WorldEnd Episode 11

Review:

I’ve definitely come to the conclusion during the course of watching this show that Willem is an idiot. A well intentioned, hard working, fairly knowledgable, idiot. He’s already understood that things don’t work out for him and that the world is not that kind. He’s already come to terms with failing to succeed at something even when he sets his mind to it. And yet, for some reason he seems to think that making grandiose promises with the girl he’s been treating like a child will somehow result in a happy future for anyone.

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The only positive to come out of this is that Willem’s inner voice manifests himself as a younger version of Willem and essentially tears apart the flimsy rationales that Willem’s been clinging to. Go tiny Willem delusion.

And then they seem determined to throw us into a final battle like sequence even though there’s been pretty much no build up, we don’t actually know why there are so many beasts attacking, and the second airship broke and they couldn’t escape quickly because you know, plot.

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As much as The Royal Tutor has been a pleasant surprise this season, WorldEnd has mostly been a downward spiral of disappointment, made worse by what it could have been. Anyway, one episode to go.

WorldEnd is available on Crunchyroll.


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The Silver Guardian Series Review

Overview:

The synopsis on Crunchyroll tells me this is the story of Suigin saving Riku Rei. It kind of starts that way from about episode 2 to episode 4 or 5. After that I’m not so sure even the writers knew what this show was actually about. I reviewed this show weekly so if you are interested in my episode thoughts click here.

Review:

While I will admit this show is not as toxic as something along the lines of Hand Shakers, it must be said that this is probably my second biggest regret for the year that I didn’t just drop it at episode 1. Part of me kept hoping this would turn into something like Spiritpact and build on its strengths recovering from a poor first episode, and while the first half of the series certainly showed promise, the second half just kind of gave up caring.

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But rather than just hit out with poor comparisons and the like, I should probably review the show itself. The problem is, I don’t have much to say because everything is still kind of in introductory mode even though we’re 12 episodes in. A season 2 is apparently on the cards (why I do not know) but it isn’t until next year and by them I’m pretty sure nobody is going to remember this even came out.

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Keeping it simple then, let’s look at characters. Suigin is the main character and he is generic, nice protagonist model C with a side dish of poor student / obsessed gamer just in case we didn’t think he had any distinguishing traits. Oh, and he wears a red scarf. This seems significant in episode 1 and in the opening but never after that.

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Riku Rei starts out looking like she might be a character. The opening narration is done by her in episode 1. She’s the kidnap victim that sends Suigin racing around trying to save her (for about half an episode before we just get into random game play situations). Her father developed the game that she’s apparently trapped in after his murder. It kind of seems like she should have some personality but nope.

Everyone else is pretty much forgettable including the one note villains who don’t have anywhere near enough presence to be considered memorable or interesting.

The story itself is simple enough but for some reason the show doesn’t want to focus on the story. Suigin, go save Riku Rei. This isn’t that hard a concept to get. Why are you raiding that tomb? Why are you out of the game at all given she’s inside it? Why haven’t you actually finished the tutorial yet? Oh, and why are we watching some random players randomly playing? How do they relate? The second half of this show is maddeningly frustrating in how it wants to stretch out its wafer-thin plot as far as it possibly can even if that means smashing the wafer to pieces and scattering the dust from here until wherever the end of the series actually is.

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Visually, it works. The music is pretty cool at times. individual fights are kind of interesting. But as a whole this is one to skip. Short episodes or not (13 minutes), we all have better things to do than wait for this show to find its own plot.


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Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor Episode 12

Review:

This show kind of gave its best and worst in this final episode. It reminded us of the ridiculous outfits and ways it has treated its female cast even while making us laugh as Re=L threatens to take down Leos.

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It gave us a truly absurd wedding dress and what did they do to Sistine’s hair?

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We also had a villain whose motives were poorly explained and who seemed fairly mentally unbalanced which has become something of a trend for this series.

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That said, we also got a really cool magic fight and Glenn got some of his slightly cooler moments fairly reminiscent of the episode where he first started actually teaching magic and not being a complete waste of space.

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All and all, this episode concludes the whole Sistine marriage to Leos thing (which was kind of concluded before the episode only, who knew) and they at least remember that the Akashic Records are in the title of the show, but otherwise we’re still none the wiser about most of the other aspects of the world or storyline. While I didn’t hate this, I wasn’t exactly sitting on the edge of my seat either.

