Summer 2018 Week 11

I’m not going to sugar-coat it, this week things have been tough for me in the real world and I know that is affecting my viewing because I’m fairly emotionally numb at the moment. That said, there was still plenty to enjoy in anime this week and I’m once again reminded that my love of stories can get me through pretty much anything. Besides, it isn’t as though I’m tasked with bringing down the mafia, or dealing with dehydration, or even battling childhood friends, so maybe things aren’t so bad after all. As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows as we see most of them go into their final week.

And a reminder that if you have a moment, be sure to jump over to my poll where voting has commenced for the best and worst of Summer 2018.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 11)

Dream11a

And the drag continues with this story but at least it does look like they will resolve at least the one plot point I’ve been interested in. The fact that the whole anime remains strictly average is neither here nor there really. Part of me wishes this had been more fun and that any of the characters felt real, but ultimately it is what it is.

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 11)

Mongol11dOne episode to go and Angolmois is building to a pretty decent climax. It is marred by my general lack of care for these characters because despite spending 11 episodes with them they are all mostly still relatively indistinguishable. Still, for a historical kind of thing, I’m still enjoying it enough even if I’m not shouting its praises from the roof.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Episode 9)

Attack on Titan Episode 9

Attack on Titan season 3 continues to be fairly impressive as it builds on the characters and actually seems to drive the plot forward. There is very little to complain about in this episode. While the fight against Rod Reiss’ titan ended up not being overly spectacular, it did its job and the characters more than made up for a lack of action.

Banana Fish (Episode 12 – Not Reviewed)

Banana Fish Episode 12

Ash’s gang war is escalating and he shows the audience just how ruthlessly efficient he can be when he’s put his mind to something. In the background he has made a plan to get Eiji out of the situation though I suspect that it isn’t going to end well. Still, there were some really nice touches this week with some of the character interactions and Ash is definitely a fun character to spend time with.

Cells at Work (Episode 11)

Cells at Work Episode 11

This week the body is coping with heat stroke and the end result is actually a return to that balance between educational and entertaining. There’s a lot of explanations of systems and their effects this week but the characters step up and keep the show cute and fun. This was a really fun little episode and of course we got some more platelets.

Frankenstein Family (Episode 4)

Frankenstein3d

Episodes 3 and 4 of this are very much dealing with the fallout from the parents being arrested as Tanisu continues to look for help and for ways his family can continue to live in the outside world. While this show isn’t exactly striking or memorable, each episode is good light entertainment and it hasn’t made many mis-steps making it fun so far.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 12)

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 12

Well this one is done and I’ll be writing up my final review later in the week. I’m going to be honest, the final episode works but isn’t exactly elevating this show. It concludes what it needs to, throws what it needs to at the audience, and it is definitely a decent ending. Still, given how the anime managed to defy expectations at every other point, I kind of wanted more.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 25 – Reviewed for Patrons)

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi - Episode 25

This was a pretty standard step for this anime. It did attempt to throw in one final interference before the ceremony began but it came to so little it isn’t really worth anything. But finally the ceremony and of course things don’t go smoothly leaving us on a cliff-hanger before the final episode. It’s about as thrilling as you could expect given what it is building from.

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 11)

Twilight11c

Compelling set up, questionable execution. For a second last episode it did what it needed to do but didn’t really capitalise on some of the great opportunities the setting and characters have given it. Basically, it was good enough but not exactly a note worthy episode. Points though for Van Helsing’s return because that was kind of cool.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 22)

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 22 Okabe Rintaro

Another fairly solid episode in the run up to the season final. There’s little action in this episode but the show makes up for it by pulling out some solid emotional punches. Definitely have to respect how they have brought things together for these final episodes and I’m eagerly looking forward to the final episode.

The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjer (Episode 11)

The Master of Ragnarok

The fight between the Wolf Clan and the combined Lightning and Panther Clans continues and there’s a lot of plot armour in this story. No one with a name ever seems to die, yet they are mowing down the grey clad unnamed soldiers seemingly without a care in the world. That said, potentially interesting developments going on here.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 23)

My Hero Academia Episode 61

I’m pretty sure most viewers were very excited to see this match up between Midoriya and Bakugo. It has been a long time coming and to be honest it was probably overdue. And My Hero Academia did not disappoint using this conflict as a pivotal character moment for both of the boys. While I still have misgivings about the season, this episode was amazing.

Episode of the Week

Cells at Work Episode 11
Hard not to pick Cells at Work this week. This episode showcased what I’ve enjoyed about the anime from the beginning and was highly entertaining.

Character of the Week

My Hero Academia episode 61 - Bakugo
Credit where it is due, this week’s episode of My Hero Academia had some excellent character moments for Bakugo. Okay, he’s still plenty angry and isn’t about to totally revise his character, but the gate has definitely opened for some change at this point.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Angels of Death (Episode 4)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 19)
  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 9)
  • Island (Episode 4)
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 4)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (Episode 1)
  • Yuna and the Haunted Hotsprings (Episode 1)

If you want to join in the conversation on Twitter be sure to follow along: Summer Anime 2018


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Songs From Yuri on Ice

No surprise that between the Yuri on Ice rewatch and running various polls about the routines, music and characters on Twitter, that I decided I wanted to look at my Top 5 songs from the series. I will definitely be doing a Top 5 Yuri and Victor moment list once the rewatch is completed, though that may very well turn into a top 10 list the way I’m going because it seems like every encounter between them brings something to the table.

