Winter 2018 Anime – Halfway Impressions

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Felt like doing a halfway post again this season – though to be honest I’m continually behind most of the shows because of my health situation (it’s not an illness so don’t rejoice in my coming demise) lately being so bad and, well, Monster Hunter World being something that exists right now. I’ll probably be repeating a lot of things from my early thoughts post but that’s not laziness – it’s just that this season actually was pretty honest, almost every show has maintained what they were from the start in a very “what you see is what you get” way so some are hard to really talk about without mentioning a lot of similar things I did from the first ep or two.

I’ll include continuing shows I’m still watching too just because. These are in no order. And yes, I’m aware a few of these shows aren’t halfway through…but these days 6 eps is pretty much halfway through MOST shows so it’s going to continue being called this unless anime makes a huge return to almost all being 26 episodes. As usual most are 11-13 episodes long so whatever.

Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card

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Still just fucking wonderful, fantastic, and a blissful 24 minutes every week. The shorter episode count is very clear in the writing though with us tackling multiple cards per episode sometimes this season to more quickly get to the actual story. CCS spent about half of it’s very lengthy count on collecting Clow Cards before spending the second half on a really serious and fairly serious and mature story, and it feels a lot like they want to do something similar here in under a third of the time. Not at all a problem though even when there are multiple cards the pacing doesn’t feel strange and it almost feels like you’ve watched two full episodes (in a good way). I’m also enjoying the new card ideas – sure, some are pretty much identical like Windy, but others like this one she got that basically animates inanimate things is a cool idea and Sakura always finds interesting ways to use her cards so it’ll be fun to see how stuff like this gets used in the future episodes.

I also appreciate that they brought back the mystery feeling of the series that was heavily present in the original (later on in it at least) as well. I’ve had theories since episode 3 and the more that come out the more my main theory continues to be most likely true, but I like that it still has me unsure and gives the viewer a lot more than just the simple fun of card collecting until later.

Tomoyo is still very cute AND THEY BROUGHT BACK LEAVE IT TO KERO!

A Place Further Than The Universe

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It took a full 5 episodes to leave on the trip, but the trip is not on the boat, not to Antarctica, nor even to Australia where we have to go to get on the boat. We instead for really no reason aside even MORE time wasting much like 3 of the first 5 episodes of pointless bullshit stop off in Singapore because they just really do not want to actually have the show go anywhere. I’ve joked about it, and I’m sure many others have too, but this show really takes it’s subtitle of “A story that leads to the Antarctic” way too serious as this show clearly will only lead there and never EVER take place there. At this point I don’t even really care if it does, it doesn’t matter anymore, they’ve used up all my good will I had from the concept and fun lead character. If all the episodes up to now served a purpose that’d be one thing – still bad, but less – but instead they were almost entirely meaningless shit that went on for 24 fucking minutes just to continue avoiding the actual thing people expected out of this show.

First episode is great, second episode is great and introduces a new character, third episode is great and we finally have the whole crew. Then 4 is nothing, I mean really just nothing. Then 5 is just a pointless 24 minutes about her friend – a non-character – being a cunt. Then 6 is almost the most insulting in that we finally GO ON THE TRIP…to Singapore. Not Australia where we have to go to get on the boat to the Antarctic but Singapore because why the fuck not I guess. And while we’re there we lose a passport, and we can’t get a new passport in time because BY SOME MAGIC there are ZERO FLIGHTS for another MONTH out of Singapore to anywhere near Australia or anywhere we could go to get on another flight a few hours later and so we’ve created a really stupid contrived issue out of a real stupid choice of going to this place for no reason and thus have managed to fully waste another episode on events that shouldn’t even exist and we solve it by BRIBING this counter lady because she totally cares about how much you’re willing to pay the company she works for for a flight that doesn’t exist and now it does.

Basically this show did exactly what I was concerned it would a few weeks back in my early thoughts post. It did absolutely nothing and we’re still not even remotely close to getting to Antarctica.

