My Roommate is a Cat Series Review – It has a Cat in It, Enough Said

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cute Moment

When My Roommate is a Cat, or Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue (what a mouthful) premiered, reactions were clearly split. The first episode by its very nature turned part of the audience away which is kind of a shame given this story ends up being one with a lot of heart and a dramatic climax that feels earned.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 5 Haru and Subaru

My trepidation going into My Roommate is a Cat was the slice of life label on it. I’m not the biggest fan. Couple that with the bright yet bland promotional image of all the happy smiling characters and the jumping cat and basically I thought I was going in to something that was going to bore me to tears before I’d just stop watching and walk away.

However, the thing that was annoying a lot of first episode viewers was actually the thing that caught my attention and dragged me into the story.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 11 Subaru

And that was Subaru.

My Roommate is a Cat is more than just a cute cat, it is also Subaru.

As a central character I kind of understand why a lot of viewers didn’t like him and even why a few outright hated him. Another anime character with dead parents. Starting with a funeral sequence to garner sympathy for a character we don’t know or have any reason to care for. And then there was his general attitude. He was rude to his editor and really to everyone in the first episode. So yes, I get why a lot of viewers didn’t like him.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 1 Subaru
Blunt – but given the circumstances potentially justified.

I didn’t like him either. But I understood him and felt a bit of a connection. Subaru is socially awkward and anxious. He doesn’t like interacting with others and when forced out of his comfort zone his defences are up. That comes across as rudeness but is really a self-defence.

I actually blamed the editor in the first episode more than Subaru. When he should know his writer well enough to know that meeting him in a public place was just going to set him on edge. For me the sequence established Subaru’s character beautifully and the underlying issue he was going to need to face and so while I agree that Subaru wasn’t a nice character, I was intrigued from episode one.

Then there was the cat.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cat on Keyboard
My cat would love to do this but knows the keyboard is an absolute no-go zone.

While Subaru may have been the repellent for a lot of potential viewers, the as yet unnamed stray cat was the lure. Adorable and standing in for every cat everywhere in mannerisms, the eventually named Haru stole the show.

Interestingly enough, when Haru was rude or cagey or defensive people found it adorable and yet Haru and Subaru are literally two of a kind. That’s why the two form such a strong bond as they both grow over the course of the series.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 5 Haru

However, most slice of life anime know these days that you do in fact need some kind of gimmick to keep people watching and clearly My Roommate is a Cat isn’t relying on the cute girl factor, although Nana is kind of cute. No, the gimmick in My Roommate is a Cat is that each episode tells the events twice. Once from the human point of view and then from the view of the cat. Mostly the cat view is a brief few minutes at the end of the episode but some episodes give more time to Haru’s perspective particularly toward the end of the season.

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Yes, Haru isn’t just a plot device to inspire Subaru’s character growth. Haru is a fully fledged character in her own right going through her own healing character arc alongside Subaru. While I’ll admit that some of the cat sections added little in some episodes, they were always cute, and at times they did offer some interesting insight and certainly allowed Haru the growth she deserved within the story.


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There’s little more to say about the plot given each episode is just another day for the man and the cat who are now sharing a house. Various events occur, the characters react, learn something and we move on. It is slice of life and it does that well providing some very calm and occasionally amusing viewing.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 8

What sets this one apart from so many slice of life anime though is that it did offer a climax that I felt was emotionally rewarding. I’m not going into detail here, but it brings the story of Subaru and dealing with the loss of his parents as well as moving forward to a satisfying conclusion and really consolidates the relationship that has grown between Subaru and Haru throughout the series. I couldn’t have asked for more from the final couple of episodes and just loved it.

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Visually it works well enough. I’m not really into the colour scheme being used and it is all just a little bit bland really, but given the subject matter and tone the visuals work well enough for that. The animation for Haru is perfect and I’m sure if you are a cat lover you will see your own cat in her at various points, but there’s a lot of sitting and talking in this anime and a lot of very still sequences with little movement so while the animation works it isn’t exactly awe inspiring.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 8 Subaru and Haru

However, I do have to mention the OP. Unknown World is an incredibly infectious song and I found myself happily bobbing along to it most weeks and occasionally even replaying it just because it made me smile. I also really enjoyed the imagery used during the opening as it fit the tone of the show perfectly even if it wasn’t the most exciting ever. I definitely recommend giving the OP a listen to even if you have no interest in My Roommate is a Cat.

