Posted on 25 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

The angriest show of this season has come to the continuation of the final match between Nagisa and Ayano and overall it does a decent job. It has something to do with this episode is amongst Hanebado’s most traditional sport narrative, so it focuses more on the action, and tones down the excessive melodrama. On the narrative side Hanebado also does a lot of lifting, first they shed light to Ayano’s Mom point of view. Second, Hanebado uses this match as the way for Ayano to understand the importance of teammates. Moreover, Nagisa does a lot of lifting as well. If I have any complaint regarding this episode, that is Ayano’s eyes are different again. It’s not the “shifting from innocent-Ayano to youkai-Ayano” I mentioned last few weeks (which I pretty much take it as it is), it’s that she has her Mom’s eyes this week. As it stands, Hanebado seems struggle to visualize Ayano’s emotional conflict, hence this inconsistency in character’s design. As a result I never feel related or connected to Ayano as a character.

This final match spreads out pretty confidently. As this episode is much more action-packed than normal, I’m pleased to say that the production value maintains its quality throughout. We can sense very well every sweat, every footsteps from these two. Yeah, the over-analysing can become bothersome after awhile. Nagisa decides to throw Ayano off by covering the court instead of trying for winner shots. It sounds like a plausible plan considering that Ayano is much less efficient in attacking than defending, and Nagisa’s overall stamina is much better than Ayano’s. It’s not that Nagisa is only aimed at defense either, when Ayano’s shot become weaker, Nagisa uses her biggest weapon: her smash to win the point. Long story short, Nagisa has her leg up in this match.

It’s there that Ayano’s confidence starts to crumble. She had been, and now still playing with the affection of her Mom. Losing means that she becomes nothing, everyone will eventually turn away from her. That’s why the encouragement of her teammates, and the audience at large, makes her realize another joy of playing badminton: to play it with friends. On Nagisa’s part, I like the moment where coach Tachibana warms her not to overtax herself. It comes from a person who gone through the same thing and he definitely doesn’t want Nagisa to repeat the same mistakes he did. Everything comes quite nicely together for Hanebado in this episode (even the ex-members start cheering for Nagisa, it’s one of those small touches that are more effective that the contrived drama)

Finally, we get to learn Ayano’s mom point of view regarding leaving her behind, and it’s just cruel and loudsy, as expected. Well, she doesn’t deny that fact, and I find that “leaving her so that she can play badminton for herself” a huge pile of crap. She’s obviously displeased when she hears Ayano denying that she’s lost (it’s something she will have to work with, next episode probably), but for godsake she’s a preteen kid and you don’t just walk away and adopt someone else’s daughter like that evil mama. And the fact that she knows it’s wrong but she doesn’t regret that? It’s the same as the argument of someone who having affair and still assert that they don’t regret it. IT’S BECAUSE THEY AREN’T VICTIM GODDAMNIT. Well, it could’ve been worse so I still give credits for Hanebado for addressing that moment of truth as best as their humanly possible. Even though it has been a bumpy ride, I still hope that Hanebado ends on a good note next week.

Posted on 18 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

After the break last week (due to the Hokkaido earthquake), we are back with this final match between Ayano and Nagisa. While I can’t say I care too much about this match, Hanebado begins in a solid note. Having our two main characters flashback to their previous match, each questions the exact same concern: “what do they play badminton for?”. Although Nagisa and Ayano have different issues regarding their struggles, they all come down to that very question and I believe Hanebado nails it right there. Ayano plays badminton to win her mom’s attention again, while that match crushes Nagisa’s confidence to pieces. They all have good reasons to play this final match, except that… Ayano doesn’t take it very seriously at all. It’s just a bit of a shame that Hanebado portrays her as a one-sided boss who apparently need to learn her own lesson during this match.

Hanebado seems pretty comfortable now at showing Ayano’s multiple personalities. While previous episodes I have issues with her inconsistent character, this episode I feel that they did an alright job for Ayano, probably due to how they downplay it (still, watching Ayano turns from absent-minded mode to creepy mode in a span of an eye-blink is still… a feat to the eyes. Ayano’s mom, the person who is behind all this, is still… how do I put it… passive at best. It’s good that finally someone close to her (Elena) decided that she can’t stand this current Ayano so she confronts the bad-mom about it. Whatever they payoff gonna be, we will have to wait and see next week.

