Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Characters with Blonde Hair

This was a seriously hard list to narrow down and even then I’m still torn over some of the decisions. The issue is unlike with red-heads and the blue-haired ladies, there are so many different types of blonde characters that it gets hard to decide who your favourite is. I did finally make a decision and unfortunately that mean some really excellent characters got the chop (as well as a lot of cliché ones). As always, feel free to tell me your favourites in the comments below.

And for patrons there is my lesser top 5 list. This week I just went with blonde girls who irritate me to no end.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to: Lucy (Fairy Tail), Serena (Sailor Moon), Annie (Attack on Titan) and Lizzy (Black Butler).

Number 5: Triela from Gunslinger Girl

Triela is my choice for being both tragic and incredibly amazing. ALl of the girls in Gunslinger Girl are tragic characters. Suffering sever injuries before being brought back more machine than girl and then being trained to be a killer. While Triela is the oldest of the girls, she also goes through a lot and she’s one of my favourite characters from the show as we see more of her involved in direct combat than some of the other characters. Determined and deadly, this blonde character means business.

Number 4: Amber from Darker Than Black

Amber is a bit of an enigma because she’s only really in flashbacks until the second half and even then she is in and out of the show. That said, I like her character. She plays everything very casually even while she’s probably the only character with the full picture of what is really going on. And she makes some really hard choices and pays the price for them. While I still feel she might have clued some of the other characters in a bit earlier, she has sound reasoning for her actions in the end and she seems to genuinely respect Hei’s final decision in the series. Amber, for taking on everyone and doing it with a smile, you have taken the fourth position on this list.

Number 3: Riza Hawkeye from Full Metal Alchemist

What’s not to love about Riza no matter which version of Full Metal Alchemist you are watching? She likes dogs, she’s the only one who can really deal with Colonel Mustang, she’s a crack shot, and she’s a hard worker. Add to that she’s also a voice of reason and logic and occasionally a motherly figure to the younger characters, and she’s just all kinds of amazing. If I ever do a best supporting character list, Riza is going to be on it.

Number 2: Utau Hoshina from Shugo Chara

She’s an idol with not one, but two guardian characters that take the form of an angel and a devil. Early on in the series, Utau works against our protagonists and only uses Iru (the devil guardian). Later on she accepts Eru (the angel) and she begins building herself up from scratch as an idol and a person. Other than her brother complex, Utau is a fascinating character and a good rival for Amu early in the series. She’s also pretty awesome as an idol even if she does use her powers for evil early on. As a character, Utau experiences the best growth and development in this series.

Number 1: Maka Albarn from Soul Eater

It had to be Maka. She’s one of my all time favourite characters and she’s just plain awesome. She hits the books, fights with a scythe, and is still a genuinely nice person who is able to make a real connection with Crona who is need of human contact. Unlike so many heroes, Maka isn’t just strong because she is. She’s actually probably the weakest in the group we follow, but she is an incredibly hard worker and very determined to succeed. Even Maka going crazy is highly entertaining.  Oh, and don’t make her mad when she’s carrying a book or you will get hit with the dread Maka chop.

And that’s my list this week. As I said at the start, feel free to add your own suggestions to the list in the comments below and let me know what you think of my selections.


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Chain Chronicle – The Light of Haecceitas Episode 8

Review:

There was a moment early in this episode where I realised they’d just thrown us into the middle of a battle and we didn’t know who was fighting or which side they were on. And then I realised that of course we knew who the bad guys are, they are all in black. This story is basic fantasy and they throw a million characters at us but other than our core group none of the others really serve any purpose other than momentary assistance, advice, death count, or needing to be rescued. As a result you can just kind of let the names roll past you and ignore them. It makes for light and amusing viewing but at the same time feels like a bit of a waste that this world isn’t fleshed out any more than it has been.

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Of course we spend quite a bit of time on Yuri this episode. He’s gone to the dark side fairly literally but Aram isn’t really in the mood to take that lying down. Enter a magic book and let’s finally see how Yuri got to where he is.

