Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2: When Life Makes You Disappear

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2

The weirdly compelling first episode of Bunny Girl Senpai turned out not to just be a fluke as episode 2 delves further into the weird mystery of Adolescent Syndrome and the growing relationship (not quite sure what relationship) between Sakuta and Mai. It’s a pretty fascinating journey so far even as it remain strictly low key. Characters don’t get hysterical even when they seem to be fading out of existence and even Sakuta only raised his voice once and that was to Mai’s mother, who probably had it coming even if not for the reason she got yelled at.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2

That isn’t to say this episode is flawlessly executed. There’s the annoying girl from school, Tomoe who shows up mostly just to accuse Sakuta of being a paedophile just because he is trying to help a lost girl. It is a particularly unfunny moment and not assisted by the following sequence where she demands Sakuta kick her in return and they both get taken in by the police. It is one of those cases of the light novel source material shining loud and clear through the anime adaptation and you have to wonder if any of that sequence will ultimately mean anything in the long run.

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Meanwhile, Mai’s situation is getting worse and it is interesting how the anime quietly deals with this. She becomes progressively more clingy to the protagonist and yet unlike so many other stories where the formerly strong girl suddenly clings to the random male protagonist, here it feels warranted given he is literally her life-line to the rest of the world, the one who believes her and reassures her that he will not forget her. I don’t actually feel that their relationship is romantic though they definitely seem to have some mutual respect for one another after their earlier fight is finally resolved.

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I have to admit, I want to know why this is happening. I want to know how they might start fixing it. I want to see where these two characters go. I want to know what happened to the girl who helped Sakuta. I’m hooked on this show and while I might end up disappointed if the answers never come or end up being really incoherent, right now this is a show that I’m really excited for.

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Space Battleship Tiramisu Zwei Episode 2: A New Durandel

Well it turns out that Subaru and Isuzu’s father is as flaky as either one of his sons and most of the episode focuses on a reoccurring joke involving him getting caught up in email scams. It didn’t exactly have a lot of staying power so while it was nice to see why both the sons are the way they are, it is interesting to note that Subaru seems more or less indifferent to seeing his father again (outside of getting a new Durandel) whereas Isuzu seems to have some genuine daddy issues.

Subaru and his father.

Those issues come to a head at the end of the episode after Isuzu’s side start attacking the base. My real question was why hadn’t anyone anticipated that given Isuzu has just kind of been wandering around and seeing the latest technology that the ‘enemy’ has developed (not that the reason for the war or the sides has ever been adequately explained anyway).

Isuzu really needs to work on his daddy issues.

However, for those who miss the neat freak Subaru, here we have a case of messing up the new cockpit minutes after entering by spilling miso soup (still not sure where the soup or the bowl actually came from). It is a throw back to the reoccurring joke of season one and here it sticks its landing but that’s mostly because in contrast to the father and email scam joke it is better.

Tiramisu2c

Once again, this episode is pretty much what you would expect if you’ve watched season one.

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CODE GEASS - ILLUSTRATIONS RELATION - LELOUCH OF THE REBELLION

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 1: Just Your Everyday Book Store

There is something kind of intriguing about the concept at play here. The main character is undeniably a skeleton, at one point his lower jaw drops, literally. And yet, the show doesn’t seem to want to address that or the other staff members walking around who have a variety of interesting helmets, masks, and identities. It just kind of is like the elephant in the room and if you actually ask why it feels like you might lose some kind of game you don’t really understand.

Honda1a

I’m going to be honest, a comedy/slice-of-life has limited appeal to me and literally the skeleton protagonist and the bookstore setting were the only two things that made me curious about this. Fortunately though, watching this episode kind of felt like being in a book store (which I love and I really miss being able to do this on a regular basis given I live in a town without a book shop these days).

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The humour works well enough though is the kind of obvious with Honda getting flustered by non-Japanese speaking customers and then a group of girls wanting BL recommendations, though I’m not entirely convinced there’s enough material here for a season even with the 11 minutes episode run time. But what really makes this one a harder sell are the visuals as it all just seems very roughly sketched in.

