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Winter 2024 Check-in

Winter 2024 looked like a season with pretty distinct tiers going in.  And so far it’s behaving mostly as advertised.  The series I expected to deliver have delivered, and after those it’s been a pretty big drop-off.  No season can be a really good one without a great show or two at the top – it’s  a prerequisite.  Once that hurdle is cleared (as this season has) it comes down to two things – do the sleepers pan out, and are there surprises from out of nowhere?

I’d say it’s a bit of a mixed bag on the sleeper front, but at this point only one show off my sleeper list seems like a better than even money bet to make the cut (which isn’t great).  Semi-sleeper Bucchigiri?! has a lot riding on it in that sense, and the behind-the-scenes whisperings are not encouraging there.  There have been a couple of series which were totally off my radar that I’ve liked (such as Dosanko Gal), but nothing that has obvious potential to be really outstanding.

Strictly on a personal level, I find the clustering of anime schedules is getting worse every season.  Between Saturday late night and Sunday daytime shows, it’s now not unusual to have half my entire blogging schedule fall on Sundays.  If I didn’t have the website I probably wouldn’t care that much, but I sure miss the days when things were more balanced (and indeed, Thursday late night was the epicenter of a typical anime week).


Onward, then, to Winter 2024:


The Elite

Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu Season 2
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: A+
Comments: I think the grade is pretty self-explanatory when we’re talking about a series in the conversation for the best manga/anime romcom of all-time.  Hyperbole?  Not to me.  I’m firmly of the belief that Sasaki Norio will achieve that by the time Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yatsu is done, and with this director adapting it there’s no reason to think the anime won’t follow.  I’ve already seen comments like “this is peak, it can only go downhill from here” from clueless anime-only viewers but oh, how little they know.  The first season finished as my #4 anime in a very good year.  The second is better in every aspect, with better material to adapt.  You can do the math.



Sengoku Youko
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B+
Comments: Honestly, it’s a pretty big drop-off after BokuYaba.  Sengoku Youko and Dungeon Meshi will make it a little closer in the end, but my view as a manga reader is that we’re not going to see the best of this one until its second cour (which will be the best of the the three).  OTOH, White Fox is doing just fine with this adaptation – it looks good in a noughties way, and the OP/ED are great.  That makes it the first Mizukami Satoshi manga ever to get a competent adaptation, which is a big damn deal.  It won’t surprise me if Sengoku Youko is the best show of the spring season.


Very Good

Kingdom 5  
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B+
Comments: Nothing much changes with Kingdom.  This series is about as reliable as it gets – you know you’re getting a well-written epic with modest production values.  It’s a series that always seems to gather pace slowly and peak later in the season (though Episode 3 was a banger), so this is a perfectly fine start.

Dungeon Meshi
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B
Comments: I’m docking Dungeon Meshi a bit for the third episode, whose dramatic shift in art style didn’t really work for me.  That makes up a quarter of its grade so far so hey, it matters.  A minority opinion on that, perhaps, and I think the adaptation will be just fine.  Like Sengoku this series is not at its absolute best right out of the gate, though the incline isn’t quite as dramatic here.  More so than perhaps I expected, Dungeon Meshi is proving to be an acquired taste – the recipe just isn’t working for some people.  For me it’s quite a special series and those who surrender to its charms will be amply rewarded.

Kyuujitsu no Warumono-san
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B
Comments: Warumono-san was one of my top sleepers going into the season, and it’s lived up to that.  It took me a little while to lose myself in the mythology, but this show is quite smart and often very funny.  I believe it’s quite a bit deeper than the simple gag comedy it masquerades as – there’s something quite interesting to the protagonist’s story and the contradictions inherent within it.  Maybe the most sneaky underrated series of the season.

Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B
Comments: Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch putting Bucchigiri in this category.  But I’m giving it extra credit for being so totally different from everything else out there at the moment.  It also feels like we should enjoy it while we can, because the buzz is that the production is getting MAPPA’d in a big way.  And if so that’s a real shame, because this show is outlandish and fearless and relentlessly energetic, with an outstanding writer in Kishimoto Taku.  It also had the best animation sequence of the season in Episode 2’s fight scene.



Dosanko Gal wo Namara Menkoi
Episodes Watched: 4
Grade: B
Comments: This one came from completely out of nowhere to land on my radar.  Setting aide the question of whether Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable is a harem series or not – and indeed just what defines a harem show in the first place – it’s entraining and quite upbeat.  I enjoy the fact that this show doesn’t seem to take the easy, tropey path most of the time, and on the whole its heart seems to be in the right place.

