In Winter, I ended up finishing four full shows, two short shows, and dropping three shows. Two pre-Winter ongoing shows also wrapped up.

Full Series – Imports
1. Sakura Trick10/10 – The best show since at least Yuyushiki in 2013. Possibly the best since Hidamari Honeycomb or even Hyouka in 2012. It’s not a very serious show, it’s not perfect, but when I finished the last episode I was filled with a mixture of intense satisfaction and loss all at once. Satisfaction because I got so emotionally attached to the characters, loss because it was over, and there’s no way we’ll see more animated, and the idea of life without Sakura Trick is a sad, sad thought. When I’m sitting around a week after a show ends and finding my thoughts constantly preoccupied with it, when its absence is like a huge hole in my life, that’s how I know it was something special.

There were so many great ideas introduced by the show, and even if it didn’t delve into all of them all that deeply or as seriously as I’d like in an ideal world where anime fans would actually be receptive to such a thing and where funding could be secured to make a much longer show, it did a great job at least presenting them and prodding us to think about it. I loved the subtle ways Kaede seemed to be using – sometimes not entirely consciously, I think – her mischievous side to test out Yuzu’s feelings, and indeed more importantly her own. I loved the way our lead couple discovered physical intimacy first, and backtracked from there into an understanding of the emotional consequences only later, and the ways that could develop in the future. Perhaps most notably for me, I loved the personal journey Mitsuki undertook, and how her conflicting roles as seitokaichou, sister, and senpai created a deeply engaging emotional tempest within her heart and mind.

Even though it didn’t sell very much (could have been worse?), I can only hope that this helps, even in a little way, for yuri break free of the way it’s for so long been reduced in anime form to the innuendo and subtext and joke characters that are so often the only manifestations it’s allowed. Of course, I’m not a very optimistic person. And with Akuma no Riddle looking like it could make Sakura Trick’s sales look like the second coming of Shingeki, I’m pretty sure it’ll just be more dark times ahead for yuri anime, unless the industry is willing to go with a longer-term strategy and not toss the fledgling out of the nest when it’s barely had a chance to grow.

Yes, Sakura Trick is more a conversation starter or a brainstorming session than a fully-cited, cross-referenced, and committee-approved report, but we’ve got to start somewhere and I just cannot properly express how incredibly well this show worked for me on an emotional level. (I suppose a picture will have to step in where words fail.)

2. Saki Zenkoku-hen9/10 – I do love shows that know what they do best and focus on executing it masterfully. As usual the defining feature of Saki isn’t so much the protagonist school (though I do love Kiyosumi!) but the way the opponents are fleshed out to be incredibly sympathetic and unique and interesting. It adds so much to the flow of the game for me to care about all four schools. Not necessarily every character in every school, but enough to get really involved in the outcome. I also loved how the final episode was handled, with the tie-ins to Achiga-hen.

3. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren8.5/10 – Overall I loved this season, I just think it was handicapped in the final episode by time spent on Rikka and Yuuta, so I’m wavering between a 8 or 9. The MoriDeko material was my favorite stuff in the whole franchise and justifies the season all by itself, and the Kumin episode was one of the best comedy episodes. Shichimiya could have been used more, but I really enjoyed her when she was around. And kicking Isshiki out of the story only helped. But Rikka and Yuuta really should have stepped way back into the background. The second half of the final episode served no purpose, and the use of the phone call trope almost seemed intended to irritate viewers. The production quality also dipped in the last episode at points, with characters going a bit off model – something that almost never happens in KyoAni shows. It was damn enjoyable in the balance, but oh what I wouldn’t do to get Sanae and Shinka as the protagonists instead. Their relationship development was hands down the most interesting subplot. Give me more of that!

Full Series – Non-imports
4. Super Sonico the Animation8/10 – Really put off by the CGI use in concert in the final episode, but at least the story and premise of the ending were about as spot-on perfect as can be for this show. Sonico is adorable, her friends are fantastic (especially Suzu). But above all what sold the show was how at its core it focused not on photo shoots and fanservice, but on Sonico’s relationships with her friends, family, and neighbors, and how her great personality and hard-working attitude positively affected those around her. Could ask for little more from this sort of show.

