How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Series Review – Making Ruling Look Almost Effortless

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Series Review

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom isn’t the first fantasy anime to shift the focus from overpowered individuals with glowing attacks hacking at each other to more mundane issues such as economics and politics. Over the years there’s been a number of these type of anime and they have varying amounts of success. Probably my favourite was Maoyu Maou Yuusha and even that one was incomplete without a follow-up season and the tone felt all over-the-place.

Realist Hero - Episode 1

Basically the premise of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is that the kingdom of Elfrieden, being strapped for cash, summons a hero to offer as a tribute to the overall war effort of the empire against a demon army. Which sounds pretty ordinary and you kind of expect we’re going to see our hero go off to war. But, basically other than one flashback memory from one character we’re never even going to see a demon. Because Kazuya Souma, our summoned hero, decides that a better option to help Elfrieden is to put into place a range of administrative reforms.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom more or less does exactly what it says on the label.

What follows could have been a hard hitting and serious political drama filled with clever negotiations between characters with nuanced motives… but it isn’t.

The biggest problem for How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is it wants to explore more serious and grounded issues than your standard isekai fantasy but it also wants to appeal to the audience that just wants fun and adventure. So what you’ll get is watered down and simplified economic, political and war theory being explained by the 19-year-old protagonist (who naturally remembers all these ideas from a range of disciplines) to dullards who all fall all over themselves to tell him how amazing he is.

Seriously, even the King abdicates his throne after knowing the guy for less than a month.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

He doesn’t take Souma on as an advisor or put him in charge of a region or anything sensible. Simply hands over his throne to a perfect stranger and then spends the few scenes he appears in after that getting his ears cleaned by his wife.

It doesn’t help that the only other character introduced that even seems to have a smidgen of a thought process going on in his head ends up being more or less a background character who reports stuff to Souma but never does really anything. I’m kind of hoping the second season gives Hakuya more to do given the introduction he got and that he was the most potentially interesting character of the bunch introduced here but has very little screen time.

Realist Hero - Souma and Hakuya

We’ll also get spoof of a cooking show and even an idol concert along the way. There will be an internal war but it doesn’t pay to take that conflict seriously and the series will climax with an idiot from another kingdom invading and our realist hero having to take on an external threat. Then the whole show will introduce a new character and just kind of stop. A good thing we already have a second season announced.


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How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom seems to want to have its cake and eat it too but basically comes out feeling half baked. Too many characters that get too little time to really be fleshed out much like the more serious concepts it wants to explore but it never wants anything to go against the protagonist so nothing ever feels like a challenge.

Realist Hero Episode 11

It introduces a raft of cute female characters though most of them end up feeling superfluous. We have the Princess Liscia, who Souma was kind of betrothed to but they’ve called that off, and Souma has more or less promised to turn the kingdom back over to her at some point but she doesn’t really want that… Liscia started out pretty fiery and interesting but quickly fizzled to be the companion who simply asks questions and allows the protagonist to explain things aloud without talking to himself.

Juna fairs a little better as the songstress and she remains a bit of a tease for Souma. She also actually gets involved in some of the political shenanigans along the way. As for Aisha, her character is all over the place and seems to exist just to react to things and occasionally hit them.

Realist Hero Episode 8

Ultimately, How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom is a pleasant enough watch even if it all ends up feeling a bit easy and pointless. The visuals are pleasing and the opening song is entertaining enough. Most of the characters are either pleasant or the usual kind of tropes you would expect. There’s some decent enough plot points along the way even if none of them are really given much depth.

About the worst thing you could say for Realist Hero is it is all a bit forgettable because they haven’t committed to a particular idea or really taken themselves seriously at all. It is all light and frothy which is fine for slice of life but doesn’t seem to do the underlying premise here justice.

The thing is, I’ll probably watch the second season because this wasn’t a bad way to pass a season but honestly, there’s better isekai stories out there so I’m hardly jumping up and down to recommend this one.

Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021

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Karandi James

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Series Review – Enthralling Viewing But The Ending Kills It

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi series review

I’m feeling a little sad writing my full season review of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi. It was far and away my favourite anime during the Summer 2021 season and the one anime I consistently looked forward to the next episode of. Sure it pushed boundaries and underneath all the bright and pretty colours was actually a fairly gory and violent piece of entertainment but it was pretty entertaining and had some fairly interesting ideas at play.

The problem is as at episode 11 the story just stops almost mid-sentence. There’s no sense that anything has been resolved and there’s no real climatic battle. It is almost as if they didn’t care where the story was up to when they ran out of episodes.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi

Which means without another season it makes it pretty much impossible to recommend Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi as an anime no matter how entertaining it may have been. I can’t even suggest reading the source because a lot of what I loved about this anime was the animation, colour and music, all of these things will be lost by reading a manga so I somehow doubt I would find the story as enthralling in that medium.

Basically, as much as I loved aspects of this, I won’t buy the DVD of such an incomplete story, I probably won’t rewatch because I know there’s no resolution, and really it just leaves you feeling somewhat less than satisfied.

If only it had given us something in its ending or resolved an issue I may have left the series feeling a bit differently.

