Posted on 28 February 2010 with categories: Monthly Summaries

Overall, this probably is the season in which I watched the least amount of series since Winter 2006 or something. Nevertheless, this season also has a very nice collection of interesting and engaging series. Especially the kids’ series and the series that put a lot of effort into their settings are doing well. The upcoming spring season seems to be one of opportunities:: there’s a ton of series with a great production-team and a generic premise, or generic production teams and a great premise.

#18 (14) – Hanamaru Youchien – (7,5/10) – Seriously… what happened? Here we have a nice series about a bunch of kids who have fun in a kindergarten… and suddenly this show decides that it also wants a brother complex drama. This series had such a simple formula… so why are the creators forgetting that?
#17 (16) – Ookami Kakushi – (7,75/10) – Yeah, now I’m convinced that this, like most other works of the director, is a wasted potential. The source this time is the “useless lead character”-syndrome: he’s the least interesting character of the entire cast, he never really does anything, his part in the story and especially his central role doesn’t make any sense, and most importantly: he gobbles up all of the precious airtime that could have been focused at the more interesting characters. Right now, the rest of the cast can’t show their best sides because of this guy and the plot events just happen without a lot of meaning to them.
#16 (15) – Kimi ni Todoke – (7,75/10) – The brother arc was nice, PROVIDED that the creators won’t stretch it any further than what they have now. It was a great way to develop these two characters, but I know that my patience is going to break if it gets stretched out any further. Oh, and seriously: is there any reason why Sawako and Kazehaya haven’t hooked up yet? Seriously.
#15 (12) – Katanagatari – (8/10) – There’s still lots and lots of talking in this series, but it’s still interesting and witty. The series does need to think about character-development if it wants to remain interesting for 10 more episodes, though.
#14 (9) – Gag Manga Biyori + – (8/10) – It’s a bit of a shame that out of all the episodes it decides to recap, it picks the dullest ones. Ah well, the original episodes, especially episode five, were just priceless. And I still can’t get enough of that ED.
#13 (8) – Letter Bee – (8/10) – ZOMG Second Season! That one announcement totally re-established my faith in this series. The episodes this month haven’t been among this series’ highlights, but they served their purpose as build-up well.
#12 (18) – Anymaru Tantei Kiruminzoo – (8/10) – Last month I had my fears, but this series picked itself back up again, and is as enjoyable as ever. One thing that also really helps here is the great voice-acting for the lead characters: it’s inspired, fun and creative and continually makes the characters fun to watch.
#11 (13) – Cobra the Animation – (8/10) – This show knows exactly what it is: space adventures, and it delivers on this. The creativity in this series in my opinion beats that of Cobra 1982 by miles and despite the fact that Cobra kicks ass in just about every way imaginable, it’s consistently enjoyable.
#10 (10) – Tentai Senshi Sunred – (8,25/10)

Most comedies would have burned out at this point, but not Sunred: it still keeps fresh jokes coming, and it skilfully knows how long it should repeat certain jokes before they get stale. Or how long it should repeat certain jokes to turn them into running gags. After nearly fifty episodes, it’s still a fresh source of comedy.

#9 (11) – Kaidan Restaurant – (8,25/10)

It’s a kid’s show, yes. But I find myself enjoying this series more and more with every episode. The different horror stories are consistently well told and varied. I can always count on this series to give me a weekly fix of horror.

#8 (new) – Heartcatch Precure – (8,5/10)

Finally another good mahou shoujo appeared again. Heartcatch Precure is miles away from regular Precure series, it’s got a very strong direction, the characters’ expressions are very detailed and varied and the comedy itself is consistently funny as well. Not to mention the gorgeous Casshern-esque character-designs.

#7 (9) – Marie & Gali – (8,5/10)

Noo! Episode 38 showed the beginning of the finale, meaning that this wonderful series is going to end soon. Such a shame, but at least it’s good to see that this series ends at the point where it’s at its height, rather than dying a slow death. And the finale itself also did not dent the quality in any way either: the creators have chosen a very appropriate story for this series.

#6 (6) – Kobato – (8,5/10)

I must praise the creators for how the developed Kobato: she’s gotten downright adorable at this point, and the rest of the cast also has so much charms. This is a simple series, but because of that it’s wonderful to see how well the development has become.

#5 (4) – Cross Game – (8,5/10)

Since the baseball matches never were Cross Game’s strong point, I wasn’t really looking forward to this point. But to my surprise, the characters did not lose their unique charms. In fact, while the series’ mood changed to less subtle, this show avoided jumping the shark and instead still is an utter joy to watch due to these developments.

#4 (7) – Sora no Oto – (8,75/10)

This series has really proven itself to be more than just moe. The characters are well written and down to earth, and yet it also proves that it can hit hard with episodes as episode 7. the direction knows when it needs to be subtle and when it needs to be powerful, I’m very impressed.

#3 (3) – Durarara – (8,75/10)

This series has proven to be excellent at weaving together so many different stories in the same episodes. It’s witty, funny, powerful, touching, engaging, well characterized, varied and the way that every episode is told through the perspective of a different character gives quite a unique dimension to everything.

