Slime, Ogres, and Lizardmen, The Coming Conflict Looks Colourful

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode Review Title Image

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Review

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime continues to move at its own pace. Last week, Rimuru defeated the ogres and invited them back to his village. This week, we admire the meat and feast before Rimuru gets to the business of inviting the ogres to join him in the village. Now, this seems fairly straight forward: ogre village destroyed, ogres should go elsewhere. However it turns out it is a little more emotionally complicated than that for the leader of the ogres who feels he has failed to protect his people and all that. 

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Rimuru

I don’t actually mean to sound blase but it is really hard to sound otherwise when discussing this anime. For while we do get a fairly decent scene with the ogre punching a tree showing off some inner turmoil, in almost the next scene he puts a few amendments onto the agreement with Rimuru and takes to one knee. It is back to this idea where Slime kind of lingers on slice of life nothing kind of moments but then where something major happens it feels like it just kind of accelerates straight through it.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Ogre

Not that it matters. The point gets across. The episode doesn’t feel dragged out. Ogres join with Slime and Rimuru then gives them names causing him to take another nap. He really needs to learn to ask first as to what the cost of something is going to be.

However, just in case ogres weren’t enough, the anime then brings in some Lizardmen. And while these guys haven’t gotten to Rimuru’s village yet it is kind of only a matter of time. Their introduction seemed only relevant in that it reinforced that the orcs are coming, the Prince of the lizard-guys has been given a name by a wanderer, the same as the deceased goblin brother that was mentioned episodes ago, and the ogres have all but confirmed that the demon lord guy who connects those two points is the one who came to their village and was refused right before the orcs destroyed it.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Lizardmen
You just know this guy is going to be a problem.

It’s kind of a lot of information but at the same time still feels like we didn’t really get very far. And I feel like I say that a lot with this anime. Anyway, I had fun, in case that wasn’t clear. The more characters and the more the world opens up, the more entertaining each episode seems so let’s push on and see what happens next.

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Karandi James
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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime NendoroidPlus Mug Cup
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Discover the Noble Spirit Hidden Inside a Would-Be Swordsman

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode Review Title Image

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 9 Review

This week Kirito takes a back seat, and more or less puts his feet up, sips tea, eats sandwiches, and offers some advice that I’m feeling walks dangerously close to encouraging Eugeo and the two pages to start looking at ways to work around the Taboo Index. However, despite the protagonist of the story choosing to take a back seat, Eugeo as the apparent deuteragonist steps up and its really nice to see his character start to get fleshed out a bit more than guy-standing-beside-Kirito.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 9 Eugeo

Eugeo is very much a nice character and someone who really wants to do what is right, which under normal conditions would just make him standard protagonist or best friend fodder that would be swiftly forgotten. Where he becomes more interesting is because of the context we are in. Inside the game the Taboo Index controls these characters and we’ve already seen that in action when Eugeo stood and watched Alice getting taken away unable to act despite his own desire. This creates sufficient conflict to make even the nice-guy character really quite interesting because seeing Eugeo coming to terms with what he believes to be right vs what the law says is right and trying to find a path that ultimately he is okay with walking gives plenty of scope for exploration.

Or brooding, though so far we haven’t had a lot of that.

Where we also get tension in this story comes from the fact that Eugeo is very much working toward a goal and so far that has given him a new calling, taken him from his village, and now he’s standing side to side with nobles, who very much look down on him. Over the past few episodes we’ve seen that delicate balance and strain with both Kirito and Eugeo of showing respect to characters of higher social station, but not allowing themselves to get trampled underfoot by those who outside of their title just really don’t have much to recommend them by way of character.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 9 Eugeo accepts

This comes very much to the forefront at the beginning of this episode where Eugeo, taking some of Kirito’s advice and attempting to grow, accepts a challenge thrown his way and ends up fighting one of the bullies in a duel that ends in a draw. The bully, rather than targeting Eugeo directly, chooses to instead humiliate his page, who just happens to be room-mates with Eugeo’s page. It’s a round-a-bout attempt at revenge, it is juvenile, and a little pathetic, but it also stays within the limits of the rules and laws.