I’ll complete a full series review of this shortly.

Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is available on Crunchyroll.


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Grimoire of Zero Episode 11

Review:

After all this build up to Thirteen, we found out his plan last week and this week Zero kindly asks him to stop and so he does. Okay, first they shoot coloured lights at each other and Zero reveals she purposefully wrote flaws into the incantations because even though she wanted to share magic she apparently didn’t want to not be the strongest (understandably really).

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So basically Thirteen just ceases to have any interest in the conflict he has set up and now apparently actually cares about repairing some of the damage he caused. Am I supposed to care that he now seems upset about Sorena’s death because I’m with the wolf guy. Thirteen did let Sorena die and he did nearly burn Albus. Okay, he didn’t start a plague. One thing he didn’t do.

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Seriously, it is very hard to take any of this conflict seriously when even the mastermind behind it walks away with only a brief moment of hesitation.

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And so we move toward the final episode because even though Thirteen no longer cares, all the pieces he set in motion are still heading toward self-destruction. It probably doesn’t help that most of the Sorcerer’s of Zero seem to lack logical thought processes and have already whipped themselves into a frenzy of mob-mentality. Logical arguments aren’t going to turn the tide here.

Grimoire of Zero is available on AnimeLab.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 12

Review:

All the way through this I just kept thinking it felt like the end of a season. It wasn’t giving us answers but it just felt like this was the final battle. Turns out episode 13 is an extra so that feeling wasn’t misplaced.

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So then I have to ask, what was the point? Yes, the journey continues and there are all these new characters with very cool fighting skills (meanwhile where were these guys during the last fight in this city) and all the old faces have returned but we’re no closer to the island of the astrals, Gran’s father, or knowing anything about Lyria. Though, Lyria did at least get a nice character point where she finally wants to know about herself. Still, 12 episodes of floating around, fighting the occasional primal beast, meeting people and the like; fun as it was, it really is kind of pointless.

Still, watch Gran win another fight? Okay.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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The Silver Guardian Episode 12

Review:

Seriously, I haven’t the slightest idea what the intention was. This apparently has a second season planned for next year and I won’t be watching it.

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Really?

We start off in the fight Suigin dropped into last week. He still can’t actually fight so Twin Star turns into a dragon and ends the battle.

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That’s it. No mention of Riku nor do we find out what Suigin wanted from the commentator guy or how any of this is connected to anything we saw in episode 1. I got nothing. There’s a fight. There’s some poor jokes. Then it ends and that’s all. I’ll be reviewing this whole series shortly but I can already tell you not to bother if you haven’t tried this show.

The Silver Guardian is available on Crunchyroll.


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WorldEnd Episode 10

Review (Spoiler warning for the second half of the episode in case you haven’t watched):

We’ve come a long way and nowhere in this series. While the reveals were coming thick and fast this episode it also indulged in one of my pet hates. Flash backs within the episode. If a character says something at the start of the episode, please assume I can remember it for twenty minutes. I don’t need a dramatic pause and then a full flash back of the character saying it again.

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If it is that important, make sure it sticks the first time. It would be different if this was a conversation heard say three episodes ago. Even then, given how little actual information we have and how much cutesy filler there has been, it is unlikely we’d forget a question about the beasts that had yet to be answered.

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And yet, this show lingers over Willem’s revelation even as the audience rolls their eyes at how laborious they are making this. We’d more or less figured this one out on our own from previous half complete exposition and Willem’s overwrought reaction to something he’s ignored even looking for an answer to, as well as the drawn out nature of the scene, just kind of makes the whole thing almost amusing.

Until he asks Chtholly to marry him. Boy that came out of nowhere given how their relationship has seemed mostly one sided in the romantic department up until now. More importantly, could you raise a more obvious death flag. Maybe we should be saying our goodbye’s to Chtholly’s personality right here and now except that I doubt this show will actually follow through with destroying who she is. Regardless of how they save her it is going to feel like a cheap plot device but that’s more or less what I’m expecting from this show at this point.

WorldEnd is available on Crunchyroll.


