Is it just me, or was 2018 kind of a down year for anime? Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the avalanche of quality we’ve gotten over the past 2-3 years, but while I’m usually agonizing over what I’ll have to drop from a list, this year I was agonizing over what I was going to put on it at all. I’d worry that my sense of whimsy was fading, but I’ve spent literal months rolling around in the Twitch Pokemon marathon, so that can’t be it…
Whatever the case, the weird year resulted in me having two Top 10 lists with relatively little overlap: one was of shows that I knew in my head were good but had left me cold, and one of shows that I knew weren’t as technically sharp but I sure did care about them. I wrote up the first list… and then threw it in a fire and published the second one instead. So, please enjoy the Top 10 Shows That Made Your Stressed-Out Blogger Feel Things.
This. Season. Is. STACKED. Or, at least, that’s how it looks after a deluge of strong premieres. Six shows impressed me enough to earn a guaranteed three episodes, not including the four sequels I’m locked into; and honestly, in a normal season, at least a few of the fence-sitters would have been “guaranthreed,” too. I eventually had to start dropping stuff not because I hated it, but because I was terrified my watchlist would topple sideways under the weight of all those shows and crush me beneath it.
Point being, there’s almost certainly something listed below that will catch your fancy as much as or more than it did mine. So let’s dive right into ’em, shall we?
March comes in like a dragon and out like a maid (that’s totally how that saying goes, right?).
Just a couple short weeks ago I was ready to come into this post a little tired and bummed about the season, but some strong final arcs have lifted my opinion (or maybe I’m just riding high from yesterday’s heartwarming Dragon Maid finale). We’ve had deeper and stronger seasons, but this one had its share of charm and individuality–and hey, as I said last winter, no season with a standout masterpiece like Rakugo Shinju can ever be truly disappointing.
Sure, we’re almost a week into the spring season, but it’d be bad form to say “hi” to the new gang without first bidding a “see ya later” to the old. Hit the jump for some final thoughts on an up-and-down winter.
Welp, they’ve done it again. The creative team who assured us that being a girl was a state of mind rather than a state of body brought that same chipper progressivism to their silly romance episode, and they did not disappoint. ClassicaLoid may be first-and-foremost a wacky comedy about the importance of community and the transformative power of music, but it’s also proven itself adept at quietly challenging cultural norms about gender and sexuality. Guess it’s true you should never judge a book by its cover—or a series by its goofy premise.
It’s Valentine’s season, but this post is more of a Like Letter than a Love Letter.
My watch list has slipped a few shows shorter than it was at the Rule of Three. Interviews with Monster Girls is out mostly for the reasons I mentioned in that post, and Yowamushi Pedal has fallen by the wayside as well. Which suits me fine; I have other projects and hobbies on my plate at the moment and not feeling like I’m constantly playing catch-up on 10-plus series has been kind of a relief, to tell the truth. Maybe I should be pickier in future seasons, too.
Barring a few major exceptions, it isn’t what I’d call a memorable season thus far, but there’s a fair bit of “good” to make up for the lack of “great.” As is often the case when life gets hectic, I’ve found myself gravitating toward comedies, and thankfully winter has some solid ones in its catalog (although they’re not without their issues, I admit). It also has underrated gem ClassicaLoid, and of course Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, which. I mean. Just. All of the chef’s kiss gifs and emojis. Every last one ’em. So not too shabby, all things considered.
I keep thinking of this as a light season, but I’m still keeping up with nine series so clearly I have no concept of what “light” means anymore. Maybe by “light” I just mean there isn’t a lot of meat here: I’m enjoying what I’m watching, but with the exception of a couple of series there’s not a ton of in-depth discussion to be had. …Or maybe burying myself in Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju each week has just fried the part of my brain that analyzes things.
Probably the biggest bummer about this season is that the list of titles I would happily recommend to everyone is, er…not long. Lotta caveats this season, which means a lot of shows that could easily lose you and perpetually run the risk of losing me. As with everything in life right now, reckon we’ll just have to take it one day at a time.
In the next couple weeks I’ll be hitting you with final Flip Flappers commentary, my Top 10 Anime of 2016, maybe a short essay or two, and then we turn around and start all over again with the winter premieres, including the much-anticipated return of Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (and my lengthy commentary about it)! A blogger’s work is never done.
So you’d think that would mean I’d have kept my Fall retrospective thoughts short and sweet, right? Wrong! This season was a cornucopia of strong comedy, positive queer representation, diverse female leads, and geeky premises. And you know I can’t shut up about stuff like that. Hit the jump for too many words about too many shows.
While I doubt I’ll have time to do the full 12 Days of Anime on my own here at JND, I am participating in the one being held over at Anime Feminist! Today I talk about one of my favorite episodes of the season: ClassicaLoid‘s silly, saucy, and joyfully inclusive “Girls’ Day Out.”
I’m writing this from a hotel room in New York, which both explains why it’s a bit late (some of these shows have already moved past their halfway point) and why this introduction is going to be brief. My Fall anime bloc continues to either hold steady or improve each week, depending on the show, which is always a promising sign at the halfway mark. There’s good variety too, so whether you’re looking for something to soothe or something to pump you up, you should be able to find a much-needed break from reality below.