Tuesday’s Top 5: Ordinary Anime Characters Who Inspire

While many an anime character has inspired me, it is worth noting that a lot of anime characters have super powers, or magic, or destiny, or some other force working for them, which makes their actions a little less applicable to the everyday life that most of us lead. This list is to the heroes (and ordinary people) who have moved me to action or have given me strength when I have needed it. That makes is a fairly personal list so I’d love to know who would end up on your list of inspiring anime characters. While it hurts that I can’t add Maka to the list this time round, the characters below are all exceptional and yet completely human.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Akito from Bakuman for standing by his friend from start to finish no matter how rough things got.

Number 5: Nagisa (Assassination Classroom)

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One might argue that none of the students in Assassination Classroom are particularly ordinary, but that is their most compelling trait. They are ordinary. They are the ones who are overlooked and cast aside, who have been down so long that they have forgotten that they even have the right to stand up. Watching Nagisa move from someone who accepts this role to someone who has a clear presence about him and is comfortable in his own skin is something that is greatly inspiring. Okay, most of us don’t have a yellow octopus for a teacher who we get to learn to assassinate, but most of the lessons Nagisa takes on board are strictly of the ordinary kind of valuing who you are.

Number 4: Kurumi (Kimi ni Todoke)

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Season One of Kimi ni Todoke introduced us to Kurumi and she was a nasty piece of work determined to get Kazehaya to look at her and to get Sawako out of the picture. After being rejected she undergoes an incredible character transformation that reminds us all that just because we don’t get what we want doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. Kurumi becomes a truly great character and by the time the end of season 2 rolls around you really want her to find her own happiness.

Number 3: Kousei (Your Lie in April)

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This one might be cheating given the kid is definitely a genius. Yet, much like with Nagisa, the lessons Kousei takes on board during the heart breaking journey that is Your Lie in April are strictly the ordinary everyday ones that we all could learn from. Learning to grieve and mourn, to accept what has happened, to find a purpose, and just to find who you are. These are the things Kousei discovers throughout the course of his journey and they make him incredibly relatable and when he takes the stage in the final episode you cannot help but feel moved by him.

Number 2: Oreki (Hyouka)

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While this might seem an odd choice for number 2 on the list, there’s something truly remarkable about how this character lives his life. He has his own ideal of energy conservation and yet at the same time he doesn’t want his ideals to harm the experiences of others. He doesn’t want to let his sister down and later Chitanda and so acts contrary to his own nature on more than one occasion. This is also inspiring because while some people might see that as giving in or compromising, what it really demonstrates is an acceptance of a need for community and that it can’t always be about you. Oreki is inspiring because he finds a balance where he does have moments where he refused to do things or to get involved and other moments where he acts for the benefit of others. While I’m still not sure I like the anime, I quite like Oreki’s character and he reminds me that sometimes it isn’t all about me.

Number 1: Yuri (Yuri on Ice)

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Did we really think anyone else was going to take this spot? I almost disqualified him because being a world champion (even if he’s only in the top 6) kind of makes him somewhat extraordinary, but the only superpower he has is persistence and determination and so I let him take the top spot. His journey is fantastic and watching him stand up again and again and try to overcome his weaknesses never ceases to inspire.

And there they all are. Who would you have put on your list?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Smart Anime Characters

Before getting into this list, I will point out that one of the most annoying things in stories than an anime character who the audience is told is smart who then acts like a complete air-head for the entire run-time. I get that some characters are smart in one specific skill and therefore have issues at other things, but some supposedly smart characters just act really dumb. Therefore, my list is focusing on consistency. Characters who are smart and who consistently seem to think through their actions, even if they don’t always draw the right conclusions.

That said, I’d love to know who you would have included on your list of smart anime characters so please leave a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Light (Death Note), Uruhara (Bleach), and Ami (Sailor Moon).


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Number 5: Lelouch (Code Geass)

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Realistically I understand the Lelouch made a lot of mistakes. Still, given he was a high school student who was presented with a sudden opportunity to take what he wanted, he actually thought through quite a few things and had a lot more success than he might have if he wasn’t such a quick thinker. Ultimately, for all the mistakes Lelouch made, he found a way back and some of his plans were pretty brilliant. Probably Lelouch’s biggest problem early on was over-confidence but after the end of season 1 he seemed to overcome that and from then on he was pretty good at what he was doing.


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Number 4: Rei (March Comes in Like a Lion)

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Rei is a genius Shogi player. He doesn’t get much about life and what he does get, he overthinks horribly, but considering his age and experience, the boy is pretty smart. Even though he puts himself down all the time and, particularly in season one, he paints himself in a negative light, he’s someone who is managing to live on his own, study his craft, and attempt to finish school mostly on his own. He’s one smart cookie and one who deserves to give himself a bit of praise every now and then for what he has achieved and he shouldn’t worry so much about his failures.

Number 3: Kurisu (Steins;Gate)

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I had a hard time deciding between Okabe and Kurisu, but ultimately Kurisu is the more logical and the one more likely to put the hard work in to figure out what makes things tick. Okabe’s more manic approach may stumble upon a success every now and again, but Kurisu is the one who can begin to understand the how and the why and the limitations. Almost all of the adaptations to the phone-microwave as the series went on were because of Kurisu’s testing and meticulous work and so she well and truly deserves her place on this list. That and she managed to not kill Okabe for calling her Christina.


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Number 2: Tatsuya Shiba (The Irregular at Magic High School)

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For someone who can’t perform well on the standardised tests of his world, Tatsuya Shiba more than makes up for it everywhere else. Brilliant at magical theory, manipulating magical devices, and generally figuring out ways around his limitations, he’s more or less unstoppable (which would kind of be why so many people throw the overpowered label at him). Be that as it may, he’s a very smart character and one I would not want to be up against in any battle of wits – though that’s probably true of every character on this list.

Number 1: Korosensei (Assassination Classroom)

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For all that he ended up an experiment that went a bit wrong, Korosensei proves over and over again that he knows his stuff as a teacher. He delivers the curriculum across a range of subjects and also expands the students’ knowledge into a whole range of fields.  If it wasn’t for the whole blow up the world thing, he’d be the perfect teacher and he certainly deserves his place as number one on my list.

And that’s my list but I’d love to know what would make your list.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Blog Posts in 2017

As the year draws to a close I figured it was time for a little bit of reflection so my count down this week isn’t one of anime characters or shows but rather the 5 posts that caught my reader’s attention over the year (working purely on views and not on engagement or actual quality of the post – that would be a very different list). There were some surprises here when I looked at the views on some posts. For convenience sake I have grouped posts on a similar topic together otherwise this list would have become pretty boring fairly quickly with the number 1 collection of posts actually including the four most viewed posts on my blog this year for reasons I still don’t quite understand.

Anyway, usually I’d ask you what you would include on your list but this topic doesn’t lend itself to that so instead I’ll ask you to let me know what your favourite post on my blog was this year.

Despite the weird line up here, I take comfort in knowing that my review of Yuri on Ice episode 1 is still the most viewed episode post I’ve ever written on this blog.

Please Note: No spoilers this week.

Hourable mention goes to the Top 5 Anime I’d Like to See Rebooted.

Number 5: Sword Oratoria Episode 1

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I’m a little mystified as to why this post got so many views comparatively to other episode posts. The only thing I can think of is that DanMachi had a lot of fans and people wanted to know if this spin-off was any good or they wanted to lament with others about the fact that it wasn’t. I know I only reviewed 5 episodes before I dropped it so I’ll never get to do a series review, but Sword Oratoria is a regular search term that sends people to my blog so I guess this post will continue to get views.

Number 4: Interviews with Monster Girls Episode 5

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This one I get even less than Sword Oratoria. It isn’t the first episode of the series and basically all this post does is complain about my internet connection and then retells why this show isn’t my genre. It is a dreadful post and yet one of my most viewed. That’s a little concerning to be honest.

Number 3: Assassination Classroom Episode 43

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With this one it makes sense that reviews of the show got views but I’m not sure why this particular episode has so many more views than the other ones. It is right before the final sequence so I guess last post you can read before major spoilers, but I’m still not entirely sure about the reason so many people have viewed this post over others in the series.

Number 2: March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 19

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This one is a short but sweet recount of an episode I enjoyed, though again, not sure why this post in the series has more views than others. I think understanding the reason why for some of these might help me understand my readers a bit better but at least this post is about the episode it is supposed to be reviewing and it is a very cool show (plus that cat is adorable). To put it another way, this single episode post has 200 more views than the review of season 1 of March Comes in Like a Lion and nearly as many more views than the next best viewed post of this series. Why? I have no idea.

Number 1: Killing Stalking (all posts)

killing1For something I checked out on a whim after seeing a plethora of tweets about the series and reviewed up to chapter (I think) 19, this continues to be a crazily popular draw. Almost every day someone finds my blog by searching for Killing Stalking and I can’t help but feel they will probably end up disappointed given it isn’t exactly my usual material. But every single post on Killing Stalking has made its way fairly high up the list of most viewed posts this year. The top 4 are chapter 3, chapter 1, chapter 4 and chapter 8 and they have more views than any of my other posts. Chapter 3 actually have more views than my first episode review of Yuri on Ice.

It is kind of interesting to look back at what you’ve done and what you wouldn’t do if given another chance. That review of that episode of Interviews with Monster Girls is truly terrible and really should just be deleted. All things considered though, 2017 has been another fun year on the blog and my first full year blogging given I started during 2016.

Wishing everyone a great New Year and looking forward to reading some great posts in 2018.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That Make Me Cry

I’m sure all anime fans have a favourite series out there that they enjoy just because it hits them hard every time they watch it. That show, and that moment, that has you breaking down into tears. It isn’t a feeling I seek out all that often but every now and then it is exactly what I need. If it was finished, I know that March Comes in Like a Lion would have topped this list, but given it hasn’t, here are some of my other favourite shows that are sure to make me cry every time I watch them.

As always, I’d love to know what would be on your list.

Please Note – There are absolutely spoilers below.

Honourable mentions to Clannad After Story, Your Lie in April and Yuri on Ice.

Number 5: Code Geass

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Code Geass is action filled and exciting. It also has some thought provoking moments and some interesting commentary on the human condition. But what sticks with me long after I’m finished watching the show for the whatever number time I am up to is how many times it felt like the show had grabbed my heart in a fist and squeezed. Shirley’s death, Lelouch accidentally setting Euphemia off on her massacre, the final sequence, so many moments where it just punches you hard in the gut. And yes, Shirley’s death is the one that makes me cry each and every time.

Number 4: Steins;Gate

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For an apparently mad scientist, Rintaro really takes the events of Steins;Gate hard and what we see is a fairly quick break down as this guy gets hit time and time again by more than he can really deal with. As the weight of his failures start to crush him, we see Kurisu reach out to him unknowing that she’s also part of the weight that he can’t actually deal with. While eventually all is righted, this show can pack a mean emotional punch as you wonder what decision you could make in the situation particularly when it looks like saving Mayuri will lead to someone else’s death.

Number 3: Heaven’s Memo Pad

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Heaven’s Memo Pad starts out fairly innocuously and to be honest there’s a lot of silliness throughout the series. But underlying all of that there are always some fairly dark themes and ideas and the final story arc brings things right to the surface. With the attempted suicide of his friend at school and drugs being sold in the area, Narumi is left feeling utterly helpless and useless and ends up making a fairly rash decision in an effort to do something. I always forget just how serious this show ends up getting because I start it and get kind of fooled by the early episodes which means the ending hits hard every single time.

Number 2: Assassination Classroom

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You don’t get a prize for knowing the affect this show had on me when we finally got to that scene. Yes, the one where the students all stand around and say goodbye before Nagisa finally assassinates their teacher. And yes, it is designed to pull at your heart strings and it is overly long and all the other things people might say about it. But that doesn’t stop it from being highly affective and leaving me in a complete mess of tears absolutely every time.

Number 1: Angel Beats

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My go to anime for when I feel like having a cry. Whether it is Otonashi recalling his life, Hinata promising to marry Yui no matter what her condition was, the graduation sequence or the final farewell between Kanade  and Otonashi this show gets me. What I love is that I don’t feel bad while watching it. I laugh, I get excited in the action sequences, roll my eyes at the classroom antics, and get to go through a whole range of emotions before the show tears my heart out and stomps on it a few times. Plus, if you watch after the credits, after you’ve had your release of tears, the show does just enough to put a smile on your face and leave you feeling like the world isn’t such a bad place after all.

