Winter 2019 Anime Season
January 4, 2019 10:16 AM - Subscribe

It is upon us, because time somehow continues to pass. Anichart, MyAnimeList

Anything that enough people are going to be watching regularly to be worth separate posts? Thoughts on what's coming? Final thoughts on fall?
posted by Sequence (41 comments total)
Will Sequence stop screaming about Double Decker now? I will not, because there's three more episodes coming, and the ending of that first season was amazing, and I'm delighted. I'm not sure they're going to get a second, though--it doesn't seem to have caught on even with people I know.

This season looks like it's going to be a lot less busy for me than last season was--I still have stuff to catch up from fall, like Girl in Twilight--but there's a lot of second seasons I'm looking forward to. Mononokean's first season was cute, Mob Psycho 100 was amazing, Kakegurui was... an experience, so here's hoping their second seasons all hold up. There's at least one show about a guy and his cat, so that's a given.

But a lot of the new things, I'm not really sure if they look good or not just based on summaries. I am probably going to watch Dimension High School just out of curiosity. A lot of the things that I think seem interesting in premise have that problem of being female casts where the same idea written for different audiences could be either cool or awful.
posted by Sequence at 10:37 AM on January 4, 2019

I went on a real quest trying to get the full end song from Double Decker.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:59 PM on January 4, 2019

Buntline Special, the ED, is on Spotify now, I know, though I don't know how long that's been the case.
posted by Sequence at 11:05 PM on January 4, 2019

So there's a new Boogiepop? I am cautiously optimistic.

Second seasons of Mob Psycho and Kakegurui. I'm not sure where else they can go with Mob Psycho, but okay. Kakegurui was trash but entertaining trash, so I'll check that out.

And Run With The Wind is still ongoing, so I could have a full plate without even watching anything new.
posted by RobotHero at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2019

Oh, man, Promised Neverland was kind of ??? but someone who's read it told me to check it out and yeah, after watching episode 1 this is definitely something I'm keeping.
posted by Sequence at 9:23 PM on January 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Run with the Wind continues being fantastic.

The cute anime of the season seems to be My Roommate Is A Cat - I liked that the cat was believably scruffy and wary, given its street cat origins.

I wasn't familiar with Dororo when I watched episode 1. The episode left me curious enough to learn more about it, and it turns out it's an adaptation of a Osamu Tezuka manga, that ended abruptly due to unpopularity. Number of episodes is as yet unknown, so it's not clear if the adaptation will end at the end of the original manga run, or there will be anime original material.

I've also been watching Karakuri Circus. It's got a fairly complicated storyline and sometimes the motivations of characters in taking particular actions are incomperehnsible, but it's fairly enjoyable shonen. I preferred the Bump of Chicken opening song from the first halfto the current one, though.

I'm on the fence about watching Promised Neverland, having read the manga on and off. At least for me, it felt similar to Attack on Titan, where the bad situation just seemed to keep going on and on.

Still have to catch up with Mononokean and Mob Psycho.

I've been on a Kamen Rider and Ultraman series kick of late, which is eating into anime-watching time.
posted by needled at 7:02 PM on January 12, 2019

I'm going to watch all the fluffy anime shows this season.

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue.
Fukigen na Mononokean Tsuzuki

I've read TPN but I felt like it was one terrible event after another and it got tedious. No idea how the anime will improve upon it or not. One of the seasons where I end up watching last season's shows out of boredom.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 5:20 PM on January 13, 2019

I made it through Banana Fish, sooooo... well, we've made the joke that Dimension High School might be the post-Neverland show, because it's really Not Good, but watching in a group it was somehow hilarious? But yeah, as a season, it's not looking like there's a ton of stuff I'm likely to get super invested in. Boogiepop's first episode, I was mostly just confused.
posted by Sequence at 4:36 PM on January 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Boogiepop hasn't been terribly convincing IMO. The Promised Neverland had a great first episode, but I'm a little concerned that it may be inherent in the concept that the show peaks at the end of the first episode. Seems like a slow season.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:29 PM on January 14, 2019

Love is War is pretty great. Domestic Girlfriend is much better than I'd expect from the description. I can't get past the CG in Kotobuki and can't care much about the stock characters.
posted by RobotHero at 9:30 PM on January 15, 2019

I think the problem with Love Is War is that, if there are any romantic developments, it will end their little competition, and the show will be without a premise. So there CAN'T be any romantic developments, so we're stuck watching them do minor variations on the same joke all season. I suspect it's gonna wear thin.

Domestic Girlfriend is better-executed than you'd expect, but there's still no way it can escape the trashiness of its basic idea.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:23 PM on January 16, 2019

I watched Citrus, so clearly trashiness will not stop me.

I am appreciating Boogiepop. Boogiepop deliberately does some chronological stuff, so maybe because I saw the previous series, I was easily able to flag certain scenes as "this will make more sense after we get an episode about these characters." If this is new to you it might seem more incoherent.
posted by RobotHero at 10:50 PM on January 16, 2019

>I watched Citrus, so clearly trashiness will not stop me.

Heh. I watched it too. I'd almost rather see something like Citrus than a show that waffles between being tastefully-well-executed and being trashy at heart. If you're gonna be trashy you might as well let it all hang out. :)

Boogiepop is growing on me. Once I accepted that I'm unlikely to understand what's happening, I started to like it better. There's something oddly flat about the presentation, though--the characters are all awfully quick to accept the weird stuff that's going on; they seem sorta blase about it, and the direction isn't spooky or eerie or anything. It's like the style of having no style or something.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:11 PM on January 17, 2019

I apparently disagree emphatically with Anime Feminist on is W'z. Except about the IPA pronunciation thing. They're right about that part. But while there are some parts of it that're visually not that impressive, there are some parts I really like, and honestly from their review I was expecting some Dynamic Chord kind of awfulness, but no. It's getting a bit of a slow start, but there's enough there for me to keep watching.

I can totally understand not liking it, but that review's description led me to expect it to be a lot worse-looking and a lot more problematic than it was.
posted by Sequence at 1:59 PM on January 18, 2019

Incidentally, I see where My Anime List has been bought by some folks with 'a new vision for the site's future'.

That might mean something completely innocuous. Or it might mean 'a ham-handed attempt at monetization that makes the site unusable and drives the userbase away in droves'. Just to be on the safe side, it might be a good time to export your list, if you haven't recently.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:01 PM on January 19, 2019

I made it through Banana Fish, too ... well, barely ...

Tsurune's from last season, but technically it was still airing in January, so I'll mention it here. Doesn't seem like it was really on the radar for anyone, maybe because it had a delayed start due to production issues?

Which is too bad, because Tsurune is Kyoto Animation firing on all cylinders, an aesthetically beautiful production with meticulous care taken in every aspect, from skies to body language to the sound of a bow firing. The writing's a bit generic-sports-anime, or maybe I've just watched too many sports anime in a row, but Tsurune's a little special because it's archery — so it's the quiet, thoughtful type of sports anime, like Run with the Wind.

Still watching Run with the Wind, which is still refreshingly naturalistic and understated and makes amazing use of sound and silence. It's an interesting choice to make Kakeru such an aggressively unlikeable protagonist, and for so long (at least ten episodes!), but he's finally beginning to warm up. I identify 100% with Prince and cannot get enough of his sad zombie running.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 5:36 PM on January 21, 2019

Tsurune has been absolutely amazing and I will give my right arm for another season. It felt like sports anime plus the best of the healing genre? Everything about the world felt better even after some of the sadder episodes.

On the MAL acquisition thing: I don't believe they could be mismanaged any worse than they've been so far, honestly, after the whole thing with the downtime and taking forever to come back up. Their API is still AWOL, last I checked, with no real information about progress or when it's coming back. I hadn't yet gotten around to setting up a list when they went down, and now I'm sticking with just using the site for reference until they seem to be more stable.
posted by Sequence at 6:32 AM on January 22, 2019

I was watching Tsurune, too! At times it felt really plodding and the drama a bit much, often in one episode, but it was all redeemed by the final episode, which managed to wrap up things beautifully.

Karakuri Circus jumped the shark for me in episode 14.

Dororo has been the surprise of the Winter 2019 season for me - it wasn't on my radar at all, and the PVs didn't really draw me in, but I thought I'd give it a try as it was from MAPPA. I am glad I did, the animation quality has been fantastic, with compelling characters. Episode 3 was particularly gripping and I can only hope this level of animation and writing is maintained. I am especially looking forward to an actual ending to the story, instead of the open-ended conclusion of the manga due to its abrupt cancellation.
posted by needled at 6:52 PM on January 22, 2019

Run With The Wind has been pretty good, and Prince is definitely the heart of the show. A sports show which asks the question, 'why should people be barred from participating in a sport just because they're not particularly good at it?' is my kind of sports show.

