Amazing Stranger Review Episode 12

The Perfectly Silly Conclusion To A Silly Story

Amazing Stranger Episode 12

Okay, there was a point to showing us how the anime ended last week and they did actually use that to bring us a fairly interesting conclusion to the story of the moving figurines. It wasn’t amazing and like everything else in this anime the touching moments are buried under generic comedy and then all the other figurine girls come in and all of them declare their love for Bouida undermining any of the emotion of the moment, but at least it did bring us to an ending.

Bouida uses his knowledge of the anime timeline and characters to enter Nona’s anime in pursuit of her and then essentially writes a fan-fiction conclusion where Nona lives and they both get a happily ever after. How they achieve that is still a little illogical given the nano-bots still go out of control and try to eat her but then just kind of stop. Guessing it was a power of love thing but there was definitely a lack of logic backing this one.

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As for the overall narrative, there’s still not a whole lot of reason why Bouida’s friend was making moving figurines other than he did and Bouida still has the whole pack of them living in his house. Really, business continues as usual, as is the standard case in this kind of comedy story because upsetting the status quo will permanently end the situation.

Did we really need another one?

While Amazing Stranger never actually got all that good, it was certainly a lot better than it could have been, and while that isn’t a glowing recommendation if you are after something short and silly, this one might work for you.

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Amazing Stranger Review Episode 11

Empty Revelations

Amazing Stranger Episode 11

Oh look, we get to see how Nona’s anime ends.

And… I’m not sure what we’re supposed to get out of this episode. We watch the episode where Nona meets the Nona from another dimension and the two play a bunch of games before they pretty much accept mutual destruction and then Bouida gets all upset that none of the figurine girls are crying at this.

Was this supposed to be touching?

Skip ahead and we have Bouida’s friend explaining his plot, though the why is still a total mystery. Then it is revealed that Bouida and Nona have gone out and that Nona isn’t planning on coming back.

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This was all just kind of empty really and I can’t help but feel like this anime really doesn’t know what it is trying to do. The plot, such as it is, keeps getting tossed in more or less as a by-the-way and inbetween plot points little to nothing seemed to happen this week. Even what passes for comedy in this anime failed to appear and absolutely no fanservice to speak of.

Really, I don’t know what the point of this was and I guess I’ll just wait until this one ends to see if we find a point or if this truly was wasted viewing time.

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Amazing Stranger Review Episodes 9 + 10

Nona’s Jealousy Fights Back

Amazing Stranger Episode 9

In this episode of Amazing Stranger, Nona’s character takes a turn for the even more pathetic. It starts out innocently enough with Nona dreaming of Bouida growing old and then dying. Understandably, for a robot girl that is pretty rough, however she then persists in lying to Bouida about ongoing dreams in order to go on more dates with him.

I definitely find the moments of this anime that focus on Nona’s jealousy, the least interesting. While this episode wasn’t so much jealousy as just a general selfishness (originally born out of fear) it still brought out the pathetic side of Nona’s character. With the other two girls reduced to commentary for most of the episode there wasn’t really much to celebrate here.

However, there was some amusement to be found in the manner in which Bouida attempted to cheer up Nona as he took her to an amusement park, an arcade, shopping for a model of her space ship and then star gazing. Each activity is so cliché in its own way and yet kind of perfect for the story here.

For once though there seemed to be no gratuitous fan-service, unless Nona grovelling for forgiveness when her lie is revealed counts as fan-service. Which is odd because this episode doesn’t seem to advance the overall plot of what the point of the characters coming to life is or seem to be for those looking for those fan-service moments. It just leaves me wondering if we were just supposed to find this episode charming in its own right but then it doesn’t do anywhere near enough to reach that point.

Oh well, I’m not exactly looking for this anime to be amazing. Amazing Stranger remains watchable enough even if there isn’t a lot more to it than that.

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Amazing Stranger Episode 10

Did I say that the fan-service was reduced? Silly me. Episode 9 clearly just stored it all up for a hot springs moment in episode 10 of Amazing Stranger. Then again, despite where they could have taken this, much as with previous fan service servings, Amazing Stranger keeps things relatively tame.

The girls get into discussing a few bits and pieces when it comes out that Nona doesn’t remember how her anime ends. Apparently that’s going to be important toward the end but in the meantime we have a tank girl from some mobile game show up who tries to capture Nona. Shadow Nona appears and the fight is on.

Nice costume.