Wait, I wasn’t supposed to be fangirling about Yuri on Ice, I was supposed to be introducing this list. Okay, so these are my personal favourite songs from Yuri on Ice and it was very hard to narrow down because there were some truly fantastic music selections in this anime. However, I would absolutely love to know your picks so be sure to leave me a comment below.

By the way, I’m linking to YouTube so you can listen to the songs if you don’t know them.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention: Still Alive (no idea why I like this song given we only heard it the once in the background for a skater that wasn’t overly important, but something about it grabbed my attention).

Number 5: Yeah Yeah Yeah

Yuri on Ice Episode 10

It took me forever to figure out what the name of this song was, but I remember that I thought it was absolutely perfect when they used it in the anime. Now if you don’t know, this is the song playing when we finally get to see why Victor got it into his head that he should coach Yuri. Yuri had apparently gotten very drunk and challenged Plisetsky to a dance off and all of the skaters apparently documented the occasion on their phone (though a dance off was not the only thing going on in those pictures and where the poll came from is anyone’s guess). Still, the song is incredibly catchy and perfectly fits the sequence.

Number 4: Yuri on Ice

Yuri on Ice Episode 7 - Yuri on Ice

No surprise this song made the list. I’m probably more surprised it is only number 4, but there’s so many great songs in this anime I guess it isn’t that surprising. Still, this song was written to express Yuri’s relationship with skating and his career and it does indeed perfectly capture Yuri. It is a good thing this song is amazing because we hear it quite a number of times but each time it just draws you back in.

Number 3: Minami’s Boogie

Yuri on Ice Episode 5 - Minami

Okay, you have to love this one. Minami is such a great character considering his short screen time and this song perfectly captures his fun and energetic nature. It is very fun background music though it definitely makes you want to get up and move. Really fun song and it was coupled with a really fun routine. Really enjoyed this one.

Number 2: You Only Live Once

Yuri Only live once.jpg

I’ll confess, I’m an end credits skipper for almost all shows. If there’s something after the credits I’ll skip ahead and if there isn’t I’ll usually just cut the show when the credits roll. There are a few anime that manage to do something interesting in their end credits or change the music up sufficiently that I’ll stick around, but it is rare for me to like a song enough that I’ll watch the end credits every single time. Yuri on Ice and You Only Live Once succeeded right from the first episode. It is a perfect combination of the music feeling like it perfectly fits the shows and the characters and the visuals feeling like they perfectly complement the story and the characters. But just listing to this song by itself is pure joy. It really is the feeling of the show captured in one song and I love it.

Number 1: History Maker

Yuri On Ice Title

No points for picking that this was going to be my number one. I’ve made no pretence of the fact that from the very first time I heard this song I was hooked. I started Yuri on Ice expecting nothing, the opening scene was interesting enough but it was this song starting and the OP that hooked me and made this show something I would pay attention to. The rest of the first episode did a fine job reinforcing that impression, but it is amazing what a great OP will do for a show. Even now, whenever I’m feeling a little down, clicking through YouTube and finding History Maker is enough to make me smile. A friend of mine learned how to play it on the violin and played it for me one day and I was positively skipping for hours. This is a song that truly hit its mark for me and much like You Only Live Once, it perfectly captures the spirit of the show.

Okay, I’m now turning it over to you: what were your favourite songs from Yuri on Ice?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Yuri on Ice Sheet music
Official Sheet Music Collection

Summer 2018 Week 10

This week we have Demon Lords resurrecting, armies on the march, Titans rising once again, and the return of Hououin Kyouma; what is not to love about week 10? It is like someone reminded these shows they are either hitting their mid-season point or the end of their run and suddenly they are all bringing out these incredibly dramatic moments. Which is mostly making those shows that haven’t really delivered much of anything stand out even more and not for the right reasons. Below are my thoughts on this week in anime but I’d love to know what you are still watching and what you have enjoyed this season.

But more than that, if you have a moment be sure to jump over to my poll where voting has commenced for the best and worst of Summer 2018.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 10)

Dream10a

Alright, this anime started out fairly average but had a few fun moments and a lot of fairy tale charm. This far along it really is just kind of a drag to watch but there’s one plot thread I’m interested enough in to keep watching. I’m certainly not going to be recommending 100 Sleeping Princes any time soon, unless you’re wanting to catch some sleep.

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 10)

Mongol10dAngolmois is going to end up a pretty mixed bag by the time it is done, but I’m not regretting watching it. While there are plenty of points your could raise against it, the main point in its favour is it remains fairly interesting to watch even if only because it at least isn’t another anime set in a modern day high school or an isekai story. Novelty does wonders sometimes.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Episode 8)

Titan8a

A fairly solid episode all round with some great individual moments and some moments that seem to be bringing more of this story together. There’s little to complain about as we return to the titan threat in a fairly spectacular fashion, have characters making big choices, are reminded of past plot threads, and seem to be moving forward at a quick pace.

