Tag Archives: 2016

Dagashi Kashi

Type: A show about nothing, nothing but Penny Candy!

Synopsis: Candy shop. Check. Manic Pixie girl, check. Manic Pixie girl with big boobs. Check.

Pros: Maybe not that simple, but come on! The opening sets the tone for the entire series. How is Hotaru, the resident pixie girl introduced? First doing a backwards bow, second by hugging her breasts. That’s kinda how the show treats Hotaru, as a sexy weirdo. She’s not a bad character. In fact, she’s a super fun character. All manic pixies are. She’s an over the top candy fiend and her English voice actress plays her to perfection. I just wanted to point out what were dealing with here, because the anime is also super fun. It’s a slice of life anime that’s really light hearted and silly. Every episode explores a scenario set up by Hotaru using candy as a catalyst. I’m not sure if the penny candy is real or not, but if it is, it really reminds me of Mexican penny candy, down to the wrappers! But Hotaru’s antics only work if she has someone to play off of. Enter Kokonotsu, the male protagonist who Hotaru is trying to convince to take over his father’s dagashi shop. What I liked about Kokonotsu is that he’s very much a teenage boy. While he can play the typical “nice guy” protagonist, he’s still very well aware of Hotaru’s beauty, and would love to be more popular with girls, and goofs off with his best friends about pervy stuff from time to time. Both Kokonotsu and Hotaru make a good comedic pair, which all you need in a comedic anime.

Cons: On the surface, this show seems like a funny show with candy as a gimmick. But it’s actually a little pervy. Some of the jokes are definitely NSFW. Hotaru’s physique aside, they throw some dirty jokes at ya. Kokonotsu staring at Hotaru see through shirt I can understand. Hotaru being covered in “yogurt” is something else. A lot of verbal and visual innuendo going on here. So if your not into that type of humor, maybe look elsewhere. There are some sweet moments though, like when Kokonotsu’s dad complimented To, implying that maybe To’s dad isn’t round? Because you don’t really see alot of characters outside of the main cast. The only other thing to look out for is the fact that the anime doesn’t really “End.” It finishes. Whether or not Kokonotsu stays at the shop or leaves is not resolved, nor does he become a couple with Hotaru or childhood friend Saya. It’s a “read the manga” ending.

Watch it?: Almost as good as actual dagashi (4/5)

MVP: Hotaru

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How is candy so arousing?

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Fugashi, Fugashi, and… / Glico, Glico, and…” (the essesnce of Hotaru)

 

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To Be Hero

Type: A Superhero Tale

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Synopsis: In a world of Men of Steel and Supersoldiers there stands a lone figure in the night, protecting us from all that may cause us harm. He is Ossan, the sh$tty father!

Pros: To Be Hero is a short, 11 minute an episode, series about a father who is transformed into a fat and ugly superhero. Since he can’t turn back, and all the words out of his mouth tend to sound perverted, he cannot stay with his teenage daughter. He tries his best to stay close to her, despite the occasional weird alien trying to kill him. The show mainly uses absurdist and toilet humor to get the comedy across. But the real hook of the show is the relationship between Ossan and his daughter Min, as Ossan’s transformation forces him to reflect on some of his selfish actions as a father and husband. The show never forgets to remind you of it’s central conflict, and thus retains your attention.

Cons: As said above, the show’s humor comes from absurd situation and toilet jokes. Hell, Ossan is actually a toilet salesman. That’s his job. So don’t be surprised if the show’s humor turns you off early on. Even I needed to take breaks from it, and the series is only 120 minutes long! The show can be crass at times, and a lot of the skits are more silly than funny. The show is kinda sloppy. However, it does have a strong ending, and those not wanting to watch the whole thing could simple just watch episodes 1,2 and 13.

Watch it?: It sticks the landing (3/5)

MVP: Min

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She’s kinda the lynchpin of the show.

