Summer Lovin, The 2022 Anime Season Impressions Part 2

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Here we go with covering the second half of the new anime from this summer 2022 season! If you have yet to see part 1, I would highly recommend looking there first before reading this batch of impressions, but let’s just say that this is by far the batch of shows that had the most interesting shows, but also the worst. Let’s dive right in!

Fantasy/Isekai

Harem in the Labyrinth in Another World (Crunchyroll)

Content Warning: This show is all about sex slavery as a fetish

Well, who is shocked that they let another softcore/basically porn show into the season? I’m not. It’s based on the light novels and manga by Schagi Sogano. It’s directed by Naoyuki Tatsuwa, written by Kurasumi Sunayama, and produced by Passione, the same studio that did Mieruko Chan and Interspecies Reviews. Once you realize that, a lot of this show’s horny-on-main elements make a lot of sense. Listen, there is nothing wrong with a show being horny, and sexual themes shouldn’t be taboo, but maybe don’t make an anime or a light novel that’s about the main character who literally buys a harem of slaves? It’s played up for the fetish aspect of the story, but the way they frame sex slavery in the show is the real-world horrors that slavery actually is. It’s a tone that’s never quite gels, since it’s stuck being a mediocre boilerplate isekai, but it’s got no real time to focus on that, since it also wants to be a sexy romp with a harem angle. The show tries to have more philosophical and moral elements to the lead killing people and the whole morality of slavery, but since he can buy a slave who will have sex with him without fear of rejection, it’s okay. The first three episodes are literally about the lead character getting enough money to buy a sex slave. Doesn’t help either that the anime looks fine, but you know where all the budget went and it’s not the normal scenic moments or the action. They can try and have as many non-horny or softcore moments as possible, but the gist of the show is still a lead character buying a harem of slave girls. They could have all of the diverse personalities in the world, and the show’s world could have some amazing lore, and it still wouldn’t make up for the fact that not everyone on this show’s production team is on the same page. It’s even funnier, since the show knows you are here for the sexual elements, but since it’s on Crunchyroll, and was made for TV broadcast, the censorship covering every sexual element or word is done in such a comedic and over-the-top manner that it makes you wonder how in on the joke they are, or how dense it was for Crunchyroll to buy a softcore anime that, like Winter Season’s World End Harem, is made pointless due to how absurd the censorship is. Morally, this is the most repugnant anime I have seen this season, and it’s one of the worst I have seen this year. It’s an anime to make you realize that there are anime that actually know how to handle certain fetishes better than this one, and you should check out shows like the flawed, but better How Not to Summon a Demon Lord

Black Summoner (Crunchyroll) 

This generic isekai is based on the novels and manga by Doufu Mayoi. The anime adaptation is directed and written by Yoshimasa Hiraike, and produced by Satelight. Well, here we are with another boilerplate isekai. Yes, it tries something different with the monster-taming aspect. Yes, it has this fun knight side character and decent chemistry between our lead, the slime, the elf, and the knight. With all that said, you have literally seen anime that have done this before, and better. That’s the thing, you can get away with being familiar if you actually execute it well, and this one is fine. It’s also yet another isekai that tries to implement slavery into its narrative, but does nothing with it. Like, don’t introduce story beats that either don’t make a lick of sense narrative-wise or aren’t going to be expanded upon. Even other isekai this year with some very repugnant themes were able to do this. When you fail to be memorable or interesting, then you fail as a show or a reason for anyone to keep watching. Also, the animation is ugly. Its mix of 2D and CGI elements clash at all times and gives this show a dirt cheap look. There is a reason why many are critical of the isekai genre. When you don’t deliver on something good, people will turn on you quickly, and to be frank, there really should be a limit to how many we get in a year. 

Vermeil in Gold (HiDive) 

This fantasy ecchi anime is based on the manga by Kota Amana. The anime is directed by Takashi Naoya, written by Tatsuya Takahashi, and produced by Staple Entertainment. I know most come down hard on these ecchi series when they are just so upfront with how horny they are, and to give this show credit, it’s not trying to hide that it’s mostly a fetish anime. When a fetish anime decides to try and hide what it actually is all about, it ends up being a worse product. What’s frustrating about Vermeil though is that it’s actually trying hard to balance out its more arousing elements with a solid enough story that dives into the relationship and dynamics of our characters, and at the same time gives us a tragic backstory to our titillating female demon familiar. It’s commendable that the show is doing more than most, but that’s the problem. It wants to have its sexy visuals and also keep you invested with the rest of the show, resulting in it faltering in both areas. The show’s fetish is going to, as usual, be on a case-by-case scenario of whether you are going to be down with a flimsy teen boy being dominated by a curvaceous demon woman as a major driving force with why you watch the show. Granted, the lack of consent is distracting as heck, and while I get why this is a fetish, if the roles were reversed, people would be raking this show over the coals. It’s maddening that so few ecchi shows share the basic human concept of consent on any level. The more story-driven aspect is fine, but it’s every magic-based school anime you have ever seen, and while some tropes and characters are amusing, they don’t do enough to keep my interest. Still, it’s at least an ecchi show that I can see why people like it. It’s just not for me. 

My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became The Strongest Sage in the World (HiDive) 

This isekai is based on the novels/light novels/manga by Shinkoshoto. The anime adaptation is directed by Keisuke Kojima, written by Naohiro Fukushima, and produced by Revoroot. While this does not do anything truly unique or distinct from other isekai out there, it’s an absolutely perfect example of a comfort food anime. It’s smart enough to make sure to give you a compelling character that isn’t just a self-insert for audiences, it has good action, the party the lead travels with is diverse and full of fun characters, and the animation isn’t lacking personality or polish. It has rock-solid action, the magic system is fun to see unfold, and our lead has a real reason to be distant toward many of the people he encounters on his journey. It’s nice to see an isekai not just skirt by with the bare minimum, and not be an overly powerful individual right off the bat. This should be the bare minimum, but since so many isekai tend to give up on their plots after the first episode, doing the bare minimum and doing it well is on the levels of something like Faraway Paladin or isekai that were made back in the day like Escaflowne, and anytime an anime is actually doing as much as it can or is willing to execute its familiar premise with flair, then I am all for supporting it. Plus, it has a batch of cute slimes that all have distinct looks to them! Who would say no to an adorable batch of slimes? 

Parallel World Pharmacy (Crunchyroll)  

This refreshing spin on the isekai genre is based on the novels by Liz Takayama. The anime is directed by Keizo Kusakawa, written by Wataru Watari, and produced by Diomedea. Once again, it feels so rare for an isekai to actually be both compelling and unique. While we have had an isekai about a guy making medicine last year, this is more akin to something like Saint’s Magic is Omnipotent, which is amusing since the same writer worked on that show and the same studio animated it as well. It’s more about a doctor who was reincarnated in a fantasy world that revolves around medicine and how it works in this world. It’s also not a power fantasy. He is powerful, but instead of taking down demon lords in one hit and getting a harem, the main character is all about making sure life saving medicine and healthcare is available to everyone and not just for the rich elite. This is the kind of isekai that we need more of, and not just a power fantasy made for the lowest common denominator. We need more isekai that actually want to and care about their characters. Or, like our next isekai, they do something so outwardly different that it sort of inspires its own sub-genre of isekai. 

Uncle from Another World (Netflix) 

This unique isekai comedy is based on the manga by Hotonshindeiru. The adaptation is directed by Shigeki Kawai, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by AtelierPontdarc. I think this is the first time I have seen an isekai take place after the big power fantasy adventure is over. I like to describe this show as a post-isekai comedy. Its main focus is having our lead, the titular uncle, back in the real world who shacks up with his nephew. The major twist is that he brought all of his powers from the fantasy world back with him. Instead of being a power fantasy, it’s more of a slice-of-life comedy with some magical aspects that result in a lot of shenanigans from making YouTube videos of the uncle’s magic powers. It also portrays a more realistic isekai hero with the uncle having a ton of well-meaning intentions, but not the greatest social cues or awareness of things, all of which lead to a lot of incredible laughs. It also implements more modern elements like YouTube careers, and dives more into the psyche of our lead characters and the interactions they share. It might be full of unexpected dashes of humor, but it doesn’t forget to give depth to our characters, and it results in a show in this genre of anime that stands out among the rest. Also, the animation on the characters is so out there that it reminds me of the facial expressions from anime like Golden Boy, and that’s saying something due to how most anime try to stay cute and pretty while on-screen. Uncle From Another World feels like a breath of fresh air and a distinct experiment that the isekai genre absolutely needed. 

Slice of life

Prima Doll (HiDive) 

This is based on the multimedia project by Key and Visual Arts. The anime is directed by Tensho, it’s written by Kai and Toya Okano, and produced by Bibury Animation Studios. Listen, the hook of this one is cool. It’s pretty much set up like a post-war drama of these robot girls who were made to be soldiers now having to adapt to living a civilian life. That sounds great! Too bad the art direction is focused more on selling these characters as models and figurines than actually making sense in the setting in which they take place. This isn’t new, but when you have these cute, very high-pitched voices, and annoying characters that are cute for the sake of cute, sitting through this show is a chore. It doesn’t help either that the show tries really hard to make you feel sad and bad about the situation these characters are in. Too bad the very modern look of these cute robot girls takes you out of the experience. It’s why a good art direction can save a show, and why the look of our lead characters feels so out of place. It’s a shame, since you could see this being a solid drama about the mental baggage that comes with being someone who was on the frontlines, and now has to adapt to normal life, and the struggles that come with it. However, when you have to see “tragic” war flashbacks with these child soldiers that look like they were made to sell you merchandise and or be a part of those virtual idols, well, it’s more funny than serious. When it’s not visually distracting, it’s trying too hard to be taken seriously, and I can’t see this one being appealing to anyone. 

The Maid I Hired Recently is Mysterious (Crunchyroll) 

It’s a case of a show doing the bare minimum to try and keep you invested. This is based on the manga by Wakame Konbu. It’s directed by Mirai Minato (who also writes the script) and Misuzu Hoshino and produced by Silver Link and Blade. The compelling angle of why you should check this show out is the mystery about why this maid showed up at this young kid’s mansion, and honestly, It’s not all that compelling. There are moments where the dynamic between the two is cute enough, but since there is a tinge of romance and an obvious age difference in the relationship, it becomes a bit iffy on where this is going, and the mystery angle is not all that compelling. The show wants you to keep coming back to our maid lead and while she is cute, it’s not enough anymore. The comedy falls flat and the animation is fine, but nothing outstanding. Maybe if they started the mystery angle a bit harder or if this was funnier, I would be more involved, but this anime just bored me to tears with how repetitive it got. Even the new characters they introduced don’t do enough to make up for how dull the rest of the show is.

Shine Post (HiDive) 

This is based on the multimedia project by Konami and Straight Edge. The adaptation is directed by Kei Oikawa, written by SPP, Tatsuo Higuchi, and Rakuda, and produced by Studio Kai. Yeah, we already have too many idol anime as well, and like isekai, they need to do something to differentiate themselves than be more idol industry propaganda. This anime tries to differentiate itself by focusing more on the personal drama of the idol group we follow and a manager brought in who has a unique ability to see people who are lying about something. It gives the manager more of a character, and focuses on him just as much as our group of promising idols. It definitely tries to do more than just “we want to be the best idol group of all time”, and I’m glad it does have something other than cute anime girls that may or may not look good as anime statues on your shelf. It’s overall an okay show with some genuine drama thrown into some of the characters, and the dance sequences are all done using rotoscope, but it still looks clunky. It would be so cool to see them do more than what looks like typical dance sequences we see with every idol anime, but at least they don’t use ugly CGI that’s not composited well onto the 2D background. It’s solid, but I don’t think I have the interest to dive back into the drama of the idol anime unlike the next idol anime on this list. 

When Will Ayumu Make his Move (HiDive)

This romantic comedy is based on the manga by Teasing Master Tagaki San author Soichiro Yamamoto. It’s directed by Mirai Minato, written by Deko Akao (aka Hitomi Mieno), and produced by Silver Link. While this is leagues better than Soichiro’s previous anime adaptation of In The Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki, it still has its own set of problems. It at least moves a bit faster between our leads crushing on one another and by the third episode go on a date, the side characters have a bit more spark and quirk to them than expected, and there is a nice low key vibe to this slice-of-life romcom. Unfortunately, it decided to come out after the latest season of the much better and more popular Kaguya Sama: Love is War. The overall journey through the first four episodes was uneven, and the whole shogi club premise is not entirely fleshed out, and the author’s iconic art style is poorly shown in such a drab-looking show. I think the intention was meant to make the world around them feel like the flashback sequences from Only Yesterday where there is a hazy glow to everything. It just doesn’t help things that the animation is not all that stellar. It looks fine at points, but then it can look rather cheap due to whatever was going on behind the scenes. It’s a cute show, and it’s not the worst one of the season, but you can do much better in terms of slice-of-life anime. 




Phantom of the Idol (HiDive)

This anime is based on the manga by Hijiki Isoflavone. It’s directed by Daisei Fukuoka, written by Yasuko Aoki, and produced by Studio Gokumi. This spooky take on the idol formula is at the very least, more interesting than the last time I encountered an idol show with a ghostly idol individual in the cast. This one takes it in a more comedic route with one of the male leads in an idol duo group only doing the idol thing to rake in easy cash and doesn’t have the passion to push himself. That is, until he encounters a ghost of a deceased idol who agrees to help him become the best idol he can be. However, this only scratches the surface of what the entire show is about as you get past the first episode. The lead that bonds with the ghost idol actually becomes much more interesting and compelling. His lackadaisical attitude could be a very easy turn-off to many, if not handled well, but his interactions with the idol ghost and his fellow idol make for a very fun comedy/drama that actually doesn’t focus too much on the idol stuff. Like it gets brought up and you do get songs and dancing sequences through the first few episodes, but the show wants to also focus on its characters and what drives them, and to be honest, that’s way more compelling than being just another idol show. Seeing a flawed trio of characters go about how they want to go about the idol experience and job, while focusing little on pushing out a new mobile game or merchandise (at least upfront) makes for a better show than most this season. 

TEPPEN Laughing Til You Cry (Crunchyroll) 

Consider this a surprise of the season! This comedy anime is based on the manga by Inujun. It’s directed by Shinji Takamatsu and Toshinori Watanabe, written by Jun Kumagai, and produced by Drive. You would think a comedy anime about a house full of comedy groups would be a touch overwhelming, chaotic in what kind of comedy styles they perform, and that the comedy wouldn’t translate to an English-speaking audience. Then again, when you get someone like Shinji Takamatsu, who has been behind a multitude of classic comedy anime like School Rumble, a majority of the Gintama franchise, Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto Kun, and Cute High Earth Defense Club, then you have someone with the experience to make it work. And, to my surprise, it’s a delightful show. It’s not only funny, but it also dabbles in how weird comedy trios can be with how absurd some of the humor and each individual group’s gimmicks can be. They also do take episodes to focus on one or two groups, and it makes sure to make them all stand out from one another. It is an anime that’s simply put, having fun with its premise, and that feels so rare that they know what they are doing and aren’t just bailing on the word ‘go’. Never thought I would be here saying this comedy anime about comedians is good due to the last one being dire, but this one is in fact, good! 

