In Case You Missed It 2019 #13

This time next week and I should have landed in Japan (all going well). I’ve got a crazy week ahead of me but hopefully blog posts will keep coming out and I’m looking forward to sharing my journey around Tokyo with you all (either while I’m there or once I’m back depending on internet). As a result, the weekly round up of blog posts will be postponed until the end of April and then it will resume again (I may do an overall April ‘In Case You Missed It’ post once I get back before going back to weekly.

In the meantime, here are some great posts from the community last week and as always feel free to give a shout out to a post that you feel deserves some more attention in the comments below. Also, feel free to DM me any links during the week via Twitter as I’m always happy to read good content.

Posts from the Community

Lita Kino gives us a great list of mecha pilots, without any Gundam mentions. Yes, her five favourite mecha pilots that do not come from a Gundam series, and there are some fantastic picks on the list. If you want to celebrate some of the non-Gundam mech stories out there, and the characters who pilot those machines, this is a fantastic post to read.

Full Metal Panic - Sousuke Sagara

Dirk O’Brien from Weeb the People examines episode 1 of March Comes in Like a Lion (3-Gatsu no Lion) and how tone is established through symbolism and character. Now I would have enjoyed reading this anyway given it is about an anime that really hit me hard, but this is a really nicely thought out post about the episode and is definitely one I recommend reading to anyone who has watched the anime, or anyone who is considering it and might need a bit of a push to see why they should definitely check it out.

I absolutely had to include Irina’s great post on Reiko from Natsume Yuujinchou this week as part of the OWL’s March tour. She’s a great character and Irina did a great job discussing the theme of femininity through Reiko. I look forward to Irina’s next Natsume focused OWL’s post.

Reiko - Natsume Yuujinchou

Arthifis followed a post by the lovely Irina on SEO and gave some more advice to bloggers about what it is and what they can do on their blog. It is always great to see bloggers trying to help other bloggers out and sharing their thoughts and processes. I found this a fun read and it made me reflect on a few things so I’m really glad I came across it.

Marth reviews My Roommate is a Cat so if you want to check out someone’s full thoughts on it and whether or not it is worth checking out, this post is a quick and fun read. I really feel My Roommate is a Cat flew too consistently under the radar during the Winter 2019 season despite being fairly consistent and relatively entertaining. It also managed a reasonably decent emotional character story by the end so all and all, I’d recommend checking out Marth’s post and then go watch the anime.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 11 Subaru

Never Argue With A Fish has a wonderful review on Digimon Tamers to read that really sells the series strengths while mentioning some minor points that might be of concern. Still, for those who are inclined to check out the anime, this is a lovely review to read that will probably get you hyped for it.

Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews covers Full Metal Panic The Second Raid. Definitely worth checking out this review and if you haven’t watched Full Metal Panic, please do and be sure to keep going on to Second Raid as it is well worth the time.

Full Metal Panic The Second Raid

Lynn Sheridan shares their thoughts on Episode 12 of The Promised Neverland. Totally spoiler filled given it is a final episode review but if you’ve been enjoying the anime it is a nice summation of the final episode and what has happened and how we got there. Worth checking out.

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Pick of the Week

Over on Phoenix Talks Pop Culture Japan there was an interesting post about Cheer Boys (Cheer Danshi) that explains a bit of the back story behind it and shares their personal connection with the school that the story was based on. It’s a different sort of look at the anime/manga and one that was very pleasant reading. I really enjoyed this post last week and it is one well worth checking out.

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Top 5 Military Focused Anime

Tuesday's Top 5

I’m not the biggest fan of military movies or war focused stories (at least not realistic ones). I find them a little bit depressing to be honest. There are exceptions, usually science fiction or fantasy is enough of a hook (such as Starship Troopers), and I’ve definitely noticed a soft spot for anime that brings in the military (though being told something is military focused isn’t the draw).

Today I’m looking at my favourite military focused anime. Authenticity isn’t a concern. I don’t care whether the ranks and positions are wrong, whether characters would actually be able to behave in certain manners in a real army, or whether the military exists or is part of an entirely fictional setting. I’m just concerned with anime that I really ended up enjoying that had a strong military focus. As such, I’m sure there are many great military anime that aren’t going to get a mention and I’d love to know your favourites so feel free to give them a shout out in the comments below.