Image from Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 9

What is Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi about?

For those who didn’t watch it during the season, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi follows a group of young Idaten (more or less gods) who came into being after the last generation of Idaten sealed away the demons. These new Idaten have only known peace so are more or less taken by surprise when demons show up again.

Of course, the story is a lot more than that as it looks at the very nature of gods and how they might actually view humans. It also gives the demons a lot of characterisation and really fleshes out their motives. There’s also some commentary on war, peaceful ideals, and for an anime that spends so much time with characters training to punch each other there’s a lot of focus on the more intellectual characters who are planning things behind the scenes.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi

The plot moves along at a quick pace as we go from the young Idaten discovering that demons exist, to identifying where they’ve made their base, dealing with the political fall-out of disrupting a major power in the world before taking down the country that supports the demons, and even the fall-out after that as we time skip forward and finish with the demons fighting back. Which is where Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi abruptly ends and leaves us without any kind of closure.

Along the way we’ll have some explosive battles, a lot of training sequences, and meet a range of interesting characters.

The characters for the most part are what gives Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi a lift from just being a relatively forgettable action story. While Rin and Hayato from the Idaten side remain pretty flat throughout as they seem to be very much representative of standard shounen tropes, Ysley, Paula and the late entry of Gil more than make up for it as each brings an interesting perspective and trait to the group. I don’t know that Gil really had enough time to be fleshed out but her existence makes for an interesting discussion and potentially she could be quite interesting.

Idaten Ep7 7

It is however the demonic characters, even those that are fairly quickly snuffed out, that really sell the story. Right from the early episodes I was amazed that this anime hadn’t taken a monster of the week approach, sending out one mindless henchmen after another to be beaten up by the good guys (such as Sailor Moon and many other stories have done).

Instead, the demons offered a range of interesting personalities and for the most part demonstrated shrewd intelligence. They also demonstrated a range of human characteristics. The Empress Brandy even surprised herself when realising that the demon empire was about to fall she chose to send her biological children away in the hopes that they would survive.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 7

But we can’t talk characters without looking at Miku.

Miku has a lot of potential as a character. She’s a demon but not physically strong as apparently she was some experiment in the blending of human and demon that didn’t go quite right, but she is brilliant. Her ability to see through the plots and plans of her enemies and to determine when it is time to cut and run make her quite a formidable opponent and honestly I kind of love that aspect of her.

The part I love a little less is ties up in how over-sexualised she is as a character. If done in a more nuanced way, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi could have potentially given us a sexually liberated and confident demon who made some kind of commentary on societies taboos. Instead what we get is a story that occasionally throws in some really confronting material such as rape and molestation seemingly more for shock factor than anything else and Miku, who is constantly engaging in some kind of sexualised act even when it serves no narrative purpose and at times actually distracts.

Idaten Ep11 3

It would have been quite interesting to see such a character in a somewhat more mature form and less shock factor for the sake of it as Miku’s combination of brains and sexuality could have made her quite the unique character. Certainly she’s pretty memorable as is.

Aside from the characters, the visuals of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi are a feast for the eyes. One might also say that at times they are obnoxiously bright as they obscure blood splatter through the use of neon colours and almost every fight sequence ends up being an explosion of colour on the screen. Right from the OP, Seija no Koushin, (which is also just awesome to listen to) you get a sense that this anime really wanted to make you pay attention to it visually.

Basically, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi is one of those anime that I would love to call brilliant. Even with the few negatives in it and being that little bit over the top and at times lacking in subtlety, it was doing enough that was unique or different or just interesting to really hold my attention and it was fun. Even when the subject matter is quite monstrous there’s always this sense that it wants to be entertaining rather than depressing.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 3

Unfortunately, without an ending, this one will be one of those anime that I hope eventually continues and in the meantime I’ll move on. If that goes on long enough I’ll probably forget about Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi which is a bit of a shame. When looking at the field of fantasy action anime, this one certainly had potential to be a stand out from the crowd.

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Karandi James

Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Review – Preposterous Excuse For a Super-Powered Smack-Down

Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Review

When I initially wrote my watch or drop post for Battle Game in 5 Seconds after viewing the first three episodes, I certainly acknowledged that this anime wasn’t shooting to become a work of art or even break free of its own genre trappings. That said, I was vaguely optimistic about it delivering at least a decent amount of entertainment within those genre constraints.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Alas, by mid-season it became clear that generic was the best Battle Game in 5 Seconds was going to aspire to and by the end of the season not only were the characters and plot disappointing but even the visuals (which weren’t ever amazing) seemed to take a decided dip in quality. Seriously, the final battle of this series is almost unwatchable and most of the characters look like they are barely moving.

I actually wouldn’t have minded this anime never rising above being a generic survival kind of game. There’s certainly fun to be had with that particular genre. However given the story is incomplete, character motives feel shallow at best, and the central gimmick of only being able to use their battle abilities five seconds after the fight starts and they are released is cast aside for most of the second half of the series, there’s very little left to recommend even starting this anime when it is in such an over-crowded field.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Battle Game in 5 Seconds feels like a good idea with no direction.

