Tag Archives: awesome

Yona of the Dawn

Type: I don’t want to write about this…

Synopsis: Because writing about it means it has to end. And I don’t want it to end! Yona of the Dawn is really good, but it only got 2 seasons! It’s a crime against nature I say! This anime is about a young princess whose father is killed in a coup d’etat by her crush/cousin. On the run, the princess seeks the help of four legendary dragon warriors to take back her home.

Pros: Damn man. I was not expecting this to be this good. The quality of this anime surprise me. When I saw the OP, I thought it was going to be some sort of reverse harem show. But in actuality, its a social-political action drama with good comedy bits and romantic subplots. Where the show shines is in it’s titular character, Yona. At the start of the series, Yona is your stereotypical princess. She is sheltered, naive, a little spoiled, and her biggest worry is whether or not she look nice for her cousin Su-Won. Then Yona witnesses Su-Won kill her father, forcing her to run for her life alongside her bodyguard/childhood friend Huk. Traveling with Huk causes Yona to realize that her kingdom was suffering under her father’s rule, making confront her own responsibilities to her people. Yona’s character growth from a dependent girl to capable young woman was the best element of the story. And the show handles that pacing very well. The anime opens with a confident Yona leading her friends into battle. We as the audience get a taste of who Yona will be, and get to see her become that person. Through a gradual process, we see Yona decide for herself to be more assertive, to train herself, and to expand her viewpoint. The story is basically Yona deciding to embrace her own agency. So many other anime would have just let Yona be protected by Huk, or her other guardians. But the show makes it a point to have Yona argue against that. She loves her friends, but she is determined to stand on her own two feat. Yona wins over her friends not only through her kindness and empathy, but also through her determination and bravery. She doesn’t just earn their loyalty, she earns their respect. Yona is a great character, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be devouring the manga now.

Cons: There are two main weaknesses for this anime. First, I don’t think the mystical aspect of the plot was needed. In the story, Yona is suggested to be the reincarnation of the “Crimson King,” the mythical ruler that founded the kingdom and was guarded by four dragon warriors. When Yona escapes capture, it suggested that she find these four dragon warriors to avenge herself. Most of the show is Yona looking for the four dragon warriors (well, three of them. The yellow dragon shows up in the very last episode). While I understand that this was the narrative tool used to form Yona’s harem, I think it complicates things a little. But that’s just me. On the plus side you have a boy for all tastes: protective, devoted, shy, flirty, or pretty. No, the real problem is that this show only covers the beginning arcs of the manga. So all 24 episodes are about getting the crew together, so they never get to fight as a unit like in the intro. The crew is also very Yona-centric, so you never get to hear their opinions about the kingdom itself (outside of Yoon). This is a shame because what the show does really well is depicting the rationale behind the King’s assassination. Yona’s father was a pacifist, and a good enough man to earn Huk’s respect, but by all accounts he was an inept ruler. His passivity caused his people to suffer and earned him little in terms of mourners. Seeing Yona battle with the fact that her father was a good man but a bad king was very interesting, and I wish the other characters could have commented on that as well. Basically, the worst part about this show is that there isn’t more of it…and that all the male characters fall into troupes after their introduction, the OP is weak and strangely ignores Yoon, we spent 3 episodes on Su-Won instead of on the yellow dragon, and OH MY GOD YONA, Huk has been trying to kiss you for 15 episodes now!

Watch it?: Yona is who I want to be when I grow up (4/5)

MVP: Yona

My queen!

Best Episode: Ep.1-6 The Princess Yona Arc (From Sansa Stark season 1 to Sansa Stark season 8).

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Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Season 2) [Anime of the Year]

Type: Hey Hey!

Synopsis: Love still never changes does it? Fundamentally, this show is still about two high school kids who are too shy to tell each other about their feelings. That’s the joke. Only this season also has a student body election and tragic back story in it.

