Every November for the last 3 years, I’ve partaken in my own creation. It is called the November Challenge. The idea is I get 5 people to give me anime to watch by November’s end. It’s partially a competition and the other part an experience. I came up with the idea to watch shows I normally wouldn’t get around to, and make it a little interesting as well. The five people would be competing to show me good works of anime they have seen. The best show to me is dubbed the winner! The winner in turn gets a prize and a free slot in next year’s running of shows. It was and still is just a simple idea. 5 shows, 1 month, lots of anime consumption. A fun but exhausting experience. And for the 3rd year I finished successfully! The past two years the winner was from the same person. I couldn’t get a hold of him this year, so I opened up to 5 new folks.

The way this megapost will work is as follows: I will talk about the shows in order of when I watched them, there will be two splits of non-spoiler & spoiler, and you will get an idea of how I felt about them all through that. Afterwards, I will present individual awards for several hand-picked categories. Then the final part comes. I will give the official order of how they all ranked this year and deem the winner of the 2016 November Challenge! It should be fun, but it will be a lot to read. I will have a large spoiler picture above each section that is filled with those for people to avoid those if they wish. Other than that let’s get into talking about the challenge!

2014 Winner: Shinsekai Yori

Other Shows: No Game No Life, Shiki, Bokurano, & Kyoukai No Kanata

2015 Winner: Berserk(1997)

Other Shows: Donten Ni Warau, Princess Tutu, Mawaru Penguindrum, & Master Keaton

2016 November Challenge!

Show: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Year Aired: 2016

Studio: Studio Deen

Episodes: 13

Source: Manga

Watched For: KNO108

 

Historical anime are few and far between in the modern age. Most studios prefer making works that would be a more likely candidate as a commercial hit. Idols, moe style, and action are always a good choice to settle on for most companies. However, sometimes you get series about traditional parts of Japanese culture. They take an involved approach exploring the depths of the world within a world. Shouwa Genroku is all about the title. Rakugo is center stage from beginning to end here. With this series we get an in-depth look at the men who lived in the era where Rakugo lived and struggled to survive. The story is primarily told throughout a large-scale backstory that spans the majority of the run time. The anime is split into two seasons which the second will airing fairly soon in January. So, as of now we only have half of the whole. It’s a past to present story, and the past is all told.

Rakugo’s core is well the rakugo itself. The plot, characters, and the world we are interacting with all connect with rakugo in some way or another. This means to tell such a story in a captivating way, the rakugo needs to be sold well to the viewer. It’s very easy to see if rakugo would engage you after just the pilot. The starting episode is twice the length of standard anime, and dedicated almost 15 minutes alone to a single Rakugo performance. Nothing is skipped in the slightest. They want you to be fully enamored by what rakugo is and can be. It’s the decision to go head first into your craft without any worries and believe it will be interesting. That alone is pretty commendable to me. However, you must be asking yourself, is all the rakugo similar or is it somehow diversified to keep audience engagement high? Throughout the show two main characters are the crux of the rakugo you see and they are what has to make it good. You see a few others, but seldom outside the main two are there other performers we spend time with. Their styles are vastly different, and the show makes an effort to show this time and time again. One of the biggest plot points is keeping rakugo alive and strong. To do so lots of types of rakugo need to exist. This story aims to show you how, and why the styles of the performer vary and are quite important.

From a visual and audio stand point Shouwa Genroku is top-notch in the modern era. It looks like a newer anime, and it is crisp in sound direction. I always feel music is a huge selling point in historical anime like this to make you feel more immersed in the time period. Shouwa Genroku does not fail on these expectations and does an exceptional job making you fall right into their era. Instead of flashy style, Shouwa Genroku creates a realistic, down to earth work of art, that is as close as you will get to the time. So, the excitement of the senses all comes down to wanting more pop or enjoying the sublime realism approach. Whether one is a preference or not will surely come into play I would think.

With the second half coming along soon, I would say if you are a fan of Japanese culture, and some of the finer nuances it holds, Shouwa Genroku would certainly interest you. You won’t have the long wait to see the finished product, and can revel in everything it tries to give you. Don’t expect typical anime cliches though. This series is grounded in acting like a live action drama from start to end. I guess it all depends on how real you want your anime to get.

