I've broken my first resolution already.

This week’s offering will be a long one since I have a lot to cover.

Technically, Takunomi hasn’t been dropped; for some reason, I was unable to access it on HIDIVE on the day it was actually released. Turns out that it comes out on their streaming service on Saturdays instead of the Thursday it normally comes out in Japan. Nonetheless, I have decided to put it on the back bench. Coincidentally, I have actually got myself into another show…this is sort of reminiscent of when I had had enough of Just Because! last season, and switched to Land of the Lustrous (which was, of course, the best decision). I will come back to Takunomi in due time, like I did briefly with Just Because! last season.

Yuru Camp is a rather adorable little show. Available on Crunchyroll, it centers around 5 girls who develop a healthy interest in camping and outdoor activities. The opening episode focus a lot more on the silent Rin, who shies away from the school’s Outdoor Activities club (consisting of just Chiaki and Aoi), and prefers the peace of camping alone. Running into the clumsy and reckless Nadeshiko by accident when she becomes lost gives Rin the idea that going camping with others isn’t as bad as she thinks it is.

Yuru Camp has the mask of a simple slice-of-life show, but hidden within it is something rather unique. Its mini pieces on camping (such as how to put up a tent, or how to safely start a campfire) draws those who are looking for a little more than just 5 girls messing around while camping. The end card asking the viewer to camp safely is also a nice touch.

As for an update on Citrus, well I recall saying last week that they would have a lot to cover in the space of 12 or 13 episodes, well they have already begun to rush things, as we have already reached the stage where Yuzu is expelled after Mei’s creepy grandfather throws her out for associating with her, an event that happens deep into the manga.

I’ve lost patience almost. I really really don’t want to drop this, but there are just so many things in Citrus that make me not want to tune in. While Yuzu is the light-hearted well-meaning girl I expected her to be, and Mei has grown into the one I have no care for whatsoever (just like when I read the manga), everything in this show so far (and especially in this episode), I can’t seem to thread together to make something I can enjoy. As per every yuribait show, all men here are portrayed as misogynist pigs, and the all-girls school students all give off the impression that they flirt with each other to relieve some stress before they are whisked off on their arranged marriages. It almost seems…bland. Yuzu’s yearning for Mei isn’t as believable as it is in the manga, and as the show skips to each scene (and cuts out a lot of things), a romance story we can warm to doesn’t seem to surface.

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles has, actually, gotten so much better, which is something I’m rather happy about. I was worried that I’d end up dismissing it as a rather blase show, but its insight into ramen dishes has drawn me in totally. This is a feeling that would normally have come if I ended up sticking with Dagashi Kashi and Japanese candy, but the truth was that Japanese candy wasn’t that exciting to me, plus the main characters ended up becoming a distraction; perhaps its sequel (which comes out this season) being a short show instead of a full length says something about its interest.

Anyway, Yuu is given a backseat (thank God), and the other two girls, Jun and Misa, take center stage with two separate stories. Firstly, as Misa is unceremoniously dumped by a boy (who is turned off by Misa’s popularity at school), she ends up accidentally bumping into Koizumi and drowns her sorrows in some super spicy Hokkyoku ramen. As a true tsundere, she ends up loving it and decides to ask Koizumi to help her find more spicy ramen shops (…for when she next finds a guy). Later, we are introduced to Jun. As the class rep, she makes the decision to get to know Koizumi more when she learns she had to skip an exam after coming back exhausted from a ramen pilgrimage. After hearing about pineapple ramen, Jun ends up getting curious herself, and Koizumi almost feels happy that there is someone (with brains) who she can talk ramen to.

I should note that the ramen shop Jun ends up visiting to try pineapple ramen is a mirror image of a real-life ramen shop in Ogikubo.

Mecha shows are a bit of an odd one for me, since even though it was a mecha show that partly introduced me to anime in the first place, it’s a genre I have not really found a home in. I suppose I like a show like Knights of Sidonia because of its uncompromising take on mecha and science fiction, and even though Darling in the Franxx doesn’t really have much that you could call original, it’s certainly caught my interest.

