thin slicing the new season, summer 2016 edition

11,000 words, 33 anime, way too many otome anime.

The granddaddy of gimmick posts is once again upon us. That’s right– thin slicing has returned!

Thin slicing is based off of Malcom Gladwell’s Blink, a book about– OH FUCK IT. YOU’VE READ THIS SAME BOILERPLATE FOR EIGHT NINE TEN ELEVEN YEARS NOW. You either get how this works by now or not. And, yes, I’ve been writing thin slicing posts since 2005 where I ranked Nanoha A‘s over Mai Otome. Updates on thin slicing are always on my Twitter account.

For people who want to know how this ranking is done, I suggest reading the archived explanation. If you’re like, “This show is ranked too high!” or “Too low!” then, well, you obviously don’t know how this works. For every show high, there has to be a low. Deal with it. And, again, for the sake of time, I don’t rank sequels if I never finished watching the original or if there’s nothing interesting about the sequel. It’s a sequel! If you watched the first season, you should know if you should watch the second as well. You don’t need me to validate your watching of Love Live, Fate Kaleid Liner PRISMA ILLYA, Danganropa, or Arslan Senki.

A twist for this season: Sticking with the parent test from last season. At first, I wanted to do Overwatch-style POTG overlays, but I realized that would have added like 30 hours to this blog post’s production, so, nah, we’re talking about parents again. Maybe next season I’ll have a breakdown over the number of otome anime.

Quick recap from last season: Kabaneri fell off a cliff, as expected. Other than that, it was a strong season with Kiznaiver, Joker Game, Flying Witch, and Sakamoto being very enjoyable. Of course, Space Patrol Luluco too. I wouldn’t mind another cours of Joker Game, Flying Witch, or Sakamoto.

Silver Link


“This isn’t special.”

Ange Vierge is yet another f2p ccg mobile phone game turned anime. It’s a horrible mess of an anime. the story is incoherent, an entire 15 minute segment of the first episode is devoted to a bath sequence that makes no sense (but please buy our Blu-Rays!), and the character designs feel way overdesigned (much like every f2p ccg mobile phone games). Does every girl need their own elaborate hair ornament? Why does that character have wings growing from her butt? Why does another character have lightsabers in her hair? The world and setting design is also confusing. They are supposed to be on an island that has plenty of nature plus a high tech city… is this the only place the enemy attacks? How convenient. Their bath is also an open air bath at the top of a huge building. It’s more of a VIP lounge from Vegas than a R&R facility for military personal. Also, you know where is a great place to install video chat terminals? Inside the women’s bath.

The show also has an almost impenetrable soup of jargon: Exceed? Progress? Alpha Drive? World End? The poor introduction of the characters coupled with the heavy jargon usage almost completely ensures that the audience for this show are the people who play the mobile game. Are there really that many people who play the mobile game to justify a seemingly average cost anime production from Silver Link? How many card packs were bought to fund this anime? As much as I dislike magic high schools, the real blight on modern anime are f2p mobile games turned anime. They are even worse and shallower than otome games turned anime. How many have been even at an acceptable level? Rage of Bahamut? And… that’s it?

(I don’t believe any male character had a speaking line in the first episode.)

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#32. Puzzle and Dragons Cross


“He can’t attack without water drops!”

Speaking of f2p mobile phone games turned anime, the granddaddy of them all is here: Puzzle and Dragons Cross. And I am exceptionally bored. Yet another terrible attempt to shoehorn a plot into a match-3 game. Yet another attempt to make the story kid-friendly thus creating a kid hero who has the power to destroy an entire military. Yet another European-styled world. Yet another insufferable cutesy familiar that isn’t cute at all.

One really unsettling thing about this show is that it shows the drops being matched three. It even shows the combo system of P&D. It is a bit too literal in following the game. I just hope it shows the “Please buy gems with money to hatch more eggs!” microtransactions (or whatever else microtransactions P&D has these days). The show also devolves some of the information in the P&D UI into a Pokedex-looking toy. It’s some sort of mythical device that lets you control dragons, yet it looks like a Fisher Price toy.

(Puzzle and Dragons Cross featured the typical “Watch TV from far away in a well-lit room” warning in most kid’s anime. I find this warning funny because the anime is based on a mobile phone game. You know, a game you play on a small screen that you view inches away from your face. And generally in a dark room, like sneaking to play it when you should be going to bed.)

(Parental Test: Mom is alive! And serving the best toast sets ever. Dad is a deadbeat dad but we do see his hand in this episode, so that counts. Passes! Woohoo!)

#31. Hitori no Shita – The Outcast
Pandanium x Namu Animation


“Oh, it’s just the Zhang family again.”

You know how awesome a source material is when the animation arm of the publishing company won’t even touch it. Yi Ren Zhi Xia is a Chinese webcomic published by Tencent. Beyond owning League of Legends, Tencent also owns animation studios… none of which are responsible for this awful show. The plot is boring nothingcakes, the pacing is slower than Vertical’s release schedule for Drops of God, the animation quality is substandard at best, the backgrounds are a muddled mess reminiscent of budget PS1 games, and the color palette can only be described as “overly purple.” The basic premise of mysteries surrounding the possible necrophiliac Zhang family is not very enticing either.

The action sequences are directed poorly with no sense of weight or even action. It doesn’t help that the female lead character fights with the same kitchen knife that I bought from Ikea. The characters have no personality, and they move around to always be in the right (or wrong) place at the right time. It’s almost like the author is not disguising how lazy the story is. The male lead is so bland that the only thing I remember about him is that he is exceptionally whiny. At one point, he even has an “URASAI! URASAI! URASAI!” tantrum– that should be the domain of wrathful DFC not college-aged male leads. The dialogue is fairly terrible as well– the male lead randomly bumps into an old schoolmate in an empty train station (what are the odds?), and they both decide that the best topic to discuss after not seeing each other for almost ten years is their virginity. Fantastic.

(Mitigating Factor: I had a hard time deciding which show should be in last place. Any of these really. Go flip a coin. Hitori no Shita, Ange Vierge, and Puzzle and Dragons Cross are the drudges of anime that make me wonder if my dog is overqualified to write an anime at this point.

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#30. Servamp
Brain’s Base and Platinum Vision


“The pet I decided to keep turned out to be a vampire.”

My quick review of Servamp: No, thanks. I don’t need yet another yaoi fodder vampire show in my life, especially one about a hikikomori cat vampire.

(Parental Test: Fails. Anime starts with a dead parent. Why do custody discussions in anime always seem to occur during the wake?)

#29. Scared Rider Xechs


“Please excuse my arbitrary actions.”

Anytime you can make an anime based off of a non-successful PS2 otome game, you gotta do it. Especially in 2016. Scared Rider Xechs is the otome take on the masked rider genre. The pretty otomettes each have a kamen rider-esque costume plus the most ridiculous motorcycles ever. It’s exactly what you would expect in a 2016 otome anime: poor character designs (why does a guy have a belly button triangle?), poor pacing, poor plot, poor character development, poor action sequences– just poor everything. I think at this point, I rather have the harem anime glut of the mid 00s than the current otome anime glut. A lot of these otome anime feel like they are from 1996 rather than 2006.