The Yakuza Guide to Babysitting (Crunchyroll) 

This anime is based on the manga by Tsukiya. It’s directed by Itsuro Kawasaki, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Feel and Gaina. If you like shows like Kotaro Lives Alone or Sweetness and Lightning, then this will be right up your alley about a tough yakuza right hand who has to take care of his boss’s daughter. It sounds like it could go either way with comedy and drama. What the show decides to do is go down the route of both, where it balances out comedic antics with personal character drama. There is a lot going on under the surface of this show, and it may have a hard time balancing it out in the first episode, but after that, you are met with some complex characters, solid laughs, and constant momentum with the bond between the yakuza and the kid becoming stronger as each episode passes. It also lays down the groundwork for a cast of likable and imposing side characters, and an ongoing subplot about the daughter’s mom that make for one of the best anime of the season and the year in general. 

And there we have it! This was the Summer 2022 Anime Season Impressions! Not a great season of anime, but there were definitely a couple of shows that I very much enjoyed. If I had to list the ones I recommend from this part and part 1 of the impressions, these would be the anime I would recommend checking out now if you haven’t already. 


They are Uncle From Another World, Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting, TEPPEN, Phantom of the Idol, Parallel World Pharmacy, Call of the Night, and Lycoris Recoil. Definitely give these anime a watch if you haven’t already!

Summer Lovin, The 2022 Summer Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

The Summer 2022 Season has once again proven to be the year’s weakest season. Not that it didn’t have any good spots or elements to enjoy or admire, but the mediocre shows were more bountiful this season. While that might be a good thing for some viewers who like to support bad shows because they are “entertaining to ironically enjoy”, it leads to more quantity over quality situations in an already overworked industry. There doesn’t always need to be 30 shows getting released every three months, and we definitely don’t need more isekai and shows that skate the line of being porn, but are edited to be watched on broadcast TV. It’s the fact that a lot of the medium’s lowest quality schlock comes out in this season specifically that makes it frustrating. So then, let’s dive right in with these impressions!




ROMCOM

My Stepmom’s Daughter is My Ex (Crunchyroll) 

This is based on the novels and manga by Kyosuke Kamishiro, and the adaptation into animation is directed by Shinsuke Yanagi, written by Deko Akao aka Hitomi Mieno, and produced by Project No. 9. It’s going to be a bad time for any rom-com coming out after the wake of Kaguya Sama, Aharen, and Shikamori’s Not Just a Cutie, because they are going to have to carry the weight of trying to be the next big rom-com anime, and, well, you don’t do that by making a pseudo-incest anime. They try to write away that bag of yikes by saying that they were exes before their respective parents got married so they aren’t technically blood-related, but when you become brother and sister, the tone changes to creepy. It’s weird, because there are details, like how the break-up between our two leads was not exactly a happy one, and the bitterness they have for one another is a decent driving force for the comedy. Unfortunately, we all know where this type of show is going with them ending up together, and everything based around that endgame is not entertaining. Heck, they don’t even commit to the gimmick seen in the first episode. What’s even the point of bailing on your entire premise by the second episode? Oh wait, we all know why, and it’s why anime is such a tedious medium to enjoy. It’s also not animated well. It looks fine, but when you hear comedy, the characters aren’t animated to be comedic. It’s like the team was worried about them not looking “attractive”, and then the show decided to tempt fate by having fanservice moments. They aren’t common, but when they pop up, they are so out of place. It’s just an incredibly middling anime that could have some great moments, but the overarching story leaves a lot to be desired. Easily one of the worst shows of the season so far. 

Engage Kiss (Crunchyroll) 

This anime is based on a mixed media project by Square Enix, and the show is directed by Tomoya Tanaka, written by Fumiaki Maruto, and produced by A-1 Pictures. There is honestly a cool concept here with a false utopia where capitalism has resulted in multiple demon-hunting companies to bid for demon-hunting gigs with the lowest bid. There is a lot of world-building that could lead to some very impressive story beats and arcs for our main characters. There is even something there with how our lead works with his ex and his demon partner on hunting gigs. With all that said, you better love the lead, because he is by far one of the worst leads in the summer season. An absolutely lazy and hateful individual who doesn’t think he has any flaws or he gets super defensive when called out on his own flaws. The show bends like a pretzel to make two anime girls like him, and it just breaks the immersion. There is a way to make “I want to live and work the way I want to” characters work since Kintaro from Golden Boy is one of the most popular old anime characters, but it all comes down to execution, and our lead in Engage Kiss comes off like that one character from Odd Taxi who was mad he wasn’t going viral as a content creator. This is an intensely frustrating watch because there is obviously a lot of stuff in this show that is interesting and the animation looks good, but when the main lead is this obnoxious, it overshadows everything. You can have unlikeable characters and they can be flawed, but you have to still want to watch them grow or find their miserable existence entertaining. 

Call of the Night (HiDive) 

Finally, something good and not frustrating to talk about. This is based on the manga by Kotoyama. The anime adaptation was directed by Tetsuya Miyanishi (chief director) and Tomoyuki Itamura, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Liden Films. While there are some aspects of the show that can be a bit much, like the constantly subtle and not subtle talk of our leads being horny via the dynamic between a human male and a vampire, and how much a lot of that is the base of this show, it’s not just that. This low-fi atmospheric romcom also has a lot of themes and beats about feeling lost in a world with no drive and finding a connection with people. It’s a very calm and odd anime that looks great. It’s an offbeat anime that easily stands out from the mostly mediocre anime of the season. It also stands out because it’s actually good. 




OTHER




Extreme Hearts (Crunchyroll) 

Unlike a lot of anime this season, this one is actually an original project. Though I’ll be blunt, I assumed this was some kind of multi-media project with a mediocre mobile game attached to it. We will get to that part in a second. This anime is directed by Junji Nishimura, written by Masaki Tsuzuki, and produced by Seven Arcs. This show is a real mess. On one hand, there is the undeniable fire and passion for this project to make a combination of idol industry nonsense and sports nonsense, and for the first episode, there is a feeling of investment that you want to dive into with this show. Sadly, after the first episode, they fast forward through a lot of the sports side of the show to get to the idol stuff. It’s a shame because there haven’t been that many good sports anime this year with Salaryman’s Club still taking the top honor, but sure, we absolutely apparently needed more idol nonsense. It’s a bummer that anime has so much anime nonsense, and that said nonsense gets in the way of shows that could have just been fun and absurd. It’s a shame the one true sports anime that isn’t a sequel show is mediocre, but hey, if you enjoy it, that’s cool, but you won’t see me recommending it after the 3rd episode. 

Yurei Deco (Crunchyroll)

Be prepared, we have a couple of original anime this season! This one is directed by Tomohisa Shimoyama, written by Dai Sato, and produced by Science Saru. If you need a quick comparison or an easier way to describe Yurei Deco, think of it as a good version of Ready Player One that, instead of a self-indulgent piece of nostalgia-bating garbage, actually shows the horrors of a future that is always online. The way this show builds up its “persistently online while vibrant and colorful” is hiding the fact the city the characters live in is desolate, and the world they live in is authoritarian. They even find a way to tackle some pretty politically heavy topics like citizenship and the consequences of not being consistently signed up in this virtual world. The mysteries that lie underneath the flashy designs and the usual Science Saru aesthetics make this one of the best anime of the summer season, and that’s not hard since it’s so much better than 90% of the anime released this season. Not only is the summer anime season usually the weakest, but it’s also fertile ground for more experimental anime projects to show up and take the spotlight. 









ACTION/ADVENTURE

Smile of the Arsnotoria the Animation (Crunchyroll) 

This title is based on the mobile game by NextNinja. It’s directed by Naoyuki Tatsuwa, written by Midori Goto, and produced by Liden Films. Listen, if this didn’t have the confusing combination of magical tea time shenanigans and extremely dark and violent war stuff, this show would still be sort of boring. With what we have, it’s got a tonal problem when it mostly focuses on the cute stuff, and then at some point will show some intensely violent stuff that you are hoping becomes part of the forefront. You had better have some patience because it has yet to play a major role, and honestly, if you aren’t down for low-key slice-of-life stuff with a cast of cute girls, then you won’t tolerate this show at all. Kyoani and Naoko Yamada made this genre of anime look good with such ease, but it shows that you can’t just focus on one aspect and neglect the others. Once again, Liden Films has some impressive visuals, but it’s a shame this show’s rather lush visuals are for a show that’s, for the most part, boring. Also, take a shot every time the lead character has to sniff something or just says ‘sniff’. It will drive you up a wall. 

Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer (Crunchyroll) 

If you have been watching the anime this season, then this one stands out for all of the wrong reasons. This is the anime based on Satoshi Mizukami’s manga which was a cult favorite. It’s directed by Nobuaki Nakanishi, written by Satoshi Mizukami and Yuichiro Momose, and produced by NAZ. Whatever this premise has going for it, it is all undone due to how ugly as all get out this show is. Realizing that this was made by the same studio that did My Sister My Writer, the infamous bad anime of 2018, a lot of the terrible production values seen in Lucifer make a ton of sense. Every action scene is terrible, the line art is inconsistent, the compositing, the movements, the comedy, and the poorly placed CGI. It’s hands down one of the ugliest shows not of just the season, but of the year or more. Even with the ugly art direction, the story is all over the place. It can’t seem to find a tone of what it wants to be. Due to the bad animation, the action is lackluster. It has a few story beats that give depth to the characters, but it’s not enough. This is a disappointing adaptation of a fan-favorite manga author, and who knows if there will ever be a proper adaptation of this particular manga.

Shine On! Bakumatsu Bad Boys (Crunchyroll) 

Content Warning: The one female character in this show’s backstory show attempted assault. 

Well, here we go with an original anime of the season! This show is directed and written by Tetsuo Hirakawa, with designs by Shaman King author Hiroyuki Takei, and is produced by Geno Studio. Once again, I find myself conflicted with this one. On one hand, this undercover group of samurais taking down an evil force that’s trying to disrupt the people in power of Japan is lifted by the show’s striking visuals and character designs. It’s a visually striking show that helps it stand out from a lot of this season’s mediocre tripe. On the other hand, the show’s world-building leans into some pseudo-nationalism, and many of the characters are, simply put, loud. Many of the characters yell their lines and some are, so far, painted to be fairly one note. The action is rock solid, but it seems like this is only one of the better shows so far by default. I liked it, but I am hesitant about whether I would want to personally continue or not. 

Lycoris Recoil (Crunchyroll) 

Hey look, another original anime this season! This show is directed by Shingo Adachi, written by Asaura, and produced by A1 Pictures. Yes, it’s a show about cute anime high school girls going on secret missions because they are trained assassins. Yes, they bend the world’s logic and storytelling like a pretzel to excuse some of the show’s more outlandish story beats and violence. Yes, I am absolutely sure those special rubber bullets used by one of our leads would actually cause a ton of physical damage if shot at close range by them. Yes, this anime does have a lot of anime nonsense due to how this is an original title with some multi-media parts coming into play at a later date. With all that said though, and this is pretty much because the season is so lackluster, Lycoris Recoil seems to actually know what it wants to be as a show! With every new original anime project, you get nervous about how far the pitch for this show went. Some shows, even ones based on preexisting properties, tend to sometimes never go far beyond the elevator pitch or they completely bail on their premise by the second episode. Thankfully, Recoil seems to know that it wants to be a stylish cute anime girls using guns and getting into John Wick-style situations, and that’s fun to watch when everyone making the show is on the same level. If this was released last season or even a season like Fall 2021, it probably would get overlooked, but since so many anime this season are falling flat on their faces, Lycoris Recoil, with its likable leads, polished animation, bubbly atmosphere with a hint of something darker underneath the bubbliness, and entertaining action set pieces makes for a show that is hands down one of the more entertaining shows of the season. Hopefully, it finds a way to keep balancing everything, because it would really be a disappointment if this show fell off the rails as it went on. 


So for now, if you want to know which anime of these categories so far I would recommend watching, they would be Yurei Deco, Call of the Night, and Lycoris Recoil.

Spring Has Sprung: Spring 2022 Anime Season Impressions Part 2

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Okay, we are here with the second half of the Spring 2022 Anime Season Impressions! Luckily, with this second batch, the worst shows are more limited than in the previous part, and that shows how good this season is! Now, I’m wondering if time is a flat circle due to my worries about how the upcoming Summer Season is gonna be like Summer 2020 and 2021, where they fell flat compared to their previous spring seasons. Oh well, let’s finish up the Spring 2022 season! 

Other

Tomodachi Game (Crunchyroll)

CW: Reference to molestation, stalking, murder, and harassment

Well, you had to know that we were going to get another survival anime after Squid Game hit it big, no matter what, huh? This anime is based on the manga by Mikoto Yamaguchi and Yuki Sato. The anime adaptation is directed by Hirofumi Ogura, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by Okuruto Noboru. It has a pretty decent base for a survival game anime with a group of close friends that wind up in a survival game due to supposedly one of them losing the money for a school field trip. All of the potential for twists and turns are there, and yet, it fumbles the execution within the first episode. The mascot character, Manabu-Kun is by far the creepiest and best thing about this show and that is not enough to save it from all of the misogyny and sexism on display. This show truly hates the female characters in the story. Even if that wasn’t the case, the thrills aren’t there, the dialogue is badly written, and the animation overall looks cheap. Manabu is the best animated among the bunch, but even he isn’t safe from the inconsistent switch between CGI and 2D. It even reveals twists too early, and it makes me wonder how much faith the production committee had in this show when it seems like they are trying to do so much, but also drag out the show to a snail’s pace. This might be one of the worst shows this season and one of the worst shows of the year. It’s at the very least, a candidate for it. 

Heroines Run the Show (Crunchyroll)

This show is based on a song by HoneyWorks, a Vocaloid group. The anime is directed by Noriko Hashimoto in her series directing debut, written by Yoshimi Narita, and produced by Lay-duce. This show is a lot. You not only have a young hopeful who wants to run professionally, but she also gets a job as a temporary manager for a duo of male teen idols who also happen to be her classmates. It’s a juggling act of ambitions, keeping her job a secret, dealing with the shifting personas of the two idols, and at least befriending the intensely snooty duo. The story doesn’t quite start gelling until episode five, and that means you will have to sit through two of the most obnoxious characters this season. It’s intentional, sure, but until they start dropping hints of more complicated personality traits for the audiences, the characters can all be a bit much. Still, you get the three leads’ drive, their anxiety, and the stress of having to do so much all at once. It’s not perfectly told, but if this is your kind of campy shojo fun, then you will be down for it. Just be ready to commit to waiting to see the more nuanced sides to the leads past the usual three-episode rule. 

Estab-Life: Great Escape (Crunchyroll) 

This odd little show is a mixed-media project by Goro Taniguchi. The anime adaptation is directed by Hiroyuki Hashimoto, written by Shoji Gatoh, and produced by Polygon Pictures. Let’s face facts, this show’s world is bonkers. It’s not well explained, it combines way too many things like it was some kind of checklist from a corporate-ran test audience of what they want to see in their anime. With all that said, it’s fun to watch. Like, it has substance behind its absurdity, and while some of the plots can be a touch on the ridiculous side of execution, it’s an amusing watch to see what are essentially three anime girls helping people leave their oppressed lives in one city and then get escorted to another. It at least kept me invested, despite the fact I don’t care about the characters. It’s a fun popcorny-series and that’s more than most anime released every season. 

Healer Girls (Crunchyroll)

This is surprisingly a season full of original anime! Healer Girls, well, like I said, is an original anime by director Yasuhiro Irie, written by Noboru Kimura, and produced by 3Hz. If there was one word to describe this show, it would be charming. First off, this show has some of the bounciest and most expressive animation of any of the shows this season, the characters are adorable dorks, and it is probably the first-ever musical I have covered doing these seasonal anime drops. It’s also one of many anime this season that’s all about characters getting together to metaphorically and literally heal each other. It has such a fantastical premise, but it finds a way to weave it into the more human stories. Even the rival characters are likable, and it’s an overall likable experience. There is definitely one character who is a little too obsessed with his mentor, but that’s a small complaint compared to what this show has going for it, which is loveable individuals you want to root for, gorgeous animation, and it being a musical, outstanding musical numbers. It might sound like an odd duck of a show, but it’s one you truly shouldn’t be missing out on before the Summer 2022 season starts. 

Deaimon (Crunchyroll)

This anime is based on the manga by Rin Asano. The adaptation is directed by Fumitoshi Oizaki, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by Encourage Films. Once again, a recurring theme in a lot of the best shows this season is characters helping heal or care for one another, and that’s no different here with our lead returning to his home city to help out his parent’s sweets shop, and also happens to encounter an orphan girl whose father abandoned her at the shop. The overall arc is our lead and the characters around him, making a family of lost souls who could use someone in their life to feel whole and supported. It’s a very old-school slice of life anime that is, forgive me for the pun, sweet. The show does a fantastic job at making these characters feel human with their pros, cons, and everything in between. It does have a few comedic antics here and there, but the main focus is for everyone to feel like a family at the sweet shop. Also, the sweets look amazing, and while the overall show has this fantastic soft-painted look to the visuals, the animation is lively. It’s a lovely anime that shows how a found family can come together and be there for one another. 

Dance Dance Danseur (Crunchyroll)

CW: References to abuse

Well, we got yet another stunning visual treat from MAPPA. This is based on the manga by George Asakura. The adaptation is directed by Munehisa Sakai, written by Yoshimi Narita, and produced by MAPPA. What’s so fascinating about this show? Well, one of many fascinating things about this show is how it tackles a multitude of topics, but mostly how toxic masculinity leads to miserable lives. Our main character for a majority of the first three episodes is extremely unlikeable, but is obviously at his happiest when he does ballet. The way the show tackles his journey will definitely be a test of patience for viewers who aren’t ready for this show to get very personal and uncomfortable with our lead’s attitude and his facade. Luckily, through smart storytelling, writing, and as usual for MAPPA, gorgeous animation, the show does redeem him and his attitude. Seriously, the animators who have made these shows at the studio are top-notch individuals. They capture the beauty of the art form and of the manga’s distinct character designs. It’s a show that, while maybe taking a bit much to get our lead’s antics out of the way by episode three, is one of the more complex shows that is not hesitant to go to some complex human moments, while also having some ethereal moments that display why this show is a stand-out of the season. Seriously, the opening ballet sequence in the first episode might be one of the best moments of any show this season full of amazing moments. If you like a distinct drama that revolves around sports with a commitment to breaking down the psyche of the characters, then give this one a watch.

Romance 

Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs (Crunchyroll)

This anime is based on the novels and manga by Yomu Mishima. The adaptation is directed by Kazuya Miura and Shin’ichi Fukumoto, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by ENGI. This show has some potential with being trapped in not only a dating sim video game, but a completely busted one, and while the lead just wants to get enough going for himself to live a peaceful “nobody” life, he is constantly forced to partake in the game’s plot and world. It tries to have commentary of some kind on how the world’s biggest issues are misandry and the class system, but it never feels like it’s hitting on all cylinders. The animation is cheap-looking, which doesn’t help its case and the characters, whether intentional or not, all pretty much are either nothing or are unlikable as heck. It even pulls some absurd twists, which is saying something about this season of anime. Overall, it’s just a fairly misogynistic and busted show that I wish spent less time watching than other shows this season. I wish I was on the same wavelength as people who liked it, but alas, I am not. 








A Couple of Cuckoos (Crunchyroll)

This rom-com is based on the popular manga by Miki Yoshikawa. The adaptation is directed by Hiroaki Akagi and Yoshiyuki Shirahata, written by Yasuhiro Nakanishi, and produced by Shin-Ei Animation and SynergySP. It’s a good reminder that just because a film, show, game, or manga is popular, it doesn’t mean it will hit everyone the same way. This is how I feel about this anime. It’s a show that’s trying to be funny but doesn’t have the comedic animation to do so. The characters, while trying to add depth to the situation of being separated at birth by their respective parents and the psychology that comes with such a situation, don’t do enough to make me root for them. The animation has this uncanny valley aspect to how the characters move and the eyes on the main female characters. Still, the story takes some huge stretches with having you believe that all of this can or could happen without any real-world implications or lawsuits about how two babies at a hospital went to the wrong parents. It has its moments where they let the characters breathe and discuss stuff with one another, but when I want to see the parents who run the restaurant in the show more than the leads, that’s a problem. It also dips into some cringe harem comedy tropes with the not-blood-related sister to our male lead in love with him, which is still creepy and incest, y’all. You can’t spin this trope into something tolerable or relatable. Also, for a show that’s trying to be bubbly, the colors are drab. It doesn’t look good on a visual level despite the animation and visuals wanting to be on the level of a Shinkai or I Want To Eat Your Pancreas. Overall, it’s a show I’m not enjoying, and I have no use for actually going back to it. 








Love After World Domination (Crunchyroll)

This is the second Power Rangers parody anime this year. I bet they unofficially share the same universe. Anyway, this is based on the manga by Hiroshi Noda. It’s directed by Kazuya Iwata, written by Satoru Sugizawa, and produced by Project No. 9. This is a very interesting companion piece to Miss Kuroitsu of the Monster Development Department. On one hand, Kuroitsu focuses more on the commentary about the workplace system that just happens to be about working on monsters to fight the heroes. Love After World Domination on the other hand is more intent on being all about the gags and comedy around the premise of there being a romance between what is essentially the red power ranger and the female antagonist of the show. It might dip into the fanservice bits a bit to the eye-rolling side of the scale, but those moments aren’t often and the humor is more about putting these characters into different scenarios about trying to build up their relationship, what kind of dates could they go on, and how to avoid their allies from finding out. It’s still a lot of fun and the laughs are consistent enough to come highly recommended. 






Shikamori’s Not Just a Cutie (Crunchyroll)

This delightful show is based on the manga by Keigo Maki. The animated adaptation is directed by Ryota Itoh, written by Yoshimi Narita, and produced by Doga Kobo. Listen, it is about a super adorable duo of a young man who has the worst luck in the world but has an impossibly adorable cute girlfriend, but the best romantic comedies have something under the sweetness. You can only go so far before the sweetness and cute stuff starts to feel more artificial and made by a marketing team. We already have a few of those this season and this is one of the shows that handle it the best. The show does focus more on the antics for the first two episodes, but by that point, they start to throw in some small details that start to bubble up by the third episode about how the two leads want to come off to one another. One’s clumsiness and bad luck is just part of the deal with getting an honest-to-goodness kind individual. Shikamori wants to be cute for her boyfriend, but is also a rather tough individual and they start to explore those parts of the characters that, on top of the cute shenanigans, show some depth and make for some of the best couples in anime this year. It’s a wholesome show with some lovely animation and adorable characters. 




Sports

Love All Play (Crunchyroll)

Do not confuse this with the Korean sports drama of the same name. This is based on the novels by Asami Koseki. The anime adaptation is directed by Hiroshi Takeuchi, written by Tomoko Tonparu, and produced by Nippon Animation and Oriental Light and Magic. It’s a bummer this show came out a season after Salaryman’s Club because it’s going to get compared to that hidden gem from Winter 2022 a lot. What makes this one different from the previous badminton anime is how grounded it is. Granted, that grounded take on the sports genre does still come with its sports anime archetypes in terms of characters, but it is nice to see them want to focus on the characters and not just some kind of merchandise tie-in. The animation looks solid, the drama feels realistic, and it does show how challenging even the most harmless-looking sport can be. I do wish it had some kind of flair to it like Salaryman’s Club had, but for a sports anime, it’s solid! It might not have too much flash or anything truly unique about it outside of some underlying boy love undertones, but at least it’s better than most of the sports anime we got last year. 

Aoashi (Crunchyroll)

This will be the second of four soccer anime we are getting this year. It’s funny that we have at least one for every season. So, this show is based on the manga by Yugo Kobayashi. It’s directed by Akira Sato, written by Masahiro Yokotani, and produced by Production I.G. We have our second sports anime that definitely takes a grounded approach. It’s not super flashy or intensely action-packed as other sports anime, but it definitely falls more into the camp of building the drama around the characters than making flashy and thrilling sports. I mean, that doesn’t sound so out of place, but when you start to watch so much anime, you tend to pick up on what the show is more interested in checking out or focusing on than what you, as a viewer, were expecting. It does maybe focus a bit much on the technical angle of things, but there is something interesting seeing all of these very talented players know how talented they are, and now have to work as a team and essentially relearn everything to make for a perfect fighting force. 



Birdie Wing: Golf Girl’s Story (Crunchyroll)

Yet another gem in a lineup already full of gems. This is an original anime directed by Takayuki Inagaki, written by Yosuke Kuroda, and produced unsubtly by Namco Bandai Pictures. It definitely feels distinct that we have a golf anime this season when, in general, we really don’t get much anime about golf. It definitely talks about the ins and outs of the mentality and tactics of golf, but let’s not kid ourselves here. When you see the designs of the characters and the first episode, the golfing is about on par with Mario Golf. It’s absurd how good some of the shots are taken care of, and the characters are all filled to the brim with flair. It’s also not shy about having some very upfront gay subtext with some of the characters, and while there are some that exude more of that subtext as context, the characters themselves are very likable. It’s nice to see a rival character who isn’t constantly looking down on the lead, and while the lead herself is maybe your familiar shonen action lead, she’s great as well. It might not be a super realistic take on golf, but when so many anime fall flat or don’t have much to offer outside of some cheap fixes, until you find better stuff, Birdie Wing: Golf Girl’s Story stands out from among the rest like a very loud peacock. 



Fanfare of Adolescence (Crunchyroll)

It’s nice to see that there are still some fantastic surprises out this season among the original anime. This show is directed by Makoto Kato, written by Team Fanfare, and produced by Lay-duce. This is, like Ya Boy Kongming, one of those premises for a show that sounds goofy. An ex-idol quits his band and decides to become a horse jockey? How on earth do you make that work? Well, like Dance Dance Dansuer, the show, while it does focus on the training that goes into being a horse jockey, also dives into our lead’s drama of quitting the idol industry and how all of that baggage has weighed him down until it starts to break off him metaphorically after he encounters the other jockeys. It’s also another anime this season with some serious LGBTQ+ subtext with certain characters, and many may try to deny that, but you see that one scene in the first episode, and it’s hard to deny it. It does a good job of building the characters up with their own distinct personalities and drives to become a horse jockey. It’s also one of the more visually stunning shows of the season that takes a lot of advantage of the medium to give some of the most stand-out moments and images of the season. It’s a fantastic show and y’all should be supporting original anime instead of more boring isekais. 

Spring Has Sprung: The Spring 2022 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)


The spring 2022 season of anime has definitely been a wild ride. It was a fairly vast improvement to the more slow-paced and uneven Winter 2022 season, and that’s because the scale of quality has gone up. Sure, there are still too many anime out there, but this might be one of the strongest seasons of anime ever. Well, strongest in terms of the good anime anyway. Even the ones some can consider bad still have something worth talking about, even if what is being talked about isn’t in the show’s favor. As usual, I am just listing my impression of these shows off of the first 3-5 episodes of the new releases. No sequel seasons or spin-offs. I’m also not covering short-form anime either. Let’s dive in!


Action/Adventure

The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody (Crunchyroll)

This anime is based on the novels and manga by Miyojin Kato.  The adaptation was directed by Mirai Minato, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Silver Link and Blade. It’s another isekai power fantasy with some sign of a hook that could be interesting, but I’m at a point now where if they don’t start honing in on the hook more, then I lose interest fast. This is just another power fantasy story that has our over-powered lead being reborn as a simple villager who ends up keeping all of these super amazing magic spells and power, while also gaining a harem of anime girls who don’t do much or add much to the story. There are some moments where the show does seem to want to play up the “nobody” angle of the show, and yet it seems to really want to fall back on the power fantasy harem nonsense. It has some potentially good story hooks as well, with how the lead encounters individuals who he knew from his past life and his connections with certain characters. Too bad it’s mostly meh-looking as a show, and the fights have no stakes to them due to how our lead is just better than everyone. It has some other world-building angles it might dive into, but since I have seen anime that do these topics and elements better, this show offers very little to stand out or to really recommend. 



Skeleton Knight in Another World (Crunchyroll)

CW: Sexual Violence 

This baffling show is based on the novels and manga by Ennki Haraki. The show is directed by Katsumi Ono, written by Takeshi Kikuchi, and produced by Studio Kai and Hornets. This might be the most or, at the very least, one of the most confusing projects I have seen. On one hand, you have a show that markets itself as a goofy and absolutely silly time. It has a lot of really good hooks in terms of its comedy because our lead is a large skeleton and it has some really solid laughs. On the other hand, the show has a lot of moments that don’t balance well with the show’s goofy tone. This includes the infamous first episode that opens with sexual assault and violence that’s meant to be horrifying, but is also animated in a titillating way. Yeah, if you are going to have stuff like this, then you can’t be this goofy show when around every corner of the show, there is more of what the first episode includes. It also doesn’t make our lead likable for a chunk of the first episode, which is a shame, because he’s more entertaining as a lead than most isekai leads. It can’t seem to balance out what kind of show it wants to be, and it’s a shame, because it’s otherwise an above-average isekai that has a more comedy-driven angle, and it’s more entertaining than most isekai released. If you want to get into this show, I would recommend skipping the first episode since they make you watch the sexual assault scene twice in the episode. 

I’m Quitting Heroing! (HiDive)

This category can’t catch a break huh? This show is adapted from the light novels/manga by Quantum. It’s directed by Yuu Nobuta and Hisashi Ishii, written by Shigeru Murakoshi, and produced by EMT Square. While there was definitely some worry, due to the studio making it and the types of shows they like to work on or get assigned with, it’s definitely one of their better efforts. Granted, it doesn’t make a great first impression with comedy that doesn’t quite hit the mark when it should, and how the show leans more into the drama and story when it seems like it was partly billed as a comedy, but it has decent character development. The lead does try to help out the evil demon lord’s generals and army, and when it’s just the lead and one of the generals, it’s good enough. Sadly, the cheap look of the visuals, a real lack of jokes that work, and a twist that is decently set up results in it falling with a thud. It feels like it should have either focused more on the comedy angle or not pull a wonky twist with the setting of the anime. It’s definitely the weakest of the shows that HiDive is distributing this season, but at least it doesn’t open with sexual violence as a core element of the series like Skeleton Knight does. 

The Dawn of the Witch

This show didn’t do an excellent job at marketing itself as a sequel, so I accidentally decided to give my impressions of the show. This is a follow-up to the Grimoire of Zero series. It’s based on the light novels and manga by Kakeru Kobashiri. The anime adaptation is directed and written by Satoshi Kuwabara, and produced by Tezuka Pictures. What’s really fascinating about this anime is how it really works on its own as a stand-alone series. It’s also a show with a really well-thought-out world with a lot of meat to its bones lore building about how witches function in society and the discrimination factors they deal with alongside other species in this world. This show really wanted to commit to its story and world-building and that’s really neat. They didn’t just leave it at “oh, this is just another fantasy setting, so who cares.” They made sure you felt invested with the world, the story, and the leads that we follow. , also has some of this season’s most vibrant colors and visuals. It’s a real shame though that the female characters get the short end of the design stick because they are all way too sexualized. They even try play it off with one character being 1000s of years old but looks 12. It’s frustrating. Otherwise, it’s a real rock solid anime and apparently, it does have some real connections to the previous show, but if you are looking for an interesting fantasy series, then do check this show out if you haven’t already. 

The Executioner and Her Way of Life (HiDive)

This fantastic take on the isekai genre is based on the novels and manga by Mato Sato. The anime adaptation is directed by Yoshiki Kawasaki, written by Shogo Yasukawa, and produced by J.C. Staff. With how flooded the anime scene is with these mostly mediocre isekai shows, you really need to work hard to either stand out or execute your power fantasy experience, or else you will be forgotten. Thankfully, the team adapting this novel knew they had something special, due to how it basically flips the isekai genre on its head with the twist that happens in the first episode. Seeing who you think would be the lead character in yet another dull power fantasy show get suddenly switched to the co-lead is some of the best subversion of expectations I have seen in anime in a long time. It also has an extremely fleshed-out magic system, a fascinating world with equally interesting lore, exciting action, and some really good story hooks to keep you invested in the story. It’s a show that goes above and beyond what most mediocre power fantasy isekai isn’t willing to do. Now we all just hope it sticks the landing. 







Spy X Family (Crunchyroll)

I mean, we all knew this was going to be one of the best shows of the season, right? This is based on the manga by Tatsuya Endo. It’s directed and written by Kazuhiro Furuhashi and is a co-collaboration between CloverWorks and Wit Studios. This is just a fantastic show. Its premise is a spy having to put together a fake family that slowly turns into a real one. It includes an adorable girl with psychic powers and a woman who’s secretly an assassin, both rife with action and comedy potential. With no surprise, the premise is executed well, with an immensely satisfying comedy between the fact the spy needs to keep everything in order with two different individuals with completely different mindsets, and their awkwardness and human aspects popping out and causing chaos and wrinkles in the situation. It truly shows how well written these characters are. Even by the third episode, they already feel like a real family. On top of the fantastic writing and comedy, Wit Studios and CloverWorks making an action-oriented show means you will be getting some of the best action animation out there. The entire show looks amazing as well, with great visuals, designs, and some truly amazing comedic expressions from the characters. On top of a very entertaining and thrilling story, Spy X Family is the obvious fan favorite show of the season, and for once, it actually earns its hype with everything listed above. 

Comedy

Miss Shachiku and the Little Baby Ghost (Crunchyroll) 

This troubling show is based on the manga by Imari Arita. It’s directed by Ku Nabara, written by Hitomi Mieno aka Deko Akao, and produced by Project No. 9. This is trying to be one of those anime series about not overworking yourself, and taking care of yourself like The Helpful Fox Senko-San, but you know what that show has that’s not in this show? Substance. I mean, that’s not the only problem. The original translated title had a ton of red flags attached to it, but the overall execution of the premise is more artificial and creepy. There is nothing wrong with the moral of a show being “Hey, don’t commit your entire life to work” or “don’t work yourself to death” which is a very common bit of social commentary you see in many anime that are criticizing the work industry in Japan. The problem is that the cuteness comes off as manipulative, and the fact they are called baby ghosts is really creepy. It rarely comes off as endearing or actually cute. It’s also boring to watch. It’s not funny enough to keep your attention, the characters aren’t interesting, and it seems like it really wants to make you think these ghosts are the cutest things of all time. At best, it’s boring and forgettable with maybe a wholesome scene here and there that lands. At worst, it’s creepy, boring, drawn-out, and it’s a show that has been done before and better. 









In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki (Crunchyroll)

CW: the show sexualizes underaged characters. 

This anime is based on the manga by Teasing Master Tagaki-San creator Soichiro Yamamoto. It’s directed by Takudai Kakuchi, written by Konomi Shugo, and produced by CloverWorks. You would think by the first episode, this is going to be a coming-of-age comedy about that pre-teen period of time when girls start discovering their attraction to boys or what have you, and how there is this case of “you should never encounter men” vibe from the leader of this all-female ninja village. Sadly, that’s never actually the case, it’s just a boring and vastly unfunny slice-of-life anime with an emphasis on comedy that just happens to have ninjas in it. On top of the jokes not landing and the characters not being all that memorable, the designs do not work here. They look like loosely dressed pre-teens, and it’s rather uncomfortable how revealingly dressed they are. You would think they would have some kind of mystery as to why they are an all-female ninja village or why men are so “forbidden”, but by episode 4, I just have had it with this series. Maybe if the designs weren’t so creepy and the jokes were better, I and most people would care enough to stick around, but it’s not good enough to last through the rougher aspects of the show. It’s well animated, but it’s not on the level of CloverWorks’ other shows from this year like My Dress Up Darling, Akebi’s Sailor Uniform, or their Wit Studios collaboration work on Spy X Family. This will definitely be another example of why people can’t get into anime despite the barrier not being all that bad. It’s a shame. Maybe CloverWorks next show will be better. 

RPG Real Estate (Crunchyroll)

CW: the show sexualizes underaged characters. 

What is with Spring anime seasons and having fantastical house hunting shows? Anyway, this show is based on the four-panel manga by Chiyo Kenmotsu. It’s directed by Tomoaki Koshida, written by Yoshiko Nakamura, and produced by Doga Kobo. On one hand, there are some very sweet and solid moments of character building with our leads learning to think of the customers when helping them find a home that’s right for them and not what the leads think will be good for them. What doesn’t quite work is this show’s consistent focus on wanting the audience to think the leads are the cutest characters in the world, and the fact one of the characters who is more childlike than the others doesn’t want to wear clothes. It’s a recurring gag throughout the entire show, and it’s creepy, and never funny. The designs themselves are also a problem with how child-like they look, but three of the four leads are written and act like adults. It feels like it’s at times more interested in fanservice and cuteness over what the show does right with its commentary about housing. It’s well animated enough, and at some points too well animated for fanservicey reasons, but it’s cute and it’s at the very least an interesting topic. It’s just not good enough to be on par or better than Dragon Goes House Hunting

Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer (Crunchyroll)

This quirky offbeat comedy is based on the manga by Tannen ni Hakko. It’s directed by Nobuaki Nakanishi, written by Fumihiko Shimo, and produced by Jumondou. The entire gimmick of an up-and-coming heroic adventure teaming up with a healer sounds like a basic fantasy show motif, but when you realize how awful the healer is, that’s when the comedy starts to come out. The comedic focus on the healer being extremely blunt and not able to read the room is consistently funny, and the heroic character not being able to catch a break and deal with her sass is hilarious. Even the monsters they encounter aren’t evil or threatening. They are just sort of nice and relatable. It’s a cute show, but when you have the writer of anime including Dai Guard, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Bofuri, Hamataro, and many others, you are bound to have a fun and cute time with our fantasy heroes. As I go through the rest of the show, I do hope there is more to the overall experience than the two leads not connecting and being an effective party, because if you don’t click with this show’s comedy, then you will probably not want to go past the first or second episode. Still, if you want a real rock solid comedy this season that isn’t Ya Boy Kongming or Aharen is Indecipherable, then you should definitely give Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer a shot! 

Ya Boy Kongming! (HiDive)

Consider this one of the biggest surprises of the season as well as one of the best shows of the season and possibly of the year. This unique anime is based on the manga by Yuto Yotsuba. The adaptation is directed by Shu Honma, written by Yoko Yonayama, and produced by P.A. Works. This show explains why I love anime. The absurd premise of a Chinese Three Kingdoms tactician dying and being sent to modern-day Japan sounds like the dumbest thing to make a show about. Then you watch it, and what unfolds is a delightful buddy comedy about how this tactician of history helps out a struggling singer come back with his tactics. It leads to some immensely deep and complex journeys of self-discovery, life, regret, and growth for our two leads, with some incredible jokes, some groovy tunes, and one of the most delightful opening sequences of any anime this season. The premise might sound goofy, but it’s one of the best shows of the season and is an early front-runner for the best new show of 2022. 

Aharen is Indechipherable (Crunchyroll)


This charming-as-all-get-out anime series is based on the manga by Asato Mizu. The adaptation is directed by Yasutaka Yamamoto and Tomoe Makino, written by Takao Yoshioka, and produced by Felix FIlm. So, with these types of stories about two characters who may seem polar opposite to one another becoming friends or more, but with the female lead being the more outgoing of the two, this time, the roles are pretty much reversed. What really makes this show and experience work is that it’s adorable. The two are pretty much on the same level of wanting to be social and make friends but have something going against them. The way the two bond and find ways to communicate with one another is full of extremely consistent laughs and super heartfelt moments. There hasn’t been an episode so far where I didn’t laugh, and that’s so hard to do for anime comedies. The side characters are also a nice addition on the same level of quality as Komi Can’t Communicate. It also has some of the most laid-back music from composer Satoru Kosaki and MONACA that gives off some heavy Animal Crossing vibes. On top of some great comedic animation and an overall wholesome atmosphere, this is easily the best comedy of the season, and probably the best comedy of the year so far.

Winter 2022 Anime Season Impressions Finale

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Well, with this second part now completed, I can safely say that overall, the Winter 2021 season was a real hit-and-miss experience. You would find some fantastic shows, but then you would run into shows that feel like they came out from the hugely mediocre Summer 2021 season. Still, when the good anime show their heads, they do elevate a rather ho-hum season. Still, if half of these anime came out later, and actually had time to be good, then maybe I would be singing a different tune. The anime industry needs to slow down and make sure they are paying and taking care of their animators instead of burning them out and losing more, due to said burnout and overwork. As usual, there needs to be a new deal for animation, not just in Japan and the US, but all over the world. Now then, let’s get started. 


Sports 

Futsal Boys (Funimation)

This anime is part of yet another dreaded mixed media project. It’s directed by Yukina Hiiro, written by Shoji Yonemura, and produced by Diomedea. Am I really going to have to go through another year where most of the sports anime series that were released were awful, with very few of them being good and even fewer being great? Seriously, even with all of the anime industry nonsense going on, we shouldn’t have to wait for another Bakuten level success. While it looks leagues better than Farewell My Dear Kramer, Futsal Boys still suffers from an incredibly bland and boring story that you have seen in so many male-focused sports anime. You have seen these characters before, you know what their arcs are going to be, and the fact that it doesn’t look good on a whole, is resulting in a rather flawed package. It feels like any time I have seen a soccer-related anime, it turns out to not be all that good, and we are getting a total of three or so for now soccer-related anime. Maybe this show will get better, but due to how unimpressed most people are with it, I doubt it will have more time to shine. Plus, too much anime is coming out already, and I personally can’t commit to watching every show I find to be mediocre. 

Tribe Nine (Funimation)

Another original anime by the Danganronpa people? This should have been a real knockout! It’s directed by Yu Aoki, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Liden Films. This is pretty much a sports show if it was conceptualized by a child, and that’s both its greatest strength and weakness. It’s a baseball anime where baseball was taken to the extreme via the 90s, and with how unhinged and absurd it can be, when it all hits, the show is a lot of fun to watch, as we see our group of distinctly designed heroes play baseball. Seeing how it’s by the same individuals who make the Danganronpa series, the characters all have very unique looks to them and they have their own personalities as well. The villain, who is voiced by famed content creator Corpse Husband, also does a fantastic job alongside the rest of the English dub cast to bring this world to life. However, during my time watching the show, it felt like it was missing that edge that was in the team’s previous efforts with Akudama Drive from 2020, and the animation quality is underselling the over-the-top nature of this show’s sport. Maybe they should have been given more time to flesh out how to keep the sports parts more exhilarating, or maybe a Studio Trigger simply could have done better, or maybe they should have gotten the team behind SK8 The Infinity to make this show’s action punch a bit harder. Still, it’s a solid sports show with a decent cast and a great dub. Hopefully, it gets better as time goes on. 

Salaryman’s Club (Crunchyroll/VRV)

It really feels like we are back in the Spring 2021 anime season with these sports anime, because this one is the only really good one out of the batch. This is an original anime directed by Aimi Yamauchi, written by Yamauchi and Teruko Usumi, and produced by Liden Films. Well, if you had to look at the two sports anime this season that were made by Liden Films and where the resources went, it’s quite obvious this is where they went. This combination of a group of young men who work at a soda company while also representing the company’s badminton team sounds so odd, but it turns out to be the most compelling sports anime story of the season and one of the most compelling anime of the season. The main character, while acting a touch standoffish at first, quickly becomes a likable individual who has a troubled past with the sport, but opens up more once he joins the company, resulting in a super likable cast of characters. You may have seen characters like these in sports anime before, but it’s always going to come down to the execution, and when the story hits, it hits hard. It’s also one of the loveliest-looking anime of the season if the sports sequences and the lush opening aren’t already a sign of the overall quality of animation. It’s got charm for days. If you like shows like last year’s Bakuten!! (aka Backflip!!) or Free! Dive, then you will love this anime, and in a season that’s mostly sequels and some fairly mediocre titles, it’s a good idea to support the original anime that come out and hit it out of the park like Salaryman’s Club does. 








