Friendly Talks With Arthifis: DAKAICHI first impressions

Introduction:

For those who missed the announcement for this collaboration, Arthifis and I are working together this season to have periodic chats about two anime. Over at Arthifis’ place we’ll be covering Goblin Slayer and you should definitely check out that post once you are done here because we had a lot of fun discussing that first episode as well. In about four weeks we’ll be back with an update on how we feel both series are going so hopefully you’ll join us again later in the season. For now, join us as we meander through our thoughts on episode 1 of Dakaichi (or Dakaretai Otoko 1-ni Odosarete Imasu), the events, the characters, their necks, and the music.

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Takato

Conversation:

Hey Arthifis! It is great to have you on my blog today to discuss Dakaichi – I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year (to only be referred to as Dakaichi from now on).

Hello Karandi! Thanks for having! I’m so freaking excited to start this conversation going! I just have to say that I’m surprised with this one 😀 And, finally, just only one word to refer to the Anime show ahah uff!

So, I have to ask because you went in without knowing much about this one, what are your thoughts? You mentioned being surprised. Surprised good or another WTF kind of moment?

This time it was a good surprise ahah I went into Dakaishi with the idea that I enter any kind of Shounen-Ai anime. That it would be all kind of tropes, that someone would just be basically raped and transformed into gay person, that there would be distinctively a top and a bottom (talking about relationship top and bottom, not sexual) and all those tropes that we all already know. The only one being out was the age gap, because they clearly look adults xD.

Yes, I think I’d be out of this one if they were meant to be high schoolers. While I’m not naive enough to believe high school students don’t engage in actual sexual relationships, I really wouldn’t be comfortable watching that so the age of the characters is actually something  I really appreciate.

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Takato

Yeah… I know what you mean. I’m ok with love stories with high schoolers. However, I know that this one is going to be very sex heavy, so I think I wouldn’t be very comfortable watching.

The fun thing about this episode though is that more or less until the middle of the episode I was still on the dark about some of the tropes. Then I saw “the getting drunk” scene and I though, ok this is going to follow the same tropes, and then it got a pleasant turn and… I don’t know what to think anymore ahah.

What about you, do you think this is following the visual novel / manga (can’t remember which one right now) good?

I read the manga online a long time ago and while I was excited for an adaptation because I really like Takato’s character, specific details escape me. One thing they definitely changed though is the getting drunk scene because the manga took that a lot further and dove into the no-consent trope we see in so many of these types of stories.

I think the anime made a really smart decision by having Junta show a tiny bit more restraint and that gave us the fairly pleasant moment at the end of the episode where he actually asked permission. Okay, I had a really great time at the end of the episode and really loved that scene.

Thank god the Anime changed that scene then!!! It would just kill the show for the season for me…. You did? Why is that?

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Junta

I just really liked the way they framed the scene with Junta down on his knee looking up at Takato… Okay, I’m hopeless and I fell head over heels in love with this couple and I want them to be together forever. I take it that the scene didn’t have the same impact on you?

Oh, no! It DID! Probably should have added a smile in the last phrase ahah I was just curious to know what were your reasons! I’m a sucker for romance, you know? What other way could be for me to be binge watching season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy if not for that? Ahahah.

DAKAICHI Episode 1 - Junta and Takato

However, we are already talking about the end before even speaking about the beginning xD So, let me just pull as back for a bit if you are ok with it xP.

That’s probably a good idea. Though like with most romances we get our pretty standard character introductions and initial interactions and as you said it isn’t until that mid-point with the drinking scene where things really kick off. However, I would love to know your thoughts on the OP?

Yes, maybe that’s true… And probably these are just the most bland and cliche characters from Shounen-Ai. However, since I don’t get to watch many shounen-ai/Yaoi anime shows I really liked these characters xD.

*browses anime-planet to remember the name of the guys* – DONE!

