Winter 2018 Anime

Winter 2018 was a good seasons overall with some big names, and a lot of nice smaller ones. A lot of people are calling it the “season of comf” and it is hard to argue with that. But here are my thoughts on what I watched this season.\n

Violet Evergarden

A visual marvel that shows what KyoAni can do when given a huge budget and lots of time. Each and every frame is supremely detailed, far more so than just about every other TV anime to date.
\nThe story on the other hand was a bit of a mixed bag. The show opens by introducing us to who Violet is and the myriad of emotional and psychological problems that she seems to have. The juxtaposition between Violet and the other Dolls was quite well done and gave a good contrast.
The middle of the show, where Violet is out traveling and doing ghostwriting was where it really hit it’s stride. We got to see Violet react to a variety of different environments and see how she grew as a character from each experience.
The last 2 episodes however were poor by comparison. While climactic they had lost some emotional weight, especially the penultimate episode. Specifically the scene where Violet is captured by the soldiers on the roof of the train just feels out of character, Violet seemed like she was ready to just roll over and die, which from a character who up until this point had stubbornly carried on.
And while you could justify this as character development I still feel like it was out of place. And this is feeling didn’t leave me during the last episode either. To me Violet had gone from a strange and out of place character, to someone who just felt two-dimensional, she lacked anything defining any more.
Also don’t get me started on the whole bridge bomb scene. Heels-boy becomes super-human for the span of that scene and it was just ridiculous.

Devilman: Crybaby

I feel very mixed about this show. On one hand Masaki Yuuasa at it again making a strange and complicated tale filled with distinctly interesting elements.
On the other hand, and this may have just been a product of the time the manga was written, it all just felt very edgy and depressing. And sure this added some more flavor to the show given Yuuasa’s hand, it didn’t really feel like anything of substance.
\nWriting it out now that sounds very petty, but to me it gave the show a tone that I am not sure I liked. Other than that however I quite enjoyed Devilman: Crybaby it. Any time someone was rapping was really good as well[1].

Slow Start

This show was just adorable, a diabetes inducing pleasure to watch. And while the pacing was slow and the story non-existent, what do you expect out of a comfy Slice of Life. I thought all the character were really likable and the animation was shockingly fluid, far more than it really should be to be honest…

B: The Beginning

A mess from beginning to end, though not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable one. B: The Beginning tries to juggle a serious take on crime drama with a bunch of terribly explained fantasy elements, mingling and crossing the two plots as it went. And it managed to fail at both stories it was trying to tell. Maybe the show needed more time to flesh itself out, but honestly I think it was just bad writing trying to fuse what could and should have been two entirely different shows into one just made it a mess.
Of the two parts the crime drama aspects of Genie and crew were actually pretty good. If the show had simply focused on those and stopped jumping across and trying to tell an urban fantasy the show might have actually been good.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho

This was the best thing I watched this season hands down. Madhouse hits us out of nowhere with this original. To be honest the premise sounded kinda odd but interesting “Four high school girls go to Antarctica”, something that could be anywhere from generic garbage to a masterpiece. And I am glad to say that it is far closer to the latter than the former.
Firstly I have to commend the way that the show focuses on the journey and not the destination. They easily could have ended up in Antarctica by episode two, but instead the show takes it’s time and highlights each step they had to take to get there. This really reinforces the show’s theme that sometimes in life you just have to go out there and find adventure for yourself if you want to escape the feeling that your life is meaningless.
Once they finally get to Antarctica each of the individual character plots that had been explored over the show until that point each get their time in the spotlight, and really shows us who the girls are as characters, each unique with their own quirks and problems, and also their relationship with each other.
If you are going to watch only one show from Winter 2018 this is the one I would recommend, even over the big names.

Things I didn’t watch while airing, but want to

  • Yuru Camp: Everyone is acting like this is the comfiest thing since upholstery was invented so I need to get to it eventually.
  • March Comes in like a Lion season 2: I absolutely loved season one so I and definitely going to watch this one at some point. Will probably wait for the Blu-Ray though so I get the best experience.

  1. They kept the Japanese rapping in the English dub too. ↩︎