Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori Episode 3: Looks Are Clearly Deceptive

I have certain expectations for a slice of life anime and Rokuhoudou is kind of crushing all of them as it delivers some fairly compelling, if very laid back, viewing. Your thoughts?

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This may very well end up being my surprise hit of the season the way it is going. While the blissful relaxation is continued, this episode really pushes the drama that has been kind of building underneath the beautiful food and cups of tea. The group are approached to take part in an event at a department store but right from the beginning it is clear that the guy who recruited them is up to something, though it doesn’t seem to be blatantly malicious. More like a cat playing with a toy before discarding it.

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The end result is some light drama in amongst some very great food shots and a general feeling of ease. I’m not bored while watching because in amongst the serving good food we have a building drama that seems to be furthering the traditional versus corporate argument that comes out in a lot of anime but it is all nicely balanced with no aspect really taking over other than the characters themselves.

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I still don’t recommend watching this anime while hungry.

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Karandi James

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Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori Episode 2: Calming With Just a Hint of Drama

I swear this anime comes with subliminal messages because it is so incredibly relaxing to watch. What did you think of the second episode?

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There was an indescribably feeling (that I’m still going to try and describe) of absolute relaxation that hit me while watching this. From the slow pace of the interactions between characters, the beautiful attention to details with the cafe, the food, and really just everything, and the general idea of the anime, by the end of the episode the tension that had built up in my shoulders after quite the long day at work had utterly gone. I was almost ready just to curl up and have a nap where before I’d been wound up pretty tight and had felt on edge.

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I was however left wondering why this was so relaxing where most slice of life anime just leave me bored. Part of the reasoning comes from the fact that they did introduce a specific ‘problem’ for the episode that was resolved by the end even as they alluded to an ongoing drama in the series with the conflict between tradition and the modern fast paced society we live in (that and a potential group that might be trying to put them out of business). But even then, it wasn’t much of a problem or much of conflict.

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As bizarre as it might sound, possibly the age of the characters and their voices, all quite low and soothing, has something to it. While the girl introduced in this episode had a fairly squeaky voice (though not by anime standards), I would honestly love to have the rest of the cast on tape to listen to when I was trying to sleep. Okay, maybe that isn’t what some people are looking for, but right now, an anime that relaxes me this much is kind of welcome.

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Karandi James

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 2: There’s Just No Escape

The rules of WIXOSS have never been overly clear in any version of this anime, but as seasons converge they seem to be trying to set a few things down in stone.

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Again, this episode was heavily focused on prior events but it isn’t just walking us through prior seasons. It is genuinely giving us new information and changing how we see some of the events from prior WIXOSS battles and as a result by the end of this episode as Selectors are once again chosen by LRIG’s the audience is very much ready to see what might be the darkest iteration of WIXOSS yet.

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What I think works really well about this new season is that characters who have made their peace or come to terms with the result of their encounter with the game are being forcibly dragged back into it. And unlike previous versions of the game, these characters are well aware of the high stakes that are being played for. These aren’t naive girls hoping for a magic wish at the end of a rainbow. These characters have already walked through hell and the fact that they came out the other side was a miracle the first time. The sheer fact that most of them flinch at the mention of the Selector battles starting again is testament to the scars that have been left on these characters.

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With so many anime this season trying to get in on dark and edge, WIXOSS continues to show us that you don’t have to physically beat your characters to make them suffer and sometimes it is more affective to hold back on the torment and simply make the audience wait.

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Karandi James

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Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory First Impressions

Despite still not actually writing my reviews of the original Full Metal Panic series (first season, second raid and fumoffu), I’m a huge fan of this franchise and am thrilled it is back. So how does this first episode start off the new anime?

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There was something very nostalgic about this first episode of Invisible Victory. Partially that has to do with the fact that the visuals don’t seem to have changed at all from second raid, which is both a blessing and a curse. So far this anime looks dated for a 2018 release and yet at the same time it meant instant immersion into a story that has been on break for a very long time. And I guess if they were trying to appeal to fans of the original, they’ve succeeded at recapturing the look and given the story is incomprehensible without prior knowledge at this point, despite some really awkward conversations where exposition was dropped in to catch people up, there’s really no reason for someone to jump into the series at this point.