Ok, let me start with Takato. In the beginning we get this hyper mega self righteous and obnoxious character which seems to think is the best in everything. But, contrary to most Yaoi shows I’ve seen (and dropped right away) it does not take much time until we are shown that he was able to get there through hard work since an early age. Yes, he is cocky and thinks he’s the best, but, at the same time we can clearly see that he does have some small indications that he also suffers from lack of confidence. Which from there creates, from the bat, a complex character who thinks that he is in the top of the world, but, at the same time, needs his levels of popularity to actually feel confidence… Am I making sense to you? xD.

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Takato

Yes, that makes perfect sense (and just so you know, when you called Takato bland earlier I nearly declared war then and there). I really love his character because he’s got this front that just oozes control and confidence all wrapped around this mass of raging insecurity. The very fact that he needs the affirmation of keeping the ‘most huggable man’ title is hilarious when you consider all of his other achievements and yet it means so much to him. He’s really interesting and I love his internal monologues during the first episode where he’s trying to figure out what Junta is actually after because he assumes that everyone spends as much time over thinking things as he does and he assumes Junta has some kind of angle.

That said, I’m not so fond of Junta. I just see him as very much someone to play opposite Takato. What about you?

Hmmm… That’s actual a nice point you said there! Yes, it’s true… Junta is just the opposite of Takato and it can be seen as the easy way to go for a romance. But, you know what, from my irl experience, I really think that opposites attract! You just need to spend a day with my boyfriend and I to see that. And, to be honest, for me it’s not a really bad thing. It just means those 2 people complete each other.

So (And remember I don’t know nothing about what is going to happen), I think Junta will still need some time further to shine. From what I’ve seen from this episode, I feel that Junta will be the person that will Takato to grow and become a happier person. Maybe it will fall out more bland because the story seems to be told in Takato’s perspective, but I just fell in love with Junto… I mean, after there was a permission involved, of course xD.

But, well… To be honest, I’m more into the Tatako side while my boyfriend is more into the Junta side… So, of course I would love Junta ahah.

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Junta

For me, I like Takato because he is someone who thinks things through and where they are going. He isn’t always a nice person and assumes other people are equally as self-interested. But he is a thinker and a planner. I really appreciate that character trait. Junta, as Takato points out, is someone who reacts to the situation and the scene and just plays on his feelings. That drives me crazy being around people like that because I can’t predict where something is going. So, I think my personal bias is getting in the way of any appreciation of Junta. Though he did look adorable asking for permission.

That and I noticed you dodged my question about the OP earlier.

Ups sorry, not so much dodged, but more got carried away ahah Well, I can definitely understand that… And know that you put it in that words… I think I’m probably Junta and Takato is my boyfriend xD Although, I overthink a lot nevertheless and he is a more happy person than me xP But, well we are not characters of a Shounen-ai, so of course we are going a little bit more complex ahah.

That said, since this OTP feels a bit like home and my relationship I would say that I loved it of course xD.

Ok… Nevermind… I read that wrong, you are asking me about the opening LOLOL Hmm… Give me a sec to check (I always pass those on because of spoilers and I forgot to watch it >.<).

I’m going to be honest, I hope you don’t start a war *gulp* I really liked the music, but the visuals just seemed generic to me xD What about you?

I don’t think I remember the visuals all that much (oh yeah, the guys were crossing the street at one point). I wasn’t paying that much attention, mostly because I had a major ASMR response to the start of the song in general. It just sent tingles up and down my spine and got me really hyped for the episode. However, that will probably wear thin after the first few times listening to it so I’m not entirely sure how I’ll feel about it after the whisper power wears off.

Then again, the ED just made me smile. It was just so boppy and silly and the dancing were all just there.

Yeah, I completely agree with you! I liked both musics, and that is saying a lot because I normally don’t like op and ed songs that much (I know, kill me now xD).

