Category Archives: Slice-of-Life

Nichijou- My Ordinary Life

Type: Just a show about high school girls doing high school stuff.

Synopsis: Yep, just a realistic down to earth show…that’s off the wall and swarming with magic robots.

Pros: At least we have the Speedo Man. On the surface, Nichijou seems like any other high school comedy with female protagonists. That was certainly my impression of it. In fact, it took me two to three tries to really get going. But once your start this roller coaster of an anime, you won’t want to get off! Nichijou may just be the most well made, or at least artistically diverse, comedy anime in the medium. The only one’s that I would come close to it’s comedic variety and directorial flexibility are Lucky Star and High School Rumble. What you see in Nichijou is a show that continues to evolve right up to it’s last episode. It becomes increasingly funnier, and the choice of action becomes increasingly more impressive the longer you watch. While some of it’s jokes may not always land, due to a difference in humor between East and West, the good content far outweighs the bland. It’s little wonder that Nichijou stands as one of the comedy greats in anime, alongside shows like Konosuba, Lucky Star, and Excel Saga.

Cons: Nichijou is great. Nichijou also takes a long time to become great. The reason it took me a while to get started on watching Nichijou is because it’s a little slow at the beginning. You are slowly introduced to the characters and their dynamic. In addition, the reason the show feels like it keeps evolving is because it feels like the directors and animators take a while to realize how far they can go with the animation. If you look up Nichijou clips, you should be able to find amazingly crafted animations that are used to infuse certain jokes with more impact. The ways the characters move or react to certain things is what makes Nichijou so impressive. It’s just takes a while for that to become obvious. For example, the show relies too much on speed lines early on without really doing with them. A good way to observe this change is to notice how expressive Yuko and Mio become over time. Other than that, the pacing of the show is not without flaws. The anime tends to repeat certain jokes, such as hikus and poems to end a scene. The segments at the Shinomone Labs aren’t that funny, and takes up too much time during the first half of the show. But because one of the main girls, Nano, is stuck there so are we.

Watch it?:  Give it 6 episodes to see if it’s for you, or just look up clips online (5/5)

MVP: Mio

I’d give it to Yuko, but Mio’s growing assertiveness is way more relatable

Best Episode: Ep. 25 “Nichijou Episode 25” (Honestly, all of ep.14-26 is strong, but I love the Mio scene in this episode).

Tagged , , , ,

Girls’ Last Tour

Type: Kinda sounds like a K-Pop group

Synopsis: What? I can listen to K-Pop. It’s 2020 people! If you want to know that I recommend, I’d say you can’t go wrong wit the classics: Black Pink, EXO, Girl’s Generation. BTS, or course, though maybe only stuff from their first album. The music videos are also something else. Totally more creative than our lazy western ones. There’s only so many times I can see a man talk-sing while walking on a sidewalk. Give me crazy set pieces!

Pros: Speaking of set-pieces, Girls’ Last Tour is an anime about two girls (Yuu and Chii) touring around the remains of a mega-city after some massive war. Each episode is basically a stand alone story, with some small elements carried over to the next episode. Most of the stories involve the girls looking for supplies, and discovering some new thing left over from the past. For example, in the first episode, the girls find a plane and kinda goof off with it. In another episode, the girls find a fish, and discover that fish are tasty to each. Throughout the show, we indirectly learn more and more about what happened to society, implying exactly how long it’s been since the end of civilization (the fact that Chii can’t read and both didn’t recognize what a fish was right away give off some strong hints). Sometimes, the girls will run into a singular survivor, through they too are one their own journeys. Due to the setting and quiet nature of the show, there is a melancholic tone through the series. This is thankfully balanced by Yuu and Chii’s comedic interactions and cartoonist design. Nothing bad actually happens to the characters, it’s not that kind of show. Yuu and Chii never abandon each other. There’s not bad guy trying to attack them. Whatever happens to them, Yuu and Chii come out unscathed at the end. It’s that rare post-apocalypse story that just revolves around exploration (which I wish more post-apocalypse stories would do). The show’s not funny haha, but it’s not a tragedy either.

Cons: The show is quiet. The show does a lot to establish the atmosphere and mood the girl’s new surroundings. That being said, it can get a little boring at times. It actually took me two months to finish it because I kept dropping off to watch something more lively. This is not for viewers that like action to happen ever few minutes. This is also not for viewers that like to multitask. You kinda need to play attention to this show. I would say that this show is like a cup of tea. To get the most out of it, you need to take it slow, enjoy the subtle flavor, and accepts it’s calming if bitter taste. (p.s. the show does find excuses to get the girls naked, because anime).

