KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! Legend of Crimson

Type: A really good KonoSuba episode

Synopsis: It’s a Megumin story this time. The gang go to the Crimson Demon village, who are being harassed by the Demon Lord’s general, Sylvia. Megumin’s parents also try to force their teenage daughter to marry Kazu-Trash because they think he’s rich. And Kazu-Trash isn’t totally opposed, since it’s the start of his popular phase.

Pros: This movie is just a really good episode of Konosuba. You could edits this to 3 solid episodes and probably not tell the difference. Like the rest of the show, it’s an adaptation of one of the light novels, so the tone and pacing are mostly the same. Despite fleshing out Megumin’s backstory, Kazuma kinda steals the show. He has the best jokes, and the ultimate lessons is for him to stop expecting a reward every time he does something nice for the girls. My personal favorite segments were his desperate attempts to make his tryst with Yunyun happen, and his very willing surrender to Sylvia. It was also fun to see that the entire Crimson Demon clan are cringy as all get out. We also get to see Yunyun be cool for once, which is always nice to see. And the last battle was admittedly pretty awesome.

Cons: It’s basically an episode of Konosuba. The animation and action are slightly better, but I don’t know if that’s a praise to the show, or a knock on the movie. I’m torn, because on the one hand it’s a movie that does “count.” It’s a canonical story based on the source material that continues the franchise forward. It also expands the lore by revealing the history of the Crimson Demons and showcases the defeat of yet another Demon General. On the other hand, it’s so close to the regular stakes of the TV show that it doesn’t have that special “movie” feel to it. Basically, it’s a good story, but not a great story. Besides that, on a micro level I don’t think we spend enough times with the Crimson Clan or Megumin’s parents. They basically get their one 20 minutes segment before moving onto Sylvia. Aqua and Darkness also get less screen time in favor of Kazuma and Megumin, which makes sense, but still. I’ll be honest, Megumin is my least favorite out of the group, so maybe that’s why the movie didn’t wow me as much as it should have. But if your looking for more Konosuba, you’re looking in the right place.

Watch it?: If only just to witness Kazuma’s popular phase.

MVP: The memes

People really adopted a lot of jokes from here.

Best moment: Kazuma forsaking the world and his friends for most sweet demon cuddles.

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Junk Boy (OAV)

Type: Title says it all

Synopsos: Like Golden Boy, but not as good.

Pros: The OAV is about a walking lawsuit waiting to happen getting a job at a porno mag. Ryohei, our protagonist, passes his interview by trying to assault his editor/boss. Then he hits on everyone in a skirt before the story settles on the star reporter whose cold attitude belies hot passions. It’s not really very good, and it did not age well at all. BUT, it does have one strength. The female designs are on point.  Yuki and Aki both exude that cool/sophisticated woman aura that was uniquely 80s.

Cons: It’s pretty stupid, but not in a good way. Ryohei’s aggressive horniness was a real turn off. The man literally gets a huge boner everytime he sees a woman. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except he then tries to grab them and have his way with them. It’s played for laughs, but it’s just not funny. There’s a reason why most ecchi shows have fanservice be a result of a misunderstanding, or a comedic accident. As I’ve always said, there is an art to sex jokes. And it ain’t making a sex creep work for a nudie magazine. The OAV is split up into three sections: The intro, the photoshoot, and Aki’s story.  The intro has Ryohei get a boner and try to assault his boss, which somehow leads him to getting the job. The photoshoot has Ryohei give a speech about masturbating to the model, and he almost gets lucky but is C-blocked by the photographer. The last section has Ryohei take the star reporter Aki on a date. This is the part where we see that Ryohei’s actually a pretty nice dude…except of the fact that he basically stalked Aki until she agreed to go on a date with him (although he was originally trying to convince her to have sex with him). Ryohei then manic pixie boy’s her with a motorcycle ride and building top dinner. They then have sex, because…because….honestly, I think it’s because Aki just wanted to dick before going on her overseas assignment. Anyway, the anime ends with Ryohei breaking into his bosses apartment and stealing her underwear.

