Posted on 9 July 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hisone to Masotan, Reviews by SuperMario

Coming off as one of my most anticipated anime out of this last Spring Season, based solely on staffs involved alone – after all, an original anime written by Mari Okada and produced by Bones (which I regarded as one of the best anime studio working right now) – I can’t help but feel let down towards how HisoMaso progresses and wraps up. It’s a show with many highlights, mind you, as I consider the production as one of the best of the year so far: simple yet expressive character designs, stunning backgrounds and crisp animation. All you could ask for really. It has some interesting ideas, but that precisely pains me even more that the world-building just doesn’t support the ideas HisoMaso has.

To begin with, let’s address my main issues regarding this production. Unlike other anime shows which bring themselves down by treading the same tired path, HisoMaso is a show with many fresh concepts. I would applaud anyone who can think of the idea of them inside the dragons and piloting (note: not riding) as a military fighter jet. It’s a wonderful and whimsical mix concept that fit into the easy-going tone and the simple character designs. In fact, the first few episodes still carry this concept forward due to the fact that it never takes itself seriously. That’s when the issue arises when we need something more substantial when the appeal wears out, and it becomes increasingly frustrated to see the plot progresses without any backup. As an example, the show introduces the whole “ritual” concerning the whole giant dragon which “wakes up” every 82 years. It opens a whole new can of worms regarding the whole village who dedicated themselves solely for this event and even the process of it all. Equally under-developed and underwhelmed is the anastomosis bit, which for me is the prime example of creating conflicts solely for the sake if conflicts. As it stands, HisoMaso often feels like a first draft on a novel, many wonderful ideas but all of them are half-baked because the creators just don’t spend enough time to think this through.

The half-baked approach spread into the characters themselves. These girls have many quirks that distinct them to the rest of the cast, but at the end of the day there simply isn’t much development for them, or the development feel calculated and forced. Take Kinutsugai and Hitomi, the D-pilots who appear at the poster and the ED, HisoMaso just doesn’t know what to do with them. Same thing regarding the dragons, which feel more like mascots. The main lead Hisone embraces what could be the worst tendency of HisoMaso’s attempt of developing characters. Like the show, she tends to tell us out loud what her issues are, and like the show she tends to make rather weird decisions. Many of her conflicts are raised and solved within an episode, as a result the development doesn’t feel earned.

Speaking about making weird decisions, I can’t still put my fingers on the central message of HisoMaso. In some ways, Mari Osada underlines the struggles of working women in Japanese society, as they have to choose between career and family. Having Hisone and Hoshino fall in love that could potentially cause negative impact on piloting the dragons is part of that strategy. But how do they deal with it? By having the entire army unit work on “make them fall in love then crush their love apart”. That’s mean-spirited to the point of stupidity. On that note, they didn’t resolve the love’s conflict thoroughly either. Second, HisoMaso marks the relationship between the dragons and their pilots, as we see in how Hoshino struggling as she considers herself “a pilot” – not dragon caretaker; and we see the theme reflected by the titular characters. But the problem with its is the way Hisone regards her dragon. She considers Masotan as someone who see the specialness in her, and piloting dragon is something that make her worthwhile, as a result in episode 3 we have something as obscure as her demanding Masotan to “take responsibility” because he picked her. That level of dependence repeats later on, when Hisone argues with another girl solely about a boy. This questionable treatment to women is unacceptable, especially with a show about adult women written by an adult woman. As a result, HisoMaso become the first show from 2018 that receive a minus (-) mark from me.

But what HisoMaso makes up for the under-cooked story is the sheer power of visual presentation. Everything looks great, the characters are on the simple design, but that’s exactly why the studio can go wild on their facial expressions and characters movement. What it’s lack from the character depth is replaced by their mannerism, in which each character moves differently and has different tones. The background designs are simply gorgeous with bright color palette, and the animation are crisp and a feast to an eye. If you don’t mind the lack of deeper layer, HisoMaso’s aesthetic alone would serve as a visual treat. Indeed, at top of my mind only the recent FLCL’s production is on the same level with this show for the first half of this 2018 calendar year.

So yeah, HisoMaso is a show with many highs and lows. Its visual strength is amongst the best of the industry right now, and it’s an easy watch all around with some emotional resonance. The lack of a well thought-out world, however, hurts the show since it’s crumble as it moves along. It’s still a show worth checking out, but don’t delve too deeply into it.

