Friday’s Feature: Strong Female Character?

I’ve mentioned before that I am a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work. As a teenager in the 90’s it was more or less impossible not to get on-board the Buffy bandwagon, and it was such a great bandwagon to be on. A female character who was reasonably attractive, had street smarts (though struggled at school), was articulate, and for the most part didn’t end up in ridiculously revealing outfits (after they got over the season 1 mini-skirt thing). Buffy kicked butt, literally, and was such a great character. Add in Willow, who also took the geek girl role and made it something empowering, and Cordelia, who proved that just because you are vapid doesn’t mean you can’t help save the world, and the story was full of these amazing characters that gave a range of ways to be feminine but not helpless.

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One of the things that occasionally bothers me about anime is the lack of female characters that I can really get behind. Part of that is probably the genres I prefer to watch as I know there are more female characters in other genres, but at the same time, it seems odd that whole seasons can pass without a single female character that I actually like or admire. Female characters are there and sometimes they are doing the over-sexualised thing, the damsel in distress thing, or just come off as pretty useless and dead weight to the script. Worse, they exist just to be a love interest or to rotate around a central protagonist who is usually male.

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That said, I find the statement that we need more ‘strong female characters’ to be a little bit mis-leading. Not every female character needs to be strong. Imagine how boring a show would be if every character was ‘strong’. And it isn’t as though every male character out there is strong. There are some pretty despicable depictions of masculinity to be found even in shows where there are some fantastic male characters. And that is more my point. What we need are more diverse female characters to be shown.

Shirayuki

Shiaryuki from Snow White With The Red Hair is an excellent example of this. She isn’t a ‘strong’ character in that she doesn’t wield a sword and she isn’t a martial artist. Yet when you read descriptions of her, her strength always comes up. She has a strong moral character, strong willpower, strong belief in herself and in her actions, and so she gets the label of strong female character. And while she is an excellent example of a different kind of female character, neither the hero nor the damsel in distress (though at times moving through both roles), I think labelling her strong kind of minimises how interesting she is as a person.

Erza

See the strong label puts Shirayuki on the same stage as Erza and Buffy and at the end of the day, if we made this a test of strength, Shirayuki isn’t exactly going to hold her own in a fight against these two. She has a different kind of strength of character and is exceptional, but she isn’t a fighter and we wouldn’t want her to be. Though, while we’re on that note, Erza might be exceptional in her magical and physical strength but with where I’m up to in Fairy Tail it seems her personality is fairly fragile. And that’s fantastic that she is more than just stoic and tough because if that was all there was to her, strong as she might be, she’d be pretty boring.

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However, I’m going to move away from red-heads for a moment (otherwise people might think I’m biased towards female characters with absolutely beautiful and stunning scarlet hair) and look at the cast from Princess Principal. This cast is kind of what I am talking about when I said earlier I think we need diverse female characters. None of the members of the squad in Princess Principal are useless and none of them are one-dimensional. Each comes into the squad with back-story, with some skills, some weaknesses, some baggage and motives, and they all contribute to the team. None of them fall into a single descriptor such as damsel-in-distress or childhood-friend (though those descriptors can be applied it isn’t the sum total of their character at any point) and as such the cast are really interesting to watch and the girls are characters I really enjoyed seeing on the screen. They all get moments where they can be strong, and other moments where we see them in a less desirable light as they crumble under emotional pressure, hesitate, or make poor decisions.

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And that is where a show like Orange kind of annoyed me. Of the three females who had significant screen time, two of them had almost no development as characters. We don’t know their backstory or their motive, and mostly their interactions could have been cut down to a single character (there was no real reason for two of them as they didn’t add anything all that different from the other – lovers of these characters will now hate me). And Naho as a main character could be summed up as ‘nice, shy girl’. There really wasn’t much else to her. Sure she wanted to help the guy but that was kind of coming from the nice attribute and she wasn’t overly effective at actually helping him. One could argue that the male friend ended up doing all the actual work that succeeded at anything and Naho was merely the catalyst for him to act because he didn’t want to see her unhappy. Basically, I didn’t dislike these characters (well, I did dislike Naho) but I didn’t find anything appealing or memorable about them either and I only remember Naho’s name because I kind of prodded at her in my review of Orange and I can’t remember the other names at all.

