Assassination Classroom Episode 42

Review:

After the momentum of the previous episodes this one shifts gears and stuffs around with Valentine’s day chocolates and looking to the future. This episode is full of small vignettes between characters and it reveals little new information but consolidates relationships and developments that we’ve been aware of for awhile. The few half-hearted attempts at assassination this episode merely remind of there is a great plot progressing and that is reinforced by the in-your-face foreshadowing near the end of the episode. I’m fearing tragedy for some of these characters but I am really hoping that this show manages to bring about a satisfying resolution.

So, slower episode, but not disappointing.

Assassination Classroom is available on AnimeLab.

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Words of Wisdom – May Recap

One month of blogging and I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far. To mark the end of the month I just wanted to reshare some of my favourite quotes that I posted throughout May.

Thanks to everyone who has visited 100WordAnime during my first month.

Sailor Moon Crystal Episode 35

Review:

They Sailor Scouts have begun their assault to retrieve the silver crystal and Chibi-Usa’s soul which was somehow taken with it (even though they won’t explain how or why that occurred). And of course Mamoru is left holding Chibi-Usa’s hand (he’s acting as her life support), leaving him out of the main battle except for moral support via telepathy which is certainly convenient for Usagi given her sudden round of extreme self-doubts. Possibly this is why I shouldn’t watch Sailor Moon when I’m overly tired but I found myself being reasonably critical this week:

  • Return of previously defeated villains.
  • Yet another round of we should all fight together.
  • Only male character in the entire show sidelined for very little reason.
  • The scout powers are still pretty useless.

I’m still really hyped to see how this season of Sailor Moon will end but this episode was kind of a by the Sailor numbers so didn’t offer anything particularly new or interesting. The only progress made was that all the scouts are now working together (something they could have just agreed to after the last fight) and crazy villain girl swallowed the silver crystal (which she could have done immediately after transforming). So, no progress.

I’ve totally blown my 100 words for an episode review so I’ll leave it there.

Sailor Moon Crystal is available on Crunchyroll.

Words of Wisdom

Death

Ghost Hunt Episodes 1 -3

I’ve recently been rewatching Ghost Hunt and so I’m going to review each of the stories separately. It’s one of those rare anime that I’ve never actually watched the original soundtrack for and have only ever listened to the English dub.

The premise of this anime is that Mai, a ‘normal’ school girl who likes telling ghost stories is hired to work for a Psychic Researcher and then participates in various ghost hunts, each one being an independent narrative arc lasting anywhere from 1 to 4 episodes.

Review: Evil Spirits All Over!

This arc nicely introduces Mai to Kazuya Shibuya, a 17 year old who dresses in black and runs the Shibuya Psychic Research company. She also meets his assistant Lin and a range of other spiritualists including a monk, a shrine maiden (kind of), a clairvoyant, and a priest (from Australia and I must say that accent is truly dreadful – I wonder how that was distinguished in the original Japanese).

The case in this arc involves an old school building at Mai’s school. A number of accidents have occurred and the Principal wants the building cleansed so it can be demolished. While the mystery in this arc isn’t particularly compelling, it is a nice backdrop to introducing the characters and Mai’s entry into the world of ghost hunting.

Without spoiling the conclusion of this arc, it is difficult to say anything more about what happens. We learn a range of facts about ghosts and poltergeists and are introduced to each of the characters specialties when it comes to dealing with spirits. We also see that they don’t always get it right.

This is a very satisfying introduction to the series.

Positives:

  • The voice actress for Mai is a fantastic screamer. Very few screams in television are as satisfying as some of Mai’s.
  • Kazuya hates being wrong. He’s so cute when he is angry.
  • The show isn’t going for flash or gimmicky. It’s keeping a steady pace and measured tone but uses the characters and the atmosphere to keep you interested. It’s refreshing for a show to not feel the need to dress itself up and go over the top.

Negatives:

  • Already mentioned it, but John’s Australian accent is horrendous. To the point where I was showing Ghost Hunt to a friend of mine and she actually asked if his character was going to die soon so that we wouldn’t have to listen to it any longer.
  • A lot of narrative convenience, like most mysteries. If you pay attention, you’ll probably solve this case before the characters do because it isn’t that mysterious.

Anyway, you should definitely check out Ghost Hunt at some point. The opening theme is also kind of interesting because it has no lyrics and doesn’t use character images. Instead you just get a simple orchestral piece and a range of visual effects that set a nice, spooky tone. While the opening gets old after a few episodes, it is definitely different from the usual anime fare.

