Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 6

Leader of the non-rebellion.

Episode 6

There’s definitely something seriously wrong with Nanako’s family, particularly her father. I mean, I get he’s playing the overprotective daddy trope but how on earth could you reach the conclusion that Nanako is rebelling. And why is that his biggest issue with his daughter when she never actually speaks. Surely that’s of greater concern than whether or not she’s becoming a thug.

I did like the lead in this week with the club president and Eiji sharing pictures of their pets. One thing that I always find weird in any kind of show is when someone has a pet rabbit. Given it is illegal to own rabbits where I live and they are considered an invasive pest, the idea of keeping one as a pet just strikes me as bizarre. More or less like owning a pet cane-toad.

The moments with Eiji, his sister and Nanako at the park are cute but that’s about it in terms of what you can say about it Unless you want to get into the repeated rabbit poo joke that just seemed there to fill run time as it was pretty much nothing.

With the majority of the episode focusing in on Nanako’s father freaking out about his potentially ‘rebellious’ child though there just wasn’t enough cute going on to off-set it. And while we did resolve the issue at the end and everything ends with a sparkling smile, there’s just too much that doesn’t sit right. I think I prefer this anime when it focuses on the school stuff and it is rare for me to say that.

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Afterlost Review Episodes 3 + 4

The conspiracy grows.

Episode 3

This was a bit strange, which is a weird way to start a review about an anime that wiped out a whole city and has ghost like people and helicopters chasing motorbikes. And yet, Afterlost continues to be a bit of a perplexing story mostly because I’m still not entirely sure what story I’m getting. The supernatural search for the truth makes sense, the buddy/journey thing works, the mystery might eventuate into something that works and the action elements, while not awesome are fine enough.

But this episode we got something else again and I guess it adds to the overall mystery, I am just not sure what.

Geek, Takuya and Yuki are still heading toward Lost and Takuya is conveniently on the phone with the red-head from last week. Convenient because it means we can cut the phone off in a blast of static to show where they have crossed into the most recent phenomenon. And what is that? Well, we’re in a closed space with a time loop because an idol regrets breaking up with her group.

I’ve been wondering for a bit what the idol group have to do with anything given they’ve had a presence in the previous two episodes, but even after we spent most the episode on them, I still legitimately have no understanding of what they are contributing here. Two things did come out of this clearly. The first is that the group definitely disappeared during Lost and the second is that it seems like their producer knew they were going to disappear before it happened. How and why, who knows, but it is just another piece of information to process.

However, Takuya and Yuki then part ways with Geek who is mourning the fact that changing things inside the closed space didn’t actually change the past – good reason to bail on your friends – right before Takuya and Yuki are attacked by Yuki’s brother which results in her making things go boom.

It is difficult to say if I like this or not but at this point I’m intrigued. That said, it is intrigue that could easily tip into frustration if it is all disjointed without any gain so I guess we’ll see what episode 4 brings us.

Meanwhile, I’m going to ponder the tag for this anime: Where I End and You Begin.

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Episode 4

And now we’ve clearly moved into police procedural story as we follow a plucky lieutenant who had follower her father into the police force investigate the events surrounding Lost mostly due to personal interest with her father having been caught up in it. This is actually a pretty interesting episode as she gathers bits and pieces of information and ultimately links a chemical company to Yuki and Lost. However, we were warned members of the Agency were everywhere at the start of this episode, and that is proven true by the end.

On the bright side, okay it is a pretty dark kind of bright side, Takuya didn’t instantly bounce back from his injuries. He’s actually taken some fairly critical damage this time after being thrown off his bike, yet again, and then psychically beaten up. I’m amazed his arm is still functional but still he isn’t exactly brushing this one off without a scratch given he spends most the episode hospitalised.

Yuki also has some things to think about. You know, her thought to be dead brother being alive and psychotic, her existence leading to Takuya being injured, herself being used for medical experiments among other things. Honestly, Yuki is coping a lot better with all this than a lot of anime characters would and certainly significantly better than most people. However, once again we see that pretty much everyone who comes in contact with Yuki ends up in trouble given the police girl didn’t really have any leads left until Yuki opened up to her.

I don’t feel like this episode got us any closer to actual answers but it did do a lot to consolidate bits and pieces we’d heard before and dropped just enough new titbits to keep me wanting to know more. It is very effective at this whole bread crumb game. Though I’ll end up sorely disappointed if at some point I don’t end up with a loaf of bread.