Still, for cat lovers this is a must watch. For people who enjoy slice of life anime, this one works well enough. If you are looking for a character who is slowly opening himself up to new experiences and working through issues of social awkwardness and anxiety, there’s plenty to enjoy here. While My Roommate is a Cat is a far from perfect anime, it was a delightful intrusion into the season and ended up being one I looked forward to each week.

Images from: My Roommate is a Cat. Dir. K Suzuki. Zero-G. 2019.


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Karandi James


DanMachi Series Review

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DanMachi Overview:

DanMachi is one of those rare fantasy anime that actually isn’t an isekai (though at times it feels like it should be).

In a fantasy world, Bell Cranel wants to be an adventurer and wants to meet the love of his life in a dungeon. With the divine blessing of his Goddess, Hestia, Bell is going to work hard to become strong, and let’s be honest, this is one of my favourite series ever.

DanMachi Review:

Alright, I avoided this anime when it first came out. The name “Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” was kind of an instant turn-off and I just had this image of the most generic harem comedy in existence and wasn’t going to go near it.

No idea why I ended up watching the first episode of it, but I do know that I then watched the entire show in the space of an afternoon. For all that it isn’t a perfect series, it is a delightful bit of fun and highly addictive viewing.

DanMachi - Bell and Hestia

Is it generic fantasy? Definitely. You have dungeons and elves and minotaurs and you’ve got a whole pile of RPG elements thrown in with levelling up and stat scores and the like. It isn’t trying to break new ground in its world building but neither is it playing these things as a joke. While the feel of the show is light-hearted they’ve taken world-building seriously and the world you are presented with is a very functional setting for a story.

Do we have a harem? Not quite but pretty close. Bell does have a lot of admirers by the end but to actually describe this as a harem comedy would not do justice to either this or to harems because while there are certainly elements of harem here, that isn’t the main focus despite the title. There is one girl that Bell likes and he uses that like as a motivation to drive himself to get stronger.

While other characters flock around him and the usual comedy elements get thrown in, the story focuses very much on Bell developing as a character.

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This is character development. Bell will definitely learn from this.

So what works about this show? The comedy is a little bit childish and over the top at times, but it generally works and is amusing. Hestia in particular can usually make me smile. But then again, the idea of a Goddess taking on part time jobs to buy her hero equipment (or even dinner in the early stages) is pretty amusing in and of itself.

Pretty much if you don’t crack a smile during the first episode then this show isn’t going to work for you because from a tone point of view it isn’t really going anywhere and they are only going to get more excessive in their efforts to make you laugh.

Bell Cranel works as a character. Okay, he’s a bit bland as a character (generic self-insert cliché) but the story allows for him to grow and actually begin to make decisions and choices and to start to find out who he is. And unlike so many other characters he doesn’t discover he is actually an ego-maniac. He discovers that he genuinely wants to have an adventure and to protect his friends and he derives great joy from his small (and not so small) successes.

The interactions between the gods and the gods and their families work really well. I feel a little hypocritical on this point because they do a great job of massacring mythology in this and I’ve certainly criticised other shows for this previously, however I didn’t feel annoyed by the way they presented the gods in this show.

They also didn’t try to shove their version of mythology down your throat. It was more they had god like characters who happen to have the names of gods you may or may not be familiar with and as a result you may or may not like the way they are represented. That said, the interactions are great.

Bell’s party that slowly forms is fantastic. Originally hiring a supporter (who comes with a lot of baggage) before recruiting a smith (who also comes with a lot of baggage), these additional characters really help to off-set Bell’s general blandness and inject new energy into the second half of the series.

Welf Crozzo (the smith) is one of my favourite characters and my only complaint would be his limited screen time given how late in the series he is introduced.

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Then we have the dungeon exploration itself which is just pure fun. Whether the characters are picking off small fry or facing up against a floor boss, the combat is visually entertaining and hits just the right balance between being dramatic and being over the top. Bell’s battle against the minotaur is one I will continue to love forever.

It perfectly brought together the previous plot points (Bell being embarrassed when he was cornered by a minotaur and being unable to fight against it as well as his desire to protect), it allowed for some critical character development and a bit of a power-up in the process before we moved into the final arc, and it was an awesome fight to watch. I loved every minute of that fight.

The biggest flaw might be that the final fight sequence isn’t quite as exciting as it needs to be. Bigger enemy doesn’t necessarily make for a better fight and it actually felt like all the clever moves and strategies that we’d see previous got tossed out the window as the characters threw themselves at the giant blob of a villain (little bit sarcastic but you get the idea). 

