Posted on 25 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

More than any other episode, this week is where Fruits Basket embraces its two opposing spectrums the clearest: it’s reverse-harem hijinks of highschool life and romance and its dark drama about the Zodiac members. By that light, we can be able to see this adaptation’s quality by this episode alone. For example, this 2019 is at its low point when it comes to comedy. With this kind of over-the-top humor the visual presentation (and editing) have to be snappy enough, Fruits Basket the 2019 instead relies static shots. The 2001 version benefits neatly from Akitaro Daichi’s direction (disclaimer: this writer hasn’t actually watched the original Fruits Basket, but he watched Fruits Basket’s cousin Kamisama Hajimemashita directed by the same director), and this current adaptation just doesn’t have the comedic chops to pull off. The result is that all the hijinks of new Zodiac members joining school, and the Student Council members, fall right flat on the floor.

The drama bit works much better in comparison, though. This week we have a proper introduction of Akito, the head of the Souma family and the antagonist of this show if it ever has one. The most interesting bit isn’t the fact that he meets Tohru face-to-face (in which the show smartly underplays it), but his power towards Yuki that makes Yuki trembling with fear. As we learn from the flashback, he had been mentally abused Yuki to the point of submission, and that he always considers Yuki to be his. There’s some nice conflicts for sure that would be a seed for Fruits Basket overarching act, between the dark, toxic force from Akito and the bright, attentive side from Tohru. In fact, Fruits Basket’s writing strength has always been exploring the gap between what on the surface (mostly the Zodiac’s characters), and their hidden feelings and personality behind that mask.

That is to say I expect a hidden, more vulnerable side of this Akito guy as well. It’s obvious from this week that he brings fears, as well as hatred, to many members of the Zodiac, but he too is suffered greatly. For Tohru, she might be simple and forward, but her determination contrasts nicely to the dark force of Akito. Hence, the best moment of this episode is when Tohru instinctively pushes Akito away from Yuki, because she knows that Akito is hurting Yuki. It’s a nice clash between two extremes, and I can’t wait to see more of this conflict. Just remember Fruits Basket, tone down the over-the-top comedy.

Posted on 17 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

Fruits Basket gets a bit better this week, though not by a wide margin. This week is a return of Momiji, the most childish character we’ve seen so far in this show (until we learn that he’ll reach high school next year). The White Valentine approaches, and he wants to bring Tohru to the onsen as a thank-you gift. Fruits Basket so far has been, for me, formulaic. Not in a way that it repeats its structure, but more in a way that it uses established tropes for its main events (or is it the one who invited all these tropes? It’s hard to tell but one thing I can say for sure is that it feels dated nonetheless). So a hot-spring/ beach episode would be right in its money. As a whole, I don’t mind this episode as it still provides some solid moments, but I still have that feeling of Fruits Basket padding its material too thin. At this point the trio’s dynamics are pretty much in the balance now, and unless something significant can throw off the balance, they don’t progress as much as they hope to. Drama, after all, is an essential part of character development.

It’s Momiji’s involvement that gives this episode a change of fresh air. While he isn’t the character that I’m particularly fond of (at this moment we just see the childish side of him), his narration regarding the grim story that his class read, remains the best moments of the episode. As per Fruits Basket tradition, one of its strengths is the way it can draw out the emotional tale based on its flashback or story-within-a-story like this one. The content is certainly grim and dark, but it’s the way Momiji reflects on that story that we have a glimpse of his deeper feeling here. It’s not a totally convincing storytelling though, as it OBVIOUSLY allures Yuki and Kyou to Tohru’s current selfless act, but by its own it’s a perfectly fine story that would fit nicely to any Andersen’s sad fairytale classic.

The other nice moment that we don’t see very often, is when Yuki getting loose and laughs at Tohru’s clumsiness. As he remarks “I have never laughed like this even to my parents”, we could see the way his tight upbringing has a profound effect on him, and how with Tohru he becomes much more relaxing and just being himself. That comes with a cost, though, when you think about it, that he will become more emotional dependant on Tohru, and who knows what would happen to him if Tohru’s going away for good. There’s a romance in the air as well as Yuki making a really romantic gesture (that makes our Tohru blushing) before faking it as a joke. Go all the way, dude!

