Tag Archives: Harem

Date A Live (Season 3)

Type: Loli Witch and Spirit-Punisher

Synopsis: This 2019 entry into the Date A Live franchise–record scratch–this thing was made in 2019!? Why? Who asked for this?? That’s five years after the last season, and the animation still looks the same. I get that light novels adaptations tend to be a predictable market, but really? Out of all the other anime that should get a second season, this gets a third. I’m not even mad at Date A Live. It’s a solid show for what it is. I’m just surprised at some of the series that get multiple seasons.

Pros: Again, this season is not bad. Heck, the reasons I watched it is because I knew it would require low energy, be somewhat entertaining, and predictable. And predictable is nice sometimes. Anyway, this season focuses on two characters: the new spirit Natsumi and Origami. The Natsumi Arc, the whole season in general, is really good at building story tension. The Natsumi Arc revolves around the spirit slowing making the main characters disappear until Shido can win her game. Towards the end of the Natsumi Arc, the show shifts into the Origami Arc. This arc finally has Origami have her “Majin-Vegeta” moment, or the moment when the reformed villain reverts back to an antagonist to accomplish their main goal. What follows is a 6 episode time-travel saga where Shido tries his best to save Origami from herself. This arc was unique in that it’s the longest time the series has ever focused on one specific character. We finally get to see the origins of Origami’s intense hatred for spirits. There’s also a twist in this that worked really well, at least for me. This arc does a good job showcasing all the sides of Origami. Her anger towards spirits, her desperation at achieving her goal, and the lengths she’s willing to go. This is an arc where we see a long time supporting character turn against all her friends, abandon her love interest, and ultimately betray herself for revenge. She literally becomes the worst version of herself. This makes it all the more compelling when the main character tries to save her. Because he’s not trying to save some random spirit of the week, he’s trying to save his friend. (Plus, we get to see Shido work with Kurumi again, and that’s always entertaining).

Cons: First, the Natsumi Arc feels a little short. I mean, compared to the other arcs in the series this is relatively normal length, but the Origami Arc consumes a lot of the subsequent episodes. This makes Natsumi feel more like a tag along than a new supporting character. The Natsumi Arc is also used to make a lot of Loli jokes, which I was not a fan of. I should also point out the Nastumi now makes the show have 3 underage girls to ogle. So….yeah. Second, while I praised the Origami Arc for it’s character work, I do have to criticize it for it’s use of time travel. Half the arc has Shido go back in time to help Origami, and then other half has Shido interact in an alternate timeline. This is where the show gets confusing, because Shido basically dies in the past, but is still alive in this new timeline, and despite changing the past all the other story arcs seemed to have happened the same way. The only major difference that the show explores is that the characters never met Origami until the events of the new timeline. And everyone, including Shido, go back to business as usual after effectively becoming time refugees. I say this as someone how loves time travel fiction; unless your narrative conceit is specifically about time travel, be very, very, very cautious about using time travel because once you use that device, you can never take it back. From now on, no matter what happens in the show, in the back of my find I’m ganna be asking “why don’t they just go back in time then?

Watch it: Probably the best arc of the entire series (4/5)

MVP: Origami

I hate you!

Best Episode: “Demon King of Descending Darkness” (p.s. We get a cameo from the the mysterious “Phantom” this season. Turns out, also a teenage girl).

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Date A Live (Season 2)

Type: TWINS (but for like 4 episodes)

Synopsis: In a world were the story forgot about the horrible space quakes destroy cities and ruin families, one man is going to high school with pretty girls. This man is Shido Itsuka, who’s basically the government’s gigalo. His mission? To seduce teenage super-beings and seal their power by making-out. This time, he has to deal with totally hot and totally down twins and a rich and busty bi-sexual idol. Life is just hard sometimes…

