Winter 2019 Anime Review

I enjoy how as each season passes I have less and less enthusiasm to write in anything approximating a reasonable timeframe.

As seems to be a recurring theme, a fair chunk of shows in this season had interesting premises or ideas but then ended up kind of dissappointing. So consistently so that it’s not really worth dividing up good/bad among the things I did watch.

So in (mostly) alphabetical order here’s the anime I watched in Winter 2019:

Domestic no Kanajo– this show started off interesting. Gave a bit of a Scums Wish vibe with the teacher and student relations. Domestic na KanojoAlso the unexpected sexual relations in episode 1 were quite an intriguing twist. But the show just didn’t live up to those initial expectations. It particularly irked me that the boy kept calling the teacher ‘Sensei’ while flirting/hooking up and this didn’t cause the woman to be constantly reminded about how she was a teacher fucking her student. And that was a huge breach of professional conduct. Was really implausible and inconsistent how well she accepted that and didn’t seem to care about the obvious professional risks (and moral ones too I guess). Even just having the kid call her by her surname would be a massive improvement as it would mean they stopped whacking us in the face with it. Also the way they, inevitably, get busted is stupid. In on episode they “hide” by crouching down in a fuck off huge hallway at the school that is 80% windows outside. But that works out fine. Meanwhile they later fuck in a hotel room on the 10th storey of a building and somehow the school photographer takes a photo of a bonfire dance outside that somehow clearly catches them. 6/10

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue– again this show started off pretty good. Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. Despite being thoroughly over the overused trope of an MC being a shut in mangaka with no social skills (Barakamon did this best, stop trying to capture lightning in a bottle again) this show had the fantastic twist of dedicating half the episode to being from the perspective of a tsundere cat. Which the MC adopts. Hence his “roommate is a cat” and the show started off quite great. But Episode 3 was an early stumbling block where it had a random supernatural element related to the MCs dead parents spirits being chased around by the cat. Then as episodes progressed they clearly ran out of ideas of what could be said/done through the cats perspective so we got higher and higher proportions of each episode on the stupid MC. And the eclectic cast of tropes who he ran interacted with. Only interesting one was the pet store lady (and I guess her younger brother) but she was in like 3 or 4 episodes. Fun premise but you’re probably better off watching Barakamon and Chi’s Sweet Home. 6/10

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan– am very late to the party on this. Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no GohanWas a monthly short by ufotbale with the Fate/Stay characters going on low key cooking adventures. Slow paced slice of life. I’m not much of a cook so the chunks of run time dedicated to explaining recipes were a bit much (I assume they were accurate recipes) but I guess it was nice seeing where these characters from a mid-2000s choose your own adventure porno have ended up. A good show to chuck on before going to bed because if you fall asleep you won’t really miss anything. 5/10

Fate/Stay Heavens Feel II- Lost Butterfly– speaking of “choose your own adventure porno from the mid-2000s”, I saw the second Heavens Feel movie in cinema a few weeks back. Further cementing Sakura as the best girl in my mind (although I expect if I rewatched UBW I’d prefer Rin). Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven's Feel - II. Lost ButterflyThe art and animation was fucking beautiful in this, with some absolutely gorgeous fight scenes between various Servants. Also some high tension scenes where characters confronted others- in particularly I liked Gilgamesh confronting Sakura in a dark alleyway at night time. Was less of a fan of the scene where Sakura and Shiro finally have sex. Two reasons- firstly the dialogue was the cringewothy garbage that… well… reminds you this was the third/secret route of a choose your own adventure porno written nearly decades ago. It was very bad. Equally bad was how much a of a cock tease the scene was- so often Sakura’a tits were nearly on screen but the nipples always managed ot just be out of shot or obscured. Fuck that. If you’re keeping the fucking dialogue, at least show me the insane ‘big tiddys’ of this hot anime girl on the big screen. I want a canon image for what Sakura looks like topless. In beautiful ultra 4k HD or whatever resolution cinemas play. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about the movie. It did suffer a bit being the middle of a trilogy. Also I’ve become psychologically used to anime movies I see in cinema being fucking masterpieces (Your Name, Silent Voice, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas) or popular trash (DBZ movies, Yugioh Movies, that SAO movie). This movie was weirdly neither- it was towards the masterpiece end in terms of production quality and those fight scenes but it was still nowhere near the typical level of an anime movie that breaks into a western release. Will probably revisit it and the first one in a marathon before going to see the third one… if I remember. So uhh… 7/10?

Endro– I really dunno what I expected with this one. Endro~!It gave me Yuru Camp vibes (the MC is basically the same person) in a fantasy setting. And I suppose that’s what I got. But the characters were all pretty one dimensional, the Princess shit me off and the ultimate direction the plot went it was really unsatifying. I technically watched this until the end but I definitely watched the last bunch of episodes in a marathon while working on some other stuff at the same time (and given I don’t speak Japanese, that shows how much I needed to pay attention to follow what was happening). I guess it’s a fine show to pass the time. 6/10

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai– this show was fantastic. The premise sounded like absolute garbage when I read it so it was a breath of fresh air that this turned out so fun. That occasional victory makes slogging through so many bad/disappointing shows worth it… although those rare victories are what keeps the optimism that makes me slog through so much garbage barely alive. Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai ZunousenThe dynamic between the three main characters was fantastic, with the occasional extra of the Treasurer being a great add on. One of my friends informs me that in the source material the Treasurer is more involved earlier on. But I think the well-crafted gag in early episodes of pictures/memories of activities having a fourth person blurred out that the other three are clearly forgetting about makes the tweak worthwhile. Towards the end of the series it did have a few burrs- like the stupid ‘Kaguya becomes a child when she is ill’ which was perhaps a step too far beyond suspension of disbelief. Also the final episode left me with a bit of a bland aftertaste as it seemed that after all the activities we’d seen, including the requisite big emotional arc in the final clump of episodes, the two love interest characters were somehow not in any different position than how things had begun. In fact none of the characters really developed or changed. My friend I mentioned earlier disagrees with that statement but I think he’s confusing us learning more about the characters as stuff happened with the characters changing in response to that stuff happening. And I do acknowledge that in this sort of slice of life comedy show you typically don’t get huge character development. But even half a step in… well… any direction would have been great. All that being said, still an overall fantastic show. 8/10

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru– this show may technically have been part of last season given it ran for a weird amount of 23 episodes. But it was fantastic. All sport anime are either fantastic emotional roller coasters or bland mediocrity and this definitely fell into the former category. The fact that it developed all ten of the runners; plus some supporting characters and rivals AND their various, changing relationships was so good. Kaze ga Tsuyoku FuiteiruThe art and animation were also pretty top notch… the CGI less so. But most impressive was how well it paced the overall story- the team forming arc (where each person was made to buy into the concept), the training/qualification arc (where everyone had to encounter and overcome a personal difficulty within the sport or external to the sport) and the final race itself (plus a small little post-race tease) were balanced perfectly. Nothing ran too long with padding or repeat concepts and nothing felt rushed. If anything, half an episode extra seeing the post-race stuff is all I’d want but ending where it did was perfect emotionally. And the emotional punch in that final stretch of the last leg where the two MCs have both an incredibly touching moment followed by a horrific heartbreak (unnoticed by anyone else) was… well… a roller coaster. This is up with Haikyuu as top 2 sports anime I’ve seen (sorry Kuroko!). Also it hit a bit of a personal note with the ‘making people buy into a cause and helping them push past what they thought their limits were’ stuff. Have done that in a few projects in the past and it is an immensely fun/satisfying thing to do. 9/10

Kemurikusa– this was a very weird one. I never got into Kemono Friends but I knew the creator has the capacity to do something weird and special with his work.Kemurikusa (TV) So I stuck with this even though I probably shouldn’t. It was an interesting world and aside from Wakaba the characters all had their charm. Was quite surprised with what happened with various characters as the finale started to kick into gear. The rapid development of the lore towards the end was both welcome as it explained what was happening but also unsatisfying as it didn’t really explain why the fuck what was happening was happening. The art style and animation were… interesting? Inconsistent? The best of times and the worst of times? I can only assume we’ll get a soulless S2 in a year or two that does a weird semi-reboot and makes things more confusing in terms of the lore. 6/10

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken– this started so well and then ended terribly. Actually I dunno if it started well. The premise seemed ideal for a 2 minute short, gag comedy anime rather than a serious action isekai. I figured the joke would wear off pretty soon and it did… hence they basically made the MC slime functionally a normal, if OP, human very quickly. Tensei shitara Slime Datta KenThat being said the Orc Lord arc was pretty good. And the bit before it about building a village and going to the Dwarf Kingdom were fine. Nothing special… except for Dwarves being human sized and looking just like normal men. But after the Orc Lord things went off the rails. The concept of the next bit with the Demon Lords gaining interest and Milim kicking about and the Charybdis (dunno how it was spelt) but what should have been a 12-13 episode second arc was a rushed 4 episode arc. Letting is then get in a stupid arc where the OP MC goes and teaches at a school to he can raise some troubled orphans. And then we get a side-story from the perspective of a character who died… and then we get a recap for the final episode… what the fuck. There were apparently heaps of story tweaks and changes from the source material. From what has been explained to me by people who have read it, none of them were necessarily bad changes. They just streamlined content and cut out pointless busy work. Like in the orphan child arc the MC has to find a place. In the anime the servant of a business partner knows where it is. In the original it’s some other mini-quest to find the information. Whatever. The issue was that in cutting out the pointless busywork they decided to rapidly accelerate the pace of interesting story content to squeeze in stupid story content. Very disappointing. 6/10

Tsurune– this show was fucking fantastic. I do archery myself and have dabbled in Kyudo so seeing the sport presented in such a compelling anime was fantastic. Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou KyuudoubuThe only issue I have with this show was that we didn’t see more of the girls- because I agree with the characters in the show that kyudo gear looks fucking hot. I really appreciated the depth to which the show focused on getting over the ‘hurdle’, especially when coming back from a failure, which is something I think is applicable to all sports (and probably most things people put effort into). Actually the more I think about this show the more uncertain as to whether Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru or this make up the top 2 with Haikyuu. Maybe the silly plot point of the archery coach getting in a car accident on the day of the tournament knocks this one down into spot three. 9/10

Yakusoku no Neverland– somehow I knew about this… franchise? Concept?… about 12 months ago and even then the premise didn’t super excite me. Yakusoku no NeverlandDunno why. It was very good. I think maybe it reminds me too much of the mid-2000s TV series Prison Break which was pretty good to start with but then rapidly jumped the shark once they actually broke out of prison. Also children annoy the shit out of me so the setting having them all be under the age of 12 was not appealing. But I was proven wrong- the art and animation worked really well, the characters were compelling and the plot had some very unexpected twists. Particularly in the last few episodes when… well… the plan starts having changes in it. There was a character trait in Emma that popped up towards the end that I didn’t quite buy and a fantastically unexpected detail about Ray. And Norman… wow… I was shocked how he played things out. Although I suspect the inevitable S2 will remove the emotional impact of his action. 8.5/10

Also here’s some thoughts on shows I started watching in Winter 2019 but didn’t finish for one reason or another:

Boogiepop wa Warawanai- this show had a weird number of episodes (~18 or so), a very confusing release schedule (due to the weird number of episodes) and a non-linear plot. And it’s also releated to a show from the early-2000s. Unsure if it’s a reboot or a sequel. Didn’t care enough to look. I’m assured that it is very good those who watch it and are into this sort of thing- sort of occult, sort of sci-fi, things only make sense on a rewatch when you have all the info and can piece it together. Is on the list of “things to go back to during a boring anime season. One day. Maybe”

Egao no Daika- I dunno why I though this would be interesting. All this show demonstrated was why you don’t put 12 year old children in charge of the military. Because they will do dumb shit and you will lose. Also it was (I assume) an accidental experiment in “trying to make both sides of the war emphathetic to show shades of grey even though one side is demonstrably an unprovoked aggressor doing evil shit to its citizens and the good guys”. Unsurprisingly the experiment found that it’s not possible to make a good storyline that way.

Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen- I think Madoka is fantastic for what it did with the Magical Girl Genre. I also think Magical Girl Raising Project is a fantastic extension on top of what Madoka laid. And given Madoka dealt with “Magical girls finding out shit is fucked” while Raising Project dealt with “Magical Girls surving through shit that is fucked” I hoped this show would delver on the third part of that concept with “Magical Girls dealing with PTSD having got theough the fucked shit”. Unfortunately it dropped that concept pretty much strgaight away and become a poorly animated, boring artsyle generic magical girls fighting each other and other things show.

Mob Psycho 100 S2- I’m still working my way through this. S1 didn’t grab me as much as it did everyone else but I enjoyed it enough. Same thing here. I’m assured that the second half is fantastic so I am currently watching it. And all signs are suggesting it could be fantastic. And if not it’s solid for bingeing while doing other stuff

Dororo- dunno about this. Nothing about it sticks out as bad. Or good. But it’s very different. The art and animation feel off but I can’t tell if I like that or hate it. The biggest draw is the world and the concept for the main plot. The biggest turn off is that the interesting character is mute (at least for the episodes I saw) and most of the dialogue comes from a stupid shit of a child. Another one that I’m assured is worth watching but unless I’m desperate I suspect I won’t get to it.

And some quickfire comments on some of the garbage that was put out by Japan in this three month period:

Dimension High School- interesting concept mixing j-drama and anime. The problem was that the show centred around solving Japanese word puzzles. With literal count down timers for the characters and audience to solve the puzzles. And if you aren’t fluent in reading, writing and speaking Japanese you just spend several minutes looking at still images of word puzzles watching a clock tick down. Absolute waste of an interesting idea.

W’z- WHO THE FUCK ASKED FOR A SEQUEL TO HANDSHAKERS? AND WHO THE FUCK WAS DUMB ENOUGH TO GREENLIGHT AND FUND IT?! FUCK YOU.

Ueno-san wa Bukiyou- I love Science. I don’t love weird attempted sexual harassment and assault in the name of science. Even having a girl doing it to a boy coz she’s fond of him doesn’t make it bearable

Mini Toji- a short based on… Katana no Toji(?) from several seasons back. I duno why I bothered watching it given I struggled to finish that show. I think it was a sequel spin off but who the fuck cares.

Rinshi!! Ekoda Chan- now this is a fantastic concept. Rather than the navel gazing garbage we get typically of “anime set in weeb industry X” (e.g. manga, gaming, anime itself…) this was a 3-5 minute anime short followed by a 20 minute interview with the staff (the director and VA on the episodes I saw) about the process of making anime. If this was an industry you were interested in working in, excellent viewing! Unfortunately that’d not me. Also in one of the first two eps (forget which) there was some really awkward viewing where the old, male director was correcting the young, female VA on what the character (a young, female) would feel on a topic. And the VA just had to sit there with the awkward “this old geezer is so wrong and misguided but if I say anything my career is fucked” smile on her face. A fantastic idea fucked in execution.

Manaria Friends- somehow a yuri show set in a fantasy school wasn’t good. The opposite of a miracle.

Virtual-san wa Miteiru- like Pop Team Epic but worse. In this one the unconnected and not-funny sketches are all riffing of the personas of artificial Japanese YouTube… “characters”. Like Hatune Miku but instead of bad to medicore songs, they are bad to bad YouTube personalities. With literally no story/plot or compent CG as far as I could tell.

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikotai- had pretty accurate WWII era dogfight style plane battles. Which meant they went too long. Also the CG and character models in the non-battle parts was terrible. Find a screencap of the girls standing around in the bar, look how big their hats and and judge the size of their heads to the rest of their bodies. It’s fucked

Girly Air Force- a boy has to seduce and fuck an idiot and/or tsundere airplane to help fight off mysterious alien spaceships/planes. Or something. A plot point of the early episodes is this random refugee getting into (maybe sneaking into) a Japanese Self Defence Force base via his bicycle. The same base with the only line of defence against mysterious aliens has very poor security. Or something… again the details from 3 months ago are hazy. In any event, it was not good.

Grimms Notes- haha isn’t is so funny that the male character transforms into a girl?! And they gallivant through a bunch of classic fairy tales while bantering with various character tropes. Comedy gold! Just read the Grimm Fairytales directly rather than this weird homage adaption.

Bermude Triangle- Colorful Pastrale- How is Cardfight Vanguard still popular enough to warrant this spin off anime about (I believe) one of the card sets? When was it ever popular enough to warrant that? In any event, obviously not popular enough to pay for any decent writer, artists or animators. Can’t remember if the VAs were good. But 4 minutes of this was absolutely horrific to watch.

Pastel Memories- this is the self-aggrandising, navel gazing shit that is a cancer on anime/Japanese popculture. Is about a maid café having to save Japan by making it remember anime/manga that has been mysteriously forgotten. One of the girls looks like a character from Monogatari series. Which is the closest thing to a good ting I can so… although it just reminds you about a far, far better show. This combines the poor book based content of Grimm Notes with the shit storyline of “Plastic Memories”. In the sense that Plastic Memories also had both a shit storyline and the word “Memories” in it’s title. Good stuff

Watashi no Tenshi ga Maiorita!- Female. Paedophiles. Are. Still. Paedophiles. And. Are. Still. Fucked. Up. For. Fuck. Sakes. Japan. Don’t. Encourage. This. Shit.

Ame-iro Cocoa- Side G- a centre swapped side story (‘side’ is literally in the same) about a coffee shop in what I assume is a franchise about coffee shops. All boys. Whatever. Slice of life with uninteresting characters. If you have no forward plot you need fantastic characters. Just having pretty characters isn’t enough. But I guess if you’ve watched the 4-20 previous seasons in the franchise (no clue how many there are. Whatever the number is, it’s too many) you’ll probably like it.

Meji Tokyo Renka- a time travelling reverse harem. If you like historically inaccurate hot boys vaguely seducing a blank slate who probably has some sort of special powers (didn’t watch more than half an episode); this is the one for you!

Extra- Christmas and New Year Backlog!

Because I have the pleasure of living interstate from all my family, I am in the incredibly lucky siutation that I can do whatever I want during the Christmas+New Year holiday/”shut down” period. And because I spend 50 weeks of the year working like a madman, this year I decided to spend it doing as little as possible and watching anime. Notably, I decided to test out the AnimeLab platform. Which is fine as far as streaming platforms go. If you want “legit access” to anime I’d put it above crunchyroll.

Anyway I watched/rewatched a bunch of fantastic shows and have some thoughts about them. Some more than others:

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu

This show is fantastic. Even a decade later. Actually this is my main critiscm of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsuthe AnimeLab platform- the episodes can only be done in chronological order. Well, you could manualy watch them in a different order I guess. But watching them in not broadcast order loses some of the magic. Although I think I prefer the DVD order- starting with the Mikuru “movie” episode is such a great way to begin the show and then have stuff backfilled in as you go through the episodes in broadcast order. Also the OPs and EDs are done by broadcast order so they keep randomly changing across the 28 episodes. The plot and characters are great and have been talked to death so I won’t go into that here, instead I’ll touch on a couple other things of note.

Firstly, Endless Eight was far better than I remembered. I’d alwasy jokingly defended it when people complained but now I leigtmiately think it is a fantastic piece of art. The sheer volume of changes that they make to each epsiode without chnaging anything is amazing- the clothes people where, the locations people go to, the places people sit or stand when talking, the orientation of the printed menu in a cafe. It’s fucking crazy. In hindsight I suspect the backlash and (probable) sales drop due to endless eight is what killed the series. But if there’d been a season 3 or even if S2 had been a full 2 cour rather than 14 new eps mixed amongst the original 14 eps it wouldn’t have been so bad. And we would have gotten more seasons to finish the series. Which would have been great.

Secondly, I was shocked by how many episodes were centred on the School Festival. By my count there were 8 episodes related to the School Festival directly and two other referred to it. Which is like… 30-35% of the total. In a modern anime a School Festival would be done in a single episode and then they’d be off to the next thing. By having so much focus on a single event there was such a deeper story to it. Plus there were HEAPS of eatser eggs in the backgrounds of shots as characters did stuff that you saw in detail in prior or subsequent episodes. Case in point was when Kyon was wandering around the School Fetsival you saw Haruhi setting up the impromptu band performance. Such exquisite attention to detail showed a level of care and love and dedication to the show. I really wish there had been more.

Other small details littered across practically every episode like Haruhi’s changing hairstyle (to ponytail, away from ponytail etc), the Mikuru photo folder on the computer desktop, the costumes and shit in the background of the club room… such a well crafted show in the little details.  Many of which you don’t catch if you watch in it broadcast order becuase they are referencing future episodes!

The art and animation also looked great even though AnimeLab locked it at 480p unless I gave them money.

It wasn’t all rosy though- the tension in the scene when Haruhi tried to set up and film Mikuru being sexually assaulted was incredible. I knew it was coming and how it was resolved (not super well through a modern eye) but even so I was gripping the edge of my seat. Incredibly well drawn, animated and performed.

Also whenever Mikuru was brought to tears at any point in the series it broke my fucking heart.

Another incredibly well done scene was the one where Haruhi was doing casting for the movie and happened to nail everyone’s secret roles. The progressive breaking of Koizumi by Haruhi was so good.

So weird realising that the finale (ep28) takes place like six months after episode 1.

Also wasn’t a big fan of the finale. There was a big drop in quality, epseiclaly with the weird Nakano reading a book in a still room for extended periods of time.

That being said, it is still an incredibly and highly recommendable show. Not only was it incredibly pivotal for anime when it was released it easily holds up. It is still far better than the vast majority of shows being made today.

