thin slicing the new season, winter 2022 edition

9,000 words, 22 anime, and it’s all coming back to me now.

The granddaddy of gimmick posts is once again upon us. That’s right– thin slicing has returned!

Thin slicing is based off of Malcom Gladwell’s Blink, a book about– OH FUCK IT. YOU’VE READ THIS SAME BOILERPLATE FOR SIXTEEN YEARS NOW. You either get how this works by now or not. And, yes, it’s the sixteenth year of thin slicing since it began with ranking Nanoha A‘s over Mai Otome. Thin slicing is almost old enough to vote.

Updates on thin slicing are always on my Twitter account.

For people who want to know how this ranking is done, I suggest reading the archived explanation. If you’re like, “This show is ranked too high!” or “Too low!” or “This show has a great ending!” then, well, you don’t know how this works. You don’t need me to validate your taste in anime. And, again, for the sake of time, I don’t rank sequels if I never finished watching the original or if there’s nothing interesting about the sequel. It’s a sequel! Do you need me to tell you to watch Attack on Titan after you already bought all of their NFTs? Also I don’t rank shorts, non-Japanese cartoons, or primarily CG shows.

Quick recap from last season:


#MR. IRRELEVANT. Bara Ou no Souretsu
JC Staff


“Warwick, should I be king?”

Bara Ou no Souretsu (Requiem of the Rose King) is inspired by William Shakespeare. Keyword: “Inspired.” As in “We took the names of a few characters and set the story in England, but the only tragedy here is how badly written/directed this anime will be.” Probably not a good sign when the first four characters are all introduced with character name/titles. We can’t come up with a way to naturally introduce the characters because we have to quickly jump to a flashback after 30 seconds of exposition. There is no flow to the show as we’re tossed to four different points in time in just the first episode. Q didn’t even throw Picard around in the timeline as much in All Good Things.

They have a full cours to present the material in a three hour play yet cut out basic character introductions. We need more brooding shots of hot Richard III talking to sexy androgynous Joan de Arc through a mirror as if she were Miranjo. I remember from AP Literature that Richard is supposed to be, uh, not a bishounen. That’s something Shakespeare stressed. Here, he looks like he’s the frontman of a visual kei band. He wears an outfit that Solid Snake would wear. I never knew stealth tactical outfits were all the rage in 15th century England. Also, I understand that it’s the War of the Roses, but do we need to take it so literally that the characters need to wear rose corsages all the time?

Besides poor directing, poor writing, almost non-existent dialogue (characters always seem to be spouting random lines than having conversations), poor character designs, and low tier animation, Bara Ou no Souretsu is one of the top 100 anime adaptations of Richard III as of 2022.

(At one point, Richard’s hunky bodyguard stops him from committing suicide by grabbing his arm and thrusting his pelvis into his ass. I wish I was making this up.)

(Fashion Czar: “You should go watch that pretty boy BL anime without me.”)

(Speaking of love interests stuck in mirrors… probably the power ballad that aged the worst aged the best from the 90s is Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Backing to Me Now. The whole history of the song is great too, as it was a song originally written for Meatloaf but given to Celine Dion behind his back. After lawsuits, Meatloaf got to sing backing vocals for Celine Dion and then recorded his own version almost a decade later. As popular as the song was, it never charted #1. Why? Los del Río’s Macarena dominated it in the charts. I just picture Celine Dion opening up the newspaper every week and tossing it into the trash after seeing Macarena top her song yet again.)

(It’s All Coming Backing to Me Now though is fantastic. Lyrics like “And whenever you tried to hurt me / I just hurt you even worse and so much deeper” sounds like something a 14 year old going through their first breakup would say. “There were things we’d never do again / But then they’d always seemed right / There were nights of endless pleasure / It was more than all your laws allow” only makes sense if anal is involved, right? That should have been Meatloaf’s take on it to distinguish his version from Celine’s supernatural ghost fucking version.)

#21. Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja
Studio A-Cat


“That was some exciting role-play. I took a screenshot too.”

The writing, directing, and execution of Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja (She Professed Herself Pupil of the Wise Man) is inexplicably bad. It starts with a four minute long explanation of an VRMMORPG named Ark Earth Online that’s just like every other isekai VRMMORPG except this one doesn’t have balance patches. Ever. We’re then tossed into a random assortment of scenes showing off the nine sage mages, but none of them talk or get any character development. Also, the nine sages’ fashion sense is what I would categorize as “clown fiesta.”

The prokai, who is the wisest of all the mages because he styles himself after Gandalf x Dumbledore, is supposed to be the weak mage class yet is OP enough to destroy everything in front of him. Why have a long explanation of how mages are underpowered and miserable in this game yet then present a mage stronger than Ainz Ooal Gown x Palpatine x Lina Inverse? We then get a ten minute long sequence of the prokai fighting a demon army by himself set to happy-go-lucky 1990-era jpop. The Macarena would have been more appropriate music. That whole sequence was bizarre because all the monsters were CG yet they didn’t move. There were pan shots of CG monsters. Why have CG monsters if they don’t move? After the battle, the narrator tells us that the prokai has disappeared, and then we get a four minute long music-only sequence that’s shows a little girl going back to town (and, of course, the little girl is the old man turned into a little girl because we can’t have just one genderswap isekai anime this season). This sequence feels like an AMV recap that someone would have made for Fanime 2004.

Plot, animation, character designs, dialogue, music, and direction are all terrible for Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja. I can’t think of one category where this show is semi-competent at.

(There are also elevators in this fantasy RPG world because why the heck not. Maybe they’re there to hide load times?)

