I'm finally able to start on the Spring 2016 anime season, but I thought that perhaps I'd write up a bit about what I saw in the Winter 2016 season. At least, the ones I thought were good enough that I watched through them (or plan to).
My rating system is as follows:
5 - Loved it
4 - Great
3 - Good
2 - Okay
1 - Fair
Haruta to Chika wa Seishun Suru
A show that felt like it was following in the footsteps of Hibike Euphonium, HaruChika followed a music club/band as they tried to gain enough members to play in competitions. However, the show was actually less about music (and rarely animated them using the instruments until the end of the last episode) and more about solving mysteries and riddles that would pop up with each new episode. Haruta plays the equivalent of Sherlock while Chika gets the bumbling role of Watson. Well, I guess it's not quite that clear-cut. It's difficult to tell if they're friends or rivals, but I think that it's probably a combination of both.
Their reason for rivalry? The two of the both have a crush on their music teacher. You can expect pretty much how the show goes from there. While it wasn't the most elegant and you could see the answers to the mysteries from miles away, it's still a decently fun watch. The art is cute and the ending song was my second favorite from this season.
I just really wish that they would have focused a little more on the music part of the show.
Boku dake ga Inai Machi
Bokumachi is my top pick for show of the season. The story revolves around Satoru, who works in pizza delivery and lives alone. He also happens to be able to go back in time to fix problems when the world deems it necessary for him to. He continues going back in time until the problem is fixed and he's beginning to find it annoying. That is, until his mother is murdered and he has to go back in time to try and stop it. The only problem is that he was sent to his childhood instead. Satoru then knows he has to save the lives of those killed in a serial murder case to find out who killed his mother.
I think the word I'd use to describe the show is "thrilling". Unlike most of the other shows this season, I was eagerly awaiting for the next episode and would watch as soon as I could get my hands on it. I went back to read the manga after finishing it and while I prefer the manga for pretty much the rest of the story, I personally preferred the show's version of the ending, which felt less drawn out. I highly suggest this show for anyone who is looking for a "thriller" to watch. Also, the ending song was my number one from this season.
Dagashi Kashi's story is pretty upfront. Kokonotsu helps his dad with a candy shop but dreams about being a manga artist instead. He doesn't have any plans on taking over his dad's candy shop. Hotaru is from a famous sweets manufacturer and has come to Kokonotsu's dad in hopes of bringing him to work for her family's company. His dad won't leave unless Kokonotsu agrees to run the shop. From then on, Hotaru makes it her goal to try and convince Kokonotsu to take over but she's prone to using bizarre methods to do so.
Woooow. What to say about this... Well, its really funny, I liked watching it but it seems like the kind of show you could find on Adult Swim (I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they've picked it up anytime). The bizarre and suggestive humor kind of lends itself to that sort of impression. I don't think it helps that for the first several episodes I was watching subtitles that were extremely 'localized'. If you're looking for a laugh while simultaneously throwing your hands up in question, well, this is one of those kinds of shows.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
Okay, I haven't watched much of this one yet; I'm still trying to get through it.
Lately we've had a lot of the 'people from our world thrown into a fantasy rpg-like world' theme in anime. This is one of those, except they don't remember being in our world. They'll remember phrases that would only work in our world but question where they even came from, but it's so insignificant that they don't really carry on with it. The story follows a band of people that I can only describe as "newbs" due to their complete lack of understanding about battle. They're the ones that the better team didn't want. Now they must learn to live and survive in this new world.
The show is pretty interesting and seems a little more realistic than a lot of the other shows of the genre. It seems like it tries to follow the 'screw-ups' rather than the overpowered, which is actually an interesting idea. The art is really pretty, too- at least when there aren't some obvious mistakes when it comes to animating a character on a background with a camera pan.
The background music is actually really pretty, too.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
On the same genre, we had Konosuba this season.
Kazuma, the protagonist, dies in a very unexpected and embarrassing way. The rude goddess he meets in the afterlife, Aqua, gives him a choice of either going to heaven or being put into a rpg-like world that needs help with an evil villain. If he chooses this world, he can retain all of his memories and can be granted one single thing to take with him. After becoming really annoyed with the goddess' rude behavior, he chooses to bring her. Now they must defeat the Demon King before she can return to being a goddess. It would probably go a lot smoother if the adventurers of powerful classes that joined their party were actually competent.
This show was hilarious to watch. I highly suggest it to anyone who likes a good comedy. The place where the season ends, however, does feel a bit anticlimactic. Luckily, I've heard that season two was already announced. The characters, though mostly incompetent are actually really enjoyable (probably because they are incompetent, they are interesting.) It's certainly creatively written.
Musaigen no Phantom World
Phantoms in this show's world were recently discovered to be real as they can now be seen. What's more is that there are now people who have developed special powers in order to combat the more unruly ones. Haruhiko and his friends are such people. They are in a club that specially designates teams to control phantoms who are causing problems in the world.
This show was a decent watch. It's a 'monster of the day' style show so the plot feels like it's a little everywhere sometime. I think the art is really pretty though. It doesn't really feel like you need to put a lot of thought into watching the show, so it's easy to watch. There's an episode about cats though.
It was entertaining enough to continue watching it but I think I'd only suggest it to people who find 'monster of the day' shows to be their niche.
Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows
The story is told from the point of view of a cat who loves his owner very much.
Pretty simple, right? It's beautiful in it's simplicity, though. Daru the cat, while given a human voice to translate his thoughts, is still very much a cat in actions and thoughts. As realistic as we can imagine a cat thinks about their owner at least.
It's really cute, but also a little heartbreaking. Daru watches Tomoka, his owner, fall into a spiraling depression while he has to deal with the facts of life as well. The episodes are short and there are very few of them, and yet the story seems to fit in them. If you have a few minutes to waste or you just really like cats, this is absolutely worth watching.
Koukaku no Pandora
Nene is a full body cyborg living in a world where robots are common. What she wants most in life is world peace and she's willing to work towards it. When she meets a scientist and her cyborg on her way to live with her aunt, she's offered a way to achieve world peace. After the scientist installs a new program into Nene's system she leaves her cyborg, Clarion, to protect her. Now Nene has new powers that she can help solve the problems on her new home island to further her quest towards peace.
This show was actually really cute. I'd actually think it was aimed at kids if it wasn't for the extremely suggestive transformation or one of the perverted mascot characters. There are actually a lot of Ghost in the Shell references in the show, so it was kind of fun to try and pick some of them out from what I can remember from Ghost in the Shell. If you're into the sort of 'saturday kids anime' shows and don't mind some suggestive gestures and talk, this is probably right up your alley.