I don’t really understand what is going on either. There’s a bit too much jargon soup– dirigent? Nightfly O’Note? Valvatron drive? They all sound like names of other bad anime. There’s also too many weird rules and systems– oh, the enemy can create a red dome, and only our Xechs riders can be inside it. That’s never explained beyond that. Nor why does the main character have a hand scar that somehow connects him to a homeless man’s version of Reinhardt’s Gurren Lagann skin. The typical mousy cute but not overly sexy female lead doesn’t even show up until the second episode. Watching an anime this terrible makes me question what I am doing with my life sometimes… but it could be worse… I could be making anime this terrible.

(The ED of this show is probably the worst OP/ED sequence since the original OP for Rainbow Days.)

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#28. First Love Monster
Studio Deen


“Stairs… to adulthood!”

At first, Hatsukoi Monster seems like any other low grade otome anime. Hey, there’s a mousy girl who is non-threatening cute and has some bad luck, there’s a bunch of pretty boys suddenly inserted into her life, and wow– they most certainly don’t do anything inappropriate like sexually harass her. Maybe the twist will be that they are all vampires or male models or all her half-brothers… but judging from the name of the series, maybe she is destined to be the first love of them all. And that’s kind right. They’re all fifth graders but drawn like 25 year olds.

I kind of figured it out from the opening as I wrote in my notebook, “Why does the opening have so many shots of elementary school backpacks?” I’m not sure what the angle is. Cradle robbing? Some weird 25 year old behaving as shota fetish? I don’t know. The whole show is fucking weird. A high school girl becomes the girlfriend of a fifth grader who looks like he is 25 despite other fifth graders looking normal, and she thinks this is a good idea. The show even goes out of the way to portray them as little kids despite looking like baristas at Coffee Prince: a lot of dick jokes, dares to eat poop, games of frozen tag. Okay, if they wanted to work that shit in, they could have pretended they were frat boys instead of fifth graders. I say we leave this show down here and never talk about it again. You hear me? We’ll never talk about it again.

(Parental Test: Fails. She mentions she has rich parents and somehow this is a huge burden on her life. Oh really?)

#27. B-Project
A-1 Pictures


“I don’t really understand what an A&R is actually supposed to do.”

I almost fell asleep during B-Project. A group of guys sexually harassing a poor girl somehow doesn’t fit my image of a woman’s fantasy, but that seems to be the gist of almost all of these otome anime. It’s a group of guys who sexually harass a co-worker– but it’s okay because they’re all hawt men! I don’t even know where to begin with this particular one. The lead heroine is yet another normal girl thrust into a situation she cannot handle. She is somehow hired to manage a bunch of boy groups because the president of the record company saw her at a CD store. She has, of course, zero experience managing a boy group (she hasn’t even managed art statues yet) and is basically told to do her job without any training. The only way this situation makes sense is if she were the president’s mistress. Of course, the first thing her potential man harem does is make passes at her while fondling her hair.

The boys themselves are generic otome fodder who say things like “Sex addicts don’t understand words.” I guess I should be impressed that no two boys have the same hair color. There’s so many boys tossed at us that we don’t really get to know any of them. Instead of character development, how about short 15 second monologues from each man harem member explaining which man harem stereotype that they fulfill? Doesn’t that sound delightful?

I’m hoping A-1 is doing this show because they need the cash because both the writing and production are way beneath A-1. It’s really hard to believe that these boys are elite singers when their singing is terrible. Absolutely terrible. The show tries to dress up their singing by having sparkles come out of their mouths, but it is a sad, sad affair.

(Parental Test: Fails. I don’t think this anime is going to be about family. I think it is going to be about a mousy girl impressing a bunch of sex fiends with her knowledge of music that she obtained while being a clerk at a CD store.)

#26. Tsukiuta The Animation
Studio Pierrot


“Shakin’ sugar sugar~”

Tsukiuta is yet another low cost otome anime featuring a boy band. It is slightly different from B-Project in that there’s no mousy female lead for the audience to project themselves into. Beyond that, they are a bit too similar. Both anime features a larger band consisting of smaller bands. Both anime try to differentiate different boy band members via hair color than actual good character design. Both anime have terrible music.

This show, like a lot of other low cost otome anime, is creatively bankrupt. The band members are introduced by a girl just rapidly going through every band member’s gimmick over the span of five minutes. Oh, yes, if there is anything that I love, it is being told what a character is rather than shown. Much quicker to explain, “Ramsey Bolton is an insecure sadist” than spend a few seasons showing him torturing people and murdering his family. You know what else I love? Instead of writing out actual story and plot lines, we are treated to a segment where the various boy band members are on a talk show panel. Let’s animate the most soulless and boring format of Japanese TV.

Production is pretty low rent. The characters are all cookie cutter otome game type characters who should be gracing a $4.99 otome game on Steam. The animation is janky, and the characters go off model (not that on model is any good to begin with). Backgrounds are lackluster. However, the CG dance portions are significantly better than the hand drawn portions. The characters look a lot better. It’s not as smooth as the CG jpop concert in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, but it isn’t far behind.

(Fashion Czar’s Take: “Procellarum sounds like an STD.” My take: SixGravity is going to be my new handle.)

(Mitigating Factor: The random boy featured in the first episode looks like a Pokemon trainer. If the episode featured him playing Pokemon Go with the boy band members, I might have ranked this show higher. I might have ranked it higher if the boy joined the boy band as the shota fodder and had a whole Pokemon gimmick. That is a lost opportunity.)

(One of my favorite parts of the episode is that the Pokemon trainer boy has an iPad with data service. Yet, he’s given a hand drawn map to a mochi stand. Wouldn’t it be easier to just send him the map location? It reminds me of the hand-written tutorial book given to the main character in Phantasy Star Online 2‘s anime.)

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#25. Regalia – The Three Sacred Stars


“Damn, what a letdown.”

Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars is an original show by Actas and written by Keigo Koyanagi, who previously wrote… uh… basically nothing. That’s always a good sign. The show is a blend of mecha action in a dystopic future setting with light yuri elements. The main dynamic is supposed to be that of the pilots’ interaction with each other, but I don’t think any of it works well because the characters themselves are so bland and boring. They are the off-brand Ritz crackers of anime characters. The pacing is also very poor, with the first major mecha fight interspersed with long dialogues between characters other than the ones fighting. It makes the fight awkward and stretch out for too long. In summary, the direction is bad, the writing is bad, and the premise is bad. On the bright side, the animation is fairly competent, and the action moves fluidly.

The character designs, though, seem out of place. The main character wears a present day school uniform, despite the fact she is in the future. Her companion looks like she got her outfit from the closets of Downton Abbey. The mecha designs are fairly forgettable too.

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#24. Masou Gakuen HxH
Production IMS


“Hurry up and orgasm already!”

