The Best Anime Waifu’s of 2018

A rundown of my favourite waifu’s of the 2018 anime season!

So another year has come and gone and with it a heck of a lot of anime with an amazing amount of anime girls who are ‘waifu’ material. But rather than an arbitrary Top 10 List (not that there’s anything wrong with them–I love a good list!) This time we’re going to take a look at some of the best anime girls to grace our screen in 2018 in a sort of awards show format, much like I did for My Best OP and Best ED list (check those out if you haven’t already). So with the introduction out of the way let’s take a look at some of the Best Anime Waifu’s of 2018!

Please note, this post contains some NSFW imagery.

Sexiest Waifu 2018

Always start a list off with something sexy, that’s what my anime list making teacher always taught me! You know what’s sexy to me in an anime waifu? Confidence, assertiveness, loyalty, being calm, cool and collected under pressure also a nice rack and behind doesn’t hurt! So with that said my sexiest waifu was always going to be Xenovia Quarta from ‘High School DxD Hero’, while always a supporting character the fourth season of DxD, with its change of animation studio and art style brought with it for me, a new appreciation for this blue-haired beauty!

“Kawaii desu~!” Cutest Waifu 2018

It’s pretty unanimously agreed upon (at least for people who’ve watched the show) that Kana from ‘Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid’ (2017) is adorable as all heck. But what do you do when you need a cute fix in the year 2018? Why have a character that almost looks exactly the same and is voiced by the same voice actress of course! I don’t mean that as a slight against Kamuri Sengoku from ‘Slow Start’ because she is legitimately the cutest waifu of the year, but the comparisons are unavoidable. Kamuri at least has the benefit of being a loli high-schooler on her side so I feel a bit less guilty about giving her the ‘waifu’ title… among other things… ahem!

Funniest Waifu 2018

Let’s not beat around the bush here, there are probably a dozen funnier female characters who graced our screens in 2018 then my pick here. But the important differentiating factor between those and this one, is that we’re talking ‘waifus’ here! So the girls from ‘Asobi Asobase’ or ‘Mitsuboshi Colors’ don’t really qualify as I’d never call them “waifu material” mostly because I don’t find any of them attractive! Ahegao Double Peace Sensei from ‘My Sister, My Writer’ on the other hand not only delivers the best lines from the aforementioned show but remains sexy (and problematic) the whole way through! What a woman!

Best Girl From A ‘Bad’ Show

Even the worst anime can have waifu potential among the cast. This particular show wasn’t bad exactly it was just heavily flawed, poorly handled and had one of the ~worst~ leads in a harem anime I’ve ever seen. But that’s enough about the bad, let’s talk about the GOOD. Ginko Sora from ‘The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!’ is a once in a lifetime waifu, she is top tier and she deserves better than the treatment she got in this damned show. Quick, move on to the next category before I start ranting again!

“Double The Fun!” Best Twins

Say what you will about the neanderthal male mind’s preoccupation with the fetishisation of twins, at least it’s not illegal! Wait, what were we talking about? Oh right! Claire and Emily Thomas from ‘Harukana Receive’ are two busty blonde bombshells who tear up the beach volleyball courts and set fire to my heart (among other places…) Emily is my personal favourite, just because I prefer the shy, glasses wearing type over the grabby confident type but I’m not kicking either out of bed if you know what I’m sayin’!

Waifu I’d Most Like As My Little Sister

Well this got weird, didn’t it?! I mean more weird than it already was. I’m not even sure what I meant with this category? Is this a girl I’d like to literally be related to? Or is this a girl I’d like to have living in my house and us have a tenuous but nonetheless situational induced intimate relationship with? Ultimately I just picked Rinne O’Hara from ‘ISLAND’ because she’s a freakin’ adorable legal loli who I’d just love to be around on a daily basis. Is that too much to ask?! Someone pass the sunblock…

Best Tsundere, Not That I Even Like Them Anyway! Baka!

When I started blogging in February of 2018, one thing was clear in mind. “Tsundere’s are the worst kind of -dere!” Now, as I write this in January 2019 my opinion is more like, “oh my god there’s as many different tsundere’s as there’s types of snowflakes!” Yes, I officially love tsundere’s but only one’s with depth and complexity and what’s that oh I’m about to be punched again! Oof~! Sagiri Ameno from ‘Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs’ is the best tsun I’ve seen in a long long while. She’s strong and forthright and opinionated, but also sensitive and neurotic and painfully shy. She’s also sexy as heck, which is a wonderful bonus!

“I Like ‘Em Crazy” Best Yandere 2018

What makes a great Yandere? Well the simmering potential that any given moment they could straight up murder you while simultaneously remaining so adorably attractive that you’d be thanking them ’til the last breath escaped your body? Hello, Satou Matsuzaka from ‘Happy Sugar Life’ I know you’re going to kill me eventually but at least make it worth my while if you know what I mean…

Be-be-best S-shy Waifu! *runs away*

Just being 100% shy is never going to be enough to catch my attention. That’s why Kotetsu Tatejima from ‘Anima Yell!’ wins this particular category. Yes she’s skittish and nervous, but she’s also uncharacteristically abrasive and prone to speaking her mind even in the face of reason. She’s also probably the best dang fang girl that’s ever existed but out of virtue of not expecting a girl this shy to sporting the genki fang!


