Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Winter Anime 2022, Week 1

Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Winter Anime 2022, Week 1


How did you spend your new year? I spent it sleeping. The celebrations themselves don’t mean anything to me anymore, to be honest. That’s not to say I don’t have some things I want to do for 2022. Considering how both 2020 and 2021 were for me outside of this column, here’s hoping that this new year will actually make me feel that much more optimistic.

As for all the anime that is planned for 2022, some shows have stood out for me, but as per every year, it’s the big franchises that will dominate. We’re getting yet another My Hero Academia season, the Attack on Titan anime is ending for good, and there’s even the possibility that the fourth (and possibly final) Madoka Magica movie might see its release at the end of the year. Netflix is also doubling down when it comes to acquiring licenses, with a long list of planned releases of shows and movies for 2022, including a new season of Tiger & Bunny and a Kakegurui spin-off. So there’s been no pause in announcements so far, with plenty more to come in the weeks and months ahead. And as I said last time, my Spring shows have already been decided sort of, but it isn’t Spring just yet, so right now let’s just do Winter.

Before we get into all the new season’s shows, let’s begin with my one show that went on through the holiday period…

Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 10

The show has now finished on Netflix, but I’m still going to stretch out coverage of the final episodes, as I don’t want posts to be longer than they already are.

Komi Can't Communicate

This episode is the ‘sports day’ episode, with the entire school desperate to get their fill of watching Komi do sports. It’s here where she comes across Chika Netsuno, a highly competitive second-year. I am thinking that she will be a character we will rarely see, mostly because she is the year above the rest. The interaction she and Komi have is very cute though, as it sees her being the senpai to her kohai after Komi loses in a sprint race to her. Almost like she uses her third eye and can see that Komi’s social anxiety is holding her back from her true potential.

Episode 10 also sees the arrival of Nene Onemine. Just as considerate as Najimi, except she’s far more mature. And for the first time, Komi feels jealous; this section of the episode is even called “It’s just emotional pangs.” This is likely the first time Komi has ever felt this, and so it’s rather cute to watch. At least Onemine is smart enough to realize that her assisting Tadano in his class president work might be construed as shoe-horning, and so backs off. I think out of all the classmates we’ve seen in the show, Onemine is the least wacky of them all. Here was me expecting this private high school to be essentially the school of misfits and weirdoes, but she’s only gone and spoiled the fun.

Komi Can't Communicate
Komi Can't Communicate

I still haven’t seen episodes 11 and 12 yet, but I already have some kind of idea on how this show will end. Komi might not get those 100 friends that she’s looking for, but this is a story that goes for the distance; I knew that straight away. Well, news came that a second season has already begun production, and is even due to release as early as April! It’s staying on Netflix too. I haven’t decided whether I will return to the show or not, though; will think about it some more when it’s finished.

Komi Can't Communicate

Now to the Winter season shows proper, and if you were able to actually log in to either Crunchyroll or Funimation on Sunday, then count yourself lucky, as the Attack on Titan fans came en masse to get started on the second half of the final season. If it got this crowded then, I can’t imagine how it’ll be like when the actual final episode comes.

Slow Loop Episode 1

Slow Loop

So to my ‘cute-girls-doing-cute-things’ show, with the topic being flyfishing.

The show looks like it’ll be told from Hiyori’s point-of-view. In the time since her father passed away, she has been keeping to herself and staying out on the breakwater flyfishing, something he taught her to do. Seems normal enough, then our Hiyori does go on to say that her father passed away of a ‘very popular disease’; last time I checked, diseases weren’t popular full-stop.

The one thing I am finding interesting so far is this step-family dynamic. Hiyori was already unsure about how to react to having a new stepfather and stepsister, and it’s when she meets them both for the first time is when it hits her the most. She was very close to her father, and even with this guy trying to warm up to her, she is understandably very quiet and quick to change subjects. This first episode was also about how Koharu would be taking his old office as her new bedroom, and how conflicted Hiyori feels about it. It does seem like Slow Loop will have a focus on her opening up more, and so that’ll certainly be something I’m keen to watch.

Slow Loop

Yes, the show has some cute girls and is exactly what it says on the tin, however in this opening episode, there is very little that really stands out. Another slice-of-life show about fishing, Diary of Our Days on the Breakwater, is something that people can easily compare this to, and it may well end up turning into some kind of contest in which one is the cutest. The relationship between these new stepsisters will be something very predictable though. Hiyori being a calm and collected one, and Koharu being the airheaded brick.

Slow Loop

There’s not going to be much in Slow Loop that I haven’t seen already in other cutesy shows. A harsh thing to say, as everyone in the show is very harmless, and the story is pretty solid.

My Dress-Up Darling Episode 1

I was attracted to My Dress-Up Darling for a couple of reasons: one was the main theme of cosplay, which is something seldom seen in shows, and the other is the hobby that the male lead, Wakana Gojou, has. Now I don’t think I’ll ever find traditional Japanese dolls something to do in the future, but the fact that a niche hobby like this is also a main feature is interesting. But what about the opening episode?

My Dress-Up Darling

As the episode progresses, the more we see that both he and female lead Marin Kitigawa are alike in that they are very lost in the direction they want to go in. Wakana enjoys making his dolls, and is rather nonchalant when he is set aside by the rest of the class, while Marin is slowly getting tired of hanging around her gang of friends who talk about the same thing over and over again. Wakana is also a very relatable character, which makes him all the more likeable guy. I especially like how we get very little exposition when it comes to him and his family and hobbies; there are just some things that are better left alone. Marin is portrayed as this dream girl in the show, but then we realize that deep down she doesn’t care about any of that, and is more concerned about her cosplay hobby.