The key thing to know about Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia is that its demographic is male. The show’s first scene features the male lead trying to bring one of the three female leads to climax while in a holodeck reproduction of a love hotel. Of course, they are both wearing weird but sexy military uniforms, and the girl is fighting him on it, despite the fact she needs to climax to transform into a girl Gundam and fight off alien invaders. The whole “needs sexual touching to power military weapons” genre isn’t exactly new, but what is special about Masou Gakuen HxH is that… never mind, it’s not special. It’s a fanservice-ladden grope fest like the rest.

What I find infuriating about this genre is that all the heroines are military personal tasked with saving the remnants of humanity. They all understand that they can turn into these Gundam girls only if they climax. So, of course, they are all tsundere for orgasms. “No, no, no, I won’t orgasm unless you forcibly make me.” Why can’t the heroines, for once, treat the orgasms like a job as if they were porn stars? Why does everything lewd need to happen in the context of sexual harassment or rape? Why can’t lewd things be mutually consensual events?

The show tries to be an Evangelion-lite with the mom in the Gendo Ikari role, and the older sister in the Misato Katsuragi role. The floating fortress city is also a homeless man’s Tokyo-3. The armor of the heroines, of course, only cover their arms and legs thus exposing their creamy midsection, crotch, and melonpan. The heroines also must strip before they can do their magical girl transformation sequence into Gundam girls. This show should have just gone full H instead of this silly lewd half-step.

(In the original light novels, Aine’s hair is pink. Her hair changed to light blue for the anime because of reasons.)

(Mitigating Factor: One thing that I do like about this show is that they male lead’s casual clothes is a normal, fitted suit. I wish more shows would do that rather than invent some sort of overly-complex school uniform.)

(Parental Test: Fails. Only shows the mom.)

#23. Qualidea Code
A-1 Pictures


“I am all we need.”

Qualidea Code is yet another magic high school show with an apocalyptic bent. Earth is ravaged yet again by unknown aliens (creatively named “The Unknown”), and all that stands between human extinction and survival are a bunch of plucky teen-aged magic high school students with magical powers. Stop me if you heard this one before. Quesadilla Code is actually a multi-project franchise that is written by Speakeasy, which consists of Koushi Tachibana (Date A Live), Sou Sagara (Hentai Prince and the Stoney Cat), and Wataru Watari (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU). All you need to know is that the show is awful. The plot is a mess, the world building is terrible, and nothing about the characters are interesting or makes you invested in seeing how they develop. Instead, everything is a trope. Hey, the air force is witches! The infantry are yakuza! The navy is literally KanColle! The show does an awful job showing why the viewer should care about any of the nonsense happening on screen.

I am also really tired of the pseudo-high school military that uses magic in a post-apocalyptical world genre. They never have interesting twists or gimmicks anymore, and this show is no different. Oh boy, there’s three factions trying to defend the Japan remnant, and each one has its own broken personality. I don’t care. The three factions are about as important as the faction choice in Pokemon Go. It is just arbitrary and randomly tossed into the show because the three writers of Speakeasy couldn’t come up with a more enticing gimmick. Also, go Team Valor.

(tl;dr: Quesadilla Code is the cheesiest anime of this season.)

(The uniforms for all of these pseudo-high school military that uses magic in a post-apocalyptical world shows are all terrible. How would any of these uniforms be acceptable in either a military or a high school? They seem better suited for Pride than what high schoolers should wear defending earth. You know what screams appropriate military uniforms for girls who fly around the sky? Mini-skirts. I’m glad to see Roy Mustang finally fulfill his manifest destiny of being a costume designer for all these terrible magic high school military anime franchises.)

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#22. Cheer Boys!!
Brain’s Base


“No matter how many apples I peeled, she ate them all.”

When I checked the Wikipedia entry for Cheer Danshi!!, I was surprised it is a shounen sports anime. I guess. The show opens with a grand sweeping narration of cheerleading before transitioning into a scene where we get to see the main character naked in the shower. We’re also introduced to his bromatic friend. The typical sports anime story might be shounen fodder, but the presentation not so much. I am really confused about this show because it is about a bunch of guys who want to get into male cheerleading– the male part is emphasized. They want to get into male cheerleading because the bromatic friend’s mom was a cheerleader. (Who by the way banged the coach.) Wait, what? Couldn’t they do co-ed cheerleading if they want to honor his mom? Why men only? That only makes sense if this were an otome anime setup with some mousy team manager in over her head.

Also not making sense: why they think they can be an effective male cheerleading squad with zero experience. Zero. Zilch. None. Nada. The whole premise seems silly and forced. Also, they are in college. Isn’t that a bit late to start learning how to be a cheerleader?

Animation by Brain’s Base is terrible at best. The main characters all look like background characters in a better produced show. The backgrounds are as boring as staring into a Land’s End catalog. The animation is as spare as the meat you get in a jia jang noodle in a rat hole Korean restaurant. The only notable design choice is that one of the characters wears Beats by Dre. The scriptwriter is Reiko Yoshida, who previously did Tamako Market and Haruchika.

(Parental Test: Passes! Main character has both a mom and a dad show up briefly– and uncooly– in the first episode. The other main character, though, doesn’t have parents anymore, so I guess it evens out. But I have to also point out that not only did this anime show parents, it showed grandparents. The scene where the main character feeds his grandmother apples is really sweet.)

#21. Time Travel Shoujo
WAO World


“Humans create what they imagine.”

Time Travel Shoujo is supposed to be an educational anime. The basic premise is that a girl is gifted a special pendant from her dead beat dad (who has been missing for three years plus was missing for weeks right after she was born) that allows her to travel back in time. However, she can seem to only visit eight great scientists of the past. To make it even weirder, all of these eight great scientists are all specialists in magnetism, communication, and electricity, like Hertz, Volta, Faraday, Edison, Bell, Morse, and Franklin. Franklin sticks out because he’s drawn like a boy band member rather than the chubster that we all know from American history textbooks. Also, Tesla must be rolling in his grave that he wasn’t included. Same with Ampère, who is only the father of electrodynamics. This show just makes me wish someone who do an anime version of Wishbone where instead of a jack russell terrier, an anime school girl would travel through historical fiction.

Okay, back to Time Travel Shoujo, it is a very bland and basic show. There is nothing really either competent or terrible about it. It is the Uncle Ben’s white rice of anime. The show knows it too. There are a few curious things to note. One, this anime is probably the first anime that I’ve seen an AED being used. Two, it’s the only anime this season with an ero hon joke in the first episode. Three, I did enjoy the part where the maid gets upset with the girl because she was wearing a scandalously short skirt (for 1600s England). Four, I like how the dad just left his security card behind the security door reader. Oh, dad. Five, I like how they hand wave the language issue with Michael Gilbert complimenting the girl, “I can’t believe you speak English this well” with the girl thinking, “But I don’t know English.” Way to go in sliding the language issue behind some ero hon.

(When I saw Gilbert was one of the eight scientists, I thought of Barrie Gilbert and not Michael Gilbert.)