There’s another newcomer to this cast. The frail innkeeper, in a typical Fruits Basket character stock, is a mixture of two extremes. Frail and vulnerable at one moment, aggressive and violent when it comes to Kyou (many characters in Fruits Basket seem to be overtly aggressive towards Kyou alone, huh?). She’s actually a mother of an original Zodiac member, Ritchan the Monkey. I’d say that we will have a proper introduction of this Ritchan pretty soon, probably in the next episode, and I hope that he will be a worthy addition to this ensemble cast.

 

Posted on 11 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

It’s Valentine’s Day for Fruits Basket, although in this episode the actual Valentine isn’t the main focus. It’s another week of “I wish something major happens” for me. At this point, I have come to believe that follow the manga’s structure stall the pacing for me, as the show pads out its material way too thin at this moment. We need new blood or some compelling drama. This isn’t to say this episode doesn’t provide any dramatic reach. Shigure’s complexity has been planted before in previous episodes, but only this week do we see the extent he’s willing to do to reach his goal. For whatever goal that is we’re pretty much left unknowingly. This episode we only aware of his childhood dream, the dream which still pretty much stay inside his adult self and guides him forward, even if it means that he would hurt the ones beside him, especially Tohru. I suspect the seed that he planted is to allow Tohru to stay over Souma’s house, which in turn change fundamentally both Yuki and Kyou. We also know that he harbors hatred towards Akito, probably for the thing he did regarding Hattori. We don’t know much about Akito’s situation but we can see he’s in pain right now, and Shigure’s hatred can come as far as enjoying Akito’s pain. This is some neat material right there.

Another significant action that Shigure did this week is when he challenges Kyou, and as he knowingly put it later on, he “went too far”. There seems to be an underlying reason that Kyou seems to be in conflict Yuki’s rat status, and that might have to do with Kyou’s violent flashback when he got out of control, somehow. There are still many things left unsaid here, and like what Shigure puts, they are merely a ripple on the water at the moment. Kaguya appears to Kyou for a Valentine double date, but surprisingly we get very little out of that date (which for me is for the better). The only detail that we gathered is an action anime they see in theatre, which ironically have more animation than the actual show.

It’s important to note that all the core cast of Fruits Basket have some sad memories about their childhood that perfectly form their personality and their motivation as they are now, which makes for a meaty drama. And I still consider when it comes to executing the drama, Fruits Basket rank amongst the best of its genre. The problem for me right now is that they need to move on from the status quo, and put our main cast into more conflicts. As of now if they all stay in balance, they have a tendency to become tropey (Tohru is the worst offender), so let’s hope that Fruits Basket will head to some meaty material soon.

Posted on 3 June 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

I think I’m not alone when saying that these last two episodes of Fruits Basket aren’t their best material. With the announcement that Fruits Basket is going to have 3 seasons, I can understand why. Episode 8 for instance is where Fruits Basket padded out its material too thin, with all the familiar narrative beats that we already experienced in episode 5 (when Tohru went back to her relative), with a much lesser effect. Episode 9 has different issues, that is in the name of the newcomer Haru. Just to be frank Haru character isn’t that interesting. While I’m not going too far to say that he’s a reverse Kaguya, he does have some similar traits. The way his affection lies towards Yuki (as the episode title clearly shows) is… obsessive just like that of Kaguya, and I don’t think I need another character who involved in constant catfight with Kyou. His most distinctive trait seems to be light/dark Haru, where light Haru is a absent-minded, oddball Haru and dark Haru (triggered by Kyou) is a crazy, hot-tempered Haru, and sadly I don’t find either of these remotely interesting.

There’s one character development that Fruits Basket nails it about his character, however, and that is his flashback towards Yuki. As the original Zodiac tale goes, Haru had always felt shame about the story of Rat using him to finish first in the race, to the point that he harbors a hatred to Yuki, even without seeing him. When he meets Yuki for the first time (and exploded all his insecurity to him), he realizes that Yuki shares the same pain he does, to a larger extend. It fits what we know about Yuki’s character, and it’s sad to see him suffers that loneliness even when he was a kid.