Banana Fish (Episode 11 – Not Reviewed)

Banana11b

A much calmer episode than last week’s firefight but one that is fairly necessary in seeing how the characters are emotionally dealing with the fallout of everything that happened. Despite that, the plot is still ticking along and we see that even in his downtime Ash is planning his next moves and that leads to some interesting developments by the end of the episode. Really enjoyable.

Cells at Work (Episode 10)

Cells at Work Episode 10

The focus back on Red Blood Cell and her encounters with other red blood cells, White Blood Cell, platelets and germs and this episode of Cells at Work is actually really fun. I do feel the concept has now gone about as far as it is going to and I’m starting to feel this show has run its course, but this is still one of the most enjoyable shows this season.

Frankenstein Family (Episode 2)

Frankenstein2c

This came out on Crunchyroll and with the number of drops I’ve had on my schedule this season I decided to give it a try. It isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination but its kind of cute and the family dynamic is working well in these first two episodes. I just wish they’d cut the episode down to just the anime though because I don’t think the other stuff adds much.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 11)

DemonLord11g

With one episode to go, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord seems like it intends to give us a fairly decent final. The build up this week was certainly well done bringing together everything we’ve seen so far and taking it to the logical conclusion for a season final. That said, I’ll still put a high fan-service warning on this one for people who are concerned about it.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 24 – Reviewed for Patrons)

Kakuriyo24eThe getting better in these final episodes continues and with two to go, I’m kind of hopeful for a slightly above average ending from this show that has been decidedly average during most of its run. At the very least, these last two episodes have stepped up a bit and been more engaging. There’s a sense of movement and I’m looking forward to the ending.

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 10)

Twilight10b

Right, so this one I’m putting down as my surprise love for the season. The first episode interested me but filled me with a fair sense of caution as  I more or less expected it to be generic, fairly ordinary, or worse to just fall apart. Instead it has continued to build on its strengths for most of the season and now we have a pretty compelling set up for a final.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 21)

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 21 Okabe

Right, so Steins;Gate 0 is pulling out all the stops to make this a pretty memorable ending. While it isn’t quite enough to make me feel that everything that came before it was as worth while as the original series, it is certainly doing a lot to make me happy I stuck with the show. This episode is pure joy to watch and it certainly sets up for an interesting final couple of episodes.

The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjer (Episode 10)

Ragnarok10d

While there’s a little bit about how Yuuto made it into the past this episode there’s a quite a bit of down time in the first half with the girls and Yuuto. Second half however kicks things into full gear with yet another invasion and this time it looks like Yuuto may actually be out-manoeuvred though I guess we’ll see next week.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 22)

Hero60g

The exam has finally come to an end. Hooray! Now let’s see if we can get back to the plot and episode 22 is an excellent starting point for that with pretty much all the plot threads coming back into the front of our attention. We’ve got the villains plotting, All For One making ominous predictions, Bakugo and Midoriya dealing with their issues. It was a pretty good episode comparatively.

Episode of the Week

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 21 - Hououin Kyouma
Sorry, nothing is beating the return of Hououin Kyouma this week on Steins;Gate. This single moment managed to transform the episode and the series and I still haven’t stopped smiling.

 

 

Character of the Week

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 8
Historia really stepped up this week taking charge in a number of scenes. Hopefully she continues to develop as a character and they don’t kill her off too soon.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Angels of Death (Episode 4)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 19)
  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 9)
  • Island (Episode 4)
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 4)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (Episode 1)
  • Yuna and the Haunted Hotsprings (Episode 1)

If you want to join in the conversation on Twitter be sure to follow along: Summer Anime 2018


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That I’d Like To Rewrite

Now I would like to note that I don’t think I’d actually do a good job or rewriting the story, but there are anime that I really like to see go in a slightly different direction than what they did. It’s entirely my own personal choices and I’m sure there are viewers out there who like these anime exactly as they are. That said, I am not just picking anime that are terrible but rather anime that are pretty reasonable as they are but just thinking about what personally I would have liked to have seen changed. On recently completing a tag where I was asked what cross over I’d like to see, I started thinking about how I’d like to modify a few anime and so this list was born.

As always, I’d love for you to share your choices and reasons so please leave me a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention: Vampire Knight – A little less twilight and a little more of the politics of the vampire world and I probably would have really loved that anime.

Number 5: Chaika Coffin Princess

Chaika is an interesting anime to discuss because it is actually quite a fun watch. However, most of the fun comes from the characters themselves and individually scenarios and action sequences. The over-arching plot is a bit of a mess and is ultimately pretty rushed to a conclusion at the end of season 2. I’d love to see this story redone with the time and attention it needs to really build up the different Chaika’s and their mission as well as the conspiracy and ultimately I’d love to see some of the other factions and groups get more time to feel like real characters rather than simply obstacles to overcome. As much as Chaika is an anime I enjoy, I really think there is a potentially much better story that could be told with a bit of rewriting.

