Tag Archives: supernatural

Black Butler

Type: So many historical inaccurate

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Synopsis: The Earl of Phantonhive, also known as the Duke of Short Pants, also know as Lord Protector of Boys Love, has a problem. He’s alive, and so are the people the killed his mother as father. The problem is, he would like them to not be alive anymore. You see the dilemma here. Now, he can’t simply use his vast, vast, vast fortune, connection to the Queen of England, and his own notable genius to find these people. Instead, he sold his Soul to a demon butler to get his revenge. Even though the Demon Butler can’t leave his side. Or do anything without a direct order. And was possibly responsible for the Plauge. But kids, am I right?

Pros: The anime’s strongest asset is its characters. Black Butler has a set of amazing characters, from the haughty Ciel, the always debonair Sebastian, and the comedic servants. They are quiet versatile, working in comedic and serious moments. The anime is mostly made us of “cases.” As the Earl of Phantomhive, Ciel is the “guard dog” for the British Crown, often sent to various locations to root out corruption and wrong doing. Ciel is portrayed as a very good tactician. His family’s fortune lies in sweets and games, which allude to Ciel’s talent for manipulation and his young age and temperment. Sebastian often accompanies him as his highly skilled butler, sometimes comedically so, and he’s always used as the Mcguffin that saves the day. Then there’s the comedic servants: a pyromaniac cook, a cooky maid, and a jolly groundskeeper, how as indispensable as the comic relief (since the show can get dark on you). Like I said, it’s a solid group.

Cons: The anime’s story is kinda bland. It starts off strong enough, but loses it’s luster as it goes. The whole angel subplot was weak. And there was this one dog episode, Ep.7, that felt out of nowhere. I don’t wanna see dog fights. I’ll get that fix from Pokemon, thank you very much. I also felt that the story jumped the shark too quickly on the Jack the Ripper case. From my research (Wikipedia), it seems that the anime veers off from it’s manga counterpart around halfway through. For my money, Ep.7, ep17-20, and ep.22-24 are the worst story arcs of the bunch. Ep.21 stands out because it gives use the origin of the servants, which was fun. The any does delve into some darkish territory, in a psudo Victorian horror kinda a way. Your enjoyment kinda depends on your tolerance for bloody mysteries and arrogant protagonists. Oh, and your feelings on implied romance between a teenage (?) boy and his handsome adult butler.

Watch it: Pick and choose episodes (4/5)

MVP: The Servants

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My favorite characters

Best Episode: Ep.1 “His Butler, Able” (Comedic Downton Abbey)

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Ghost Hunt

Type: Ghost Facers!

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Synopsis: Based on a Light Novel that ran for 2 years, which inspired a manga that ran for 12 years, is this anime that ran for 25 episodes. Its about, you guessed it, a group of Ghost Hunters. You get a little bit of everything. You get a Paranormal Researcher, a Monk, a Shrine Maiden, a Priest, an Onmyoji, and even a teenage girl for good measure.

Pros: Ghost Hunt is an anime comprised of several different “cases,” each involving some sort of paranormal activity. Some involve Ghost, while others involve Psychics, or Demons, or etc. One thing I really liked was the use of different specialities when dealing with the paranormal. A lot of different cultures and faiths are represented, from Buddhism, Christianity, Shintoism, to  modern technology. It’s a nice representation of the quirky fact that people all over the world have developed different ways to ward off evil spirits. The characters of the show end up using “real world” methods for fighting ghosts. So if your interested in paranormal activity, this is a quick primer. Some of the cases do get good, though they quality fluctuates. I loved the character of Mai, as her often overemotional delivery brought much needed energy into the show.

