Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Anime Review

Not For Me But Not All That Bad

You know that feeling you get when you watch something and you know it is fine there’s nothing technically wrong with what it is delivering, but you just aren’t in to it? That’s the feeling I had for the majority of Hitoribocchi’s run. While I was initially intrigued by the set up because I was also an incredibly shy person going to school and Bocchi’s obvious social anxiety was something I related to I quickly found any connection I had with her dissipating and none of the rest of the cast really grabbed my interest.

I think part of the problem for me at least was that the anime played each of these characters and their various social issues for laughs and while I found their quirks interesting, I didn’t find them funny. Even exaggerated to such a degree I mostly found these characters in need of support rather than chuckles and largely couldn’t get into what was being played out.

Bocchi’s social anxiety is actually pretty well presented with her legs shaking and cramping, her voice freezing or stuttering, and when push comes to shove her stomach giving out and causing her to throw up in social settings. However what is less well presented is her manner of dealing with these things. Her list making of ideas that go from idiotic to useless is supposed to be charming I assume but mostly it just made me want to shake her.

Also, so many characters either not acknowledging her severe anxiety or responding to her antics just seemed weird. While I get that she isn’t friends with every one in the class by the end of the season, Bocchi’s behaviour is erratic at best and you would think there would be more of a reaction to it. Then again, when you see the crowd shots of the rest of the class there are clearly a whole bunch of oddballs in one room (I really wanted to know more about the girl who wears the eye mask every lesson) so maybe Bocchi’s behaviour isn’t that out there compared to theirs.

Affiliate Link – Art Book

When you throw in a couple of characters I genuinely despised, such as the useless excuse of a teacher who is terrified of a student who has never done anything outwardly hostile, then any desire I had to try to connect with the anime as it continued quickly faded away. By around the mid-season mark I was more or less over this one but continued with it to see how they concluded Bocchi’s friend quest.

Now, despite the negativity of those previous paragraphs, it should be noted that lots of people found Hitoribocchi a truly charming watch and really loved the support cast, particularly Aru. Which really means overall enjoyment hinges on whether or not you find these characters cute and charming and like to laugh along with their antics or whether you find the entire thing really tragic and find the comedy elements intrusive.

Even for me, I found Nako, the first friend Bocchi makes, to be the most stable element in Hitoribocchi. While she isn’t as exuberant or interesting as some of the other cast members, she routinely gets the best moments as she interacts with Bocchi, consoles her, supports her, and occasionally messes with her just to see the reaction. Between Bocchi and Nako there did seem to be a genuine friendship building over the course of the series and when the anime focused on that relationship I found it to be at its strongest.

However, the self-declared world’s greatest vice-president Aru is another story. I literally found every scene that focused on her and her poor luck to be the least interesting moments and they were only slightly less frustrating than the stammering teacher. The exchange student who wants to be a ninja ended up somewhere between Aru and Nako as some moments with her were pretty adorable and others were just silly (though whether you find that charming or eye-roll worthy is a personal opinion).

Realistically the character designs are cute and appealing as many of these cute girl shows are with each character having a distinct enough design. The colour scheme was also pretty nice with some bright backgrounds and accessories.

There’s nothing wrong with this anime. Those who like cute girl slice of life stories will probably eat it up. For me though, this one was more of a mis-fire and I kind of regretted picking it up by the end of the season.

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Karandi James
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Midnight Occult Civil Servants Anime Review

Let’s Talk It Out

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin only has a score of 6.82 on MAL and that’s no real surprise. A visually dull anime with a slow story about a character who can talk to supernatural creatures isn’t exactly ticking everyone’s box of a must watch. Arata has no other power. No magic banishing spells or supernatural mojo to back anything up. He literally can just speak with these Anothers and so we spend a lot of the series either sitting around the office or walking around the city having conversations. It isn’t exactly designed to be riveting entertainment.

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin - You Can Talk To Them?

