Tag Archives: awesome

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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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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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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SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist

Type: NSFW

Synopsis: In a world, where smut has been outlawed. Where phrases like “putting your yogurt tosser into the butter boat” is blaspheme. A world of prudes. A world of abstinence. Only one person will be able to bring back the raunchy. Follow our heroes on their trip towards an uncertain end. THIS SPRING, STAY TUNED FOR HIGH SCHOOL KIDS DISTRIBUTING DIRTY PICTURES AROUND SCHOOL CAMPUS AS A FORM OF PEACEFUL PROTEST.

Pros: Where has this been all my life. Why was I not informed of this anime sooner! What am I…what am I even doing here!? Shimoneta is half brilliant, half stupid, and all parts entertaining. The basic premise is that Japan has outlawed lewdness in all forms, forcing our protagonists to rebel through pervy behavior and inappropriate language. And I mean INAPPROPRIATE. I watched the English Dubb, because sometimes this world is a beautiful place. The words that came out of Ayeme Kajou might be THE filthiest collection of saying that I have ever hear. I did not know that the English language was capable of making that many euphemisms for sex, penises, or vaginas. Aside from the admittedly sophomoric charm of the show’s content (sex, masturbation, etc), the program does have a good message. Kajou’s group, SOX, fights in the name of personal freedom and sexual education. They don’t necessarily want to bring the government down, they just want to be explore the subject of sex without punished. Which is a good thing to say. Sexual education is important. And while issuing every teenager a box of sex toys and a porn subscription isn’t necessarily a good option, neither is pretending that lust doesn’t exist. The show argues as much. You have characters like Fuwa who are so ignorant about sex that they need to study the reproductive habits of bugs to better understand it. Or you get extreme cases like Anna, who becomes a sexual deviant after her first taste of physical romance because she has no background knowledge to help moderate her new urges. And as a side note, I liked the organic relationship that developed between Tanuchiki and Ayeme, especially since it’s based on comradery  and not idealization.

Cons: I mean, this is basically smut. Well, that’s too harsh. I’ll downgrade to softcore porn, not unlike American Pie or Not Another Teen Movie. You know, the classics. Aside from Ayeme’s amazingly dirty dialogue, a lot of the jokes come from Anna. After episode 3, Anna becomes a sex maniac who constantly tries to share her “love nectar” with Tanichiki after an accidental kiss. This girl is so turned on whenever she even sees Tanichiki that she immediately undergoes vasocongestion, causing her to secrete a combination of carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and other acids produced by the normal lactobacillus bacteria. Clean up in aisle 3, am I right! Normally I would say this goes overboard, but given the context of the show, it actually fits right in. I do kind of think that it’s messed up that Tanuchiki losses interest in Anna after her “pure image” is shattered, but the exaggerated nature of her character change makes it work. Story wise, I feel that the last arc involving Gathered Fabric is not very strong, and I didn’t really like them as antagonists. I would have been perfectly happy if the show had followed a scheme-by-scheme narrative.

Watch it?: Does a footlong taste better with mustard on it? (5/5)

MVP: Anna Nishikinomiya

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L-O-V-E  N-E-C-T-O-R.

Best Episode: EP. 1 “Whom Public Order and Morality Serve?” (I have my own favorite [ep4], but I feel that this one tells you everything you need to know about the show)

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My Hero Academia (Season 2)

Type: Also known as That 2017’s Show

Synopsis: You get it, because the television program That 70’s Show was a thing in the 2000’s, and My Hero Academia was really popular in 2017? Yeah? Well…I-I thought I was being clever and, ah, let’s just move on. This is My Hero Academia, also know as HeroAca, Boku No Hero, HeroAcademia, season 2. It’s still pretty good.

