In many ways, this season seemed like the one that went on forever. Part of that is my own doing considering a chunk of it ran through December; a month where I put far much work on my own plate. The result of which has made me realise I need to give myself a break. Not that I intend to stop writing or anything, but I’m going to pull my foot off the gas for at least a month.
For January, I’m going to continue writing the series posts I have been doing for the past few months, but I’m going to take a little bit of time to reset myself and come up with a different upload schedule that doesn’t have me pushing myself to play catchup on a constant basis.
Which means I’m most likely going to skip out on watching any new anime in this winter season, so no 3 Episode Rule for Winter 2021. If any shows get a lot of hype a might go back to them after the fact, but for now, I feel like I need to take some time and reset myself.
Before we get to any of that though, I’ll make my belated cap-off to the Autumn season of anime and compile the posts I wrote about them throughout, So let me crack open my posts from when this season started way back in October and talk about the anime I’ve been watching in the three months since then.
Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
This was a series that found itself the focal point of some kind of mass disagreement amongst bloggers and anime writers during the earlier stages of the season. The debate raging around the titular character Elaina and her place as a character, her morals and her agency in the story, or lack thereof as the point had been made.
Personally, after watching the first three episodes, I was intrigued by the darker tone of the third episode, telling two stories I compared to Grimm’s fairytales at the time. Feeling like there was this pretty simple moral core to the story while using death and suffering rather freely as the consequence of going against the moral.
The issue a lot of people ended up having was how Elaina herself seemed disinterested in even involving herself in the story. When I wrote a piece of the show itself from my perspective, I compared her to a documentary maker or a journalist, in that she observed and documented these events, but avoided involving herself out of integrity.
This kind of went out of the window though as episodes went on and she arbitrarily did place herself into situations at times, making it difficult to really understand where her own moral core lay. In the end, Elaina ended up being a pretty unlikeable character to me in the end and I ended up dropping it about halfway through the season.
Maybe the series went somewhere with Elaina arrogant attitude and vanity by the end. But as more of a supporting cast started to pop up, it made me realise how little I actually liked Elaina and ultimately didn’t feel like continuing it to the end.
I like this show a whole bunch. It’s a series I decided to write episodic reviews of it. Generally, I end up getting even more out an already good show when I decide to write about them week after week. Even though it was only halfway through its first season, it comfortably made it into my top ten list of 2020 anime.
Who knows how much higher it could have been if I’d been talking about the series in its entirety.
I’ve already spoken about this series a fair bit. If you want to see the archive of my episodic reviews, then just click this link right here. Or if you want to read my anime of 2020 entry on it then click this second link right here.
This series couldn’t have fallen any flatter on its face if had tried. During my Anime of the year listings, while speaking about Tower of God, I talked about the three Manhwa series that Crunchyroll adapted into anime in 2020 and how Tower of God was the best amongst them.
While I felt Tower of God was flawed by enjoyable, and The God of High School was a total mess with some nice fight animation being its only redeeming factor, Noblesse was the series that might as well have not existed in the first place. During my 3 Episode Rule series, I even prefixed that the only reason I planned on continuing the show was because I had accidentally blundered myself into having to watch an OVA on top of the initial three episodes.
And honestly, this show bored me. I think I watched the 4th episode of it after posting my 3 episode rule post and just gave up on it pretty abruptly.
Especially when there were so many other good shows going on, I really couldn’t muster the time nor the enthusiasm to give this one a courtesy viewing.
I feel bad that I couldn’t find more time in December to write a more comprehensive collection of my thoughts on this series as it approached and reached its conclusion. During the show’s initial three episodes, it seemed like this ultra-stylish, cyberpunk heist anime.
Bringing together a bunch of glamorous supercriminals to break into a supertrain en route to the God city, all while being pursued by some anime versions of the Judges of Dredd fame. Our viewpoint character being the normal girl known only as “Swindler” by everyone else present, as she found herself the fish out of water in this world of excessive style and violence.
It was a show I enjoyed pretty much on its aesthetic alone for the first half of the series, but by the halfway point it takes a turn in tone and content and suddenly I found myself far more invested in what was going on. While there was this flashy irreverence to the actions of the titular Akudama throughout the first half of the show, by the time they start turning on one another and subsequently dying the newfound weight of the story started to grab my attention so much more.
When we learn the truth behind the two children, called only “Brother” and “Sister” and their involvement in the mysterious Kanto government and their experiments with transhumanism. While everything started out feeling like some kind of game, Swindler’s newfound drive to protect these two, as people start dying around her, added a narrative weight and consequence made everything far more compelling.
What started off as pure style and cyberpunk excess ends up taking some of the deeper narrative elements of the genre and digging into them, giving us a bleak, but hopeful open ending that makes the show feel like it was taking more than a passive influence from a lot of other cyberpunk fiction, both from the east and west. If that wasn’t apparent already from the referential episode titles.
Had I written my best of year list after this season had concluded, rather than at the start of December, there’s a very good chance this show would have made it onto there as a number 9 or 10. It’s just one that gets better and better as it goes.
Moriarty the Patriot
Another show I’ve written about on multiple occasions already in the short time since it started. As I mention pretty much every time this show comes up, I am a massive fan of Sherlock Holmes and as a result, me enjoying this series was almost a given.
I’m not going to get too much deeper into it here, but if you want to read more of my thoughts on it, then check out the piece I wrote about the importance of rivals in anime in relation to Sherlock and Moriarty. Or you can check out what I wrote about it on my anime of the year list here.
The Day I Became a God
I just got finished writing a piece about my mixed feelings on this show. While I felt like the show itself was well made, it was the message I kind of struggled with. In addition to the slightly undercooked relationship development between the two main characters, which kind of undercuts the events of the final few episodes slightly in my opinion.
Golden Kamuy Season 3
As I mentioned when I wrote about Golden Kamuy for my Anime of the year list, I ended up going back and watching both of the first two seasons in preparation for this third season. Overall I feel like the third season was slightly weaker than the two that preceded it. If only for the reduced cast and more stark setting.
This is a fantastic anime though, one that beautifully toes the line between being totally absurd and telling a very serious, compelling story. While this might not be the first show I’d recommend to my anime-curious friends, everyone who is probably reading this is more than that. And if that’s the case you should 100% stop what you’re doing and watch Golden Kamuy right now if you haven’t already.
Fire Force Season 2
Fire Force is the ol’ reliable anime for me right now. One I constantly forget about, but I consistently enjoy when I remember it. It’s got great characters, amazing looking action sequences and has created a fairly compelling story and world in its two long seasons.
I can’t really criticise this show for much at all, except maybe it’s treatment of Tamaki, but neither does it have me bouncing on my chair to know what happens next. It’s a solid 7 out of 10 from week to week. You can read my anime of the year entry on it by following this link.
With that, I think I’m going to be taking a little break from watching seasonal anime for a while. Maybe just the one season. Or maybe I’ll just wait to see where the buzz is and watch it after the fact.