2024 winter animes, ranked from my favorite to least favorite (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my ranking of my thoughts from the first part, which you can find here.

8. Meiji Gekken: 1874

women tending to the wounded samurai

From this point on in this list, there's quite a dramatic drop off in my enjoyment of the shows that I'll talk about.

Up until now, I considered the aforementioned shows to be quite entertaining and above average in almost all regards; some I consider to be masterpieces even.

From this entry onwards, that's not the case anymore and while, I still personally find this show to be slightly above average, I do believe it might not be as enjoyable for everybody. It wasn't as amazing for me as I originally hoped it would be, at least.

As you can probably guess from the title, this is a historical anime.

Honestly I've never been much of a fan of anime TV series that are set in historical periods of real life.

I've always found history as a boring subject, and because of this I tended to avoid shows that are based on it.

Now, whether this anime is an accurate retelling of historical records of this time period, I do not know. I don't know much about history, much less about Japanese history, so I am in no position to say whether this fictional retelling of past events is true to what really happened or if it's just a fictional re-imagening that took a lot of creative liberties.

Given certain episodes from this, I'm very much leaning on saying that they took more than just a couple of liberties when telling this story, but I still respect this show for trying to keep itself very grounded into reality and trying to at least replicate the real world to a significant degree.

I've read on comments from Crunchyroll talking about the realism of specific scenarios, particularly about how authentic some of the weapons in the show looked to their real life counterparts, and how the anime staff did their research very well when deciding how to construct each episode.

But before I go any further, let's talk about episode 1, shall we?

Long story short, the episode opens depicting the Boshin War of 1868 to 1869. It starts out with a battle happening where samurai from the Aizu Domain fight against armed government forces that try to take over a specific stronghold.

One of the samurai, on his death bed, has a final talk with his best friend, another samurai named Shizuma Origasa, where Shizuma tries to encourage him to stay alive, even though it is futile. The dying samurai asks him to look after his sister, Sumie Kanomata, who also is Shizuma's fiancee.

Sumie had disappeared before during a massacre of women perpetrated by a samurai named Masaomi Kuramoto. Shizuma promises to his dying best friend that he will find Sumie and protect her, wherever she may be.

Fast-forward to 1874, and we learn that the Boshin War had concluded with the Imperial army winning and the various shogunates that have been rebelling being defeated.

However, there is still tension in society, with a lot of unrest now that the samurai had their roles and lives turned upside down and are now subservient to a government that doesn't recognize their previous status.

The story now follows a slightly older Shizuma who is now working as a rickshaw puller to earn an income, as he services customers all around town while still looking for Sumie in his free time.

As Shizuma goes about his day like normal, he, one day, gets confronted by the police, who suspect him for being involved with a recent attack on the Minister of the Right, Iwakura Tomomi. This is because the actual culprit behind the attack had ridden in his rickshaw and set him up as an accomplice.

Shizuma, realizing this, escapes the police and now becomes a fugitive, ending up in the position of having to clear his own name before he gets captured and arrested.

Meanwhile, in a nearby gambling establishment, a young grey haired man with an eyepatch named Kyoushirou Shuragami, enters this establishment for the first time, and without any hesitation, manages to prove that the employee there that was responsible with rolling the dice was cheating, bringing great shame to the establishment.

As he is about to exit after causing that ruckus, he is confronted by henchmen working there who are ready to attack him, but he quickly disposes of them by proving to be a very competent and skillful swordsman, as well as being helped by three mysterious allies, a young archer named Dario, an old man named Genshō that uses chemical vapors to induce hallucinations in others and a large muscular man wearing a fox mask named Guen.

Later on, Shizuma manages to track down the man that had set him up, a man named Takechi, and during a gun confrontation with him in which Shizuma uses his old samurai skills from the past to fight him (and barely managing to survive from a gunshot to his chest), he and other police forces manage to subdue and defeat Takechi, clearing Shizuma's name.

After having seen his impressive skills in battle, the Chief Superintendent of the police force offers Shizuma a job to work for the them.

And so ends episode 1.

The anime has a fairly simple premise, although there will be a lot of sword fights, gun fights and discussions about politics, subterfuge and betrayals going on.

