Amelia, Dee, and Peter look back on the Winter 2018 season! Highlights include: Ice and camp girl gushing, fantasy war lamentations, and a, er… mixed reception for some high-profile sequels and carryovers.
Date Recorded: Sunday 31st March 2018
Hosts: Amelia, Dee, Peter
0:01:31 After the Rain
0:04:07 DARLING in the FRANXX
0:08:10 Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles
0:10:21 Hakumei and Mikochi
0:12:16 How to keep a mummy
0:14:49 Pop Team Epic
0:17:17 School Babysitters
0:21:00 Record of Grancrest War
0:28:21 Violet Evergarden
0:30:04 Laid-Back Camp
0:36:33 Sanrio Boys
0:43:41 DamePri Anime Caravan
0:48:07 A Place Further Than the Universe
Sequels & Carryovers
1:05:25 Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
1:07:54 March comes in like a lion
1:14:42 The Ancient Magus’ Bride
AMELIA: Hi, everyone, and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. My name’s Amelia. I’m the editor-in-chief of Aniime Feminist, and I’m joined here today by Dee Hogan and Peter Fobian to talk about the end of the Winter 2018 season. If you guys would like to introduce yourselves?
PETER: Sure. I’m Peter Fobian. I’m an Associate Features Editor at Crunchyroll and a contributor and editor at Anime Feminist.
DEE: Hi, I’m Dee Hogan, the managing editor at AniFem. I also run the anime blog, The Josei Next Door, and you can find me on Twitter, @joseinextdoor.
AMELIA: So, we are now at the end of the 2018 Winter season. We did premiere reviews way back. We did a three-episode check-in round table—thank you, Dee, you trimmed two-thousand words off that monster. We did a mid-season check-in podcast, and now we’re here at the end to just to kind of look back and see if anything has changed since we last looked at them—if there’s anything we want to bring to your attention; if there’s anything we particularly want to recommend that we might not have expected earlier on in the season.
So, we’re gonna go through as we usually do, starting at the bottom—not the bottom, necessarily, but—the least-likely to be enjoyable by a feminist viewer. Categories [are] starting with… Let’s see. I don’t think anyone was watching anything from “Anime was a Mistake” or “Pit of Shame,” but in “Red Flags,” I certainly watched After the Rain. And, Dee, you watched After the Rain to a point and wrote an article about it?
DEE: Yes. I did.
AMELIA: And you said that it was… [laughs] It didn’t really change your impressions in that time.
DEE: No, yeah, I kept watching it and it kept pretty much doing… Every time it looked like it was maybe going to become a story that was actually about Akira and what she was going through, it would immediately slide back into the Kondo monologues and how pretty and glossy and perfect she is. And I just got tired, and so I stopped watching once I didn’t have to watch it for critical purposes anymore.
AMELIA: Well, I watched the finale about half an hour ago, and I think it does change, because the romance becomes much less the focus, and it becomes much more about their individual situations. I kind of found this less interesting because they spent six episodes building up this… It was a difficult story to watch in some ways. For us, certainly. We talked constantly. We critiqued it quite mercilessly, I think.
And then it just kind of lets it fall by the wayside, and then Kondo’s spending more time with his university friend who is now a novelist, and Akira is spending more time with her track-and-field friend—Haruka? Was that her name? Very memorable character. And, as a result, they don’t spend as much time together and when they do it’s just in this odd kind of non-friendship.
They’re not really friends. They have a whole episode where they discuss this, and they make a point of fact that it’s kind of weird to call themselves friends. Akira’s kind of clinging to it because it suggests more intimacy than just “coworkers,” but it’s not really where they’re at. And maybe by the end of the series, you could say that. But it’s more exactly as you would predict, is that they enrich each others’ lives for being in them.
But that’s not what the first six episodes were about, so it’s really… I don’t know. It felt jarring, to me, to just drop that entirely and not actually go back to it at all. So, yeah. Readers… Listeners? Listeners, if you have different views, please do let me know. But I saw the final episode and really wasn’t that interested, I think.
I think the first six episodes were actually more interesting overall. They were a little more provocative, I suppose. A little bit more challenging. It was still more interesting to me than what we ended up with, which was a bit dull.
That was my view of it, anyway. Moving on, then. “Yellow Flags.” DARLING in the FRANXX. Dee is definitely not watching this.
DEE: No, I am not.
AMELIA: You’re watching it via our sarcastic commentary and screenshot sharing.
DEE: Yeah, exactly. Which has been the optimal way to watch DARLING in the FRANXX. I have no regrets.
AMELIA: Yeah. I mean, I have a few regrets, most notably that I stood up quite hard for this one, and was like, “No, it could be different! It could subvert! It has to subvert! Why would it be so obvious about the analogy it’s making between piloting giant robots and sex if it’s not going to subvert it?” [quietly] It doesn’t subvert it.
PETER: Then you watch Kill la Kill, and you realize what’s up.
AMELIA: I realize what’s up. Yeah. I watched Kill la Kill and everything changed for the worse. It was… Yeah. DARLING in the FRANXX does not do any of the things I hoped it would do. Peter, you have a pretty similar view?
PETER: Yeah. I think DARLING in the FRANXX kind of gives a different impression because it seems like the characters are actively trying to fight the premise. It’s very heteronormative, but you get these characters who don’t really like the circumstances that they’re in, and especially with the last episode, where you get some pretty strong gay-coding out of two characters, and this sort of objection to this pairing system that they have.
But, at the end of the day, it’s like they return to the status quo, so you feel like they’re trying to break out, but… And it would be very interesting if there was this system and they were going to break out of it, but after 12 episodes of them just being forced back into this system that they’re in, I think it’s hard to argue that that’s going to change now.
AMELIA: Yeah. There are still people holding out hope, I think, but I think I gave up on that somewhere around episode five. Four or five. Where I was just like, “No, this isn’t going where I hoped it would go.” And, yeah, after 12 episodes, it seems like if they do do anything with it now, it will just be a cheap twist. It won’t actually be saying anything.
PETER: Yeah. Well, the next twist looks like the new student council kids in the different outfits coming in and probably messing stuff up, so that doesn’t really speak to it taking a deeper dive into the relationships between the current pilots. It’s probably going to be a conflict between these outsiders and the Parasites that we know. So, I think that’s what’s gonna happen, probably.
AMELIA: I have to say, though, I am really enjoying it. [laughs] I kind of hate that I’m enjoying it so much. But I really look forward to it every week and I am watching it, and there’s something about it that is compelling to me, but not because of any kind of feminist relevance, I think. I’m just enjoying the show.
PETER: Yeah, I think the characters are good, and the fights are good. And it’s very visually attractive. So, all of those things, I think, allow me to keep watching it. The latest—
AMELIA: It’s so frustrating, though, how close they come to a subversion or a critique, and then they just walk away and completely establish the status quo once again.
PETER: Yeah, it feels intentional.
AMELIA: [sighs] It really does. So, there are moments like that. But I am still watching and I am going to watch the rest of the season.
PETER: Yeah. I’m not too crazy about the latest developments with Zero Two, since they had that… One of the things that… One of my objections to the series now is that, even the stuff that it’s obviously trying to do, it just doesn’t make sense really.
Zero Two had that whole episode where she gets involved in that fight between the boys and the girls because she kind of wants to, I guess, become more human and more a part of the group, and seems to find success there, and kind of has a turning point where she seems happier. And then, in the last few episodes, she’s been getting more and more angry at… we don’t even know what, really. And she’s not talking to Hiro. And so the exact opposite of what she accomplished previously is happening now with no precipitating incident that would drive that. Which is confusing.
AMELIA: Yeah. We’ll see how the next twelve episodes go, I guess.
AMELIA: Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles. You’re watching this one, Peter. You’ve watched it to the end.
PETER: Yeah, the whole thing. So, we actually have an article coming down the pipe about this show.
AMELIA: Oh, good.
PETER: Yeah, and I guess I won’t get too into it since you can read the article, which is very good. Basically, it’s a pretty fun show, I guess. It’s kind of one of those status-quo shows where almost exactly the same thing happens every episode. I think episode seven was kind of the standout for me since they messed with the formula a little bit and did some fun stuff. But, mostly, it’s just kind of watching Ms. Koizumi eat ramen and people being really weird around her.
The big issue with the series is that Yuu—most of the time the perspective character of the series—is just obviously a stalker. And, in fact, in the second half of the series, they make a joke where she’s in her room and there’s pictures of Koizumi plastered all over her walls, and she has logs that she keeps of all of Koizumi’s activities that she’s writing in.
AMELIA: [disturbed] Ooh.
PETER: Yeah. And she caresses the picture and says, “She belongs to me,” and that kind of stuff.
DEE: That’s creepy.
PETER: Yeah, so that’s not great.
AMELIA: [laughs] That’s not great.
PETER: Yeah. That, and they really kind of sexualize them eating ramen a lot of the time. They get a blush. They kind of let out a very suggestive gasp after they finish their bowl. And it’s pretty obvious what they’re trying to do, so…
I wondered if they would do… Episode three, I think it was, Yuu has this moment where she kind of connects with Koizumi slightly. Koizumi collapses because she hasn’t eaten enough ramen, or something, so Yuu drags her back to her house and ends up cooking her eight different kinds of ramen recipes that she made up. And they have a moment where Koizumi respects her as a ramen cook, or something like that. But then it just goes right back to Yuu stalking her again, so nothing happens—
AMELIA: [crosstalk] Awesome.
PETER: —and the status quo is maintained, all twelve episodes.
AMELIA: Excellent character development, then. Real great.
AMELIA: Okay. Next category: “Harmless Fun.” We’ve got quite a few in this category that we ended up watching, I think. So, Hakumei and Mikochi. Dee, I think you said you’re not quite caught up but almost, and really enjoying it?