Pros: The fact that this was able to come out in 2020 in the middle of the world ending was pretty nice. Gave us all a few weeks of solace. Apart from that, the show is still fantastically directed and animated. Comedy with high quality action will always be my favorite genre. The show sticks with the segment format, so it feel like you’re getting a lot of story in only 12 episodes. The show has two main story arcs: The student body election and Ishigami’s backstory. Both are well done, and blend well with the comedic bits. By this point, the characters are all well defined, so little moments of character growth just add to the whole. We get to meet Shirogane’s sister and father. Kaguya learns to deal with her reactions. Ishigami’s back story is showcase. Hayasaka broke the internet for a while. And we’re introduced to a new character, Miko. In this season, we get to see the “world” of the anime expand a little, which highlights the strong character work from the source material and adaptation. No character feels unimportant or one-dimensional, which Love is War’s biggest strength (P.s. The manga’s also pretty good. I read it between seasons. Go read it!).

Cons: My biggest beef with the show was probably it’s episode order. Which in hindsight even I’m reconsidering because those first two episodes are hilarious. But I just found it weird that the third episode suddenly reveals that the Student Council’s term in office is ending. Although it’s used to set up the next story arc, it feels like something that should have happened at the end of season 1. The student council is ending, Kaguya “confesses” that she wants Shirogane to still be president, and we get a sweet moment before season 2. But hey, that’s more of a minor complaint that show ruiner. This show is great. The characters were great. Hayasaka was cute as a button in her attempts to “seduce” Shirogane. Kei’s rebellious phase was hilarious and Papa Shirogane is just about who I expected him to be. Miko is a welcome edition, as her shy demeanor mixes well with her Frank Grimes-like reaction to the council’s antics. And of course, Ishigami’s backstory was both tragic and uplifting, and made this old weeb tear up. I haven’t Chika because Chika is still Chika, and Chika is the best. I almost want to say that the thing that suffers the most if the main romance between Shirogane and Kaguya, but then I remember the moon scene, the manga scene, the check-up scene, etc, etc. Trust me, those two kids get more of their fair share of romantic mishaps. This anime is another strong season from a strong story.

Watch it?: I would be surprised if you haven’t already (5/5)

MVP: The Student Council

Which is cheating because it’s the whole cast, but they really come off as friends.

Best Episode: “I Want to Make Miko Iino Smile” or “Yu Ishigami Closes His Eyes, Part 3″ in Ep.11 (But personally I like Ep. 4’s Ai Hayasaka Wants Him to Fall for Her” and Ep. 3’s “Miyuki Shirogane Wants to Gaze at the Moon”)

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DBZ Abridged

Type: It was the hype!!

Synopsis: It was hilarious, and we will all quote everything it said.

Pros: Dragon Ball Z: Abridged is probably the best anime abridged series in the history of the medium. It’s certainly the standard bearer. I say this with no hyperbole. For over 10 years, Team Four Star created one of the funniest, silliest, and weirdly emotionally resonant parodies on the internet. I think that a part of being a fan is secretly wishing to add to your fandom, at least a little. Team Four Star lived out that dream. Not only did they get to play around with the Dragon Ball Z characters, they made one of the best entries in the franchise. This may sound odd, but I would argue that DBZ: Abridged is the best way to ingest Dragon Ball after the original airing. DBZ: Abridged acts as a loving reflection of all the horribly funny inconsistencies in the greatest shonen story of all time. How many of us witnessed the Saiyan, Freeza, and Cell Saga and thought: Ya know, Goku is kinda a bad father, Piccolo is much better…I wonder what the human Z-fighters think about all these Super Saiyans running around…Now that I think about it, PoPo probably is some sort of Eldritch horror. But in all seriousness, I think that DBZ’s greatest legacy is that for a group of fans, myself included, it kept the Dragon Ball flame lit during some very dark times. It was a 10 years gap between Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. This show started in 2008. The abridged series made me fall in love with Dragon Ball Z again, and got me excited for new entries like Dragon Ball Super and DBZ Fighters. I guess it’s a little poetic that DBZ abridged is ending right as Dragon Ball got another resurgence. After reigniting passions for the franchise, making it’s own mark on the industry, and even creating it’s own lore, it was time to move on. Team Four Star made us laugh and care about Dragon Ball again, and they did it there way.