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Grimoire of Zero Episode 10

Review:

Oh, they finally reunited and just to be sure we don’t forget that Zero is supposed to be a sassy young witch almost her very first words to the Mercenary make us wonder why he bothered spending all that time climbing a cliff.

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Firstly, this is clearly a lie given she does need someone to save her or she wouldn’t still be sitting around in a tower. Secondly, Zero does not pull this off very well. Some characters do an excellent job of giving the guy the cold shoulder but in Zero’s case it just kind of comes off as a half-hearted attempt  to make her not seem like a damsel stuck in a tower because that wouldn’t be cool at all.

Obviously, my biggest issue is I just don’t much care about either of these characters so their touching reunion didn’t do much for me.

Still, I did get one moment of genuine happiness while watching this episode.

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There’s something about convoluted insults that just appeals and this one was well deserved given Thirteen is insane and his plan is ridiculous. Pretentious is actually the perfect term for his entire being. I just had to appreciate this moment.

Oh yeah, and Holdem and Albus are in trouble but then some old witch just lets Holdem go. For some reason the Sorcerers of Zero haven’t killed Ablus yet and are taking her with them (no explanation as to why).

This is coming to a close and I’m kind of happy about that. It isn’t unwatchable but I’m not really into it either.

Grimoire of Zero is available on AnimeLab.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 11

Review:

Not sure what to make of this. It is pretty stock standard go inside person’s consciousness, figure out their baggage, correct them, and then they wake up. In this case followed by a quick fight sequence and a minor reveal about Gran’s father. All and all, pretty ordinary fare for fantasy/adventure stories.

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I’m guessing the whole sequence probably would have been more touching if I actually liked either Gran or Lyria. While I don’t dislike them, I think both are pretty ordinary as characters. They don’t do anything to really set themselves a part or to have depth, or even be memorable. So when Lyria says she wants to disappear, I’m kind of okay with that. Give your full power to Gran and disappear. Gran seems to feel differently but as an audience member I wasn’t overly invested in this conflict.

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I think the only moment this episode where I really sat up and took notice was when Rosetta dropped that minor bomb-shell about Gran’s father, that Gran didn’t even hear and it certainly wasn’t explained given it was pretty much the end of the episode. It had kind of seemed like the story had forgotten that Gran was looking for his father and now they just kind of drop that in there.

Anyway, this still remains perfectly watchable and not a lot else. It looks pretty if that helps.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Shugo Chara Series Review

Overview:

Amu is an ordinary girl but her classmates see her as having a cool and spicy personality. She just wants to be cute and normal and find the courage to confess to the Prince of the school, Tadase. After making a wish one night, she wakes up to find three eggs in her bed. When the eggs hatch, Amu’s life is going to change as the school Guardians know she’s got them and suddenly want her to become the Joker.

Review:

In case you didn’t pick it up from the super shiny pink colour scheme or the overview, Shugo Chara is another magical girl series, though technically there are as many magical boys in this show as girls so we’ll leave that to the side for now. Essentially if you are up for transformation, ridiculous costumes, a monster of the week that mostly seems ineffectual but somehow helps our hero learn more about herself and others, before building to a massive overly emotional final battle, then Shugo Chara is the show for you.

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In this version of the magical girl/kids with super powers story various young people have a guardian egg and for those with particularly strong dreams or wishes the eggs become visible and may hatch into guardian characters. The guardian characters can do a character change with their owner which gives them some power though they are still strictly human at that point. For Amu, when she does a character change with Ran, she becomes very enthusiastic and becomes really good at sports (cheerleader). Going a further step, they might be able to do a character transformation where they get a full transformation sequence and then the powers get really over the top. By the way, don’t break the egg. Bad idea.

Though it probably wouldn’t be fair to simply leave it at that because even within the magical girl genre there’s quite a bit of variety. Shugo Chara manages to be one of those adorably sweet shows that has just enough actual drama and heartache to keep it from tipping into cavity territory. Mostly that is because of the two older characters in the cast, Ikuto and Utau. Even though they are still students, admittedly older than our fifth grade protagonists, they have enough of a tragic back story for to fill an entire young adult novel all on their own.

So rather than skipping all over the place with this I’m going to take a plus/minus approach to this show.

