Winter Anime 2018:
The Christmas Coal Came Late!
By: Head Writer – J.R Tafoya
Hello again, and for the first anime season in 2018, Giga-Landers! This time I bring you good- . . . no . . . I bring you anime from the start of our Winter 2018 anime season!
This time around, David and I went back to our roots and picked some anime from the roster of available shows this season. The rule was: we picked three shows for ourselves, and three shows each other. Of course, as only good friends would do, we tried to pick the absolute worst anime we could think of for each other. David, obviously, gave me as gay stuff as he could because he knows flamboyant men annoy the crap out of me. Jokes on him though, yuri is my fetish! These next three reviews will be on the shows that David picked specifically for me!
Unfortunately for me, though, all the shows he picked were terrible and I can see David now, laughing maniacally as he condescendingly says, “All according to keikaku!”.
First is Citrus, a yuri manga-turned-anime that has been recommended to me by plenty of my friends already. However, the show takes a heavy-handed approach to the subject and forces a lot of fanservice and unwarranted and violent sexual advances on an unsuspecting (and unwanting) party. It’s generally not all that good beyond those things either. Secondly is Sanrio Danshi, an anime about boys who like Hello Kitty. Sound lame? That’s because it is. Finally we have Dame x Prince Anime Caravan, yet another mobage-turned-anime that’s more boring than anything. It did, however, have secret zettai ryouiki and a particularly funny MC, so it wasn’t 100% bad. Just 95%.
As the stop sign on your drive down “bad anime highway” and the respite that fills your lungs with relief, I warn you of these shows that I suffered through so you don’t have to! You’re Welcome, Giga-Friends! -J.R
Outlook: Citrus . . . Fruit . . . Citrus Fruits . . . Lemons . . . Sour . . . I Am Sour –
This is an anime that came highly recommended to me from lovers of the manga. However, Citrus in all its beautifully adapted glory seems like it’d rather take a page from the Black Clover anime rather than its own manga. While not failing quite as spectacularly as Black Clover, Citrus has a few glaring problems that seems to have the public divided into two camps: Those who can’t stomach the show, and those who are completely blind or in denial. Guess where I stand, friends?
To cut it drastically short, Citrus is an anime about a young girl whose name I have to look up . . . Yuzu, that’s it! Yuzu is known as something called a “gyaru (gal)”, a fashionable young woman who bleaches her hair and wears more makeup than a normal Japanese person. A “gyaru”, however, have the attached stigma of being somewhat loose when it comes to affairs of love. While Yuzu is fairly outgoing and friendly, she actually has never had a boyfriend or been in love. Despite this, she wants to keep up appearances and tells all her girlfriends how often she makes out with boys or does “it” with someone . . . all of which is an obvious lie.
One day, Yuzu and her mother move to an extremely rich part of town where Yuzu begins life at a famous all-girls high school. Turns out, Yuzu’s mother married into money and she also has a new stepsister, Mei. (What is it with anime parents keeping lovers a secret until they get married, how the hell do you do that?!) . . . I digress. Citrus seems to focus on one particular point of the anime, which I’ll explain later, but it does have some minor plot points in between: Yuzu is obviously called out for her appearances at this new rich-girl high school, then she’s molested by her stepsister (no, I’m not kidding) to have her phone stolen, and finally she watches her stepsister make out with her family-appointed fiancé (who happens to be a teacher at their school). Yuzu eventually confronts Mei about her seemingly incoherent actions (e.g the molesting and teacher kissing) in a climax presumably meant to show us Yuzu’s first step towards discovering her sexuality.