 

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The Good: Rakugo falls right in line with something I adore. I love learning about history from a point of view I don’t know. I was aware of the existence of rakugo performances, but really wasn’t too informed on how it could be so entertaining. I knew it was a large part of Japan’s cultural hobbies, but couldn’t see why without getting more involved. Well, the anime did a damn fine job with showing me the path! From the first quarter-hour rakugo to the last important duo rakugo, the show is all about its’ namesake. I love this follow through and I think the rakugo is incredibly fun to watch and easily the highlight of the series. Mixed with nice visuals, and a stellar soundtrack this show brings out the most it can with the pivotal rakugo. That’s the most important aspect of the story and for it clearly delivers in spades. I particularly loved a few of the rakugo a ton. The intro one of the show, Sukeroku’s were grand each time, Kikuhiko got better and better with some stand out performances, and their final ones complimented each other perfectly. With only half the story gone, I’m intrigued to see what kind of Rakugo they will bring to me life.

The Bad: You know for such engrossing rakugo it was hard to watch because while I loved their ability to tell a story, I wasn’t a huge fan of our main leads. Not to say they are written poorly or anything. They fit the over arching plot exactly how they are meant to. However, for me I just don’t like either guy that much. Sukeroku was a happy-go-lucky kinda fella and easy to like aside from he had no real aspirations to do anything with his life outside Rakugo. He didn’t work, he was a slob, and pretty much freeloaded off everyone. It’s a big part of who he is of course, but gosh after a while I was hoping to see him at least, I don’t know try? And then Kikuhiko was a ball of mystery. I’d expect him to do one thing and he would do the exact opposite. I think he was often at odds with himself so it made him riveting to behold, but damn if I was not annoyed by some of his decisions and behavior. Tight wad was pretty fitting. We had one guy who was way too relaxed and the other too strict. Great foils, but they fail at being people I like myself. I’m interested to see how the ghost of Kikuhiko’s past catches up with him as the story follows what remains of his life though.

                                                                       

Show: Planetes

Year Aired: 2003-2004

Studio: Sunrise

Episodes: 26

Source: Manga

Watched For: Alice

 

Anime and space based stories are really nothing new. With classics in the Mecha genre, and other wild spinning tales, space has seen its fair share of anime adaptations. Yet, most of the time they are bold, massive, and galaxy inducing. They won’t be small but large scale in every sense. What if there was a space drama about the lives of debris collectors in space? The equivalent to the clean up crew of the earth’s space mess. They protect others by doing the boring and monotonous job about grabbing trash. That is what you get with Planetes. With the inclusion of new recruit Ai Tanabe, our story kicks off! Things start in a slow slice of life manner, and quickly turn into a drama about politics, self-realization, and love. It’s about as grounded as you can get for a space series and it shakes up the formula in the most refreshing of ways.

Planetes is a little older, but doesn’t really show it to me. The vast amount of characters and designs in this show really impress to witness. One of it’s clear strong suits is the ability to create a world that feels multicultural and far-reaching. It’s about all people not just one region or something typical like that. They want everyone to feel the relatibility to the struggle that is life is everywhere and incredibly important.

Our story mostly revolves around the Debris Section, endearing nicknamed Half Section. They have half the resources, half the training, and half the people. About as shitty a part of the company as you can get. That’s the point though, to show how people can make a difference no matter their standing. We come to see and respect the importance of their job, and craft. Collecting debris isn’t an exciting job but it prevents a lot of accidents, and what not. Things start off as a simple job and of course with so many companies and people involved in any given profession, it is far more complicated by the end.

Half section is full of a bunch of characters of different races and background, and dreams. They can’t achieve what they want, but they damn well take pride in their work no matter what. One character’s backstory completely creates a detailed and deeply emotional reason for why they work there. Planetes isn’t really about protecting people though. That is important of course if you take on a field like that. No, it is mostly about finding what matters most to you and going for it. That is a hardship in its own right, and you should stand proud as you make the effort to achieve all you want and aspire to. Just remember your decisions aren’t always secluded and effect others too.

