Deep Insanity: The Lost Child Review – Was There Anything Not Wrong With This Anime?

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child Review

I normally go out of my way in an anime review to find something positive to say about a story even when I didn’t much like it. I consider who in the audience may have been watching a show like Deep Insanity: The Lost Child and got really caught up in it or maybe developed some empathy for any of the cast along the way. Only, when it comes to Deep Insanity: The Inane Waste of Time, I just can’t find anything particularly good to say other than, at least it wasn’t worse.

Deep Insanity Episode 8

The last anime that left me feeling so disappointed that I’d actually finished it was Full Dive and that was largely because it was just full of unpleasant characters who made poor choices but at least that anime remained true to its overall premise of a guy playing a game because he got tricked into buying it and because he was too stubborn to just cut his losses and quit.

Deep Insanity: The Dull Progression can’t even manage to figure out what its actually about.

The synopsis and first episode set up the possibility of exploration of a brave new environment. There’s a huge underground world that has appeared in Antarctica and been called Asylum for reasons that are never made clear. Only exploration is difficult and risky and only certain people are actually compatible. Those that do explore it are called Sleepers (again for reasons that don’t actually become clear). It has all the makings of a less moe Made in Abyss from that set-up.

Deep Insanity Episode 1

Throw in a mysterious disease that is sweeping through humanity and the many organisations manipulating situations for power and wealth and there’s a near endless array of interesting plots Deep Insanity: The Meandering Heap could have followed and been half-way decent.

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child was a confused mess of a narrative with dull characters and zero joy.

Unfortunately none of these plot points really come to fruition or even really get much in the way of a mention after their initial set-up. The disease, Randolph Syndrome, doesn’t even get mentioned in the entire second half of the series and we never learn anything about it or even if it is actually connected to Asylum. So the plot thread that appears in the synopsis and is introduced to us straight up in the first episode just vanishes and never really seemed to make any impact on any of the story anyway.

What does Deep Insanity: The Lost Cause focus on instead?

Deep Insanity Episode 2

That’s kind of hard to say. We’re introduced to main character Shigure Daniel Kai as he enslists to explore Asylum as a Sleeper. He’s taken into a squad run by the laconic (and almost always seen sitting in an empty room in front of an empty desk) Vera Rustamova. The squad’s executive officer, Leslie is fortunately quite verbose but doesn’t actually answer questions or ensure Shigure gets any training before they all go for a few forays into Asylum where the untrained Shigure makes numerous mistakes.

Go figure that sending an untrained person with minimal explanation into a hostile environment wouldn’t work out so well.

The objectives of this squad are never really made clear other than they are ‘investigating’. But investigating seems to consist of walking to a spot, getting attacked, shooting the thing that attacked them which seems to have no impact, until the XO draws a sword and cuts the thing in two. Then they return back to base.

Deep Insanity Episode 4

And I guess having characters carry out vague missions could have been interesting enough had Deep Insanity: The Empty Shell bothered to make the core case more than just one note characters.

Shigure is just hopeless as a lead, not so much because he’s not good at the job he just started and wasn’t trained for, but because he is incredibly boring. From his blank expression to stilted movements and his tendency to simply repeat dialogue back to people, even in his more passionate moments the lines he uses are just echoes of things other people have said, there’s nothing vaguely interesting about this lump of generic average male lead.

Deep Insanity Episode 7

The rest of the squad is made up of Larry who apparently doesn’t feel fear or pain except when he does and Reika who doesn’t talk much but likes to draw in her spare time. They are also supported by a formal idol who doesn’t enter Asylum but communicates with them from the base and likes to bounce around the base in bright revealing clothes probably because someone realised this anime was duller than dishwater to look at.

I’m not even kidding about that. Deep Insanity: The Murky Mess is a very grey anime when they are on the base and when they enter Asylum it is more a pea-green murkiness. It isn’t attractive to look at and the monsters Asylum throws at our characters are not only ugly in form but their animation is pretty horrendous to look at as well. Which doesn’t allow the few action sequences to really come across as anything more than a visual mess upon the screen.

Deep Insanity Episode 3

Anyway, the ‘story’ such as it is for Deep Insanity: The Desperately Reaching really kind of kicks off when Shigure is tasked by Vera with assassinating someone who is living inside Asylum. Why there are people there is also never explained. Just don’t ask.

Anyway, turns out the person he’s to kill is a child and one he met randomly when he snuck into Asylum with Larry when they were off-duty.

The remainder of the series is the various assassination attempts with the different factions trying to abduct or save the child for their own ends only we don’t know what any of their end-goals are or even what their intention is for the child so there’s little reason to become invested. By the time they throw time-loops into this story you may as well just toss your hands up in despair if you are expecting anything to get an explanation or be in any way satisfying.

