Winter 2016 – Anime Recommendations Part 1

Written by Bananaowns

This week I am taking a break from my typical review format to recommend some shows that are currently airing. It’s been a few weeks since the winter season has started and I’ve been able to sample a handful of shows. Now these recommendations are based on the quality of these shows so far, which means that maybe some of these shows might falter in quality as the season progresses. It’s also important to note that I haven’t been able to watch everything, so your favorite show might not be covered by this piece. By all accounts, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is an amazing show, I just haven’t had time to check it out yet. With that said, here are some of my recommendations for this current anime season.

Koymimonogatari

GATE & Koyomimonogatari

I am categorizing these two into the same section because they are not really new for this season. GATE is a continuation from the fall season, while Koyomimonogatari is a collection of side stories from the Monogatari series. So there really isn’t anything new to say about these two, if you enjoyed either of these series, then you’ll enjoy these continuations. Just note that in the case of GATE, the storylines have matured quite a lot, especially compared to the first season. Koyomimonogatari is just a collection of short stories that doesn’t possess the same gravitas as the Monogatari series proper, but is great if you loved the characters of that series.

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AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue is my guilty pleasure of this season. It is a fairly average show in some respects, but manages to be highly entertaining. The story involves antigravity footwear that allows people to fly. Naturally a sport called Flying Circus emerges from this development and the show follows high school students as they join the school’s Flying Circus Team. The characters are fairly one dimensional, but the draw of the series is in its beautiful animation. The Flying Circus scenes are animated perfectly, and I enjoy the 3D animation as well. The 3D animation surprisingly fits the flying scenes very well. This anime lacks the depth of the others, but is very enjoyable in its own way.

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Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is the perennial Sword Art Online clone. There’s pretty much one of these in every season, but this show manages to circumvent the burdens of that categorization. Yes, the main characters are trapped in a fantasy world, with the potential of a very real death. However, this show is slower paced, with more of a focus on the characters. It addresses just how someone would deal with being thrust into this situation, where you have to kill or be killed. Given this mentality, it’s no surprise that this show actually is pretty heavy at times. Now the animation for this show can only be described as watching a moving watercolor painting. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing shows that I have watched. The watercolor motif makes every frame of this show absolutely beautiful. So far this animation quality has not seen a single dip. Given the story and animation, Grimgar is looking to be one of the better shows of the season.

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ERASED

Now I’m going to start this off by saying that everyone should be watching ERASED. It has the potential to be the best show of the season. The show features a main protagonist with the ability to go back in time, usually to prevent some sort of tragedy. He witnesses the aftermath of a murder and finds that he has traveled back in time to when he was in elementary school. The murder had something to do with a series of disappearances that happened when he was just a kid. So the show is basically a murder mystery with a time travel element. It reminds me a lot of the game; Life is Strange, which is a great thing. Every episode thus far, has had a series of twists and turns as the protagonist struggles to change the future and solve this case. It’s also interesting to see how he deals with being a child again, as he notices that his memory did lapse quite a bit into adulthood, skewing his perception on what actually happened. So far, ERASED has been a visual masterpiece. The animation is amazing and stylized with a cinematic look as well. It really feels like an anime movie that has just been cut into 24 minute parts. Judging by the quality so far, I absolutely cannot wait to see how this story plays out. This is the rare show that makes me impatient as the week goes on. Thursday cannot come fast enough so I get my fix of ERASED.

Final Thoughts

You can check out GATE, AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue, and ERASED on Crunchyroll. Grimgar of Fantasy of Ash is available from Funimation. Koyomimonogatari might prove to be a difficult find as the series is currently being released on a Japanese phone app. If you enjoy the Monogatari series immensely, then it is worth it to go the extra step to watch this series. As for me, I will check out Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu and Myriad Colors Phantom World, in the coming weeks. I’ll be back next week for a review of Kekkai Sensen.

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