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Winter Anime Season 2018 – Review March 31, 2018

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This season of anime has been a very comfortable, adorable, and laid-back one for the most part. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Citrus

Dagashi Kashi 2

Darling in the FranXX

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

Miira no Kaikata

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho

Yuru Camp△

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


 

Citrus


It’s yet another yuri anime, this time between “sisters”. Yuzu Aihara gains a step sister after her mother remarries. This girl is Mei Aihara, busybody Student Council President whose cold exterior makes her hard to approach. After certain events happen between the two at school, and learn that they are now sisters at home from their mom, “Mei forces her to the ground and kisses her, with Yuzu desperately trying to break free. Once done, Mei storms out of the room, leaving Yuzu to ponder the true nature of her first kiss, and the secrets behind the tortured expression in the eyes of her new sister.” – Via MAL.net

I feel that yuri animes of this nature seem to follow the same kind of drama approach: girl meets girl, one takes a step forward while one steps back, the one who stepped back tries to figure out her feelings, eventually trying to hook up with the girl who initiated the sexual approach. End. OK so I haven’t really seen that many yuri anime of this kind, the only other one I can think of is Netsuzou TRap, but I feel that this is likely how most shows like this go. It’s not a bad formula, but it’s basic in the extreme. What I mean by that is within this storytelling approach, in order to break the monotony of romance formulas, they raise the drama levels by making the conflict go back and forth like the rocking of a ship in a storm.

This anime was fine to watch, but the “romance” felt too forced on either side. It felt like they were just using it as an excuse to vent their stress on one another, sometimes to the point that when one person was trying to deny the approach, you could call it attempted rape. It never really got too extreme with this thought, but if this was a live action show (which I could imagine becoming a thing), then maybe it might be too graphic to watch for certain audiences.

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Dagashi Kashi 2

In this now anime short format second season of Dagashi Kashi, Kokonotsu Shikada continues to deal with the people and problems surrounding him. The first half of the season is more or less like it has been, with Hotaru hanging out with the gang marketing new kinds of dagashi to them. However, after the disappearance of Hotaru and the hiring of Hajime, the anime wasn’t really the same anymore. It was more focused on developing Kokonotsu’s character to some extent, to push him to figure out what he wanted to do in the future: Become a mangaka or takeover the Shikada dagashi store. While the opportunity to become a manga author came and went, Hotaru’s return brought back some of his confidence upon her return. Kokonotsu seems to aiming to move forward with help from his friends, with whatever pursuits he may have for the future.

Dagashi Kashi 2 was alright. It wasn’t structured advertising a dagashi per episode as it seemed to be in the first season, but rather more story based to develop Kokonotsu. I know people were noticing Hotaru’s extended absence, but even when she came back in the end it felt low key as she was not as crazy eyed as we have come to know her. Nothing really concluded in this second season, but somewhat entertaining at least.

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Darling in the FranXX

This anime will be ongoing to the next season as it is a 24 episode series. I’m on episode 11 and so far things are progressing well in terms of setting and character development, by using each episode to focus on a single person. I remember when I first started watching the first few episodes, I wondered how they were going to flesh out the story in a 12 episode series, though I was relieved to find out later that it was going to be 24 episodes.

DARLING in the FRANXX I feel is a combination of Trigger’s previous anime series Kiznaiver, a little bit of Kill La Kill, with A-1 Pictures art style and story pacing. The beginning felt rushed but at this point we’re getting into the heart of things. There’s still a lot of mystery to be revealed, and powers to be shown, so I’m looking forward to that.

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Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan

In the everyday peaceful life of Emiya Shirou, he cooks delicious dishes for the ones he calls his friends and family, bringing them all together for dinner. That’s pretty much what this show is about, another spin-off of the Fate series. While familiar with the Fate series, I haven’t actually watched any of the dozens of variations that this series has. This show however is just a simple show about how meals can bring different people together for the sake of warm company.

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Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

Synopisi via MAL.net:

“”If you blush, you lose.”

Living by this principle, the middle schooler Nishikata gets constantly made fun of by his seat neighbor Takagi-san. With his pride shattered to pieces, he vows to turn the tables and get back at her some day. And so, he attempts to tease her day after day, only to find himself victim to Takagi-san’s ridicule again sooner than later. Will he be able to make Takagi-san blush from embarrassment even once in the end?”

This anime plays on the innocence of middle school youth between an easily embarrassed boy Nishikata and playfully teasing Takagi-san. Most of the time it’s the little things that Takagi-san does to Nishikata that gets him easily flustered. Sometimes you could argue that Takagi-sans constant teasing can be a form of light bullying. All in all though, neither one goes too far with teasing and is seen as light-hearted playing between a boy and a girl. And through their interactions, grow to learn and like each other.

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Miira no Kaikata

When I first saw some clips of this anime, I thought it was one of those anime short series where each episode was only several minutes long. Turns out it was a full fledged 24 minute 12 episode season. At first, based on a few clips I saw online I wondered how an anime of this nature would fill the time and keep me from sleeping while watching….