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Strength comes in many forms and even then, strength isn’t necessarily the only character trait female characters are sometimes missing in stories. Rather than fighting for stronger characters, I think what is really needed is diversity. If there were as many female characters out there and as many types of female characters as male ones, than most of us would be able to find a reasonable selection of characters that we can connect with or find interesting. Not every female character has to save the world or even shoulder the entire emotional burden, but it would be nice if we could see female characters carrying more roles than the traditionally assigned ones in stories. Or even if they have to carry the traditional role of mother and house-wife, at least let them do it with their own touch on the role so that it feels like they are a person and not a stand in for an understood convention.

As always, I’ll turn this over to the readers and ask you what you think.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Characters in 2017

Here is is. My top 5 female characters of 2017. These girls have personality, purpose, they entertain and I get where they are coming from. As such, it is a highly personal list and I understand that everyone is going to have their own opinion on this one. So please, feel free to share your top 5 female character list from 2017 in the comments below and check back next week for the top 5 male characters list.

Please Note – Some spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Benten from the Eccentric Family season 2 (didn’t get as much of a showing as season 1) and Sasha from Attack on Titan (potato girl is awesome).

Number 5: Chito from Girls’ Last Tour

It seems a little mean to give this to Chito and not Yuuri, but of the two girls in Girls’ Last Tour, Chito was the one who I really connected with. Her love of books and recording what she had seen, her desire to take the safe approach and follow the marked path where possible, even her freezing when confronted with something unexpected or dangerous all just kind of clicked for me. It was a joy watching Chito each week and as one of only two characters that consistently appear in a show, she certainly held up her end as a draw card for the series.

Number 4: Morioka from Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Maybe it is because female characters in their thirties who are obsessed with gaming and suffer social anxiety are hard to come by, but there was something charming and very relatable about Morioka from episode 1. I particularly liked that she wasn’t actually inept but was a capable worker but she was juts worn down from trying to deal with everything. Watching her find her way back into the world through her encounters with Lily/Sakurai was truly enjoyable and she is a character I will hopefully remember whem someone asks me for an anime that doesn’t feature high school students.

Number 3: Ange from Princess Principal

The lying visitor from the Black Lizard Planet who works as a spy certainly earned her place on this list. Giving us a solid action sequence in the first episode and providing excellent character work through the majority of the season, Ange is a delight to watch as you slowly see what is underneath that tough and emotionless facade of hers. Much like Chito from earlier in the list, Ange is supported by a great co-lead in the Princess and even the other members of the team. Still, if you want to see someone who is committed to their goals, Ange is definitely going to show you how far you need to go sometimes.

Number 2: Phos from Land of the Lustrous

I really wondered about whether I could put Phos on this list given technically they aren’t female, but given I split my best character list male/female it was put Phos here or leave such a great character out and that didn’t sit well with me. Phos is awesome. Spunky and sarcastic early on, though weak and quick to give in, they are an interesting character to get to know. And that’s before they undergo an incredible transfomation throughout the series. Phos’ character journey is one of the best I’ve seen and if you haven’t watched Land of the Lustrous it is so worth the time just for Phos.

Number 1: A tie between Uraraka from My Hero Academia and Hina from March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2.

Wow, Uraraka finally topped a list. She keeps coming up number 2 on so many lists despite being an amazing character so I’m really glad that when I made my final decision she got to be number 1. Why is Uraraka the best female character from 2017? Because she is going through a character transformation (only not one as literal as Phos’). She’s acknowledged her weakness and her reliance on Midoriya that she’d developed in season 1 and actively works to overcome this and other perceived weaknesses in season 2. She makes her plan for facing Bakugou by herself, chooses an internship that will help her to develop and takes on every challenge that comes her way while still having words of support for those around her. Uraraka is an awesome character and one who continues to grow stronger even while she doesn’t lose sight of the person she wants to be. And, if you don’t think she’s awesome, just go and watch her fight Bakugou again. Seriously, she’s awesome.