The basic set-up of Battle Game in 5 Seconds is actually pretty interesting. While Akira isn’t the most original protagonist, his obsession with games and winning means he doesn’t waste too much time whining when he’s whisked into the death matches and uses his head to fight. That could be interesting enough even if he was a bit on the bland side.

The use of the wrist bands to restrain their powers and only releasing them after 5 seconds meant that characters weren’t just able to go power crazy and were more or less forced to follow along with the games and that was enough to keep this feeling like it had its own identity.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

The early set-up with each character spending time in their room before being moved to the site of the next ‘game’ worked well enough even if it didn’t feel terribly original, and you could kind of buy that some secret organisation had built this facility, kidnapped all these people, performed some kind of experiment on them to give them powers, and you know the talking cat-girl who seemed to be in charge could have just been an anime quirk.

But the plot quickly veers away from this set-up. After the first few rounds and the introductions to a handful of characters, Akira, Yuuri and others move into this massive outdoor zone where three teams of players have more or less formed and are fighting each other. What makes it a bit odd is that the notion of Battle Game in 5 Seconds kind of falls away here with characters seemingly using their powers whenever they want.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Throw in that any plausibility of this game and experiment goes out the window when you see how many characters are here and the size of the space they are in, plus there’s no longer any kind of controlled experiment going on here, this is just a power free-for-all, and it kind of means you just watch the second half as characters smack each other around, make plans, prove themselves smarter or tougher than other characters, and a series of events leads to a resolution of sorts but the overall plot is still completely unresolved.

Of course, Battle Game in 5 Seconds is listed as a supernatural anime and it is very clearly drawing influences from games and the super power genres so the lack of credibility of this scene change can be excused. However you end up with a very different type of story from Akira taking on the game makers and wanting to beat them at their own game to the usual kind of brawl between over-powered characters, most of which don’t get anywhere near long enough to really be established or sympathised with.

That and some of the powers are just plain ridiculous.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

I’d love to discuss the characters of Battle Game in 5 Seconds but outside of Akira and Yuuri, most of the others barely get an introduction and basically boil down to simple descriptions. The shy girl, the cocky guy, the sadistic murderer, etc. Naturally Akira and Yuuri, being the protagonists, team up with the leader who tries to protect the elderly and children who end up in the battle zone so I guess they are the ‘good’ guys whereas the other team are lead by those who extort and enslave other survivors (clearly they are evil and must be destroyed).

It’s all a bit simple and immature in how it is set up. Even the final fight of the series ends up being a bit of a fizzle. Despite having a huge range of interesting and unique powers inevitably the story comes down to two guys punching at each other.

Of course, if done well and with enough energy and bombast, Battle Game in 5 Seconds could have still been a highly entertaining romp despite all these short-comings and yet by about episode 5 I felt this one was dragging. It actually ended up being a chore to finish and my response to the cliff-hanger at the end setting up another season that I don’t believe will ever occur (or potentially a read the source nod) was more or less to roll my eyes and just be glad that I was done.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Basically I can’t recommend Battle Game in 5 Seconds.

It isn’t done well enough to actually be good. It isn’t high energy enough or over-the-top enough to fall into the so-bad-it-is-good category. None of the characters ultimately amounted to much and the plot is a bit of a tone shifting mess. Visually it deteriorates as the series continues and nothing else really stands out enough to recommend it.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts so if you watched Battle Game in 5 Seconds be sure to leave me a comment below.

Images from: Battle Game in 5 Seconds. Dir. N Arai. SynergySp and Vega Entertainment. 2021

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Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Series Review – Will This Spin-Off Satisfy Irregular Fans?

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Series Review

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is an anime I approached with great enthusiasm.

After all, I had loved The Irregular at Magic High School and thought Miyuki’s character had a lot more to say than she’d been given the opportunity for when playing support to Tatsuya’s overpowered main character.

However as a spin-off it is inevitable that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei would be compared to its parent story. And even outside of that, the approach taken here of shifting an action fantasy into a more cute girls kind of story with a bit of magic thrown in had been done before by Index/Railgun only I kind of feel that franchise understood its audience a lot better and what would make for a more interesting story.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsousei

Which ultimately meant that while Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsouei, or The Honor Student at Magic High School, is perfecty watchable, there’s little here that would lead me to recommend this over the original. Even people who enjoyed Irregular would probably do better rewatching that as there’s little in this iteration that is done better, not so much added, and a lot of world-building and the aspects that make the magic high school franchise so interesting just feel lacking here.

Is Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei worth watching?

At thirteen episodes and covering the Enrolment arc (including the attempt by terrorist group Blanche to attack the school) and the Nine Schools Competition Arc, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei packs in content that was covered across 18 episodes in Irregular. When you also consider that episode 1 is essential before the story of Irregular starts you really only have 12 episodes to cover this content. It was inevitable that something was going to suffer from this.

And by and large, what suffers is the world building itself and the context for the various sub-plots.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

While Irregular had Tatsuya finding out who was behind the various plots and foiling them in order to keep his sister safe, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei follows Miyuki and her friends and the various plots only kind of brush past them while they involve themselves in school activities. Not to mention we lose a lot of the information about how magic in this world works and how Tatusya excels at engineering spells.