Number 4: Junjo Romantica

Romantica

Right, so I’m not going to pretend this particular anime is problem free. It is quite a popular title mostly because of the particular niche market it fits into and the absence of other titles that actually get DVD releases outside of Japan in the particularly genre, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues. A number of reviews I’ve read come from people who outright skip episodes focused on one of the three main couples due to those problems. For me the biggest issues come from episode 1 and how the relationship between Misaki and Usagi begins (which is to be honest a criminal act and while it isn’t that explicitly shown the fact that Misaki doesn’t immediately report Usagi leaves a fairly sour taste). And honestly, the power imbalance and the possessiveness shown between this couple right through to season three continues to be a bit of a problem for the show when it is trying to sell it as a true romance. I think though that if that first encounter wasn’t as confrontational and off-putting, the rest of it would be a lot easier to swallow so I’d love that first episode to get a rewrite. It would still be a problematic relationship, but it wouldn’t cross that particular line.

Number 3: Parasyte

Parasyte is one of those anime I really enjoy though for me the second half and then the ending feel very much like the show didn’t quite stick its landing. For all the excitement and tension early on in the show when the parasytes are mysterious and scary and Shinichi is dealing with coming to terms with sharing his body, the second half kind of loses a lot of its emotional tension and by the end when the show drops a save the environment message on the viewers lap it just doesn’t quite have the impact it could. I’d love to see this anime get rid of the super parasyte guy with four (?) parastyes in one body and actually just deal with the issue facing the world of humans being over taken. Rather than ending on a shounen style smack down it would be fantastic to actually just see the ongoing paranoia and fear as people aren’t sure what is going on. I’m not entirely sure how this would work as a show but I’d love to see it.

Number 2: Bleach

I love Bleach. I really do. It has a very special place in my heart when it comes to anime. But realistically I think you could tell the entire actual plot of Bleach in about fifty to sixty episodes if you cut out all the fluff, silliness, and unnecessarily long fight sequences. If we just wrote out the core story points and got rid of the extra characters, subplots, and random asides, we could have a much tighter, much more thrilling story and one that never felt bloated or weighed down. If anyone makes a Bleach abridged story, I’m totally in.

Number 1: Kado The Right Answer

Anyone who followed my reviews of this one will know how disappointed I was with the ending of this show. I really loved the set up and I was so into the story and then it decided to go for a standard fight sequence and a defeat the bad guy ending (with a time travelling daughter thrown in just for laughs I suppose). It was somewhat devastating to watching a show I’d really gotten excited for become something so standard and while it isn’t actually as bad as it sometimes feels, I’d love for this show to be rewritten with a different ending.

So those are the top 5 anime I’d like to rewrite (or see rewritten). What would be on your list and how would you change it?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Summer 2018 Week 9

This week 100 Sleeping Princes started putting me to sleep but survived another week due to Holmes of Kyoto being even more of a snore to get through. That said, Attack on Titan and Banana Fish continued their excellent run  and Steins;Gate 0 even stepped up its game. Next week I’ll open the poll to begin voting on the best and worst for the season but right now, what are your picks?

Before we get into it though, just a heads up that on Monday I’ll have my second guest post up on the site. This time Average Joe from Average Joe Reviews is sharing their thoughts on colour in anime. Be sure to drop by and check out the post and if you haven’t been to Average Joe’s blog before check it out here.

Also, if you have a question for me to tackle in my inquiring minds series of posts, please complete the survey here. I’ve finally run out of questions, so until a few people take the survey that feature will not be running. Thanks to everyone who have participated.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 9)

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams - Cheshire Cat

And in the nature of generic fantasy type works, this one decides to do a copy of the Mad Hatters Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. It just forgot all the fun and the point of that sequence. Instead we have an incredibly forced plot while Kihel’s journey is stalled, and utterly forgettable characters who are introduced in this episode but probably won’t be important.

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 9)

Mongol9dEpisode 9 is a pretty solid episode. It doesn’t quite wash away the fairly mediocre mid-season but it definitely raises expectations of a reasonably solid finish to the season. The battle at the castle is an interesting watch and I really enjoyed watching it play out as well as seeing how the traitor was acting.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Episode 7)

Titan7a

This show continues to keep me on board with its story this season and this episode we also get some great action and some slightly overwrought emotional moments (really, Attack on Titan being overwrought). Really though, if you were waiting to see how season 3 went, I’d fully suggest jumping on board because it is shaping up to be my favourite of the three seasons.

Banana Fish (Episode 10 – Not Reviewed)

Banana Fish Episode 10

Banana Fish continues to be melodramatic and overwrought and it also continues to be amazing. Okay, we’re not watching this for realism and it’s like someone took every horrible thing that has ever happened in a soap opera and condensed it, but I’m actually fine with the outcome of that. Great watching.

Cells at Work (Episode 9)

Cells at Work Episode 9 - Young Helper T Cell

I have to admit, this episode is just as good as every other episode of this show, however because of the character focus this week I just couldn’t get into it. There’s nothing cute about the T Cells and without the cute factor I really found this a bit of a struggle. Shallow, maybe, but I just imagined if they made an episode of How to Keep a Mummy without Mii-Kun.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 10)

DemonLord10d

For a lot of build up the demon lord ended up being pretty amusing though I’d definitely lay a huge caution on this show after episode 10. That fine line this show has been walking with its fan service was well and truly jumped over and while I’m sure some fans will have enjoyed for me it was nearly deal breaking.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 23 – Reviewed for Patrons)

Kakuriyo23cAs average as I’ve found this anime, I have to admit as we go into this final stretch of episodes they are definitely getting better. It still isn’t great but there was a sense of tension and forward movement in episode 23 that has been somewhat lacking from the series as a whole. Really hoping it ends on a high note.

