Top 5 Mystery Anime

Tuesday's Top 5

A lot of people love a good mystery. Okay, some people get frustrated and skip to the end when it is a book, but given the consistent production and sales of mysteries there’s clearly an audience. I’ll admit, I get frustrated when a mystery takes too long to get going, doesn’t give enough indication of where it is going, or the payoff ultimately wasn’t worth the wait, but when a mystery gets things right I tend to fall in love with the story.

Anime and mystery is a bit of a mixed bag and I will admit my choices of favourite mysteries are based entirely on my own enjoyment of the story as a whole. Which is why Hyouka isn’t on the list. I loved the first arc and first mystery but found everything after that a little less satisfying. The Promised Neverland I really enjoyed but not for the mystery elements, same for something like Erased.

However, as always, I’d love to know what some of your favourite mystery anime are and why so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Number 5: Sagrada Reset

Also known as Sakurada Reset a lot of people dropped this anime fairly early on and I’ll accept the reasons they gave. The character dialogue is really clinical and detached and doesn’t resemble anything you would actually encounter between normal humans. The pace early on is incredibly slow and while there are bits and pieces indicating a bigger picture and mystery it takes a long time to get going.

Despite that, the conclusion of this two cour series is perhaps one of the best conclusions I’ve come across in anime. Every single arc and story comes together and every hint or idea actually serves a purpose. While it isn’t a realistic ending by any means from a narrative point of view it provides perfect closure to the story and just made me want to watch it through again to see all those clues I missed. For me that’s the mark of a good mystery and this one ended up paying off.

Number 4: ACCA

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile you will know I really got into ACCA. The conspiracy focusing around Jean, the gifts of cigarettes, the plot to overthrow the ruler, all of it just really got me hooked and interested as I wanted to find out who was actually behind what was going on and how they would resolve it. This one ended up being a lot of fun and while it isn’t exactly driving toward a conclusion as we follow Jean about in his work and visit each district in turn, there’s enough going on and the characters are interesting enough to keep you engaged until the later episodes where the conspiracy takes a more central role.

Number 3: No. 6

Dystopian story where the government controls the news and people’s lives and those who question anything are arrested (or forced to flee) – that in itself is enough reason to be interested in No. 6. Throw in the mysterious plague with the insects that are killing people and you’ve got a whole lot of story to cover. I’ll admit, the conclusion to No. 6 isn’t as satisfying as I’d like. Everything comes together but that ending really just goes a bit off the rails as they try to wrap things up and go for the dramatic conclusion. Still, the journey to that ending is one that is well worth following with two characters that are just awesome to watch and a lot of social commentary packed into the mix.

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Number 2: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni

It seems odd that there aren’t more horror mystery anime in this list but the bottom line is so many of them are either more psychological than mystery or the mystery they present isn’t overly satisfying. Something like Another does a great job setting up its mystery but ultimately we’re never given any answers for what has happened. Higurashi spends a lot of time setting up its various mysteries and through the various time loops we ultimately get answers for most of them. Whether it is the strange illness that sends people crazy, the murder of Rika, or even the motives of the characters, ultimately Higurashi explores and explains everything in a deeply satisfying manner.

Number 1: Shinsekai Yori

This one is another slow burn in the beginning as it sets up its world and characters but it is one that is incredibly worth the effort. In addition to just being beautiful to watch, finding out the secrets and lies that underpin this future society and seeing how the central characters react and respond to each reveal is truly a delightful viewing experience. While it isn’t the kind of mystery you can solve as a member of the audience it is one that presents puzzling inconsistencies and contradictions as well as strange rules and ideas that allow you to contemplate why they exist before the characters are forced to examine them closer and ultimately find out a series of truths that shake their understanding of their world. Truly delightful viewing even if a little horrifying at times.

And there they are, my favourite 5 mystery anime but as I said before, I’d love to know yours so leave a comment below.

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Top 5 Anime I’d Love To Play If They Were An RPG

Tuesday's Top 5

It is fairly accepted these days that games inspire movies, TV shows, and anime and a lot of these aren’t great. It also is fairly well accepted that popular shows and franchises might get a game spin-off but usually these are pretty much pandering to fans of the source and while some of these games are actually quite fun they aren’t exactly wowing hard core gamers. That said, there are some anime I watch and I just think how much fun it would be to play a game version of them. Now, some of them probably already have a game out but this is my list of anime that I thought have concepts that would make for an excellent gaming experience while watching.

