Winter 2018 | Midseason Musings

Had you remaining in readiness, yeah?

…That string of words makes me sound like a robot, oops.

Okay, fine, I’ll come clean.

I was originally going to type, “Kept you waiting, huh?” But then I felt like I’ve used this particular phrase to open a post before. And so I double-checked.

2018-02-18.png
Oh.

Guess I already used the meme in a Schoolgirl Strikers – Animation Channel episode review. What a shame.

Anyways, here’s my thoughts on the shows I’m watching in the current season of Winter 2018 (which, as you know, takes place from January 2018 to March 2018 or so~) as a whole! Like, thus far into the season and not the weekly episodic thoughts I stopped putting out. You know what I’m trying to say, right?

It’s actually amazing how many shows I ended up at least checking out compared to the meager list of shows I provided two months ago, isn’t it?

[The list is arranged roughly in order of enjoyment from best on top to the worst on the bottom. Even though bottoms are actually the best. Wait, what?]


Bouquet Group – These shows are great!

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (episode 6) – a dark horse rises! A crossdresser who is taken (somewhat) seriously and isn’t forced into a gag or joke character position, effective management of multiple perspectives, and snazzy jazz music makes for a thrilling watch that rewards attention-oriented viewers. The yaoi ship between Banba and Lin is pretty juicy, too. However, the brutal treatment towards women (namely prostitutes and victims of human trafficking), along with the gore and blood, could turn viewers away from the series. If you can get over that, then I think you’ll enjoy the series.

Mitsuboshi Colors (episode 6) – a fun, dumb series where little girls run around causing chaos and mischief saving the town’s peace. They’re actually little girls, too, and think just like kids. Pretty refreshing considering all the series (and tv shows and films) which feature adult philosophers and the like in the guise of little kids. It’s just wholesome fun!

Speaking of kids who sound like adults…

Ugh, the title sort of gives the punchline away, but it can’t be helped.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (episode 6) – a series about Akira, a high school girl, crushing on Masami, her middle-aged divorced manager. He has regrets regarding his youth, is bitter over being so old, and is trying to act like a responsible adult yet fails to firmly turn Akira’s advances down. Akira fails to realize that it’s very likely that she’s using her manager to cope with the fact that she can no longer properly run due to an injury.

They’re not officially going out, yet the very possibility allows for their headspaces and mindsets to be explored (even though Akira never provides the viewer with any sort of inner monologue which implies she’s choosing not to deeply think about certain matters). But if they were to ever start dating, many viewers will likely lose interest. The chance (or should I say threat?) is more desirable than the actual execution in this case.

With strong themes tied to pure literature and impressive framing techniques, Koi wa Ameagari no You ni remains an engaging, pretty, and uncomfortable watch. I don’t think a single person watching this show actually wants them to get together, haha.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (episode 6) – a show about four high schoolers being allowed to participate in an expedition to Antarctica. Although the premises isn’t the most realistic, the characters are certainly being treated seriously, which means their development and on-screen portrayal is resonant and powerful, as with the inherent themes. Even viewers who aren’t fans of Cute Girls Doing Cute Things shows are taking notice. This one is special.

Hakumei to Mikochi (episode 6) – a series about tiny people and animals living in a luscious and beautiful world. The things they do may be mundane, but the fantastical element keeps it interesting along with the faded, rustic art style and manga paneling. Could be considered boring by some, but I’m having a good time.

Blossom Group – These shows are good

Ryuuou no Oshigoto! (episode 6) – yeah, I abruptly started watching Ryuuou no Oshigoto! last week. This is a series about a skilled shogi professional teaching younger girls how to play said game. There are many good themes pertaining to life and competition, but the abundance of lolis and jokes focused on this exuberance leaves much to be desired (aka it can get a bit creepy), but it doesn’t completely undermine the aforementioned messages.

Pop Team Epic (episode 7) – an absurdist show with non-sequitur gags and general nonsense. I’m a fan of this type of humour for the most part, but I’ll admit that my sense of humour is different from other people. Maybe it was for the best that I didn’t listen to my elementary school classmates who told me I could be a comedian…

Slow Start (episode 7) – a true Cute Girls Doing Cute Things show in which the (initial) main character is starting high school a year late due to unfortunate circumstances. I initially didn’t think this was strong enough to be the main premises, but the overbearing kouhai-senpai dynamic sort of explains Hana’s hesitation in telling her friends. Not living up to others’ expectations is scary, too. But her friends will probably accept her secret without batting an eyelash, to be honest.