Pros: It’s been a minute, and this show did not do a good job jogging my memory. It took a while to remember that this show is about Shido, a high school boy with the unique ability to seal the spirit powers of inter-dimensional female warriors. The season has two main story arcs. The first arc deals with the storm twins, sisters that are in the middle of a heated rivalry. The comedic twist? The girls decide to resolve their rivalry through a seduction contest, with Shido acting as the meat to this fan service sandwich (often literally). The primary amount of fan service comes from this arc. The second arc deal with Diva, an idol with an intense hatred of men and love or women. This leads Shido to dress as a girl for the majority of the arc in an attempt to get closer to Diva, with hilarious results. If you ever wanted to see hot lesbian action, I suggest looking into the various adult websites found online, researching lesbian literature (shout-out to Melissa Brayden), or supporting your local sex workers. Cause this arc is mainly about seeing Shido act like a girl. The season ends in a quais-third arc where Kurumi (the big bad from last season) helps/flirts with Shido to stop Diva and rescue Toka. This was fun as I forgot how fun Kurumi was as a villain. All together, the season is funny, but not a home run.

Cons: This has second season syndrome, which is most often associated with light novel adaptations. You really need to remember who most of these characters are, even the minor supporting cast. As two seasons, the story already has a lot of characters to juggle, especially the military personnel. For a show about Shido and the spirit girls, there are a lot of members of AST, DEM, Ratatoskr we are expected to know and care about. What you have to remember is that this is not a show about Shido living in a house full of super-powered babes. This is a show about Shido being caught in the middle of a three-way military power struggle over the control of Spirit Beings entering our world. That’s what show and author are more interested in. This means that after their initial arc, the spirit beings become side-characters, except for possibly Toka, since she’s Shido’s main love interest and the most powerful spirit in the story. Apart from that, the fan service in the first arc might be a little much, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen twins being used to this extent outside of…research. The second arc was fine, though dovetailing it’s ending with a Toka rescue mission was a little abrupt. Diva herself was a good antagonist in her own right that could have closed off the season.

Watch it?: Sexy twins and a power hungry idol. I can thing of worse stories (4/5).

MVP: Diva (Miku Izayoi)

For a minute, I actually did not know how they are going to stop her.

Best Episode: Ep.03 “Two Wishes” and Ep. 08″The Promise to Keep” (One for ridiculous fan service, and the other for good story beats).

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How Not To Summon a Demon Lord

Type: Helpful PSA or Lewd Cartoon?

Synopsis: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Pros:  How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is about a shut-in computer nerd that gets sucked into a facsimile of his favorite video game. He was accidentally “summoned” by two cute anime girls that double as his personal slaves and grow to love him both emotionally and sexually. The narrative is all too familiar and does nothing to dispel the stigma of Isekai anime as male power fantasy. In our story, the protagonist is the strongest character in the game, he is basically invincible, and everything he says is re-translated into something intimidating/heroic. But the biggest issue is the anime’s portrayal of women.

The story both infatilizes and sexualizes each female character almost to the point of absurdity. Rem, who by all accounts should be the second most powerful character as she houses a demon lord within her, is literally an svelte cat girl who is obviously meant to invoke someone much younger. Not only does she look young, but she has no way to access her powers, and must rely on the protagonist to remove her power through tactile sexual penetration. Putting aside fiction’s general problem with women with power, Rem has no agency in this story. Her biggest decision was summoning the protagonist. The story also revels in scenes where Rem is in pain, which reveals a lot about the author’s sadomasochistic tastes. Then there’s Shera. Shera is the story’s main source of fan service. Where Rem is underdeveloped, Shera is overdeveloped. She is an adolescents, or immature man’s, ideal woman. Bubbly, large breasted, scantly clad, and abundantly amorous. Shera is the story’s biggest missed opportunity. Her entire story arc centered on her decision to break off the the shackles of her culture’s expectations of her to forge her own path. Although she struggles, oftentimes comically, her desire to become an adventurer instead of becoming a queen to bear hears was admirable. Or, at least it would be, if her actions weren’t negated by the story. Because after Shera shares her convictions with the cast and audience, she is immediately brainwashed and kidnapped by her finance, who is also her brother, who tries to break her by having a monster sexually assault her. She only escapes because the protagonist rescues her, and the story even has the gall to make Shera cry for her brother/rapist.

