Yeah, this one is going down fast. I am starting to actually
hate the dynamic between the main three boys and as we waste 8 minutes of the episode
watching them chase each other around in a circle or go through petty squabbles
before we get into the meat of the episode, facing the spider demon on the
mountain, I spent most of the first half of this episode wondering if it was
time to drop this from the watch list.
Now once they get onto the mountain, and leave Zenitsu sitting on the road feeling sorry for himself, and encounter another demon slayer and are fighting other demon slayers being controlled by puppets, it actually improves a great deal. Tanjiro is in his element, which is to say in over his head and frantically trying to catch up. That’s where his character is most fun.
The boar head guy, who I will learn the name of after he
stops annoying me every time he opens his mouth, also gets less annoying once
the fight begins but still acts idiotically as he stabs spiders with his sword
despite already being told that was fairly pointless. About the only useful
thing he does is locate the demon controlling the spiders and even then I’m not
really buying Tanjiro’s argument that he couldn’t have found her sooner or
Affiliate Link – Jersey
However, turns out this one isn’t going to be a simple case
of find and kill the demon given there’s more than one demon on this mountain.
Certainly taking out the puppet master is a must but it doesn’t seem like it
will end there. We also get a couple of older demon slayers getting sent to the
mountain so maybe things will get kicked up a notched in the next episode.
Still, from episode 11 my enjoyment of Demon Slayer has been
on a sharp decline. The introduction of new characters was rough and to be honest
they’ve killed a lot of the enjoyment of the anime since their arrival. I was
hoping they would settle down a bit and that I’d get drawn back into the show
but the opposite seems to be happening. I’ll give it a little longer but right
now this one is definitely not something I now have to see as soon as it comes
out. I’m very happy to wait, watch some other stuff, and get back to this one.
Karandi let me write about Fire Force this week and I almost feel like I owe her a present. This week was impressive to say the least and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Not only was the narrative great but the visuals were a feat. I wouldn’t have realized just how carefully the images had been matched to the beats of the episode if I hadn’t put together the gallery HERE. I encourage you to take a look, it’s one of my favourite visual stories in recent memory.
What I Thought Would Happen
I thought we would learn even more about Shinra and his tragic past and that another beautifully animated fight with an infernal would take place. I also figured they would find a way to make the girls have an underwear tickle party or something.
What Did Happen
None of that! First we got intorduced to a new character named Arthur who appears to be an old classmate’s of Shinra. We did get a beautifully animated fight but it was training and it was against Maki (who kicked absolute derrière and didn’t even get her shirt ripped). An infernal incident did come up but rather than a violent confrontation, it was a sombre and sad event that left everyone shaken. Shira is slowly realizing the weight of the job he decided to take on.
As the chief pointed out, the most terrifying part of the job, is getting use to it.
What About the Characters
Last week, I was a little scared that Fire Force would turn out to be a one man show and that the ladies were mere window dressing. Completely wrong on both parts! A good deal of focus was given to the newly introduced Arthur. We don’t learn that much about him but his personality is now well established. Shinra took a bit of a step back allowing the rest of the cast to shine, particularly the chief, Maki and Arthur who all had some great hero moments and were built up considerably by the narrative. This is turning into a very good ensemble cast.
The characters that were a little less present never the less each had some quirky moments to wet our appetite and make us want to know more. In Arthur, Shinra has a proper character foil. Their interactions and dynamic was a lot of fun to watch and showed us quite a bit about how each thinks.
What I Liked
Just about everything! I feel like series often start at episode 2. The first episode is more like a showcase and extended trailer to grab attention at the start of a busy season but it’s in the second episode that the narrative finds it’s footing and properly starts building the story. If so Fire Force is set to be one fantastic story.
A lot of unexplained background details seem to hint a rich lore. I remain very intrigued by the religious aspect but now I also want to learn about firemen training. There’s an entire academy dedicated to it, it seems and not everyone sees their role in the same way. Once again, the exposition was woven through the action and comedy in a completely organic manner.
The technical aspects are just exquisite. You can see the pretty pictures in my gallery but beyond that there was once again the use of abrupt scene cuts that guided the narrative flow and changed the mood. I’ve rarely seen such creative editing and so far it’s been very successful. The colour game is masterful. Arthur’s voice actor did a great job and the entire voice cast has fantastic chemistry with each other.
Moreover, the episode played out in roughly four acts all with different tones. The intro (Arthur’s entrance) was slightly tense and mysterious, the fight with Maki was comedic action and even featured some subtle 4th wall breaks, the incident with the infernal was serious and rather tragic while the conclusion was a very bittersweet appeal to hope. Goin through so many shifts in 20 some odd minutes should give you emotional whiplash but it was somehow handled perfectly. I’m speechless.
