First Impressions of Winter

While there are a few straggling shows, I’ve had a look at everything which I think that I would be interested in which is readily available, and a few things which I didn’t really expect to be interested in which were readily available, and I’ve put together a few thoughts on each show. This post does contain a brief synopsis of each first episode, which could possibly be considered spoilers for some people, so please be aware of that prior to reading the post! I’ve organised the titles of what I’ve seen alphabetically.

ACCA 13th Territory Inspection DepartmentACCA0101.jpg
The first episode introduces Jean who is part of the government inspection department, in charge of keeping an eye on the 13 regions of the country and their public services. The inspection department is informed that it is going to be shut down as everything is so peaceful and efficient, but Jean makes a discovery of corruption in a region and the inspection department is then informed they will be staying open for the present. While everything in this world seems peaceful at present, there’s certainly currents suggesting that things may not be as they seem.

This seems like it could possibly have the makings of an interesting drama. The world building of a country made up of relatively autonomous and peaceful regions under a central government even just in the first episode gave the show a unique sense of place. There was a fair bit of exposition setting things up, but I didn’t find this a problem as it helped me understand the world and the people. I’m probably a bit more tolerant of exposition than average. The visual style was colourful and unique, and I liked the character designs, especially all the flashy civil service uniforms. I’m not planning to keep watching this week by week at present, but I will keep my ear to the ground and see how it shapes up. Maybe I’ve just become too cautious about plot-driven series because they need to have a good plot to be enjoyable? With all the fluffy slice-of-life and zany comedy I watch, the shows only need to have fun characters and good jokes, which can be readily established in an opening episode.

Ai Mai Mi Surgical FriendsAiMaiMi0101.jpg
This is actually the third season of this particular comedy short featuring three girls who are in their school’s manga club. Rather like Teekyu, they don’t really have much to do with real club activities and the show instead consists of a variety of different jokes delivered at high pace, mostly to do with them getting in absurd, and at times fantastical situations. I’m planning to watch the first two seasons to catch up (each season doesn’t even run for 30 minutes so I haven’t exactly set myself an impossible task). You either like the type of show where they deliver 20 minutes of jokes in 2 minutes or you don’t, and I’m definitely a fan. I’m glad I discovered this show!

Akiba’s Tripakibastrip0101
The first episode introduces an Akihabara where mysterious ‘bugged ones’ are causing havoc, and Tamotsu an otaku protagonist who gets swept up in this chaos together with some strange girls. The bugged ones can only be stopped by stripping them.

It’s based on a video game of the same name (which I have not played), although I know the game features vampires which are weakened by exposing their bodies to light instead of the bugged ones which are weakened by exposing their bodies to air. It’s a really dumb premise. The show knows that it’s dumb, but while I can enjoy shows with this sort of really stupid premise, they need to lean super hard into how stupid they are (I love Gonna Be the Twintail because of how stupid it is and how far they go with the stupidity), and I don’t think Akiba’s Trip goes far enough in this direction. Usually adaptations of games tend to fall a bit short, and I don’t think that Akiba’s Trip is any exception in this regard. I mostly checked this out because it was one of the first shows to come out, and partially because I did have a secret hope it would go full Twintails stupid. As it is dumb, but not dumb enough, it doesn’t really hold my interest.

Chiruran 1/2chuiran0101
This show is a series of comedy shorts involving shisengumi. The first episode merely introduced the characters with some high-paced humour. I actually know nothing about shisengumi but I am thinking I’ll find out a little and keep watching this show.

The first episode of this show introduces us to Chuuta, a high school boy who has trouble interacting with others because he is always hearing (and responding to) a mysterious voice that only he can hear. He’s flagged by a space police force as having potential to be a great policeman, and in the process of trying to pass the police aptitude test, discovers that there was a mysterious creature living inside him all along (the source of the voice), and that together they have the power to do things that they could not do alone.

The first episode of this feels like the set up for a lot of shounen shows. It is a little different having a protagonist who is an actual airhead instead of an idealistic dreamer, but it seems like it will be a pretty typical shounen story, whether that’s good or bad for you. Lethargic Ramblings has read the manga and said that the source material becomes quite an interesting and enjoyable shounen series, but isn’t certain how much can be covered in the relatively short runtime of the show. I’m thinking I may wait until the show has finished airing and assess whether I’d like to watch it or not then. Then again, there’s a real void of plot-driven series I’m interested in, so I may feel bad about watching lots of story-light series and keep watching this week to week.

