That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Series Review

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 9 Rimuru in the cave

Ready for the slime of your life?

Here we are with another isekai anime. Another normal, ordinary, totally average guy who is killed by a totally normal knife wielding running man before being reincarnated as an over-powered blue slime in a world resembling a standard generic fantasy setting where he will begin building an empire and have plenty of adoring subjects because he is awesome.

So, if you don’t like isekai or over-powered protagonists it is probably time to duck out of this one. Because, this anime is utterly unashamed of what it is and while we have the gimmick of the protagonist being a slime, there isn’t a lot that really distinguishes it in terms of plot or setting.

Where That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime does manage to distinguish itself from similar isekai adventures is that the protagonist seems utterly without a goal for the majority of the story. Sorry, I’ll correct that. He has goals but mostly they revolve around making his life easier, and usually making life easier for those who follow him. There’s no grand plan of fighting some powerful evil, trying to return home, or really anything else. Just short term goals that get accomplished in bite sized arcs as this essentially slice of life, empire building story kind of rolls itself out.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 11 Rimuru

As such there is never any real sense of urgency or that there are any real stakes in anything that happens. I kind of found this very off putting and frequently found it hard to invest a great deal emotionally in this show. While I never overly disliked it, I think if Slime had suddenly had production issues and been delayed a month, I may not have even noticed. It just kind of existed and while I was watching it I usually had a casual good time with an occasional smile, the occasional enjoyment of a particularly good dialogue exchange, and very rarely an interesting fight, but mostly it just kind of passed by.

For people who prefer their stories low-key and don’t mind watching characters just kind of drift and do what they do (so people who don’t really mind slice of life in general), Slime probably offers a rare fantasy opportunity that isn’t all about slaying a demon lord or achieving some grand goal. In a sense it reminds me, vaguely, of something like Restaurant to Another Universe in that you have what appears to be a standard fantasy setting without any of the epic plot trappings that usually accompany it.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 16

In a sense, if Slime had chosen to simply occupy the space of a slice of life in a fantasy setting, I probably wouldn’t have watched it at all because I already know such a premise doesn’t really interest me. However, Slime does at times have hints of a larger narrative and certain arcs seemed to push that forward. In those moments I found a genuine enjoyment rather than a casual like of the show. Shizue’s arc in the first cour was the true highlight, hitting some fairly decent emotional notes, filling in our knowledge of the world, and progressing the idea of a villain Rimuru may have to face at some point. All and all, it was pretty solid. There are other arcs, or bits of information within some of the other arcs that also build on an overall narrative idea, but they are scattered and hardly a focal point.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 6

With that it entirely comes down to your viewing preferences and whether you need a driving narrative as to whether this anime will grab your interest.

However, if the basic premise and set up is what you are looking for, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime offers a fairly beautifully presented quality viewing experience. In almost all episodes the visual and animation quality is maintained with none of the mid-season or late season mistakes, glitches, and just rushed efforts that other anime sometimes face. Rimuru is as charmingly depicted in episode 23 as episode 1 (though early in the series there’s a weird CG visual used occasionally for Rimuru that just seems out of place with the rest of the visuals of the series – quite possibly deliberate but I felt it was weird).

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 1

One thing I did find bizarre was that the anime would introduce monster characters who would have quite strikingly non-human appearances and then after Rimuru gave them a name they would ‘evolve’ and have a more human appearance. I mentioned this in one of my episode reviews, but it felt like an utter waste to take such distinct looking characters and morph them into generic fantasy boy/girl with vague monster appendages. It felt like a loss for what could have made this anime visually far more memorable than it ends up being, even if it is a pretty anime that is easy on the eyes.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 16

From a sound point of view everything works. Character voices serve their purpose and Rimuru’s voice acting is perhaps the character’s most charming point. He’s easy to listen to, fairly emotive, and the contrast between his inner and outer tone at times is spot on and nails the humour of a situation. Other characters are either good enough or quite interesting, and the background music and sounds do their job but don’t stand out as overly memorable.

