Summer 2016: Seasonal Retrospective

[Description]: With the final shows of the Summer season coming to an end and the Fall season quickly approaching, I wanted to do a brief rundown of the shows I ended up watching and whether or not they were worth the investment.

91 Days

I had confidence in Studio Shuka’s ability to pull off a revenge drama set in a gangster-ridden, prohibition era setting and 91 Days did not disappoint. Though its last episode has yet to air at this time, it presented a thrilling plot and a great story deeply rooted in the tone and cinematic style of classic mobster films. The directing I thought was particularly strong in this show, featuring tons of inventive angles and visual techniques that gave the show a strong sense of subtext and intrigue. Definitely a show worth checking out whether you are fan or not of the subject material, and if you are – you’re in for a real treat. You can read my spoiler-free review: here. (Pending)

Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning)


You never know quite what you’ll get when it comes to the slice of life genre – some shows fail to stand out or distinguish themselves as something different but Amaama to Inazuma avoided these pitfalls and was truly heartwarming to watch. While it featured cooking each episode, it did not do so nearly to the degree I thought it would going in and instead it presented a surprisingly strong father-daughter relationship that left me wanting more every week. Amaama to Inazuma was Incredibly warm and lighthearted and well-worth the watch. You can read my spoiler-free review: here.

Arslan Senki (TV): Fuujin Ranbu (The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Dust Storm Dance)


After the major issues of the first season I went into Arslan’s second installment wary and skeptical. The shortened 8-episode format somewhat shored up some of the show’s visual issues as I expected but not to the degree that it became anything worth noting. It didn’t particularly impress me and ultimately the story was just more of the same. If you greatly enjoyed Arslan Senki originally then I’m sure this second season will follow through and fulfill your expectations. If, like me, you didn’t enjoy the first season, then I don’t think this addition is enough of a game changer to warrant picking it back up. You can read my spoiler-free review: here.

Berserk (2016)


Berserk (2016) already had plenty of controversy swirling about it going in and unfortunately a lot of those concerns turned out to be valid. The visual presentation of the show featured significant problems all throughout between the show’s shoddy use of CG and poor directing. What surprised me most was how closely it stuck to the original story of the manga after the first episode and so while the show itself may not be of much value, at the very least it brought the story to life in a moderately faithful way. Whether or not it’s worth your time will depend greatly on how resilient of a Berserk-fan you are but I myself didn’t find it worthwhile. To prospective viewers, I would recommend that they pick up the manga instead if they haven’t already. You can read my spoiler-free review: here.

Mob Psycho 100


This was a show I had a lot of excitement for when it started up and while the initial episodes didn’t quite encapsulate the hype surrounding the show, it quickly grew into something worthy of praise and attention. Because of the outstanding, draw-dropping animation, the surprisingly deep characters, and the show’s great sense of humor, Mob Psycho 100 was a pleasure to watch each week and before the end became my favorite show of the season. Definitely check this show out, it was a blast. You can read my spoiler-free review: here.



One of the only shows from this Summer Season that I did not pick up initially when it first started airing, I caught up in Orange mid season because of its popularity and its supernatural premise of time traveling and romantic drama. From the first episode I grew wary of how the show went about treating its characters and narrative and each week steadily exacerbated my concerns and irritations to the point that the show was wholly displeasurable to watch. It was full of awkward characterization and narrative contrivances and I would not recommend watching the show. You can read my spoiler-free review: here as well as my thoughts on each episode: here.

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-)


Likely the most popular show of the season and the one who’s success is held in the greatest contention, personally I found the show to be a lot of fun. While it has its flaws, the overall presentation, the attention to detail, and the entertaining subject matter of the series kept it engaging and interesting. To those waffling on whether or not to watch Re:Zero amidst all of the volatile opinions and extremist views circulating about the show, give it a chance. It was dark and thrilling and for what it’s worth, I found it considerably entertaining. You can read my spoiler-free review: here.

Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara (Shokugeki no Souma: The Second Plate)


I enjoyed the first season of Souma far more than I thought I would and so I was excited to pick up this fresh installment. While the first episode was horribly paced and executed, it quickly returned to form right afterwards and presented everything one would have come to expect from the series. I don’t think it was as strong as the first season and the weighty focus on the tournament arc kind of starved the show for comedy, character interactions, and variety but it was relatively fun none the less. Worth picking up if you enjoyed the first season though perhaps to a lesser extent if what you mostly enjoyed was the character comedy which is slightly lessened in favor of a more serious tone this time around.

Tales of Zestiria the X


We’ve all seen game adaptations come and go and typically they don’t leave much of a lasting impression as their primary job is to promote their source material and hook viewers into the franchise. While Tales of Zestirira doesn’t quite escape the feel of ‘just another game adaptation’ the brilliant animation and visual effects made it a real treat to watch. It wasn’t an outstanding show by any means but it was reasonably entertaining all throughout and a great source of eye candy. If you’re looking for another show about an RPG-esque, fantasy world full of magic and monsters then Tales of Zestiria delivers and in visual excess. You can read my spoiler-free review: here.

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