#2 (2) – Full Metal Alchemist – Brotherhood – (9/10)

The way in which this series really sets itself apart from others is its focus on finding allies:Ed and Al by far aren’t the only ones in the middle of this story; there are so many different characters who are trying to accomplish the same or similar goals to their own, and they all work together to get there. It also of course really helps that the execution is as solid as ever.

#1 (1) – Armed Librarians – The Book of Bantorra – (9,25/10)

Even though this series has been among my favourites of the past five months, it still continues to impress with such a powerful and imaginative plot, along with strong themes and messages. I salute the two central characters that we saw for their beliefs.

Posted on with categories: Full Metal Alchemist - Brotherhood



This episode was all about the “Promised Day”: the day at which Father is planning to put that huge transmutation circle he’s been preparing to use. We now see the rest of the cast head to Central City, but the doesn’t forget to get developed either. Plus, the start of this episode was just priceless. It was a great way for Ed and Winry to see each other again without the usual melodramatic hugging and stuff.

Oh, and poor Al. In the past few episodes hes been doing fairly well, but in this episode he got captured when father sent Pride after him. Interestingly enough, Pride’s words seem to hint at how Al isn’t needed for the Promised day, but instead they require him for something after that. Could collecting Ed, All, Izumi and that other mysterious person actually be the next step in his plan? After all, their part is the only ones that weren’t hinted at in the Hohenheim flashback.

The end of this episode was also very stylishly done, but that again brings us to the Golden rule of anime: a character isn’t dead unless this is confirmed. I doubt whether a homunculus would die that easily anyway. Considering their regenerative power and all. It also showed what a large amount of people is on Ed and Roy’s side at this point: the amount of soldiers behind the Bradley assassination plan was just huge. On top of that, this episode revealed even more allies: the Ishbal survivors. While the overall story of this series has turned out to be very impressive, I believe that the thing that truly sets this story apart from all other stories is this quest for allies.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Letter Bee



Um… so yeah. Last week I said that I was going to drop this series. This was because I found out that there were only going to be 25 episodes in this series. With anime’s current trend, there was no way for a second season to be announced, considering the popularity. I mean: Guin Saga and Pandora Hearts were much more well known compared to this series, and yet they didn’t get a sequel. At that point I had completely lost any sort of confidence about studios, willing to spend more than 26 episodes to a franchise unless proven to be commercially successful.

So yeah. A second season just got announced. I’m baffled. Seriously, this is the last show that I expected that of. Forget about all of the stuff I’ve said about this series’ length; Studio Pierrot, THANKS for restoring my confidence in sequels. This show rocks! And I’m very curious about that second season, since it looks like it’s going to start at the point at which this series is really going to get interesting. But please, do keep the fillers there within a limit. Or at least good. Definitely the best news I’ve seen this month.

Anyway, about this episode, we’re back to the manga again (very easy to tell, because it deals with the past of some of the important characters, in this case Sunderland). Overall, I liked the story of the blind researcher, especially the chemistry between her and Sunderland. You can see how this guy used to be much tenser in the past, and I think that we can blame her for changing him.

Oh, and Gauche also makes an appearance. The story will be continued in the next episode. I wonder whether he’ll be more than just a straight man in this story.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on with categories: Heartcatch Precure



I’ve tried watching a Precure before, but the furthest I got was with Fresh Precure (the one of last year), at around episode 6. The thing with that series is: there was just no conflict! The three main characters had no worries, flaws or anything negative. Especially Love, the lead one: she was just having fun every single day, ran around with a random idol, and because of that the battles felt as mundane as having lunch. Talk about contrast with Heart Catch.

This series surely wastes no time with the character-development, seriously. I expected this episode to be just a random monster one, and but instead the creators don’t intend to just waste these episodes and instead build further upon the chemistry between the two lead characters. The result was such an adorable episode, and I’m growing to like Tsubomi more and more.

That really begs the question: what ever could the creators have planned for the rest of this series? I mean, there still are what? 46 episodes left? Most mahou shoujo of this type generally use these first number of episodes to flesh out their cast, but this episode went much further than that. I see this as a hint for some very interesting plans for this series’ latter half.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 27 February 2010 with categories: Cobra The Animation



Well, this is just the last series I expected to just get better and better with every episode. Don’t ask me why, but even though this series started out as a guilty pleasure, I’m genuinely enjoying it now. This episode again: the characters were very simple, but the ideas and the storytelling, along with Yoshihiro Ike’s soundtrack again turned this into an enjoyable episode. I’m a big fan of adventure series, but I often find them lacking in the creativity department. This show has exactly that.

And I have to praise this series: it’s one of the few ones that you can see has a ton of fun, making its own stuff up. Rugball was one of the highlights of Cobra 1982, and here it again comes with a great premise: in a free fall of 30000 feet, participants have to assemble their own vehicles, just in time before plummeting to their death and finish a race at high speed. I love the idea behind it.

One thing that I also appreciate is that ever since that first arc, the entire mentality of this series has changed. While at first, it had the “Cobra and the girl get a happy end”-mentality, instead, the series changed to the “only Cobra is awesome enough to have the happy end”. This makes the females in this series much less useless than they once were. Instead, they’re often the main villains, rather than damsels in distress. In this episode I again feared for Panela to fall into the same trap, but guess what? She died!

