Trickster Episode 13

Review:

Inoue and Kobayashi are keeping the detective thing going even though Akechi seems to have bugged out and Hanasaki is moping or wallowing. And it’s kind of needed given the events of the last few episodes. To have Hanasaki bounce back and everything be fine would be ridiculous. But the problem is my general disconnect from these characters. Nowhere in the prior 12 episodes has this show made me care in the slightest about them so Hanasaki dealing with the trauma of being a ‘hostage’ (or a traitor depending on how you look at it) isn’t exactly a compelling character turn for him. The other issue I had was that the one positive Trickster always had going for it was that it looked good. This episode wasn’t bad but it seemed to be missing some of the sleekness of the earlier episodes. Or maybe I’m just getting more critical because I’m done with this. Sorry, but this is my last episode review of Trickster as I am moving on.

Trickster is available on Crunchyroll.


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Winter 2017 – What I’m Continuing

Yep, nothing has really started yet but Autumn and 2016 are done. I still don’t know what I am watching this season so this list is just the anime I’m continuing on from last season.

At this stage all that’s on my list and where I am up to:

  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Ep 11)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Ep 38)
  • Trickster (Ep 12)

I’m really hoping I pick up enough shows to drop Trickster but the other two I’m really happy to continue with for now. As I add shows they’ll show up in my weekly overview.

So far I’ve tried Akiba’s Trip and Masamune-Kun’s Revenge and the reviews for the first episodes of these will be up tomorrow.

I’ve also tried Saga of Tanya the Evil, Fuuka, Schoolgirl Strikers and Blue Exorcists and reviews of these first episodes (whether I’m continuing them or not) will be up over the next week.

Also, I have started my long put off watch of Hunter x Hunter and Haikyu so depending on how many shows I pick up during the season I may review these episodically or I might just do occasional updates on them. Or I might end up dropping them. Who knows? The other show I might end up watching from last season is Brave Witches but again that depends on what I pick up in the next few weeks.

What are you watching/continuing this season?

Trickster Episode 11

Review:

The opening sequence of Trickster this week decided to play around with the visuals instead of sound, though I have to ask why there is suddenly some sort of floating base. Anyway, Hanasaki remains an inept main character and not a particularly interesting one. Amazingly enough after Akechi turns up he regrets being a complete tool. Kobayashi is the real star of the episode and I have to agree 100% with this comment.

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Despite that he still shows up at the end quite dramatically and I guess they want us to watch next week to find out how bubble boy can save the day. Once again though, whether any of the ‘boy’ detectives can actually detect is being called into question given they really rely way too much on outside assistance to find anything.

Trickster is available on Crunchyroll.

Autumn 2016 Week 10

Week 10 has been interesting. Some things got better, some got worse, many shows shifted their character focus this week and some really showed us they were getting ready for their climax. I know some people have been fairly indifferent to the anime this season but this has actually been my favourite season so far in 2016. Most of the ‘still on my radar’ shows would have been must watch shows in other seasons this year so even though they have issues I’m actually enjoying most of them (with the possible exception of Izetta but that started as a must watch in its first episodes and has been sliding ever since).

As always, please feel free to tell me what you think about the season in the comments below.

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I Must Keep Watching

  • Yuri on Ice (Ep 10)
  • Natsume Yuujinchou Go (Ep 9)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Ep 8)
  • Bungo Stray Dogs (Ep 22)

Do I have a higher category than this? Why not? Yuri on Ice… wow. Just wow. You know, it isn’t a perfect anime and we can critically tear it to pieces if we’d like but there are few anime that make me feel so much while watching them. This week was truly amazing and left me smiling for hours.

Natsume continues to be charming and just a very relaxing viewing experience. Watching an episode is like checking in on old friends and you don’t really need to do anything, its fun just being there.

Glad we had an episode of March Comes in Like a Lion this week.  I just get more and more drawn into Rei’s life with every episode and the whole experience has been wonderful. I’m kind of glad this show has more than 12 episodes though because it really feels like things are really just getting going.

And just when I considered dropping Bungo out of this category they give Rampo a few moments to shine. That alone was enough to sell this episode to me. This show is still highly reliant on coincidence and narrative convenience but this season is entertaining.

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Still On My Radar

  • Lostorage Incited WIXOSS (Ep 9)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Ep 34)
  • Days (Ep 22)
  • Flip Flappers (Ep 10)
  • Izetta: the Last Witch (Ep 10)

WIXOSS brings us a new level of dark this week with crushing depression and suicide. That said, this series is playing on its strengths and seems to be bringing things nicely together even linking in to the previous seasons without being too hard to follow for newcomers to the franchise. Looking forward to how this will end now.