Action/adventure

Rusted Armors (Crunchyroll/VRV)

CW: transphobic and homophobic moments. 

So, we have yet another multi-media project that includes 2.5D stage plays, and manga by both Hagi and Kairi Shimotsuki doing the two different manga art individually. The anime is directed by Shinmei Kawahara, written by Ohine Ezaki, and produced by Kigumi. Listen, while its CGI is overall extremely lackluster with models that looked like they were ripped from a PlayStation 2 era cel-shaded anime placed on 2D backdrops, it is still only slightly better than Ex-Arm. The fact that the new trend of shows getting made is hiring studios that never worked in anime before and or never worked in CGI animation before is not a good sign for things to come. The characters look like they came out of the more recent Fire Emblem games, but with none of the charm or any actual character development. The first two episodes even have some major transphobic and homophobic aspects. The overall show feels like it was an 80s cartoon made to advertise some toy line that never happened with how macho and “super cool” it’s trying to be. It’s kind of sad how hard the show is trying by the 4th episode to be this serious action drama, but its tone clashes with how bad the CGI is and how lackluster the action is. It might not be as badly inept as Ex-Arm, but this show didn’t need to exist if the team wasn’t given the right time and budget to make it work. This might be the worst anime of the year so far. 

Requiem of the Rose King (Funimation)

CW: a lot of attempted rape. 

So, this anime is based on the manga by Aya Kanno. The anime adaptation is directed by Kentaro Suzuki, written by Hiroki Uchida, and produced by JC Staff. Whether you know about the original source material or not, this show does a bad job of helping you feel invested with this show’s drama and story. It goes at a breakneck pace introducing too many characters that are major players within this show’s story. It also has a lot of drama revolving around our main character being intersexual, and it’s not well handled at all. There is also just a lot of attempted rape. On top of all of this, the animation is not great. It almost leans on not being animated at all, or just doing the bare minimum. Funny enough, with it being a JC Staff-produced show, they almost animate this as they did with Way of the Househusband. The dub cast is trying so hard to make this all work and to make it all compelling, but it’s not enough to help elevate this adaptation. I heard the manga is great, but we are here to talk about the anime, and the anime is easily one of the worst this season and is an early contender alongside Rusted Armors as the worst. 

Orient (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This action show is based on the manga by Shinobu Ohtaka. It’s directed by Tetsuya Yanagisawa, written by Mariko Kunisawa, and produced by A.C.G.T. Honestly, this would be a decently pulpy action show that you would have seen on Toonami in the early days of that program’s run. It’s basically teens fighting demons in a world where demons took over and have basically enslaved humans to become edible slaves. It has a real poppy opening as well that might be the show’s best feature. It also has a female lead who is by far the most interesting character out of the main trio. Too bad it takes until episode 4 for her to arrive, and the show looks like utter garbage. Seriously, this might be one of the flimsiest anime I have ever seen with its real lack of polish across the board. It has wonky designs for background characters, the action isn’t all that stellar, and the whole fantasy world that just happens to have magical motorcycles feels half-baked. I like the idea of what the demons have done to this world, and as the show goes on, it shows the cold nature of humans as well, but it’s a very uneven if somewhat decent series. I can’t personally see myself coming back to this odd and clunky series, but it’s not the worst. 

Girl’s Frontline (Funimation)

Well, this anime is based on the popular mobile game by MICA Team. The anime adaptation is directed by Shigeru Ueda, written by Hideyuki Kurata, and produced by Asahi Productions. A show about a bunch of cute anime girls dressed up like figurines and statues with guns is not as serious as it should be. Everyone is wearing cute anime outfits or sexy attire, and yet this is played dead seriously. It’s also not well animated, so the gunfights aren’t all that thrilling to watch, and due to the nature of the expendability of the dolls, unless they are a specific group shown off, they are hard to care about. Even the opening has better animation than anything in the actual show. It’s almost funny how seriously this show wants to be taken, but unless you really love the game, then you won’t find much to really enjoy here when you can go and watch Princess Connect: ReDive! and have a much better time with fun action, comedy, and character dynamics. 

Love of Kill (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This action/thriller/romance anime is based on the manga by Fe. It’s directed by Hideaki Oba, written by Ayumu Hisao, and produced by Platinum Vision, the same studio that animated Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist. While this show’s production values and tone are uneven, and I think that is because the show is trying to shove in little bits of comedy to break up everything else, this show is very interesting. The real hook and pull of this show is the dynamic between the hitman and the detective as the show slowly, maybe a bit too slowly, unravels why this hitman is connected to this detective. It slowly unravels throughout the first few episodes, and it was able to keep my interest in what was going on between the two. At points, the show doesn’t balance out its tone well, and this really needed more time or more people to polish out the visuals, but I was shocked with how invested I was with this show’s story. 

Tokyo 24 Ward (Crunchyroll/VRV/Funimation)

Well, here we are with the third of the three shows CloverWorks made this season. It’s an original anime directed by Naokatsu Tsuda and written by Vio Shimokura. Out of the three shows CloverWorks put out this season, this one has the biggest uphill battle to get through. It was the last to come out, it had some apparent production issues, and it might become the next victim of CloverWorks production woes as it’s an original show, and who knows how it will hit the landing. Hopefully, this sci-fi action show that is basically Minority Report, but with an anime coat of paint makes its landing, because it’s a really cool show. It has a great world, a fantastic hook, and the third episode ends on a real rock-solid note that definitely made me want to keep watching, since there are now six or so episodes out. I love CloverWorks, but this is the show I’m the most worried about this season not ending well. Hopefully our colorful cast of likable leads, intense trolley problem set pieces, solid CloverWorks level animation, and a rather engaging story keep up throughout the show’s run. 

Sabikui Bisco (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This anime is based on the light novels and manga by Shinji Cobkubo. The anime in question is directed by Atsushi Itagaki, written by Sadayuki Murai, and produced by OZ. When you think of light novels, what comes to mind? Mostly mediocre isekai power fantasies? Well, if your viewpoint on them was as narrow as mine, then Sabikui Bisco is a real fresh change of pace alongside other shows like Faraway Paladin. This anime feels like it came out of the mid-to-late 90s during the time of shows like Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, and Trigun. A futuristic world with a distinct infection known as Rust and a mystery revolving around mushrooms. It feels old- school and part of a time period where so many manga authors wanted to have their take on either Blade Runner, Alien, or Mad Max, but this time, without the more troubling aspects of the late 80s early 90s era of the OVA boom. On top of some stellar action and worldbuilding, our characters are fascinating and instantly hook you with their distinct personalities. It’s a world that feels fully lived and realized, and that’s so rare to find in most anime and just animation in general. You get so much of the history and atmosphere just by looking at all of the characters on screen and the environment in which they live. It’s easily one of my favorite shows of the season and I can’t wait to watch more.

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Winter 2022 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

The Winter 2022 season seems like a slower burn than Fall 202, since there aren’t as many fantastic shows this season, and it kind of feels like Summer 2021 due to how so many shows this season feel like they could have used more time in the oven to perfectly bake. Luckily, the good shows this season are not only great, but they stand out from one another and are distinct experiences, which is not always a given with anime as well. Hopefully, this year has serious changes to the anime scene and we can get more quality than quantity, and the commitment to not greenlight second seasons to shows that were abject failures. As usual, this is a 3-episode plus impressions editorial. Now then, let’s get started! 


Fantasy/isekai

The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This anime is based on the light novels and manga by Shinkoshoto. It’s directed by Noriaki Akitaya, written by Hiroki Uchida, and produced by JC Staff.  It’s not even halfway through the year, and we can’t escape mediocre power fantasy isekai shows. Even when the isekai is within its own fantasy world, it can’t escape being boilerplate familiar and predictable. There is nothing wrong with doing something familiar, but it has to be executed well, and this was not executed well. It’s a power fantasy that you have seen a dozen times over with some of the wonkiest lore to its fantasy world that I have ever seen. It’s got bland characters, less than great animation, middling action, and some really incompetently made plot twists within its first three episodes. It has some decent ideas for its world, like the crest ranking and how the demons have told the humans through propaganda how bad magic is, but it’s not good at all. Not the worst anime of the season, but a middling one that will get lost in the pile of other isekai that have come out already or will come out. 

Fantasia Sango (Funimation)

This anime is based off of the video game by UserJoy Technology, and no, the US does not have access to this game. Anyway, this anime adaptation is directed by Shunsuke Matchitani, written by Masashi Suzuki, and produced at Geek Toys. The weird thing about these video game tie-in anime is that much of the time, the US does not have any real or legal way of playing these games, so the anime itself has to try even harder to get you interested in what is essentially Romancing of the Three Kingdoms, but with demon slaying. It’s not a terrible show, but it does dump a lot of in-universe lingo and exposition, and when it gets to the stuff you want to see, which is our heroes fighting demons, it doesn’t look all that stellar. I like the half-demon girl, but that’s because she’s the most interesting character while everyone else is just fine. Outside of some extremely gratuitous fanservice from one character, the designs are the only thing that’s kind of interesting with its more Chinese fashion sense and weaponry. However, if you are watching this and not Jujutsu Kaisen or Sabikui Bisco, then you are watching the wrong show. I don’t even really get why we get these anime brought over when no one is going to care about an anime based on a game a huge chunk of the world hasn’t played. 

World of Leadale (Crunchyroll/VRV)

Yet another isekai huh? Buckle up, because we have a few this season. This anime is based on the light novels and manga by Ceez. The anime is directed by Takeyuki Yanase, written by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, and produced by Maho Film. Outside of its fairly dark and depressing starting point of how our lead gets transported to a VR game world, there isn’t a whole lot going on with this anime. Granted, there are two things that make this anime stand out, including the mystery about how she got transported into a game world and how the game world has moved on in the future when the servers were shut down. The second element is how our lead’s in-game character had a family at one point and they remember her. The problem is that it’s just not very funny. Just because you’ve got the writer who helped adapt Reincarnated as a Slime and By the Grace of the Gods, doesn’t mean it’s going to be as good as this one. It’s becoming very abundant that the source material is going to be key with this genre of anime, and when this is trying to be a super cute fantasy show, it doesn’t work. It’s not all that funny, and the animation isn’t as good as it could have been in order to execute the jokes and action. Again, there are some decent story beats, and that ending song is a real bop, but when there are so many isekai released every year, you really have to stand out, and when you don’t, well, that’s a problem. It’s pretty harmless overall though, and it has a few decent gags, but I can’t personally find myself continuing to watch this. 

She Professed Herself the Pupil of The Wise Man (Funimation)

Content Warning: Child Nudity

This is one of the first of the new Funimation co-productions. It’s based on the novels and manga by Hirotsugu Ryusen. The anime adaptation is directed by Keitaro Motonaga, written by Takamitsu Kono and produced by Studio A-Cat. So, we have another isekai that takes place in a fantasy world within a VRMMO, and it’s not the last one of this season. It has a decent idea of how our lead gets sent to another world with how they were just using a new character template, but outside of that? It’s just another isekai power fantasy that does nothing to offset the unbalanced story and action, since there are no stakes due to how powerful our lead is, and the story isn’t interesting enough to keep you going. The English dub is pretty solid, and was one of the first to have one right out of the gate.   It might be the saving grace of this show, because otherwise, it does a lot of the more unsavory anime stuff like use an obviously underaged character for comedy and fanservice, and make one character hyper-obsessed to uncomfortable degrees for, again, comedy. It’s not the worst anime due to how the first episode has an out-of-place sequence where it relies on nothing but visual storytelling for the last third of the episode, but you could literally watch Ascendance of a Bookworm if you wanted a better isekai starring a young girl that focuses more on story and world building. 







Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout (CrunchyrollVRV)

Content Warning: Gender dysphoria is a major part of the story

This comedy fantasy is based on the manga by Yu Tsurusaki. The animated adaptation is directed by Sayaka Yamai, written by Toshimitsu Takeuchi, and produced by OLM. Now, with the premise that one guy gets turned into a hot anime girl, and the goddess of this fantasy world being vindictive enough to put a love curse on the two leads sounds like it could lead to some problematic elements. I’ll be honest, the first episode didn’t catch me, because it felt like there was some slight gay panic being brought into the equation. The jokes didn’t hit at first, and I was worried about how many shows this season have gender dysphoria as a main element to certain characters. Well, it’s hard to feel like they are going to handle these elements and “comedy” well. Once you get past the first episode, they build up the world around the leads, make the leads more endearing and likable, and the jokes land really hard. It has turned into a rough journey to a rather delightful comedy take on the isekai genre and this is why doing the three-episode rule is important. I hope the rest of the show is able to balance good character dynamics and jokes to make for a splendid experience. 

Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department (CrunchyrollVRV)

Content Warning: Gender dysphoria and some nudity

This delightful gem of an anime is based on the manga by Hiroaki Mizuno. It’s directed by Hisashi Saito, written by Katsuhiko Takayama, and produced by Quad. Combining tokusatsu monster-creating with the trials and tribulation of the workplace is so creative, that I’m shocked there haven’t been anime like this before. It takes full advantage of being both a parody and a loving tribute to Tokusatsu shows, while also being wildly funny, creative, and clever with how tough it must be to keep making a brand new monster of the week, every single week on time, on budget, and is able to beat the hero of the day. It has a few jokes that were hit-and-miss, but the overall enjoyment of the show doesn’t outweigh how fun it is to watch this show. 

The Genius Princes’ Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Funimation) 

This fantastic anime is based on the light novels and manga by Toru Tuba. The anime is directed by Makoto Tamagawa, written by Deko Akao aka Hitomi Mieno, and produced by Yokohama Animation Laboratory. If you were bored by Realist Hero and its condescending lead, then you will absolutely love the more comedy-and-story-focused fantasy series about a prince who is a genius, but isn’t technically using his intelligence for the better of the kingdom, but rather to raise the profitability of the kingdom to sell it off. Every time he tries to fail, he ends up succeeding and some victories aren’t all that profitable for the lead. Many of the jokes are at the expense of our lead, and while not every single joke works, the show is a laugh riot and is easily one of the funniest anime of the season so far. It also cleverly balances out world-building and our relationship with the characters in a very organic way, which seems like a thing that’s becoming rare within the anime scene. It’s a show that knows its one gimmick can’t be the end-all-be-all for the show to be a hit, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the show. 