Admittedly, it ends the way it needs to for Bell as a character, but as a viewer you gain little satisfaction. The Minotaur fight was a personal triumph for a character we’d grown to like and then this final fight was with a boss from nowhere and while it has its place it didn’t feel as rewarding. Worse though, it all just feels like a resting point for a continuation that has yet to come, though I guess we’ll see if it ever does (rumours say yes, but they’ve been wrong before – meanwhile I’ve well and truly read beyond this point in the light novels now and please give us another season).

Okay, I have to mention my other criticism which is the basic dress of every female character (even the armoured ones). Starting from Hestia on, they are not dressed for any practical purpose and while some of the male costumes aren’t any better there is at least a wider variety of clothes for males.

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Is this show going to blow your mind and change the way you think? Probably not. What it should do is provide you with a few smiles, some exhilarating fight sequences, and a whole cast of cute and zany characters to chill out with for an afternoon. If that sounds appealing, pull up a chair and give it a watch.


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Karandi James


Behind Every Great Anime Protagonist Is A Great Supporting Cast

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Previously I’ve looked at reasons why being a villain would suck and I’ve certainly looked at various characters on my blog and why they shine, but with the exception of Natsume (see the supporter battle Irina and I worked on), I seldom discuss the supporting cast and their importance in making or breaking a series. Which is something I decided I needed to change because the more I think about it the more I come to realise that great characters don’t occur in isolation.

For every character I’ve connected with or instantly fell in love with and wanted more of, surrounding them is usually a plethora of well written, developed and interesting characters. Each one holding up their end of the story and playing the role they need to play in a way that allows the protagonist to shine.

Obi from Snow White With The Red Hair
Obi is a fantastic supporting cast member in Snow White With The Red Hair. See my top 5 favourite moments with him.

However, this also highlights my general problem with harem anime (whether standard harem, reverse harem, or not a harem but using more or less the same tropes). That is, generally (not always), while there might be good characters in the anime, they aren’t working to complement each other.

Not every supporting cast is made up of a harem in anime… just a lot of them.

The focus is on each of the girls (or guys) standing out from the others with a distinct visual and personality. Their job is to carve out their own niche audience and fan group rather than support a main character or even the cast as a whole. As a direct result, the supporting characters pull attention away from what frequently turns out to be a fairly dull protagonist and because of the shared screen time none of the supporting characters ever really feels fully realised (again, generalising).

Going through some of my favourite characters, or characters I am drawn to, I can see time and again, that a lot of what makes them so amazing comes from those surrounding them.

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March Comes in Like a Lion (I promise this isn’t another love letter) has Rei at its centre with the Kawamoto sisters as almost dueteragonists. Particularly in the second season where Akari becomes a major focus for a large arc. All four of these characters are fantastically written and interesting characters and honestly I’d probably happily watch them just stay inside the Kawamoto house and interact at this point.

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But, that wasn’t what drew me to the show and to Rei early on before the deep connections were formed and I learned more about these characters. Whether it was Nikaido as a self-proclaimed best friend, Shimada as a mentor character, Kyoko and Goto as potential antagonists, the members of the Science/Shogi club… every single character we encounter (even the one episode rival shogi players) felt like a fully realised character that helped to flesh out the world.

More importantly they gave Rei a wide range of people to respond to and react to bringing out more of Rei’s personality and pain and allowing the audience to feel that he was also a fully realised character rather than just a one note ‘tragic young shogi player’.

Yuri on Ice Episode 6
Yuri and Victor

On a lighter note, Victor and Yuri from Yuri on Ice are amazing. No question I loved watching the two of them interact and grow closer together. I would happily watch more of just the two of them. But again, that wasn’t the immediate draw. What draws you in to Yuri on Ice are all the small touches throughout, including every supporting cast member we meet feeling like they have their own story to tell and just being fun.



Yuri on Ice Episode 7 - Yuri's family - The supporting cast members

Whether it is Yurio running from his fan club, JJ and his over-bearing confidence, Yuri’s family and their support, all of the characters bring something to the mix that helps to elevate the whole shoe and provide a context for Yuri and Victor’s relationship to grow within.

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However, even something like Noragami, where I genuinely love Yato, it is again the support cast that manage to bring out his full charm. Hiyori and Yuki stand with him and each brings something relatable and interesting to the story, but the other gods, the regalia, Hiyori’s friends, those who call Yato, even the phantoms, each of them add something to the story and while we may not get a huge amount of time with them, or back story, they are a delight to meet and interact with.

Noragami - supporting cast

Where Noragami manages to go even further is in the portrayal of Nora who remains for most of season one an incredibly enigmatic figure but one who is sufficiently built up that when she takes a more active role in season two it doesn’t feel like she’s come from nowhere. It feels like a natural extension of where her story had been heading from the beginning and it is largely through her interactions with Yato that more of Yato’s past can be revealed to the audience.

My Hero Academia Support Cast

Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it in terms of whether a great support cast can make or break a show and a protagonist. Look at My Hero Academia. I like Midoriya, I really do, but he isn’t a particularly memorable character on his own. It is the zany cast that surrounds him early on that fills the anime with so much energy and enthusiasm and allows Midoriya the chance to grow into his role as both protagonist and hero. There’s almost as much fan art around plenty of his classmates as there is of him (and of some characters I’d bet there’s even more).

When creating something it is important to remember that while the protagonist will probably be the character people remember, a great protagonist on their own doesn’t normally carry the story alone (unless they are Tom Hanks in Cast Away in which case I still give the award for best supporting cast member to the Volleyball). It is the support cast that create the space and opportunities for the protagonist to be who they need to be and draw out the best of the main character.

Cast Away - Tom Hanks and Wilson

So remember, behind every great protagonist is a great supporting cast. Or a really emotive volleyball.


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Karandi James


How To Keep a Mummy Episode 6: A Little Knowledge Can Be Adorable

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Conny, Isao and Mii-Kun together are making a truly cute team in How To Keep a Mummy. As much as I didn’t like Conny’s introductory episode, he adds an interesting dynamic to the trio and of course presents several moments of conflict for a show that might otherwise get a little bit sleepy and dull.

Mummy6a

But as much as the pets are bonding, the kids are also forming quite the friendship. And with future play-dates between the cuties, it will be fun to see how these three continue to get along.

How To Keep a Mummy Hasn’t Asked Where These Monsters Are Coming From?

How to Keep a Mummy

This episode of How to Keep a Mummy mostly focuses on the idea that Isao is a little bit more advanced in being able to take care of itself than either Mii-Kun or Conny. This leads to some cute jealousy as well as the other two trying to catch up by writing adorable notes and trying to do things by themselves. 



As usual, there isn’t much in the way of plot and other than chasing down a screaming plant and retrieving it from the river, not a lot happens, but that isn’t really a problem when they manage to keep you entertained by staring at the cute characters on the screen.

Images from: How To Keep a Mummy. Dir. Kaori. 8Bit. 2018


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Karandi James


Top 5 Jonah Moments From Jormungand

Jonah Jormungand

The child soldier recruited by Koko the arms-dealer as a body guard, Jonah, has some really fantastic moments throughout the two seasons of Jormungand. Here I’m counting down my favourite five moments with Jonah. I would love to know your favourite moments with Jonah.

Now there were a bunch more brilliant moments I’d have loved to mention, such as when he won at paint-ball, shouted for the doctor in the mountains, or even when he saved Koko during the Orchestra assassination attempt, but I did have to narrow this list to five. Please keep in mind, if you haven’t watched Jormungand, there’s going to be spoilers here.

Number 5 – Laughing While Escaping

Jonah laughing

We meet Jonah when he’s first recruited by Koko and he’s emotionally shut down with very little expression. Kind of understandable given he’s been a child soldier for some time and hates weapons but is now about to work for an arms dealer. Still, the first time he genuinely laughs when Koko pulls a fast one and leads her team to escape, abandoning another arms dealer in the process, is pretty amazing and the start of Jonah exhibiting a lot more emotions as the story progresses.

Number 4 – Attempting To Get Revenge on Kasper

Jonah Revenge

Yeah, this doesn’t work out so well for Jonah anyway but anyone who has watched the series knows it was justified. Jonah’s first meeting with Kasper after joining Koko’s team is an emotional one with Jonah reaching for a knife. When we get the flashback showing how Kasper and Jonah met you fully understand Jonah’s impulse to stab the guy in the back, the front, or wherever else he manages to reach.

Number 3 – Protecting The Orphans

Jonah Orphans

This is totally linked to his reason for hating Kasper but when we see Jonah prior to meeting Koko, he’s working at a military base that has a group of orphan children in it (not suspicious at all). Jonah has been sneaking them food and trying to look after them but he can’t do anything when they take one of them away (who does not return). This is the trigger that sets Jonah off on a fairly bloody campaign however he does manage to secure the safety of the remaining orphans, even if he owes that to Kasper in the end.