(Fashion Czar: “That was one of the most poorly directed show that I’ve seen in a long time. It was bad.”)

#20. Girls’ Frontline
Asahi Productions


“We’re T-Dolls. We just do what we’re told.”

Girls’ Frontline is a six year old mobage that decided to make a low budget anime because that’s what aging mobages do. Feels like a Richard III length play was condensed into the introductory minute long “recap” montage. Nothing says “low budget anime to match low budget mobage” than recycled footage shown repeatedly in the first episode.

A lot of stuff is happening in this show, but there is almost no tension to any of the actions. A horde of robotic dolls are approaching our trapped heroines, but they shoot like, uh, twice. Between the budget animation, the jargon-laden dialogue, and the lack of stakes, the show gets boring fast.. Girls’ Frontline is also supposed to be about military combat (all the heroines gatcha ladies are named after guns), but their combat tactics are lacking. At some point, the heroine dolls get the high ground advantage over their enemy, but, instead of using it, they just jump down. Kiritsugu would not have that happen. Bloody Reina would not have let that happen. Obi Wan would not have let that happen.

The character designs are all over the place mobage-style. There’s one girl wearing a full Russian-inspired fur coat while next to her stands a girl wearing a high hip bikini and crop top. If I’m designing a murderous combat meido, I would definitely attach General Grevious-like arms to her thighs so she can quad wield SMGs from her skirt while having her actual hands to fold origami cranes. The show lacks a cohesive feel.

(The battle at the graveyard is a real low for animation. It looks like a scene from the tenth episode of a rushed, low budget show… except it’s in episode one.)

#19. Orient


“It’s a katana that’s shaped like a pickaxe.”

We know we are in for a treat when Orient opens with an non-animated, poorly-drawn montage explaining the state of the world. Aliens invaded sengoku Japan and have conquered the nation, and the only thing that can stop them are Ninja Batman plucky teenagers riding motorcycles. Why does Japan love the marriage of motorcycles and sengoku war heroes so much? I thought segoku war heroes riding motorcycles was a dead trope, so why is it coming back now? Why does everyone have a top knot except for the MC? Why are Ragna the Bloodedge and Ky Kiske in this anime? Not much in this show makes much sense. The aliens are supposedly strong enough to wipe out armies of samurai, yet this plucky Ragna-wannabe manages to slaughter dozens of them while also trying to have a conversation with other people.

The animation is just as poor as the writing and dialogue. There is barely any animation, and the character designs are uninspired and boring. The size of Ragna-wannabe’s scythe/pickaxe changes from shot to shot. Sometimes, it’s normal-sized. Sometimes, it’s as large as a 1980s Buick. The plot is also full of holes that is best summarized as, “Well, we just want to draw samurai on motorcycles fighting aliens.” If you want a better version of that, I mean, Sengoku Basara exists.

(Fashion Czar: “No one notices that the miners never come back home?”)

#18. Futsal Boys!!!!!


“If you’re not playing futsal, get lost.”

Futsal Boys!!!!! (with five exclamation points) is yet another anime that tries to make soccer seem cool. Now with ultimate moves! And tiny nets! And a new name, “Futsal!” Guys, it’s not going to happen. You just made Mario Strikers with a cast that isn’t even as cute as a middle-aged Italian plumber. This show seems to be the dark path like Skate Leading Stars where they take an established sport and try to anime it up. None of the changes to soccer makes the show better or even flashier. But, hey, they can play on rooftops. To constantly remind us that futsal isn’t soccer, the ball has “futsal” printed on it. The jargon gets changed for no reason either. “Goalio”? “Ala/fixo”? Is this soccer or Phantasy Star Online?

Unfortunately, the show is plain boring. The meet cute between the main red-headed boy and the blue-headed boy feels like the McDonald’s hamburger of meet cutes. He’s the too cool for school loner. He’s the fiery red-heat. Can they melt each other’s hearts? The hot-headed one has red hair. The icy cool one has blue hair. Yawn. We just saw this setup in the sengoku motorcycle anime, and we’ll see it again in another show this season. Also, why does everyone sound like 45 year old chain smokers? Why does the shouta character (in case you weren’t sure he is a shouta, he has the same hair tie a toddler would have) sound so damn old? It feels like the production staff just found the cheapest male voice actors willing to work in a poorly-ventilated room rather than try to properly cast the show.

The most hilarious part of the first episode is that there’s a futsal practice, and every two minutes, someone interrupts the practice. It feels like an SNL skit, but it’s what the show thinks is clever character introductions. It feels so much like an Azur Lane “We gotta fit in all the harem boats in the first ten minutes” sequence that I had to look up for a tier list for Futsal Boys!!!!! only to discover that (a) it is a mobage and (b) the mobage was delayed because of quality issues. That explains a lot.

(Because thin slicing is so late this season, I got to see the trailer for the new Mario Strikers Battle League game, and, well, both are 5v5 imaginary soccer games with slide tackles and super moves. But only one has a middle-aged Italian plumber. Futsal Boys!!!!! looks tame and lame compared to Mario and friends.)

#17. Cue!
Yumeta Company


“This is the starting line of my dream!”

The first sequence of Cue! is just a homage to Mariah Carey’s Honey music video. Unfortunately, it’s not the actual anime because it’s the anime within the anime since this is a meta anime about voice actresses. But, wait, it’s not just an anime about voice actresses– it’s an anime about a mobage about collecting voice actresses as waifu. As soon as I saw the MC’s hair ribbon, I thought that’s the level of hair ornament a free four star waifu would get. You want the fancy, lacy bonnet? Those are reserved for the five stars you pull from the gatcha.

