It’s Here: Thoughts on Anime 2018 Book Launch!

There’s a definite sense of excitement when I see so many of my posts from last year coming together into a single form.

For the second year in a row I’ve compiled an ebook with the content from my blog though this time I’m selling direct via PayPal. You have your choice of PDF, EPUB or MOBI formats and you will receive your copy via email after payment. Patrons, if you haven’t already got your copy, go to this post on Patreon and it should allow you to download the version you want – if it doesn’t work let me know ASAP and I will email you a copy.

Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook

Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook

Collection of reviews, features, and top 5’s from the blog in 2018 including reviews completed for patrons only. Available in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF forms. No images.

A$6.00

Buying the ebook helps support the work I do on 100 Word Anime and hopefully I’ll be able to continue to grow the blog and produce content people would like to read. Though I would like to take this moment to ask that you consider becoming a patron.

Now before we get too much further I do need to do a major shout out to all of my wonderful patrons and to those who have donated to 100 Word Anime during 2018. In particular I’d like to give a special thank you to:

So, what’s in the book?

Well, almost all my Top 5’s from 2018, including my best of 2018 Top 5 lists that technically haven’t finished coming out on my blog just yet with my top 5 males and top 5 anime of the year still to be published.

Almost all of my Features are included.

Now if you are wondering why some Top 5’s and some Features have been left out part of that is because the book was starting to clock up a massive word count, and the other part is that occasionally I write a feature directly related to something happening during a particular week and it really isn’t relevant to anyone a month later. Also, a handful of my Top 5’s last year were on horror movies rather than anime so they thematically didn’t fit.

As for series reviews:

  1. Cells at Work (Summer)
  2. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Winter)
  3. March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Winter)
  4. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (Autumn)
  5. Dakaichi (Autumn)
  6. DamePri Anime Caravan (Winter)
  7. Goblin Slayer (Autumn)
  8. How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Summer)
  9. How to Keep a Mummy (Winter)
  10. Lostorage Conflated Wixoss (Spring)
  11. Phantom in the Twilight (Summer)
  12. ReLIFE Final Arc (Winter)
  13. Rokuhoudou Yostuiro Biyori (Spring)
  14. School Babysitters (Winter)
  15. Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San (Autumn)
  16. Space Battleship Tiramisu (Spring)
  17. Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld (Winter)
  18. Steins;Gate 0 (Summer)
  19. Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Spring)
  20. The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Winter)
  21. Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary (Autumn)
  22. 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Summer)
  23. 3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Spring)
  24. A.I.C.O Incarnate (Winter)
  25. Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Summer)
  26. B the Beginning (Winter)
  27. Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Spring)
  28. Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Spring)
  29. Darling in the Franxx (Spring)
  30. Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Winter)
  31. Devilman Crybaby (Winter)
  32. Doreiku (Spring)
  33. Jingai-San no Yome (Autumn)
  34. Junji Ito Collection (Winter)
  35. Kokkoku (Winter)
  36. Libra of Nil Admirari (Spring)
  37. Record of Grancrest War (Spring)
  38. Release the Spyce (Autumn)
  39. Sanrio Boys (Winter)
  40. Caligula (Spring)
  41. Devils’ Line (Spring)
  42. The Master of Ragnarok (Summer)
  43. Tokyo Ghoul RE (Spring)

Well, there’s just a few series reviews. Also episode reviews are included in the appendices for a large number of shows covered last year and all patron only episode reviews are included. Plus, episode reviews of Dakaichi and Goblin Slayer that I never published on the blog because I was reviewing after every four episodes with Arthifis so I just wrote up my episode thoughts for the book.

Hopefully the contents page works in all formats so you should be able to easily navigate between sections and reviews are arranged alphabetically by season. Obviously if you have any issues with the ebook or the format, please contact me and I’ll send you another copy or a different version. This is my first attempt at doing this alone so it may not have worked out perfectly. However, I’m fairly confident I’ve got it.

But, if $6 is seeming a little too much for a year’s content (actually I get it, we’re all working on a budget), I have a slimmer version of the book available.

Short Thoughts on Anime 2018

Short Thoughts on Anime 2018 ebook

Smaller selection of features, top 5's and reviews from 2018 on the blog. Available in EPUB, MOBI, or PDF forms. No images.

A$3.00

For the price of a ko-fi you can get the short version of the ebook. The only episode reviews included in the short version are for anime series that were reviewed exclusively for patrons or did not appear on my blog at all. A number of series reviews were removed as were a handful of top 5’s and features.

