The next Winter season sees the end of Attack on Titan. I think that will be the one big headline here, with every other show taking a bit of a backseat. The franchise has ended, turning into something really massive, with some calling it really awesome and others calling it really controversial. I only ever got halfway through season 1, so I looked at the trailer for this final season, and everything just went over my head. Thankfully for me, I picked out some of the other shows; some shows for the non-AoT fans. As I’m sure a lot of you readers might know, I’m an extremely picky person, and so it was pretty tough to find shows that genuinely peaked my interest. Compare this to the Spring 2022, where I have chosen what shows to watch already.
Alright then, let’s dive into it, beginning with the elephant in the room…
World’s End Harem
Studio: AXsiZ/Studio Gokumi
Begins: January. 07
(Available on Crunchyroll)
Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was curiosity, and not something else, that made me want to pick this silly show. It may well be that same curiosity that will get the better of me when it comes to a show that has already gotten people talking, and not all of them in a positive way. It was delayed less than 24 hours after episode 1 aired back in October, meaning I chose Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut as my ‘backup’ show. Now World’s End Harem is finally coming in its entirety, what are all the conservative anime critics going to say?
In the year 2040, Reito Mizuhara decides to go into cryostasis with the hope that there will be development in the future to cure a rare disease he suffers from. When he awakens five years later, he discovers that a highly contagious virus, the Male Killer virus, has wiped out 99.9% of the world’s male population, leaving approximately one million left, most of them in cryostasis themselves. On top of this, Reiko finds out that he is one of the very few people in Japan who have developed a natural immunity to the virus. As a result, he has been ordered to take part in a government program to deal with the world’s population problem. And well, you can kind of make out the rest from there…
While I am expecting most of this show to focus around this ‘population problem’ program that he has to take part in, the more ‘serious’ part of the show will be about how he finds out about the MK virus itself, and where his past girlfriend, Erisa Tachibana, disappeared off to. Now I don’t really know a thing about the story, and it was this foolish curiosity that drew me to this. A sci-fi show that is trying to be kind of serious but is, in all truth, something that turns the ecchi to 11, which will likely mean we’ll see a lot of white lines covering body parts, or even some scenes cut entirely.
You’re still asking why I’d choose a show like this when I could find something a little less ecchi? Well I’ll say that the really big franchises are going to be getting masses of attention this season, so I really don’t want to say that I had little choice in shows that interested me. I suppose one question we could all ask ourselves is whether a harem show set in a semi-apocalyptic world would actually translate well on screen. The harem genre already has it pretty bad, with followers calling out more negatives than positives. So a show with two pretty contrasting genres might well be something followers and critics will jump on straight away. As for me? I genuinely do want to give this the benefit of doubt. This could be the most cringe-worthy show I’ve watched in a long time, but I won’t know until I watch it. I guess that’s the best defense I have for choosing this.
Now I want to make one thing clear before I get into this: World’s End Harem is a very ecchi show. This means I’m going to have to be careful with how I talk about each episode, and how I get screencaps for them too. Heck, I even had trouble finding decent enough screencaps for this post. But I don’t think Crunchyroll would be so foolish as to pick up the license for something that could end up being so controversial, it ends up being axed or dropped (like what happened with Funimation and Interspecies Reviewers). Then again, they did decide to license EX-ARM, so stranger things have happened.
Episode 1 has already aired, but I never covered it in the column. So this will mean that, in the first week’s post, I’ll go back and take a second look, along with episode 2. I’m going to regret picking this; I just know it. Call it a hunch.
Begins: January. 07
(Available on TBA)
It was about time I found a ‘cute-girls-doing-cute-things’ show to do for Otaku Theater, and Slow Loop just landed on my lap.
Hiyori Minagi was taught how to fish by her late father, and comes across another girl out by the sea. In time, this girl – Koharu – and her, get to spend more time together fishing and cooking. Soon enough Koharu discovers the reason why Hiyori went out on her own; to prepare to meet her new step family for the first time. But it’s only coincidence when Hiyori meets them that evening and discovers that Koharu is her new step-sister.
This show immediately made me think of one show I reviewed here on TheOASG, Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater, which had a fishing theme itself. That was a bit of a ‘cute-girls-doing-cute-things’ show itself, except that its main protagonist ended up learning how to fish from scratch. Here in Slow Loop, we have one of the main characters already knowing how to do it, so if anything I’m expecting the focus to be more on the characters and what they get up to, instead of the actual fishing. I know nothing else about the story itself, but I honestly don’t anticipate this kind of show going on some wild shock story…not in the slightest.
