Here’s Side B where I cover the shows which air on Friday and the weekend!
Let’s get right to it. There’ll be a messy tier list where I rank the shows at the end, so you can just jump straight to that if you don’t want to read all this text.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (episode 2) – things are getting convoluted already with multiple organizations at play, victims being framed for murder, and people eating ramen together (and it doesn’t quite manage to be as engaging as Yuru Camp△ in that regard, unfortunately). The world of hitmen is a brutal one and viewers should be prepared to see gore as the series sets the stage for the sneaky private detective to team up with the outraged cross-dressing killer-for-hire.
Hakumei to Mikochi (episode 2) – the series really established its setting as being fantastical and steeped in spiritual folklore since this episode featured three different stories involving youkai and moving skeletons. The first one introduces the concept of tsukumogami, or tools that gain a spirit due to various reasons, and a haughty singer who learns to be less prideful and to work with others. The second introduced a scientist who’s primarily concerned with researching “Life” and has found a way to reanimated skeletons. The last story brings Hakumei and Mikochi back to Master’s place where they all find out the coffee grinder she inherited from her mom became a tsukumogami since it was used with love and care for so many years.
Thus far Hakumei to Mikochi is shaping up to be like Konohana Kitan in some aspects, but with much less characters to focus on and no inn to distract the narrative. It remains a calming watch, but not much has changed compared to the previous episode (i.e. more picky viewers will consider this series to be boring).
Toji no Miko (episode 3) – [dropped]. The two rebels receive help, mysteries pile up, and girls swing swords. I mean, this is just your typical “a bunch of girls fight stuff” series. Even with Hiyori realizing that Kanami is even more skilled than her and may be able to defeat the nebulous Yukari-sama, Toji no Miko fails to retain my interest. There’s going to be a few more episodes where the two rebels convince other students that they’re doing all of this for (poor) reasons and then the coup will expand with more members joining and more details will slowly be revealed. But once you’ve seen one battle girl series, you’ve seen them all.
Citrus (episode 3) – more of the same. Convenient and impromptu plot developments. Yuzu being too easily influenced by her emotions around Mei. Mei continues to espouse her twisted opinions on love towards Yuzu while sending her step-sister mixed signals (i.e. “we’re family but I don’t intend to actually be close with you”) which confuses Yuzu even further. Both girls force themselves onto each other by now, too. I’m not loving this series and I’m only hanging on since it’s expected for me to pay attention to Citrus.
Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen (episode 3) – I finally caught up! Well, I’m enjoying the series a great deal so far. It’s still dragging its feet a bit, much like how the original series did. However, episode 3 showed Sakura capturing two different cards, AQUA and REFLECT, which signifies (in my opinion) that the series realizes that it can’t devote an entire episode to a single card like how Cardcaptor Sakura frequently did. In other words, the pacing is quicker and more consistent, as seen in how Sakura is frequently having dream encounters with the mysterious individual, which results in a tighter narrative that is simply what is required in a society in which viewers with shorter attention spans thrive.
I also love the return of “Leave It to Kero-chan!” and how Suppie gets in on the fun by trying to keep Kero-chan on-track.
DARLING in the FranXX (episode 2) – the innuendo and parallels to sexual activity continue to pop up at full force, but it’s too soon to say the not-so-subtle terms were just added for shallow metaphors and shock factor. I’m growing less hopeful by the episode, however. What we were shown in this episode (well, confirmed is a more apt word since this was hinted at in episode 1) is that piloting a FranXX essentially resembles heterosexual intercourse between a male and a female and that Hiro’s inability to properly pilot a FranXX in a mock battle could be compared to how a man could suffer from erectile dysfunction and fail to perform.
The rest of Hiro’s squad was also given more focus – some are thoroughly detestable but a few (namely, one) are nice enough. Properly introducing the side characters is a smart move considering how some anime viewers will probably detest Hiro for being insecure and desperate (to their detriment – these sort of conflicted characters can and have been written well in mecha series before). I just feel really bad for Hiro since he hasn’t really done anything wrong and yet everyone is insulting him or turning on him or using him for their own entertainment.
Pop Team Epic (episode 3) – I might just stop talking about Pop Team Epic as a whole here since it’s a memetic comedy series that lacks a sense of continuity and heavily relies on rampant use of parodies, absurdist humor, and non sequiturs. It’s either your cup of tea or it ain’t. I personally love most of it (Bob Team Epic isn’t my favorite segment, but it’s just starting to grow on me. JAPON MiGNON is probably the weakest segment as a whole – I see little point to include a French segment with weak punchlines that even a non-native speaker can guess at without subtitles). Your mileage, of course, may vary.
Sanrio Danshi (episode 3) – Now that Kouta’s issues have been solved, we get some insight into Yuu’s and it’s more or less cleared up by the end of the episode! And the same thing will be happening for Shunsuke the following week! There’s a bit of a pattern there, but I just can’t quite put my finger on it…
The series remains a blatant advertisement for Sanrio goods, but it’s clear that they put in a bit of thought into it. Anyone who was ever mocked or bullied or tormented over being different while growing up can definitely relate to the characters’ struggles. Be that as may, I find myself being a bit bored as I watch. I may drop this series eventually.
Also, Yuu’s sister, Yuuri, is unreasonable as well as emotionally imbalanced. She should probably chill out.
Slow Start (episode 3) – I don’t see myself dropping this series any time soon, but there’s not much to write about here. It was great to see how Hana’s parents are so supportive of their little girl. Eiko and Kamuri celebrating the other girls’ birthdays was also soothing to watch. But that’s about it. Truly, this is the essence of a genuine “Cute Girls Do Cute Things” series, which will prove to be off-putting to some viewers.