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The worst part is I guarantee defenders of it will tell you the exact same shit they kept spewing everywhere when Space Brothers ended without the MC ever going to space and without the brothers ever even being planned to go on a mission together – the entire point of the fucking show. If you really want to know then go ahead and look at the comments for my review of it. There’s no way this show has enough time to fit in more than maybe the finale episode being them in the actual antarctic. They’ve wasted now an entire half of the show and are still LITERALLY A MONTH AWAY from the boat EVEN LEAVING AUSTRALIA which then takes a long time to reach Antarctica at all and then – when the stuff you’d expect out of the show to appear – the show will have to end. Even with a lot of time-fuckery and speeding the pace way up…there just isn’t enough left to make it meaningful anymore. There has to at least be one episode of getting to Australia and probably another separate one of them then leaving on the boat (after “having fun” in Australia, much like Singapore) and then by that point even if the boat teleported on over there just isn’t enough time to make it worthwhile. This show is a lost cause – one I’m invested enough in to finish but really unless some sort of amazing miracle of directing happens in the final moments/episodes when we’re there (if we ever make it there) that really just hits me so hard right in the heart and is so intensely amazing they make me fucking tear up or something then it will truly have been a complete waste of time. Had they just fucking gone already or at least done ACTUAL TRAINING and not 3 minutes of it in one episode – really if they DID ANYTHING REMOTELY RELATED TO THIS JOURNEY EVER IN THE ENTIRE SHOW then I wouldn’t mind but this is just fucking stupid.

Update: Episode 7 and we still ain’t fucking left on the boat.

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Hataraku Onii-san / Working Cats

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With one single exception the concept of weird as fuck bosses has continued in this show about cats taking part time work around town. Definitely a fun short that’s maintained quality so far – I think the literal ex-military PTSD elephant is the best boss so far.

Gakuen Babysitters

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I mentioned it in the Early Thoughts post too but this show has continued to do a great job at managing a very cute, sweet, and fun show about little barely-toddlers smushing about that also has, typically once per episode, a really actually emotional scene that doesn’t just feel like it’s TRYING to be emotional and more importantly doesn’t feel out of place. These scenes always feel natural and genuine and it’s great how they really use that death of the parents of the two MOST main characters for something more than a set-up situation to drop them into this place. Instead it’s a very real very fucked up situation for this kid who is barely entering high school and just lost both his parents not that long ago having to care for himself and for his little baby brother.

It’s sweet of course and the show focuses on adorable fun silly stuff, but then you get to see just how hard this is on that teen both directly because of the events and indirectly in terms of how it’s barring him from experiencing his youth in a more normal way. It’s really actually touching whenever it comes up and when they go for the more direct stuff it can be really sad – like him having a dream while sick with a bad cold where his parents are going on that trip again that the plane crashed, but this time taking his little baby brother too as he screams at them not to take him knowing what’s going to happen horrified of losing the only thing he has left. Meanwhile, as much as that stuff is really well done, the MAJORITY of every episode is dedicated to just FUN and CUTE and it does a fantastic job of being both. Did not expect to like this as much as I have, a good surprise.

Hakumei to Mikochi

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This show is a pretty interesting little thing in that it’s a slice of life about little people living in the forest but it also deals a lot with Japanese and Ainu mythology. Sometimes the episodes can be a bit draggy but I actually really enjoy it and the more classical feeling of the “My Pace” pacing. I didn’t care too much about the episode with like an owl or some shit attacking them in the forest but aside that I’ve liked it. It’s simple going.

