Summer 2018 Week 1

We’re starting the taste test for the season and so far I am extremely excited to be getting into some new shows. While I have no idea yet what I’m going to keep on my watch list or not, new seasons always come with new potential and just the thrill of knowing that something great might happen. That said, Summer so far is a little light on things I’m interested in trying. We’ll see how it goes once all the shows are out.

As always, I’d love to know what you have tried and what you’ve liked so far so be sure to leave me a comment below.

What I watched

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams (Episode 1)

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The heroine is called to a fantasy world (the Kingdom of Dreams) to awaken the princes and fight the evil dream eaters. It’s all very fairy tale like and the logic only works provided you just kind of nod and go with it, but if you happen to like that kind of thing it is decent. I guess I’ll see how it develops as there are some potentially interesting points.

Angels of Death (Episode 1)

Angel1eWaking up in a basement of a hospital without a memory is creepy enough without pleasant announcements telling you that the girl on the bottom floor is now going to be a sacrifice. This one has potential but outside of the setting has yet to really impress. It will be interesting to see how it develops over the next couple of episodes.

Banana Fish (Episode 1 – Not Reviewed)

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While there is plenty of room for this to go wrong, the first episode introduced us to a fairly intriguing world and some interesting characters. While the overall plot is still a little unclear, I’m actually pretty excited about this one. Unfortunately, due to where it is streaming, I won’t be reviewing.

Cells at Work (Episode 1)

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Okay, this first episode is flat out adorable. There’s no other way to explain it. The characters are cute and so earnest in their work, and at no point does it ever feel to slow paced or too silly. I did not know that watching blood cells could be this fun, and hopefully this anime know how to keep going like this because more would definitely be appreciated.

GeGeGe no Kitaro (Episode 15)

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GeGeGe No Kitaro is pretty consistent at what it delivers and while it isn’t amazing, it isn’t bad, particularly if you happen to like episodic yokai stories. Admittedly, the last couple of episodes have been pretty ordinary, but there’s still some fun to be had here. Hopefully they continue to find ways to make this set up interesting.

Holmes of Kyoto (Episode 1)

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Holmes of Kyoto has had a pretty unspectacular start but if you are after something low-key and you happen to be into antiques, this might suit you. Then again, I’m still kind of hoping the promised mystery aspect of the show actually appears given episode 1 was kind of devoid of anything even vaguely mysterious.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord (Episode 1)

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I can’t help it. I like isekai stories. Even ones that start with a summoning gone wrong and two girls being enslaved by a fake demon lord. We’ll see if this one manages to do anything to distinguish it from the mass of other sub-par to average isekai stories out there, though so far it has managed to be at least average and there’s some potential for entertaining developments.

Island (Episode 2)

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Island might turn out be amazing or terrible and it will more or less be impossible to know until more is revealed. There’s all the usual ideas to set up a bit of a mystery but so far the execution has been relatively average. Also, the more cliche moments are very cringey. That said, it is intriguing and I’m kind of hopeful.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Episode 15 – Reviewed for Patrons)

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Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi remains pretty average though episode 14 was half-consumed by recap and episode 15 gave us a scene change in order to repeat a story-line so these last two episodes weren’t great. Still, average is a pretty good description of this anime and it remains pleasant and watchable while not great.

Phantom in the Twilight (Episode 1)

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I’m definitely on the fence with this one. I really quite enjoy stories with a supernatural focus, but I’m not entirely sure either the protagonist or the premise is really going to work out here. I could be wrong as there is definitely potential in the concept here but I’m very much going to wait and see.

Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 13)

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Steins;Gate 0 continues to not exactly be what I would like and to be honest it is playing out much like I would expect of a prequel/spin-off series. I’m just not that invested in what is happening. That isn’t aided by the fairly flat dialogue and what seems to be an ongoing lack of a clear focus. It isn’t bad, but a lot of what I like about it is sheer nostalgia.

Episode of the Week

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I’m pretty sure the first episode of Cells at Work is not the best episode that aired last week, but it was definitely the most surprisingly fun. I really enjoyed watching these two characters at work and I am looking forward to what they do next.

Character of the Week

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So far Rachel from Angels of Death hasn’t seemed to be quite so clueless as other protagonists might be. She hasn’t denied reality or stubbornly insisted things will be fine. We’ll see if she manages to maintain this as things go on.

Dropped or On Hold

  • Hanebado (Episode 1)
  • Harukana Receive (Episode 1)
  • Planet With (Episode 1)
  • The Master of Ragnarok and Blesser of Einherjar (Episode 1)
  • The Thousand Muskateers (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: Male Anime Characters With Pink Hair

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a colour list and I actually struggled a bit with 5 males I liked with pink hair. The female list which will come out next week was definitely easier to come up with. That said, there are some interesting characters on the list below and as always I’d love to know who your picks would be for male anime characters with pink hair. I kind of went for characters that are important to their story and really rock the pink hair colour.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Number 5: Hikaru (Ouran High School Host Club)

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Okay, right from the start I am cheating here because Hikaru does not normally have pink hair. Yet, for one episode of Ouran High School Host Club, after a fight between the twins seemingly triggered by an innocuous comment by Haruhi, the twins dye their hair blue and pink. I have to admit, I kind of liked the look and kind of wished they’d kept it going for the rest of the season.

Number 4: Zange Natsum (Inu X Boku SS)

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There’s something super-cute and simultaneously super-creepy about Zange. He see’s far too much and isn’t above manipulating others for his own entertainment. That said, he certainly marches to the beat of his own drummer and provides some of the best scenes in Inu x Boku SS so despite his more questionable tendencies he became one of my favourite characters.

