Tag Archives: Manga

Appleseed (2004)

Type: Finally, an anime about Johnny Appleseed!

Synopsis: Thank you. I’ll show myself out.

Pros: Appleseed is a sci-fi computer animated anime movie about humans and their relations with clones, or “Biroids.” A main conflict stems from the old human vs another species troupe. Sometimes it’s androids. Sometimes it’s clones. Sometimes it’s apes. Humanity is just not a friendly animal when it comes right down to it. The idea is interesting, and the movie does show glimpses of the discrimination the Biroids face, such as forced sterilization. To bad the whole story is a mess.

Cons: The whole story is a mess. The movie tends to cut between the past and the present, making it hard to determine what is happening when. The setting is also confusing. From what I gathered, a big war broke out, and some humans managed to build a Utopia called Olympus outside the carnage. One of the last soldiers fighting the war, Deunan Knute, it taken to Olympus becuase…reasons? I mean, I know it’s because her mother created the Biroids and owns the movie’s Mcguffin, but the film doesn’t do a good job at explaining that. Like, how can Deunan be a legendary soldier, but also be like 18? 19? Why was she still fighting a war that ended 2 years ago? Are we just going to ignore those weird mutants at the start of the movie? If everything is in 3 dimensions, then how come everyone moves awkwardly?…At the end of the day this movie can best be described as a starter anime. Ya know? Like, an anime you may find by accident at a video store or Youtube. You watch it because it looks vaguely cool, but later on you discover that Ghost in the Shell exists and just chalk up your previous enjoyment to a rookie mistake. What I’m trying to say is that this is the kind of movie you find at the $5 bin. It’s a movie your Uncle gives you to try to prove he’s with it. It’s the kind of film that low tier internet anime reviewers try to call bad without saying it’s bad because they don’t what to sound mean. Ya know?

Watch it?: Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

MVP: Anime face in 3d

Anime eyes know no dimension

Best Moment?: That time a Bioroid randomly asked Deunan what it’s like to fall in love (those dumb artificial creatures and their feelings)

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Manyū Hiken-chō

Type: or “Magic Breast Secret Sword Scroll” (I’m not joking)

Synopsis: Think equivalent exchange, but with boobs. In Tokugawa Japan, a young kinoichi steals her clan’s boob stealing technique in an effort to change the world. A world where a person’s boob size determines their social rank. Except for men, who are still lords and heads of families under this system. A system that would logically only benefit women. Huh….Well, whatever, BOOBIES!!

Pros: Magic Breast Secret Sword Scroll, because why not?, is a fairly serviceable boob anime. The set up has out main character, Chifusa, traveling Japan as she tries to outrun “assassins” sent to get back the scroll she stole. Except that instead of dying, she runs the risk of having her boobs shrunken. For about six episodes, Chifusa uses the scroll’s technique to not only shrink boobs, but also absorb their power. Meaning that every episode we see Chifusa’s boobs get bigger, with sexy results. The show stays fairly consistent with it’s main gimmick: the show revolves around boobs because it’s world revolves around boobs. And it takes many instances to point out the silliness of such a world, often with ridiculous fan service. Bouncy bouncy indeed.

Cons: I mean, it’s kinda a one joke series, isn’t it? Throughout the show, we will see boobs bounce, jiggle, and even twirl. We see them get grouped, sucked, ties up, measured, weighed, etc. The joke gets a little stale. Then there’s the plot, which has an identify crisis. While it’s mostly a boob comedy, the show tries to throw in some clan intrigue in Chifusa’s feud with the Manyu clan. The clan’s head is Chifusa’s father, who coldly and ruthlessly sends assassins to ruin his daughter. But having a male villain in a show that focuses so much on breasts and women’s relationship with them feels incongruous.  For example, towards the end of the show Chifusa learns how to give breasts, not just take them. The secret to the technique is maternal love, a fundamental form of femininity. So it would have made a lot more sense if Chifusa’s main villain was a Woman who lacked maternal love and took breasts, and therefore femininity, away. It would have set up a nice metaphorical conflict between the positive femininity and negative femininity. I guess masculinity could also be interpreted as a lack of femininity, but it would be too simplistic to frame this argument through gender binary–What the hell am I doing!? This is a dumb anime about about big boobs! If you likes boobs and moaning then watch it, if not, then don’t!

Watch it: Oh, and the opening is terrible. (3/5)

MVP: Chifusa Manyū

Boobs are cool.