DEE: Yeah. I… So, I caught the first three early on in the season and liked it, but just, I had a lot of other shows on my plate. Then some of those shows dropped off because they ended up being kind of disappointing, or I just lost interest, and I… First of all, the AniFem Discord and then a friend of mine, as well, were talking about how much they were enjoying it. And I was like, “Okay, well, I hadn’t officially dropped it, so I’ll go back and check it out again.”
[happily] It’s really very, very nice. It is just a sweet show about these two young women. I mean, they’re forest fairies, so they’re an inch tall or something, but they are adults and they… It’s just kind of about their day-to-day life in this forest with these… It’s got a fairytale quality, so talking animals and other little sprites and things like that. And it’s…
A lot of it is about their career paths. One of them works with a mechanic. Not mechanic, exactly. Repair. Repair person company. And, so, it’s partly about her journey towards getting better at that. The other one makes her own crafts at home, and it’s… It’s just nice.
It’s developed into… There’s a very charming, broader cast. Their relationship with each other is really sweet. There’s a little bit of heteronormativity in it in that there will be times when… There’s one episode where a character thinks Hakumei is a boy and makes some comment about Mikochi being Hakumei’s wife. Which… they’re definitely a couple. But [laughs] Hakumei’s response to that is, “You do know I’m a woman, right?”
So, that was really the only thing in it that made me kind of [gagging noise]. But, otherwise, it’s been very pleasant, and it’s nice. It’s like drinking a cup of tea before bed. And I say that as a sincere compliment. It’s very relaxing.
AMELIA: And speaking of which… How to Keep a Mummy? [laughs]
DEE: Also an adorable, very nice show. Yeah. I’m the only one who’s seen that all the way through, huh?
AMELIA: You are. But I feel like I should note: I started watching it last—but you’ve been recommending this for, what, three months now, solidly? And I finally watched an episode last week, and I absolutely loved it. It is adorable. And I do intend to get through it, because I think it’s gonna be a show that I go back to just when I want to watch something that’s not actually thought-provoking, not actually challenging, just something quite relaxing. And that is the perfect show for that.
DEE: Yeah. It’s really adorable. It’s mostly about taking care of cute pets. The second half does get into some more kind of complicated character development stuff, especially with the two main boys. They both are prone to taking on everything by themselves, but the other one doesn’t want them to do that, so there’s some nice themes about community and being open and honest about your feelings with each other.
And, yeah. It was a sweet, nice show. I’m looking forward to keeping up with it in the manga form.
AMELIA: When’s that coming out?
DEE: Well, it’s all on Crunchyroll, at least in the US. I don’t know how the Crunchyroll manga app works. But, yeah. How to Keep a Mummy‘s on there, so I will just pick it up there.
AMELIA: [crosstalk] I will check that out.
DEE: Now that I’ve watched the anime and kind of fallen in love with these adorable characters.
AMELIA: It doesn’t take long. I watched about three minutes of an episode and was in love with these characters. [laughs]
AMELIA: And I’m not easily won over by cuteness. I usually have quite a knee-jerk response away from it, so this was, yeah, bit of a triumph of a show, I think.
IDOLiSH7… I just wanna touch on briefly, because I don’t think any of us watched it.
DEE: [agreeing] Mm-mm.
AMELIA: But I’m quite conscious that AniFem, in general, doesn’t cover idol shows perhaps as much as they merit given the massive viewership that it has in Japan, at least, and certainly on my timeline on Twitter, I do see a lot of people talking about IDOLiSH7 at the moment. And other shows previously.
I even… I recently [through laughter] downloaded the mobile game Uta no Prince-Sama: Shining Live, because my friend actually works at the company in Japan that makes it. And… Yeah, I downloaded it recently. I’m really getting into it. I’m really enjoying it. That makes me want to watch this stuff a bit more. And I’m gonna… I’m conscious that it’s a bit of a gap at the moment.
And IDOLiSH7 hasn’t actually reached the end of its series yet. So, I’m going to make a point to catch up and then we can talk about it in the spring podcast, perhaps, and just kind of come back to it then, once I’ve actually had a chance to go through it all.
DEE: Sure. Sounds good.
AMELIA: Pop Team Epic. Am I the only one watching that?
DEE: I found it a little too exhausting.
AMELIA: This is so weird. And I think I said this in previous podcasts, so belabor the point, but I don’t… I’m not normally… I don’t normally find this kind of show appealing. I don’t normally find absurdist humor appealing. I don’t normally find this kind of episodic formula appealing at all.
I like linear storytelling. I like it to be a bit more grounded humor, a bit more character-based, and that’s not what Pop Team Epic is at all. But I found it a really… Bizarrely, I found it a really good palate-cleanser when I watched a show that I wasn’t that into. Kill la Kill, for example. While I was watching that, I used Pop Team Epic episodes between Kill la Kill episodes to kind of reset myself a little bit.
AMELIA: And I’ve never experienced that before with a show like this. But there really isn’t another show like this at the moment. It uses so many different media, like puppetry and different kinds of animation—
PETER: [crosstalk] Hellshake Yano.
AMELIA: [giggles] Hellshake Yano. Yeah, that kind of sketchbook flip-chart kind of performance… I’ve actually got a friend here in London who does that, and so as soon as I saw it, I was like, “Ah, I have to share this with my friend.”
And I think that’s something that’s quite unusual about Pop Team Epic is it’s so weird, but if you’ve got friends who are into kind of weirder humor—even Western, slightly offbeat stuff—they might actually get a kick out of Pop Team Epic. It is something that potentially I would share with people who I know have that kind of humor already.
I don’t think there’s any higher barrier to entry to Pop Team Epic than there would be to comparable Western shows. So, I’ve been really enjoying it and I would definitely recommend it to people who I might not normally recommend anime to, I would say.
And we do have an article on the site about it at the moment. It’s gonna stay there, don’t worry. So, please do read that article about how female leads in comedy are not usually allowed to be like the female leads in Pop Team Epic.
DEE: Yeah. I wish Pop Team Epic nothing but the best, and I respect what it’s doing. I genuinely do. But I just… It’s just not for me.
AMELIA: I totally thought I was gonna be saying that, though, and it’s so strange to me that I’m not. This season has just turned me upside down. It’s… Things that I expected to not be into at all, I really enjoyed. So, I’m gonna have to address my biases a little bit going forward, I think.
School Babysitters. Am I the only one watching that one, too?
DEE: Yeah, I dropped after the second episode.
AMELIA: That’s kind of fair. [laughs] I did enjoy School Babysitters. I have recommended it. Huge caveat is that there is a comedy pedophile character, and he doesn’t just show up once, he shows up a few times. And every single time I just want to… [groans] It’s horrendous. He’s like the minotaur of the series. It’s just… If you removed him entirely, everything would be improved. There would be nothing less. And they… Yeah. It’s unfortunate.
And School Babysitters, in general, does spread itself a bit too thin amongst its supporting cast. It’s got quite a large supporting cast by the end of it. However, I do appreciate the fact that that supporting cast includes a lot of working women. It includes Yuichi’s female classmates who I actually really enjoyed. I liked both of them. And they’re quite different character types. It’s quite a diverse group of people—in terms of character types, by the way, not in terms of any kind of ethnic diversity whatsoever, so don’t get your hopes up. And it’s just one that I really enjoyed watching week-to-week.
But there are very, very good reasons to drop it. Very good reasons to drop it. As soon as you have a character onscreen who is sexualizing small children like that, that’s a really good dealbreaker. I completely support that.
Am I still the only one watching citrus?
PETER: I finished it.
DEE: Oh, you did, Peter?
AMELIA: This whole section.
DEE: Peter finished it.
DEE: There you go, Amelia.
AMELIA: You can talk about it instead of me. [laughs]
DEE: Not just you!
PETER: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like we basically talked about all the issues that citrus had in the mid-season. It was just sort of maintained. They… You know how they have… I guess we were in episode six, then, so they had the first consensual kiss, which—oh, crazy.
AMELIA: [whispering] Yes.
DEE: [crosstalk] Yeah, we talked about that in the mid-season.
PETER:—they kind of fall back into more nonconsensual stuff after this weird schism they have. Then it just becomes, I guess, a more formulaic romance, where there’s constantly a new competitor randomly coming into the scene who wants one character or the other. And then the other character has to fight for them. But then, for some reason, they don’ t get together afterward anyway. Just like all the most frustrating parts about any type of school romance series, I guess.
PETER: I guess. I don’t know if we were at Matsuri yet. No, we weren’t. She’s pretty problematic too.
AMELIA: Yeah, she’s a difficult character.
PETER: Out of all the characters, I’d say she’s the one who’s committing sexual assault on purpose. With the other characters it’s kind of something that happens, or something they do ’cause they’re emotional. With her, it seems very calculated.
AMELIA: Yeah, and I think we need to define what you mean by “on purpose,” ’cause I know exactly what you mean, but it’s where the other characters, they are, perhaps, following scripts that they think are acceptable that aren’t actually. Matsuri knows that what she’s doing is unacceptable.
AMELIA: She uses it for blackmail. She is absolutely aware that she’s crossing lines and that it’s not okay. And she does it with very manipulative, malicious intentions. And she’s younger than both of them, [frustrated] which just makes it worse.
So, I found that to be really difficult. But I actually ended up shipping Yuzu and Mei a little bit, which I’m not proud of, but that is the design of the show. It does want you to feel that way about them, and I did end up supporting them a little bit and rooting for them.
So, probably wouldn’t… I probably wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but if anyone else is still watching it and has had that same response, please let me know so I don’t feel so alone. [chuckles]
AMELIA: Okay. I think that’s it for all the ones that we kind of watched but aren’t necessarily “feminist heavyweight,” shall we say. Moving on, though, Record of Grancrest War in the “Feminist Potential” category. Now, I was really excited about this one at the very beginning.
DEE: Me, too.
AMELIA: I really thought it was gonna be a show for me. And then we all dropped it at around the same time without really talking about it with each other. What happened there?
DEE: I’m gonna say it was my… I think it was my biggest disappointment of the season, was Grancrest War.
AMELIA: Yeah. Me too.
