Anime Seasonals 2018 — The Winter Games: Week 1-2

“Everybody, clap your hands!!”

So.. what is this Leap? (and why are you doing something so not!”laid-back as can be” at all??) Well, first things first; welcome one and all to the inaugural Anime Seasonals: The Winter Games! *clapclapclap* *whistles*

A little competition of sorts featuring myself, The Pantless Anime Blogger, AstralGemini (from The Zodiac Room), and Irina (of I Drink and Watch Anime) where we will be going head-to-head against one another over the course of the next three-or-so months through episodic posts of select Winter 2018 anime. This is TPAB’s brainchild of an aniblogger collab project with a nice little twist to (hopefully) make for an exciting series of posts.

As this is a “competition” there is a game associated to all of this and as such us four will be testing each other’s mettle in *cue drumroll* an episodic prediction run! We will be following three shows over the course of the Winter season; Record of Grancrest War, Sanrio Boys, and Laid-Back Camp (due to some logistical stuff we had to resolve we’re doing these right around the time the second episode of these shows come out).

The goal is simple — predict as many things right by the end for each series.

The only rules are:
>> 2 (two) predictions per episode; one plot specific, and one character action
>> character action predictions cannot be repeated

Of course, we’re not doing this just for bragging rights. The person who gets the least amount of predictions right at the end of it all will………..
Well, let’s save it for when it happens πŸ˜€

We will be policeing each other’s predictions before they go up for the most part but as this project is still in its infancy it might not all be smooth sailing for the first couple of weeks. Lastly, while the stakes are mildly high (lol), all this is done in good fun. I’m honestly very excited to get to know these awesome writers as we go along. So, without further ado, sound the trumpets! Let the games begin!

– –

The premise was all four of us would be doing episodic reviews for the three shows. Now, I’d dabbled in episodic posts for only three shows since this blog’s inception, and my biggest takeaway from the experience was that I always ended up just telling people what the episode was about as opposed to what I thought about ’em. In rectifying that tendency I’ll be working under the assumption that most of you are also following the show’s we’re watching, and I’ll more or less forego recaping every event in the episode.

Laid-Back Camp
(Yuru Camp)
Episode 1 – 2
tl;dr: “Educational (for someone who hasn’t ‘camped’ in the truest sense of the word), relaxing, and it’s looking to very much be a feel-good show. Oh, and I love Saitou.”

Now you’d think, as laid-back as I claim to be, I’d be all over this moeblob like ants on candy when it first aired (I mean, it has “laid-back” in the title!). Admittedly though, it’s been a loooong while since the last time I watched a moe anime (unless you count Made in Abyss.. haha.. haha…). I don’t particularly dislike moe or anything don’t get me wrong. The “cute girls doing x” variety of shows is a guilty pleasure for me after all (I mean, Saki is like, in my Top 10 all time favorite anime so that says something about my preferences). They’ve just been very low priority titles for me lately.

Which is why I’m glad we have this in our lineup. Suffice to say, I enjoyed our first episode here. In the first episode we’re introduced to Shima Rin, high school camper extraodinaire, and clumsy “new girl” Kagamihara Nadeshiko. Two very archetypal characters for the most part. Not much to say about their interactions other than they’re par for the course of what you would expect (ie reserved girl gets taken out of her comfort zone by rambunctious girl only for reserved girl to realize that she actually wants to do things with other people).

In the second we’re briefly introduced to our secondary cast of characters; resident megane Oogaki Chiaki, “not!Mugi” Inuyama Aoi, and best girl Saitou Ena. Well, I say “briefly” but Chiaki and Aoi do get a fair bit of screentime. It’s just, we don’t really get a sense just yet of who they are as characters other than being camping otakus. Understandable. I mean, It’s only the second episode after all. A lot of time to be spent with these five blobs still. I do, however, want to give a special mention to the humor of Yuru Camp so far as it really has been hitting the right buttons for me. That text exchange between her and Rin in the second episode was so adorable it damn near killed me. I’m relieved that she’s part of the main cast (’cause usally Friend A doesn’t make the cut in these types of shows right?)

