A Look Back At Winter 2020's Anime [Mini-Reviews]

I wanted to talk about this ending season without picking and choosing which to write full reviews about and having to write those reviews. Lazy in some ways but in other ways this is letting me talk about all the shows instead of one or two – plus, I don’t tend to write reviews right away. I’d like to review, say, Bofuri eventually and I probably will – but for now this is kind of like those movie mini-reviews I did as a way to just give some quick thoughts on the shows I watched. I feel like I used to do this and yet I have no category for it, but whatever.

If you want to compare for some autistic reason I’ve went with the same exact order I used in my Early Thoughts post.

Also, for some reason wordpress no longer lets me center images!

Chihayafuru 3

Unsurprisingly, Chihayafuru managed to maintain its usual top-tier quality in every aspect. There were a few things I disagree with that the mangaka seems to have done to stretch things out – most notably Chihaya choosing a school trip over taking part in the tournament to become Queen which is her entire motivation and dream since she was in elementary school and one of the entire main points of the series? Yeah right. Aside that though it was just fantastic.

We get some of the most important and intense matches in the series so far, we get Master Suou being the secretly best character, Nico Nico amazing Arata, and the biggest things that could happen for the romance/character-development aspects did finally happen. Not only was it a great season but it did a fantastic job of pulling a lot even from back in season 1 and the childhood episodes as well, really bringing everything together to build up to a big climax which ultimately ends up being a lead in to what will eventually (hopefully) be another season. By the end of the show everyone but Arata is falling apart emotionally and mentally so I hope that isn’t the note they end up leaving the anime on and do get around to another season down the line. Season 2 only came to be thanks to Madhouse loving this series so much they paid out of their own pocket to keep adapting it – so I don’t think this will end until it is meant to.

Oh, and for a big chunk of the season Arata happens to be in bed dying of an unknown sickness, right around the early spread of the Shanghai Shivers.

My Hero Academia 4

Bad. That’s really all there is to say about season 4 of what was, prior to now, one of the best battle shounen of all time. The absolute only positive of any of this entire season – either arc – were the few moments in the first arc that felt like old MHA where it would use these battles to create really wonderful character development. However, all of those moments were overshadowed by the story being about some retarded 15 year old looking 30-something year old Yakuza just being edgy nonstop. On top of that you get this non-stop focus on Chamillionaire, and seriously does a single fucking person actually like this character? He’s ugly to look at, he’s obnoxiously written, there is nothing good about him and the entire show was about him for half a season.

The second half of the season, an entire arc dedicated to just wasting fucking time with a school culture festival, is easily the worst thing I had to sit through so far in 2020 aside watching society crumble all around me. It is truly a disastrous waste of fucking time with zero positives, aside the OP which is TOTALLY not fitting for this show but is well made, and goes so far to make what could at least be mediocre into trash – for some reason the punk rock girl sings like a Youtuber doing one of those 2009 action game trailers where they take some rock or rap song and do a shitty somber slow cover of it. The actual school festival song is almost worse as it sounds even more like those really terrible covers of Japanese songs done by Youtubers where they use some shitty translation of the lyrics into English and sing with their awful generic voice that never got them anywhere because they have no talent at all. They also throw in some absolutely retarded ‘villain’ who basically murdered someone via being a goddamn retard and got arrested for it then blamed society so he became a (literal canonically) youtube criminal. Oh, right, he’s also a pedophile. Seriously, the little girl sidekick of his who is like 8 tells him she loves him and he’s like in his 50s and he keeps her at his house and kidnapped her from a fucking park.

It’s not the lack of fighting, I don’t care, look at my MAL or the rest of my blog or this post even – my primary interests are romance, drama, and coming of age stuff. In fact, forcing in fighting to the second half made that already-bad half even worse and the first half was also terrible and all it was was endless fights. It’s just that both parts miss everything that made this such a great show; it almost feels like some kind of facsimile directed and written by someone who had just heard about it so they thought “I dunno, fights and some high school shit”.

Mairimashita! Iruma-Kun

Well what I said about it before stayed for awhile and then, as many shows do, it took a turn in a very stupid direction missing out on what made the show so likable to begin with. Some series like this can pull it off, certainly, but Iruma-kun just doesn’t do it good at all. It goes from adorable comedy hijinks with fun characters to EVIL EDGELORD NERDO-UNDERCOVERACTUALCHADPSYCHOPATH trying to kill everyone because he’s evil and wants to kill everyone after spending like 4 episodes showing what a harmless loser he is before revealing his UNDERCOVERACTUALCHADPSYCHOPATH side and then it becomes some story about a war with him or some shit. I dropped it. Retarded shit.

