Posted on 17 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kemurikusa

I’m glad that the girls (FYI, their names are: Rina our main girl, Rin the oldest cat-ears girl, and Ritsu the quadruplet) decide to explore to other islands because the world building of Kemurikusa is easily its biggest strength right now. I also appreciate the fact that the show doesn’t toss around exposition or explanation to its settings, instead we pick up pieces as we go along. This whole post-apocalyptic world revolves around the “kemurikusha” energy, which so far we see how they are color coded with different purpose. The “green roots tree” Midori serves as a energy source and produces leaves as food for our girls. It can also extend its roots to serve as a pipeline or communication line, and can maybe heal human’s injury (“maybe” because I’m not so sure if anyone from the cast is human or not). Then we have the yellow Kiiro which can be used as light and the blue water-detecting source called Aoi. Finally, the evil bugs have their red mist and their red kemurikusa and apparently Rina has that red kemurikusa on her as well. I don’t know what to make of it but maybe, just maybe these girls are born from the red kemurikusa source themselves?

While the story goes into some interesting territory, it’s Wakaba who serves as an self-insert protagonist annoys the hell out of me. His antic is grating, and he usually breaks the mysterious tone the show is trying to accomplish. A better comparison would be it feels as it he comes from another series altogether. It doesn’t help that Kemurikusa’s overall dialogues aren’t that great. They’re generic, cliche (chief among them is big sister Rin and her nyan speech), doesn’t have any flair and Wakaba’s constant babbling remains its biggest offender. The huge chunk of this episode is spent around Rina dragging him around the island. While Rina still doesn’t fully trust the boy, she does acknowledge her physical attraction to him which she thinks as a toxic. While their interaction is far from what I consider solid, we do learn one new thing from each of them. From Rina, it’s her total devotion to protect her sisters to the point she put their well-being above her desire. For Wakaba, the fact that he heals quickly when he’s injured might mean that he isn’t human after all. Another interesting note to take is that through Wakaba the old aqua kemurikusa starts to glow, albeit only momentarily, again. My theory right now is that he might be born from Midori’s source himself.

I can point out one single sequence in this episode that really sold its rich and mysterious world building. It happens right at the end where Rina decides to visit other island (which I believe is a strong premise), and we see the Midori energy carries the bus to the railway. Somehow that single scene reminds me to Ghibli’s world, which further strengthen my hope that this settings is gonna be more awesome as Kemurikusa goes on. Some might argue that this show’s aesthetic looks cheap and amateurish. For me though, I’m going to borrow the great Pedro Almodovar quotes regarding his debut failure: “When a film has only one or two [defects], it is considered an imperfect film, while when there is a profusion of technical flaws, it is called style.” Kemurikusa, for all its unpolishments, does have its own charms (along with GoHands’ W’z this season). After the first two episodes, Kemurikusa remains a flawed but intriguing watch.

Posted on 16 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Dororo

Hello and welcome to show number two for me of the new season! Dororo is an interesting one, based on a 1960’s manga, with this being its second adaptation. This week we meet another demon, learn our leads name and that not all spirits are bad. Let’s dive in!

Visually, Dororo is sort of a mixed bag for me. One on hand, I love the older style it has going for it, and much of the lack of detail allows the animators to have some fun. On the other hand though, the feet are blobs, and everything is a green/brown. I also noticed some rather static scenes that, compared to the first episode, left me wanting. Overall though I think Dororo is good. We know from the first episode that when it wants to, it can look gorgeous. It’s just that this week was rather subdued, as our first intro to what the day to day for the series will be. With that done, now I can get to the actual meat of the episode.

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Posted on 15 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mob Psycho 100 II

Hello and welcome to the first outright perfect episode of anime of 2019! Mob Psycho 100 knocked it out of the park this week in every respect, so let’s just jump right in!

Right off the bat, Bones is out in full force animation wise. Everything about this episode, visually, was fantastic. Even in drab, rain-slick scenes they found a way to introduce color to a drab landscape. And that isn’t even mentioning the wholly unique perspectives or styles for animation. Take for instance the straight up street fighter/fighting game reference. Done entirely in Mob Psycho’s style, it was a fantastic gag. Then there was one of my favorite styles, which only appears in Mob Psycho, the paint on glass effects. For depicting other worldly spirits, I think it does a fantastic job of showing that etherealness. Add on to all of this the sheer amount of sakuga throughout the episode, from Dimple jumping between trees, to the flowing sludge of the monster spirit, and you have a feast for the eyes. 2 weeks in and Bones has already won Animation. Wow.