Watch it?: Just watch Golden Boy.

MVP: The female designs

Cool beauty

Best Moment: Admittedly, the motorcycle scene was kinda romantic.

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Angel Egg (1985)

Type: Brilliant!

Synopsis: I have absolutely no idea what’s going on.

Pros: Angel Egg is an incredibly beautiful and though provoking anime film. It was created by Mamoru Oshii, a master in the industry whose resume includes Patlabor and Ghost in the Shell. Though difficult to explain, the film’s story is about a young girl carrying an egg as she traverses a seemingly abandoned city. The girl is met by a mysterious boy who is curious about what’s inside the girl’s egg. A popular critical interpretation argues that the film is about faith. Oshii created the film around the time he lost his faith in Christianity, though he has also stated that even he doesn’t know what the film is about. The man could represent Jesus Christ, who is going through his own crisis of faith. The girl represent blind faith, as she is motivated to hatch her egg despite not knowing for sure what’s inside it. There are also numerous allusions to Noah, the Ark, the Flood, Doves, and the Ichthys. The film seems to be wrestling with the idea of faith, and whether it’s better to follow blindly or reject it.

Cons: Angel Egg is a good film. It’s also a confusing film, and very quiet. It’s the kind of film you need to do homework about afterwards, which is why so many critics love it. I would say watch it, but then read about it or view a review video about it. It’s not really a story as it is an artistic exploration. It’s a personal story, which is why it leaves some people wondering what they even watched.

Watch it: Yes, take it on faith.

MVP: Mamoru Oshii

Damn, that man can direct.

Best Moment: The opening shot (post-apocalypse Jesus, I dig it).

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Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time

Type: Same old, same old

Synopsis: In this story, Inuyasha must fight an enemy connected to his father. Too familiar? Well, Kagome is also separated from Inuyasha for a while but reunited through the power of their feelings. You say that happened 2-3 times in the anime. Well, in this one Kagome gets possesed and shoots Inuyasha, just like how Lady Kikyo did! Huh? Huh!? You say, you say that happened a lot in the manga too….Look man, this series has been going on since 1996. The people want what they want, which is a lot of “will they, won’t they?” and allusions to that time Inuyasha trapped in a tree by his dead GF. If you want exciting story beats go read Monster or something.

Pros: If you like Inuyasha, you’ll like this. It’s more or less a greatest hits album. Though there is a notable lack of miasma.

Cons: There is a notable lack of miasma. There’s nothing really wrong with this movie. It has good animation and a reliable story structure. It just felt kinda by the books. My two real complaints are that sending Kagome back in time was really forced, and the main antagonist becomes an afterthought in the second half. Apart from that, it was a fine, if forgettable, anime movie.

Watch it?: It barely kept my attention.

MVP: Myoga

Such is the life of a flea

Best Moment: Hyoga’s henchwomen were kinda cool

Worst Moment: I cannot get over Kagome getting sent back in time. It just bugs me.

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Super HxEros

Type: Horny Power Rangers, I dig it.

Synopsis: The premise…is actually kinda clever? Aliens are attacking humans by depleting their “H-energy,” or sex drive, threatening human relationships. To combat this, Japan has create a group of unusually lascivious youths called the HxEros. The government has weaponized teenage hormones for the good of humanity!

Pros: As far as a ecchi show goes, this one was pretty good. The premise works well to set up the various gags in the story. The purpose of the gags are to get the female characters in compromising and nude positions. Every episode has one of the characters trying to figure out a way to increase their “H-energy,” often with sexy results. I think that what makes this show work is the show’s ultimate message, which is: “H-Energy” is not a bad thing, and it’s OK to explore it. The show even gets a little wholesome by implying the the strongest “H-Energy” comes from love, as depicted in the interactions between Retto and Kirara. And I can’t fault a show for saying that.

