Winter 2018 First Episode Impressions

Welcome to the first slate of anime for 2018! I know I’m extremely late, but I was waiting for each of the shows’ first episodes to come out, which sometimes takes an entire month to happen.

Also, I forgot to mention this a few posts ago but…I changed the blog theme! The old theme was getting a bit dodgy with the constant background loading, to be honest.

This is part of the “predictions” still. I need to commit to the themes of my blog more (fantasy/books), so here are some tiers…

Some notes on how I operate (or how I decided I’d operate) before we begin:

  • Shows with underlined titles were introduced as part of the “vary my genres” resolution, and bolded ones are ones that have already been confirmed through previous seasons. Blue titles are on hold and purple titles are dropped, but anything else is fair game for the lineup.
  • I explained here that I often let 5 shows into my weekly lineup + 1 short series, which is why I’m going to have to cut this lineup down a lot (a few shows are on hold and one was dropped as of this post going live, but there’s still a lot of shows left to cull). There’s a Must-read Monthly Monday post tomorrow where I’ll list out shows I’m definitely watching for the next season, but nothing’s set in stone until the final update listed under “seasonal predictions”.
  • Rankings are best – worst. Feel free to debate about them or ask for more specifics about what I thought on a certain show.
  • If I skip a show, the most likely reasons are “I had no legal access to it” or “the only legal way to watch the show involves paying to watch in my region”. You could always ask about specific cases, though.

Magical – pass muster so far. Are the top of what’s available, and may go on to be part of my weekly lineup.

  • Mahoutsukai no YomeI don’t think there’s anything I need to say about this show that hasn’t been said, either by me or someone else. I haven’t dedicated a post to praising this show yet – that’s because I feel like I can never do justice to the material I’m working with…
  • Zoku Touken Ranbu Hanamaru – It’s same old Hanamaru with a bunch of new swords. There’s a passing mention to what happened last season, so make sure you’ve seen season 1 first! I’m just wondering about that simuldub, since this isn’t the best show for dubbing…
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-henI checked this out, but even though I wasn’t overwhelmed (since I’ve read a volume of the original manga, I started watching the original anime in earnest and I’ve gleaned important spoilers over the years of CCS’s existence) I should finish the original first. It’s kinda like Saiyuki Reload Blast in that it’s not the best starting point, but it’s less harsh than other series.
  • Gakuen Babysitters – judging from the website and other stuff that call this show “GakuBaby” for short, this sounds like a very bad band…I’m not here for that though. It’s actually a very good premiere, in regards to balancing humour hits and drama. The only quibble I have is that it’s a bit lacklustre visually.
  • Idolish7Episode 3 pretty much continues the past 2 episodes’ trend for everything (aside from off model shots starting to show up), plus throws out the idea Riku’s brother could be closer than you think he is (I read the spoilers on who he is, though). Humour mostly hits, but the drama is very strong.