Despite that, this ended up being an anime I loved coming back to each week. The slightly darker and more mature tone was appealing and the absence of explosive fight sequences was kind of a nice relaxing view after the powerhouses of the season, Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer and One Punch Man were done. While there is certainly more this narrative could have done to play to its strengths, there was definitely enjoyment to be had in watching Arata slowly growing into his job and figuring out what he could do with his gift and what his limitations were.

Midnight Occult Civil Servants - Arata

The story is decidedly episodic with only one or two episodes carrying over to the following week. The general set up is something weird happens and Arata and his co-workers go investigate or Arata just happens to stumble upon something weird and gets involved. Over the episode we see the various characters talk about how inscrutable Anothers really are while Arata has his doubts and ends up trying to speak with the Another and then one way or another, the situation resolves itself.

Great suggestion.

Where Midnight Occult Civil Servants fell a bit flat was despite  the incredibly dangerous scenarios set up at times with humans being kidnapped or falling into comas they pretty much without fail saved everyone and restored them to how they were. It kind of deflated a lot of the tension that could have naturally existed in this story because the Anothers were using a very different set of values to govern their actions and by default they didn’t see their actions as evil. There was a lot that could have been explored here and yet it really wasn’t.

Affiliate Link – Game

The other area, outside of the visuals, where I found this anime lacking from the experience it could have been was in Arata himself. As a character he’s a little bit of a space cadet early on and while that makes sense given he’s been thrown in the deep end, it doesn’t really give him a chance to establish his values. As the story progresses, we see him become more determined and assertive of his views, but he still doesn’t have all that much of a personality.

Arata - Midnight Occult Civil Servants

And for a story based around a character who can talk to supernatural creatures, he doesn’t say a lot that is all that profound or interesting. In one case he’s negotiating with an Another that is transporting humans to her realm and then stealing their emotions in a bid to recover something she is searching for. Arata’s argument that it is wrong makes sense but when she disagrees he doesn’t back it up or propose any kind of alternative. He merely reiterates the point and then acts shocked that she doesn’t get it.

For the rest of the department the characters get some development but by and large remain fairly one note. While we do have a case involving the sister of one of Arata’s collegues, outside of this we just have them standing in the background a lot of the time or cautioning Arata. They also endlessly reiterate that you can’t negotiate with Anothers and that Anothers are dangerous but despite being tasked with dealing with Anothers they seem to know practically nothing about them.

As the story progresses we see more and more often human antagonists that seem to exist simply to oppose Arata’s views on the Anothers and while these characters could have been nuanced and interesting, they end up being one note characters who hate Anothers because ‘insert tragic back story’.

Tragic back story always comes with a scar – Anime Logic.

Basically we have all the ingredients for a more subdued dark urban fantasy but the anime itself doesn’t really deliver. The warning signs are there from the OP with a really great song and absolutely boring visuals that do not do the music justice at all. The idea is solid but the execution is shaky.

When we throw in the visuals which are poorly contrasted and routinely dull or ugly to look at and we end up with an anime that is difficult to recommend, yet I’ll do it anyway. As a break from stories about the power of friendship, high school girls being cute, shouty protagonists proving their values with their fists, or protagonists finding themselves in fantasy lands and suddenly super powerful, Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin is actually quite refreshing in its own way. While it never reaches its potential its an easy watch and one I enjoyed week to week.

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Karandi James
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Kenja no Mago Anime Review

Kenja no Mago - Shin

Reincarnated Ultimate Magican Takes on Common Sense and Demonoids

Let’s get it out of the way straight up so that we can move on. If there was a generic list of points for your standard isekai story, Kenja no Mago would tick almost all of them. It is the story of the average Japanese guy who dies and gets reincarnated and naturally becomes a super powerful teen in a new world where pretty much everyone relies on him to save the day (how would any of these fantasy worlds function without reincarnation). If the standard isekai shtick isn’t your thing then there is nothing new to see here and you should just move on.