Cons: OH MY GOD IS THIS SHOW HORNY. I’ve seen a lot of anime, and this might be the most nudity in a show since High School DXD. You will get one or several nude girls in every episode. The reason is because using “H-Energy” tears your clothes off. Very convenient is you ask me. Story wise, the show is alright. I felt that the show went a little fast, though I was never lost. It’s your typical monster of the week, and each member of the HxEros club gets a spotlight episode. Some are stronger than others, and most episodes will find some way to return to Retto and Kirara. Looking back, I liked the Retto and Kirara relationship, mostly because Kirara carries the entire show. The show wouldn’t work without someone protesting against the use of lust as a weapon, for modesty’s sake a least. That being said, I did not like the flashbacks to young Kirara or the character Dark Kirara. These were just excuses to write loli jokes. Not a fan.  Again, this is just an ecchi show, but it’s a well made ecchi show.

Watch it: It’s good, but I did get a little bored (3/5)

MVP: Kirara

She’s right. She’s thirsty, but she’s right.

Best Episode: Ep. 4 “HxEros Forms” (All the warriors!)

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Conception

Type: A pregnant virgin!? That’s every man’s worst nightmare!

 

Synopsis: Immediate childbirth with no pain or physical labor!? That’s every woman’s dream!

Pros: OK, hear me out. This is a story about a guy being transported into a fantasy world where he has to conceive magical children–DON’T LEAVE YET. I’M NOT DONE. As I was saying, he has to make magical children with 12 maidens who range from around early 20s to…early tweens–NO, PUT THE BAT DOWN–I HAVEN’T TOLD YOU ABOUT THE SEX SCENE WITH THE TOY RACOO-[Thwak!].

Cons: Huh? Wa? Why is my bead bleeding? I have to talk about Conception. I NEED to talk about Conception–So premise aside, Conception is not the trash fire that you might think it is. Don’t misunderstand, the premise is exactly as I described. Our protagonist is taken to another world where he as to perform the “love ritual” with 12 virginal maidens. As you can guess, roughly every episode deals with the protagonist courting, and then bedding, one of the maidens. Except for the episodes that go for two at a time. Some maidens get more screen times than others, depending on the writer’s preference. Notably, the adult maidens get far less screen time than the younger ones, because anime! The only consistent threads are the protagonist (Itsuki), his thirsty as hell racoon sidekick (Mana), the star children, and Alfie, the star children trainer. Mana is the comedic foil to Itsuki, often encouraging him to participate in lewd activities with the maidens. For his part, Itsuki is no your typical isekai protagonist. He’s actually a little flirty, especially with Mana, and he’s given enough confidence for you to understand why he could participate in the premise. Speaking of which, even though the story makes it clear that the “Love Ritual” is strictly none sexual, the cast still ends up in bed, naked, rubbing their lustful bodies against each other. That is some amorous cuddling you got going there. The main reason why Conception is not the worst show in the world as the show goes on, you notice the story get more and more off the rails. What starts off as a generic isekai fan service show grows into a weird parody of itself. There’s an episode that satirizes the Bachelor, there’s a boy’s love episode, an entire episode revolves around Alfie, and I was being dead serious–one episode does end with Istuki performing the “love ritual” with Mana, the talking racoon doll. It’s almost like midway through creating the show, the studio realized they could either make another iseaki show, or they could have fun. And it was fascinating to watch.

Watch it?: The slow burn into farce was fascinating to watch (3/5)

MVP: Alfie

She gives off more “main heroine” aura than the childhood friend

Best Episode: Ep. 10-12 “The Alfie Arc” (The story with the Piecies Maiden was also super cute.  You can also watch ep.09 for the boy’s love arc).

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Rumbling Hearts: Next Season (OVA)

Type: I got into it AGAIN

Synopsis: The main premise is that two amazing women have to tell this jerk off to get a life and stop following them around. In this maybe-cannon, maybe-not take, my girl Mitsuki moves away from the emotional leech that is Takayuki Narumi and starts living a happy life with a nice girl she met in Tokyo. Comatose Haruka meanwhile has to learn how to live in a world that left her behind three years ago, and yet she’s still more emotionally stable than the human trash fire that is Takayuki Narumi. If you haven’t guessed, I have some problems with the male protagonist.

