I think it should be fairly clear to everyone at this point that yuri is a genre I know a lot about and have a great interest in. In many ways, I see my role as being an ambassador to yuri. It’s a part of the community which has been historically underrepresented in the discussion of anime and manga, particularly on YouTube.
Violet Evergarden would seem to be a very well-liked series. If you merely look at its score on MAL, which is well above most airing shows, it would easily seem to be quite beloved. Given that this is a decent picture of the community at large, I can’t really contest it. What I can say is that in all the places I actually spend my time, Violet Evergarden is hardly the critical darling that it seems to be in the wider anime fandom. Many aspects of it have been criticized, some fairly and some unfairly. While it’s not my favorite show of the season, I do like it quite a bit, so I feel like I should do the job of defending the series.
It’s been said before that Serial Experiments Lain is a show that takes four watches to truly comprehend. Twenty years after its production, the show still seems in many ways prophetic in regards to the course of development that the internet would take, identifying future trends that most wouldn’t catch onto for years to come.
If you had to convey freedom in one symbol, in one motif, in one theme, how would you do so? Would adulthood represent freedom, the ability to make your own decisions? Would it be represented by a car, making it possible for you to go wherever you can on land? Or would it be an open field, where you can continue running in any direction? All of these are totally valid ways to portray freedom. It only makes sense that such a nebulous concept can be seen in a million different manners.
Today, Nanoha Reflection is arriving in American theaters, after its release half a year ago in Japan. With that, the Nanoha series has refocused on its original leads after leaving them as side characters at best in anime for the last 10 years. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Vivid girls and I particularly love Vivid Strike, even though that show made a point not to display Nanoha or Fate. But I fell in love with the show that was entirely carried by the narratives of those two characters, so I’m incredibly happy to see them finally return in anime form.
Like all seasons of anime, Winter 2018 is contentious, and whether or not you’re a fan of it seems to come down to one specific thing: how much you’re a fan of slice-of-life. There are of course other popular anime this season, with genres ranging from mecha, to absurdist comedy, to good old isekai, and even to yuri. But, and I’m certainly biased in saying this, many of Winter’s best shows are slice-of-life, and those who dislike the genre could easily end up watching half as many shows as I would this season.
Comparisons between Yuki Yuna is a Hero and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica are incredibly common, both in more casual circles and in more critical ones. It’s easy to see why. On a surface level, they bear a lot of similarities, especially to those who aren’t particularly immersed in the magical girl genre. They’re both fairly dark series with plentiful twists and vaguely similar aesthetics. Given that they’re part of the same subgenre, it’s only natural that comparisons would arise, which isn’t a real problem.