Another Cute Girls Beat Demon With A Time-Warp Twist

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro! Episode 1 Review

We see to be swimming in stories that take place after a final battle in recent times, though here’s a twist… they went back in time to before they beat the villain and the villain has gone back to but remembers that final battle. It all sounds kind of cool and fun and then we realise it is a slice of life story featuring a quartet of cute girls with the demon being transformed into a loli teacher for whatever reason.

Endro Episode 1

If we find out at the end that the only reason the heroes get strong enough to defeat the demon lord is because the demon lord was the one who trained them (though technically she’s trying to get them expelled), I’m probably going to be really annoyed at this.

Endro! Episode 1

All and all though, the first episode is pleasant. The characters are cute without becoming annoying and so far we haven’t had any random boob groping or the like (though we did get some ear nibbling and sleep talk plus the outfits of a couple of these girls are reminiscent of the uniforms in Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor).

Endro Episode 1

What might get annoying is the demon as the loli teacher. While she has the potential to be quite interesting as the only one aware of the time travel and what happened when the heroes confronted the demon lord, so far she’s kind of petty and pathetic and her schemes are transparent and juvenile. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to like here but she’s certainly the weakest link for me so far.

While I’m not 100% sold on this one if it comes down to a choice this season of watching this or Ueno-San I will definitely pick this without hesitation.

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Karandi James
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SEISHUN BUTA YAROU WA BUNNY GIRL SENPAI NO YUME WO MINAI 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: SAKURAJIMA MAI
SEISHUN BUTA YAROU WA BUNNY GIRL SENPAI NO YUME WO MINAI 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: SAKURAJIMA MAI

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Is It Time For the Team To Get It Together?

Tsurune Episode Reviews

Tsurune Episode 12 Review

Tsurune as a sports anime has remained a bit of an oddity. Sure the boys do spend a lot of time drawing their bows and practising but realistically whether they win or lose in this tournament has been made utterly irrelevant by their character journeys and their own desire for self-improvement. Seo, as the only female character getting any kind of time with archery, says herself after getting knocked out that she’s satisfied that the result reflects her current level of ability and leaves it at that.

Last week the episode left us with the bomb-shell that Masaki had been in a car accident and after a tense week of waiting and hand wringing to find out if he was okay, the start of this episode leaves us with a big, we don’t know. It’s a realistic answer but it means that stomach squirmy feeling that we’ve had all week while waiting to find out what has happened continues and it colours every sequence of the tournament until the end when they finally tip their hand (note to every other anime ever, this is how you use an emotional cliff-hanger).

Tsurune Episode 12 - Seiya is best boy

That makes the reasonably mundane events of this episode all take on a certain urgency and whether it is Minato’s initial plunge into self-blame immediately cut off by Seiya (who after his own brief bout of self-pity a few episodes ago has come back even stronger as best boy). But it is the girls, whose names I don’t even remember because they’ve had so little to do in this series and so little development, that actually really step up to the plate when the boys are all staring at their phones and panicking. It is a fantastic scene and one that was definitely needed. It also really makes me wish the female characters got to be more than emotional support or commentators more often in this series even though I know the focus is the male team.

Tsurune Episode 12
You rock even though I cannot remember what your name is.

Kaito then tries to rally them and reminds them to use what Masaki has taught them in the tournament. This gets them motivated but they still struggle through the early rounds. Ultimately it is an insight by Minato that turns it all around but as usual his poor communication skills almost blow the team apart (fortunately he holds his ground and makes himself heard).

Tsurune Episode 12 - Kaito

The final round of shooting this episode is a sight to behold and it is one of those moments in anime where you can cry an cheer simultaneously with the episode ending out on the team and audience finally finding out what is up with Masaki before the episode ends. With one episode left to go, I’m just kind of hoping this gets a follow up series though all things considered I don’t know that it will. I do know that I’ve loved following this anime this season and I love this team.

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Karandi James
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TSURUNE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
TSURUNE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

A Comedy About A Broken Philosophy on Love and Romance

Kaguya Sama: Love is War Post Title

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Episode 1 Review

Warning: Minor rant in-coming. You can skip to the review in the third paragraph if you don’t want to deal with my personal hang-ups.

I watched the opening narration of this anime and was left feeling kind of annoyed. The narrator spouting that tired garbage about love being a competition and that someone will be dominant in a relationship and the other submissive. Utter and complete dribble spouted without context over still and panning shots of high school students as though this idea applies to everyone and all relationships. And that was really the part that made it as annoying as it was. They were generalising their statements to encompass all relationships.