It’s Nagisa who do most of the lifting this week. Make no mistake, she regards this final match more as a match to overcome herself rather than to win Ayano. She carefully watches the video where Ayano played (which is implausible when you think about it. This is regional, amateur tournament after all) and she decides to throw Ayano off by not playing her smash. The match pans out alright so far, buy which I mean the first two points. Animation-wise it’s stellar, but they can’t escape two factors. First, the annoying analysis that tries to over-explain the situation. Why don’t you let us understand by the visual alone, Hanebado? Second, I’ve noticed for a while but Hanebado tends to place its focus way too much on the beginning points of the match. As someone who already been through this, I’d tell you that the starter points don’t always mean anything. Badminton is after all about the endurance, about momentum and about how you outlast the opponent so I just don’t feel the weight of these two points at all. The night is still young, girls.

Posted on 5 September 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

After some hyper melodramatic development for several weeks, this episode unfortunately stumbles on another issue: too plain, with confusing messages all around. The main plot taking a backseat as the final match between Ayano and Nagisa is nowhere to be seen, thus this episode mainly plays around with the boy’s prelim – whom we never spend any time with. Most surprisingly plain is Ayano. After last week in which she went through some sort of a trance figuratively, this week she meets the Bad Mama and guess what’s she doing? She ignores her Mom and acts pretty normal. Which makes sense but it doesn’t justify everything that goes before it. If there’s a period where she can go nuts, it’s this time. If you tell me she acts over-confident and cruel after she sees her mother, I would have believed much better.

This episode is one of the few times where get into Nagisa’s headspace again and Hanebado reminds me how much better it handles Nagisa’s mindset compare to Ayano’s. Nagisa has all the good reasons to not playing her best in this final. It might sound weird come from me but since they’re qualified for the National tournament, it’s one of the player’s role to not overtax themselves, especially regarding her injuries. Yet she decides to push on for her own confidence. Regarding how their last match affects Nagasi severely, this match is the one where she wants to try her best in order to move on.

Nagisa’s development is the only one part I can recommend, sadly. The rest of this episode we focus on two boys at school and we have some confusing messages from Hanebado that I’m not quite sure what they want to bring across. In one scene, Coach Tachibana asks Nagisa to consider her knee in fear of permanent injury. We then learn that he had the same experience in which he stops – and loses his Olympic privilege. What?? It’s contradicting. Yuu’s crush for her upperclassman goes the same way too. Hanebado shows us how Yuu cares for him in many instances, cries for his lose and all that before it turns its head into she confessesing but not really “confess”, saying it’s her love for badminton rather she likes him. What? Come again? I don’t get it at all since the show isn’t quite clear on how it wants to approach the characters. Bad Mama has little involvement for now, but I expect she’ll turn Ayano’s head around before the match. I know it sounds strange but if I have to pick between Hanebado’s “BIG melodrama” and plain Hanebado then I prefer the former because at least then I still have something concrete to talk about them.

Posted on 28 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

I hope Hanebado having fun of drawing Ayano this week. She who switches from normal-Ayano to Weiwei-Ayano to evil-Ayano in a blink of eye. Appropriately all my screenshots this week are dedicated to her multiple disorder personalities. After all, ridiculous drama with ridiculous facial expressions are Hanebado at its essence now. Story-wise I’m pretty sure that we won’t get to the national stage this cour. It’d be the final match between Nagisa and Ayano and the boy’s tournament. Speaking of that I find it strange to move the final match to the week after. Isn’t it just one match left? Before addressing the elephant in the room (which is Ayano, not the real elephant), let’s get down to Nagisa’s perspective first. To put it frankly her role isn’t big or important enough to be seen as a co-lead. Worse, like many characters in this show, she makes some head-scratching decisions. If she practises to the extend of hurting her knee, then what’s the point of all that? It’s the time where you’re supposed to rest your body, and one more week of practice doesn’t make any real different. Where is Tachibana in all this? Isn’t he supposed to be a coach? I know Hanebado never intends to be realistic but little nitpicks like this take me right out of the main story.