Honourable Mentions:

Honourable mentions this time around go to the entire Gundam Franchise, which I continue to have a love/hate relationship with as the various entries either really grab me and pull me in or I end up abandoning fairly early on, and Heavy Object. Now Heavy Object is an anime in general that doesn’t get enough conversation so I really wanted it on my top 5 list, but the numerous flaws with the show prevented me from putting it above anything on the list. That said, I really liked Heavy Object, a lot more than I expected.

Number 5: Attack On Titan

Now, I won’t deny that season two of Attack on Titan saw my patience wearing thin after a fairly big slow down in the second half of season one. But, the early episodes of season one really grabbed me and while the titan at the wall was a big part of that, so was Eren and crew’s original military training. It is such an integral part of the show and the characters and those early episodes were really good. Season three also picked up a lot of things and part of it is the power structure of the world including where the military fits into that. All and all, while this isn’t one of my favourite of all time anime, the military influence is quite strong and some of the better moments comes when the story focuses on these elements.

Attack on Titan

Number 4: Full Metal Alchemist and Brotherhood

Whether it is FMA or FMA Brotherhood, the military focus of Armestris is pretty clear. Love the uniforms, as impractical as they appear, and a lot of the drama in the show comes from the higher ups withholding information from subordinates. Also, characters are regularly compelled to act against their own nature because being in the military does mean following orders. Both versions of Full Metal Alchemist really do an excellent job of showcasing both the problems of large military organisations as well as the camaraderie and loyalty that can grow between soldiers working for a common cause. All and all, a solid anime with a military focus to sink your teeth into.

Full Metal Alchemist - Military

Number 3: Code Geass

Right, so we’re really moving away from realistic here, but I love Code Geass. The ongoing war, the terrorist tactics, the military responses and escalation of weapons of mass destruction… despite the mechs and the fantastical political scenario so much in terms of the themes and ideas are incredibly relatable but it ends up being over dramatised and becomes pure entertainment. From Lelouche’s flamboyant persona as Zero to the amazing feats Suzaku pulls off, everything about this story is great entertainment, even if a little tragic if linked back to reality.

Code Geass
Okay, I couldn’t find a nice picture of the military uniforms, but the school uniform is pretty military like.

Number 2: GATE

This one had to be on the list. In fact, this was where I started and I felt for sure GATE would end up being number one. Alas, I remembered something better, but for now I’ll just go through why I love GATE. It reminded me a lot of the early Stargate episodes with the military going through to other worlds and Daniel Jackson trying to talk with the populations why they looked for resources and the like. Yet, it had all the crazy anime trapping we’ve come to expect from isekai with elf-girls and magicians, and of course Rory Mercury… Want to see the Japanese military face off against a fire-breathing dragon? Helicopters taking on bandits storming a fortress? GATE was great fun to just strap in and watch.

GATE

Number 1: Full Metal Panic

Lastly, we get to my number one entry on this list. When thinking of military focus of course I thought of the number one military maniac himself, Sousuke Sagara. I absolutely loved Full Metal Panic’s ability to balance a fairly serious military style story with hired mercenaries and various agencies as well as the high school comedy aspects. It doesn’t make a huge amount of sense if you stop and think about it, but it absolutely gets the fun factor right and some of the fight sequences and the tactics they come up with are incredibly impressive.

Full Metal Panic

And there you have it, my top 5 military focused anime. As I said, I’d love to know yours so leave me a comment.

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ARTFX J MY HERO ACADEMIA 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: KATSUKI BAKUGO
ARTFX J MY HERO ACADEMIA 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: KATSUKI BAKUGO

Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Heroes in 2018

Tuesday's Top 5

Tuesday’s Top 5 and this week we are counting down the Top 5 hero characters from 2018. There’s a few criteria as normal and to prevent this from becoming a My Hero Academia list, only one character from each show could take a spot on the official list. So, who would you have included on your list?

So what makes a hero? All kinds of things but I’ll be honest, my list this week focuses very much on heroes who fight for their version of justice and as such it ended up being a fairly action heavy list. There’s some great heroes out there who have saved others emotionally and deserve a spot but unfortunately I need to narrow down the list somehow.

Also, apparently this is my first top 5 hero list and I don’t know why I didn’t do one for 2017, but I guess that means we’ll have to see how we go from here.

