Tag Archives: Medieval

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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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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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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Rage of Bahamut: Genesis

Type: Not to be confused with the Super Nintendo version

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Synopsis: To put in bluntly, the show’s about a demon who forces a con man into traveling with her while not knowing that she’s the key to reviving a world threatening Dragon. If you want it not so bluntly, you tease, the show’s about an afro-man who tries to get into a lady’s pants by telling her he knows the way to a mythical city. This backfires when the lady turns out to be a super powerful demon who stormed heaven to steal a magic key that can revive the world ending Bahamut. Along the way, they’re joined by a noble but unlucky knight and a zombie loli.

Pros: There’s not two ways about it. Rage of Bahamut is very pretty. If you want proof, look up the opening scene between Favaro and Kaisar. It’s practically movie quality. In fact, there quiet a bit of good animations scenes throughout the show. Like the Favaro and Amira dance in ep. 02, the giant crab battle in ep. 04, most of the fight and action scenes, and everything in ep11-12, etc. But the strongest aspect of the show are the characters of Favaro and Kaisar. Favaro is, in no uncertain terms, a scoundrel. He lies, cheats, steals, manipulates, and is basically motivated by his own well being. You even see it in his fighting style, which is dominated by misdirection and slight of hand. In all honesty, Favaro is the most entertaining thing about the show. He’s just so scummy, it’s great! Then you have Kaisar, whose much more noble than Favaro, but also has way more tunnel vision, often to the detriment of the situation at hand. He’s a buffoonish hero with a sad backstory that explains his love/hate relationship with Favaro.

Cons: While watching this show, I had a few consistent thoughts in my mind episode through episode. These were:  “this show is very pretty,” “Favaro sure is fun,” and “something’s missing…” It’s this last thought that troubled me the most. Because, by all accounts, this show should be great. It clearly had a high budget, strong directors, and a good main cast. But then I started to look at the show as a whole. And as a whole, the show’s kind of a mess. As you pull back from the central premise of a demon and a rouge traveling together, you get a big plot involving multiple angels, multiple demons, Joan of Arc for some reason, and a soon to be revived Dragon. These elements over complicate things, especially as they become more prominent as the show goes on.  The travel between Favaro and Amira was fun enough, especially with Favaro having to come up with new reasons for the long trip and Kaisar continually hounding them. Speaking of Amira, can I ask what the hell happened between episode 1 and 2? Because for some reason Amira goes from a quiet bad ass demon to a rather childish ditz in no time flat. Amira actually got increasingly on my nerves as the show went on, especially when a lot of her achievements are gradually revealed to be partially because of outside force. Overall, the show is pretty to look at, has fun moments, but I can see why it’s not talked about more. (p.s. It’s also got a horrid opening. Just awful).

Watch it?: Based on an online card game! (4/5)

MVP: Favaro

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Keep rockin’ the fro’

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Encounter Wytearp” (amazing scenes. very exciting)

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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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Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I, II, III

Type: Egg of the King, The Battle of Doldrey, The Advent

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Summary: So these three movies are based on an anime which is based on a manga that’s been going on for over 20 years. Before you start being impressed, note that it publishes irregularly, so there are only about 300-ish chapters. It’s not One Piece, but maybe quality beats quantity? But for those of your still too lazy to read, these three movies summarize the best part of the story, the one with gross demons, gross humans, and generally gross turn of events.

Pros: Berserk, specifically this part of the Berserk story, is basically Game of Thrones made in Japan. Evil knights, scheming friends, sex and nudity, magical subplots, intriguing tragedy, the whole magilla. You follow Gutz, a loner mercenary who gets charmed by the beautiful Griffith to join his band of mercs, The Hawks. That’s part 1. Part 2 deals with the Gutz’s growing relationship with Casca, the only female Hawk. Part 3 is largely about the downfall of Griffith and the Hawks, and the dark events that lead to the rest of Berserk. The ultimately tragic tale of Gutz, Griffith, and Casca is at the very heart of this show.  A solid dark fantasy story with surprisingly striking art work. Fans of Hard-R medieval stories will get a kick out of this.

