The One’s Within Review Episode 2

Mashing Genres For No Apparent Purpose

Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu] Episode 2

While episode 2 of The One’s Within doesn’t really get us any closer to knowing the who, what or why of the situation, I do like that at least some of the players are open to testing how the mechanics of the game they find themselves in work. It makes sense that views come from more than just participating in the games and finding ways to use that to their advantage as well as finding other potential loop-holes may very well be what keeps this anime afloat.

That they demonstrated this while sending two of the girls to an outdoor hot spring is the kind of fan-service that makes sense. It serves a narrative purpose while providing the audience of the anime with those lingering shots of girls in a hot spring without actually showing anything thanks to the miracle of non-transparent water and unmoving hair that must be duct taped to conveniently cover breasts. Of course they’ll get more views if they are bathing, though we still don’t know who is watching these gamers in the first place.

They also gave us a bit of time to get to know the group dynamic that is forming before four players nominate to take part in the next game. I do like that not all of them are required to be helpful or involved in every situation. Asking the whole group to cooperate on every challenge would be overkill and difficult to make interesting and so narrowing the focus down seems an efficient way of dealing with each situation.

Of course, that’s more or less where the positives for The One’s Within end as to be honest this is fairly disorganised sequences with a cast of characters who seem to be determined to stick to their trope regardless of the situation. The angry boy threatening to kill everyone is already getting old two episodes in and really all of the characters are kind of suffering from being incredibly one note so far.

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SWORD ART ONLINE 1/7 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: ASUNA YUUKI SWIMSUIT VER.

The game itself, raising a girl and then getting her together with the most popular guy in school, is not inherently interesting, though they are pulling out all the stops to be zany and weird for the sake of it. Like the llama headed guy giving the instructions. Seemingly purposeless weirdness so they can point out how random and cool this all is.

Well, panda school girl baking cup-cakes doesn’t make the scenario any more interesting and the fact that she was crushing on one of the team members but they didn’t ultimately pursue that plot line at all just smacked of a wasted opportunity. This seems like it will remain watchable and there’s a potentially really interesting story here is they ever do anything with it, but so far it is sending up a lot of red flags for being a mess and probably not even a hot one by the time the season is over.

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Karandi James
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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Review Episode 15

Demon Slayer’s Stock is Plummeting

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 15

Yeah, this one is going down fast. I am starting to actually hate the dynamic between the main three boys and as we waste 8 minutes of the episode watching them chase each other around in a circle or go through petty squabbles before we get into the meat of the episode, facing the spider demon on the mountain, I spent most of the first half of this episode wondering if it was time to drop this from the watch list.

Nezuko’s big entrance ruined by this idiocy.

Now once they get onto the mountain, and leave Zenitsu sitting on the road feeling sorry for himself, and encounter another demon slayer and are fighting other demon slayers being controlled by puppets, it actually improves a great deal. Tanjiro is in his element, which is to say in over his head and frantically trying to catch up. That’s where his character is most fun.

The boar head guy, who I will learn the name of after he stops annoying me every time he opens his mouth, also gets less annoying once the fight begins but still acts idiotically as he stabs spiders with his sword despite already being told that was fairly pointless. About the only useful thing he does is locate the demon controlling the spiders and even then I’m not really buying Tanjiro’s argument that he couldn’t have found her sooner or later.

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However, turns out this one isn’t going to be a simple case of find and kill the demon given there’s more than one demon on this mountain. Certainly taking out the puppet master is a must but it doesn’t seem like it will end there. We also get a couple of older demon slayers getting sent to the mountain so maybe things will get kicked up a notched in the next episode.

Still, from episode 11 my enjoyment of Demon Slayer has been on a sharp decline. The introduction of new characters was rough and to be honest they’ve killed a lot of the enjoyment of the anime since their arrival. I was hoping they would settle down a bit and that I’d get drawn back into the show but the opposite seems to be happening. I’ll give it a little longer but right now this one is definitely not something I now have to see as soon as it comes out. I’m very happy to wait, watch some other stuff, and get back to this one.

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Arifureta: From Common Place to World’s Strongest Review Episode 2

Have They Managed To Get Anything Right?

Arifureta Episode 2

It is rare that I watch a show when I have pretty much no positives to discuss. Yet Arifureta falls into a very weird space where I feel oddly compelled to continue watching mostly just to see whether they ever manage to reveal the potential of the story in the light novels while at the same time I’m just weirdly fascinated that clearly the people who have adapted this do not understand at all what readers enjoyed about the story.

