Conception Episode 1: We Can’t Accuse Them Of Being Subtle Here

In fairness to this anime, I knew going in that this was a harem, fantasy about a guy who literally needs to sleep with twelve girls to produce special children to save the world. I wasn’t exactly expecting much and the first few moments of silhouetted girls in awkward poses fairly much confirmed what you would expect this show to be. I also had Cactus Matt’s review read before going in so again knew more or less what I was choosing to watch.

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That said, despite the fact that this is undeniably trashy, and fairly poor quality trashy as well, I didn’t hate the first episode. I’m not exactly going to mount a defence of this show as some undiscovered gem because to be perfectly frank there’s some lazy animation and short cuts going on even in the first episode that make you feel like they just don’t care (either that or they assume their target audience will watch anyway, though if that’s the case you think they’d go out of their way not to jump over the scene where they actually follow through on their premise and the guy apparently has sex with girl number 1).

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This isn’t an instant drop from me because I actually kind of like the matter of fact way the main guy has taken things so far and that he does seem to actually want to look after his cousin and get her home so despite the questionable subject matter and the lewd flying tanuki who I am kind of hoping has a close encounter with a paper shredder, I’m at least game for a second episode (and believe me even I’m surprised by that).

Conception1d


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Karandi James

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NISEMONOGATARI 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: SHINOBU OSHINO

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Series Review: Inept Isekai Harem Story

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 10

I wasn’t planning on watching this show this season but with an incredibly small watch list and some small number of factors introduced early on in the show that might have developed into something interesting, I ended up sticking with The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar. I probably regret that decision now but let’s get into the review.

Review:

There has been a very low bar set for isekai stories, particularly isekai harem stories. And that bar for the most part works in the genres favour because people expecting some deep and intellectual story don’t bother at all and those who are just wanting something to casually watch and maybe be entertaining are happy enough to jump on board and hand wave the occasional clunky bit of exposition, slight character breaking moments and definitely dismiss plot armour as just a staple of the genre. That isn’t to say there aren’t some great isekai stories out there and that harem stories can’t be well told, but the majority of the genre should definitely be taken into account.

Yet, even by those dangerously low standards, I would find it incredibly hard to recommend The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser or Einherjar. The sheer number of things this anime does to shoot itself in the foot along the way is nearly mind-boggling and that is before you get to a final episode that just left me shaking my head and wondering why on earth I’d just given the show three months of my life in episodic reviews. This story of boy from the modern world travelling with smartphone to the past and somehow becoming the biggest thing ever is hardly original but that wouldn’t be a problem if it managed to be competent.

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That isn’t to say there is nothing good about the show. I did in fact watch it every week for three months so there was clearly something about the anime that caught my eye and kept my attention even as  I dropped the likes of Holmes of Kyoto. So we’ll start with some positives before I tear this less-than-middling story apart.

One thing  I did enjoy initially about this anime is that it didn’t start the story with Yuuto arriving in the past/other world (it is very unclear if he is on Earth even though he thinks he is – the people with seemingly magic powers kind of makes it hard to swallow). The story begins after he’s already been in the past for a number of years and has already risen to the head of the Wolf Clan. This by itself made the story stand out from so many others in this genre because we didn’t get the standard five to ten minutes of his everyday life before the confusion of landing in another world and befriending the cute girl. Nope, he was already there and established with the many cute girls by his side. The novelty of that, and the fact that it allowed this story to get straight into the fights between clans, gave it a little bit of a lift.

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I also liked that despite Yuuto being a complete push over to pretty much every female character, he did insist on the no marriage thing because he had someone he loved waiting for him in the present. He stood by this right until the end and I kind of respected that because at least we didn’t have another harem protagonist who couldn’t make a choice. He’d made his choice but just couldn’t really act on it because she wasn’t in the same time/world as him and all he could do was talk to her on the phone.

