How Not To Summon a Demon Lord

Type: Helpful PSA or Lewd Cartoon?

Synopsis: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Pros:  How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is about a shut-in computer nerd that gets sucked into a facsimile of his favorite video game. He was accidentally “summoned” by two cute anime girls that double as his personal slaves and grow to love him both emotionally and sexually. The narrative is all too familiar and does nothing to dispel the stigma of Isekai anime as male power fantasy. In our story, the protagonist is the strongest character in the game, he is basically invincible, and everything he says is re-translated into something intimidating/heroic. But the biggest issue is the anime’s portrayal of women.

The story both infatilizes and sexualizes each female character almost to the point of absurdity. Rem, who by all accounts should be the second most powerful character as she houses a demon lord within her, is literally an svelte cat girl who is obviously meant to invoke someone much younger. Not only does she look young, but she has no way to access her powers, and must rely on the protagonist to remove her power through tactile sexual penetration. Putting aside fiction’s general problem with women with power, Rem has no agency in this story. Her biggest decision was summoning the protagonist. The story also revels in scenes where Rem is in pain, which reveals a lot about the author’s sadomasochistic tastes. Then there’s Shera. Shera is the story’s main source of fan service. Where Rem is underdeveloped, Shera is overdeveloped. She is an adolescents, or immature man’s, ideal woman. Bubbly, large breasted, scantly clad, and abundantly amorous. Shera is the story’s biggest missed opportunity. Her entire story arc centered on her decision to break off the the shackles of her culture’s expectations of her to forge her own path. Although she struggles, oftentimes comically, her desire to become an adventurer instead of becoming a queen to bear hears was admirable. Or, at least it would be, if her actions weren’t negated by the story. Because after Shera shares her convictions with the cast and audience, she is immediately brainwashed and kidnapped by her finance, who is also her brother, who tries to break her by having a monster sexually assault her. She only escapes because the protagonist rescues her, and the story even has the gall to make Shera cry for her brother/rapist.

Is How Not to Summon a Demon Lord a sexist show? Yes. This story demonstrates a very problematic view of male and female roles and dynamics. It shows women as weak, childish, sexy, and often times all three. The ultimate example is Klem. THE most powerful being in the story. The ruler of all demons. Who is really a prepubescent girl who loves cookies, yet still wears next to nothing. Her demon form even has large breast in the design, and the protagonist could still hold her off single highhandedly! I know that here is a tendency to give anime the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the sexualization of women. But the excuses of “it’s a different culture,” or “westerners are too prudish,” were trite a decade ago, and cannot detract from what this show truly is: a power fantasy with clearly unequal social hierarchies and unrealistic and problematic sexual relationships.

Cons: [Exhale]…So yeah.

Watch it?: I mean, it was really easy to watch. It binged it in two days. And the show never pretends to be something else. You know upfront what your getting. But the more I thought about it, the creepier it got. (2/5)

MVP: The voice actors

The stuff they had to act through. God bless ’em.

Best Episode: “The Demon Lord Act” (cat ears).

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Record of Lodoss War

Type: Parn!

Synopsis: Parn! Are you there!! Parn!!! Paaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrnnnnnn!!!!!

Pros: Record of Lodoss War is a good ol’ fashion sword and sorcery anime based on DnD and Sword World RPG rules. Now, I don’t know anything about anything, but from what I can gather, this series is based on Japanese “replays.” These “replays” are transcripts of table-top RPG sessions. These transcripts eventually evolved into the Lodoss franchise. Which explains why so many of the characters in this anime seem straight out of a fantasy RPG. You got your hot-blooded knight, beautiful high-elf, prickly dwarf, sleezy thief, pious priest, and calm magic caster. I particularly liked Parn and Deedlit’s relationship, as well as Ghim’s backstory. They gave these characters a much needed extra dimension. I should also give a shout out to the Grey Witch, who I wish had stuck around for the entire story. The franchise’s origins helps give the series a very high fantasy feel. Since a lot of today’s anime fantasy stories are so intrinsically linked with Isekai stories, this series was a nice change of pace. I also have to admit a certain level of bias regarding older anime animation (I just think it looks more distinct). All in all, the series was a nice trip back in time when fantasy was about knights fighting evil kings and giant dragons.

