January – March gave us some real delights in the anime world, from supernatural thrillers to cosy-as-can-be hobby shows! Read my and the team’s recommendations here!
Category Archives: Alex Watches
What’s it about? Witnessing her death from overwork, a kindly goddess takes pity on Azusa and reincarnates her as an immortal witch in a peaceful, pastoral environment. Azusa is determined to live the slowest, chilliest life possible, gathering herbs, gardening, enjoying the countryside, and slaying the occasional slime for resources. After three-hundred years of killing low-level monsters, however, she becomes the most powerful witch the land has ever known—and once word gets out, every hero worth their salt wants to challenge her.
Slimes feels like a love letter to those of us who play fantasy RPGs on Chill Mode: avoiding the main quest to collect every single flower in the compendium, raising cows instead of slaying dragons, and finding escapism in just living a day-to-day pastoral life in another world. After literally working herself to death in an office, Azusa takes her new slow existence in stride, and is understandably distraught when challengers start appearing at her door threatening to turn her life into an action-adventure game when she’s content playing a farming simulator.
What’s it about? 20-year-old office worker Sei finds herself suddenly transported to a fantasy world, summoned as the “holy maiden” who will save the world. Except the mages accidentally doubled their order, and summoned two young women from Earth… leaving Sei declared as the spare who must now make her own life in this new, magical world.
Isekai series have become associated with power fantasies, usually of the teen, cis, masculine variety. Saint’s Magic Power, with a listless twenty-something as its heroine, represents a different kind of fantasy, but it is one nonetheless: the power fantasy of getting a job without qualifications or a complicated interview process, of having a “knack” for a new skill and picking it up quickly, and not having to tie your hair back when you do lab work.
What’s it about? Himeno and her father move to Tajima City, Gifu prefecture, to start a new business and a new life. Himeno soon learns that her new home is famous for its pottery—and that her mother was a renowned ceramic artist when she was alive. Inspired by her new classmates and eager to get in touch with the art form her mother loved, Himeno resolves to join the school pottery club and learn the secrets of clay.
Let’s Make a Mug Too is a slightly odd duck: the animated portion of the “episode” only goes for about 15 minutes, but the short is accompanied by a live-action travel show segment that brings the runtime to a traditional anime length. The series is a tourism tie-in for Gifu, and both the fictional and non-fictional halves of the show take care to paint the locale in the most lovely, calming, historically-intriguing light possible.
Do I want to explore tree-lined old streets looking at antiques now? Maybe. Mostly, though, I want to talk about the unexpected emotional undercurrents that I think will really elevate this cute little hobby show.
What’s it about? When a young dragon fails in his dragonly duties and does not live up to the fearsome expectations of dragonkind, his family kicks him out. Left all alone in a world full of people that want to slay him and harvest his horns and tail, our protagonist is lost and defenceless… until he seeks out the elf Dearia, who specialises in fantasy real estate. Can they team up to find the perfect nest?
Content considerations: parents kicking their children out of home
In a market so saturated with Generic European Fantasy Adventures that it’s practically dripping, it’s nice to see new series that really try to go niche and plumb the depths of more mundane, less-explored aspects of these settings. In this case, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the ins and outs of the fantasy real estate market. We get a glimpse of it in the premiere as Dearia tours a pair of slimes through a nice, cosy cave, complete with a snazzy little brochure and conversations about the magic energy of the place (the “vibe” of a property is always important, after all).
What’s it about? The wicked Witch of Delays and her minions have laid waste to the mermaid kingdom beneath the sea, and now have their sights set on conquering the human world. Laura is sent to the surface by the mermaid queen, on a mission to find the legendary Pretty Cures—magical warriors with the strength and shining spirit needed to defeat evil! When she meets an energetic girl named Manatsu, she’s initially not impressed… but Manatsu might just be the motivated, big-hearted hero she’s looking for.
Usually, we don’t cover children’s programming here at AniFem, but the euphoria of Precure being legally available—and simulcast no less!—and the sheer vibrant joy of this premiere is just too great to ignore.
Content Warning: threats of sexual violence, fanservice, suicide imagery
What’s it about? High schooler Yuri finds herself suddenly in a strange world of skyscrapers, connected by rope bridges and with any access to the ground levels blocked off. With murderous beings wearing full-face masks stalking the rooftops, Yuri must gather her courage and her wits and find a way to survive this place long enough to find her older brother.
High-Rise Invasion starts with a bang. Or, more accurately, it starts with [foreboding music] [man grunts, screams] according to Netflix’s captions. This ominous, blurry scene of bloody murder quickly snaps into an upbeat, electronic opening theme, after which the show slows back down to molasses pace for a scene of Yuri crying as she tries unsuccessfully to contact her family on the phone. This clunky opening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the episode: schlocky carnage, high-octane action, and our protagonist whimpering.
What a year, huh? At least there was some good cartoons!
In all sincerity, 2020 saw the release of some very fun and intriguing series—and working for AniFem has enabled me to keep a closer eye on what’s coming out than ever before, and, with premiere reviews, check out and enjoy series I may otherwise have totally missed. So read on for my favourite anime that I watched in 2020, which include everything from soft sapphic romances, to murder and mind games, to a “reincarnated in a video game” story I actually liked, to anime about anime.Continue reading
As we march ever onwards into the first anime season of 2021, it’s time to give the new shows the old Three Episode Try. After a trio, how are these series faring? Well, head to AniFem to find out!
There’s too darn many anime this season. Some of them are even really good! The team did their best, resulting in our longest check-in post ever.
Check out the check-in, in which I offer my thoughts on Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, and Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls three episodes in.