It’s an acronym and the ‘W’ stands for ‘Waifu’ if you need to know the rest, there’s a Google you can learn from! Pretty much any of the girls on this list are worthy of as much but sometimes you’ve just got to pick one. Hotaru Shidare from ‘Dagashi Kashi 2’ has always been a consistently sexual presence in my anime life since the first time I watched Dagashi Kashi… I mean there’s something inherently alluring about a girl who can fit that much candy in her mouth at one time… #justsayin’

“My Waifu Has A Secret” – Best Trap Character 2018

Is it okay to use the word “trap” in 2018?! I don’t know but there’s something undeniably problematic about it, even if I don’t fully understand. That said any boy who pulls off looking like a girl this much is very befitting of this probably problematic title. This year it was Batard from ‘Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight’ a trap in every sense of the word…

*Odeipus Complex Intensifies* Best Motherly Waifu

So, uh… some people have a thing for their own mother, and well not to kink shame, but, ehh… anyone else not really understand that?! I mean I get wanting to be looked after and coddled and fed and doted on but why’s it gotta be on someone that reminds you of your own mother?! To be fair if my mother looked liked Ayaka Sunohara from ‘Miss Caretaker Of Sunohara-Sou’ I might be so bold to consider it…

Get Thee Onto A Body Pillow!

I currently am in possession of three body-pillows (dakimakura) and while they offer substantial bedtime support I am ~always~ on the lookout for new ones. And who among our waifus is more supporting and deserving of the privilege than Shion from ‘That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime’. She’s the perfect woman, no matter the dimensions you end up seeing her in!

Most Heroic Waifu of 2018

Heroism is about a lot of things, its not just a measure of physical strength but also emotional strength in the face of adversity and risking it all to protect the people your love. And for me, no one was stronger, went through hell, and still kept fighting quite like Zero Two from ‘Darling In The FranXX’, also she’s sexy as heck and who doesn’t want a hero like that?!

Brains & Beauty Award

Too often intelligence is a trait overlooked when determining a waifu, after all that was something I looked for in a life partner why shouldn’t I do the same for my anime waifu’s? Maho Hijayo from Steins;Gate 0 is a ~literal~ genius, an endearing personality and a legal loli! What more could you ask for?! Oh dear, I’m starting to sound like Daru…

The First Annual Mai Sakurajima Award For Overall Excellence In Being An Anime Waifu

Sometimes you make a list and realise someone important’s missing, even though they more than fulfil the various requirements on the waifu side of things, and could easily be eligible for any of the previous categories. Sometimes they’re just too good to be put under one box but not fall just short of being the favourite. That’s what this inaugural award is about for a waifu who exemplifies excellence in everything they do but for whatever reason come second best to the year’s best. Mai Sakurajima from ‘Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai’ is pretty much the perfect anime waifu, but for me, there’s one girl who is better.

~Honourable Mentions~

This year had too many great waifu’s, so here’s 3 more that I felt were deserving of a mention!

Eiko Tokura from ‘Slow Start’
Rin Shima from ‘Laid Back Camp’
Koyume Koizuka – ‘Comic Girls’

The Best Anime Waifu Of 2018

The thing about picking a best girl is there’s not a lot of logic involved, its a personal thing it can’t be quantified by any kind of scientific reasoning. Shera Greenwood from ‘How NOT To Summon A Demon Lord’ is perfect, she’s a kind-hearted elf girl with an energetic spirit and a desire to live her own life as an adventurer and not be beholden to her royal lineage. And as far as looks go her curvaceous body and irresistible smile push all the right buttons. That’s why Shera is My Best Anime Waifu of 2018!

And that’s my list of 2018’s Best Anime Waifu’s, let me know what you think in the comments below and who was your pick for 2018’s best? Thank you all for reading!

Previous Seasonal Waifu Lists:

10 Best Waifu’s Of Winter 2018 Anime
10 Best Waifu’s Of Spring 2018 Anime
10 Best Waifu’s Of Summer 2018 Anime
10 Best Waifu’s Of Fall 2018 Anime

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!


Slow Start – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Slow Start.

What’s the show? Slow Start (2018).

Slow Start? That name seems familiar… I reviewed the ~noteworthy~ 7th episode of it for my blog in the Winter 2018 season.

Oh yeah! The ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show that had an episode that upped the ante on a teacher x student relationship. Way to jump the gun and alienate anyone looking for a review that’s representative of the show as a whole and not just a single side-plot.

Okay, fine. What’s the show about then? It’s about Hana Ichinose, a shy and nervous first year high-schooler with a secret… she’s actually a year older than everyone else because she had a gap year due to an illness. It might not seem like a big deal, but to Hana it is, in fact it’s the thing she worries about most—well that and making friends and not seeming too boring and living alone and…

Okay I get it, she’s a neurotic girl! I wouldn’t say “neurotic” more skittish and worrisome, she’s constantly assessing herself and her actions in the unfounded fear that her newfound friends at her new school will judge her harshly for them, despite her percieved flaws being minor—almost non-existent to an outsider viewing them.

Right, and who are her ‘new’ friends? Well there’s the gentle and confident Eiko Tokura, who’s the most popular girl in their class. Always clinging to Eiko is the adorable Kamuri—who, despite her looks—is in fact a high-school student too, she’s obsessed with three things; food, sleep and Eiko. Lastly is Tama-chan, an energetic and easy-going girl who sometimes gets into trouble.

Uh-huh, and so being a ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show I imagine one’s mileage on this show is dependent on how much they like these characters? You’re learning… that’s kind of scary…

Well I was bound to pick something up from your incessant ravings about ‘cute girls’. Heh, well yes, what you said is accurate, there is very little plot here even by ‘CGDCT’ show standards. So unless you’re immediately enamoured with at least one of the four main characters you’re unlikely to find a lot to gravitate toward.

