Tokyo Ghoul:Re Series Review: This Franchise Demonstrates How Not To Adapt Something

Given I stopped doing episode reviews after episode 4, it should be fairly clear that this anime didn’t really do much for me. And normally I would just drop it and call it a day, but I decided to finish watching it. Mostly because the madness of creating an anime season that follows on from the manga but not the previous anime season just struck me as being a particularly harsh slap in the face for anime fans.

Review:

Let’s get the biggest point out of the way and then I can get on with reviewing this somewhat troubled narrative on its own merit, or lack of it, rather than the perceived slight of being literally dropped into the middle of a mess without any attempt to bridge where anime viewers were left after the previous season and where this began. I actually do get that a lot of anime exists just to sell manga or for fans of the source material. That’s all fine. But I have to wonder if even fans of the manga are happy by how this played out. It isn’t as though they can watch the anime from start to finish and get a coherent story. Instead they’ll get an introduction, a trainwreck of original material and then a jarring leap back to the source. Without heavy reliance on the source there is genuinely no way to follow this leap because characters aren’t where they were and half of them are either unknown or poorly introduced. As someone who never read the manga, I can assure you it is incomprehensible without at least some reading on various wikis and fan sites.

And that is not okay.

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Who is entertained by this? Anime viewers can’t possibly be because this franchise has no rewatch on its own without using the manga as a bridge. Manga fans may as well just read the manga because at least the story might be cohesive rather than what this presented. This is possibly the worst decision they could have made. A full reboot would have been better. A filler original series to somehow skew events back in line with the manga might have satisfied. Honestly, a ten minute character narration explaining events from point A to B would have been something.

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But no. That kind of courtesy is apparently not given when there is a clear expectation by producers that people will watch this franchise regardless of what dribble they drop on them. And given I watched it all the way through, I can’t say they were wrong. And yet, I know on hearing the announcement that Re was getting a second season, my only thought was that I was done. I have no desire to revisit this franchise. Not even the first season which I actually quite liked. And that lack of desire for more comes from the issues in this story on its own rather than from the annoyance that they did nothing to soften the jarring change in narrative for anime fans.

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Standing on its own, Tokyo Ghoul Re is riddled with issues. The central conceit that Haise has no memories of who he is and somehow this is a journey to find himself is poorly executed at best. With a visible transference of hair colour to indicate his current mental state (something that doesn’t play well given Kaneki’s hair went white due to trauma and that is a believable phenomenon whereas hair changing back from white sure isn’t) essentially everything about this struggle is blunt forced into the story bringing the current action sequence to a screeching halt while Haise/Kaneki play around in mental la-la land.

While it might be argued this mirrors Kaneki’s original transformation with Rize acting as a guide, this lacks any of the finesse or poignancy of that encounter. Superficially it is much the same and yet it is inelegant and, to be perfectly honest, quite dull to watch play out.

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Equally, the new characters introduced under Haise’s care are incredibly flat and one dimensional. They barely get screen time and when they do it is to the detriment of the story. And while some new bit players isn’t the worst thing Tokyo Ghoul drops on its audience, it seems it doesn’t realise that nobody cares about these characters building to what is set up as a tragic moment during its final episode that falls flat because to be perfectly frank I was more than happy to see that particular character bite the dust. I only wondered why more hadn’t joined him.

They are clutter and distractions from the older cast members who really just make cameo appearances. Arima gets talked about a lot but barely appears on screen. Touka shows up briefly and Haise gets all teary, but nothing ever comes out of this sequence. He then just moves on. Tsukiyama spends the majority of his time being crazy for reasons unclear to anime only viewers, and then his fate makes up the majority of the final battle sequence and I’m still not sure why anything about that plot line mattered.

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Basically, this entry into the franchise lacks any kind of central theme or driving force. Done better, Haise’s identity might have carried the episodes, but it really didn’t have anywhere near enough power to do that in its current state. And there’s literally nothing else. They go out. They investigate ghouls. They fight. Occasionally a ghoul investigator gets killed (or lots do) and everyone acts all outraged. There are some large scale fights with even more ridiculous antics going on than earlier seasons and none of them look very good.

I guess if you are a really big fan of this franchise there might be something here to cling to, but I didn’t find it. I watched the final scenes play out and breathed a sigh of relief that I was done. So clearly I’m not recommending it.


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And Now… The Results of the Worst of Spring Reader’s Poll Are Here!

If you missed it, the best of the Spring 2018 season reader poll results can be found here.

For those who are new to my end of season awards, I’ll just remind you that worst of the season is a slightly misleading term given I ask people to vote for a show they didn’t drop but was the worst thing they actually watched. That means there are plenty of anime out there that never get voted for that are significantly worse because people have simply dropped them without completing them.

First up, my choices for worst of the season.

Worst Story – Tokyo Ghoul: Re

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It seemed mean to give it to Record of Grancrest War considering it already won this ‘honour’ at the end of the Winter season, and Tokyo Ghoul Re has it coming. No explanations, no attempt to link the previous anime season to this, and just abandoning the anime fans to muddle their way through was a really poor move. Worse, even when you look up all the things you need to look up, we essentially spend 12 episodes gaining very little ground and it is hard to see much point to most of this. There’s the ongoing issue of Haise finding his memories but that’s about three episodes worth of content stretched out and then there’s a bunch of stuff with side characters I was never made to care about. Basically, this one was a bit of a mess but if you just want some ghoul fight sequences, it might deliver that for you.

