Winter 2016 Episode Rankings – Week 12

WordPress seem to have changed their emoticons again. They’re now really small. 😮 Not sure I like the new look, but I probably use too many of the things anyway, so perhaps that’ll help me kick the habit. 😛 …argh.

Anyway, enough new things, there’s endings to be discussed! More than ever before in a Week 12 post, I believe – 14 series ended in total! I’m going to take this opportunity to get Haikyuu!! S2 (strong build-up for S3) and Osomatsu-san (comedy, made me laugh) out of the way, so that I only have twice the number I usually do to actually write about in more detail… and as usual, my average rankings for the whole season will be posted at the end as well~

As much as I like the usual, headless Celty. her complete form is a sight to behold.

As much as I like the usual, headless Celty. her complete form is a sight to behold.

1 – Durarara!!x2 Ketsu ep 12 

2 – Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans ep 25 

3 – Schwarzesmarken ep 12 (↑ 4)

4 – Boku dake ga Inai Machi ep 12 

5 – GATE S2 ep 12 (↓ 2)

6 – Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu ep 12 

7 – Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen ep 25 (↑ 7)

8 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu S2 ep 12 (↑ 5)

9 – Osomatsu-san ep 25 (↑ 1)

10 – Haikyuu!! S2 ep 25 (↓ 5)

11 – Norn9 ep 11 (↑ 1)

12 – Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm ep 12 (↑ 3)

13 – Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu ep 12 (↑ 4)

14 – Active Raid ep 12 (↑ 2)

15 – Bubuki Buranki ep 12 (↓ 6)

16 – Dimension W ep 12 (↓ 5)

17 – Dagashi Kashi ep 11 (↑ 1)

18 – Haruta & Chika ep 12 (↑ 1)

Amazing how one character's faked death in a series I didn't particularly like had more impact than any other character deaths this season!

Amazing how one character’s faked death in a series I didn’t particularly like probably had more impact than any other character death this season!

Ending:

Sequels and spin-offs first, starting with #1. Episode 12 of Durarara!!x2 Ketsu was an ending we’ve been waiting years for, and while it was certainly a little rushed (so many characters, so little time), it provided enough closure for all the main plot threads and characters to keep me happy. I’m mostly glad that Celty and Shinra got reunited, not to mention Mikado, Anri and Masaomi after all this time! Haruna also getting a happy ending was just a bonus. Izaya ended the series with bad injuries, as seems to be traditional, but I’m glad he survived to cause chaos another day. Yeah, that’s another spot in my all-time Top 50 taken up by Durarara!!

Perhaps the biggest shock for me was Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen. What a great finale! Oshutoru dies unexpectedly, and Haku takes on his role and identity for the rest of his life… while Kuon is kept completely in the dark, believing that Haku died. Her journey back from the capital, travelling the same path that they both took to get there in the early episodes, felt very melancholy. It was just really well directed and executed… unlike most of the rest of the series, unfortunately. We never got to find out who killed the Emperor and framed Oshutoru to begin with (though I have my suspicions), and the civil war to restore Anju as Empress continues, but I’m fine with that being left unresolved.

Best canon couple.

Best canon couple.

Speaking of ongoing civil wars, GATE S2 drops a little bit as it didn’t feel like a final episode, but so far no third series has been announced, and that’s one conflict I definitely want to see through to the end! But it had enough action to keep me happy thanks to the rescue of Pina and the Emperor from Zolzal, with Lelei and Rory’s fight with the giant ogre being a highlight – it’s not all about the JSDF and their advanced weapons, their allies from beyond the gate pack a real punch as well! I’m surprised Zolzal and Tyuule got away, but if we do get another series, it’ll be interesting to see how the Prince prepares for further conflict now that he realizes how much of a power gap there is between both sides. And then, there was all the shipping at the end, which was good fun~

I’m glad to see Schwarzesmarken‘s ratings on MAL and A-P slowly rising after the series ended, as I’ve felt from the start that it was horribly underrated. The final episode was strong, a lot of great mech fights between the 666th Squadron and the Stazi, and we got some insight into why Beatrix felt so strongly that her ideals were the right way for East Germany’s future. Plenty of main character deaths, the big one obviously being Irisdina… people’s main issue with this episode seems to be the characters’ decision to watch the sunrise over Berlin instead of rushing her to hospital, but I’m sure they’ve seen enough combat to know whether a wound is fatal or not. At least Gretel survived!

Iron-Blooded Orphans' ending was generally happier for everyone who wasn't Gaelio.

Tears of betrayal… I wasn’t really sure what to make of Gaelio, but I definitely sympathized with him in this finale.

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans was the better mech show both this week and overall, however. It kind of went in the opposite direction to Schwarzesmarken, with everyone miraculously surviving on Tekkadan’s side… not so for Gjallarhorn, though. We got to learn McGillis’ motivations and plans at last, and it turns out he’s more of a jerk than I expected – I’m scared to think how he’ll exploit Tekkadan in the next series. I’m surprised that as a result of going into berserk mode with the Barbatos, Mika no longer has use of one arm, as I’m used to characters suddenly powering up without any drawbacks or side effects. A nice touch, though I do feel bad for him. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to more of this series!

So far, so good… so what went wrong with Dimension W? I feel it started strong and had a ton of potential, but crammed far too much into just 12 episodes. I’d have liked to have seen a few more coil retrieval missions with Kyouma and Mira before it rushed into the final arc… and rushed is the right word. So many new characters, including a main villain out of nowhere, and everything was resolved too quickly. While I enjoyed the action, and Kyouma finally referring to Mira by name, I was left feeling that the second half of the series was generic and forgettable. Not a complete waste of time though.