Cons: Your enjoyment of this story can be measured by your tolerance for fantasy about knights fighting evil kings and giant dragons. Sometimes, another word for classic is generic. And this story is very generic. The story is about Parn, the son of disgraced knight looking to restored his family’s honor and make a name for himself. He’s brave but reckless. In fact, Parn might be the MOST generic protagonist I’ve ever encountered. Maybe even moreso than black-haired, average nice guy harem protagonist. At least they have comedic foils to play off. But Parn? He’s as exciting as avocado on white bread.  You also have the elf, dwarf, priest, thief, and caster who are so archetypal that I forget their actual names. One of the reasons these characters are so forgettable is because the series has to get the entire Lodoss saga completed in 13 episodes. So the pacing is very rushed. For example,  halfway through the anime the story transitions from the Valis-Marmo war to the War of Heroes. Which sucks because the Grey Witch and Emperor Beld made for much more interesting villains. Far better than some generic dragon and wizard. Yet the directors still found time to give Deedlit her ultra-detailed minute long close ups. Things move so fast that a lot of characters don’t get proper character development. The only characters you spend a lot of time with are Parn and Deelit, who are sadly have very static development. Aside from Ghim, all the other side characters are just that, side characters that don’t really change all the much. You know who actually changes the most in this story? The antagonists. The Grey Witch,  Ashram, Pirotess’s , and Wagnar each end the story is a very different position than where they started. You can’t really say that for any of the protagonists, as even Parn’s ascension into Knighthood is more superficial than anything. Finally, being an old anime, be prepared for a lot of still images and light-based special effects. Back in the day you either got detailed character design or fluid animation, but you ain’t getting both!

Watch it?: For fans of elf and wizards not contracted to a 7 person harem (3/5)

MVP: Karla, the Grey Witch

The more I think about her, the more I like her.

Best Episode: Ep. 05 “The Desert King” (Look Parn, we all have a Daddy fetish, but don’t string along a poor elf-girl when she dressed up special for your date, OK?)

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Goblin Slayer

Type: Basically anime Batman

Synopsis: Now hold your horses. I know what your thinking. Your thinking “But Genetleman Otoku, Batmans good! He’s not an edgelord that focuses on controversy!” To which I point you to: The Dark Night Strikes Again, Joker, The Killing Joke, All-Star Batman, Hush, etc. Now your thinking “Yeah, whatever, but Batman works with other heroes to protect Gotham.” To which I remind you that Goblin Slayer consistently works with a Priestess, a Ranger, a Dwarf, and a Lizard Man. Now your thinking “*%&$ you! At least Batman’s not a sh%#% harem show!” To which I also remind you of: Catwoman, Talia Al-Ghaul, Vickie Vale, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn (sometimes), etc. Face it, if you like Batman, you also like Goblin Slayer. May god have mercy on your deviant soul.

Pros: OK, aside from the fact that I know way too much about Batman despite not really resonating with the character, the stand by my analogy. Goblin Slayer really did remind me of Batman (with some Punisher thrown in there). The protagonist is a overly driven tactician/warrior who specifically focuses on goblins due to a mixture of trauma and pragmatism. He experienced a goblin raid, lost his sister, and now has a genocidal urge to kill every single Goblin in existence. Replace goblins with criminals, sister with parents, and kill with beat-up, and you have the caped crusader. Heck, one of the main throughlines of the show is Goblin Slayer learning to open up to others despite his loner nature. Like Batman, Goblin Slayer’s single mindedness and preparedness are what make his fun to watch. Also like Batman, it’s funny to see Goblin Slayer totally ignore world ending plots, like an apparent Demon King uprising, because local issues are more important to him. His relationships with the other characters are also key in softening his image, as this story could have gotten very old, very fast, if it was literally just killing goblins.

Cons: The show’s biggest problem is in its use of rape. The rape depicted in this show cannot be ignored. Nor should it. In the story, goblins are rapists, and this plot fact is used to make killing the goblins acceptable and ever gratifying. This series got into trouble when it’s first episode depicted the rape of one of it’s characters. The show never goes that far again, so don’t expect this to be another Elfen Lied or Kite. However, rape is still an underlying theme of the show. Every time the goblins appear, the show reminds us that they are rapist, usually with still images of them ripping the clothes off terrified women. Several characters are also affected by this. Goblin Slayer developed a hatred towards goblins because his sister was raped in front of him. The Elf ranger is barely survives an attempted assault by goblins, leading her to develop similar hatred. The priestess also witnessed a goblin assault first hand. And the Shield Maiden manipulated the Goblin Slayer and his party into killing a nest of goblins due to a previous goblin attack that she survived.  The thing is, this character trait for the goblins was not necessary. Them just being murderers would have been enough. Killer goblins would have sold the world of Goblin Slayer as a dangerous one just as well. But making them rapists just makes the show harder to watch. It wasn’t a necessary plot point, and therefore a mistake to use.

Watch it?: It depends on what kind of viewer you are (3/5)

MPV: My Batman comparison

Yes sister, I shall become an edgelord.

Best Episode: Ep. 05 “Adventures and Daily Life” (No goblins slaying, just a nice time in town).

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Fire Force (Season 1)

Type: This girl is on fiiiire!

Synopsis: But seriously, how great is Alicia Keys? One of our best all around singers. Anyway, this is an anime about magic firefighters.

Pros: Fire Force, or BLAZING FIREFIGHTING CORPS, is a shonen anime from Atsushi Okubo (the creator of Soul Eater) and David Productions. So right off the bat you’ll notice the unique character designs and stellar animation effects. Since this story’s power system involves creating and manipulating fire, a lot of the actions scenes are very flashy. In fact, I would say that the show’s animation effects team are the real MVP’s of this season. Each of the characters fighting styles were  pulled off well in animation, and were always fun to watch. This is definitely a youtube clip worthy show. Story wise, this is a basic shonen, but it manages to have the most important aspect of a shonen story: an interesting a likable cast. The main group is Special Fire Force Company 8, who are  the Fire Force’s internal affairs department. I liked all of Company 8, but my favorites were Captain Obi and Maki Oze. Captain Obi because he plays the “normal guy” character in a world full of super powered weirdos while also being a role model and leader to Company 8 (he’s also best boy and I love him). Maki because she’s strong and competent and feminine and feels like a legit sempai for the main characters (she’s also best girl and I love her). I like most of the scenes between Company 8, and the show does a good job making them feel like a tight knit team who would trust each other during an emergency. Ya know, like an actual company of firefighters.

Cons: Let’s talk about Tamaki. Tamaki is the youngest member of Company 8 (technically a temporary trasfer) after being rescued in the second arc of the series. Tamaki is often used for fan service jokes, a lot. Like in every scene she’s in. It’s kind of her main characteristic. Her “Lucky Lewd Syndrome” is incredibly sexist and creepy given her age. It a big glaring negative on an otherwise fun shonen story. And, it’s like, it wouldn’t be so bad if this just happened once or twice. But the writers keep using the same joke in almost every scene she’s in. Even her big emotional rescue has the main character Shinra motorboat her breasts. It was also weird because based on Soul Eater, Atsushi Okubo seems to know how to portray female characters, at least more or less. I don’t know if this is editor mandated, or if the anime writers took some liberty, or if Okubo is just getting old and pervy, but this was amateur hour fan service. All it did was detract from Tamaki’s character. A great example of this is in Episode 19, where the female members of Company 8 have to face off against White-Clad members, the main antagonists of the series. This episode kinda showcases how Maki and Tamaki are treated as characters. Against a group of White-Clad, Maki admonishes them for attacking Shinra and Arthur in an earlier episode, and takes them out single-handily. She struggles a little against the main boss, but manages to use her powers tactically to get a win. In this scene, Maki was underestimated for being alone and a woman, but uses the element of surprise and her experience to win. Contrast that with Tamaki in the same episode, who is also underestimated for being along and a woman. She even has a flashback where Shinra makes fun of her for having to be rescued. Normally, this would be the scene where Tamaki proves to herself that she deserves to be a fire soldier by beating up the bad guy. However, she instead lunges at her opponent and land her breasts on his hand. And while the bad guy cops a feel, another person bashes his head in with a pipe. So Tamaki’s big moment of self-realization ends with a grope and a joke. The entire series has a weird spectrum of how it handles female characters, from Lisa’s sexualized torture to Hibanan’s iron grip over Company 5. It all felt very dated, which I think is my feelings overall for Fire Force. Overall, the entire story had stereotypical troupes. A main character who’s secretly the strongest character, a rival who’s also his brother, as secret organization of villains, friendly/antagonistic clicks, a central mystery, etc. The only unique thing about it, besides the flashy fights, it that a lot of story beats happen a lot earlier than expected. We meet the strongest fire force fighter in the second arc, Shinra’s missing brother is revealed in the third arc, the White-Clad’s main hideout is invaded at the end of the season, and Shinra fights his brother and unlocks a crazy power-up in the last fight (Episode 22). It feels a little rushed, and kind sacrifices world building. Also, for a show about fire fighters, there is very little actual fire fighting. The show gives up on the premise right away to focus on the White-Clad conspiracy. Which again, a lot of shonen stories do that. In the main story, Naruto doesn’t actually go on Ninja missions and Ichigo doesn’t actually patrol for Hollows. Personally, I do wish that we got to see more Fire Force stuff, as I really liked the premise of super powered fire fighters. Though I suppose the premise is a little limited…which I guess is why Fire Fighters don’t get a lot of TV shows centered around them. I mean, Rescue Me sure, but even that got lost and mostly rambled at the end, just like this thought….

Watch it?: It’s hit or miss at times, but it’s a good looking shonen (3/5)

MVP: Obi and Maki

I love them, but also want to be them.

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “The Heart of a Fire Soldier” (I could have chosen the brother’s fight, but this is the only episodes where the fire fighters do actual fire fighting).

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DBZ Abridged

Type: It was the hype!!

Synopsis: It was hilarious, and we will all quote everything it said.

Pros: Dragon Ball Z: Abridged is probably the best anime abridged series in the history of the medium. It’s certainly the standard bearer. I say this with no hyperbole. For over 10 years, Team Four Star created one of the funniest, silliest, and weirdly emotionally resonant parodies on the internet. I think that a part of being a fan is secretly wishing to add to your fandom, at least a little. Team Four Star lived out that dream. Not only did they get to play around with the Dragon Ball Z characters, they made one of the best entries in the franchise. This may sound odd, but I would argue that DBZ: Abridged is the best way to ingest Dragon Ball after the original airing. DBZ: Abridged acts as a loving reflection of all the horribly funny inconsistencies in the greatest shonen story of all time. How many of us witnessed the Saiyan, Freeza, and Cell Saga and thought: Ya know, Goku is kinda a bad father, Piccolo is much better…I wonder what the human Z-fighters think about all these Super Saiyans running around…Now that I think about it, PoPo probably is some sort of Eldritch horror. But in all seriousness, I think that DBZ’s greatest legacy is that for a group of fans, myself included, it kept the Dragon Ball flame lit during some very dark times. It was a 10 years gap between Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. This show started in 2008. The abridged series made me fall in love with Dragon Ball Z again, and got me excited for new entries like Dragon Ball Super and DBZ Fighters. I guess it’s a little poetic that DBZ abridged is ending right as Dragon Ball got another resurgence. After reigniting passions for the franchise, making it’s own mark on the industry, and even creating it’s own lore, it was time to move on. Team Four Star made us laugh and care about Dragon Ball again, and they did it there way.

Cons: After reading all that, you might be wondering: What the hell is Dragon Ball Z Abridged? To which I say: You go some attitude mister. DBZ: Abridged was an online video parody series about the story and characters of Dragon Ball Z. The show covers every episode and plot-line from the original show in a condensed, often satirical version. Everything is more or less the same, just bent or twisted for comedic effect. For example, in the show Guru of Namek is still the ruler of the Namekians, but he’s also an asshole and war criminal. Piccolo is still a stoic warrior, but also a bit of a tsundere. Some characters veer off their beaten track, and others go way off. Looking at you Mr. Popo. Despite my love and gratitude of this show, it’s not perfect in any way. The early episodes are rough, and the joke very in quality. There are some very lazy dick and drug jokes. I would say that this show, on average, is about at a mid-2000’s Adult Swim level of comedy. It’s stupid funny. That could be a compliment or an insult, depending on the episode.

Watch it: A must for DBZ fans! (5/5)

MVP: Team Four Star

Now they can live their own lives, and make their own futures.

Best Episode: Ep. 60, Part 1-3 (They were perfect).

 

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Hensuki: Are You Willing to Fall in Love with a Pervert, as Long as She’s a Cutie?

Type:  “If she ain’t blood, be a stud” -Ancient Proverb

Synopsis: Sigh. I was with you until the ending…

Pros: Look, I’m going to need to give me at least a few sentence here. But spoiler, you probably shouldn’t watch this.

Cons: I will say this, I came to this anime with an open mind. I was like, hey, I need something stupid to watch while I exercise. This seemed like an ecchi anime I can trust. The art style and hue of the show tells you everything you need to know. It going to be about a teenage boys and a harem of cute girls that like him for being relatively nice. And that basically is the show. In fact, I would hazard to say that the best, though generic, parts of the show are when the girls say why or how they came to love the protagonist. Those were at least mildly sweet moments. But the gimmick of the show is that every female character has some sort of “perversion” or kink. These kinks run the spectrum, from mild stuff like sub/dom play and fujoshi (boy’s love artist) to some hardcore stuff like voyeurism and exhibitionism. Each of the girls get about 2-3 episodes, with the major plot thread being the mystery of “panty-rella,” a girl that left her panties in the protagonist’s locker in ep. 01. None of this is actually that bad, and the friendship between the voyeur and the protagonist is kinda nice (since she’s the only girl that likes him as a friend). No, what turned me completely off the show was last two episodes, where it turns out that “panty-rella” was really the protagonist’s sister. What follows is a last episode that spends almost it’s entire run time trying to convince the protagonist (and audience) that humping your sister is totally fine, cause love is love. And hey, she’s not blood related, so no mutant babies for you! Goddammit, did that leave a bad taste in my mouth. There’s trash, and then there’s garbage. And that was garbage.

Watch it: No. No. No. At least the dubbing was silly. NO. (2/5)

MVP: The English Dub

At least they got paid.

Best Episode: Ep. 4-7 The Koharu Arc (For a show this bad, it had a pretty good male-female friendship develop here).

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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)

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Coyote Ragtime Show

Type: That Mister sure was a tall drink of…

Synopsis: Hello! I didn’t-I mean I wasn’t-I mean, boobs right? Right??….You know what? Nah. Nah son. It’s time to be loud and proud. Not just for myself, but for future generations. And I will proudly and loudly say that Mister is a top tier Daddy, and were it biologically possible, I would carry his children.

Pros: Coyote Ragtime Show is an anime space western, the best kind of space western in my opinion. The show follows a band of space pirates lead by the charismatic “Mister.” The entire show takes place in the span of about a week, with all the characters chasing after a treasure left behind by the king of the pirates. But this ain’t no One Piece were the treasure is friendship or whatever. This causes three main forces to all converge on the treasure: our lovable protagonists, Madame Marciano and her robot assassin “daughters,” and Detective Angelica Burns with her plucky if dimwitted sidekick. Mister and the crew of the ship “Coyote” play particularly well off each other, reminding you of an Ocean’s 11 esque style ensemble cast. But the emotional core comes from Franca, daughter of the kind of the pirates, and ward of Mister. Their relationship is cute, if a little cliche. The show does really well in handling it’s moving pieces without ever sacrificing pacing. A solid show all around.

Cons: The entire show revolves around all the character’s journey to Graceland, the location of the treasure. So it’s a bit of a shame that the closer we get to Graceland, the less interesting some of the stories become. The first four episodes are really great. They have a prison escape, a noir parenting story, a church shot out, and a high tech robbery. Top notch stuff that establishes the history of these characters. The last eight episodes aren’t as exciting, mostly because the have to focus on the race to Graceland. It also doesn’t help that the robot assassins aren’t allowed to kill the main characters for story reasons, nor the fact that two of the five main characters never get proper backstories. We never really learn where Bishop or Katana are from, or what their motivations are. Ditto with Marciano. She drops hint in her last battle, and Mister speculates, but there was more there that we should have been given.

Watch it: A pleasant surprise (4/5)

MVP: Mister

Our love is true!

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Prison Break” (exactly what it sounds like)

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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)

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Mob Psycho 100 (Season 2) [Anime of the Year]

Type: From the creators of Mob Psycho 100 (season 1)!

Synopsis: Still trying to become better at social interactions, in case he accidentally walks into a dinner party, our main character Shigeo Kageyama continues to try to lead a normal life. And happily, he’s gotten a little better at it. He’s may not be running 10k marathons every week, but he’s a gotten more confident, made a few new friends, and has started to realize what kind of person he is. Dare I say it, but I think our little walking embodiment of unknowable power is starting to grow up.

Pros: Season 2 of Mob Psycho 100 is a much a continuation of season one as it is an organic evolution of that season. The season is slit into two main story arcs. The first arc deals with Mob’s everyday life at school and work. While this half may seem a little show at first, it’s actually a great way to showcase Mob’s personal growth. These episodes show that Mob is not a timid as he use to me, as his experiences allow him to become his own person. This is showcased the most in his relationship with Regan, his mentor, which is explored in Episodes 6 and 7, the best episodes in terms of character work. But don’t worry action fans! This season is still chock full of gloriously directed and animated actions scenes. There’s an amazing scene in Episode 5, or you can just go to Episodes 8-13, the second half of the show. This part of the show has Mob confront the mastermind behind the villainous CLAW organization. The second half of the show is where you want to go to if you want to see over the top psychic battles created by masters of the genre.

Cons: There are no cons. Instead, I’d like to use this section to talk more about Mob. What I realized throughout watching this show is that Mob may be one of the best anime protagonists in modern times. The character of Mob works because the ONE the author and the anime writers were able to convey Mob’s inner strength very effectively. It’s a slow burn, as we see Mob go from a shy and quiet boy to an empathetic and self-confident young man. In a great twist, Mob grows as a person in spite of his powers. In a lot of anime, we see some sort of “hidden power” be the avenue through which a character gains self-confidence. But Mob does not rest on the laurels of innate talent, and instead choose to develop in areas the he considers important. In fact, the show actively portrays those that rely solely on their natural talent as the villains. What sets Mob apart is that he put in a lot of effort to become physically stronger, he puts in a lot of effort to understand people, and this effort pays off in the form of personal growth and social recognition. Notice that in this season, Mob defeats two of the most powerful espers in the series not by overwhelming them with power, but by touching their spirits. His inner strength is is greatest asset. Mob joins the pantheon of great heroes not because he’s an all powerful warrior, but because he’s a good man.

Watch it: One of the best anime of the decade (5/5)

MVP: Shigeo Kageyama

98, 99, 100,…??????

Best Episode: Ep.6-7 The Reagan Arc (maybe not a flashy, but damn effective)

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