There will be many other characters that will get introduced over time, some that might seem like complete wildcards with no allegiance at all, such as a foreign spy that investigates the various schemes going on in the background, another skilled swordsman wearing round spectacles and an underground criminal that works in the opium export business that wishes to bring back the glorious age of the samurai and to topple the current government by causing an uprising of the samurai.

Needless to say, the plot gets very political very fast; and very complicated.

Usually I'm not a big fan of these types of shows, especially given the fact that this is a very cut and dry action TV series with at least one fight every episode and with a thick story with a lot of characters, each with their own goals and agenda.

Simply put, I had to recall every episode what each character was scheming, what their ulterior motives were and who they were working for.

Couple that with the fact that most of the action, while very neatly animated and well executed in principle, felt fairly grounded into reality and was done intentionally to look realistic, up to the point where you were constantly reminded that, despite this being animation, they were clearly holding themselves back from making the sword fights look too flashy, in order to retain a sense of realism.

While, in principle, that's a very commendable decision, it wasted a lot of the potential that this show had as an animated project. The animation looked very nice and well done but you felt like it was held back to look very accurate and simple for the sake of not going over the top.

That and also the show had no opening sequence, and the ending sequence was just a text scroll, with no animation to show. This might seem like a nitpick, but in the world of Japanese anime, a proper opening is a huge deal since that's usually the part of the episode that gets fans the most hyped up. The fact that this show did not have an opening at all was a huge letdown for me.

In fact, a lot of things about this project felt unconventional, such as episode lengths running longer than normal. Usually, an anime episode is between 21 and 25 minutes long. This show had episodes that went on for almost half an hour each, which is quite unusual for this medium.

Clearly this was treated as a special project that was doing its own thing and the staff working on it probably treated it as an outlier among their works.

Either way, while this will sound like an odd thing to say, especially given the fact that I am 31 years old, but I feel like I am genuinely too young to properly enjoy a show like this.

The very cut-and-dry action sequences, the (perceived) historical accuracy of the show and the complex story that focused so heavily on social uprising, revenge and betrayals made this TV series feel like the type of show that was geared towards people that have an affinity towards historical dramas and shows with complex plots, which I would guess is geared towards an older audience, potentially the boomer type of crowd.

While I cannot say that I didn't enjoy this show at all, I feel like I'm slightly a bit too young to properly appreciate all of its complexity and nuance, since I'm sure there are many tidbits in each frame of animation where the staff probably put in a lot of attention to detail with regards to historical accuracy (such as the aforementioned focus on the weapons that the characters were using).

However, I did consider this to be a fine show that is worth the recommendation, especially since there are actual deaths and touching reunion scenes in this show that moved me emotionally when I witnessed them.

There are consequences for actions in this show, and seeing characters die (especially good guys), gave a lot of weight to what was going on, especially once you bonded over those characters onscreen.

So, would I recommend this one? Honestly, if this is the type of show you'd enjoy, I'd give it a shot.

Hell, even if you aren't into historical dramas I'd still give it a shot. I never liked these types of shows and even I had something to gain from watching it, so I feel like this might be up your alley even if you don't particularly enjoy this category of fiction.

If nothing else, I'd encourage you to give at least episode 1 a shot and see for yourself if you'll like it. If you manage to finish it and find it interesting, chances are you'll like the rest of the series as a whole.

9. Metallic Rouge

Rouge in her combat form

Boy, where do I even start with this one?

I guess I'll start this off with talking about episode 1.

Far into the future, the human race won a war against a group of aliens known as the Usurpers, using for combat androids manufactured from technology from a different alien race called the Visitors.

These androids, called Neans, require a liquid substance to be injected into them regularly, called Nectar, which keeps them functioning and alive.

Moreover, Neans have what's known as the Asimov's Laws programmed into them, which practically prevent them from ever willingly hurting human beings, allowing humanity, after the war with the Usurpers, to effectively enslave Neans and use them as mere tools.

The story focuses on Rouge Redstar, who looks like a regular teenage girl that works as a newly-hired assistant for famous singer Sara Fitzgerald, who lives in a Martian city.

Their life seems mostly peaceful, as the media and the news currently focus on a string of seemingly random killings of two Neans that have happened lately by another Nean that they dub the “Red Gladiator”.

Nobody knows the identity of the Red Gladiator yet, nor his or her reasons for the killings.

