Tag Archives: Anime

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Synopsis: Nothing but the slow decline of an outdated business and melancholy over the loss of a potential lover.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

That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime

Type: It was awful I tell’s ya!

Synopsis: Unlike this anime, which is actually delightful. Its kinda like an RPG where your goal is to create alliances with different factions. There’s goblins and orcs and ogres and all sorts of magical creatures. This is the point were I’d make a “joke” about fan service, power fantasy, or a reference to a 1970’s tv show. But to be honest, it’s a really nice show.

Pros: Watching this show made me realize that I really like Isekai that focuses on factions and town management. The other anime that I like in this subgenre are  Overlord and Log Horizon. Overlord, however, is more like a faction RPG with the player taking a “renegade” or “evil” route, while Log Horizon focus a lot more on town management. That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime is a happy compromise between the two. It takes Overlords premise, but deals with it through Log Horizon’s outlook. In the anime, the protagonist Rimuru helps each faction out of a sense of general politeness. He’s basically neutral good bordering on lawful good: he helps when he can, but isn’t out to save the world (as opposed to overlord, who is neutral evil bordering on lawful evil). The best part of the show is seeing how Rimuru and his growing cast of allies interact with new factions, and how their initial conflicts transform into beneficial partnerships. It’s a great show.

Cons: Being an Isekai with a light-hearted tone, you know that the stakes aren’t going to be very high. Despite being a slime, Rimuru is set-up to be an ultra powerful character from episode one. Thus, he won’t really face a challenge he can’t handle. You never really see him worry or stress unless its for comedic effect. His supporting cast might have a hard time, but Rimuru is always there to save the day at the end. Therefore, if you like stories with cliffhanger endings that leave you at the edge of your seat, maybe go watch something else. However, I personally liked this show because if the fact that its stakes were so low. Sometimes you just need a story where the good guy always wins, ya know? Plus, a lot of the emotional highs come from character interactions, not battle resolutions. Speaking of personal tastes, one last little nitpick I have concerns the series’ poster girl, Shizue, or “Shizu.” In the story, Shizu is basically Rimuru’s Uncle Ben or Gwen Stacy. She’s an incredibly influential character whose legacy influences a lot of the story arcs. She also dies very early on. I liked Shizu, but I didn’t like that she was plastered in the show’s OP, ED, and most promotional material. It get the feeling that this was only done because marketing really wanted a Japanese woman as the cover girl (even though the show doesn’t really get started until after she dies! (for obvious reasons)). P.s. I didn’t like that the show was split up into two segments mid season for no real reason.

Watch it?: It’s not a bad slime show! (4/5)

MVP: Shion

I really like her in the manga as Rimuru’s girl friday.

Best Episode: Ep. 09-14 The Orc Lord Saga (I’m actually thinking about reading the rest of the light novels to get caught up. I like the story that much.)

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 , , ,

Castlevania (2017)

Type: Is this really an anime?

Synopsis: I mean really? It’s written by an American and partly produced by American animation studios. It’s also paced and shot like a typical western fantasy. But I guess that since it kinda looks like an anime, we’ll count it. Worked for Avatar.

Pros: The Castlevania “anime” is based on the Castlevania video game. Mostly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. I’ve never played it since Castlevania starts at Symphony of the Night (YEAH, I SAID IT), but the stories pretty good. Dracula gets mad when the church kills his wife, so he unleashed literal hell on humanity. Trevor Belmont, a disillusioned monster hunter, decides to help after a cute girl and even cuter boy talk him into it. The anime touches upon the troupe of hypocritical faith. The church in this show, despite proclaiming the virtues of God, are corrupt and power hungry. Trevor and his crew, meanwhile, are heretics who try to help other people. Not that they don’t have their own ulterior  motives, but they don’t try to hid them behind a mask of benevolence as much as the church does. Being only 4 episodes, the show comes off as more of a cut up movie. Something you would see on Amazon as direct to video. Still, it’s a short fun introduction to the Castlevania mythos.

Cons: For an anime where Dracula unleashes his grief on a country, the scale of the film feels really small. The story is mostly located entirely in a enclosed city. And even then, a lot of the story happens in a specific hut or church. For a show based on a game that revolutionized exploration, there isn’t much movement here. And the ending is a cliffhanger. This show anime is more of a prequel to the original game. There is some fan service, like Alucard and Trevor’s weapons. It also kinda bothers me that Dracula and the priest that killed his wife never had a face to face. But I guess he blamed humanity more than the church. But unless your into the game, or medieval supernatural stories, its may come off as generic or even slow.

