Whew! It’s been a long, busy, crazy season! But here we are, wrapping it up. Not much to say in the intro this week, because I say lots down in the body of the post… Hit the jump and let’s run the season down!
The shows that I’m watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics,
strikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows with no comments this week.
A reminder for the Winter 2021 season: Due to the large amount of shows this season, brief comments and no comments are likely going to be common… This is about the only way I can remain sane.
A reminder on my rankings… they’re on a five point scale to coincide with my rankings on Anime Planet. But one 2.5 can often be different from another 2.5, so where needed I supplement them here with verbal comments to clarify.
Attack on Titan: The Final Season Episode 16
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season
A bit much exposition in the middle part… but, WOW. I almost bought Pieck’s change of heart, but really, I shouldn’t have been fooled for a moment. She’s Gabi after all. Deeply buried in the world of propaganda she was raised in. And I’m not sure I even buy that she is “just doing it for her comrades in arms” either.
And who was the Pure Titan who rescued Zeke? And what happened to Levi? And what the hell is Yelena’s actual deal? And… too damm many questions without answers.
Season Review: I don’t even know where to begin, because the season isn’t properly done, just paused. But I will say, sooner rather than later, it’s pretty obvious that someone is going to have to knock some sense into Eren. And a lot of people are going to have to choose side. The problem is… after this cour there’s a lot of sides. Eren, Zeke?, the Jaegerists, the Marleyeans. (Heck, who is running the show in Marley now?)
Final Ranking: 4.0 (Trembling on the edge of greatness) Consistent with previous season’s rankings which have been in the 3.0-4.0 range.
We won’t even begin to find out until Winter 2022… When Episode 76 has been announced to air. It’s unclear currently what, if anything, is coming beyond that point. All we know for certain is that there’s a lot of material left to cover and the intention appears to be to cover it – somehow.
Cells at Work!! (Season 2)
Season review: Honestly, this season was so uneven it’s hard to call it… But in the end I’d guess I’d say it certainly wasn’t bad, it just failed to be good. A large part of that was pushing the ditzy Red into the background in favor of the gruff (and less sympathetic) White. And what even was Ordinary Cell doing there beyond serving as transport for the lactobacilli?
Final Ranking: 2.5 (It was a good thing it was only 8 episodes and didn’t seize the chance to disappoint us further.)
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars Episode 11
I guess I’d call this episode an epilogue of sorts… But it’s also a transition, and not just between seasons and arcs. It’s really the finale of the Stone Wars that stretches back to the early episodes of the first season.
True to his ethos, Senku is dedicated to saving everyone. And that includes jailing Hyouga until a proper authority can be convened to mete out justice – and desperately trying to save Tsukasa’s life. (Meanwhile, Ukyo doesn’t seem to have suffered any long term effects at all. A gaping plot hole.) Failing that, he’s going to freeze Tsukasa’s body and roll the dice on the healing effects of petrification. Thus setting up for the next arc in the sequel already announced…
Season Review: At it’s heart, Dr. Stone is essentially a shonen battler, a Saturday morning cartoon. As such, it really doesn’t profit to think too hard about it. It kept me in my seat, and on a busy Thursday I always made time for it. Despite the odd ass-pull and plot hole, it stayed true to itself and never wavered. There’s a lot of shows you can’t say that much for!
Final Ranking: 3.5 (Strong, fun, worth watching even if it wasn’t a show for the ages.) That’s the same ranking I have the first season.
Even as the finale rolled… Season 3 and the next arc were announced. Senku & Co. are off to find the source of Petrification – in service of the goal of Petrifying Tsukasa’s frozen body and hoping the healing effects of Revival return him to life.
Horimiya Episode 13
Hori-san to Miyamura-kun
Episode 12 was forgettable, so I’m going to concentrate on Episode 13, the finale. And… Honestly, most of it was forgettable too. They spent way too much time on vignettes with characters we’ve barely spent any time with and way too little on the central couple. The titular couple got basically a minute or two and none of that was really them interacting without interference.
Season Review: Episode 13 was all the problems of the back half of the series neatly freeze dried into a compact form for our convenience. Overall, the series started out strongly… and then lost it’s way midseason as it dropped the main characters and started spending it’s time with side characters and scrubs. There were entire episodes where the main characters practically didn’t exist at all. I am told by manga readers that they skipped a ton of main character material over the course of the series.
Final ranking: 2.5 (Honestly, the only reason it even reached the heights of “just average” is on the strength of the opening episodes and scattered parts of the back half of the season.)
Idoly Pride Episodes 11-12
Largely forgettable, both because I’m starting to run out of time/up against a deadline… Also because all the problems the characters faced were solved in a largely rote and predictable manner.
Season review: Overall, the season can be divided into three parts. Opening up, it seemed kind of generic even with the addition of Mana’s ghost. It got really strong in the middle when it concentrated more on the two leads and their characters and struggles. (Overall it did not make the mistake of trying to cover all of it’s large cast.) Then the final arc… Where they rushed to the finish and solved all the problems perfunctorily and mechanically.
Final Ranking: 2.0 (Really, just below average. I wanted to rank it higher for what it did accomplish, but I just couldn’t.)
But, damm, did it have some good music. Hopefully when the rush of the next few weeks settles out I’ll have time to listen more closely to the music and add some of it to my playlist. Doesn’t this tune make you boogie in your seat?
Laid-Back Camp 2nd Season Episodes 12-13
Yuru Camp 2nd Season
All about the Izu camping trip… Absolutely charming as hell, as expected. What more is there to say? Well, I could say a ton about episode 13. For some reason it really resonated with me and I could practically write an entire post just on it.