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Takato

On another note, I would like to ask you if you think they went too far with this episode when it comes to story. I mean, of course you already know what is going to happen, but still…

I know this is something that we are seeing more and more. With so many Anime shows coming out nowadays you need to grab people attention from episode 1. However, I feel that it would be better for the Anime (looking into an all episodes kind of thing) for them to postpone the first sex scene a little bit. We can also see this in Bloom Into You. I think I would prefer a little more back and forward between the characters, have some time to start loving them and THEN have the confession thing. This way, I just can’t help it that the rest of the show will be a game of dog and cat and turning on and off relationship, which for 12/13 episodes may stop being interesting to watch. What do you think?

Normally I’d fully agree. I’m not that big on needing to show the sex for a relationship to be a relationship in a story anyway and I’m more concerned with how the characters interact than how far they get in terms of getting physical. However, going in to something like this, it kind of is the kind of story where it doesn’t get going until these characters have entered this kind of physical relationship. And, no spoilers, but you’ve got a seasoned actor and an up and coming star engaging in a same-sex relationship when one suffers from massive insecurity and the other feels he has something to prove. I’m sure they’ll find ample conflicts to keep us entertained for at least the next 12 episodes (or let’s at least hope so).

Still, it is an interesting point that more and more anime seem to be diving into more physical aspects of relationships earlier in seasons (Citrus was another example that came immediately to mind). I mean, I get we’re all a little tired of the impossible blushy couple that don’t even hold hands until episode 26 or later but I’m not sure every romance needs to dive in full speed ahead either.

In this case I was talking about in a more general way, not only sex related Anime. At least for now Bloom Into You does not seem to go portray sex scenes… But, we never know xD

However, I think you are right! I think that it will take some time until they find some kind of balance. I do know that the Romance type of Anime I loved the most had the characters to enter into a romance more or less in the middle of the season and then continuing the story from there 🙂

But, yes, please… Between episode 26 to episode 1, I prefer the later. I don’t really have the patience for the back and forward and miscommunication formula nowadays xD

But, well, that topic can be a good theme for another post since it would take a lot to write about xD

Any other thoughts on the episode before we bring this to a close?

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Takato

YES! I’m sorry, but I have to bring those necks! I mean, I know this is personal opinion, but why the hell did they thought doing neck shadows like that a good way to go!!! I mean, the animation overall is good, but those necks… Damn those necks really take a lot of it! What do you think about that particular aspect?

They are really hideous. My personal theory is that they are designed to stop too many fans falling love with the otherwise fairly attractive main characters. I have no other theory as to why they would do that. It is bad. Just bad.

Going to be honest, it will take some time for me to be able to accept them and not think about it while watching the series… It’s a bummer though! But, well, that’s the last thing I wanted to talk about xD.

Well, I had a great time discussing the episode. This is not my normal kind of anime because we don’t get this kind of anime released on a mainstream service all that often so I usually don’t get to see these until well after they have been released, so I’m actually really glad to be reviewing it with someone because it is helping me to think through my thoughts on the episode. I hope you enjoy episode two. I’m just going to give you one word – honey.

Me too! It was a lot of fun! I also don’t really discuss this type of Anime shows. Just because I would always be bias due to the tropes presented in the most of them, and for that, I already have one rant about it on my blog and one rant is more than enough xD.

It also brings a completely different light discussing it with you. As you said, it helps me to think through what I thought about the Anime, but also see things that I hadn’t seen for myself which is awesome!

Thank you! I’m really intrigued to see how they are going to come up after this episode so I’m probably going to watch it today XD I need to see if I catch up with all the episodes that have been coming out this week lolol.

Can’t wait to get back together with you in the near future to continue discussing the evolution of the show eheh

I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks.