I’d love to know which anime you think you’d enjoy as a game so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Number 5: Soul Eater

It shouldn’t be any surprise that I’ve put Soul Eater on this list. I mean, when you think about it, the story is made for being an RPG. Enrol at DWMA and design your meister/weapon combo. Complete missions to rise up the ranks and get good grades and help defend the school from threats. It would be an awesome RPG. Add in some factions and secret organisations within the school and you’ve got the makings of a really awesome game.

Now there are already Soul Eater games out there by the looks, but they seem mostly like battle focused games rather than an RPG experience. Maybe I’m wrong and one exists, but if it does, I’d love to know because I would definitely play it.

Number 4: Bungo Stray Dogs

As much as I find the narrative in the anime quite messy and unfocused, that would actually kind of work in an RPG. I don’t know about you, but when I play Skyrim I pretty much avoid anything that is a main mission quest while I meander about completing as many side quests and plots as I can. Mostly because at some point in an RPG, if you follow the main storyline you usually get to a point where you can’t go back to some of the other missions. So I like to get as many of those done before advancing the plot as I can. In Bungo Stray Dogs case, this means you can get distracted by as many petty investigations or conflicts with other organisations as you like and if you forget what the main mission was, that’s okay, I’m pretty sure no-one who only watches the anime knows what the end goal is anyway.

Now this one does have a game as well, but I haven’t really looked into it. Still, there’s certainly a lot about this anime that would work well in a game.

Number 3: Madoka Magica

Create a character and choose to take Kyuubey’s deal. Learn what kind of a magical girl you became based on the wish you chose and the character you designed and then fight off witches, deal with other magical girls, and decide what to do about Kyuubey. This could be an awesome gaming experience. Not to mention the visuals. Madoka Magica aesthetics in a game world would be utterly amazing.

Now there are plenty of Madoka games out there but most of them seem intent on supporting the narrative in the anime rather than being their own kind of gaming experience. Let’s just take the concept and create an original RPG experience around it and then we would have a truly amazing game to play.

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Number 2: Made in Abyss

A little less fighting and a lot more exploration and survival, Made in Abyss would be a truly amazing and horrific gaming experience. How far into the Abyss do you dare explore. How long before you die? I could see this one being comparable to Dark Souls in terms of being unforgiving to those who travel in unwary and die and yet it would be such a glorious experience. Not to mention, despite having a similar difficulty to Dark Souls, visually this one would be bright and cute in direct contrast to the horror of the situation. Fantastic.

Create your own orphan character being trained to explore the abyss and then after the briefest of tutorials, let’s just throw them down the hole and see how far they can get. I would absolutely love to play this though I suspect rage quitting would definitely become a thing.

Number 1: Darker Than Black

It is probably an obvious choice for me, and there is a game of it already, but I’d love to see this in a blockbuster game release. Massive world to explore, Contractors and factions to join, work with, bring down, mysteries to uncover, it could just be such an immersive gaming experience. I could certainly see us travelling about Carmen Sandiego style, stealthily infiltrating buildings and ferreting out intelligence, and when things go sideways unleashing amazing attack and fighting for survival.

It would be such a great game and because of the range of Contractor abilities it would have almost limitless replay value as you try with different characters and abilities to complete missions. I know I’d have a lot of fun with it and I’m pretty sure it could have wide appeal.

So those are my picks for anime I’d love to see made into games, or made into a specific game that I’d like to play. What are some of your choices for anime that would make great RPGs?

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2019 Winter Anime End Of The Season

Winter 2019 has had its ups and downs throughout but regardless of my final thoughts, I had a lot of fun this season. There was always something to look forward to and as some shows faltered, others rallied. While I know some shows are ongoing and some have not yet aired final episodes (and in the case of Boogiepop wa Warawanai I’m just hopelessly behind), this is my final standings for the Winter season.

In the listing I’ve commented on where the series was at the mid-season point in the list and whether it has moved or not but if you want to see my mid-season thoughts they are here.

Hopefully you enjoy and remember the results of the reader’s poll will come out later today.

Number 15: Boogiepop wa Warawanai

Previously placed at position 13. It didn’t even deliver the little that was expected.

