Tag Archives: Isekai

Overlord II

Type: Lizard men and Bandit killing

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

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

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

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

MVP: Sebas

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

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

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Overlord

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

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

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

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

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

MVP: Momonga

All hail the overlord!

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

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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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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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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 (2/5)

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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Saga of Tanya the Evil

Type: Lil’Hitler, she’s such a scamp!

Synopsis: A cut-throat Japanese salary man is murdered on day by a disgruntled employee. It’s at this moment that he’s confronted by God, who he refuses to acknowledged. This starts a frankly pretty feud between the two that results in the salary man being reincarnated as a cute little blond girl in the middle of Nazi Germany. Well, technically it’s a parallel world where magic exists, but let’s be real here. We’re watching a show about Nazis. Now named Tanya, the young Nazi tries her best to land a cushy military job and spit in “Being X’s” smug face, only the be constantly sent to the front lines because she’s too good at the job. It’s almost like she’s truly blessed

Pros: In defense of a show about Nazis…yeah, ganna have to rethink that sentence. In defense of a show about a psychotic little girl, the title of the show does contain the word “Evil” in it. We are not watching a show about good guys here. The show basically depicts the invasion of France (and possibly Czechoslovakia or Poland) by Nazi forces. But to the show’s credit, we as an audience kinda forget that early on. Each of the Nazi’s shown, or “Imperials,” aren’t cartoonist super-villains, they’re soldiers trying to win a war. Even Tanya, the cruelest character here, would rather be a strategist than relish in the violence of battle. And the show never pretends that Tanya’s side is right. In every battle, we see the losing side’s reaction, and the show often comments on the destruction left in Tanya’s wake. All that being said, this is kinda a fun show. Tanya is delightfully evil, and her exaggerated actions are balanced well by her cutesy design. Tanya is adorable. Murder and all. And her personal feud with Being X, despite her obvious fate to lose, is hilarious. The show’s not “ha ha” funny, but it is entertaining (except for Tanya’s facial expressions, which are always hilarious).

Cons: Again, the protagonists are Nazis…so, yeah. I know it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse, but I’d rather be beating a dead Nazi. That was a little aggressive, wasn’t it…ah well, as long as we got a dead Nazi out of it. Story wise, the show has a cliffhanger ending, so either this gets another season or you’d better read the light novels. It was cool that the respective armies in the show had flying mages rather than airplanes. But I felt that a lot of the battles, and most of the setting for that matter, looked the same. Just a mishmash of grey with some city scenes thrown in. At least, as the show progressed. Early on, we got to see Tanya’s rise through the ranks, which was cool. But once she got her battalion, things become a bit stagnant, as story goes into a target, mission, target, mission, cycle. Such is the life of a solider I suppose. Ironically, Tanya seems to forget her original goal of a desk job once she becomes a leader. The only real consistent plot lines are Tanya’s feud with Being X, and the Sioux family’s feud with Tanya. But still, I hope there’s a second season down the line (especially since Russia and the United States are strongly hinted at in the last episode).

Watch it?: I’ve written the word “Nazi” quiet a lot in this review (4/5)

MVP: Tanya

Who knew evil could be this moe

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “The Devil in the Rhine” (even though it’s a battle episode, it tells you everything you need to know about Tanya’s character)

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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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No Game No Life

Type: No comma, no grammar

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Synopsis: Two nerds who are really good at playing games and totally not blood related guys! are unexpectedly sucked into a world that revolves around games. All games. Board Games, Gambling Games, Video Games, Mind Games and Athletic Games, I assume. I mean, that makes sense right? As long as no one gets physically hurt, all games are allowed. So what if Sora and Shiro accidentally accept to participate in a race? Or a Javelin throw? I mean, they have the habit of accepting games before actually knowing the rules, and I doubt that their shut-in lifestyle allowed for much exercise.