Finally, I actually liked that Yuuto did draw on real tactics (researched on his smartphone of course) and used these in the various battles he fought. I also liked that he seemed to be making a genuine effort to lead his clan into a more economically stable position. These ideas if properly fleshed out could have more than carried the show as maybe something of a mix between the likes of Lord Marksman and Vanadis and Maoyu. Tragically these were decidedly tagged on ideas that kind of got thrown at the audience one minute and promptly forgotten the next.  On that note, go watch either Lord Marksman or Maoyu instead, either one is far superior to anything you’ll find here and you’ll even get a decent amount of good looking anime girls wearing skimpy outfits in Lord Marksman if that is what floats your boat.

Master of Ragnarok Episode 5

However, these positives are not enough to offset a lot of the issues this anime has. The first I’ve already touched on and that is that the anime introduces ideas but does nothing with them or at least doesn’t give them enough time to develop. We don’t know why Yuuto went to the past (other than magic mirror and summoning) and we don’t know how his smartphone manages to work (I can’t even get internet access in my backyard so I’d love to know how his phone actually works across time and space). They introduce economic reforms, agriculture reforms, new technologies and none of these are given any real weight other than isn’t Yuuto awesome. We have an episode that for some reason focuses on school bullying but is resolved with shockingly little care for the lingering impacts of bullying. And finally we have an ongoing war with some conspiracies by the church and ultimately this goes absolutely nowhere. You won’t ever see the guy who originally gets the Lightning Clan to attack the Wolf Clan ever again. No one will mention it and nothing will be resolved.

So if they aren’t developing any of this what are they doing in this anime? Poorly animated fight sequences would be one answer. While I won’t say they are dreadful, they aren’t exactly impressive. Then on the other side of that we spend a lot of time with the girls in bathtubs, hot springs, and generally just trying to get as close to Yuuto as possible. Keep in mind the girls are quite aggressive in their affections and it is set up on a number of occasions where it seems clear that Yuuto has been assaulted off-screen by his harem on mass despite his protests. It isn’t exactly comfortable viewing if you try and insert any kind of moral reality into the viewing experience (then again that probably isn’t the best mindset to watch any harem with, but I can’t help but think how unforgivable such a scene would be if a male harem pounced on a protesting female – and what makes it unpalatable for me at least was somehow this was supposed to be amusing).

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 6

Also, the sheer lack of explanations about the runes and powers some of the characters have is frustrating. It is like the world we’re in is never fleshed out and we still don’t understand it even as the season ends. There are more questions then answers but the desire to ever see more of this is pretty minimal (so if they were aiming for a sequel please just say no).

However, the worst is the final episode where mid-episode they seem to legitimately just toss their own plot to the side and meander on with some rubbish before throwing a parade celebrating Yuuto. There is legitimately no explanation for what happened to the armies and the whole conflict that was going on. Just throw a parade, have a kind of wedding and hope no one notices that all the conflict that had been set up just kind of vanished for no good reason. This was a truly frustrating way for the show to end.

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I very rarely insist that my opinion is correct about a show and normally I believe that there is an audience somewhere who will appreciate what an anime has to offer, but in this case I’m simply going to tell you that this one is not worth your time even if you are mad keen on harem stories in isekai settings. There are simply so many anime that do similar things but so much better that there is no reason to watch this one.

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 12: Um… What Just Happened?

The Master of Ragnarok has been a fairly average to poor series throughout but it could have ended reasonably. Instead we get this, episode 12. An episode so inept it plunges what should have been an average watch into something that just cannot be recommended unless you really want to watch the hot spring episode.

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While I’ll save a lot of my issues with this anime for the series review, episode 12 does a great job of showing why there just isn’t any reason to watch this show for the actual plot. Last week Yuuto got sent back to the future and this episode spends the majority of its time with Yuuto and Mitsuki reuniting, shopping and flower viewing. It is really riveting viewing. Like seriously, who cares about the Wolf Clan and the war going on or any of the other characters when there’s shirt shopping to watch? (Oh, I should probably reign in the sarcasm a little.)

The few glimpses we get of Felicia and the other characters shows them all kind of freaking out because Yuuto is gone and both the Lightning Clan and Panther Clan are marching upon them. It is a pretty dire situation and one which could be a great dramatic conclusion.

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Then Yuuto gets summoned back. And Mitsuki goes with him. As his wife, because he proposed. Then there’s a parade. The end.