However, Uraraka will have to share the spotlight with Hina from March Comes in Like a Lion. While Hina was cute and supportive in season 1, season 2 has seen her go through a fantastic arc and to echo Rei, Hina has become my hero. Asta might be screaming that not giving up is his talent in Black Clover but Hina lives this keeping forward on a path that isn’t easy but she isn’t going to back down. Part of me hopes reality doesn’t crush her in the end, because her actions are inspirational.

That’s my list done but please share yours in the comments below.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Opening Themes in 2017

Last year I wrote my list on the top opening themes of 2016 and unsurprisingly Yuri On Ice’s History Maker took out the top spot. This year there wasn’t a single stand out song that really stuck with me, but there were lots of opening themes that really matched their show so it ended up being a fairly close competition.

My criteria for top 5 opening theme is mostly that the song could be listened to as a song by itself and still sound good without the visuals, though also had good visuals to go with it, that it matched the tone of the show, and that it got me ready to watch the episode. So here are my top 5 opening themes of 2017.

Please Note – There probably won’t be any spoilers in this list.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Recovery of an MMO Junkie, 18if, Chain Chronicle and Land of the Lustrous.

Number 5: Here from The Ancient Magus’ Bride

This probably shouldn’t need too much explanation but the song conjures up a sense of sadness and lonliness even while it seems to move us forward. The visuals also have Chise alone a lot of the time and yet surrounded by magic and beauty, even when it is quite dark. All and all, I really enjoy this theme each week and feel it compliments the show quite nicely.

Number 4: Rapture from Juni Taisen

 

One thing I noticed last year was that not necessarily liking the show doesn’t necessarily mean that I dislike the theme. Rapture is a definitely a case where it captures what I would have loved Juni Taisen to be. It really gets me ready to watch something truly special and then I found the episodes mostly leaving me disappointed. That said, it wasn’t like the theme was a mismatch. It is more the theme is aspirational of what the show was trying to be.

Number 3: Tabiji from KADO: The Right Answer

As much as I ended up disappointed by the ending of KADO I still loved the way the show presented itself early on and I love how the theme just prepared you for a calm viewing experience that was puzzling and made you think. Visually, the quality of the opening isn’t impressive, but it still looks gorgeous and draws you into the story as you try to link ideas and images that may not actually go together. Regardless of how the show ended, it was a theme that really stood out for its show and set a tone that was unique in its season.

Number 2: Shadow and Truth from ACCA

Now this was a theme I would have happily listened to over and over again. It’s boppy and upbeat but also just a bit intriguing. The visuals stood out and it really set the laid back and yet exciting feel of the show. Okay, maybe I’m just a sucker for jazz inspired opening songs because there were a few this year I really enjoyed.

Number 1: The Other Side of the Wall from Princess Principal

This one is exciting, thrilling, powerful and visually entertaining. It is everything you could want from an opening about an all female spy team back at the turn of the century in a steampunk like setting. Thematically relevant and hitting just the right tone, this was definitely the opening of the year for me.

Alright, over to you. What opening themes made you pay attention in 2017?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Surprisingly Good Shows That Came Out in 2017

One thing I’d like to make really clear is that this is not my list of best anime from 2017. That will come out in a few weeks time and will also include the results of the reader poll, so for the time being, I’m going to give some of my other top 5’s from 2017. This list, as the title suggests, is all about those shows I literally expected nothing of (other than to maybe be terrible) and then I ended up having a surprisingly good time watching them. I think it is nice sometimes that things can take you by surprise.

On that note though, I’d love it if you would share your list of shows from 2017 that you expected not to like but ended up being at least okay if not outright enjoyable.

Please Note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions in this list go to Gamers and Anime-Gataris.

Number 5: In Another World With My Smartphone

Okay, this had to make the list for the simple reason that a show with that bad of a title has no right to actually be semi-decent. Not good. Certainly not a refreshingly brilliant light to shine on all isekai anime based on light novels. This is a typical self-aware comedy, but for the most part I found it kind of amusing and it surprised even me that I was still watching it at the end of the season, and actually kind of open to the idea that maybe more of this story wouldn’t be that bad.

