Winter 2022 in Review Part 2

Most of the Winter 2022 times have now concluded, so it’s time for the second part of the season-ending wrap-up. The first part featured a review of In the Land of Leadale, so here I will look at some of the other prominent titles of the season and how they turned out.

Featured Title: World’s End Harem

Rating: 3 (on fan service merits alone), 2 (overall) of 5

I read and reviewed the first volume of this series’ source manga, so I had a pretty good idea up front about exactly how trashy this was going to end up being. After seeing all 11 episodes, the series certainly lived up (or down, if you will) to my expectations for it.

The series takes a somewhat interesting concept – what would happen if a disease spread worldwide and wiped out all men not in cold sleep, while leaving women unharmed – and played the “harem” part of the title to the hilt. I do have to give the series at least some small credit for striving for more; it uses three very different survivors to show how different guys react to the reality of having to bed countless women in order to re-propagate the species. One remains pure and true to his love, one descends into corruption, and one was already corrupted but eventually becomes disenchanted with his situation as he starts to find all of the sleeping around to be empty. Meanwhile, one of the men finds mounting evidence that the virus may be man-made and part of a grand conspiracy to release the culprit virus intentionally.

Yeah, it’s pretty standard conspiracy theory stuff, but hey, whatever. No one’s watching for deep, complex story developments. They want to see trash, like the high school boy who uses his status and the push of his handler to sleep around to start taking revenge on those who bullied him years earlier. That the series certainly delivers on. They want to see plentiful T&A and females desperately sucking up to the males (sometimes literally!). The series also delivers on that plentifully in uncensored versions. So the series does fulfill its raison d’etre.

Expect anything more out of the series, though, and you’ll be disappointed. Whether it’s ridiculously-busty women, cheesy outfits, unexplained character motivations, or the cult that may be legitimate resistance but comes off as terrorists, or weak animation anytime fan service isn’t the focus, just about every other aspect of the series falls apart, and it only gets worse. The series also just ends at episode 11, leaving all sorts of plot twists up in the air.

This is not by any means the worst series of its type out there, but as heavy fan service titles go, you can do a lot better.

Other Titles That I Followed

Arifureta 2 (3 of 5) – The season’s final episode still has to air as I write this, but I can’t see that changing the overall evaluation much. This season is still mostly about Hajime being awesome and an edgelord bad-ass, but it does have a few moments (Hajime’s reaction to Kaori calling him out about him becoming his otaku ideal is easily one of the whole season’s funniest scenes) and certainly looks vastly better than the first season. (Not that I’m saying much there. . .) Overall, it never excited me much but I did not regret watching it.

Attack on Titan the Final Season (4.5 of 5) – Wow, this series is pulling no punches and features an early contender for the year’s best opener. Annie’s back, the original protagonist is now the antagonist, and everyone’s having to do ugly but necessary things to avert catastrophe. Can’t wait to see how it closes out.

Dress-Up Darling (4.5 of 5) – Even though this was a widely-anticipated title, it ended up being the surprise of the season for me. I did not expect to end up following it despite a strong opening episode, but the series sucked me in and continued to charm me week after week. Marin has a lot to do with that; she may be a fairly stock character type by role, but something about the specifics of the way she was written makes her stand out from other characters of her type. The same for Gojo, who unexpectedly proves to be much more than the typical bland lead. Surprisingly involving details about cosplaying, an involving development of the central relationship, generally positive underlying messages, and some sharp designs and animation all contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience. (The fan service didn’t hurt, either.) Stuff like this is why I continue to try to preview everything every season even though it’s not my job to do so anymore.

Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout (3.5 of 5) – This one also turned out to be more pure fun than I was expecting. Its antics were a delight to watch week-to-week and I like how the central duo resolved at least some of their issues in the final episode. Will absolutely watch more if it gets a sequel.

Miss Koroitsu From the Monster Development Department (3.5 of 5) – While never a priority view for me, this whimsical look behind the curtain of an evil organization still proved to be enough fun to warrant watching it. Its call-outs to “real-life” heroes every episode was a treat, and it keenly played with the absurdity of the premise, turning it into a series primarily about workplace humor. Worth a look if you skipped it earlier.

Orbital Children – I’m counting this six-episode Netflix series as belonging to this season. I still have one episode to go, so I may write this one up as a separate review if I have a slow day at some point during the review season.

Princess Connect! Re: Dive (3.5 of 5) – While big swaths of this series were utterly, innocuously cute and low-key, the series showed in its later stages that it could really crank up its game when it needed to. A strong final few episodes elevates the score here, although – as an anime-only viewer – I increasingly felt that I was missing a lot by not knowing who a lot of these characters are.

Sabuki Bisco – Was far less impressed with this one than a lot of other people, apparently. Got tired of its antics and style over time, so I did not finish it.

The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising the Nation Out of Debt (3.5 of 5) – This series finished the season as a solid (if unexceptional) complement to How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. While the series mostly succeeded at what it is doing, it feels like it still has a lot more potential. Oh, and I’d watch another season of it just for Ninym.

Yashahime (3.5 of 5) – While not a spectacular series, this one takes more knocks than it deserves, and that shows in the final few episodes. Seeing all of the parents finally back in action – including especially Moroha fighting alongside Inuyasha – in the late episodes is a real treat, and the series mostly satisfying wraps up its major plot lines. If no more is made then this is a fine stopping point for the franchise, but I would certainly watch more if it continues on.

Sabuki Bisco – Was far less impressed with this one than a lot of other people, apparently. Got tired of its antics and style over time, so I did not finish it.

2 thoughts on “Winter 2022 in Review Part 2

  1. Seems a lot of people were surprised by Dress Up Darling… I know I was, as the description wasn’t that promising. But I was hooked by the end of the 1st ep, and by the 3rd or 4th pronounced it AOTS (that isn’t Titan). I stand by that.

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  2. You disliked Sabuki Bisco so much you said it twice 😉

    My fav this season was Dress Up Darling for the reasons you said. Overall, this was a really lackluster season for me, aside from Dress Up Darling. I’m hoping for more good shows to watch in the Spring season.

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