Anime Winter Season 2016: Final Thoughts

2016 winter anime

It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our final thoughts on the winter anime season that just came to an end~

Boku dake ga Inai Machi • 9/10
Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural

boku dake ga inai machi erased

This whodunit murder mystery was easily my favorite show of the season, and it wasn’t even close. Thanks to some great storytelling that’s full of tension and intrigue, I was basically glued to the screen, eagerly awaiting what would happen next. From the first episode, this anime gets you hooked by throwing a plot twist at you that really sets the stage for what’s to come. Ultimately, suspense is the name of the game here, and I was very surprised at how well it comes across in this series.

Since they both revolve around time travel, it’s only natural to compare this to Steins;Gate, and even though I wouldn’t quite regard Bokumachi as highly as that all-time classic, I don’t think it’s a bad comparison at all. For me, this is as compelling an anime as there has been in recent memory, and in an anime season that was full of style but not so much substance, this provided all the substance you’d ever need.

Dagashi Kashi • 7.5/10
Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Comedy

dagashi kashi hotaru saya

Basing an entire anime around candy/snacks seems kind of crazy, and at times, I found Dagashi Kashi to be a little boring. Matters are helped tremendously by Hotaru, who I feel is not only the best character in the show, but the most entertaining character of the entire winter season. Collectively, the cast of characters are an entertaining group that take what at first might seem like mundane situations and help make them somewhat enjoyable. As stated earlier, there are times when things become sort of sluggish, but with a less interesting cast, it probably would’ve been much worse.

Occasionally, the show feels a lot like an infomercial for a particular kind of candy/snack, which would sort of make Hotaru the Billy Mays (R.I.P.) of the anime world. Nevertheless, she’s a great saleswoman, and after watching, I want to try many of the snacks shown. Lastly, you can’t watch this show and not hope for some yuri moments between Hotaru and Saya, but sadly, nothing like that happens over the course of the series. In an anime full of sweets, that truly would’ve been the sweetest thing of all.

Dimension W • 7.5/10
Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Sci-Fi

dimension w kyouma loser

Dimension W is set in a really interesting sci-fi universe, but for my taste, there wasn’t nearly enough action transpiring. Besides being an awesome dancer, Kyouma is just too badass of a character to sit on the sidelines for extended periods of time. As far as atmosphere goes, this show reminded me a little bit of Darker Than Black, and considering I was a fan of both seasons, it’s not much of a surprise that I like this, too. Kyouma, Mira, and Loser were some nice characters, though I felt that some of the others could’ve been more memorable. So despite being a solid anime, this is far from perfect, so I’d very much like to see a second season get greenlit.

Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko: Everything Flows • 7.5/10
Length: 4 Episodes • Genre: Psychological, Romance, Slice of Life

kanojo to kanojo no neko cat

I remember watching the short this series is based on and enjoying it, so I was pretty happy to see it made into a four-episode series. The basic premise deals with the relationship between a cat and his owner, the latter of which is going through growing pains and dealing with the challenges of life. I know that that probably doesn’t sound like the most entertaining thing to watch, but it’s actually handled in a heartfelt way that shows the sweet and symbiotic nature of their relationship.

In addition to only being four episodes, each episode is only 8 minutes, so there unfortunately wasn’t a ton of material to digest. Nevertheless, this was a delightful little show, and I think anyone that owns/has owned a cat can appreciate and relate to the loving bond that the two main characters share.

Musaigen no Phantom World • 7/10
Length: 13 Episodes • Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural

musaigen no phantom world limbo

KyoAni shows always look spectacular, so Musaigen no Phantom World has that going for it, but the plot isn’t up to par with the visuals. Fighting phantoms isn’t the most original thing in the anime world, but MnPW handles it in an way that brings some freshness and comedy, but it’s also rather inconsistent in its overall entertainment value.

When it’s on its game, MnPW is a fun and amusing show, however, too often it drags its feet and makes it easy to quickly lose interest in what’s happening. I wouldn’t necessarily hate the idea of a second season, though some improvements would certainly need to be made in order to smooth things over better.

Ooya-san wa Shishunki! • 6/10
Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

ooya-san wa shishunki chie

The fact that this anime is based on a Minase Ruruu manga probably makes me like it more than I normally would. Every two-minute episode passed by in a flash, and despite a few amusing moments, I didn’t take away very much from this show. Chie was cute and her relationship with Maeda provided an interesting dynamic, but the episodes were just too short to really sit back and enjoy.

Good on Minase Ruruu for getting one of her works adapted as an anime, but I think Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san showed how entertaining a short-form yuri anime can be, so I’m still holding out hope that we’ll see another one in the not-too-distant future.

