My first thoughts on the Winter 2022 season!
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 that are watched but not regularly reviewed.
BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense. 2
Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. 2
Disclaimer first: Spending more time in Maple’s word is absolutely always a good thing. Nothing so far gives me cause to reconsider that.
However, I don’t know that I fully enjoyed the intro episode. Vignette driven, and mostly a check-in with practically every main and secondary character… it felt more like a previously unreleased OVA than a fully realized episode. OTOH, it did get our heads “back in the game”, so that’s a positive.
And I do not like Best Girl Kasumi’s loli form. C’mon guys, that’s just cheap ass fanservice and not of any good kind.
I think we’re hanging out on the edge of the drop zone here. It’s pretty formulaic, and Miri is definitely a bundle of tropes. Needs to up it’s game fast to stay on my list…
The post-credits in Ep 2 give some hope this may happen.
Honestly, Ippon grabbed me right out the gate. It started not with a competition, but with the main cast hanging out in their dojo, doing Judo, and having the time of their lives. (Run on sentence, sorry.) I peeked and I know there’s more competition coming – but I hope it doesn’t lose that. There’s indications that they won’t… <crossing fingers>
My Hero Academia 6
Boku no Hero Academia 6
Not much to say… All For One (not Shigaraki) is definitely keeping the pressure on. And Deku is down for the count… Pretty much all of class 1A is broken to some degree (physically as well as psychologically).
Play It Cool, Guys
Cool Doji Danshi
A new character arrives, like the previous ones – and connected to the main cast. It’ll be interesting to see how the show’s dynamic changes.
Tsurune – The Linking Shot –
Tsurune – Tsunagari no Issha –
The first ep seemed to left many people out in the cold… But I wasn’t bothered, after three years almost to the week, a refresher course was nice. And now, we’re quickly into the next tournament. And after winning the tournament in the first season, our boys are different – self confident and straightforward.
The girls did get some lines in the first ep, mostly throwing well deserved shade on the lads.
Also, check out the animation of the shooting in the 2nd ep. An absolute master class in How To Do It Right. KyoAni is definitely back on its’s game.
The MC and his bandmates are interesting enough without fully being tropes, and there’s some conflict built in… (Usually is, makes for some nice plot hooks.) But going from episode 2 and the OP, we’re not done introducing characters. That’s a tough row to hoe in a single cour. And it’s why I’m gun shy about new multimedia franchise anime – so many potential waifus and husbandos. They’re frequently aimed at existing fans and leave the anime onlies out in the cold.
Surprisingly for such an unpromising season… No first ep drops. There’s a couple of potential 3rd ep or mid-season drops, but that’s all.
And that’s it, the entirety of my watchlist this season… I’ve got some big (non anime stuff) on my plate running now through July or so, so I don’t have much room to add anything either.
As far as comments go, caught up on everything up through Sun. So everything important except for Tsurune and Bofuri. Otherwise, pretty much everything is fair game in the comments.
As always, over to you! Drop a comment and let’s chat a bit about whatever catches your fancy.
9 thoughts on “Winter 2023 – First thoughts”
I quite like this season. Of course, Play it Cool, guys! is continuing. I didn’t actually expect a new character, but I like him already. I was a tad confused; I thought he was a musician because he was introduced with that song, but then he turns out to be a novelist? Well, we’ll see.
Bofuri is Bofuri; I don’t think I need to add anything. First episode worked for me. Agree about Kasumi’s loli-form. Unnecessary.
Buddy Daddies: yeah, not sold on Mirri. But the show’s fun enough to stay on the plate. Solid mid-tier entertainment. There’s some sort of plot in the background, what with the bar-guy saving money for one of our mains, but I can’t say I’m terribly intrigued by the plot. It’s just a nice way to waste some time.
Mou Ippon is one of my favourites this season. Well-executed standard, I’d say. The vibes I’m getting is sports-version of a less-stylised/more natural Akebi’s Sailor Uniform, if that makes sense. I quite like the main character here; straight-forward no-nonsense attitude.
Unite-up might be the first boy-idol show I finish. So far it’s great. The usual idol stuff does bother me: “You like singing, so why not be an idol?” isn’t… that much of an honest advertisment for the job. There’s a lot of stylised presentation involved, and you don’t have much of a choice of what to sing. Trying it out is fine, but I certainly hope they’re not downplaying the performance issues. (Oh, and sadly but unsurprisingly CGI-performances.)
