Apparently They Do Grow On Trees

Endro - Post Title Image

Endro Episode 9 Review

Like me, you probably didn’t actually bother to think about where the Cartado the characters have been using in Endro have come from. I mean, it is hardly a critical plot point other than Mei’s obsessive fascination with everything to do with them. However, here’s an episode devoted entirely to the mystery of where they come from and how they are harvested.

Endro Episode 9 Cartado Trees

That’s right, harvested. Because apparently these cards to grow on trees in a hidden village that the overly cute girls have just scored themselves an invitation to for a festival.

Arriving at the village takes a few little leaps but doesn’t eat much of the episode. It does, as normal, highlight the different personalities of the girls in the core group with Mei, the usually reserved one, being as determined as we’ve ever seen her to reach their destination.

Endro Episode 9

Once there though the story just goes for full cute and weird with the girls seeing the trees laden with cards, changing outfits, and then participating in a competition to become the cartado king by harvesting the rarest ‘wild’ cartado. It’s all kind of good fun though I do like that the end result of becoming the king is a one off lap around the village and that’s all the pay-off, other than the bragging rights which I’m certain Mei is definitely holding onto even if the village location is a secret.

As usual for this series, we get a lot of fluff and silliness, a bit of heart, and some weird antics. It all works well and the episode plays nicely. Now I just wonder why they don’t grow those trees in more places.

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Endro Episode 10 Review

Episode 10 of Endro is a little bit weird. Okay, a lot weird but only a little bit by Endro standards. The girls are on what was meant to be an ‘easy’ quest apparently sent by Mao which makes me wonder if the Demon Lord is back to trying to off the hero or whether the snow-storm was a genuine mistake.

Endro Episode 10

Anyway, while huddled in the tent, they start sharing their dreams for the future in the hopes of keeping each other awake. They kind of fail but it turns out a monster was helping them along by showing them what they were dreaming of. Needless to say, each of the girls is dreaming of what we know they want, heroics, food, cards, and boobs, but Seira is able to break free of the dream when she realises it isn’t real.

There’s not a lot more to this episode other than Seira breaking the others out of their dream with the rather direct approach of smashing their dreamworlds to pieces with a hammer before they eat the combined crystallisation of their dreams (yep, weird even by Endro standards).

Endro Episode 10

Still, if you just want a bit of fun, this episode certainly hits the spot. It also plays on the whole time travel element with Yuusha’s dream most definitely being a throw back to the memory of fighting the demon lord way back in episode one.

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Karandi James
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Alert! Time Travelling Heroine Surrounded By Pretty Boys!

Meiji Tokyo Renka post title

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 1 Review

I feel like we’ve seen this all before. Meet a girl in the modern world, contrive some reason, or no reason, and suddenly poof she’s in a historical setting with a vaguely supernatural twist. Okay, I’m getting a distinct Sengoku Night Blood kind of vibe from this one and that isn’t necessarily a favourable comparison.

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 1 Mei

However, rather than comparing it to another show that has a similar premise and is also based on a game, let’s look at the first episode of Meiji Tokyo Renka.

We meet Mei, our heroine, in the modern world and quickly establish she’s a loner because she can see ghosts and as a kid she didn’t realise other people couldn’t and she got a reputation as a weirdo. It is a generic enough back story but surprisingly quickly established and the heroine seems to actually have a reasonably positive outlook despite her loner status.

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 1 Magician

Soon she meets a magician who puts her in a box and poof she’s transported into the past. This is where the anime kind of lost me a bit (though I’ll admit I wasn’t really buying in even from the start). Straight away she meets two of the pretty boys from the opening and we establish that her memory is a little messed up. While she remembers things like her headphones and names of certain historical figures, she needed to be told her own name by what I assume was the fox spirit.

What little personality heroine may have had quickly evaporates into the usual look at everything a bit blankly and answer yes to a lot of stuff. Oh right, I forgot our heroine likes roast beef. Does that count as a personality trait?

Maiji Tokyo Renka Episode 1 Mei

I didn’t actually hate this one, but past experience with this set up has convinced me not to have particularly high hopes. I’ll keep watching because even when these sorts of stories play out exactly as expected they are watchable but again, I don’t have much in the way of an expectation that this will be anything more than brightly coloured filler.