Iron Blooded Orphans dropped a bit this week. Not because it got worse but because it is at the mid-season point and the story is kind of in a lull whereas WIXOSS is going full steam ahead into its climax. I think Orphans might be suffering from its own run-time. Season 2 just hasn’t been as compelling as season 1 and while there are still plenty of points of interest I’m starting to get distracted.

Days is coming to the end of its run (though it kind of feels like a season 2 will be needed at this point – unless they actually do stuff up and get eliminated) and the quality of the animation has just not held up leading to my dropping it down the list this week. At times it was outright disruptive to the viewing this week. While normally I wouldn’t knock a show down for this, Days has had consistency problems from the start and this dive in quality this close to the end is just one more thing to take into account when weighing up how good Days has been as a series.

Flip Flappers continues to bewilder but we do seem closer again to an answer. The problem is every time they explain something you realise they haven’t explained anything and they only have a couple more episodes to really wrap things up. Here’s hoping they can resolve things.

Seems like Izetta has decided to take war reasonably seriously as we close in on the final episodes. Certainly the characters are hurting this week and there was definitely none of the silly asides or playing dress up that has filled so many earlier episodes. I may not be thrilled with how this series has played out but I’d like a solid ending to it at least.

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Not Dropped But Not Sold On These

  • Bloodivores (Ep 10)
  • Trickster (Ep 10)
  • Kiss Him, Not Me (Ep 9)
  • Nazotokine (Ep 10)

Bloodivores ran around a lot this week so points for energy but minus a whole bunch for actual narrative and characterisation. Honestly, this show just doesn’t get any better but it hasn’t noticeably gotten worse but its kind of like trying to eat most healthy cereals for breakfast. You know it won’t hurt you but it doesn’t taste great so you have no enthusiasm for the consumption.

In fairness to Trickster, it actually is better than Bloodivores and yet knowing that Bloodivores will be done in 2 more episodes made the mess of an episode this week actually tolerable, while Trickster could drag out this mediocrity for another 14 episodes. Seriously hoping that Winter’s line up is good so that I can give Trickster a sound kick out of my list.

Kiss Him, Not Me delivered a generic and cliché filled summer episode but was back to being inoffensive and vaguely amusing so I put the terminally boring Nazotokine back beneath it on the list.

Nazotokine is living up to my lack of expectations at this point and continues to give us formulaic and relatively flat episodes where there doesn’t really seem to be any reason to care whether they solve the riddle or not. Admittedly, we haven’t actually seen the consequences of failure because it hasn’t happened yet, but it seems unlikely this show is going to bother upping the stakes at this point.

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Dropped

  • Cheating Craft (Ep 4 – Dropped)
  • Girlish Number (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Nanbaka (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Magical Girl Raising Project (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Matoi the Sacred Slayer (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Touken Ranbu – Hanmaru (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • To Be Hero (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Occult;Nine (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Dream Festival (Ep 1 – Dropped)

Alright, which character journey have you been most impressed with this season?

Trickster Episode 10

Review:

This episode kind of defines everything that is wrong with Trickster. We have one of the core cast members abducted by the guy who has been set up to be the master-mind villain and now he’s been taken back to his lair to be brainwashed. That should be an amazingly dramatic episode. Instead we get some half-hearted psychological games that wouldn’t work on a three-year old (but magically work on Hanasaki so what does that tell us about his basic personality other than he lacks one) and we spend the rest of the episode fluffing about with the other members of the detective group who are involved in a case so lame they don’t even really bother to explain what they are doing or why (incidentally it involves a fake haunting and even knocking the building down at the conclusion of that story didn’t make it interesting).

But hey, let’s play some dramatic music and make it all seem like this is really tense. That’s what Trickster does over and over. It delivers lame dialogue with bad timing with characters they’ve never made us care about and then blast us with the sound track as if that is going to make up all the difference.

By the way, I will argue against this line forever.

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Here is me hoping Twenty-Faces was being sarcastic because otherwise this show just got a lot worse.

Trickster is available on Crunchyroll.

Trickster Episode 9

Review:

So, Trickster, is that really the hand you want to play?