Watch it?: Yes, but only if your in the right mood (4/5)

MVP: Yuu and Chii

It’s either them of their Kettenkrad

Best Episode: Ep.02 Bath/Journal/Laundry (It gives you an inside look at their day to day routine).

Tagged , ,

Kemono Michi: Rise Up

Type: A wrestler in an Isekai anime? Stop! I can only get so erect!

Synopsis: Is what I would say, but honestly this anime was left me disappointingly flaccid. From the ads and word of mouth, I was expecting a story about a Brock Lesnar type suplexing his way across an isekai world. That’s all I wanted!! Instead, the anime is about a retired wrestler who opens a pet shop and uses wrestling moves to capture/grope wild monsters. I came for the sport of kings, but I left for the furry bait.

Pros: This show is a very basic anime. As such, it’s characters are one dimensional and so are their jokes. The protagonist, Genzo, is a animal lover, maybe in the biblical sense. His gimmick is getting angry when someone tries to kill monsters, or using his wrestling skills to erotically grapple animals into submission. He has no interest in saving the world, as this comes from the “[job type] gets sent into another world” and “Hero who wants to live a normal live in another world” generation of Isekai stories. His gal friday, Shigure, has my favorite gimmick, where she steals items from the people Genzo beats up and calls it “discovered treasure” (gatta love a greedy girl). Hanako is a half-dragon that likes to eat, and Camilla is her servant who is also a mess of a person. Some of the good running gags are: Genzo continually destroying the adventurer’s guild, Genzo hitting on a housewife/wolf-woman, and Camilla’s pathetic obsession with her master Hanako. That’s about it.

Cons: Holy crap is this a bland anime. Which is weird because it does have elements of a personality. Genzo has a Ant servant for no reason! But after you get past the surface level gimmicks, all you’re left with is a show with some flash, but not substance. Since Genzo doesn’t want to be a hero, the show becomes a slice of life story. Which would be fine, but everyone is so boring! Genzo’s bestiality jokes gets really old really quick. And outside of Shigure and the princess, no other characters really have any reason to hang out with Genzo. They’re just there because the author wanted more interesting characters to play with. It feels like the author thought that making Genzo immediately retire to open a pet show was a clever swerve that would subvert expectations, but quickly realized he limited the scope of his story. There are not stakes in this anime, and Genzo achieves his goal by episode 2. And since Genzo is established as the strongest characters in the show, his goal is never in danger of being taken away from him. The whole thing just feels unimportant, and the characters just aren’t interesting enough to carry everyday plots. That, I think, is this story’s biggest sin. It take a very unique premise manages to make it as milktoast as possible.

Watch it: I’m working myself into shoot here (by which I mean I’m getting angrier the most I think about this) (2/5)

MVP: Shigure

I like that she gradually got more and more disappointed with Genzo as the series went on.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Wrestler × Summoning” (He suplexes a Princess and molests a wolf-man)

Tagged , , , , ,

Back Street Girls

Type: Alright!

Synopsis: Whose your favorite? Personally, I like Aj. I know, me and bad boys. But I think that I could change him, ya know? Anyway, the anime Back Street Girls is about idols or something.

Pros: The gimmick behind Back Street Girls is that three yakuza members are forced to become women by their crazy boss, or Oyabun for you normies. Every subsequent story revolves around the comedic premise of tough yakuza men having to pretend to be teenage japanese idols. This anime is on the edgier side, so a lot of the jokes come from the protagonists having to deal with creepy fans, or bathroom jokes. Although the show is short (10 episodes), there are multiple segments within the shows that help flesh out the stories and characters.

Cons: Production wise, this show seems to have had a tight budgets. Most of the scenes are stills, with slight mouth movements. There is no real story, other than the protagonist having to deal with idol life. A short story arc develops towards the end, but gets resolved without the protagonists even doing anything. The show is also a lot meaner and cruder than your regular anime fare. It’s also not very nice to the idol industry, basically portraying them as a slave market that caters to gross and lonely men (I mean yeah, but still). Finally, the whole premise of “hehe, look at these men in women’s bodies!” is a trite. It’s a little transphobic to be honest.

Watch it?: Only if you want a mean joke (3/5)

MVP: Those surgeons in Thailand.

Apparently, they are at the top of their field.

Best Episode: The Gokudolls Support Group Arc (Around Ep.7-9)

Tagged , , ,

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Type: Love, lover never changes….