Cons: After reading all that, you might be wondering: What the hell is Dragon Ball Z Abridged? To which I say: You go some attitude mister. DBZ: Abridged was an online video parody series about the story and characters of Dragon Ball Z. The show covers every episode and plot-line from the original show in a condensed, often satirical version. Everything is more or less the same, just bent or twisted for comedic effect. For example, in the show Guru of Namek is still the ruler of the Namekians, but he’s also an asshole and war criminal. Piccolo is still a stoic warrior, but also a bit of a tsundere. Some characters veer off their beaten track, and others go way off. Looking at you Mr. Popo. Despite my love and gratitude of this show, it’s not perfect in any way. The early episodes are rough, and the joke very in quality. There are some very lazy dick and drug jokes. I would say that this show, on average, is about at a mid-2000’s Adult Swim level of comedy. It’s stupid funny. That could be a compliment or an insult, depending on the episode.

Watch it: A must for DBZ fans! (5/5)

MVP: Team Four Star

Now they can live their own lives, and make their own futures.

Best Episode: Ep. 60, Part 1-3 (They were perfect).

 

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Mob Psycho 100 (Season 2) [Anime of the Year]

Type: From the creators of Mob Psycho 100 (season 1)!

Synopsis: Still trying to become better at social interactions, in case he accidentally walks into a dinner party, our main character Shigeo Kageyama continues to try to lead a normal life. And happily, he’s gotten a little better at it. He’s may not be running 10k marathons every week, but he’s a gotten more confident, made a few new friends, and has started to realize what kind of person he is. Dare I say it, but I think our little walking embodiment of unknowable power is starting to grow up.

Pros: Season 2 of Mob Psycho 100 is a much a continuation of season one as it is an organic evolution of that season. The season is slit into two main story arcs. The first arc deals with Mob’s everyday life at school and work. While this half may seem a little show at first, it’s actually a great way to showcase Mob’s personal growth. These episodes show that Mob is not a timid as he use to me, as his experiences allow him to become his own person. This is showcased the most in his relationship with Regan, his mentor, which is explored in Episodes 6 and 7, the best episodes in terms of character work. But don’t worry action fans! This season is still chock full of gloriously directed and animated actions scenes. There’s an amazing scene in Episode 5, or you can just go to Episodes 8-13, the second half of the show. This part of the show has Mob confront the mastermind behind the villainous CLAW organization. The second half of the show is where you want to go to if you want to see over the top psychic battles created by masters of the genre.

Cons: There are no cons. Instead, I’d like to use this section to talk more about Mob. What I realized throughout watching this show is that Mob may be one of the best anime protagonists in modern times. The character of Mob works because the ONE the author and the anime writers were able to convey Mob’s inner strength very effectively. It’s a slow burn, as we see Mob go from a shy and quiet boy to an empathetic and self-confident young man. In a great twist, Mob grows as a person in spite of his powers. In a lot of anime, we see some sort of “hidden power” be the avenue through which a character gains self-confidence. But Mob does not rest on the laurels of innate talent, and instead choose to develop in areas the he considers important. In fact, the show actively portrays those that rely solely on their natural talent as the villains. What sets Mob apart is that he put in a lot of effort to become physically stronger, he puts in a lot of effort to understand people, and this effort pays off in the form of personal growth and social recognition. Notice that in this season, Mob defeats two of the most powerful espers in the series not by overwhelming them with power, but by touching their spirits. His inner strength is is greatest asset. Mob joins the pantheon of great heroes not because he’s an all powerful warrior, but because he’s a good man.

Watch it: One of the best anime of the decade (5/5)

MVP: Shigeo Kageyama

98, 99, 100,…??????

Best Episode: Ep.6-7 The Reagan Arc (maybe not a flashy, but damn effective)

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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…)

 

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Little Witch Academia (Series)

Type: Believe in the you that believes in yourself, that’s the true magic.

Synopsis: Akko has a dream, to kill all hu–, oops, wrong show. I mean, Akko has a dream, to meet her Idol, becomes best friends, and revitalize the magic industry together. It’s basically the story of an obsessive fangirl trying to make her delusions a reality. But in the nicest, most welcoming sort of way that you can’t help but root for her.

