I know, I know. I’m late to the party. You don’t realize how quickly holiday travel can mess up your posting schedule until you actually try to post stuff during the holidays. To be honest, I haven’t even finished like half of the anime from fall 2019, so that retrospective is going to be a little delayed. But I can’t just miss out on all these good pilots! And so far, the ones I’ve watched have been pretty great. So without further ado, let’s get into things.

As always, the most recent stuff will be on top since this will be periodically updated for the next couple weeks.


Isekai Quartet 2

I love that this is back. The mish-mash short form comedy turned out to be one of my favorite anime from last year. Of course, I’m isekai trash, so putting a bunch of them together is going to appeal to me.

This is one of those anime that exists solely for the fun of it. There’s no complex story or amazing climactic moments. It’s just a look at what it looks like to put a bunch of really big personalities all together at once. The chibi art style suits it perfectly.

My only complaint is that there isn’t more. Not only more Isekai Quartet, but also more of their individual shows. Watching this only reminds me that I can’t wait for a bunch of exciting sequels.

Likelihood to Finish: 10/10

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In/Spectre

This supernatural romance anime surprised me. As with most of my pilots, I went into it completely blind. I haven’t seen a lot of supernatural anime that delve quite this deep into the supernatural aspect, especially for a modern day timeline. Even when monsters are present, they’re typically stuff found in most supernatural fiction around the world. In/Spectre chooses to use more Japanese folklore instead.

Beyond identifying what I watched as quality, I can’t really think of a lot more to say about this one. I think they used a good mixture of present day and flashbacks to relay the backstory enough for us to get a small understanding of what was happening. It was frank and a little shocking at times, but not overboard. I’m interested to know more about the characters themselves.

Likelihood to Finish: 8/10 or so

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Interspecies Reviewers

Holy quality ecchi, Batman. This was something else. I usually enjoy having a side of ecchi with my anime, but there are very few anime with ecchi as the main element that I actually enjoy. Most of them just can’t seem to give us a justifiable premise in my mind (if that makes any sense).

And on paper, this premise seems just as ridiculous as the rest of them, but they were able to make it work. You know it’s big brain time when the cast is sitting around rating species/brothels like some sort of book club. Even better, the comedy and timing of the jokes is almost perfect.

And on top of all of that, the OP and ED are really fun and perfect for setting the exact atmosphere this anime seems to be aiming for. I can’t wait for more.

Likelihood to Finish: It’s high. It’s very high.

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22/7

I could be misremembering, but I think I’ve watched exactly one idol anime before. So I have almost zero idea of what I should be expecting. A lot of it seems rather fluffy and surface on the outside, and I get enough of that with my CGDCT shows, so I have avoided idol anime all together. But, on a whim, I decided to try this one. It looks like it might be different.

This seems to be very heavily character driven than just cutesy girls singing songs. The main character seems pretty disillusioned with the world (and honestly, a little pigheaded and arrogant to boot). She has a lot of pent-up aggression that bordered closely on just a little too much at times. It’s so strong that it’s likely on my list of reasons if I drop this show.

There’s a bit of a mystery/supernatural element in this idol anime as well. There’s some mysterious all knowing being known simply as The Wall calling the shots right now (and it literally is a glowing wall).

There isn’t a lot more to go on for this pilot other than basic premise and character introduction, so I can’t really get a feel for what we will see. But if it sticks to this drama style over fluffy music, I might just enjoy it more than I expected.

Likelihood to Finish: I can’t really say

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Toilet-bound Hanako-kun

This anime is art. And I do mean that in a very literal sense. This has got to be one of the most visually pleasing anime I’ve seen in a really long time. The style just breathes “whimsy” to me.

Of course, a show can’t simply survive based on looks alone. Thank goodness it’s also a lot of fun. It’s wholesome, funny, and lighthearted. It stars a girl looking for acceptance and a close bond to share with someone else and her companion, Moaning Myrtle Hanako-kun, a ghost who grants wishes for a price.

I’m really hopeful for this anime. I think this will end up being that “week is finally almost over” pick-me-up everyone needs to make that last sprint for the weekend.

Likelihood to Finish: I can almost guarantee I won’t be dropping this one. You can tell it’s special.

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Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It

This feels like a very poorly translated show title, to the point where I almost put the romaji title instead. After watching the pilot, I think a better translation would have been something along the line of “I Won’t Say I’m In Love Until I Can Prove It Scientifically” or something like that.

As my fake title implies, this is the story of two college aged researchers who suspect they are in love, but don’t want to jump to any conclusions. After all, the entire working universe can be quantified and explained mathematically, so why not love as well?

I really enjoyed the flavor of rom-com this anime brings to the table. The experiments these two scientists perform along with their frank way of discussing results and hypothesis is a lot of fun to watch. They’re thinking about it way to hard, but it definitely benefits the rest of us.

Likelihood to Finish: I hypothesize 98.2% (ballpark figure)

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Asteroid in Love

Welcome to another Cute Girls Doing Cute Things pilot, this one with a dash of hopeful yuri. It’s a story of mistaken identity (for about 2 minutes) during a fated childhood meeting that shaped the lives of these two girls forever. Now in high school, they’ve reunited and are going to discover an asteroid!

Maybe.

I can’t tell if this a “dreams come true if you believe” anime or “the most important thing is the friends we made along the way” anime. Maybe it’s both.

I’d have to classify this pilot as average to good. It wasn’t great and I’m not chomping at the bit for more, but I’m certainly not ready to drop it yet.

Likelihood to Finish: All I can say is “maybe”

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Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga

Japan really will make an anime about anything. So really, why not take all the classic Japanese Feudal lords and reincarnate them into modern day house pets?

This pilot was a little wishy washy for me; I flipped back and forth between “I should just stop watching” and “OK, that’s entertaining.” It all came out fairly lukewarm at the end. By the end I was prepared to watch at least one more episode, but they’re going to have to try a little harder on the comedy to keep me around since that’s the strongest selling point so far.

At the very least, if you like anime dogs, here’s a show just full of them.

Likelihood to Finish: I’m pretty pessimistic about this one’s chances

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The Case Files of Jeweler Richard

I’ll preface this by saying that I liked this pilot. I’m saying that now because what I’m about to say might sound like a contradiction. Almost everything about this pilot felt pretty generic, which I typically don’t really love. But most rules seem to have exceptions, and this one might turn out to be one of those exceptions.

So far, this is a simple detective story. No hidden fantasy powers; no exciting action pieces; no eccentric characters. “This is only the pilot. Those things might show up later.” I guess that’s possible, but at this point I find it highly unlikely.

What we do have is simply the story of a man who researches the history of beautiful jewelry. As a result, we learn of the stories behind that jewelry. Like I said, super simple and fairly generic. But this one worked for me. The art/animation is beautiful and so far the stories are as well. I hope they keep this up.

Likelihood to Finish: I have a reserved hopefulness for this one

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Infinite Dendrogram

Will this be the season of VRMMO anime? This is the second one I’ve seen so far. So what’s the selling point of this one? The world.

There are a few neat concepts at play in Infinite Dendrogram. The first cool bit was the character creation. I’m a sucker for in-depth character creation in my video games, and this one does a lot of neat things visually when he’s designing and classing his character.

The second thing I liked was the “living world” aspect they created for this fake VRMMO. The NPCs are supposed to essentially be human. For our protagonist, this means that NPCs and Players are basically indistinguishable. This also means that quests are generated on the fly by these human NPCs based on whatever is happening in the world. The NPCs can also die, and their death is permanent. And the living world continues to exist and operate as needed when that happens.

All that combined with a likeable cast of characters and great demonstrations of these mechanics make it a really fun pilot. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Likelihood to Finish: I’d rate this one pretty high.

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NekoparA

I take back everything I said about Seton Academy being the weirdest anime I’d ever seen. That title now belongs to NekoparA. Like, what on earth did I just watch? Are they cats? Are they humans?

Listen, I can understand and look past the awkward and abundant sexual tension. I’ve come to expect it out of shows like this. But what’s weird are these cat girls (who look entirely human apart from their ears and tails) acting like cats sometimes and humans like other times. Even weirder than that is the fact that all the rest of the humans treat them entirely like cats! They even have to have specially tested and earned collars to wear before they can venture out into society without their masters.

I haven’t watched an anime that made me go wtf quite like this in a long long time.

Likelihood to Finish: I just don’t even know.

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BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense.

This looks like it’s going to be a more cutesy/less slapstick version of Overly Cautious Hero from last season. It’s a VRMMO where players pick from a set of classes, apply skill points, and go on adventures.

Since our protagonist is timid, her default plan for not only her initial skill points, but also all level up skill points, immediately go into her Vitality stat that is used to boost her defense power. The result? She’s super slow, but essentially invincible. She feels nothing when she’s attacked, like a fat-roller heavy player in Dark Souls.

While it isn’t remarkable, the pilot certainly wasn’t bad. I don’t remember any moments that made me question why I was watching it, but I also didn’t leave with a ton of motivation for the rest of the season. We’ll have to see what the next episode holds.