With that, we have the strikingly quick downfall of this anime. When Yuzu confronts Mei about her run-in with her fiance, Mei’s response is to promptly, and violently, knock Yuzu down, pin her to the floor, and proceed to make out with her, all while Yuzu cries and squirms to get free. I’m not sure what fucking planet you’re from, but that’s not exactly OK on mine; Not when men do it, and not when women do it. With some more random incoherent bullshit in-between, Yuzu confronts Mei again about her outburst and why she suddenly moved out of their home. Mei’s response is an even more violent attack on Yuzu. This time, she proceeds to pin Yuzu to the bed whilst ripping her shirt off, kissing her, and seemingly attempting to remove more clothing. Again, all against Yuzu’s will; easily denoted by the tears and attempts to remove herself from the situation.
With that, Yuzu somehow still finds the resolve of someone reasonably insane, and attempts to save Mei from her overbearing (and honestly kind of an asshole) grandfather. Though, her successful endeavor is met with nothing but contempt. Hell, when confronted for a third time why she rape-kissed Yuzu, Mei’s response was that “it was the easiest way to shut her up”. We soon find out that Yuzu, for whatever unknown reason, is in love with Mei, her new stepsister. I may not be the smartest when it comes to matters of love, hell, some would call my downright stupid and I’d be inclined to agree. However, I do have a case here in terms of common sense: What do we call it when someone begins to have feelings of sympathy or affection for their captor? That’s right, Stockholms Syndrome.
After everything I watched, for three straight episodes all I could do was scratch my head and wonder why on God’s Green Earth this was so popular. Forcing yourself on someone would come off terribly in ANY other situation, hell it lost Classroom of the Elite a good chunk of its following when it played the rape-card three to four episodes in. I watched and re-watched specific scenes to try and gain an understanding, some inkling of an explanation as to why this abused young woman would have any feelings of attraction to someone who violently attacked her, multiple times I might add. I came up with two answers: 1) Stockholms Syndrome (which is my new head-canon) and, 2) For the boner-hungry boys out there.
As I’ve explained my first thought already, I can also back up the second with some hard (not me) evidence. If Mei molesting her stepsister into submission wasn’t enough, we can see several scenes in which we get some extremely unneeded fanservice: falling into a pond so we can see through their clothes, Mei licking Yuzu (again I’m not kidding) in the bath, and Yuzu and her best friend literally pantomiming a specific lesbian sexual act that I’d feel awkward naming here. I’m honestly more flustered and confused than I am upset by how bad this show is.
To put it bluntly: this show is bad on all fronts. Citrus seems like it wants to be a “progressive” show about having to hide your sexuality in a society that deems it incorrect and how Japan attempts to snuff out anyone who strays from the norm as we see in their efforts to ruin Yuzu at school. However, when the show casually throws out lines that “these girls are holding hands because ‘it’s less about flirting than sating their fleeting lusts’ ”, it makes it seems like they’re labeling them as cats in heat. Between girls making out (forcefully or otherwise) nothing was particularly funny, nothing was terribly interesting, and it all seemed like blunt filler until the next yuri makeout scene. I can’t even remember a specific scene outside the fanservice that made an impression, positive or negative. The characters all fit snugly into their respective tropes and worst of all, there is minimalistic effort in trying to convince us this is an actual romance like Ao Haru Ride or the amazing Ore Monogatari!!.
This show wants to be a romance and so much more, but it can’t do anything right and ends up being just another Sakura Trick, a show about girls making out and making sexual noises because they need to garner attention from all kinds of fans. This focuses solely on the parts where Yuzu and Mei are kissing and that tells me all I need to know about what they care about. If you like this show, that’s great on you, no judgement from me. But, don’t try to convince other people (or me) that this show isn’t what it is or, worse yet, pretend like the bad parts don’t exist.
I don’t consider myself sensitive or empathetic, and I would wager more than a few dollars that most of my friends would call me an asshole to my face (and I’d be inclined to agree). However, if I were someone in a similar situation, hoping for this new anime to represent me and my troubles, I’d be pretty pissed off at how lightly it approaches the situation and how ham-fisted they are with this “romance”. I’m not insulted about whatever message this show is trying to send, but I am insulted at how bad it is.
