Tag Archives: 2017

In Another World With My Smartphone

Type: Wait, this was made in 2017?!

Synopsis: Jeez, really? Hold up, let me double check…I’ll be damned,  released 2017. I mean, OK? That’s fine I guess. A harem show revolving around a guy trapped in a fantasy world. That’s…man, that’s incredibly lazy.

Pros: This is show is about a Japanese boy who goes into a fantasy world, forms a harem of pretty girls, and gets celebrated for being the biggest and the strongest. Now, this isn’t Sword Art Online or Konosuba, because this protagonist has a cellphone! Hooooorayyyy!!!! Sigh. OK, in actuality, the show kinda a mix of the aforementioned shows. Our hero, Touya, accidentally dies. God, being a straight up kind of dude, reincarnates him into a fantasy world where his cellphone still has access to the internet and never has to recharge. Touya adapts to his new world pretty easily, especially considering all the psychological trauma associated with death, leaving everyone you ever knew behind, discovering that God not only exists, but is neglectful of his people, and that multiverse theory is real. (P.S. On an actual positive, I did like Touya’s use of his cellphone and internet as a resource, and the gag of using the spell “slip” to win every important battle).

Cons: Generic. Generic. Generic. But aside from that, nothing much. It’s a harem show. It’s a Isekai show. If you don’t like either, you won’t like this. It’s the kind of cookie cutter show that belongs in the discount bin at Walmart. That being said, its also a great show for stress. Like, if you just came off an emotional high from a better show, or your anxiety levels are rising due to life, then this show is a great remedy. It’s predictable, the protagonist win with no real effort, and there’s no drama for miles. It’s a shot of vanilla when you need it. And aside from the typical fan service, this show seemed like the kind you would find on TV back in the 2000’s. Which is all the more surprising to discover that this was made in 2017. The cheap animation, the uninspired story, the mary sue protagonist. I’ll tell you this though, the show won’t insult your intelligence as much if you frame all of Touya’s accomplishments as God’s way to making up for his death. Like, what better way to make a teenage boy happy than by giving him a gaggle of adventurer girls that all love him, making him the strongest warrior/magician in the world, and have kings and gods view him with awe. Either that, or get him a new phone.

Watch it: A sedative, but in a good way (3/5)

MVP: Leen

For being the only girl to point out that Touya didn’t technically earn any of his abilities or talents. They were a pity gift.

Best Episode: Ep.5 “Slime Castle, and New Functions” (a running gag that’s paid off)

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Hand Shakers

Type: This doesn’t taste like Monkey Butt!

Synopsis: A long time ago, or at least by anime release standards, this show made a very specific impression. It had a…unique animation style, and it’s first episode ended with a busty goth girl wrapped in chains heaving in sexy pain. This turned a lot of people off. That’s the thing about first impressions, you only get one.

Pros: Unless your me! I’ll give anything multiple first impressions. It took me 4 tries to get into The Office. 2 for Parks and Recreations. About 8 for the Dark Souls series. So I was like, what the hell?. I’ll watch Hand Shakers. How bad could it be? And honestly? It’s not that bad. It’s not good. But it’s not trash. It’s more, bargain basement than anything. A lot of the fun of the show come from being introduced to different Hand Shaker teams. The whole show is a Partner battle royale, with the winners getting a wish from “God.” So what you get is a lot of different pairing working together to achieve their goal. The fact that the fights are sudden death means that, no matter what, someone is losing their wish. It gives each team an understandable reason to fight. It’s really the exploration of each team’s origins and motivations that make this show interesting. And I’ll admit, the show’s fights and comedy moments grabbed my attention more than once. This show had competent directors by the feel of it.

