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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Sagrada Reset Series Review: Why An Interesting Premise Isn’t Always Enough

Overview:

Sakurada is a town where the majority of the people have power. One specific power each that can be used under specific conditions. Most of these powers are harmless and fairly useless individually, but this is still a point of concern for those watching over the city. Kei’s power is that he doesn’t forget anything including time even after the world is reset by Misora. By combining their powers they are going to work to help people.

Review:

Sagrada Reset (or Sakurada Reset) is a fairly interesting anime. That will probably be hard to believe if you spend even five minutes doing a google search on it and see the parade of reviews of the first, second and third episodes and then see that the internet went pretty silent on this title as a large number of viewers dropped this and moved on. However, this is a 24 episode anime and one that the writers clearly intended people to watch the whole of rather than receiving instant gratification each and every episode, and to be honest I’m really glad I watched this through to the end, despite my own stated desire to drop this show mid-season.

There are plenty of shows where the whole is greater than the sum of their parts and some of those actually manage to be decent week to week, so I guess the question I’m left with is why was Sagrada such a frustrating viewing experience when stretched out from April to early September?

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For a lot of the reviews I read of the early episodes, it was the characterisation and pacing that was killing the show. The characters were compared to robots, androids, lifeless dolls and pretty much anything else that has about as much personality as a brick. It wasn’t even that much of a stretch. These characters do spend a great deal of time sitting very still with limited movement other than the occasional head tilt, talking in a manner that to the average listener sounds grossly unnatural. To be precise, the characters are ridiculously precise in a way that no-one ever is when speaking. It is an odd experience listening to them and there isn’t much visually happening to distract you.

That isn’t the same thing as a criticism though. Certainly it isn’t natural, but natural is probably not what anyone intended to go for with these characters. So for the first three episodes, I found these characters fascinating. Not actually good characters or terribly real, but interesting in that unique, what-are-they-doing kind of way. Admittedly, by mid-season, some of that charm had worn off and what I was left with was stilted characters who I will admit now were developing (as evidenced by where they end up) but it was happening so slowly that it was almost imperceptible until you actually reflected back.  Kei in the final episodes isn’t the Kei we met early on despite what the other characters might say and Misora, the emotionless robot girl herself is almost getting close to real person status by the end and you can’t really put your finger on when that transformation occurred because it has been a slow build of a myriad of tiny changes.

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Basically, the characters won’t work for everyone and none of them are going to end up on my character of the year list, but I am going to remember them because they don’t fit into the average moulds I’m used to seeing marched out onto the screen in anime. Again, not sure if that is positive, but it isn’t a criticism either. It just kind of is and different people in the audience will respond to them differently. For a lot of people that response is to turn the show off.

The second major criticism of the pacing is a harder one to discuss. The pacing is incredibly slow. Even with a two year time-skip by the time I got to the end of this show’s run it felt like I had been watching it forever. Part of that I think will be solved now that the full show is released and I intend to revisit this show and binge it in three or four blocks to see if that makes the pacing any more tolerable. With the pacing as it is though… Well, you have to either be really interested in the premise or find the characters really fascinating if you are actually going to push through with this one particularly during the first twelve episodes. Fortunately the second half definitely hits the accelerator and while it is still fairly measured, it isn’t making you want to pull your own hair out anymore.

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But these aren’t the only issues the show suffers from. It also suffers from a main character whose motives and actual personality are murky. He isn’t the good guy trying to save the world because he can. He isn’t on any kind of ego trip. He doesn’t necessarily want to be the best. He openly admits he is being selfish and that his own goals don’t have any higher meaning other than they are what he wants to do. Basically Kei Asai is the central figure of a story and his actions do drive a lot of the plot but those actions regularly have no significant meaning behind them. There is the motivator of trying to undo the death of Sumire Soma from early in the story, but most of the missions Kei undertakes for the Bureau have no direct connection to that event and it is hard to see what benefit Kei is seeking from his actions sometimes. That made it hard to care whether he succeeded or not, a lot of the time.