Posted on 4 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

And we come to a close of this Dragon Pilot show and I’m still indifferent on how this anime wraps up. It’s not a bad ending per se, it has a good emotional payoff and it does somewhat wrap up the story. The more it gets into the conclusion, however,  the more I see inconsistencies in its world building that just throw me off even more. Hisone, as we suspected last week, after learning about the sacrifice, decides to defy the ritual and save the girl instead. She then, in her Hisone mood, sacrifices herself to put the dragon to sleep. But Masotan saves her at the end. It’s all fine and mighty, although I would be much more appreciate if HisoMaso explains me about the “stabbing” beforehand. It just feels as if they create that step to raise the conflict. Indeed a lot of “conflicts” in HisoMaso is designed that way. I know I’m mainly disappointed by the inconsistencies of its world building but it’s the first and foremost factor to sell me on the story as a whole. Failing that and it pampers my personal investment to the show and it makes me question the credibility of every plot’s progression.

At the end though, it saddens me to say that I don’t learn that much from the cast. Except for Hoshino and Sada who have a bit of development, all the side characters are under-written in general. The dragons are cute but again they are just that, cute. I do like the way they’re all confident that Hisone and Masotan will come back somehow in the end. The visual is still a wonder, which pains me even more that it can’t save the show from going downhill because of the weak writing.

Full review will come later but here’s some dot points of what get on my nerve in this finale:

-Grandma pilot Sada with her back story: if she feels that devastated how the hell she didn’t cause anastomosis to Masotan then?

-How comes all the back-and-forth exchanges between a girl who wants to save another girl is all about some other guy? It’s a under-representation of women role. Even with Bechdel test it fails fails fails miserably.

-Okonogi doesn’t fare any better. His childhood friend is on a verge of death and all he thinks of is Hisone

-At the end, even Natsume is more fleshed out than Kinutsugai and Hitomi, and I hardly regard her character as flesh out.

This show just disappoints me to no end.

Posted on 25 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

What’s there to say about HisoMaso? I’ll be blunt but I see this whole final arc a missed opportunity. It builds from neat ideas, but the way the show creates and resolves its conflicts are hammy at best. Take the two main struggles this episode: Hisone decided to quit the job altogether and the grandma possible yuri relationship with the old miko. All of these are established and quickly resolved in about 15 minutes, and I can’t say I feel anything about their conflicts. For Hisone, I can ‘barely’ get the reasons for her quitting. She doesn’t want to hurt the people she love. But for me it’s just an easy way out, she’s running away because she can’t deal with it. Now, I realize that this is HisoMaso’s point all along, but consider this: why the show introduces this drama too late of a game? Is it creating conflicts for the sake of conflicts? This new development effectively kills little interest I have left for Hisone character.

And then we have a brand new conflict in the name of Sada and that opens up another can of worms. Sada formed a special “relationship” with the old miko, just so that she witnessed the death of that shrine maiden and still hanging on it. It’s a nice little drama in concept, as it questions the necessity of sacrifice someone. But in practice, we have HER piloting Masotan instead of Nao, which for me makes completely no sense. Isn’t it another case of creating conflicts for the sake of conflicts? And then all this plot is building up for HISONE JUMPING INSIDE MASOTAN. Have you ever heard of the expression “Jumping the shark”? Well, it’s the same here (Jumping the dragon!). And it comes up with some more issues. First, how the hell it’s okay now that there’s two pilots inside the dragon and second, it feels that all these developments feel utterly calculated, and I must say, cheap.

Regarding how this story gonna closes up, I’m guessing that Hisone will find a way to save Natsume and all them come back safely. Remember they are inside the great dragon, right? Couldn’t they pilot or do something the same like what they do with Masotan and other dragons? One more thing that struck me is that the old lady might not die yet. We see her shredded clothes but surprisingly not her body, and regrading it’s HisoMaso we’re talking about, it could go in any direction. I still feel a bit betrayed how Hisone gets off and comes back a bit too quickly and easy, and worse the worldbuilding just isn’t strong enough for me to completely suspend my disbelief. For me it’s just another case of creators don’t think about this world hard enough.

