Top 5 Mystery Anime

Tuesday's Top 5

A lot of people love a good mystery. Okay, some people get frustrated and skip to the end when it is a book, but given the consistent production and sales of mysteries there’s clearly an audience. I’ll admit, I get frustrated when a mystery takes too long to get going, doesn’t give enough indication of where it is going, or the payoff ultimately wasn’t worth the wait, but when a mystery gets things right I tend to fall in love with the story.

Anime and mystery is a bit of a mixed bag and I will admit my choices of favourite mysteries are based entirely on my own enjoyment of the story as a whole. Which is why Hyouka isn’t on the list. I loved the first arc and first mystery but found everything after that a little less satisfying. The Promised Neverland I really enjoyed but not for the mystery elements, same for something like Erased.

However, as always, I’d love to know what some of your favourite mystery anime are and why so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Number 5: Sagrada Reset

Also known as Sakurada Reset a lot of people dropped this anime fairly early on and I’ll accept the reasons they gave. The character dialogue is really clinical and detached and doesn’t resemble anything you would actually encounter between normal humans. The pace early on is incredibly slow and while there are bits and pieces indicating a bigger picture and mystery it takes a long time to get going.

Despite that, the conclusion of this two cour series is perhaps one of the best conclusions I’ve come across in anime. Every single arc and story comes together and every hint or idea actually serves a purpose. While it isn’t a realistic ending by any means from a narrative point of view it provides perfect closure to the story and just made me want to watch it through again to see all those clues I missed. For me that’s the mark of a good mystery and this one ended up paying off.

Number 4: ACCA

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile you will know I really got into ACCA. The conspiracy focusing around Jean, the gifts of cigarettes, the plot to overthrow the ruler, all of it just really got me hooked and interested as I wanted to find out who was actually behind what was going on and how they would resolve it. This one ended up being a lot of fun and while it isn’t exactly driving toward a conclusion as we follow Jean about in his work and visit each district in turn, there’s enough going on and the characters are interesting enough to keep you engaged until the later episodes where the conspiracy takes a more central role.

Number 3: No. 6

Dystopian story where the government controls the news and people’s lives and those who question anything are arrested (or forced to flee) – that in itself is enough reason to be interested in No. 6. Throw in the mysterious plague with the insects that are killing people and you’ve got a whole lot of story to cover. I’ll admit, the conclusion to No. 6 isn’t as satisfying as I’d like. Everything comes together but that ending really just goes a bit off the rails as they try to wrap things up and go for the dramatic conclusion. Still, the journey to that ending is one that is well worth following with two characters that are just awesome to watch and a lot of social commentary packed into the mix.

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Number 2: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni

It seems odd that there aren’t more horror mystery anime in this list but the bottom line is so many of them are either more psychological than mystery or the mystery they present isn’t overly satisfying. Something like Another does a great job setting up its mystery but ultimately we’re never given any answers for what has happened. Higurashi spends a lot of time setting up its various mysteries and through the various time loops we ultimately get answers for most of them. Whether it is the strange illness that sends people crazy, the murder of Rika, or even the motives of the characters, ultimately Higurashi explores and explains everything in a deeply satisfying manner.

Number 1: Shinsekai Yori

This one is another slow burn in the beginning as it sets up its world and characters but it is one that is incredibly worth the effort. In addition to just being beautiful to watch, finding out the secrets and lies that underpin this future society and seeing how the central characters react and respond to each reveal is truly a delightful viewing experience. While it isn’t the kind of mystery you can solve as a member of the audience it is one that presents puzzling inconsistencies and contradictions as well as strange rules and ideas that allow you to contemplate why they exist before the characters are forced to examine them closer and ultimately find out a series of truths that shake their understanding of their world. Truly delightful viewing even if a little horrifying at times.

And there they are, my favourite 5 mystery anime but as I said before, I’d love to know yours so leave a comment below.

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Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 6

Leader of the non-rebellion.