Number 4: Princess Principal

This show I actually really enjoyed. It isn’t just an okay show that wasn’t as bad as it might have been, it is a genuinely good show. So why is it on the list? Because when I looked at the art for this anime before it aired I dismissed it as another group of moe girls  in some school club that may or may not have spying involved. Instead what I got was a fairly thrilling and fun story with some competent characterisation that genuinely made me look forward to each new episode. Meanwhile, it also had one of the better opening themes of the year.

Number 3: The Royal Tutor

I definitely did not go into this one expecting very much but then the titular tutor, Heine, totally won me over. His straight man approach to everything and his interactions with each of the Princes were genuinely fun to watch and I liked that his background remained fairly enigmatic until the end. Even then, there’s definitely more to the story but we were given enough. Most of the Princes also weren’t as annoying as they originally could have been and all managed to become more than just one note joke characters as they each went through a fairly reasonable character arc throughout the series.

Number 2: Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Yeah, I read that title and could almost feel the ey-roll starting already. Then the first episode happened and I realised that even this well and truly overdone story of misunderstandings and romance could actually be interesting enough when the characters are actually fairly relatable. Possibly it is the older age of the characters in this story to a lot of other anime with similar ideas in it, but I found Morioka a fantastic character to follow and I genuinely wanted her to get a happy ending. That isn’t to say the show is all that good. It’s just significantly better than what you might expect from it. It also has a pretty fantastic opening theme which seems to go a long way to buying some good will from your audience so more shows should actually try and remember that.

Number 1: Spiritpact

Please watch the first episode of this show. Realise how incredibly bad this series might have been. That first episode is an outright train wreck and needs to be scrapped and started over. Episodes 2 and 3 aren’t a huge amount better but start to show promise. By the end of this series it is amazing how far the characters and story have come and really this ended up being a show I genuinely looked forward to watching. I’d have done a rewatch but sitting through that first episode again scares me. Still, for ten episodes this show packs in more development for its characters and for the storyline than some shows manage in 24 and once you get over the initial episodes, the pacing settles really well.

And there you go, my top 5 surprisingly good shows from 2017. Next week I’ll tackle my top 5 disappointments (shows I went in wanting to be good and then found I was left high and dry).  Please feel free to share your thoughts on shows that you thought were going to be dreadful but then surprised you in the comments below.


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Princess Principal Series Review: These Spies Are Cute and Deadly

Overview:

Five girls attend a prestigious school in the Kingdom of Albion (a Kingdom split in half by a wall). However, these girls are actually spies using their specific skills to complete their jobs.

Review:

Princess Principal is going to be a hard show to review really. Mostly because I loved the experience of watching it and had a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t have its faults. The problem being, the longer you think about this show the more those faults become apparent. Still, there’s a lot to enjoy in this steampunkesque spy series.

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Firstly, the characters are fantastic. They all seem pretty standard at first and their designs are excessively moe (to the point where I wasn’t actually planning on watching this show at all because one look at the character designs made me roll my eyes). But each of the five girls is given time and attention and back story over the course of the first half of the series and by the time we get back to seeing them operating as a full unit I had really fallen in love with these characters and their relationships. For all the holes I’m going to poke in the plot of this story later, I am not going to throw rocks at this main cast. They are a great team and a lot of fun to spend time with.

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Obviously Ange and the Princess get the lion’s share of development, and that’s fine because I love both of those characters. Ange’s stoic nature and her quirky references to the Black Lizard Planet just make her an enigma that you want to figure out. She’s cold as ice when needed, illustrated clearly in the first episode where she shoots a traitor, but behind the scenes she’s definitely got a softer side. Again, seen when she made sure said traitor had insurance so that his daughter would receive medical attention. The Princess begins much as you would expect a Princess playing spy to act, but as the story progresses you see there is so much more to her than the external character she has perfected playing. These two were such a delight and when you throw in Chise, Beatrice and Dorothy this becomes one of my favourite teams in an anime I’ve seen in a long time.