The talent agency is also brand new and only hires voice actresses with no prior experience. The setup totally doesn’t sound shady when they put it like that. This agency is definitely not going to require that the girls to pay for their outfits and lessons or have them pose for lingerie photo shoots. Definitely not that kind of agency. That’s as much plot as we get before over a dozen girls are introduced a la the Azur Lane Protocol (i.e. fans of the mobage will tune out if their favorite waifu is somehow missing from the first episode even if it doesn’t make any narrative sense to include them). Fortunately, we don’t get title cards for each one, but how am I supposed to remember them? It’s like when you just start playing a mobage and do the first rolls, get a bunch of characters, and don’t know which ones you should build and which you should burn.

Each girl has a distinct trope. One is sporty spice, one is posh spice, one is baby spice, one is meido spice, one is chuunibyou spice, etc. The end of the episode of this poorly directed, poor animated mess has the girls training to do voice work for anime. Their practice material? Hamlet. A dramatic play featuring mostly male character is going to prepare these girls for recording lines for Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou or Girls’ Frontline. I’m sure the chuunibyou girl can really pull out the nuances of playing Polonius.

(Seeing twenty poor voice actors stuck in a small recording room is something Japan would 100% do during a pandemic. I know some American voice actors record from home, and they turned their offices into soundproof rooms. I can imagine none of Japanese voice actors recording from home.)

#16. In the Land of Leadale
Maho Film


“I beseech you to rescue this world from chaos!”

One minute into the show, we see RPG UI status panels, and, even though everyone is speaking Japanese, all the spells are partly spoken in English. In the Land of Leadale (Leadale no Daichi nite) is in the “I need a drink before I can watch anymore of this isekai” genre. I know I ask this alot, but are there even any MMORPGs in the style of the ones presented in isekais still operating in Japan? How many MMORPGs even had adventurer guilds that gave out quests? Is the whole concept of fantasy RPGs fighting demon lords as archaic as hiding ero hon under the mattress? Also why are they always MMORPG-based? Why don’t people get sucked into universes inspired by MOBAs, FPS, fighting games, or Wordle? Anyway, Leadale tries to be a more casual isekai with a prokai who gets sucked into a game and is tossed two hundred years from when they were last in the world. The setup is similar to Overlord except of being tossed into a giant skeleton body, the prokai here gets tossed into a mousy female lead body. She goes on and does isekai things like fight monsters, explore towns, and foster children.

Animation is hit or miss with the first episode being stronger than the second (not a good sign). The prokai is drawn and animated reasonably well; however, all the other characters get the short end of the stick. The CG soldiers riding horses look abysmal. Shirobako is right: Horses are the toughest things to properly animate. The talking dog with pinch nose glasses looks so derpy. The rabbit humanoids also look bad too. I would classify the character designs for this show as “Characters you would see in a ‘learn to draw manga’ book.”

(Why would you put your shipyards on an island in a river that has no bridge connecting it to the mainland? That just over-complicates getting workers and materials to the shipyard.)

(Fashion Czar: “Character design of everyone in this show is bad.”)

#15. Sasaki to Miyano
Studio Deen


“That hardly happens anymore, even in boy’s love stories.”

Time passes indistinguishably in Sasaki to Miyano. Scenes jump around in time without any reference or warning. Characters also look the same and wear the same white shirts, so one cannot easily distinguish when a scene is taking place. Middle school? Early high school? Present day high school? If the only frame of reference to establish time is that the characters are using flip phones or modern phones, that’s a failure on the anime to make it clear. Or maybe just maybe not jump back and forth through time as much. But Studio Deen wanted to show the BL blossoming scene between the two male leads at the end of the first episode, and the only way to speed it up was to put in a ton of flashbacks.

Sasaki to Miyano is a BL anime for a traditional female audience. The meet cute establishes who the bottom and top are immediately, and the boys are seen baking. Sasaki and Miyano also tell each other how much they want to drink sweet peach juice a lot. Is “sweet peach juice” an euphemism amongst Japanese teens? This show’s dialogue feels like it is what the audience wants them to say than what they should say as actual characters. In one scene, the bottom boy is too shy to say something in a private hallway. In the next scene, he just says it in a crowded classroom, but there’s no reason why he would do it except it would be “cute” in the context of that scene. Again, we’re satisfying BL fantasies here rather than presenting character development or plot.

However, this adaption feels like a bunch of 4koma strips smashed together into a 24 minute anime. All the scenes feel like vignettes between the characters rather than actual storytelling. There is no consistent thread through the episode other than hitting the key BL scenes. It feels more tiring than entertaining to watch.

(Fashion Czar: “I hope it turns into a romance and not just be a beating around the bush thing.”)

#14. Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to


“My body may have become female, but I’m a man who’s into women.”

Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to (Life with an Ordinary Guy who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout) starts with a narration, “It’s a romantic comedy between an old man and someone who used to be an old man.” Yes, I get it. That’s literally the title of his light novel turned anime. This show considers 32 to be decrepit old and unmarriageable for a guy because Japan is stuck in 1955 or something. To introduce the characters, we get a Powerpoint-like slide show (complete with call-outs) telling us how this one guy is smart, athletic, etc. then we get a flashback that recaps all those points. He’s the guy who stays a guy. The guy who gets turned into a girl gets the same treatment of a slideshow followed by a flashback scene except we don’t see his face. Does showing his face eventually diminish the upcoming genderswap in some way? Is that going to impact plastic figure sales of his fantasy loli knockout figure if people have seen his male face before?