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 9)

Phantom in the Twilight Episode 9

This series looks like it intends to give us a fairly decent ending and I’m pretty excited to see how it ends up playing out. Though they definitely seem to be aiming to pit Ton and Shinyao against one another, I am curious as to how they might achieve that. Even if Shinyao awakens some power I’m not sure she’d attack anyone.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 20)

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 20 Okabe

This was perhaps one of the better episodes Steins;Gate 0 has offered as it engaged me from start to finish with some interesting direction. That said, the overall plot this season hasn’t really worked out for me and I’m still really missing the dialogue from the original, but I’m glad this show seems to be going to end on a strong note.

The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjer (Episode 9)

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 9

We finally spend some time in the modern world and get a bit more information about when and where Yuuto actually is in the past. This particular plot point is something I’m interested in, so I’m curious as to how this plays out. Meanwhile, it seems broody bad guys really like to brood and the haremettes are sewing a new cloak. Business as usual then.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 21 – Strictly Filler)

Hero59e

And the exam finally draws to a close at the end of this episode, but wait for the cliff-hanger reveal of who passes and fails. Part of me is kind of glad that this arc has finally gotten to an end and I’m hopeful that the next few episodes can renew my love of the series. However, as it currently stands, I’m just not feeling this at the moment.

Episode of the Week

Attack on Titan Episode 7 - Kenny
Attack on Titan just keeps going from strength to strength this season. While certainly not flawless, it is just what I need most weeks and this episode was pretty great.

Character of the Week

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 20 - Ruka
It was almost Jinzaburou from Angolmois, but no, I have to give character of the week to Ruka. I get that the role he played this week was an obvious ploy to play on the audience’s emotions, but it worked so well because it is Ruka.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Angels of Death (Episode 4)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 19)
  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Island (Episode 4)
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 4)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (Episode 1)
  • Yuna and the Haunted Hotsprings (Episode 1)

If you want to join in the conversation on Twitter be sure to follow along: Summer Anime 2018


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Characters Who Smoke

This post is a little earlier in the day than normal and that’s because in about 7 hours (give or take) Raistlin and I are going to reveal our super secret project we’ve been teasing about on Twitter. Be sure to check back later for the post.

There’s a definite distance created when watching anime. In real life I cannot stand the smell of smoke or cigarettes and yet there are some anime characters out there that just look perfectly right when they light up their smoke, pipe, or whatever else. So today I am counting down my favourite 5 characters who are smokers and I invite the readers as always to give a shout out to your favourite characters as well.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Jean Havoc (Full Metal Alchemist) and Toshio Ozaki (Shiki).

Number 5: Shinya Kougami (Psycho Pass)

Psycho Pass.jpg

It seems kind of odd for Kougami to only come in at number 5 and yet that is definitely the case. Mostly because his smoking always seemed like a crutch to show he’d become broken down after everything and it never really fit with his excessive exercise and drive to find the culprit. That said, like with most things Kogami did, he looked very good while doing it.

Number 4: Worick (Gangsta)

Worrick.png

Unlike Kogami, smoking really does fit with Worick’s character and lifestyle. It would actually be harder to imagine him not being a smoker. In the gritty world of Gangsta the cigarettes are pretty tame compared to the many other entertainments that could be found.

Number 3: Mikoto Suoh (K)

Suoh.gif

At least Mikoto will never have to worry about finding a light. The Red King again manages to make the cigarettes seem an extension of his character rather than something that is tacked on. It fits with his image and firey nature. It also makes a nice moment toward the end when he shares a smoke with the Blue King.

Number 2: Franken Stein (Soul Eater)

Franken Stein.gif

Could anyone else imagine this crazy character without his smokes? There’s something very careless about Stein and his overall appearance and temperament seem to lend themselves to living in the now. Though I have to wonder if smoking while dissecting a rare creature is particularly good practice.

Number 1: Yuuko (xxxHolic)

xxxHolic2

She’s such a classy and beautiful character and her elegant pipe just kind of finishes her image perfectly. Again, it is harder to imagine removing this aspect from the character as it really is a part of who she is. Besides, despite her outward appearance of being together and focused, when done with her work Yuuko is quite the whimsical individual who definitely lives for the pleasure of the moment.

There they are, my top 5 anime characters who smoke. Be sure to share your favourites in the comments below.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Summer 2018 Week 8

Week 8 seemed to bring a theme of protagonists in chains (or maybe that was just Banana Fish and Attack on Titan) but there was definitely drama to be had this week while watching anime. That said, with a number of shows really hitting their stride, the weaker shows this season are looking very week with Holmes of Kyoto hitting its most dull point yet and even Angolmois starting to crumble under the weight of just too many issues with it overall execution. That said, I had a great week with anime and in case you missed my twitter blitz over the last couple of days, my blog hit quite the milestone in August as I hit 10,000 views for the month. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make that happen and if you are interested in supporting the blog be sure to check out this post.