And I’m guessing you were “enamoured” with one or more of these characters? Pretty much all of them from the first episode, and that just snowballed as side characters of equal adorableness were introduced.

Oh? Like who? Well there’s Hana’s adult cousin Shion, the busty landlady of the apartment complex Hana is currently calling home. I love the fact that she’s so doting on Hana to the point that friendly ‘rumours’ about her and Hana “dating” arise amongst their group. Also in the apartment complex is Hannen-san, a beautiful shut-in who rivals Hana for the amount of neurosis’ she has, and a number of them a lot more relatable—at least to this reviewer.

You’ve deliberately left one to last, haven’t you? Obviously. Since you went and ~blurted~ it out at the start of the review… Enami sensei is their homeroom teacher, a snarky and apathetic young woman who the ever-flirty Eiko takes a liking to.

…More than a liking, isn’t it? Yes, it’s true, the relationship between Eiko and Enami is something I found astoundingly beautiful and nuanced and fascinating even if it falls into that massively questionable void of ‘Teacher x Student’. The thing that I think this show does so right where other relationships of this nature might do wrong is that I never get the sense that the fact that Enami is her teacher has anything to do with their attraction to one-another. This isn’t a person in a position of power and authority taking advantage of someone weaker and inexperienced. Eiko frequently flirts with older women that she finds attractive and interesting and while flirting is not consent, Eiko is never put in a position where she’s being taken advantage of—

Not even when she wakes up with her hands bound in the teacher’s apartment? Well if you’re going to word it like that of course it’s going to sound lascivious! I’m not going to go over points I explored in depth in my 1000+ word review of the episode, just suffice to say both teacher and student were surprised by the power each other had over one another and that “power” didn’t come from one’s job or the other’s flirting but the feelings that burgeoned between them in this unexpected situation.

So that all happened in episode 7 of the 12 episodes. Does their relationship progress any further after that? Not ever in such a concentrated way as that. But there are a few brief subplots that arise later. Such as in episode 11 at the Summer Festival there’s a pretty intense flirt/finger suck that had me reaching for the rewind button, just to be sure I’d seen what I’d seen. And episode 12 had a cute moment amount sharing a piece of candy that’s not nearly as salacious but italicised in a kind of sadness that suggests at how hard it must be for both of them to carry on this kind of ‘forbidden’ relationship.

Uh-huh, and aside from the whole teacher/student thing, how are same-sex relationships treated in this show? I’m glad you asked! It’s almost like I wrote this question for you! Ahem. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anime normalise lesbianism this much and it’s so damn refreshing. Yes, it’s pretty chaste, but it never seems to be much of an issue for anyone (other than very infrequently Hana), in fact one of my favourite recurring couples is Tama’s grandmothers, who are her sole guardians and are very much a couple. This isn’t just two women who raise Tama, they live together and act like partners do and no-one so much as bats an eye, nor even raises attention to it—it’s the most normal thing in the world and I love this show so much for it.

But this isn’t a yuri series, is it? Well, no, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have yuri-adjacent themes. I’m about 99% sure the mangaka is herself a female of the LGBT community and so it’s only natural and very appreciated that she’s put a lot of her own self into this series. I could be projecting but I’m pretty sure the teacher character is at least semi-autobiographical, at least that’s the way it feels.

At the start of this review you said I “jumped the gun” for talking about the teacher/student relationship because it wasn’t ‘representative’ of the show as a whole, but hear you’ve gone and talked about that very point for nearly half the review! Ah, err… well, it’s only because it is the thing about the show that warrants the most discussion. Yes, I love this show, even when it is something as seemingly low-key as shopping or swimming or cooking but that doesn’t make for a particular ~riveting~ review. Frequent readers already know I’m all about the slice of life shows so I have to talk about something to keep their interest up.

Fair enough. So was there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap up the review? Just that I think this show deserves more attention for being completely adorable and a lot deeper than some people give it credit for, yes it’s not going to change people’s opinions on the genre but likewise I think it’s worthy of more than just a passing cursory glance.

Yeah, that’ll work… Listen, convincing people to watch slice of life show’s is hard enough at the best of times.

Final score and recommendation? Sadly, I think this show will be forgotten, at least in the West. But if you have even a passing interest in this genre I think there’s a lot to this series that’s lying just beneath the surface. It makes me want to read the manga, which I can’t say I’ve ever really had the desire to do so for any slice of life/cute girl series before, which probably says something—even if I’m not sure what exactly. It might be slow to start but I never want it to finish; 92 out of 100.

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!



The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done! – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!

What’s the show? The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done! (2018)

And what’s a ‘Ryuo’? Funny that you asked ‘what’ and not ‘who’?

Well was I wrong? Well, no. I just, eh, nevermind. So bare with me because things are about to get dry up in here…

Err, okay… be gentle? Aha. Erm—anyway, this is an anime about Shogi! If you don’t know what shogi is well… it’s like Japanese chess, only because it’s Japanese it’s absurdly difficult and abstract and impossible to grasp without a committed attitude, kind of like their language. Like I’ve tried to understand how a game of shogi is played and I’ve still got no clue, even after Wikipedia and Youtube vids and 12 episodes of this damn show…

It’s like Chess, except hard mode.

