[AniFemTalk] Your winter 2017 first impressions

We reviewed, ranked and categorized most of the premieres of the the season for feminist viewers – now have your say.

  • Which anime from the season do you expect to keep up with to the end?
  • Which new anime have you been most surprised to enjoy?
  • Which new anime did you expect to like but found disappointing?
  • How do you think the sequels compare so far to their previous seasons?
  • What do you think of the shorts you’ve seen?

Self-promotion on these posts is permitted and even encouraged, especially if you are analyzing anime, manga, Japanese pop culture or fandom from a marginalized perspective! Please only include one link per post, but you can put up a different link every Monday if you like. If you’ve already done a blog post on 2017 premieres, by all means include it below!


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  • Ms. Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon: Despite jiggly service, if it follows the manga, we’ll get a very sweet reworking of the harem genre transmuted into an “unusual family”. This only works because Ms.K is the best harem lead ever (gush!) Possible blog post to do: Not_a_Dragon@sickofdragons.

    LWA-TV: Because dreams are sacred. Of note; the interaction btw Diana and Akko is more complex than one would usually expect. Diana is still a snob, but not a 1D pushy hater. She takes her responsibilities seriously. Prof Ursula is so obviously foreshadowed that you don’t need the effing wiki to spoil it.

    Rakugo Shinjuu 2: I’d watch if it had no plot at all, just for the rakugo and the scenery. Interested to see what the storytelling does. (prolly less ship-bait this time as well – that makes it easier pour moi.)

    Kamakura Girl’s Bicycling Club: Watch a beautiful idea that could be a classic turn into a creep-fest, due to out-of-place boobie and underage thigh shots. Cringe. Lookie at all the beautiful scenery from the Kamakura area — which I love to visit IRL. Feel good, then jarring boobie jiggle shot/ thigh shot on 14 year old girl, again! Kressuz Jyst! Producers who think they know what otaku must want: off to the rice fields for re-education !!!!

    Scum’s Wish: Geh.. Will only skim to see if levels of fanservicy chara presentation are lower than in above Bicycle Club. Then will try to figure out why. Possible blog post on – is this “shojou” (or josei) for guys?

    Ao no Exorcist 2: Because I have no critical faculties left & I no longer care. Mmmm. Popcorn! Original manga woman-authored; female secondary charas are fairly strong. “Yankee” senior exorcist/ instructor is only over-fanserviced woman chara – there’s some age thing in her presentation as well.

    Seiren: Just to see if anything pops up worth paying attention to – doubt it.

    ACCA 13: Someone rec’d it. Don’t care if it is boring but might have to drop it if it pavlovs up my ciggy consumption. Will not sell anywhere with all those cancer sticks.
    This is why we never get any 8THMAN re-runs. Look, I’m trying to cut down dammit.
    Grrrrrrrrr…. batteries on cheap vape sticks blown again!

    …. You Asked. Looking fwd to others’ recs

    Thanks and cheers
    Mudakun/ heartsoffuriousfancies.com

    • I don’t think Scum’s Wish reads as being “for guys” at all, it’s all so woman-centred! The thought of it being considered in the same bracket as the cycling thing breaks my heart.

      With you 100% on Rakugo and Blue Exorcist, looking forward to seeing Kobayashi and ACCA develop!

      • Eric Iacono

        Part of me did think how some of the framing in the intimacy scene was a bit unnecessary. Like yes, he has grabbed her boobs, do we need the zooming, lingering camera shot of his hands massaging them? I was going to critique that he appears to be mostly a shadowy kind of figure throughout the scene, allowing him to function as an insert, but then I realized that might be the point (that he’s getting replaced in her mind anyway).

        The second episode of Interviews was, I feel, not as strong as the first. I feel this might be the case of on a girl by girl basis, where some girls are just not going to be written as strongly as others. I really don’t dig the girl crush on the teacher plot, especially when it occurred from a single hug. There’s hints the show might go a haremish route (with the vampire girl getting pissed that their date is going so well), which would make me lose interest, since part of the draw was how fierce vampire girl was.