Later on, Sara is seen injecting Nectar into her body, proving that she is a Nean in disguise.

Using this information, a human girl named Naomi Orthmann, who's currently working undercover with Rouge as an informant, determines that Sara must be, in fact, Viola Keane, a Proto-Nean and member of the Immortal Nine, a group of highly advanced Neans that were the progenitors of all the other Neans that are in existence.

Another member of the Immortal Nine, Joker, interferes and dispatches of the mechanical bird that Naomi was using to spy on people, forcing her to meet up with Rouge in person, for the first time, to relay her findings to her.

It's then revealed that Rouge has always been, in fact, the Red Gladiator all along, and she's been acting as Sara's assistant all this time to get close to her to investigate whether she is a member of the Immortal Nine. Now that she determined that she was, she attempts to kill her, like she had already done with two other members of the Immortal Nine before her, those being the killings previously reported on by the news.

The two do battle while Joker acted as a spectator before escaping by himself, before Rouge could chase after him too.

After defeating Sara, Rouge and Naomi move on to their next target that they plan to kill.

Such ends the episode.

OK so, right off the bat, you might have questions about this episode. Questions like “Why is Rouge killing members of the Immortal Nine?” or “Why is this Naomi human helping her do that?” or “We didn't see Sara do anything wrong. Is Rouge just a serial killer?” or “Why isn't this Joker also fighting Rouge if she's after all of the Immortal Nine, including him?”.

These questions will all be answered across season 1.

OK so I didn't like the first episode, going into it, because I thought it was very cryptic.

Sure, all first episodes have a lot of work to do. After all, it's their job to present the world, introduce our main characters to us, build up atmosphere but, also, it has to stand up on its own with a proper episode twist, a villain and a proper wrap up.

I get it that that's a lot of things you have to do in just one episode, and I understand why not every TV show can pull it off well enough.

But, the main problem wasn't that the first episode simply didn't have the time to do all of that in an organized and coherent manner. No, the problem was that this episode had plenty of time to do all of that, it just chose not to do it.

In fact, a lot of the aforementioned questions don't get answered in the second episode, either.

It's not until the third episode rolls in that we learn that Rouge is working for Ministry of Truth vice-director, Jean Yunghart, and that he's been the mastermind behind Rouge and Naomi's killings all along.

And still, even then, we still don't get an explanation of why all of them are doing all of this until much, much later.

The Immortal Nine themselves are also shrouded in mystery, with some of their members acting evil and behaving like regular villains, but with others acting like regular Neans that just try to live their lives and end up getting killed anyway for no good reason, just like Sara.

I like the angle that this show attempted, of trying to appear morally ambiguous with its protagonist, Rouge, not giving away whether she's the evil one or not all this time, but this didn't help me connect with her in any way.

The problem that the show has is that, for all the plot twists and world building that it does, it intentionally tries to make you ask a lot of questions all the time about our characters and their backgrounds, essential questions like: why is this character doing this? Or why are they planning that? Or what is this other character scheming? Or how did these events connect?

And the show revels in you, the audience, not knowing the answers to these, as it just teases more and more stuff at you each episode, until finally revealing the plot in the last 3 couple of episodes.

Honestly, when I said that I was too young to be enjoying shows like Meiji Gekken: 1874 because I thought they were too cut-and-dry serious historical dramas that would only appeal to a boomer crowd, I also think that I am too old for a show like this, where this type of enigmatic and scrambled plot that's constantly broken into puzzle pieces is presented to me from the beginning, and then it drip feeds me new information every week to help me piece them together into a whole.

This type of plot, I know for a fact, I would have enjoyed back when I was a teenager or younger adult, back when I liked to solve complex stories and figure things out for myself, but now, as an adult approaching middle age, I simply don't have the patience to bother with any of this.

I want my shows to spoon feed me everything I need to know from episode 1: who the characters are, what their backgrounds are, why they're doing what they're doing and why should I care. Anything less than that and I'll get annoyed.

This show, not only did it not do that, but it kept throwing more and more information my way, and presenting valuable information via random flashbacks that were intentionally scrambled just to tease me that there's stuff that I don't know.

This type of stuff I just hate.