(Parental Test: Passes. Dad is a deadbeat, mom is a pastry chef, and I have no clue why she isn’t more concerned that she hasn’t seen her husband in three years. I would assume the only way that makes sense is if she killed him after she found out he was having an affair with her sister.)

#20. Rewrite


“Why are you treating me like a kid?”

Rewrite is the same basic Key formula with a slight twist: 8-bit is handling the conversion from sad, infantile schoolgirl harem visual novel to sad, infantile schoolgirl anime. Maybe the story of Rewrite is fundamentally better than Kanon or Air, but 8-bit’s production isn’t great. It doesn’t capture the typical Key funny moments (seriously how can you botch a Jun Maeda triple gag like with Kotarou’s violent seatmate?), and even though the first episode is double length fails to establish why we should care about these characters. The main protagonist is the exact same snide, slightly dickish main character that we’ve seen before. Also, if Rewrite‘s story is going into the supernatural powers and such, that’s a red flag. We’ve seen what Key and Jun Maeda can do with supernatural powers in Charlotte. And if Rewrite is yet another time rewind show, may Oharuhi-sama save us all. We don’t need more grand sweeping narration and sad girls in fields of flowers.

The character designs look a bit off. It’s like 8-bit couldn’t decide to keep Key’s traditional huge squished head look or do something better proportioned. The characters look way to skinny– at least Kyoto’s rendition of Clannad gave Kyou and Tomoyo plenty of thigh meat. The costumes are also horrible. I don’t understand the girls’ uniforms, as they look like they should belong to some sort of magic high school anime. You also gotta be willing to show some fanservice. How can you not show panties during an extended panty joke segment?

The town itself also makes no sense. It’s supposed to be a town connected in harmony between nature and man, yet it looks like any old city. The school is out in the boonies, and while there are a lot of trees, it doesn’t explain why this town has this connection with nature. The city also looks massive yet the characters do the classic patented Jack Bauer two minute drive between LAX and downtown LA. Like in this scene, the uniform just looks comical. That’s also not how the uniform will drape over boobs either.

(Fashion Czar’s Take: “The cat is the best designed thing here. Highlight of the show: the cat box. Meowers and packers.”)

(Wait, after Ohtori takes the cat box to school, what happens to it? It will super heavy. Yet it didn’t contain things like books, notebooks, pencils, school uniform– you know, basics for school. What was in the box? Is it Schrodinger’s cat box?)

(Parental Test: Fails. Somehow we’re introduced to the MILF next door yet it is unclear if Kotarou lives by himself. He has a bed bug girl ghost invade his bedroom, yet no one else seems to be home to help.)

#19. Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan
JC Staff



The Disasterous Life of Saiki K feels like a combination of Handa-kun and Mob Pyscho 100 as if what if a powerful psychic had the mental stability of Sei Handa. The main character, Saiki, overthinks his psychic abilities a bit too much, which leans to disastrous and somewhat hilarious consequences for those around him. The quick hit joke scenarios are hit-or-miss, with the one involving his dad eating shoes being terrible and the one involving his chuunibyou-infected classmate being slightly better. I think you’ll know very quickly if this type of everything-is-broken humor is for you. The humor seems normal up front, but if you think about it deeper, it gets quite dark, like how Saiki caused his kindergarten teacher to quit over rock paper scissors. That lady spent a life trying to become a teacher, and Saiki crushed her ambitions in a flash– as a minor plot point too. I just feel like both Handa-kun and Mob Psycho 100 present better everything-is-broken comedy value this season, and neither of them are the champs of the everything-is-broken genre this season too. Which show is? Keep reading to find out.

The character designs and animation by JC Staff are probably more fitting for 2012 than 2016. Saiki’s idiot classmate is way overdesigned: he has the One Punch Man buttchin, he has an eye scar, and he has the worst mohawk of 2016. The animation is quite basic with very little visual interest.

(Saiki is voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya in his Arararararagi voice, and I think a solid 80% of the dialogue is his inner narration. I feel like you should know these things.)

(Parental Test: Passes! Woohoo! At one point, this show presents a relationship diagram showing the relationship status of Saiki, his mom, and his dad. It’s totally unnecessary and poorly done. I think JC Staff tossed it in because it saves them a solid half a minute of animation.)

#18. Shokugeki no Soma S2
JC Staff


“This makes my Japanese DNA happy.”

I think Food Wars is more of a battle anime than either a food anime or a sports anime at this point. Every episode just tries to get through as many “Ah-ha!” moments as it can as if they were bullet points on a Powerpoint presentation. I’ll just give you the Fashion Czar’s thoughts during this show, presented in bullet point format:

  • “Everyone is so hostile at this school. Full of Gordon Ramsays.”
  • “They all want to hate fuck [Yukihira]. That’s all the ladies he faces off with in this show. They just want to hate fuck him.”
  • “I want to see [Senzaemon, the Gastric Grandfather] bite into an apple.”
  • “That is so cliche! Molecular gastronomy is on its way out.”
  • Why are you guys shocked?! That’s [Yukihira’s] M.O.! Everyone does a super complicated dish. He does a simpler dish and does it better.”
  • “Beer-battered things are tasty.”

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#17. DAYS


“I told him not to push himself, but he still runs around like a headless chicken.”

DAYS is a sports anime about soccer. It has everything one can expect from a sports anime: plucky main character who wants to be the best, friend of main character who is the object of his bromance and has some prior trauma, poor childhood friend girl whose middle name is “NO CHANCE!”, and a team to be won over. DAYS is pretty much like Haikyuu— even has a short runty lead– but is not as good. It’s hard to believe that with just hard work and determination, someone can suddenly become better in soccer in a short period of time. His main trait seems to be a high tolerance for pain. Um, I guess that’s useful in soccer. He can probably make more money as a sadist boy toy for rich middle-aged women.

Production values are average to above average for the season. I think the friend character looks a bit too much like Rey Za Burrel from Gundam Seed Destiny. I really dislike the Pinocchio cheeks of the main character– I would much rather have the main character look like Athrun Zala. The director is Konosuke Uda, who directed the first 278 episodes of One Piece. That’s a lot of monkeying around.

(Parental Test: Fails. No mention of parents outside of the childhood friend saying that she was sent by the main character’s mom to fetch him. But I like to imagine his mom disapproving of him joining the soccer club: it’s a valhalla of decadence!)

#16. Berserk
GEMBA and Millepensee


“I am a disaster.”

Millepensee is a relatively new studio, and Berserk is their first show. I do not like the 3D CG animation and prefer the original hand drawn series. I’m not sure what bothers me about the CG. The CG is a bit uncanny valley– like the characters looks and move somewhat correctly but not exactly there. So it feels a bit uncomfortable. Also, I really dislike the shading used to disguise poor CG animation. I can forgive hand drawn art for poor animation, but the strength of CG is that it should have great movement. At this point, the terrible CG armor scenes in Garo look better than Berserk here. I think if this series weren’t all in CG, I would probably be a lot more interested.

