December Anime Roundup

December is in its last throes, as is the current anime season, with a number of shows flighting their last episode this week. It was somewhat of a disappointing season though with very few anime that stood out for me. I did watch a number of shows that were from previous years or that I had missed before and some were excellent while others were dropped if I did not like what I was seeing. 

Adachi to Shimamura.  (Adachi and Shimamura),  was probably the best that I watched, and I have rated it an 8. However, if I really look at it rationally there was a lot wrong with the show. Had Adachi been a male he would have been labelled a stalker, and just why was there a randomly shedding alien in the series?  Still, it was an enjoyable watch and I never felt that it was something that I wanted to drop.  Interestingly that shedding alien girl seems to have a distant relative that appeared in  Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko way back in 2011. Denpa was a great anime and a sequel would have been awesome, but like so many other shows it never went further than that single season. 

Tonikaku Kawaii (Over the Moon For You) was nice. It was not a complicated story and the female protagonist was very likable and kind of sweet. Although I still ask myself whether she didn’t have an ulterior motive behind her marriage to Nasa.  If there is a 2nd season I would definitely take it up although the series did end with no real cliff hangers. I rated it an 8 and it is quite a favourite show of a lot of otaku. 

Kamisama na Natta Hi (The day I became a God) was never really a favourite, partly due to the agro female protagonist who was more irritating than anything else. Visually it was beautiful and it had a wonderful soundtrack. The last episodes more or less wrapped the show up and as far as I am concerned no 2nd season is needed. Something did not sit right with me and this anime and  I cannot quite put a finger on what I did not like apart from Agro-kun,  and while it was watchable it was not an anime that I looked forward to or  would rewatch. I did rate it 8 because of the visuals and soundtrack, but not for the storyline.   

Munou na Nana (Talentless Nana) was somewhat of a let down at the end. I did not feel that it provided any sort of answer to the many questions that it raised, and felt very incomplete and rushed towards the end. Was the series any good? not really, it started off reasonably well but did not deliver as far as I was concerned. Hiiragi Nana was quite a badass though but when they started to tell her backstory it was more of an afterthought than plot development. I did like the ED (Bakemono to Yobarete (バケモノと呼ばれて) by Chiai Fujikawa) but unless a second season comes along it is unlikely that I would rewatch this series. I downrated it to a 6 on completion. 

Outside of the seasons offerings I finished an anime called “Given” from Summer 2019 and it is about a boy that owns a Gibson guitar and who asks one of his school mates to show him how to play it.  The show is classed as “shounen-ai” and it is only at episode 5 where this starts becoming more clear. However, it was well made and interesting with a solid story and I ended up finishing it by the end of the weekend. I have rated it a 9 and possibly the only reason I did not rate a 10 was because it left more unanswered than answered. It was a great watch though and there is a movie out which I must go look for. 

I picked up  Maoujou de Oyasumi (Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle) just after the 8th episode was flighted and binged it to catch up. A single minded princess (Kaymin, Aurora Suya Rhys) is  kidnapped by the evil Demon King and his minions and imprisoned in his castle. The anime is about the Princess and her attempts to get a good night’s sleep.

It was not a very complicated show with a complicated plot, but it was a fun watch and at times very funny. The Princess is somewhat single minded in her attempts to create the perfect bed and is almost oblivious to the seemingly evil demons (especially the dreaded Teddy Demons) and the demon king. Rescue is however at hand although he is somewhat of an idiot and not exactly the what the Princess has in mind. It is escapist entertainment and never becomes serious or complicated and it was an enjoyable watch with bright artwork and and amusing opening number. I rate it  7 although it rates 8.02 at MAL. 