Some people might say that doing out-of-order flashbacks and constantly keeping essential plot points hidden adds to a show's presentation and it makes it risque, but I personally just find it gimmicky and lazy.

A good story doesn't need to be scrambled or pieced together. It simply stands on its own legs, if it's good.

Jumbling it around and splitting it into pieces so that the audience constantly has to remember every single detail, especially across weekly episodes where a lot of detail gets forgotten naturally just wasn't doing this any favors for me.

And, honestly, after watching the entirety of all its 13 episodes, I can even say, the plot isn't even that complicated. Sure, there are a lot of details to it but, now that I think about it, it's really very straightforward. There was really no need to scramble it up like this show did, and the fact that it did get presented in such a broken way only detracted from my enjoyment of this show. If they showed Rouge's past and talks with her brother from the very get-go, I, at least, would have gotten emotionally invested, perhaps, and I might even have cheered for her to commit some of the murders that she ended up doing.

Then again, maybe not, as even after I learned all the details from the story that I needed, I still didn't even know if I wanted to root for our protagonist.

Especially in the later episodes, when all the cards are down and you know most of the relevant stuff about the plot, you end up asking yourself “Is Rouge actually doing the right thing here? Maybe I should really root for the bad guys, instead”.

I know that that's probably what the show makers were going for, in the first place, but this type of storytelling removes any emotional investment that I, as an audience member, can have, because I just become fully impartial to the conflicts going on. I never became particularly invested in one side or the other, I just didn't care.

And that's a problem when you reach the final episode of the show and you still don't know who's in the right and who isn't.

It is unconventional, I admit, but also not very effective at making me care.

Oh and don't get me started on the ending of this show.

The show was supposed to be Studio Bones' 25th Anniversary, and they decided to make this, from scratch, as a celebration.

This show has no source material, much like Delusional Monthly Magazine, and is an original anime, from top to bottom.

Whereas, in the case of Delusional Monthly Magazine, that ended up working in its favor because it meant that it didn't have to work within the context of a particular story that it had to adapt faithfully and it could just make up whatever it wanted, on the spot, allowing for some of its non sequitur jokes and gags, for this show, it meant that the scriptwriters could become fully unhinged.

That might seem like a good thing, but Jesus, when you get into the last 3 episodes, you will be amazed how forced certain plot twists will appear.

There's a plot twist about who the Puppeteer has been all along, a plot twist about a specific character actually being a very important Nean and not a human, a plot twist about a certain character actually being another character's father, a plot twist about who was pulling the strings all along, a plot twist about how this hidden villain planted a trap into this program that was supposed to doom everyone but then another plot twist inside that plot twist about how that got resolved by Jean, in the last seconds, because he overwrote something to prevent it from happening.

The plot just becomes more and more convoluted with plot twist over plot twist, almost as if it was a meme and the scriptwriters were just asking ChatGPT “Hey, what else can I add to this script to amaze our audience”, shoe-horning in all and even the kitchen sink in those last episodes just to leave an impact.

I have never seen a TV show be as desperate and insecure about its own plot, that it ended up with such a pathetic display of constant plot twist salad.

I simply don't get it.

This show just felt like a passion project that was either spoiled by too many cooks in the kitchen, or too much by studio heads demanding that the scriptwriters add in hundreds of ideas from studio notes, one after another.

Midway through the show it felt average and mediocre, to be fair, me asking myself whether it was worse or better than Meiji Gekken, but towards the end it turned into an incomprehensible mess of ideas, all strewn about in incoherent mixes, tossed and turned to make the audience remember this experience forever, almost like this was the last show that the human race would ever see and they wanted to desperately stand out as much as humanly possible.

Suffice it to say, I was unimpressed.

The only good thing, I can say, stood out about this show were its two main characters, Rouge and Naomi, and them working off of each other. That's it.

Rouge is a bit naive and Naomi is a smartass. They work very well off of each other and I feel that this show would have been so so much better, had it just been about these two in a slice of life comedy or something.

Really, that's all you needed. I know that the studio heads at Bones probably thought that their 25th anniversary needed to be something way bigger and more grandiose than that, but in the process of doing so, they kept adding so many ingredients that it spoiled the dish entirely, at least for me.

There's something to be said about the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” idiom that so many engineers use. The scriptwriters of this show could take a lesson or two from that. Or maybe it's the studio heads, I don't know.