Number 3: Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter)

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I still haven’t decided if I like Hisoka as a character or not. He’s incredibly creepy but he adds a lot to the story and he has some great moments. Plus, you have to admit he’s got a style all of his own and I really couldn’t imagine him with any other hair colour other than pink. He’s certainly earned himself a spot on this list even if I feel like running the other direction.

Number 2: Alice Color (Sunday Without God)

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Alice Color only shows up in the final arc of Sunday Without God (though is in the OP from the beginning) and while he’s a fairly stoic character he is also very cool. Driven and determined to free his town from its endless loop, even when he believes that he’s going to die to do it, his story is one of the best in Sunday Without God.

Number 1: Natsu (Fairy Tail)

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Okay, if it was a question of my favourite character in Fairy Tail, Natsu wouldn’t get much of a look in. Despite some pretty cool dragon themed powers and a fiery personality, I don’t really enjoy Natsu’s antics in much of the early parts of the story (definitely prefer Gray). That said, when looking at distinct pink haired anime guys, Natsu immediately jumped to mind. While I think a lot of the other characters are more interesting, Natsu is definitely a bundle of energy, his interactions with Lucy are adorable, and when he gets going in a fight you know its going to be big. Plus, he has a talking flying cat for a friend so you really can’t beat that.

That’s my list this week, be sure to check back next week when I list my top 5 anime females with pink hair.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Anime for the Season: Spring 2018 Final Thoughts

This is the end of the season. Okay, some shows aren’t done but that’s okay. With the majority having wrapped up, it is time for thoughts on final episodes before tomorrow we reveal the best and worst of the season (my picks and the results of the reader’s poll).

What I watched

Caligula (Finished)

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This show stumbled across the finish line and while it did in fact bring closure to its story, I can’t say that this was at any point a satisfying watch. From confused mess, to pretty ordinary, it just never did anything with the ideas it presented early on and the cast were never used in a way that made me care about them. Ultimately, I didn’t hate this, but I’m really glad it has wrapped up.

Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Episode 11)

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While this week brings us a real fight for a change, it certainly doesn’t step up the quality of its story and at this point the character motivations are too pathetic to even take seriously as parody. It is all just a mess from people who wanted to cash in on something but had nothing to say.

Darling in the Franxx (Episode 22 – Reviewed for patrons)

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The kids are coming to terms with abandonment but still struggling to live. Meanwhile, all Hiro cares about is Zero Two. Darling in the Franxx continues to introduce and abandon plot threads and with two episodes left it is unlikely that things will come together in any meaningful way.

Devils’ Line (Finished)Devil12a

Can I cheer that this one is over? It was never good, but what little this anime had going for it never developed into much of anything and the end result is an unremarkable anime that will swiftly be forgotten.

Doreiku The Animation (Finished)

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This one ended up being such a disappointment. It isn’t the worst ever but it is pretty pointless and half the characters serve no purpose at all. The continually building someone up to just throw them away as a threat and the characters constantly making stupid choices really hurts the enjoyment here.

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory (Episode 9)

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Well, this one apparently still has three episodes to go, though I’m suspecting if they didn’t stop to recap every four episodes they might be further along. That said, this is one of the shows I’ve had the most fun watching this season. I forgot how much I loved this franchise until these characters returned and now I just want to rewatch the old seasons yet again.

GeGeGe No Kitaro (Episode 13)

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I was left a little disappointed that this anime didn’t decide to deal with the humans finding out about yokai aspect that could have easily been expanded on from the two prior episodes. That said, it delivered a decent enough episode with a stand alone villain of the week.

Kakuriyo No Yadomeshi (Episode 13 – Reviewed for Patrons)

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Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi has been fairly consistent and yet that doesn’t actually make it great. It has been consistently ordinary. There are the occasional bright moments in an otherwise dull series about characters who have very little to distinguish them from one another. Even the food shots aren’t quite worth the effort. That said, there’s very little wrong with the show either other than being unremarkable.

Libra of Nil Admirari (Finished)

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And that’s a wrap. While this anime never particularly amazed, it also didn’t really do anything overly wrong. All and all, a mostly harmless reverse harem story though one with a basic premise that could have been great and mostly squandered it. Still, I didn’t mind following this show this season, even if in a stronger season I might have let this one go.

Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (Finished)

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Not sure if the final episode was all it could be, but fairly happy with this one as a season. And ultimately it did resolve its story which is a lot more than I can say for many of the shows I’ve followed this season.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 12)

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Definitely some down time after the intensity of episode 11, and yet I feel there were some fairly decent moments and potential foreshadowing going on. I’m a little worried about the direction the story seems to be taking with the whole moving kids into the dorm thing, but I guess we’ll see how that works out soon enough.

Record of Grancrest War (Finished)

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This is the face the audience makes when realising they’ve watched 24 episodes to get to this ending. I can’t say I haven’t had some fun; mostly through making fun of the show, but somehow I feel I really wanted a decent fantasy from this and not just something that was fun to mock.

Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori (Finished)

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Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t exactly a hidden gem, but it a fairly low key anime that was pretty consistent in its delivery this season. I ultimately really enjoyed the relaxing nature of watching this one and am really glad I stuck with it.

Space Battleship Tiramisu (Finished)

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I feel this anime missed a lot of potentially great moments and that is a shame but it is how it is. This one doesn’t really attempt to end and even if it continues, I’m pretty sure I am done at this stage. My curiosity over the story has not been satisfied but my curiosity to annoyance ratio is starting to shift the wrong way as these last two episodes played out.

 Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 12)

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If you didn’t remember this was a time travel show, this episode will certainly remind you as Steins;Gate launches an all out assault on a common time travel paradox. It’s entertaining enough to watch the set up but it will really depend on how they deal with it now they’ve constructed it as to whether or not this will be worth the effort.

Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Finished)

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And this romance comes to an end in a fitting if illogical fashion. This anime was a joy this season and one that I am really glad I stuck with as it was pretty consistent from start to finish. Not to mention, Teresa’s smile is definitely something worth watching.

Tokyo Ghoul: Re (Finished)

Spiritpact: Bond of the Underworld (Finished)

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Finished)

3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Finished)

Episode of the Week

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It wasn’t exactly swamped with heavy competition this week, so Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love makes the cut because it actually got an emotional response and episodes 12 and 13 very effectively brought the story to a close.

Character of the Week

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Sui has been a solid and steady presence in Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori from the beginning and he’s a character I quite enjoyed watching despite his fairly ordinary existence. This final episode really made me appreciate his steady nature.

Dropped

  • Butlers X Battlers (Episode 1)
  • Comic Girls (Episode 1)
  • Crossing Time (Episode 1)
  • Dances with the Dragons (Episode 2)
  • Golden Kamuy (Episode 1)
  • Gurazeni: Money Pitch (Episode 1)
  • Hinamatsuri (Episode 1)
  • Love To Lie Angle (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Ore (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Site (Episode 2)
  • MEGALOBOX (Episode 1)
  • My Sweet Tyrant (Episode 1)
  • Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Episode 4)
  • You Don’t Know Gunma Yet (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Reasons The Anime of Spring 2018 Have Been a Bit Disappointing

I normally try and keep the top 5 posts pretty upbeat, but I can’t deny I’m a little disappointed with the last season of anime. No, it isn’t a sign that modern anime are dreadful or that seasonal watching is the problem. It is just that there were a lot of anime that just didn’t live up to their potential or deliver. As the season comes to an end, I’m reflecting on reasons why I was so disappointed this season.

Whether you liked the season or not, I’d love to know your thoughts on the anime from Spring 2018 so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Number 5: Sequels and Spin-offs That Just Didn’t Land

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Whether it was the debacle that was the continuation of Tokyo Ghoul (reverting to the story in the manga without providing explanation for anime viewers) or the disappointment of SAO Alternative: GGO where viewers were asked to watch a pink bunny girl play a game without much in the way of stakes and were expected to care, the Spring 2018 season has definitely had its share of mis-fires with sequels and spin-offs. Even if we look at the ending of Cardcaptors, most people are expressing a general sense that it just didn’t manage to live up to its predecessors and My Hero Academia took a fair while to get going (though fortunately it has now gotten going and it has certainly stepped up).

Number 4: Scattered Viewership

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Normally with seasonal viewing there’s the couple of shows that everyone is watching. Spring 2018 hasn’t had one of those unifying shows that has ignited the entire community. Instead we have small groups of people proclaiming a love for Megalo Box while older mecha fans have been rejoicing over the return of Full Metal Panic, some people praising SAO Alternative: GGO for not being SAO and a few who have gone for one romance or another. But there’s been no single show that has gotten everyone really excited. With so many big titles out that would seem really odd and yet nothing has really captured the masses this season.

Number 3: Controversy and Fan Idiocy

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While I like to avoid the fandoms are toxic debates, some of the stories going around this season really do emphasise that sometimes people just go too far. Death threats to writers and voice actors just should not be a thing. I know I don’t want someone coming into my workplace and threatening my life just because they disagree with how I go about doing my job, or spamming my email or twitter feed for the same. And then of course we have the issue of post plagiarism sweeping the blogosphere with quite a number of bloggers impacted. The last few months have not been great for community spirit and like it or not, it does impact on the enjoyment of the medium when the community is very much focused on some of these more negative aspects.

Number 2: Recaps, Fillers and Gaps

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How many shows this season have done recap episodes or fillers? And how many have skipped airing one week or another due to some event of the like? It has made following shows more challenging than normal as episodes are delayed or skip a week, or worse they put out a recap episode four episodes in as if the entire community suffers from short term memory loss. While I get production delays happen and that sometimes schedules do go awry with broadcasting, the Spring 2018 season feels like it has just been one interruption to the schedule after another making it even harder to get into some of the shows on offer.

Number 1: Broken Narratives

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Whether it is Record of Grancrest War, Darling in the Franxx, or even the abomination that is Devils’ Line, there are so many anime this season that just make no sense in terms of how they have structured and delivered their story. Maybe they are trying to avoid the label of generic but we’ve got time skips, random characters dropping in and out, reveals that make no sense, themes that get built up and then abandoned, and all and all its just a mess. This hardly makes for a satisfying viewing experience. There’s a reason narrative structure is almost identical in every culture, and that’s because people figured out a long time ago how to deliver a story in a way that made it interesting. A lot of these shows need to go back to basics and just figure out what they wanted to be because honestly Spring 2018 has definitely been a bit of a miss in terms of delivering anything resembling a compelling story line.

So those are my reasons for feeling a bit disappointed. I’d love to know if you were disappointed with the season and why, or whether you ended up loving the season and why. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Also you can vote for your favourite and least favourite anime of the season below.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Anime for the Season: Spring 2018 Week 11

And this is the second last post I will make for Spring 2018. Some shows are done, others are wrapping up, and a few have just hit the midway point. I’m going to be honest and admit that I ended up more than a little disappointed with some shows this season, and yet overall there’s still been some fun to be had this season. Still, I’m looking forward to the Summer season of anime and hopefully we’ll all find something fun to watch.