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Misora isn’t much better. Particularly early on. She seems so empty and useless as a character, her entire identity defined by how Kei sees her. It would be very easy to rant about female characters lacking agency but when we see the entire journey Misora takes, while it doesn’t make her earlier character all that palatable, it makes it hard to get on a high horse about character development. Misora arguably has the most development as Kei, despite changes that you would expect from the life he has lived, doesn’t gain anywhere near as much in terms of personality as Misora does from the events and experiences.

With the two central characters being hard to care about or rally behind, it keeps the audience at a distance from the show. There’s limited investment in the events and in their outcomes early on. Not to mention, Misora’s Reset ability is overwhelming and it is hard to imagine something coming along that she couldn’t fix despite the early blunder where a Reset had already been used making it ‘impossible’ to fix Soma’s death.

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Yet despite all these potential criticisms and deal breaking flaws that the show exhibits, there is one thing that having watched it from start to finish that I am very happy with. This is a planned and fully cohesive story. With one exception (that I’m hoping does tie in and I just missed it), every one of the earlier stories and events that Kei and Misora go through in that first half of the series is utilised and drawn back into the central plot as the show moved into and through its final arc. Conversations and ideas that felt meaningless, bewildering, or tacked on and then forgotten, suddenly serve great purpose and come together to make an ending which is rich in meaning and purpose and feels genuinely rewarding. Part of the reward is that you succeeded in the endurance test of not dropping this show, but the other part is that what you are seeing is actually satisfying story telling.

It is the kind of thing that is seen far too rarely in anime. As a medium, anime is there and then gone. One season is quickly followed by another and so many shows come out that viewers take one or two looks (and a lot follow a three episode rule) and make their choices. So shows stack their ideas and displays of prowess and frequently forget the greater narrative leading to stagnating middle-seasons and convoluted or messy endings (or worse, a non-ending). For everything that Sagrada Reset has against it, that ending alone made it worth my time.

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But, I wouldn’t have gotten there if I hadn’t been drawn to other aspects of the shows. The main draw for me was the premise. The town of Sakurada was interesting and the way powers could be combined and used for unexpected purposes was enough of a novelty for a slowly moving plot to keep me coming back even at the mid-season point where I seriously considered letting this show go from my line-up. The interactions between the students and the bureau also gave me hope that this story had some greater purpose or meaning in store for us and ultimately it did do something with those ideas even if it was never quite what I expected. And that was the other part of the show’s charm. It never quite went the direction I thought it might go but it never did anything that you could consider overly crazy with its narrative. Everything was logical and methodical and while that may not sound all that appealing, I quite appreciated it.

I will put a warning on this anime though if you are triggered by acts of self-harm. Kei has very little sense of self-preservation and some of his tactics and moves are quite underhanded and on at least two occasions violent. So while this show is not a gore fest or anything of the sort, those scenes are confronting, more so because the rest of the events are so benign.

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This isn’t an anime I will recommend because the vast majority of people are not going to like it. However, it you’ve got the time and you like to see something that takes a slightly different approach (not a radical reinvention or innovation but just not exactly the norm), then this is worth watching. If you make it through to the end you’ll probably gain some satisfaction though whether you end up feeling it was worth the time it took to get there is something only you can decide.


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Sagrada Reset Episode 24: Kei is Everyone’s Hero

Review:

As this is a final episode review I’m not worried about spoilers so if you are concerned, please go back and read some of the reviews of earlier episodes.

I know with absolute certainty that writing a full season review of this is going to be really hard. There are some things about this show that I have loved (and that’s why I made it through all those very long feeling episodes), but the glaring flaws of the series haven’t gone away. They carry through right to this final episode and are actually emphasised by the fact that a lot of this episode returns us to the thoughts and feelings we had back in those first few episodes nearly six months ago.

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Having resolved the whole power loss thing and the future of Sakurada (or at least found a temporary solution so things can go on hold) the majority of this episode focuses on the inter-relationships between Kei, Misora and Soma. Though, we do get flashes of pretty much every other significant character from the series so we can see that they all in fact got a more or less happy ending. It is a blink and you miss it nod to the fact that other characters exist.

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Despite the fact that the main plot resolved itself, I actually found this ending reasonably satisfying because the story started with this trio and has been shaped around their relationships, so giving a final episode to properly provide closure here didn’t feel like an added extra. It actually felt like the writers had carefully considered what the main story was and realistically it was always about Kei, Misora and Soma as the whole powers getting taken away crisis only really came up toward the end of the run.

