Every Episode Makes Me Question Their Motives Even More

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Grimms Notes Episode 6 Review

Alright, no chaos teller appears this week so without the token villains stirring trouble, what does this episode of Grimms Notes bring us? Well, yet more questions about what is motivating the main group who I suppose are the heroes and yet I seriously have to question that.

Grimms Notes Episode 6 Snow White

We did learn that not every story zone has the same writer, which is lovely given the fact that a number of stories haven’t been Grimms tales so at least that discrepancy is not sorted. In point of fact, Shane and Tao comment on the fact that the writer of Snow White’s story zone must have been twisted, which I can only agree with, given these characters are looping through an absolutely tragic set of circumstances. However, despite acknowledging the ‘crappy’ fate these characters have been dealt, when Ex inadvertently upsets the path of the story, they work to put it back on track.

Grimms Notes Episode 6 Shane - "Talk about a cappy fate"
Yet, you are just going to help that fate continue?

Again, I’m wondering how people with a book of fate, who know what is going to happen to them, allow themselves to go through the things that are written. Like, if you are told that your daughter is going to come back after you poisoned her with an apple and is going to make you dance wearing red-hot iron boots until you die, surely you just wouldn’t poison her with an apple. It is almost insane that these characters continue to follow their prescribed path even though they know exactly what is coming, and it makes me much more sympathetic to the villains who offer these characters another choice.

Grimms Notes Episode 6

Then again, maybe that is the whole point of this episode. To ensure that we do feel some sympathy for the villains’ cause.

However, when the episode ends with Snow White declaring she is going to try not to change her fate too much but wants to save her mother, you can’t help but think that she is going to fail. So far the books of fate have been pretty set and when they aren’t followed bad things start happening (you know, potential collapse of an entire story-zone which we still haven’t been told what the impact of that would be – like does everyone in the zone cease to exist?).

Grimms Notes Episode 6

Anyway, our main party’s questionable motivation aside, this anime is still pretty average to watch. Some ideas are interesting but the execution is all just kind of ‘meh’. It isn’t actually bad, but neither is it something that you have to see.

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Karandi James
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Grimms Notes visual Book
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The Journey So Far – Alicization Recap Episode 18.5

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Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 18.5 Review

Sitting back and looking at the eighteen episodes we’ve traversed so far of Sword Art Online Alicization as Kirito recalls events for Alice as they sit on the edge of the tower kind of made me really think about this series. Recap episodes are always hit and miss on their own. They are seldom needed and seldom interesting (occasionally an anime like Kimi ni Todoke shows us the gold star of recapping where we get an entirely fresh perspective on one of the supporting characters), but most often they just make me skip them. In this case, I decided to watch the recap because part of me has felt like maybe I’m just missing something in this series given all the hype about this story before it started.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1

However, the recap episode makes it abundantly clear I’ve missed nothing. In eighteen episodes an incredibly small amount has actually happened and we can probably point our finger at the exposition for that. The pacing of Alicization isn’t so much slow as it is incredibly uneven. The first episode was almost entirely Alice’s abduction and then Kirito getting injured which sets up why he’s in the Underworld but that is one long introduction for information we could easily have been given through other characters later. In fact, we have been given this same information over and over again.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Alice taken from the village

Alice was taken from the village. Eugeo recalls this event to Kirito in pretty much the next episode when they meet after Kirito is injured. Asuna hunts down where Kirito has been taken after his injury in episode 5 and we could easily have found out how he was injured in that episode which would have made for a great opening to the episode, and sped up how fast we got into the main story. What is actually happening to Kirito is explained in this episode as well so practically nothing out of episode 1 ends up being overly needed even though it wasn’t a bad episode in and of itself.

Sword Art Online Alicization Eugeo

This series lurches forward in leaps and bounds and then stalls. We skip time as we leave the village with Eugeo and Kirito and then end up at the sword school. In the intervening time Eugeo has been taught by Kirito how to fight with a sword (and wouldn’t that have made the more interesting story then introducing their senpais who essentially teach them one thing and then graduate the school and leave the story – I do assume we’ll see them again but really). Same as at the village though, a whole lot of general chit chat and nothing happens before things finally escalate and ultimately Kirito and Eugeo are arrested and transported to the next set piece which is the tower they are currently climbing. But the pacing doesn’t improve as we get whole episodes of chatting and flash backs followed by some plot progress to move back into exposition.