Sadly, that’s the only highpoint I can give to this episode. “Repetitive” is the main issue I have here. At this point the chemistry between the lead trio is solid, but it needs to break its current status quo. There’s only so much if seeing them enjoying their everyday life with Tohru being happy of being housewife and the other two engage in a constant juvenile fights. Speaking of the former, I found the early scene where Tohru buying groceries alone while the two boys waiting outside, doing nothing extremely dated and overtly traditional, which reminds me again how old this source material is. Speaking of the latter, I grow a bit tired of Kyou and Yuki fighting nonsense. Tohru’s character doesn’t fare any better as despite she has a solid character arc, her behaviours, or more like, her humbleness and her oblivion towards others’ feelings, don’t do Fruits Basket much justice. I would love to see the show tries more than just maintaining its status quo.

Posted on 27 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

Here’s the second of two substitute posts this week. I’m a lot less enthusiastic about Fruits Basket than I am about Carole & Tuesday, though, especially after the former’s most recent episode, which was repetitive and tedious. Flashbacks and recap segments shouldn’t be condemned automatically, as animation is time-consuming and expensive to produce, but a franchise like Fruits Basket should be handled less delicately than it has been thus far. This is its second TV incarnation, for crying out loud – even if the manga had this much hand-wringing from Yuki and Kyou in these chapters, they could have cut some of it in the transition to TV. Their unceasing fixation on Tohru might be romantic in the eyes of young Japanese girls, but I’d label it amateurish, especially when their inner thoughts are so similar across episodes. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Hit the jump to read my take on these three installments of Fruits Basket (I sort of liked one of them!).

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Posted on 6 May 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

For me, watching Fruits Basket is like watching a classic play. It’s the show where despite its familiar story beats, it still pulls out a satisfying emotional core because its heart is in the right place. This episode is a prime example of that. I know this will eventually happen, Tohru moving to Souma’s house has always been a temporary plan and it’s only a matter of time before she has to choose between this new family and her own. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, however, as it does just right after the introduction phase. Like a good old play, the plot is fairy predictable, but the lines are there where they needed to be, and the characters deliver those lines with so much weight. Take the scene-stealing character of this week, Grandpa, for example. He serves as a comedic relief; he mostly stays out of his family’s affair but when he decides to jump in, he more than delivers the blow. What makes his speech so great is that not only he points out the assholeness of his family (damn, they’re true bitch), but he allows Tohru to pick the one she feels like home. He might mistake her name to her mother’s, but he sure knows about her more than the rest of the family does.

This is the first time that the titular “Fruits Basket” comes into play, and it further engraves the core theme of the show nicely. The very theme of Fruits Baskets is the feeling of belonging, and the sadness of feeling left out. When Tohru plays the game as a child, she was labeled something that isn’t even a fruit, and thus waiting forever to get called out by her friends. It parallels to her current status where she doesn’t really have anything to belong (up until she knows about Souma’s family). To that extend both Yuki and Ryou suffer from the same sense of alienation. Ryou for not being an original zodiac and desperately try his best to be included, and Yuki for the exact opposite reason, him as a member of the Zodiac that is too “weird” and “exclusive” to even have friends. These main characters more often or not are too aware of their loneliness, and momentarily accepts that as their fate. Tohru has learn a big way to step out of that mindset, and “being selfish” for once. Because, being selfish means she does care about her relationship to both Kyou and Yuki.

It’s also nice to see Kyou and Yuki are both on edge with the departure of Tohru. Although vastly different in their personality, this week is the first time where they share the same things: not only their attraction to Tohru, but also their stubbornness to even acknowledge that they care. This is Fruits Basket as its most emotional satisfying (so far), and I can’t wait to see more of the supporting cast. I don’t know how the original anime handles the material, but this version succeeds because it honors the source material, by understand what makes the source great and faithfully transfer it on screen, even at the cost of the polishness of its production values.

Posted on 29 April 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

As a complete novice to an already beloved franchise, I have little to no prior knowledge coming to Fruits Basket. Last week, I was wondering about the direction the show would take, whether it stays focused on the core cast, or it completely shoves them aside, giving more space to the side characters. As it turns out, Fruits Basket does a little bit of both. This week, they introduces another member of the Zodiac family, Kagura, with varying degrees of success. At first, it comes rather unexpected (hence took a chuckle out of me), when it’s reveals the timid, feminine Kagura has a violent side of her. It works for one, two times before the joke gets tired, unfortunately. It works first as an introduction to her character and the extent of which she would go for her affection towards Kyou. It still works as a flashback to informs us how long this affection had been going on. It blows up on itself when Fruits Basket levels it up later in the episode, resulted in ruining the whole family’s dinner.

Granted, Kagura has so much more in her characters. Behind her “charging head first into an issue – her Zodiac’s trait”, she is determined, yet insecure; expressive, yet never deceptive. As much as she loves Kyou and wants to marriage the poor man, she’s still conscious enough to understand Tohru’s good intention. But God, I don’t know what I would feel if she kicks Kyou everytime they are on-screen. With her appearance, we learn something interesting about the Souma’s family as well. They compose of both boys and girls (we’ve seen 4 so far), and as someone mentioned there will be more girls in the mix. Like their boy counterparts, if they get touched by the opposite sex that isn’t in the Zodiac family, they’ll transform into their original form. Before the reveal, I couldn’t have guessed the animal representing Kagura. Turns out she’s a little cutie boar (note: not a piggie), and I think I’m not alone when I say that I prefer her animal form much more than her human one.

At the same time, we still have another great scene between Tohru and Kyou when they’re in the rooftop. What Fruits Basket does best is keep peeling the characters’ personality and we keep seeing different side of them, what makes them who they are, what are their insecurities. This one in particular, we learn how enthusiastic Kyou behaves when he keeps babbling about his Master and martial art in general. Serve as a total opposite to Yuki, Kyou knows what he likes and isn’t shy from expressing it. I’ve heard that the side characters are one important element of what making Fruits Basket an endurable shoujo classic, so I expect more from these Zodiac members. The cliffhanger at the end suggests that it’s time for Tohru to decides whether or not she regards this new family as her own family or not, although I feel it’s a bit too early to delve on that angle. Fruits Basket’s strucutr can be conventional at times given how we can see how the plot going moles ahead, but it’s the adept character writing that makes the cast so enjoyable to watch. As far as this new comer Kagura goes, she’s still a good, albeit my least favorite one so far, addition to the cast. Despite my initial worry, this new adaptation of Fruits Basket has been solid so far.

Posted on 23 April 2019 with categories: Currently Watching:, Fruits Basket (2019)

I believe it’s safe to say that one of the main concern for this adaptation of Fruits Basket isn’t about the source, but more about whether or not the current staffs have what it takes to bring this classic to life (while at the same time pleases the original author, but that’s beside the point), and after three episodes, Fruits Basket does it considerably well. It knows its main strengths: Fruits Basket develops its characters with insight and sensitivity, making them both multi-dimensional and relatable. These first three episodes focus on (assumably) the main casts: our lead Tohru, the rat Yuki and the cat Kyou, and already within only first few episodes they emerge into characters worth spending time for. As a minor criticism, Tohru’s character isn’t that fleshed out after episode 1, but I understand that is entirely by design. We learn about the Soumas’ circumstances through her point of view, thus it’s always more about the boys she interact with, rather than herself. But it helps that 1) the premiere did more than enough about her backstory, especially when it comes to her current situation and her relationship with her Mom (which I reckon to be her guiding light throughout the series) and 2) she’s still a pretty damn solid lead who we constantly learn more about her personality through her narration and the way she interacts with the Soumas.

And Fruits Basket did a magnificent job to flesh out both Yuki and Kyou characters. One fun bit of useless trivia, the Vietnamese Zodiac (which is a variation of Chinese Zodiac), has Cat within the Zodiac in place of the Rabbit, so we Vietnamese pretty solved this Rat-Cat dilemma (another trivia, many Chinese people think that “Rat” isn’t an accurate translation, “Mouse” is a better term). Throughout these episodes, you can see their personalities play out, but the trick of it is that we can see their inner insecurity after peeling their projected image. For Yuki, he’s the perfect model student with a calm demeanor, however underneath that he’s too aware of the distance between him and the rest. For Kyou, he’s desperate to get into the circle, at the same time is short tempered. They serve as a total opposite to each other, in which they never see face to face about the other’s action. Yuki tries his utmost to be free from the circle he’s in by attending a co-ed school, whereas Kyou doing anything in his power to get in. Yuki thinks before acts, yet keep people in the distance. Kyou is a ticking bomb, yet make friends without much problems.