Kaijuu Girls 2

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GAO GAO GAOOOOO

Skilled Teaser Takagi-san

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Still more of the same – very cute and sweet teasing, and they’ve avoided sexual stuff aside very small little things. It’s a really unique take on romance and even, while being a comedy, avoids being what would actually be a romcom in a very weird way.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni / After The Rain

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I love this show, like if they don’t fuck it up it’ll be very high up there as far as romance anime goes – and I feel like I said something similar in the early thoughts post. Thing is, it did stumble a little bit recently and it has me kinda worried about what else it’s willing to do because of it. Basically a co-worker (who seemed totally fine up to now in the background) decides to blackmail and sexually assault the lead girl completely out of nowhere because the writer thought there needed to be some sort of forced in drama or else people would stop caring or something. It was awful, pointless, and just so goddamn cliche – and even BAD at BEING the cliche because there was absolutely no build up to it and the guy doing it was literally someone who just existed in the background from time to time with absolutely zero interest in the main girl or anyone else and suddenly he’s imagining fucking her at work and trying to do it the same day out of nowhere. This doesn’t last long and the episode sort of uses it in a clever little way with her REAL date…but come on. Don’t do this shit.

This isn’t for kids we don’t need the forced in retarded bullshit. It makes me worried about what this guy will do in the future and what other “””twists””” the story has up it’s sleeves especially regarding the only other story relevant female. I’m just waiting for the real cute brown freckled track girl to come to the cafe and fall in love with the manager out of nowhere because IT’S BORING WITHOUT DRAMA WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!

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Not disappointed at all yet aside that one maybe half of an episode with the shitty guy…but I really REALLY am worried because fuck I love this show a lot. Every single moment, literally 100% of the show so far aside that scene has been a 10 for me and so fucking good. Don’t ruin this, please. Everything aside that shit is really it’s so goddamn good, every single moment of this show is perfect except that one half of that one fucking episode, don’t make more of THAT and this could very well be this year’s Tsuki ga Kirei and one in the running for my top 20 or so romances. I mentioned it before too but they’ve really made even MORE use of us being given HIS inner monologue too…in fact it’s almost that stuff that really makes this show special beyond just being fantastic in every other way as well as lifting it to a more unique level.

The next episode after that one (the newest at this point) luckily is back to exactly what this show should be – and while that shitter I mentioned still works with her he seems to have lost interest once he realized she isn’t going to let him fuck her so hopefully that’s the end of things like that.

Also this guy is my favorite – he’s just in this movie two days in a row in the same spot looking angry as shit and also being scared by the same part both times. Who is he? What is his story?

Kokkoku

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Kokkoku has become kind of sloppy lately – it doesn’t really get in the way of enjoying the show but it certainly is becoming more and more of a “turn your brain off and just watch” type of thing.

Every bad guy – I mean literally every single bad guy – is an actual rapist. Not feminist SJW “rapist”, every single bad guy outright goes LETS RAPE THAT GIRL or is pulling panties off of random women who are frozen in time to check out their pussies (this is a whole scene in the show even) and, really, every single time a bad guy appears and sees the lead girl or the other girl who works with the bad guys either the first thing out of their mouth or the ONLY thing they EVER say is LETS RAPE HER/OH BOY I WANNA FUCK HER. It’s embarrassing and it’s such a blatant “PLEASE BELIEVE ME THIS IS A MATURE STORY LOOK PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT RAPE!” while also being the most just childish way of “characterizing” the antagonists.

Then there’s more problems with the bad guys – none of them have ever been in stasis and yet not a single one seems remotely perturbed by it. They have absolutely no confusion, qualm, or just “wow this is cool” about it, they just act like they’ve been in here regularly for years raping women and stealing convenience store food.

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Then there’s the most jarring issue – really awkwardly shoved in jokes during otherwise serious stuff. If it happened more often I’d compare it to something like Star Wars TLJ but it’s not NEARLY that abrasive about it because it’s rarely happened…but it does and it’s always so out of place. It’s just every now and then you’ll get “If I do this favor for you can we fuck when it’s done?” and the girl’s face going all retarded as a reaction with a funny sound effect followed by her stuttering out an awkward reply because she’s so shocked by this upfront thirst.

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The biggest PROBLEM with the show though – and one that kind of offends me a bit – is the abusive cliffhangers that are retconned the following episode every time. It feels like shounen anime where they re-write half of what fucking happened in the recap in the next episode and it’s never consistent but here it’s VERY manipulative and it’s shitty.