There’s a minor moment where we jump away from the fighting at the hot springs to see Bouida’s friend tracking down the source of the living figurines but the episode pays little to no attention to this aspect so instead let’s focus on Shadow Nona’s emotional situation where she feels jealous of the other girls and of Nona.

Ultimately Bouida asks Nona to watch the final episode of her anime with him and the episode ends. It isn’t great but it isn’t bad either and we did progress the plot, such as it is.

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Amazing Stranger Review Episode 8

It’s All About Your Feelings

Episode 8

After the revelation that there might be a plot of sorts in this anime, episode 8 is one large step backward. We start with the girls playing the fighting game that the new character is from and then on screen Bouida’s friend turns up to declare he’s taking Bouida captive and the girls can only get him back by winning two out of three fights. Bouida is reduced to the damsel in distress role including the blonde wig.

I guess I should get around to remembering this guy’s name at some point.

In terms of amusement, watching the three fights play out with increasingly silly moments wasn’t bad. Bellnoa losing because her power ups took so long to activate she ran out of time was a nice punch line. Nona’s fight went on even longer which makes no sense however nor does Bouida appearing in a blimp above the fight and activating some new mode for Nona so that she wipes out the enemy.

The final fight has personal issues thrown into the mix, a mysterious ‘I am your father’ reveal, crossing into another world altogether, before the girls let their real feelings out and blow the ‘father’ character away. It is nonsensical at best but not bad to watch really.

As for fan-service this week the girls are transported into the game and one of them loses their outfit but otherwise this episode was surprisingly low on those sorts of moments. The real fan-service came from the otaku loving speech and the girl’s embarrassment over her BL collection being revealed.

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This remains mostly fluff and nonsense with a tenuous plot holding things together. Tha said, it remain relatively entertaining provided you don’t expect much from it.

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Amazing Stranger Review Episode 7

The plot actually exists.

Episode 7

They actually are working to advance a plot of sorts in Amazing Stranger. Colour me surprised. While there has been evidence of a potential plot bubbling away in the background I kind of expected that this was the kind of anime that didn’t much care whether it dealt with its premise or not. Episode 7 kind of indicates that this isn’t the case and Amazing Stranger might actually work towards a resolution.

With the three figurines we already knew were alive established at this point it is now time for Bouida’s friend to show up with a plan to solve the mystery of the ‘super mobile figures’ and a new living figure. While the friend is rapidly forgotten in the excitement of meeting a new friend and rival (in the case of Bellnoa and Nona) and a new fan-boy moment for Bouida as another of his beloved characters comes to life, his involvement in the story is fairly important.

They kind of balanced this episode nicely with points that are clearly building to something and points that are just the girls more or less doing silly things and appealing to the audience. The self-aware moment for the new figure as she tried to hold her clothes down against a gust of steam as well as her crawling along and coming to the realisation that she must be small don’t serve any purpose other than time filler but they are mostly harmless fun and the interactions between the figures are pretty cute at this point provided obvious fan-service that doesn’t go that far isn’t going to put you off.

I will say that Nona’s jealousy act as the ‘wife’ is starting to get a little old and is beginning to make her the least interesting of the characters. She’s very one-note at this point and any desire to explore the world has disappeared entirely. While it was obvious that learning her existence was not what she thought was going to change her, her characterisation has pretty much boiled down to a stale trope that does little but act as a foundation for the other characters to work from.

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But it is the end of the episode where we see where Bouida’s friend works that is the real reveal of the episode, even if it had already become pretty obvious. It will be interesting to see how things develop from here but regardless of what the plot does, Amazing Stranger isn’t in any hurry to get to its point where there are cute female figures to have on screen.

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Amazing Stranger Review Episodes 5 + 6

Battle of the Female Figures

Episode 5

As bizarre as it is to say, episode 5 was kind of fun. They kept going with the plot set up last episode where Haruto was drawn into Bellnoa’s game and the two of them travel about before taking on a castle. Some fairly standard things happen (or standard based on the premise of this anime) in that Haruto is attacked by a hot ninja girl and he and Bellnoa get close around a camp fire. Meanwhile Nona is watching on and with the aid of another living figure is ultimately able to enter the game.

What I particularly liked about this episode was Haruto’s realisation that the reason Bellnoa didn’t want to finish the game was because she was obsessed with travelling around and levelling up and part of that was his fault for the way he played the game. Now I feel bad for every character I’ve ever created because I know I don’t exactly go straight to the finish and there are more than a few games in the backlog that I’ve just never made it to the end of.

