Love of Kill Episode 4 – Did Someone Order a Tragic Backstory?

Love of Kill Episode 4 Review

Love of Kill on the surface seems like it is going to build a romance between two quite capable characters only so far Song is the only one pursuing the romance or ever getting to really have any solid moments. Chateau on the other-hand was taken down by Song, has been led around by him ever since, got run off the road and beaten down in the woods, and now in episode 4 she’s been taken captive.

Now I will admit the story never explicitly told us that Chateau was actually good at her job, but she seems to carry herself fairly capably and yet in four episodes they haven’t managed to give her one actual success or win. It really does undermine your confidence in her character. And given she’s kind of playing the stoic professional, if she isn’t actually good at her job you have to wonder what is left of her character.

Other than the fact that she was super-adorable way back when.

Love of Kill Episode 4

Love of Kill needs to let Chateau have a small win and soon.

Before I get more into this episode I find it interesting how often Love of Kill likes to frame its scenes with the character standing in front of a window. In episode 1 we had the hotel room with the great view, episode 2 saw Chateau staring out a train window with her reflection staring back. Episode 3 had both characters at times standing before the window though Song’s sequence was notable given he was standing in the shadow of the curtain he had just drawn with the light streaming in beside him on the left.

That image almost perfectly mirrors the scene this week with Chateau in the church as she stands in the shadow with the light streaming through the church window on her right.

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But none of that really gets into what this episode is about so let’s focus.

Pretty much this week we find out that Chateau has a past full of tragedy and unknowns which we more or less suspected given a previously glimpsed flashback. Turns out someone working that case ended up taking her in but her real name was unknown and that man is now dead, which is why Chateau is out laying flowers on a grave.

It all seems like they are trying a little too hard to come up with a mystery in the past that ties things together. While I don’t dislike stories that try to be interesting, I suspect Love of Kill is going to end up tying itself in a knot that it can’t resolve in a satisfactory manner. Chateau’s identity being unconfirmed would have been an interesting enough backstory without somehow tying it to Song as well.

Love of Kill Episode 4

And while I quite enjoyed the episode, my issues with the overall plot do not end there. We also have the silly moment when Chateau actually did seem to get the upper hand in a fight, for once, and yet even hitting a guy point blank with a stun-gun did not result in a success because somehow his drug use made him non-responsive to getting zapped. I don’t know if anyone is actually buying that plot development but it just seemed dumb. I would have accepted that his jacket was non-conductive and maybe that protected him but Love of Kill went a different path.

Love of Kill Episode 4

All things considered, Love of Kill continues to be an enjoyable enough watch each week but the plot is moving slowly and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it is going to be particularly clever or without glaring holes. If the pace was faster it would probably be easier to gloss over some of these things but instead the viewer is left with plenty of time to contemplate things that just fall apart when you think about them.

Despite all the criticism though, I am curious and I am still enjoying Song and Chateau. I wish Chateau would occasionally get a small victory but that seems like a relatively minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

Images from: Love of Kill. Dir. H Ooba. Platinum Vision. 2022

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Karandi James

Love of Kill Episode 3 – Fall Out Keeps Falling Out

Love of Kill Episode 3 Review

Love of Kill has apparently decided that it is going to start every episode with a visual recap of the main events in the previous episode, though at least in episode 3 it doesn’t go for as long as the one that preceded the events of episode 2. And after the focus on danger in episode 2 with Chateau being forced off a cliff, episode 3 switches gears as it deals with the day after as well as giving us a brief (and somewhat ambiguous) flashback of Song’s past.

Love of Kill Episode 3

What is great about the episode is that Song and Chateau do spend most of it together. Either initially after waking up, as Chateau contacts her office, and after a brief visit to her office, Song is waiting for her when she returns home. Yeah, he’s still hitting all the warning flags for creepy stalker and yet somehow he’s still coming off as pretty likeable. Though potentially that has more to do with the flat nature of every other character so far.

Love of Kill still feels like we’re in set-up mode.

Three episodes in to Love of Kill and while Song’s pursuit of Chateau is pretty straight forward, even if she’s still trying to find his hidden motives, it isn’t clear where else the story is planning to go. Sure there’s clearly a group out for revenge against Song as the message Chateau received last week directly called him a traitor and the flashback we saw seems to indicate exactly that. Though at the same time, we don’t know why he carried out that action and it seems unlikely he did it on a whim.

Love of Kill Episode 3

There’s definitely more to the story and yet Love of Kill isn’t in a rush to lay its cards on the table.

Meanwhile Chateau’s past is clearly mired in family tragedy. From the flashback we saw in episode one to the picture’s Song looks at in her apartment to the phone message from her ‘mother’ it is clearly a big part of the reason she’s so emotionally shut-down and disconnected from others. Again though, we’re missing a lot of pieces to this puzzle.

Part of the puzzle is also Chateau’s boss and why he doesn’t seem to take any specific action against her despite the fact that in the three episodes we’ve watched she pretty much continually ignored directives, at various times just gone missing, and now, despite her apology, she’s outright refused to provide a reasonable explanation for the events that ended with her car going off a cliff. The boss has very little presence in the story at all but it seems bizarre that as Chateau walks out of his office again he just continues on without there being any repercussions.

Love of Kill Episode 3

The various plot threads being woven by Love of Kill seem largely standard fare for this kind of story with shady organisations, favours, betrayals, family ties and so forth and to be honest they probably aren’t interesting enough to carry the story. Really, the only major selling point so far would be the pair at the centre of the story and that’s only if you enjoy seeing their interactions. And with Chateau being pretty emotionless (other than irritation) and Song being just this side of creepy stalker material, I can understand some viewers not finding it all that entertaining.

Love of Kill Episode 3

For me, I am enjoying most of their interactions even while acknowledging that in real life this wouldn’t be the basis for a healthy relationship. I’d actually like to see these two characters get together in Love of Kill. I’m also a little hopeful that as the anime continues some of the backstories and other plots will develop further and become a little more engaging (though that may be a false hope).

At this stage, I’m enjoying Love of Kill but I’m not going to jump up and down to recommend it. We’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.

Images from: Love of Kill. Dir. H Ooba. Platinum Vision. 2022

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Karandi James

Taishou Otome Fairytale Review – Slow, Sweet and Adorable With Just A Hint Of Bitterness

Taishou Otome Fairytale Review

Taishou Otome Fairytale is a historical Japanese slice-of-life romance with a couple that end up being super adorable even if initially the male lead is a little off-putting due to his excessive negativity. With lots of pink and flowers, two characters who genuinely reflect on their words and actions, and a support cast that serve their roles well enough, what you have is a perfectly adequate anime and if you are in the mood for excessively sweet this one will definitely hit the spot.

You do however have to go into it accepting that it is set in a different age as the romance starts when the female lead, Yuzuki, is essentially bought as a bride for a crippled child of a wealthy family so that they don’t have to take care of him. Throw in that Yuzuki is your very typical happy to do house work Japanese girl that anime so likes to depict and some viewers may not connect.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 1

If you are happy to accept that set-up though you can sit down in front of your TV or laptop or whatever you watch on and just enjoy the sweet nothingness as it rolls over you.

Taishou Otome Fairytale isn’t overly remarkable but it is perfectly relaxing viewing.

At twelve episodes this one isn’t going for a deep dive and stays fairly true to its slice of life genre label. Most episodes focus on Tamahiko, the boy who lost the use of his right hand in an accident that killed his mother, and Yuzuki, the girl sent to be his bride, and their daily lives in their home in the mountains. At first Tamahiko is mired in his own depression, apparently relishing in wallowing in his own pathetic existence, to the point where you genuinely want to slap him. Fortunately, Yuzuki manages to kill him with kindness until he has no choice but to accept life isn’t all just misery and pain.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 2

It isn’t as though Taishou Otome Fairytale haven’t made him sympathetic. Losing his mother and being crippled all in one accident was probably bad enough. Having a father who then calls you worthless and sends you away is definitely worse. That same father later telling you to just act as if you died because that would be better for the family… well now we’re in the territory of just truly bad anime parents and the only small positive we’re pulling out of this is that because Tamahiko’s father sent him away we fortunately don’t have to listen to his father very much at all during the anime.

While the father’s actions and choices most definitely established the situation in both isolating his son and then sending Yuzuki to be with him, the father himself only appears very briefly in a handful of episodes.

Taishou Otome Fairytale chooses instead to focus on Tamahiko opening up to his sister, the children in the village where he’s now living, eventually classmates as he returns to school, and of course, Yuzuki.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 2

It’s a wise choice because some relationships can’t be mended and quite clearly Tamahiko’s father is a lost cause. Rather than dwell on that, the story chooses to have Tamahiko connecting with so many others, something that final episode really emphasises when all those others gather.

Meanwhile, Yuzuki is very much the ‘I choose to smile’ kind of girl who happily gets on with chores, who patiently brings food to Tamahiko even when he’s shut himself away, who doesn’t hold a grudge against the girl in town who deliberately causes a misunderstanding between her and Tamahiko. Yuzuki is very sweet and cute, and her blushing face is adorable. What manages to keep her from being a forgettable cloud of fluffy sweetness is that Taishou Otome Fairytale gave her a backbone.

Yuzuki knows when she needs to make a stand and when to hold firm. She’ll speak her mind if she needs to but when it isn’t that important hold her tongue.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 8

The rest of the support cast all serve various narrative and character purposes. Tamahiko’s younger sister arrives for a couple of episodes and shakes up the daily routine of Tamahiko and Yuzuki as well as inspiring Tamahiko to try to go back to school. The village girl causes strife between Tamahiko and Yuzuki forcing the two to be a bit more honest about how they feel toward one another and also opening up the pathway for Tamahiko to end up tutoring the local village children and giving him a connection with the community. The friend he makes at school and his sister show how far Tamahiko has grown as he reaches out to help his friend.

While they all work well enough, Taishou Otome Fairytale hasn’t spent a lot of time fleshing these characters out. And largely after their primary role is done they tend to slip away until they are needed again. On the bright side this means the focus stays on Yuzuki and Tamahiko for the majority of the run time but it also doesn’t help the world they live in feel very real.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 7

The final arc of Taishou Otome Fairytale involves a natural disaster and I will admit it was pretty emotional and I definitely found it rewarding to watch. I wasn’t expecting something that had been pleasant but not overly heavy to suddenly feel so real but the final two episodes of Taishou Otome Fairytale really stepped up a notch.

Visually this anime is pretty ordinary looking most of the time though there are some lovely scenery shots. Also, I really liked a lot of the clothing because of the era in which the story is set. The music also is kind of ordinary, though quite a few of the characters sing throughout the series and most of them sound like normal people singing.

Overall, Taishou Otome Fairytale isn’t my usual kind of anime but I must say for a cute romance it hit the spot during the season and I enjoyed my time with it. Sure there are stronger anime romances out there but if you are looking for something new this one is worth trying.

Images from: Taishou Otome Fairytale. Dir. J Hatori. SynergySP. 2021

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Karandi James

Vampire Knight Series Review: Tortured Teen Love Triangle With Fangs

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Vampire Knight Overview:

One of the few anime I did read the manga of (at a friend’s insistence) Vampire Knight is the story of Yuki Cross who’s first memory is of snow and blood when her family were killed by vampires and she was saved by the vampire Kaname. Years pass and she now goes to school where the day class are human and the night class are vampires. Yuki, aided by Zero (her adopted brother) work to keep the classes separate and the fact that the night class are vampires a secret.