Kenja no Mago - Shin's Embarressed

For those who enjoy isekai, Kenja no Mago isn’t on the top shelf. It probably doesn’t even go into the upper shelves if we were physically stacking titles. No, Wise Man’s Grandchild is decidedly average within the genre. However, while it won’t be blowing you away, it is a pleasant viewing experience and one I certainly enjoyed during Spring. Undemanding and reasonably consistent content works and while I might have liked the visuals to be a little less cheap looking at times, there’s actually very little to get really upset about providing you’ve accepted that this is a generic isekai.

Kenja no Mago - Shin is mad at Aug

In saying that though, there’s one elements where this anime seems determined to distinguish itself. It decidedly put its foot down and killed any possibly idea that this might be a harem isekai where all the girls just fell head over heels in love with the bland protagonist.

Affiliate Link – Art Book

While Shin, our reincarnated protagonist, is reasonably bland to allow viewers to self-insert into the power fantasy being constructed here, he actually does make decisions and has aspects of a personality. The clearest way this comes through is that he genuinely gets smitten on the girl he rescues after moving to the city for the first time. At no point does the anime entertain the possibility that he’s undecided or leading other girls on unintentionally.

Kenja no Mago - Shin and Sicily laugh.

More importantly, the other female characters acknowledge that he’s smitten, and while they tease both him and Sicily, there’s no idiotic rivalry or jealousy, or girls just throwing themselves at the protagonist when they clearly have no chance at all given there’s a pre-established relationship.

I’m not actually anti-harem, but it was really nice to see an isekai story actually create a genuine love story. We even moved beyond just being smitten and wanting to protect the girl, to the awkward phase where they both know but don’t want to say anything, to an embarrassing confession, which somehow very quickly escalated to an engagement.

Wise Man's Grandchild - Shin and Sicily
These two are pretty adorable together.

The speed might be insane but the emotions are pretty solid and this isn’t something we see all that often in isekai stories. It is the one part that seems to genuinely distinguish this story and gives it a slight edge over the horde of very average isekai anime that gets produced each year. It still doesn’t make this one a must watch but it certainly worked for me.

While we’re pointing out some solid positives I should probably throw in there that the OP for Kenja no Mago is quite pleasant to listen to and the visuals are cute and funny. I certainly wasn’t planning on skipping this one any time during the season. Likewise, some of Shin’s facial expressions are pretty hilarious as he tends to over-react to fairly mundane things but has almost zero reaction to extraordinary things.

However, this isn’t just a praise fest. Kenja no Mago is lacking strongly in the visual department. Character faces disappear quite regularly when they aren’t in the foreground and even when we can see faces there’s a lot of off-model scenes within the anime. Likewise, the magic is actually really great in concept but the visuals mean that everything looks a little bland and dull, or it all just kind of becomes a blur surrounded by smoke and we’re left to surmise what happened.

Kenja no Mago - lacklustre visuals

For some this will be a deal breaker as the anime just isn’t that great to look at. While this isn’t a sticking point for me, even I’ll admit, it isn’t that great visually and particularly toward the end of the season it starts looking pretty rough.

What really manages to sell it though, outside of an actual romance that makes sense, is the cast. Merlin and Melida who are essentially Shin’s adopted grandparents, are fantastic in their supporting roles. The two were together in the past and while they are affectionate there’s some sharp exchanges between the two but they are always entertaining. The support they give Shin and his friends is fantastic as is their genuine relationship with Shin. While it is questionable why they let the teenagers run off to fight demonoids without supervision, we find out these two are about even if they are just looking over things. I really enjoyed them and their interactions within the story.

This is on prequel I’d actually like – I’d love to see Merlin and Melida back in the day.

August was also a great supporting character. He’s a prince but he’s also Shin’s friend and the friendship is genuine having been formed before Shin knew of Aug’s status. August really likes teasing Shin and pushing him out of his comfort zone. While August can’t compete with Shin’s power, he’s a lot more savvy when it comes to politics and social situations and so he compliments Shin nicely within the story.

Kenja no Mago - Aug gives a speech.

While there are quite a number of class mates that also act in support, I did find a lot of them fairly redundant as they had similar personalities and roles. Still, each character gets their moment  by the end and it would be nice to see where each of these characters go from here given Shin’s presence has literally changed their lives.

