Cells at Work Episode 2: The Adventures of a Directionally Challenged Red-Blood Cell Continue

While this episode did nothing to alleviate my worry that perhaps the subject matter here isn’t going to entertain for an entire season, it was a pretty solid follow up with some laughs, some action, and some truly adorable platelets.

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As the second episode of this odd little show rolls around I really have to smile at just how much love and energy has gone into transforming a gimmicky concept of anthropomorphic blood cells into something that is genuinely entertaining to watch and filled with so many moments that just hit their mark. Whether it is the ditzy red-blood cell getting lost again, the excessive caution and cuteness of the platelets, the white blood cells’ extreme violence against germs, or even the explosive rupture of the scrape in this second episode, every part of this has been well crafted to suit the intended purpose.

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The anime remained true to its set up in the first episode and we follow AE3803 (the red-blood cell) on another delivery. As she is guided by her senpai we learn about the cells and different areas that they encounter. Perhaps one complaint might be the sheer amount of text on the screen at a few points given we get an explanation in written form and then they put subtitles on the narration which is more or less telling us the exact same thing. However, this show doesn’t forget it is meant to be entertaining and once the abrasion appears and the action kicks in while the show doesn’t abandon a pretence of being educational, it certainly makes sure people don’t walk away bored.

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With an OP and ED that are also spot on for the subject matter and its striking colour scheme, Cells at Work is definitely one of the stand out anime this season. Again, not entirely convinced it is a concept that can work for a whole season but I’m certainly on board to find out at this point.

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Angels of Death Episode 2: When It Feels Like You Are Watching A Play Through Rather Than An Anime

While the first episode of Angels of Death was intriguing in its atmosphere, episode 2 kind of just walks us through a level with mediocre results.

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Continuing on directly from the end of episode 1, episode 2 ends with Zack refusing to kill Rachel because of the bored look on her face but promises to kill her if she can show him a better look. Then changes his mind and promises to do so if she helps him leave the building (though apparently he entered it voluntarily because he was told he could kill people). It is all a bit convoluted and unexplained and the mysterious announcements have kind of disappeared and in exchange we have Rachel finding notes from an unnamed giggler who won’t show up until the end of the episode.

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What this means is we spend most of this episode listening to Rachel make some sort of observation about the world, Zack react, usually over the top angrily with a snarl in his voice, Rachel calmly explain something, and then they go to look at the next thing. It’s all very much like watching someone play a really dull point and click adventure and all of the tension and atmosphere that was kind of promised in episode one has evaporated entirely. Which of course isn’t helped along by Zack who rotates between dumb, loud and violent, or suspicious depending on which roll of the dive the writers decided to go with for his next reaction.

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We even get a ‘cut scene’ style sequence when he goes on a rampage destroying the grave stones. I’m sure someone thought that music and laughter gave it some kind of edgy tone but mostly it was just a cringe worthy sequence in amongst what was a pretty boring episode.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 2: Fan-Service and Boobs in Fantasy Land

I’m thinking that anyone who finds fan-service and boob gropes a major problem are going to have already ditched this show from consideration and I can’t say I blame them. That said, does this anime offer anything else?

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Seriously, it is kind of accepted that fan service moments are going to permeate these kinds of stories, particularly with a set-up as blatant as summoned demon lord enslaves his summoners (who happen to be a cute cat chick and an elf with gravity defying breasts), and yet I can’t help but wonder if the beginning and end of this episode couldn’t have ended up scrapped on the editing floor without discernibly changing the episode. The entire pre-credits sequence was the usual trope of boy wakes up, realises he’s still in fantasy land, and then wonders what his hand is touching. Oh, it’s the elf’s breast. And then instead of moving his hand he proceeds to grope her blaming his hand for having a mind of its own. And then he realises his right hand is on the cat girl’s breast. It all ends with cat girl losing her temper and probably hitting him before we begin the credits.