Best Episode: Ep.8 “Chifusa Imprisoned” (Lord Hatomune is the best!)

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My Hero Academia (Season 2)

Type: Also known as That 2017’s Show

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

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

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

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

MVP: Ochako Uraraka

She really is a good kid.

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

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xxxHolic

Type: A lot more lore than you think

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Synopsis: A boy named Watanuki visits a mysterious magic shop to because he attracts spirits. The owner of the shop, Yuko, agrees to help him in-exchange for becoming the shop’s part time cook/butler/errand boy. This sounds like a good deal, except for the fact that Yuko constantly sends him on supernatural-related missions Personally, I think Yuko is swindling the kid, but maybe it’s all just a coincidence…

Pros: The anime functions on a case-of-the-week story structure. Every episode deals the Watanuki and Yuko “helping” someone with a minor problem, like being a compulsive liar, or having an internet addiction. Something these people should really be going to a mental health clinic for, not a magic shop. And while these clients sometimes do have a spirit hanging around them, a lot of times it’s because the spirits were attracted to their negativity. They generally aren’t the cause of it. As such, Yuko often had to deal with the person’s personal issues rather an exorcise any evil spirits. The show had good characters to deal with these stories. Yuko is enigmatic and wise, but also lazy with a witty sense of humor. Watanuki is loud and complains a lot, but he’s generally a kind soul. These characters make the show’s predictable pace interesting to watch, and are the real reason to watch the show. (p.s. I’m not super cray about the lanky character designs, but Yuko’s outfits are always on point).

Cons: As with any case-of-the-week anthology show, things get boring and repetitive fast. Every week, some specifically female customer comes in, goes into self-denial over the problem they came to fix, and then Yuko fixes that problem. I actually found myself skipping through a lot of these episodes. And there were a few times when it even felt like a chore to watch the show. This season also has no real ending. It just ends. The only saving grace from the monotony of these episodes are the spotlight episodes with Watanuki and Domeki. The show has a running joke that Wataniki hates Domeki because he’s madly jealous at his popularity, but Yuko keeps finding ways to put them together because Domeki can repel spirits, and thus protect Watanuki. The two make a good comedic pair, with Domeki’s stoic personality contrasting well with Wataniki’s high-strung reactions. Now, the show does have one weird caveat: xxxHolic is actually part of a larger shared universe created by CLAMP, the all female writing group. This CLAMPaverse also includes Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, Card Capture Sakura, and sometimes Blood C. From what I gather, you don’t really need to watch any of these to enjoy xxxHolic, but Tsubasa at least apparently helps.

Watch it?: It’s boring  (2/5)

MVP: Watanuki

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Complain, complain, complain….

Best Episode: Ep.19 “Unreasonable” (a fun episode! snowball fights!)

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My First Girlfriend is a Gal

Type: The nice translation is “fashionable.” Yeah, let’s go with that.

Synopsis: Basically, Junichi Hashiba asks a pretty girl out on a dare from from his loser friends. Plot twist, the girl actually says yes and the two start dating. Being a high school boy, or “pervy virgin” as everyone he cares about calls him, Junichi mainly fantasizes about his girlfriend’s killer body. And while she may dress a certain way that doesn’t mean she acts a certain way, so Junichi better treat that her right, because that Yukana is a nice girl!

Pros: On the surface this show is a fan service innuendo machine. But look deeper and you’ll find a fan service innuendo machine. With class! Did I forget to mention that? Well, maybe not “class,” but with some respect for themes it covers. The obvious theme is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” which is typical for a show covering Gals, or “Gyaru” for you nerds. In the beginning, Junichi only judges Yukana by her appearance, thinking that’s probably “loose” because she shows a little skin and talks in slang. Someone he fantasizes about having sex with. But throughout the show, his mentality shifts from “this is a chick with a nice ass” to “I really like spending time with Yukana” (forgive the crassness, but that is how the dialogue is delivered). On the flip side, while Yukana is often the focus of fan service given her design, she’s really just a normal anime girl who happens to like fashion and likes to tease her boyfriend about his wandering eye, but still feels shy and insecure when no one’s looking (i.e. the end credits). And of course, I can’t end this section without talking about the amazing English Dub, which may be the FILTHIEST dub I’ve ever heard. My mouth was agape with what the actors where being allowed to say. It was great!