Now to the better stuff you’re not watching, and that’s not a sequel:
Benriya Saitou-san is a fun isekai; there’s this feeling of my-value-is-my-utility with the main character, who’s apparently got this from working at a black company. The show’s got more slice-of-life vibes than is usual for isekai (we’ve gotten some non-party character vignettes, too; I expected those characters to maybe join up at first, but it’s possible they’ll stay unconnected – that would fit with the vibes, too). I quite like the show.
Quite a lot of shows are pretty much what you’d expect, but in a good way. Out of the rom-coms which are almost all fun, I think my favourite is the one with the male yuki onna descendant. The leads have a nice chemistry. Kubo-san and Tenshi are pretty okay, too. And this season’s entry in the villainess genre has a rather interesting take on the isekai-trope, with the players remaining in the real world and only their voices carrying through; it looks like they’ll split the romance between in-game and irl, which is not what I expected. And Tomo-chan is also quite charming.
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale and Nokemono-tachi are both competent and fun girl-and-supernatural-caretaker shows so far.
Kaina of the Ice Seas and Hikari no Ou both have great worldbuilding, the former being more my cup of tea (SF bias over fantasy, I think), but the latter isn’t CGI and has a great, unique look. (This reminds me, I really need to get to The Girl from the Other Side one day. I totally missed when this came out; I saw a five minute short once, and that was great.)
And I quite like the Ningen Fushin no Boukensha etc. show, too.
None of that is a must-watch, so if you don’t have the time for more, no biggie. You’re likely going to hear good things about the Teinsai Oujou/Tensei Reijou show, and you likely won’t find me disagreeing. Out of all the shows, this is probably the one you should keep an eye on the most. It’s not a sure-thing, but so far it’s great.
Once again, though, the sequels and carry-overs are going to steal the show.
On avarage, I’d say this season is actually better than the last one, but if you only count the highs it’s quite far behind. There’s a lot of good entertainment here, but nothing all that great (that’s not a sequel).
As for the sequels/carryovers: I expect Vinland Saga and Bungou Stray Dogs to come out on top. In two episodes In/Spectre has shown both how dull it can be and how great it can be (it’s one of the most inconsistent shows I like). Of course, there’s Bofuri. And I’m surprised how much I actually enjoy the Slime-laundry isekai; it’s nothing special, but it’s just so calming to watch.
I’m still not quite sure whether to watch the new Trigun or not. I’m leaning no: full-CGI, off-putting character designs, and I hear they cut Milly… But I’m still curious. We’ll see.
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I kinda see what your getting at. I think that’s what I was getting at in my description of the first episode. It felt like competition was less of a point than simply enjoying competing. And yeah, Michi is flat out the best character in the show, possibly in the season so far. She’s not completely guileless like Akebi, but she comes close. Absolutely no hidden depths or functional filters.
Sometimes I think you and idol shows are not a match made in heaven. You bounce hard off of the basic tropes of the genre. But, yeah, other than my reservations about overly large casts, it’s off to a great start. I’m seriously crossing my fingers because it’s been since Side:M (2017!) that we’ve had a boy-idol show that wasn’t actually a rom-com or reverse harem.
You’re the third person to suggest that show to me, either straight up or by implication… But my first priority for shows that aren’t on my watchlist is Loki. My MCU movie buddy is getting annoyed that I haven’t watched it, and he thereby can’t discuss/explain some of the stuff in the movies. (I just hate the marketing machine and all the tie in tv series. I just want to watch the movies!)
Speaking of extra TV series… I can’t remember if you’re a Kiyo in Kyoto fan or not, but Netflix (at least in America) has Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House… a live action adaptation. It’s very different from the anime, and worth checking out.
I loved the Makanai show and would probably have talked about it more were it not for the weird monthly release schedule. Thanks for the heads-up. I didn’t know there was a life-action adaption.
Late comment, but what the hell. I’m not wild about this season either. Lots of shows I’m dabbling in but only a few are solid winners. Mainly just counting the days (30) until Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season: The Final Act: No Seriously We Mean It This Time Stop Laughing premieres. The production team has (sensibly) organized it into two TV specials rather than one movie or one (extremely short) TV cour.
The other thing I found striking is how small the overlap is between our watchlists.
Holdovers from previous seasons:
Fumetsu no Anata e
Isekai Ojisan: This one had fallen off my radar when it went on hiatus. I recently heard it finished and I’m catching up on it.
New shows this season:
Buddy Daddies: Dollar-store Spy x Family.
High Card: First ep was fun, not sure I’ll stick with it.
Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san 2nd Attack
Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu. 2: A cute fun show at its best, but at its worst it’s like watching someone else play a video game.
Koori Zokusei Danshi to Cool na Douryou Joshi: Probably my favorite non-sequel so far.
