It’s proving to be a fantastic season for girls in fantasy stories, whether they’re falling in love (with each other) or just trying to survive. Come on down and check how some of the recent anime offerings are progressing!
Category Archives: Alex Watches
From romance to horror, seinen to shoujo, here are the stars that shone brightest from the past year.
What’s it about? Twenty-seven-year-old Mukoda finds himself summoned to a fantasy world, but quickly discarded when his special skill is revealed to be “online grocery” (not very good for saving the kingdom, you see). However, as Mukoda discovers, this absurd ability comes in handy: it allows him to access an online shop from back home in Japan where he can order food and cooking equipment. Mukoda wants to keep this under wraps, but soon attracts the attention of a legendary magical wolf with an insatiable hunger for ginger pork.
While this isn’t the first foodie fantasy—Restaurant to Another World and Delicious in Dungeon spring readily to mind—Campfire Cooking puts in the work to make this concept feel fresh and fun. While it has its share of familiar isekai plot beats, this premiere manages to exude a certain charm that kept me interested. Maybe even hungry for more!
What’s it about? After falling off a bridge, recently-orphaned Mitsuha wakes up in a strange place and realizes she’s developed the ability to jump back and forth between worlds. Thinking about what her deceased older brother would do in the situation, Mitsuha plans to use this “cheat code” to earn money and ensure herself a comfortable life both on Earth and in the fantasy realm.
Since yesterday’s female-led fantasy adventure was such an absolute minefield, I’m pleased to announce that this one is more straightforwardly stupid.
To be fair to Saving 80,000 Gold, it’s not like there’s nothing to like here. It has, as we say in Australia, a red hot go at executing its ideas. But mostly it falls flat and suffers from the inability to pick a consistent tone, making it a bit of a baffling watch—as well as one with some unsettling ethical implications.
What’s it about? Five-hundred years ago, humans defeated fairies and forced the magical folk into servitude. Now, fifteen-year-old Anne aspires to be a magic sugar artisan like her deceased mother, and sets off towards the capital to try and prove her skills in a kingdom-wide contest. But the road there is treacherous. Needing a bodyguard, Anne turns reluctantly to the fairy markets, where she buys a dark and mysterious warrior fairy named Shall to protect her.
This is a compelling premiere perhaps… er… undercut by one key, fraught aspect of its premise. Let’s address that elephant in the room first, shall we?
Here we are, another trip around the sun and another list of anime recommendations! While nowhere near as prolific as some people (I admire the dedication!) I feel like I managed to keep up with a solid set of seasonal shows this year, wired in once more by my work for AniFem and the coverage of my fellow staffers. Note as in previous years that some of the material in these personal reviews is adapted from my season recs over on the site. Make sure you give those articles a read, and keep an eye out for the staff’s forthcoming recommendations from Fall 2022 and from the year overall!
I also dug into a bit of my “classics” backlog, watching some older, iconic shows for the first time. I won’t cover those here, though: it’s difficult for me to add anything to the convo around Neon Genesis Evangelion other than “it was good! It was weird! Shinji is my son!” and I already wrote up my feels about both seasons of K-On! here.
Without further ado, let’s get into my personal faves from 2022, from hobby shows to fantasy adventures to… crime dramas? Technically? Well, see for yourself…Continue reading
From princesses with books to maids with guns, let’s check in with this season’s crop of new shows and see how they’re doing!
Come in out of that brutal summer heat and enjoy the anime crop we harvested.
What’s it about? Asahi’s fortune for the day says that he will have numerous exciting, fateful encounters. Sure enough, on the journey to school he ends up in compromising situations with five different strangers, all of whom then turn up in his classroom.
There’s an easy pun to be made here about how Love Flops is a flop. But it’s not enough. If Love Flops had just been a bad, stupid comedy we might all have been able to move on with our lives. As well as being a bad, stupid comedy, however, it’s a bad, stupid comedy with a disgusting concept at the heart of its “humor”.
What’s it about? The Marriage Practical is an essential part of the high school curriculum, in which students are paired up and must live together simulating domestic life. Jiro longs to be paired with his childhood friend and first love, Shiori, but ends up stuck with the loud-mouthed Akari instead. Akari, who had her eyes on her own crush, isn’t happy about the arrangement either. But if the two of them can score an A on the assignment within a certain timeframe, they may have the opportunity to swap partners.
There’s a lot to complain about with this premiere, but honestly—aside from everything I’ll get to in a moment—the thing I’m most surprised and annoyed by is its failure to lean into its own premise. If Akari and Jiro want to apply for a partner swap, they need to prove that they’re a compatible husband and wife within the parameters of the assignment. It’s an irony full of comedic potential! It’s a matchmaker quest wrapped up in fake dating—it’s tropey rom-com catnip!
It also opens the door to a (potentially) great satire about social ideals of what Makes a Good Couple. I want to see these two dummies strategizing, drawing on the hyperbolic depictions of heterosexual domestic bliss in old movies and advertisements to game the system and rack up Marriage Points. They’ll stumble, of course, and along the way they’ll fall into their own rhythm and realize that… gasp… maybe true feelings will form underneath all the play-acting??
As dystopian as the Marriage Practical sounds (their vital signs are being monitored at all times!!) it’s honestly not a bad setup for a rom-com. So… if someone wants to take my little pitch there and write it, you’re welcome to, since it’s not what we get from More Than a Married Couple.