DEE: Especially given that Hatakeyama was directing. And I really think he did the best he could with very subpar material, which I think we can get into a little bit as to the exact reason I dropped.
So, I dropped for two reasons. One, which I think, Peter, you’ll probably also agree with me on, it just kept barreling through. I kept thinking the story was gonna slow down and become more character-driven, and it never did. It kept feeling like it wanted to. There would be these bursts of really nice relationship moments or character beats or what have you.
I liked… There was a flashback episode with the prince and princess that I liked quite a lot, actually. And then it spun around the next week and was back on its bullshit, just pitched battle campaign, barreling through it. These tiny moments of… These tiny, really good character moments that didn’t really feel earned because we got rushed through them so quickly.
So, I had basically dropped it shortly after the flashback episode, because I realized I wanted it to be a show that it wasn’t going to be. And the female characters kept getting more and more sidelined, which I did not like, because the thing I liked so much about the early episodes was how cool the female characters were.
And then, right when I had pretty much decided I was gonna drop it anyway, there’s this weird, uncomfortable plot beat where the princess character whose name I cannot remember—
DEE: Basically prostitutes herself to get an alliance with one of the guys on the other team.
PETER: The worst guy.
DEE: Am I describing that correctly, Peter?
PETER: Uh, yeah. It’s that… He’s kind of like a Middle-Eastern prince who is a really good soldier.
DEE: I thought he was really interesting, and then they made the brown guy a bad guy, and I was like, “Why?”
AMELIA: You know why.
DEE: [groans] And it was… The thing about it was that scene is about as well-done as you can possibly do that scene.
DEE: It’s very respectfully handled. It focuses on her. And it’s super-duper uncomfortable. And I think intentionally so. I think you’re supposed to feel like, “Oh, this is a thing she super doesn’t want to do, but she’s doing it for The Cause,” basically. And it’s… Again, it’s about as well-done as far as directing and staging goes as you can possibly do it, but as a narrative point, it doesn’t need to be there. I don’t… I did not get the purpose of it. And it was very unpleasant. And I was just done.
AMELIA: What was your reason for dropping it, Peter?
PETER: Pretty much the same thing. I think kind of expanding on that particular scene, ’cause I quit that episode, actually. I don’t… I feel one of the results of it being so rushed is you don’t really ever have a good comprehension of what’s going on. That’s the problem with the show. It seems like it’s all this rushed expository information that’s leading towards something. But I guess the show just actually is rushed expository events, and that’s the entire plot.
But it doesn’t even meet its own objective in describing the situation in this world to you. Because that was right after the flashback episode with her and the prince, who you discovered actually, genuinely loved each other, but their marriage was broken up by that event in the first episode where both their fathers were killed.
But that doesn’t suitably explain why the marriage was called off. You assume there’s some sort of political machinations in place that would make them getting back together a bad idea for some reason, but there’s never any good reason given for why they can’t just get married and actually create an alliance that would stop all war on the continent forever.
DEE: Oh, I… Sorry, can I pop in real quick?
PETER: Yeah, if you have an explanation… Yeah, okay.
DEE: Yeah, no, the sense I got was the princess broke off… Again, I don’t remember people’s names. The princess broke off the engagement because every time she talked about it, she’d think back to their fathers being killed by this unknown evil, and how something did not want them to be together.
So, the sense I got was that she was trying to keep him safe. That she was worried that if they went through with the engagement or if they allied that whatever was trying to keep them apart would come back and kill him or her. And so she was trying to protect him by creating a distance between the two of them.
PETER: I feel like that’s obvious, because by them getting married, they would create the grand sigil that would seal off chaos forever or whatever. So, obviously chaos doesn’t want that and that’s why it attacked. And, so, instead she’s perpetuating a war that will keep mankind unable… Since they’re killing each other, they won’t be able to fight the forces of chaos, and, in all likelihood, if she wins, she would have to kill the prince herself.
So, I… I don’t see how her strategy is doing anything but not only accomplishing the same result of him getting killed but also potentially everybody in the world. I…
DEE: Oh, yeah. I mean, I don’t agree with her reasoning. Just as far as what the reason was, that was just saying that’s what I think. That’s what I think was going through her head there.
PETER: Yeah, I get that it’s really trying to frame her as an ambitious woman who is driven by her goals and is willing to do very evil things to accomplish them to make her sympathetic, but the way that it’s rushing through all this information, I can’t…
I felt the scene, if it had given us more time with Marrine, probably would have been more impactful, but since it just blows through stuff so quickly, I haven’t really been able to find her to be a sympathetic character, and it just comes across as really gross and then she goes and kills a bunch of people with chemical weapons right afterward. The whole thing is—
DEE: [crosstalk] Oh, God, I forgot about that. Yeah.
PETER: Yeah. It’s so… I don’t know what’s going on. And I think in the same episode the two main characters kiss. It’s really silly.
DEE: [exasperated] Yeah. They get together and I was like, “I should really be into this moment and I’m not, because you just rushed to it too quickly.” Yeah. So, it’s unfortunate.
PETER: Yeah. It’s all over the place.
AMELIA: And it’s a shame. Yeah, I think I just… It started feeling like a chore to go back to it. It started feeling like a lot of work, and I couldn’t remember the details. Because the way I tend to watch anime through the season is I tend to catch up in 3, 4 week chunks at a time.
And by the time a month’s gone by in Grancrest, it was just too much. I couldn’t remember what had happened ’cause they were introducing new people all the time and it was quite detailed politically, and there were new abilities popping up. There was that whole episode with a vampire queen or something, and…
PETER: [laughs; crosstalk] Yeah, she’s [unintelligible due to crosstalk].
DEE: [crosstalk] I felt like it was gonna be an arc. Done in an episode. It was like, “Oh, well, I guess you didn’t need me. Bye!”
AMELIA: And it was done. [laughs] Exactly. So, it just got to the point where it started feeling like I have to rewatch previous episodes to try and remember where I’ve been so I could suitably appreciate forward-going episodes, and it just wasn’t worth it. So: dropped.
So, I think we can safely say that that, of this category, that is the one that least fulfilled its feminist potential.
DEE: Yeah. At least fulfilled any kind of potential, truthfully, which is… which is very disappointing.
AMELIA: So, on a non-disappointing note, I know I’m the only one watching Violet Evergarden. It is streaming in the UK. I’ve really enjoyed Violet Evergarden, actually, and it has got better, I think.
Initially, I was not as into it. I thought it was beautiful and I was watching it weekly and it wasn’t an issue, but I didn’t really get into it. But I think the series is doing quite well. I’m gonna keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but I think the series is doing quite well at treating Violet’s emotions seriously, which I do appreciate, because it’s taking on a more episodic format, which I understand is the structure the light novels follow, where Violet travels around for her job, and so she goes somewhere. She interacts with a new person, a new group of people, new situations. And then the next week she goes on somewhere else.
But there is this throughline of Violet, herself, who was a child soldier, learning to come to terms with her own past and learn to reconnect with herself and her emotions. And I think it’s handling it well. I think it’s handling it sensitively, and I’m really enjoying where it’s going, so I… I know you guys are getting it soon.
DEE: I hope.
AMELIA: It’s got a release date now on Netflix in the US.
PETER: I think on the 5th, yeah.
DEE: Oh, cool. Is it just one cour?
PETER: Yeah. It’s 12 episodes, I believe.
AMELIA: And it hasn’t finished yet ’cause I think it started a little late. But it’s… Yeah. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen so far, which is everything that’s been released in the UK so far. Absolutely I would be recommending this. [excitedly] I really want to talk about it in more detail, but I can’t just yet, so maybe once you’re all caught up we can talk about it in spring, perhaps, or in a separate episode, if it merits it. We’ll come back to it.
Laid-Back Camp is the final one of this category. I think you both watched it?
DEE: [happily] Yeah.
AMELIA: I haven’t, and it’s not because I don’t want to. I think initially it was. Initially, it just seemed like “cute girls doing cute things” et cetera… but you’ve all been praising it week after week, like How to Keep a Mummy actually.
And I eventually started watching an episode and I got as far as the theme tune and I was just absolutely delighted by the theme tune, which is really Jackson Five style, and I instantly went back to the group chat and said, “Why did nobody tell me it has a Jackson Five style theme tune?” And Dee was outraged, because there’s a whole line—
DEE: [crosstalk; through laughter] I totally told you that!
AMELIA: [crosstalk; through laughter] —in the review, which specifically calls out its great theme tune and its Jackson Five style. So, I do apologize, Dee.
DEE: [laughs] I forgive you.
AMELIA: Absolutely. I absolutely intend to watch it based on what you told me, but for anyone else who hasn’t been able to witness your week-by-week enthusiasm for it, what would you say about it at this point now that it’s reached the end of its season?
DEE: It’s so good. It’s just so good, and I love it so much.
AMELIA: [laughs] Okay. That’s a good starting point.
DEE: It is… I think it is what, again, the quote-unquote “cute girl”—anything—cute girl, cute person, cute pet, whatever—genre can be, which is to be a feel-good, healing, relaxing comedy that people can tune in every week and just enjoy without having to worry about the camera getting skeevy or the characters being treated like they’re five. It’s just a really nice story about these very fun, kind of different female friendships.
It does a good job of balancing a character who likes to spend time by herself with these other characters who are a little more community-focused. And it respects both those decisions and shows the value of both—like that you can go camping by yourself and have a great time, and it’s not that she’s secretly miserable. She’s good. But, then, you can also… There’s a different experience and a different fun to be had by going out and camping with your friends.
It’s just really good. I think it’s the show I look forward to the most every week. It was not the best show of the season, but I think it was the one I most looked forward to.
AMELIA: So, I just wanna ask a question on that note, because we’re gonna be talking about A Place Further Than The Universe—which, spoilers, this was hands-down the Team AniFem favorite of the season.
AMELIA: That is our strongest recommendation. We’ve talked about this all over the place. But you’ve compared the two before. So, just putting the two side-by-side in terms of how they present young women, how they present their friendships… Does Laid-Back Camp do similar kinds of things to A Place Further Than The Universe, or does it approach things in a different way?
