Hi all, I’m finally back with a new post since I’m on vacation until after New Year’s and I wanted to say a few words on some of the recent anime I’ve watched…
I almost didn’t watch Re:Zero, but then I started hearing a lot of praise for it on Twitter and among friends and acquaintances, so I decided to check it out. Half the episodes had already aired by then, so I spent one of my days off plowing through the first 6 or so episodes. I liked it, and as I continued to watch it and see the world and characters develop, I liked it even more! =) It was dramatic, suspenseful, funny, charming, as well as disturbing at times (episodes 15, oh my god ~_~) The variety of emotions and moods it elicits is part of what made it so popular I’m sure, as well as an interesting cast of characters. It’s not hard to see that Rem is the most popular character, and I can understand why. I guess I’m one of the few who likes both Rem and Emilia…though I guess I like Rem a bit more XD
I ordered the first two Re:Zero novels from RightStuf. Haven’t gotten around to reading them yet, but I will soon. We’ll probably see season 2 of the anime before the English novels catch up to the Japanese ones, so I look forward to that, whenever it is~
I also ordered a couple of booster boxes of the new Re:Zero set for Weiss Schwarz, which will be released in mid-January.
Izetta: the Last Witch
Another new anime I watched this year was Izetta: the Last Witch (Shuumatus no Izetta). Since I only have time to watch 1-2 new anime per season now, I’m not sure why I picked this one among all the fall anime that aired…I guess the synopsis sounded interesting. I loved the first couple of episodes, but then the following episodes weren’t quite as good as they threw in rather jarring boob-grabbing scenes that just didn’t mesh with the otherwise serious, dignified tone of the show (plus the fact that the character who did it wasn’t given much of a purpose beyond that). But out-of-place comedy was only, like, 5% of the show, and I enjoyed the other 95%. The relationship between Fine and Izetta was touching, there was a lot of cool battle scenes, and I thought the ending was satisfying. I’ve seen many 1-cour anime with plots that get too complicated for only 12 episodes, leading to loose ends that don’t get wrapped up or explained in the end, but I thought Izetta managed to avoid that for the most part. Overall, while it didn’t end up being the masterpiece I thought it may be going by the first episode, I still think it’s a pretty good fantasy/military anime.
Pokemon XYZ, Pokemon Sun/Moon, Pokemon Generations
There’s been a lot going on with the Pokemon anime this year. The XYZ series (a continuation of the XY anime from 2013) finished airing, and honestly, I thought it was one of the best among the Pokemon anime series. It made a true effort to move away from the formulaic, “character-of-the-day,” episodic stories that so many of Pokemon’s now 950+ episodes have followed. The XY series and even some of the Black/White series did that too, but XYZ had a lot of ongoing story arcs – Ash-Greninja, Team Flare, Zygarde, and Alan and Manon’s story from the Mega Evolution specials was brought in as well – and they were all blended together and concluded in a final arc that was actually quite intense for Pokemon.
Following soon after XYZ was the new Sun/Moon anime based on the new games. The most obvious thing about it is the new animation style, quite different from all the previous Pokemon anime series. I personally don’t have a problem with it, though it’ll take some getting used to. I’ve watched all the currently 8 episodes of the series, and while I don’t think it’s bad, it seems to be reverting back a bit to the episodic, stand-alone stories…plus there seems to be a bigger emphasis on slapsticks and hyperbolic humor. I know it’s still too early to judge it though, and there are things cropping up that could foreshadow an interesting plot later on, like Ash’s encounter with Tapu Koko, Team Skull, and Lillie’s backstory. It’s also refreshing having a Pokemon series where Ash stays in one place and characters come to him rather than traveling around meeting characters on the way. I’ll give it time but hopefully the Sun/Moon anime won’t forsake the awesome storyline of the games its based on!
A pleasantly surprising addition to the Pokemon franchise this year was Pokemon Generations, a short web anime series that aired weekly on Pokemon’s official YouTube channel (first in English, and then Japanese episodes became available). Each episode is only about 5 minutes long and features a scene/story from one of the games. Obviously if you haven’t played the main series Pokemon games, these shorts will seem like confusing teaser trailers, but if you are a fan and have played all or most of them throughout the years, Pokemon Generations is extremely nostalgic and very enjoyable to watch as it has quality animation and a much more serious, mature tone than the Pokemon TV series. Each of the game story arcs featured in the shorts could have its own series, and I wish that were the case XD But regardless, I’m glad the Pokemon Company is making more animation geared towards older fans (like the Mega Evolution specials from a couple years ago). If you haven’t checked out Generations, I highly recommend it – all the episodes are available on YouTube here.
Chi’s Sweet Home (2016)
I loved the Chi’s Sweet Home anime from 2008-2009, an adorable series based on a 4-koma manga about the daily misadventures of a kitten. It’s total cuteness and something I could always watch more of. This year brought a 3D animated sequel which is still cute and charming even though I’d prefer the 2D animation. With all the big budget 3D animated movies that have come out in recent years, watching any 3D animation with noticeably less quality is a bit distracting, at least for me. But it’s not enough to distract me from the otherwise happy little stories of Chi and her family =^.^=
I’ve always been a fan of the (old school) Sonic the Hedgehog games, and earlier this year I had an urge to watch all of the Sonic anime series, Sonic X, in Japanese. I had watched the heavily Americanized dub back when it was on 4Kids TV in 2005 I believe. From what I read about it, only seasons 1 and 2 had been dubbed and broadcast on 4Kids (52 episodes) and the slightly “darker” season 3 was never dubbed into English (though I later found clips of dubbed season 3 episodes on YouTube…guess I was misinformed? ~_^) The main reason I wanted to watch it was because I heard that Tails had a much bigger role in season 3, and he’s always been one of my most favorite characters. I probably should have just skipped to season 3, but I decided to watch the whole series. Season 1 was kinda hard to get through, season 2 was a bit better, and season 3 was good. But overall, like the Pokemon anime, I can’t recommend Sonic X to anyone who’s not already a fan of the franchise. If you don’t already like the Sonic characters and their world, this show will probably be pretty boring (and poorly animated). Even a Sonic fan like myself found some of the storylines and humor lame. But like I said, the episodes got better in time. It took me many months to get through 78 episodes and I don’t plan on watching such a long series again anytime soon XD
And lastly, I came across an excellent anime short called “Shelter,” which was made via collaboration by A-1 Pictures, Crunchyroll, Half H.P Studios, and original concept/music creator Porter Robinson. It’s only 6 minutes long and has very little dialogue, but tells a very poignant, bittersweet tale via music and stellar animation. It’s definitely worth 6 minutes of your time if you haven’t yet seen it. You can watch it on Robinson’s YouTube channel here.
I also watched the first three Digimon tri episodes that are currently available, but I’ll save my review of those when all the episodes have been released.
I took a glance at the winter 2017 anime season and nothing really caught my eye – I may skip this season in favor of catching up on anime I missed out on. I’m planning to watch Erased (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi), an anime that aired in early 2016 that I heard was really, really good. I might also check out Yuri!!! on Ice since I’ve been hearing good things about that one too. I really want to see the recent anime movie hits too – Your Name and A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi). Can’t wait till they’re officially available in the US =D
I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post again, hopefully in the summer some time so I can report on Anime Expo at least XD We’ll see. Until then, I wish you all health and happiness in the New Year~!