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Posted on with categories: Anime Reviews, Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. Outlandish though it may be this actually worked as the idol shows ranged from death metal to Rap and the comedy hit all the right notes with special mention to the manager who is equal parts ridiculous and bombastic. It looked like this was the series to take a look at the idol anime genre and poke fun at it’s ever so tiresome tropes.

But ultimately the greatest failing of Zombieland Saga was becoming that which it originally parodied. The end result isn’t something that I would consider a trainwreck like Kado as while Zombieland becomes something lesser, it’s still at least a decently enjoyable watch. The problem is that it’s opening episodes promised something greater and could have potentially been the anime to point out and mock the very nature of idol anime itself for it is something that has been long overdue such a scathing. Sadly the case is that once episode three hits the story gears more towards traditional idol anime and the fact that the idols are in themselves zombies becomes less and less relevant. What at once was a great surprising anime just became another idol anime.

There is fun to be had with the show and sometimes it can bump up from being alright to pretty good. The opening is quite excellent and the comedy has some great highlights with Yugiri’s mistimed slaps and Yamada Tae just being the legendary Yamada Tae. Though when the series aims to hit a more emotional tone this often contrasts far too greatly with the general slapstick nature of the show itself, often not making its mind up on whether it wants to make you cry or laugh. Episodes become more formulaic as well with each often starting that a pep talk session with the manager so he can ham it up for comedic effect. Coupled with an ending which acts more as a midpoint finish rather than a finale and you have a show that’s rather half baked in nature. Overall this show can be a fun watch but it once held the potential to be greater but then went for something more more marketable but more generic as a result.

Posted on 14 January 2019 with categories: Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019), Currently Watching:

Welcome to Boogiepop, one of the hallmark franchise in the history of this medium. The Light Novels itself dated back in 1995 and is still considered as one of the earliest Light Novels ever released and is often credited as starter of the Light novem trend in Japan. The anime adaptation in 2000 remains one of the most disjointed and confusing anime ever made and the Boogiepop franchise has inspired (along with its LN sources) a movie adaptation and its universe is still remain well known to this day. A straight adaptation from its source has been a long way coming and this first 3 episodes in particular closes up what I believe is the first book of the whole franchise. This new anime keeps the tradition of its psychological thriller genre and the 2000 anime’s tradition: it’s disjointed, vignettes and it’s dense with information and multiple narratives that repeated-viewing might require in order to get the most out of the story. It took me two tries in the first two episodes in order to grasp what the hell is going on and remember all the names and faces. Like the 2000 anime version (which I watched, enjoyed but mostly forgot all the details), you can view all these events happened in the story as a piece in a big puzzle and until the puzzle itself is finished that it starts to make sense. While the general reception to this new adaptation has been muted, it’s packed with such layered narrative that I’m willing to take the risk to blog the show and smooth out all the plot threads so that anyone who confused by the episode can have a better grip to what is going on.

So we can start with the main catalyst of this arc, which are Echoes and Manticore. As we soon learn from Naoko Kamikishiro (for the sake of consistency I’ll use surnames for all characters) – in Boogiepop’s most info dump moments that they apparently shared a telepathic link – Echoes is an Alien who was sent to us to judge the human race. He’s fallen into an evil organization (which we know very little of at this point), and from there they create a failed clone of Echoes, Manticore. Unlike the original self who can only repeat what he hears (hence the name), Manticore can talk, eat human flesh and copy the appearance of the person he eats. In one of his attempt, he encounters Masami Saotome, whom offers him to create “slaves” and lures the human to Manticore. This narrative takes a big chunk in episode 2, and the string of disappearances from those girls (why not boys?) cause two other main plot threads, which are 1) Boogiepop comes into the picture by using the body of Touka Miyashita and 2) Kamakishiro meets Echoes one day and informs the eccentric Nagi Kirima to investigate before spirited away herself.

Nagi Kirimi emegers to be one of the real protagonist in the first arc. She’s also one of the most interesting character out there. Always considered herself of eccentric, she learns from Kamishikiro about Manticore, and gets suspended herself so that she can follow around the “slaves” and makes sure if they were Manticore. Kazuko Suema (a girl with glasses) makes a brief entrance when she follows up on Kirimi’s action. As of now I believe Suema, Kirimi and Miyashita are the main players in this whole universe.

