My Hero Academia Episode 17

Review:

I’ve thought this before, but class A is full of morons isn’t it? They might be really powerful but they just like to bulldoze their way through challenges rather than thinking it through. While the spokesman for class B at the end of the episode may have had a fairly repellant personality, his reasoning is sound and I kind of respect him for it. I’d respect him more if he’d just taken the headband and run away rather than sitting and gloating and stirring up someone who really isn’t going to take it well.

The construction of the teams was kind of entertaining and I loved the different views people had about why they would or wouldn’t team up with someone.

Of course, as fun as all the team making and running around was, this episode really feels like it is just waiting for something to happen and it doesn’t. Maybe it will come next episode but it really did feel like we were going through the motions. Would it have mattered if we hadn’t seen how the teams were negotiated and we just saw the battle mid-way through? Somehow I don’t think it would so we could probably just skip right over this episode for all the plot it develops.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Advertisements

My Hero Academia Episode 16

Review (some spoilers):

There was no denying that this episode was kind of fun. Full of frantic effort by the characters, introductions to new powers, desperation to win, and just some novel uses of powers within the context of the game. But two things overshadowed my fun. The first was the inevitable catch up of Midoriya. Admittedly, even I didn’t think he’d actually win the first event but the whole race I was just kind of waiting for what obstacle or twist they’d pull out to allow Midoriya to not get swept under the rug.

Hero16

I will throw a positive in before I get to the second issue I had. All Might is awesome. I love how he’s willing Midoriya to succeed and reflecting on his choice as well as criticising Midoriya for being a cry-baby even while he’s praising him.

The second issue is of course the set up for the next game. As soon as they finished the explanation my first thought was, ‘that’s not fair’ which then meant I had David Bowie in my head telling me, ‘You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is.” Labyrinth reference. But it really is blatantly unfair. While I get the point of this competition is for future heroes to show off their stuff and that the real world isn’t all that concerned with being fair, but seriously? Are the teachers trying to get a student killed?

One more positive from the episode before I admit I’ve gone way over word limit yet again; the villain from season 1 is watching the competition and he’s also got his eyes on Midoriya. Now that could make things entertaining.

So mixed bag of an episode. I won’t deny that I had fun watching but from an overall narrative point of view I’m still finding this whole tournament thing fairly pointless.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

My Hero Academia Episode 15

Review:

I really don’t like tournament arcs in stories where there are actual conflicts they could be facing in the real world. Tournaments by their very nature have rules and limitations which takes a lot of the tension out of the matches and in stories there is always a twist somewhere along the way which just kind of makes you roll your eyes.

Hero15

My Hero Academia tried to overcome the lack of tension by adding personal pressure on Midoriya and by throwing in the line about the fact that they might be removed from the Hero course, but so what? Oh, is I do bad I have to change classes? Really? That’s meant to be a consequence after we had villains attack the school and threaten to kill people. I get that getting dumped from the hero course will impact their future as a possible hero, but so what? It won’t be impossible and they could always go for a different career. As much as they all have hopes and dreams it isn’t the end of the world if they don’t achieve them.

Whichever, the games have started with an obstacle course and the usual quirky behaviour to get round various obstacles (you know, giant robots and the like). I’m not really invested in who wins this race, but I can’t deny the show is still trying valiantly to be fun and exciting even without the potential risks. It was kind of fun in a low stakes kind of way.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, please consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

My Hero Academia Season 2 Episode 14

Overview:

We pick up the story immediately following the attack on the school with investigations into the master mind and arrests aplenty. And in case we forgot anything we spend at least seven minutes flash backing during the first half of this episode so don’t rush to rewatch season 1.

Review:

Things had finally gotten interesting last season. We’d moved away from standard highschool hijinx and petty bullying to a full on attack by villains. So why do we spend what little time this first episode devotes to new material planning for a sports contest? Okay, it’s a sports contest with a twist because they are heroes in training and the competition is a big scouting deal, rah, rah.

Hero14b

I was almost ready to dismiss this show as another lack luster sequel in 2017 until we got to the final few minutes of this episode. All Might manages to really up the stakes of what seemed like it was going to be mundane filler material and I suddenly got really curious as to what would happen next.

As a first episode of a new season, this one isn’t amazing but it looks like Izuku and friends might be able to pull off another fun season provided there’s some decent danger to face off against.

