Anime Winter Season 2018: First Impressions

2018 winter anime

It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our First Impressions of the winter anime season that just started~

Citrus
Studio: Passione • Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Yuri

citrus yuri anime
Since my most recent post is a full first impression of the first episode of Citrus, I guess I don’t have that much left to say other than YEEEEEEEEEEEEEES, THIS LOOKS AWESOME!!!

Okay, I composed myself again. So to put it in a less fangirly tone, let’s just say that the anime adaptation has thus far exceeded my expectations by quite a bit. When it comes to yuri anime, the quality of the animation, the quality of the voice acting performances, and, of course, the direction and pacing of this first episode, simply felt like something we haven’t gotten at all lately. It’s about time Citrus finally saves the day!

Read my full first impressions right here.


Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
Studio: Studio Gokumi & AXsiZ • Genre: Comedy

ramen daisuki koizumi-san
Interesting… so far, I can’t really say much more. The episode had a rather slow start in my eyes, as all we saw was main girl Koizumi eating ramen, getting aroused by it, and being mean to pretty much everyone, especially best girl, Yuu.

So far, she seems a pretty flat and annoying character that is only driven by one thing – her love for ramen. Yeah, you could say the title let us predict that much, but I guess I still felt like there was just something missing. Well, then again, maybe it was just the fact that I don’t like seeing lesbian characters getting rejected. 😛

I kind of have this bad feeling that Yuu will only stick around for comedic reasons, which means that she’s the yuri character that only fulfills the purpose of always getting rejected by Koizumi to get people to laugh. Oh well, hopefully they’ll prove me wrong! Also, don’t watch this show when you’re on a diet. I’m crazy hungry after watching this…


Dagashi Kashi 2
Studio: Tezuka Productions • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

dagashi kashi 2
The first season of Dagashi Kashi was somewhat enjoyable for me, so checking back in for another season was a no-brainer.

There’s been a change in studios from the first season to the second, with production moving from feel. over to Tezuka Productions, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. The slight alteration of character designs and coloring are the most immediate things you notice, but I don’t think those were problems to begin with, though, I guess things like that should have been expected (even if I prefer the first season’s visuals). Thankfully, the heart and soul of the series seems to remain intact, with all sorts of Japanese treats playing center stage, as well as Hotaru, one of my favorite characters of 2006.

It still kind of feels like they’re trying to sell you snacks, and I don’t think I liked the first season enough to ensure that I won’t drop this a bit later. So for me, Hotaru and Saya are the main reasons that I’m watching this anime, but since I’ve picked up so many shows this season, it might take a little more than that to keep me interested this time around.


Ito Junji: Collection
Studio: Studio Deen • Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural

ito junji collection
For a while now, I’ve been searching for a good horror anime, but instead, I’ve come across the likes of Yami Shibai, Kowabon, and Sekai no Yami Zukan, shorts that are anything but scary. Well, if the first episode is anything to go by, Ito Junji: Collection isn’t very scary either, but unlike the previously mentioned shows, at least it’s a full-length anime that seems to have some effort put into it.

The mood of the first episode is more along the lines of a dark comedy, and the quirky main character just killed any sense of tension for me. In fact, thanks to him, the episode was a lot funnier than I ever would have imagined. He was an entertaining character, though, from what I understand, this anime is a collection of stories, so I’m not expecting to see that much more of him. Later in the episode, another (short) story revolved around a girl who turned into a doll, and while that was more serious, it was a lot more forgettable than the main story, so maybe I wouldn’t mind him playing a recurring role…

It seems this show might take on a darker and more suitable tone in future episodes, so that’ll be something I’ll be looking forward to. Personally, I’d like something more along the lines of Another, Corpse Party: Tortured Souls, or Shiki, but at least this isn’t yet another season of Yami Shibai, so it should be enough to hold my interest for at least a while.


Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
Studio: Wit Studio • Genre: Romance

koi wa ameagari no you ni anime
Over the last several years, there have been a couple of romance anime that I’ve really loved—Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun and Ore Monogatari!!—and even though those are romcoms and this show isn’t, this is an anime that seemed really intriguing to me. The first episode brought us a first look at the main character, Akira, who works part-time at a local restaurant and finds herself falling for the manager, a 45-year-old divorcee with a young son. She’s seventeen, so it kind of blows my mind that we’re seeing an anime centered around an age gap romance.