After the first episode aired, there were so many comparisons made in reviews of Arifureta to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, but the thing is, other than both being isekai there really isn’t all that much that is similar about them beyond superficial genre elements. Yet you can’t actually blame them for the comparison given the anime version of Arifureta just seems like a failed attempt at a grim version of Slime. And that’s kind of appalling for a whole bunch of reasons.

Hajime would like a word with the writers of the anime.

However, even ignoring the source that is being adapted and just looking at this anime, two episodes in and it is pretty bleak. Not just because of lack of contrast in the scenes within the cave that make it almost impossible to distinguish what is happening, though way to save on drawing backgrounds.

This week we get a little bit more of a flashback about how the class ended up in another world but the characterisation is a simple matter of one liners from a few of the more prominent students with the teacher wailing in the background. Not one of these people comes across as an actual person. They are stand-ins for characters that might eventually develop in the space they are occupying but they’ve yet to do anything two episodes in.

Then we have our protagonist, Hajime. Putting aside the fact that I really feel they’ve butchered his character arc as presented in the light novels beyond salvation, I’d probably accept a different Hajime except that the one presented here is incredibly boring. His transformation was instantaneous last week and this week we see none of his struggle in these incredibly tough levels. Instead we get a simple montage of him knocking off monster of the week type creatures (only he covers it all in one episode) and now we’re fifty floors further down and knocking on the golden haired vampire girls’ door. Mostly it feels like no one writing the anime had any interest in actually developing their protagonist, or even cared for a moment if he came across as anything other than a stand in, so long as they could get to the naked vampire.

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Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest (Light Novel) Vol. 1

So was the naked vampire girl worth getting to? Not so far. Other than a few wispy lines of dialogue that sketch out a minimal back story she’s had no time to do anything. While Yue was a really great character in the source I’m not holding my breath at this point given the treatment the rest of the cast have gotten.

But she’ll look cute in all the promotional videos.

Arifureta may easily take the crown for most disappointing anime of the year. However, even if we removed any expectations readers had going in, this one isn’t even managing to hold its own against the rest of the isekai this season. It has so far been a bland and dull affair taking two episodes to jump through huge amounts of exploration and character levelling up but not taking any time to actually make us feel anything for a single character in the show.

All and all, this one is a train wreck of the highest order and it isn’t going to fall into the so bad it is amusing category. I can assure you, I’m not amused. Bemused, maybe, by how you take this story and make it this boring. I’d have settled for being a generic and fairly lame isekai over this effort.

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Dr Stone Review Episode 2

Stand Back: He’s Going To Try Science

Dr Stone Episode 2

They have an opportunity to rebuild the world but do they want to rebuild the world they had? It is an interesting question that comes up at the end of this second episode and one that certainly builds a lot of tension going forward as the more people Senkuu and Taiju wake up the more opinions they are going to have to deal with.

Episode 2 of Dr Stone has the duo setting out to wake up Yuzuriha, Taiju’s potential love interest. However, Taiju hesitates and decides they need to take her back to camp and make sure they have clothes for her before they do that. Naturally this then opens up opportunity for them to be attacked by lions. I’m really glad Taiju asked why there were lions in Japan because I was a bit confused by that one as well.

On the run, the two wake up another student instead, one that Taiju believes will be good at fighting. Turns out he is excessively good at it and takes the lion out in one punch and spends most of the rest of the episode pummelling wildlife. However, as I said before, more people mean more opinions and Shishiou has some big opinions about the world they left behind.

One thing I noticed while collecting a few screen caps this week is how many scenes look very much the same. I know we only have a few characters so far and the backgrounds so far have either been forest or beach but the number of close to medium shots of one of the characters with a generic foresty background behind them is a little absurd.

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Then again, we have a guy who punches lions, another guy who tears around the beach collecting shells like he’s some kind of robotic vacuum cleaner, and a guy who is smart enough to go from shells to soap and concrete almost in an instant so I’m guessing they aren’t super huge on realism even if a lot of the explanations make sense.

Of course, Senku’s slip-up, or decision to withhold one of the uses of the shells from the others seems fairly prudent given the situation, but it doesn’t seem like our new human society is off to a good start if three people can’t see eye to eye and are already keeping secrets from one another.

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Fruits Basket Review Episode 15

A Walk By The Lake

Fruits Basket Episode 15

I think this is the first time when I genuinely preferred how the episode was handled in the older anime compared to this one. While this anime has taken a slightly different approach, for the most part I’ve found the changes are in the story’s favour however this week I found the episode somewhat lacking and I can’t even really figure out what was really missing.

Shigure decides they should go on a trip for Golden Week and cons Tohru into agreeing so naturally Kyo and Yuki are coming along. Hattori is coming as the driver and they are all off to the lake. While it might seem like Shigure is being nefarious, and he does kill several birds with one stone here as he’s messing with his editor and manipulating the younger generation but he’s also demonstrating that he does genuinely look out for Hattori.

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Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1

The return of Hattori’s situation with Kana is quite welcome and by far the strongest part of this episode as with Aya’s arrival at the cabin we see the three old friends together and both Aya and Shigure support Hattori as best they can. There’s a nice contrast of the old generation and the new and the hopes they have that Kyo and Yuki won’t end up emotionally broken however what Hattori has taken out of all of this is hope and trust in Tohru.

The less interesting parts involve Kyo and Yuki as they walk Tohru to the lake and bicker. Something felt lacking from these scenes and overall nothing really came from the situation. After the emotionally wrenching episode last week this one really lacked punch and while in a binge watch it will certainly serve as a nice breather, as a stand alone episode it just doesn’t have the strength of other episodes Fruits Basket has delivered.

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Uchi no Musume Review Episode 2

Tilt Your Head And Say ‘Aww’

If It’s For My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord Episode 2

This one is definitely going for the super cutesy and doing everything possible to present Latina as the most adorable demon daughter ever. For the most part they are even succeeding even if it is a rather heavy handed attempt at ‘aw’ inducing moments.

For Dale, Kenneth and Rita (the two who run the tavern) there’s a real sense that this is a honeymoon period for taking in a child. Dale in particular is a little besotted by his cute acquisition and it is difficult to tell if he is treating her as a daughter or a particularly clever pet at times. His concern for her wellbeing is genuine even if a little over the top and his fear when he goes missing is one I’m sure most parents could relate to.

What really kind of over does it is Latina herself who seems far too aware for a child her age. While she’s been through a lot, her ongoing consistent efforts at being helpful and obedient are a little too on the nose and while plenty of young children might like to be helpful at times they also get bored and distracted.

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If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord: Volume 1

I did really like that the crisis this episode was a very human one that any parent with a child might go through and had nothing to do with Latina being a demon with a broken horn. I’m sure we’ll get some development on that but at the moment the trials of a new parent-child relationship are more than enough drama to fuel the story and it is nice that Uchi no Musume seems to be taking the time to establish this relationship.

Overall, this one may end up being a little too saccharine for my liking but at the moment I’m still finding it pretty cute.

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DanMachi Review Season 2 Episode 1 – Bell Can Find Trouble Anywhere

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Irina, you’re going to have to give me a few minutes to finish dancing, cheering, and maybe performing a cartwheel or two because I’m just that happy to see ‘Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?’ (which I will forever now just write DanMachi for) is back for a second season. I loved the first season so much and I’ve been devouring the light novels which means I’m super anticipating what this season will bring us.

Waiting…waiting… Actually, imagining Karandi dancing around like a little girl in her living room is pretty fun. I could do this all day. I quite enjoy writing out Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? It’s a very fun title and what drew me into the series the very first time I heard about it. In a showing at an anime convention. I’m glad it’s back to but I’m thinking you’re going to be the cheerleader on this one. My feelings are a bit more neutral.  

I will admit that this first episode of the season is a lot of set-up and feels a little bit slow in places. We start with a kind of lack-lustre fight in the dungeon which doesn’t really show what this series can bring us in the action department. However, what it does establish is that Bell, Welf, Lily and the addition of Mikoto are a fine team in the middle levels of the dungeon and monsters that were previously terrifying and hard to combat are now fairly routine provided they are careful. So while it isn’t the most exciting opening it does nicely establish where the characters are currently sitting. What did you think?

I was sort of playing catch-up. Bell and Lily are well established and I knew exactly who they were. I have a soft spot for Welf so I remembered him as well but I honestly had no clue who Mikoto was and what her relationship to the rest of the party was. I’m currently watching Log Horizon so dungeon fighting scenes are pretty common in my life these days but it was fine. Like you say, nothing that special but you gotta start somewhere.

It did remind me how much I enjoy the simple but cute character designs though! 