Cons: Honestly, its a little long. The show covers 8 different cases, and with 25 episodes, that’s about 3-4 episodes per case. And outside of Mai, none of the characters are well executed enough to warrant such attention. The problem is that the support cast are all outside contractors. The main characters are Mai and Naru, the latter running a paranormal research agency. Naru brings in the support characters to help out on cases. Every case in fact. Makes you wonder why he doesn’t just put them on staff. As such, there’s always this distance between the audience and the supporting characters. You pieces of personal history here and there, not that’s not much. Then there’s Naru, whose a really unlikable. He’s the stereotypical “cool” character, whose quite, prideful, and keeps things to himself. To quote Naru himself, he uses “strategic secrets.” Narratively, this is used to create situations that make Naru look evil, only to reveal after the fact that he’s actually super nice you guys! See, he wasn’t going to curse 600 students, that’s crazy talk. He was just going to make it look like he was and not tell anyone his plan, even though he had no reason not to tell the truth. Isn’t he the best and cutest?! Sadly, the brunt of this plot structure comes at the expense of Mai, who is often used to call Naru on his bullshit, only to be proven wrong at the end. Story wise, it has a monster of the week vibe, kinda boring at times, the animation doesn’t hold up, and the Opening, OH MY GOD, that was the laziest thing I’ve ever seen.

Watch it?: Overall, kind of bland. (3/5)

MVP: Mai Taniyama

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The Liveliest Hunter

Best Episodes: Ep18-21 “File 7: The Bloodstained Labyrinth Part 4” (scary, and the first anime I’ve encountered to mention Japan and China’s harsh history)

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

Type: Let’s party like it’s 1999!

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Synopsis: Once again, a perfectly normal show is being called “bizarre” just because it revolved around people who have psychic battle that sometimes result in someone turning into a rock, or collecting pocket change, or fusing a cat and a flower together that can shoot air bubbles. The show even tries to make itself presentable by using the setting of a peaceful suburban town…where you can eat at a restaurant the cleans your pores and go to a beauty shop that rearranges your face. Just what is so “bizarre” about that!

Pros: Ok, real talk, Diamond is Unbreakable is one of my favorites Jojo arcs. I flip flop between Diamond is Unbreakable and Phantom Blood. And, in all honesty, Diamond is Unbreakable is much more consistent, being Part 4 in the Jojo series. By this point the author is a seasons pro, stands have been introduced, and the stories are becoming more varies. Part 1 was a gothic shoen series. Part 2 was a martial arts shoen series. Part 3 was an adventure shoen series. But Part 4 is more of a slice-of-life suspense series. Basically Anime meets Twin Peaks. The story is mainly about this seemingly unassuming town named Morioh, which is actually home to a gaggle of strange, arguably bizarre, residents that each have weird powers called “Stands.” These powers can as straight forwards as turning invisible, or as specific a stand that turns pieces of paper into pocket dimensions. Like Twin Peaks, a lot of the best episodes are stand alone incidents involving Morioh’s abnormal residents. The show introduces some of my all time favorite Jojo characters, from the hard working Koichi, the love lorn Yukako, the mangaka Rohan, the stingy Shigekiyo, and the surprisingly compelling grade schooler Hayato. Episodes can range from deadly serious cat and mouse duels, to figuring out if the lunch your eating is actually a stand. I would actually argue that Diamond is Unbreakable is the easiest entry point for those curious about the series, but aren’t into the whole “fight-fight” shoen scenes. You can watch a random episode and not feel lost. You can follow it week by week. You can even marathon it. It has all the benefits of a slice of life show with a pinch of strange thrown in. The characters are great, as the main cast (and even some auxiliary characters) get their own episodes to shine. The show has 3 main arcs: The hunt for the Arrow, some downtime, and the search for Kira. Kira really takes over the show about a third of the way in, and his weird but deadly demeanor has made him a fan favorite antagonist, rivaling even Dio! (p.s. I also loved the color palette the show used, nice choice!)

