Winter 2018 was a season that I think surprised almost everyone. A lot of what I’d heard about this year was that Spring was going to be the “big season”, but Winter really came strong and gave us some big contenders not just for very good anime, and a strong season, but several potential picks for Anime of the Year!
With that said, there were some great shows this Winter, along with some meh shows, and some shows that were just downright bad. The common theme I saw running through all these picks, though, was the theme of “relaxing”, as the warm fuzzies never stopped flowing, from season start to season end. So, i’ll go through everything I watched, and address some of the stuff I dropped along the way, as well.
Darling in the Franxx
Let’s start off with one of the season’s most controversial picks, shall we? I’ve seen a lot of love, and a lot of hate being tossed around about this show, mainly due to the questionable subject matter and the way it handles some of its characters and themes. Not to mention the quite shameless fanservice that’s never far away. it’s been a rather divisive show, and to be honest, for a while, I myself couldn’t decide whether I liked the show or not. In the end, though, i’ve decided that I don’t like the show. I LOVE IT.
I’m kind of a sucker for mecha shows, to be honest, so seeing a fresh, new concept being introduced to the genre is always a plus in my book. The mechs look awesome, and the show itself it absolutely gorgeous, one of the prettiest of the season… and that’s saying something. The cast of characters initially felt a bit bland, but they’ve started to grow on me, episode by episode.
Darling is a show that relies heavily on the portrayal of the innocence and vulnerability of youth, the confusion of dealing with budding emotions, especially in a world where nobody teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong, no parent figure gives you advice on relationships or maturity. We’ve all experienced, or will experience, puberty, but we have the benefit of teachers and parents to help us deal with the changes we’re going through. These kids have none of that, they don’t even know what love is, and technically don’t even have names.
Darling feels like a show where things could go downhill, very quickly. All the characters are still kicking, for now, but it has shown no qualms at tormenting the main cast, repeatedly. I think the show could end up being immensely good, and i’m excited to follow it into the Spring season.
Overlord Season 2
Isekai, Isekai, Isekai. One of the most overused and milked-to-the-bone plot devices there is. Overlord is an Isekai show. However, where other mainstream Isekai fall flat on their face, Overlord manages to keep things fresh and interesting, with Season 2 capturing more of the same fun that I’ve been waiting for for so, so long.
With a main cast of unbeliably colorful, over-the-top characters, Overlord gives us a story from the villain’s point of view, pitting overpowered monsters against the puny humans, and all the delightful machinations of our god-level protagonist. A dark world, fantastically interesting characters such as Demiurge, Albedo, Shalltear, and even princess Renner, help make the show an enormous bundle of fun that just keeps on giving.
Oh, and the incredible Madhouse production values really don’t hurt, either.
A Place Further Than The Universe
Speaking of Madhouse… HOLY MOTHER OF ARCEUS have they managed to hit it out of the park here. Yorimoi, as the show is affectionately referred to, was probably my favorite show of the season, hands-down. There are so many things I want to talk about concerning this show, but i’ll keep this brief, and write up a longer post later. Here, i’ll just talk about some of the highlights.
The characters, for one. It’s very rare to get a cast, both main and supporting, that feel so fresh, vibrant, and alive. The four main characters are unique, interesting, and adorable, and I absolutely fell in love with each of them only moments after meeting em. The supporting cast is solid as well, from Megumi, to Kimari’s parents, to the members of the exploration team… every single one of them is so unique, they feel so well-thought-out. Nobody is a cardboard cutout, and everyone not only belongs, but absolutely makes the story better by their presence.
The music is delightful, with many of the tracks in the score able to summon tears in just a few bars. The art is absolutely gorgeous, some of the best-looking art i’ve ever seen in Anime, and that includes the backgrounds AND the character models.
Combine all this with a truly touching story, the circumstances and troubles of each girl slowly winding together into a rich tapestry of a tale, and you have yourself what is, without a doubt, an absolute masterpiece. Well done, Madhouse. Well done.
NOW CAN YOU STOP TAUNTING US WITH NO GAME NO LIFE?????
(I’ve talked about this show a bunch in the Winter Games collab, but I adore it so much that i’m gonna talk about it some more.)
In a season of warm, fuzzy, and relaxing, Yuru Camp is the Warmest, Fuzziest, Relaxingest show around. A show about girls camping, Yuru Camp follows five different girls as they… well, explore their love of camping. That’s about it.
Yuru Camp is about as simple a formula as it’s possible to make, but it’s so well-executed, it makes it an incredibly enjoyable experience all-around. Combining beautiful hand-painted backdrops with a lovable cast of dorky characters and a relaxing subject matter, Yuru Camp is designed to find all of your calming notes and juice those suckers until they’re dry.
Honestly, though I love the characters, the art, and the music in the show, I think Yuru Camp’s biggest strength lies in its ability to let both the viewer and the characters breathe. One of the main plot points is that Rin enjoys solo camping, and the show has her camping solo all the way to the very end. It doesn’t force her to camp with others or change her viewpoint right away, it lets her do what she wants. The episodes are slow-paced, but never boring; they allow both the viewer AND the characters to just… sit back, relax, and enjoy their time.