The one character I really wanted more from was Sicily. As the love interest she started as a damsel in distress, she uses support magic so ends up sidelined in most battles, and it really did look like they were setting her up to die during the final battle when they literally sent her away from all the other main characters. While she’s pleasant enough and I appreciate her relationship with Shin, as a character Sicily offers very little outside of being the cute love interest.

Kenja no Mago - Sicily gets embaressed.

Also, the villains were actually half-way interesting but we seem to have ended the anime about 20 episodes too early given it really feels like they are just finding their feet. We’d need another season to deal with that but I doubt we’ll get it (I’ll happily be proven wrong because I wouldn’t mind more).

All and all, Kenja no Mago is a mixed bag and your viewing enjoyment will very much hinge on your tolerance of things being average and the usual isekai tropes that crop up in these kinds of stories. If those things don’t bother you, you’ll end up with a pleasant viewing experience and one well worth the time but otherwise this will be frustrating to watch because it isn’t going to do anything more than that.

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Karandi James
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The Promised Neverland Series Review

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Ray, Emma and Norman

The Slow Burn With The Satisfying Conclusion

Where do you even start with The Promised Neverland?

As a viewing experience it is an extraordinary roller coster of emotional highs and lows, of fearing for the safety of characters, of being annoyed at times by the distractions of minor characters or plot points, but ultimately it is a viewing experience that makes you glad that you gave this anime the time. While it isn’t flawless by any means and some scenes are obviously contrived simply to evoke particular emotions and aren’t as nuanced as they could be in doing so, there’s so much to genuinely like and enjoy about The Promised Neverland that it almost feels like you are being petty to point these out.

The Promised Neverland Episode 1 Emma and Norman

The Promised Neverland had a phenomenal first episode. It was tightly paced, beautifully directed, introduced the three main characters and their situation in a way that really hit all the right buttons, and opened up a lot of potential for the ongoing plot. In short, it did everything it needed to do as a first episode. When you combine all of that with a great opening song, Touch Off, as well as the likeable cast and you have something that is going to grab viewers.

And grab them it did.

For readers of the manga the viewing experience was a little different, but I went into this series cold. The genres listed for it included mystery and horror and while there is certainly a mystery and some elements are horrific, I think if you go in looking for this type of story you are more likely to be disappointed. The other genre tags of psychological and shounen fit the story much better and it does succeed admirably in these areas.

Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a lot of the hook of that first episode was the horror movie feeling in seemed to emulate in the final moments. That definitely grabbed my undivided attention and made me really excited for what was going to come next. While few scenes afterward reach the same levels in that regard, it doesn’t really matter. The story builds to a satisfying conclusion and there is a suitable level of darkness permeating the content to justify that first impression even if it isn’t the main goal.

Part of what helped develop the atmosphere of this anime was the direction. From early in the series we had some interesting angles and shots of characters constructing a slightly disconcerting and distorted view of the characters and world. While it isn’t every scene and many sequences are unremarkable, there were certainly enough sequences where we’d switch to point of view, or have various symbols such  as clocks or bars prominent within the scene, or use of light and shadow, to really make the viewing itself an experience.

That isn’t to say everything worked beautifully. One effect where the entire image swayed as if attached to the pendulum of the clock just kind of made me queasy and seemed all too much and other scenes felt a little on the nose or too blunt. However, when The Promised Neverland got it right, it was truly remarkable and memorable. The scene where Norman walked down the hall by himself to get some water was a wonderful display of direction to create atmosphere and to frame a character in a particular way. It gave the scene everything it needed to have it hit exactly the right emotional chord.

The Promised Neverland Episode 9 Norman

However, the real standout of this anime are the main characters. Emma, Ray and Norman are a fantastic trio who complement one another in a seemingly effortless manner. The interactions between them are always delightful and even if the characters seem older than their years in terms of their reasoning, they play their assigned role within the story well.

