Our hearts are overwhelmed with all the great lady protagonists this season.
Which shows do you review?
We don’t review shows that are direct sequels, shorts, or for young children… unless it’s a beloved long-time franchise, in which case all bets are off (hi, Digimon!). Anything not licensed and/or immediately available is off the table as well.
How do you write the reviews?
AniFem staffers Vrai and Caitlin handled most of the write-ups, with fellow editors Chiaki and Dee swooping in to help out. We don’t always like or dislike the same shows, or to the same extent, but we respect and support one another’s positions and critiques.
Once we have more funding, we’d like to change our current model to provide a wider range of perspectives on more episodes. We’re a long way from that goal, but it’s been a personal wish of ours since launch and we hope to make it happen someday.
What do your reviews focus on?
This varies by writer to some extent (some of us are more focused on visuals, others on narrative, and so forth), but as a feminist site it’s of course essential that we raise any issues of feminist interest.
When you read an AniFem review, you’re likely to learn about female character designs, queer representation, analogies to real-world marginalization, and so on. If you think we missed something, please comment under the review and let us know!
Why do you categorize them?
The purpose of these reviews is to give you, our readers, information to help you decide if you want to try a show. There’s greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find series you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show that contains an automatic deal-breaker, be that fanservice, homophobia, the sexualization of children, and so on.
Individuals can find value in any series, and we will never lead a boycott of a particular show, but we want to make it easier for you to get the most out of your limited time. In our digest, feminist-relevant themes and ideas take precedence, with overall narrative quality coming second and personal preference a distant(ish) third.
Premieres that seem to contain progressive themes are at the highest end and those featuring regressive ideas (or out-and-out hatefulness) are at the lowest. We expect some disagreement and welcome debate, so if you have any objections to our lists then by all means let us know in the comments!
I found a show I’m interested in! Where can I watch it?
This will vary depending on where you live, but you can browse Yatta-Tachi’s Spring 2020 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!
SPRING 2020 PREMIERE DIGEST
The following titles are organized by categories, then alphabetically. Note that, because of the way premiere dates are staggered, we’ve had the chance to watch multiple episodes of some series. To give you a fuller picture of how much information we were working with when creating these rankings, we’ve marked how many episodes of each show we’ve seen.
Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes without also having any significant caveats we need to tell readers about.
- Arte (Episodes 1-2): A young woman in the Renaissance who works to become a painter despite obstacles constantly being thrown her way; the story is earnest but oversimplifies the variety of women’s roles in history to make Arte’s struggles seem more unique.
- Wave, Listen to Me! (Episodes 1-2): A twenty-something woman finds herself pulled into radio broadcasting when she hears her drunken rant being aired; Minare is clever, well-spoken, and abrasive, and an overall excellent protagonist.
Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.
- My Next Life as a VIllainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! (Episodes 1-2): Active female protagonist trying to change her fate who seems to be forming a bisexual harem along the way; queerness is thus far handled casually and inclusively, but the series also features a stepbrother crushing on his stepsister.
- Tower of God (Episode 1): There are hints that the series may eventually address the bland protagonist’s unhealthy codependency issues and flesh out its ambitious female characters so they’re more than just plot devices, but it’s impossible to say after just one episode.
Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either.
- Bungo and Alchemist – Gears of Judgement (Episode 1): A complex but basically harmless fantasy story about modern Japanese authors reimagined as pretty boys fighting against an organization that wants to destroy classic works of literature.
- Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater (Episode 1): Fishing anime that focuses on the gross-out and animal preparation parts of the hobby; content considerations for animal death and cooking.
- Digimon Adventure: (Episodes 1-2): Newbie-friendly remake of the original series. So far focuses mainly on the male characters.
- Gal & Dino (Episode 1): Surreal mixed-media comedy from the director of Pop Team Epic.
- Kakushigoto (Episodes 1-2): Sweet single dad series about a father trying to keep his career as an ecchi gag manga from his daughter; decent female cast so far and surprisingly mild, considering the manga-within-a-show.
- Listeners (Episodes 1-2): Fun, energetic pastiche of music, tokusatsu, and mecha shows with a likable female deuteragonist; second episode has characters in sexy dresses but little actual fan service.
- Princess Connect! Re:Dive (Episode 1-2): A cute girls show that doesn’t creep, with a strong sense of humor.
- Shachibato! President, It’s Time to Battle! (Episode 1): Fantasy mobile game adaptation with no major missteps nor successes; very brief minor fanservice.
- Shironeko Project ZERO Chronicle (Episode 1): Fantasy mobile game adaptation that plays a bunch of very old fantasy tropes very straight.
- TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls (Episode 1): Competent sports series with a somewhat over-large cast and the minor annoyance of very impractical uniforms.
Premieres that weren’t actively hateful, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.
- The 8th Son? Are You Kidding Me? (Episodes 1-2): Fairly standard isekai power fantasy with a protagonist who’s not a total potato; the female characters haven’t really shown up yet, but there’s hints of an age-gap romance and a possible harem in the future.
- APPARE-RANMAN! (Episode 1): An energetic racing series with racial stereotyping in the extended cast; hard to say yet how extensive the problem will be.
- The Millionaire Detective – Balance: Unlimited (Episode 1): Stylish buddy-cop series about a likable everyman detective and a sexy ratbag billionaire; it’s worth noting the author of the original novel recently made a vulgar “joke” about a Korean “comfort women” statue.
- Sing “Yesterday” For Me (Episode 1-2): Beautifully animated adaptation of a ‘90s manga featuring a depressed male lead. Has warning signs of being a manic pixie dream girl narrative and age-gap romance.
- Woodpecker Detective’s Office (Episode 1): A male-centric cast with a protagonist who has a penchant for visiting sex workers may relegate women to only being seen, not heard.
A whole lotta yikes.
- Gleipnir (Episodes 1-2): Gritty death games series that engages somewhat with ideas about trauma and consent but undermines itself with a constantly leering camera.