…and that final delay confirms it, Kuromukuro definitely won’t be in my lineup next season. 😛 Hopefully Macross Delta will be, but that’ll depend on what day I end up posting my Summer rankings, which in turn depends on what day the latest airing Summer show I’m watching comes out.
Enough about shows that are continuing, however, as this final post of the Spring will focus on the ten series that ended this week. Following that will be another list, showing my average rankings for the whole season. 🙂
1 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu S2 ep 24 (↑ 3)
3 – Bungou Stray Dogs ep 12 (↑ 6)
6 – Ushio to Tora S2 ep 12 (↑ 1)
7 – Kuromukuro ep 12 (↓ 6)
8 – Bakuon!! ep 12 (↓ 2)
9 – Anne Happy ep 12 (↑ 5)
10 – Haifuri ep 12 (↑ 1)
11 – Kiznaiver ep 12 (↓ 1)
12 – Macross Delta ep 12 (↑ 1)
13 – Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge ep 12 (↑ 2)
14 – Sakamoto desu ga? ep 11 (↓ 6)
16 – Kuma Miko ep 12 (↑ 1)
17 – Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 ep 12 (↑ 1)
18 – Joker Game ep 12 (↓ 6)
19 – Mayoiga ep 12
Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up… as I’ve mentioned before, Mayoiga‘s main problem was the huge cast and low episode count. Switching between the cast members made it feel disjointed, and most of them ended up with very little development. What was Toshi Boy’s Nanaki, or Wanko’s, or Dozaemon’s? Why did Nanko keep pinching her stomach? I feel that the only thing some characters added to the show was to make the crazed mob that bit larger and more intimidating when they all ganged up on Masaki. The whole accepting your dark past and moving on thing could have been good, if the exposition wasn’t such a hurried mess. By far the biggest waste of potential this season, in my opinion, given the strong first episode and interesting premise.
I’m not a huge fan of episodic series, I prefer a running plot, so Joker Game was always likely to suffer in my rankings as a result of that. I did still expect to like some of the characters, or the episodic stories; unfortunately, they mostly ended up as rushed and undeveloped as your average episode of Mayoiga (if more coherent). Episodes 10 and 11 were among my favourites, with their focus on Spy Master Yuuki – he was the one consistent link between the episodes, the one character who got some actual backstory and development… so why didn’t Joker Game end on one of these episodes, instead of focusing on another random ‘agent of the week’? Didn’t feel like an ending to me, at all.
Kuma Miko‘s ending was a really mixed bag. On the one hand, some parts were very amusing – Natsu’s rush to the idol contest was equally adorable and hilarious, that a talking bear didn’t even get a second glance from people in a modern city full of mascot characters made me giggle. I’d be lying if I rated it lower than Mayoiga and Joker Game based on enjoyment. However, it’s also likely the most problematic final episode of the season. Yoshio’s comparison of Machi to a human sacrifice for the sake of the village felt jarring given the series’ cutesy feel… and the ‘happy ending’ that saw Machi vow to remain with Natsu in Kumade village basically amounted to her giving in to crippling social anxiety, after being forced to take part in idol contest after idol contest, and giving up her dream of going to a school in Tokyo. Apparently this ending was anime-original, and the manga-ka has disowned it. 😕
With the truly flawed endings out of the way, Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? brings up the rear of the ‘good endings’. It was an enjoyable episode, watching Rusian and Co. recapture and then defend the fortress, a good combination of fantasy action and MMORPG humour (spamming healing items, taking advantage of opponents typing comments to land attacks etc). About the only flaw is that, after all these club activities, Ako’s distinction between fiction and reality hasn’t changed a bit, though after Kuma Miko, a big part of me hopes that she never changes! A passable series, though I doubt it’ll prove that memorable.
Once more, Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge‘s final episode didn’t feel like much of an ending, but what can you expect from a slice of life show? Life goes on. I was surprised they chose to focus on Shiraishi’s feelings for Tanaka for the last ep, meaning we didn’t get as much of the back and forth between him and Ohta as usual, but I guess it made for a bit more light-hearted drama. Though ranked closely to Netoge this week, my overall thoughts on Tanaka-kun are much more positive – it’s more my style of humour, and at times had me in stitches, plus I loved all the characters, so I’m more likely to continue recommending this show in the future.