I guess one innovation for this show is that the two leads don’t die in a traffic accident or because of overwork. The goddess in charge of reincarnation hears the loli-to-be talking about how he wants to be a sexy loli-type character, and she decides to kill them both so she can resurrect them in another world. One of them becomes the sexy loli-type character “so beautiful that it’s impossible,” and the other guy is just his normal playboy form. They are also cursed to be mad horny for each other, but they refuse to even kiss. Anime loves convoluted stories about how people should have sex but spend all of their energy resisting. Is anime responsible for Japan’s low birthrate? It’s not helping, right? What next? An anime about how all men in the world have died except one Japanese dude who still refuses to have sex in that scenario? “Nah, man, it’s cool for humanity to die out. I gotta protect my virginity and save myself for Belldandy. Oh, did my Hinata Tachibana bunny girl 1/16th scale figure arrive when I was in cryostatis?”

#13. Tribe Nine
Liden Films


“Your name is ‘Boring’.”

The opening montage for Tribe Nine is a big, boring info-dump. Kids become disillusioned by society and form tribes that put Neo Tokyo in flames. The tribes are conveniently arranged by wards because all anime need to reference the 23 wards of Tokyo as per the 23rd Modern Law of Anime. There are also buildings built on top of floating rocks in Neo Tokyo because that makes it seem even more futuristic. The government’s plan to stop quell the social unrest? Implement policies that address the base issues of wealth inequality, lack of housing, and asset hoarding? No, make them play Extreme Baseball. The funny part is that when Tribe Nines does show an Extreme Baseball game, most of the players are old men wearing suits. What happened to the disenfranchised youths? The boomers took over a program that was supposed to help the millennials once again.

We also cannot have a sports anime this season that doesn’t open with someone getting bullied, and then a star player comes along and saves them. Can you imagine Shohei Ohtani going around LA like Batman? That would be so cool. The plot is typical rubbish sports anime fare. The best Extreme Baseball team inexplicably takes in two players who have never played the game before. One of them didn’t know the rules of baseball. The other didn’t know what an umpire looks like. This “best team” also doesn’t have any reserve players or relief pitchers. The rules are also a clusterfuck of Calvinball proportions. Tagging first before the runner reaches it isn’t an out. The only part of baseball that this show gets right is how the evil boomer injects himself with steroids before he pitches.

Tribe Nine is an original production that hopes to be a mobage someday. The original scenario is from Michiko Yokote who wrote the Aa! Megami-sama movie. This show’s writing is of much lower quality. The animation production is poor too. The audio mixing is some of the worst that I’ve heard in anime with the BGM constantly drowning out the dialogue. The animation is maybe low mid-tier, but the character designs are atrocious. The characters have two face types. They are either cartoony, which means they are there for comic relief, or they are pretty boy hero types, which means they are the Extreme Baseball stars. However, the part that bothers me is that baseball requires nine players on the field, and Extreme Baseball also requires the same amount. There are five main characters, so the other four characters are filled out by the most hand-waving shit ever: Four quadruplets that might as well be four Pikachus in a Pikachu outbreak parade. It feels like the show gave up. We’re not even going to bother having four other characters let alone differentiate them. How can a mobage not have more than five characters to draw from?

(Fashion Czar: “How is it that the best player does not have enough people on his team?”)

#12. World’s End Harem
Studio Gokumi


“The women of the world were in despair until they found a faint spark of hope in a small island in the Pacific.”

World’s End Harem (Shuumatsu no Harem) feels like someone in Japan read Y the Last Man and thought, “I can improve it! With more boobs! I’ll set a course for intercourse!” The premise is that a pandemic (because we love our pandemic anime in 2022) has wiped out all men from earth in the near future, and humanity is on the brink. The lone male survivors are the few men left in cryostasis undergoing treatment for a different disease that somehow made them immune to the virus. The only thing that can save humanity? The remaining men must impregnate as many women as they possibly can. The show goes out of its way to explain that sex is the only way to repopulate the species. It points out that artificial insemination doesn’t pass on immunity, but babies from intercourse do.

You can probably guess at the quality of the “Buy the BD!” animation and the script. The second male awakened, Number Two, has a typical male harem lead aversion to naked ladies. He makes it very clear that he’s saving his virginity for his friend whom he had a crush on before going under cryostasis. He even screams, “I’M NOT A STUD HORSE!” at some point. He’s assigned a fertile handler whose job it is to bed him, and she looks like his old crush. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or if the character designs are poor since the female characters seem to have three hair colors and one bra size. (The MC’s little sister, predictably, is now a teen with giant boobs and only wears bikini tops because anime.) Only in the medium of anime can a story exist about how a man must mate with sexy women but can’t because he has a girl he had a crush on in middle school.

(I do like how they call the first stud “Number One” in English because I just picture either Will Riker or Jack Ransom going “Yeah, baby, yeah!” when told that they’d have to sleep with as many women as possible before their testicles explode.)

(How is Number Two’s cell phone still charged, let alone working? Society is on the brink of collapse, he has been frozen for five years, and he still has a working data plan?)

(The best part of World’s End Harem is that it’s written by LINK, who I think is a pseudonym for Brian K. Vaughan. He’s like “ I want to write a trashy, sexist version of my acclaimed comic the same way David Chang microwaves mac and cheese with kimchi.”)

(Spoiler Warning: I had to find out what the twist is because I don’t want to watch any more of this show. The handler is a clone of Number Two’s crush, except when they cloned her, they decided to give the clone bigger boobs because why the hell not.)

