Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 23 – People Don’t Change: At Least Not Quickly

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23 Review
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It is hard to end a season of anime. Particularly when so many stories aren’t finished in one season and are either hoping you’ll explore the source or hold out hope for another season. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation doesn’t deliver us any answers about the gods or Rudeus’ purpose but instead focuses on whether Rudeus has changed as a person from one life to the next as well as on checking in with so many of the other characters and what they are currently up to.

The end result is a bit of a hodge-podge of scenes all kind of held together as we cut between the events in Rudeus’ life before being reborn that lead to him being a shut in and the now where he can’t muster up the energy to get out of bed. And Rudeus’ story was definitely the only thing that was really compelling viewing here and hit all the right notes.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Or maybe I just really empathised with Rudeus (a rarity for me while viewing given I kind of don’t like him) because I know myself that when things get too overwhelming shutting down and shutting out the world seems pretty appealing. Only problem is, the longer you do it the harder it is to get back out there.

So as much as I wanted Rudeus to do something this episode, I kind of got where his character was emotionally this week.

As for everyone else, I was kind of indifferent.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation kind of sputters to a halt.

The rest of episode 23 for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation was kind of drifting around as we checked in on Ruijerd who is still out killing monsters and slowly connecting with others, Eris who has resolved to get stronger and not lean on Rudeus (really think she could have explained herself to him first), Roxy, Rudeus family and a whole slew of other characters (some of whom I couldn’t even remember).

While it does leave us knowing where everyone is at season’s end it isn’t exactly a satisfying place to leave this story as they still haven’t accounted for people after the mana explosion and all the characters are still mid-stride in their stories.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Of course it was never going to be possible for Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation to wrap things up but there was one thing I was genuinely disappointed about.

The Man-God guy who has appeared periodically during this season does not make an appearance this episode. No advice or mocking for Rudeus. Nothing at all. The silence was deafening.

I kind of feel that was what I needed to really feel this season had come to some kind of close.

Then again, I can’t deny that the episode of Jobless Reincarnation at least ends in the perfect spot. As I mentioned before, the most compelling part of this episode was seeing Rudeus wrestle with his feelings, understanding the parallel to how he feels now to how he felt in his last life. And watching the end of the episode where he finally stands and leaves the tent ready, perhaps, to take the next step on his journey, was a richly rewarding experience.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 23

Unfortunately it means sitting through a whole bunch of other scenes that feel largely inconsequential to get to that moment.

So a bitter-sweet farewell to Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 and you can read the full review of the season here. I really kind of hope we get another season for as much as this anime continues to give me mixed feelings there are some strangely compelling moments along the way.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021


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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 22 – I Want To Have Your Kittens, Meow.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22 Review
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“I want to have your kittens, Meow.” Bold of Eris in this episode of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation to utter such a line. I’m not sure whether to cringe or laugh, though clearly she knew her audience well because Rudeus most definitely responded.

I’m kind of fixating on that line largely because I’m not sure what to make of the rest of the episode. After such a long journey together in the space of one episode Rudeus loses both traveling companions and we end this episode (or close enough), the second last of the season, with him standing alone in a tent. I’ve called Rudeus pathetic before but he looks so small here and honestly I’m just not sure where the story is going now or what the next step of the journey is.

Jobless Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22

If there is one thing Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has repeatedly reinforced, it is that life moves on.

On the one hand, it makes sense given how Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation has played out up until this point. Rudeus’ second life has been full of phases and then changes. Whether it was learning magic from Roxy, tutoring Eris or the initial journey from the demon continent, nothing lasts forever and that definitely gives us a sense that this is a real character who continues to grow and respond to the events around him.

On the other hand, with the constant flux of locations and characters and objectives, other than seeing Rudeus live a slightly better life this time around, there’s no real sense that we’re heading toward a final goal. And episodes like this one leave you feeling like Rudeus’ journey, whether he lives well or not, whether he is strong or not, is ultimately futile.

That’s a little depressing.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22 Review

The situation for Eris is just as bad if not worse. She’s not even the protagonist so a lot of her struggles have been side-lined and yet her character has arguably grown the most.

Still hurts a lot though to see her react after being told her parents died after being teleported and her grandfather was executed. Though if that isn’t enough pain for one encounter by all means subordinate throw in the fact that some lord wants to take Eris as his concubine. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation sure knows how to kick characters when they are down.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22

And all of this comes after the farewell to Ruijerd who has protected, trained, and supported the pair since they arrived on the demon continent. I get the original plan was to get them home but surely after travelling so long together plans might change. It seemed really arbitrary for him just to suddenly decide to head off on his own.

Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of him given he does say see you later, but now with Eris heading off with Ghislaine you have to wonder if the trio we’ve travelled with for so long at this point will get back together.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 22

It’s been a long journey from where we started in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, and there’s definitely a sense that times are moving on and characters have to move with them, which makes this feel quite different to so many stories that seem determined to keep the status quo even when it makes no sense. But it does leave you feeling a sense of sadness that a core group of characters that have really bonded have now been split apart.