Heya Camp

Just serves to remind you the series should have gotten a proper season 2 instead of a wasted few minutes every week – which it IS getting but it doesn’t really undo the pointlessness of this. This was more along the lines of DVD extras rather than a series. None of the episodes had anything happen worth mentioning and they didn’t last long enough to be relaxing or comfy. I guess it did a good job at proving that the camping girls are still mediocre in comparison to their forefathers the Encouragement of Climb crew who were doing this whole camping/hiking/mountaineering shtick years before them and doing it so good that they made both 5 minute episodes and 15 minute episodes work wonders. I do love Yuru Camp but it really gets way too much praise for being just a fairly good knockoff of a far superior series and that’s sort of all these shorts kept reminding me of, though it’s definitely worse here as these episodes just don’t have anything worth spending the time for, they aren’t even comfy they’re just boring and stupid. Mediocre short series.

It also has a gay twist at the end where the stamp rally the show was based around is faked by her friends. THE REAL STAMP RALLY WAS THE FRIENDS WE MADE ALONG THE WAY :^)

Honestly this sort of made me question if I want to even bother watching the full length season 2.

Yatogame-chan 2

More trolling of a region of Japan with more cuteness, fun but nothing to really say about it. The best addition this season is the ED which features what is a real thing now a giant real world Yatogame mascot running around wildly.

Somali to Mori no Kamisama

Smally and Bigh is sort of like a Kino’s Journey but with a familial father-daughter element added in as I mentioned before…however, a big problem with this show appears pretty quickly. once the episodic stories focused around Smally and Bigh become 2-episode arcs about non-characters who are completely irrelevant the show gets dramatically less interesting and enjoyable. It goes very quickly (if I recall by like episode 3 or 4) from being about these two and their journey and their bonding to…uh…some (also seeming to be popular this season) pedophile fucking this bird kid he stole after murdering its mom and trying to make us care about his story for his 2 episodes, then some other gay shit similarly for 2 episodes about some book eating flying fish, then more dumb bullshit, etc. It just got really fucking retarded while losing its entire focus and what made it so nice and sweet early on and I dropped it. Big disappointment.

Bofuri

Absolutely the star of Winter 2020, Bofuri is one I almost never tried at all but it turned out to be one that I can’t imagine won’t come up in my end of year posts if humanity survives that long. I kind of talked a lot about it in the early thoughts post and pretty much all of that stayed the same aside my worry about it becoming something else which luckily never happened. This is a true genuine just totally “A girl plays an MMO in VR” – no gimmick, no twist, nothing like that. Well, okay, the gimmick is she keeps tripping into being insanely overpowered – and that’s used as a fun running gag to the point you get to see the dev team freaking out about her continually breaking their game and screwing up the balancing by either being super lucky or thinking up really unexpected ways of using skills they hadn’t thought of. Another nice thing about it aside having no stupid gimmick about being stuck/dying/etc is that it was clearly written by someone who knows video games, virtual reality, and MMOs – as it plays really well with all 3 concepts in a far more “I actually get what I’m talking about” way than most fiction involving any of that tends to do. It’s super fun, incredibly cute, and just all around a wonderful show. I loved literally every second of it, I don’t have a single moment or thing I’d complain about at all or say was less than excellent.

Best Moment/Scene of 2020 Already.

Seriously, this show has to be one of my top favorites in a really long time everything about it is just so fucking fun and hilarious. Even in episode 1 it already is nonstop fun and great comedy playing on the VR and MMO aspects to the fullest possible extent while also using those aspects for everything to great effect as well rather than it just being a backdrop for the characters, and from the start Maple is already basically invincible but by the end she is so broken that its fucking incredible – she is beyond “the final boss” status which is the joke about her from fans of the series and the show itself because she basically IS that. I just think she’s beyond that, she’s the extra only-accessible-in-NG+-at-the-very-end boss that even if you are max everything you can’t do shit about and who is just ridiculous and you can’t help but wonder why this was allowed to exist in a game (and in this case having the devs wonder that too). It’s not like this is a comedy either – it’s a slice of life of people playing an MMO in VR, the fun takes many forms from some great action stuff and comedy to just the nice moments of the cast doing small things here and there. It even brings up how VR impacts your day to day thinking at one point early on, in what everyone who has ever used VR can tell you is a really surreal feeling you get after a few days to weeks of using it that takes time to go away – where you start doing VR things in real life not registering the fact it won’t work/doing things a little awkwardly compared to normal. It’s a great show.

By the end she’s able to be a mech, an angel, summon all manner of creatures, use her giant turtle to eradicate everything or fly around, and she literally becomes a demon alien monster. Throughout the final episodes of the show it plays this terrific like “evil” dramatic music too and is directed in a way to depict the rivals of the main cast as the heroes trying to fight off this insane creature that Maple is (both figuratively and later on literally) treating her like this evil character in a more serious story. It’s just fucking fantastic, I love this show and I haven’t had this much fun with a series since maybe Girls Und Panzer. It’s just fucking great and it had me legitimately laughing more than I have from any anime maybe, at least not in a very long time if any did.