        • It’s really difficult for me to be objective because I’ve read the manga of Scum’s Wish and it doesn’t come across as fanservicey at all, so it’s hard for me to see fanservice in what I think is a faithful adaptation.

          Completely agreed with you on the Interviews episode two – I actually really disliked a number of elements about it, and it feels like it’s on the brink of plummeting from my estimation if it goes down the harem route I, like you, have no interest in seeing. Isn’t Hikari the best? She might be my favourite character of the season. I’m really interested to see more of Satou-sensei though!

          • Eric Iacono

            That’s fair! I actually think Scum’s Wish was really good otherwise. I maybe have some issues watching ersatz teenagers going to third (second?) base, so maybe the framing has nothing to do with it, rather the content. I kinda understand it needs to be shown to a certain extent, due to the importance of the monologue. And yes, I am plainly aware of teens having sex, and the depiction of that has a long history in media, but it is certainly something I’ve been culturally conditioned to being adverse to looking at.

            Also, what is the MC supposed to be in Interviews? Is he a grad student teaching high school? Is this a thing that happens in Japan? And hopefully they won’t do something terrible with Satou sensei, like the intros seem to suggest.

        • Caitlin

          For the record, Scum’s Wish runs in a seinen magazine.
          I think you’re conflating sexual content with fan service here. It’s an easy mistake to make, but there’s a very important distinction.

          When we see Mugi touching Hanabi’s body, everything he’s doing is something that gives her pleasure. Breast massaging, fingering – these things feel good. The scene was from her point of view, about how she’s imagining Narumi doing those things to her in Mugi’s place. It wouldn’t be difficult for a female viewer to put herself in Hanabi’s position. The framing, I think, highlights the contrast between the eroticism of the action and the sadness of her internal monologue. There’s a huge difference between this and the leering camera pointing at bouncing breasts regardless of the context of the scene.

          • What part does the conflicted internal monologue play in elevating the tone of KNH?
            OMG! Slow guy brain! It marks agency? Seems like a Faustian bargain.

          • Caitlin

            It marks her as the subject rather than an object, for starters.

          • Black Emolga

            What about that scene do you think makes it fanservice? Do you consider any sex fanservice?
            I don’t see anything in there that I would consider necessarily fanservice or out of place for a Shojo/Josei sincerely targeting women. When feminist critique the male gaze they are usually talking about how works assume a male perspective. But that scene is clearly written from the woman’s POV.

          • I consider both fanservice and oh-so-conflicted bonking as both writer-ly/ mangaka/ production tricks that strain my patience. Both are in the wider realm of libidinized narrative. I drew the contrast originally to note the curious evolution of the way charas are presented in contemporary Japanese pop culture.

            Must be me, but I still see marionette strings on Hanabi, Mugi and most of the rest of them. Only Sanae/ Ecchan(sp?) reads as a subject, no scratch that.. a person, to me. She has no need for “operatic” internal conflict to bring her to life; even if she acts out a well-worn yuri trope.

            If Hanabi was not conflicted while intimate with Mugi, would she be more or less believable? Would the illusion shatter?

          • Black Emolga

            I think you misunderstood my question. I’m not asking whether you consider “Scum’s Wish” a libidinized narrative. I’m asking whether you think if a work is sexual in nature it must be targeted to men.

          • Anime Feminist

            Please be a little mindful of how you’re speaking to women discussing their own representation in this space… Multiple women are telling you on a feminist website that this does not read to them as fanservice. Disagreement is inevitable, but we expect commenters to structure their responses to show sensitivity and respect to the views of marginalized people and facilitate a productive and enjoyable conversation. To insist that a representation of women’s sexuality which so strongly resonates with women is nothing more than a gratuitous “production trick” designed to titillate men is a little too close to talking over marginalized people discussing their own experiences, as addressed in our comments policy.

          • I apologise. I am deeply freaked out that I have given the impression I have. I have blanked/withdrawn my comments. Again, sorry.

          • Caitlin

            What would you consider to be non-exploitative sexual content, then? If a girl initiating, consenting, receiving sexual gratification, and being the subject instead of the object of the scene doesn’t do the trick, what does?