More than any other episodes, this week is the one where we can see Ayano’s character inconsistency all over the board. They say the eyes are the windows to one’s heart and it can apply appropriately here. Her eyes, from total blank when she meets Connie, to all fluffy when she’s in the Weiwei amusement park, then to Psycho’s level of creepiness, ain’t come from the same person. You can pretty much say the same for Connie. First appeared as a talented, stuck-up brat who refuses to let her partner play, what does she become this week? She got beaten by Ayano completely flat. In addition, I don’t really buy her reason to get Ayano accept her as “family member”. They aren’t bloodlined for Peter sake and this is more about proving herself to be a better badminton player than Ayano than you know, get together like a big family with welcomed arms.

And now their Mama truly comes to the picture by greeting Ayano like nothing happened? God, the drama is gonna be awesomely ridiculous next week (a little off topic but where are Connie real parents? Does Mama adopt her legally or just invite her to the house and let her stay?). On the other spectrum, we have a bit insight of Yu’s crush to her upperclassman but frankly I don’t know what will happen afterward. Will she confess? Will the other one care at all? Will we care at all? To say Hanebado goes overboard with its drama is still an understatement. THE drama is getting laughable mediocre, but the way Hanebado embraces it with all it had is kinda admirable by itself. At least, we can always enjoy the many faces of Ayano this week.

Posted on 22 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

Welcome to Hanebado AKA the sport anime where young players get repeatedly abused by the adults. Last few weeks we have the most terrible Mom ever and this week, a loud mouth coach. I mean, what’s up with all these melodrama here? It has gotten to the point where it becomes unbearable to fully embrace. It’s just that Hanebado wanted to be a serious sport show but the character writing doesn’t have the chop to pull off effective drama.The character inconsistency is all over the episode. Take evil-Ayano, the way she talks and sits (look at the screenshot) don’t fit with what we knew about her characters. What happened with the old-Ayano who wanted to be a part of the team? That leap of personality is just way too clumsy. Then we have the shouting boss which has a punchable attitude, but worse he does a 180 degree at the end where suddenly he becomes some sort of amenable person. No. It isn’t how you develop a character, Hanebado.

This episode focuses on the central match between Nagisa and Nozomi, ex-friends in middle school. It’s just that Nozomi always has an inferiority complex towards Nagisa. She knows that Nagisa is better than her, and she makes up for that by training her best. For a girl who has been listening to her coach to the point she wonders what she even plays for, it’s good to see her standing up for herself and playing the match the way she wanted. Although Hanebado’s tendency for injecting stupid drama is still there. Like, where the heck does Nagisa’s knee injury come from? Do we aware of it before? Does it feel like cheating? A bit, yes.

The match, likewise, has some unusual focus as Hanebado would underline some important points at the first set then skip straight to the end. Hmmm? Why don’t you let us see how Nozomi fight back? We have no sense that it was a close match until the umpire announces the score. We aren’t sure anymore about Nagisa’s knee either since it never brought up later. So apparently, this is just the regional tournament so that both Nagisa and Ayano will participate to the National stage. But first, they’ll need to settle for this final match. Normally I wouldn’t care less since I’m not particular fond with either character, but now that Connie and maybe Evil Mama might be at the attendance, how much more crazy will Ayano become? Maybe a Disney-villain level of cruelness?

Posted on 14 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

I was wrong. I don’t enjoy this dead-eye expression of Ayano at all. It feels as though we’re watching a completely different Ayano characters compared to the first few episodes. That just means in no way I’m identified with this anti-hero version of Ayano. Again, I understand the intention. Ayano has that unhealthy obsession of winning since she believes beating the opponents is the way to get her Mom attention back. But isn’t showing her expressioness face a tad bit too obvious the presentation? I could’ve understood if she meets the Mom and that causes her brutal emotional state, but Hanebado frames that all this was just heartless Ayano being heartless Ayano.

One of the issues this episode have is to flesh out the perspective of Kaoruko by introducing her teammates who we don’t know or care an inch for. Heck, I don’t pretty care for Kaoruku to begin with, but it’s nice we know more about her vulnerable side. As for her teammates, we have all the usual archetypes: the jealous teammates, the losing senpai and the supportive underclassman. It’s a good touch of Hanebado that we get into her perspective during the match, but again this match is never meant to be thrilling. I say that because I can’t see other reason to explain why Hanebado skipped the entire second set and showed the match point instead. For a player who was hyped up as Ayano’s rival, we don’t see any sense of rivalry at all. Just the resentments from each other.

