Chronos Ruler Episode 7: Why Am I Still Watching This?

Review:

You know, there’s something to be said for knowing when to cut your losses and if I was a sensible person, I’d be cutting Chronos Ruler from my watch list. It has never been particularly good but there was at least the hopeful notion that it might do something really interesting with the time manipulation aspects. However, the fight sequences have now become rinse and repeat of harden the element with slow down and then fling it at the enemy with speed up. All and all, Kiri actually gets it right.

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And that’s the other issue with the show. It is trying really hard to be cool and just walks along the edge of the characters being self-aware of their tropes, but it doesn’t commit to actually being self-aware and it just isn’t good enough to pull off being cool.

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All and all, this show is pretty ordinary. It hasn’t offered anything that anime fans haven’t seen before and done better and it is becoming increasingly clear that it has no interest in developing its own gimmick. Despite this, I’ll probably watch the next episode and still complain about it even knowing what I’m likely to get.


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Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Episodes 7+ 8: Why Are We Supposed To Care?

Review Episode 7:

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu has a problem. After 6 episodes, what they have is a mostly pretty show with some great fight sequences and some pretty good music with shallow characters and a plot that still hasn’t bothered to explain why any of the characters actually care about any of the things they are doing. To make matters worse, this week we get some really interesting visuals for the villain that for the most part don’t blend in with the rest of the show (a problem I had with some of the dragons in Zestiria as well) and don’t blend with each other. How the villain looks early in the episode to how it looks during the final fight sequence just isn’t the same.

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And yet, none of this is as bad as the fact that episode 7 focusses entirely on the First Unit. A group of swords we met kind of during the previous episode but we don’t actually care about them because they just got dropped into the story, we don’t really know who they are or how they work together or any of their motives, and yet they are plunged into a battle and the show acts like we are supposed to be caring about what happens to them. I was still trying to learn to care about the Second Unit and they are a lot more interesting than this group.

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Admittedly, if you are watching this show for the fights, the second half of this show brings a spectacular one, but it really isn’t enough. Both the characters and the plot of this show need some serious work if we are expected to take this seriously.

Review Episode 9:

Right, I am going to have to rewatch the end of this at some point. I actually seriously zoned out and other than some general angst all the swords seem to be having about the true meaning of protecting history and brooding captain of second unit trying to get over being broody, I kind of missed the rest (if anything) of what was going on.

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It doesn’t help that this episode jumps between the first unit feeding the poor and downtrodden as essentially a way to salve their conscious about the lives they couldn’t save, even knowing it is a mostly pointless gesture, and the second unit sitting around and talking. No fight sequences in a show that has really only been saved by the excellent action sequences means this is a seriously dull viewing experience, unless you happen to like cool visual effects on water in which case have fun with the pause button.

Touken8aThis one, much like Chronos Ruler, just seems to be doing everything possible to make me not care about it. I’d say I was going to drop it but at this stage of the season that is fairly unlikely regardless of how boring I’m finding it. Still, I dropped Interviews with Monster Girls late in the season for much the same reason, I just didn’t care.


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My Hero Academia Episode 33: All Might’s Hesitation

Review:

This episode certainly continued with the idea of social media and looking at how Stain’s influence is spreading in the world of heroes, at least those ideas were running around in the background and permeating the set up for what is apparently to come. I’m glad I spent some time on this idea in my last Feature and I’ll hopefully revisit the idea later particularly if it remains a prominent theme here.

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However, My Hero Academia doesn’t like to dwell or hold its narrative hostage to its themes and as a direct result while this idea is still sitting there and bubbling away just waiting to explode onto the centre stage again, our hero students are back in class and training. All Might is also ready to reveal more about the past to Midoriya but this is where things took an unexpected turn.

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Not in the story itself. That was pretty stock standard villain and hero origin material to be honest, though like most of the generic points in this anime it managed to be very enthusiastic and dramatic in the delivery. No, the surprising part was that All Might blinked. That’s the best way to put it. He realised Midoriya still didn’t understand something fairly critical and yet hesitated and then chose not to explain it.

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It will be interesting to see if that omission comes back to bite them in later episodes. So, you can probably gather that I am still very much enjoying this show and hopefully it can continue strongly.


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18if Episode 7: Is Haruto Actually The Main Character?

Review:

Another dream, another art style and this one is super cute for the dark story you end up being a passenger in. What really bewilders is that Haruto doesn’t save the day, the witch, or really do anything. He is literally dragged along in the wake of the story standing in for the audience and then the story ends and he still hasn’t acted in anyway along the narratives course.