That’s my next point: Berserk is a long, dark, terrible tragedy that is drawn out to the point that it has lost its point. I like a story that goes somewhere. Game of Thrones is going somewhere. I don’t know where Guts is doing except more violence and more unhappiness. Garo did that much better. It told a compact story that is dark and terrible and tragic but manages to tell a story with character development and themes and gives me a sense that I didn’t waste my time with the show (unlike, oh, Lost). I’m also conflicted in how Millepensee wants to depict the characters. In the first episode, there are random flashbacks (that assume you’ve watched the original), and Casca gets three flashback scenes. In all three, she is being raped. Fantastic. I get it. That’s what happened last, but does that really define her character? We don’t get three flashback scenes of Guts losing his arm. We get flashback scenes of Griffith from various times.

(Mitigating Factor: Puck is literally Navi. “Hey, listen! Hey!” I kind of support the original series decision to not have Puck in it.)

(How does Guts fight without depth perception? Seems… uh… useful. Also in the fight with the skeletons, everything stopped for a moment as the new girl zombie walks up to Guts. The skeletons don’t attack Guts even though Guts is distracted and has turned his back on them. I felt like I was playing Dynasty Warriors.)

(I’ve been thinking that what Berserk should have done is gone into a live action production deal with HBO. Which side says no to that? HBO is also the one paid premium content service with no anime co-development.)

(Parental Test: Fails. Let’s just leave it at that.)

#15. Alderamin on the Sky


“If you don’t stop him, he’ll fondle your boobs and try to take you to bed.”

The combination of 90s rock music, Valkyria Chronicles, Care Bears, and World War 1 is Alderamin on the Sky. Originally a light novel series, it is now a somewhat competent anime series. There are parts that I like, and there are those that I don’t like. I kind of like the Valkyria Chronicles / World War 1 vibe, except there seems to be a lot more magic in this world. I like how mini-blimps are treated with the same awe and terror that mobile suits were treated with when they first arrived in UC. I like the stupid looking Sanrio-dropout familiars that have bellies that shoot light (much like a Care Bear). I like how they are ammo. Yes, ammo. I even kind of like the main character, who I have affectionately dubbed, “Hammock Boy.” He reminds me of Blank from No Game No Life merged with the listless Tanaka-kun.

What I don’t like include the use of modern colloquialisms. I’m a bit glad Crunchyroll isn’t translating the English colloquialisms because they are very, very out of place. At one point the main cast sees a brief glimpse of the underaged princess. The main character, Ikta, comments that the princess is about six years before she can be eaten. The female lead, Igsem (which is a terrible, terrible name), retorts back that “We don’t care about your ‘strike zone.'” in Japanese. CR translates it to, “I wasn’t asking about your personal preferences.” “Strike zone” makes no sense in the context of this world. Is there baseball? Is there English? Nothing really takes me out of fantasy anime faster than hearing random English phrases. It happens quite a bit with this show. A few minutes later, Ikta tells his Care Bear to turn on his “high beam.” Why does he have to say that in English? What is the concept of “high beam” in a world without cars? It’s just poor writing. Another sign of poor writing? Everything is said rather than shown. When a new character shows up, another character gives a brief paragraph about said character kind like in the author descriptions of the Journal of Solid State Circuits. There are also a lot of logical breaks like hey these people are traveling across the ocean for a long voyage yet carried no luggage.

I also don’t like the outfits, as the fat guy looks like a background character. Just because he’s fat, does that mean he gets the most boring character design? The girls look like space pirate who could also be working for Luluco’s space pirate mom.

But back to what I like about this show, it has a good train wreck vibe to it. I just want to see enough of the show to see how Ikta outsmarts the enemies. If it is a No Game No Life situation where he just constantly wins and oogles pretty girls the entire time while in a hammock, I could get on board with that concept.

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#14. Taboo Tattoo
JC Staff


“Waifu? Totally waifu.”

There’s things I like about JC Staff’s Taboo Tattoo, and there are things that I don’t like. I do like the meido army, how impactful the action feels, and some of the comedy– for example, the typical toast collision trope turns into a WWE-styled clothesline. What I don’t like are the horrible CG backgrounds, the really asinine way powers work (basically a homeless man’s version of how powers function in Darker Than Black), and the portrayal of Japan as overrun by hoodlums. Maybe if they were Pokemon Go hoodlums, I can believe it, but generic out for trouble hoodlums that seem more common than pidgeys?

The base plot involves tattoos granting special powers, and they were originally invented by the US government. They get stolen in Japan, so, of course, the US sends a high school girl to retrieve them. Also, a boy randomly meets a homeless man, and the homeless man offers him a gift. He just takes it. That just seems like a terrible idea. Maybe he’ll give you a superpowerful American tattoo (the show seems to go out of its way to point out these are American) or maybe he’ll give you a jar of piss or maybe he’ll just poke you with a drug needle.

(Mitigating Factor: JC Staff is producing way too many shows this season, and this one might be the best looking. That’s not saying much.)

(Parental Test: Fails. Dead dad.)

#13. Fukigen no Mononokean
Doga Kobo


“Damn it! I refuse to be cursed!”

The Morose Mononokean is yet another buddy comedy slash drama slash morality play concerning two boys and their yokais. Maybe a homeless man’s version of Mushishi set in modern Tokyo with an emphasis placed on the well-being of the yokai themselves. Like any buddy comedy of this nature, there is the new guy who is slowly being introduced to the world of yokai, and there’s the jaded, slightly prickish veteran.

Fukigen no Mononokean seems absolutely average to me. If I had to point to the anime this season with the most average animation production, the most average gimmick, and the most average story setup, it would probably be this show. Nothing really stands out or calls out to me, yet nothing really offends or disappoints me. We’ve seen enough variations of this concept in the past before like Natsume’s Book of Friends and Houzuki no Reitetsu that you know approximately what you are getting.

(Mitigating Factor: I did enjoy the first episode, which featured a yokai that was a cross between a puppy and a metroid. That terrifies me for some strange reason.)

(Parental Test: Fails. We only see the mom, who should really write a 5,000 word post about the usage of flowers in Kiznaiver.)

#12. Amanchu!
JC Staff


“And now we make our entry!”

Amanchu! seems to be a slice-of-life odd couple diving anime. The first thing that strikes me about the anime is the alternate drawing style where the characters look like Yotsuba. In fact, the main character does somewhat resemble a grown-up Yotsuba. They even have the green hair. The focus of this show seems to be the pairing of the green-haired girl, who is very out-going and happy, with the black-haired girl, who is not out-going and melancholy.

Animation by JC Staff is probably their best of the season, but that’s not saying much considering how bad their animation can get. The backgrounds are pretty, and the standard issue character designs aren’t bad. But they seem to over use the Yotsuba-styled design to the point of detriment.

I dislike how Crunchyroll refers to this show as a “healing anime.” Seriously? What ailments does it heal? It’s an inoffensive, low calorie, slice-of-life anime. It barely heals boredom let alone anything else. Anime is not penicillin. It’s not even amoxycillin. But people are eating the “healing anime” tag up as it if were some sort of mystic tea-infused crystal blessed of Ti beaten monks and farted on by my dog. Oh Oharuhi-sama help us all.

(Fashion Czar’s Take: “Their school uniform’s a mermaid dress. Swimming anime. See what they did there? Popular wedding dress style– I don’t like it.”)

(Despite it being too warm in California for pork soup, both Amanchu! and Sweetness and Lightning feature it. Now I want pork soup.)

(Parental Test: Fails, but at least there’s a kick-ass grandmother. Then again, when is a grandmother not a kick-ass grandmother?)

#11. Momokuri


“She seemed like a loyal puppy.”

Momokuri is a portmanteau of the main characters names, Momotsuki (the boy) and Kurihara (the girl), very much like “Bennifer.” It’s an anime about a young romance, with the boy trying his best and the girl trying her best to not be a complete stalker. As most of the show is told from her viewpoint, she comes off a lot, uh, thirstier than Momo. She is ridiculously thirsty. I can’t believe she would settle for just touching hands let alone holding hands for a “birthday” gift. Overall, the comedy is passable, and it is a very low calorie show. The romance is even less romance and progression than Ore Monogatari, and the two main character seems even more clueless and without a third wheel extraordinaire Sunakawa to help them.

Animation quality is fairly poor, but the simplistic art style hides a lot of the animation deficiencies. Also, technically, this show aired as an online exclusive winter last year, but it finally made it over to English streaming services now. Momo almost always wears a hoodie, and it is almost always a different color in each episode. What kind of teenaged boy just buys the same hoodie but in ten different colors?

(Mitigating Factor: The ED is very cute with the two main seiyuu singing the ED together.)

(Parental Test: Nope, fails.)

#10. New Game!
Doga Kobo


“I didn’t know what to do, and I wanted to die.”

I think calling New Game! a homeless man’s Shirobako is too generous. It’s a 4-koma about a new office lady adjusting to life as the new office lady in a game development studio turned anime. Instead of being just any soul-crushing, life-destroying game development studio, this one is a soul-crushing, life-destroying game development studio that is entirely staffed by moe girls who are all 25 (except the main character who is 18). The show features an adequate amount of humor, some good animation and pretty backgrounds by Doga Kobo, and a lot of moe girls doing moe things.

The studio seems poorly run as no one who works with the new girl actually interviewed the new girl. She also is not giving any sort of new employee orientation or introduction and instead is just given a book about Autodesk “Saya” and thrust in front of a computer screen. Her boss also shows up wearing panties. Also, the show highlights just how soul-crushing being an office lady in Japan is. She gets to work before 9am, and she doesn’t leave until after 9pm. It’s her first day! Not only that, she witnesses her coworkers sleeping at the office. Are they in crunch? Is this normal development? She should just resign and go to college to become a veterinarian at this point.

(Fashion Czar’s Take: “I’m just glad they drew women with purses.”)

(Parental Test: Fails. Aoba apparently lives at home, but we don’t see her family at all.)

#9. Battery


“They say the catcher is your waifu.”

noitaminA plays it safe with the adaption of Battery, a light novel series from the mid-90s. It has, over the past two decades, been a radio drama, a live-action film, and a television drama. The series explores the relationship between two talented middle school baseball players, a Haikyuu Kageyama-esque pitcher and an earnest catcher. There’s probably more slice-of-life elements in this show than typical sports anime. I like some of the slice-of-life touches like how Goh, the catcher, catches some fish, which he gifts to the pitcher’s family not as food but as pets. There’s a whole family featured, including grandpa, who once was an ace himself, both parents, and sickly younger brother who might want to open a detective agency in the future.

(Parental Test: Passes. Apparently, something happened, and the family has to move in with grandpa in the countryside. There is some tension caused by this because the catcher’s family is a lot richer than the pitcher’s apparently.)

#8. Re:LIFE
TMS Entertainment


“I can legally be friends with high school girls!”

The most notable thing about Re:LIFE is that it released in the Netflix binge format. I think if every anime in a season dropped in a binge format, it would kill a lot of animation staffs. I also think it would kill thin slicing as there’s no way I could properly handle that situation. However, a few binge release shows each season isn’t bad. It fills in gaps that I would otherwise have filled in with Storage Wars, Tiny House Hunters, Hell’s Kitchen, Hotel Impossible, or any number of terrible reality TV shows I should stop watching but can’t.

The story follows at 27 year old who magically turns into a 17 year old college student via a magic pill. What ensues is an harem slice-of-life show that fulfills the fantasies of 27 year old men everywhere. I guess anime’s audience is old and diverse enough to have 27 year old men who wish to be back in high school. I don’t. High school wasn’t a dreamy time for me, but I wouldn’t mind going back to college. Beyond the binge release plus the weird 27 year old suddenly hitting on high school girls angle, it’s a fairly standard harem show. Is this the only standard harem show of this season? The otome shows how vastly outnumber the harem anime? What year is this? Did we cross the vanilla sky?

Also, I can’t help thinking during this show that if a company has invented a pill that makes you look ten years younger, why would they waste it on this Re:LIFE project? I would imagine women (and men) paying shit tons of money for such a product. It would arguably be more popular than Viagra.

(Mitigating Factor: The way Re:LIFE the shadowy company is presented at first feels like a pitch for some sort of pyramid scheme. Don’t sign contracts or shallow pills from shady as fuck companies. That’s a good life lesson to learn.)

(Fashion Czar’s Take: “Oh all these homeroom teachers who chronically wear sports clothes.”)

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#7. Tales of Zestiria the X


“It’s just a legend.”

ufotable wakes from their slumber imposed by God Eater to make yet another video game turned anime: Tales of Zestiria the X, the fifteenth Tales game in twenty years. ufotable’s anime is exactly what one would expect: great looking models and backgrounds with some questionably sloppy 3D CG. There is one scene early one where Sorey is jumping from rocks to rocks, and it looks like the animation is moving at 15fps. I can forgive that for hand-drawn animation, but for pre-rendered 3D CG? At least render it to make it look smooth, even if the models aren’t detailed. Though I really enjoyed the scenes of all the people getting sucked into a fiery tornado of death– just so ridiculous and reminded me a bit of Twister.

One thing that bothers me about the character designs is that both Sorey and Alisha manage to break out books from nowhere. Where do the books come from? How do the books survive so many falls, dips into water, and battle damage? I have a lot of questions concerning these books.

The plot is typical Tales fare. Honestly, I’ve played 5 or 6 Tales games thus far, and I cannot tell them apart. Maybe it’s how similar the plots are or how similar Kosuke Fujishima’s character designs are, but I only remember Tales of Symphonia because how bummed I was when my forty plus hour save file got corrupted. If you are a fan of Zestiria, this anime feels like a good adaption of the game. I just don’t think it is going to attract a lot of audience outside of the Tales sphere, even with ufotable on animation duties.

(Was the last Tales series to be make into a TV anime Tales of the Abyss by Sunrise back in 2008? Pretty sure Xillia and Vesperia did not receive full TV anime seasons.)

