Stínolez’s Seasonal Roundup [Fall 2020]

Stinolez
Stinolez
Jan 3 · 12 min read
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Hello, and welcome to my usual seasonal roundup, an article I do at the end of (almost) every season to summarize my thoughts on shows I watched. 2020 has come to an end, and I’m not sure if 2021 will be any better. We are still in the middle of the pandemic and every week rules and regulations are changing, but even in times like these we have to find some positives and something that helps us escape from reality. Luckily, we have anime to help us with that. So, as per usual, shows are divided into three groups: great and good, average, and bad and dropped shows. The opinions in this article are mine and you might disagree. If you do, please do so in a polite manner in the comment section and respect my opinion so I can be respectful of yours. Now without further ado, let’s dive in…

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Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka III (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
Score: 8 / 10

It’s no secret that I love the DanMachi series. It’s the second series that inspired me to read the original light novels and I’m almost up to date. I also picked up the spinoff series, which does a great job of fleshing out important side characters and showing us how complex the world building and story is, what lies beneath the surface. Season three is, in my opinion, a big milestone and great stopping point to let the spinoff Sword Oratoria catch up. I cannot say much more without going into spoiler territory, so believe me if you liked the first and second season, you’ll have a blast in the third.

Tonikaku Kawaii (TONIKAWA: Fly Me to the Moon)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
Score: 8.5 / 10

Tonikawa has a stupid premise. It has it backwards and in a real world, statistically speaking, it’d be a case of an early divorce. Luckily, we’re in the world of anime, where even the most stupid ideas might pay off. This show is a deep introspection into a relationship between two human beings who know next to nothing about each other. Everything is neatly covered and wrapped under the pretext of romantic comedy while simultaneously leaving out the most clichés tropes and skipping eternal wait for will they / won’t they hold hands. Both Nasa and Tsukasa are perfect and flawed characters at the same time and in different ways. The supporting characters are not left in dust, with each one of them helping move the story forward. Tonikawa is a great contender for anime of the year for me, and if there will be another season, I will sure be there in the front row to watch it.

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Kami-tachi ni Hirowareta Otoko (By the Grace of the Gods)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Slice of Life
Score: 5 / 10

I repeat the same mistake every season. Every time I see an isekai anime on the seasonal chart, I’ll probably give it a chance. After the success of Ascendance of a Bookworm, I was happy to see another light-hearted show. I was fully prepared to get a slice of life show with a fantasy setting full of slimes. What I wasn’t prepared for is how boring this show is. It has some genuinely good characters and interesting ideas, but everything is executed in the most uninteresting way possible. Everybody in this show is nice, from nobles, adventures to leaders of the merchant guild, robbing the show of any conflict to move the story forward. I never thought I’d wish for something horrible to happen to literally any character so we can get at least a little bit of action. For what it’s worth, the show did everything according to the marketing of the show; sadly, for me, it wasn’t enough.

Kimi to Boku no Saigo no Senjou, Aruiwa Sekai ga Hajimaru Seisen (Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Action, Ecchi, Fantasy, Romance
Score: 5.5 / 10

This show is what happens when you put a light novel filter over Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, imbue one side with a little bit of astral spirit’s magic and give the other modern weaponry, except for the main character — he needs to bring swords into a gunfight. If you still wonder what this show could be, imagine every cliché and unsurprising plot twist and build a bingo card out of it — you’ll fill your card well before the final episode. Despite all of that, I did laugh a few times, fights have decent choreography, and there are a few interesting characters. If you want to kill a few hours, this show can serve the purpose quite well.

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life
Score: 6.5 / 10

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is yet another slice of life isekai type of show, but compared to this season’s By the Grace of the Gods, it’s funny. That alone surprised me as I generally get bored quite quickly by one-joke shows, and Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear fits this category perfectly. Not only is Yuna dressed like a bear, she has her two bear summons and everything she makes is bear-shaped. It sounds ridiculous but it works somehow — at least for me. I know of several people who got bored to death by this show and that’s completely fine; comedy is subjective and not everybody shares the same sense of humour. My recommendation: give this show two or three episodes, if you aren’t hooked, skip it, because it will be more or less the same till the end.

Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club)

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Episodes: 13 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Music, Slice of Life
Score: 5 / 10

I’ve never watched the original Love Live. My first exposure started with Love Live! Sunshine! which was definitely an interesting world to step into. What made it work for me wasn’t the whole idol culture and the surrounding music, but the interesting characters and how, despite their differences, were able to join together and push through every obstacle. That became something I expected from the idol shows going forward, but Nijigasaki High School Idol Club managed to surprise me. At first, I thought it was a great idea to focus on a group of solo idols. It’s a new spin on the standard formula, something to spice things up, but to make it work, you need a group of strong characters who can stand on their own. And this is something this series lacks. There are few members (Ai, Karin, Rina) of the idol club who simply stand way above everybody else and overshadow the others. The series feels unbalanced and fractured as a result. I really thought of dropping the show, but in the end, I got through it — at two-times speed. It’s something I have never done before for any show, but it somehow managed to make it watchable.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen (The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc)

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Episodes: 13 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Action,. Romance, Sci-Fi, Supernatural
Score: 5.5 / 10

The Irregular at Magic High School is a show that never made any sense. It’s the prime example of the magical high school subgenre, where the protagonist is overpowered in a nonconventional way, so he doesn’t fit the standard criteria and has to start from scratch as an outcast. In most cases, his best friend — or in this case sister — despite being among the top students, is the only one who understands him and supports him. What made sense in one episode doesn’t translate well into another, because Tatsuya will find some way to bend the rules and explain it to you in overly descriptive techno-babble that makes absolutely zero sense. It took six years to get a proper sequel, but it feels like nothing has changed. It simply continues to be nonsensical bullshit. The only things that change throughout the series is the size of Tatsuya’s ego and his harem. What started as an intriguing plot about parasites, devolves into a cat-and-mouse chase between Tatsuya and Lina, just to switch in the last few episodes to a completely different plotline about a few never-introduced organizations pulling strings from shadows. My recommendation? Don’t bother, or turn your brain off while watching this show and you might get a few entertaining moments out of it.