Pros: This OVA is an alternate ending to the original anime. In the original story, Haruka and Takayuki are dating until Haruka is put in a coma. Their friend Mitsuki takes care of Takayuki and they start dating. After three years, Haruka wakes up, and a love triangle develops. I say “triangle,” but its really Takayuki ghosting the woman who kept him alive for three years. The OVA takes place after the second to last episode, and follows what would have happened if Takayuki didn’t chase after Mistuki. In this story, we see Takayuki becomes a sickeningly great boyfriend to Haruka. He’s so devoted that Haruka has to break up with him because he’s basically still putting his life on hold for her. The next episode show what happens to Mitsuki in this timeline (spoilers: she lives a much better life with a hot swimmer). The last two episodes revolve around Haruka’s sister Akane dealing with all this drama. Like the original, the OVA has good melodramatic moments. It’s a great soap opera, even with the smaller episode count. I liked that the main message seemed to encourage self fulfillment over romantic obsession. Moving forward with your life instead of sticking to the past. Or at least I would say that if the ending hadn’t botched it.

Cons: OK, I want to makes this clear. This is a serviceable anime drama. I would go so far to say that this proves that their should be more anime soap operas. The focus on young adults dealing with romantic issues was welcome in an industry filled with teenagers getting their first kiss all the time. That being said, the anime has some pacing problems. The second episode was basically a recap episode, and I don’t think Akane needed a two episode focus. You can also see the budget through to the low amount of character movement. The show also set up “moving on” as the moral of the story, but then ends with Haruka and Takayuki dating again. And on a personal level, I really don’t like Takayuki. If his type of love is suppose to be seen as admirable, then I think that portrayal failed. He comes off as more obsessive than devoted. Staying by Haruka’s bed everyday is one thing. Standing outside the hospital after being banned from Haruka’s room by her family is another. I also really dislike the fact that Mitsuki’s three year effort couldn’t get Takayuki to move on, but Haruka breaking up with him made him become more motivated. I know he’s a fictional character, but I really, really, really want to kick Takayuki in the balls. Like, right in the testicles.

Watch it?: If you like Rumbling Hearts, this is a good expansion pack (3/5)

MVP: Mitstuki

You drop that zero and get with that swimming hero!

Best Episode: It’s an OVA. (4 way tie)

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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Type: I think it depends on the situation.

Synopsis: If the girl can’t walk because she like, sprained her ankle or something, then yes, pick her up. She shouldn’t be putting pressure on it. But if she’s just minding her own business, then don’t. Don’t pick up any person without their approval. People tend to react badly if you try to pick them up suddenly. They’ll squirm, or go limp, or start hitting you.

Pros: [Whisper] Oh. I’ve just been informed that to “pick up” also means to interact with someone in a romantic or sexual sense. In that case, the title is still misleading because Bell, the main protagonist, doesn’t really “pick up” the girls he encounters in dungeons. If anything, they pick him up. He is adorable after all. I mean, in all seriousness, this is the case in the story. Hestia finds Bell in the streets. The swordswoman Ais rescues Bell on three separate occasions. Lilly meets in by a fountain, Syr and Fyr meet him at a bar, and Eina at the Guild Hall. I think the title refers more to the fact that most of the action takes place in Dungeons, and that Bell is surrounded by pretty girls. But what about the plot? Well, the story mainly take place in Dungeons, and mostly involves Bell being surrounded by pretty girls. In this world, the Gods each have a group of followers, “familia,” who do fantasy-type jobs. Most are adventurers, but you also have blacksmiths, alchemists, merchants, etc. The main story revolves around Bell Cranel, a rookie adventurer and only member of the Hestia familia (the goddess of the hearth). Bell’s goal is to become a hero, and to become as strong as his crush, the sword princess Ais, who rescues him in Episode 01. As the anime goes on, we see Bell go through several trials and challenges, which ultimately culminate in him getting to Lv.2, gaining two skills, and forming a party.