But seriously though, there’s no denying that this series is flawed, but nevertheless this series knows exactly what it is, and it’s been using that to its advantage and made this an excellent adaptation. Compare that to Hanamaru Youchien, for example, where the creators can’t seem to realize that they’re animating a show about a kindergarten. Or Letter Bee, in which the creators were building up to a great story that they never had the plans for to animate. In my view, there were too many series this season that failed to capture their essences. Cobra The Animation, however, succeeded in that.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Armed Librarians - The Book of Bantorra



What an amazing conclusion to this arc. This series has really been delivering from start to finish, and I can only hope that the entire story can get animated within the next four episodes.

At this point, all of the characters on the outer side of the moral spectrum are dead now: on one side we have Volken’s immense belief in justice, and Noloty’s endless kindness, and on the other we have the power-hungry leader of an evil organization who wants to change the world. The way this series has portrayed them is nowhere near overused, though. Kachua has been a great villain throughout the series: he always had this air of mystery around him, and it’s not like he started out as someone who wanted to destroy the world: it was only his final trump as the Church neared extinction. But I especially applaud Noloty: she really showed that naivety and innocence in an action-series aren’t overrated.

Sure, there are tons of series with lead characters who refuse to kill and all, but it’s Noloty who takes this a step further. Her kind of love for everyone goes far beyond “thou shalt not kill”, but rather tries to look behind it, in her attempts to infect the world with her kindness; kindof the opposite that Kachua has been doing in the past arc. And I guess that that shallowness of his approach was also symbolized in how easy the infected people turned back to normal: in order to truly change something, you need to change its core, like what Noloty has been doing. Brainwashing is just a temporarily solution.

In any case: now what? The main focus of this series is now going to be this “heaven”. People seem obsessed with entering it. Hamyuts in this episode revealed that she indeed wants to die, but do so gloriously. My guess is that that would be her attempt to become a true man and enter this heaven. That mysterious killer guy who killed Vizac and Noloty has his own ways of doing it, by simply betraying the armed librarians. My guess is that Mokkania also tried it at some point, but locked himself away when he realized what he was doing (since this episode did show that he killed quite a number of innocent people as well).

Speaking of which: what happened to Kachua’s book? Will that one still play a role, since he died as a seemingly true man, after all?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 26 February 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



Those who have been reading this blog for a while now probably know that I’m a big fan of those compilation-movies: the ones that challenge all kinds of different artists and storytellers to produce a short animation film of 10 to 20 minutes, and combine them all together into one. The fact that Halo Legends is based upon an American franchise makes it even better, giving these films an international flavour, combining east and west.

Overall, even though I’ve played none of the games, I was very pleasantly surprised by Halo Legends, there are some true gems among these stories. Here are some individual comments on all of them:

Origins – I – Just a background story of the world the games are set in. It’s a standard post-apocalyptic story, but well paced. It’s got a great soundtrack all-round, and the art looks pretty nice. The animation however… not so much.

Prototype – I went into this without any background story whatsoever, so I did miss who these characters were, but that was the beauty of this episode: it possesses enough characterization and background to make them stand apart anyway, and the holes in their background added to their mysterious characters. This one produced a great feel of the battlefields that the Hal-games envisioned.

The Babysitter – This one starts out mundane and boring, but ends as the best one yet. Despite the weak set-up it continues to push the right buttons and even gets some development into the short time-frame. The graphics also move from rather ugly to utterly gorgeous, and you can really see that the guys from Studio 4C are trying out a ton of different animation techniques.

The Package – Entirely rendered in CG – yes, even the characters’ faces. It looks great, but this episode tries to be a bit too much like a game, and the formula hurts a lot. Game adaptations are great, just because out of all possible adaptations they require the most input from the creators of the adaptations, in order to really work (there’s no way to animate game-over screens, after all), and this one took too little liberties, and just went for the eye-candy. I like eye-candy, but not when I don’t care about the rest of the story.

Homecoming – Whoa! Another excellent example of how much you can do in just fifteen minutes. Instead of showing a random story, the creators succeeded in showing a character here, one with actual depth that gets explored perfectly in such a short time-frame. Oh, and best soundtrack yet, and the backgrounds are also gorgeously detailed. The characters’ faces were a bit too much of plastic, though.

Odd One Out – And now for something completely different. Odd one out has no depth, it’s got a basic story, premise and lacks any sort of intelligence. What it is, however is a fun ten-minute shounen episode with lots of loud people fighting. Nothing special, but the characters all have their charms, and that’s what I think the creators of this one tried to achieve.

Origins – II – Oh, the graphics in this short kick so much ass! No frame feels the same, every frame is full of imagination and incredibly varied. This one is again back-story, and the slide-show it presents while the central character has her story does wonders to illustrate her narration. This drew me in far more than the first Origins, and smartly uses the build-up provided by the former.

The Duel – This one also is done entirely in CG, but with a really weird filter put on top of it. It’s… intrusive to say the least. In any case, what sets this one apart is the classic Japanese style of storytelling: here the creators took an evil alien race, and turned it into a Japanese-esque tribe of pride and stubbornness. The characters are pretty static, though, and the scenario was a bit too predictable at times.

