That sacred time has come yet again. Once again we’ve arrived at the halfway point of the season, and once again I’ll be foregoing my episodic-specific thoughts in lieu of general feelings on everything I’m watching so far, all sorted into a neat show ranking. As usual, I should impress upon everyone that these show rankings don’t aspire to anything approaching objectivity, and the fact that I’m only doing this ranking here, when many shows have only just finished clearing their throats, means it’s basically impossible to draw any conclusions from them. These rankings also used to feel a bit more meaningful when I actually watched seven or eight shows a season – these days I tend to max out at half a dozen, and generally drop anything I’m not thoroughly enjoying. All five of these shows have been tested and found worthy in their own various genres and specialties, and I’d happily recommend any of them to the right person. But there can be only one champion, so let’s start with my top pick and RUN THIS SEASON DOWN!
This week’s anime was, uh, brief, I guess? I still haven’t caught up on Violet Evergarden and March comes in like a lion is tragically on an Olympics-prompted hiatus, so my current viewing schedule has been reduced to a fine point of four very satisfying shows. And yes, I’d actually call Franxx satisfying, at least if this last episode was anything to go by – it was the show’s strongest episode by far, and finally sold the emotional bonds necessary to make all of Franxx’s stunning visual strengths hit home. This season doesn’t really have a strictly “me” show, but the aesthetic excellence of shows like Franxx and After the Rain are definitely helping to make their not-quite-exactly-me narratives sing. We are watching some astonishing creators strut their stuff this season, and I’m happy to be here to appreciate it!
Aw shit I’m late it’s 10:40 and these posts go out at 9 crap crap crap. Alright, this week’s anime! The anime was good this week. That it was. Darling in the Franxx and After the Rain had somewhat bumpy episodes, but Laid Back Camp was as sturdy as ever, and March comes in like a lion headed off on its break with a quick reminder of just how lovable its cast really is. I actually fell behind on Violet Evergarden this week, but it’s kind of a struggle to keep up with shows I can’t write about for anyone, and considering After the Rain already falls into that category (and is like a million times better than Evergarden), hard calls had to be made. Outside of airing anime, I spent this week spamming through Myriad Colors Phantom World and starting off on some new Current Projects, activities which will both bear delicious wordy fruit for you guys at some point. Taking a break from anime to find time to watch more anime; it’s quite the respectable life I live. Anyway, let’s focus in on the airing shows for now, and RUN THIS WEEK DOWN!
What the crap how is this season so good. We just got off a season that basically justified anime in 2017 altogether, and now here we are opening with a season that’s pretty much just as strong, if a little more genre-constrained. And it’s not like I care about this season’s genre constraints, given I fall neatly into the audience for all its low-key character drama and slice of life offerings. Perhaps the most astonishing thing is this crop’s base aesthetic quality – Laid-Back Camp is mostly just an above-average production, but Evergarden, After the Rain, Franxx, and Universe are all visually stunning every single week. The season has been good enough that it’s forced me to realize half a dozen airing shows is basically my limit; I’d love to be keeping up with Mitsuboshi Colors, but there’s just too much else to watch for me to hold onto it at the moment. There’s plenty to celebrate this week, so let’s get right to it and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!
What the heck, where did this season come from. I still feel I had pretty much every reason to expect this to be a mediocre season, but the straight-out outrageous quality of shows like A Place Further Than the Universe and After the Rain have kept my schedule totally packed. There are enough good shows that I wasn’t even able to watch them all this week – I still need to catch up on Mitsuboshi Colors, and only just now rushed through the latest Universe. On the whole, it appears this season’s relative wildcards are carrying the day, while the more sure things like Evergarden and Franxx are turning out to be a great deal more suspect. But either way, this season is full of absolutely beautiful shows, and some of them are even good in other ways. Let’s run this week down!
Hello all, and welcome to the season premiere retrospective! As usual, this is the post where I, having watched nearly every single premiere for ANN’s preview guide, now break them all down into categories based on their relative watchability. It’s looking like this will be the season of comfy, what with the majority of my passing-grade selections all fitting into different shades of slice of life, but there’s still plenty of anime to enjoy even under the iron gaze of the moe police. I’ll be offering increasingly brief summations of my thoughts on the various shows right here, but if you want more exhaustive thoughts, I have a review of basically all of these shows available over at ANN – just click through the title and search for Nick Creamer’s thoughts, that asshole is me. You can also just check out the overall list if you’d like, which is available right here. And with all that preamble covered, let’s not waste any more time in getting to the good stuff. Here’s my Winter 2018 Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective!
Oh wait, one last note. Since this is apparently the season of fuwa fuwa, all of my show tiers will this time be represented by their most appropriate Chaika gifs. ALRIGHT LET’S GO!
And so it ends. This really wasn’t much of a week in anime, considering a third of my airing shows have already finished, but it still seems worth it to stop by and turn the lights out. Even taken as the season’s conclusion, this was a pretty weird one; not only are Just Because! and Love Live lingering into the year’s final days, but March comes in like a lion isn’t concluding at all, and Land of the Lustrous was only able to offer a light thematic bookend. This was an extremely good season, but it seems that it’ll be ending very quietly; no anthemic finales, and not all that much finality in general. But hey, if all these great shows want to end with slow dignity instead of dramatic fanfare, I suppose they’ve earned that right.
Another of our beloved contenders set sail this week, with MMO Junkie ending on a kinda mediocre but still relatively charming OVA episode. Outside of that, the fall season continued to offer nothing but hits this week, with Sunshine managing its second strong episode in a row while all the season’s more stable contenders maintained their usual sheen. I have to admire March comes in like a lion for its confidence in continuously interrupting its excellent Hina arc with diversions that all turn out to be satisfying enough to warrant messing with the narrative structure. March’s choices don’t at all feel like the way this story “should” be told, but at this point, the embellishments feel like expert saxophone solos threaded into a confident jazz standard. Meanwhile, Lustrous continues to surprise in new ways, while Just Because! keeps up its awkward-as-hell consistency once again. It is so very nice when the anime is good. Let’s GET TO IT!
It feels like all of these great shows are now just jostling to remind me exactly how great they are, right before the season ends and we’re all left in the winter void. March comes in like a lion rose to a dramatic crescendo, Land of the Lustrous had one of its most visually jaw-dropping episodes yet, and even Love Live Sunshine managed to shake off its recent woes and deliver a strong performance. With Recovery of an MMO Junkie already taking its bow, we’re really in the final days now – and with the end of the year prompting me to write way too many final lists, I’m getting even more reminders of how good this season is. Considering Land of the Lustrous is likely to be one of my future go-to gateway shows, I can’t really complain about all this anime ending strong. Let’s instead celebrate it while it’s here, and run this week’s episodes down!
Land of the Lustrous is so good you guys what is up with that. I mean, the other anime I’m watching are good too, but seriously, Land of the Lustrous. I think it actually might be on anime of the year trajectory at this point, particularly if we hit any real payoff of its big threads by the end of this season. Aside from that, hey, guess it’s time for the Week in Review! The season’s holding pretty steady at this point, with most shows either moving towards or formally transitioning into their final act. Love Live is still messing around in side arcs, but I actually appreciate that in a structural sense, since I don’t think the show really improves by focusing on the drama of the Love Live itself. MMO Junkie had a criminally adorable episode, and Just Because stayed as well-observed as ever. Look, I don’t know how many ways I can say “this season is phenomenal and we should cherish it while it lasts.” Let’s get right on with it and RUN THESE SHOWS DOWN!