The Chuuni Corner

Anime reviews, Chuunibyou, and other writings

Category: Winter 2016

Review/discussion about: Koyomimonogatari

Koyomimonogatari / Episode 4 / Araragi suspicious of Kanbaru

The odds are in its favor

The inexplicable parts of life have plagued the minds of people for a millennium. Otherwise known as oddities, strange phenomena have a certain allure to their presence. They invite imagination; they drum up curiosity.

From the logically possible to the truly bizarre, odd occurrences will not disappear anytime soon – so long as there are those willing to question the world around them.

Koyomimonogatari tackles this subject in the span of less than three hours. Simultaneously, it also promises a ton of content that fans of the overall series will most likely approve and appreciate.

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Banjo’s Top 10 Winter 2016 Anime

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans / Episode 1 / The first appearance of the Gundam Barbatos

And the winners of Winter 2016 are…

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with one of my uncles about films. We were watching Pixar’s Up at the time, and he said something that caused us to get into a (calm) argument.

“Animated stuff will never make for top-tier experiences.”

It is his belief that films like Schindler’s List and Rain Man will always be better than something like Toy Story or Finding Nemo — simply because the former are “real” while the latter aren’t.

Obviously, I disagreed.

How could I not? While the conversation was geared at computer-generated animation, my mind instantly went to anime. It’s the same principle. Yes, anime about giant, metal balls or high-school kids competing with hover boots may not be the next All About Eve. But anime has the capacity to tell intricate stories. The rationality to explore relatable characters. The ability to simply be downright fun.

I could not change his viewpoint (which I tried to do), but, through our small debate, I grew even more fond of this medium that I have come to adore so much.

So it is that, on this day, we look back on the Winter 2016 anime season to reflect on the best of the best, those that prove anime (and other animated media) can be and are top-tier experiences.

This time around, twenty-two anime showed up to fight for a spot. Ten succeeded, but only one claimed the title of Best Anime of Winter 2016.


Before diving into the list, it is important to know two ideas: what counts and the reasoning behind everything.

First, I am an advocate of an anime counting in the season in which it completed. Meaning, whether it is fantastic or not, something like Assassination Classroom Second Season has no place here despite starting in Winter 2016. On the opposite end, an anime like Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen does have a shot since it concluded in Winter 2016 despite starting the season prior.

Meaning, if you do not see Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen here on my list, that means I either did not see it or it was simply not good enough. (It’s the latter!)

I’m going to repeat this statement one more time: An anime counts if it completed in Winter 2016.

Some of my wonderful readers miss this important detail that I adhere to, so, now having said it twice, I get to call them goofballs should that happen again (here and forever after).

Second, each anime has a personalized review that demonstrates why it deserves to be here in the first place. Simply click on an anime’s name to be linked to its review to read my complete thoughts on it. For every review that I wrote for this season, follow this link to my Winter 2016 Reviews page!

With all of the introductions, formalities, and rules out of the way, it is time to get to my Top 10 Winter 2016 Anime!

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Review/discussion about: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu / Episode 8 / Bon opening up and looking at Shin's personal rakugo fan

A legendary performance

I’m lucky enough to still have one of my Grandfathers alive and well.

He has been the best Grandpa I could have hoped for. Showing up to my birthdays, graduations, and sports games. Treating me with both love and respect. Handing me a casual fifty-dollar bill whenever he gets the chance.

Yet his best gifts are his memories, the stories he tells when my brother and I sit close by and ask about another part of his life. Stories about his time as a milk man, ice man, and salesman. Stories about his tattoos and the gangs he associated with. Stories about my own troublemaking father.

I hope to have stories like my Grandpa’s when I grow old; I hope I’m making them now. Until then, the storied Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu proves that, like my Grandpa, the best stories come from the heart.

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Review/discussion about: Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar / Episode 2 / Mogzo holding up a wooden plane that he crafted himself

No escaping reality

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar has these uncomfortable-looking straw beds that many of the cast members sleep in.