I think that this show has two main strengths that set it apart from other fantasy anime with rpg rules. First, the show has strong protagonists. Bell and Hestia are a good pair and carry a lot of the weight for the show. Bell’s babyface design coupled with him story of a rising rookie adventurer works very well in the show’s world. He has the right mix of cute and earnest, which also help you understand why so many of the female characters like him. He has strong little brother vibes coming off him. Hestia, meanwhile, is kinda a great interpretation of the “goddess of the hearth.” I know that a lot of her design is fan service based, hence the famous boob ribbon, but she does come off as warm and nurturing. Part of it is her writing, as her lovey-doovey attitude towards Bell matches well with her general knowledge of the world. Part of it is also her attire, as her dress looks for sexy, yet strangely comfy? Kinda like a sweater dress. Second, the fact that Bell gets his ass-kicked a lot really helps. On paper, Bell has a lot of the stereotypical protagonist traits: he has a lot of potential, he gains experience fast, he has a god-tier weapon that only works for him, he gets a power boost if low on health, he gets trained by the best, and he forms an unofficial harem. But despite all this, Bell still struggles. The first thing we see him to is lose to a monster and get rescued. Which is something that keeps happening a lot in the show. This makes him actual victories all the more sweeter. So yeah, I like Bell, I like Hestia, and because of them, I like this show.

Cons: Outside of Bell and Hestia, a lot of the side characters are kinda meh. It’s not really their fault. With a show whose main premise is that the Western and Eastern Gods each have their own faction, you end up wit character bloat. I mean, Ais is cool, and I like the one sided nature of Bell’s crush on her. That felt realistic. Eina being a concerned older sister type to Bell was believable. The bar maids are alright, even if Fyr’s backstory was a little out of nowhere. Lilly’s story arc was predictable (the girls that doesn’t trust anyone learns to trust someone), but still enjoyable. Oh, and Mama was pretty awesome. And…that’s about all the characters I can remember. Bell make another friend, a blacksmith, but his story isn’t addressed this season. There’s this wolf guy that hangs around with Ais who was kinda a jerk. Some Japanese people left Bell and friends to die. And a bunch of other people that I’m sure did stuff. I mean, you could argue all these characters make the world feel more lived in, but I just makes the story fell more crowded. Aside from that, the show does start a little abruptly, with Bell and Hestia already living together. So it might take an episode or two to get your bearings on the lore. The season also feels short, with 12 episodes. You can really speed through this thing feeling like you only got a taste of story at large.

Watch it?: It’s a lot better than I thought if would be (4/5)

MVP: Hestia

She got him an OP weapon, works part-time to support his career, and has to deal with his numerous liaisons with women who he claims are “just friends.”

Best Episode: “The Blade of a God (Hestia Knife)” (The Little Rookie is born!)

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Why the Hell are You Here, Teacher!?

Type: Filthy. But genuinely arousing.

Synopsis: According to Article 4 of the Japanese Child Welfare Act of 1947, a “child” is legally defined as anyone under 18 years old. In addition, Article 34 prohibits causing anyone under the age of 18 to participating in obscene acts.  And according to basic human decency, a teacher should not pursue a romantic/sexual relationship with a student.

Pros: No.

Cons: Ok, to be “fair,” the animation and directing is pretty good. Porn-chic, but pretty good. The camera was often angled in an arousing fashion, and the situations were so absurd that they got me to smile. I never thought a flying key could be used to unhook a bra, yet here we are. But seriously, this is gross. This is an anime about 4 grown-ass women deciding to date their students. The anime gives about 4 episodes per couple, were the teachers wind up topless in erotic poses while the boys flail about. If this was actual porn, we would have seen a lot of people accidentally falling on each other’s genitals. Again, as an echhi/quasi-hentai show, it serves it purpose. The premise, however, is what turns this anime from quality garbage to irredeemable trash. At it’s core, this is about teachers dating their students. If the genders were reversed, no way would this have hit the air.

