[Review] DARLING in the FRANXX – Episode 1

This is a big ball to untangle, and right at the end of the premiere deluge, which is just unfair to my tired, tired brain. DARLING in the FRANXX has the potential to be an engaging mecha series about lonely kids and cultural pressures to “pair up” that challenges the traditional “man as aggressive, woman as passive” relationship dynamic. It also has the potential to be a queer-erasing mess of overused genre cliches that relies on harassment and fanservice to portray sexuality and romance. And while I want to believe it’ll be the former, I can’t quite shake the feeling it’ll wind up being the latter.

[Review] Hakumei and Mikochi – Episode 1

Hakumei and Mikochi, with its watercolor-inspired art, intelligent but not anthropomorphized animals, and chill forest vibe, reminds me of nothing so much as a children’s book. Specifically, the English children’s books my grandmother had from her own childhood in the countryside outside London. I cut my teeth on the books of Beatrix Potter and The Borrowers series, and this lovely little premiere does a remarkable job of capturing the feel of them.

[Review] How to keep a mummy – Episode 1

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.

[Review] Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san – Episode 1

Takagi-san is a school comedy with a low-key romantic undercurrent that seems to be skewed towards a middle-grade audience, and it is the most “okay” premiere I’ve seen all season. It is utterly harmless. It is profoundly fine. And I have been staring at this stupid post for 15 minutes now trying to think of something else to say about it.

[Review] KOKKOKU – Episode 1

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.

[Review] School Babysitters – Episode 1

Childcare is a big deal for me. Nothing grates on me more than poorly written fictional children, who tend to be either overly precocious and precious or totally helpless. There’s also few things that bring me greater joy in fiction than well-written children, because it’s so hard to capture that mix of sweetness, natural self-centeredness, and unpredictability that characterizes the age. I approached School Babysitters with some trepidation—could it nail the chaos of a daycare?

The answer, it turns out, is a resounding YES.

[Review] Mitsuboshi Colors – Episode 1

I finished Mitsuboshi Colors with a deep sigh of a relief and a cry of “Oh THANK GOD it isn’t lolicon!” There’s more to like about it than just that, mind you, but if you saw the cover art and were side-eyeing it like I was, I figured I should start this review by putting your greatest fears to rest. Based on this premiere, Mitsuboshi Colors is more-or-less a family-friendly show, albeit one with a saucy streak.

[Review] Pop Team Epic – Episode 1

Nobody else wanted to try writing about this one, so your managing editor is in da house to take one for the team. Pop Team Epic appears to be 24 minutes (but really only 12 minutes) (I’m still not even sure it’s actually full-length?) of carefully crafted trolling. There’s a reason the most iconic image is of the two girls gleefully flipping off the readers, you know.