Overall though it is the characters that I find to be the weakest element of this anime. Not because they are not good characters. Individually, each character is perfectly fine and they even play well off one another. The problem is that other than Rimuru, no character really sticks around long enough to have much impact. Even characters who stay in the story, after their introduction and brief moment in the spot-light, get shunted to the background where they occasionally fill screen space or make a comment, but kind of cease to develop as actual characters.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Lizardmen

For me, in the absence of a driving plot, I really needed more from the characters and their personal journeys. I needed something to make me want to invest emotionally in this anime, and tragically the characters just couldn’t fill the void.

Admittedly, the characters are largely quirky and cute but when the vast majority of names are forgotten before the series has even been a week completed, and you genuinely don’t know what even half of them are trying to do or accomplish and you generally have no sense that any of the characters are motivated to do anything beyond serve Rimuru, it really makes it hard to care about what happens to any of them and Rimuru is so over-powered (and if he wasn’t, Milim sure is), that it is hard to visualise harm coming to any of them.

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Again, it comes down to whether or not you care about any kind of tension or emotional stakes in your story or whether you just want to chill. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime would be a very good anime to just chill to.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19 Gobta

Before I wrap up, I do want to discuss the episode count. At 25 episodes, this anime took six months to air. That’s a long time investment for episodic watching and I will admit, I was weary of it by the end. It didn’t help that the final arc, despite tying in fairly beautifully with Shizue’s arc from the first half of the season, was undeniably one of the weaker stories delivered. However, what makes it worse is the anime actually finishes at episode 23 and then we have two extra episodes. Episode 24 actually is better than anything the second half of Slime gave us and just made me wonder why we hadn’t seen more like that. That probably isn’t what you want your bonus material to do. 24.5 is just padding. Poorly executed recap. A poor excuse of filler to pad out a 25 episode count that was unneeded.

Getting onto recommendations, it isn’t as though this was a bad anime. There are huge numbers of fans, massive amounts of merchandise available, and realistically there’s nothing inherently broken about the story. While it doesn’t suit my viewing preferences, it functionally works and at times even I found it very entertaining and at its worst I just found it kind of empty but watchable. So for some this will be highly entertaining.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 18 fanservice

My honest opinion with this one is that there are better isekai anime out there with better journeys and characters. Then again, I prefer something that has clear direction and characters that grow and learn so perhaps Slime and I were never meant to be. Still, I wouldn’t actually tell you to avoid this one. It can be good fun and is nicely made. Give it a try, by the end of episode 3 you should have a rough idea of whether this works for you, and maybe you’ll find a show to fall in love with.

However, I’d love to know your thoughts on That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (the anime) so please share in the comments below.

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Friendly Talks With Arthifis – Meiji Tokyo Renka Final Thoughts

Meiji Tokyo Renka post title

Thanks everyone for joining Arthifis and me as we review the final few episodes of Meiji Tokyo Renka. We’ll be covering The Rising of the Shield Hero over on the Anime Shelter with Arthifis so be sure to check that out as well. As usual, I will be red, where Arthifis will be bold and blue. Hope you enjoy.

Hey Arthifis, welcome back. The Winter anime season has been a lot of fun but it’s finally coming to an end. I’m going to be a little sad to see this one disappear from my watch list. What about you?

Hey Karandi! Thanks for having me yet again on your blog! 😀

I’m with you! In the beginning the Anime Winter Season seemed to not have much to offer, but there were many nice gems going on! 😀

When it comes to Meiji Tokyo Renka, completely agree with you! Especially on episode 10, in the end of Ougai’s arc I really felt that I wanted more than 12 episodes! It’s a little bit strange because I didn’t realize, but my feelings for Mei as a character really grew and I got somewhat attached to her!

What did you think about Ougai’s arc completion?

I think with Meiji Tokyo Renka the characters and their stories are really the winning piece of the puzzle. They are all pretty charming, even if a lot of the support cast didn’t get a lot of development. Ougai, who had been a bit of a mystery all the way along, finally got his well deserved focus and as you said, episode 10, it just felt like this story had so much to offer.

That doesn’t make it perfect by any means, given there are plenty of things that could have been improved, but with such a cute cast and the general fun that was found in watching most episodes, overall I just ended up really charmed by this one.

I did find it weird the Shunsou’s arc was completed after Ougai’s. What did you think?