I do wonder what the final episode of this series will bring and where they will leave Rudeus on this journey. And yes, somehow I suspect another season will be needed unless Jobless Reincarnation plans to try to wrap everything up in twenty minutes but that seems really unlikely.

Read the full review for Part 2 of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation here.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021


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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 21 – Rudeus The Fool

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21 Review
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There’s a lesson I picked up watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer many years ago and it is one that Rudeus from Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation should probably try to learn. It came from Xander and pretty much went: “Generally speaking, when scary things get scared, not good.”

So when Ruijerd and Eris freeze at the mere approach of a pair of travellers on a snowy mountain perhaps striking up a conversation with one of them isn’t the best approach. Particularly when they are already leaving.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

Then again, the Doctor took a similar approach once in Doctor Who, calling back aliens who were leaving, only he managed to actually intimidate them and didn’t end up in a bleeding puddle in the snow.

Anyway, lets be honest, Rudeus really made a mess of this and for once it seemed to bite him hard.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation finds new ways to beat its protagonist down.

I guess that is one reason why Jobless Reincarnation can’t have a nice guy protagonist. Admittedly, about half the time Rudeus is the stereotypical nice guy, however the rest of the time you are reminded of his character flaws and he does some genuinely unlikeable things at times. Such as early in this episode where Eris asks him to pinch her to make sure she wasn’t dreaming and he takes the opportunity to pinch her chest.

Mushoku Tensei Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

It’s really hard to have sympathy when she sends him flying across the campsite.

Likewise, Rudeus is a character I don’t mind seeing losing a fight and being put in a helpless situation. With so many other protagonists it would hurt to see them that way and you’d want them to have some hope. With Rudeus it all kind of seems, as he puts it, a part of life and while you kind of want his group to not die you expect they are going to get knocked around a bit first.

It makes for a different kind of tone to the usual isekai fantasy that is so bursting with optimism and sweetness it could almost give you a cavity just watching it.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 21

Whether you enjoy the pain Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation heaps upon the characters in its world sprinkles with small moments of triumph is entirely subjective. I can definitely tell that this isn’t an anime I’m going to binge watch for a pick me up.

That said, this anime isn’t trying to be grim-dark or really just wallow in misery either. I loved Eris’ response to seeing dragons and how excited she was when Rujierd declared that she was now strong enough to be considered a warrior. I loved watching her haul Rudeus along the mountain path when he was scared and trying to be cautious and she was standing out on the edge.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless ReincarnationJobless Reincarnation Episode 21

Its the contrasts between these small moments of happiness and the successes, such as the one Rudeus had just last episode, and the misery and failure that kind of make Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation one that is worth watching as Rudeus rises and falls and life knocks him down but he gets back up (sometimes with a lot of help from those around him and sometimes more on his own).

It would be nice if before the end of this season if we learned more about the man-god. His interference and ‘advice’ has been a fairly consistent part of this season’s events and the conflict on the mountain directly tied to him in the end. While I know there’s only two episodes more so we’re unlikely to get a huge reveal it would be nice to finish the season of Jobless Reincarnation feeling like Rudeus had gained some ground.

You can read the full review of the season here.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021


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Eden of the East Series Review – An Interesting Look At ‘Saving’ A Nation

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Eden of the East Overview:

Eden of the East takes place after an event known as careless Monday (a bunch of missiles hit Japan but there were no casualties).

Saki finds herself travelling in America before beginning her first job. She wants to make a wish but after throwing a coin over a fence in Washington she is confronted by police. A naked man comes to her rescue and ends up travelling back to Japan with her, after taking the name Akira from a whole bunch of passports he found in his house (yeah he has amnesia).

Eden of the East Review:

While I’ve watched the series for this a number of times I haven’t yet watched either of the films that follow on from it (despite having them sitting in the DVD case with the series). I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to the films although my cheap justification will be that I’m worried that any further explanation of events may very well undermine what is a fairly solid series.

Eden of the East

I decided to write this review after my Top 5 about characters with convenient missing memories because it got me thinking about Akira again. This series is really enjoyable and has some interesting ideas in it, but it kind of lacks cohesion at times.

Because of this, I’ve decided to take a plus/minus approach to Eden of the East. Before I get into that though, just saying that this story has politics, nudity, terroist attacks and some heavy commentary about capitalism.

Plus +

Eden of the East has a compelling story as we see the Selecao (characters armed with a phone and a large amount of money) pursue their own agendas and tasked with the very vague goal of saving Japan. It’s an interesting set up. While it might be compared with Future Diary (unidentified characters with phones competing against one another), Eden of the East takes this in a very different direction.

The stakes aren’t some supernatural god-hood (Future Diary or even Platinum End style) and the phones really don’t achieve anything that cannot actually be achieved with money (and a large imagination that allows for transactions to occur instantly with no miscommunications). I really enjoyed the political aspects of the show as well as the character driven moments between Akira and Saki.

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Minus –

Possibly the story is too ambitious. We have multiple characters all trying to achieve this goal (or at least giving lip service to this goal while going their own way) but the focus is firmly on Akira and his interactions with these characters.

