I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the winter anime season is dominated by sequels. March comes in like a lion continues, with the second half of the second season. Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line will (hopefully) conclude Onoda’s second time at the Inter High. And Fate/Stay is finally ending with Fate/Extra: Last Encore. With that being said, I’ve tried to steer my recommendations this time away from sequels—and remakes—but a couple are inevitable. So, grab some hot chocolate—or whatever warm drink you prefer—and check out Girls in Capes’ winter 2018 anime recommendations.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
Sakura Kinomoto was an ordinary 4th grader until the day she opened a strange book and let dozens of powerful magic cards loose on the world. Keroberos, the Guardian of the Clow Cards, informs Sakura that it is now her responsibility to find and capture the freed cards. However, much to the reluctant Sakura’s dismay, things aren’t going to be easy for her; simply saying magic words and waving her wand around isn’t good enough. Each card is a living, thinking, extremely powerful being. She’ll have to learn to cope with her new responsibilities, as well as ordinary troubles involving love, school, family, and friends. With the support of her friend Tomoyo and a young boy with powers of his own, she must learn how to use her newly awakened magical abilities to collect each card and prevent the disaster that will befall the world if she doesn’t (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
Magical girl anime—especially Sailor Moon—was very important to me growing up, and Cardcaptor Sakura was no exception. It was one of those shows I caught in bits and pieces on television, but along with Sailor Moon, Escaflowne, Digimon, and Pokémon, Cardcaptors left an indelible impression on my psyche. The main character, Sakura, was adorable, and I was especially intrigued by the Clow Cards, given my own practice of Tarot. I even rewatched the series as an adult, in the original Japanese, and found myself loving the show even more, even as a grownup. I’m excited to be able to watch a new series of Cardcaptors. Let’s just hope that Madhouse doesn’t make the same mistake as Toei Animation did with the first season of Sailor Moon Crystal and that the animation remains similar to the original series.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card will be available to watch on Crunchyroll and FunimationNOW.
DEVILMAN Crybaby (ONA)
Akira Fudo learns from his best friend, Ryo Asuka, that an ancient race of demons has returned to take back the world from humans. Ryo tells Akira that the only way to defeat the demons is to incorporate their supernatural powers, and suggests that he unite with a demon himself. Akira succeeds in transforming into Devilman, who possesses both the powers of a demon and the soul of a human. The battle of Devilman and Akira Fudo begins (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
I know very little about Devilman. If I made my decision to try watching the series based on the Devilman Wikipedia page alone, I probably wouldn’t watch it. But someone I follow on Twitter—whoever it was escapes me right now—posted a trailer for the new DEVILMAN Crybaby, and I was instantly intrigued. The dark feel of the show reminds me of Berserk, and, for some reason, the human-transforming-into-a-demon main character, Akira Fudo, reminds me of the 1990s animated series Gargoyles. It’s probably just the shape of the wings or horns or something, but it pulled me in right away. I loved Gargoyles—the lore, the monsters, the transformations—and I love stories about demons, so I think I’m going to give this show a chance. The animation also looks interesting, a bit like an even darker Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but the studio producing it—Science SARU—is fairly new, so it’s difficult to say exactly what to expect.
DEVILMAN Crybaby will be available to watch on Netflix.
Junji Ito Collection
While I haven’t read a mountain of manga this year, I have read a lot more than I have in previous years, and I’ve definitely reviewed a lot more manga for Girls in Capes than I ever have before. For all his fame—or perhaps infamy—Junji Ito didn’t come into my radar until this year when my editor—the lovely Feliza—sent me the manga Uzumaki to review for Halloween. And just in time, because now a series of Ito’s horror stories are being animated for television. And given my experience with Uzumaki, I’m ready, if not a little bit frightened. Ito’s works are surreal, absurd, and terrifying. Uzumaki included a level of body horror that I don’t usually care for, but that often made me wonder if Ito was trying to tell me something else, something about human nature and what’s truly horrifying: the selfish ways people sometimes treat one another in difficult situations.
Junji Ito Collection will be available to watch on Crunchyroll and FunimationNOW.
Record of Grancrest War
On a continent ruled by chaos, the Lords have the power of a holy seal that can calm the chaos and protect the people. However, before anyone realizes it, the rulers cast aside their creed of purifying the chaos, and instead start to fight each other for each other’s holy seals to gain dominion over one another. Shiruuka, an isolated mage who scorns the Lords for abandoning their creed, and a wandering knight named Theo, who is on a journey to train to one day liberate his hometown, make an everlasting oath to work together to reform this continent dominated by wars and chaos (Synopsis from MyAnimeList).
I watched the 1990 OVA series Record of Lodoss War years and years ago, and while I hardly remember it, I vaguely remember mostly enjoying it, especially since, around that time, I had gotten back into D&D. I’m always on the lookout for a good fantasy series, although lately they’ve disappointed me. With “the male gaze” the main reason I turn off fantasy anime shows lately, let’s hope that this new installment in the Lodoss saga doesn’t go that way. From the little bit I’ve seen in trailers, however, I have some doubts. Siluca and Aishela, two main female characters, are drawn in skimpy outfits, with lots of belly skin showing and at least one tropey boob plate. Where are my lady knights wearing sensible armor? And my lady mages wearing practical clothes to protect themselves from the elements? Still, I’ll probably give Record of Grancrest War a chance, but depending on the character dynamics, I may end up dropping it.
Record of Grancrest War will be available to watch on Crunchyroll and Hulu.
Michiru Amazuki is a 20-year-old woman who moves to Tokyo for a new job. She moves into Stella House, a share house for women. Her housemates all have widely different jobs and ages, but as long as they have alcohol and delicious food, everything turns out fine (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
I haven’t really talked about my obsession with food dramas, anime, and manga here much—mostly only over on Twitter—but if you didn’t know before, I’m going to inform you now: I’m a bit of a foodie. I recently started a newsletter in which I plan on writing about food, although I haven’t really started it yet, mostly because I haven’t had the time. This is just an excuse really; the real reason I haven’t started it is because I still haven’t been able to put into words the love I feel for food shows. Not cooking shows, per se, although those are good too, and not shows that include people eating in them. I’m talking about food fiction, if there is such a thing, or maybe it should be called food nonfiction, because food is real, right? This nonexistent genre, which I just made up now, is so satisfying to me. And it’s not just me who likes it. In Japan, food and drama go hand in hand. Dramas like Kodoku no Gourmet are very popular, as well as classic films like Tampopo, anime like Wakakozake, and manga like Nomi Joshi. That’s why I’m so excited for Takunomi., a show all about women drinking beer and eating food, which sounds a lot like Nomi Joshi, but I’ll take it!
Takunomi. will be available to watch on HiDive.
A certain point in time, in the continent of Telesis. The great war which divided the continent into North and South has ended after four years, and the people are welcoming a new generation. Violet Evergarden, a young girl formerly known as “the weapon”, has left the battlefield to start a new life at CH Postal Service. There, she is deeply moved by the work of “Auto Memories Dolls”, who carry people’s thoughts and convert them into words. Violet begins her journey as an Auto Memories Doll, and comes face to face with various people’s emotions and differing shapes of love. There are words Violet heard on the battlefield, which she cannot forget. These words were given to her by someone she holds dear, more than anyone else. She does not yet know their meaning but she searches to find it (Plot Summary from Anime News Network).
If Record of Grancrest War appears to, at first blush, be catering to a CIS male heterosexual audience, Violet Evergarden may be the complete opposite. With a pretty female lead, beautiful Victorian-inspired clothing, stunning backdrops and scenery, and, finally, what I’ve interpreted from the trailers as a love story, Violet Evergarden looks like eye candy for the CIS female heterosexual audience. It has “period film” written all over it, reminding me of all the Masterpiece Classic/BBC films I love and haven’t watched in a long time. But there’s an under-arcing fantasy/sci-fi element, too, which should add something interesting to an otherwise simple story about a girl trying to live her life after a war is over.
Violet Evergarden will be available on Netflix.
What simulcasts will you be watching this winter?
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