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Secondly, the music. Loved the opening theme to this show. It is incredibly energetic and fun. Visually it works and it does give some sense of the characters, but mostly it sets a tone for the show that it mostly lives up to even if the events aren’t quite as loud and vibrant as the opening might have you believe. Still, this is an opening I didn’t skip even once and actually went back and listened to after episodes just because it was fun to hear.

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Thirdly, the setting. Okay, steampunk Victorian era is kind of done to death but I really appreciated the setting here. For the most part technology is within the realm of plausible with only one or two contraptions that seem fantastical. Mostly, it could actually be just historical (with the usual inaccuracies) and not steampunk at all but there’s enough going on that you kind of have to put it in steampunk category. Be that as it may, the world these girls live in is rich and dynamic. It isn’t a setting that they’ve been dropped onto. There are so many different groups and factions all with their own goals and motives. Even just the random workers they encounter are all crafted to feel like real people with their own story to tell. The setting is pretty fantastic.

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Alright, so now we have to address the issue with the plot. To start with, the show is broken into cases that are shown to the audience in a non-chronological order. This means we meet the characters in the order the show wants us to and learn the information we need about the characters when we need to, but it means there is no real drive toward any kind of final goal. Each case has its own goal and mostly the case is irrelevant. What is important are the characters, how they interact, and what they learn from the experience. As a character piece, Princess Principal is superb but it comes at the expense of plot. There’s no real buy in from the audience as to whether it matters is the team succeed of not in many of these missions as we are never really clued in as to what the missions are trying to accomplish. While that isn’t such an issue early in the series, it is what leads us to a fairly ordinary ending.

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The one plot thread we do follow most of the way through the story is Project Changeling which was a plan to have Ange kill and replace the Princess. Somewhere along the line that plan included having the Princess become part of the team, though where that left Changeling was never really determined. Then, in what seems like a desperate effort to push us into a climax when there was no real overall end goal, suddenly the guy in charge of the spies is replaced and the new guy orders Ange to kill Princess. The final two episodes follow this drama to its conclusion.

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However, the wall is still there, the Princess still isn’t Queen, the old spymaster is back, the girls are for some reason in Casablanca and still carrying out missions, so the question has to be asked whether from a plot point of view this show accomplished anything? Certainly the characters have come along way and it was really fun watching them do that, but it kind of felt like the story wanted to be more than just about the power of friendship (although that may just be my own wishful thinking). Mostly, this could be resolved by giving us a second season and actually addressing the set up that this show has now that the girls have dealt with their issues and become a team.

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I recommend checking this show out. It may not be for you but there is a lot of fun to be had here. It manages to balance its cute moments with some far darker tones and for the most part gets the balance right.

If you’ve seen Princess Principal I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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The Best of Summer 2017

Okay, we have made it to the announcement for the best of Summer 2017. Starting with my favourites of the season and then the reader’s poll results. With over 100 votes again, and a few more than Spring, I am hoping that the poll is becoming more reflective of the feelings of the community, however nearly 50% of the votes were split between three titles. Read on and all will be revealed.

My Favourite Show

My Hero Academia has sat at the top of my list each and every week and looking back over the season, I don’t see any reason to change it. If Princess Principal had wrapped up its story, it may have pushed past My Hero Academia, but without a full conclusion, it just couldn’t beat the ongoing story of the high school wannabe super heroes.

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I’ve really enjoyed this show over the last two seasons and I’m glad there’s been an announcement of a season 3. It isn’t the most amazing anime ever, but it is good fun and I could certainly stand more shows that I just enjoy watching because they are fun.

My Favourite Character

Uraraka from My Hero Academia. She’s adorable but really got to shine at times during the second season of My Hero Academia.

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Admittedly though, she did not have a lot of competition this season as a number of shows saw me struggling to even remember character names because I was that disinterested in remembering them.

My Favourite Story

This is actually really tricky because honestly the stories this season were… bland (well, quite a few were broken but I was trying not to be too critical). Princess Principal left itself wide open for a sequel as did My Hero Academia. Gamers and Fastest Finger First weren’t overly concerned with telling a story. A lot of the other shows the story was just complete rubbish when you broke it down (at least the ones I was watching). So… Okay, I’m going to give this one to Sagrada Reset.