 

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The Good: I’ll be honest I normally hate when things get political. Most of those ideas are already so hammered in, and I’m tired of them. However, I think Planetes does it right. They mix the desires of everyone in the show into one melting pot. Tons of cultures are involved and everything about them varies from: financial background, their profession, and their life dreams. Every character is going for some sort of goal regardless of the world around them, and this is a great thing to show, because its honest to real life.I thought the story and motivation behind all the cast members was believable and more noteworthy than most series.I was highly invested by the end with wanting to know the results of things would play out. You bring terrorists, mental illness, and survival in the second half of the series to creates such a gripping tale. Twists and turns galore from dead ninjas that I thought was a joke, to a character being nearly paralyzed because of their decision in a life or death moment; Planetes delivers the pulse pounding drama in buckets of tension and is great for it.

The Bad: Seemingly a common theme this November was me enjoying the plot and set up around the cast but disliking the main characters a great deal. Planetes is no different in that regard. While Hachimaki was infuriating a lot of the time because of his rash behavior, I came to like him most of the time. Although he was being a real prick when he decided to not even talk to Tanabe for a while. Seriously man I know its like your life crisis but she is your partner. Then there is Tanabe. Goodness this lady is insufferable most of the time. She is so dense, and spouts of such ignorant shit without even understanding it most the time herself just because the idea itself is beautiful. I sorely wish she would have made a larger effort to understand other people in the show instead of yelling at them. Like the one episode with the dead spaceman and she has his coffin. She forces her ideals on the old lady, and we are supposed to forgive her for that because in the time she makes the ruckus, we discover more about the deceased character? In the end the right decision was made but that made me so furious. I wasn’t backing her opinion and feel often she did those sort of actions. She isn’t an awful character by any means but what she acted like that I was beyond annoyed with her. The rest of the cast is pretty stellar though. I wish there would have been some music to enjoy but most of it is meh or forgettable. A solid story with a great expansive cast, and fantastic plot in the end though.

                                                                       

Show: Oh! Edo Rocket

Year Aired: 2007

Studio: Madhouse

Episodes: 26

Source: Stage Play

Watched For: Feethebunny

 

Sometimes in anime you get oddballs. They originate from fairly unique sources, and they are atypical in many ways just in general. Well turning a stage play into a dramedy 4th wall breaking anime is certainly not made every day. Oh! Edo Rocket is one most will pass by, and those who have seen it will never forget. As it says in the name of the show we are thrown into the Edo period. Many things are being banned, and the people are certainly tired of the oppression of their government. As most of us would be too I bet! We have an odd mix of accurate history, ridiculous comedy, and aliens to make a show like few out there.

It all begins when Sora appears from space she claims all she wants is to return to the moon. And who else would be more fitting to make her goal realized? Well, of course a firework maker! Yeah it’s an off concept but it makes a lot of sense with the time period. Who else is known for shooting things in the sky more than a person who makes explosions in the sky? In the Edo period especially that was as far as we had really come with that sort of advancement too. So Seikichi is her man for the job. At first he is apprehensive at the idea and claims it as crazy, but as well known, in fun stories that is just the beginning. He gets convinced to do the job with some of his own motivation behind it and the plot kicks off!

This show relies heavily on witty dialogue and creative jokes to fill in most the run time. The recaps are shown through a television they watch, and sometimes they will reference stuff in modern Japan. It’s all very tongue in cheek in the best of ways. It knows it is being a ridiculous over the top comedy and owns it in every regard. Being self-aware in comedy is something I always admire and tend to enjoy a lot. Being funny and trying is one thing, but when you are going balls to the wall with it, being aware of it makes a difference.

It’s not all laughs and singing cats here though! This series surprised me, and I mean like shocked me, with how serious it was at times. It wasn’t a weird conjunction of comedy and drama either like some shows tend to do. It was a seamless blend of the two. And this series has superb dramatic stakes and tension. The story of the sky beasts, and the murder mystery of Edo is really very fun and intriguing the entire time. It’s multifaceted and uses the comedy to even create a strong drama. They make these people feel like they matter and care about what is happening, and to great effect at that. Who would have thought a silly show about building a rocket could make me feel so much!?