So there’s my list. What have you got on yours?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Sequels

I tend to run sequels down a lot (see Feature Discussing Sequels and Prequels), which is sometimes justified, but occasionally there are sequels, part 2’s, and follow ups that actually do add something to a series and are fairly enjoyable to watch. So I decided to think about all the good sequels out there for a top 5 list. This is my opinion and I’ve chosen sequels that I felt added something actually necessary to a story but were entertaining in their own right. I’d love to know what some of your favourite sequels are.

I did however disqualify long running shows without clear divisions between seasons (Bleach etc).

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Sailor Moon (Third Season), Natsume Yuujinchou (not sure if this counts as long running without clear division so left it off the list, but every season is amazing), Full Metal Panic (Second Raid is fantastic), and Noragami (Second season was amazing, but where’s the third as this story still isn’t finished).

Number 5: Clannad After Story

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I’d be the first to say that Clannad wasn’t really my thing as an anime. It is a beautiful story and there are some really great elements to it, but it just isn’t my type of show. That said, I watched through all of it and even cried so it works well enough and for people who like the genre it is probably an even more moving experience. After Story is a perfect follow up to the original series. It narrows the focus to the main characters, though all the other characters are still there, and it legitimately adds to their characters. Not to mention, it finally reveals what was going on during some of the stranger moments in season one. As a sequel or follow up it does everything a show needs to and is perfectly entertaining on its own (though you’ll probably miss some of the character moments if you haven’t sat through season 1).

Number 4: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai

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Follow up to Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (or When They Cry, When the Cicadas Cry, or whatever other title you’d like to give it), this is a fantastic sequel. I actually watched this first, not knowing it was the second part, and while the first loop was a bit confusing due to me not having a clue who anyone was, I soon figured out what was going on and this is the part of this series that actually solves the mystery of who is behind the tragedy.  While the first season is fine, by itself it is unsatisfying. Lots of loops, lots of violence, there are clues and character moments, but it doesn’t end. Season 2 builds on all those clues and character moments and gives us a very dramatic final confrontation. It legitimately works by itself as a story and is highly entertaining (you know, if you are in to horror).

Number 3: Kimi ni Todoke

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Now this is more just an ongoing story. Season 1 has our main character, Sawako, slowly coming out of her shell and making friends. Yes, there’s a guy involved and there’s romantic insinuations, but the romantic aspect decidedly takes a back seat to building confidence and friendships. Having already established that in season 1, season 2 squarely turns the focus on Sawako’s ongoing relationship with Kazehaya and whether it is respect or love she feels. For someone who has only just learned about friendship, there’s a lot that can go wrong as she treads her way into romance and season 2 takes us through all the ups and downs until we finally get to the moment we’ve all been waiting for. An excellent follow up on a very cute romance.

Number 2: Snow White With the Red Hair

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Possibly this is a theme given how many relationship heavy shows have ended up on this list, but I really felt Shirayuki and Zen had more story to tell after season 1, and season 2 proved that right though not as I expected. Rather than focussing fully on their relationship, season 2 kind of scattered the focus giving lots of other relationships time to develop and be revealed. It was deeply satisfying seeing various characters have their moment, while an overall narrative involving Shirayuki’s kidnapping played out, but it did kind of leave the show with little time at the end to address the main question of Shirayuki and Zen. Which of course means we’re left with a sweet but not final ending and why is there no season 3? Still, this sequel does the job of advancing the characters and the plot logically and adding to what we know about them and the world, so it succeeds even if it still felt unfinished.

Number 1: Assassination Classroom

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Much like Kimi ni Todoke, season 1 of this focussed very much on building the characters up. They were learning skills, facing themselves, overcoming past difficulties, before they had the final test when the class was put in legitimate danger. Season 2 shifts the focus dramatically to the motive for the assassination and trying to find a way around it, dividing opinions and characters. While there’s definitely some filler in season 2, the sheer number of excellent character moments, before we get to the very final and necessary conclusion, makes this a sequel that was needed and it delivered on the promise way back in season 1. Thoroughly enjoyable watch though one could argue the end was dragged out just a little too long. Despite that, it was unforgettable.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Opening Themes in 2016

One of the things most of us remember about an anime series is the opening theme. Whether we loved it or hated it, listened to it every time, or reached for the remote (mouse) to hit the skip. Opening themes set the tone for the entire viewing experience and yet it is another element I seldom take into consideration when ranking my favourite anime on my weekly lists. This week’s top 5 gave me a chance to reflect on some of the themes of 2016 and to realise it was not one of my favourite years for opening songs.

