Tag Archives: AniFem

Summer 2022 Three-Episode Check-In

Ghosts, goofs, and girls with guns—let’s see how those new shows are faring a few weeks in, shall we?

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Anime Feminist’s Recommendations of Spring 2022

Spring was the season of rom-coms and magic! Read onwards to see the team’s top picks.

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Premiere Review | Parallel World Pharmacy

Content considerations: brief discussion of terminal illness

What’s it about? After dying in his sleep, a pharmacologist awakens in the body of a young noble in a fantasy world, nursing a mysterious wound from a lightning strike. Stuck in the life of “Master Farma,” our hero must relearn the healing magic and divine arts that his family is famous for. With some practice, it’s… almost frighteningly easy, and with a tingle in those lightning scars. What plans does the God of Medicine have for this displaced young man?

Last week I said my arms were open and I was waiting for an isekai anime I found genuinely engaging… and Parallel World Pharmacy has delivered! Ring the bells! Cook a celebratory feast! Send up some fireworks (responsibly and away from heavily-populated areas and flammable materials)!

Now, Pharmacy has its issues, and we’ll get to them in a moment. But honestly, this premiere provides a pretty neat example of how even the most familiar cliché can be reinvigorated with solid writing.

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Podcast | Spring 2022 Season Wrap-Up

This episode managed to catch me, Peter, and Caitlin when we were all exhausted and/or sick, but we still conjured up some energy to talk about our faves and disappointments from this past anime season!

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Premiere Review | Extreme Hearts

What’s it about? Hiyori longs to become a singer, but her dreams of fame and fortune have fallen through so far. As her managers terminate her recording contract, however, they suggest Hiyori try out the Hyper Sports tournament: a competition in which wannabe idols compete in a gauntlet of different sports, with their strength boosted by tech called Extreme Gear.

Does that combination of activities sound absolutely nightmarish to anyone else? These girls are expected to be expert athletes in several different sports, boosted to extremes by sci-fi technology; as well as peppy performers skilled in song and dance; while also, presumably, going to school. These young people are being put through grinding physical hardship for just the chance at fame, while the audience cheers and boos from the sidelines. What kind of dystopian hybrid of Ninja Warrior and The X Factor is this?

Right, with that baffled initial emotional reaction out of the way, let’s talk about the construction of this episode. The premise of this series is just bonkers enough that it might have some promise. Might. Though it can never be as eye-catchingly batshit as last season’s BIRDIE WING, the sci-fi setup and superpowered sporting element help Extreme Hearts to stand out. That being said, its combination of genres may lead to a narrative identity crisis that the writing can’t quite support.

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Premiere Review | When Will Ayumu Make His Move?

What’s it about? Urushi and Ayumu are the only members of the school’s shogi club—and clearly have a crush on each other. However, unbeknownst to the easily-flustered Urushi, Ayumu has made a silent vow that he won’t confess his feelings to her until he beats her in a game.

I admit, I have a soft spot for what we might call the “the feeling is mutual, they’re just both dumbasses” romance trope. Watching two characters who you know are into each other, but who just can’t bring themselves to realize and/or admit this for various goofy reasons, can be a delightfully frustrating fiction experience. That being said, it takes a certain flair to pull this off. The tension between the characters has to be tangible enough that you want to see their relationship arc play out, and the tension within the characters has to be believable… otherwise the audience is going to be left fidgeting in their seats asking “Well, why don’t they just tell each other how they feel?”

Unfortunately, I’m not sure Ayumu has the flair. Because… well, why doesn’t he just tell her how he feels? Perhaps his reasons for the shogi pact will become clearer further down the track, but as of this first episode it feels like a contrived device to draw out the plot rather than a believable character motivation.

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Premiere Review | My Isekai Life: I Gained a Second Character Class and Became the Strongest Sage in the World!

What’s it about? Yuji appears to be a simple beast tamer, wandering the landscape on fetch-quests with his battalion of slimes. But when a hoard of monsters suddenly attack the town he’s stopped in, the mysterious traveller unveils incredible power to protect the locals.

