Winter 2018 anime review

Winter 2018 anime review

With the Winter 2018 line-up now at a close, I thought I would take a quick look back over the anime I have reviewed this season and do a swift summary and conclusion on them all. Many of my reviews were written only a few episodes in, and some of my opinions may have changed since all those months ago. Besides, one of the things that I think makes a good anime (or book, film or game, for that matter) is how good the ending is. Here I will take a look at those very important endings and rate them, in reverse order. Since these are ending reviews, there will be spoilers!

6. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
Ugh, the less said about this one, the better. I didn’t even reach the end because it got to the point where I just couldn’t bear to watch another episode. Completely not what I expected it to be, which was a real disappointment.

 

5. Maerchen Maedchen
In the end, I didn’t even get to see the end of this one by the time the season ended. There were some delays with episodes 9 & 10 due to animation quality (which, to be honest, didn’t really surprise me), and by the time they were released there were still no announcements on when we would see the last two episodes.

 


4. Citrus
I’m glad Citrus ended up having a bit more depth to it than I originally thought. It wasn’t a story with a cheap and aggressive yuri romance in it – it actually examined lots of common adolescent problems: extended family, crushes, relationships changing, jealousy and getting to know yourself and your friends. My one issue is that things became a little rushed at the end. I could accept Yuzu and Sara’s really fast friendship because they both seem like the type of girls that make friends with genuine quickness, but one thing I couldn’t get my head around was Sara seeing Mei and instantly thinking she was her destiny – always talking about her even though she’d just seen her (not even spoken to her). And then, after all this intense obsessing, was ready to give her up to Yuzu straight after confessing her feelings to Mei and them going on their first date. I get that bringing Sara into the picture was to force Yuzu into confronting her feelings for Mei, but I think there could have been better ways for this to have been done.

 

3. Laid-Back Camp
Entertaining, relaxing and consistent throughout, Laid-Back Camp has been a joy to watch. With stunning views, mild humour and genuine friendship developing between our main characters, I didn’t think that there was anything noticeably lacking in this story. Nadeshiko was great at gradually drawing all the other characters together so that by the end of the anime they were all camping together and having a great time. And that’s all that I wanted them to do, see them united by their hobby and enjoying the Japanese countryside. I loved seeing Nadeshiko becoming a seasoned solo camper by the end, considering how we first met her – her skills now seem on a par with Rin’s. All the best parts of camping were seen here: great food cooked over a campfire, playing games in a large field, drinking hot drinks whilst admiring the views, and lying on the ground with your friends looking up at a clear sky of starts. Whilst I’m aware that this is a rather romanticised way of looking at camping, I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

 


2. The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Beautiful, tragic and bittersweet – three words that I think have always described the story of The Ancient Magus’ Bride. The final confrontation between Chise and Cartaphilus was dark and unexpected, particularly Elias’ involvement in it. Things looked pretty bleak for Chise, with Cartaphilus/Joseph even going so far as the mortally wound her before eventually sealing Cartaphilus inside of her. From what I can gather after that, Cartaphilus and the dragon’s curse inside Chise, two evils, are cancelling one another out, giving Chise a slightly elongated lifespan of a couple more decades. After things are slowly brought back to normal (or the norm for Chise, at least), there is a gorgeous scene with Chise in a wedding dress, offering Elias a ring. Although he’s not sure on the significance of the ritual, he can see that Chise looks truly beautiful and sweeps her up in his arms. I was caught off-guard with how poignant and wonderfully-drawn this scene was, and how it symbolises Chise finally having control over her own life.

 


1. A Place Further Than the Universe
I’ve made it no secret that I ended up liking this Antarctic expedition far more than I originally thought, and with every episode I watched I became more engrossed and invested. These four young women’s lives, personalities and backgrounds are so rich with detail and relatable situations despite their extraordinary adventure together that it just ticks all the boxes. Though they start off not knowing one another, afraid to be vulnerable, their hardships both outside and inside their journey make them such a tight-knit group. And the way Shirase finally comes to terms with her mother’s death is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and how the others are affected by it too makes for some really touching episodes. The ending was also a perfect wrap-up to the story – simply stunning.

Continuing series’