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Review Episode 6

The first assignment.

Episode 6

Oh look, my guess was right. Episode 5 we’re told about demons with supernatural abilities and episode 6 of Demon Slayer brings us face to face with a demon who moves through water and can just kind of pop out of the ground or walls at will, and somehow has divided himself into three. It isn’t bad foreshadowing so much as just kind of telegraphed and lacking in any kind of build up, but that’s more or less the only fault I’m going to pick here and it is at least a consistent feature of this anime.

Nezuko now has her own custom suitcase to ride around in, or sleep in as the case may be, and while it looks too small for an actual human let’s just go with it. I wonder how much better and faster Tanjiro would be at fighting if he put the case down first before trying to fight. I mean at one point he was fighting a demon while holding a girl and carrying his sister on his back. That has to slow him down some.

That’s something a creepy stalker would say before locking you in a basement.

Just in case we thought his keen sense of smell was just a gimmick this episode uses it as an ongoing point as Tanjiro tracks the demon around town and ultimately uses scent to attack. The visuals of the red smoke for the demon’s scent are quite effective and at least it is a practical counter to an enemy you can’t see until it attacks.

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On that note, Tanjiro’s water based attacks look awesome this episode. Actually, the whole fight sequence was kind of fun, which is just as well because the tracking the demon and the fight took up the lion’s share of the screen time. There was one odd moment where the episode went to first person with Tanjiro’s sword waving in front of the audience that was a little jarring (and to be honest made me a bit queasy – there’s a reason I have no interest in trying virtual reality), but otherwise the visuals worked very well.

Lastly, Nezuko’s appearance at the end was more or less expected but still pretty awesome. I’m not entirely sure about the morality of hypnotising her and I’m pretty sure it would be narratively better if she just wanted to help others because of her attachment to her brother, but it does at least mean they don’t have to justify her actions as she fights demons.

Kimetsu no Yaiba continues to be entertaining and the quick pace of the story means there’s no time to be bored. While there’s not a huge amount of depth here it is working well enough.

He does look good in that uniform though.

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Review Episodes 5 + 6

Can a charming lead overcome annoying supporting characters?

Episode 5

Aru takes the full focus in episode 5 of Hitoribocchi and I’m going to be honest, that was a detriment to my enjoyment. Aru’s unfortunate gag has already run paper thin and this episode just finished it off entirely cementing her as my least favourite character within this story and largely just boring me in the process.

We start with her wearing a primary school backpack rather than carrying her middle-school bag. There’s more than a few questions raised by this. For instance, does she actually empty the entirety of her bag each night and then grab an empty bag to fill for school? That seems unlikely. Even more unlikely that she just has her whole primary backpack just lying around ready to be carried to school.

However, even if we toss logic off a cliff, the next steps in the gag are what utterly obliterate any goodwill I might have been willing to give it.

In an effort to show perfection to the class, Aru keeps volunteering to read and answer questions and things inevitably go wrong. You would think that she’d change tactic and just keep her head down, but she insists on drawing attention to herself.  That was annoying enough, but the following day she apparently manages to dress entirely in a primary school uniform. And not notice until she’s half-way to school.

Forget suspension of disbelief, here you would need to actually paralyse your thought processes to accept that as the groundwork for a joke.

Anyway, they tediously drag this out for a full twenty minutes with a tennis match thrown in for who knows what reason and then mercifully the episode ends. I just can’t find anything in this episode that was redeemable and on the back of the ninja episode Hitoribocchi is coming perilously close to getting dropped from my watch list.

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Episode 6

While certainly not as tedious as the previous episode, episode 6 of Hitoribocchi certainly isn’t making itself any more endearing by returning some of the focus to the inept class teacher who is still, for reasons utterly idiotic, afraid of Nako. So begins the set-up for the episode with Nako having failed a maths test and the teacher having to give her result back and the follow up concern that now she has to stay for extra lessons and can’t walk home with Bocchi.

The moments this episode focused on Bocchi and her growing group of friends trying to tutor and support Nako were okay. Not great or laugh out loud funny, but there’s a cute dynamic in the group of odd-balls and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that those parts were better. There were also some cute moments early in the episode where Bocchi was willing herself to get sick in order to avoid presenting a poem.

However, the moments that brought us back to the teacher were just kind of sad and to be honest I don’t get anything from her character other than a growing sense of annoyance.