In fact, one has something the other lacks, and in the process of learning more about these two, Tohru learns that they are jealous of each other’s ability. Yuki afraids that if people find out about his secret, they would be “sickened”. That proves to be wrong as Tohru doesn’t really mind about that, and accept him for who he is. Production-wise, Fruits Basket so far is only competent. It holds the story so far, although nothing really stand out much in terms of delivery. At first, I was skeptical of the use the Zodiac transformation smoke (in which some source says that it’s live action filtered in), but now I feel it fits the show well. The smoke adds to the weird (and to a small degree, deadpan) effect. I’m not sure if this is the end of Yuki – Kyou conflict so that we can move one to other members of the Zodiac, but I’m fine with whatever direction Fruits Basket will go next. The structure might be conventional so far, but the complex character writing more than delivers. At least, there are some characters that make a brief introduction in these episodes, and I expect them to deliver as well when it comes to their turns.

Posted on 3 April 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai, Reviews by SuperWooper

Anime draws on many different media types in its endless search for properties to adapt, but manga is still the king of the bunch. And why not? It’s a distinctly Japanese art form, their main demographics have significant overlap, and manga’s panel-based layout means that some of the anime staff’s work is already done. Plenty of adaptations stick very closely to their manga counterparts (hopefully out of respect for the original), but some receive bold reinterpretations. Kaguya-sama doesn’t go quite that far, but under the guidance of director Mamoru Hatakeyama, it does manage to take on a life beyond that of its source material. Hatakeyama’s work on screwball comedies with Studio Shaft near the start of the decade gave him an eye for tricky camera positioning and outrageous character expressions. Since the show came to a conclusion several days ago, I’ve been skimming the manga and noticing the ways in which he embellished scenes by making full use of the student council room, where at least half the anime takes place. This is probably why that environment is rendered using cel-shaded 3D models, since it would allow extra freedom in deciding which angle of the room to capture.

Kaguya-sama’s move to television works to its benefit in plenty of other ways, as well. Its comic timing is terrific – I vividly remember the moment when a dump truck unloaded a towering pile of flowers directly onto Kaguya’s head. The slow, quiet manner in which the petals piled around her sold not just that scene, but a whole seven-minute segment. Things get loud when they need to, as well, with each battle of wits between Kaguya and Shirogane feeling more critical than the next. The show’s use of bright red and blue backgrounds (representing the two main characters) and urgent string accompaniments pushes their mental matches to absurd heights, only to bring them crashing down when fan favorite Fujiwara unwittingly interferes. Special mention must also be made of the series’ stellar casting, which put newcomer Aoi Koga in the lead role and reaped immense rewards as a result. Her blend of haughtiness and vulnerability made Kaguya my favorite character by a mile, but the other student council members had great actors behind them, as well. Even Ishigami, who I wasn’t originally fond of, found his stride once Ryouta Suzuki embraced the bitter, world-weary nerd at the heart of his character.

All these elements made Kaguya-sama successful as a comedy, but director Hatakeyama’s experience with drama paid off as well. Having headed up the masterful Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, he clearly knows how to frame more serious material. The two-part finale “I Can’t Hear the Fireworks,” which dug deep into Kaguya’s isolation and sorrow, is all the evidence one might require to support that claim. The moments when she reunites with her friends and realizes the depth of her affection for Shirogane are among the most heart-stopping in recent romcom history. Towering though that achievement may be, though, the blending of comedy and romance in simpler scenes also carried a kernel of drama, which was crucial in constructing a plausible on-screen relationship. Tropes like shared umbrellas and backseat bicycle rides felt more satisfying in Kaguya-sama than in other series, since Shirogane and Kaguya’s famed intellects gave way to their passion at just the right moments. Not all of these scenes were perfect – I had my reservations about a couple chapters near the end of the show’s run – but the hit-to-miss ratio favored the former by a sizable margin.