I was vaguely hopeful that this one would improve, but realistically I’m struggling just to convince myself to finish watching it. It has continued to be a meandering mess and while some have enjoyed the mystery I’ve mostly just found it frustrating.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 10 Nagi

Not aided by ugly visuals and characters that are pretty bland, there’s very little compelling me to keep going with this but I will finish it at this point. I kind of feel I past the point of no return a while a go. Still, if I wanted to pick the series on my watch list that I most regret watching, Boogiepop would be it.

Number 14: Grimms Notes

Previously placed at position 15, Grimms Notes continued to underwhelm.

While it would be nice to say that it managed to pull its narrative and characters together, mostly I just felt this one oozed wasted potential until the very end. Not that there weren’t some fun moments along the way, but it just never felt satisfying to watch.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

It isn’t all bad news with some of the character moments being cute enough and having a simple ‘save the story zone’ plot each week. Even if the main story line felt hopelessly underdeveloped and the themes unexplored, it wasn’t as if this ever became unwatchable.

Number 13: Sword Art Online Alicization

Previously at position 10, how this has fallen.

I was disappointed when Sword Art Online Alicization was only managing position 10, and yet honestly I can’t say this has gotten any better. If anything, the faults with the pacing, character motives, exposition, and just idiocy have gotten worse to the point where I’m honestly wondering whether to keep going with episode reviews when it continues or whether to just let this one go and review it once they finally finish it.

Eugeo - Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 23

An increasingly frustrating and underwhelming watch full of babble about things that barely make sense even in the context of the story, and characters who essentially break the rules of the world at will, it all just became fairly tiresome to watch this season.

Number 12: Kaguya-Sama Love is War

Previously and still position 12.

For a comedy anime it wasn’t bad. It isn’t really my style and to be honest outside of the occasional moment where the characters really clicked there were a lot of times where watching this was just kind of empty. Still, the visuals, animation and sound design of this one were pretty fantastic so I can’t fault the production in the slightest.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 6 Shinomiya

However, ultimately, if I’d stopped watching this one it wouldn’t have mattered. There was no compelling reason to keep going and while I can see why it appeals to some, it really isn’t speaking much to me.

Number 11: Endro

Previously placed at position 14, this one actually was kind of charming fun.

Despite the pastel colour scheme and cute girl antics, I actually did find this one entertaining from week to week. There were some moments that really just shone for both the story and the characters proving you really can take something fairly standard and make it shine if you put enough love and effort into it.

Honestly, this isn’t going to be something I watch again but if you like cute girl stories or just want a fun slice of life/comedy that has an adventurers setting thrown in, this is actually really cute and entertaining. The only reason it didn’t get higher up my list is because I’m just not that into cute girls and some of the friendship sequences made me roll my eyes hard.

Number 10: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Previously position 7 there’s just no denying the second cour was ordinary.

After slowly warming up to the show in the first cour, the second cour that aired during Winter 2019 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime was overwhelmingly average. Now source readers will pull out the ‘it gets better’ cards as well as explain that some bits were skipped over, but none of that changes the fact that the anime is most definitely average.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19 Rimuru and Milim

There were some cute moments and character encounters and a few fairly awesome moments in the occasional fight, but a lot of this second cour was sitting around talking, or introducing characters we were never given a reason to care about who effectively had their problems solved with minimum effort. It remained light and fun to watch but had absolutely nothing to hook the audience or to convince me this would ever be worth watching a second time.

Number 9: The Price of Smiles

Formally position 5. Okay, I was being optimistic.

It is almost scary how on the nose my prediction for this series was at the half-way point. I suspected we had a show that would simply kill off its characters towards the end and in the lead up to the final episode we had one prominent character death an episode all to serve the ‘war is bad’ slogan this anime seemed to want to plaster onto almost every episode. That doesn’t mean it was terrible. There was actually a lot of promise along the way. It just never quite delivered.

The Price of Smiles Episode 10

Still, there have certainly been worse mecha anime over the years and while the ending was foolishly optimistic and naive, much like the main character, I can’t say I’m upset with it. While The Price of Smiles never managed to break into being something truly good, it certainly skated along the edges of it and kept me hopeful throughout.

Number 8: Domestic Girlfriend

Previously in 6th position.

Right, so you get what you expect when you keep watching a melodrama and as the story progresses they have to push to increasingly forced and silly methods to up the ante. That said, there is a certain delight in watching this train wreck unfold and while I wouldn’t say I actually like any of the characters, I kind of am curious about where they will ultimately end up.