Sword Art Online Episode 13 Kirito the collaborator

To say I’ve been largely disappointed with how Alicization is playing out would be an understatement. I like Sword Art Online as a franchise and I really like Kirito as a character. Some of the best moments early in Alicization were when Kirito was allowed to just be Kirito. However, this new and older (I will not say wiser) Kirito talks way too much and has moved from being an enthusiastic gamer and supporter of virtual reality to an almost sermonising elder. Part of that is his teaching Eugeo and Kirito having to assume that mentor role, but part of it has been fairly poor handling of his character and a lot of what made Kirito fun is lost in the process. Where’s the guy who would happily chill and take a nap just because he liked the weather or even the guy who feared for his own life? We had a small glimpse of fear when he was fighting goblins but since then Kirito has been pretty flat emotionally.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 11 Kirito

I do like Eugeo’s character and I like how he is growing and developing. That’s probably my favourite part of Alicization so far and the most recent episode where we saw Eugeo fight on his own for the first time was actually pretty great.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 18 Eugeo Ice

But these small moments of victory and enjoyment aren’t enough to overall off-set how slow this series is moving, how even the pacing is, and just how ordinary the story has become. I know someone will jump in the comments and tell me to wait because there’s good stuff coming and the light novels do this, that and the other, but even if Alicization did pick up now, could I honestly recommend someone sit through the previous 18 episodes?

Sword Art Online Episode 15 Alicization Kirito

At this point I’d be more inclined to tell them to watch the recap and pick it up from there and that’s only assuming the story does ever pick up.

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SWORD ART ONLINE THE MOVIE ORDINAL SCALE 1/7 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: YUNA
	SWORD ART ONLINE THE MOVIE ORDINAL SCALE 1/7 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: YUNA

The Death of the Dream, the Birth of a Despairing Villain

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Grimms Notes Episode 5 Review

I’ll start by admitting that this was my favourite episode so far of Grimms Notes. That isn’t saying much given how incredibly flawed the anime has been up until this point, but this episode was actually genuinely enjoyable. The story of Treasure Island is inherently fun and when you throw in some transforming, gender swapping heroes who end up in swim suits and with a bow that looks like a dolphin, there’s all kinds of amusement to be found (sorry, no screen cap of that my internet connection was fritzing and the image was just too fuzzy).

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Reina
Not sure a skeleton hugging Reina is the best substitute but still a fun image.

However, what this episode highlighted more than anything else was that I just can’t back the ‘heroes’. I know we’ve probably got some deep explanation coming at some point (or at least I hope so) but as Silver pointed out how futile he felt his existence was when he knew from the beginning he wouldn’t get the treasure you couldn’t possibly argue. Even Tao didn’t bother and just threw in the ‘that doesn’t make it right’ comment that so many heroes on shaky moral ground end up using.

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Silver

Think about it. In this universe you are given a book at birth that tells you your whole story. It doesn’t matter if that story is good, bad, or otherwise, you will follow it. Doing otherwise can only seem to happen when a Chaos Teller gets involved and then this group of adventurers will come in and ‘reset’ things so that the story follows its ‘natural’ course. If you were on the losing side of a story, wouldn’t that seem a bit pathetic to you? Silver sums it up best when he points out that it was such a ‘waste of a life’. I really hope this anime does eventually address this point because if it doesn’t there’s just no saving this plot at this point.

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Silver lying

Still, if you want some island filled with traps shenanigans, some team spirit, and just some general enthusiasm, this episode has it in spades. It is difficult not to get caught up with the characters as they go about their business. That doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws. Reina obviously falling for a tripping every trap around was a gag I could probably have done without that many repeats of. But despite that, it was still really fun.

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Shane
Shane is very enthusiastic.

If anything, this episode gave me a little bit of hope that just maybe we’re heading somewhere reasonable with this and hopefully we have a bit of fun. The post credits scene seemed to indicate that the ‘villains’ are going to be more active in the future so hopefully that leads to some exploration of the ideas surrounding the books of fate.

