Anime Winter Season 2018: Final Thoughts

2018 winter anime

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

Citrus • 9/10
Studio: Passione • Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Yuri

citrus yuri anime
In case you missed our numerous posts about this show, let me simply repeat myself: This anime was probably how many of us imagined the manga coming to life. The perfect voice acting and fluid animation surely proved that after seasons of low budget yuri shows and having to live with mostly yuri subtext in general, the slightly longer wait for this one was definitely worth it.

Even people who didn’t enjoy the manga came to appreciate what the anime version had to offer, and I absolutely see why. While the drama level might be as high as in the manga and while Mei might still seem like a cold-hearted idiot, the anime provided us with a slightly different view, and that was much needed. Kisses suddenly don’t seem random anymore, and you can see a purpose behind them that is not only to look good or reach the required yuri-level in each and every chapter/episode.

Well, it of course also comes with the drawbacks of sometimes being too fast-paced, lacking in animation quality, at times, and, of course, not being able to match the amazing art style of the manga. But all in all, this was a very, very worthy anime adaptation that many of us came to love. WE NEED A SECOND SEASON!

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni • 8.5/10
Studio: Wit Studio • Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Romance

koi wa ameagari no you ni
This anime centered around a touchy subject (age gap romance), and in Koi wa Ameagari no You ni‘s case, it’s compounded by the fact that it’s the male who’s the older party. When I first read the synposis for this anime, I was kind of dumbfounded. This anime very easily could have been a trainwreck, but through some sort of black magic, it ended up being far better than I ever would have imagined. The romance between Akira and Kondo is handled expertly, and at no point did I feel like this approached predation, believe it or not.

Although it may seem as if this anime is solely about a May-December romance, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Both Akira and Kondo had been dealing with personal issues that stem from their loss of something they were passionate about. A serious injury robbed Akira of the ability to run track (which in turn ends up driving apart her and her best friend), and back when he was still young, Kondo abandoned his love of writing in order to settle down and start a family (expectedly, the relationship didn’t last). In each other, they find something that they had lost, and their relationship becomes this complicated tug of war that neither of them fully understand.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see their relationship progress further, but I think going that route would’ve lost a lot of what made this anime special. As it stands, I thought this was a charming and fascinating portrayal of adolescence, with enough drama and comedy to easily recommend to those who enjoy romance anime~

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san • 6/10
Studio: Studio Gokumi / AXsiZ • Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

ramen daisuki koizumi-san
This is one of those anime where the title literally says it all: Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, a.k.a. Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles. That’s the entire plot, people. Well, this is a comedy/slice of life, so no big deal if it’s just ramen porn, I guess. For too many episodes, I just simply felt indifferent about it all. I think Koizumi going around town to try different flavors of ramen got stale pretty quickly, and that was especially true if Koizumi was all by herself. Things weren’t too much better when the focus (briefly) shifted away from ramen either…

Koizumi is so distant and uninterested in others that it she isn’t the easiest person to like. I don’t think she added much to the anime, save for a deep knowledge of ramen, but without her, we wouldn’t have been treated to what ultimately saved this anime for me, Yuu. Her interest in Koizumi provided the comedy (and yuri) that kept me interested in this show, and if it weren’t for her, I probably would have dropped this early in the season. About that yuri, it’s pretty much solely there for laughs, and Koizumi is too absorbed in her precious ramen to care that Yuu is into her. As for the other characters, they were pretty forgettable, so let’s not even talk about them anymore.

I feel like this might’ve been more entertaining as a short-form anime, since the one-dimensional plot would’ve been right at home with a five to ten-minute runtime. As it stands, this plain wasn’t entertaining enough for me to really enjoy. The characters could’ve been more compelling, there definitely could’ve been more comedy, and the one-note story could’ve been more more diverse. If you were wanting to watch an anime where cute girls do cute things, you could probably find better options from this season. But if you’re a real-life Koizumi-san that’s fueled by ramen, you may like this one.

Violet Evergarden • 8.5/10
Studio: Kyoto Animation • Length: 13 Episodes • Genre: Drama, Fantasy

violet evergarden
Even though I’m not familiar with it myself, the Violet Evergarden series of light novels seemed to be well-received, so it was easily the most hyped new show of the winter, and I was looking forward to seeing if it could live up to that hype. Thirteen episodes later, as nice as the series was, I feel like it could’ve been even better. Coming from KyoAni, it’s no surprise that it looks absolutely gorgeous, and believe it or not, there’s no queerbaiting at all!

