Category Archives: Alex Watches

Podcast | Spring 2022 Midseason Check-in

Caitlin, Alex, and Peter check in on an absolutely packed Spring season and it’s many good dads, rap battles, and games of volleyball!

Listen to the episode here!

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Spring 2022 3(ish) Episode Check-in

Spring is shaping up to be packed with excellent heroines and good kids. Come along and see my impressions of Heroines Run the Show, Recipe for Happiness, and The Executioner and Her Way of Life, as well as the hard work of my co-staffers!

Read the full post on AniFem!

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Anime Feminist’s Recommendations of Winter 2022

Winter 2022 has been pretty hectic for the AniFem staff, but we still found time to make one of our biggest seasonal rec posts in almost a year!

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Premiere Review | Don’t Hurt Me, My Healer!

What’s it about? A world full of monsters needs heroes, and a world full of heroes needs healers. Wandering warrior Alvin doesn’t have a healer with him, so it theoretically should be good news when a dark elf named Carla turns up mid-beast-battle and offers her services. The trouble is, Alvin can’t stand Carla—and, thanks to the curse she accidentally placed on him, any attempt to ditch her will lead directly to his death. Oops!

I think how you feel about this premiere will largely depend on a few things: how you feel about the “two characters who don’t really like each other get handcuffed together and must go on an adventure” trope (magical edition), how you feel about goofy fantasy comedy, and how you feel about Carla. There are some funny elements to be found in My Healer, but the question is whether or not they mesh and whether or not the premise can sustain itself over multiple episodes.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | BIRDIE WING – Golf Girls Story –

What’s it about? Eve plays golf for money… but not in the way you might think. You need someone to be your body double while you recover from a leg injury? Eve will put on a mask and become you for a day. You want to bet you can beat her in a high-octane, underworld tournament? You better hand over your money. She’s not a pro, but she is the best in the biz—and she has to be, to protect her friends and family from the cops.

Yes, that’s what this show is about. If you saw “golf” and “girls” and assumed this was going to be a quiet little sports anime about teenagers learning to putt, rearrange your expectations before going into this one. Or don’t—hitting play totally unprepared and letting this episode hit me upside the head was certainly an experience.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Fanfare of Adolescence

What’s it about? Teen idol Arimura Yu has just shocked the nation by announcing he’s retiring from the entertainment industry to attend a prestigious horse racing academy. Some of his classmates are more eager to welcome him than others, but when two horses get loose he finds an unexpected ally and an unexpected chance to prove himself.

Honestly, it’s fun watching sports anime get increasingly niche, taking us into territory that hasn’t been covered as thoroughly (not that Fanfare is the first horse racing anime—though these are characters who ride horses rather than characters who are horses). Thankfully, though, this premiere doesn’t run on novelty value alone: while it’s formulaic in some ways, it’s also competently put together, nice to look at, and dare I say might even be setting out to interrogate the idol industry along the way.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Healer Girl

What’s it about? Healing is a method in which music and song can be used as medicine. Ever since she was saved by a Healer as a child, Kana has been determined to follow in that stranger’s footsteps and become the best Healer she can be. She’s one of the most eager apprentices at the practice where she works, though as a trainee she’s not allowed to use her newfound skills to help people… yet.

Like a strawberry shortcake sitting in a bakery window, Healer Girl draws you in for a cute, sweet, simple treat with tried-and-tested ingredients. The recipe is a mix of familiar tropes: a plucky newcomer, a stern but fair mentor, wholesome motivations; and a situation in which said plucky novice has to break the rules to Do the Right Thing, revealing her above-average talent along the way. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing new, so how much this premiere grabs you will depend on how much you enjoy this particular combination of flavors.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs

What’s it about? After being emotionally blackmailed by his younger sister, a nameless protagonist spends days on end completing an otome game. He hates it: the characters are tropey and pretentious, the worldbuilding is a strange mix of sci-fi and high fantasy elements, and turn-based combat keeps interrupting the high society tea parties. Woe is he when he falls down the stairs and finds himself reincarnated into that very game world as Leon, an NPC. Can he survive this genre mish-mash—and maybe even thrive?

I’ll admit, this one got me: when I saw the title Trapped in a Dating Sim, I, much like our hero, expected more high society pretty boys and less robot fights. But maybe that was an unfounded assumption for both of us. Plenty of otome games have high-octane action and fantasy plots, with their romance routes just one part of rich and layered tapestries. Honestly, exploring the greater world of an otome game with a protagonist who isn’t engaged in the romance aspects, while poking affectionate fun at their dramatic genre conventions, could be kind of fun. I’m not sure that’s what this series is going for, though.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Thermae Romae Novae

What’s it about? Roman architect Lucius gets an unexpected new source of inspiration for his bath house designs when he discovers he can transport himself to modern-day Japan.  

Thermae Romae Novae is a reboot of Thermae Romae, something of a cult classic shorts series that was just as delightfully bonkers as its Ancient-Roman-reverse-isekai premise suggests. Each mini episode would follow Lucius on an adventure from the thermae of Rome to an onsen in Japan, where he’d inevitably have some zany fish-out-of-water misunderstandings but ultimately learn something about public bath culture or architecture that he could bring home. They were generally funny and silly and over-the-top, with Lucius’ formal old-timey language and Roman sensibilities juxtaposed against the backdrop of rubber ducks, shower caps, and drink vending machines.

That’s a review of Thermae Romae, not Thermae Romae Novae, but I feel it’s necessary because this is the premise of the series, and you wouldn’t really know it just from Novae’s first episode.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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Premiere Review | Aharen-san wa Hakarenai

What’s it about? After spending middle school friendless, Raido is determined to make some emotional human connections in high school. He starts by making small talk with the girl who sits next to him, Aharen, only to get no response. At least, that’s how it seems at first—it turns out Aharen just speaks in a near-imperceptible whisper, and is just as eager as he is to overcome her awkward past and make pals.

The setup for this one isn’t… bad, per se, it’s just struggling against the tide of a few key factors that really drag the whole experience down. The first is the unfortunate fact that I’ve seen basically all its ideas done somewhere else, and better. Raido has a “scary face” that puts people off, even though he’s really a nice guy? So… like in ToraDora? Aharen is eager to make friends but is not so great at talking, leading to her and Raido communicating via written notes? So… like in Komi Can’t Communicate?

Even looking at Aharen’s character design just makes me think “is that a human version of the baby dragon from Dragon Maid?”, a passing observation that would be way less distracting in a more interesting show. Though it does bring us to Aharen-san’s second problem: the characters sure do look like that.

Read the full review on AniFem!

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