Also, if you have a question for me to tackle in my inquiring minds series of posts, please complete the survey here. I’ve finally run out of questions, so until a few people take the survey that feature will not be running. Thanks to everyone who have participated.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 8)

Dream8d

100 Sleeping Princes is determined to leave as little impact as possible. It makes itself so average and unremarkable, so dull and yet not boring enough to drop. This episode show cases exactly why this anime cannot be recommended as the characters sit and talk and one of them remembers bits and pieces that may later become important. That is all.

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 8)

Angolmois Episode 8Well other than the traitor at least it seems that all the Japanese have finally decided to stop fighting amongst themselves and actually play nice. It only took 7 episodes of them being attacked by Mongols to draw that conclusion. Otherwise this show is kind of just doing what it needs to do. There’s flaws and it isn’t as great as it could be, but it remains reasonable.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Episode 6)

Titan6b

Season 3 of Attack on Titan continues its very strong run of quality episodes and I am very much enjoying it. There’s reveals a plenty this episode but it still leaves us with so many questions. The characters are coming together and I’m looking forward to next week because it is looking like it might be fairly explosive.

Banana Fish (Episode 9 – Not Reviewed)

Banana Fish Episode 9 - Eiji realises that Shorter betrayed Ash

There are some shows that seem to exist just to make their characters suffer and episode 9 of Banana Fish certainly does just that. While it makes for an emotionally moving experience, it is also very overwrought and so it sometimes lacks the necessary nuances to go from being a momentary impact into something that will have long lasting affect on its audience.

Cells at Work (Episode 8)

Cells at Work Episode 8

This episode focuses entirely on Red Blood Cell finally trying to find her own way around the body (though White Blood Cell is definitely keeping a close eye on things). It is adorable and funny with the usual balance of education and entertainment well maintained. While not as exciting as some episodes, this was pretty quality viewing.

Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 8)

Holmes8a

This is the winner of the I really should have dropped you because you are boring but now I’ve made it this far I won’t, award. No, that isn’t a real award, but it should be. Seriously, Holmes of Kyoto has been bland and fairly flat from the beginning but this last episode in particular took dull to a new level.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 9)

DemonLord9g

There was a lot of set up in this episode as we transition to dealing with the next issue, Rem’s demon lord. That said, this show remains very fun to watch though the fan-service isn’t going anywhere so if that’s a turn off then this show is not going to work for you. This one has remained a pleasant surprise and I hope it can maintain its quality until the end of the season.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 22 – Reviewed for Patrons)

Kakuriyo22cI really feel something more motive like would have helped this episode out. Learning that Raiju is being obstinate just because he can be and he is bored isn’t exactly compelling. Then again, Aoi’s desire to help just because isn’t exactly a great motive either. As we approach the end of the season, I can’t say I’m all that hyped for this one.

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 8)

Phantom in the Twilight Episode 8

Not quite up to the excitement of the previous episode, this one felt more like a rest or pause while it positioned the characters for the next big thing. It wasn’t bad, but as an individual episode it was great. That said, this series as a whole has become a lot more enjoyable than expected and I’m fairly optimistic about where it will go next.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 19 – No episode this week)

The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjer (Episode 8)

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

I think this one has more or less cemented itself as an anime with an interesting idea and no clue what to do with it. There are good moments along the way with this story, but pacing, characterisation, the overall plot, even the setting, are all left underdeveloped and just kind of there. It’s a little disappointing that it can’t be more, but it is what it is.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 20 – Strictly Filler)

HeroSpecial5

If I thought a filler episode might inject some of the fun and sense of adventure back into this show that seemed to be jettisoned with the current arc, I need to rethink that. To call this average would be generous. It really is nothing but filler and makes the most grievous mistake of not even being entertaining as filler.

Episode of the Week

Banana Fish Episode 9 - Arthur tortures Ash
Yeah, I’m not covering this one, but I’ll be honest, this was the most memorable episode of any show this season.

Character of the Week

Cells at Work Episode 8
It absolutely had to be Red Blood Cell this week. Protect this smile forever.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Angels of Death (Episode 4)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 19)
  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Island (Episode 4)
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 4)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (Episode 1)
  • Yuna and the Haunted Hotsprings (Episode 1)

If you want to join in the conversation on Twitter be sure to follow along: Summer Anime 2018


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Vacation Spots

You know sometimes when you are watching an anime and you realise how much you would love to travel more and see more places and experience more things? I get that feeling a lot though regularly it isn’t for places that actually exist and most of the time I think if I ever actually went there  I would probably die. However, I’ve decided to put together my top 5 vacation spots picked from watching various anime. Here I go on my fantasy tour of 5 places from anime I’d love to visit.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Anywhere in Japan from almost any anime.

Number 5: Piffle World (Tsubasa Chronicles)

Tsubasa Chronicles

I know, it is a really silly name, but I loved this world when I was watching Tsubasa. While so many of the worlds they visited were pseudo medieval either westernised or Japanese, Piffle World was a futuristic city world with flying cars and it just looked like a lot of fun. It wasn’t so far removed from our own technological level that it was incomprehensible, but it felt a few generations ahead of us. What I really appreciated was that despite the sheer amount of industrialisation and traffic, somehow the air and sky were beautifully clear. It might be a fantasy but balancing technology without polluting the skies has a lot of appeal. Okay, Sakura may have helped sell this world a bit as she looked truly adorable.