Conclusion:

Thanks for joining us and if you would like to add to the conversation be sure to leave us a comment below and if you haven’t yet, be sure to go and check out the Goblin Slayer post over on Arthifis’ blog.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Or use one of my affiliate product links:


CHAYAMACHI CHIRAL WORKS

Advertisements

Super Lovers Series Review: Not Sure About the Super Part – But They Are Working on the Lovers Part

This is part of a series of re-posts of older reviews on 100 Word Anime. The original review came out in June 2016 and can be found here.

super-lovers-episode-6-english-subbed

My overall impression of this anime isn’t great and that hasn’t really changed since my first viewing of it or during the second season. To be honest, this is kind of one of those shows you watch because you really want more or a particularly genre but given how little there is you just kind of watch anything that is available. While there are certainly warm and touching moments and some really interesting dialogue exchanges there’s just too much sitting around and waiting for one of the many emotionally stunted characters to say or do something that should have already happened.

Outside of the main relationships, everything that happens in the plot happens because of narrative convenience, including amnesia, success in business with very little risk, admission into school, friend appearing, mother returning to Japan. While each of these events is plausible in and of itself, they really feel forced on the characters to make them act in certain ways because the plot demands it.

Last time I reviewed this I steered away from really getting into the age gap, and to be honest I’m not going to debate the morality of it in the real world, because quite frankly it isn’t appropriate. Is it problematic for a work of fiction to establish a relationship like this? Well that entirely depends on how far you separate fictional what-ifs from real experiences and some people will find this distinctly uncomfortable and so would be better off steering clear. I will admit, I find Haru very hard to take seriously as a character because of some of his choices and general lack of impulse control but ultimately that is a minor nitpick in an anime full of other general issues.

5cb0bca0f359d4f14e512c776c14dfaf1455891067_full

Starting with the problems (and that way I can end on the positives):

01. Haru and Ren’s relationship doesn’t get a fair chance to develop in a cohesive manner. The time and continent jumps, and then the other characters who distract from this central story line just mean that everything about their relationship seems forced. Okay, some people are more concerned with the age difference and the fact that Haru is technically Ren’s key carer and with the power imbalance there is a lot wrong with the relationship in the first place. As I said above, I’m not getting into that one, but asking me to accept that Ren somehow imprinted on Haru as a child and just never got over that, despite having very little reason to continue feeling that way and even after being exposed to a larger group of people, just makes no sense. Granted, people do get fixated on others, but Ren’s level of mindless devotion is at times disturbing (more so then anything else about their relationship).

02. Haru’s brothers are all but completely unnecessary to the storyline and their characterisation is inconsistent at best. Is Aki actually angry with Haru? Apparently but then somehow he gets over it, except when he forgets he is supposed to be over it. Shima is little better when at times he seems all knowing and other times is just completely dense. And while a lot of what Haru does early in the season is so his brothers can all live together there just doesn’t seem much reason for this to need to happen. Particularly as the story then finds endless ways to send Aki and Shima off to school or work and remove them from the story. Just remove them in the first place and have them drop by when the occasion calls for it.

03. Haru’s mother, Haruko. Okay, Haruko needs her own entire post focussing on truly bizarre things anime parents sometimes get away with. Playing it off that she is super smart and probably has some master plan doesn’t make her a good mother. Or even a decent human being.Haru was hospitalised after returning to Japan and his parents were killed. He was not welcome in the house that took in his brothers. Why on earth would Haruko not do something to support her child in this situation? Why is he having to work as a host to save money to send his brothers to school? And even before then, who tells their kid they are dying in order to get them to fly by themselves to another country? Wow, she is horrible. Her final return at the end of the series did little to endear her to the audience or win her any points for mother of the year, either.

04. The pacing. After the initial time jumps and back and forths this anime settles into a very slow and languid style of story telling where time just doesn’t seem to be moving at all. That wouldn’t be so much a problem if the characters were interesting enough or if there day to day had some memorable moments scattered about but essentially they go to school or work and come home. Oh, I forgot, they found a dog.