Posted on 19 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Pretty visual aside, I wonder how much fuel left for this aircraft before it runs out of ideas. HisoMaso has never been a show with detailed world building, or even thick plot to begin with, and as the usual case for me, nothing much happened in this episode. The biggest plot point of this week is that Hisone and Hoshino now have to choose between love and career because somehow fallen in love is like a toxic for your dragons. I guess Okada’s point is that she raises one of the most common issues normal working woman will have to face: family or career, but even putting this story in that light, I can’t help but think HisoMaso is sexist. Guys are free to flirt around, guys at the top twitch the noses of our girls, and our girls take all the fall. Not only Hisone and Hoshino, but now Natsume is officially a Binden – literally a sacrifice (even that poor girl can’t have the man she loves, damnit). So by having Hisone decides to quit the job at the end, it also mean she strays away from the restriction, the repression. Hopefully I read that right because to be frank, part of me still thinks that Okada’s just trolling us around.

We get to know more about this Natsume – Okonagi’s romance and I’m not in a bit surprised here. It goes to the most common trope of unconditional love from Natsume, while Okonagi part-oblivious, part-see her as his sister- bullshit. I don’t really appreciate the way he dodges the kiss, but the blowing air to the nose part itself is quite a lovely bit (guess that mean that Masotan will have a chance to blow her nose in the Ritual). Another detail is about the village dedicated to this Ritual, where they raise young boys and girls to be shrine maidens and… what? Priests? How many priests they need in the ceremony anyways? (the answer is one). And how long in between each ceremony (the answer is 74 years). You get that? The whole generations of shrine maidens and priests were wasted because the dragon won’t wake up. This tells me that they haven’t thought the world-building out well, because the more you think about how it works the more it falls apart.

But we still have some nice moments in this episode. Nao has a chance to shine. Being somewhat written out towards the latter half of this series (the reason is simple: she doesn’t have a dragon), it’s nice to see her piloting Masotan again, an evidence that she has finally came to terms with being who she is, and piloting Masotan also means she helps out Hisone and her dragon as well. She has some nice chemistry with the designer (but wait, doesn’t she have a crush on this guy? Why can she piloting then? Guess the saying remains true: each girl tastes differently, right Masotan? In short, this is a so-so episode in an underwhelming last arc so far.

Posted on 12 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

After a pretty excellent episode last week, HisoMaso goes into the direction I’m afraid the most: exploring the romance aspect that by all means we don’t really need in the first place. And they frame it in a manner I cannot get behind. Lets see, due to these girls develop a certain feeling, they intoxicate their dragons and now the mission can potentially be halted? So now loving someone is a national crime now? Why do you need to put love in the middle of everything, certain writer? To put more salt to that wound, those romances aren’t that good  to begin with. On one side, we have a love triangle in which that love rival just basically stalks the girl. And then… Look, you don’t suddenly realize you have a feeling for someone like a lightning bolt like this (with all the screaming and stuff). On the other side, we have a crush between the two people who don’t even have normal conversation, and then that old cliche “falling down the stair and accidently kiss”? This trope is so old and tired that it might be older than myself. Seriously, it kills the little interest I have left for HisoMaso.

We also learn one crucial detail for this upcoming ritual, which is there’s going to be sacrifice, as they put it “the chosen one “ (and somehow the episode title sums up perfectly my feeling, eeeek!!), and if it isn’t quite clear right now that person would be Natsume, who has a crush on Okonogi. Consider how long we know this girl (ehhh, 20 minutes?), it’s hard to feel anything even if she ends up as a sacrifice, which I doubt. The question at hand, however, is how they treat the dragons out of their stomachache (okay, the technical term is anastomosis)  and how they discipline poor Hisone and Hoshino (aaaahhhh). I’m never fond with those love webs but now as they are in it, let’s just see how HisoMaso rolls. To be honest, I think the show would turn out better if they focus on the miko instead of these dragon pilots who experiencing their aching first love.

Posted on 4 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Readers who read my previous coverages on HisoMaso would know that I wasn’t very happy with the direction this show took. There’s a mean-spirited tone, and just downright nonsensical with the plot to make our girls fallen in love and then crush their hearts to pieces. But with this episode, I’m happy to say that HisoMaso finds a much stronger shape and it justifies most of the events happened before. So, the main plot going forward gonna focus about the ritual, which actually to move the giant big legendary sleeping dragon to its new bed, and that process can take up to 3 whole days without stop. The real challenge with this is the girls have to fight not to sleep for the whole 72 hours, otherwise that gigantic dragon would go off track. That actually sounds refreshing, for once the overarching plot isn’t going to be “saving the world and destroy bad guys” like I afraid, and there’s still some actual stake in there. Moreover, this ritual speaks well to this strange yet whimsical world.

