Checking in on the Winter 2018 anime season 'midway' through
I know, calling this 'midway' is a bit rich, even for me. But I haven't seen the end of any of the shows I'm watching, so I want to write down some things before I start changing that, as an update on my earlier impressions of this season.
Smash hit of the season:
- Laid-Back Camp: This has stayed ridiculously engaging all the way through, with hardly a misstep. As I expected I'm much more interested in Rin's solo camping sections, with their focus on the mechanics and the beauty of the experience, than on the Outclub's 'gang of friends' segments. But even the latter are a solid experience (in moderation), and the whole show is my clear winner this season.
- March comes in like a Lion: After stalling on this for quite a while, I motivated myself into watching it and it's still as solid and as good as always.
Popcorn with flashes of something more:
- Darling in the FranXX: It's not that the show is bad; it's just that it's disappointing on multiple levels. But every so often it pulls off a surprise or a very good episode, and outside of that it's good popcorn entertainment if you can hold your nose about certain aspects.
Surprisingly good, I think:
- The Ancient Magus' Bride changed my opinion of it with the last episode, which is the first episode that I hadn't read the manga version of first. It came across as a quite good episode, so I'm swinging around to the idea that I've been somewhat too hard on the show because it generally hasn't been living up to the manga.
Either on the edge of being dropped or dropped:
- Violet Evergarden (#10): The show is beautiful (and I'm not just
talking about the art), and when I watch an episode it mostly pulls me
in to the moment. But then the episode ends and I immediately wind up
pulling back from it. I don't think I feel intrinsically engaged with
any of the characters; the show is so well put together that it makes
me care anyway when I'm watching, but outside of that I feel distant
from it, with very little urge to watch it. Between episodes, watching
feels more like an obligation than anything else.
I may finish up the show just because, but ultimately if you told me that I couldn't watch any more than I already have, I wouldn't feel at all annoyed.
- Katana Maidens - Toji no Miko (#9): I got tired of the show's generally
slow pacing and gave up on it after a while. I like the characters and
when things happened it was okay, but I couldn't take the stop/start
plot development any more. Even Evirus calls it 'okay'.
(I could say that I started picking nits in things, but when I start doing that it's because I'm growing disenchanted with the show.)
In Netflix mass dropped shows, I watched B - The Beginning and have been working through A.I.C.O. - Incarnation, which somehow feels like a show from a decade ago (it's not anywhere near as compulsive a watch as B was).
In general this has been a quiet, laid-back season for me. There's nothing I'm watching that really inspires passion, for all that Laid-Back Camp is a great charmer.
Written on 22 March 2018.