For me, this winter was an odd season, filled with shows I either really liked or really couldn’t care less about. Not exactly quality over quantity, but something along those lines. I guess in some ways it was the calm before the storm of this absolutely insane spring season.

But before we get going, keep in mind I will only cover shows which ended this season, because those are what I’ll have a complete opinion on, meaning that several series will not be mentioned until the Spring roundup. And like usual, I won’t talk about any anime I’ve already made full videos on, ‘cause you can just go there for my thoughts. In this case, that’s After the Rain, which I loved.

So, let’s get started with…

3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion) Season 2

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In my eyes, this is the anime to beat for the rest of the year. The first season of March comes in like a lion was already a great time, and this one just takes it a notch further; honing in on both the main cast and a plethora of side characters, articulating their struggles and growth in ways that feel so real and hit so close to home, complimented as always by the eccentrically beautiful Shaft aesthetic. Every episode was an emotional gutpunch, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This’ll probably be the last time I talk about the series for a while, since as a sequel it will not be eligible for my personal end-of-year list, but if you have any patience at all for heavy and heartwarming character dramas, you cannot miss March comes in like a lion. On the other hand, feel free to miss...

Kokkoku

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If you’re disappointed I didn’t see Takagi-san this season, blame Twitter, which had me watch Kokkoku instead. Now, Kokkoku is not broken or incompetent, it’s just mundane and forgettable. It’s a perfectly watchable supernatural thriller type series, but besides the opening, it doesn’t have enough going for it to truly stand out. The characters are pre tty hit or miss, the production values are shoddy, the plot is propelled by numerous convenient twists and turns... I just don’t feel like I got my money’s worth, metaphorically speaking. If you put a gun to my head and made me watch Kokkoku, I could do it no problem, but that’s the height of praise I can give. Heh, put that quote of the back of the blu-rays. Anyway, next up, the one and only...

Violet Evergarden

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In what has become a surprisingly controversial opinion, I really enjoyed Violet Evergarden. However, it had so much hype behind it heading into the season that it was almost bound to disappoint, and for many it did, with its melodramatic tone, handwave-y worldbuilding and pacing, divisely filtered aesthetic, etc. For my part... I think the show looks gorgeous, sounds great and is a reasonably touching story. I almost approached it as something like a truncated version of Natsume Yuujinchou: several episodic anecdotes strung together, with a slow development of the main character alongside them — although Evergarden by comparison places quite a bit more focus on that main character, especially near the end, a former soldier trying to find her place in life. Still one of the highlights of my season, while the highlight of many people’s seasons was..

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further Than The Universe)

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It’s easy to be skeptical of series like this, seeing a group of teenage girls on the poster, and write it off as just some slice of life comedy. (Don’t worry, we’ll cover one of those a little later.) Place Further Than The Universe, on the other hand, is more of a drama, following these four girls on their quest to go to Antarctica, and the emotional trials they face along the way. It’s a very well-rounded and likable show that touches on many relatable themes of friendship, grief, dreams and penguins. It can get a little heavy-handed, in my opinion, but all in service of fleshing out the characters, so if you haven’t yet checked it out, give it a shot! Also maybe give a shot to...

Garo: Vanishing Line

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… not because it’s a stellar piece of entertainment, but because it’s a reasonably solid one that seemingly not many people watched. Vanishing Line is technically part of the larger Garo franchise, but each entry is standalone so you can watch this with no prior knowledge. (After all, I did.) It’s a brand of action show that we only get every so often these days, heavily Western styled with kickass characters doing kickass things. I won’t say the writing is always a 10/10, but this is a show to watch for the spectacle and fun, not commentary on the human condition. As it so happens, there was another demony supernatural action series this season that did have some sort of commentary. I am of course referring to...

Devilman: Crybaby

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Nearly forgot to put this in the video, with how early in the year it premiered. Devilman Crybaby comes to us from the somewhat niche but very well-liked director Masaaki Yuasa, the man behind Tatami Galaxy, Ping Pong, and more, but unlike those quirky character studies, Devilman is very much a hardcore action show. It also released exclusively on Netflix, meaning it didn’t have to obey any of those pesky broadcast standards…. and very much did not. This is not one for the faint of the heart, but I found it uniquely cativating and subsequently extremely depressing. It’s a divisive series for sure, but the first episode should be enough to know whether or not it’s for you, and if it is, at only 10 episodes total it’s a pretty quick watch. Next, we’ll hit the other Netflix anime I saw this season...

B: The Beginning

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I had fun with B, but it’s a messy show. It’s like if someone smashed together a police procedural and an action shounen and sprinkled some Jared Leto Joker on top; it has too many characters and some mediocre comedy, but also some great fight scenes and generally superb aesthetics. As long as you’re willing not to think about it too hard, and enjoy the event for what it is (kind of like Garo), you could do worse. And I mean, the ending theme alone makes it like halfway worthwhile. It’s so good. And what else is so good? You guessed it...

Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen (Silver Soul Arc)

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Aside from unfortunate bottom-of-the-barrel animation, I think this arc is shaping up to be a perfect Gintama finale, by encompassing all that Gintama is. As the series has neared its conclusion, it’s had to ramp up the story and drama, but this can kind of fall flat, because honestly Gintama can feel a little generic when it gets too serious. In my eyes, the best things about Gintama have always been its wildly diverse cast and nearly unparalleled sense of humor, which this arc is taking full advantage of. It’s pulling in every character it can from the show’s long 300+ episode run for an appropriately grand finale, splicing in jokes and action with equal prevalence to create an experience that is truly Gintama. We may be nearing the end of the line, but at least we’ll go out with a bang. This season saw another entry in a long franchise with...