Episode 6

There’s definitely something seriously wrong with Nanako’s family, particularly her father. I mean, I get he’s playing the overprotective daddy trope but how on earth could you reach the conclusion that Nanako is rebelling. And why is that his biggest issue with his daughter when she never actually speaks. Surely that’s of greater concern than whether or not she’s becoming a thug.

I did like the lead in this week with the club president and Eiji sharing pictures of their pets. One thing that I always find weird in any kind of show is when someone has a pet rabbit. Given it is illegal to own rabbits where I live and they are considered an invasive pest, the idea of keeping one as a pet just strikes me as bizarre. More or less like owning a pet cane-toad.

The moments with Eiji, his sister and Nanako at the park are cute but that’s about it in terms of what you can say about it Unless you want to get into the repeated rabbit poo joke that just seemed there to fill run time as it was pretty much nothing.

With the majority of the episode focusing in on Nanako’s father freaking out about his potentially ‘rebellious’ child though there just wasn’t enough cute going on to off-set it. And while we did resolve the issue at the end and everything ends with a sparkling smile, there’s just too much that doesn’t sit right. I think I prefer this anime when it focuses on the school stuff and it is rare for me to say that.

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The One Thing We Wish We Would Have Known When We First Started our Blogs – A Community Post

Once in a while, I get messages from bloggers asking for advice with their blogs. Although I feel very flattered and honoured that anyone would come to me for such a thing, I also feel a little bad because I don’t have that much to offer. I can only draw from my own experience which is still fairly limited.

So I asked for help! And because anime bloggers are the best, I immediately got a whole bunch of responses. I reached out on Twitter and asked anyone who wanted to participate to DM me. Then I asked my volunteers the following question:

What is/are the one (or two) thing(s) you wish someone had told you when you first started your blog?

I figure I can steal these next time someone asks for advice! In the meantime, I’m sharing them all with you, because it’s never too late to learn. I’ve also grouped them in general categories for ease of reference:

Search Engin Optimization

SEO

SEO and people are nice

To be honest I’m just too devastatingly lay to properly apply SEO tools and tricks but for bloggers that want views, this really is a must. And the sooner you start, the better. Once your site already has good traffic, it’s a lot easier to make new posts popular.

Also, people here really are great, speaking of which,

Community is important

community as

community

people

voice and community

packages and community

I was lucky enough to find out just how great the anime blogging community was pretty early on. It’s one of the biggest reasons I’m still around. So if you’re still wondering whether you should take the plunge and get involved more, well don’t take it from me! Take if from these amazing bloggers.

Both Marth and Naja bring up some other good points as well, but let<s start with Marth.

Hosting and Packages

package and don't compare

I have actually heard this as well. If you have the time and patience, do research your hosting options carefully. It’s going to make your blogging life a lot easier or at least cheaper!

Be Yourself

voice again

your voice

own voice

voice and slow

Finding your own voice may be one of the most important blogging rites of passage. And it is way easier said than done. We all struggle with being true to ourselves but the rewards are undeniable.

And as that Random Editor says, you shouldn’t worry too much about growth. Building a successful blog is a slow process. Probably the most common advice I give is:

It Takes Time

it takes time - social media

Ok, the social media thing is actually great practical advice. I could use help with that myself.

And because it takes time, you should really learn to

Relax

proof and relaxrelax (2)relax (3)relax 4relax no schedrelaxrelax 5relax but diff

True story, because of G I R L up there, I have now finally installed Grammarly on this computer. Let’s see if it makes a difference. All of these are really great and my takeaway is, don’t concentrate too much on numbers or compare yourself to others. The blog is supposed to be for fun so just go with the flow. I definitely agree with all of them, except that I live and die by my schedule. That didn’t sound too healthy.

Here are some various responses that don’t fit in any one category. I also wish I had known these:

ask for criticism

I thought Auri’s response was really great and completely unique. I probably would not have thought of this. Asking for feedback is a good way of improving and most of us don’t think of it at all.

notebook

I have three notebooks. One to take notes while watching for reviews. I’ll also scribble post ideas I get in the middle of watching a series. One that I carry everywhere and just write ideas down as they strike me. And one is a Google doc with all the tag and collab posts I need to do.

personal issues

I haven’t personally had any privacy issues yet but I have gotten some readers a little steamed. I didn’t do much damage control I’m afraid. I do bite my tongue from time to time. Or my typing fingers I guess.

reader and schedule

Matija speaks my language. I integrated both of these early on in my blogging adventure and I’m very happy I did.

Of course, we have the ever practical Karandi giving us her advice:

Tags

I know what she means. I’ve been meaning to clean up my tags forever but I have a lot of posts…and I keep publishing more… and I’m lazy! 😦

Finally, I figured we<d end on a high note and this one made me smile:

just do it

A huge thanks to everyone that answered. You guys are the best and I’m sure you’ve helped some bloggers new and old, today.

Please make sure to go give some love to all these wonderful bloggers:

In no particular order:

And as always thank you Karandi!

Oh, wait…I never answered my own question. When you find a blogger you enjoy reading, don’t be afraid to ask for a collab. They might turn you down but then again, hey might not! I really wish I had started writing collaboratively much sooner!

Do you have any advice that’s not on here?

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Afterlost Review Episodes 3 + 4

The conspiracy grows.

Episode 3

This was a bit strange, which is a weird way to start a review about an anime that wiped out a whole city and has ghost like people and helicopters chasing motorbikes. And yet, Afterlost continues to be a bit of a perplexing story mostly because I’m still not entirely sure what story I’m getting. The supernatural search for the truth makes sense, the buddy/journey thing works, the mystery might eventuate into something that works and the action elements, while not awesome are fine enough.

But this episode we got something else again and I guess it adds to the overall mystery, I am just not sure what.

Geek, Takuya and Yuki are still heading toward Lost and Takuya is conveniently on the phone with the red-head from last week. Convenient because it means we can cut the phone off in a blast of static to show where they have crossed into the most recent phenomenon. And what is that? Well, we’re in a closed space with a time loop because an idol regrets breaking up with her group.

I’ve been wondering for a bit what the idol group have to do with anything given they’ve had a presence in the previous two episodes, but even after we spent most the episode on them, I still legitimately have no understanding of what they are contributing here. Two things did come out of this clearly. The first is that the group definitely disappeared during Lost and the second is that it seems like their producer knew they were going to disappear before it happened. How and why, who knows, but it is just another piece of information to process.

However, Takuya and Yuki then part ways with Geek who is mourning the fact that changing things inside the closed space didn’t actually change the past – good reason to bail on your friends – right before Takuya and Yuki are attacked by Yuki’s brother which results in her making things go boom.

It is difficult to say if I like this or not but at this point I’m intrigued. That said, it is intrigue that could easily tip into frustration if it is all disjointed without any gain so I guess we’ll see what episode 4 brings us.

Meanwhile, I’m going to ponder the tag for this anime: Where I End and You Begin.

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Episode 4

And now we’ve clearly moved into police procedural story as we follow a plucky lieutenant who had follower her father into the police force investigate the events surrounding Lost mostly due to personal interest with her father having been caught up in it. This is actually a pretty interesting episode as she gathers bits and pieces of information and ultimately links a chemical company to Yuki and Lost. However, we were warned members of the Agency were everywhere at the start of this episode, and that is proven true by the end.

On the bright side, okay it is a pretty dark kind of bright side, Takuya didn’t instantly bounce back from his injuries. He’s actually taken some fairly critical damage this time after being thrown off his bike, yet again, and then psychically beaten up. I’m amazed his arm is still functional but still he isn’t exactly brushing this one off without a scratch given he spends most the episode hospitalised.