      • I too have read lots of KNH/Scum’s Wish and still can’t think of it as Josei. Cross-check: Himegoto – Juukyuusai no Seifuku 19. I bought up Kamakura etc. for a wider observation: the creepy fanservice chara rendering is imposed over a Bechdel test passing story. That makes it safe Cute-Girls-Doing-Cute-Things for scared guys. The emo pr0n/pr0n-pr0n drama goes for more “realistic” body depiction but I suspect it does so to heighten the “despoiling of innocence” motif.

        The more sexualized property gets the less sexualized character design.

  • Which shows are you catching up with from last season? I still haven’t seen Girlish Number through, keep meaning to catch up with that.

    • AsteriskCGY

      My priority is on March Comes Like a Lion because I’ve read and liked the manga, plus liked Honey and Clover as well. I’m feeling less motivated for the rest, including Flip Flappers, Show by Rock, Izetta, Keijo, Working, Monster Hunter Stories. I really want to see more of Natusme Yujincho, but that’s a 5 something season backlog. I was able to finish Poko’s Udon World, which is nice.

  • Lokkij

    ACCA 13 looks to be right up my alley — slow, stylish anime with an adult cast haven’t let me down yet. On that note, I’m looking forward to Rakugo S2 and hopefully more of Kiku’s vague, ambiguous queerness immensely, but I can’t check it out just yet, as I haven’t finished the first season! It’s been on the backburner for a while, but as it looks like I’ll be sick for all of tomorrow this is a good opportunity to get through it. Lastly, I’ve been recommended Fume wo Amu from last season too many times to ignore it, so I might give that one a try as well tomorrow.

    • I’ve been meaning to check out The Great Passage too, should finally watch that one, and Battery! The only noitaminA I saw last year was Kabaneri, and I don’t think it was their best.

      You definitely have to get through Rakugo! I’m rewatching it at the moment, it’s even more beautiful and poignant second time around. Also looking forward to more ACCA.

      • I’m halfway through binge-watching The Great Passage, and can definitely recommend it based on what I’ve seen thus far. Like Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū, it’s squarely in the “adult people doing adult things” genre, it’s about a failing art (in this case the making of dictionaries) and whether it can be made relevant for a modern audience, and it has some great “senior citizen” characters. But it’s more laid-back than SGRS, with none of the sense of high drama and impending doom.

  • My quick take on this season (including sequels):

    Scum’s Wish: My favorite of the new shows, I hope it keeps true to the spirit of the manga.
    Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Still excellent.
    March comes in like a lion: Still enjoying this.
    ACCA 13: As I did with Joker Game, I may end up getting bored with the characters and setting.
    Interviews with Monster Girls: Episode 2 took a turn for the worse, we’ll see if it recovers.
    Shorts: My time would be better spent rewatching She and Her Cat and Tonkatsu DJ Agetarō.

    In other news, I’m binge-watching The Great Passage (see my comments elsewhere) and may check out Little Witch Academia and season 2 of Konosuba.

  • GreyLurker

    I’m really enjoying Tanya the Evil. For one it runs counter to what one might expect from such a series based on it’s description. For another I find the religious debate within the story stry strucure interesting. Dose faith only come from hardship?

    Demi-Chan is a nice light wonderful slice of life with a bit of fantasy in it. I love reading the manga and the anime has really captured the feel of it.

    Dragon Maid caught me by surprise. I mostly enjoy it. Couple of parts that make me frown but other than that it’s really enjoyable.

    SAme goes for Gabrial Dropout. Did not expect this series and I’m enjoying it a lot.

    Huge fan of the returning shows; Konosuba, Blue Exorcist, Yowapeddal and of course Gintama

    • That’s a really good point about Tanya, especially since episode two has brought in the concept of God as a more tangible presence. “Does faith only come from hardship?” is a really good question, and I hope it asks more like it. If episode two is anything to go by it could be a sleeper hit of the season.