(Mitigating Factor: I love the cute little mascots. Also, the patented Tales skit the end for the next episode preview is a nice touch.)

(Parental Test: Fails.)

#6. Handa-kun


“Everyone is hating on me, as usual.”

Handa-kun occurs six years prior to Barakamon and chronicles Sei Handa’s high school life instead of his island life. It’s a completely different series than Barakamon. The studio (from Kinema Citrus to Diomedéa), the creative team, and even the seiyuu for Handa (from Daisuke Ono to Nobunaga Shimazaki) have changed. The genre has drastically changed from low calorie slice-of-life to meta comedy, kind of a low calorie blend of Osomatsu-san, Zetsubou-sensei, and Sakamoto Desu Ga?. The only constant is Sei’s love/hate relationship for calligraphy.

The basic premise is that Sei Handa is the most popular and desirable male in the school. Everyone knows it. Except him. He has a huge neurosis (which seems greatly lessened by the time of Barakamon) which makes him Fox Mulder levels of paranoid. Everyone is scheming to get him. But, in a comedic twist, everything he does while under neurosis is perceived to be uber-cool. He is Zetsubou-sensei in his mind, but he is Sakamoto to those viewing his actions. It is a weird but comedic juxtaposition. I doubted if Sakamoto could keep up its comedy for an entire season (I was wrong: it could!), so I’m not going to doubt Handa-san. There is also an extra meta layer around this show that seems a bit unnecessary, but we’ll see how it develops as the show goes on. I am encouraged that calligraphy is still a major part of the show, and it is how Sei wants to solve his problems. If the solution doesn’t involve ink and brush, he is probably not going to use that solution.

There is some tie-in between Barakamon and Handa-kun, but it is quite farther along in Barakamon manga. There were some purposefully vague plot points in Barakamon that weren’t resolved until Handa-kun was used as a flashback-type device to show it. Though I don’t think you need knowledge of either anime to appreciate the other anime.

Animation production is average for this season. Diomedéa is not in the same tier as Kinema Citrus, unfortunately. The character designs are also a bit weird as it seems Sei will have a major growth spurt soon. I am also a bit confused as how deep his neurosis goes as in Barakamon, he seemed to be aware that girls might like him in college, but he was always too busy doing calligraphy to go out with them.

(Mitigating Factor: Diomedéa, please, stop drawing background characters without faces. It is creepy. It doesn’t work for this show. It is even creepier that they move. You are not Shaft.)

(Fashion Czar’s Take: “The cockblock force. Just surrender your body to the mass of women.”)

(Parental Test: Fails. A bit disappointed we didn’t see his family because Sei has Cersei Lannister for a mom.)

#5. Orange
Telecom Animation Film x TMS Entertainment


“We’ve got cutlet buns, pork miso buns, curry buns, mustard-greens buns, melon pan, and apple cinnamon rolls here!”

Orange is a terrible name for this series: it should really be named “Regret” because that word comes up a lot. I mean a lot. More than andohbytheway appears in this blog. This show has two very strong things going for it. One, the production is gorgeous. The characters move fluidly, the backgrounds are motherfucking well drawn, and the music is on point. The direction of scenes is also pretty good with the montage in the first episode being a stellar montage. A++++++ would Rocky IV train Siberia again. Two, the story has both shoujo and seinen bents to it. I think it is a story that can appeal to a wide audience, assuming it doesn’t fall off a cliff. And that’s really my worry. At this point, we all know Kakeru is going to die, and only Naho’s time traveling diary can stop it. But has the time traveling diary been explained other than a plot framing device? There’s a lot of ways it can go. I’m optimistic the story will go somewhere interesting. If it becomes a group of friends slice-of-life show with shoujo love triangle and some sort of time rewind mechanic, okay, so be it… that’s not a bad fate. Maybe this isn’t the next great shoujo hope after Ore Monogatari, but at least it is damn pretty to watch.

(I still can’t get over the montage in the first episode. I feel like that montage should have been an ad for Pokemon Go, if, you know, Pokemon Go needs any advertisement at this point. It needs servers. Desperately needs servers.)

(I guess the real next great shoujo hope is Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card… I’ll put down 2019 as the tentative date for that anime.)

(Mitigating Factor: It is pretty creepy to get letters from ten years in the future that poetically lays out your life in front of you. Wouldn’t it be more effective if 26 year old Naho just wrote, “Takeru is going to die because you didn’t finish watching Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.” I would rank this show higher if the story didn’t depend so heavily on a deus ex machina time do-over type mechanic. I know it isn’t traditional time rewind as she doesn’t travel back in time, and the fact she gives letters to another self who sometimes ignores and sometimes follows the letters is interesting… but we’ve had a lot of time manipulation tear jerkers lately. Can we use time rewind for an ecchi harem anime before it catches up to magic high schools in terms of overused anime tropes?)

(Parental Test: Fails. Naho’s parents show up in the second episode, so one episode too late. Next thin slicing maybe I’ll change up the gimmick as the parental test isn’t very interesting due to the lack of anime parents.)

#4. Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!



This Art Club Has a Problem! is probably my favorite title of this season. It’s long, ridiculous, and straight to the point. This art club does indeed have a problem. Heck, the first episode is titled, “These people have problems.” The basic premise seems to be that the art club is a train wreck with a main character, poor Mizuki who is love with fellow member Subaru. In tragic anime fashion, Subaru has no interest in Mizuki. It isn’t some sort of comedic misunderstanding like in Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun but rather Subaru is only interested in 2D waifus. Even more frustrating to Mizuki is that Subaru is an excellent artist, but he is only interested in, again, 2D waifus. The meta irony of the show is that Mizuki herself is, in our reality, a 2D waifu.

Very similar to Nozaki-kun, this show is built on the hopes crushed comedy structure. The story focuses on how Mizuki gets her hopes up that Subaru is making a breakthrough from the 2D waifu world to only get her hopes crushed time and time again. Subaru, though, provides glimpses of niceness that keeps her stringed along. Poor girl. It’s almost like how Ramsey Bolton kept torturing Theon at the beginning of his transformation into Reek. He would give Theon a bit of hope, like with the sexy girls or the possible escape, only to snatch it away from Theon at the last moment. This show is the best everything-is-broken comedy of this season.

I imagine as more characters show up, they will each be broken in their individual ways. The Fashion Czar reads this manga, and she assures me that they is plenty of problems to go around.

Animation from Feel is above average for this season. I really like Feel’s choice to toss in a classic, JC Staff quality, vintage “URASAI! URASAI! URASAI!” line. Characters have a lot of subtle facial movements, and there is plenty of general movement from characters and background characters. I really like the colorful look of the show. And I really like all of Subaru’s art, if you know what I mean.

(I want to see an art gallery featuring 2D waifu art from Subaru and calligraphy from Sei Handa. It would be an incredible exhibit.)

#3. 91 Days


“It’s not the wick that is burning.”