Basically instead of 220,000+ words that you get in the whole ebook, you only get 130,000+ words. It still makes for a pretty good read if I do say so myself, but it is definitely the trim version.

This is a one-off way of supporting 100 Word Anime throughout 2019. I’d really love to see this blog grow and I am continuing to work on producing content for people to enjoy. Consider lending a hand and getting a compilation of the 2018 content.

By the way, if you can’t make up your mind, or can’t right now but think you might want to buy the book later, it is available in the bookshop which you can access via the sidebar.

Karandi's Bookshop Feature Image

Thanks again and happy reading.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 7 Review – Matoba Makes the Scene

Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 7 Manga Cover

No surprise that I got excited when I saw the cover of this volume. Natori has been hanging around for awhile but in volume 7 we finally get introduced to Matoba. And what an introduction. With four chapters worth of story, this is certainly an entrance worth paying attention to.

There’s also another special episode which features the yokai and Natsume playing a game of tag and then another separate story at the end, but I’m not going to review it because this is definitely all about Matoba.

Chapters 23 – 26

One odd thing that I noticed with this volume is that the back of the book that does a quick chapter summary actually only lists this story as chapters 23 – 25 but then there are definitely four chapter markers in the story (and these are some of the most beautiful the series has given us so far). It isn’t really a problem, it is just a bit odd as I’m wondering where chapter 26 disappeared to when they went to write the summary.

So other than pretty chapter cover pages, what do these chapters brings us?

Well, I finally understand why Irina loves Matoba so much. While I found him an intriguing character in the anime, his presence in these chapters of the manga is amazing. He’s a force of nature and a blast of darkness into Natsume’s life. Where most of the characters we’ve encountered have been at their core nice people or at least frequenting that grey area in between right and wrong, Matoba is an incredibly rational and cold character and he does not like yokai or view them as anything more than tools.

Given the story is framed entirely from Natsume’s perspective and Matoba’s view is so at odds with his, it puts these two against each other. It also re-positions Natori as the middle ground and so it is vital that Natori is present in this story. Natori is the exorcist we are most familiar with and up until has been the one we’ve been a little wary of even though he has helped Natsume in the past. Particularly after volume 6 where Natori and Natsume go more or less head-to-head, these chapters really help to bring Natori back into the kind of an ally point of view particularly when contrasted with Matoba’s relentless pursuit of power.

Even in the anime, Matoba’s stories were always some of the darkest and most memorable, and reading it is no exception. If anything, this story, carried over four chapters, has far more impact here than it did played out over two episodes. There’s more time to linger on particular moments and more time to think about just how dangerous the situation is that Natsume now finds himself. It is comparable to when we met Taki and Natsume was kidnapped by a yokai, only things get a great deal more serious for longer here.

Needless to say, I loved this volume and reading this story. These chapters are the best I have read so far and I really look forward to whenever Matoba appears next. If it like the anime his appearances will be few and far between and that is a shame because he really heightened my emotional response to this story and made me feel a real sense of unease and danger.

I also like that Natsume is forced to deal with his own views on yokai whenever he is confronted by other exorcists. The drama that it creates is always good fun and I feel we see Natsume at his best when put in these situations.

Looking forward to more from Natsume and I’m really looking forward to getting beyond what I’ve watched. Because if the stories afterwards are anything like this one was then it will be an absolute delight to read.

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 7 it is available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Durarara!! Volume 1 Light Novel Review: Everybody Has Some Story To Tell

I’ve mentioned this before, but the anime of Durarara is one of those that I’ve tried repeatedly to watch and repeatedly walked away from. It’s never managed to really grab me but I just keep thinking that maybe if I’m in the right mood it will work. However, still having not watched the anime I finally decided why not try the light novels? What’s the worst that could happen? And so I dove into Ikebukuro district with these characters for a spell and now I have to wonder what I thought about the story.

The problem is, much like with the anime, I think I should like this. The ideas are interesting, the characters are pretty interesting, everything about it seems like it should work for me. And yet, I found myself regularly putting this volume down and at one point I even read two volumes of the Natsume Yuujinchou manga before returning to finish this story. I wanted to see how it ended but at the same time I found reading this really tedious.

Normally when that happens it is because of the style of writing. However, the writing itself isn’t really a problem. It is descriptive enough without tripping over itself to use flowery speech. Events move along and a good enough pace. Again, it all seems like it should work.

I think what ultimately does this story in for me is I don’t feel I can relate to any character in the story. They all have goals and motives but I don’t seem to find myself caring what they do or whether they accomplish their goals. Even the climax of this volume, which is actually a really nice culmination of lots of events and stories all coming together and should be quite satisfying is more just kind of there and I closed the book feeling more like a burden had been lifted.

