Why Is It People Ask Me To Justify Watching Anime?

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A random question I asked back when I first started the blog:

Why do you watch anime?

I often wonder why this question ever even gets asked and why people felt you needed to justify watching anime. Its like walking up to someone standing on a football field in their uniform and carrying the ball and asking why they play football. Clearly they get something from it. Even if you don’t get what that thing is. And yet this question comes up over and over again.

Maeda doesn't need you to justify watching anime.

Why do you watch that?

You watch anime? How come?

Why would you watch that?

Go on, justify watching anime. Then justify watching anything else.

It occurred to me that the majority of the askers have no idea that anime is not a genre in and of itself and they really haven’t been exposed to much beyond the biggest of anime titles. Now, instead of sighing when asked this, I see it as an opportunity to educate. I ask the asker what their favourite movie/TV show/book is and then I list at least three anime titles that I feel they might probably find enjoyable. Sometimes I even convince them to give one of them ago. A much more satisfying exchange.



But how do others deal with this question?

Turning to everybody’s favourite corporate friend I decided to see what the internet had to say:

google search why do you watch anime
lots of people trying to justify watching anime

Good to know that anime beat out tv, movies and  Game of Thrones and that somehow people feel more need to justify watching anime then anything else on TV (or maybe that’s just google knowing me and what I search for). And of course the inevitable posts that come up when you run this search are ‘ten reasons you should be watching anime’ and various forums and discussion boards where people have asked this question.

Interestingly, when you change the search to why do you watch football, about midway down the first page you get news articles explaining what happens to your body and your brain when you watch sport. I can assure you, no news articles came up when trying to figure out why people watched anime. I’m assuming that’s because more people watch sport, but it is interesting that there aren’t any fan blogs in the first searches of this one giving ten reasons your should start watching football. It is kind of just assumed that the majority of people already do.

Fruits Basket Final Ep6 2
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Reddit of course weighed in:

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reddit

I’m going to be honest, back when I first published this post in 2016, I did try to get involved in discussions on Reddit but I more or less decided it was pointless. People just kind of throw their opinion out there but there’s no back and forth or exchange and the majority of threads seem to end up falling into the same patterns and comments as every other one so it just never really engaged me. I honestly don’t even remember what my sign in is anymore.

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Lastly, after dodging a large range of shots of girls in vaguely compromising positions, I came across this image that I think sums up a lot of the frustration anime lovers have when confronted with someone who still thinks Pokemon defines the medium.

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It isn’t as though I actually get annoyed at people who think anime is for kids. Particularly if they’ve only been exposed to anime on free-to-air TV in Australia. However, it does get annoying when you explain about other types of anime to someone and they still stubbornly cling to the idea cartoons are for kids, even when many western animations are no longer all necessarily for children.

My question this week: Either why you like anime or how you deal with this question when asked it, or why you think people still ask this question?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Top 5 Reasons To Watch Seasonal Anime

Top 5 Seasonal Anime

There’s many reasons to watch seasonal anime. Plenty of reasons to wait until it is done and just binge it. So this post wants to look at the top 5 reasons to watch anime episodically as it airs.

This is a repost of a top 5 I wrote early in 2020. I’m actually trying out turning it into a podcast so this is more a test post than anything else. On that note, I get the audio is a little on the tinny side and I am working to improve sound quality for my next attempt at this. There’s a few other quality points that I’ll address as I continue practicing and hopefully I will improve.

That said, I’m looking to convert most of my non-episode review posts into an audio form as well as the text form, though this is a project that is going to take quite awhile. None of this is going to take away from the fact that my main focus will remain the blog and creating new written posts. I’m just trying to look for ways to reach out beyond the wordpress community.

What are the top 5 reasons to watch seasonal anime?

Number 5: Bite Sized and Digestible

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken ep6 3 4 1070x602 1

Sometimes in anime a little goes a long way. Seasonal viewing allows shows to be taken in 20 minutes (maybe 24 minutes if you watch the whole of the OP/ED/preview etc) and then you can sit back and think about them for a bit. When you watch an episode that is emotionally wrenching enough to leave you in tears, the break is helpful allowing time to reflect and really embrace where that story took you.

Equally when an episode ends on that wondrous and triumphant high you can really take that feeling and carry it through the next week rather than instantly hitting play on the next episode and moving to the next emotional beat. Bite sized moments are excellent as they allow you to savour the flavour they deliver and they give you time to really digest what you have watched and turn it over in your mind before the next thing comes along. Definitely an advantage of seasonal viewing.

Number 4: Variety Adds Spice

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When binge watching, particularly when taking on a longer running show, there’s a sense that you are kind of just committed to that endeavour. I will admit that while I watch a large number of seasonal anime, I am usually just watching one older show (or rewatching) usually in 3 – 6 episode chunks when I have time to watch TV. But what if I’m not in the mood for whatever I’m currently binge watching?

Okay a sensible person would just start something else but clearly that isn’t me. I find with seasonal viewing, if I keep enough variety in my watch list there’s almost always an episode of something I’m in the mood to watch.

Number 3: Anticipation Is Awesome

Spectre5c

While I’ve made my feelings around needless cliff-hangers relatively clear in the past, there’s something to be said about waiting for a resolution. In the world of now-now-now it is sometimes nice to be forced to sit back and wait for something.