It’s easier to show than to tell.

Episode ending:

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Note: This is his down thrust – he already had his arm up and is going down into her now, this is not him about to pull back.

Next Episode:

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So not only is the guy’s knife magically way way way way way further from where it actually was, grandpa had to somehow turn around, notice this was happening, and run – not just back but AROUND the girl as he’s on the wrong side of her now – all in about 1/100th of a second. He didn’t even teleport, but even if he had that’s be some amazing feat.

Another part of this leads me to another thing I almost forgot, certain stuff in the plot is just kind of bullshit, stupid, or very contrived. Most notably for the bullshit one is this girl claiming she’s “seen [her family] turn into Heralds” as a cliffhanger…and then we see in the next episode the entire flashback and, no, she saw them literally turn into sand in the sky. How the fuck does “a person turned into sand” equate out to “they became a giant tree-god-monster-thing right in front of my eyes!”? Worse, they OUTRIGHT ACTUALLY SHOW SOMEONE TRANSFORMING INTO A HERALD A COUPLE EPISODES LATER and it happens the way you’d expect…which isn’t “floating and turning into sand” meaning what she saw wasn’t that…but yet it’s canon that it was that because they even save her family who turned into heralds.

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I’m enjoying this show and there are cool elements I really like (the way we’re still in the same 1 frozen time, I expected many jumps from running time to stasis world) and I do like the lead girl (mostly cuz she’s cute) but it’s just not a very well written story and nobody in it is very believable at all. I like it but it’s definitely not going to be something I really remember a few months after it ends, it’s just too thoughtlessly thrown together each episode. Seriously, the CONSISTENCY of the writing AND directing is some of the worst I’ve ever seen let alone episode-to-episode consistency and keeping lore in-line with established canon. Things just kind of change on a whim based on what will suit the scene at the time even if it clashes with facts or even completely canonical shown events prior.

It’s a bad show but it’s an entertaining show. I don’t know for sure how many episodes it will be but every week this gets worse and if it’s too long and continues that trend I might not be able to keep going with it.

Micchiri Neko

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One of the weirdest and most fun things this year was to see a clip from VR Chat and learn that for some reason there are marching bands roving around in the game much like Ugandan Knuckles only more wholesome and adorable – instead of asking for de wae they toot horns and bonk drums while playing the ED theme from the show. I just didn’t expect this to be a thing.

Anyway the show is super weird and cute still if not a little dark every episode – in a lighthearted way but still, imagining these cats all being eaten by a lion or cutting themselves off of tape rolls to ‘birth’ new ones is…I don’t really even know what feeling that is, it’s fucking weird. Cute though. I also never tire of them all running in to the van and tooting their horns all about.

Mitsuboshi Colors

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I keep falling behind on this one so I’m not enjoying it as much as I would if I was watching it properly but even then it’s still really great and is one of the first one of these types of slice of life shows in awhile that I can recall. It’s sort of if you just had 3 Miu Matsuokas with a bit of Fatty McFatso from Mitsudomoe mixed in roaming around your town doing dumb bullshit or attacking the local police officer. It’s really fun and the girls come off as cute troublemakers who sometimes don’t even realize it, but other times are absolutely being shitty on purpose and it’s great either way. The supporting cast has really kept up too with the cop, the big weird-shit shop owner, and the one girl’s mom being stand-outs. It’s fun and silly but there’s also something wholesome and nice about it even when the kids are being mischief makers because the community seems to be better for it.

Pop Team Epic

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I still pretty much feel exactly how I did to begin with. This is fucking strange, it’s erratic, it’s nonsense but fuck it’s so fun and goddamn crazy in the best way. I’ll also say to it’s credit the COMPLETE insanity of the first episode has definitely slowed down – while there are still many skits and the actual craziness of everything is the same, there are a lot more jokes that take several minutes to get through instead of very literally 1 to 10 second jokes thrown at you nonstop like the beginning of the series.