Cons: Everything wrong that’s wrong with Game of Thrones is wrong in Berserk, but with an even more Japanese kind of way. Ultra violent (though not a much as the manga), truly horrific demons, rape, incest, a general cynical view of the world, and even worse roles for women. At least Thrones has Aria, Brienne of Tarth. I mean, Casca’s strong (sometimes), but she ain’t taking down no Hound anytime soon. Plus there’s the whole…maybe I shouldn’t mention it…fuck it: Casca get brutally raped by demons. That’s a thing that happens in the story, she become a simplistic invalid, and it’s disgusting. Like I said, it’s Japanese dark fantasy. The anime also uses a mixture of 3-D and 2-D animation which gives its a unique look and works…sometimes. Mostly for scenes involving the main characters. Then there’s the fact that this is just a retread of the original anime instead of exploring some of the other arcs in the manga, though this is admittedly the most interesting.

Watch it?: Only if you have a strong stomach

MVP: Puck

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He’s not in the story, but I love that little guy

Best Moment: Making references to the rest of Berserk in the opening title was a nice touch.

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Queen’s Blade

Type: No, you shut up!

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Synopsis: What? No, really, what!? Look, I don’t care. I was having a rough week and needed something to decompress. Don’t give me that look! Whatever…Exiled Virgin (Season 1) and The Evil Eye (Season 2).

Pros: Queen’s Blade is about a fighting tournament between female warriors for the throne of the country of “Gynos.” Its not as horrible-I’m sorry, I know this time for positives, but for reals, “Gynos?”- as you would expect. I came into this thinking I was going to watch 12 episodes of fan service. What I got was, well it was still 12 episodes of fan service, but also a pretty interesting story about a fighting tournament. Season 1 introduces all the fighters and their reasons for fighting, ranging from revenge, duty, wealth, to becoming the strongest. The themes in the plot are actually a lot more complex than you’d expect. If they ever made a proper fighting game anime, this is kinda what you’d want it to be. Season 2 is the actual tournament, which I’m always a fan of. Every characters is established enough to carry their own episode, which they often do. The main character, Leina, often acts more as a narrative device to introduce the new warriors. Leina herself goes through an interesting, if rushed, character arc on her quest to gain a reason to fight.

Cons: “Gynos?” I mean, come on! Plus, Elina Vance-total bitch. I’m sorry, I don’t really like using that term, but seriously. A super rich aristocrat who hates the lower class and literally drove a young servant to demonic witch craft? You suck Elina! There’s also the issue of Leina getting strong within the span of one training session instead of slowly becoming stronger through loss and experience. That was a bit too shoen for my taste. Now for the elephant in the room. Queen’s Blade is one of the most sexually exploitative anime I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Battling Venus). Season 1 isn’t as bad Season 2, where it has a character that literally gets sexually assaulted by her evil staff. That’s some messed up shit right there. The thing is, if Queen’s Blade just covered up their characters by say 30%, and cut out the weird stuff, it would be a perfectly normal anime. Except for the character Nyx, and the two women with ludicrously inflated breasts, Queen’s Blade is not the most horribly sexploitative anime I’ve ever seen. Not by a long shot. The story is engaging and some of the characters are actually pretty admirable.

Watch it?: You come for the fan service, you stay for the story (3/5)

MVP: Elina Vance

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I hate her some much! She’s obviously a good character.

Best Episode: S1., Ep. 11 “Thunder: Struggle to the Death” (sister vs sister)

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Romeo X Juliet

Type: Juliet X Romeo

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Synopsis: Two households, both alike in dignity until one destroyed the other some 16 years before, In fair Neo-Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, only this time its really the Montague’s fault. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life. Well actually, a crazy magic tree takes their lives, but that would be telling.

Pros:  I’ve said it before, but I love when anime reinterprets well known stories, particularly western stories. So what did they do different with Rome and Juliet? For starters, House Capulet was nearly destroyed by House Montague years before the show. The story actually revolves around Juliet, the last surviving Capulet, and her quest to restore her House and overthrow the tyrannical Prince Montague. As such, we get a lot of stories showcasing the cruelty the citizens of Neo-Verona suffer from Montague and the Noble Class. The best part is that Juliet isn’t just some lost princess. She actually established herself as a Zorro type character who defended the citizenry from oppression well before she learned she was a Capulet. A lot of the story is actually told from Juliet’s perspective, and we get to see her struggle not only with the pressure of reviving her House and the realities of leading a revolution, but also with falling in love with Romeo. Juliet’s personal journey is the core of the show, and ultimately why it succeeds. (p.s. You should also watched this in English, since they actually throw in some actual lines from the play in it).