05. Finally, the visuals. Normally this is not usually an issue for me with anime unless there is something particularly unusual about character design but I found the constant disappearing faces and vacant eyes when they weren’t doing a close up on a character really disconcerting. Again, not something that normally bugs me, but in this anime, when so much of it was characters sitting around talking so there wasn’t much else to distract, this really bugged me. I’ve read a lot of reviews with people saying how beautiful this anime is, and at times it really is; but that makes the times when it isn’t stand out more.

nn0jokt

You might think from that I hated this series, but that isn’t actually the case. At no point did I want to drop this show even on a second viewing. I did however want it to speed up a bit and maybe have a little bit more happening in each episode. So what is good about the series?

01. Ren. That might seem odd but Ren is a character I found very interesting. The best parts of this anime were the parts that dealt specifically with the trauma Ren had encountered prior to Haru and his adjustments to Japan and then to school life. What I particularly like is that Ren’s development as a person (not his relationship with Haru) seems fairly logical and cohesive. There aren’t sudden 180’s in his personality but there are small changes that build up over time. Even Ren engaging in conversation with some of the sub-characters was usually interesting but would have been better if I’d cared just a little bit more about the other character.

lba9q4i

02. Haru opening the cafe. Right, so his instant success is not particularly believable (no matter how many friends offer a helping hand) when you consider how many small businesses fail, but this move was a good one for Haru’s development. It showed him growing up and having an increasing sense of responsibility and allowed him to actually be in the story rather than at work or asleep. In terms of narrative devices the career change worked really well and seemed to fit with what we knew of the characters at the time.

03. The tone. This anime plays its story seriously and while there are sad moments and dark moments, mostly it has a very sweet tone. It feels consistent without abrupt changes in the writing style or music and while this does at times make it feel a little bit flat you aren’t suffering from the emotional whip-lash some of the other shows have given us this season.

tumblr_o5ogviszo41u2bfm3o1_500

On balance there are less positives here than in the problem list but that isn’t a deal breaker. Watching this through it flows nicely if slowly and it tells its story affectively even if there are occasional distractions and detractors from it.

That said, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend watching Super Lovers. Even after the second season, there just isn’t enough going on with the characters and the plot and progress is pretty glacial. There’s certainly better out there to watch. 


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Series Review: An Improvement In Every Way on Season 1

After season one’s fairly atrocious start, Spiritpact slowly grew into a semi-decent story. Then season two came onto the scene and it is almost as if this story has finally found its place.

Review:

I really didn’t think much of the delivery of this story back in season one. In fact, my review of it pretty much points out that most of season 1 is pretty tragic:

Despite everything wrong with this show from a production and writing point of view it is telling a really compelling story (it just isn’t doing it well).

But that compelling story that was hidden under the mess that was season one’s delivery was enough to make me go back to season two when so many other shows (The Silver Guardian and Hitori no Shita I’ve just left on hold to binge at some point when I get really bored). Because underneath everything wrong with season one, the characters really won me over and I wanted to see their story.

Spiritpact8g

And that is where season two – Bond of the Underworld – has excelled. It cut out so much of the clutter and the unnecessary. The comedy elements that were almost a complete failure on every occasion barely appear at all. The focus is narrowed down to three central characters and their interactions and while the background of the complex inter-relationships between these families and their roles are still there, it really doesn’t matter. Not to the main characters and not to the audience. The fact that two of the characters we’re focusing on are actually already dead doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference to how well crafted these characters have become (and believe me, I didn’t see myself claiming You Keika was a well crafted character in any capacity during season 1).

Spiritpact10a

This focus is expressed clearly through the OP. While the music isn’t great (not bad just not particularly good), the connections between these characters are made clear and this is the focus of what is explored in these 12 episodes with an antagonist in the form of the brother of one of the dead characters who at times seems to want revenge, at others power, and at the core just seems really ticked off about his brother’s fate.

Spiritpact11c

For those who like a little bit of shounen ai, this season will deliver a fantastic relationship driven drama as You Keika attempts to understand Tanmoku who in turn is trying to come to grips with the death of a former body-guard/friend/potential love interest. These characters interact in the present world as well as walk through the memories they have of the past and learn to see each other in a different light and also learn more about themselves.