Pros: The animation just attacks you with its color pallet. The world that Sora and Shiro are sucked into, “Disboard,” has a lot of blues, purples, pinks, yellows, etc. I loved this aspect of the show, as it made the alternate world of Disboard even more abnormal. Not only is it a whole other word, a magical world, but a world with a unique set of rules. 10 rules in fact, designated by the Gaming-God Ted after an ancient war between the 16 races. The rules basically say that not one can physically hurt each other, and all conflicts can be settled with a game or contest, as long as both players agree and no one is caught cheating. Key word being “caught.” Throughout the series, almost every player Sora and Shiro play cheats. So Sora’s and Shiro’s goal isn’t to beat the game, it’s to beat the player. Luckily, both characters are really, really, really smart (almost too smart). Sora is the strategist, usually taking the lead in dealing with an opponent, while Shiro is more logical, taking care of calculations in the game itself. Together, they are unstoppable, which allows them to quickly rise through the ranks of their new world. Their interactions with other opponents and friends were always fun to watch, as they can range from sheet arrogance to panic attacks.  You get the sense that they’re playing the long game. And that’s the thing about this anime. I had fun watching it. I was never bored, and am very curious about the larger world.

Cons: Predictably, the relationship between Sora and the 11 year old Shiro verges on creepy to being full on creepy. That’s because Shiro has the habit of sitting on Sora’s lap and is very soft spoken, often coming off as more of a doll than a human. And of course, we gatta get those underage panty shoots in there. The show does have fan service, which isn’t too overdone, except when dealing with Shiro. Moving along, Sora’s motivation for helping Humanity (Imanity) came out of nowhere. He doesn’t really like people, and hes agoraphobic, so why is he so willing to be Humanity’s champion? I mean, outside of some vague personal philosophy. Both Sora and Shiro suffer from “Overpowered Hero” syndrome. They’re the best at gaming, which makes some of the results from their contest come off as narratively convenient. But since their overall tactic is manipulating their opponents and long term planning, the show kind of has an excuse. And, in all honestly, I love how fast they go from strangers in a strange land to world power who plan on challenging GOD.

Watch it: I burned thought this show, and hope there’s more (4/5)

MVP: Sora and Shiro

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Incest aside (I can’t believe I said that), they are a great team

Best Episode: Ep9 “Sky Walk” (showcase of humor, emotion, and audacity)

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Log Horizon

Type: Sword Art with a smile

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Synopsis: What if you were suddenly stuck in a virtual reality, constantly surrounded by monsters and greedy players, and forced to join prudo-military forces just to survive? Would you wander around in a melancholy haze, forever waving away any potential affection? OR, would you go on rad adventures with your pervy friend and ninja side kick? I’d go with the latter myself.
Pros: So there’s no real way to talk about Log Horizon without comparing it to Sword Art Online. They both have the same premise, being stuck with a MMO RPG, and both follow the life of a highly skilled player how refuses to join a guild. But the biggest difference is also Log Horizons biggest strength. Its not melancholy. If focuses on “living,” not “surviving.” Players in this game can’t die, which makes their situation much less dire than in Sword Art. Instead of being about one guy trying to escape the game, Log Horizon focuses on fleshing out the world by exploring different facets, like guilds, NPCs, and their respective group dynamics with one another. (P.S. The English dub is stellar)
Cons: Log Horizon has a bit of a generic feel, mostly because it appears that the budget was less than, say, Sword Art. There’s no fancy shading, no clever use of shadows, and no incredibly amazing fight scenes. Presentation is definitely B-level. This means it’ll probably be in SAO’s shadow for a while. Its divided into story arcs, which the intro gives away. After a certain point, you’ll start to notice that there’s no such thing as a sad ending in this, which is kinda the opposite problem that Sword Art had. But that’s not a bad thing, especially if your more inclined to that kind of story.
Watch it?: Liked it better than Sword Art (4/5)
MPV: Minori
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She grows
Best episode: Ep.22  “The Swallow and the Baby Starling” (Group date!)
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