If I had to choose between a regular bed and one of those beds, I would choose the former every time. Otherwise, all of the tiny pieces would poke me, they would get into and stick to my clothes, and they wouldn’t make for the best blankets due to the numerous holes.

Yet as Grimgar shows, sometimes we don’t get a choice. Sometimes we have to accept the reality presented to us – no matter how harsh it may be.

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Review/discussion about: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans / Episode 11 / Mikazuki floating in front of his Gundam

Wake up and smell the iron

Roses are red. Violets are blue. Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans makes for a pretty flower, too.

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Review/discussion about: Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu / Episode 6 / Anri speaking with Saki for the first time

Edible but not satisfying

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu is like this grilled-cheese-and-honey-mustard sandwich I ate the other day.

Could’ve been appetizing – but ultimately wasn’t.

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Review/discussion about: KonoSuba

KonoSuba / Episode 8 / Aqua, Kazuma, Megumin, and Darkness arriving at the mansion in need of exorcising

The opposite of useless

That night, as I started to drift off to sleep, my brain spoke to me. You forgot to brush your teeth. Gross, dude. I got up, half-groggy, and started to make my way to the bathroom. I was unfamiliar with the room’s layout, and it was dark, so I fumbled and felt for the door.

Once inside, I turned on the lights and began to brush my teeth. My eyes weren’t open, and I was barely conscious. Both of which made the sound of a door opening behind me that much more nerve-racking.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw my father sitting on the toilet in the bathroom closet. I stared at him, dumbfounded, wondering what in the world he was doing.

My father only said a single word: “Hellooooo!”

I laughed so hard, toothpaste sprayed across the counter. My father started to laugh uncontrollably, too. Our combined laughter woke up my mother and my two siblings. Upon seeing me foaming at the mouth and leaning over the sink, and John squatting on the john, they couldn’t help but laugh as well. It was a happy beginning to a truly happy vacation.

I don’t fully know what prompted my father to push open his door and say hi, but his ridiculous decision led to comedy genius. Thankfully for KonoSuba, it likewise made the right decisions.

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KonoSuba and Comedy Through Theory

Konosuba / Episode 3 / Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness sitting down for dinner following the mass-cabbage attack

What makes something comedic?

What do you call a Japanese upperclassman who is good at math?

Sen-pi.

That’s a variation of a joke I found on a discussion thread where people provided anime-related funnies. I like the joke. It’s short, contains wordplay, and uses a vital mathematical concept. But for others, the joke falls as flat as a circle.

Why is that? What makes one person grin at a joke or a pie to the face while the next person barely reacts at all?

Take another example: KonoSuba. Hilarious characters and silly situations turn it into a really funny anime. At least, to many of those that have watched the show, including myself.

The question still lingers: why? What makes KonoSuba so gosh darn funny? And for others, what makes KonoSuba not so funny?

The following essay will, with KonoSuba‘s help, investigate comedy — where it came from, why it works, and how it gets applied. Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you will not only have a better appreciation of comedy but also a better appreciation of KonoSuba overall.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Review/discussion about: Garo: Guren no Tsuki

Garo: Guren no Tsuki / Episode 1 / The first shot of the Golden Knight

Moon-sized issues

A haiku I title “Moon-Filled Sandwich.”

Numerous problems

Garo: Guren no Tsuki

Abysmal; awful

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Review/discussion about: Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen

Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen / Episode 19 / Kuon and Haku riding a bot to Tousukuru

Facelift required

I’ve never had amnesia.

The closest I have ever come to memory loss was the few hours following the removal of my wisdom teeth. While I wish to save the actual wisdom-teeth anecdote for later, suffice it to say that I do not remember anything that happened once the anesthesia kicked in. My parents tell me that I blubbered like a buffoon, though. Which, in all honesty, I could see myself doing.

Unfortunately for Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen, it ends up as a forgetful experience, too.

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