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Sousuke and Chidori are back, and that is a big yay! The impact of the events at the end of second raid are pretty clear with both of these characters being a bit more subdued than we’ve seen them. I’m kind of sad we didn’t get a slightly longer look at their daily life post second raid before events conspired to mess it up, but at the same time I’m glad the anime isn’t wasting time in getting to its story.

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With the return of all the faces fans want to see, diving straight into conflict, and Chidori and Sousuke looking cuter than ever together, this was a well appreciated series return for me but unless someone wants to go back and watch at least season one and second raid, there is nothing here for newcomers and visually this anime is showing its age even though this is a new series.


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Karandi James

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Doreiku The Animation First Impressions

Alright, it is an anime about a device that allows people to turn other people into slaves so expect that things are going to get reasonably dark, but otherwise, how was this first episode?

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After the first episode to Magical Girl Site, I was a little bit wary starting this one, given the premise of this anime sounds like it could get very disturbing very quickly. And in fairness, it is kind of unsettling and certainly we have issues concerning rape, revenge, and other subject matter that isn’t going to be for everyone. Yet something about this I found quite intriguing as I wondered about the motives of the participants and people who willingly use the device knowing what the potential consequence could be. I wonder about the main girl’s narration and how she wished she’d never met the guy who is clearly about to drag her into this ‘game’. Most of all, I wonder whether this will actually have a message given it seems to want to say something, I’m just not sure what yet.

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If the subject matter turns you away, fair enough, but this was a pretty solid first episode. While the characters are only loosely sketched in and fairly unremarkable at this stage, I’m hoping they get some better development over the series, but the premise is nicely explained and there is certainly a lot of potential for directions it could go in. I finished this episode wanting the next one so I guess this is staying on the list for now.


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Karandi James

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Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori First Impressions

For those who know my usual tastes in anime, you will know this one doesn’t fall in with them at all. Yet there was something definitely soothing about this first episode. Your thoughts?

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I’m not a major fan of slice of life and normally a first episode where so little happens would have me watching the timer and waiting for the episode to end. Really, we see the guys preparing to serve at the cafe and we see the overworked and stressed out girl. We then listen to various conversations about menus while we watch the girl slowly get less stressed out before eating what looks to be a truly fantastic meal before cheerfully leaving. Then the guys add a new item to their menu and go cherry blossom viewing. Even just writing that out I wonder how I made it to the end of the episode.

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I’m not going to argue that this slice of life is amazing or does anything people who watch that type of anime haven’t seen before. However, this was a case of right time and place and I really just fell into a happy watching coma while watching this. Whether I make a whole season remains to be seen, but I finished this episode feeling very relaxed (and more than a little hungry).


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Karandi James

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Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss First Impressions

I enjoyed the first Cute High Earth Defense Club anime but dropped the sequel mid-way because it just felt repetitive. I wasn’t going to pick this up, but a few positive reviews encouraged me to try episode one. I ended up being pleasantly surprise. What did you think of this first episode?

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What happens when five guys gather in a club room and then a bath house talking about nothing in particular when a strange creature appears and grants them magic powers they didn’t ask for and don’t want? Well, we’ve seen before what happens and for a season at least it was pretty entertaining so what does Happy Kiss bring to the table?

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This time around we have an otter instead of a wombat and this otter claims to be a Prince. Judging from the preview of the next episode it looks like the politics of the aliens are actually going to come more into play this time around though we’ll wait and see. We also have five different guys but at the same time it is more of the same. While the cast are amusing enough they are all pretty much standing in for some fairly standard tropes and the dialogue, while entertaining isn’t exactly flowing naturally. Particularly with fourth wall breaking comments about the animators flubbing a scene.

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Still, this works because it holds to the standard magical girl cliches and injects just enough humour to the situation through the absurdity of it. As a first episode it was amusing enough and small details like the tea cups early in the episode having a stripe of the colour the boys would eventually transform into were appreciated.