  • Roman Komarov

    Dropped due to fanservice/other problems with women characterisation: “Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon”, “Seiren”, “Urara Meirochou”. Also dropped “Youjo Senki” — just not my kind of stuff.

    “Demi-chan wa Kataritai Airing” is on trial for me, the idea is nice, but I don’t like certain parts of it (especially in the second episode). As I thought, making the protagonist to be male teacher makes it weird in a lot of moments.

    Kinda enjoing “Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu Airin”, I don’t agree with your review of the first ep: I won’t say that characters are portrayed as stupid. There are some usual anime-more stuff, but I found the main character’s inability to ride a bicycle familiar as I know some people who learned to ride a bicycle in their late years, and as shown in the end of the first episode, she actually never learned to ride it (mother remembers that she rode a bicycle with support wheels which is completely different). Also: second episode have a lot more characters added and they’re not stupid. And while main character have problems by losing herself in the city, she adapts to the new more complex bicycle just fine. And with less fanservice than a lot of other series this one looks better, I’d say — you could give the second episode a shot. However, it have surely some male gazeness in how they show characters, so it could always become worse and could be dropped.

    I really enjoyed “ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka Airin” a lot. It have the same author as “Saraiya Goyou” — Ono Natsume — and you can feel her style there.

    And, of course, “Little Witch Academia”, second episode was great too, and I’m glad it would have 25 episode overall — we’re in for a ride there.

    • There’s an enormous difference between “I’m struggling to keep my balance while I work the pedals” and “Wait, you need THESE THINGS to make the bike move? And they’re called PEDALS?” and this anime is explicitly the latter. That is objectively implausible for a 15-year-old in Japan, where people cycle around you ALL THE TIME.

      The choice to make a main character with the sole personality trait of quite such extreme stupidity in an anime designed largely to be appealing to male consumers is a decision that, in a western TV series or Hollywood film would be (rightly) torn to shreds as offensive. It’s fine that it didn’t bother you personally, but perhaps reconsider where your acceptance of such representation really comes from. If you asked any 15-year-old in Japan if they understood what pedals were I think they’d be pretty annoyed that you thought so little of them, and wondering what weird ideas foreigners have about Japanese people. Anime has normalised a lot of things that are pretty awful when you take them out of context.

      I don’t doubt the second episode is better as the first was an all-time low, but as someone who has been a 15-year-old girl who understood just fine what pedals were despite not using them for years, the first episode was so infuriating to watch that I don’t want to go any further. That they add fanservice into the mix just makes it even less appealing.

      I completely agree with you on Interviews with Monster Girls though. The second episode was a bit of a let-down for me, and they’re losing the benefit of the doubt they’d earned with episode one. Right now it looks like Takahashi-sensei is exoticising the demis and getting rewarded for it with their crushes on him, which is hard to watch. However, the episode also raised the point of disability accommodations in educational institutions and the workplace, which is the kind of thing I hope it keeps bringing up in future episodes. If it goes down the harem route it’ll be a real shame, there’s so much about episode one that I liked which they’ve unfortunately trashed a bit in episode two.

  • Chelsea Buckner

    I expect to keep up with:
    – Scum’s Wish (Dangit, Amazon)
    – Interviews with Monster Girls
    – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (because KyoAni)
    – Gabriel Dropout (because I always have a “trash” show)
    – ACCA

    I will continue watching “March Comes In Like A Lion” and “Ninja Girl and Samurai Master” which debuted last season. I also consider counting my current viewing of “The Great Passage” for this season since it wasn’t legally available in the US until last week.

    I am most surprised with “Interviews with Monster Girls” both in terms of quality and the change of tone between the first and second episodes. Prior to viewing I expected it to be more akin to “Monster Masume” so I *really* hope it doesn’t go with the harem route.

    Due to overall designs and my own interest in fortune telling as a narrative device I was disappointed in “Urara Meirochou.” It looked like an adorable slice of life… not pre-teen under-boob.

    I am not watching any sequels this season. I disliked the original “Konasuba” and I desperately still need to get into “Rakugo.” I also can’t bring myself to watch “Rewrite” at all because the thought of a grown man getting sent back to interact with teenagers disturbs me. I understand the show is more than that but… eh.