Well, I think Meiji Tokyo Renka ended up in a weaker note than the rest of the overall Anime. For me these 3 last episodes were the weakest and that many things were basically rushed to make it end by episode 12.

For example, there are things in Ougai’s arc that are not very well explained. I mean, I understand that Elise “spirit” is probably Ougai’s mental state. However, being this an Anime where spirits lurk around, it just makes it confusing.

Then Shunsou’s arc… That episode is probably the worst of the Anime, in my opinion. Not only things were not quite well explained as the overall episode execution had way less quality than the rest of the Anime. It had even more static frames for example.

And then, plot wise, it ended up not being really explained. First, Shunsou’s eyes problem… It was never there until that episode which is a little bit strange. Then, the black cat appearing from nowhere was just… Meh… I mean they have been looking for him since episode 1 almost and then the cat just appears randomly…

Last, but not the least, Shunsou’s eyes seem to just magically heal on the last episode. What do you think?

Shunsou’s eyes bothered me. It was like we knew he couldn’t paint because the black cat went missing but to find out there was a medical problem that no one had felt the need to raise in ten episodes, to the point where he couldn’t see something right in front of him, just seemed really fake and like they just suddenly had to come up with a problem.

That said, and while the sensible me knows very well the plot of that episode is complete rubbish, the girl in me really loved the episode.

Mei chasing after Shunsou and helping him gather up his paintings again. Her reassuring him and helping him to metaphorically see, and as he comes to terms with the fact that he needs to get the surgery done the black cat returns to him.

I thought it was absolutely adorable even while the logical side of my brain tried to escape. Then again, you also mention the number of static images in the episode, which I also really liked because they were really pretty and easy to grab as screen caps, but in terms of animation quality, that’s pretty dreadful.

Let’s be honest though, Meiji Tokyo Renka has always been average at best when it comes to animation so falling a little down at the end of the season was probably to be expected.

Still, Shunsou’s episode aside, we then have the final episode which just felt really rushed considering it seemed like a complete turn around from where we were just three episodes ago.

Yeah that was what I going to comment next. Mei just had said that she would stay in the Meiji Era forever… And then, last minute, she decides to go back.

I have a few problems with this. First, how did Ougai knew, from the bat the she was going away, when she just had said to him that she loves him and wants to stay with him for the rest of her life.

Second, why did she go? That’s the main question, right? Because, not even once she really gives the vibe that she wants to come back. Of course, that’s part of her missing memory. However, she actually just met the man of her life… If I was in her shoes I would just stay there lol

The why did she go question really bothered me as well. I mean, Ougai is really great for her. Perfect in point of fact. And yet, she gets her memory back and just decides to go back home.

I kind of put this down to it being a Voyage and Return story in the end. Like Alice in Wonderland, it doesn’t matter how much fun she has, once she learns her lesson she is right back to reality. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less a terrible way for this show to end because seeing Mei back in the present didn’t bring me any joy at all.

Yeah, it basically became an “accepting yourself” kind of story like I mentioned in one of our first conversations. It just went with the route that I was expecting from the start, which is a bummer.

Nevertheless, being Meiji Tokyo Renka originally a game, I’m pretty sure they just went with one of the routes – the Ougai romance. I’m not sure though if in the game there is the option for you to decide to stay or to go… But, even if there isn’t, I would prefer 1000 times that she just stayed with Ougai. It makes more sense to the story, and I would end the Anime a happier person xD

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I know, right. Like Ougai and Mei actually become officially engaged and then we end with a wedding scene. It is so cliche and silly and yet it would fit perfectly with the tone and atmosphere of this anime and just leave you smiling. Of course, it would kill any other ships viewers had for Mei, but the way the story is presented there really aren’t a lot of viable options. Sure there were plenty of guys introduced but only Ougai got enough attention to be taken seriously.

Or do you ship Mei with one of the others?

Nope… I mean I actually found rather cute how Izumi, who doesn’t touch anything because of his fear of germs, to grab Mei’s hands and dance with her nonetheless. However, it’s without a doubt Ougai who I ship the most.