Cons: Even though Diamond is Unbreakable is my favorite arc, it’s not without it’s flaws. As said above, a lot of the episodes are stand alone stories, with some feeling less important that others. So some points of the series may feel like the drag on too long (cough Highway Star cough). It feels like the author meanders between stories, probably returning to the main plot when his editor told him to. But your mileage may vary depending on your tastes in stories. I should also point out that because this is Part 4 of the Jojo saga, less attention is paid to the main protagonist. While Josuke Higashikata, illegitimate son of Part 2’s Joseph Joestar, if a good character and probably the most genial Jojo in the series, he can go long stretches of time without even appearing. The story often switches focus, sometimes going to Koichi, or Rohan, or even Kira! This is actually a trend that started in Part 3, and has arguably made subsequent Jojo’s feel less impactful. It doesn’t really hurt this story, but it seems like we get to know Josuke less than Jonathan or Joseph Joestar. Now, on to more subjective remarks: what the hell happened to the animation quality this season? I noticed so many animation errors and model mistakes! Either this was rushed or less people were working on it, because brah, we got some messed up picture up in here. There was also a lot more still shots, though this could be a result of simply having more episodes. Also, no women. Well, that’s not fair. There’s like 5 female characters: Two are moms, one’s killed off, one’s a love interest for a supporting character, and one’s a ghost. And, sadly, the Jojo franchise has still not gotten over giving explanatory commentary during it’s fights. This ain’t wresting! When a cat plant throws an air bubble at a serial killer, we get what’s going on!b (P.s.s. It was recently made aware of a big plothole in the show: Why didn’t anyone ask Joseph to find Kira using his stand, despite being brought in to find Red Hot Chilli Peper for the same reason!).

Watch it?: If you ever wanted to watch Jojo, start with this one (5/5)

MVP: Koichi

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A personal favorite, I admit

Best Episode: Ep.21-22 “Yoshikage Kira Just Wants to Live Quietly, Part 1 & 2 (this season was very hard to choose from, with funny and exciting choices, but one is Kira at his most menacing)

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Ghost Stories

Type: Yes, that Ghost Stories.

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Synopsis: ADV Films, in a moment of sheer brilliance, decided to take a very basic anime series and give it the ol’ “lets get weird” treatment. The result? 19 episodes of racist, sexist, and homophobic comedy. Enjoy!

Pros: This anime is infamous, infamous, for its English Dub. The story is that Aniplex, who had the license for Ghost Stories, tried desperately to find a distributor. But the Japanese version really, really, really sucked. They finally sold it to ADV Films for cheap, given them permission to do anything with it as long as it sells. Deciding to make Gold out of goat sh#t, ADV Films let its producers and voice actors go nuts. AND THEY DID. Every episode is a joke episode. A hard R comedy. No taboo is left untouched. This is an Abridged Anime series that happens to be licensed. You need to watch this, if just to experience this very abnormal event in North American Anime history.

Cons: I was not being hyperbolic when I described this show. When I say the filter was off, I mean that the filter was off. Every episode has at least one horrible racist, sexist, and/or homophobic remark. One of the characters is described as their “retarded little mascot.” If you’re easily offended by that type of humor, and I would totally understand and praise you if your were, then do not watch this show. If you’re the type of person who loves jokes like the one about the Gay dentist, then your shouldn’t watch the show either, you homophobic f@ck. Don’t enable your ignorance. But for the rest of us, especially long time anime fans, this is a treat.

Watch it?: Oh yeah, the plot is about 5th graders fighting ghosts (4/5)

MVP: Momoko

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“And you remember … Matthew 21 :17”

Best Episode: Just give it 4 minutes (then you decide)

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High School DxD BorN

Type: Capitalization ErrORS

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Synopsis: In a series that has survived way longer than anyone thought it would, we see Issei Hyodo continuing to live the good life. He’s got a dragon armor powers, he’s attached to a very powerful demon family, and every girl he knows are smokin’ hot babes that like to sleep with him naked. This season, he gets a power boost, a fight with the god Loki, goes a little aggro, and gets another kiss from his demon king. All in all, par for the course.

Pros: Yet another season of High School DxD is upon us, and I’m OK with that. As stated before, I’m a fan of this series. It’s a perfectly harmless boob-comedy. This entry continues the series tradition of breast centric humor, some demon fighting, and generic melodrama. The season is divided into about 4 story arcs. The first is a training arc, where Akeno and Koneko get more backstory. This results in Koneko becoming yet another member of the “We love Issei” club. The second story arc involves fighting the god Loki. The third story arc involves Asia getting kidnapped and Issei going a little crazy. And the last story arc involves Rias. Each arc is serviceble, and I did get emotionally invested in the third and fourth arc, since they involved arguably the two main heroines. I watched the English Dub, and by this point, you can tell they’ve given up any semblance of seriousness, its amazing. As for characters, well, the only real standout moment was when Issei noted that he know the girls all liked him, but he’s still afraid of getting close to anyone after the events of Episode 1, Season 1. I thought that was a nice touch, and is something that’s stayed consistent throughout the series.