The series has shot up higher because of all of that teacher x student ship tease. I guess it doesn’t make it all that different from Koi wa Ameagari no You ni in that regard, but the situation between Eiko and her teacher remains ambiguous and the series itself is light-hearted enough that we can just enjoy the ship even if it doesn’t become cannon. Meanwhile, the same can’t be said for Akira and Masami, which is a series that takes this particular age gap relationship very seriously. On second viewing, the scene that takes place in Enami-sensei’s apartment is treated very seriously given that there’s no music (that could potentially distract the viewer) while they interact in the early hours of the morning. This is probably the gayest series in Winter 2018.

DARLING in the FRANXX (episode 6) – a mecha series filled with sexual innuendo and imagery and superficial similarities to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Mostly heterosexual, but Ikuno’s behaviour (especially around Ichigo) is rather suspicious. The show is far from subtle in conveying its themes and I feel like Hiro is more like a puppet who says and thinks the things the studio/creator wants him to say without the proper internal or external segue / build-up. To me, he comes across as a device, an embodiment of non-sequitur statements and thoughts.

On the brighter side, the last few episodes have been both emotional and fantastic. It’s definitely on an upward trend.

Yuru Camp (episode 7) – a calming and relaxing series about camping. Not much happens, but the girls are definitely different in terms of personality, alright?! Still, it’s so good at being soothing that I’ve fallen asleep watching the series several times already. So I guess it could be considered a little boring. Or I should start sleeping more regular hours. It’s one or the other. Or possibly both.

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (episode 6) – a wholesome and fun show about a mischievous girl teasing a hapless boy who stands no chance. I don’t particularly care for the three stooges side characters, but I have to admit that it’s nice to see that the series is still this amusing this far into the season.

Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen (episode 7) – in a manner that resembles Violet Evergarden, Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen comes across as being very formulaic. It also stays true to its roots by remaining largely episodic. It’s a good thing there’s a cute budding romance and the nostalgia factor, which Violet Evergarden lacks for the most part, to keep the series from slipping further down the rankings.

Bud Group – These shows are questionable.

Märchen Mädchen (episode 6) – early into the season, DerekL pointed out how the first episode stretched things out (and opted for lame fanservice but that’s basically the standard these days, right? O when did I become so numb to the gratuitous and the extraneous?) I was skeptical, but after 6 episodes I’m really agreeing with DerekL.

I actually do like Hazuki even though she is a bit paranoid, neurotic and awkward. That’s me in a nutshell, to be honest! But tired and tried (i.e. boring) story threads, coupled with unexplained events and happenings, have left me largely unhappy.

Hazuki is really gay, though, which is the show’s saving grace? Hey, this is a yuri blog, after all. Gotta be preaching even when it’s just me reaching.

Gakuen Babysitters (episode 6) – a show about little kids and the Babysitting Club. It’s cute, but the inclusion of a guy who gets nosebleeds from interacting with kids just doesn’t sit well with me. Why even include this pedophillac gag in the first place?

Violet Evergarden (episode 6) – there’s actually a sense of progress here since Violet is slowly changing for the better, but it still feels dull to watch. It’s very pretty, though. Winter 2018 as a season is very pretty overall, I’d say. There’s definitely a post to be said on this particular topic.

Bad Group – These shows were dropped…

Miira no Kaikata (dropped by episode 2) – not a bad show, but it’s just sort of cute. Like barely cute? As cute as a series can be when it involves a mini mummy and other pint-sized creatures like dragons and such. At any rate, being cute is what the series is hoping to use to hook viewers and I’m not really falling for it, so I guess that’s why I lost interest so quickly. I’m already following a lot of cute shows, after all. If time is money, then I’m broke.