Though, as a final thought, I might have to point out that the opening song is painfully uninspiring for the content. Not a bad song in and of itself but does nothing to get you pumped for the show.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


Are you a fan of 100WordAnime.blog?

If you like this site and you like what I do, please consider becoming a patron.

patreon

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Friday’s Feature: Your Influence on Your Impression of Anime

When starting a new anime (or any story really) there are certain things that draw particular viewers and certain elements that will push some viewers away. However, I think a lot of how I feel about an anime has to do with my attitude when I sit down to watch it.

Generally I approach a new anime (or a new book or film or game) with a genuine curiosity and an optimistic outlook. This could be really good. It might do something different. Maybe I’ll really like these characters. By approaching it this way I generally find that if there is anything in a story that I can possibly like I will latch onto it and generally speaking I enjoy stories far more because of it. Even if it isn’t the most amazing thing ever (or even just ordinarily good) I can still find something to enjoy.

kiss2b

However, there are some days and some ideas that push me out of this frame of mind. When that happens my mind is being incredibly pessimistic about what I’m going to watch. Wow, this is going to suck. Could that character be any more of a cliché? How is that an idea for a story? And generally speaking when I approach an anime in that frame of mind I amazingly usually find a reason to drop it.

But is that really any fair judge of the shows I am watching? There have been plenty of anime that I’ve started when I haven’t been in a receptive frame of mind that I’ve either dropped or put to the side. Regardless, I usually give them a second chance somewhere down the line and the number of times I’ve ended up really enjoying a show that I initially dropped has convinced me that it is how I approach a lot of things that makes the difference, but not always. Sometimes I go in expecting to like or dislike something and find that the show manages to overturn those expectations.

Some examples from my viewing experiences from 2016.

First Love Monster – Trust Your Instincts

Right from reading the synopsis of this show I was pretty convinced that this was going to be absolute rubbish. High school girl falls in love with a boy in primary school? What could be wrong about that? So I watched an episode and as expected was less than thrilled by it (okay, I kind of hated it). But, I later wondered if maybe I was just being overly critical or harsh so I actually went and watched it a second time (sometimes I really wonder why I do these things to myself). The second viewing of the first episode convinced me that it wouldn’t matter what mindset I approached this anime with, it wasn’t going to work for me. The subject matter and the ‘humour’ just ground against me and there was no way I was going to enjoy it.

first-love

Sakamoto Desu Ga – Don’t Judge The Book By Its Cover

This one I was interested in from the synopsis and then the fact that it wasn’t released on Crunchyroll in Australia made me curious because of course as soon as you restrict access to something people want to watch it. Then I got to read lots of really positive write ups about this show. That said, I was on the fence because it was essentially a one note comedy focussed anime which most definitely doesn’t fit into my usual kind of thing.

When I finally found access to this (through Hanabee) I was still kind of torn between curiosity and the overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t going to be overly impressed with the show. Anyway, Sakamoto was one of those pleasantly surprising shows. It wasn’t my thing and it wasn’t brilliant but it was bright and kind of funny and engaging. Plus they managed to push different scenarios to a point where even the most mundane set-up was kind of interesting. I ended up watching 8 episodes of the show and then I didn’t actually drop it, I just got busy with other things and while I’d enjoyed it enough I had no compelling reason to go back.

Sakamoto4

Seisen Cerberus – Betrayed By Own Expectations

It’s a fantasy with swords, magic, dragons, an orphaned protagonist and everything else you could need to make something fairly generic but half-decent. With just a little effort you could even be good. This was an anime that the synopsis had sold me on this show. I’d have watched it even if it barely scraped mediocre. But, I won’t watch something that fails to make even that benchmark and after a couple of episodes of hating every character and the delivery of the fairly bland story I walked away.

Cerberus.jpg

My Hero Academia – Overturning Expectations

I actually didn’t start watching My Hero Academia until many weeks into its airing season because I did not want to watch another generic show about high school students with super powers (Quirks sorry, better nail that terminology because what else will distinguish these things). How wrong I was. Okay, it is a show about high school students with super powers and I’d be lying if I said the story did anything overly original so that part of my initial impression was kind of right. What my initial thoughts overlooked was just how much heart the show managed to inject into the story and the characters. I’ve said before that almost any story can be good or bad depending on delivery and while My Hero Academia isn’t exactly going to go up on my all time favourite list of anime it was a thoroughly enjoyable watch. Probably more so because I went in expecting to be underwhelmed and it managed to get me on board anyway.