Cons: The thing about High School DxD is that it doesn’t get any better or worse. It must be popular, because it got an English Dub the same year it was released. The boob jokes are still front and center, the pacing is still wonky, and the show simply has too many characters to explore properly. I honestly forget some of their names. This season adds more characters, which doesn’t help. It also adds the norse mythology into the plot, which I’m sure won’t muddle anything. Story wise, my one real complaint would be the Koneko arc. Mostly because she falls for Issei way too fast. She goes from relative annoyance to undying love like someone flipped a switch or something. I feel that the series is drawing dangerously close to crossing the harem threshold of “girls chasing the main character” to “sister wives.” For me, that’s when most harems go from campy fun to problematic.

Watch it?: I wonder if they’ll be a fourth season? (3/5)

MVP: Rias

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I keep misspelling it “Rise”

Best Episode: Ep.7-9 The Asia Kipnapped Arc (Gotta save the Demon Nun!)

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The Hentai Prince and The Stony Cat

Type: Or simply HenNeko

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Synopsis: DO NOT IMAGE SEARCH FOR THIS

Pros: This show is about a boy and a few girls making wishes to a Cat Statue, and the consequences that follow. With a title like “Hetai Prince,” expect some fan service. The show has a balance between Fan Service, Humor, and light melodrama. The best on-going jokes are: Tsukiko’s stone faced delivery and Tsukushi’s love for the “Younger” Yoto brother. Impressively, the show uses two-episode plot arcs, so a lot of story is packed into 12 episodes. You won’t get anything revolutionary in these stories, but you’ll get some entertaining stories.

Cons: The show has a slow start. It opens with my least favorite arc involving Azusa, an immature blonde classmate with trust issues. But after initial hump, a love triangle (rectangle?) develops between Yoto, Tsukiko, her sister Tsukishi (kinda inderectly), and Azusa. The show doesn’t remake the wheel, and some may find it generic. I found the romantic comedy  in the show really fun. Again, I really loved whenever Tsukiko got jealous, despite her emotionless exterior, and whenever Tsukushi got lovely dovey over “Young” Yoto (despite hating “Older” Yoto, who is the same person). That being said, I wasn’t stoked by Azusa and Tsukishi’s underdeveloped figures, mostly because it just made them seem much younger. We all know what your doing HenNeko. Gross.

Watch it: Just skip the first few episodes (4/5)

MVP: Tsukishi

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Mayonnaise is Justice!

Best Episode: Ep. 6 “Welcome, My Friend” (a good summary of the show)

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Shankugan no Shana [Month of Shana]

Type: Burning-Eyed Shana

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Synopsis: A lot of confusing words are used to describe not-demon hunters who hunt down not-demons and not-vampires who eat human not-souls. This story stars a particularly not-developed “Flame Haze,” or not-demon hunter, who meets a recently not-ghosted boy named Yuji. Together, they fight not-monsters, go through puberty together, and sometimes waste their time in boring school with boring people and generally waste all our time.

Pros: So Shakugan no Shana is apparently a HUGE series, spanning multiple seasons. The first season mainly introduces all the characters and sets the foundation of their interactions. The two star performances come from the two stars, Shana the Flame Haze and Yuji. Shana was raised a warrior, but lack many of the social and emotional skills necessary to function in society. She’s not deadpan or quiet, she’s just a little rough with interacting. Sometimes this is funny, like all her bored expressions while at school. It was particularly fascinating how the adults in her life addressed this. Her sorta dad/necklace of power and sorta mom/maid didn’t view this as a problem, but Yuji’s mother/social mentor pointed out that if Shana doesn’t learn how to deal with people as as child, it will be a serious problem as an adult, especially when dealing with men. Then there’s Yuji, who becomes a Torch (basically a ghost), and is our introduction to Shana’s work. He suffers from momentary existential crises. The best part of the show is their interactions with one another. Their relationship is great to watch, in a “First time Boyfriend and Girlfriend” kind a way. So expect a few misunderstandings.

