Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Series Review: The Experiment Has Ended

I’d never read the source material before watching an anime before so Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody was something of an experiment to see if knowing what was going to happen would change my enjoyment of it. I can’t say that it did but that’s more because this anime probably would have bored me to tears either way. What did you think of it?

Review:

There’s very little for me to really say about this anime, which is kind of odd given I watched it through to the end and it wasn’t as though it was toxically terrible. That’s actually probably the worst thing about this show. It isn’t good or bad. It just kind of is. It is your typical game developer/designer/whatever wakes up inside game world kind of story and then just to make sure we aren’t worried about his safety he is transformed into a teenage version of himself with super stats. Of course he gains a harem of girls but being a gentlemen won’t do a thing with any of them, but he will slip off to a tavern if he gets the chance, and will definitely comment on the breast size of older women.

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However, that was the same as the source material and why it wasn’t great, it was enjoyable enough to read with some interesting descriptions of places and people. The anime on the other hand doesn’t get the benefit of the interesting descriptions and really just kind of drags the viewer along after Satou as he explores the new world. He also seems to gain levels and skills super fast, which again was the experience in the book but it didn’t feel as much like he was cheating his way through a story in the book for some reason even though the progress was much the same.

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The visuals aren’t great and a lot of the images end up being from Satou’s point of view with game menus dominating a large part of the screen and a weird filter over some shots. However, even when that isn’t the case, nothing is overly distinct visually. The town, the food, the scenery are all just kind of pseudo-medieval and while that was the case in the book, when you could imagine it yourself it looked a lot more interesting than this.

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The girls Satou rescues and befriends over the course of the series all have their good points and moments. The issue of course is the sheer number of them and they end up with overlapping personalities and roles within the group meaning they all become relatively inconsequential and interchangeable. You’d be forgiven for not being able to name any of them outside of Tama, Pochi and Arisa given the rest keep getting sidelined.

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As I said, not much to say about this. It wasn’t terrible. But it was probably the least interesting thing I watched this season. I really wanted more from it, but when you decide to follow events in a story as they are written rather than thinking about how to make them interesting to view on screen, this is more or less what you are going to end up with.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory Episode 3: Combining War and Battle with Teen Drama

Every now and then an anime episode delivers exactly what you wanted to see and you finish the episode perfectly happy with what you just watched. That was my feeling this week with Invisible Victory.

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While visually there are still some issues with this anime, I’m not going to worry about those in this review. They exist, they always have in this series, but as was the case over a decade ago, the characters carry this well and elevate the show from something that should be fairly ordinary to something that is truly great fun to watch. For 18 minutes we are caught up in the conflict on the island, and it isn’t resolved when we finally cut back to Sousuke and Chidori and the crisis in the city. Mao has ditched and is on the run, Kurz is ignoring instructions to withdraw and is using the last of his ammo to bring down yet more helicopters before they can land, and Tessa is hastening an evacuation knowing that it is only delaying the inevitable as the submarine isn’t ready to go.

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Unlike so many other shows with mechas, Full Metal Panic is one that has always given a very human element to the fights. While I do think killing of Speck after last week was probably pushing it a little, almost every part of this conflict worked. The ongoing need to plan, to think, to act desperately, and the deaths that occur all fit well within the context.

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And then we jump back to where we finished last week. While I feel putting the classmates in danger, again, is also a fairly cheap emotional ploy, I loved the exchange between Chidori and Sousuke as they both admit that the other scares them. This could have dragged on for episodes with Chidori being scared of Sousuke but not saying anything and Sousuke getting rattled and insecure, but instead they both just came out and said it. The end result was an emotionally charged ending that hit home and made me love this anime and the characters even more.

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How was episode 3 for you?

Linked Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori Episode 3: Looks Are Clearly Deceptive

I have certain expectations for a slice of life anime and Rokuhoudou is kind of crushing all of them as it delivers some fairly compelling, if very laid back, viewing. Your thoughts?

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This may very well end up being my surprise hit of the season the way it is going. While the blissful relaxation is continued, this episode really pushes the drama that has been kind of building underneath the beautiful food and cups of tea. The group are approached to take part in an event at a department store but right from the beginning it is clear that the guy who recruited them is up to something, though it doesn’t seem to be blatantly malicious. More like a cat playing with a toy before discarding it.

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The end result is some light drama in amongst some very great food shots and a general feeling of ease. I’m not bored while watching because in amongst the serving good food we have a building drama that seems to be furthering the traditional versus corporate argument that comes out in a lot of anime but it is all nicely balanced with no aspect really taking over other than the characters themselves.

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I still don’t recommend watching this anime while hungry.

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Karandi James

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In Case You Missed It

Last week was a really fantastic week as I celebrated the second anniversary of 100 Word Anime. It was a little early given the real anniversary is tomorrow, but I will not be online most of this week even though I have scheduled content. I will catch up on replying to comments at the end of the week so please let me know how you felt about the anime reviewed and I’ll hopefully catch up on reading blogs next weekend. As a result, I won’t have an In Case You Missed It post for next week but I’ll try and make the one the week after a little longer and cover content from both weeks (if  I can). In the meantime, enjoy the posts I found last week, there are some really fantastic reads in the list below.

