Anime Fall 2016: What I Have Been Watching

Each new season brings with it a whole slew of anime to watch and experience. Taking some time off at the beginning of each season to give a short watch of each of the season's offerings is definitely one of those things I eagerly look forward to. Its now halfway through the season and I have already decided on what shows to watch on a weekly basis and those that I'd prefer to watch in bulk or at least at a later date. Hopefully after reading you might find something that interests you that you'd otherwise miss =)

Shows I'm currently watching:

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is easily my favorite offering this fall and the one I eagerly anticipate each and every week. This title marked the first 50+ episode entry into the Gundam franchise since the mediocre Gundam AGE and Gundam 00 which started strong but petered out near the ending. As with the more recent (and surprisingly excellent) Gundam Build Fighters, studio Sunrise seem to have overcome their shortcomings when it came to grossly overwritten plotlines and with the help of veteran screenwriter Okada Mari has this time produced what is in my opinion the best written entry in the storied franchise.

Iron-Blooded Orphans is about the story of a band of war orphans and child slaves on colonized Mars. Forced to work as expendable child-soldiers, they one day decided to take matters into their own hands and form their own private military organization and carve out their own fortune as they wade into the building tensions between the various economic blocks on Earth and its space colonies. Thoughtful writing, an engaging plot, a likable cast, excellent action sequences and great production values combine to make a very solid show that Gundam fans should definitely check out. Even if you're not well acquainted to the franchise, fret not as you will need absolutely zero prior experience to enjoy Iron-Blooded Orphans with its own independent universe and un-convoluted plot.

With the third season of Haikyuu!!, Production I.G. has once again shown their mastery over modern sports anime with their solid integration of CG with traditional animation combined with great camerawork to make the volleyball matches feel swift and energetic. There is a real palpable sense of tension in each episode as our protagonists in Team Karasuno face of against their toughest opponents yet in the regional grand finals in an epic back and forth between two formidable teams. Being someone who read the manga before seeing any of its anime adaptations, I'd say the quality of this 10-episode season warrants a watch even if you had seen the orinal material. If you're interested in sports anime at all, both the manga and anime are among the finest the medium has to offer in recent years and come with my beaming recommendations. On a side note, this is the one series I showed to my non-otaku family and they genuinely got hooked!

Next is the show that I watch to wind down each week. WWW.Working!! is a spiritual sequel to the previous 3 seasons of Working!!. Having no characters or storylines in common with the original, one could easily watch this without having heard about the original. Being a comedy slice-of-life show, it is about the quirky staff of family-restaurant Wagnaria and their amusing interactions as they harass and mentally torment one another in a series of humorous gags and short stories. As a comedy series its one that gives me silent chuckles rather than plain laugh out loud moments, but I rather prefer this more restrained form of comedy and have grown rather fond of the strange staff in Working!!

Now this is one I had picked up rather recently midway through the season. Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku is another take on the "dark" magical girl genre popularized by Madoka Magica.  More accurately, I'd say its more like Battle Royale with magical girls, as a group of normal people are given the ability to become magical girls, but are promptly forced to compete against one another to retain their powers. While this show has a real been-there-done-that vibe to it, it has so far shown a solid plot and adds some genuinely surprising twists to the otherwise rote formula. This one I found pretty engaging and pique my morbid curiosity, guess I'll watch it to the end.

Shows I'm planning to watch:

Yuri!!! On Ice. Now from what I'd watched this one has yaoi vibes aplenty, but otherwise the engaging character stories and absurdly well-animated skating scenes should make this a solid watch.

Gi(a)rlish Number. While I wasn't too into Watari Wataru's previous work on Oregairu, seeing a cynical (and jerk) voice actress who aspires to make it big in the industry purely for the money and fame getting burned in this (supposedly) scathing take on the less savvy side of the industry piques my interest abit.

Shuumatsu no Izetta. This is one I'd watch for the setting and premise alone. Set during fictional World War 2, the princess of not-Austria acquires the help of a fabled witch to fend of the invading forces of not-Nazi Germany in a fantasy what-if scenario. History buff should have plenty of fun spotting historical analogues with this one ^^

Hibike! Euphonium Season 2. More lusciously animated characters, brass-instruments and orchestras by Kyoto Animation? Yes please.

Koe no Katchi (film). Been a fan of the original manga by the same name. Would be interesting to see how Kyoto Animation pulls this off.


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