This might genuinely be the happiest I am about not skipping out on something. I was going to, I just wanted to give it a shot when it aired because I was bored and because I wanted to see if it was another generic “oh no I am stuck in an MMO” or something situations. It turned out to be the most fun and enjoyable series I have seen in years. I love it. Watch it. A season 2 got announced in a cute little way in the last seconds of the final episode too, so don’t wait too long!

I will inevitably repeat all this in a review eventually but I really couldn’t help myself.

Railgun T

Following up my biggest surpise and absolute favorite show of the year (and in a long time) comes my biggest disappointment of 2020 so far, easily. Everyone knows my love for Railgun and for THE Railgun but this season just has nothing I can say about it positively at all. Even the very first episode is bad and it nosedive further every episode after that. MAYBE it’ll get better, fuck if I know though because it was delayed multiple times and then had 2 weeks of recaps and the staff has supposedly been begging twitter for animation staff.

Another important thing about this that was hugely upsetting is that they are reusing assets from Railgun S constantly throughout every episode. Even before the Chinese Virus was known outside of the CCP they were already cutting corners like crazy. Having to notice that while this really poor story takes place is just icing on the shit cake, but it’s not even halfway through due to all of its delays so maybe it’ll get better, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

Speaking of which, we get some HAZMAT men trying to not-rape Saten, presumably because Flu Manchu.

Ishuzoku Reviewers

I just wanted to jerk off to this and it wasn’t even good for that. For one, finding the right version was a massive pain in the ass every week. Two, even in the right version there was barely anything lewd and just really really really really really really mediocre “humor” for 18 minutes of each episode. The absolute only reason anyone could possibly say this is good to anyone is “FUCK DA ESS JAY DOUBLE YOUS” but aside liking it for upsetting people there really is nothing positive to say. Even the sex was shit. GREAT concept completely wasted with awful writing and poor (and very few in number) ecchi visuals. Just watch actual hentai.

Smile Down The Runway

This has some great moments and a beautiful soundtrack, but the show overall has a lot of ups and downs. The main actual story of both characters is really good and their development – but the events going on on the side, like the death-then-not-death-but-also-totally-death-but-no-actually-not-death of the guy’s mom near the end made no sense and just confused me. I’m still confused even. Overall though, I think it succeeded at its dual-protagonist set up (even if it could have been integrated a bit better rather than here is guys arc, then here is girls arc, each taking their turns) and sometimes had a lot of emotional impact. I also like the idea of a shounen being about fashion design and modelling and featuring a lead female. It not only is just always good to see some new ideas in a genre they typically aren’t in, but it also has accidentally fun stuff of the very shounen battle reactions…to clothing.

“Middle schooler”

Oh, another complaint I have which might sound kind of jokey but I really do mean it – what the fuck is up with the middle sister being “in middle school”? She’s super tall, has a late-teens voice, has a late-teens personality, is super responsible, is apparently very smart even though she’s mostly an athlete, and she’s supposed to be some like 13-14 year old? Seriously?

Well anyway, I liked the show.

Oh, and it was the first show of the season to have someone die of Wuhan. Seriously, she just bleeds out of her nose, her entire body and face looks like its dying ,and she collapses and passes out out of nowhere. They say she was “overworked” but you never hear from or see her again, even when they bring up a phone call you don’t hear it and the guy claims it was her parents. The bat soup got to her. Plus the mom stuff.

Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga

Stayed real fun but not much to say, it’s a good comedy about Nobunaga as a dog and it stays a good comedy about Nobunaga as a dog. Lots of cute moments and a great dedication to the gimmick unlike many other similarly styled comedies where they have a great concept but then just rely on regular humor. Here they made full use of the dog thing the entire show. Not some to-be classic of comedy, but a pretty good one with lots of cute dog stuff.

This year’s anime so far has been of mixed quality with a lot of surprises and disappointments, hopefully we get more of the former next season.

2 responses to “A Look Back At Winter 2020's Anime [Mini-Reviews]

  1. Pingback: 2020 Worst Anime Awards | 24 Frames Per Second·

  2. Oh I didn’t mean for you to drop Iruma-kun. Once the stupid shit about the literal sadist villain ends it goes back to being normal for a few episodes and then they announced season 2 at the end. Nothing really of note happened aside a weird lil cliffhanger where Iruma starts acting like a different person for a little which might be fun, so I say pick up S2 when it comes out.

    Also I’m gonna keep saying it until you get it right, Maple cannot turn into a mech, that’s powered armor/a power suit.

    Like

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