Seasonal Round-Up: Autumn 2016

For the first time in a while, I’m actually watching a fair amount from an anime season. It remains to be seen whether I can keep it up, or what will go by the wayside, but for now, here’s my look at a select crop from the Autumn (or Fall, if you will) anime season.

3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)

When this series was first announced for an anime adaptation, I knew I couldn’t wait – after all, it’s from the creator of Honey and Clover, and features a cat that looks like a snowy owl. Having since read the first five volumes of the manga, I was looking forward to this adaptation even more, and its first episode hasn’t disappointed. As with Honey and Clover, it’s close enough to the manga that I can equally enjoy both, and I look forward to reliving the adventures of high school shogi pro Rei and his closest friends.

Chi’s Sweet Home (2016)

Back in the day, I loved the original Chi’s Sweet Home and Chi’s New Address – after all, how could you go wrong with an anime about a cute and inquisitive kitten? I had mixed feelings about this series, however, thanks to its 3D CG animation style and recasting of most of the voice actors – would it stomp on the original the way remakes of the likes of Garfield have? Actually, all in all, it’s been pretty entertaining – Satomi Kōrogi remains excellent in the titular role, and if Chi seems to be a naughtier kitten than ever, then in some ways that just makes it even more entertaining.

Despite being a remake, this series skips past the part where Chi loses her mother and gets adopted by the Yamadas, instead starting at their one month anniversary of having a cat. There’s also no mention of the original major plot point that the Yamadas lived in an apartment where cats weren’t allowed, and thus had to hide her from the landlady.

Girlish Number

The latest in a long line of series about people trying to make it in the creative industry. Chidori is trying to become a famous voice actress, but it can be hard to get more than the tiniest of roles – let alone the respect of your peers. To be honest, I wasn’t overly engaged by the first episode of this series, and could easily see it falling through the cracks. The much-overlooked Love GetChu from 2006 was much better.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku (Magical Girl Raising Project)

At first I wasn’t interested in this series, as I thought it would be light fluff. Then I thought that maybe what I wanted was something cutesy and light. Finally, I watched the first two episodes and discovered that, underneath its moe exterior lurks a series determined to be the next Madoka. Fav, the series’ equivalent of Kyuubei, has created sixteen magical girls, but when he realises that that’s probably too many. Eight of them must lose their powers, but it looks like, along with that, they also lose their lives. I adore the juxtaposition of darker undercurrents with the tooth-achingly sweet exterior, and am also a big fan of there being a male character who transforms into a magical girl. This should be a good one.

Mahoutsukai no Yome: Hoshi Matsu Hito (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)

This is another series where I started reading the manga after the anime was announced. I’ve been enjoying the mix of magic with darker human elements, so I was really looking forward to embarking on the series in animated form. I find myself left with mixed feelings, however – the first episode was almost Ghibli-esque in its beauty and attention to detail, but it’s taking a different path to the manga. At the start of the anime, Chise is already living with Elias, and she even has her familiar, Ruth – something that doesn’t happen until later in the manga. We then delve into flashbacks about Chise’s childhood, filling in details that haven’t been touched upon in the manga. It was a good episode, but I had been hoping for something closer to the original material.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go

I always worry a little when we get a new series of Natsume Yuujinchou. It’s always been so excellent – what if the next series is a disappointment? That being said, having read ahead in the manga, I knew there was plenty of good stuff to come, and so I shouldn’t have worried.

The first two episodes in the season have been the usual standalone stories, in which Natsume helps out a youkai, with Nyanko-sensei reluctantly providing support and longing for snacks. As usual, the series has a calming aura, and is always a pleasure to watch.

Nyanbo!

Now that Bananya is over, we need some other weird cat-related short to fill the gap, and luckily we have Nyanbo. Based on feline versions of Yotsuba’s cardboard robot, Nyanbo follows these tiny alien creatures as they roam around our world looking for parts to rebuild their UFO. It’s somewhat odd, but what it lacks in coherence it more than makes up for in cute characters. Nyanbo!

Occultic;Nine

I liked Chaos;Head, loved Steins;Gate, and quite enjoyed Robotics;Notes, so it’s time for yet another serious with a pointless semi-colon in the middle of its name. It’s early days yet, but Occultic;Nine has yet to win me over – whilst I was initially taken with the idea of a high school kid trying to make money from his occult website, the first episode then went on to hurl a large amount of uninspiring characters at its audience. There’s the immensely-breasted female sidekick, the camp café owner, the slightly creepy gothic lolita girl, the famous fortune teller, and various others. It may pick up, but right now it seems a bit silly and undirected.

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru

I’ve never played the mobile game which this anime is based on, but having purchased a Kogitsunemaru Nendoroid, I felt I should investigate the franchise further. The series revolves around twenty or so historical swords who have been reborn in bishie form, and who hang out in their mansion waiting to be deployed into the past to prevent the villains from changing history. So far, each episode has started with a bit of a ‘getting to know you’ section in the mansion, where vast numbers of characters are thrown at us, and we do our best to remember who they all are. Then, some of the boys get to head out and fight a battle in the latter part of the episode. The battle parts aren’t that enthralling, to be honest, but I’m enjoying the mansion antics more than I thought I would, given how many characters there are.

ViVid Strike!

Just when you thought the Nanoha franchise had run out of steam, along comes another spin-off, this one involving a new character who comes to train with Einhart, Vivio and the gang at Nove’s gym. To be honest, I would have been content with more episodes of Vivid to conclude the tournament that was going on at the end, but actually this isn’t too bad. So far it lacks the flashy, over the top weaponry of the earlier series, but if you just want to watch hot young anime girls sparring, this will fit the bill.

Yuri!!! on Ice

This is the title that everyone seems to be going mad for this season, probably thanks to its high density of cute boys (insert obligatory “shouldn’t it be called Yaoi!! on Ice” joke here). Our first ice skating anime since the enjoyable Ginban Kaleidoscope back in 2005, Yuri!! on Ice features not one but two skaters named Yuri – a fiery young Russian looking to move up from the junior league, and a Japanese skater who has been in a bit of a slump for the last few competitions. Both get taken under the wing of the handsome and characteristic Victor – a world-class ice skater looking to take a break now that his career has peaked. It’s entertaining and absorbing stuff, and there are even glimpses of cats. I wish I could watch it all right now.

One thought on “Seasonal Round-Up: Autumn 2016

  1. Arrr, our cat recently died so it’s somewhat painful to watch a show with cats in it right now. 🙁 (He also really looked like Chii, just much bigger!) As you noticed, there are many cats in anime these days, and this season is too good to deter me from watching them. Yuri on Ice is my favorite right now, but from your description, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku sounds surprisingly good.

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