It’s finally getting a reboot, but has it delivered on fan expectations?
Another remake of a classic and like previous ones (the
Sailor Moon reboot and the Cardcaptor continuation), I cannot help but be
excited while at the same time feeling a little wary about what the results
might be this time around. I’m pleased to say that episode one retains all the
charm of the original anime series, with superior character designs and
animation in general, and it even toned down the silliness of the fan club. So,
you could say so far so good.
In point of fact, it is a gorgeous first episode. Very
screen capable as it introduces the core cast and establishes their base line
relationships. The music and sound should also be applauded as being very
affective and overall this is a first episode that manages to deliver for
anyone who is already a fan of the franchise and has been wanting to see the
What it perhaps doesn’t do so well is have any real hook for
those new to the story. The happy girl down on her luck is a trope seen many
times (even before the original Fruits Basket anime) and Honda Tohru here works
well enough but isn’t charming enough on her own to be a selling point within
this first episode, nor pitiable enough to invoke any kind of empathy. Instead
she’s very much just being set up in her role which those who know the story
will anticipate her growth and development but those who don’t will simply see
a fairly standard and maybe not-so-interesting lead character.
Likewise the mystery of the Soma’s is established here and
I’m very keen to see this version of the anime as the original really dropped
the ball here (leaving me with a read the manga conclusion which I certainly
did but I’d love to see the story actually play out in anime). But again, I’m
not certain this first episode really does justice to where this story will go.
Is a beautiful but by-the-numbers opening necessarily a bad
Not really. It was a wonderfully pleasant introduction to
the series and the conclusion with the ‘reveal’ for the handful of people who
didn’t know all works quite well. However, most of my excitement here is still
coming from my general anticipation of what is coming rather than what was
delivered in episode one. Everything here works but it isn’t anything
Here’s hoping this adaptation grows into the charming and emotional experience this story could easily become and at this stage I’m still very optimistic. I did however take a lot of screen caps because it is really good looking.
The statement “there’s no anime while driving” seems like something that should be a totally obvious statement. And as there is no anime, there is also no reading, no gaming, nothing. Just the long stretch of straight black road lined with red dirt, dust, and the occasional (or frequent) animal carcass.
Yes, I have officially started my drive to the city to catch a plane to get to Japan. The first leg of the journey done, I’m writing this after a full work day and a three hour drive while sitting on the edge of what might be the single most unaccommodating bed in the history of motel beds (not unclean, just really uncomfortable) and I’m sitting on the bed because when I sat in the chair every single time I moved (you know to like type something) it squeaked and shrieked like I was killing its mother and so I gave that up as a bad joke.
But I am not complaining. Tomorrow I have another fairly long drive and then I have just a few hours to pick up the few things I needed to buy for the trip but couldn’t get where I lived and then I’m flying up and away to Japan and I’m very excited.
However, back to the point of the post (okay, there is no point, not really), it kind of occurred to me that driving long distance is the single most boring game ever invented. It’s like a really dull driving simulator only getting bored mid-journey and crashing out is kind of life threatening which is actually enough to make you keep paying attention even as you stop at yet another roadworks sign where there isn’t a single person working on the road (or even visible) or as the sun turns into a flaming orange ball in your rear-view mirror and threatens to burn your eyes clean from their sockets if you actually dare to glance at your mirrors.
But as to the true inspiration for the post title I’ll have to give thanks to the great Tom Hanks for that one as it borrows heavily from his line from ‘A League of Their Own’.
The important point though is that I’ve started my trip and I’m really excited. I finished watching everything I was reviewing in Winter except for Boogiepop wa Warawanai which I do intend to finish I just haven’t quite gotten there yet. Still, over the next couple of weeks while I’m hoping to do update posts and possibly some first impressions posts, output is going to be a little down on the blog.
Hope everyone is doing well and I’ll be back soon with actual updates from Japan.
I don’t have a huge amount to say about this final episode of Endro. It was, like most other episodes of Endro, cute and charming in it’s own way, played the tropes of its genre well with a few minor twists to keep things entertaining, and ultimately went for a saccharine ending that I really can’t fault it for. Overall, this anime reminds me a little bit of fairy floss (or I guess cotton candy depending on where you live). It looks pretty, kind of tastes great for a moment, but leaves you with very little substance.
I’ll probably look more at that idea when I review the series as a whole but this episode really didn’t deliver much in the way of surprises (and we are going to head into spoiler territory).
To no one’s surprise, Yulia is feeling conflicted about the idea of fighting Mao even if it is to save the Princess. After a sob-story from the golem it becomes even more clear that this is one epic hero vs demon lord battle that just isn’t going to happen. The overall solution is a little trite but very in keeping with the story. I do however like the story’s overall commitment to characterisation.
When faced with a part of the story they’ve spun that doesn’t quite add up, the girls ultimately shrug it off with a ‘whatever’ and get on with having fun. It keep beautifully with their actions up until now where they ponder things briefly but never get too deep into anything before becoming distracted by something new and shiny.
While ultimately we end up much where we started and it might seem like no advancement was made, it does feel like the characters are starting out a little wiser this time round and even if they make mistakes they’ll find a way to get through them.
In a season of fairly decent series, Endro isn’t topping my list but I’ve certainly had fun enough with this story and I’m kind of looking forward to doing my full series review of it.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Number 2: The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 6
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.
Number 1: 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.