This was a very sweet and wistful first episode, as Akira takes the first steps toward acknowledging her feelings and slowly acting upon them. I really enjoyed the deliberate pacing, and coming from Wit Studio (Shingeki no Kyojin, The Ancient Magus’ Bride), the animation is obviously gorgeous as well. The first episode wasn’t drama-filled and had some light comedy to help brighten things up, and I really hope that things stay this way, because this was very charming and delightful to watch.

If done well, I’m a sucker for something like this, and I now have high hopes that this can become an enchanting look at how—regardless of age, gender, or any other factor—you can’t control who you love~


Pop Team Epic
Studio: Kamikaze Douga • Genre: Comedy, Parody

pop team epic anime
Well, that just happened. This is the kind of show that you finish, sit back, then wonder to yourself: “What the hell am I doing with my life?”

This was about as random an anime as I’ve ever seen, and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it probably wasn’t this. Your Name., Pokémon, and Kemono Friends are but a few of the spoofs found in the first episode, which I didn’t find all that funny, but it was so strange that I couldn’t take my eyes away. Another headscratcher was how this show was listed at twenty-three minutes per episode, and while it certainly was that long, it was just a ten-minute episode repeated twice, with the second half being the exact same as the first, just with different voice actors. Curious…

The first episode of Pop Team Epic was just one huge meme, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained by it. I can see this growing old very fast, yet I can also see this show becoming a mindlessly weird time where you just turn off your brain and enjoy the cringe. We’ll just have to see which one it is.


Slow Start
Studio: A1 Pictures • Genre: Comedy, School, Slice of Life

slow start anime
For me, I’m usually not the biggest fan of slice of life anime that primarily take place at school. They’re often so similar that it starts to feel as if I’ve seen this many times before, and since there’s almost always little to no actual story, there isn’t a whole lot separating one show from the next.

After checking out the first episode of Slow Start, I feel like many of the same things can be said about this anime. This seems like your typical slice of life anime that throws all sorts of moe at you, and while this was certainly enjoyable to a degree, it’s pretty nondescript, and I’m worried that I’m going to eventually lose interest and end up dropping this. There are no shortage of cute girls (especially pint-sized Kamu), however, they all seem kind of bland to me.

I don’t think it’d be too surprising to see some yuri subtext eventually creep into this show—with the most likely pairing being Kamu x Eiko—but even this doesn’t entice me enough to think that this show will be any better than average. Anyway, we’ll see how things play out, and I hope this will end up being better than I’m expecting.


Toji no Miko
Studio: Studio Gokumi • Genre: Action, Fantasy

toji no miko anime
Looking at the slate of shows that I’ve picked up this season, there’s a noticeable lack of action anime, save for Toji no Miko. Coming into the season, I thought that this title looked fairly promising, and after the first episode, maybe I shouldn’t have been as optimistic as I once was. Neither the toji versus aradama battle early on, nor the swordfighting competition later on, could keep this from feeling surprisingly generic.

With an all-female cast that battles supernatural abominations, Toji no Miko reminds me a little bit of KanColle, but while that anime had plenty of charming characters, the first episode of this one didn’t do too much to inspire as much confidence in the cast. Said cast seems to be pretty large, so there’s clearly potential here, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if the main protagonist, Kanami, ends up being outshined by a few other girls (like Hiyori or Sayaka). She strikes me as one of those leads that ends up being completely forgettable, but it’s only the first episode, so I don’t want to rush to conclusions just yet.

Lastly, since there are so many girls, the possibility of some yuri moments is something that’ll probably keep me watching for a while, even if the overall quality of the anime doesn’t improve going forward. Whether it’s Kanami and Mai, Kanami and Hiyori, or some other girls that we haven’t seen as much, that would go a long way towards making this seem more interesting to me. This series should at least get a little better, with or without any subtext, but my first impressions left me wary and uncertain that this will turn out to be anything more than mediocre.


Violet Evergarden
Studio: Kyoto Animation • Genre: Drama, Fantasy

violet evergarden
The first episode of this show was premeired behind closed doors at Anime Expo 2017, and ever since then, I’ve been patiently waiting for us plebs to finally get a chance to watch it. Now that I have, it’s easy to see what the hype surrounding this anime is about, and even though it’s still very early, the hype might be justified.

Earlier I mentioned that Koi wa Ameagari no You ni was gorgeous, and while that’s true, Violet Evergarden is on a whole nother level. But that’s stating the obvious, so let’s just talk about something else. At first glance, it seems as though this anime is far from just a pretty face. The story—which revolves around lifelong soldier and “weapon” Violet finding her way after a great war that saw her lose both her arms—seems well-poised to be a touching story about love and loss, and considering how good this first episode was, I’m stoked to see how things develop over the next few months.