So it’s difficult, okay I get it. But what’s a Ryuo? Oh my god, you ask like it’s something that’s easy to explain, JFC… okay so, ‘Ryuo’ is a rank you can achieve by being ridiculously good at Shogi—a game that makes no damn sense—except there’s like this convoluted hierarchy of levels and it’s different for men and women, and it’s different depending on how long you’ve played for and oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed…

I think I’m kind of getting the picture… I’m glad someone is!


Right, so what’s this show precisely about? It’s about 16 year old Yaichi, the youngest ever Ryuo of Shogi and his various troubles navigating the world being the most famous face in the Shogi world…

Which means? Which means this is a harem, of course.

Of course, okay so I guess that means he has groupies and colleagues who are cute anime girls who want to bed him, right? Pretty much, except the majority of them are 9-year-old grade school girls.

It’s not what it looks like! I only met this naked 9-year old I’m pinning to the floor yesterday!

………………excuse me? Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear me.

Oh no, I heard you, I’m just having trouble processing what you said, it’s a harem of nine year olds? Pretty much, and maybe I’m being reductive but more often than not the show seemed too entirely hung up on its own giddy disbelief that they managed to have a show with multiple grade school aged love interests for their nerdy teenage protagonist and by extension their target audience.

His harem of 9 year old’s invades a livestream interview, the comments scrolling across the screen are pretty standard for internet comments.

—You’re going to have to break this down for me because I feel like I’m having a f**king aneurism. Listen, I’m not going to pretend like being judgmental about this kind of thing somehow makes me better than those who are into this, heck I’m into some pretty niche and uncomfortable fetishes, but here’s a show that unfortunately is an actually compelling “sports” anime about Shogi, and has deep characterisation and makes an otherwise impenetrably convoluted game seem exciting and accessible but simultaneously something to be watched with reverence and undivided attention. And then it goes on and slaps a really uncomfortable and borderline loathsome harem subplot atop it. And I’m not even talking about the 9 year olds

All tuckered out from playing Shogi all night.

Wait, what?—what do you mean by that? I mean, for whatever its worth the stuff with Ai, the 9 year old Shogi genius is handled well enough, it’s funny to see protagonist Yaichi be labelled as the ‘loli king’ by his colleagues and competitors and it kind of softens what could have been an uncomfortable plot point. Because I should stress there’s nothing inherently wrong with encouraging a youngster to pursue their talents and likewise their shouldn’t be something inherently perverted about a 16 year old Shogi champion taking on a 9 year old disciple who shows as much talent as Ai does.

It sounds slightly less creepy in Japanese, slightly.

I’m confused; you’re the one who brought up the 9 year olds? Why the sudden back peddling? Plural. As in multiple 9 year old’s who cling to Yaichi like he’s catnip for kids. I’ll admit there’s some laughs to be had by people’s reactions to his budding harem of grade school kids, but it just feels unnecessary for a show that has such attention to detail to its scenes involving Shogi.

Okay then, but there’s more isn’t there. You read the brief, good on you. And yes indeed there is more. It was between episode’s 5 and 10 I decided on a score in the mid seventies, but what happened in 10 & 11 brought down the score so severely I wondered if the show could ever recover.

Poor Ginko, why do the cute one’s have to fall in love with aloof, emotionally stunted assholes?

Go on… So, with the exception of some rarely scene side characters, Yaichi is the only male character, not atypical of a harem anime for sure, but because of this the show, whether it liked it or not, had to focus on female Shogi. Which made for some truly compelling and heart-breaking backstories for side characters such as 25 year old Keika, who’s on the verge of being too old to enter professional Shogi from her training group and the feisty 14 year old Ginko, who is considered the most talented female in Shogi attaining the title of Queen, but still not comparable to the men’s league because of stupid reasons.

Stupid reasons? Argh, I don’t know if it’s the show that I hate or if it’s the gender politics behind Shogi that I hate. Like, just because Ginko is female her road to becoming the best at Shogi is so much harder than anyone male. There’s some allegory there that I don’t dare touch btw.

Ginko is best girl, she’s my favourite character and I wish I could just watch a show about her…

There’s something else isn’t there, I know you’ve been wanting to talk about it since the start of the review. FUCK Yaichi, he’s a piece of shit protagonist. Like first 9 episodes he’s kind of bland, occasionally supportive but utterly clueless to the ‘true’ feelings of the women around him like your typical harem lead, but then episode 10 and 11 he goes and decides to treat every woman in his life like a piece of shit and then AND THEN the girls who’ve been suddenly treated so horribly excuse his actions by saying “he’s so talented and so important that it’s okay, he’ll come round and treat us good once he’s worked through his issues.” Um, no, he’s a c**t, screw him and his whole deal and believe in yourself not some holier than thou messiah complex asshole.

O…kay then. I wanted to like this show, but it went and fucked itself by being all about the least likable character in its line-up. Like seriously, Keika’s episode where she finds a letter written from her 10 year old self to her 20 year old self, presuming her 20 year old self has since fulfilled her dreams of becoming a professional Shogi player, only that’s far from reality is so beautifully heart breaking I have to wonder if this show (or the light novel it was based on) was heavily interfered with to fit some kind of arbitrary fetish quotient from a bunch of perverted producers…

You can do it Keika!

F—final score and recommendation? If you want to watch a great show about Shogi, you could probably do worse, just don’t watch 10 and 11 unless you like your protagonists to become absolutely irredeemable douchebags. The harem elements feel completely unnecessary in this particular show, and even if the loli content is usually played for laughs, your tolerance for this kind of stuff will determine how much you can enjoy it. For me though, it was the protagonist that almost sunk this shogi ship which is a shame because the female characters are really well written and extremely likeable. Not a winner; 62 out of 100.

