Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 6

Leader of the non-rebellion.

Episode 6

There’s definitely something seriously wrong with Nanako’s family, particularly her father. I mean, I get he’s playing the overprotective daddy trope but how on earth could you reach the conclusion that Nanako is rebelling. And why is that his biggest issue with his daughter when she never actually speaks. Surely that’s of greater concern than whether or not she’s becoming a thug.

I did like the lead in this week with the club president and Eiji sharing pictures of their pets. One thing that I always find weird in any kind of show is when someone has a pet rabbit. Given it is illegal to own rabbits where I live and they are considered an invasive pest, the idea of keeping one as a pet just strikes me as bizarre. More or less like owning a pet cane-toad.

The moments with Eiji, his sister and Nanako at the park are cute but that’s about it in terms of what you can say about it Unless you want to get into the repeated rabbit poo joke that just seemed there to fill run time as it was pretty much nothing.

With the majority of the episode focusing in on Nanako’s father freaking out about his potentially ‘rebellious’ child though there just wasn’t enough cute going on to off-set it. And while we did resolve the issue at the end and everything ends with a sparkling smile, there’s just too much that doesn’t sit right. I think I prefer this anime when it focuses on the school stuff and it is rare for me to say that.

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Review Episodes 5 + 6

Can a charming lead overcome annoying supporting characters?

Episode 5

Aru takes the full focus in episode 5 of Hitoribocchi and I’m going to be honest, that was a detriment to my enjoyment. Aru’s unfortunate gag has already run paper thin and this episode just finished it off entirely cementing her as my least favourite character within this story and largely just boring me in the process.

We start with her wearing a primary school backpack rather than carrying her middle-school bag. There’s more than a few questions raised by this. For instance, does she actually empty the entirety of her bag each night and then grab an empty bag to fill for school? That seems unlikely. Even more unlikely that she just has her whole primary backpack just lying around ready to be carried to school.

However, even if we toss logic off a cliff, the next steps in the gag are what utterly obliterate any goodwill I might have been willing to give it.

In an effort to show perfection to the class, Aru keeps volunteering to read and answer questions and things inevitably go wrong. You would think that she’d change tactic and just keep her head down, but she insists on drawing attention to herself.  That was annoying enough, but the following day she apparently manages to dress entirely in a primary school uniform. And not notice until she’s half-way to school.

Forget suspension of disbelief, here you would need to actually paralyse your thought processes to accept that as the groundwork for a joke.

Anyway, they tediously drag this out for a full twenty minutes with a tennis match thrown in for who knows what reason and then mercifully the episode ends. I just can’t find anything in this episode that was redeemable and on the back of the ninja episode Hitoribocchi is coming perilously close to getting dropped from my watch list.

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Episode 6

While certainly not as tedious as the previous episode, episode 6 of Hitoribocchi certainly isn’t making itself any more endearing by returning some of the focus to the inept class teacher who is still, for reasons utterly idiotic, afraid of Nako. So begins the set-up for the episode with Nako having failed a maths test and the teacher having to give her result back and the follow up concern that now she has to stay for extra lessons and can’t walk home with Bocchi.

The moments this episode focused on Bocchi and her growing group of friends trying to tutor and support Nako were okay. Not great or laugh out loud funny, but there’s a cute dynamic in the group of odd-balls and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that those parts were better. There were also some cute moments early in the episode where Bocchi was willing herself to get sick in order to avoid presenting a poem.

However, the moments that brought us back to the teacher were just kind of sad and to be honest I don’t get anything from her character other than a growing sense of annoyance.

For me, Hitoribocchi is becoming something of a chore to watch so I’m uncertain at this point whether I’ll finish it or not. It isn’t a broken anime that would appeal to no one, but it certainly isn’t appealing to me at this point and the few elements I find cute or amusing are being overwhelmed by elements that I find just kind of stupid, dull or lazy.

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Senryuu Shoujo Review Episode 5

Cute nonsense without substance.

Fortune telling girl could have been cool. Could have been…

Episode 5

The art girl is already old news and doesn’t actually appear in the episode at all. Instead, the senpai from their club directs Nanako and Eiji to a psychic who can apparently make accurate predictions.

I mean someone who wears their hair like this because a fortune teller told them to wear different hairstyles is clearly someone you should trust for advice.

What follows are a series of date-ish sequences for Nanako and Eiji that are pretty cute but there’s not a lot of substance here. I mean, billiards jokes about sticks and holes aside, there’s really nothing going on in this episode.

It would have been nice to have gotten more from the fortune telling girl herself who realises she got her first prediction for the pair wrong because she used the wrong kanji for Eiji’s name. As she follows them around it would have been nice to learn anything about her but the episode just doesn’t get into it.

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Ultimately this is just light fluff and while Eiji and Nanako remain one of the cuter not-quite-a-couple anime characters I’ve seen for awhile I’m not entirely sure that’s enough for an entire season and this episode really starts to show the lack of other content in this series.

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu Review Episodes 3 + 4

Everybody has their problems.