So in addition to following Akira on his journey to remember what happened, and achieve his goal, we have other characters sometimes opposing Akira, sometimes doing something totally unrelated to Akira but there’s a thin cross over so that they have some reason for appearing at all, and we also have Saki and her friends who are serving as the everyman in the series so that the storyline doesn’t become too inaccessible. And honestly, with the short run time, some of these characters and developments could have been cut so that more time could have been spent on a central narrative.

Admittedly, it is clearly a stylistic choice to have an ambiguous plot that comes together toward the end but it does make you wonder whether the story could have been enjoyed in a more straight forward manner.

Plus –

Saki is not the oblivious, blank slate female that is getting duped by Akira. Nor is she the damsel in distress. While she isn’t privy to a lot of what happens in the series, she continues to ask questions, to have suspicions, to demand explanations, and when she’s actually convinced of something she takes action. It would be a stretch to say that she is a strong character, but she is a very relatable character.

Uncertain about her future, plunged into a situation beyond her control, crush on a guy that may or may not be trouble, trying to establish clear relationship boundaries with friends and potential but dismissed boyfriends, and going through family issues. Again, the short run time really stops us from delving into any depth with her character, there’s certainly enough there to see her as an interesting character and not a cookie cutter place holder.

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Minus –

The rest of Saki’s friends aren’t particularly interesting or developed and given the scope of the rest of the story their moments feel like they are really just in the way. While they do get tied in nicely to the finale of the series, it feels like we could have had less in the group and spent more time learning who they were so that we actually cared about them beyond the fact that they were Saki’s friends.

Plus +

Eden of the East has a really diverse range of settings. We start in America before crossing back to Japan. We see Saki interviewing for a job in an office, the room her friends meet in, the various places Saki and Akira go while travelling around, the shopping mall that Akira apparently lives in, a hospital, hotel, and the list continues.

That said, we never feel lost in this anime. We aren’t just zipping around from location to location. Each place feels meaningful and it feels like the characters are interacting with the world the way people do. We aren’t static and just following the same paths every single day (or at least we like to believe we aren’t), and Eden of the East feels like it understands that.

edenoftheeast03

Minus –

The ending of the series does offer some resolution but the story isn’t finished. The immediate crisis of the series is averted and Akira uses his money for something that seems wholly ridiculous and yet kind of gives the final episode a feeling of finality. As I said earlier, I haven’t watched the movies yet, and it seems like these will continue on and give a bit more closure, but for once I kind of like the ambiguity of this ending.

It really feels like there isn’t going to be a satisfying answer and imaging the possible outcomes has been quite fun. But, it makes it difficult to recommend a series when you know it doesn’t finish in a way that most people would call finished.

Plus +

This series has a great balance of drama, plot movement, character development, and the occasional comedic moment to keep things moving. While it isn’t an anime that reels from one emotion to the next and the tone is fairly level throughout, there is some great writing that keeps the audience engaged. There’s definitely some sad moments but there are also smiles and some really fascinating interactions.

eden-of-the-east-akira-saki

Minus –

A very minor minus. I don’t like the explanation we’re given for how Akira came to have his memory erased. This is kind of a critical plot point and revelation and I just found it kind of blah. It seemed really stupid and unnecessary and yet it is quite obvious the story doesn’t work without Akira having his memory removed.

I really, really wish they’d come up with a better reason as to how we got to that starting point because this is the point that always makes me roll my eyes when I watch this series.

Final selling point: There’s a dog with wings (not real ones unfortunately). That is all kinds of cute.

eden of east.jpg

If you’ve watched Eden of the East, let me know what you think. If you’ve watched the movies let me know if I should get on that right away or whether it’s okay to let it sit for a bit longer.


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Platinum End Episode 9 Review – When Everyone Else is Over-The-Top You Really Have No One But The MC To Support

Platinum End Episode 9
https://www.amazon.com/Ailuros-Matt-Doyle/dp/1736818376/

This week Platinum End introduces us to a guy who was sad and miserable because he was ugly and poor and after becoming a god candidate used his abilities to make girls like him, realised that was hollow and pointless, so decided to have plastic surgery instead. After all of that instead of finding who he wanted to be he latched on to the public Metropoliman as a hero and naturally decided that he should become his servant.

Given the girl in the stadium who actually did follow Metropoliman’s instructions was still mercilessly shot down, not entirely sure what this guy thinks is going to happen to him in this situation but logic does not appear to really be a priority for Platinum End so let’s just roll with it.

Platinum End Episode 9

Platinum End sets another trap for our heroes.

When every other god candidate we’ve met has been idiotic or insane it kind of makes it hard to not support Mirai. Then again, Mirai has no personality whatsoever and manages to make every scene he’s in a little bit duller so its also hard to really cheer for him.

Like when Saki, Mukaidou and the angels are enjoying their newly acquired base of operations, Mirai is standing outside staring at the garden and simply says it reminds him of a park he used to go to with his family. It could have been a touching reminiscence but instead it just feels like a line out of nowhere with no emotional attachment and ultimately it goes nowhere as the episode just moves on leaving me to wonder why they included it at all.

