The Roundup: Spring 2016 Volume 1

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In this week’s installment…

Seems like Spring is going to be the season for relaxing with some fun, light hearted comedies as they pretty much dominate The Roundup. I am OK with this. Even so, a couple shows are already in danger of getting the axe, can you guess which ones it will be?

The Roundup is a weekly guide to all the “other” shows we’re watching this season. Check out our full coverage of: 
Macross Delta | Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable | My Hero Academia | KIznaiver

 01_bakuon

Bakuon!!
Episode 2: “School!!”

Mondays 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I liked everything going on this episode. It was funny as expected, but the story with Rin’s dad and saying good bye to Baita added a heartwarming touch without getting too sentimental. Hane still doesn’t have a bike, so I have to wonder if they’ll end up together somehow. Hijiri is a great edition to the cast and gives them the unlimited resources needed to keep things interesting in the long run. Riding around with her butler just adds another great layer of weirdness to an already fun show. More please.

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Joker Game
Episode 2: “Joker Game (Part 2)”

Tuesdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: I wish Joker Game would have released a double-feature premiere so that we got both halves of this story at once (as a result of the split, it feels like I still haven’t seen exactly what sort of show this intends to be yet), but it was a decent episode nonetheless and a satisfactory wrap-up. I get why Joker Game isn’t appealing to everyone because whatever else it may end up delivering, I think it’s likely to be a slow burn like this the whole way through. Personally though, I’m willing to be more patient than I am with most other new shows – primarily because I really dig the visual direction but also because this is so very different to any other series that’s airing right now. In a season that’s extremely heavy in the fluffy slice-of-life/light-hearted comedy department, I’m willing to wait and see what more a stylish, spy-based mystery has to offer.

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Twin Star Exorcists – The closest to Binbougami we will ever get in this show

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Twin Star Exorcists
Episode 2: “Intersection of Twin Stars – A Fateful Fight”

Wednesdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: First of all, let me say they need to either commit to the anime original mascot character thing or get rid of him entirely. It felt incredibly weird forcing him in the beginning of the episode and yet he is strangely absent during some incredibly important, life changing events for Benio in the second half. As for the episode itself, we got even more painful clichés right down to the walking in on Benio in the bath, but we also got the twist in the end that sets up how this story is really going to go. Assuming they stick to the manga, which I apparently cannot assume at this point, it should be a lot more fun seeing these two crazy kids get acclimated to each other. Please don’t ruin this. Fun side note: Rokuro has a stuffed Kumagai from Binbougami ga! on his bookshelf, that made me pretty happy.

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Bungou Stray Dogs
Episode 2: “Yokohama Gangster Paradise”

Wednesdays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: Way to fuck it up after a pretty decent premiere. The second episode of Bungou Stray Dogs is full of stuff I didn’t want to see: bad suicide jokes, bad jokes in general, and characters just being manipulative assholes. The idea of a “secret test of character” is not inherently bad (and in fact Macross Delta‘s second episode just used the same trope), but there isn’t anything enjoyable about this incarnation, since they were apparently just going to blackmail him into joining anyway. I’d rather rewatch Blood Blockade Battlefront than spend any more time with this.

Artemis: Oh dear. This was not a good follow-up to the premiere – and to be honest, it was already on shaky ground with me anyway. I think it’s probably safe to assume now that any weighty emotional content is going to play second fiddle to the comedy aspects of Bungou Stray Dogs, and while I have absolutely nothing against comedy, it would help if the show was actually funny in some way. Repetitive suicide jokes generally don’t do it for me, and neither do one-note characters with gaping personality flaws and nothing to make up for it. I could pretty much see this coming so I wasn’t especially surprised, but even worse was the fact that I also saw literally the entire plot of the episode coming as soon as Dazai mentioned the potential job. I know the journey is supposed to be more important than the destination and all that, but the level of predictability in this case really was too much.

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Anne Happy – I do not trust Timothy

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Anne Happy
Episode 2: “The High Tech Physical Exam”

Thursdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: If it wasn’t for Timothy the “robot” bunny I probably have dropped this. Even with him around, I’m still not sure how much fun I had just meandering through luck tests with the girls. They did certainly get a lot of mileage out of him, the chase with the stampede of cats being particularly hilarious. I also hope they never explain what he is, it’s much funnier that way. I guess Anne Happy stayed just weird enough to be interesting, but it will definitely be on the chopping block if things don’t improve next week.

06_luluco

Space Patrol Luluco
Episode 2 & 3: “A New Transfer Student” & “Battlefield Classroom”

Fridays 10:20 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Wow, what a great first season for Luluco! I’m assuming the “next season” bit at the end was just a joke a la the end of Panty and Stocking, and in a way that would be fitting. Of all the things Imaishi and co. has done as Trigger, these first episodes of Luluco have felt the most like the old Gainax days to me. Maybe it’s the space theme, the live action ED, or the fact that Midori did her best Haruko Haruhara impersonation the entire episode 3, but it felt like something they could have made 15 years ago. So hopefully there is plenty more Luluco on the way. Final note: can we get a full album of the Teddyloid and Bonjour Suzuki collaboration? I’d buy that.