Tsurune, similarly, suggests that you'll be better at archery if you get over yourself and stop wanting so badly to be better at it. Which is nice enough, but apart from that it doesn't seem like there's much in the way of a story. Like Euphonium, I'm suspicious that the point of the whole thing is that I'm supposed to be shipping various characters, but I'm just not seeing it that way.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:33 PM on January 23, 2019

> "There's something oddly flat about the presentation, though-- ... It's like the style of having no style or something."

I was about to say this is something that Boogiepop Phantom did, but I just compared and it feels like the first one did more to make things feel off-putting. Like, the colours felt more sickly, and the music was more willing to be atonal.

Is this a change in fashion since then for what horror looks like?
posted by RobotHero at 6:46 PM on January 24, 2019

The original one aired in 2000 iirc and that was the high point of the "realism = brown" school of fugly anime colour design; tbh, having watched it over Christmas in preparation for the new Boogiepop series I wasn't a fan. Very much in the school of keeping things cryptic for the sake of it, with surprising not so surprising twists, it was all a bit meh.

Having watched the new one yet, sort of having gone off it.

That said, I had the almost opposite reaction to Dororo. I hadn't heard of it but by sheer coincidence had just downloaded the few episodes of the original that had been fansubbed in English just before the remake aired.

Comparing the first episodes of each series was interesting. The remake was more explicit in its horror, but the original was much more horrific. Dororo themselves comes across as a bit of an asshole in the remake, but in the original was almost beaten to death for stealing food when hungry after having failed to save a monk from starvation before. Not to mention that they have to hide behind a couple of corpses of people who starved to death at the edge of a road.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:49 PM on January 24, 2019

>I was watching Tsurune, too! At times it felt really plodding and the drama a bit much, often in one episode, but it was all redeemed by the final episode, which managed to wrap up things beautifully.

I had just finished writing my earlier, mildly dismissive comment about it when I watched the last episode, and I wanted to take it all back. It was a lovely note to end on.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:11 AM on January 25, 2019

It seems they're having a lot of fun with the Love is War ending credits.

I can't track down the episode 2 ending where the cast was having flying adventures, but episode 3 has secondary character Chika doing an adorable dance.
posted by RobotHero at 2:21 PM on January 29, 2019

I gather Chika's dance has become something of a phenomenon. It made the show for me. I can't find the subtitled version now, but she pronounces herself a 'Love Detective', and tells the june-bug to return to the forest.

The whole episode was pretty good, as a matter of fact. In the first segment, the female lead asks the male lead if he has a girlfriend. He answers, "Not at the moment," and the narration goes off on a lengthy spiel about how the answer, "not at the moment," has historically been used by people who have never had girlfriends to imply that they MIGHT have. Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, I was skeptical of this show at first, but now I'm cautiously optimistic.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:09 PM on January 29, 2019

Something like that "not at the moment" bit depends a lot on whether they can translate the central phrase. They need to find a phrase that has both the same literal meaning and implied meaning that is not literally stated.

But maybe this is a universal experience so every culture has its equivalent of "not at the moment?"

The fact that Chika's dance has become a phenomenon is part of the reason I couldn't track down the previous ending credit sequence, with the zeppelin adventures and so on. Chika's dance is flooding the search results.
posted by RobotHero at 9:48 PM on January 29, 2019

One suspects Chika's voice actress is now stuck doing that dance in live performances for the next ten years. At least it seems like it'd be possible to do it at full speed, maybe even while singing--unlike, say, Hare Hare Yukai...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:11 AM on January 30, 2019

Chika is basically the main thing I love about that show. The actual main couple wouldn't be worth watching if it weren't for the narration and Chika, and then add those two things and I'm cackling loud enough to annoy my cats.

I am not normally one for otome kind of reverse-harem shows, but Meiji Tokyo Renka, I am finding the protagonist more fun than in some of the others I've seen bits of, and the boys are a bit more varied/interesting than I'm used to. I didn't expect that to be a show I was going to keep.

Like Euphonium, I'm suspicious that the point of the whole thing is that I'm supposed to be shipping various characters, but I'm just not seeing it that way.