Spiritpact8e

What that means is not a lot actually happens given we spend multiple episodes just memory walking, but those memories are integral to how these characters have been forged into the people we met in season one and facing these memories helps these characters to find who they are going to be and to reaffirm their place and purpose.

Spiritpact9d

Visually this season has stepped it up a lot. While there are still the very occasional chibi moments, with the vast majority of the stupid comedy cut out and the focus on character driven drama, there seems to be far more effort in making these characters actually look like characters. There are also a lot of close ups of faces in this season. Still, fight sequences and spiritual powers are quite adequately done. They have been better portrayed in other series, but compared to season 1, there’s a massive improvement here.

Spiritpact6b

Basically, if you endured season one but decided not to go back to season two, I’d urge you to reconsider. This season is superior to the first in so many ways and the story it tells is moving and sweet. I really hope there is a season 3 of this at some point as I’d love to know what the story has in store for these characters next.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Tuesday’s Top 5: Reasons You Should Watch Season 2 of Spiritpact

Spiritpact season 2 has finished, with some very weird timing, and I can’t help but note that very few people have been talking about it. That’s not very surprising given how season 1 started and usually I don’t really like the argument that something gets better, but in Spiritpact’s case, the it gets better argument is pretty solid. In fact, season 2 is actually a pretty amazing character drama with some shounen ai moments that will make fan-girls pretty happy. So, while my review is still a week away, for now I’ll give you 5 reasons why you should go and watch this anime (though I guess technically it isn’t anime given it is Chinese and not Japanese but let’s leave that point alone for now).

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mention: Keika’s magical girl transformation sequence. Tragically it only gets shown once, but it is still pretty funny.

Spiritpact1d

Number 5: The attempted break out.

Spiritpact7c

Tanmoku Ki is apparently crazily powerful and yet we so rarely see him do anything particularly note-worthy with that power. Fortunately teenage Tanmoku was a lot more impulsive and when Shouken was locked up he took action. That said, it doesn’t exactly end happily ever after, but it is still an incredibly cool moment and at least it now makes sense why Tanmoku is so incredibly reserved about taking action.

Number 4: Keika taking his role seriously

Spiritpact4a

In season one, it was difficult to understand why Tanmoku wanted Keika around and Keika really didn’t contribute much to anything except temper tantrums and really stupid moments (the second half was better but not by much). Right from the early episodes of season 2, we see Keika taking his role as Tanmoku’s spirit-shadow very seriously even if he isn’t the most effective at keeping Tanmoku safe. It leads to some incredibly touching moments early on and also sets a far more serious tone for the season and allows Keika’s character to be re-evaluated and moved away from the frivolous portrayal we were used to.

Number 3: Shouken and Tanmoku’s Relationship

Spiritpact6b

Seeing the memories of first Tanmoku and then Shouken meant we got two different takes on their relationship and the events that defined it, but both ways gave us an incredibly sweet and tragic tale and one that was actually worth seeing twice because of how it positions us to see Tanmoku then and now and the impact that changing his perception of some of those events is going to have. Shouken’s impact on Tanmoku was enormous and seeing the two of them together was definitely smile worthy.

Number 2: Tanmoku Redefining His Relationship with the Family

Spiritpact8b

There are so many obligations and nuances that guide life in the Tanmoku family, and seeing Tanmoku Ki finally take some time to figure out who he is and what he wants, even if it took most of the season to get there, was a pretty satisfying experience. But he isn’t the only one trapped by the family and the traditions. Jiun, basically a cardboard cutout of a character in season 1, really finds her feet this season and plays a pivotal role. I’m glad she finds a path for herself by the end of the season and I look forward to seeing what happens next to this character.