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I absolutely loved the way this story brought everything together in the end. The presentation of the story might be questionable, but the narrative itself is pretty amazing once you get to the end of it and realise how cohesive they manage to make it.

My Favourite Opening Theme

Very easy choice. Princess Principal was by far the best theme of the season for me (though I kind of liked 18if as well but for a very different reason).

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The opening of Princess Principal just captured the feeling of the show beautifully and I loved the visuals that went with it. I really enjoyed listening to and watching the opening theme each week.

My Favourite Visuals

Relatively easy choice this season. As fun and colourful as My Hero Academia is, it is pretty standard from a visual point of view. Most of the shows I watched this season were a bit hit and miss. Knight’s & Magic had pretty fights and not a lot else, same as Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu. Ultimately, my favourite overall visuals had to be from 18if.

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That was also hit and miss from a quality point of view but each week was interesting to see what style we were going to get.

Favourite Screen Capture

I haven’t had this category before but I just had to share this one. It is going to be my favourite for awhile.

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I quite like it visually but the quote is kind of priceless and I really want that on a book mark.

Reader’s Choice – Best Anime of Summer 2017

Here it is:

Best of Summer

For the second season in a row, My Hero Academia snuck in a win. It was losing to Made in Abyss for a lot of the voting period and Princess Principal was a close third for most of the vote. However, in the home stretch, My Hero Academia bounced into the lead position. I’m glad it won this time given the season is now finished. I really had a lot of fun with this one and from some of the posts I’ve read on other blogs it is pretty clear that a lot of people have enjoyed following Midoriya’s journey.

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That is officially the end of the Summer 2017 anime season for me though most of the full series reviews are still to be posted. As always I’d love to know your favourites so please leave a comment below. Also, later today the worst of Summer post will come out so be sure to check it out.


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Summer 2017 Final Thoughts

This is my final week on Summer anime and I’ll be getting around to series reviews very soon with Sagrada Reset coming out next week (it was the first one finished so only fair really). I still have my best and worst of the season posts to come out and on that note remember that the poll will close tomorrow so if you haven’t voted hop on over and have your say. Links for the best and worst anime of the Summer 2017 season. Write in votes are allowed so if I missed your show, please feel free to add it (the write in votes are almost winning for worst anime of the season so your vote will count).

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so please leave me a comment below.

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Must Watch

My Hero Academia (Finished)

A great way to keep us all waiting for the next season. The thing is, this would be a terrible way to end a season except that we already got an announcement for the follow up so not too concerned that they left us hanging. This was great fun this season and I’m looking forward to more of it.

Princess Principal (Finished)

Alright, with an inconclusive ending this might not be a must watch for everyone, but comparatively for this season, this has been such a fun show to watch. Ange and Princess remain the highlight of the series right to the end and they do at least end the current mission/plot so while there are plenty of loose ends we aren’t left completely in the dark.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Finished)

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Okay, I Guess

Gamers (Finished)

This final episode was actually highly amusing just to listen to. Visually it was pretty dull. I guess those who enjoy the game DLC debate will have fun listening to some of the arguments whereas anyone else will just wonder why they even made this final episode.

In Another World With My Smartphone (Finished)

Okay, this show actually fully embraced the harem cliché and somehow it just works. There were definitely some questionable episodes along the way but all and all, I’m kind of hoping that was actually sequel bait and the end because I wouldn’t mind some more of this. It is stupid, and incredibly lame at times, and every character is a trope pulled from many other anime, but this show is still fun and manages to do something with all those clichés.

Fastest Finger First (Finished)

This finished the tournament nicely but left us with a lot of questions about the characters and the team and where they will go next. As we are unlikely to get any more of this series, that’s kind of a shame. This was a fun watch but has almost no rewatch value.