Platinum End Episode 9

Of course Mirai isn’t the only issue in terms of displaying emotions. I’m not even going to criticise the extreme over-the-top facial expressions displayed by the villain of the week (or I hope very few episodes before he is killed) sword wielding god candidate. However I am going to call out the portrayal of Mukaidou’s anguish when he realised his family were in danger.

Instead of any normal human response, Platinum End instead portrays emotion the only way it really can. Change the colour scheme, zoom in super close and give us a shaky-cam effect. Because actually delivering a nuanced emotional reaction has been beyond this story from the beginning. Admittedly, in the first episode it looked more like they were really just trying to up the shock factor and just went too far however now it has become clear that none of these characters can actually just emote normally.

Platinum End Episode 9

About the only points I’m giving to villain of the week guy are from the fact that he realised that shooting a girl with a red arrow and having her kiss him really wasn’t what he wanted. He recognised pretty fast he wanted girls to actually like him without being completely brainwashed and so rather than shooting them and changing their view he tried to change himself.

He did it in a ridiculous manner but points for at least not just building a harem of mindless slave girls.

Platinum End Episode 9

Though Platinum End has clearly set the bar low if that is enough to score points.

Also, casual murder continues to be a thing with a girl who simply delivered a message to Metropoliman becoming a casualty this week. Shot down with absolutely zero remorse or even reflection.

For a moment I’d kind of appreciated that at least the new god candidate was smart enough not to approach Metropoliman himself but then seeing the classmate get taken out in an instant more or less made the moment pretty sour.

Platinum End Episode 9

About the only impact this really had was the guy from last week who suspected he knew who Metropoliman was more or less has it confirmed.

Platinum End needs to use this murder for something more than casual shock. If it later becomes the news story that allows Mirai and Saki to figure out where Metropoliman is then maybe it will be worth it. I mean, girl dying in hall of school should make the news at least. However, if it just passes without serving any purpose other than establishing that Metropoliman is a heartless psycho who will kill anyone, then it really just feels unnecessary.

The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.

Images from: Platinum End. Dir. K Kise. Signal MD. 2021


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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 20 – Does a Good Ending Make Incomplete Advice Better?

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Recinarnation Episode 20
https://otakuauthor.com/

So a few things to discuss with the latest episode of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.

We begin the episode with another flashback to the initial disaster but this time from Lilia’s point of view and as the light rushed toward her she instinctively grabbed Aisha to shield her. The two of them then found themselves underwater and had to struggle in dark waters to reach the shore. And then they just kind of walk up to the city and the prince, who just happened to be near the gate and overheard them asking about Roxy, took them captive.

Mushoku Tesnei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

It’s a little bit of a rushed version of how did we get here but it then means Jobless Reincarnation can spend more time on the important things. Such as Rudeus’ jokes about his accommodation and the other prince’s obsession with the figurine Rudeus had made of Roxy when he was younger.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation keeps its eye on the important things.

I guess we’ll just have this as a running gag every time Rudeus gets taken prisoner that he’ll describe his new accommodation in terms of being an apartment. It was kind of amusing when Jobless Reincarnation did it in the village though here it feels a little more tired and like a little less effort was put into it. Possibly that is because this prison is significantly less scenic than his last one but while I get the joke I didn’t find this round as amusing.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

Also, unlike his previous prison, it is quite clear Rudeus can’t get out of this one alone whereas in the previous cage it was fairly clear he could have left at any time if he’d chosen to do so.

Instead, here Jobless Reincarnation brings along Pax’s brother who comes off as a really over-the-top collector who is obsessed with Rudeus’ figurines. He had the Roxy figure that Rudeus had made when he was younger and recognised the same work in the Ruijerd figures that Rudeus is now distributing.

Though, that Roxy figurine with the detachable clothing seems like it had a lot more thought put into it and is also quite creepy when you consider the age Rudeus was when he made it (and yes I get he’s a reincarnated middle-aged man but I’m not sure if that makes it less or more creepy). Again Jobless Reincarnation walks that fine line for me in terms of viewing that I’m comfortable with.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

So pretty much Rudeus tells the obsessed prince that he could teach him or something if he gets him out of the prison and after futilely trying to break it, the prince decides that he just has to do something about his brother, Pax, and it will be sorted.

Then we get a very rushed explanation that the obsessed prince is actually super strong and once ripped the head off one of his other brothers.

That kind of came out of nowhere.

And just like that Jobless Reincarnation brings all the characters together with the guards having asked Ruijerd to save their families so they could betray Pax, and Eris and Aisha just kind of coming along because staying put where they were asked was too much effort.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

If I’m honest, it feels like episode 20 of Jobless Reincarnation took a lot of narrative short-cuts. Like they knew this situation was too complex to really be resolved this episode but just rushed through things and cut corners to get to the resolution. Whatever the case, it feels like the pace is off. Whether it was the gag with the prison description, the backstory on the Prince’s or Ruijerd and Eris’ role everything just felt kind of dropped in and then moved on from without a lot of thought or finesse.