Vampire Knight Review:

While I accept that vampire stories and sex are more or less intrinsically linked, I think books like Twilight and Vampire Knight (the manga) have a lot to answer for in how they represent romance to teenagers. That said, I’m not one of those people who thinks things always have to have a positive message, I just find it really odd that some people read or watch these things and think they are romantic. These stories have a romance in them, but they actually end up coming off pretty creepy when you think about the context so the romantic factor gets shot in the foot pretty quick.

So Vampire Knight? It is one of those shows I think needs a reboot now that the manga is finished because you could certainly clean up a lot of the character and story issues now that they know where it is going.

Also, having rewatched Vampire Knight to do this review, the animation is kind of bad. This isn’t something I usually complain about but it was amazing how many times this anime relies on a still image with a pan rather than actual animation. While this does show off the very nice character designs, and fans of the manga know just how gorgeous these characters can look when allowed to pose, it actually makes for a pretty dull viewing experience a lot of the time.

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Despite everything I’ve just said, I don’t actually dislike Vampire Knight as a story. Or rather as an introduction to a story. Much like Kaname spends a number of scenes in this first season staring at a chess board, the story itself is positioning the characters where they need to be. At times this leads to some awkward encounters and interactions but it does set up just the right amount of tension so that you know going into season 2 things are going to get explosive.

The main strength of the story is that it keeps the focus relatively tight on Yuki, Kaname and Zero as the love triangle at the centre of the story. While there are efforts to fill in other characters and organisations, these remain strictly background with the focus more on how those events impact on these three characters.


During Vampire Knight, the interactions between Zero and Yuki are really great to watch, even if I want to slap Yuki a lot of the time for some of her assumptions and feeling guilty about every single thing. Zero isn’t the best character ever written, but he is emotionally hamstrung by having watched his family die and is now turning into a vampire when he was trained to be a vampire hunter. So his angst is actually relatively understandable, more so than Yuki’s happy go lucky attitude she insists on putting forward even though inside she’s just a pit of hopeless despair.


Unfortunately the interactions between Kaname and Yuki aren’t so impressive. I get the show wants us to want these two together but he keeps Yuki at arms length most of the time and then gets jealous and possessive at others. His actions force her to distrust him and then he gets annoyed that she doesn’t trust him.

Amazingly enough when you don’t communicate and sit around and brood a lot, relationships don’t exactly work out easily which is a bit of an issue when it is a cornerstone for the plot of Vampire Knight. I know a lot of people will disagree but by the end of season 1 I’d really rather Yuki told Kaname where to go and headed off with Zero.

So yes, watching this you are in for a lot of teenage angst and the wondering if the choice they made was right and staring wistfully at the profile or back of the character they like and if you aren’t up for that Vampire Knight is not going to be your thing. Because basically everything else in this story falls flat.

The Chairman, (Yuki and Zero’s adopted father) acts a complete fool 90% of the time and is an irritant given he’s the one who set up the ridiculous school system. There’s enough moments in the show that point to him having a more serious side but we aren’t getting to see that in season 1 so basically he is a throw away character who seems to exist only to annoy Zero and cry when Yuki doesn’t call him father.


The rest of the vampires all have a serious Kaname fan club going on, and while this is explained, it means that their personalities are pretty fixed which makes them less than amazing characters in Vampire Knight. Someone touches Kaname they get super defensive. Zero says something to Kaname, they gather to go pick a fight but then walk away because actually having a fight would be lame.

Ruka gets a little bit of development as she pours out an unrequited love for Kaname but that’s a very minor side story and Aidou gets to be a complete pain in the neck as he regularly over steps the rules mostly so Kaname can show how cool he is in settling things down, but again this isn’t really a focus point and mostly makes Aidou look like an idiot.


Even the idea that Yuki and Zero are guardians in the school is kind of a throw away plot line to explain why they are wandering around at all hours and not abiding by a sensible curfew. While Zero can fight due to his hunter training, he isn’t really interested in looking out for the interests of the school and regularly exacerbates issues between the vampires or stirs up the day class with his cold attitude.