18if (Finished)

My final impression of this was always going to depend on how they wrapped up the plot and to be honest the close was pretty lacking. Admittedly, we do talk Eve into not destroying the world, but there’s so much still unexplained and Haruto just kind of goes with Eve/Lily and that’s kind of it. Really wanted more from the end of this.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Finished)

For a show that has quite a few low points and bits of silliness in what should be a fairly serious story, it actually became one of those rare anime that finished on a significantly higher note than the earlier episodes would have you believe. Thoroughly enjoyed episode 12 and now I just need to write my overall review.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Not finished – But I Am)

Since it was pointed out that the show was rerunning old material, and that then made me think I should just go rewatch the former seasons given I don’t really remember them, I’m out from this show. I’m still going to review though because I watched the new material.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Finished)

Well, this show ended more or less how it started which was okay but nothing particularly exceptional. I am pleasantly surprised I made it through a whole season of this, but there were some funny moments along the way. Okay, there was also a lot of stupidity and one or two groan inducing episodes, but overall, still better than anticipated.

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They Made This

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Finished)

Well, at least they realised the only good thing in this show was how visually interesting the fights were, because you are going to be watching half an episode of fights once the show gets over its token attempt to give the characters some resolution. It is pretty and all, but given there’s no real purpose it all just becomes an exercise in seeing how many slow motion shots of good looking guys wielding swords they can throw at us in a ten minute period.

Knight’s & Magic (Finished)

Can I say thank-you now that this is over. This is my single greatest disappointment this season as I really wanted to like this show. It just never did manage to get itself together.

Chronos Ruler (Finished)

After a not-my-true-form second last episode we get a trust-your-friends plan as well as a that-should-have-killed-him-but-it-doesn’t-because-reasons moment for a final episode. As I get to the end of this show I think I was well justified in asking why was this even made.

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Tried and Dropped

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 13)

Restaurant to Another World (Episode 1)

Centaur’s Life (Episode 1)

Convenience Store Boyfriends (Episode 1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast (Episode 1)

Battle Girl High School (Episode 1)

Hina Logic (Episode 1)

Tsuredure Children (Episode 1)

Fox Spirit Matchmaker (Episode 1)

Aho Girl (Episode 1)

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor (Episode 1)


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Karandi James.

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Princess Principal Episode 12: Everyone Wants To Go To Casablanca

Review – Some Spoilers:

It is no surprise that Ange returns this episode, though the sheer length of time it takes her to come to that decision and act is a little questionable. Once she’s in motion though it is hard to imagine she was ever going to fail.

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This episode takes us back to the feeling we had back in episode 1. Things are moving along at a good clip with car chases, gun battles, a plot to kill the Queen, and Ange desperate to save her friend. It is good fun even while the show hits some of its darker moments.

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I still feel Zelda’s character would have worked better in this final arc if we’d met her earlier and had a bit more time to care about her character. Instead she comes off as a fairly ordinary villain which makes the reveal about who she is really working for seem a little last minute rather than intriguing. Also, her grand escape sequence would be cooler if I cared about her or if we knew there was going to be a second season for her to return in.

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But what really shines this episode are the main characters as they reunite and save the day before heading off to Casablanca… Wait, didn’t Princess reject that idea? Why did they end up there. Just one of many questions to be asked about the ending of this show given the various groups and plots still exist, the issues in the Kingdom haven’t been resolved, the Princess still isn’t going to become Queen, and I’m not sure the spies actually accomplished anything of significance. How can a show be so fun and yet so full of holes?

Anyway, I will get around to a full series review of this show, but in the meantime, go listen to the theme song again because that can have you smiling for half a day.


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Karandi James.

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Summer 2017 Week 12

Okay, some shows are done and others are close to drawing to a close and I’m now having to seriously think about my plans for the Autumn season. Here’s my list but there will be one more to draw the season to a close. Remember polling for the best and worst anime of the Summer 2017 season is on so if you’d like to vote, jump on over. The polls will close on the 2 of October with results announced soon after. Write in votes are allowed so if I missed your show, please feel free to add it.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so please leave me a comment below.

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Must Watch

My Hero Academia (Episode 36)

While this second last episode was a little bit on the flat side, nothing is really going to squish my enjoyment of this second season overall. Still very much looking forward to the last episode of the season and really I just have to wonder whether they are going for the ridiculous kids take down All Might finish or whether All Might will gently crush them in order for them to learn some valuable lesson. Guess I’ll find out next week. Or hey, maybe the test will get called off for some contrived reason. Whichever way they go, I’m almost certain I’ll have fun with it.