Slice of Life 

Police in a Pod (Funimation) 

Content Warning: Cops, the second episode is about sexual abuse, and just typical Copaganda

So, this awkward-to-watch show is based on the manga by ex-police officer turned manga author Miko Yasu. The anime is directed by Yuzo Sato, written by Ryunosuke Kingetsu, and produced by Studio Madhouse. So, yeah, I don’t think there was going to be any real proper reaction to this show that is a workplace slice-of-life about cops other than polarized thoughts. There are definitely some aspects that it touches upon, like sexism and harassment at the workplace, and it wants to paint a sympathetic take on the stress and nonsense police have to deal with every day on the job. Too bad this anime decided to come out during a time period where cops are not looked upon with respect due to the massive amounts of police corruption and how it paints the police as the victims of the nonsense. It’s pretty much copaganda, and yes, a lot of great shows are copaganda in nature, but what separates the good shows/films about cops and the bad ones is the execution of how they tackle their stories and characters. Unfortunately, a lot of this show falls flat due to how it really can’t balance out the more serious subject matters, and it’s not funny enough to be entertaining. Its setting is grounded, and it makes it more of a weird sit. It had maybe one joke that I laughed at and one sincere moment that makes the characters likable, but this show is kind of weird in a time with everything going on right now. We are past the days of You’re Under Arrest and Patlabor that could take cops and have an obvious tongue- and-cheek take on them, but this show has none of that.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform (Funimation/Crunchyroll/VRV)

Content Warning: Foot fetish and voyeuristic lingering on middle school girls. 

This promising, but underwhelming anime is based on the manga by Hiro. The anime is directed by Miyuki Kuroki, written by Rino Yamazaki, and produced by CloverWorks. Talk about an anime with all of the production values most anime wish they could have. This show has some of the most pristine and gorgeous visuals of any anime this season. Heck, it might be the best looking new anime of the season. It has extremely polished visuals that almost look theatrical in quality. However, it’s mostly another slice-of-life school day story, which wouldn’t be bad. Heck, it may even have some of the charm of the shows that Naoko Yamada has worked on before. The one glaring flaw so far though is how the show is shot. There are way too many shots that linger on these 12-year-old girls’ bodies, how the clothes drop off of them, and the focus on looking at feet and legs. It’s the same problem as a show from Fall 2020, Adachi and Shimamura that had the same issue of an anime that would have been sweet and wholesome, but is otherwise bogged down by a camera that lingers too much on the legs of the female leads. 

Cue! (Crunchyroll/VRV)

This anime is based on the video game by Liber Entertainment. It’s directed by Shin Katagi, written by Tatsuhiko Urahata, and produced by Yumeta Company and Graphinica. Honestly, the one thing that makes this idol anime stand out is the premise that instead of them being pop stars, they are voice actors. That alone makes this way more interesting than the multitude of idol anime that’s all about cute anime girls, pushing a product that no one outside Japan cares about, and not much else. Luckily, they focus enough on the business side of the venture that does help elevate the story, because they made the classic blunder and tried to give you all 15 or so of the cute anime girls that you can manage in the game, within the first episode. 

Slow Loop (Funimation)

This anime is based on the manga by Maiki Uchino. It’s directed by Noriaki Akitaya, written by Yuka Yamada, and produced by Connect. So, at the outset, it looks like cute girls doing hobby shows, and those are usually fairly popular with franchises like Laid Back Camp and Non-Non Biyori. The hobby this time is fly fishing and it’s very much committed to partly explaining every detail of the hobby to hopefully catch the viewer’s interest. It’s a very laid-back show that’s got a lot of the trappings of a “cute girls doing cute things” show, and it does succeed on not being the most cloyingly sweet thing ever. It adds some background to our main characters, due to a huge plot point being that they meet when one of them is fishing and then realize that their respective parents are getting married. It adds a sort of weird wrinkle into the formula that makes it look like the two leads are falling for one another, and I hope the show is smart enough to just make their bond more sister-like and not, well, we really don’t need any bad romance plots for something this harmless and cute. Anyway, if you like laid-back shows about hobbies, then you will probably like this show, but it’s going to be a show you either vibe with or don’t. 

My Dress Up Darling (Funimation/Crunchyroll/VRV)

This is one of three anime CloverWorks is working on this season, and is based on the manga by Shinichi Fukuda. It’s directed by Keisuke Shinohara, written by Yoriko Tomita, and, well, produced by CloverWorks. Now, at first glance, this looks like a very cheap excuse for cosplay fetish and fanservice. I mean, one of the leads is into cosplaying characters from adult-focused video games. It’s no more blatant than that. However, unlike something like this season’s World End Harem, My Dress Up Darling is more about breaking and destroying the stigma of certain hobbies, and who indulges in them. With our lead Wakana Gojo making Hina Dolls, and our other lead Marin Kitagawa into otaku culture and cosplay, the show tangos with the two as they break down the barriers around them and hopefully with society with how they are perceived for being into such things. Sure, it does have a base set up of the awkward quiet guy ending up with the most popular hot high school girl, but again, the show is about de-stigmatizing anyone who has ever been bullied or made fun of for getting into certain hobbies due to who they are. It does dangle a lot of fanservice, but that’s going to be a thing with the cosplay angle, and what saves this from being just another lightweight fanservice show or softcore adult stuff is the dynamic between our leads. They come across as very sincere, and their enjoyment of cosplay and Hina Doll-making is front and center. It might not fly high with its comedy, but it’s a sweet enough show with some stellar production values that can come at an easy recommendation if you aren’t too distracted by the show’s obvious fanservice sequences. 


Sasaki and Miyano (Funimation)

Our first boy-love anime of the season! It’s based on the manga and novels by Sho Harusono. The anime is directed by Shinji Ishihara, written by Yoshiko Nakamura and produced by Studio Deen. After last year’s more troubling trashy boy-love anime, it was fairly refreshing to see one, a genre I’m not too familiar with be so wholesome and sweet. Two boys bonding over boy-love manga and watching their feelings bloom for one another is so cute! Luckily, the story has a few themes of breaking down male masculinity, and I think that’s really refreshing to see due to how many mediocre male power fantasies are released every year. I know Studio Deen doesn’t have the most appealing track record, but they must have had proper resources and time to adapt this anime, because the show looks great. It’s a shame this didn’t get Akebi’s Sailor Uniform’s budget, but it looks better than most Studio Deen productions. It might have a slower pace to its storytelling, but I’m glad it’s taking its time to make the story as impactful as possible. I think I tend to personally gravitate towards romance that is more wholesome and sweet, and if you are into romance anime of any kind like that or Horimiya, then you will like this show.

Thanks for reading the editorial! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020 Finale

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Good gravy, let’s finally get this one out of the way! Here were my top 10 favorite animated films from 2020! If you haven’t seen part 1, part 2, or part 3, I will make sure to hyperlink them. I apologize that life got in the way of making this one happen so late. 



10. The Wonderland 

While Keiichi Hara’s follow-up to one of my favorite films of 2016 Miss Hokusai doesn’t quite reach that level of quality, his new film, The Wonderland is still a whimsical adventure via a coming-of-age tale. It has some truly beautiful landscapes and a creative fantastical world that may be Hara’s own take on Alice in Wonderland. The villain isn’t the most interesting, and there are some jokes and moments that irked me, but I was so happy to catch this film before everything came crashing down with the pandemic. 

9. The Willoughbys 

This dark family comedy may suffer from a majority of the children in this family being underdeveloped in favor of the oldest son getting the majority of the development, but considering how little came out during the pandemic, I’ll take an overall vibrant and funny experience. What it may lack in some story strength makes up for some of 2020’s most vibrant CGI stop-motion-style animation, some very clever jokes, a fantastic cast, and it was just another step in showing what kind of experiences Netflix, flaws and all, are going to be offering in the feature animation scene. 

8. The Croods: A New Age

While I wouldn’t call 2020 or 2021’s DreamWorks’ best year for animation, out of their four recent films that they have released, The Croods: A New Age is their best one since 2019’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Who would have thought that a sequel that was in start/stop production hell would actually result in one of the better DreamWorks sequels? They expand on the world, the new characters are likable and bring in some substance to the overall story, the jokes are more creative, and the sequel leaning into the more absurd world that the story takes place in leads to a better overall product. I don’t know what they could do with a follow-up film, but if it’s as much fun to watch as this one, I wouldn’t mind seeing a third film. 

7. On Gaku: Our Sound 

While Lupin III: The First and Wolfwalkers were going to always be the more approachable GKIDS-distributed films of 2020, I still wish On Gaku: Our Sound had received more love. It’s a truly, by the definition, indie animated feature among the bountiful animation scene in Japan. Its offbeat atmosphere, quirky humor, and laid-back approachable story stick out from the flashier big-budget fare. That many of the people working on this were first-time animators is an impressive feat and while the use of rotoscope is obvious, the fact there is no other film quite like it out in 2020 is impressive and rather fun. It’s a film that introduces a real deal shot in the arm that the animation scene always needs. 

6. Lupin III: The First 

I remember how worried I was to see the franchise’s first step into CGI, and boy howdy, they didn’t miss a beat. Not only is it a fantastic foray into CGI animation, but it’s also a Lupin story that’s actually compelling and entertaining! For those that are fans of the franchise, getting both good animation and a good story isn’t always a given or is balanced with each film and special. With the return of the iconic dub cast, thrilling action, stellar writing, and some of the best CGI from Japan, Lupin III: The First shows a promising future for the franchise and the future of theatrical CGI animation from Japan. 

5. Onward

Remember when everyone was dunking on this film, and then everyone ended up liking it? I sure do. While it might not be one of the higher-end Pixar films, this touching story about two brothers and their journey to strengthen their bond and to try to get some closure with their dead father does elevate it as one of the more intimate and personal Pixar stories. The fantasy element even has a fun way of approaching the metaphorical and literal theme of losing and finding magic in life. It’s a film that has gotten better on rewatch, and I feel badly that it became one of the first victims of the pandemic. 

4. Over the Moon 

Netflix had a tough challenge of following up their acclaimed year of animation from 2019 where they had both I Lost My Body and Klaus, so Over the Moon was such a surprise with how much I fell in love with it. It is a touching story about grief, personal change, and dealing with loss, with some fantastic music, vibrant animation, and a fantastic lead. It was directed by Glen Keane, and this was his first time directing a feature film! Over the Moon also has a very witty script from Keane and the late great Audrey Wells. It also gets bonus points for having moments of gorgeous 2D animation. With Pearl Studios now on their own, making films with a promising lineup of future projects in the works, Over the Moon was an out-of-this-world first impression of what they could do after their relationship with DreamWorks ended. 

3. Ride Your Wave 

Masaaki Yuasa is a master director. I mean, I could leave it at that, but that wouldn’t be super satisfying as this is, until we finally see Inu-Oh this year, his best and most approachable movie. It’s a romance that of course has its own Yuasa twist that makes it his take on the “Shape of Water” romance perspective about a college girl finding her way in life. It even has the tamest visuals of Yuasa and Science Saru’s work. You can tell they toned it down from the immense visual overload that was 2004’s Mindgame and his more recent work with Lu Over the Wall and The Night is Short, Walk on Girl. Whether you like his more out-there premises or his more grounded ones, Ride Your Wave should be in your animation collection. 

2. Soul 

Even with a year like 2020, having a Cartoon Saloon, a Peter Doctor/Kemp Powers Pixar film, and a Yuasa film in the top three spots should be a sign of how good the good stuff was. There are definitely some understandable arguments about some of this film’s execution of plot points, and I understand where they are coming from with some of them, and maybe it’s because 2020 was just an entire mood year, Soul hit many people in a way that most animated films, Pixar or otherwise, do. Until Disney and Pixar can break the chains and do more adult-tinted animated features, this is the most adult film Pixar has ever put out, with an extremely philosophical story about life and what drives a person. With earworm tunes, an incredible performance from Jamie Foxx, and a rather ethereal tone, Soul ranks up as one of Pixar’s best. 

1. Wolfwalkers 

I mean, was there any shock here that it would be number 1? While it is technically tied with Soul, there is just something extremely special anytime we get a Cartoon Saloon film. It has some of the studio’s best animation yet, with its mix of gorgeous 2D visuals and rough pencil style reminiscent of the 70s and 80s Disney/Don Bluth that looks like it was filmed on wood grain. It is a touching story about two young girls, the themes of discrimination, anti-colonialism, sexism, freedom, family, and environmentalism, Wolfwalkers stands out from the pack in a year that had very little competition for the major titles everyone was looking forward to. Now, I do wish they would simply sell Wolfwalkers as an individual release instead of holding it hostage with Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells, though seriously, pay for an AppleTV+ subscription and watch this incredible flick.

Fall 2021 Anime Season Impressions Finale

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Honestly, I had a difficult time going through this next batch of anime due to how many were just absolutely terrible to sit through, so let’s get right down to talking about them. If you have yet to read the previous part, then please do so. Let’s get started! 





Action/adventure



The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It My Life Had it Made (Crunchyroll) 

Content Warning: Outside of just being a bad anime, it’s extremely misogynistic, sexist, and hugely problematic. 

Based on the light novel, novel, and manga series by Miku, this anime adaptation was directed by Yoshiaki Okumura, written by Gigaemon Ichikawa, and produced by Hotline. At first, Tesla Note was going to be my worst of these shows, but The Fruit of Evolution is hot rancid garbage. Outside of the fact that the anime industry is so fixated on adapting every isekai ever when they absolutely do not need to, this is hands down one of the worst isekai that I have ever seen. There is no reason why this one had to be adapted. When you see the title, you think this could very well be something creative and interesting, but it is not. It’s every bog standard power fantasy isekai with harem elements that they don’t even do a whole lot with said power fantasy elements. The anime feels fixated on the harem elements, there is rampant misogyny in the anime, and it hits hard with some characters like a donkey girl. Yeah, I won’t get into how off-putting the whole gorilla and donkey girl characters play into the overall show and tone. On top of just unlikable characters, bad writing, and bad storytelling, the animation is downright awful. It’s some of the cheapest anime of this year, and we’ve had stuff like Ex-Arm, Tesla Note, and other shows that also have really bad animation. It’s a power fantasy isekai that’s not interested in its own setting, it goes by the ebook, and its attempt at comedy falls flat at every. Single. Turn. While there are morally worse anime this year, this one is one of the worst on a quality standard. It’s easily one of the worst anime I have ever seen. If this is what the anime thought was a good idea to adapt and bring over, then the industry needs to be gone and be brought back as people who won’t adapt stuff like this. 



