Category Archives: Slice-of-Life

Seitokai Yakuindomo (Second Season)

Type: OVA/Second Season/Dirty Joke Deliver Service

yay-teddy-bear-seitokai-yakuindomo-35839325-500-281

Synopsis: A student council at a private school makes dirty jokes at one another while trying to uphold strict public morals. Like all people in powers, they’re obviously big fat hypocrites.

Pros: The “second season” of Seitokai Yakiundomo, or the OVA series if you’d like, is one of a seemingly increasing list of sequel seasons that I have gotten to extraordinarily late. To be fair, I didn’t actually know it had a second season. When I saw the number of episodes for this season in my research in the past, I thought it was still in progress. I wasn’t aware of the OVA system at the time. But I did go and eventually read the manga. All in all, the show still holds up. The skits are still funny. I still like the franchise. It has remained a steady show.

Cons: Another word for steady could be stagnant. After having read the manga, I have become aware of the repetitive nature of Seitokai Yakiundomo. The punch line for every joke is a something sexual. You fell in a puddle? Ha! I looks like you ejaculated! The joke does wear thin. I don’t know if I would have felt like this if I had watched this season right after the first one, but people with higher standards than mine will probably get tired of it. The show does hint that some romance between the main characters, but they’re only hints. The show has a formula and it sticks to it, but it made me smile more than feel bored.

Watch it?: A lot more of the same. Take that as you will. (4/5)

MVP: Suzu

maxresdefault

I’ve actually grown fond of her height complex

Best Episode: Not an episode, but the “Dried Squid” side story was hilarious (it was the squid!)

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

Type: Typical Light Novel

4f4194f5e0fa44f6e5b241de4229cefd1350591322_fwide

Synopsis: An art prep school, which I’m sure is sure hard to get into and requires a lot of effort, has a special dorm designated for trouble making students…for some reason. And by “trouble making” I of course mean weirdos. Even by art student standards. One of them has cats. FREAK. That same cat dude, Sorata, has given up on his dreams because he doesn’t really feel good enough to try, but that all changes when a beautiful art genius moves in and becomes the subject of his awe and resentment because she’s a natural born art genius. She also clearly lives with Savant Syndrome, given her explicitly stated inability to take care of herself, but the show glosses this over and calls her “eccentric.” Because hey! Anime!

Pros: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a melodramatic slice of life story with comedic elements. The comedy comes from a group of eccentrics all living under one roof. You have the energetic one, the playboy, the computer snob, the lazy dorm teacher, the emotionless genius, and the straight man in Sorata and Nanami. One of the trade make gags of the show are the skits between Sorata and one of the other characters, usually involving quick quips between Sorata and one of his dorm mates over an embarrassing or frustrating situation. Like trying to teach the art genius Shina how to cook. Or trying to convince Nanami that it isn’t what it looks like. These are great, and I highly encourage you to look for these short scenes on online even if you don’t watch the show. The melodrama comes from Sorata and Nanami, the two characters how have a dream and must deal with the trials and tribulations that comes with following a dream. The show does a really great job at depicting the emotional struggles one faces with trying to achieve a dream or goal, especially in the arts. Particularly when faced with multiple failures and false starts even after working yourself to your physical, mental, and emotional limit. This is especially true with Sorata, who is introduced as someone who would rather not even try due to fear of failure. The character of Shina is particularly interesting in this respect, as she’s often the subject of resentment and jealousy due to her natural ability and easy successes. She is used to represent the darker and often unwarranted feelings one gets towards other people’s professional or personal success, even though your often not angry at a particular person, but at yourself and the situation. The rest of the show just involves love triangles and the power of friendship of whatever.

Cons: The show’s story beats are very predictable. After the first two episodes, you can pretty much tell how the rest of the episodes are going to go. For those wondering, it goes: silly, sad, angry/resentful, sad again, uplifting, and finally happy. If this doesn’t happen within one episode, it will happen over two or three episodes. But the show doesn’t really break this cycle. It makes a lot of episodes easy to skip or gloss over. And ironically, much like the other characters of the show, my feelings towards Shina are mixed. One the one hand, I liked her emotional growth (even if it was because of “love”), and she was a good comedic foil for Sorata. On the other hand, her inability to do even the most basic personal tasks does not really balance out her Mary Sue like abilities. I get that her not being able to take care of herself is suppose to make her endearing, but it really just made her kinda annoying to watch. Even I found it hard to sympathize with given her amazing art skills. I think that if the show had played her condition as more serious than comedic, it would have been easier to like her. I also found myself not really caring for Misaki and Jin’s love story. They were alright characters, but their plots don’t really impact the plot in any significant way. Maybe it works better in the books? And lastly, I felt that the whole “chasing your dreams is hard” would have worked better with a slightly older cast, like between 18-21. My biggest dream in high school was beating Kingdom Hearts 2 to get the secret ending, not preparing myself for career setbacks.

Watch it?: Good, and maybe even great to some people. (4/5)

MVP: Sorata

aho-takusakurasounopetnakanojo-05720p-hi10p4b88855emkv_snapshot_0553_20121106_235403_zpsc3a3ae21

One of the realist depictions of emotional in all of anime.

Best Episode: Ep.5-6 “The Serious Girl of Sakura Dormitory” and “The Blue After the Rain” (funny, sad, dramatically over the top, love triangle, a good showcase of the show in general)

Tagged , , , ,

Osomatsu-San

Type: Hustle-Hustle, Muscle-Muscle

%e3%82%a2%e3%82%a4%e3%82%ad%e3%83%a3%e3%83%83%e3%83%81-18

Synopsis: There are no bigger a@#holes than family. Especially when that family happens to be your brother. Or brother. Or brother. Or brother. Or brother. Or brother.

Pros: Osomatsu-San is a revamp of a very old gag comedy based on the misadventures of 6 identical brother, or sextoplets. The original 60’s manga and anime focused on the brother’s antics as elementary schoolers. The new 10’s version focuses on their antics as jobless 20-somethings. In typical Japanese 2010’s fashion, the brothers are all loser NEETs, and a lot of the episodes focuses on their failed attempts to get jobs, girls, any semblance of a respectable life, etc. They’re each horrible to each other, but in that special way that only brothers can be. The other episodes are mostly random parodies. In fact, the first episode was banned from re-airing because it overdid it with the parodies and crossed over to copyright infringement in Japan. I have to say, this is one of the most unique comedies I’ve come across in all my years of watching anime. Maybe because it ran 25 episodes and focused on adults, not high schoolers, but I can’t really think of another anime comedy like this one. The main characters are all greedy, selfish, and immature, but dammit, that’s what make me laugh at them!

Cons: The comedy can get a little mean at times. Like, Western comedy mean. There are many skits where the punchline is that someone gets killed. Or gets a pole up their butt. Or accepts their fate as dateless wonders. You’re suppose to laugh at the characters. Which is why the brothers always have to lose at the end. Because it’s suppose to be funny to mock them. Which it is, but this is different from most anime comedies, which asks to you laugh at the situation, not the characters themselves. It’s “oh, this guy walked into this girl getting undressed, what a silly turn of events!” not “oh, this guy walked into this girl getting undressed, how stupid of the girl to not lock the door!” And, from a purely American perspective, and I could be alone on this, but the characters of Iyami and Hatabo felt outdated and just didn’t click for me.

Watch it?: You know, it gets a bump just for being so damn unique (5/5)

MVP: Chibita

tumblr_o10655pfra1sx75fno1_500

I now understand why he briefly became the main character in the 80’s

Best Episode: ep.1 “Osomatsu-kun Returns” (banned or not, it’s a really good intro)

Tagged , ,

The Circumstances in My Home’s Bathtub

Type: or “Orechi no Furo Jiro”

tumblr_inline_na2uhwpUuX1qc0cf4

Synopsis: A young man invites a merman to live in his bathtub, and hilarity ensues.

Pros: This anime is very short. It’s one of those 3-minute episode deals. The appeal is having very cute boys be cute to one another in comedic fashion. Wakasa, the merman, is the source of comedy, being the child like blonde one in the show. His ignorance of the surface world will lead to things like using too much hot water, or learning not to eat too much expensive food, etc. He also has a myriad of equally cute male friends who are also various aquatic life forms that come over from time to time. Though, I also find it funny that Tatsumi, the human, is vaguely designed like a cat and brought a bunch of fish home. It has the save vibe as shows like Hetalia, only located entirely in a washroom.