DEE: I would say yes and no. I think Place Further is… I think the biggest strength in Place Further is that it’s really realistic. It is very grounded, I think, in—it’s very emotionally heart-on-its-sleeve for sure. But I think it does a good job of balancing the difficulties of being a teenage girl and then these silly or exciting moments of going on an adventure with your friends for the first time and things like that.
Laid-Back Camp does the same thing, but the tone is not as geared towards realism as A Place Further is, is a way I would describe it. It’s a comedy. It’s… The characters are a little bit more broadly defined. The jokes are a little bit sillier, a little bit more absurd here and there. I think they’re doing similar things but, again, I think they exist in slightly different genres, so they’re doing them in different ways is how I would describe it.
AMELIA: How about you, Peter? You’ve seen both.
PETER: Yeah, I do think it definitely has the kind of… Different characters have different ways of resolving conflicts or different types of personalities that might not gel all the time. But they find ways around it.
One of the dynamics that’s most noticeable in Laid-Back Camp, I think, is Chiaki and Rin. I think Rin basically admits—well, to herself, not to anybody else—that she doesn’t like Chiaki, ’cause Chiaki likes to tease people, and in no way is that ever framed as necessarily a bad thing. It’s just something that I don’t think Rin likes in a person that she hangs out with.
So, when she… They hang out. They end up going on that camping trip together and it’s fine.
DEE: Spoiler alert. [laughs]
PETER: Yeah, yeah.
DEE: No, it’s in the first episode. You’re good.
PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
PETER: But it’s kind of like, in addition to her liking solitude, I think that’s one of the reasons she didn’t join Out Club… was just because she… maybe too much exposure to that kind of stuff would stress her out. But for just a single outing, that’s fine.
So, in a more casual, just kind of everyday social dynamic sense, I feel like it has some of those same elements as A Place Further Than The Universe, just not without the big character moments and drama. Everyone has a very defined way of acting and approaching other people in Laid-Back Camp, just as with A Place Further Than The Universe.
DEE: Yeah. And they’re both shows like Hakumei and Mikochi… I may write an article about this, so, I guess maybe look forward to that in the future.
DEE: All three of them, I think, are very good about… There’s some cuteness and some goofiness to them that you might see in a typical “cute girl” show, but there’s also this really nice focus on self-reliance and independence, and I really appreciate that.
‘Cause Rin going off on her own is depicted as a positive. It’s like, “Oh, look at her. She’s independent and she plans these trips on her own,” and the girls are all planning these camping trips on their own and going out together, and I like that a lot. I like that element of encouraging these young women to be self-reliant and go have adventures and all that good stuff.
PETER: It’s the same with Girls’ Last Tour, yeah.
DEE: Well, Girls’ Last Tour was also apocalyptic. So it was a little different, but…
PETER: I’ve heard it described as “slice-of-life” but the girls are kind of survivalists.
DEE: That is true, though. Yeah. Again, very different setting and tone, but yeah. A similar kind of thing where they look like they’re gonna be the cutesy blobs and then there’s a lot more to it than that.
AMELIA: This has been quite a good season for cuteness handled in what I consider to be a more palatable way.
DEE: It’s been wonderful.
AMELIA: Going into the “Feminist Themes” category… And, again, I have a real knee-jerk aversion to cuteness, so I’ve been quite surprised at the cute shows I’ve ended up recommending to everyone.
Sanrio Boys is absolutely one of those. And I think we were all a bit taken aback by Sanrio Boys initially, because it’s a toy advert. It’s designed to sell toys. And it’s not just toys. It’s Hello Kitty and pals, which… We would not expect to be discussing feminist themes in a show selling Hello Kitty. But I think it’s been quite consistent in actually doing interesting things on that level.
Now, there’s a big jump between the first half of the show and the second half of the show. The first half of the show is much more about the individual boys kind of overcoming their inhibitions or overcoming personal barriers that they put up for themselves and becoming more authentic, more true to themselves, and also becoming closer friends.
And then the second half is putting on the performance, and it’s much more centered around Kouta, who’s sort of the main character, I guess, but he’s like the “everyman” character at the beginning who ends up being brought into this world of interesting, attractive people. And he feels like he doesn’t really match up to them. So, I found that really relatable.
DEE: Oh, so did I. For sure.
AMELIA: I think a lot of people will. Yeah. I think a lot of people will. So, I really enjoyed both halves, but I completely see there might be a chance you’d enjoy one half better than the other; and certainly in terms of feminist themes, the first half is the heavyweight. There’s a lot that I really enjoyed about it, though.
And I got to the end, and I just wanted to rewatch from the very beginning. I wanted to see them become friends again and kind of… The first half almost started feeling like a prequel to the second half, and I love prequels. So, kind of going back and seeing how it all began was… I really appreciated they made it a show that I would find rewarding on rewatch.
DEE: It is so fun watching you realize that you actually like shoujo and I can’t wait to watch this continue [amused] over the course of the next few years as I throw more titles at you.
AMELIA: [insistently] I have never not liked shoujo. I want to be really clear on this. Fruits Basket was formative for me.
DEE: Okay, I shouldn’t say that you’ve said in the past that you dislike shoujo, but you’ve talked about how you have a hard time getting into a lot of it. That, growing up, your formative titles were more the kind of Shonen JUMP, shounen-type things.
AMELIA: Absolutely. Absolutely.
DEE: That was all I meant. So, the fact that two of your favorite shows this season were Sanrio Boys and School Babysitters… I’m like, [excited] “Oh, look at Amelia!” I cannot wait to show you more shoujo. This is gonna be fun. Yeah, I thought it was—
AMELIA: [crosstalk] I’ve always enjoyed shoujo, but I’ve found it hard, I think, to find the stuff in shoujo that I like. Which tends to be more character-driven. And Sanrio Boys is quite character-driven.
School Babysitters, not so much. That’s more to do with the fact that I have much younger siblings myself. I’ve got one sibling who’s 11 years younger, one who’s 14 years younger, one who’s 19 years younger than me. So I’ve been that older teenager looking after a two-year-old a few time and it’s… It was really recognizable, what this kid’s going through on-screen. And so that really connected me with that story.
But, in general, I don’t have that experience watching cute shows about cute people. And I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with how character-driven some of these shows have been. And Sanrio Boys completely took me by surprise, and I’m very open to recommendations of similar shoujo that approaches character development in a comparable way.
DEE: Oh, yay. I’m gonna get you that list.
AMELIA: [laughs] Can’t wait.
DEE: Yeah. I also finished Sanrio Boys. I liked it. I liked the first half a lot better than the second. I think it kind of… I think my only… The second half was what I thought Sanrio Boys was going to be, which was a pleasant, “cute boys doing cute things and having emotions while they do cute things”-type show.
Which is fine. I think I’ve made it pretty clear on my own blog over the past few years that I like those kinds of shows. That wouldn’t have been an issue. But the first half seemed very thematically focused on challenging these traditional ideas about masculinity, and a lot of it gets pretty much dropped in the second half.
I kept waiting for them to run into some kind of pushback with the school, or that the play would incorporate the Sanrio stuff more obviously and there would be something there. You know, some kind of conflict. And there really isn’t. It becomes a sort of personal, “Kouda is struggling with his self-confidence” sort of story, which, like you said, very relatable.
It’s just… It was a shift that I think the show… Because the first half did seem like it really wanted to dig into those sort of progressive ideas, it was a little bit disappointing for me. But it was still… I still had a good time. It was a cute show.
I like that… I think it skews kind of young. I think you could show it to a preteen very easily and they’d enjoy it a lot. And I think some of the parts in the second half that maybe struck me as a little melodramatic, I kind of had to take a step back and go, “No, this show is for a younger audience, and characters shouting their emotions like this is good. That’s gonna resonate.” I appreciate it.
AMELIA: [happily] I love that part. [laughs] I really love that, because I remember being a melodramatic teenager all too well, and I absolutely would have been screaming emotions like that.
AMELIA: Peter, did you watch this one?
AMELIA: That’s fair. You quite liked the beginning, right?
AMELIA: The beginning resonated?
PETER: I definitely… Yeah, it did. And I definitely… I respect what, at least, it sounds like the first half actually was trying to do. I think that’s very powerful and an important thing to say. It’s just the anime itself didn’t really resonate with me, so, I didn’t make it too far.
AMELIA: Yep. That’s highly fair. And, in terms of what you’re talking about, Dee, with the pushback, completely agree. Completely get that. I know Vrai mentioned… In the mid-season check-in, I think Vrai mentioned wanting there to be a male character like Yuu’s younger sister.
DEE: Yeah. Yeah, I kept waiting for something like that.
AMELIA: Yeah. And there never really is anything. The second half is all about how, once they’ve found each other, they’ve got this strong community around them and it’s very supportive. And it’s really warm and fuzzy. But, especially with some of the themes in the first half, where they’re really drawing a parallel between liking Sanrio and being perceived as gay… and they don’t do anything with that in the second half, at all.
DEE: No. They don’t.
AMELIA: They don’t. They don’t explore that in the slightest. But it’s fun in the first half, and their relationships are really sweet, and I enjoyed the whole thing, just to reiterate. I really, really enjoyed the whole thing. And I do look forward to rewatching it. And that has taken me by surprise in itself.
DEE: And one thing I will add is the manga is ongoing. This is an adaptation of an ongoing manga. So, we probably—
AMELIA: [crosstalk] Oh, is it?
DEE: We probably just hit the Kouta arc. And I also don’t know how closely the anime follows the manga. So, it’s totally possible that the series will come back to those themes and we just ended the series on the Kouta arc because it made kind of a nice capstone, but, yeah. This was technically based off the manga, which started running in 2016.
AMELIA: [intrigued] Ah, I didn’t know that.
DEE: So, yeah. There’s definitely a possibility that the original story will come back to that. We just didn’t get that in the anime itself.
