Category Archives: Action

Castlevania (2017)

Type: Is this really an anime?

Synopsis: I mean really? It’s written by an American and partly produced by American animation studios. It’s also paced and shot like a typical western fantasy. But I guess that since it kinda looks like an anime, we’ll count it. Worked for Avatar.

Pros: The Castlevania “anime” is based on the Castlevania video game. Mostly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. I’ve never played it since Castlevania starts at Symphony of the Night (YEAH, I SAID IT), but the stories pretty good. Dracula gets mad when the church kills his wife, so he unleashed literal hell on humanity. Trevor Belmont, a disillusioned monster hunter, decides to help after a cute girl and even cuter boy talk him into it. The anime touches upon the troupe of hypocritical faith. The church in this show, despite proclaiming the virtues of God, are corrupt and power hungry. Trevor and his crew, meanwhile, are heretics who try to help other people. Not that they don’t have their own ulterior  motives, but they don’t try to hid them behind a mask of benevolence as much as the church does. Being only 4 episodes, the show comes off as more of a cut up movie. Something you would see on Amazon as direct to video. Still, it’s a short fun introduction to the Castlevania mythos.

Cons: For an anime where Dracula unleashes his grief on a country, the scale of the film feels really small. The story is mostly located entirely in a enclosed city. And even then, a lot of the story happens in a specific hut or church. For a show based on a game that revolutionized exploration, there isn’t much movement here. And the ending is a cliffhanger. This show anime is more of a prequel to the original game. There is some fan service, like Alucard and Trevor’s weapons. It also kinda bothers me that Dracula and the priest that killed his wife never had a face to face. But I guess he blamed humanity more than the church. But unless your into the game, or medieval supernatural stories, its may come off as generic or even slow.

Watch it?: It’s only 4 episodes, so give it the 4 episode test. (4/5)

MVP: Dracula

He’s really, really, really angry.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Witchbottle” (Dracula could have just killed the priest. But no, he had to be a drama queen about it).

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Overlord III

Type: “The Isekai where the protagonist is playing as a renegade” –Digibro

Synopsis: I wish I could come up with original material, but it’s 2019.

Pros: But really folks, this quote manages to perfectly summarize why Overlord is different from other Isekai anime. It’s an anime where the main character is playing as the bad guy. Is Ainz’s a bad buy himself? Kinda. Neutral Evil to be honest. This season does an excellent job at demonstrating exactly what kind of campaign Ainz is playing. For example, we return to Carne Village, the first village Ainz visited and defended when he entered the New Word. We get to see how these villagers view Ainz as a benevolent master. On the other hand, we also get a story where Ainz brutally dispatches a group of adventurers after we get a whole episode getting to know. Not to mention his political manipulation of an entire empire to further his own ends. It was in this season that I finally realized that Ainz still sees his current reality as a game, which explains his coldness towards some characters, but warmth towards others. That’s why he’s Neutral Evil. He will destroy anyone to further his own ends (just like a player will kill a character to advance the story), but he still holds some respect and admiration for others.

Cons: If I was going to say anything about this season, its that it goes by very quickly. But I’m not sure that’s really a negative. Season 3 fixes Season 2’s problem by having a coherent narrative all the way through. It’s doesn’t break up the story flow, and each mini-arc goes into the other very well. This season is maybe a little light on action, but I really liked the stuff in Carne Village and the scenes in the Empire. The one real downside, and I do mean downside, is that this season cannot work for you unless you’ve watched Season 1 and 2. It simply has too many characters and storylines that you need to be familiar with to fully enjoy it.

Watch it: A great end to Act 1 of Overlord. (4/5)

MVP: Enri

Hail General Enri!