Cons: This is a T and A show. I’m sorry. I mean Tits and Ass show. Had a brain fart for a minute. The show depicts various sexual acts for at least the first 5 episodes. Most of them are Junichi dreaming about the day Yukana invites him to Pound Town, but two are specifically two other girls trying to hump Jinuchi to their own purposes. I can confidently say that this show is not safe for work, not safe for school, and I’m starting to wonder if I was even old enough to watch this. And while not actual coitus is achieved, if your not a fan of sex comedies, then don’t even bother. I should mention that this show is based on a manga, that I happen to follow, and some things are out of order. The first five episodes basically rearrange things to get the other 3 girls introduced, so it feels rushed. The last five episodes are all the characters doing stuff, which was fun, but felt filler-y. The other characters are fine, but this is the Junichi and Yukana show (except for Minoru, whose a pedophile and his lust for little girls made me uncomfortable). The show is only 10 episodes, but the only one I didn’t like but understood it’s necessity is episode 9. The penultimate episodes addresses Junichi’s insecurities about dating Yukana when her former friend from middle school, who happens to be a cute boy, takes her out for a reunion. Junichi thinks that this qualifies as Yukana cheating on him because he’s A) a teenage boy, B) in his first relationship, and C) and he’s fairly insecure about himself. Of course, the problem is all in his head, Yukana’s not the type of person who would cheat on him, and he learns to trust Yukana and their relationship more. I mean, the show does out the other boy as a creep to sorta justify Junichi, but the emotional growth still has it’s merits. It’s a solid episode, I just don’t like melodrama. Apart from that, it’s never really explained why Yukana likes Junichi, or why she said yes in the first place. But hey, he did ask, and sometimes that’s enough.

Watch it?: For the dub. And for the heart. And I guess for the pervy stuff, for you pervs out there. (4/5)

MVP: Junichi and Yukana

I’m rooting for ’em

Best Episode: Ep.7 “My First Job” (pervy, but strangely honest of sexual harassment in the workplace).

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Type: It was cute, I guess

Synopsis: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is about Miss Kobayashi who one day gets a maid that happens to be a dragon. Later on more dragons come to live in her general area, each attaching themselves to a local human. Sometimes it explores the themes of social discrimination and the existentialist crisis of immortality, but its mostly about a lesbian couple raising a little girl, with one of them acting like a maid. 

Pros: Dragon Maid hits everything I would want from an anime. It’s a cute comedy about silly people doing silly things. The three main draw are Kobayashi, her maid Tohru, and the little dragon Kanna. Kobayashi plays the straight-man to Tohru’s enthusiastic personality, while Tohru is there mainly to be a cute little girl. What the show does really well is portray the effects each characters have on each other. Kobayashi starts off an an emotionally distant office worker, nice but not affectionate, but Tohru helps her make a connection that allows her explore her feelings more, even to herself. Tohru starts off a drifter with trust issues, but after meeting Kobayashi you see that all she really wants out of life is to belong to something and to someone. And Kanna…well Kanna just needed a Mom to look after her. This relationship theme is explored in each of the dragon/human pairing, and is the real core of the series as a whole.

Cons: “It was cute, I guess” is kinda the sentiment I have after watching the show. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but it not revolutionary. It’s a slice of life show where sometimes the characters feel a little down, but then get cheered up by their significant other. Had I watched this a lot earlier in my anime career, I probably would be gushing all over it. Because it is funny. Tohru’s jumps from enthusiastic maid to human hating hell beast is hilarious. And it is really cute. Kanna’s desire to go to school to her obliviousness over her friend Riku’s crush on her is adorable. I do feel that the show maybe has one too many characters, but I enjoy their interactions when they get to be in a scene together. Reviewer bias aside, the one real negative the show has is the last episode. The sudden appearance of Tohru’s father and her kidnapping, then return, then giant dragon fight all felt out of place and way too generic. In fact, I’d say skip the last episode all together.

Watch it?: Maids never go out of style (4/5)

MVP: Kanna

I just found her very cute

Best Episode: Ep.10 “Troupe Dragon, On Stage! (They Had A Troupe Name, Huh)” [a funny ensemble episode]

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Attack on Titan (Season 2)

Type: Second verse, not as good as the first.