Deep Insanity Episode 6

From start to finish Deep Insanity: The Most Disappointing didn’t manage to engage. The best thing about the entire series is the promotional video that suggests a much more serious and methodical story and one that has some tension and drama. Instead you can watch the squad in Deep Insanity plan BBQ’s and get beaten by a pair of grey rabbits, more than once.

If it isn’t clear let me sum it all up; don’t waste you time watching Deep Insanity: The Lost Child because I can almost guarantee any other anime would be a more satisfying watch. This one isn’t even so bad it is good. It’s just dull and lazy and ultimately pointless.

Images from: Deep Insanity: The Lost Child. Dir. S. Oonuma. Silver Link. 2021

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Karandi James

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child Episodes 11 + 12 – Do It Again But Better

Deep Insanity Episodes 11 + 12 Review

Deep Insanity well and truly earned its place as the anime I was most disappointed by after feeling somewhat excited for it prior to the season beginning. I blame a solidly intriguing promotional video that is absolutely nothing like what you will get in any episode of the show.

But I’ll save the full rant for when I’m reviewing the whole anime. For now I’m supposed to be talking about the train-wreck that makes up the final two episodes of Deep Insanity only I’m going to struggle with this. Largely because with Shigure now in the time loop because of the magic and unexplained gizmo a lot of episode 11 is a repeat of what we’ve seen before and it wasn’t that interesting to begin with. When they do change the script it is only to throw in some baffling revelations before the whole anime ends in a monster fight and I genuinely have no clue how that resolves anything.

Deep Insanity Episode 11

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child remains ridiculous to the end.

Because I am almost certain no one is going to watch this anime after the season has finished airing I am going to throw a number of spoilers in here so be warned.

You know that weird disease they mentioned way back at the start of episode 1 and how some guy exploring the Abyss turned into a monster and all of those other intriguing things that were happening back when there was still hope for this series? Yeah, turns out none of the writers of Deep Insanity remembered any of that either and so they just didn’t address it. Not a single mention of it in the entire final episode and no explanation. So if you held on for twelve episodes hoping somehow it would all make sense you have tragically wasted your time.

Deep Insanity Episode 11

Also, the revelations we do get in the final two episodes here don’t explain any of the real questions. For instance why could Vera go back in time. Sure, she had the mystic what-sit thing that she gave to Shigure but what is it and why did it allow her to turn back time? And where did it come from?

More importantly, we learn that Vera is actually El-Cee so her whole plan has been to kill herself but even if she’s in a time loop how does that explain her being a child and an adult in the same time line? I get why Vera couldn’t kill El-Cee but none of the rest of it makes any sense.

And after Shigure does his whole hero thing, where is El-Cee?

Deep Insanity Episode 12

Seriously, about the only part of these final two episodes for Deep Insanity that you can really kind of get behind is Shigure gives himself a new hair-cut. Yep, its the standard I’m now resolved so I need to cut my hair trope only I’m not sure how he managed to cut it like that by himself or why you would bother when you are in a time loop and in all likely-hood your locks are just going to revert to the way they were on failure. Still, he looks better.

The overall motive of the villains, other than destruction and ending the world, is also not really explained or explored and in fairness I couldn’t care less anyway. Deep Insanity has proven it has no interest in its own premise and stuff is just going to happen so let stuff happen and let it end.

Deep Insanity Episode 11

With that the final two episodes of Deep Insanity end with the not-so-tragic death of a character we never really began to care about because he is the single most forgettable entity anime has every thrown force as a protagonist. You can read the full review here.

Images from: Deep Insanity: The Lost Child. Dir. S. Oonuma. Silver Link. 2021

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Karandi James

Blue Period Series Review – Explosive Creativity, Drama and Teen Angst

Blue Period Series Review

Blue Period is one of those anime that just kind of perfectly captures a moment most people can relate to. That moment when you realised that you were just going through the motions and the things you did weren’t necessarily the things you enjoyed doing. However, despite realising that you may not have known what else you wanted to do and so got stuck in indecision. Or you tried to change but found it too hard and that there were too many obstacles in your way.

It’s always wonderful when a story can perfectly capture a universal feeling and portray it in a way that doesn’t make you feel like everything is hopeless and futile as it gets so caught up in its own pretension.

Blue Period

The first few episodes of Blue Period are a refreshing surprise, introducing the audience to protagonist Yatora Yaguchi who is very much going through the motions and meeting the expectations of his parents, teachers, and friends, and is very much just drifting through life. Then one morning he sees the city. The same city he always sees. And remembering some artwork he saw from another student that had captured his interest he grabs a paintbrush and tries to capture what he saw and felt in that moment.

And a new fire is lit within him as he finally found something he wanted to do.