For what it’s worth, most of my friends say the manga is amazing. As it’s won awards in the New York Times Best Seller, I’d wager that’s probably true. I really wanted to like this show, as much as my friends tried to get me to watch this, I really did. I was waiting for something to finally break out and be different for once. But, do yourself a favor and skip this anime. My salt is enough for the both of us.
“This anime is yuri trash.” -Dustin the Great
Outlook: Moderately Attractive Boys Who Like Cute Things, Doing Cute Things-
I couldn’t, in good conscience, say “cute boys like cute things”, because they’re moderate at best and . . . wait-wat. . .?
For those of you who don’t know, like I didn’t, “Sanrio” is the name of the company that produces “Hello Kitty” and Co. So, you know, at least you have that knowledge before leaving this incredibly salty review. Hell, I’ll even keep it short.
This particular anime follows Hasegawa Kouta, a 2nd year high schooler with a hidden love of “Pom Pom Purin” the yellow dog of Hello Kitty’s friends. When he was young, Kouta was given a big plushie of Purin by his grandma that he took everywhere. But, his infatuation with the cute dog would garner the attention of bullies that would send Kouta into a fit of rage. His anger caused him to lash out as he threw away his Purin plush and blamed all his woes on his old and sickly grandmother for giving it to him – something he knew he was wrong about, but something he was never able to apologize for. Years later, Kouta still hides his love of the Sanrio characters, until he meets a group of men who have the same affection for the cute animals as he does.
With Mizuno Yuu’s help, Kouta learns to forgive himself for his past transgressions and also learns to open up about the things he loves, namely the cute Sanrio Characters. Together, with his new friends, Kouta learns to overcome the negative view of society that spurns men who love cute things and embraces his inner cuteness-adoring side.
While this show sounds like a good drama at a glance, I can assure you it’s anything but. In fact, I caught myself thinking how good some of the character driven stories would have been, had I never realized that every single one of them was a cheap marketing ploy by Sanrio to tug at your heartstrings and, consequently, your purse strings. Every story revolves around a character’s love for whatever Hello Kitty animal they have an affinity for, why it hurt them and then how it helped them in the end. And then everyone goes to the Sanrio store as a treat afterward.
It’s honestly as shallow as it sounds and grating to believe that it almost got me with how family-structured the character development is. Ham-fisted as it is, I really felt a connection with the characters and their problems; and that, my friends, is its biggest sin. Sanrio Danshi feels content to push it’s marketing in your face as often as possible and as clearly as possible. The only thing it didn’t do was send me coordinates for the nearest damn store! Shows like this can work, we’ve seen it before in Gundam Build Fighters! The love that Sei has for all his Gundams, how kitbashing works, why it’s so fun to mix and match pieces, and it used hyperbole and satire to satiate every fan’s love of the franchise (case-in-point: successfully hitting on a girl with a Gundam model. Seriously, that doesn’t work in real life. Don’t ask me how I know.)
When it becomes apparent that the show is just another cheap marketing ploy for its producers, the anime becomes extremely boring. I can often feel myself thinking about other things, wanting to check my phone (to play games), or anything else to distance myself from being sucked into another cheap detour.
As much as I like the characters and how well it handles familial strife, forgiveness, and even bullying to some degree, I just can’t recommend this show. The animation is terribly stilted using maybe 10 frames of animation per scene, the music being terribly drab as to put you to sleep, and even superimposing actual Sanrio stores into the show just proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what this show is going to be: one giant, long commercial.
If you want a good marketing anime, I can’t recommend Gundam Build Fighters enough (first season only, that’s important). A good drama would be better found in Violet Evergarden, something I have extremely high hopes for. As hard as it tries, Sanrio Danshi fails and we hand wave it away like a bothersome salesman at the door.