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Still, if you want to catch some fantastic references to anime on the covers of books and in conversations you’ll certainly find plenty there to keep you busy. I’ll probably watch this for a bit but like with all comedy anime there’s a good chance I won’t finish it.


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Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 1: Ignoring The Title, This One Seems Actually Interesting

Bunny Girl Senpai - Episode 1 - Mai Sakurajima and Sakuta Azusagawa

Okay, I know better than to judge an anime by its title given the nonsensical nature of most anime titles, or the ridiculously explicit plot summaries that pass as titles for some, and yet I will admit I had no real desire to try a show with Bunny Girl Senpai in its title. It just seemed, well, silly. That said, in the interest of actually deciding on a watch list I did give this one a spin and I’m actually kind of glad because this is the first definite add to my watch list for the season. While other shows I’m kind of thinking might work out and I’ll give them a few more episodes, this one has hooked me from the start and while it might end up disappointing, I’m already looking forward to more of it.

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I have zero familiarity with the source on this one and no idea where it is going, but I kind of got a more subdued Haruhi Suzamiya tone from it, or a slightly more interesting Sagrada Reset. And that probably explains the basis of the show’s appeal to me. I kind of like this sort of story even though it isn’t done well very often.

Its an intriguing beginning with our dead-pan protagonist noticing a bunny girl wandering around a library and he knows she is his senpai from school and a child-actor who is on hiatus. We get some other bits of information about the protagonist such as the fact that he has a clingy little sister and that he doesn’t have many friends because of some sort of incident and then he gets into intruding in the senpai’s life to try to figure out what is going on.

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Turns out there’s some rumoured Adolescent Syndrome which is only very vaguely explained here but most people don’t believe exists. Azusagawa, our protagonist, only believes in it because his sister and himself have some very visible scars from their own encounter with the condition. This makes him far more open to believing Sakurajima Mai might actually be disappearing from the sight of other people.

Not going to lie, there’s a lot of wandering around and talking in this first episode so if you are wanting action or a fast pace you should probably pass. Still, I really enjoyed this first episode and it seems to be the kind of story I really get into so I’m adding this one to my watch list for the season.


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REMILORE: LOST GIRL IN THE LANDS OF LORE

Space Battleship Tiramisu Zwei Episode 1: Subaru and Isuzu are Still At It

Given I ended the season one review with a firm statement saying I was done with this show and not interested in a season two, it seems strange that as we go into the Autumn season that I was overcome with curiosity about what they were going to do in a second season. The final episode of season one ended dramatically with both brothers falling to Earth and I will admit, curiosity got the better of me.

Space Battleship Tiramisu

There’s no apparent improvement on this from season one. We still have an okay story being buried under some fairly lame jokes that are missing the mark more than hitting, or are played overly long given the short episode run time. Here we get Subaru suffering from with withdrawal given his cockpit has essentially been destroyed. First we see him hyperventilating on the beach and then he rushes into the city (inexplicably knowing exactly where to go) and finding various substitutes for his cockpit with his brother in hot pursuit. The basic idea of him suffering because of the loss of the Durandel is fine, the length of the not quite seven minute episode that is eaten with this series of events is not given the decreasing returns in the humour.

Space Battleship Tiramisu Zwei

However, this show does still remember how to make you want more of it despite its failings and the boys playing with the merchandise from the show and critiquing the Subaru model pilot was pretty well delivered before we get an introduction to a new character. Basically, if you made it through season one and are curious, check it out, otherwise this isn’t exactly a must watch.

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XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2: TORNA THE GOLDEN COUNTRY

Cells at Work Episode 13: It’s Not Over Until It Is Over

Cells at Work, Episode 13 - Platelet

It is always great when you get to the end of the episode and feel like no time at all has past. You were just so caught up in what was going on it didn’t feel like any time at all. Cells at Work episode 13 manages that and for a season final it was pretty great.

