Vote For The Best Anime of The Spring 2019 Season

Sorry, no feature this week, but instead we’re opening the poll for the best of the Spring Anime season. While there’s been a lot of talk about this being a slow or weak season, it seems most people have found a handful of anime that have really delighted them so it will be interesting to see what has lasted the distance and what you believe is the anime of the season.

Naturally that means it is time for you to vote.

It is a nice simple process. Just pick your three favourite shows from the season and vote below. And then, share the post so more people can have their say. The vote is open until the 29th of June with the results to be announced soon after.

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Remember the top three anime from this vote will go into the final poll for anime of the year. Though given they’ll be going up against the winner’s of the Winter Poll, that may be a steep hill to climb.

I am having difficulty embedding the poll at the moment so while it might work below, please try the direct link to vote and hopefully I can fix it soon.

Thanks for voting. Remember to share the poll and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the results.

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Karandi James
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Vote For The Best Anime of The Winter 2019 Season

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 9

Here we are closing in on the end of a season. Okay, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime already ended the actual story. That caught me off guard.

That means it is time for you to have your say on your favourite shows of the season.

It is a nice simple process. Just pick your three favourite shows from the season and vote below. Don’t see your favourite, write it in. And then, share the post so more people can have their say.

Given it went well last year, I’ll be taking the top three shows from this season and at the end of the year they will go head to head with the winners of each season’s poll to decide the anime of the year.

Now those of you wondering what happened to the worst of the season poll, I’ve decided not to run those in 2019. Most people tend to just drop shows they don’t like anyway. But, I’d still love it if you would share your pick for worst of the season and your reason in the comments or @ me on Twitter and if I get enough of these I can put together a round up of thoughts on the worst anime of the Winter 2019 season.

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Last Day: Vote on the Best and Worst Anime of the Season

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 13 Rimuru

Here we go. The poll is closing today so last chance to have your say. First up, vote for your favourite anime of the season. Which anime made you smile, laugh, cry, and just made you want to hit play the minute the episode launched? You can vote for up to three and the only requirement is that you liked it.

Alright, and moving straight on to the worst of the season. Remembering, this is the worst anime you actually watched. We’re not voting for shows we assumed were horrible from either the PV or the first episode. This skews the results meaning the ‘worst’ anime is usually an average one, but it is the worst one that the readers actually watched this season.

Thank you for voting and if you could, please share the poll. The more the merrier.

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Karandi James
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Cells at Work Series Review: They Are The Cutest Anthropomorphic Blood Cells You’ve Ever Seen

Cells at Work Episode 7

There was no denying that Cells at Work made a splash last season with its cute and boppy opening song, adorable cast of characters (including the unbeatable-in-the-cute-department platelets), and its weird mix of education and entertainment. This was an anime that caught a lot of the community by surprise and week after week it primarily delivered solid fun and cuteness. So after some time for the post-season high to wear down and another look at a couple of episodes, how does this one stack up?

Cells at Work Episode 8

Surprisingly quite well. Despite the sometimes copious amounts of text on screens explaining various fundamentals about cells or the body in general, the occasional bit of fairly rough animation, and the handful of episodes that focused on cells other than the super adorable Red Blood Cell, Cells at Work is pretty consistently entertaining. There’s a lot of imagination behind the concept and the way it is delivered and I know I’ll never feel the same way about hay-fever ever again after seeing how the body failed to cope with a pollen allergy.

Cells at Work Episode 4

Where this story works is that it keeps itself simple and true to its premise. The cells have jobs to do and each episode something comes along to disrupt the usual processes and then it needs to be dealt with. While this might sound repetitive, and one of my early worries was that this show would end up feeling repetitive, ultimately each new threat is executed in an interesting manner and the solutions are usually fairly entertaining to watch. Also, each of the cast brings something to the table.

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet

It is really hard to talk about these characters without coming off sounding a little weird given we are in fact discussing various cells in the body. However, this anime did such an incredible job in humanising them and giving them what felt like real personalities within the confines of needing a drive to complete their job (no lazy blood cells here). The anime did such a great job with developing characters, sometimes in a very short span of time, to the point where many viewers even found themselves feeling a little sorry for the Cancer Cell after he’d been around just over an episode of time. That’s still hard to fathom but this anime actually succeeded in making that initial cancer cells being hunted down by the body’s immune system seem like a character we should have some sympathy for even as our usual characters sought its destruction.

Cells at Work Episode 7

Visually this anime has an interesting kind of look about it with the blood vessels being re-imagined as roads and pathways and a scrape becoming a massive explosion leaving a gaping hole in the world through which cells did in fact fall out and never returned (sad). Each cell type has a unique design in clothing and individuals within the cell type have defined enough features that you don’t confuse them. There are some interesting ideas about how the body reacts to certain situations with scenes going dark, the cells getting hotter or colder, or even the pathways becoming a desolate landscape during the heat stroke episode.

