If you’ve read my earlier post, “Fall 2016 Anime – Most Anticipated“, then you would see that I mentioned quite the lineup of anime I’d be giving a try. Unfortunately, due to becoming increasingly more busy, this anime season got away from me. I’ve only been keeping up with a few shows thus far and, while we’re deeper into the season than usual for these posts, I still wanted to give my impressions of these series. Sorry about being late but let’s still jump into our impressions of the Fall 2016 Anime season (oh and we have a sleeper hit this time).
Haikyuu!! Third Season
As I write this, Haikyuu!! Third Season is already more than half way complete, with only 10 total episodes this time around. As someone invested in a series on its third season, I’ll be honest, I love it. Season three, thus far, has blown me away. In some ways it’s on point with the rest of anime and in others, well, Haikyuu!! still manages to find new ways to impress me. If you’re on the fence about Haikyuu!! or just curious as it what it is (Short Versions: it’s a dramatic sports anime about volleyball) then I recommend you read my write-up for it in “Fall 2016 Anime – Most Anticipated“.
So far, Haikyuu!! Third Season is a payoff for what the whole series has been up til now. Everything the characters have worked towards, all the training, is coming together as they are truly more than just a group of individuals but a full-fledged team. Their playbook is now filled with diversity, with no main player still a one-trick pony. We’re getting to see what it was all worth. We and the characters had tunnel vision going into season two, with one goal in mind. Now that we’re past it, a new future is before us, brimming with potential. It’s exciting and I’m eager with each new episode to see how it will unfold.
Season three, unlike previous seasons, revolves around one match. 10 episodes of a back-and-forth battle between two powerhouses and the first time we’ve seen Karasuno High take on a 5-set game. Some people have trouble with Haikyuu!!‘s pacing, 10 episodes feels slow for one plot point in an overarching story but honestly, it’s not. I’ve yet to feel like I need more in an episode. Where some anime accomplishes very little in its 23 minutes, Haikyuu!! runs circles and still has plenty to tell. If you’re reading this, then it’s likely you’re already on the Haikyuu!! train so I’m blabbering for nothing about something you already know. If you not and have read this far, then I believe you need to give this anime a try. It’s awesome and the pinnacle of what a sports anime can be.
Keijo!!!!!!!! / Hip Whip Girl
Ah, Keijo… what an anime to behold. Rounding off this season’s sports anime is one that, honestly, took me by surprise. It’s an anime I didn’t even cover in my “Most Anticipated” list, and it was a lengthy list, because I couldn’t in good conscience endorse it. However, as it approached, Keijo!!!!!!!!‘s unusual premise of an Olympic sport revolving around knocking your opponent off a platform with your butt was enough to get me talking and joking about it. Out of complete curiosity, I gave episode one a chance and, you know what, I liked it. I thought it was somewhat… good. What I appreciated the most from Keijo!!!!!!!! is, despite how ridiculous its premise is, the series takes itself incredibly seriously and that’s where the charm truly lies. It’s insanity but it conducts itself so drastically. Throughout episode one, there was never a moment where it stopped being serious during the action. There was no comedy, only tension as these girls attacked each other with their posteriors. The characters believe in Keijo with all their hearts, play like their lives are on the line, and get excited as they explore more of this nonsensical Olympic sport. Unfortunately, like most things, after the novelty wears off, the flaws begin to REAR their ugly heads (heh heh).
Keijo!!!!!!!! follows the story of Kaminashi Nozomi and her friend Miyata Sayaka as set off on their journey to be Keijo professionals. My main issue I found post-episode was the series just sank into being a typical shounen. At first, I was all for hitting someone with their butt and screaming “Butt Cannon” or “Butt Guillotine” like it’s some sort of special move. As I’ve continued, however, the dramatic and over-the-top nature of the series was overtaken by just how standard the plot it. An “air-headed but conveniently strategic when she needed to be” main character and a basic plot of just fighting person after person to become the very best can’t be hidden by buckwild fan service. To top it off, the pacing becomes questionable with each new episode, having them end halfway through a plot point for a “stay tuned til next time” mentality. I really enjoyed episode one, enough that I re-watched the main fight scene three or four times over. Sadly, I’m already an episode behind and don’t have the desire to press onwards. Keijo!!!!!!!! was an incredibly fun experience that I don’t feel pans out to be as great as it would like to think it can.
Gi(a)rlish Number is another series that caught me by surprise. I had little hope going in, knowing the series was an anime original from a light novel author who has just too much on his plate. I just started watching Gi(a)rlish Number on the day of writing this post and I, personally, am enjoying it quite a bit. Upfront, I will say I’m bias towards a series like this because: (1) I really enjoy most series that revolve/focus around an industry I’m interested in (Anime, Games, etc.) and (2) its a series about cute girls doing cute things. So, you can take what I say with a grain of salt if you would like but I do think there’s more to this series than meets the eye.
Gi(a)rlish Number is the story of newbie voice actress Chitose Karasuma as she tries to become popular (without putting in any hard work). So far, the best part of this anime is the main character, Chitose. Frankly, she sucks. She’s cute and sweet on the surface but underneath she’s full of herself, brutally honest, and critical of others, among many other things that come with having a bad personality. I love it. At the slightest (and luckiest) sign of moving up in the voice acting world, she lets it go straight to her head and begins acting as if she’s already superior to other newbie voice actors. In her own eyes, she’s feeling as if she was destined for the greatness she’s only happened upon. Honestly, it’s refreshing. Chitose is a fun character we don’t often see in anime and she plays perfectly into what the writer of the series, Watari Wataru, is trying to get across.
Without expecting it, I’m seeing traces of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (Watari’s main work) in Gi(a)rlish Number. This anime at its core is a satire of the anime industry from the warped, despair-craving mind of Watari himself. I can’t believe I instantly wrote this series off as a generic cute girl anime at the start of the season. Now, mind you, it is a generic cute girl anime but, to an extent, that’s the point. Between the ridiculous nature Chitose lands a part in the industry and her rotten personality to the jaded attitude of a young, destined-to-be voice actress, Watari is ripping on his look of the anime industry and showing us just how cynical it is (at least to him). We see a light novel author’s work ruined by anime higher ups who have a “better” vision of incorporating cute idols and the release of a half done promotional video before the project has even been started or the animators decided on it. We follow a girl who is rainbows and butterfly at first glance but reveals that what looks sweet can be dark on the inside. It’s the anti-Shirobako, when the industry is only looked upon with eyes of despair. A train wreck of satire and meta. This is my kind of anime. Needless to say, Gi(a)rlish Number exceeds any exceptions I could have had for the series. It’s by no means perfect or even excellent but it is a fun watch that I’m eager to continue. Gi(a)rlish Number is definitely my big surprise for this anime season.
Sorry for ripping on you in my “Most Anticipated” list, Watari. (╯•﹏•╰)
Well, that about wraps it up for me. All in all, Haikyuu!! is still great and Gi(a)rlish Number is my Fall 2016 Anime Surprise. So, if you will excuse me it’s time to catch up on Chitose’s antics. If there’s any series you think are worth a shout-out leave them in the comment below. Thanks for reading!