100 Ways To Remove an Obnoxious Character

Conception Anime Episode Review Title Image

Conception Episode 10 Review

Reminder: the poll is now open for you to vote on the best and worst anime of the 2018 Autumn Anime Season. Be sure to jump in and have your say.

On watching Conception this week I was initially reasonably happy because for the first time in awhile the focus seemed to be on Itsuki beating the labyrinth and the fight sequence, while clearly not on par with an action focused anime, was entertaining enough. Itsuki would be a terrible action protagonist but in the role of high schooler thrown into life or death situation he works well enough as he stumbles about with the Star Children and tries to protect them from harm even while he isn’t some kind of juggernaut of destruction.

Conception Episode 10 The Star Children

However, any enjoyment I may have derived from this episode quickly evaporated as we moved into the second half where we focused on finding the thirteenth Star Maiden. Alfie has been hanging around since nearly the beginning and the reveal makes sense, and as Mana points out in a fourth wall breaking moment it was perfectly set up by the OP, however a little of Alfie is a good thing. This focus on her just kind of puts her character in the worst possible light and by the end I just didn’t care whether she and Itsuki ended up together.

Conception Episode 10 Alfie

More of a problem though is my increasing rancour toward Mana. From the beginning Mana has irritated me but their presence in Conception becomes more irksome with every episode. Even with Alfie not exactly being a stellar heroine, Mana’s intrusive ranting outside the window made what was already a tiresome scene significantly worse.

Conception Episode 10 Alfie and Mana

Which leads to the post title as I started wondering just how many ways the writers could use to remove Mana from the picture (they won’t, and it is clear next week is going to focus on the obnoxious vermin, but I can dream). I’ve suggested several times Mana needs a close encounter with a paper shredder, but maybe it is time to get more inventive. Regardless, I can now say with absolute certainty that Mana is topping my most obnoxious character ever list (forget just this year) taking out even Excalibur from Soul Eater.

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Karandi James
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Were You Considering a Job In A Bookstore?

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode Review Title Image

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 10 Review

Reminder: the poll is now open for you to vote on the best and worst anime of the 2018 Autumn Anime Season. Be sure to jump in and have your say.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda-San continues to do what it does. Honda starts off in a conversation about what makes someone suitable to work in a book store. We get to hear Honda’s perspective as well as numerous other workers. Like always, this is a remove the filter look at a job that is often romanticised by book lovers but ultimately requires a lot of work, organisation and stacking of things. They play it for humour and as normal it works well enough but that’s about all.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 10

Interspersed is some shelf envy as the less organised characters marvel over someone able to actually keep their shelves, drawers and stock in order. Honestly, this seems like it would be an essential trait for all the employees but apparently some struggle with it. This joke didn’t quite hit the mark for me, because to be honest I just couldn’t see why they couldn’t just organise their stock, but I’m guessing other people will relate better and find the humour in it.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 10

Lastly, we switch to the panic of characters potentially facing a section change. This leads to some remarkable observations about various manga publishers and if you’ve been playing spot the reference then you’ve just hit the jackpot with this section. I certainly enjoyed this part more than the rest of this episode.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 10

As normal though, Skull Face Bookseller Honda-San functionally works, is occasionally funny, and is fortunately short enough that even when it kind of flails about helplessly it is easy enough to watch. Still, this one remains strictly average in more or less every regard.

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Karandi James
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ARCANA FAMIGLIA 2 – OFFICIAL VISUAL FAN BOOK
ARCANA FAMIGLIA 2 - OFFICIAL VISUAL FAN BOOK

Conception: It’s The Joke That Just Keeps Missing

Conception Anime Episode Review Title Image

Conception Episode 9 Review

I think Matt said it best over on ‘Anime Q and A’ but Conception has proven time and again that it has zero interest in pursuing its own premise and is instead determined to indulge in whatever it feels like indulging in. While sometimes that might be the smuttier aspects (though apparently never outright sex despite early promises – and I’m not actually disappointed by that but I would at least understand what sort of anime this was trying to be), it is far more frequently its forays into humour usually spear-headed by the regularly fourth wall breaking Mana (who still hasn’t had a close encounter with a paper shredder despite my endless wishes since episode 2).


 Basically if you’re still watching this for the actual plot, I feel sorry for you because I don’t think this show is particularly interested in it either! 

Cactus Matt
Conception Episode 9 Itsuki and Mana

What happens in episode 9 of Conception?

Well, Mana pursues the line of thought that the thirteenth labyrinth must be some sort of forbidden door and uses that to create an incredibly flimsy premise that clearly the ‘maiden’ must be someone forbidden and proceeds to suggest that they are either male (in the absence of being a younger sister or a step-mother). We then see the two other male characters indulge in some fairly blunt dialogue with Itsuki that is more or less a take-off of the usual pick ups they’ve been doing with the girls, but now there’s an incredibly amount of awareness behind every single line and it is almost as if the anime is daring you to call them on it.