Worst Visuals – Devils’ Line

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There was never any question on this category. Devils’ Line is ugly to watch whether it is the weird filter they put over scenes, the terrible effect used to make the vampires seem faster or whatever, or just the drab looking everything, it is hideous. While I appreciate not every vampire needs to be an Adonis existing only to draw the female eye, this show is just bad to look at.

Worst Opening – My Hero Academia Season 3

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Yes, I hear your complaints and yet I’m standing by this choice. After some truly thrilling OP’s, My Hero Academia has delivered one that neither gets me fired up, nor visually interests me, outside of the final image of Midoriya standing with All Might. Basically I’ve taken to skipping the OP and am hoping for a mid-season change.

Worst Character – The Cast of Caligula

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This was probably a cheap call, and yet I knew my least favourite characters existed in this series and yet when looking at each one I can barely remember their names let alone distinguish one from the other in terms of which was a more poorly introduced, fleshed out or developed character. This cast is way oversized and not one of the characters pictured above does a single thing of consequence in the entire series (watch it, remove each of these characters, note how that makes no difference to the plot at all). So yeah, it is an entire cast but this is my choice for worst character this season (they even beat some of the choices I had from Grancrest).

And now…

Worst Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – Doreiku The Animation

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I was really torn on this one. Caligula was a great contender for worst of the season as was Devils’ Line. But ultimately both of those had some redeeming qualities hiding deeply beneath layers of poor choices whereas Doreiku is just a concept thrown out there and then used by someone who doesn’t have a clue what to do with it. The first episode presents what could be a rich world of exploration about human desire and morality and ultimately the story barely manages to remain coherent and certainly doesn’t explore anything. It routinely shows us that the characters are horrible but that isn’t really exploration so much as just piling more mud onto what is already a mess. So despite having what arguably could have been one of the more interesting concepts this season, Doreiku has managed to be the anime I really wish I hadn’t stuck with.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

There was some tight competition for worst anime of the season that people actually watched and we ended up with a tie for third place. See the results for yourself.

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And so, with 9 votes, Darling in the Franxx won worst anime that people actually watched this season. I think the show’s popularity worked against it here because as bad as some of the other shows were, more people were watching Franxx. Still, you have to admit it became quite a mess as the series progressed.

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Devils’ Line therefore took a comfortable second place as worst anime closely followed by SAOA: GGO and Doreiku the animation in third place.

It seems like it has been a long season but now we are about to move into the Summer Anime season and begin it all again. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for some amazing stories, and for those anime that disappoint us, there’s always the chance to vote for it in the worst of Summer poll.


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Karandi James

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Here It Is! The Results of the Best of Spring 2018 Reader Poll!

Welcome to the Best of Spring 2018 and while we might say there were slightly leaner pickings this time around, as always it has been fun following the shows with others in the blogosphere and discussing from week to week. Whether that is the discussions around Wixoss, the laughing at Devils’ Line, or just being perplexed by what Grancrest planned to do next, there’s certainly been entertainment to be had this season. But now, even though some shows are yet to complete, it is time to reveal our choices for best of the season.

To my awards…

Best Story – Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love

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I realise this is a really odd choice, but to be perfectly frank the story is what failed on so many of the shows I watched this season so Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love might be a fairly ordinary story, but it was at least competently handled from beginning to end. I nearly went with Wixoss, but unfortunately that story makes no sense unless you’ve watched the three prior seasons, so Tada it is.

Best Visuals – Darling in the Franxx

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This is another category I struggled with more than I should but this season nothing has really visually grabbed me or made me want to discuss it (outside of the anime that have been pretty terrible). Even Full Metal Panic isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece as it is trying to reconcile a look with its predecessor from 13 years ago. While Franxx may have its issues, it does at least have an interesting and memorable look about it.

Best Opening – Steins;Gate 0

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Finally, an easy question. The opening here is distinct and really does set the tone of the story, while also being reminiscent of the original series. I really enjoy this OP each week. The only other one that really grabbed my attention was Space Battleship Tiramisu but that’s mostly because it got stuck in my head for hours after watching.

Best Character – Sousuke (Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory)

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Okay, he had the advantage of already being one of my favourite characters from way back when and his return was greatly appreciated. Most so when I realised that the character progress he made during season 2, even if he had to break apart a bit to get there, was going to continue into this season. Sousuke is a dynamic character who might seem static at times but each event he goes through definitely leaves its mark and it is really rewarding seeing those small advances even if they are interspersed with some backsliding at times.

Best Slice of Life (First Time I’ve Ever Included This Category) – Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori

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I don’t normally get to the end of anything that would actually be described as a slice of life and I got to the end of my awards and realised that this consistent sweetness and relaxation in my week had come up dry. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t a masterpiece or an unforgettable anything, but the number of times it gave me that moment of pure mental relaxation during the Spring anime season meant it deserved a mention here.

And now…

Best Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS

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This season there was probably plenty of doubt given so many shows were very hit and miss. But with Full Metal Panic giving us two recap episodes and then not finishing in time because of needlessly dragging out its run, My Hero Academia having another cour to go, and not much else that really made sit up and take note (though plenty of light entertainment shows this season), WIXOSS kind of won by default.

That isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve the victory. The culmination of four seasons of build up is a hard thing to pull off in a manner that satisfies and doesn’t feel anti-climatic and yet WIXOSS more or less accomplishes this with only a handful of minor areas where criticism could be laid. It isn’t the single most exciting thing ever, but nor does it need to be. It is a fairly solid work delivering a compelling conclusion that feels like it is giving the audience some closure.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting this time round was scattered as it was clear there wasn’t one single title that people were getting behind. However two titles ended up gaining quite the lead and kept it most of the way with My Hero Academia only really gaining ground toward the end of the vote. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen either of the top voted anime and will have to rectify that for one of them soon as it is available. The other I won’t be able to see unless it gets a DVD release or ends up going onto a different streaming service.