Plus +

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Pretty much every encounter between Amu and Ikuto is golden. Whether it is early in the story where Ikuto is strictly set up as the dangerous bad-boy, or later on where you start to see him as the stray cat, or further down the story where you realise he really is just a lonely teenager starved for actual relationships, his encounters with Amu really are the highlight of the show, and not just because his character change turns him into a cat boy and quite adorable with his ears out. This relationship is enough to keep you going through the many episodes of this series (there’s 51 in the first series of Shugo Chara and then it just keeps going).

Minus –

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The rest of the guardians from the school (King, Queen, Jack, and Ace). While each of them get a moment at some point in the series, and the King, Tadase, is technically set up as Amu’s actual lover interest early on, to be perfectly honest I’m not sure these characters serve any point other than this show decided it wanted a team of 5 people. For a large majority of the series the other guardians can’t do character transformations so their powers are pretty limited, and to be honest Tadase’s character change is incredibly annoying. Even after they can do character transformations, most of them aren’t overly helpful. Yaya in particular has the most ridiculous costume ever and her attack remains laughable. I kind of get that Amu developed as a character through the support these guys gave her, but they could have easily given her one or two friends who would have served the same essential role and then they wouldn’t have had to keep coming up with excuses to make the rest of the cast relevant.

Plus +

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If you want something kid safe, this one is more or less a winner. While some of the themes around Ikuto are a bit more mature there is no foul language, no overt nudity (although a couple of the costumes are a little on the skimpy side), and the violence is fairly limited to magical attacks rather than weapons (with one or two exceptions).

Minus –

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Do not expect a complex storyline. The plot is strictly formulaic. At first the guardians are on a quest to find the embryo, some magical thingy that will apparently grant a wish. The evil company, Easter (not joking), is also trying to seek the embryo. Incidentally, both Ikuto and Utau are either working for or controlled by Easter for a fair amount of the series, as does a teacher who comes to the school. The guardians have the genius plan of randomly running around and hoping they spot it (seriously, I don’t think ever come up with a better plan because they are strictly reactive in terms of seeking the thing) whereas Easter has the even more genius plan of corrupting other kid’s eggs and turning them into x eggs, which sends them on a rampage requiring them to be purified by Amu etc, etc. Occasionally Easter comes up with plans in order to collect large number of heart’s eggs at once and are essentially ripping the dreams out of small children but seriously, their plans kind of remind me of most of the throw away villains from Sailor Moon. Some of the subplots fare better with Utau and Amu at one point swapping eggs and being forced to confront each other and their own weaknesses and Ikuto’s entire plot line is fairly interesting, but the overall story is as cookie cutter as they come in this genre.

Plus +

There is some really good music in this series. Okay, the theme songs are catchy but fairly horrendous when you think about them but within the show itself you have Utau who is an idol and regularly performs. Because Easter runs an entertainment company there are quite a lot of episodes that feature performances from various bit characters. However, the true stand out would be Ikuto on the violin. It is no wonder Amu tracked that sound down in the park because it was beautiful.

Minus –

It never really felt like there was much point in Amu having 3 and then 4 guardian characters. Admittedly, it was used as a plot point toward the end and early on it was showing that she didn’t have one clear dream but other than Ran, the other two guardians don’t get to do much, and the final one doesn’t come until very late into the show. It just felt like they could have done more with that.

Plus +

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A final plus to finish on, Amu is the kind of heroine I could get behind. While she tries really hard sometimes to be upbeat, most of the time she is full of self doubt and confusion. She doesn’t really get the guardian eggs or why she needs to fight and she certainly doesn’t understand her feelings for either Tadase or Ikuto. I like that she is essentially a good person but she is a kid. She starts the story in the fifth grade and while her outer persona may be super cool sometimes, you never really forget how young she really is. Over the course of the series I came to really admire her because she didn’t run away from her problems (although she did occasionally sulk) but neither was she the super positive, we can do it, kind of protagonist that just kind of gets on your nerves after awhile.

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Realistically, this show is kind of average in every respect. It is completely watchable and if you are in to the genre it is very binge worthy, however it is also quickly forgettable save one or two minor plot lines. It is cute and adorable and if you want a show where love, friendship, and dreams will eventually win the day, it is well worth checking out.


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