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GRIMMSNOTES ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
GRIMMSNOTES ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

A Frosty Reception After A Clash of Ideologies

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Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 18 Review

The focus this week is tightly on Eugeo facing the leader of the integrity knights (and former village legend) alone. This is the first time we’ve seen Eugeo on his own without Kirito’s guidance, and he’s up against a tough opponent. it’s a fairly great character moment for the Eugeo as we see his choices this far up the tower.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 18 Eugeo

Let’s get it out of the way, the fight is not as dynamic as some of the fights we’ve seen in Sword Art Online. As much as Kirito is the one who originally trained Eugeo in swordplay, Eugeo isn’t Kirito and for that I am glad. It means his style isn’t identical even though there are clear parallels. So where Kirito would go faster, harder, and straight into the fray, Eugeo is happier to leave some distance and take advantage of his sword’s abilities.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 18 Describing Kirito's Sword Style

Which is where I will sing the praises of this fight sequence. Eugeo unleashing the sword and not just doing that and being done but then taking full advantage of sword, the environment he was in, and lastly, his own age to ensure his victory in the fight. It is pretty, it is well thought out, and with the exception of an interruption when we get a flash back to the cardinal to hit us with some exposition that was actually kind of unneeded at that point, the pace of this fight is very well done. It is an enjoyable visual spectacle in its own right and hearing Eugeo explain just why he dislikes the integrity knights clearly, in his own words, without interference from Kirito, is a great moment.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 18 Eugeo Ice

That actually leaves the interruption at the end of the fight leaving a slight sour taste because not only is the character who literally bounced into the room clearly not a character we can take in any way seriously, it seemed kind of cheap to take the decision of how this fight would end away from Eugeo. Not to mention this bouncing ball of annoyance seemed more like a character who would drop into a Hunter x Hunter fight rather than Sword Art Online.

In case we thought they’d forgotten Alice and Kirito though, the final moments of the episode have them chilling and sharing steamed buns on the ledge outside the tower. It is pretty reminiscent of Kirito and Asuna sharing bread with cream in Aincrad but otherwise doesn’t have much going on. I mean, Kirito reminds Alice about her sister but given they then end the scene before that goes anywhere I guess we’ll deal with that next week.

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DESKTOP ARMY SWORD ART ONLINE (SET OF 3 PIECES)
DESKTOP ARMY SWORD ART ONLINE (SET OF 3 PIECES)

They Went On Vacation And Somehow Saved The World

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 4 Review

It really does seem contradictory to have a fantasy/adventure story about a hero who wants to defeat a demon lord and then have it run more or less as a cute girls doing cute things slice of life anime. The mix really shouldn’t work. And while I will admit I find some of the sitting around while the characters have ditsy conversations a little dull, for the most part this anime is actually managing to balance these elements fairly well.

Endro Episode 4 Finding Shells

Episode 4 is a good example of Endro getting it right. The girls are about to go on Summer vacation in the fairly standard cliche of let’s get the cute cast of girls to the beach. However, to mix in with the basic premise while there they have summer homework which is to investigate the monsters. What follows is a nice mix of finding and discussing monsters while engaging in all the usual beach shenanigans including dealing with a monster that multiplies watermelons when struck with a sword.

There’s nothing overly deep in any of it but its kind of good fun and while the pastel colour palette isn’t really to my taste, I will admit it kind of perfectly suits the atmosphere of the story being constructed here.

Endro Episode 4 The Hero's Party
How many anime can you say “defeat the evil god and save the mackerelmen” in?

The second half turns more into a hero’s quest though with an Endro twist. The girls go fishing and catch a mackeralman and he begs them to help save the other mackeralmen who have been enslaved by an evil god. What follows is a pretty cute quest. While they do tell us the god is plotting to destroy the world, it is all just kind of low stakes fun and the girls breeze through it fairly easily as normal but somehow this doesn’t turn out boring. I think it is the dynamic between the girls working very well to keep even the most ordinary of sequences feeling a little bit fresh.