Cells at Work Episode 11

Basically it just works and it feels like the concept was well thought through. Does that mean there aren’t faults? Not really. None of these episodes are really anything more than simple meet cells in situation, introduce villain/obstacle, run around a bit, and then solve kind of stories. While their link to real health issues makes them a little more compelling and interesting, they are incredibly basic. There are also whole episodes where the focus cells aren’t ones I’m overly interested in and then I found my general interest waning.

Cells at Work Episode 9 Killer T Cell

Still, any episode with a platelet sighting (which is most of them) were plenty fine. Those cute characters need their own spin-off short anime right now and I will happily watch them do absolutely nothing except maybe drink some tea and walk down a stair case. Which for me, is pretty odd because normally characters not doing anything bores me but I just can’t imagine getting bored while watching a platelet.

Cells at Work - Episode 2 - Platelets

All and all, while this anime isn’t going to change the world anytime soon, it is a great deal of fun and one that is worth checking out. The episodic nature means you can watch one or two episodes and just walk away for awhile so perfect for busy people who don’t want to commit to a whole series. If you’ve watched it, I’d love to know your thoughts so leave me a comment below.

 

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Get Your Tomatoes Ready Because Here We Have the Worst Anime of the Summer 2018 Season

If you missed it, earlier today the best of the season came out so if you would rather celebrate the successes of the season than wallow in, or jeer at, the misfires I recommend you check it out. In the meantime, a reminder that worst anime of the season is still an anime good enough to be watched through. Voters are asked not to vote for shows they haven’t watched. So while the anime in the list below and as the voters choice are problematic, there are most definitely worse anime out there.

Without any further ado, let’s get into the list.

Worst Story – 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

I almost gave this to The Master of Ragnarok, but then I realised there was a show that did even worse with its premise. Despite the set up being that the Princess has to wake up the princes, other than the very first prince, none of the princes are actually sleeping. Couple this with the fact that I got to the end of this and still have no idea what the overall goal is given the characters just seem to wander around and react to stuff, and basically the story is all but missing in action. A thin excuse to encounter various ‘prince’ types so that fans of the game can get all excited to see their favourite character for the two seconds of screen time they get before the main characters move on.

Worst Visuals – Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion

Angolmois Episode 10 Teruhi

The filter is hideous. There’s no way to sugar coat it. When you have ugly character designs, a bland colour palette and then over the top of the lot you put that filter that just makes everything look like we’re watching it through smudged glasses that keep moving, this anime well and truly deserves the label of worst visuals for the season. While there are some good moments in the story, you do have to accept it is just going to be truly disgusting to look at.

Worst Opening – 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

100 Sleeping Princes Episode 4

Seriously, this one is a thin excuse to pan over the cast of various princes we’ll encounter. The music is dull and borderline put me to sleep and the slow pan with almost zero animation over various characters, most of which we’ll encounter once at best throughout the season and then never hear from again, and to be honest I skipped this opening more often than I watched it.

Worst Character – The Cast of the Master of Ragnarok tied with Mineta (My Hero Academia)

Mineta had to be here. Seriously, if someone could just go through every episode of My Hero Academia and erase the bug from existence, I’d be really, really happy. There isn’t one scene he is in that is actually necessary and he contributes nothing. However, he does eat screen time on what I’m guessing someone thought were comedic moments but mostly I’m just left disgusted with his presence and he’s becoming increasingly annoying as the franchise continues. That said, it would be a mistake not to mention the incredibly bland and undeveloped cast from The Master of Ragnarok. And yes, I know that is two seasons in a row where I’ve given the title of worst character to an entire cast, but trust me, they earned it.

And now…

Worst Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – The Master of Ragnarok

Ragnarok9d

Yep, there were plenty of shows I liked less than this one, however I dropped them and didn’t finish watching. That just left this one on my list to leave as the worst of the season. Angels of Death got an early drop, Holmes of Kyoto hung in a bit longer but bored me to tears and so I gave up. Other early drops include Island and Lord of Vermillion (which definitely deserves a mention). Still, Ragnarok set up what could have been an interesting enough story, did absolutely nothing with it, and then totally flubbed its ending. It really deserves this placement.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

With 103 votes, making it the most votes ever for a worst of the season, the competition was pretty much won early on, but a last minute rally behind a show that really stuffed its ending brought us to a tie (won’t they be so proud). Anyway, the results of the readers poll:

worst-of.jpg

And so we have a tie between Angels of Death and The Master of Ragnarok.