My criteria for top 5 opening theme is mostly that the song could be listened to as a song by itself and still sound good without the visuals, though also had good visuals to go with it, that it matched the tone of the show, and that it got me ready to watch the episode. Also, it had to be an opening I didn’t want to skip because listening to the song was part of the experience. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).

For patrons there is a list of the 5 openings of 2016 that didn’t particularly impress over on patreon.

Please Note – There probably won’t be any spoilers in this list.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Cheer Boys (because it was fun) and 91 Days (because it set the tone of the show so well). Also, special honourable mention to Raise Your Flag from Iron Blooded Orphans because if that had been the theme the whole way through the show it would have been absolutely perfect.

Number 5: Coolest from Sakamoto Desu Ga

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This is the weirdest choice on this list because this is an anime I didn’t even finish watching. However, this opening gives you more or less the entire concept and is fun, bright and over the top which is everything the show itself is trying to be. I probably would have ditched the show and kept watching the opening if that was a viable option really.

Number 4: Bye Bye Yesterday from Assassination Classroom Second Season

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Assassination Classroom has continued to have excellent openings that nail the tone of the show and manage to convey the overall emotion the characters are feeling at that point in time. From that point of veiw, Bye Bye Yesterday is the perfect opening during the second season because our characters have moved on from who they were and they are at a critical transitional point. The visuals throughout the song are pretty awesome to with a lot of looking back on where the characters have come from and the events that have shaped them in the series. The fact that the song is still upbeat and energizes you in preparation for the episode is perfect because Assassination Classroom still has that weird back and forth between comedy and real drama so a song that makes you feel sad and nostalgic while getting you energised is exactly what was needed.

Number 3: Lay Your Hands on Me from Kiznaiver

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I know I didn’t end up thinking much of the show but this song was amazing. Actually the entire opening sequence is just an overload on the senses. The song is full of energy and drama and yet you aren’t sure whether it is trying to be optimistic or poignant and overall it just makes you feel like something is coming. Unfortunately for me, most episodes went downhill after the opening but at least I never skipped the song.

Number 2: Re:Re from Erased

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During the first few episodes, while I enjoyed this opening, I couldn’t figure out why this show had such an up-beat and happy little opening. The visuals hinted at darker ideas but the song itself felt like it belonged on some coming-of-age high school romp rather than a mystery with potential supernatural elements. Turns out the song wasn’t lying as the mystery part of the show falls short and it is the coming-of-age and the finding out who you are that dominates the show thematically in the second half. So great song in and of itself and once you’ve watched the show through you realise just how apt it actually is.

Number 1: History Maker from Yuri On Ice

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That was probably obvious from the get-go given the theme to Yuri on Ice was probably the only one I commented on (more than once) during my weekly reviews of a show. I couldn’t help it, the song just swept me away each and every time I listened to it. It is one of the few themes that I actively looked up and played just by itself without any intention of watching an episode of the show. And please, hit repeat. Then of course we have the beautiful animation that accompanies it. I also liked that it didn’t really sound like an anime opening. That kind of made it stand out. All and all, this was the perfect opening song for this particular story.

Alright, over to you. What opening themes made you pay attention in 2016?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Visually Interesting Anime in 2016

When I made my judgements about best and worst series I make that judgement based mostly on entertainment, characters and plot. Visuals (whether good or bad) play little part in that judgement. So this week I want to look at the top 5 anime in 2016 that I found visually interesting. As always I’d invite you to add you favourites to the comments below.

How did I narrow down this list? I actually remembered something about the visuals other than character designs. Seriously, I don’t usually pay that much attention to backgrounds and the like because I’m all about story and characters so if I actually remember after watching something that it was beautiful or interesting, that usually means it was noteworthy. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).