There’s an eclectic bunch of rivals too, all of whom are more interesting than the protagonist.

Killing Bites Episode 1-6 – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Killing Bites Episode 1-6.

What’s the show? Killing Bites, Episode 1 to 6 (2018).

And what’s it about? “The one with the sharpest fangs will win. That’s what Killing Bites is!”

Huh? It’s just something that our protagonist Hitomi says in every episode. It’s kind of become a meme, at least in my household.

Expect to hear this a lot.

Okay, so what is it really about? Surface level synopsis, it’s about a bunch genetically engineered humans called ‘Therianthropes’ who fight to the death for their wealthy investors.

Aha… and what’s a ‘therianthrope’? Basically a furry. Okay, that’s not true at all, yes some of the girls grow tails and cute ears relevant to the animal that they have been genetically engineered with but they also grow claws and sharp teeth too. Also there’s men, but a lot of them are more ‘full body’ or ‘full head’ transformations rather than just sprouting animal parts.

Sexy tiger abs tho.

And who are our main characters. Well the series starts with a high school girl getting kidnapped by a group of rapists in a van, the college student driving the van, Yuya Nomoto, didn’t realise when the ‘cool kids’ asked him along to “pick up chicks”, that they meant “kidnap and assault”, mortified by the situation he finds himself in he tries to help her only to find that the high school girl was very capable of handling the situation herself and has ripped the men limb from limb. Her name is Hitomi and she has the ferocious abilities of the Rattel.

She’s got this handled, no worries!

Rattel? Yeah I didn’t know what it was either, it’s another name for the honey badger.

Honey badger?! Not exactly an apex predator. You’d be surprised, the show does a very good job dolling out information (courtesy of a sporadic narrator) on the various Therianthrope abilities as they become relevant throughout fights.

Honey badger doesn’t give a shit.

So it’s a fighting/action anime? It’s a lot of things, it’s pretty ecchi at times but the only actual nudity so far is in the first three episodes, after that it kind of focuses a bit more and concentrates on the plot.

Oh so it’s got a plot? Don’t sound so surprised just because I said the e-word, it’s got a very, um… ‘interesting’ plot.

Uh-oh, what do you mean by ‘interesting’? Well it’s got one; I just don’t know how many other shows and movies it stole it from.

He doesn’t even need to fully transform into a Hippopotamus to be a total tank.

So it’s derivative? Well, okay I’ll hash out the basics, so there’s four Zaibatsu Conglomerates in Japan that host underground death matches on an uninhabited island in the Philippine sea. Each of the investors from said conglomerate has a team of three ‘brutes’ that they move around the board like chess pieces, when two or more brutes come into contact on a space they battle each other to the death, if they fail to listen to the instructions given by their investor or are somehow unable to move, a collar around the brutes’ neck will explode in three minutes.

So it’s bit Hunger Games-y? I don’t know what that is; I was going to say it’s like Btooom!

I don’t know what that is. Anyway, despite its derivative plot elements I think what really shines here is the characterisation and the writer’s willingness to let the women be in control. Like so often the show looks like it’s about to have the male be the one in control of the situation, or let the male save the day, and then the show upends those antiquated gendered expectations and has the women be the ones in control.

These kind of cliches are pretty much done away with by the time the plot kicks in around episode 4.

How do you mean? Well aside from the fact that Hitomi is always saving Yuwa’s ass from danger since he is pretty much a useless protagonist (he’s a nervous, nerdy college student, but is kind and naïve to a fault). There’s a scene in Episode 4, where we are first introduced to the island fighting game, and how the investors (of which Yuwa is cajoled into becoming) must ‘control’ their ‘pieces’ on the board. And immediately I was like, “oh good, the show’s going to go all ‘Metroid: Other M’ on us and have a powerful female character be subservient to a man who’s calling the shots from above”. But like the cool show that this is, it’s quickly revealed that Hitomi is actually giving him hand signals to Yuwa via the video feed, telling him where she wants to move!

Well that’s good to hear. Also this show loves killing rapists, spoiler alert, well more of a spoiler than the above stuff, but one of the other teams has a rapist cobra and he tries to rape Hitomi with his twin barbed penis and she just straight up chops it off, it’s so cool!

That kind of talk’s liable to get a snake castrated.

Trigger warning rape then, huh? Big time, like it’s not just all used for the sake of shock value, it is explained in the context of the show that many of the ‘brutes’ who have undergone the Therianthrope conversion used to be horrible criminals so it stands to reason. Occasionally it feels exploitative, through only due to ‘male gaze’ and all that, but it’s always presented like it’s the worst crime, and anyone who does it is also the worst, so no mixed morals here, which is something to be thankful for.

And the other characters before we wrap up? Well there’s a lot of them so I’ll just name the more prominently featured ones. There’s Eruza, a frisky cheetah hybrid from a rival Zaibatsu. There’s Ichinosuke, a burly hippopotamus hybrid with a heart of gold who joins Hitomi’s team. And there’s Ui, an adorable Rabbit hybrid who has never even won a fight and who ends up becoming the reluctant final member of their team.

The calm before the storm.

So final rec— Oh! And stay past the end credits of every episode because there’s a hilarious and adorable comic relief character who only features in these post credit scenes, her name’s Oshie and she’s a classmate of Hitomi’s and well these scenes are just the best.