Natsuo and Hina - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

This one somehow manages to be trashy without actually being trash and while it isn’t great it is also something that is hard to stop watching. While the occasional scene pushes the sexual content a little further than I’d like and the basic premise and the idea of teachers and students dating isn’t something I’m thrilled about, I can’t say that this is actually a bad watch. Not really one I’d jump to recommend but one that I’d honestly have to admit I’ve been enjoying despite the many complaints I might muster about it.

Number 7: The Rising of the Shield Hero

Previously in position 4.

I’m honestly pleasantly surprised that this one has remained as entertaining as it has. With Sword Art and Slime both plummeting in the ranks during the Winter season it seemed isekai fantasy was taking a serious downward turn. While there are plenty of points against Shield Hero in terms of pacing and at times characterisation, I’ve mostly had fun watching it and continue to look forward to how it rolls out this story.

While this one might also take a downward turn as it moves into a second cour, I’m kind of hopeful of this one just keeping things moving. And while the fights remain fresh, the story doesn’t linger for too long on any one part, and Naofumi continues to be an interesting character to watch, I’ll probably keep enjoying this even though I would hardly call it great.

Number 6: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

Down from position 3.

I kind of knew this one probably wouldn’t hold in the top 5 for the season but I was hopeful. A dark magical girl story that actually seemed willing to deal with the trauma a teenage girl would face if forced to fight to save the world and watch companions die? It is a good idea and at least provides some kind of grounding for the violence rather than just being opening gratuitous in killing off young characters grotesquely.

Asuka - Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka - Episode 11

However, the execution both from thematically and in the delivery of the narrative have been somewhat lacking and once again we’re left with a show that is more concept than delivery. The over the top torture segments also don’t help to ground this as anything more than something trying to be sensationalist when actually there’s a reasonable attempt at exploring trauma and PTSD buried here but alas the show can’t give it the time or weight it needs between the other ideas it wants to cram in an a desire to imperil Asuka’s classmates. I didn’t mind this but I kept wanting more from it and by the final few episodes it was clear that it wasn’t going to deliver.

Number 5: Meiji Tokyo Renka

Formally in position 10 – nice climb.

While this one reeks of mediocrity in visuals and almost everything else, this is the anime I’ve gone back to again and again just to feel good and kick back and relax. There’s something incredibly fun and infectious about Mei as a character and the cast of guys surrounding her aren’t too shabby. The supernatural elements work well but it is Mei’s ongoing relationship with Ougai that really grabs your attention.

While I won’t say this improved as it went, it maintained its standard throughout and the characters are naturally charming enough to slowly make you warm to them and each episode feels just that little bit more fun than the last. Not one to be proclaimed a master-piece but for those who don’t mind the occasional reverse harem romp this one is certainly a fun time waster to fit into your viewing schedule.

Number 4: The Morose Mononokean

Previously number 8 on the list – this one exceeded expectations.

Season two of The Morose Mononokean continued to far outstrip season one and advanced the plot and character development in a way I’d been wishing the first season to but it just never got to. There is very little to complain about with this second season with almost everything being better than season one and the balance between yokai of the week episode and episodes developing the world and characters being pretty well thought out.

With cute yokai characters, conspiracies, blossoming powers and generally more supernatural fun, The Morose Mononokean ended up being one show I began to look forward to each weekend. The chats with Irina around the episodes were also a factor as watching a show is always better with friends, but honestly this one was a delight this Winter season.

Number 3: My Roommate is a Cat

Previously number 9 on the list (that’s quite the rise).

If I was asked whether this got better as the season went on and whether that accounts for its rise, the answer would be a clear no. This isn’t a story that gets better. There’s a solid character journey for Subaru and one that I greatly appreciated which certainly accounts for a lot of its rise through the ranks, but what My Roommate is a Cat does brilliantly is deliver a fairly consistent performance. Tie in consistently meeting expectations week after week with concluding a character arc in a fairly coherent manner and My Roommate is a Cat might be decidedly average in a lot of ways but it was one that I found a very satisfying watch in the end.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 8

This anime definitely demonstrates the power of simplicity in that it has a very simple gimmick with the cat narrating part of the episode from its perspective but otherwise the character count is low, the scenarios very low key, and things tie in together way too neatly for real life but in a way that makes for a fairly entertaining weekly watch. Not to mention, there’s a cat in it and apparently having a cat in it is something that makes a story recommendable.