I’ve written a whole post about Emma as the beating heart of the story and she certainly deserved it. While the story is very much about the characters responding to circumstance, these characters, led by Emma, really elevate what essentially becomes a prison break story into something that is completing engrossing.

The Promised Neverland Episode 9

Each of these characters get their own development and story throughout this series and while there are some heavy question marks over the fate of one of them, it is an incredibly satisfying journey. There is a reveal for Ray that again, isn’t quite as well thought out as some of the other revelations, and potentially can lead to immersion breaking for the viewer, however it isn’t enough to take away from all of his excellent character moments prior to that so for me it wasn’t that big of a problem. Still, stepping back I might wish they’d just not included that (and I won’t say what it is because I’m trying to write this post as spoiler free as possible).

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Like the main trio, Isabella is an amazing character as the visual representation of the enemy in this story. She is the Mother of the house and she is smart and ruthless. While for the majority of the story she seems to be a passive observer, it is actually scarier how easily she seems to thwart the plans of the kids without even exerting much in the way of effort. I truly enjoyed her character during the Winter anime season and I wish we had more characters like her.

The Promised Neverland Episode 4 Mother and Sister Krone

That does though lead on to the character I liked the least, Sister Krone. She’s so over the top and all over the place as a character it is almost impossible to take any scene she is in seriously. Added to that her actions and interferences ultimately contribute to very little in terms of the overall plot and she just feels like a caricature that doesn’t fit within the narrative.

Even an episode devoted to a flash back o her life couldn’t make me all the sympathetic toward her or help me to really understand her overall motives in a way that would justify it. Of all the potential criticisms of The Promised Neverland, Krone would be the one that is most clearly an issue as she just doesn’t have enough anything to offset her ridiculousness at times.

The Promised Neverland Episode 3 Sister Krone

But, that is one character and one issue, and it isn’t enough to take the shine off the rest of this anime. You may have noticed I’m avoiding discussing the plot, and that’s mostly because it really is impossible to discuss without spoilers and it kind of is more fun going in without knowing. The kids need to escape from the house and Isabella is going to try to stop them. That’s the crux of the story developed this season and while there are larger events and world building that will lead on to events that I guess will be explored in the second season, it really isn’t needed in this story.

The Promised Neverland Episode 12 - Emma and Phil

If you want a nicely told story with a clear problem or hurdle to be overcome by the characters and you don’t mind a little bit of a slow burn to get there provided there’s some solid atmosphere, The Promised Neverland will deliver a very solid afternoon of entertainment and I highly recommend it.

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Karandi James
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Grimm’s Notes The Animation Series Review

The quality of the story here is certainly grim.

Grimms Notes Series Review

In case it hasn’t become clear as I work my way through the anime I watched during the 2019 Winter Season, I’m jumping back and forth between anime I enjoyed a lot and anime that kind of had a bumpier ride. Last week was the slice of life delight My Roommate is a Cat so unfortunately this week we’re crashing down to the unintentional disaster of a narrative that is Grimm’s Notes. Admittedly, I am running low on anime I actually enjoyed last season, but I do still have reviews of The Promised Neverland and Endro to come out so there’s a few delights still in store.

Loki - Grimms Notes Episode 12

What should be obvious by now is that I don’t really want to write about Grimm’s Notes and yet I feel I kind of need to. I did in fact watch the entire season and while we had an intriguing premise and an entire minefield of potentially interesting questions to ponder about morality and the human condition and free will, the anime literally does nothing with any of that. Instead it becomes an exercise where the protagonist’s are right because they have to be and they don’t even try to convince the villains, let alone the audience, that they have any grounds for that conviction.

Grimms Notes Episode 1

Basically the story involves a whole bunch of story zones where every one living in them has a book that essentially tells them what is going to happen in their life and that is the script they follow. Our main characters are all characters who, for whatever reason, have blank books. They travel from story zone to story zone and stop chaos tellers from messing up the stories.

Grimms Notes Episode 10 Curly

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However, where that becomes problematic is that they set Red Riding Hood back on a path to be devoured by a wolf, set Snow White and her step-mother up to repeat a tragedy, and basically override any one’s objections that maybe the story shouldn’t be followed.