Angels of Death took a very early lead in the poll. I think the disappointment factor may have played a role given how hyped up the show was before it began airing. Then, after the final episode of Master of Ragnarok, its votes took off and it caught up. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that I’d held out hoping the show would get better only for the final episode to kick me in the teeth.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

Summer 2018 was definitely not the highlight of the anime year, but we still had some fun titles to watch. As we move into Autumn, let’s keep our fingers crossed for something amazing, and if not, we can always vote for it being the worst of the season.


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Drum Roll For The Best of Summer 2018 Anime Announcement

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet

Summer has indeed had its ups and downs and to be honest, it is probably the weakest of the seasons 2018 has offered us so far. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to follow, review, and discuss. However, I did find if a lot harder than normal to narrow down my choices for best of the season given there was a lot that was kind of okay but nothing that really demanded I pay attention to it. (Banana Fish and Attack on Titan Season 3 are missing from my own awards as they are both going to continue on to the next season).

As always, thanks to people who voted in the poll for best of the season. After I get through my picks, I’ll announce the winners of the reader’s poll.

To my awards…

Best Story – Steins;Gate 0

Steins23d

While there’s some questionable execution and pacing issues with this story, in terms of the story I was most interested in following, Steins;Gate 0 wins hands down. Angolmois is too straight forward, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord was entertaining but not exactly a riveting narrative. There just hasn’t been much that I’ve watched this season with an overly interesting plot so Steins;Gate 0 remained my favourite story of the season even if I did criticise it, a lot.

Best Visuals – My Hero Academia Season 3

Hero61a

Bones continues to deliver some quality visuals and animation in My Hero Academia this season. While I felt the characters and the plot were a fair bit weaker than season 2, the visuals did not drop the ball and whatever scene we were watching was delivered with impressive or interesting visuals. The fight between Midoriya and Bakugou is probably the stand out from the second half, but realistically the action in My Hero Academia is always exciting to watch. It would be nice to see the kids get into a wider variety of settings from time to time, but this is still my visual pick for the season.

Best Opening – Cells at Work

Cells at Work - Episode 2 - Platelets

Am I coming up with excuses to include platelets? Definitely. But because I took Attack on Titan out of the running, I had to choose the opening to Cells at Work as my favourite. It is good fun with a lot of energy and I loved that for one episode we even had different characters singing the opening. It was a surprise and a bit of fun. This one really suits the show and just gets you excited for the adorableness to follow.

Best Character – Diablo (How Not To Summon a Demon Lord)

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 4

Right, so it is kind of rare for an isekai protagonist to make it into my favourite character list, but I really like Diablo. He’s great fun to spend time with and a lot of the draw for the show is his character. I would love to see more of him in a follow up season and just see if he learns to balance out his inner insecurities with his external demon lord persona. One thing I know for sure is that it will be fun.

And of course, cutest character goes to the the Platelets

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And now…

Best Anime of the Summer 2018 Season – Cells at Work

Cells at Work Episode 8

Having taken out Attack on Titan and Banana Fish from the running, I was pretty much left with Cells at Work, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord or Phantom in the Twilight as shows I genuinely enjoyed this season. Phantom in the Twilight fell short with its ending. How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is fun and all, but it isn’t without its issues. So the anime that was most consistently entertaining this season was Cells at Work.

I’m actually fairly surprised that this is my best of the season, but it kind of speaks of how hit and miss the season has been. That said, this one is a fairly solid piece of entertainment. It isn’t going to change the world, but it is a great way to spend a Sunday morning and it certainly kept me entertained this season. I even learned a couple of things from it.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting was incredibly close and also pretty scattered this season. By the final days the top two were deadlocked and remained that way until the final hours of the vote. With 178 votes this is the most participated in vote to date so hopefully we can continue to grow this number and make the data more reflective of the community as a whole. Still, here are the results.

Best of

And the winner is… Banana Fish.

Banana6b

Totally not surprised, though I am amazed at how close the vote was between Cells at Work and Banana Fish with Attack on Titan dropping off early on. Still, all three of these will go on to the best of the year poll joining the best from the last two seasons and whatever wins the Autumn poll. I’m also throwing My Hero Academia into the best of the year poll because amazingly I totally left it out of this vote (whoops).

Anyway, Banana Fish has kind of taken over my twitter timeline most weeks after the episode airs so I’ve really enjoyed it and there are some really excellent blog posts being written about the series so I can tell there are some really big fans out there. Hopefully the second half is as entertaining as the first was.

Thanks everyone who participated in the vote. We say farewell to another season of anime but enter a new one with all new possibilities laid out before us. Check back later for my worst of the season poll.


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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.

Ghoul1a

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.

Ghoul3d

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.

Ghoul1e

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.

Ghoul2c

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.

Tokyo2b

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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