What I Liked Less
I honestly couldn’t tell you. I guess some of the symbolism is very on the nose?
Considering that 90% of this post was spent gushing on the stuff I liked, there’s no real point in telling you that I enjoyed this week’s Fire Force. It’s a very well made anime with complex and interesting characters and a premise full of potential. Sure, it would be possible to screw it up but considering that my few complaints from episode 1 were completely addressed and my fears for this episode could have been farther from the truth, I have to trust that the creative team behind this series knows exactly what it’s doing.
Irina, you’re going to have to give me a few minutes to finish dancing, cheering, and maybe performing a cartwheel or two because I’m just that happy to see ‘Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?’ (which I will forever now just write DanMachi for) is back for a second season. I loved the first season so much and I’ve been devouring the light novels which means I’m super anticipating what this season will bring us.
Waiting…waiting… Actually, imagining Karandi dancing around like a little girl in her living room is pretty fun. I could do this all day. I quite enjoy writing out Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? It’s a very fun title and what drew me into the series the very first time I heard about it. In a showing at an anime convention. I’m glad it’s back to but I’m thinking you’re going to be the cheerleader on this one. My feelings are a bit more neutral.
I will admit that this first episode of the season is a lot of set-up and feels a little bit slow in places. We start with a kind of lack-lustre fight in the dungeon which doesn’t really show what this series can bring us in the action department. However, what it does establish is that Bell, Welf, Lily and the addition of Mikoto are a fine team in the middle levels of the dungeon and monsters that were previously terrifying and hard to combat are now fairly routine provided they are careful. So while it isn’t the most exciting opening it does nicely establish where the characters are currently sitting. What did you think?
I was sort of playing catch-up. Bell and Lily are well established and I knew exactly who they were. I have a soft spot for Welf so I remembered him as well but I honestly had no clue who Mikoto was and what her relationship to the rest of the party was. I’m currently watching Log Horizon so dungeon fighting scenes are pretty common in my life these days but it was fine. Like you say, nothing that special but you gotta start somewhere.
It did remind me how much I enjoy the simple but cute character designs though!
The bar fight was quick and brutal which clearly it is supposed to be. I know I found it really silly in the books that Bell gave in to that provocation and I found it equally silly here but it does get the ball rolling. Bete’s intervention disguised as being annoyed and his comment to Bell that he shouldn’t be cocky was nicely delivered. It is amazing that all up Bete has probably barely been in the anime for an episode and yet he usually leaves a lasting impression, though it is a mixed offering of good and bad impressions. I guess he’s just the kind of guy who does what he wants and damn everyone else and sometimes that works out and other times he comes off like a jerk. How did you see it?
I have not read the books but I found it in character for Bell to stand up for Hestia. His greatest weakness is his goddess and he’s always been pretty adamant about protecting her reputation. It’s the one stupid thing he does. Bell does run the risk of turning into a Mary Sue (Gary Stu) pretty easily so having him blindly hot-headed on a topic gives a bit of complexity to his character. I don’t dislike it.As for Bete, I think it may be the character design. I tend to remember silver wolf boys even if they don’t do very much… Then again I also have a soft spot for Bete. Hmmm, it seems I like the gruff guys in Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Then again, I also like Hermes so make of that what you will.
Hermes is fantastic. I love how he literally messes with everyone and then pretends he doesn’t do a thing.
However, then Hestia finally arrived in the episode and it felt like the anime finally kicked into gear. I love how she scolded Bell even while treating his injuries and fussing over him. Hestia and Bell’s relationship remains really complicated as she does treat him as a child but also flirts horrendously with him and gets incredibly jealous. Hestia and Loki’s reaction to Bell dancing with Ais at the part was hilarious and I love that Asfi just kind of tucked them both under her arms like they were out of control children and ignored their complaints.
Affiliate Link – Figure
I had forgotten just how intense the fanservice is. I suppose in many ways Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? shares a lot of tropes with harem anime so this would be in keeping with that.
I do like Loki a lot. I think it’s fun whenever she’s on-screen. And as I mentioned I like Hermes as well. I know enough about Greek mythology to be able to draw some parallels but I’m still a little fuzzy on the workings of Gods and their place in the DanManchi (I gave in) universe. Seeing so many of them together is always fun for me and having their “children” there as well, changes the interactions. I liked the ball scene a lot more than everything that came before it.
I kind of stopped trying to make real mythological parallels with the characters because it isn’t all the accurate and it kind of bugged me the very first time I watched the first anime. I made the decision to just assume that other than some vague correlations to the myths these characters were all their own.