Yuki also has some things to think about. You know, her thought to be dead brother being alive and psychotic, her existence leading to Takuya being injured, herself being used for medical experiments among other things. Honestly, Yuki is coping a lot better with all this than a lot of anime characters would and certainly significantly better than most people. However, once again we see that pretty much everyone who comes in contact with Yuki ends up in trouble given the police girl didn’t really have any leads left until Yuki opened up to her.

I don’t feel like this episode got us any closer to actual answers but it did do a lot to consolidate bits and pieces we’d heard before and dropped just enough new titbits to keep me wanting to know more. It is very effective at this whole bread crumb game. Though I’ll end up sorely disappointed if at some point I don’t end up with a loaf of bread.

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Up Close With Haruhi Fujioka

Haruhi Fujioka is a pretty well known character. The protagonist of a reverse harem, she isn’t the usual bland or blank slate centre around each of the bishounen cast revolve. Instead, she’s smart, sassy, at times vulnerable, and incredibly well rounded character with her own goals, history, hang ups, and motives. While credit does need to be given to the male cast for holding up their end as well, it is fairly easy to say that Haruhi is the beating heart of Ouran High School Host Club and the reason so many people love it.

We first meet Haruhi when she’s looking for a place to study. At the time, due to her appearance, she’s largely mistaken for a male student, and it takes the first episode before all the members of the host club realises that Haruhi is a girl.

The idea of gender identity isn’t deeply explored by Ouran, but nor is this facet of Haruhi ignored. She doesn’t mind in the slightest that people mistake her for male and doesn’t really feel like it makes a difference. However, what the audience sees is the way the attitudes of the boys in the club change toward Haruhi as they realise her gender and how gender roles comes up again and again.

The scene at the beach where Haruhi puts herself in danger and incurs the anger of the other club members is a prominent moment where the theme takes centre stage, as are the moments where we meet Haruhi’s father or the members of the rival club from another school that try to recruit Haruhi. Then there’s the medical examination episode which mostly uses Haruhi’s hidden gender for amusement purposes.

Ultimately the anime manages to look at gender without making too many judgements or preaching at the audience allowing consideration of an idea without taking away from the entertainment of the story, and all of it centres around Haruhi’s character. It makes her fairly memorable.

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But that isn’t all there is to Haruhi. In a more heavy handed fashion the anime also explores social class and wealth division with Haruhi being a ‘commoner’ and being at the school on scholarship. This theme is less nuanced and is largely played for laughs throughout the series, but again is a clear part of Haruhi’s identity within the story.

While it would be easy to define Haruhi by the themes and issues that are centred on her, that isn’t really fair to her character. What makes Haruhi interesting isn’t that she is poor or that she doesn’t see gender roles in black an white terms. What makes Haruhi interesting is the way she interacts with the other cast members. Her commentary on the antics of the club, her determination to succeed at her goals, the way she refused to pick up social cues from others when she doesn’t agree with them.

While watching Ouran High School Host Club it is really easy to rally behind Haruhi. She’s just such a fun and entertaining character to spend time with and even though she starts as an interesting character she still grows and changes through her interactions with the members of the host club. All and all, she’s a character I remember fondly and enjoy going back and spending time with.

What about you? What did you think of Haruhi Fujioka?

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Review Episode 6

The first assignment.

Episode 6

Oh look, my guess was right. Episode 5 we’re told about demons with supernatural abilities and episode 6 of Demon Slayer brings us face to face with a demon who moves through water and can just kind of pop out of the ground or walls at will, and somehow has divided himself into three. It isn’t bad foreshadowing so much as just kind of telegraphed and lacking in any kind of build up, but that’s more or less the only fault I’m going to pick here and it is at least a consistent feature of this anime.

Nezuko now has her own custom suitcase to ride around in, or sleep in as the case may be, and while it looks too small for an actual human let’s just go with it. I wonder how much better and faster Tanjiro would be at fighting if he put the case down first before trying to fight. I mean at one point he was fighting a demon while holding a girl and carrying his sister on his back. That has to slow him down some.