Also, the capybara hot spring and petting zoo is absolutely a real thing – and my wife badly want to go there now. How Akari was in the show? All eager and ready and can’t wait? That’s my wife too.
The ending was… a bit more bittersweet than the first season. But it really worked, especially mirroring Rin’s concerns for her friends. And it ended on a nice positive note “we’ll go camping together again!”.
The post credits montage was practically perfect.
Season Review: More of the same, only… Not quite as good? It’s hard to explain, because it was still a dang fine season. Still comfy. Still charming. And I love the heck out of Sakura and Rin’s budding friendship. (More Sakura? Would that help or hurt the series?) Even if it worked well in terms of building characterization, there was a little faux drama that didn’t sit well with me.
Final Ranking: 4.0, trembling on the edge of greatness and the same as the 1st season. I can’t justify a 3.5, and my ranking scale is the same 10 point one commonly used, so there’s no 3.8 or 3.9 to be had.
For comparison: My review of the first season of Laid Back Camp back in Winter 2018.
And if you haven’t, check out my post on the series’ OST: Laid Back Camp – Anime Playlist
And now… for the good news/bad news:
Good news! There will be more Yuru Camp. Bad news? It’s going to be a movie. And even if the track record of anime movies coming to the US wasn’t mixed, I kind of feel that the last year of COVID has reset a much the progress we’d made up to then. Plus Yuru Camp isn’t that big a franchise…
Non Non Biyori Nonstop Episode 12
Everything changes… But everything remains pretty much the same. Isn’t how that goes in that nameless little village? I loved how they went to the effort to give Suguru a proper graduation. And I really, truly, expected that he’d speak just this once. But I’m kind of glad that he didn’t. Renge and the new baby was about as charming as could possibly be.
Season review: Not as strong as the second season (which I rated a solid 4.0), but perfectly solid and gave me everything I expected. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some things as just perfect without being outstanding. If that makes any sense.
Final ranking: 3.5 (Solid performer, and the same as the 1st season. Non Non Byori has never disappointed.)
You can read my review of the second season here.
So I’m a Spider, So What? Episode 12
Kumo desu ga, Nanika?
The Big Battle against the Big Bad… Which Kumoko actually had to work at to win, but in the end won mostly via an unheralded ass-pull. I mean, they spent the whole season hyping HP and MP – and never explained SP at all. Just all of the sudden it was there and important.
Mid season comments: It’s been enjoyable so far, despite the ongoing confusion about what exactly is going on… and how the human and spider sides are connected. And there’s the mystery about just why the world is about to fall apart. Will be back for the 2nd cour.
The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ Episode 12
Go-Toubun no Hanayome ∬ (Second season)
This, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the quintessential Quintuplets episode. The quints scheming, a little family drama ended with a grand making-up, and Futaro being his usual clueless self. All topped off with a spontaneous confession just as promptly rescinded (kinda sorta). OK, part of this also Miku is Second Best Girl… But it was well paced episode, something we’ve seen too little of this season.
But, oh, that cliffhanger… and probable troll as to the identity of the Bride. (My money is split between Nino and Miku. But I wouldn’t be averse to hedging my bets by putting a marker on Itsuki.)
Season Review: I called S1 of this series “the harem that was better than it had any right to be”… And while I enjoyed this season, it spent down an awful lot of the goodwill the first had banked. The biggest problem was that it never slowed down. The quieter moments that really defined the best parts of S1 were noticeably absent as they tried to stuff as much possible into this season. So much stuff was just blatant.
For reference, here is my season review of Quintessential Quintuplets season 1.
Final ranking: 2.5 (Average at best.) For reference, I ranked the first season 3.0
But the good news is that a third season has been announced! From the key art, I presume this will cover the balance of the manga. Yay! Despite the second season’s problems, I’m solidly looking forward to this.
Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2 Episode 12-13
Predictable as clockwork – Tokai Teio recovers completely from her (third!) “career ending” injury and with almost no recovery time handily beats the competition and wins the race.
Season Review: All season long I’ve struggled not to dump on this show too hard… It’s pretty much paint-by-numbers, and didn’t expect more than that. But even by those low expectations, it failed mightily. Any anime can be forgiven a single near-miraculous recovery – by Uma Musume 2 featured no less than *four*! (Possibly five depending how you interpret the ending scene.) Interspersed with this was way too much time spent on irrelevant side characters. (Waifu bait for the mobage no doubt.) And the much heralded relationship between the leads… Well, Mejiro McQueen was barely present and the resulting interactions with Tokai had about as much emotion as cold pancakes.
Final ranking: 1.5 (A grave disappointment. With a little effort, it could have been so much better.) For reference, I rated the original series 2.5 (basically average mind candy).
With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii
Season review: I’ve actually been remiss in letting this slide by for two cour without actually commenting. Not too much to say week-to-week, but I really should have pointed out how funny and relatable it is to anyone with pets.
Except maybe if you have a platypus, they don’t do much.
Final ranking: 3.5 (The highest a non-classic/truly great can get.)
There’ll be a couple more Anime Playlist posts covering this season, but otherwise I think that wraps up Winter 2021! Just in time too, I’m ready for spring. (In both meanings of the word “season”.) I should have the first round of premiere coverage up in a day or two, or you can check my Twitter for quick impressions.
Anyhow, as usual, over to you! Drop a comment and let’s chat about your thoughts on the final episodes, the season overall, or whatever you want to chat about!