Pros: Amazing. It’s Amazing. It’s also stupendous, terrific, astounding, inspiring, marvelous, wonderful, excellent, sensational, superb, great, first rate, dazzling, and, dare I say it, magical. It’s the first Trigger show, scratch that, the first anime show in a long time that I could easily recommend to everyone, any age and any background. The show follows Akko, a in student at a prestigious magical school as she tries to learn magic to live up to her idol, Shiny Chariot. The first half of the series focuses more of Akko’s day to day life, her struggles in class, and her relationship with her roommates and friends. One of the things I was immediately impressed by how true to life Akko’s portrayal was. Because Akko is shown to be airheaded, lazy, heastrong, whiny, petty, but also brave, kind, and empathetic. An actually teenager. You can laugh at her one minute, but be inspired by her the next (ex: That scene by the fountain. Wow!). Her friends are also a great addition, and each character gets at least one spotlight episode to explore there character. I personally liked Sucy’s spotlight episode and her Eternal Sunshine-esque adventure. The second half of the series focuses more on the search for the Seven Magical Words, and moves the spotlight into some of the more auxiliary characters. Overall, this is the type of show that makes me happy to be an anime fan. This is the type of show that I could realistically give to my 5 year old niece, and/or her mother, and/or her grandfather, without any reservations about the content of reaction to it. It’s a truly all-ages property, joining the rank of Ghibli movies. It’s one of Trigger’s best shows, I would argue the BEST up till now, and a true spiritual successor to Gainax’s Gurren Lagann.

Cons:…maybe Croix. Professor Croix is the series antagonist that’s introduced halfway through (a traditional Trigger/Gainax mid-season twist). She’s not really too imposing, nor that interesting. Unfortunately, we never get a spotlight for her, making her feel more distant than the other characters. I also feel that the teachers at the school weren’t given the proper “cool guy” moment that I expected them to have. I did, however, like how the school’s business side was handled. The world in the anime knows magic exists, but no longer believe in it due to the rise of science and technology. Kinda like Tinker Bell, magic gets weaker the less people believe in it. So magic is kinda on it’s last legs when Akko shows up. And, I guess another negative is that you can’t binge watch it. Or shouldn’t, at least. It’s too good. You have to watch each episode one by one. YOU HAVE TO.

Watch it?: Officially on my Top 10 Favorite anime list. (6/5)

MVP: Akko

She may be a little witch now, but she’ll be shiny one day!

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Sleeping Sucy” (I am just so happy this went from a Kickstarter show to a full blown production).

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The Vision of Escaflowne

Type: That time Isaac Newton was thwarted by a Japanese teenager

Synopsis: And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling defiers of fate, and their dumb dragon mecha!

Pros: First off, much better than the movie. In fact, the movie is super bad in comparison. This anime is all about a girl that is wisked away into a new land full of knights, and beastmen, and giant robots. One of the strongest things I can say about it is that it’s all very romantic. I don’t mean “romantic” as in a love story, through that is here, but as in the classical definition. There are chivalrous and handsome knights, byron-esque antagonists, evil Empires, dragons (in a sense), and various kings. It made the anime feel like I was watching a classic adventure story. And since this was made in 1996, it kinda is. The show’s premise is that the protagonists are on the run from the evil Zaibach Empire while going Kingdom to Kingdom trying to convince anyone to help them fight back. Along the way, we explore various aspects of the main and supporting cast, from their past to their presents and futures. The show has strong character exploration and character growth. The anime is a shojo¬† adventure story. This doesn’t take away from the action. Every episode or two has a fight scene with Escaflowne, the DRAGON MECHA. But it also explore the emotional turmoil each of the characters face from obvious things like losing an entire country, to smaller things, like your crush flirting with other people. What you get as a result is an anime is great action and great character work that I would argue belongs is the pantheon of great 90’s anime, right along side Cowboy Bebop, DBZ, and Evangelion.

Cons: I actually knew nothing about Escaflowne before watching this. I watched the movie too long ago to remember it, and it has very little to do with the actual anime anyway. After a few episodes, I realized that this obviously a shojo story. For instance, Hitomi is a pretty, but not too pretty, high school runner who was working on getting her first kiss before being sent to a magical land by a abrasive, but ultimately caring, prince. Along the way, she also meets a handsome older knight, forming a love triangle. She also develops a friend group where she’s the moderate, not as pretty or naive as Princess Millerna, but also not as cutesy or bratty as Merle. They get into fight over the boys of the series, with Hitomi obviously being the object of jealousy for her friends. And, of course, Hitomi solve’s all her friends problems just by caring, because she’s that good of a friend. It’s all very shojo (or at least very anime, because a male protagonist would get the same deal). But that’s what kept me going. You get to see what every character is feeling after important events, and each main character experiences a character arc, where they aren’t the same person as their first introduction. Well, except maybe Merle…no, even she learns to let Vann go. Because without all the interpersonal drama, this anime would be convoluted and generic. I still have no idea what the hell was going one with the Emperor’s fate alteration machine, or the whole Mystic Moon (Earth) vs. Gaea origins thing. Like, who came first? Was it us or them? The show kinda loses itself in the whole divination angle, but that’s only one aspect of an otherwise amazing show. It’s the kind of show where you could explore every episode by itself. There’s actually a lot more I’d love to delve into (like Allen and Faulken’s story arcs), but I’d rather you watch this show. It’s that good.