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Daiyamanga has a review of the manga for Kamisama Kiss. Reading this may have influenced my choice of images for this week’s In Case You Missed It. This is one I haven’t read the manga of but I love the anime and I’ve been wanting to pick up the story in the manga because it seems like it should be really interesting and reading this review has just made me more interested in giving the manga a go.

When Sirius Writes has a lengthy and fairly positive review of Violet Evergarden. I’m still in the haven’t seen it camp but reviews like this do make me curious. I know there have been reviews that have been less enthusiastic but there have definitely been a lot of these very positive reviews around. I really liked reading this because the love of the show is just filling nearly every line of it.

Irina on I Drink and Watch Anime attempts to defend 5 from Terror In Resonance from the large amount of criticism that floats around about her. While I once again disagree with Irina’s view, I like how she puts together her argument in support of the fickle character and makes us at least think back over why we don’t like her.

Ahoge Girl has a review of Beserk (1997). This I still have not watched though I will admit the clear love coming out of this review kind of made me a little more curious than I have been about the show. A lot of passion here and a great read.

The Quotorium has part 1 of a post on Yuri on Ice looking at Love as Narrative. If you love Yuri on Ice and you love pulling stories apart to see what makes them tick, this post is going to be a fantastic read for you (not to mention, it’s another Yuri on Ice post). Well worth checking out.

The Spooky Red-Head gives us another great list sharing 8 Supporting Characters who need some love. There’s some fan favourites for supporting characters on this list and then a couple of slightly more interesting choices. Well worth checking out and considering who you would have included on your list.

The Luminous Mongoose compares Girls’ Last Tour with Made in Abyss in a new series on their blog that they are calling Mirror Match. It is an intriguing comparison of the common elements of the shows and how they deal with them a little bit differently and I had a lot of fun reading this first one. Clearly there are some spoilers for people who haven’t watched the anime being compared.

Anime Corps looks at their expectations for the WIXOSS franchise and how they have been built up, dashed and why they might now be cautiously optimistic. It is a fairly personal account of their relationship with the series and where they think it has gone right and wrong, but it certainly gives anyone who has been watching Wixoss something to think about.

Artificial Night Sky has a really interesting post about the weight of time looking at the psychological toll time loops have had on a range of characters across Steins;Gate, Madoka Magica, Re:Zero and even the Empty Box and Zeroth Maria. I really enjoyed reading this post and definitely recommend checking it out.

Pick of the Week

Toxic Muffin shares their thoughts on Oppressed Villains. It is a really interesting post looking at how villains have been positioned in some movies/anime and examples of well written villains who have come from an oppressed background. Villains are an interesting bunch, but regularly are poorly written or given one note motivations, so looking at how villains have been crafted in stories to be genuinely sympathetic or understandable is a great topic and this post provides some excellent examples and explanation. Well worth checking out.

My Stuff

This week was all about the anniversary so please check out any posts you may have missed and be sure to visit the blogs of the contributors. I’d like to offer them all one more round of thanks for taking time out of their schedules to participate and share their advice with the community. Hopefully you enjoyed last week and I look forward to planning next year’s anniversary (and many more after that). If you missed out on being a contributor this time around, be sure to keep an eye out next year as I will certainly be asking people to join in the celebration again. This blog continues because of the amazing readers and I would love to have as many of you as possible involved.

And that was my week, in case you missed it.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Anniversary Special – Thanks For Joining Me This Week

Hi everyone, I want to thank you all for joining me this week to celebrate my anniversary. I know the actual anniversary date is May 1 but unfortunately I won’t be online then, so I’m glad you helped me celebrate a little bit early. Despite not being around next week I have content scheduled to go out as normal so hopefully you will enjoy and I’ll be sure to catch up and reply to comments once I have internet again.

All of the anniversary posts including the contributions made by Scott, Mei, Rossi, Irina, Remy, Arithifis, and Aldael can be found using the link below. Be sure to check them out as they shared some great blogging advice and there are links to their blogs if you are not following any of these amazing people.

Anniversary Posts

Now, to finish off the anniversary week, I have my second attempt at an introductory video for Patreon. The original one was up a few weeks ago for feedback and I was given some incredibly helpful advice from a number of viewers and I really thank them for the feedback. The original video is below:

Now, I haven’t changed the music, because despite the feedback, I like the music and the video is introducing me and I kind of think it suits what I was looking for. However, I have been working on it off and on in-between everything else and I think the second video is a lot better. I’m still not entirely happy with it and I know there’s a sound glitch toward the end where a word is cut off and I still haven’t figured out how that happened. However, I would appreciate feedback if you have the time (the video is less than a minute).

While I’m probably not going to rework an introduction video straight away as I’m going to attempt to start working on a video for Patrons as we’re getting closer to the first goal of $50 a month where I am supposed to be delivering some video content to patrons, I would appreciate the feedback as I will apply it to my next project and I will eventually, once I’ve gained some more skill and confidence, come back and redo the introduction video yet again.

Here is the updated video:

With that, the anniversary celebration is officially over and hopefully you will all still be reading next year and will join in the third celebration of 100 Word Anime.

thank you

 


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Space Battleship Tiramisu Episode 4: Have They Run Dry Already?

When the anime goes to jokes about talking pubic hair, one has to wonder if they’ve already run out of material at episode 4.

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This episode is probably a good example of why I’m not a huge fan of comedy in any form. So far this anime has been relatively amusing and had a few interesting points and then this episode gives us a joke about Subaru drinking too much before a mission and needing to pee before he has a conversation with a stray pubic hair in his cockpit. I’m just not sure I’m the audience for that because it wasn’t exactly amusing.

That said, I’ll give this another episode because up until now I’ve had a bit of fun with this show but another episode like this and I’ll probably call it quits.

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Karandi James

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 4

While both Kapodaco and I found this episode a definite step forward in that at least we weren’t introducing characters or recapping this week, both of us are definitely feeling that some of the shine has come off this franchise as it returns for its third iteration. Did it peak in season 2? Or is it just taking a bit of time to get going? I guess we’ll find out as the season progresses, but for now, here we are discussing episode 4.

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Karandi:

Yay! We finally had an episode where they didn’t frantically try and re-introduce every single character in the class but instead it focused on the current events that were relevant. They cut back in time to show us what the students doing remedial classes were up to when the attack started and we get a little bit of the teacher interactions as well as catching up with a handful of the students who were doing the test of courage before the episode gets down to its focus, which is Midoriya saving Kota literally from a villain who is a mass of muscles and saving Kota from his own negative feelings about heroes because it really important that he buys into hero worship (for some reason).

Sarcasm aside, the focus certainly helped. While there are set-ups early on for the other classmates to have their fights with the villains in future episodes, this episode was very much about Midoriya and going beyond his limits. I was pretty sure he was told to stop breaking himself when he fought, though in fairness, I’m not sure what else he could have done given he genuinely couldn’t have run from the guy he was fighting even if he had wanted to.

The one real cause for complaint, and technically it is kind of expected from this show, is that it completely surrendered to the cliche of hero getting power up when needed in a fight. Previously, Midoriya had worked and trained for every power up he’d found. He never just suddenly pulled more power out of his back pocket mid-fight. And while My Hero Academia is pretty good at using all the standard shounen tropes, I was kind of happy that we hadn’t seen this one. I will admit I am disappointed that Midoriya didn’t think of some clever plan or using the power he had in a new way to get around the villain, but essentially just hit him harder.

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Kapodaco

Alright, I finally get to let this one out:

THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!!

About eight minutes into this episode, I had a discouraging thought. This thought, continuing to fester in the back of my mind as the villains continued to make a mess of things, kept poking at my inner feelings by saying, “Is this really what you wanted with the third season? Aren’t you kinda bored?” And I had to admit, I was kind of bored. Despite the lack of recaps and the tensile situation, I still wasn’t very emotionally invested.

So, naturally, I went into a mental investigation mode. Why am I still bored? The things I once complained about are no more, so what’s the deal? A number of theories flowed into the critical analysis section of my brain, but if I had to point to a likely suspect without much substantial evidence, it would be my general aversion to the mood of the anime’s genre. For those who don’t know, Shounen is among my least favorite genres and a genre with very few well-rated shows from me, with My Hero Academia being a rare exception to the rule. I think part of that is, as Karandi mentioned before me, the anime’s tendency to steer clear of the genre’s common clichés. With this episode specifically, it felt very much like the good vs. evil setup with uninteresting villains testing the heroes (basically just Midoriya) and how far they can push their limits. Because clearly all villains should just be murderous killing machines who only enjoy killing for the sake of killing and name-calling. Okay, I can let some slide, but not all of them.

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Still, it was rather captivating to see Midoriya face off against the killer of my—I mean Kota’s parents, and part of that is thanks to the stellar animation that was attributed to that final scene. It boosted a little bit of energy to the episode that made me remember what I liked about the show in general, but is—and believe me, I tire of saying this, too—still a far cry from what the previous seasons made me feel in terms of excitement, immersion, and entertainment.

What I believed was the most intriguing part of this episode by far is the sudden declaration of who may be the target of the league of villains: Bakugo. I’m getting some PTSD from the days where I watched Naruto religiously as a young teenager. Bakugo, who despite being a hero, is very crass, violent, and fairly un-hero-like. Could the league be wanting him to join up with them to serve as an emotionally-challenging handicap for the heroes who know and love(?) him? Could Bakugo want to join them in the pursuit of his own goal to be the strongest hero on the planet? The possibilities present made what little was made of that comment all the more intriguing for future episodes.

Overall, still a pretty mild episode when compared to prior seasons, but likely the best the third season has to offer at this point. It’s building, but much more slowly and without that same energy as I felt the series had before this season. We could do with some more, I don’t know, characters probably? The personalities are severely lacking outside a select few. I can only hope they find some time for them.

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Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 5.