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Winter 2018 Anime Season - My Wrap-up [message #366146] Sat, 07 April 2018 17:16
Dave Baranyi is currently offline  Dave Baranyi
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The Winter 2018 anime season is over with something of a fizzle. This was not a good anime season for me. None of the new series that I watched ended up beyond a B and most had a hard time staying there. And some of the continuing series from the previous season limped to their ends too.

Let's start out with the earliest new series and one of the highlights of Winter 2018 - “Devilman Crybaby”. This was Director Masaaki Yuasa's remake of Go Nagai's classic horror series, done in just 10 episodes and done with Yuasa's typical visual style. This being Yuasa's take on “Devilman”, the old horror melodrama was not just updated but also turned into something of a black comedy, particularly during the first two thirds of the series. Overall, the adaptation was fairly good, given the limitations of the original story, and my final rating is B+. If you like the works of either Go Nagai or Masaaki Yuasa you ought to check this series out.

Speaking of Masaaki Yuasa, I also got to see one of his recent anime movies during Winter 2018, “The Night is Short, Walk on Girl” aka, “Yoru wa Mijikashi Arukeyo Otome”. Two of Yuasa's earlier works, “Kemonozume” and “The Tatami Galaxy” are among my all time favourite anime series. “The Night is Short” is set in the world of “Tatami Galaxy” and has a very similar feeling to it. The story is simple, in a magical realism sort of way. A university girl decides to go out and spend a festive evening with friends and acquaintances while an older university boy decides that he will set up a situation in which he can “accidentally” bump into the girl and set up the opportunity to be with her. From that premise a wonderfully entertaining and very baroque story comes to pass. I liked the movie a lot and my final rating for it is A. This is an anime movie you must see.

Speaking of anime movies, I also saw Meitantei Conan movie 21, “The Crimson Love Letter”. I've been a Meitantei Conan fan since I first started watching anime in the mid-90s and the 21st movie continued the tradition of the series in providing good action, great characters, and a well done mystery. My final rating for the movie was A, and if you are a Conan fan you should see the movie too.

Now on to the other new series for Winter 2018 that I watched to the end.

“Overlord II” was a continuation of the “Overlord” trapped-in-a-game series from a few years ago. Unfortunately, the emphasis shifted from the dark comedy surrounding the trapped game player to various “no longer NPC” characters who just were not very compelling or interesting. The clunkiness in the writing stood out more and more as the story meandered around various uninteresting plot lines. My final rating was B- and I'm not sure that I'll come back for a third season when it shows up in the Summer.

“Kokkoku” was an adaptation of a very odd and short fantasy manga about people who can stop time and then move around and interact with the stopped world. This was something of a dark comedy at times, and a shaggy dog story at others. The show used too many cliff hangers which were resolved too easily, and the ending was as deus ex machina as you can get, but it remained interesting throughout because the characters were adults and for the most part behaved as adults. My final rating is B and I'd say that this series was intriguing enough to recommend watching, although it wasn't great by any means.

“Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens” was a “buddy” comic action series about a bunch of psychopathic murderers who torture and kill for pay and spend their off time and money playing amateur baseball. Essentially, the series was trying too hard to be “Cowboy Bebop” all over again, but without interesting characters or a compelling setting. My final rating was B- and I can't really recommend the series unless you are really into buddy flicks.

“Dagashi Kashi 2” was a 15 minute continuation of the half hour long comic advertisement for Japanese snacks that came out some time ago. The characters stayed the same for the most part, as did the jokes. But then one of the main characters disappeared for the last half of the series and the show sort of limped to its end. My final rating was B- and I was generally disappointed in the show.

Two series from the Fall 2017 season finished in Winter 2018:

“Garo – Vanishing Line” - this fantasy action series limped along in its second half with less action than was needed and more teen angst than was needed. It ended up fairly paint-by-number and my final rating is B-.

“Mahoutsukai no Yome” - this fantasy series continued to look gorgeous while it continued to be infuriatingly melodramatic. By the end I no longer cared at all about the main characters. My final rating was B-..

Supposedly “Folktales from Japan -Season 2” also finished this season, but it has “finished” several times before so I'm not betting that it won't be back again. The series continued to be interesting and entertaining and my final rating was B.

There were three series that I am following that started in Winter 2018 and are continuing in the Spring 2018 season:

“Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card-hen” - this is an almost image for image, scene for scene remake of the original CCS. While that is a strength from the point of view of nostalgia, it is also a liability because the new series is refusing to do or add anything new. It looks great, but the originality that was there in the original series is badly missed. My current rating is B-.

“Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan 2” - this continuation of the gag comedy about a teen with godlike psychic powers is now a half hour show, but each episode is essentially still five 5 minute shorts. The new season is occasionally very funny but often rather meh. I'm still watching it because the funny gags are usually very funny, but in a stronger season I might just let the series go. My current rating is B-.

“Darling in the FranXX” - this post-apocalyptic mecha series had the best potential of all of the new Winter 2018 series but it hasn't done a lot with that potential yet, mainly because it has spent too much time on the supporting characters and too little time on the main characters.. I keep on feeling that 20 years ago this would have been a six-part OAV, but since no one does OAVs any more the concept has been stretched into a 24 episode series and has suffered from the stretching. Never-the-less, my current rating is B, mainly because of the potential.

And yes, I am still watching “Meitantei Conan” and “One Piece”, and I am still rating them A. I've been looking forward to watching both of them on a weekly basis more than any of the new series. “Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose”...

Dave Baranyi
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