Synopsis: I mean, it doesn’t really, does it? Fundamentally, men and women have been doing the same routine since Adam and Eve played chicken with their first love confession. Remember that time when Eve arranged it so that Adam would “accidentally” see an ad for a new movie, then secretly reveal that she had an extra ticket? Or that time Adam tried to find clever ways to exchange phone numbers with Eve? No? Then what kind of Sunday School did you go to!?

Pros: Love is War was one of the hot comedy anime of 2019. The premise is that two very smart high schoolers are trying to get the other person to confess their love to them. Apparently, the first person to confess automatically becomes the other person’s submissive slave. And while that does sound like fun, it’s a no go for our proud protagonists. What follows is a series of high jinks where the titular Kaguya and love interest Shirogane try to trick the other into making the first move. Of course, this being a comedy, they each fail miserable due to a mixture of overthinking, inexperience, and just plain dumb luck. They are just kids after all. The best scenes and set-ups are very straight forward. Kaguya and Shirogane are typically in the student council office, someone or something introduced a mundane activity or topic, and then Kaguya and/or Shirogane turn it into a game of blind mental chess against one another. It’s like if Light and L were actually trying to make-out with each other (just like in my fan fiction). I would love to see these two fight about famous romantic questions: Were Ross and Rachel really on a break? Who should have moved that suitcase, Reymond or Deborah? Should we visit your parents, or should I go on my girl’s trip that I’ve been planning for 6 months, KEVIN!? To my surprise, a lot of scenes also involve Kaguya learning or reacting to something. The writers really got a lot of mileage from having this refined girl get flustered over things like nail polish, twitter, and swears. The shows does have other supporting characters, but none more important than Chika, the resident cheery girl, school body secretary, talented volley ball coach, and the Internet’s girlfriend for a few weeks. She adds a bit of relaxed energy to the intense Shirogane/Kaguya dynamic, and also plays as the comedic wildcard for most scenarios.

Cons: Like most comedies, especially those with segments, some of the jokes are hit or miss. The “How Cute” joke ran it’s course early. It depends on your tastes. While I personally liked the school council office scenes, the scenes outside the school weren’t that great. They added variety, but I didn’t think they were super funny. The show really is strongest when it sticks to one room at the school. Kinda like a better Student Council’s Discretion. I also don’t think the character of Yu is as strong as the other characters. His character of the socially anxious introvert wasn’t bad, but he does give off incel vibes with some of his dialogue. In a show where each of the characters have two sides to them, he stands out as one dimensional (though I suppose the story could reveal a hidden side to him later). Speaking of characters, it’s also pretty obvious that the author and writers prefer Kaguya’s side of the story, as we experience more about her perspective and backstory than Shirogane’s. I know, I know, semi-Tsundere acting cute, but I would have liked to have learned more about Shirogane so I can like him too.

Watch it?: But overall, it is a well made show, and one worth your time. (4/5)

MVP: The Chika dance

From the end of Ep. 03. Because of course.

Best Episode: Ep. 5″Kaguya Wants to Handle It/Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Show Off/Kaguya Wants to Be Covered” (A good showcase of everything, though I also Ep. 7 where Kaguya can’t stop laughing at a dirty word).

Tagged , , , ,

How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

Type: About 25 Lb.

Synopsis: I go for endurance, not strength. I flirted with 40LB for a while, but then messed my back up real bad after a prolonged combination of inconsistent workouts and bad form. Let that be a lesson, it’s important to do only what your body is able to do. If something is too heavy, then go lighter. Personal fitness is a journey, not a race. And remember, true strength comes from within!

Pros: How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? is a great show for people who want to get into exercise, or like me, trying to rework their workout routine. Every episode explores two different types of workout, from using gym equipment to isometrics to hiking. It’s a great show that lets you explore all the different ways there are to stay physically active. I would categorize this show as “Edutaiment.” It uses anime jokes and mild fan service to teach you about basic exercise. Who knew that the best way to get weebs to the gym is by making it 2D!? But seriously, I actually did use this show when I was trying to reestablish my daily workout routine. It helped me stay consistent while also giving me ideas for different exercises to try out. The show is fairly positive about exercise, and it’s approach really makes staying active look realistic (and even fun!).