Cells at Work Episode 13 - Red Blood Cells getting sucked out

While the body is going through a fairly big catastrophe this episode having suffered a head wound and major bleeding last week, this episode is incredibly solid. For an episodic anime it is regularly hard to have a big climax because other than doing the same again but bigger, there isn’t really a way to have a big finish. Cells at Work manages it by giving the body its toughest challenge yet and then it narrows its focus right down to the Red Blood Cell and her role in all of this. Rather than trying to show us what every cell is doing all the time, we see the disaster almost entirely from the perspective of Red trying valiantly to do her job and deliver oxygen as the world falls apart around her and even her kouhai ends up turning on her. It’s a fantastic way to end the season and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Cells13b

Similarly, the episode manages that really great balance of entertainment and education. We once again learn about the body, about what happens when we lose too much blood, the impact on our systems and the remaining blood cells, and then we learn about blood transfusions. Right until the end the edutainment is held up and they don’t ditch information for the sake of a more dramatic finish as they clearly know exactly what this story’s identity is.

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We do however get interaction with the platelets, white blood cell, and a montage of all the cells we’ve met really trying to hold things together as things look like they are getting bleak. So again, it really does bring us that feeling that the show is coming to an end. With so many anime failing to land their final episodes, Cells at Work steps up beautifully and delivers a solid final episode that left me with a smile on my face and real if momentary desire to take better care of myself.

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	HOSHI NO KIRBY ART & STYLE COLLECTION

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Series Review: He Is Diablo

It’s another I’ve been summoned to another world story where of course, for escapist reasons, the protagonist is severely over powered and becomes the one person who can save the day. Despite the generic premise can How Not To Summon a Demon Lord distinguish itself in a fairly flooded market?

Review:

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 1 - Diablo

There’s become this trend online that calling something generic is somehow a negative review of the subject matter and I guess if you’re only looking for novelty and unique story-lines (good luck with that by the way) generic would be the kiss of death, and yet How Not To Summon a Demon Lord can well and truly be labelled generic however it still manages to be engaging and entertaining. I guess if you’ve seen one isekai fantasy with a focus on fan-service and harem building you have seen them all, but the same could be said of action movies, romances, and more or less any other type of story. They naturally share genre traits and have a basic identifiable pattern. The important concern is how is it executed and what makes this one worth the time.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Group hug

Before I get into what distinguishes How Not To Summon a Demon Lord and made it more entertaining then say Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody I do feel I should address a couple of points that are going to make this anime one that a few viewers aren’t going to like and so probably shouldn’t even start watching. The first, and most obvious one, is that this isn’t just a harem anime, it most definitely has earned the ecchi label that MAL has on it. And while it isn’t as confronting as some titles with that label, there are definitely some scenes and sequences that will make some viewers uncomfortable. Be prepared for nudity, groping, rubbing against another person and then the fingering scene that very nearly had me walking away and only the fairly interesting story (and the fact that it came two episodes from the end) kept me going.

How Not to Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9 Shera

The other aspect that may very well throw some viewers, and it is something that comes up in more than a handful of isekai stories, is the slavery trope. Diablo is a gamer summoned from our world into the world of the game (or close enough) and his first encounter is with two beautiful girls who kiss him in the hopes of placing an enslavement enchantment on him, and the only reason it doesn’t work is because he turns up in his in game character and happens to have a ring that reflects magic causing the spell to backfire. But now of course we have an overpowered male character who has essentially enslaved two female characters and the end result could rub people the wrong way. It doesn’t help that the show itself insists on not taking any kind of stance on slavery one way or the other but the only encounters we have with slaves are mostly to do with very good looking female characters.

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

However, if those two aspects aren’t enough to put you off (or if you happen to be in the camp that is suddenly mad keen to see the anime after hearing that), then How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is a surprisingly good time. There’s definitely a balance overall in the series with almost equal weight given to fan service moments and plot/character moments and both are fairly well done. Okay, boy summoned to magic world and forced to save city from a demon lord isn’t the most original story, but watching him learn about the world and the encounters he has are pretty entertaining and there’s a nice escalation in the danger faced throughout the series.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 5 - Diablo

The characters are well designed and quite pleasant to look at. Most of the female characters fall into a type and suffer from the usual fantasy issue of clearly not noticing weather or understanding that armour works better when you actually protect your vital areas but honestly if this bothered you there’s no way you’d be reading about an isekai fantasy anime in the first place so let’s just move on rather than discussing the completely useless nature of their battle wear. Diablo’s in game character is also quite well designed and I like the striking contrasts in his facial expressions from extreme arrogance and confidence (a facade) and his panic and turmoil when out of his depth.

