Given I went into the first episode of this anime expecting that Domestic Girlfriend would be the usual clueless protagonist who falls over and lands on a girl’s chest or with his nose in her crotch and that would be played for laughs, and I would promptly drop the show, the far more serious drama unfolding here is actually a pleasant surprise. While there are certainly elements that might turn some away such as the bathroom scene, the story seems to be dealing with largely characters that act kind of like real people (though there are still gaps in that credibility).
This episode largely focused on Natsuo and Rui’s interactions and despite Rui not leaving much of an impression last week, that is for the better. Compared to Sensei’s more stereotypical and silly persona, Rui is a harder read and the audience, like Natsuo, is invited this week to take a second look at her.
There’s an incredibly charming scene at school where Natsuo is attempting to help Rui get used to conversation but somewhere throughout it stops being play and they end up verbally sparring much to the entertainment of the class. While Rui’s transfer to Natsuo’s school is a cliche development, it makes sense given they live together and at least she didn’t land in his class.
However, Sensei does get development this episode as we see that her tears last week were indeed because of a situation and that situation is ongoing. While the audience, and Natsuo, aren’t fully in on the details just yet, it is clear that things aren’t going so well for Sensei when it comes to romance.
So while Domestic Girlfriend may be teetering on the edge of being a soap-opera (the only thing stopping it is that we currently have a very small cast of characters), so far it has been highly entertaining. And I really do love the music so far, particularly the OP and ED.
There’s a definite sense of excitement when I see so many of my posts from last year coming together into a single form.
For the second year in a row I’ve compiled an ebook with the content from my blog though this time I’m selling direct via PayPal. You have your choice of PDF, EPUB or MOBI formats and you will receive your copy via email after payment. Patrons, if you haven’t already got your copy, go to this post on Patreon and it should allow you to download the version you want – if it doesn’t work let me know ASAP and I will email you a copy.
Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook
Collection of reviews, features, and top 5’s from the blog in 2018 including reviews completed for patrons only. Available in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF forms.
Buying the ebook helps support the work I do on 100 Word Anime and hopefully I’ll be able to continue to grow the blog and produce content people would like to read. Though I would like to take this moment to ask that you consider becoming a patron.
Now before we get too much further I do need to do a major shout out to all of my wonderful patrons and to those who have donated to 100 Word Anime during 2018. In particular I’d like to give a special thank you to:
Well, almost all my Top 5’s from 2018, including my best of 2018 Top 5 lists that technically haven’t finished coming out on my blog just yet with my top 5 males and top 5 anime of the year still to be published.
Almost all of my Features are included.
Now if you are wondering why some Top 5’s and some Features have been left out part of that is because the book was starting to clock up a massive word count, and the other part is that occasionally I write a feature directly related to something happening during a particular week and it really isn’t relevant to anyone a month later. Also, a handful of my Top 5’s last year were on horror movies rather than anime so they thematically didn’t fit.
As for series reviews:
Cells at Work (Summer)
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Winter)
March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Winter)
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Autumn)
DamePri Anime Caravan (Winter)
Goblin Slayer (Autumn)
How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Summer)
How to Keep a Mummy (Winter)
Lostorage Conflated Wixoss (Spring)
Phantom in the Twilight (Summer)
ReLIFE Final Arc (Winter)
Rokuhoudou Yostuiro Biyori (Spring)
School Babysitters (Winter)
Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San (Autumn)
Space Battleship Tiramisu (Spring)
Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld (Winter)
Steins;Gate 0 (Summer)
Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Spring)
The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Winter)
Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary (Autumn)
100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Summer)
3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Spring)
A.I.C.O Incarnate (Winter)
Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Summer)
B the Beginning (Winter)
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Spring)
Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Spring)
Darling in the Franxx (Spring)
Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Winter)
Devilman Crybaby (Winter)
Jingai-San no Yome (Autumn)
Junji Ito Collection (Winter)
Libra of Nil Admirari (Spring)
Record of Grancrest War (Spring)
Release the Spyce (Autumn)
Sanrio Boys (Winter)
Devils’ Line (Spring)
The Master of Ragnarok (Summer)
Tokyo Ghoul RE (Spring)
Well, there’s just a few series reviews. Also episode reviews are included in the appendices for a large number of shows covered last year and all patron only episode reviews are included. Plus, episode reviews of Dakaichi and Goblin Slayer that I never published on the blog because I was reviewing after every four episodes with Arthifis so I just wrote up my episode thoughts for the book.