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And the winner is… Hinamatsuri!

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Normally I would write something about the show and what I liked or didn’t about the reader’s choice, but I still haven’t actually seen this one so other than noting that it is on my watch list, I really don’t have a lot to say about it.

Wotakoi narrowly edged out My Hero Academia to take the third spot and Megalo Box is sitting in a comfortable second. These two along with Hinamatsuri will go into the poll in December for anime of the year. Interestingly enough, I watched none of these this season which could account for why I had a pretty slow season.

Thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll. Be sure to check back for the worst of the season coming out later.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Best of Winter 2018

Welcome to the Best of Winter 2018 post where we look back on and celebrate everything great about the last season in anime. While we always find things to criticise and nitpick, it is important to remember the great things that anime gives us each season (which would be why we all keep watching season after season). Below are some of my favourites as well as the reader’s choice for the season.

To the awards…

Best Story – Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

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Is it the most original thing ever? Not really. It isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it is competent. This is a story that knows not to introduce things without a purpose and doesn’t drag out its moments. With great pacing, some interesting developments, and some very cohesive writing, this is definitely my pick for story of the season.

Best Visuals – March Comes in Like a Lion 2

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Do we need another retelling of why I think this show is visually amazing? This show just manages spot on representations of emotions and those intangible ideas that usually elude us when we try to explain them. It is fantastic to watch and always remains interesting.

Best Opening – Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

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Okay, it might just be something with me and jazzy openings but much like ACCA’s opening last year, this one I just genuinely enjoyed listening to week after week and it always put me in the mood to watch the show.

Best Character – Hina (March Comes in Like a Lion 2)

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No doubt about it, Hina underwent the most interesting character arc of the season and even after her moment was done, she kept growing from the incident and interacting with others in a meaningful way. Hina and Rei are definitely amazing together and Hina was my favourite character of the season.

Bonus Category – Cutest Anime Character of the Season – Mii-Kun 

 

And now…

Best Anime of the Winter 2018 Season – March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2

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Was there ever any doubt? Really?

Seriously, I loved this show. I loved everything about this second season. It had such an amazing impact on me and I looked forward to it each and every week. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to fill the space March has left in my line up (given it isn’t just watching the show, it is the processing of the episode that takes the time and then the rewatching, the basking in the screen caps, the discussing it, etc). Thanks everyone who followed along with my reviews of this one and joined in the conversations each week.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

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Once again, the full graph wouldn’t fit properly, but here are the shows that were voted for. I will point out, that until the last hour, March Comes in Like a Lion was winning. In the final hour, two votes came in and knocked it down. Instead, we give the Reader’s Choice to A Place Further Than the Universe, which is more or less what I expected to see win when the voting started. It just took awhile to get going.

The vote was incredibly tight the whole time. Still, the top 3 titles have been decided and they will all go into the poll at the end of the year for anime of the year. So, I have three more seasons to convince everyone to vote for March Comes in Like a Lion (assuming nothing better comes out).

Again, thanks everyone for participating and hopefully you have had fun finding out what has won. Looking forward to what the Spring season has to offer and hopefully we’ll all do this again in three months to pick the best and worst of Spring.


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Karandi James

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Worst of Winter 2018

First of all, I am going to re-explain that ‘Worst of’ is probably a misleading title for these given this is the worst of the anime I actually watched and when I ask people to vote for their ‘worst’ anime I ask them to vote for the worst one that they didn’t drop. What that means is, there are a lot of anime out there probably more unwatchable than anything that makes any of the lists here and I’m certain everyone has their own idea of what makes an anime the worst of the season, so I invite you to share your picks for worst anime of the season in the comments below and get a discussion going about how and why they failed for you.

To the awards… (Best of awards coming next post.)

Worst Story – Record of Grancrest War

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Okay, I know this one isn’t finished yet, but really it is all over the place. It has almost no cohesion, character motives are vague or erratic, and plot points appear and disappear seemingly at random. Even with episode 12 indicating the show is going to pick up, it well and truly deserves the award for the episodes it gave us during the Winter season.

Worst Visuals – Junji Ito Collection

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I know I did an article about whether something was atmospheric or poor visuals when I looked at Vatican Miracle Examiners, but Junji Ito Collection seems to have the same idea that just making things dark and ugly will somehow create horror. There’s plenty of other issues with the Collection, but the visuals most definitely made themselves noted for all the wrong reasons.

Worst Opening – The Ancient Magus’ Bride

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Probably a controversial choice, but I really didn’t like the change from the first opening to the second. So, while this probably isn’t the technically worst opening, it is the one I resented the most during Winter.

Worst Character – Akira (Devilman Crybaby)

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I genuinely couldn’t stand him as a character. Mostly because he was a stand in for various ideals but not an actual character and while physically he underwent a massive transformation, he really didn’t get very far on a personal or emotional level.

And now…

Worst Anime of the Winter 2018 Season – Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody

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Seriously, I’d have dropped this if I hadn’t set the challenge to myself to watch an anime I’d actually read the source material for. I kind of regret that this was the anime I chose to start that with. It isn’t so much that this is an unwatchable anime. It is more that there is little to no point in watching it. While it does walk us through the events of the source material, fairly faithfully, they haven’t considered how to use the fact that it is an anime now to make it interesting for viewers. What is fun to read isn’t always fun to watch and adaptations need to understand what their audience are actually looking for.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

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I couldn’t include the graph from the poll as there were just too many titles to choose from and they wouldn’t fit in a way that made it possible to still read the graph. Instead, I included only titles that collected votes.

