2019 Spring Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist April 17, 20190 Comments
Two girls in school uniforms hold their heads. The one in front says "Oh, I was trying to give you a bright greeting"

Another batch of premieres watched and reviewed! Now it’s time to gather ’em all in one net and take a look at what we’ve caught.

Which shows do you review? 

We don’t review shows that are direct sequels, shorts, or for young children. Anything not licensed and/or immediately available (please join us in shaking our fists at Netflxi) is off the table as well. This left us with a surprisingly reasonable 16 premieres in about two weeks.

The three leads of Sarazanmai as kappa, striking a pose.

How do you write the reviews?

AniFem staffers Vrai and Caitlin handled most of the write-ups, with fellow editor Chiaki swooping in to help out here and there. We don’t always like or dislike the same shows, or to the same extent, but we respect and support one another’s positions and critiques.

Once we have more funding, we’d like to change our current model to provide a wider range of perspectives on more episodes. We’re a long way from that goal, but it’s been a personal wish of ours since launch and we hope to make it happen someday.

A blonde girl and a girl in braids glare at another teen girl, who looks frightened. Subtitles read "Hey, you. Don't you dare use those dumb excuses to pick a fight."

What do your reviews focus on? 

This varies by writer to some extent (some of us are more focused on visuals, others on narrative, and so forth), but as a feminist site it’s of course essential that we raise any issues of feminist interest.

When you read an AniFem review, you’re likely to learn about female character designs, queer representation, analogies to real-world marginalization, and so on. If you think we missed something, please comment under the review and let us know!

A teen boy wearing catchers' gear catches a baseball in his glove.

Why do you categorize them?

The purpose of these reviews is to give you, our readers, information to help you decide if you want to try a show. There’s greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find series you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show that contains an automatic deal-breaker, be that fanservice, homophobia, the sexualization of children, and so on.

Individuals can find value in any series, and we will never lead a boycott of a particular show, but we want to make it easier for you to get the most out of your limited time. In our digest, feminist-relevant themes and ideas take precedence, with overall narrative quality coming second and personal preference a distant(ish) third.

Premieres that seem to contain progressive themes are at the highest end and those featuring regressive ideas (or out-and-out hatefulness) are at the lowest. We expect some disagreement and welcome debate, so if you have any objections to our lists then by all means let us know in the comments!

Teen girls wearing sweatsuits stand on the edge of a baseball field. One girl is wearing a cat-eared hoodie. Subtitles read "That's totally okay!"

I found a show I’m interested in! Where can I watch it?

This will vary depending on where you live, but you can browse Yatta-Tachi’s Spring 2019 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!


The following titles are organized by categories, then alphabetically. Note that, because of the way premiere dates are staggered, we’ve had the chance to watch multiple episodes of some series. To give you a fuller picture of how much information we were working with when creating these rankings, we’ve marked how many episodes of each show we’ve seen.

Feminist potential
Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes without also having any caveats we need to tell readers about.

  • Fairy gone (Episodes 1-2): A European-inspired fantasy action series about two women, once childhood friends, who now find themselves on opposite sides of the criminal underworld.
  • Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life (Episodes 1-2): A school dramedy centered on a koto club that (somewhat clumsily) wants to talk about compassion for others and not judging people based on appearances; the second episode also introduces an ambitious, blunt female character as a prominent member of the cast.

It’s… complicated
Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.

  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Episodes 1-2): A Japanese historical fantasy that’s as focused on familial love and empathy as it is monster hunting; one of the two main characters is a girl-turned-demon who can kick some serious ass, but it’s hard to tell at this point if she’ll have a proper arc or be more of an object to forward her brother’s development.
  • Fruits Basket (Episodes 1-2): This new adaptation of the beloved early-’00s shoujo manga features diverse, fully realized female characters and a nuanced story about grief and healing, but its premise is also steeped in cis-heteronormativity; if it follows the manga faithfully, there may be some other issues later on, but we don’t want to make assumptions.
  • SARAZANMAI (Episode 1): Queer coming-of-age story about identity, relationships, and also BUTTS; “shirikodama extraction” concept leads to some assault-coded scenes.

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

  • AFTERLOST (Episode 1): Flat, wooden sci-fi series that spends its premiere focusing on a bland male protagonist instead of the apparently super-powered girl he’s traveling with.
  • Cinderella Nine (Episode 1): Despite the character’s impractical outfits, this is a bright lady-led baseball series focused on the joy of playing a game rather than the competitive drama of playing a sport.
  • Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu (Episodes 1-2): A sweet comedy about a girl with (extremely relatable) social anxiety learning how to make friends.
  • Midnight occult civil servants (Episode 1): Pretty boys solving disputes between supernatural creatures; clunky but harmless, and maybe a bit camp.
  • Mix (Episodes 1-2): Baseball series primarily starring male characters; does feature a younger sister who’s not an athlete but has thus far been treated like a co-lead.

Yellow flags
Premieres that weren’t actively hateful, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.

  • NAMUAMIDABUTSU -UTENA- (Episode 1): A bunch of Buddhist holy beings fight “vices” to save the mortal realm… or maybe it’s a sexy all-male Buddha Jersey Shore. A femme Buddha is present and voiced by a male voice actor, but this could go either way.
  • ROBIHACHI (Episodes 1-2): Buddy comedy space adventures; main character is a thoughtless jerkwad but he’ll probably improve; female characters mostly there for fanservice; queer-coded villain keeps making predatory comments.
  • Wise Man’s Grandchild (Episode 1): A straightforward isekai power fantasy void of the genre’s most heinous pitfalls (no slavery or blatant misogyny, yay!); features respected adult female mentors, but also an “assault threat” plot point used to make the protagonist seem more heroic that was immediately followed up by light fanservice.
  • YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of This World (Episode 1): An adaptation of a ‘90s erotic visual novel; sexualizes its female characters as expected of the genre, but it’s the protagonist being a relentless ass that really makes this unpalatable.

Red flags
A whole lotta yikes.

  • The Helpful Fox Senko-san (Episode 1): A fox spirit helps de-stress an exhausted programmer; two sweet leads whose dynamic is ruined by pedophilic dogwhistles.
  • We Never Learn: BOKUBEN (Episode 1-2): The first episode features a decent enough protagonist helping two girls pursue their dreams, but the second episode really brings it back to stereotypical harem fare, complete with assault played as comedy.

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