Winter 2019 Anime Recap

Introduction

Last week we took a look at some of the anime I’ll be watching during the Spring 2019 season (more have been added to my list since then), but this week we’ll be taking a look back at the Winter season. Specifically, we’ll be going over the anime I watched during this season and what my thoughts on them were.

If you want to read more in-depth reviews of each of the series I’ll be mentioning in this post, I’ll include links to them as they become available. So, without further ado, let’s get into the anime from this last season.

Single Cour

The series within this section are those which both started and finished within the Winter season. For those of you who don’t know a cour refers to the episodes of a series which air during a single calendar season. This is different from a season of anime, which can have multiple cours.

The first anime to fall in this category is Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019), which is a bit of an outlier when it comes to single cour series. Rather than having the more traditional 10-13 episodes, Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) had 18 all crammed into a single cour.

The series is about a shinigami referred to as Boogiepop who defeats other supernatural beings which are threatening the balance of the world. It could have been a good series, if not for the fact that the art and animation were lacking a lot of the time and that the plot made little sense. Good concept, poor execution.

Next we have Domestic na Kanojo, which has gotten a pretty bad reputation over the course of the season. Yes, the plot isn’t very good, the characters act unnaturally, and there are awkward gaps in animation and dialogue, but I wouldn’t say it comes anywhere near the truly bad anime of the season.

In case you haven’t yet heard of this anime, it’s about a love triangle between a high school student, one of his classmates, and his teacher. Also, the teacher and classmate are sisters and the protagonist is their stepbrother, so it’s pretty trashy.

Continuing on we have Endro~!, which is a fantasy series about an all-girl party of heroes. Based on the initial summary and trailer for this series I really wanted it to be good, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. It turned out to be more slice of life than adventure.

Despite it not being the most interesting anime of the season, it definitely had my favorite art style and character designs of the season. It’s also my pick for best ED of the season, so we’ll just have to wait and see if it holds that title for the entire year.

Fai, Yusha, Seira, and Mei from the anime series Endro~!

Fai, Yusha, Seira, and Mei (Endro~!)

With Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen we’re getting to our first truly good anime of the season. It’s a romantic comedy which follows the mind games of two elite students as they try to out think and out play each other in the game of love.

This was definitely the most charming series of the season and, although their designs aren’t my favorite, includes some of the best characters of the season. But, don’t let anyone try to convince you that Chika is the best girl, because Kaguya is definitely better.

Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka is the first of two extremely bad anime of the Winter season. The title translates to Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka, but if that wasn’t enough to explain why this is a bad anime, let me just say it tries to take the dark magical girl subgenre to a whole new level.

It tries way too hard to be edgy, doesn’t have good art or animation, and is just an all around bad anime. It’s a shame that no similar series has been able to recreate the perfection that is Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica ever since its release.

The other worst anime of the season was a short (3 minute episodes) called Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan. Every one of the 12 episodes of this season was done by a different director with an entirely different cast, so that’s always a bad sign right from the start.

This typically means only one of the episodes is going to be any good. But, since the episodes in this series are so short, even if there is a good one, it doesn’t last for long. As for the content, it’s just about the painfully mundane life of a woman referred to as Ekoda-chan, and there’s no overarching plot.

While Ekoda-chan was a short, Ueno-san wa Bukiyou is a half-length (11 minute episodes) series. And, unlike Ekoda-chan, Ueno-san was actually a good anime. It’s a mature, romantic comedy set in a middle school science club, the president of which is the titular Ueno-san.

The structure of the series is simple: Ueno invents some kind of amazing gadget in order to get the boy she likes, Tanaka, to admit he likes her back, and then her plan backfires. She also invents other gadgets for the various other club presidents around the school. Overall, it was good and I wish the episodes were longer.

Next, we have the cutest anime of the season, Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! This series is about a female, cosplay-creating, shut-in with no friends who becomes obsessed with the new girl her younger sister brings home for a play date. It sounds a bit creepy, and it is, but it’s wholesome too.

Basically it’s just a story about making new friends, even if the person making the friends is in her 20s and the friends she’s making are around 7 years old. If you enjoyed Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru! from the previous season, I think you’ll end up liking this one as well.

And, finally, we have Yakusoku no Neverland, which was the surprise hit of the season as far as I’m concerned. It has some weird character designs and a child Sasuke look-alike, but it also had the best story of the season, which I really wasn’t expecting when I started it.

Of all the series I’ve mentioned so far, this is the only one that can really be spoiled, so to avoid that all I’ll say is that the ending of this season was good and you should watch it.

Continued

And, now we get to the leftover series from last season which were concluded during the Winter 2019 season. First up we have Sword Art Online: Alicization, which I thought was supposed to be a four-cour series, but it turns out they’re breaking it up into two two-cour parts.

As many people will attest, SAO isn’t a very good anime. However, the light novel readers assured us that the Alicization arc was the best arc of the series yet, and that it shouldn’t be missed. Well, it turns out that even if it is the best arc of the series to date, that still isn’t very good.

Kirito is back once again, being overpowered as usual for no real reason. Except, this time around, believing in yourself is actually an explained way to become stronger, so I guess that doesn’t count as plot armor anymore since anyone can do it.

The other series which continued and concluded this season was Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, which somehow was one of the most popular and well-received anime of the past two seasons. And, as you could guess from the way I worded that, I wasn’t much of a fan of it.

This series set up an extremely good concept in the first episode, but then failed to deliver for the remainder of the two cours. There was no meaningful plot, character development, or conflict, and the art and animation were just average. Nothing about it made it stand out in my mind.

Continuing

And, finally, we have the series which are continuing on past the Winter season and into Spring (and beyond). The first of these is Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, which is a year-round series. I don’t think Boruto really needs an introduction, so all I’ll say is that it’s worse than the previous two entries in the franchise, as expected.

Dororo is the next continuing series, and has one more cour to go before being complete. This is actually the second anime adaptation of the manga which originally came out in the 1960s. But, despite how old the source material is, the story still holds up.

While the first cour is mainly episodic and follows a monster of the week format, the second cour is looking to be a bit more story driven. The series follows a ronin samurai by the name of Hyakkimaru as he travels the land slaying demons and reclaiming his lost body parts.

Hyakkimaru from the anime series Dororo

Hyakkimaru (Dororo)

And, then of course we have JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze, the fifth part of the JoJo’s series. I know a lot of people like parts 3 and 4 the most of those that have been animated, but I prefer parts 1 and 2. That said, part 5 may be my new favorite despite being more visually similar to part 4.

This time around, the JoBros are Italian gangsters who set out to bring down the boss of their gang, Passione. The Winter season was actually the second cour of this series, and it will be three cours in total.

Last, but not least, is Tate no Yuusha No Nariagari. This series has gotten a lot of flack for some of the darker themes it includes, but I have to say I don’t see the inclusion of those themes as a problem. If you can’t even talk about difficult topics, then how are you supposed to learn from them?

While I don’t think this series is perfect, or all that special for that matter, I did find it to be the series I looked forward to watching the most each week. It’s pretty generic in terms of the plot and setting, but it gives me a lot to theorize about each week and I like that about it.

Conclusion

So, those are all the anime series I watched during the Winter 2019 season and brief summaries and thoughts on each of them. As for next week’s post, I don’t have a topic in mind just yet, so feel free to suggest something to be over on Twitter.

The following week, however, the Trash Anime Club is going to begin, which is a kind of book club, but for bad anime. Each week we’ll be taking a look at the latest episode of a particularly bad anime (TBD), and I think it’ll be a fun adventure.