For viewers who have watched the original series, you can fill in the gaps just fine and see how the events here run parallel to the events there and support the overall narrative.

For new viewers I kind of feel like this would feel like Lord of the Rings if you only saw Aragorn’s story and never followed Frodo, Sam, or Gandalf. Don’t get me wrong, Aragorn is a cool character and gets some very solid moments. However ultimately Frodo and Sam get to Mount Doom and Aragorn is essentially playing decoy. He isn’t the main event.

Miyuki is very much like Aragorn in that she has some amazing moments, her magic is very cool (quite literally at times), but while she’s competing in the Nine School’s Competition, Tatsuya is the one foiling another terrorist plot only in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei we barely see Tatsuya’s contribution which makes the story feel a little incomplete.

Don't mess with Miyuki - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

The other core problem that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei ends up suffering from is it is hard to really surprise your audience when they already know how events play out. There’s little or no tension during the enrolment arc as we know none of the main characters suffer harm from it. Equally, the Nine Schools Competition has little bite when you already know the outcome of every event.

At times, this spin-off is actually up to the challenge of finding other ways to draw the audience in.

For instance, during the enrolment arc they have Eimi teaming up with Shizuku and Honoka to play detective in a previously unseen side-story about the girls wanting to help out Tatsuya without letting Miyuki or Tatsuya know. The girls are charming as a group and the sequence is fun and energetic and even knowing they weren’t going to really solve the case or get into real danger they managed to make this scene engaging and as the girls find themselves in some peril it really drew the audience in.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 4 - Eimi, Shizuku and Honoka

If nothing else, this sequence firmly establishes why these girls are such big fans of Miyuki going forward.

Furthermore, when we get to the nine schools competition, clearly they knew they couldn’t rely on tension with the outcomes already shown in the original series. Instead, they worked on upping the emotional stakes for the competitors themselves and nowhere was this more effective than in the competition between Shizuku and Miyuki for winner of Pillar’s Break.

The audience will probably all know exactly how this competition ends but they really made us care about it and this was perhaps the pinnacle achievement of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Too bad it wasn’t actually the climax as it was certainly the highest emotional point the series reached.

Shizuku - Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

Which probably brings me to a positive I should mention. While the theory behind magic and how it has been blended with technology is only very loosely explained in Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei, the actual use of magic by characters in the events of the Nine School Competition remains very impressive. The versatility with which the characters use the various magics makes for some visually very interesting sequences and ultimately one of the things I always loved about this franchise was the thought behind the magic system here.

Not to mention, totally beautiful.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 8

The other real positive I am taking away from Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is the additional screen time given to the girls from Third High. It was kind of nice to see another school humanised this time around and while those characters didn’t get quite enough screen time to really become favourites, Airi and Shiori certainly gave the competition their all and by the time the series ended I kind of wished the spin-off had just jumped from first to third high and given us a totally different take on this world.

Actually, I’d watch that spin-off. Airi and Shiori at third high, convinced they were the strongest of the new generation magicians and then coming smack up against the Shiba’s. It would be awesome to see what they do next.

Equally, it would have been good if we’d had a couple more episodes to get to know these girls before the competition started as they could have been really stolen the show I think.

Honor Ep9 2

As I said at the beginning of the review, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei is watchable. There’s some fun moments along the way, some great magical feats, and the competition is enjoyable enough with rival characters given enough substance to be entertaining.

Ultimately though, it doesn’t do enough to break free from the shackles of feeling like it is just filling in cracks in the original. I almost feel like the best way to watch Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei might be just to figure out where each of these episodes fit in conjunction with the originally series and alternate between the two perspectives.

Honour Ep2 5

That said, for fans of this franchise, this isn’t bad. While you might, like me, find it a little lacking in punch, you will get to spend time with the girls from the first course and you will certainly get many more moments of Miyuki and Tatsuya together.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the series if you’ve watched it so be sure to leave a comment below.

Images from: Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. Dir. Hideki Tachibana. Connect. 2021

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Karandi James

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 11 Impressions – Did They Just Forget How To End A Story This Season?

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 11
Reviews of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi sponsored by Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews.

Last week I wondered how Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi intended to conclude for the season given how many loose ends there still seemed to be. I had some confidence that it would do a decent enough job even if it didn’t wrap up everything.

This week, with episode 11 of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi airing, I know that was a foolish hope.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 11

Like so many anime this season, Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi didn’t even try to resolve.

With no announcement of a follow-up series, episode 11 progresses the story with the demons now fighting back against the Idaten and leaves us with no resolution. Neither the demons nor Idaten are winning with the demons having reclaimed some of their brainwashed breathren and two of the Idaten being tortured by the demons.

While it is a nice and dramatic episode (certainly one that doesn’t mind showing a lot of blood and gore) there’s nothing even close to a resolution or climax for any of the plot-points.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 11

If we take away the fact that this was a season final, it was great to see Rin finally back in action. Back from brooding after spying a pure demon in the ocean she then gets caught up to date with the current situation. her reaction to the two younger Idaten going missing was awesomely over-the-top and exactly what was needed from this character.