Con: You can tell right away that this show had a budget. I’m not talking about looking different become it comes from the pre-digital era, I’m saying you can notice cuts here and there made to save money. The exception is Shana’s Flame Haze form, which always looked really cool with the added floating ember effect put in. There’s also the matter of the side characters. Other than Yuji, Shana, everyone else was pointless. I simply did not care about Yuji’s school friends. Ike and Kazumi could go F@#$ off for all I care. They are not important. Kazumi does throw a love triangle wrench at Yuji and Shana, but a random new character that goes away after three episodes could have done the same. Then there’s the matter of Margery, Eita, and Keisaku, who I’m pretty sure are just their for filler. They add nothing to the story, and aren’t really related to the overall plot other than Margery being a Flame Haze. For real, they don’t hang out with Yuji or Shana, they have no real history with Yuji or Shana, and aside from going to the same school and I guess sharing the same plane of existence, they are not relevant. That, I feel, is the show’s biggest flaw. It’s 24 episode length meant filling it with a bunch of filler content, such as school events and side fights, that just acted as fodder for the skip button.But if you can, I’d advise looking for the Bonus mini-episodes. They put a very funny spin on some of the cliches.

Watch it?: Skip where you may (3/5)

MVP: Shana’s Outfit

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Burning Red Hair and A Black Trench Coat with the Collar Popped Up. Bad Ass.

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “The Burning Flame” (ironic title)

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I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job.

Type: Don’t make sentences your title

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Synopsis: The year is…you know what? I don’t know what the year is. I guess it’s whatever year after the Demon Lord was defeated. This left the RPG like “Heroes” out of a job. Now derelict, one would be Hero got a reluctantly got job in retail. Where he’s surrounded by pretty anime girls. Who all have a crush on him. And wind up naked for one reason or another….I don’t know if I should feel sorry for him, or hate his guts.

Pros: This anime touches upon two important and surprising topics. First, it deals with is working in a small shop and having to compete with big mega stores. Anyone who has ever had a job, retail or otherwise, can sympathize with Raul and Phino. Having to learn the job rules, having to be nice to customers, having to deal with special events. Second, it sorta deals with the status of veterans. In the show, Raul was a trained “hero” who lost him purpose when the war against he Demon Kind ended. With nowhere left to go, he got a not-so-glamorous job. Raul, and other heroes depicted, feel out of place in peace time, with no real direction. Again, the title of the show has the word “reluctantly.” A part of him wishes he was still fighting. It may not have been an intentional thing, but I feel it does touch upon veteran life after war, especially since so many of today’s vet’s are young men and women. I also liked the setting of the show. A modernized RPG-like world was interesting, with monster becoming pests, and magical items turning into regular appliances. I also found Phino’s demon humor very funny.

Cons: This is a boob show. Let’s get that right out in the open. Phino has her boobs out on a regular basis. A third of the cast is very bouncy. Don’t let the opening fool you. The animation quality dips after the first episode. While the subplot of the show juggles the Store aspects and Raul’s Hero status, the main plot revolves around Phino’s hijinks as a rookie salesmen with big boobs. I doesn’t always pull it off. I also felt that this show was slooooooow. It’s based on a light novel, which usually produce not-so-quick stories. The show could have used less characters. Nova in particular seemed superfluous. The ending was also off. It didn’t feel earned, as the events were never alluded to. And the Amada Store arc is never quiet resolved, is it? I wasn’t a fan of Raul being criticized for “not following his dream” of being a hero. Mostly because THE WAR WAS OVER. He didn’t have a choice. It’s like hating someone for not following his dream of being a VHS salesmen. I suppose he could have just become a cop. Which begs the question, why didn’t he become a cop? He’s described as having high marks in Hero School. He’s skills are still good. Why not? I’m sure there are pretty anime girls at the precinct too.

Watch it?: I worked retail for 2 day. I would have stayed if there had been anime girls. (3/5)

MVP: Phino

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Tremble at the low prices!!

Best Episode: Ep.11 “I Couldn’t Become a Hero, but now I’m Going to Rescue the Demon Lord’s Daughter” (hey, the budget!)

