side of all the sh*t he’s going through.  I’m only somewhat aware of what happens later in the manga, so it was good seeing Guts build up something of a new group of allies.  I do wish Casca would become more than a blithering idiot.  I know what happened was traumatic on a number of levels, and this series has never been about the easy way out, but Casca was such a compelling figure in the series that it’s downright criminal how there’s not even a hint of her being healed in some fashion.  Oh well.  It gets a 7 from me.  It’s consistently unpleasant to look at, but the story is good enough to keep me invested in the characters, world, and mythology.  I’ll check out another season if they do it.  I just hope it looks better.

Sweetness and Lightning

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Couldn’t tell you where the Lightning is.

Everyone needs one of those feel-good cozy anime every season.  You know the type:  Those shows where you like the characters and it gets you in the heartstrings once or twice, but you mainly tune in to give you something of a cool-down and go, “Aww, I missed you guys.”  Sweetness and Lightning was mine.

Stories about parents really pulling through for their kids tend to get to me (Wolf Children immediately comes to mind), so Kouhei’s efforts were usually the highlights of the series for me…along with Tsumugi’s unbelievable adorableness.  I also like that she was never portrayed as this perfect child.  Yeah, she’s really sweet, but Kouhei was forced to admonish more than a couple times in the show.  Kotori’s weirdness and desire for a family life was always welcome, and I quite enjoyed when their cooking experiments grew to include a couple of their friends.  Kotori’s mom should’ve been around more, though.  She’s now part of the “Hot Anime Mom Pantheon.”  It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it was a little more than I wanted it to be, so I’ll give it a 7.5.

Orange

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Still don’t know why it’s called Orange.

We have some movement on the board, people!  Yes, Orange was able to surpass Sweetness and Lightning in my rankings for the seven anime I watched that ended this season.  On my MAL, they both have 8s, but that’s because MAL is evil and doesn’t give me point-five options.  Oops.  Gave away my score early.  Well, I’m talking about why I gave it an 8 anyway!

Nothing else this season taxed me emotionally like Orange.  Yes, it was noticeably slow quite often and probably should’ve only had ten episodes, but there’s so much here that resonates painfully true sometimes.  The episode that focuses on Kakeru from the other timeline so we finally get to see his thoughts and feelings and the moment when he opens up to Naho about his suicidal thoughts in the finale really got to me.  Not saying I’m suicidal, but the depression there is something I feel a large amount of people deal with.  Also, this is really only the second shoujo series I’ve watched all the way through (My Love Story!! being the other), so now I’ve got a question for all you shoujo fans:  Are shoujo manga/anime really about bromances?  ‘Cuz Suwa’s absolute determination to save Kakeru at the cost of his own happiness and Hagita’s hilarious awkwardness in trying to do the same make me think so.  The plodding pace and tendency to treat Kakeru more as a MacGuffin than a character keep me from calling it great, but Orange is definitely one to check out.

Food Wars! The Second Plate

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Look into the eyes of Gin Dojima.

Yes, Second Plate is taking second place even though I’m giving it roughly the same score as my number one, but more on that later.  The second season of Food Wars! was…something of a letdown.  I mean, I still loved it, but season two just didn’t feel like a season.  I guess after all the stuff that happened in the first season, it wasn’t right for this to only be 13 episodes.  I haven’t read the manga, but I’m pretty sure there’s enough material they could’ve hit 26 with relative ease.  Also, the pacing.

I love tournaments.  I’ve made no secret about that, but the Autumn Election went by way too fast here.  There was almost no time to enjoy any of the matches.  And, although I did enjoy the Stagiare arc, it felt really tacked on.  I liked the idea behind it, but it was treated as a mini-arc they needed to hit 13 episodes.  All that said, Food Wars! is still Food Wars!.  I still love seeing the characters and their colorful culinary world, and I still love the attitude and look of the series.  The breakneck pacing and short season length hurt it for me, but I’m still giving The Second Plate an 8 or 8.5.

D.Gray-man Hallow

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In which the Fourteenth represents how heartbreaking things will get, and Allen the fans.

Yeah, picking which sequel would be in the top spot was quite difficult for me (other than Berserk ‘cuz that was ugly as sh*t).  It wasn’t until writing this out did I realize I just enjoyed Hallow more than Second Plate.  I initially gave the nod to Souma and his cooking tournament because tournament, and I’d already read what the first half of Hallow was showing.  When their second halves started, though, I started seeing new D.Gray-man material, and it’s like I was in college again.  Opening up the Funimation app (and later the CrunchyRoll app) every Monday to find out what’s gonna happen to Allen and Lenalee and Kanda and Lavi and all the other members of the Black Order in their fight against the Noah was just great.

As with Second Plate, this series had a lot of pacing issues.  We’d be zooming through stuff one episode only to take it back down to the speed limit in the very next.  I was always uncertain what type of episode I was about to see whenever I tuned in.  The main reason I’m giving Hallow the victory this season is that it got me more interested in another season than its competition did.  I am so beyond ready to know what’s gonna happen to Allen now that the Fourteenth is about to erase him, the Noah want him, the Order’s ousted him, and the Apocryphos is hunting him.  I just…I just need to know.  I’m gonna say this one is somewhere around an 8.5 or 9.  It was great having D.Gray-man back, and I can only hope I won’t have to wait as long for a season three.

And well, that’s it!  Seasonal Sawce will (possibly) return for the fall season of anime, but this is the end of the 2016 Summer of Anime.  I’ll probably do posts about whatever anime I watch between now and next summer if I feel the fancy, but this is the season finale for that particular series.  If you’ve followed along with the sporadic posts, I really appreciate it.  If you’re new, then welcome.  If you don’t read anything I write, then you’re a dork since you’ll never see this!  Ha!

I’m pretty sure I know what my next post will be, and it will (hopefully) be soon.  So, I only have one thing left to say:

Peace out, and stay bizarre.

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