Now, in the real world such fires are ignited inside people all the time and just as quickly quashed by the harsh reality of a lack of technique, time to practice, support of others, equipment, or just the fact that even if you worked really hard every moment of every day that is no guarantee of success. Blue Period acknowledges many of these hurdles but at its heart its trying to be inspiring so at times viewers may find Yatora gets a bit of an easy ride (yes I know he’s working himself to near illness but as many other characters in the story discover that’s not always enough).

Blue Period

Blue Period knows what it wants to convey and does it stunningly.

Given the subject matter of this anime is about someone aspiring to become an artist the anime itself is full of art. Characters are constantly creating or appraising works or discussing art and techniques that can be used. Fortunately it is visually impressive enough to pull this off and leave you feeling that the anime itself is something of an artwork (and yes I know all anime is art but a lot of the time the emphasis isn’t put into making something art so much as conveying the story quickly and expediently).

There’s also a genuine progression in the art of Yatora as he goes from inspired amateur to someone who has dedicated pretty much the final two years of his high school experience to art school. The final work he creates in the anime for his university entrance exam is a joy to behold even if there was a bit too much drama in the making of it.

And that’s perhaps my only real criticism of Blue Period. The DRAMA. Now don’t get me wrong, it is supposed to be dramatic about discovering yourself and overcoming limits and so on and so forth. And some of the drama lands right where it should. Such as Yatora’s relationship with Ryuuji and his desperate attempt to reach out to him when Ryuuji has hit an all time low. Or even his strained relationship with Yotasuke which I actually kind of wish we’d seen a little more of.

Blue Period

However other drama such as Yatora getting sick right before the exam just felt like they were trying to milk one last rise from the audience. It kind of cheapened all the effort and time Yatora had put into his preparations. The situation already had enough drama and tension with Blue Period essentially having been a build up to that moment and it was kind of time for the story to sit back and let Yatora show his growth over the series. We didn’t need him nearly collapsing to make us any more emotionally invested.

Its a minor criticism in an otherwise well paced and thought out narrative that really does do exactly what it seems to have set out to do.

Blue Period also establishes a very solid support cast around Yatora throughout its run time. Here we have anime parents that are occasionally seen and even seem to parent in a positive manner. We have teachers who both support and encourage growth but others who are well meaning but don’t quite get it. We have friends and rivals (sometimes in the same package) that Yatora continues to interact with and have their own goals and baggage to work through.

Blue Period

Basically Blue Period has managed to make a world that feels real and a cast of characters that audience members can connect with and its done it all in an anime that looks great. While it isn’t perfect there’s very little to complain about and Blue Period is definitely an anime worth trying.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the anime so be sure to leave a comment below.

Images from: Blue Period. Dir. K Masunari. Seven Arcs. 2021

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Karandi James

Taishou Otome Fairytale Review – Slow, Sweet and Adorable With Just A Hint Of Bitterness

Taishou Otome Fairytale Review

Taishou Otome Fairytale is a historical Japanese slice-of-life romance with a couple that end up being super adorable even if initially the male lead is a little off-putting due to his excessive negativity. With lots of pink and flowers, two characters who genuinely reflect on their words and actions, and a support cast that serve their roles well enough, what you have is a perfectly adequate anime and if you are in the mood for excessively sweet this one will definitely hit the spot.

You do however have to go into it accepting that it is set in a different age as the romance starts when the female lead, Yuzuki, is essentially bought as a bride for a crippled child of a wealthy family so that they don’t have to take care of him. Throw in that Yuzuki is your very typical happy to do house work Japanese girl that anime so likes to depict and some viewers may not connect.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1

If you are happy to accept that set-up though you can sit down in front of your TV or laptop or whatever you watch on and just enjoy the sweet nothingness as it rolls over you.

Taishou Otome Fairytale isn’t overly remarkable but it is perfectly relaxing viewing.

At twelve episodes this one isn’t going for a deep dive and stays fairly true to its slice of life genre label. Most episodes focus on Tamahiko, the boy who lost the use of his right hand in an accident that killed his mother, and Yuzuki, the girl sent to be his bride, and their daily lives in their home in the mountains. At first Tamahiko is mired in his own depression, apparently relishing in wallowing in his own pathetic existence, to the point where you genuinely want to slap him. Fortunately, Yuzuki manages to kill him with kindness until he has no choice but to accept life isn’t all just misery and pain.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 2

It isn’t as though Taishou Otome Fairytale haven’t made him sympathetic. Losing his mother and being crippled all in one accident was probably bad enough. Having a father who then calls you worthless and sends you away is definitely worse. That same father later telling you to just act as if you died because that would be better for the family… well now we’re in the territory of just truly bad anime parents and the only small positive we’re pulling out of this is that because Tamahiko’s father sent him away we fortunately don’t have to listen to his father very much at all during the anime.

While the father’s actions and choices most definitely established the situation in both isolating his son and then sending Yuzuki to be with him, the father himself only appears very briefly in a handful of episodes.

Taishou Otome Fairytale chooses instead to focus on Tamahiko opening up to his sister, the children in the village where he’s now living, eventually classmates as he returns to school, and of course, Yuzuki.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 2

It’s a wise choice because some relationships can’t be mended and quite clearly Tamahiko’s father is a lost cause. Rather than dwell on that, the story chooses to have Tamahiko connecting with so many others, something that final episode really emphasises when all those others gather.

Meanwhile, Yuzuki is very much the ‘I choose to smile’ kind of girl who happily gets on with chores, who patiently brings food to Tamahiko even when he’s shut himself away, who doesn’t hold a grudge against the girl in town who deliberately causes a misunderstanding between her and Tamahiko. Yuzuki is very sweet and cute, and her blushing face is adorable. What manages to keep her from being a forgettable cloud of fluffy sweetness is that Taishou Otome Fairytale gave her a backbone.

Yuzuki knows when she needs to make a stand and when to hold firm. She’ll speak her mind if she needs to but when it isn’t that important hold her tongue.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 8

The rest of the support cast all serve various narrative and character purposes. Tamahiko’s younger sister arrives for a couple of episodes and shakes up the daily routine of Tamahiko and Yuzuki as well as inspiring Tamahiko to try to go back to school. The village girl causes strife between Tamahiko and Yuzuki forcing the two to be a bit more honest about how they feel toward one another and also opening up the pathway for Tamahiko to end up tutoring the local village children and giving him a connection with the community. The friend he makes at school and his sister show how far Tamahiko has grown as he reaches out to help his friend.

While they all work well enough, Taishou Otome Fairytale hasn’t spent a lot of time fleshing these characters out. And largely after their primary role is done they tend to slip away until they are needed again. On the bright side this means the focus stays on Yuzuki and Tamahiko for the majority of the run time but it also doesn’t help the world they live in feel very real.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 7

The final arc of Taishou Otome Fairytale involves a natural disaster and I will admit it was pretty emotional and I definitely found it rewarding to watch. I wasn’t expecting something that had been pleasant but not overly heavy to suddenly feel so real but the final two episodes of Taishou Otome Fairytale really stepped up a notch.

Visually this anime is pretty ordinary looking most of the time though there are some lovely scenery shots. Also, I really liked a lot of the clothing because of the era in which the story is set. The music also is kind of ordinary, though quite a few of the characters sing throughout the series and most of them sound like normal people singing.

Overall, Taishou Otome Fairytale isn’t my usual kind of anime but I must say for a cute romance it hit the spot during the season and I enjoyed my time with it. Sure there are stronger anime romances out there but if you are looking for something new this one is worth trying.

Images from: Taishou Otome Fairytale. Dir. J Hatori. SynergySP. 2021

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Karandi James

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Review – Ghost Hunt Meets Junjou Romantica In A Not So Great Outing

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Anime Series Review

When looking around for something new to try each season the genre tags help me narrow the selection at least those anime I’m most likely going to enjoy. So The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window with its boys love tag paired up with horror, mystery and the supernatural definitely had me intrigued and willing to give this one a go.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window

And in fairness, all of those genres are indeed on display here however the problem is that the cook had all the right ingredients but didn’t know how to assemble them into something palatable.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is an exercise in how not to bake your story.

Watching The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window actually ends up being quite the frustrating experience because there are some really interesting ideas underlying the narrative. The various psychic characters with a range of abilities could have been really solid and I would still love to actually learn more about the rules and fundamentals of their abilities but unfortunately the anime isn’t willing to share.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10

Even in the final episodes as characters seemingly pluck new skills out of nowhere there doesn’t seem to be a consistent rhyme or reason for what they can do and when they can do it so instead of the plot being resolved satisfactorily we’re left with the power of emotions and characters simply telling us what they are doing but not how or why. It’s somewhat less than satisfying.

Which is so unfair when you have protagonist Mikado seeing spirits and as the series progresses purifying negative energy. What else he can do and how strong he is has yet to be determined but exploring that could have made for a really fun series.

You also have Erika, a girl who has been taught to curse others and who essentially invites dead people inside her and then uses their energy to fuel her curses (and whatever else she decides to do). Again, really potentially intriguing idea and character but utterly underutilised here in The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 3

And the lacklustre characters could have been accepted if the plot had been driven enough to keep us focused on the events rather than the people and yet early episodes have middling ghost investigations which on the surface work well enough but lack the drama and tension of something that truly knows how to tell a ghost story, like Ghost Hunt. As plot threads come together with Mikado and Erika’s stories being linked through the same mysterious individual that could have worked but ultimately I still couldn’t tell you what the antagonist even wanted or how he was beaten other that ‘just cause’.