Number 2: The Promised Neverland

Remaining in second place.

I feel a bit bad for The Promised Neverland. Given the genre and style of story in almost any other season this one would have been a sure number one for me. Yet, opposite Run With the Wind that mostly didn’t rely on cliff-hangers to maintain viewer interest or suspense, I just can’t say that the gimmick filled Neverland is better even if I’m certainly enjoying it a lot.

The mark of a great story where I want to know what happens, where it keeps me guessing and theorising, and when the reveal is made it may not be what I thought but everything kind of clicks into place as all the anomalies and hints suddenly make sense even while a new mystery rises to be solved. The cast are charming, the setting thrilling, and all and all this one has been a delight to watch this season.

Number 1: Run With The Wind

Maintaining first position.

While I never expected to like Run With The Wind that much, even with a fairly strong showing from The Promised Neverland, there just isn’t any reason to not make this my number one of the season. I’ve fallen in love with the team and through the final episodes I cried, I cheered, I cried some more and then I smiled through those tears in absolute delight. It really helps that every character had a moment to shine in those final episodes and each character journey felt like it was given time to draw to a conclusion. It was a lovely viewing experience and one I’m really glad I picked up.

Run With The Wind Episode 22 King hands the sash to Kakeru

Whether it was Shindo’s absolutely heroic actions during his leg of the race, the general camaraderie and support each member showed for the others, or the feat they accomplished together, there were just so many moments to celebrate. This anime is gorgeous, well put together and has just the perfect number of episodes to tell its story. For all that I do have some minor complaints, they are just that, minor. This is definitely my pick for must watch of the season.

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Top 5 Anime I’m Anticipating For The Spring Season

Tuesday's Top 5

I was asked by DMWonder on Twitter whether I was going to do a anime I’m looking forward to post for the Spring season. As a general rule I just kind of wait until the season starts because when I do look ahead, I get excited about an anime and then realise it didn’t come out somewhere I could watch it anyway which leads to disappointment. That or I get hyped for something that then fails to deliver and again, disappointment.

So to avoid disappointment, I have taken the bury head in sand approach to seasonal viewing and while it is impossible to avoid hearing some of the titles coming out as other bloggers and anime fans on twitter share their thoughts on the upcoming season, I don’t go digging for more information until the season starts. Still, after I was asked this question, I got curious.

To make a not so thrilling story shorter, I went and had a look at MAL’s list of what was coming out in the spring and so here we are with me listing the top 5 anime I’m anticipating. If they don’t come out on services I use or they suck, I never made this list. Just saying.

However, though a lot of my readers have already shared their lists on their blogs, I’d love to know what Spring titles you are looking forward to, so be sure to leave us a comment below.

Honourable Mentions:

There are a few. These are titles that I kind of thought might be interesting but until you see how the first episode goes there’s really no way to tell. On this list I’ll add: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Fairy Gone. Both look like they could be really interesting, but they could also both fall completely flat depending on how the ideas come together.

Fairy Gone

Number 5: Shoumetsu Toshi

I don’t know what it is that is really grabbing my attention about this one. Maybe it’s just the opening line of the synopsis where it says a city just disappeared. Whichever way, something about this one kept grabbing my attention. That said, it lists a game as its source and that may or may not be a problem, but I’m still going to be hopeful about this one.

Shuometsu Toshi

Number 4: Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin

Alright, this one is just asking for it to flog big time, but the write up on this one looks interesting and that supernatural label always gets my attention even if I sometimes regret it after the fact. Throw in youkai and potential exorcists and you at least have me looking for your first episode ready to enjoy. Whether I will or not remains to be seen but this one seems like it should be right up my alley.

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin

Number 3: Bungo Stray Dogs Season 3

While this isn’t one of my favourite franchises, Bungo Stray Dogs has enough fairly awesome moments (particularly the start of season 2) to keep my attention. Visually it is always a spectacle and the powers are really cool. While I’d like a bit more from the story some times and find the focus on Atsushi a little less than thrilling when there are so many better characters in the show, I must say I still had a bit of a smile when I saw this was coming back.