Actually, Diablo’s character as a whole is a highlight and is one of the many things that really distinguishes this story. Male protagonists in this genre are usually strictly nice guys with limited personality and Diablo does meet a lot of these genre expectations. He’s certainly a generally nice person to all the girls he meets and he’s too soft-hearted to actually kill his enemies even when it would be a good idea. So the general notion of isekai protagonist is definitely there. As is his general insecurity around girls and passiveness when seemingly being assaulted by them. So the male fantasy and self-insert firmly in-place, this anime then expands on this basic idea by also giving Diablo a dual personality. We have his real world persona, the fraidy-cat shut in with no social skills, competing with his in-game personality which is the demon lord Diablo. Some of the best sequences in this anime come from watching the inner-turmoil Diablo faces even while cooly conversing with other characters. Not to mention, despite being overpowered there are genuine moments where you feel he might lose and there are consequences for overusing that power leaving Diablo weakened and vulnerable.

DemonLord3a

What we see of the world is pretty impressive and interesting. There are so many potential avenues for future exploration and it seems like there are multiple layers to the world and the power structures. It is a little disappointing that we don’t really venture far from the city in this particular stretch of episodes, but at least it feels like there is a wider world where this story is taking place rather than feeling like there’s nothing beyond the walls of the city because the writer hadn’t imagined it yet.

DemonLord7b

With magic, fight sequences, and touching emotional moments, the plot is well worth following along for. It isn’t original but it does balance things nicely and it certainly provides entertainment. I was a little disappointed with the final episode feeling they didn’t elevate the fight enough to really give it any weight as a climax, but it still does the job of wrapping up the current drama and providing a satisfactory resolution.

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

All and all, I’d have to say that I really enjoyed watching How Not To Summon a Demon Lord. There were definitely moments that were a little uncomfortable to watch and more than a few moments where turning the sound down became a necessity (I’d recommend headphones), but I certainly don’t regret spending time with this anime and for those who enjoy isekai, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

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Monster Hunter World Hunter Female Rathalos

Cells at Work Episode 12: Red Gets a Kohai – And It’s the End of the World

So far Cells at Work has given us an array of simple conditions for the body to fight off with the darkest glimpse of things going wrong was a cancer cell hiding in the system. This week, after a lot of adorable Red getting lost while showing her kohai around we get some life-threatening damage. Here’s a way to lead into the final episode.

Cells at Work Episode 12

There’s a definite rhythm to this show and as episode 12 is part one of a two parter we get much the same pattern as what we got when cancer was introduced. For the larger part of this episode we get to see the body functioning normally as Red guides her kohai around. While there are some jokes at the expense of Red not being particularly good at teaching her kohai (given her own directionally challenged nature) we are reintroduced to the key cells we have met along the way and their jobs. Everything in this section is super fluffy and cute with plenty of platelet appearances.

Cells at Work Episode 12 - White Blood Cell

We then get an explosion far more dramatic than the one during the abrasion episode and it plunges the cells into a dark and kind of post-apocolyptic kind of setting with the majority of buildings crumbling and destroyed and very dim lightning. After confusion and an anxious wait the control centre declares a state of emergency due to life-threatening injuries to the head. The white blood cells and platelets are sent to the scene while the red blood cells are told to continue circulating oxygen.

Cells at Work Episode 12 - White Blood Cell

The episode works well with the light moments being nicely interrupted by the damage and things escalate nicely into the cliff-hanger ending that will lead us into the final episode. That said, there wasn’t anything particular unexpected so while this episode was enjoyable and was nice set up there isn’t a lot more to say about it. Still, you’ll encounter all your favourite characters from the season and it looks like the final challenge for them to overcome is going to be pretty dramatic. So Cells at Work looks like it is going to end much how it started. Solid entertainment with some educational value but hardly mind-blowing (unless you are super into the platelets).

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12: The Power of Harems?

A Demon Lord in one direction, a fallen army in the other, what will our heroes do? Apparently we’ll rely on the power of friendship and follow that up with a healthy dose of harem power.