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Karandi James
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DANCE IN THE LIGHT (MEIJI TOKYO RENKA – YUMIHARI NO SERENADE THEME SONG)
DANCE IN THE LIGHT (MEIJI TOKYO RENKA - YUMIHARI NO SERENADE THEME SONG)

Say I Love You Series Review

Say I Love You Mai and Yamato

It’s Sweet, Right?

Love stories are a dime a dozen and in anime particularly, high school romances are prolific. While not quite as notorious as isekai stories, these roll out with at least a handful every single season premiering. Some to great fanfare, most quietly appearing and disappearing with little comment or noteworthiness. Every now and then though, a romance comes along that really grabs my attention and even after it is done I still remember it and in such cases, while I’m still very much more fond of action, horror and fantasy, but in such cases the romance may very well work its way into my heart and become a story that I treasure.

Say I Love You didn’t quite succeed at that. However, it also wasn’t one that passed by without needing comment. It’s a story that actually deserves quite a bit of attention, even if ultimately it wasn’t one that really moved me in the way that something like Kimi ni Todoke did. 

To understand my feelings about Say I Love You, I kind of have to point out that what makes or breaks almost every romance story for me are the main pair. From a plot point of view, romance stories are incredibly formulaic, and while there are a few variations on the theme, once you’ve got lonely high school girl and popular high school guy together there really aren’t that many paths for the story to take and for it to still stay grounded in any kind of manner.

Say I Love You Mei and Yamato

Tachibana Mei is an amazing romantic heroine. She starts out as the typical loner who has chosen not to even try to make friends having been burned when she was younger. She deliberately keeps everyone and everything at arms length, save her mother and her cat. She tries not to let the ridiculous taunts of those at school get to her.

Yet one day, having had to put up with too much already, when a boy goes to pull her skirt on the stair-case, she snaps. And she does it in the fantastically amusing manner of a round house kick, that unfortunately doesn’t hit the idiot who actually deserves it, Nakanishi, but instead collides with Yamato, Nakanishi’s friends and one of the most popular guys at school.

This ends up resulting in Yamato pestering Mei and giving her his phone number among other things but she more or less resolves to ignore him, until she realises she’s being stalked and can’t get a hold of her mother. The romance begins and Mei gradually learns to open up and trust others. It actually is a fairly authentic character development and wasn’t a ‘get boyfriend and life gets better’ kind of deal. Mei has to work hard and want changes to happen for them to happen and even then there are set backs, failures, and misunderstandings. 

Through it all, Mei’s basic character doesn’t change, but her outlook on other people slowly expands and she starts to see potential that she couldn’t see before. This actually allows her by the end to help two other characters as they struggle with their own personal demons and is a nice circle to show us how Mei has overcome her own drama.

You know, if the story had focused entirely on Mei, I’d have been okay with that.

Say I Love You Cast

No, my mixed feelings and problems with this show come from Yamato. He is, by anime high school standards, incredibly good looking… and you know what, that’s about it. We don’t know if he is particularly good at anything. People just kind of converge around him and he puts on the face they want to see, and that’s kind of him. Even around Mei, he seems to just change to fit her mood and tone rather than being genuine. And while there are people like this, chameleons, who slide in and out of social groups and fit in everywhere and nowhere, they don’t make for a compelling romantic lead.

It also bothers me that Yamato defends his friend Nakanishi as being a good guy, despite the fact that he’s bad mouthed Mei even before we know who he is and then tried to pull her skirt. Sorry, not a good guy. The fact that the rest of the anime portrays Nakanishi as a ‘good guy’ who actually just wants to be Asami’s boyfriend and doesn’t mean any harm also doesn’t sit well with me. I’ll admit, if we cut the first two episodes off, Nakanishi is an idiot, but a good guy. However the impression left after the first episodes sticks for me and mostly I just want him to get kicked down a flight of stairs. And the guy I’m meant to believe is the romantic lead in this story is not only friends with him but rationalises and excuses his behaviour. It all makes it a bit hard to get behind Yamato from the outset.