Cons: Maybe sometimes if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, but I did start with some positive praise, so….OK, LOOK, I don’t hate this show. But it really is a good bad show. The story is predictable and clunky. I mean, a battle royale where if the protagonist loses, she dies? Really? The protagonists are boring at worst, saccharine at best. Yes, your a male protagonist who will mamuru his lady love. Yes, your a female protagonist whose secretly the strongest hand shaker but needs to learn how to “love” from the first boy she meets. All we need is a tragic back story and evil twin sister…Oops. What else can I say that no one else has? Awkward dialogue. Rush story. Visibly low budget. Some problematic issues (incest, the first episode, come one guys!). And of course, you can’t really ignore the 2D/3D animation style they went for. Not a personal fan, especially because Tazuna’s head look weird. Like his head model and body model weren’t meant for one another. But I think the most egregious issue is the real-life stills that they use as the backgrounds for the show. Now that is just sad. But still. Had the show been an exploration of the teams instead of the Tazuna/Koyori show, and had the used animated backgrounds, and maybe not gone with pairs fueled by incest and BDSM, then I think it would have been a better show for it.

Watch it: Shoudn’t this be called “Hand Holders?” (2/5)

MVP: Team Shadow

I wish they had been used more as mentors

Best Episode: Ep. 3/4 “Blade and Dagger” and “Live Lab” (A fun pair to watch)

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Akiba’s Trip: The Animation

Type: Gonzo’s 25th Anniversary special!

Synopsis: Akihabara, the city of Otoku dreams! Well, really its a small area in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo that mainly sells electronic goods. But really really, its a place where Japanese nerds can hang out. Which is cool, until bugged out aliens try to ruin it by introducing things like employment and girlfriends. Screw that! I got figurines to buy!!

Pros: Here’s a fun fact. Apperantly, Akiba’s Trip was one of the first anime that Funimation tried to silmudub with the Japanese release. When you think about it, it’s not that surprising. The anime is a fairly straightforward comedy show. While it is based on a video game, the show’s main focus is showcasing the various hobbies that Otoku tend to obsess over. Things like guns, idols, fighting games, card games, and even audio equipment for some reason. A lot of the episodes are really just fun stand alone stories where our male protagonist Tomatsu falls deep into a different Otoku hole while his friends sorta watch (his life’s dream is to live off “unearned income). What ties all the stories together is the sub plot where our heroes, dubbed “Electric Mayonnaise” have to protect Akiba by stripping their enemies of clothing (the actual goal of the original game). So you get some nerd lessons and some fan service, what’s not to love!

Cons: This anime was released in 2017, but it feels a lot older. We haven’t really seen this level of silly story telling in a while. At least, not one set outside of a high school. The show could even be described as cartoonish at times. Shades of Excel Saga even, though nowhere near as irreverent. Not that I’m complaining. I loved the humor, right down to watching an entire episode revolve around getting good at Street Fighter. Knowing that this anime was meant to celebrate Gonzo’s 25th anniversary, you can really understand why so many Otoku references and Easter eggs are crammed in here. I’m guessing it’s the studio’s way of thanking the very fan base that allowed them to survive all this time. I mean, the last episode is basically a commercial for why Akiba and Otoku are so great. Not that the show is perfect mind you. The enemies are all forgettable, and Matome largely becomes a side character after her introduction, despite being the female lead. But overall, it’s a fun show that you can watch or put on as background music.

Watch it?: Honestly, it’s a lot of fun (4/5)

MVP: Tomatsu

HQIZgxT

For some reason, I really resonated with this character…

Best Episode: Ep.9 “Whoa, I battled with Game Cards!” (all the episodes are great, but as a old fan of Yugioh, this one hit home)

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Love Tyrant

Type: It’s amazing how quickly they abandon their original premise.

Synopsis: The show is about a notebook that makes couples, not corpses. No! It’s about three new angels how have to foster love or lose their souls. No! It’s about a generational divide between mothers and daughters. No! It’s about a socipath corrupting a young cupid. No! It’s a harem. Wait! It’s all these things and more!!!

Pros: Love Tyrant is a manga based anime with a bit of a muddled plot. The gist is that the cupid Guri creates a love contract with a boy named Seiji, which eventually includes the yandere Akane and her obsessive sister Yuzu. The humor comes from the mixing of these four very different personalities, with Seiji playing the straight man. The show emphasizes the “comedy” part of love-comedy more so than other shows. It gives Love Tyrant a bit more of a unique taste than it’s fellows in the genre. My particular favorite running joke was the characters forgetting what the premise for the show was (i.e. that they have to make couples or lose their souls). I also liked it when Akane violent rage played off against Guri’s playful personality. In fact, Akane and Guri’s over the top personalities make them some of the strongest characters I’ve seen in any harem. Each of the females main cast have interesting backstories involving a struggle between heaven and hell and a family drama, with Seiji acting as an audience inaugurate whose along for the ride, which is what a good harem show should try to shoot for.