By the way: Spoilers

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 12

This is probably one of those cases where I kind of understand why the story has ended this way. Being isekai and harem it really does make sense that our overpowered protagonist will deliver an amazing feat of magic but somehow the day will still be saved by some lip-service from the haremetts before Klem reverts back into her loli form and willingly accepts being enslaved by Diablo. We even get a moment to redeem Alicia and let’s throw the fallen Edelgard into the mix right at the end so that we can have the full range of fan-service this show has on offer all in one scene.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12

And it works. There’s no denying that the fight was kind of fun, the character relationships make sense, and Diablo not killing Alicia for putting everyone through all of that is more or less expected at this point. However, it kind of makes it hard to say that this anime ultimately distinguished itself from so many others in the genre. It had a real chance for a far more serious ending and one with far more dramatic consequences and yet has chosen the softer and more expected end.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12

Still, for those who enjoyed the plot, it is wrapped up nicely though plenty of room for sequels should they ever exist. For those who loved the fan-service the final sequence is definitely ensuring you don’t forget this show is full of it. So there’s enough going on here to make most viewers feel this show was worth the time.

Was this the most thrilling end ever? Probably not, but at the same time it did its job and overall I’m feeling pretty happy with watching this.

Now I have to get my thoughts together for a full review.

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Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss Series Review: Will They Just Let The Franchise End Now?

How much mileage can you get out of a parody concept of magical boys who don’t really want to save the world? Well, this franchise has asked that question again and again but if there is one thing Happy Kiss has taught me, it is that Cute High Earth Defense Club Whatever needs to just stop now.

Review:

Defense9d

On watching the original Cute High Earth Defense Club series I was sceptical but ended up pleasantly surprised that despite the formulaic monster of the week approach, it actually did a pretty solid job as a magical girl parody and it gave us enough interesting dialogue and random conversations between the boys to make it worth the while. It didn’t amaze me but I had a reasonably good time with it. Then we had a sequel. Which I didn’t finish. And an OVA. Which I didn’t watch. Most recently we were introduced to Happy Kiss with a whole new group of boys and I decided, probably poorly, to give the show another go. After all, it was a comedy show I’d finished a season of. It couldn’t be that bad.

And that assessment is probably right. It isn’t that bad, but neither is it particularly good. While the first episode has flashes of those intriguingly random musing between the boys and each character in the new group could potentially be interesting, as the season progresses you will realises that this series has absolutely nothing to say. While the first season was undeniably a parody and some of the monsters were truly inconsequential it still offered up some half-decent social commentary and just some random food for thought. Happy Kiss brings nothing to the table other than the tongue in cheek apathy of the main cast and giving the audience a knowing look asking us to find it hilarious as they bemoan yet another transformation sequence.

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But even then they couldn’t commit with the final episodes seeing boys joining forces with the henchmen of the previously evil brother and willingly throwing themselves into a fight against a suddenly propped up villain that the audience has legitimately no reason to care about. So the boys didn’t even manage to be consistent in their apathy.

Actually, I do have a couple of positives. I mean, I did get through the entire season so it isn’t like it is an unwatchable steaming pile of overcooked spinach.

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Firstly, I kind of loved the song that they played every single time the boys used their final attack. Well I say final attack but generally it the only one because mostly they just kind of made stupid comments until Karl (the talking otter who is actually a prince) tells them its time to make everyone happy and then they attack. But the song is pretty infectious and it definitely got stuck in my head every single week.

The other thing I really enjoyed was that at least the main characters called the villains on the pathetic nature of their complaint. It was something I always wished the Sailor Scouts would do when someone gave in to something really petty and transformed into a monster.

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Outside of those two things though, there isn’t a lot to love about Happy Kiss. The cast don’t develop at all, the rivalry between the Defense Club and the Student Council seems forced and doesn’t really go anywhere until near the end and then it is kind of just over, and even the two princes don’t really do much more than repeat their formulaic lines week after week.

I’d honestly say that you would be better off watching the original than this if you’ve never watched anything in the franchise. The writing is undeniably better and more amusing. I’m clearly not recommending this anime and I’m kind of hoping this is where the franchise stops but somehow I doubt it.

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