As you can see, we have a tie. People couldn’t decide whether Death March or Ito Junji: Collection deserved the title but both of them gained a respectable 10 votes in favour of them being the worst of the season. At one point, Darling in the Franxx was winning this poll, but after the initial votes, it kind of didn’t move again.

And there we have it, the worst of the season. Thanks everyone who participated in the poll. Be sure to leave a comment sharing your thoughts on the season below and be sure to predict what you think will win the best of poll.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Winter 2018 Week 12

And this is more or less the final week. There are a few anime still to wrap up and I will do my best and worst of the season post sometime next week, but this is the last overview for this season. I am looking to change the format of these next season though I’m still thinking through a few ideas. I’m also going to continue trying to add audio but with travel this week it wasn’t going to happen. I hope everyone has had fun following this season with me and hopefully you will join me for my reviews of Spring 2018.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 42)

Well it isn’t going to move now. This show has been amazing and while we still have two episodes t o go everything about it has been pure joy.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 11)

The fun times continue as this anime continues to brings us fun characters in amongst plenty of violence. While the tone won’t suit everyone, I’m pretty thrilled with how this episode played out.

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Usually Entertaining

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Finished)

Rushed to the ending, though that isn’t to say it wasn’t a reasonably satisfying conclusion to Elias and Chise’s story. The other characters weren’t so lucky, but still, this one was a pretty solid effort from start to finish.

Spiritpact Season 2 (Episode 5)

Still no idea why this isn’t lining up with the other seasons. According to MAL it is 12 episodes so I guess that is taking us mid-way through the next season. Still, this second season has so far been a step up in quality and the story is quite good at this point so worth checking out if you tried season 1 but were wary of trying a second round of it. I will be continuing this until whenever it finishes.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 12)

This week we had the obvious reveal finally revealed and another card capture. I am enjoying this reboot but it isn’t quite capturing the magic of days gone by. I will be continuing this into the next season.

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Okay, I Guess

DARLING in the FRANXX (Episode 11 – reviewed for patrons)

Again this anime has managed to surprise by bringing us a premise that on paper looks pretty bad but it manages to pull it off with some surprisingly interesting character notes. Obviously this show is continuing on to the new season so final thoughts on this one will have to wait.

DamePri Anime Caravan (Finished)

A suitably over the top and silly yet still dramatic ending to this show. While not exactly a masterpiece, it definitely served its purpose of entertainment and I even had a few smiles and laughs along the way.

How to Keep A Mummy (Finished)

Another super cute episode of this anime for episode 11, setting-up for the final round of  this adorableness. Episode 12 was also pretty well done and this series, while not brilliant by any means, was definitely one of the most consistent this season with only one or two episodes that really felt a little slow (episode 12 review out tomorrow).

School Babysitters (Finished)

Cute until the end and returning to a focus on Ryuuichi and Kotaro for the final episode did give it a feeling of finality. Not the most amazing thing, but still pretty watchable.

Kokkoku (Finished)

This one ended up incredibly disappointing in the end. So much potential just never achieved.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 11)

I still haven’t watched the recap episode but I will be continuing this into the next season.

Sanrio Boys (Finished)

This one limped to the finish line and I’m kind of just glad it is done.

Junji Ito Collection (Finished)

Despite pre-season excitement, this one mostly just kind of limped along this season. I don’t regret watching it but I’m not exactly rushing to recommend it either.

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They Made This?

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Finished)

Episodes 11 and 12 were much the same in terms of positives and complaints for this series. Episode 12 review will be out tomorrow.

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Tried and Dropped (or on hold)

  • Maerchen Maedchen (Episode 3)
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (Episode 2)
  • A Place Further Than The Universe (Episode 1)
  • Hakumei and Mikochi (Episode 1)
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko (Episode 2)
  • Laid-Back Camp (Episode 1)
  • Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Episode 1)
  • Citrus (Episode 1)
  • Mitsuboshi Colors (Episode 1)
  • Slow Start (Episode 1)
  • The Ryou’s Work is Never Done (Episode 1)
  • Working Buddies! (Episode 1)
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San (Episode 1)
  • Mitchiri Neko (Episode 1)
  • Pop Team Epic (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Winter 2018 Week 11

Week 11 has come and gone and left in its wake some bitter feelings (Kokkoku) and some more promising moments (DamePri). That said, some shows maintain their solid quality (March Comes in Like a Lion) whereas other titles maintain their general lack of anything all that praise worthy (Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody). Below I share my thoughts on the shows I am watching this season and I’d love to know your thoughts at the moment as we approach the final week for many shows. If you haven’t voted in the poll yet, I’ve attached them at the bottom so you can vote for your favourite anime and the worst anime of the season (you can actually pick up to three and if you want full details check out this post).

Okay, and no audio practice this week as this weekend has become incredibly work heavy. Next week also will be a pass because of Easter. So next one will probably be my thoughts on the new season of anime. I’m also looking to reformat these overviews (we’ll see if I figure out something new to do with them or if I end up continuing the same format).

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 41)

The sisters return bringing a breath of sparkling fresh air to the series, and yet there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of sweet selling and seemingly casual conversations. I love that this show can give us a break from emotional intensity but still not feel frivolous. Really enjoyable watch this week.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 10)

A very solid episode as we turn into the final arc and this show continues to impress with the cohesiveness of its narrative. While there are some small complaints to be made here and there, and I will address these in my overall season review, basically this show is great fun to watch and the narrative is solid enough that the few complaints I have are easily forgiven. Looking forward to seeing how this show ends over the next two weeks.