Another dud in the music area, but while the visuals are strikingly different and odd, I am very much a fan. I love unique character designs. Whether its like the realistic diversity of Planetes or the almost comic book like style of Oh! Edo Rocket, they always stand out more than generic style that emphasizes graphical fidelity more so. I’d also like to add along with the memorable cast designs, the characters themselves aren’t one-dimensional or unlikable either. It’s one of those strongly built ensembles, where everyone builds off each other and few stand out more than the other because it’s a strong group all around. Comedy, drama, and fun times await you on the journey to the moon.

 

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The Good: This show is so god damn funny. I’m often one of the toughest people on comedy series because I have such a large background and knowledge in it. I’ve always been deeply involved with trying to find ways to laugh and make others smile. It’s a fun way of life if anything. I laughed out loud numerous times during the course of the series. Silly small things like the name Captain Belly Button or large subtle nuances like making jabs at the actual Edo period itself. The series was clearly made to make people laugh and it succeeds in spades at doing so. On the other hand, the comedy isn’t the only strong suit of the series. A truly provocative and heart wrenching story is told at times. The drama of this series is the true surprise because many times it is the strongest component of it all. Toss a bevy of enjoyable characters into the salad that is Oh! Edo Rocket and it’s hard to not be impressed. It makes me laugh, it makes me well up inside, and it makes me smile throughout. It did everything right for the majority, and for such a bizarro mashup that is sorta unexpected isn’t it?

The Bad: Lots of lame music again. I mean I know this is standard fair in like 50% of anime but I always do get bummed when I can’t be super pleased by the OST. It’s mostly forgettable fluff, with a few strong selections in between. However, the real thing that the show suffered with the most was the comedy. But you said it was super comedic??! Yes I did! Yet, with a show that has so many gags in it, you will get a few duds too. Once in a while you get a joke or bit that just is too weird to get, or just not really particularly funny. I wasn’t too surprised as this is almost evident in any comedy series. When you want a large variety of styles to make people laugh, you can’t usually make them all seamless and work. You will get some jokes that just don’t connect in the slightest. That’s why some shows like Cromartie High School and Nichijou don’t make every person’s funny tingle with elation. You can’t win them all. Not a major loss for the most part, but I always do get taken out of my watch a bit when a bad joke happens. Kinda like real life isn’t it?

                                                                       

Show: Katanagatari

Year Aired: 2010

Studio: White Fox

Episodes: 12

Source: Light Novel

Watched For: BytheHorns

 

Expectation versus reality can be quite a fickle little thing. Without knowing much I assumed I knew a bit of what to expect from Katanagatari. It looked highly stylized, but I was in favor of this and assumed I would get a colorful take on some historical period with samurais. I mean I suppose that isn’t completely off base but it’s not entirely true either. Katanagatari is sorta a meld between very anime, and very historical. Which kinda cancels each other out in a way, but it does make for a blend you don’t see every day! From light novels to the small screen Katanagatari is a spanning story of the country of Japan and the hunt for 12 magic swords. Gives off a shonen vibe doesn’t it?

Togame on the hunt from the Shogunate goes to find the user of Kyotoryu sword style. The style with no sword. Her main objective is to obtain the swords no matter what. Everyone else is dispensable. Although, she isn’t as cold as she thinks she is. Incomes Yasuri Shichika, the head of household. Living alone on a mostly deserted island with his older sister. The fight gets brought to him by the first wielder of the powerful magical swords by one of the many groups of people who betrayed Togame. They are called the Maniwa, a group of Ninja specializing in special techniques and they claim the hunt for the swords as well. This is where the power struggle for the hunt becomes apparent, and our story really kicks off.

Shichika joins Togame in the hunt saying he “fell” for her, without even knowing what it really means due to being an intellectual simpleton. We have a 12 episode journey told with extra long content of 50 minutes for each sword story. You could almost call it an episodic progression, so the same basic idea it set forth each time. A new sword to get, and the road to them fighting for it in which ever way that happens.