    I have not viewed any shorts from this season yet because I am unimpressed. “One Room” seemed interesting since it is shot from a first person view but, knowing the medium, I’m sure there are lingering glances at breasts. I’m more than happy to just continue watching “Ninja Girl and Samurai Master.”

    I plan to watch “Little Witch Academia” once it fully releases. I am also considering “Tanya the Evil” but want to wait to see what direction the show goes in. I’ve heard the second episode is much better than the first.

    • Rebecca’s review on ANN (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/preview-guide/2017/winter/shorts/.111008) will tell you everything you need to know about OneRoom. As she puts it: “I’ve been on the receiving end of those looks; I don’t need to have a show fetishize a bad experience.”

      I also found the second episode of Tanya more engaging than the first. I suspect the first episode will be more representative of the general approach of the show once it settles in, but the earliest scenes of episode two were incredible, really chilling and effective despite being so simple, and I hope we see more of that eeriness in future episodes.

      If you haven’t see Rakugo yet though I urge you to make that priority one when some viewing time opens up! I think it was the best show of 2016, the one that people will be talking about with respect in years to come, and the sequel has so far absolutely matched that quality. Yesterday I watched the second season OP on a loop for a while, even that is unbelievably moving. If you struggled with episode one of the first series (I did) then go straight into episode two, when the flashback begins, and watch episode one once you’ve caught up to present day, before going into season two.

  • I finished The Great Passage (Fune wo Amu) last night, and will double-down on my earlier recommendation. Here’s a mini-review:

    I mentioned the parallels to Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū earlier. Like SGRS this is clearly intended as a prestige production, based on a novel (not an LN) and following up an award-winning live action adaptation. (The only typically “anime” aspects of it are a J-poppy OP–once used somewhat jarringly as an insert song–and a regular interlude featuring anthropomorphized dictionaries–comparable to the “shogi cats” sequence in March comes in like a lion.) Both share a central theme, namely what it is like to devote one’s life to pursuing an art (one achievement of TGP is to convince you that creating a dictionary is indeed an art) and how one passes that art to the next generation. Unlike SGRS, in TGP most of the conflict and “action” (such as it is) is driven by external circumstances, not by conflicts among the characters. As a result TGP is not as emotionally complex and as affecting as SGRS: the highs are not as high, the lows not as low. TGP also suffers a fair amount from telling not showing–probably inevitable considering the subject matter. (SGRS is wordy too, but a lot of that is in the rakugo, where it’s showing more than telling.) But to compare TGP to SGRS is to subject it to a very high standard; for literate and literary-minded viewers TGP is a treat, and you may find yourself tearing up multiple times, just as I did.

    From a feminist perspective: Set in a publishing company, The Great Passage displays the typical workplace hierarchy when it comes to men and women. However the women on the dictionary team are not “office ladies”, but participate fully in the creation of the dictionary and are acknowledged as doing so. There’s also an example of a woman successfully pursuing her own career passion on her own. One of my favorite female characters comes in halfway through the series. Although I don’t want to say exactly why to avoid spoilers, to my mind she plays as key a role in TGP’s central theme as anyone. Finally, it should go without saying that there’s no fanservice in TGP–but this being anime I need to say it anyway.

    The bottom line: If The Great Passage hadn’t fallen victim to Amazon’s business decisions (not simulcasting the series in the US in anticipation of the Anime Strike rollout) I think this would have been on a lot of people’s top 10 lists for the fall 2016 season. If you like shows like Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū and have access to Amazon Prime Video and Anime Strike already (or can take advantage of the Anime Strike trial), I highly recommend you check it out.

    • It’s bad form to reply to my own comment, but I couldn’t help adding this: After finishing the anime version of Fune wo Amu I went looking on Amazon for the DVD of the live-action adaptation. The film is unfortunately not available in the US (region 1), but… you can pre-order an English translation (by Juliet Winters Carpenter) of the original novel by Shion Miura. Published under the title The Great Passage (same as the anime), it’s projected to be out June 1 as a paperback, Kindle ebook, and MP3 audiobook, all published through AmazonCrossing, the imprint Amazon established for publishing translations.

