A Time For Choices

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Endro Episode 12 Review

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this final episode of Endro. It was, like most other episodes of Endro, cute and charming in it’s own way, played the tropes of its genre well with a few minor twists to keep things entertaining, and ultimately went for a saccharine ending that I really can’t fault it for. Overall, this anime reminds me a little bit of fairy floss (or I guess cotton candy depending on where you live). It looks pretty, kind of tastes great for a moment, but leaves you with very little substance.

Endro Episode 12 -Fai

I’ll probably look more at that idea when I review the series as a whole but this episode really didn’t deliver much in the way of surprises (and we are going to head into spoiler territory).

Endro Episode 12 - Mao
Now, who is a cranky demon lord?

To no one’s surprise, Yulia is feeling conflicted about the idea of fighting Mao even if it is to save the Princess. After a sob-story from the golem it becomes even more clear that this is one epic hero vs demon lord battle that just isn’t going to happen. The overall solution is a little trite but very in keeping with the story. I do however like the story’s overall commitment to characterisation.

Endro Episode 12 - The Hero's Party

When faced with a part of the story they’ve spun that doesn’t quite add up, the girls ultimately shrug it off with a ‘whatever’ and get on with having fun. It keep beautifully with their actions up until now where they ponder things briefly but never get too deep into anything before becoming distracted by something new and shiny.

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While ultimately we end up much where we started and it might seem like no advancement was made, it does feel like the characters are starting out a little wiser this time round and even if they make mistakes they’ll find a way to get through them.

Endro Episode 12 - Yulia
My Hero

In a season of fairly decent series, Endro isn’t topping my list but I’ve certainly had fun enough with this story and I’m kind of looking forward to doing my full series review of it.

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Karandi James
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Sometimes Endro Gets It Just Right

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Endro Episode 11 Review

Endro has a lot of downtime where it celebrates the cute girls being cute aspects of its story. For some, this is really appealing, and alone it would still make for a fairly watchable anime given the girls in question here are actually kind of fun as characters. For me, though, it isn’t that appealing. What has kept me watching this show, and at times quite appreciating it, is its ongoing retelling of the story of the hero defeating the demon lord. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is subversive, but it most definitely takes a novel approach at times to the subject matter.

Endro - Episode 11 - Mao

Episode 11 of Endro, really manages to use this to its advantage. What starts out as another fairly fluff filled episode with the girls defeating a monster and asking to go to Mao’s house as a reward ends up taking us into a fairly dramatic climax that beautifully reconnects us with the opening of the show where the hero defeated the demon lord but stuffed up the spell sending them to the past. The fact that the story manages the subtle transition from fluffy nonsense to fairly serious narrative reveals in an incredibly tight scene and it does so without being in any way jarring is actually a relatively impressive feat and honestly you have to give credit to the ground work that each episode has laid behind this episode for it working.

Endro - Episode 11 - Yuusha

To put it briefly, the golem maid who served the demon lord is found without her memories (well puked out of a monster for reasons to do with anime cooking). After some incredibly cute montage scenes with Mao reconnecting with her in her new role as teacher, we gather the characters back at Mao’s house, this time with Princess Rona. Only this time the Princess has a legendary card that can unlock sealed memories.

Endro Episode 11

However, the golem, if she ever lost her memories at all, isn’t the only one who recovers lost memories and the girls suddenly remember their previous adventure. It is a classically understated moment and yet it literally changes everything.

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But, not content with that as a reveal and set up for the next episode, it takes this one further and so we end up more or less back at the beginning only this time with the demon lord and the hero’s party all knowing what transpired last time. It seems set for an amusing and interesting ending, and just in case you were concerned it was going to drop the cute girl thing and gentle amusements altogether, Mao’s reaction post credits is utterly hilarious. It is one of those priceless moments that describing won’t do justice and the only reason it works is because we’ve spent 11 episodes getting to know these characters. Still, that sequence alone makes this series worth watching to be honest.

Endro Episode 11

Really looking forward to seeing how it ends.

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The Sickly Sweet With A Lot Of Heart

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Endro Episode 6 Review

I’m wondering if Endro really did just make me like a character that I’ve really not felt much connection to previously and did it through using a tired old character got sick trope. And yeah, it really did. This episode I really enjoyed finding out more about Mao and her life as a demon lord before the hero’s botched attempt at defeating her sent her back in time. It was also nice seeing her appreciate her students and their care of her.

Endro Episode 6 Mao

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this pastel filled episode as the story is literally just Mao gets sick and in typical fashion has literally nothing in her house to eat and begins feeling sorry for herself when the hero’s party comes by and goes about cleaning up her house and preparing her a meal. It is all just sickly sweet and excessively optimistic and yet it manages to nicely round out Mao’s character. While we didn’t learn all that much new about her, this episode made it much easier to connect with her as a character and that was something I was kind of missing before.

Endro Episode 6 Mao

Though, it really is evidence that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make something worth watching. While there isn’t really a single original point in this episode, they manage to deliver this fairly standard plot line in a way that makes it feel worth while and entertaining.

Endro Episode 6 Mao

That said, kind of hoping for a bit more adventure in next week’s episode, but I kind of feel like this was one of the stronger mid-season episodes I’ve watched this week.

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How to Draw Digital Manga and Anime
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The Slime, The Demon Lord and The Flying Sharks?