Hopefully the contents page works in all formats so you should be able to easily navigate between sections and reviews are arranged alphabetically by season. Obviously if you have any issues with the ebook or the format, please contact me and I’ll send you another copy or a different version. This is my first attempt at doing this alone so it may not have worked out perfectly. However, I’m fairly confident I’ve got it.
But, if $6 is seeming a little too much for a year’s content (actually I get it, we’re all working on a budget), I have a slimmer version of the book available.
Short Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook
Smaller selection of features, top 5's and reviews from 2018 on the blog. Available in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF forms. No images.
For the price of a ko-fi you can get the short version of the ebook. The only episode reviews included in the short version are for anime series that were reviewed exclusively for patrons or did not appear on my blog at all. A number of series reviews were removed as were a handful of top 5’s and features.
Basically instead of 220,000+ words that you get in the whole ebook, you only get 130,000+ words. It still makes for a pretty good read if I do say so myself, but it is definitely the trim version.
This is a one-off way of supporting 100 Word Anime throughout 2019. I’d really love to see this blog grow and I am continuing to work on producing content for people to enjoy. Consider lending a hand and getting a compilation of the 2018 content.
By the way, if you can’t make up your mind, or can’t right now but think you might want to buy the book later, it is available in the bookshop which you can access via the sidebar.
I loved Sailor Moon growing up. It was really the first anime I watched that I came to realise was anime. As such, magical girl stories have been something of a staple for me since entering the world of anime and while I will admit I’m a little over this dark take or parody twist all of them seem to take these days, Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is so far managing to offer a nice balance of elements that is drawing me right into the story. In Sailor Moon when the bad guy’s insidious plans went public, the normal response the following day from characters, particularly Molly, was to assume they’d had some crazy dream or similar. Very rarely did any impact from the event linger and it was almost as if it hadn’t happened. While that works well enough in Sailor Moon, it was refreshing to that this wasn’t the approach taken here.
The events from episode 1 were not brushed aside and the world did not reset with everyone just moving on. The trauma of nearly being killed weighs heavily on Asuka’s classmate as does the feeling of helplessness. This story is taking it’s themes seriously even as it builds something fairly entertaining.
And it is entertaining. It isn’t wallowing in the misery of its characters and traumatising them just to see them break (not yet at least – it might still go there). Instead it seems to want to look at the situation it put its characters in and consider the way it would impact on the different characters. We see this in the classmates’ different responses to the violence in the city with the girl who was in the midst of it exhausted and suffering, going into shock after a police car with its siren passes her by. We also see those less close to the scene and their more subdued tone compared to the previous episode.
Then we get another contrast. We have seen Asuka is still dealing with the trauma from the war and trying to get on with her life, but what about the other magical girls? This episode brings in Kurumi who is more of a support fighter but because Asuka is refusing to join the unit, Kurumi is all they’ve got when a left-over Disas is set loose in the city. Not only do we get a bit of back story between the two but we see that Kurumi, despite admitting she isn’t very strong, is still fighting the fight and has taken a very different approach to life after the war than Asuka. What I found particularly applause worthy, was that the scene didn’t condemn Asuka’s choice even though Kurumi accused her of being unfair and awful. The story leaves the audience to decide as it presents these two characters.
While the villains of the piece may yet be the weak link, they’ve still got time to develop beyond crazy for the sake of it and there’s plenty of interesting ideas afoot here. If you’ve been avoiding the dark magical girl genre, Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka may just be the one that works for you (then again, early days).
