Remember when this season started, and there were so many good titles with promising characters and unique premises and the world seemed shiny, new, and full of possibility?
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is a murder mystery with a large cast, and its premiere is keen to introduce you to a lot of major players so that it can spend the rest of its run putting the pieces together. Fortunately, it’s easy to follow—while you may not remember everyone’s names, their designs and major gimmicks will stick in your head, which is really all the show needs at this point.
It’s nice to know that if Hollywood ever spines up and kicks Woody Allen out for good, he could still find a very fulfilling career in anime.
Sorry, did I say nice? I meant horrifying. As horrifying as the rictus grin on my face as I type this review.
We’ve arrived at the last female-directed series of the season, and it was like watching twenty minutes of cute kitten videos. It watered my crops, cured my consumption, and washed away the stink of all the loliporn I had to endure over the past few days. It’s all but guaranteed to be this season’s entry into Gentle Comedies about Nice Kids.
I think there might be a funny, clever little magical girl show buried in this premiere. I’m not sure, though—I’m still recovering from the episode’s decision to strip its protagonist naked for the third act, blinding me with shiny, shiny moeblob flesh.
The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! genuinely loves shogi. And sexualizing children. Reeeeally don’t want to overlook that second part.
Well, this is a premiere that hits the ground running. By the end of the episode there’s been a kidnapping, a ransom demand, and not one but two pretty brutal fight scenes. Also monsters or spirits are somehow involved, but apparently that’s a kettle of fish for a whole ‘nother episode.
Give me a minute to strap in, because I feel like I’m wading into a pit of snakes with this one.
I would like to state for the record that this is the first premiere of the season to leave me feeling slightly unclean afterward, as if I had seen someone’s fetish without asking. And the last show I reviewed was DEVILMAN Crybaby.
Devilman Crybaby is not for everyone. It’s got a list of content warnings as long as my arm, to begin with, which in this premiere includes: animal death, blood, gore and dismemberment, body horror, drug use, so much nudity, and onscreen sex. It is determined to exercise its TV-MA rating and clearly enjoying the freedom of airing on Netflix.
Junji Ito’s talent for disturbing atmosphere and slow burns has rightfully cemented his status as a household name. The downside is that it means this adaptation comes with enormous expectations, and it’s arguably impossible to live up to what everyone wants—particularly in a format as inevitably uneven as an anthology. Still, I think this one is off to a pretty good start.
Katana Maidens is in a hurry to get you on board. To that end, it’s willing to throw as many things at the wall as possible in the name of finding something that sticks. Do you like para-military fights against kaiju? No problem, here’s our info-dump opening sequence. More interested in battle maiden fanservice shows? Sure, here’s some weirdly plastic schoolgirls and a bath scene. Do you like tournament arcs, everyone’s favorite part of shonen? Conspiracy thrillers? Oh God, please just tell us what you want.
Are you into food porn shows? I hope so, because otherwise Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles doesn’t really have anything for you. I say that with a certain level of respect, mind: like its titular character, this is a gag show with a focus, and it dedicates itself to diving deep into its subject matter.
2018 is putting its best foot forward with this one. One of only six anime this season directed by women, A Place Further Than the Universe already has the makings of an excellent coming-of-age tale about discovery, overcoming self-doubt, and female friendship.
Land of the Lustrous has proven to be a sleeper hit of the Fall 2017 season, with its beautiful melding of CG and traditional art, creative direction, likable characters, and penchant for cliffhangers. It also made minor waves by deciding to refer to almost the entire cast with neutral “they/them” pronouns. In an industry that has historically elected to choose binary pronouns for characters who aren’t gendered or are gendered ambiguously in the original text, this marks a small but important—and most crucially, conscious—shift.
With nothing left to lose, ordinary high school student Haruka Shinozaki confesses to beautiful, diligent class representative Akiho Kōsaka and to his surprise she accepts. Kōsaka takes dating as seriously as she does everything else, but does not quite get it. She pragmatically suggests activities that are too sexual.
Itsuki is a novelist and “modern day Pygmalion” who works day in and day out to create the ultimate younger sister. He’s surrounded by various other characters: a beautiful genius writer who loves him, his big-sisterly classmate from college, a fellow male writer, a sadistic tax accountant, and his editor. They’re all looked after by Itsuki’s perfect younger step-brother, Chihiro, who has a serious secret.
Minoa Asagaya is a new high school student in Sakaneko Private High School. Despite being a novice to anime, Minoa’s classmate Arisu Kamiigusa invites her to make an “anime research club” at school. Through conversations with her classmate Miko Kōenji, as well as various anime-loving upperclassmen, Minoa gradually gets hooked on anime. While they stand against the student council’s continuous efforts to disband their club, and they ignore the impending end of the world, they talk about anime, whether in Akiba, or in real-life “sacred place” anime settings, or the hot springs.
In prosperous Russell City, a conspiracy threatens to shake its world has been set in motion. A man named Sword is the first to hear the earliest stirrings of the plot, and throws himself into a shadow war in order to expose it. His only clue is the keyword “El Dorado.” He meets Sophie, a woman searching for her older brother who left her with only a message with the same word: “El Dorado.” With Sword having also lost his younger sister in the past, both are drawn together by the word, and work together to find out its meaning. Source: Anime News Network
In the distant future, a new life form called “hōseki” (gems) is born. The 28 gems must fight against the “tsukijin” (moon people) who want to attack them and turn them into decorations, so each gem is assigned a role such as a fighter or a medic. Though she [sic*] hopes to fight the moon people, Phos is a gem who is given no assignment until the gems’ manager Adamantine asks her to edit a natural history magazine.