Kiznaiver was far from the rushed disasters that were Big Order and Mayoiga, but the pacing still felt a bit off, particularly towards the end. I don’t know what sort of conclusion I was expecting, but the one I got was passable, if a little underwhelming. Most of my ships sank, which might have something to do with that feeling of disappointment. 😛 The characters, emotions, ridiculous dialogue and brilliant animation & music pushed it up a few ranks, however – it was certainly fun. Again, I feel the series could have benefited from more episodes, since the premise was amazing, but it’s difficult to cram strong character and relationship development into so few eps.
Speaking of sinking ships… I may have shed a tear when the Harekaze went down. Considering it aired late, looked generic, and that I completely misunderstood the synopsis, I’d never have predicted that Haifuri would make my lineup, but giving it a chance certainly paid off. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, it’s a shame the mutinies were caused by a curable disease instead of something more sinister, but at the very least it outdid Mayoiga in terms of mystery and horror, and managed to make each member of its own huge cast so likable that I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them (as you can see, I’ve no intention of letting Mayoiga off easily 😛 ). Cute and hilarious at times, action-packed and gripping at others, Haifuri may not be the best show of its kind, but I enjoyed the ride.
Possibly the an even bigger surprise was Anne Happy‘s rather late Top 10 debut! This episode was just SO over the top and enjoyable. The cute animals versus mini Timothy conflicts, Botan’s struggles, Kodaira-sensei getting serious, Mecha-Timothy, and even a dramatic rescue scene from a magma pit… that turned out to actually be a hot spring. This was definitely my favourite episode of the series. Okay, there are some mysteries that remain unsolved, such as who that blonde-haired character who controls Timothy is, but I’m not bothered enough about that for it to effect the episode’s rating. I’d certainly consider picking up a sequel, if it gets one.
Coming out on top in terms of comedy, as it did at the start of the season, we have Bakuon!! Still a very divisive series, judging by the continued high praise and low rankings it seems to be getting on MAL and A-P, but for me it was one of the series I looked forward to most each week, and will probably be the one I miss the most, if only because the humour was so unique. The characters, their often downright mean interactions with each other, their passion for their hobby, I loved it all. Baita returning for the final episode, along with Hane’s dream(?) of a world without bikes arguably made for the most satisfying conclusion of the season for me – it actually felt like it was the end, a feeling I’m not used to from anime! But since I prefer action, the highest rated final episode is:
Bungou Stray Dogs. Another fairly surprising result, given that it spent the first half of the season in or near the red zone. From what I’ve read, the arc I was most disappointed with was anime-original, surprise surprise. It improved by leaps and bounds in the second half… though with this 12th episode introducing both the leader of the Port Mafia and another interesting group in the Guild, it really did end just as it was getting good. This, combined with one of the best fight scenes of the season between Atsushi, Tanizaki and the fantastically entertaining Lucy M and her cool ability, means that I’ve pretty much got to watch the second series now. In that sense, the season finale certainly did its job!
And finally, here’s the average rankings throughout the whole season (half-season for Kuromukuro):
1 – Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (3.27)
2 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (3.75)
3 – Ansatsu Kyoushitsu S2 (5.36)
4 – Kuromukuro (5.57)
5 – Kiznaiver (6.00)
6 – Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (6.92, best score: #1)
7 – Ushio to Tora S2 (6.92, best score: #3)
8 – Macross Delta (7.00)
9 – Sakamoto desu ga? (8.64)
10 – Bakuon!! (8.83)
11 – Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge (10.67, best score: #5)
12 – Haifuri (10.67, best score: #7)
13 – Bungo Stray Dogs (11.00)
14 – Joker Game (11.58)
15 – Anne Happy (14.92)
16 – Big Order (15.10)
17 – Kuma Miko (15.67)
18 – Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096 (15.92)
19 – Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? (16.17)
20 – Mayoiga (16.42)
Two results there particularly please me: First, that Anne Happy managed to push Big Order into the red zone where it belongs, despite the boost to its average from its strong opening episodes. Second, that Netoge managed to push Mayoiga into last place where it belongs, since the former really isn’t that bad, it just lacked that fluke ‘unusually good’ episode or two that boosted the others. The three-way fight for 6th place was as close as I expected, but I think I agree with the order listed here for those three.