My Hero Academia Episode 18

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Review:

Despite episode 17’s efforts to push the B class and some new faces to a small position of prominence, it was fairly clear that class A wasn’t going to take that lying down. This episode the tide if effectively turned and the students we know come out on top, though they really did take things to the final few minutes for Midoriya’s team.

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There isn’t a lot of tension, even after team Midoriya lose their headband, because you kind of know that Midoriya isn’t going to fail here. Still, it isn’t easy clawing their way back and the standout moment of the episode comes when Midoriya actually uses his unreliable quirk and doesn’t injure anybody or himself. Small steps toward a control that is great needed. If the tournament can deliver more moments of self-growth for our heroes, I’ll be pretty happy with that.

Kind of looking forward to learning more about Todoroki and his father though and maybe we’ll get some of that next week.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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My Hero Academia Episode 17

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Review:

I’ve thought this before, but class A is full of morons isn’t it? They might be really powerful but they just like to bulldoze their way through challenges rather than thinking it through. While the spokesman for class B at the end of the episode may have had a fairly repellant personality, his reasoning is sound and I kind of respect him for it. I’d respect him more if he’d just taken the headband and run away rather than sitting and gloating and stirring up someone who really isn’t going to take it well.

The construction of the teams was kind of entertaining and I loved the different views people had about why they would or wouldn’t team up with someone.

Of course, as fun as all the team making and running around was, this episode really feels like it is just waiting for something to happen and it doesn’t. Maybe it will come next episode but it really did feel like we were going through the motions. Would it have mattered if we hadn’t seen how the teams were negotiated and we just saw the battle mid-way through? Somehow I don’t think it would so we could probably just skip right over this episode for all the plot it develops.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Sagrada Reset Episode 1

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Overview:

In a town where a lot of people have strange abilities one girl is able to reset the world up to three days. This is fairly pointless until she meets the boy who can perfectly recall memory.

Review:

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Really hoping this isn’t forewarning that there is no story here.

I’m not certain where this is going or if there is an overall plot, but for a first episode this was intriguing. Definitely slow, and really quiet. That was one thing I continually noticed throughout the episode was the absence of sound which made the few moments of background noise (whether it be wind or cicadas) really stand out. ┬áThe characters are a little robotic in their mannerisms (though it seems like a deliberate choice) but so far this has managed to make me very curious. Possibly that will turn to boredom but I’m kind of hoping this can remain interesting as there’s certainly enough possibilities floating about and the discussions about choices and morality, while heavy handed, are so far pretty interesting.

Sagrada Reset is available on AnimeLab.


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Re: Hamatora Series Review

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Overview:

The sequel to Hamatora, the story picks up immediately after the events in season 1 so be prepared for a few major spoilers for season 1 if you read on.

Review:

Hamatora is an enjoyable enough story with a bit of mystery, a bit of super powered violence, some friendship stuff and a lot of bright colours. Re: Hamatora is a passable follow up but taken by itself is not a good piece of story telling nor character piece.

Actually, Re: Hamatora falls into traps that many sequels have issues with. Firstly, we ended season one on an enormous cliff hanger.

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Art shot Nice. Nice had finally beaten the crazy serial killer and saved the city and Art shot him point blank (or at least seemed to but of course it happens ‘off screen’). Art was his friend, and a detective, and completely committed to protecting others and the formerly believed to have been killed Art turns up and shoots Nice.

That’s a pretty big finish to a series and is more or less a guarantee that people will come back for a season 2.

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And yet, by the end of episode 1 we might as well say, well, that was pointless and move on with out lives. Nice isn’t dead (given he’s the main character and displayed prominently on the DVD case and pretty much every image of Re: Hamatora) and the motive for playing dead is at best incredibly lame. While we’ll need longer to figure out what is going on with Art and why he took that course of action this would only be a good enough hook if Art’s character had been developed as anything other than the nice guy, powerless do-gooder prior to these events. We don’t care about Art because season 1 gave us no reason to. Art’s death was a shocking moment. It came suddenly and with only a few minutes between the foreshadowing and execution so it definitely shocked, but it wasn’t because we liked Art. It was more the impact his death would ultimately have on Nice and that up until that point we had no reason to believe the killer would target non-minimum holders.

So before season 2 even gets rolling we have a shaky foundation with some questionable choices but the issues don’t stop there for the story.

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The show has always had a vague focus on the discrimination minimum holders and/or normal people face in the world (those with power vs those who don’t) and yet this isn’t actually part of the overall motive for the serial killer, Art, or Nice as all three of these characters are more or less indifferent to the issue. Even Nice who protects others at times doesn’t really see the point of discrimination in either direction and he’s ‘off beat’ enough to just sail through life without really dealing with it. Art on the other hand has more issues with his own inferiority complex rather than an issue with external discrimination. So a major theme that attempts to build some sort of social commentary in this story, and scenes and sub-plots around this dominate whole episodes, but don’t actually link in to the main plot in a cohesive or meaningful manner. It’s more just a backdrop that takes up a lot of time and space.