These are the characters we are supposed to support.

Grimms Notes Episode 9 Loki

I wouldn’t mind so much if they ever explained the consequences of not getting the story back on track. We get an ambiguous statement about story zones collapsing but are never told what that looks like or what happens to the characters in the story. Do they all die? In which case, sure, maybe keeping the story on track is a good idea. But it isn’t established, nor does anyone actually ask.

Alice - Grimms Notes Episode 11

Even the villains don’t bother to make their case for why giving characters free will might be a good thing. For once the villain’s actions are actually something that seems kind of logical even if there are dire repercussions, and they never even try to justify themselves.

Instead we get the heroes saying they’ll set the story right and the villains who stay in the shadows and make ambiguous comments but do little.

So the plot is a bust, and the characters are worse. Visually this is fine. Not good or great or particularly interesting, but I’ve certainly seen worse and some of the fights are actually kind of fun to watch even if the motive behind them is lacking. The music is unexceptional and honestly completely forgotten almost as soon as the episodes end.

Grimms Notes Episode 3 Young Ex

Honestly, this was such a great concept and handled so incredibly poorly. The biggest issue is the crushing disappointment of realising that the writers clearly had no clue what to do with their own idea when it came to the anime. I have no idea if the source (which I think is a game) did a better job or not, but I do know this anime is incredibly skippable.

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Karandi James
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My Roommate is a Cat Series Review

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 2 Cute Moment

It Has A Cat In It – Recommendation Enough?

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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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Meiji Tokyo Renka Series Review

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 2

Another reverse harem time travelling heroine story.

Reverse harem anime are becoming a fair staple of the seasonal line up with a handful of them coming out each year and the time-travelling heroine is starting to be a recurring theme. Meiji Tokyo Renka doesn’t bring a single new idea to the table as we have our standard heroine (meaning one with little personality outside of wanting to help all the guys she meets) getting transported back to the Meiji Era and each of the guys is more or less standard fair.

That doesn’t make this anime necessarily bad, and those who followed my conversations with Arthifis around this will know that we both kind of found it charming and fun, but if you are looking at the vast sea of anime, this one is certainly not a must watch or even one that needs to work its way to the top of your list anytime soon.

For me, I really liked the parts of this anime that dealt with Mei’s gift and the spirits she encountered. It had a kind of spirit of the week feel early on and some episodes threw in a bit of Ghost Whisperer flavour. These supernatural elements did help set Mei a little bit apart from previous heroines, gave the boys genuine problems they could not have overcome without Mei’s assistance, and were also just charming enough stories in their own right.

However, the bits in-between these charming ghost stories were largely filled with the usual kind of fluff of eating, encountering issues with the new time-period, or were tied up with Ougai Mori and Shunzou Hishida who were the two main male characters that Mei interacted with given she was living with them (yeah, we had the wonderful moment where Ougai just declared Mei his finace and they never really do clarify that).

None of these interludes are particularly bad. Some are amusing, some help us learn a bit more about one character or another. No the issue is mostly they are forgettable and even now only a few months later I’m struggling to remember even the names of the other characters or anything particularly noteworthy about the series.

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Visually it is largely unimpressive. Hardly a train wreck or an eye-sore but it just isn’t worth discussing. The opening song is suitable boppy and entertaining (actually almost addictively so) but the overall soundtrack is again, nothing special. That includes Mei’s song about electricity that she spontaneously breaks into during one of the episodes in the later part of the season.

I’m just warning you – it is pretty funny but also pretty tragic.

The ending is also largely unsatisfying given the final decisions made by Mei seem incredibly out of character and without purpose and the story doesn’t give any time to justify these.

Basically this anime functions and has potential. The characters are largely fun and cute and each of the events that occur along the way are fun enough, but as an overall package this one sits decidedly on the average side of things. While I don’t regret watching it I’m definitely looking back now and feeling that this series was just kind of filler in between other shows and while there was potential for Meiji Tokyo Renka it never really did much with it.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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