Talking about the dance… Don’t you think that the way she said goodbye to everyone was a little bit… Too damn fast? Especially Shunzou… I mean, they ended up being close and she doesn’t even say the word goodbye lol

I actually kind of thought it made sense she didn’t say goodbye to him. They had become very close and at times they kind of seemed like brother and sister. So for me it was like she couldn’t bring herself to actually say goodbye. Though, that brings us back to wondering why she left at all.

What did you end up thinking about Charlie after all of that?

Well, you already know that Charlie, for me (not as Mei’s ship or something like that), is basically the most handsome of them all. So, it was great to see that he was in fact coming from a good place and that he was a spirit that was always there to protect her. A spirit, that was strong enough to have a real body and make time travel, twice.

However, I don’t think that Charlie really had to “die”. Although I understand why they decided to do that. He had done his main objective and goal, he was able to develop Mei to someone who is going to be able to be happy… But, yeah… Can’t lie and say that I didn’t become a little sad when I saw him disappear. What about you? You were the one saying last time that you thought he had a hidden agenda somewhere 😀

Yeah, that didn’t really pan out. However, I didn’t mind this with Charlie having manipulated the situation to help Mei learn something and then giving her the choice of staying or going back. Not quite as good as if he was some mastermind villain… There really is no bad guy in this story. Actually, in a lot of the anime I’ve watched this season there is no real villain. It is making my list of possible best villains of the year really short so far and a few that I’ve written down are kind of lame.

Hahaha now that you talk about it, you are right… This season has been way more about the voyage than actually heroes and villains… Besides Shield Hero and Neverland there is not actually “villains”… The only one I can remember now is Asuka Special Corps.

However, it’s nice to see that, even without synergy, many Anime shows were able to be interesting and enjoyable to watch. Meiji Tokyo Renka is one of them and I give an overall 4 stars out of 5.

Something that I did yesterday, was to look up who the characters are in real life. I just looked up Ougai and Shunzou and, well, it’s really nice to see how they picked real important people and took into account some details. For example the black cat painting is one of the most popular paintings from the real guy 😛

I think this is one like Bungou Stray Dogs where now that it is done, I’ll probably find some time at some point to look up the characters. As for an overall rating, I don’t tend to use any kind of scale, but I had a lot of fun with this anime this season and it was certainly one of the more consistently entertaining even if the overall quality was a little average in some aspects.

I had a lot of fun discussing it with you during the season as well.

Any final thoughts before we wrap this up and go discuss Shield Hero?

Well, not really. Just wanted to say that I’m really thankful for you to have picked this one for us to follow this season. It was a lot of fun and I probably wouldn’t give so much thought if not for this collab 🙂

Yes, I didn’t expect this to be anywhere near as enjoyable as it ended up being, and our talks were really fun. Hopefully we do this again and find an equally fun show to follow. Alright, over to the Shelter.

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Katanagatari One – Novel Review

Katanagatari Cover Art

I tend to let it be well known that I have a serious love of books. I surround myself with them in my daily life. Books I’ve read, books I mean to read, books I plan to read again… Piles of books stacked on shelves and in odd little corners all in an order that makes perfect sense to me and me alone. I will seldom be found without a couple of books in the bag I’m carrying and certainly wouldn’t travel without the lighter e-reader version of a library.

So with that context, when I say that Katanagatari 1, a compilation of the first three stories of Sword Tale, is an extraordinary book, I do not say that lightly. I say it with love and admiration as right from when I first opened the package this one arrived in and felt the cover and admired the art work, that there is something very special about this book.

Katanagatari - Fold out image - Togame and Shichika

Part of that may be it is a rare case where I have a hardback version of a book, if only because there was no paperback version and I was keen enough to read this story that I did splurge a little on my usual book budget (a decision I do not regret in the slightest). However, unlike many hardcover books with their plain cover and then floppy book jacket that gets in the way while reading until you simply discard it in irritation, this one has the art beautifully attached to the actual cover with no flappy extras to interfere with the texture and feeling of the book or with trying to read it.

Now, full disclosure, I was already in love with the narrative here because the anime is something of an extraordinary watch with its 12 episodes of 40 minutes and quite unique art style. So I went in to this one knowing the basic outline of the story and what to expect. Still, I feel that whether you go in knowing or not nothing can diminish the pure joy of reading this book.