Princess Principal (Episode 11)

The story of Ange and the Princess remains fantastic. The rest of the story, probably belongs in the next category down. It is usually entertaining but not unmissable. So, a little bit torn as we seem to head toward the end.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Finished)

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Okay, I Guess

18if (Episode 11)

Way too much recap even as the story tries to steer us toward the conclusion. Seriously tiresome episode even as it gave us information we needed so you can’t even skip it.

Gamers (Episode 10)

This show is definitely going to finish the season in the just okay zone. There have been some highly entertaining moments within the show, but overall, it just isn’t the kind of thing I intend to rewatch or recommend to others. But hey, if you are into love pentagons, this one is really working hard to put as many miscommunications in as possible.

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 11)

Honestly, this episode was entertaining but if you are over jokes about breasts or panties, this is not going to work for you at all because the majority of the content this week is definitely focused in that direction. There are enough other things going on that I didn’t do an extremely late season drop on this, but it is hardly the cleverest of developments.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 11)

Back to the annoying character, but somehow this episode wasn’t as annoying as their last appearance. Possibly because the quiz seemed to remain the main focus and most of the other characters have kind of stopped over-reacting to that character. It makes their intrusions less intruding.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 10)

Another pretty ordinary episode. And now I know that these episodes are in fact repeats so I’m ending my viewing of the series and just going to review the first half of the series that was new material. Apparently Hell Girl is more forgettable than even I believed.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Finished)

Well, this show ended more or less how it started which was okay but nothing particularly exceptional. I am pleasantly surprised I made it through a whole season of this, but there were some funny moments along the way. Okay, there was also a lot of stupidity and one or two groan inducing episodes, but overall, still better than anticipated.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 12)

They managed a slightly more serious tone for most of this episode, but it really is too late to make me care. The issue with the teacher came back to the usual theme of humans being pretty terrible without the help of monster possession, and other anime may pull this story line off beautifully, but here, due to a lack of general care for the characters, it just comes off as preachy and pointless.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 11)

Not sure where to next given they kind of wrapped up their mystery last week, but I guess we’ll see where it goes.

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They Made This

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 12)

I’m going to be honest, so many things in this show have annoyed me that now I’m actively annoyed by more or less anything it does. This week even the sound effects were bugging me and they are pretty harmless. Some of the fight sequence were interesting, but they were pretty repetitive, and nothing is going to fix the story or the characters at this point.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 11)

Fight, fight, fight. Admittedly, this show has been worse than this, so I’m still not actually disliking the last couple of episodes. But, it all would have been so much more dramatic if earlier episodes had given me a reason to care about this current confrontation.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 12)

Certainly this show is having a good go at trying to up the ante in the final two episodes but just throwing more of the enemy at us while not fixing any of the plot or character issues really isn’t the way to make a grand ending. Basically I’m just glad that there’s only one more episode.

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Tried and Dropped

Restaurant to Another World (Episode 1)

Centaur’s Life (Episode 1)

Convenience Store Boyfriends (Episode 1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast (Episode 1)

Battle Girl High School (Episode 1)

Hina Logic (Episode 1)

Tsuredure Children (Episode 1)

Fox Spirit Matchmaker (Episode 1)

Aho Girl (Episode 1)

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor (Episode 1)


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Karandi James.

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Princess Principal Episode 11: Another Fine Mess

Review:

This episode was everything you could have wanted from Princess Principal after the bombshell ending to episode 10. Ange stayed true to who she has been and attempted to throw off pursuers and then run-away with the Princess. Princess however also stayed true to who she had become and pretty much told Ange she should run off by herself.

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This is kind of fantastic not because it was unexpected (because by this point it wasn’t), but because of how well this series has built up the relationship between these two characters. They are both hurt by the outcome of this confrontation and it isn’t just that they drew some tears, the audience is feeling the pain of this encounter.

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That said, the rest of the episode was pretty ordinary in terms of setting up for a final. It is functional but not exceptional and the introduction of Zelda at this late stage didn’t help things along. Still, looking forward to where this goes next.


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Karandi James.

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