If I’d have to rank these eight from least favourite to most, it’d be the following:
8. The Package
7. Odd One Out
6. Origins – I
5. The Duel
4. Prototype
3. Origins – II
2. Homecoming
1. The Babysitter

The top four were a bit of a weird experiment. For those who were looking forward to Mamoru Oshii’s involvement: don’t. He only worked on The Duel, and while it was an interesting attempt to show that animation is more than just 2D and 3D CG and Japanese or American, it was 1) too Japanese for that to really work, and 2) you could clearly see that it was just 3D CG with a random filter. Anyone with a video editing tool could do that.

The bottom four however, were definitely worth it, and Bones, Bee-Train and Studio 4C did an amazing job bringing these short stories to life. I especially loved Homecoming and the Babysitter: even though the characters looked a bit weird in the beginning, they made up with it with some amazing eye candy and a ton of personality. It’s very difficult to get sympathetic characters out of just 15 minutes, but these two more than did it.

The best in terms of graphics came from Studio 4C; while just about every episode aside from the Duel looked great, Origins and The Babysitter push good looking even further by not focusing on extreme detail, but instead on creativity. Their shorts are a visual feast, mostly because they throw in so many different artworks that are varied, bold and all kick ass. The music… hell, do I need to even say it? While the music was excellent for every short, Homecoming had by far the best soundtrack.

All I can say is: Studio 4C, Production IG, Bones, Bee Train, and just about every other anime studio who’s ever participated in these kinds of projects: please keep doing them! The beauty of these projects is that with so much diversity, there are so many interesting and different stories to tell. Sure, there will be some disappointing episodes, but even then the nice ones are bound to make up for them.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Prototype, Origins II, Homecoming and The Babysitter make excellent use of their short time-frame and put forth a truly engaging story.
Characters: 8/10 – A bit held back by the cardboard characters of Odd One Out and The Package.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous and varied graphics, though at times the animation itself could be better.
Setting: 8/10 – I’ve never seen Halo, and I’m impressed at how they portrayed such a seemingly cliched back-story.
Posted on with categories: Durarara



One of the many reasons why this series rocks is the following: even though every episode is dedicated to one particular character (in this case Celty), it never forgets that it has a huge cast, and also shows some of the lives of the other characters that don’t have anything to do with the episode’s main focus, beyond mere cameos. This is especially important early on in the series, and a lot of series seem to forget the entire rest of the cast when they decide to dedicate an episode to one or two particular characters. This is a great way to breathe life into all of your characters, rather than just one or two.

I also have to say, that this show is very good at red herrings. We finally get to see Celty’s real head confirmed. I could have sworn that it was captured by that scientist woman, but no! It was the girl with the scar after all! In any case, it’s great to finally see an episode from Celty’s perspective. This episode was mostly slice of life, but very enjoyable slice of life nonetheless. We got to see her worries and how much finding her head back means to her, and this episode managed to get much more into her character than in the Shinra-episode, at which she first was properly introduced.

The question-mark in this episode was that strange guy who blew himself up. I mean, what was up with that? We never saw him before, he just appears and then kills himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if Izaya was behind it, but still, that might seem a bit extreme even for him, to suddenly command an army of suicide terrorists…

And yeah, Walker and Erika were really cute together in this episode.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 24 February 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



With this third season, I’m completely sold on the Maria-Sama ga Miteru franchise. The first season took a while to get going, while the second dragged on a bit too much in its second half, but this series of OVAs is perfectly paced, making for five excellent double-length episodes.

This season is all about character-development. It’s always been a big part of the Maria-Sama ga Miteru series, and it’s something that just gets better and better here in this season. It advances the characters, and also does wonders in fleshing out how exactly the characters have changed from the beginning of the first season.

While at first sight yet another high school drama, Maria-Sama ga Miteru sets itself apart in so many different ways. The unique drama that results from the fact that it’s a very neat school, so much that even the tiniest misunderstanding can create genuine and powerful drama. The way in which each student chooses her own younger sister gives a unique twist to these characters, and really allows them to get the best character-development possible in such a setting. It’s a series that’s elegant and innocent, and this shines through the third season more than ever. Even though some of the most interesting characters of the first two seasons have left now, the remaining characters picked up the pace perfectly and created their own story. Yumi, while I once criticised her for sticking her nose into everything, has developed into a wonderful character at this point.

The OVA-format also means that there was no budget wasted on broadcasting costs, so the graphics also look better and more consistent than ever. This third season is well paced, with just the right balance between drama, slice of life and character-development. Overall, I’m very impressed.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Excellent balance and pacing that gets the best out of the characters.
Characters: 9/10 – At this point the characters all have some sort of interesting development behind them.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Very solid, as expected of the OVA-format.
Setting: 8/10 – Is set in a high school, yet feels unique.
Posted on 23 February 2010 with categories: Kobato



Oh, how I love Madhouse. Kobato has never been among their big-budgeted series, but in episodes like this they just go all out, and produce an absolutely gorgeous episode that has among the best eye-candy I’ve seen this season. The way they handle their CG is miles above most other animation companies.

And about this episode… I can only say how adorable it was. It was all about Kobato and Kiyokazu, and the development between the two was basic, but very heart-warming. Show this as a random episode and it’ll probably fall short. The reason why I enjoyed this episode so much was because of how the characters were already developed at this point. Kobato is the kind of series that doesn’t offer much in the short term, however it’s a gem on the long term.