This is what is scribbled in my notebook for 91 Days: “Mom and dad having a moment? / Murdered / Batman? / BATMAN DESU GA?!?” I’m not wrong. The main character’s mom and dad (and sibling) gets gunned down in the first five minutes of the show. 91 Days is an original crime revenge drama from Shuka, who previously did Durarara. I am a bit perplexed at the plot as why does the location, Lawless, seem like Italy yet is under Prohibition like America. It is a weird mixture of America and Italy, which I assume is how Japanese people picture New York.

91 Days is a strong show. The writing, the production, and the directing are all surprisingly strong. I have a lot more faith in Taku Kishimoto (ERASED, Joker Game) to deliver a solid plot than for the Code Geass guy to deliver on Kabaneri. I really like how scenes are framed, and not a lot of scenes reuse the same or prior camera angle. There’s some money spent here. Also, I really like what the show did with the paraffin plot in the first episode. It provided a lot of insight into the two main characters early on, and it also helped resolve the incident at the end of the episode. Any other show would have slapped a text title on the characters saying, “This is the brave one! This is the smart one!” This anime doesn’t tell you. It shows you.

There is a lot of booze, smoking, violence, and chest hair in this show too. It seems like the Shuka team is taking a lot of cues from Baccano for their first original work.

(Mitigating Factor: Wait, did they leave the driver to die at the end of the first episode? What happened to the driver? Feels like a forgotten plot point.)

#2. Mob Psycho 100


“Melt him.”

Mob Psycho 100 is the other series from ONE, creator of One Punch Man. He is not scared to reference One Punch Man in this newer series at all: there are plenty of references to Saitama and butt-chin dude. Even the interactions between main characters Kageyama and Reigen feel familiar. Kageyama is a super powerful guy but doesn’t fully appreciate it. Reigen is a fraud. They both feel like a remix of Genos and Saitama– Kageyama has Saitama’s overwhelming strength and his “ok” face but has Genos’ general disposition. Reigen is like the worst parts of Saitama and Genos rolled up into one. Mob Psycho 100 is a fun show that retains a lot of the kinetic action of One Punch Man as well as the low key comedy.

Animation production by Bones is quite good, and I like the use of various line art styles. The animation is fluid, and the reaction faces are top notch. Sunrise would be proud. I also like the maze faces. Well done, Bones. This show is one of my favorite art styles of this season.

(When a girl is so hot, every other girl around her are literally eggplants.)

(Mitigating Factor: I do like the running joke that Reigen is so damn cheap and so damn fraudulent that he doesn’t even use blessed salt but normal salt… but at some point, he has to realize maybe he’s better off buying blessed salt, right? How much more could that cost versus normal sea salt?)

(Parental Test: Mom and dad alive! And having a normal family meal?! Pass! All the passes!)

#1. Sweetness and Lightning
TMS Entertainment


“The rice is standing up and saying, ‘Hello!'”

I really enjoy watching Amaama to Inazuma. It is a very satisfying low calorie, slice-of-life family anime (Oharuhi-sama help us this is not “healing anime”) that shows the breadth of anime. It’s a simple show that I just can’t imagine any other medium capturing it. If magic high school anime is the McDonald’s of anime and otome anime is the Denny’s and time rewind anime is the Korean fried chicken place and harem anime is the take out food from a Japanese 7-11, then Sweetness and Lightning is the home cooked meal. Sometimes, nothing is better than a home cooked meal.

(Parental Test: Passes. Technically, Kouhei is the main character, and we don’t see his parents until later on. But if Tsumugi also counts as a main character, we do see a brief happy flashback of her with both parents in the first episode, which qualifies for a pass.)

14 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, summer 2016 edition”

  1. I’m allowing myself time to cool off before giving 91 Days a chance. Still bitter we get a non-adaptation anime with a setup that sounds super similar to Baccano before getting an actual season 2 of Baccano. As for sweetness and lightning, I feel like it’s too similar to Yotsuba&! for me to give it a chance.

  2. “I dislike how Crunchyroll refers to this show as a “healing anime.” Seriously? What ailments does it heal? It’s an inoffensive, low calorie, slice-of-life anime. It barely heals boredom let alone anything else. Anime is not penicillin. It’s not even amoxycillin. ”


  3. How can you watch First Love Monster and Masou Gakuen HxH and not realize that they’re comedies?

  4. Teekyuu died for Berserk

  5. So much chaff… I was surprised at how low Shokugeki no Souma ranked this time, when its first season was near the top of thin slicing. It feels like more of the original, which for me is no bad thing (though it does feel rushed by comparison, episode 1 being the worst offender).

  6. I think Alderamin could be a hidden treasure for this season (in the fantasy/sci-fi lineup), but Kabaneri started out really good too…
    Zestiria is good, but too generic.

  7. While it’s not anime, I’m curious what you think of Thunderbolt Fantasy.

  8. Regalia got interrupted so I assume they’ll re-think certain aspects of the production by the time it returns. Whether that changes anything else is far from clear at this point. That said, the show did remind me of Nanoha so there’s some potential for at least entertaining throwaway scenarios and, of course, more yuri.

    Alderamin on the Sky looks like a sleeper hit so far. Hoping it’ll keep doing great things.

    I am sure that Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia would be better as outright pornography. There’s not much else to discuss about the show.

    Kabaneri just had a generic trajectory, which is now apparently equal to falling off a cliff even though absolutely nothing particularly unpredictable or insane happened. Similarly I don’t know why zombie narratives are now somehow expected to have “solid stories” all of a sudden and much less when they’re directed by a fellow who enjoys dumb fun in its purest forms. I guess it’s one of those cases were people treat something stereotypical mediocre as if it were horrible, even when that’s objectively false. Either way, it was an enjoyable distraction and I got my time’s worth.

  9. Also, Taku Kishimoto didn’t create ERASED or Joker Game. Those were both adaptations so the central credit for their writing (which did get kind of stupid at times in Joker Game for instance) isn’t exactly his. But I do think 91 Days will out fine, given the particular type of show it has presented itself as so far.

  10. Just want to point out that Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou is not really a harem anime. Its giving the same vibe as Mahoraba which is quite different to Sakurasou。

  11. – afterall, the other female character have their own romantic interests?

  12. Technically, the ‘healing’ anime is apparently what it’s called in japan. A show that is just…relaxing, and sweet, and maybe funny too, but it’s mostly just warm and fuzzy and the complete opposite of stressful.

    Which, y’know, is PRETTY IMPORTANT considering the sheer amount of stress a lot of people in japan have.

  13. I’m pretty sure ‘healing anime’ is just a kind of, like….de-stresser. Something to relax to and with. It’s soft, and fluffy, and sweet, with maybe a little bit of drama or longing, or nostalgia, what have you…but not to the level you’d really consider a ‘core’. And considering all the stress in Japan, is it ny wonder its making such gains in the market?

    (incidentally, this is the second time I’ve tried to post this, did the page eat the first, or what?)

  14. I get why Jason is ranking Shokugeki no Souma S2 so low. Personally speaking S2 should actually start at the 11th episode, the first 10 episodes of S2 just finishes off the tournament arc from S1

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