Days Episode 21

Review:

The game from last week continues and we see both sides make some mistakes and we also get to see the team’s first years struggle to deal with the pressure of suddenly being forced into a high pressure game. At the centre though is Tsukamoto who has finally genuinely found a love of the game and not just of being included as part of the team. For once we see him playing with a smile on his face and not crumbling under the pressure or fear of letting the team down. This is a fantastic step forward for his character and it was great fun to watch. I also liked the commentary from the characters who’ve been sidelined in this match. All and all, a fun episode in this series but nothing really amazing. Of course ending the episode with a ball flying toward the goal but not knowing if it lands or not is just kind of annoying. We’re 21 episodes in, we don’t need bait to come back next week.

Days is available on Crunchyroll.

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Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 9

Review:

Finally a second witch shows up and finally Izetta gets an actual taste of defeat. It would be nice if this meant that some of her naiveté will now wear off and she will actually deal with the reality of being pretty much the only line of defence for a country at war. Of course, only next episode will tell us what they will actually do with this development. My only complaint about this episode is the white witch and the fact that she’s clearly a psycho. We get it, you were betrayed and the legend they tell has been given a nice happy ending that didn’t exist. However, introducing a second witch who just wants to burn down the kingdom Izetta wants to save isn’t exactly the most innovative or interesting thing they could have done and possibly it would be nice to see a bit more to this new character’s personality than revenge against the descendants of people who did her wrong.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.

Bloodivores Episode 9

Review:

“If you’re not with me than you’re against me.” Okay, not exactly what orange haired guy who is overly strong said, but close enough to capture the sentiment because why not have two separate factions of inmates fighting it out for no reason while being trapped in a possible parallel dimension with exploding collars while being hunted by monsters? Why not?

Right, reviewing this episode. Stuff happened. Mi Liu and shirtless guy caught up with the other group of prisoners, exchanged words with ex-childhood friend who is certainly going to go back to their group at some point (or die pointlessly, either way) and then met with the leader of said group. After a bit of pleasantries were exchanged such as Mi Liu asking for weapons, orange haired guy asked Mi Liu to join him which Mi Liu refused without actually knowing what orange haired guy is up to (though clearly he’s shady so maybe that was the right choice). This results in a quick and fairly pointless action sequence which then shows us Mi Liu is still pretty quick at running away.

All of that is fine enough. Pacing and delivery need work and it would help if I cared about some of these characters but it works. The real issues come with the other side of the story where Anji is witnessing Lee Shin’s power awakening. Just making wind whirls doesn’t equal cool action sequence and how would you even use a sword that pushed its way out of your shoulder? The idea was fine once again but the delivery dreadful stealing any tension from the scene.

Bloodivores is available on Crunchyroll.

Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters that are not all there.

Tuesday's Top 5

Okay, anime is full of zany, quirky characters but every now and then we come across a character who you just have to wonder what is going on inside their head (if anything). There characters can be fun and amusing or they can be completely annoying but they usually leave a fairly lasting impression. For the most part I’ve tried to avoid genuinely insane characters (or characters that have a mental illness where it is being treated seriously) or master mind villains because they fall into a category all of their own. That said, we’ve got some explosive tempers, some extreme flamboyance, and some really weird motivations from some of these characters.

List updated January 2019.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable Mention: The Colourless King from K (Previously number 5).

Honourable Mention: Schokolade from Jormungand (Previously number 4)

Number 5: Karuta Roromiya from Inu X Boku SS (Previously number 3)

Karuta is another food obsessed girl and she is one spacey character. It is difficult to know what she is thinking but as Watanuki points out, she always knows what she is doing even if the rest of us don’t get it. Besides, how can we hate someone who helps small animals, likes to eat, and can transform into a giant skeleton if push comes to shove?

Number 4: Prince Mare from Dame X Pri

I really enjoyed meeting Prince Mare in DamePri. Outside of Ani he was definitely the best part of the show. A reclusive shut in who would speak only through his puppet it took Ani a great deal of effort to get Mare out of his room and even then he would find humorous ways to avoid sunlight, such as stuffing himself in a barrel or a chest. Still, when it came to pursuing his hobbies Mare was second to none. Not to mention his cynical observations of the other princes.

Number 3: Ladd Russo from Baccano (Previously number 2)

While he is definitely a villain he isn’t a crazy evil genius. Ladd is just… obsessed with violence? An egomaniac? Completely disconnected from reality? It’s hard to know but a character who chooses to wear white in order to show the blood better definitely deserves a mention as someone who isn’t all there. And Ladd is such an upbeat murderer. That said, other than hunting the thrill of violence and death, his motives remain totally in the dark as does any reason for his warped personality. I wasn’t even a little upset when he was beaten and had to abandon the train though his survival was a little regrettable.