Lucky Star

I tried to watch this show years ago and just didn’t get it. So for ages I thought Lucky☆StarI’d just missed the boat. And I suspect I somewhat have- it’s such a meta/referential show that I probably didn’t catch anything. But I was pleased to find I was very, very wrong about having missed my chance.

In particular, watching it striaght after Haruhi was a brilliant stroke of luck. To anyone who is familiar with both shows the connection is pretty self-evident. They are both by Kyoto Animation and Lucky Star was their next/immediate follow up to Haruhi. Which means that a significant amount of Lucky Star’s content and meta commentary revolves around Haruhi (and it’s impact on anime/nerd culture at the time).

One of the Lucky Star characters has a Haruhi song as their phone ringtone. One of them puts together a dance routine and comments that they need to make the next Hare Hare dance (the dance from Haruhi). In one episode there are people cosplayer as characters from Haruhi. My favourite was when the anime nerd character Konata “watches” the Haruhi finale and makes many of the same observations I made about it being a weird tonal chnage and drop in quality, makes the same speculations I did and then goes onto online forums to see the nerds already in a flame war over it minutes after it aired. Which I can only presume is what actually happened. Another great one is when the group goes bowling and all their names are Haruhi characters… and the scores match up (the person as Haruhi is doing fantastic, Nagato and Koizomi are just behind, Kyon is average, Mikuru is absolutely terrible).

Again, some incredible attention to detail showing incredible love/passion with the project. And honestly I would have missed it entirely if I hadn’t coincidentally decided to watch Lukcy Star after my Haruhi rewatch. So I 100% recommend anyone who is intereste din Lucky Star do the same thing.

It is also kind of weird how well the art and animation holds up. The character/shows design and style is so different to what modern shows do and for whatever reason that style from the mid-2000s just doesn’t date as badly as the style from the mid-2010s. I didn’t realise how old this show was until I looked it up, thats how good it still looks today.

The characters themselves are the emodiment of tropes but it’s done as a parody more than as a shortcut for character development. And the way they meta-commentate through those tropes is fantastic. Which makes it hard to pick when someone should watch this series in their life as an anime fan- you need to have enough of an understanding of anime and the culture to get it… but if you leave it too late then you risk having it’s perfection undercut by things that have copied bits and pieces of it since.

Also for an odd/crass observation, the physical shape of the “well endowed” Miyuki compared to more modern characters (such as Chi from Devil is a Part Timer) is well… noticeably less exaggerated. Really makes you wonder about the people making and consuming this product…

But yes, this show is a classic cute girls doing cute things slice of life and was the perfect antidote to the typical ‘I can’t believe it’s over feeling’ I was getting for Haruhi. Damn KyoAni are a fantastic studio.

…I feel I should praise the show more for being it and not being related to Haruhi but whatever.

Devil is a Part Timer

Continuing my comedy streak of watching/rewatching things, I rewatched Hataraku Maou-sama!Devil is a Part Timer. I didn’t take as many notes for this one as the previous two shows (actually I took none) because it is a much more recent show and thus I was less shocked at how good it still was.

This is another fantastic show. The only bad thing is that there isn’t a second season over half a decade later. Is defintiely a world and a set of characters I want to see more of. Particualrly given how the final episode is kind of shit- the big climax is done in the second last episode, making the final feel like a random OVA with the kind of content you’d expect around epsidoe 7-8 in a one cour series.

Also Chiho’s body proportions are absolutely ridiculous, even without considering her age. Goddamn Japan.

I particurly like the dynamic between Maou and Alciel as the show progresses. The way Alciel frames him and Maou (and Emilia) as construction workers when trying to explain their situation to a random human friend of Emilia’s was a particularly fun scene. Really showed the strength of their friendship and relationship.

Emilia got a bit tiresome with her stalker behaviour towards Maou and I’m annoyed the romantic subplots of both Maou-Emilia and Maou-Chiho existed. Only one was neccessary and I think it would have been better having Emilia come to understand Maou through him having strong relationships with other humans rather than herself. There could be arguments made that him befriending her could be preceived as having evil ulterior motives, but him being nice and supporting random humans was the perfect way to show Emilia wasn’t on the right side of a simple good vs evil war.

But yeah, a great show! Highly recommend!

No Game No Life

Switching things up I went next for an action-comedy sort of show. The main No Game No Lifething I remembered about this was that the art and animation were eye wateringly beautiful. And they are.

I didn’t remember how much incest stuff there was. I knew it was particulary heavy at the start but damn it is very heavy. It lessens and becomes more comedic (…somehow) as the series progresses but it is still a legitimate barrier to making this a recommendabe show.

The highlight is easily when Sora/Shiro and Jibril play Shiritori. It does such a fantastic job showing how the protaginsts think and perceive the world… and how everyone else is overconfident and underestimates them. Plus it is super funny and quite meta in dealing with censorship.

That being said, the final arc of the show is also pretty fun. The series as a whole is pretty great.

My only other observation is that it really drove home how much I didn’t care/want the prequel movie. I want to see another season of them beating the other races in progressibley more ridiculous games. Building up the war thousands of years earlier and finding a convoluted way to set up this ‘war free, game based dispute resolution’ world was just… well… convoluted and unnecessary.

D-Frag

I loved this show the first time around but struggled to get through the first ep on this rewatch. Dunno why. Maybe I’d just watched too many comedies in a row?

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!

I feel a bit mixed on this show. Something about it has put me off it for literally years and I was really reluctant to watch it despite many friends recommendations. Unsure what or why though, I’ve just always had an odd feeling about it.

But I decided to give it a shot. I’m not sure if it grabbed me immediately but the middle chunk of S1 had me absolutely hooked. I found myself really relating to the stupid made up fantastical scenarios I had a kid (personally, many revolved around Dragon Ball Z stuff) and then trying to bury that shit when I got to highschool and it was no longer acceptable/cool to play ‘make believe’ any more. I also liked the different ways Togashi and Nibutani tried to solve their similair problems. When Nibutani started having weird interest in Togashi I knew something was up but it defienitely wasn’t what I expected

While some of the characters (in particular Dekomori) were a bit over the top in some ways, they also felt very realistic in others. And the way they came about getting together in their group and then interacted was great. Even the less prominent characters had developed and relatable subplot- like Isshiki’s attempt to get girls backfiring over the course of several episodes.

What derailed the fun train for me was the end arc. And the way that it kind of concluded, as I interpreted it, that not growing up and having all these fantasy delusions about reality is an ok thing because/if it’s being used to “deal” with an emotional tradegy e.g. death of a parent. Even though the character in question actively wasn’t dealing with stuff. It seemed such a poor way to conclude the overal arc and the romantic plot of the series. And the real world message was kind of fucked.

Unsure if I’ll watch S2. One day perhaps but I’ve got a bit of a yuck feeling from the direction S1 decided to go in.

Also random shout out to the fact the main guy’s dad works in Jakarta. What a random place to pick and a refreshing change from ‘somewhere vaguely in Europe or the USA’.

Survivor: David vs Goliath+Palau+Guatemala

An odd inclusion here given I typically talk mostly about anime. But over the Summer I finished Survior S37- David vs Goliath and also watched the entirely of S10- Palau and S11- Guatemala. I’m slowly working my way through the older seasons after getting hooked in the early 30s by a friend. And it’s been good/weird to compare and contrast the modern game with how it originally played out.

It’s also been bad because it’s kind of ruined the modern game. When my friend got me hooked in S32- Kaoh Rong I really enjoyed a couple seasons. But as I started watching the older ones, I realised how much more interesting and exciting those early seasons are.

Those first ten seasons comprise a fairly defineable era of the show- in Guatemala the hidden immunity idol is introduced and it’s downhill from there as it switched from a balanced social game to a strategy heavy game. In the newer seasons, basicllay every episode is dominated by strategy talk of different groups of people trying to form and split majoirty voting blocs to account for one of the four thousand idols or advantages introduced into the game over 30 plus seasons. Whereas in the earlier seasons you saw people having to actually survive and compete and manipulate each other without it backfiring. So much more intriguing and satisfying. Nowadays it seems to all be episodic big moves and very little character or story development.

That all being said, while I love the early seasons (with the notable exception of S8- All Stars which is a steaming pile of heartbreaking garbage), I can already see the wheels falling off in Guatemala as the production/editing switches focus to try and trick the viewer into thinking there is a coin flip decision between two options when really something entirely different is happening on the island.

That being said, David vs Goliath was a pretty fantastic season. I’d say maybe low top ten, probably early teens in terms of season rankings. I got a bit over the Natalie drama and think it was emphasised too much in the ealry season but otherwise the show had a fantastic build up to the double episode. Peaking with the 5+ hour endurance challenge between Christian and Alec that resulted in the David’s finally wresting control from the Goliaths. After a series of fantastic plays including vote steals, idol nullifcation (a new twist) and even splitting a minoirty vote (a survivor first). But then the David’s shot themselves in the foot and gave control back to the Goliaths. It was kind of impressive how the Goliath tribe effectively didn’t break their alliance the entire game. But it made for an increddbly boring endgame- there was really only one possible winner who would be good (who did win) and it was just a question of whether he’d have an immunity run to make it or be voted out and have someone less deserving sneak into the winning spot.

(Which as an aside is what happened in Aus Survivor Champions vs Contenders- the Final Two was a person who quit a bunch of challenges and got carried to the end and a person who should have been voted out but was saved by production with an incredibly suspicous hidden immunity idol find. A dissapointing end to an otherwsie great season. Also both Final Two were super rich which made it hard to want either to win the money)

Fortunately that person did win and it was a pretty satisfying end. And one where it was both hard to see who would win, but the finalists all (quite unusually for a modern season) had been present in the show and storylines since the first episode.

In stark contrast to Guatemala where the ultimate winner was basically absent from the show until the halfway point. Which is actually pretty typical for modern survivor and I was suprised to see this issue emerge so early. When all the people you are introdcuced to in ealry episodes get booted form the show, it’s hard to enjoy the back end of the show and like the winner because the people you like don’t win. And you’ve already had the satsifaction of the people you don’t like losing. Guatemala in particular had a pointless first four(ish) episodes because there was a super convoluted tribe swap which broke everything (in terms of alliances and relationships) and made it super hard to follow who was with who and doing what. After that point though it had a fantastic stretch of episodes (although the extended parts where everyone was off by themselves in the forest looking for the first Hidden Immunity Idol were an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come) that then petered out as the interesting characters were clearly painted into a box of “too much backstabbing to get jury votes” and a semi-random person ultimately won.

Palau was a fun season. The winner did a pretty good job of being a dominant force throughout the whole season. Played pretty close to a perfect game from episode 1 all the way to the finale. Was also really weird seeing one tribe be literally destroyed via immunity challenge losses. With the last member being sent over the merge with the other tribe. In a modern season that would never happen as they’d do a tribe swap or some other thing. The utter domination by one tribe made it incredibly compelling viewing through the start of the season. The high stakes drama of the final episodes as the dominant alliance came apart (led in part by a series of super dumb decisions by Ian) led to a fantastic Final Immunity Challange. And a brutal Final Tribal. An absolute corker of a season!