The depiction of scenery is also really nice. It’s no Shinkai Makoto, sure, but something about anime (in general) recreating real life picturesque surroundings always makes me that much more appreciative of the actual places after the fact (I imagine a lot of the partners for this show are tourism advocates). Yuru Camp takes place in Yamanashi Prefecture, considered by some to be the “home” of Mt. Fuji, though people from Shizuoka prefecture would fight you on that (fun little factoid for you; Mt. Fuji lies at the boundary of the two prefectures, neither of whom are willing to give ground as to who actually owns jurisdiction over the mountain xD). Rin sets up camp over at Lake Motosu in the first episode, so it’d be interesting to see whether they go and do all the Five Fuji Lakes over the course of the series. That said she does switch it up by going to Fumoto, so really they could end up camping anywhere (Huh. Aokigahara is pretty near Yamanashi. …Too soon?)

Overall, so far, so good. Rather, it actually defied expectations (not that I’d set up high ones) for being a bit funnier than I thought it’d be intially.

>> Predictions
~ Nadeshiko skillfully chops vegetables (action)
As I don’t want our ditz to be a total ditz, I want for it to turn out that she’s pretty decent with her hands as a cook. This is me already betting against convention, but eyy, I don’t need the most amount of predictions — I just need to be better than the one in last place πŸ˜€
~ Nadeshiko tries to call over Chiaki and Aoi (plot)
(^quite possibly to the dismay of Rin) Initially I was gonna be a bit cheeky and have this as “they make hotpot”, which is a sure point for me, but.. where’s the fun in that??

Record of Grancrest War
(Grancrest Senki)
Episode 1 – 2
tl;dr:It honestly feels to me like… watching a speedrun of a Fire Emblem game, lol *checks* Oh wow, Grancrest is actually based on a table-top RPG. Haha!

Peeling back the curtain a bit — me, AstralGemini, and Irina each chose the shows that we’re now watching for this here project (TPAB opted out). AG chose Camp, Irina went without Sanrio Boys in retaliation and I chose Grancrest War; not that I know much about it. Rather, the only thing I know about it is that Kitou Akari was gonna be the seiyuu for Siluca (Irina’s assessment of me was spot on xD). I was reluctant to pick this up on my own accord (to watch on my own time) as high fantasy isn’t really something I go for on the regular, so I’m glad I have an excuse now to watch it. Or, well, I was glad. Now, well…

The first couple of minutes was some Grade-A infodump that very generously gave us a title drop right out of the gate. A marriage (dubbed the “Grand Hall Tragedy”) between the heir apprents of the two great houses of what appear to be warring factions goes south at the hands of a chaotic evil presence in what the series calls “Chaos”. Spoooooky~ (lol, I kid. I actually really liked the demon’s entrance in the opening sequence of the first episode). Two monarchs die a gruesome death, which now sets the backdrop for the war between the Factory Federation (pffffffft) and the Fantasy Alliance.

General impression. The pacing is all over the place — leaning towards being a tad too fast for my tastes. Nothing is set up, and things just, happen as a matter of consequence. I mean, I didn’t even think that Theo was gonna be the actual MC of the show owing to his oh so dashing entrance of saving a damsel in distress *insert sarcastic eye-roll*. Not a very impressive showing for our hero — which I would’ve been absolutely fine with, except the showed played it up a bit too much (the guy literally just shoved one dude to the ground and sword-punched another xD). I will, however, give him props for that awesome spearhead chop in the first episode (lol who does that?).

Siluca’s motivations (whatever they may be) are grossly overshadowed by how quick she was too swear allegiance to a guy she met for no longer than a couple of minutes prior. The second episode gives us a bit more to chew on with regard to that but.. I dunno. She’s talking about realizing Theo’s ideals and whatnot, but she’s almost too gung-ho about it. Then again someone has to pick up the slack in the character development area as Theo really isn’t doing it for me. He’s basically every nameless MC in a JRPG following a pretty standard script of “I must do the right thing!” to a T — even going so far as to continuosly throw himself in front of Siluca. It’s actually almost funny that all of Theo’s victories (as far as his own fights are concerned) have been pretty underwhelming.

Pretty so-so for me thus far. We’ll see how things progress.

>> Predictions
~ Theo sighs and/or facepalms (action)
I mean, he almost always does, so I’m hedging my bets. Also, it’s only a matter of time before he start warming up to Siluca so these moments of irritation could only last so long before they become a thing of the past.
~ Theo and his party attempt a siege (plot)
With their numbers having grown considerably since the first episode, I reckon our young lord is now ready to go on the offensive once more. Theo’s newly appointed adviser (whose name I can’t remember for the life of me) might suggest they make a banner for his party, hence the next episode’s tiltle “Battle Flag”; as they would need to represent themselves as a proper house now.

Sanrio Boys
(Sanrio Danshi)
Episode 1 – 2
tl;dr:Not gonna lie — oddly relateable.”

While I would on occassion pick up moe anime like Yuru Camp, and watch anime for their seiyuu like Grancrest Senki, Sanrio Boys is a title I’m confident I wouldn’t catch given the choice. I can’t even tell you the last show that I watched that was anywhere close to this (funny because at the time that I’m writing this, the only genre MAL tags it as is “School”, lol, didn’t even know that was a genre xD). I thought for sure it was gonna be a straight-up otome-type feature with an all-male cast and submissive male lead (…it could still be that, now that I think about it). I’ll hold off on thanking Irina just yet for adding this show to our lineup, but so far, Sanrio Danshi has been a surpisingly real experience that in an odd way strikes close to home.

I say that, not as a fan of Sanrio myself, but as a fan of something that sometimes get berated too as being rather childish and not really suited for guys in particular: anime. The premise of the show revolves around Hasegawa Kouta who, afraid of being ridiculed by his peers, denies his affection for the mascot-character Pompompurin. We find out over the course of the first episode that Pompompurin was actually more than just his “best Sanrio” but is actually tied to him with a rather fair amount sentiment in lieu of his now-late grandmother.

I didn’t really expect this show to attempt tug at heartstrings like it did. Kouta’s opening monologue of wanting to shine (…now where have I heard that before?) really threw me for a loop as far as who he is as a character is concerned and what the narrative of the show was going to be overall. I thought it was just gonna be a straight comedy/Slice-of-LifeΒ  showing but Sanrio Boys actually lays on the drama pretty thick — almost too thick at times, but hey, you can only do so much when you have to incorporate Sanrio of all things as the framing device of your story right?

I was, however, surprised at Kouta’s relatively fast development by the end of the second episode. He basically got over something that seemingly haunted his entire life leading up to his encounter with the titular “Sanrio Boys”. The way it was resolved felt too.. contrived, or, well, convenient might be a better of way putting it. Though I guess the first episode did set up his internal conflict well enough to warrant that, plus it’s too soon to say whether he’s completely gotten over his past hang-ups with being associated with Sanrio.

All in all — not bad.

>> Predictions
~ Close up shot of Kouta’s eyes (action)
^In dramatic fashion; ideally as he starts talking about his past. The anime does a couple of quirky shots like this, along with as manga-style cutouts and playing with first person POV (which always catches me by surprise)
~ Yuu’s sister was actually pretty into Sanrio stuff too (plot)
Kind-of a given really, given how these sort of arcs play out, so I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the case.

– –

Aaaand there you have it. Admittedly I’m a bit rusty when it comes to episodics so do forgive me if writing feels rougher than usual (that and I tried to cram six episodes worth of write-ups in one post, lol). I’m sure to get the hang of it eventually. In the meantime, this is going to be my run for the week. Fingers-crossed I don’t come out last in this first lap!

Likewise, check out these guys’ posts and predictions.

AstralGeminiWeek 1-2

IrinaLaid-Back Camp (1-2), Record of Grancrest War (1-2), Sanrio Boys (1-2)

TPABWeek 1, Week 2

Ah, and lastly, do feel free to play alongside us and drop your own predictions in the comments sections below! We’ll have our tally by the time the third episode for everything has aired so stay tuned!


36 thoughts on “Anime Seasonals 2018 — The Winter Games: Week 1-2

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  6. Mmmm glad to find yet another Saki fan. We’re a rarity!

    I’m glad you’re taking some bold risks when it comes to the predictions. Fingers crossed that you’re right!

    • It’s so good though xD One of those shows where if I watch one episode I just can’t help but see the next one, lol

      It won’t be fun if I “predict” things that are too obvious otherwise. We’ll see if this pays off. Thanks Remy! πŸ˜€

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