Either way, though, I can't say that I dislike this show, nor that I wouldn't recommend it.

Honestly, the show still had a lot of potential and even if it squandered everything it had built up in the end, I'd still argue it's still worth a watch.

And especially if you're into “It's so bad it's good”, you have to see this show. It's amazing how bad it gets towards the end. The crash that it had in the last 3 episodes is something to be remembered for, almost like Darling in the Franxx was. Hell, I'd even say that this ending might be worse than Darling, because Darling's ending felt at least coherent.

This was such a fantastic crash. It was a crash, but it was fantastic nonetheless.

10. Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!

Tsubasa and Fuyuki meet for the first time

And we finally reach the end of this ranking, at the very bottom.

Honestly, this was a fun batch, overall, and I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed most of the shows on this list, even the lesser ones.

This, however, is the only exception to that.

I do mean it when I say that, up to this point, I would recommend all of the shows on this list to people who are appropriate audiences for them, as I can easily envision at least some individuals that would enjoy them.

This show, however, is the only one I wouldn't recommend to anyone; nor would I watch a second season of.

Let's look at a breakdown for the first episode before I go on.

16 year old Tsubasa Shiki is in the process of moving to Hokkaido, waiting in a taxi to arrive to his dad's home.

Tsubasa transferred school in the middle of winter, due to family reasons and now he wishes to move in with his father in Hokkaido, abandoning the life he used to live in Tokyo.

Before the taxi could reach its destination, though, Tsubasa asks the driver to stop so that he can continue on foot to his dad's home.

While he walks through the heavy snow, he meets up with a blonde gal named Fuyuki Minami.

He asks her for directions, she kindly obliges but warns him that if he intends to continue traveling by foot, the journey would take him 3 hours.

It's at this point when Tsubasa realizes that he had gotten off too early from the taxi, and now he's stuck very far away from his destination, with no other taxis around to take him there.

Fuyuki suggests that he should wait with her there, for the bus to arrive, as the bus should take them to the town that he needs to reach.

The two of them engage in idle banter, during which Fuyuki learns that Tsubasa is moving from Tokyo to their town, which immediately impresses her.

She didn't expect for a city boy from a place as large as Tokyo would want to move into their small town but, when asked if he finds the folk there in Hokkaido to be lame, Tsubasa answers that it's the opposite, and that he finds that place to be quite relaxing, compared to Tokyo.

She also learns that Tsubasa will attend the same school as her, which makes her happy.

After waiting a bit more at that bus stop, Fuyuki gets annoyed that Tsubasa was deep in thought, ignoring her unintentionally, so she pulls a prank where she drops a small amount of snow underneath his jacket. In response, he cries in pain from the sudden cold snow and this prompts Fuyuki to start laughing at him from him being startled. She ends up almost crying from the laughter and Tsubasa, when seeing her pretty face during that, accidentally mutters that she's pretty, which immediately embarasses both of them.

The next day, Tsubasa is introduced in his new class, he walks over to his desk and then, soon after, he discovers that not only did he end up in the same class as Fuyuki, but he also has his desk next to hers.

Fuyuki kindly helps him out by lending him her blanket to keep himself warm during class (because apparently the classroom has no heating despite it being winter), she asks him to walk her home in return for the favor and then, while they're walking together from school with her flirtatiously hanging onto his right arm, she even invites him to come to her house, the next day, so that she can learn more stuff about Tokyo from him.

He accepts, the next day comes, and more lewd shenanigans happen at her house, as Tsubasa is constantly nervous for being in a girl's room alone with her, she mischievously changes in very revealing clothing that embarrasses him, he pulls out a Blu-ray movie for them to watch together, and, during the said movie, Fuyuki falls asleep on the bed.

There's a bit more that happens but, bottom line, that's the gist of it.

In a nutshell, Fuyuki is a very forthcoming and extroverted gal that gets very clingy to Tsubasa all the time, makes dirty jokes or mildly inappropriate remarks that constantly leave him blushing and Tsubasa just absorbs them in a bashful manner; rinse and repeat this every episode.

Honestly, while I know that there are people that like this type of romantic comedy, I'm at a point in my life now when this type of stuff just doesn't phase me like it used to.

