Brief impressions of the Winter 2018 anime season so far
Every year, the onset of January with its freezing cold gives me the urge to just hibernate until spring; my energy and drive drops, and it's very easy to put things off if they take some amount of initiative. This has hit me unusually hard this year, which is a large part of why I'm writing what is normally an 'early impressions' entry so far into the season. But still, I'm writing it, so as usual here's how my views of this season have shaken out so far, following up on my first episode reactions.
- Laid-Back Camp (aka Yuru Camp): This is simply ridiculously
charming and comfortable for me, in much the same way that
Long Riders was. The show is very
making fall and winter camping attractive. To my surprise it's also
completely sold me on the character I didn't expect to like, and overall
it's wound up being one of the two most compelling shows of the season
(Nick Creamer has convinced me that it's doing some clever structural things too, so this is not the simple show it sort of appears as; it has a lot of smarts and excellent execution behind the scenes.)
- Darling in the FranXX: I don't have very high expectations for
this show, which means that sometimes it's surprised me. I'm fairly
sure that the show is deliberately working on some big ideas but its
implementation so far is merely ordinary and sadly conventional. It
is pretty nice looking and well made, which makes it a good popcorn
show for me.
(It's the second most compelling show of the season for me.)
- Katana Maidens - Toji no Miko: The show has continued to execute pretty well with any number of nice little touches but without doing anything spectacular. I've seen it compared to Mai Hime and I sort of agree with that, although I don't think it's up to Mai Hime's quality. I'm enjoying it as a popcorn watch.
- Violet Evergarden: I have wound up feeling that this is good without
being compelling. I enjoy episodes when I watch them on a minute to
minute basis, but I don't feel much of a push to watch new episodes
when they become available (as a result, I'm currently behind). It
doesn't help that I find some aspects of the overall story to be
hard to believe in if I think about them too hard.
It is very pretty, though, and also very well directed and made. Kyoto Animation is pulling out the stops for this and it shows.
(This is close to what I expected before the start of the season, because the whole story premise we were given didn't sound like my kind of thing. I'm pleasantly surprised that I've found VE as interesting as I have; I expected to bounce off it almost immediately, but instead I'm enjoying it on an episode to episode basis.)
I'm not considering Devilman Crybaby as part of this season for the simple reason that I've already watched all of it, since the entire show appeared at once at the start of January. About all I want to try to say here is that watching it was a pretty wild ride and not at all what I expected at the start.
In ongoing shows, The Ancient Magus' Bride has trucked on much as it was last season, with a mixture of competently done stuff, disappointingly ordinary things that should be extraordinary, and some surprisingly great episodes that I've loved. This is not a truly spectacular adaptation, but it has its moments.
I'm theoretically watching March comes in like a Lion but in practice I haven't gotten up enough mental fortitude to face the two remaining episodes in the Hina bullying arc, which means that I haven't watched any of its episodes since the start of January. I understand that things pick up and it has a happy ending, but the whole thing is so heavy that I keep putting it off (my latest excuse is 'I'll catch up while March is off due to the Winter Olympics').
In practice all of this means I'm regularly watching four shows more or less promptly and eventually watching a fifth. I hope to increase that by one by catching up on March and letting it work its magic on me, but that requires energy and gumption instead of hibernation, and hibernation is really easy right now.
Written on 14 February 2018.