Episode 3

Yeah, three episodes in and I’m already struggling with this one. Bocchi isn’t exactly a character I can rally behind. In week one her rampant insecurity worked well enough but in episode three it is just this side of obnoxious as she fears her friends will ditch her after one day absent. The lack of trust she places in the others in actually her single biggest hurdle in terms of actually being friends and I have to wonder why either of them are putting up with it to be honest. That string of texts she sends them is just this side of psychotic.

Throw in the teacher who is just a complete failure of an educator who runs in fear from her own student, and one who has done nothing to warrant such a reaction, and all and all this episode delivers everything that could go wrong with the set up and little to off-set it that might be charming. I wouldn’t even waste the time screen-capping the teacher because she’s just such a useless character and one who adds nothing to what is fast becoming a fairly uninteresting viewing experience.

In terms of what the episode does, we don’t really learn anything new about anyone or introduce a new character this week. Rather we have Bocchi trying to strengthen ties with her two existing friends by wanting to walk home with them, and that segues to her inviting them over which leads into her being sick and away from school. It is simple set up situation and milk it for laughs, but the laughs are fairly short in supply and I’m just not sure what to make of the section where she dresses in a bear costume.

While this isn’t yet a deal breaker, at three episodes in I’d have to say this isn’t an anime I’m going to go out of my way to recommend. It just doesn’t have anything more than its premise and it is already becoming stale so early in the season. Stretching the episodes to full length was probably part of the issue and this one would probably remain more charming as a short.

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Episode 4

It’s hard to know, outside of the overly long run time of each episode, where Hitoribocchi goes wrong. Or rather, whether it is getting anything actually wrong or if the sum of its parts just can’t collectively be all that entertaining. Bocchi continues to be a problematic protagonist having melt downs just trying to cross the road because she can’t greet the crossing guard but she also continues to try to make friends. That basic premise isn’t overly wrong, but this is neither exaggerated enough to be over the top and amusing, nor dealt with seriously enough to be actually dramatic.

The end result is something that feels like a slice of life with occasional punch lines, but mostly just lacks weight both in narrative and character development.

Of course, the exchange student who came to Japan to meet ninjas doesn’t help us take this anymore seriously. Part of me wonders if the real punch line here is that everyone in the class is actually completely dysfunctional individually. It seems weird that no one had noticed that this blonde girl was so ninja obsessed prior to this episode given she isn’t exactly going out of her way to hide it.

The second half of this episode which consists of ‘ninja training’ falls pretty flat no matter how you want to look at it and I definitely found myself checking the clock to see how much more needed to be endured before the end.

Part of me is curious about whether Bocchi will complete the task of befriending everyone, though at the rate she’s going that seems almost impossible. Otherwise though there is little to keep someone watching this series. If you are after school comedy there are better offers. If you are after slice of life or friendship stories there’s definitely better. Hitoribocchi just hasn’t put anything on the table yet that makes it something that needs to be watched.

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Kono Oto Tomare Review Episodes 3 + 4

A pathetic villainous character but fantastic focus on club interactions.

Kono  Oto Tomare Episode 3 - Houzuki
Not the pathetic villainous character, but a great image nonetheless.

Episode 3

The delinquent and the Princess face off multiple times in this third episode, though he’s not actually as much of a delinquent as people think and she’s no princess. However, despite enjoying the play between the two members of the club as they recruit additional members, episode 3 of Kono Oto Tomare plunges us headlong into a trope I despise: the evil vice-principal plotting to shut down a club.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 3 - Houzuki and Kudo

At no point in any school anime is any adult character given a rational explanation for ultimately being vindictive for the sake of it and to be perfectly frank it makes no sense and the tension for the characters feels completely artificial and over inflated. While I’m enjoying the other aspects of this anime so far, I probably could have done without this particular plot line and the fact that it isn’t resolved by the end of the episode just means we’ll have yet more preposterous motivations and actions to deal with.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 3 - Kudo

Despite that, I enjoyed large parts of this episode where it focused on Kudo’s backstory and the group of boys who joined the club, as well as the interactions between them and Houzuki. The personality clashes and Houzuki’s awkwardness as well as her Spartan teaching method all actually felt authentic and well thought out. If only the external threat to the club made more sense than vice-principals are evil and hate kids.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 3

The only other point of contention here is that Takezou as the club president has rapidly faded into the background as stronger and more interesting personalities have stolen the show. While Kudo is interesting and I’m liking his story, it would be nice if Takezou’s story of wanting to take the club to nationals continued to play a role here.

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Episode 4

Ask for more of the club president and we shall receive. Kono Oto Tomare continues to have the club members dedicated in their practice and learning to come together as a club. During this time Takezou starts to really step up as club president realising Houzuki’s weaknesses as a teacher and the need to support the morale within the club as they work tirelessly against the clock to prepare for their performance.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 4 - Takezou

While the vice principal’s challenge is still the motivating factor here, he fortunately makes no appearance and no artificial hindrance appears in this episode, though Takezou’s summons to the staff room doesn’t bode well. So instead of dwelling on the contrived reason for the race against time, the anime instead opts to look at each of the members as they strive to improve within their role within the club and in the song.

