Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! Light Novel Review Volume 1

Cute, Smart Girl Becomes Cute, Smart and Over-powered Girl?

You would think there would be some cap on the number of stories of average Japanese teens dying tragically, meeting god and being reborn in another world, but no there is not. And I’m kind of happy about that. As much as some of these stories are derivative nonsense without a speck of originality, care or talent behind them there are also stories that really make something of the basic premise. It is like all those ‘boy meets girl’ stories and how some of them can really distinguish themselves and others end up stacked on the pile of mediocre genre stories and still others rot in the pile of substandard and uninspired crud.

This latest series I picked up to read after a recommendation came up through The Book Depository and I read some reviews on other blogs is Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! which is a marathon of a title and uses excessive punctuation to boot. Throw in the generic cute character on the front cover and the magic circle she’s standing in and all and all there’s a million warning signs that this is going to be dribble and yet it manages to defy all expectations and became one of the more enjoyable stories I’ve read for awhile.

I certainly jumped it to the top of the to be reviewed stack which is on the edge of reaching 20 books that I’ve read but have yet to type up my thoughts on.

There’s plenty to unpack in this story but my overall thoughts are that it is pure enjoyment to read. That doesn’t mean it is some hefty literary work that is going to take the world by storm. It is nicely written (or at least the translation effort was nicely done as most of it flows really well), the story moves along at a good clip, and the characters are entertaining enough. However it isn’t exactly trying to shatter the mould or blow our minds with its genius narration so just open up the book and start devouring the story.

Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life is Available on the Book Depository
Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Light Novel) Vol. 1
Affiliate Link

The biggest downside of this book is it takes awhile to get going. As usual with this kind of plot we have to kill off our main character in one life and have her reborn. It takes about 30 pages of so to get through the basic set-up before our reincarnated protagonist lands at her first academy and the story really kicks off. Fortunately, once it kicks off it doesn’t really stop or get bogged down again and when you get the end of the volume it gives sufficient closure for the moment but leaves you wanting more.

Or at least, I certainly did and ordered the next couple of volumes already for future reading. While it might run out of steam in a couple of books, this is a fairly promising start.

Possibly one thing that really did help me get into the story was that our protagonist wasn’t a loner male. Kurihara Misato was a little bit isolated in her former life because of the expectations placed on her by others, but she wasn’t another shut-in gamer. Admittedly, they do play on her social awkwardness and inability to read others a bit too much early on in this story, but she’s a fairly up-beat heroine making the most of her situation.

I also like that there is no demon-lord in sight so far. Throughout this whole volume Misato/Adele/Mile faces many challenges but these include social status, socialising in general, friendship, and finding a place for herself in the world. No evil demons to fight or world ending terrors existing just to be terrors. Admittedly, there’s certainly room for political intrigue and other issues to blow up into larger issues in future volumes, but this was very much a low stakes story but with every decision being vital to the protagonist as she desired to fit in and anything that could risk that was seen as a threat there was an ongoing sense of purpose and direction for the story.

The supporting cast is quite large as the story carries from Adele’s home life, to her school, to the bakery where she works for a time, to the first village she runs to, and then to the academy for hunters she attends, but all of the characters we encounter are fun and interesting. Their interactions and responses to Adele/Mile as she goes about pretending to be normal despite obviously not being so is pretty entertaining, and by the end of this volume there’s a pretty cool group surrounding our main character.

There’s also a lot of very funny moments in the story. I’m not huge on comedy and a lot of jokes fall flat for me, but this book had me chuckling on more than one occasion as the protagonist’s plans blew up in her face or the other characters let her get away with something even though they all knew exactly what was going on.

As I said earlier, it is just a fun little book. With a delightful protagonist, overpowered or not, a plot that never seems to get put on hold even as there’s not a lot of clear direction to it as of yet, and a supporting cast that have been fun to get to know, Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! is one of those books that will just make you smile and try the one more chapter game until you fall asleep while trying to complete it in a single sitting.

Try Volume 2: Available on the Book Depository
Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Light Novel) Vol. 1
Affiliate Link

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

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.

Affiliate Link – Book
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.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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.

Affiliate Link – Manga
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.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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

Karandi - Avatar

 

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.

Affiliate Link – Figure
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!