It borrows from the long-standing trope that mecha pilots are trained from childhood, and that not piloting them means they have no purpose in life. Even the young child pilots in this show have code numbers as their official names; the names they call each other (Hiro, Ichigo, Naomi, etc.) are just used in a colloquial sense. Set in the far future, our main protagonist is Hiro, a failed pilot who has doomed his partner to exile. Soon the mysterious hybrid human Zero Two arrives in this futuristic city like Asuka landing into Shinji’s life, and as an antagonist (here they are simply referred to as Klaxosaurs) attacks the city, Zero Two invites Hiro to be her partner when her own one is killed in action.

This opening episode of Darling in the Franxx did not really give us that much that we can latch onto sadly. We are not given much in the way of lore in terms of how these futuristic cities came to be, how these pilots are chosen to defend the city, and even who the antagonists are even meant to be. I sincerely hope that future episodes will give much more information, as even though I am quite happy to stick with this (the animation in this show is pretty spectacular for a Trigger/A-1 co-production), I think I need some more meat on the bone to keep me completely happy.

There are two other shows that people have been quick to see when they see Darling in the Franxx: Evangelion and Star Driver. There are more Evangelion traits in this shows than I can count on all of my fingers and toes, but since I haven’t seen Star Driver, I can’t really comment on that. Evangelion put me off mecha shows for the longest of times, but it has been shows like Knights of Sidonia and Aldnoah.Zero that are slowly turning me back to the dark side. After reading its synopsis, Star Driver actually sounds rather cool, and I might check it out. When I upgrade to the likes of Macross and Gundam, I’ll let you know…and when I down-grade to the likes of Infinite Stratos, I’ll also let you know 😀 As for something like Eureka Seven? Well after watching all of those episodes, that’s a show I will never go back to again.

2018 has started off with a bang already. Aside from last week’s Anime Strike news, Violet Evergarden has also begun on Netflix, effectively silencing the naysayers. It will also be updated weekly in both sub and dub, much to my delight. I am, however, choosing not to cover it here on OASG, for the sake of any US and Australian readers who are unable to watch it (due to Netflix deciding, for some reason, not to air it there). I am aware of Devilman Crybaby as well, and my Twitter feed has exploded with fan-art from the show. I will eventually find time to watch it all in one setting…just when I have time from my busy schedule *hah* I’m also looking forward to SHAFT tackling Fate/Extra: Last Encore when it begins at the end of the month, and by the looks of it, Netflix also has the rights for that too. Sort of makes sense to acquire it as they have not just Fate/Apocrypha but Fate/Stay Night; Unlimited Blade Works in their library. Saying that though, while it has been confirmed that Netflix Japan will be airing it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll air on Netflix globally, as both Crunchyroll and Amazon can still bid for its global license, but I highly doubt that they will.

In the meantime, I’m still keeping up with Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, and episode 2 introduces us to both Mikorin and Seo, both of whom play bigger roles in future episodes to come. While Mikorin makes out to the rest of the school that he is some kind of playboy, he’s actually a shy little child who craves attention; Nozaki’s current manga heroine is, in fact, based on him. Meanwhile, as Nozaki is looking to introduce a new character (and needs someone to base them on), Chiyo introduces him to her class seat neighbour Seo, who is very much the opposite of what he is looking for, but soon enough, he creates a character who is just as oblivious to current events as Seo is.

Wow, that was a long post…but then I am covering a total of 5 shows this season (6 if I actually count Takunomi, and 7 if I count Violet Evergarden which I won’t be writing about here). As a defender of Netflix’s anime coverage, I plan to follow their plans this year very closely, and have a little idea in mind related to that over on Japan Curiosity. Will tell more when I know more.

What do you think of the new shows starting this week? Have you been able to check out Violet Evergarden? Am I right to simply dismiss Takunomi so soon? Do you really think pineapple ramen is a good idea? Feel free to air your opinions in the comments below…