Honourable Mentions:

Honourable mentions this week go to Sakura from Cardcaptor Sakura who is awesome, and tragically the only female I ended up short listing because the shows I watched this year were fairly short on female heroes I could really get behind. I had high expectations for Release the Spyce but to be honest none of the cast there have really stuck with me. The other honourable mention goes to Diablo from How Not To Summon A Demon Lord. Seriously awesome character but hard to argue that he’s a good hero when he’s working at portraying a demon lord persona for most of the series. That, and he really doesn’t fight for justice so much as protecting those he’s decided are his friends.

Number 5: David Lassic from Record of Grancrest War

David was a great character in Record of Grancrest War. One of the many mysteries of the anime was why he was so subservient to Theo for most of the run time given he was a great leader in his own right and incredible on the battlefield. Thinking back through the majority of the battles, he played a pivotal role in so many of them and Theo should be really thankful that David was on-board. Outside of that, he took down a cyclops that apparently took a troop of mages to take down in the past and he did it with about four people. And, it wasn’t blind luck. He actually decided to take on the monster, asked the right questions about how to beat it, put a plan together and then executed it with the hindrance of weird animation. Still, fairly epic moment for the show and for David.

Number 4: Sousuke from Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory

There’s a lot of nostalgia at play in this choice, I will admit. I loved Sousuke as a hero from before this year and while Invisible Victory ultimately left me wanting a bit more than it was willing to offer, what it did do beautifully was showcase why Sousuke is amazing. No weapons, no back-up, no real clue where the enemy is? Not a problem. Sousuke makes and executes plans to equip himself as needed and find those responsible for taking Chidori. In the meantime he’s going to look great doing it and if you thin a few bullet wounds are going to stop him in his tracks you really haven’t paid attention to this franchise.

Number 3: Kirito from Sword Art Online Alicization

Another choice that is probably heavily nostalgia fuelled given I’m not entirely sure I am sold just yet on the Kirito we are seeing in Alicization. Certainly he’s had his shining moments. Defending Asuna in real life was fairly noble, if stupid (try running away first before you take on a murderer with an umbrella) and the fight against the goblins was just fantastic. However, since Kirito hasn’t really got a target to take down just yet the actual heroic aspects of his character aren’t really shining through. Still, there’s been enough promising signs that I still gave him the number 3 spot on the list. Hopefully the rest of Alicization next year brings him back to number 1.

Number 2: Goblin Slayer from Goblin Slayer

This one shouldn’t be a surprise. You want a faceless hero who fights against an evil even though he won’t get any real credit for his contribution to the safety of the villagers? Goblin Slayer is your guy. He doesn’t fight for glory or fame or even wealth. He just wants to kill goblins and ensure that others aren’t hurt by goblins. He’s kind of a pure force of nature in his single minded approach to goblin slaying and while that probably doesn’t make him the most mentally healthy character, it certainly makes him a strong hero.

Number 1: All Might from My Hero Academia Season 3

However, the number 1 place on this list was more or less determined months ago. Was any character going to have a moment as heroic or as epic as All Might giving the last of his power to hold back All For One while the students rescued Bakugou and the other heroes kept civilian casualties down. Even as his power broke and his weakness was exposed for all the world to see, All Might didn’t falter. He looked clearly at the camera and passed the torch to Midoriya who he has now dedicated himself to preparing for the future. All Might has worked to define what being a hero is and even without his quirk he’s working to prepare the next generation. All Might really is Plus Ultra!

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12 Days of Anime Characters – Kaname Chidori

12 Days of Anime Title Image

One day to go for the 12 Days of Anime. Yesterday we looked at a support character who deserved his own series (Goro from Darling in the Franxx) and today we’re going to turn our attention to a girl who did an amazing job in the original series but in the most recent iteration – Invisible Victory –  got completely sidelined. Yes, we’re looking at Kaname Chidori from Full Metal Panic and one of my all time favourite female characters.

Kaname Chidori starts out as your ordinary high school girl. Then a new student comes along who is a little bit weird. For Kaname, Sousuke is just a little unbalanced, doesn’t really get how things works, and over-reacts to everything. He’s a pain but one she can’t leave alone as she works to ‘correct’ his behaviour in a Japanese school. All too soon though she realises the military maniac is actually trying to protect her from various militia forces that would like to kidnap her because of some knowledge she has in her head.