Number 2 – Being Targeted By Hex

Jonah Targeted1

It is sometimes hard to remember how young Jonah is given his behaviour in the story however there are times when we are made fully aware that he is young and vulnerable. Hex’s targeting of him when she’s denied the right to target Koko is one of the more emotionally charged moments in the series (and leads to the death of another character), but it is a great moment for Jonah as well. He identifies the danger and manages to keep himself and Koko alive long enough for the other character to reach them. He’s drugged and injured in the process but it was still a pretty impressive effort given what they were up against.

Number 1 – Turning Against Koko

Jonah Turning

From hating Koko because she’s an arms-dealer, to being intrigued by her, to having a relationship that is built on trust, to finally learning her secret, Jonah’s relationship with Koko is a complex one and one that ends up being the cornerstone of the climax of the series. Koko’s plan is one thing, but it more or less sits on the back-burner while Jonah works through his thoughts on the world and Koko. Still, his turning a gun on Koko was fairly dramatic and definitely deserves the number one place on the list.

So did I get it right or do you think there are other Jonah moments in Jormungand that deserve a spot in the top 5? Let me know in the comments below.


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Karandi James


Become a Blog Sponsor – Help Support 100 Word Anime This Spring Season

Blog Sponsor - Spring 2022

If you’ve been visiting 100 Word Anime for awhile you would have noted that some posts are sponsored by the amazing people below: they are my previous blog sponsors.

If you want to get right to business, click here.

The September 2021 Blog Sponsors

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The April 2021 Blog Sponsors

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These supporters are amazing and I’d love to be able to give them all a hug as they’ve helped me keep my WordPress Plan and domain name as well as access to anime. This year I’ve also been working on improving my understanding of SEO and trying to make my blog visuals and social media presence a little more planned rather than just whatever happens using Canva to try to coordinate things.

I also remove google ads from sponsored posts (may have missed one or two) and am hopeful that eventually I can turn off advertising altogether.

Hugging blog sponsors

2022 Spring Season – Blog Sponsor Drive

Now I am trying something different this season. Rather than sponsoring an anime and then having to contact me to discuss which show leading to back and forth emails or direct messages on twitter only to find the anime you wanted was already sponsored and so on, this time you select the anime you want to prior to sponsoring.

Hopefully this will simplify the process. You can still choose to simply donate without sponsoring a given series.

red and brass dart pin on dartboard

Goal?

We’re aiming for $100 during the Spring 2022 season with the next drive to occur in June.

Current total = $25

Please ensure I can contact you via the email address used for payment so that I can confirm what you want on your sponsor’s badge which will be displayed on the about page as well as on any posts you have sponsored. However, if you contact me before you sponsor we can discuss and organise all details before any is made payment.

Blog Sponsor Option 1 – Donation to the Blog

To make a general donation you can use this link and select the amount.

You will receive a blog sponsor badge on the about page (if you want one). Please ensure I can contact you to get details for your badge (including the image and link you would like as well as a brief description of what you do – see examples above).

Blog Sponsor Option 2 – Pick One of the Spring Anime Shows To Sponsor

By sponsoring an anime your sponsor badge will appear on:

  • A maximum of 12 episode posts (min 600 words per post) during the Spring 2022 anime season.
  • 1 review of the season + 1 article discussing an aspect of the anime.

Should your chosen anime be unavailable to me for any reason once the season begins a replacement series will be negotiated or a refund provided.

Use this link to access the spreadsheet for the Spring 2022 season. Please add the name you want for your badge and the link you would like beside the anime you are sponsoring and then make payment to ensure that two people do not try to sponsor the same series.

Anime sponsorship is AU$20 per series. The options for the Spring Season are below. If there is a different series you really want to sponsor instead, contact me to discuss.

Please ensure I can contact you to get details for your badge if you are a new sponsor (including the image and link you would like as well as a brief description of what you do – see examples above).

Blog Sponsor Option 3 – Custom Post

If you would like to choose a post topic contact me to discuss first.

If we agree on a topic, this option will cost $10 which can be paid to my PayPal.

The post will be a minimum of 1000 words in length and appear on the blog during the Spring Anime season (April – June 2022).

You will receive a blog sponsor badge on the about page (if you want one) as well as on the post written on the topic provided. Please ensure I can contact you to get details for your badge (including the image and link you would like as well as a brief description of what you do – see examples above).