You see the word fight and swords are used liberally in this show. You hear them a lot but they don’t always mean the straight definition either. The fight might involve some Shogi, or the sword might be armor instead. They even make an open joke about how the idea of what a sword is, is way too broad and the creator was frustrating due to that. The series is mostly a fight between the Shogunate, the sword carriers, and the Maniwa Ninja Corps. They all want the power of the blades for some reason or another.

Which is where an assortment of distinct characters create the bulk of this show’s personality. The Maniwa are eccentric and are almost like furries, the people who have the magic swords are all vastly different in background, and design. You get a true creative blend of warriors throughout this narrative, and I think the main idea is to make things stay fresh since the concept isn’t changing any. With a myriad of colors, music genres, and people in this world you definitely won’t be experiencing stagnation at any point. I do hear variety is the spice of life.

 

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The Good: The fights are cool for certain. They have tons of flash, and they really take their time to set the up to be the climax of each episode. The creativity poured into each design makes everyone quite memorable, and you won’t forget their one on one battles any time soon. Outside of the pure melee of the show, I rather enjoyed the visuals. I’m a sucker for artistic expression being displayed in the most boisterous of ways. I like things to stand out because usually they stick in my mind more. Katanagatari has zero issues or qualms making this happen. I can’t forget Houhou, Shichikia, Togame, or anyone in between. I won’t toss it in the bad since I liked a large portion of the OST but a few tracks did grate my nerves a bit. Usually the weird hip hop blend that sounds clearly out-of-place. If anything though the one thing Katanagatari does is create spectacle fights with everything built around that.

The Bad: Togame.

Okay there is more bad than just her but I will let he be her own category and say nothing more. She is just one of those characters I can’t stand and I’m actually happy she got shot to death in the end. Finally, someone shut her up. Her incessant talking never stopped and I was more than pleased for her to just go away. But you know outside her what else I didn’t like? This show cheated me on several accounts. Episode 3 has this amazing preview for what looks like one of the most gratifying fights in anime history, and what do I get? The play by play after the fact. The only fight not shown in the series. Seriously fuck you writer with that cheeky bullshit. That is setting up expectations and giving me a boring episode about the completely unlikable sadist sister character. Let me also mention that despite the amazing build up to each fight the tension for each one was almost non-existent. Shichika barely gets hurt in the entirety of the show unless he does it on purpose. The only fights I enjoyed were the episode 2 and finale one. They cheated me out of the Houhou fight, and the sister fight was rather non emotional since it took Shichika like 6 to 7 episodes to even develop any feasibly interesting character traits. The cast ruins the great build. Good ideas, fantastic set up, and zero tension with the disappointing cast.

                                                                       

Show: Haibane Renmei

Year Aired: 2002

Studio: Radix

Episodes: 13

Source: Dojinshi

Watched For: Rheia

 

Anime sure creates works of all sorts doesn’t it? Walking into, well sitting since you know it’s anime, this series was something I was highly curious but wary of. I often get kinda afraid to watch anime with the words SYMBOLISM IS LIKE WOOOOOAH DEEP IN THIS ONE being tossed around. Most people honestly don’t get the symbolism part and either read up on it to be like BRILLIANT, or just sit in amazement at the apparent complexities before them. Of course that is presumptuous in many regards but I find it to be true a lot of the time. Haibane Renmei does hold some secrets for certain, but I don’t find the show to be a deeply layered symbolism cake personally.

We follow the plot right into the birth of our first newly hatched(out of a cocoon) Haibane Rakka. As new to this world as we are, an adventure begins. And it is a painfully bloody beginning. Haibane are these angel-like creatures that resemble humans, but are different in some ways. However, when you are born the wings have yet to develop. The first night of a Haibane is a rough one. Wings sprout forth from your back, and a fever is induced from the pain. Once all that business is out-of-the-way, you get your halo thing(which doesn’t seem to serve a purpose outside completing the look), and are ready to be a full-fledged Haibane.

So what is a Haibane? Hell if I know! They are special apparently, and get protective treatment from the townsfolk nearby. All resident, normal folks, and Haibane alike all live in this giant walled off town that is just waiting for the Colossal Titan to burst through. Why is it walled off, what from? Well if it’s not Titans then I don’t know what it is. That isn’t the focus however here. The show is all about the day-to-day life of a Haibane.