Number 1: Tanmoku and Keika’s relationship

Seriously, this was brilliant. Watching these two characters move beyond a contract, from being a necessity to one another, and actually forging a real and incredibly close relationship was pure joy. Listening as Tanmoku explains why Keika in the final episode is one of those moments that can just melt your heart as it redefines the idea of selfless love. Certainly these two characters both still have a long way to go, but the journey they took us on in season two was extraordinary.

If you watched Spiritpact, what are some of your favourite moments from the series? I’d love to know so leave me a comment below.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2           Thoughts on Anime            74iz

Special A Series Review: Rivals, Friends, More Than Friends?

At a school that for some reason there is a special class with the top seven students in it who hang out in a green house drinking tea all day and here Hikari and Kei challenge each other continuously, but Hikari just can’t seem to beat Kei and it drives her absolutely angry.

Review:

I’ve often wondered when anime are set at schools with ridiculous set ups such as a class with seven students that don’t actually need to go to class, why? Is there some reason why these characters need that kind of flimsy excuse to hang out together? They couldn’t just be some sort of after school study club and do more or less the exact same things without the absurdity of that premise?

Admittedly, there is some tension during one episode in the series when a normal student challenges one of the seven to take his place in the class. But really what does this set up accomplish? The students in the class are either admired or looked at enviously by the other students, the students in the class are either oblivious to others or genuinely look down on them, and essentially it fosters a sense of elitism that makes it hard to really connect with any member of the cast.

Special2

However, if we put that to the side and look at the rest of the anime, we end up with a fairly run of the mill story told with massive exaggeration. Hikari was the best at everything and then she met Kei. She cannot beat Kei but he takes great delight in taunting her and getting her riled up (it must be love). They aren’t children anymore but their basic relationship hasn’t changed even a little bit partly because Kei, who seems aware that a change needs to occur doesn’t ever actually say anything, and Hikari is the standard oblivious protagonist who at the first hint of anything resembling a romantic relationship either blushed ridiculously or gets angry.

Again, it makes it hard to really care about the cast when they are acting out poor stereotypes and doing them in a grossly exaggerated manner.

Special4

Despite everything standing against this anime though, it does actually have quite a bit of heart to it and the interactions between the students within the class are sometimes quite sweet. So while watching this I kept moving back and forth between being annoyed at it and genuinely wanting to like it.

Where did I end up? Mostly in the camp of realising that for people who like high school comedies, this one works well enough, but also realising that I probably won’t watch this one again.

Special3

That said, visually it is looking dated and it’s only ten years old. But the character designs and animation look a little older than that and I can’t see it having a lot more longevity as it is going to look seriously aged fairly soon. The soundtrack is passable but nothing all that remarkable, though I probably could have done with less shouting from Hikari at times.

Still, if you are looking for a high school comedy, you could do far worse than this. As I said, it has quite a bit of heart in it so even the poorer aspects of the show seem slightly better and if you like the cast a bit more than I did you will probably have a great time with it.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 12: A True Pact

Why did this have to end? Are we going to get a third season?

Spiritpact12b

There is one major advantage of this show running at a slightly different time to Japanese seasonal anime. The season final occurred when most other anime are in a mid-season slump or still getting their momentum, so a final right now stands out and has even more impact than it might have had if it had to go up against a plethora of other season finals.

Spiritpact12a

That isn’t to say that this isn’t a really great final episode in its own right, but with so many loose ends screaming for a season 3, it isn’t the most satisfying either. Essentially the Tanmoku family turn things on their head fro the Shinryuu family and Tanmoku Ki and You Keika make a real pact which apparently gives them some amazing powers but we’re not actually going to get to see them use it right now.

Spiritpact12d

The confrontation itself ended in a fairly ordinary fashion and it is the emotional connections between the characters that are the real heroes of this episode and fortunately the show delivers. Whether it is the Keika and Tanmoku’s ongoing relationship, Jiun finally coming to terms with her jealousy and finding a new path to walk or the relationship between the brothers in the Shinryuu family, everything comes to a head and it does so in a glorious, if creepy in the case of the last one, fashion.

