How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 7: Overwriting = Bad but Command = Good?

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7 Diablo

The Prince returns and Shera follows him leaving one depressed Demon Lord. However, Rem and Alicia get Diablo back on his feet and then it is time for a showdown between the Prince’s ability to overwrite Shera’s will with Diablo’s ability to command her to tell the truth as his slave. Wait? Who was supposed to  be the good guy here?

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

After the fan service heavy episode 6, I was hoping for a more plot driven episode and to be honest, this episode delivered (while still actually delivering on fan service at the same time). It was unexpected how well the episode managed to balance both aspects that so far had been separated. Where most events fell into either the fan service or the plot/character camps, this episode succeeded at delivering the two simultaneously without seemingly giving up on the quality of either. A rare feat but one I had to applaud by the end.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

Shera is the star of this episode even if she isn’t the hero. From the early focus on her as she watches Diablo make potions (as he watches her breasts jiggling) to the first round of brain washing where she returns to her brother, this episode is Shera’s. Diablo may have started the episode with a flash back to his childhood when he was still in the real world and facing rejection (a theme that will carry through the episode) but it is nowhere near as compelling as Shera’s story here.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

By the time the stupid prince Keera delivers cloth eating slime to Shera (and do I dare ask why it immediately attacks Shera’s clothes when there’s the prince, a rug, a tent and a lot of other cloth it could eat), despite the obvious cliche moment of the girl writhing under the slimes, the audience is genuinely feeling for Shera’s character and waiting for the rescue that we know is on the way.

Even after the rescue, it isn’t as though Shera simply becomes baggage. As Diablo and Keera fight it out for control over Shera’s mind, ultimately it is what Shera wants that dictates the outcome of the battle and then Shera’s not ready to cry and play the damsel in distress. She’s standing right there next to Rem as Keera unleashes his dangerous summon and I’m hoping that Shera continues to grow as a character and an adventurer.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 7

This was a genuinely satisfying episode and while bouncing boobs and dissolving clothes may not be to everyone’s liking, here it felt like they actually did belong in the story rather than feeling like an added extra for the sake of it after the fact.

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Cells at Work Episode 6: The Cute Before The Storm

Cells at Work Episode 6

The first half of this episode is an adorable walk down memory lane for Red Blood Cell. Then the episode takes a turn for the darker leaving us on a To Be Continued note that suggests next week is going to be pretty intense. Cells at Work remains consistently aware of its role as both entertainment and education.

Cells at Work Episode 6 - Red Blood Cells at school

With the weak premise that Red Blood Cell is lost again, this week we get a look at the bone marrow where the red and white blood cells ‘grow up’. Through a flash back and reminiscence, we see that Red Blood Cell has always been pretty directionally challenged, and also always been a magnet for whatever weird thing is about to happen. Still, this sequence is adorable, introduces us to young White Blood Cell who is equally cute, and generally does a reasonable job of explaining the process by which cells are differentiated and how blood cells age (I notice they are still avoiding any mention of short life expectancy for our characters which would probably kill the cute buzz).

Cells at Work - Episode 6

This slice of life aspect early in the episode is adorable and well handled. Transitions between past and present are reasonably well handled and even though it is extraordinarily coincidental that the white and red blood cell keep bumping into each other, given the concept of the story it is nice that we have these consistent characters to look forward to.

Then we turn into the second part of the episode when Red has left the White Blood Cell and he encounters a weird cell attacking another one. Soon Killer T Cell and a new cell, NK (Natural Killer), show up. We’re heading into a cancer storyline and the tone radically shifts until the final scene this week which is probably as dark as this show has gotten before it leaves us waiting for next week. It makes sense given cancer isn’t exactly something you can approach with the level of levity of allergies without risking putting your audience off, but I’m curious as to how they handle the sequence next week and whether they play it seriously or whether they find a way to bring the usual energy and enthusiasm into the mix.

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By the way, the only platelet action was when they lent Killer T cell a bucket and they weren’t foregrounded so not much of a screen shot. Still, young red and white blood cells really filled the gap this week.