AMELIA: I would really like to see a sequel to this one. I’d love to go hang out with those characters again.
DEE: Yeah, I’d be alright with that.
AMELIA: [laughs] “Yeah, I’d be okay with that.” So tsundere of you. [chuckles]
AMELIA: All right, the DamePri Anime Caravan I started watching, and I haven’t been able to finish yet because I don’t have a HIDIVE subscription, so once it stops being new, I’m gonna absorb the whole thing on HIDIVE all at once, because I really enjoyed it—
AMELIA: And it doesn’t sound like there’s any reason I shouldn’t.
DEE: There’s one kind of big caveat that I always hit people with just to start things off.
AMELIA: Oh, no.
DEE: Episode eight, there’s… It’s a one-off, single-episode storyline. The villain at the end [disappointed] is a gay pedophile, and it’s very bad. It’s played as a big joke and it’s really unpleasant.
AMELIA: Could anime just stop making joke-y pedophile characters? That would really be helpful.
DEE: [exasperated] Yeah, I’d love that. That would just make our whole job a lot easier, really.
AMELIA: Two in a season! Two! That’s… [groans]
DEE: It feels like a low bar, and yet… Thankfully—
AMELIA: [laughs] They got to clear it twice in a single season. Excellent.
DEE: Yeah. Thankfully, it is… It’s a one-off character who never shows up again before or after. So, you could theoretically skip the episode. There’s some character development in there, but I guess you could theoretically skip it.
It started off… And I really thought it was going to be like the next Ouran High. I was very, very excited about—or, not the next Ouran High; like Ouran High, but with otome games. That very loving parody of the tropes. And a main female character who really has no time for this trope-y bullshit.
And it followed that for the most part. It never quite hit the heights that I think I maybe had set for it myself—probably unfairly—at the beginning. So, it struggles a little bit to develop its characters as it goes, and it rushes through some of it. It gets a little more dramatic and plot-driven at the end, and I enjoyed it, but it was a little rushed.
I still liked it a lot, though, for the most part. Other than that one big caveat, it was a lot of fun. There are some very good jokes and takes on the shoujo/otome/reverse-harem genre. There’s a hot springs episode that is inspired. And then another episode where the guys keep trying to ask Ani to dance, and it keeps going… It’s like every trope in the book and then they all go horribly awry, which was also very fun.
So, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It didn’t quite enter that top tier of really great anime shoujo comedies that I keep on a shelf and look at and smile and caress sometimes when I’m having a bad day. [laughs] But yeah.
I still really liked… Ani continues to be great. She’s the main—the female protagonist, and she’s wonderful. She’s the best thing about the show. And I like the guys, too, but she’s just… She doesn’t put up with their crap. She’s diplomatic.
AMELIA: She reminded me of the ClassicaLoid caretaker. Is that a fair comparison?
DEE: She’s not as… Kanae is very… The Classicaloid landlady is much more temperamental.
AMELIA: That’s it.
DEE: She will go off on you. Ani is very diplomatic and aware of her position. So, she won’t put up with crap, but she’s also very polite about it. So, they’re a little bit different in that sense, but there is that sense of them as… She’s kind of the straight man around the guys, but then she’ll also have these very good bursts of being an awkward goofball herself.
The story does a nice job of… It does that thing that all otome game adaptations do, because it’s just part of the genre, is you give the boys a chance to be romantic heroes, doing romantic hero-type things, but it does a really nice job of balancing that with Ani not really needing them to.
Narek shows up and bursts open… She gets kidnapped. She basically rescues herself. She gets to the main door to the mansion where she was kidnapped, and they’re locked, and she’s like, “Dang, I wish Narek was here. He’s really good at bursting through doors.” And Narek shows up on the other side and bursts through the door. And she’s like, “Cool.”
DEE: So, she could have found a way out on her own, but it’s nice that he helped her out, and so you get that little moment of, “Oh, it’s sweet of you to care about me and you got to do something.” But it didn’t ever feel like she was damseled. And I appreciate that. So…
AMELIA: That’s good. I look forward to catching up with it.
DEE: Yeah. It’s… Again, I named it my “Problematic Fave of the Season.” It’s a fairly tame problematic fave, but, you know, it did have that one big issue in episode eight.
DEE: But, otherwise…
AMELIA: Wow. So that means… School Babysitters was my “Problematic Fave,” so we’ve actually got two whole pedophile characters in our “Problematic Faves” for Anime Feminist.
DEE: [laughs; exasperated] This season…
AMELIA: That’s not a position I thought we’d be in at the beginning of the season, I have to say.
DEE: No. Yeah, it was… It was a surprising season in a lot of ways.
AMELIA: Well, let’s move on to something that was surprising for me, personally, was A Place Further Than The Universe. And I went into this… I actually started a tweet thread… I was gonna live tweet it. I was like, “Ugh, cute girls doing cute things. Ugh. Can’t be bothered. Not interested.” And I was snarking about absolutely everything for about 15 minutes. And then I completely turned around. And by the end I was saying, “I’m so sorry. This show’s amazing.” And it hasn’t let me down. It is such a strong show. I think we all agreed on that.
DEE: Yeah. It’s fantastic. I had tentative hopes for it, not necessarily because of the visuals or the PV or anything like that. I knew it was being directed by Ishizuka Atsuko, and I’d seen some of her previous work where she was adapting mediocre material and making it look really nice, and I was like, “Okay, if you get your own project, this could be great.” And I was right, which is awesome.
So, she was the director for this one, and it’s really, really, really good. I hesitate to use the word “perfect,” but it’s very close to just being a perfect coming-of-age story about these five girls going to Antarctica. It’s really excellent. Every episode has its own emotional beat, which all come together to form this entire arc. Every character gets their own story. It’s really well done
…Sorry, I said “five.” Four. It’s four girls.
PETER: Megumi gets her conclusion.
AMELIA: [quietly] Yes!
DEE: Yeah, and then there’s Megumi, her friend. She gets a little arc, too, which is great.
PETER: Yeah, I was really surprised they did that at the end. That was really good.
AMELIA: I was waiting. I was waiting to see her in some form. That was the one thing that hadn’t yet quite been tied up at the end. So, it took me by surprise, what they chose to do with her.
AMELIA: I thought it was lovely. Her finally being influenced by Kimari.
DEE: Yeah, that was excellent. The whole show was just excellent.
AMELIA: The whole show was excellent. ‘Cause you suggested I do the writeup for this one, and my first thought was just, “I’m not worthy.”
AMELIA: I found it really hard to try and list things that are good about it, because it is so strong. And the things that stood out to me may not necessarily be the things that stood out to somebody else, and we would both be right, because there is so much to choose from that it gets right; that it does well.
So, yeah. For me, it was all about character development. It was all about their interactions. The storycraft of this show was just exquisitely done. It was beautifully—the dynamics between the girls were just beautifully handled. It was never melodramatic. It was always completely plausible, grounded conflict that came out of the characters. It was completely in keeping with their surroundings, with their relationships to date. It all made sense. It really resonated.
And there were moments when you’d watch them onscreen and be like, “That could have been me and my friends… ” 20 years ago. [mumbling] Yep, 20 years ago, guys.
AMELIA: Moving on. Peter, what was the kind of general fan reaction like to A Place Further Than The Universe? Because we’ve built up our own little bubble about it now, but I’m not sure if that view is shared beyond our lovely AniFem walls.
PETER: I think the show did pretty good. I would say that, outside of the Anitwitter and Reddit bubbles, it certainly doesn’t have as large of a following. But, I wouldn’t say it was unpopular either.
AMELIA: That’s good.
PETER: It wasn’t like a superpower show. Definitely not as good as being on Anitwitter for five minutes would imply. But, yeah. I think it did pretty good.
DEE: Well, we’ll just have to keep shouting about it and hopefully more people will find it.
Yeah, there’s two things I want to point out. And I keep on harping on this, but it’s really important to me. This show doesn’t fall… All of the characters are incredibly well-defined, and it basically never has internal monologues.
And that is a—I don’t want to call it a “crutch,” because I think that you can use—I think there’s some people who are like, “Oh, you shouldn’t use internal monologues in visual media.” I think that’s kinda silly. So, I don’t want to act like that makes it better, but I do think that it is a little bit trickier to get character across, especially if you’re juggling an ensemble cast, which the show basically did. It was just between the animation, the character interactions… I mean, it was really well-done.
AMELIA: It is really multifaceted. It’s never one-note. I mean, so many episodes made me laugh out loud as well as cry.
DEE: Me too. Yeah.
AMELIA: As well as analyze and appreciate it from that perspective, and it was just so well-rounded. It blew me away week-by-week. And I don’t think there was ever a week where I was disappointed. I was a little bit grossed-out in the episode where they’re all just really seasick for the entire time, but apart from that… And even that, they handled really well, and I’ve got a real squick about vomit.
DEE: I loved that. I loved that episode, though, ’cause I think so many times when you get shows like this, they don’t really talk about the unglamorous aspects of the adventure. The fact that the adventure is going to have parts that are gonna be boring or—
DEE: Or uninteresting or just straight-up unpleasant. And so I really enjoy that they basically spent an entire episode where it was like, “Well, we have to be miserable now. We made it to the thing we wanted to do, but we’re gonna be miserable.”
AMELIA: And then they called back to it in the final episode and said, “Well, you know, that’s just part of the journey.”
AMELIA: That sums up the show in some ways. The gross throwing-up sums up the show. It’s just their approach to it. Like you said, it’s not just all about being cute. It’s not just all about having fun. And I completely misjudged it. I completely mischaracterized it when I thought it was “cute girls doing cute things.”
Kimari kind of, in that first episode, she comes a little bit close to seeming like that type of character. But it just disabuses you of that notion very quickly. And it progresses her relationships with the people around her very quickly.
I think from episode two on… Well, from the end of episode one onwards, I was completely sold. Every week I looked forward to it. That was one of the few I watched week-by-week while catching up in three, four-week chunks. So good.