Watch it?: It’s only 4 episodes, so give it the 4 episode test. (4/5)

MVP: Dracula

He’s really, really, really angry.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Witchbottle” (Dracula could have just killed the priest. But no, he had to be a drama queen about it).

Tagged , , , ,

Overlord III

Type: “The Isekai where the protagonist is playing as a renegade” –Digibro

Synopsis: I wish I could come up with original material, but it’s 2019.

Pros: But really folks, this quote manages to perfectly summarize why Overlord is different from other Isekai anime. It’s an anime where the main character is playing as the bad guy. Is Ainz’s a bad buy himself? Kinda. Neutral Evil to be honest. This season does an excellent job at demonstrating exactly what kind of campaign Ainz is playing. For example, we return to Carne Village, the first village Ainz visited and defended when he entered the New Word. We get to see how these villagers view Ainz as a benevolent master. On the other hand, we also get a story where Ainz brutally dispatches a group of adventurers after we get a whole episode getting to know. Not to mention his political manipulation of an entire empire to further his own ends. It was in this season that I finally realized that Ainz still sees his current reality as a game, which explains his coldness towards some characters, but warmth towards others. That’s why he’s Neutral Evil. He will destroy anyone to further his own ends (just like a player will kill a character to advance the story), but he still holds some respect and admiration for others.

Cons: If I was going to say anything about this season, its that it goes by very quickly. But I’m not sure that’s really a negative. Season 3 fixes Season 2’s problem by having a coherent narrative all the way through. It’s doesn’t break up the story flow, and each mini-arc goes into the other very well. This season is maybe a little light on action, but I really liked the stuff in Carne Village and the scenes in the Empire. The one real downside, and I do mean downside, is that this season cannot work for you unless you’ve watched Season 1 and 2. It simply has too many characters and storylines that you need to be familiar with to fully enjoy it.

Watch it: A great end to Act 1 of Overlord. (4/5)

MVP: Enri

Hail General Enri!

Best Episode: Ep. 6-8 The Worker Arc (I enjoyed every arc, but this one reminds you what characters we’re really dealing with)

Tagged , , , , ,

Overlord II

Type: Lizard men and Bandit killing

Synopsis: We have two main campaigns here. First is the Lizard Men campaign, where our noble heroes have to defeat a united lizard army. Can our heroes’ vast armies and infinite strength stand up to a bunch of reptiles with pointy sticks? You’ll just have to watch to find out! Second is the 8 Fingers campaign, a side-quest for a butler, a damsel in distress, a couple of bumbling swordsman, and one shade throwing maid. Can they ever get along? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

Pros: Overlord season 2 is a protagonist-less story arc. Think the Shikamaru arc in Naruto, or the Doctor-lite episodes in Doctor Who. This means that our mmorpg nerd/underad lord main character, Ainz Ooal Gown, doesn’t really show up this season. He’s more of a supporting character in these stories. The first half of the season involved a group of Lizard Men who have to deal with Ainz’s forces invading their lands. I liked this arc because it was very reminiscent of older fantasy stories involving alliances between warrior tribes, magic swords, and outcasts heroes. The second arc revolved around Sebas, Ainz’s head butler, as he makes gets caught up in fighting an underground crime syndicate after saving a slave from death. This story was way more of a modern fantasy story: you have a young knight, a weary swoardsman, a sly princess, political games, and a gentleman hero who I may or may not have developed a crush on. Overall, a solid season.

Cons: I forgot to mention, but whoever did the English dialogue deserves a raise, because I loved the proper manner that all the character’s spoke in. It really helped convey a lot of their status and upbringing, as well as they’re regard to certain other characters. That being said, the action, while there, isn’t really something to write home about. It’s pretty generic fantasy fighting. A few swords slashes, a magic spell here and there, but nothing amazing. I can also imagine that some people won’t be syked that Ainz takes a back seat this season. I think it works really well, but people do watch this show to see the Overlord, not a bunch of lizards of their butler. In addition, the story doesn’t to a great job transitioning between story arcs. One episodes ends one arc, another begins the next. It’s a little jarring. However, this show does an incredible job of juggling new characters and giving them each a personality you can care about.

Watch it?: It’s would be an afront to the great Ainz Ooal Gown not to! (4/5)

MVP: Sebas

Daddy. (D-Did I do it right?)

Best Episode: Ep. 5 “The Freezing God” & Ep. 8 “A Boy’s Feeling” (one has the best joke’s I’ve seen in a while, and the other makes me want a spin-off)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Overlord

Type: A horrible nightmare for some, an opportunity for others.

Synopsis: A complete nerd that spent 12 YEARS on an online MMORPG has to sadly say good-bye to his friends as the servers are being shut down. As he closes his eyes to feel the sweet relief of digital death, he discovers the he is now stuck in the game. The game where’s he’s an over-leveled sorcerer, and commands other over-leveled characters, some of whom are hot babes that want to literally jump his bones (he’s a skeleton). Man, if I wasn’t such a huge nerd in other areas, I’d give MMORPG’s a try. According to anime, there’s no downside!

Pros: So this is an Isekai series…sit down DAMMIT! Or I’ll never give you the launch codes! Anyway, this one’s gimmick is that the character is stuck in a non-human body and is in charge of a crew of boss tier NPCs. Since the main character, Momonga, is the only player character still in the original game, the story takes him to another country. Kinda like an expansion pack map (or DLC for you kids out there). The two main plots are Momonga slowly gaining influence in the new country, while also trying to discover if any of his friends are also in the game. What I liked about this Isekai show is that Momonga is stuck in his player avatar, which is a huge skeleton, and how he basically starts to become his character, like become more indifferent towards other humans, and how something or someone is preventing him from losing his temper. And since he’s a character that’s been leveled up over 12 years, it makes sense that he’s so overpowered. Plus, Momonga’s tendency to reminisce about his past friends gives his characters an extra layer of sympathy.

Cons: Momonga’s general’s aren’t anything to write home about. They’re basically a mix of different troupes that, in fairness, seem like a group made by a bunch of MMO junkies. Even Albedo, the poster girl, isn’t that deep. Just your basic devoted demon. The best part of the anime are the first 1-4, which serve as an introduction to the series and help flesh out Momonga’s character. Episode 5-13 sadly move away from Momonga’s palace and deal with a local adventurer’s guild and church baddies. It ends with a battle against one of his generals (who’ve been brainwashed). Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Literally. And obviously, any fight involving Momonga has no stakes because you know that he’ll win, but sometimes having a show like isn’t a bad thing.

Watch it?: Depends on your tastes. (3/5)

MVP: Momonga

All hail the overlord!

Best Episode: Ep. 4 “Ruler of Death” (battle!)

Tagged , , , , , ,

Girls und Panzer der Film

Type: How can my murder machines be so cute!?

Synopsis: It’s like Bend It Like Beckham, but with tanks, and different characters, and an unrelated plot. Maybe this analogy doesn’t work anymore.

Pros: This is a moe-military anime that I had no idea was given a film. Well, I say “film,” but it’s really more like a long OVA, or a pseudo-second season. The story is that the girls at Ooarai Girls High School are on top of the world, until the MAN tells them that the school that lets them use live ammo to attack each other in war games will be closed down. Kill joys. The girls then go through a sort of graduation/splitting up story, where we get to see our cute main characters act cute about leaving behind the only friends they’ve ever had. Aww, their lives are breaking apart. How kawaii. Any who, they girls get a change to win their school back competing against a college war tank team. It’s pretty unfair, but it does give us a pretty awesome 20 min skirmish that included the multi-national characters introduced during the series (clearly the focus of the animations team’s time and money). I feel that I’m underselling this. If your a fan of this series, then the return characters, the interactions between the main cast due to the threat of splitting up, and the final battle are all for you.

Cons: It doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels like a long TV episode. This is partly because a lot of the events happen close enough to each other to feel rushed, but not spaced out enough to build mood. It basically goes: The girls are told their school is closed, the girls are given temporary lodgings and feel sad, they spend a day doing nothing, they get the news they have chance to save their school, they have a competition and win. The end. The antagonist, or rather the big challenger in the film, is also underdeveloped. She’s a loli/quiet character whose mostly used as the focus of personality for the college tank team, who are severely lacking in charisma. It’s almost like the writers have no interest in physically developed grown women and would rather focus more on young, sometimes underdeveloped, high school girls….

