This season hasn't pushed me like it has other seasons.

Well, it ended. It’s finally over. What finally became of Occultic;Nine?

Hahaha…oh dear. Remember when I talked about that pattern when choosing shows? Well I don’t think I’ll be breaking that habit any time soon. I just wonder which show(s) I’ll regret choosing for the Winter season.

A lot of people will agree with me when I say the entire show was at breakneck speed, and there was hardly any time to develop any of the 9 characters properly. It could even be said that a couple of characters should be left out entirely so that the show could be salvaged. Aria’s subplot was great though, with her keeping her dead brother’s corpse for a year (as she was unable to accept his death). While Miyu and Toko were cute characters, they didn’t really serve that much purpose. One thing I suppose I am happy about is that they used elasticity to explain the time reversal in the show; if it weren’t for that, then the show would have been a lost cause. Like with Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes and Chaos;Head, a lot of bizarre, unproven and ‘made-up’ science was used to explain this, that and the other.

It was only recently when I discovered that the novels that had been released so far only covered the first few episodes, and that when an anime adaptation was announced, the novels had been put on hold so they could concentrate more on the show. This alone was not comforting to hear, and suggests that the writers merely gathered around a bar with some ideas on paper, and with the help of copious amounts of sake, whiskey, and beer, a 12-episode-long story was put together hastily. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the anime Reddit page, and their help on offering explanations in episodes, I would have been lost in Occultic;Nine completely. The little angel on my shoulder tells me to learn from this lesson, but the demon on the other shoulder will always be right…and I will never ever learn.

I initially thought Long Riders! was going to be a rather dull slice-of-life show about cycling, and I was right, but it’s a show that I can easily watch and switch off to, after all the other the intense shows I picked out, especially Sangatsu no Lion and Occultic;Nine. I did get a bit concerned when the show was delayed a lot, and now, as a result of this, the final two episodes will be shown in February. I’m sure the studio have made up some sort of excuse behind this, like “We want to keep the audience in suspense”, or something like that, but the truth is that they were running low on ideas on what to do, as Long Riders! did not make the splash it intended to make. At some points, the story and characters had some okay moments, but everything else just slowly fell apart…especially the magical maid/cheongsam episode.

Moving now onto something more cheerful!

While many KyoAni shows do finale episodes that go in a weird direction, Hibike! Euphonium decided to bow out in a more respectful style: saying goodbye to the departing seniors. It’s something that began in the previous episode, where they played the Nationals, and my bae Haruka was crying her eyes out because she wasn’t to be a part of band anymore and they…didn’t get their gold. Sad news of course, but that’s only more motivation for next years’ band to get gold, right?

Still, Ribbons as the new president, and Natsuki as vice-president?! Almost makes me want a third season, to see how they get even closer. But of course that won’t happen; a third season just wouldn’t work without the lovable third-years. Just like it wouldn’t be the same without Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi from K-on!…or Eli, Nozomi and Nico from Love Live!

If anything, Hibike! Euphonium left us on a high, and we could notice that pretty much everything has been fixed. The band is much better than it was (and is ready to recruit for next year), Ribbons has now firmly accepted Reina as a fellow trumpeter (instead of a bitter rival), and I thought it was good to see Nozomi conducting the first and second-year piece at the party; this could be seen as some kind of redemption after she abandoned club many months ago. Batter me for saying this though, but I thought Kumiko and Asuka’s final chat was a bit of a cop-out. Considering how much I loved episode 9, I had hoped that KyoAni would have treated it a little more delicately, instead of only having first-year tears and third-year hair ruffling.

Hibike! Euphonium is a show that has been made with serious tender loving care. KyoAni has now become a mature studio, instead of churning out school comedies like a factory. Saying that, I’ll be watching their Winter show, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon, and I am expecting something from their ‘comfort zone’.

Meanwhile, Brave Witches ended on a very predictable note. The Neuroi nest destroyed by the MC and One-Punch Girl, the crinkled old ground troops (who did next to nothing in the battle) celebrate and sisters are reunited. And while Takami is reassigned, or sent back to Fuso, Hikari is recruited into the 502nd.

I expected nothing more and nothing less from the final episode, and overall, Brave Witches has been a good watch. I’ve been a fan of the Strike Witches franchise since it began and it’s been refreshing to see some new faces. While Hikari, Naoe and Nikka have dominated the show, characters like Edytha and Watrud (who are an item, by the way) have been entertaining to watch. I understand it is to get an OVA soon as well. Since OVAs always go in different directions, it’ll concern some party thing going on at the base, or somebody’s birthday, or a love confession, or something silly.

I can’t do a full review of Sangatsu no Lion just yet because it’s a 2-season show, and I’ll thus continue my coverage in the winter. Originally, I thought SHAFT were going to go in a totally new direction in terms of animation, but they have decided to stick to their guns and bring back their trademark traits: head tilts, metaphors, sudden art-style changes, monologues, along with many more. It’s worked so far, as I absolutely love it. Every character is likeable, even Rei’s poisonous foster sister Kyouko. The story is going at a slow, steady and comfortable pace, and I don’t even need to mention how much I love the animation studio. Just ask any of my friends.

(usually when a SHAFT show crops up, I review it)

I was probably one of only a tiny handful of people that didn’t like Yuri!!! on Ice or Flip Flappers. I can most certainly see why both shows were so popular, and thus I won’t deny that both shows made a serious impact this year. I never did like ice-skating, so the characters themselves had nothing to do with my decision not to watch Yuri!!! on IceFlip Flappers, on the other hand, was just too silly for me, and a tad overrated. Makes me sound like a real hypocrite, as I love both Madoka Magica and Revolutionary Girl Utena, both equally surreal shows with yuri and magical girl elements. I still can see how the metaphors and detailed story concerning friendship, love and betrayal caught so much interest. Perhaps, when I have the time, I will give Flip Flappers a shot.

One show that I enjoyed immensely, but didn’t review here, was Girlish Number. College student Chitose is an newbie voice actress for anime and games, but has a highly cynical and sarcastic view on life. She’s selfish, lazy, jealous, narcissistic, rude and ungrateful, as well as talentless, but that’s why I love her so much. I also found it interesting how newbie and lesser-known VAs were used to voice the main characters; almost acting like some mirror to the show itself.

This will be a show I’ll definitely be getting when it comes to the West, as it acted in the same manner of what the writer’s previous work (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU) pulled off; an environment that has a picture of happiness and rainbows (eg. high school, anime production and idols), but instead turns out to be as brutal and unforgiving as any other environment in real-life.

So no breakdowns this season; no major ones, anyway. I only regretted choosing Occultic;Nine and a part of me has disappeared watching it (hours I won’t get back). Ribbons’ face puts my reaction the best…