When it comes to our collective zeitgeist about Winter 2019 in anime, it’s really “two rings to rule them all”. The same pair of series have dominated the weekly rankings from the first, and there’s no indication that will – or should – change anytime soon. The only real question is which one of them will reign supreme in any given week, and they’ve fought more or less to a draw on that front (though in an interesting twist, the one taking the top spot this week got no 1st place votes). But it’s notable that a series which broke into the poll for the first time last week rose to third this time, the first indication this season of a third show garnering real momentum.
This week’s Dark Horse segment gives Pancakes the chance to highlight a series that’s passed largely under the radar and generated some widely divergent opinion. And our crack(ed) staff weighs in with some reminiscences about our favorite (“favourite” for Zaiden, Passerby and Pancakes) series to blog, and what made it so special to us.
Without further ado, here are this week’s intriguing results:
Weekly Staff Poll
Dororo (2018) – 16 points
Mob Psycho 100 II – 13 points (2 first place votes)
Boogiepop wa Warawanai – 7 (1)
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen – 7 (1)
Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. – 4
Pancakes’ Dark Horse
- Pancakes’ Dark Horse Series: Kemurikusa – Although a little early to drawing conclusions, Kemurikusa is quickly becoming my dark horse of the season. The show for me melds the best of the “show, don’t tell” approach with magic infused post-apocalyptic imagery, offering up a world as mysterious as it is intriguing, and with just enough explanation to keep you hooked wanting to know more. While a good degree of (subjective) annoyance lies under this surface—Wakaba and your personality I’m looking at you—the show has slowly but surely matured on this front, with its characters coming into their own and their quirks starting to fit into the greater puzzle of Kemurikusa’s story. Much like director Tatsuki’s earlier sleeper hit Kemono Friends, Kemurikusa likely won’t reveal its full hand until very end, but when it does I firmly believe the answers will easily be worth the price of admission. It may only be bound in the end to be a niche sci-fi series, but Kemurikusa is the latest example proving why you should never judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the results can prove surprising.
Ask The Writers
What was your favo(u)rite series ever to blog – and why?
- Enzo: There are a couple of shows that pop into mind for me here. One of them is Ginga e Kickoff, which was a blast because literally no one else was covering it and I had a small but fanatical cadre of fans who loved it as much as I did. But if I had to pick one it has to be Hunter X Hunter 2011. I grew up as an aniblogger covering that show, really. It was three wonderful years of on-screen brilliance, fan debates ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, and incredible emotional highs and lows. I also never had a series draw as many pleas to port coverage to RC as I did with H x H. As far as a body of work writing about a series, that would be the pinnacle for me..
- Stilts:Ano Natsu de Matteru was the first series I enjoyed writing about a lot, though I wrote too much. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is perhaps the series I’m best known for blogging, but I more enjoyed having written about it than the actual writing (it was tough!). Log Horizon was fun to dissect in the first season, No Game No Life was a treat to wrap my mind around and a stretch of my skills, and Boku no Hero Academia is always a good time. But if I had to pick one, Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho would be nearly it, for being the dark horse I was most proud of having called, most enraptured while watching, and thoroughly excited to write about each week. The winner, though, is Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. I don’t think it’s my best blogging—I wrote too much in those days, for all my passion—but few anime have spoken to me so dearly, and I loved pouring the affection and connection I felt for it out onto the page.
- Zaiden: Favourite series I’ve blogged: This was a very hard question. I’ve enjoyed blogging every series I’ve covered in my somewhat short career. Even shows I enjoyed less were fun to slate off. In terms of the good, 3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season gets an honourable mention because I love it oh so dearly. That much I’ve always made clear — through the struggles and triumphs of each and every individual character. But I’ve always had a niggling doubt whether my writing lived up to the actual quality of the series — especially when you see that it didn’t even make it into the Top 5 of Reader’s Pick for Best of Anime 2019, despite how deserving of the top spot it seemed to me. At the end of the day, I can only admit I didn’t do a good enough job generating interest and love for such an incredible series. If I had to pick my top show, it would ultimately be Tsuki ga Kirei. It was my very first show on this site, which made it special. Not to mention there weren’t heightened expectations, and it turned out to be quite an outstanding dark horse. I was still photoshopping weekly memes into my posts too. Maybe I should get back to doing that in the near future.
- Passerby: Perversely, I tend to have the most fun writing about shows that aren’t any fun at all because then it’s BYO fun and I have a liquor license. These days I’d rather dodge bad shows since I don’t hate myself that much, but there was that one time I took a bullet square in the chest and its calibre was Musaigen no Phantom World (Don’t think about these metaphors too much. I sure didn’t). It was an absolute chore of a show to watch, but bloggng it offered a unique writing challenge every week. Wringing entertainment out of tiresome anime is difficult but rewarding and, more importantly, cathartic. Phantom World was a tragedy of a production but hopefully RandomC gave its readers a valve for emotional release. Even if it didn’t, you can enjoy the blogging’s inadvertent narrative arc, with each weekly post tracking a slow descent into despair and madness.
- Choya: I enjoyed writing on the Persona 5 anime because it gave me an outlet to discuss parts of the story that resonated with me as one of my favorite game narratives in recent years. I’m glad that I could follow Sakura Quest and LWA during my first season at RC since their stories drew me in so much and seeing myself get invested in writing about them showed me how much I had grown as a writer since I first got into anime. I was personally fond of writing on Yuru Camp since it was a nice and soothing experience to blog week-by-week and it was intriguing to do research on the camping sites, meals, or topics discussed on the show. It also felt great to blog Zombieland Saga through its twists and turns. Since I gotta choose one, I’ll go with Persona 5 since it’s been fun to examine the differences regardless of whether they’ve been positive or negative.