Meiji Gekken 1874  
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: B-
Comments: I have decidedly mixed feelings about Crunchyroll directly producing anime, but I quite like Meiji Gekken 1874 on its own merits.  This is a setting and premise that interest me, and while the production values are nothing special they’re certainly not a distraction.  1874 is a pretty no-frills, straight-ahead type of show, but it does view the early days of the Meiji Era through a somewhat different lens than most of its thematic predecessors.  The main players here are the Aizu loyalists, the cops, and the yakuza, all groups who are tangential at best in most fictional takes on the subject.


Still Watching

Majo to Yajuu
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C+
Comments: Majo to Yajuu was another sleeper pick (based mainly on good rating for the manga).  I’d categorize it as a mild disappointment at this stage, though it’s (slightly) too early to come to any firm conclusion.  Neither of the two leads is all that interesting and one of them is downright annoying, which somewhat undercuts a fairly interesting premise with decent execution.

Yubisaki to Renren
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C+
Comments: On the subject of disappointments, this is certainly the biggest of the season for me.  I don’t have a problem with characters behaving badly in dramas like this.  My problem – and I call it the Shigatsu Effect – comes when the writer seems to be endorsing that bad behavior.  The protagonist here is depicted as a burden on those around her because of her hearing impairment, the male lead has no respect for physical boundaries, and the osananajimi is incredibly patronizing and downright mean to her.  And both she and the series itself seem to think all that is A-OK.  Expectations were high for this series, but I’m very close to a drop.

Ao no Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Hen
Episodes Watched: 2
Grade: C+
Comments: I’ll be honest, Sundays have beeen so crazy this season that I took a few weeks to go back to AoEx since watching the first episode.  The first two eps were fine, but I just haven’t felt the compulsion to make time for the show yet.  I still plan to out of loyalty to the first season (and the movie), but it seems pretty unlikely to be a series I would find time to cover.

Hikari no Ou 2nd Season
Episodes Watched: 2
Grade: C+
Comments:I don’t know whose idea it was to take a high fantasy novel adaptation with a Kawai Kenji soundtrack and give it some of the crappiest visuals imaginable, but I hope this isn’t their day job.  I have some issues with the writing too, but it’s the production values that really sink this one for me.

Metallic Rouge
Episodes Watched: 3
Grade: C
Comments: The best way I can describe Metallic Rouge is that it’s exactly what I imagine would happen if you instructed an AI to write a Bones mecha anime.  It all feels utterly recycled and derivative and none of the characters have a spark of originality to them.  Bones is mailing it in on this one to a degree than would make P.A. Works proud.

Gekkan Mousou Kagaku
Episodes Watched: 2
Grade: C
Comments: It hasn’t been a good season for Enzo sleepers and Gekkan Mousou Kagaku is a part of that.  I had a suspicion this show might be pretty good but honestly, it’s a farce where most of the jokes kind of fall flat.  Maybe one more week to change the score but that’s probably about it for me.



Himesama “Goumon” no Jikan desu, Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji, Ore dake Level Up na Ken


Here, then, is this season’s blogging prospectus:

Probably Blogging: Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi

Tuesday: None

Definitely Blogging: Sengoku Youko 
On the Respirator: Metallic Rouge

Definitely Blogging: Dungeon Meshi
On the Respirator: Majo to Yajuu

Definitely Blogging: Sousou no Frieren

Definitely BloggingKusuriya no Hitorigoto, Boku no Kokoro no Yabai Yastu, Kingdom 5
Probably Blogging: Bucchigiri?!
On the Respirator: Yubisaki to Renren

Definitely Blogging: Kyuujitsu no Warumono-san
On the Bubble: Meiji Gekken 1874

Manga: Otoyomegatari, Hunter X Hunter (hiatus)

Watching For Now: Shangri-la Frontier, Ao no Exorcist: Shimane Illuminati Hen, Hikari no Ou 2nd Season, Gekkan Mousou Kagaku


One more thing before I wrap. A special thanks to everyone who supports LiA financially – you’re the reason the site is still going.  The “LiA Bespoke” commissions program is officially open and has proved to be a great addition to LiA, so please check it out.

Please check out the LiA YouTube channel for manga recommendations, from the vault anime, Japan journeys and more!

The post Winter 2024 Check-in appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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