Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Sikatsu Review Episode 9

Curry and Pancakes For Friendship?

Hitoribocchi Episode 9

We’re making pancakes and curry (not at the same time) in this episode of Hitoribocchi. Part of me wonders why anyone is actually staying friends with Bocchi given she seems to have absolutely nothing in her head and her first response to any kind of adversity is to cry (or at least tear up) but I guess that’s neither here nor there. I can get behind characters who are weak or socially awkward, but Bocchi lacks any kind of positive trait that I can latch onto. Unless sheer determination counts, but even then she needs a lot of encouragement to avoid running away.

There’s also the matter of how self-involved she is. I get they are trying to have her come across as cute and awkward but just watching her interact with the group while cooking pancakes not once does she think of learning anything about anyone in that group. Her every thought is of how they see her and how she wants them to see her. And while this might actually be relatively realistic it just kind of made me feel a little tired watching her.

I guess basically the premise of this anime never really worked for me, what few points about the lead I found charming got buried under repetition of all the points I don’t enjoy, and given the nature of the anime there’s almost no plot to hide behind. I just don’t find it enjoyable.

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As I was watching this particular episode someone came in and mentioned that the anime looked ‘wholesome’. They came in while the curry tasting section was on. I had to agree. It is wholesome and I can see why many would find it sweet, but at this point I am not clicking with it.

Hitoribocchi continues to be an anime I hear a lot of positive chatter about and objectively I can see all the reasons people would enjoy this anime with its eclectic group of cute girls, pastel visuals, and standard school silliness framed by a simple goal of shy girl makes more friends, and if I’d connected with the cast at all it would probably be lovely.

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Karandi James
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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #10

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Well this question kind of comes about in response to a previous one. Hopefully you enjoy it and share your thoughts on it in the comments below. And a always, if you have something to ask me you can complete the survey below or by clicking here. I’d love to hear your question.

I’ve been rewatching Yama no Susume over the weekend and then I saw the Inquiring Minds question about OTP’s… And it occurs to me, why do we always talk about romantic partners? Let’s talk about true friends! The pairs or groups that will always be there together and for each other.

Derek

So I guess there are two parts to this question. Firstly why we’re all fixated on romantic partners and shipping characters rather than friendship, and secondly looking at characters that are true friends.

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 2

I’m not really sure why, but maybe it is the whole fairy tale upbringing but the whole romantic falling in love and being with the one you love is kind of a standard of stories. As such, having characters fall in and out of love is kind of fascinating. That and it is always so adorable to watch. I’m just not sure I could see the same discussions about two characters becoming good friends and ‘will they – won’t they’ be friends forever debates raging. Okay, maybe as viewers we all just like speculating about a fictional character’s romantic prospects.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks

So while I’m not sure why we are fixated on OTP’s and falling in love, I do know there are some fantastic examples of friendship that come through in anime. Recently, Run With The Wind has done an excellent job bringing ten guys together and making them feel like genuine friends over the course of its series and it has been nothing but pure joy watching them celebrate each other’s successes and supporting those who might be having a harder time.

Still, the pair that immediately came to mind when I read this question was Chito and Yuuri from Girls’ Last Tour. While I have read some posts that ship these two, I found their friendship to be an utterly believable one and one that really helped carry the anime (given these two were largely the only characters in it). Both were charming in their own way but the way their personalities bounced off the other really sold the show.

Girls' Last Tour Episode 7

You could completely believe that Yuuri would do whatever it took to defend Chito and she would work to get them out of any tight spots (even if her own lack of forward planning was what had gotten them into that spot in the first place). Where Chito would hesitate to act, Yuuri would take the plunge, leading to the pair making discoveries that might otherwise have passed them by. On the other hand you could count on Chito to keep Yuuri from diving into too much trouble and have the longer view of how they would survive and bring knowledge into the discussion. While the two might have had their share of disagreements, such as when Yuuri burnt one of Chito’s books, the two never stayed put out for long because they needed the other one.

School Live Episode 7

The other anime that immediately sprang to mind was School Live. For obvious reasons the girls had to rely on one another but I believe their friendship grew and was really genuinely portrayed throughout the anime. Yuki would not be alive without the support and love of those around her and I believe she knows that very well and each girl contributes something that is needed emotionally for their survival as well as their more practical skills.

Hopefully that kind of answers the question and I’d love to know what you all think so throw us a comment and let us all know.

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Victory For Power of Friendship; Complete Loss For Originality

Release the Spyce Episode Review Title

Release the Spyce Episodes 6 + 7 Review

Right, we can skip right to the end of this and just say, “Power of friendship, yada, yada ending”. Yeah, I don’t have high hopes for Release the Spyce anymore but I kind of want a little more out of a story about teenage spies than a mentor telling her student she’s wonderful being enough to snap her out of a drug induced rampage. After two episodes of eye-roll worthy moments, that one just capped the entire thing and left quite the sour taste in my mouth.

Release the Spyce Episode 6

Now in case you think I’m just jaded and mean, both of which might be true to a point, I will point out that I do not mind anime that pull the power of friendship card for a finale, particularly when it has been a well developed theme with characters who have overcome enough obstacles and rallied together enough that it feels earned. Sailor Moon season 1 is an awesome example and I will never fault that ending where Serena calls on the power of her most likely dead friends to defeat Beryl.

Sailor Moon 1990's Serena and Rei
They are good friends, you know it.

Yet here it doesn’t feel earned, it doesn’t feel rewarding, it doesn’t even make sense. I get that the whole way along the argument is that Aoba’s thing is she makes friends with whoever she decides to. The backstory with Teresia, her reaching out to Teresia even knowing she was likely spying on the spies, and all of the other characters endlessly telling the audience how nice she is and how persistently she pursues friendship, kind of hit us over the head with this idea that Aoba makes friends.

Release the Spyce Episode 6

Does that make it any more likely that she was going to succeed in hugging it out with someone who was drugged and crazed? Does it feel like she earned that happy ending when we’ve actually seen little of her friendship making abilities and simply been batted over the head with them for the duration of two episodes? I’m going to say no.

This feels very much like the same issue I had with Devilman Crybaby, in that the story endlessly felt the need to tell me how compassionate and kind the main character was and yet the never showed anything other than him occasionally crying to make that feel true. Though here it is worse because at least that show gave the one character a whole season to develop whereas here we have a character trying to present herself and resolve a crisis in two episodes because it’s an ensemble cast and they all need their moment to underwhelm us.

Release the Spyce Episode 7

Release the Spyce is at its best when it actually gets on with the spy training and shenanigans. It is at its worst every time it tries for one of these after school special moments between student and mentor. Other viewers may disagree and quite enjoy these ‘touching’ moments, but for me they simply feel cheap and I’m just not that interested.

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Karandi James
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Orange Series Review

Overview:

Ten years ago Kakeru committed suicide. Now his friends, feeling regret, send letters to their past selves in an effort to save him.

I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in my thoughts on individual episodes click here.

Review:

For those following week to week, it is no surprise that there are definitely aspects of this show that annoyed me. That said, it is actually quite a nice drama and if you are into teen romance between emotionally stunted characters with possible mental health issues you will probably find a truly touching story to follow. That said, I’m probably not the intended audience which might be why I became progressively more annoyed with the characters and plot.

My main issue will always be Naho and Kakeru themselves. You can argue that they are supposed to be flawed characters suffering from various issues (depression, social anxiety, etc) but that doesn’t stop them being irritating to watch. One or the other may have been fine on their own as an exploration into characters with mental health problems but the two together, dominating the screen time, are hard to take and mostly you just want to slam their heads together and tell them to hurry things along. Or maybe that’s just me being callous but the issue is that these two are not engaging to watch (for me at least). Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke has a similar mentality to Naho but I never found her to be quite this frustrating and possibly that was because she was partnered with someone significantly more outgoing (even if he did have his own issues to deal with).