Katangatari - original table of contents spread

The care gone in to the book’s presentation only continues on the inside. The fold out art work is stunning, a table of contents given in English, and then a page which shows the first book’s original content’s page (this version of the book contains the first three ‘books’ of the 12 book story).

Throughout the book are footnotes which provide reference to the original kanji used and how it has been translated which helps at times to make sense of puns or jokes the characters are making or just adds insight into what the particular name of a place or attack might mean. These don’t need to be read in order to follow the story but they add enough in that I found myself regularly going back to read them if I’d gotten caught up in an action scene and skipped them for a page or two. While unnecessary, they just add a little something more to the story and I really appreciated them.

Katanagatari - Footnotes

Peppered throughout the books are liberally illustrations with double page spreads showing characters, action sequences or new settings. Each consistently demonstrating the unique art style that the anime certainly emulated and they are striking images that are well worth spending some time just taking in.

At the ends of chapters and in the transitions between books there is a character note page that usually outlines information about the ninja or enemy faced in the book and again this isn’t necessary information but it just adds a little extra.

Katanagatari - Double page image

All and all, Katanagatari has gone all out with worthwhile extras.

But, what about the writing and the story itself given this is a book review?

I’m pleased to say that the writing style is nothing short of lyrical. You flow from one event to the next with dialogue keeping the pace swift in places or bringing it up short in others. Enough description is given as is needed to sketch the scenes without belabouring the points. Action is tightly written and again enough description given that you know what is going on, and if they happen to linger over explanations of particular attacks there is usually some purpose behind it.

Katanagatari - Nanami

Overall though, the tone of the writing is highly entertaining. While I know this version is a translated work and some of the author’s original style probably got strained out in the process, there’s a genuine love of language and words that comes through with the writing style that makes it pleasant to read. There’s also a fierce desire to not take the situations overly seriously as the characters lurch from one scenario to another.

Togame, the Schemer, and Shichikia, her sword, are a wonderful duo who bounce off one another in personality and dialogue in a way that is fun to read. The zany nature of the ninjas introduces provide enough in the way of sensationalism without crossing over into sheer ridiculous (though at times it is a fine line). There’s some tongue in cheek and self-aware comments from the narration but none so persistent that it becomes grating, and you just can’t help but feel that the author knew exactly what they were doing and where the lines were that would push it from amusing to silly, self-aware to smug and kept firmly on the side of enjoyable without sacrificing individuality in the process.

Did I mention I really loved reading this?

Katanagatari - Shichika and Togame

While the story across each of the three books is formulaic, enough elements are differentiated that it doesn’t feel like a rinse and repeat effort and there is method in the repetition. The scenario of collecting the twelve swords automatically sets up a quest of the book situation where one sword becomes the target of the hunt and Shichika and Togame need to deal with whoever stands between them and the sword. However, in just these three books we travel from Shichika’s home island to a desert to a shrine and in each place they face off against a different kind of enemy with a different reason for holding firmly to the sword.

I honestly couldn’t say I was dissatisfied with anything in regards to reading this story. Except of course where book 2 is not yet released so I’m now waiting for the next three stories so that I can continue the journey.

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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 13 With Irina and Karandi

The Morose Mononokean Post Title

Here we are at the end of the season and it is time for one last chat with Irina about The Morose Mononokean (at least this season and fingers crossed that we eventually get a third). We’re over on Irina’s site today so to check out our full discussion about The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 13 hop on over and be sure to leave us a comment.

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Top 5 Screen Caps From The Winter Season

Tuesday's Top 5

This week I’m counting down my favourite screen caps that I collected during the Winter season. Of course, I’d love to know what your favourite screen cap was from the season so feel free to share a link in the comments below (if it goes to Spam I’ll rescue it).

However, when I decided to make this list I started wondering what actually makes a good screen cap and I realised that I probably am the least qualified person to answer that. For me though, it is an image that captures a moment or a mood from a story perfectly, or it just looks really pretty. Other people might actually look for an image that is of really good quality and is balanced and a whole bunch of other things. But this is my list, and as I said above, I’d love to see your favourite screen caps from Winter 2019 so feel free to share your own.

By the way… Spoiler alert as some images come from key plot moments and final episodes.

