Q3 2016 Anime Review
It’s that time of quarter again, a new season of animes have come in, and after six weeks I think we’ve seen enough to know which are the standouts and which are falling short. I’ll be honest, this season feels like we got a lot more of the latter than the former, but there are still a couple worth talking about so I’m going to do this segment. Fingers crossed Q4 shapes up a little better.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever had one of the shorter shows on here, but given that it posts every day I feel like there’s enough content to make it worth checking out. While every episode is ~4 minutes long, they work well given the ridiculous premise and low stakes.
Essentially, this is a story following a high-school student with extraordinary powers who just wants to be left alone. There’s no angst, no real drama, the comedy all comes from a character who borders on being omni-powerful trying to lay low, draw no attention, and make it home in time to watch television.
In longer segments, I think this would probably fall apart, but the short snippet style really works with the premise. On top of that, because this is such obvious satire it’s able to skewer a few of the classic anime tropes, while turning others on their head. It’s a light, fun, enjoyable show I was surprised to find won me over. Then again, given that it’s satire of a classic genre presented in short form, I probably shouldn’t be, since that could just as easily be read as a description of the Fred books. Maybe I’m too close to this one, but I still think it’s worth watching. And hey, with every self-contained episode only being 4 minutes long, you can find out if you enjoy it with minimal investment of time.
I wasn’t entirely sure if this counted as Q3, since the entire series dropped onto Crunchyroll a few days before the first new animes of the season began to show up, but given the overall quality I decided that it was worth talking about. Plus, you can go watch the entire thing today, which is a nice change for people who love to binge.
ReLife in premise is about a man whose life has gone off-track getting the chance to test a new pill/program that makes him look like a high-schooler and sends him back to school for a year of rehabilitation. And if that descriptions sounds like it’s going to get really creepy and off-putting, don’t worry, I was right there with you. But part of doing these reviews means giving everything a fair shake, and I was surprised how quickly this show drew me in.
Rather than being a cavalcade of tropes and fan service, instead it’s an interesting examination of the contrasts between the optimism of youth, the bitterness of seeing your life go off-course, and the desire to rekindle an innate sense of hope in one’s self. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an anime, and a comedy at that, so most of this is going on in the background. Still, there are some very serious, real moments that often seem to leap out of nowhere and reinforce the overall narrative of the show. It’s really enjoyable to watch, with the dark parts adding a layer of depth so many shows lack and the comedy making you want to keep clicking through to the next episode. I had a lot of fun watching this show, and I sincerely hope it gets a second season, as this was easily one of the highlights of the quarter.
In Case You Missed It: Daganronpa
While I’m enjoying the new seasons of this show so far, I haven’t seen enough to know if they’ll really hold up against the original, hence why they didn’t get featured on the list above. That said, however, I fucking love the original Daganronpa. Granted, I’ve always been a bit of a mystery buff (I watched way more of the Case Closed anime than I’m proud of) but between the art, distinct characters, and overall sense of uncertainty I rank Daganronpa among my all-time favorite animes.
The premise is a bunch of people trapped in a school building and handed a challenge. If they can successfully murder one of the other students without being caught, then they can go free. However, should the others correctly determine who committed the murder, that person will be killed. If they accuse the wrong person, on the other hand, everyone besides the murderer is executed. So, pretty high stakes from go.
That alone is a strong premise, but when you add in the over-arching mystery that runs through the series (how the hell they all got there and what is going on) it really strengthens the story as a whole. I’ve mentioned before the importance in managing different story arcs, and this show does a masterful job of building from one arc to the next while teasing out the over-arc in just interesting enough tidbits to always keep you guessing and engaged. Go give it a shot now, and then you can take a gander at the sequel series that are going up this season.
As always: Happy Viewing!