Kenja no Mago Review Episode 10

Revenge Gained, Now What?

Kenja no Mago Episode 10

Early in this episode of Kenja no Mago I wondered whether or not we needed half an episode devoted to the antagonist’s back story. The answer is actually yes, though possibly we could have gotten the highlights of the story in a shorter period of time or they could have delivered the early part of his tale with a little bit more oomph. However, the back story sets up a villain whose primary motive was incredibly clear for once and his rage directed.

And he was so optimistic.

See, the terrible past and want to destroy the world villain is all too common. Schtrom is overcoming the standard expectations by having had a clear goal of bringing down the empire that allowed the other nobles to conspire against him and used the commoners, who had betrayed him, to do it. His goals weren’t exactly noble and his means weren’t valiant, but it was incredibly understandable.

As is his genuine lethargy after having accomplished a long strived for goal. He isn’t having ambitions of ruling or taking over. He was revenge for a specific act against a specific country and he got it. Those who follow him are understandably concerned by his apparent lack of motivation now that they’ve arrived at this point. It means that we’ll end up with a conflict between Shin and Schtrom, almost certainly unless they decide to talk it out, but the way we’ll end up there isn’t the usual Schtrom is evil and must die and Shin is the hero and must fight standards that we are used to.

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It is amazing how bothering to put motivation in beyond being evil can make something fairly cliché and trite seem somewhat more interesting.

Of course I’ve just brushed right past the point where Aug gets officially recognised as the Crown Prince and then they all fly off to fight some demonoids who are apparently attacking a neighbouring kingdom, but I suspect that will become more relevant next episode.

So while I still feel they could have done more with the back story to give it more impact, I’m pretty happy with this episode and what it sets up for the final couple of episodes, though I suspect the ending will be somewhat less than satisfying given we’ve only got two more episodes.

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Karandi James
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Kenja no Mago Review Episode 6

The typical ‘work together’ message undermined by super powered teen.

Episode 6

Kenja no Mago shows us the right way to blow off some steam… Okay, maybe not but I have to admit that Shin made that look so satisfying even if the results were kind of destructive.

The war ended up being pretty abrupt, much like its set-up really. One minute they are fighting and then the empire realises there are demons in their capital and return just in time for the guy who declared war to be killed by Schrom in a fairly confronting early scene this episode. I will point out, I’ll give the demonoid points for at least knowing that if he wants to make sure someone is dead you do have to kill them yourself. Most villains never get this point down which is why they end up losing.

Finally a villain that makes at least a little sense.

Still, the realisation that there are plenty of demonoids around and that they aren’t exactly what the original description of them made them out to be, gives this narrative plenty of fodder for future confrontations for Shin. We already know Schrom at least managed to survive a fight with Shin and so overpowered or not, if Shin has to fight all of them he’s going to struggle alone.

Which might be the whole point of the get along and work with friends message of the rest of the episode.

The Knight School and the Magic School run some joint training in the forest but the Knights and the Magicians absolutely don’t get on despite clearly having complementary abilities. I think the point was supposed to be for the group to learn how to get on but then somewhere along the way that message got dropped and we got another round of isn’t Shin awesome as a horde of demons stormed toward them and Shin wiped them all out.

This is just asking to become a meme.

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Naturally he was in a bad mood because the Knights had started fawning over Sicily and we got another round of the two kids blushing and denying but not denying a relationship.

Honestly, as silly as this anime is and as cliché as a lot of the developments are, it actually just makes me smile while watching and I’m quite enjoying it. There’s certainly no argument to be made that this is brilliant. The static images with panning during the war sequence and demon invasion of the city displays the corner cutting and averageness of the visuals, even if the off-model faces from a distance on almost every character didn’t, but that doesn’t actually take away from the enjoyment of the overall experience.

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Kenja no Mago Review Episodes 1 + 2

Cliche and yet kind of fun.

Kenja no Mago Episode 1

Episode 1

Be prepared for the new self-aware cliché driven title as Spring 2019 delivers Wise Man’s Grandchild or Kenja no Mago. Shin is reincarnated after a close encounter with every isekai anime’s favourite traffic related death and is raised by Merlin in a forest. There he learns magic, combat and more or less everything except life skills and becomes the single most overpowered being ever. Then they enrol him in magic school just to throw yet another trope in.

Kenja no Mago Episode 1
Look, another anime character without parents.

Despite the trite and been-there-done-that subject matter, it is difficult to dislike this first episode. As a protagonist, Shin isn’t doing anything new, but nor is he annoying or particularly obnoxious. The magic has so far been pretty cool to see, and they aren’t exactly wanting you to take it overly seriously. I’m getting serious In Another World With My Smartphone vibes here where provided you didn’t try to take it too seriously or expect much from it, what you ended up with was moderately entertaining and occasionally amusing.

Whether this succeeds or not depends on whether they can keep it fun or whether they’ll start taking themselves too seriously, or if they just roll out tired trope after tired trope and hope that it somehow sticks. Still, there’s certainly some interesting potential here with demons, famous ‘grandparents’, knowledge from another world, and magic and combat skills. Whether they do anything with the ingredients remains to be seen.