I mean, most sports shows aimed in the direction of a female audience are going to have a lot of that, but Tsurune is one of the ones where I've actually been really interested in watching the actual sport as a part of it. It's animated so well, and it feels somehow relaxing even when I wind up wincing at missed shots? Versus Run with the Wind, where I almost feel like I'm out of breath when they are, and I love the show but it is not something I'd watch to really unwind.
posted by Sequence at 10:50 AM on January 31, 2019

Yes, Tsurune felt much more like a healing anime than a sports anime, didn't it? -- with the carefulness of the iyashikei genre sanding off some of the overdramatic edges of the sports anime genre. It's so stubbornly (bravely) devoted to creating an atmosphere full of quietness and extended pauses. And showing us the intricacies of archery. If a non-anime fan asked me to recommend an anime, Tsurune would definitely be a contender.

Have to admit I wasn't the biggest fan of the teenage boy drama in the middle section either — ironically my love for Kyoto Animation ruined my enjoyment of this particular Kyoto Animation piece, because it just seemed like a rehash of a certain Free! High Speed plotline, and surprisingly, Free! did it better (?!). I was much more invested in Masaki's monologues about adulting and Minato coping with target panic anxiety. And there's a lot to be said about how gracefully it recalls its visual and auditory themes.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 2:43 AM on February 7, 2019

Oh, and I was really surprised by Dororo, too! In terms of visuals and storytelling it's great; what I didn't expect, and am happy about, is the portrayal of disability. (I identify as autistic & disabled and I'm used to rolling my eyes at anything that tries to include a disabled character, because what a trainwreck, usually.)

And yes, the show's got some major, obvious problems with the superpowered disability trope, there's an essay's worth of issues there. But when I look at Dororo, what I also see/interpret is a nonverbal autistic person with major sensory processing differences who is 1) supported, admired, and met on his own terms by the people who care about him, 2) treated as a fully human being by a camera eye which centers his interiority and experiences. Which is pretty rare.

Anyway, that's a long and very specific tangent, but I'm really hoping it continues to be good, or at least challenging, on the disability front so that I can keep watching.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 2:57 AM on February 7, 2019

My Roommate is a Cat turns out to be really good but to require content warnings re: bad things happening to animals that have made it now unwatchable for me. I still think it's a really good show, but I can't handle the cat's tragic backstory, of all things.
posted by Sequence at 11:07 PM on February 15, 2019

I read the Dororo manga years ago and that kind of put me off watching the anime. Too much grimdark and the implausibilities stacked up too high to allow suspension of disbelief. I wanted to like it because I was bit of a Tezuka superfan at the time, but it wasn’t working for me.
posted by ardgedee at 4:49 AM on February 28, 2019

I haven't watched any anime in the last 1.5 years , but Mob Psycho 100 season 2 has made me re-subscribe to Crunchyroll. And boy, does it deliver!!

Any other recommendations that are similar to Mob ?
posted by Pendragon at 1:06 AM on March 7, 2019

The obvious answer is One Punch Man, because it's the same author. Though that's not on Crunchyroll.

Maybe more of a stretch but you might like My Hero Academia? Like, I don't think there's anything exactly like Mob Psycho, so if there's a certain best part we can focus on that.
posted by RobotHero at 7:42 AM on March 7, 2019

Depends on what sorts of buttons Mob Psycho 100 is pushing for you. I'm wondering if you might like Concrete Revolutio. (that's not a typo, they drop the final "n".) It's a completely different kind of story from MP100 but is similarly adventurous with how it tells its story, both in terms of narrative and visual styles.
posted by ardgedee at 5:10 PM on March 7, 2019

Maybe I should start with my AnimeList

I stopped watching the regular anime season shows about 1,5 years ago with the exception of My Hero Academia, I read the manga so watching the anime was a no-brainer.
posted by Pendragon at 3:55 AM on March 10, 2019

Oh, I didn't think through the implications of 1.5 years ago, like One Punch Man and My Hero Academia were already out by then. But narrowing it down to really recent stuff just further emphasizes how few things there are like Mob Psycho.

Oh! What about Hinamatsuri? It leans more on the daily life and less on the psychic battles, but you could see the Hina/Nitta dynamic being sort of like Mob/Reigen.
posted by RobotHero at 11:00 AM on March 11, 2019

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll add it to my list :-)
posted by Pendragon at 3:24 PM on March 11, 2019

As you seem to have watched a lot of stuff from Studio Bones, you might as well complete the set and watch both seasons of Kekkai Sensen. I think the first season was superior to the second one, but the second season provides us more glimpses of the peculiar setting.
posted by needled at 7:13 PM on March 11, 2019

Oregairu fans: THIS IS NOT A DRILL. S3 announcement.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:38 PM on March 16, 2019

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