Endro Episode 4 Mao

Once again, Mao was in low visibility and I can’t help but think the story is better because of it. The last two episodes have definitely improved my view of this anime and while this isn’t going to become a personal favourite I can definitely see this being fun just to crash on the couch to when tired.

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Karandi James
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JUMP FORCE
JUMP FORCE

Are Destiny and Fate Really All Just Written?

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Grimms Notes Episode 4 Review

I have to wonder if the source material for this, which is apparently a game, if the player gets to decide whether they want to set the stories back on track or let them fall into chaos? Or is it all just mandated that of course these story worlds will endlessly repeat and you have to be apart of maintaining a status quo so that character lives never change beyond what is written on the pages of their books? It is a little sad to think about really and it is probably the one thing that really bothers me about this anime.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Tao

Episode one wasn’t great but it did enough to make me want to watch. Episode two was just kind of there and feels more and more filler like so I’m wondering about its placement. Three and four though give us Ex’s backstory and they did a great job of establishing his character and his personal motive for helping restore Cinderella’s story and really I wish this anime had started here. And yet, despite the character being interesting, the conflict personal and understandable, it does nothing to relieve the overall worry that this story seems to be all about making people play their role, whether they want to or not.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Ex

Sure, we’re only four episodes in and maybe it will get to fleshing out some of these points and ideas and it might even explore them a bit, but so far we’re supposed to be behind the group that come in from outside and essentially force things back onto their predetermined path. For once the crazy villain’s speech about hope and liberation didn’t seem to crazy because I could actually see exactly where he was coming from and at least the characters were offered a choice.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Loki

Then the heroes tune the world and everyone forgets what has happened. Not only is their choice undone but they are robbed even of the memory of anything outside of their books. It’s kind of hard to get behind that.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Shane

Still, in the hope that eventually these ideas will be pursued and explored I’m watching on. These last two episodes were at least a little compelling and far better handled than the opening episode and little bits and pieces about their powers and the like are being revealed each episode. Still, I’m hardly jumping up and down to recommend this one.

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GRIMMS NOTES VISUAL BOOK
	GRIMMS NOTES VISUAL BOOK

They’ll Need Teamwork If They’re Going To Make It To The Top

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode Review Title Image

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 17 Review

I’m going to start with Eugeo and Asuna before dealing with the bulk of this episode which was Alice and Kirito. Basically we don’t know what Eugeo is up to until the final couple of minutes and then we see him slinking around and entering the 90th floor a little worried that he’s on his own for literally the first time ever and then we set up a fight with a knight for next week. Eugeo’s role this week finished. Asuna equally gets sidelined though at least we see her for the first time in episodes. She’s eating and spots a ship that acts a bit weird and I guess this is set up for later but we’ve seen so little of Asuna, have no real clue what she is up to, so there’s just not enough context for me to care about this very brief sequence with her this week.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 17 Eugeo

However, primarily this episode focuses on Kirito and Alice hanging off the side of the tower. Thinking about it logically, the scene makes no sense as Kirito is hanging suspended by one arm from his sword and holding all of Alice + Alice’s Armour’s weight and then later we see him flipping around rods he creates like a champion gymnast before hauling Alice up one level at a time. But, they are in a video game, strength is entirely numbers based, and let’s just not try and care if it fits any version of reality. It was cool enough to watch so let’s just go with it.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 17 Kirito and Alice
If Alice has time to count how many times she’s been insulted, maybe she should try doing something.

He also manages to talk her into a truce for the duration of their time outside the tower. Of course, Kirito winning over yet another girl isn’t a new thing, but considering Alice is brainwashed this seems like a pretty impressive feat and it didn’t really take all that much.

Of course, I guess everyone realised you can’t just have two characters hanging off a tower for an episode and so midway during their climb they encounter some minions who fly around for a bit and then get turned into sushi because Alice and Kirito… Not sure what else anyone was expecting.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 17 Kirito

I did actually enjoy the dynamic between these two and they refrained from any massive exposition dumps, so all and all, this wasn’t a bad episode. More time with Asuna might have been nice (at any point during this series) but I guess that might happen later. Meanwhile, I’m now waiting to find out how Eugeo goes on his first solo fight against a knight.

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SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET
SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET