Inquiring Minds Want To Know #11

A reminder, that if you would like to be involved, just answer the very simple survey here and I’ll consider your question for inclusion in this series of posts. You don’t have to answer the second question but if you leave your name and link I will link to your blog when I respond.

Question: If you were to go on an adventure which involves fighting monsters in order to save someone important to you or to seek some great treasures, who are the anime characters who you’d love to accompany you and why? Also, what kind of ability do you want to have to defeat monsters?From Mei.

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If there was no limit on characters I think I would just start to list off every character who ever ended up overpowered in an anime (plus a few healers) and go with that as an answer. However, I’m going to set myself some limitations on this one just to keep it interesting.  So my party can have 5 people in it and I’m one of them (I just realised I’m going to be the dead-weight member in the party that everyone hates).

First, Kirito. No doubt. If I’m fighting monsters I want Kirito post Aincrad arc when he can dual wield and has masses of healthy and I’m just going to let him have at most the monsters. However, he’s going to need a magic user backing him up and I’m going to nominate Gray from Fairy Tail because Ice Magic equals awesome and Gray is just cool.

Now because both of these guys are going to get themselves into trouble at some point, I’m also going to grab Orihime, from Bleach, given she can essentially reject any harm that might befall them and repair them back to as good as new.

Now for some long range fire power I’m calling on Tigre from Lord Marksman and Vanadis and that essentially rounds out the party leaving just me feeling mostly useless until I bring in my ability.

If I was going to really break this adventure I’d just ask to be able to stop time for everyone except the party and basically just cut all the enemies down but if this were a game that wouldn’t be much fun. So instead I’m going with limited predictive abilities so that I know when a monster is coming and what we’ll be up against so that we at least go into battle prepared.

To be honest though, anyone stuck with real me in their party would be kind of out of luck. Unless I can put the monsters to sleep by reading to them I’m pretty sure they are going to kill me.

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Okay, so who is in your party and what ability to you want on your adventure?


Thanks for reading.

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.

 

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Acchi Kocchi Series Review: Quirky Skit Format Anime With Just The Right Amount Of Weird

Overview: In this anime, Tsumiki is in love with her friend Io, however confession is impossible for her. Instead she’ll go about her school life with her friends always hopelessly watching Io and waiting for a moment that has probably passed her by a million times. Yet her friends will ensure you never get bored because there is always something happening when this group get together.

Review:

I regularly point out that I’m not the biggest fan of comedy, I find slice of life routinely boring, and shows that focus on short skit formats where they set up and execute a punchline before moving on don’t do much for me. Well, this is the anime that can turn all of that over and can keep me watching despite checking everyone of those boxes.

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The story itself is pretty non-existent. You have your usual shy girl (usually depicted with cat characteristics) who has desperate crush on clueless guy (though how clueless he might be seems to be a matter of question and opinion given he very much seems to enjoy making her blush sometimes) and the usual gathering of friends who at times support and at other times hinder a potential relationship. The series covers about a year or so of their school life so we get the usual Valentine’s Day, White Day, snow fight, Christmas, etc episodes and while they all have their own weird little twist there’s nothing real of note in that particular line up. Unless you happen to think putting frog meat in chocolate for Valentine’s Day is noteworthy, in which case you and Mayoi are going to get on very well.

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And that’s where this series works. It does set up everything exactly as you’d expect it to be, but the weird twists it puts on each little segment and its commitment to them just kind of work. They almost never push so far that it feels like they are just frantically clamouring for your attention (the bear costume episode might have been pushing it) but instead give each character a particular trait or tic that they play true in the moment and manage to execute with decent timing to make a truly enjoyable watching experience.

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It does get a little repetitive at times and I will admit, I almost never binge this anime. This is a watch an episode while waiting for something to happen or while deciding what I actually want to do kind of show. It gives me a good laugh, I find the characters kind of adorable, and ultimately as long as the trope of girls spraying blood out of their nose every time Io says something ridiculously charming doesn’t make you want to bang your head against the wall, there is little to object to (okay, there’s a bit to object to but the show isn’t trying to make you take it seriously anyway so there’s no real point).