Um…

So the war with Lightning guy and the older brother who went crazy went where? And all the people who died when the Wolf Clan lost the fort? And just what was that?

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It was like this was actually a forty minute episode but someone just slashed the middle out of it and said, ‘done’. What it makes for is a really unsatisfying mangled mess of a season ending and to be honest it actually just made me mad that I’d watched this show. It didn’t need a brilliant ending, but it could have at least remembered its own plot.

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 11: Unstuck

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 11

After last week’s effort things looked grim for the Wolf Clan and that continues for a fair chunk of this episode of The Master of Ragnarok. Still, in the grand tradition of protagonists, Yuto is going to somehow turn this around.

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Sometimes I wonder about Felicia’s title of bodyguard given she mostly seems to exist to ask questions and give the occasional pep-talk. This week she did momentarily draw a sword in defence of her Patriarch but was pretty quickly shot down and taken out of the fight leaving Yuto to fend for himself. Fortunately, as he says, he hasn’t been slacking on his lessons because otherwise this would have been over pretty quickly.

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Still, this episode does show us that there was a bit more to the initial plan then met the eye with reinforcements joining the fight. Then with Yuto taking to the front lines and raising the morale of his troops (even if I question the logic of them standing with their back to the enemy and cheering for seemingly as long as they did) the fight was turned in the Wolf Clans favour. That by itself would have been reasonable for an episode but the Panther Clan is not willing to accept defeat (even if Lightning Clan boy does a runner – fairly sensibly after Rune has taken a slice out of him).

The Master of Ragnarok

I think more villains need to take a page out of the book of the Panther Clan’s book though. Killing the patriarch of the Wolf Clan means victory for them regardless of whatever else happens and with Sigyn’s magic that should have been plausible. It didn’t work out because protagonist plot armour is strong, but I at least admired the attitude.

But, the episode ends with a final twist and Yuto is sent back to his time, though he has left his smart phone with Felicia which I guess means he’ll be calling her next episode and who wants to bet on him being re-summoned?

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 10: Whoops

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 10

Someone possibly should have warned Yuuto that it is dangerous to underestimate your opponents. Particularly when one is an overpowered idiot and the other has an intense grudge against you.

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The first half of this episode pretty much picks up with Yuuto finding the Mitsuki look alike who turns out to be the divine emperor or whatever. About the only useful thing that comes out of this (save for the new year’s banquet that more or less ends with the girls all getting drunk, naked, and then attacking Yuuto off screen) is that she points out that Felicia couldn’t have been the one to summon Yuuto to the past because she doesn’t have enough magic. I don’t know what I was supposed to be getting out of that exchange, but I kind of decided that meant that Mitsuki is maybe this divine emperor reborn and maybe his own girlfriend is actually responsible for sending him back there. That would at least be an interesting twist.

Skipping that, we get to the second half where Yuuto is informed the Lightning Clan are attack again. He sets his strategy and off he goes, but in the nature of over-confident protagonists he’s overlooked a few things. By the end of this episode he has broken the first attack by the Lightning Clan but at least one of his strongest fighters has gone off the edge of a cliff, Rune is in a dire situation, and there’s the Panther clan marching in with an army of 10,000. It isn’t exactly a good position for Yuuto to be in.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 10

Then of course the episode ends and now we’ll have to wait until next week to figure out whether or not Yuuto has yet another clever ploy to deal with this or whether he really has been caught off guard this time.

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 9: Seeking The Truth

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 9

This week we spend most of our time in the modern world with Mitsuki (Yuuto’s childhood friend/crush) as she tries to figure out where he actually is in history. Wondering why it is episode 9 before this happens, but why not?

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 9

One of the reasons I ended up following along with this show (other than the absence of obvious competition for my attention this season) was because I was interested in the time shift aspect. It is set up as such a standard harem/isekai story except it seemed that the protagonist was in the past rather than a different world. Then of course we have characters running around with seemingly magic powers and I couldn’t help but wonder where they were going with this.