Cons: As stated above, you do forget what the original premise is. It’s not crucial to the show, but still. The only episode that really follows the premise is episode 2, so of course it’s the weakest episode. I highly recommend skipping that episode (it involves a student-teacher relationship, which makes it unfunny and icky). And the show doesn’t really break the love-comedy mold. It just stretches it to add more irreverent humor. Stabbings, parodies, boys-love, the show is just a very funny harem show. Oh! And I forgot to mention one of the best characters in a show of great characters: Shikimi. Shikimi is the primary antagonist of the show, and is so delightfully evil, it’s great! Shikimi is Akane’s cousin, and almost always steals the show with her manipulative personality and sadistic nature. The show makes you feel scared of her, but also strangely attracted. The only real bummer is that the show may not get a second season, which sucks because the next story arc fully introduces and explores Akane, Yuzu, and Guri’s mother.

Watch it: The manga’s great too! (4/5)

MVP: Shikimi

While Akane is best girl, Shikimi can’t not be the best.

Best Episode: Ep.10 “I’m Here to Stay the Night x I’m… Growing Up, Too” (slumber party!)

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Masamune-kun’s Revenge

Type: The kind you shouldn’t think too hard about

Synopsis: Because really, a show where our hero’s mission is to essentially seduce a girl for the purposes of cruelly breaking her heart is something a sociopath would do for sexual gratification.

Pros: Ok, to be fair for what is stated above, our protagonist Masamune has a reason for doing this, immature are it may be. When he was younger, Masamune was “rejected” by his childhood crush Aki “because of his weight.” I use quotation marks because we all know this is a big misunderstanding. And if you didn’t, well, sorry. Masamune dedicates himself to becoming physically attractive in order to launch his “dead of love” plan, where he’ll make Aki fall in love with him and then dump her like she did him. Two interesting story points come from this. One, Masamune’s reactions to being treated differently because he’s good looking, which the show doesn’t really play with enough. I know that this is because Masamune doesn’t really blame others for his previous appearance and unpopularity (he was a bit of a snob), but a little social commentary would have been nice. And two, Masamune’s incredible inexperience with girls makes him flustered every time he gains a step forward in his seduction plan. That were the comedy in this love comedy comes from. So while this in no way revolutionizes the genre, it’s a funny little show with a novel gimmick.

Cons: The show has pretty typical light novel slight ups, which is weird because this is based on a manga. Are we finally reaching the convergence points where light novels and manga become one!? By saying this, I mean that characters aren’t really explored all that much. For example, we don’t really get to know a lot about Aki despite technically being the main heroine. All we know is that she’s rich, eats a lot, is a mega tsundere, and hates all men because her childhood crush left her without saying goodbye (I’m sure that’s in no way related to our main story, let’s just forget I mentioned it). She’s know as the “cruel princess,” because she enjoys rejecting all would be suitors harshly, but the show also tries to make her out to be a kind girl at heart. Like, she’ll call your penis small, but she’ll also pay for your therapy bills. She’s portrayed inconsistently is what I’m saying. And at 12 episodes, the show only really covers one story arc, the Neko Fujinomiya arc, were a pretty girl comes to vie for Masamune’s affections while not being completely honest with him. Masamune’s suspicious of Neko’s true intentions are suppose to mirror that of Aki’s towards him, but he doesn’t really learn anything from it. In fact, by the end he decides to double down! Which is weird, because in the dub he literally says “if this girl wasn’t such a liar, we could have had something real.”  Of course, being a girl in an anime, Neko’s motivations are more innocent than Masamune’s (she was sick, which is why she was so secretive). Still, it’s a funny light show if your in the mood for that.

Watch it?: Yeah, but never forget that this is a show were a teenage girl is being emotionally manipulated into having feelings for a boy for his own selfish satisfaction. (4/5)

MVP: Masamune

You’re a psycho, but your misadventures entertain me.

