Take our hand, AniFam, and let’s explore these new shows together.
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 is off the table as well.
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.
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!
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!
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 2020 Premiere Chart for the legal streaming sites carrying each series. Check to see if a show is available in your region!
WINTER 2020 PREMIERE DIGEST
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.
Premieres that so far seem to be addressing progressive ideas or themes without also having any significant caveats we need to tell readers about.
- The Case Files of Jeweler Richard (Episodes 1-2): Episodic mystery series that will live and die by its cases; both so far have dealt with marginalized individuals.
- Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (Episodes 1-2): A joyful adventure series about three awkward teen girls trying to make anime.
- Smile Down the Runway (Episode 1): Stars a short girl who wants to be a supermodel and a poor boy who wants to be a fashion designer; could be more ambitious, but the cast is very likable.
Similar to the above category, but in addition to all those possible feminist themes, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.
- If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan, I Would Die (Episodes 1-2): An idol/fan yuri romance that wavers between surprising sweetness and honesty about the hardships of being an underground artist, and borderline creepy fantasy.
- In/Spectre (Episode 1): Supernatural action series with a disabled heroine; potential future age-gap relationship (characters who are 17 and 22).
- Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story (Episodes 1-2): Introduces new characters but builds on the original Madoka Magica‘s use of witches as commentary.
- 22/7 (Episode 1): While denouncing the idol industry in its surreal inaugural episode, 22/7 also sets itself up to praise it in the coming weeks.
Very little to warn folks about, but also not a ton of progressive ideas to chew on so far either.
- A Destructive God Sits Next to Me (Episode 1): Chuuni comedy that sits between underwhelming and somewhat mean-spirited.
- A3! Spring and Summer (Episode 1): Dull, uninspired, and poorly written theatre drama based on a gacha game.
- ARP Backstage Pass (Episode 1): VR idol show only meant for fans of the multimedia project; very light fanservice.
- Asteroid in Love (Episodes 1-2): Somewhat unfocused hobby anime with yuri undertones.
- BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense (Episodes 1-2): A warm, laid-back comedy about girls playing an MMO.
- Infinite Dendrogram (Episode 1): Two brothers play a fancy new MMO where the NPCs have overcome the uncanny valley through hyper-advanced artificial intelligence.
- Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga (Episode 1): An absurdist comedy about Sengoku Era warlords reincarnated as dogs.
- Somali and the Forest Spirit (Episode 1): Cute fantasy version of a single dad anime, with an ancient golem caring for a young girl.
- Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun (Episodes 1-2): Sweet, melancholy ghost story with gorgeous direction and a great cast.
- Uchitama?! Have You Seen My Tama? (Episode 1): Friendly cats and dogs cutely hang out as anthropomorphized people.
Premieres that weren’t actively hateful, but still raised some noteworthy caveats or concerns.
- Darwin’s Game (Episode 1): A double-length inaugural episode progresses at a breakneck speed that prioritizes violence for story; the premiere ends with the archetypal yandere girl naked in bed, asking the protagonist to “make a family” with her.
- Hatena Illusion (Episode 1): A potentially interesting story about stage and real magic; features occasional fanservice in its depiction of women and a maid who wants to play matchmaker with middle schoolers.
- ID: Invaded (Episodes 1-3): Procedural about diving into murderers’ psyches; heavy gore, depictions of mass shootings and suicide; fridging.
- number24 (Episode 1): Quiet character drama about a college rugby team; fatphobia/body-shaming.
- Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It (Episode 1): Two scientists who want to bone down try to prove it’s love; some fanservice.
- Sorcerous Stabber Orphen (Episode 1): 1990s fantasy remake about a brother looking for his dragon-fied sister; fanservice.
A whole lotta yikes.
- Pet (Episodes 1-2): Two psychics find themselves stuck using their mind-altering powers to do shady work; the second episode reframes the first considerably, though ableism and casual queerphobia are still present.
- Seton Academy: Join the Pack! (Episode 1): A protagonist who hates animals enrolls in a private school full of anthropomorphic ones; significant fanservice; sexual harassment played for laughs.
Pit of shame
These shows need to go to their room and think about what they’ve done.
- Interspecies Reviewers (Episode 1): Fantasy dudebros review their sexual experiences with various humanoids; there’s heavy fanservice, but it’s the rape culture that damns it.
- Nekopara (Episode 1): Based on a series of erotic visual novels, the story is set in a world where cats are sentient, but possess only limited intelligence and are kept in captivity as pets by humans; infantilization and fanservice.
- Plunderer (Episode 1): Fantasy adventure with a heroine constantly assaulted by both the villains and the sleazy alleged hero.