Yuki on the other hand is useless for pretty much Vampire Knight’s entire run. She has a weapon (Artemis) but in season 1, the three times she draws it she pretty much never actually hits a vampire and almost always has the weapon either taken away from her or drops it. About the only purpose Yuki actually serves outside of the romance is bait because every time she steps outside she literally gets attacked by a vampire. Again, this plot point will be explained later, but it makes for a really silly story during the early stages where you just feel like she has to have some sort of vampire magnet attached to her.

Before I finish though, a point needs to be made that the opening and ending themes to season 1 of this show are fantastic. Definitely exactly what the show needed and they keep you hooked. While the animation of the show is less than impressive, the visuals themselves are really detailed with repeated visual motifs to be found  and plenty of other interesting details and symbolism if you pay attention. Plus, the colour scheme works really well for the show.


Basically, if you don’t mind watching three teenagers in a love triangle with the occasional vampire attack thrown in and some back story about a school trying to build peace between humans and vampires, you will probably find a lot to enjoy here. It is strictly set up for the events of season 2, but it paints an interesting picture of the characters and sketches in the world they live in enough to keep you on board for the story.

While not my favourite story by a long shot, I don’t mind the occasional rewatch of this, though part of me still wishes that Zero would actually use his gun on some of the vampire students earlier in the show.

I’d love to know your thoughts on Vampire Knight if you’ve watched it and hopefully you will check out my review of season 2 out later this week.

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Karandi James

Love of Kill Episode 2 – Dangerous Conditions Ahead

Love of Kill Episode 2 Review

Okay so this week we began with a two minute clipped version of the entirety of episode 1. Why Love of Kill thought people would need the entire thing repeated I am not sure but it does make me wonder how much plot they actually have with this story given you’ve only got twenty-three minutes and you have an OP and an ED to get through. Plus the recapping the entire plot or episode is definitely more a shounen device so seems out of place here. At least they skipped the truly obnoxious voice over narration and just let the events play out.

Speaking of the ED, Makoto Period by Aika Kobayashi is great. I don’t often pay attention to ED’s, or at least not enough, but the more reflective ED here is in stark contrast to the boppy OP, Midnight Dancer, and in honesty the ED seems more in-tune with the content of the anime so far.

Love of Kill Episode 2

What happens in episode 2 of Love of Kill?

Anyway, this episode does pick up pretty much right after the ‘date’ that Chateau went on with Song before we get to the next day where Chateau has gone to pick up the guy that Song agreed to give her the location of if she went on the date and Song is cleaning up the office of the guy who hired Chateau’s firm to find him. Both characters are very much just treating this as another day as she packs up a corpse and a girl who has been held in a room next to him for days without reaction and Song calmly walks through the office killing people.

Love of Kill Episode 2

It’s kind of a sensible approach for Love of Kill given the professions of the two characters. It would hardly make sense for them to be squeamish about a bit of blood or murder or to hesitate as an unpleasant task. Though it does make it a little harder to emphasise with them or to imagine how they could possibly connect emotionally.

No where is that point clearer than at the end of the episode of Love of Kill (and yes I just skipped a whole bunch of stuff that I’ll get back to). But the events of the episode left the girl that Chateau had placed in her car crushed to death. And other than one line telling us that this was her fate, neither character really seemed all the concerned about it. I mean, I get coldly doing your job but clearly neither one of them was trying to get the girl killed and they really didn’t seem all that concerned about her horrific fate.

Seriously, she was kept confined in a storage unit with a corpse, found by a woman holding a gun, loaded into the back-seat of a car that went off the edge of a cliff, and died on impact. That sucks.

Love of Kill Episode 2

And yes, I said I’d get back to all that other stuff.

So after the date, turns out Song is being observed by a whole bunch of guys who may as well paint “I’m a villain’ on their foreheads as they smirk in a self-satisfied manner after Song passes by. But they aren’t targeting Song. They decide to mess with Chateau.

