Bye Bye Conception! And At Last It’s Done!

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Conception Episode 12 Review

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There’s very little left to say about this anime that I haven’t already said, but if I was hoping for an ending that would somehow make it seem worth while then I would have been left fairly disappointed. Though, let’s throw in a positive, they did at least conclude the whole labyrinth thing with the impurities. The fact that the conclusion makes no sense, logical or otherwise, is more or less par for the course and I guess if you watched 12 episodes of this you can hardly be surprised.

Conception Episode 12 Itsuki

I think what really sets this one apart from other bad anime that end badly, is that this one doesn’t even commit to its terrible ending. After giving us an illogical and fairly pointless final fight, all of the characters who we just waved good-bye to show up again and they all jump through the portal to earth. Because that makes sense. Then cut to the credits where we see all the Star Maidens living happily working in their jobs on earth without any issue whatsoever. Sure.

Conception Episode 12 Itsuki fights the impurities

Of course that is only the end point of stupidity. Firstly we have Itsuki deciding he isn’t going to sacrifice himself. Then the King asking the Star Maidens to perform the ritual to sacrifice him. Then the maidens deciding not to. Then some random fight sequence where various declarations of wanting to help each other somehow power things up so the star children fuse into robots, and then Itsuki joins them, Alfie is killed, Alfie’s oddball star-child joins them as a weapon and that’s the end only the star children are apparently now being used to seal the impurity.

Conception Episode 12 Star Children

Like what? Which part of any of that made sense and how was it better for 13 children to get left behind to seal the impurity rather than one Itsuki. My eyes very nearly rolled clean out of my head trying to watch this one. Okay, I’m going to have to review the whole series of this and I’m going to have to figure out how to be nice (or at least not rant) but in the meantime, I’d suggest avoiding this one.

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The Day Ituski Had Sex With Mana and Why Am I Still Watching This?

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Conception Episode 11 Review

I’m not sure if this counts as getting my wish or not, though episode 11 of Conception did at least address the issue of the 13th Labyrinth and what Itsuki will need to do to save the world. So I guess that is technically developing a plot that for large chunks of this series feels like it got jettisoned as inconvenient in amongst all the dating and off-colour jokes.

Conception Episode 11 Mana

But, then there’s the episode beginning which brings us yet more sex jokes at the expense of seemingly underage characters (though it turns out Alfie is older than she looks). Follow that up with the climatic centre piece of this episode, Itsuki going to be with Mana, and this episode if firmly reminding the audience of what its actual focus has been.

Conception Episode 11 Mana and Itsuki

Still, as the penultimate episode of an anime with a large cast, Conception did at least try to remind us that these girls weren’t just disposable commodities to cater to all audience fetishes (sure they weren’t). After hearing the news that he’s unlikely to survive saving the world, Itsuki decides to go present shopping for the girls and what follows is a montage of Itsuki having a cute Christmas moment with each and every one of the previously used and swiftly forgotten Star Maidens. Some of these moments are kind of cute but it doesn’t make the fact that the show is relying on still images and music to convey an emotional narrative that none of the rest of the anime has actually supported.

Conception Episode 11 The King

My money is still on Itsuki surviving this but it is almost irrelevant at this point. If he does survive I’m guessing the final moments of this anime will be Itsuki with all the girls and the guys because this anime keeps feeling the need to one up itself and they’ve done pretty much everything else at this point except actually show the characters having sex.

Conception Episode 11 Itsuki

This is definitely what happens when you know an anime is not going to be something you like but because of one minor bit of curiosity you stick it out. You get to episode 11 and think the next episode can’t come and go fast enough so you never have to think about the anime again.

100 Ways To Remove an Obnoxious Character

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Conception Episode 10 Review

On watching Conception this week I was initially reasonably happy because for the first time in awhile the focus seemed to be on Itsuki beating the labyrinth and the fight sequence, while clearly not on par with an action focused anime, was entertaining enough. Itsuki would be a terrible action protagonist but in the role of high schooler thrown into life or death situation he works well enough as he stumbles about with the Star Children and tries to protect them from harm even while he isn’t some kind of juggernaut of destruction.