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Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure

Type: Phantom Blood (ep01-09), Battle Tendencies (ep10-26)

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Synopsis: Part 1 stars an Englishman and his fight with his mean step-brother. Part 2 stars his grandson’s battles against old exhibitionists. I-I don’t know what so “bizzare” about it.

Pros: This anime is based on the extremely popular manga, Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure. The manga has like a billion chapters and has been running for 30 years. So why haven’t you heard about it? Well, it lacks some of the cross-promotional appeal for the big North American distributers. Plus, the author likes to name his characters after Musicians, which is legally tricky as well. Oh yeah, and it’s f#$ing nuts! A guy popped out of a horse body once, and that was only episode 4! That being said, this adaptation of Jojo is amazing. It perfectly captures the weird and awesomely glam aspects of the manga. The animation style and color pallet really made it seem like you were watching the manga come to life. The gimmick behind the franchise, and the reason why it’s lasted so long, is because the series follows succeeding members of the “Joestar” family. Part 1 (my favorite arc) follows the noble Jonathan Joestar and his rivalry with Dio Brandon, one of the best antagonists of the series, and a complete asshole. In fact, part 1 has the strongest first episodes I’ve seen for a series in a while, almost serving as a stand alone story. Part 2 follows Jonathan’s grandson Joseph, whose more cocky and clever (and my personal favorite Joestar, and the only Joestar to survive to old age).  This anime was partly done in honor of Jojo’s 25th anniversary, and sorta works as a prequel to the 90’s adaptation of Part 3, which is most fan’s favorite story arc. So it has some noltalgia points there. Honestly, this is an amazing adaptation of a legendary manga series.

Cons: While I loved the animation style used, some people may find it a bit blocky. Inspired by manga panels, a lot of shots use freeze frames and close-ups. This doesn’t always translate well. Ditto for the dialogue. There a points in fights, especially in ep. 10-26, where a characters will give exposition for a particular move used, explaining it’s purpose and strategy. “Joseph just did X because of Y!” This is fine for a manga, but in an anime, it’s better to just show, not tell. And while the franchise is know for it’s offbeat humor and unique characters and situations, it’s still a fight-fight shoen anime. So you still get the fight arc, the training arc, the rematch arc, etc.

Watch it?: You need to experience Jojo at least once (5/5)

MVP: Dio Brandon

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F@#$ING DIOOOOOOOOO

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Dio the Invader” (it’s like Jane Austen, but with punching)

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Noragami

Type: About a Ghost Boy

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Synopsis: At the start we’re introduced to this girl who becomes part ghost after saving the life of a shrine god, right? But then the show thrown in a cute blonde boy, and, like, the rest of the show is about blondy having teenage mood swings and shop lifting stuff. To be honest, I’m not sure why the girl was there in the first place.

Pros: This show is about getting to know the god Yato and his background. Yato wants to become a rich and famour god, and strives for this goal by graffiti-advertising his divine services all over town. The various menial tasks he undertakes are hilarious. We’re introduced to his world of shrine gods by Hiyori, a recently partially-deceased girl. Being half-dead, Hiyori’s spirit has the unfortunate habit of slipping out of her body, leaving her physical form in random places. This is also hilarious. In addition, Yato and Hiyori’s interactions are equally hilarious, since she views him as a bum who constantly fails to fufill his promise to restore her. Not to mention Yato’s standing with the other gods. What I’m saying is, this thing is pretty funny when it wants to be.

Cons: This show’s first episode is misleading. According to the pilot, the anime will be about this ambitious but down on his luck god working with a teenage girl to make people’s wishes come true, with the occasional monster fight thrown in. But by the second episode, this is quickly set aside in favor of a looong arc involving Yato’s new shinki, Yukine. Yukine is kinda the most whiny character in the existence of forever and I hate his face, and we get to witness his little drama queen skit from EP2 ALL THE WAY TO EP9. It was horrible. I also felt that Hiyori was criminally misused. Again, the pilot introduces her as a fighting fan who kicks a phantom in the face! She should have been Yato’s shinki. But instead, she becomes the standard female emotional support. Lame.

Watch it?: Just google the funny parts (3/5)

MVP: Hiyori

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So much potential

Best Episode: Ep.4 “Where Happiness Lies” (funniest moment in the whole series)

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