Tesla Note (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Masafumi Nishida and Tadayoshi Kubo, this animated adaptation is directed by Michio Fukada, written by Masafumi Nishida, and produced by Gambit. Listen, the anime industry needs to change, because if your option of getting a studio to make anime is to go down the route of Ex-Arm, which means hiring studios that have never worked in anime before, then the industry is truly beyond broken. While it has slightly better CGI than Ex-Arm, and at least seems to be more competently made than Ex-Arm, the CGI is poorly implemented and it doesn’t contrast or composite well with the 2D elements. The story about how Nikola Tesla left a bunch of strange powerful shards is silly enough for a trash anime, but not strong enough to recommend on that level alone. The action is lackluster, and again, the 2D and CGI are easily some of the worst this season has to offer. It’s a hot pot of everything wrong with the anime industry and adaptation as a whole. Even if this turns into the next bad anime to watch, it’s still a bad anime, and I really can’t condone hate-watching stuff anymore. We already have so much TV, movies, and other pop culture stuff to take, we don’t need to take time to watch something bad intentionally. We can not let more shows like Ex-Arm and Tesla Note exist. The anime industry needs quality control and better working conditions. 





Amaim: Warrior at the Borderline (Funimation) 

Content Warning: Very nationalistic viewpoints. 

This original anime is directed by Nobuyoshi Habara, written by Hiroki Komatsu and Yoshikazu Beniya, and produced by Sunrise Beyond. I’m all for original mech anime, and this season is bountiful with them, which is rare in this modern anime landscape, but if the only thing holding this show together is its bonkers setting, then we are going to have a problem. The mech action is really solid stuff, and there is potential for more interesting arcs for our characters, with some of them getting a few decent lines, but the setting is what makes this such a chore to get into. Listen, most mech anime have very dense political worldbuilding, but the extremely nationalistic view of how this all unfolds is really gross, to say the least. While it might not be as bad, as say, that infamous cult in Japan’s political propaganda, it hits those marks. This sucks because when it’s just mech anime nonsense, it’s decent. Now, you can make politically charged mech anime since Gundam has been a constant since its arrival in the 70s, but even so, I found my patience wearing thin with AMAIM, and I can’t personally recommend it when Sakugan is better in every way imaginable. Plus, a lot of AMAIM, when it’s not problematic, is overtly familiar mech anime nonsense. So, yeah, this is not a worthwhile recommendation. 





Ancient Girl’s Frame (Funimation) 

This original net animation is a Chinese/Japanese collaboration that is directed by Gong Zhenhua, written by Osamu Yamasaki, and produced by Seven Stone. It’s everything you could possibly want with mech anime. It’s got decent mechs, an alien invasion, cute girls doing cute things, familiar tragic backstories for certain characters, and, wait, doesn’t that sound like a lot? That’s because it is! Unlike Pride of Orange, there is nothing really all that distinct about this show, and that’s usually fine. Not everyone has to be 100% original, but when the execution is lackluster within the writing, story, and animation, then that’s a problem. It really feels like that Pilot Candidate anime from way back in the day where it had a lot going on, but here there is nothing done that’s interesting or for it to stand out from other anime that have done better, or at the very least, are more interesting. It’s a title that only stands out from the rest due to it being a Japanese/Chinese collaboration, and that is honestly interesting! However, the show itself needs to be interesting in and out of the production history. And no, having distinct mechs and cute anime girls is no longer enough to be interesting. Again, too much anime is getting made these days, so instead of adapting whatever or following a checklist, do something that will make you stand out! At least the opening song is solid, but that’s about it. 








Shikizakura (HiDive)

This anime is directed by Go Kurosaki and Shinya Sugai, written by Naruki Nakagawa, and produced by Sublimination. Out of all of the anime I have seen this season, this one is the most aggressively okay. It has average CGI, the action is better than most shows this year, but the story and characters are familiar and generic. It’s just inoffensive. The characters don’t stand out, but they aren’t awful. The CGI is not great, but it’s not the worst of the season or of the year. The action is good, but there is much better action this season and year. The music is fine, and the opening song is decent enough. If it was able to stand out more, I would have a stronger opinion, but it’s another victim of there being too much anime and not really expanding on its premise, as well as not being executed well enough to be impressive enough to stick out from the rest. I hate that, because it just shows how bad the industry is right now with putting out too many shows with very little time to invest time into all of the shows being made.  









Rumble Garanndoll (Funimation) 

We have yet another original anime this season. This one is directed by Masaomi Ando, written by Makoto Uezu, and produced by Lerche. This is another anime where otaku and pop culture have been outlawed, and personally, I can’t get behind these settings since I don’t think even in the direst situation, would there ever be an outlawing of some of the most profitable outlets in the entertainment industry. The evil government that is outlawing otaku and pop culture is also using mechs that people would absolutely buy models of. Why on earth would you make the villains have the same visual look of the things they are outlawing? 

The anime also feels like it wants to have the same fiery passion as a Studio Trigger anime, but without the execution and commitment to going that route. It comes off like an anime that’s more about the homage to shows and anime made with the spirit of Studio Trigger and Gainax. Otherwise, it’s just another rebel group that fights against the tyrannical government that uses anime-inspired mechs and power sources to fight back. For the most part, it’s fine. I have some admiration for the passion that is in this anime and the love of otaku culture, but I feel like there have always been more interesting anime that explore otaku culture than anime that is set in a world where otaku culture is banned or gone. It’s not the worst anime of the season by any stretch of the imagination, but considering the original anime we have gotten this year, there are better ones out there. 










The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated (Crunchyroll) 

CW: sex trafficking, violence, child nudity, and murder.

Based on the light novels by Rui Tsukiyo, this anime adaptation is directed by Masafumi Tamura, written by Katsuhiko Takayama, and produced by Silver Link and Studio Palette. On one hand, this show is extremely edgy schlock with its focus. Granted, with that schlock, comes an isekai with a great premise about an extremely powerful hitman hired by a fantasy world’s goddess to take out the hero of their world. It does take its time to build up the relationships and dynamics between the characters. It explains how the world’s magic works and the lore in which the setting is drenched. It sure does love to show fanservice from time to time, but it’s not the 100% focus, which is the failure of most isekai power fantasies. On the other hand, it indulges in many little elements that are uncomfortable and gross, and when it does become more about the power fantasy, it then becomes dull. It’s disappointing, because I do want to see what happens with this show, but I don’t know if it will be able to balance itself out for me to continue to see how it ends. Once again, when anime decides to indulge in anime tropes, it becomes disappointing. 











Banished From the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside (Funimation) 

This fantasy adventure anime is based on the novels, light novels, and manga by Zappon. It’s directed by Makoto Hoshino, written by Megumi Shimizu, and produced by Wolfsbane and Studio Flad. What’s aggravating about this show is that I really love slice-of-life shows. I think seeing the lead character help out a small town is such a fun idea and the hook of the show is fantastic. I even like the cutesy if generic character beats with our lead and the obvious love interest. Sadly, the love interest is designed like she is meant to sell anime figurines with her ridiculous figure and attire. There can sometimes be a good joke, but most of the time it’s too low-key, and then they rehash certain jokes multiple times during some episodes. 











Muteking: The Dancing Hero (Funimation) 

Honestly, these next four shows are easily my favorite of the season and year. What makes this anime unique is the fact that it’s based on an old Tokusatsu show from the 80s. It’s directed by Ryosuke Takahashi, Hiroshi Sasagawa, and Yuzo Sato, written by Yuji Kondo, and produced by Tezuka Productions and Tatsunoko. What’s so fascinating about this show is how it has been modernized in some ways, but it keeps a lot of that retro anime charm with its vibrant neon color palette, charming designs, and is more of a fun entry anime to recommend to someone who hasn’t watched anime. It might have a tone that’s aimed more at a younger audience, and the setup for the episodes gets a little repetitive, but the show is a delight to watch. It didn’t try to reboot the hero as a dark and gritty story, or try to go the mature route for such a goofy-looking character and setting. It knew what it wanted to be from the get-go, and since most anime can’t seem to know what they want to be, it’s good to give kudos to anime that do. Also, the opening song by Orange Range is fantastic, and the show’s balance of 2D and CGI is rock solid. 












The Faraway Paladin (Crunchyroll)  

Consider this one of the biggest surprises of the year. This anime is based on the light novels by Kanata Yanagino, is directed by Yuu Nobuta, written by Tatsuya Takahashi, and produced by Children’s Playground Entertainment. When you hear ‘light novel adaptation’, you normally think of the most bottom-of-the-barrel power fantasy schlock you can think of. Rarely do these types of adaptations ever elevate themselves past most checklists of features. Luckily, like ReZero, The Faraway Paladin is easily one of the best adaptations and one of the best isekai of the year. It shouldn’t feel surprising that a show like this, about a young man who was reincarnated into a fantasy world, is not really a full-on power trip. Instead of skeezy harems taking up most of the screen time, we get extensive worldbuilding. Instead of bland awful characters, we get dynamic characters and one of the most likable leads seen this season. It’s like the industry was telling us that they are sorry for adapting so many awful isekai, and decided to treat us to one that was great from top to bottom. 

Ranking of Kings (Funimation) 

This incredible show is based on the manga by Sousuke Toka. It’s directed by Yousuke Hatta and Makoto Fuchigami, written by Taku Kishimoto, and produced by Studio WIT. Yet another Studio WIT production that hits it out of the park. They are two for two this year, and that shouldn’t be a shock. You have a complex story about legacy and what it takes to become a strong king, have unlikely friendships, and family. It’s a fantasy political adventure wrapped up in one of the most disarming art styles of the year. I’m so impressed with how they are able to balance everything out with some of the best animation of the year. It shows what happens when you let your teams work on something great and respect their time and talent. We already have a few contenders for the best anime of the year, and this is one of them. 







Takt Op. Fantasy (Crunchyroll) 

This anime part of a multi-media project is directed by Yuki Ito, written by Kiyoko Yoshimura, and produced by Studio MAPPA in collaboration with Studio Madhouse. The setting is essentially an anime take on The Quiet Place. There are unknown creatures that instead of being attracted to just loud noises, are attracted to music, and the only defense against these powerful threats are individuals called Musicarts and their conductors. It has some clunky worldbuilding elements, but there is definitely something more interesting and creative about this show than most anime released this year. It’s got a fantastical visual look with radically dope-looking animation. I mean, all things considered, this is not excusing the bad working conditions of MAPPA, and there could be some implications via its collaboration with Studio MADHOUSE that could be an earnest collaboration or the fact that the anime industry is losing animators left and right due to bad working conditions. Well, we won’t know if any of those parts are correct until they say so, but Takt Op. Destiny has easily set itself up as one of the more ambitious shows of the season, some of the best action of the year, and one of the more memorable shows of the overall year.

The Fall 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

We have been on record talking about how the 2021 summer season was full of a ton of mediocre titles. It was a result of an anime industry that’s going to be burning itself out and not doing what most companies and industries should be doing. By that, I mean properly paying their animators, not taking on so many projects at once, and choosing original and adaptive work that aren’t pointless like Koikimo, Ex-Arm, Redo of a Healer, The Detective is Already Dead, Platinum End, and Itaden Deities. Fall 2021 seems like an apology for that season and the overall year, but I still stand that the anime industry needs to change its tune and actually do what would actually be helpful, and not constantly burn out animators due to bad working conditions. Luckily, a ton of anime this season was really good! Much of it was bad as well, but that’s more than Summer 2021 that had a smaller list of good or even great anime. Now then, let’s get started!




Slice of Life


Blue Period (Netflix) 

CW: a lot of Transphobic comments and commentary

This huge disappointment of an anime is based on the manga by Tsubasa Yamaguchi. The show is directed by Koji Masunari and Katsuya Asano, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by Seven Arcs. I was honestly excited to see it at first, because who wouldn’t want to see an art school anime? That sounds like it could lead to some great moments and story arcs. Sadly, what drags this entire show down is our lead in question. He really shouldn’t be the one we focus on, since he has the least interesting drive and story arc of the characters in the show. Every time Yuka would come on screen, I would want her there since our lead keeps deadnaming her multiple times. Why should we follow this unlikable passively mean spirited jerk when we could be following everyone else. The show also has some shoddy production values. It never looks consistently great, and even when the whimsy kicks in, the flat characters look awkward and inconsistent. Storywise, so many characters are introduced and you don’t get a lot of time to gel or vibe with anyone who isn’t our two leads, and one of our leads is terrible. It’s like the story justifies the lead’s transphobic comments about Yuka every step of the way, and that’s terrible. If this was given to KyoAni, Yuka would have been the lead and it would have been a much better experience. It could also be that Blue Period isn’t that great of a manga, since the writer of this anime, Reiko Yoshida, has worked on one of the best anime this season with The Heike Story, and Yoshida has worked with Naoko Yamada heavily in the past. I don’t know how many art-based anime are out there, but I feel like you could find much better shows about painting and drawing than Blue Period

Taishou Maiden Fantasy (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Sana Kiriorka, this anime adaptation is directed by Jun Hatori, written by Hiroki Fukuda, and produced by SynergySP. What started with a slightly questionable relationship with a 17-year-old male lead and a girl who you only find out is 14 in episode three, turns out to be this low-key charming slice-of-life romance anime that really does invest time into our two leads bonding. The setting is as depressing as it could be with the male lead being banished from his family due to an injury and the death of his mother. The female lead is offered to our lead as a wife to pay off her family’s debt, and with all the combining elements, it finds a way to balance out the drama and the love these two characters have for one another. It has a few uneven moments where the drama overtakes the love, but I found myself loving the series as the episodes went on. Just keep in mind that you have to look at all of this through a historical lens. Maybe it could have been better told and they could have told us the lead’s age in the first episode instead of episode three, but if you are looking for a, so far, sweet and caring anime, you should give this one a watch. 







My Senpai is Annoying (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Shiro Manta, this delightful anime is directed by Ryota Itoh, written by Yoshimi Narita, and produced by Doga Kobo. It was surprisingly refreshing to see not one, but a few anime this season have adult characters. My Senpai is Annoying, while having a few clunky elements here and there, really hit a spot I was missing with a lot of anime. Not only is it well animated, sweet, and funny, but it was nice to see an anime about adults doing adult things. No teen dramas, no power fantasies, no edgelord power wish fulfillment, and you get the idea. It’s all about the connection between our short leading lady and a giant wall of a man as they venture through working in their office and dealing with their cohorts. The overall execution of laughs, laid-back atmosphere, story, and relatable character dynamics make it one of the more compellingly watchable anime of the season. 






Komi Can’t Communicate (Netflix)

Based on the massively popular manga by Tomohito Oda, the anime adaptation is directed by Ayumu Watanabe and Kazuki Kawagoe, written by Deko Akao (aka Hitomi Mieno), and produced by OLM. I knew this property was super popular, and when you have a rockstar of a team and studio working on translating it, then you have a real deal gem of a slice-of-life comedy anime that so far has been one of the best anime, not only for this season, but of 2021. It might have a very straight forward gimmick, but how they take advantage of Komi’s severe case of social anxiety is clever! So far, she is never the punchline and is more of the instigator of the joke, while everyone reacting to her ends up as the punchline. It makes her a constantly interesting character, and the cast of shenanigan-filled students only add on and reinforce the strong comedy chops. Like I said though, when the show is able to slow down and let the characters have their moment to shine, it is just as well executed as the jokes that came before and after it. It’s easily an anime I will gladly keep up with, and as long as this team is working on it at all times, well, you can count on me to be back every episode. 







Other 

Platinum End (Crunchyroll/Funimation) 

Content warning: A child dies, and a whole lot of the setting is based on people who were committing suicide. Oh, and the villain lusts after middle school girls and is a highschooler. 

Based on the manga by the duo behind Death Note, Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba, this anime adaptation is directed by Hideya Takahashi and Kazuchika Kise, written by Shin’ichi Inozume, and produced by Signal MD. So, it’s a death battle anime with a twist using angels and the goal is to become God. What could possibly go wrong with this one?


 I mean, it’s the Death Note duo, so everything can go wrong. Not only is it not visually interesting, the animation quality is lackluster, the dialogue is terribly written, the pacing is all over the place, and for a show that’s all about contestants who were chosen due to almost committing suicide, the show is really not wanting to be careful about treading those waters. It’s needlessly edgy, the action is mediocre, the characters that are the focus are the wrong ones, and the villain was the most interesting character until they revealed a creepy plot point in episode five. Platinum End is an extremely slapdash anime that seems to really want to be done with itself. Maybe if the anime industry wasn’t such a wreck, it could have been in better hands, but due to how, from my research, this manga wasn’t popular, why the heck did they adapt it? It truly became one of the worst anime of the season and worst of the year for me. 





The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window (Crunchyroll)


CW: A lot of metaphorical assault, abusive language, gore, and lack of consent. 

Based on the manga by Tomoko Yamashita, this anime adaptation is directed by Daiji Iwanaga and Yoshitaka Yasuda, written by Ayumi Sekine, and produced by Zero-G. There is a market for boy love series, and this one sounds interesting with the supernatural thriller element mixed in with the romance angle. What has and does bother me is the power dynamic between our two male leads. One of them is extremely possessive, abusive, and does a lot of metaphorical assault to the other lead. It wants to come off as titillating, but when one side of the dynamic is not enjoying it every single time, and is treated like garbage by everyone around him, it’s an issue. Even without the problematic dynamic, the show’s story is not interesting. You would think there would be more focus on the mystery killer, but that’s not really the case from the three episodes I watched. It’s more interested in getting to the “titillating” elements than anything else. It’s not particularly animated well either, with it mostly being just on the borderline of “okay”. As the show went on, it started to drop some interesting lore and story beats, but after a while, I realized I wasn’t hooked or invested either way. It’s at least trying to be compelling, but it’s not winning me over. 

Visual Prison (Funimation) 

Content Warning: slight incest between two brothers

This original anime was directed by Takeshi Furuta and Tomoya Tanaka, written by Yukie Sugawara, and produced by A-1 Pictures. I was really rooting for this anime to be this year’s Hypnosis Mic. All it needed to be was fun dorky vampire rock, and just enough story and world-building to make it decent to sit through, but sadly that’s not what we get. While the music and visuals are overall great, something is missing with this show’s premise. 

It has an unbalanced way of pacing out the story, characters, and music. For an anime that’s all about the music, the music seems like the least important part. The writing is also extremely drab and doesn’t warrant the fun nature this premise promises. I don’t care about all of the characters or their drama and backstories. It delivers on the fanservice of hot male characters being hot male characters and touching each other, but even that unravels when there is metaphorical incest involved. There isn’t much else that is going to gravitate you to it. If you like very vapid anime trying to push idols and rock music, you will probably like this show, but I just can’t seem to really want to watch future episodes. Maybe I will see how it ends, but I can’t see this one finding a long-lasting audience. 



Mieruko Chan (Funimation) 

Content Warning: Lots of high school girls undressed and or sexualized in this show

Based on the manga by Tomoki Izumi, this adaptation is directed by Yuki Ogawa and Takahiro Majima, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by Passione. This is one of the most frustrating anime I have ever watched this year. On one hand, you have a very creative and interesting horror-comedy about a girl who can see the most diesel-grade nightmare fuel, and has to avoid acknowledging their existence in order to live a normal life. At the three-episode mark, they introduce some very interesting story beats and world-building elements with how ghosts are connected to certain people and how they portray a person’s true nature. These story beat introductions continue throughout the currently released episodes. It just sucks though that getting to those good parts means sitting through so much gross horny stuff that it almost becomes not worth the trouble. I heard that it gets less horny as time goes on, but I wish the show was more about the horror comedy elements instead of the ecchi fanservice. If that stuff doesn’t bother you, then that’s fine! It’s just my impressions of the first six episodes. 





Pride of Orange (Funimation) 

This anime is based on the mixed media project of the same name by EXNOA. The anime is directed by Takebumi Anzai, written by Touko Machida, and produced by C2C. This is absolutely an odd anime when you first look at it. It’s a sports anime and possibly the first hockey anime (not to be confused with the first hockey manga because there are a few), and it’s not just a sports anime, but also has elements of idol anime and cute girls doing cute things. I know some people have criticized this show for not getting the point fast enough and that it’s just another cute girls doing cute things show, but you know what? I honestly like that the show is trying to be its own thing. The story-telling execution maybe could have been a bit tighter with certain story beats, but I like that they are taking their time a little more with getting the team together, the drama that unfolds, and everyone learning how to play and be good at hockey. It is consistently endearing to watch. I don’t honestly care if there are better versions of this show or this type of story as long as the one I am watching is doing something that is keeping my investment time justified. It’s a gorgeously animated show that almost made me think if this was actually made by KyoAni, but it was not. With a solid cast of cute anime girls wanting to learn the extremely fast and sometimes violent world of hockey, there will be days where I can drop everything I’m doing and watch it! 






Selection Project (Funimation) 

This is yet another anime based on a multimedia project. It’s interesting what kind of projects end up in every season of anime. Anyway, this is based on the manga by Koji Azuma. In the directing chair is Daisuke Hiramaki, Yuya Takahashi is piloting the writer’s chair, and the animation is being handled by Doga Kobo. The first thing that you will notice is how gorgeous this show is. I know idol anime are popular, and I shouldn’t be shocked, but considering how mediocre some idol anime look and are, this one has some stellar visual production values, and a more film-like way of executing shots and atmosphere. The other solid hook is that while we will be getting to know our future idols, the competition itself will be putting them all against one another in an American Idol or The Voice way of competition. Even with the likable anime girls and our lead’s weak heart story that is not new in idol anime, the tone doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to dip into more comedy beats, and the dialogue flows more naturally and casually between our characters bouncing off of one another. It’s an idol anime that has gotten me hooked on what is going to happen to these girls and that hasn’t happened since last year with If My Favorite Pop Idol Makes it to The Budokan, I Would Die. That’s saying something due to how many idol anime come out every season. It feels good to say that. 







Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut (Funimation) 

This distinct sci-fi drama is based on the light novels and manga by Keisuke Makino. The anime adaptation is directed by Akitoshi Yokoyama, written by Keisuki Makino, and produced by Arvo Animation. When the first episode was playing, I was not really hooked on this huge alternative history setting. At least to me, it was pointless to make an entirely different alternate and fictional world. Once I got over that personal hurdle, when they put away the alternate world and history books, the training of a vampire to go into space and her reactions to other humans led this to be one of the most fascinating anime of the season. The training sequences were easily the highlight, and the moments where she and her handler get to talk and shoot the breeze with the world around them and the discrimination against vampires were always interesting. While the training and the risk of the government meddling behind the scenes due to this being the space race era of history is there, no one would care if the characters didn’t match the rest of the show and this ends up becoming one of the best anime of the season. 

The Heike Story (Funimation) 

Adapted from the stories of The Tale of the Heike, this anime is directed by Naoko Yamada, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by Science Saru. I never knew I wanted a period drama with a slight supernatural angle and the pacing of a slice-of-life story. What an incredible experience. You would think it gets confusing at points with how many characters are introduced and how time flies in this show, but it was very easy to follow. It’s because the main focus on the characters and the internal family politics are compelling and they keep you watching the show. It’s never too bogged down by its own history and world and focuses on the characters. I shouldn’t be shocked since Yamada is a top-tier director. It’s easily one of the standout anime of the year, one of the best of the season, and one of my favorites of the season. If you have Funimation, please do watch this show.  

The Vampire Dies in No Time (Funimation) 

The shockingly funny horror-comedy anime is based on the manga by Itaru Bonnoki. Now, on the anime side of things, the show is directed by Hiroshi Kojina, written by Yukie Sugawara, and produced by Studio MADHOUSE. Instead of an epic action adventure series starring a cool confident vampire slayer taking down a powerful vampire lord, the two characters are complete dorks! The supposed vampire lord is actually not all that powerful and turns to sand the moment you spook him accidentally. Our vampire hunter is short-tempered, impatient, has an intense fear of celery, and is stuck with making new books of his exploits or else his publicist will lock him in an iron maiden until he does. This concoction results in a ton of laughs with premises that would work well with these two and running with them. You would think the sand element of the vampiric lead would be extremely tiring extremely fast, but they have somehow found a way to make it work and gave me a laugh every time he turned into sand. The side characters are also a colorful cast of vampire hunters, higher-ups, a human/vampire hybrid, and everything in-between that makes this one of the most amusing series of the season and of the year. In a year full of really solid comedies with great hooks, that had me by episode one. Also, John is the best pet in the world who is adorable. I love him, and will hurt anyone that dares say John isn’t cute or cuddly. 







Sakugan (Crunchyroll) 

Directed and written by Jun’ichi Wada and produced by Satelight, this anime is based on the novel by Nekotaro Inui, which also had a manga adaptation by Keisuki Sato. While the name might be similar to the term Sakuga, which defines when anime goes all out with its animation, what we have is a wildly entertaining sci-fi journey following a father and daughter duo as they explore an underground world to find a legendary location. It has some of the best production values around, and it reminds me of the vibes and experiences that anime from the mid to late 90s had that were joyful and not nihilistic and terrible from the late 80s/early 90s OVA boom. It’s also one of the few shows that knows how to balance out its CGI and 2D animation, and one doesn’t get neglected over the other. Both styles of animation mix well with one another, and the writing and world-building is also on par with the series. I went over my three episode limit because I was enjoying the show that much with its characters and action. It’s easily one of the stand out series of the Fall 2021 line-up.

Let’s Talk About That Boss Baby Oscar Nomination

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)


I was on a podcast recently talking about what the award season looks like for animation. One of the companies that came up with just a brief mention was DreamWorks. We discussed how it really doesn’t have a leg in the race this award season with two films that aren’t all that stellar. When you are competing against heavyweights like Belle, Encanto, Luca, Where’s Anne Frank, Flee, and Summit of The Gods and all you have is Spirit Untamed and Boss Baby: Family Business, well, that doesn’t look great. 

Now, some may argue that it is possible, due to how the first film was nominated for Best Animated Feature, and it was a financial success that spawned a Netflix series and the sequel. Yes, there is a chance for it to maybe slide in and get a nomination here or there, but in the grand scheme of things, Boss Baby: Family Business will not be nominated. It has a lot of elements to love about it, but it’s a film that would have maybe done better in a weaker year than this one. A lot of people seem to think just because one film made it, it means the sequel will make it when that isn’t always the case. 

What many seem to forget is everything around a film’s release matters. It’s important to know what the time period is, the political climate, the release window, what else was getting released during or around that time, what kind of year was it for animation and film, and what have you. I know many will groan at that listing of things that can and will absolutely affect a film’s release, but I don’t know what else to tell you.All you can do is to get over it. You do need to take in what was going on at the time, so let’s break it down bit by bit. 

First up, the theatrical animation climate for 2017 was a vastly different climate than what we were dealing with back in 2016, which many would argue was an incredible year for animation. 2017 on the other hand was sparse and mostly filled with US-based animated features that were middling to lackluster with a few that were really good. This was the year we got The LEGO Batman Movie, Despicable Me 3, Cars 3, The Nut Job 2, The Emoji Movie, Ferdinand, Coco, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, Smurfs: The Lost Village, and you get the idea. If you wanted your art intake, then you had a much better time following what was getting released by the likes of GKIDS, Elevenarts, and other distributors that year. That way, if you felt burnt out from the US animation scene, you could watch films like Mary and The Witch’s Flower, A Silent Voice, In This Corner of The World, The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent, Window Horses, Birdboy and The Forgotten Children, and The Girl Without Hands. 

With that out of the way, you know what also happened in 2017? You can probably guess what happened since what happened in 2017 was a result of something that happened in 2016. Due to that world-changing event, shows like SNL decided to parody the infamous person of interest by having Alec Baldwin play him in skits making fun of the person in question. As you can tell, due to a multitude of events that are political and entertainment-based, the fact there was a movie about a baby who may or may not be inspired by a multitude of characters fictional or real voiced by the guy doing the impression of the president at the time, well, it was going to have some kind of appeal. 

With the US-based animation scene feeling a touch lackluster, the academy and most award season groups were allergic to overseas animated fare. The one film that, while not the most critically well-received, was part of the pop culture zeitgeist for the year, so it’s not a surprise that the film was nominated. Online film fans and snobs constantly talk about how award shows should nominate the “best” but also, the most important films to that year. That means that a film like The Boss Baby, in the world of animation and film in 2017, is important. It sure does sound like your brain is going to explode with thinking that, but talking about the most influential animated films means including films like Despicable Me, Minions, Hotel Transylvania, The LEGO Movie, and you get the idea. 

Context is everything, and now we must ask the question about the sequel. Normally, since the first film was nominated, that would mean the second film surely has a chance, right? Since this editorial doesn’t need to be longer, let’s break down why Boss Baby: Family Business will not be nominated. 

1. Too much competition from other studio distributors like Disney, Pixar, Netflix, Sony,  GKIDS, and Neon. 

2. It wasn’t received that much better than the last film. 

3. It very much left the pop culture zeitgeist as quickly as it arrived. 

4. Did you remember there was a Boss Baby sequel this year? 

While there were plenty of other films that were worthy of being chosen in 2017 for the Oscars, looking back at everything going on during that chaotic year, it’s not a real surprise it was chosen. Even if the Academy wasn’t allergic to all foreign animation, what other US animated film would you have chosen? Cars 3? I doubt it. Despicable Me 3? It made a billion, but Illumination was never in the running for awards. What about the two LEGO Movies? They were pretty neglectful of the first one, and there was no changing that fact with the voters. So, you either go with the films that were chosen or you risk the academy choosing lesser films. You COULD pray to whoever will listen for the other foreign features, which they won’t do unless they make a huge splash or were festival favorites. At the end of the day, award shows don’t truly show our personal preferences of what we find to be the best films of the year, and you should like whatever you want. Just know that sometimes, the most important films of every year, or what you would consider important, are not the most acclaimed films of any given year. 








Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!