And then for patrons, I’ve put up a post called Tuesday’s Lesser 5 where I share some of the least visually interesting anime of 2016. I’m still working on providing patrons with extra content and I’ll probably be a bit hit and miss with this until it becomes a routine (I am very open to suggestions from patrons and would be patrons about what content you would like to see). If the post hasn’t come out as scheduled I will fix it – just let me know.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below – massive spoilers for number 5.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Ajin, Mob Psycho 100 (Yes, I hated the look of this but it was interesting), and Erased.

Number 5: Assassination Classroom Season 2

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Say what you will about this show as a show, you have to admit visually it is very interesting. We have a large cast of characters who each have a distinct look and a main character who by himself is intriguing and then we have the settings which are at times highly detailed and also use a large range of colours nad tones to convey moods. Honestly, the show is a feast for the eyes regardless of how you take to the plot of students trying to kill their teacher.

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Number 4: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

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I know a lot of people didn’t like the look of this show but I loved it. The water colour look about the scenes that just made everything feel kind of like a children’s story book while this incredibly grim tale was being woven really worked for me and it stood out from the strong colours and character designs we usually come across in this sort of fantasy world. I also liked how they contrasted each of the settings. We had the town, the forest, the ruins and then the caverns and each area had their own look and feel even while the art style was consistent. I also liked that the character designs blended with this environment rather than standing out sharply from it.

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Number 3: Yuri on Ice

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I know, obvious choice, but this anime swept me away with its animation and presentation from the very first opening. The storyline and characters took longer to win me over but I could have watched this series through just on the looks of it. I’ve never seen characters move like that and I honestly don’t care if they were reusing animation, it was amazing. I also liked that the costumes were all beautifully designed and moved with the skaters, the backgrounds, the way they gave us the feel of being in different countries even though we spent most of our time at skating rinks, and so on. The visuals were extremely well done and this show had instant appeal because of it.

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Number 2: Flip Flappers

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It’s probably good this show was so visually interesting given the story really struggled to come through sometimes. That said, regardless of what the characters were doing or whether you had a clue what the plot was about, there was always something appealing to look at on the screen. The rich detail, the symbolism, the abstract design at times, the various art styles, all of it demanded your attention and you kept thinking that you’d missed something and sure enough when reading the blogs of others there was a detail you’d completely missed amongst the many things clamouring for your attention while watching this show. No matter your thoughts on the story, this is a visually appealing anime to watch.

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Number 1: March Comes in Like a Lion

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This one may not be as frantic to fight for every minute of your attention as Flip Flappers but overall the visuals are far more cohesive (and more importantly are more suited to my tastes). The sharp contrasts between light and dark and the simplicity of some scenes compared with the rich detail in others will keep you watching and watching closely. Throw in the contrast between the very ‘realistic’ view of the world against the more ‘cartoonish’ view that is sometimes given and there’s always something to look for. Then again, even the opening of this one is mesmerizing and rich in symbolism so well worth checking out. That and it’s just beautiful.

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Those are my picks for top 5 visually interesting anime in 2016. I know three of them came from the end of the year but when I looked back at the other anime I loved, they just didn’t visually stand out. What are your favourites from the year?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Characters from 2016

Last week I looked at the female characters from 2016 that left an impression. This week I turn my attention to the guys. I’m going to be honest; this was a much harder list to write. The reason being that female characters still tend to play a lot of support roles and still tend to have very generic personalities (with some exceptions). There are more leading male characters and more personality types (though still some basic archetypes) out there to choose from.

So how did I choose my top 5 male characters? Pretty much they played a significant role in their anime, were entertaining to watch, and, for whatever reason, memorable. They also had to be in an anime that aired at some point during 2016 (either continuing on from 2015, completely in 2016, or at least started before the end of 2016).

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to: Natsume (Natsume Yuujinchou Go), Mikleo (Tales of Zestiria the X), and weirdly to Matsumi Asuma (Kiss Him, Not Me).

Number 5: Dazai (Bungo Stray Dogs Season 2)

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There were times in season 1 when Dazai drove me absolutely crazy. He was hilarious and intriguing for the first 2 episodes and then his character went into one note comedy mode for most the rest of the season. Season 2 Dazai became a much more interesting character. First we spent four episodes getting his back story and then even after that while we still had the odd goofy moment and suicide joke, Dazai kind of left the playful facade behind and started actually being a character. It made him far more intriguing and made me far more interested in him. Is Dazai the best character? Not really, but I certainly remember him.