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode Review Title Image

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 18 Review

It is a good thing that we’re used to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime pulling absurd on its audience. The tsundere dragon way back when was a pretty dead giveaway we weren’t meant to take this overly seriously. So by the time some clowns convince a beastman to try to revive some really bad demon thing and we end up with a calamity flying toward Rimuru’s newly established nation accompanied by flying shark spirits, you just kind of shrug and go with the whole thing.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 18 Rimuru

Still, that is jumping to the end of the episode so I’d better back it up. You know, I never did get the name of that idiot who picked a fight with the city last week and was pretty much taken out in a single strike by Milim and I’m not exactly going to look for his name now. However for a few moments I thought we were finally seeing something a little bit different from a minion. He first talked of revenge, realised it was futile and that he’d handled the situation wrong but his pride was hurt. Self-realisation at its finest. Then he throws all of that growth opportunity away when the literal clowns walk up and promise him power in a deal too shady to even think for a minute should be listened to.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 18

Naturally he takes on the deal and I’m thinking we won’t see him again given it seems pretty certain he’s been consumed or used to revive the disaster heading Rimuru’s way.

But, just in case all the dragon corpses and impending doom are getting you down, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has you covered with its cute fan service moments including the three girls in the hot spring having a competition to see who can hold their breath the longest and Milim stripping off in the meeting declaring she would go and fight before being told to essentially warm the bench.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 18 fanservice

Its these kinds of moments that make it difficult to take anything in this show seriously and I’m really pretty sure I’m not supposed to be. Then again, it might be nice to feel a few moments tension without the show cracking a joke or throwing fan service at the audience every now and then. I still feel this show was at its best in how it dealt with Shizue. That moment of drama was actually allowed to play out without the need to ‘lighten’ the moment and it was spectacular.

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 1
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 1

Now We’re Searching For Fortune and Glory – And Cats

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Endro Episode 3 Review

The girls are excited to be getting some practical quest experience from the guild and while at first I wasn’t overly excited (the story about the horned gorilla put me to sleep as much as the rest of Seira’s party), this episode actually managed to be pretty cute and charming. I don’t want to make assumptions, but Mao’s absence was conspicuous and as her plots, plans and laugh have been one of my least favourite parts of the show it now seems that the anime is significantly better without her presence.

Endro Episode 3 Cat Quest

While the episode is largely built around the ongoing gag of the characters getting the quest of finding a cat multiple days in a row, they manage to keep this fairly entertaining without lingering. By the time they finally get a non-cat finding quest they are actually surprised, but then they run into a young girl who has lost a cat and they go right back to searching for cats.

Endro Episode 3 The Hero Team

It is all just a bit of pastel coloured silliness but the bouncing dialogue between the girls, the short fight sequences, and the scene changes work well enough to keep this episode moving along. I definitely enjoyed it more this week than last though I don’t know that all that much happened.

Endro Episode 3 Cat Retrieved

Realistically, this anime still isn’t really something I’d rush to recommend or watch in the future, but if the episodes remained like this it could be some pleasant fluff for the season.

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The Important Qualities Of An Adventurous Leader

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 2 Review

As I watch four pastel girls go through the motions of a pyjama party discussing their favourite monsters and what they like about them (though they keep the actual subject hidden for a little bit to make it a punch line) I had to wonder what the appeal of this kind of show was. I get that there are plenty of fans of slice of life and cute girl shows but honestly this scene was actually less fascinating than watching my cat pursue a lizard across the floor of my study (I rescued the lizard, came back and watched the scene again).

Endro Episode 2 Seiran
I’m sure my cat would try.

That doesn’t for a minute make Endro actually a bad show. I can’t really compare it with all that many other cute girl or slice of life shows because normally I don’t really stick with them, but this anime functions just fine, each scene moves along, each character plays their role, it looks good enough and it intersperses action or physical comedy in amongst the talkier scenes to break things up a bit. Everything works but the vast majority of the content doesn’t actually appeal to me as an audience. Still, if I had the choice of watching this episode again or episode 2 of Grimms Notes I’d choose this one in a heart beat. This anime is actually functional as a narrative.

Now there were actually two parts of this episode that did interest me and will keep me watching despite this being well outside of my interest area so far. The first was the leadership decision. Mao, in another insidious plan (provided you find six year olds insidious) to break up the heroes’ party so that they won’t defeat the demon lord in the future declares that each team needs to choose a leader. The girls in the heroes’ party all assumed they were the leader and are shocked to find out they aren’t.

Endro Episode 2 Leader

Here I will give the show some credit. Instead of petty squabbling or attempts to bring other members of the team down, the girls diplomatically choose the mascot character as the leader (truly cute). When that idea gets shot down they each take a turn at being leader and fail abysmally. Because, as the girls realise, they all bring something to the party. Whether it is strength, brains, weirdness, or sheer luck, each of them has their own important qualities that are needed in a leader. The end result, they are all the leader. It’s a cute and novel solution and this was actually the part of the episode I ended up most engaged by.

The other part of the episode that actually made me think this might go somewhere interesting at some point, was that the Demon Lord realises that if things continue they’ll end up repeating the same actions as last time and the heroes will turn back time again and they’ll be stuck in a loop. One problem with this is the sequence the Demon Lord recalls with the girls casting the spell isn’t the same as what we saw in episode 1 so not sure why the discrepancy there. However, this show surprised me yet again by having Mao simply decide she won’t become the Demon Lord and instead she’ll just take it easy.

Endro Episode 2 Mao

Did the villain just take herself out of the picture? Does that mean her petty plots are done?

Endro isn’t really my kind of show and yet I’m still kind of glad Cactus Matt suggested I watch it because there’s been some interesting moments in amongst the fluffy nonsense moments that aren’t my speed. While this might not end up going anywhere with these ideas given it is listed as a slice of life, I can’t deny that some of the ideas are interesting.

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FINAL FANTASY XIII (PLATINUM HITS)
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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. How Not To Summon a Demon Lord can well and truly be labelled generic yet 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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