Kamikishiro’s encounter with Echoes prove to be one of the important plot points for this arc. She’s an interesting character so it’s a shame that she’s killed off quickly and I still feel like I haven’t spent that much time with her (in fact from what I heard they cut many of her scenes and even an entire character was cut off). Her disappearance though, triggers her younger boyfriend Tanaka and Niitoki the President of the Discipline Committee, tagged along by Saotome, to search for her around school. Episode 3 comes into a climax where Saotome locates Echoes and Kirimi, slits the latter’s throat, and lets Manticore to kill his original self. Echoes “commits suicide” by becoming a pillar of light to transmit himself back to his world. You know the rest of the story so I don’t need to recap it here. Personally, I feel a bit underwhelmed by this sudden ending, but I gotta say it never fails to intrigue me. One of the fun in watching this anime is to make sense of what is going on and how a piece of information fits into the big picture. The story holds up for me so far, so it all depends how the execution gonna be like. While I feel that the characters can be stiff at times, and I’m a tad bit disappointed that the adapatation doesn’t follow the source that faithfully, Boogiepop still delivers many striking moments and so far they keep the mysterious atmosphere right. Just remember, all we see within an episode is always just snapshots of what is happening.

Posted on 10 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Zombieland Saga

And so Zombieland ends…or more that it just decided to drop off for a bit. The last few episodes decided to focus on Sakura with the first being her overzealous preparation for a big concert and Kotaro’s efforts to just get her to chill out and relax, the second being the return of her memories with a new problem that the last episode ends up resolving. We did get at least some answers as to some of the overarching mysteries of the series but those answers certainly are underwhelming. FOr one it appear that the manager really was doing this all for Sakura’s sake and seemed to know her in his school days. At the return of Sakura’s memories many were theorising that her death was actually suicide and not the truck along with other rather dark theories. Personally I never thought it would go that way considering that the show generally has played as lighthearted as possible with the deaths of many of the franchuchu members being on the silly side.

Really Sakura’s problem basically boils down to cosmically incredible bad luck as anything she ever tried hard at resulted in her failing due to random coincidence. The universe certainly has it out for this girl and it’s likely her bad luck will result in many a incident to episodes to come. Yes, this is certainly not the end of this show as the ending itself just feels like a typical halfway point end. Considering Blu-ray sales and general reception it’s likely to get a second season but if it does I would say that I wouldn’t be all the stoked for one. Zombieland Saga certainly started with potential but much like I feared as the idol elements got introduced the show eventually became another idol show. The nature of the idols being zombies mattering less and less as the series progressed with it mainly just being used as a story device for backstory of the week.I know that sounds like I am brushing off a lot but having seen Love Live this formula is rather familiar.

That being each member getting there own episode that happens to deal with some personal problem which is overcome by episodes end with them ending on a song with them as the headliner. Simplifying it down but for any idol show that is business as usual and it is rather sad to see a show that was originally unpredictable turn into something so formulaic. I will say that what it ended up being didn’t ruin it completely as the show itself can be fun but it is disappointing in that it had the potential to be better but settles for the more unremarkable yet profitable option. If there is a second season I can easily see it doing the episodic character focused stories with the regular old idol training arcs and silly episodes. Which can be fun for some but for myself I just find myself drifting away from the series much like I did with love live. After all, I never finished Love Live. I stopped watching around the second season and never found the time or motivation to get back to it. Not out of hating the show as it was surprisingly entertaining but it was more just general apathy. So if there is a second season of Zombieland, I very much suspect to drift off it much like I did with Love live.

Posted on 9 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Ah, the break is over, the New Year is here and Kaze Fui has returned once more! This week a few more of our boys get qualifying times, Kurahara loves his team and everyone goes camping! Lets dive in!

Starting off, I have to make it known how happy I am for our boys in black to be back. Kaze Fui is such an all around great production that it is no doubt my favorite of last season. This episode, its first one back, managed to touch on all the progress the group had made in the first cour. From Kurahara being a team player to everyone else leaning into their strengths with their running. The only real complaint I have about the episode are the terrible CGI models you see behind our runners. I am glad that none of the important characters got such treatment, but the difference between characters was very jarring. There was no way you couldn’t notice the CGI competitors in some of these shots, all with the same face and run cycle. Disappointing, but if that’s the worst Kaze Fui does, its pretty good.

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Posted on 8 January 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Mob Psycho 100 II

Winter 2019 hype! The new season has begun, First Impressions are going up, and me? I’m writing about the second season of Mob Psycho 100, one of my favorite series of 2016. So everyone, lets dive in! Mob Mob Mob!