Kaguya-Sama Love Is War Episode 1 - Shirogane

Clearly though, I watched the whole episode or I wouldn’t be reviewing it. I firmly believe you could take the scissors to the entire opening narration without actually harming the anime in any meaningful way and we can get rid of that completely ridiculous (at best – potentially harmful more likely) generalisation. However when we actually get on with the specific case this anime is looking at, with two of the single most petty characters in all existence who kind of like each other (or maybe like the idea of the other) but won’t confess because whoever confesses first will lose, the end result isn’t that bad.

Kaguya Sama Love is War Episode 1 Shinomiya

Because clearly ending up in an actual relationship rather than a stand-off should be considered a loss. Okay, I’m not going to try to work my way through the mine-field of horrible ideas about romance this anime has in it. I’m actually just going to go with the obvious, this is a work of fiction and these are characters. So the only question left would be, is it entertaining?

To which the answer would be: surprisingly, yes. Very. For a comedy based around an idea I find fairly repulsive that got off on the wrong foot before it even started around characters I find to be really unpleasant human beings, I actually really had fun by the time this ended.

Kaguya Sama Love is War Episode 1

The episode presents three scenarios where the two leads essentially try to manoeuvre the other into confessing their love and the set ups and the way the situations play out are quite innovative and interesting. The exaggeration of the character reactions as they feel they are losing the upper hand works well, as do their smug expressions when they think they are going to win. While the narrator remains an intrusive presence at times, at others they provide fairly needed insight, and the inner monologues of the characters thinking through their actions are amusing.

Kaguya Sama Love is War Episode 1

It works. I just don’t know that I’d be describing this as a romance of any description (even a comedic one) given even if these two end up together I’m not going to find that overly romantic. Probably more tragic that these two manipulators would then be trapped by their own pride in a self-destructive relationship.

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Karandi James
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HIMOUTO! UMARU-CHAN THE THING WHICH UMARU WEARS AT HOME
HIMOUTO! UMARU-CHAN THE THING WHICH UMARU WEARS AT HOME

The Will To Keep A Smile Shining

The Price of Smiles Post Title Image

The Price of Smiles Episode 2 Review

The Price of Smiles plunges us headfirst into the war this week. While learning that Joshua has been deliberately keeping the Princess in the dark we also see the lengths he will go to in order to see her smile. And yet…

The Price of Smiles Episode 2

There just seems to be a small hole in the whole plan here. Given the military are currently losing the war against the empire you would think sooner or later the Princess is going to notice pieces of her kingdom getting overrun. Not to mention the costs associated with maintaining all those units and the death and injury of the soldiers. Joshua is just a little misguided and what worries me more is that everyone else in the entire Kingdom seems to be playing along with it.

The Price of Smiles Episode 2 - Joshua

Though, because of this, the end of the episode didn’t hit with anywhere near the impact it should have. It seemed obvious this set up was flawed and couldn’t be maintained and if you thought about how the cruellest way would be to make the Princess aware of the situation you could probably nail the end of this episode. It still works and it still sets up a dramatic turning point, but emotionally you were more waiting for it to happen rather than shocked by it.

The Price of Smiles Episode 2 - Joshua

That said, we do get a brief moment at the very end where the second character who is dancing about the opening sequence finally shows up. It will be interesting to see where this story chooses to go next week now that we’ve thoroughly broken the Princess’ smile. Or will she just bravely soldier on with her usual cheeriness because people expect it of her? So many possibilities and we might just cut to the other group altogether.

The Price of Smiles Episode 2 - Yuuki

I’m honestly not hugely into this show and yet at the same time I am intrigued by the possibilities so they’ve managed to get me very interested even if the execution and characters have so far been just okay (there really isn’t much to criticise it just doesn’t really grab me either).

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Karandi James
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TO ARU MAJUTSU NO INDEX III 1/7 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: MIKOTO MISAKA
TO ARU MAJUTSU NO INDEX III 1/7 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: MIKOTO MISAKA

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 2 With Irina and Karandi: We’re Making New Friends

The Morose Mononokean Post Title

The Morose Mononokean is back for its second episode and that means Irina and I are back to discuss what’s new for Abeno and Hanae as we pick up from that surprise first episode cliffhanger.

I was looking forward to this episode. Not so much because the cliffhanger had me on the edge of my seat but I find the Morose Mononokean universe comfy and cozy. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon as the outside world is grey, windy and freezing!