(Fashion Czar: “What is his sister wearing? Everyone in the streets are wearing rags and cloaks, and she runs around in a bikini.”)

#11. Hakozume: Kouban Joshi no Gyakushuu


Do we really need another pair of traffic lady cops show? Can we improve on the lady cop perfection of You’re Under Arrest? Hakozume: Kouban Joshi no Gyakushuu (Police in a Pod) feels like a soulless smash-up of YUA and L&O:SUV. The show follows a newer cop paired with a more experienced Sergeant, and they get to deal with an assortment of perverts and idiots. People on this show really like to make sexual comments about the cops after they get tickets written. The writing in this show feels like it is going down a checklist: Characters use dialogue to explain the situation rather than talk with each other. Check. A part of the mysteries in this show are forced because the two cops don’t always explain or tell each other everything. Check. There’s always a twist in every case. Check.

Hakozume feels a little dated for 2022, and the animation from Madhouse is surprisingly basic and low quality. The background art is downright sad. Even though the manga launched in 2018, it feels like a show written for someone born in 1965. There’s a whole segment in the second episode dedicated to joking about pompadours. You know who loves pompadours? The youth. That’s why Spider-man, BTS, and Baby Yoda all sport pompadours. Despite being two decades newer, this show feels stodgy compared to You’re Under Arrest.

#10. Slow Loop


“I guess a normal person wouldn’t know what an artificial fly is.

Slow Loop comes out swinging. First scene: MC says her dad is weird because he puts ponzu on his eggs. Second scene: MC says her dad died “recently of a popular disease.” Do we have our first COVID reference/death in anime? Third scene: Tit and boob shot of a bosomy high school girl in a school swimsuit. Then it’s all downhill from there. Slow Loop is an explainer manga about fly fishing, except fly fishing is so boring and shallow (cue the 15,532 member Facebook group of fly fishing enthusiasts being very angry at me then realizing wait maybe it is kinda boring to watch) that the show has to squeeze in some cooking and recipe segments too. The cast is also fairly boring and generic within this cute girls explaining things genre with the only memorable trait is that one of the girls has never seen the ocean before. Seriously? Someone in Japan has never ever seen the ocean? Is that legal?

That got me thinking. What niche topic has Japan not an explainer manga for yet? Even curling has had multiple manga (Sweep, Haebaru, and Orange Delivery come to mind). Maybe a manga about a PC repair store? Or about furniture woodworking? Or maybe a manga about energy drinks? How about anime blogging?

(Who had a cute girls explaining things fly fishing anime being the first anime to reference someone dying of COVID? When will we get the first isekai anime about someone dying of COVID and being reborn in another world as a herbalist?)

#9. Ryman’s Club
Linden Films


“I’ll teach you the pleasures of being a BADARYMAN! A hero who paves the way to the future with suits and shuttlecocks!”

Ryman’s Club is an anime about salarymen playing badminton, and I am confused as to why Japanese conglomerates would hire people just to play badminton for them. Not only do the badminton players get a salary, they have training facilities and coaches too. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns hires all the baseball stars to work at the plant except most of these badminton players just play badminton.

The MC is too much of a downer tsundere for my tastes. He doesn’t seem like he has any redeeming qualities. He’s such a whiny boy for throwing a fit for not wanting to play doubles. The show doesn’t give us a reason to root for him other than his mom turned his old bedroom into an iguana habitat so he can’t go home (I’m serious). At one point, he says, “Is it over for me?” and I hoped that was him tripping an isekai flag. I also question his life choices if he drinks natto cola and carries around hot sauce to put on sushi. I can imagine Jiro jumping across the counter and slapping him with a tuna for putting hot sauce on his sashimi.

Animation production is fairly decent with solid animation and vibrant colors. I liked the MC’s face of disgust when he’s told natto cola isn’t a big seller. The badminton scenes are actually animated except for the CG shuttlecock. I’m surprised Liden Films would hand over such a production to Aimi Yamauchi as this is their first directing and original writing job.

(Fashion Czar: “I’m sorry, but they can never make badminton look like a masculine sport. Ping pong? Yes. Tennis? Yes. It’s a fine sport, but I feel like they are going to butch it up in a way that it can’t be. Where did they find all these hot office worker badminton players?”)

#8. Kaijin Kaihatsubu no Kuroitsu-san


“How proceeds our plans for world domination?”

Kaijin Kaihatsubu no Kuroitsu-san (Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department) feels like Heaven’s Design Team meets Yatterman Night. It is about an evil organization that manufactures the baddies that Tokusatsu heroes fight, and they iterate on them like consumer electronics. I feel like they should get into social media rather than monsters if they want to be truly evil. I kind of enjoyed the montage at the beginning showing various ridiculous Tokusatsu heroes defeating villains in rubber suits while each hero’s theme song played in the background. I do like how the evil organization also tries to be a progressive Japanese workplace with lines like, “I receive reports from HR when you don’t use your PTO days” and “Everyone makes mistakes now and then, but there is no replacement for good skilled labor. What matters is that you use this opportunity for learning and growth.”

I think fans of the Tokusatsu series referenced would enjoy the show more than I did. The humor is a bit barebones and relies a lot on fanservice and sexual jokes. In one instance, CEO sabotages their own project by genderswapping the monster into a cute girl with giant boobs but forgets to change the personality of the monster into a female. In another, the 7-11 clerk, who is 100% a hero, and the monster girl engineer get into quasi-romantic situations and have lines like, “I can tell your little one is about to burst… let me call the shots.” There’s also a monster that gets rejected because it was supposed to look like the Noch Less monster but ended up looking like a giant green penis.

(This show does feature the MC tying a ponytail whenever she gets into serious mode.)

#7. Akebi-chan no Sailor Fuku


“My parents are taking sneak shots of their daughter.”

If it’s an idol anime, there has to be an idol concert shot in the first 30 seconds because that’s the maximum amount of time an idol stan can tolerate before panicking, “Is this an idol anime? Where are the idols? Please give me my idooooools!!!”. Akebi-chan no Sailor Fuku might be an idol anime. It might be a yuri anime written by a middle-aged man named “Hiro.” It might be an isekai. I’m not sure. I’m confused as to what type of show Akebi-chan is because it seems to meander and tries to be a little of everything.

If I weren’t confused about the story of the show, I was confused about the civil engineering of the show. The titular Akebi’s house is a beautiful Dutch cottage that I would see at those starving artist auctions or in motel rooms when driving to Yellowstone. From the exterior, it has a solid roof. However, inside the house, there is a giant open courtyard with plenty of sunlight going through the middle of the house. They picked both design aesthetics because they were neat even though they weren’t cohesive. That sums up how I feel about the story. They want their cake and eat it too.

Also, this idyllic country town has hills without rice paddies or tea farms in the hills. There are so few people living here, they don’t even bother to cultivate the hills? What makes it even more confusing is that Akebi went to a small, Higurashi-esque middle school that had ten students. So cue a beautiful, well-animated montage by CloverWorks of her running through this idyllic rural village to get to his high school– a prestigious all-girls high school that is literally a five minute run from her house in the boonies. There are also no train or bus stops along the way. Yep, they just want their cake and eat it too. Andohbytheway, this prestigious school doesn’t even send out requirements for their school uniform to new students.

(There’s a weird scene in the first episode where Akebi meets a classmate who is clipping her toenails and then sniffs her nail clippers. Hiro, if that’s your kink, I don’t judge, but it doesn’t fit into the show unless the rest of the show is about clipping toenails.)

(CloverWorks is good at animating a girl putting her hair into a ponytail.)

(Fashion Czar: “What’s this little Dutch cottage doing in rural Japan? If there’s anything I learned from Rachel and Jun, they either built the house themselves or are millionaires to have a brick fireplace like that.”)

#6. Shikkaku Mon no Saikyou Kenja
JC Staff


“This is what I get for not having friends.”

Shikkaku Mon no Saikyou Kenja (The Strongest Sage with the Weakest Crest) opens with a discussion about crests with no context for the discussion. Oh fantasy anime, if it cannot be explained with an RPG trope, it has to be explained via a narration or montage. The second scene just has a plucky overpowered MC casually killing a “calamity-class monster” in literally a second. It was so fast and brilliant and sudden that JC Staff didn’t animate it. The rest of the story is an NFT grifter’s The Misfit of Devil King Academy. Both MCs are reincarnated wizards. Both MCs have a derogatory title (“misfit” and “failure”). Both MCs encounter sisters who want to jump their bones and probably wouldn’t mind a threesome. Both MCs enroll in a school and end up teaching their magic to other students at the school because it’s long lost magic. Both MCs must undercover a conspiracy that shadows the foundation of the present day society. I will say that I miss the castle summoning of Misfit. Also, Anos is fucking ruthless, which I appreciated about Misfit. The MC of Kenja, Matty, is more of a typical “I can do anything!” vanilla OP fantasy hero.

(Matty also looks like a drugged out Setsuna F. Seiei.)

I guess like Misfit (and Keijo!!!!), there is an inter-school competition. Unlike those other shows, this one happens in episode one after a lot of other shit has happened. The story is not allowed to breathe. It must sprint at top speed all the time. This Usain Bolt-like pacing is so we can have a showdown between the top student of the other school, Devilis, face off against Matty and have Matty show how OP he is by defeating Devilis and exposing Devilis as a devil. yes, one character even exclaims, “Devilis is a demon!”

Animation quality is average JC Staff, which is low rung. This show would barely look acceptable in 2002. Production reminds me of the start of the Shirobako movie showing how badly Musashino has fallen.

(At one point, Matty tells one of the sisters to hug him because “I have to do this to transfer magic to you.” Matty can’t kill as entertainingly as Anos. Matty can’t even mana transfer as fun as Emiya. This show is the NFT grifter’s version of better anime out there. I can’t wait for Aniplex to charge $60 per BD for this release.)

(Fashion Czar: “This is some real weeb shit.”)

#5. The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt
Yokohama Animation Laboratory


“I can’t wait to sell off this kingdom!”

Can The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt (Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu) dethrone Realist Hero as the goto competency nation-building porn? No, no it can’t. I rather take Realist Hero’s budget animation than the spinning CG shot of the castle exterior. That shot is one of the worst CG I have ever seen, and I have watched Hand Shakers and Pandabus. Why bother animating something with CG if it animates at just 5fps. (Why did I bother to buy a 4k OLED TV when most of the shows I watch are low budget anime? Am I the idiot here?) The rest of the show is not any better animated. The battle animation is something else. The shot of the MC prince and his horse running away during the battle is really badly drawn.

The MC prince is cast as someone who wants to be nefarious but ends up stumbling into success. That would be fine if this show were a slapstick comedy, but it tries to be a darker drama series. His character doesn’t fit the type of the show. The female lead, Ninym, doesn’t wear a bra. That’s her most distinctive trait ten minutes into the show. None of the characters mean anything as most of them just get a line or two and then are forgotten about in the first episode. The first episode also skips a lot of plot to get to a big poorly animated battle sequence that I thought I was watching a recap episode.