Yeah, I’ll get to a full review soon but right now I’m feeling pretty happy with how this played out even if the actual viewing during the mid-season became incredibly frustrating.


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Summer 2017 Week 10

At this point I’m really feeling like I’m chasing my own tail around in circles for all that I’m very busy but don’t seem to be accomplishing much. Hopefully that changes soon but in the meantime, this anime season is drawing to a close and with a few exceptions, I’m not even upset by that. As much as I have found some ‘okay’ shows to fill my down time if these had disappeared I probably wouldn’t have been all that upset. Still, the Autumn season is coming and I know there’s a couple of titles that I am particularly hoping come out on something I can watch.

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 34)

Not the best episode this week but clearly setting up where we are going for the end of this season so a workable episode. Overall, season 2 of this show has exceeded all of my expectations and been a thoroughly fun ride. Hopefully it ends on a high note and also hopefully season 3 isn’t too far away.

Princess Principal (Episode 9)

After last week being a strong character story with a weak case, episode 9 kind of follows suit but for different reason. Chise narrates this episode and as an outside (we’ve gone back in time a bit again) she isn’t really in the loop for the case, but in this episode it doesn’t matter because she’s given her own role and story that works well with the team’s case. I continue to really enjoy this show and find the characters quite delightful.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Episode 23)

Episode 23 was pretty satisfying and now they just have to not totally stuff up the ending and this series will be pretty good. Odd though that pacing and characterisation are pretty terrible and the narrative takes twenty something episodes to come together and yet somehow this show has nearly made me feel that all of that wait was worth it.

Gamers (Episode 8)

This continues to be an amusing enough mess of teen drama that kind of appeals to me. If nothing else, this show has kept me highly entertained this season if for no other reason than wondering what about it is actually appealing.

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Okay, I Guess

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 9)

Pretty sure this was the worst episode of the show yet, even including the slime episode. Another couple like this will see this show tumble a little in its standing, and that would be a shame. Cliche driven though it is, it has been amusing up until now. I think they just need to figure out what to do now that they’ve made Touya completely untouchable.

18if (Episode 9)

If we get another episode like this one, 18if might even get dropped and it will certainly fall lower on this list. I really didn’t like episode 9. The subject matter aside (though that is certainly questionable), the story itself was incredibly lackluster.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 9)

Not so sure about the last episode. The introduction of a truly annoying character definitely hurt my enjoyment of a show that has otherwise been consistently entertaining. Will have to see how this develops and hopefully the show can maintain its fairly even enjoyment until the end.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 8)

The formula continues and once again a very satisfying conclusion as yet another horrible person goes to hell. It is hard to even worry about the fact that the one pulling the string is also going to go to hell in most cases as you genuinely cannot think of what they should do by the time they get to the point of pulling the string. Certainly, there are points earlier on where they might have made different choices, but eventually they all end up cornered.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Episode 10)

Another fairly average episode. Then again, this show continues to feel better than it is simply because there are so many other shows doing worse this season. This one is at least pretty consistent in its delivery of content even if that content isn’t particularly great.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 10)

And the mess of tones and ideas continues while the writing remains pretty poor. This show’s biggest flaw is that it is boring but that just makes you notice that the narrative hasn’t been going anywhere and that the tone is inconsistent. At least if the show were interesting I wouldn’t be so focussed on its flaws.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 9)

Another mystery begins and we’ll see how this one plays out. This show seems to have settled after that initial mystery where it just went a little bit crazy and hopefully this new mystery resolves well.

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They Made This

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 10)

I’m not making anymore excuses for this. Ernesti’s enthusiasm aside, the story in this is utterly broken and poorly delivered. Not one of the characters has more than a one note personality and as of episode 10 I still have no idea what the actual conflict in the story is. They keep finding various things to fight against but the initial set up seemed to be about beasts that needed to be kept at bay and now we’re in some random fight with a Kingdom we didn’t even know about until episode 9.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 9)

Absolutely no story this week, just Victo dealing with family issues while everyone else played with a snake in the forest (true story). Anyway, this didn’t get any better or worse, but my tolerance of cute sword guys with no plot kind of gave out which is why this one is no longer on the bottom of the watch list.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 10)

And Katsugeki is not dropped but only because I’m kind of in the habit of watching it. There really isn’t any other reason why I’m still holding this one on my watch list.

