2023 Winter Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist January 18, 20230 Comments
the girls of Ippon Again in a group photo with a cat filter

Things have cooled off from Fall, but there are still some excellent girls to root for this season.

Which shows do you review? 

We don’t review shows that are direct sequels, shorts, or (generally) for very young children. Anything not licensed and/or immediately available is off the table as well, though we do our best to offer premiere reviews for “Netflix jail” shows once they become legally available. Shows with late release dates will be reviewed separately from the digest.

While shows may change category as they continue to air, for ease of reference this is the order that will be used when discussing shows on our mid-season and wrap-up podcasts. Please note that any shows released in batches/by cour rather than weekly will not be discussed on the mid-season podcast.

A woman with long hair, Serena, holds a crying baby Inglis who is throwing a tantrum: I'm in need of worthy foes!
Reborn to Master the Blade: From Hero-King to Extraordinary Squire

How do you write the reviews?

Cy, Lizzie, and Vrai split the majority of shows, with Chiaki and Alex stepping in to pinch hit. The titles were divided by each reviewer’s preferred workload and choice, tackling a grueling 33 titles in just 11 days. Caitlin pitches in on the Anime News Network Preview Guide, so you can see her take on the new shows over there.

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.

Meryl looking dismayed at a piece of paper

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!

The tale of outcasts

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, queerphobia, 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!

Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte

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 Winter 2023 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!

Winter 2023 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.

Feminist potential

Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes and executing them competently. Please check individual reviews for more detailed content warnings.

  • The Fire Hunter (Episode 1): Post-post-apocalyptic fantasy series with environmentalist themes. 
  • “Ippon” Again! (Episodes 1-2): Girls’ sports series about a judo team; the heroine struggles with feeling she’s hit a wall of physical ability.
  • Technoroid OVERMIND (Episode 1): Sci-fi idol series whose android leads must become idols thanks to the hell of capitalism.

It’s… complicated

Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, the show may be biting off more than it can chew or in danger of fumbling its chosen themes.

  • Kaina of the Great Snow Sea (Episodes 1-2): Post-apocalyptic adventure story with an environmentalist focus; so far the female lead hasn’t gotten to do much but be rescued.
  • The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady (Episodes 1-2): Yuri fantasy series explicitly grappling with classism; treats parental abuse as slapstick and includes some gay panic jokes around the fact that Anis is an out lesbian.
  • The tale of outcasts (Episodes 1-2): Dark fantasy series that treats some of its dark topics rather flippantly (so far limited to episode 1); has a blind heroine, though she hasn’t yet gotten much to do.

Neutral zone

Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either.

Yellow flags

Premieres that weren’t actively hateful at the premise level, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.

Red Flags

A whole lotta yikes.

Pit of Shame

These shows need to go to their room and think about what they’ve done.

  • ONIMAI: I’m Now Your Sister! (Episode 1): The leering camera and childlike designs repeatedly undermine the potential gender euphoria reading.
  • The Reincarnation of the Strongest Exorcist in Another World (Episodes 1-2): Has a promising start… then episode 2 brings in the romanticized slavery.
  • Sugar Apple Fairy Tale (Episodes 1-2): While this shoujo fantasy wants to acknowledge its heroine’s unconscious bigotry, it also wants to imply a power play kink with the person she purchased against his will, and its ambitions don’t seem to encompass overthrowing the system.

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