Conception Episode 9 Itsuki mad at Mana
Conception Episode 9 Itsuki

All of this is rounded up in a twist reveal at the end that more or less confirms what the audience more or less knew all along. And that is, Mana is a punk and the single most obnoxious character of the season. 

I’m guessing there’s humour to be found here but to be honest I just found this whole sequence tiresome and Conception has definitely earned its title of ‘Anime I Wish I Hadn’t Watched This Season’.  Still, too late now to back out so let’s see if they manage anything resembling a resolution given they’ve ignored their own plot for so long.

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Karandi James
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CONCEPTION II: CHILDREN OF THE SEVEN STARS
CONCEPTION II: CHILDREN OF THE SEVEN STARS

Book Lovers Can Relate To The Pain In Honda-San This Week

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode Review Title Image

Skull Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 9 Review

Honda really can’t deal with people, and this fact has been the consistent source of jokes and amusement throughout this series. It becomes even more apparent this week when we first see him confronted by fans of a book who missed its release and now can’t find it anywhere. As a book-lover I know this pain all too well having spent many fruitless hours as a kid walking between bookshops for the latest Animorphs volume or whatever else I was into at the time.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 9

However, this then transitions into another teaching moment about what happens to books that aren’t selling and how they make room for new stock. The agonising the characters go through when looking at their shelves and deciding which books to go back is exaggerated just enough to bring a smile to the face without going totally over the top.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 9

What this show gets right is understanding people who love books. Seeing the character early on who yells at Honda-san for suggesting he get an ebook copy after coming to a book store… even readers who like ebooks will understand that when you’ve decided to go and buy a physical copy, an ebook just won’t do. Seeing the disappointed fans who couldn’t get the book they were chasing was just kind of perfect. But what really sold this whole idea was Honda himself and his genuine thrill and enjoyment on being able to get a copy of the book he was chasing at the end of the episode.

Skull Face Bookseller Honda San Episode 9

If things get a bit weird in the middle with a wrapped book talking to Honda while he tries to shove it into a shelf, then that’s a small quibble with an otherwise fairly enjoyable episode of this. Honda remains a watchable show and an amusing enough diversion, though there still isn’t a lot to this anime other than that.

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Karandi James
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Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda San (Anime) Intro/Outro Themes: ISBN – Inner Sound & Book’s Narrative
Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda San (Anime) Intro/Outro Themes: ISBN - Inner Sound & Book's Narrative

A Story of Fan-service, Parodies, and Star Children, Oh My

Conception Anime Episode Review Title Image

Conception Episode 8 Review

This anime has never hidden what it is and I don’t really think it needed to. Right from the beginning the dubious nature of Itsuki’s quest to woo the Star Maidens over in order to make Star Children through a love ritual is as in your face as it can be and despite it not actually involving sex it is about as borderline as it can be. Throw in Mana’s character who is a non-stop parade of lewd sex jokes and references and essentially this anime was very up-front about what its focus was going to be.

Conception Episode 8 Itsuki and Sue

Still, in earlier episodes I felt there were some elements that were curious enough or interesting enough to warrant sticking around and further investigation. The overall presentation wasn’t great, some characters annoyed, and Mana was simply toxic, but the basic idea of being summoned to another world to rid it of impurities through a ritual and then fighting through different levels in a labyrinth had potential. To put it simply the balance of things that made me curious vs those things that made me roll my eyes was good enough that I stuck around. In a show like How Not To Summon a Demon Lord that ultimately paid off. Master of Ragnarok on the other hand was a failure.

So where does Conception fit in?

Well, it is hard to say given it isn’t finished yet and potentially, it could still do something with the ideas it laid out early on but has yet to really capitalise on. In fact, maybe episode 8 is just the low point before the thunderous final and I’ll look back at this post and realise that this was a by-product of weekly watching and personal prejudices against reality TV shows and that a thin parody over the top of the format didn’t make this episode any more watchable. 

Conception Episode 8 The Bachelor

Note: Just playing out the tropes of something isn’t necessarily parody. Small exaggeration of those tropes doesn’t make it necessarily parody either. It kind of just makes it an emulation of the original and if you aren’t fond of the original, unless the parody is actually highlighting a specific issue or idea, basically you are stuck with something else you don’t like.

But basically, this episode brings the worst of Conception to the forefront, while ignoring most of what makes it occasionally interesting and curious. Itsuki particularly has what is left of his character butchered through the attempt to fit him into the mould of the protagonist of an episode of The Bachelor and I was one finger snap away from terminating the viewing then and there.