While the sword action remained strictly low key and at the beginning of this episode, the fight for moral high ground, for doing the right thing, and just for decency, ran throughout this episode and seeing the characters outside of Kirito respond and deal with the crisis, limited as they are by the rules and laws of the world, was interesting. It makes you wonder how far they can go without triggering the Taboo Index and it also makes you wonder what’s really at the heart of all of these rules.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 9 Picnic

SAO continues to be an entertaining affair and brings many questions to the table that you can contemplate about the real world or not. Either way, I’m curious to see where they go with this particular incident and just how Eugeo ends up reconciling things.

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Karandi James
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SWORD ART ONLINE II PYOKOTTE: KIRITO
SWORD ART ONLINE II PYOKOTTE: KIRITO

Inquiring Minds Want To Know #41: If you could live in one world which would you choose?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Ichigo

Welcome to another ‘inquiring minds want to know’ post where readers ask and I attempt to answer their questions. This is post number 41, and I am really happy to have had so many amazing questions so far in this series, even if my answers don’t always do them justice. Still, this will be the last one in the series for 2018 and I’ll pick this series of posts up again sometime in January. In the meantime, please leave your questions in the survey and I’ll get to them in the new year.

If you could live in one anime/manga/light novel world (excluding Aincrad post-Aincrad arc) which world would you choose? from Alexie The Great

I realised when thinking about this question that way back in June of 2016 I wrote a feature about anime worlds that caught my eye though I will admit that looking back at it, there one world I didn’t include either because I wasn’t aware of it then or because at the time I hadn’t really gotten hooked on in.

And yes, that world is Grimgar from Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

Grimgar Of Fantasy and Ash

I loved the anime of this one, but it is through reading the light novels that I’ve truly fallen head over heels for the world constructed in the narrative. What excites me more is that everything feels like it is part of a much richer wider world so every discovery actually creates the space for more discoveries and for the world to continue to open up. Because we experience the world through Haruhiro and his group’s perception we only have it expand and open up to us as they become stronger and venture further into it.

Now, common sense declares that this is a terrible choice. Seriously, I’d be the last picked for a team, I have no clue what role in the party I’d be given but I doubt I’d be very good at it, and ultimately I’m not sure my survival odds in Grimgar are particularly good. 

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - Mana

But, it is a world I would love to explore. A world full of possibilities and amazing creatures and places and a world that expands beyond the realm of our heroes’ knowledge meaning we can continue to explore it for as long as our heroes don’t get killed.

That and the anime was just plain beautiful. 

So yes, while Disboard from No Game No Life remains a world I am highly curious about (and is probably a bit safer), and the world explored in Chaika was fun, and travelling worlds with Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicles sounds like a blast, I think in 2018 my answer to this question would definitely be Grimgar.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - Haruhiro fight

That’s of course because Aincrad was taken off the table because I’m still all for exploring there. Now remember, if you have a question, please just fill in the simple survey below (two questions and you don’t need to answer the second one) and returning mid-January, the Inquiring Minds Want to Know series of posts should continue to try to answer your questions.

As always though, I’d like to throw this week’s question over to the readers. So if you could live in one anime/manga/light novel world, which would you pick and why? Share in the comments and I look forward to your responses.

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Karandi James
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GRIMGAR ASHES AND ILLUSIONS BEST CD
GRIMGAR ASHES AND ILLUSIONS BEST

Watch the Slime Playing With Powers and Defeating Ogres

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode Review Title Image

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 9 Review

Rimuru had something of a touching moment at the start of this episode where we saw him looking eye to eye with the mask Shizu left. For a character that existed for only a couple of episodes, she’s left an impact on both the Rimuru and the audience and her presence is palpable throughout the episode as Rimuru’s human form does mimic hers in a lot of ways and he’s also acquired her powers. 

