Anime Winter 2018 Season Review: Part 1

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.

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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.


 

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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:

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Takunomi 6

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.

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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!

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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.

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I had a lot of fun watching Yuru Camp.  In the end, however, it feels as though there is not much to the show.  A good example of the iyashikei genre.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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*Post edited to reflect that I watched a tenth, Violet Evergarden, before finishing reviewing this season.

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9 comments on “Anime Winter 2018 Season Review: Part 1

  1. MIB says:

    Did you know there was a four-part live action TV series of Koizumi-san? I found it by accident on Amazon Prime. The animated cast is admittedly cuter but it is interesting seeing the food for real! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kai says:

    Interestingly enough, I think I would rate Yuru Camp higher than Ramen. Also, if you’re interested in camping, be careful of causing forest fire :p I saw in twitter someone inspired by Yuru Camp to try out camping but ended up causing forest fire, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully that thread was just a troll….

      But if it were real, or just for people’s general info, there is a difference in the way one would camp in Japan (which is usually humid in climate) and in Mexico/Texas along the border (which has been having a drought for the last couple of years).

      Drought/dry camping is something of an art, with a lot of clever ways to build fires and discourage their spread. (I’ve seen Southern Californians build campfires. Tiny campfire, incredibly huge bare or sandy area around it. They also don’t have tents built for thunderstorms.)

      But anytime the weather is really windy and the grass is dry, it is best to go without a fire.

      In the middle of a wet spring, we here in Ohio had a no-fire warning running during the recent windstorms. Some guy running a tiny charcoal grill had the tiny fire sparks from it whipped onto the second story roof of his house and burned down most of a large farmhouse, when he was grilling thirty feet away and out in the yard.

      Western literature, particularly Louis L’Amour (who was big on camping and hiking) includes a lot of tips for dry environments and low impact camping. Obviously, the Internet also will provide one with many such tips.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Also, re: the infamous forest fire thread, if it were serious —

        Never leave a fire unattended. I don’t care where you are camping or how wet it is. Occasionally you can bank a fire and have it be safe, but… it is better to be safe than sorry.

        Always bring more water to put out campfires than you think you will need. (Or a bucket or two of sand also can work, if you are in a sandy environment or it’s too dry to get water available. Dirt or mud can also work.) Make sure your extinguishing material is right there by the fire, all the time from before you light the fire. And I mean right there in reach, not ten feet away.

        Always make sure that, if you put a campfire out, it is really out all the way. If there are any live or hot coals inside the wood or the campfire ash, wind can whip them to life again. Keep pouring on the water. Stir that wood and ash around. Put your hand down close and search for warmth (don’t burn yourself!) if you are not sure.

        Don’t be totally paranoid or OCD about it, but don’t be in too much of a hurry when you are dealing with fire. Just take extra care. It is the responsible thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope that it was trolling also. You have some good advice for building a fire in dry environments. I’ve read a few of Louis L’Amour’s short stories, but have never read any of his longer works. Which novel would you recommend to start with?

        Like

    • I’ve been around quite a few campfires. Most of them were in Michigan and we always used to joke about it being “impossible to burn Michigan down.” Now, I live in a state with a “humid subtropical climate,” which is equally impossible to burn down. 🙂

      Like

  3. […] I watched the first couple episodes of Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles recently after seeing it mentioned on Medieval Otaku’s blog. […]

    Like

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