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Io and Tsumiki are fantastic and definitely my favourite part of the show. Io has featured on a couple of my top 5 character lists previously and despite having fairly few lines when compared to other characters he makes his presence felt. Mayoi brings in a lot of energy and her mad scientist/inventor persona works well. Sakaki is a great support character to Io and also bounces well off of Mayoi. If there is any weak link in the main cast it would be Hime who as the shy girl character often feels like she’s just a substitute for Tsumiki and doesn’t add a lot more to the cast.

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There’s not a lot more to say. Watch this if you want to see how crazy students can make a game of tag while inside a school. Watch it if you have ever imagined having a truly epic snow ball fight. Just watch it if you want to see the single most impressive pen spinning ever to present itself in an anime. There are a lot of great individual moments in a show that as a whole isn’t that impressive and yet can be a great deal of fun.

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As always, if you’ve seen the anime, I’d love to know your thoughts so please leave me a comment.


Thanks for reading.

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.

 

Winter 2018 Week 12

And this is more or less the final week. There are a few anime still to wrap up and I will do my best and worst of the season post sometime next week, but this is the last overview for this season. I am looking to change the format of these next season though I’m still thinking through a few ideas. I’m also going to continue trying to add audio but with travel this week it wasn’t going to happen. I hope everyone has had fun following this season with me and hopefully you will join me for my reviews of Spring 2018.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 42)

Well it isn’t going to move now. This show has been amazing and while we still have two episodes t o go everything about it has been pure joy.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 11)

The fun times continue as this anime continues to brings us fun characters in amongst plenty of violence. While the tone won’t suit everyone, I’m pretty thrilled with how this episode played out.

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Usually Entertaining

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Finished)

Rushed to the ending, though that isn’t to say it wasn’t a reasonably satisfying conclusion to Elias and Chise’s story. The other characters weren’t so lucky, but still, this one was a pretty solid effort from start to finish.

Spiritpact Season 2 (Episode 5)

Still no idea why this isn’t lining up with the other seasons. According to MAL it is 12 episodes so I guess that is taking us mid-way through the next season. Still, this second season has so far been a step up in quality and the story is quite good at this point so worth checking out if you tried season 1 but were wary of trying a second round of it. I will be continuing this until whenever it finishes.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 12)

This week we had the obvious reveal finally revealed and another card capture. I am enjoying this reboot but it isn’t quite capturing the magic of days gone by. I will be continuing this into the next season.

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Okay, I Guess

DARLING in the FRANXX (Episode 11 – reviewed for patrons)

Again this anime has managed to surprise by bringing us a premise that on paper looks pretty bad but it manages to pull it off with some surprisingly interesting character notes. Obviously this show is continuing on to the new season so final thoughts on this one will have to wait.

DamePri Anime Caravan (Finished)

A suitably over the top and silly yet still dramatic ending to this show. While not exactly a masterpiece, it definitely served its purpose of entertainment and I even had a few smiles and laughs along the way.

How to Keep A Mummy (Finished)

Another super cute episode of this anime for episode 11, setting-up for the final round of  this adorableness. Episode 12 was also pretty well done and this series, while not brilliant by any means, was definitely one of the most consistent this season with only one or two episodes that really felt a little slow (episode 12 review out tomorrow).

School Babysitters (Finished)

Cute until the end and returning to a focus on Ryuuichi and Kotaro for the final episode did give it a feeling of finality. Not the most amazing thing, but still pretty watchable.

Kokkoku (Finished)

This one ended up incredibly disappointing in the end. So much potential just never achieved.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 11)

I still haven’t watched the recap episode but I will be continuing this into the next season.

Sanrio Boys (Finished)

This one limped to the finish line and I’m kind of just glad it is done.

Junji Ito Collection (Finished)

Despite pre-season excitement, this one mostly just kind of limped along this season. I don’t regret watching it but I’m not exactly rushing to recommend it either.

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They Made This?

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Finished)

Episodes 11 and 12 were much the same in terms of positives and complaints for this series. Episode 12 review will be out tomorrow.

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Tried and Dropped (or on hold)

  • Maerchen Maedchen (Episode 3)
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (Episode 2)
  • A Place Further Than The Universe (Episode 1)
  • Hakumei and Mikochi (Episode 1)
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko (Episode 2)
  • Laid-Back Camp (Episode 1)
  • Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Episode 1)
  • Citrus (Episode 1)
  • Mitsuboshi Colors (Episode 1)
  • Slow Start (Episode 1)
  • The Ryou’s Work is Never Done (Episode 1)
  • Working Buddies! (Episode 1)
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San (Episode 1)
  • Mitchiri Neko (Episode 1)
  • Pop Team Epic (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

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.

 

The Best and Worst Anime of Winter 2018 – Seriously Last Chance To Vote

This is the final call for votes as the poll will close tomorrow. You can choose up to three series in both the best of and worst of the season polls.

Remember, the three best shows (as voted by the readers) from each season will be used at the end of the year in the vote for best of the year (just so I don’t have to try to list every single anime in the final poll).

Here’s your chance to vote for the Best Anime of Winter 2018!

Remember, this is not for technical best animation or any other objective measure. It is just the show (or shows) you liked the most and had the most fun watching this season. So choose up to three and vote away and then remember to share.

Now for the Worst Anime of Winter 2018!

In case you are new to one of these polls, I ask that you don’t just vote for something because you hated episode 1. This is the worst show you actually sat through and watched this season. The bottom of your watch list. So the show that wins won’t be the actual worst show, it will be a show good enough to string you along, but not actually ever good to watch.

So far 155 votes is the best count for one of these polls and that was the Best of 2017. I’d love to get a larger sample size so that these polls become more reflective of the community even though I know not all of my readers are watching currently streaming anime. Please vote and then share this post. The more the merrier.


Thanks for reading.

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.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

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.

 

Friday’s Feature: What Makes Something ‘Near Great’

As a self-proclaimed anime fan, it is sometimes hard to step back from something and really think about it. Aiming for some form of objectivity in reviews, which is never overly objective, compared with simply letting out my inner fan-girl and letting her scream “I love you anime” at the top of her lungs. Anyone who might know me in real life might scoff at the thought of me doing that, but I swear that inner fan-girl exists and sometimes she’s a real pain as she buzzes through my brain like a bee on a sugar high.

Small spoiler warning for The Ancient Magus’ Bride final episode in the images.

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And even then, some of you who have simply read my reviews will think, “Hang on a minute, weren’t you the one who gave such-and-such a scathing review or criticised so-and-so for some plot development?” And the answer would definitely be, yes. Because while that inner fan-girl exists and I sometimes love her exuberance, energy and optimism, the reality is that in any particular season of anime there are only so many good shows.

Once you eliminate all of the ones that are outside of your genre or personal preference, sometimes you are lucky to find one or two fairly solid shows within a single season. That doesn’t mean they are the only ones I like. Fan-girl me is happily laughing still at King’s Game and taking somewhat overly excited pleasure in how far Spiritpact has come since its abysmal first episode. If I only found one or two shows I liked, I’d hardly call myself a fan.

But inner fan-girl isn’t alone bouncing around inside my brain. She’s sharing the stage with a lot of different views and one of those is the cynic inside me who waits eagerly to pounce on anything fun and find the flaw (it doesn’t help that some of those flaws are even apparent to the fan-girl). This is the me that waits for things that are rising to fall, and was somewhat smugly satisfied with how KADO ended if only because it meant that inner fan-girl had to take a time out having been bitterly disappointed.

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Naturally I am speaking metaphorically and hopefully I don’t actually have multiple personalities streaming around my head for real (it’s crowded enough).

However, this post is about the ‘near great’ in anime and what I want to look at are two shows that have aired either entirely or partially during the Winter 2018 season that both stopped short of reaching greatness (despite the inner fan-girl willing them to be truly amazing). I enjoyed both in different ways and inner fan-girl was incredibly happy watching them. She waited eagerly for the episode to start and basked in the characters and the plot. For one of those shows she also basked in the gorgeous visuals while in the other she tolerated the odd lighting choices but found other things to enjoy. And yet, as the season comes to an end, and I start thinking about recommendations and what to say about these shows, the cynic in me strikes.

So why aren’t they great?

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I suppose you could ask that question of almost anything with just as much honest expectation of gaining an answer. “Why aren’t you better?” “Why don’t you match my ideals of what you should be?” “How could you fail there?”

For me though each show has one particular issue that is a sticking point that I cannot overlook. While everything will have its flaws, these are genuine concerns that, regardless of how great some aspects of the shows might be, they will never end up on my list of all time favourites even though they will end up on my list for favourite of the season.

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The Ancient Magus’ Bride

If you have followed Weekend Otaku and my collaboration series ‘200 Word Anime‘ you will know that for awhile now I’ve had some misgivings about The Ancient Magus Bride. Mostly petty nit-pickings of a show that is gorgeous to watch, has some excellent music, beautifully depicted magic and folk-lore and a reasonably compelling central couple. Okay, pacing is an issue and the whole cliff-hanger ending without really using it well in the next episode are things that have been minor irritations, but ultimately they aren’t deal breakers with this show and really come down to my own personal tastes.

No, what seals The Ancient Magus’ Bride in my mind as a show that isn’t going to achieve greatness no matter how much I wished it would is how the support cast are ultimately dealt with. That is to say, how they are not dealt with. In the race to bring events to their conclusion, characters are either entirely forgotten or become largely inconsequential. While the main couple get a worthy resolution, other characters still don’t even have a genuine purpose that has been explained. And one of those is a fairly important antagonist during the final episode and I literally have no idea what he actually wants from the confrontation.

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Any minor flaws I was over looking or putting down to taste paled in comparison with an ending that tripped over itself to get the main characters to their moment. Realistically, the show needed to move faster earlier on or needed to cull some of the characters when it adapted itself from manga to anime (assigning certain events to different characters to make it work). However, then purists would have accused it of butchering the source material and so this was a no-win situation. Ultimately people are still comparing the anime unfavourably against its source and people who never read the source just found the end a little bemusing even as it maintained the gorgeous quality we had come to expect from the series.

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Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

As we move on, I will note this is not an exceptional show by any means. Yet it sits higher on my watch list than the Ancient Magus’ Bride and is one I’ve talked about a lot. The reason for that is I went in expecting nothing and got something wholly enjoyable. Fan-girl me went crazy for it and episode 4 which tied events of the first arc together beautifully really cemented this as one of my favourite shows of the season. But favourite of the season doesn’t mean I am blind to its flaws and while I will still most definitely recommend this anime as being worth checking out, to say it is one of the great anime of the year would probably be a lie.

Yet it isn’t the somewhat questionable visuals, the slight repetitiveness to the sound-track (awesome music, but repetitive), or even the heavy subject matter of hitmen and assassins being given a light comedic treatment that really stops this show from tipping into the realm of great. Realistically, it is the lack of tension and sense of danger this show has inflicted upon itself.

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I know, a show about hitmen and assassins lacks tension or danger? How did that happen?

Well, the anime never, and I do mean never, actually allows the main characters to actually be seriously injured, maimed or killed. No matter what happens to them or whether they are a more peripheral main character, or even if they deserve it. No, our happy hitmen will be back playing baseball in an episode or two even after being stabbed in the gut, so don’t stress or worry. Seriously. About anyone. Everyone will be fine. At least everyone you care about because the villains are totally forgettable and throw-away and treated as such (I’m hoping for a final episode blood bath but I doubt I’ll get it).

It makes for a fun viewing experience, provided the subject matter doesn’t rub you the wrong way, but it doesn’t make for particularly deep or something that is going to have a long lasting impact.

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Where to now?

The thing is, not every anime has to be great. While the great ones will awe you, blow you away, and eventually sit upon your shelf in DVD form and probably in other merchandise as well, sometimes it is enough that you have fun with what you are watching. The Near Great are the anime that keep me entertained and give me something positive to say each week. They are the anime I’ll chat about with friends and probably remember for a couple of seasons after they are done. They are anime I might even get the DVD of, once it comes down in price.  The Near Great are what keep me watching anime season after season as there are many of these and they come in many forms.