It’s a lot to take in.

During the first season of Full Metal Panic, Kaname is very much trying to just live her normal life however when push comes to shove, Kaname is ultimately the one who saves the day. Admittedly with some help from Tessa.

Fumoffu gives us more of an inside look at Kaname and Sousuke’s daily lives as high school students and here is where Kaname shines. While she might be out of her element on the battlefield, in a high school setting Kaname has her feet very solidly on the ground and everyone, including Sousuke better watch out if they cross her.

And then we had Second Raid. Second Raid gave Kaname a chance to rise to a military challenge and while she understandably ended up in tears, Kaname’s bravery, endurance and resilience were amazing to behold. To be perfectly franks she came out of Second Raid as the best character in the series.

All of this would have been fine, except that Full Metal Panic felt a need to bring us Invisible Victory. While I wasn’t upset to see more of these characters, the experience was ultimately underwhelming, more so because Kaname gets kidnapped at the end of episode 4 and that’s it for her character essentially for the remainder of the run time. Sousuke is great and all but the show works best when the two are kept together. Still, I won’t turn down the scene with Sousuke and Kaname at the shrine. If Invisible Victory did one thing right, it was definitely that scene.

So here is to Kaname and hoping that if they continue Full Metal Panic beyond this that her character gets back in the spot light where it belongs.

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FULL METAL PANIC!: THE COMPLETE SERIES
FULL METAL PANIC!: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory Episodes 11 + 12: Reunited

While these two episodes certainly do a better job of bringing the season to a resting point, this remains pretty much not concluded with no real indication of a follow up any time soon.

FMP12b.JPG

After a couple of weeks off we finally get the last two episodes of this season and it is the big and dramatic rescue attempt of Chidori (or abduction attempt depending on which faction attacking the one mansion you are). These two episodes bring us all our favourite characters into one location, we’ve got some great fight sequences, an accidental shooting, and a radio message from Chidori to Sousuke that would have tugged at the heartstrings even without the soundtrack kicking into gear in the background.

FMP11d

Like most of the season, these two episodes were nostalgic fun and just good at doing what they set out to do. There was very little time wasted and yet the pacing didn’t feel too extreme. I did like that even after the main team reunited it wasn’t as though the months of separation and the fact that they were currently operating separately disappeared. Sure they helped each other out but they all stayed on their mission.

FMP11a

Of course, what sours these two episodes and the season as a whole is the fact that we don’t know if we’ll ever get anymore and we are still undeniably not finished. At least Second Raid had the courtesy of bringing us to a very solid end point (even though the story would continue) with the characters all back together and doing their thing. But it is hard to feel too hard done by here. There was very little more I could have asked from a follow up season to Full Metal Panic other than an actual ending and I absolutely love the journey Sousuke has been on over the course of this season. Fingers crossed we do eventually get another part to this.

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Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory Episode 10: And So It Doesn’t End

After a thirteen year gap, two recap episodes, we now have a ten episode season with a totally incomplete story. If this were any other franchise I’d be dropping it for good and never looking back and yet Full Metal Panic still makes me desperately want more of this story.

FMP10c

There comes a point where a franchise knows that its core audience isn’t going anywhere and so they realise they don’t need to worry about a big season finish or even attempting to tie up their story. It is dissatisfying to say the least and makes Invisible Victory more or less impossible to recommend to anyone except die-hard fans of this franchise given you can’t start the story without knowing the history of the characters and events and then it just leaves us all hanging.

This final episode is clearly setting up the next phase of the story, but we haven’t really done anything with the current phase. The best way to describe Invisible Victory is a bridge between the previous seasons’ events and whatever they are moving toward but we don’t know what that is.

FMP10a

Still, Sousuke gets to do a cool take down even from a hospital bed, we get Kaname sighing and then swimming in her underwear, Tessa also has a changing sequences because the anime couldn’t possibly ignore the fans of Tessa, and we get a Sousuke training sequence before they reveal who some villain is and the story just stops. Kind of something for every fan of the series in this episode and yet nothing for anyone because we don’t have an announced follow up yet and by itself this story went nowhere. I don’t think I’m going to do a series review of Invisible Victory at this point because basically it isn’t a full series and other than complaining about that and being all happy about seeing Sousuke and Kaname again, there isn’t a lot to say. You are either already a fan of this franchise or you never touched this season of it.