Number 4: Aincrad (Sword Art Online)

Sword Art Online - Aincrad

Needless to say this is after Kirito defeated the game and released all the players and the game was rebuilt without the whole death trap aspect. Let’s be real, Aincrad is a beautiful world. Each level has its own look and feel so you can take your pick of scenery, there’s plenty of variety in the creatures to fight, and it is a fair world in that the rules are what they are (unless you have the power of love in which case go crazy). I would definitely love to visit this world (just got to keep checking that the log out button exists).

Number 3: Future Japan (The Irregular at Magic High School)

The Irregular at Magic Highschool

When looking at future versions of the world there are a lot of dystopian, after civilisation have ended type stories, and realistically Irregular fits right in with those, but I just love the way they’ve blended magic and technology in their vision of the future. It is like the best combination of sci-fi and fantasy to produce something that feels wholly unique and yet fits with what we know from those genres. As to the world itself, I’m not entirely sure it is safe, but just the thought of being able to try out some magic with technological aide is enough to make me at least want to visit.

Number 2: Kyoto (The Eccentric Family)

The Eccentric Family Season 1

Oh look, it is an actual real location coming it at number 2. And The Eccentric Family isn’t the only anime that has sold me on Kyoto. My first trip to Japan I got to Osaka but didn’t have time for Kyoto and I really regret that and my second trip I went north from Tokyo so didn’t get near Kyoto then either. If you’ve never seen the Eccentric Family, it is a wonderful blending of folklore with modernity in a way that just made me really intrigued to see the place it was set and while I imagine it won’t look all that much like the anime, I’m hoping that the anime has captured some of the feel of the real location.

Number 1: The Moon Kingdom (Sailor Moon)

Sailor Moon - The Moon Kingdom

Much like Aincrad, I am putting the explanation in here that I want to visit the Moon Kingdom prior to it being destroyed. It looks gorgeous. Admittedly I’m not so sure about the whole lack of atmosphere, change in gravity thing, but you know the anime didn’t worry about small details like that so I’m not sure I should be all that concerned either. Parties, gardens, fountains, great food, fireworks; these all feature heavily in flash backs of the Moon Kingdom prior to its destruction and it looks like a great time.

I’d love to know where you would like to take a vacation and which anime you saw it in so leave me a comment below.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Summer 2018 Week 7

Hey look, I didn’t drop anything this week. That said, there are quite a few shows on my line up that aren’t exactly thrilling. Still, those shows that are stepping up are really stepping up and the divide between what is good and what is decidedly average (or less than average) is opening up ever wider as the weeks go on. My thoughts on the Summer shows are below but as always, I’d love to know what you are watching and what you have enjoyed.

Also, if you have a question for me to tackle in my inquiring minds series of posts, please complete the survey here. I look forward to your questions.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 7)

Dream7a

The averageness of this show continues to be on display. That doesn’t actually make it bad, just difficult to really care about. Still, they do resolve the story they set up last week before sending the main group on their way to the next Kingdom where I’m sure they’ll encounter yet more drama. I’d like a bit more from this anime but I don’t really expect it.

Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion (Episode 7)

Mongol7b

Once again, the characters kind of bring this down. Even as we flee the Mongols, unite with another force, and prepare for the ongoing invasion, I can’t help but wonder how much better this would be if I had been made to care about any one of these characters. To be honest,  I don’t remember half of their names and we’re 7 episodes in.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Episode 5)

Titan5f

Right, season 3 of this is definitely getting me back into this story and I’m loving it so far. While there’s still a voice of caution warning me not to get too excited, Attack on Titan has derailed before, I am very much looking forward to the next episode as these first five episodes have definitely delivered. More please and let’s hope the quality doesn’t take a dive.

Banana Fish (Episode 7 – Not Reviewed)

Banana7b

Part of me wishes this was finished and out on DVD so I could simply binge watch it. I’m loving the story and the pacing within episodes, but the week wait in between is kind of a drag. Still, episode 7 delivers yet more drama and sets up more pain for all of the characters as they continue to attempt to take on organisations far bigger and meaner than they are.

Cells at Work (Episode 7)

Cells at Work Episode 7

Who knew watching the body fight off a cancer cell could be that entertaining? While this show remains very much a villain of the week standard kind of story, the novelty and interesting way it manages to personify the human body and its cells continues to be highly enjoyable. Even when tackling an idea like cancer, this show doesn’t miss the mark.

Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 7)

Holmes7c

Well, I did at least remember to watch the episode. That was a start. And in honesty this was one of the more focused and action oriented episodes (which is not saying a lot given we spend a lot of time playing a game of guess the fake with amateur appraisers at a party). Still, it remained watchable and I’ll continue next week.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 8)

DemonLord8a

This was such a great episode as we got a fairly decent fight and finally put Diablo on the defensive. Seeing him react to realising that the world isn’t as easy as he thought it was going to be and despite similarities to the game, there are differences, was really fun. As was seeing him employ lessons learned both as a gamer and within the world.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 21 – Reviewed for Patrons)

Kakuriyo21fAnd we’re still kind of just wandering around with side characters while the plot is just kind of there. The ceremony is coming but don’t expect to feel any sense of urgency from anyone outside of Ranmaru who barely appears and Aoi certainly isn’t all that concerned as she putters about, doing her usual thing.