My Hero Academia Episode 6

Review:

The first test is over but a new challenge begins almost immediately for Midoriya. It’s nice that he still has to learn to grow into his power and that he hasn’t just been given a short-cut to awesome. His mother also gets her chance to shine in this episode as we see her apologise for doubting her son earlier in the series. We’re learning more about the class and their quirks and they are gradually gaining their own personalities. This show remains cute, energetic and wholly enjoyably even while not really offering all that much new.

My Hero Academia is available on AnimeLab.

The Asterisk War Episode 21

Review:

How do you make a grand-final match kind of dull? Just deliver more of exactly the same. A sword transformation aside this last fight was pretty ordinary and ‘injuring’ Julis so she couldn’t take part in the final exchange was just kind of lame. Not to mention, police investigation or not, in a team sport why would they award just one part of the team the trophy without their partner? During the whole award ceremony I just kept thinking why is no one concerned that Julis isn’t there or even mentioning her? It’s like Ayato won the whole thing on his own, which if you look back is probably a little truer than it should be.

So with that wrapped up, things are fine now, right? Except for all the behind the scenes dealings and betrayals that never get explained and keep getting put on the back burner. Maybe something will finally come of these now.

This episode is watchable and you finally get some resolution to this competition but that’s all its going to give you.

The Asterisk War is available on Crunchyroll.

Words of Wisdom

subjective

Black Butler 2 Series Review

Spoilers of season 1 are going to appear.

I previously reviewed the first season of this and to be honest I really should have stopped there. Back when I originally watched this anime, I remember how excited I was to learn there was a sequel, and how bitterly, bitterly disappointed I was when I finally saw that sequel. Since then, whenever the occasion to rewatch Black Butler has come up, I have chosen to ignore the existence of a season 2. The anime ends with Ciel getting his revenge and Sebastian devouring his soul. That’s it. Game over.

However, for the sake of reviewing it fairly, I had to watch this series again. Plus, AnimeLab runs the two seasons together and leaving half of it unwatched just didn’t feel right. Besides, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought I remembered it being. You know, how you build up all the negative points over time and forget the good things.

No. My memory wasn’t failing me.

Black Butler 2 is everything that is wrong with sequels. Characters who should be dead aren’t. The perfect resolution from the first season is undone and then utterly lost. New motives and rules are forced upon the characters for narrative convenience. Characters who have outlived their purpose in the series reappear regardless of how pointless and out-of-place their appearance might be. Or worse, the brother of a character who died in the first season intrudes on several episodes and then disappears without any purpose what-so-ever.

And don’t even get me started on the opening theme and how badly it matches the tone of the show.

I know some people really like the second season but I just can’t bring myself to enjoy it.

And the absolute worst thing is the addition of a new master and his butler. Alois has had a tragic childhood and has made a contract with a demon. Very similar to Ciel. Right. Uh-huh. Let’s have one more character tell us how they are similar. That’s right. They both had fires in their past. Really, really similar.

Alois is a horrible human being with no redeeming qualities. Not even his obsessive love for his younger brother can make you genuinely want anything nice to happen to this violent, unstable thug of a human. And his butler, Claude, is a cheap imitation of Sebastian at best and a vile mockery at worst.

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What it comes down to is that the sequel attempts to duplicate the events of season 1 in the early stages of the series, but fails completely at capturing the atmosphere and tone that made it dark and playful and sheer delight even when it kind of crossed lines it shouldn’t have and when the narrative wasn’t holding its weight.

The second half of this series just decides to over write all the rules you thought you knew about demon contracts and throw twist after twist into the mythology of the entire piece until you genuinely believe anything could happen and you really don’t care what happens.

All and all, it’s a mess.

The only moment in the entire 2nd series worth watching comes at the very, very end. While the journey to get to that point was horrendous, it was a really clever way to finally have the show beat Sebastian, the overly perfect butler. Poetic justice was served and it was very satisfying, if only the road there had made any sense and it didn’t feel like the ending came from throwing all the possibilities in a box and shaking it real hard.

What are your thoughts on this second season?

Big Order Episode 7

Review:

How does a show become this much of a mess in only 7 episodes? You can’t trust anything anybody says – and not in a clever or subversive way. It’s more that it feels like the writers just keep changing their minds about what actually happened so make random statements and then have to rush around clarifying with details that just make no sense. What was the point of the flashback? All I really got from it was that Hiiragi has pretty much always been a bit of a space case and really shouldn’t be in charge of anything, but we already figured that out.

Oh, and somehow Sena has developed an actual personality besides loving her brother. Sure. Why not?

Big Order is available on Crunchyroll, though I strongly don’t recommend beginning this series if you haven’t already subjected yourself to it. Why haven’t I dropped it? Because it isn’t boring me it’s just annoying me. I can put up with mess so long as it is interesting and Big Order does manage to come up with new and fascinating bizareness each week.