Now, there is definitely fan-service here as the demon king of karma blows Bellnoa’s clothes clean off of her in a fight (amazing how that happens in anime and movies without injuring the person) and there’s also Haruto’s eyeing off the ninja girl but nothing extreme.

This seems a sensible reaction.

Realistically, episode 5 is about as much as you can expect from this anime. It progressed the plot, continued to set some stuff up for future development, fleshed out Bellnoa’s character, and allowed Nona to play the role of concerned wife. It all just kind of worked even if it wasn’t particularly amazing.

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Episode 6

Episode 6 of Amazing Stranger is absurd, but given the context of the show where figures and game characters have come to life it really isn’t too much of a leap that the two characters fighting over Haruto would challenge each other to a fight and then spend the rest of the run time trying to one up each other in terms of sleeping next to Haruto, whispering in his ear, feeding him and so on. It is most definitely pandering to a particular audience and yet still kind of amusing.

What makes this work is both Bellnoa and Nona remain true to their character types in how they take on each of these challenges and ultimately the back and forth between the two is always kind of energised and entertaining. Haruto remains the dullest of the three as he just gets to play the embarrassed geek while the girls fawn over him.

I will say the scene with the two whispering sweet nothings into his ears was probably the icing on the cake. For my pick, I’d go Bellnoa has the better voice for whispering with Nona’s high pitch getting in the way of really creating the experience, but listen to the scene yourself and see which whisper works best for you.

While the winner was a foregone conclusion from the start, and the competition was ridiculous and contrived drama for the sake of it, I can’t say I disliked this episode. Amazing Stranger is well aware that it isn’t meant to be taken seriously and so just went with their premise this week and the end result was something that entertained but doesn’t work if you start asking any questions of it.

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Amazing Stranger Review Episodes 3 + 4

When sexy anime figures go to war?

Episode 3

Okay, I’d be lying if I said this was a good episode. By itself it doesn’t do much with just two skits. The first being Bouida’s sister interviewing Nona and the second involving Bouida going out to Christmas dinner with an old friend and getting into a fight about anime. Both sections work well enough, although Bouida’s sister seems way too fixated on her brother’s love life.

What this episode really cements though is that there is a potential for the premise to be more than a one trick pony though whether they do anything with this or not still remains to be seen.

Where Amazing Stranger is slightly elevated beyond just being background noise is in the genuinely warm relationship being formed between Bouida and Nona. While it isn’t as heart wrenching as some anime couple’s out there, there’s still a fierce loyalty and sweetness to their affection and that’s probably the show’s greatest strength right now. Where it fails is that it can’t decide if it wants to use sex to sell or stay on the safer side of the line and the end result is something that probably doesn’t meet the needs of either the fan-service fans or those who prefer more wholesome viewing.

That and the comedy is far more miss than hit.

Still, the dinner scene and the arguments between two old friends and anime fans, one who denies everything and looks for faults and the other being a hopeless dreamer, is kind of fun to listen to and while I’m sure most anime fans don’t get worked up enough to flip a table in a restaurant, I’m sure most of us have had sillier arguments with our friends over anime at some point.

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Episode 4

That was actually a pretty good twist at the end of this episode of Amazing Stranger. I’m not going to get into what happens but I kind of hope next episode continues from this point and doesn’t just scrap the plot line and go on to the next set up because that was kind of fun.

Anyway, this week Nona and Bouida are being sickeningly sweet together so naturally another figure shows up and attacks. Watching Nona explain reality to the new figure and the new character’s interpretation of what it meant was fairly good and the fight sequence that followed between the two figures was actually pretty entertaining.

However, the punch line of the sequence was Bouida solving the problem by opening the character’s in-game stat screen and unequipping all their best gear and then playing dress-up with them. Honestly, this is another of those moments that while it is kind of amusing is also kind of creepy. What makes it kind of work is that at least all the other characters point out that Bouida is the worst for his actions even if they were effective and neutralising the threat.

For those who have felt the keen absence of solid fan-service both the dress up sequence and the subsequent bath sequence kind of fill that gap, though quality fan-service it really isn’t, not that I particularly like any fan-service but fairly lazy and uninspired fan-service is definitely worse than just the usual fan-service.

But as I said at the beginning, the episode ending was pretty solid and I definitely appreciated it. I’ll appreciate it more if episode 5 moves on from that point.

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