2020 Winter Anime Season: First Impressions

2020 winter anime season

It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our First Impressions of the 2020 winter anime season that just started~


Darwin’s Game
Studio: Nexus • Genre: Action, Mystery

darwin's game anime
Nowadays, it’s not too uncommon to find media (be it anime, movie, or whatever) that revolves around a deadly game, and now you can add Darwin’s Game to the list. This supersized first episode starts off with a guy in a mascot suit killing someone, which sounds kinda corny, doesn’t it? Well, this anime is already consistent, because it ends just as cheesy as it began…

“Darwin’s Game” is a mobile game that basically pits players against each other in battles to the death, and it seems that if you die in the game, you die in real life. That’s nothing new, and even though this episode felt really familiar, I found it kind of enjoyable. The battle sequences were alright, especially the ones involving Shuka, the blonde girl that kinda uses chains like Spider-Man uses webs (except he doesn’t stab people with the bladed tips :P). So far, Shuka seems like the most interesting character, and the protagonist seems like your run-of-the-mill guy who has no idea what’s going on, but lucky for him, he’s actually super powerful.

To me, this seems like one of those shows that is unlikely to get much better, so you’ll know early on whether you’ll like it or not. I think Darwin’s Game got off to an okay start, and while I wouldn’t be that surprised if it ends up getting worse instead of getting better, for now at least, this has my interest.


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

heya camp
Every once in a while, you just want to watch something nice and wholesome, and that’s when you turn to an anime like Heya Camp△, a spin-off of the super soothing Yuru Camp△. That said, I’m disappointed that this first episode was even shorter than Episode 0. I know that a real second season of Yuru Camp△ is on the way, but three minutes just seems like a cruel way to torture us, especially since Episode 0 of Heya Camp△ was five minutes long.

There was no actual camping in this short episode, but we got to see Nadeshiko, Aoi, and Chiaki again, though Rin was off probably once again doing her own thing. By now, we’re all used to this franchise’s brand of pure fluff, and it’s still entertaining, even with these short episodes. That just speaks to the overall charm of the franchise, and anyone who’s seen the original series should definitely know what I’m talking about.

Yuru Camp△ had practically no yuri to speak of, so don’t expect the fun-sized Heya Camp△ to be any different, however, a show like this can easily stand on its own without having to be propped up by anything. Even if you’re one of those CGDCT fans who somehow didn’t watch Yuru Camp△ (tsk tsk), at only a few minutes an episode, there’s no excuse not to watch this. It’s short, it’s cute, and it’s currently airing, so do yourself a favor and check it out.


ID:Invaded
Studio: NAZ • Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi

id invaded anime
This was an anime I picked up on a whim, mostly because I wanted at least one more show on this post, but it turns out that this was pretty interesting. This first episode was basically a murder mystery, yet it’s not as simple as suggesting it was Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the candlestick. 😛

The world that the main character, Sakaido (an amnesiac), finds himself in is fragmented and in need of being put back together (as is his own body), but he soon discovers a dead body, so that’s one more thing for him to have to figure out. While this is going on, we discover that there’s a whole ‘nother world apart from this fragmented world, and in this “real world”, detectives are also trying to solve this murder mystery and capture the serial killer responsible.

Anyway, I thought the story was pretty interesting, and because of the systems in place, this show kind of reminded me a little bit of Psycho-Pass. Unlike that show, it’s highly doubtful this will have any yuri, but through this first episode, color me intrigued anyway, and I’m curious where this will go.


Koisuru Asteroid
Studio: Doga Kobo • Genre: Comedy, School, Slice of Life

koisuru asteroid
The plot of Koisuru Asteroid is kinda amusing. A girl meets and makes a promise with a boy when she’s young and then reunites with him years later… only to discover that the boy she met was actually a girl. By now, your yuri senses should be tingling, which is why this show is an intriguing addition to the winter season. Their promise involved discovering an asteroid and naming it after him her, so it’s not a Nisekoi-type promise or anything, but it sets the stage for some yuri subtext to come our way, and throughout this episode, there were a lot of cute interactions between the two.

In this first episode, the formation of the Earth Sciences Club is already complete, and because it’s comprised of two former clubs (Astronomy Club and Geology Club), it seems we already get introduced to the main cast. It’s only been a short amount of time, yet I think the characters appear to be pretty charming and cute, and that newly rekindled friendship between Mira and Ao should be endearing them to plenty of yuri fans. Already, I’m probably enjoying this anime more than the shows from last season like Rifle is Beautiful, and that’s pretty symbolic of how craptastic 2019 was. Even though this is yet another CGDCT anime from Doga Kobo, this is looking like another solid one, and since the English title of this anime is Asteroid in Love, all signs point towards this being an anime that both slice of life fans and yuri fans should be aware of.


Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden
Studio: Shaft • Genre: Drama, Magic, Psychological, Thriller

magia record mahou shoujo madoka magica
I’ve never played the Magia Record mobile game, so I’m not familiar with these new characters or how closely it follows the story of said game, but it felt so nice to get back into the Madoka Magica universe that we all know and love. Magia Record looks and feels like Madoka, and I have to say that I think this spin-off got off to a really good start.

