While we as a community are still wrapping up from the absolute craziness of the Winter season and its amount of just amazing shows, the spring season just comes in like a lion right after in another feeble attempt to create after-season/pre-season chaos amidst all the shows that are being talked about at once. One of these new spring shows, which I’m sure you’ve seen countless pictures of at this point, is Umamusume: Pretty Derby, an anime about girls that are also horses, but also idols.
Violet Evergarden is one of these shows that I feel at odds with when trying to discuss, as I feel while there’s so many good things to say about the series and how much I enjoy it and what it does, there’s an equal amount of criticisms I have for the show, yet it never detracts from my enjoyment of the show as I’m watching. It’s a complicated feeling for me, as I do deeply enjoy the show, but at the same time, cannot bring myself to call the show anything more than “good” as I’m watching it. I feel there’s plenty more the series could do with itself than the story is showing me at this moment. “Why is that?” is always what I ask myself in these scenarios, and I think episodes 5 and 6 are perfect to discuss why I both love this series and also feel like it could improve upon itself.
It seems appropriate to cap off this set of 12 Days of Anime posts with Anime-gataris, as I think it’s something that both readers and other content creators can appreciate to end the year on a more uplifting note than perhaps some of us may have experienced over the last several months. Anime-gataris itself may not seem to have a lot going for it at first, as many of its jokes start off as being solely referential or just about wacky club dynamics that you can get from plenty of other anime as well.
At first, there may not seem to be enough appeal for a sort of show that runs on those concepts alone though, and perhaps if the show had just left it at that, it would have never really become something that would have been worth talking about in of itself.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a show that basically has the synopsis of “girls join a tank club and fight with tanks”, especially since I heard some rather good remarks concerning the recent film that the series had gotten, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the series as a whole. While I still don’t think that it’s the best of its kind and other anime, such as High School Fleet have expanded on this sort of “genre” (if you want to call it that) in a much better way, it’s always good to see the roots from what those newer, better shows were built off of, something I addressed in my previous 12 Days of Anime article.
Now, I’m going to start this off with saying that I realize that this may not feel like it meets the definition for “anime” for some, but personally I feel that Doki Doki Literature Club is close enough and unique in its own way to at least consider it a part of the “anime-esque” media, considering it greatly pulls from the convention of Japanese visual novels. Oddly enough, I could probably be writing this about the actual Japanese visual novel Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi (Totono) and make the same sort of comparison, but without any translation for it (something which I hope happens at some point), this is what I have to work with.
Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) is questionably innovative in what it does for this reason, but that doesn’t make it any less gratifying to see it play out in of its own. There’s something to be said about how we perceive media, and I think DDLC makes an excellent observation about that which can change how we view certain works in the future, while also giving us appreciation for the past works that led up to the creation of a better one. It becomes a sort of love letter to the creators and players of these sorts of games, which I think is pretty neat in its own regard.
No Game No Life is one of those franchises that it’s really easy to love, but also just as easy to hate as well. For every potential good thing that the series does, there’s a potential bad thing to offset it, and while I can highly appreciate the series for how it presents itself with some of the interesting visual techniques and just capturing the thrill of what playing games is like, there’s plenty of things wrong with the original series too. It’s overabundance of weirdly sexual scenarios with the involvement of the Sora and Shiro duo as siblings can really go either way in terms of humor depending on your views of those things, but it makes it hard to watch and definitely runs a lot of people away from the series in general for those seasons, despite what good content is actually beneath the surface.
The reason I bring all this up is that the movie decides to approach all the content in a different way, far differently than the series itself portrays anything and really, could almost stand on its own as it’s a prequel movie with nothing but history to tell about the world that the story takes place in.
One of the more interesting shows that I had the pleasure of watching this year was one where I had only heard stories about, yet had never known why it was upheld as one of the more iconic visual novel adaptations and romance stories in anime. It’s not necessarily a popular story, but it’s an interesting one for varying reasons. One of those reasons being how White Album 2 portrayed adolescent romance quite differently from many anime of its kind. This isn’t really comparable to your Toradora‘s, Sakurasou‘s, or even OreGairu‘s in terms of a typical romance story; it’s sort of a mixture of those anime, but decides to go a different direction with its story and characters.