For me, Hitoribocchi is becoming something of a chore to watch so I’m uncertain at this point whether I’ll finish it or not. It isn’t a broken anime that would appeal to no one, but it certainly isn’t appealing to me at this point and the few elements I find cute or amusing are being overwhelmed by elements that I find just kind of stupid, dull or lazy.

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RobiHachi Review Episodes 2 + 3

Ground Roots Space Tourism?

Episode 2

Want a giant robot that doesn’t have real weapons and then a visit to Mars where the people are octopuses only maybe they aren’t? This anime continues to be weirdly amusing even if the main conflict ended up being resolved by an incredibly heavy handed parody of the standard ‘be yourself’ message. I mean, they pushed that hard enough it almost went straight past parody and into the realm of not knowing whether or not they were actually being half serious.

Alright, so we pick up from last week with Robi and Hachi inside the transformed robot and bickering about who is the lower and who is the upper half. Somehow or another they escape, though when they tried to fire their weapon it just made a really bright light which seems a bit odd but is explained by the end of the episode. Then they run away but because of fuel issues they land on Mars which works in their favour.

The debt collector is really obsessed with getting Robi and is prepared to chase him to the ends of the galaxy and kind of figures where Robi intends to head and goes to head him off. What the debt collector didn’t count on was Robi having to make a stop so the end result is that for now at least Robi and Hachi have a bit of breathing room. I do find it interesting though that Hachi intends to follow through on his job of collecting the money from Robi even if he doesn’t appear to be in any rush to do that.

This one is really just easy, if bizarre, watching as Robi and Hachi do the tourist thing on Mars and weirdness follows. Hachi ends up arrested because he learns the secret about the octopus people and Robi goes on a date that takes a turn for the strange. Ultimately they meet back up and the episode ends with them heading off for what I guess will be their next random adventure and if the episode title is anything to go by we’ll end up on Pluto.

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Episode 3

Alright, from Mars to Pluto with the debt collectors a whole leg of the journey behind in RobiHachi this week. Now, neither Robi nor Hachi want to be on Pluto, however apparently they were so successful at helping out Mars tourism, the representatives of Pluto decided that forcing them to help with their PR was a great idea.

There’s a lot of silliness here involving old-time mascots, Robi’s general gullibility when it comes to girls and breasts, as well as a giant robot battle that essentially amounts to kids in a playground shouting their super-secret moves and counters at one another because no one is actually game to fight. As stupid as it all sounds, it actually works and ends up being pretty funny.

The favourite moment of the episode though has to go to the inhabitants of Pluto fiercely objecting to having Pluto downgraded from a planet to a planetoid and their argument that a day of the week should not be named after a moon but rather after Pluto. Either that or listening to the representative and his daughter try and list the actual appeals of Pluto which amount to not very much given it is a frozen hunk of space rock and in this case inhabited by the ugliest Penguin you ever did see.

What I do like is that despite the skit like nature of this anime where so far each episode has kind of had its set up and then finished it off, they keep making it clear where the journey is going next. At the end of this episode Robi and Hachi are about to leave the solar system and it turns out someone other than Robi’s debt collectors are tracking them. I’m betting it has something to do with Hachi given they were tracking his credit and we know Robi doesn’t have any, but I guess we’ll have to wait and find out who else is after them and why.

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Kono Oto Tomare Review Episode 5

A Triumphant Performance

Episode 5

Time for the performance episode. While the Vice Principal’s challenge continues to sit as the explanation for the extra tension on this first performance, other than two minor scenes where he is on screen, the episode prefers to frame the emotional growth of the group and particularly focuses on Kudo. Having Houzuki realise her mistaken impression of him and the two reconciling early in the episode and then having his back story interspersed throughout the performance as he realises the connections he’s made and who he wants to reach with his music makes this a pretty perfect episode.

There is of course the early final push for the club as Kono Oto Tomare drives toward the one month deadline with relenting force. They meet before school, practice at lunches, and continue to go to the music shop in the evening. It all looks nice and dedicated, though one has to wonder what is happening to the rest of their lives in the process given the sudden surge in hours given to the Koto. Such questions kind of kill the romance of the narrative so let’s just go with it.