Best Episode: Ep. 6-8 The Worker Arc (I enjoyed every arc, but this one reminds you what characters we’re really dealing with)

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Overlord II

Type: Lizard men and Bandit killing

Synopsis: We have two main campaigns here. First is the Lizard Men campaign, where our noble heroes have to defeat a united lizard army. Can our heroes’ vast armies and infinite strength stand up to a bunch of reptiles with pointy sticks? You’ll just have to watch to find out! Second is the 8 Fingers campaign, a side-quest for a butler, a damsel in distress, a couple of bumbling swordsman, and one shade throwing maid. Can they ever get along? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

Pros: Overlord season 2 is a protagonist-less story arc. Think the Shikamaru arc in Naruto, or the Doctor-lite episodes in Doctor Who. This means that our mmorpg nerd/underad lord main character, Ainz Ooal Gown, doesn’t really show up this season. He’s more of a supporting character in these stories. The first half of the season involved a group of Lizard Men who have to deal with Ainz’s forces invading their lands. I liked this arc because it was very reminiscent of older fantasy stories involving alliances between warrior tribes, magic swords, and outcasts heroes. The second arc revolved around Sebas, Ainz’s head butler, as he makes gets caught up in fighting an underground crime syndicate after saving a slave from death. This story was way more of a modern fantasy story: you have a young knight, a weary swoardsman, a sly princess, political games, and a gentleman hero who I may or may not have developed a crush on. Overall, a solid season.

Cons: I forgot to mention, but whoever did the English dialogue deserves a raise, because I loved the proper manner that all the character’s spoke in. It really helped convey a lot of their status and upbringing, as well as they’re regard to certain other characters. That being said, the action, while there, isn’t really something to write home about. It’s pretty generic fantasy fighting. A few swords slashes, a magic spell here and there, but nothing amazing. I can also imagine that some people won’t be syked that Ainz takes a back seat this season. I think it works really well, but people do watch this show to see the Overlord, not a bunch of lizards of their butler. In addition, the story doesn’t to a great job transitioning between story arcs. One episodes ends one arc, another begins the next. It’s a little jarring. However, this show does an incredible job of juggling new characters and giving them each a personality you can care about.

Watch it?: It’s would be an afront to the great Ainz Ooal Gown not to! (4/5)

MVP: Sebas

Daddy. (D-Did I do it right?)

Best Episode: Ep. 5 “The Freezing God” & Ep. 8 “A Boy’s Feeling” (one has the best joke’s I’ve seen in a while, and the other makes me want a spin-off)

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Overlord

Type: A horrible nightmare for some, an opportunity for others.

Synopsis: A complete nerd that spent 12 YEARS on an online MMORPG has to sadly say good-bye to his friends as the servers are being shut down. As he closes his eyes to feel the sweet relief of digital death, he discovers the he is now stuck in the game. The game where’s he’s an over-leveled sorcerer, and commands other over-leveled characters, some of whom are hot babes that want to literally jump his bones (he’s a skeleton). Man, if I wasn’t such a huge nerd in other areas, I’d give MMORPG’s a try. According to anime, there’s no downside!

Pros: So this is an Isekai series…sit down DAMMIT! Or I’ll never give you the launch codes! Anyway, this one’s gimmick is that the character is stuck in a non-human body and is in charge of a crew of boss tier NPCs. Since the main character, Momonga, is the only player character still in the original game, the story takes him to another country. Kinda like an expansion pack map (or DLC for you kids out there). The two main plots are Momonga slowly gaining influence in the new country, while also trying to discover if any of his friends are also in the game. What I liked about this Isekai show is that Momonga is stuck in his player avatar, which is a huge skeleton, and how he basically starts to become his character, like become more indifferent towards other humans, and how something or someone is preventing him from losing his temper. And since he’s a character that’s been leveled up over 12 years, it makes sense that he’s so overpowered. Plus, Momonga’s tendency to reminisce about his past friends gives his characters an extra layer of sympathy.

Cons: Momonga’s general’s aren’t anything to write home about. They’re basically a mix of different troupes that, in fairness, seem like a group made by a bunch of MMO junkies. Even Albedo, the poster girl, isn’t that deep. Just your basic devoted demon. The best part of the anime are the first 1-4, which serve as an introduction to the series and help flesh out Momonga’s character. Episode 5-13 sadly move away from Momonga’s palace and deal with a local adventurer’s guild and church baddies. It ends with a battle against one of his generals (who’ve been brainwashed). Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Literally. And obviously, any fight involving Momonga has no stakes because you know that he’ll win, but sometimes having a show like isn’t a bad thing.

Watch it?: Depends on your tastes. (3/5)

MVP: Momonga

All hail the overlord!

Best Episode: Ep. 4 “Ruler of Death” (battle!)