Watch it?: One of the few anime I would recommend taking your time on. Don’t binge. Enjoy the ride. It’s worth it. (5/5)

MVP: Allen Schezar

Handsome. Chivalrous. Brave. Skilled. Give him a Doctor’s License and I can bring him to meet my mother.

Best Episode: Ep. 10-13 The Fried Arc (a little bit of everything that makes the show great)

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King of the Hill (April Fools Day Special!)

Type: Slice-of-Life Americana

Synopsis: The anime focuses on a father trying to deal with the asinine world that surrounds him. His son is a well-meaning otoku in training. His niece is a ditzy neet who can’t go home because her “trailer flipped over.” His best friends are a gun nut, a foodie, and a hentai. And his neighbor considers him his rival for some reason. At least he has his wife…who sometimes goes yandere at the prospect of anyone being better than her. It’s a taihen life, I tell ya h’wat.

Pros: The main difference between Japanese anime and American anime is the audience. Anime, in general, tries to appeal to a younger demographic overall, and a younger male demographic specifically. So even anime meant to appeal to “adults” really appeal to 14-35 year olds who share the same mentalities. That’s why most anime characters are under 30 years old. American anime is a lot of stratified. An anime is either for children or adults, no middle ground. So you get shows like Spongebob or Gumball, which are meant for kids ages 5-11, or shows like The Simpsons or Bob’s Burgers, which is meant for people 24-50. That’s why a show like King of the Hill mainly stars adults in their mid-40’s, and deal with mainly adults subjects. No fake adult like stuff like sleeping around or spreading gossip, but real stuff, like infidelity, financial issues, self-identify, raising a family, and propane and propane accessories. King of the Hill’s strength is it’s realist take on absurdity. A situation where one of the characters feels depressed about letting himself go after high school can escalate into the main characters dodging tank missiles during a war game. A feeling of unease in a marriage can wind up with a character falling to her certain death off a plane. You can, and several people probably can, analyze almost every episode of King of the Hill and find multiple topics of substance. Every King of the Hill story could be filmed in live-action, but it reaches its full potential thanks to animation. It’s a satire of American society during the 2000’s, without ever losing respect for the people that had to live through it.

Cons: That’s not to say that King of the Hill is perfect, or that American anime is superior. For one thing, American anime can’t escape the yoke of comedy. Unlike Japanese anime, which explores almost every genre, American anime only deals in humor. Even bleaker shows like Rick and Morty or Moral Orel still are categorized as dark comedies. King of the Hill probably came the closest at dealing with serious issues in a non-condescending way. That being said, it did so because it was never all that wacky or laugh out loud funny. It was expertly written, don’t get me wrong, but it never really penetrated the zeitgeist like other shows. Some characters also verged on annoying, to the point of polarizing the audience. Peggy Hill’s arrogance was funny at first, but then it became obnoxious. Same with Dale’s paranoia and selfishness. Even Hank’s stubbornness became an issue. I remember one late episode where Hank effectively blackmailed his minister to guarantee reserved seating for his family during sermons. What the hell was that!? I would also like to contradict myself a little by pointing out that despite adhering to realism, the show never aged any of the characters and ended up showing at least 4 Christmas episodes and 3 Thanksgiving episodes. I wish we could have seen Bobby transition from middle school to high school, but the show didn’t want to lose Bobby’s voice actress by aging up his voice. The show also tended to forget certain characters in the later season, namely Connie and Luanne, who got less and less screen time in the last 2-3 seasons. However, despite it flaws, it was still one of the few American tv shows, period, that showed a realistic portrayal of a working class family at the time. And whether you noticed it or not, King of the Hill was always there, and a lot of us wished it always would be.

