Yes, I still watch anime. Just not as much as I used to, and not the same kind of stuff that I used to. Here’s a quick run-down (alphabetically, for lack of a better sorting order) of what I think I’ll be sticking with through the rest of the season:

In The Land of Leadale is a lightly fluffy isekai show. (If you’re unfamiliar, basically any “transported to another world” show counts as isekai, often involving reincarnation from being struck by a delivery truck, damn you Truck-kun.) This one’s in the popular sub-genre of “My new life is in the world of a video game I used to play.” The budget is slim, the jokes are okay, and the stakes are minimal. It’s just something mildly amusing to pass the time, but it’s at least decent at that, and it does a few things differently enough to keep from being too run-of-the-mill.

That’s really all I’ve got for this one, sorry. There’s not much there there, as it were.

Life with an Ordinary Guy who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout is an absolutely bonkers isekai show that’s almost as funny as its name is lengthy. (You may be wondering, “Does Japan make anything other than isekai shows anymore?” Well… if so, you’re not alone in that.) The premise is enough to give a sensible person pause: Two dudes are transported to a new world by a capricious, arguably malicious goddess-type figure. The catch is, one of them is transformed into a woman with blonde hair and an inherent character feature (because of course this new world is structured kind of like a video game, with stat screens and so forth) which is that she is absolutely irresistible. Even to her best friend, whose main character feature in this new world is that he’s vastly overpowered. Oh, and they’ve been cursed to be attracted to each other, which is a situation they each find wholly unacceptable for their own reasons.

If that sounds like a recipe for an exhausting season full of “no homo” jokes, well, somehow they’ve managed to not do that, exactly. It is full of jokes, laugh-out-loud funny jokes even, and the beating heart of the show is the friendship between these two people, who were best pals in their normal modern Earth life and now must navigate all the shenanigans they’ve been thrown into.

It might yet go completely off the rails, but two episodes in and I’m on board… which is saying something, because screwball comedies are usually not my thing.

My Dress Up Darling is… not an isekai, thank everything holy. It focuses closely on two schoolkids, one an aspiring doll-maker with intense social anxiety issues and the other a cosplayer who’s super-popular but suffers fools quite poorly. He has the sewing-machine skills she needs, she has the concepts lined up that she wants to wear but no ability to bring them to life. Can these two absolute dorks help each other out and maybe even achieve a real friendship based on mutual respect?

Heck, maybe, who knows? But I’m rooting for them.

It’s worth noting that the bulk of the second episode takes place in the boy’s bedroom with the girl wearing only a two-piece swimsuit so he can take her measurements, and it’s as intensely awkward and rather fanservice-y as that sounds. Your mileage may vary. (The poor boy’s trying to get nominated for sainthood, I tell you what.)

Slow Loop is… not a complete Yuru Camp (aka “Laid-back Camp”) knockoff. Not entirely. It’s another in a line of “girls doing hobby” shows that are soothing balms in these hellish times we live in. (A recent sterling example is last year’s Super Cub, if you’re curious.)

The hobby here is fishing, with the show title referring to the act (and art) of casting with a fly-fishing rig. As is standard for these shows the cast consists of The Serious One, The Enthusiastic But Clueless Newcomer, and one or more other hobbyists of varying investment & skill levels to make some kind of ensemble happen.

There’s a twist in the tale, though. What’s really going on here is that the serious one’s father died recently, the flighty newcomer’s mother died recently, and their respective remaining parents are now married to one another so the two girls are now stepsisters under one roof. It’s a lot of circumstance to set up in order to kick off the plot, and I wondered at the start how they were going to square the heavy background setup with the silly antics of two young girls with fishing poles.

And yet… and yet… it kind of works. Every so often, someone has something to say about the nature of family, about processing trauma, about dealing with drastically changed circumstances. It’s treated with gravity and respect, and I’m a little bit impressed by how deftly those moments are dropped in among the hobby-anime shenanigans.

I was ready to drop the show after the first episode (especially with its totally ooky “romance tropes” bits between stepsisters, holy yikes), but after three I’m totally here to see what they try to do with the premise in the long term. (And the ooky stuff hasn’t come back. So far. Thankfully.)

So… That’s it. Nothing else on offer this season calls to me with any meaningful appeal. We’re working our way through the Reincarnated As A Slime show from a couples years back, but that’s more of a Vyx thing than a Me thing. The couple that snarks at cartoons together stays together, though. Or so I’m told.

(We’ve got Spy X Family coming in April, so at least I’m sure of one springtime season show to watch!)