Synopsis: Remember the mystery of the titan in the wall? The fate of Annie? The key to Eren’s basement? Our three main protagonists comprised of a warrior, a tactician, and an avenger? Well shut your mouths because none of that is important! Do you love such popular characters as Reiner!? Bertald!? YMIR!? You f#$%ing better! (P.S. Serious spoilers ahead)

Pros: Attack on Titan season 2 is a sequel to the popular Attack on Titan season 1. Made 4 years later, after 4 manga sequels, an anime spin-off, and 2 crap movies where the main heroine was feed apple slices by some creepy dude. And breath….ok, this season of Attack on Titan takes place immediately after the last season’s stinger. But the mystery of the titan in the wall is more or less sidelined in favor of the struggle of Reiner, Bertald, and Ymir. Because guess what, they’re all Titan Shifters! Reiner and Bertald are the damn Armor and Colossus Titans, the guys that cause this big mess in the first place. So if season 1 was all about the protagonist’s call to action, season 2 is all about the antagonist’s guilt. And a big selling point is the emotional and psychological toll that Reiner and Bertald as portrayed as being under. You don’t understand why they’re doing this, but you see that they are not happy about it. They’re antagonists, not villains (except for all the people they killed, but you get the idea). Ymir is only loosely connected to them, but the exploration of her backstory hints at larger story points and start painting a clearer picture of the world at large. You get two story arcs: The Castle Arc and the Eren Retrieval Arc, which both fall under the manga’s “Clash of the Titans” Arc. Oh, and the end credits are amazing. My official favorite end credits.

Cons: After Attack on Titan season 1, a family member of mine got really, really, really into the series, so I’ve more or less kept up with the series through osmosis. I’m caught up with the manga, I know the lore (because I’m a Lore nerd), so it’s hard for me to judge if someone who just watched the first anime would like the second season. I imagine that any casual fans who get into the first season have most likely moved on. But for those fans who stuck around, this season has HUGE revelations. Not only those stated above, but it foreshadows the larger conflicts of the world. It even reveals what the titans actually are (and maybe even when they come from)! But here’s the thing: I had a more or less apathetic reaction to this season. Maybe cause I read the manga, maybe cause I wasn’t that big a fan to begin with, or maybe because this premiered 4 YEARS after the first season, but I just wasn’t that into it. Don’t get me wrong, the show didn’t really dip in quality. Objectively, it still has over the top acting, it still has unexpectedly funny moments (e.g. The Reiner reveal), and the gore seems to have been ramped up, because it hurt to see people get eating way more this time. The action is a mixed bag. You don’t get amazing Omni-Gear maneuvering, but you do finally get the Attack vs. Armor titan fight. The inclusion of the new Beast Titan doesn’t really add much, except another question. And the show’s stop and start story progression is still very present. And really, that’s the basic summary of this season. It’s good, it’s still Attack on Titan, but it’s not the new hot thing anymore, so it’s hard to say exiting things about it. (P.S. The only glaringly bad thing was the 3D Colossus Titan. That was just a bad decision).

Watch it?: This probably would have been amazing, had it premiered in 2014, not 2017. (4/5)

MVP: The End Credits

I never skipped these (and I always skip end credits!)

Best Episode: Ep.7 “Close Combat” (Brawler vs. Mui Thay)

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Interviews with Monster Girls

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Type: Surprisingly realistic

Synopsis: High School is rough. Well, I assume. I was near 6 ft tall at 13 and pretty smart, so I had a pretty chill time. Then again, all I did was play video games and watch TV.  Too poor and shy to date. Never did get to go to prom either….ah, but were veering of course again. This anime is about three monster girls (demi-humans) who befriend their biology teacher. Wanting to help the girls out with their respective situations, the bio teacher becomes they’re unofficial school counselor. He helps create a parent network, allows them to use his office as a safe space, and even tries to use his scientific knowledge to help them out with any physical issues they might have. Sure, he is kind of using them as for xenological/sociological research, but what’s a few research papers among friends?

Pros: Is it me, or are “monster girls” becoming anime short hand for minorities? It’s like with mutants with comics. It’s not a terribly bad thing, as most social messages in fiction work better through metaphor (prevents your story from sounding too preachy), but it’s something I thought I’d bring up. But while were on the subject, the show’s strongest aspect is the very believable way that the monsters girls and the humans around them interact. Basically, three demi-human girls end up going to school together. Thanks in part to their teacher, the form a friendship, though they probably would have naturally gravitated towards each other eventually. It’s not that they don’t have any friends, it’s just that sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone going through what your going through. Their teacher, Mr. Takahashi, proves himself to be a very adept educator who takes a special interest in making sure that these students with, I don’t wanna say disabilities, maybe unique physical conditions?, have an easier time in school. What surprised me about the show it that it didn’t go for the easy plot point of having the girls be openly discriminated against. No one is yelling “blood-suckers!” or anything. What the girls have to face is more of a subtle awkwardness and feeling of discomfort. They get stared at a lot, sometimes their friends try to be nice by ignoring their physical condition, and people ask them a lot of questions about what they are. And the girls, in a realistic fashion, simply give a polite smile and laugh and basically soldier on. This is especially well handled in Ms. Sato, the only adult demi-human and new math teacher. Ms. Sato is given two episodes from her point of view, allowing her to narrate what it’s like to have to be overly conscious about your image and actions in almost all aspects of life. I guess what I’m saying is that I really liked the characterization and themes that were explored, and am really happy that I got to experience this story.