They work to balance the protection, and supply of hand-me-downs they receive. A lot of behind the scenes stuff goes on but apparently we aren’t to dwell on that. What we want is to see how Rakka deals with being a Haibane. She basically job shadows in a slice of life manner for the first half of the series. We learn about the town, the other Haibane, and her a little bit. It’s relaxing, but nothing to blow a gasket over. The second half is more oriented towards what happens to a Haibane when their “Day of Flight” comes. It’s like a traditionally coming of age idea but with the angel people. They can finally leave the walls and fight the titans and what not. Honestly a lot of things just aren’t what they care to focus on. They want to go for the small scope of the Haibane’s lifestyle and future rather than everything else surrounding them, walls included.

We get a charmingly pleasant soundtrack to accompany this dramatic little slice of life about angel-esque  people. Haibane isn’t a series that will make you fly all over to yell about it because it’s more about the nuances of their lives, and being sublime in nature. There are some hidden ideas tucked away for the symbol-nazis to enjoy, and there is such heartwarming interpersonal drama for those who prefer that sort of thing. It has both sides of the coin if you will, but what side do you want the flip to land on?

 

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The Good: The cast is brilliant in this one. Rakka grows a ton each episode, and Reki, and the rest are all endlessly enjoyable in their own right. Reki’s story being a major focal point of the last few episodes is very emotional and filled to the brim with food for thought to enjoy. This is very important to deliver correctly because, it’s a large crux of the show’s overall message. I like when series bring stuff more closely to a relatable level. Having issues with accepting yourself and your future, and being judged for being different doesn’t take being a Haibane to connect to. Making Rakka and Reki such provocative and worthwhile leads sells Haibane in the right ways. It asks the good questions in life and the specifics of Haibane. Something that kills me in anime is when people don’t ask questions when it’s obvious that is very very important to them the have. It made me feel happy to see them asking the same things that were on my mind as I was watching. Yay for making characters not seem dense as a rock!

The Bad: You know how I just literally complimented Haibane Renmei for asking questions? Of course you do unless you have a bad case of dementia! Well, sadly most things that get asked do not get answered. I loved the atmosphere of this show, and the cast, but really there are WAY WAY WAY too many things just left unanswered. What is a Haibane, what is their purpose, what is the wall for, what are their special communicators who understand what Haibane are better than Haibane, how can you tell when the “Day of Flight” is coming outside the halo having lighting issues, is that what the halo is for, if not then why do they have a halo thingy mabob, why does the wall make you sin bound, what does that even mean, I know they mentioned it but seriously it wasn’t really answered, where do Haibane go after, are they mortal like humans, why do they sprout from cocoons like that one movie, just why?? All of these questions and more aren’t answered, and I really could care less if symbolism answers some of them possibly. That isn’t very helpful since that would be strangely and vaguely implied instead of actually answered. If you ask something….at least give me an answer. It’s like Lost all over again.

Awards!                                                         

Favorite Character

Ginjiro from Oh! Edo Rocket

You know there were a lot of great characters this past time. Most the main’s killed me inside but one of the most interesting characters was Ginjiro. Such a suave personality, and a man with a lot of baggage. All he has left is his ability to open anything from locks to a woman’s legs. He is just the best locksmith there is. Don’t underestimate Captain Belly Button though his story is one to be impressed by.

Least Favorite Character

Togame from Katagatari

Boy this was a toss up between her and the cuntasaurus Miyokichi in Rakugo. Togame is a far nicer person, but goodness does she fall into one of my least favorite characters of all time. Such a pompous person, and so tsundere. I can do without her type that is certain

Best Cast

Planetes

 

By far the best ensemble there was this time around. Rakugo and Haibane did okay, and Oh! Edo seriously contended here but the diverse cast of Planetes wins the gold this time.

Favorite Visuals

Katanagatari

 

This was a no contest really. Katagatari was a feast for the eyes to enjoy. I love colors, I know I have mentioned that a lot! AND I GOT COLORS!