Interesting though that as I look around on forums, people are even comparing this show to something like Yuru Camp, which put a heck of a lot of emphasis on the characters. I remember when I picked that for the column (as in season 1) and went in completely blind. Of course I was hooked in on the very first episode and it has since become my favorite iyashikei show so far. I really don’t know if I’ll get anything like that here in Slow Loop, but to be honest, I would not be disappointed if it didn’t. I mean, it’s a ‘cute-girls-doing-cute-things’ show; what can possibly go wrong with that? A combination of Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater and Yuru Camp, huh? Let’s just wait and see.
My Dress-Up Darling
Begins: January. 09
(Available on Funimation)
You know something, I wouldn’t normally pick a show like this. I’m not 100% passionate about cosplay and only really take it at face value. Also, there’s one other thing that I’m just a little concerned about. More on that in a bit…
Wakana Gojou is a loner who really enjoys making Hina dolls, but unfortunately for him, there’s no-one he knows that shares his obsession. He can’t even hold a proper conversation without them going into a long diatribe about his dolls. Meanwhile Marin Kitagawa is the most popular girl in the year, and has her own secret obsession: cosplay. So even though she doesn’t care about his long diatribes, the two decide to work together to help each other: he with using his sewing skills, and she with her cosplay hobby.
I see the trailer and promo art for My Dress-Up Darling and have kind of made my own assumptions on what kind of characters these two are going to be. While she will act like a total gyaru at school and demand/plea/urge that Wakana keep her cosplay obsession a secret, he’s still going to be portrayed as the ultimate loser. Someone who needs to be saved from his very niche hobby. Ugh, I’m thinking aloud here, as like the other shows I picked for Otaku Theater, I know pretty much nothing about the story. But I will say one thing: I will be very disappointed if this ends up going down some romance route.
So about that worry of mine. My Dress-Up Darling is being made by Cloverworks, and they haven’t had very much luck with good shows recently. Wonder Egg Priority, Horimiya, and season 2 of The Promised Neverland were all hit with production issues; all three shows were released in one season, and that may have played a part in that. It seems like Cloverworks haven’t really learned their lesson though, as they will be doing another three shows for this Winter season: My Dress-Up Darling, Akebi’s School Uniform, and original story Tokyo 24th Ward. Any other studio would know that this would be overwhelming for their staff, and so why Cloverworks decided to do this a second time is…concerning. Will My Dress-Up Darling (along with the other two shows) be hit with the same production issues too? Let’s just wait and see.
I remember having to maneuver around the hiccups that season two of The Promised Neverland had, and trying to make sense of that dumpster fire of a show. Despite not really knowing that much about the topic, I don’t want this show (nor the others mentioned) to fall flat. I do hope Cloverworks have learned their lesson, and have put together a strategy or game plan of sorts, and a backup plan in case something does go wrong.
Well that’s that, and so time for my out-of-season show pick.
The Helpful Fox Senko-san
(Available on Crunchyroll)
In the poll I did, I went for more jovial and mellow shows, and The Helpful Fox Senko-san came out on top. Kind of cool for me as despite hearing good things about it, I know very little about it.
Kuroto Nakano is a very unhappy salaryman with a job he hates that pretty much dominates his entire life. It’s only when, after a long overtime shift, he opens his door to find a fox spirit waiting for him with a plate of dinner. Senko is an 800-year old fox demigod who was sent down to Earth to help Kuroto find happiness and a new meaning to life. A bit of a simple synopsis, I know, but the more I look at this show, the more I think that an overlong show synopsis would seem out-of-place. I mean it’s a show about one guy, one live-in fox spirit servant, and uh…that’s it. Dull for some, but I’m very curious.
One other curious thing I found out is that, despite this being a Dogakobo show, fast-paced slapstick comedy doesn’t take over the show. Senko was brought into Kuroto’s life to help get rid of his stress and unhappiness, so what would be the point of crazy hijinks and awkward jokes? Makes me think of those movie shorts of the 1940s and 1950s where an angel or otherworldly being arrives in the life of an unhappy person, quickly works their magic, saves said person, and disappears just as quickly. Those shorts were pretty awful though, while The Helpful Fox Senko-san looks very cute and wholesome. I’m looking forward to watching this show finally.
So for this season, I have three shows where I know next to nothing about the story – three shows I’ll be going blind into. I’ll try not to feel awkward about talking about the ecchi of World’s End Harem and talk more about the more ‘serious’ sci-fi part. I’ll try not to compare Slow Loop with Yuru Camp or some of the other iyashikei shows I love. I’ll try not to worry that My Dress-Up Darling will be a victim of production issues. I shouldn’t worry at all, to be fair; I picked some relatively chill shows this season.