- Pancakes: Re:Creators must be my standout of the past few years. Few other anime for me have been as easy to write about and with such varied viewer discussion to chew on after the fact. What the show missed in story it more than made up for with imagination, showing (at least to me) that anime will never lack for ideas should someone prove willing to take the plunge.
- Takaii: Great question. I’ve been doing this for so long I can’t remember :<
That “Ask the Writers” segment was a fun read. 🙂
Thanks, that’s good to hear. I’m having fun thinking of the questions, ROFL.
we are blessed with two fantastic shows airing on the same day
I have never been this excited for Monday to come
It is crazy to have two shows this good airing on Monday, of all days – very unusual. Frankly as a blogger it kind of sucks, the two top series on the same night in the middle of the work week. But just to have two shows this good in the same season is a major coup, not to mention they could hardly be more different stylistically.
For Stilts this has got to be Sakurasou. *reads down* Ha! Yes, I knew it! It was clear throughout that series that you were getting so much out of it. It was really amazing.
PS: You didn’t write too much in those days; you just don’t write enough now! 😀
I have to agree. I expceted his answer will be Sakurasou (though I must confess I forgot he was writing about SoraYori) and I second that he doesn’t write enough nowadays. What can I say I just love to read his posts and pick out on all those details (also tidbits, those were always great).
dororo had a nice upgrade, i like the plot a music to. (oh, i like the blog its my first time reading it.)
dororo had a nice upgrade, i like the plot a music to. (oh, i like the blog its my first time reading it.) thax
Don’t worry, Zaiden. Sangatsu no Lion 2 Season was on my top 5, and even on my top #1 depending on my mood (flip-flop between that and SoraYori). I also love Tsuki ga Kirei to bits, so thank you for writing about them despite of their relative unpopularity (well not THAT unpopular, but it at least initially was)
Thanks! It’s nice to read that you enjoyed my coverage. Definitely makes me feel it’s worthwhile.
I’d like to throw in a question: What’s a show you guys feel like only you enjoyed?
Interesting. I’ve blogged quite a few over at LiA I feel started out that way, but always managed to make a few converts (or be found by true believers) before it ended. Maybe Mushibugyou?
I enjoyed that one. Although I must admit todathat I don’t remember too well what went down in that show. But it was fun, that I remember.
Probably either Action Heroine Cheer Fruits, Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori or Renai Boukun. Even though they had a couple fans, these ones really fell by the wayside as far as popularity went.
My tastes are fairly straightforward, so much less when compared with Choya’s unique sensibilities. If we’re comparing with other writers, easily Hina Loji: Luck and Logic. Such a quaint little show! If we’re talking about readers as well, I have a mindset that there’s always someone out there who likes a show that’s being produced. No one covered it, but I think that Mo Dao Zu Shi has been criminally underrated by the community.
I really liked Hina Loji, mostly because I’m a sucker for a good CGDCT show with goofy yuri subtext, but I also honestly thought it was just done better than the original Luck and Logic. Much less head scratching and random resolutions, and Shizuha was just all kinds of fun.
I ignored Hina Logi because Luck and Logic didn’t appeal to me. Then about a year later I saw it’s opening and have never picked up a show so fast (if ever) for that reason. I just had to let it play through every episode. If not for having L&L in the title making me think I’d be out of my element I probably would’ve been all over it the season it aired
I’d imagine we probably haven’t heard of the last of the Luck & Logic series in anime form. Much like with Wixoss they’re clearly only making new anime series to sell the card games. They had some quite nice sets that came with 6 booster packs & some other cards bundled with the Twinkle night Blu Ray editions (2 x 6 episode releases).
On thinking about this I’d also add Nekogami Yaoyarozu to the list. I never even blogged it after the first ep but I wish I had. Seemed to get no attention whatsoever.
Also, maybe Aguu Tensai Ningyou. Absolutely fugly animation but a very interesting premise.
Oh, and Jikken-hen Kazoku.
I have a trip upcoming and I think I‘ll have to give Mob Psycho another chance to watch on the go.
I dropped it back when season 1 was airing after only the 1st episode.
The charadesign looked weird to me, the main character boring and the humour…not funny.
My question is: Does it get serious or is it gag after gag? I’m asking because from watching the trailer of the 2nd season, it looks like it has serious elements that I could be interested in.
It has a mix of serious and comic elements right from the beginning in the manga. The premiere was an odd choice by Tachikawa, though I understand why he did it.
Thanks, I’ll give the 1st season another try.
Passerby was spot on with Phantom World. The character of the week episodes just didn’t belong in show that has only been on the air for a single season. These are more suited for long running shows where there’s an established character developed & fans that want to see it. They really should have rethought their approach to handling the show.
I was hoping Takaii was going to say Non Non Biyori… but with no answer at all, I’m left even more curious!
Sakurasou was one of the first shows I ever watched (along with SAO and Shinsekai Yori), so I need to go back and rewatch it.
I thought YowaPeda was going to get an honorable mention, Enzo. I was fresh into anime and you completely sold me on it, and sports anime in general. Thank you so much. <3
You’re welcome! And yeah, that would have been a good choice too. But the last couple of seasons have had enough down moments that I don’t think I could say the overall experience would be in contention for all-time favorite status.