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 7)

Twilight7cThis was a great episode. Not great because I didn’t expect much from it, or great in comparison to other shows; it was just a good, solid episode. It went in an unexpected direction and had a solid enough execution that it didn’t leave me feeling like the rug had just been pulled out from under me. Very happy with how this show is going right now.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 19)

Steins;Gate 0 Episode 19 - Okabe and Maho

We’re time hopping again and while this is a definite step up in the pace and action department I can’t help but feel it is all too little too late. The first Steins;Gate took its time to set up its story but there I was drawn in to the cast and had a lot of fun. Here I’ve just been waiting and I can’t help but feel the payoff doesn’t feel worth it.

The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjer (Episode 7)

Ragnarok7d

In sharp contrast to last week, episode 7 of The Master of Ragnarok spends its entire time on its plot with bare minimal fan service. We learn about Yuuto becoming the Patriarch and about the one who was kind of opposed to it and felt cheated. Of course the natural thing to do when you can’t lead a clan is come back two years later and try to wipe them out.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 19)

Hero57b

The exam arc of My Hero Academia is certainly going to be remembered by me as a low point in the series so far. While I accept that this show is a shounen, it has normally managed to keep me highly entertained with some interesting ideas and character moments even while going through the normal motions. This arc however, remains pretty blah.

Episode of the Week

Titan5d
Attack on Titan has come back with a bang and it is delivering some quality episodes. After the action spectacular with Levi a few episodes ago, we’re now getting a solid bit of politicking as a coup d’etat is pulled off with some fairly decent precision.

Character of the Week

Phantom in the Twilight Episode 7

Wayne just looks too adorable like this and what was with that other appearance? Phantom in the Twilight has gone from strength to strength, but Wayne as a character is one of the best things to come out of this episode.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Angels of Death (Episode 4)
  • GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 19)
  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Island (Episode 4)
  • Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King (Episode 4)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (Episode 1)
  • Yuna and the Haunted Hotsprings (Episode 1)

If you want to join in the conversation on Twitter be sure to follow along: Summer Anime 2018


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Princesses

The Princess list turned out to be easier than the anime Prince list. That’s probably because there’s a lot of princesses out there who happily sit as bystanders and then there are the extreme warrior princess tropes that run around. Finding a princess who is an active participant in their story but not a juggernaut of violence is actually fairly challenging. Still, here are my top 5 picks for anime princesses who have that regal Princess air to them (at least at times) but also take an active role in their plot. Bonus points for great outfits and as always I’d love to know what my readers thing.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Teresa (Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love)

Number 5: Princess Hitei (Katanagatari)

hitei.jpg

As the antagonist for a lot of Katanagatari, Princess Hitei didn’t really get to do a lot (and in honesty I’m not entirely sure if she’s a real Princess), but her manipulations and schemes certainly directed a lot of the action within the series. More importantly, when her schemes all came crashing down around her, she proved herself adaptable which is a fairly vital survival trait and one she demonstrated beautifully. Not to mention, her look is crazy but distinct – like most characters from Katanagatari.

Number 4: Chaika (Chaika – Coffin Princess)

Chaika

Alright, I know she’s actually a clone of a Princess and only one of many, but Chaika is awesome. Her magic is a little inconsistent and takes forever to power up, but you have to admit when it works, it is pretty brilliant. And even knowing her whole life is being manipulated, Chaika still manages to find her purpose for moving forward. Kind of have to love her (and her hair clips – those are gorgeous).

Number 3: Princess Serenity (Sailor Moon)

Serenity.jpg

This girl has way too many titles and while the modern day Serena isn’t exactly instilling confidence in her leadership most days, her past life and future self certainly lend her some credibility that even if she isn’t there yet she will be one day. Besides, the girl has saved the world how many times? You have to cut her some slack if she wants to spend her afternoons playing video games when there is no world threatening evil afoot.

Number 2: Yona (Akatsuki no Yona)

yona2

While I still feel Shirayuki was the superior red headed character of these two, technically Shirayuki is not a Princess (marry Zen already), and so Yona takes the number 2 place on this list. I will admit, as much as Yona didn’t impress me when I first saw it, time and a rewatch has definitely made me appreciate her more and now that I’m two volumes into the manga I’m kind of hoping to learn even more about the Princess who lost everything in one night and yet refused to give in.

Number 1: Euphemia li Britannia (Code Geass)

Euphemia.png

Okay, her ending was pretty tragic for everyone involved, as it was supposed to be, but even before the event that made her infamous, Euphemia was a pretty special princess. Despite her lack of combat abilities compared to her siblings, she didn’t just sit on the sidelines. She worked her strengths and found other pathways such as diplomacy to achieve her ends and she almost succeeded at bringing about peace. I’m laying the blame for her untimely end entirely on Lelouch and I’m just saying we lost a very fine Princess.

That’s the end of another list but as always I’ll now turn it over to the comments and ask you who your favourite or top 5 anime Princesses are.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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