Best of Winter 2018

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Welcome to the Best of Winter 2018 post where we look back on and celebrate everything great about the last season in anime. While we always find things to criticise and nitpick, it is important to remember the great things that anime gives us each season (which would be why we all keep watching season after season). Below are some of my favourites as well as the reader’s choice for the season.

To the awards…

Best Story – Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

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Is it the most original thing ever? Not really. It isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it is competent. This is a story that knows not to introduce things without a purpose and doesn’t drag out its moments. With great pacing, some interesting developments, and some very cohesive writing, this is definitely my pick for story of the season.

Best Visuals – March Comes in Like a Lion 2

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Do we need another retelling of why I think this show is visually amazing? This show just manages spot on representations of emotions and those intangible ideas that usually elude us when we try to explain them. It is fantastic to watch and always remains interesting.

Best Opening – Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

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Okay, it might just be something with me and jazzy openings but much like ACCA’s opening last year, this one I just genuinely enjoyed listening to week after week and it always put me in the mood to watch the show.

Best Character – Hina (March Comes in Like a Lion 2)

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No doubt about it, Hina underwent the most interesting character arc of the season and even after her moment was done, she kept growing from the incident and interacting with others in a meaningful way. Hina and Rei are definitely amazing together and Hina was my favourite character of the season.

Bonus Category – Cutest Anime Character of the Season – Mii-Kun 

 

And now…

Best Anime of the Winter 2018 Season – March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2

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Was there ever any doubt? Really?

Seriously, I loved this show. I loved everything about this second season. It had such an amazing impact on me and I looked forward to it each and every week. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to fill the space March has left in my line up (given it isn’t just watching the show, it is the processing of the episode that takes the time and then the rewatching, the basking in the screen caps, the discussing it, etc). Thanks everyone who followed along with my reviews of this one and joined in the conversations each week.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

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Once again, the full graph wouldn’t fit properly, but here are the shows that were voted for. I will point out, that until the last hour, March Comes in Like a Lion was winning. In the final hour, two votes came in and knocked it down. Instead, we give the Reader’s Choice to A Place Further Than the Universe, which is more or less what I expected to see win when the voting started. It just took awhile to get going.

The vote was incredibly tight the whole time. Still, the top 3 titles have been decided and they will all go into the poll at the end of the year for anime of the year. So, I have three more seasons to convince everyone to vote for March Comes in Like a Lion (assuming nothing better comes out).

Again, thanks everyone for participating and hopefully you have had fun finding out what has won. Looking forward to what the Spring season has to offer and hopefully we’ll all do this again in three months to pick the best and worst of Spring.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Worst of Winter 2018

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First of all, I am going to re-explain that ‘Worst of’ is probably a misleading title for these given this is the worst of the anime I actually watched and when I ask people to vote for their ‘worst’ anime I ask them to vote for the worst one that they didn’t drop. What that means is, there are a lot of anime out there probably more unwatchable than anything that makes any of the lists here and I’m certain everyone has their own idea of what makes an anime the worst of the season, so I invite you to share your picks for worst anime of the season in the comments below and get a discussion going about how and why they failed for you.

To the awards… (Best of awards coming next post.)

Worst Story – Record of Grancrest War

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Okay, I know this one isn’t finished yet, but really it is all over the place. It has almost no cohesion, character motives are vague or erratic, and plot points appear and disappear seemingly at random. Even with episode 12 indicating the show is going to pick up, it well and truly deserves the award for the episodes it gave us during the Winter season.

Worst Visuals – Junji Ito Collection

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I know I did an article about whether something was atmospheric or poor visuals when I looked at Vatican Miracle Examiners, but Junji Ito Collection seems to have the same idea that just making things dark and ugly will somehow create horror. There’s plenty of other issues with the Collection, but the visuals most definitely made themselves noted for all the wrong reasons.

Worst Opening – The Ancient Magus’ Bride

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Probably a controversial choice, but I really didn’t like the change from the first opening to the second. So, while this probably isn’t the technically worst opening, it is the one I resented the most during Winter.

Worst Character – Akira (Devilman Crybaby)

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I genuinely couldn’t stand him as a character. Mostly because he was a stand in for various ideals but not an actual character and while physically he underwent a massive transformation, he really didn’t get very far on a personal or emotional level.

