Spring 2016 in Review: Joker Game and Bungou Stray Dogs

Joker Game:

It’s not a hard thing for me to say that this is one of my favorite shows from this past season.  I have loved spy series since I was a young kid.  The outrageous spy games of James Bond and Mission Impossible always hit a soft spot for me.  I still enjoy these kinds of series because some of my favorite movies of last year were spy movies.  A Man Called U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation were solid movies that I liked quite a bit.  Having a week to week spy series put into a more realistic sense is just great.  With that and the added bonus of being set in a real interesting time period, Joker Game is just pure gold to me.

To me, besides everything from the characterization, the show was almost perfect.  The art style was extremely realistic, but not realistic enough to sway from the anime side of things.  Joker Game’s backgrounds are insanely good and, even if they may or may not be accurate to whatever city they are in, they definitely feel like the city they should be in.  Also, I feel like Joker Game has the smoothest animation from the season.  I don’t mean just action scenes, I mean how the characters move, the facial expressions, and everything else.  Production I.G. is my favorite studio because the detail and hard work they put into their product is outstanding.

Each episode conveys a different part of a spy story.  The interrogation scene, the barely seen spy, the train episode, the reason why I spy would live an organization, and the spy organization against the poser spy organization.   Every episode set up was similar.  A general layout of what the backs story is for what is going to go on is given to the main audience, and then the adventure takes place.  It’s a great episode lay out with almost infinite possibilities from different perspectives.

So yes, the characters are the weakest part of the series.  There are a few stand outs like Yuki, the nazi commander who was trying to track down Yuki his entire lift, and that British operative with a face similar to Gouda from Stand Alone Complex, but the spies themselves aren’t very distinct from each other.  I think that is a part of the point of the series because you can tell when each spy in a different situation, but it does weight down the platform of the rest of the good behind it.  As an ending point, I definitely have to say that give this one a watch.  Take your time between episodes because there isn’t that much of a connecting plot besides the two parters.  It’s very soft spoken, but man does Joker Game leave a big impression.

Bungou Stray Dogs:

I guess I don’t have that much to say about this series besides, it’s not for me.  After the last episode, I really don’t understand the point of it all.  Azushi as a character has grown somewhat, but the story and plot itself hasn’t really.  In the end, it feels like almost everything is back at square one.  Okay, so I did have some things to say about it.

Don’t get me wrong, from a production stand point Studio Bones is on fire…again.  The fight scenes were amazing, characterization, setting, music, everything needed to make series what it is a stand out.  It just feels like the series is going around and around in circles for me.  Everything started out okay with the main character getting kicked out of an orphanage and him having a bounty on his head, but none of that is resolved by the main character.  In fact, a lot of things aren’t solved by the main character or the band of people that he is a part of until about 8 episodes in.  I just don’t get what the series is trying to convey or what feeling I should be left with.  In the end, I don’t think I will watch the second season of this show.  If I hear different sources that it’s good, then maybe.

4 thoughts on “Spring 2016 in Review: Joker Game and Bungou Stray Dogs

  1. Bungo Stray Dogs definitely suffers from a lack of clear plot progression, but I’ve quite enjoyed it. Individual episodes of Joker Game are all right but as a series I just find it has too much repetition episode to episode and I really struggle getting thorugh a series when I can’t really connect with the characters. Even a jerk of a character will hold my interest more than a non-entity. And I do get that they are spies and being non-descript is a pretty good trait, but it didn’t do much to compel me to watch again.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Scott, I am very surprised that you gave Bungou Stray Dogs any praise at all. I just finished it a few days ago and it is honestly one of the worst anime that I have ever seen. The plot progression is messed up, Atsushi’s unexplained control over his powers doesn’t make sense, and the random addition of the Guild makes the whole series annoy me a ton!


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