Tag Archives: Anime

Space Patrol Luluco

Type: To infinity, and beyond!

Synopsis: Wait, wrong space cops. This is actually a story about a normal girl who learns a little lesson about what normal actually means….by having her father be frozen and being forced to work for an understaffed and under trained police force while also sorting out her complex feelings towards her criminal mother and budding sexuality. Normal girl stuff.

Pros: The show is produced by Trigger, everyone’s favorite pseudo-indie anime company. Like, they don’t make millions of dollars, but they can still afford to release season long anime every few years. Anyway, Luluco was their latest anime in 2016. The animation style was a mix between mostly Panty and Stocking and a little Kill La Kill during the action. I think the Kill La Kill song even plays at some point. The show is full of references to other Trigger/Gainax shows, with full blown, and surprising, cameos at a few points. I haven’t talked about the story because Luluco is your typical Trigger side-project farce. Most of Luluco’s adventures are silly stories with a punch-line ending, with the climax being about a girl’s first love. At 10 minutes per episode, it should take you under two hours to finish the whole series.

Cons: I liked the show. Fun plot about space hijinks. It does drags a little in the middle when the Space Pirate shows up, but I’ll forgive it for plot reasons. But I’ll be honest, I wasn’t very enthusiastic while watching it. Maybe I’ve watched too many Trigger/Gainax shows, but the magic just wasn’t there for me. Which is ironic, considering Little Witch Academia cameos. Speaking of, this really felt like a side project. Something for the team to do while finishing Little Witch Academia, Trigger’s actual next anime release. Luluco felt like Trigger’s Greatest Hits: The Anime to me. The show literally ends by fighting an galactic entity who can’t understand emotions! I don’t know, maybe I’m just a jaded old man who can’t remember what it’s like to be a 13 year old girl in love for the first time. I guess time makes fools of us all…

Watch it?: I mean, JUSTICE, right? (4/5)

MVP: Luluco

She got a space bike at the end.

Best Episode: Ep.11 “I Never Knew” (Legends never die!)

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Stigma of the Wind

Type: One story arc (maybe two)

Synopsis: Imagine a show that starts off with a black sheep from an elitist and prideful Japanese family coming home after being exiled for being a “disappointment.” The family happens to be in the middle of a crisis, and naturally targets the black sheep as the culprit, half because he’d likely hold a grudge and half because they’re bullies. But the black sheep isn’t going to take any more of their sh#t, and kicks their asses with his new wind powers.  Because screw Hierarchical social systems! DOWN WITH ELITISM!!–Then it turns out it’s not his fault…and everyone starts hanging out with each other, and ah, goes to the amusement park together. Huh, kinda petered out after the start there.

Pros: This show is based on a light novle. A one story light novel if I’m perfectly honest. And that’s the story of the return of Kazuma, the banished member of the Kannagi family of Fire wielders. Due to his inability to control fire, Kazuma was deemed an embarrassment and kicked out of the family. But a few years later, he comes back as a very powerful wind user. His return happens to be around the time that members of the Kannagi family are being killed by wind magic. The Kannagi’s assume it’s Kazuma, judge him guilty without a trial, and are soundly defeated by him. Worse yet, a few try to get him to turn himself in out of family loyalty, despite being exiled from the family. Jerks! This whole story arc, and the subsequent one involving someone trying to get revenge on Kazuma for something he didn’t do, are really compelling. It introduced a lot of the characters really well, it sets up the conflict as both a fight between family and between tradition, and it explores the idea of how resentment grows from inequality. Episodes 1-7 are watchable. Too bad I can’t say the same for the rest…

Cons: This show his based on a light novel that clearly had 2 thought out story lines, and nothing else. This means that either the author ran out of ideas very quickly, or that the anime writers went off script. Either way, after ep7 the show goes from an exploration of complex family interactions to a light hearted love comedy. Let’s just forget that our entire family was slaughtered and go to the amusement park! I’m sure that will convince the man we gave serious inferiority issues to marry his 18 year old cousin! I mean, now that he’s so strong, we can invite him back to the family no problem! Everything becomes very troupe havey after episode 7. Ayano goes from the headstrong heir of the Kannagi household to a love sick puppy. Kazuma goes from an anti-hero to kinda a brooding trickster? And Ren, well Ren actually become more tolerable. I though for sure he was going to be like a shota-type man child, but he was pretty normal. In any case, the show stagnates after it’s opening, and not amount of useless and unnecessary backstory about a dead chick is going to fix it.