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Turns out Ragnarok isn’t in the title just because someone thought it sounded cool. Seems they intended to actually take a look at some of the Norse myths they’ve kind of referenced even if they are stepping outside of the original stories (you know because stories don’t always stay the same over time so the actual events are allowed to be a bit different). It’s actually a reasonably clever premise and a fairly solid setting for the story. Where I would criticise it is that its taken 9 episodes to even explain this much and a lot of what has happened in the meantime hasn’t really felt like it has contributed a great deal toward some mythological battle between gods.

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That said, I was happy the story is finally addressing the premise it set us up with, even if they segue through girls comparing breast sizes because that’s a universal no matter what time period we’re in, at least according to anime.

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Libra of Nil Admirari Series Review: Pretty Boys and Books

I can’t help but wonder if maybe this story would be more fun if it were interactive and allowed you to follow along with one guy’s story rather than chopping and changing to ensure each guy got screen time, but no chance of development.

Review:

Libra of Nil Admirari

During the spring 2018 season I chopped and changed a lot with my watch list. There were a lot of shows that potentially could have been interesting, or I wasn’t sure if they would stick, so I ended up watching quite a few shows without reviewing and then as I dropped other shows that didn’t work out I would end up picking them back up. Libra of Nil Admirari was one of those series. And really, the first episode defines the entire viewing experience:

  • It is reasonably unremarkable but has some potentially interesting ideas.
  • Characters are introduced but they don’t really seem to have any overly defined traits.
  • Small moments of danger are inserted to created drama but it never feels like things are actually going to get dangerous.

Libra of Nil Admirari Episode 1

Basically I ended up feeling luke-warm about this whole series. It didn’t help that mid-way through the run the subtitles changed from Ruze to Kuze (or maybe I just paid more attention) and I realised that most of the guys running around in the show I never knew the name of and was left looking it up at the ends of episodes if I actually wanted to talk about that character.

While that might make it seem like a fairly terrible viewing experience, it really wasn’t. The show isn’t bad at any point. However it fails to be interesting or memorable for the most part. The one thing it has going for it are the cursed tomes, and pretty much any episode that dealt directly with a cursed book had at least one moment that really grabbed my attention, but even this story-line ultimately didn’t go very far. While we do get to see who is behind the distribution of the cursed books and they even resolve the story well enough, it’s a pretty unsatisfying story when you simply look at that plot line without the clutter of all the issues the pretty boys bring into the story.

Libra of Nil Admirari Episode 5

And each of the boys does have a story to share. It might have even been an interesting story if they’d been given four or five episodes to develop it but instead we shift the focus to the guy of the week, learn a little about him, and then Kuze either gets herself in trouble and is rescued by him and somehow that results in him feeling better about whatever, or Kuze actually talks to them and makes them realise something about themselves, but either way it is usually resolved before I’ve had time to get invested. Some of the boys were lucky to have their story carry over more than one episode and Hisui was one of the few that actually had quite a reasonable build up. The tragedy of that was they then just kind of wrapped his story up because we were nearing the climax and it didn’t feel like he really had the screen time he needed to make his story actually work.

Libra of Nil Admirari - Episode 6

So what this mostly leaves us with is an anime that actually has some reasonable ideas, is pleasant enough, has a cast that work and individually are each potentially interesting but underused, and ultimately a fairly forgettable plot. The one thing this anime definitely has in its favour is a very upbeat OP and some interesting visuals during the ED, though I’m not entirely sure if either of these is enough to offset the mediocrity of what lies between those two things.

Libra of Nil Admirari Episode 12

As for a recommendation, I really can’t. If you happen to really love historical settings or reverse harems, then perhaps you will enjoy this more than I did, but mostly I think what was good about this show just served to highlight all the opportunities it missed. By the end I was mostly just wanting it over because I kept thinking about how it could have and should have been much better. So not inherently broken but neither is it recommendable.

