Panning the Stream: Winter 2018 Premiere Digest

Heavy emphasis on “digest” this time around…

A boy in front of a blue "doom" background looks back at his two friends with puppy-dog eyes. All three are wearing the same school uniform.

Sorry, team, but the hefty task of both writing  and editing for Premiere Hell over at AniFem has taken its toll, and your humble blogger is burned out. So instead of the usual mini-reviews for Every Single Premiere (and yeah, I watched ’em all again), below is just a super-quick rundown of what’s caught my eye and what hasn’t.

To help you decide if you should try out a new series,  I’ve included links to all the AniFem premiere reviews (some of which I did write, so it’s not like I’ve been sittin’ on my laurels the past couple weeks!). I don’t have exactly the same tastes as the other AniFem reviewers, but I respect and largely agree with their analyses, so I’m totally fine just pointing to them and saying “Yeah, what they said.” Hit the jump for links and a rundown!

Guaranthreed

A teen girl with long hair holds chopsticks in one hand over a cup noodle container and chews happily, eyes squeezed shut.

  • A Place Further than the Universe:  Well-written and expressively animated story about a group of girls trying to take a trip to Antarctica that nails its comedic and emotional beats in equal measures. Director Atsuko Ishizuka’s first anime-original series has me thoroughly wowed.
  • DamePri Anime Caravan: I wrote the review for this one and gushed about it for 1000 words. It’s fantasy Ouran High and I am extremely here for it.
  • Laid-Back Camp:  Another one that I reviewed for AniFem. This show about girls going camping is a fuzzy blanket in anime form, and I look forward to burying my face in it each week.
  • Record of Grancrest War: A fairly standard high fantasy that has two big things going for it: Director Hatakeyama (formerly of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju) and a baller lady protagonist who’s running the whole show from the shadows. As long as the series doesn’t sideline her, I suspect I’ll stick around.
  • Sanrio Boys: The toy commercial is Good, Actually? A sweet story that directly addresses and challenges pressures placed on boys to adhere to rigid gender norms. I wrote the review for this one, too.
  • Sequel Check-In: I’m still watching ClassicaLoid (obvs) and The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and I’ve picked up Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. I may have dropped Mr. Osomatsu, but we’ll see how the season shakes out.

 

On the Fence

A frizzy-haired girl wearing a colorful cap holds an octopus tentacle in her mouth with an expression of joy on her face. Across from her is a jar full of octopi tentacles.

  • Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens: A hard-boiled crime drama with a solid aesthetic and some engaging characters. I wasn’t in love with the premiere, but this season is fairly low on plot-driven series I didn’t actively dislike, so I want to give Hakata a chance to grab me (and prove it can treat its crossdressing protagonist well).
  • Hakumei and Mikochi: A relaxing fantastical slice-of-life about little people and their animal friends. Not sure it can hold me for a full season, but the storybook aesthetic is super charming, so I’m gonna give it at least one more episode.
  • How to keep a mummy:  This is an extremely good season for Cute and Soothing, and Mummy might just take the cake with its li’l moe monster. No guarantees yet, but there’s a good chance I’ll stick around for a weekly dose of “AWWW.”
  • KOKKOKU: There’s a really cool idea at the heart of this not-very-well-executed lady-led supernatural thriller. I’ve already watched the second episode and am even less certain I’ll stick with it now, which does not bode well. But I haven’t nixed it yet, so here it sits.

 

Dropped?

A teen girl in a school uniform smiles weakly behind an old-fashioned elevator gate.

There were a lot of shows this season that I didn’t hate but also didn’t like enough that I’m excited to come back for more. Welcome to their list. I might return to any one of these if I hear good things further down the road, but no promises.

  • DARLING in the FRANXX: This one’s too complicated to untangle in a bullet point, so please just click the review (I wrote it) for all my thoughts. I’m definitely keeping an eye on Anitwitter to see if the series addresses its early issues and challenges its premise—I just don’t have the energy to take that gamble right now.
  • IDOLiSH7: Another male idol anime, although this one has more pep in its step than they usually do. I’ve never gotten into an idol anime and I doubt it’s happening this season either, but if you like the genre then give this one a shot.
  • Junji Ito Collection: I have a hard time with short stories in general and an even harder time with horror short stories, so this is very much Not My Bag. Word has it Episode 2 was better than Episode 1, so that’s promising for folks who are fans of this type of story, I s’pose?
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san: The very definition of “fine.” I reviewed this one for AniFem and struggled to find something to say about it there, too.
  • Maerchen Maedchen: An enjoyable premise about a very Hashtag Relatable bookworm teenager finding a portal to another world. Shame about all the nudity in the back half, though. If I hear it tones down the fanservice, then maybe I’ll give it another look.
  • Mitsuboshi Colors: Another one I reviewed for AniFem. An amusing little comedy about likably bratty kids. Would probably make for a fun series to watch with younger relatives, but YMMV.
  • Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles: I didn’t love the dynamic between the bubbly protagonist with stalker tendencies and the ramen-loving but totally disconnected Koizumi… but I do love ramen, so if their dynamic becomes more amicable I could see me coming back to enjoy the food porn and fun facts.
  • Pop Team Epic: Oh hey, look, I reviewed this one, too! (Because nobody else wanted to do it.) I found it exhausting. You may fare better.
  • School Babysitters: Another show that falls into the season’s expansive “Cute And Soothing” category, this one’s about cute boys taking care of cute toddlers. And yet, despite that description, I think it’s the side character always hitting his little brother on the head that turned me off of it after the second episode? At any rate, it seems like people who have kids or regularly work with kids really enjoy it, so give it a whirl if that sounds like you.