Let’s go through the destinies of each couple. First off, all the teachers are fired. No high school is going to be cool with this. Hell, if they lied and all said they started dating after the boys graduated, it would still be iffy. Kana and Ichiro would probably escape legal consequences because Ichiro’s mom would consent to the relationship (since she pushed for the couple in the first place). Since Ichiro is 18, Kana might also escape legal action from the state over her relationship with a student. Mayu and Rin would not be so lucky. Rin is a second year student, so probably 17, meaning is legally a child. That means jail time for Mayu. Ditto for Hikari and Takashi, who is a first year high school student, so maybe 15-16 years old. Worse, since Hikari has known Takashi all his life, she might face accusation of grooming this child for her own benefits. Chizuru and Tanaka might have a better chance, since Chizuru waited until Tanaka had graduated from high school before dating. I know that this isn’t what happens in the original manga, but the manga is wrong. The whole damn world is wrong!

Watch it: There is just, so much wholesome porn you could watch instead (1/5).

MVP: The camera

Game recognizes Game.

Best Episode: If your going to do this, at least find the uncensored version. Have some standards.

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Re:Zero- Starting Life in Another World

Type: BAD END the anime

Synopsis: That poor guy.

Pros: Re:Zero is an isekai where the protagonist, Subaru Natsuki, returns to certain checkpoints every time he dies. He has no other real abilities, and must use his knowledge from his previous experiences to prevent his next death and the death of those around him. The anime is structured around story arcs, which mostly play out as mysteries or social puzzles. There are roughly three main arcs: The Insignia Arc, the Curse Arc, and the Witches’s Cult Arc. What’s very impressive about this show and the writing as a hole is that the mechanic of the repeating day/events never becomes boring. Each “attempt” has Subaru tackle the situation in different ways, a lot of which are not successful. What I also loved was that the emotional toll of all this trial and error is always front and center, and ultimately comes to a boil in the latter half of the series. Personally, I would have cracked long before then. One of the reasons why Re:Zero sticks out so much for audiences is because it’s an isekai that actively kicks it’s protagonist in the face, and then steals his wallet. Over and over again. I almost want to call it the Dark Souls of isekai. In the world of the anime, Subaru is not special. At least, not at the start. He is not overpowered, he is not charming, and he is very much not owed anything. Subaru’s character arc is having to realize that he’s not entitled to anything, and has to earn people’s respect and trust. Now truthfully, he probably could have learned this without being decapitated so much, but some people need that extra push.

Animation wise, the show is very flashy. Each arc has a killer fight scene to cap off the story. This anime was produced by White Fox studios, which also produced the Steins;Gate anime. That may be a reason why I liked it so much. That’s not to say that the anime is perfect. For example, it is extremely gory. I would argue more than it needed to be. Since the show’s gimmick is having it’s main character die, the animators made extra sure the audience knew that Subaru died a painful, painful death. In addition, some characters are introduced that don’t come back. They probably due in the Novels and Light Novels, but not this anime. To my surprise, Emilia was one of the those characters. After the first three episodes, Emilia doesn’t really do much outside of having small talk with Subaru. I get why so many fans have viewed her as a lackluster main heroine. Which is kinda a shame because I actually liked her when she was introduced, since she had more of a practical personality. But the story doesn’t do much with her, so she just becomes the “nice” girl.  Subaru is devoted to her because of her kindness (and because she’s literally the first girl he meets in the show), but she doesn’t earn the same from viewers. Finally, like with a lot of light novel anime, there is no definitive ending. The last episode was also surprisingly anti-climactic. There’s a certain point in the the second half of the show where the story goes to 11 and stays there, only to suddenly lose steam in episode 25. It wasn’t bad, just kinda there. But overall, amazing show. Lives up to the hype.

Cons: “I love Emilia.” COME ON!

Watch it?: It’s so good you guys. Like, really good. (5/5)

MVP: Rem

The internet was RIGHT. For the first time, it was RIGHT.

Best Episode: Ep.13-18, the Sloth Arc. (But really ep.18. That speech. Damn).

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