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 8: Create School, Create School Bullying

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

I don’t know if I’m impressed or annoyed that they managed to shove a school bullying subplot into a harem isekai story, but either way, this episode is mostly down time with a few minor plot points sprinkled through to ensure you can’t just skip it.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

Let’s start with the actual plot. Felicia’s brother who was rejected as the patriarch of the Wolf Clan isn’t exactly giving up his revenge and we start and end the episode with him. Admittedly, the first scene seems to be recap and fan-service, but they do throw in the point that Felicia was the one who summoned Yuuto to this world and I don’t recall if we were supposed to already know that bit of information. They also remind us that Yuuto reacted strangely to the magic thrown around last week. The final sequence is a bit more ominous with the Church/Empire guy approaching the older brother and seemingly orchestrating an alliance between the Panther Clan and the Lightning Clan to bring down the Wolf Clan. Given both Panther and Lightning gave Yuuto trouble on their own, it seems a little worrying if those two get together (then again, with the egos of the leaders involved I’m not sure cooperation is really in their nature).

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

However, that is all for plot. The rest of the episode is filled with comments about it being cold to justify making a kotatsu, checking in on Yuuto’s whole school idea and realising that making a school makes for school drama, and lastly Yuuto making gifts for some of the harem because apparently their birthdays are coming up. it isn’t exactly riveting viewing nor is it terrible. It just kind of is and then the episode fortunately ends on a more plot driven note.

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I will point out that Yuuto thoroughly deserved getting slapped in this scene.

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 7: They Finally Explain

It’s taken seven episodes, but they finally tell us how Yuuto becoming the Patriarch of the Wolf Clan came about, and it wasn’t exactly universally accepted. It might have been nice to have had more build up to this, but we get a reasonably  decent episode out of it.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 7

Like everything else in this series, the back story is explained fairly basically, it is kind of full of holes because the details are incredibly thin, and it leads to pretty predictable results, but there’s still something kind of interesting about it. This week we finally see how Yuuto became the Patriarch and we also see the reaction of the guy who thought he was going to become the Patriarch (Felicia’s brother just for some added fun). He takes it well; assuming drawing a sword and trying to kill Yuuto is your idea of taking it well, and the former Patriarch ends up dying.

Skip back to the present time and we see that there is a new clan making moves and they are using iron tipped arrows and cavalry (seems someone learned a thing or two from Yuuto). Turns out older brother’s particular skill is copying technology (and Yuuto thinks he’s cheating). Short on time, Yuuto now needs to figure out a new strategy to deal with the new threat.

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And with the exception of the girls’ outfits, there’s no fan service in sight as this episode actually spends almost the whole run time on actual plot and character. Now if only the plot and characters had any depth we might even say this was approaching decent.


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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 6: Who Needs Plot?

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 6

In the absence of a new adversary, Yuuto and the group engage in pointless hot spring action before randomly deciding to start compulsory education. The Master of Ragnarok seems to just be reeling from one event to the next without much direction.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 6

You know, hot-springs are a pretty common thing in anime. Even anime set in the past and not in Japan. So I’m not annoyed that the Master of Ragnarok sent Yuuto and all his female advisers and wannabe wives (and a slave because why not) to the hot spring. I’m more annoyed that they didn’t find anyway to make this a meaningful part of the plot (other than one of the girls washing Yuuto’s back with her boobs, because that’s a thing).

They leave the wolf clan for a vacation because Yuuto’s been working too hard. The girls basically do things girls only do in these kinds of fantasy settings until Yuuto’s nose explodes in a fountain of blood and then they all apologise before attacking him again.

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Meanwhile, Yuuto’s left someone else in charge while he’s away and they’ve made a big deal about that. But nothing happens. There’s no threat from outside to be dealt with or anything unusual that occurs. The guy in charge doesn’t try to usurp power or do anything underhanded. In fact, we don’t see a thing that happens while Yuuto is away. So why even make a point of leaving someone else in charge? More importantly, why send Yuuto away? Did anything of note happen at the hot-springs in amongst the over-the-top fan-service? Nope. Not one single plot or character point. This entire section was just there for the sake of getting characters naked, which they do anyway in bath scenes without a hot-springs trip, and it brings nothing of note to anything.

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We then return and we see another of Yuuto’s innovations from the future is earning the Wolf Clan money and somehow this ends up leading to Yuuto deciding to invent schools and compulsory education. Which is where the episode ends. Not sure why I should care how much Yuuto advances this particular society. Not sure why he isn’t looking for a way home. Not sure where the story is going because at this point and time we’re just kind of watching characters do stuff but not sure what their purpose is.

It’s all just a little empty.


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