I have also rewatched 5-toubun no Hanayome (aka Gotoubun no Hanayome, (The Five Wedded Brides) ) for the 3rd time, and I have to admit I really enjoyed the show although some of the last few episodes are iffy. Basically a genius high school boy gets a job tutoring dysfunctional teenage quintuplet girls (this can only happen in an anime) . I think part of the attraction is the 5 different personalities that were cooked up for the female protagonists. The million dollar question is: “which girl is going to get the guy?” and I wont comment on the answer because it is somewhat of a nebulous thing depending on whether you read the manga or watch the anime. Much to my joy it has a second season starting in January so guess what is already on my watchlist? My preferences? 1. Miku, 2. Ichika and 3. Yotsuba.  The other 2 quints (4. Itsuki and 5. Nino do not feature in my fantasy). I rated it an 8, not because it was well made or had wonderful visuals, but rather because it was a fun watch. I also read the manga but it started getting a bit too complicated for my liking. 

That more or less wraps up the season for me. There is still 1 episode of my last anime  that I have to watch and then I can call it a wrap. Inbetween now and when the new season starts I am rewatching Little Busters Refrain and once that is done will tackle Non Non Biyore Repeat once again. NNB has proven to be a solid slice of life that has been consistent in it’s quality and enjoyment. Sadly the manga is coming to an end so we may never know whether Hotaru and Komari become a couple. I look forward to the continuation of the series next year and hope that it does not end up as a heap of fillers and rehashes. 

There are those that have criticised the series as being bland and slow but they are few and far between. The nice thing about it is that it does not rely on fan service and pantsu shots to achieve anything. Besides, Renge would probably be very miffed if it did.

The other show worth mentioning is one that I have been watching with mild interest since I first saw it on Netflix. It is one of those shows that is seen as something that all otaku should watch and venerate. I do not always follow those norms but watched it anyway because there did not seem to be anything else worth watching at the time. Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) is now in it’s final season and they are finally starting to show the backstory that explains a lot of why/who the Titan were/are.

I am not too far into it yet (3 episodes seen) and I don’t know whether this will settle the story for me, I don’t like loose ends and neither do I like random tangents being thrown into the works and so far have not made too much sense out of it. We will see how it goes as there are 16 episodes in the series which means it will all end in the first quarter of 2021. Then there will be countless OVA and specials and recaps. I may give those a miss. 

Little Busters Refrain is difficult to judge because it is really the conclusion of the Little Busters “franchise”. This is probably my third viewing of it and frankly it did not stand up as well as Angel Beats did and they both share similar elements. You can easily watch the first season of Little Busters as a standalone series, but Refrain really closes the story off. The premise is a group of boys (and a girl) grow up together, having formed a strong bond during childhood which they carry forward into their boarding school.  Their primary mission is to form a baseball team (appropriately called “Little Busters”) which they then populate with an odd assortment of girls, each with their own set of unique “issues”. Refrain really breaks this story and implies an alternate universe as it builds towards the climax. It is reasonably well written and visually good but drags on with some tired cliches that really become somewhat of a pain. Unfortunately Komari does have an excruciatingly irritating voice which detracts from the important part she plays in healing the traumatised,insecure Rin. However, the whole thing is really about friendship and overcoming your own dark demons and growing strong enough to face life with confidence.  It could have been very much better and I really feel that they lost the plot at some point. However,  it is still watchable but is not a tearjerker like Angel Beats is. I rated it a 7 back then and from a production/character pov it does rate higher but story wise it did not really come together for me as much as I would have liked. Producers: Warner Bros. JapanShowgate, Licensors: Sentai Filmworks, Studios: J.C.Staff

And that’s a wrap. Next year may prove to be great or mediocre when it comes to anime. It really depends on first impressions. Hopefully there will be some great stories out there and I have the following in mind to watch: Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season, Dr. Stone: Stone Wars, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season Part 2, 5-toubun no Hanayome ∬, Beastars 2nd Season, Horimiya, Non Non Biyori Nonstop, Planetarian: Snow Globe, Girls & Panzer: Saishuushou Part 3.  However I will sample a few others and make up my mind as I go along. And just maybe will be posting about a new discovery when next I do my anime roundup.

DRW 2020 – 2021. Created 27/12/2020. 

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