So I’ll ask you now, what are the Near Great anime you’ve been watching recently?


Thanks for reading.

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.

 

DamePri Anime Caravan Episode 12: Showdown Between Inaco and Milidonia

At last we reach the final episode of this bit of silliness in anime form, and I must admit I haven’t much minded the journey to this final episode despite this being outside of my usual kind of fare. Narek and Ane are racing to Inaco to try to stop Narek’s father, the King of Milidonia from invading with his army though they don’t have much of a plan save appealing to his sense of reason that seems somewhat limited. This leaves Ruze and Mare out for a lot of the episode but they get to make a dramatic return later in the episode in case you really can’t have an episode without the pair.

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Pretty much every character and reoccurring joke get’s jammed into this episode that barely lets up for a breath of air and the end result feels a little rushed but at the same time kind of satisfying. It is pleasing to see Narek has grown even if deep down he’s still a narcissist and the other characters have all grown in small ways even while remaining true to their type.

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And for those who really want to see Narek’s portrait diced, this episode will deliver, though don’t ask for the logic behind why the portrait is even on the battlefield because that is unlikely to make sense. I’ll get to a full review of this shortly, but I must say I’m oddly pleased by it.

Previous Review:


Thanks for reading.

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.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

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.

 

Kokkoku Episode 12: Happily Ever After?

We’ve reached the end and if you just take the end credits at face value the family have all reconciled and gotten over their pettiness that was plaguing them prior to their stint in stasis. Though how that transformation came about, I don’t know given they all still seemed much the same as they were forcibly removed from stasis. And Juri isn’t apparently mentally scarred by her longer stay in isolation.

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I wouldn’t mind the notion that the family did transform through these events, if we had actually been witness to a transformation. But the brother remained kind of a slacker right until he started becoming a Herald. Takafumi was an opportunist and incredibly poor decision maker. The grandfather just kind of dithered about without any real authority or purpose. And yet, they are all back in the real world and happy.

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Though worse than the magical healing power of an adventure (even though it isn’t really justified) is the deus ex machina ending they pull out for Juri to escape stasis. The argument that this is foreshadowed in episode 1 isn’t a particularly strong argument given it still amounts to clicking her heels together at getting a wish.

Ultimately this show seems to have not really delivered on anything that it potentially could have, though I’ll save the rest of that for the full review.

Previous Review:


Thanks for reading.

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.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

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.

 

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 5: We Always Knew Tanmoku’s Past Was Bleak

Keika spends this episode floating around in Tanmoku Ki’s memories and he has growing suspicions about Shinryu and what he is up to. Still, the body guard worming his way into a young and isolated boys heart is somewhat less of a problem than the way the family themselves treat Tanmoku and you have to wonder what they were trying to accomplish by isolating him in such a way in the first place.

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Ultimately that is neither here nor there as it is clear that present day Tanmoku isn’t really interested in having Keika see his past as his nightmares are seem to be actively repelling him from getting any closer to him.

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I’m kind of having an issue with everyone around Tanmoku being seen as greedy or insane. While in a large, wealthy family you would expect there would be a few bad apples but the entire clan are really just repellent at times. That said, I am enjoying getting more of a back story on Tanmoku and I’m looking forward to how this particular part of the story resolves.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

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.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

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.

 

School Babysitters Episode 12: Let’s All Believe In Santa

Finally, this adorableness has come to an end and while I’ll leave the question of whether there was ever any substance other than the power of cute kids in the anime to the full series review, episode 12 kind of had a good crack at reminding us about some of the solids this series has offered us. Specifically, the focus turned back to Ryuuichi and Kotaro’s relationship and their dealing with their life without parents.

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However, as much as this episode hit many of the right notes, a few things continued to undermine any attempt at serious drama. While there are certainly some reasonable issues raised, everything ends on such a saccharine note it is hard to take seriously. Or maybe that is just me and my general cynicism coming out.

