Winter 2018 Overview

Wow its a new year already! Flip Flapping! has been around for just over a year now. I thought about making a post discussing that, but decided not to. But just over 1 year ago the Flip Flappers Article Index went up. So cool that we’re still here a year later.

So, new year, new season. How are things going? Well, it turns out that this is one of the strongest seasons in ages, I’m currently watching thirteen shows, which is just ridiculous. A few notes about these posts. Going forward I’m going to use the S/A/B/etc tier system I used in the 2017 end of year post. I felt that worked very well and is a decent way of ranking things without going into too much granularity. S Tier is the highest tier for a season, SS Tier is reserved for the End of Year posts to recognize the best shows of the entire year. Within each tier, shows are listed alphabetically. So lets get to it!

S Tier

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (2 Episodes)

[HorribleSubs] Sora yori mo Tooi Basho - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.10_[2018.01.02_17.01.57].jpg

Its pretty amazing but the first show I watched this season is also the top contender right now for show of the year. Sure thats easy to say in January, but A Place Further than the Universe (Yorimoi) is just absolutely exquisite in every way. The best part so far is how effortlessly its made the main characters feel like real people. Mari is a delight from her very first moments on screen, and by the end of episode 1, it feels like we’ve spent an entire series with her and Shirase already, not just barely ten minutes.

[HorribleSubs] Sora yori mo Tooi Basho - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.11_[2018.01.02_17.01.58].jpg

Episode 2 introduces Hinata, who by the end of the episode feels like she’s always been there, a natural part of the dynamic. The incredibly expressive animation and character acting is also a highlight, director Ishizuka Atsuko is putting out her best work yet. Also fantastic comedic timing and hilarious use of background signs to make jokes or reinforce character moments. The chase sequence in episode 2 is going to be one of the scenes to beat all year.

Yuru Camp (2 Episodes)

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Yuru Camp is just barely below Yorimoi, in fact the shows both have several similar aspects elevating them to the top of the season. Particularly excellent character acting and character interactions. Yuru Camp however is much more comfy and warm than Yorimoi. The first episode has an extended sequence of Rin making a camp with minimal dialog, and its fascinating to watch. Just seeing her sitting at her camp, sipping hot tea and reading a book makes you want to relax along side her.

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Its not all quiet contemplation, Nadeshiko injects amazing life and energy whenever she is on screen, and while it clearly is not something Rin is used to dealing with, seeing her very gradually start opening up to Nadeshiko is going to be one of the most interesting and entertaining relationships of the season.

A Tier

Citrus (2 Episodes)

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If you’d told me a month ago that I was going to be super excited for Citrus I’d have looked at you in total confusion. While I didn’t hate the manga, it was very far down the list of yuri manga I wanted to see adapted. The best I could say was “at least its not Netsuzou Trap”. However a few weeks ago I re-read the six volumes available in English, half of which were totally new to me. And it turns out….Citrus is actually a lot of fun.

[HorribleSubs] Citrus - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_03.55_[2018.01.13_12.00.15].jpg

Now, it comes with a stack of caveats. Mei’s behavior towards Yuzu is spectacularly inappropriate, and if you find her forcing herself on Yuzu to be a dealbreaker, that’s totally reasonable. However when read as volumes, and not on the excruciatingly slow bi-monthly (now monthly) Comic Yuri Hime schedule, it flows very well. Nothing feels drawn out excessively, it moves from one situation to another with surprising speed.

[HorribleSubs] Citrus - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.58_[2018.01.13_12.29.14].jpg

However, its still incredibly melodramatic, so if you don’t like that, well you might want to give it a pass. Yuzu however is a treasure, really one of the best protagonists of any manga in recent memory, and the anime has done a good job making it clear that Mei’s actions are bad and not something that should be approved of. It’ll be interesting to see how far they get, I’m predicting the anime will make it through the end of volume 6.

Kira Kira Precure a la Mode (47 Episodes)

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So I actually was watching this last year but never included it on these lists. I’m gonna do so from now on however. Anyway, Kira Kira Precure a la Mode is just wrapping up, with a few more episodes to go before Hugtto Precure takes over in February. Kira Kira has been a pretty great season all in all. I personally still prefer Mahoutsukai Precure from 2016 more, but Kira Kira is probably objectively “better” in most ways.

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It is worth noting that Kira Kira has the first confirmed, absolutely not debatable lesbian couple, with Yukari and Akira. They are really great, and their relationship is definitely a highlight of the show. The final arc has been really good, one of the best closing arcs in recent memory for Precure. Excited to see how it ends and what Hugtto brings!

Märchen Mädchen (1 Episode)

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I had no real idea what this was going in, but it turns out that if you take a silly Isekai Light Novel and just make the main character and all the cast girls, its pretty fun! So far its a bit hard to tell exactly what it will be like, since episode 1 was pretty much just about getting Hazuki to the parallel world, but its pretty fun. Hazuki is a delight, with an internal narration that is a lot of fun to listen to, particularly in contrast to how she freaks out when trying to hold an actual conversation.