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Season 2 also sees an increased focus on Hajime (Nice’s friend who he regularly feeds at Cafe Nowhere who seems tough but we haven’t really seen her do anything prior to season 2). While she ultimately gets a really intriguing back story and a great side-story the link back to the overarching plot is again tenuous. Her story does lead to some complications with the powers of the characters and is probably the most interesting of all the stories we see in season 2, but it isn’t enough to carry the whole series.

Re: Hamatora ultimately has a bunch of ideas all competing for attention to the point where you all but forget that dramatic conclusion to season 1 or even what it is the characters were ultimately trying to achieve (if anything).

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Despite the story issues, of which there are many, it is the fact that the characters seem so disconnected from these events and do not seem to undergo much development or growth that really causes it all to come tumbling down. A fragmented story could still come together if the characters drove through the plot and learned from each of their encounters and took something with them. But Nice is apparently perfect from the get go and others just need to see he’s fine. The other characters personalities barely blink over the course of the events and so as an audience member you are not asked to care about any of the goings on but are merely expected to embrace the zany colour pattern (which is intensely bright, even more so than season 1) and the sickening scene transitions.

This is a watchable follow up and it does ultimately answer questions about the school and Minimum Holders and it does end, but honestly there is little point in watching unless you just like anything involving super powers. Because it is not bad. It may not be good but there is fun to be found in watching this just don’t expect anything amazing.


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Hamatora Season 1 Series Review

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Overview:

At the cafe Nowhere the detective agency Hamatora makes its base. Made up of a group of Minimum Holders (people with superpowers) they take on all kinds of jobs as long as they are interested. However somewhere in the city there’s a killer targeting Minimum Holders.

Review:

In case it sounds like the overview above is pretty derivative of a lot of other stories, you are absolutely right. As are the characters, the activations for powers, and the problems these characters face. We’ve seen pretty much everything here before, though maybe not in quite as many different colours (this show is bright). Despite that, Hamatora manages to be a fairly decent entry into the detectives with superpower line up. It isn’t going to blow you away but you should get a laugh or two out of it and as long as you aren’t going to question the physics of their powers and whether or not what they just explained actually made sense, you should get a reasonably decent story out of it.

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Hamatora’s main characters are Nice and Murasaki. Murasaki is the glasses wearing and slightly more sensible of the team (also a bit more grounded in reality realising that they actually have to take jobs that earn money occasionally) and Nice is the airhead who is going about life at his own pace (except he isn’t that much of an airhead when it comes to some things). These two met at a school for Minimum Holders though it seems neither graduated and Murasaki (who has an awesome power the few times he gets to use it) was pretty much always in Nice’s shadow. As a side note Murasaki was on my top 5 list for male characters who wear glasses.

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The other main pair that work for Hamatora (there’s another character as well as the staff of cafe nowhere but they are more important in season 2) are Birthday and Ratio, and already the names in this show are making you roll your eyes. While at first it seems like all four of these characters will play an important roll and we might get a team working together, the story chooses to focus almost exclusively on Nice (and Murasaki by default) with these two doing occasional filler stories and support roles. Which is a shame because their relationship and history are kind of cool.

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Another ex-student of their school, one who doesn’t have a power but now works as a detective, is Art. He’s serious and down to earth and is responsible for a lot of the jobs Hamatora manages to get. However, for a large part of this season, Art tries to keep Nice away from the serial killer case that is foreshadowed right from the start so instead of following along with the main investigation the audience is sidelined to the kiddy table with Nice and he goes about investigating an array of ultimately fairly pointless cases before he finally crosses paths with the case that the story is actually about.

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And remember what I said about the show being bright. While the normal character designs and clothes are enough to do your head in, the entire colour palette of this show is excessive in the sheer range of colours it throws at you and that’s before they start applying the effects for powers. The powers take an already incredibly bright show and make it nearly nauseating to look at.

That’s probably the show’s greatest weakness. It is trying impossibly hard to be cool. Cool soundtrack, bright colour scheme, characters who don’t have any real allegiances or ties so are free to make whatever call they like, and yet the story is so incredibly ordinary and while the characters are interesting enough they aren’t that different from anything we’ve seen before (though why Nice wears band aids on his face continuously is a mystery I’ll never solve).

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Despite that, this show is fun to watch. It isn’t amazing and you’ll have figured out mostly where this is going from the start. There are some good fight sequences though there’s also a little bit of gore (not extreme but it is a story about a serial killer). As a standalone story this would have worked just fine if they’d had one more episode to tie up a few loose ends. Unfortunately we end more or less after a major twist and then the second season spends a lot of time undermining some of the better elements of the first season but I’ll save that complaint for when I get around to reviewing season 2.

This is worth a look at if you are looking for something actiony with a bit of comedy. There’s issues but nonetheless it remains entertaining.