My Girlfriend is Shobitch Episode 2: And Dropped

Review:

No surprise here that this one didn’t last. Once again there were some sweet moments between the two main characters utterly and completely lost amongst over the top and poorly executed lewd humour. Though I think the girl rubbing the broom stick against her own crotch was more or less the final nail in the coffin for this one (complete with close up).

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Shows like this confuse me because they don’t seem to go far enough to really appeal to the ecchi crowd but they go too far for the casual viewer to really be overly comfortable with the viewing experience.

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While I’ve certainly seen worse than this, I am definitely not the audience for this anime and so I’m leaving it right here.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 2: The References Just Keep Coming

Review:

I really had a lot of fun with this episode. From a story point of view it is pointless. Girls recruit new club members and start a club which is then immediately challenged by I’m guessing the student council because what else do you do when you are a self-aware high school comedy focussed around a new club? Still, from start to finish they are packing in the anime references. My two favourites go to the shout out to Haruhi Suzumiya and Sword Art Online.

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Questioning her use of the word ‘standard’ here.
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This particular title will never get old.

However, for all that this is silly and fun, as well as slightly ominous with the talking cat and mysterious room mystery being totally ignored even though that is clearly the only chance of an actual plot appearing, this episode made an excellent point about how closed off the anime community sometimes is. Minoa is struggling hard to follow conversations and the logic of hard-core fans with well established arguments and at times you kind of realise why new fans might get turned away.

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It isn’t particularly deep and meaningful, but I think most people who are anime fans will recognise the scenarios presented. This one is definitely a surprise for me this season and I am so far really having fun with it.


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UQ Holder Episode 2: Stupid but Fun

Review:

Right, so the MA15+ rating this show was given on AnimeLab makes a lot more sense. The first episode other than the sneeze blowing girls clothes off was kind of tame (you know except that whole slicing and dicing a kid to near death thing and drinking blood – amazing what I define as tame these days) but this episode steps it up a notch with nudity (cartoonishly censored) and yet more violence (new kid gets hand through chest – good thing apparently no one we’ve met yet can die).

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If I’m honest, I had a lot of fun watching. It isn’t well written with stuff just kind of happening and characters neglecting to mention important things and then just throwing it in as a by-the-way. The main character is seriously irritating in that he just ignores questions he should ask, forgets about important things, and doesn’t concern himself with other matters; he’s also hopelessly naive and optimistic about things and I’m pretty sure would walk up to a flaming dragon and ask to be friends with some expectation that the situation would end well.

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Still, there is something stupidly charming about how this show just kind of knows exactly what it is and it isn’t trying to dress it up or cover over it. I’m torn in that the logical side of my brain kept picking the plot and characters to pieces where the rest of me just wanted to laugh at some of the antics. I think the laughing side is winning because I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what this does for episode 3.

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There’s still the potential for me to drop this. I’m not exactly caring what the whole UQ Holder thing is or anything else to do with the plot. However, if it manages to remain light enough this might do me for a brain break each week.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Series Review – It’s a Gag Anime About a Germaphobe Soccer Player: What Do You Really Expect?

Overview:

Aoyama is a brilliant soccer player who also happens to be a germaphobe. When he starts highschool he defies expectations by going to a school that isn’t particularly strong at soccer and there continues to go about his daily life.

Review:

The whole way through the Summer 2017 anime season I kept this show on my watch list. At times that was more to see if I could finish a show that was built around a really basic gag that Aoyama didn’t like to get dirty and everyone around him was clearly crazy. At other times though, this show did manage to make a decent point or be amusing. I think for me, what saved this show from the endless list of comedy shows I have dropped in a heartbeat was that I didn’t hate the main character.

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Comedy anime have a really terrible tendency to make their lead characters truly insufferable to watch. They whine, they are usually loud or run about flailing their arms, they talk a lot, and usually have some fairly repugnant personality traits. Okay, I don’t like comedy so I’m fairly harsh on these characters. Aoyama isn’t like that because the main character, other than his one quirk of cleaning things, is pretty stoic. The idiocy and energy come from the rest of the cast and they are fortunately diluted by being side characters and not appearing all the time.

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That isn’t to say there weren’t those episodes that made me roll my eyes and want to stop watching. Episode 11 (the second last episode) was genuinely painful to get through. And why was it so bad? Because Aoyama barely appeared in it and we were forced to endure the side characters taking the lead on the episode and they were really annoying.

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Basically that’s all for this review. Either you will find the basic set up amusing and enjoy the way the idea of difference and tolerance is discussed through the various over the top set-ups, and occasional cool moments in the last five minutes of soccer games, or you will find the screaming girls chanting for Aoyama sickening to the core and flee the viewing. That said, there are some really good social commentary moments to be found beneath the comedy, though that really isn’t enough to off-set some of the sillier moments the show delivers or the fact that the characters I enjoyed the most seemed to be the ones who were quickly shuffled to the sidelines and the more irritating characters ate up more and more screen time.

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The music works but isn’t exceptional. The visuals similarly do their job but aren’t really particularly good or bad. Though occasionally I wish they hadn’t gone for the simplistic expression on Aoyama’s face because the white eye thing is really kind of creepy. There were a few jokes I could have happily lived without and to be honest this has zero rewatch value because there’s nothing you would have missed the first time and the jokes will not get funnier with retelling.

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Still, I made it to the end. I had a bit of fun with it. If you didn’t check it out at all it may be worth an episode, though likely this is one that will quickly be forgotten.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 1: A Pleasant Surprise

Overview:

Just as soon as she enters Sakaneko Private High School, Asagaya Minoa is dragged into the anime club by her classmate, Kamiigusa Alice, even though she knows next to nothing about anime. A classmate, Kouenji Miko, along with other anime-loving senpais, quickly turn her into an anime fan. Fighting off the incessant shut-down threats of the student council, and completely oblivious to the coming apocalypse, the anime club talks about anime in the club, at Akihabara, at anime Meccas, and at hot springs.

– from Crunchyroll

Review:

This is the kind of show I try usually just to confirm it is what I think it is from the excessively pink haired smiling protagonist surrounded by generic assortment high school tropes pretending to be characters in the art work. And usually I get about ten minutes in, feel satisfied that the show is not doing anything I didn’t expect, drop and move on.

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And yet, I didn’t feel any compulsion to stop watching during this. In fact, I laughed out loud a couple of times, rolled my eyes a few other times, and generally sat up and paid attention to the over the top silliness and the sheer number of misappropriated anime they managed to squeeze into some of those conversations. My favourite was ‘The Girl Who Slept Through Time’.

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Alright, there’s nothing new about self-aware comedy or taking cheap pot shots at light novels, anime, or the culture surrounding it, and there’s certainly nothing new about directly referencing the material you’re making fun of, but this episode made me laugh and to be honest, that was enough.

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I don’t know if I’ll make it through a whole season of this or whether that initial good feeling I got from this episode will wear away after a couple of derivative and fairly mindless episodes, but I’m willing to give this a go and hope for the best.


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Nurarihyon no Mago Series Review: Fascinated by Fear

Overview:

Rikuo is one quarter yokai and tries to live his life as a normal human. The problem is, his grandfather is the former supreme commander of yokai and his house is literally overflowing with them. That and his grandfather wants Rikuo to take over as the next commander of yokai. Despite this, Rikuo still fights to keep his human life separate until some dangerous yokai come to town endangering his friends.

Review:

It should be no surprise by now that I absolutely love stories about yokai and Nurarihyon certainly hits the mark. With some silly school comedy elements, some ho-hum romance, but a fair decent amount of action and supernatural antics, this show isn’t perfect by any means but is a pretty enjoyable ride. There is another season, and I will review that separately, but this is definitely a show that’s worth giving a go.

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That said, I’m going to start with the negative. Both opening songs are just plain wrong. The first one isn’t too bad. It kind of fits the show, but it doesn’t feel finished. It’s like they get to the end of the title animation and the song just kind of gets cut off. Every time it is jarring and kind of undermines what is a not-great but not-bad song. The second one however does not fit the show. It kind of highlights the silly school antic side of things in its tone and by that stage of the show, the school segments of the show are pretty small. When you are gearing up to watch a yokai vs yokai fight sequence and the opening is some lighthearted tune about sunshine, there’s a real disconnect.

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My other major negative is the way the human characters are treated. Rikuo has friends at school and even belongs to a club that apparently seeks out yokai but mostly that’s just one character’s obsession and the others all just kind of tag along. Early on, this is used helpfully to introduce a monster of the arc kind of feel but later, the human characters are pretty useless to the plot and yet just keep hanging around. Realistically you could have halved the number of students and they could have served the same purpose and gotten more development and screen time. Then again, this show wasn’t great at balancing things, which for a show that focuses primarily on the main character trying to find balance in his life, is kind of ironic really.