Toji no Miko (dropped by episode 3) – another school girl action series. This one has devious plots lurking in the background and various factions waging war, which makes me regret dropping this series. But it was also wildly inconsistent, like the payouts to the unemployment paychecks I used to get, in terms of pacing (i.e. almost nothing happened in some episodes and then too much happened in others). I’ll probably pick this up again a few months later when everyone else has stopped caring about the series because Gokumi is my babe.

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (dropped by episode 3) – a series that tries to teach you about ramen. The characters aren’t exactly one-note, but they’re still rather boring. I was going to claim that only Yuu and Koizumi-san are annoying, but almost all of the characters are actually at least kind of annoying. For a character-driven narrative, that simply can’t do even with all of the potent yuri subtext.

Citrus (dropped by episode 4) – a steamy tale involving taboo pseudo-incest (we call that inseki) and a lack of understanding of a little concept called “consent.” There are some good dynamics going on here between Yuzu and Mei as well as the overwhelming presence of the setting in relation to the genre, but the show’s overt attempt to retain viewer interest through saucy and racy content sort of overshadows the show’s positive traits. With that being said, I’m catching up on the manga and am finding it better than what I remembered. However, I’ve yet to reach where I dropped the series, so we’ll see if my favour lasts…

Takunomi. (dropped by episode 3) – a series that tries to teach you about drinking. Watching grown women act like middle schoolers in each episode is not exactly my idea of a good time even when each episode is only 12 minutes long.

Sanrio Danshi (dropped by episode 4) – moronic characters act dramatic and moronic and hammy and moronic as the series attempts to sell you Sanrio merchandise. For a series that is essentially a giant commercial, there is some sort of plot, which is actually unexpected. There’s some great themes going on, too, and I can relate to a few. But the characters are just so disgustingly stupid and off-putting.

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku (dropped by episode 3) – an isekai series with a sexist and misogynous nerd as a main character. He starts off overpowered from the start and continues to bore viewers due to his know-how and status as the invincible hero. Pick this series up if you want to sit through vivid descriptions of what it means to eat food and buy stuff.

B-Finished Group – These shows were finished.

Devilman Crybaby (episode 10) – what else can I say? You can either look past the ugly animation and gore and sex and graphic imagery to find meaningful messages and themes or you can’t.


That’s all folks!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Winter 2018 | Midseason Musings

  1. Ok, NOW I’m interested in Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens 😀
    For personal reasons, I’m not watching anything from this season, but I plan on watching some of them after they finish 🙂
    Sora yori mo Tooi Basho is on my list for some time, and it’s good to see that people are enjoying it a lot
    I want to watch Devilman Crybaby, but the animation/art is really not for my taste =/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Slow Start takes its teacherxstudent relationship very seriously, like, that’s the only thing the mangaka constantly talks about on twitter. If episode 7 wasn’t enough to convince you about how serious it is, just read the manga, or wait for the rest of episodes, I’m not sure if they will animate more of them, but the manga for sure has more serious stuff with the two.

    Like

  3. “the abundance of lolis and jokes focused on this exuberance leaves much to be desired (aka it can get a bit creepy), but it doesn’t completely undermine the aforementioned messages.”

    Exactly! The message behind it all is still good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Violet Evergarden is something that I initially expected to cover interesting directions that I could subsequently give thought to and express in writing, but six episodes in, I’m having considerable difficulty doing so. Most discussions out there tend to focus on the minutiae as opposed to the bigger picture, and the series itself hasn’t really given much insight as to what it aims to accomplish.

    In another talk with one of my friends, he remarks that I should probably treat Violet Evergarden as a movie and wait for all of the episodes to air before writing about it. It’s solid advice, so I’m going to follow through and do my talk on the series once things close off. This way, the fairest opinion can be provided, and I can focus on The Division and Battlefield 1 for the remainder of this month!

    Like

  5. Hakata just keeps getting better and better doesn’t’ it? I absolutely love that series. It’s so fun when a series that you pretty much expected nothing from turns into the best series of the season.
    As for Violet Evergarden. Well..I am still enjoying it, but I do have to admit that the lack of progress in the story is beginning to make me wonder if every episode will end up being the same. Last week we had this great cliffhanger only to have it completely ignored this time. Still..it’s not bad, the animation is beautiful enough to enjoy, and well Violet is still very interesting as a character..At least that is what I think of her 😊😊

    Liked by 2 people

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