Is How Not to Summon a Demon Lord a sexist show? Yes. This story demonstrates a very problematic view of male and female roles and dynamics. It shows women as weak, childish, sexy, and often times all three. The ultimate example is Klem. THE most powerful being in the story. The ruler of all demons. Who is really a prepubescent girl who loves cookies, yet still wears next to nothing. Her demon form even has large breast in the design, and the protagonist could still hold her off single highhandedly! I know that here is a tendency to give anime the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the sexualization of women. But the excuses of “it’s a different culture,” or “westerners are too prudish,” were trite a decade ago, and cannot detract from what this show truly is: a power fantasy with clearly unequal social hierarchies and unrealistic and problematic sexual relationships.

Cons: [Exhale]…So yeah.

Watch it?: I mean, it was really easy to watch. It binged it in two days. And the show never pretends to be something else. You know upfront what your getting. But the more I thought about it, the creepier it got. (2/5)

MVP: The voice actors

The stuff they had to act through. God bless ’em.

Best Episode: “The Demon Lord Act” (cat ears).

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Student Council’s Discretion Lv.2

Type: Student Council Anime Lv. 2 (really)

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Synopsis: There’s this school that decides on who will rule their student body based on popularity. So naturally everyone in student government is a pretty girl. One seat is open to the person with the highest grades, allowing a pervy dude a seat at the table. Last season, it was revealed that the pervy dude secretly does all the council’s work to allow the girls to goof off. This was done to repay them for helping him out of his depression during his freshman year. Now, all the girls all leaving him, but he has 10 more episodes to help them contribute absolutely nothing to the student body.

Pros: Fun fact, this season actually premiered in 2012, the first year of this very review site. But since it was coming out weekly during that time, I decided to hold off watching it until it was finished. Ah…better late than never? The anime is 10 episodes ( well, it’s really 9 episodes and 1 prequel). The plot is that the student council, or at least all the female members, are leaving. Two are graduating, and two are moving. This puts the protagonist Ken in an awkward position. As revealed in season 1, the only reason he joined the student council was to make sure the girls had fun. His whole “harem master” character is just an act based on the only archetype in fiction who supposedly makes all the girls around him happy (it’s later revealed that he’s actually quite popular in school). It’s dumb, but endearing, and put a lot of his actions in a different perspective. The show itself is still funny, full of parody and references. The emotional arc is the impending student council separation, but it’s never overdone. Each of the girls get a private moment with Ken to tie up loose ends. We even learn about the people involved in Ken’s “cheating” scandal during middle school, which kinda makes you question what exactly was meant by “cheating.” Overall, a good send off for a show that’s a lot more clever than you’d think.

Cons: The show has the classic harem problem of too many girls, too little time. The show has the 4 main female protagonists, but it also has a bunch of supporting characters that take up a lot of time. I may have thought that Ken’s moments with the student council was short and sweet, but other may view it as throwaway and anticlimactic. Speaking of Ken, we get to meet his former love interests, his step-sister Ringo and childhood friend Asuka. They were the girls that Ken “two-timed,” but they describe it so vaguely that I would have liked a proper flashback to their relationship. I know he feels that he broke their hearts, but it’s two years later and they seem pretty happy about it. And finally, I kinda would have liked to see whose going to replace the student council and keep Ken company. But I guess that’s a whole other story.

Watch it?: Yes. It’s so fun watching people waste time (4/5)

MVP: Ken Sugisaki

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It’s all a scam! He’s not that pervy!

Best Episode: Ep.3 “The student council gets a job” (world president!?)

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KonoSuba

Type: “Every moment I live, is agony” -Kazuma Sato

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Synopsis: One day, a kid dies in an extremely hilarious way, as all child deaths tend to go. His spirit is given the chance to reincarnate in a fantasy world, but it turns out any world he lives in will suck. His closest friend is a goddess, who does nothing but build up huge debts and complain. His most powerful ally is a magician who only knows 1 spell that she can only use once. And this most loyal comrade is a beautiful knight…who has a masochism fetish. Only in 2016 could someone be sent to a magical world, be given a harem of beautiful women, and still have to live in a staple full of horse manure.

Pros: KonoSuba was hailed as the best comedy anime of 2016.  And it is. The core group and the show are funny. Go watch it.