Best Episode: Ep.8 “It’s Not You” (Does Masamune go for the busty girl who totally wants to jump his bones, or stick to his plan to traumatize a chick that dumped him with he was 10? Anime is sometimes exhausting.)

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Tsugumomo

Type: When your mom’s friend starts to hit on you.

Synopsis: In Japan, there’s this myth that if an item is possessed by a spirit, it gains self-awareness, often with the caveat that the item has to be 100 years old. In anime, characters often use anthropomorphized items as weapons/lover, especially when their human form is a cute girl. However, this become a bit awkward when the demon items are passed own the generations, and they start to tease you with their naughty bits.

Pros: Tsugomomo is what you would call a great commercial for the manga. I say this with no malice. In 12 episodes, the anime sets up the plot, the world’s rules, and provides you with enough sizzle to want more. In the show, a young man inherits his mother’s obi, a sash, that is actually a demon possessed item (a tsukumogami). They end up fighting together against the recent increase in evil tsukumogami and spirits. Of course, the obi takes the human form of a cute girl and Kiriha, whose power level determines her body shape. So she can become a mature beauty, or loli jail bait, but either way she’s still a flirty hot head. The protagonist, Kazuya, is surrounded buy spiritually inclined women, from a chibi-God to a well-endowed servant, to a thirsty child hood friend, making this a harem show as well. And boy, they do take advantage of that. And it always, ALWAYS, caught me off guard. I mean, just don’t expect that many blowjob jokes in a anime manga series, yet here we are.

Cons: In 12 episodes, you only get an introduction to the world. In a lesser show, the “read the manga” ending would be irksome. But this show is of a quality that it can get away with that. It has the right mix of action and comedy to keep you entertained. The only this it doesn’t do well is drama. Because the show is pretty light hearted, both in tone and art style, the more dramatic moments don’t land. For example, in one episode Kazuya and Kiriha have to stop a wig tsukumogami from attacking students. The big reveal was that the tsukumogami is possessing the dead corpse of a young girl who killed herself after her friends mercilessly bullied her for liking a boy. Pretty dark stuff, but none of it has any impact because you still have Kazuya and Kiriha bickering like an old married couple. So don’t watch this for the stakes. Watch it for the fun stories and characters, serviceable action, curb ball episodes, and moments that make you say “did I just see that!?”

Watch it?: I’m probably ganna read the manga later (4/5)

MVP: Kiriha

I loved that her speech patters where so formal, yet so rude

Best Episode: Ep.8 “A Certain Day in the Kagami Household/The Super Popular Fragrance” (a silent episode and and echii episode, what more could anyone ask for!)

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Koro-Sensei Q

Type: From the makers of Dragon Quest (not really)

Synopsis: Did you know that Dragon Quest was originally known as “Dragon Warrior” in America? It wasn’t officially called it’s original name until Dragon Quest 8 in 2004. Speaking of that, did you also know that Nintendo released a version of DQ8 for the Nintendo 3DS? I head it has a few new features, and it’s a great way to experience the game if you didn’t get to it back in the day. Definitely one of the best entries in the series. YES, even better than Dragon Quest 5 and 7….oh right! The review. The anime is Assassination Classroom if it was a comedic RPG.

Pros: As stated before, I have a soft spot in my heart for comedic anime spin-off parodies. And this one was no different. The premise is exactly as stated before: Assassination Classroom if it was a comedic RPG. It’s Assassination Classroom without any of the drama. Aside from the setting and tone, everything else is the same. Koro-Sensei still “teaches” the misfits of Class-E under the idea that they will one day kills him. Only instead of being an alien, he’s a Demon King. Karasuma is a knight instead of a government agent, and Irina is a seductive witch instead of a seductive assassin. The show itself is fairly short, 10 minutes, with interstitial to break up the scenes.  Fans of the original series, or RPG spoofs, will get a kick out of it.

Cons: Like most parodies, viewers will need a passing familiarity with the original source materials to get the full experience. The jokes are mostly funny, although I do feel the rely more and more on boob jokes as the series goes on. Two characters get more of a spotlight this time around: Okajima and Ristu. Okajima’s lewdness is played more for laughs, and Ritsu is allowed to be more comedic this time around instead of cutesy. And, yeah, that’s about it.