We do however get a happy ending with Aisha and Lilia rescued so, yay? We don’t get to hear any of Rudeus’ thoughts on the god who gave him the advice this time and he never seems to consider that if the god had given him more information or different information things may have resolved easier without the whole imprisonment thing.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 20

While Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation continues to overall be entertaining enough viewing, this episode didn’t quite hit the mark. The plot does everything it needs to and we get a sweet family moment at the end but it just felt too hasty in trying to get there.

I’m hoping this is because they are trying to get to an actual resolution before the end of this season and that it won’t just stop mid-story again, though maybe that’s being overly optimistic.

You can read the full review of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation part 2 here.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021


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Platinum End Episode 8 Review – From Sad Baggage to Excessively Peppy (This is Not A Character Arc)

Platinum End Episode 7 Review
https://www.amazon.com/Ailuros-Matt-Doyle/dp/1736818376/

Clearly even the writers of Platinum End realised that Saki couldn’t continue to simply be as useful as a piece of furniture as they have the character herself admit that she’s just been baggage in episode 8 of Platinum End.

But is a character being aware that they are pointless and boring enough to justify having had the character do nothing for so long?

More than that, is having a sudden realisation, declaring you still want to die, changing your mind, and then suddenly being filled with excessive pep and enthusiasm for the mission all in the space of twenty minutes actually work as a character arc? I’m going to say no.

Platinum End Episode 8

Platinum End continues to flail along.

Basically, Platinum End tries to give Saki a significant character moment but due to no one caring about her character up to this point, the speed at which it is delivered, and the fact that it is about as nuanced as a brick hitting the audience in the face, largely this whole episode falls flat.

Unless you really like laughing at the angels and their commentary. Nasse gets a few decent lines this week and even Revel made me smile once or twice.

So let’s break down this episode.

Basically, Metropoliman’s human friend/hanger-on realises from his injury that he’s probably Metropoliman. This leads to about three seconds of potential tension as he considers his next steps. Then he does a Miko from Mieruko-Chan and decides to simply pretend he noticed nothing.

Platinum End Episode 8

Now, this works in Mieruko-Chan as its the central gag of a supernatural comedy that the main character is ignoring the ghosts. It works significantly less well here as it diffuses any tension the scene may have had and to be honest this was about the most engaging moment in this supposedly psychological drama that we got this week.

Though, Platinum End is unlikely to care that they shot their own tension in the foot. It’s too busy setting up the next absurdity which is having Saki ask Mirai to come lie in her bed so she can talk to him. Because that’s a perfectly normal thing to ask and a normal way to go about it.

Cue the childhood flashback sequence and the angsty self-loathing as we finally find out just why Saki wanted to die.

Platinum End Episode 8

I will admit that I wasn’t expecting the connection to Mirai’s own suicide attempt, but one minor point of interest in all of this isn’t really enough to salvage the rest of this episode.

After Saki admits she still wants to die, Mirai decides to test this out and naturally the best way to do that is to go for a night flight and see if Saki takes the plunge. Forget the fact that they might be seen and identified as god candidates by the psycho who wants to kill them all. And in case I thought that maybe Platinum End wanted me to take this scene seriously, we’ve got the two angels foregrounded with Nasse poking fun at Revel for his choice in candidate.

Platinum End Episode 8

Naturally though this whole sequence somehow causes Saki to get over herself, she asks Mirai to forgive her, which he being the non-entity he is says there’s nothing to forgive because he was never angry. Then it all jumps to Saki becoming miss get-up-and-go planning a new base for the group to meet in and to work from as her bedroom is really too small for three people and three angels.

I mean, I guess it is a way for Platinum End to advance the plot and finally have Saki do something other than sit around and chew-up scenery. But really that’s all this episode feels like. It genuinely feels like someone told the writer Saki was boring and so they wrote a stand alone plot that just kind of over-turned the character and gave them an entirely new personality by the end.

On that note, it didn’t make me like Saki any more and given the rest of the plot just kind of paused for this there’s little going on in episode 8 that feels like it matters.

The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.

Images from: Platinum End. Dir. K Kise. Signal MD. 2021


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Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 19 – Trust Before The Fall

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19 Review
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Poor Rudeus. This week in Jobless Reincarnation he is once again given advice by the ‘god’ thing and this time he follows it to the letter only the results aren’t exactly awesome (at least not yet). As if Rudeus didn’t have enough reasons to have trust issues.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

After episode 18’s minor diversion to follow Roxy on her journey, this week Jobless Reincarnation firmly returns us to Rudeus and friends as they finally arrive on the central continent. After a dream conversation with god, Rudeus has learned that two of the people he is looking for are in the city Roxy went to work after leaving him, and he’s given some fairly non-specific directions of what to do once he arrives.

I don’t know about everyone else in the audience, but I was pretty sure Rudy was being messed with once again. Sure, last time he followed god’s directions he ended up with a demon eye but I’m still not convinced that was a great idea (and certainly sounded kind of painful to receive). This time, Rudeus ends up walking into a trap set by and idiot and I just can’t help but think that if Rudeus hadn’t been trying to follow the instructions he’d been given he never would have landed in that predicament.

Though he may never have located the two missing people either so maybe things will work out yet.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

Jobless Reincarnation really likes to make you second guess the characters and their choices.