Conception Episode 10 The Star Children

However, any enjoyment I may have derived from this episode quickly evaporated as we moved into the second half where we focused on finding the thirteenth Star Maiden. Alfie has been hanging around since nearly the beginning and the reveal makes sense, and as Mana points out in a fourth wall breaking moment it was perfectly set up by the OP, however a little of Alfie is a good thing. This focus on her just kind of puts her character in the worst possible light and by the end I just didn’t care whether she and Itsuki ended up together.

Conception Episode 10 Alfie

More of a problem though is my increasing rancour toward Mana. From the beginning Mana has irritated me but their presence in Conception becomes more irksome with every episode. Even with Alfie not exactly being a stellar heroine, Mana’s intrusive ranting outside the window made what was already a tiresome scene significantly worse.

Conception Episode 10 Alfie and Mana

Which leads to the post title as I started wondering just how many ways the writers could use to remove Mana from the picture (they won’t, and it is clear next week is going to focus on the obnoxious vermin, but I can dream). I’ve suggested several times Mana needs a close encounter with a paper shredder, but maybe it is time to get more inventive. Regardless, I can now say with absolute certainty that Mana is topping my most obnoxious character ever list (forget just this year) taking out even Excalibur from Soul Eater.

A Story of Fan-service, Parodies, and Star Children, Oh My

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Conception Episode 8 Review

This anime has never hidden what it is and I don’t really think it needed to. Right from the beginning the dubious nature of Itsuki’s quest to woo the Star Maidens over in order to make Star Children through a love ritual is as in your face as it can be and despite it not actually involving sex it is about as borderline as it can be. Throw in Mana’s character who is a non-stop parade of lewd sex jokes and references and essentially this anime was very up-front about what its focus was going to be.

Conception Episode 8 Itsuki and Sue

Still, in earlier episodes I felt there were some elements that were curious enough or interesting enough to warrant sticking around and further investigation. The overall presentation wasn’t great, some characters annoyed, and Mana was simply toxic, but the basic idea of being summoned to another world to rid it of impurities through a ritual and then fighting through different levels in a labyrinth had potential. To put it simply the balance of things that made me curious vs those things that made me roll my eyes was good enough that I stuck around. In a show like How Not To Summon a Demon Lord that ultimately paid off. Master of Ragnarok on the other hand was a failure.

So where does Conception fit in?

Well, it is hard to say given it isn’t finished yet and potentially, it could still do something with the ideas it laid out early on but has yet to really capitalise on. In fact, maybe episode 8 is just the low point before the thunderous final and I’ll look back at this post and realise that this was a by-product of weekly watching and personal prejudices against reality TV shows and that a thin parody over the top of the format didn’t make this episode any more watchable. 

Conception Episode 8 The Bachelor

Note: Just playing out the tropes of something isn’t necessarily parody. Small exaggeration of those tropes doesn’t make it necessarily parody either. It kind of just makes it an emulation of the original and if you aren’t fond of the original, unless the parody is actually highlighting a specific issue or idea, basically you are stuck with something else you don’t like.

But basically, this episode brings the worst of Conception to the forefront, while ignoring most of what makes it occasionally interesting and curious. Itsuki particularly has what is left of his character butchered through the attempt to fit him into the mould of the protagonist of an episode of The Bachelor and I was one finger snap away from terminating the viewing then and there.

As it was, I did skip forward at multiple points in the episode, which is something I almost never do on something I haven’t watched through once. Second watches sometimes have sections where I will skip forward if there is a particular scene or moment I’d rather not endure a second time. But first watches are usually safe from this kind of treatment with the understanding that if I dislike something enough to want to skip forward it is probably time to let it go.

Conception Episode 8 Itsuki and Sue

And then, just as I was more or less determined to end the viewing on this and maybe pick one of the shows I put on hold back up, they get back to the idea of the labyrinth and give just the tiniest faint hope they might address it. Not to mention, I’ve watched 8 episodes of this and I kind of want to get to the end and do a season final review. There definitely comes a point in the season where dropping something feels like a defeat and that the time will be completely wasted if you don’t get to the end.

That said, I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to the next episode. I just kind of want this one to be done.