Then we have the boys love elements. With more recent titles like Given showing the anime world that boys love doesn’t necessarily have to fall back on tropes of possession, violence and potential assault, early episodes of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window are far more reminiscent on the opening episodes of Junjou Romantica and the innuendo is intense and just really off-putting because there’s very little romantic about it.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window

Worse, is that it takes nearly half the season before Mikado actually calls Hiyakawa out on his behaviour. They possibly could have pulled off the scenario if Mikado had in any way made it clear that Hiyakawa’s behaviour wasn’t acceptable earlier and yet for a good three or four episodes Hiyakawa forces himself into Mikado’s soul and uses him as he pleases for his spiritual work all the while uttering lines that are far beyond cringe worthy and feel like they belonged in a totally different era of entertainment.

And then, even though the story relies on ‘The Power of Love’ in the end to save the day it is really hard to understand why these two have any relationship at all because no effort is put into building the pair up as people.

Tricornered Window Ep8 2

So yes, I definitely like the idea of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window much more than I liked any of the execution. What makes it even worse is that even now that the anime is over, I still want more episodes just so that maybe it has a chance to actually start doing something with all the great elements that are already there. Just use them properly.

But that’s kind of wishful thinking.

This is an anime that utterly squandered its potential and while I would love to see the ideas of this story reimagined in a different package, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is done. I cannot say I recommend it unless you really want to see how to undercook a story.

Images from: The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window. Dir. D Iwanaga. Zero-G. 2021.

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Karandi James

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 11 +12 – Problem Solved

The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window Episodes 11 + 12 Review

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window gives us its final two episodes and honestly there will be spoilers here though lets be honest, most of you aren’t watching this anime anyway. I’m also going to keep this short because there doesn’t seem much point in repeating past criticisms and there’s no episodes left to hope for miracles to occur.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 11

So, they go for a power of love solves everything approach and the bad guy (Erika’s Sensei/Mikado’s father) is defeated and left fallen on the floor inside the house and everybody else gets out and then they go to eat meat because why not.

This was not the end we were looking for from The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window

When we toss in the fact that multiple characters just suddenly seem to pull new powers out of nowhere (and that the powers they had were already so vaguely explained they more or less just did whatever they wanted anyway) there’s little satisfaction to be found in the conclusion. Whether it is Erika suddenly sending bloody feet and handprints to ‘connect’ everyone or her yakuza bodyguard being able to reach through them and physically transport people where-ever they needed to be it just seemed far too convenient.

Also, none of them looked worse for wear when they finally got out of the house so The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window even missed an opportunity to make it feel more credible by at least exhausting them for their efforts.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 11

Then we have Keita’s elaborate rock-climbing analogy having tethered Mikado before leaving him in the house with Hiyakawa. Throw in Hanzawa being a ‘pillar of righteousness’ whatever that means but the story more or less uses it to mean that he can anchor Erika in place while she holds on to the tether which theoretically was there to stop Mikado falling though the how and why of all of that just escaped me.

Though perhaps the worst thing The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window does is more or less entirely rewrite Hiyakawa’s personality after the events. Sure, we get that he finally let go of the anger in the box or whatever but he’s literally a different person and not a particularly interesting one in the final half of the final episode. And his relationship with Mikado still makes very little sense.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 12

At least Mikado finally tore up that awful and one sided contract and made it clear to Hiyakawa that he was his own person and wasn’t going to be locked in a box.

Now, I should point out that at least Mikado finally got to confront his father and point out what an awful thing it was to abandon his mother. The family relationship between Mikado, his mother and his father was perhaps the best part of these two episodes. Seeing his mother after everything was done and her finally being able to talk about the man who was a huge part of her life before he upped and left taking even his memory with him was actually kind of cathartic.

Also, these final episodes of The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window did at least remember that Mikado and his mother were the best pair in the story. Wow, the power of love really did win out here.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 11

Anyway, its done and the story, such as it was, has wrapped up. Now I just need to figure out how to write a full review about it because honestly the Night Beyond the Tricornered Window as a concept still intrigues me but the anime itself is just not particularly good.

Images from: The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window. Dir. D Iwanaga. Zero-G. 2021.

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Karandi James

Saihate no Paladin Review – An Isekai With A Focus On World Building Over Fan-Service

Saihate no Paladin Review

When I did my best anime 2021 celebration post, I wasn’t exaggerating when I chose Saihate no Paladin as my favourite isekai for the year. Sure if you are after standard adventures or slice of life in another world stories you will find better options, but for me Saihate no Paladin is the anime that really drew me firmly into its world and while Will does have some memories of his previous life, enough to motivate him to work hard in this one, he isn’t cheating his way through every encounter with knowledge from our world (sometimes highly specialised knowledge and you just have to wonder how so many isekai protagonists have this near photographic memory for things).