With the focus on Rudeus and his search for Aisha and Lilia, once again Eris and Rujierd are getting decidedly sidelined. I somehow suspect they will be important next week because if they don’t go looking for Rudeus I’m not sure how Jobless Reincarnation intends to get him out of his current predicament, but this week at least we get Eris feeling relieved that they are no longer on a boat and Rujierd has about one actual dialogue exchange with Rudeus.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

I did begin to wonder during this episode if terrible reunions were just going to be the ongoing theme here. Largely because Rudeus and Paul had an awful first encounter after so long apart and now Rudeus finds and saves Aisha except that she doesn’t recognise him and the description she gives of her older brother being a pervert (while pretty accurate) is a little scathing.

Naturally Rudeus doesn’t actually introduce himself to her because you couldn’t continue the gag if you just cleared up the misunderstanding. Plus god told him not to…

Yeah, god really is just messing with Rudeus in Jobless Reincarnation.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

Anyway, all of this culminates with Rudeus stashing Aisha with Eris and Ruijerd before a visitor from the castle (where he sent a letter to Roxy – though the audience already knows she isn’t there) arrives and leads him to a shady part of the building before asking him to leave his staff and equipment. Red flags are going off everywhere and yet Rudeus decides to just go through with it because he decided to follow the god’s instructions.

You know, I kind of hope something good happens at the end of all of this, otherwise Jobless Reincarnation is really just giving Rudy a kick in the guts because it can.

And then the penny drops, or rather the trap is sprung, and we more or less end the episode with Rudeus now completely trapped.

Jobless Reincarnation Episode 19

Admittedly, it is hard to really make any kind of decision about whether the events here are meaningful without knowing how this situation resolves and what Rudeus takes away from it. I enjoyed the episode but kind of hope there’s some deeper meaning in all of this than just god being amused at watching Rudeus fall.

You can read the full review of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation part 2 here.

Images from: Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. Dir. M Okamoto. Studio Bind. 2021


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Platinum End Episode 7 Review – Bad Guys Lie And Good Guys Hesitate

Platinum End Episode 7 Review
https://www.amazon.com/Ailuros-Matt-Doyle/dp/1736818376/

Last week, in addition to review episode 6 of Platinum End and criticising characters for being dumb enough to walk into yet another obvious trap, I also discussed my thoughts about this series as a whole so far and why perhaps it hadn’t landed so well with viewers. Episode 7, incidentally, is another good example of how these characters don’t exactly make this compelling viewing and the plot seems fairly forced to push forward even when there doesn’t seem much point to it.

Platinum End Episode 7

Platinum End continues to make me ask ‘why’.

After the tower explosion at the end of the last episode, instead of discovering that Mukaidou had used his wings to evade the explosion, we find he survives through his wearing the blast suit. I guess that gives the suit some purpose but ultimately it still begs the question why not just fly away faster than the explosion?

Or why not fly away after the explosion before Metropoliman casually shows up?

Or why not fly away at any point after you more or less decided to ignore Metropoliman’s threat to cause another explosion?

Platinum End Episode 7

See Platinum End, when you give your characters the ability to run away from pretty much any situation you then need to explain why they don’t. And Mirai and Mukaidou have little to gain from this show-down so once they attacked and Metropoliman didn’t set off another explosion, they could safely have just left the scene.

Incidentally, given Mukaidou uses a gun rather than a white or a red arrow during the battle, I suspect that Metropoliman will have figured out that he isn’t the one with a special angel. Otherwise, why waste your time with bullets that can both miss and won’t penetrate his suit when you could have used an arrow? You were directly behind the guy and had him blind-sided (hence why you managed to shoot him with a gun even if it wasn’t overly effective).

Anyway, Platinum End spends most of this episode on an aerial battle that is visually messy and not very impressive. Close ups of Mirai involve a lot of tears and mucus, kind of reminding me of Inuyashiki with how much fluid was running around at times. There’s also a lot of characters just kind of floating about while dramatic music plays.

Platinum End Episode 7

Equally, we know Metropoliman is bad because he kills people, sets traps, and uses deceit to get what he wants. Mirai is clearly not bad (I won’t stretch the definition to good), because he doesn’t want people to die. Mukaidou is more cynical and will kill if necessary to minimise other deaths.

One thing I did gain from this episode of Platinum End was an actual appreciation of the relationship slowly forming between Nasse and Mirai. Nasse’s really been Mirai’s champion from the start but there’s a scene this week where it is almost like Mirai is seeing Nasse for the first time again. When Nasse first saved Mirai’s life he wasn’t exactly thrilled, but this week, as he looks up at Nasse from his huddled position on the floor of Saki’s room, its like he is realising all over again that Nasse is an angel.

Platinum End Episode 7

More specifically, Nasse is his angel.

None of that changes the fact that Platinum End continues to have Mirai spout fairly naïve and seemingly empty statements about not killing. Even Metropoliman asks is he’s a child.