I agree, definitely a great way to spend some time (morning for me but given it’s already in the high thirties and just getting hotter, I’m not leaving the air conditioning today).

The Morose Mononokean - Hanae

I wasn’t really surprised to learn that Hanae wasn’t really in danger (while it was possible it didn’t seem likely this early on). Then again, given how season one dealt with its cliffhangers I wasn’t really surprised this one diffused pretty quickly. What I did like was that even though the threat more or less sorted itself out, we transitioned very quickly into seeing Hanae helping find the gold-shiny thing and this linked back to his previous efforts at finding a ring. Hanae has some odd quirks and eventually they are going to have to explain why a seemingly normal human can pull this kind of thing off.

The Morose Mononokean - Hanae finding the ring

The one thing I didn’t like was that the episode felt the need to flash back to Hanae finding the ring. Realistically most people watching this will have seen the first season and that was a moment that stood out for Hanae because it was particularly strange. Then again, how did you feel about it, Irina?

Actually, I appreciated it. I had quite liked that episode in the first season but I probably wouldn’t have recalled it if it weren’t for the flash back. Since it was just a short scene, I really didn’t find it dragged down the narrative at all.

What struck me most was the disconnect between the beast and it’s voice. I really didn’t match it’s looks and for some reason I loved it. Just hearing that sightly whiny bored tone coming out of a regal liger made me happy. I could no longer take him seriously but that’s ok.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Hanae and Beast

I have to agree about the voice. At first I was wondering who was talking and then I realised it was the beast.

Of course, regardless of what we end up learning about Hanae he is a complete goof. The Goro Express moment is an excellent example of Hanae at his silliest though it does get him where he needs to go. I was actually surprised when the whole delivery seemed pretty straight forward. I kind of expected more from the actual handover of the document.

I don’t know if you’ve had dogs growing up. To be honest I was an adult when I got my first dog but Buddy is pretty big and I’m pretty small so he does come up roughly to my waist. If I could ride him I would never walk again. I have Neverending Story envy.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Hanae riding the beast

Yes the hand off was very easy….suspiciously easy…. The again, he is on the authority of the legislator and that may carry some weight.

Maybe. The Legislator continues to be a great character in the show. It is so hard to know how seriously we should be taking him and whether or not things work out for him by coincidence or really careful planning and manipulation. His interactions with Abeno are great because Abeno is usually such a hard character to read because he’s either stoic or annoyed (usually at Hanae). When the Legislator is playing with him though we see a somewhat wider range of responses.

I think we discover more about Abeno and Rippou when they’re not together. We don’t quite know the end game here. A lot of Yokai seem antagonistic to humans which is why Hanae has to be so careful so I wonder where the Legislator actually stands. Asking a question like *if you could save only one, would it be Yokai or Human? Is super ominous. Does he think it may come to that?

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Rippou (The Legislator)

The again, they are framing the story to make him appear sympathetic for the most part.

That question is a little bit leading only I have no idea where it is going.

I wasn’t overly sold on the Hanae getting sick at the end as a final complication for the episode though. It did give Abeno an excuse to leave to fetch something to fix him which allowed the conversation between the two yokai, but it just felt really contrived to me.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Abeno looking at Hanae

I actually thought he was faking it for a while. I also wondered why Abeno felt it necessary to put on a tie to run to the convenience store. The whole scene was a bit unbalanced but I did enjoy the party leading up to it.

I always loved the running gag of Shizuku being jealous of Hanae because Koura wants to use his body parts for medicine. It’s so delightfully weird.

Delightfully weird is an excellent description.

Then we get that final moment with the other yokai discussing the new employee. I wonder if Hanae’s life is about to get more interesting?

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 - yokai

I bet it is. That final yokai we saw only in silhouette was considerably more threatening than what we usually get from this show. They might be ramping up the stakes a bit and I’m here for it.

The final thing I want to raise was that Fuzzy was absolutely adorable this episode. Much like Platelet sightings during Cells at Work, I could happily watch this show just for Fuzzy moments. Is there anything else you want to look at?

This episode was clearly a setup for the future events of the season. I don’t have much to say about it out of context like this. I did however get a few random thoughts while watching:

  • Although Yahiko isn’t the cutest little fox yokai I’ve seen, he’s still pretty darn cute.
  • “Hindsight” isn’t really that complicated a word
  • Where did the tail ring go when the beast transformed into a humanoid form? Just curious….
The Morose Mononokean - Beast in human form

That’s all I have!