As for the big picture, I’m slightly disappointed that Hanebado focuses too much on Ayano and not enough on the other members. At least show me some of other members’ matches. Nagisa is again delegated into background characters (oh she’ll play against Frederica Girls’ captain next week? Would be a good match), as does the coach Tachibana as he leaves next to no impact to his students so far. As it stands, Hanebado has many potentially compelling drama and some good characters, but it struggles to put any of its assets to full potential, resulting in a show that can be brilliant at one point but jumping around with no purpose at the next.

Posted on 7 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

It’s a side-character focus episode this week, and Hanebado goes back to its “more subtle” drama (note: more subtle by the show’s standard), which I gladly enjoy. It’s the glasses Riko who takes the spotlight this week, as Hanebado challenges her own badminton’s ambition by putting her against the tough opponent right at the first round. The way the show sets up her emotional trigger is apparent right in the first few shots. When the club advisor Miyako talks to Nagisa and her about the new uniforms, she seems almost out of place. It’s the manner of her looking down, afraid to charge on that signals what about to come for her development. Speaking of that, while I appreciate how Hanebado utilizes the visual language into its storytelling, I have some reservation regarding its presentation. It doesn’t feel natural, thus it sticks out not in a good way. The shot of Sora turning her back against Ayano I mentioned last week for example is way too obvious it takes you right out of the scene, and the same can be said with many shots Hanebado employ this week regarding Riko.

It’s the last year of tournament for Riko and naturally she wants to make the best out of it, but as fate (and God magaka) decide, her chance of advance is threatened by facing the her old teammate, who finished in top 4 last year. It’s when she has a little crisis. All her hard-work and practice would come to nothing if she loses, and when it comes to tournament and competition, the result is all everyone care for. As Nagisa points out correctly it seems she gives up without even putting a fight. Although earlier I “dismissed” the visual storytelling as obvious, there are two scenes that stand out for me. First, Riko and Nagisa are on these steps, and Riko just stops midway as Nagisa walks by. It speaks right there the situation Riko currently faces and Nagisa as a distanced supporter. Second, the shot where Nagisa finds her sitting quietly on the stairs (again!), with the towel covers her head. It’s the saddest moment Hanebado captures in this episode.

While Riko has some space to shine this week, the top billed characters unfortunately have little to do in this episode. I particularly have mixed feeling about Nagisa’s involvement in Riko’s story. They have well-rounded chemistry, that’s for sure, but since her slump gone she acts way too straight, way too simple-minded that I don’t see the complex in her character anymore. Hanebado is still at its best when they can pull off some internal conflicts from our cast. As for the tournament… well, the appearances of Evil Mama and the encounter between crazy-looking face Ayano and equally crazy Kaoruko mean that the tournament will go in a predictable, contrived fashion. Let me just guess even without knowing anything about the draw. I reckon the semi (top 4) is going to be Ayano – annoying twin tailed pink hair girl and Nagisa – annoying twin tailed blonde girl before the final match of the “sisters” who fight for Mama’s attention. Prove me wrong Hanebado!

Posted on 1 August 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

So this week Hanebado moves from contrived drama into… shameless fanservice? Woah, honestly I didn’t see girls taking bathing naked coming in this series. In more serious affair, I enjoy the story lot better than last week. Despite the lack of smooth animation on the match, which I will discuss later, at least in this episode Connie is much more bearable. Hanebado drama remains a mixed-bag this week. The two conflicts that I mentioned last week, namely Ayano wanted to be part of the team and the sister having a beef at Ayano, are quickly raised and then resolved. Too quickly in fact that they feel half-baked. I appreciate that Hanebado raises more complex chemistry from the cast, but if they was building up Sora’s discontent of Ayano for almost 2 episodes (you can see in the top left screenshot she’s the only one who has her back against Ayano), they need to resolve it more thoroughly.