Forest Fairy Fiveforestfairiesfive0101
I mentioned in a recent post about having not found a show which I considered to be exceptionally poor in all aspects. Forest Fairy Five seems like it may manage to do this and have no enjoyable aspects. The show is about ‘anime-chans’ who live in the fairy kingdom, but it doesn’t seem to have a clear plot, clear characterisation, or any other strengths. Normally shorts are designed to be heartwarming, funny, or possibly both. I kept watching the first episode hoping that there was the set-up for something humorous but finished the episode feeling that someone had hidden all the jokes. I couldn’t even really tell you what happened in the first episode except that there was narration and the fairies looked through a magical window into the human world briefly. Also hidden from the first episode were two of the presumably five fairies or anime-chans. The show is also made with really oversaturated basic CG visuals. I don’t actually mind basic or ‘bad’ visuals if the other elements of the show work so that they don’t distract, but there’s nothing in Forest Fairy Five to take my mind away from the way it looks. gdgd fairies was a good show, because in spite of the really simple visuals, there was very snappy writing and fun characters. The only thing that would save the show is if the last two fairies are actually cameos from gdgd fairies, but I don’t know that I would want to hang out long enough to find out, and I certainly don’t think that would be likely.

Gabriel Dropoutgabrieldropout0104
The first episode introduces us to Gabriel, an angel who after finishing her school studies and graduating at the top of her class is sent to the human world to obtain further knowledge. Everything is going well until Gabriel becomes entrapped by the lure of gaming. We meet some of Gabriel’s schoolmates, two demons who aren’t very good at being demons; Vignette who is actually very responsible and looks out for Gabriel, and Satanichia, who doesn’t seem to have any idea about what being evil truly entails and is just petty, and Raphael, an angel who is a bit of a sadist.

This is a comedy about people who don’t fit their stereotypes, or about people who are not very considerate to others. It’s got a similar sort of vibe to Himouto Umaru-chan, although the characters are slightly different. Doga Kobo has a history of having a team who do cute comedies well, and it seems like this may be another success in terms of visuals and pacing. I have to admit I really like this sort of comedy and as long as the characters don’t outstay their welcome (which they hopefully won’t in a single season), this is a show I’ll look forward to every week.

Hand Shakershandshakers0102
Until I watched Handshakers, I didn’t realise that it was possible for anime to make you physically ill. I get pretty nauseous if I try to play first person video games, it’s from the disconnect between your body receiving visual input and no vestibular input (in a sense the reverse of people who get motion sick in vehicles which doesn’t really affect me), but I have never before (and hopefully never again) felt this way after trying to watch a show. I got about 5 minutes in before I recognised my body’s warning signs, turned it off and went to lie down. Thinking about it, it’s possibly the use of a camera which is almost constantly in motion in combination with the dynamic backgrounds and foreground objects which are also in motion. That’s way too many things moving at once! I can’t tell you much about the show from those 5 minutes except the sound design seemed nice? I’m definitely not planning to watch any more of this as I like my anime to not make me feel like throwing up.

Interviews With Monster Girlsdemichan0101
The first episode has set up a world with demi-humans, born from genetic mutations, living among everyday people. We meet a biology teacher who is very curious about demi-humans and wanting to conduct some research, and 4 demi-humans (a succubus, a dullahan, a vampire and a yuki-onna (snow lady)). The teacher Takahashi Tetsuo gets a chance to discuss life frankly with Hikari, a very lively vampire student.

This is much more slife-of-life and fluffy than I had anticipated, and seems to be both cute and fun on its own merits with some great voice acting bringing the characters to life, and also possibly an interesting discussion of living with disability or other things which make people stand out. This very much has the feeling of ‘everyday life with monster girls’, unlike the actual show which goes by that name. It’s not something I’d identified as being interested in initially, but I’m glad I gave it a go as I think it’s very much to my tastes! I’m planning to check out a few more episodes of this and see how I feel.

Kemono Friendskemonofriends0101
In the first episode of Kemono Friends we meet ‘Bag’, a human child who has lost her memory and doesn’t know what kind of animal she is (I believe that kaban, the Japanese word for bag does not have the same connotations of ugly old woman that the English word does. Kaban-chan is cute).  She’s discovered and helped by Serval, and a variety of other animals on the way as she sets out on a journey to find out about herself and hopefully recover her lost memories.

Inside of the trappings of an anime based on a mobile game which shoehorns in weird free-to-play mobile mechanics into a story, there is a cute story with sweet animals and a lot of heart. I was confirmed in my suspicions that this show is designed to be appealing to young children when I saw that the text in the small animal informational segment in the middle of the show was only in hiragana. The animation has an odd quality about it with the character models having this slightly weird 3D appearance and somewhat stilted movements, but the Kemono Friends feel like my friends already! This taps into the same sort of thing as me watching Monster Hunter Stories. I’m planning to keep watching this and it will make my inner child very happy.

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitenshabuminamijitenshabu0103
Seriously, why is there not a convenient shortening of this show’s title? In the first episode, we meet Hiromi, who is starting school in a new town, and decides to ride a bicycle to school in spite of not having ridden one in years to make her commute easier. This works out about as well as you would expect (especially as Hiromi has absolutely no idea about cycling to the point where to start with she doesn’t put her feet on the pedals), but fortunately she runs into another girl Tomoe who is kind enough to save her and give her some pointers.

