Fastest Finger First Episode 9: Way To Make A Character We Hate

Review:

The final group of the second round have their go and of course Koshiyama ends up paired with the girl (who is actually a guy) from the arcade who really is just a jerk. There’s no other way to describe someone who treats others with that much disdain. Really, really wishing, that his team leader had actually sent him home after that round.

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Despite really hating that character, the quiz was still fun and because of the format of needing two people to buzz in I was actually hearing enough of most of the questions to guess an answer which was entertaining. The outcome of the round is pretty much what you would expect at this point in the season, but I’m just not sure adding that character was a good idea. The characters so far have been relatively benign and then adding one truly irritating individual to the mix does not seem like a good plan.

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I guess it did mix things up a bit, but this was probably my least favourite episode so far of this show.


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Fastest Finger First Episode 8: No Reward Without Risk

Review Episode 8:

And the competition has begun. There’s not a lot to say about this episode other than I had a lot of fun watching the team take a paper quiz and then two rounds of buzzing. There’s some character stuff going on with the girl they met at the arcade and the whole potential rivalry thing between Koshiyama and the guy from that other school, but basically if you’ve been enjoying the quiz element of this show, that’s what you get this episode.

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Though, I have to wonder how often this guy actually adjusts his glasses. It is getting to the point where I have to assume they are a fashion statement and not needed because no one who wears glasses for actual sight purposes would play with them that much.

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I really enjoyed the two answers thing as it gave another spin on the buzz and answer format. So this show isn’t the stand out of the season or the show you should definitely jump on board with if you haven’t already started it, but if you like quizzes then it might be a relaxing bit of viewing this season.


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And the Winner Is…

A few weeks ago I ran a quick competition for people who liked my new Facebook page offering a post on a topic of the winner’s choice as the prize.

Raistlin ended up the winner and has now published the prize on their blog.

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They gave me an awesome topic of the post apocalyptic genre and after thinking it over I wrote a post that I called “Embracing the End of Life As We Know It“.

So congratulations to Raistlin for winning and hopefully you can all check out the post.


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Competition (kind of) Reminder

So just a reminder that starting this week 100WordAnime now has a Facebook page.

And to celebrate I have a competition going until the 19th so if you haven’t ‘entered’ yet and you would like the chance to win an incredibly lame prize, please continue reading.

Thanks to everyone who has already offered advice on Facebook and has already followed over there. To one particular follower, you know who you are, thanks very much for directing me to information and helping out, it is really appreciated.

thank you

On offer:

A blog post written by me on any anime related topic for you.

Conditions:

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01: The post will be between 200 – 500 words.

02: The post will be emailed to an email address of your choosing within 7 days of you sending details of the topic to me via my contact page.

03: If you specify a single anime as the topic and I have not watched it, I will request a different topic. Realistically, it would be best just to give an anime related question that I can choose example anime to discuss but that is ultimately your choice.

04: I will not provide images to go with the post, however you may choose to add images.

05: You do not have to actually use the post on your blog. I don’t know exactly what else you would do with it, but you are not obliged in any way to publish it in any form should you choose not to.

06: If you do choose to publish the post, you will need to credit me as the author and a link back to my blog.

So how can you be in the running to ‘win’ this ‘amazing’ prize?

Visit my new and fairly empty Facebook page and like or follow the page by midnight on the 19th of August. (oh and ensure that you aren’t preventing people from seeing that you’ve liked the page because otherwise I won’t know who you are).

I will add all the names of people who like or follow the page into a random list generator on the 20th and whoever ends up at the top of the list will be the ‘winner’.

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I know the page isn’t really doing much at the moment, but I’m working on that and I’m working to continue making the blog better. As always, any feedback or advice is welcome.


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Karandi James.

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Fastest Finger First Episodes 2 + 3: An Academic’s Version of an Adrenaline Rush

Review Episode 2:

I mentioned this in my last post on this anime, but I really do love trivia and quizzes. So, no surprise my favourite part of watching this came from learning something new. Even if it was just that someone actually came up with a term to describe the space between the hem of a miniskirt and overknee socks. I cannot for the life of me think where that would be a useful bit of knowledge but I loved filing it away inside my head with all the other useless facts I’ve accumulated over the years.

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Oh yeah, I should probably review the episode. Basically, classmate girl tricks wimpy protagonist into ‘watching’ a quiz on the weekend but it turns out they are entered into the competition. We get through round one with wimpy guy seriously riding high on stress and tension to the point of near collapse. If you like quizzes and watching quizzes, it’s a lot of fun. Otherwise, there’s not a lot else going on and no, I haven’t yet remembered either of the main characters’ names and yet I’m not seeing that as a deterrent from watching the rest of this.

Review Episode 3:

I think this show is going to be pretty good for me. It kind of perfectly captures the feelings of playing a game with others. The final monologue by the main character about the fun and frustration perfectly sums upĀ  the turbulent feelings you can get from playing and just how much of a rush it can be. While from a strictly narrative point of view this isn’t doing all that much, the subject matter and the emotional resonance I’m getting from it, is kind of enough to keep me glued to the screen.

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Still, I’m not sure how we’re going to go moving forward as we seem to be working hard to set up some sort of rivalry and we’ve also got childhood friends, as well as just plain social awkwardness all kind of cluttering up the quiz floor. Maybe these things will actually make it a better show in the long run or maybe they’ll just serve as a distraction. Also, I wonder if I’d have a better chance of picking up emphasis on words if I was watching this in English dub because I have enough issue just picking out even known Japanese words when they talk that fast that I certainly couldn’t have told you there was any emphasis given in the questions. Still, it was fun reading the subs and seeing if I could figure out where the questions were going and usually the answer was not with where the characters buzzed in.

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This one is a keeper for the season. I’m not arguing it is brilliant but I’m having a lot of fun.


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My Hero Academia Episode 15

Review:

I really don’t like tournament arcs in stories where there are actual conflicts they could be facing in the real world. Tournaments by their very nature have rules and limitations which takes a lot of the tension out of the matches and in stories there is always a twist somewhere along the way which just kind of makes you roll your eyes.

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My Hero Academia tried to overcome the lack of tension by adding personal pressure on Midoriya and by throwing in the line about the fact that they might be removed from the Hero course, but so what? Oh, is I do bad I have to change classes? Really? That’s meant to be a consequence after we had villains attack the school and threaten to kill people. I get that getting dumped from the hero course will impact their future as a possible hero, but so what? It won’t be impossible and they could always go for a different career. As much as they all have hopes and dreams it isn’t the end of the world if they don’t achieve them.

Whichever, the games have started with an obstacle course and the usual quirky behaviour to get round various obstacles (you know, giant robots and the like). I’m not really invested in who wins this race, but I can’t deny the show is still trying valiantly to be fun and exciting even without the potential risks. It was kind of fun in a low stakes kind of way.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Haikyuu Episodes 16 + 17

Review Episode 16:

I really enjoyed this episode. The opponent was really well done given they were really just there and gone but I liked that they made me care that they lost.

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Also, the focus on all of those who ended their games in losses was kind of nice. The pain of trying your best and not succeeding is something that gets skipped over a lot unless it is the main character who loses, so it was really nice to see that in the world Haikyuu is constructing the opponents are real people with dreams and feelings too. Otherwise not much to report on this episode except that I now really want to see the next match against Date Tech.

Review Episode 17:

I’m just going to have to admit I’m seriously into this now. The episode ended without a single screen shot and I had to go back because I was too busy sitting on the edge of my seat just waiting to see what would happen next.

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I loved that the events in previous games are having a real impact on how they are playing now, though I’m not entirely convinced we need it spelled out for us. Still, the reaction of the other team and the audience this time to Hinata and Kageyama is pretty fantastic.

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All and all, great fun, and I want to watch the next episode but I kind of committed to this two a week thing and I don’t like messing with a good routine.

Haikyuu is available on AnimeLab.


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Haikyuu Episodes 14 + 15

Review Episode 14:

Okay, I know I’m not a big fan of them doing nothing but playing volleyball for a whole episode, but when we get an episode like this where other than a very brief training sequence we have no volleyball, suddenly I realise how much better this show is when they are playing a game. That isn’t to say there weren’t some amusing interactions between characters as they go about preparations for the upcoming tournament and it good to see they are planning new strategies and aren’t just hoping Hinata being a crazy person will somehow win their way through. Probably the best part of this episode was seeing Yamaguchi actually take some initiative. I don’t know that it is going to help at the moment, but he’s been such a non-entity in this show so far that I was starting to wonder why he was even introduced. It will be nice to see him take some action.