R—Right, so verdict for the first half of the season? I don’t see a lot of people talking about this show, and what I do isn’t positive which is a shame because it’s a show that while derivative in some respects is one that could inspire conversations, not just about its content but about its plot and characters, the latter of whom run the gamut of entertainingly likeable to detestable as intended. It’s no masterpiece, and it’s probably not going to be remembered, but while I’m watching it it’s entertaining, action-packed, violent and yes, fan-servicey. The shows knows what it is and it never takes itself too seriously, tonally and aesthetically in some ways it reminds me of High School of the Dead (2010), but it’s a lot better than that show. At the end of the day though I would recommend it for fans of the genre, as long as you don’t go in expecting anything revolutionary. “That’s what Killing Bites is!” (Trust me if you watch it, you’ll be quoting that line too!)

Sleeping in the same bed as Hitomi is a liability.

Citrus Episode Ten – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Episode 10 of Citrus.

What’s the show? It’s episode 10 of ‘Citrus’ (2018).

Single episode review, huh? We haven’t covered the other 9 episodes though, so how about a quick run down? Yuzu’s mother has married a new man in a new city, and so Yuzu’s now attending a prim and proper private school, which doesn’t jell with her individualistic persona. She’s also got a new step-sister, Mei, the ‘by the books’ student council president! But when Miss prim and proper plants a kiss on Yuzu to get her to shut up, all sorts of strange feelings begin to stir inside Yuzu, not the least because that was her first kiss!

So we’re doubling down on the forbidden romance, huh? Well if you want to put it like that…

Staring contest!

What do you mean? Calling lesbianism ‘forbidden romance’ is part of the problem that so many young girls have to fight against, especially in Japan, where there’s not nearly enough representation of same-sex couples in the media outside of content produced for men (i.e. fetishising it).

But isn’t this for a male audience? I don’t think so, I mean, I wouldn’t put in the same category as something like Sakura Trick, (which is a subject for another day). The fan-service is turned all the way down, it’s just kissing and the occasional grope, but it’s always presented as a big deal, for either one or both of them when it happens. Besides, I doubt there are many people sitting through 20+ minutes of talking and plot and character development per episode just to get a single kiss.

But this is based on a manga? *brain explodes*

I think you underestimate perverts. I speak for the perverts!

Was that a fucking Lorax reference? I don’t know, but I’ve got wood.

*facepalm* And here I thought we were getting somewhere serious with this. We are, I just felt like making a dumb joke.

At least I know how to say ‘crap’ in Japanese!

Right, so why now are we talking about Citrus, and not after any of the other episodes? Because Episode 10 of Citrus just played it’s strongest card yet, also it introduced two characters who are just all kinds of great, but let’s start with the moment that made me punch the sky in jubilation.

Go on. So, some serious stuff went down between Yuzu and Mei at the start of the episode, which ends in the two not talking to each other for some months. Yuzu wakes up late on the day of their year levels excursion to Kyoto and has to hurry there, meanwhile at the train station we meet two white haired twin-sisters, the older (but shorter) one, Sara gushes about a beautiful and kind person she just met. Some stuff happens, and Sara runs into Yuzu at the station gift shop, they’ve both missed their train to Kyoto, so they decide to go together. They get talking on the train and Sara begins telling her about this ‘wonderful encounter’ she had. Yuzu’s surprised to discover the person she is smitten for is a girl when Sara comes out with this simple, but obvious to everyone with a sense of empathy, statement. “If I decide I like someone, it doesn’t matter if they’re a boy or a girl.”

Yes, all of the yes. Why can’t this girl be the protagonist?

True. It might seem obvious, but this whole season Yuzu, despite being a kind and caring individual has constantly been throwing up the whole, ‘I can’t love Mei, she’s a girl and I’m a girl, that doesn’t work’ shtick. But in one simple sentence, everything the audience has (hopefully) been screaming at the screen is put so succinctly to Yuzu, Loving someone the same sex as you shouldn’t be a taboo, love is love.

Even if she is her stepsister? Listen, I admit, the whole stepsister thing is probably the most unnecessarily ‘drama for the sake of drama’ thing about this show, it would have been pretty much the same show if they weren’t ‘suddenly siblings’. But they’d been stepsister’s for literally less than a day before something happened between them, it’s not like they grew up together, it’s only taboo on paper… and to sell more books.

So what happens with the rest of the episode? Yuzu and Sara have a heart to heart discussion on a park bench in Kyoto on their way to find their respective school groups. We learn the nitty gritty about what caused the recent fight between Yuzu and Mei, even though Mei was willing to take the next step forward in their relationship, Yuzu wasn’t ready and pulled away, which hurt Mei.

“I was scared”

Fair enough, and then? And then they make it back to the hotel their classmates are staying at; Sara reunites with her younger (much taller) sister Nina and later Yuzu tries to reconnect with Mei, only things aren’t going to be that simple.

Anyone else obsessed with the way Yuzu says Mei’s name? Like she somehow makes it sound like a two syllable word, I love it!

Oh, how so? Well aside from the fact that Mei’s obviously been hurt by someone she confided and relied upon so deeply, a challenger appears.

The plot thickens!

A challenger for Mei’s affections? Perhaps, see it turns out the girl that Sara was smitten with at the train station, the one she’s fallen head over hells for, is actually Mei!

*gasp!* Yeah I admit I saw it coming a mile away but it does add some more drama to the show, which is fun!

In my personal experience, everyone in Tokyo is wonderful.

So I take it since you decided to review it this is your favourite episode so far? Yeah of course! It showed a kind of maturity that the tone often alluded to, but the dialogue failed to back up throughout.