Oshiete! Galko-chan • 6.5/10
Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Comedy, School, Slice of Life

oshiete! galko-chan boobs

Since the dawn of civilization, there have been many questions that have befuddled mankind… “What is the meaning of life?”, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”… “Is it true that really big boobs will float in water?”. Yeah, Oshiete! Galko-chan deals with all sorts of questions similar to this, and despite not much else happening, it was better than I would have guessed.

That can probably be attributed to Galko-chan, whose gullibility concerning myths surrounding the female body produces a majority of the humor found in this series. Her giant boobs often serve as comedic fodder, and altogether, the three girls have nice chemistry that provides some watchability. I can imagine some people thinking this show is terrible, but in a relatively weak anime season, I think there are far worse things that people could’ve been watching.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu • 7.5/10
Length: 13 Episodes • Genre: Drama, Josei

shouwa genroku rakugo shinjuu

Coming into this, I don’t think I had even heard of rakugo, so needless to say, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. There’s a lot of backstory exposition involving the main characters, but their complexities are what make this anime interesting. Starting at a young age, we see the two main characters grow up together, butt heads, and share their love of rakugo, all the while having very different personalities that strain their brotherly bonds, but never manages to break them.

It’s not for everyone, but there’s a certain charm here that’s pleasant to see. That said, this series was a tad bit uneventful for me, hence the slightly above-average score. If you can tolerate the slow-burning narrative, there’s a character-driven tale that’s rewarding, yet somewhat sluggish. And now there’s news of a second season, but I’m unsure if I’ll watch that.

Yami Shibai 3rd Season • 5.5/10
Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Dementia, Horror, Supernatural

yami shibai wtf

A horror anime during the winter season seems strange, yet it’s still not as strange as Yami Shibai. The low-budget horror series seems like the anime equivalent of short Z movies, and there’s the same strange novelty you’d find in those flicks. It’s obviously not much to look at, and I think it’s more funny than scary, so I’m actually really surprised it managed to get three seasons. The budget must be even smaller than I imagine, which seems nearly impossible.

Regardless, this is an odd little time waster that doesn’t take up too much of your time, but also doesn’t provide all that much entertainment in return. If you’re in the mood for a short-form anime, you can probably find several better options than this.

Shows dropped: Ajin, Koukaku no Pandora, Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu

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27 thoughts on “Anime Winter Season 2016: Final Thoughts

    • Lena is actually the one who dropped it. I never picked it up in the first place. 😀

      But I may start watching it in the near future, so it’s better late than never, I guess.

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  1. Well done summary. I just finished koukaku no Pandora. It was OK show to watch nothing wonderful but still OK. Why you dropped it? Weak story?

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  2. I more or less enjoyed the Anime that the Winter season had to offer. Felt a bit lackluster as a whole, but 2015 had quite a few goodies that slightly raised the bars for me.

    Not too sure how I feel about the Spring lineup as of right now, though.

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    • On paper, I don’t think the winter season was that good, but there was some decent shows in there.

      I think there’s some potential for the spring, but we’re just going to have to wait and see how things pan out. Hoping for the best~

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  3. wwwwhhhhaaaaattt!! you guys never watched Hai to Gensou no Grimgar. that was my favorite anime of the season. I recommend you guys give it a shot.

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      • Not sure why I didn’t watch that one. Maybe because I’m not the hugest fan of fantasy.

        Either way, the spring season’s already started, so there’s no turning back now. On to the new shows~

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    • Watched Ajin due to your suggestion and found it not bad. The biggest problem is that the main character becomes unimportant to the story in the last half of the show, so if there is no second season it is basically the worst misstep in condensing a manga possible. Sadly his old friend didn’t really mean much to the show.

      Grimgar, Konosuba, and Rakugo I’ll be watching but haven’t had a lot of time to watch and came into the season late.

      Pandora I will probably watch the rest, but I kind of dropped at the halfway point because the story cannot keep the show interesting despite the yuri.

      Surprised you managed Dagashi Kashi found that show badly paced.

      Bokumachi I’m saving for when I’m with my wife. Glad to hear you like it

      Bad internet where I live makes watching take a while since I have to download not stream, so will have an opinion on Dimension W soon.

      Sad that the best yuri action was in such a bad show this season. I am pretty hyped for spring though as a lot of my shows return.

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      • I only made it through three or four episodes of Ajin before I lost the desire to continue on. I don’t know how the movie trilogy works, compared to the TV anime, and I no longer really care. 😀

        I just started Pandora, and I’m liking the yuri so far. The story seems uninspired, but I gotta keep going~

        Hotaru got me through Dagashi Kashi. Without her, who knows how I would’ve managed.

        If you two like suspense thrillers (anime or otherwise), I think you’ll like Bokumachi.

        Oh, yes. I know that feeling. I started streaming, then eventually got into downloading. I just find it more convenient for me.