Cons: There’s a little sister character that is in romatic love with her brother. Not a fan. The intro does not match the tone of the show at all, suffering from the same thing the Free intro did. Apart from that, its a great little anime.

Watch it?: It’s so short, why not? (4/5)

MVP: Wakasa

ss-2014-11-01-at-07-31-46

Ariel eat your heart out

Best Episode: Short anime rule (so all of them)

Tagged , , , , ,

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Type: Like Battlestar Galactica, if it was about boats and was more chill

O235D_2FrOs.market_maxres

Synopsis: One culture’s a military based futuristic space alliance, the other culture’s a community based sea faring people. Their the original ideological odd couple!

Pros: This show has really strong first two episodes. The anime opens with the large, if slightly generic, space battle, but quickly transitions to rustic sea based setting. The protagonist, Ledo, is a pilot of a mech who crash lands on a ocean planet. His mech is discovered by the scavengers of a large ship fleet community. When he wakes up, both he and the ship’s authorities are wary of each other. But, in perhaps one of the more mature moments I’ve seen in anime, the chose communication over violence. So the first two episodes are simply each side trying to get a bearing on each other. The commentary on community and social groups presented in this anime is fascinating. One one side you have Ledo, a member of a clearly technologically superior society. But his society is also highly militant, having been in a very long war, so his outlook is very singularly focused. If something does not benefit the community directly, it is useless. This applies to things like fun and games, to things like Families, as families aren’t efficient enough to produce soldiers. On the other side you have Gargantia, another community based society, but one that is more flexible. Instead of efficiency they focus on balance. Both sides have good and bad outcomes. Ledo’s community have little patience for emotion or the weak, but they have made extraordinary advances in technology, while Gargantia’s community clearly have more freedoms, but they also have crime and poverty. The majority of the show is basically Ledo having to integrate into Gargantia’s culture, right down to having to learn their language and trying to apply his specific cultural skills into Gargantia’s. So this show has a secondary immigration theme as well. It is in these aspects that Gargantia is the strongest in.

Cons: While the show has a strong opening, it has a very weak finish. The last 3 episodes turn into a generic action-drama, where the protagonist is met with a person from his past who forces him to reevaluate his beliefs. It falls short of the show’s quality story up to that point, and feels way off based given the show’s slice of life tone. It’s also superfluous, as a revelation in earlier in the plot already made Ledo question his beliefs. In fact, the entire last story arc felt more like it belonged in a second season rather than here. Maybe the writer’s wanted to tie everything up? Ep5 had a similar problem at the opposite spectrum, trying to be the “funny episode” with some fan service and stereotypical transvestite shows.  Hardy har. On a more subjective note, I had a problem with the show’s overall ideological argument. From my perspective, the show strongly argued for cultural assimilation. Everyone always tells Ledo to learn the language, follow their rules, get a job, and adhere to their customs. Which is fine, whatever, their house, their rules. But no one ever asked Ledo about the cultural knowledge he can contribute. The boy is literally a space man with a talking robot! But no one ever asks him what he knows about technology, battle formations, the local solar system. His machine has a unimaginable amount of information, but the people of Gargantia have it move boxes and catch fish. The commander of the fleet doesn’t even meet with him (which is an incredible security lapse if you ask me). The show is not unbiased in comparing Ledo’s society with Gargantia’s. Gargantia is great, and Ledo’s filthy space savages can teach them nothing. Ledo is forced to join the Melting Pot, but a Melting Pot only works if all aspects fuse together. If one aspect overpowers the other, you have a recipe for a bad soup and a bad society.

Watch it: Everything up to Ep.10 (4/5)

MVP: The Setting

8636929483_efbf1cf137_b

I love a Fleet Communities in Anime. Quarians, the 13 Tribes, etc.

Best Episodes: Ep1&2 “Castaway” and “The Planet of Origin”

Tagged , , , ,

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

Type: Let’s party like it’s 1999!

jojos-bizarre-adventure-diamond-is-unbreakable

Synopsis: Once again, a perfectly normal show is being called “bizarre” just because it revolved around people who have psychic battle that sometimes result in someone turning into a rock, or collecting pocket change, or fusing a cat and a flower together that can shoot air bubbles. The show even tries to make itself presentable by using the setting of a peaceful suburban town…where you can eat at a restaurant the cleans your pores and go to a beauty shop that rearranges your face. Just what is so “bizarre” about that!