Number 4: Karma Akabane (Assassination Classroom Season 2)

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Okay, this one should come as no surprise given he topped out my list of favourite red haired male characters last year. I find Karma fantastic value as a character. Why isn’t he higher up my list? Because season 1 of Assassination Classroom did not air in 2016 and looking at Karma’s contributions to season 2, I just couldn’t justify it. His character decidely takes a back seat with the exception of the conflict between him and Nagisa and even that plays out relatively quickly. He is still one scary teenager and what I like is that he isn’t just a hoodlum, he is smart, manipulative and motivated.

Number 3: Yuuri Katsuki (Yuri on Ice)

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It would have surprised me more if I hadn’t added a character from Yuri on Ice and it had to be Yuri himself. The character transformation he underwent and how natural it felt was one of the highlights of the whole year for me. I liked that this wasn’t a show about someone who was bad at skating getting suddenly amazing. Yuri was always good but lacked confidence. This story really just focussed on him overcoming himself rather than a skills deficit and it was a much stronger character story because of it.

Number 2: Obi (Snow White with the Red Hair)

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Obi was always my favourite character from Show White with the Red Hair and season 2 we got more Obi. When Shirayuki leaves the kingdom to visit Prince Raj it is Obi who goes with her as a bodyguard so when she get’s kidnapped, Obi kind of loses it in the best possible way. It’s probably the first time we ever see Obi anything less than laid back and completely in control and that he then spends the rest of the season working to save her and then in ensuring that Zen and Shirayuki are going to get their happily ever after (despite the fact it’s pretty clear he’d really like Shirayuki to look at him) just makes Obi an even better character. He’s still stealing every scene he shows up in and I would love more of this character. Note to self: Do not get on Obi’s bad side.

Number 1: Allen Walker (D Gray Man Hallow)

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Okay, I know a lot of this placement is due my overall love of this franchise but Hallow did an amazing job of progressing Allen’s story as the fourteenth is slowly but surely taking over. Allen has come along way from the naive want to be exorcist we met back in episode 1 of D Gray Man and is now a very competent exorcist however he is continuously doubted and mistreated by the Order and ultimately is forced to make the decision to leave (which gave us an incredibly heartbreaking farewell between Allen and Lenalee). Allen is a character I always want more of because he is incredibly interesting and I would love for him to eventually find out everything and be able to make his own informed choices about his life. Seems unlikely and far more likely he will continue to flounder along, but he does keep moving. Not even certain death keeps him out of the action.

That’s my list so now its time to share yours. Who were your favourite male characters in 2016?

Reflections on Anime in 2016 – The Best and The Worst of the Year (in my opinion)

It’s the first day of the year so let’s look back at the year that was. I know that at the end of Summer I did my first reflection post looking back at the anime I’d watched and  I purposefully left D Gray Man and Sailor Moon Crystal 3 off the lists because nostalgia was strong with those two. But now we are at the end of the year and I’m not playing nice anymore. I’m giving my lists of top 10 best and worst for 2016 and finally the results from the reader’s poll.

My rules:

  • I need to have watched the whole series (or as much as has aired in 2016 – I know some of these are continuing on).
  • My judgement is entirely based on the entertainment I got out of watching the anime.
  • Feel free to suggest your own top 10 best or worst in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. Yuri on Ice
  2. D Gray Man Hallow
  3. Natsume Yuujinchou
  4. Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
  5. Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
  6. March Comes in Like a Lion
  7. My Hero Academia
  8. Alderamin on the Sky
  9. Erased
  10. Sailor Moon Crystal 3

Yeah, I can’t believe it either but Yuri on Ice actually edged out D Gray Man Hallow on anime I enjoyed watching. Neither anime is perfect (and I’ll happily admit to the flaws in both) but when it came to pure enjoyment I couldn’t beat either of these and in terms of the anime I’ll rewatch the most from this year, these 2 are the top picks. So why Yuri over D Gray Man? D Gray Man Hallow always had the advantage of nostalgia, but if I take that away, while I would have still enjoyed Hallow (assuming it made sense) it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as the viewing experience for Yuri. In terms of the anime I sat waiting to the minute for the episode release, Yuri on Ice definitely won out.