PETER: Yeah. I think the show surprises you in a lot of ways with the character archetypes it seems to be calling up to before showing you that they’re an actually realized character.
Like when Hinata was first introduced, I thought she was going to be the comedic relief because her reasons for joining and the suddenness with which she joined the group seemed very… It just happened. So, I thought that… And all the other—the three other girls—this progressed even when they introduced… Oh my God, what’s her name? Shiraishi.
AMELIA: [crosstalk] Shirase?
PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Shiraishi. Shirase is…
AMELIA: Shiraishi? Who is she?
DEE: Shiraishi’s the idol.
AMELIA: Oh, Yuzuki.
PETER: Yeah, yeah. They refer to them by both first and last name a lot, so I think with watching it, you stick with either their first or last names randomly with different characters. But even at that point, I thought… When they introduced Shiraishi, I thought that she had a more narrative reason for coming along, and Hinata didn’t quite… She still felt out of place.
But then Yuu kind of realized some of the baggage she’s carrying later on, and she ceases to be the goofy character and gets her own subplot as well. So, I thought that was a really good way to handle it when she could have just—they could have just been lazy and made her the character who likes to goof around and tease people.
AMELIA: That’s the thing, isn’t it? They could have taken easy options every step of the way and they actively chose not to. There was one beautiful scene that I tweeted about between Shirase and Hinata. There was no reason for those two to spend time together, really, at that point. They hadn’t. Shirase and Kimari was kind of the leading relationship at that point. We could have easily spent more time with them, kind of reflecting on their journey so far, and whatever.
And instead they put these two characters, who have really different ways of managing conflict, in a room together, and conflict just came out of the fact that they handle things differently, and it was just such a real moment. It was so unnecessary in terms of… They made work for themselves as writers. They made work for themselves as creators. And I really appreciated that they did that, because by the end of the series, you’ve got this cast of fully fleshed-out characters with really distinct personalities and motivations and goals—
DEE: And relationships to each other, too, which I really liked.
AMELIA: And relationships with each other. And it’s not even just the teenage girls. We’ve got these adult women who are scientists. Who are parental figures, in Shirase’s case, in some ways.
DEE: Shirase has two moms! It’s canon! [laughs]
AMELIA: It’s canon. And it’s… Even those characters, who get introduced a bit later—and they’re not teenage girls. And they’re in these big, pre-established groups. And we still get to know them. The cook, I really enjoyed her character. And you just get to know them because the show makes a point of giving you ways into building a connection with them, if that makes sense.
DEE: No, I totally agree with you, for sure.
AMELIA: I was just so blown away by it. Such a rich experience.
DEE: It’s really, really good.
AMELIA: Really good.
DEE: It’s consistent throughout. I don’t think there was ever a down episode, like you were saying. It’s just… It’s great.
[teasingly intense] But, Amelia. But, Amelia. Is it feminist?
DEE: I’m sorry. I had to.
AMELIA: What a fun question! What a fun question that is. I love answering that question.
DEE: I know. Everyone loves that question the best.
AMELIA: For the answer, you should go to our very own Caitlin Moore’s website, heroineproblem.com. That’s “heroine” with an “e.” And you should look up her slides for her presentation, “Is This Feminist? And the Problems within that Question.” That’s my answer.
PETER: Yeah. One more thing I wanted to bring up is: I thought that, in addition to all the character stuff, A Place Further Than The Universe really felt like a modern story in the way that it handled the way we communicate through technology. That was one of the things—
AMELIA: You wrote a piece on this, didn’t you?
DEE: Yeah. Both Place Further and Laid-Back Camp did a really good job with that. That’s another weird parallel between those two shows.
PETER: Yeah. But I think the only time I’ve ever seen there be such a distinct use of technology was maybe Voices of a Distant Star by Shinkai.
AMELIA: I was thinking of that.
DEE: Oh, yeah.
PETER: It’s not only…
DEE: Oh, that’s another story that wrecked me a little bit.
PETER: That one’s a bit harsher. But the… It’s not only the contents of the messages, but also the way that they use the technology. One of the most impactful moments in the scene is when those two girls just leave the chat without saying anything at all. It’s not a message, but you kind of get why they did that and what it means for the relationship, just through that action.
The way that you can convey emotionality through text and the pace at which people reply to you, having connotations beyond the actual message you eventually receive. And, of course, Shirase sending emails to her mother.
DEE: To her mom throughout the story. Yeah. [exhales] Yeah.
Peter, you reminded me of one other thing I wanted to mention earlier. A Place Further is one of those anime… I’m not sure why this triggered it, but it’s one of those anime that I think you could recommend to non-anime fans.
DEE: Very easily. People who have not watched anime before. It’s like, “Oh, do you like coming-of-age stories? Here’s a really, really good one. Enjoy. Keep your tissues handy.” [laughs]
AMELIA: Yeah. The barrier to entry is very low on this one.
PETER: Yeah, I know some people who watched it just because they were interested in Antarctica, and then they ended up liking everything else about it as well.
DEE: That’s great.
AMELIA: [laughs] Because why wouldn’t you?
PETER: Because yeah. How often do you get a show about people going to Antarctica for any other reason, or anything that really explores… It’s almost like a documentary.
AMELIA: It was so well-paced as well. Because I thought for sure that it was going to be either some huge journey just to get to Antarctica. Just getting there would be the goal. Or it would be done really quickly and then it would be all about their time there. And, instead, it was pretty much 50-50. And it all felt really naturally paced. I was so impressed.
DEE: Mm-hm. Yeah.
DEE: It’s just excellent.
AMELIA: It’s just excellent. Just watch it if you haven’t.
AMELIA: 10/10, for sure.
DEE: Yeah. I don’t give out five stars on Anime Planet very often, and when Place Further ended, I was like, “No hesitation! Five stars! That was great.”
AMELIA: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We can recommend this without caveats to feminist viewers. For sure, I think. Except, if you’re a bit sensitive to bereavement of a parent, I think that’s the one thing I would say…
DEE: Yeah. Yeah. If you just can’t personally—it’s very well-handled, but, yeah. If that’s a story that you just can’t deal with right now, then…
AMELIA: Exactly. That’s the—
DEE: Give this one a pass for now, and maybe come back to it later.
AMELIA: But give it a pass because it handles it really well.
PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
AMELIA: That’s the thing. It’s… Not because it’s doing anything wrong. It’s because it’s doing it well. It handles it beautifully. And you really feel it, and it hits you hard. So, if that’s something that’s gonna really upset you, maybe step away from this one for a bit. But, otherwise, unconditional recommendation.
AMELIA: Okay. Let’s wrap up by looking at some of the shows that aren’t… that didn’t start this season. So, we’ve got sequels…
DEE: The carryovers, yeah.
AMELIA: … and we’ve got continuations. So. I haven’t seen any of these, so, if one of you just wants to start with your favorite?
PETER: [hesitantly] Mm. Favorite. [laughs]
AMELIA: Come on, Dee. Do it, Dee.
DEE: Sure. I’ll… All right, I’ll start. ClassicaLoid is still really, really good, and it makes me sad that more people aren’t watching it. It continues to be a absolutely wonderful Saturday-morning cartoon that does a really, really good job of balancing very cleverly goofy, imaginatively weird storylines with these very nice character beats that are also kind of educational, ’cause they’ll tie into the composer’s real lives when they were—their actual historical background. And sort of how that comes forward into the characters they are now.
Eh, what else do I want to say about it? It’s really, really good. It does this thing that I started to appreciate a lot in the finale of season two, where it blends a lot of the things I really enjoy about shounen and shoujo narrative beats in terms of bombastic last-minute powerups and people saving the world with their feelings, and it merges all that together.
It treats its—its female characters are all excellent. I wouldn’t say it’s feminist-forward necessarily, but I think it’s very feminist-friendly, and the girls get to be as goofy and angry and cool as the guys do. Oftentimes moreso.
And I love it. [cracking up] I love ClassicaLoid! People should go watch ClassicaLoid.
AMELIA: Just to dig into that a little bit. You say “the girls,” but we’re talking about characters as well who have female forms and pasts as male composers. Is that right?
DEE: Yeah. It’s very hard to talk about, because it’s one of those… I remember talking to Vrai about this when I wrote an article. I wrote an article about the girls’ day out episode from season one.
AMELIA: Yes. I remember that one.
DEE: And I remember talking to Vrai and being like, “Okay. I need to come up with… How do I explain a person who in a past life was assigned male at birth but then was uploaded into a new body that is assigned female at birth… What… Do we have words for that, because this is anime. This doesn’t happen in the real world.”
AMELIA: [laughs] Yeah.
DEE: So, it’s difficult to talk about. And, I mean, overall, I think it handles it really well. I think it’s very chill about it. There’s… one of the… I feel very confident calling her a woman. Liszt was—history-speaking, identified as a man and gets reborn into what we would traditionally consider a female body, and is totally chill with it, and is like, “Yeah, no, I’m a woman. It’s fine. No big deal.” But then Chaiko, who—Tchaikovsky—is a little less pleased with it, especially because they are 16 and cannot drink vodka.
DEE: And they—and any time they’re not doing their idol thing, they’re wearing a bald cap and one of those belly warmers and complaining about everything and they’re wonderful. And I’m using “they” because I’m not sure what pronoun to use for Chaiko, because, again, anime.
I… Again, I wrote a piece about some of the early episodes. They don’t really dip into that well as much in season two, but I still think they do a really good job with the characters and being respectful of that line there and letting them all be themselves, I guess. And I really appreciate that about it, for sure.
AMELIA: Great. It’s one of those that I… Again, you’ve recommended it so many times, I’m like, “I should watch more of this.” And I did actually watch the girls’ day out episode because of your piece. And I really enjoyed it. It didn’t require me to have any particular advanced knowledge of anything.
DEE: No, it’s a… The second season has a little bit more of a narrative throughline as far as it’s mostly about: Wagner joins the cast and he has some insecurities about being unwanted or “botched” as a ClassicaLoid, and so that’s sort of the narrative throughline of season one. But a lot of it is episodic goofiness that zeroes in on one or two characters.
