This time around, we have a few comedies of the silly fluff, historical drama, and romantic variety. This may sound all over the place, but they each succeeded in their own ways in relaying their personalities to me over the course of the season.
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.
Of all the shows I watched this season, Comic Girls came the closest to being dropped. There were many reasons for my indecision, but in the end, I kept the show on because of my curiosity about the main character’s growth as a mangaka. Kaos’ role as a fledgling artist never made sense to me the way the rest of the cookie cutter cast and scenarios did. We’ve seen beginner protagonists in countless shows, but usually they display some small amount of skill and capability at the start, then visibly grow from there. Kaos’ only seeming skill is in her know-how of software. The actual skills of drawing proportions and backgrounds, and, most important to me, writing story, are nonexistent. What did her editor see in her to encourage this path?
If all you care about are cute girls giggling with one another and girls-only dorm antics, then Comic Girls may be just enough for you. If you want more emphasis on the mangaka angle and don’t care so much about the lack of cute girls, I advise you check out Bakuman. In the end, I did see a tad of what I waited for, and liked a couple of the girls well enough to laugh along with them from time to time. My favorite character was Tsubasa and her shonen-style of art and living.
Rating: 0 dango
Golden Kamuy was such a joy to follow along with as someone who started first with the manga. When I first heard the announcement for this anime adaptation, I was beyond excited about seeing the Ainu culture and Hokkaido’s environment displayed in animation. For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The mountains and Ainu villages all felt alive in detail and history, and the characters voices and portrayals made them even more memorable than the manga. Asirpa’s facial expressions turned out to be one of my favorite aspects of each episode, along with the food often accompanying them. I also very much appreciated the historical coverage of the Russo-Japanese war and western influence on Japan–Draggle and I went further into the time period in our podcast episode on the show if you’re interested in listening.
Where the show faltered was in its awkward use of CG, like with the combative CG styles of the bears and Retar the wolf, as well as the campfires our characters spent so much time eating around. They were always, always an eyesore, but in the grand scheme of things, this being the only weakness speaks highly of the overall presentation of this story. I 100% recommend anime viewers try Golden Kamuy if they haven’t already. It’s a bit historical drama, wilderness survival, food commentary, and, yes, even comedy. We can also look forward to a second season this coming October!
Rating: 2 dango
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
Combine adults in the workplace and romantic comedy, and you’ve got a combination I find irresistible. I can name maybe a handful of shows that fit this description, so I paid attention when Wotakoi came around. The show doesn’t make any ground breaking moves or stand out visually in art or animation, but it makes up for the ho-hum physical presentation with characters both distinctive and likable in scenarios with catchy writing.
Take for instance the main couple: Momose and Nifuji. They represent tiring tropes like childhood friendship, yet bring warmth back into them with their lively conversations. Unlike so many romantic comedies, these two actually understand one another and try to communicate when they don’t see eye to eye. They’re adults, and act like it when it matters. And as otaku, they haven’t forgotten the joy of loving hobbies like video games or manga so much you’re willing to spend most of your life on them.
Not everything smells of roses, though, with some questionable arguments between Hanako and Kabakura, a couple of coworkers also dating and with their own hobbies. Their language borders on verbal abuse. Kabakura was one of my most liked characters up to that point. He then went even deeper in the hole when he voiced his disapproval of BL in art and reality–thankfully, Hanako quickly checked him. Despite these aspects, I thought the less-desirable traits gave the cast more range and relatability.
Rating: 1 dango