Hello everyone! It’s a new anime season and there’s a ton of new and interesting anime. I’ve sifted through a decent amount of the new animes this Winter season and here are my initial impressions.


A Place Further than the Universe

Synopsis:

Tamaki Mari (known to her friends as “Kimari”) had big hopes heading into high school. She was going to travel to new places, skip a day of school, and just all-around make the most of her youth. But one day she realizes that she’s somehow reached her second year without doing any of those things, because she’s afraid. Every time Mari tries to do something new, she gets anxious and backs out at the last minute, and no matter how much she tries, she can’t seem to get past that block. Then one day, she sees a girl from her school racing past her at the train station. The girl loses an envelope that turns out to be filled with cash – one million yen. When Mari tracks her down, she tells Mari that her mother was lost on an Antarctic research trip when she was in middle school, and now her goal is to raise money to go find her. She invites Mari to go along with her on the trip, which just may be the push that Mari needs to finally begin living the life she wants

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

Going into A Place Further than the Universe (APFU), I thought the show would be another cute girls doing a ting type of show, but I was blown away at how good the characterization and art of the show were. Throughout the first 3 episodes, APFU takes deliberate steps to show the mindset of each character in great detail, which got me invested in the adventure of the main cast. Plus, I love the fact that show authentically depicts the struggles of teenagers trying to join an expedition to Antarctica. This attention to detail added a level of realism to the show that was gripping and a layer of comedy that I absolutely adored.

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The artistry in the show is fantastic too boot. The various backgrounds in the show are a sight to behold. Whether it be scenic shots of mountains to a busy evening in a downtown area were expertely realized and I can’t wait to see how Antarctica will be animated.

APFU is Madhouse at its A game and I heavily recommend you check this show out. I’m definitely going to watch this show to completion.

Episodes Watched: 3 out of 3


Laid-Back Camp

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Synopsis:

Nadeshiko Kagamihara has just moved to Yamanashi prefecture, and the first thing she wants to do is bike up to Lake Motosu to see the famed view of Mt. Fuji, though she ends up falling asleep and getting lost on the way. Luckily, Nadeshiko runs in to Rin Shima, a fellow high-schooler who also happens to be an expert solo camper. Spending an evening out under the stars with Rin ends up showing Nadeshiko just how fun camping can be. This chance meeting eventually leads Rin and Nadeshiko to their school’s Outdoor Activities Club, where both girls will make new friends and have plenty of adventures with each other as they celebrate the joy of camping in the great-outdoors

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

Laid-Back Camp is a warm and fuzzy show and that’s about it. When watching the first two episodes, I found myself checking my phone on and off because the show was so slow paced that I found my attention wandering from time to time.

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Although Laid-Back Camp couldn’t hold my attention through its entire run, I found the show to be very relaxing. I could feel my stress melt away as the calming sounds of the show played.

The characters in the show don’t rise above their archetypes, but the interactions between the characters got me to laugh from time to time.

The stand out element of this anime has to be the beautiful background art and the character designs. Laid-Back Camp has some gorgeous shots of mount Fuji and various outdoor locations and it’s a sight to behold.

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Laid-Back Camp is probably the closest thing we’ll get to a cross between scenery porn and the anime “Flying Witch” this season. What APFU lacks in relaxing moments, Laid-Back Camp makes up for in spades, but it doesn’t do much else. In any case, I’ll probably only watch this show when I’m in a bad mood to lift my spirits.

Episodes Watched: 2 out of 3 episodes


Devilman Crybaby

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Synopsis:

Akira is as sweet and kind as they come. As a little boy he cried over kittens he couldn’t save, much to his friend Ryo’s amazement – if he knew the kitten was going to die, why was he sad? It’s not like it was unexpected. The two grow apart as Akira continues through school and Ryo moves to the US, where he becomes a professor involved in specialized research. When his fellow researcher, Professor Fikira, becomes possessed by a devil while working with indigenous people in South America, Ryo becomes obsessed with the idea of proving that devils are real. Returning to Japan, he seeks out Akira and deliberately takes him to a club where he knows devils lurk, inviting the devil Amon to possess his unwitting friend. There’s no way this could possibly backfire, right?

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

Devilman Crybaby is my anime of the year for 2018 for now. I must declare this because the show is hooked so strongly that I ended up binging the entire show in a day. Devilman Crybaby gripped me with how its unique animation style showed me all the different emotions going through each scene and each of those scenes were a sight to behold. The musical score complemented each scene as well, which added a layer surreality to the anime that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.

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Although, I love Devilman, it’s not without its faults. I found the voice acting in the english dub to be fairly good, but the delivery of the lines were hampered by a lackluster script. Many of the characters acted in irrational ways and the explanations they gave for their actions often didn’t make scene if they gave any explanations at all in the first place.

Devilman Crybaby has a couple of flaws that may turn people off from watching the show, but overall the show is still excellent. I would highly recommend you watch Devilman to completion as I have.

Episodes Watched: 10 out of 10 (completed)


Katana Maidens

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Synopsis:

For countless years, monsters known as aramada have threatened the lives of humans. To combat these creatures, the divine swords known as okatana are wielded by toji, girls trained in the use of their special powers. Kanami Etou is one such toji-in-training, and a very promising one at that - in fact, having just won her local high school tournament, she’s now heading off with her friend Mai to compete in the national toji student competition. Kanami loves swordfighting, but her arrival at the national tournament will herald a dramatic and unexpected shift in her life. When Kanami runs into the mysterious Kagari Juujou, the two of them will end up cast out from toji society, and on the run from an organization with powers beyond reckoning

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

Katana Maidens is a show of many interesting ideas, but is held back poor execution of those ideas. At first glance, Katana Maidens appears to be a bog standard multimedia anime featuring cute girls fighting some monstrous force, but the show quickly evolves into something akin to Captain America: Winter Soldier. I have to applaud the ambitiousness of this twist and how engaging it would be if the show was able to focus on these elements.