Kenja no Mago Episode 1

That said, after one episode, I’m pretty happy with what is on display here and I’m kind of hoping for something relaxing to watch. I’ll see what the next couple of episodes have to offer before I make up my mind though.

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Episode 2

The cliché continues in episode two of Wise Man’s Grandchild. This week Shin takes the test for the magic school and in the process makes enemies with an over the top noble, friends with a Prince, and continues to win the affection of the cute girl he previously met. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary here and yet it still works well enough.

Kenja no Mago Episode 2

Most of the characters we’ve met so far are pleasant enough if fairly unremarkable. Though, the handling of the bully character has been pretty lacking in anything resembling subtlety. He’s self-entitled and selfish and has more or less decided to fight Shin because the show needs someone to make some sort of conflict in the story in the early stages or else nothing would be happening outside of Shin being awesome. That said, it seems likely that they are setting him up to later become a demon or an actual threat but it is really hard to take that seriously as a future problem.

The other thing that the anime keeps coming back to is that other nations will either declare war or try to get Shin on their side. Part of me wonders if these are empty lines just to make things seem like a big-deal or if they are actually foreshadowing future conflicts. I’m kind of hoping it is the latter and that they do look into the political situation between countries, though at this stage it is hard to tell whether that would make for an interesting plot line or not given Shin is incredibly over-powered.

There were some amusing moments in this episode of Kenja no Mago with my favourite being the practical magic test. Watching the other kids chanting for all they were worth for very little magic was highly entertaining as was Shin’s overly embarrassed reaction. While it isn’t an original idea by any means it was executed well enough to be worth a smile.

Two episodes in an this remains entertaining enough and will hopefully continue to be enjoyable.

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The Outlook Is Grimm

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Grimms Notes Episode 7 Review

I keep wanting the next episode of Grimms Notes to be the one that turns it all around. The one that reveals the motive of the heroes and presents the villains in an actual menacing light. The one that explains why story ones exist and who these mysterious authors are who are inflicting such pain upon their creations. And yet, seven episodes in and there’s still no sign of that.

Grimms Notes Episode 7

We did get a slightly more detailed look at one of the ‘villains’ as she inserted herself into the story to meet with Ex and the others but even then, other than a cryptic comment or two she provides nothing in the way of new reveals. The story of the week is much the same as any other though as always you have to wonder if resetting things to how they are ‘supposed’ to be is actually the right things to do.

Grimms Notes Episode

Our heroes never question their actions. That is what bothers me more than what they are doing. But even when asked about their actions they don’t pause and reflect for even a minute. They seem utterly convinced that keeping stories on track according to the books of fate is the absolute right thing to do. Yet they haven’t provided a convincing argument to the audience to make us want to get behind that motive.

Grimms Notes Episode 7

Otherwise there is little to note here. The story is ongoing in much the same pattern it has been with no real ups or down in animation or any other area. This show kind of just exists at this point.

Grimms Notes Episode 8 Review

Alright, so by the end of this episode Ex actually does ask if they are doing the right thing but the question is quickly dismissed under ‘no choice’ and ‘too late’ comments so it doesn’t actually get explored.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

Outside of that, this week the focus is on Tao and kind of Shane as we visit their story zone. And this is a bit of an issue because it really does prove that these story zones are literally just looping round in circles which makes you wonder why anyone sees the point. I mean why defeat the oni if you know that as soon as that is done there will be a new hero and a new oni threat and the whole thing will just rinse and repeat.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

The other issue being that neither Tao nor Shane are particularly complex characters so the backstory on them and how they met and ended up deciding to leave their story zone is pretty weak, as is their resolution to keep a story on track that doesn’t exactly seem like it is doing anyone any favours.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

Grimms Notes continues to not really do anything particularly note worthy but nor is it unwatchable. All and all, this one isn’t showing any sign of improvement but it isn’t getting any worse.

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A Princess in Pursuit of Her Hero

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 5 Review

For all that Endro has been pleasant enough over the opening episodes, this episode drew me right into this story. It isn’t that it does anything particularly unique as it is very much playing on the Princess tropes in introducing a new character, but it is doing it in such a way that it makes this anime really feel like it has its own ideas and a tone it really wants to set.

Endro Episode 5 Princess Rona

Plenty of anime have a Princess who believes she will marry a hero or has a hero and a Princess fall in love. The hero being a female didn’t deter the Princess in the least and that was kind of interesting as the Princess clearly forced her way into Yuusha’s life and then threw an entire festival to raise the status of the hero. While there are some good laughs here it is also clear that this anime isn’t going to blink away from the idea of two characters of the same sex falling in love. It takes this head on.

Endro Episode 5 Princess gushing over hero

And that is admirable in itself but they follow it up with actual character development for the Princess in the same episode. She goes from being infatuated with Yuusha because she is the hero to actually seeing Yuusha as a person and liking her even more. The whole episode is just good fun but it is full of so many little moments that raise questions, make a point, or just stick out as interesting that it is difficult to really talk about the episode without doing a scene by scene break down given the overall plot is Princess shows up and throws festival, hero saves things when they go wrong.