Cons: I feel that Romeo character was underwritten. Unlike Juliet, Romeo doesn’t really go through a personal journey. He’s more or less that same character from the first to last episode. Fans of the original play may not like some of the character changes. I personally was irked by the personalities of Mercutio and Tybalt. In the anime, Tybalt is this cool and collected character, the opposite in the play, and Mercutio is a conniving power seeker instead of Romeo’s best friend. He doesn’t even die in the end, so we miss his calling out both Houses on their bullshit. I would also argue that Prince Montague should have hated all nobles, not just the Capulets. After learning his backstory, you can’t help but feel he was missing the forest for the trees. Finally, the ending was needlessly complicated. It does the cliche “hidden boss” troupe, where the real antagonist was some mystical being or whatever. This reeked of being an out to kill Romeo and Juliet at the end. Also, not an actual tragedy. In fact, the only tragic figure may be Prince Montague.

Watch it: The only time I actually liked Romeo and Juliet (4/5)

MVP: Juliet

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Hell, even I’d follow her

Best Episode: Ep. 17 “Cruel Tyrant: Darkness, the Origin” (man, do Nobles suck)

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The Sacred Blacksmith

Type: Should really have been called “The Knight Cecily”

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Synopsis: Basically, it’s about this Knight named Cecily Cambell. It’s her first day, and she gets totally owned by some random bum. She’s saved by this rude blacksmith named Luke, but is really impressed by his unique sword called a “katana,” and wants him to make her one. Then we all forget about this when the concept of Demon Swords are introduced, which are superpowered swords that turn into pretty girls because why not. There’s also this Old God named Valbanill whose curse became the foundation for modern society, but that’s beside the point.

Pros: I really liked Cecily Cambell. She had a real rookie hero charm to her, and you can’t help but root for her. She’s actively heroic, and lives up to the idea of Knighthood. The action started off a bit dull, but gets reeved up a notch when the Demon Swords are introduced. There are three story arcs, and I found the second one involving Charlotte E. Firobisher the best because it allowed Cecily to shine the most. The characters were likable, their dynamic was solid, and the humor landed well.

Cons: I disliked the fact that Cecily had to always be saved by Luke at the beginning, but the show does justify this by A) pointing out that Cecily is just starting out, and B) making Cecily more bad-ass as the show progresses. By the end of the first arc, Cecily is more or less able to hold her own. Aside from that, the show tends to gloss over characters that aren’t the main cast. I also felt that the show should have but in more effort when exploring Luke’s backstory. It was also weird that Cecily still wanted a Katana after all-but-mastering her own Demon Sword. Just saying.

Watch it?: Solid Anime with a valiant female lead. (4/5)

MVP: Cecily Cambell

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Since she’s a Knight, wouldn’t she be Lady Cambell?

Best Episode: Ep. 8 Departure -Resolution- (3 vs 1)

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Aesthetica of a Rouge Hero

Type: Aestherica means Aesthetic

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Synopsis: It’s sorta like a blind date, where the person seems to be kinda interesting at first, but as the evening goes on, you realize that they are utterly boring. This is especially annoying because you know that they have the potential to be great, but they’re just too lazy to go for it, and instead rely on too much cleavage and not enough interdimensional medieval story telling.

Pros: There were two sides of the premise that I really liked. First off, I was intrigued by what the idea of a school for children who came back from another world. The idea of young people getting accidentally lost in a strange land is a very old one, so basing a story around all these children being gathered under one roof had promise. On the other hand, I was also interested in the the protagonist Akatsuki’s adventures in the world of Arezard, where all the children seem to have gotten lost in. I would have loved to see his initial travels in Arezard, whether or not he met other Earth kids, and how he gained the title of “Maverick Hero.” Some of the fan service was also surprisingly racy, if your into that sort of thing.

Cons: If you noticed, everything good about the anime was based on the idea of the premise. The actual execution, however, was very weak. The show actually starts off at the end of Akatsuki’s adventure, and I actually had to check to see if I watching a Second Season (I wasn’t.) Too much of the story was being left purposely blank to create artificial mystery. This made the rest of the show feel largely unimportant, and I just couldn’t force myself to care about anything happening at Akatsuki’s school, of for Akatsuki in general. He came off like an arrogant jack-ass, whose gimmick of stealing girl’s underwear and harassing came off as more disrespectful than anything else. The show was just too generic, the characters came off as bland to unlikable, and the story felt half told.

Watch it?: No. Go watch something that feels less forced. (2/5)

MVP: Phil Barnett

PhilBarnett

I like the idea of a Knight being called Phil

Best Episode: Ep. 9 “On A Night With Such A Beautiful Moon” (A good villain tends to add some interest)

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