Also, while he played just a very small part in this episode, I loved Ioryogi. He was just adorable, both in the way at which he kept reminding Kobato (who is more and more trying to avoid that matter) of the konpeito-bottle, and the way that he ended up celebrating Christmas. I really thought that that white creature didn’t want to talk to him anymore, but here this episode proved me wrong. This will offer even more opportunity for the creators to get the finale right. The main focus is going to be on two things:
– What will happen off the nursery?
– What will happen to Kobato?

The former will probably result in a good ending, but I don’t care about that: I’m only interested in the role that every single character will have in it. The latter however has been built up extremely well. It’s about the reverse of Chobits: in there the main storyline started off incredibly intriguing but became less and less interesting as the show went on. Here, I’m looking more and more forward to that ending. I blame Kobato: she’s become such an adorable character at this point.

(Not that I consider Chobits to be bad or anything, of course, but what made Chobits stand out was its collection of themes and subject matters, not the main characters).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still enjoying the sangatsu manga and all the character interactions in this most recent volume.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Quintuplets might be under consideration, dororo is a definite. I don't want to watch revisions , girly airforce or plane thing because of the cgi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have the first 3 doro episodes downloaded to watch tomorrow, I'll comment on them, I'm giving it a shot because I love Tezuka.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The quintuplets thing is one of those things I would see myself chuckling at for a bit then feeling no obligation to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cat thing is probably cute but its too light for me to invest in in the long run.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding this season, I'll be direct, it isn't my thing, I got my fill of Kaguya's manga and all I can out of it, promised neverland, once the escape bit finished just turned into an action series (at least from what I read) lacking a compelling followup hook for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Acca had this odd way of delivering information that made it seem stuff went on between the lines or offscreen, often it worked, sometimes it didn't. Its a show that really picks up after the first couple of episodes and really gets elevated by its revelations, cool setting , art style and opening theme too.
Lenlo
I agree it does that. I think my issue may come with me maybe missing something or just not understanding the series as a whole, and so parts of it were lost on me. I enjoyed the series I would say though
SuperMario
Let me rephrase by saying ACCA ending neatly ties up plot threads for me
Lenlo
I didnt say I didnt like it, just that it wasn't what I expected. It was odd. I think I need time to process it.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: you didn't like ACCA ending? I thought the ending is easily its best part. It's the first few episodes that feel slow for me
Lenlo
Also, just finished ACCA. Man... that was a weird ending. Not sure how I feel about the series, but damn, did it have style.

Also, thanks (?) Wooper.
Lenlo
Lets see... Dororo is good, but I am still lukewarm on it. Kaze Fui is a fantastic carry over from last season. Mob and Neverland of course. Shield Hero, if you want to be part of the latest big craze discussion. Kaguya if you like romance. Ill search some more, but those are off the top of my head.
Anonymous3338351
What are some must-watch anime this season; I'm watching MBP100 and Promised Neverland rn
Vonter
Shield hero looks like it fits with that journey of doing the right thing even though most are against you.
Vonter
You know what it reminds me of. It's kinda like that episode of Malcolm in the Middle. Where the family returns after a trip and find the neighborhood celebrates their absence, since everyone dislikes them. By the end when they make up, all the neighborhood gets bitter with one another because they no longer share a connection of hate with Malcolm's family.
Vonter
Also the undercurrent semblance of looking more like a bad guy or anti hero. Despite him having a good moral compass.
Vonter
SuperMario - I don't felt it was about being defeated or not. I got the feeling it was taking the hit for others. Because since he has high defence he does take the damage, but he does look weary about doing that. And the framework paints him so far more as an underdog than a prodigy.
SuperMario
But does the fact that he’s the greatest defender makes him the one who can’t be defeated? I haven’t watched the latest one though
Vonter
I did like the new episode of Shield Hero. It made me realize there can be stakes in Isekai battles. In both Overlord and Slime I usually space out in the battles because they seem unnecessary outside of animation. It's more interesting if there's a display of wits and using the environment. I also like the protagonist be on the defense and the sidekick as the attacker.
SuperWooper
Here's a "review of one of our own reviewers:"