Platinum End Episode 7

For someone who tried to commit suicide and was responsible, even if not intentionally, for his aunt’s death, his moral position here seems shaky and his absolute commitment to it seems to have seemingly come from nowhere, or at the least from a series of poorly explored flashbacks to his near-saintly parents’ wisdom. Certainly this could have been developed better by Platinum End but instead it seems like someone asked why he suddenly cared about death and so someone quickly wrote a flashback of his parents telling him not to.

And yes, Mirai has in his memories nearly raised his parents to sainthood. We’ve not seen one memory of them being anything less than calm, sweet, optimistic and espousing doctrine about finding happiness. In reality I’m sure his parents were actually a little more grounded but that’s the thing about childhood memories. Cook them enough and you’ll get the dish you want.

Platinum End Episode 7

I will also mention that Saki continues to be a fairly meaningless character though there’s a small indication at the end of the episode that perhaps she’ll finally get some development soon. Let’s hope the next step after that is Platinum End actually using her to do something.

The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


https://mattdoylemedia.com

What Is Wrong With Platinum End? Can It Get Better Before the End?

What is wrong with Platinum End?
https://www.amazon.com/Ailuros-Matt-Doyle/dp/1736818376/

Six episodes in, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by Platinum End. And I’m probably not alone in that sentiment. But it does leave me wondering just what went wrong with Platinum End to the point that it has left me feeling so deflated. Particularly when I step back from my disappointment and realise what I’m watching isn’t a complete dumpster fire or train-wreck, it just isn’t very good.

What went wrong with Platinum End? Viewer expectations.

Putting Platinum End into context is really important. If another anime came out telling this story with Mirai wanting to die and then becoming a candidate to become god, while it would probably be mediocre at best, it wouldn’t be getting the vitriol on YouTube that Platinum End has been subjected to which further builds up the online sense that Platinum End is the worst anime ever (which it really isn’t, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it).

So why is Platinum End contextually doomed to face this kind of criticism?

What's wrong with Platinum End?

Because of who created the manga. You can’t have an anime coming out, based on a manga by the same writers who gave the world Death Note and Bakuman and not have high audience expectations. When you rank anime on MAL by popularity, Death Note is in the no. 1 position. Even though it only has a review score of 8.63.

Rightly or wrongly, people had expectations about Platinum End. The pre-release hype with character designs and promotional videos also helped to build up these expectations and honestly they set themselves up for some viewers at least to be disappointed regardless of whether what was offered with Platinum End was actually good or not.

Equally, Death Note and Bakuman flourished in a time when accessing anime was significantly harder for those of us not in Japan and so the competition for our views and likes was significantly lower.

I absolutely love Death Note and it was one of the anime that drew me back into being a huge anime fan as an adult and had me actively seeking more anime online. Then I found Bakuman and despite some general dislike at the gender norms and the somewhat silly decision by the protagonist not to talk to a girl until ‘X’ happened, I really enjoyed that series.

That said, I did have some reservations going into Platinum End. The idea that it was more of a battle royale storyline certainly made me wonder if this would click for me because a lot haven’t (though some are quite fun). But, the teaser PV and the creator, they both had me lined up to give this one a watch. Whether I wanted to or not, I was going to end up comparing Platinum End to the other works by the creator and unfortunately, Platinum End doesn’t favourably measure up.

What's wrong with Platinum End?

Sure, you could probably argue that the plot line isn’t any worse than Death Note, and if I wasn’t looking at it through the lens of familiar nostalgia I might even agree, but to be honest, I’ve watched Death Note that many times at this point and have loved it every-time, whether it makes sense or not isn’t even a point to discuss now. Platinum End however can’t get viewed through nostalgia goggles. I’d never even heard of it until the anime started getting hyped. My only emotional connection to it is what I’m feeling each week as the episode ends and unfortunately for it, it isn’t good.

Perhaps then the easiest answer to the question, “what went wrong with Platinum End?”, is that it didn’t come out twenty years ago and audiences are far more judgemental, have far too many other options now, and the moment where this could have ridden the wave of good will from prior works has passed. Much like a certain Avatar sequel that may eventually arrive in cinemas but I don’t think anyone will care. The moment has passed.

What went wrong with Platinum End? Characters

Platinum End Episode 5
What's wrong with Platinum End

Of course, you can’t actually just blame everything on context and viewer expectations. If the anime were solid enough, regardless of an initial let-down it would have recovered from that. instead, each week reviews get more negative and viewers seem less charitable in their estimates of where this story is going.

So what went wrong with Platinum End?

I found it interesting that Irina (from I Drink and Watch Anime), in her episode 6 review of Platinum End asks the question: “What does Saki do?” And you know what? I couldn’t answer that.

Seriously. Saki’s listed as a main character on MAL. Since entering the story she shot Mirai with a red arrow and since then has accompanied him to the stadium and they keep meeting in her room but has she done anything? Other than knowing Mirai has a crush on her, I actually can’t tell you a single thing about her character other than clearly she had something go wrong for her in the past, hence why she’s a god candidate, and she doesn’t speak much in the ‘meetings’ they have letting the angels and Mirai speak and more recently Mukaidou.

Platinum End Episode 3
What's wrong with platinum end?