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Mostly I just felt sorry for this poor tree but that isn’t here or there. While it would be easy to say the world building and character development of this show is sloppy, this core group have really become interesting in the last few episodes and the story continues with enough momentum to entertain. The show has never tried to be anything particularly profound. It really is by the numbers fantasy but it does it reasonably well.

Chain Chronicle is available on Crunchyroll.


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Interviews with Monster Girls Episode 8

Review:

Really this episode is broken into three distinct set ups and none of them are particularly good or interesting but they aren’t particularly bad either. We have the Succubus and the Snow Woman bonding over gag manga (though snow girl doesn’t want to admit she likes it) and then the Succubus shares a story of when she was in middle school, which probably isn’t the kind of story a teacher should tell a story but it was funny. We have Hikari being bad at studying which they split into smaller segments throughout the episode and is pretty predictable. Then we have the competition to see which arm tastes better which in honesty was pretty pointless and the final joke where the girls gang up on Takahashi was pretty obvious. All and all, I could stop watching this and not care but it’s fairly far along in the season so I’ll probably stick it out at this point.

Interviews with Monster Girls is available on Crunchyroll.


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March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 19

Review:

March Comes in Like a Lion continues to be a slow yet quietly impressive character journey. Our focus is still on Shimada as he prepares for the upcoming tournament aided by a fairly conflicted Rei (I know, Rei being conflicted is at this point kind of a given). Still, we see some genuine interactions between Rei and Shimada and in the process learn more about both of them.

Last week I criticised some of the over the top visual metaphors in episode 18 and the clashing nature of them. This week returns to a more cohesive look and tone and the effect is far greater than the frantic images of last week.

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Really loving this series still.

March Comes in Like a Lion is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spiritpact Episode 8

Review:

I really enjoyed this episode and it feels like the story is going full speed now and the episode title was pretty cool (Turbulence with a Chance of Dilemma). That isn’t to say the show isn’t without its stumbles. Keika had one of his incredibly stupid moments early in the episode  (I guess these are supposed to be comedic) and that was followed by a mid-episode Sailor Moon style transformation sequence complete with shimmering ribbon effects.

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Actually, my real complaint with the episode comes from the master they go to visit. He delivers this line to Tanmoku:

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Seriously? Combat or equivalent exchange? You’ve never heard of an IOU? It seems like an arbitrary thing to hold to under the circumstances and an unnecessary way to add a little bit of extra tension later now that Tanmoku has reopened the previously magically sealed wound. Still, Spiritpact has proven to be highly entertaining after a fairly rough start.

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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In Case You Missed It

And we are plunging head first into another week. This week I’m very thankful anime exists as a way to forget about everything else for just a little bit of time. That said, here is this week’s round up of anime related posts from some very cool bloggers that I’ve come across during last week. If you have a post or know of one that needs some love (anime related or similar) please feel free to link in the comments. If it goes to spam I will approve it ASAP.

Shameless self-promotion: As you all know I started a patreon site for my blog and am looking for patrons to support the expansion of 100 Word Anime. Once again, I’d like to thank my patrons who are already supporting this site. There’s so much I’d love to try and do with this blog long term so I’d love it if you would support me on this journey.  End shameless self-promotion.

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The Only Shinyuu Site has a write up on La Corda D’oro: Blue Sky Review. As this was an interesting review and this is an anime I am unlikely to ever watch myself, I decided to point you over to this blog.

Shoujo Thoughts has a more personal post as they share their process in creating an avatar for their blog in a post appropriately titled Drawing Curly Anime Hair is Hard. I like posts like this where it feels we get to meet a bit of the person behind the blog  and its always fun watching someone try new things so go check out this post and some others on Shoujo Toughts’ blog.

Caffeinated Telescopes explains why they didn’t like Izetta giving us what they call a ‘cynical, analytical dissection‘. They raise some excellent points about the show and why it didn’t work but also acknowledge that the show did have quite a fan base while it was airing.

Jill from Jill’s Writing on Anime explains why Fukigen na Mononokean frustrated them. I have to pretty much agree with every point they make. There were so many great ideas hinted at throughout the series that it utterly just left hanging and provided no explanation about. Instead we focused on the most mundane issues the show could offer. Great post if you watched the series.