Meh –

  • How to keep a mummy (Miira no Kaikata) – Basically gender-swapped YuruCamp without a talking pinecone (i.e. it’s quite decent, but it seems to be missing some substance to it). Its humour is mostly quite competent, and…if you’re not sold once, you probably won’t be sold again. I just hope it’s not a one-trick pony, which is why it hasn’t gone to the highest tier.
  • YuruCampActually kinda decent. It seems to be missing a bit of substance to it, but it wasn’t giving me back the headache I first had prior to dealing with Universe, which is in itself laudable. Its humour is mostly a hit (bonus!). Nice scenery, a competent ability to show and not tell, a cute doggo…and an adorable talking pinecone. I’m just hoping I’m not confusing the good bits for genuine love for the series, because then I’d be in for a bummer of a season.
  • Dame x Pri –In a season where I’m spoilt for choice, this one gets a middle grade because Narek is annoying plus the jokes don’t always make their mark. That said, Ani is roughly what she’s advertised as (hardworking yet pushed around by her parents a bit, which is already a step above some otome game heroines), and even though I’ve pegged my favourite boys (Chrom and Vino) as evil, they can’t all be evil in the end…it’s an otome game adaption, for goodness’ sake! Plus this is the only HiDive show I care about this season, so there’s also that.
  • Sanrio Danshi – It had some unexpectedly good drama, undermined by some of the most blatant advertising I’ve ever seen aside from The Truman Show. If only it didn’t use Pompompurin’s butthole as an excuse to introduce Kouta’s obsession with Sanrio, I’d be on board with it. (Yes – I am completely aware of how stupid that last sentence sounds.)
  • Darling in the FranxxThe sakuga fest of the season. Its symbolism is extremely overt, meaning “I’m not sure whether I’d be able to strap myself in for 24 episodes because they spout about plant sexual organs”. That said, it seems like a competent entry into the mecha genre and it has a genuinely good cliffhanger at the end of the episode, so it’s not entirely a bad show.
  • Junji Ito Collection – If you interpret the Souichi segment as a way to bring down the audience’s guard, this show did exactly as it was asked to. The doll segment shows a lot of promise. The OP is reminiscent of Joker Game’s in visuals (which are the only thing Joker Game was good at) and the ED looks like it’ll be the “Spot the Ito Star” Game. Depending on your mood, the ED will get tired quickly or it will be a fun way to turn your brain off as you marvel at how Deen’s reputation has gone from Studio Wonky Animation to Studio Which Won Back Some Respect.
  • Grancrest Senki – I’m on the fence on this one. It seems to have a few holes in its logic, it does sometimes imply stuff instead of communicating it straight and then says stuff through High Fantasy Terms of Pretentiousness. Luckily if you find the right amount of brain turning-off without becoming too apathetic you can piece some of it together, plus its visuals are pretty good. I wonder about Irvin (demon carriage driver) and Sartorus (old dude), since they haven’t shown their hands so far.

Black Magic – may not necessarily be bad, depending on perspective, how highly it’s ranked and whether it’s a drop or just on hold. However, some of the lowest ones may be good for hatewatches.

  • A Place Farther Than the UniverseI don’t think this show is bad – it’s fairly competent at what it does. It’s just that it freaks me out unintentionally with its art style and its content seems shallow enough to not bother with…at least the No Game No Life reference was funny…
  • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-sanThis is perfectly average, but didn’t manage to get a laugh or an “aww” out of me and didn’t try to be anything greater than it was (which is either a good or a bad thing, depending on the viewpoint). It seems like the sort of thing you’d binge on a bland day where you want to reminisce about school days.
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody The show stumbles a few times (“don’t headbutt a wyvern if you can help it”, for instance) but it does have the capability to be something better…if not, it’ll just fall into the mire created by other isekai shows. It has the ability to talk about Japanese work culture and programming, so hopefully it uses them well. However, because it looks like Satoo will be building a harem, I’m leaving it for later.

 

Furthermore, on the short episode side, we have:

  • gd Men’s Party – Another victim of a resolution, although this one isn’t subject to the same resolution as that for YuruCamp and the other long form shows. It’s…really random, but actually really hilarious! If you thought isekais were a pile of trash, try this show on for size – it’s only 8 minutes. (The dance ending is probably the most ordinary and uninspired thing about it though.)
  • MahoYome (short) – Same old MahoYome short – not particulaly interesting or funny, but I still have to keep checking for the next episode nonetheless.

5 thoughts on “Winter 2018 First Episode Impressions

Add yours

  1. I’m not really sure about Darling in the FranXX yet either. I just saw the second episode and am not yet over the Moon about it. But the Mecha designs are really cool, and it’s certainly not a bad show either. The Junji Ito collection has been okay too…it gives me a bit of a Twilight Zone feeling if I’m being honest.

    Like

      1. I had to look that one up as I wasn’t familiair with it, but after having seen some pictures for it, you are absolutely right. The Mecha designs really are very similar. That series looks pretty cool by the way, thanks for pointing it out 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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