Pros: Ok, real talk, Diamond is Unbreakable is one of my favorites Jojo arcs. I flip flop between Diamond is Unbreakable and Phantom Blood. And, in all honesty, Diamond is Unbreakable is much more consistent, being Part 4 in the Jojo series. By this point the author is a seasons pro, stands have been introduced, and the stories are becoming more varies. Part 1 was a gothic shoen series. Part 2 was a martial arts shoen series. Part 3 was an adventure shoen series. But Part 4 is more of a slice-of-life suspense series. Basically Anime meets Twin Peaks. The story is mainly about this seemingly unassuming town named Morioh, which is actually home to a gaggle of strange, arguably bizarre, residents that each have weird powers called “Stands.” These powers can as straight forwards as turning invisible, or as specific a stand that turns pieces of paper into pocket dimensions. Like Twin Peaks, a lot of the best episodes are stand alone incidents involving Morioh’s abnormal residents. The show introduces some of my all time favorite Jojo characters, from the hard working Koichi, the love lorn Yukako, the mangaka Rohan, the stingy Shigekiyo, and the surprisingly compelling grade schooler Hayato. Episodes can range from deadly serious cat and mouse duels, to figuring out if the lunch your eating is actually a stand. I would actually argue that Diamond is Unbreakable is the easiest entry point for those curious about the series, but aren’t into the whole “fight-fight” shoen scenes. You can watch a random episode and not feel lost. You can follow it week by week. You can even marathon it. It has all the benefits of a slice of life show with a pinch of strange thrown in. The characters are great, as the main cast (and even some auxiliary characters) get their own episodes to shine. The show has 3 main arcs: The hunt for the Arrow, some downtime, and the search for Kira. Kira really takes over the show about a third of the way in, and his weird but deadly demeanor has made him a fan favorite antagonist, rivaling even Dio! (p.s. I also loved the color palette the show used, nice choice!)

Cons: Even though Diamond is Unbreakable is my favorite arc, it’s not without it’s flaws. As said above, a lot of the episodes are stand alone stories, with some feeling less important that others. So some points of the series may feel like the drag on too long (cough Highway Star cough). It feels like the author meanders between stories, probably returning to the main plot when his editor told him to. But your mileage may vary depending on your tastes in stories. I should also point out that because this is Part 4 of the Jojo saga, less attention is paid to the main protagonist. While Josuke Higashikata, illegitimate son of Part 2’s Joseph Joestar, if a good character and probably the most genial Jojo in the series, he can go long stretches of time without even appearing. The story often switches focus, sometimes going to Koichi, or Rohan, or even Kira! This is actually a trend that started in Part 3, and has arguably made subsequent Jojo’s feel less impactful. It doesn’t really hurt this story, but it seems like we get to know Josuke less than Jonathan or Joseph Joestar. Now, on to more subjective remarks: what the hell happened to the animation quality this season? I noticed so many animation errors and model mistakes! Either this was rushed or less people were working on it, because brah, we got some messed up picture up in here. There was also a lot more still shots, though this could be a result of simply having more episodes. Also, no women. Well, that’s not fair. There’s like 5 female characters: Two are moms, one’s killed off, one’s a love interest for a supporting character, and one’s a ghost. And, sadly, the Jojo franchise has still not gotten over giving explanatory commentary during it’s fights. This ain’t wresting! When a cat plant throws an air bubble at a serial killer, we get what’s going on!b (P.s.s. It was recently made aware of a big plothole in the show: Why didn’t anyone ask Joseph to find Kira using his stand, despite being brought in to find Red Hot Chilli Peper for the same reason!).

Watch it?: If you ever wanted to watch Jojo, start with this one (5/5)

MVP: Koichi

koichi_with_echoes1

A personal favorite, I admit

Best Episode: Ep.21-22 “Yoshikage Kira Just Wants to Live Quietly, Part 1 & 2 (this season was very hard to choose from, with funny and exciting choices, but one is Kira at his most menacing)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto

Type: Anime The Fonze!

dbe4c2567426402ad1bcdc928ce5a7da1457788267_full

Synopsis: Imagine you went to school with the coolest person on Earth. No matter what happened, they always came out looking even better after the situation. Can’t think of anyone like that? Then I guess that only leaves one possible person…cool guy/gal.

