I have not written many posts on the past season, but I managed to keep up with nine anime.* Yes, that’s one more than I noted in my mid-season review and two more than I started with. This season displayed good quality overall. None of the following shows fell below three stars. At the same time, none rose above four. I thought that Kokkoku: Moment by Moment might have broken into the masterpiece or classic range, but it did not do enough with its unique cast and setting. The plot slowed down after the first third of the show, and not much really happened over the course of twelve episodes.
Anyway, the following season review will be broken up into two parts. The first part includes the bottom four. The second part will include the top five. I hope to have that out tomorrow.
10) Takunomi ★★★
Here’s a short about four female roommates exploring the world of alcoholic beverages together. (That four women live in the same apartment rather highlights how expensive living in Tokyo is. Though, rooming with someone in early adulthood is pretty common.) The characters were all very likable and some scenes were outrageously funny. Exempli gratia:
Who can look at that without laughing? At the same time, these four women were stock characters and not much was done to make the “Cool Japan” premise more interesting. Still, it’s a good short which fully deserves its three stars. Also, I have some new ideas of what to look for in a well-stocked liquor store or if I ever visit Japan.
9) Yuru Camp (aka Laid-Back Camp) ★★★
Part of me wanted to rate this show higher. The cute girls were really cute, the beautiful natural scenes really beautiful, and the camping fun and interesting enough to make me consider that I might want to take up the hobby. This, from someone who has never gone camping in his life!
That Rin preferred solo camping was interesting. I tend to view camping as a group activity unless you’re out hunting. (Who wants to bring along competition when you’re trying to bag some game?) But, solo camping seems to be more common than I thought. I found a few articles raving about how one’s senses become more keen when one’s out in the woods alone and how it makes for a very unique experience.
8) Ryuuou no Oshigoto (aka The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done) ★★★
The more I look at the Japanese title, the more I realize that a direct translation into English would be very misleading: “The Dragon King’s Honorable Job.” Shogi is the last thing which comes to my mind when I look at the title literally! Still, the anime does a great job at placing shogi at the center of the conflict; though, shows like Shion no Ou and March Comes in like a Lion do this better.
I’ve mentioned before that I love shogi. You might love shogi also if you’re a chess player like me: you like the attacking and the combinative aspects of chess. On the other hand, if you’re a pawn-pinching, defensive, or end game oriented chess player, shogi might possibly be the most execrable game ever invented.
At any rate, I really enjoyed the struggles of this show–whether Ai Hinatsuru’s budding genius, Kuzuryuu’s attempt to train two disciples and retain his title, or Keika’s efforts to become a professional shogi player before it’s too late. The plot feels a little lacking, and some of the humor driven off of Ai and Kuzuryuu’s relationship can be obnoxious. If you’re not a fan of shogi, you might not love this show as much as I did.
7) Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles ★★★ 1/2
Yet another “Cool Japan” show in a season of “Cool Japan” shows. This one explores the realm of ramen. There’s not too much for me to add onto what I said in the mid-season review. The show has great comedy, amusing characters, and a wonderful journey exploring ramen from Hokkaido to Okinawa. It’s hard to imagine a better show on ramen coming out any time soon.
*Post edited to reflect that I watched a tenth, Violet Evergarden, before finishing reviewing this season.