Favorite Music

Haibane Renmei

 

This was a close knit battle between Haibane and Rakugo. Both excel in musical dominance supporting their shows to full effect, but the relaxing melancholic tunes of Haibane were just too good not to give the award to.

Favorite Scene

Shinigami Rakugo from Shouwa Genroku

 

There are good scenes in all anime. We had the Hachimaki spiral scene, the final fights in Katanagatari, and of course some amazing rakugo. Many of them could be included on here but the chilling brilliance of this scene after the death of a character is so hauntingly good I can’t not give it the win.

Best Fight

Hachimaki from Planetes

 

Oh! Edo Rocket and Katanagatari were filled with physical bouts galore. Haibane Renmei and Shouwa Genroku has inner demons being fought. However, the battle Hachimaki fights in Planetes is the greatest of them all bar none. No spoilers though ^^.

Best OP

It was close between Planetes and Oh! Edo Rocket but this OP is just good. Great music, historical visuals, and lots of hidden meaning. I love it.

Best ED

Planetes again!? Yeah the ED lineup was mostly weak this time around and it was between this and Oh! Edo Rocket again. But this edges out with slightly better music overall.

Well Planetes is the overall individual award winner with close contention in many categories! So will that be enough to give it the win?!

And the winner is….                       

5. Katanagatari

A visual treat for the eyes and full of fights, you would think I would have loved this one. Sadly I didn’t have that feeling. One boring main character and one annoying lead creates for something that was a bit of a slog. Add the 50 minute length and this became harder. Twice amazing battles that were potential greats were stifled and taken from me. No good tension in the fights either made me rather bored at most of the battles. I knew Shichika wins and most likely with little to no damage. Which is bullshit if he is fighting amazing warriors with magical swords! Katanagatari is not a bad show but it’s weakened severely with a unlikable cast, and dull fights.

4. Haibane Renmei

What a neat concept we have here. The people that are like angels in this mysterious town with so many things to discover and unfold. And it’s told in a slice of life manner that makes for a nice pace and segue into their world? Gosh sign me up! Huge bummer that they didn’t answer hardly anything after making such wonderful characters and posing fantastic questions. It hurts this nice idea more and more each episode. I want to know more about Haibane for christ’s sake.

3. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

 

I adore historical stories. It scratches me in the right place on the brain. Always satisfying a part of me I didn’t know I loved so much. Rakugo excels with the historical backdrop and delivery of it’s namesake. Yet, with only half the story, and two leads that I respect their motives but don’t care for them so much the series can’t rise as high as I would like. I’m very interested to see where it goes to finish the plot, but for now the show is just good to me and missing out on greatness.

2. Planetes

On most accounts Planetes is considered a proverbial classic. And I think in most regards I would agree with that notion. It’s a stellar series with tons of great ideas and a possible inside look to our futures. My biggest gripe is our two main leads yet again drove me nuts. Hachimaki was a dick for no reason so often and Tanabe is so loud and preachy that my ears would cry for mercy. So, a great story, and ensemble isn’t enough to forgive leads that take way too long to become enjoyable. I’d recommend it to most people though for sure.

1. Oh! Edo Rocket- 2016 CHAMPION

 

While not as strong as previous years winners, Oh! Edo Rocket is a champ in it’s own right. This is the epitome of a hidden gem. Top notch comedy, drama, and just the most important thing I could get out of a hobby, fun. This show is so fucking fun I can’t praise it enough. It’s one of the most bizarre melds I’ve seen but it just embraces it all so wonderfully. If you want to laugh, enjoy a great story, or possibly find some new favorite characters, Oh! Edo Rocket has it all. I’m proud to deem it the 2016 November Challenge Champion and the winner of the 3rd Annual Competition!

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this stupidly long post!  Hats off to you if you read all of it! Be sure to tell me how many typos I made! I tried to check in online programs but they all crapped out or were useless. So yeah there is lots of commas missing, accidental wrong words that are supposed to be something else, and janky wording here and there.

Well Feethebunny you are the champ this year! You get a free pick next year and a prize sometime soon! I will just need you to contact me here soon! Skype is the best place!

Until Next Time!

See ya My little Wanderers!

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