Okay, 90% of this episode is boring, predictable, or boringly predictable. We get the conclusion to the whole brother in the compound and it is incredibly anticlimactic and you could almost write every line of dialogue if you just run a sieve through the cheesiest b-grade action movies of the 90’s and then only use the most passive lines that come out. Then we have Hanasaki’s little melt-down which you see coming pretty much from the start of the episode and then we get to the conclusion of the episode which I guess is the twist only what else were we expecting by that point?

SPOILER AHEAD

Twenty-faces shows up when Hanasaki’s at his lowest. Really? Well, what else was Twenty-faces doing in this situation at all? He got nothing out of the siege itself so the only possible conclusion is he was trying to mess with Akechi and given Akechi didn’t care one way or the other the only payoff one could get from this scenario is Hanasaki falling apart and getting to Akechi somehow that way (way to take the long path to a goal).

Why Twenty-faces would want to deal with the jump-suit wearing adrenalin junkie is probably the only mystery left in this scenario but I guess we’ll find out next episode.

Trisckster is available on Crunchyroll.

Trickster Episode 8

Review:

Trickster returns to focussing on Hanasaki and his woe is me my brother left me back story. Okay, I don’t like his character and I don’t feel sorry for him. Plus the brother is seriously delusional if he thinks that you can just declare your own country and then shoot at a police helicopter and that this is going to lead to a happy ending. The other characters don’t do much this episode. They are there, and we even see Akechi accept a case to look into a woman’s cheating husband, but they don’t do anything. At all. They literally just sit around waiting. For what? Who knows because once the phone call they’ve apparently been waiting for comes we don’t get to hear what is said or why they were waiting. This show continues to have all the ingredients needed to be interesting without ever actually being all that interesting.

Trickster is available on Crunchyroll.

Trickster Episode 7

Review:

So we finally know a bit about Akechi’s back story and his relationship with Twenty Faces in Trickster. The issue being that it isn’t interesting. Okay, Akechi had a terrible childhood and ran away after his mentor died while carrying excessive guilt about being the one who killed both his mentor and his father (though from what we saw he didn’t actually kill either just failed to save them). Twenty Faces is saved by Akechi but then develops some creepy obsession with him and then we get this:

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Right. Why? There something really questionable about the motive and it just seems like Twenty Faces is weirdly fixated on Akechi because they are. Maybe we’ll get more elaboration on this later but for now it’s all just kind of a serviceable back story and not a lot more.

The boys in the detective club do get a few appearances and they are set up next week nicely but really the focus this week was on Akechi and giving him some sort of background which up until now had been completely lacking. Once again, the episode works but the delivery is all just kind of ordinary.

Trickster is available on Crunchyroll.

Trickster Episode 6

Review:

Trickster is continuing to roll along in unspectacular fashion. This week the agency is officially on break from pretending to detect but that won’t stop Hanasaki from finding ways to stick his nose into other people’s business. Mostly what I took away from this episode is Hanasaki is a genuine idiot. Not the kind that acts like an idiot but actually has something going on inside his head, but just an idiot. Prior to this episode, while I found him annoying, I’d always kind of thought that somewhere he was going to show that he’s actually quite smart, but no. Not happening. He really does just fly from one thing to the next without thinking anything through.

We did see some more of Noro (computer girl) and Kobayashi actually smiled this episode but I don’t think either of those count particularly as major developments.

Trickster is available on Crunchyroll.

Autumn 2016 Week 5

Okay, week 5 and I’m finding that this season is a little bit strange in that other than the handful of must watch shows, the others are all a bit hit and miss from episode to episode. There are some great ideas out there this season but some of the delivery has just been a little hard to get into. That said, there is still plenty of fun things to watch so let’s look at where they are sitting on the list.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the season below.

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I Must Keep Watching

  • Natsume Yuujinchou Go (Ep 5)
  • Bungo Stray Dogs (Ep 17)
  • March Comes in Like a Lion (Ep 4)
  • Yuri on Ice (Ep 5)

Natsume was superb this week exhibiting everything I love about the series. Overall season 5 is definitely delivering (though as it maintains much the same tone every single episode, there is a chance that if the other shows managed a rally they would knock this off the number 1 spot).

Bungo Stray Dogs actually managed a reasonable transition back to the present day and while I can see this dropping down the list over the next couple of episodes, this second season on balance is still pretty strong.

March Comes in Like a Lion has moved down this week as this episode kind of gave hints that this series, while visually impressive, may end up just kind of following characters doing very little. There is still some hints at the darker issues underlying things but this week was definitely an unimpressive episode from a story point of view.