While I get there is an audience for this kind of sequence, the majority of people I know who watch anime tolerate this kind of nonsense rather than enjoy it. And even those people who watch a show for the more ecchi moments would surely want something presented better than this? The final sequence in the show goes back to boob grabbing with the elf girl straddling the demon lord for whatever reason and then the cat girl coming in and claiming she’s aware her boobs are small before she once again probably pummels them. It is lazy fan-service at best and it is when this anime is at its weakest.

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In between these two sequences we get a mixed bag of an episode with the part registering at the adventurer’s guild and taking on a quest. There’s some lighter moments like when Diablo tries to play down the elf’s fear of a blood seal and then proceeds to slice his own thumb open leading to copious blood spray (wait, I was meant to be covering light moments), and then the magic mirror works quite well. Even the absence of fast travel or teleportation leaving Diablo to declare the game ‘BS’ was kind of amusing before we got a reasonably decent fight sequence considering how overpowered Diablo is (meaning, there’s really no opposition and just a one sided defeat with some extremely unfair magical attacks).  It isn’t great by any means, but it is actually kind of fun.

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The question most viewers will have to ask themselves is whether or not the excessive fan-service is a plus or a minus and whether they enjoy it or are willing to tolerate it for what seems like it will be a fairly average kind of show. For me, I’m probably sticking with this one but I’m not expecting it to exactly rank high on my list of anime from this year. And if the fan-service ends up increasing from this point, I will probably drop because the elf on the bed at the end of this episode is kind of my limit. And if you are looking for screencaps of the fan-service, I’m probably not going to be much help because I’m not taking those.

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100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episodes 1 + 2: Fairy Tale Logic At Work

There’s something kind of fun about reliving a fairy tale even if it isn’t exactly thrilling. 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams is more of less what happens when you blend an otome game with a book of childhood fairy tales.

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Our heroine has no name and is only referred to at the Princess. She’s been summoned from another world (clearly ours) to awaken the sleeping princes. The only twist on this generic set up is apparently she was originally from the Kingdom of Dreams and was banished and they’ve simply brought her back. That would be a neat twist if she had any memory of it, but she does not and so we just have a fairly clueless girl getting dragged into a fantasy setting where she simply prays so that the Princes in the party can have a power up to defeat the dream eaters. Honestly, the heroine annoyed me to no end in this and the basic set up more or less assures us that she will do nothing of note throughout the series other than become the damsel in distress and occasionally show signs of grim determination to encourage those who follow her.

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The two ‘princes’ we meet in the first episode are a nice contrasting pair, though repeated dialogue is already wearing thin and we’re only two episodes in. We could definitely play a drinking game that every time Kiel says ‘probably’ we should take a drink and every-time Avi threatens to stab him we should take a drink and by the mid-way point of episode two I’m pretty sure even the most hardened drinkers might be falling off their chairs. The prince/princes introduced in episode 2 seem kind of interesting and I guess we’ll find out what’s going on with them in the next episode but given the title, I’m guessing we’re going to end up meeting a lot of guys as the story goes on (and why does every kingdom have a prince but there’s only one princess).

Navi, the ‘butler’ is also already a little on the annoying side and his repeated joke is to speak and surprise the other characters so that they exclaim that the stuffed animal spoke so that he can deny being a stuffed animal. Hilarious.

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The visuals go from being breathtakingly beautiful when they focus a lot of attention on a particular scene (such as the Princess using her magic) to being truly ugly when they seem to have taken a short cut with the animation. Characters running and sometimes talking look particularly hideous at times and some backgrounds are less complete than others.

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Despite all of that, if you enjoyed basic fairy tales as a kid, this is pretty much like walking through an extended fairy tale. Honestly, you could pick it apart really easily or you can just settle back and enjoy the ride. While the quality isn’t great, it isn’t unwatchable and I was kind of in the mood for it so despite all my complaints above I’m going to keep watching for a bit.


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Karandi James

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Steins;Gate 0 Episode 13: Ignore the Paradox

After spending an entire episode setting up a bootstrap paradox, this episode chooses to ignore the song in question entirely and focus in stead on where Kagari was during that missing time. I kind of wonder if they intend to get back to it or not at this point.