Likelihood to Finish: Probably somewhere around 50% right now

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Darwin’s Game

This is my first double-length pilot of the season, and it’s got a lot going on. Essentially, a free to play mobile game pits real world people against one another in a game of survival of the fittest (hence the title). If the title wasn’t already on the nose enough, each participant “evolves” one trait (known as a Sigil) to help them fight. Our protagonist enters this game completely ignorant of what it entails and desperately begins to try to find a way out of it.

Honestly, I mostly enjoyed the pilot. The Sigils are a pretty cool way to give the show a half sort of fantasy element to this battle royale and made for some fun fights. However, the fights were easily the most entertaining and exciting element to this episode. That isn’t a bad thing, but there’s one problem: our hero is a coward. How is him being a coward a bad thing? After all, most people would be scared for their lives knowing they accidentally joined a game that has them fighting to the death.

The problem is his inner dialogue. It brings the most exciting moments of the show (the fights) to an almost grinding halt. Here we are watching him run from an incoming weapon and it all suddenly goes into slow motion while he launches into a rant where he argues with himself for what feels like a good 5 minutes. It’s a real mood killer. Hopefully they fix that.

Likelihood to Finish: Depends on if we have to keep spending all the exciting moments of the episode listening to this guy drone on in his head.

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Somali and the Forest Spirit

What a surprisingly delightful anime. This one was definitely lower on my list of priorities before the season started, but then a bunch of anime bloggers started talking about how amazing it was, so of course I had to bump it up the list. Boy am I ever glad I did.

The world they’ve built for us is whimsical, beautiful (and I do mean beautiful; the art is amazing), and has just enough mystery to whet the palette. The world can be dangerous, but it is especially dangerous for our protagonist.

Probably my favorite thing about this pilot is it was able to get it’s point across without overdoing exposition. It feels ever so slightly insulting when they decide to simply explain everything rather than properly allowing the audience to come to their own conclusions, so I’m happy to say that this one is one of the good ones. I’m excited to see more.

Likelihood to finish: Remarkably high for a pilot

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Heya Camp

If you read my review of Yuru Camp, you probably already know exactly how I’m going to feel about this one. Same great characters, comedy, and comfortable setting. But the episodes are only like 3 minutes long! I mean, I know this is only meant to be a side story while we wait for the arrival of Yuru Camp season 2, but this is agonizing!

Other than the incredibly short episode, I had zero issues with this pilot. It was practically a given that I was going to love it, and it’s also a given that I’m going to be finishing this one. There really isn’t anything else to say.

Likelihood to finish: 100%

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Seton Academy: Join the Pack!

This has got to be one of the weirdest anime I’ve ever seen. It lands in this strange and uncomfortable zone between reality and fantasy. Some of these students are full animals, some look like animal/human hybrids, some are just straight human. And all of them, regardless of how they look, still try to imitate some form of natural behavior for whatever animal they’re supposed to be (i.e. a wolf girl still runs around on all fours).

And yet…and yet…I really want to see more. What? Yep. This feels like a non-perverted (ok, partially perverted) “*sigh* unzips” meme. Like, why on earth did I just like that as much as I did? It isn’t even like I’m just kind of curious about what else it will show. I genuinely am very much looking forward to the next episode. Is that weird? Please don’t answer that.

Likelihood to finish: It could really go either way. I’m just leaving myself open to new experiences!

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ID: Invaded

Finally, some super weird sci-fi I can get behind! Also, it’s a detective show? I’m all aboard. This one had me hooked from essentially the beginning (and no, it’s not just because of the pretty colors).

This looks to be the story of a crime unit that specializes in tracking and arresting serial killers. They give off unique brain waves that can be absorbed and put into a computer simulation that will allow someone else to enter and explore their “mind.” This world that is built is always unique to the serial killer and seems entirely upredictable. Luckily, the simulation is being observed by a team of engineers with a super computer that can absorb and process all the data flowing through the simulation and use that info to find the killer. Cool, right?

It gets even more interesting, but for the sake of spoilers, I won’t go any further. If you’re a fan of sci-fi or detective stories, try this one out.

Likelihood to finish: I’m pretty optimistic

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7 replies on “Winter 2020 Seasonal Round-Up (Updating)

  1. I wanted to check out Invaded , and I really liked the Somali and the Forest Spirit show . I’m happy its kind of unique fantasy world aesthetic and not an Isekei . Not that I have anything against Isekei per say but its nice to see something different .

    Liked by 1 person

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