Watch it: “Promise you’ll always protect me,” who says that!? (3/5)

MVP: Kazuma

Prime Kazuma. Not Tsui Ling Kazuma.

Best Episode: Ep1-4 Return of Kazuma Arc (interesting beginning)

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Pop Team Epic (Anime of the Year)

Type: Is this a joke?

Synopsis: No really, is this a joke?

Pros: Pop Team Epic is…Pop Team Epic started as…f#$% it. Pop Team Epic is weird as s#$%.

Cons: Whether or not you like Pop Team Epic will depend on what you think is funny. There are 6 main types of skits. First, regular skits based off the manga. Second, Bob Team Epic, which uses disturbing looking animation that will haunt my nightmares until my last breath. Third, a lovely 3D runner in french. Forth, 8-bit bumpers that parody video games. Fifth, puppet shows and songs. Sixth, the rest. Apparently, the show had various animation studios and voice actors work on it throughout production. The show is actually 15 minutes, but it runs for 30, repeating the episode with different voice actors. The next episode preview is actually parodying love comedies that looks surprisingly disconcertingly interesting to me with “Hoshiiro Girldrop,”

Watch it?: Pop Team Epic isn’t a meme anime. It’s a sh#$post entity given life by our collective consciousness. (5/5)

MVP: Alien Cat

GET OUT OF MY HOUSE ALIEN CAT!!

Best Episode: Not ever going to try (too hard. too weird. f##$ you.)

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My Hero Academia (Season 3)

Type: UNITED STATES SMASH

Synopsis: It starts with U.A. High going on a school trip to the woods that ends with several children being injured and one kidnapping. It continues with several U.A. students attempting to interfere with a complicated and sensitive rescue operation. It finally ends with U.A. giving an exam that give minors licenses to get into fights with maniacs. Hogwarts don’t look so bad now, does it?

Pros: My Hero Academia season 3 kinda fixes every problem I had with season 2. Real talk, given all the hype around season 2, I was a little underwhelmed with the second season. I wasn’t really a big fan of Stain, and the tournament arc was just a tournament arc to me. But this season, man, this season was all that, and a bag of chips. This season had a lot of the hallmarks of the superhero genre that I love. Finally getting out of the school setting, this season explored the world more, and gave more context of what it means to be a hero in this world. We finally get to see Deku actually save a person from a super villain using his superpowers. We see the “death” of an important hero at then hands of a truly evil being. We see how the world reacts to this. However, the most important things this season does is explore the concept of how heroes inspire heroism in others. Over and over again, we see how the heroic actions of certain characters influence other characters to act the same. This, I think, is the true purpose of a hero. To inspire others to be heroes. To show others that they can be a better version of themselves. To show us that even in the darkest, most dire hour, there’s still someone who can save you with a smile on their face, even if that someone has to be yourself.

Cons: The season has a weird non-ending. Like, it doesn’t really have a cliffhanger per say, but a “until next season” sort of ending. Not a fan of that. I like bookends. The show also ends of another school related battle royal. Not a fan of that either, but it does set up a killer final battle for the season. This season also got me to catch up on that manga, which I had been meaning to do for a while now. So it’s actually a pretty good season overall.

Watch it: Honestly, I think it’s the best season yet (4/5)

MVP: The animation directors

Dude, the fights were sick this season!

Best Episode: Ep. 10 “One For All” (I mean, how could I not!)

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Attack on Titan (Season 3)

Type: Oh my god! That’s opening!

Synopsis: What the hell was that!?

Pros: We WILL get to that. Believe me. As for season 3 of Attack on Titan: a lot of things happen. Very quickly in fact. This season of Attack on Titan mainly focuses on a power struggle between the Scouts, the Government, and the Royal Family. It’s only about 12 episodes, but well a lot longer. Like season 2, this season focuses less on the main trio of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, and instead focuses of Krista and Levi. This is the season that expands on Krista and Levi’s backstories, respectively. They’re stories aren’t intertwined (they aren’t long lost twin or anything), but certain characters play important roles in both their pasts. We also get more backstory involving the origins of the titans and the walled city the series takes place in. This season isn’t as action packed as before, but it’s actually a major turning point in the story for various reasons.