Pros: The central joke in Sakamoto is that the character of Sakamoto is a mary sue. By that I mean that he’s good at everything. Even situations in where he is set up to fail end up making him look even better. He’s stylish and a bit over the top. That’s kinda the whole show. Everyone around Sakamoto is usually touched by his presence, even if they started off resenting him. In fact, the one real chink in Sakamoto’s armor is that he sometimes inspires the resentment of others, usually delinquents. But even they are eventually won over by his charm. (P.s. It was really hard not to write “Sakamoto-Kun” in this. Even I feel for the guy.)

Cons: The anime is basically a one note joke. The episodes are set up as seperate scenarios. But the resolution is always the same. Someone feels better, either because of Sakamoto or because of themselves, and then Sakamoto does something outlandishly stylish to inspire them to move forward. Hit classy music cue and fade to black. The whole anime is probably something you’ll like at the start for how wacky it is, but it’ll be less and less unique the more you watch it. I’d advise watching it in chunks, as a marathon would probably get repetitive.

Watch it?: It’s like a piece of hard candy. Sweet at first, it lessens as time goes on (4/5)

MVP: Sakamoto

sakamoto 0101

Haven’t you heard? His name is on the title

Best Episode: Ep7. “Is Sakamoto Really A Pervert?” (The other half is good too, but boys trying to get physical skin flicks is somewhat nolstalgic)

Tagged , , , ,

Mob Psycho 100

Type: From the maker of One-Punch Man!

746648cbc49e05494bc250f40a0c84911467850041_full

Synopsis: A super powerful male character tries to live a quiet life while effortlessly defeating any challenge that comes their way. Sound familiar? Well, it shouldn’t, because in this case, the only challenges that are overcome easily are psychic stuff. But the main character, Mob, is more concerned about real world stuff like girls, social interactions, physical fitness, etc, which he kinda sucks at. But he wants to be better. Because being able to disintegrate buildings with your mind is all well and good, but it’s pretty useless during diner parties

Pros: Mob Psycho 100 is the thinking man/woman’s One-Punch Man. Both series are about an ultra powerful protagonist. But while the latter is mostly a parody, the former is a slice of life show. The star, Mob, is a fairly typical anime protagonists. He’s soft spoken, shy, and indecisive. He has near god-like psychic powers, but he doesn’t want to be defined by them. Like any teenage boy, he would rather be good with girls and conversations than in psychic battles. What makes Mob a good character is his desire and effort at trying to make himself better in ways he can actually achieve. He’s not trying to master a technique or become King of the Psychics, he just wants to be able to run a mile and talk to his crush without sweating buckets. It’s still a long term process, but it’s doable. The show does a good job at contrasting Mob with other characters who try the opposite, and fail miserably, showing that being exceptional in one thing is great, but being well rounded is probably better. Outside of great characters (I didn’t even mention Mob’s tendency to get Con-Men as friends and mentors, or his super nice club mates at the Body Improvement Club), the show has a distinctive “rough” animation style. The style is inspired by ONE, the author of the manga, and his notable messy drawing skills. But in anime, this animation style really works at getting the intensity and almost primal nature of Mob’s psychic powers right.

Cons: The show’s biggest fault it that it has a “read the manga” ending. That always suck. I mean, I was already going to read the manga because this show is amazing, but still. Later on in the show, the “Claw” organization is introduced. At first, I thought this was going to be a generic “evil” organization with forgettable villains that Mob has to beat. Which it kinda is. But it does contribute to the show’s massage of being narrowly exceptional vs. well-rounded. I would also consider the other “psychic” children introduced later to be dead weight, at least right now. And, yeaaaaaah, that’s about it. This is actually a pretty great show with lots of layered messages and characters.

Watch it?: 100% (5/5)

MVP: Shigeo Kageyama (aka Mob)

mob-psycho-100-blog

1,2,3,4….

Best Episode: ep5 “Ochimusha ~Psychic Powers and Me~” (Tears!)