And does that mean you’d recommend it to people who dropped or doubted the show’s intentions. I mean, it’s hard, this kind of subject matter is sensitive to a lot of people, and those who might thought it was pandering or fetishist at the start are welcome to that opinion but I think it’s deeper than that. It’s no work of art by any means but I think it has some important things to say about same sex relations and how they’re perceived, especially in Japan, although the fact it’s taken ten whole episodes to get to a quote worth quoting in favour of the show’s portrayal of same-sex relationships is a little damning. I don’t think this will change many people’s minds but it’s worth bringing up at least.

Oh and why’s it called ‘citrus’? I don’t know, because Yuzu is also a type of Japanese citrus fruit? Because love is sweet and sour? Who cares, it’s a good, short, evocative name, it suits the show well.

Darling in the FranXX Episode 8 – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Darling in the FranXX Episode 8.

Please note: This review is no longer representative of the author’s feelings on this show for an up to date review please read: Puberty & Robots – A 20 Question Reassessment of Darling in the FranXX (Episodes 1-15)

What’s the show? You know what the f**king show is, don’t be cute.

Whoa! Where’s this anger coming from? You ever watch something so insulting that you despair for humanity?

Hmm, like Adam Sandler’s ‘Pixels’? Right, sure, except the difference is there aren’t thousands of people proclaiming the brilliance of Pixels a lot of people are with Darling in the FranXX.

Oh boy. We’re going here again aren’t we? I intended to do a quarterly review of this show every 6 episodes, content to watch on in eye-rolling disbelief as the show progressed. But episode 8 made me so mad I almost put my fist through the screen!

So the clothes melting monster slime only touches the women, hmm? HMM?

Haven’t you heard the phrase, ‘don’t blog angry’? No, and I think you just made that up.

Well someone has to be the voice of reason, besides no one likes reading your rants… They don’t want to read it, they don’t have to.

No chance of that, I’m in full rage mode!

Way to antagonize, buddy. So I guess there’s no stopping this 50 ton freight train of hate, so what about the episode has got you so riled up? Oh you know the usual trash you’d come to expect from this show: casual sexism played for laughs or titillation, women being reduced to less than objects as they are stripped and ogled and then told to not be so up right about it. Reinforcing toxic gender stereotypes, suggesting that women should just ‘get along’ with men regardless of how uncomfortable it makes them.

It’s like ‘the Fappening’ all over again…

U Mad Bro? Don’t you fucking meme with me!

Sorry! I just thought we needed a little levity. So the show continues to be shitty to its female characters, what else is new? Not to be harsh but you knew that 3 episodes in, why do you keep watching if it aggrieves you so much? Because I’m fucking delusional obviously, it’s like the dog who keeps going back to its owner even though it knows it’s going to get beaten down. Because the owner was once good and kind and fun, but is now content to do everything to undermine any sense of what used to be.

Did I forget to mention “heteronormative” because, well yeah…

So ‘all that’ aside, is there anything redeemable you can say about it? I know you praised the animation and the mystery behind the larger story in the previous review, what about now? Nada.

Yikes, you’ve really lost anything favourable to say about the show haven’t you? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this defeated by something. It’s like if you went to a decent restaurant for a while and then one day after going you get the worst food poisoning of your life, like literally body sweats, white knuckle, out every orifice kind of food poisoning. You’re not going to go, when asked “how’s that restaurant?” Say “yeah the bread sticks are good and the wait staff is nice,” no you’re going to say, “stay away, I nearly shat my soul out after eating there.”

Who could’ve guessed this show was written by men?! I mean women totally just sit around and lament about how they nag too much.

Evocative imagery… But do you see what I’m saying? There comes a point where it doesn’t matter if a show is half good, if the part that’s half bad is so bad it makes you shake with rage.

So it is half good? You want me to be honest? Fine, yes, the animation is still very good and the setting is interesting, and the mystery is one that begs answers. But it’s also dumb as heck, I mean this episode literally had a trope as tired and lazy as dividing the house in two with a taped line to determine the boys side and the girls side. I mean really?! Why not just get all your plot points from old sitcom reruns since you’ve evidently run dry of all the anime tropes you stuffed in to the previous episodes?!

“Lucy! You’ve got some ‘splaining to do!”

I have a feeling I know the answer to this question already, but seriously why don’t you drop the show? Nobody’s forcing you to watch it. Yes, in fact every one is forcing me to watch it. Every 5 star review or 10/10 score is goading me into try and understand what kind of people are out there and what they could possibly see in this show? Like I long gave up trying to understand the scores shows get on MAL relative to one another, and understanding people is about as fruitful endeavour as trying to drink soup with a sieve. But I need to know that it’s more than just ogling girls in demeaning positions and big robots fighting that has made this show so acclaimed and so quickly.

Maybe it’s just not for you? Maybe, but then who is it for?

People not like you. And why are there so many of them?

I don’t know. And why do they hate women so much?

Okay then. I think it’s time we pull the breaks on this train before you say something that looses you a follower. It’s okay, they probably won’t notice, they’re too busy what with all the women hating.

She’s giving permission for to be leered at, but only a little. Because, you know, nobody likes a king leer. #lamejoke

You know you could be wrong and this show goes on to subvert all your expectations by the end. I hope this day comes, I truly do. I hope after episode 24 airs and it’s actually revealed to be a masterclass in feminist discourse, that everyone who’s been aggrieved by my comments towards the show they love comes to me and says, “ha! You were wrong, it was smart and sensitive and actually about deconstructing all the things you said it was enabling” and I’ll say, “guess you were right all along, pardner” and I’ll tip my Stetson to them and ride off into the sunset on my gallant steed content in being wrong and contrite enough to know that I was a fool to ever doubt the geniuses at Studio Trigger.

