Tag Archives: light novel

That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime

Type: It was awful I tell’s ya!

Synopsis: Unlike this anime, which is actually delightful. Its kinda like an RPG where your goal is to create alliances with different factions. There’s goblins and orcs and ogres and all sorts of magical creatures. This is the point were I’d make a “joke” about fan service, power fantasy, or a reference to a 1970’s tv show. But to be honest, it’s a really nice show.

Pros: Watching this show made me realize that I really like Isekai that focuses on factions and town management. The other anime that I like in this subgenre are  Overlord and Log Horizon. Overlord, however, is more like a faction RPG with the player taking a “renegade” or “evil” route, while Log Horizon focus a lot more on town management. That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime is a happy compromise between the two. It takes Overlords premise, but deals with it through Log Horizon’s outlook. In the anime, the protagonist Rimuru helps each faction out of a sense of general politeness. He’s basically neutral good bordering on lawful good: he helps when he can, but isn’t out to save the world (as opposed to overlord, who is neutral evil bordering on lawful evil). The best part of the show is seeing how Rimuru and his growing cast of allies interact with new factions, and how their initial conflicts transform into beneficial partnerships. It’s a great show.

Cons: Being an Isekai with a light-hearted tone, you know that the stakes aren’t going to be very high. Despite being a slime, Rimuru is set-up to be an ultra powerful character from episode one. Thus, he won’t really face a challenge he can’t handle. You never really see him worry or stress unless its for comedic effect. His supporting cast might have a hard time, but Rimuru is always there to save the day at the end. Therefore, if you like stories with cliffhanger endings that leave you at the edge of your seat, maybe go watch something else. However, I personally liked this show because if the fact that its stakes were so low. Sometimes you just need a story where the good guy always wins, ya know? Plus, a lot of the emotional highs come from character interactions, not battle resolutions. Speaking of personal tastes, one last little nitpick I have concerns the series’ poster girl, Shizue, or “Shizu.” In the story, Shizu is basically Rimuru’s Uncle Ben or Gwen Stacy. She’s an incredibly influential character whose legacy influences a lot of the story arcs. She also dies very early on. I liked Shizu, but I didn’t like that she was plastered in the show’s OP, ED, and most promotional material. It get the feeling that this was only done because marketing really wanted a Japanese woman as the cover girl (even though the show doesn’t really get started until after she dies! (for obvious reasons)). P.s. I didn’t like that the show was split up into two segments mid season for no real reason.

Watch it?: It’s not a bad slime show! (4/5)

MVP: Shion

I really like her in the manga as Rimuru’s girl friday.

Best Episode: Ep. 09-14 The Orc Lord Saga (I’m actually thinking about reading the rest of the light novels to get caught up. I like the story that much.)

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Overlord III

Type: “The Isekai where the protagonist is playing as a renegade” –Digibro

Synopsis: I wish I could come up with original material, but it’s 2019.

Pros: But really folks, this quote manages to perfectly summarize why Overlord is different from other Isekai anime. It’s an anime where the main character is playing as the bad guy. Is Ainz’s a bad buy himself? Kinda. Neutral Evil to be honest. This season does an excellent job at demonstrating exactly what kind of campaign Ainz is playing. For example, we return to Carne Village, the first village Ainz visited and defended when he entered the New Word. We get to see how these villagers view Ainz as a benevolent master. On the other hand, we also get a story where Ainz brutally dispatches a group of adventurers after we get a whole episode getting to know. Not to mention his political manipulation of an entire empire to further his own ends. It was in this season that I finally realized that Ainz still sees his current reality as a game, which explains his coldness towards some characters, but warmth towards others. That’s why he’s Neutral Evil. He will destroy anyone to further his own ends (just like a player will kill a character to advance the story), but he still holds some respect and admiration for others.

Cons: If I was going to say anything about this season, its that it goes by very quickly. But I’m not sure that’s really a negative. Season 3 fixes Season 2’s problem by having a coherent narrative all the way through. It’s doesn’t break up the story flow, and each mini-arc goes into the other very well. This season is maybe a little light on action, but I really liked the stuff in Carne Village and the scenes in the Empire. The one real downside, and I do mean downside, is that this season cannot work for you unless you’ve watched Season 1 and 2. It simply has too many characters and storylines that you need to be familiar with to fully enjoy it.

Watch it: A great end to Act 1 of Overlord. (4/5)

MVP: Enri

Hail General Enri!

Best Episode: Ep. 6-8 The Worker Arc (I enjoyed every arc, but this one reminds you what characters we’re really dealing with)

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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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Stigma of the Wind

Type: One story arc (maybe two)

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

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

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

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

MVP: Kazuma

Prime Kazuma. Not Tsui Ling Kazuma.

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

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High School DxD Hero

Type: This show is stupid

Synopsis: I loved ever minute of it!

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

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

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

MVP: Issei

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

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

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In Another World With My Smartphone

Type: Wait, this was made in 2017?!