Although this wasn’t the most eventful episode it still served the story well. I am looking forward to next week as I was to this. I also realized that it was over before I knew it which is always a good sign.

All three of your random points make perfect sense, particularly the one about the tail ring. I was definitely wondering where that went.

I’m with you in that I’m definitely looking forward to next week with this anime.

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Karandi James
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Fukigen na Mononokean Tsuzuki (Anime) Intro Theme
Fukigen na Mononokean Tsuzuki (Anime) Intro Theme

This Fairy Tale Oozes A Lack of Imagination

Grimms Notes Post Title Image

Grimms Notes Episode 1 Review

Fractured fairy tales are hardly a new thing and retellings of these old tales have occurred forever as they first got passed down orally before being committed to paper and spreading even further. We’ve seen modern franchises use an array of fairy tale characters in new and interesting ways to produce shows and movies that are fun and kind of inspired. And we’ve also seen the hack jobs where people think just throwing a standard character at us with a minor twist counts as a stroke of genius.

Grimms Notes Episode 1

Unfortunately, Grimms Notes in episode 1 seems like it is going to fall into the latter category as we have a Cinderella who apparently casts magic spells by some poor jiggling on glass slippers, an Alice that is a front line sword fighter, a Robin Hood who so far has only exhibited one definable personality trait and that is an obsessions with guns, and lastly a Goliath for whatever reason. They aren’t all Grimms characters and even if they were they are more or less re-imagined by someone who only had the vaguest of notions of what the character was like in the first place so outside of the name you may as well just chuck the rest of the reference off a cliff.

Grimms Notes Episode 1

However, a lack of authenticity, creativity, or decent innovation (as opposed to just changing the heck out of something) on an old property probably wouldn’t be enough for me to have walked away from this episode with such a sour taste in my mouth. No, that taste was reserved strictly for the banal dialogue and illogical plot. When about two thirds of the way through the episode you realise who the villain is, all I could think was, I hope she wins. Honestly, her motivation makes perfect sense and the idea that somehow all these characters should adhere to their books of fate strictly and without variation is just kind of problematic as a theme. While the reason for it has yet to be explained, it just makes the team we’re supposed to think are the heroes seem like a bunch of pedantic jerks.

Grimms Notes Episode 1
And I’ll do it even if she didn’t need to get eaten in the first place.

On top of all of that, it is just dull. As I said, we’ve seen fractured fairy tales many a time so without bringing anything particularly new or interesting to the table, this one needed some really solid execution and while it is ‘fine’, it isn’t exactly noteworthy. While I will watch another episode and hope that perhaps the actual main characters find a way to make me believe that they are actually doing something worth doing, this one isn’t getting off to a great start.

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Karandi James
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GRIMMSNOTES ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK
GRIMMSNOTES ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Disorderly and Dull, Perhaps The Worst Things For A Story To Be

Boogiepop wa Warawanai post title image

When a writer chooses to tell a story out of sequence there really should be some kind of reason other than there was an absence of any other narrative hook. Despite the desperate attempt to grab the audience through narrative devices, Boogiepop has fallen pretty flat with its first arc.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 3
Yes, we get that, but have you considered making it something interesting?

And I don’t say that to suggest that writers shouldn’t play with narrative structure or that a story told out of sequence can’t be entertaining. But essentially, Boogiepop wa Warawanai has so far confused and bored it’s audience, started to become clearer and introduce some intrigue, before showing its hand and wrapping things up in a neat little bow. All this begs the question was whether or not the story would have been equally as ineffectual if it had been told in order?

Boogiepop wa Warawanai episode 3
We have a man-eating monster on the loose and a potential alien and the story is still this dull. How did you manage it, Boogiepop?

Even leaving aside the plot, after three episodes we have zero characters to really get behind or that we know anything of significance about, the atmosphere is pretty placid though I guess maybe they are going for a still and mysterious tone (missing it if that is what they are going for), and they wrapped up the only mystery they’d presented worth caring about because the over-arching who or what is Boogiepop doesn’t really interest me. And why should it? They’ve done nothing to make me think that it will be a significant reveal.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 3
I wonder how many people will watch the next episode?

By the end of next week I’ll have decided my watch list for the season (though it does move a little after that), and at this point I can’t say that Boogiepop wa Warawanai will be on it. It’s done too little to interest me and it isn’t even something that will be fun to pull apart each week and complain about. Mostly because it is committing the worst of story crimes: it’s boring.

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Karandi James
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Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)
Boogiepop Omnibus Vol. 1-3 (Light Novel)