Anime Quick Reviews, 2021 Second Half (12 Days of Anime 5)

This hit a little too close to home. (Image source: Yuru Camp△ Season 2)

For today’s article, I’ll finish up my reviews of the shows I’ve watched this year, and giving each a grade. As a reminder, all opinions here are my own, and they’re not all going to be super in-depth. For organizational sake, I present them separated by the seasons they started in when applicable, roughly by starting date.

Welcome to “12 Days of Anime 2021”, a writing challenge in which I look to have an article a day for 12 days leading up to Christmas, all centered in some way on anime or anime-related topics. You can find last year’s stories at this link over on Anitay, as well as re-posts of my 2018 and 2019 series here on Medium. Big, big thanks to Stanlick for creating the header image outline template.

Summer 2021

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X (Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta… X)

How do you follow up a pretty darn good first season that happened just last year, AND that wrapped up at a very natural ending point? Reasonably well, actually. While this season wasn’t quite as good as the first, especially as “Bakarina” gets more aggressively oblivious to the harem surrounding her, it managed to avoid the trope of essentially hitting the reset button on the first season so that she’d have to try and avoid all those flags again, at least right up until (spoiler) the twist at very end that the otome game she may or may not be trapped in actually has a sequel. At least in this season, there was much more of a distinct fantasy story to it, without her being worried about trying to avoid her bad end flags. Catarina’s harem does grow (naturally), and we get some expansion on the idea that someone in the background is trying to use Dark Magic to manipulate things to their own ends. Rating: B-

Uramichi Oniisan

This show. Y’all, I loved this show. I know some folks thought it was one-note, or overly cynical or whatever, but damn it, I cracked up at least once per episode.

Just the idea that they are getting away with singing songs like this for a children’s program is hysterical.

Exploring the dark side of children’s television for comedy can be a fertile ground, and I think they pulled it off well here. Uramichi is tired, and cynical, and not sure about his life and where it’s going… but he clearly loves children, and when he can make them happy, it clearly makes his day. While the children can often deliver cutting remarks, they are never intentionally cruel, nor does Uramichi’s cynicism ever seem to truly rub off on the children. I’m torn — I’d love to see more of this show, but I do have to admit, a second season, without some major story arc or change, definitely would get repetitive, so I’m in favor of leaving it well enough as it is now. Rating: A (for the amount of meme-able lines alone)

Drug Store in Another World — The Slow Life of a Cheat Pharmacist (Cheat Kusushi no Slow Life: Isekai ni Tsukurou Drugstore)

So like, 90% of this show was indeed the promised “slow life”, and a nice and fluffy comedy. Mostly unremarkable, but close enough to a turn your mind off and relax iyashikei series that it was fine.

Paula is absolutely Best Girl.

That other 10% though… oof. 90% fluff, 10% “go to horny jail”. Still funny, I grant you, but could definitely swing in tone hard that way all of the sudden. Still, overall it was enjoyable, and the heavy re-use of the potion-mixing montage throughout all the episodes became almost a running gag in its own right. Also points for putting the “you’ve just been isekai’d” beginning of the story all the way at the end of the series and just diving right in to the middle in episode 1. Rating: C+

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S (Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S)

And here we have the triumphant (spoiler for my Rating at the end) return of Kyoto Animation to the television series realm (as I believe they’d already put out a few movies that they were finishing up at the time of the fire in July 2019). I plan to cover this show in more detail in a later article in this series, so for now, I’ll just say: It was great, and it was great to see it from KyoAni. Rating: A++

Also, I totally want a plush of this adorable Baby Tohru dragon

The Aquatope on White Sand (Shiroi Suna no Aquatope)

An absolutely visually gorgeous 2-cours series from P.A. Works. Somewhat in the vein of Shirobako and Sakura Quest with Cute Girls Doing Growing Up Things, but with a dash of Iroduku’s magic thrown in. The series has the subtitle “The two girls met in the ruins of damaged dream”[sic]. And this show has been all about people responding when long-held dreams have been shattered, and eventually learning how to move forward with their lives. It is overall excellent, but suffers from a few poor characterization choices (one in particular, where the term “toxic workplace” could be used in many episodes), and a little too much of the mystical thrown in early, without much seeming payoff, until almost the very end. Rating: A-

