This post covers January 26th, 2018 to January 28th, 2018.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (episode 3) – Things are really spicing up in this series. Betrayals, possible aliases, avenging, and more! I think Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is doing a decent enough job making the roles and parts these different factions are playing in this widespread squabble easy enough to follow along. And for once I actually like the protagonists in an anime! I’m liking easygoing, nosy Banba and revenge-driven Lin who actually thinks unlike other rage-filled protagonists (I’m talking about you, Eren), at least. But I remain confused about Saito’s relevance in the story even with his backstory explained (which only raises more questions, to be honest). The only part that’s hard to swallow is how violence against women is wildly rampant. It comes with the setting and the people involved, yes, but some viewers will struggle watching women get beaten and raped and murdered.
Hakumei to Mikochi (episode 3) – You don’t really walk away with any deep messages after each week, but not every easygoing series is obligated to provide something of the sort to stay relevant. Hakumei to Mikochi does provide beautiful scenery and a rapidly expanding character cast, at least. I’m personally a big fan of tough and cool old guys, so the introduction of Iwashidani was a treat for me. The fact that things actually get very dramatic in the second half was a surprise (and a welcome one at that) and Iwashidani’s actions left me in tears. Ahhh, I’m getting emotional over a series in which nothing really happens.
Toji no Miko
Citrus (episode 4) – I feel really bad for doing this since I’m supposed to be covering yuri media, but I have to drop Citrus. I followed the manga for a long time and these few episodes reminded me of why I dropped it. It plays up melodrama to pad out chapters/episodes/arcs, resorts to sexual assault a bit too often (to its credit, Mei is a girl with warped views and Yuzu doesn’t exactly give Mei a free pass for her distasteful conduct, but she seems willing to overlook a lot), allowing communication problems to dictate everything within the series.
Hey, I had already said I didn’t particularly care about the series over a year ago. But I tried to give it an earnest shot. Maybe I’ll have to write about how yuri manga/anime/visual novels seem to stray towards this sort of content. We’ll have to see.
Sanrio Danshi (episode 4) – Shunsuke is a bit more rational than Yuuri, for which I am eternally grateful. However, he’s still an idiot and it’s actually unbelievable that he couldn’t realize that teamwork is important after playing in soccer for so long. His stupid reason for acting this way makes no sense, either. Why does he have the emotional maturity of a child? Did he headbutt the soccer ball a bit too often and suffer several consecutive concussions?
The fact that this annoying, spiteful blonde shrimp is going around calling boys (namely Yuu) perverted for liking Sanrio goods towards the end of the episode is giving me flashbacks to the worst bits of Yuuri and Kouta. Really? We’re going to introduce a closeted Sanrio fanboy yet again??? How boring. How uncreative. How disappointing. We either get closeted boys or insane girls or boys who don’t understand that team sports require team effort. They’re all idiots. That’s just fantastic.
I’m all for boys liking Sanrio goods. In fact, I personally stood in front of a booth at Anime Expo for several minutes as I tried to decide if I should buy some Cinnamoroll goods. I actually can’t help but laugh as the studio includes this nameless female character that’s supposed to be the viewer several times by now, too. But the story, while containing a modicum of effort despite the fact that the series is clearly a sales pitch (to be fair, almost all anime series are sales pitches), is let down by moronic characters. I’m getting so mad writing about this series so I’ll stop here.
Slow Start (episode 4) – it finally clicked for me. Hana’s hesitation to share the fact that she’s a year behind her friends is kind of justified. Everyone will say otherwise, but they internally judge you for not being like the rest. They will discriminate against you if they think you’re slow. And what took for me to realize this was the introduction of Hannen Hiroe, a ronin who failed to test into college twice in a row (due to various circumstances). She sympathizes with Hana’s situation and I in turn sympathize with Hiroe’s due to personal experience. At any rate, I really like Hiroe as a character. Her and Hana’s insecurities will likely turn out to be ultimately unfounded as Hana’s friends seem like accepting people, but I suppose the premises introduces a degree of anxiety and tension I hadn’t considered prior to this week.
Takunomi. (episode 4) – watching grown women not actually act like grown women just to appeal to the demographic of heterosexual males was already off-putting and left me disappointed. And it turns out watching girls talk about alcoholic products like they were sponsored to drink booze isn’t a good enough hook for me.
Pop Team Epic (episode 4) – wahaha. It was funny.
DARLING in the FRANXX (episode 3) – Although the sequence of events are a tad predictable, it had to be done. Yes, the viewer should have easily been able to see that Hiro would let smug and envious Mitsuru pilot with Zero Two and that it would turn out badly for Mitsuru so that the other kids finally acknowledge that he does indeed have value. The dynamic of the group is going to change drastically as a result. Perhaps they’ll start to be afraid of Hiro, who was relatively unharmed when he paired up with Zero Two. Either way, the result will probably be preferred since 3 episodes of petty people looking down on Hiro was getting very annoying.