Pros: It’s still pretty good. With the season bumped up to 24 episodes, My Hero Academia covers about 3 story arcs. The Sport’s Festival Arc, the Hero Killer Arc, and the Final Exam Arc. While the first season focused on exploring the setting from our protagonist Deku/Midoriya’s point of view, this season focuses on fleshing out the extended cast. Instead of talking about my favorite characters (Froppy is best girl, and Tokoyami is surprising top tier) I’d like to point something out. What this season did very well was establishing a clear and shared goal for each of the supporting characters. Each character want’s to be a “hero,” for their own reasons. While their motivations may differ, they each have the same goal that audience can understand. Who didn’t cry when we learned that Ochako wanted to be a hero to help her family out? Or Todoroki’s whole deal? Hell, I even sympathized with Hitoshi, the guy that wanted to be a hero even though he looks creepy. Normally, a lot of shonen stories reserved having a “dream” to the main characters. And while, realistically, not everyone would want to be King of the Pirates or Hokage, it’s nice to see such a distinct class of characters all striving for the same goal. It makes the comradery between the characters seem more natural. A lot of episodes were about pairing characters together, or contrasting characters against one another. This even happens with the antagonists, as the show introduces fan favorite, Stain, a “hero killer” who’s more of an anti-hero, which is why he clashes with the show’s main villain group. The show also explain more about the power One-For-All, and some implied multi-generational lore, but that’s going to have to wait until season 3.

Cons: The only real not great thing about season 2 was a 10 minutes segments detailing Froggy’s internship in episode 19. It felt filler-y to me. But outside of that, nothing particularly wrong with this season. The intro’s were good. The comedy was on point. The action was well handled. The character moments were incredible. As one of the “it shows” of 2017, don’t expect an artistic masterpiece, or a watershed series or anything. But My Hero Academia continues to be a stellar shonen series.

Watch it?: Yes. Yes you should. (4/5)

MVP: Ochako Uraraka

She really is a good kid.

MVP: Ep.13-18 The Hero Killer Arc (Internships, Team Work, Anti-Hero, it has it all! Plus, I didn’t really talk about it in the review)

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Rumbling Hearts

Type: “Does Everything I do Have to Hurt Someone?”

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Synopsis: Once upon a time there lived a girl named Haruka, who had a best friend named Mitsuki. They both loved a boy named Takayuki very much, but he only loved one of them. Then one day, Haruka fell into a deep sleep and couldn’t wake up. Takayuki’s heart was broken, but Mitsuki helped him but it back together. She never left his side, even though part of his heart still remained with Haruka. What else could she do, she loves him…

Pros: Ok, so real talk. I kinda got into this show. I found this anime soap opera genuinely engaging. Sue me. The basic premise is: Takayuki, Haruka, and Mitsuki are high school friends stuck in a love triangle. Then one day, Haruka gets into an accident and falls into a coma. Takayuki and Mistsuki start dating, even though Takayuki isn’t fully committed. Three years later, Haruka wakes up and causes Takayuki and Mistuki’s relationship to become really strained. That’s basically the gist of it without giving away too much. I would love to explore the subtleties of the show, but that would spoil the experience. The strength of the show comes from the portrayal of Takayuki and Mitsuki, both as individuals and as a couple. More so with Mitsuki, who I found really relatable. You see, when Haruka wakes up, Takayuki basically begins an emotional affair with her. And Mitsuki’s reactions to this are all too understandable. She tries to ignore it, she tries to overcompensate physically and emotionally, she even verges on alcoholism. She spirals as she comes to the realization that the person she loves has stronger feelings for someone else, and probably always did. Both Mitsuki and Takayuki are guilty of trying to cling to the past, with Haruka being a not to subtle living memory that holds them back from the future.

Cons: The show has a good beginning, and a strong ending, but a weak middle. This is because the beginning sets everything up, the ending ties everything together, but the middle has to let the story breath. And it takes long breaths. The middle of the story, about ep4-9, has to show Mistuki and Takayuki’s relationship slowly deteriorate. So you get a lot of awkward silences and montages of everyone looking sad. It’s necessary, but also skimmable. The ending, however, really sticks the landing. So much many character arcs come to a head in ep10-14 that I want to talk about, but it would spoil them!! Even sweet, stereotypical Haruka gets to react to her situation in a realistic manner. The show does have it’s faults. The story is a soap opera, and fairly predictable. All the heroines seem to love Takayuki for because it’s anime and “he’s a nice guy.” But I saw how he lived with Mitsuki, and honestly…he seems like a dick. He’s distant, emotionally self-centered, and rather boring. But dammit if the story’s not engrossing. I partly attribute this to the fact that main cast are all in their early 20’s instead of in high school, so the drama can be taken a little more seriously. Although I do admit that the character designs do make everyone look older than they should. Takayuki and Mistuki are suppose to be 20-21, but they look 25. I watched the English dub, which was great, although Takayuki’s performance came off as a but wooden. I do have to mention, however, that I have never heard the phrase “baby” in the romantic sense this much in an anime before. Since Takayuki and Mistuki are adults in a relationship, they tend to sleep together a few times in the show (nothing explicit pervs!), so the phrase comes up. That’s not a bad thing, it just tickled me a little.

Watch it?: If I even did Anime Audio Commentaries, this show would be one of them (4/5)

MVP: Mitsuki

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You can’t help who you love, and that hurts sometimes.

Best Episode: Ep10-14 The Ending Arc (Though I’m not sure how I feel about Mitsuki and Takayuki’s ultimate fate…)

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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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Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Type: Really, Really, Really Good

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Synopsis: In the ancient land of…Japan? China? Korea?…In the ancient land of South East Fantasy Asia, a female spear wielder is tasked with protecting a young Prince whose been ordered to die due to being possessed by an evil spirit. The bodyguard must now act as guardian and care giver to the young Prince, while also being a generally all around bad-ass.

Pros: This anime is really, really, really good. After watching it for an hour, I immediately looked to see if there was a second season. No such luck, but I did learn that the anime is based on a Japanese fantasy novel series. Amazon here I come. Being based on a novels makes a lot of sense, because the anime’s story is allowed to breath more than your standard action-drama. You can usually guess the story source based on the pacing. Manga anime are typically fast paced. Light-Novel anime are brisk. Visual novel anime have slow start but quickly ramp up. And video game anime are a mess, just a complete mess. But getting back to Moribito, the anime does great job mixing realism with fantasy, almost to the levels of a Miyazaki project. All the characters felt real, and the pre-industrial Japanese-esque setting made their daily lives and struggles come off as more relatable. Their are very few stories in fiction that are confident enough to allow their characters to be the story, not just be part of the story. I found myself being equally entertained by the well done action scenes, to the quieter personal scenes. The protagonist Balsa could be fighting 7 men at once, or explaining how money works, and I’d be enjoying it either way. On the topic of Balsa, can I say how refreshing it was to have a grown-up as the main character in an anime? A single Female grown up at that? One of the first things Balsa says in the series is that she’s almost 30 years old. She is a fully established character by the time we the audience meet her. She’s at the tale end of resolving her personal mission when Chagum the Prince is introduced. Her relationship with Chagum is very well handled, as her duty to look after him evolves into maternal love organically on both ends. I would love giving the anime the series of analytic essays it deserves, but these are meant to be quick. I just say that like all great stories, this anime is filled with notable moments that you can pick out and say: “Remember the fight on the mountain ledge? Or the Gambling scene? Or the attack in the rice patties? Or Chagum’s first fight? Or the visit to the blacksmith? Or Tada’s trip to the spirit world? Or, etc, etc…

Cons: There’s not more of it? That it ended? That it took me this long to get to it? That you’ll want to pay attention? That I’m pretty sure The Legend of Korra might have taking large character points from it? I mean, come on, there are soo may ways this could have gone south. Chagum could have been a whiny rich brat. Balsa, a strong female warrior, could have been given the HBO treatment. A hacky conspiracy plot could have been added. A villain could have been added, Balsa could have been given the “forget being a warrior and be a woman” troupe! But thankfully, not of that happened. Balsa is never objectified, and her being a warrior is treated more as part of who she is rather than some tragic fate. Chagum never acts arrogantly. And the major conflict come more from trying to stop a force of nature than one character trying to gain something. Even the King, the guy who ordered his youngest son dead, did so under the idea that it would protect his nation (and he was totally feeling bad about it). Maybe, maybe the idea of Balsa and Chagum having parallel stories of being protected by someone at a young age is a big too convenient, but that’s just a personal opinion. Overall, this is an anime that anyone can watch and enjoy.

Watch it?: This is why watching anime is the best! (5/5)

MVP: Balsa

vipch0

I’m now a fan of the short spear

Best Episode: Ep.3 “Fight to the Death” (I’ll with excitement, but honestly, the entire thing is great)

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