I promise I go into every one of these reviews with an open heart and an open mind. I’m never going to write a show off sight unseen because it’s “just another [insert genre here]”. Every season I extend my hands and say, to the universe, “please, bequeath me with an isekai I find genuinely fun and interesting.” It’s happened before! I know it can be done! I don’t like being cynical! Just because a subgenre is currently flooding the market, it doesn’t mean there are no gems hidden in the deluge!

Watching the first twenty-four minutes of My Isekai Life does not feel like unearthing a gem. It’s competent, sure, and there are some elements of it I do think are pretty solid. But, like it’s contemporaries, it unfortunately has a lot of work to do to make itself stand out; to ward off that “oh, it’s just another isekai” impulse.

I mean, in fairness, it has the slimes. Let’s start with the slimes. They’re really good. 

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Premiere Review | League of Nations Air Force Aviation Magic Band Luminous Witches

Content warning: brief war imagery

What’s it about? In an alternate, dieselpunk Europe, there’s a war going on—fought with equal parts magic and technology. In the midst of the conflict, a sergeant forced to retire due to injury is doing her best to pitch the importance of music and song to her superiors. Her efforts are going nowhere; meanwhile, however, a girl with mysterious vocal powers has arrived in London with a witch’s familiar…

In 1969, Edwin Starr asked “war! What is it good for?” His answer, in the next line of the song, was “absolutely nothing.” Many years later, an alternate answer might be “speculative fiction anime starring pretty young women.”

Luminous Witches is the latest venture in this lucrative genre, opening over the dark, churning sea of (this universe’s version of) the Dunkirk evacuation. The camera follows a squadron of young women as they fly through the turbulent skies. Not in planes, mind you: they have propellers attached to their legs. This imagery will be less surprising if you’re familiar with the Strike Witches series, of which Luminous Witches is a spinoff. Unfortunately, aside from some cursory knowledge I’m not well-versed in the franchise, so this first impressions article comes to you from essentially a newbie’s perspective.

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Premiere Review | TEPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laughing ’til You Cry

What’s it about? Yayoi, Yuzu, and Yomogi form the manzai trio Young Wai-Wai, representing the Kansai region in a national comedy showdown. Can the girls shine on stage and get to the top?

As the fifteen exclamation points in the title might imply, Teppen has ENERGY! This premiere is fast-paced, zooming back and forth along a non-linear storyline and introducing all of the characters (five troupes of three; one comedy girl for each “!”). It’s a lot! I feel like I’m sitting here, a bewildered and windswept Wile E. Coyote in the wake of Roadrunner. But as the noise and movement of Teppen vanishes into the distance and I contemplate my feelings, I… think I had a pretty good time.

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Premiere Review | Lycoris Recoil

Content warning: gun violence, mentions of online harassment and stalking

What’s it about? The Lycoris are a team of specially trained teen hitmen, tasked with eradicating threats before they have a chance to disrupt the delicate peace of Tokyo. These gunslinging girls see to everything from bomb threats to dark web hackers. But when she messes up on a mission, Takina is transferred to her toughest job yet: working in a café and training under a bubbly, kind-hearted Lycoris named Chisato who wants nothing more than to protect ordinary people.

As fiction has told us for many years, no one makes a better assassin than a sixteen-year-old girl. Yes, the juxtaposition between her schoolgirl skirt and the submachine gun in her arms is part of the point. Them being young and vulnerable makes the bullets go farther! I dunno, take it up with head office!

The premiere of Lycoris Recoil is ultimately fun, though it sure does throw you in the deep end in its opening minutes. As the credits roll, we’re treated to a swift montage of Lycoris operatives discreetly shooting, or otherwise “disappearing”, criminals on the street… under a cheerful monologue from Chisato about how Japan is a peaceful place. The irony of this contrast is enough to make your eyes water, and I sure hope it was intentional on the part of the narrative.

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