Kokkoku Ends

4 Stars
Mysterious Woman
Kokkoku (Amazon) is one of the better shows of the 2018 Winter anime season. It’s Sci-Fi thriller that’s a bit on the gritty and violent side (though with a happy ending).

The series has a rather “American” feel, probably because of the way it centers on a fairly dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional families certainly do occur in Japanese television but the dysfunction tends to be treated either as a problem that must be fixed or a source of tragedy. American shows tend to regard such dysfunction as a source of comedy.
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Winter 2018 Anime Early Impressions

New series that look interesting so far:

After the Rain (Amazon) is a high-quality production with a potentially squicky premise. Akira, a quiet, serious high school girl, is being courted/stalked by a hapless classmate in whom she has not the slightest interest. She, on the other hand, has a terrible crush on the manager of the restaurant where she works. He’s a good-hearted, conscientious and totally clueless fellow who is more than twice her age. There’s clearly the potential for a trainwreck here but so far it’s been pretty innocent.

The Japanese title is “Koi wa Ameagari no You ni” (“Love is like the period after a rainfall.)

A Place Further Than the Universe (Crunchyroll) is a totally wholesome story about high school girls who finagle their way into an expedition to Antarctica. (The Japanese title is “Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho” which I would translate as “A place farther than the sky.”) Since this is from Madhouse the production values are quite high.

I already posted my impressions of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Crunchyroll.) TLDR: It’s probably a must-see if you are a fan of the classic original series. If you haven’t seen the original series you would do better to watch that instead. Crunchyroll–I suggest scrolling down to the subtitled version.)

Dagashi Kashi Season 2 (Crunchyroll) brings back the popular comedy that extols the wonders of Japanese junk food. I actually think I like the new season better. The format is now half-lengh (12 minute) episodes. I think this works better for such lightweight material.

Hakumei and Mikochi (HIDIVE) are two little girls (about 3 inches tall) who live in a quaint little house built into a hollow tree in a forest full of talking animals. Hakumei is boisterous and tomboyish. Mikochi is shy and introverted. The little people and the talking animals actually have a fairly elaborate quasi-medieval civilization with Japanese characteristics.

So far I think this is pretty wonderful but I can’t help noticing something. The tiny little people and the full-size talking animals all live together peacefully and don’t eat each other. However they are Japanese enough to eat lots of seafood. Am I evil for wondering whether the fish can talk?

Karakai Jouzu no Tagaki-san (“Tagaki-san who is good at teasing”) (Crunchyroll) is a lighthearted take on the awkwardness of adolescence. Nishikata, a first year middle-school student, is constantly pranked by Tagaki-san, the cute girl who sits next to him. Every day he plots revenge but she always outsmarts him. It’s very clear to the audience that both of them are attracted to each other but neither is willing to admit it. This is interspersed with short segments about the baka behavior of other class members.

Kokkoku (Amazon) is a taunt, rather violent fantasy thriller about people who can stop time. (It might be more accurate to say that they can rotate their personal timelines 90 degrees so that everyone else seems frozen from their point of view.)

The story pits a working class family whose members have long had the power against a bunch of thugs and cultists who have recently acquired it.

Laid-Back Camp (Yuru Camp) (Crunchyroll) is a feel-good anime about girls who like to go camping. One is quietly competent, one is an enthusiastic airhead and I don’t know much about the others yet. There’s not much more that I can say. Either you like this sort of thing or you don’t.

Mitsuboushi Colors (HIDIVE) seems targeted at fans of 2005’s Strawberry Marmallow, the original series about cute girls being cute. (The character designs seem almost identical, as does the type of humor, though this is supposedly by a different mangaka.) Like Strawberry Marshmallow this is very silly but kind of irresistible.

In this case the cute girls hang out in the vicinity of Tokyo’s Ueno Park and bother the adults who work there, particularly a long-suffering policeman.