Week three of the new year has given Australia an extreme heat wave. Now given I live in the middle of nowhere anyway and our standard January temperatures are in the 40’s (celcius), I’m coping but I’d be lying if I said it was pleasant (and I don’t even want to know what my power bill will look like because there has definitely been a need to run at least one air-con in the house more or less continuously during this period – if nothing else, my computer keeps overheating if I try and use it without cooling the room). Then of course I get told that other bloggers are all but snowed in.
Given the outside is hostile, it seems like a great week to indulge in anime – though who am I kidding, I don’t really need an excuse to do that. As always I’ve found some great posts during the week and I’ve linked below to some great posts from the community. There’s also links to my posts from the week below in case you missed them and hopefully we’ll find some more great content for week 4.
Posts from the Community
From PeregrinePrincess there is an incredibly beautiful analysis of a Natsume Yuujinchou episode in a post called Fleeting Light. It is the firefly episode and if you haven’t seen it there’s definitely spoilers here, but if you have seen the episode definitely go and check out this post. It beautifully captures the magic of Natsume and why these episodes speak to so many of us.
The Archive is on Fire has a post about Goblin Slayer and how the series looks at the title characters slow building of relationships and healing. If you are wanting a bit of a thoughtful and reflective take on an anime that has gotten a lot of criticism, this post might be a great read for you.
Crimson shares their thoughts on Soul Eater having finally finished the anime (Yay!). Here they discuss the characters, the pacing and that ending. There are a couple of spoilers here though for such an old anime it probably isn’t an issue and if you are looking for a fresh take on the series this is one to check out.
Aldael explains fairly wonderfully how the Boogiepop anime adaptation failed its first arc. They provide some excerpts from the light novel and compare to how the scene was depicted in the anime and suddenly the feeling that something was missing while watching the anime all makes sense. It really was just missing.
Irina brings us another thought provoking post about positive negative reviews. It examines different ways people approach writing negative reviews and how they come across to the reader. The comments section makes for some great reading, as is usual from one of Irina’s posts that get the community talking.
Marshmellow Pastel has a really intriguing post about Pastel Memories and asks the question of ‘who is this for?’ With a lead in discussion about the disconnect between subject matter and style for Ready Player One, this post is an intriguing read and one well worth the time so be sure to check it out.
Pick of the Week
Floating Into Bliss does it again with another thought provoking video/transcript discussing the Actual Problem with Subtitles. This one looks particularly at translations that add gendered terms to sentences where they did not exist and it comes with a myriad of anime examples and discusses why these might be a problem and why translations need to address this issue. Very thoughtful post and one worth watching/reading.
And a late entry and bonus pick of the week. Kapodaco did a bit of a follow up from my feature on Light Novels looking at his own viewing habits and ratings for anime and whether or not Light Novel adaptations scored lower. It’s an interesting post and takes the conversation in a different direction and is well worth reading.
Episode 15 continues directly where the last episode of Alicization left us with Eugeo and Kirito encountering two girls in the tower. Now there girls, like so many people we’ve met in recent episodes, are a little bit messed up in the head due to a tragic and very short back story (yay for not another multi-episode exposition dump). Still, when they drop on the audience that 28 kids were slaughtered in the attempt to perfect resurrection and these two nut-jobs are the only survivors you kind of think that maybe this is an issue the story should actually expand upon.
But no, in the same episode with multiple other issues including a really weird and pointed comment about gender and feelings of inferiority that Sword Art Online does not have the narrative strength to carry off and feel like anything other than a patronising nod at gender politics. Seriously, if they want me to take SAO’s commentary on gender even vaguely seriously they should give Asuna a sword again and let her fight side by side with Kirito. Then I’ll start taking some of this messaging a little more seriously (a little bit, it’s SAO so I’m not exactly looking to it for gender politics).
However, neither of those points, both fairly big points, were what I walked away from the episode wanting to discuss. Instead, my focus is very much on the Eugeo and Kirito dynamic. It was something very early in the episode that shifted my attention to this and despite all these other distractions I never really got off of thinking about it.
At the beginning of the episode, when the two sweet girls on the stairs are introducing themselves, Kirito taps Eugeo on the shoulder, tells him he’s not good with kids and that he should handle it, and then places himself behind Eugeo. This seems like such a weird move for Kirito. You know, Kirito, the guy who picks up every cute girl and gets involved in their business until they are smiling and happy even though he acts like he doesn’t want to get involved. Not to mention, he adopted a program as his and Asuna’s kid. So not being good with kids is a major flag going up that something was going on. I actually replayed the scene to see if I could figure it out and I was really pleased later in the episode when I realised I had pin-pointed what had made Kirito act weirdly. There’s a line that girls say that warns Kirito not all is as it seems and he appropriately takes action (admittedly, he does seem to figure out not just that something is up but just what nature of attack he’s about to face which seems a bit far-fetched, but hey, Kirito).
And that really highlighted something for me between Eugeo and Kirito. During the last episode, Eugeo was the one who ended the fight after Kirito acted as the diversion. Kirito’s role was the more risky one because he had to be able to defend against a full attack while Eugeo prepared, but Kirito managed. However, in all of this, Eugeo has been seen as a fairly solid swordsman in his own right.
This episode splits the two characters very solidly not on their talent with the sword but on their experience in actual battle. We’ve seen more than once a situation where Eugeo has become emotional in the midst of conflict and we see it again in this fight. We also see that Eugeo isn’t on guard against the two girls even though they are in enemy territory and they are fighting their way to the top. It is here that Kirito’s past, his knowledge and experience, allow him to shine. Even though once the fight begins in earnest, Eugeo plays a critical role, again it is Kirito leading the pace and direction of the battle.
The dynamic between the two characters and Eugeo’s changeable nature as he is new to this environment make for some of the more interesting moments that Alicization has brought to the franchise. Must admit, I really ended up enjoying this episode even with the sheer amount they tried to cram into it and as a result ended up doing a pretty ordinary job of.
Well, today we have a question that I’ve certainly been asked more than once by people in real life. As always if you have something to ask you can send the question my way by filling in the simple survey at the end of the post or you can use this link to the inquiring minds survey.
How much time do you dedicate to your blog on a daily basis?
The facetious answer to this one would be ‘too much’. Certainly quite a few people would agree with that answer. The less dismissive answer but still non-specific one would be, ‘as much as I can’. I love my blog. I love talking with people online about anime. I would absolutely love to have this be my full time gig and I certainly am working toward that goal (though it is a long way off).
However, let’s give this on a serious answer.
Working on an average week day when I’m at work, I would say about three hours specifically on my blog. There might be additional time spent watching anime or just stuffing around on twitter, but actual time spent watching a specific part of an anime again, checking screen caps, drafting or editing posts, reading other blogs, checking the scheduled posts, etc… about three hours. Some days more some less.
Breaking that down I usually spend between 4:30am and 6:30am online and entirely focused on reading other blogs and commenting, drafting stuff, replying to comments, catching up on Twitter, and if I finish all that, maybe watching an episode of anime if there is time. Sometimes I wake up earlier, sometimes I get a little more sleep (though that is a rare event). My alarm goes off at 6:30 because that’s when I need to actually get ready for work. If I get ready quickly I sometimes get another fifteen to twenty minutes to do one final read of posts that come out (and a whole bunch usually come out at 7am so I try and do a quick read before I head out).
Work for me is very much a varying thing with very few days actually just being an eight hour day, ten hours is my average, and eleven and twelve hour days happening more often than I’d like (no one functions well after twelve hours of work so keeping us there does not lead to productive outcomes). I also do not connect to any of my accounts at all while I am at work. So however long I am at work Karandi is off-line – though through the miracle of scheduling that isn’t the biggest issue.
