Sanrio Boys Episode 8: He Wants To Sparkle Now

Review:

After the ending last week you would have thought that Kouta had experienced some kind of grand epiphany. Instead we realise he is swept up in emotion and wants to sparkle but hasn’t thought for a moment about how to achieve that. In the grand tradition of anime he starts by attempting to imitate those around him With fairly predictable results.

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That’s about the first ten minutes. He joins the soccer team briefly, falls asleep in the library, has his feet fall asleep at archery and fails completely at cooking. The thing is, he surely should have known that he wasn’t overly sporty after his previous show down with Yuu and the soccer ball and falling asleep in the library was just a little bit pathetic. If their goal was to make this character seem as completely hopeless as a two year old, mission successful. If it was to build any empathy for him, then I would have to declare this a mission failure.

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Finally though he remembers the parade and from that Yuu actually suggests they should put on a musical. So after all of that Kouta doesn’t even come up with the idea. You would think that the rest of the episode would be preparing for that but instead they decide the biggest issue will be the budget (no script or clue what they are doing but we’ll pretend they can estimate a budget based on nothing) and so they spend the summer doing part time jobs.

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At the end, we have money but still no clue what we are doing. But hey, rather than sit around in someone’s house with no idea, let’s go to the beach next episode and still have no idea.

Really, this show started out not as terrible as expected but is fast becoming a real chore to get through each week.


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Karandi James

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Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

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Girls’ Last Tour Series Review: Don’t Let The Moe Characters Fool You

Overview:

Chito and Yuuri are maybe the only two people left in the world and they are travelling around without much of a destination looking for supplies. Along the way, they reflect on a number of fairly big questions about the world and life.

Review:

There’s something very special about Girls’ Last Tour. It is really hard to put into words because basically if you told me I was about to watch a slice of life anime with two overly moe girls as the leads and there wouldn’t really be an overarching narrative or any other real characters I’d probably start backing away before bolting from the room. It sounds toxically boring and unappealing to me. Yet having started episode 1 of this show, after the first few minutes of initial mis-givings having seen the characters for the first time (I went in pretty blind), I found myself captivated by this charming duo, their antics, the world they were exploring and as the episodes progressed I realised that this anime packed a lot of depth into a very simple looking package.

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Girls’ Last Tour utilises its fairly simple setting, pleasant aesthetics, and adorable leads to delve into some pretty dark subject matter at times. The two leads regularly have opposing viewpoints or both lack understanding of an issue which leads to some really interesting exchanges and because of the choice of young and inexperienced characters the show is not interested in giving the audience an answer to anything but rather has the characters draw conclusions and leaves the audience to consider the validity of their underlying assumptions. Of course, an addictively cute opening and lighter moments scattered along the journey are welcomed as they provide a breath of fresh air preventing the story from getting bogged down under the weight of the themes it attempts to tackle.

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From a narrative point of view, this story doesn’t really have a beginning or an end. It doesn’t really need one either. While the final episode will give some information about how the girls began their journey, it isn’t necessary. They are travelling together and have been for some time when we encounter them in episode one. Their journey will continue on beyond episode 12. While we are with them, a momentary encounter between the audience and the girls much like their encounters with the few characters that do exist in the show beyond them, we see how their experiences affect them and their journey but there is no clear goal or end point in this story.

And really, what could there be?

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This story isn’t about the girls trying to track down some signal promising refuge from whatever disaster has befallen the world or about them trying to connect with other survivors. It isn’t about them trying to undo the damage or save the world from further deterioration. It is simply their day to day as they try to survive and while that could be as boring as watching grass grow the execution of this very simple idea is nothing short of brilliant.

The two girls, as the only characters of note (they do have two episodes where they intersect with other survivors but these pass quickly), do a remarkable job. Mostly that is because of the fantastic chemistry between them as well as the audiences’ ability to relate to both of these characters. We may not be a Chito or a Yuuri but we certainly know one or the other (or both) in our lives, and watching these two characters explore their world is mostly a pure joy.

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However, the darker undertones are what really sold this show to me. The world undeniably has gone through hell before we encounter these characters and we slowly get hints and clues as to what has occurred though never an exposition dump much to the shows’ credit. Over explaining is a trap that a lot of shows fall into and if you were trying to tell a story about saving the world you would definitely need more information. However, for the story this is trying to tell, we get more than enough and it is better because of the details we are able to fill in for ourselves.

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But it isn’t just the setting that has some darkness in it. Chito and Yuuri have grown up in this hostile environment and have been on their own for awhile. Their morals and attitudes at times present some interesting conundrums. Yuuri’s early explanation to Chito as to why she should carry a gun doesn’t seem all that hostile while viewing the episode and yet Yuuri’s words could have undermined a fragile trust between the pair and a falling out over food isn’t that unbelievable an outcome. As Yuuri is the only one armed of the pair, you have to wonder whether Chito is concerned about this threat a number of times during the series.