Thank-you

Your ongoing support is appreciated as it helps keep the blog going.


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Karandi James


3 Reasons Why Flashbacks Aren’t Always The Best Narrative Device

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For anyone who has started Fairy Gone this season it should have immediately become apparent that in addition to the visual problems with the anime the narrative itself relies heavily on flashbacks and exposition to fill the audience in on information. While neither flashbacks nor exposition are actually inherently bad, in point of fact they can both be used incredibly effectively, the way they’ve been employed in Fairy Gone is fairly maddening.

Twitter Poll
Flashbacks and Fairy Gone

At some point I’ll have to look at exposition and anime that use it well and anime that just beats its audience over the head with the exposition driving dialogue and literally nothing else happening, but for now I just want to look at flashbacks and how these have been used poorly so far in Fairy Gone.

The first real problem the audience will encounter with Fairy Gone is that each of the first few episodes begins with a sequence that is actually a flashback, usually to the war where the Fairy Soldiers were originally created to fight in. That’s fine and all as many a story begins with a flashback sequence to an important time prior to the events of the story proper and over time the significance of the scenes becomes clear. I’d liken Fairy Gone’s attempt with the style used for the Dark Angel TV series where most episodes begin with a flashback of Max back at Manticore, the institute where she was raised as a soldier.

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Now I actually really like Dark Angel and how Max’s childhood permeates each episode through flashbacks, particularly when she’s having an episode and weak or when she encounters someone who is connected to her past. However there are are a couple of things Dark Angel does differently that actually makes those flashbacks enjoyable and relevant.

Mainly, the longer flashbacks are narrated by Max herself. We aren’t just seeing the kids running around doing stuff, but are given her thoughts about what had happened. This isn’t usually a long monologue worth of narration though. It is usually just a few lines leading into the sequence or a couple of lines at the end that link us back to the present and why she’s thinking about it at all. It’s amazing how some simple framing can make the flashbacks feel so much more purposeful and immediately relevant.

Fairy Gone doesn’t do this. We get some text telling us what year we’re in and usually the name of the city where the characters are. Also character names seem to appear sometimes but they aren’t always characters we know. The sequence of events plays out and while there are bits and pieces that by the fourth episode seem to be relevant, at the time you are mostly watching characters you don’t know participate in events long past and given little to no reason to care about it.

The transition from flashback to present day is indistinct, again save some text, and there’s usually no immediate link between what we saw in the flashback and what follows after, other than the tenuous one of these characters previously knew each other in some cases.

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Speaking of transitions, this is another case where Dark Angel did it better. In order to always know whether we are in the past or present, without having to wave text around the screen, the flashback scenes are leeched of colour and the sound is slightly muted or echoes as if hearing it from a distance. That means when we come out of the flashback the world resumes its normal tone and sound and there’s an instant awareness of when and where we are in the story.



The second problem I’m really finding with the flashbacks is I’m not sure that they’ve added anything of note. I mean, we know Marlya and Veronica belonged to a village that got destroyed and the two of them escaped before getting separated, but did we need the whole flashback sequence to establish something that we could have learned a myriad of other ways?

Now, this could have been a really interesting flashback providing insight into Marlya’s motives or feelings or it could have just been a really exhilarating or exciting set-piece but due to the lacklustre and pedestrian way it was delivered there’s little to no reason to really care about the sequence at all, and yet they’ve shown it more than once.

Fairy Gone Episode 3

Free’s backstory is equally frustrating as it has established a relationship between himself and Wolfran and their involvement in the war, but these are things we could have just as easily have picked up by staying in the present and through comments made between characters. Seeing it could have been interesting if the sequence had built any emotional investment or given us more insight into the relationship but it really didn’t.

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Again, bringing it back to Dark Angel, the flashbacks there are at times repetitive but they do so to emphasise and reinforce particular points. Each one fills in a piece of Max’s past and provides understanding of her volatile nature and her complex relationships with Zac and Lydecker. While they possibly could have achieved the same effect with a few less repetitions, for the most part each flashback felt meaningful in terms of providing context for a very complex character.

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But that does bring us to the third problem Fairy Gone is having with its flashbacks, which is how much time they eat out of episodes that already feel like they aren’t getting very far with the story. I’m actually kind of interested in the premise Fairy Gone has laid out and I’m slowly warming up to the characters, but I feel I’d be more attached to the whole story at this point if it spent less time wasting time in the past without seeming to really value add and more time actually developing the characters as they are and their current relationships with one another.