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Armitage III

Type: Is this a rip-off?

Synopsis: Because this OVA came out in February 1995, while the Ghost in the Shell movie came out in November 1995. BUT, the Ghost in the Shell manga was published in 1989. So I don’t know if Armitage is a omage to the GTS manga, a product of the cyber punk trend in the mid-90’s, or a desperate cash grab at a more popular movie coming out 8 months in the future. Either way, it’s not that memorable.

Pros: Armitage III is a cyber punk story where an android questions what it means to be alive. Super original, I know. The basic story starts with a murder of “The last country singer in the Universe,” who turns out to be a robot. This starts Armitage, a cop and android, down a path of intrigue and philosophical questions of technology and society. This is all pretty by the numbers by now, but what I actually really liked was the setting of this OVA. This story takes place in Mars, where a “Third series” of robots who could give birth were secretly introduced to help with the low birth rate in order to increase the population and make Mars more autonomous from Earth. But then Earth pressured Mars to get rid of the robot women for moralistic and political reasons. Whether these robots who look, act, feel, and can reproduce just like humans deserve this type of treatment is what the anime ask you to decide. That type of political sci-fi is right up my alley.

Cons: I mean, in a world where Ghost in the Shell exists, is this OVA even worth paying attention to? Apparently not, given that I found this anime on Funimation, while Ghost in the Shell got a live action American adaptation starring Scarlet Johansson. So I guess the real winner is Armitage III. The story itself was fascinating, and I loved, loved, LOVED the old school cyber punk animation. But the characters really bring the story down. Armitage’s too cutesy, and Ross is too boring. And the 90’s English dub is…the 90’s English dub. Still, as an artifact of 90’s anime, it’s an interesting watch.

Watch it?: I still haven’t watched Ghost in the Shell! (3/5)

MVP: The backstory

I really should watch Ghost in the Shell

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Bit of Love”  (I’ve just been delaying it so long, it’s starting to get a little awkward).

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Seven Mortal Sins

Type: Yeah, I know.

Synopsis: What can I say, a man has needs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pros: Let’s get this out of the way. There’s nudity in every episode. There’s boob foundling in every episode. There’s boob licking every other episode. And there’s bdsm like scenes in every episode. All the characters have giant breasts. There’s one loli character, but she’s only the focus in episode ep.7, and again in episode 10. If you want to watch this uncensored, try a fan site, because most legal sites will have the censored version. Ok, now that the pervs got what they wanted, is this show actually any good? No. No it is not. Thank you.

Cons: Basic story-Lucifer is cast out from Heaven and she tries to take over Hell, but needs to go through Seven Demon Lords that represent the Seven Deadly Mortal Sins. Each Demon Lord gets one spotlight episodes that follows the same formula. Lucifer confronts the Demon Lord, she gets caught in their trap, gets sexually humiliated for a while, and then convinces them to join her side. Lucifer is also joined by the Demon Lord of Envy, whose really, really annoying, and a human who Lucifer keeps as a slave because she can locate the Demon Lords. This is made from the same company that created Queen’s Blade. It’s better than Queens Blade in terms of story, as it’s more focused and has an actual ending. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still total garbage, but if you want to watch it then go ahead. You do you.

Watch it?: Did I mention it’s total garbage? Because that’s important. (2/5)

MVP: Wrath

I mean, just the worst kind of anime.

Best Episode: Ep.1 “The Proud Fallen Angel” (Total boob show. Everybody gets groped, usually by each other. The characters are all one dimensional. It’s just soft core porn with an average story. Filthy, but genuinely arousing.)

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Nanbaka (Season 1 and 2)

Type: Don’t let the great promotional art fool you! It’s really kinda bland.

Synopsis: For real. I actually started watching this for about 6 episodes, them stopped for about month to watch other, better anime. That’s how much this show failed to keep my attention. I even caught up on regular shows I haven’t seen in years before picking this up again! (I’m talkin’ Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 3 and 4, Bob’s Burgers season 7, Victoria season 1, and Steven Universe season 5)

Pros: On paper, this anime is a comedy with an all male cast. Something in line with shows like Hetalia. It’s selling point is that you get to watch all these cute boys do silly things while deciding who’s the best husbando. It also has great advertisement art work. And in all honesty, the show excels when it focuses on the slice-of-life aspect of living in an anime prison. The comedy comes from the fact that the prisoners treat Nanba Prison like a dorm stay rather than a punishment. Instead of having to deal with the real world, they get to relax and hang out with their buddies. Sadly, this goes away rather quickly.