        A lot of the shows I like don’t get sequels, but there are some decent shows this season. Looking forward to seeing more~

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  4. Oshiete! Galko-chan was a pretty good surprise for me, didn’t expect to like it much.
    You should definitely watch KonoSuba, Definitely the highlight of the season.
    but Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm was a personal best for me, plus I got a new Yuri paring out of it 🙂

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    • Right? I wouldn’t mind a second season of that. Galko was a pretty entertaining character.

      When I first put my viewing list together months ago, I had my eye on both of those shows, but it just never happened.

      The description and PV didn’t do anything for me for KonoSuba, while I didn’t love the first episode of Ao no Kanata and gave up on it quickly.

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  5. Personally, I thought they really botched the final ep of Erased. They should have given it just one more episode.

    I’m surprised you were able to enjoy Phantom World that much. It’s pretty much anti-yuri, and they dangle something that could actually be interesting in front of your face, only to make you wait 9 episodes to see anything to do with it. I enjoyed Kurumi’s character episode, and the theatre one was neat. As well as Ruru’s. The cat episode was good! But I’ll admit that’s only because I really really like, no LOVE, cats. All the “character development” was generally handled terribly. I’ll stop there though. I’m just surprised you could rate it that high. I guess everyone enjoys different things.

    I feel like Yamishibai just can’t live up to the first season, and failed to really be what it should have been. They just don’t do the suspense right. Kagewani is a MUCH better example of a horror series in short form.

    Ooya-san….I’m losing my patience for all the lolicon romance stories out there…Why can’t they just have a normal relationship?

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    • I thought the final episode could’ve been a little bit better, but I was fairly satisfied with how it played out. No real complaints here.

      Phantom World was pretty hit and miss for me. The Kurumi episode was good, but I HATED that theater episode. It couldn’t end soon enough. The cat, the pool, I thought those were good. It was mindless entertainment and looked good. That probably played a part in me enjoying it. And it’s KyoAni, so… yeah.

      Yeah. The first season of Yami Shibai wasn’t bad, but it’s gone downhill from there. It’s so short and weird that I just can’t stop watching it though. The mood is totally different in Kagewani. Seems they have a better understanding of the horror genre.

      Japan seems to like things like that… for some reason. 😀

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      • It just felt off to me.

        Well, I think I was biased because I love the Theatre and Period dramas are pretty neat too. We seem to agree on Kurumi’s ep though. I think it stood out because Kurumi was the only one to handle her inner turmoil on her own. It’s good to lean on others for support, but it was annoying how whatshisname had to be the key to their troubles. Especially Reina’s. And then they kept on being really inconsistent with Reina’s character. One episode she’s completely uninterested in Haruhiko, another episode she’s all into him, and it just switched around a lot. If they were planning for it to be a harem, they should have just stayed with that, and not toyed with people like they did. And then there were the final episodes, where it became a literal checklist of cliches xD

        That ep 13 was an interesting twist though. I wish that sort of creativity went into the rest of the episodes, but ah well. And yeah, Kagewani really seems to get what horror is.

        no comment 😢

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      • Either way, it was a really good show overall~

        Substance-wise, it wasn’t that great, but there was some good stuff in there, too. It definitely wasn’t must-see material by any stretch, but for me, I still found it generally entertaining. Doesn’t appear to be selling like hotcakes, so it might not get a chance to improve matters.

        Yup. Those little, weird shows like Yami Shibai and Kagewani give you something a bit different, so I’m a sucker for shows like that.

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    • The yuri ratings have never been a part of the Final Thoughts posts. There just aren’t enough yuri shows per season to justify having them.

      Those ratings are just for the yearly Yuri Anime lists. There are no non-yuri shows in those lists like you have in these.

      Usakame is short, so I guess I’ll watch at least a few episodes of it. Thanks for the heads-up~

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  6. Sorry Rock I messed up and posted in reply was having some confusion. DIdn’t mean to do that would erase and repost if I saw a delete option

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  7. I don’t know what show I liked more: Boku Dake or Shouwa. Maybe the latter wins my heart in a close competition.
    What I liked more about Shouwa is that I feel that I’m looking at real persons, not just “deres”. And the calm atmosphere didn’t strike me like a flaw or something that I have to tolerate, but it’s a style that has harmony with all the story, so it improved my enjoyment.
    And the rakugo in the first episode really made me laugh. I thought that it’d be just for japanese audience.

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    • I hear you about Shouwa. Everything was portrayed in a realistic manner, and while that may not suit everyone, it definitely added to the charm. I can understand why so many people who saw the show liked it~

      Some of those performances were really good. Even though that first episode was supersized, I got caught up in that performance, and the time just flew by. It was really surprising.

      Like

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