Winter 2020 Anime Season
December 15, 2019 9:55 AM - Subscribe

Anichart. MyAnimeList.. And, anime of the season is ...
posted by needled (39 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Still terribly behind just on fall stuff at this point. But HaikyuuHaikyuuHaikyuuHaikyuu.
posted by Sequence at 10:11 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga!
In the "one-of-a-kind samurai-general-reincarnated-as-a-canine comedy," Nobunaga perishes at Honnouji as in history, and reincarnates in modern-day Japan as a dog named Shinamon. Other Warring States era warlords such as Takeda Shingen eventually join him, also as dogs.
Wow. Much intrigue. So confuse. Best summary, 14/10.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would bet that it is not the first media product in Japan to involve Nobunaga reincarnated as a dog. Nobunaga is kind of the go-to guy when somebody wants to parlay a historical figure into incongruous circumstances.
posted by ardgedee at 5:14 PM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga? Oh, HEYALL no. Now then...

My top "green" is Railgun T. I didn't think they'd do a third one, and the Accelerator spinoff felt kind of forced and ho-hum after watching the sheer over-the-top-ness of Index S3. I'm also going to watch Magia Record, even though it's a virtual guarantee that I'll be disappointed. But, the original was SO GOOD. (If you haven't seen the original PMMM, then grab a friend and binge it ASAP.)

This season looks uninspiring, but I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised by my "yellows": ID:INVADED, Pet, Majutsushi Orphen Hagure Tabi, Kuutei Dragons...

I'm also strangely curious about Plunderer. And, I have a backlog of things from this season that I hope I might find time for?
posted by Citrus at 5:54 PM on December 16, 2019

Double Haikyuu! We get the series and an OVA after a multi-year drought.
posted by mogget at 8:04 PM on December 16, 2019

Kyokou Suiri could be good. It's detective fiction set in a contemporary fantasy/horror milieu. I was enjoying the manga until scanlators dropped it. Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku... is a pleasantly silly story about two women who inadvertently out-clever everybody else in their MMORPG by using common sense differently from the veteran gamers around them.

The source manga for these anime were refreshingly free of the usual exploitative tropes, but who knows how well the animators will respect that. sigh.

I hope the Shirobako movie gets official distribution here.

> I'm also strangely curious about Plunderer.

The manga is hentai. It's mostly about publicly shaming women and stripping them naked.
posted by ardgedee at 2:42 AM on December 17, 2019

> The manga is hentai. It's mostly about publicly shaming women and stripping them naked.

That makes it way less appealing to me than the rather strange official studio description of the show. Maybe I'll just skip it, instead of realizing what's going on after an episode or so. :-/
posted by Citrus at 11:01 AM on December 19, 2019

Eh, I read a little bit of Plunderer. It's a by-the-book "My Power Level is ONE MILLION!" "Well MY Power Level is A Million and ONE!" shonen action series whose main distinguishing characteristic is it's incredibly horny. Every single female character is incredibly sexualized with tiny skirts and high-kicking martial arts, and they're all routinely menaced by sexual violence. I was briefly surprised that it had the restraint to not show the reader the moe girl protagonist's underwear despite the fact somebody looking up her skirt is literally the first thing that happens, but it pretty quickly abandons any pretense of not going all-in on gross fanservice.

Anyway, I wouldn't call that "hentai" because as near as I can tell there's no actual fucking, but given how gross it is in every other way it's probably not a distinction worth making. If Plunderer seems interesting it's probably because you haven't seen enough of it, and even if the anime tones down the grossness it's still a show about people comparing power levels that are visibly written on their bodies.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:36 PM on December 19, 2019

> HaikyuuHaikyuuHaikyuuHaikyuu.

Argh now I've got "Fly High" stuck in my head.

Burnout Syndromes are once again in charge of the opening song for Season 4, at this point it's like they're the official Haikyu!! band or something.

Here, have some "Hikari Are" to get hyped up for Season 4.
posted by needled at 5:18 PM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ctrl-F Eizouken

I am absolutely on-board with this one.
posted by RobotHero at 4:56 PM on January 5, 2020

Just watched Eizouken and I love it.
posted by mogget at 9:38 PM on January 6, 2020

I haven't watched it yet but I've heard nothing but rave reviews of Eizouken so it's definitely on my must-see list.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:55 PM on January 7, 2020

The first episode of Eizouken was amazing - the verve and joy and love for animation shown left me grinning throughout the episode. I would like to think Masaaki Yuasa had a blast working on this anime.
posted by needled at 6:22 PM on January 8, 2020

Masaaki Yuasa was the director on Ping Pong the Animation, Devilman Crybaby, and that one episode of Adventure Time if anyone was looking for more reasons to try Eizouken.
posted by Peccable at 8:21 AM on January 9, 2020

I associate him most with Mind Game. I mean to see Night is Short, Walk On Girl some time.
posted by RobotHero at 11:38 AM on January 9, 2020

I associate him most with Kemonozume - I think it's a must watch for Yuasa fans, I consider it in some ways a spiritual predecessor to his Devilman Crybaby adaptation. And Sayo Yamamoto of Yuri!!! on Ice fame was an episode director.
posted by needled at 5:20 PM on January 9, 2020

Just watched the first two episodes of Eizouken. Delightful.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:38 AM on January 14, 2020

I see I'm late to the party and everybody has already said Eizouken is great. I'll just see myself out. The Tatami Galaxy is another great Masaaki Yuasa show, if anybody's keeping track. Also, the Eizouken OP, Easy Breezy, fuckin' rocks.

There's a Madoka Magica spinoff that hasn't knocked my socks off, but also hasn't proved to be bad yet. Chihayafuru S3 is killin' it. And Crunchyroll has this thing called In/Spectre that seemed not-badly-written. The heroine says the hero--who she's in love with--reminds her of a goat: goats are oblivious and just munch grass most of the time, she says, but "you can sense a bizarre vitality within them." I thought that was a fairly original way of describing your crush.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:04 PM on January 15, 2020

Yeah, I had been hesitating to watch In/Spectre (Kyokou Suiri) because I was afraid they were going to turn the heroine into a moeblob surrounded by jump scares. But finally watched it last night and am pleased that so far they're sticking pretty close to the tone and spirit of the manga.

Seconding all the praise Eizouken is getting. It's really great.
posted by ardgedee at 3:27 AM on January 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Something that's been bothering me about Kyouko Suiri...

It's a cool story, and I like it a lot. BUT... I think that the animators need some help. I don't know if this comes straight out of the original art, or it's something that the studio is failing to do correctly in introducing motion. But, they're spending a lot of time conveniently forgetting that the main character has a disability.

While Kotoko spends most of the first episode walking with a cane (awkwardly, since it's a really hard thing to animate a cane-supported gait realistically), in the various "quick" action sequences, she runs, jumps, and otherwise reacts to things as if she were a person with two functioning legs. So, they can use her disability as a plot device on a conscious and story level. But, when it gets to the brass tacks of visually depicting what it's like to live with a prosthetic leg, they're dropping the ball left and right. Towards the end of the episode, they even show her running down stairs, a feat which is nigh impossible for someone in her condition.

People who live with a prosthesis do get used to leveraging it as a tool, often to an incredible extent. But, it still affects things. It feels like the artists maybe have never seen an amputee navigate their environment. A little background research before starting the project would probably have gone a long way. And, while I get that studios are constantly playing beat-the-clock, and often resort to stock art and techniques to speed up the process of shipping the episodes, I can't help but feel like this is a little too jarring for me as I watch it, and would benefit greatly from a bit of custom treatment.

Maybe not so many other people think of this stuff? Or, maybe I'm expecting too much from TV animation.
posted by Citrus at 8:22 AM on January 18, 2020

It was a little distracting, yes, but just prior to the staircase scene she had to be carried by the guy because of her gait. I'm willing to give the animators a little time to figure out how to portray her movements.

Anime physics routinely allow normal people to jump a few dozen feet into the air and land unharmed (unless, of course, they lack plot armor). By that metric this has been totally realistic.
posted by ardgedee at 12:22 PM on January 18, 2020

I thought the walking stick was more a sign of office than a cane.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:33 PM on January 18, 2020

> I thought the walking stick was more a sign of office than a cane.

I'm not spoiling anything by saying this, but in the manga it's only for walking assistance. It's a fancy cane because she's from a well-off family.
posted by ardgedee at 3:21 AM on January 19, 2020

So it strikes me, this is doing similar things to Onimonogatari but with a more reserved visual style and less pedophilia.

Maybe this is most pronounced in the second episode, where a big chunk is just a discussion with a snake god about precisely what someone meant by a particular turn of phrase. And they do the thing with a sort of repeating pattern where she explains a theory and the snake god rejects it and she agrees that yes, it doesn't quite explain the particular turn of phrase.

However the first episode also had the conversation on the bench, which ended up hinging on the fact that he didn't specify a subject in one sentence.

Is there some common tradition that supernatural matters can best be understood by focusing on the meaning of language?
posted by RobotHero at 7:25 AM on January 26, 2020

The upshot of the dialogue with the snake is that yokai seem to be less interested in the rational, factual truth than they are in the emotional or narrative truth. Iwagana is always prefacing her explanations with "this is my assumption" or "this might have happened", which the snake finds less distracting and unsatisfying than the known facts about a human who did not appear to be acting in her own best interest. That is how it seemed to me, anyway. 🤔
posted by ardgedee at 5:13 PM on January 26, 2020

But they keep tying it back to the exact phrasing of what she said, that they reject each example of what might have happened because it doesn't align with what the snake god heard her say.

Combined with the first episode's conversation hinging on precisely who turned in fear and ran. Maybe her insight as a goddess of wisdom is based around an understanding of language? Is that how she solves many of the problems the spirits ask her about?
posted by RobotHero at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2020

Eizouken keeps getting better and better - I just watched episode 4 and it was delightful.
posted by mogget at 7:36 PM on January 26, 2020

Yeah, I loved the bit where they're listing shots that are easier to make but still look cool.
posted by RobotHero at 8:06 AM on January 27, 2020

Eizouken is charming. Somali and the Forest God is also utterly delightful. These are pretty much my only two for Winter. I am dutifully watching My Hero Academia, but I have no interest in watching another iteration of Stupid Wizards Doing Stupid Things That End Badly, or the other offerings

Has anyone noticed the double layer of worldbuilding in Eizouken? As in, people in a fantasy world (albeit near future) making a fantasy world.
posted by happyroach at 11:35 AM on January 29, 2020

I have! I love the scene-setting in the first shots of the first episode, and I'm a little disappointed they haven't done more of that, because I'm all for the tight-knit rambling hillside architecture.

> Yeah, I loved the bit where they're listing shots that are easier to make but still look cool.

My favorite bit was the audience quietly reeling after being blown away by the demo while the Eizoken trio are calmly critiquing it. Highly relatable if you've ever been in a design crit or sales review meeting.
posted by ardgedee at 11:59 AM on January 29, 2020

The latest installment of "Eizoken" has one of the most realistic portrayals of a creative pitch meeting I've ever seen.
posted by ardgedee at 3:30 PM on February 3, 2020

I, too, hate it when people solve problems with emotional appeals.
posted by RobotHero at 8:20 PM on February 4, 2020

I'm on record loving the heck out of Shirobako, but my one complaint there would have been they did tend to restrain their female characters to a fairly narrow "cute" mold. So Eizouken is kind of perfect.
posted by RobotHero at 1:49 PM on February 14, 2020

Oh Eizouken is so good at that. I keep trying to figure out why the cute, child actress character is so beautiful compared to the other two and it's just basically having a face that's a bit more symmetrical rather than anything obviously smexy.

I like Asakusa so much, so utterly brave but still anxious when having to talk to people.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2020

>I, too, hate it when people solve problems with emotional appeals.

Ha! Yeah, I loved that bit too, and she's my favorite of the three of them. I wanted to console her by saying 'don't worry, I'm sure you'll get to blackmail somebody eventually'.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:58 PM on February 15, 2020

Haha I totally want to hire Kanemori to be a product manager.
posted by needled at 4:58 PM on February 16, 2020

> I'm on record loving the heck out of Shirobako, but my one complaint there would have been they did tend to restrain their female characters to a fairly narrow "cute" mold. So Eizouken is kind of perfect.

We're rewatching Shirobako here in hopes that we can catch the movie later, and yeah the contrast between how women and men are drawn is a lot more stark (and clearly hierarchical: The women with real authority or who are highly skilled have smaller eyes and less-rounded heads than the production assistants and lower-ranking animators) than in Eizoken. Although in a way that doesn't bother me -- Shirobako is anime about making anime*, so using anime tropes to serve anime tropes is a justifiable stylistic choice -- what I find more distracting when watching Shirobako after an episode of Eizoken are the character voices for the women; All the grown-ass adult women in Shirobako, even the serious/skilled/authoritative ones, have higher-pitched voices than the preadolescent/adolescents in Eizoken.

*(Eizoken is about animation rather than anime, which sounds like hair-splitting but dialogue in both series make clear how seriously people in the trade make that distinction.)
posted by ardgedee at 3:50 AM on February 21, 2020

Just finished watching the last episode of ID: Invaded and I'd highly recommend it to fans of sci-fi mysteries. It was the dark horse of the season for me. I started it with no expectations but it surprised me every week and managed to stick the ending. This last was a bit of a concern given Aoki Ei's recent track record (Aldnoah Zero *cough*), but the series never veered off the rails for its run of 13 episodes. It presented an interesting sci-fi setting, compelling main characters, and several gripping emotional moments.

Note that it is a murder mystery with serial killers, so there are some graphic depictions of violence.
posted by needled at 10:37 AM on March 22, 2020

Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia also concluded, but with the promise of Fate/Grand Order: Solomon to come as a follow-up. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed FGO Babylonia, as somebody who is only familiar with the Fate universe through the anime series. There were various aspects which irked me (the focus on Mash and Ishtar's buttocks during action sequences in the earlier episodes, Ushiwakamaru and other female character's costumes) but Gilgamesh carried the entire series for me. This is not the Gilgamesh from Fate/stay night or Fate/Zero, but a wiser, older version facing the end of days. Overall it felt like a triumph of direction over the material, as in episode 16's ending. The second ED was a great combination of song and animation encapsulating Gilgamesh's journey in FGO Babylonia, and used effectively to heighten the emotional impact at the end of an episode in several episodes.
posted by needled at 10:56 AM on March 22, 2020

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