Cells at Work - Episode 6

I quite enjoyed this episode even though by itself it doesn’t appear like much happened. I enjoyed the character moments of the first half, the cuteness of the characters, and the tonal shift at the end was well executed. Really looking forward to next week.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6: A Flimsy Excuse For Flimsy Outfits

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6

I’m not surprised that this episode went the direction it did, but nor did I particularly enjoy parts of the episode. When a character is moaning and crying out (after being magically inspected) so loudly I feel the need to turn the sound down and I finish the episode wondering if there was even ten minutes of content, there’s probably something lacking (although it would have been hard to squeeze some story in amongst the outfit changes and bed sequences I guess).

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo and Shera

Episodes like this one are kind of expected when you watch something as clearly fan-service focused as this anime has been. Delaying their journey to deal with the elf situation in order to visit a slave market to investigate the removal of the collars is a fine excuse to stall the plot while we instead get some magical shenanigans that of course involve Shera once again wearing an incredibly revealing outfit and then writhing and moaning on a bed while Diablo investigates magical flows (and they still don’t get the collar off because that would kind of puncture the whole set up of the show I guess).

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Rem and Alicia

However, in case you think Rem is being ignored, there is actually some minor plot points being developed outside the tent where Alicia teachers Rem a ‘charm’ in a scene that suggests a number of possibilities but keeps fairly quiet as to which way they’ll ultimately take things. This was perhaps one of my favourite moments of the episode because it actually added to the characters and the plot and ultimately it felt meaningful. Also, if you actually want to see Rem writhing about on a bed, just wait until the end of the episode where Shera decides that she can treat Rem to the experience.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo

The other thing of note that happens this episode is Shera’s brother, Keera, shows up at the inn and plays the sweet brother who has been misunderstood. It was clearly a fairly lame act in the first place and about the only character buying it is Diablo (which plays nicely into his lack of social skills). Right before the credits we get a scene of the brother playing his flute while standing on the apex of a tree (because that’s normal) and he lets his crazy out. The scene kind of lacks impact because even without it we more or less knew that this was the case, and really they could have had the same dialogue shown while he was walking away from the room. It didn’t really need its own scene.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Shera

Basically if you are watching this show for the fan-service, this episode is a treat. If you are watching for the plot, there are a few pieces here and there that you will need for later so this episode isn’t skippable, but it won’t be the most enjoyable either.

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3D Kanojo: Real Girl Series Review: Average Is Being Generous

Self-proclaimed otaku with a dislike of flashy girls draws the attention of a flashy girl. Must be love.

Review:

3D Kanojo: Real Girl falls into a couple of pretty obvious traps that prevent this anime from ever rising above being fairly ordinary and actually make it pretty painful to watch at times. And I’m not talking about the characters themselves, though many viewers did seem to find Tsutsui pretty hard to take early in the series as he is a fairly unlikable protagonist (kind of the point though).

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No, what this series does wrong is set up a premise that is pretty standard, made only even vaguely memorable by the strength of the character personalities (whether you like them or not) and then essentially spent the first half of the season eradicating any discernible evidence that the characters ever had a personality outside of their romantic trope. It’s painful to watch as the characters are leached of all defining traits outside of boyfriend and girlfriend from a standard high school romance and even the few attempts to recall that Tsutsui was supposed to be an otaku and Iroha had a reputation for playing around just kind of fall flat as these two generically empty shells of characters go through the motions of every cliche misunderstanding that can occur in such a story.

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Which brings us to the second trap which is that this anime has nothing new to say or bring to the table. While being derivative or basic genre fiction isn’t a death sentence in and of itself, if you aren’t bringing anything new then you have to at least bring your A game and 3D Kanojo: Real Girl is anything but.