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Steins;Gate 0 continues to be a bit odd in that even at this midway point we seem a little short on an actual focus. The original series by the midway point made it clear what the overall goal was going to be and then it just had to accomplish that goal and iron out the wrinkles that achieving the goal created. Here, I’m not sure what anyone is actually trying to accomplish. At first it seemed Okabe wanted to maintain his status quo having decided to sacrifice Kurisu for Mayuri (which is what put them in this timeline), but now he is actively seeking out Kagari’s past and generally involving himself in things that are undoubtedly going to change his realty whether he wants them to or not.

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It is even harder to get a read on characters like Daru and Suzuha who at times seem to have tunnel vision on their goals, and yet Suzuha, for all her drive and focus, doesn’t seem to be actually making much progress to achieving anything at this point. Mayuri is still just kind of floating along, as are most of the others who hang around in the lab these days and honestly I’d be hard pressed to say what any of them are actually trying to do in this story.

Then there’s the disconnect between the intense focus on finding out the source of the song last week and then this week it isn’t mentioned at all. Mozart has come back and music in general still remains significant and is firmly linked to Kagari, but what the connection is hasn’t been established and how any of this connects to the whole AI Kurisu from the majority of the earlier episodes is also pretty unclear at this point.

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While there’s definitely hope that the second half of this might sort itself out, at this point I’m still just kind of curious but not really as into it as I’d like to be.

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Holmes of Kyoto Episode 1: Not So Much A Mystery – More Antiques Roadshow

I’m not sure if this is actually supposed to be a mystery of not (MAL claims it is), but this first episode is more chilling in an antique shop and sipping cups of tea with the minor disturbance of a counterfeit teacup thrown in.

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Aoi is our protagonist who has just started working part time at an antique shop alongside Kiyotaka (Holmes) who is also the grandson of the shop owner. He’s teaching her about antiques in their spare time so lets have lots of discussions about various Japanese art works. And that’s more or less all we’ve got so far other than the fact that Holmes seems to know everything about everyone and Aoi seems like a complete space cadet who just happens to like old things.

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Despite the absence of anything really happening in this episode other than the backstory of how Aoi first went to the shop (and why we needed a flashback to the previous two weeks and they couldn’t have just told us the story in order I will never figure out) this was still fairly pleasant viewing. Certainly not overly exciting but not without some points of interest.

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That said, I’m not sure about reviewing this one week to week unless the second episode does do more with the mystery aspect given if this is the standard for the show the reviews are going to end up pretty repetitive. For now, I’ll give this one another episode and see how it goes.

Did you like the first episode of Holmes of Kyoto?


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Karandi James

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Phantom in the Twilight Episode 1: This Season’s Hot Guy Cafe Brought To You By Vampires and Werewolves

This is one of those stories where potentially it could end up quite good or it could end up being a mess, or it might just become formulaic and dull, and there’s really no way to tell from the early episodes. Welcome to Cafe Forbidden where the staff aren’t exactly as welcoming as you would think.

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Ton is our walking cliche of a protagonist who travels to London to go to school and immediately gets robbed. Only she gets robbed by an invisible assailant and end up running into a strange cafe that turns out was started by her great-grandmother. Ton really doesn’t have much going for her in this episode other than some over exuberant reactions to being in London and then getting to run around a lot.

I mean, the guys at the cafe aren’t exactly subtle when one of them clearly says he knew her great-grandmother who has been dead for 100 years and even though he gets cut off, Ton doesn’t question that for a single instant. She’s one of those protagonists who could quickly become quite annoying given she seems fairly happy to just let the plot push her wherever it needs to. About the only positive is that at least it is her friend who gets kidnapped at the end of the episode and not her.

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The one thing this episode did have going for it was that it didn’t draw out the supernatural reveals. Right from the theft it is pretty clear that magic is afoot and by the time we have a werewolf (or guy with wolf ears) fighting a pack of goblins it’s all pretty much a given and this is the aspect of the show I’m most interested in at the moment. Hopefully the second episode consolidates some of the better points of the show and maybe gives Ton some actual purpose other than to be the designated clueless person in the series.

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What did you think of Phantom in the Twilight?