The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! (Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai)

Again, another one I’ve covered in an Early Impressions as well as the follow up. It gives me plenty of laughs, and some good meme-age. A stellar voice cast, a plot that actually IS carrying us through, overall good stuff. Rating: A (conditional, still needs to stick the landing)

Dropped: Mother of the Goddess’ Dormitory. I’m not against a goofy “go to horny jail” show, but this one just didn’t interest me in even the first episode to keep going.

Not Watched Yet: How A Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom.

Fall 2021

Note that the shows here are all really getting partial grades, based on what I’ve been able to see so far, since there’s an average of a couple weeks left (at time of writing).

Ganbare Douki-chan

From the people who brought you Miru Tights. It’s a short about a woman trying to strike up a romance with her co-worker, while fending off a couple rivals. Rating: B (on a curve)

The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It, My Life Had It Made (Shinka no Mi: Shiranai Uchi ni Kachigumi Jinsei)

So I mentioned yesterday that Quints wasn’t even the most blatant harem of the year starring HanaKana. Fruit of Evolution is glorious, unabashed, unashamed trash. It knows it, you know it, it knows you know it, and it doesn’t care. It revels in being a stupid, ridiculously over-powered power fantasy harem isekai. I kinda like that about it, and we’re getting a kick out of how stupid it gets. That probably makes me a terrible person, but oh well. Rating: C+

Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside (Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasareta node, Henkyou de Slow Life suru Koto ni Shimashita)

So this show was originally supposed to drop in the summer. Somebody decided to push it back, I assume not to be confused with the Cheat Drugstore show. The finale remains to be seen, but I actually preferred Cheat Drugstore to this. This started like it would be a slightly more serious version of that show — no isekai, but adventurer leaves the party and decides to chill and open his own drugstore, then gets a girlfriend. But don’t let that start, or the “Slow Life” in the title, fool you. This show is trying to run a dark fantasy (like, heroes versus demons, I mean) plot as well, which has been kind of taking over, but it just felt, especially early on, like it was wildly swinging back and forth between what genre it wants to be. Rating: C-

Komi Can’t Communicate (Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu.)

Ahh, Komi-san. I was looking forward to this. I hadn’t read the manga (yet, although I’ve started to since), but I’d seen the memes. It seemed like an interesting idea for a show.

And then it was announced that Netflix had licensed it.

For those of us in at least the US, past anime series that have gone to “Netflix jail” have been delayed for their entire initial run before being released in one go. Here, we at least are “only” dealing with a 3 week delay. But that’s not the biggest problem. Komi-san is extremely text heavy. But there’s so many times that Netflix… just doesn’t put subs for all that text. It’s very disappointing for what’s otherwise a very fun, visually gorgeous series. Rating: A-

Taishou Otome Fairy Tale (Taishou Otome Otogibanashi)

My final Early Impressions article. I think it’s decent, but I do have to ding it for some of the characterization issues, along with the as-yet unaddressed purchased child bride issue. Rating: B+

My Senpai is Annoying (Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi)

I love this show. It’s a nice little work rom-com, and while the main characters are both somewhat oblivious (or occasionally in denial) about their possible romantic feelings towards each other, it still manages to avoid some of the worst rom-com tropes. It’s much closer to the more ‘mature’ romance styles of Wotakoi and Recovery of an MMO Junkie, and well worth your time to watch. Rating: A-

Next time, I’ll take a look at a few older shows I also watched this year. Hope to see you then!

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Guy who Does Stuff. Parent. Part cyborg. Is stuck in the Snowbelt, but would rather be living in the DATABASE, DATABASE.

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umrguy42

Guy who Does Stuff. Parent. Part cyborg. Is stuck in the Snowbelt, but would rather be living in the DATABASE, DATABASE.

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