Kubo-san wa Boku o Yurusanai
Ningen Fushin no Boukensha-tachi ga Sekai o Sukuu You Desu
Onii-chan wa Oshimai!: Strictly a guilty pleasure.
Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko!: Probably my second favorite non-sequel. My favorite character is actually neither of the two leads, but Misuzu, the mischievous childhood friend who likes to stir shit up.
Trigun Stampede: Never watched the original so no nostalgia factor for me. Not sure I’ll stick with it.
Vinland Saga Season 2: My early AotS frontrunner.
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Not watching Tsurune? That was an AOTS candidate, at least for us, from the moment it was announced. It has not disappointed.
Agreed on Buddy Daddies.
My watchlist is short mostly because I’m deliberately keeping it trimmed. Nothing that didn’t wow me from the synopsis and definitely avoiding the plethora of isekai.
I’m especially fond of that decision because it would be months before a move made it’s way over here. And though some movies come to the Peninsula, most we have to drive some distance for. Tomorrow we’re driving almost an hour for Scherzo of Deep Night. At least it’s an afternoon showing on a weekend… And it’s twenty minutes closer than our usual place. (But doesn’t have near the selection of decent places to eat.)
Unfortunately, it’s a sequel and I’ve watched neither the first season nor the movie, so there’s just too much to catch up on.
I’ve been busy watching a few shows this season. In no particular I’ve been watching:
Mou Ippon So far not a great sports show but certainly watchable and enjoyable. Being mainly focused on the girls doing their sport certainly helps. Nothing kills a sports show quicker than over-emphasizing behind the scenes melodrama.
2) Sugar Apple Fairy Tale – This is my surprise for the season so far. A nice mix of fantasy and romance and with some interesting world building and themes running through it so far. Definitely worth a watch I think.
3) Vinland Saga – Season Two has been an improvement on season one. Season One was marred by too much one dimensional feral Thorfinn acting out, and the frequent use of over-sized and over powered shonen stereotypes (Thorkell for example). The second series is a lot more dynamic and multi-dimensional and we are getting to know the key players a lot more than the first season I think. VS2 is probably my show of the season so far.
Bofuri – Its just fun to watch – maybe not quite as funny as season one but the show’s humor and direction were fresher then.
Dan Machi IV No-one talks much about Dan Machi any more. However I still think its one of the best fantasy series going around and reliably delivers high quality well made fantasy every episode.
By the Grace of the Gods 2 – Its easy to watch and bliss out to. What more do you need?
One thing I’ve noticed this season is that there is an awful lot of gender swapping and fan service going on in the lower reaches of the anime broadcasting schedule this season. Like really overt fan service too – more than I can recall seeing for years in fact. In most cases, its like an extra weight on an drowning man’s back, it sinks already mediocre shows still further. Only one of those shows I saw had the good sense to embrace it’s trashiness and deploy it alongside a decently told and animated story, but that show (Ayakashi Triangle) has disappeared after three episodes and no hint of a return date lol.
What did you think of Scherzo of Deep Night? I liked it but thought it more part two of an arc that is not completed. They need maybe one or two more movie episodes for it link up to episode 5 of season one Aincrad arc where Kirito and Asuna heal their antagonism etc.
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Sorry for the late reply, got busy over the weekend…
Agreed on Bofuri. I also think it’s felt a little rushed, like they want to get to and spend time on the upcoming event and possibly an epilogue episode or two. It’s also possible we’re feeling the effects of anime time (weekly) vice LN time (3-6 mos between volumes).
Ippon Again… I’m loving it, lots of good character work and Michi is such a little gremlin. (In a good way.) Agreed, you can overemphasize the background, but ya gotta have some. Otherwise it’s just vignettes of characters you neither know or understand and have little reason to care for.
I liked Scherzo overall… But it did seem to be a bit rushed and maybe a touch unfinished/unpolished. Part of that could be from what was skipped (three floors). But mostly I think that’s because this was mostly setup of the upcoming campaign against Laughing Coffin. We know from the Death Gun arc, Ordinal Scale, and Alicization that the original series just hinted at the size of the conflict.
I’ve had several people who’ve read Progressive and my thoughts on the movies caution me against trying too hard to map Progressive onto the original. Right from the 1st Floor Boss fight, Asuna and Kirito’s relationship in Progressive diverges from the OG.
I agree about Scherzo and am forewarned about the divergences – that first boss fight in the first movie showed me that. Even if it doesn’t join up neatly at least some explanation of their later divergence would help – but then I’m like an anime neat-freak for that sort of consistency sometimes. Either Im excited for the third movie. :)
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