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Karandi James

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Island Episodes 1 + 2: Amnesiac Protagonist Alert

What makes for a better mystery than a guy washing up on an island without a memory and then finding himself caught up in some ancient island legend? Probably lots of things but here we go for island.

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I’m really glad I watched both episodes of this together. The first episode is intriguing enough but really doesn’t do much other than have ‘Setsuna’ walk around and meet the various characters who will probably be important later. He thinks he’s from the future but doesn’t really remember and even the name Setsuna is a name he remembers but he isn’t sure if it is him. Of course all the people he’s meeting are cute girls who live on the island and belong to the three great families or whatever and there’s a bunch of legends and folklore surrounding them.

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Part of me really wants to enjoy this story and the other part of me is calling this show out on its extreme lack of originality. Amnesia, time travel, a harem of girls, ancient legends, there’s nothing here that hasn’t been employed before and while I’d like to think this anime was going to do something original with the cocktail it actually executes it all fairly by the numbers. possibly worse because it seems to be laying out a lot of explanations early on so unless we’re just getting mis-information I’m not sure how much mystery there’s going to be. Then again, MAL doesn’t list this as a mystery but as a drama/sci-fi and I haven’t seen much sci-fi yet so who knows what this will do going forward.

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Despite my misgivings, these first two episodes have made me interested in finding out what is actually going on here so I guess they served their purpose. That said, the characters are so far pretty ordinary and while it is visually quite pretty that isn’t going to be enough unless the plot really steps up its game.

What did you think of Island?


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Karandi James

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Cells at Work Episode 1: The Adorable Edutainment Entry

I can’t help but wonder how you make a whole series out of this concept, but this first episode of Cells at Work was both pretty literal and adorable.

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When I first saw the trailer for this anime, I really thought this would be a short form anime, so I was quite surprised when I found out that the episodes of this are 23 minutes long. That said, this first episode didn’t feel stretched or bloated as we followed around our Red Blood Cell as she gets herself lost trying to make a delivery and then ends up attacked by a germ.

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There’s something gloriously B Grade about the performances with both the white and red blood cell being gloriously naive and yet totally cute (I guess, if you can call the white blood cell cute after he dices a germ and gets covered in its blood) and the germ as the villain is very much Saturday morning cartoon over the top, as it would need to be to sell this particular concept.

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Whether or not they can manage to keep the cute dynamic and general up-beat tone for a season I do not know, but I do know I had a lot of fun with this first episode.

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Karandi James

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 1: An Isekai Entry With A Bit of Ear Nibbling

We’ve got demon summons, enslaved girls, an elf, a cat girl, magic, bouncing boobs, and a guy pinning a girl to a bed and then having no idea what to do next… Yep, we’re back in the isekai genre so I guess the question is whether this one is any good.

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It is amazing how many things in the isekai genre I dislike by default and yet I actually don’t dislike the genre. The repetitive set-ups and characters, the over-reliance on game mechanics to propel the plot forward, and the annoyance of relying on girls in skimpy outfits with various breast sizes for a lot of the comedy and fan-service really all do deserve to be criticised to forever and back. Yet if I look past all of that, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord actually gave us a fairly average first episode and has a bit of potential to be not terrible, which is kind of promising given I lost count of the number of close ups of the elf girls breasts flouncing up and down.

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Maybe this is just my popcorn style viewing, but the generic shut in main character (who wouldn’t withstand any kind of analysis given he’s the worst kind of gamer stereotype) ending up in the game world as his in game character Diablo who is extremely overpowered managed to entertain me. He’s not a good character by any means, but his internal panic compared to his external role playing dialogue worked well enough for amusement and the set up of the cat girl with a demon soul trapped inside her was intriguing enough as a plot point to make me want to know what is going to happen next.

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Okay, I’m not going to jump up and down about this one because there’s definitely the usual elements that turn people away from isekai stories and so far it hasn’t done anywhere near enough to compensate for those weaknesses, but I’m going to give this one a couple more episodes to see if it can find its feet and make itself that little bit more distinct.

If you watched this first episode, I’d love to know your thoughts so leave me a comment below.


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Karandi James

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