The year barely started, but it’s already looking like Violet Evergarden is going to be one of the best anime of the year. KyoAni gets a lot of shit from people, but they’ve historically made some really good anime over the years, and on the heels of 2017’s stellar Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, this could end up being one of their best works yet.


Yuru Camp△
Studio: C-Station • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

yuru camp anime
Unfortunately, the name of this anime isn’t Yuri Camp, nor is it Yuru Yuri Camp. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, so far, I think this is a pretty enjoyable slice of life. This season seems to have a couple of niche subgenres covered, with an anime about ramen, and now, an anime about camping. I’m not really an outdoorsy person myself, but this show almost makes me want to go buy a tent and explore the great outdoors.

Calm and serene, the first episode was about as pleasant a time as you can ask for, and even though only a couple of characters play major roles, the cast looks fairly promising. I don’t want to get my hopes up for any yuri subtext, so it helps that this might be enjoyable enough for me to embrace it nevertheless. If you’re into cute girls doing cute things, this might be worth a look, and even if that’s not exactly your bag, this looks like it could still be a cheery and endearing way to pass the time this winter~

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23 thoughts on “Anime Winter Season 2018: First Impressions

  1. Dagashi Kashi 2’s first episode was a disappointment to me compared to the previous season. They’re now half the length, and seem to have cut short the slice-of-life bits that helped tie the segments together. That part bothers me more than the change in character designs. I’ll continue to watch and see if it improves, but I’m worried it won’t live up to the first season.

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      • I really don’t want to but the first episode just didn’t have enough of what hooked me in the first place, and I wasn’t even originally interested in the show when it first aired. I’ll stick with it for now at least.

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    • Yes! Finally someone else agrees with my perspective on this! lol I don’t know if I like the new art style or not yet but the biggest loss is easily the slice of life elements and character development. I know a frequent dig against season 1 was that it was just advertising candy but it actually also had some fun and funny characters with an engaging story to boot. Now with the short episodes all we’re getting is the advertisements.. which is the one thing people complained about regarding the first season.

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      • Exactly, I came to like the first season so much despite it essentially being candy advertisements, but now it feels gutted.

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  2. Are you not keeping up with A Place Farther Than The Universe? That was my pick for AOTS since I started it!

    I’m so proud that I can talk about Citrus being one of my favourites of the season like… legitimately – that is, without bias. It’s actually really good. I can’t believe.

    I think (Citrus obviously aside) the yuri-potential picks of the season are Toji no Miko – with an episode 2 featuring a pretty obvious date between the leads and this little snippet in the ED (beautifully annotated by moi) https://i.imgur.com/Qj3X6dI.jpg Unfortunately though, the show’s rushed pacing and abundance of cool-things to show off isn’t getting its best side across, which is a shame because the character constellationing is actually off to a great start, and some of the ideas are really quite cool.

    The other pick is Maerchen Maedchen, where i don’t think it’s really a secret that the MC is pretty queer (https://i.imgur.com/bn2s0ns.jpg this is a fantasy she had briefly – clear MariMite parody). Maerchen Maedchen has only had 1 episode, but it really appealed to the side of me that loved Hina Logi – though it’s also kinda fanservicey, but not too much to make me turn it off. I’ve heard from source readers that it’s going to get a lot more gay, too.

    Speaking of yuri, how can we not talk about Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card? Well, Tomoya is still very gay… but it’s just about okay. Not as magical as the original series, and it’s pretty much just relying on all the same beats and jokes from before making it feel a little stale.

    I… couldn’t stomach Ameagari, I must admit. The premise is just too offputting. It was very well executed, but from a conceptual level and some of its directional moments are forcing something I just can’t accept too easily.

    Violet Evergarden was super pretty but it something about it is missing right now. I don’t really like Violet, but I also don’t think she deserves the constant patronising attitudes. The PTSD scenes were great, though.

    Yuru Camp is matching my expectations. I like it, and I really dig the educational moments. CGDCT usually start as they mean to go on, but it takes a while before they sink in for me, so I’ll wait and see how it is later in the season before I decide if it’s good or great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ehhh, I thought about picking that one up, but I figured I already had enough shows, so… no. 😀

      I can’t imagine I’ll keep watching all of those shows, so maybe I’ll eventually pick that one up!

      Woar! A highly anticipated pure yuri anime actually living up to the hype? After Netsuzou TRap, I’m only a little jaded. 😛

      I still haven’t watched the second episode of Toji no Miko yet. My head tells me it’s probably not going to be a very good series, but my heart won’t let me drop it, thanks to that yuri potential. Such a conundrum! 😀

      I wasn’t too enthused about Märchen Mädchen, but that’s nice to hear. Maybe when the season is over I’ll get around to finally watching (and potentially reviewing) it. We’ll see.