In the meantime, if you haven’t voted yet for your favourite and least favourite of the Spring season, please check out the poll here. Be sure to vote and share the link. You have until the end of June to vote and I’m looking forward to seeing what is chosen this season.

What I watched

3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Finished)

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Oh how I wish this one had been better but it has finally limped its way to the end of its season and once I finish drafting my series review I will happily forget this ever existed. It isn’t actually that bad, but it really has little to recommend it.

Caligula (Episode 11)

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Is there some reason they can’t get people out of Mobius? That would be a good bit of information to know given the mention people don’t recover, but if they are just inside a program surely they can remove them from the program. Some explanation as to why they can’t might at least give us some reason to care whether frantic keyboard bashing is actually worth watching while Ritsu tries to restore the program. But all and all, this anime hasn’t given me much reason to care about the outcome so mostly I’m just waiting for it to finish.

Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Episode 10)

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I think this anime may have really run out of content when the best they can offer is a half-hearted attempt at ageing the cast because old people in magical boy costumes is guaranteed to be funny even with poor writing (eye roll). Oh well. Almost done.

Darling in the Franxx (Episode 21 – Reviewed for patrons)

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This show just gets more random and less likely to end well by the episode and to be honest I’m only finishing it because I’ve come this far. It isn’t the worst thing ever, but it isn’t exactly good either.

Devils’ Line (Episode 11)

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I feel like I should be happy that HiDive seems to think there’s only one more episode of this. I don’t think I can take much more of these characters or this plot. For a series I was looking forward to this season, this one has been kind of crushing disappointment from beginning to end, only it hasn’t ended yet.

Doreiku The Animation (Episode 10)

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I’m guessing the sweeping ownership changes of slaves is supposed to be dramatic but this story just doesn’t have the polish to pull it off. Everything is just coming off as silly and random rather than being crafted in any way and there’s just no emotional payoff as character after character makes stupid choices and gets beaten down for it.

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory (Episode 8)

No episode this week.

GeGeGe No Kitaro (Episode 12)

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For a cute family show about yokai, this episode really demonstrates how you can stay fairly family friendly and yet still build excitement and tension into a story. The second part of the story of the Tanuki certainly delivers a thrilling end and also sets up some future plot developments. Really fun watching this week.

Kakuriyo No Yadomeshi (Episode 12 – Reviewed for Patrons)

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Some characters should never wink and Aoi definitely falls into that category. Otherwise, this continues as normal. Aoi makes good food, every yokai likes her food, and none of the yokai ever end up actually being all that bad despite endless build ups of characters perhaps not being good. Still, it remains a pleasant watch if fairly unexciting.

Libra of Nil Admirari (Episode 11)

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Cults aren’t as hard to destroy as they used to be and so we’ve got another final villain to face in this story as it continues to scramble to feel like it is more than an excuse for cute girl to hand around various guys and read books. While the overall experience is pleasant enough, I can’t say that this is a particularly good story.

Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (Episode 11)

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A fairly solid episode and I’m very much looking forward to the conclusion of this series. I’m just hoping it does conclude. Although, part of me wonders if there’s going to be one final twist or whether we’ve seen the last of the turns and we’re just riding this out to the end. Looking forward to it.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 11)

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I’d be lying if I said that this was anything less than thrilling. Admittedly, it isn’t exactly high brow entertainment as we watch two super humans slug it out with words and then fists, and yet there’s definitely a level of satisfaction that came from watching this. However, what works better is the direction it points to for the remainder of the season and that is potentially very thrilling.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 23)

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I love that this show can randomly throw giant monsters in and at this point I don’t even question it. Of course the mages had a frozen cyclops. It’s what everyone keeps in their storage room for when uninvited guests pop over. Anyway, the fight is on, I’m still betting on Theo dying but that might just be my own personal wish at this point.

Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori (Episode 10)

Not watched this week. Will do a catch up next week.

Space Battleship Tiramisu (Episode 12)

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Other than realising that Subaru was a bit weird even as a kid, this episode served little purpose and the ‘humour’ falls very flat as it is mostly a rehash of older jokes that have probably outstayed their welcome. So unless you really like watching Subaru get disgusted by dirty cockpits, there probably isn’t a lot to enjoy here.

 Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 11)

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This felt like a definite mid-season point with a lot of plot points coming together and the episode ending on a mini-resolution. I kind of enjoyed this episode but as a whole this season has continued to be pretty ordinary. It just lacks the spark that the original had that made it unmissable. This one, if I stopped watching it I probably wouldn’t mind, though I don’t dislike watching it either.

Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Episode 11)

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Tada’s going to pull a lot of weird faces over the course of this episode. Weirder still because usually he doesn’t emote all that much. This is kind of a great follow up to the events so far and I look forward to the final part of this series. While it hasn’t been amazing, it has been reasonably consistent and quite entertaining.

Tokyo Ghoul: Re (Finished – Not Reviewed)

Spiritpact: Bond of the Underworld (Finished)

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Finished)

Episode of the Week

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Maybe it is the obvious, but it would have taken something very special to be the episode of My Hero Academia this week. To be perfectly honest, given how many anime episodes I watch a week, any episode that makes me that emotional has to have done something right.

Character of the Week

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I know he was character of the week last week, but he definitely earned two weeks’ worth of recognition over the last couple of episodes. All Might, you’ve gone from being a needed mentor character to a character I genuinely love.