I won’t lie. I actually quite enjoyed the first episode. While I didn’t like the main characters, given they were both pretty unlikable, I found them interesting enough and was curious as to how they would come together. Unfortunately, they got together in fairly quick order and then proceeded to do that on again, off again thing where the story would have them being happy and then just throw a random spanner into the works of one or the other’s emotional make-up to have them suddenly get annoyed at the other for being who they were. It didn’t help that literally every issue the two had as a couple could have been solved by a conversation.

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However, the narrative isn’t the only area where this anime falls a little short. The pastel colour scheme and character designs work well enough, but are also fairly unremarkable. Then we had some fairly obvious character off-model moments in the latter half of the season which weren’t a complete game over for the series but certainly made watching it less enjoyable as you had to wonder if one of the characters had just turned sideways or if they’d actually morphed into a different human being.

The OP is also pleasant enough but totally forgettable.

Then we have the support cast who all seem like they might be important. And yet not one of them ever brings anything of consequence to the story. Occasionally they are a catalyst for some kind of drama but then they just kind of fade into the crowd of generic ‘friends’ that Tsutsui somehow has and at the end they all go for ramen.

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Which brings me to my other concern with this series and that is that things get forgotten fairly quickly. Iroha says she can only date for six months. Tsutsui never asks why and the audience never gets an answer. Another character literally frames Tsutsui as a potential child-predator and yet that’s also forgotten. Tsutsui just goes about his normal life afterward and the guy who did it is never actually held accountable for being a liar and making false reports to the police (defamation of character, etc). In fact, he becomes one of the friends in the background. The kids at school go from being completely anti-Tsutsui to exactly as they were at the start which is ignoring his existence, but someone who has gained infamy for potential trouble with the police probably isn’t regaining their peaceful life that easily.

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It all just adds to the overall feeling that no one really knew what the point of this story should be. Nothing has weight and nothing matters. Stuff happens, it is overcome and then the next things happens. While it never becomes unwatchable, nor is there much reason to watch it.

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Ultimately, there’s no real way to recommend 3D Kanojo: Real Girl. It won’t be the worst thing you ever watched, but it isn’t really something you need to watch either.

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Cells at Work Episode 5: Maybe They Should Rewrite The Manual?

Cells at Work Episode 5 - Memory Cell Freak Out

After establishing last week that every cell had an individual role to play and their own strengths and weaknesses, this week we see what happens when those cells get a little over-zealous about their work as they battle an invasion by pollen.

Cells at Work Episode 5 - The pollen invasion

It begins like a disaster movie with a vaguely sepia tone over the usually bright colours of cells at work, the flaming meteor streaking over the town before plummeting into the water. It is the first of many. This is a pollen invasion.

The impact on the cells is both educational as to how our immune system deals with allergens, and pretty hilarious as the macrophage’s complain it is chaos as their tea was spilt (they seem so sweet until you remember them during the flu episode).

Cells at work - Episode 5 - Macrophage

For whatever reason, we do still have some white and red blood cell action with red once again being at the centre of the invasion and white jumping out and saving her early on. She then gets told to run away and the white blood cell remains an observer to the chaos caused by cells doing exactly what they are programmed to do.

Perhaps my favourite part though was when red returns rolling what is clearly a medicine. It unleashes essentially a killer robot that takes out everything in its path. The mechanical creature looks so out of place amongst the humanoid cells and its path of destruction even as it does settle the problem is pretty clear. Still, I’d have to ask why the memory cell can’t just rewrite the mast cell’s manual so she didn’t overload the system with histamine, or why the B cell can’t be instructed to act in moderation.

Cells at Work Episode 5 - B Cell

If I have any complaint this week, it would be a lack of platelet appearances with two of them showing up very briefly in a crowd shot but taking no active role this week.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 5: Princesses, Demon Lords and Imperial Knights

Diablo is perhaps the best thing about this anime with his internal and external personalities constantly at war. While the plot continues to be surprisingly interesting there’s no denying the ongoing prolific fanservice.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 5 - Diablo
Inner self, freaking out.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord continues to be quite a bit of fun to watch. The fantasy setting is generic and so far the events (invading army, bounty on a party member, prevent a war) are all pretty standard, but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. While Diablo as a character may suffer from some of the usual hang-ups of these kinds of characters (as well as having an almost magnetic connection with Shera’s chest) he actually remains a fairly interesting character and one who I’m enjoying watching find a balance between his in-game persona and his inner self.