As with all good school club anime, the solution to a lot of the minor fractions within the group is to go and eat together. While this might be a fairly well-worn approach, I can’t deny the scene where the club had dinner was touching. The late night practices, the various members starting to look out for one another, it all just kind of works and the interactions within the club remain the strength of the series.

Also, they are getting more and more moments where they are working on the music. I’m really appreciating that aspect and I’m hoping we get more time watching this group practice and play together. Four episodes down and I’m very much enjoying this series.

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Kono Oto Tomare! Review Episodes 1 + 2

From little things, big things grow, maybe.

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 1

Episode 1

Here we are with the standard club anime where all the previous members graduated but one and now we’re recruiting new members. We’re just combining this with the standard delinquent/misunderstood trope character who needs to find some way to absolve his guilt after his actions led to the destruction of his grandfather’s work prior to his death. That said, just because we’ve seen these stories before doesn’t make this a bad start. Not at all.

Kudo - Kono Oto Tomare Episode 1

With its soft colour palette and slow pacing, this episode is fairly calm and mellow even with the violent encounters and flash backs. While the outcome of the episode is more or less guaranteed, the journey is worth taking and while neither of the main characters is getting points for originality any time soon, both Kudo and Takezou are interesting enough in their own ways.

One thing that is a little amiss might be that this is a koto club and other than one flash back sequence to the seniors playing, where we didn’t really hear it, there’s no koto playing in this first episode. Maybe that’s fine given this is the set-up for recruiting members and we’ll get there, but it just seemed like you would put the instrument on more display early in a season.

There’s a lot of anime this one will inevitably get compared to, but taken on its own, while it is an ordinary kind of story it is one that so far has been nicely put together and was fun to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing how the other members get recruited and to seeing them actually doing proper club activities.

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Episode 2

Well I said I was curious as to recruitment of other members and to hear them play the koto and episode 2 hit both those points. Admittedly Kono Oto Tomare doesn’t appear to be in any rush introducing just one new club member this week. Turns out the whole message about not judging a book by its cover isn’t just going to be applied to Kudo as Houzuki, the new member is also a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to her appearance and personality.

Houzuki - Kono Oto Tomare Episode 2

With another fiery personality in the mix, things are more lively than last week. We see Takezou perform to try to recruit new members though with fairly indifferent results before we meet Houzuki and it is revealed that she’s apparently a genius player. They hold off on proving that for a fair while until Houzuki is in the club room alone and Kudo hears her playing from outside the door. It was pretty impressive all things considered with pretty visuals thrown into the mix.

Houzuki - Kono Oto Tomare Episode 2

Kudo continues looking for absolution for past misdeeds, this week helping the club get their instruments fixed before volunteering to help repair them. The delinquent with the heart of gold act is one we should all be familiar with but that doesn’t make it any less endearing and it is certainly enough to finally thaw Houzuki’s chilly personality.

While I’m still a bit behind on this one I think I’m going to enjoy it so for now this one is firmly staying in my line up.

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It Isn’t Paranoia When She’s Really Threatening To Kill You

Kaguya Sama: Love is War Post Title

Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War Episode 6 Review

Much like another anime title this season, Kaguya-Sama Love is War opted to use episode 6 to drop another character into the mix. While Ishigami has so far been relatively entertaining, the dropping him into the story and then treating him like he’d always been there was just a bit off and felt like the author was kind of desperate to expand on the basic concept. I wouldn’t have minded a new member of the council recruited, but after introducing Ishigami he’s just literally always in the student council room even though for five episodes he’s been nowhere to be seen.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 6 Ishigami

That’s ultimately a minor problem, but it is a little jarring as they just try and play it like ‘of course he’s always been here’ and you are left wondering just how much he’s overheard if he actually just sits under the desk all the time (which in itself is a weird thing to wonder, and why was he under the desk).

Kaguya Sama Episode 6 Ishigami talks to Shirogane

Whichever way, Ishigami adds a new element into the anime which so far has been Shinomiya vs Shirogane with Fujiwara essentially disrupting their battles either through design or happenstance. More importantly, Ishigami has seen Shinomiya without the smiling and perfect mask, which makes you wonder why? Given how often Fujiwara has earned Shinomiya’s ire, why did she only drop her guard with Ishigami and clearly threaten him? It seems like a foolish move considering Ishigami does tell Shirogane, even if he does dismiss it. That potentially could have been game over for Shinomiya right then and there.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 6 Shinomiya

I guess I should probably look at the events this episode at some point. They sit in the council room and talk. Bad visual pun. Some fairly solid colour imagery. Terrible personality tests. And then painted nails. Yeah, I think that covers it.

Kaguya Sama Episode 6 Fujiwara

Needless to say, this one still isn’t dazzling me, but unlike the other anime that dumped new characters on us in the mid-season, Ishigami actually does add a lot to the mix of personalities here and the double impact of Ishigami and Fujiwara basically diluting Shinomiya and Shirogane is actually making this much easier watching. I’m not sure that I’m really giving this one much praise in saying that, but despite the plot being pretty shrug worthy I actually did find myself enjoying parts of this episode and the whole thing just kind of flowed along.

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FIRE EMBLEM: THREE HOUSES
FIRE EMBLEM: THREE HOUSES