Yet another wonderfully OTT character design - I wonder how many more we'll see in S2?

Yet another wonderfully OTT character design – I wonder how many more we’ll see in S2?

While we’re down here, Bubuki Buranki‘s last episode (of this series) was also horribly rushed. We finally learned of Reoko and Migiwa’s shared past, the reason why the former is ‘cursed’ with an immortal, unaging body, and how they both ended up in their respective roles in the present. Afterwards, there was still the small matter of the floating island heading for Earth at a deadly pace – Azuma and the others are able to push it into the sea, and contain the tsunami that nearly resulted from that, saving countless lives. And then, right at the end, the series reintroduces Azuma’s sister Kaoruko, who will presumably play a larger part in the sequel. Meh, I’ll probably watch that, as Bubuki has been consistently entertaining if nothing else!

I really hoped Haruta & Chika would avoid coming last this week, as episode 12 got off to a good start. No terrible mysteries, the usual fun interactions between the titular characters as they fought for their teacher’s affection, and the brass band music that has been so lacking in a series about a brass band club. But that’s about all I can say in its favour, and the first point is more of a reflection on how bad the rest of the series was than anything. Everything else in the episode just felt really underwhelming, right up to the joke they chose to abruptly end the series with. I think I’ve said this before, but I’d have much preferred a rom-com with the same main duo, instead of another weak mystery series… or at least better mysteries!

I'll miss Haruta. He deserved to be in a better series than this!

I’ll miss Haruta. He deserved to be in a better series than this!

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu is another series which I watched more for the characters than the plot, and it ended on a much stronger note. With their game completed and submitted last week, the final episode was more of an epilogue, as the characters celebrated their success, and discussed their plans for what to do next. None of the rushed romantic confessions that I was worried would happen either. This is how I like my endings – the reason this ep hasn’t ranked any higher is simply that it was quite a mediocre series to begin with, and other shows out-performed it on drama or comedy.

Just behind it is Active Raid – I wasn’t expecting it to wrap things up as well as it did, considering it’s back for a second half in the Summer! But Mythos was defeated, and Liko was restored to a useful program… all that build-up, and he crumbled quite easily in the end. Nice action, but an underwhelming conclusion plot-wise. I’m guessing Bird is going to end up coming back to haunt Unit 8 later, but other than that it seems that our main characters will be facing an all-new threat next season. Whether or not I’ll pick that up depends on what else airs, as while I didn’t hate Active Raid as much as some people seemed to, it certainly had its dull moments.

I love the look of the larger, non-balancer-restricted wings.

I love the look of the larger, non-balancer-restricted wings.

I really enjoyed the finale for Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm, Asuka and Inui’s final match was really entertaining. Seeing both pulling out all the stops to defeat each other, but in a way that was fun for both themselves and the audience, made for a decent, happy ending. Though I do wonder about the future of Flying Circus – those balancers are there for safety reasons, and matches are played over open ocean, so doing away with them might not be the smartest idea! But really, the only drawback with this series (aside from the animation oftentimes) is that it was a sport anime that was only 12 episodes long. There wasn’t the time to really develop strong rivalries – Haikyuu!! managed that, and just outshone Aokana all season.

And finally, Boku dake ga Inai Machi seems to have been crowned ‘anime of the season’ in terms of average rankings, and I’d agree that it was a very good series. I do feel it was stronger in the first half though, I guess my preference for action and (decent) mystery, as well as well-handled time travel, meant that Kayo’s arc and the couple of eps that followed were always going to appeal more than the concluding episodes. I was amazed Satoru could say he didn’t hate Yashiro, who (in another timeline, at least) killed his mother and friend, but fair enough! Their relationship is pretty complicated, after all. This episode provided a good amount of closure, and Satoru seemed to get the happy ending I’d hoped he would.

And finally, here’s the average rankings throughout the whole season (or half-season for the late additions):

1 – Durarara!!x2 Ketsu (2.92)

2 – GATE S2 (3.33)

3 – Boku dake ga Inai Machi (4.08)

4 – Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (4.17)

5 – Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (6.33)

6 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu S2 (6.83, best score: #1)

7 – Schwarzesmarken (6.83, best score: #2)

8 – Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu (6.92)

9 – Dimension W (8.58)

10 – Haikyuu!! S2 (9.50)

11 – Osomatsu-san (10.75)

12 – Norn9 (12.91)

13 – Active Raid (13.58)

14 – Dagashi Kashi (13.71)

15 – Lupin III (2015) (13.73)

16 – Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu (14.25)

17 – Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm (14.42)

18 – Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen (15.25, best score: #7)

19 – Bubuki Buranki (15.25, best score: #9)

20 – Haruta & Chika (16.58)

Another close one, with two pairs of series scoring the exact same on average, and all but three (HaruChika, Norn9 & Shoujo-tachi) placing in the Top 10 at least once. KonoSuba just about took 5th, becoming only the second late addition (after I gave Nanatsu no Taizai another chance) to impress me to that great extent. On the whole, a really good season, as I’m still finding out as I go back and marathon all the series that didn’t make my list, to kill time before the start of spring. 😀

…no, I’m still not liking those smileys.

<< Winter 2016 Episode Rankings – Week 11

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