Lenlo is a pretty cool guy. His taste refreshingly runs the gamut from shounen action series to character-driven period pieces. His use of "Read More" tags and intro paragraphs, though they break the site's house style, give his posts their own signature that his readers likely appreciate. I give Lenlo a 92/100.
SuperWooper
Also, if we're getting pedantic, my post on Kaguya wasn't a "review of one of your own reviewers." It was a review of an anime episode.
SuperWooper
It's "shitty?" Really? None of what we do here is for profit, or for a grade. If I want to alert readers to the fact that I've never read the manga, and choose to do it in a less-than-serious way, I don't think that violates any sacred rule of anime blogging.
Lenlo
@Niello, the technical aspect of Megalo Box is very lacking. Its a character drama with sports, not a sports series with good characters, basically. And yeah the gear makes no sense.
Anonymous3336806
It seems kinda shitty to write a "Proceed with caution!" disclaimer before the review of one of your own reviewers...
Firechick
There are also old school isekai manga such as Red River, From Far Away, Crest of the Royal Family (Which is still going), and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Red River also, but for a while it takes some time to re-gain the addictive quality it has in the beginning. I didn't stick with Yona, it felt like it didn't have any direction on where it was going.
Vonter
Those were different times. And while Isekai, it feels like a different genre. I feel the Isekai of old were also more eastern, given the RPGs of the time were more fairytale like and also several you listed have more of an eastern influence.
Animosh
Yona of the Dawn is also a good example of a series with a politically ambitious female lead, though I wasn't a fan.
Animosh
I forgot how female-oriented early isekai series were. I already mentioned Twelve Kingdoms, but there's also Escaflowne, InuYasha, Rayearth, Fushigi Yugi, Haruka (I've only seen TK though) ... so I guess it's only after the recent revival of the genre that it started targeting men.
Niello
Out of all the sport anime I have watched I think Monkey Turn V is the best so far. Megalobox is pretty good but nothing special imo. I heard that in term of boxing the technical aspect isn't good, though I don't know how true that is. What I personally can't get over is how their gear in reality should just be making people fall over quicker, which shouldn't make the matches more fun.
Niello
I still
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to stop underestimating these sports shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo is good at convincing me to watch stuff I might not have otherwise watched, I saw ashita no Joe, Kaze and megalobox due to him =)
niello
I should catch up on Kaze, the gap is starting to get quite big.
Lenlo
Im gonna say this every week. How is an anime about running so damn good?
Vonter
I suppose when creating a story one also needs to put some restraint, since as human beings we easily gravitate to certain "tastes."
Vonter
But oh well, I think guys do also have their kinks.
Vonter
@niello - Love might be the hardest emotion to convey. Since even if you put the poses, attitude and the like, the interactions is what sells it. The chemistry as some call it. Sadly in most anime it kinda feels one sided because the male characters are too passive. I like the relation in Shield Hero, but it also underlines the common parental figure girls tend to put.
niello
Later, the author made him accepts the love as a kind of rehab for his bitterness and for the sake of political advantages the girls will gain. So there's this weird atmosphere where the author criticises harem isekai but is writing one himself, although he's certainly trying to make it an unconventional one. At least that's how it is in the web novel. I don't know if they changed it in the LN.
niello
And also to show off. Meanwhile the MC acts like he's not involved because he prioritise the right thing, and also because he's dense toward some of the girls around him (at first) and felt put off by other girls who make bold advances. In essence, he has a harem but he doesn't seek to make one.
niello
@vonter The thing with Shield Hero and harem is that the MC berates how other people who got transported to another world have the idea of forming harems like the LN/manga/anime they know before getting transported. That became the focus of some people instead of what they should be doing like seriously training and preparing for enemy attacks, which they opt for the easy way like it's a game.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aside from reincarnating as a baby. Not really. Zettai Karen Children from the author of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, seems like they do. I mean they start very young and later covers have them as teenagers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: A slower take on a story is something that has grown on me as I get older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Those scenes in kaze clicked for me this week, but at the same time, that last bit and also the scene in the middle were definately uncharacteristically cheesy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter@Amagi: Mushoku tensei has the lead character grow up throughout it I think?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think fan interaction by creators, theres something there, listening to fans ideas within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that comes to mind here, sometimes i think we the audience might be better at writing the shows than the people doing them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy explictness but wish it was used less juvenile-ly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The latest character thats being recurring in my head is a kind of communist or liberation theology soldier that is trying to convert people, while also struggling to keep his highly polarized beliefs in some kind of balance.
SuperMario
@Amagi, tell me about it (having ideas but to lazy to materialize it). Heck, they are mostly lame ideas to begin with
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Scums wish .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its almost always a boring comedy or action show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or have some kind of anaylsis of why the characters express themselves in certain ways in relationships.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish more stories involving nudity/sex/fetishes/ecchi/hentai could actually use this kind of thing for a good psychosexual story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really like it when the conflict has something to do with beliefs or repression aswell.
Amagi
Same here. I mean people are conflicted too, so these characters are actually more relatable. Strangely directors usually think otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I loved goodbye Lenin, my old German teacher in school was really awesome and took the class to see it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like conflicted characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also fond of the idea of a villain trying to turn pure hero out of guilt from the past while still longing for his evildoing days and self-hating because of that and also feeling guilty out of enjoying the violence he commits against the villains he's up against. And sees the violence done onto himself as punishment .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: They just end up as ideas written up rather than stories in my case.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I often feel guilty for being as lazy as I am because I have a lot of ideas and barely do anything with them. I don't even have the "I can't draw it" excuse most other people have. I am just lazy and useless.
Vonter
I've been trying to make a story for quite some time. Is about a special ops agent, that turns into a woman after a failed mission where he lost his friends and comrades. He's on a mission in order to look how to turn back and find redemption for the lost of his friends.
Amagi
OH GOD actually got FGO's Hassan i Sabbah after all with the last few quartz. Suicide prevented, thank you God.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Not a day goes by where I'm not thinking up some wild idea.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - The best use of incest in a story, is the one you don't see coming, like in King Ooedipus or Old Boy.
Vonter
I think the best case for that story would be using the Yoko Taro method of storytelling. Start by the end and build on how that tragic ending happened. There's a presentation where he explains his method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO_d3fwTNPo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would never ever use incest positively in a story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, I had a scenario where the hero develops an obsession with the villain, to where killing him is less about personal heroic codes, but curing himself of that obsession.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the great thing is that the actual thing, relationship never happens.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - That last one just reminds me of erogame about a girl than can't quite get with her crush and relives that same moment several times. Sometimes she reincarnating as man and the crush as a girl. In the end all versions end with rape.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also some of these villains I came up with, they're deaths and rebirths could only occur when it came to settling their specific individual problem. Thus by admitting his/her love for the brother he/she dies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I'll add it to my list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I treated one of my characters like total shit, guy was a girl in his former life, got raped by some alternate version of his brother, got reincarnated a man and as a child killer/abuser, only every time this character committed a crime, they felt they abuse they inflicted on others.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Have you read A World I Rule by Tank Guy? That's essentially an isekai about screwing over, what's essentially Eden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the true victory and winner is those who lost.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the endless cycle of you can't win no matter who you are.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I live for this stuff.
Amagi
@Vonter: I liked that about Tiger and Bunny. I don't want to spoil in case someone is about to watch it. But it contained this element of "something we're looking up to is actually some evil thing/person" and I don't mean the guys they're working for, it was clear from the beginning that those were corrupt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time, it isn't like the hero was right either.
Vonter
Amagi - I think in the case of old villains it was caused because those didn't had civilian identities to empathize to the "human".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, because I love screwing characters over, after becoming the villain and actually achieving through evil, the perfect good society, even after taking in all the sins of the world and seemingly eliminating the evil inside people, humanity just fucks it all up again and became a monster all for nothing.
Amagi
We also usually don't see the villains having any problems that aren't related to the actual thing they cause. For example losing someone dear to them. Not because heroes killed them or anything, just..so. That's life etc. Making them feel more like persons. Hell even heroes have this problem. Usually when a hero suffers it's caused by the villain. As if the world wasn't more complicated.
Vonter
Also Franken Fran had a very dark and very funny story about a superhero founding out that the organization he's facing wants to conquer the world with charities.
Vonter
Watchmen, Dr. Strangelove, The day the Earth Stood Still kinda put a similar message about needing to be better with each other in order to have a better future.
Amagi
Yes, it's usually too simple. We have a clear hero fraction and a clear fraction of the villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*villain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like it when the villain isn't actually in co-operation with other bad guys, but theres also a hero, but the hero is marginalized because there are so many differing villaib factions.
Amagi
Even there, in the end it was heavily hinted that people can never bring back gone things. She saw through them and knew they were pretending and that it wasn't real anymore. Think that would happen in the other potential series we came up with too and it cause more character development.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Elementary school up to their mid 30s.
Amagi
Have to think of Goodbye Lenin, kinda. Not exactly that topic but similar. With the mother falling into a coma during GDR time and waking up after the fall of the wall and her family trying to pretent that they're still living in the GDR to not shock her since it could mean that she'd die.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - To what extend watching them grow up? I mean in Dragon Ball we've seen Goku's entire life. In Ashita no Joe we have a big arc before the MC ever gets into an official boxing match. In Rose of Versailles we see a change of ideology over the course of 12 years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad guys idea was to start up so much shit in our world to terrify the people back home.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The guys homeworld was basically one where things we consider evil are good over there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember working with the idea, where a villain brought people back, solely to open the gateway to his homeland through stealing energy from them resulting from psychological turmoil, then broadcasting how terrible humans are back to his homeland, and his people seeing how awful humanity are, then realizing they should stop being bad people.
Amagi
It's why I am always a huge fan of characters (usually, who could have known, villains) who try to resurrect a past decade or something. Like someone trying to build a world or VR space that imitates the 80s because it was the time he grew up in and which he is still missing and want to return back to. Could be the 90s as well or whatever.
Vonter
The paradox with that, is that technically one becomes a tyrant or a monster eventually. Power corrupts the individual. Whose to say those villains didn't start with good intentions?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi; Seeing a characters entire life too, seeing him grow up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I am often thinking about such a series too. A real coming of age, with the character realising what he had lost or is about to lose, how life changes and him trying to make it stop or escape. Or force the old status quo but realising it isn't possible to maintain.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah that's a great compromise. Defeat the villain but maintain his new state, or develope his idea or whatever. Just without the errors the villain made.
Vonter
Oh my, realizing that last one, could make most Isekais more interesting, since there are things those characters can't do by design.
Amagi
And then the MC comes and tells everyone that the old life is good as it is with all its flaws and don't realizes that he is actually lucky enough to not be born into misery or in the middle of some war zone like many others who die and suffer.
Vonter
Villains in the end, take the decisions the hero cannot.
Amagi