We also know the true identity of the yogurt old lady (it’s about goddamn time). Turns out she was a OTF pilot back in the last time they carried the mission, and she proves to be a good addition to this cast. Her wise advice regarding how they fight with the lack of sleep, for example, is to sleep, on the ground that they have to be in sync with the dragons in order to ride them normally even when they’re asleep. After a brief argument with Hisone (in which I find her reason a bunch of rubbish. Man, her reasons never make sense to me), the old wise woman proceeds to do just that: let them relax and just listen to the sound of their dragons. This goes well in the end and for me, the episode brings me back to the show after a somewhat disappointing middle part.

So we’ll have a celebration (in which HisoMaso phrases it as “Ritual” huh? Will there be any sacrifice here?), we have the torii gate, the dragons and their pilots as the main players, and naturally we need to have shire maidens too. Which comes to the aspect I’m not confident about HisoMaso: the romances. While I personally enjoy the growing chemistry of Hisone and Okonogi, I can’t say the same with Hosino and the captain whatever-his-name-is. It feels hamfisted at best that they need to show us that these girls have some romantic feeling beside piloting dragon. Furthermore, the reveal in the end, the Okonogi is an important figure of “Divinity department” and his apparent love-interest put Okonomi-Hisone relationship into another light and I’m not sure if I’m on boat with this twist. Now that relationship becomes a three-way love which… is how anime plot tends to do, which is too say it’s repetitive and tiresome. I’m growing fond with Okonogi, however, and I especially like the part where Hisone tells him about the “original shitty horror movie which just released in Bluray” part, so yeah at least for now it’s not a deal-breaker. This episode does a pretty admiring job of pulling this show back from their weak and misfired last couple of episodes, at least for now I’m looking forward to see how HisoMaso going to wrap itself up.

Posted on 28 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

Hmmm, I do feel like I’m watching some propaganda in HisoMaso this week, in which it tries to sell us the ideas that women’s low self-esteem and insecurity are the best way to “soulmate” their dragons, and worse, learning the whole conspiracy method of crushing these poor girls’ hearts to make sure they’ll ever love again, so they can devote all their hearts to pilot the dragons? WHAT? Okay, propaganda is a bit exaggerating, but I can’t help but feel the mean-spiritedness in this approach, especially virtually no one in the higher-ups question about it or that Ilboshi guy’s decision morally, instead they just roll with it. Haizz, they play those up for laugh, and I guess they set all this up so that the girls can overcome those, but still I feel a bit uneasy watching all these play out. Especially seeing the young mug Okonogi tries his damnest to slide between following his orders and just have fun with Hisone. I figure my uneasiness lies in the fact that these girls, our D-Pilots are the victims and clueless about all this. Ways to depreciate our women and their intelligence here, Mari Osada.

SO the plan is to figure out all the girls’ potential romantic interests, push it a bit and then squeeze that love like breaking an egg. Haizz. This plot gets thicken fast as Okonogi is granted a chance to go to a date with Hisone, watching some lame horror movie (wait, is it the same film with the one in After the Rain?). Meanwhile, Kinutsugai becomes an informant (because of Kingdom!) by that guy Ilboshi again. He now becomes a sore thumb here as beside babblings all those bullshits about white lovers, purity and what’s not, he acts equally stupid and manipulative too. To make things worse, this week our dragons get left out, in place for these stupid romantic threads (that include Hoshino and “the guy who ticks all the boxes” and Hitomi’s multiple interests).

The show’s writer is most infamously known for injecting unnecessary and drawn-out romances and it seems like she again hits the streak in this episode. It’s not enough to bring HisoMaso down, at least not yet, so I’ll reserve my final feeling when this all business about the ceremony is dealt with, but for now I’m not that keen on the direction it laid out. It should focus on the dragons – their pilots relationship, or even focus to develop our girls, not this. And HisoMaso still holds their cards too close regarding the real identity of the yogurt lady. Too much sniffing and licking without revealing won’t tease people anymore. I’m a bit concerned with HisoMaso now, it looks like it will head dive into the deep ocean full of sharks and I’m not sure if it ever going to recover from that.