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Here It Is! The Results of the Best of Spring 2018 Reader Poll!

Welcome to the Best of Spring 2018 and while we might say there were slightly leaner pickings this time around, as always it has been fun following the shows with others in the blogosphere and discussing from week to week. Whether that is the discussions around Wixoss, the laughing at Devils’ Line, or just being perplexed by what Grancrest planned to do next, there’s certainly been entertainment to be had this season. But now, even though some shows are yet to complete, it is time to reveal our choices for best of the season.

To my awards…

Best Story – Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love

Tada4d

I realise this is a really odd choice, but to be perfectly frank the story is what failed on so many of the shows I watched this season so Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love might be a fairly ordinary story, but it was at least competently handled from beginning to end. I nearly went with Wixoss, but unfortunately that story makes no sense unless you’ve watched the three prior seasons, so Tada it is.

Best Visuals – Darling in the Franxx

Franxx20j

This is another category I struggled with more than I should but this season nothing has really visually grabbed me or made me want to discuss it (outside of the anime that have been pretty terrible). Even Full Metal Panic isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece as it is trying to reconcile a look with its predecessor from 13 years ago. While Franxx may have its issues, it does at least have an interesting and memorable look about it.

Best Opening – Steins;Gate 0

Steins8d

Finally, an easy question. The opening here is distinct and really does set the tone of the story, while also being reminiscent of the original series. I really enjoy this OP each week. The only other one that really grabbed my attention was Space Battleship Tiramisu but that’s mostly because it got stuck in my head for hours after watching.

Best Character – Sousuke (Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory)

FMP4b

Okay, he had the advantage of already being one of my favourite characters from way back when and his return was greatly appreciated. Most so when I realised that the character progress he made during season 2, even if he had to break apart a bit to get there, was going to continue into this season. Sousuke is a dynamic character who might seem static at times but each event he goes through definitely leaves its mark and it is really rewarding seeing those small advances even if they are interspersed with some backsliding at times.

Best Slice of Life (First Time I’ve Ever Included This Category) – Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori

Biyori1d

I don’t normally get to the end of anything that would actually be described as a slice of life and I got to the end of my awards and realised that this consistent sweetness and relaxation in my week had come up dry. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t a masterpiece or an unforgettable anything, but the number of times it gave me that moment of pure mental relaxation during the Spring anime season meant it deserved a mention here.

And now…

Best Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS

Wixoss12a

This season there was probably plenty of doubt given so many shows were very hit and miss. But with Full Metal Panic giving us two recap episodes and then not finishing in time because of needlessly dragging out its run, My Hero Academia having another cour to go, and not much else that really made sit up and take note (though plenty of light entertainment shows this season), WIXOSS kind of won by default.

That isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve the victory. The culmination of four seasons of build up is a hard thing to pull off in a manner that satisfies and doesn’t feel anti-climatic and yet WIXOSS more or less accomplishes this with only a handful of minor areas where criticism could be laid. It isn’t the single most exciting thing ever, but nor does it need to be. It is a fairly solid work delivering a compelling conclusion that feels like it is giving the audience some closure.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting this time round was scattered as it was clear there wasn’t one single title that people were getting behind. However two titles ended up gaining quite the lead and kept it most of the way with My Hero Academia only really gaining ground toward the end of the vote. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen either of the top voted anime and will have to rectify that for one of them soon as it is available. The other I won’t be able to see unless it gets a DVD release or ends up going onto a different streaming service.

Best of Spring 2018.JPG

And the winner is… Hinamatsuri!

Hinamatsuri

Normally I would write something about the show and what I liked or didn’t about the reader’s choice, but I still haven’t actually seen this one so other than noting that it is on my watch list, I really don’t have a lot to say about it.

Wotakoi narrowly edged out My Hero Academia to take the third spot and Megalo Box is sitting in a comfortable second. These two along with Hinamatsuri will go into the poll in December for anime of the year. Interestingly enough, I watched none of these this season which could account for why I had a pretty slow season.

Thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll. Be sure to check back for the worst of the season coming out later.


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