Watch it: Yep. (5/5)

MVP: Hank Hill

“I hope I never make it to L.A.!” (real talk though, he’s probably one of the best example of how positive and negative masculinity can interact in a person).

Best Season: Season 4 (Miss Liz, Connie’s first period, Peggy and Cotton’s therapy, Randy Travis, just a good combination of all time great episodes) (p.s. Hank! There’s a little state between Hollywood and San Francisco called California, come visit! It promise it’s not all Hippies and Buzzfeed!)

 

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Ping Pong: The Animation

Type: It’s like mini-Tennis

Synopsis: How come Mini-Golf doesn’t get the same respect? Is it because it’s a little goofy? Are we SO afraid to be silly that we can’t endorse something built on fun? Because no one, in the history of Earth, has ever enjoyed Ping Pong. Even the boys in this anime don’t seem to enjoy it. Well, Peco does. Everyone else treats it more like a job, obsession, or personal mission statement. God, Ping Pong sucks. The game, not the anime, which is actually pretty great.

Pros: The big hook for this anime is that it was directed by Masaaki Yuasa, the director behind stuff like Kick-Heart, The Tatami-Galaxy, that one episode of Adventure Time, and 2018’s Devilman Crybaby. The guy’s know for having a unique style to say the least. And that’s the best way to describe this anime. It’s not groundbreaking or revolutionary, but it is unique. There is not other anime out there like it, and that’s surprising given that it follows the sports anime cliches pretty closely. But since it’s based on a Manga, that’s not surprising. The story follows Peco and Smile, two friends on the school’s ping pong team. The arrogant Peco is beaten one day by the new imported ace from a rival school. Humiliated, Peco quits the team for a while, leading his coach to focus on Smile, a talented but reserved person. The story follows their and their rivals’s growth as individuals, using Ping Pong as an analogy for life, like any other sports anime. Peco learns the value of humility and hard work. Smile learns to accept vulnerability and desire. And other players learn other things, like accepting your limits, being part of a team, or learning that fun and drive aren’t segregated concepts. The story’s not complicated, because it focuses on the character’s inner turmoil and conflict, and uses the “dramatic showdowns” to further along the character’s emotional arc.

The animation is the other hook this anime has. It uses a sort of rougher sketch style that accentuates the character’s movements and stances to enforce exaggerated realism. No one really moves or looks perfect. In fact, sometimes characters move and stand oddly. Which is exactly how people move and stand in real life! Everyone in this anime looks different, moves differently, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. For example, Peco moves loosely, while Smile is stiff and a bit uncomfortable. But amazing, both of these character’s postures change to reflect their growth at the end of the series. Seriously, you can compare how each character stands to check how the events of the story affected them. Despite looking obviously drawn, this anime may also be the most realistic looking anime I’ve ever seen. (P.s. A great example of this is the killer opening). I honestly thought this was made in 2017, it’s that good looking.¬† It looks weird enough to scream ANIME, but is well made enough to say Anime. In fact, this is one of the few anime I’d recommend you introduce to any of your non-anime friends or family members.

Cons: I know I talked a lot about stances, but for real. This anime does stances right. Speaking of stance, one draw back about this anime is that there are a lot of still frames where characters just stand around and talk. Or a lot of jump cuts to static action scenes. Classic cost cutting measure. Another thing, I’m aware that I made fund of Ping Pong at the start, but I actually didn’t mind it in this show. The exploration of Ping Pong was entertaining. My personal research (the internet), revealed the Ping Pong is actually pretty ping overseas, particularly East Asia, Europe, and Africa. Not being from there (USA #1!), I don’t really get it, but I liked it nonetheless. I fact, this anime made me realize something: I don’t really hate sports anime. Every sports anime I’ve watched for this site has been enjoyable. I think I only hate The Prince of Tennis. Yeah..Screw you Prince of Tennis!

Watch it: Literally the most fun you’ll have with Table Tennis (5/5)

MVP: Dragon

I’m really glad he mellowed out in the end.

Best Episode: “Yes, My Coach” (the real turning point, though honestly almost any of the episodes could be watch by themselves and be marveled at. It’s that good.)

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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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