Likewise the old woman’s advice that they need to put their feelings into the music now. It is the kind of advice that comes out in almost every music or artistically themed anime and while there’s an element of truth in it, it is hardly the main bit of advice someone who has been playing a month needs when they are about to perform a piece in public. As enchanting as it might be to think that feelings are carried by music, at that stage of learning technical proficiency is kind of needed far more. That isn’t a slight against this story, but I find this same old trope fairly dull at this point and while the performance is lovingly connected to Kudo’s emotional state making it actually relevant to the plot, the old woman’s speech was probably the low point of the episode for me outside of the vice principal’s relentless and incredibly pointless attack on the club.

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But such minor nitpicks and personal preferences mean nothing when an episode comes together as well as this one did and reaches a climactic moment for the club. Their first performance, while not flawless by any means, is truly a work to be reckoned with given the inexperience of many of the members. Their effort pays off as they perform, feel they are losing their way midway along, and then find a way to bring it back together. There’s no cause for complaint and even if the final flourish has their music symbolised as metaphoric dragons reaching out to the audience in what might be the most literal symbolism given what they decided the song was about, it feels like a perfect cap to the performance even if it is ultimately quite a cheesy idea.

I also came to the conclusion that the OP to this anime is one of my favourites of the season. Not sure yet if it is my favourite as I’ve been really pushing myself to try to catch up with the anime I missed while travelling so I haven’t paid a huge amount of attention to the OP’s and ED’s yet but as I’ve now settled into my viewing pattern for the season I’m starting to take more note and Kono Oto Tomare has a very nice opening

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Midnight Occult Civil Servants Review Episodes 5 + 6

The supernatural mystery grows.

I have to give Arata credit here for a very appropriate reaction.

Episode 5

Not sure how I feel about the Another of the week being Pandora. Not to mention, it was pretty obvious from her first appearance where they were going with it so the reveal of her name toward the end of the episode didn’t meet with quite the ‘ooh’ moment I think they were going for given Arata’s reaction.

Still, the set-up here is nice for a case-of-the-week kind of story with an urban legend about an elevator to a parallel world. I do feel they probably should have done more investigation to determine if anyone was missing prior to actually looking into supernatural origins but we’ll just go with it. The basic flow of this episode was fine as they introduced the problem, the investigators looked around, and then Arata and Sakaki trigger a condition and get taken in the elevator to another dimension.

The dimension itself is at first kind of awe inspiring and I can imagine if I’d ever gotten out of an elevator into such a place it would be shocking. But, it quickly becomes kind of dull. And as Arata and the Another prattle on making very little ground as mostly we’re just getting another emphasis of the fact that despite being able to understand their words, Arata really doesn’t get Another’s, nor does he really make much effort beyond asking her to stop what she’s doing. It isn’t as though he proposes an alternative or discusses why what she is doing might be a problem, merely insists it is.

This is where a stronger lead character, or at least a more interesting one, would come in handy because an actual debate about the morality here might have lead to an interesting exchange. Instead, while this all works, it remains decidedly average in execution and content.

Ultimately, this episode seems to serve little purpose other than adding a minor bit of backstory to one character and while it was enjoyable enough there was so much more potential here than it actually delivered on.

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Episode 6

With twelve episodes in this season (at least as far as MAL is concerned) we’ve hit the halfway point and I’m actually feeling optimistic about this series. Episode 6 brings together so many elements from the previous episodes to set up a new challenge for Arata and the team to deal with and it just did it in such an effortless manner.

This episode we learn that one of the girls they rescued previously in the zombie like episode has woken up and so Arata and Kyoichi go to interview her. So far so ordinary with them revisiting a victim now that she’s woken up. However we learn quickly that she wasn’t a recent kidnapping and despite looking like a teenager she should be well and truly older. We also learn a few details about her abduction, most notably the black sand, and then learn that she’s lost her ability to sing.

None of this is all that odd given some of the things we’ve seen from the Another’s and yet it means something to Kyoichi. Tragic back story time as the older member of the team fills Arata in on the his sister’s abduction when he was younger giving him a personal investment in the current situation.

While the civil servants are doing their thing though, Huehuecoyotl is busy setting up more mischief and we see that he ends up directing the kidnapper toward Arata’s friend, I’m assuming just for his own amusement.

Honestly, while the visuals remain pretty unimpressive and the animation is ordinary at best, I’m enjoying the way this story is rolling out and episode 6 has really managed to catch my attention and it feels like all of these characters have finally settled into their roles and now they can just get on with things rather than feeling forever like we’re getting introduced to stuff. It is a comfortable place to be in the mid-season and hopefully this means Midnight Occult Civil Servants will be able to pull together an interesting second half.

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