Watch it?: It’s pretty solid overall. Funny and quick. (4/5)

MVP: Ritsu

If you ever have a question about continuity, a wizard did it.

Best Episode: Too short to really pick (but ep8 was a freaky friday riff!)

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Gamers! [Anime of the Year]

Type: A little like Twelfth Night to be honest.

Synopsis: I understood that reference! (No, but seriously, I burned through this whole show in ONE afternoon. I haven’t done that in years. This show is incredible).

Pros: This anime is about a boy who gets invited to a gamer club by the cutest girl at school, but declines because of it’s competitive nature. This kinda snowballs into the boy becoming entangled in various simultaneous love triangles, with hilarious results. Basically, it’s a love comedy with video games as the backdrop. And. It’s. Amazing. It’s one of the best comedy’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. It’s strength comes from it’s dynamic direction. Everything from the camera work to the character’s faces screams energy and youth. I made the joking reference to Twelfth Night because the running gag of the show is that all the teenage characters think that their crush is in love with someone else. Their reactions to this very thought perfectly captures the high strung emotions of dating at the age. Not only that, but the cast is really strong, and their various interactions and pairing reminds you that this is an ensemble comedy. My personal favorite paring was our lead Keita and the bubbly Aguri, whose simple but funny lunch talks reminds you that yes, in anime, a boy and girl can be friends without falling in love! I could probably say way more (and you could probably write an essay on each episode individually), but I would only be doing the show a disservice. Go watch it! (p.s. I know I wouldn’t say more, but the English dialogue, romantic misunderstandings, and gamer jokes hit me in my happy place. My favorite anime genre is comedy anime, and this is the best comedy I’ve seen all year).

Cons:…I mean, I feel bad for Chiaki. OK, so in order to explain half the stories in the show, you need to create a map with a lot of arrows and circles. But to save time, Chiaki is kinda the fifth wheel of the cast. She was introduced as a possible love interest for Keita, but then became more interested in Keita’s handsome friend Tasuku, but then falls in love with Keita after he starts officially dating Tendo, the blonde girl that invited Keita into the gamer club to begin with. Like I said, there’s a lot of moving parts. I feel bad for her because, well, she’s nice and she technically is a perfect match for Keita. But so is Tendo. This is one of the handful of shows where both of the main character’s love interests are plausible options that I wouldn’t be mad at. Aside from that, I guess that show doesn’t really do much with the Gamer Club, like anything at all, and ep.13, the “last episode,” is just a fan service filler episodes.

Watch it?: Maybe my favorite show of an already strong 2017. (5/5)

MVP: Keita and Aguri

Their scenes were gold

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Gamers and Wipeout “Game Over” (maybe the best single comedic episode I’ve ever seen?)

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My First Girlfriend is a Gal

Type: The nice translation is “fashionable.” Yeah, let’s go with that.

Synopsis: Basically, Junichi Hashiba asks a pretty girl out on a dare from from his loser friends. Plot twist, the girl actually says yes and the two start dating. Being a high school boy, or “pervy virgin” as everyone he cares about calls him, Junichi mainly fantasizes about his girlfriend’s killer body. And while she may dress a certain way that doesn’t mean she acts a certain way, so Junichi better treat that her right, because that Yukana is a nice girl!

Pros: On the surface this show is a fan service innuendo machine. But look deeper and you’ll find a fan service innuendo machine. With class! Did I forget to mention that? Well, maybe not “class,” but with some respect for themes it covers. The obvious theme is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” which is typical for a show covering Gals, or “Gyaru” for you nerds. In the beginning, Junichi only judges Yukana by her appearance, thinking that’s probably “loose” because she shows a little skin and talks in slang. Someone he fantasizes about having sex with. But throughout the show, his mentality shifts from “this is a chick with a nice ass” to “I really like spending time with Yukana” (forgive the crassness, but that is how the dialogue is delivered). On the flip side, while Yukana is often the focus of fan service given her design, she’s really just a normal anime girl who happens to like fashion and likes to tease her boyfriend about his wandering eye, but still feels shy and insecure when no one’s looking (i.e. the end credits). And of course, I can’t end this section without talking about the amazing English Dub, which may be the FILTHIEST dub I’ve ever heard. My mouth was agape with what the actors where being allowed to say. It was great!