Why anyone would think ticking of someone who is that dangerous by harming someone they clearly care about is a good idea is something someone in the movie/anime industry will need to explain at some point. But no, Love of Kill goes straight for poking the dragon in the eye with a little stick and they don’t actually kill Chateau, just drive her off the road, threaten her a bit and then shoot her phone. It’s unclear if they would have cared if she’d died when the car went off the road.

Love of Kill Episode 2

I will admit, that despite my wondering if Love of Kill wants the audience to not care about anyone outside of the leads given so far other characters have very much been treated as disposable, I was thoroughly engaged while watching this episode. And I want to know more about Chateau and Song and I want to see them spending more time together. That said, given the subject matter and the way it is so far being presented I can kind of understand if Love of Kill isn’t the type of romance some viewers are looking for this season.

Images from: Love of Kill. Dir. H Ooba. Platinum Vision. 2022

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Taishou Otome Fairytale Episodes 11 + 12 – Tears and Kisses From the Ruins

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episodes 11 + 12 Review

Just like a fairy-tale Taishou Otome Fairytale concludes its stories with our characters having learned and groan from their ordeals and smiles and romance all around. Well you can’t say the title of this anime didn’t warn you that they were going for the sweet resolution rather than the tragic one.

Episode 11 sees Tamahiko and Ryou walking to Tokyo in search of both Yuzuki and Ryou’s brother who moved to Tokyo for work earlier in the season. However on arriving in Tokyo both are taken back by the sheer scale of the wreckage caused by the earthquake. Prepare for your heart to be wrenched as you watch Tamahiko’s frantic search for Yuzuki.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 11

The ending Taishou Otome Fairytale needed.

I’ve mentioned before that Taishou Otome Fairytale is at its absolute best when Tamahiko and Yuzuki are together so splitting them for the entirety of episode 11 may have been seen as a risky move. However, it is one that pays off big time emotionally as the full extent of Tamahiko’s growth as a character is on full display and more than that, his honest emotional reaction to the situation and his separation from Yuzuki is more than enough to carry this story now.

Even before setting out, his decision to open his house to the villagers whose homes were destroyed was quite unlike the old Tamahiko and one that some would have thought twice about given the treatment he’s received from people in the village.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 11

When Tamahiko became a character I cared about individually and outside of his relationship with Yuzuki I’m not really sure but I do know that watching him insist that Yuzuki was alive and that he would find her and watching his earnest efforts to do just that certainly caused me to tear up.

While it is certainly convenient that Taishou Otome Fairytale brings back Tamahiko’s uncle, younger sister, Kotori and her brother who all end up assisting in the search in some way, it really does give the reunion the emotional touch it deserves. Tamahiko and Yuzuki have touched so many lives.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 11

Episode 12 of Taishou Otome Faiytale flips the perspective and Yuzuki’s journey is finally revealed though not just in Tokyo. Through flashbacks we see her growing affection for Tamahiko as well as her desire to return to him. While at times she has seemed too nice, too compliant, it was really lovely to see that she has chosen to cherish Tamahiko and not just because she was bought as a bride for him.

Taishou Otome Fairytale Episode 12

The one note that kind of missed the mark in these final two episodes was the brief confrontation with Tamahiko’s father. Largely handled by the uncle, and good on him for standing his ground, Tamahiko really didn’t get the chance to confront his father or really deal with the poor relationship they have (not that I imagine it would have gone well either way). Instead he merely gets to say he’s glad his father wasn’t injured, though honestly Tamahiko’s father getting buried in an earthquake probably would have felt justified given how he treats even members of his own family.

However, given the nature of the story, Taishou Otome Fairytale ends with the sweetest of fairy-tale endings and the characters return to their peaceful lives in the village that is slowly rebuilding and Tamahiko has realised he’s no longer alone. It might be a little saccharine but sometimes that is exactly the mood you are in so it definitely serves a purpose.

I’ll get to the full season review shortly of this sweet delight.

Images from: Taishou Otome Fairytale. Dir. J Hatori. SynergySP. 2021

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Karandi James