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Usually Entertaining

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 23)

The second last episode and things are definitely feeling rushed now. It isn’t that this is a bad thing as the pace did drag a little earlier in the season, however I really would have liked to have seen some of the developments this week given a longer time to process and for characters to really feel like they had been given their due time to overcome certain issues. Still, really looking forward to the end as this has been a fun viewing experience even if it didn’t manage to win me over every step of the way. There’s certainly been a lot to like about it.

Spiritpact Season 2 (Episode 4)

Another fine episode from this anime and with the focus very much on You Keika’s and Tanmoku Ki’s relationship as well as delving into Tanmoku’s back story there was a lot to enjoy this week. While the intrigue is interesting, it is more how the characters react to new information and how it draws them together or breaks them apart that makes this a very enjoyable watch at this point.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 11)

That grind through the slice of life seems to be becoming more common place and this episode was no exception. We did get an interesting Syaoran/Eriol conversation to break things up but otherwise we were 16 minutes through this episode before anything particularly interesting happened on screen (unless you really like Sakura hanging out with friends because if that’s what you are after you will definitely be happy).

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Okay, I Guess

DARLING in the FRANXX (Episode 10 – reviewed for patrons)

I wouldn’t have thought an episode focused on Zorome would be that entertaining, but Darling in the Franxx was surprisingly adept this week and weaving in world building, foreshadowing and intrigue while developing Zorome’s naive and boisterous character. Throw in a few flags for Zero Two’s future and other than some dips in the art and animation this week we had a pretty strong episode.

DamePri Anime Caravan (Episode 11)

This has actually shaped up surprisingly well. One episode from the conclusion and I must confess to be having a lot of fun with Ani and her princes as they tip-toe into the realm of conflict and politics. This show has managed to really build up some decent drama despite the craziness of some of the characters and I’m having a lot of fun with it at the moment.

How to Keep A Mummy (Episode 10)

And message received, put Mii-Kun front and centre and this show instantly improves nearly 100-fold (and that’s a totally quantifiable measurement I’m sure). This week a new package arrives from the father and the crew gain another new friend, but that’s almost over-shadowed by a frantic bid to cure Sora of the hiccups.

Kokkoku (Episode 11)

Definitely a case where the potential isn’t going to be reached. As more twists and turns appear in this story it makes even less sense, I still don’t really have a reason to care about the characters, and no explanations seem forthcoming. This is a watch to the end because I’ve made it this far and that is about it.

School Babysitters (Episode 11)

Not as bad an episode as last week and some genuinely cute moments returned to this show. That said, the water works were turned on by all the kids at one point and the sound nearly drove me to mute the episode. Basically, if you’ve watched this far, this won’t make you drop it one episode from the end, but it doesn’t do a lot to promote it as an unsung hero of the season (given it isn’t).

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 11)

It is the ploy of any story that is kind of failing to make an emotional connection. Build up a dramatic fight and kill off someone the audience possibly cares about. Not the main character, mind you. Nor the main character’s love interest. Just someone we introduce who probably would have made a better main character. Now, killing off a character can serve a valuable purpose when done right. When done like this, you know they just realised there were no real stakes in this fight and wanted to wake the audience up.

Sanrio Boys (Episode 11)

I said last week the show wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good. This week I’m going to review that statement. This show does not get characterisation and the downward spiral this show has been on since the midway point continues with a truly painful penultimate episode. That really doesn’t leave me waiting for the final.

Junji Ito Collection (Episode 11)

This wasn’t a season saving episode of this anime, but episode 11 was relatively decent and a throwback to earlier episodes that seemed to just take creepy concepts and under-develop them (as opposed to the gross out efforts of the last two weeks). Still, more entertaining than it had been so we’ll just go with it.

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They Made This?

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Episode 10)

I don’t know how they did it, but they managed to make a dull show seem even less alive and less purposeful leaving me wondering if I drifted off to sleep mid-episode. Now, if you happen to like watching gaming vistas with still images of girls eating painted on them I guess this could work for you.

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Tried and Dropped (or on hold)

  • Maerchen Maedchen (Episode 3)
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (Episode 2)
  • A Place Further Than The Universe (Episode 1)
  • Hakumei and Mikochi (Episode 1)
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko (Episode 2)
  • Laid-Back Camp (Episode 1)
  • Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Episode 1)
  • Citrus (Episode 1)
  • Mitsuboshi Colors (Episode 1)
  • Slow Start (Episode 1)
  • The Ryou’s Work is Never Done (Episode 1)
  • Working Buddies! (Episode 1)
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San (Episode 1)
  • Mitchiri Neko (Episode 1)
  • Pop Team Epic (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

 

Winter 2018 Week 10

Another week of the anime season passes us by and we’re now close to the end. Earlier today I opened the polls for best and worst of the season. If you missed it, be sure to check them out and to vote for your favourite and least favourite shows of the season. In the meantime though, I have another experimental recording for you to listen to and my list of anime from the week. I’d love to know your thoughts on the anime this season so be sure to leave me a comment below.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 40)

When this show came back, it came back. This episode does not let up and keeps you on edge as the epic battle of shogi between Yanagihara and Shimada plays out with Rei and Nikaidou looking on (and at times forgetting they were supposed to be providing commentary as they got too caught up in the match). An excellent episode and one that gave us a new perspective on two of the supporting characters.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 9)

If I had complaints last week about the conclusion to the arc feeling rushed, this episode put most of those complaints to rest as we get an episode devoted to Lin’s backstory. Perhaps if I were less invested in a character the episode wouldn’t work as there’s very little else going on other than seeing how his personality was formed and a potential set up for the next episode, but Lin is a character I’ve been made very interested in and so this episode shines.