(The guy going crazy after the prince’s speech is my favorite character. He looks like he should be in the front row of an AKB48 concert.)

(I was putting this thin slicing together when I realized, “Wow, maybe I should put in like 4 empty spots from 5 to 9, but got lazy so left this best of the bad shows at 5.” Funimation, feel free to slap that on every BD box for this show.)

(Fashion Czar: “They just time skipped to owning the mine? I guess it doesn’t matter. We don’t need to see another bad CG battle.”)

#4. Tokyo 24-ku


“Of course, I’m a hero after all.”

Tokyo 24-ku takes place in the slums of the 24th ward of Tokyo because we can’t sully the name of any existing ward with slums so we have to come up with a new one. This story is an original work from a team led by Naokatsu Tsuda who has directed pretty much all of JoJo except the upcoming Stone Ocean. It stars three boys with red, blue, and green hair (so they can be dubbed the “RGB Boys,” and the ED song name is the HTML code for the color white to reinforce the color motif. The RGB Boys get dire future predictions from a dead friend/family member over their phones (and it also blesses them with superpowers) and have to go prevent those bad futures from happening. However, the real star of the show is the boy’s childhood friend, Mari, who comes up with the Blue Hawaiian okonomiyaki that made me want to try it. Can she get her own cooking explainer spin-off?

The first dire future prediction is the trolley problem caused by Lionel Hutz selling the 24th ward a monorail, and we get to see poor Mari and her puppy, Daisy, get run over by a train. I did not think they would animate the two of them getting hit, but CloverWorks did it. But there’s one issue with how it is presented in this show… it’s not the trolley problem. A key aspect of the trolley problem is that if one doesn’t do anything, then the five people get run over by the trolley. The person under test has to decide to pull the level to send the trolley to the one person instead of the five. This show did the opposite by putting the one person in jeopardy, and it requires a level to be pulled to sacrifice the larger number of people. The ethical implications of the two scenarios are not the same.

Check out The Good Place’s trolley problem episode for a more entertaining version of the trolley problem. The show’s very lazy and simplistic view of ethics and morality makes me very hesitant about the prospects of the show. Anime usually does a horrible job with ethical situations (because anime likes to bowtie up everything or explain everything). There are also other moral and ethical hazards that the show tosses out but speeds very quickly through like how the police are using crime predicting technology.

Another puzzling aspect of the show is that the three boys all gain very ill-defined superpowers. Blue becomes Spider-man and can jump up buildings and stuff and manages to outrace a train as if it were a Forza Horizon showcase race. He can run faster than the train but ends up wasting a lot of time parkouring. Red gains better hacking powers? I don’t know. In Ranking of Kings, Queen Hiling can heal people, but only if she drinks a special potion. So she has this contraption that is basically a giant-sized version of a beer hat that she can suck potions through. Red has something like that except with energy drinks, and it lets him hack better. Green, though, gains the power of politics. He is a complete nobody, but, after the phone call, he can whisper into people’s ears and get their attention.

(Fashion Czar: “The dog’s butthole is lovingly detailed.”)

(The choice of CloverWorks to superimpose real footage of fire and explosions over animation is an interesting one. It looks like a low budget YouTube video.)

(Of course in this dystopic future where police have crime prediction technology, there’s an Amazon Echo sitting in one of the scenes.)

(The whole trolley problem is also so badly manufactured. How does Mari get stuck on the train tracks for almost ten minutes and not being able to free herself? She couldn’t just take off her shoes? Meanwhile, Blue runs to her and just scoops her up in an instant. There’s no shot of Blue trying to wiggle her free or bending the tracks to free her.)

#3. How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom S2
JC Staff


“This is quite the amusing country.”

Random thoughts for season two of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom.

  • How come no one else gets chairs? He makes his queens stand all day next to him while he sits? Not even Gawain in The Green Knight was this much of an asshole.
  • Souma’s 5D chess in using civil engineering projects to sow social discontent.
    Animation is just as poor (if not worse) than the original season. So. Many. Pans.
  • Can we just skip to the chapter where the grandma is teaching all the new queens how to please Souma in bed? That and the introduction of an aircraft carrier are probably what I’m looking forward to in this show.
  • Jeanne’s character design is terrible. She looks like a giant marshmallow. Having puffy armor is surely good for fighting too, right?
  • This show reminds me of the Simpsons in that none of the characters ever change their clothes. Souma is still wearing that cardigan from when he was back in Japan.

(I heard that Realist Hero is like Metroid in that it’s a lot more popular in the West than it is in Japan. Yes, competency-porn is a fun genre, but why is this series popular in the West? It has a ton of tropes. The plot has basically gone nowhere for fourteen volumes. There are whole chapters dedicated to designing museums, ending slavery, making soy sauce, and building a drill. It’s almost like the author flips to a random page in an encyclopedia and decides that is what the next chapter is going to be about. Yet, I’m still reading it, and I don’t know why. It’s so hard to resist.)

(Ranking of Kings: 1. Bojji. 2. Aragorn. 3. Souma. 4. Ains. 5. Anos. 6. Qin Shi Huang. 7. Edgar Figaro. 8. Simba. 9. Chris Webber. 10. Cao Cao. 300. Wein. 15,532. Richard III. 15,533. Joffery.)

#2. Sabikui Bisco


“No matter how hard you work, those without money will die.”