Posted on 23 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

At one point during this episode I almost felt that Hoshino was just too overboard. Being stubborn is one thing, but when you’re too stubborn you outright hurt others’ feeling without backing down, it’s irritating to watch. The issue with Hoshino, as we come to learn during the flashback, is that piloting an F2 has been her lifelong dream. And she tries, amongst the male-dominated world, to reach that dream. Then this dragon picks her and she determines to push forward to make her dragon a F2 plane. The dragon understands that so he tries to stay in Foxtrot form all the time. It’s a classic abusive relationship if I’ve ever seen one. The main thing is, for Yoshino it’s her desire to fly, not piloting a F2, that hooked her in the first place and their flight together in the end further reminds her of that.

Meanwhile, the other three manage to survive for few days and initially forgets all about their training objective. No big deal, when the dragons are happy they can just take wings and fly off (And eventually they did). These girls encounter the shrine inside the cave with Masotan and other dragons’ symbol in there, so I reckon that this island is a spiritual place where the dragon pilots – white lovers, shrine maidens, whatever exchange some form of mutual relationship with the dragons. They all have the same dream that night of a lady riding a dragon, which I guess for now is either the yogurt old lady or Nao’s mom. Well, we have all the elements in place now: the maidens, the shrine, the dragons, the last thing left is the ceremony itself so let’s see how HisoMaso eventually get into that part.

While I feel the drama and the overall serious tone are just passable, it’s the comedy that fares much better this time. In particular, the comedy duo Hisone and Nao’s puppet head provides some nice gags, including one of the most tragic faux “death” in recent history (Hisone’s face is priceless). The voice acting also work wonderfully well, especially the licking gags of Hisone – just to show you how weird our main protagonist is. Nao and Iboshi’s current crave for kiwi doesn’t really work for me, but it ties its thread well with the final revelation. As of now, I feel HisoMaso just doesn’t have enough of a central plot to make a proper impact, and it relies instead on the gorgeous visuals and quirky character expressions. It’s a nice show to watch and enjoy, but when it’s all done you realize the story doesn’t progress much, and sometimes it feels like the plot just stands still and doesn’t go anywhere at all.

Posted on 16 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

There’s one thing you can count on original shows, you can never know for sure what the plot is going next. Sometimes, it surprises you with its sheer originality and sometimes, it could go to weird places. HisoMaso falls into the latter this week, literally where it’s taking us to an uninhabited island for the survival test. It’s this week that the show goes for more serious tone, and I’m not quite sure if this seriousness works for the show’s benefit. First, I don’t buy any talk from Administrative Vice-Minister Iiboshi at all. He seems to be the one who knows the most about the connection between OTFs and their pilots, but all his “white maiden” metaphors scream all pretentious with no real substance for me. I mean, the show’s pretty obvious with their visual motifs in support for this white-maiden tale: the traditional festive in the beginning, the torii gate and the rice cakes but now all seem vague and contrived to me.

Second, the way Iiboshi (and the show) frames that the main reason the dragons choose the pilots is because of the girls’ self-loathed. Now THAT I have issues with. Hisone puts it better than anyone: Without Masotan, she’ll be just a social awkward girl who talks to herself too much and is unfit for society. The girls themselves admit later on that they regard their dragons as a way to close themselves off to the people around them. Now thinking back, this has always been Hisone’s perspective towards Masotan since they first met. She said to her dragon the same thing before that she was flattered by the dragon’s choice because she feels special; and her speech to Masotan to “take his responsibility” for choosing her. It’s a flawed way of regarding your partner (and definitely not better than Eri who regards the dragon as the tool) but things might change for the better once the girls have more confident in themselves.

The gist of this episode is, however, to show us how dysfunctional those girls are. It feels to me that these girls are the protagonists of their own story, and then awkwardly assemble them altogether. As such they belong to their own story and have absolutely no chemistry put together. It’s a compliment actually since this episode works its way up to improve the girls’ dynamic together (and also, their relationship with the dragons). In terms of set-up, this is as classy as possible: throw the girls into a deserted island with their (somehow useless) dragons, and force them to interact for the same goals. Matters got worse when Hitomi’s dragon eats all the food supply. Everyone has their own way to deal with it, mostly sleeping and wander aimlessly, and working together remains their last option. Disappointed Hisone soon finds out that despite their team work is close to non-existent, each of the girl can still offers something useful, and together they can manage to survive… for few more days.