      Since I haven’t seen the original, I didn’t give that one any thought. And yeah, touchy subject for Ameagari. After I first read the synopsis, I think the shock factor was part of the reason I was interested in watching it (Wit Studio also probably helped). So unexpected to see something like that, but I can understand people being put off by the subject matter. Could’ve been sooo much worse, though! 😛

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      • Yeah there’s a LOT this season. It’s hard to keep up. Thankfully I’ve already put Ameagari and Pop Team on the drop list (sorry) so I’m a bit more able to keep up.

        I would definitely check out the 2nd episode of Toji no Miko. My gut’s telling me that its ideas…. could actually become something. It MAY just become a very good series with a rocky start.

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        • For me, after I watch the first episode or two of new shows, I usually just put off watching subsequent episodes until the season is nearly over and I need to have something written for the Final Thoughts post, so I understand completely. 😛

          The fact that Toji no Miko is two-cour is a little reassuring, so I might as well keep the ball rolling.

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  3. For me this season is all about Citrus. An adaptation of a great yuri manga series that will hopefully set a new bar for yuri anime moving forward! And help inspire more studios to make more yuri in general! 😛 People are still going on about it and I don’t blame them. I’ll be waiting for the torrent of the full season when its complete to binge watch it in one go. Man, how awesome Citrus is so far is really making me impatient for Kase-san and Tachibanakan Triangle, Can’t time move faster? T.T

    Liked by 4 people

    • I feel you, I was so blinded by Citrus, I hardly noticed anything else 😛
      I didn’t even realize that Violet Evergarden was airing too until I read Hardy’s first impression paragraph in the draft of this post 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • I wanted to pick up that one, but since I’m not the biggest mecha fan, it kind of scared me away. If I hear good things about it, I might eventually pick that one up~

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  4. Violet Evergarden is pure amazing, and it’s also right in the wheelhouse of things I absolutely love with the whole robot/android/etc. becoming human thing.

    Junji Ito is easily my biggest disappointment of the season so far. It just hasn’t really delivered on almost anything I was hoping it would be. And, given it’s anthology set up the best I’m hoping for is just a segment here or there that’s actually good. Even visually it’s not all that impressive as they’ve nailed the style but not the quality.

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    • The second episode was a lot better than the first, IMO. Kinda cheesy, but I still liked it.

      And Violet Evergarden is pretty awesome~

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  5. Been reading Yuru Camp on Dynasty, there’s a little subtext but yeah, not sure if it’s Yuri. I certainly didn’t know there was an anime adaptation coming out. So will definitely have a look.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so excited to watch Citrus! It looks so good, and I’m always going to love a good yuri anime! Usually, I’m used to reading/watching yuris where the MCs are older, so I really want to try this one out and see if I like it as much. Right now, I’m pretty invested in a K-manga that just came out about a woman realizing she has feelings for her new coworker (even though she has a boyfriend). It’s a really great series if you don’t mind the ‘I have a boyfriend’ troupe, or a few nsfw scenes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. for me this season im watching a lot like always but is a bit slower than past seasons and to be honest all about citrus cause its amazing!!! its so accurate to the manga and the cast nails the characters so well, im loving every single second of it and every single episode so far, cant help but rewatch as many times as i can. toji no miko reminded me of haifuri in a way so i do hope it can be as good as that was. violet evergarden looks so beautiful and im definitely enjoying it so far along with sora yori mo tooi basho and koi wa ameagari you ni. other animes this season like ramen daisuki koizumi-san and slow start i find cute and funny and im hooked onto them especially koizumi-san. then finally nanatsu no taizai’s second season also came out this season and its definitely good just waiting for the epic moments that will happen soon in the anime since ive read the manga for it and cant wait for them

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    • Whaaat, you like Koizumi-san?? I guess I’ll have to continue watching, but from the first episode alone she didn’t seem to be that…. nice 😛

      No one is allowed to treat my little yuri babys (Yuu) this poorly – even if they might enjoy it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • idk i just got hooked onto koizumi-san, maybe its because i like the fact that yuu is trying her best to become “friends” with koizumi and its cute tbh also the lalala ramen daisuki koizumi-san is very catchy

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  8. I hope that closer to the end of the Clear Card, Sakura and Meiling will be together as a couple. It’s just that I have a feeling that they will be together (I had a dream about it). YURI FOREVER!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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