Winter 2021 First Impressions Part 1

I enjoyed writing individual First Impressions posts but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s demanding and some shows just aren’t worth the effort to cover anyway. So possibly from this season onwards, I’ll be sharing almost all of my First Impressions of new anime series in this two-part post (one part for each week of premieres). A couple of individual First Impressions will still be written for one reason or another. Provided they’re part of this particular week and when they’re published, links to those posts will be found down below.

The following premieres will be detailed in their own First Impressions posts: Cells at Work!, Cells at Work! Code Black, Gekidol, Laid-Back Camp (Season 2), The Promised Neverland (Season 2), The Quintessential Quintuplets ff

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies moved to a starter town?

The latest in many fantasy anime where the male protagonist being overpowered is the punchline. At least, he’s not a teenager who got sent to another world. Protagonist Lloyd Belladonna (Yumiri Hanamori) can garner a chuckle with how oblivious he is to his insane prowess but I’ve seen this joke told so many times now and it isn’t told any differently here. None of the girls in his inevitable harem seem interesting either.

Otherside Picnic

An adventure/mystery show where two young women venture into a parallel dimension filled with unnatural and horrifying creatures. No, they don’t get stuck there indefinitely so we can’t mark it as a true isekai show. Yes, one of the girls more or less flirts with the other so we can most likely consider this a yuri series (I think it’s been marketed as such anyway). The story starting in medias res threw me off a bit and how exactly both main characters are aware of the so-called “Otherside” is evidently being saved for later. That being said, I did find the setting’s eerie nature pretty intriguing and the two leads have some nice chemistry with each other.

Umamusume: Pretty Derby (Season 2)

I like Umamusume, warts and all. The horse girl racing is silly and the idol concerts are completely pointless but I do think the characters are pretty charming and have their moments from time to time. Considering how well the first season sold on BD/DVD, I always figured we’d get a second season. Finally after three years and a short spin-off series, it’s finally happening.

Change is definitely the first word that comes to mind here. Instead of Special Week (Azumi Waki) and Silence Suzuka (Mairka Kouno), the main duo is now Tokai Teio (Machico) and Mejiro Mcqueen (Saori Ounishi). While I enjoyed Spe and Suzuka’s friendship in the first season, their arc is more or less done. Considering the stupidly large cast of characters, focusing on someone else is not a bad idea at all and Teio was one of the more memorable supporting characters from the first season. The plot looks to be Teio suffering from a potentially career-shattering injury after pushing herself too hard during her races. That does run the danger of being similar to Spe’s underdog story though the context is different enough so we’ll see if the story will be different as well.

Meanwhile, you have Studio Kai animating the series in place of P.A. Works. On one hand, P.A. Works was amazingly overqualified for this show. On the other hand, Studio Kai’s output does look cheaper and rougher.


A boy idol series so not really for me. I could not for the life of me tell you what distinguishes this from other shows of the like.

LBX Girls

An anime adaptation of a mobile game tie-in for Level 5‘s Little Battlers Experience franchise. Instead of toy robots however, said robots are now suits of armor donned by cute girls because why not. These action anime where the all-female cast are part of some special team, sometimes with the same overdesigned armor that we see here, rarely keep my attention. I was honestly kind of bored here and the episode having its protagonist assume she’s in a video game for the second act was extremely cliché. On the flipside, this is probably one of the more original isekai shows I’ve seen in a while.

Hortensia SAGA

A fantasy series set in a divided kingdom where the princess goes into hiding, impersonates a man, and takes refuge in a province led by a young lord (who is unaware of her true identity). It’s not a bad premise per se but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Problem number one is the show revolving less around the disgraced princess and instead on her more boring male co-star. Also irksome is the dialogue which is filled with exposition and platitudes.

ABCiee Working Diary

A short series about a talking animal, whose name is actually ABCiee (Aoi Yuuki), who works at a TV station. It seems cute enough but I didn’t find it all that funny and I doubt it’ll hold my attention for that long (and that’s given the 3 minute running time).

Heaven’s Design Team

This was a pleasant surprise. Basically, the show revolves around an agency in heaven that is tasked by God to create and program all the life on Earth (mighty curious what they’d think of us humans right now…). Seeing the different pitches, what animal they actually result in, and the tension between the designers over how their creations react to each other can get pretty funny. There’s some cute little details such as their main testing facility being the Galapagos Island, fitting given its importance to Charles Darwin’s research on evolution. My only complaint right now is that this premise is frankly better suited at 11 minutes as opposed to half an hour. Watching the different vignettes back to back feels a teensy bit droning and homogenous.

2:43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Club

However fair this would be, people are undoubtebly going to compare this to Haikyuu. I however have never seen Haikyuu so I get to try this with complete unbias. The basic plot is that you have two childhood friends, Chika (Kensho Ono) and Yuni (Junya Enoki) reunite and reconnect over their shared passion for volleyball. Tension arises when a friend of Yuni reveals to him a controversial moment in Chika’s volleyball career where his high standards resulted in a teammate attempting suicide. I’ll admit that this is a rather dark setup and there’s potential for things to get overdramatic. Still, I found the rough back and forth between the main characters pretty balanced and believable.

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