Be that as it may, I remain unconvinced that Hana being a year slow to start high school is a strong enough concept to base an entire series on. Perhaps it’s because I don’t quite understand why Hana feels compelled to hide her age difference from her friends. For now, however, Hana’s attempt to hide specifics details leads some degree of drama, but I doubt her friends would mock her over something like this.
Takunomi. (episode 2) – I’m literally only watching this just to learn more about Japanese booze / mixed drinks. I personally see nothing else of value to be gained from the series. I’ll probably end up “dropping” this series by next week. In this case I’ll just stop talking about it but I’ll probably still be watching it to expand my knowledge on alcohol. But if Takunomi. ever diverges from this focus for a single episode, then this discrete relationship between me and the series will be over.
Mitsuboshi Colors (episode 3) – there are two parts for this episode. For the first half, the Colors have to sell leftover bunches of bananas so Sat-chan doesn’t end up eating bananas for three meals a day. For the second half, the Colors try to figure out Pops’ code so they don’t end up cutting the wrong wire for his toy bomb, which leads them to the Underground Market where they run into Nono, a middle / high school student who goes along with their antics.
A silly episode as usual where Saito gets the short end of the stick again. This series probably won’t appeal to everyone, but I like how the characters play off each other and how each episode makes for relaxed, comedic watching.
Gakuen Babysitters (episode 3) – there are two stories for this episode (similar to how this week’s episode of Mitsuboshi Colors plays out, actually). Firstly, Kouta, Usaida, and the kids get introduced to two of Kouta’s male schoolmates, Yagi and Nezu, while Valetine’s Day is afoot. Secondly, Kouta and Usaida try to get Kazuma and Takuma to bond with Kosuke, their father who is a famous actor.
The situation with Kosuke and his two kids is sort of amusing and makes sense towards the end, but I was a bit put-off with Yagi. A middle school student who gets nose bleeds while interacting with kids? So he gets turned on by kids? It’s not a flattering look for the series and everyone reacts with disgust towards Yagi’s conduct so he doesn’t get a free pass, at least. But I just wonder why this had to be included since it’s appalling behaviour. I’m also frustrated with Inomata’s mindset which evidently hasn’t changed at all from the previous episode since she’s coming up with lame excuses to not join the Babysitters Club. Ah, well, character development can’t be rushed, right?
As long as Yagi maintains a very low profile in Gakuen Babysitters, the series should be fine. But I’m on alert.
Aaaand here’s the weekly list.
There will be four categories for the following list. This post covers about half of the shows discussed here. My thoughts on the other half can be found over on Side A. I would have already said what I thought about each show already, but if I feel like I have something else to add I’ll mention it in this list.
Bouquet Group (AKA my current favorites of the season – these shows are what I look forward to watching the most every week)
Blossom Group (AKA decent picks – these shows have noticeably more flaws than the ones in the previous category but aren’t overly painful to watch)
Bud Group (AKA lackluster picks – these shows are more trouble than they’re worth and I’m probably watching them out of misguided reasons. Very close to being dropped)
Bad Group (AKA awful picks – these shows have been dropped due to various reasons)
- Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (episode 3) – the series continues to impress with the framing while landing resonating emotional notes. There’s a general sense of progress, too, since the group has gathered and everyone is cleared to join the expedition.
- Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen (episode 3) – biasness kicks in here since I just finished marathoning Cardcaptor Sakura and the second movie, but it sure is great seeing the gang, now new and improved, once again. It’s likely going to be a comparatively slower-paced story due to having 26 episodes to play with, but the latest episode gives me hope that it’ll be faster than the original series.
- Hakumei to Mikochi (episode 2) – this week’s focus on folklore and fantasy made me think that Hakumei to Mikochi could be considered to Konohana Kitan, which was a series I loved watching, in tone. Alas, for better or for worse, it’s not Konohana Kitan. Still a calming watch that gives viewers a little something to think about (and somewhat approaches philosophy).
- Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (episode 2) – the framing of the relationship between Akira and Masami seems to imply the not-couple would be a cute couple, which is worrisome. I’m still not convinced that they should be together. Since Akira has shown that she is willing to cross boundaries, it’s all up to Masami to show restraint and not take advantage of her feelings and not cruelly shoot her down. So far, I like Masami a lot since he really is a well-meaning, albeit clumsy, man. Even though he is currently oblivious, I hope he can tread this tricky situation carefully.
- Yuru Camp△ (episode 3) – Rin really starts growing attached to Nadeshiko and it looks like everyone else (aside from Ena) is trying to earn some money to have the funds to improve their camping experience. Nadeshiko’s goofy fluff faces are something to behold.
- Pop Team Epic (episode 3) – you either love this type of humour or you don’t. I’ll probably stop talking about this starting from next week.
- Violet Evergarden (episode 2)
- Mitsuboshi Colors (episode 3)
- Slow Start (episode 3)
- DARLING in the FranXX (episode 2)
- Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (episode 2)
- Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (episode 2)
- Gakuen Babysitters (episode 3)
- Märchen Mädchen (episode 2)
(Meh Shows – Heavily Considering Dropping)
- Sanrio Danshi (episode 3)
- Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku (episode 2)
- Citrus (episode 3)
- Takunomi. (episode 2)
- Hakyuu Houshin Engi (during episode 1)
- Mahoutsukai no Yome (after episode 12)
- Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (during episode 3)
- Toji no Miko (after episode 3)
- Miira no Kaikata (during episode 2)
- Devilman Crybaby
That’s all for now, folks! Thanks for reading.