Now, there are plenty of anime that use flashbacks. Some at the beginning of a series to establish setting and some throughout the series to develop a particular character’s backstory or to establish a new setting or idea. There are many anime that manage to do it very well.

For example, Fruits Basket uses fairly continuous flashbacks of Kyoko, Honda Tohru’s mother, and the advice she gave Tohru as well as the love between mother and daughter and this is used really well. It often gives Tohru’s advice and ideas context as to why she feels the way she does or feels compelled to act and it establishes key themes that are being considered within the episode in question. These flashbacks are heartwarming and flesh Tohru out as a character who has pre-existing relationships that changed her, even if her mother is now dead.

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On the other hand, we have something like Juni Taisen that essentially filled each episode with flashbacks of a single character, building them up, just to knock them off at the end of that episode. By the third time that happened the writing was on the wall for the series as a whole but I’ll give them credit for consistency at least even if it didn’t end up being all that entertaining.

Somewhere in the middle of those we have something like Attack on Titan where some flashbacks are used beautifully at just the right moment to fill in key details or character points and at other times just feel like filler to delay moving the plot forward.

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The main point being that flashbacks aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Like all narrative devices it really depends on how they are executed and for what purpose as to whether or not that will work within their story. So far, Fairy Gone hasn’t demonstrated a great grip on how to actually use flashbacks effectively but Fairy Gone isn’t bad because of an excessive use of flashbacks. It is more that it hasn’t used these in an interesting manner or to drive either the story or characters forward.

But that’s enough from me. What do you think about flashbacks in anime? What are some of your favourite anime that use flashbacks well? And what are some anime where the flashbacks just make you wince and wish they would be done already?


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Karandi James


How To Keep a Mummy Episode 5: Dragon + Mummy = Too Cute

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Okay, so the child-oni turned out to be a bust last week in How to Keep a Mummy but the addition of a back-pack sized dragon gave this show a nice boost back into being the single most adorable thing ever. Not to mention, despite introducing new cast members, Mii-Kun managed a decent amount of screen time in this episode and we finally see Sora considering his loneliness and history a little bit more seriously.

How To Keep a Mummy recovered after a small downward turn.

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Add in that Motegi is a fun supporting cast member in her own right and I’m glad she got a bit more of a role this time round rather than just being an obstacle for hiding Mii-Kun’s existence. Her reaction to lizards and then the dragon were also pretty amusing even if they were completely overblown even by this anime’s standards.



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However, this show wouldn’t be itself if it didn’t bring the two together in the end. I would like to know more about Tazuki’s deal with the dragon (though we know he did get scarred previously the details were a bit limited).

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All and all, this was a nice recovery for the show and we’re back to blissfully cuteness.

Images from: How To Keep a Mummy. Dir. Kaori. 8Bit. 2018


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Karandi James


Senryuu Shoujo Anime Review – Watch out for cavities with this one.

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Say It With Senryuu Shoujo

This is going to be a short review, which makes sense given the nature of the anime being reviewed. Senryuu Shoujo is about Nanako, a high school girl who doesn’t speak but communicates by writing poems. Instead of being a story about a lonely girl who is bullied, this is the story of a cheerful girl surrounded by supportive friends and a love interest who seems to enjoy every day.

While there are hints of a dark and lonely past, this isn’t the focus, and really this anime just wants to leave you smiling at the antics of these adorable dorks.

Senryuu Shoujo - Nanako with bed hair

In fairness, it is hard not to smile. I’m not really into slice of life, or comedy, or anime set around high school clubs, and Senryuu Shoujo is all of these things and yet still hit the mark for being cute and fun to watch for me. There was something infectiously charming about the main pair in this story, Nanako and Eiji, and the support cast were stellar as well.

Senryuu Girl - Eiji and Nanako drawing

That isn’t to say this is a slice of life better than any others. As is the case with the genre, the appeal of slice of life is highly subjective. Without a plot driving forward to carry the audience along, it is left to the tone and cast to be the draw and what one person likes and appreciate won’t necessarily work for another. During the Spring Anime season many anime fans loved Hitoribocchi but that was pretty much a swing and a miss for me. Whereas, Senryuu Shoujo seemed somewhat underappreciated given just how sweet it was.

Senryuu Shoujo - Nanako bends her board.