Best Episode: Ep.12 “Stay with me Daddy!” (I want to be a superhero…)

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Please Tell Me! Galko-Chan

Type: Girl Talk

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Synopsis: A nice girl who happens to dress a certain way and another nice girl who happens to dress a certain way are best friends, because screw you society!!

Pros: Galko-Chan is a typical 8-minute anime series about high school girls talking about nothing for 12 episodes. The gimmick here is that the group of girls is comprised of a “Lady” character, a female “Otoku,” and “Gyaru,” which is roughly just a girl who likes make up and fashion (a flashy girl). The interesting thing about the show is that Galko, the titular character, is often judged due to her physical and cosmetic appearance. She has a big breasts and likes to dress nice, so everyone thinks she’s promiscuous, or at least hopes she is. The entire anime’s moral is “just because someones dresses a certain way, doesn’t mean they are a certain way.” Because, in truth, Galko is super nice and gets flustered easily. She’s more like that really good looking person you knew in high school that was nice to everyone, but you were always too intimated to talk to [and you can’t think of anyone, guess who you were ;)]. Most of the show’s comedy comes from the talks between Galko and her friends, particularly Otako, who likes to tease Galko with inappropriate topics, like nipple size and the like. Now, not having been privy to much girl talk in my time (I’m just not a “girl’s” girl, ya know?), I don’t know how much this appeals to women, but the show does feel like it’s more centered for a female audience than male (Galko’s design aside).

Cons: Like most anime with short episodes, the jokes can get very one-note and repetitive. There are only so many times you make make fun of Galko’s presumably big nipples. There are boys characters in this anime, but they’re mostly around to fantasize about Galko. Like most things in life, this could have used less males around. And from a personal stand point, I found Galko’s design ludicrous. I get that it’s the joke/moral, but come on! I’ve seen—I mean, I’ve heard of hentai with mose subtle designs. And I also think the “lady” character, Ojou, isn’t that important, despite being a “main character.”

Watch it?: As always, short anime are always recommended (4/5)

MVP: Otako

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Teasing friends is always fun

Best Episode: As always, too short to chose (all 8 minutes)

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Persona 3 The Movie: No.4 Winter of Rebirth

Type: Yaaaaaaaaawn

Synopsis: Huh? Wha? Ja? What was I going again? Reviewing…something. Oh [yawn], oh yeah, the Persona 3 movies. Man, they are not that interesting. Anyways, the hero dies at the end. That’s how Persona 3 ends.

Pros: If you’ve stuck around this long, you already know. Good action animation. (p.s. Bless you).

Cons: Why are these movies so BORING!? This movie spends it’s first flippin’ hour with the cast moping around. The characters are told by an annoying character that no one cares about that the world is going to end. They can either-wait, before I continue, can I just say that I have never liked the late addition of Ryoji into the Person 3 story. The game tries to make us like him because he’s a happy go lucky scamp who comedically hits on every girl he sees. But he really just comes off as a third wheel that the game tells us to care about. Had he been a playable character, maybe, yet here we are. I gladly killed him at the end. Anyways, the cast is bummed because they can either erase their memories and live in ignorance of the End, or fight against the inevitability of death. They win, but not without the protagonist dying to save his friends by becoming Jesus or whatever. There. Play the game instead.

Watch it?: These movies were not a good idea. What a disappointment.

MVP: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (2006)

Having a game in the middle makes the story waaaaay better.

Best Moment: The End (as in the end of all this time wasting)

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

Type: Let’s party like it’s 1999!

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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

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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)

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My Hero Academia [Anime of the Year]

Type: Do Good to Others, and Every Man can be an All Might

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Synopsis: World of Superheroes. Quirkless Boy. Mighty Hero. Plus Ultra.