Cons: Did you SEE that opening!? What. were. they. thinking. It was one of the most generic, bland, and out of tone openings I’ve ever seen. It’d be like if Evangelion opened to J-pop song. It’s be like if Cowboy Bepop opened to anything that wasn’t jazz. It’s be like if Attack on Titan opened to an uplifting tune about the past and grasping the future. Oh…it did. Huh….man, 2018 was the worst, wasn’t it?

Watch it?: Luckily you can just skip the opening (4/5)

MVP: Krista

Truly a historic performance

Best Episode: Ep. 6-7 “Sin” and “Wish” (We’re in the endgame now)

 

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Aggretsuko (2018)

Type: Working 9 to 5…

Synopsis: An office is a place where dreams come true. Except when you boss is a pig, your supervisor is a snake, and your only real escape is the sweet, sweet release of DEATH….metal.

Pros: Aggretsuko is a pretty great, and pretty short, anime about a young woman working in an office. She faces sexist discrimination from her boss and the daily grind of her work finally gets to her. She decides that the best course of action is to find an alternative. At first she fantasizes about starting her own business with an friend, but then settles on the more traditional, and outdated, plan of getting a husband and becoming a housewife. Despite it’s cutesy demeanor, this is actually a pretty mature show. Not MA mature, but real mature. Aggretsuko has to deal with real world stuff, like a bad boss and feelings of dissatisfaction. She has bills, love problems, and isn’t immediately comfortable with co-workers. I love that we finally get a 25 year old in anime who doesn’t have it all put together. Life isn’t solved at High School graduation, no matter what anime implies. In fact, one of my favorite moments was when two more senior females employees, Gori and Washimi, the goddesses of the company, decide to take Aggrestsuko under their wing a little. For no real reason. They just wanted to get to know her. As someone who’s been fortunate enough to experience the same thing, I loved that they helped get Aggrestsuko out of her shell a little. Every character in this has more layers to their personalities than you first think. Which makes total sense. Despite spending all day with them, do you know what your coworkers are actually like at home? And would your coworkers be surprise that your reading a review about a cartoon made in Japan about animals working in an office? Plus, seeing this cute little red panda go into metal mode was always a delight.  (If you want more, there’s apparently a lot of shorts online)

Cons: No enough metal.

Watch it: YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES (4/5)

MVP: Shin Aggrestuko

Some people have anime, some people have Screamo. We all need a release.

Best Episode: Ep.7 “The Duel”  (Maybe there’s hopes for chauvinists pigs. Then again, maybe not…)

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Devilman Crybaby

Type: A good netflix anime!?

Synopsis: This must be the work of the DEVIL!!! (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Pros: Devilman Crybaby is an adaptation of the 1970’s manga Devilman, which was only like 20 chapters. The anime was released in 2018, and kinda set the tone for what to expect for the year. Ya know, with the apocalypse getting stated and all. But any hoo, the anime is about mild mannered crybaby named Akira whose taken to a sex n’ drug party by his best friend/life partner Ryo. Feeling like the party isn’t living up to his standards, and not wanting Akira to think all drug fueled orgies are lame, Ryo liven things up by going on a murders spree to summon actual demons. Akira ends up merging with one, and the plot kinda goes from there. The main draw for most people will be all the hardcore sex and nudity. And the stellar animation style. I guess. Helmed by Masaaki Yuasa, the anime has a unique and surreal art style that oozes creativity. This is one of those animes that you can just tell the animation crew had enjoyed working on. They really got to flex their talents. Sure, a lot of that went into the sex and gore, but also in the running animations, the family meals, the playful scenes between Akira and Ryo. It’s a visual masterpiece. There’s no getting around that. It’s also a creative showcase. Yuasa and his writers clearly had more freedom on Netflix than with traditional broadcasts. And I’m not just talking about all the breasts and blood. There’s literally a scene where a dud straight up raps for 30 seconds. Speaking of rapping, the show did a good job and modernizing a relatively short mange from the 70’s. Though I suppose since political corruption, public hysteria, and the power of scapegoating haven’t really changed in 50 years, we should really call it a tragedy.