Saihate no Paladin Episode 2

Saihate no Paladin gives me what I want from fantasy and reincarnation stories.

For anyone who has ever thought they wasted their life, or even a moment of it, the idea of starting over in a new place with the knowledge that you were given a second chance, is one that has so much potential. You could sit and make a list of all the things you would do better or right but kind of know that mostly you’d probably just fall into the same old patterns and somehow things wouldn’t be any different.

Will, our protagonist in Saihate no Paladin, awakens as a baby with the knowledge that he live a pointless and stagnant first life and as he is raised by a Skeleton (Blood), a mummy (Mary) and a ghost (Gus) he learns to fight, to pray and to cast magic but more than anything else he finds in himself the desire to improve and to live this life better than his last. It takes him awhile to figure out what that means but after the events that occur as he comes of age he makes his vow to the god of his choice and sets out into the world with high ambitions.

Saihate no Paladin Episode 4

What I loved most about this process was it wasn’t a one or two episode montage where we just kind of see the baby, see a few training clips and then here we go fully formed warrior boy. Instead this introduction takes five episodes really developing the relationship Will has with the three who raise him in this world.

Its a risky move and one that has put some viewers off Saihate no Paladin given it isn’t your standard isekai full of upbeat quippy characters and there’s been no busty elf-girl in sight (at least not yet). Sure we do get a few standard moments such as before Will comes of age Blood invites him to drink and then leads him to try to spy on Mary changing.

Saihate no Paladin Episode 3

Also, Will is ridiculously strong due to the training he goes through with Blood, Mary and Gus though just how overpowered he is doesn’t become truly apparent until he’s fighting a god and more so after he leaves his home and sets out into the world and we all get a clearer idea of just how much stronger Will is than your average human in this world. Fortunately, again because of the time spent in the early episodes, it doesn’t feel cheap. Will isn’t strong because he is reborn. He is strong because of the life he has lived this time around and the effort he has put into his training and his faith.

Where Saihate no Paladin is perhaps weakest is in Will’s personality. While he is pleasant enough he isn’t the most dynamic or interesting or protagonists and more than that the entire anime is filled with internal dialogue from his character that usually adds nothing. It also has a weird audio effect over it which just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the anime and so feels intrusive.

Saihate no Paladin Episode 5

Perhaps if his internal commentary provided some additional insight or seemed to contrast with Will’s exterior then I could see the point. And actually, this is where I’d point out that Mushoku Tensei did internal dialogue fairly brilliantly using the main character’s adult voice and definitely providing a clearer picture of Rudy’s character. Then again, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord also used internal dialogue well to show the conflict between the introverted guy’s interior character compared to his demon-lord persona.

The tone of Saihate no Paladin also clearly changes after Will leaves his home and sets out on his own. He meets new people and makes a friend, helps villagers and fights demon-beasts before arriving in a town and being acknowledged by both the temple and the crown-prince for his potential. The world definitely starts expanding during this second half of the anime and Will starts learning a lot more about the world he lives in from those he meets.

Saihate no Paladin Episode 10

It isn’t all brilliant and there are at times more or less exposition dumps as other characters explain things to him and the pace, while mostly continuing its deliberate march, gets a little choppier. The final episode of this first season is actually where the pacing is at its worst and the final confrontation of the season definitely feels rushed. Almost as it this anime needed a thirteenth episode to really finish properly.

And with that said, while Saihate no Paladin leaves us at a perfectly sound resting point, the story has barely begun. Will has only taken his first steps on his own and there’s still so much for him to do. Fortunately he’s started to gather allies and friends around him but there’s so much world he still knows nothing about.

Saihate no paladin Episode 12

Its one of those anime that would be just criminal if it didn’t continue – which usually means it won’t though there has been a second season announcement so I guess we’ll wait and see if it appears.

Visually Saihate no Paladin isn’t exactly amazing. The colour palette works for the story being told as it uses more subdued colours than most isekai adventure anime. The character designs for the ghost, the mummy and the skeleton were perhaps the standouts as most of the other characters are pretty generic looking so far. Action scenes look good enough but can’t compete with other fantasy anime out there. I do however love how magic and combat are combined by the main character at times.

And I absolutely love the music in Saihate no Paladin. From the OP, The Sacred Torch, to the music swelling behind conflicts to even incidental background music, there’s a real attempt to set a tone and mood that reminds me of older cinematic works.