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Usually Entertaining

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 22)

Chise makes a decision and a deal with Joseph with some fairly gruesome consequences but this is a fantastic episode for showing us how far she’s come since episode 1. Now we just need to see whether she can reconcile with Elias before the end of the season.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 10)

A little less thrilling this week. Okay, a lot less thrilling. This episode seemed to go back to Sakura hanging out with a friend and grinding us through the slice of life stuff before finally giving us a capture at the end but the payoff doesn’t quite feel worth the wait. Still, the two cards captured were interesting and the capture itself was very well done. This anime continues to deliver about what I would expect from a continuation of Cardcaptor and that means taking the parts I was less fond of as well as the parts I loved.

Spiritpact Season 2 (Episode 3)

Okay, I’m splitting season 2 from season 1 at this point. Season 2 hasn’t had the rough start that season 1 had and all three episodes have so far been pretty on point with only one or two moments of pure ugly screen time. As a result, I’m moving this up a category in my list and have my fingers crossed hoping that it continues to build on the foundations it has worked so hard to lay at this point.

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Okay, I Guess

DARLING in the FRANXX (Episode 9 – reviewed for patrons)

Another fairly solid episode that dealt with the characters quite well even if it still isn’t actually addressing any of the questions people have about the setting, world building or overall plot. I find it interesting that this show is kind of blatantly ignoring all of those greater mysteries and just focusing on these minuscule issues of relationships between the parasites. It seems like it must be a deliberate choice but it is an odd one.

Kokkoku (Episode 10)

I could more or less copy and paste what I wrote last week but let’s add in that they did actually fight the villain this week, for reasons still unclear given most of them could just leave stasis already. Anyway, not a particularly good or bad episode, it just kind of was.

DamePri Anime Caravan (Episode 10)

As other anime seem to be losing me in terms of holding my interest, DamePri is bouncing back beautifully after a weak middle section and is promising one of the more interesting season finals from my ‘Okay’ shows this season. Ani’s kidnapping wasn’t quite the pointless plot conflict it seemed to initially be and they might even manage to bring everything in together for a fairly solid ending. Here’s hoping at least.

School Babysitters (Episode 10)

An amazing step backwards for this show right after a beach episode. If Mii-Kun had had more screen time this week I think School Babysitters might have slipped below How to Keep a Mummy.

How to Keep A Mummy (Episode 9)

Well, they still managed to hit their cute factor for this episode but if they were aiming for any other kind of emotional resonance they slightly missed the mark as they don’t have anywhere near enough depth to really do more than just be cute. Plus, minimising Mii-Kun’s screen time is always a risky move when he is the major draw for the show. Still, not a bad episode.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 10)

Milza is leading an attack against Villar but I’m not sure anyone is surprised at this point and they certainly aren’t playing this battle out to impress us. All things considered, this feels like filler more than anything else and I’m not sure the grand battle leading us into the end of the first cour should feel like filler.

Sanrio Boys (Episode 10)

At this point this show isn’t bad, it just isn’t any good. It’s pretty dull to be perfectly honest. And that’s actually probably worse than bad because I’m struggling at this point to say anything about it other than noting its existence. However, if you enjoy watching the boys prepare to put on a play, maybe you will find if more entertaining than me.

Junji Ito Collection (Episode 10)

Yuck, yuck and well, yuck. This was disgusting and after a number of incredibly mediocre episodes delivering this really made me want to drop this to the bottom of my list. I do however try to take the whole season into account and yet I’m still thinking that if next week isn’t amazing this show may end up as the worst show I stuck with this season. Let me just throw in one more, ‘Gross’.

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They Made This?

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Episode 9)

Is anyone surprised the Undead King is now dead and Satou didn’t get a scratch on him? Nope. Good, then you have been paying attention to this show. It really isn’t a show about a hero fighting monsters but if you are going to include an arc that seems to set up just that you should at least commit to it. However, this was a very dull affair that ended predictably.

Wizard1a

Tried and Dropped (or on hold)

  • Maerchen Maedchen (Episode 3)
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (Episode 2)
  • A Place Further Than The Universe (Episode 1)
  • Hakumei and Mikochi (Episode 1)
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko (Episode 2)
  • Laid-Back Camp (Episode 1)
  • Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Episode 1)
  • Citrus (Episode 1)
  • Mitsuboshi Colors (Episode 1)
  • Slow Start (Episode 1)
  • The Ryou’s Work is Never Done (Episode 1)
  • Working Buddies! (Episode 1)
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San (Episode 1)
  • Mitchiri Neko (Episode 1)
  • Pop Team Epic (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

Winter 2018 Week 9

Another week gone and we’re closing in on the final leg of the Winter Anime season, which means next week I need to actually start the poll for favourite show of the season. I’m pretty sure I know what is going to win, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on my watch list, but that’s okay. That’s why it’s the reader’s choice.

Once again, I’ve been experimenting with this whole audio thing and what I learned this week was that I will have to move this post to Saturday’s because I just don’t have the time on Friday to really feel comfortable with what I ended up producing. I know that even moving it to Saturday will just give me more time to procrastinate and make changes that ultimately won’t really improve the overall quality but I might feel better about it. So that will probably happen next week but for now my rushed attempt this week after getting home from work is below for you to listen to, and once again feedback is greatly appreciated as I learn my way around this.