After the first episode, the next few episodes feel like the story is sort of stuck in a rut, but things sort themselves out, and Violet’s character development really picks up. It’s nice seeing how Violet—a former orphan, soldier, and “weapon”—slowly comes to understand people’s (and her own) emotions, and the impact that Violet’s words and actions have on other people (and vice-versa) help make the story really impactful. The flashback scenes detailing Violet’s backstory weren’t quite as interesting to me as the post-war tale of her struggles on the path to personal growth and acceptance. To me, this anime almost feels like it was meant to be a two-cour series, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing more stories of people having their lives changed after encountering Violet, but thirteen episodes will suffice.

Admittedly, this probably isn’t the most exciting subject matter, and I could understand if some people were to find this anime a little boring at times. That said, I can’t deny that for all its faults, Violet Evergarden was still a gem, and anyone who enjoys great character-driven anime can’t go wrong with it.

Yuru Camp△ • 8/10
Studio: C-Station • Length: 12 Episodes • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

yuru camp
Whereas Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san was an underwhelming slice of life, Yuru Camp△ was the exact opposite. They’re both centered around something specific, but there’s just a certain charm present in Yuru Camp△ that I don’t think was there in Koizumi-san. While there isn’t much in the way of story, the simple act of hitting the great outdoors is surprisingly enjoyable, and no doubt that the cast of characters play a large part in this anime’s success.

For most of the series, Rin is off camping on her own, so it’s up to Nadeshiko, Chiaki, and Aoi to prove themselves capable of shouldering the load, and they prove themselves more than capable. Their chemistry together is pretty great, and even if the story is rather uneventful, they never cease to find ways to entertain. When they have time together, Rin and Nadeshiko are equally as entertaining, so I would have liked to have seen Rin spend more time with the others, yet she fares well enough on her own that I’m okay with how things played out. Plus, it made their get together something to look forward to.

Despite having a main cast comprised solely of girls, there really isn’t anything worth mentioning regarding any possible yuri. Sad, but kind of expected. Anyway, when I pick up a slice of life anime, I’m usually looking for something light and fluffy, easygoing, funny, and simply entertaining to watch. That really describes Yuru Camp△ to a T. If you’re into cute girls doing cute things, there’s a good chance you’ll like what this anime has to offer. It’s slow-paced and deliberate, yet very charming, and simply put, it’s slice of life done right.

Shows dropped: Dagashi Kashi 2, Ito Junji: Collection, Pop Team Epic, Slow Start


26 thoughts on “Anime Winter Season 2018: Final Thoughts

  1. These were some interesting picks, especially considering what aired. I’m glad you enjoyed these shows, though I must admit we did differ quite a bit on Evergarden and After The Rain. Spot on with Yuru Camp and roughly with Citrus too.

    But most importantly:

    You didn’t pick up A Place Farther Than The Universe?!!!

    Not only was it a very important yuri moment (it would be spoilers, but OG made a special post about it), it was also one of the best anime I’ve seen since Shirobako. It was a character driven drama somewhat like Hibike! Euphonium, but much tighter. With a great production courtesy of Madhouse, some really impressive direction and an abundance of heavy hitting moments to the tune of insert-songs or silence, the anime was a real treat. I cried like 10 times? But it also had me laughing and grinning from cheek-to-cheek.

    A big yuri anime you missed as well was Slow Start. It looked like basic cute-girls show but it was actually unbelievably gay, and surprisingly good too. Ironically, it did have a slow start (lol).

    I’m sure you’ve heard about Maerchen Maedchen’s production mess? Shame because it looked like one of the strongest yuri contenders at the start of the season. Ended bottoms up though.

    The 2-cour Toji no Miko has been one of my favourites! After a poor opening episode, the series quickly turned into something really quite surprising, with fantastic fight choreography and a huge cast of great characters with impressive constellation. Some fantastic yuri ships, too! There’s a lot of pairwork going on and natural shipping happens, but the most surprising pair of all have some seriously blush-worthy moments.