Iroha is the new protagonist, and this first episode wastes no time in making her fight Witches, which I like. No waiting for her to make a pact with the devil Kyuubey or anything like that, so episode one hits the ground running in that regard. We’re also introduced to another couple of magical girls, one of which appears to be a little aloof, and we later learn of Iroha’s wish that she made when she became a magical girl. All of these developments have already managed to get me hooked, yet I’d say that I’m mentally prepared for the inevitable tragedy that’s sure to come later on in the season.

Since I don’t know anything about the game, I’m left wondering where Magia Record fits in the Madoka Magica timeline and whether we can hope/expect to see some familiar faces, but even if this spin-off doesn’t intertwine too closely with the main series, this first episode definitely makes me believe that this could be worthy of the Madoka Magica name. There’s nothing to report as far as yuri goes so far, but let’s hope that as more magical girls are introduced, that quickly changes and we have some pairings to ship~


Nekopara
Studio: Felix Film • Genre: Comedy, Romance

nekopara anime
Since I had already picked up eight shows, I figured I might as well make it nine by picking up one more. Aside from knowing that it’s NSFW, I don’t know much about the Nekopara visual novel. But what I was expecting from the anime was cuteness overload with tons of cat girls, and I have to say, after watching the first episode, I’m a little disappointed. The main problem I had with this was that I didn’t think the cat girls were all that cute.

I mean, yeah, they had cat ears and tails, but when I directly compare it to somewhat similar shows like GochiUsa or Konohana Kitan, this is just lacking. Given the circumstances (an anime full of cat girls), I expected a lot of cuteness, but I probably wouldn’t rate it higher than “decent” on the Cuteness-o-meter™. And as you’d expect, there isn’t much to the story. A bunch of cat girls work at a patisserie under their human master. That’s seems to be about it, but again, story doesn’t really matter in these types of anime.

The biggest reason I started watching this was just me hoping for some yuri, but aside from Cinnamon imagining May feeding her strawberries and them kissing afterwards, there wasn’t anything of note in this episode. The actual Cinnamon and May interactions also didn’t make me feel like yuri was imminent, so that didn’t soften the blow. Cute girls doing cute things anime are a dime a dozen, and despite the ears and tails and nyas, this seems like just another one. There’s no way that all nine of the anime on this list are going to make it all the way to our Final Thoughts post, and my initial impressions lead me to believe that this could be the first one that I drop…


Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu
Studio: 8bit • Genre: Comedy, Music

oshi ga budoukan ittekuretara shinu
This was another of the expected yuri-ish anime of this season, and episode one gave us no reason to think that there won’t be at least some yuri subtext in this show. In the PVs, Eripiyo was looking like she could be the breakout yuri star of the season, and through all of her fangirling, I think she indeed made a very nice first impression.

Eripiyo’s easily the number one fan of Maina, a not-so-popular member of an idol group, and I really admired Eripiyo’s perseverance, since Maina seems to try to keep her distance from her. Given how hardcore Eripiyo is, it’s understandable that Maina might seem a little wary, but we later learn that maybe Maina isn’t really so opposed to Eripiyo’s extreme affection after all. I say extreme affection, but Eripiyo’s love for Maina seemed very wholesome and unlike some of these other obsessed yuri characters, so I kind of like that.

Overall, I enjoyed this first episode primarily because of Eripiyo. Maina and the idol aspects of the show seemed pretty forgettable to me, and Eripiyo’s friends/fellow fans were just okay, so the entertainment value of this episode really rested on Eripiyo’s shoulders. I have faith that she can live up to these expectations, and with Maina seemingly on the verge of telling her how she really feels, things may be looking up~


Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita.
Studio: Zero-G • Genre: Comedy, Romance

rikekoi anime
Because of the anime industry’s continued failure to deliver us legimate yuri romcoms, I have to keep getting my fix elsewhere, so RikeKoi is the latest het romcom that I’m giving a shot. Multiple episodes of this one have come out, but I’m just focusing on the first one, and I’m already liking the direction this is going in.

What sets RikeKoi apart from other romcoms is how both main characters approach the potential romance brewing between them. Both are grad students who overanalyze the situation and determine the best course of action is to apply scientific principles to determine whether they’re indeed in love with one another. It sounds strange, and it is, but that’s the beauty of this show. Nowadays, I think you need to do something different to stand out in some of these crowded anime genres, and the various hypotheses of these two brainiacs led to plenty of humorous moments in the first episode.

Like most of these shows, I’m expecting far more comedy than actual romance, but as long as the comedy is good, I’m okay with that, and this definitely seems to be promising in that regard.


Toilet-bound Hanako-kun
Studio: Lerche • Genre: Comedy, School, Supernatural

toilet-bound hanako anime
Since I’ve been known to engage in a little bit of toilet humor, it’s only natural that I’d be drawn to this anime. Well, aside from Hanako’s place of dwelling, the girl’s bathroom at school, the toilet doesn’t seem to have anything else to do with this anime, yet I think this anime got off to a solid start. As it turns out, the urban legend regarding Hanako-san of the Bathroom is true, but contrary to popular opinion, Hanako is actually male…

Hanako-kun is a comedy first and foremost, and if the first episode is any indication, I think I’m going to like this show’s sense of humor. Despite his ominous presence and way of speaking, Hanako is about as nonserious as an apparition can be, but that’s exactly why I liked him, and together with Nene, I thought this was pretty funny and unexpectedly cute. I should also mention how nice the art style is. I think the look stands out compared to most other anime, and it lends a certain charm to this show that might not have been there had this looked like every other anime.

To no one’s surprise, there was no yuri in this one, and I wouldn’t expect that to change, since this was all about Nene wanting a boy to reciprocate her feelings. But that ended up going terribly (mostly thanks to Hanako’s incompetence in the art of love), though the end seems to suggest some mild romantic undertones between Nene and Hanako. I’m not expecting much romance from this, but as long as the remaining eleven episodes are as entertaining as this first one, this is looking like it could end up being a winner.


16 thoughts on “2020 Winter Anime Season: First Impressions

  1. I think Somali to Morino Kamisama is criminally overlooked by people when they talk about Winter 2020 anime, it has probably one of the most beautiful art style in the season coupled with an on-the-rail-of-the-feels-train story. I’m not much a fan of fantasy but this one is very exceptional, just a withering Golem and a small child on a journey as father and daughter.

    And if you’re a fan of hyper violence dabbled with comedy (and waifu-tier muscle girls) then I highly recommend Dorohedoro.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would second this opinion on the Winter anime Somali to Morino Kamisama. The world that the artists envision is beautiful, and highly creative as to backgrounds and creatures. The vibrant colours alone are enough to stun your eyeballs. A Golem (creature made from clay) finds a little girl in the forest who has been lost and/or abused (she has a slave collar on) and he is on a journey with her to find her parents. There is some urgency because Golems only exist for a 1000 years, and then disintegrate and his time is due. So the Golem’s final duty in life is to save this little girl. He apparently was built by some unknown entity as a protector of the forest and all its creatures. And you don’t want to cheat this guy as a crooked merchant found out in EP 1.
      EP 2 was just streamed today so its hard to say this early where the story is going but so far its very enjoyable and stunningly beautiful~

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    • For whatever reason, I didn’t really give much consideration to Somali. I’m not a big fantasy fan either, but maybe it also had something to do with how generic the cover looked on MAL… 😀

      And I was thinking about watching Dorohedoro months ago, but the more times I watched the PV, the less interested I became. It’s super unlikely at this point, but if I pick up another show, I guess it’ll probably be Somali. Thanks for the suggestion~

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  2. My first word was Madoka!
    😂
    So far i can’t judge Magia Record , will have to wait until episode 6 or so.
    I have to check some animes listed on this post.
    Potential yuri games , Crystar , Death end re quest , both are not my type but started good on the yuri side unless later they decide to fail very bad , idk if they are listed here already , i saw them also on another page (that i don’t like , just went to see if i missed something)

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    • Like I almost always do, I’ll probably wait until the end of the season and then just watch all of the episodes of Magia Record all at once. Aside from giving me a tiny bit more free time each week, it also makes it a lot easier to remember and write about at the end of the season. 😛

      ^^ But I hope it’ll get better and better.

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  3. One you might want to pick up is Nanabun no Nijyuuni aka 22/7. It’s a little bit of a different take of the idol genre I guess (I can’t help myself I check most of them with my yuri goggles just in case…) This might actually have some girl x girl action in it. No spoilers but in the 2nd episode two of the girls are shown to be in some sort of relationship and they hold hands. Pretty short scene but gives me hope for the other characters as well. Might be one you want to look into, it piqued my interest .

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    • I might replace one of those non-yuri anime with that one. I can see myself dropping at least three of those other shows, so this’ll probably be included in the Final Thoughts post at the end of the season.

      Thanks for the suggestion~

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  4. Idols Anime Spoilers if haven’t seen the latest episode :
    So i just saw 3 eps of the yuri idols anime , in ep 2 it seems heavily implied the main idol is in love with epi , also 2 idols seem to be dating , if this doesn’t go full yuri later ill be VERY disappointed

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      • Sadly the manga is WAY better , they ruined too many jokes and basically ruined the what hmm , main thing of the series , that mapple is op broken af and the developers are trying to nerf her , wich the anime skipped or added some trash characters
        Also the manga has 0 yuri , is pure comedy or mapple doing silly funny stuff

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        • There’s still over half the season left, so there’s still hope it can get better. And even if it’s not the greatest, it’s gotta be better than some of the ones that I’ve dropped, so I won’t mind too much. 😛

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          • From what I saw elsewhere, Bofuri ended up being really good in the end. I havn’t watched passed episode 3 yet, but I will get to it eventually. I keep getting distracted by shinies (ie, yuri manga)

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  5. I adored Koisuru Asteroid ❤ Another one that I've heard good things for, but havn't gotten around to (the previously mentioned shinies) was Infinite Dendrogram. I'm only going by word of mouth though.

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