Cons: Even though what Mr. Takahashi did for a group students who needed extra help and guidance was sweet and his actions are a great example for any individual that wants to work with young people, this is still anime. So of course, most of the monster girls have a crush on him. To be fair, he is packing major GUNS underneath his lab coat. And it’s not uncommon for a student to develop a crush on a teacher, but can we not? Having each of the girls ask for hugs and stuff just weirds me out. Luckily, Takahashi explicitly states that he would never reciprocate their feeling on ethical and moral grounds, so he’s not a perv. Just the author. I KID, I kid. Kinda. The only romance I really invested in was between Takahashi and Sato because A) Their both adults and B) They seem to share a level of intellectual comradery. Outside of characters stuff, the show is a slice of life, so it doesn’t really have a deep narrative and sorta just ends after a bikini episode. (P.s. I also found Sato’s status as a succubus with zero romantic skills very cute).

Watch it: I’m glad this exists (4/5)

MVP: Sakie Satō

Yes, she’s obviously designed to be Best Girl. And your point is?

Best Episode: Ep.3 “Succubus-san is a Real Adult” (I’m guessing succubuses aren’t the only type of women who have to worry about how they look and dress around their male co-workers.)

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Comical Psychosomatic Medicine

Type: If you’re reading this article, please visit the Mental Clinic

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Synopsis: A 5 minute anime takes the time to summarize various mental afflictions in bite size and easy to understand explanation.

Pros: Like most 5 minute anime, the show’s biggest strength is that you can view the entire thing in less than an hour. I think this one took about 45 minutes. The show’s gimmick is that is teaches about metal illnesses and conditions in a comical manner. It’s all mostly Psych 101 stuff, like basic anxiety, stalking, sleep disorders, and erectile dysfunction. Oh, that’s the other thing. The show main punch line is innuendo. So a lot of the topics have a sexual bent, like fetishism and exhibitionism. The show also manages to give seemingly mild disorders a sexual bent. Freud would be proud.

Cons: The shows are only about 5 minutes and the gimmick is largely one note. Someone comes in with a disorder, the doctor tries to explain, the nurse or nurses make a sex joke, and scene. The show does give a straightforward explanation for most of the condition it discusses, but don’t expect this be a substitute for good ol’ fashion flashcards.

Watch it?: A fun look at the human mind (4/5)

MVP: Himeru Kangoshi

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Maybe I have complex

Best Episode: 5 minutes each (just pick the condition that most applies to you)

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Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san

Type: Gaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! Horaay!

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Synopsis: A cat person who acts like a dog and a dog person who acts like a cat meet, fall in love, and I assume rent a small, but affordable, loft together after graduation.

Pros: The anime is obviously based on a short gag manga. The comedy mainly comes from Inugami’s high energy and Nekoyama’s bashful nature. The most common set up is Inugami saying or doing something to imply her love for Nekoyama, and Nekoyama being embarrassed about it. There is another character, Aki, who usually plays the straight man between Nekoyama and Inugami when called upon. The comedy usually lands, and I liked the interplay between the characters.

Cons: As usual with 5 minutes series, it goes by fast. There is no real story to speak of beside the relationship between Inugami and Nekoyama. Some other characters are introduced, but Inugami, Nekoyama, and Aki are the only real interesting ones. Aside form Nekoyama’s bashfulness, a lot of the jokes are innuedo. The only time I would argue that the show goes a bit too far is when Nekoyama gets drunk and starts to fufill some of Inugami’s masochistic dreams. But overall, a fun little watch.

Watch it?: As usually, I recommend this short series (4/5)

MVP: Nekoyama-san

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I’m a cat person.

Best Episode: All of them? (again, short series are only 30-40 minutes tops).

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