Maybe her character will do something moving forward, but so far she’s more or less, again as Irina put it, about as useful as a lamp in the background. She’s just eating up screen but contributing nothing.

If it was just Saki, I wouldn’t actually have too much of an issue with the characters of Platinum End. Being familiar with both Death Note and Bakuman, I knew not to expect much from female characters. While there are one or two exceptions, female characters get very short changed by the creator so rather than getting into that rant I’ll actually look at the overall issue of characters in Platinum End.

Basically they are either dull and uninteresting, given too little time to make any meaningful impression, or just bonkers. So far the best character has been Nasse, a superior angel and the one who selected Mirai, but even Nasse has gone from suggesting some highly morally questionable things (leaving us wondering about god and angels and their morality) to more or less Mirai’s cheer-squad. The one slightly interesting character hasn’t done anything particularly interesting leaving us with little to focus on other than the plot.

Platinum End Episode 5
What's wrong with Platinum End?

The battle royale set-up doesn’t help either as it makes you wary of caring about newly introduced characters as they are likely to die. A point made clear when three God candidates were introduced and killed in the space of two episodes. While this isn’t actually a problem unique to Platinum End it contributes to the overall feeling that something is wrong with Platinum End.

It also should be noted that every character in this story seems to have two emotional settings which leap between stoic and uninterested to explosively emotive. There’s pretty much nothing in-between which makes them a little hard to connect with.

What went wrong with Platinum End? Plot

And that leaves me with the plot of Platinum End. What has gone wrong with Platinum End’s plot?

Is it that six episodes in I’m still kind of vague about protagonist Mirai’s motives? Given he’s gone from wanting to die, to wanting to find happiness, to suddenly being staunchly against death and murder for no real reason other than the plot demands it.

What's Wrong with Platinum End?

That the ‘villain’ Metropoliman creates obvious schemes but they seem ludicrous when broken down. He built up his reputation as a hero and then destroyed in an instant with the stadium debacle. And that only netted him three of the twelve competitors. So now, no reputation and still a whole bunch of potential rivals that you can’t identify. His next plan involving blowing up a tower was even more bonkers and seemed even less likely to actually achieve anything.

When we see said character in his day to day talking with a friend, his motives are kind of explained but they don’t provide any justification for his actions so far. If anything, they make him look kind of pathetic and it makes it hard to take his scheming seriously.

Though I guess the real problem is that Mirai still doesn’t have any skin in the game. Left to his own devices, Mirai would have nothing to do with the battle royale or the other god candidates, and so the plot keeps having to come up with contrivances to force him to take action.

What's wrong with Platinum End

This really does contribute to the many things wrong with Platinum End.

It is clear that the story is constantly having to fight its own character to get things moving in the direction it wants only that direction isn’t clear to the audience and to be honest I think we’d all be happier if the plot left Mirai alone. Its definitely a case where a square peg is constantly getting forced into a round hole but rather than give up and find a square hole we’re just going to find a bigger hammer to bash it with until it goes where we want it to.

Anyway, six episodes in and the plot of Platinum End can only be described as serviceable. Sure we have set up that there are candidates with wings and arrows and there’s a time limit in which a candidate can be chosen (though no indication of what happens if the time limit is exceeded), and we’ve had a few poorly devised traps that have been overly dramatized in order to make us feel a sense that something is happening.

The plot is most definitely a reason people think there’s something wrong with Platinum End.

Platinum End

Because really, what has happened? A few people we didn’t know or care about died. Meanwhile our protagonist went to the stadium, watched, and left without taking action. Has now watched a second trap literally explode and has not actually done anything. This might be taking a passive protagonist far too far. He could literally be replaced by a floating camera and we’d have much the same sequence of events without all the angst as he struggles with whether he should take action at the stadium.

Can Platinum End salvage its ending?

You know what, there are apparently 24 episodes in this series. If it was only 12 episodes, I’d say it was past the point of no return. Even with 24 episodes, I think the most Platinum End can hope for is to leave those who’ve stuck with it feeling a little bit smug that they didn’t drop it and that’s only if from this point forward the characters get some fleshing out and the plot starts feeling like it is actually driving somewhere.

Am I going to drop Platinum End?

Not yet. As much as I don’t love it and can pick it to pieces, it actually is pretty average in terms of stories. And for a battle royale story it is on par with something like Battle Game in 5 Seconds and I watched all of that. I didn’t love it, but it was watchable.

As is Platinum End.

Platinum End Episode 4

Sure, it couldn’t live up to the hype and it hasn’t met the expectations of those of us who loved earlier works by its creator. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are plenty of worse anime out there. Right now I’d place Deep Insanity below Platinum End in terms of anime I’m not enjoying and it is definitely better than the train wreck that was The Promised Neverland Season 2 which is my new benchmark of terrible for anime that haven’t met expectations.

There’s plenty that seems to have gone wrong with Platinum End but there has been the occasional interesting moment and the set-up is there so there’s potential. But, I won’t be too surprised if I let this one go at the end of the Fall 2021 season rather than watching on for a second cour.

Over to you, how have you found Platinum End?

The full review for Platinum End Episodes 1 – 12 can be found here.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


https://mattdoylemedia.com