Yuri on Ice may be my next one to drop down to the still on my radar. It’s beautiful, the theme song steals my heart from the first beat, the characters are fun to watch, and there’s a lot of positives about this show. However, from a story point of view we aren’t going anywhere quickly and where we are going isn’t anywhere new. And while the characters are fun to watch, other than Yuri himself, the others are either undeveloped or at times inconsistent (except Victor who probably also needs to grow up a bit). While I’m loving this and am definitely watching through to the end, as a series I don’t know that it is a must watch.

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Still On My Radar

  • Izetta: the Last Witch (Ep 5)
  • Lostorage Incited WIXOSS (Ep 4)
  • Days (Ep 17)
  • Iron Blooded Orphans (Ep 29)
  • Flip Flappers (Ep 5)

Izetta worked hard to redeem itself this week after the last episode and honestly I was hooked again but the issues with the show in terms of knowing whether this is serious or just a piece of friendship fluff set in a tragic background remain. Hopefully episode 4 was the low point and with episode 5 we are returning onward and upward, but  I worry about whether this show can remain consistently interesting for the duration. That said, so far it has been pretty good despite some quibbles.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS finds new ways to emotionally cripple its characters while still giving us a fairly interesting story. If only the end goal of the entire system had ever made sense in this series, WIXOSS remains an odd entertainment. I’ve moved it up in this category mostly because this is close to being a must watch for me. After each episode I’m left wanting to see more and wanting to know what happens next.

Days also bounced back a bit this week but the inconsistencies in this series mean that it just isn’t going to move back up to a must watch. Certainly I’ve enjoyed the journey so far and I look forward to the final leg of this series but I somehow doubt I’ll be returning to this series for another watch.

Iron Blooded Orphans isn’t grabbing me this season the way season 1 did. Maybe it was the break inbetween but more likely it is just that we’ve watched the orphans fight to run their own company and now we’re playing politics and I know which story was more interesting. I still want to know what will happen to these characters but it is becoming increasingly clear that this story is going to get messy.

Flip Flappers may well go back to the not sold on category if it persists in this way. I don’t think anything meaningful was gained from episode 5 and to be honest, just being cute and weird isn’t enough to fascinate me if the story isn’t going to progress. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I just missed what was meant to be plot progression this week and I’ll realise that next time. That said, I was pretty unimpressed this week.

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Not Dropped But Not Sold On These

  • Trickster (Ep 5)
  • Bloodivores (Ep 5)
  • Kiss Him, Not Me (Ep 4)
  • Nazotokine (Ep 5)

Trickster is remaining functional but not exceptional or even particularly interesting. It hasn’t got worse but it isn’t making me care anymore about most of the cast even though it seems desperately trying to make me care about someone in the show. Oh well. Hopefully they can bring some more excitement in soon.

Bloodivores continues to be pretty ordinary. That said, now that we’ve spent the last 4 episodes running away from monsters I’m kind of at least wanting to find out why the monsters exist and what is going on. Lack of explanation may actually work in this show’s favour.

I would hesitate to say that Kiss Him, Not Me is actually a worse show than Trickster or Bloodivores but the other two have fairly interesting premises even if they aren’t doing much with them, and they both seem to be developing. Kiss Him seems content to roll out the same tired material each week with a few gimmicks thrown over the top in the hope that you won’t notice that this episode plays out exactly the same way as the last.

Lastly, Nazotokine remains mostly pointless and pretty bland. I just don’t see who the intended audience actually would be because none of it is interesting enough. Whether you like characters, story, fan service, puzzles, etc, there just isn’t enough of anything to salvage enjoyment from the seven minutes a week of mundane.

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Watching and Will Review Occasionally

  • Girlish Number (Ep 1 – still on hold, may need to just drop)
  • Cheating Craft (Ep 4)

Cheating Craft has kind of settled into a pattern and it isn’t a particularly good one. The jokes aren’t landing now that the initial wow factor for how over the top the cheating was going to get has passed and what we are left with is a cast of idiot boys chasing after manipulative girls and very little plot to speak of.

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Dropped

  • Nanbaka (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Magical Girl Raising Project (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Matoi the Sacred Slayer (Ep 2 – Dropped)
  • Touken Ranbu – Hanmaru (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • To Be Hero (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Occult;Nine (Ep 1 – Dropped)
  • Dream Festival (Ep 1 – Dropped)

Another week and once again looking over the list and wondering what I should have dropped and what I will need to go back and do a catch up viewing of after the season is done.

What’s been your favourite so far?