Still, there is plenty I can recommend about this book to others.

There’s a large cast of characters who all have their own idiosyncrasies which I think most people would find someone of interest. Even though there is kind of a protagonist, the story isn’t told from any single character’s perspective and chapters chop between the different groups and individuals helping many of the cast members feel more fleshed out and realised than they might have been.

As I mentioned before, the plot builds nicely to a climax. Even though early on it feels like a lot of events are random or of no consequence, everything does come together in the end and there is a sense of resolve about the whole volume despite it leaving plenty of loose ends to come back to in future stories. It really does feel very nicely planned out.

If you were thinking of picking up a light novel, and you really don’t want it to be an isekai, Durarara!! seems like it might be a fairly decent place to start. As for me, I’m probably not continuing this series. The feeling of utter indifference to each and every cast member means that no matter how quirky they are or how well constructed the plot is, I’m kept an arm’s length from events emotionally and I just can’t get into the world being described here.

But how about you? Have you read Durarara!! and if yes, what did you think?

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Durarara Volume 1 it is available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or, use one of my product affiliate links.
DURARARA OST BEST HIT IKEBUKURO PSYCHE DE REMIX
DURARARA OST BEST HIT IKEBUKURO PSYCHE DE REMIX

Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 6 Review – The Stands We Take

Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 6 Cover

Volume 6 was a little bit different with three chapters dedicated to the story of Natsume and Taki befriending Kai, a troubled kid who seems to be being stalked by a yokai. The situation gets more complicated when Natsume realises Natori is in town and might also be after Kai. In addition to this story we also get two shorter stories, one featuring the very adorable Little Fox and one featuring Reiko and then just a random story about other characters (will admit I wasn’t as in to that).

Chapters 20 – 22

It was kind of refreshing to see that Natsume wasn’t actually the one being targeted in this story. Quite by chance he comes across Kai and releases him from a box but then he has the hard job of winning over Kai’s trust. If you want some warm and fluffy feels, watching Taki, Kai and Natsume enjoying nature together is sure to hit the spot.

However, as with most Natsume stories it isn’t all sunshine and light and Kai continues to be targeted. After a while, Natsume realises Natori is back and the is the one out to get Kai, and with that comes the realisation that Kai isn’t actually a human child. We’ve seen Natsume confuse humans and yokai before but this time, Natsme doesn’t reject Kai after the truth is known. Instead, he stands firm beside Kai even as Natori tells Natsume to stay out of it.

This ends up putting Natsume in a fairly dangerous place between Natori and Kai as Kai ceases to trust Natsume and the conclusion of this story is very satisfying.

We’ve seen these characters grow so much and the relationships between them grow, change, get tested, and reforged and this story really continues this beautifully. The odd relationship Natsume has with Natori that isn’t quite friendship because there’s still a layer of mistrust there continues to be a highlight of this story. Taki’s presence is wonderful as a human friend to Natsume and someone who can help him in small ways. And Kai is wonderful as a yokai who is also alone and isolated and feels the sting of betrayal.

It’s just a good story and it was given sufficient room in these three chapters to really spread its wings and be the story it needed to be.

Special Episode 5

This special episode reunites Natsume with the Little Fox. Seriously, the Little Fox could just sit still and smile at us on the page and I’d probably be delighted. He’s such a cute character. But his interactions with Natsume continue to be really fantastic.

There’s not much to this story and we did see this one in the anime where the Little Fox travels to see Natsume before Natsume takes him back home, but that doesn’t stop it being truly adorable.

Special Episode 6

The story of Reiko and Hinoe’s meeting is retold in this special story. Again, this one has been seen in the anime but it is a charming short story and gives us a bit more insight into Reiko and Hinoe and their relationship and it is just a bit of fun.

The Corner of the Schoolhouse

This one shot story is entirely focused on some different characters and a romance. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really think much of it, but that’s probably because I was reading a Natsume book and was eager to get to the next chapter of Natsume so all and all the story works, it is cute, but I wasn’t that interested.

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 6 it is available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon? Volumes 9 and 10 Light Novel Review

Volumes 9 and 10 are more or less one story so I’m reviewing them together. That means there will be spoilers for the end of volume 9 in this review.

Previous reviews for Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon can be found here.

Review:

Volumes 9 and 10 plunge us back into the dungeon at first but with a slight difference on what we have seen before. These volumes are actually looking at explaining a bit more about the odd nature of the dungeon and we meet some new and interesting inhabitants as well as coming across another slightly undesirable familiar.

