Season’s Greetings: The Different Dimensions of Winter 2016

It’s that time of the year everyone, we’ve all been forced to say goodbye to the shows we loved from last season and are moving onto the nex…  oh shit.  I know I ragged pretty hard on the last fall season in that first impressions post but it had nothing on this season.  In contrast to last season this winter has fewer sequels, but sadly most of the new IP coming do little to encourage.  Of the shows on the chart, only a whopping 3 shows really caught my attention before they aired.  Now to be fair I’m betting a lot of people are looking forward to the Shirayukihime season 2 or more Durarara and I’m not, so that makes this season a little better for some.  But most of what I’m seeing is frighteningly unimaginative at first glance.  There’s another music based cutesy moe show following the buzz about Hibike Euphonium, which I  haven’t seen yet I admit.  There are 3 special high school for special teenagers who fight monsters shows, which ironically enough have been better than I expected so far.  Including those 3 shows there are 4 shows dealing separate dimensions, one of which looks like one of the best shows this season.  There are 3 magical girl shows, though I think one is actually about cyborgs that just so happen to look like magical girls.  We have what looks like another Infinite Stratos that may also be an idol show in Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm.  Oh and there’s a BL anime or two because it seems like every season needs at least one of those these days.  Then there is Bubuki Bunraki which sounds like an edgy scifi version of Soul Eater, wonderful.  And there’s also a show about famous statues forming an idol group which is one part hilarious and one part WTF in its very conception.  But that’s enough bitching for now, let’s just look at the first episodes I’ve seen thus far.

Ajin:  This one has aired an episode yet but it was one of the only shows that really jumped out at me, so I’m looking forward to it.

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi:  This show had a very strong first episode that managed to cram a ton of information into an episode with a mostly relaxed pace.  It was an episode that was relaxed and introspective, while also having moments of explosive movement and loads of dramatic tension.  Even more impressive, it provided enough information to help us really get into the characters while presenting enough questions to setup an engaging mystery narrative.  This one is off to a good start, and looks to be one of the highlights of the season.

Dimension W:  Dimension W is one of the other shows that caught my attention right off the bat and damn did the first episode support my intuition.  The vibes I’m getting from this show is one part the early parts of Comet Lucifer and one part Psycho Pass.  The main guy in particular reminds a bit of Kogami from Psycho Pass with maybe a splash of Jet from Cowboy Bebop or Hei from Darker than Black.  Anyway the first episode had well animated and choreographed violence, introduced us to a scifi world that looks like something we might actually head in theory as the world we live in today is trying to lessen our reliance on gasoline.  I know scifi generally doesn’t catch my attention very often so I’m not the most qualified to make comments on the genre but this one looks like it might be one of the next big scifi hits.

Divine Gate:  Divine Gate was a show I was initially not even going to try because it didn’t seem all that creative.  Episode one was passable at best, though I admit I’m loving the way the characters are animated.  I’m still pretty uncertain about this one, I can easily see it being formulaic and boring, but it could also at least be decent.  I have hard time seeing this one being really good and can only really recommend it if you like the concept or if you’re like me and are looking for interesting animation, though the CG I’ve seen this far is so atrocious it’s almost funny.  I’ll be keeping an eye and this one but I don’t expect much.

Gate 2:  I know a lot of people don’t give a shit about Gate, but for whatever reason I found it to be fun enough to keep watching.  This episode was mostly par for the course with the series, it was just ok but looked nice and I had enough fun to keep watching.  If you liked the first season you probably already watched the first episode and if you didn’t like it, this one is not going to sell on the idea you should.

Luck & Logic: I was going to skip this one for sounding just like Divine Gate.  The first episode reminded me a bit of Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance or Mujin no Fafnir, in its cast and the way the main character is handled.  I may still drop this one for being boring and unimaginative, at best I have hard time seeing this show being anything more than just ok but fun.  Right now the main thing holding my attention is how it’s character design kind of reminds me of the Rolling Girls whose visual style I was big fan of.  My opinion of this one is mostly the same as Divine Gate because the concept is almost the same as Divine Gate.

Musaigen no Phantom World: This show actually has two episodes out and while it falls under the special school for special students archetype, I’m liking this one so far.  The character designs are good, and the action is engaging.  So far there are already a lot of varied powers and monsters which is good.  It does remind a lot of Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de, but I like this more than that show already.  The main guy in particular is fun because he’s huge history and folklore nerd, which is so my thing.  Thus far I also like the silly humor especially when it breaks the fourth wall or makes references to other anime.  There is some silly fanservice as well, fanservice that isn’t revealing but are generally used well as situation humor gags that makes more funny than sexy or frustrating.  Overall I’d say this will be the series that is the most fun this season, not by any means the best show of the season, but one I will look forward to each week.

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