Dropped

  • Butlers X Battlers (Episode 1)
  • Comic Girls (Episode 1)
  • Crossing Time (Episode 1)
  • Dances with the Dragons (Episode 2)
  • Golden Kamuy (Episode 1)
  • Gurazeni: Money Pitch (Episode 1)
  • Hinamatsuri (Episode 1)
  • Love To Lie Angle (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Ore (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Site (Episode 2)
  • MEGALOBOX (Episode 1)
  • My Sweet Tyrant (Episode 1)
  • Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Episode 4)
  • You Don’t Know Gunma Yet (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That Use CGI

It probably isn’t news that a lot of people don’t like CGI in their anime. And given some of the efforts at using it,  that’s actually pretty understandable. At some point I’m going to have to look at those anime that end up just being an eye-sore, but that isn’t today’s list. Today I have 5 anime where the CGI actually worked reasonably well (though not always perfectly). As always, I would love to know what some of your favourites are so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mention: Ajin.

Number 5: Blame

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I wasn’t the biggest fan of this Netflix movie feeling it was more like an introduction to a much larger story, but I did enjoy the visuals for the most part. There were some great effects with the weapons and the movement of the characters in action sequences was very fluid and fun to watch. Admittedly, like a lot of anime that uses CGI, the characters when they were just talking looked a bit odd, but otherwise I really kind of enjoyed this.

Number 4: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

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So, there are definitely some odd moments in the animation in this movie, but I never did get over how beautiful the main character’s hair was. I’d never seen an animation that detailed before or that fluid in its movement. While the story might not have blown me away, the visuals in this film actually did and while comparatively there are much better examples today, I have a soft spot for this film.

Number 3: Kado: The Right Answer

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Another case where the story fell over, quite badly toward the end, and the characters themselves are kind of creepy to watch move at times. This one earns a spot for its backgrounds and for the design of the cube itself. While at times it may have looked like someone shoved the characters inside a kaleidoscope, I couldn’t help but love the backgrounds of so many scenes in this. Visually it was striking and while again, the character movement wasn’t great, there wasn’t a lot of it anyway.

Number 2: Attack on Titan

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This one is the opposite of Kado. The backgrounds here seem for the most part to be more traditional and the CG seems to be used for the character movement, particularly during fights. The end result is actually kind of exhilarating to watch and kind of beautiful (until the characters get eaten and we end up with blood splatter). Still, Attack on Titan kind of shows us a good compromise between traditional animation and CGI techniques.

Number 1: Land of the Lustrous

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Definitely the anime that inspired this list and got me thinking about anime using CGI. I loved the look of this anime and the characters. Certainly, it isn’t a look I want everything to adopt, but the way the animation style and character designs suited the story here was kind of perfect. And that’s really what needs to be considered. Is the CGI really enhancing the story or distracting from it. In cases like Land of the Lustrous, I can’t imagine those characters or some of those fight sequences ever really working without it. Truly beautiful and well worth trying the anime if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet.

So what anime CGI have you enjoyed?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Anime for the Season: Spring 2018 Week 10

Another round of anime watching and this week really did show us what some shows were made of, even if the answer is not very much. Still, it wasn’t a total bust as there were some definite stand out moments.

On that note, if you haven’t voted yet for your favourite and least favourite of the Spring season, please check out the poll here. Be sure to vote and share the link. You have until the end of June to vote and I’m looking forward to seeing what is chosen this season.

What I watched

3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Episode 11)

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With one episode left to go I’m guessing we’re either going for an incomplete finish or a trite ending where everything just kind of works out. Either way, this anime went from reasonably interesting to generic melodrama and is now just a slightly below average teen drama with increasingly obvious issues with its visuals. Oh well, I guess we’ll see how things play out next week.

Caligula (Episode 10)

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Two weeks in a row with characters declaring reality is shit. My, we have a theme. And yet, I can’t help but think this show has kind of missed the point with no actual weight put behind that statement. It is more a declaration for the sake of having one. The anime itself remains pretty pointless with characters who are mostly meaningless.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Finished)

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I hope you like non-endings, because that is all this one is going to offer. After 22 episodes we know only a tiny bit more than when we started and mostly this feels like it hasn’t quite moved on from the 90’s when you could get away with burning half your run-time with filler before stringing people on for a next season. Just a touch disappointed with how this ended up.

Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Episode 9)

No new episode this week.

Darling in the Franxx (Episode 20 – Reviewed for patrons)

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Well, I guess I can stop making fun of Record of Grancrest War for exposition dumps substituting for plot structure as Darling in the Franxx seems to be vying for least comprehensible plot structure held together by thin lines of dialogue. So odd that two shows have taken this approach in one season and yet, here we are going into climaxes that make zero sense when you back up to the beginning and look at what the characters set out to achieve way back when the shows began.

Devils’ Line (Episode 10)

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Another episode where the focus was nowhere to be found but some interesting ideas do exist. It makes for a luke-warm viewing experience but not one I want to walk away from given I do find some of it intriguing even as the delivery continues to miss the mark.

Doreiku The Animation (Episode 9)

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As if the cast of this anime wasn’t already large enough and lacking in development, they throw yet more characters at us with only the shallowest of motivations, despite the flash backs desperately trying to establish some emotional reason we should care about this current development. Really, it is a mess, and it isn’t going to resolve well.

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory (Episode 8)

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An explosive show down this week for Full Metal Panic and one that showcases exactly why Sousuke is such a great character. Hitting just the right emotional notes, this episode brings the show to a second high since the first four episodes, and we’re very much ready now to go into the final episodes of the season.

