2019 Winter Premiere Digest

By: Anime Feminist January 16, 20190 Comments
A young blonde woman holds up a black bookmark with a glowing pink heart gem and says "Everyone, do you have your bookmarks of guidance?"

Another batch of premieres watched and reviewed! Now that we’ve weathered the storm, it’s time to see what goodies have washed up on our shores.

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 (cough Netflix cough) is off the table as well. This left us with a surprisingly manageable 20 premieres in about two weeks.

Please note that we did not review The Rising of the Shield Hero as we did not think we’d be adding anything to the conversation that hadn’t already been said by others. We instead opted to promote organizations dedicated to helping rape and human trafficking survivors.

A man in a tophat and coattails stands next to a box and asks "Now, is there anyone who might wish to step inside the box?"

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 off that goal, but it’s been a personal wish of ours since launch and we hope to make it happen someday.

A group of magical girls stands on a precipice. Subtitles say "There were nine of us when we started. Only we five are left."

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 mechanic in a backwards cap wielding a crank like a weapon toward the camera. subtitle: Alright!

Why do you categorize them?

The purpose of these reviews is to give you, our readers, enough information so you can decide for yourselves whether or not to watch a show. There’s greater access to anime than ever before, and we want to help you find anime you can truly love, without wasting your time on a show which contains an automatic deal-breaker, be that fanservice, homophobia, the sexualization of children, and so on.

Individuals can find value in the unlikeliest of places, 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 merit takes precedence, with overall narrative quality coming second and personal preference a distant(ish) third.

Shows containing feminist themes are at the highest end and those containing anti-feminist themes 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!

A gray-and-white cat licks its lips while standing next to a saucer with sashimi in it. Subtitles read "I never dreamed I'd find anything besides books that inspired me so much."

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

This will vary depending on where you live, but you can browse Yatta-Tachi’s Winter 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

  • The Magnificent KOTOBUKI (Episode 1): A high-flying adventure series about cool pilot ladies from the writing/directing team behind SHIROBAKO; could run into trouble if it turns out to be set in the real world rather than a fantasy one.
  • The Price of Smiles (Episodes 1-2): A somewhat standard “War is Bad” sci-fi mecha with several well-rounded female characters at the center of the story and some possibly genre-savvy narrative decisions.

It’s… complicated

  • Boogiepop and Others (Episodes 1-3): A supernatural mystery series seemingly interested in exploring cultural alienation and empathy; features a number of distinct, active female characters, but also leaves a trail of murdered girls in the wake of its first story arc; possession elements may lead to some gender essentialist implications.
  • Dororo (Episode 1-2): A well-made historical horror-fantasy whose two protagonists are disabled and transmasculine respectively, but the older source material means those issues may be handled poorly from a contemporary perspective (its approach to disability in Episode 2 is extremely 1960s in that it’s attempting to be humanizing but potentially comes off  as condescending).
  • Grimms Notes the Animation (Episode 1): Fairy tale-inspired adventure series about people locked into predefined roles, but it’s unclear if it’s intending to challenge that world or uphold it; similarly, there’s some gender-fluidity built into the main cast’s transformations, though no clear indication of how well it will be handled going forward.
  • The Promised Neverland (Episode 1): A horror thriller with a strong, clever, and determined female protagonist and a monster metaphor that functions as social critique; also features a borderline-caricatured visual design of its most prominent Black character.

Harmless fun

  • Bermuda Triangle ~ Colorful Pastrale (Episode 1): Cute but archetypal mermaid girls doing stuff; half-hearted worldbuilding and a directionless story.
  • Dimension High School (Episode 1): A campy puzzle-solving show featuring a blend of live-action and animation starring bland bishounen archetypes; a sassy meteor is their mascot.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Episode 1): A comedy series about power struggles in relationships that takes care to keep its two leads on equal footing while also mocking them for their hyper-competitive worldviews.
  • kemurikusa. (Episode 1): Post-apocalyptic sci-fi by the Kemono Friends team; uses its limited assets and sometimes wonky CG in creative, interesting ways.
  • My Roommate is a Cat (Episode 1): A cute pet story starring a grumpy antisocial writer and the stubborn stray cat who adopts him.
  • Pastel Memories (Episode 1): A mobile-game adaptation about fighting to preserve otaku culture with steampunk magical girls; the minorest of boob nonsense, but mostly just dull.

Yellow flags

  • Domestic Girlfriend (Episode 1): A blatantly salacious melodrama about surprise stepsiblings and a teen boy who’s in love with his teacher; handles the interactions between the two teens well, but leans into a victim-blaming and “boys will be boys” mentality by the end of the episode.
  • ENDRO! (Episode 1): A basically harmless, sugary cute-girl-go-adventuring fantasy series with some ridiculously impractical outfits and racially stereotyped background characters
  • Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka (Episode 1): A battle-hardened magical girl attempts to return to civilian life only to be pulled back into combat; bordering on campy, with lots of gore; treats the main character’s PTSD with gravity but has a fair amount of boob nonsense and possibly an evil lesbian.
  • Meiji Tokyo Renka (Episode 1): An otome adaptation featuring an active female protagonist more interested in roast beef than romance; the boys are a bit too possessive for comfort; features a germaphobe character, though hard to tell if he’ll be handled with sympathy or not at this point.
  • W’z (Episode 1): An indirect sequel to Hand Shakers that’s just as ugly-looking as its predecessor, with some uncomfortable dehumanizing undercurrents towards the female cast to boot.

Red flags

  • Girly Air Force (Episode 1): A love letter to the JSDF about female fighter jet AI who need male handlers to calm them and help them reach their full potential; probably Shinzo Abe Approved.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets (Episode 1): A harem comedy featuring the requisite amount of fanservice, but also an unlikable male protagonist who fat-shames one girl and creeps on another; one of the girls drugs him with sleeping pills.

Anime was a mistake

  • WATATEN!: An Angel Flew Down to Me (Episode 1): Lesbian pedophile anime (why is that a genre now?) about a woman trying to seduce her fifth-grade sister’s friend. It’s exactly as bad as it sounds.

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