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Maou-Sama, Retry! Review Episode 2

This Demon Lord is Pretty Lame So Far

Demon-Lord, Retry Episode 2

In addition to not being particularly interesting so far, episode 2 plunges us into uncomfortable territory as the Demon Lord turns another girl over his knee and spanks her on the butt repeatedly before essentially coercing money out of her and then going on a spending spree. Yep, so far Demon Lord, Retry! Is holding us as the least interesting or enjoyable isekai story for the season though that first episode of Arifureta maybe ran it a close second (and certainly took out my prize of most disappointing adaptation this season).

In addition to being incredibly uninspired, the main character himself kind of mopes through each scene mumbling his lines almost inaudibly and while I get he’s trying to play the role of the cool demon lord he’s just not very interesting. We’ve seen the geek playing the role of demon lord before in How Not To Summon a Demon Lord and Overlord and both did it significantly better than this with a more interesting character (even if I didn’t get beyond season one of Overlord).

Affiliate Link – Wall Scroll
ONE PIECE MONOPOLY

Throw in a fight sequence with some expendables and really there’s just nothing here that is worth mentioning except perhaps that this anime’s version of humour is really not funny. Outside of the butt spanking we also get extreme over-reactions, and the shop clerk who gets down on hands and knees and asks the demon lord to sit on him.

All and all, while I’ll probably watch this one through it is kind of already making a solid run at being the bottom of my watch list for the Summer anime season.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Isekai Cheat Magician Review Episode 1

Welcome to the Summer of Isekai

Isekai Cheat Magician Episode 1

Here are two more perfectly ordinary high school students who are whisked away to a magic fantasy world, in this case via a botched summoning spell. Taichi and Rin are walking either to or from school together when a magic circle suddenly envelopes Taichi. He tries to push Rin out of the way but she jumps back into it and both of them are zapped to yet another pseudo medieval fantasy world with an adventurer’s guild to join and apparently massive magic power.

It isn’t terrible original but unlike the first episode of Demon Lord Retry, this one didn’t seem overly tiresome to watch. Sure it is going through the usual motions for this type of story but it has all so far been pleasant enough.

Admittedly, I have to question the pairs’ logic in signing up to the adventurer’s guild given their own acceptance of their lack of skill. The argument that they need to work is all well and good but surely there is work that doesn’t put you into harm’s way on a daily basis that they could have found in the town. The fact that they didn’t even try and just went straight to adventuring is kind of sad. Expedient for moving the story along but not particularly sensible.

When all else fails, hit it with a rock. Yeah, no.

Visually there’s nothing overly wrong with this first episode but it isn’t overly amazing either. The fire magic used on the horse monster thing wasn’t particularly impressive nor was the battle that opened the anime I assume to get us pumped for what was to come.

Affiliate Link – Nendoroid
NENDOROID NO. 980 DROPKICK ON MY DEVIL!: JASHIN-CHAN

This one pretty much looks like it will be another run of the mill isekai story which is fine because I tend to enjoy them but the first episode isn’t screaming that this one is umissable.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Cop Craft Review Episode 1

All The Right Notes But Still Not Singing

Cop Craft Episode 1

Buddy cop story between a veteran and an alien fairy? Well I don’t mind the standard cop story and odd-couples usually work quite well for casual entertainment so I guess we’ll give this one a whirl and see what happens. The first episode is pretty standard set up though I’m wondering how we’ll get a whole season out of it unless we’re going for a more episodic approach given it feels like this story should run its course in about three or four episodes at most.

The opening sequence telegraphed where it was going from the start. The cops were too smug and self-assured, not to mention having read the synopsis we knew one of them would be teaming up with a new non-human partner so it stood to reason tragedy was about to strike in one form or another. The shot lingering on the twisted neck of the guy was a little much.

And actually, that’s probably the problem all the way through this episode. All the elements of this type of story are presented with a lack of nuance. The superior who forces the partnership together, the veteran griping at having to take on a new partner, even the lament over how to tell the wife of the dead guy all just felt overdone.

Of course, that doesn’t stop this from being an intriguing set up with a kidnapped fairy in a bottle, a dead police man and the partner out to find the ones responsible with his new fairy/knight/alien partner. Hopefully it will end up being pretty enjoyable though it hasn’t done much overly amazing yet.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com