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 9 Rimuru

Still, despite doing a decent job on the passing of a character last week and beginning with remembering her we quickly turn to some comedy that will either have you smiling or groaning depending as Rimuru plays with the body double skill and first ageing and then playing with the sex of his human form. Fortunately this is a brief moment of comedy before we get on with more important things (though still kind of cool if you think about future possibilities it has to be able to change the appearance of your clone).

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 9 Rimuru in human form

I enjoyed Rimuru returning to the cave where Veldora was to play with his new powers. It kind of gave it a sense of importance and also reminded the audience about Veldora (who at this stage is pretty easy to forget). But, this episode did want to move things along and so we have a party of hunting goblins being attacked by ogres. However, things aren’t as they seem as the ogres are only attacking because their village was attacked.

Going to be honest, this one is a pretty transparent as to where this is going.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 9 Ogres

By the end of the episode Rimuru in his own weird way has won them over and they all go for a feast. Which is probably a sound way to end anything really. Still, like many things in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime it all felt a little too unearned. Largely though, this remains a pretty fun viewing experience and it has built nicely upon its foundations even if at times it feels a little shallow.

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Karandi James
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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Nendoroid Plus Mug Cup
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A Fight Between Saints Should Be Exciting, Right?

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode Review Title Image

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 8 Review

Part of me wonders if maybe I’ve just outgrown this series? Looking at this episode from a distance it should be really exciting. We’ve got a whole pile of characters from the church gathering themselves together to take on a saint. It’s a dramatic fight, the music is pumping and we move through multiple set-pieces leaving destruction in their wake. Their inevitable defeat isn’t a problem because they aren’t the protagonists, not even close. 

A Certain Magical Index Episode 8

Yet, as I watched episode 8 of A Certain Magical Index, I couldn’t help but find myself wondering why I was supposed to care. 

Touma is in the hospital after being severely injured and then thrown of the bridge last week and the saint gave him one day to hand over his arm. The fight now isn’t doing anything. A day hasn’t passed, Touma isn’t even awake, it is all just filling screen time. Perhaps if I thought there was any chance they might have resolved the situation prior to Touma waking up their might have been some point to it, but all and all it just seems like an excuse to throw around more terminology and jargon and have a ‘cool’ fight sequence.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 8

This impression isn’t helped with the arrival of Kanzaki after the B Team are definitely taken out despite Itsuwa getting all fired up. Kanzaki was a cool character back in season one but she just kind of shows up now, broods a bit, occasionally does something cool with her sword, and then Touma will show up to save the day. And while I get they were trying to show that Kanzaki is a part of her group, using more or less the same sequence of attacks that we just watched against the enemy but faster and more powerful isn’t all that interesting.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 8

Then of course the whole thing is proven to be pointless by the post credits scene where Touma wakes up and instead of sensibly resting in his hospital bed off he goes to join the fight leaving the conveniently sleeping Index oblivious to the plot as normal. 

Yeah, I really don’t know why I’m watching season three of this. The issues with the plot and characters just get more and more pronounced with every passing episode.

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Karandi James
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To Aru Majutsu no IndexIII Petite Bit Strap Collection Box
To Aru Majutsu no IndexIII Petite Bit Strap Collection Box

How Does Kirito’s Belief In Himself Cause Success?

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode Review Title Image

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 8 Review

Sword Art Online fans from the Aincrad arc are well aware of Kirito’s game breaking moment that for some shattered any kind of ability to suspend disbelief. For me, the moment where Kirito resolved not to die, not yet, because he hadn’t ended the game and overcame the mechanics of the game through sheer willpower was glorious. Sure, it feeds into the idea that Sword Art Online is strictly a wish fulfilment power fantasy, but what is wrong with that? Isn’t sending the message that you shouldn’t give up on those things that are non-negotiable, that you should strive to succeed in the face of all odds, and that you have more strength than you know actually kind of a good thing?