Dame x Prince Anime Caravan
Outlook: When Your Little Brother Takes A Piece of a Puzzle and Puts it In With a Different Puzzle And Then You Have a Piece That Doesn’t Fit and it Drives You Crazy –
With the craze of mobile games (henceforth: mobage) being turned into anime as of recent, we’ve seen a slew of bad anime to follow. The rightfully popular Shingeki no Bahamut (Season 1) was able to pave the way by taking a simple card-based game, expounding upon specific characters, creating a compelling and original story, and creating a world that was not just fun, but believable. In its wake, a horde of other mobage believed themselves to be just as good. Leading this pack was the despicably bad Kantai Collection, believing its story to be strong enough to hold its own, it became just another moe anime about cute girls doing cute things. This, unfortunately, has become the norm for the largest portion of all mobage-turned-anime. So, how fairs our stupidly titled Dame x Prince Anime Caravan? (henceforth: DamePuri).
I really don’t have much to say about this one . . . honestly. It’s a fairly typical (read: bad) reverse harem anime that centers on a girl named Ani, the princess of the kingdom of Inaco, who attempts to usher a peace treaty with two other countries: the military based Mildonia, and the theocratic Selenfaren. However, when Ani arrives, the participators in the peace treaty that would decide the fate of her tiny country are all zany, wacky, and “handsome” men! Who’da thunk it!? Mildonia’s prince is a completely self-absorbed ass-clown that goes around with men releasing confetti whenever he walks into a room, and Selenfaren’s leader is the typical cute boy who only pretends to care while hocking all his chores to his retainer. *crazy 90’s kids commercial voice* And then CRAZY antics ensue!
With my sarcasm aside, I really couldn’t give more than a passing glance at this show. Hell, I can’t even tell you what it’s about or what the main plot is as literally nothing has happened in two full episodes. So far, all of the characters fit into their respective trope archetypes that leaves absolutely no impression, no matter how high they try to crank that knob past maximum. The only character worthy of any kind of attention is, surprisingly, our heroine. Her incredulous demeanor towards these overbearing and ostensibly abnormal men is, oddly enough, a little funny and a breath of fresh air (and to note, she has hidden “Zettai Ryouiki” and that’s totally moe too). She seems like she’s reacting as a normal girl would and it’s a cute contrast to the rest of the show and characters. However, this is something that the rightfully popular Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun did first, and did better. The comedic timing of the DamePuri cast tends to fall flat since no one other than Ani participates in the punch-line. Jokes that we’re expected to laugh at don’t even garner a grin.
It’s hard to take anything as purposefully comedic when the only one acting in a normal fashion is Ani. It feels like she’s puzzle piece taken from a different puzzle and jammed into the wrong area. In fact, that may just be a good allegory for the show: nothing fits like they want it to. We have all these trope-laden characters with no actual personality strewn about a world with an oddly well thought-out political background topped with a pessimistic princess who finds it annoying to be surrounded by cute boys. I feel like none of this is part of the same anime and all the characters are actors from different plays trying to perform their piece on the wrong stage.
Nothing of note can really be taken from this show, honestly. While shows like Ouran High School Host Club had a slew of members that were all entertaining, deep in their own way, and all used their moe/archetypes as part of the story (on purpose), DamePuri does none of that with naught but stoicism and carelessness. The show wasn’t offensively bad or anything, but it’s arguable worse than a bad show: it’s boring. I “nothing” this anime in the worst way possible and I can guarantee anyone who watches this show for anything other than cute boys, none of whom are actually that attractive, will likely forget any details of this show maybe a week or two after they watch it. Except the cat-griffin thing. That thing was stupidly hilarious.
To put it plainly: skip this show. Nothing is really bad, but neither is anything about this show good. The pieces of the puzzle they grabbed from random piles don’t effectively fit anywhere they’re meant to and everything from the music to the animation just seeps with the emotion that it was all created with a devil-may-care attitude. While I can’t guide you in the direction of other cute men, other than myself (ladies!), I can guarantee there are much better shows out there than this. Have I mentioned Violet Evergarden yet?