Their objective for now is to let the dragons have fun until they get hungry, they’ll fly again. But isn’t it better to figure out why the dragons can’t fly there? That brings us to Eri. While the point of this mission might be improving the team work, it also works as a way to improve yourself and understand your dragons better and Eri needs that now. She’s determined to abandon the dragon to accomplish the mission, but as HisoMaso hints us she opened her heart to the dragon once, so now is the good time to revisit the very moment her dragon picks her in the first place. HisoMaso so far gets away with a lot of its stupid ideas because of its incredible ability to not take itself seriously, so I hope when they finally get serious they have to find a way to hold everything up together, because eye-candy visual alone can only go so far.

Side note: I’m not a fan at all of this overlong, LN-inspired title. Remind me in a bad way of the episode titles in Kiznaiv… wait, that anime was written by Mari Okada too? Never mind then.

Posted on 9 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hisone to Masotan

With this episode the main plot thread of HisoMaso starts to emerge. Not only we have a new character this week, but all three of the remaining cast joined in in spectacular fashion. And befitting with the oddball personalities of both Hisone and Nao, they are a bunch of eccentric characters whose characteristics are all over the place. We have Ririko (codename Jimmy) – a shy and introvert girl, Hitomi (TAC name Morris) – a kind-hearted soft spoken big (and lazy) girl and Eri (TAC name Penguin) – a self-serious and overachiever. Looking at this cast, one has to wonder how unfit those girls are in military context. I mean, army is supposed to be uniform, consistent and those girls are as faraway from those as possible. But maybe that’s the point, that driving (AKA massaging the inside of) dragon is a job that only oddballs can do (And to think that Nao now is the one being left out – 4 dragons and 5 girls, seriously?). I’m still not very convinced about the characters of Hitomi and Ririko so far, given most of the time HisoMaso play their weirdness mostly for laugh.

It’s Eri who takes the main stage in this episode and she’s responsible for HisoMaso’s first real thematic depth: whether to regard themselves as pilot or dragon caretaker, thus regard the dragon as their friend/pet or as the airplane. With a show that been dancing around its theme so lightly so far you’d know what their solution is. Eri’s point has her merits, she wants to be the first big female pilot in the military force and she’s determined to make the boys recognizing her talents, or in the broader sense to make military women more than just an object/ a weakness, but by doing so she’s objectifying her dragon as something no more than a tool. The fact the dragon is too tense that he remains in aircraft mode even after the flight is sad as hell. As a result, he goes over his limits and transforms into the dragon form when Eli pushes him harder.

Again, Hisone nearly ruins the mood of her new comrades by saying mean things as they are, but in some way there’s always a charm in her meanie thought-out-loud. There’s no chemistry between her and the rest of the cast whatsoever, but that’s precisely the joy to see this band of misfits doing missions together, arguing over the most meaningless things while inside the stomach of dragons. The girls’ facial expressions remain as expressive as ever and the visual is certainly top-notch and gorgeous. I’m not too sold with the new cast so far, mostly because it’s Eri-centric episode but I reckon I’ll warm up with the other two as time goes by.

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Mix is, by my count, the eighth Mitsuru Adachi work to be adapted to animation. I’ve only seen one of the other seven, so it may not be my place to say this, but Mix probably ranks around the middle of those eight. Its main cast is complex, but the non-baseball players among them slip […]

DanMachi2 Anime Review – 40/100

“Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” burst onto the anime scene as something of a B-tier cult classic.  2015 saw Season 1 massively outperform expectations  – ignoring the occasionally shoddy animation – to bring excitement and mostly fan service (and the cosplayer favorite: the Hestia ribbon).  Now, four years later, the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba Anime Review – 80/100

It’s hard to find a more ubiquitous genre in anime than Shounen. Maybe romance/moe-blobs, but it’s a close race. With series like One Piece and until recently Naruto, being a constant presence each season/year. Often this makes it difficult for newer series to break into the anime market in a meaningful way. With the recent […]

Youjo Senki Movie Review – 85/100

Outside of a very few exceptions, I have come to despise the isekai genre with its predominantly self-inserted overpowered male protagonists, massive harems, fan-service bait and overused fantasy settings. Youjo Senki is none of those things and it has gained a very special place in my heart where it features the combined arms of a […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]