Honourable Mentions:

I’m throwing a lot of scenes from The Promised Neverland into the Honourable Mentions because that anime is beautiful, rich with symbolism, great use of light and dark and colour to set the mood and tone. But in a single still image a lot of the impressive atmosphere that comes through the use of sound, movement, and visuals is lost. So while I enjoy the images I collected of The Promised Neverland, none of them are really jumping out as the most interesting as a still image. Which is a shame because visually that is a great anime.

Number 5: Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 14

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 14 Eugeo strikes

For all that I’ve made it clear Sword Art Online Alicization isn’t really working for me from a plot point of view, when it has one of its moments it really nails it. And there have been a couple of moments where it has just been truly spectacular to watch, to the point where narrowing it down to this screen cap from episode 14 and Eugeo fighting was actually really difficult. Yet, this was a great moment for his character, a fairly interesting fight sequence, and just a solid visual and so I absolutely had to pick it. Still the image of the girl exploding in episode 15, Kirito using his sword art in episode 15, Alice using hers in episode 16 and Eugeo’s fight in episode 18 have all been spectacular for grabbing images.

Number 4: Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

Hina - Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

This anime has been visually fairly ordinary, though there have been a few standout moments. Still, Hina’s teary confession on the roof to the other teacher that she probably would have still fallen in love with Natsuo and done what she had done whether he’d warned her or not was a moment the show truly nailed. A close follow up, in the same episodes comes from Natsuo writing his novel and the imagery used as he writes his feelings onto the page. Very nicely done.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

Number 3: Kaguya-Sama Love is War Any Fujiwara Scene

I’m just going to put this out there, for any problems you might identify with Kaguya-Sama (and I’ve got a few) any scene where Fujiwara appears is almost instantly improved and amazingly enough the girl comes out spectacularly in screen caps. She perfectly captures the mood of the scene through body language, facial expression and usually props. I think about the only reason I would watch the show again would be to get more Fujiwara screen-caps at this point.

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Number 2: The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 6

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Yahiko transforms into a giant crow.

The Morose Mononokean is a visually interesting anime due to the contrast between the yokai and mundane world. The colour palette can entirely change depending on the setting but regardless it is always fairly bright and pleasant to look at. However, episode 6 brings us a fairly confronting sequence for Hanae Ashiya when Yahiko, the fox, decides to trick him by turning into an illusion of the Executive. The end result is a dangerous awakening of power in Hanae and the visuals just absolutely nailed the tone and gravity of the scene.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Ashiya and Yahiko

Number 1: Run With The Wind Episode 20

Run With The Wind Episode 20

Run With The Wind was visually a very impressive anime and I loved a lot of what it did with sound and movement as well, but even in an anime with plenty of great screen cap moments, episode 20 is the one that I’ve fallen in love with. Why? Because of the subject matter. Shindou. Fevered and unwell yet determined to finish his leg of the race for the team. It is unrealistic that he doesn’t just faint and that his time is not so poor that it doesn’t throw them out of the competition entirely is fairly unbelievable, and yet there is something beyond inspiring about the sequence. His face says it all and it is the single most inspiring moment from any anime in the Winter 2019 season and it is a moment I’m going to hold onto for a fairly long while.

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Heartfelt Moment Undermined By ‘Humorous’ Conclusion

Kaguya Sama: Love is War Post Title

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 12 Review

For the first half of this episode I thought this was an absolutely brilliant way for this series to go out. Really was loving it. And then… well, then we got to the second part. See the whole way through this series I’ve really loved the moments where the characters have been allowed to just be characters and interact rather than the contrived matches between the main pair, so seeing Shinomiya genuinely upset by not being allowed to go to the fireworks and Shirogane and the others rallying to help her was really a great emotional moment with a lot of pay-off.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya crying

This was each of the characters at their best. No forced humour or awkwardly intrusive narration. Just a girl upset and the overly dramatic solution with her escaping her house and then her frantic rush to reach the wharf in time, only for it to end in failure. That was so incredibly sad and they held that moment just long enough before Shirogane turned up and delivered such an incredibly overblown line and yet it was utterly perfect for the moment.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya and Shirogane running

Watching them run together, meeting up with Fujiwara and Ishigami and getting in the taxi. Even the taxi driver going all out and probably breaking multiple road rules in order to get them to their destination in time all just worked. It was a well paced, well executed, fun and emotional climax to a series that I’ve found very hit or miss.