Sabikui Bisco is an interesting show. I was a little on the fence about this show until the guy who shoots arrows that turns shit into giant mushrooms appeared. Then I was on board. That’s a moment of gold. It’s a fun and silly ability/power that works well in animated form. It also just looks cool. I also like that the narcs all wear Five Nights At Freddy’s-like costumes and that the major of this dystopic Tokyo is as sniveling and weaselish as Major Humdinger. (Of course, the older sister character is a narc who didn’t get assigned a furry costume and instead wears a skintight bodysuit that can’t be fully zipped up because of her bosom. Oh anime.)

(My favorite part of Paw Patrol, which I now own multiple seasons of, is that Major Humdinger keeps trying to abuse his majoral powers for personal gain. He also gets tripped up, and the Paw Patrol, which is funded, I guess, by tax payers in another town, has to bail him out. It’s a slice of 2020 America.)

The show takes place in dystopic Japan where a lot of bad things have happened to Tokyo (again), and there’s giant creatures, hippos, and rust everywhere. People are getting sick from a pandemic, and the poor are getting fleeced out of all their money for even a small salve from the disease while the rich have easy access to full treatments. I do like how most of the backstory is done via conversations even though a few of them seem like unnatural exposition dumps. I would take this over a narrator or a text block anyday. The setting is interesting, but, honestly, if I watch this show, it will be for the mushroom arrows and giant hippos.

Some caveats: This show is OZ’s first animation production. Ever. I believe it is also Atsushi Ikariya’s first work as series director (previously most of their credits were in animation). At least the series composition is handled by a veteran, Sadayuki Murai, who wrote Perfect Blue, Knights of Sidonia, and Gad Guard. Some spots are definitely a bit a little rough, and I can envision this show falling off a cliff like 86 S2. Also both the name Sabikui Bisco and premise of this show is giving me flashbacks to UPN’s Legend.

(Why are there hippos in Japan? Did they escape from the zoo? Is there someone in Japan with a Pablo Escobar-esque hippo stash?)

#1. My Dress-Up Darling


“She’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”

CloverWorks continues to impress with their animation. A lot of the production staff for this show comes from Wonder Egg Priority, and animation is one of that show’s strong point. Fortunately, My Dress-Up Darling (Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru / The Bisque Doll That Fell in Love) has a source manga, and this adaptation is doing a fairly safe adaptation of it (i.e. not having Joan de Arc come through a mirror and kiss Richard III) because it has strong material to work with already. The script and series composition is handled by Yoriko Tomita who previously handled the same duties for Hi Score Girl.

Animation production shines, the voice work fits the characters, and the story is strong for a fanservice romantic comedy. The male lead, Gojo, kind of has a spine and takes courageous steps to better himself. He feels like a believable character who leaving his comfort bubble. The female lead, Marin, is probably the poster child haremette for the 2020s. While she is a cosplaying fanservice machine, she doesn’t easily fall into any trope. She is a gyaru in style, but she hardly behaves like one. She is open-minded, inclusive, and, most importantly, empathetic. Somehow Shinichi Fukuda managed to combine Belldandy’s empathy with Senjougahara’s level-headedness and Haruhi’s ability to use chaos to generate fanservice. Even early on, she feels more developed and real than the cast of a typical harem show like Nisekoi or Rent-A-Girlfriend. She also feels modern in that she understands what negging and gaslighting are since anime likes to pretend that those don’t exist.

After Gojo’s and Marin’s meet cute that involves a headbutt (because anime and my Boston Terrier love headbutting meet cutes), Marin discovers Gojo’s secret that he wants to make hina dolls when he grows up. He has an emotional scar from his past due to an awful girl who rejected him because of the dolls, but Marin doesn’t let him wallow. She uses positive reinforcement at every step to let him know that (a) it’s awesome to be devoted to a craft (b) making hina dolls is awesome and (c) he’s really good at it. She then parleys that into roping him into becoming her cosplay outfit manufacturer. She even refuses to let him reimburse her for the material cost of the outfits because she also wants to pay him for skilled labor. Ever since the Belldandy “ideal” haremette stereotype entered anime, I feel like other manga all tried to iterate that fantasy in the flesh model the wrong way. Marin feels like the modern iteration of that model because she is proactive in her empathy. (And also making her a hot cosplayer doesn’t hurt.)

(My favorite scene of the first episode is when Gojo screams at Marin’s melonpan. Reminds me of Gangham Style when Psy is screaming at the yoga lady’s butt. My conspiracy theory is that Facebook promoted Gangham Style in 2012 to try to distract people from pointing out antitrust issues with their acquisition of Instagram. I can picture Zuck going, “Let’s confuse the world by putting this weird old Korean pop star in everyone’s feed while we secretly expand our platform that can be used to spread misinformation to the detriment of society. Muhahahaha.”)

(Great, thanks to thin slicing, I have both Gangham Style and It’s All Coming Back to Me Now stuck in my head.)


See you next season.

5 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, winter 2022 edition”

  1. Thanks for the thin slicing. It’s been letting me give some shows a chance or second chance the last few seasons.

    “led by Naokatsu Tsuda who has directed pretty much all of JoJo except the upcoming Stone Ocean” guessing that was written before Dec 1st when Stone Ocean came out

  2. Thanks for the write up, I always enjoy reading it. My Dress-Up Darling is so much better than it should be thanks to making the main characters relatable and multiple dimensional.

  3. Really glad you cleared up what you cover in your blog. It feels so redundant to do so, considering how long I’ve been following you, but it seemed that a certain series’ marketer didn’t get the hint before lol
    Eager to check out My Dress-Up Darling.

  4. I liked the ED for Bisque Doll quite a bit

  5. Been reading your for 15 years or so. I’m very much out of touch with the anime zeitgeist, but I do appreciate your write ups when I want to dive back in.

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