However, Hayato really didn’t deliver in this final episode of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi. While early in this series he was a dynamic and interesting character, even if standard shounen stock, here he’s just kind of flat and boring.

I’m also more than a little disappointed with Prontea given his introduction made him seem like he was going to be far more interesting than he’s ended up being. By and large he just does what Ysley tells him to and he’s demonstrated very little real independence as a character.

That said, it’s more than made up for by the demons. Miku and Oobami make for a pretty lethal combination and very quickly turn the tables against Ysley. With no one else in the Idaten camp really big on thinking things through they may very well be outclassed.

Idaten Ep11 3

Though, the real star of this final episode of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi ends up surprisingly being Cory (the younger demon who was brainwashed early on). Though a fairly background character, he’s been consistently in the series ever since his capture and his role in this episode really brought him to the foreground. I kind of hope, should we get a season two, that he isn’t more or less instantly snuffed out because he has some definite potential to be an interesting character.

About the only real concession this episode seemed to make for being a final episode was it firmly reminded us that this is a series not afraid of gore, torture, or sex and there’s more than one scene that feels a little gratuitous rather than purposeful as we speed along our path to the incomplete ending.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 11

But I will highlight the best scene in the episode. And that weirdly goes to Gil. After realising things weren’t going well she digs up a box with a phone in it to try to contact Ysley and then ends up contacting Prontea. This is a fairly practical way to deal with the situation given such technology exists. However, what sells the moment is the over the top reactions from both Hayato and Rin as they wonder if she’s some kind of genius for mastering the technology.

Honestly, it was a refreshing and fun moment from a fairly dark episode.

Hopefully this isn’t the end of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi and we do get a second season because as it is, without an ending, I won’t be able to recommend this when I get to reviewing the whole season and honestly there were a lot of fun moments along the way.

Images from: Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi. Dir. S Kidokoro. MAPPA. 2021

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Karandi James

The Best Anime Moments From The Summer 2021 Anime Season

Best Anime Moments From The Summer 2021 Anime Season

There’s nothing more subjective than trying to decide which anime was the best or which character was the coolest. Every viewer will have their own thoughts on what was best from a season. However, this is my post and I am going to share the best anime moments I came across during the 2021 summer anime season.

As always, I’d love my readers to share their best moments from the season.

Karandi excited about the best anime moments from Summer 2021

What makes a best anime moment?

Given I haven’t watched a huge number of anime from the Summer 2021 season and still have a number to finish, I mostly picked the moments that stood out to me and left a lasting impact. Sometimes these were moments that made me laugh or I thought were pretty clever but each one of these moments fit within the context of their show and made me take notice.

Best anime moment from Realist Hero

Screenshot 1642

It is weird to say that How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom delivered any of the best anime moments of the season, however I will give credit where it is due. The scene in episode 10 where the battleship approaches the castle over land was a gloriously executed scene.

Of course it is incredibly orchestrated with the full moon behind the silhouette of the vessel but with the pounding sound of hooves from the beasts dragging the ship forward and the slow but deliberate approach to war, this scene just works and was by far the best moment Realist Hero offered in its 13 episode run.

Naturally it helps that this scene was the culmination of a range of plans by Souma and really marked a turning point in the battle that drove us towards the season’s end. Visually and from a narrative point of view this was a great moment in an otherwise pretty mediocre series.

Best anime moment from Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei

The Honour Student at Magic High School actually had a number of great moments but finding those that weren’t already in The Irregular at Magic High School was actually a bit harder (given most of the truly awesome moments were scenes we had seen before in the original series). That said, there are two moments I’d like to highlight as being stand out moments from the series.

The first comes from episode 4 where Eimi organises Honoka and Shizuku into a group of girl detectives to track down the guy who had been following Tatsuya. It was a bit of a silly moment but it certainly gave this spin-off a bit of life of its own and honestly I’d have happily watched more of these three getting into mischief for a whole season without any of the rest of the story.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 4 - Eimi, Shizuku and Honoka

That Eimi is also responsible for my second choice for best anime moment from Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei really just highlights how great a supporting character she is and emphasises why we need more of her. While I very vaguely remembered her from the original series it was just a little bit vague. However, by the time I saw her face off against Shiori in Pillar Break and watched her give it her all, I was utterly blown away.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 9

This was a really dramatic moment from a character that was fairly underutilised. The reckless energy she threw into this fight and realising her own strength and desire not to give up was truly inspiring. That both competitors fought to collapse demonstrated their resolve. Yet Eimi falls with a smile and her Yippee-Ki-Yay victory which really just makes you love her all the more.

It was a beautiful competition moment and only Eimi could have pulled it off.

Best anime moment from My Next Life as a Villainess

Sometimes a best anime moment is just one that makes you smile.

That is certainly true in my choice of best anime moment from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X as I’m not choosing any of the dramatic rescues or even that kiss.. Nope, I’m giving this to a solid Catarina moment as she realises yes she’s been kidnapped but mostly that means she can eat snacks and lay in bed all day.

