I swear I start every one of these lamenting my seeming inability to write more often, maybe I’ll actually do something about that some day.
Well that certainly was a season of shorts. As is so often the case I feel like last season’s batch can best be described as hit or miss. Some of them were really great, and some fell flat for me at least. With that said let’s just dive right into the roundup.
Crossing Time is hard to pin down. A series of short vignettes about different characters waiting by a railroad crossing, the quality varies dramaticly between episodes. A few are genuinely fun or sweet. But you also have stuff like episode 2; which is just some gross kid perving on the girl in front of him for 3 minutes. They even decided they needed to revisit that particular character for the penultimate episode, and it was just as crappy. It’s a shame because I’d definitely recommend the show otherwise, but the handful of bad episodes drag it down a lot.
Love To-LIE Angle feels genuinely hampered by its short format. With that said I’m not sure there’d be a whole lot to recommend here even with a longer run time. At its core the series is just another horny harem with the minor distinction of having an all girl cast. It’s entirely possible that there’s something more to the source material but the anime we got feels like they decided to throw out everything except the horny. None of the characters have any real time to develop and it’s hard to get behind the central romance between Hanabi and Iori when neither girl has had more than about 30 seconds of conversation and a handful of contrived almost porn sequences with the other throughout the entire series.
This one’s also not great. The series core joke is that protagonist Akkun alternates between being a colossal jerk to his girlfriend and being a loved up stalker when she isn’t looking, which is apparently fine because she’s entirely OK with him being an ass, for no real reason. The series throws in a few other dysfunctional pairs with similar nonsensical circumstances but none of them feel at all plausible. Which is kind of the core issue. Not one of the couples or awkward half couples feels like it actually could exist, none of these people would be together if the story didn’t say so. It feels like the characters don’t fit the concept at all because the concept is too janky to really work.
It’s back for a 3rd series and it’s still pretty good. 2016 and 17’s hard worker is here to keep ploughing on into another year. At this point the series has mostly settled into a comfortable rhythm. The novelty may have worn off a little as the storyline enters the “Nobunaga doesn’t actually get a whole lot done for like a decade” segment of its historical source but it still has its moments, and continues to excelently juxtapose its cute aesthetic and mostly humorous tone with moments highlighting the brutality of the ongoing conflicts of the time. It was one of my favourite shorts in the last couple of years and it continues to hold that distinction.
A solid newcommer, Tiramisu is a mostly affectionate parody of various non specific mecha series. Following an elite pilot in an unending space war between two vaguely defined and largely irrelevant factions, the show makes good use of the setting, getting a lot of mileage out of jokes that definitely wouldn’t work elsewhere. It’s a but crude at times and not all the jokes land, with episodes sometimes just getting stuck on one unfunny gag for the duration but, when it’s on point, Tiramisu can be a lot of fun.
Come visit scenic Gunma, it’s an unwelcoming hellpit! The latest in an occasional subset of shorts which seem to exist primarily for the purpose of promoting an area to tourists, You Don’t Know Gunma Yet takes the novel approach of portraying Gunma as a region actively hostile to outsiders, filled with baffling customs and traditions impenetrable to non residents. Under all this though there’s a clear affection for these things, the show is comfortable poking fun at the idiosyncrasies of life in the prefecture because at least some of those involved in the project seem to look fondly on them. This feeling is enhanced through brief real life segments at the end of each episode where residents of Gunma talk about some element of the region that’s close to them. It sometimes spends a little too long on one joke, but the lengths the series is willing to go to in order to present Gunma as a terrifying realm of nightmare are reliably entertaining.
And that’s your lot. Overall this season ended up being pretty solid, there were a couple of not so great entries but the good stuff was significantly better overall than a lot of other seasons, and that trend looks set to continue into Summer with the triumphant return of one of my all time favourites.