Cons: This show has a tone problem, and you can really see the manga aspects of this show early on. The show starts as a comedy show, but turns into an action drama at about episode 4. The thing is, the show know this. It acknowledges that this supposedly silly show has some dark elements to it. After all, all the prisoners are in prison for a reason. But it’s adherence to drama and action really takes the show down from a quirky comedy to just another generic anime. The only real dramatic stuff I like is the brief flashbacks into the character’s past. I feel that if the story really wanted to inject drama into this “comedy,” then the backstories were enough. It would make the audience sympathize with them and understand why they enjoy prison life so much. The first season mostly focuses on Jyugo, while also introducing all 1 billion extra characters. Focusing on Building 13, with 7 characters was enough, I didn’t need the rest of the prison right this minute. Jyugo’s past trauma was all well and good, but making him some sort of scissor man was the moment that this anime officially jumped the shark. I didn’t even now that anime could do that. It felt like the author got a dip in manga 4 weeks in and panicked. The second season is more focused, revolving around the revolt in Building 5, which also has a neat Chinese theme going. I kinda like the idea of alternating between different Prison blocks for story arcs, and this season came the closest to fulfilling that potential. That being said, it also ends in a cliffhanger, so f#$ it.

Watch it?: Maybe if your doing time (3/5)

MVP: Hajime

Maybe we’re all the real prisoners!?

Best Episode: Ep.2 “The Inmates Are Stupid! The Guards Are Kind of Stupid, Too!” (this is suppose to be a comedy anime!)

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Space Patrol Luluco

Type: To infinity, and beyond!

Synopsis: Wait, wrong space cops. This is actually a story about a normal girl who learns a little lesson about what normal actually means….by having her father be frozen and being forced to work for an understaffed and under trained police force while also sorting out her complex feelings towards her criminal mother and budding sexuality. Normal girl stuff.

Pros: The show is produced by Trigger, everyone’s favorite pseudo-indie anime company. Like, they don’t make millions of dollars, but they can still afford to release season long anime every few years. Anyway, Luluco was their latest anime in 2016. The animation style was a mix between mostly Panty and Stocking and a little Kill La Kill during the action. I think the Kill La Kill song even plays at some point. The show is full of references to other Trigger/Gainax shows, with full blown, and surprising, cameos at a few points. I haven’t talked about the story because Luluco is your typical Trigger side-project farce. Most of Luluco’s adventures are silly stories with a punch-line ending, with the climax being about a girl’s first love. At 10 minutes per episode, it should take you under two hours to finish the whole series.

Cons: I liked the show. Fun plot about space hijinks. It does drags a little in the middle when the Space Pirate shows up, but I’ll forgive it for plot reasons. But I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very enthusiastic while watching it. Maybe I’ve watched too many Trigger/Gainax shows, but the magic just wasn’t there for me. Which is ironic, considering Little Witch Academia cameos. Speaking of, this really felt like a side project. Something for the team to do while finishing Little Witch Academia, Trigger’s actual next anime release. Luluco felt like Trigger’s Greatest Hits: The Anime to me. The show literally ends by fighting an galactic entity who can’t understand emotions! I don’t know, maybe I’m just a jaded old man who can’t remember what it’s like to be a 13 year old girl in love for the first time. I guess time makes fools of us all…

Watch it?: I mean, JUSTICE, right? (4/5)

MVP: Luluco

She got a space bike at the end.

Best Episode: Ep.11 “I Never Knew” (Legends never die!)

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Stigma of the Wind

Type: One story arc (maybe two)

Synopsis: Imagine a show that starts off with a black sheep from an elitist and prideful Japanese family coming home after being exiled for being a “disappointment.” The family happens to be in the middle of a crisis, and naturally targets the black sheep as the culprit, half because he’d likely hold a grudge and half because they’re bullies. But the black sheep isn’t going to take any more of their sh#t, and kicks their asses with his new wind powers.  Because screw Hierarchical social systems! DOWN WITH ELITISM!!–Then it turns out it’s not his fault…and everyone starts hanging out with each other, and ah, goes to the amusement park together. Huh, kinda petered out after the start there.