So what’s the final verdict? That’s up to each viewer to decide individually, but mine is quite positive. The comedy is clever and visually inventive, the romance is cute, and the dramatic conclusion alone is worth the price of entry. In fact, the series was so good out of the gate that my expectations went soaring for the second half, which didn’t always meet them. Still, I enjoyed my time with Kaguya-sama, and if you like shows that skillfully walk the line between silliness and sweetness, I think you will, too. It might not be on par with the Kare Kanos or Toradoras of anime, but it’s a thoughtfully-directed romantic comedy that ought to be watched by fans of the genre.

Posted on 31 March 2019 with categories: Finished Series: Romance, Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai

And so we reach the end of Kaguya-sama’s twelve episode run. There’s no word of a second season yet, but given the original’s enthusiastic reception, I have to imagine that one will come. (We ought to get an OVA at the very least – otaku have come to expect them when shelling out for pricey Blu-ray boxes.) A sequel may be even more likely when we consider the strength of the first series’ conclusion, and this one definitely ended on a good note, following up on both the emotional promise and the more light-hearted elements of the previous episode. Kaguya’s newly created Twitter account and the Metropolitan Ramen Kings both played a role in her jailbreak, just as sickly Kaguya’s fixation on fireworks pointed to a deeper, more personal issue. The show’s reuse of seemingly minor elements is a big bonus for me, since it adds to the feeling that everything on screen has been put there for a purpose. Even when I didn’t care for them at first, the payoff was typically somewhere around the corner. Kaguya-sama’s standalone chapters were some of my favorites in this one cour run, but a little bit of continuity goes a long way in authenticating the show’s world.

The bulk of this final episode was dedicated to “I Can’t Hear the Fireworks,” putting a cap on the post-credits scene from episode 11. Of all the things to love about this two-parter, my favorite is the contrast between the reasons for Kaguya’s lack of hearing. In the past, she was forbidden from attending festivals or fireworks displays, so she could only watch from her bedroom window as they burst into view without sound. She sees the fireworks through a window in the present, as well, but this time she’s together with her friends and her first love, and it’s the furious beating of her heart that drowns out all other noise. These different contexts give the chapter a poetic flavor, as we witness how universal things like friendship and romance can prove so impactful in one girl’s life.

Kaguya might have stayed confined to her room and missed making a valuable memory if not for Hayasaka’s encouragement and the help of the student council members (including Fujiwara, who opted to skip her Spain trip in favor of attending the festival with her friend). In fact, she was originally so heartbroken that she wished she’d never gotten close to them, so it wouldn’t hurt quite as much when she was forbidden from seeing them. The series depicted that pain through multiple shots of Kaguya’s tear-stained face, as well as more experimental live action cuts of black windblown strands (representing the veil of hair with which she protects her eyes). When these sorrowful images eventually gave way to anticipation and wonder, there was a feeling of catharsis that most anime series couldn’t hope to match.

Of course, Kaguya-sama wouldn’t be a romcom without an eventual return to the status quo, and one last contest in the council room serves as the series’ parting note. It’s a chapter that focuses on spring cleaning, to boot, as if to polish and dust the show of excess sentimentality. Nevertheless, there’s a sense that Kaguya herself has changed a bit. Although Shirogane is preoccupied by the scale of his actions on that festival night, his crush is desperate to say “thank you” for those same efforts. Try she does, but even after ejecting Ishigami and Fujiwara from the room, she’s still foiled by a misunderstanding that causes the president to flee the scene in embarrassment. It’s worth noting that she chases after him, though, a gutsy impulse that she never could have acted on a year ago. Shirogane is still terribly self-conscious, and Kaguya is still learning how to process her new feelings, so their continued separation makes sense. But at least they’re headed in the same direction, with good friends to support them on their journey, and plenty of time before high school ends to grow closer together.

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I have reviewed a lot of odd shows recently. From Paranoia Agent to Serial Experiments Lain, they each had their own… je ne sais quoi, their own unique flavor. Keeping with that trend is Mononoke, a sort of Horror Anthology reminiscent of Tales From the Crypt or a Stephen King short stories collection. Though where […]

Mix: Meisei Story Review – 75/100

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

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 […]