The Connie match, on the other hand, concludes in a satisfied fashion. It puts both Connie and Ayano into a new stepping stone now. For Connie, the match point her partner Tagajo saves her made Connie realize that her teammates always have her back, in addition she behave too cruel towards her friend. Ayano, in the opposite spectrum, uses it as an excuse for her lose. I reckon this nasty bit of her of blaming something else for the lost is the main reason her Mother left her. Or that could be the effect of her Mother left her generate the fear of being abandoned, that the teammates might give up on her if she doesn’t perform well. In any case, these girls have a Mama issue and soon enough her Mom will join in the picture so we can see things clearer through Mama perspective (and it’s better be good reasons).

The animation sadly takes a nosedive this week. Not that it was overly terrible but Hanebado uses many shortcuts for those sequences. Sports like badminton or boxing emphasis strongly on footwork. The production from the first few weeks nails that part down effectively with an intense footwork on the characters. But this week they focus instead on “big moment” that the don’t feature much of these small-steps movements. While it’s not a bad approach consider the match concentrates on drama rather than… sports, for a show that did everything right previously, this is a bit of a let-down. Overall, this week of Hanebado has a tonal issue, it can go way melodramatic at times, while other time go all fluffy and light-hearted. Still, I’m pretty much prefer this version of mad eyes, suffering Ayano than the plain, unconcerned Ayano who literally got dragged down to the badminton club.

Posted on 24 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

Hanebado goes full drama this week, in fact it’s so dramatic that it sucks out all the fun of it. Hanebado just doesn’t know how to handle over-the-top character, resulted in them riding the plot in a contrived fashion. Last week we had Kaoruko who is basically a sore thumb, this week Conny serves basically the same purpose – a destined rival to Ayano. The show doesn’t reveal it yet, but it’s quite clear she’s the girl that Ayano’s mother trained, and judging from the way she was looking for a match against Ayano, I can say that there’s some jealousy issue here (most likely: “you’re a prodigy, Conny, but your sister’s Ayano was more of a natural talent” kind of stuff). In any case, Conny wants to showcase how much she wants to take down our girl that she effectively goes against the spirits of double match and even the spirits of sport itself. In a double, teamwork is one of the most important factors. Playing solo not only shows how short-sighted you are, but also inform us that you don’t respect the sport. Damn, I might sound harsh here but it’s irritating to see a character tries to make her point by stop playing altogether. You leave a bad taste to my mouth, Conny.

The pacing of this episode, likewise, is way too slow. It takes a while until the match begins and they even cut the first Nagisa’s match. Everything feels forced from the get-go, start with the club finds out about the other school’s team, to getting Ayano to supermarket so that she can meet Conny, to the dramatic way Connie acts (dropping the coins, really? It’s so cliché now). There are two more potential conflicts rising. One of them is about Isehara, the younger sister of the team, who seems to have a beef with Ayano. I’m guessing for now it’s because everyone regards the lefty as talent that it annoys her, not from jealousy but more about recognition issues. Second, Ayano is trying hard to harmonize with the team. Both of these plot threads don’t particularly excite me to be honest. Hanebado works the best when it can integrate personal drama into the sport. Last week’s Elena feeling left out, for example, sheds another angle to her relationship with Ayano. Using bold characters who force her way into the story just ain’t gonna make it. To make it worse, the match animation doesn’t wow you like it did in the first few episodes.

I swear it’s the curse of the 4th episode in effect (usually when the show is at its lowest point), but I’m a bit worried that this going to be the direction Hanebado will take for the rest of the season. Nagisa this week is relegated to one-note character, Ayano has a compelling backstory but her bland personality can’t carry the show, and all the subtlety in characterization the show did so well in first few episodes is replaced by contrived Drama (with a capital D – also stand for Dumb Danish Damsel or Do Double Deferently!!!). I hope it can turn around because this episode becomes something that I fear the most: a generic high school sport anime.

Posted on 17 July 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Hanebado!

When people thinks about Hanebado, they tend to regard the excellent animation as its strongest point. While I partly agree on that, for me it’s the small character acting that makes this show sticks out for me. I do have a KyoAni vibe watching those relationships play out, especially in second episode with the recurring theme of Yu, the blonde girl, eating sausage after practice. There she meets the dropout senpai, she meets Nagisa in one of her rampant, and in the end she meets the senpai girls again with a newfound perspective. It’s the slow moments like this that Hanebado allows the settings and the characters sink in to our mind, and I much prefer this more than drama that relies on “shout until it works” moments.