Catarina kidnapped? My Next Life as a Villainess

If only her brother’s kidnapping had been as chill. Seriously, it isn’t often that a silly moment like this would be a memorable anime moment, but it absolutely fit with Bakarina’s character and as an early season moment it more or less reminded me why we all love Catarina despite the fact that she’s a bit of a space cadet.

Best anime moment from The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi - Ysley

Episode 5 of The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace gives us what might seem like a standard brains vs brawn battle as the demon Piscalet seemingly has the physically weak but quite ingenious Ysley trapped in a room and cut off from his friends.

Ysley not only turns the tide of this battle seemingly effortlessly, he also reveals a pretty ruthless and cut-throat nature hiding beneath his those glasses and pleasant smile. Its one of those moments where you expected the tables would be turned but you didn’t quite realise the full extent of it and you can only watch in awe or in a little bit of concern as he takes it beyond just winning the battle.

Either way, Ysley moved from being a character playing second fiddle to Hayato’s seeming protagonist status to being a driving force in the story in the space of one battle and remained as a leading character ever since. Definitely a best anime moment for the season.

Best anime moment from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2

All of the moments above were pretty cool, but none of them made me feel as good or smile as much as the one delivered by That Time I Got Reincarnated as a slime Season 2 Part 2. While it is just a silly visual gag and reference, the timing was perfect and this scene from the penultimate episode of Tensura 2 just made my whole week.

Slime S2 Ep47 5

Seriously, having a manga obsessed dragon using a kamehameha attack was kind of the perfect inclusion for this series and definitely reminded me of how fun this series can be when it hits its stride. That the rest of the season was a little ho-hum was almost forgiven by this single scene just absolutely nailing it.

So what are your choices for best anime moment?

I’ve still got a whole bunch of anime from this season to finish watching so I’d love to know what some of your choices were for best anime moments this season.

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Karandi James

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Episode 13 Impressions – And Stop

Realist Hero Episode 13

Realist Hero is another isekai story that simply stops because we’re out of episodes.

It’s hard not to be disappointed in the ending of Realist Hero when episode 13 introduces the sister of the leader of the empire who has made her way to Van to negotiate with Souma. However none of that happens yet because we spend the episode discussing another food with Poncho before going shopping with Juna and Tomoe.

Realist Hero Episode 13

Actually, the most tension this episode manages, and it is a season final, is when Liscia is all pouty because all the other girls get presents and then Souma hands her a necklace.

Needless to say, this final episode of Realist Hero feels just like every other episode and is watchable enough but doesn’t remotely feel like the end of a season. Even with a second season potentially coming, I’m not sure that makes it okay to not even attempting something resembling pacing or a climax for a season end.

Realist Hero episode 13

Still, if you viewers were expecting anything else from this then they really haven’t paid attention to the way this season of Realist Hero has unfolded. It really does just kind of coast along and while there are moments that could offer dramatic tension they are always diluted by diversion (usually involving singing or food).

All things considered though, there’s a number of plot points revisited in this final episode so there is some sense of closure.

For instance we do find out more about why Souma was summoned in the first place. Equally we see the Princess of the Kingdom of Amidonia still conspiring with the treasury guy though we’ve yet to really gain any understanding about what her goals are. We also do finally have an encounter between Souma and the Empire so there’s lots of plot threads that come together for this final episode even if they don’t actually result in any decisive outcome – yet.

Realist Hero Episode 13

Honestly, I didn’t find the ending of this anime anywhere near as jarring or annoying as Seirei Gensouki but realistically it isn’t all that much better. Probably the only real advantage this anime has is that the pacing all the way along has felt smoother so while the story isn’t concluded we did get kind of climax last week when Souma’s army overcame the King of Amidonia and this episode feels more like wrapping up loose ends and ensuring we are reminded of the pertinent players.

That said, the episode itself is pretty ho-hum and honestly I’m already moving on and I haven’t even finished writing the review for it yet. That isn’t the best way for a series to finish, particularly one that wants me to pick it up again when it airs its second season.

Realist Hero Episode 13

I will review the full series soon but I’d love to know your thoughts on Realist Hero.

Images from: How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. Dir. T Watanabe. J.C.Staff. 2021

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Karandi James

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13 Impressions – An Almost Off-Screen Massacre To Make Space For A Bath Scene

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13
Review posts of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei are sponsored by Crow's World of Anime.

I often wonder with stories, such as Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei whether there ever really was enough ‘untold’ story in the original series (in this case The Irregular at Magic High School) to justify the spin-off. As episode 13 of Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei comes to a close with a few reveals about the bloom/weed system and a minor flashback for the Shiba siblings really the only take-aways, I’m kind of left thinking that there wasn’t in this case. Though that didn’t stop this final episode being pretty.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei never really found its own identity.

When the best part of the nine schools arc really was the ending with Tatsuya single-handedly taking out the terrorist organisation that threatened his sister, I always wondered what Miyuki would offer up as a finishing act. While we get a brief glimpse of the massacre that closed out this arc in Irregular, the focus here does remain firmly with the girls but mostly that just makes me wish I was watching Irregular instead.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13

Which isn’t to say this was a bad episode.

Airi, the blonde girl from third high who set herself up as Miyuki’s rival in this arc, puts in a promising performance in Mirage Bat. As a mid-season episode or even background to the events in Irregular, this was a pretty decent showing.

The two girls dominated the final of Mirage Bat and both were emotionally invested in the competition which really helped draw the audience in for this final event in the competition. Unfortunately, it didn’t engage me as emotionally as Eimi’s dramatic battle during Pillar’s Break and it didn’t come close to Shizuku taking on Miyuki.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 13

Ultimately, Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei was a victim of earlier successes with characters we liked a lot more making it so much harder for a Miyuki/Airi match-off to really be a show closing event.

It also didn’t help that Miyuki’s only driving force here is to promote her brother. She brings nothing new to the equation and finds no other goal. Meanwhile, Airi’s motivation is reiterated and enhanced through the flashback of her conversation with her mother.

While Airi has been a character who I’ve had mixed feelings about she definitely got the best moments of this final episode and it would have been great to have seen her right at the end and find out what is next for her and the other girls of third high. After all the effort this spin-off seems to have put in to me investing in these characters, seeing them after the competition and their next steps would have really consolidated them whereas it kind of feels like they just disappear here.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei Episode 13

All that aside, a chunk of this episode is given to a bath sequence. While it is good that Airi and Miyuki finally actually have a conversation, not sure why it is set in the bath with the other girls playing with water magic and ripping robes off each other (actually I know exactly why – fan-service – but I’m just not sure which audience this scene is trying to appeal to given I’m sure people who would really appreciate this scene probably checked out from watching this anime half-a-season ago).

We then have the dance party tying up loose ends and we finally find out why first high has two different uniforms and course one and course 2 students. I’m just not sure that Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei needs to exist in order to get this explanation. Still, if you have to do a spin-off at least give me some information that I missed out on in the original.

Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei episode 13

Anyway, that’s all for Mahouka Koukou no Yuutsouei. I’ll get to a full series review soon and I kind of hope we get more stories set in this universe but honestly I’ll happily go back to Tatusya as the main character.

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Karandi James

(Tensura 2) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2 Series Review

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2 Series Review

It seems like part 2 of season 2 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has many of the same issues I identified with part one (which means if you enjoyed part one you probably won’t be worried about them at all). I’m still wondering why they split this into two parts and more wondering about the overall pacing of Rimuru’s story at this point, but overall watching Tensura 2 Part 2 has remained enjoyable enough while not quite being what I want from a fantasy isekai.

There will be some spoilers in the review.

Tensura - food challenge
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2

The simple truth – That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2 is watchable (even enjoyable) but is not unmissable.

The story in part 2 picks up almost immediately after the events of part one with all of the characters revived and everyone more or less relaxing as Rimuru makes a side-trip to release Veldora like he promised way back when.

Part of me wanted a lot more from Veldora’s character given this dragon had been so incredibly built up by the way others spoke about him, however That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a comedy and never misses an opportunity to reverse your expectations. Instead of Veldora being a game-changing introduction, he quickly takes the form of a human and spends the majority of this season lounging around becoming addicted to manga.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2

I would say this was a waste of a potentially fantastic character (as many characters in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime end up feeling underused just due to the sheer number of characters the story has in it) except that all of this lead up (episode after episode of Veldora being background) ends up culminating during the climax with Veldora delivering an anime inspired attack that just made me laugh out loud. It may have been a lot of build up but in this case the pay-off was nearly worth it with that being one of the best moments for the Summer 2021 season.

Slime S2 Ep47 5

Perhaps that is an overall problem with That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime in anime form. This whole second season is essentially build up to concluding the fight that Clayman has started by orchestrating the attack on Rimuru’s city (Jura Tempest Federation). And it’s all well and good to spend a whole half-season on a build up to a battle (let’s be honest plenty of shounen will spend longer setting up a decent smack-down), too much of this season is spent with characters kind of talking about doing things and planning and it isn’t particularly riveting viewing.

Also, Clayman remains a pretty lame antagonist. Sure viewers realise he isn’t the final boss and is just being used but that doesn’t make his screen time any better. He’s the only face of the villains we really get and he’s just so pathetic you can’t take him or his minions seriously leading to a serious lack of tension in all this build-up.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2

That the final battles are more or less Rimuru’s overpowered minions steam-rolling over Clayman’s less than willing followers means that we had nearly three-quarters of this season as build up for a non-event. Rimuru’s battle with Clayman himself was given a little more emphasis but again there was little doubt as to the outcome.

Then again, plot and pacing have never been That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime’s strong points. It kind of gets by on the charm of its cast and the humour. It’s not meant to be taken seriously but rather to be enjoyed. The final episodes of this season more or less remember that and bring us a few solid character moments as well as some good punch-lines, but the first half the season suffers from the absence of charm. The cast are there but given little to work with.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2

As a continuation of the franchise it works. Particularly knowing we will get yet more Slime in the future so this isn’t actually the end of the anime. But as an individual viewing experience, Season 2 Part 2 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is lacking.

But let’s give a shout out to Milim who managed to steal the spot-light late in the series and was largely responsible for the charm and fun of the final episodes. Combine her presence with Veldora finally getting his moment and Rimuru doing what he does best, utterly destroying his enemies, and I can’t really argue against how this season wrapped up.

Milim - Tensura 2 Episode 43

In fact, the final episodes of this season reminded me well and truly of how fun That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime can be and turned my maybe I won’t watch the next season (or at least wait and binge it) to ‘okay, I’m going to keep watching this franchise’. Which, given my earlier feelings in the season when it felt a little devoid of fun was quite the feat.

But all long running anime do have slumps in their flow and pace. The better shows recover from them and hopefully whatever the next arc of this story is will wash away any final concerns. What I do know is that this arc against Clayman wasn’t Slime at its best. It had moments where the cast got to shine and the humour worked but it can do better and hopefully this is as poor a showing as this story has to offer.

As to everything else, the character designs and animation are what you would expect from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. I continue to enjoy the colours in this anime and the fights remain flashy and pretty fun to watch. It is amazing that with such a large cast they have managed to distinguish each character and you seldom get confused about who is who (though I do regularly forget the names of less frequent appearing characters).

Tensura OP - Rimuru

The real highlight of the season 2 part 2 though is the opening theme, Like Flames. Seriously, its an awesome song and that it plays over the final clashing battle works very well. Also, the visuals in the OP are pretty amazing. This was one opening I never skipped during the Summer 2021 season because it was just great to listen to.

Anyway, if you have watched That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime so far, season 2 part 2 will continue the story for you and give you more time to hang with these characters. While it may not be a standout arc for the series it isn’t bad watching and the ending of the season almost makes up for the slow build-up. Let’s hope the next instalment of this franchise delivers more fun moments with these characters.

Images from: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2. Dir. Y Kikuchi. 8bit. 2021.

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Karandi James

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 10 Impressions – Birth of Pure Demons

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 10
Reviews of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi sponsored by Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews.

With one episode of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi to go I still think this probably the anime I’ve enjoyed most during the Summer 2021 season. That’s even as I wonder about how it intends to actually conclude the season because it feels like there’s a lot of loose ends here. Then again, given how much content this anime can pack into an episode without it feeling rushed, maybe they’ll manage to bring it to some kind of conclusion (or maybe they are leaving it open for sequel bait – time will tell).

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 10

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi isn’t afraid to throw characters under a bus.

One thing I’ve found kind of delightful about this anime is that it isn’t so attached to characters that they just keep surviving. Sure the Idaten have proven resilient to almost everything, the demons and even humans are all kind of fair game for short introductions and being abruptly cut-off (or even having slightly longer introductions and still ending).

What Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi doesn’t do is repeat over and over. Characters like Piscalat who felt like they should have been killed survive and take on a new role whereas Nickel, who seemed to be being built up early on died almost immediately after introduction. Brandy survived longer but ultimately the story happily removed her.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 10

Actually, the only character still lingering around the edges of this story who feels somewhat superfluous is the nun (or at least the Idaten form, Gil). While her training sequence with Hayato made for some amusement this week as well as a good throw-back to the earlier episodes, I’m still not sure how she fits into this story or with the rest of the cast.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 10

But while the Idaten get some screen time this week, the lion’s share of episode 10 of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi is given to Miku, Oobami and the other surviving demons who are most definitely not defeated yet even if Zoble was overthrown and the majority of their brethren taken out by the Idaten.

Even while this anime is setting up some uncomfortable viewing with Miku’s current plan of breeding with the last two demon children (and wow that is actually uncomfortable if you think about it in any real-world context so try not to) it also balances that with some genuinely solid humour. Oobami possessing a small green robot to interact with Miku is one laugh out loud worthy moment.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 10

I find it quite interesting that even in this moment where the demon race has been reduced to such a small number of humanoid demons, Miku is still pretty happy to discard anything that isn’t of use to her. Actually, Miku remains a pretty interesting character even if her overt over-sexualised nature might put some viewers off. The cold logic she used in making the decision to flee Zoble and now her equally cold demeanour as she determines which demons to even make contact with and who is just useless definitely leave you wondering who the real evil of Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi is.

Arguably, I’m still thinking Ysley, our glasses wearing Idaten.

Though maybe an argument of good and evil is entirely irrelevant here when neither the Idaten nor the demons are particularly concerned about doing what is right and merely serve their own purposes.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi episode 10

If I put all that aside, this episode does bring real demons (non-humanoid ones) into the action. While they are mere brutes, forces of nature, and at the moment largely a distraction more than a real threat, you have to admit if you were a human in this world these things would be pretty terrifying.

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi Episode 10

Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi remains very violent, with language that isn’t going to suit everyone, sexual references and imagery that may put some viewers off, and themes that are a little on the disturbing side, all packaged in a brightly coloured and flamboyant wrapping, and somehow it continues to work being consistently entertaining and full of energy. Very much looking forward to the final episode.

Images from: Heion Sedai no Idaten-Tachi. Dir. S Kidokoro. MAPPA. 2021

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Karandi James