Hero6

Big Order – Bait and Switch

Right from episode one this show had its issues but it had some great energy and there were enough interesting things happening to convince me that this was going to be worth watching. The synopsis had intrigued me, the characters in the first episode were intriguing enough even if those final scenes of episode 1 did throw up some warning flags for how this show was going to treat the female cast members, and it was fun to look at. It was my favourite first episode of its season.

So I entered this anime looking for the good and found plenty of things to enjoy and then it showed us episode 2. Okay, I’m concerned but still optimistic. Episode 3… We can still save this. Episode 4… Nope. I actually continued through to the end but this was a case where even looking for the positive wasn’t enough to save the show from its own short comings.

Order10

Well that’s my ramble done for the week but I’m interested in knowing how you approach most anime and whether you’ve ever had to take another look at something and whether you’ve changed your mind about an anime.

 

Reflections on Anime in 2016 – The Best and The Worst of the Year (in my opinion)

It’s the first day of the year so let’s look back at the year that was. I know that at the end of Summer I did my first reflection post looking back at the anime I’d watched and  I purposefully left D Gray Man and Sailor Moon Crystal 3 off the lists because nostalgia was strong with those two. But now we are at the end of the year and I’m not playing nice anymore. I’m giving my lists of top 10 best and worst for 2016 and finally the results from the reader’s poll.

My rules:

  • I need to have watched the whole series (or as much as has aired in 2016 – I know some of these are continuing on).
  • My judgement is entirely based on the entertainment I got out of watching the anime.
  • Feel free to suggest your own top 10 best or worst in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. Yuri on Ice
  2. D Gray Man Hallow
  3. Natsume Yuujinchou
  4. Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
  5. Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
  6. March Comes in Like a Lion
  7. My Hero Academia
  8. Alderamin on the Sky
  9. Erased
  10. Sailor Moon Crystal 3

Yeah, I can’t believe it either but Yuri on Ice actually edged out D Gray Man Hallow on anime I enjoyed watching. Neither anime is perfect (and I’ll happily admit to the flaws in both) but when it came to pure enjoyment I couldn’t beat either of these and in terms of the anime I’ll rewatch the most from this year, these 2 are the top picks. So why Yuri over D Gray Man? D Gray Man Hallow always had the advantage of nostalgia, but if I take that away, while I would have still enjoyed Hallow (assuming it made sense) it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable as the viewing experience for Yuri. In terms of the anime I sat waiting to the minute for the episode release, Yuri on Ice definitely won out.

However, for everything you enjoy there is a show that you watch and wonder why. Once again, I know there are worse anime out there, but these are the anime I watched all the way through and really wonder why.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Taboo Tattoo
  2. Big Order
  3. Lost Village
  4. Hitorinoshita
  5. Divine Gate
  6. Dimension W
  7. Nazotokine
  8. Norn 9
  9. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
  10. Bloodivores

What was pleasantly surprising was how few of the Autumn season found their way onto this list. Mostly the shows I watched in Autumn were more boring than terrible (though I did avoid a few shows that I knew were going to end up in this category so they didn’t count on the having watched them criteria).

Party

The Reader’s Poll

I was surprised by some of the results and not surprised by others. Probably the biggest issue is there were only 54 votes total so from a data point of view this probably isn’t the most valid survey. Anyway…

  1. Yuri on Ice (7 votes)
  2. Assassination Classroom 2 (6 votes)
  3. Mob Psycho 100 (6 votes)
  4. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (5 votes)
  5. Bungo Stray Dogs (3 votes)
  6. Erased (3 votes)
  7. March Comes in Like a Lion (3 votes)
  8. Kiss Him Not Me (3 votes)
  9. Flip Flappers (3 votes)
  10. Grimgar of Fantasy of Ash (3 votes)

With that I say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017 for a whole new year of watching anime.

By the way, over the next 4 weeks my Tuesday’s Top 5 post is going to do a recap of 2016. Top 5 Female Characters of 2016 is up first, followed by Top 5 Male Characters of 2016, Top 5 Visually Interesting Anime of 2016 and finally Top 5 Opening Themes of 2016. Then I will move on to something different but I felt January was a great time to recap the previous year.

Over to you: Which anime was your favourite or most hated from 2016?

2016 Reflection

Okay, with the Winter, Spring and Summer anime seasons more or less done and dusted, I felt it was a good time to look at my favourite anime for the year. I’ll do my final best of 2016 list after the Autumn season concludes.

