Another anime season is coming to an end, and once again it’s time to say goodbye to all the friends we’ve enjoyed spending time with. Takagi-san and Nishikata. Reiner and Eren and Gabi. Akebi-san and her cutely mismatched school uniform. And of course, Gojo-kun and Marin-chan, who made our hearts soar and generated many fun memes to share online. As usual, I learned a few new things from the most recent anime season. Let’s take a look at what they were!
What Did We Learn from the Most Recent Anime Season?
There’s No Upper Limit on How Bad Anime Censorship Can Be
We all thought we knew anime censorship. Beams of light and bursts of steam appearing for no reason at just the right moment. Naughty bits being cleverly covered up by a well-positioned hand. Or maybe, in the case of a really extreme series like Interspecies Reviewers, those CGI floating things that are annoying, but didn’t render the series totally unwatchable.
But a new low has been reached with World’s End Harem, an anime about a disease that kills all men, leaving only a handful of males capable of mating to keep the human race alive. Rather than challenge themselves to keep most sexy bits off the “safe for broadcast” version of the series, fading out and leaving those parts up to the minds of the viewer, or covering part of the screen with shadows, the animators basically came up with the most frustrating censorship imaginable. The brand of Studio Gokumi and AXsiZ, will have a difficult time rebounding from this poor showing.
While the above meme is poking fun at Crunchyroll, this isn’t really their fault. They were provided with the international broadcast version and they showed it to their customers. If anyone is to blame, I’ll bet it’s China, a country extremely sensitive to sexual imagery and happy to weaponize its Internet users at will, something Hololive fans have unfortunately had to deal with. Even Mushoku Tensei got targeted for “violating mainstream values” for daring to include a sexual element in the story… which is one more reason to love the show.
This would be a great moment for Crunchyroll to announce that’ll be declining to carry heavily censored anime in the future if the uncensored versions won’t also be provided to allow fans who check the “Show Mature Content” box in their accounts to watch that version they prefer. And to let the industry know that repressive societies like China cannot be the “lowest common denominator” when it comes to worldwide broadcast standards for anime.
I Learned Subtle Fanservice Might Be the Best
Would you believe one of the most fanservice-heavy series this anime season was the adorable Akebi-chan’s Sailor Suit? This is a delightful slice-of-life story about a girl yearning to attend the same junior high school her mother went to because of how cute the sailor uniforms looked… only to learn that the school had switched to “blazer” type uniforms, meaning she was the only girl in school with the old-style design. I was floored by the genius of Clover Works, weaving in carefully chosen shots of Akebi-chan’s feet or thighs or butt to make sure fans were never bored.
It was certainly a lot more fun watching Akebi-chan’s developing relationships with her new friends at school while being shown pleasing visual camera angles than trying to slog through a single episode of the censored version of World’s End Harem.
Maybe Studios Shouldn’t Be So Quick To Produce a New Anime Season?
One thing anime fans love to do is pound the table for another season of their favorite anime, even asking for new seasons of shows that had told all the story that needed to be told and ended in a reasonably satisfactory way. I’m pretty sure that when anime studios make these new seasons, the results are often disappointing financially.
I don’t know how the details about how anime is financed, but I’m pretty sure most anime follows the 80-20 principle, whereby 80% of the profits from anime are realized by the 20% most popular series. So for every smash-hit show like Attack on Titan or Monogatari or Uma Musume, there are minor series that might tell thoughtful stories, like Araburu Kisetsu or Scum’s Wish which aren’t really successful financially. Even series that are such huge hits they become minor social phenomena like Osomatsu-kun’s 500,000+ season 1 Blu-ray sales fell an incredible 30,000% to around 1500 per disc for subsequent seasons.
Did the second seasons of series like Arifureta or Realist Hero pay off for the studios making them? I couldn’t see a lot of buzz about the shows, but I hope the fans tuned in and had fun.
The “Just Dere” Genre Needs to be Nurtured
We all know the iconic tsundere genre and have thrilled at series like Toradora, Evangelion or Inuyasha for crafting characters who are 85% tsun (grouchy and irritable), but who comes through in the end with that all-important 15% dere, repaying the main character’s hard work with lovey-dovey sweetness.
But the popularity of My Dress-Up Darling in the current anime season has proved that it’s okay to tell a story that cuts straight to the dere. The adorable relationship blossoming between Marin and Gojo-kun warmed the jaded hearts of otakus all over the world and had us shouting “Dsj;gfhaslkn!” at our screens together.
What Did J-List Customers Learn from the New Anime Season?
I asked J-List’s awesome customers to share what they learned this anime season, and here are the replies I got!
I learned not to judge a show based purely on its summary. I was originally going to skip My Dress-Up Darling because the summary made it sound boring, but after seeing screenshots of Marin and her unique personality I gave it a watch and found it one of the best.
I’ve (re)learned that romance anime makes me feel good yet depressed as hell, both at the same time. I managed to convince myself this season with My Dress-Up Darling, and I still haven’t learned my lesson.
I learned I like my downloads because they’re not censored.
Thanks for reading this blog post about what we all learned from the winter 2022 anime season. Did you learn anything important? Post it below, or tell us on Twitter!
Great news for everyone! J-List now has lower shipping prices on all packages shipping from Japan! And in addition to the lower shipping, we’re keeping our $25 J-List Shipping Support automatic coupon for all orders of $150 or more, to help us all get through these trying times.