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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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Sagrada Reset Episode 23: When Going Back to the Beginning Works

Review:

Sagrada Reset has been an odd watch and as watch the penultimate episode the show is truly demonstrating that if nothing else this was an incredibly well thought out project, even if that very calculated nature early on made the series a someone stilted viewing experience and one that wasn’t particularly enjoyable in the early stages. Despite that, this episode only works because of the foundation that was carefully laid out and these last four episodes and this final arc has been an incredibly satisfying viewing experience.

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As always, the characters take time out even during what counts as an action sequence, to discuss their personal philosophies and question the meaning of their actions in dialogue that really does not sound natural and yet after 23 episodes of this I’ve kind of gotten used to it as a viewer.

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Kei still settles issues with threats of self-harm rather than threats against others, a throw back to one of the very first cases he worked on where he actually cut himself before a reset. It is pleasing to note that Asai Kei isn’t on some epic journey of self-discovery. He is who he is and while his views might be a little off, he remains true to them and they dictate his every action. Personally I find him too idealistic and immature to really get the admiration many of the other characters seem to have for him, but as a character he is ultimately more interesting than someone who is just going to fight to get stronger every episode. I also like that the double agendas characters have used all the way through the series comes back in this episode where Kei is seemingly trying to convince Urachi but is actually working very solidly on persuading someone else to join his side.

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Unfortunately, Misora’s role in all of this was glorified secretary but it kind of looks from the preview like she’ll have a bigger part to play next episode. And I am really kind of wondering what is going to happen now Sumire has returned to Sagrada?

It is hard to say without seeing the final episode, but I really think this is a series that if you bailed out on early is worth giving another shot to now that you can binge episodes in bulk. This has become quite an interesting story when you look at the whole rather than the individual parts which admittedly are a little buggy.


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Summer 2017 Week 9

A slightly less intense week which was definitely needed. Thanks to everyone who has sent me good wishes or positive thoughts via twitter, things really have been a bit full on in the real world at the moment but there’s light at the end of the tunnel in that I know in about a month’s time I will be through most of the stuff I’m currently dealing with from a work point of view and things should resume some sort of normality. Just have to get through the next month or so.

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 33)

No episode last week.

Princess Principal (Episode 8)

Episode 8 feels better than it actually is. I really enjoyed watching it and felt the characters really carried the episode, and then I thought back and realised that in terms of the story, pretty much nothing happens in episode 8. It is filling in backstory (probably fairly crucial backstory), it is helping us understand the characters better, but it isn’t being a good story on its own which given this series has been pretty episodic is a little bit of a problem. Still, this show has been my surprise love for the season, so still having a lot of fun with it.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Episode 22)

This continues to build on all of those bread crumbs that were so irritatingly scattered around in the first half to deliver something that could potentially be a great ending (there’s a lot of ‘could’ and ‘potential’ in there though and I won’t count my chickens before they are hatched). Really keeping my fingers crossed that Kei’s plan delivers the ending this build up deserves.

Gamers (Episode 7)

Right, I’m still not going to argue this show is amazing and it is never going into the Must Watch category, but I’ve decided that I would love to own this show on DVD and be able to binge episodes at will.  I’m really just having fun watching these incredibly awkward characters fumble their way through first love with enough gaming references thrown in to give it a little more appeal than the usual rom-com. Still, from a narrative point of view it is all over the place and the characters are all incredibly over the top so it isn’t going to appeal to everyone.

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Okay, I Guess

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 8)

Still amused by this and still seeing very little point to anything going on. I guess not everything has to be deep and meaningful but I find it odd that this hasn’t managed to annoy me yet with how little purpose most events in the show seem to have. One minor gripe is that Touya didn’t make anyone slip this week but he did shoot two pickpockets with rubber bullets so that was probably much the same really.