As a first episode of the new season we had some new characters introduced with Daphne and Cassandra delivering the invitation to Apollo’s party and Apollo himself at the party as well as other members of the Apollo familia. We also got reunited with Freya and her minion (whose name I never do remember), Loki, Ais, Hermes and various other gods, goddesses and their children. The party is actually a good way for us to have a quick visit with each of the main players without lingering for too long and it served the purpose of getting the ball rolling for what is clearly going to be the first arc of this season.
A red-headed Apollo just melted my brain a tiny bit. As a concept. couldn’t quite explain why exactly but it looked off and every time I saw him, it bugged me a little.
Visually there wasn’t a lot of action in this episode and as normal DanMachi is kind of just okay during the rest of the scenes. There’s some fairly sketchy backgrounds and background characters with no faces in a few scenes and while it all generally works it isn’t exactly the prettiest anime out there. Hopefully once we get to some of the fights we see some cool visuals because season one set a fairly high standard with the Minotaur fight and I’d love to see something of that level again.
Like I said, I quite like the character design in DanManchi and was happy to see it intact and well. The ball gowns were a bit disappointing in that I was hoping for some ridiculously elaborate affair, maybe à la Black Butler. I was also a touch let down that the used stills during the dancing scene.
On the other hand, I honestly hadn’t noticed anything amiss the backgrounds and faceless extras have become so commonplace that my brain hardly registers them anymore. Visually I liked it. The sound design was ok and the vice acting decent.
Otherwise this episode was exactly what I wanted, more DanMachi. I’m really excited for the next episode and while this isn’t the slickest production coming out this season, this was definitely the anime I was waiting for. It would have to take a fair mis-step for me to dislike it and honestly there’s nothing here to dislike. For fans of DanMachi it continues the story well and sets up what it needs to set up. Your final thoughts, Irina?
As an episode in and of itself, I thought it was ok. Nothin that special really. As a set-up I liked it. This war game declaration at the end caught my interest and I want to know where it goes. That’s all you really want out of a first episode so I can’t complain!
After last week, I honestly thought we were going to get some more difficult to follow magical exposition mumbo jumbo, intercut with some more mecha battles. Maybe a flashback scene to how the previous girls became magical pilots. Something along those lines.
What Did Happen
After a out of the blue but quick naked scenes, the episode actually settled into a school based Slice of Life. After pushing her newfound magical powers to their limit Mangetsu had been completely exhausted and ended up spending the night at Shing’s place….without warning her parents….who reasonably called the police! When’s the last time we saw fit parents in anime??? After this, we got some more magical world building exposition. It was still a bit garbled but the jist of it is that Magical Girls are all decedents of Magicians but only one of them can claim the title for herself so every ten years, when the stars align or something, they fight to see who will become the next hokage. That sounds about right.
Why our girl Mang is suddenly involved is still nebulous but moving on. To help her out keep an eye on her, Shing transfers to Mang’s school. No one shortens the names like that, purely my initiative. Meanwhile. Magical girls all over town are on the move and all of them attend the same school. Who knew?
What About the Characters
Actually, I liked them. I can’t say they improved much. It’s not like they got more complex or interesting really. In fact Mang went from being a Mary Sue to being a Pollyanna and a Mary Sue. But they have decent chemistry. Shingetsu got a few humanizing moments that were very fun and therefore her character seemed more fun for them, even though she really hasn’t changed much. And although the antagonists (I have to learn her name at some point) is pretty one note “bad”, she did have this warning in the very last scene that made it seem like there’s more depth to her than expected. That warning wounded sincere and that’s intriguing.
What I Liked
I really liked the mundane moments. I think if they skew the show to 80-90% CGDCT content and leave the magical girl and mecha stuff as a bit of background flavour, Granbelm may in fact have a lot of promise. If you had told me this last week, I would have called you a liar…under my breath.
Shingetsu’s backpack scene was a brilliant sight gag. It managed to be funny yet sweet and relatable at the same time. And as I mentioned the show looks pretty good.
What I Liked Less
The overaching magical mecha plot just seems to bring the series down. I sometimes get the impression that the writers haven’t figured out all the details yet so they’re keeping it vague on purpose. But even the stuff we do know if pretty lacklustre. We’ve seen very similar done way better. I think there’s a missed opportunity to go in a bit deeper on the macha side of things.
Granted, at this point I was expecting almost nothing out of Granbelm so I may be a little skewed in my perception. This said, although not necessarily impressive on any level, I found this episode enjoyable. It had some sweet moments, a few laughs, a very convenient magical power! Basically I had a good time with it. If this keeps up, I might even recommend the series.