And I haven’t even talked about how on point the music was during this episode or how beautiful the fireworks were.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Fireworks

And then…

Well then we go back to school.

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The president is freaking out because he thinks that he acted foolishly in the moment. Shinomiya is all nervous because she wants to say thank you. The narration is back. The forced conflict is back. Its all just awkward and painful to watch and really about as far from amusing as you can get without actually just sitting in a room full of socially awkward people avoiding eye-contact for ten minutes.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya and Shirogane crossing paths

For a brief span I thought episode 12 was actually going to be the episode that made me think overall I liked the series more than I didn’t. But that second half reminded me of everything I find irritating about the entire set up and mostly while there are some great moment overall I’ve mostly found this one misses the mark for me. I’ll be going back through my episode notes and thinking about my final review of this series a lot, but the bottom line is going to end up being that this just isn’t my kind of show.

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Karandi James
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Results Are In – Your Choice For Best Anime of Winter 2019

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 11 Subaru

Yay! Winter 2019 has been a fantastic season and while I shared my overall thoughts on the anime I watched this season earlier today, this post is about you, the reader and what you voted on.

So we’ll start at the bottom and work our way to the anime of the season as voted by you. All anime that received a vote will be mentioned. This time around there were 313 votes which is the most ever for one of these polls. Thanks so much for participating.

1 Vote – 3D Kanojo Season 2
I tried this. I didn’t hate season one. But episode one of season 2 did everything I didn’t like about season one in the one episode and so I decided to wait until the season was done before I picked it up. I guess that means I probably need to do that at some point.

1 Vote – The Magnificent Kotobuki
I haven’t really given this one a go and honestly none of the reviews I’ve read have really made me want to. Still, someone out there clearly likes it so maybe check out a review or give it a go.

1 Vote – The Price of Smiles
As much as I’ve defended the Price of Smiles during its run, anime of the season it really isn’t. Still, I was happy to see someone gave it a vote because it wasn’t actually that bad and some parts were actually reasonably good.

The Price of Smiles Episode 11

1 Vote – Pastel Memories
I tried an episode of this and it didn’t work for me. Very few people have covered it this season so I’m still undecided if I should go and try and binge it. Still, one person thinks it is worth the time.

1 Vote – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind
I oopsed and left this one off the polling list but one determined voter wrote it in. I’m guess this would have received more votes if it had been listed. Sorry.

2 Votes – Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka
Not for everyone, this is a dark magical girl story with a bit of a military colouring. There’s torture and fairly bleak situations for our fairly young heroes to face and the ending is pretty much a non-event. But in terms of dark magical girl stories, this one brings some interesting ideas and you could certainly do worse.

2 Votes – Meiji Tokyo Renka
Fair enough. This one isn’t anime of the season quality in any way, but it is a nice, average, and fun anime and one well worth checking out if you in any like reverse harems or time travel stories with a bit of a supernatural edge. It’s cute and harmless and I’ve had fun, but I fully understand why two votes is all this one collected.

3 Votes -Bang Dream Season 2
I didn’t watch season one and I’m not even really what this one is about. But three people think it is great so maybe check out a review of it.

3 Votes – Kemurikusa
Another one I accidentally left off the list to vote for and yet 3 people wrote it in – one in all caps so I assume they were frustrated that they couldn’t vote for it. I have no idea about this one at all but clearly some readers believe this one needs your attention.

4 Votes – Domestic Girlfriend
Kind of curious about this one getting four votes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of fun with this trashy romance this season, but I still find it interesting that some have decided it is the top of the season.

Natsuo and Hina fireworks - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

4 Votes – Date a Live 3
Haven’t watched season 2, don’t really intend to. Also haven’t really seen many reviews of this one so I was surprised to see it picking up votes.

4 Votes – Wataten! An Angel Flew Down To Me
Watched part of one episode of this. Not for me. Definitely worth checking out someone else’s review though to see if this is something you’d like.