It’s impossible not to compare this to Long Riders which came out last season. as they are both shows featuring cute girls riding cute bikes. Also this show like Long Riders feels as though it will feature more slice-of-life tropes than sports tropes, so it will not be a sports anime so much as an anime which has some sport activities in it. Visually, it’s far more impressive, although it did at times feel almost like a tourism advertisement with the brightly coloured and incredibly detailed backgrounds. The bikes however don’t look quite as nice as Long Riders’ bicycles, but I did notice that they feature real brands instead of the ‘if we change a couple of letters it’s totally not infringing copyright right?’ branding of the Long Riders bicycles. This show also features a segment at the end featuring tips on buying a real bicycle. I haven’t warmed to Hiromi as a protagonist as much as I did to Ami, but I do plan to keep watching this show. Hopefully I can enjoy it for its own merits and stop comparing it to Long Riders.

Miss Kobayashi’s Maidragonmaidragon0101
The first episode introduces Kobayashi, a pretty down-to-earth office worker, and Tohru, the dragon who she helped and invited to stay when she was walking around drunk one night. Kobayashi is very interested in maids, so Tohru offers to become her maid as a way of repaying her debt and showing her affection. Unfortunately as a dragon, Tohru has no idea how to behave as a maid.

It wasn’t apparent from the preview how into maids Kobayashi is, and it was interesting to hear her talk to a friend about maids and maid culture, and also to see the pictures of Edwardian maids stuck on her walls. That was an interesting surprise! It seems like it’s going to be a very well-produced comedy with plenty of manzai humour, and we’ll get even more dragons as the series progresses based on the next episode preview and other promotional materials. While I didn’t warm to it as much as I thought I might, it still seems like it’s going to be a fun comedy and I’m planning to check out a few more episodes and see how I feel about the show then.

Nyanko Daysnyankodays0103
The two-minute runtime of this short felt a little short! We were introduced to shy Tomoko who finds it hard to make friends, and her anthropomorphic cats; Shii, Maa, and Rou. The cats are cute, and I know that people speak about feeling like their pets are almost human, I guess this is a show about that. It seems like it’s going for the same sort of heartwarming feel (and cats) as Bananya. I’m not sure exactly how this will shape up, but I am planning to keep watching.

One Room


I tried to find a fairly non-creepy camera angle

This first-person short made me feel like I had no sense of personal boundaries, as an unnamed college student who had a conversation with my high school aged female neighbour, as ‘I’ seemed to spend time looking up her skirt or down her top. There’s supposed to be 3 different female characters which we get to know throughout the course of this series, but I’d really rather not know people in that way. Sometimes I feel that I’m a bit lacking in social graces in real life, but this show made me feel like I definitely have more of an idea of how to behave than the fictional ‘I’. I definitely don’t feel like I can keep watching this.

Piace: Watashi no Italianpiace0108
In the first episode we meet Morina, who decides to apply for a part-time job at a nearby Italian restaurant because she is looking for work and it is near her home and cute. Despite having no knowledge about Italian cuisine, she’s offered the job and her days working in a restaurant begin.

In the first four minute episode of the show, I got friendship, jokes, Italian food, and some excellent reaction faces which I can possibly use elsewhere. This is possibly my favourite thing that I’ve seen this season! I’m planning to cover this show on a weekly basis, hopefully with a focus on the Italian food prepared in the show.

Schoolgirl Strikersschoolgirlstrikers0101
It probably comes as no surprise that this show contains school girls, with the title and all. The girls are part of a special force recruited from their school which fight Obli, a type of monster. One of the girls has amnesia. That’s pretty much all that I got from the first episode.

While there were some lighter comic moments, I really didn’t find anything in this show to grab my interest. It didn’t seem actively terrible, but at the same time, it’s not to my tastes.

There’s a few things which unfortunately aren’t available legally in Australia, plus Netflix is holding Little Witch Academia hostage which I would have looked at otherwise, but there’s still a decent lineup of things I’m interested in! I may check out Konosuba Season 2, as I recently watched the first season and found it surprisingly fun, but I have quite a few shows I’m already planning to watch so it’s not a priority for me. While I think that people who actually prefer plot-driven series may be finding the offerings a bit thin on the ground, there’s plenty of comedy and slice-of-life for me to be interested in this season, so hopefully I’ll get to enjoy some good shows!


3 thoughts on “First Impressions of Winter

    • There’s definitely pros to watching a whole season at once, picking things out from synopses alone is a bit of a guessing game! You can get more pleasant surprises, but also more duds.

      Hopefully with people doing seasonal coverage, you’ll find some things you’d like to see (also don’t watch Forest Fairies Five :D).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know it’s a little risky and to be honest, I haven’t been always right, but that being said I have this little hunch on which series to pick and after that I make sure to analyse how the series may turn out to be. But still it’s nice to be excited over the little gamble I play.

        PS: I will be sure to avoid that series you mentioned XD

        Liked by 1 person

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