So, yeah. It is possible to kind of… It really reminds me of a show that would have aired on Saturday morning when I was a kid, and I would have had a really good time with it. So I think I appreciated that about it, too. It’s just that bombastic energy, I guess.
AMELIA: Speaking of shows we watched as kids, Cardcaptor Sakura came back.
DEE: Yes, it did! I’m behind. Peter, are you caught up on this one?
PETER: Yep. It’s…
AMELIA: Is it still girls giving each other compliments—
DEE: [crosstalk] Have… have things… ?
AMELIA: —and making food and…?
DEE: Yeah, have things happened yet?
PETER: Uh, yeah.
PETER: I mean, it’s definitely setting up what is going to happen, I think. You kind of…
AMELIA: Things aren’t happening yet, but it’s setting up things to happen at some point.
PETER: Pretty much, they introduce that new character who you—I mean, you know something important’s gonna go on with her because she’s there at all.
DEE: Yeah. That’s true.
PETER: And now they kind of had some scenes with her where you find out a little bit of what’s going on. It’s not too clear, yet, but it’s kind of setting up the antagonist, I think. I don’t know how much I should give away.
AMELIA: That’s fine. I mean, I struggled with this, and it seems I’m not alone in this one, in that I really wanted to see the card fights and that’s such a small part of the episodes I saw. It seemed almost incidental to the main plot of “Sakura and her friends are really sweet to each other.”
DEE: Yeah. Sakura’s very competent now, and I appreciate that the show has allowed her to grow as a cardcaptor, but it does mean that the conflicts with the cards are very low-stakes because she’s just got this. She’s fine at this point.
I have a feeling… Because I think the first season was also paced similarly. I think there was a little bit more conflict in each episode, but I think the pacing was somewhat like this as well. It’s been a long time since I watched it.
AMELIA: Yeah. I have really fond memories… [sighs]
DEE: So, I’m kind of waiting, and I’m wondering if bingeing it might be a better plan, ’cause then maybe I won’t feel like week-to-week nothing is happening.
Also, this season just had so many chill, healing pleasant shows. So, I sort of dropped off because of that. But I might… I think I’ll probably come back to it at some point.
PETER: I would like to mention—calling it right now—that Cardcaptor Sakura‘s actually a crossover with One Piece, since there’s a character whose middle name is “D” and a lot of importance is given to the fact that his middle initial is “D.”
PETER: It’s specifically called out. And, as we all know, one of the most important aspects, narratively, is the Will of D. So, I think it’s—
AMELIA: And at Anime Feminist, for that matter.
DEE: [cracks up]
PETER: Yeah. Basil D. Hawkins is a character in One Piece—
DEE: [crosstalk] That was very good, Amelia.
PETER: —who uses cards, so I’m sure he’s somehow found his way to the Cardcaptor universe. And I’m calling it now. Just so when it happens, I can say I was right.
AMELIA: Please note that prediction.
DEE: [crosstalk; laughing] Yeah, no, that sounds like it’s canon. Definitely.
AMELIA: Yeah. Shonen JUMP Cardcaptor Sakura I would actually be very interested in, so…
AMELIA: I would watch that in a heartbeat.
Okay, the last two that we’ve got listed to talk about. Let’s start with March Comes in Like a Lion, ’cause, Peter, I know this is your version of ClassicaLoid… what ClassicaLoid is to Dee, March is to you. You’ve been talking about it for some time, saying, “You should all be watching this show!”
DEE: [commiserating] And nobody else will watch it! [laughs] Sorry about that.
PETER: Fortunately, I think March has a pretty decent following.
DEE: It does.
PETER: I know a couple people on Twitter who are pretty into it. But, yeah. It’s amazing. It actually just ended today with a double episode after… It took a break during the Olympics. And the second season has been even better than the first. It really got into some of the side characters.
You find out about… There’s Rei and the sisters and the sisters’ grandfather. It focuses on the grandfather and how he’s inspired to take better care of his health so that he can help the sisters out until they’re of an age where they’re more independent and they don’t need to rely on him financially.
Just in the last episode, they did something amazing where Rei’s got this really tragic backstory with his adopted family where, basically, his talent and hard work kind of ended up tearing the family apart through no intentional purposes of his. It’s just kind of how things rolled out. And he decides to visit his adopted mother, who is this sort of silent observer to all this stuff happening. She was like the only character not given a voice.
And it’s a half-episode narrated just by her. As she watched all this stuff happen and second-guessed herself as a parent, and kind of this really complicated relationship she had with Rei, ’cause she knew he was a good person, but, at the same time, he was also… She realized that her husband related more to Rei than anyone in their own family, and he was kind of really interfering with her family, but he was just trying to survive and be a happy person. And he was so considerate of them, she couldn’t find any fault with him.
So, that was just the last half-episode. That was the last thing I got to watch before we started recording, actually. I’m gonna pick it up the moment we end.
But it’s very, very well-written. I think I would actually compare it pretty much to A Place Further Than The Universe in the way that it has… It’s very free of any problematic content. All the characters feel fully actualized, have very complex motivations and interactions with one another. I’d put it on that same shelf. It’s just nobody’s watching.
PETER: Yeah. I consider them equal.
AMELIA: Bold statement.
DEE: I… If somebody would frickin’ license the manga, I would preorder that in a heartbeat.
DEE: The only reason I didn’t… I tried… I stuck with it. I watched the first few episodes. And I just found the directorial style very exhausting, I guess. Sort of… It’s Shinbo, a little bit. It’s got that sort of in-your-face style of his, and I just couldn’t… I struggled with that. But I really liked the narrative. So, I would love someone to bring the manga over, so I can enjoy that.
AMELIA: I actually saw the live-action film.
PETER: Oh yeah. That was great.
AMELIA: And I really enjoyed it. And I was like, “That’s it. Now I’ve gotta watch the anime.” And I obviously haven’t yet, but I do have plans to watch this one through. I feel like I owe this to Peter, ’cause I’ve been saying for months, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll watch March. I’ll totally watch March. I’ll definitely get around to it.” And I haven’t.
So, now, I’m actually going to watch March Comes In Like A Lion. And I will let you know if I agree with your statement that it is as good as A Place Further Than The Universe.
AMELIA: That is a very bold statement. And I’d like—
PETER: The live-action focuses almost exclusively on Rei. The anime gets much more into the three sisters. His estranged adopted sister. And some other female and older characters that surround all of them. So, it’s much more complete, in that sense.
The live-action actually covered the whole first season, 24 episodes, and maybe 8 episodes of the second season. So, it was a lot of content that it was pushing you through. And it really cut a lot of content from the side characters out to do that.
PETER: But I also… I thought it was good. I actually thought it contextualized his—the duel in the very beginning he has between him and his father playing shogi. I thought it contextualized it better in the anime with the ramifications of him beating his father and their complicated relationship and how it was very traumatic to Rei to have to play his father in that way. I thought it did it way better than the anime, actually.
AMELIA: It’s such a big thing to drop into the first episode. It’s the first episode, isn’t it?
PETER: Yeah. It’s the opening moments of the story.
PETER: Yeah, but somehow, the live-action contextualized it much better. Yeah, the anime, I didn’t quite get it until later on, and you realize more about his relationship with his dad, and you’re like, “Oh, man. That was awful that he even had to play him, much less defeat his dad and potentially prevent him from being promoted to the next level of shogi class.”
AMELIA: I love… I mean, I love stories about games, I guess. I really enjoyed Hikaru No Go. I really enjoyed Chihayafuru.
DEE: Heck yeah.
AMELIA: And the live-action made it feel more about that kind of journey. Almost a kind of shounen-protagonist way of approaching it. But it wasn’t just that. There was a lot more too. His adoptive sister does show up in the live-action, and she is interesting.
PETER: Oh, yeah. She’s one of the most fascinating characters, I think.
AMELIA: “Fascinating” is the right word. She was a character I found really compelling and I wanted to know more about her. And I love that there’s this… How many episodes is March now? 50 episodes?
DEE: 44, I think. I just looked.
DEE: I was checking to see if it had been licensed. If the manga had been licensed yet, and I caught the episodes there.
AMELIA: [laughs] I think… I mean, I love it when this happens, when you watch something live-action and you know there’s 48 episodes of anime that you can dive into; there’s a manga series that you can dive into. It’s always really rewarding to be able to explore the same story through a different medium, from a different perspective sometimes. And it’s something I think I’m really going to enjoy with March once I actually commit to starting it, which I promise I will.
PETER: Hopefully the manga gets translated, but, yeah, it’s amazing. I think one of the most recent plot points is going to be one of the most complex emotional reactions I’ve ever had to media in its entirety.
AMELIA: [excitedly] And you can’t talk about it with anyone, ’cause none of us have seen it?
PETER: I mean, yeah, basically. Something really bad happens to a friend of one of the sisters, and she ends up needing to go to therapy. And you see that she visits her while she’s in therapy. It’s in this farm where there’s a lot of animals. You get to help out on the farm. You kind of… The idea is you are able to rebuild yourself there and slowly reintroduce yourself into social interactions with people your age.
And you see that she’s doing well, but you also see that she’s not quite over it. And it’s this really complex feeling of optimism and anger and resentment over what happened to her. It’s pretty—I can’t remember ever feeling that complex of a reaction. So many emotions you feel at the same time—just at this situation that it presents you with. It’s really good.
AMELIA: That’s really appealing. I need to watch this.
DEE: Yeah. Sounds good.
AMELIA: And speaking of “complex,” Ancient Magus’ Bride. That has been… That’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, by the sound of it.
AMELIA: I haven’t been watching it. The first few episodes felt a little bit… They felt almost “monster of the week” to me, and so I found it kind of hard to keep up and stay interested. But the last few episodes have sparked some really strong reactions. And I know you’re both watching this one, or have watched this one.
PETER: Yep. Yep.