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The beginning and the ending of each of the episodes I watched were the only plot relevant scenes, while everything in the middle of both episodes I watched felt superfluous. I understand that the show was trying to build its characters and world, but what was shown in these scenes were either obvious or only provided some kind of random fact about a character or the setting that added nothing for me to get engaged in the show.

On one hand, I want to like the show because it clearly has a lot of heart put into it, but I just can’t get over how poorly the show is directed and paced at times. I’ll drop this show for now, but I may pick it up again if Gugsy can convince me.

Watched Episodes: 2 out of 3


Junji Ito Collection

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Synopsis:

For years Junji Ito’s surreal storytelling and nightmarish art have earned him a reputation as one of manga’s masters of horror. Junji Ito “Collection” is an omnibus animation project that brings to the screen several of Ito’s most famous stories and characters, including those of Tomie, a mysterious and beautiful girl that refuses to die, Souichi, a conniving young boy that deals in the occult, and Miss Fuchi, a gorgeous model who hides a monstrous secret.

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with the first episode of the Ito collection. It feels like this first episode should have been placed in the middle of the season rather than at the beginning because there was nothing interesting that stood out in the first episode excluding the last 2 minutes of the episode. I know the the Ito has many good short and long horror stories, but the one presented in the first episode let me down. I’ll keep watching the Ito collection, but I hope some better stories are animated next.

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Episodes Watched: 1 out of 3


Record of Grandcrest War

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Synopsis:

The continent of Atlatan, where Lords bears magical Crests which empower them to fight off the encroaching Chaos, is split between the Factory Federation and the Fantasy Alliance. A wedding between the scions of the Archdukes of each nation was supposed to cement a peace treaty and combine their magical Crests into the great Grancrest, but a demon attack during the wedding which results in the deaths of both Archdukes disrupts the attempt and plunges the two nations back into conflict. Afterwards Siluca Meletes, a recent inductee into the Mages’ Association, is on her way to the Lord she will contract with when she encounters a new Crest-bearer, one Theo, during an encounter with an opposing Lord’s minions. Taking a liking to Theo, Siluca helps him up his Crest’s power level so she can contract with him instead and thus help him in his effort to suppress the Chaos – whether he wants the help or not.

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

When Theo absorbed the cerberus like creature, I screamed “PERSONA!” Jokes aside, I feel like The Record of the Grandcrest War is aiming to be more ambitious than what the anime staff can actually deliver upon.

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The main problem I have with Grandcrest is that it’s trying to be a large scale fantasy war drama without explaining any of the magic systems in the world or the structure of the world’s society. It’s nearly impossible to tell what’s going on in the show because so many of the rules of the world are left vague. Even after 3 episodes of this show, I only have a rudimentary grasp of the two different sides of the war and I have a shaky knowledge of what the magic system in the show is like. With all these different major questions I have about this show, it’s hard for me to get invested in the show.

The actual animation and presentation of the show are also middling. It’s clear from the bland animation and poor pacing that A-1 pictures brought their C team for Grandcrest.

With its poorly defined world and character and a mediocre presentation, I’m going to drop Grandcrest. Instead I plan to finish Record of the Lodoss War as I keep hearing that it’s good fantasy show.

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Episodes Watched: 3 out of 3


Kokkoku

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Synopsis:

Juri’s dead-end family has one good thing going for it: Makoto, Juri’s little nephew, who everyone agrees stands the only chance of not growing up to be a loser. So it’s doubly confusing when the family is jumped by kidnappers, who snatch Makoto and his uncle for ransom. Juri can barely comprehend why a family like hers would be targeted at all, until her aging father reveals a secret: by sacrificing blood to a mysterious stone, their family has the ability to freeze time, walking through stasis while the world stops around them! The only problem? Their family isn’t the only one with this strange ability, and things will be getting much darker quickly.

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

In a season full of cute girls, Kokkoku comes to give me a huge shot of suspense that I dearly need. Though the color palette of the show is rather drab, the characterization of the main character and her family was great and I enjoyed the twist of the supernatural in the show. The first episode did a great job setting up an interesting story and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Watched Episodes: 1 out of 3


Pop Team Epic

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Synopsis:

Daichi’s parents are about to leave on their overseas trip, so he needs to keep an eye on Sosogu who’s a teen idol—no, never mind. Actually, Popuko and Pipimi are here to have absurd adventures in Paris, beat each other up, love each other, and use explosives while shady alien figures plot how to dominate the anime season

Taken from the Animenewsnetwork

Thoughts:

The humor for Pop Team Epic (PTE) just doesn’t work for me.

Though I find the creativeness of some of the animated skits in PTE to be awesome to view, I only found that 1 or 2 of the skits to be funny. All the other skits I merely found to be odd or just some kind of video game reference that was interesting but inconsequential.

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I also find it strange that the show is split into two different segments with the same skits, but with different voice actors. It’s just a slog to go through the same material twice with only one or two minor differences.

I simply don’t have the time or patience to watch any more of PTE.

Watched Episodes: 2 out of 3


The first round of animes I watch were overall great, with one or two animes I disliked. I’m feeling pretty positive about the season so far and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the new shows. I should have impressions of the animes I watch this season out some time next week.

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Also, how’re you feeling about the shows I just watched? Are there any other Winter 2018 animes that I should check out as soon as possible?


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