It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our Final Thoughts of the 2020 winter anime season that just came to an end~
Last year, I watched a Korean horror movie titled White: Melody of Death. It wasn’t great, but I liked how it was different than what you’d normally expect from something featuring idols/pop stars. I mention this because, at this rate, I’m kind of over idol anime. Almost all of them seem really similar, and the whole process feels like it’s just about selling some real-life CDs and merch (who still even uses CDs?!). Anyway, early on in 22/7, “The Wall” was pretty intriguing, and this show seemed different enough to make me hopeful that this wouldn’t be just another idol anime, but while it wasn’t as unique as an idol horror movie, 22/7 still wasn’t your typical idol anime.
The focus here isn’t so much on the music as much as it is on the individual girls themselves. Most of the girls had their own episode (there were eight girls in the group), so we get to see their backstory, learn their motivations, and get to know them much better. It’s a far more effective approach than what you typically see in other idol anime, so I was a lot more emotionally invested in these girls than those of other similar shows. Some of the episodes were better than others, and while some of the drama was kinda predictable, I still enjoyed it more than your typical song and dance. This anime was recommended in the comments, so I was hopeful it would have some yuri, and early on, things were looking promising. Miu and Sakura seemed to have a really close relationship (Miu x Nicole as well), but the show gets away from that, so yuri wasn’t as big as a factor as I was hoping for. Still, I found this a little more enjoyable than something like Love Live!, although I’m not sure that fans of that series or “traditional” idol anime would like this as much as I did.
Over the past few years, you’d be hard-pressed to find an anime that’s more easygoing and watchable than Yuru Camp△, and if this past season is anything to go by, you can add Heya Camp△ into the conversation. Even though it was almost entirely lacking the actual camping aspect of its parent story, it didn’t even matter. All of the girls were back, and they were as charming as ever. I probably would have liked it more had Rin been with the others on all of their stops on the Stamp Rally, but just Nadeshiko, Aoi, and Chiaki was enough. These were super short episodes, but I think they were still long enough to allow people to get their cute girls doing cute things fix.
The first season didn’t have any yuri, and this spin-off is no different, but that didn’t really change how much I enjoyed it. Season two of Yuru Camp△ won’t debut until 2021, so this might be the last we’ll see of these girls for a while, but whether the episodes were short or normal length, this series has always produced some of the most pleasant and calming anime out there. Some people may think of an anime like this as uneventful or even boring, but not me, and I’m looking forward to seeing more cute and cozy camping scenes next year~
I didn’t initially pick this one up, but someone in the comments mentioned that it gave off some yuri vibes, so I gave it a go. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done that, because it has practically no yuri vibes at all. As this is another one of those anime that takes place in an MMORPG, the usual assortment of quests, monsters, and leveling up is all there, so as someone who enjoys games, I liked these aspects.
But a big problem I had with this anime is that Maple is just way too OP. In the beginning, it was pretty amusing to see her accidentally kill monsters, but after a while, it became repetitive to me. This might’ve been less of a problem if the other characters were interesting enough on their own, but I just didn’t really care about any of them. BOFURI was all about Maple, and while she was cute and enjoyable, this ultimately just felt like a generic anime with a fun little twist. For whatever reason, this type of anime seems to do pretty well, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this eventually get another season, but even if it does, I think I’ll just give it a pass.
Asteroid in Love. Judging by the English translation of the title and the fact that the two main characters are girls, you’d expect Koisuru Asteroid to be a yuri anime, or at least be a strong yuri-ish anime, right? Well, it doesn’t live up to the yuri potential of that title, and overall, I’m disappointed that this wasn’t as subtext-heavy as I was hoping for, even when Mira and Ao started living together. That living arrangement as well as their childhood promise to each other to discover an asteroid together, had me thinking Koisuru Asteroid would be as subtext-heavy as Amanchu! or Slow Start, yet it just didn’t seem to want to go in that direction.
Instead, there was a whole lot of science to nerd over. I liked that this anime was actually pretty informative, and as someone who briefly used to collect rocks as a kid, I found the subject matter interesting nevertheless. That said, I think this anime might’ve been a little too educational for my liking. And I had some mixed feelings about the characters. Mira and Ao were entertaining enough, I felt, but Morino and Mikage didn’t do much for me. I thought that Suzu was perhaps the most entertaining character in the entire show (thanks to her almost feeling like a yuri character), yet she wasn’t around for nearly the entire final quarter of the season. Inose was adorable, but I had no reason to care about Yuu or Chikage or those other girls introduced in the final episodes. The show definitely could’ve been a lot funnier, and despite the subject matter, this felt like just another CGDCT anime. If you’re into the sciences or CGDCT, you might enjoy it, however, those tuning in just for some yuri will be disappointed.
Knowing nothing of the game, I’m still confused by all that happened in this first season of Magia Record. Yeah, a second season has already been announced, and it’s going to be needed, because by the end of the season, everything was so chaotic. We didn’t get any sort of resolution, and being a side story, this is not as similar to the main series that you might expect. For a major portion of the season, this is nowhere near as dark and grim by Madoka★Magica standards, and that was one of the many reasons I loved the main series so much.
Another reason was the characters, and I felt like the characters in Magia Record couldn’t really compete in this regard. I thought Iroha was a pretty bland main character, and I actually liked several of the supporting characters more than her. Compared to the main series, there are a lot more characters to get to know, but despite all the fresh faces, I was hoping to see the original cast, and I was happy we got to see at least some of them. Madoka was no slouch in the yuri department, yet there wasn’t much to get excited about here. Sure, you could ship Iroha x Yachiyo, Tsukuyo x Tsukasa, and Rena x Kaede, but would you want to? Personally, I don’t, but to each their own. 😛
It might sound like I didn’t like this at all, however, it was really entertaining at times! Sure, it was pretty different than the original, but I thought that the story was still interesting, and I was happy that the series hasn’t lost its sense of mystery and intrigue. There’s so much more that could be said about Magia Record, but I’ll just say that I think it was a solid new entry in the series. It looks, sounds, and (sometimes) feels like the Madoka★Magica we’re used to, yet it’s unique enough to stand on its own merits. It definitely can’t measure up to the lofty standards of its predecessor, and even though I’m sure not all Madoka fans will be thrilled with it, I’m excited to see where the story goes next season.
If 22/7 is a different kind of idol anime, you have to say the same about this one as well. But instead of focusing on the idols, Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu focuses even more on the fans, and not just any kind of fans, obsessive fans. This is a good thing, because I thought the idols and group in this show were pretty forgettable, and Eripiyo is the only reason why I started watching in the first place. She’s so ridiculously over-the-top in her love for Maina, and that’s pretty much the entire show, or at least that’s all I cared about. In real-life, it seems the relationship between idols and those types of fans isn’t exactly healthy for either side, yet I thought this was a decent and somewhat amusing diversion from typical idol anime.
Of course, Eripiyo x Maina is probably what yuri fans will be watching for, but it was so frustrating how they couldn’t just speak more than a couple of sentences to each other, and especially frustrating how Maina couldn’t just tell Eripiyo how she really felt. Of course, Maina’s feelings weren’t quite like Eripiyo’s, but if she had been more vocal, maybe they’d be more like Yumeri and Maki. Those two members of ChamJam had the sweetest relationship, so they were easily one of the highlights of the series and the closest thing to canon. A review for this should be coming pretty soon, so I’ll talk about it more then~
Dropped: Darwin’s Game, Id:Invaded, Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, Nekopara, Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita.