Winter 2016 Anime Shorts – First Impressions

While most people hype up full-length shows every season, various studios also put out smaller shorts that may not get the same attention as their full-fledged counterparts. The art of producing a good anime short is a tricky one, with the need to utilize time being even more crucial. So, what’s being released this season? Let’s take a look at seven different anime shorts currently airing this winter.

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouii Desu Kara.

I’m a bit on the fence about this one. The first joke in the series made me think it was a parody: our heroine’s father looks in on his daughter sleeping and happily mentions that he’ll be working all day, leaving with the first morning train and coming home with the last train of the evening. With a joke like that, we know that we shall likely never see him again, as is the case with most parents in anime. The rest of the episode follows Yuzuka Hanami as she discovers her potential abilities as a magical girl. The first two episodes start with her being told she’s a magical girl as well as discovering her powers. Her transformation scene was a little…much, which could either be the point, or it could just be a bit of lolicon fanservice. The second episode didn’t have anything quite as gratuitous, not counting a panty shot brought on by Yuzuka’s guide into the magical girl world, Miton. Clocking in at four minutes per episode, it’s difficult to know how this short will incorporate the reveal of other magical girls, as indicated by the show’s opening. The length works decently enough so far, though, so I’m fairly confident that the pacing will be all right throughout. I chuckled a few times, mostly during the second rather than the first episode. I’ll most likely watch at least one more episode just to see if it’s something for me. You can check this one out on Crunchyroll.

Rainbow Days

This show is the longest of the shorts I watched, with each episode lasting for 13 minutes. It feels like a full-blown shoujo show: I’m not sure if that’s a criticism on a lack of development within shoujo shows nowadays, or if the pacing was just nicely done here. I have found pacing to be an issue in slice of life and shoujo shows before, so it may be that the shortened time does more for this story than the standard 24 minutes or so. While it’s not the deepest of anime, it gave me a few chuckles. The characters have their quirks, but I’m unsure if any of them are supposed to be guys that the audience fawn over. I took it to be more of a comedy rather than “a group of various dream boys.” The last section of episode two was a little odd, though, and involved two of the young men. While I’ve seen more gripping series to bear the shoujo moniker, I might watch a few more episodes to see what direction it goes in. You can watch Rainbow Days on Funimation’s official website.

Ojisan and Marshmallow

This one is one of my favorite shorts being released this season. Kusaka has a love for a particular brand of marshmallows, and his co-worker Wakabayashi uses that to try and get him to notice her in a more romantic light. While I thought the first episode was the stronger of the two released so far, the second one was also rather funny. Perhaps it’s due to the first episode showing more scenarios and the second one focus on a single situation, as well as the first episode involving more cartoonish elements such as quick movements. Nevertheless, watching cheerful and slightly naïve Kusaka alongside straight-faced charmer Wakabayashi is a bit of a treat, so I’ll definitely continue to watch the antics they inadvertently get into. If you want to give it a watch, you can find it on Crunchyroll.

Oya-san wa Shishunki!

This one is kind of lackluster. Borrowing perhaps from the recent trend of “little sister” shows without actually involving a little sister, I feel like this one doesn’t really go anywhere with its two minutes. It kind of has the vibe of a fetish show, since the landlord is not only a middle schooler, but only wears things one would wear at a Japanese school, such as an apron and kerchief worn during lunch for handing out meals to the other students. I didn’t really find any of the jokes to be amusing, either. There’s not much here for me to warrant continuing to tune in each week. If you’ve got two minutes to spare, take a look at it on Crunchyroll and see if it’s for you.

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan

From the first scene, I could tell that this one probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Most of the segments in this short involve rumors and strange questions the characters come up with, typically of a sexual nature, but not exclusively. Perhaps it’s aim is to show the foolishness of young people and that they’ll believe anything due to a lack of experience and puberty, but I found that I don’t really have patience for that. Maybe if there was an older character that the others worked off of, I’d find it more amusing. Instead, I just find myself frustrated that these kids believe the dumbest things. One of the characters, Otako, seems to be the “one in the know,” but even so, I’m not certain if everything she says is accurate. If you plan on giving this one a shot, head over to Crunchyroll and check it out. I’d take a few grains of salt along, though.

Sekko Boys

This is by far the most creative of the anime shorts I watched. Recent college graduate Miki Ishimoto’s first job is managing Sekko Boys, a male idol group consisting of busts of Saint Georgio, Medici, Hermes, and Mars. The first episode was quite funny, and Miki’s backstory was perfectly chosen for the scenario of the show. Keeping the busts as pictures rather than animated characters is also a wise choice: they still maintain their look of being from somewhere separate from present-day Japan, and the show avoids giving them any odd facial or body expressions that could fall flat. While the second episode didn’t leave me laughing as much as the first, I still thought it was quite amusing. I’ll continue to follow Sekko Boys along on their quest to becoming a popular idol group. You can follow along too at Crunchyroll.

Tabi Machi Late Show

I’m a bit on the fence when it comes to this show. Its style is that of stop motion 2-d animation, and while it stands out, I’m not sure I particularly like it. The art design itself looks pretty nice, though. As for the story, each episode involves different sets of characters. The promotion picture shows all of the characters that have been featured thus far, which leaves me unsure as to whether we’ll continue following those four characters or if each episode will continue to be self-contained. As for the first two episodes themselves, they both involve more subtle storytelling. While I thought the first episode used its subtly pretty well, I felt that the second episode was almost too subtle. It’s a little hard to know what the conflict between the two girls is, but after a second watch, I think I understood better. That being said, I think the first one worked better than the second one. Since there’s only four episodes scheduled for release, I’ll see how the next two play out and whether I can put together a more concrete opinion on this one. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can head over to Crunchyroll and give this one a shot.

Watching any anime shorts this season? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Cindy Caraturo

Continual student of the Japanese language and valiant attempter at novel (and article!) writing. Enjoys when it's softly raining outside and is an avid drinker of quali-tea. Also thinks she is amusing. Take that for what you will. (⌒▽⌒)

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