18if (Episode 8)

Episode 8 of this is truly beautiful to look at. Okay, the story is every bit as dream like as previous ones, but it feels like we’re getting a little bit closer to something. Overall, this series remains confusing when thinking about the whole narrative, but individual episodes continue to be interesting in their own way.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 8)

This one is definitely consistent. It delivers low key entertainment week after week never getting any better but not doing anything to derail the basic premise or tone of the show. That makes it fairly fun to watch as you know more or less what you are going to get each week but also pretty unremarkable at the end of the day.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 7)

Well, we’re pretty much back to formula this week. That isn’t actually a bad thing because the formula works pretty well. It just isn’t as interesting as what the last two week’s delivered so there’s a minor disappointment there. Still, I did enjoy seeing the guy get taken to hell this week. It just felt very satsifying.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Episode 9)

This is starting to take a downward turn, or maybe I’m just over it. Basically, same old jokes, same old characters, and maybe I’m ready to let this go. It was never particularly good and its biggest strength was it wasn’t terrible and occasionally even managed to be kind of funny.

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 9)

Look at that, last week I complained there was nothing for the characters to fight against and this week drops us head first into a war we know nothing about and have no reason to care about but the narrator will work hard to make you feel there is some sense of urgency here. This show makes me roll my eyes way too often.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 9)

There’s some set up this week for something that may turn out to be some sort of plot point of interest but really this continues to be plagued by poor writing, poor pacing, and a really boring protagonist. It isn’t actually bad, but it never quite becomes good either.

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They Made This

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 8)

This was a surprisingly good conclusion to the mystery. They didn’t wrap everything up and there’s still loose ends, but the answers we got were actually kind of satisfying. That’s a step forward for this show and if it keeps going I may need to move it back to being ‘Okay’.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 9)

Another mission, another fight, zero explanations. Looks and sounds pretty still but I’m really checking out while watching now because they’ve given me nothing to care about.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 8)

There was an attempt this week to humanize Victo’s character (and sort out his name with the subs switching to Victor). It was an attempt and probably the best effort at making him feel like a person rather than a character template, but it is just a little bit late after 7 episodes of him being pretty much a painful brat.

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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)

Does anyone have a favourite villain this season? I’m really struggling to think of anyone who fits the title (other than Stain from My Hero Academia of course).


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Sagrada Reset Episode 22: What’s Next, Kei?

Review:

We’re so close to the end now and I have to say, this show has becoming surprisingly great to watch in its final arc. I’m actually thinking this story would have worked much better as a binge because all that set up wouldn’t have taken months, but hours and I’d probably have tolerated it better. However, that’s hindsight for you and it isn’t as though I can go back and tell myself just to wait until this finishes airing.

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Kei is getting the gang together and then faces off with Urachi in a last ditch effort to save Sakurada from having memories of powers removed. It is odd because I don’t want Urachi to win but Kei’s overall motivation is pretty flimsy. He likes the town and the powers. That seems like a really weak motivator for attempting to defy a government agency, reverse time, and now kidnapping.

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Still, Urachi is entirely self-motivated and really hasn’t thought about anyone outside of himself so I wouldn’t want to see him come out on top. It is also good to see Kei relying on the others to keep his plan, whatever it is, moving even if he does seem to be using his ‘friends’ like chess pieces in this match.

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From the looks, this show has two episodes left and I’m really hoping it can end on the high it seems to be heading for and doesn’t manage to fall apart by trying to be overly clever at the end. If it can do that, than this has the potential to be one of my favourite shows of the year despite how irritating I found a lot of the first half. Of course, that is ‘if it can do that’.


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Sagrada Reset Episode 21: Decisions and Consequences

Review:

There’s a real sense of tension in this episode and it is a feeling that has been lacking from the majority of the season. Suddenly it feels very real that Kei might lose because for once resetting is not going to solve the problem and the witch has run out of tricks to help him. That said, Kei has always found a way before even if his methods are questionable. He was described by Urachi this episode as ‘insane’ rather than ‘honest’ and I have to say that some of his earlier action probably support that analysis of his character.

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Soma has given her last hint to Kei and is now trying to not be a liability. This leads to her nearly taking her own life, which of course leads us back to the question of the swampman and whether or not this current Soma is actually Soma or just some program Soma set in motion. It’s interesting because there is no answer and ultimately you are just looping through rationalisation which has kind of been the reason I stuck this show out. It makes me think things through but doesn’t simply drop an answer on your lap if you wait long enough.  That said, it hasn’t made individual episodes any more exciting to watch, but suddenly all of the characters have come together and are choosing a side. Will Sakurada still have people who can use abilities in a few days time or not?