The bar fight was quick and brutal which clearly it is supposed to be. I know I found it really silly in the books that Bell gave in to that provocation and I found it equally silly here but it does get the ball rolling. Bete’s intervention disguised as being annoyed and his comment to Bell that he shouldn’t be cocky was nicely delivered. It is amazing that all up Bete has probably barely been in the anime for an episode and yet he usually leaves a lasting impression, though it is a mixed offering of good and bad impressions. I guess he’s just the kind of guy who does what he wants and damn everyone else and sometimes that works out and other times he comes off like a jerk. How did you see it?

I have not read the books but I found it in character for Bell to stand up for Hestia. His greatest weakness is his goddess and he’s always been pretty adamant about protecting her reputation. It’s the one stupid thing he does. Bell does run the risk of turning into a Mary Sue (Gary Stu) pretty easily so having him blindly hot-headed on a topic gives a bit of complexity to his character. I don’t dislike it.As for Bete, I think it may be the character design. I tend to remember silver wolf boys even if they don’t do very much… Then again I also have a soft spot for Bete. Hmmm, it seems I like the gruff guys in Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Then again, I also like Hermes so make of that what you will.

Hermes is fantastic. I love how he literally messes with everyone and then pretends he doesn’t do a thing.

However, then Hestia finally arrived in the episode and it felt like the anime finally kicked into gear. I love how she scolded Bell even while treating his injuries and fussing over him. Hestia and Bell’s relationship remains really complicated as she does treat him as a child but also flirts horrendously with him and gets incredibly jealous. Hestia and Loki’s reaction to Bell dancing with Ais at the part was hilarious and I love that Asfi just kind of tucked them both under her arms like they were out of control children and ignored their complaints.

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IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? ARROW OF THE ORION 1/7 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: HESTIA

I had forgotten just how intense the fanservice is. I suppose in many ways Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? shares a lot of tropes with harem anime so this would be in keeping with that. 

I do like Loki a lot. I think it’s fun whenever she’s on-screen. And as I mentioned I like Hermes as well.  I know enough about Greek mythology to be able to draw some parallels but I’m still a little fuzzy on the workings of Gods and their place in the DanManchi (I gave in) universe. Seeing so many of them together is always fun for me and having their “children” there as well, changes the interactions. I liked the ball scene a lot more than everything that came before it.

I kind of stopped trying to make real mythological parallels with the characters because it isn’t all the accurate and it kind of bugged me the very first time I watched the first anime. I made the decision to just assume that other than some vague correlations to the myths these characters were all their own.

As a first episode of the new season we had some new characters introduced with Daphne and Cassandra delivering the invitation to Apollo’s party and Apollo himself at the party as well as other members of the Apollo familia. We also got reunited with Freya and her minion (whose name I never do remember), Loki, Ais, Hermes and various other gods, goddesses and their children. The party is actually a good way for us to have a quick visit with each of the main players without lingering for too long and it served the purpose of getting the ball rolling for what is clearly going to be the first arc of this season.

A red-headed Apollo just melted my brain a tiny bit. As a concept.  couldn’t quite explain why exactly but it looked off and every time I saw him, it bugged me a little.  

Visually there wasn’t a lot of action in this episode and as normal DanMachi is kind of just okay during the rest of the scenes. There’s some fairly sketchy backgrounds and background characters with no faces in a few scenes and while it all generally works it isn’t exactly the prettiest anime out there. Hopefully once we get to some of the fights we see some cool visuals because season one set a fairly high standard with the Minotaur fight and I’d love to see something of that level again.

Like I said, I quite like the character design in DanManchi and was happy to see it intact and well. The ball gowns were a bit disappointing in that I was hoping for some ridiculously elaborate affair, maybe à la Black Butler. I was also a touch let down that the used stills during the dancing scene. 

On the other hand, I honestly hadn’t noticed anything amiss the backgrounds and faceless extras have become so commonplace that my brain hardly registers them anymore. Visually I liked it. The sound design was ok and the vice acting decent.

Otherwise this episode was exactly what I wanted, more DanMachi. I’m really excited for the next episode and while this isn’t the slickest production coming out this season, this was definitely the anime I was waiting for. It would have to take a fair mis-step for me to dislike it and honestly there’s nothing here to dislike. For fans of DanMachi it continues the story well and sets up what it needs to set up. Your final thoughts, Irina?

As an episode in and of itself, I thought it was ok. Nothin that special really. As a set-up I liked it. This war game declaration at the end caught my interest and I want to know where it goes. That’s all you really want out of a first episode so I can’t complain!

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Irina and Karandi