    How are you feeling about the next season? It looks a bit bleak to me personally. Other than my unusually high levels of hype for the edgefest in Mahou Shoujo Site (with guaranteed yuri, according to some manga readers on /u/), and Comic Girls’ first episode did some have some considerable gay moments though was otherwise unremarkable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • B-M is right, you guys should totally watch Sora yori mo Tooi Basho/A Place Farther Than The Universe!! Admittedly, I completely missed the yuri angle to the show until you mentioned it just now and it kinda hit me like a ton of bricks! Shrikes, you imbecile, of COURSE she’s gay. 😛

      I’ve also tried to watch slow start but it really does start slow. I can’t seem to get past the first episode. I guess I’ll give it another go.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I wasn’t sure what to make of A Place Farther Than The Universe, so I kind of passed on it, but sounds like I should give it a go! 😀

      I also stalled on Slow Start after the first episode. Will just have to circle back around to it once I get through some other shows.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ehhhh, I wanted to… but I didn’t. 😛

      That’s some glowing praise, so I guess I’ll add it to my list then. Thanks~

      I dropped Slow Start after the first episode. Even though I thought I saw some yuri potential, it seemed kinda meh, so I didn’t give it another chance. And now, months later, it finally gets that chance! Thanks, I’ll probably restart on it in the near future~

      I originally thought about picking Maerchen Maedchen up, but the negative word of mouth nixed that idea. As for Toji no Miko, I haven’t officially dropped it yet, but I haven’t gone beyond the first episode either, so maybe I’ll get back to it… or maybe I won’t. 😀

      I think I’m gonna really like this season. It’s not yuri, but I’m all kinds of hyped for Steins;Gate 0. I normally shy away from two-cour series, but this is a rare exception~

      And between another season of Amanchu!, Comic Girls, Tachibanakan Triangle, WIXOSS, and maybe even Cutie Honey Universe or Uma Musume, there might be some yuri-ish moments to make those shows worth watching.

      And since you mentioned that about Mahou Shoujo Site, I might pick that one up as well.

      There are a couple of other shows like Caligula and Hinamatsuri that I want to give a chance. Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai and Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii seem like promising romcoms, so I’ll give those a go as well.

      Yup, it’s gonna be a busy season for me… 😀

      Liked by 4 people

      • Oh yeah it’s definitely looking like a busy season for me too. I’m picking up a lot but actually expect to drop a lot too – the only things I’m feeling concrete about are Hisone to Maso-tan, the new Precure, Mahou Shoujo Site and Toji no Miko’s 2nd cour. I’ve given a shot to a lot of the ones you’ve mentioned but they’re likely the first to go if it gets too stressful keeping up.

        If you can get back around to Slow Start and SoraYori definitely do! It might be tricky with how busy everything is, but the former is definitely an unmissable yuri moment of 2018.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Oh wow, you weren’t kidding, this thing really, really does have a slow start! I finally came back around and slogged through the tedious beginnings.
          But once you get past the first four episodes (Hana’s social anxiety can be a bit much at times), you’re into some good yuri moments.
          I think almost all the yuri tropes get some service here. Though it does straddle the subtext-yuri border, it certainly does come through. 😀
          Yay event still shots! 😛

          Liked by 1 person

          • I finally finished watching it as well, and the review is nearly done, but the show was surprisingly gay.

            Not sure how much I would’ve enjoyed the show without it, but you can’t go wrong with more yuri, right? 😛

            Liked by 1 person

  2. You really should give Slow Start another chance. It starts really slow but it become better latte also there’s a lot of yuri in it and not just undertones!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to see the mention of a lack of yuri in Yuru Camp. So many shows with similar-ish setups lean so heavily on the yuri subtext but Yuru Camp really had pretty much none of it. As much of a yuri fan as I’ve come to be, I actually respect that. No baiting or teasing, just friendship and I’m cool with that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was expecting it to come, but it just didn’t really happen. Perhaps if Rin and Nadeshiko had spent more time together, though, it was nice to just sit back and not have to inspect every interaction with yuri goggles. A nice change of pace~

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Naturally, I loved Citrus this season, but weirdly the anime that I waited for breathlessly every week was Violet Evergarden. (I’m beginning to suspect that I’m biased toward anything that is made by KyoAni…) The whole series is just eye candy, but I also feel like they smushed it into 13 episodes when it was meant to be at least 24.

    I haven’t yet finished Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, but it was surprisingly relateable simply because it featured a ramen shop that has branches where I live and one that my son and I go to at every available opportunity: Ippudo. It feels odd, as if the anime visited my home town. The animation of the food there is spot on and now makes me want to go to japan and try the other places they mention in the show. 😛

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, it did kind of feel like it was meant to be a two-cour series. Was still pretty enjoyable for me, though~

      In episode 6 of Koizumi-san there’s a cute little German kid that Koizumi finds at one of the ramen shops. Maybe the producers traveled the world to scout their restaurants, found you two, and you inspired them to create that scene! Woar, you’re a celebrity now!!! 😀

      ^^ Of course, for legal reasons, they couldn’t use your likeness, but that’s you two! 😛

      Liked by 3 people

          • LOL! I seem very feminine and not at all man-ish… I suppose that look would be an improvement. 😛

            Koizumi-san speaks a tiny amount of German in that episode (which, given my kindergarten level German I could sort of figure out). How cringe-y is it for a native German speaker? Lena?

            I doubt that they found me or my son because we would have had our faces in our bowls the entire time. X-D

            Also, why is it that I can totally see myself putting half my ramen into a kiddie bowl and giving it to shade? Nah, who am I kidding? Shade’d get 3 noodles and a spoon of soup, tops. 😛

            One of these years, (maybe when Lena isn’t terrified that we may all be stalkers) we can meet up in a ramen shop in Japan, ignore each other, eat and go home. it’d be the first Yuri Reviews Koizumi-san meet up.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Bad German in shows is always so damn weird… They try so hard to make it sound real, but that usually makes it even worse 😀

              Also, yeah, I love ramen and not talking too much while I eat, so I approve of this idea 😀

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I share a lot of your feelings about Citrus. I’m not the biggest fan of the manga, but while it had its share of problems – pacing, character development, a basic understand of consent – I thought the anime did the big romantic moments between Yuzu and Mei quite nicely, especially in the last episode. But the best thing is that it’s a 100% yuri story with two girls who kiss on camera, hold hands and deal with relationship issues. Yuri subtext is nice and all, but it gets stale and boring pretty quickly and it’s great to see a show where the leads express affection out in the open. My biggest hope for Citrus is that it’s popular enough to not only get a second season but also to encourage other, maybe better yuri manga to get adapted – Bloom Into You and A Kiss And A White Lily are the first ones that come to mind. Or what about a TV adaptation of Kindred Spirits On The Roof? Crazy, I know, but we can dream.

    I’m not surprised that you dropped Slow Start. I tried watching about half the season myself, but it has way too much fanservice for my taste. I got to the swimsuit episode and the sheer cringe alone made me shut it off. Plus, that much subtext without seeing so much as a single kiss on camera was super frustrating.

    For the new season I’m hopeful for that Comic Girls show. It has… I don’t know, maybe a New Game kind of vibe? K-on? There’s definitely going to be subtext based on the trailer, but I don’t know the source material so we’ll see if there’s more to it than that.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I would love to go all out and answer to what you said on Citrus, but my next post which will be posted in a few hours will cover exactly that, so I wont spoil anything now 😀


  6. I’m lagging a bit on this season, but besides Citrus I did manage to finish Yuru Camp, which was just awesome from start to finish.
    Rin and Nadeshiko make for a great subtexty couple! The way the standoffish Rin eventually let’s her in is a slow progression that was a delight to behold.
    Every episode just let me kick back, forget the world for a while, and put a stupid grin on my face. 😀
    And don’t forget the food, their meals figured pretty prominently in almost every show, from some instant ramen to a full blown feast, it always helped bring them closer to each other.

    They are all so dang cute together:

    Liked by 1 person

    • The studio doesn’t have a very impressive resume, so my expectations weren’t too high, but it turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the season for me~

      I’m guessing there isn’t enough material for another season, but I still have my fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Citrus was a surprise hit this season in my opinion. Solid animation and a pretty faithful if slightly rushed adaptation of a great yuri manga. Now I just have to torrent it and REALLY sit down and watch it! 😛 They ended the series off on a solid point but hopefully when the manga ends we will hear about a season 2! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s