Endro Episode 5 Princess and Mao

I will say that Mao was really good this episode. She’s a character I haven’t really liked previously but her role this week was very well used and the hints the Princess is dropping that she knows who Mao is are interesting as I wonder where they are taking that plot line. All and all, while I haven’t been fully behind this anime, this episode took some excellent steps and getting me drawn in to the story.

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Are Destiny and Fate Really All Just Written?

Grimms Notes Post Title Image

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Review

I have to wonder if the source material for this, which is apparently a game, if the player gets to decide whether they want to set the stories back on track or let them fall into chaos? Or is it all just mandated that of course these story worlds will endlessly repeat and you have to be apart of maintaining a status quo so that character lives never change beyond what is written on the pages of their books? It is a little sad to think about really and it is probably the one thing that really bothers me about this anime.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Tao

Episode one wasn’t great but it did enough to make me want to watch. Episode two was just kind of there and feels more and more filler like so I’m wondering about its placement. Three and four though give us Ex’s backstory and they did a great job of establishing his character and his personal motive for helping restore Cinderella’s story and really I wish this anime had started here. And yet, despite the character being interesting, the conflict personal and understandable, it does nothing to relieve the overall worry that this story seems to be all about making people play their role, whether they want to or not.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Ex

Sure, we’re only four episodes in and maybe it will get to fleshing out some of these points and ideas and it might even explore them a bit, but so far we’re supposed to be behind the group that come in from outside and essentially force things back onto their predetermined path. For once the crazy villain’s speech about hope and liberation didn’t seem to crazy because I could actually see exactly where he was coming from and at least the characters were offered a choice.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Loki

Then the heroes tune the world and everyone forgets what has happened. Not only is their choice undone but they are robbed even of the memory of anything outside of their books. It’s kind of hard to get behind that.

Grimms Notes Episode 4 Shane

Still, in the hope that eventually these ideas will be pursued and explored I’m watching on. These last two episodes were at least a little compelling and far better handled than the opening episode and little bits and pieces about their powers and the like are being revealed each episode. Still, I’m hardly jumping up and down to recommend this one.

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GRIMMS NOTES VISUAL BOOK
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The Important Qualities Of An Adventurous Leader

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 2 Review

As I watch four pastel girls go through the motions of a pyjama party discussing their favourite monsters and what they like about them (though they keep the actual subject hidden for a little bit to make it a punch line) I had to wonder what the appeal of this kind of show was. I get that there are plenty of fans of slice of life and cute girl shows but honestly this scene was actually less fascinating than watching my cat pursue a lizard across the floor of my study (I rescued the lizard, came back and watched the scene again).

Endro Episode 2 Seiran
I’m sure my cat would try.

That doesn’t for a minute make Endro actually a bad show. I can’t really compare it with all that many other cute girl or slice of life shows because normally I don’t really stick with them, but this anime functions just fine, each scene moves along, each character plays their role, it looks good enough and it intersperses action or physical comedy in amongst the talkier scenes to break things up a bit. Everything works but the vast majority of the content doesn’t actually appeal to me as an audience. Still, if I had the choice of watching this episode again or episode 2 of Grimms Notes I’d choose this one in a heart beat. This anime is actually functional as a narrative.

Now there were actually two parts of this episode that did interest me and will keep me watching despite this being well outside of my interest area so far. The first was the leadership decision. Mao, in another insidious plan (provided you find six year olds insidious) to break up the heroes’ party so that they won’t defeat the demon lord in the future declares that each team needs to choose a leader. The girls in the heroes’ party all assumed they were the leader and are shocked to find out they aren’t.

Endro Episode 2 Leader

Here I will give the show some credit. Instead of petty squabbling or attempts to bring other members of the team down, the girls diplomatically choose the mascot character as the leader (truly cute). When that idea gets shot down they each take a turn at being leader and fail abysmally. Because, as the girls realise, they all bring something to the party. Whether it is strength, brains, weirdness, or sheer luck, each of them has their own important qualities that are needed in a leader. The end result, they are all the leader. It’s a cute and novel solution and this was actually the part of the episode I ended up most engaged by.

The other part of the episode that actually made me think this might go somewhere interesting at some point, was that the Demon Lord realises that if things continue they’ll end up repeating the same actions as last time and the heroes will turn back time again and they’ll be stuck in a loop. One problem with this is the sequence the Demon Lord recalls with the girls casting the spell isn’t the same as what we saw in episode 1 so not sure why the discrepancy there. However, this show surprised me yet again by having Mao simply decide she won’t become the Demon Lord and instead she’ll just take it easy.

Endro Episode 2 Mao

Did the villain just take herself out of the picture? Does that mean her petty plots are done?

Endro isn’t really my kind of show and yet I’m still kind of glad Cactus Matt suggested I watch it because there’s been some interesting moments in amongst the fluffy nonsense moments that aren’t my speed. While this might not end up going anywhere with these ideas given it is listed as a slice of life, I can’t deny that some of the ideas are interesting.

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