Majo no Tabitabi (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Slice of Life
Score: 6.5 / 10

Wandering Witch is one of the shows which did everything according to the base premise and still didn’t perfectly nail the landing. Aside from its gorgeous visuals, the show starts with a strong opening episode building Elaina’s character. It follows with a couple episodes which adhere to the anthology series vibes and go progressively darker. The fourth episode had me questioning how far they are able to go, but the fifth surprised me with the completely tonal, energy, and mood shift. It wasn’t a bad episode, necessarily, but the dissonance made me question what the previous episodes even tried to achieve. For the next few episodes Wandering Witch continues as a silly comedy show, until it tries to pivot to more serious, darker stuff in the eighth episode, but the total whiplash comes with the ninth episode. The interesting beginning was undermined by predictable progression and an unnecessary and horribly gruesome ending. After that, we experience yet another tonal shift, returning to lighter stories until the open end which makes sense only if they make a sequel. For what it’s worth, most of the episodes by itself are fine, but even anthology series should be somewhat consistent and coherent.

Senyoku no Sigrdrifa (Warlords of Sigrdrifa)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Action, Fantasy
Score: 5.5 / 10

I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by the Norse mythology. Ever since I first learned about it, I was reading and watching all sorts of books and movies. There is no way I’d miss a show if they drop Odin’s name and Valkyries in the show description. To my disappointment, the Norse mythology has recently been used as a setup for pointless harem ecchi action/comedy series — last example being Val x Love. With this in mind, I was curious what Warlords of Sigrdrifa would bring to the table. The first surprise was the double-length first episode, which makes a pretty good introduction to the world and characters, but that’s where it sadly ends. I’m not saying this series isn’t entertaining at times and doesn’t have any interesting characters or their development, but it makes everything too by the books. I applaud for showing some restraint to its ecchi elements, and making entertaining and well-animated aerial battles, but these are the only things that set Warlords of Sigrdrifa slightly above average.

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100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatteiru (I’m Standing on a Million Lives)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Score: 2.5 / 10

I started watching Million Lives fully expecting to shitpost about this series after every episode. I was fully prepared for this show to be one of the worst this season — I was correct, but for the wrong reason. This show is simply boring. The PV presented the protagonist as a complete edge-lord asshole, but he’s a nice guy underneath his mask, and he’s only pissed at the world, though I don’t even know why. This show is so uninspiring that even writing a paragraph summarizing my thoughts about it is a tedious work. Week by week I watched this show expecting something, but there was simply nothing. Final word of a recommendation: don’t even bother with the show and forget they announced another season in the last episode.

Kamisama ni Natta Hi (The Day I Became a God)

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Episodes: 12 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Supernatural
Score: 4.5 / 10

Key shows are tough nuts to crack. I feel like they follow the same pattern every time. The majority of the show is something completely different from the last few episodes, where they try to catch you off guard and hit you like a truck with feelings. That’s why the rule of three episodes for their shows doesn’t apply — you need to watch it fully to understand what the show is about. The Day I Became a God starts off as a comedy show. Youta is a typical high-school student focusing on his college entrance exams while trying to get close to his crush. Suddenly, he’s approached by Hina, calling herself Odin and claiming to be the god of omniscience. Despite Youta’s naivety being occasionally charming, Hina’s archetype is something I personally cannot stand. Her only traits are shouting, abusing Youta, and being right. I was already fed up with gr*mlin-like character from A Certain Magical Index, so I knew from the get-go that I wouldn’t enjoy the majority of the show. The stupidity reaches its peak in the fourth (mahjong) episode. It is the epiphany of bullshit in my opinion, but I know quite a few people who loved this particular episode. From there, rinse and repeat until the feels truck comes barrelling in in episode eight — just this time it misses. I was so pissed because of the last seven episodes, I didn’t have any sympathy left in me for Hina. When you pair this emptiness with a completely unnecessary character serving only as a deus-ex-machina to shift the plot into the feels territory, I stopped caring completely. The second-last episode is excruciating to watch, And though the last episode saved the show from the deepest pits of hell, overall it was too little too late.

Noblesse

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Episodes: 13 / 24 min. per ep.
Genres: Action, Supernatural
Score: 1.5 / 10

Noblesse isn’t just boring, maybe even less entertaining than Million Lives, but also it doesn’t have its own identity. For most of the show I didn’t know if I was watching highschool drama or a vampire / supernatural action anime where every fight is decided by the plot armor from the get-go. From all Crunchyroll Webtoon adaptations, this one is simply the worst. In Tower of God you have a few likable characters, in The God of Highschool at least God thrusts a giant sword through Seoul, but Noblesse simply doesn’t have anything. What is missing in the plot is, well, the plot. Its characters are even flatter than the Earth for every flat-Earth believer. This series cemented my opinion that I’m, for the time being, avoiding every Crunchyroll Webtoon adaptation.

You’re reading AniTAY, a reader-run blog whose writers love everything anime related. To join in on the fun, check out our website, visit our official subreddit, follow us on Twitter, or give us a like on our Facebook page. This article was brought to you by Stínolez — gamer, anime lover & so-called writer. Check my other stuff here or follow me on Twitter.

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