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This leaves you with a very confused feeling about what Haruto’s role in the narrative of 18if is (or even if there is anything resembling an ongoing story in this collection of tales about witches in the dream world). For awhile it seemed there might be a larger narrative but the further along we get the less it seems we’ll actually get that story and even if we do, does this anime still have time to develop it?

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Anyway, the story this week steals unapologetically from a myriad of stories but mostly makes use of The Wizard of Oz. It is a confusing and yet emotive journey, just don’t expect a happily ever after.


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Hell Girl Episode 5: All About Perspective

Review:

This episode contains content that is definitely designed to be confrontational to the viewer. While it starts with the funeral of the three boys they aren’t going to leave it there and you the viewer will sit through the flash back as you see precisely how they came to their end. While you won’t feel particularly sorry for them, their young age and the fact that they don’t shy away from showing you the bodies will probably leave you feeling just a little queasy. So here’s a light hearted moment amongst the support cast.

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Yeah, even I’ll draw a line on screen caps including dead children. However, the more interesting story is happening behind the scenes as we are finally going to see a little bit more about the spirit in the green dress who has been hanging around (and while it is more interesting it is no less tragic than anything else this show offers up).

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So, a confronting but fairly riveting episode and looking forward to the next one.


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Sagrada Reset Episodes 19 + 20: An Interesting Development

Review Episode 19:

Thinking about it, I would have to say that this was the best episode this show has so far delivered. What is kind of strange about that statement is that nothing that happens in this episode makes sense of is interesting if you haven’t sat through at least 17 of the previous episodes (the glass marble one is still making me scratch my head about why it existed). Still, this episode delivered and while I expected Misora to be targeted I probably should have paid more attention to the time frame for the show; both the time Kei and Misora have spent together and the time that Urachi can actually effect. I may have seen that development coming if I’d put the two together after the last episode. But I kind of like that sort of development that catches me by surprise but makes perfect sense.

This week we get a back story for Urachi and I like that they don’t spend too much time trying to make him a sympathetic character but do establish his goals and motives and it all kind of makes sense even if you do not want him to actually succeed.

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However outside of this, we finally get closure on why Soma Sumire died. No more speculation or half answers but actual truth and understanding. Also, the whole swamp man story from way back when returns which is a nice bit of cohesion for the series.

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The scenes between Soma and Kei this week are some of the best with Kei actually emoting in a genuine fashion for once and Soma finally not being the ‘witch’ but just a girl (or a copy of a girl) who isn’t going to end up with the guy she likes because she prioritized his happiness (maybe). It was kind of adorable.

Anyway, glad this show made a last minute attempt to pull itself out of a downward spiral and this second half has been really quite interesting, though probably not enough to offset how slow that first half was.

Review Episode 20:

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And we have entered what appears to be the final story with part one of five and abilities have been wiped from Sakurada with people forgetting them. However, Kei can’t forget and after one day of exploration he decides that abilities need to come back so he’s going to get Misora to reset.

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Of course, she’s been reverted to before she met Kei and has no reason to do what he says and more importantly has no memory of his power. Enter the photo that they were given which creates a replica of the place when abilities existed and then give a nod back to the fact that before Misora met Kei she just reset whenever she saw someone cry. Yes, the guy who has been pretty robotic all the way through has finally cried though to be honest I’m not sure if it was because of the situation or just because trying to reconcile all those different memories, both real and fake, just finally got to him.

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So, they now have two days to find a way to stop history repeating and abilities being wiped from Sakurada. On the bright side, even Kei acknowledges there isn’t really a reason abilities are needed and that he just likes it. I’d be kind of disappointed if they tried to pull some kind of theme of justice out of this at this point given all the way along we’ve been subject to the whims of the characters.

Looking forward to these final episodes.


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In Another World With My Smartphone Episode 5: Slimes… Sigh.

Review Episode 5:

Well, we knew from earlier episode comments that green slimes existed in this world and that they dissolved clothing so I guess we all knew this episode was coming. Given the premise they were actually fairly tame in how far they went with this one though it is the usual kind of anime stupidity that makes non-anime fans roll their eyes at the entire industry.

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And in case the slimes weren’t enough for the episode we then have Touya starting to combine his magic spells with his smartphone functionality and one of the results is seeing through the wall to one of his female companions as she changes. Maybe they have some fan service quota they have to hit for a show like this and due to the tame nature so far they decided to get a lot of points this episode.

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Though, if you can get past all that silliness, and it really is silly and not overly disturbing or offensive, then we actually get a reasonably sweet story about Touya helping out a couple of his companions and continuing to learn how he can use his smart phone in this new world. Even the slime section had some good moments for the group so all and all the episode is kind of fun.

I just want to know why only the girls ended up with dissolved clothes when we could have easily dumped our protagonist into the mix for an equally unnecessary but at least slightly novel outcome to the scenario.