Admittedly, it won’t sell for everyone and the more cynical and jaded will find it all a bit trite. In a different context, so would I. But I was watching a fantasy about teenagers getting trapped inside a virtual world that could kill them, and so there was sufficient removal from reality in the first place that I could just kind of get behind the message and the character and really fall in love with his resilience as he managed to avenge Asuna and release all the surviving players from the game. Go Kirito. Power fantasy, wish fulfilment, whatever, I could absolutely get behind it because the anime had carried me to that moment.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 8 Kirito

Now you might be wondering why I’m spending so much time discussing Aincrad when I’m meant to be reviewing episode 8 of Alicization. The point is, that this idea of imagination and belief, of overcoming preconceived limits, has returned in the Alicization arc and it has never been more prominent or pertinent to the game and the characters. It is almost as if the core idea that wanted to be explored in Aincrad as now been placed front and centre in this story. There’s no need to waste time selling us on the idea of people living inside a game or on virtual realities in general. We already had discussions about whether virtual reality experiences are as valuable as real ones and whether relationships in game translate as real relationships.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 8 Kirito and Mentor

And while all these ideas are still in Alicization, and I’m certain the idea of whether or not copied souls and AI’s have rights is coming, Alicization, building on everything that has come before, can cut straight to Kirito himself and his strength and confidence in himself and whether or not he believes he can actually beat these characters/souls in this game. We also see the source of Kirito’s strength as he reflects on all of those who have helped him over the past games and those he has met in the current game with no distinction between ‘real’ people and ‘AIs’ or even ‘copied souls’.  For Kirito they are all important and valuable parts of his experience and he values them equally and will defend them equally. Whether you like the execution of this moment or not (and it was a little heavy handed as most things tend to get in SAO), it is a powerful moment and one that ultimately is a delight to watch as it draws those prior experiences and ideas to the forefront yet again but applies them to this new context.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 8

Where this episode was less capable was in the petty bullying and rivalry going on by the bit players, even if this did lead to Kirito starting to get an understanding of how he could use the power of imagination for more than just hitting things with a sword. I will actually be quite disappointed if that development doesn’t go anywhere and if Kirito doesn’t expand on the potential applications that it has opened up.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 8 Kirito and Eugeo

All and all, Sword Art Online Alicization continues to be Sword Art Online. It has the good and some of the not so great, but if you’ve come this far on the journey, Alicization is pretty much holding the course and slowly bringing new ideas into the fray so for me it continues to be a pretty fun series to watch.

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Karandi James
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SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET
SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET

Exploring Innuendo and Bread At The Festival

Conception Anime Episode Review Title Image

Conception Episode 7 Review

There’s no real polite way to point out that this is trash, and it is the kind of trash that just keeps getting trashier. I’m not even sure what they were trying to do with Colette’s character early in the episode with all the puns and innuendos but mostly she came off as a little bit unstable and Itsuki was his normal oblivious or flustered self depending on how blatant the latest comment had been.

Conception Episode 7 Colette and Itsuki

I think it was at the moment that Conception threw the question at Itsuki of what part of Colette he thought was the softest and best to nibble on (out of Colette’s mouth mind you) and after visualising the seemingly way too young girl in various manners he mumbles out something like ear and so she makes bread in the shape of ears that I officially threw up my hands and asked myself why I’d committed to watching this anime. The lack of labyrinth action (other than a brief scene of some of the star children leaving it) was also a bit of a disturbing trend given I’d really like to know more about Itsuki’s purpose in this fantasy world.

Conception Episode 7 Ear Bread

And while we’re on the concept of fantasy, what is with the fill a bag of panties stall at the festival? Okay, not the weirdest thing Conception has thrown at us, but it still seemed needlessly random. I can’t even put this one on Mana because he was busy setting up a haunted house, mail run rendezvous so was totally out of this picture.

Conception Episode 7

Then I realised in all of this I’d lost track of how many of the maidens Itsuki’s actually been with. I think it is ten now but I’m not entirely sure. Either way, once we’ve had all twelve I wonder if they’ll actually address the plot that they established as their contrivance for all this match making?

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Karandi James
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CONCEPTION ORE NO KODOMO WO UNDEKURE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
CONCEPTION ORE NO KODOMO WO UNDEKURE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK