January Anime Roundup

New Season (January 2021 – March 2021):

I will start the new season by watching:

Beastars 2nd Season: Peaceful Co-existence between carnivore and herbivores may only be a pipe dream, but the reality behind the the events at At Cherryton Academy,  seem to emphasise the ever growing tensions within. The first season flighted in Oct – Dec 2019 and was a very interesting watch although it took some getting used to the anthropomorphic animal characters. I rated that season a 10, but will the 2nd season live up to it? 

Urasekai Picnic: First episode done and it’s a jumble, cannot quite put any real description to it though, but with episode 2 more was revealed and it is more about the developing relationship between Kamikoshi, Sorao  and Nishina, Toriko as they explore and try to understand the seemingly mysterious “Otherworld”. I expect great things from this show but it is being awfully slow about it.

Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season (The Promised Neverland 2nd Season). I watched the first season of The Promised Neverland in December 2020 and it was surprisingly good. Originally flighted from Jan – March 2019 it is the story about a group of orphaned children who discover that their seemingly idyllic “home” and housemother hide a deadly secret that they have to escape from. It was good enough to rate 9 and hopefully the sequel will continue to surprise.

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season Part 2 :  Continuation from the first part of the 2nd season and it is still waffling on and on and on. No idea what the heck is going on because it has dragged on seemingly forever. May even drop it at some point because it has become really torturous to watch.

5-toubun no Hanayome ∬:  The fearsome 5 are back and the studio and artwork has changed and seems to look more like the manga did. The usual grumpy quins are there although  Itsuki is not as miserable as she was before so there may be hope for her after all. Still too early to know whether this season will be good or bad, the new look kinda takes away the softness and replaces it with sparkly.  Unfortunately Nino still irritates!

Horimiya is about yet another high school girl that discovers the hidden face that is the real Miyamura, Izumi. By some odd quirk this anime has already rated 8.62 after only 2 episodes and it just seems to work incredibly well, but whether it can retain the interest level that is has garnered already remains to be seen. It could be that this is the rare gem that all anime fans love to discover.   

Rewatches

Non Non Biyori. In between seasons I have been rewatching some old favourites. And, as mentioned before one of these is Non Non  Biyori. I rewatched both seasons over the festive season and I will probably rewatch them again in the future. NNB is a stunning series, it has no complicated plot, no fan service, no blood and guts and at times not much happens. It’s strength is in the 4 main characters and the few other characters that share their lives with us, and it is enhanced by beautiful artwork and sheer enjoyment that you get from watching it. If you have a short attention span then it may be an idea to skip it altogether. The 3rd season started this January and it will be a regular watch every week till it ends. Sadly the manga is also at an end so this is probably the last season. 

Comic Girls: Was flighted from April – June 2018 and back then I started watching it from halfway through the series. The story revolves a young wannabe manga artist that moves into a female manga artist’s dorm (only in a anime could this be normal). Moeta, Kaoruko (aka Kaos-chan) is short, lacks in self esteem and the reviews of her debut manga were very poor, she also tends to scream, cry and fall down regularly  She meets up with Koizuka, Koyume who is also a new artist and newly moved in.

The dorm is home to Irokawa, Ruki and Katsuki, Tsubasa and the four of them hit it off almost immediately. It is a CGDCT type show (cute girls doing cute things) and doesn’t really have much of a story but it is light and sparkly and fluffy and the artwork and backgrounds are part of the charm. It has a wonderful ED too (Namida wa Misenai” by Comic Girls) and the artwork in the ED is even better than the anime. The anime does  not really sound like much but for some strange reason I enjoy it, and Kaos really lives up to her name. I originally rated it 7 and it rates 7.43 at MAL. It is a pleasant rewatch and unfortunately no sequel or OVA were released which was a pity. 

Girl’s Last Tour (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou) (Oct – Dec 2017):.

I missed this when it came out and started to watch it after a recommendation and I was blown away.

The story revolves around two girls who travel through a war ravaged fictional country/planet in their WW2 vintage Kettenkrad. The empty cityscapes are fascinating and I could not help ask myself where did everybody go to? There is no real backstory although it is hinted at in some of the episodes. The one girl (Chito) is responsible and studious, well read and the driver of the vehicle. Her sidekick (Yuuri) is the exact opposite, being lazy, inattentive, frivolous and does not read nor write. She is a dab hand with a  rifle and I would even label her as somewhat dangerous to herself and her partner. They do not seem to be sisters, but I cannot say whether they came together by happenstance or through sharing a similar village/school/relative. The anime is slow moving but positively riveting and very funny at time. I was so amazed by it that I read the manga to see how the story ends as there was no 2nd season. Incidentally Yuuri bears a close resemblance to Miyako from Hidamari Sketch. Both are somewhat scatter brained and there is even a physical resemblance.  I gave it a 10 and it rates 8.19 at MAL. Producers: AT-XShinchoshaKadokawa Media HouseKadokawa. Licensors: Sentai Filmworks. Studios: White Fox