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Equally, Yuuri is often reckless whereas Chito freezes in situations where swift action is needed. Both characters could often have ended up in significant strife if left alone without the balance of the other.

Outside of this, we see their general lack of purpose and goals beyond feeding themselves. They see and compare their lives to a spiral staircase where they endlessly repeat the same actions. In later episodes, Yuuri’s reaction to an explosion is incredibly troubling and yet at the same time not so surprising.

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Contrasting these darker moments with the lighter moments such as Chito getting drunk and dancing, or the girls creating something akin to music through the use of tins and raindrops, and what you have is a show that moves you emotionally and knows how to leave a lasting impact.

All and all, this show was a fantastic surprise from the Autumn season and one I fully recommend trying. While the slow pace and the absence of a strong overall narrative may turn some away, there’s more than enough going on here to recommend it. Definitely one to check out if you missed it.


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Episode Reviews:


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Karandi James

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Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

200 Word Anime: The Ancient Magus’ Bride – Episode 20

Weekend Otaku and I share our thoughts on The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 20. We’re close to the end so how is this show going? Be sure to check out the full post.

Weekend Otaku

Chise saves the dragon at great personal cost to herself. Read on to see what Karandi and I thought of the episode and catch up on any you missed here.

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Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Episode 8: Who Doesn’t Love Books?

Review:

Well, coincidences keep stacking up as it turns out transfer student Akiho actually lives in Eriol’s old house. Is anyone in anyway surprised by this? About the only real shocker was that she isn’t the reason Syaoran has been so secretive since returning. That said, I think I like Akiho more now that I’ve seen her library – and no screen cap could do that justice, it was magical.

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While Syaoran and Sakura remain the cutest couple ever, I have to wonder if either one of them are making progress as characters at this stage of the season. Sakura underwent such a massive growth period during the original series it seems she’s kind of set now in her current mode. Syaoran has been too secretive to really be showing us any kind of growth or change. So with the two main characters kind of just going through the motions, it is a good thing they are still adorable and the captures remain every bit as compelling as they ever were.

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One final note though on this episode, I am hoping that Kaito wasn’t a one scene wonder and that he is coming back. If for no other reason than he was really rocking that outfit.

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Karandi James

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Characters with Green Hair

Today I am taking a look at the lovely green haired ladies of anime and I will admit this ended up being harder than expected.  While there was no doubt who was going to top my list, the other characters proved a little harder to split. Basically I was looking for interesting female characters where their green hair was a distinguishing part of their appearance.

I’d love to know some of your favourite green haired female characters. Next week I’ll tackle the guys but until then be sure to leave your picks in the comments below.

Note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to Sailor Neptune (Sailor Moon) and Akari (Chaika).

Number 5: Nanami Yasuri (Katanagatari)

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Nanami gets points for being the second creepiest character I put on this list. She’s a devoted sister but I’m pretty sure that her notion of raising or caring for her brother has definitely crossed a few lines. Admittedly, he is really strong and made stronger by her interference in his quest but Nanami is still one terrifying green haired girl. Her particular ability to essentially use any ability she has ever seen makes her fairly terrifying to almost all who encounter her and if it wasn’t for her weak body she’s be an unstoppable force of nature.


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Number 4: Tsuyu Asui (My Hero Academia)

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Now I am not the biggest froppy fan but even I have to admit that Tsuyu is one talented hero. If she wasn’t in the same class as the protagonist and his rivals she might even get to stand out occasionally. She’s level headed in a crisis, has a range of useful skills and is pretty determined. Throughout the second season she demonstrated numerous times that she has what it takes to be in the same class as the others and while I didn’t really appreciate her getting her own mission episode as it felt a lot like filler, even I had to admit it was very high quality filler and you could totally see this character carrying their own series.


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Number 3: Lenalee (D Gray Man)

No real surprise here given I’ve made it fairly clear that I love Lenalee as a character. She’s such an awesome exorcist and a great partner for Allan. Unfortunately she gets sidelined too often, but the fight over the ocean on the way to Japan just proved how incredibly tough she is and how far she will go to save others and win the fight. She also got her innocence to evolve to the crystal type and while Hallow severely underutilised her I’m kind of hoping if we get another follow up series (please) that we’ll see more of this amazing character on the screen.

Number 2: Mion/Shion Sonozaki (Higurashi)

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So who beat Nanami as the creepiest character on this list? Mion and Shion of course (and no, I’m not even going to try to split these two because depending on the time loop you are in either one of them could be crazy and it isn’t as though they don’t switch places making it even more confusing). Still, these two are fantastic characters. The older sister characters of the group and the children of gangsters, they come across as tough as nails but are surprisingly emotionally vulnerable. They both go through hell at various times but fortunately they learn from the experiences eventually, like the other characters, and finally find their happy ending.

Number 1: Nel (Bleach)

Whether in her child-form or fully grown, Nel was a fantastic character that Ichigo met when he invaded Hueco Mundo. As a former member of the Espada, she is one tough cookie but she’s got a grudge and Ichigo has a soft spot for little sister characters so the two of them bond fairly readily after meeting. One of my favourite Bleach characters ever, and rocking her green hair and matching shirt, Nel well and truly deserves the number one spot on this list.

And that’s my list done but I’d love to know your picks and remember to check in next week when I count down my top 5 male characters with green hair.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 7: About Time Someone Tried To Kill the Hacker

Review:

I’d been wondering how Enokida was still alive and kicking given he seems to take on more or less any job even if it means trouble for his friends. This episode starts a new arc that reveals some of his back story and also plunges us into yet another interesting caper. The only down side of this is that Lin and Banba took on a more supporting role this episode when I really wanted to see more of them.

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It isn’t a surprise that Lin and Banba kind of faded into the background for quite a bit of this episode given we’re establishing a new crew that seem to be the face of the main antagonists (though like everyone else in the show they are also working for someone), some new victims, random muscle, and of course Enokida’s father and servant. And these new faces are kind of fun, or at least have the potential to add something to the plot as we go forward.

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But probably the best point, outside of this show just being beautifully written, was that for the first time I kind of cared about Enokida. So far, he’s just kind of been there. Sometimes helping, sometimes being a bit of a jerk, but not really a character in his own right. This episode took some great strides in fixing that.

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So, another fun episode bringing us more mayhem in Hakata and I’m looking forward to this story continuing next week.

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Karandi James

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

Thoughts on Anime 2017 EBook Available In Three Locations

This is a repost for those who missed it.

Thoughts on Anime 2017 is now available in three locations for your convenience (still no Amazon, will look into for the next time I try this).

However, please remember the other way to get a copy of the book is to become a Patron. On request you will be sent a PDF copy of it as a thanks for your support.

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So how do you buy the book?

Firstly, there is the store on Lulu which is where it has been published.

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Secondly, there is the Apple iBookstore though I don’t actually have any apple products so I only get to see the preview page and not the store. Hopefully the link works, if not, the link to the iBookstore can actually be found on the Lulu product page under the image of the cover.

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Finally, the book has recently been added to Barnes&Noble.

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Thanks to those who have bought the book and supported the blog. Hopefully you enjoy the collection of reviews, features and top 5’s from 2017. However, I would genuinely love feedback on the book and my blog so please leave me a comment or send me a message via my contact page. Also Twitter, Facebook, Patreon or anywhere else that let’s you send me a message.

Record of Grancrest War Episode 8: People Show A Startling Lack of Reason Of Good Judgement

Review:

He loves her, she loves him, let’s pine away in our alliances and be miserable despite the fact that it won’t actually help anyone forevermore. I really do wonder what the purpose is of Marine and Alexis playing the tragic lovers separated by war or even why the war continues given literally no one seems to want it or has anything to gain by it at this point.

“They asked for peace.”

“Guess that means we have to attack.”

That seems to be the closes thing to a rationale anyone is operating on in this story.

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We do however get a gag inducing view of the romance between Alexis and Marine before their father’s were killed at the wedding. And certainly that does point to a conspiracy brewing somewhere in one of their alliances and yet there really doesn’t seem to be any practical reason why they couldn’t have gritted their teeth, had a sensible mourning period and then pursued the peace the father’s lost their lives trying to create by actually doing what they want to do and get married.

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Anyway, we then got to listen the the alliance babble at us about the justification for Theo’s war and then they elected a new leader which didn’t go as well as Alexis had planned so it seems for sure that bad things are going to ahppen and in the chaos Theo is going to rise up again. As to what Theo was doing this week… Not much. He was reduced to exposition boy and then they cut to another scene while he was filling the alliance in on stuff the audience already knew.

I’m guessing I’m not alone in saying that this show is quite frustrating at this point in time.

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Karandi James

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

Junji Ito Collection Episode 8: There Are No Words

Review:

Again two stories though this week I kind of watched both in more or less stunned silence. The first one because by the time you kind of really knew what the story was about it ended and the second one because it was just too weird. The audience sitting through all those deaths just pushed credibility too far. And neither story was particularly interesting.

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The biggest problem with the first story, like with so many others in this series, is a lack of development. We enter the story after it has already begun, we see a quick snap shot as the situation escalates, and then it ends, all before we’ve had a chance to care about anything that is going on. As weird as the concept might be it just doesn’t sink in.

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However, the circus story is perhaps the weakest so far in this series. While it is apparent the ring master is evil, the only way this is actually confirmed is through a plea by the girl to the guy she loves when she declares the ring master is a demon. Whether he is or not is never answered and answering that might have helped bridge the credibility gap as to why the audience hadn’t really reacted to the copious scenes of death.

This show continues to remain on my watch list but I’m not really expecting much from it any more so I wasn’t disappointed this week.

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Karandi James

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.