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Visually this one leans heavily toward bright and pastel colours. They suit the tone and the characters just fine but make this one fairly unremarkable in terms of standing out from other similar stories. The exception is for Nanako herself. While her character design is fairly ordinary, there’s something truly striking about her smile and I absolutely loved how her whole face lit up. For a character who never speaks she is incredibly expressive even when not writing her poems.

The many faces of Nanako

On that note, characters who communicate in alternative ways is something of a theme as we also have the art girl in the story that comes in midway. She only communicates through drawing and regularly holds her art book over her face with a cute girl drawn to express whatever the girl wanted to say.

The acceptance these somewhat oddball characters experience in their group is astounding and while it is clear that not everyone in this anime universe is equally nice, all the cast members we spend any time with just take each character as they are.

It isn’t nuanced or subtle but it does add overall to that feeling of sweetness and the idea that this anime just wants you to feel better for having watched it. It isn’t wanting a deep dive into social commentary about ‘normal’ or ‘ableness’ though the themes are definitely there.

Senryuu Shoujo - Art Girl

The one sour note on the cast is probably Nanako’s father who is just a little too over the top. Fortunately the family only feature in a few episodes and generally he’s fine in small doses.

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There’s not a lot more to say about this one. Short episodes running around 12 minutes are the perfect length, the tone is very mellow and relaxing, and the characters are super nice and fun to spend time with. While Senryuu Shoujo isn’t about to change the world it is an anime well worth trying if you missed it.

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What are you waiting for?

Images from: Senryu Shoujo. Dir. M Jinbo. Connect. 2019.


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Karandi James


Arifureta Season 2 Episode 7 – Departure’s and Turning Points

Arifureta Season 2 Episode 7 Review

Arifureta continues to be a mixed bag of varying animation quality and varying amounts of care. At times there are scenes that look truly beautiful and then they are followed by a still image depicting everyone walking in for dinner with the sound of footsteps over the top to give us a sense of actual movement going on (unsuccessfully). Likewise we go from a silly game of tag where Shia’s bikini top gets stolen to full on conspiracy and murder at the castle.

Arifureta Season 2 Episode 7

As always, my feelings on Arifureta are mixed as the overall plot line is fascinating and all of these characters have moments where I truly do like watching them. Then there’s everything in between those moments and when that starts dominating the episodes I find myself wondering once again why I continue to push through with this anime.



Definitely a case where reading is the better option for this story because you can definitely get through the more frivolous parts quicker and when you get to the meat the story is actually really good.

Those still watching Arifureta really have to just accept this is what it is.

You’d be forgiven early on for feeling that episode 7 of Arifureta was just going to be more filler time with fan-service as Hajime and the girls delay leaving Myu and her mother due to Hajime suddenly having sentimental feelings toward leaving Myu behind. Admittedly, it is a pretty decent character progression point given other than Yue, Hajime had cut himself off significantly from others after the initial betrayal that led to his fall so seeing him so connected to another is actually a great step forward.

It doesn’t make watching them play tag in bikinis any more interesting. Nor does it make morning wood jokes actually amusing.

Arifureta Season 2 Episode 7

However, for all that Hajime and gang seem to be in a holding pattern this week, events back at the castle involving the other students are in full swing. We finally get to see Aiko in her prison and admittedly she isn’t doing a whole lot other than fretting about things. It would have been nice to see her plotting escape or trying to get a message out or literally anything to show that she had grown beyond just wringing her hands and hoping, but at least we’ve finally seen what happened to her after her abduction.

Of course, it does leave you wondering why she isn’t just dead. All well and good to say she’s been taken off the board but the problem is she could be placed back on it if you just leave her where she is.

Arifureta Season 2 Episode 7

Aiko isn’t the main point though. What we see this week is that huge numbers of people in the castle are being influenced and this leads to an attack on the Knight Commander and pretty much only decent guy there. While a fairly common criticism I’ve had of Arifureta up until now is that we don’t spend enough time on this aspect of the story, leading to only having a vague sense of any of these characters, the Knight Commander has managed to make an impression so the attack upon him definitely carried weight and it definitely has huge implications for the safety of the students going forward.

Arifureta Season 2 Episode 7

And just to ensure that the plot is really hopping along we also get a cut of the demons declaring that their god has spoken and they are going to war. This could potentially lead to a very violent climax if all of these plot threads actually come together.

All that is really left is to see what Arifureta decides to do with all these plot points. Hopefully something good. Or at the very least, explosive.

Images from: Arifureta 2nd Season. Dir. A Iwanaga. asread & studio MOTHER. 2022.


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Karandi James