Sometime in the future I’ll probably do a write up about my Survivor thoughts. From what I’ve seen so far I’ve noticed a fairly horrifying trend in male vs female winners which does not speak well to how people judge winners in the game.

 

Fall 2018 Anime Round Up

I’m only about a month late but whatever. Fall 2018 was a fairly uninspired season- chatting with a friend yesterday I literally couldn’t name a single show I’d watched without referring to my notes.

Great Shows:

These anime were legitmiately good and highlight why this medium is arguably better than live-action and how its not just for kids.

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai– this show wasSeishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai fantastic. Easily AOTS. In the same vein as SNAFU or even Classroom of the Elite (I’m reasonably sure all three have the same writer or character designer…), a deadpan main character deals with the ever increasing harem of attractive girls around him. However unlike a tpyical harem, he actually has a girlfriend and the girls all have actualy characters, development and interpersonal relations that aren’t just about the male MC. The art, animation and music are all really really good (although the hype of the OP song is perhaps a bit too much). It also has some really good small touches, like the chnages it makes to the ED as it progresses through each arc. Thankfully the bunny girl stuff really only features in ep1 and then a single scence around ep8-9 and is played for emotional laughs. The supernatural stuff isn’t too ridicuous even though by all rights it’s stupid, they use it to good comedic effect with the deadpan MC. But the show really focuses on the characters and how they (in)effectively deal with puberty and goreiing up and family/societal pressure. Which is a super relatable to any audience. The arc with the science nerd girl was a bit of a dissappointment and I’m annoyed at the number of unresolved plot threats (namely the mysterious purple haired beach girl and the MCs own supernatural issue which is highlighted in ep1). Also the ending was fucking heartbreaking with how things panned out for the MCs sister. Such a beutifuclly emotional show. Absolutely recommend it and insts people ignore the silly title.

Yagate Kimi ni Naru– what appears to be a yuri romance show on the surface is Yagate Kimi ni Naruactually a show about young people’s self-realisation. Speaking to a fellow anime nerd about this show, it was observed that none of the characters actually change what they are or what they’re doing over the show. Rather, what changes as they develop is that they stop passively being *something* and start actively being that same *something*. The art style and animation are eye wateringly beutuficul, notably the walking to and from the student council room. And the romance triangle that sort of forms between three girls is a fantastic deconstruction of a girl who is disillusioned with her own inabilty to feel love, a girl who has been putting on a persona for so long she doesn’t know how to be herself and a girl who has dedicated her enitre existence to a falsehood story. But even then, those brief descriptions barely capture the comoplexity of those three characters. As a crisitism, the two other characters included in the student council feature in half an epsiode and zero episodes respectively which was a bit dissappointing. Also the fact that the yrui romance was successfully kept a secret and had no repurcussions was an odd choice. There was a weird subplot about one of the yuri girls being told by an ex-lower she was just going through a phase which was a but weird. Also the final arc was quite tropey in that they were perfomring a play that happened to replicate aspects of the weird love triangle, false persona situation. But it was handled suprisingly well, in parituclar all three characters immediately relaised this and it became an active spy-vs-spy thing as they watched how the other reacted and did things themselves to try steer it to their own direction. The ending was a bit unstasifying in the sense it didn’t reach a proper conclusion, but I guess that’s an incentive to read the manga. However my biggest issue with this show, and the reason I initially dropped it, is that the early episodes feature pretty frequent sexual assault of a young girls by the older one. It’s played off in a positive way as the young girl doesn’t feel assaulted or a victim but even so it’s quite off putting and gross. Is the main reason it isn’t AOTS. Makes it hard to recommend because rather than the usual anime caveat of ‘dumb stuff in bad taste’ (e.g. ridicuously proportioned female characters) it’s got an actively, morally bad starting point. It’s great if you can get past that but still is kind of fucked.

Watchable Shows

These shows weren’t actively terrible but they weren’t actively fantastic. I enjoyed them as filler content while playing Smash Ultimate or eating or watching two things at once.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita karaIrozuku Sekai no Ashita kara- or as I call it, poorly-Irozuku Sekai no Ashita karadisguised-depression-metaphor the anime; was a fine show. The art and animation was generally good and the characters all had reasonable development. The fact that pretty much all the intercharacter relationships we saw develop were romantic ones (with the exception of the MC and her grandmother) was a bit boring. Also the solution to the MCs “I can’t use magic for some reason” (*cough* I’m depressed *cough*) was obvious from episode 1. There was also a “reveal” about a book the MC vaguely remembered from her childhood which was also incredibly obvious several episodes in advance. I was a bit suprised how much of a focus was put on school based content given it was technically a magic anime but the activities that happened there were fun enough. Only real issue is that they didn’t stick the landing at the end- which they never could because it was a time travel anime. The MC was sent into the past by her grandma to hang out with teeange-grandma and her friends. So they then built up all these relationships, in particular a romance, and at the end there was a somewhat rushed arc about her having to return to the future. I won’t spoilt how it reolved but I wasn’t happy with it emotionaly… but then again I think the alternatives would have been equally unahppy for a variety of reasons. Time travel should just be avoided, Steinsgate lukced out in being fantastic.n

Release the Spyce– I’m not really sure what I exoected from this show. I foundRelease the Spyce the unintentional message of ‘do drugs, they make you stronger and you ca do cool shit’ kind of amusing. The… six(?)… main girls were kind of cute and the world/story was kind of interesting. I guess. Each episode consisted of some insanely stupid “espionage” thing followed by an action sequence of these ninja girls fucking people/robots up. The training arc went maybe a little too long and the MCs self doubt got a bit grating. There was a werid side plot involving a viking girl which was funny (in the sense that the viking girl had wiped out an entire branch of the secret spy agency and no-one noticed) and there identify of the traitor was a bit of a suprise… as were the consenquences of their revelation as a traitor. This is 100% the sort of show to watch while making dinner or doing homework- you can stop watching for minutes at a time and not be confused about what’s going on when you come back.

SSSS.GRIDMAN- I have no love for the Gridman franchise. I have never seen SSSS.Gridmanany other parts of it. The only reason I watched this was becuase it was Mech vs Kaiju fights. And there was a weird amount of discussion over how “thicc” the main female character was. To be frank the show was garbage. It looked pretty but reused footage way too often, had fairly cookie character characters and the story was pretty uninspired. Typical villian-of-the-week mostly with a weird redemption arc (or two?) in a longer story towards the end. And the thicc girl was basiclaly always shot from the wasit up so that was a complete waste of time on everyone’s behalf. I guess this show was like a DCEU movie but unlike DCEU it chickened out and didn’t committ to weirdly sexualising its female characters. So a good show to watch if you like a pretty, trainwreck you don’t need to devote brain space to.

Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san– cute girls doing cute things, but two of those girlsTonari no Kyuuketsuki-san are 300+ year old vampires. A yuri vampire slice of life. A fairly funny if fogettable show, each of the four characters fit a fairly standard mold and the episodic nature of the epsiodes meant that if a storyline didn’t really work, it was gone pretty soon. For example the werid doll stuff. Most unrealistic thing was the the MC’s (a like, ~14 year old girl) parents were happy to let her move out of home and in with another 14 year old girls (one of the 300) old vampires) without parental supervision.  Some of the gags around a 300+ year old vampire being a massive otaku were pretty funny- her coffin full of body pillows, her insistence that the only people posting to forums at 3am must also be vampires who don’t need sleep etc. I kind of switched off towards the end of the series but it a decent show to chuck on if you’re bored and don’t want to think too deeply.

Otona no Bouguya-san– was a fairly Otona no Bouguya-sanforgettable short about a fantasy world shop selling female armour i.e. sexy armour. Each epsiode had a laugh or two and they run short so that was fine. Nothing really of interest. It relied too much on the premise in ealr eposides and then had a really bad crack at a story in the later episodes. It was fine though. Good to watch while brushing your teeth.

 

Dissappointing Shows

For some reason I thought these shows would be great but turns out I was wrong.

Goblin Slayer– despite all the bullshit press coverage, episode 1 of this show Goblin Slayerwas fantastic. It did a great job estabishing the characters, the world and the tone of this very grimdark fantasy world. However it didn’t live up to that setting and, through a combination of righteous backlash and the fact the manga also does this, quickly regressed to being a typical fantasy world show. Look, rape is fucked. I know that. You know that. We all know that. So the way Goblin Slayer used rape to show just how fucked the world was isn’t inherently a problem. What is a problem is that completely disregarded being an actually edgy grimdark story- what was an awesome exercise in world building was turned an oggensivel egregious use of rape to shock people into paying attention. The manga regressed into medicrity a bit less abruptly from what I’ve seen but the anime glosses over the other sharp edges in the story pretty much entirely. Ultimately ending with a stock standard fight of misc adventurers fighting off a few waves of attacking goblins. Ugh. Was also kind of funny that they killed a Beholder with a sack of flour.  If you’re a fan of D&D and being a murder-hobo this show is probably worth watching btu otherwise there’s more interesting stuff out there.

Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!- I cannot for the life of me figure out why I thought Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!this would be good. If you gender swap the adult character it’s just flat out pedophilia. It had a few funny gags buried amongst garbage that somehow kept me going. Somehow. I don’t know how. Don’t watch this. It doesn’t even explain why the MC has a fucking eyepatch after serving in the JSDF. Ugh. I’m not even sure if any of the characters have any worthwhile growth. The side characters are partiucalry aggravating, epseiclaly the Maid’s ex-JSDF commander who’s a massive masochist for no reason. And the young loli girls friends, parituclarly the “popular” one who keeps challenging her to fights. Oh and there’s a super contrived ‘big drama’ event at the end of the series that is not even based on a plausible misunderstanding, it’s just based on characters being incoherent. So dumb. Don’t watch.

Dropped Shows

Everything prior were shows I watched entirely. Any other Fall 2018 anime was bad. But here are some particualrly egregious examples of bad-ness which make it hard to be an anime fan and also have people’s respect. Or are just things that weren’t for me (a person with a full time job and decent taste)

Conception- the plot of this show is a bland MC having to fuck 12 girls who match the star signs to save the world. Starting with the cousin who is also pregant through immaculate conception. This show is almost literal cancer.

Bakumatsu- some weird bishi samurai displaced into an alternative era show. A plot point of the opening ep is how one guy uses a really big sword. I don’t remember anything else. Not my cup of tea.

Sono Toki, Kanojo wa- this wasn’t anime. It was a bunch of poorly drawn still images with naration put to it.

Akanesasu Shoujo- something about a crystal radio connecting different worlds and girls fighting monsters. Possibly some interacting-with-other-versions-of-yourself-who-have-a-really-fucked-life.  Found it quite boring.

Anime Yell!- sports anime where the sport is cheerleading and the art/animation are a bit weirder/simpler than they initially seem.

Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu- one sexy hot male model blackmails another sexy hot mail model into a relationship. I think. Which might be the plot of one of the Zoolander movies. Again, not my cup of tea but I suppose I can see it appealing to specific demograhics.

Double Decker! Doug and Kirill- Tiger and Bunny is a fantastic show. This is a poor sort-of-prequel that tries to cash in on the buddy cop dynamic but completly fucks it up. Go watch Tiger and Bunny instead.

Frankenstein Family- a fairly generic/boring show across the board, supplmented by a large amount of in studio interviews with the people who were making the show. I guess it’d be good to watch if you want to work in the industry and get some insights into the production of anime.

Gaikotsu Shoten’in Honda-san- a fantatsic 2-3 minute short anime strecthed into 15 minute epsiodes of subpar mediocrity.

Gakuen Basara- quite possibly the worst adaption of the warring states characters. This time the historical figures are all delinquents in highschool gangs! Or soemthing.

Himote House- oh godm the CG, it burns! This is the type of show that makes it hard to argue having CG in anime is ok/can be beneficial.

Hinomaru Sumo- a sports anime about sumo. Featuring a lot of delinquents (at least in episode 1) and a MC who’s main characteristic is that he is small. Not a sport I care for and the over the top dumbness makes it a worse verion of Kuroko no Basuke.

Jingai-san no Yome- I dont understand. Why is the male highschool student this weird fluff creature’s wife? He is very clarly male and very clearly a wife. What?

Karakuri Circus- I dunno. Some people have told me this good. It’s a fairly generic shounen but this one is set in the circus rather than with ninja/pirates/magicians. Whatever floats your boat?

En Ken – Aoki Kagayaki- I think this was a Chinese production. Probably towards the better end of that genre of anime but yet to crack into ‘good’. It had a lot of interesting elements but fuck it was a poorly paced, confusing mess without the best art/animation. Maybe next time China.

Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet- Romeo and Juliet but in this version the two groups have about four different characteristics that splot them- nationality, colour, animal, direction on compass, preferred form of government. You know, the usual.

Kitsune no Koe- continuing the trend that any anime about music is bad.

Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho- a boring supernatural/detective agency show. Just watch Mob Psycho 100 instead.

Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai- further showcasing the horrors of animes deepest depths, in this one the MCs little sister is a perfect human who loves him (too much) and wrote a super successful manga about a girl who loves her older brother. And the MC has to pretend to be the author and thus gets fawned on by a harem of terribly an dinconcstently drawn one dimensional “characters”. Fucking hell Japan.

Radiant- a genera wizard shounen. Like Black Clover, maybe less yelling. Equally as bad.

RErideD – Tokigoe no Derrida- further proof that Steinsgate was a massive fluke. This weird time travel, robot apoclypse, greedy corpoation show by the Steins;gate… creator? (writer? director?) was boring and bad. And super fucking contrived all through ep 1 to try set up the nonsensical “story”.

Sora to Umi no Aida- five(ish) young girls fight against the patricachal system of space whaling. Fuck off.

Ulysses – Jeanne d’Arc to Renkin no Kishi– you think Japan only fucks up adapting their own historicla events? Have you heard of the 100 year wat? Well imagine every one of the main people is a cute young girl who wants to fuck (I mean, be friends with) Montmorency (who’s based on Bluebeard). Also there are fairies who all look like kids toys except one who looks like a dominatrix and is the one who accompanies our “hero”. Fucking hell Japan.

Zombieland Saga- an idol show not as bad as that Yakuza Idol show from a season or two earlier. It had a fantastic opening bit then went down hill into, well, generic idol bullshit. I’m told the rap/hiphop at the end of ep2 was great but I disagree. Am also told there is a big emotional reveal about why the MC is one of the zombies (given she is the only non-idol) but I don’t really care.

Devidol- an idol show that was as bad as that yakuza one, however while that was just an incredibly fucked concept, this one is a minorly fucked concept and incredibly fucked CGI.

Bonus Stuff

Here’s some other random anime stuff I’ve finshed recently:

SAO 2- with SAO 3 starting this season, it seems the perfect time to finish S2. However I don’t care about watching what’s popular anymore, only stuff I like/think I like. More to the point, I got a new laptop and needed to transfer files off my old one. So I decided to give up on FFF fansubs and just watch the final arc of S2 with official subs. It was boring. Introducing a random character who is magically better that Kirito (maybe) and then killing her with cancer or something was presumably a nice emotional moment for fans. But I don’t care about the characters.

Attack on Titan S3- I don’t actually know if I finished this show. I think the blonde girl is Queen (Krista?) and there was some shit about undergound crystal caves. As with SAO S2, I just wanted to clear up space on my computer. This show is bad and you should be dissappointed/angry at how its ended up being so bad.

Steinsgate 0- I finished it and also have watched half of the extra OVA episode. I was pleasantly surpised with the ending/final arc. The show definetely sucked in the middle chunk but with a solid opening and ending story it was worth the watch. OVA is just a waste of time. And it’s nowhere near as good as the original. But I guess it’s a fun journey back into that universe.

 

Summer 2018 Anime Review

It felt like I watched very few shows this season, so looking back at what I had apparently watched was quite a surprise. Here’s some thoughts:

Finished/Watched Shows

Grand Blue: Probably the closest thing to a stand out anime this season, a slice-of-life based at a university rather than a high school was refreshing. Sure the jokes were repetitive and there was a weird semi-plot line about kind-of-romance between cousins; but it was a fun show to chuck on and laugh at without thinking too much. Also seeing sexual themes outside of hentai and reasonably realistic alcohol consumption was cool.

Overlord S3: A better ratio of “boring-exposition-filler-with-stupid-characters” to “actually-interesting-story-and-world-development” episodes compared to S2. Perhaps not as good as S1 but still overall some really solid development of characters and story and even some world building. Credit where credit is due- some of the pay off in this season does depend on characters and story that were in “bad episodes” in S2. Have yet to watch the finale so it could shit the best but was overall an enjoyable series overall this season. I particularly liked the stuff actually dealing with the Tomb of Nazarick and it’s interactions with  the surrounding nations.

Hanebado: This was a solidly fine series. As with all sports series, it will never be as amazing as Haikyuu!! so it has to find an interesting take on the sports genre since it can’t have the best. In Hanebado, that ‘interesting take’ is that the MC is a psychologically fucked girl who has no feelings for other humans and once they are forced to play badminton, they break and become a maniac who brutally toys with and crushes everyone they play. The timing of the reveal is good because at about episode 6 the show is a super generic sports anime… and then this girl goes fucking insane. Which carries through enough interest as everyone else fails to understand the monster they have unleashed.

Boku no Hero Academia S3: I am officially over this show. There was a really great part in the middle where the plot actually progressed and characters/world had to deal with the fall out of what was happening. But the start and end were boring tied-to-the-progression-of-a-school-year bits. Plus a few very clumsy attempts to shoe horn in plugs for the new movie. But seriously- the whole world/society is grappling with the concept that their previous system/symbol of justice and law and order (All Might) is gone and the Villains are coordinating… and we’re seeing shit about the kids going on Summer Camp (which is shockingly attacked by Villains) and going for the equivalent of a Drivers License so they can do work experience. Also the incredibly patronising way the show reminds the viewer of every fucking heroes’ fucking name and fucking superpower whenever their face is on screen. This is fucking season 3. I know who the characters are and what they do. All you are doing is annoying me and reminding me how fucking unbalanced these bloody super powers are. I was offered free tickets to go see the movie in cinemas and I turned them down because fuck that.

Happy Sugar Life: This was a mixed bag anime. It had a heap of interesting potential based on the first episode of this clearly crackpot girl trying live her crazed fantasy and murder anyone who got in her way without breaking the illusion of her being an normal high school girl.  But from episode 2 onwards every new character introduced turned out to be equally fucked up which made all the characters overall less interesting. that being said, the way the story panned out in the last couple episodes wasn’t what i was expecting which was pleasant. A surprisingly gory and dark show even given the premise, would recommend people check it out but not a high priority

Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria: My god this was a horrifically bad show. Offensively so. The idea of a normal guy being taken into a battle world and using his phone’s internet search ability to climb to power and gather a harem is super original. The only original part of this show was the fact it somehow thought it would get a sequel and spent the last episode doing stupid filler rather than actually resolving the big cliff hanger battle. With it ending as the MC rode off to the final big battle. At least it had a diverse cast in the harem including an occasionally funny comedic duo of sisters.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu: This show started interesting… if you could get over the obsene fan service. It provided an interesting fill in whiel Overlord S3 had a shaky start. And then when Ovelrod 3 got really good, this got even dumber. I found the ebst way to watch it was to skip the 2/3 of each episode that was exposition/plot or “plot” and just watch the fairly interesting battles.

One Room S2: I loved the first four episodes which featured the same heroine as part of S1. Because she was the best heroine in S1. Then the other two heroines were uninteresting and boring.

Shichisei no Subaru: I have no clue how I watched this the whole thing. It was so generic and lame. The only thing of note here is that the conceit of the show is that the main girl literally died five years ago while playing an VR-MMORPG and her mind was somehow trapped in the game. So the heroes need to find out how to free here. And then at the end of the series…. that hasn’t changed. Despite the big celebration vibe and how everyone is now super happy because they beat the villain and the hero group is reunited and ready to play the game more.

Steins;Gate 0: I’m a bit torn on this one. There was an amazing stretch of episodes in the early-mid section with big reveals and twists and fall out and emotions. But overall the shows not been anywhere near as good as the original. Which is admittedly a fucking hard act to follow. I’m still about 5 or 6 episodes short of finishing it so will see how it pans out. The original smashed the home run out of the park so hopefully this version will too.

Shingeki no Kyojin S3: I don’t enjoy this show. I know that the manga/story is insane and bad and does not live up to the hype/set up of the beginning of the series. But this is so ingrained int the anime discourse that I’m obliged to at least half watch it while playing games on my Switch. It’s vaguely interesting I suppose.

Started and Dropped (typically dropped after 3 eps):

Island: Fuck this show was a mess. I was hoping for another Star Driver given episode 1 was a fucking beat for beat rip off of the concept… minus the cool robots. Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened was there was a semi on camera sex scene at the end of ep 9 or 10 (I dropped it before this point so i’m not sure) which, I think, meant the MC had been hooking up with his daughter in earlier episodes. Because it turned out there was time travel involved. Ugh.

Harukana Receive: Haikyuu!! is about volleyball and is a fucking amazing show? take that concept and put it on a beach with a bunch of pretty girls of a variety of shapes (well, most of them have big tits) in skimpy bikinis. What can go wrong? Everything. So boring. not great animation. Really flat characters (as in, flat personality wise). Repetitive “jokes”.

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes: A vaguely interesting concept- anime Antiques Roadshow with some not-subtle-Sherlock-Holmes-ripoff elements. But man it wore thing very quickly.

Aguu Tensai Ningyou: what started as an interesting art style and story/world very quickly become not that. Some of the visuals were uncomfortable to watch but not in a good way. What could have been an interesting psychological thriller became a generic action battle thing. Yawn.