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Outer self, taking control.

This week we are introduced to the local Lord who is apparently some big-shot Hero, though his overall presence in this episode felt more like a set-up or an introduction given Diablo had already been given the quest and they were given no real extra information. Maybe they just want this guy known so that later when he does something important it doesn’t feel like a last minute add in? The one useful thing that did come out of this meeting was Diablo added yet another girl to his harem in the form of an Imperial Knight (who are apparently usually male but of course the one sent here is female).

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Alicia might be a fun character but we’ll see how she goes next week. That said, the final part of this episode where Shera is kidnapped and we get a short chase sequence was kind of fun. It is also good to know that Emile made a full recovery after his confrontation with the Fallen last week. As much as I thought Emile was a jerk, his defence of Rem despite knowing he was outclassed was pretty admirable.

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Just not sure who this shot is for.

I will just say that while the occasional panty shot, the ongoing revealing outfits, and other aspects of fan-service don’t really bother me that much, scenes like this one, where Diablo is nearly smothered in Shera’s boobs, really does break me out of the story. Mostly because I can’t imagine what purpose such a scene serves given it doesn’t look like a desirable situation for anyone and visually it isn’t exactly alluring. Maybe I’m just not the target audience, but I think even people who like fan-service would have to look at that scene and be a little put off.

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Cells at Work Episode 4: Everyone Has Their Own Job

This anime is definitely aiming to educate about the body but we’re also getting a heavy dose of moralising in there as well with the poor picked on cell getting her moment to shine later in the episode. Still, it is hard to argue that this wasn’t entertaining.

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I find Cells at Work a bit of an oddity, a fun oddity mind you, but the structure of the episodes, the copious explanations, and even the not so subtle don’t talk behind other people’s back message that comes through in episode 4, all speak of this show being directed at children. And then we have the White Blood Cell cutting himself free of a germ in a spray of blood in a scene that is right up there with when Eren got swallowed by a titan in Attack on Titan lost his arm. Okay, it’s a bit more cartoon like but it is still pretty intense for something that for the most part seems aimed at a younger audience.

Cells4e

Although, while I’m thinking about my childhood, the initial view of the parasite this week kind of reminded me of a scene straight out of the Never Ending Story and that did scare me as a child so maybe this is just the right kind of balance to provide a fairly fun yet emotional journey.

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That said, I don’t think food-poisoning has ever been so much fun and I really had a great time watching the cells dash about and try to overcome the enemy. I’m not so sure about the umbrella guy who seemed to only exist to spout bad poetry, but overall the episode was great fun. Looking forward to the next offering from this one.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 4: Overpowered Protagonist Balanced Against Real Consequences (With a Healthy Dose of Fan-Service)

How Not To Summon Demon Lord Episode 4

The focus on actual plot continued this week, and not the usual kind of plot one expects from a harem fantasy, with Diablo facing the Fallen army and then dealing with the aftermath. All things considered, this was surprisingly solid.

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For a good chunk of this episode, I honestly had the feeling that this show had just tipped all its harem antics into episodes 1 and 2 and had now dived into full on fantasy drama. Then Diablo blew away the army of the Fallen and its leader, in the process blowing the clothes off the leader, as can only happen in anime. In fairness to the show though, it later has Emile more or less stripped of his armour and we later on get a shot of Diablo in bed without a shirt so maybe the show is going for equal opportunity fan-service. The later part of the episode also has some boobs pressed against Diablo and a fairly flat joke where he knocks himself out quite literally on one of the girl’s fairly un-endowed chests.