Yes, Bell is back in the thick of things, rescuing a monster who kind of looks like a girl and can speak. Initially taking her from the dungeon to protect her from those hunting her, trouble brews on the surface and soon, with new allies, Bell is forced to return her below and with that they are plunged into yet more trouble. I’m not going to talk to much about what happens in specifics because I really feel any real details that I give you are just going to take away from the experience of reading this story.

DanMachiVol10b

For someone who has always wanted to be a hero, Bell is faced with some really tough decisions in these volumes and while you might feel his rescue the damsel in distress thing is well established, the difficulty in choosing to extend a helping hand to an inhabitant of the dungeon isn’t overlooked here. It is made the centre-piece of a fairly tragic series of events that forces Bell to turn his back on even Aiz, his ideal, in order to protect who he believes he needs to be (and it will be very interesting to see the ramifications of that in future volumes).

As such, the journey these two volumes take us on are a little more emotionally wrought than previous ones. The light hearted banter, the oddly placed fan-service, and even the over-the-top heroics of the previous volumes have kind of taken a back seat as we see the truly dirty reality where doing what is right is not an easy choice and what is right is something that is difficult to ascertain.

While Bell’s familia stand by him through the mess, much is lost and those that were becoming his friends now see him in a different light. Despite everything Bell accomplishes in these volumes, and he does accomplish a lot and overcomes some really huge challenges, the cost is almost heart-breaking.

That said, it isn’t as though these volumes just plunge us into a downer for the sake of it, and as we learn more about their gods and their plans we can already see that there is a light awaiting us in future stories. The question is, will things get worse before they get better?

DanMachiVol9a

I really do recommend these two volumes (though read them together because volume 9 will just kind of leave you wondering what all that set-up was for that didn’t quite deliver anything). There’s some great characters introduced, a large showing of the support cast, some truly amazing battles, and a villain that seems really worth taking down. Bell is at his absolute best here as he really is forced to step up and not go with the flow.

I really had fun with these and I’d love to know your thoughts on them if you’ve read them.

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Volume 9 or Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Volume 10 they are available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 5 Manga Review: Friends Past and Present

Volume 5 of Natsume’s Book of Friends gives us a wide variety of characters and stories and really does look at the influence of the past on the present. We also meet Taki in a double chapter story that is as superb to read as it was to watch.

It feels like a lot of this volume is quite a bit darker than normal as each of the stories has a real risk to the characters and a real sense of tragedy hanging over it. While each is resolved in its own way, it feels like now that we’ve been introduced to the world of yokai and begun to understand its dangers, they are now expanding on the perils Natsume faces. Still, it isn’t all doom and gloom (not that it would be a problem if it was as I quite liked the darker anime episodes so I really enjoyed reading this volume) as we have another special story included in this volume that focuses on Tanuma and Natsume.

Chapter 16: Ageless Feelings

Perhaps the weakest of the stories in volume 5, chapter 16 still delivers a fairly compelling read when Natsume goes on a study trip with his friends and meets an old woman looking for a childhood friend and then a mermaid. The reason this story doesn’t quite hit home is because it is the old woman’s tragedy that we’re seeing unfold here and Natsume is more or less a bystander.

Then again, Natsume never stays a bystander for long and certainly he takes an active role in resolving the conflict. Still, as much as the ending is kind of nice, it is also fairly tragic that the woman has carried a feeling of guilt for so long and that the mermaid has harboured her ill will for so long. While it definitely reflects human nature, the situation is just kind of sad no matter how you look at it.

Chapters 17 & 18: Do Not Call

And now Natsume is going to meet Taki. She’s a fantastic character in the anime and her introductory story is one where both she and Natsume go through some very real danger. I was pleased to see this one in the manga and surprised by how affective some of the scenes were. The start of chapter 18 in particular when Natsume has been captured by the yokai was so much starker and seemingly darker here in the manga in the black and white than the anime managed.

Natsume5c

Taki’s link to the past is her grandfather and the knowledge he left her, incomplete though it was. In fact, it was her grandfather’s magic circle design that got Taki in trouble with a really nasty yokai and ultimately dragged Natsume into the conflict. Yet, Taki really loved her grandfather and she cherishes her connection with him despite all the bad things that it might lead to.

We also see Natsume and Taki forge a fairly solid friendship in a short time period. They both have connections to the yokai world through their grandparents and facing this kind of danger just naturally got them closer together. What I love though is that it isn’t a romantic relationship but very much one of mutual respect and friendship. Taki is such a great character and this story that brings her into the Natsume world is a fantastic read.