Anyway, as always, I would love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so leave me a comment and this week, let’s make a prediction about what will win the reader’s poll when I actually get it started.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 39)

Finally it is back and I loved this episode even though Rei was very much a side character. Shimada and Yanagihara certainly held up their part of the story and the match between the two of them is far more tense than I expected it to be. I honestly cannot wait until next week and I really want to see what happens in the match.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 8)

I really think this particular arc should have been stretched further to actually give the villains some time to develop and to make the audience care whether they were defeated. At the same time, I’m glad this didn’t feel like it dragged. We had the set up, the trick, the reveal, and then the inevitable villains get taken down/arrested sequence before we got to see the cast go out to eat (not ramen this time). Good fun, but a few minor things that felt like they could have had a bit more done with them.

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Usually Entertaining

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 21)

Elias was walking a dangerous path this week and it will be interesting to see what the fallout is next week. I’m still not entirely convinced that Chise needed another curse to try to overcome, but that’s neither here nor there. At least the show seems to be wanting to head toward an interesting conclusion.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 9)

The aquarium episode showcased a lot of the strengths of this show. Cute date episode, some older brother mystery, a fantastic costume change, and an exciting capture. While there are some minor complaints about the repetition of subject matter that could get made here, mostly this was excellent fun this week.

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Okay, I Guess

DARLING in the FRANXX (Episode 8 – reviewed for patrons)

This episode was pretty solid despite its silly premise and another couple of episodes like this will see me shift this back up to the Usually Entertaining. It would be nice if the show had finally settled a bit or would find a tone. And further world building would be appreciated.

Spiritpact Season 2 (Episode 2)

They seem to have upped the boys love aspect of this for season 2, not that I’m complaining as I really enjoy those moments between Tanmoku and Keika. They also seem more determined to push the plot rather than focus on the comedy (though the comedy is still there), which is also something that I appreciate. Hopefully this season can keep getting better as season 1 improved enormously as it went.

Kokkoku (Episode 9)

Despite adding in a villain to the show, it is still fumbling about and hasn’t really managed to justify why the characters are still doing what they are doing. The obvious answer is for them to just walk away and yet we’re still running around in stasis. It makes for a frustrating viewing experience because you kind of want it to be better but it doesn’t quite get there.

School Babysitters (Episode 9)

Beach episode. Do I actually need to say more than that? I guess I should, but mostly that’s what this amounts to. Beach episode followed by moral lesson the week for Taka which will probably be forgotten in the next episode.

How to Keep A Mummy (Episode 8)

I might be getting cute fatigue. This episode was arguably as cute as the previous ones but I was distracted while watching. Actually, I was actively distracting myself this week. It really wasn’t anything to do with the episode. Mii and the others going to day care together at a shrine was adorable as expected. I just found myself marking time while it was airing though.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 9)

I moved this one up because it seems like they have the potential to turn some of the problems of the series around and episode 9 was actually a really solid viewing experience. That said, I’m not going to hold my breath that this improvement continues. Still, I am curious as to what they will do next.

DamePri Anime Caravan (Episode 9)

This show seems to have found its fun again, and managed to set up a lead in to what might be a dramatic ending. Again, not going to expect too much as this show has been strictly average from the beginning, but it is promising a return to average after its really kind of dull middle.

Junji Ito Collection (Episode 9)

I’d love to say that this is the worse show I am watching, unfortunately that isn’t actually true. Because realistically everything in this show does work, it just isn’t interesting or reaching any kind of impact. It just kind of happens. So, functional but lacking in entertainment value which still wins out over advertising disguised as anime and an adaptation that just didn’t understand adapting something doesn’t mean just walking through the words in the novel but actually thinking about how to make it interesting.

Sanrio Boys (Episode 9)

Okay, I said I’d drop this down a category is Kouta didn’t make a decision, and technically he didn’t (he decided to let someone else decide) but I don’t think this episode was bad enough that this show belongs in the ‘They Made This Category’. It was vapid and empty of anything other than boys posing for fans but it wasn’t actually malfunctioning as an episode. So Sanrio remains in the ‘Okay, I Guess’ ranks for another week.

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They Made This?

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Episode 8)

And this one is staying right here after yet another lacklustre week even with an Undead King and a dungeon crawl. Seriously, this story knows how to make inherently interesting subject matter pretty dull to watch.

Wizard1a

Tried and Dropped (or on hold)

  • Maerchen Maedchen (Episode 3)
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (Episode 2)
  • A Place Further Than The Universe (Episode 1)
  • Hakumei and Mikochi (Episode 1)
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko (Episode 2)
  • Laid-Back Camp (Episode 1)
  • Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Episode 1)
  • Citrus (Episode 1)
  • Mitsuboshi Colors (Episode 1)
  • Slow Start (Episode 1)
  • The Ryou’s Work is Never Done (Episode 1)
  • Working Buddies! (Episode 1)
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San (Episode 1)
  • Mitchiri Neko (Episode 1)
  • Pop Team Epic (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

 

Winter 2018 Week 8

And week 8 draws to a close with the weaker shows crumbling under their own weaknesses and the stronger shows consolidating what they do well. Yes, we are turning into the final part of the season and while some shows will continue on, many of these will soon be wrapping up.

Which leads me to the question of whether there were any decent villains in this season and I’m really struggling to think of any. What about you? Come across any decent villains in the line up this season?