The second issue that comes between me and actually enjoying Orange is the plot. The time travel explanation is rubbish and I still fail to see why (if you could send a letter to the past) you would openly work to undermine the life you have (especially in Suwa’s case). you could argue they are being selfless or maybe we could argue that the characters don’t believe it will affect them because any changes will occur in a parallel world but they don’t know that. It is a theory and speculation. They gambled the life of their future child on a theory that could not be proven ahead of time. The more they discuss and explain time travel (particularly in the last couple of episodes) the clearer it makes it that they did not know what the consequence would be but decided to do it anyway.

My final issue will always be the lack of development for any character outside of Naho and Kakeru. The friends exist to be friends. And while they all get to show up smiley and happy in the pictures, the bottom line is it always comes back to Naho and Kakeru while everyone else put everything on hold.

With those issues on the table I do want to point out some positives.

The story is complete in and of itself. No looking for answers elsewhere, no wondering about the outcome. They have a goal established in episode 1 and they work towards it until episode 13 and then the situation is resolved (whether you like the resolution or not it is resolved).

Neither Kakeru nor Naho actually do a complete 180 and are magically cured of their issues by the power of friendship or through sheer determination. You know what, they aren’t just going to get over it. They are going to slowly take steps forward and backward and may or may not eventually move on or maybe they are going to deal with issues their whole life. I actually liked that they treated their issues with this sort of respect. You can’t get over social anxiety just because you want to. And Kakeru isn’t just going to get over his guilt and subsequent depression just because he has friends and a few good times. While these characters may not be good together, individually it was great to see both of these characters and the way they were dealt with by the narrative.

Visually, Orange is a mixed bag of soft and pretty followed by some occasionally terrible animation. Don’t look too closely at background characters and mostly it won’t bother you. Thematically the story works well and while I’m still annoyed at the time travel treatment there isn’t a lot more you could ask for in thirteen episodes.

orange11

Recommendation: For those into drama and romance that aren’t put off by slow moving stories or awkward characters. I’m not the biggest fan of the show but I can see why it appeals to others. And I can see why it would be irritating to some.

 

 

Kiss Him, Not Me Episode 4

Review:

I have to wonder at this point how long the boys are going to just allow themselves to be dragged around. No matter how cute Kae is after losing weight (an issue in and of itself), the fact that these boys will apparently put up with anything in order to stay around her is getting just a little bit old. That said, this episode probably brought out the first real sense of a friendship forming between the group of boys and with Kae. That was probably the best thing about the episode. The introduction of the obvious girl who they think is a guy worked well enough but hasn’t added anything other than a yuri element, which I guess might broaden the appeal of the show but overall it wasn’t a particularly interesting development.

Kiss Him, Not Me is available on Crunchyroll.

Flip Flappers Episode 3

Review:

Flip Flappers is a lot of things but one thing I am not going to accuse this show of being is logical. This episode just kind of continued to throw things at us with frantic energy and kind of hoped the shining prettiness and weirdness of the whole thing would help make it through to the end. Admittedly, the reveals (multiple) at the end of this episode are kind of worth waiting for as they hint at an actual overall plot that has been sorely missing from the first three episodes of random exploration and developing themes of friendship.

Flip3b.JPGProbably my biggest issue with this episode was how many clichés we ran across in quick succession. From a Sailor Moon style transformation (had they transformed in a sequence before because that seemed to come out of left field), to a that’s not their true power comment, and so on an so forth. Actually, the tone of this episode kind of reminded me of Gurren Laagan. Why am I finding so many comparisons? Because there is genuinely no way to explain what is going on in this anime without just taking you scene by scene through it. I keep hoping that this finds some cohesion because all the parts are interesting but I still feel like we’re only just being introduced to the world three episodes in.

Flip Flappers is available on AnimeLab.

Words of Wisdom

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