Whenever I finally get home I usually spend some time watching and drafting posts before dealing with dinner (unless I got home super late in which case I eat first). And sometime after dinner I’ll usually spend another block of time finishing up any watching, drafting, editing – maybe reading of other blogs and commenting. Some days I get more than three hours total, other days I am too tired to even consider writing something in the evening and end up just watching anime on the couch, or I have to go out because of some sort of social activity in town and don’t have time.
Weekends I try to do a lot of drafting of posts for later in the week so I have a bit of a buffer if things get super busy, but I also work over a lot of weekends. I do have a number of breaks where I’m off work and I tend to do a lot more hours online at that time.
However, no matter how much time I have for anime and blogging, I want more. I love it. Every minute of it (even when fighting with the editor over post layout). So I don’t feel like I’ve wasted even a second that I’ve spent working on my blog.
So now I’m curious. How long do my readers spend on their blogs on a daily basis?
After one of the best premiere episodes I’ve seen in a long time, episode 2 of The Promised Neverland had a lot to live up to, and while I can’t say it 100% did, it was still a very solid episode that has definitely moved the plot and characters along nicely while still managing to ooze atmosphere and tension. The majority of the episode focuses on Norman and Emma considering how they are going to escape as Mother gives a few indications that she’s got her eye on them and messes with their heads a little, before Ray joins the two in their plans. It doesn’t sound all that exciting but much like with episode 1 it is all about the execution. (Some spoilers below.)
However, this is where I did pick a few faults this week. Where episode one had the consistent clock motif throughout the episode, and that is still present in episode 2, a lot of the visual effects this week seem a little disjointed or don’t seem to quite hit the mark. Notably early in the episode where Emma is sitting up in her bed and we seem to be looking at her from the clock’s perspective and the scene sways back and forth like a pendulum. It is kind of clear they are trying to show us how unsettled she is and how unstable things are and yet mostly I just felt queasy and like the scene went on too long. It didn’t pack enough emotional impact for the time it took.
The second effect that I had to look at a couple of times and still didn’t really click with was when Mother and the other children walk past Norman and Emma back into the house and they are trailed by after images. I’m not entirely sure what tone this was supposed to hit but it was another moment where it didn’t draw me into the scene but rather pushed me out of the moment and had me puzzling why they went with that effect rather than following the characters and the scene.
Though, with the exception of those sequences, I really liked how this episode was put together. Again we have some very interesting angles used on the characters to show their emotions and relative power, there’s a lot of thought put into the music and sound, and mostly the pacing works exceptionally well at making you feel uncomfortable and waiting for the next moment and then lingers just that little bit longer before moving on.
For me, Emma was the real champion of this episode. Not so much because I like her as a character. She’s pretty generic in terms of the big sister character who wants to be cheerful and protect her family. I like her more because of what she has done for the plot.
Because of Emma and her shock and inability to just act like nothing happened, Mother seems suspicious of Emma and Norman. This is the first factor that escalates tension in this episode and ensures we are very carefully watching Mother all throughout the episode to see if she actually knows or is just suspicious. If Norman alone had been the one to find out about Conny, there’d be nothing happening in a lot of these scenes because he’s beautifully playing the role of someone who has no knowledge.
Also, the escape plan that Emma and Norman are cooking up involves saving everyone. All of the children. As Ray points out when he is included in the conversation, that’s stupid. It is nearly impossible and even if they all escape how will they survive afterwards. And honestly, Emma, Norman and Ray believably could escape in a couple of days after snooping around some. But then, where would the excitement be?
No, Emma puts her foot down hard and insists everyone is going to escape. She won’t sacrifice anyone. And Norman sides with Emma because despite being super-logical, he likes Emma and he’s 12. Emma’s decision and her lack of consideration for any compromise, turns what is already a steep task into one that might be insurmountable.
For other shows wanting to raise emotional and narrative stakes, take notes from The Promised Neverland. You don’t have to randomly and gruesomely kill off your cast to make things seem more dangerous. Yes, this anime did kill a character in episode one to establish the overall stakes, but without a single drop of blood being shed, episode 2 managed to build on that drama and craft a compelling path for the story to take. I am very much looking forward to where this story goes from here.