Cons: I mean, you could argue that the main character’s desire to go to be gym because she thinks she’s fat is sexist. And it is. But let’s be real, 85% of most people’s desire to start exercising is due to vanity. Sure, sure, society has given men and women, especially women, unrealistic ideals for beauty that no normal person should have to strive for. Yet, I can’t help but be a little proud when I see a little bicep pop out when I bend my arms. The fact that I can lift my garbage bags without losing my breath is also nice. Aside from that, the fan service will probably be the most common barrier of interest. This is, after all, cute anime girls bending and squeezing until fatigue. So expect some tired yet sexy breathing. The show also likes to end it’s “Machio Muscle Lessons of the Day” skits with one of the girls posing in bed, beckoning you to join her in bed. Ya know, like you do. Finally, the show was not designed to be watched in one go. The way it explores the exercise world works better in increments rather than a marathon.

Watch it?: With clever editing, this would make an awesome exercise YouTube playlist. (4/5)

MVP: Mr. Machio

The personal trainer we all need.

Best Episode: “Sensei’s on a Diet, Too?” (I just like using dumbells. But all the episodes are great)

 

Tagged , , , ,

Isekai Quartet

Type: The most ambitious crossover since…

Synopsis:…ya know, Endgame and Marvel did not invent the crossover. These things happen in media all the time. Comics had them since the 40’s. Movies had the Wolfman hanging out with Frankenstein and Abbot/Constello since before we landed on the moon. Hell, all of Smash Brothers is built on crossovers. I understand people want to have fun, but let’s not give more credit to the multibillion dollar company that it’s owed, yeah?

Pros: So Isekai Quartet is a show where the cast of 4 Isekai series crossover. Hence the title. This one has the folks from Konosuba, Overlord, Rezero, and Tanya the Evil. They all get transported into another world, again, only this time the setting is a Japanese style high school. Unsurprisingly, the best parts are having different characters from different shows interact with one another. I personally liked Albetto and Rem’s relationship, along with Ainz and Tanya. Because of course the two most evil characters in the show would get along. The show’s pretty short, and each episode is only about 15 minutes. So it was a pretty good refresher on certain shows, and a pretty good introduction to others. I personally have never seen Rezero, but the cast seem fun to watch. And at the end of the day, it’s that what it’s all about.

Cons: Since the show doesn’t have all the character I want, it’s a piece of ##$%. Ha! Got ya. Don’t get me wrong, I wish the the people from Reincarnated as a Slime and Log Horizon where here. I’m sure everyone has their favorites. That’s the problem with crossovers: everyone has a stake in the game. The only real issue is that because the show has such a big cast, a lot of characters get shortchanged. So if you have a favorite supporting character, they may not get the same spotlight the would get in their own show.

Watch it?: Yes. It’s short, funny, and full of reference. (4/5)

MVP: Tanya

I’m surprised, but Tanya has some of the best interactions with characters.

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Tension! Introductions” (The Useless Goddess vs. the Lord of Nazaric!)

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Helpful Fox Senko-San

Type: “All anyone wants is a personal assistant that also holds them at night” -ancient proverb on Twitter.

Synopsis: A sweet story about talking care of your partner, or a creepy loli fantasy. In anime, a series can be both! That’s why the medium is magical! In this, an overworked salary man is graced by the gods with a fox spirit to pamper the daily stress out of him.

Pros: This show really does straddle the line between sweet and creepy. Most of it comes down to the fact that Senko, the fox spirit, is drawn like a little girl. But she’s really 800 year old, so it totally legal. I know the show addresses this, but that don’t make it any better. Where the show really excels, however, is in the scenes where Senko takes care of the protagonists, Nakano. Senko’s mission is to help Nakano relax, so she does things like make him dinner, message his shoulders, etc. But most importantly, she speaks softly and emphatically to him, and when Nakano relaxes, it strangely makes you relax too. This transference of feel speaks to these scenes quality. I would actually recommend imitating some of the things Senko does with  your partner (as an anime review online, I am a of course a qualified couples expert). Not necessarily the housecleaning stuff, as that’s a team effort, or the constant meal prep, as you really should be switching cooking nights, or just go on a dinner date. And I’d moderate exactly how much you let them touch your floofy tail, or else they’ll take advantage of the situation. Look, what I’m saying is-maybe one of these days, if the mood is right, take your partner head and gently put it on your lap or chest, maybe stroke their hair, and just hold them. Make them feel safe and loved. Plus, it’s easier than cooking tofu.