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Gamers Episode 5: This Makes Me Wonder If Being Socially Inept is Contagious?

Review:

I’m kind of in a bind with this show. I really like watching the episodes… but, looking at this episode objectively I really shouldn’t be enjoying this. The characters are all acting too stupid for words, too stupid even for cliché gamer characters with limited social skills, and they seem to be acting stupider by the minute. I should be annoyed, exasperated, or eye-rolling and bored, and yet I’m laughing.

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At this point each character thinks every other character has a thing for every other character and none of them have a clue who actually likes them and it is all just kind of depressing when you think about it. It would be slightly better if even one character knew who had a crush on them and just didn’t like them back, but no, instead every character is living is blissful ignorance of reality and imposing their own misinterpreted view on events.

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The game club is almost a non-entity in this show now as these characters who rejected it are now having ‘meet-ups’ apparently to discuss gaming but more to manipulate the relationships just a little bit more. All and all it is messy and the narrative is really going nowhere because we’re just watching these characters go through the train-wreck that is their attempt at a social life.

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Still, between the upbeat, game themed music in the background, and the absolutely serious way our main character delivers lines that are completely going to be misconstrued, I’m having a really good time watching this show. This was not a good episode from a character or story point of view, but it was fun and maybe for this season that is enough.


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Princess Principal Episodes 5 + 6: Always A Train Story

Review Episode 5:

I get that trains were really important as a mode of transport way back when, but I find train episodes relatively boring for the simple reason that there are only so many things you can do in a train episode. Basically you have linear paths because the carriages are strung out behind one another, and you can go above or below the carriage, and you always have to worry about derailment and carriage separation, but the stories always end up playing out much the same way. Okay, Baccano managed something a little different on a train, but Princess Principal adds only anti-gravity catch up from the separated carriages to the ones ahead and a merging track that may cause two trains to collide.

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However, while the plot of Princess Principal becomes quite predictable this week due to his chosen setting, the focus on character, particularly Chise, is quite interesting. We’ve now seen how each of the girls has come to this group and each story has given us a bit more insight into the group itself. Hopefully now the overall narrative can kick into gear because we’ve now gotten through these introductions.

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This remains quite a strong anime this season even if I was making fun of the train setting earlier. The episode works, the characters are fantastic, and some of the fight sequences on the train were pretty cool.

Review Episode 6:

Nope, instead we’re going to get some back story on Dorothy and a fairly tragic tale that is pretty predictable but great to watch nonetheless. It was also great to see the dynamic between Dorothy and Beatrice as this episode unfolded given while they were in the last episode they were more in the background to Ange and Chise (who this time are the ones sent to the sidelines).

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This is an episode of real highs and lows for Dorothy with Beatrice acting as the observer and the one who asks the questions the audience want an answer to and it works really well. The drunken father may have been a fairly generic plot device, but it is delivered well and overall the story, while not complicated, is largely entertaining.

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None of this however changes the fact that at episode 6, other than Ange wanting to help the Princess and the Princess wanting to maybe be the Queen, we really don’t have a central plot here. The individual cases are pretty entertaining and the girls are a real joy to watch, but what is holding this back from being truly fantastic is a sense that we are heading toward something.


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Fastest Finger First Episode 6: Have Phone = Have Social Life, Maybe

Review:

Koshiyama is on an outing with a friend, or at least a classmate in the same club as him so that kind of counts. And he is armed with a smartphone gifted to him by his parents so now he’s out to collect your contact info. Unfortunately, making friends isn’t exactly covered within the phone manual.

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I found this sequence kind of adorable given I always used to love reading the manuals that came with new devices. Saddest thing ever was when they stopped including anything more than basic specs and part guides and made you go online to actually find out how to use the device. Even the Kindle guide only tells you how to open the user manual on the Kindle – tragic but not relevant to the show.

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This episode sees our budding quiz bowl players in an arcade playing a quiz game and of course rival boy is there as well. There’s some back and fourth, some new quiz formats and discussion of how to get faster or better, and some general quizzing before your cliché bullies show up and then get taken out by another character that looks too distinct to be a random one episode character so my bet is they are showing up at a quiz meet later.

Outside of this we get the brief side story of technology girl and the club leader shopping for parts to make the buzzers, and the quiz obsessed girl helping her friend at a maid cafe for reasons that only the word ‘anime’ can explain.

I’ll be honest, this is not such a great episode. Barely anything happens and while there are some laughs to be had with less quizzes and very little narrative going on the characters were left to carry the bulk of the episode and they just aren’t up to the task, despite my finding the main character adorable in an incredibly geeky way.


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