Tagged , , , , ,

KonoSuba

Type: “Every moment I live, is agony” -Kazuma Sato

a17123-2490740399-1452099379

Synopsis: One day, a kid dies in an extremely hilarious way, as all child deaths tend to go. His spirit is given the chance to reincarnate in a fantasy world, but it turns out any world he lives in will suck. His closest friend is a goddess, who does nothing but build up huge debts and complain. His most powerful ally is a magician who only knows 1 spell that she can only use once. And this most loyal comrade is a beautiful knight…who has a masochism fetish. Only in 2016 could someone be sent to a magical world, be given a harem of beautiful women, and still have to live in a staple full of horse manure.

Pros: KonoSuba was hailed as the best comedy anime of 2016.  And it is. The core group and the show are funny. Go watch it.

Cons: First off, the show is really hard to talk about because it is chalk full of references, running gags, and subtle jokes. This show takes all the potential melodrama or a game/fantasy/light novel series and laughs in the face of it. The characters are selfish, cowardly, pervy, petty, and we love them for it! If I really tried, I could dissect the deep level of parody this show exhibits…Lucky for me I’m doing this for free and thus have no real quality requirement for these reviews. Take it or leave it suckers! (Please don’t leave it, this is all I have!!!!). So instead of detailing the good, let’s focus on the bad. The show is a slice-of-life comedy, with no real end. The show even admits it, calling the season’s 10 episodes a “tutorial.” Except for the first episode and meeting Darkness and Megumin, it’s literally just a bunch of stuff that happened. Some characters show up. Some characters are rushed through. I think the show was working within some limited time and budget constraints. The show would be perfect if it didn’t feel like you were only scratching the surface at a much larger story (though I am strongly tempted to read the light novels, a first for me). I also found Darkness and Megumin a bit one-dimensional in terms of comedy. More so Megumin, as her main joke was that she used up all her magic in a powerful spell, but she can only use it once a day. Noticeably, the show used her spell incantations to eat up some air time. Darkness, on the other hand, is technically a little more complex. She’s a noble knight who not so secretly fantasizes of being ravished and humiliated, or at least beat up by monsters. But she’s also used a fan service, being the stereotypical blonde knight with big boobs. The fan service is pretty good. A little boob centric to be original, though I do love the fact that no one ever mentions that Aqua is going commando. The show’s setting doesn’t change either, being set in city for beginner characters. Though, I suppose this is not different than a show being set in Tokyo or something.

Watch it: Kudos to Aqua’s voice actress, Sora Amamiya, for delivering possibly the best whining I have ever heard in an anime (4/5)

MVP: Aqua

6xz7yg6

I never thought I’d say this, but this woman’s tears brought me so much joy

Best Episode: Hell, just watch all of it. (They are all gold).

Tagged , , , , ,

Kill Me Baby

Type: Baby, Please Kill Me

review-kill-me-baby

Synopsis: A comic strip about two girls gets turned into a comedy anime. One of the girls is an assassin. The other is a high school student. Schemeel, schlemazel, Hasenfeff Incorporated.

Pros: In the comedy section of anime, their is a subgenre of shows based on 4-panel comic manga strips. Kinda like newspaper strips, but, you know, with an extra panel. A lot of great shows like, Lucky Star and Hetalia, were originally 4 panel manga, or “Yonkoma.”  Yonkoma shows usually follow similar presentation styles. Short scenes were the characters do a little skit. That’s basically what the show is. Yasuna and Sonya play the comedy duo. Yasuna is the goofy one, and Sonya is the stern one. There’s also a third girl named Agiri whose a “ninja” that offers her services at incredibly low prices! Act now!

Cons: Unlike its counterparts, Kill Me Baby isn’t all too unique. Well, that’s not the best term. It just doesn’t pop as much as Lucky Star or Hetalia, or etc. Yasuna and Sonya have to carry the show almost by themselves, while those other shows have much more characters to play with. This leaves a lot of the episodes feeling a bit stagnant. Kinda like reading a newspaper comic strip. On a less important note, the theme song for the show has been listed as one of the most annoying anime theme songs of all time (but I really liked it).

Watch it?: Watch it in chunks. Don’t marathon it. (3/5)

MPV: Yasuna

kmb_10

Hola!

Best Episode: Can’t really pick (they all feel that same)

 

Tagged , , , , ,