In a world that’s constantly in a hurry to get places, get things done, earn money, go to school, etc… Yuru Camp provides a sweet, sweet relief from all that. Freedom from the stress of everyday life. Something that, until now, i’ve only been able to accomplish with, well… actually going camping, up in the mountains.
Honestly, Yuru Camp isn’t the most intelligent, well-written, or interesting show around. But I can promise, it’s one that i’ll be coming back to, time and time again.
Record of Grancrest War
I’ve already done a TON of talking about this show during the 2018 Winter Games Collab that I did with Irina, Leap250, and TPAB. I’m really not sure there’s anything more that I can say about the show that hasn’t already been said, so I’m gonna keep this brief.
Initially I thought of Grancrest as a very average, generic Fantasy show. After some awful mistakes and a ham-fisted plotline, I thought it was much worse. Then, it threw some crazy crap at me, and I got a bit more interested. Basically, I don’t really know where I stand on this show, other than it does a very good job of making me angry.
It’s a 24-episode show, so it’s not quite done yet, but I think I might continue it to the end, just to see what happens next.
Sanrio Boys is a show that shares the same point as Grancrest… as in, i’ve already done enough talking about it in the Winter Games collab, and I don’t have much more to say on the subject. The whole thing felt very immaturely written, very juvenile in the execution, and overall, was rather painful to slog through. But, if you’re into cute anime boys and lots of sparkles, ehh, it may be your thing.
As it stands, I wasn’t really a fan of the show, and though I did watch it to the end, can safely say it was my least favorite show I watched this season.
Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Episode 9)
Death March is a LN series i’ve been following for a while now, with 5 volumes currently released in English and more on the way. I was pretty excited about it getting an Anime adaptation, and compared to Isekai Smartphone last year, was a big improvement. However, when compared with Overlord Season 2, also airing this season, not to mention several utterly obnoxious characters in the main cast, Death March fell flat on its face.
After the Rain (Episode 3)
After the Rain is a visual masterpiece. One of the prettiest shows in a season with many pretty shows, showcasing gorgeous backgrounds, soulful eyes, and necks to rival Welcome to the Ballroom, the show looks and sounds absolutely incredible. However, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. The emotional content of the show is undeniable, but something about the high-school girl creeping on the middle-aged man just turned me off to the show pretty early on. I am assured, however, by some other bloggers, that the show is a great watch, if you can look past that.
Beatless (Episode 5)
Beatless is another show that’s faithful to its own name. As in, it was so dull, I think my heart stopped beating for a bit while watching it. Awful pacing, bland, stupid characters, and animation that begins to melt at any sort of distance, Beatless was just a total turn-off for me, in a wide variety of ways. Make no mistake, i’m a big sucker for the boy-meets-mysterious-girl trope, but this one failed on the execution, big time.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 3)
This show is weird. Honestly, I know there were quite a few people who really liked it, but I don’t think even they can deny that the show is just… strange. There’s a lot about it that kind of doesn’t make any sense, the characters are odd, and the whole vibe it gives off just feels sorta wonky. I had to drop it, for the sake of my own sanity.
Killing Bites (Episode 3)
Here it is, the edgy show of the season. Good heavens, if you’re looking for an uncensored, violent, bloody action show… Yeah, i’d still recommend you look elsewhere. There’s plenty of blood and gore, and a death metal soundtrack to back it up, but the premise is pretty dumb, and the characters don’t really have much to back them up. It’s kind of a flimsy shell of a show caked in a mask of blood and gore.
Märchen Mädchen (Episode 6)
Oh boy, where to even start on this one. Märchen Mädchen began as one of my top picks of the season. Beautiful art, fun and energetic characters, and an interesting story premise promised to make it at least an interesting watch.
Queue trouble. I don’t think i’ve ever heard of a more disastrous production in my history of watching Anime, and that’s quite a while. From deaths to quitting, copyright concerns, improperly crediting artists, producers, directors, and more, Märchen Mädchen quickly went from a promising show to a pile of eye-melting, nearly unwatchable mush, falling from one of the best, to one of the worst shows of the season.
Slow Start (Episode 4)
Slow Start had a pretty decent first episode, promising adorable girls and a relaxing setting. The problem with the show is that the pacing was just, as the title suggests, sluggishly slow. Hopelessly outclassed by other Moe/feel-good shows, such as Yuru Camp and Yorimoi this season, Slow Start dropped further and further behind, and in the end, I dropped it altogether.
That’s pretty much everything from the Winter 2018 season that I watched and dropped. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of time in my life for Anime right now, so I really only have time to watch about a quarter of the stuff i’d really like to, but i’m working to keep up and get a better watching schedule nailed down.
Thanks everyone for reading, and for sticking with my blog. Please, let me know what some of you guys’ favorite shows were from last season, as well as what you’re all excited about this Spring season!