Watch it?: I was this during Fanime 2018! So maybe.

MVP:The Italian team

Clever tactics.

Best moment: The Italian team’s battle scene. (what a maneuver!)

Tagged , , , ,

KonoSuba (Season 2)

Type: “It hurts so good!” – Dustiness Ford Lalatina

Synopsis: We’ve all been in this situation. You have a great job, are surrounded by beautiful people, and are generally successful at what you do. Only to have the job basically kill you. Have all the beautiful people have terrible personalities. And have all your success lead to an arrest warrant, major debt, and religious arguments. At least you house wasn’t taken away (just the furniture).

Pros: KonoSuba season 2 follows almost immediately after the first season. Kazuma and the gang are put on probation for suspicion of working with the Demon King, and have to pay off all the damages they caused while saving the city at the end of the first season. That’s the first half of the season. The second half revolves around a trip to a hot springs city that worships Aqua, and the predictable trouble that causes. The benefit of watching KonoSuba this time around was that I got a better appreciation for the characters and their stories, mainly because I got to interact with them more. The first season went by so fast and had to much hype surrounding it, that it fell a little flat for me. Not so with season two. The first half gives you a nice, weekly adventure that doubles as spotlight episodes for the characters, thus allowing yourself to re-familiarize yourself. The second half gives you a more traditional arc. Overall, this second season has the advantage of having all the characters already established, thus allowing it to do more with them. It left me wanting more in a good way, so I hope it gets another season, or else I’m going to have to seriously consider breaking with my own habits and start reading the light novel.

Cons: There are a few little things I don’t think land. The characters of Yunyun and Vanir aren’t especially funny. Yunyun’s kinda meh. And Vanir feels derivative. I also think the Darkness jokes are kinda lazy. Not the sadism ones. Those are always gold. But her spotlight episode, Ep.4 “A Betrothed for this Noble Daughter” focused too much on fan service and came off as lazy. We get it, she’s the blond with big boobs, can we move on now? I also feel that maybe the whole season ended a little anticlimactically. The battle with another demon general was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but everyone just going home to have some tea without a punch line was maybe to the ideal way to end it. Just my opinion.

Watch it?: A solid sophomore effort. I burned through it rather quickly. (4/5)

MVP: Kazuma

Yes, he’s Kazuma.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Give Me Deliverance from this Judicial Injustice!” (I mean, he did steal those panties…)

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer

Type: From the director of Ghost in the Shell.

Synopsis: Like for real. The guy’s name is Mamoru Oshii. Man, the anime industry is a small world sometimes.

Pros: Finally! I got to experience Urusei Yatsura. Or should I say, the first time I got to experience Lum. The original magic pixie magical alien dream girlfriend. She was…fine. Cute, I guess. The story overall was pretty funny. The cast is trying to get ready for the school festival, but then realize they’re stuck in a time loop. There experiencing the same day over and over again while the city around them ages. How long have they been in the time loop? Who can say. But its clearly been a while. The characters were all fun, and I got interested in finding more Urusei Yatsura material for the future. But the real selling point is the animation. As the film goes one, you could just tell that the animators were flexing their creative muscles. We got shadows, tracking shots, long shots, looping scenes, high speed movement, intricate body work, small but noticeable twitches, etc. It a great movie to make a trailer with. A great movie to make a slide reel out of. And it was made in 1984! If you’re an animation geek, you’ll enjoy this one.

Cons: So it turns out that the time loop is caused by a dream demon who wants to create his own world. He uses Lum’s ideal world as a foundation. What kinda sucks is that the finale focuses on the dream demon and Ataru, the male protagonist of the manga series. But he’s a protagonist who doesn’t really do much in the movie. He’s more of a side character, with Mendou and Sakura acting more as the driving force of the film. I found Ataru move annoying than endearing, so his showdown with the demon didn’t land for me. That being said, I wouldn’t mind watching more of this.

Watch it: An enjoyable 100 minutes or so.

MVP: The animation

The school scene or space scene. Both amazing.

Best moment: The school blackout scene. (just show off why don’t you!)

 

Tagged , , , , ,