On the plus side, Zorome shows he isn’t an entirely bad person since he does care for Miku’s well-being. Meanwhile, Ichigo continues to test positive in regards to all the symptoms for “Runner-Up in Romance.” Clingy? Sucks at communication? Only seems to care for him? Unreasonable? Almost cause the entire squad to get wiped out because she can’t control her tingles? I’ll run out of ink checking all of that. Ichigo is an eyesore.
I’m now feeling a bit of a disconnect from Hiro. I don’t understand him. His train of thoughts either alternate from making sense (he had to let Mitsuru pilot with Zero Two since the superiors were being stubborn sticks-in-the-mud) to not making sense at all (why is he thinking of what Zero Two mentioned earlier in the episode when his own personal value was basically reaffirmed due to Mitsuru’s condition? After expressing his thoughts on being accepted?) Clearly that was thrown in to illustrate that he’s having second thoughts unlike the other kids who are basically conditioned and brainwashed. But there’s no segue. It’s like he was ordering at Subway and says he wants his sandwich toasted right before he abruptly claims he gets turned on by pink-haired girls eating honey. There’s no flow whatsoever and the series was aiming to have the episode end with him considering Zero Two’s words.
Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen (episode 4) – we’re back to original form in Cardcaptor Sakura. Mysterious transfer student appears, Sakura gets along well enough with her, and she’s ultimately kept oblivious (as with Kero and Yue) while others keep secrets from her. The series is sticking to its roots, it seems, for better or for worse. But the pretty animation and the smaller episode count makes me slightly hopeful that this formulaic set-up won’t be dragged out for too long. Alas, it’s also very likely that this format will persist until the arc is about to finish, which could take many many episodes.
Gakuen Babysitters (episode 4) – Ryuuichi is now a high schooler and spends the first half of the episode dropping by all of the school clubs with the kids and attempting to recruit members to the babysitters’ club. He ends up getting depressed that he won’t really have a chance to join a club and experience his youth since he’s busy with looking after toddlers, but he cheers up after Koutaro convinces Taka, who’s also joining the baseball club, to join. The second half has Koutaro trying his best, along with Youko and fan favourite Saikawa, trying to take care of Ryuuichi, who dreams of his parents, after he falls ill.
All in all, this episode sort of retraces ground that was already explored (Ryuuichi sort of came to terms with this being his life in earlier episodes and how his parents are no longer there), but I guess the episode tries to distract viewers from noticing with fluff. Or perhaps it’s to show that characters can’t change so easily and that development comes slowly. At any rate, I at least didn’t feel like I wasted my time since I still enjoyed the episode.
Mitsuboshi Colors (episode 4) – In the first half of the episode, the Colors are introduced to Moka, Nonoka’s onee-chan who plans on turning their father’s bakery into an onigiri shop. The second half has the girls watching Yui perform in a parade along with her school friends before the Colors explore the festival together. Not as funny as an episode compared to the prior ones overall, but the series successfully (and humourously) conveys tension with the introduction with Moka and the small exchange Sat-chan had with the grandmother was hilarious. I’m confident that this series will continue to remain wholesome and a relaxing watch throughout the rest of season.
There will be five 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 should 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)
B-Finished Group (I finished these shows but I wanted to keep the B-theme going)
- Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (episode 3) – even with my misgivings towards and my mixed feelings about their relationship, I still really like this show. They’re really doing something neat here with the visuals and the monologues.
- Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (episode 4)
- Slow Start (episode 4)
- Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (episode 3)
- Mitsuboshi Colors (episode 3)
- Hakumei to Mikochi (episode 3) – big fan of Master Iwashidani and the series is pretty, but this isn’t Konohana Kitan.
- Yuru Camp△ (episode 4)
- Pop Team Epic (episode 4)
- Violet Evergarden (episode 3)
- Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen (episode 4)
- DARLING in the FRANXX (episode 3)
- Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (episode 3)
- Gakuen Babysitters (episode 4)
- Märchen Mädchen (episode 3)
(Meh Shows – Heavily Considering Dropping)
[None at the moment.]
- Citrus (episode 4)
- Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku (episode 3)
- Hakyuu Houshin Engi (episode 1)
- Miira no Kaikata (episode 2)
- Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (episode 3)
- Sanrio Danshi (episode 4)
- Takunomi. (episode 3)
- Toji no Miko (episode 3)
- Devilman Crybaby
Well, we’re at the “pivotal” week 3/4 mark now and I’m pretty sure I’ll be locked into these shows. No promises, though.
What are your thoughts on Winter 2018 so far? Please leave your questions, comments, and concerns down below!