Saihate no Paladin

I will admit, Saihate no Paladin isn’t for everyone and the divided opinions of it in reviews on sites like MAL kind of make that clear. For some this is an anime that mis-fires and doesn’t get going. For me though this reminds me of the epic fantasy novels I read as a teenager where sometimes it did take awhile for the story to get going but the world and characters were firmly established giving everything that little bit more weight and meaning.

As always, I’d love to know what my readers though so let me know how you found Saihate no Paladin in the comments below.

Images from: Saihate no Paladin. Dir. Y. Nobuta. Children’s Playground Entertainment. 2021

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Karandi James

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episodes 11 + 12 – Tears and Kisses From the Ruins

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episodes 11 + 12 Review

Just like a fairy-tale Taishou Otome Fairytale concludes its stories with our characters having learned and groan from their ordeals and smiles and romance all around. Well you can’t say the title of this anime didn’t warn you that they were going for the sweet resolution rather than the tragic one.

Episode 11 sees Tamahiko and Ryou walking to Tokyo in search of both Yuzuki and Ryou’s brother who moved to Tokyo for work earlier in the season. However on arriving in Tokyo both are taken back by the sheer scale of the wreckage caused by the earthquake. Prepare for your heart to be wrenched as you watch Tamahiko’s frantic search for Yuzuki.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 11

The ending Taishou Otome Fairytale needed.

I’ve mentioned before that Taishou Otome Fairytale is at its absolute best when Tamahiko and Yuzuki are together so splitting them for the entirety of episode 11 may have been seen as a risky move. However, it is one that pays off big time emotionally as the full extent of Tamahiko’s growth as a character is on full display and more than that, his honest emotional reaction to the situation and his separation from Yuzuki is more than enough to carry this story now.

Even before setting out, his decision to open his house to the villagers whose homes were destroyed was quite unlike the old Tamahiko and one that some would have thought twice about given the treatment he’s received from people in the village.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 11

When Tamahiko became a character I cared about individually and outside of his relationship with Yuzuki I’m not really sure but I do know that watching him insist that Yuzuki was alive and that he would find her and watching his earnest efforts to do just that certainly caused me to tear up.

While it is certainly convenient that Taishou Otome Fairytale brings back Tamahiko’s uncle, younger sister, Kotori and her brother who all end up assisting in the search in some way, it really does give the reunion the emotional touch it deserves. Tamahiko and Yuzuki have touched so many lives.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 11

Episode 12 of Taishou Otome Faiytale flips the perspective and Yuzuki’s journey is finally revealed though not just in Tokyo. Through flashbacks we see her growing affection for Tamahiko as well as her desire to return to him. While at times she has seemed too nice, too compliant, it was really lovely to see that she has chosen to cherish Tamahiko and not just because she was bought as a bride for him.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 12

The one note that kind of missed the mark in these final two episodes was the brief confrontation with Tamahiko’s father. Largely handled by the uncle, and good on him for standing his ground, Tamahiko really didn’t get the chance to confront his father or really deal with the poor relationship they have (not that I imagine it would have gone well either way). Instead he merely gets to say he’s glad his father wasn’t injured, though honestly Tamahiko’s father getting buried in an earthquake probably would have felt justified given how he treats even members of his own family.

However, given the nature of the story, Taishou Otome Fairytale ends with the sweetest of fairy-tale endings and the characters return to their peaceful lives in the village that is slowly rebuilding and Tamahiko has realised he’s no longer alone. It might be a little saccharine but sometimes that is exactly the mood you are in so it definitely serves a purpose.

I’ll get to the full season review shortly of this sweet delight.

Images from: Taishou Otome Fairytale. Dir. J Hatori. SynergySP. 2021

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Karandi James

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child Episodes 9 + 10 – Apparently They Have 3 Chances And Have Done This More Than Once

Deep Insanity Episode 9 + 10 Review

Deep Insanity seemed to change its mind about having one chance to assassinate El-Cee. Or maybe it didn’t and they’ve now just clarified. Apparently Vera’s information gave them three opportunities to assassinate the girl. Too bad it didn’t tell her that Shigure was going to be hanging out with her in asylum before the mission even began because that could have saved them a lot of trouble. Assuming of course that Shigure could ever pull the trigger.

And that’s what really makes me wonder about the entire plot of Deep Insanity. We now know the Commander has tried again and again, with three chances in each time line, to kill El-Cee and yet apparently this many repetitions in and she’s still allowing Leslie to be killed on a failed mission and she’s still entrusting the actual sniping to Shigure even though it is clear that even when he has a shot he’s not going to take it.

Deep Insanity Episode 9

I’m really failing to see Vera’s logic on this one.

Just a heads up, in case anyone cares, there are spoilers below.

Deep Insanity has bigger issues than plot holes.