In all honesty, the fact that the show has gals as its heroines is the only unique thing about it. And yes, I said “gals”, plural; which means that Fuyuki will not be the only gal in this show. Two other gals will come in future episodes.

While that did give me the fear that this will turn into a sleazy slice of life harem anime that's gonna become unhinged, honestly, that would have been a genuine improvement rather than what we got.

As I already said during my 2023 summer animes ranking when I talked about TenPuru: No One Can Live on Loneliness, I don't mind ecchi anime when they're done right. I understand that the ecchi genre has its haters but I'm not one of them.

However, I do expect for ecchi TV series to do at least something mildly unique or at least risque in the process, to push boundaries and cement some form of an identity for itself.

This show doesn't do that.

While Tenpuru was at least funny and unhinged in more ways than one, this show was oddly very grounded into reality and played it straight for almost all of its runtime.

Not only that but it was very restrained in the jokes that it did and, for one reason or another, held itself back in a lot of ways.

For one, nudity is nonexistent in this. You can't see the heroines naked at all. Excessive skin ship boils down to just Fuyuki clinging onto Tsubasa's arm while he gets flustered and nothing else.

There's only one single sex joke that I can remember off the top of my head from this show, which is when Fuyuki and Tsubasa are inside a snow fort and Fuyuki says stuff that implies that she's having sex with him. And any other attempt at ecchi that this show has just boils down to boob or skirt shots from the perverted camera angles (and no, not even panty shots, just regular skirt shots where you don't see anything).

With the lack of interesting ecchi going on, I thought that maybe the harem component might make the show more interesting, but even that didn't go anywhere. The other gals that appear in future episodes immediately friend-zone the protagonist to oblivion, which means that there's no prospect of a proper harem even in the slightest.

I have to wonder, what even was the point of the other gals if they weren't even gonna play a part in the romantic comedy? The only way I can answer that is that, I assume that their sole purpose was to pad out the story, as there wasn't enough material with the two main characters to carry it to any significant lengths.

Honestly, calling this show a harem is both misleading and an insult to harem anime as a whole. This isn't a proper harem, it's a diet harem at best (i.e. something that tries to look like a harem on the outside in trailers and in the opening/ending but isn't actually one).

Some might say that the fact that it's not a harem plays in its favor, because that means that there's a potential for a proper true romance route between Tsubasa and Fuyuki that can play out without any interference from others. And yes, there is that potential.

The problem is, that potential is squandered by the fact that these two are very very generic character types, and their chemistry together, while it does exist, is fairly underwhelming.

Tsubasa is the nerdy city boy that gets flustered over the slightest amounts of physical contact with a woman of his age, he's very mild mannered and a gentleman but outside of having good grades at school and being good at playing the piano, he has no discernible talents or skills that come in handy outside of just being friendly to others. That's his character in a nutshell.

Hell, he himself mentioned in a monologue in the first episode that others back in Tokyo found him to be boring, and I can absolutely agree with that. He is a very boring character that doesn't go through any growth or development during the show. He just does the bare minimum to become friends with the gals, but has no distinguishing personality or doesn't do anything that sets the plot in motion in any particular direction. If anything, things in this show happen to him, not because of him; or at least, nothing of any real substance.

But he isn't the only issue that I have with the show. After all, Tsubasa is far from being the first bland protagonist in a slice of life anime TV series, and he certainly won't be the last.

After all, the main reason I decided to pick up this show in the first place was because of the gals that were featured in the trailer. I wanted to see how an anime was going to handle their character types and I really wished for a proper depiction of some rowdy female characters that would rock the boat at every turn (spoilers: I didn't get that).

The gals in this show are....very mild, to put lightly. Sure, they are all beautiful characters that wear short skirts during winter, have long painted fingernails and wear makeup all the time, but that's really all that sets them apart from the other female characters in this show. Other than that, they aren't loud, rude or delinquent in any way, shape or form. Hell, one of them is even a top model student in her class. Another is just a stereotypical shut-in gamer girl that's very quiet when around others.

Arguably, the closest to a true gal that we get to see is Fuyuki herself, who kind of acts like a rebel on rare occasions, like how she's late for class, she has mediocre grades, or how she eats during class.