You could also criticise some of the animation, the choppy pace early on, and a number of other things but mostly these don’t interfere with enjoying the show.

Plus, there is a strong second half. Once we’ve been introduced to the idea that Rikuo has a night form that he can take and we’ve seen him in action a few times, the show finally introduces the main antagonist of the series, a yokai from out of town who has come to overthrow the Nura clan. With Rikuo’s grandfather missing in action and no one else to lead the defense, Rikuo is forced to step up his game and from then on the story really doesn’t take a break.

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There’s a great range of yokai and supernatural powers and these are used well to keep things fresh visually as well as provide some interesting moments in the story where they manage to turn things in a fight through an unconventional method. Admittedly, the second or third time that happens you are more or less expecting it, but they still manage to make it feel like something a bit different. Also, the yokai who surround Rikuo for the most part and act as his guards are pretty entertaining though could have been fleshed out a little more.

This show does get dark at times with humans being kidnapped by yokai and a real sense of danger permeating a lot of the fight sequences. Ultimately you know that no one of consequence will actually be killed but they do sustain some fairly substantial injuries. There’s blood and gore to be found but not so much that it is particularly shocking, though I was glad when one particular yokai finally was dealt with because at least it meant I didn’t have to worry about him licking anyone else.

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My favourite part of this show though is the central character. Rikuo is pretty stock standard in his human form. All jumps and worry when his friends visit his house as he worries about them seeing some of the yokai who conveniently hide just around corners and the like in a fairly poor attempt at humour. But he does have a more serious side. Even though he wants to be human, he does accept that there are things he has to do, so he isn’t just denying outright the yokai around him. This stops him crossing the line into whiney cry-baby territory that other protagonists of a similar style might fall into. And then we have his night form. I kind of get why the yokai are so fascinated by him. Admittedly, he’s just kind of smug and broody guy when all is said and done but everything about the presentation makes him look cool. The perpetually floating cherry blossoms, the music, the way he stands, everything is just perfect for presenting this ultra cool guy that you would want to follow. It works beautifully.

Anyway, if you are into supernatural stories at all and you haven’t checked this one out, it is worth your time. There are definitely some parts that won’t quite hit the mark, but overall this is a fun show to watch.


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In Another World With My Smartphone Episode 12: They Actually Did It

Review:

Wow. I did not see that ending coming even when last week seemed like this show was actually going to address the harem issue (where so few shows ever just admit that there is a harem even when it is obvious). Taking it straight and just having the girls outright ask Touya to make them all his wife is a refreshing change from the usual outcome where the protagonist remains oblivious or really only has one girl they are interested in leaving the others hanging without resolution.

Touya though is still a slow protagonist cliché and of course asks the girls for time to think about it and ends up consulting the god who sent him into this world in the first place. I hadn’t really realised that the Gate power technically made that possible, but that of course raises the question of whether Touya can gate back to the real world or not… But even if he did would he then be stuck because magic doesn’t work in our world? That’s a whole other line of thinking so moving on.

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That god passes Touya on to the god of love who points out she’s responsible for setting up clichés (so there’s our lame excuse for the show having Touya walking in on the girls in the bath earlier in the season). It is kind of amusing because as always the show delivers this absurdity as if it is the most natural thing in the world and then moves on. I like the way this show just sets up its jokes, delivers them with conviction and then continues on playing it straight. It’s a refreshing change from self-aware shows that feel the need to celebrate their own cleverness.

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At the end of this episode Touya makes his decision (though still asks the girls to wait until they are all older which to be honest is also kind of nice). I do like that the group outside who discuss Touya and point out that it has been predicted he’s going to end up with 9 wives. Poor Touya, he can barely handle the four girls he is now engaged to.

They then give us so post credit sequel bait so it would be nice to know if this will ever continue on. As much as this show is a stupid comedy full of clichés and tropes that we’ve seen a million times before, it just clicked for me so I’d kind of like some more of it even if I’m not exactly going to highly recommend it. I will get around to a full series review of this at some point.


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Gamers Episode 11: Let’s Go On A Double Date

Review:

This episode of Gamers begins where the last ended with Tendou and Uehara not wanting to think Amano and Aguri are cheating but not sure what else to think. In desperation, they come up with a plan of attack.