Then again, it probably doesn’t matter whether Vera’s plans and motives make sense or not at this point. These two episodes of Deep Insanity were deeply boring and even with potential assassinations, magic gizmos, betrayals and conspiracies, we spend a large part of one of these episodes with the three stooges (Shigure’s platoon mates) planning a BBQ (another one) and blocking their commander from assigning anything that would get in the way of meat and fireworks.

Deep Insanity Episode 10

It’s all just so inane and even though Shigure uses the cover of buying ingredients for the BBQ to sneak back into Asylum, again, nothing particularly interesting happens.

And then, weirdly in episode 10, Shigure is actually given a consequence for illegally sneaking into Asylum, something that all of the characters seem to do regularly. Deep Insanity finally removes him from his platoon which of course means the rest of the platoon members now need to take him for a drinking party…

Wait, is Deep Insanity’s entire plot just an excuse to watch boring characters eat and drink?

Anyway, when Shigure steps out of the bar for air he hears gunshots and rather than alert his team mates, or anyone, he runs unarmed toward the sound and finds a wounded man who essentially tells him to warn his commander.

Deep Insanity Episode 10

By the end of the episode the commander has led the last of the team down into Asylum and gotten them all killed or severely injured and Shigure turns up just in time for the whole thing to be too late and then gets shot through. Then he wakes up. I’m assuming the implication is he’s now gone back in time though why and how I guess is due to the magic gizmo his commander gave him earlier though there’s no clarity on this and more to the point, I was kind of happier that these characters were all done with because they really are just dull.

Deep Insanity Episode 10

So there are two episodes left and I still don’t know who is plotting what or why and I’m not even sure what El-Cee is other than a great plot device. None of their missions have made any sense and the entire set-up with the exploration of Asylum because of some disease spreading around seems to have been utterly abandoned. Deep Insanity is probably an apt title. I really should have dropped this one much earlier in the season and yet now I’m kind of committed to seeing it through to the end.

You can read the full review here.

Images from: Deep Insanity: The Lost Child. Dir. S. Oonuma. Silver Link. 2021

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Karandi James

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10 – I’m Confused As To Whether Hiyakawa Is Evil Or Just a Fool

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10 Review

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window has been a strange creature so far and I’ll admit I’m still where I was back in the beginning, which is largely intrigued by the possibilities of the story more so than the story itself. As we take yet another turn with Mikado now trying to return to Hiyakawa after he didn’t seek to protect him in episode 9, for reasons that actually make perfect sense, all the characters are here and things are coming together but it still feels like something is missing.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10

Can the Night Beyond the Tricornered Window bring all this together in two more episodes?

I guess we have to ask just how much we’re going to accept psychic hand-waving as they rush us through steps in order to get the confrontation between Mikado and his father and I assume we’re eventually going to see Mikado reunited with Hiyakawa and maybe they’ll finally have that long overdue heart to heart. Or maybe they’ll just slug each other. Who knows?

But this week we have in The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window we have Mikado announce to the crew he can purify the weird net of negative energy that Sensei has been tapping into and then we learn that the body-guard guy is somehow immune to death because of the thing Erika did to him. And all of this just kind of leads them to the house where they go inside and the police guy pours a line of water around the house and I guess that’s meant to keep things in?

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10

Throw in some corpse like shadows, and a Labyrinth style house where the rooms all kind of float and move about and you have serious confusion about what is actually meant to be going on here.

And other than saving Hiyakawa, Mikado’s goal, I’m not even sure what the rest hope to accomplish at this point.

Though, we do get a rare treat from The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window the night before where Mikado has a chat with his mother at the dining table. Mikado and his mother’s relationship is one of the best things this anime has given us and with so many appalling parents in anime having a caring mother, even if she is cursed and remembers nothing about your father, is kind of like winning the lottery.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10

Now if only Mikado could do something about his father/sensei.

You know before he gets cursed, brainwashed, flattened by a falling house or whatever else is actually about to happen.

Weirdly though, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window has managed to make the Erika and Sakaki duo quite a workable supporting pair. You could actually see the two of them in their own story without all of Mikado and Hiyakawa’s baggage and it would probably work quite well. The Yakuza and the Psychic.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window Episode 10

Anyway, those two are just breaking the ghosts powering the whole labyrinth house thing and Mikado is busy confronting his father so that just leaves Keita to have a sit down with Hiyakawa and honestly he’s not the right person for the job and even he seems to realise he’s just got to hold on long enough for Mikado to actually arrive. But it doesn’t look like The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is going to give him enough time.

On that note… What is with the triangles? I was hoping that would be explained at some point but now even Mikado is just calling forth magic triangles and I don’t get it. Other than its in the title.

You can read the full season review here.

Images from: The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window. Dir. D Iwanaga. Zero-G. 2021.

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Karandi James