As it was, I did skip forward at multiple points in the episode, which is something I almost never do on something I haven’t watched through once. Second watches sometimes have sections where I will skip forward if there is a particular scene or moment I’d rather not endure a second time. But first watches are usually safe from this kind of treatment with the understanding that if I dislike something enough to want to skip forward it is probably time to let it go.

Conception Episode 8 Itsuki and Sue

And then, just as I was more or less determined to end the viewing on this and maybe pick one of the shows I put on hold back up, they get back to the idea of the labyrinth and give just the tiniest faint hope they might address it. Not to mention, I’ve watched 8 episodes of this and I kind of want to get to the end and do a season final review. There definitely comes a point in the season where dropping something feels like a defeat and that the time will be completely wasted if you don’t get to the end.

That said, I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to the next episode. I just kind of want this one to be done.

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Karandi James
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CONCEPTION II: CHILDREN OF THE SEVEN STARS
CONCEPTION II: CHILDREN OF THE SEVEN STARS

What Happens When Our Skeleton Bookseller Leaves the Bookshop?

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode Review Title Image

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episodes 6 + 7 Review

Episodes 6 and 7 of Skull Face Book Seller Honda San don’t really deliver anything new in the way of material. We do get a look at some of the more behind the scenes people who keep the bookstores stocked and we also get to accompany Honda San as he goes to a drinking party and is forced to listen to criticism of his own work, but basically this is business as usual for this anime short.

Skull Face Bookseller honda San Episode 6
As a customer who is incredibly shy when in bookstores, I completely agree with this statement.

And why shouldn’t it be? The formula works as we are introduced to the set up and then we see the characters run about doing their jobs with ridiculously overblown reactions before the segment ends and a new one begins. While it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, it remains amusing enough.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 6

Though, I think a lot of people are definitely just in this for the game of spot the reference that never seems to get old. Episode six certainly liberally peppered in titles that you’ll probably recognise in amongst the store talk.

Skull Face Bookseller Honda San Episode 7

There is one thing that this show absolutely nails every time though; and that is a deep love of books. Multiple times throughout the episodes Honda or another character reminds us that some people just love books. Just finding a book you’ve been looking for can bring a happy smile to your face and holding it in your hands can be the best moment, at least for a little while. It is very hard to dismiss an anime that really does understand people who like books.

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Karandi James
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Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda San (Anime)Intro/Outro ThemesGaikotsu Shotenin Honda San (Anime) Intro/Outro Themes: ISBN - Inner Sound & Book's Narrative- / Book-end, Happy-end

How To Build A Fascinating Harem Starting With A Bunny Girl

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode Review title

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episodes 6 and 7

If I needed any more convincing that Bunny Girl Senpai was an anime worth watching this season, episode 6 which concluded the Laplace’s Demon Arc and episode 7 which introduces a new problem for Sakuta to solve and adds two new additions to his ever growing harem are certainly 2 reasons to be watching.Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta and Tomoe

Though, even I have to admit, it isn’t actually a harem. Much like people inaccurately throw the word harem at Sword Art Online just because Kirito has a lot of friends who are girls that he has helped in the past, labelling Bunny Girl Senpai a harem would be to do it a gross mis-justice. Sakuta is solid in his choice of Mai from the very first arc just as Kirito remains clear in his choice of Asuna. Regardless of how many other girls each series has, they just aren’t following a harem pathway and that’s just one of many things I love about both of them at this point.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta

Back to Bunny Girl Senpai though, the conclusion to the Laplace’s Demon story was every bit as fantastic as the conclusion to the first arc was. It brought the pieces together, gave us an emotional release, and the characters grew from the experience. I really liked how they ended up resolving the time loops. Admittedly, this anime isn’t exactly going for a logical reason why these things happen or why they stop. It is very much about the feelings of the characters and coming to terms with them.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 6 - Sakuta and Tomoe

The next arc seems to be focused on Futaba, though Sakuta has also encountered and entangled himself with another girl Makinohara (who apparently was the girl he met on the beach back when but now she’s younger than him). Based on this episode I would think that the anime was going to deal with Futaba and then focus on Makinohara, but, based on what the rest of the show has done I won’t be surprised if the two cases end up linked somehow.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 7 - Sakuta, Mai and Futaba

It also seems like Sakuta’s one male friend, Kunimi, may end up playing some sort of role this time around, which would be nice given he’s just kind of been hanging around in the background all this time.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 7

Still, seven episodes in and we still have fantastic dialogue, some really great characters, the cutest moments shared between Mai and Sakuta, and a little sister character that isn’t actually annoying. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai continues to go from strength to strength and I have high hopes as we lean into this new arc.

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Karandi James

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Sakurajima Mai 1/8 Scale Pre-Painted Figure
SEISHUN BUTA YAROU WA BUNNY GIRL SENPAI NO YUME WO MINAI 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: SAKURAJIMA MAI