Cons: And Devilman Crybaby is a tragedy. Almost to a predictable degree. By that I mean that Akira/Devilman have to face a new demon of the week every episode. This show also like to add a new story elements to each demon. Which sounds good on paper, but makes the entire story go by really, really, really fast. So some of the emotional punches won’t land depending on your attachment to certain characters. Miki being possessed by a demon is one thing, Akira’s parent’s both dying in the same episode they premiered in is another. Can’t miss someone you barely just met. Some story developments also cross that line from sad to EDGELORD. Aside from Akira’s parents, Miki’s family are also killed. Miki’s little brother turns into a demon that eats his mother. His father, unable to kills his demon boy, is killed by soldiers while trying to protect him. This was a little too much, and I preferred their manga fates more. In the manga, it’s Miki actually dies with her family at the hands of a murderous mob of humans. Not by having a weird running fantasy by the river. In fact, that whole scene worked a lot better in the manga because we don’t actually get to see Miki’s last moments. Like Akira, we only see Miki again when her entire family’s corpses are being paraded on spikes. The shock of that image works a lot better than in ep.9 due to the surprise of it. And out of every episode, I think ep.9 is the only one that suffered due it’s statues as an anime. Because it’s the only episode that feels like a stereotypical anime episode, and Miki is honestly the most anime characters in the series. She’s the typical good at everything. Which is kinda a shame. Not that I wanted her to be like her manga counterpart. That Miki was lame. Literally became Akira’s love lore groupie after his transformation. But I kinda wish they had kept some of her more lascivious qualities. For example, in the early parts of the show Miki is involved with a way older journalist. We don’t know what the nature of their relationship is exactly, though she does feel comfortable enough to shower in his house, but the implications were enough to add a layer of complexity to Miki’s good girl persona. But after that, Miki becomes just “the girl” to be honest…You know, for being one of the best anime of the year, I probably should have talked about things like religious metaphors and the nature of good and evil and all that. But enough people can and have analyzed every episode. SoI’d rather still complain about Ep.9 and Miki’s character. To summarize: The show sometimes goes too fast, some deaths and revelations seem unimportant, ep.9 is generic and dilutes an iconic moment, Miki could have been better, the English voice cast is a little wooden, and there is seriously a LOT of sex and violence in this. I cannot stress this enough. A LOT of sex and violence.

Watch it: I’d like to mention that I preferred Akira and Ryo’s characterization in this. Akira still remained a pretty good guy after becoming a devil man, and Ryo was more analytical (instead of being Mr. and Mr. Tough Cool guy in the manga) (5/5)

MVP: The animation

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS SHOW??

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “I Need You” (A lazy answer, I admit, but if your going to start, you should start here).

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High School DxD Hero

Type: This show is stupid

Synopsis: I loved ever minute of it!

Pros: Just by looking at it, you should know what to expect from High School DxD Hero. It’s a comedy-action show about a pervy high school boy how became a thrall for the buxom student body president whose also a high class demon. Being the fourth season, a lot of things have changed from episode 1. Issei, our protagonist, has gone from an unknown servant to a famous warrior. He’s also now treated as one of the most eligible bachelors in the underground. All the main female characters have gone through their individual arcs, and are in total love with Issei. This is so pronounced, that most of the characters will immediately enter a room and strip in front of Issei. That’s right! The pretenses are over. It’s basically naked boob town every episode. Now, normally, I would decry a show leaning mostly on fan service as lazy at best, and misogamist at worst. But High School DxD has always been very honest about what it is. It’s a fan service show where the protagonist gets powered up by grabbing breasts. That there’s a certain…nobility in it’s honesty. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Cons: That being said, this show is one big a lazy boob joke. Now that all the characters arc have ended with the girls falling in love with Issei, I feel that the fan service has gotten a bit lazy. Akeno isn’t quite the tease anymore. Koneko isn’t as annoyed anymore. Asia isn’t as shy anymore. As one character said, “you see their boob’s every night Issei! Why are you still trying to sneak a peak?”  I mean, real talk, there was a scene were these girls found Issei in a room, started a conversation, stripped naked, and then continued their conversation. It’s pretty much soft core hentai at this point. In addition, besides Issei, no other character gets any character development. The cast is now mostly there for fan service. Story wise, we get two arcs: The Kyoto Arc and the Rating Game Arc. The Kyoto Arc was pretty good, as we got to see Issei in a leadership role, which really reminded you of his growth as a characters. The Rating Game Arc was less interesting, as it was mostly a tournament arc with no real stakes. Issei did get a powerup, but mostly out of pride than anything. However, this arc does get points for developing Issei and Rias’s relationship. (p.s. The animation style changed, but I don’t mind!)

Watch it?: Even though a lot of fun characters didn’t get to do anything, it’s still a fun watch for the English translation alone (3/5)

MVP: Issei

Boobielingual. Yeah. That’s a major plot device this season.

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “A Girl’s Heart is Complicated” (the turning point for the season)

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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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