Right off the bat let me say I loved this premier. It hit a little bit of everything Mob Psycho is known for. Psychic Slice of Life, Shounen Battles, genuine emotion and expressive animation. Oh baby that animation. I will get to each of these later on, but I have to talk about this animation. Throughout this episode Mob Psycho impressed me. From the tiny details like Mob running into a door, to the big ones of the opening fight. The colors are bright, the simple designs allow the animators to do whatever they want, and Mob Psycho has no issue with completely changing the art style to fit the scene. Take for instance the sand drawing of Mob, being brushed away. That single shot had no conventional animation, yet it portrayed the emotions of the scene perfectly. God I love Studio Bones.

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Posted on 30 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai

It’s hard to believe that I so easily forgot that this series was written by the same person who wrote the The Pet Girl of Sakurasou but these last few episodes really gave me a solemn reminder of that. The Sakurasou series had a pendant for serious melodramatic antics and while I did appreciate the series putting forth the solid truth that hard work does not trump talent, I found the characters to be too emotionally unstable to truly care for. Bunny girl doesn’t quite fall down that far but we do have moments of rather forced dramatic reactions. I can understand Sakuto being devastated at the loss of someone he came to care for after two years but I can’t quite understand the compulsion to start screaming his head off and running around town the minute he leaves the room. I would at least think he would get out of earshot of his father and sister first.

We have two arcs to go over, that being the arc of two sisters of the main characters. Mai’s sisters arc was pretty weak as the cause behind her adolescence syndrome was blatantly obvious from the start, as was the solution. I do appreciate that the story itself goes to show that the sisters envy is pretty justified in that Mai can literally do everything that she can, only better. But more focused on the massive pressure that Mai has to deal with on a regular basis. I like the implication that the phenomena may have been caused by both sisters being envious of each other, Mai for her sisters lesser responsibility and her sister for Mai’s inherent talent. As well as the odd relationship sisters can have of not necessarily liking each other nor hating each other either. But overall the arc just felt like a small clock ticking down to when they just decide to resolve things and there was a serious lack of stakes due to how little either person cared about the situation. To Mai and Sakuto it was just another odd situation they have experienced before and everyone pretty much agreed that it would resolve itself given time. So much like Koga’s arc, the story was carried by the character interactions. But thank god this arc managed to defuse that situation of Mai not being allowed to go out with anyone by having her publicly confess to having a boyfriend and the staff backing her up. I was very worried about it being used as a plot point to split them up.

The last arc however definitely brought something interesting to the table. It started with the idea of rehabilitating Kaede so she could attend school again and I was somewhat dreading this girls inescapable arc for Kaede was certainly the weakest character of the whole show. In a show with at least fairly believable characters, Kaede was that typical anime imouto through and through who stuck out like a sore thumb sorely warning of a potential incest affection. But damn if her arc didn’t take her character and have it make a whole lot of sense. The author pulled a long con with this one and it paid off. The big reveal being that Kaede has dissociative amnesia due to her traumatic bullying she experienced and while I shake my head at the old amnesia trope at first, I found it fascinating when they established that the amnesic girl had a completely different personality from who Kaede was before. What broke down her family and wore her down was the constant expectation that she should be like the old Kaede when she simply wasn’t. Suddenly all those annoying anime quirks like her referring to herself in the third person make so much more sense and take on a more depressing angle. The big trouble of this arc wasn’t so much solving Kaedes amnesia but rather Sakuto’s moral dilemma that if his real sister comes back, then the Kaede he came to care for now will disappear. It’s a strong arc to end on and one that brings things back to the main character of the series but admitly the ending doesn’t quite give a satisfying conclusion to the series as a whole. This is remedied by the confirmation that a movie will continue the story but right now much like Made in Abyss, it feels the story just stopped rather than ended. With the particular loose end being the matter of the mysterious older Shouko though here she is used as a nice factor making Mai concerned over how she may never top Sakuto’s dependence on Shouko when he is truly lost.

As final thoughts I will say that out of everything this season, this was the show that surprised me by being better than I initially estimated and one that I looked forward to checking out each week. I would be remiss to say it was a show that blew me away as it is a very low key show with it’s premise but it is one I will remember. In a season of not much to look at and whatever standouts slowly disappointing as the continued this show was a constant good watch for me. Though reception from what I can see seems to be a bit mixed on it with some still touting it as light novel trash trying to put up pretense of being something better. I don’t really agree with that as I feel this show made more of an effort to be its own thing rather than a derivative of the ten billion light novels about faceless nobodies getting all the chicks and superpowers. At its worst it’s a Bakemongatari clone without headache inducing dialogue nor pretentious presentation and quite frankly that’s better than Bakemongatari to me.