I’ll be doing a full series review of this shortly.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 11: Confrontation

Time for final revelations and the show-down. Things are coming to a fairly exciting conclusion.

Spiritpact11a

On the one hand, I kind of get where Shouken’s brother is coming from. The Tanmoku family did keep his brother’s body and bind his soul and really that’s kind of wrong and distasteful. On the other hand, Shouken was in fact betraying the family by sending out information and ultimately Shouken took his own life. He wasn’t killed by the family. He made his own choice. So it is a little hard to be overly sympathetic to the brother as he binds a whole bunch of spirits and tries to drive Tanmoku Ki to his death.

Spiritpact11c

Fortunately, Keika is showing the amount he has grown over two seasons of this show and is finally stepping up as a spirit-shadow. While it probably isn’t going to be enough, he’s managed to keep things together long enough for the sister to show up and maybe that will be enough to turn the tide of the fight.

All things considered, this has been a pretty dramatic second season and the conclusion seems to be doing a good job of bringing things to a satisfactory close.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 10: Clarity

Finishing Shouken’s memory walk and it seems things are about to get very intense in the present. This show continues to get better and better.

Spiritpact10a

I really appreciate that this anime managed to show us Tanmoku’s past from his perspective with Keika looking in, and then showed us nearly the same sequence from Shouken’s perspective with Keika and Tanmoku looking in, and at no point did it feel repetitive, unnecessary or dull. It feels like every scene has added to our understanding of these characters and their relationships both then and now and realistically it has really helped to make me love them.

Spiritpact10c

Admittedly, it kind of looks like we’re going for a spiritual smack-down type ending between families and meanwhile Tanmoku’s heart is just a little bit broken and Keika is probably still being manipulated, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was really having fun watching the drama play out. Looking forward to next week and what happens next.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 9: Shouken’s Reasons

Another flashback episode for this anime, this time showing us Shouken’s perspective on past events.

Spiritpact9c

This whole second season, the shadow of Shouken has been looming over everything. Three episodes we followed Keika as he wandered through Tanmoku’s memories of his former bodyguard and now, at last, we’ve found Shouken himself and entered his memories. While there’s a lot of the same events playing out, they are minimising the reused material and even dialogue we’ve heard before takes on a different meaning through a slightly different angle on the visual or through Shouken’s internal monologue outlining his motives at that time.

Spiritpact9d

While not the most exciting of episodes, it is one that makes the audience reconsider their assessment on a few situations and it does set up the conflict that is obviously about to happen with Shouken’s brother firmly in a position now to act. Definitely interesting and if you are caught up in this story, this was another solid step toward a resolution.

 

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz

Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 8: The Spirit, The Ceremony, and the Looming Disaster

Tanmoku Ki holds the ceremony but between his emotional and physical turmoil things aren’t going to be easy. And yet, worse awaits these characters as the anime seems to be getting ready to go into its final episodes.

Spiritpact8f.JPG

Keika has definitely had a run of being very cool this season. Which given he was such a disaster of a character in early season 1, is kind of surprising. Yet now, we get these incredibly sweet moments between him and Tanmoku where Keika is exactly what Tanmoku needs to get through some incredibly emotionally taxing situations. Still, possibly forcibly holding Tanmoku down during the ceremony and kissing him (okay, exchanging spiritual energy) was not the brightest move, but it can’t be denied it was effective.

Spiritpact8d

Still, the ongoing drama with Tanmoku’s past continue and the manipulation Keika suffered earlier in the series comes back in a fairly decent manner to really escalate what is already a pretty tense situation. Unfortunately, that means we end the episode on a cliff-hanger. However, for those watching this anime for the relationship between the two main characters, this episode was definitely a delight. For everyone else, the plot is moving along at a nice clip at this point without feeling rushed and it definitely feels like it is heading somewhere.

Spiritpact8g

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

Consider supporting the blog by:

Patreon2          Thoughts on Anime           74iz