Lethargic Ramblings share their first impressions of Shinsekai Yori which really just reminded me of the first time I tried to watch it. And also made me want to watch it again because its been a fair while since I last watched the whole thing through.

I’ve got another write up from Kevin Pennyfeather on ACCA. Seriously, watching the show is fantastic but reading this write up each week just makes the experience more enjoyable (even if I usually have to go and rewatch the episode after reading it because it points out something I’ve missed or only been vaguely aware of). definitely check out this blog and if you haven’t watched ACCA yet, check it out.

Shoujo Thoughts gives us another Yuri On Ice post. This one is great as it really looks at the smaller indicators of Victor and Yuri’s relationship rather than debating whether or not that was a kiss. It is fantastic to see that even after nearly two months people are still finding new things to explore with this anime and the great posts just keep coming.

Arria on Fujinsei has completed her round up of posts from the January blog carnival and has announced dates for the March carnival. If you are an anime blogger and you haven’t checked out one of these carnivals, go and see the great posts that made the round up this time and make note of the dates in March. Its a great way to meet new bloggers and find some really excellent posts to read. Thanks Arria for hosting these.

Ryuji Tatsuya’s Anime Review has a list of anime without conclusions. This is a list that could pretty much be endless at this point as it is one of the things that drives me crazy and having watched pretty much everything on this list it just reminded me how frustrating it is when you are into a story and then the story doesn’t finish. It’s like someone just tore the last chapter out of your novel and tossed it away. Only in this case they didn’t even write it (unless you read the source material in some instances in which case its like asking someone to read a novel up to x point and then watch a movie to see the end).

Just as a side note; WordPress is doing this really fun thing where a large number of comments I make on other blogs are just going straight to spam. No explanation as to why other than a suggestion that using links in comments or foul langauge will get you flagged. I’m pretty certain neither of those conditions applies to the majority of my comments (or any of them), so if you come across a comment I’ve made in your spam, I’d really appreciate it if you would mark it as not spam. Thanks.

That’s it for this week.


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Blue Exorcist Episode 33

Review:

After week’s of slow pacing and lots of sitting around talking, all of the main groups are now running around the mountains in an effort to contain the impure king (who’s eyes are apparently parts of the heart that got cut in two – did they not think through whether they were eyes or not when they started this story?). Anyway, we get a touching father-son reunion (and of course, father isn’t already dead from blood loss and the demon that got eaten has also recovered because its a phoenix – no plot armour here).

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Other than that we’ve got Yukio who mid-fight saw some sort of weird light through the trees and went solo to investigate it rather than taking any assistance and now he’s seriously getting beaten down (physically and emotionally). I’m pretty certain  we’re about to see all the clunky foreshadowing and warnings Yukio has been given this season come to light and that might even be interesting. At least Yukio might develop a personality other than serious and brooding.

Blue Exorcist is available on AnimeLab.


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Poco’s Udon World Series Review

Overview:

Souta returns to his home town after living in Tokyo to organise his father’s house for sale. Once he arrives there, he finds a child in one of the pots used in his father’s Udon restaurant. After that, Souta finds himself caring for the strange child. I reviewed this anime in bulk (episodes 1 – 6) and then did individual episode reviews for the second half so if you are interested in those thoughts click here.

Review:

Poco’s Udon World is a strange little series and really shouldn’t have been all that appealing to me. It stars a tanuki that’s taken the form of a kid and is excessively cute and follows the daily life of Souta who is at a cross roads in his life. Yep, it’s a slice-of-life with just a tinsy, tiny bit of fantasy thrown in to make is a little bit quirky. From the pastel colour scheme, the severe lack of conflict in the story for at least 80% of the run time, to the overly heart warming finale, this really shouldn’t have drawn me in.

I won’t say that Poco’s Udon World does anything that similar slice-of-life shows haven’t because that would be a lie. And yet, I was kind of hooked on this.

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Poco is a very cute kid and once or twice nearly crosses my threshold of tolerance for cute kids but manages to rein it in. I think it’s the animal characteristics from time to time that kind of save him. He kind of reminds me of my cat only he can speak. Whichever way, if you like cute kids he’s a winner and if you don’t you might be able to stand him.