Buddy cop story between a veteran and an alien fairy? Well I
don’t mind the standard cop story and odd-couples usually work quite well for
casual entertainment so I guess we’ll give this one a whirl and see what
happens. The first episode is pretty standard set up though I’m wondering how we’ll
get a whole season out of it unless we’re going for a more episodic approach
given it feels like this story should run its course in about three or four episodes
The opening sequence telegraphed where it was going from the
start. The cops were too smug and self-assured, not to mention having read the
synopsis we knew one of them would be teaming up with a new non-human partner
so it stood to reason tragedy was about to strike in one form or another. The
shot lingering on the twisted neck of the guy was a little much.
And actually, that’s probably the problem all the way
through this episode. All the elements of this type of story are presented with
a lack of nuance. The superior who forces the partnership together, the veteran
griping at having to take on a new partner, even the lament over how to tell
the wife of the dead guy all just felt overdone.
Of course, that doesn’t stop this from being an intriguing set up with a kidnapped fairy in a bottle, a dead police man and the partner out to find the ones responsible with his new fairy/knight/alien partner. Hopefully it will end up being pretty enjoyable though it hasn’t done much overly amazing yet.
Of the handful of premiere episodes I watched over the weekend,
Fire Force was certainly the one that grabbed me visually. Of course, fire is
inherently a flashy element and when you base your story around people who
catch fire and become fire spewing infernos you kind of have a head start in
making your visuals stand out. Still, in less deft hands this could have been a
mess of smoke and flame that fell flat however here the dynamic visuals and
smooth action work together to propel the story along even during exposition
The opening theme is also one of the more immediately catchy
ones I’ve listened to so far. I don’t know that it is going to remain a
favourite for the season as openings have a tendency to grow on me or wear out
their welcome as we go through a season, but this one at least got my attention
Now, if you read a lot of my reviews you might already have
a sinking feeling about where this one is going given I’ve spent the first two
paragraphs discussing visuals and music which are usually after thoughts for
me. And you’d kind of be right. As much as I really like the concept here and
found this episode to be great fun, not one character has left any kind of
impression so far.
Affiliate Link – Book
Sure I could describe each of them and their ‘trait’ as
presented this episode but I don’t feel anything for these characters yet or
even feel all that interested in them. Perhaps they just need more time given
the focus of this episode was definitely setting up the overall situation that
this story takes place in and how the world works, and they did a great job of
that, but without connecting with any of the characters there’s only so long
this will fly.
About the only thing I did feel about Shinra, who I guess is
going to be our main character, is a sinking ‘oh no’ as I realised we’re in for
another kid who wants to be a hero to fulfil a childhood promise to a dead
parent because he’s been misunderstood, and there’s also some potential demon
responsible for killing his mother, and it all just seemed like we’d seen this
a million times before only a little bit better because they didn’t throw the
main character’s whole backstory at me in the first episode and gave me time to
actually care about them before unloading all of that.
Now, admittedly, they can certainly flesh him out beyond
this trope from here and maybe he’ll be great, but so far no such luck. We’ve
got a Full-Metal, Blue Exorcist, with a small Supernatural twist going on here
and I’m not sure they are going to make this character stand on his own two
Still, despite the characterisation on display this episode, or lack of it, this episode passed in the blink of an eye and was just fun. I’m keeping it on my watch list and I’ll enjoy the action for what it is and hope that as we go these characters find their own identity along the way.
I think I preferred it when Tanjiro was alone. Zenitsu and
the boar headed guy (who’s name I’ve forgotten almost instantly) are really,
insufferably, hard to take as they scream and antagonise their way through
every scene this week. Admittedly, with the injuries all the characters were
carrying, some down time was needed, but with the absence of a demonic threat
to fight that just put their personalities on full display and wow are they
Maybe they’ll find some balance further down the line but
for now my enjoyment of Demon Slayer is decreasing in direct proportion to the
screen time those two characters are getting and as we had no scenes of Tanjiro
alone or even quiet respites from the others, there was very little that was
really enjoyable this week.
Admittedly, watching Tanjiro clobber the boar headed guy in the face with a head butt was pretty entertaining in its own way but that doesn’t make up for a whole episode.
Affiliate Link – Book
But, to be fair, they did put the boar guy’s fighting style
on full display in his bout with Tanjiro and he’s got some great moves. It was
a really interesting fight. Now if only he’d stop speaking.
The animation remains fantastic. I’ve gained more and more respect for Tanjiro as a character the series has gone on. Nezuko is still the cutest demon ever, though Latina over on Uchi no Musume may be giving her a run for her money this season.
However, they are going to have to balance these characters out soon or I just don’t think I’ll be having all that much fun with Demon Slayer if it continues like this.