      I see this as part of the strategy behind Anime Strike, the anime offerings on Prime Video, and the Amazon/Noitamina relationship: Get streaming exclusives on anime of potential interest to a more mainstream audience, do a publishing deal for the source material, especially where it’s something that would otherwise be unlikely to get an English translation, and then cross-sell it all on Amazon to anime fans and general readers. I have no idea if this strategy will work, but I do see the logic of it.

      • SC

        I’m glad you brought up the original novel because I’m a big fan of the author. I highly recommend the book (assuming the equality of the translation is good). I think the people in the AniFem community in particular would enjoy the novel for multiple reasons. First, Miura is one of the most accomplished and popular female author in Japan; she has won Naoki Prize and other literature awards AND several of her books have been adapted to manga, film, tv drama and now anime. The Great Passage won the 2012 Booksellers Award, which was chosen by the bookstore employees all over the country. (Anyone who works at a bookstore can cast a vote.) So the book is practically the most recommended book of the year chosen by the country’s biggest bookworms!

        I love Miura’s book because she incorporates feminist insights in most of her work, and TGP is no exception. Unfortunately these insights were simply omitted in the anime though. For example, (no major spoiler ahead) in the book there’s a scene in which the protagonist questions the explicit heteronormative notion in the definition of “love” in preexisting dictionaries. In another, his colleague criticizes the dictionary definition of “man” and “woman” and calls them “outdated,” because they assume gender binary and focus on reproductive functions. Also, the protagonist’s love interest, Kaguya, seems bit more unconventional in the novel than in anime. These are minor details in the larger story, but it’s nice to see them in a bestseller book.

        Miura is also known as a big manga fan and you can kind of feel it in her writing; some of her novels including TGP have a bit of manga-like feel to them. I think it’s the monologue…but I cannot quite articulate how it’s done. Her writing is polished and strong though, so it’s really a unique mixture. I like the novel best and then the film. The anime follows the original story, but it’s not as engaging and felt quite flat from beginning to end as you mentioned. If you like the anime, I think you will enjoy the book even more, and I hope those who didn’t like the anime very much will give the novel a fresh new chance.

  • John Clark

    I’ll be watching Scum’s Wish of course. I loved the first episode and I loved the manga. Episode 1 was a compellingly uncomfortable watch, and I hope they continue that mood. I’ve gone on at length elsewhere about how much I love demi-chan, and I’m also gonna keep up with Dragon Maid. I love Kyo-ani.

  • lmd84

    I really enjoyed the first episode of Interviews with Monster Girls, but having read the comments here I am wondering about what the second episode will be like.

    If the premise for Interviews with Monster Girls is purely a setup for a harem show I’ll be very disappointed. I thought I’d seen something, if not unique, then at least interesting in its approach. I’d hate to see wasted potential.

    The first interview with the vampire girl suggested a possibility of taking traditional assumptions made about marginalized groups and having them directly countered by the reality experienced by a member of that group.

    Such and small and seemingly simple thing, but it create a kind of dialogue I wasn’t expecting to see in a fantasy anime set in a school. There could be something really *neat*, fun and entertaining about exploring the day-to-day lives of the demi characters.

    To have this be window-dressing for a harem show would be rather unpleasant, particularly considering the young characters are the *students* of the male protagonist.

    The one I really want to see, but can’t as yet, is Scum’s Wish. It sounds very interesting indeed.

    • I don’t really think Monster Girls is being set up as a harem, but I think people are on edge because the show is the type that WOULD devolve into a harem, and that would be a really big problem given the age differences in the show. However, I think the show itself is purposely moving against that.

      I also think that they intentionally have one of the monster girls actually be a monster woman of the same age and standing as the teacher, so any romantic prospects would likely come from that.