DEE: [sighing] Yeah, we both finished it. I think we were both very disappointed with the final episode, and it’s hard to talk about without diving into Spoiler Town, so… I don’t particularly want to do a full podcast about Ancient Magus’ Bride, but we might have to at some point.
I think the anime veered off in its own direction in the final episode and wrote a completely original ending. And I can’t know that for sure because it’s surpassed the manga. And so I don’t know if they were building off of Yamazaki’s notes or if they just invented an ending for themselves.
It very quickly glosses over a lot of the big, serious, important things that had happened in the past few episodes, and shuffles the characters back to a status quo that it feels like the narrative, up to that point, had been challenging, and trying to push them away from. So, I hated the final episode. [pained laughter]
PETER: Yeah. Even worse, it went the opposite direction. You got whiplash, ’cause it didn’t even bring you back to the status quo. It went the other direction entirely.
DEE: Yes, that’s true.
PETER: It was traumatic, yeah. I am very confident that that’s not what’s going to happen in the next manga volume. I think that’s anime-original.
DEE: Yeah. The ending one-hundred percent… Well, I shouldn’t say “one-hundred percent,” because, again, the manga is caught up, so the ending came before whatever’s going to happen in the manga. If that is where the story goes, it’s very bad storytelling. I don’t know any other way to describe it.
There’s been a lot of setup in terms of pushing Chise towards acknowledging her own agency and self-worth and being more independent and the dangers of a codependent relationship. The ending of the anime really backtracks and, again, sort of handwaves. Which, I think, is maybe what was more upsetting to me, was they pretended like, “Oh, no, it wasn’t a big deal!”
PETER: Oh, yeah. It felt insulting, actually. In the final episode where—
DEE: [crosstalk] Yeah, it kinda did!
PETER: —she says now we’re gonna talk about how you betrayed me and tried to kill a child.
DEE: Yeah, and then they played it up like it’s comedic.
PETER: They converted to the chibi art style for that conversation, and I was like, [shocked] “What? Did you actually do that?” They’re chibi right now, and she’s like, “Why did you try to kill that kid?”
I don’t know. I guess it was an attempt to make it seem less serious because the context of the conversation was one of levity. It was bad. Yeah.
DEE: Yeah, again, I felt… I… So, I don’t think there’s any way to say this without sounding like I’m tooting my own horn. So, I guess I’m going to toot my own horn.
AMELIA: Do it.
DEE: I have watched and read and studied so many frickin’ stories over the course of my life that I typically have a pretty good feel for how things are going to go. That’s not to say that things don’t surprise me. They do. But I usually can feel like, “Oh, well, they’re dropping these nuggets and this is gonna get built on and addressed later.”
And the ending of Magus Bride was so opposite what it felt like it had been building up to at that point that I felt betrayed. And I don’t know the last time I’ve felt legitimately betrayed by a piece of fiction, because I usually go, “Oh, no, okay. I saw that coming.”
So, yeah. I hated the end. I was so mad at that ending. And I just pray the manga doesn’t go there. Because, if it does, I have to burn all my copies of the volumes, and that’s gonna be a bummer.
PETER: Yeah. Yeah. I… That’s why I’m confident that it was anime-related, because you could already see the way it was changing the story a bit to focus more on Chise and Elias. I think they thought that was a good selling-point, if I ‘m being really clinical about it.
DEE: Yeah. I agree.
PETER: They really leaned into the ship, and, honestly, that was probably a smart thing to do. Because I… Just from my own observations, that’s what people were watching the show for. They wanted Chise x Elias. That’s what it was all about. At least for a good portion of the fanbase.
But, I mean, I think both of us, when we saw the turn in episode 21, it seemed so well-composed. You could look back at every single interaction they had and know it was leading toward that point. Then the way… It basically sweeps all that work under the rug in the next two episodes.
I feel like if Yamazaki put that much effort into creating that narrative turn, unless it’s for sake of convenience or because there’s only two episodes left, she wouldn’t have just gotten rid of all that work. That’s very… Just the way that the series unfolded… I got so much respect… I respected Yamazaki, already, for the story she was telling, but after that moment, I was—
DEE: [crosstalk] Yeah. Same. She really earned my trust.
PETER: Like, “Is this a masterpiece, actually?” My respect for her ballooned in that scene. And then when I read it later in the manga, ’cause it was really slightly afterward… And even that scene was composed a bit differently, [which] we talked a little bit about.
DEE: It was. Yeah. They cut some of the harsher lines from the anime, I think, in an attempt to make their soft ending land. But we’ll see. We don’t actually know. It’s possible the manga will also make us very, very angry.
PETER: I hope not.
DEE: But I sincerely hope not, because, again, Yamazaki, I feel, has really earned my trust up to this point. So we’ll see, I guess.
PETER: Yeah. Right now, I think we’re just both waiting for the next volume to come out.
DEE: But it sucks, ’cause now I can’t recommend the anime, and I might not be able to recommend the manga, and I’ve been very high on both of them for a while now, so…
AMELIA: You can recommend 22 episodes.
PETER: That’s what I was about to say. I can recommend the anime as a 22-episode series. I’d say the conclusion of episode 22 is very beautiful because it covers a lot of Chise’s backstory and she gets a really good emotional conclusion. And then you just stop watching at 22.
DEE: And I think it does a pretty good job of handling… I think so many series really push towards that idea of “you have to forgive your parents no matter what,” and I like that Magus Bride—it allows Chise to find peace, but it doesn’t force her to forgive the terrible things that her mom did to her before that.
So, yeah. Obviously it’s emotional. I’m sure there are people who are gonna have different reactions to it. But I thought they handled it really well.
PETER: Yeah. Definitely. That was a very good end. [laughs]
DEE: Yeah. Shame about those final two episodes. [jokingly] Shame they never aired! Shame we never saw what happened next.
AMELIA: Well, that sounds like a good point to close this particular podcast.
AMELIA: Honestly, it’s been a really strong season.
DEE: I would say a surprisingly pleasant season. I really didn’t expect a lot to come out of it, and there was a lot of really nice, fun shows.
AMELIA: Yeah. Absolutely. And there’s a few that I feel like I could share with other people, even if they’re not necessarily anime fans.
DEE: Oh yeah. For sure.
AMELIA: And I really appreciate that. So, yeah. Good season overall. Looking forward to Spring—
AMELIA: —which has, what? Fifty titles?
DEE: So many! And that’s not counting sequels. That’s just new stuff and franchise shows.
PETER: Well, spring… This season looks really good though. I’m really excited about the season.
DEE: It looks… Well, there’s certainly quantity. Now we’ll see if there’s gonna be quality as well.
PETER: Oh, yeah. You never know until it starts, I guess.
DEE: Well, again, I didn’t expect much out of winter and we ended up having some really good shows here.
PETER: Yeah. For sure.
AMELIA: Yeah. I’ve been really impressed. And looking forward to the next one. Although, the next few weeks are going to be hairy. [laughs] ‘Cause we’ve got, what? Forty-four premieres.
DEE: [tense] Mm-hm. Yep! Yep! Divin’ in!
AMELIA: Just a shoutout to thank everyone who contributed to our campaign to sponsor the premiere reviews and to our Patreon. We have actually been utterly successful with both goals. We asked for $880 to be able to cover these 44 premieres and we actually made almost double. I think we’re at $1720 at the moment, or something like that. It’s been overwhelming. And our Patreon is now very nearly—I’m just gonna check quickly—but it’s very nearly at $1800, which is just $200 away from breaking even.
DEE: That’s close!
AMELIA: We’re $1795. Last Saturday, just one week ago, we were at $1436—not that I was paying attention.
AMELIA: It’s been really, really touching how many people have come out and said, “No, this is really valuable to us. This is something we really appreciate, we have a use for, and we wanna make sure it continues.” And a lot of people have told us that and people are voting with their wallets for this. So, thank you so much.
We… I can’t express enough gratitude for this, but we will be keeping going with it. There was a time we thought we might have to drop them or reduce them—Dee and I certainly have discussed alternate ways we could approach it. We don’t need to. We absolutely don’t. We now have… As long as our Patreon—
DEE: [crosstalk] Stays where it is.
AMELIA: —more or less stays where it is—yeah, and hopefully grows—we are absolutely safe for premiere reviews going forward. So, thank you to everybody who contributed to that. Very much appreciated.
DEE: Yes! Thank y’all so much. And tell your friends! Tell your friends about us! Maybe they’ll wanna throw a couple bucks at us too.
AMELIA: We only need one.
DEE: And then we can bring you more content!
AMELIA: One dollar a month. And, on that subject… [laughs] You can find our work at animefeminist.com. You can find us on Twitter, @animefeminist. You can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/animefem. We’ve got a Tumblr, animefeminist.tumblr.com.
And, as mentioned, we do have a Patreon. This is patreon.com/animefeminist. All of the money that we use, it’s actually listed on our Patreon page where every dollar goes. And I’ve now even added in I think 10% to go towards Patreon fees. I’ve really broken it down so you can see that almost all the money goes to paying people. Anything that isn’t Patreon fees, basically, at the moment, goes to paying people. Once we pay everyone for everything that they do, it will go toward hosting. $2,000 is our “break even” number. We’re not quite there.
So, you know exactly where your money is going to. It’s going to creating content. It’s going to the people who are creating that content. And I’m constantly impressed by the work that the team does. I’m really proud of what Anime Feminist achieves, and it’s only possible because we do have patrons.
And every dollar counts. I cannot emphasize this enough. One dollar a month absolutely contributes to keeping us running, to keeping us producing all of this work for you. And if you give us five dollars a month, then you get access to our exclusive Anime Feminist Discord server, where we can have conversations like this all day, every day, if you would like. So, if you can spare a dollar a month, go to patreon.com/animefeminist and help us continue our work.
Thank you so much to Dee and Peter for joining me today. This has been a really interesting discussion. Run slightly long, but I think you’ll all agree it was worth it. Probably, next season is gonna be about three hours long, so look forward to that.