Synopsis: Jeez, really? Hold up, let me double check…I’ll be damned,  released 2017. I mean, OK? That’s fine I guess. A harem show revolving around a guy trapped in a fantasy world. That’s…man, that’s incredibly lazy.

Pros: This is show is about a Japanese boy who goes into a fantasy world, forms a harem of pretty girls, and gets celebrated for being the biggest and the strongest. Now, this isn’t Sword Art Online or Konosuba, because this protagonist has a cellphone! Hooooorayyyy!!!! Sigh. OK, in actuality, the show kinda a mix of the aforementioned shows. Our hero, Touya, accidentally dies. God, being a straight up kind of dude, reincarnates him into a fantasy world where his cellphone still has access to the internet and never has to recharge. Touya adapts to his new world pretty easily, especially considering all the psychological trauma associated with death, leaving everyone you ever knew behind, discovering that God not only exists, but is neglectful of his people, and that multiverse theory is real. (P.S. On an actual positive, I did like Touya’s use of his cellphone and internet as a resource, and the gag of using the spell “slip” to win every important battle).

Cons: Generic. Generic. Generic. But aside from that, nothing much. It’s a harem show. It’s a Isekai show. If you don’t like either, you won’t like this. It’s the kind of cookie cutter show that belongs in the discount bin at Walmart. That being said, its also a great show for stress. Like, if you just came off an emotional high from a better show, or your anxiety levels are rising due to life, then this show is a great remedy. It’s predictable, the protagonist win with no real effort, and there’s no drama for miles. It’s a shot of vanilla when you need it. And aside from the typical fan service, this show seemed like the kind you would find on TV back in the 2000’s. Which is all the more surprising to discover that this was made in 2017. The cheap animation, the uninspired story, the mary sue protagonist. I’ll tell you this though, the show won’t insult your intelligence as much if you frame all of Touya’s accomplishments as God’s way to making up for his death. Like, what better way to make a teenage boy happy than by giving him a gaggle of adventurer girls that all love him, making him the strongest warrior/magician in the world, and have kings and gods view him with awe. Either that, or get him a new phone.

Watch it: A sedative, but in a good way (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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Lord Marksman and Vanadis

Type: Vanadis also means Freyja, the sexy war goddess.

Synopsis: In an anime that I thought was based on a game, but is actually based on a light novel series, we see, well we see a bunch of stuff. To keep it simple: Lord Tigre is the count of a peaceful but valuable region who grabs the attention of many people, including several War Maidens, powerful female warriors chosen to wield mythical weapons. Through a bunch of medieval warfare, Tigre and crew are able to defeat an evil count who tries to usurp the throne.

Pros: You know, for a series that mainly portrays women, powerful women at that, I talked a surprising amount about the only male lead. The patriarchy is a funny thing…Anyway, one of the best things about this anime is the level of competency that all the characters show throughout the series. For example, the War Maiden’s Elen and Mila are portrayed as skilled and powerful warriors with tactical minds for battle. And they rarely, if ever, need Tigre to “rescue” them, even in the mist of battle. In fact, the the Elen and Mila  fight alongside Tigre, often back to back or shoulder to shoulder, and never really lose their sense of purpose. Elen and Mila never abandon or consider abandoning their posts to live with Tigre. I really appreciated this character trait, since it gets really tiring to see characters give up their current goals all for the sake of an infatuation. On the flip side, I also really liked that Tigre has actual skills and goals as well. He wasn’t just a “good, average guy” harem protagonist. He was incredibly skilled with a bow (usually portrayed as a female-only weapon), and a avid hunter/tracker. These skills are consistent throughout the series, and explain why most characters would be initially impressed by him, and then grow to admire him after getting to know him. This made Elen and Mila’s predictable romantic interests for him feel organic. He also loses his fist battle with Elen, which was a good way to define both their skill sets. He held his own for a little bit, but smartly lost to the supernatural war maiden.

Cons: Boob anime. This is a boob anime. Look at Elen. Look at her lieutenant. What are they feeding these girls!? Aside from that, this anime is only a small taste into the light novel series. Sorta like a very long commercial. It’s not like the show shills the rest of the series with annoying references to “that man” or tries to foreshadow the next story arc at the finale of the anime. But there are a lot of things we never see. For example, there are said to be about 8 War Maidens, but we only get to see 5 in the series. Two are main characters, one’s a cameo character, one’s a brief villain, and one shows up here and there to be all menacing. The other 3 are shown in the opening, but nowhere else. The looked cool, but too bad! Learn to read pleb! Outside of that, the story is also a bit hard to follow. Things tend to move from one battle to another, as different factions are fighting for the throne, with Tigre caught in the middle. (P.s. One interesting tid-bit: In the show, Tigre is given a magic bow that allows him to have power equal to, or possible greater than, the War Maidens. I just found that to be a bit…interesting).

Watch it?: Give it a go (4/5)

MVP: Tigre

He also tends to grab boobs when he’s asleep. Some sort of hunting instinct.

Best Episode: Ep.2 “The Return Home” (Tigre and Elen join forces!)

 

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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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