Well I’m glad you got that off your chest, it must feel better to have written that all down now you can do the sensible thing and delete it and everyone will be happy. And published!

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 9 – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 9.

What’s the show? Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 9.

Another one? Didn’t expect another single episode review on this show so soon. Nor did I to be honest.

So did the show manage to subvert your expectations the way the previous episode did with the introduction of ‘hot boys’ into the fray? Umm, yes and no.

Do go on. Well there were no more scenes with ‘hot boys’ alas, so the shipping is put on hold, but I’m still holding out that it will become a romance anime at some point. I mean aside from the one-sided ‘romance’ between Koizumi-san and Yu.

So what subverted your expectations this time? Comedy!

Damn ramen zombies.

Oh? I thought it was always a comedy? Well on paper maybe, don’t get me wrong every episode had at least a few humorous moments but this is the first time the show has actually tried to be funny and pretty much succeeded throughout.

I half expected the Yuru Camp ‘narrator’ to appear at this point.

Interesting. Some examples? Well unexpectedly the episode starts in the mountains, and considering I watched Yuru Camp just before I almost thought we were about to have a crossover episode, but no, instead Koizumi is mountain climbing and we’re treated to a famous quote by mountaineer George Mallory, when asked “why do you climb mountains” he replied “because it’s there.” It’s an obvious joke when it comes to Koizumi but it’s well placed and having the screen fill up with the reply like it’s some deep sentiment is very amusing. What’s more it’s a beautifully animated segment, that contrasts with the heavily city based scenes the show is usually set in.

2 deep 4 me.

Seems like a lot of work just for a one-note payoff. Maybe, but the segment is still entertaining, plus there’s fun little moments like when Koizumi sets up a portable stove and begins cooking up ramen on a trail and the people passing her by begin muttering “ramen” like possessed drones at the apparently intoxicating sight and smells. Plus it’s just nice seeing Koizumi interact with other people like the elderly couple who asks her to take their photo.

Damn you Crunchyroll watermark!

Character building? That’s it! It’s character, not so much the characters themselves but the character of the show!

But dat art tho.

What do you mean? Okay so in the second segment, we’re introduced to a middle school boy named Kenta, who enters a ramen shop in order to get “revenge” on a bowl of ramen that defeated him previously and shamed him in front of his school friends. (Basically he couldn’t finish it because the serving is so large and he felt emasculated). Koizumi enters soon after, taking a seat beside him and orders a mega size potion of Buta Yarou ramen. After seeing the petite girl easily defeat her own super sized dish and order a soft serve desert he is motivated and finishes his bowl.

“Oh my god Becky look at her ramen, it’s… so… BIG”

So? Ugh, it’s hard to put into words, it’s a cute scene, besides if you’ve ever been to Japan you know not only the difficulty in finishing ramen but the shame in leaving anything in the bowl.

Synchronised slurping, new Olympic sport?

I guess that makes sense. Also the boy is the younger brother of the beauty-obsessed girl Misa, who is one of Yu’s good friends. So now there’s two brothers who’ve been taken in by Koizumi-san’s ‘unique’ charms, albeit in different ways.

That’s what she said.

Reverse harem? Where’d you learn such dirty words! Also, no I doubt it, but it is slowly expanding the universe of the show, which is fun and interesting even if it will probably amount to little, but I can dream…

Also the second segment takes place in Akihabara, I literally leapt out of my seat in excitement as I stayed on this very street last year!

And what else? Well in the episode’s third segment we see Misa exercising because she’s getting jealous about all the attention Koizumi has been getting from the boys at school. She sets out to “spy” on Koizumi to find out her beauty tricks and by “spy” she just blatantly confronts her and asks what new things she’s been doing? And it being Ms Koizimi the answer can only be one thing.

M. Bison: “OF COURSE!”

Ramen? Back fat!

Baby got back fat? No I already made a Sir Mix-a-Lot joke this blog…

Excuse me?! Well yes, ramen but back fat ramen, and the segment is introduced in such a hilarious fashion like I’d accidentally put in some sort of erotica! See this is the character of the show I was talking about, the sort of personality to the show itself that had been so lacking up to this point!

50 Shades of Ramen.

I think I get what you’re saying. It’s about the way it’s presented as opposed to the content therein? Well the content is important of course, but essentially yes, the show is experimenting with styles and presentation and feeling all the more loose and fun for it!

So how’s this segment. It’s probably the weakest of the three because it is a return to the normal format of ‘Koizumi and one of the other female side characters eating ramen’ but it too has a tad more comedy, in the form of a montage of all things as Misa gets seduced into eating more back fat ramen over the course of a week just so she gets the same “glowing” complexion Koizumi has had recently. Spoiler alert it’s because her face is greasy from eating ramen that’s covered in lard!

You say it like it’s a bad thing?

Ew, not sure how I feel about that. I admit, it’s not at the top of my list of ramen to try from this show but it is at least interesting!

Me at Melon Books in Akihabara.

So wrap this up, will ya? Right, so the first few episodes had the score hovering ‘round the mid 70’s out of 100, peaking in the high 70’s at some more interesting moments. Episode 8 had the score touching the low 80’s, and now, well if things continue this way, it could be a show worthy of mid 80’s by the time the season is done. This is not a weather report FYI. Hopefully the show continues to grow and change in these subtle but important ways, because I’m enjoying it all the more as it goes along.