That’s something a creepy stalker would say before locking you in a basement.

Just in case we thought his keen sense of smell was just a gimmick this episode uses it as an ongoing point as Tanjiro tracks the demon around town and ultimately uses scent to attack. The visuals of the red smoke for the demon’s scent are quite effective and at least it is a practical counter to an enemy you can’t see until it attacks.

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On that note, Tanjiro’s water based attacks look awesome this episode. Actually, the whole fight sequence was kind of fun, which is just as well because the tracking the demon and the fight took up the lion’s share of the screen time. There was one odd moment where the episode went to first person with Tanjiro’s sword waving in front of the audience that was a little jarring (and to be honest made me a bit queasy – there’s a reason I have no interest in trying virtual reality), but otherwise the visuals worked very well.

Lastly, Nezuko’s appearance at the end was more or less expected but still pretty awesome. I’m not entirely sure about the morality of hypnotising her and I’m pretty sure it would be narratively better if she just wanted to help others because of her attachment to her brother, but it does at least mean they don’t have to justify her actions as she fights demons.

Kimetsu no Yaiba continues to be entertaining and the quick pace of the story means there’s no time to be bored. While there’s not a huge amount of depth here it is working well enough.

He does look good in that uniform though.

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Review Episodes 5 + 6

Can a charming lead overcome annoying supporting characters?

Episode 5

Aru takes the full focus in episode 5 of Hitoribocchi and I’m going to be honest, that was a detriment to my enjoyment. Aru’s unfortunate gag has already run paper thin and this episode just finished it off entirely cementing her as my least favourite character within this story and largely just boring me in the process.

We start with her wearing a primary school backpack rather than carrying her middle-school bag. There’s more than a few questions raised by this. For instance, does she actually empty the entirety of her bag each night and then grab an empty bag to fill for school? That seems unlikely. Even more unlikely that she just has her whole primary backpack just lying around ready to be carried to school.

However, even if we toss logic off a cliff, the next steps in the gag are what utterly obliterate any goodwill I might have been willing to give it.

In an effort to show perfection to the class, Aru keeps volunteering to read and answer questions and things inevitably go wrong. You would think that she’d change tactic and just keep her head down, but she insists on drawing attention to herself.  That was annoying enough, but the following day she apparently manages to dress entirely in a primary school uniform. And not notice until she’s half-way to school.

Forget suspension of disbelief, here you would need to actually paralyse your thought processes to accept that as the groundwork for a joke.

Anyway, they tediously drag this out for a full twenty minutes with a tennis match thrown in for who knows what reason and then mercifully the episode ends. I just can’t find anything in this episode that was redeemable and on the back of the ninja episode Hitoribocchi is coming perilously close to getting dropped from my watch list.

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Episode 6

While certainly not as tedious as the previous episode, episode 6 of Hitoribocchi certainly isn’t making itself any more endearing by returning some of the focus to the inept class teacher who is still, for reasons utterly idiotic, afraid of Nako. So begins the set-up for the episode with Nako having failed a maths test and the teacher having to give her result back and the follow up concern that now she has to stay for extra lessons and can’t walk home with Bocchi.

The moments this episode focused on Bocchi and her growing group of friends trying to tutor and support Nako were okay. Not great or laugh out loud funny, but there’s a cute dynamic in the group of odd-balls and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that those parts were better. There were also some cute moments early in the episode where Bocchi was willing herself to get sick in order to avoid presenting a poem.

However, the moments that brought us back to the teacher were just kind of sad and to be honest I don’t get anything from her character other than a growing sense of annoyance.

For me, Hitoribocchi is becoming something of a chore to watch so I’m uncertain at this point whether I’ll finish it or not. It isn’t a broken anime that would appeal to no one, but it certainly isn’t appealing to me at this point and the few elements I find cute or amusing are being overwhelmed by elements that I find just kind of stupid, dull or lazy.

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