  • KatMarie

    I’ve been anticipating SGRS’s 2nd season since the end of the 1st, and I’m so excited that it’s here and just as engrossing. It’s interesting how different the story/narrative feels, and I think most of that is due to the fact that we received last season’s story (minus framing) through Yakumo’s carefully crafted storytelling, as it were, whereas this season it’s more like we’re watching along as it happens.

    Scum’s Wish has become a surprise addition to my watchlist, and I’m looking forward to discovering where this story leads.

    I’m still cautiously optimistic about Interviews with Monster Girls, even though I cringed through a lot of episode 2. It seems like a pretty episodic story, so I’m holding out hope that it’s just a bad episode and not the shape of things to come. (I won’t be too surprised if all the dullahan-centric storylines are this cringeworthy, though, sigh…)

    • Rakugo is such a beautiful, complicated and nuanced story, I’m so glad the second season is such a perfect follow-up so far. As you say, it feels very different even though it fits beautifully straight after watching season one. It’s amazing now to go back to the very first episode and contrast to where they are in the second season. When the whole story is told it will be a very rewatchable classic.

  • Dawnstorm

    I’ve been trying to reply for two days about the second episode of Demi chan, but it’s hard to sort out my thoughts from my feelings, because I have a crush on the show. I don’t think the show’s necessarily completely unproblematic, but I don’t think it’s being set up as a harem. Formally, I’d argue it has more in commen with moe shows that include a care taker. Tonally, I think Ichigo Marshmallow might be a good comparison, while structurally Hanamaru Youchien might be a better comparison.

    The show’s also idealised in the way healing anime usually are: all the people are nice and well-meaning. I don’t expect any major conflict in the show. As far as I can see, the character who drives the plot forward is Hikari (she takes pretty much all the initiative in the second episode; setting up the date, cluing sensei in on the backpack [that’s how I interpreted the scene, but it’s not explicitly stated]), while the teacher is more the main point of view. He comes across as well-meaning and academically curious to me, as well having a “protector instinct”, but he also seems a little slow on the uptake, often realising what he’s done too late (Satou sensei last episode, Machi in this episode).

    I felt that Machi’s crush was more played for characterisation: she’s actively looking for people she can trust, and she’s also portrayed as quite perceptive (see the Yuki-scene). I think the dynamic in their interview was quite nice, too. I often read too much into scenes, so this could be one of those instances. But what I saw was Takahashi sensei trying to give advice on how to associate with her classmates, while Machi basically realises that she’s found someone, right here, whom she can talk to, and she develops a crush from that. Hikari will later call that trait of hers “maiden-like”.

    I think most of what’s potentially problematic in this show comes from the genre-induced avoidance of conflict: this might inadvertantly idealise the teacher more than is intended. But we’re only two episodes in, and I don’t really have a handle on this yet. Satou sensei’s going to be the acid test.

    As I said, I’m crushing on the show, and so I’m not sure whether I’m too charitable in my interpretations. The fact is that this is a show of – so far – exclusively female demis, with a central male point-of-view and reference character who’s older than most of them (about as old as Satou sensei, probably). And it’s not a stretch to say they’ll all be bonding with him as the show progresses, and that is at the very least harem-like. And even if it’s more a moe show than a harem, that has its own hangups. I’m just not quite sure about the balance yet.

    All I know is my reactions: I was worried at the preview at the end of episode one, and relieved when watching episode 2. But I have something like an active anime auto-filter that allows me to move forward quickly if something does bother me, so I’m not even sure if something bothered me but I moved on and forgot.

    Basically, I’m not seeing a huge difference between episode 1 and 2, and while my heart’s definitely with the show, I’m haven’t quite made up my mind yet. But I definitely think the positives outweigh the negatives at that point.

    • You make some great points here, and there’s a chance that I’m on high alert for red flags after such a terrible start to the season, also that my expectations may be a little unfairly high due to a first episode I enjoyed so much! I completely agree with you that the positives outweigh the negatives, and look forward to seeing how it progresses. Even in episode two there were things I really liked, not least Hikari (who may be my favourite new character of the season). I expect it will help to have Satou-sensei more integrated into the story, balancing out the dynamics a bit.