Cons: First off, the show is really hard to talk about because it is chalk full of references, running gags, and subtle jokes. This show takes all the potential melodrama or a game/fantasy/light novel series and laughs in the face of it. The characters are selfish, cowardly, pervy, petty, and we love them for it! If I really tried, I could dissect the deep level of parody this show exhibits…Lucky for me I’m doing this for free and thus have no real quality requirement for these reviews. Take it or leave it suckers! (Please don’t leave it, this is all I have!!!!). So instead of detailing the good, let’s focus on the bad. The show is a slice-of-life comedy, with no real end. The show even admits it, calling the season’s 10 episodes a “tutorial.” Except for the first episode and meeting Darkness and Megumin, it’s literally just a bunch of stuff that happened. Some characters show up. Some characters are rushed through. I think the show was working within some limited time and budget constraints. The show would be perfect if it didn’t feel like you were only scratching the surface at a much larger story (though I am strongly tempted to read the light novels, a first for me). I also found Darkness and Megumin a bit one-dimensional in terms of comedy. More so Megumin, as her main joke was that she used up all her magic in a powerful spell, but she can only use it once a day. Noticeably, the show used her spell incantations to eat up some air time. Darkness, on the other hand, is technically a little more complex. She’s a noble knight who not so secretly fantasizes of being ravished and humiliated, or at least beat up by monsters. But she’s also used a fan service, being the stereotypical blonde knight with big boobs. The fan service is pretty good. A little boob centric to be original, though I do love the fact that no one ever mentions that Aqua is going commando. The show’s setting doesn’t change either, being set in city for beginner characters. Though, I suppose this is not different than a show being set in Tokyo or something.

Watch it: Kudos to Aqua’s voice actress, Sora Amamiya, for delivering possibly the best whining I have ever heard in an anime (4/5)

MVP: Aqua

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I never thought I’d say this, but this woman’s tears brought me so much joy

Best Episode: Hell, just watch all of it. (They are all gold).

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Monster Musume

Type: This will save Anime!

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Synopsis: It’s exactly what you think.

Pros: This anime is about a group of monster girls living in the same house with a human as part of a cultural exchange between humanity and monsters. According to the premise, Humans and Monsters are allowed to live with one another, as long as they do not harm one another. This premise actually justifies a lot of the classic harem troupes that pop up in the show. The girls all fall for the main character, Kimihito, because he views them as people first, and is neither disgusted nor overly fascinated by them being half-monster. The shows does a great job showcasing some of the discrimination or unwanted gawking these girls get just for being around “regular” humans. Some critics even argue that this is an allegory for people with handicaps, or even immigrants. What I’m saying is that the show is much smarter than people might initially think. The girls all live under the same roof because the government wants to use their house as a control group for a new marriage law they are trying to pass, which also justifies the Kimihito pursuing a relationship with each monster girl. The animation is also astounding, to a surprising degree. I’m guessing that the “Monster Girl Harem” gimmick convinced the studio to sink most money into the budget. Each of the girls move differently due to their unique designs, with particular care going to Miia, the lamia with a very active snake body. And eagled eyed viewers may notice that Kimihito becomes more handsome whenever he does something kinds or generous, almost as if we’re seeing him from the girl’s point of view. The show also condenses a lot in one episode, something using a two-segment model for story telling. The show even managed to make The MON squad interesting (I usually just skip their chapters in the manga).

Cons: This is ECCHI as F!@$. There is no getting around that. Though not as ecchi as the manga, but this may change in the DVD release. This may very well be softcore hentai from a certain perspective. Because each of the girls is a different type of monster, a lot of pervy stuff derives from their unique physiology. For example, Miia the Lamia sheds her skin like a regular snake, which cause her to make…sounds….when she sheds. Papi the Harpie lays eggs, which causes her to make…sounds….when she’s ready to lay. Cerea needs help cleaning her horse body, causing her to make….sounds…when someones scurbs her backside. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Of course, the regular boob centric jokes are here as well. So the show’s biggest obstacle is that it’s totally NSFW. But I still consider it one of the strongest Harem shows in a long while. (p.s. I also don’t think Mera is a particularly good addition to the crew).

Watch it?: A 5/5 in my heart (4/5)

MVP: Cerea

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I like shy knights

Best Episode: “Everyday Life Under Dangerous Circumstances” (Basically the entire show)

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