Despite those moments, or actually even with those moments, this is a fairly solid episode where the only real complaint I have is how fast some of this went by. The characters were placed in real peril and even Diablo ran down his magic reserves by the end of the fight. It leaves the series open to bring our overpowered MC down a few pegs and have him face some real challenges later. Particularly if the individual opponents don’t need to be all that strong but persistent to wear him down.

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I also loved that there are real consequences of the Fallen arriving. People have died and this is not glossed over. Admittedly, the very short span of time and the cliche rain filled funeral sequence didn’t really give us much time to ponder mortality, but it is another aspect to the show. Previously, I’d felt this was kind of similar to the Devil is a Part Timer and he literally just uses his magic to undo any damage caused by the various battles leaving no lasting consequences or scars. This episode sets this show apart in its tone and in how it is going to deal with conflict

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All and all, while I’d still like some of the fan-service moments to be either briefer or less in my face, there’s a fairly solid plot and a good bit of world building going on in this series at the moment and I hope that continues. At this stage the fan-service isn’t intrusive enough to really put me off, and everything else is working well enough to keep me interested.

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Cells at Work Episode 3: The Zombie Horde of Flu-Ridden Cells

Episode 3 of Cells at Work definitely leaned more heavily onto the educational side of edutainment this week with a lot of explanations. However, was it still fun?

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I can’t help but think it has been the red blood cell and platelets that have sold the first two episodes of this show to me. And I came to this conclusion given this episode the red blood cell shows up very sparingly on the peripheral of anything and the platelets don’t appear until the very end and I found myself kind of bored at times. It isn’t that the white blood cell, the macrophage and the naive T cell aren’t trying their hardest to be interesting, but without the cute factor a lot of the magic I found in the first two episodes just kind of dissipated.

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That isn’t to say that the zombie hordes were boring and if you like the more action oriented part of this story the killer T cells have got you covered this week with an all out brawl set to dominate a large part of the episode. However, the naive T cell wasn’t anywhere near as charming as little red has been, and his plight as a wimpy junior didn’t really inspire making his ultimate transformation fairly hollow and then of course his personality became just like all the other killer cells and not exactly charming.

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This is not a bad episode by any means as it does exactly what the previous two have done. It introduces a cell in the body, a problem to be solved, and then it goes about explaining how the different cells work together to solve it. However, personally I felt this was the weakest of the first three episodes and the one that I found to be the least engaging. Here’s hoping food poisoning next week will strike gold (and how many times do people get to look forward to food poisoning).

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 3: Fight the Fallen

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 3 - Diablo

Apparently the writers are aware that a lot of viewers call it at episode 3. Fan-service is low comparatively this week and plot stakes are high ending in a cliff-hanger designed to force viewers to commit to at least one more. Was it successful?

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While it might have been very easy to dismiss this title as just another fan-service laden isekai story adapted from a light novel there have been definite signs of some thought put into this anime right from episode 1. Whether or not the aspects it gets right are enough to offset some of the other elements is entirely up to the individual viewer, but episode 3 is probably a good indication of what this show might be able to do. With the fan-service dialled back to about a five instead of a nine out of ten (there’s some low angle shots of the girls, an ongoing focus on bouncing breasts, and a sequence where elf-girl squishes herself against Diablo for the length of a conversation), there’s actually time for some plot development and this is actually going fairly well.

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The story Rem told in episode 1 about housing a demon’s soul is fairly relevant as is the discontented Mage who has been mostly the butt of jokes for the past two episodes. We also get more of a sense of who Diablo is going to be in the world as he steps up to the task of defending others for little gain of his own. The duelling personalities of the main character continue to work well with his in-game persona carrying him on even as his inner self kind of freaks out at the thought of fighting.

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I’m not about to proclaim this one a master-piece or even particularly great in the grand scheme of things, but realistically, there’s actually a fairly solid story being set up here and these first three episodes have given me reason to believe that the plot is even going to work on being cohesive and tying points together making encounters not feel so pointless or random. It could all still just become a boob and butt fest with the girls, but this episode came with a decent enough attempt at narrative and characterisation.

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