“When high school student Sora Kashiwagi finds himself staring down a mysterious oversized package sent to him by his self-proclaimed “adventurer” father, the last thing he expects is for it to be opened from the inside… by a little mummy so small it can fit in the palm of his hand!” – Synopsis Via MAL.net

Adorableness is the heart of this anime, and it’s something that pulled me in from the get go. Mii-kun the little mummy is like a little pet who loves attention, but at the same time is quite intelligent and listens to Sora. There are the other mythical beings that show up as well; Conny the stubborn oni child, Isao the mini dragon, and Mukumuku the super sprinting dream-eating baku. All of them are like animated stuffed animals that are just so cute, especially how they show they care for their owners.

While Mii-kun and friends are in the spotlight, I also noticed and enjoyed seeing the friendship growing between all of the main human characters. Sora is the extremely friendly type who always tries to help everyone else before himself. Besides his glaring-eyed childhood friend Tazuki who encounters Conny , he also befriends Motegi-chan and Daichi and helps them befriend their respective supernatural creatures Isao and Mukumuku.

This anime is great for people who would love a perfect pet or animal partner to look after. Who wouldn’t like a palm-sized plushie type of creature who loves your company and responds by helping you out when it can? I know I would, and for that is why I recommend this show for Slice-of-Life anime fans.

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Sora yori mo Tooi Basho

This anime is all about the roller coaster of youth and figuring out how you want to fulfill it. Here’s a synopsis from MAL.net:

“Filled with an overwhelming sense of wonder for the world around her, Mari Tamaki has always dreamt of what lies beyond the reaches of the universe. However, despite harboring such large aspirations on the inside, her fear of the unknown and anxiety over her own possible limitations have always held her back from chasing them. But now, in her second year of high school, Mari is more determined than ever to not let any more of her youth go to waste. Still, her fear continues to prevent her from taking that ambitious step forward—that is, until she has a chance encounter with a girl who has grand dreams of her own.

Spurred by her mother’s disappearance, Shirase Kobuchizawa has been working hard to fund her trip to Antarctica. Despite facing doubt and ridicule from virtually everyone, Shirase is determined to embark on this expedition to search for her mother in a place further than the universe itself. Inspired by Shirase’s resolve, Mari jumps at the chance to join her. Soon, their efforts attract the attention of the bubbly Hinata Miyake, who is eager to stand out, and Yuzuki Shiraishi, a polite girl from a high class background. Together, they set sail toward the frozen south.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho follows the captivating journey of four spirited girls, all in search of something great.”

Originally I wasn’t planning to watch it, but midway through the season I heard good things about it so I decided to give it a try. This show has a fantastic story about growing your own dreams into reality, though hard work, willpower, and the help of teamwork. I enjoyed watching them all make it to Antarctica, a place that they could only image back in Japan. It’s like that feeling of how you plan for a trip a year in advance, and once you finally go and get to your destination, you feel like you’ve accomplished a big goal leading up to getting there.

My only issue with the show was the ending; it felt a bit rushed. It was like they just arrived at the Inland Base, and all of a sudden it switches to a frantic search for any sign of Shirase’s mother. I felt there should have been a scene in-between those two where Shirase realizes that she is where her mother was last before going off on the search. Besides that, the moment where she sees all the unsent E-mails was very emotional, and I almost shed a tear at that point. Their farewell to Antarctica was well deserved after all the hard work they did as part of the team, and I’m glad that they all had a fulfilling time there. I feel that all four of them will be able to move on in their lives, proud of a trip that most cannot say they have done before, exploring a place farther than anyone can really go on our planet, besides space of course.

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Yuru Camp△

Clearly the winner for the most comfiest anime I’ve seen, Yuru Camp is an anime about winter camping in Japan. In this Slice-of-life show where cute girls do cute things, I found myself loving the laid back style of the anime, alongside the humor and scenic vistas that the animation art had to offer.

Yuru Camp doesn’t have much of a story, as with most Slice-of-Life animes. In this case, each episode or two had camping scenes where it either focused on the solo Rin or the Outdoors Club members planning and camping. It showed the best of both worlds; Rin the solo camper tended to like going out on her own to enjoy her own pace, something I can understand. There are some benefits to traveling on your own, primarily not having to worry about planning around others especially if the trip is something that you are the planner of. However the best camping scenes usually happened when Rin and Nadeshiko and company camped together. Because Nadeshiko is new to camping, her reactions to discovering the joys of it are purely blissful. As an experienced camper, Rin seems to enjoy seeing their first impressions of things that she is used to.

You can probably say that this anime is a good marketer of camping supplies as well. Most of the items mentioned in the show are real, like the different kinds of sleeping bags and tents, and cooking supplies. It was interesting to have explanations for how to use them and for what specific purposes they were best for. And to keep it more or less down to reality, real prices were shown as a key point for what the high school group could actually afford. I’ve gone camping once myself with friends, and it was definitely a learning experience: Bringing the essentials, managing space in a car, knowing the area around the campsite, anticipating changing weather conditions, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this anime though seeing Nadeshiko’s initial reactions and experiences, and learning about things about camping I did not know. As I mentioned before I have not really gone camping besides the one trip I had last year, and I’m also not much of an outdoors person. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to try new things, as I’m a naturally curious person just like Nadeshiko is, which is why I can relate to her. When I finished this anime I actually started looking up campsites in my area, just to consider options if I were to try going camping on my own as an overnight trip.

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