Bungo Stray Dogs Season 3

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Number 2: Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2

Weird that I thought I’d be dropping Attack on Titan when season 3 started. But part one of this managed to get me really excited for the story again and even made me appreciate a lot of the characters more and so here I am getting hyped for a part two. Let’s hope it holds up because this one has got a lot of hype around it and just being okay won’t really be enough to stave off disappointment.

Attack on Titan Season 3

Number 1: Fruits Basket

I was completely in love with the original series of this, though always found the art style and the incomplete nature of the story a little frustrating. This was one that I looked up the manga online because I had to know what happened next but ended up realising there were quite a few changes. With all of that said, this one had been on my list of anime I wanted a reboot for, for a very long time and finally getting a reboot is incredibly exciting. I will definitely be watching this anime during Spring.

Fruits Basket

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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
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Top 5 Magical Girl Anime

Tuesday's Top 5

Welcome to another top 5 list for Tuesday and this week I am counting down my favourite magical girl anime, mostly inspired by how much I’ve been enjoying Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka (while not perfect, it has been quite fun as a darker magical girl series). I’m not convinced I haven’t already done this but if I did I can’t find it so let’s all just go with this is the first time I’ve put this into a top 5 list. Now magical girl anime and I have a real nostalgia thing going on as some of these were the shows that got me into anime and they really stuck with me. While there are some more recent entries in the list, the nostalgia is strong with this one.

With that in mind, I’d love to know what magical girl anime are your favourites and why. Is it something a bit older that reminds you of your childhood or are you into some of the more recent entries into the genre. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Honourable Mentions: Kamichama Karin

This one is a bit of a weird one, but for whatever reason I kind of got stuck on it a few years ago and I’ve binge watched it a couple of times since. While it doesn’t stand out as much as some of the other entries on this list, it is a fairly functional magical girl show and it is very easy to get caught up in it and lose track of time.

Number 5: Is This A Zombie

It feels weird to give the number 5 spot to a comedy anime about a male zombie character who manages to acquire the power of a magical girl and then undergoes a transformation into a cute pink dress complete with chainsaw. I do love that as his power level rises the frilliness and flowery add-ons on the dress get even more over the top. It is a great jab at some of the impractical magical girl costumes out there. Whichever way, when I think about magical girls, there is literally no way to not think about Ayumu so that is why he got the number 5 spot on the list even though technically he’s a zombie who is borrowing magical girl powers.

Number 4: Madoka Magica

The only ‘dark’ magical girl story that made it onto my list. What can I say? As much as I love horror and dark stories, when I got to watch a magical girl story I kind of go wanting something a little bit more sparkly. Madoka Magica managed to balance its darker subject matter with some really great magical girls, cool powers, and spectacular fight sequences in a way that while it was dark and serious, it still felt like a magical girl story and not a horror that just happened to feature magical girls right before they got slaughtered. I really did enjoy Madoka Magica and it is another anime I regularly binge watch.

Number 3: Cardcaptor Sakura

Despite the heavily edited version of this that I saw originally, complete with a truly terrible English OP, I really did get caught by the plot of Cardcaptor Sakura so when I was older and I could access a translated but less edited version of it, I jumped at the chance to watch this anime again. Syaoran and Sakura are beautiful in the leading roles and I just love how cute and happy this anime is. While Sakura doesn’t include some magical girl tropes, no spinning costume transformations, Sakura actually has to change clothes if she wants to wear one of her friends’ hand-made costumes, it very much captures the spirit of Magical Girl anime and is an excellent started anime if you have kids you want to introduce to something without worrying too much about some of the anime tropes out there.

Number 2: Shugo Chara

Another super adorable, super pink Magical Girl anime. This one grabbed me because of Amu. She’s got such a mismatch between her inner and outer personality and I love how she struggles with figuring out who she is, particularly when she has so many guardian characters with each one presenting a different aspect of who she might be. While the overall plot of this one is a bit harder to take seriously, there are some really excellent character arcs for a lot of the cast and it ends up being a story well worth the effort of investing your time into.

Number 1: Sailor Moon

Did you expect anything else to top this list? I mentioned at the start that this was a nostalgia fuelled list in the first place and Sailor Moon is the starting place for me and anime so of course it was always going to be number 1. Serena and the Sailor Scouts are characters I grew up loving and I don’t think anything is going to change that anytime soon. While Sailor Moon villains might border on the idiotic or ridiculous, the core cast remain full of heart and life and if you want cute costumes and pretty sparkles, Sailor Moon has you covered. Also, some darker moments and real danger which certainly pushed beyond what a lot of ‘girls’ TV shows were doing when it came out.