 

Dropped

A teen boy in casual clothes faces a woman across a deserted parking lot at night. The woman's smiling head is facing him, but her body is turned the other direction.

The question mark is gone! Nothing is ever set in stone, but it’d take some impressive word-of-mouth to get me back to any of these.

  • After the Rain: …Actually I’m probably going to watch the first three episodes of this so I can write something about it, so I guess it isn’t “dropped” just yet. I wouldn’t recommend it, though. The way it frames its “teen girl has a crush on her middle-aged manager” premise is creepy in a particularly insidious way, which is somehow more off-putting than a series that’s up-front about it.
  • Beatless: The show executes its kinda skeevy premise—scantily clad female-coded robot owned by a reserved teenage boy who’s attracted to her—with enough restraint that the premiere was pretty painless (and the little sister is real fun), but not enough that I want to go back to it.
  • citrus: I prefer fluffy romances to dramatic ones anyway, so this was always going to be a tough sell. Toss in some sexual assault and you have well and truly put me off.  Looks like I’ll be getting my queer loves stories via the subtext in Laid-Back Camp and Sanrio Boys this season.
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody: Ultra-boring boilerplate isekai power fantasy. I kept waiting for something to happen. Nothing did. Also, supposedly there are harem slaves in the show’s future. So, yeah. NOPE.
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko: Another series I exasperatedly described to a friend as “fine, I guess?” If it can figure out what kind of show it wants to be and get its breakneck pacing under control, it might turn into a decent “battle maidens” series.
  • Killing Bites: I feel bad admitting that I didn’t hate this terrible premiere. It’s still a terrible premiere, though, and while I got some chuckles out of just how bad it was, there was also a lot of gross stuff (tons of fanservice, a near-gang rape, a scummy protagonist) that make me never want to go back to it.
  • Slow Start: One of the very few premieres I couldn’t finish thanks to it’s manufactured-in-a-lab cute girl archetypes and low-key lolita ickiness. Laid-Back Camp is so, so much better.
  • The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!: The other premiere I couldn’t finish! Because nothing in this world can make me voluntarily sit through a show that sexualizes nine-year-olds.

 

Off the Table

A teen girl in a school uniform lies on her back on the edge of a dock at sunset, arms spread to either side of her face.

Violet Evergarden is airing everywhere but the U.S., and my salt could fill a shaker. Amelia swooped in from the UK to write the AniFem review for us, so if you have access to it, check out her review to see if it’s something you want to check out.

And yeah, I already binged DEVILMAN crybaby. It’s one of those shows that I can appreciate without particularly enjoying, and I’m fine with that. (Honestly my favorite thing about crybaby is the fanart and memes that have come out of it, so I’m genuinely glad it resonated with so many other people!) Vrai covers the first episode really well in their AniFem premiere review, so I’ll just point you to that for more.

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2 thoughts on “Panning the Stream: Winter 2018 Premiere Digest

  1. Citrus is the only show I’m firmly looking forward to.

    I’m waiting for the Simuldubs, which start tonight.

    From what I’ve heard Katana Maidens gets may better in episode 3.

    Youv’e dropped every show I intend to even try. After Smartphone last years I’ve found a whole new appreciation for Isekai. I hope we get more that truly embrace Non-Monogamy like it did.

    Like

    • So I started with Toji no Miko aka Katana Maidens. I found it’s first episode pretty fun. I don’t get people saying it “can’t figure out what kind of show it wants to be”. What I like about Anime is shows not fitting cleanly into a single genre. It’s pretty common to have a Cold Open that doesn’t involve our main character, and also common to take like three episodes to fully get what the plot is about. But mostly this episodes focuses on one main protagonist and her relationship with two potential love interests. So it seemed perfectly focused to me.

      Like

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