And for something a little different, and because I’m trying to get better and speaking in preparation for my next patrons podcast which should come out mid-March and will hopefully feature some of my favourite mecha anime if I can get my act together and stop freezing in front of the microphone, I’m experimenting with recording my thoughts on what I watched this week. It is a bit rough and I think if I’m going to continue this long term I’m going to need to move these overviews to Saturday evening to give me more time to work on it, but feedback is appreciated. I will apologise in advance for my accent and for my pronunciation of any anime titles because they are probably dreadful.

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 38)

No new episode.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Episode 7)

Another story begins and this time the focus is on the hacker. I like that this show keeps bringing something fresh to the table even as it builds on what it has already delivered. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this story develops.

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Usually Entertaining

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 20)

I kind of thought Chise’s life was already in danger of running out prematurely but now they seemed to have accelerated her demise. I’m not sure how this will play out but I do know that as pretty as this show is, problems with pacing persist.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (Episode 8)

The plot thickens and coincidences abound so I wonder if we are getting any closer to an actual reveal about what is really going on. Still, cute magic, cute moment with Syaoran and Sakura, and new character wearing a very nice suit.

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Okay, I Guess

DARLING in the FRANXX (Episode 7)

And it finally dropped down out of ‘Usually Entertaining’ to ‘Okay, I Guess’. There’s an easy way for this show to move back up. Actually explain something. While I get delaying all the information and building up to a reveal, something needed to be revealed this week and we were given nothing. That isn’t suspense or intrigue, at this point it is just frustrating. It is hard to enjoy a show when the plot is frustrating you more than giving you something to be interested in. Anyway, my review of this episode is up for patrons only and it gets into more detail about what this episode did, or didn’t, do.

Spiritpact Season 2 (Episode 1)

I wasn’t expecting this to start up mid-season (or at all, how this managed to get a second season I still don’t know). Honestly, the show is still objectively terrible but if you happen to really like supernatural romance featuring two boys and the terrible visuals and appalling use of comedy in season one wasn’t enough to put you off, season 2 is here and continuing the story of Tanmoku and Keika and I’m pretty happy about that.

Kokkoku (Episode 8)

I finally have an antagonist to care about this season. That’s actually been more challenging to find than it seems with most shows either being antagonist/villain free or having not yet revealed their actual villain. It is all a little disappointing for those of us who really enjoy a good bad guy. So Sagawa from Kokkoku is kind of a breath of fresh air and I kind of hope he continues his fleshing out that he’s been getting over the past couple of episodes.

School Babysitters (Episode 8)

This week was laugh out loud stupidly cute and if they could nail that every week this show would shoot up the rankings fast. I have a very weird sense of humour and so when I find something that genuinely makes me laugh I tend to really appreciate it.

How to Keep A Mummy (Episode 7)

Zany and fun, this one just continues to do what it does well and deliver adorable bite sized moments. If there is a winner this season for show that managed to overturn my expectations, this would be it. Who would have thought of a cute mummy?

DamePri Anime Caravan (Episode 8)

While this was a better episode than the hot springs fiasco, the final moments of the episode certainly don’t help me have a lot of confidence in this show ending well. In fact, I’m almost certain this is going to go downhill. Still, time will tell, and in the meantime we had cute child-sized Princes during this episode. Mare and Teo definitely won for being adorable.

Record of Grancrest War (Episode 8)

Possibly the only reason this show isn’t lower on the list is I still kind of hope we get back to doing something cool, like fighting the demon things, using some magic, and maybe seeing Theo actually achieve his goal of protecting his home land. Wishful thinking and I’m probably going to be disappointed. Episode 8 tells us the backstory of Alexis and Marine’s romance, just in case anyone was interested.

Junji Ito Collection (Episode 8)

And the lack of satisfaction in the viewing experience continues with the second story of episode 8 perhaps being the low point so far for this series. Any hopes or expectations of a decent horror are kind of crushed at this point so I’m mostly just hoping this remains intriguing, but episode 8 even fell short on that.

Sanrio Boys (Episode 8)

If Kouta does not make a decision next episode I’m pretty certain I’m dropping this down a category. While the show started out pleasantly enough, they clearly only had enough actual ideas for about four episodes and now they are just stretching out a paper-thin premise in order to stuff in more shots of merchandise. Cute merchandise, but still definitely thinly disguised advertising.

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They Made This?

Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (Episode 7)

Congratulations Death March, you are the only show I kept on my watch list this season that has managed to make me question why you even exist. I get that this is a light novel adaptation and that the events are being followed faithfully, but there is no excuse for being dull. If you are going to adapt something from one form to another, think about how the story will work with the new medium and don’t just try to give us an audio book with some bad art work to accompany it, which is more or less what this last episode became.

Wizard1a

Tried and Dropped (or on hold)

  • Maerchen Maedchen (Episode 3)
  • Hakyuu Houshin Engi (Episode 2)
  • A Place Further Than The Universe (Episode 1)
  • Hakumei and Mikochi (Episode 1)
  • Katana Maidens ~Toji no Miko (Episode 2)
  • Laid-Back Camp (Episode 1)
  • Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Episode 1)
  • Citrus (Episode 1)
  • Mitsuboshi Colors (Episode 1)
  • Slow Start (Episode 1)
  • The Ryou’s Work is Never Done (Episode 1)
  • Working Buddies! (Episode 1)
  • Karakai Jozu no Takagi-San (Episode 1)
  • Mitchiri Neko (Episode 1)
  • Pop Team Epic (Episode 1)

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

avatar

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

Thoughts on Anime.jpg

Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

Finally, you can use the affiliate link to shop at Play-Asia.com ifPlay-Asia.com - Play-Asia.com: Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more you are interested in anime, soundtracks, figures or games. Should you use the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.