Posted on 24 December 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, SSSS.GRIDMAN

GRIDMAN closes off its story on a grand spectacular finale and as far as spectacular goes, it does its job nicely. Personally I’m more impressed with this show in its quiet moments so I enjoyed it more in its last 6,7 minutes. I don’t know how much relevant GRIDMAN the anime is in regard to its original live-action. I mean, what’s the deal with the kaiju girl Anoshiras II and what’s the true role of GridKnight, but taken as an individual piece this ending is both straight-forward and confusing in the same manners. The straight-forward part is how the climax goes all out with its action: we have Gridman in full form versus Alexis in full form, and we do have all these cheesy lines that I’m sure serve as a homage to its original “Here comes my special moves – Fixer Beam” “Nanii? How can you have such godsent power?” “The power of MORALITY to destroy the immorality”. It’s fun to hear these campy dialogues out loud, and it’s even more entertaining when they’re boasted by the stellar animation. While I admit that the battle never wowed me, I can sense the love from the staffs to every single details of this battles.

What slightly bugs me, however, is the narrative led up to the final showdown between Gridman and Alexis. First, the way Alexis “uses” Akane is pretty inconsistent and abrupted. Here, in a span of 10 minutes, Akane turns into a kaiju (her scream is awesome, though), gets rescued by Anti, and immediately gets swallowed again by Alexis. In terms of narrative progression, you can easily cut down the “Akane becoming kaiju” part and nothing (except for the kaiju design) is lost. The same goes for Anti where he desperately tries to save Akane (which I thought was wierd to begin with because it’s not Yuuta or Rikka, but the least of all people Anti who saves the princess) just so that moments later he gets stabbed by the villain and was thrown aside for the rest of the battle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Anti. He’s, after all, the only character who grows the most in this show, signified by his blue eye color at the end, but I can’t shake the feeling that his own narrative arc is a bit shaky and not totally well planned-out.

But then, it comes to the “afterneath” section and while most of normal shows would retreat back to the new status quo, GRIDMAN manages to do something interesting here. We have a few-minute but feel like half-an-hour long sequence (hey, I’m not complaining) of only Rikka and Akane in a room together, further showcase how GRIDMAN is at its most comfortable when it strives for minimalism. Here, in a near-empty room, Akane has her redemption and Rikka has one of the best moments of the whole episode, as she gives the card holder gift to Akane, and wish that they could always be together, at the same time tells Akane not to let that wish come true. After all, Akane needs to move on from this cyber world, and the characters created by her will stay behind and have lives of their own. It’s a neat ending, but the decision to only let Rikka says goodbye to Akane sure leaves a lot of ambiguity here, which I will get to it later.

In a surprising move (which for me is a touch of “genius”, until I learn that it’s inspired by EVA’s ending), we have a live-action closure, a girl that looks awfully like Rikka that literally wakes up after the long sleep. The searing score was the one that played softly back from the beginning of the first episode. The ending will leave a lot of speculation of what is real and what not for sure, but ultimately I don’t think it matters that much. The main narrative is clear: Akane has her redemption arc and moves on, while Gridman and the Squads return to their hyper world and Rikka, real Yuuta and Shou stay back and live on.

As a whole, while I was a bit letdown to its final stretch, I’m still impressed with how much love and attention this show has for their world-building (it has a Wes-Anderson level of details here – the kind where it relies on the rich range of surrounding objects to defy the characters) and how it translates its themes by its visual craft – it’s one of the best visual directed show, along with Revue Starlight, that I’ve seen this year. Plot-wise, looking back I’m rather curious on how this show has many faux-protagonists to the point where you can’t really say whose narrative we are supposed to follow (it’s not necessary a bad thing), we start with Yuuta as we see the world through his eyes and his amnesia, but then in the middle Rikka demands us with her emotional tones and manage to sell them successfully as a normal girl trying to go through her life, then in the final arc it’s Akane takes the central stage. Not all of these transitions work, but it never fails to be anything less than intriguing, and that is a big compliment come from me.

P/s: pure speculation: it’s no fun to not give my own take on what happened at the end, right? Here’s my own two cents: the girl who wakes up at the end is Akane (we have her *real life* uniform, the card holder and the broken Iphone, and the name Akane in the picture). But why does she look awfully like Rikka? Is Rikka the part of herself she doesn’t wish to acknowledge? That might be the case but then again, the ED hints to the fact that Rikka might be real after all. Visually, the silhouettes has Akane’s mannerism, but is there anything more than meets the eyes?

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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