      • Dawnstorm

        As I said, I loved the entire episode as much as the first. I liked the way the perspective-play worked out during the date, and how the secret date / mock experiment turned out to be an actually useful experiment while also being lots of fun for Machi. (She had also lots of nice little moments, like the happy show of pride when she talks about the creativity with which she and her family work around her head-related issues.)

        And, yes, Hikari is one of the best characters this season. A big shoutout to her voice actress, Kaede Hondo. I haven’t taken not of her, before this role.

    • I think the main issue with the second episode is just that it doesn’t exist in a bubble. Like, on its own, it’s a really good characterization of Machi and this crush she develops on Takahashi. And I think his intentions behind his actions are very pure (given that he listens to Machi talking about how her parents used to hold her in that way, and then rationalizes that dullahans must be reliant on that physical contact). He isn’t shown to be conscious of her feelings in any way, and makes a point to say “this wouldn’t look right”–even though the way it would look is pretty much exactly the way Machi wants it to be.

      It’s just that I then worry about how this fits in with the world at large, because there are girls who develop crushes on teachers who DON’T have such innocent intentions, and I wonder how much responsibility should be on this show to be aware of the potential problems that can come from making everything so light and innocent.

      I’m not super worried about the show itself treading into gross territory, which is perhaps naive of me. But if anything, I think a lot of this is set up for the next episode which seems to focus on the succubus Sato. Both she and Machi have a scene in episode two of their eyes lingering over Takahashi’s arms, so I’m expecting a bit of a contrast of this young student’s crush versus an actual grown woman’s.

      Really, Sato’s existence gave me such a relief in this show–monster woman! Full grown monster woman in equal standing with the protagonist! With plenty of opportunities for romantic comedy shenanigans if they so choose!

      • Eric Iacono

        Technically, the manga on myanimelist doesn’t have the ‘harem’ tag. Not that I’d trust that too much (Bakemonogatari doesn’t have it, for example), but can be used as an indication of how much that gets used.

        • That is absolutely a comfort.

          Honestly, I’m fine with the show exploring the students’ having crushes on their teachers, so long as it’s never something that is felt by Takahashi. The advertising for the show has me thinking that’s the case–all of the promo material has the student characters huddled together, with the teacher characters just behind them watching but distinctly separate.

      • Dawnstorm

        I agree. The issues involved are probably mostly unreflected genre baggage. It’s unfair to lay the blame mostly on the show, but at the same time you can’t only address these issues with shows you don’t like.

        Personally, I don’t mind shows which deliberately leave out real-world nastiness, if I get the feeling they understand it exists. I’m not worried at all that I’ll stop enjoying Demi chan. And I’m absolutely looking forward to Satou sensei’s episode.

        • Yeah. I’m happy with how the show handled it, but it didn’t stop me from cringing through the whole episode WAITING for the grossness to start. I want to enjoy the show without being so tense and worried, but I still can’t say I’m 100% ready to leave my baggage at the door.

          It’s almost harder than shows that I legitimately KNOW are going to be problematic and bad, because I’m not expecting anything more from them.

  • Watching:
    -Scums Wish (and cursing that Anime Strike subscription)
    -Interviews with Monster Girls
    -Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
    -Gabriel DropOut (I feel this is the one I’m most likely going to fall behind on–the gags are fun but we’re two episodes in and it’s already feeling a bit repetitive. Plus Dragon Maid is already filling that comedy spot).
    -Masamune-kun’s Revenge (my hate watch of the season, though I don’t legitimately hate it as much as I legitimately hated Kiss Him Not Me last season, so perhaps this should really be under guilty pleasure?)

    Feel like I SHOULD be watching ACCA, but I’m waiting to see if it goes anywhere because the first episode seemed like a bit of a snooze fest and I’m too dang old to be watching smart-seeming stuff I don’t actually enjoy beyond character designs.

    Mostly I’m just feeling that absense of legally viewable Little Witch Academia and will be very happy once Netflix puts it up.

  • KatMarie

    Oooh, I hope you continue to enjoy it!