Cons: You know, there are some people that really don’t like being criticized about their love of loli characters. Some feel its a censorship issue, or culture insensitivity, or kink-shaming, or whatever. And while I respect all arguments, BROTHER, STOP PERVING ON LITTLE GIRLS. About 50% of this anime is a sweet and calming story about taking care of someone you love. The other 50% is a full grown man having an underage girl baby him. We all know what “floof you tail” means ya weirdos. And the orgasm ears weren’t subtle either. There’s also a bathing scene I wasn’t a fan of. The show does just enough to sexualize Senko and her equally underage friend Shiro to take me out of a lot of scenes.

Watch it?: It’s calming, but skip the loli-bait scenes (3/5)

MVP: Senko

I can’t talk to my cat without calling her a floof ball now.

Best Episode: “I’m Going to Pamper Him to His Heart’s Content!” (a great episode. I wish the entire series was only this).

Tagged , , ,

Dagashi Kashi (Season 2)

Type: An anime about nothing!

Synopsis: Nothing but the slow decline of an outdated business and melancholy over the loss of a potential lover.

Pros: Dagashi Kashi season 2 isn’t the off the wall comedy that the first season was. It’s actually a bit more dower. Early in the season, the show’s resident manic pixie dream girl, Hotaru, leaves without warning. This leaves the show to depict what happens with the manic pixie dream girl disappears. Turn out, it results in bouts of depression. That being said, the show fills Hotaru’s vacancy with a new character, Hajime. Hajime is an older woman (21, what a geezer!). Hajime gets to play the irresponsible older sister type to Kokonostu’s straight man. It was a fun new dynamic to contrast the first season’s more usual wacky cute girl vs. protagonist jokes we got last season. (p.s. I once again realized that the artists of this show are really good at inserting fan service without actually showing any skin).

Cons: This isn’t really a knock, but you do feel Hotaru’s absence. Like, when Hotaru isn’t in a scene, part of you asks “Where’s Hotaru?” I also don’t think that the show did enough with the owner of the new convenience store, Beni. His store is a serious threat to Kokonostu’s candy shop, but nothing ever really comes of it. The crew even go to the store every now and then! The biggest thing about this season, however, is that it’s less silly than the first season. With Hotaru gone, the show focuses on Kokonotsu’s motivations, which characters like Hajime help nurture. It’s fine, just not as funny.

Watch it?: Still worth a watch (4/5)

MVP: Hajime Owari

Sometimes you just need an older sister in your life.

Best Episode: Ep. 7 “Hajime Owari, Chocoball, and…” (Nee-san to the rescue!…I’m so sorry).

Tagged , , , ,

Hinamatsuri

Type: It’s not really a farce

Synopsis: It’s more of a slice-of-life comedy with silly bits hiding the real story. I’m of course talking about Anzu, a sweet girl who save from delinquency by a group of kind homeless men. When a new law forces them to move out of their camp, they leave Anzu to a restaurant couple be-sniff-because they know the streets are no place for a kindhearted girl like her. J-just, just go watch it ok?

Pros: This anime is can be divided into three distinct parts. One third deals with the the show’s namesake, Hina, and how she blackmails a Yakuza named Nitta into becoming her guardian. Hina is an incredibly powerful psychic, and also a mostly lazy kid whose selfish demands for food and entertainment fluster and frustrate her guardian to no end. The Hina/Nitta stories are usually a mix of silliness and sentiment that tackle what life must be like for a parent raising a teenager. Another third deal with Hina’s friend Hitomi, whose inability to say no accidentally leads her to fumble her way up the ladder to success. Hitomi’s stories are the more fascicle, so they are the funniest all around. The last third deal with Anzu, and this is where the largest amount of emotional story telling is concentrated. At first you think Anzu is going to become the angry rival to Hina’s emotionless power. But she really becomes more of a “good girl” character who cares deeply for all the people. And while we’ve see this character before, I can honestly say that if anyone made Anzu cry I would personally hunt them down, shove my first down their throat, and pull out their stomach so they could choke own their own vile. But that’s just me.

Cons: This is going to sound very contradictory, but the Anzu stuff does feel out of place in this show. The manga pulls this off a little better. It was a jarring to go from Hina being the bane of Nitta’s existence, to Anzu making the adults around her cry with joy at having such a great kid around. There’s also the matter of Hina’s other classmates. A few times, the show will focus on 3 of Hina’s school friends who I guess are mostly there to react to weird stuff. I kinda get why they exists, but it doesn’t mean I have to like them.

Watch it: A swell watch with a few surprising tear-jerking moments (4/5)

MVP: Anzu

Did someone say…SPIN-OFF!

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Nitta-san Has a Dandy Dad” (We should all be a lot more grateful for what we have)

Tagged , , ,