Cons: This is a T and A show. I’m sorry. I mean Tits and Ass show. Had a brain fart for a minute. The show depicts various sexual acts for at least the first 5 episodes. Most of them are Junichi dreaming about the day Yukana invites him to Pound Town, but two are specifically two other girls trying to hump Jinuchi to their own purposes. I can confidently say that this show is not safe for work, not safe for school, and I’m starting to wonder if I was even old enough to watch this. And while not actual coitus is achieved, if your not a fan of sex comedies, then don’t even bother. I should mention that this show is based on a manga, that I happen to follow, and some things are out of order. The first five episodes basically rearrange things to get the other 3 girls introduced, so it feels rushed. The last five episodes are all the characters doing stuff, which was fun, but felt filler-y. The other characters are fine, but this is the Junichi and Yukana show (except for Minoru, whose a pedophile and his lust for little girls made me uncomfortable). The show is only 10 episodes, but the only one I didn’t like but understood it’s necessity is episode 9. The penultimate episodes addresses Junichi’s insecurities about dating Yukana when her former friend from middle school, who happens to be a cute boy, takes her out for a reunion. Junichi thinks that this qualifies as Yukana cheating on him because he’s A) a teenage boy, B) in his first relationship, and C) and he’s fairly insecure about himself. Of course, the problem is all in his head, Yukana’s not the type of person who would cheat on him, and he learns to trust Yukana and their relationship more. I mean, the show does out the other boy as a creep to sorta justify Junichi, but the emotional growth still has it’s merits. It’s a solid episode, I just don’t like melodrama. Apart from that, it’s never really explained why Yukana likes Junichi, or why she said yes in the first place. But hey, he did ask, and sometimes that’s enough.

Watch it?: For the dub. And for the heart. And I guess for the pervy stuff, for you pervs out there. (4/5)

MVP: Junichi and Yukana

I’m rooting for ’em

Best Episode: Ep.7 “My First Job” (pervy, but strangely honest of sexual harassment in the workplace).

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Type: It was cute, I guess

Synopsis: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is about Miss Kobayashi who one day gets a maid that happens to be a dragon. Later on more dragons come to live in her general area, each attaching themselves to a local human. Sometimes it explores the themes of social discrimination and the existentialist crisis of immortality, but its mostly about a lesbian couple raising a little girl, with one of them acting like a maid. 

Pros: Dragon Maid hits everything I would want from an anime. It’s a cute comedy about silly people doing silly things. The three main draw are Kobayashi, her maid Tohru, and the little dragon Kanna. Kobayashi plays the straight-man to Tohru’s enthusiastic personality, while Tohru is there mainly to be a cute little girl. What the show does really well is portray the effects each characters have on each other. Kobayashi starts off an an emotionally distant office worker, nice but not affectionate, but Tohru helps her make a connection that allows her explore her feelings more, even to herself. Tohru starts off a drifter with trust issues, but after meeting Kobayashi you see that all she really wants out of life is to belong to something and to someone. And Kanna…well Kanna just needed a Mom to look after her. This relationship theme is explored in each of the dragon/human pairing, and is the real core of the series as a whole.

Cons: “It was cute, I guess” is kinda the sentiment I have after watching the show. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it not revolutionary. It’s a slice of life show where sometimes the characters feel a little down, but then get cheered up by their significant other. Had I watched this a lot earlier in my anime career, I probably would be gushing all over it. Because it is funny. Tohru’s jumps from enthusiastic maid to human hating hell beast is hilarious. And it is really cute. Kanna’s desire to go to school to her obliviousness over her friend Riku’s crush on her is adorable. I do feel that the show maybe has one too many characters, but I enjoy their interactions when they get to be in a scene together. Reviewer bias aside, the one real negative the show has is the last episode. The sudden appearance of Tohru’s father and her kidnapping, then return, then giant dragon fight all felt out of place and way too generic. In fact, I’d say skip the last episode all together.

Watch it?: Maids never go out of style (4/5)

MVP: Kanna

I just found her very cute

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Troupe Dragon, On Stage! (They Had A Troupe Name, Huh)” [a funny ensemble episode]

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