Souta on the other hand is a very generic thirty-something character. He’s kind of adrift in his life. He returned to his hometown for a brief stay and then lingered, and then grew attached. It isn’t that he’s failed in Tokyo and returned home in disgrace or that he’s forced to return. He has a job and a life waiting for him, but he’s just kind of waiting for something else and not even he knows what that is. While he is a reasonably likeable character he isn’t particularly memorable.

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With neither of the two main characters being amazing, why did I fall in love with this show? Because when you put the two together something genuinely magical happens. Whether it is Souta trying to be a parent or freaking out because Poco’s tail is showing, the two of these characters together just work and they bring out the best in each other. Which makes episodes 11 and 12 all the more adorable and just a little bit sad even while you’re kind of happy about it and that’s all I’m going to say about the ending because I don’t want to spoil it.

The support cast are all quite interesting. Souta’s sister  and childhood friend probably get the most screen time and again neither is particularly interesting on their own but together and interacting with Souta they really work. You can believe the family and friendship dynamics between them and you feel that they have genuine history rather than a backstory that we’ve been dumped with. Souta’s boss and co-workers also serve their purpose and are interesting enough for the few scenes they get. But it’s probably Souta’s ex-childhood crush who he becomes ‘mum friends’ with who gets the gold star for supporting character. Again, she isn’t particularly amazing by herself but she really holds up a lot scenes and she’s definitely an essential character for Souta as he goes on this emotional journey.

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Despite being a slice of life this seldom feels overly slow. Admittedly it isn’t moving at break neck speed and the characters do spend a lot of time sitting and eating or sitting and talking, but it doesn’t feel like nothing is happening. Every episode brings the characters a little bit closer to whatever it is they seem to be looking for.

All and all I would definitely recommend this anime as one to check out if you haven’t already. It’s got a lot of heart and delivers a fairly solid story. While it isn’t going to take the world by storm it is a quiet achiever that never over-reaches. And if your wondering why it is Poco’s Udon World I still don’t know. Yes, Souta’s father had an udon restaurant but that seems to be about as far as the connection goes unless I missed something.


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Hunter x Hunter Episodes 14 + 15

Review Episode 14:

Part of me is a little concerned about how little regard some of these characters have had for their surroundings. Small details like the last 24 numbers and who owns each one seem to have passed a few of our characters by. Given some of their feats of concentration and observation that seems like a major oversight.

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Anyway, to progress to the final stage of the exam Gon has to get 6 points. Admittedly, the easiest way to get 6 points is to collect your targets badge (given its worth 3 points and your own is 3 points) but was there ever an explanation that said that couldn’t just steal three other random badges. Given who Gon’s target is, that seems like the far safer course. Or maybe I just look for loop holes and they aren’t supposed to get the points that way. Anyway, not a huge amount happened here as we seemed to be transition from the previous challenge into the new one, but I look forward to the upcoming episodes.

Review Episode 15:

Should I feel bad that my plan was the same as Hisoka’s? I mean, he is not a great person and he plans on just taking three random tags. Anyway, blood sniffing butterflies? Really?

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I guess it saved us watching Gon walk around cluelessly for half an hour. Not that it mattered given once he found Hisoka he just kind of crept in the bushes for the rest of the episode. Fortunately, Leorio and Kurapika picked up a lot of the slack this episode.

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It was kind of satisfying to see Tonpa finally get crushed and the monkey guy had never left much of an impression so there was no issue there. Actually, I’m more thinking to what will happen next with Hisoka about to target Leorio and Kurapika.

Hunter x Hunter is available on Crunchyroll.


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Winter 2017 Week 7

From following Twitter, it definitely seems there’s a lot of mid-season dropping going on with people getting half-way through a show that kind of looked like it had potential but then failing to deliver. Even people who don’t normally drop mid-season are finding themselves making the choice to let something go. That said, there’s a lot of praise out there for some shows and most people have found something to celebrate from the Winter Anime season. For me, that’s ACCA and March Comes in Like a Lion. While these shows may not be my favourites ever with neither falling into a genre that I would normally claim to love, they are most definitely holding my interest and delivering some fairly solid storytelling.

