Well, I’ve delayed writing the second part of this series of posts enough to have watched Violet Evergarden in the meantime. As you suspect, I waited until Netflix released it. I have to say that Violet Evergarden stands head and shoulders above everything which came out in the winter 2018 season. So, I modified my last post such that it covers #10-7, this post will cover #6-2, and Violet Evergarden deserves a post of its own.
6) A Place Further than the Universe ★★★ 1/2
Many people have placed this show first for the season. In my case, this genre is so far from one of my favorites ( my favorites being fantasy, action, and comedy) that A Place Further than the Universe had no chance of rising so far–especially with its standard quality animation. Kudos still goes to this show for how eager I was to watch it every week. In a more usual season, where there are more subpar anime, it would have risen higher on the list.
The plot begins with a high school girl named Mari’s desire for a youthful adventure. She runs into Shirase, a fellow high school girl with a longing to travel to Antarctica, and the story for this anime is born. These two attract a couple more contemporaries to their team, overcome some obstacles to the journey, and head off to explore other countries and the Antarctic. This journey was made more fun by the lovable characters, comedy, and the deep personal wounds each character needed to overcome. A very good show.
5) Kokkoku: Moment by Moment ★★★ 1/2
I thought this show would rise to the top of the season. The slowness of the plot really hurt its rating. The heavy exposition of the beginning managed to peak my interest as I desired to learn more about the condition of “stasis” or the world stopped at a single moment. However, the show continued this kind of exposition until the very end when it should have had a more plot focused story.
It was unusual to have a family household for the protagonists of an anime. Family is the most important influence upon one’s life; yet, so many anime prefer to have characters living in isolation from their families or having no family attachments. Such a situation gives more freedom to the character and subsequently more freedom to the author, but a character enmeshed within a family history tends to be less bland than one without a visible family.
At any rate, this show contained great action to offset the heavy exposition. The characters, especially Juri, Majima, and the grandpa, were pretty interesting–even the sociopathic dad. The characters and the action scenes kept the story from falling to a lower rating. But, I was hoping for this one to be one star higher.
4) A.I.C.O. Incarnation ★★★ 1/2
This struck me as the most ignored show this season. (This may well be a false impression: I have not kept up too well with my fellow bloggers. Tell me about the accuracy of this statement in the comments.) A.I.C.O.‘s main downsides come in an overly straightforward plot and underdeveloped secondary characters. Our two leads, Aiko and Kanzaki, and the villain, Dr. Isazu, struck me as good dynamic characters. The rest were static.
It can be difficult to develop characters in a series with almost non-stop action like A.I.C.O. But, all the action taking place on an alien landscape in the heart of Japan makes for a fascinating tale. It was hard to keep my eyes off of it and I watched the series in three or four episodes chunks. A great show–even if not quite worth four stars.
3) Dagashi Kashi 2 ★★★★
Four stars is a huge jump from the two and a half star rating of the first season. The short format helped keep each episode funny from start to finish. At the same time, season two introduced enough conflict and character depth that they might have made these episodes full length. I want more of this anime–in short or standard form–and hope that another season is in the works.
2) After the Rain ★★★★
You might dub this my old best show of the season. The animation was spectacular, the characters especially deep, and the show treated a problematic relationship with much sensitivity. I liked how the initially romantic attraction Akira had for Kondo morphed into a friendship where they felt encouraged to pursue their dreams. Often, we see stories where friendship leads to romance, and it was nice to see the reverse of that.
The show truly excelled at making deep, relatable, and lovable characters. However, one can’t say that the plot was much to write home about. It’s rare for me to watch a romantic drama, and the genre might be hurting its rating in my eyes. This show does deserve each one of its four stars.
Stay tuned for my post on Violet Evergarden.