I’ll give the anime props in that it did try to build Yamato’s character as it went. We see him as a doting big brother, protective boyfriend, slightly oblivious high school guy who ends up hurting his girlfriend without really thinking about it, and also typical teenager who has regrets about not helping a friend in middle-school who was being bullies.

The problem is that he never really becomes a cohesive character. We just kind of deal with whatever mode the anime has switched him into at the time. Over the top of all of these faces though is the teenage guy who fairly regularly pushes physical contact with Mei. And while he doesn’t go into inexcusable territory, he still moves a lot faster than Mei is ready for and he’s constantly pushing the agenda by kissing her or sitting way too closely.

Basically, I end up liking Say I Love You as a character study because Mei is fantastic and each part of Yamato is interesting enough, but the romance itself is more just a vehicle and not something I emotionally connect with enough to really get carried by.

But as a character study, Say I Love You is extraordinary as the support cast that grows as the series continues are pretty fantastic. Each character flawed in some manner and using others to hold themselves up or to recover from past traumas. 

Say I Love You Yamato and Megumi

Megumi is perhaps the one who undergoes the largest transformation, which makes sense given her impact on Mei and Yamato’s relationship. Still, her story still felt a little undeveloped and while the ideas were there it really did feel like we needed a little more insight into what was going on with Megumi for her story to stick. It is also very hard to sympathise with her plight when you see some of the stunts she pulls to get Yamato away from Mei.

Visually this anime is functional enough but unremarkable. Character designs are great and each character has a look appropriate to who they are, but the overall colour scheme is pretty bland and ordinary. Animation is fine but there’s little to show it off and the music works well but other than the OP is fairly forgettable.

I would recommend trying Say I Love You. It is a fun story and the characters are interesting. There’s some really good exploration of social issues such as self-image, friendship, bullying, social media use, and so on. And ultimately, the romance works well enough. I do have a friend who fell head-over-heels in love with this story, which is the reason I watched it more than once. I certainly think this is one that gets better the more you watch it because the strengths of the characters come out more and their flaws become more understandable when you know where the whole story is going.

Right, I’d love to know what you thought of Say I Love You so if you’ve seen it, let me know in the comments.

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Karandi James
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Say I Love You 1
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Anniversary Special Post – Interaction with Mei

A big thank-you to Mei for deciding to take part in the anniversary this year. Mei writes over on The Treasure Box where you will find, well, treasure. Or rather, a treasure trove of thoughts about anime, manga, drama and whatever else Mei’s thoughts turn to. For their contribution, Mei has taken on the idea of interaction which is something that is pretty crucial for a blogger. Thanks so much Mei for being a part of this anniversary and for sharing your experiences with the community.

Treasure Box.JPG

In probably more than 100 Words:

Mei

Honestly, when I started my blog on WordPress, I was not expecting to interact with a lot of people. I initially planned for my blog to exist as a record of the thoughts and feels I had for series that I watched and read and to practice expressing my thoughts more in written form.

But I don’t have problem leaving comments on the posts I read and have something to say about. As much as possible, I leave comments because I think bloggers deserve to know that their effort of putting up a post is very much appreciated. It’s also because I feel like it’s an assurance for them that I read their posts and not just “liked” it. There are times I fail leaving comments, though, because I don’t know how to respond or to give a sensible comment.

On the other hand, I am not confident with the content of my posts, so I’m continuously surprised that there are people reading and even commenting on some of my posts. These few comments are what encouraged me to leave some few questions or statements with intention of interacting with other people by the end of some of my recent posts. I still feel a bit shy about them, but I believe courage and diligence are needed to establish a good relationship with others. I found the community we have here is wonderful and it’d be a waste not to be involved just because of my timidity.

Mei makes the excellent point that the community we have here is wonderful. Almost all the ani-bloggers I have met welcome comments and discussion and for the most part bloggers want people to leave comments. It makes us feel as though we aren’t just casting our words out into a void and that someone has actually heard us. So leaving a comment for someone else is kind of important.

If you want more from Mei, be sure to check out The Treasure Box and here is a post to start you off.

That’s it for now but check back tomorrow when we have Rossiroad discussing scheduling and Irina sharing her thoughts on passion.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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