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It seems that Kei came to some sort of decision by the end of this episode but as usual he hasn’t bothered to let anyone else in on his thoughts so the audience are pretty much in the dark. Though Urachi did make me really curious about what he has written in his notebook.


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Karandi James.

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Sagrada Reset Episodes 19 + 20: An Interesting Development

Review Episode 19:

Thinking about it, I would have to say that this was the best episode this show has so far delivered. What is kind of strange about that statement is that nothing that happens in this episode makes sense of is interesting if you haven’t sat through at least 17 of the previous episodes (the glass marble one is still making me scratch my head about why it existed). Still, this episode delivered and while I expected Misora to be targeted I probably should have paid more attention to the time frame for the show; both the time Kei and Misora have spent together and the time that Urachi can actually effect. I may have seen that development coming if I’d put the two together after the last episode. But I kind of like that sort of development that catches me by surprise but makes perfect sense.

This week we get a back story for Urachi and I like that they don’t spend too much time trying to make him a sympathetic character but do establish his goals and motives and it all kind of makes sense even if you do not want him to actually succeed.

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However outside of this, we finally get closure on why Soma Sumire died. No more speculation or half answers but actual truth and understanding. Also, the whole swamp man story from way back when returns which is a nice bit of cohesion for the series.

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The scenes between Soma and Kei this week are some of the best with Kei actually emoting in a genuine fashion for once and Soma finally not being the ‘witch’ but just a girl (or a copy of a girl) who isn’t going to end up with the guy she likes because she prioritized his happiness (maybe). It was kind of adorable.

Anyway, glad this show made a last minute attempt to pull itself out of a downward spiral and this second half has been really quite interesting, though probably not enough to offset how slow that first half was.

Review Episode 20:

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And we have entered what appears to be the final story with part one of five and abilities have been wiped from Sakurada with people forgetting them. However, Kei can’t forget and after one day of exploration he decides that abilities need to come back so he’s going to get Misora to reset.

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Of course, she’s been reverted to before she met Kei and has no reason to do what he says and more importantly has no memory of his power. Enter the photo that they were given which creates a replica of the place when abilities existed and then give a nod back to the fact that before Misora met Kei she just reset whenever she saw someone cry. Yes, the guy who has been pretty robotic all the way through has finally cried though to be honest I’m not sure if it was because of the situation or just because trying to reconcile all those different memories, both real and fake, just finally got to him.

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So, they now have two days to find a way to stop history repeating and abilities being wiped from Sakurada. On the bright side, even Kei acknowledges there isn’t really a reason abilities are needed and that he just likes it. I’d be kind of disappointed if they tried to pull some kind of theme of justice out of this at this point given all the way along we’ve been subject to the whims of the characters.

Looking forward to these final episodes.


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Sagrada Reset Episodes 17 + 18: Too Late To Save It But Things Are Finally Moving

Review Episode 17:

It is a shame it has taken 17 episodes to get to this point where finally the audience is given some insight into how such a town came to be and what its purpose might have been. Though, outside of that, the story continues as Kei tries to correct everything he sees as wrong even though no one else seems to even care what is going on the Bureau continues to either be a faceless entity or represented by the sub-group who are clearly pushing a personal agenda that may or may not be problematic (I can’t see the future so what would I know).

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Overall, Soma seems to still have things going her way but we’re still in the dark as to what it is she’s trying to ultimately accomplish. It would be nice if there was some clarity around that soon. As always, I find the idea of this show more interesting than its reality.

Review Episode 18:

That was actually a really good episode. Not just good compared to everything that had come before it, but just great to watch. You finally feel like there’s some pay off from watching through all the very stilted conversations this show has thrown at you.

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The character motives still remain a little murky and at times you just have to wonder how they think things will be better if they succeed, but at least all the little incidents are starting to make sense as to why we sat through them (except the girl in the glass marble – that one is still a mystery).

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There’s one more part in this particular arc and I’m really looking forward to it now. I still don’t actually think I should recommend this for people to watch. As a viewing experience it is still kind of lacking, but at least I’m starting to feel like it has been worth sticking it out.


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Karandi James.

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