I’m going to point out that Sailor Moon Crystal and D Gray Man Hallow have both been left off the list. Not because they aren’t awesome (D Gray Man would have had the top spot), but because I’m well aware that I am blatantly biased toward these anime. Regardless of what else happens, D Gray Man is my number 1 for 2016. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s the official list for the year so far.

A few rules. The season needed to end in 2016. I needed to have watched the whole series or at least as much as has been so far released (so there are plenty of other anime good and bad that aren’t on either of my lists here – though that said some are clearly going to continue). Judgement is made entirely on entertainment and pleasure watching (no technical scores for being beautifully animated and the like). As such, the list is entirely my opinion. Please feel free to tell me your favourite in the comments.

Starting from the best.

  1. Assassination Classroom 2nd Season
  2. Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
  3. My Hero Academia
  4. Alderamin on the Sky
  5. Erased
  6. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
  7. Days
  8. Tales of Zestiria the X
  9. Bungou Stray Dogs
  10. ReLife

But if we’re going to look at the best, we also need to look at the worst. Remember, I’m only listing anime I’ve actually watched all the way through. There are a number I would have loved on this list (First Love Monster springs to mind) but I haven’t watched it through so am not going to pass judgement on it. Please feel free to tell me which anime you think is the worst in the comments.

Starting from the worst.

  1. Taboo Tattoo
  2. Big Order
  3. Lost Village
  4. Hitorinoshita
  5. Divine Gate
  6. Dimension W
  7. Norn 9
  8. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle
  9. Luck & Logic
  10. Joker Game

Yeah, I know Joker Game doesn’t deserve to be in a worst of list, but at the moment, it’s in top ten of anime I finished watching but didn’t get all that much enjoyment out of. Pretty sure there will be something in the Autumn season that will take it out of the list for the year.

And yes, Taboo Tattoo I officially found worse than Big Order. After weighing them both up I just had to put Taboo Tattoo as the worst thing I have finished watching so far this year.

One more season to go and then I’ll have my official best of list for the year. It will be interesting to see if Days is still on the best list after continuing on and whether anything can top Assassination Classroom’s emotional ending.

Looking forward to more anime. What’s your best so far for 2016 and what’s your worst?

 

Top 5 Tuesday: The Most Fun Titles from Bones

Usually I don’t really care which studio is responsible for an anime. However, Bones is the exception to that rule. I have found time and time again when watching an anime that I think is amazing that it just happened to be from Bones. So in recent years I have actively sought out anime from the studio and I’ve rarely been disappointed. Even the ones that don’t hit the mark entirely haven’t been a complete train wreck and there are some truly fantastic titles.

My criteria for my list today was fun. So there are some anime from Bones that won’t be on the list that I am certain some of you will wonder what I was thinking. That’s fine, feel free to add your nominations in the comments. Eventually I will just have to do a best show list but I’m definitely avoiding that at the moment. Way too hard to make a decision about which is the best anime overall. But fun? That I can rank.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Zetsuen no Tempest, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (yes, awesome but not as fun as some others), Hitsugi no Chaika, Darker Than Black (again, great show but not as fun), and Star Driver (weird but fun).

Number 5: Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)

It was definitely the fun feeling from this that won me over. I wasn’t looking for a new anime or a show about superheroes and I really only intended to watch a couple of episodes, do a write up and move on. However, there is some great energy in this show and while the characters are serious, the show itself doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Number 4: Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime

While this is a different kind of fun to My Hero Academia, it is a refreshing return to childhood days of classic Disney. It isn’t self-aware, tongue in cheek, sassy modern female takes on the cliches of the past, but it is a strong and very real female lead tackling the trials of being in a classic fairytale setting with dignity and it is just fun to watch. Although, fun in this case relates more to watching the budding romance than to any of the action in the series.

Number 3: Ouran High School Host Club

This is a list about fun, so here they are. The Host Club. Ready to entertain. While you can certainly argue that this isn’t the best anime around, it is fun to watch which a likeable cast, some obvious but amusing gags, and a generally light tone as the club goes about it’s business. There are some genuine moments of human drama (and then there are all the times they just blow situations out of proportion) but mostly it’s great for a few laughs and a marathon watch.

