Rating the Anime of Winter 2019, Pt. 2

Delaying this post to the middle of Spring 2019 inclines me to brevity.  (God willing, I shall be able to give my dear readers a proper mid-season review!)  A good number of you may have already forgotten some of what you watched by now!  Well, this post concerns what I thought best of Winter 2019, and I hope that some of your own favorites are below.


Slime 11

5) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ★★★ 1/2

I love the characters in this anime, but this half of the season lacks the tension of the first.  Much is made of Rimiru being overpowered, but the first season offered us more real stakes and real hardship.  One feels like the second part should be retitled “The Daily Life of a Slime” or something else as benign.

Slime 20

At any rate, I love the worldbuilding and characters enough to look forward to the next season.  The preview offered at the end gives me hope of some good conflict to come.


 

IMG_36014) Boogiepop and Others ★★★★

Boogiepop and Others contained the best soundtrack of the season.  I can’t recall having ever skipped the opening and often watched the ending song.  I do love a good soundtrack.  That was one thing which stood out about my old favorite anime, Rurouni Kenshin.  (NO!  I’m not referring to “Freckles” when I write that!)  The background music was perfect–if dramatic–and “Heart of the Sword” is still one of my favorite pieces of J-pop.

IMG_3607

Enough rambling about Rurouni KenshinBoogiepop and Others contains some very dense and even abstruse dialog, à la Bakemonogatari.  (However, it must be noted that Boogiepop Phantom preceded and influenced Bakemonogatari.)  The difference between the two stories lies in the characters in Bakemonogatari chattering about nothing, while the Boogiepop tends to have a point.  To be more precise, Bakemonogatari gives me the impression of being nihilistic, while the enemies in Boogiepop and Others are the ones who practice nihilism.  Boogiepop herself is on the side of being.  I wrote a nice post on the topic here.

Boogiepop 2

Boogiepop and Others strikes me as a show which will continue to please the viewer even into the third viewing.  It’s main downside lies in the fact that the show can be very slow.  Kudos to Aoi Yuki for her phenomenal job in voicing the title character!


Rising 26

3) The Rising of the Shield Hero ★★★★

Like with That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, this anime has a cast of characters whom I would follow into the drudgery of quotidian existence.  Unlike the former anime, The Rising of the Shield Hero gives us stakes, characters rich with suffering, and intrigue.  This is to say that The Rising of the Shield Hero is a great fantasy story.

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This anime is still airing.  I find myself without much to say except that I greatly look forward to the rest of the story.


 

Karakuri 2

2) Karakuri Circus ★★★★ 1/2

The last shonen anime I enjoyed this much was Ushio to Tora, which derives from the pen of Kuzuhiro Fijita.  Fujita also crafted Karakuri Circus.  The two series strike me as divergent pieces of art.  The only thing which connects them is the preeminence of charity among the virtues displayed by the characters.  And, Natsumi Kato stands as a slightly more refined Tora.

Karakuri 1

The scenario of this tale stretches from the Middle Ages to modern Japan.  Even in the later arcs of the story, we revisit places from the Middles Ages.  A history buff like me cannot help but love the setting, and I’m completely immersed in the struggle of the characters.  Faceless is one of the most detestable villains of 2019.


Dororo 1

1) Dororo ★★★★ 1/2

No other anime can quite measure up to Dororo.  You know how much I love the samurai genreDororo combines that with another favored genre of mine: monster slaying.  This anime excels in all areas of storytelling.  I can only fault it for it’s weird notion that it’s never right to kill a human being in any circumstances–even those guilty of heinous offenses.  (Follow this link to my most famous post on the topic: “Kisara’s Revenge: Right or Wrong?”)  Yes, killing a human being scars one’s psyche.  At the same time, no reasonable person who quibble about cutting down those who murdered an entire orphanage of children: “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you do afflict them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry” (Ex 21-23).  If merely to afflict an orphan cries out to God for vengeance, what effect do you think killing the same holds?

But, the series inability to comprehend the nature of justice–especially in the anarchic society of the Sengoku Jidai–is my one knock against it.  I have seen people compare Dororo’s journey to how a denizen from Plato’s Cave might react to the outside world.  That is an accurate analogy.  I love seeing how each sense Hyakkimaru recovers from the demons changes his perspective of the world.

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What were my dear readers favorites from the past season?

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4 comments on “Rating the Anime of Winter 2019, Pt. 2

  1. ManInBlack says:

    Dororo is the only show on your list that I’ve watched/am watching. I dropped “Slime” after four episodes as it was going nowhere and I didn’t feel I could hack 24 episodes of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you dropped it in the very beginning! My own take is that the first 12 episodes were a lot of fun, but the quality gets worse after that.

      I don’t know anyone who’s seen Dororo who hasn’t enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. donhumberto says:

    Glad to see the second part!
    A few thoughts about Winter season: I really liked Boogiepop but the best thing about that series was that it actually allowed me to rewatch Boogiepop Phantom (the 2000 series, which was actually meant to be a sequel of sorts to the first Boogiepop novels). I remember watching Phantom 6-7 years ago and enjoying the atmosphere but being completely unable to understand a thing. After watching Boogiepop 2019 (and specially the first and third arcs, which incidentally were my favorite) I decided to give Phantom a rewatch and…. boy, was I completely blown away. Everything made perfect sense now and I was able to appreciate how much better (and DARKER) Phantom is compared to Boogiepop 2019. It’s one of those rare cases where the original anime content not only improves the Light Novel source but it takes it to a whole other level. Also, the hauntingly beautiful and dark (almost dreamlike) atmosphere of Phantom makes the 2019 version look like a Disney film (not that I have anything against Disney films, but you get my point). Seriously, if you enjoyed Boogiepop and haven’t watched Phantom yet I can’t recommend you enough to give it a go.
    My other favorite series of the season was by far Yamato 2202, which, sadly , has flown over most people’s radar (probably due to it’s weird release schedule, but it did air in Japan in Fall/Winter 2019 and Funi streamed its second cour during March/April, so it counts). A truly epic series that honors the original at the same time that it gives a completely new spin on the story. Truly gripping and worth checking out, IMHO

    As for the rest, I loved the first episode of Dororo and I’m sure I’ll like the rest, but it’s the kind of series I prefer to binge-watch once it’s over, so I’ll have to wait a few weeks 😉
    Also, I did try Karakuri Circus. I loved the old-school vibe it has , but knowing it’s by the same author as Ushio to Tora has me worried: I remember trying to watch that series several times but being completely put off by the constant and super obnoxious comedy…Is it still present in Karakuri Circus or have they toned it down? If so, I’m sure I’ll check it out.
    I was also mildly curious about Shield Hero (mainly because it has Kevin Pekin doing the OST and I’m a huge fan of his) but I thought it would probably be your standard isekai fluff where the otaku MC gets a harem of moe girls and nothing relevant happens. Seeing it so high in your list makes me think that probably there’s more to it than that… I dunno, do you really think it’s worth checking out?

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  3. […] Rating the Anime of Winter 2019, Pt. 2 (by medievalotaku at Medieval Otaku) […]

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