Fate/Extra: Last Encore

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Definitely one of, if not the, most unique Fate anime to exist, as Shaft productions tend to be. An adaptation of a game that doesn’t really adapt the game, Fate/Extra is sort of nuts, and I don’t even know what to recommend you’ve seen of the franchise before giving it a shot. It’s probably best to just have a general familiarity. And, it’s not even over, with more episodes coming in July, that with any luck will be just as odd and strangely entertaining as what came before. I’m not sure I would call Fate/Extra a good show, exactly, but I’ll remember my time with it, and had a relatively positive experience. I also had a positive experience with...

Gakuen Babysitters (School Babysitters)

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They’re so precious. Look, look at them, it’s a whole show about toddlers with designs like that, it’s adorable. What else can I even say? The show’s not that well-made, and it’s kind of a basic slice of life-y thing, but if this image (or the clips in the video) make you want to watch it, go and watch it. It gives you such warm, fuzzy feelings. *cough* Next, we have...

Overlord II

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Overlord is a trapped-in-a-video-game isekai light novel adaptation, where our protagonist is reborn as his skeletal video game character in a fantasy world, and sets out to conquer it with his extremely overpowered abilities. Wait, please! Come back. It’s not as bad as it sounds. The interesting thing about Overlord, especially once it gets past the setup (which is mostly what Season 1 adapted), is that it focuses more on the natives of this world, and the repercussions of the main guy’s actions on their lives, rather than just the main guy. There’s a lot of room for interesting perspectives and worldbuilding there, but the thing is…

I kind of shot myself in the foot with Overlord. Back in the day I had a great time with the original 2015 season, so I started reading the novels, and loved ‘em — s’all well and good so far — but this inadvertently exposed how limp the anime is as an adaptation. It certainly doesn’t look good enough for me to relish in the mere fact of being animated, and so many of the details or internal thought processes that made me like the novels get utterly lost in translation. It’s watered down, what can I say. I still enjoyed season two of Overlord, but I’m much more excited for the next novel than the third season. And yes, I know how annoying it is to hear “oh ho ho, the source material is so much better!”, because you hear that for every adaptation under the sun, but I do feel the difference is significant with Overlord. And now I’m gonna sound like a hypocrite, as we move to...

ReLife (Kanketsu-hen/Final Arc)

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… because manga readers have complained so much about how rushed this finale was, but… I don’t really care? As an anime-only viewer of ReLife, I really enjoyed the closure these last four episodes brought to the story, and I wish more anime would make some kind of ending specials like this, so that the series can at least stand on its own as a complete narrative. I do plan to read the manga one day, just to see what all the fuss is about, but for now, I’m perfectly happy with ReLife. Next...

Osomatsu-san Season 2

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Boy. People were not happy with this season. I get it, I do think the first was stronger, but I don’t dislike what we got. I think the main issue, or at least my main issue, with this second season is that the skits felt a little overlong, like there weren’t enough quick 30 second jokes and everything had to be a twelve-minute setup. I still laughed, I still cried, well, no, I just laughed, but if and when we get a third season I will still happily watch it. Though I might drop out if we get a third season of...

Dagashi Kashi 2

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Dagashi Kashi is weird. For those who don’t know, dagashi are little Japanese candies, the kind you’d get for like a dollar, and this series is half dagashi advertisement, showing off new dagashi and all the cool ways you can eat them. Behind that veil of marketing (?) is a story of a dagashi shop owner’s kid who just wants to be manga artist but can’t seem to shake his dagashi-obsessed friend — who is naturally a hot girl. This season’s episodes were half as long and looked worse than the first’s, but the plot picked up a little steam, especially near the very end, so if you saw the first season and love the characters, you’d probably enjoy this one too. And the last sequel of the video will be…

Classicaloid Season 2

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No one cares about Classicaloid. I have over a hundred friends on MAL, and besides me only one of them even has the second season on their list, in a “plan to watch” capacity. Considering that, I should probably explain what the show even is. In a nutshell, Classicaloid is an absurdist comedy revolving around odd caricatures of famous musical composers living in the modern day — the key words in that sentence being “odd” and “absurd”. Classicaloid absolutely revels in its willful stupidity, embracing every possible random scenario from fanatic religious cults to Western shootouts. I can’t blame anyone for not caring, because it’s not exactly a supremely well-crafted or written show, but it hits this perfectly silly tone that I found amusing. Speaking of amusing...

Yuru Camp (Laid-Back Camp)

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High school girls going camping. Well, you know me. My feelings on slice of life usually cap out at “yeah, s’pretty good”, and that’s exactly how I feel about Yuru Camp. I have nothing against it, I think it’s a perfectly charming, comfy, and amusing show — but that’s also the extent of my opinion. If this is your genre, you’ll probably have a good time. If not, I doubt it’ll change your mind. And our penultimate series in this roundup is...

Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)

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A good ole beauty-and-the-beast-style fantasy series, though… I have a feeling the manga’s better. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the anime, but the artwork could be fairly inconsistent and the pacing to me felt off, like they were trying to force every episode into some kind of cliffhanger, leaving the plot weirdly haphazard. It hits the right emotional beats, has its moments of great atmosphere, good music and reasonably interesting characters, so I could definitely recommend it, just perhaps not as strongly as some of the other anime here. And lastly...

Poputepipikku (Pop Team Epic)