Chapter 19: Temporary House

But the great characters just keep coming. After introducing Taki to us, we get a story that focuses very much on Reiko and her past actions and the troubles they bring to Natsume in the present. After being spotted by a yokai and followed home, Natsume learns that this yokai had been in the house before when Shigure was a boy but somehow all the misfortunes had stopped after a mysterious girl had visited the house.

Natsume5d

Natsume’s relationship with Reiko has remained ambiguous. On the one hand, she is the one who could see the same things Natsume sees and it is her book that Natsume now owns and is trying to return the names from. She is also a distorted reflection of him as she became isolated from both humans and yokai because of her gift.

We see this distortion again when Natsume uses the same spell he sees Reiko using in the past to chase away the yokai causing immense damage to the room. Where Reiko ran away and never returned to the house, Natsume apologises and is welcomed as a part of the household. It is a touching story and one I really loved reading as it really did help to see Reiko a bit more clearly.

Special Episode 4

Natsume5b

Only one special in this volume, which is fine given how satisfying the other stories were. This one focuses on Tanuma inviting Natsume over to his house. We’ve seen this scene in the anime where Tanuma wants to show the shadow fish to Natsume and we realise Natsume can in fact see the real fish and not just their shadows. Still, much like Taki, Tanuma is a great character and a solid friend to Natsume and seeing these small steps as they build their friendship is fantastic.

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Natsume’s Book of Friends Volume 5 it is available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Volume 2 Light Novel Review: They Introduced a Bunny Girl

Arifureta Volume 2 Cover

When you have a main party this overpowered the only thing to do is throw everything at them, including terrible puns. Hajime and Yue having escaped the dungeon now encounter a blue bunny girl before setting off to defeat the remaining labyrinths. If you missed my review of Volume 1 you can find it here.

Review:

I’m really torn on this second volume of Arifureta. On the one hand, I like the overall quest Hajime and Yue are on to conquer all the dungeons and get back to  earth. On the other hand, we’re definitely starting to build a harem with the introduction of Shea, the single most annoying punching bag character ever introduced. So reading this volume was a mix of moments that I really enjoyed followed by a lot of inane interactions between the new core group of three that just didn’t sit well with me.

Arifureta Volume 2

There are two real parts to this volume. The first is Hajime and Yue leaving the labyrinth and being recruited by Shea to save her family of bunny men which Hajime ends up doing despite his endless protests because despite being a complete ass ninety percent of the time they still want us to somewhat like him and believe that he’s kind of a good person who was just warped by circumstance. What follows, after a lot of waffling and some not so funny attempts at comedy, is a sequence that kind of reminded me of that episode in Full Metal Panic Fumoffu where Sousuke turns the soft-hearted football team into killers.

I will admit, while I found the sequence fairly entertaining it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth because we now had these ruthless rabbit people pretty much happy to engage in the kill or be killed mentality that Hajime had to develop to survive. Then again, part of this process is probably trying to emphasise what Hajime lost in the process and maybe the point is to help him slowly figure out that he needs to reign it in. At least he kind of acknowledged he may have gone to far before they moved on, though even that moment is kind of ruined by Shea being Shea (and can Hajime stop using rubber bullets on her and just kill her).

“You know, I really did feel bad about what I did to you guys. Even if it was to train you as quickly as possible in the short time we had, I should have put a stop to it after a while.” – Hajime

The second half of the story focuses more on Hajime, Yue and Shea venturing into the human towns and joining the adventurers guild before taking on their second labyrinth. The issue with this part is that the first book was fun because we started with Hajime literally at the mercy of everything and having to coldly build himself up, discarding everything human in the process in order to survive. This labyrinth doesn’t have that.

Instead we artificially limit Yue and Hajime by using a mineral that makes it hard to use Mana or magic, making Shea the tank of the team as they traverse this labyrinth. There still is never a real sense of danger and Hajime and Yue don’t ever really get serious, although they do get annoyed more often than not at the taunting of the labyrinth’s owner.

We get a few cuts to the other students and what they are up to, but they are definitely side characters at the moment and their scenes feel very much like after thoughts. They might be leading to something later on but right now they aren’t very interesting.

Basically it isn’t as compelling a read as volume 1. It is still quite fun in its own way but a lot of the tone and the general idea of Hajime’s character is kind of lost and this volume settles into far more generic isekai tropes. And while that doesn’t result in a bad book by any means, it also isn’t grabbing me as much as volume 1 did.

I’ll give this series another volume and see if it can pick itself back up or whether I’ll part ways with it there.

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Arifureta Volume 2 it is available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com