Angolmois – Genkou Kassenk: An odd art/animation style and a weird mismatch of ‘realism’ and ‘clearly not realism’ made this interesting concept for a show (Japan’s historical fighting off the Mongol invasion) a wasted opportunity. At least it wasn’t set in the Sengoku period like every other historical anime.

Hataraku Saibou: it’s a kids show that is kind of meant to be educational (maybe) but loses a lot of it’s accuracy for “story” convenience. Which is fine. But the eccentric yet flat and non-developing characters ran it’s course in a few episodes. Also trying to pass off cancer as a misunderstood emo is fucked up Japan. Cancer is a horrific disease and does not deserve sympathy.

Satsuriku no Tenshi: yawn

Planet With: Eh I dunno with this one. I watched maybe 6 eps and then just stopped. Story was a bit weird but not in a good way. Animation was flashy but not in a god way.  Go watch Gurren Lagann instead.

Back Street Girls – Gokudolls: Wow. What a mess of a concept and a mess of a show. Watched three episodes and then was saved from having to question myself about possibly enjoying it because the sub group dropped it on account if it being a crime against humanity.

Banana Fish: Was fine. I guess. Meh. Pretty child sex victim takes on the Mafia coz they have a drug that fucked up his brother in The War. And there’s a cute Japanese boy there at the same time for reasons for romantic plot.

High Score Girl: Meh. Yawn. Whatever. Terrible art style.

Tenrou Sirius the Jaeger: The Vampire Bandwagon collapsed like a decade ago. Move on.

Iya na Kao Sare Nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai: I deny watching this. you can’t prove anything.

Anything else this season was so shit it didn’t even make it to three episodes and thus is not worth rating/talking about. And given fucking Goku Dolls DID make it, that should tell you how bad they were.

Bonus!

Marchen Madchen: realised I’d watched 8 episodes and the series only went 10 so thought I’d finish it. Only to find it didn’t finish. And in fact had some of the worst animation I;d ever seen. After some brief digging, I found this amazing dissection of the fucked production that was this series. And boy is it fucked.

Masamune-kun no Revenge: This had been sitting partially watched on my computer for ages. but I finally acknowledged that FanSubs are dead, DDY are never going to finish this and I might as well watch official subs to finish it. It was a solid 7/10 show with a bunch of dumb twists to pad out the back end to prevent any actual resolution occurring.

Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru: A left over form last season that i thought was ok based on the first 3 eps but didn’t get around to watching. After watching two more eps and I firmly disagree with myself from three month ago. Anime about politics are great when done well. And shit when done like this.

Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan: I don’t know what the fuck this was or why it happened. There was apparently a 45 second promo in 2012 and then nothing until this appeared in July 2018. And it was weirdly promoted by a lot of family friendly anime distributors despite it content. A b grade horror movie given anime form- unnecessary nudity, terrible action, lots of blood and gore, “characters”, “story” etc. Months later I still don’t know what to think. Maybe it’s actually a comedy.

Seitokai Yakuindomo Movie: I forgot how much i loved this show. In fact i was worried that given how long it has been since this show started a) my tastes would have changed and b) the jokes wouldn’t really hold up. i was pleasantly wrong. Very funny. Very good. But is less a “movie’ and more a long OVA.

Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch I – Koudou: I’ve been itching to rewatch Code Geass for… well… years and the recap movies seemed a good way to do that without the same time investment as watching 50 episodes of a TV series. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the movie was at condensing the plot down and not feeling rushed… aside for a 10 minute towards the very end where it seemed super erratic and confusing. But it scratched that itch and I’m keen to see the rest of the recap movies and then jump into the new movie/season when it comes out.

SMASH 2018- TL:DR it was fine but 2019 could be great

For the weekend of August 14th-15th 2018, I got to go to SMASH– the Sydney Manga and Anime Show. Have been to every one of them since… 2014? 2012? Saw them at the old Sydney Convention Centre, Rosehill Gardens and now Sydney’s new ICC. Well, the Exhibition Centre part of the ICC (as opposed to the Convention Centre which I assume the ‘CC’ part of ICC stands for)

As an aside, the ICC is an absolutely garbage venue. It is some modern architecture bullshit of looking cool above any sort of functionality. The signage was non-existent and as SMASH has the joy of being on the top level (Level 4&5), you had to go all the way to one end (the west end?) of the building to slowly rise up the sloping staircases/ramps to find the entrance on the opposite side of the building (the east end)? Because simply having the access at the point where you go into the fucking building is too boring.

The part of the venue SMASH was in suffered from being a multipurpose box- as in it was a giant box that can be used ok for any sort of event and is thus not very good for any type of event. It has dirty scuffed floors, no natural light and this very bleak artificial light which didn’t really look nice. Compared to Rosehill Gardens, which as a racecourse are quite pretty, very disappointing venue.

And as an aside to the aside, the drop in food quality/options/prices in the ICC compared to Rosehill was perhaps the worst thing in the new venue. The food vans at Rosehill and their different options made it easily the best food/drink available at a convention in the country.

Now to talk about the actual event. Which I should preface by saying, despite what follows, was overall a pretty good and fun event.

The primary issue with SMASH was how mostly everything was in the one giant box. This included three separate stages, one of which had bands playing on it, meaning that there was a cacophony of noise all through the room. The sounds was also really bad- I stood in front of the stage watching a pretty good band Wasabi Galaxy and couldn’t hear the vocal. But across the hall (behind a “sound containing wall”) I could still hear the base guitar at the gaming area.

Similarly, when I went to the Screening Area, despite being given aset of ear covering headphones to listen to the screenings I could still hear the sound from the main stage bleeding over. And it wasn’t entertaining sound.

I do give SMASH props for their screening set up though. rather than having this big screen with speakers blaring more noise into the room, you surrendered your pass and were given headphones and a radio receiver. Which then let you listen to whatever was being played and moderate your own volume. Then you returned it when you left and got given your pass back.

Well, got given a pass back. Interestingly SMASH didn’t have weekend passes. If you had a weekend ticket and came on Saturday you were given a day pass and had to then line up again the next day and get a Sunday pass. Amusingly, both of my convention companions forgot to bring their ticket print out on Sunday which caused a small delay in checking in.

But yeah- after watching screenings you just got given back a random day pass. I’d be interested to find out whether this system was designed before or after they decided to not give out weekend passes. Because having a mix of pass types would make the system a complete mess.

I was super pleased with the attendance at the Code Geass screening. Was packed full. Good to see that people appreciate quality anime. Also saw a short movie called HoneyWorks and the first couple eps of FLCL. Will talk about those a bit more in my next anime review post (probably).

In general terms, the screening selection was fine. Which given SMASH’s history, is kind of disappointing. I watched stuff for a few hour chunk Saturday arvo and then had nothing of interest in either of their screening rooms for the rest of the convention.

I suppose the elephant in the room was the ticketing failure on Saturday. As with their previous venue changes, the SMASH homebrew ticketing system died on day 1. This meant that despite opening at 9am, people were still waiting to be let in at 11am. One of my companions had planned to rock up at 9am to get in straight away but myself and the 3rd person convinced them that was dumb. Nonetheless, we rocked up at 11am and still stood in line for an hour.

A fairly obvious solution to this would be allowing people to check in and collect passes on Friday night. Aside from lessening the pressure on the big opening and having some people being able to just walk straight in, it lets them iron out all the kinks in the system. And then have a smooth opening the next morning.

Was a bit salty that the presale line appeared to be moving slower than the on-the-day tickets line. I strongly feel that if someone pre-purchases a ticket they should be let in first. Priority/confirmed access is the whole reason you prepurchase tickets.

And I think that’s important for SMASH- I would speculate that they had a smaller overall floor area at the ICC than they did at Rosehill. On Saturday I reckon they were very much pushing venue capacity, you could barely move through parts of the Hall (especially the Artist Alley) there were so many people.

Also the presence of three stages inside the venue and then nothing on the outside… floor area(?)… was silly. Rather than standing in line being bored for an hour, I should have been standing in line listening to the the bands who were on a stage set up outside. Aside from reducing inside noise pollution, encouraging attendees to get some vitamin D and entertaining the people lined up outside; the music may have attracted more randoms off the street to check out the event. Easy and obvious solution.

Despite the number of stages, I can’t recall much of interest happening at them. SMASH had an oddly high proportion of their events being either Guest related or Cosplay related (or for cosplay guests, both of those things). Guests are always hit and miss depending on if you like what they are associated with (and for me, they were all misses) while Cosplay is largely boring and unentertaining hacks (with a few notable exceptions- AK Wirru is a fucking legend).

Although the bands were good and I did like the MC on that smaller stage (not so much a fan of the MC on the Main Stage).

Annoyingly I didn’t get to any of the AMV events… mainly because I wanted to see how many people were actually going to the AMV events? There were like half a dozen of them and I feel AMVs went out of fashion a decade ago. I’d love to know if people actually went and watched them.

Also there was so much Trivia on. There was a permanent trivia set up down the back of the venue and there was something going practically every hour. Too much. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to go to and ended up doing none of them. I thought it seemed like a dumb use of space but the handful of times I walked past it it seemed pretty full. So maybe it was good.

I found the Panel and Workshop selection a bit bland. Or pehaps just poorly timed. There was one interesting thing on Saturday- a Mahjong Riichi Workshop where the hosts were well intentioned but clearly unprepared for how popular the workshop would be. it was pretty full and they only had enough Mahjong sets for maybe half the people there. Was still a fun workshop.

The only panel I went to was one by the VA Spike Spencer. Mainly because the last English VA actor I saw do a panel was… some american dude… at Manifest 2013 in Melbourne and there was literally 6 people in the audience. Which was really awkward for everyone (the guest, the audience, the organisers). So I wanted to a) maybe stop that happening or b) relish in it if it happened again.

The panel was fine. I guess. Mainly Spike sharing stories and stuff that i wasn’t interested in. Also a chunk of fawning over his 11 month old kid which i suppose is fair enough. I was bored shitless in the panle but the rest of the audience (which was a couple dozen people) seemed to enjoy it.

The rest of the interesting panels and workshops were all early on Sunday morning. But on account of an awesome football match, my recent introduction by convention friends to Produce 48 and rampant alcoholism; we didn’t go to sleep until about 6am and thus didn’t get to SMASH on the Sunday until about 2pm. Thus all those interesting panels lost out to sleep.

That being said, the Sunday content was overall less interesting than the Saturday stuff. And Saturday wasn’t that interesting. I spent like 2 hours watching 1v1 League of Legends with a buddy explaining to me how the game worked. It was kind of interesting but also very one sided so not super fun to watch.

Did a bit of shopping and… well… was also a bit disappointed by that too. The Artist Alley at SMASH has an international reputation for being great- a lot of people come from overseas to showcase and sell their stuff. But something felt super off about it this year. On hone hand, the yuk venue (bad floor, bad lights) didn’t help. The layout seemed fine objectively (like, everything was spaced out enough and laid out sensibly) but at the same time didn’t seem to work well.

But more so than that, the actually art on sale/display was kind of lame. It took me  a while to figure it out, but a friend observed that everything seemed out of date. Like it was all of stuff from maybe 2-5 years ago. (Alternatively, it seems the only recent franchise covered by the art community was Darling in the FranXX). There was also a huge proportion of people doing ‘their art style of famous characters’ rather than the ’emulation of character original style but mixed up with new people or situations’. More generally, I suspect that after buying stuff at the last few SMASH-es, I’ve emptied the well dry of the artists who do stuff I like.

The Exhibitors were fine. The end of convention sales were great, as was the weird inconsistency in some pricing. I got a Konosuba figure and a Gurren Lagann figure at one store that had them listed as nearly 20% cheaper than two other stores AND THEN got a further end-of-convention discount.

This was a very big year for SMASH. As volunteer events struggle across the country (and the commercial ones too), they needed to firmly establish themselves as the Sydney event… especially with the recent confirmation that MadFest is coming to Sydney in 2019. There were also a few rumours of financial issues due to the ICC being a horrifically expensive venue (as well as just a horrific venue).

Taking a step back from my insider knowledge/experience from conventions (which leads me to focus on how things were bad/could be better rather than what was good); I think SMASH have done a pretty good job at the end of the day. Given the situation they were in with the rumours of MadFest, they had to move away from the superior Rosehill to cement them as the Sydney event. Most of the issues were the teething ones of a new venue and should be resolved for the next one. And judging by the packed attendance they should be financially solid for at least one more year (unless there has been some horrific financial mismanagement).

But they need to need to decide if they are going to stick with their market differentiation of Japanese culture or go the broader ‘pop culture’ angle. (Personally, I like their Japanese focus compared to Supanova and Oz Comic Con). League of Legends isn’t a Japanese game and while Indie Devs are cool, they are also not Japanese. They don’t really belong. I think embracing gaming is a must; but Japan is incredibly prolific with their own games and systems so the focus should be on those. And the over reliance on B-level guests and cosplay rubbish (particularly in their panel/workshop areas) is a missed opportunity. Filling that stuff with a broad range of (Japan focused) community stuff makes the event way more interesting and opens the event to attendance by a larger number of people.

In summary:

SMASH 2018- 7/10… but for potential for a 9.5/10 in 2019.

Spring 2018 Anime wrap up

Unfortunately, as they more or less say in Jurassic park, life finds a way to get in the way of watching anime.

Specifically, I was away with family no internet for about four months so started the Spring 2018 season super late. That being said, I somehow managed to catch up and finish all the shows worth watching. So here’s some thoughts that definitely follow the same format as my other wrap ups:

“Must Watch”

Legend of the Galactic Heroes- Die Neue These– The original 1980s/1990s always seemed like a must watch show. It was critically acclaimed by everyone who’d seen it and the genre and topic (sci-fi, politics, strategy, war with heroes on both sides, moral shades of grey etc). But it’s age, and thus old animation style, and the fact it was 110 episode long was always a major turn off. So the 2018 remake is a great jumping in point and now the original is extremely high on my ‘to watch list’. Possibly only two missteps- a single scene maybe 2/3 through that sort of seems to be trying to set up things for like Season 3 of this story and then a cliffhanger ending. Legit expected the show to be 13 eps not 12 based on how/where ep 12 ended.

Hinamatsuri- an excellent absurdist comedy dealing with a very nice, straight man yakuza and their sudden adoption of a psychic child. Incredibly funny storylines and characters… with a hugely poignant, entirely left-field social commentary weaved through the middle section that makes it almost lose the tag of being a comedy entirely. Not sure how I feel about the final episode. But absolutely one of the best comedy shows I’ve seen recently.

“Worth Watching (seriously)”

Mahou Shoujo Site– while not reaching the same heights as Puella Magi Madoka Magica or the same horrors as Magical Girls Raising Project, this was still a solid instalment in the genre of ‘cute high school girls getting absolutely fucked over and brutally massacred by the T&Cs of magic’. Is related to Magical Girl Apocalypse but I don’t know much about that. Worth checking out if your a fan of magical girls (or if you hate them)

Megalo Box– this boxing anime had a real 90s vibe to it, due mainly to the animation and pacing. Reminded me of Hajime no Ippo crossed with Blade Runner. Perhaps not as good as that cross over would imply, but still a really good story. While the overall arc was predictable, there were still a few twists and turns I did not expect.

Steins Gate 0– the original Steins;gate rates as one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen. Period. However is has been a significant outlier to the rest of the anime in the same universe, with two iterations of Chaos;Head being bad and horrible and Robotics;Notes being passable. Even the Steins;gate movie was a bit unexciting. Currently this two-cour spin off story is half done and I think it’s falling short of the original but still exceeding everything else in the franchise. In particular the first six or so eps were a solid marathon with quite an emotional rollercoaster. Let’s hope it keeps that good trajectory.

Fumikiri Jikan– this is a little fun short (~4 minutes in length). So it is a bunch of funny scenarios that play out with some jokes and then end without over staying their welcome. Nothing amazing but a great little show to chuck on to fill in time.

“Worth watching (ironically)”

Dorei-kun The Animation– one of my rules of anime is that if the title includes the word ‘The Animation’, the show will be terrible. That is true here. However this is the rare case where is is such a dumpster fire that it becomes entertaining to watch (I’m looking at you Guilty Crown). Average animation, insane characters, ridiculous motivations, predictable story, poor voice acting (especially the English parts). Ah such a glorious train wreck of a show.

Comic Girls– cute girls doing “cute” things. I guess. Aspiring mangaka who all happen to be in the same class at the same school live in a door. They break out the trope of insecurities over breast size and have the busty blonde (who is still in school) traipse around in just her underwear in the second episode. Also there is a fifth person who lives by themselves in the attic (everyone else shares a room but this girl’s partner ditched her to go overseas) and is (unintentionally?) bullied mercilessly by the main four characters- they exclude her from everything, run away whenever she is near, don’t even recognise her when they see her at school… I guess it’s fine for just a ‘show to throw on and not think about’

Darling in the Franxx– once again, Trigger shows that despite they don’t deserve the unrequited love the community appears to give them. Take a less good version of Evangelion and halfway through switch it to be a less good version of Gurren Lagann and you’ve got what this show is attempting to do and failing at. And then there is a sudden shift into Stardew Valley for a bit too…

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan– bad cooking with bad Fate franchise stuff. Whatever. I guess teaching anime fans how to cook food is of benefit to society?

Sword Art Online Alternative- Gun Gale Online– I stuck with Sword Art Online longer than most sane people did and perhaps my hatred of the franchise is disproportionately large because of that. I went into this expecting to hate it but found it ok. Taking out all the problematic characters of SAO and the world is ok. Has a stupid end but the journey was fun enough on the way there.

“You know what you’re getting”

Shokugeki no Souma S3 (cour 2)– This is the second half of Season 3. By this stage, you know if you like it or not. By this stage I’m still enjoying it but don’t pay full attention to it when I’m watching it

Boku no Nero Academia– this is… season 3 of the show? And it’s maybe half done? I think? It had a very shaky start as they had to jam story content into the framework of ‘students going to school’ which is by far the biggest thing holding the show back. But after the ~8-10 episode summer camp arc, we actually got the first bit of actual plot progression since about episode 3 of Season 1. Was fine, maybe even good in parts.

Nanatsu no Taizai- Imashime no Fukkatsu– the first half of the second season was quite a struggle. Actually, maybe it was the middle third. The story really got lost in the weeds and got kind of boring. Nothing was really progressing and characters were being added in and side stories fleshed out. And then at the end a heap of stuff was packed into a couple of episodes. Given how much time is spent recapping previous episodes, I’m wondering if there is a dearth in the source material.

“Dunno, is maybe ok”

Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru– watched three episodes. Swords, magic and dragons. Wasn’t bad enough to make me hate it and drop it but not good enough to make me bother to pick up any more episodes. So maybe it it’s great, maybe it’s awful.

Is actually just bad

Anything not mentioned above is bad and shouldn’t be watched, mentioned again or have any money given to support it in any form. But some particularly egregious pieces of crap from Spring 2018:

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii- it’s main crime is being popular but not good. A classic case of anime fans going ‘hey I’m that unsociable nerd so maybe I can get a girlfriend/boyfriend like the unsociable nerds in this show even they they are bad people’. I dropped this on ep1, ep 3 and ep6 (my “friends” kept trying to make me watch it as it apparently got good. Liars.)

Tokyo Ghoul:re- Season 1 was fine, Season 2 was a trainwreck, this started by randomly destroying the kind of interesting MC and his kind of character development for no clear reason. And made things super fucking boring. Dropped in less than one ep.

Golden Kamuy- CGI Bears. Enough said (although Japan acknowledging the existence of the Ainu is surprising). Dropped after ep3

3D Kanojo- like Wotaku but without the pretence of being ‘realistic’. Not sure of that makes it worse of better though. Dropped after ep2

Uma Musume Pretty Derby- the horse girls and their interactions with broader soicety raise so many questions it makes my head hurt. Dropped after ep2

Winter 2017/2018 wrap up

What a season. So many shows that I’ve watched with one eye while writing emails and doing other admin paperwork. Thank *deity* that I’ve been pretty sick the last week and thus at reduced mental capacity and  able to tolerate some of the shows I persisted in watch.

Here’s my category by category breakdown. Definitely the same categories I used for previous seasons.

Good:

Death March- so bland and inoffensive yet it somehow was the only show I actually looked forward to watching. 8/10

3-gatsu no Lion- the emotional roller coaster that is this show is indescribale. Watch it. 10/10

Yuru Camp- so relaxing. A great show to watch which downing an alcoholic beverage just before going to sleep. 9/10

Kokkoku- is fine. Interesting setting, characters and plot. End was a bit convenient though. 7/10

Disappointing sequel that only coasted by on the tailcoats of S1

Overlord S2- my god what a wasted season. The first third of the show is an arc about stupid lizard people any reasonable viewer gives no shit about. The g-rated sex scene between two lizards was an unnecessary disappointment in multiple ways. The rest is just a big build up to about 1/3 of an episode worth of interesting fights and otherwise is setting up for the inevitable S3. Which hopefully delivers on this protracted set up.

Seven Deadly Sins S2- this is a two-cour show and thus unfinished but my god is it taking it’s time doing stuff. Some things actually happening would be a good change. Hopefully it’s finished with the protracted set up and will start moving the plot along now. Also the constant recap and extended prologue at the beginning of each ep is pretty blatant filler. Hated that in S1 and hate it even more now.

Garo Vanishing Line- I dropped this at about episode 14 I was so bored. No BestDad from Season 1 makes this 3rd season about as bad as Season 2.

So bland it’s bad

Toji no Miko- high school girls (towards the older end of highschool so the revealing outfits are less creepy I guess) using cool swords and mech-armour suits to fight monsters. And other girls. How could you fuck this up? Well… somewhere along the line (ep8ish), after fleeing the overwhelming force of the evil people in control of the government, the main characters have an episode dedicated to going to a lantern festival. Or something. That’s how you fuck it up. The paperthin plot is too paperthin to maintain a semblance of interest in between incredibly unexciting sword fights. 3/10

Violet Evergarden- I get it, it’s pretty. But I’m stuck about 2/3 of the way through the season and am so uninterested in going forward becuase aside form beutificul aninimation there is not story or compelling character shit happening with any consistency. Even the obvious reveal of ‘the military guy gave his life to protect you but we hid that from you’ reveal it handled very uninterestingly. 3/10

Takunomi- I like alchohol as much as the next person but the absense of content that wasn’t a (hopefully paid for) advert for the *drink of the week* got a bit repetiive after a while. Even the charming country bumpkin attitue of the MC got pretty repeitive pretty fast. 4/10

Mitsuboshi Colours- what started out as a charming story of three kids running riot in a town quickly became a horror story about three kids running riot in a town. I don’t feel human emotion yet still felt anxious for half the adults forced to deal with these manic children as they just fucked things up for people. 4/10

Devilman Crybaby- was presumably cutting edge when the story was written in the 1950s (or sometime around then) but basically Evangelion did it better. Although the incidental, non-sexualised nudity in a very non-hentai style was intriguing and almost arousing at points… although that was quickly drowned out in the gory violence…

Doesn’t know how to handle women

Koi wa Ameagari no You no- romance story between a man and a girl young enough to be his daughter. Who is also him employee at his restaurant. Making the young girl the lead instigator of the romance doesn’t make it better Japan. is well animated I suppose. 5/10

Darling in the FranXX- it’s Trigger. What do you expect? Interesting world and robot fights but man can you get some female writing staff. I do prefer my women as more than simply objects I direct with my penis (almost literally what happens in this anime). Will still keep watching it though 7/10

Generically Bland

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens- a city of assassins assassinating each other. Is fine but nothing stands out about it. 4/10

Ryuuou no Oshigoto- The pitch for his show went something like this I assume: “Oh jeez this ‘3-gatsu no lion’ anime is super popular and well received, it’s obvious about shogi and nothing else so lets make another anime about shogi. But make the MC super OP and successful and also make the female leads all 10 years old.” 4/10

So horrible it’s great

Killing Bites- it’s oversexualisation of very unattractive characters is unintentionally brilliant. It’s uninventive take on the ‘Battle Royale’ tropes are somehow entertaining. The insane juxtapositioning of characters with themselves is amazing (for example- one character is is simultaneously a super ominous villain and played for comic relief within consecutive sentences of dialogue… and then randomly raped semi-on screen for no reason…). The twist upon twist upon twist, the way characters know things and act in ways that make no sense… everything about this show is great. 7/10

Still haven’t started yet

Cardcaptor Sakura- a friend asked around ep 8 if i was concerned about the lack of plot development. I told them I’m saving this show up for when it’s all out and I can be an emotional wreck (as my childhood is either vindicated or destroyed). 11/10

Fate Encore: eh whatever. It’s Fate. It’ll be fine probably. Or so terrible it’s great. 7/10

Re:Life S2- less a S2 and more like four bonus OVAs. Really liked the TV series and was pretty gutted that it ended unfinished. Am assuming these will wrap up the main storyline but from my knowledge of the general plot, ti’s a lot of material to cover in four OVAs so I’m a little worried. Is probably great. 7/10

Random things I’m partway through

Ancient Magus’ Bride- have downloaded a bunch of new(ish) episodes in the last couple weeks but not been bothered to watch any of them. Perhaps that’s telling? 5/10

Samurai Champloo- is quite good but isn’t holding up to the same level I remember. Am only about 6-7 eps in though so the main storyline is yet to really kick in. 7/10

Masamune-kun no Revenge- is fine. About 9 or 10 eps in. Enteaining enough that I’ll fininsh it one day but am in no rush to chase down the last couple eps.

Simply bad and not worth watching

Everything from the season I haven’t mentioned above because I obviously dropped it after three eps… and I didn’t drop some of the shows above which were pretty fucking terrible.

Best of 2017 Anime

With 2018 stuff starting to air it’s time to wrap up the loose ends from 2017.

Here’s the various things you should watch from last year, can watch from last year if you think they sound ok and should skip from last year even if you think they sound interesting.

Anything not on these lists is trash that can be ignored,

Good- you should watch these shows. No particular ranking but Saekano is the best.

  • Kono Suba S2
  • Kobayashi Maid Dragon
  • Youjo Senki
  • Scums Wish (so dark)
  • Demi-chan wa Kataritai
  • ACCA 13 (very slow but good)
  • 3-gatsu no Lion (S1+S2)
  • Saekono S2 (Megumi is top tier best gurl/waifu material)
  • Shuumatsu nano Shitemasu blah blah
  • Tsuki ga Kirei (amazing ending)
  • Eccentric Family S2
  • Made in Abyss (real different)
  • Gamers (1st arc better than the second arc)
  • Fate/Apocrypha
  • Youkoso Jitsuryoku
  • New Game!! (Season 2 was undeserved after season 1 but my god it was excellent)
  • Boku No Hero Academia S2
  • Shokugeki no Souma S3
  • Just Because
  • Houseki no Kuni (very different to typical anime)

Meh- like, I watched them and they were fine. if you like the genre or premise give it a crack but if you’re not sold after reading a blurb you won’t miss anything by skipping these

  • Knight and Magic- fighting robots and magic battle. Enough said
  • Isekai Smartphone- a dude is put in a fantasy world and is given got-tier levels of OP-ness
  • Ancient Magus Bride- interesting world but glacially slow at everything
  • Inuyashiki- fine
  • Umaru S2- fine, better and worse than S1 in different ways
  • Konohana Kitan- fox girls, hot springs
  • Garo Vanishing Line- Better than S2, less good than S1
  • Hozuki no Resitetsu S2- exactly she same as S1
  • Masamune-kun no revenge- fine I guess (to be fair, i haven’t finished this as fansub groups are shithouse)
  • Attack on Titan S2- Show is overrated. Animation was meh. Some ok twists.
  • Danmachi Sword Oratoria- not enough Hestia
  • Grimoire of Zero- meh

Disappointing- for one reason or another, these had some promise based on their title, premise or first three eps but for whatever reason weren’t that good. Skip them.

  • Iron Blooded Orphans S2 (Fine but Season 1 was way better)
  • Little Witch Academia (Trigger just isn’t that good of a studio. Also the world is broken)
  • Record of Bastard Akashic Intructor (I did enjoy though… there was one awesome scene in ep2 that hinted at an awesome show that didn’t eventuate)
  • Sin Nanatsu no Taizai (based on the title, I was hoping for the second season of Seven Deadly Sins. I was gravely mislead)
  • Berserk S2 (I didn’t mind it but the animation is pretty bad and it ends in a dumb spot. Needs more Griffith)
  • Koi to Iso (fine I guess but they chickened out of resolving the love plot story line)
  • Centaur no Nayami (like Plastic Memories, a really interesting world obscured by all of the characters who are focused on)
  • Mahoujin Guru Guru (one funny joke played out too long)
  • Sakura Quest (nothing happens)
  • Aho Girl (one funny joke played out too long)
  • No Game No Life Zero (dissapointing prequel)
  • Juuni Taisen (one plot twist played out over and one)

Bonus- Fall 2017 Anime Preview

Since the Winter 2018 Anime Season is starting, lets look at my notes of the shows I dropped for the Fall 2017 because they were garbage. I watched 3 eps of each of these shows.

A very timely season preview post XD

Amecon:

  • Short about a coffee shop
  • It has a tsunder dog
  • Meh, how boring. How did this get made?

Blend S

  • Fucking garbage
  • Yay, it has one girl of every genre. How nice
  • Go watch ‘Working!’. It’s this but good

Black Clover

  • Stop fucking yelling
  • So much yelling
  • Why is he yelling as part o non-battle, normal conversation? Does the voice actor not know how to act?

Animegataris

  • Lots of deep cuts about anime culture.
  • Characters are pretty clique, story not interesting
  • ‘Gamers’ from last did this better. Or Genshiken for an anime club focus

Code realise:

  • Lupin? Thief? Why is this happening?
  • Lots of pretty boys
  • Steam punk Vampire Knight

Dynamic Chord

  • Yawn
  • Singing = shit
  • Immediate drop

Evil or Live

  • Somehow worse than Prison School
  • WTF tonal echanges in episode 2. Actually had a chance to be REALLy interesting with the way the direction chnaged but then they changed bakc and it was lame
  • I’m guessing the writing budget went into making the title almost a palindrome

Sho-bith girlfriend

  • Why did i expect anything form an anime with this title?
  • Whatever I expected, I was wrong. This was boring/dumb/shit
  • Why is this getting so much hype by Madman?

Dies Irae

  • Episode 0 gave me some vibes of Tanya the Evil, very interesting
  • Ep1-2, fucking yawn, direction change into cliche bullshit

Taison Chiccchai

  • Cute boy short
  • Yawn

Imouto sae ireba

  • Trash
  • About little sisters bbeing great. yay for another siscon anime
  • The worst of all the cons

Sengoku Night Blood

  • Oh this is a game advert
  • Reverse vampire harem? yawn
  • Go watch Sengoku no Night raid 1931. Entirely unrelated but has a similar title, is good and is the only reason I tried Night Blood.

Tsukipro

  • No good anime involve singing
  • No good anime have chacarters with ‘pretty’ as a characteritic
  • Drop

Onyankopon

  • What the fuck is happenening
  • Drop

UQ Holder

  • Meh
  • Big boob vampire, dumb yelling kid

Urahara

  • Characters annoy me
  • Fashion as a concept annoys me
  • Art style annoys me

Two Car

  • No good anime involve bikes
  • Drop

Pkatarou no Lullaby

  • What even is this…

Yuki Yuuna Sa

  • Like Season 1 was ok I guess
  • Oh it’s a prequel? Of the least interesting character who’s story was fully sorted out. i think. i don’t really remember it and may have confused it with Symphogear
  • Magical Girls Raising Project was better. Go watch that

Blood Blockade Battlefront S2

  • Can people acknowledge that S1 wasn’t that good and the studio making it completely forgot to have any story until like episode 10 and ballsed up the production so hard the finale was too long and got delayed by months to the point no-one cared about it anymore?
  • S2 looked pretty much the same as Season 1.
  • Oh wait no, the protagonist is even weaker and dumber than he was in S1. Great

Were there any shows I missed? Chances are I couldn’t get subs for them without putting in more than 5 seconds of effort looking for some. or it was so bad i blocked it from memory or so bland it never got entered into my memory in the first place.

In summary- go watch Uchouten Kazoku instead of any of the above garbage.