[HorribleSubs] Marchen Madchen - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.09_[2018.01.11_18.35.20].jpg

It seems that powers in this world are somehow connected to fairy tales, but how and for what purpose is still unknown. Its got a decent amount of fanservice if that is (or is not) your thing, and the character designs are by Kantoku, thus are quite nice. Its nice to have a silly isekai show to watch that doesn’t have a terrible male lead, so hopefully it stays fun the entire time.

Mitsuboshi Colors (2 Episodes)

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What if Yotsubato but there are three of them and they are all brats. Well, two of them are brats. Turns out, its pretty funny. Not really much to say here, just a show about three little girls terrorizing their local park and particularly the local park’s police officer. Yui is technically the leader but is timid and tends to cry, Kotoha spends all her time with her nose in her 3DS and only takes it out for withering glares and Satsuki who’s a hyperactive demon child.

[HorribleSubs] Mitsuboshi Colors - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.08_[2018.01.14_16.16.55].jpg

Its also hilarious and very, very sweet. Even when they contemplate wiping out humanity.

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (2 Episodes)

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Ramen Daiski Koizumi-san really took off in its second episode. The first episode was fun enough, but watching Yuu start to actively stalk Koizumi even after she was told explicitly to stop was definitely getting into some questionable territory. However episode 2 pushed Yuu to the side and let Yuu’s two friends, Misa and Jun, have their own alone time with Koizumi.

[HorribleSubs] Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.58_[2018.01.04_19.26.54].jpg

This worked out really well, now all of the cast feels a lot more like actual characters, not just props to show off ramen. Misa is actually probably the best right now, she wants validation and acknowledgement but isn’t really sure how to get it, but she managed to make a connection with Koizumi that neither really expected. Koizumi now also feels like someone who can legitimately carry the show, and hopefully we’ll get some stuff from her direct perspective soon.

Slow Start (2 Episodes)

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Two episodes in and Slow Start is for sure the bounciest show of the season. Its got some really fun, loose animation that really shows off the energy of the cast. It also has Shion. Anyway, there isn’t too much to say, its a pretty standard Cute Girls Stand Around Talking Cutely show, with no real plot hook beyond the lead, Hana being a year behind (hence her “slow start”).

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The most interesting thing about the show (though it is quite enjoyable) is actually its original mangaka, Tokumi Yuiko. This is her first officially serialized manga, though she is credited with the original concept for a show from way back in 2003, Bottle Fairy. But what she is probably best known as is “Hakka-ya”, a doujin circle. Hakka-ya almost single-handedly turned the Saki ship of Takei Hisa and Fukuji Mihoko (aka “BuCap) into the most popular Saki ship. So yeah thats kinda neat!

Violet Evergarden (1 Episode)

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It sure is pretty! KyoAni making the most ludicrously pretty TV anime in history aside, there isn’t too much to say here yet. The first episode was mostly focused on setting the stage. Introducing us to Violet Evergarden, former child soldier who lost her arms in battle. Now she’s going to work for a private post office, and perhaps learn how to properly express all the emotions she never thought she had.

[Vivid-Asenshi] Violet Evergarden - 01 [B58CEB69].mkv_snapshot_20.40_[2018.01.10_18.41.49].jpg

Its a decent premise, though where it goes from here is hard to say. But again, if nothing else, its going to look better than any other TV Anime in history. Hopefully it will manage to be more than that.

B Tier

Hakumei to Mikochi (1 Episode)

[HorribleSubs] Hakumei to Mikochi - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.50_[2018.01.13_09.52.02].jpg

Extremely tiny touhous have minor adventures. This came out of nowhere and is pretty cute but doesn’t have a huge amount of substance yet. They sorta threw us right into the lives of very small forest dwellers Hakumei and Mikochi, with no real introduction to the world or even what they are supposed to be. It doesn’t really matter, honestly, if it continues to be as sweet as it is it can not really bother explaining much of anything.

Pop Team Epic (2 Episodes)

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What the fuck

Takunomi (1 Episode)

[HorribleSubs] Takunomi - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.31_[2018.01.13_10.44.03].jpg

I don’t like alcohol and rather actively hate beer, but this was pretty fun short show. Hard to say what it’s actually going to be about, but if its just about these girls getting drunk and being kinda gay, well, thats fine for twelve minutes a week.

Toji no Miko (2 Episodes)

[HorribleSubs] Toji no Miko - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.43_[2018.01.12_19.29.12].jpg

It feels like we skipped an entire cour’s worth of school-life shenangins and skipped right to the episode 13 twist. That is probably a good decision in the long run. Toji no Miko kinda feels like one of the old mid-2000s Sunrise shows like My~HiME, and they all suffered from drawing things out for the first half and not actually getting anything started till the midpoint. That let us have fun with the characters, but ultimately they had a bunch of wasted time. Will be interesting to see if Toji no Miko sticks with its characters on the run setup or manages to get everyone back at school somehow.

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