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Space Patrol Luluco – So THAT’S where the Street Sharks ended up

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The Lost Village
Episode 2 & 3: “Blinding Mist” & “Aloof”

Fridays 9:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: I don’t know how The Lost Village is going to handle all these characters but I honestly no longer care. I thought episode one showed promise despite my original skepticism – if nothing else, at least the creepy atmosphere was doing something for me – but the alternatively boring and annoying scripting of episode two only put me off further and episode three was, if anything, even worse. I’m sure more characters will be killed off eventually, whether it’s in some kind of Battle Royale-style showdown or whether they’re deliberately picked off one by one à la Another/Harper’s Island/whatever, but the dialogue is bad enough that I just don’t have the patience left to wait and see. You’d think that with this many characters at least one or two would be okay to watch, but as it turns out everyone is either dumb as rocks or else mentally unhinged. Sure, I’d probably derive some cathartic pleasure from watching them die but since that would mean having to put up with more terrible writing, I think I’ll pass.

08_sakamoto

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto
Episode 2

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Episode 2 was postponed due to coverage of the Kumamoto earthquakes. We’ll be back on it when the show returns.

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Tanaka-kun – That was one weird episode of Spice and Wolf

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Tanaka-kun is Always Listless
Episode 2: “Apprenticeship Application”

Saturdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: It wasn’t as side-splittingly funny as the premiere (though those Izumo jokes really worked for me), but Tanaka-kun really is my kind of show. In any other anime I’m sure I would have found Miyano incredibly annoying and one-note just like the rest of the cast, only even more so in her case since I don’t tend to do well with hyperactive cutesy girl characters. I can’t bring myself to dislike her though because everyone in this series is just so nice. While it could definitely be argued that nothing at all happens in Tanaka-kun, the show itself is far from listless; it’s cheery and bright and incredibly endearing and the characters are built to match. Speaking of the artwork, I also noticed properly in this episode just how pleasing to the eye it is. All the lines are very clean, the colours fresh, and the background details spot-on. Yup, definitely my kind of show.

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Flying Witch
Episode 2: “A Visitor for the Witch”

Saturdays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: Speaking of shows where everyone is unequivocally nice to each other, Flying Witch continues to be adorable if you like that kind of thing. Honestly it might turn out to be a little slow even for me (so if you’re one of the people complaining about nothing happening in Tanaka-kun then this might not float your boat either), but it’s pretty charming nonetheless. The first half of this episode was taken up with Makoto being paid a visit by a harbinger of spring – in this case a very chill guy dressed like a bird-ninja, which I have to admit is a pretty cool idea. The second half felt a bit like a cooking show aimed at people living the rural life, which was about as exciting as it sounds but hey, at least it meant seeing more gorgeous background shots. Flying Witch might not be an overly energetic series but there’s no denying it does a great job of showcasing the Tohoku countryside. Now where are all the anime doing the same for Shikoku, dammit, we have beautiful scenery too!

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Three Leaves, Three Colors – SHE KIND OF DOESN’T WANT TO BE CLASS REP, SHE IS A DEVIL

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Three Leaves, Three Colors
Episode 2: “Nothing Good For You Is Tasty”

Sundays 12:00 pm EST on Funimation

Jel: Some pretty good stuff this week as we replace comically animated bread with adorably animated cats and, more importantly, introduce some new characters. I love having a rival group of girls to up the tension a la Glorio favorite Love Lab, although I’m afraid the bad blood doesn’t run as deep here. Hayama’s sister is also a perfectly serviceable addition, and the bit with her health food obsession was a surprising touch of sweetness. As for our main trio, I like the variety in the their personalities. This week focused more on Hayama’s “dark” side, but I’m probably more amused that Futaba’s enthusiasm for spicing up their boring lives reminds me a lot of Yuuko from Nichijou. She even kind of looks like her. This show is probably not weird enough to top Bakuon as my favorite school comedy this season, but it made a pretty decent case this week.

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4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Spring 2016 Volume 1

  1. Gonna have to drop Bungou Stray Dogs after that shitshow of a 2nd ep. The Suicide joke was old in ep1,,,and got really tired in the second. Trying to kill yourself by falling ass backwards in a drum? blah.

    Regarding Twin Star Exorcists: I liked that silly twist and the end and I thought the fight/battle scenes were done well enough. I cringed so hard though on the “ooops I walked into an occupied bathroom, my bad” scene because I thought this anime might be over that.

    Reading what you guys have written I really feel I need to give Bakuon, Luluco and Anne Happy a go. My Spring to watch list is becoming unruly.

  2. Bakuon and Lululoco are definitely worth it, especially Lululco since it’s a short and easy to keep up with. I’m still on the fence with Anne Happy. It’s funny and cute, probably TOO cute, but I feel like we should be getting more out of the premise.

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