Premieres, second episodes…let’s not quibble on the details, shall we?
Sorry this didn’t go up sooner. It should have. I had it in my head that I could work my 9-to-5, travel to a different city, help my best friend plan for her wedding, be IN that wedding, and still have time to watch all the anime premieres and write about them WHILE ALSO posting detailed episode analysis on the second season of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju.
I, uh… guess it’s important that we all discover our limits so that we remember we are fallible and squishy and capable of mass exhaustion, eh?
Most of these shows are already on their second episodes or heading into their third. Still, I didn’t say I wasn’t going to write a premiere post, so I felt like I had to get something out there. Here’s a very quick rundown of what’s earned three episodes, what’s on the fence, and everything else. On the plus(?) side, the potential watchlist is already shorter than usual, which is the only reason I had time to slap this together at all. As you’ve likely heard by now, it’s, uh, not the most abundant of seasons.
I’ll have a proper Rule of Three out next week, with proper write-ups for everything I’m still watching. If you’re looking for lengthier premiere posts, Amelia covered everything in-depth at Anime Feminist, and of course ANN had their crack team of reviewers preview all the things, too. Thanks in advance for your understanding! And now, at last, the winter premiere post~
- ACCA 13-Territory Inspection Dept: I wanted to like this show about bureaucrats in a fictitious nation more than I actually did. It’s a bit blandly directed, I think, and the production is surprisingly stilted for a Madhouse show. That said, I’ve also seen the second episode, and the promise of cat-and-mouse intrigue has definitely piqued my interest much more than the premiere did. Plus it’s based on a manga by Natsume Ono (House of 5 Leaves, Ristorante Paradiso), the Queen of Slow Burn Storytelling, so I suspect it’ll continue to improve and suck me in a little more each week.
- Interviews with Monster Girls: The first episode did a nice job humanizing its cast and drawing some interesting metaphorical lines between demi-humans and real-world marginalized groups (especially people with disabilities), but I can’t rest easy with an adult teacher surrounded by cute girl students who all seem to be developing crushes on him. There’s an undercurrent of heteronormativity in the vampire’s blood fantasies that irked me, too. Still, I really like the concept, and the premiere was handled with a lot of restraint. I haven’t seen the second episode yet, but as long as they keep this from turning into a harem situation, I’ll likely stick with it.
- Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: This comedy about a dragon gal and the woman she falls in love with might’ve been my favorite premiere of the season. It’s bawdy at times, so if that’s not your bag then it likely won’t appeal to you, but barring one super-unpleasant stripping scene it does a good job of keep the racier stuff light and fun instead of creepy (the premiere even ends with a moment of explicit consent, which was a big relief). And I mean, c’mon. You just knew I was gonna like the goofy series with the gay dragon lady, didn’t you?
- Saga of Tanya the Evil: Telling the EPIC! tale of a cynical child mage soldier in 1924 Fantasy Germany, Tanya knows it’s ridiculous and embraces that with bombastic facial expressions, overblown dialogue, and lots of explosions. Dumbest Best Thing. A+ Dumb. A+ Best. A+ Thing. Long live anime.
On the Fence
- Akiba’s Trip: The Keijo of the winter season, it’s an up-front fanservice show about stripping people to save them from the monsters possessing them. It’s full of boobs and definitely not gonna win any feminist awards, but it has an energetic spirit, likable characters, and charmingly sloppy art design, so I find myself enjoying its chipper stupidity quite a bit. Plus any show that shuts down nerd gatekeepers can’t be all bad, I figure.
- Gabriel DropOut: Probably would’ve worked better as a 10-minute short, but even so, this comedy about trash angels and cinnamon roll devils isn’t half bad. They even managed to get me to laugh at a panty joke, which is not an easy feat. It over-indulges in distracting fanservice and, as far as wacky supernatural comedies go, pales in comparison to Dragon Maid both in terms of style and substance, but I’ll try out the second episode at least to see if it hooks me.
- Marginal #4: I was ready to write it off as the season’s obligatory bland male idol show, but after a painfully dull first act Marginal #4 turned into a silly story about high school boys screwing around together. The art design doesn’t appeal to me and I’m not sure there was enough here to bring me back, but it was way more amusing than I expected, so I figured it deserved to sit here rather than get lumped into the “dropped” pile.
Sequels and Carryovers
If you’ve come here at all in the past few days then you know I’m watching (and writing about!) the second season of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. I’m also keeping up with ClassicaLoid, obviously. To be blunt, I don’t see the point of more Yowamushi Pedal after the way the last season ended, but I like the cast an awful lot, so I’ll stick around at least for three episodes to see if the magic is still there. That’s all!
I’m flipping tables about Amazon trying to charge me $60 a year ON TOP OF MY PRIME SUBSCRIPTION for their stupid Anime Strike channel, so I haven’t subscribed yet and am debating whether I ever will. Maybe I should start a tip jar and see if folks want to help fund my anime addiction? Heh. Anyway, that means Scum’s Wish and Onihei, this season’s Amazon exclusives, are currently off the blogging table.
Little Witch Academia is also on hold until Netflix dumps the first cour on me. Hopefully I can avoid spoilers for three months.
This list is long, and watching it felt even longer! Ranked in an order roughly equivalent to how willing I’d be to un-drop it if I heard good things about later episodes:
- Seiren: Thirsty teenagers awkwardly (and often uncomfortably) engage with each other. As far as thirsty teenager shows go, it’s handled pretty realistically at least. I almost put this in my “on the fence” pile, but the male gaze is strong with this one, so I’m giving it a soft pass instead. Might come back to it depending on aniblogger buzz.
- EldLIVE: Teen boy suddenly joins space police?! And his hostile classmate is there, too?! I watched it like two days ago and have almost no memory of it, which usually means a show wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t noteworthy.
- Masamune-kun’s Revenge: Mean and shallow teenagers being mean and shallow. Might be going somewhere valuable with its premise, but I have no patience for shows about nasty high schoolers right now, so I’m out.
- Fuuka: Three panty shots and two obnoxious, screaming arguments about them within, what, 5 minutes? Yeah, I don’t really care what else this one had to offer. I’m done here.
- Spiritpact: A decent premise ruined by whiplash pacing and awkward exposition. Almost bad enough to be entertaining, but alas, not quite.
- Hand Shakers: This is Murphy’s Anime–whatever could go wrong, does go wrong. From the hideous art design and animation to the nonsensical story, its badness has already become legendary. Unfortunately it can’t achieve hilaribad status because all the jiggly boob physics and violence against women ruins the enjoyment. Well, at least I still have Tanya for my Good Trash Fix.
- Minami Kamakura High School Cycling Club: Or “WHAT AM BIKE,” as some colleagues of mine have been calling it. The protagonist is painfully stupid and overall the show smacks of bland cuteness. No thanks.
- Schoolgirl Strikers: Poorly written magical girl series.I got nothing else to add to that.
- Urara Meirouchou: Looked harmless enough until the ditzy protagonist started flashing her underboob and stripping people she’d just met. Done.
- Kemono Friends: Bad CG and blandly cute animal girls. I think this one is technically for kids, but geez, even as a kid I would’ve been bored to hell by it.
- Idol Incidents: The government is run by airheaded entertainers, and the bad guy is the person insisting that civil servants be experienced and educated. TOO REAL, ANIME. Too. Damn. Real.