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It is actually a little more sensible than some of the other plans these characters have hatched during the course of the show and we end up with the main four visiting an amusement park that is clearly modelled on some RPG. Amano is right at home and he and Tendou seem to be reconnecting. Unfortunately, the gods of plot coincidence decide that we need one more wrench thrown in the relationship works and Konoha overhears their plans and drags Chiaki to the same park to meet up with everyone.

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Ultimately, this is quite a fun episode. While no one directly addresses the misunderstandings, spending time together rather than speculating about what is going on seems to bring Uehara and Aguri back together naturally, and Amano and Tendou also seem pretty solid by the end. Chiaki isn’t giving up but she isn’t actively trying to get in Amano’s way. It almost seemed like a final episode but apparently there is one to go and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed it isn’t a beach or pool episode but all things considered I’d probably bet it will be.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 12: Apparently There’s a Reason

Review:

The team are still worried that Aoyama will leave for a better offer, despite every bit of evidence suggesting that Aoyama has no interest in doing so, and Zaizen attempts a heart-to-heart though given his basic personality that goes about as well as expected. We then spend the rest of the episode in another match with the team still aiming for nationals and convinced they need to win because due to a series of assumptions and poor communications, they’ve come to the conclusion it is the anniversary of Zaizen’s mother’s death.

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Anyway, business a usual. Team losing. Aoyama makes a comment that could be seen as quite cutting and cold but manages to get things back on track. Aoyama passes the ball to team mate of the week who needs to shine. Then Aoyama finishes the game.

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And from all this we learn the ‘reason’ Aoyama will stay at Fujimi and it is as vapid and stupid as you would expect given the nature of the show. That said, this episode, while pretty standard, is pretty watchable and reminded me very much of the first episode.

I’ll write up a full series review on this one soon.


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The Eccentric Family Season 1 Series Review: Grief, Family, Adventure, and Foolishness – This Tanuki Will Experience Them All

Overview:

Yasaburo is a tanuki and one of four brothers who have recently lost their father, the one who used to lead the Tanuki world in Kyoto. With an election fast approaching to decide who the next leader will be, plenty of family drama, and an absolute sense of adventure, this is one story that will quickly take on a life of its own. I’ve already reviewed season 2 of this so if you are looking for that review please click here.

Review:

It is hard work having a famous father. Regardless of how down to earth he might be, people outside the family are always going to judge you based on a comparison to him. For Yasaburo and his brothers they have for most of their lives been found wanting as each one seems to have one part of their father within them but none of them can really match up to the man they remember only as the warm and comforting father who cared for them regardless of their faults and foolish ways (and actually encouraged some of their sillier traits).

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The Eccentric Family tries to keep the slice-of-life and upbeat comedic tone going through its run time with quirky and fast paced dialogue. Certainly the story is jumping around through a series of seemingly disconnected events as Yasaburo pokes his nose into the business of his mother, his various brothers, his uncle and cousins, his tengu mentor and the mentor’s protegé, and the human group that eats Tanuki the Friday Fellows. All of this would make you think that perhaps this is kind of empty viewing or light hearted at best. But this is a show not afraid to delve headfirst into grief and how grief can change a family. For all their foolish actions and the distractions they are seeking out, at their core, every member of the family is deeply hurt by the death of a man they much admired.

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Though, the same can be true of all the characters. None of them are what they at first appear, or at least that isn’t all there is to them. As the story progresses we learn small details about them, we see the characters pushed into a variety of situations and how they respond, and occasionally we see the masks they have carefully constructed for the world come down.

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The character designs are interesting and characters are easy to distinguish though that isn’t the same as being pretty to look at. There’s a weird thing going on with ears in this show, and to be honest the characters aren’t that good to look at, but they are distinct and after awhile you realise how their appearance is such a reflection of their personality, or at least the personality they are trying to project. In that sense, Yasaburo’s near constant shifts early in the show make a great deal more sense.

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For me the strength of the show is in the character dialogue and the music. Both are distinct enough to be memorable and there are some very good exchanges between the characters that leve you smiling or just a little bit broken hearted. However, if you aren’t the kind to enjoy listening to characters exchange barbs, or quirky comments, than you may just find episodes becoming tedious because while there is some action to be found it is definitely spread sparsely throughout the series run time.

I certainly recommend trying this anime though. It has a real charm to it and really portrays the connections between family members in a way that I feel few anime really get (while at the same time it seldom falls into slow drama). There’s a lot going on but all the stories eventually come together and ultimately it is hard to follow Yasaburo around and not get a smile.

I’d love to know your thoughts if you’ve watched The Eccentric Family.


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