However, for everything you enjoy there is a show that you watch and wonder why. Once again, I know there are worse anime out there, but these are the anime I watched all the way through and really wonder why.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Taboo Tattoo
  2. Big Order
  3. Lost Village
  4. Hitorinoshita
  5. Divine Gate
  6. Dimension W
  7. Nazotokine
  8. Norn 9
  9. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
  10. Bloodivores

What was pleasantly surprising was how few of the Autumn season found their way onto this list. Mostly the shows I watched in Autumn were more boring than terrible (though I did avoid a few shows that I knew were going to end up in this category so they didn’t count on the having watched them criteria).

Party

The Reader’s Poll

I was surprised by some of the results and not surprised by others. Probably the biggest issue is there were only 54 votes total so from a data point of view this probably isn’t the most valid survey. Anyway…

  1. Yuri on Ice (7 votes)
  2. Assassination Classroom 2 (6 votes)
  3. Mob Psycho 100 (6 votes)
  4. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (5 votes)
  5. Bungo Stray Dogs (3 votes)
  6. Erased (3 votes)
  7. March Comes in Like a Lion (3 votes)
  8. Kiss Him Not Me (3 votes)
  9. Flip Flappers (3 votes)
  10. Grimgar of Fantasy of Ash (3 votes)

With that I say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017 for a whole new year of watching anime.

By the way, over the next 4 weeks my Tuesday’s Top 5 post is going to do a recap of 2016. Top 5 Female Characters of 2016 is up first, followed by Top 5 Male Characters of 2016, Top 5 Visually Interesting Anime of 2016 and finally Top 5 Opening Themes of 2016. Then I will move on to something different but I felt January was a great time to recap the previous year.

Over to you: Which anime was your favourite or most hated from 2016?

2016 Reflection

Okay, with the Winter, Spring and Summer anime seasons more or less done and dusted, I felt it was a good time to look at my favourite anime for the year. I’ll do my final best of 2016 list after the Autumn season concludes.

I’m going to point out that Sailor Moon Crystal and D Gray Man Hallow have both been left off the list. Not because they aren’t awesome (D Gray Man would have had the top spot), but because I’m well aware that I am blatantly biased toward these anime. Regardless of what else happens, D Gray Man is my number 1 for 2016. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s the official list for the year so far.

A few rules. The season needed to end in 2016. I needed to have watched the whole series or at least as much as has been so far released (so there are plenty of other anime good and bad that aren’t on either of my lists here – though that said some are clearly going to continue). Judgement is made entirely on entertainment and pleasure watching (no technical scores for being beautifully animated and the like). As such, the list is entirely my opinion. Please feel free to tell me your favourite in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
  2. Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
  3. My Hero Academia
  4. Alderamin on the Sky
  5. Erased
  6. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
  7. Days
  8. Tales of Zestiria the X
  9. Bungou Stray Dogs
  10. ReLife

But if we’re going to look at the best, we also need to look at the worst. Remember, I’m only listing anime I’ve actually watched all the way through. There are a number I would have loved on this list (First Love Monster springs to mind) but I haven’t watched it through so am not going to pass judgement on it. Please feel free to tell me which anime you think is the worst in the comments.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Taboo Tattoo
  2. Big Order
  3. Lost Village
  4. Hitorinoshita
  5. Divine Gate
  6. Dimension W
  7. Norn 9
  8. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
  9. Luck & Logic
  10. Joker Game

Yeah, I know Joker Game doesn’t deserve to be in a worst of list, but at the moment, it’s in top ten of anime I finished watching but didn’t get all that much enjoyment out of. Pretty sure there will be something in the Autumn season that will take it out of the list for the year.

And yes, Taboo Tattoo I officially found worse than Big Order. After weighing them both up I just had to put Taboo Tattoo as the worst thing I have finished watching so far this year.

One more season to go and then I’ll have my official best of list for the year. It will be interesting to see if Days is still on the best list after continuing on and whether anything can top Assassination Classroom’s emotional ending.

Looking forward to more anime. What’s your best so far for 2016 and what’s your worst?