Shorts – Finished
Go! Go! 575
Robot Girls Z

Dropped Winter shows
Seitokai Yakuindomo *
Tonari no Seki-kun
Wake Up, Girls! – I never got back to this. General reactions from others didn’t exactly change my mind.

Ongoing shows from past seasons
Log Horizon – Cannot wait for season two in the Fall. More Lenessia and Minori please.
Hunter x Hunter – I just sort of want Chimera Ant to end. The build-up was among the best material in the series, but everything since has been a real slog to sit through. I really don’t know how it went so meh so quickly but I think I blame the octopus.
Uchuu Kyoudai – Oh, so this ended at 99. Way to cheat me out of a new triple digit show for my list! ;_; But, um, yeah it’s just on hiatus so I’ll be glad to pick it back up again when it returns.

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Regarding Spring, my viewing plans have shifted a bit, some titles got dropped due to how streaming announcements shook out (i.e. funi can piss off, don’t bother suggesting them).

Definite watches
Akuma no Riddle – Too bad CR didn’t get this one, but at least one fansub group seems like they plan to stick with it, so hopefully there’s no issue there. I went into this with very low expectations, expecting a train wreck that might not even be saved by yuri… and then the first episode was really good! Just very very competently executed, looked good visually, and was full of interesting characters (besides maybe Tokaku but I’m hoping Haru injects some personality into her). And godddddd I love Haru, and her hair, and the hints they’re dropping at where the story will go, and just everything. The first episode didn’t even need any yuri (just the absolute barest hints of subtext, there was really nothing more than that yet) to hook me! Then there’s Sugita Tomokazu using his awesome voice to turn the one male character, who should probably be annoying, into something reasonably entertaining. Good example of how a seiyuu can make or break a character. Just really, really fantastic first impression all around.

Fairy Tail – So glad to have this back, especially with HxH faltering and likely coming near its end and Uchuu Kyoudai on hiatus. The first episode started with serious material and interesting revelations, and I’m quite surprised things got back in motion so fast. I half expected a recap and silly material to ease us in but I’m pleased that’s not the case. Very happy CR got this so I didn’t have to rely on raws or slow fansub groups.

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka – If CR doesn’t announce this, then fuck it I’ll watch it raw. I *am* seeing this no matter what. Hopefully it’s in their announcement batch tomorrow.

Short series
Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san – Hoping CR gets it up on the 10th, which is when it first airs, but they haven’t said a damn thing about it since announcing it. Update please?

Puchimas!! – I keep forgetting this has started to air and is a Spring series. I watched the first season and episodes are super short, so, sure.

Mahou Shoujo Taisen – CR got it and it’s only 5 minutes so whatever, I guess I’ll watch it.

Likely watches
Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken – Since CR picked it up, I decided to give season one a try. So far they have Part 1 up and while it wasn’t amazing, it was enjoyable enough (after ep 1, which was fairly terrible) in a very dumb way. I plan to stick around for Part 2 this weekend. If I like that (and it seems universally preferred to Part 1, so I should), then I’ll continue into Part 3 and this will be one of my Spring shows.

Some other titles are on the fence depending on how they’re released and by whom, but nothing I am overly interested in listing out at the moment. If I pick them up, then I pick them up, otherwise, whatever. As you can see above, pretty much all I can be assed to bother with these days are cute all-girl casts and dumb shounen. Strange bedfellows.

41 Responses to “Winter viewing wrap-up, updated Spring plans”

  1. Avatar mangamuscle says:

    If I might, after reading the previous article, suggest two series:

    1. Isshuukan Friends. If you get past the suspension of disbelief hurdle, it is a moving slice of life.

    2. Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii. Some say it has Fairy Tail vibes, to me it looks more like Log Horizon with the fantasy world building.

    • Avatar mangamuscle says:

      p.s.

      Soul Eater NOT! has some nice yuri vibes, I never watched the original and from messageboard comments I have read it is not like the original at all (therefore the NOT).

  2. Avatar Anon-kun says:

    Funi is picking up AnR, if it makes you feel better.

  3. Avatar Fipse says:

    Wait…somebody besides me actual liked Chuu Ren? I almost ordered the first Volume but saved the money for ST (S2 never ;_;)

    • something something says:

      A lot of people were down on it, which made it hard to openly enjoy it as much as i wanted to, but yeah I really liked the vast majority of it. It just made this oddly irritating decision to spend some critical time on a relationship that it didn’t intend to actually do anything with. I really like Rikka and Yuuta as characters, and even their relationship stuff was done well early in the season. But they’re totally overshadowed by Shinka, Sanae, Kumin, Touka, Kuzuha, etc.

      But, saving your money for Sakura Trick is totally the right choice. I’m buying both but if I had to choose it would be no contest, Sakura Trick all the way.

      • Avatar Fipse says:

        The Rikka and Yuuta relationship was fine in my opinion. They made the wise decision and avoided a real love triangle drama. They just fucked up the ending with the kiss tease. I have no idea why they did that. Maybe they thought it is funny…But the Shinka/Deko stuff made up for that.

        I just hope my ST BD is coming soon. Lost in limbo for a while now.

  4. something something says:

    Oh right I’m also going to watch Puchimas!! which I keep forgetting is a thing.

  5. Avatar kira-kun says:

    Anyone know what Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka is being shortened to? This will be my warm and fuzzy and happy for the season. Plus there is a military otaku that can do latte tank art. Gold. Plus pantsu action. Double gold. Though the “rabbit” scares me. Poor Cocoa when she finds out the truth.

  6. Avatar kira-kun says:

    Recommending WIXOSS to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet. It’s not what I thought it would for a anime based on a card game for girls. It’s full of stupid overused tropes and is copying Madoka probably, but then again, is that really bad? Reserving judgment on No Game No Life, but love the art style already. And Sidonia….my EYES X_X. Why japan, why. NO CGI. NO CGI.

    • Avatar hpulley says:

      Sidonia is gawdawful…. dropped in minutes, surprised at myself for lasting that long.

      WIXOSS… enjoyed the first episode, the 2nd not as much. Not sure it’ll last more than 3 episodes for me. Hope so but not sure it will as the second episode was getting stupid.

      No Game No Life looks interesting, also funny that the Sakurasou seiyuu for Sorata is Sora and for Mashiro is Shiro… no other relation but it is funny hearing them together again.

  7. something something says:

    And Jojo season one done. I’ll start season two next week, doing 17 eps between last night and this afternoon was enough for now!

    I guess I liked it well enough if I watched all 26 and plan to watch more, though it sure is… a thing. Definitely a thing. Just not sure what kind of thing.

  8. Avatar NATAPORI says:

    My favorie anime this season is Mahouka Koukou no Rettosei.After pre-order about 3 days It’ still raking on top 50 on amazon and highest raking is 36.I’m not sure how strong on chart but after Ep2 on-air ranking climb up abit to top 40.I expected this anime from annoucement.Now I’m happy with this anime.I will continue to watch it surre.I’m high hope it can pass 20K everage sell in someday,I’m not sure marketting plan for Aniplex but Vol.1 content 2 EP with 2 CD and I’m thinking each Volume will content 2 EP so If this series has 26 EP about 13 volume.Maybe it will drop after volume by volume.I’m keeping my eye on ranking for this series.

    • Avatar hpulley says:

      Being Aniplex 13 discs is possible… heck, 26 discs is possible LOL

      Just one disc solicited so far. 2 episodes with 26 total… hard to tell, could be 13 discs or 7 like Mouretsu… not that I expect to see that again, 26 episode 2-cour on 7 discs. 9 discs would be more normal, 2 episodes (disc1)+ 3 episodes/disc * 8 discs = 26 episodes.

      People are wondering if this will be the next SAO sales wise. I’m not sure it will be quite that high.