And now…

Worst Anime of the Winter 2018 Season – Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody

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Seriously, I’d have dropped this if I hadn’t set the challenge to myself to watch an anime I’d actually read the source material for. I kind of regret that this was the anime I chose to start that with. It isn’t so much that this is an unwatchable anime. It is more that there is little to no point in watching it. While it does walk us through the events of the source material, fairly faithfully, they haven’t considered how to use the fact that it is an anime now to make it interesting for viewers. What is fun to read isn’t always fun to watch and adaptations need to understand what their audience are actually looking for.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

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I couldn’t include the graph from the poll as there were just too many titles to choose from and they wouldn’t fit in a way that made it possible to still read the graph. Instead, I included only titles that collected votes.

As you can see, we have a tie. People couldn’t decide whether Death March or Ito Junji: Collection deserved the title but both of them gained a respectable 10 votes in favour of them being the worst of the season. At one point, Darling in the Franxx was winning this poll, but after the initial votes, it kind of didn’t move again.

And there we have it, the worst of the season. Thanks everyone who participated in the poll. Be sure to leave a comment sharing your thoughts on the season below and be sure to predict what you think will win the best of poll.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Land of the Lustrous Episode 8: Phos is Golden

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Review:

For all that Land of the Lustrous has some pacing and narrative issues, the overall anime continues to be an intriguing and pleasing viewing experience. Being easy on the eyes (and sometimes truly beautiful) certainly helps in this, but it is also how the story remains fairly ambiguous but not annoying. The world these characters inhabit is alien to the viewer and while occasionally we get a small exposition dump, for the most part we’ve learned about it as we have travelled with the characters and primarily Phos. It is amazing how well this show has managed to make me care about Phos despite her having many character traits that usually annoy me to no end.

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And it isn’t just Phos. For all that the time we spend with some characters is brief, each leaves an impression on the viewer. They come into the story with a purpose and they don’t linger about unnecessarily. While this doesn’t make the story particularly realistic (of course it is a story about anthropomorphized gem stones so what do you want) it does make it very engaging as there seem to be no wasted moments or interactions even when you don’t initially see the point.

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Episode 8 is a fascinating episode and I am going ot have to rewatch it at some point. Phos’ transformation takes a really dramatic turn and that certainly was interesting and did grab a lot of my attention. So much so that other points such as some of the master’s moments and the behaviour of the Lunarians, interesting though it was, didn’t quite get as much of my attention as they required and thinking back I’m certain I’ve missed some of the finer points.

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I’m not going to claim Land of the Lustrous is any kind of game changing anime, but it is certainly doing its best to feel distinct. It isn’t quite like anything else I’m watching this season and while stories of weak underdog characters who gain strength are plentiful, the transition that Phos is undergoing has given this standard trope a unique feel. Really enjoying this show this season and eager to see where it will go now.


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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Land of the Lustrous Episode 7: Poor Phos

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Review:

Winter has arrived and the gem stones are for some reason hibernating. I’m not sure what the logic is here given their hardness and abilities have mostly been representative of the gem stone they are, but being solar powered and needing to sleep in winter just doesn’t fit with that at all. Unless this is some throw back to the whole myth about humans that Phos was told earlier, but even then, humans don’t exactly hibernate in winter.

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I was glad that Amethyst very quickly pointed out that Phos hadn’t done anything wrong in the previous episode. Bort is still a jerk, but at least some level of sanity prevailed for the other characters. However, this may have actually been worse as Phos is now carrying an overwhelming sense of guilt about their own uselessness and feels terrible because there was no real consequence.

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What really gets me about this is that it is so realistic (despite the setting). Phos gained stronger legs and naturally assumed they could do more to help, but has realised the physical change has changed nothing about who they are and even if it does allow them to do more, the rest of their body can’t keep up. Growing up, changing, these processes are painful for a reason. With every step forward you realise how much further you have to go, and right now Phos is really struggling with this because most of these gems haven’t changed in hundreds of years. This leaves Phos ill-equipped to process the idea of changing. All of these uncertainties come to a head when Phos listens to the ice-floe (yes I know how that sounds to people who aren’t watching the show). I am very curious to see how this plays out next week.


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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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