In addition, both episodes follow a tricky formula. They flesh out the main characters through the perspective of side-casts. It works, for the most part, resulting that we have a feeling we learn about many characters within this badminton club. And for a show that is just in a beginning phase, it’s a remarkable feat. I have a reason to care for those characters, to support them from behind. This focus, however, has its shortcoming. Tachibana the male coach is a good character in his own right, but so far the show doesn’t know how to flesh him out to full potential. The reason being Hanebado wants these main characters to develop on their own, but at the same time wants him to have a positive influence for the team. Being stuck between two roles result in the unclear angle the show wants to develop him.

Although the last two episodes give a much-needed space to develop our main girls, I find those developments through the point of view of these side girls add up magnificently. It adds another emotional layer to these relationships. Take Yu, she’s in an inbetween phase of the club; as one of the few “survivors” after Nagisa lashed out because she loves the sport. We can also sees her having a crush (but subtly so) to one of the club member. Likewise, Elena’s observant is possibly the best element of episode 3. Not only it informs us about the trouble her friend Ayano is currently experienced, it tells us about their own relationship. Transforming from just a supportive no-face girl into a much more complex role, we see a whole whirlwind of her own feeling regarding her best friend, many contradicting emotions: from caring about her, wanted her friend to rely on her (in a very tasteful way using the dialogue from the movie she watched), to jealousy that her friend can devote herself into something she love. Ultimately, she’s the best friend if there’s ever one, simply because despite all the contradicting feelings, she comes out for all the better. She cares deeply for her friend and that will always remain true.

Nagisa’s development in episode 2 is more straightforward but not necessary less effective. She’s in a performance slump, and her slash-out attitude is sometimes unbearable. In one of the stand-out animation sequence (in a show with many stand-out animated pieces), we see her as a kid in a chalk-line art struggling with the way everyone regards her as “having advantage for being tall”. She works harder than anyone else but they fail to recognise that. Her performance stumbles when she’s too conscious of placing the shot right without follow through her smash. It’s more of a psychological issue more than anything else, because once Tachibana puts her struggling into words, once she regains her confidence, she manages to smash her way through. It’s a release from all the feeling bottomed up inside her since when she loses to Ayano that day.

As for Ayano, after 2 episodes I’m a bit worried that her passive, withdrawn personality can’t carry the show, but thankfully, when we get to her flashback this week it’s easy to see why she acts the way she is now. She’s a natural talent kid. And I’m not talking about her physical talent, but more about her love for badminton (on that note, Tachibana keeps pointing out that being lefty makes her some sort of a talent, in which I say NO, no way. Lefty is not that rare anymore and it doesn’t automatically qualifies anyone as better than the other. In fact, when you get to certain level there’s no real difference between a right-handed and left-handed players). Her Mom was a legendary badminton player and she transfers that love to her kid. She was her Mom’s golden choice until one day, after losing her Mom left and raised other kid into stardom instead. Okay, get pass the absurdity of it all, ‘cause we know there’s more than meet the eye here, what get me the most in her flashback is how Ayano’s determined to win her Mom attention back by keep on winning at all cost. You can see in her eyes that it becomes something as an obsession more than a joy to play. It takes its toll after she learns that all she was doing would amount for nothing. Like how Elena points out, her love for badminton and her mommy issues are two separate matters, she can pretty much enjoy playing badminton without caring about her Mom. Based on the OP, it’s going to be her issues all the way and I’d love to see Hanebado address it again in the tournament stage.

Not that every character in Hanebado is a success. That twintails pink hair girl is an eyesore both for her larger than life personality (“I love myself!!!!”), but her role so far is squarely Ayano’s destined rival and boys, these types stand out in a bad way. For a show that relies greatly on subtle personal development like this, having an eccentric, loud character like her doesn’t add any flavor to this story. It’s like a spicy chili ice-cream that can’t help but stick out too much.

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Fall 2019 Anime Coverage & First Episode Awards

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Vinland Saga – 14 [The Light of Dawn]

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Latest Reviews

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 – 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 […]