So that is my list of my favourite magical girl shows. I’d love to know yours.

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Karandi James
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Top 5 Anime Confessions

Tuesday's Top 5

As much as I love a good horror anime, I will admit romance is a great binge worthy genre and is definitely appropriate when you are just in the mood to relax and be carried on a wave of emotions. However, with romance anime come confession scenes and a lot of these really stand out. Today I’m counting down my top 5 favourite anime confession scenes and I’d love to know what some of your favourites are.

By the way, there are definitely spoilers below particularly for numbers 4, 2 and 1. You’ve been warned.

Honourable Mentions:

Just the one honourable mention because I’m certain I will get plenty of others in the comments. I’m throwing Kokoro Connect in here mostly because of how grounded the characters were about the love triangle that actually resolved into an actual relationship with all of the characters properly acknowledging their feelings.

Kokoro Connect Confession

Number 5: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

This one is representative of all those anime that shout their confessions aloud for the world to hear. It is a standard trope and yet Bunny Girl Senpai, in its usual fine form, managed to make this scene the climax of its first and strongest arc with Sakuta running outside the classroom and shouting his love for Mai at the top of his lungs at the building. I’m still left wondering why he didn’t end up in more trouble for that stunt disrupting all those classes but it certainly got the point across even if Mai didn’t actually accept the confession until nearly a month later.

Sakuta shouts his love for Mai at the School - Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Number 4: Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood

What is more adorable than two dorks falling in love and fumbling their way through it? Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood gave us brilliant characters and action with a fairly epic scale plot but it was this scene at the train station right at the end, where Ed finally confesses to Winry (proposes actually), that really hit home for me and left me feeling like I’d just watched something incredibly special (okay, there were other moments in the show that did a similar thing but this has the advantage of being the point the show leaves us on). So happy this moment happened and so happy that Ed was true to Ed in how he did it.

Ed from Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood confesses to Winry

Number 3: Dakaichi

This one if it happened in reality would probably be a little bit on the creepy side (okay, hold the little bit – it would just be creepy) but as a well delivered line in an anime this one near stopped my heart and I wasn’t even a big fan of Junta. However, when he stares right at Takato (and at the audience) and declares ‘I want you’ there is no doubt that this is a clear and straightforward declaration of love and one we don’t get very often in anime where so many characters blush and stumble their way through confessions. Seriously, this one can give you shivers. Now if we just take away the lack of consent earlier and the possessive nature of this relationship we could have one of the most beautiful love confessions ever.

Dakaichi - Episode 1 - Junta

Number 2: Chuunibyo Demo Koi Ga Shitai

Again, what is more adorable than two dorks in love? You have to admit, this particular moment between Yuuta and Rikka, or rather the Dark Flame Master and the Keeper of the Tyrant’s Eye is spectacularly adorkable. hiding behind their personas, or in Rikka’s case for awhile her umbrella, this sequence under the bridge is one of those moments that just leaves you wanting to hug both the characters and never let them go. Sure, they’ve still got a long way to go, but seriously this moment was absolutely delightful.

Chuunibyou Confession between Rikka and Yuuta

Number 1: Angel Beats

This one is notable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it doesn’t happen at either the beginning or the end of the series but is more of a mid-season moment. Secondly, it isn’t the main character confessions that stopped my heart cold, it was actually the support characters, and one in particular who prior to this had mostly been comic relief, who really stepped up and delivered a scene that can literally melt your heart. As Otonashi is trying to help Yui cross over, after a lot of mucking about she admits she wanted to fall in love but no one would have loved her because she was home-bound when she was alive. Normally you would suspect the main character would reassure her that someone would love her but Otonashi freezes and in that moment Hinata steps up to the plate delivering one of the most unforgettable confession speeches of all time and over-ruling any objection she might have. He plans out how they would have met and how their relationship would have gone. He declares he would have stayed with her. He takes away all her fears and ultimately helps her find peace. It is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Angel Beats - Yui passes on after Hinata's confession

And there we have it, my top 5 favourite anime confessions. So now it is your turn. Confess. Which anime confession made your heart go doki doki?

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Karandi James
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