      • Avatar NATAPORI says:

        Ah I’m wondering too but I’m not expected sell that high.I’m still think it sell about 15K for safety if ranking still around 100 from now on.May be next episode will decide sell If standard still same last episode.I’m keeping an eye too.

        • Avatar Progeusz says:

          Considering it has huge initial LN fanbase it actually isn’t doing that well. When SAO was solicited it was in top10 after two hours and stayed there for three days.
          If Mahouka wants to sell 15k or more it has to step it up and rank higher than #40. If it isn’t there by ep4, hope will be basically lost.

      • Avatar kira-kun says:

        I’m more worried when it comes out in R1 it will be more expensive than SAO. I really hate Aniplex. Still havent forgiven them for the ROD box.

        At least most people seem to like Tatsuya more than Kirito.

  9. Avatar Masterman says:

    Too bad you are not watching Love Live S2……… it’s telling the best love story ever:

    http://i.imgur.com/mvEmQnt.jpg

    • Avatar hpulley says:

      At this rate something will have another series to import ! I am really surprised how canon they are making them. Surprised and really happy. They are so cute together!

      • something something says:

        Wish people would stop assuming I like that show. I really, really do not and have no intention of watching the second season. Not even for pseudo-yuri.

        • Avatar hpulley says:

          We’re just joshing around. I know you don’t like it. But I’ll stop joking about it.

          • something something says:

            I know you know, but a lot of other people don’t, probably because I just try not to talk about shows I actively dislike.

            • Avatar hpulley says:

              Fair enough, it’s your site. I shall cease and desist.

              • something something says:

                That said, you’re allowed to mention the show. Not trying to police what gets brought up. I just choose to ignore it.

                Anyway, in general I’ll be posting less about sales predictions this season, unless something really exciting happens with Gochiusa. There’s just not a lot (that has a chance of selling) I’m excited about – last night I just went ahead and closed all my open browser tabs to Stalker for the first time in a couple years, and am just trying not to look at it at all.

                • Avatar hpulley says:

                  My copy of Sakura Trick has already ‘shipped’ (notice sent to shipping company but not yet picked up, tomorrow hopefully it will be on its way). That makes me happy. But now I’m not sure if I want to look at the sales numbers next Tuesday so I certainly understand your feelings about not wanting to look at sales anymore.

                  For me personally LoveLive! is a show and franchise I love so looking at Stalker makes me smile at the moment. One of those rare times when my tastes and those of the Japanese buyers line up. It doesn’t happen often.

                  • something something says:

                    Doubt Sakura Trick v2 even hits 2k, especially since I can’t see any chance of DVDs ranking. Bleh. Can only hope that there was almost no event ticket effect, but with the Amazon estimate 30% lower than v1 BD, things don’t look promising.

                    Even a 2k average is a long shot. Sigh.

                    • Avatar AnimePhoenix says:

                      I really wish I could do something to make you feel better at times like this. I felt the same way back in Fall 2012 when all three shoujo anime failed.

                      All we can hope for is that it got a good enough manga boost and good merch sales.

                      And I know this is a delicate subject but why is Akuma no Riddle so low in Stalker? Is it that unpopular?

                    • something something says:

                      Dunno but I can’t see a show like Akuma no Riddle selling to begin with, even if there weren’t yuri subtext. I’m just sad because I honestly expected it to be pretty terrible and it’s actually been amazing so far – but it’s getting no traction.

                      It just seems to be one of those shows otaku just aren’t watching or paying any attention to, so it goes by largely unnoticed despite really solid production. Sorta like Kaminai from Summer.

                    • Avatar Fipse says:

                      To be totally honest, i kinda saw that coming. Yes Sakura Trick is good for the yuri audience. But if not for the kissing…it would be a pretty boring SoL anime. What we need is Kiniro Mosaic cuteness/humor with one or two real kisses mixed in.
                      It would sell a lot better.

                    • something something says:

                      Even if there were no kissing Sakura Trick would have been a top tier slice of life show for me. Great characters, great emotions, damned funny, not remotely boring.

  10. Avatar mk03 says:

    If Sakura Trick weren’t a yuri show though, would you still have watched/enjoyed it?

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