Number 2: Bakugou from My Hero Academia

Bakugou is brilliant, driven, and incredibly talented, but the kid who wants to be a hero comes up with a hero name of Lord Explosion Murder so you have to question some of his common sense. Whether you are friend or foe, you have to be wary of Bakugou’s incredible temper as he is seeking a justice all of his own and while we might be starting to see him grow a little, explosions still follow in Bakugou’s wake (I feel kind of bad for his parents when he was growing up because wow he takes temper tantrum to a whole new level).

Number 1: Grell Sutcliff from Black Butler

There’s not a lot you can really say about Grell except that he knows exactly who he is and he isn’t about to change. This is one flamboyant character who enjoys a good fight as much as a good flirt (though in Sebastian’s case Grell would love to go beyond flirting). Grell’s favourite colour is red and he personifies the fiery and diverse nature of this colour from passion through to violence. That said, we know next to nothing about Grell’s real feelings beneath the antics and we know next to nothing about how Grell came to be how he is. This character marches to the beat of their own drum and it works.

So that’s the list this week. Who would you have put on yours?

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Kiss Him, Not Me Episode 8

Review:

Just when I think I’m over the basic faults in Kiss Him, Not Me’s premise we get an episode like this. Nanashima essentially assaults Kae because he has ‘a fever’ and then apologizes profusely but Kae is a little bit traumatized (from both the kiss and the realisation she couldn’t stop him from holding her down). And then at the end he ‘saves’ her by beating up some overzealous fans and she decides that boys can be scary but very dependable. Um, did I miss something there? What sort of rationalisation is that?

Once again,  I know that depicting realistic relationships is not actually the job of a story but could we at least not reinforce messages that allow culturally entrenched domestic abuse to be perpetuated. That would be nice.

Now, if I remove my personal distaste for this overall message this week, the episode is neither better nor worse than any other. That said, one more episode like this and I will finally toss this show into the dropped pile. There’s only so much air-headed girl getting pursued by guys who actually don’t know her as a person or particularly care about the person I can take and if we’re going to start excusing assault I think I’m going to have to pull the plug.

Kiss Him, Not Me is available on Crunchyroll.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 8

Review:

This was a really good episode and it felt like we hit a turning point for the series as we head toward the end. That said, I am about to reveal some critical information from the episode so if you haven’t watched it yet you may want to go do that first.

Really, really impressed with the truth revealed about the Bookmaker. It was one idea I’d considered but I’d half dismissed it and just assumed he would either be another player in the game or really just a sadist who genuinely enjoyed messing with others. The reality that he was a LRIG and is now in a human body gives his characterisation so much more reason as well as his genuine disdain for people. This part of the episode was by far the best though I think Chinatsu’s decision not to hand in Shou’s contract was also kind of interesting as it gave her a small amount of redeemability (probably not an actual word really) as a character. The weakest part of the episode was the declaration that Suzuko is stronger or changed which came through Hanna and then Hanna’s LRIG directly stating it. We don’t actually see much of a difference in Suzuko herself. Definitely a case of telling over showing so I kind of hope next week gives Suzuko some screen time so she can in fact reinforce the fact that she’s come somewhere as a character.

All and all, WIXOSS has continued to be an entertaining trip and as long as it all comes together this could be a fairly strong series.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS is available on Crunchyroll.

Bungo Stray Dogs Episode 21

Review:

Things picked up again this week (no whale and no Atsushi really helped) and we saw an attempt at making an alliance with the Port Mafia by the Agency. What I like about this is that both sides know they are going to cooperate because they are kind of just used to one another and neither of them like the interlopers, but they also know they don’t want to admit that so are posturing like crazy. However, posturing aside, Chuuya shows up just as Dazai knew he would when Dazai walked into the Guild’s trap to retrieve Q (who seems to mysteriously disappear during the battle at the end of this episode but whatever). Chuuya is awesome in this week’s fight and we see exactly why Chuuya and Dazai worked as partners. It’s over the top and crazy but they may have finally actually killed someone (who knows, he may turn out to just be injured like everyone else yet). It’s a fun episode and has the right mix of comedy and drama to keep you engaged and the chemistry between Chuuya and Dazai as they banter and then team up to battle is fantastic to watch.

Also, I love how Dazai just casually slips this comment to Kunikida during the opening sequence.

Bungo21.JPG

Bungo Stray Dogs is available on Crunchyroll.