Number 2: Soul Eater

The choice between number 1 and 2 for this list was really hard. Soul Eater is a near perfect blend of goofy, over the top violence, comedic moments and then serious action set pieces and drama. At times it moves at break neck pace through a series of set ups and punch lines and at others it finds ways to include visual humour or some really sharp satire in a more dramatic moment. It’s one of my all time favourite anime and Maka is one of my favourite female characters ever. Yet, it still lost out in the ranks of most fun for two simple reasons. It’s run time as the middle of the series kind of drags before it finds its momentum again to lead to the climax is the first reason. The second is the climax itself. Wow, does this series need a do-over to fix that final battle. Soul Eater, great fun.

Number 1: Noragami

It had to be. I don’t think I have ever had this much fun while watching an anime through the first time. From the opening songs, to the crazy phantom designs, Yato’s everyday personality contrasted with his serious side, the other gods, the weapons, the sheer over the topness of everything, I just fell in love with the humour in this show. Favourite moment is the episode where this guy jumps off a building and Yato shows up and they just have this normal conversation while falling to the ground. I get that it is entirely subjective, but this is an anime I happily recommend to people who don’t watch anime and they love it. The love the energy, the characters, the pacing, and just how enjoyable it is to watch. The two seasons are each only 12 episodes and it doesn’t feel like they finished the story yet, so unlike Soul Eater it doesn’t have that crushing let down of an ending and it’s left us wanting more even while each season resolves at least one part of the character’s dilemmas. Regardless, Noragami is definitely my number 1 anime for fun from studio Bones or anyone else.

So, what would you have had on your list?

 

 

My Hero Academia Series Review

Overview:

In a world where almost everyone has a quirk (superpower), Midoriya finds he is the exception. That doesn’t stop him from dreaming big and working toward his goal of being a hero. Along the way, he meets his idol (All Might) and through demonstrating heroic spirit convinces All Might to assist him in achieving his goal and is ‘given’ a quirk. From there we transfer to a school for heroes and meet a cast of interesting characters with interesting quirks and begin the journey forward.

My week to week review of the show can be found here.

Review:

My Hero Academia is as cliché as they come and yet proves, once again, you don’t need to be original to be interesting. Rather than worrying about amazing plot twists or unconventional story-telling, My Hero Academia works to its strengths. The first few episodes deal with Midoriya working toward his goals and how he gains a quirk (as well as his relationship with Bakugou which is clearly going to be an ongoing thing) and then we shift to the school.

The thing about moving into a high school setting is that the story for a while feels even more contained than it was. We meet the strict teacher and get the threat of expulsion if you don’t score well, and the usual rivalries between students, and it all seems pretty safe because as if the teachers are going to let it go too far. The third act however, brings in an outside threat and really ramps up the action for the series end.

All and all, this show kind of understands pacing and realises that most of us don’t have all that much of an attention span so points are introduced, developed over an episode or two, and then we move to the next set piece. It isn’t deep story telling by any means but it keeps it fun. And the movement forward is always logical. We don’t have a whip-lash effect as we jump all over the place but rather we progress to what might logically happen next to a wannabe hero.

I’m not going into an in-depth analysis of this. I started it late because I’m not that in to superhero stories and thought I’d hate this. Instead, I’ve smiled and pleasantly enjoyed episode after episode, but I haven’t really thought about it or tried to analyse it. I’ve just watched.

So the strengths and weaknesses are the same. It is an old story but it’s told well. We have an interesting cast, but few of them get enough time to really develop in any meaningful capacity. We have some great action, with more or less predictable results. There are some super cool powers in this show, but again with such a large cast very few of these ever get a chance to really be explored (with the exception of All Might and Midoriya).

It’s bright and colourful and the music works.  If you are generally into super-heroes or kids with powers or just like action sequences, you will probably enjoy this. If you are in the mood for something fun and pleasant that you don’t have to think too hard about, you will probably enjoy it. If you’re over the good guys are good for the sake of it or are wanting a bit more of a commentary on the hero genre, this one is probably not for you.

My Hero Academia Episode 13

Review:

This episode brings the fight to a conclusion and allows the main villains that we’ve met to escape to plot their return in season 2. What it doesn’t do is give any of the students a real purpose for being there other than the occasional throw away comment and being the general awe-struck audience. Admittedly, doing anything more with the students would have made this episode a cluttered mess but bringing in all the hero teachers (most of whom we haven’t seen before) to mop up at the end just kind of made the students feel like a side-show when they’re the ones we’ve been following for over half the season.

I enjoyed this, but I went in expecting no resolution given all the announcements about a season 2. I’ll do a full season review later.

My Hero Academia is available on AnimeLab.