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Electromagnetic Wave Woman and Adolescent Man), April – July 2011. Another all time favourite of mine is Denpa. It tells the story about a high school boy that moves in with an aunt and her very strange blue haired daughter Erio (who thinks she is an alien). It is a strange anime but it gets better as you get further in it, although it never really reaches any real conclusions. Erio is sparkly and strange and seems to enjoy retreating from reality until she comes down to the real world and gets embroiled with some equally odd people.  For some odd reason the anime works well, and I suspect it is because it is different from the run of the mill romcom. This is probably my 4th rewatch although I only rated it an 8 back then. Look out for Maekawa and her strange costumes and Yashiro Hoshimiya who is even stranger. Producers: Starchild RecordsTBS,  Licensors: NIS America, Inc.  Studios: Shaft

Watches from previous seasons.

Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) is a Shoujo Anime that ran from July till September 2014, and is based on the manga by Io Sakisaka. The story is about a young high schooler Yoshioka, Futaba that has created a persona for herself that is not in keeping with who she really wants to be. She discovers that a boy she had previously liked (Mabuchi, Kou) is in the same school as she is and tries to become friends with him once again.  Unfortunately he has become distant and seemingly does not like her the way she is at that point. 

She resolves to change and befriends Makita, Yuuri  and they end up as a group of 5, with Yuuri competing with Futaba for Kou who has has lost his mother and appears to be suffering from guilt and depression as a  result. Futaba battles to break through to him and eventually succeeds without loosing the friendship of Yuuri. It is a great anime, with good art and voice work and well developed main characters. Futaba is a wonderful character who shows a diverse range of emotions and determination, and she is easily a new favourite of mine. The ED is great  (“Blue (ブルー)” by Fujifabric) and the story was well paced and did not drag on for ages. Aimed at the female manga market it does make for an excellent watch and I rated it a 9 because it was very enjoyable to watch. It ranks 7.68 at MAL.    

Shirobako: I picked this one up on a recommendation and I was not disappointed at all. It features 5 girls that make an anime while in high school, and who then break into the mainstream anime industry once they leave school. The main character is Miyamori, Aoi and her job as a production assistant at Musashino Animation where she eventually becomes the “Production Desk” for their latest show. Also working at Musashino is Yasuhara, Ema and she is followed by Imai, Midori (Diesel-chan).  Toudou, Misa and Sakaki, Shizuka work for other companies but get drawn into working towards successfully completion of the production.  It is a fast paced show with lots of quirky characters and a lot of detail on how an anime is made and the many steps that go towards it. It is 24 episodes long and a movie was flighted in February 2020.  

Very rarely does an anime fill in all the boxes for me, but this one is definitely one I recommend. Miyamori is an excellent character to watch as she overcomes all manner of difficulties as she slowly fills all the boxes that are involved with getting an episode out on time. In fact all five of the girls are great characters and their character development was outstanding. It is a great watch and I rate it a 10! The only gripes that I did have was the ED  (Platinum Jet) which was an instant volume off and two of the male production assistants. Rewatch value of the series is very high and it rates 8.36 at MAL. Producers: SotsuMovicWarner Bros. JapanKlockWorxShowgateInfiniteImagine.  Licensors: Sentai Filmworks. Studios: P.A. Works

Girls Und Panzer (Oct 2012 to Mar 2013) Franchise: when the first season of Girls Und Panzer first appeared way back in 2012 I was appalled. I did not even watch the first season, because my biggest fear was that this would once again be one of those mindless shows that features high school girls saving the planet from some unnamed alien/mystical force/dangerous creatures, while scantily clad in their school uniforms and festooned with assorted gun turrets, tracks and other tank-like weapons. I was very wrong.  G&P is about a high school girl (Nishizumi, Miho) that is more or less conned into taking up “Senshadou” (which translates roughly into “tankology” or something like that).

To be honest the storyline is kind of weak, and the school is on a very large aircraft carrier (no, I do not know why), but the tanks are remarkable replicas of the real thing and the tank battles are a blast. Each tank has it’s own crew of strange girls that are often obsessed with eating or drinking. So far the franchise has spawned a  whole wodge of movies and  side stories and there is some sort of sequence to it all. I will not rate the franchise high due to it’s strange premise, but for sheer escapism and enjoyment it is worth the time and effort.  

Yuru Camp△:  A solitary camping buff helps another strange girl that she encounters on her trip. She ends up feeding her and they then part. Predictably they end up as friends along with 2 other girls from the Outdoor Activities Club. The story is not overly complicated although it does have a few funny moments although the stories tend to be more about making food than anything else. There are 2 seasons, the 2nd of which is showing during the Jan-March 2021 season, so if I do complete it I will then watch the 2nd season as it shows.  

DRW 2021. Created as an ongoing project 05/01/2021. Copyright resides with the creators of the respective anime. Information sourced from MyAnimeList.net

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