Fans lashing out does not a story make

When certain socalled fans got angry with Darling in the FranXX episode 14, they thought harassing the show’s creators and other fans was justified. This is how Anime News Network reported on it: Latest DARLING in the FRANKXX Episode Inspires Angry Hashtag:

After Zero Two practically goes nuclear on the entire squad, her handlers separate her from Hiro and re-enlist her with the elite squad. Hiro feels tortured over the development because he rejects Zero Two’s actions but still loves her. He attempts to go after but Ichigo stops him and finally lays her feelings bare. Fans of the Hiro and Zero Two coupling, or those who disagree with Ichigo’s actions in the episode have started using a hashtag on Twitter to designate their anger towards Ichigo, dubbing her “#Bitchigo.” The hashtag is predominately being used by English-speaking viewers on Twitter and Instagram.

In my experience, whenever there are articles in the fan press about “fans being angry on Twitter”, even if it’s clearly disapproving of them like this one is, it encourages them. Especially when written in a “some fans say this, others disagree” template. Doing this without context other than a plot summary legitimises this behaviour. It’s a nothingburger of a story anyway, fans being outraged online, but if you have to write about it, at least provide the context, both in why certain Darling in the FranXX get so het up about their shipping as well as to why this sort of behaviour shouldn’t be condoned. Focus on the inevitable harassment this brings along with it.

Be more responsible.

Golden Kamuy — First Impressions

A war veteran travels to the wilderness in search of gold, to fulfil a promise made to a dead comrade. He encounters a native woman who helps him fight off a bear attack and they join forces in search of a legendary treasure trove stolen from the woman’s own people, while other, more sinister forces are also looking for it. A typical western, except for its setting.

Golden Kamuy: Immortal Sugimoto

Because Golden Kamuy is actually set in snow bound Hokkaido, just after the Russian-Japanese War, rather than the American west and Sugimoto Saichi is a veteran of that war, having almost died in the battle of Hill 203. Now he’s looking for gold to take care of his dead comrade’s wife, who is slowly going blind and needs an operation. Asirpa, the native woman he encounters is an Ainu girl. It’s this setting that makes Golden Kamuy interesting from the start. Even if the nominal plot so far isn’t the most original, the setting sure is. Not to mention that having an Ainu character is very rare in anime, this is the first one I’ve seen.

Golden Kamuy: Asirpa

Asirpa is an interesting character, from what little I’ve seen of her this first episode. She shows up halfway to save Sugimoto from a bear attack, then serves as his introduction to how to survive in the wilderness. It’s a role that reminds me of the Native American friend of the protagonist in a western, but there are some hints she’ll be playing a larger role later on. She teams up with Sugimoto to look for the murderers of her father, the men who stole the gold he is after.

Golden Kamuy: bear punching

This first episode was mostly setting the plot in motion and as such did its job. I like both Sugimoto and Asirpa and it’ll be interesting how their relationship will evolve. The bear punching didn’t disappoint either. Since Golden Kamuy started as a critically well received manga, I have faith in the quality of the source material. The studio adapting it also did last season’s Kokkoku, which was much better than I expected it to be, so I have high hopes for this.

Comic Girls — First Impressions

Moeta “Kaos” Kaoruko is — apart from a Disney Princess — a high school manga artist whose series has just received the lowest ranking and she doesn’t take the news well. So her editor suggests she goes and live with other mangakas so she can learn from them.

Comic Girls: the animals come to comfort her

That’s the setup of Comic Girls: a female manga artist dorm inhabited by four quirky girls, a somewhat novel variation on the regular slice of moe formula of four quirky girls being in a club together. Kaos-chan is the crippling shy one, while her shojo romance drawing roommate Koizuka Koyume is the boisterous big eater. Their two senpai are Katsuki Tsubasa, who is the slightly chuuni one who draws dead serious shounen battlers and Irokawa Ruki, the serious but easily embarrassed one. Who turns out to be the one coerced into drawing porn, which to be honest is a bit creepy, the sort of anime cliche that should’ve died a long time ago, likewise the boob gags later in the episode.

Comic Girls: working hard

What makes Comic Girls a bit more special is that it does go into the nitty gritty of making manga, with the four girls working together to beat Tsubasa’s deadline in the first episode, while in the second episode they go to a supplies store to check out new zip-a-tone patterns. It’s always interesting to see people at work, even if you can’texpect Shirobako levels of fidelity here. It adds a bit of crunch to what otherwise would be a fairly undistinguished slice of moe series. It also adds a bit more to each of the protagonists’ personalities, seeing the differences between their work and normal modes.

Comic Girls: the animals come to comfort her

As with any good slice of moe series there’s an undertone of yuri: the two senpai are roommates who behave as if they might as well be in a relationship, while both Kaos and her own roommate are crushing hard on them. Kaos likes the shy one, while Koyume likes the chuuni one, to the point where she draws shojo romance flowers in the background of the latter’s oh so serious shounen fantasy series… Nothing much is likely to come of this queerbaiting, but as long as it doesn’t start to deny its own subtext like some other series I could mention, i’m happy. This isn’t going to be as mold breaking as last season’s Yorimoi or Yuru Camp, but I always like a decent, well executed slice of moe series.

Fumikiri Jikan — First Impressions

Fumikiri Jikan would like to start things off with a public service announcement:

Fumikiri Jikan: two women can love each other

So I knew literally nothing about this series going in and it was by a new studio, so no great expectations here. It turning out to be a short only lowered them, but this first episode was decent? Basically it’s this girl and her golden haired, slightly kooky senpai waiting at a rail crossing and doing dumb stuff on senpai’s insistence to pass the time and enjoy their youths. It turns out however that this girl would rather enjoy senpai instead, hence the passion about two women being able to love each other. Not often you see this sentiment spoken out loud in an anime, so kudos to Fumikiri Jikan. I’ll continue watching if only to see if the series will actually do something with this.