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