Also someone needs to remove all the reddit and /a/ kids who keep calling it “memey” and “shitposting” while trying to prove what cool kids they are for going to le ebin 4chen (shhh don’t tell anyone but I go to a board on that website too even though it isn’t the godawful one about anime! SHHH! I don’t want anyone to know this secret, after all 4chan is a secret club even in 2018 when it’s one of the most visited sites on the entire internet PLEASE don’t tell anyone I’m “Anonymous” but also know who you’re FUCKIN with KIDDO because I’ve got anonymous behind me if u FUCK w/me!!!!).

There’s been like 2 meme references in the entire show so far. The only way it’s “memey” is if you consider random humor to be, somehow, a meme in and of itself. There’s certainly pop culture references…but memes? Aside NICE BOAT and like one other thing there’s been jack shit in terms of references or appearances of memes. Learn what the fuck a meme is.

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Hell, Micchiri Neko is more “memey” of a show at this point, they LITERALLY have a fucking longcat joke character in it. Now seriously when the fuck are my girls gonna dab?

Yuru Camp / Laid Back Camp

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Speaking of memes – Yuru Camp is pretty damn comfy. It’s really such a good take on the modern version of the classic “high school girls slice of life” which, since about Bakuon coming out, is now focused on weird losers every time for the entire group and has been the main way these shows are getting made now and they’re much better for it. A bunch of fucking weirdo dorks all being weirdo dorks together, and in this case just fantastic cinematography and directing that makes the show feel just as laid back as the title would lead you to believe. There really isn’t a single thing I have to complain about here, it perfectly gets across the soft warm my pace feeling across constantly yet it does it while also feeling like it’s got a lot more going on than other shows that would fit that same concept. Every single episode feels so good and nice to watch.

Black Clover

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There isn’t much to say aside this has still stayed a competent pretty good by-the-books action shounen and I still like it. If you’re into that sort of thing this is definitely something you’d like – luckily for me I don’t touch shows like this too regularly so the formula is still fresh enough for me to enjoy and not sit around calling out how apparently a lot of this is like Naruto somehow? Well I never watched Naruto aside a few episodes when it was new and I really don’t see the resemblance because one is about a poor kid becoming Goku through sheer will and Naruto is about some Ninja school set in the old times but with school buses and boom boxes or something.

My big complaint so far is this fucking dungeon “arc” – they’ve been in here for like 6 episodes and the entire time have been in 2 endless fights and I just don’t give a shit. Maybe I should have expected that from a battle shounen but up until the dungeon showed up it was going real well so I’ll stick around a bit longer at least.

Classicaloid 2

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This second season has been full of Tchaiko and so I enjoy it very much. It’s still just as fucking strange and creative as the first time around though has more of a “focus” (hard to call it that when it’s barely there though) on this kid trying to basically overthrow Bach as the leader of the Classicaloids and a hippo.

Time Bokan 24 2

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Another continuing show that has totally kept it’s quality – my complaint in one of those end of year posts still stands in that I miss the creative concepts they played with in the so-called “true history” of each historical person/thing but this is still great and in different ways just as interesting. Plus, having the focus on Bimajo’s BIMAJOS isn’t exactly bad. I’m also enjoying this weird story they introduced this season going on in the background of Bimajo’s sister trying to kill/kidnap her and releasing this robot member of the “good guy” team from a prison to help achieve that goal. There’s also a little extra fun in her constantly calling Bimajo by a different name and Bimajo having no idea what her actual name is anymore because of it.

 

All in all if it weren’t for what I’m going through right now and I was keeping up with all of these properly, this would actually be a really great season. Hell, even in my specific situation it’s pretty good and has at LEAST a couple shows that I’m going to absolutely be remembering for end of the year posts for AOTY and especially top OPs and such. There’s a lot of shows I just couldn’t keep up with or handle trying right now that could be really good too but I wouldn’t know.

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