It's especially bad when the authors aren't even aware of what they're doing. Like showing that there are characters in the fictional world that get an actual better life with the change the villain brings. Paralysed people being able to move for example or poor outcasts not needing food anymore, in case that the villain forces some VR world and digitalizes people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Booboo hiss , no revolution is lame. Revolution good, do revolution.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Aggretsukko touches a bit on the last two examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still love the idea of people actually benefitting from the terrible things the villain does and actually learning from it and the world becomes a better place because we learned not to repeat the bad guys actions. But the bad guy committed those very bad actions to make us realize that.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah I never liked that meta message most stories have that basically boils down to "be happy with everything as it is now and don't try changing it, also, revolutions are evil".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or where a person attempts to explore becoming something more but ends up just accelerating the breakup/going seperate ways thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
yes vonter, you are giving good examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And people growing apart because they've gotten older.
Vonter
@Amagi - Villains have selfish desires, human flaws, and determination. Heroes on those series usually defended the status quo, since that's the only thing they saw as right. And in the meta was to tell the audience how they should behave.
Amagi
Could never get into wimpy characters either. Shy yes, as long as shyness is portrayed seriously and not the typical shy/naive "etooo..ano ne.." harem guy/girl. But I always wondered who can even selfinsert into the typical harem or otome lead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd happily watch a coming of age story which was just about a bunch of guys hanging out, playing videogames, watching films, anime, playing outside and just joking around, very little melodramatic stuff, only on a rare occassion drifting in naturally into the narrative.
Vonter
Ano hana is about reflecting on how the characters grew up.
Amagi
I mean villains are often the oddballs. MCs are too "normal". They're usually the typical guys that maintain the status quo (even if it's flawed), get/want a romantic relation ship and a normal life whereas the villains have ambitions and are often "different" to say it that way. They feel more human to me. Or maybe I am just too weird myself I don't know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even a character reflecting on how they've grown up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: As a child it was almost always the villains for me, or villain sidekicks. Probably because writing was more strict back then and there were too many things heroes weren't allowed to think, like or do. Well it's still a problem.
Vonter
Hi Score Girl has a character that reminds me of some aspects I'm not proud of my youth.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or a protaganist realizing all of their past romances were chosen because they thought they had to fit in by having such relationships based on expectations, when really they genuinely don't care about romance.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't 30 centimeters per second like that? Welcome to NHK also explores some aspects of the young adult. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a soap opera but with adult characters in need of maturing to independent people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So i can understand wanting to relate to something in fiction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also none of these stories ever reflected or related to my adolescence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see a story about someone who is trying to adjust to their mid 20s or 30s after finally realizing that what they thought would never end (what they were familiar with in their youth) is over.
Anonymous3329534
What are the must-watch anime this season?
Kaiser-Eoghan
In alot of cases naturally the underwhelming leads, male or female are romcom/harem/coming of leads...which leads me to ask, I want an dramedy that I can actually relate to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or it was one of the villains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of being a military commander, military leader, spy or an emperor or a more clever character appealed to me more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nor superpowered characters for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've probably said this before, and I don't know if this is just from western upbringing, but I never really self-inserted into wimpy characters because I could never imagine myself like that.
Vonter
All these in regards when a girl is the protagonist.
Vonter
1.- They rarely put interesting love interests. 2.- Few times stories aren't about seeking some internal even selfish desires. 3.- In anime at least females get along very easily while I get the impression it's more complicated IRL. 4.- I identify easily the romanticized power fantasy of men but I can't tell if I've seen that thing of women's.
Vonter
It's a dichotomy. Since I've seen both the worst and some of the best female character in manga and anime. Yet I can't shake the feeling female characters have unwritten restrictions to them.
Amagi
@Vonter: The new Promare trailer got me more interested in this. So it seems like the enemies are actually controlled by humans (that..guy/girl(?)). I also feel like the new blonde character will be a traitor or secret endboss or something.
Amagi
@Vonter: I also always had a problem with female characters, be it anime or whatever. Not because of social reasons or anything, I just found them unrelatable. But they got better over the years, especially in the west. Anime always had some series with ambitious female MCs though, it's just that a lot of anime are too selfinserty and these types prefer the safe route and do otome series.
Vonter
This movie is looking sick. It looks like it's using the same type of cel shading as the latest Guilty Gear game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzFFaLB6fHw
Vonter
I've read manga and webcomics with good or bad art, both can have great or very poor writing.
Vonter
I think scores are incredibly more subjective in terms of comics than other mediums. There is just a vast array of qualities, content, and distribution and exposure also makes for some works fall into obscurity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
or huge praise either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read that yuri manga Octave, while I'd give it a higher score than they gave it, a myanimelist reviewer was fairly accurate in saying it really boils down to "another drama" but another review said it was "a quick, short and easy to read manga" I think those are reasonable takes, for better or worse this falls it the fine category and isn't really a huge black mark against it
Vonter
Interesting. I mean it's only a matter of time there are several other Isekai mangas that are either full female or gender bended. Also the Spider Isekai is also coming soon.
Animosh
Always nice to see an author reflect on and work on overcoming his limitations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was that recent article where sword art's writer brought up how he wrote his female chracters.
Animosh
Japan has a female prime minister in GITS too, although she's just a supporting character. And now that I think about it, the world of SAO's current arc has a female leader - in fact, her all-consuming ambition is basically her #1 trait.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that is more of a case of female characters in tougher mode roles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose if I was making a list of female characters that stood out well for me I would put Motoko (ghost in the shell) or Balsa from Moribito.
Animosh
But I can think of some exceptions. Youjo Senki technically has a female lead, and for an older example there's Twelve Kingdoms. And outside of isekai you have ambitious female characters like Shurei (from Saiunkoku Monogatari) or Maude (from ACCA). But it's true that they're relatively rare.
Animosh
It is true that political ambition is a big part of some isekai though. Overlord is an obvious case, and there's also Log Horizon and the Slime series this season. And the MCs of these series are all males. But then, I suppose political power over others is something that is just more likely to appeal to men, especially in patriarchal Japan.
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