GeGeGe No Kitaro (Episode 11)

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While I’m still not sure what value there was in kidnapping Mana, it did fulfil all the villainous cliches this episode decided to pull out. That isn’t a negative mind you. This anime has thrived on delivering fairly classic stories and tropes so the over the top Bond style villains kind of work here. Quite a nice episode really.

Kakuriyo No Yadomeshi (Episode 11 – Reviewed for Patrons)

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So yeah, stuff happens and Aoi cooks food. That makes everything better apparently. This anime continues to be watchable but not in anyway memorable or particularly interesting.

Libra of Nil Admirari (Episode 10)

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Blasphemy might be a bit harsh, but still there is something a bit odd about using words in books to curse people. And this is something I wish this anime would explore more but instead it wants to deal with all the pretty boys’ emotional hang-ups that are all pretty standard and dull. What it leaves us with is a fairly average viewing experience.

Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (Episode 10)

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I felt this was kind of the slowest episode yet. This whole season Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS has been driving us continuously toward a confrontation that has explosive ramifications, and yet this episode really felt like they were just delaying that final show-down. Honestly, I think I would prefer the final show-down to be drawn out rather than having these non-fights play out.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 10)

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The clash of giants as All For One and One For All go head to head in what is probably going to be a city destroying fight (either that or All Might is about to meet his maker and either way I’m super hyped for the next episode). It took a bit, but season 3 of My Hero Academia is definitely showing us the strengths of this franchise now and it isn’t letting up now that it has gotten going.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 22)

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There’s little more to say about this anime at this particular point and time except that even as we count down the final few episodes it continues to try to pack in ridiculous amounts of plot and the end result is just a narrative mess where character motives are unexplored, factions seem to serve no purpose, and none of the powers exhibited by anything are ever adequately explained. But hey, final battle incoming.

Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori (Episode 10)

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I have to agree that Rokuhoudou is a beautiful cafe. One thing watching this anime has done is made me want a cafe like that where I could go. Watching each episode, when it focuses on serving within the cafe, is a completely relaxing experience and one that is extremely pleasant. There’s not much to say about the characters and the narrative, but this show has nailed its atmosphere.

Space Battleship Tiramisu (Episode 11)

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I might just be over this, but the last two episodes have taken a serious nose dive in terms of enjoyment. Fortunately there are only two left so I will make it to the end, but my mostly pleasant viewing experience is starting to become more of a tiresome one.

 Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 10)

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Seems like things are about to get messy in this anime as the end of this episode reveals what might be the catalyst for future drama. That said, this episode itself didn’t do all that much, so lets hope the future payoff is worth it.

Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Episode 10)

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Tada destroyed his own title this week because whether he’s admitted it or not, he’s totally in love with Teresa. The date was adorable and really did set up the end point which we could all see coming a mile away and yet it was still very affective when it finally landed. Well played.

Tokyo Ghoul: Re (Episode 11 – Not Reviewed)

The thing I liked most about season 1 of Tokyo Ghoul was I liked Kaneki as a character. Not so much because Kaneki is a good character, but because he was beautifully broken throughout the course of the season. Haise/Kaneki is not an interesting character. He has not done or said one interesting thing in this entire season. When we couple that with a plot that makes no sense given I haven’t read the manga and I have no idea where half of these characters even came from, basically I’m just watching a boring character, surrounded by cheap imitation boring characters, fighting for reasons that remain pretty unclear other than every single person and ghoul in this show is actually a psycho. Kind of glad I let this one go for a few weeks before catching up on all the episodes in one go because week to week this would be truly impossible to watch.

Spiritpact: Bond of the Underworld (Finished)

Episode of the Week

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I know Full Metal Panic has taken it a few times, but anything would be hard-pressed to beat episode 8 this week. Hitting the right emotional notes and turning the action right up, this episode knew exactly what it was doing every step of the way.

Character of the Week

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And could it have been anyone other than All Might? Plunging into the battle against All For One despite knowing his weakness, All Might shines in this episode – kind of hoping this isn’t his last hurrah.

Dropped

  • Butlers X Battlers (Episode 1)
  • Comic Girls (Episode 1)
  • Crossing Time (Episode 1)
  • Dances with the Dragons (Episode 2)
  • Golden Kamuy (Episode 1)
  • Gurazeni: Money Pitch (Episode 1)
  • Hinamatsuri (Episode 1)
  • Love To Lie Angle (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Ore (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Site (Episode 2)
  • MEGALOBOX (Episode 1)
  • My Sweet Tyrant (Episode 1)
  • Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Episode 4)
  • You Don’t Know Gunma Yet (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Ordinary Anime Characters Who Inspire

While many an anime character has inspired me, it is worth noting that a lot of anime characters have super powers, or magic, or destiny, or some other force working for them, which makes their actions a little less applicable to the everyday life that most of us lead. This list is to the heroes (and ordinary people) who have moved me to action or have given me strength when I have needed it. That makes is a fairly personal list so I’d love to know who would end up on your list of inspiring anime characters. While it hurts that I can’t add Maka to the list this time round, the characters below are all exceptional and yet completely human.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Akito from Bakuman for standing by his friend from start to finish no matter how rough things got.

Number 5: Nagisa (Assassination Classroom)

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One might argue that none of the students in Assassination Classroom are particularly ordinary, but that is their most compelling trait. They are ordinary. They are the ones who are overlooked and cast aside, who have been down so long that they have forgotten that they even have the right to stand up. Watching Nagisa move from someone who accepts this role to someone who has a clear presence about him and is comfortable in his own skin is something that is greatly inspiring. Okay, most of us don’t have a yellow octopus for a teacher who we get to learn to assassinate, but most of the lessons Nagisa takes on board are strictly of the ordinary kind of valuing who you are.

