Final Thoughts on Anime Summer 2016

This Art Club Has a Problem!

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This Art Club is by far my favorite show this season. It’s a delightful comedy-romance with a fair range of enjoyable characters. There are a handful of fun side characters that dip into the show occasionally, and then there’s the main cast of loveable weirdos that are incredibly hard to dislike. We’ve got an anxious love-struck girl, a charming Otaku that (much like Keima from The World God Only Knows) has given up on the 3D world, a very listless club president, and an energetic loli, plus a chuunibyo that comes in later. They all have nice archetypes and are given enough personality to stray from being too “cookie-cutter”.

Now, I said this show is a comedy-romance and I chose my wording specifically because I feel it wrong to call the it a romance-comedy. That’s simply because the comedy takes more precedence over the romance. This anime feels much more in it for the jokes rather than creating a precise and provoking plot centering around the slowly blossoming relationship between two art students. And that’s fine, because I laughed plenty of times and for the most This Art Club manages to achieve its comedic goals. The soft romance is spread throughout the show in tiny sprinkles that entice viewers with the tease that perhaps somewhere down the road these two will finally be together. Not promising anything, but certainly sparking the interests of erotic fan artists. And I guess regular fan artists as well.

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My one real issue with the show is a problem that I specifically have with a lot of shows: It’s a bit prudish, and although I think it’s mostly due to the portrayal of the characters than maybe a real belief seeping into the writing, I can’t help but think it’s a little disrespectful. The show somewhat undermines Otaku culture and this is shown through character perception. Characters like Usami and other perceived “normal” characters kind of look down at Uchimaki for his hobby, and what he enjoys seems to come off as a joke to everyone but himself. It just feels like an odd choice to portray an Otaku stereotype IN AN ANIME, all without giving a fair and reasonable perspective for Uchimaki, to illustrate that there is value in his interests and ideals. But I digress.

(Ooh! I just realized that taking a look at Otaku portrayals in anime would be a great idea for a feature! Dibs, I call dibs!)

91 Days

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Well, I’m glad that the show looks like it’s going to be contained in one season, because now I don’t have to watch more of it. Not to say that 91 Days is a terrible anime by any means, but it’s not fantastic either. The animation quality is extremely poor (which seems to be quite common with most of the shows I’ve watched this season), the plot is very obviously structured in a way that hits certain “thrill” points without actually being innovative or original, and the character development is minimal despite the implied internal struggles that they sometimes face.

Character motivations are incredibly simple, and show suffers for it. Angelo wants revenge and all of his actions stem from that one desire. Because of this, all of his actions lose some impact. Even in his darkest moments, we know exactly why he does what he does (in a motivational standpoint, not necessarily a plotting view), and shrug it off as just another step to achieving his grand vengeance. We learn nothing about his insecurities and internal struggles, nothing that hints at remorse or self-doubt over the murders he has committed. There is one kill that “gets to him”, but even then all we get to see is some bags under his eyes and a general feeling of shakiness. No real dealing with emotions or self-reflection because in the end he still has a mob family to destroy.

Dropped Pile

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Jeez, I’ve never dropped so many shows in one season. Is anime getting worse or is my tolerance for bullshit just getting smaller? Probably the latter. Anyway, I have of course done a “Why I Dropped…” for all of these, but I feel the need to at least give each a brief summary.

Sweetness & Lightning

I’m not very interested in the narrative of children, because children are dumb and I hate them. Also, the show was too sweet and offered nothing very compelling in terms of storytelling, animation, comedy, or any other aspect of entertainment that I myself would personally enjoy.

Orange

There’s even less character depth in this show than there was in 91 Days, offering montages rather than real moments and just an overall hollow setting. In terms of art style, the color palette is needlessly drab, the animation is less than mediocre, and it’s hard to find even a somewhat pleasing key frame within all of this uninspired mess.

Re:ZERO -Starting Life In Another World-

I think I dropped this right at the start of summer, and my reason for it was simple: Subaru is the worst fucking character ever. I hate him more that I hate indiscriminate children. In my “Why I Dropped…” I likened Subaru to a mindless, negative YouTube commenter. He’s not evil, he’s just deplorable. A symbol of useless, immature, unlikeable minds everywhere. Subaru has no right to be the shoulder of which we perceive this story over. What really sucks was that the initial plot was quite promising, and the story feels like it was actually changed a quarter of the way in by Subaru being a total fucking moron.

And that’s it for Summer 2016. I hope you managed to enjoy, I know I mostly didn’t. But fall is on the horizon and there are plenty of awesome shows coming up that I would be shocked to see turning out lackluster. Sound! Euphonium 2, that Working!! spinoff, and TWO SHAFT TITLES?! How could I not be excited? Feel free to tell me what you’re excited for in the comments and as always, thanks for reading.

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