I later discovered that the My Dress-Up Darling manga is in fact an ecchi story, but this first episode was pretty tame. It’s possible that Cloverworks decided to tone it down to cater for a bigger audience. It has gone off on a good start, and so I don’t see any reason why suddenly adding risqué shots would make the show better. These two main characters have both come across as people we want to get to know more about, despite them being polar opposites.

My Dress-Up Darling
My Dress-Up Darling

This was a really strong opening episode. Curiously, it has given me little hints on what future episodes will be like outside of these two cooperating with cosplay. Since I don’t know anything about the source, I don’t know what kind of subplots will appear, or what kind of secondary characters we will see. But I actually like that, because it has somehow added that much more mystery to it all. Like I said in the preview post, this is a Cloverworks show, and the shows they put out last year all ran into some kind of internal production issues. Especially the three they put out in the Winter 2021 season (The Promised Neverland season 2, Wonder Egg Priority and Horimiya). And this time around they are doing another three all at once (this, Akebi’s Sailor Uniform, and Tokyo 24th Ward). My Dress-Up Darling started off strong, and so it would be a shame if any more production issues affected it.

World’s End Harem Episode 1

To make things easier for all the people who actually think this show is going to be anything other than full of ecchi (like me…don’t ask), they decided to rerun episode 1.

Well it’s the future now, and because of advances in technology, no one really needs to work anymore. Our main protagonist Reito Mizuhara has contracted cellular sclerosis, and makes the decision to go into cryostasis so a cure can be found…but not before he can confess to fellow med student Erisa. Five years pass, and a cure is found and injected into him while asleep. But the world has since been affected by an entirely new virus, the MK virus, which has killed off 99.9% of the male population. And so as a result, to help bring the world’s population back, Reito has become one of the most valuable resources on the planet…although he is very quick to tell them that he is no stud horse.

World's End Harem
World's End Harem

The first episode alone was an extremely awkward watch, but the fact that it is trying to take itself seriously is, I think, is what is getting to me the most. World’s End Harem is a very dumb show, however it’s something that’s trying really hard to convince its target audience that it’s serious. With a plot like this, the story could have gone down some road of how the world reacts to there being so few men now – population problem, economics, resource rationing, etc. However it’s next to no surprise that it went the other way. But the thing here is: it’s trying to be both of them. Our main protagonist is written to be the average nice guy who is so incredibly conflicted on his new predicament and what is essentially his new role in the future he has woken up to. Running away from a room of tall naked women, and told that he must mate with all of them is one funny moment, because it shows us the kind of guy he is going to be for the rest of the show. He’s desperate to find this missing girl he confessed to five years ago, who just so happens to look a lot like his ‘handler’ Mira Suou. Whether this behavior will turn him into a character with zero depth (just like Mira) is something I’ll have to wait and see. I’ll just have to put up with these MS Paint black bars for a little while longer.

(By the way, I have chosen not to put screenshots of those scenes in this column, even with the censored black bars. Mostly because they are just too ugly to even look at.)

World's End Harem

Thing is, the people who would flock to a show like this know exactly what they are expecting in each episode, so my question is: what was the point here? Now I’m not 100% sure who is truly responsible for these MS Paint black censored bars; if it’s something Crunchyroll have done, or something they were just given. Either way, no matter who did them, two things are likely going to happen as a result:

  • People will be itching to find an uncensored version, because they’re perverts like that. Perhaps Crunchyroll themselves will even release one, just like an uncensored version of Domestic Girlfriend was (I think), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t.
  • This will become an anime meme.

There’s been many other risqué shows that have come out that have been equally as trash; I’ll give Keijo!!!!!!!! as a good example. It’s a dumb ecchi show, but at least it knows what it is, and thus the team behind it make every effort to appease to the audience who are specifically looking for that kind of show. Even something like Interspecies Reviewers (which was ultimately dropped by Funimation) knew what it was. Here in World’s End Harem, its attempts at being a serious sci-fi show really clash with the ecchi we see.

I’m sticking with it for the meantime, and if future episodes end up being just as dumb as this one, then that “so-bad-it’s-good” concept that I embrace might well work here.

The Helpful Fox Senko-san Episode 1

The Helpful Fox Senko-san

I never got to see The Helpful Fox Senko-san when it came out, and so going into episode 1, I expected…well…not much, considering it was a Dogakobo show, and I always seem to know what to expect from the shows they make.

This is the introductory episode of course, where overworked salaryman Nakano sees the fox god Senko arrive in his home with the mission to ‘pamper’ him. I have to say, the more that one sentence rings in my head, the weirder it sounds. This isn’t quite like when Tohru appears on Kobayashi’s doorstep to be her maid. Saying that though, these two main characters are decent enough. Nakano isn’t the kind of guy who takes his frustrations out on other people or cry about not getting a promotion or anything, and Senko has some tsundere tendencies, but they don’t overwhelm her and make her a stereotype anime character.

The Helpful Fox Senko-san

If there ever was one thing I would have to criticize here, it would be these moments where Nakano messes around with Senko’s fox tail. It’s all consensual of course, but even still it just comes off as very weird and sometimes creepy. And if this is going to be something that might be an episodic running gag (which I fear it might be), then I’m going to start to worry. There’s definitely going to be more to this story though, as teased in flashback moments that crop up here, so I’m keenly interested in what they bring to the show.

Well, it’s been quite an opening week. I haven’t got a favorite show set just yet out of the five listed, but I’ll say this now: it certainly isn’t World’s End Harem. As mentioned, I will continue to watch it and try not to get too much into the steamy parts of the show. Whether Crunchyroll will pull the plug just as Funimation pulled the plug with Interspecies Reviewers remains to be seen.



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