Number 4: Kurumi (Kimi ni Todoke)

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Season One of Kimi ni Todoke introduced us to Kurumi and she was a nasty piece of work determined to get Kazehaya to look at her and to get Sawako out of the picture. After being rejected she undergoes an incredible character transformation that reminds us all that just because we don’t get what we want doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. Kurumi becomes a truly great character and by the time the end of season 2 rolls around you really want her to find her own happiness.

Number 3: Kousei (Your Lie in April)

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This one might be cheating given the kid is definitely a genius. Yet, much like with Nagisa, the lessons Kousei takes on board during the heart breaking journey that is Your Lie in April are strictly the ordinary everyday ones that we all could learn from. Learning to grieve and mourn, to accept what has happened, to find a purpose, and just to find who you are. These are the things Kousei discovers throughout the course of his journey and they make him incredibly relatable and when he takes the stage in the final episode you cannot help but feel moved by him.

Number 2: Oreki (Hyouka)

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While this might seem an odd choice for number 2 on the list, there’s something truly remarkable about how this character lives his life. He has his own ideal of energy conservation and yet at the same time he doesn’t want his ideals to harm the experiences of others. He doesn’t want to let his sister down and later Chitanda and so acts contrary to his own nature on more than one occasion. This is also inspiring because while some people might see that as giving in or compromising, what it really demonstrates is an acceptance of a need for community and that it can’t always be about you. Oreki is inspiring because he finds a balance where he does have moments where he refused to do things or to get involved and other moments where he acts for the benefit of others. While I’m still not sure I like the anime, I quite like Oreki’s character and he reminds me that sometimes it isn’t all about me.

Number 1: Yuri (Yuri on Ice)

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Did we really think anyone else was going to take this spot? I almost disqualified him because being a world champion (even if he’s only in the top 6) kind of makes him somewhat extraordinary, but the only superpower he has is persistence and determination and so I let him take the top spot. His journey is fantastic and watching him stand up again and again and try to overcome his weaknesses never ceases to inspire.

And there they all are. Who would you have put on your list?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Anime for the Season: Spring 2018 Week 9

This week was a mix of highs and lows with some shows giving us superb episodes and other really falling from average to barely watchable. It’s a real mixed bag and I guess that is what makes it fun. Later today I will open the polls for best and worst anime of Spring 2018, so be sure to look out for them and vote and share. Remember, top 3 anime for the season will go in the poll at the end of the year for anime of the year.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the season so be sure to leave me a comment below and share what you liked this week and what left you disappointed.

What I watched

3D Kanojo: Real Girl (Episode 10)

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Guy rejects girl by confessing to another? Classy. And more or less all I expect from this anime at this point. Gone is anything that made it seem a little different or interesting and now it has simply become another not so great romance anime.

Caligula (Episode 9)

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I really shouldn’t have added this to my review list after Spiritpact ended. Wow, this has been tedious. It isn’t even bad, it just is so messy as a narrative with such poor characterisation it isn’t even interesting to pick at. Each episode is just another exercise in waiting for the next round of exposition that might tell us where the characters are walking next.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 21)

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I wonder if Sakura’s mother’s key will end up being significant? Not that it got a lot of attention in this episode, but that’s probably because after being incredibly slow for a large chunk of the early half of the season, this episode felt like it packed half a season’s worth of content in. And it doesn’t seem like next week will slow down the pace as it rushes to try to end the series.

Cute High Earth Defense Club Happy Kiss (Episode 9)

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This anime continues to be pretty lame, even the this franchise’s standards. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this episode, on the back of so many weak episodes, it isn’t enough to re-engage viewers who by this point should be pretty switched off.

Darling in the Franxx (Episode 19 – Reviewed for patrons)

No episode this week.

Devils’ Line (Episode 9)

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Devils’ Line continues along its path doing its thing and mostly failing to pass any kind of logical test in terms of narrative. The fairly poor visuals continue to be a theme as well. There are some interesting concepts underpinning this anime, but execution has left it pretty much a miss.

Doreiku The Animation (Episode 8)

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As usual, this anime doesn’t make much sense when even the tiniest bit of logic is applied to the situation and the characters remain either pretty dumb or just horrible. Of all the anime I’m watching this season, this is the one that I probably wish I’d dropped back after its first episode as it has just been an ongoing disappointment.

Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory (Episode 7)

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Sousuke continues to try to get to Amalgam so that he can find Kaname. Meanwhile they are trying to kill him and he’s outnumbered and outgunned. This series has just kept hitting the right notes episode after episode this season and I’m hoping it continues because I am loving this.

GeGeGe No Kitaro (Episode 10)

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A perfectly pleasant episode strangely devoid of the title character and yet still pretty fun. There isn’t too much to go wrong when the story sticks with some fairly classic elements and finds a way to work more modern problems into the lives of ghosts.

Kakuriyo No Yadomeshi (Episode 10 – Reviewed for Patrons)

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Things continue to be pretty ordinary in this anime as the characters go about their lives. It continues to be pretty to look at and the story works but it also continues to not be all that exciting.

Libra of Nil Admirari (Episode 9)

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The more of the plot that gets revealed here, the weaker the story becomes. Watch it for girl meets cute guys in period drama rather than its story because it isn’t going so great.That, and the show seems to want to be taken seriously in its darker moments, but can’t commit to anything more than hospitalising its cast.

Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (Episode 9)

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This anime knows exactly how to pace itself and as we draw into the final third of the season, it has hit the perfect tone to make me excited for the climax. It also feels like they are going to have enough time to properly deal with what they need to so I’m kind of hopeful of a satisfying end to the season. We’ll see what happens though but I’m cautiously optimistic.

My Hero Academia Season 3 (Episode 9)

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While somewhat less impressive than the past two episodes, this was a fairly solid continuation of the plot and we certainly got to see some action. Plus, Midoriya being back to muttering was just so classic and cute.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 21)

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I’m… There’s just no words at this point for the mess that is Record of Grancrest War. And yet despite being a terrible story with terrible characters and terrible pacing, other than the frustration all of that causes, there’s still something a little appealing about the entire mess. It’s all just kind of tragic.

Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori (Episode 9)

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This was a pretty decent episode if you are watching this for the calming and relaxing feeling that it usually constructs. There’s not a lot of substance, but there doesn’t really need to be when you walk away feeling like you’ve just had a nice warm bath.

Space Battleship Tiramisu (Episode 10)

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In space there is nothing to distract from the fact that this episode didn’t really accomplish very much, not even a few cheap laughs. While hardly a terminally poor episode, it was very much the second low point of the season and I’m kind of hoping next week returns to the form of the past few weeks.

 Steins;Gate 0 (Episode 9)

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Steins;Gate 0 continues to progress and while this episode didn’t quite hit the emotional highs of episode 8, overall, the series continues to build to what will hopefully be an interesting conclusion somewhere down the line.

Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love (Episode 9)

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We entered anime cliche land yet again when Tada gets wet from the rain after lending Teresa his umbrella and ends up catching a flu. Still, with this show, even cliches are done well and the more egregious ones are masterfully avoided providing an experience that feels both familiar and yet authentic.

Tokyo Ghoul: Re (Episode 8 – Not Reviewed)

Spiritpact: Bond of the Underworld (Finished)

Episode of the Week

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How am I enjoying it? I’m loving it. This is probably my favourite season of WIXOSS as it has just been entertaining from start to finish. Looking forward to what comes next.

Character of the Week

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Look at him. It’s Syaoran rocking butterfly wings. This single moment made my heart soar and made me incredibly glad I’ve watched Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card this season.

 

Dropped

  • Butlers X Battlers (Episode 1)
  • Comic Girls (Episode 1)
  • Crossing Time (Episode 1)
  • Dances with the Dragons (Episode 2)
  • Golden Kamuy (Episode 1)
  • Gurazeni: Money Pitch (Episode 1)
  • Hinamatsuri (Episode 1)
  • Love To Lie Angle (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Ore (Episode 1)
  • Magical Girl Site (Episode 2)
  • MEGALOBOX (Episode 1)
  • My Sweet Tyrant (Episode 1)
  • Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Episode 4)
  • You Don’t Know Gunma Yet (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That Only Have One Season

There’s something to be said for an anime that can tell a complete story in 11, 12, 22, or 24 episodes and not leave the viewer unsatisfied or waiting for a conclusion that may never occur. While I have nothing against the longer running anime brethren, the anime I rewatch most often meets the condition of being a complete story in and of itself. Which actually made it quite hard to narrow this list down.

Now the order is entirely subjective and based only upon my enjoyment of the story and how complete it feels when watching, so I’d love for you to share your top 5 anime with only one season. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Parasyte, Ouran High School Host Club (this one actually kind of needs a sequel), and Trigun.

Number 5: My Love Story

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I don’t know why it is that I am completely in love with this anime and even though there’s plenty more that could be said about the characters and where they go, I never finish the story feeling like I’m missing out. This one is a sweet story that deals with two people not falling in love, because they actually cover that in about three episodes, but with the act of being in love for the first time and not really knowing what to do. It is awkward at times, adorable at others, and overall it is an incredibly rewarding watch.

Number 4: Death Note

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While logically you could write sequels, spin-offs and whatever else you want from this story, but I’m pretty sure most viewers will agree that Death Note feels decidedly finished with that final episode. Realistically, the story felt finished before it got to the end given the narrative structure. When you set up two characters in binary opposition and one dies, that definitely feels like an end point. Death Note pushes on nonetheless leaving us with a definitive ending later on, though a little bit of the satisfaction does get sucked out in the process.

Number 3: Erased

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Mystery stories are probably a bit easier to make feel complete. When you are first waiting for the who is the bad guy reveal followed by the will they catch him, it kind of gives you a clear end point for the series. Needless to say, while there are some lingering questions about the nature of revival, the story is most definitely complete in this anime.

Number 2: Your Lie in April

Your Lie In April

Much like Erased, there was always an end point in mind for this series. However, what we get is a fairly profound character journey and ultimately an ending that will leave you in a smiling/teary mess as you can’t decide whether it was tragic or beautiful or somewhere in between the two. Anymore of this would simply take away from the power of that ending and really that is not something anyone should ever try and do.

Number 1: Angel Beats

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This anime begins with Otanashi waking up in a limbo and being told he has to fight against god. The story explores the true nature of the world he is in and the other characters inhabiting it. By the time we get to the end of this story everything that ever needed to be said about this world has been said. And while you have to wait around until after the end credits of the final episode to get to the resolution you so desperately want, it is most definitely there and leaves you with a feeling that everything is going to work out okay which is pretty much how I want to feel at the end of the emotional roller-coaster that is Angel Beats.

That’s the list for this week, so now I’m turning it over to you. What is your favourite anime with only one season? Or what are your top 5 is narrowing it down to one is too hard?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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