Review Episode 15:

I kind of figured this out. The reason this show works better when they are playing is because the characters come to life once they are all on the court. While they have some good moments off the court, there is always a bit more hesitation and just less personality. Once they start playing everything just clicks and its a reasonably enjoyable experience watching the game unfold even though I’m still not really interested in the sport they are playing. While we only saw the first three points of this game, already we can see how the team have changed during their time training and I really look forward to the next episode.

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Haikyuu is available on AnimeLab.


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Cheer Boys Series Review

Overview:

Kazu wants to start an all male cheerleading team with his friend Haru. They work together to first recruit and then train a team.

I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested individual episode thoughts click here.

Review:

There’s not a lot to say about this show. It’s kind of by the numbers get a group together to reach certain goals and along the way deal with each group members baggage in a touching and sweet way while not actually injecting real drama into the show because that would upset any kind of feel good notion we have going on. Okay, that sounds like I hated the show which isn’t true. I actually quite enjoyed watching it week to week but really it never rises beyond the premise and while the characters are enjoyable enough they aren’t exactly memorable.

What this show isn’t is a serious competition anime. The focus remains on the in-team relations and what limited attempts there are at inter-team rivalry amount to nothing. This is about the Breakers and how they overcome their own shortcomings, a fact that you will be slapped in the face with about every second episode just in case you thought this show was about a cheer-leading competition.

So, if you are in the mood for watching a range of guys jump around and improve at cheerleading while confronting their inner feelings, this will entertain and put a smile on your face. Otherwise, watch the opening theme and you’ve more or less seen the final routine so call it a day.

And I just realised some of my week to week reviews were longer than this so maybe I should go into some actual details.

Haru is probably the character we spend the most time with, which is a shame because he is one of the least interesting. However, he does help a lot of other characters overcome their shortcomings even while he remains completely passive on dealing with his own sister issues until very close to the end. I guess they felt the protagonist couldn’t solve his own problem too early or they would actually have to put some real conflict into the show. This makes Haru a frustrating character most weeks because he is so insightful and action oriented when it comes to others but he actively avoids dealing with his own issues (and to a lesser extent, Kazu’s).

Sho is my favourite character even though about half-way through the series you realise that the accident that has emotionally stunted Sho wasn’t as bad as foreshadowing would make it seem and while there have been real consequences, Sho is probably holding a little too tightly to his own guilt. That said, most episodes that have a Sho focus I found a little more interesting than some of the others.

By the way, I am wondering if the writers of this have some hang-ups about being a little brother or sister because there are a lot of sibling issues that come up throughout the course of this anime. Yes, we have the usual big brother with a little sister complex but there are some actual and genuine sibling relationship issues (and not just for our main character).

Alright, I’m done. This is enjoyable but pretty much without substance. If another season with the new recruits came out I’d probably watch it but if you ask me for a recommendation this one probably wouldn’t be it.

Yuri On Ice Episode 7

Review:

Episode 7 of Yuri on Ice is the episode I’m going to remember where it stopped being just a fun and interesting watch with some characters I kind of liked and it became a show where I truly respected the characterisation of the protagonist (and by characterisation, I don’t mean they finally kissed). Yrui’s journey isn’t anything new in storytelling, from underdog to finding his feet and using romance as a vehicle for it, it’s all been seen before. However, the organic evolution of this character and the way it has come across finally won me over during this episode and Yuri is going to be a character I’ll remember for more than just likening romance to pork cutlets. This particular moment of clarity came while listening to his internal monologue while skating and instead of the puppy like adoration of Victor we get a clear and rational view of the situation he is in before he still determines that he wants to surprise Victor. This episode makes these characters equals in their relationship where both have something to offer and both have something to gain and finally romance between the two seems not only likely but actually like it could work really well (though not without dealing with a few more of either character’s issues).

Oh, yeah, I should probably talk about the actual episode though. I really liked that instead of just showing us all of the routines (as we did last week) we instead saw more of the imagery and memories the skaters were drawing on while skating (we also saw Yuri and then Victor go through their pre-skate freak outs). Visually really interesting, great music, but mostly forgotten and blown away by the final sequence of Yuri skating and his growth.

Yuri on Ice is available on Crunchyroll.