Babysitter12c

Still, if you made it this far, this final episode is certainly worth watching and I’ll do a more in depth look at the series soon.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

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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So I’m a Spider, So What Volume 1 Light Novel Review: Game Mechanics Go Wild

Overview:

A classroom explodes in Japan and next thing our protagonist knows they are hatching as a spider in another world. Good thing for levelling up.

Review:

I’ll admit that wasn’t much of an overview, but to be honest, it probably didn’t need to be. The story presented in volume 1 of this series is that straight forward and more importantly it is a concept rather than a story. From beginning to end, this book is establishing its world and our character reacts accordingly to the various events that get thrown at them. But there is no grand quest or target here other than survival for another day. And while glimpses of other characters, also reincarnated classmates, suggest a much grander tale to unfold in future volumes, the plot in this one, judged on its own merit and without thinking about what might come later, is pretty lame.

It doesn’t help that we are once again trapped in a fantasy world that for some reason uses game based mechanics including menus, skills, levelling up, stamina bars and whatever else they chose to throw in. If we actually went through the book and removed all instances of discussing these things, observing them, or having announcements about achieving levels or targets, the book would be about half the size pretty much instantly. And while I’m not opposed to something being based on game mechanics, when it comes at the expense of story, or worse is used as the sole gimmick other than the protagonist being an arachnid, I really do have to throw a rock at it.

Yet, before you cast this one aside from any potential reading list I do have to note, that despite the plot, character, and gimmicky nature of the premise, this was actually fun to read. Okay, it didn’t do enough of anything and I finished the book feeling like maybe the introduction of a story was finished, and I really disliked the main character which is a shame because they narrate most of it, and yet the word fun still seems appropriate as a description of my reading experience.

So what did it do right?

From you normal point of view, very little. The narrative structure is barely present and really other than the character reeling from crisis to crisis with small moments of self-congratulations or loathing in between, there isn’t a lot going on. And yet, individually most of these moments are kind of fun. The spider learning to build a home, developing strategies for taking down prey, running from humans, fighting a snake, and even the final monkey fight (not that they are actually monkeys) were all pretty fun experiences.

There are also enough hints from the secondary story line with the Prince and the other reincarnated students that a larger story will eventually appear. However, this is one thing I don’t like about ongoing series when they don’t give you a narrative in itself that links to a larger story but simply give you a story fragment and expect that you’ll read on in order to be satisfied. While this certainly made me curious enough to read on, overall it makes it hard to recommend this first book because if you want to read a story, this doesn’t have one contained within.

That said, I do have to congratulated the writer on their pacing. We didn’t linger in any one part of the story for too long. Even the moments of self-loathing or healing that the spider underwent were moved through with sufficient pace that you caught the mood that was intended but didn’t feel like you were being dragged along by the writing. While a little more depth of character and tone may have been appreciated, I’m just glad at no point did I feel like nothing was going on and that I’d be better off closing the book and going elsewhere.

However, while pacing is nicely kept up, descriptions from start to finish are vague and perfunctory. Part of this is a byproduct of the gaming influence whereby the descriptions we get are the result of the spider’s appraisal skill and come out as a series of one word descriptors about species and status. The other issue is the narrator’s style and tone because a disengaged teenager does not make for the most observant or articulate of narrators and so vague comparisons are used and terrible names that the spider feels very smug about coining are used instead of decent descriptions of the monsters or settings. As a result, visualising anything that is going on becomes a bit of a chore outside of generic and vague because you are more getting a sketched outline of what is going on.

Right, I know it really sounds like this should be read and if you are after something that you might argue is a quality book, I’m guessing this isn’t going to be for you. But denying that this was entertaining and that, on reading the last pages with the inevitable cliff-hanger conclusion, I wanted to read the next book would be silly. I genuinely am interested in what this story does next and whether or not we will ever be told how the story of the previous hero’s death links to the classroom exploding in Japan and why these reincarnations have happened and why not all of the have ended up human. Basically, a mixed review all round and this is one that might entertain you or you might end up thinking is just a bit stupid. I guess you should judge by your reaction to the title. I kind of thought it sounded interesting and snarky and that was more or less what I got so I really can’t complain.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Thoughts on Anime.jpg

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.