Pros: This show is based on a light novle. A one story light novel if I’m perfectly honest. And that’s the story of the return of Kazuma, the banished member of the Kannagi family of Fire wielders. Due to his inability to control fire, Kazuma was deemed an embarrassment and kicked out of the family. But a few years later, he comes back as a very powerful wind user. His return happens to be around the time that members of the Kannagi family are being killed by wind magic. The Kannagi’s assume it’s Kazuma, judge him guilty without a trial, and are soundly defeated by him. Worse yet, a few try to get him to turn himself in out of family loyalty, despite being exiled from the family. Jerks! This whole story arc, and the subsequent one involving someone trying to get revenge on Kazuma for something he didn’t do, are really compelling. It introduced a lot of the characters really well, it sets up the conflict as both a fight between family and between tradition, and it explores the idea of how resentment grows from inequality. Episodes 1-7 are watchable. Too bad I can’t say the same for the rest…

Cons: This show his based on a light novel that clearly had 2 thought out story lines, and nothing else. This means that either the author ran out of ideas very quickly, or that the anime writers went off script. Either way, after ep7 the show goes from an exploration of complex family interactions to a light hearted love comedy. Let’s just forget that our entire family was slaughtered and go to the amusement park! I’m sure that will convince the man we gave serious inferiority issues to marry his 18 year old cousin! I mean, now that he’s so strong, we can invite him back to the family no problem! Everything becomes very troupe havey after episode 7. Ayano goes from the headstrong heir of the Kannagi household to a love sick puppy. Kazuma goes from an anti-hero to kinda a brooding trickster? And Ren, well Ren actually become more tolerable. I though for sure he was going to be like a shota-type man child, but he was pretty normal. In any case, the show stagnates after it’s opening, and not amount of useless and unnecessary backstory about a dead chick is going to fix it.

Watch it: “Promise you’ll always protect me,” who says that!? (3/5)

MVP: Kazuma

Prime Kazuma. Not Tsui Ling Kazuma.

Best Episode: Ep1-4 Return of Kazuma Arc (interesting beginning)

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My Hero Academia (Season 3)

Type: UNITED STATES SMASH

Synopsis: It starts with U.A. High going on a school trip to the woods that ends with several children being injured and one kidnapping. It continues with several U.A. students attempting to interfere with a complicated and sensitive rescue operation. It finally ends with U.A. giving an exam that give minors licenses to get into fights with maniacs. Hogwarts don’t look so bad now, does it?

Pros: My Hero Academia season 3 kinda fixes every problem I had with season 2. Real talk, given all the hype around season 2, I was a little underwhelmed with the second season. I wasn’t really a big fan of Stain, and the tournament arc was just a tournament arc to me. But this season, man, this season was all that, and a bag of chips. This season had a lot of the hallmarks of the superhero genre that I love. Finally getting out of the school setting, this season explored the world more, and gave more context of what it means to be a hero in this world. We finally get to see Deku actually save a person from a super villain using his superpowers. We see the “death” of an important hero at then hands of a truly evil being. We see how the world reacts to this. However, the most important things this season does is explore the concept of how heroes inspire heroism in others. Over and over again, we see how the heroic actions of certain characters influence other characters to act the same. This, I think, is the true purpose of a hero. To inspire others to be heroes. To show others that they can be a better version of themselves. To show us that even in the darkest, most dire hour, there’s still someone who can save you with a smile on their face, even if that someone has to be yourself.

Cons: The season has a weird non-ending. Like, it doesn’t really have a cliffhanger per say, but a “until next season” sort of ending. Not a fan of that. I like bookends. The show also ends of another school related battle royal. Not a fan of that either, but it does set up a killer final battle for the season. This season also got me to catch up on that manga, which I had been meaning to do for a while now. So it’s actually a pretty good season overall.

Watch it: Honestly, I think it’s the best season yet (4/5)

MVP: The animation directors

Dude, the fights were sick this season!

Best Episode: Ep. 10 “One For All” (I mean, how could I not!)

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