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I’ll give this one a bit longer and see how it goes. And yes, I know I’m being contrary after dropping other comedy shows but for some reason I have a soft spot for this franchise.


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Karandi James

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Steins;Gate 0 First Impressions

It just occurred to me that I haven’t reviewed the original Steins;Gate anime. Why I do not know but I’ll have to fix that sooner rather than later, in the meantime here are my first thoughts on this spin-off/alternative take thing.

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Steins;Gate is one of those anime that people tend to fall in love with or forget about fairly quickly. It takes awhile to get going but once it does, it doesn’t stop and the character interactions are really what hold the whole thing together even when you might feel like poking a few holes in the narrative (it is time travel after all and there are always holes). That said, the anime really did leave a mark so with the announcement of a new season that explores an alternative time line, the question had to become whether or not this show could deliver.

And the answer after one episode is yes and no. Where they have certainly set up an interesting narrative for this spin off to explore, looking at a future where Okabe didn’t save Kurisu, stopped going to the lab and took up tennis (though the hypnotism and medication strongly suggests all is not well), what I can’t help but feel is that something of what made the original so gripping has been lost.

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It took awhile for me to put my finger on it and that’s because it is something really weird. The dialogue pace has slowed down. I remember struggling to keep up with the subs as the dialogue came thick and fast from multiple characters and so much of the dialogue came in biting jabs between Kurisu and Okabe and this has been lost for the moment. Of course, it is only the first episode.

Realistically, this was pretty solid. I’m not entirely sure we needed this take on the story but the set up was interesting, I’m curious as to where they intend to go, and other than the characters feeling a little bit flat I have really no complaints. The same can’t be said for the person I watched this first episode with (he loved the original Steins;Gate anime and was pretty unimpressed with this).

On that note, I’d love to know your thoughts on this first episode so leave me a comment.


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Karandi James

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Caligula First Impressions

Really wondering if the title is actually referring to the Roman Emperor or if it is something actually relevant to the anime here? Anyway, what were your first impressions?

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While I will admit I was kind of interested while watching this, I’m also going to point out that unless you read the synopsis before starting it, there’s nothing in this first episode that is actually going to make sense. Rather than giving us any kind of real insight into what is going on, we follow protagonist guy as his ordinary school life starts going a bit weird and broken up by occasional bits of static and a voice that may or may not be asking him for help. Had they kept the mystery limited to that in this first episode, I would have been intrigued and drawn in to wanting to know more.

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Unfortunately, this anime isn’t content with setting up a mystery and wants to also shock and and show off how edgy it is with a totally pointless fight sequence mid-way along and then a ridiculous transformation and massacre at the end. Not really sure what the appeal is here though the early part of the episode was kind of interesting.

I’m going to give this one more episode to kind of make sense or at least show what kind of anime it is going to be before  I decide.


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Karandi James

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Libra of Nil Admirari First Impressions

Was I really in the market for another historical reverse harem? I’m still not sure about that, but here are my first impressions of Libra of Nil Admirari or Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan or whatever else you want to call this.

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In a historical setting we have a girl who is being married off by her father to save the fortunes of the family (which are clearly in such a disarray that she can spend the afternoon shopping and buying afternoon snacks). However, that plot line quickly gets shelved (very hard to have an interesting reverse harem when the girl is already married off) and instead she’s going to join some “Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau” – that is a mouthful and a half.

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There’s this whole thing about cursed hand-written books and after her brother attempts suicide Miss Compliant With Expectations and Wants Everyone To Be Happy can now apparently see auras around these books which is why she is recruited. Her decision to accept this offer is marked by her determinedly cutting her hair shorter though keeping a nearly identical style so from the front other than having less hair hanging over her shoulders makes next to no difference.

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That’s probably a good representation of the show. It is half-hearted in everything it does in this first episode. All the pieces are there for a bit of drama and yet it all feels paint by numbers and like it is missing the point. I’ll give this another episode but I already know I’m not exactly excited about this one.


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Karandi James

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