Pros: My Hero Academia is about a boy named Izuku Midoriya who lives in a world where 80% of the population has super powers, and an established Superhero community. Midoriya’s dream is to become a hero like his idol All Might, but he doesn’t have any powers, or “Quirks.” It seems like he’s hoping against hope until he selflessly risks his life for a friend/bully, impressing All Might enough to bestow upon him his own superpowers. And this is just the first two episodes. The rest of the series is Miyoriya’s life in U.A. High School, a school for gifted youngsters (sister school to the Xavier Institute, I’m sure). The anime does have the name “Academia” in the title. While the school stuff is fun, and an easy way to introduce new characters, the real draw of the show is Midoriya. He has the heart of a hero, despite his twitchy demeanor and tendency for water works. He wins you over almost immediately with his fan boy love of heroes, and keeps your rooting for his through his determination to fulfill his dream, a dream no one believe in because of his handicap. It breaks your heart when he’s told its impossible, and you root for him when he overcomes a new obstacle. And In a simple but effective gimmick, Midoriya’s new quirk is a glass cannon. He can become just as powerful as All Might, but because his body isn’t use to the power output, he becomes incredibly damaged after a single use. So instead of powering through his obstacles, Midoriya has to think his way out of them (fun fact: Most Silver Age Superman stories did the same thing). He also has an in story reason for this, given his obsession of collecting data on heroes. Plus the fact that his quirk has to be passed down was a nice touch, and a good allusion to legacy heroes. As you can plainly see, I loved Midoriya and the show as a whole.

Cons: But that’s not to say that there aren’t bad things about this anime. For one, villains show up in the last few episodes, but they’re underdeveloped. The actual manga, which I devoured after watching this show,  does the same thing, switching between school arcs and villain arcs. The other heroes are also underdeveloped, with All-Might being the only one to get any real character development. The main theme seems to revolve around the term “underdeveloped,” which can all be sourced to the fact that the anime only got 13 episodes. It does have a second season, but a shoen show like this really needs more episodes in a season. But the first season has a cliff hanger ending. Because, as much as I loved it, you do get the feeling that you’ve only scratched the surface of the story in retrospect.

Watch it: Hit my Superhero feels button (4/5)

MVP: Midoriya

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Or, The Great Hero Deku

Best Episode: Ep.1-2, “Izuki Midoriya: Origin” and “What it takes to be a Hero” (The end made me cry. One of my newest favorite moments in all of anime)

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And you thought there is never a girl online?

Type: Actually, about 50% of Gamers are Female

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Synopsis: A group of high schoolers manage to convince their teachers that creating a club for the sole purpose of playing a MMO RPG is a good and worthwhile idea. They do so by exploiting the fact that one of their club members, Ako, suffers from a mental condition wherein she cannot discern the game from reality. They say that the club is an “incentive” for Ako to come to school, but really, there just slacking off. (P.s. I wish I could come up with a tie-in joke to GamerGate, but they’re a  joke already).

Pros: This anime is in the online-game anime subgenre. Sort of. Basically, the character interactions in the game are all presented with regular character models. The game itself look’s fairly 2D. No one is stuck in the game. Except probably Ako, the female protagonist. She’s addicted to online gaming, to the point where she’s having difficulties separating games from reality. But luckily she has help in the “Ally Cat” Guild, made up of her classmates and friends who try to help keep a foot in reality. Notably, she has Hideki, or “Rusian,” her online husband, who she love IRL. The depiction and treatment of Ako makes her the most fascinating and complex character, her bouncy character model not withstanding. Ako has low self-esteem, as years of failing in school made her withdraw inwards. Her only solace is the gaming world (even though she’s not that good at that either). To the story’s credit, Ako’s issues aren’t solved quick and neatly, and the first half of the anime revolves around weening Ako from the game, and getting her to attend school (a nice touch of realism). But while Ako represents the old stereotype of the basement dwelling gamer, her club mates break convention. Rusian takes separating games and reality quite seriously. Akane’s a popular girl who want’s her gaming hobby to be a secret, and Kyo’s the pretty student body president. But don’t get me wrong, the anime is not a heavy handed character drama on geek or Otoku life (cough NHK cough). It’s actually a pretty light hearted comedy with subtle fan service (a bounce here, pose there, half the cast has large breasts, etc). And the English Dubb is choke full of game references, from Zelda to WOW quotes.

Cons: OK, here’s the thing, I can’t really think of any negatives that detract from what the show is trying to be. It’s a comedy about online gaming, with pretty girls as the main characters. I mean, from an outsider’s perspective, Ako is a “male-fantasy” character, a curvy anime girl who plays video games and is obsessed with being your wife. And yes, I thought Kyo’s skimpy mage outfit wore out it’s novelty after 2 episodes. But none of these make the show bad. It all works in context and doesn’t betray the spirit of the show. From a structure stand point, Ako’s story arc lasts between ep.1 to ep. 8. Every else doesn’t have the same weight, and feels more like fun filler. As a gamer myself, the show did legitimedly scare me at two points: when Ako was going to meet an online stranger in real life, and when Ako’s game chat was hacked by an online creeper. These types of situations are all too real, so they did make me nervous for the character (which is more of a positive from a story perspective). (P.s. This anime is kinda a harem, but in that there’s one male character and 4 females character. But only 1 real romantic connection exists).

Watch it?: I had a blast! (4/5)

MVP: Ako

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A real rarity: a buxom character with an emotional arc not based on a love interest

Best Episode: Ep.7-8 The Summer Vacation Arc (you made my wife cry!!!)

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Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto

Type: Anime The Fonze!

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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

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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)

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Assassination Classroom: Second Season

Type: Also known as “Graduation”

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Synopsis: The kid’s in Class E start their second semester with the same goal, Kill their Teacher and get P.A.I.D. Except, as the they soon discover, they’ve grown attached to their hyper fast, multi-tenticled, yellow world destroying Instructor. Can these 14-15 year old’s kill the only Educator that every truly cared about them? (No. The answer is No. They’re babies. Of course they couldn’t).

Pros: The second season of Assassination Classroom get a proper 25 episodes. 24 real episodes and 1 epilogue. I thought I’d start off with that, because the 22 episode thing from season one always bugged me. Like any long season, the anime is split into two main story arcs. The first arc mainly deals with school related stories, like school festivals, finals, and vacation. There are some big revelations and character moments, but it does feel like a bit of a retread of the first season, at least thematically. The last half delves into Koro-Sensei’s past, and the classroom’s ultimate decision on whether or not to actually kill him. And, to it’s credit, the show does actually end with an answer to that problem. The season definitely feels like the last half of a complete story. While it does lack some of more sillier moments of the first season, it makes up for it with important and often impactful character moments, especially for the students. Nagisa in particular shines (as the lead, that’s pretty obvious, but still).

Cons: As stated above, the first half of the season does feel like it meanders a little too much. It’s a continuation of the first season more than a sequel season. Old story arcs are resolved, but new story arcs aren’t really introduced until later on. I found the resolution of Kuro-Sensei’s story underwhelming. Without giving too much away, the final battle involves his first “student” and the scientist that gave him his abilities, but neither of these villains where really all that engaging. Assassination Classroom’s strength was always in the relationship between Kuro-Sensei and his students. Anything else felt superflous. Which is why I never really cared about other assassin’s trying to kill him, or the Agent Karasuma and Irina. Even Koro sensei’s backstory was weak and cliche. The real climax of the story is Koro-Sensei’s students deciding whether or not to go through with the assassination. Not a big dumb tentacle fight. (I should also mention that the second to last episode draaaaaags on).

Watch it?: I liked it, but Your Milage May Vary (3/5)

MVP: The Nagisa-Karma fight

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Maybe one of the best fights I’ve seen in a while.

Best Episode: Ep. 17-18 The Paintball Match Arc (The show at it’s best, thematically and narratively)

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Mob Psycho 100

Type: From the maker of One-Punch Man!

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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)

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1,2,3,4….

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

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