Over on patreon, patrons will find my highlight of the week and my lesser top 5 list for the week. Everyone else can access reviews of the Scum’s Wish manga and Super Lovers season 2 episode reviews so be sure to check them out.

As always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows this season so please leave a comment below.

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Must Watch

  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 18)
  • ACCA (Episode 7)

Episode 18 of March Comes in Like a Lion wasn’t that great for me with some of its visuals, but the series as a whole remains pretty solid and, to be honest, I’m in love with the character journey at this point.

ACCA episode 7 continues to surprise, this time seemingly going for the straight forward approach. Refreshing after so much intrigue and while it feels like things have come together there’s still a lot of nagging questions.

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Usually Entertaining

  • Chain Chronicle (Episode 7)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Episode 43)
  • Blue Exorcist (Episode 33)
  • Tales of Zestiria the X Season 2 (Episode 7)
  • Spiritpact (Episode 7)

While I’m not going to call Chain Chronicle a must watch, it is definitely my favourite popcorn entertainment watch of the season. While ACCA and March make me think and listen to the dialogue a second time and flick through scenes looking for visual cues I may have missed, Chain Chronicle is just fun to sit back and watch unfold in all its typical fantasy tropes. No, I won’t make an argument that this is an amazing story, but it is exactly what I want most Sunday’s when I’m trying to switch off.

Any hope of Orphans reigniting some of season 1’s flair for a strong finish is pretty much killed at this point. Yes, we’ll probably get a great final battle but really, that was all that Fareed’s plan had to it? You would think after keeping us in the dark this long it would be a reveal of actual value.

Blue Exorcist now has us all in the middle of a fight and yet we still are having to endure lengthy conversations and dialogue that goes around in circles. Admittedly, there was definitely a sense of urgency this week which has been lacking so far, but this still feels like they are stretching a little material a very long way.

Tales of Zestiria is being put on notice that if it doesn’t start bringing something more to the table then I am going to drop this down to just okay. Season 2 has continually not been as entertaining as season 1, and this is definitely starting to kill a lot of my desire to continue with this story (and seriously, it’s a fantasy with dragons, I should love this and yet it just hasn’t been delivering anything this season of note).

Spiritpact thickens the plot and maybe Keika won’t be so useless after this episode (though I won’t hold my breath on that). This one is the surprisingly improved show of the season given the incredibly rough start it had.

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Okay, I Guess

  • elDLIVE (Episode 7)
  • Super Lovers (Episode 7)
  • Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 7)

elDLIVE gives us some great lines this week and a few really good moments. Then it kind of dissolves into a friends forever and hope wins kind of thing. That said, this show does keep building on what it has so if it gets enough episodes could definitely end up being something.

Super Lovers is being reviewed on my Patreon site (available to everyone).

Interviews with Monster Girls remains watchable and that is the highest level of recommendation this show can get off of me at this point. Even if it has a brilliant finish it is just too flat, too lame, or too dull too often that the few sparks of creative or interesting cannot compensate for it.

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They Made This

  • Hand Shakers (Episode 7)

Hand Shakers is really wanting to cement its position as worst anime of the year early on and its succeeding admirably. While a lot of people took one look at the visuals of this show and declared it dead in the water, those of us who have continued have found a whole slew of things completely dreadful about this show. Every single thing that could have been interesting or helped lift this show has been squandered and all we have at this point a selection of screenshots showing the many and creative ways we can jam the word mesh into a sentence. Still not dropping it but only sticking to it because I am stubborn.

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Tried and Dropped

  • Akiba’s Trip (Episode 6)
  • Fuuka (Episode 5)
  • Trickster (Episode 13)
  • Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)
  • Masamune-Kun’s Revenge (Episode 1)
  • Schoolgirl Strikers (Episode 1)
  • Seiren (Episode 1)
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 1)
  • Chaos;Child (Episode 1 – five minutes in)

Week 7 over. So far, what has surprised you this season?


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