6 Votes – Kakeguri xx
I didn’t get very far into season one of this one and have no idea what has happened in season two. Six people think it’s awesome though so maybe this one is worth trying if you watched the first season.

6 Votes – Endro
Honestly this one surprised me by how charming it actually has been and six votes here does not surprise me. There’s a definite appeal to this anime even if it doesn’t grab everyone.

Endro - Episode 11 - Yuusha

8 Votes – The Morose Mononokean Season 2
It got votes! Given how few people have been covering this anime I’m just happy that this one collected any votes. Season 2 has improved on season one in every way and has been highly entertaining. If you were waiting for it to finish before picking it up, now’s the time to binge.

9 Votes – Boogiepop wa Warawanai
Still haven’t actually finished watching this one. I’m finding it increasingly hard to do so. That said, for all that a lot of people find this one confusing and a little dull (and I’d be in that list), there are plenty of people who’ve found it to be quite a compelling story. 9 votes here reflects those who have really connected with this one.

12 Votes – The Quintessential Quintuplets
I’m honestly glad I didn’t cover this one this season. I watched a few more episodes beyond the first one after some positive reviews from other bloggers but it just isn’t my kind of story. That said, this one is probably one to read the reviews for because if you like the set up and style then you may very well have a good time with this one.

13 Votes – My Roommate is a Cat
This may very well be one of the underrated gems of the season. Not perfect by any means, but a really nice watch if you are looking for something low key with just enough feels to give you some warm-fuzzies at the end.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 8 Subaru and Haru

14 Votes – Sword Art Online Alicization
Colour me shocked that this even got 14 votes. I genuinely went into Sword Art Online Alicization wanting to enjoy it and have a good time given I’ve been a fan of the franchise since Aincrad, and to be honest I’ve been left mostly wondering where the fun has gone from the series. Still, some people are clearly still enjoying it and hopefully they will get what they are wanting from it when it continues.

19 Votes – That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
I honestly expected this to be higher, at least higher than Shield Hero. However, on reflection, even the die hard fans of the show have gotten quieter during the second cour so maybe that slump kind of put them off a bit. Still, with a season two coming and a fairly strong core audience, I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard of slime.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19 Rimuru

25 VotesThe Rising of the Shield Hero
I’m a little surprised this one made it so high. Certainly there are readers who have been enjoying it but there are plenty who have made it known that they don’t like this anime and find it quite problematic. And yet, here it is.

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MY HERO ACADEMIA - 2018 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Top 5

26 Votes – Run With The Wind
So happy this made a top 5 appearance. I know this one has been very low key compared to some of the big names this season, but it was my pick for best of the season and really the sheer consistency of quality in this one as well as the wonderful way the drama of the story unfolded just made it pure joy to watch (when it wasn’t causing me to burst into tears of sadness, happiness, and frustration on the character’s behalves in the final few episodes).

Run With The Wind Episode 21

32 Votes – Kaguya-Sama Love is War
I knew this one would reach fairly high in the reader’s poll. While it is doing very little for me, it is an incredibly well made anime so if the characters and the comedy work at all for you I can fully see why this would be an enjoyable watch.

Anime Going into the Best of the Year Poll

33 Votes – Mob Psycho 100 Season 2
I haven’t finished season 1 and I wasn’t a fan so I certainly haven’t tried this. Still, I knew going into the vote, this one was going to be well favoured by my readers. The number of you covering it on your blogs and giving it glowing reviews speaks volumes. While not for me, this one has certainly been a crowd pleaser.

34 Votes – Dororo
Yeah, I can’t watch this one (no access). So we once again get the anime that’s been heaped with praise of the season that I couldn’t watch even if I wanted to. Eventually I will see it and alas by then the hype will have made it impossible to live up to, but hopefully it is sooner rather than later because I am very curious about this one.

BEST OF THE SEASON

49 Votes – The Promised Neverland
Okay, no surprise here. The Promised Neverland has just been good. Even if you aren’t a fan of the genre, each episode has been well put together and it has told a remarkably coherent story. This one was charming and excellent fun and I really hope we get more anime as well made as this one has been.

Now, let me know what you think. Did the anime you voted for make it into the top 3? Do you think any of these might be the anime of the year?

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
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