But really, that's as risque as the show is willing to get with her. She still is very friendly, kind and supportive of her friends, works hard and tries to make others happy. Despite the show trying to portray her as a non-conformist, there's nothing really rebel about her, as a character, outside of the aforementioned shallow discrepancies.

The best character I can compare her to would be Marin from My Dress-Up Darling, since the two seem to have very similar personalities. And guess what? In that show, Marin was never considered a delinquent by anyone, and that's why I find it odd how Fuyuki is technically considered a gal in this show, despite them being essentially the same character.

I know that the term gal technically only refers to a fashion subculture, and not necessarily to the fact that one's a rebel or delinquent, so I can't say that it's false advertising per se, but I still felt a bit betrayed by this.

A hypothesis that I have is that, the author of this story realized that the gals aren't really that rebel to begin with, but instead of trying to fix them by making them rowdy and rude, the author chose to rather make the male protagonist, Tsubasa, be even safer and blander so that, by comparison, they just seem to be ruder.

In doing so, I feel like this backfired on Tsubasa, who now seems like such a generic and colorless character that it's not even funny.

Sure, Tsubasa is a kind and friendly character that, had I known him personally in real life, I might have wanted to befriend him, but that doesn't make for an interesting character worth being the center of a story of.

Couple that with a severe lack of ecchi antics, non-existent harem and very watered-down sex jokes that happen only occasionally, and make most of season 1 be about their school life (which I always detest in slice of life shows), and I was genuinely getting bored out of my mind while watching this show.

It just wasn't doing anything for me.

Watching this show was only making me wish that I would watch better and funnier shows with this premise, like Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro or re-watch My Dress-Up Darling that had similar character archetypes, but which would surely have more chemistry and more interesting dynamic (and who are also, coincidentally, available on Crunchyroll).

The only time I genuinely felt like this show had something worthwhile to show was during its second to last episode, when Fuyuki takes Tsubasa to Higashimokoto, a local cherry blossoms-filled park where they had beautiful sceneries of blooming cherry blossoms during spring.

Beautiful pink cherry blossoms blooming in the Higashimokoto park

That episode was, simply, beautiful to watch, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Still, it's what, I would argue, is the only good episode from this entire first season, and whether it's worth it to watch all the episodes leading up to it just so you can watch it too is debatable. I would argue it's not worth it, but I'll let you decide that for yourself.

I was hoping that maybe the last two episodes would be the turnaround point for this show, where it hopefully becomes interesting or even, dare I say it, good, and that the cherry blossoms park visit was leading me to believe that this might actually be the case.

But no, it didn't become good even after all of this. It threw us another cliche just at the end of that episode, suggesting that there would be a sad ending to this series and trying to make itself look sophisticated and deep because of this.

I'm not going to spoil what the cliche is, but I will say it's one of those endings that you see better anime have, and they would do it to leave a slightly bitter taste in your mouth, as a life lesson they'd teach.

Honestly, I didn't like that, since that cliche has been overused before but, at least, I respected that it attempted to teach that particular life lesson.

But then the final episode rolled in and, while I can't spoil what happens, I'll say, they even managed to squander what little potential they had with that type of ending, by bringing in a cheap cope out plot twist that, while I didn't see coming, cheapened the entire experience to a level that left me feeling insulted.

It's the type of cope out that I only believed satires would try to pull off, not genuine romantic comedies.

Needless to say, I was very much done after that final episode.

Honestly, this show had already cemented its place as the lowest ranked show on this list before the final episode even arrived, so it's not like that cope out did any more damage to it than it already suffered before, but it felt like a final insult to me, a last “Fuck you” on the final date to spite me for no particular reason.

I'm done rambling now.

Honestly, I don't recommend this show to anyone. While the second to last episode was very beautiful and I can genuinely feel that a lot of work and talent were put into it to give it the sense of quality that it achieved, I still would argue that it wasn't enough to warrant watching this.

The main characters are bland, the ecchi is held back a lot, the supposed harem is just filler and the boob shots that it has just gives it a shady overall feel to it.

The only way I see anyone watching this and actually enjoying it is if they have never watched a slice of life romantic comedy in their lives before and wanted to try this as their first experience of that nature. It might entertain them enough, seeing how this would be the first time they'd see these cliches play out, but it would certainly not be very memorable.

And if a season 2 were announced, I won't bother with it.