The next chapter release of an online novel series or the next episode of a show that has really got you hooked. In many cases anticipation of what is to come is more exciting than what you actually get and you can ride the high of anticipation for a whole week between anime episodes. This is something binge watching just cannot deliver as it is all about instant gratification.



Number 2: Enjoyment Extends For Months Rather Than Hours

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This one is a bit of a double edge sword. Sure if you are really into an anime then you get to be excited about it every week for 3 to 6 months depending on whether it is one or two cour with seasonal watching. On a binge watch that amounts to 2 – 4 sessions of watching and could all be over within a week.

Then again, the same is true if you are just not that into an anime or are finding it a little underwhelming. That feeling also extends for months. Still, given I love anime most of them manage to make it feel like time enjoyed and the few exceptions are what make the other anime feel even more fun.

Number 1: Join The Community in Conversation

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The number one reason to watch seasonal anime though remains the wonderful anime community. These are the people you share your screen caps with, discuss your theories (no matter how off the wall they are), gush over a brilliant scene or rant about how something just fell flat after weeks of build up. They take watching anime from a solitary act and make it part of your social life and experience and it becomes even more fun to bounce opinions and ideas off of others.

Sure you can discuss anime that are finished that you have binged but not everyone will be watching it right now (unless you have organised a group watch of something). If you want to talk with people watching the same show at the same time as you then seasonal anime definitely opens that door. Of course, it also allows for knee-jerk reactions and sometimes less than thrilling responses by the community.

So why do you watch seasonal anime?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


What Is The Best Shounen For People Who Don’t Like Shounen?

Shounen feature

A one of the most prolific and popular anime genres, sooner or later most anime viewers watch at least a couple of shounen anime. But what are the best shounen for people who just aren’t into them?

If you were to do a search on MAL or any anime database for a list of the most popular anime, you are very likely to find the list heavily weighted toward anime that are labelled as shounen. While this isn’t strictly speaking a genre, but is more of a description of the target audience, a lot of people will use it as a genre label. What that means is that shounen (shonen or 少年) is a label that actually has quite a diverse range of titles stacked underneath it, though given they are all stories targeting a particular demographic there are certainly some similarities to be found between titles.

And that’s probably why, when someone states that they ‘don’t like shounen’ they probably aren’t lying, however their experience with these types of anime has probably been limited to a couple of the more obvious titles, usually involving fairly frequent fight sequences, training montages, and inevitable protagonist screaming in order to get a deus ex machina power-up during a final battle sequence.

black11a
Okay, I never got to a final battle sequence in Black Clover but Asta’s shouting most definitely made me walk away from the series.

Right, so we’ve probably clarified that there are definitely shounen anime that don’t sit particularly well with me. That’s hardly surprising given I’m in my thirties and female rather than the teenage male for whom most of these stories are produced. When pushed to describe favourite anime genres or types, I’d rarely list shounen, yet because I consume so much anime it is inevitable that I’ve watched a lot of titles that fall into the category and to be honest some of them I’ve loved.

Does that mean everyone has to enjoy shounen anime? Absolutely not. Some people just aren’t going to bite or be interested regardless of the title you float their way, however there are plenty of other anime fans who could be persuaded to give anime under this banner a go if you approach it the right way.



Firstly, actually consider what it is they don’t like about shounen anime? Is it because the protagonists are generally kind of loud and brash kids who kind of just rush headfirst into things and only later learn about the importance of some kind of moderation? That one is easily overcome by some careful anime selection.

I’d solidly recommend Bakuman which I included an entry for in my Top 5 anime by J.C. Staff list. Now an anime about two boys who want to draw manga might not seem very shounen, however despite a very real look at some of the trials of becoming famous mangaka there’s some solid rivalry built up between the protagonists and other budding creators. There’s also a bit of romance and relationship drama thrown into the mix and a lot of drama as these characters strive to be the very best. However, most importantly, is there’s very little shouting and screaming as these characters compete with their hard work and creativity, not their fists or any particular magic powers. While this one isn’t considered a legendary shounen anime by any means, when sorting the 1,995 shounen anime by score on MAL the third season comes into 30th place (or did when I looked in early February). In point of fact it was sandwiched right between a Gintama special and one of the Haikyuu!! sequels and beat out season 3 of Attack on Titan.

bakuman
You can practically feel the tension.

Another reason people often given for disliking shounen is that it’s too mainstream. There isn’t a lot you can do to counter this particular argument. I had a friend when I was in school who refused to watch Titanic because it was ‘too popular’ and I never understood that particular argument. Certainly things that are popular aren’t always good and may not always work for you, but being popular doesn’t automatically make something bad.That said, you could try finding a somewhat lesser known shounen title which isn’t all that popular and see if they will bite.

Something like Tegami Bachi might do the trick given you have to go into the 300 ranks of MAL shounen to find this one. Now Tegami Bachi or Letter Bee is actually a pretty impressive anime given how little people speak about it (on that note, why haven’t I written a review about it, I loved this anime). All up for season one and two you are looking at 50 episodes and the fairly epic story of Lag Seeing who is delivering people’s most important feelings in the form of letters in a very hostile world that is full of secrets. Some solid world building and interesting characters really make this one sing and yes you will find some fight sequences as these postal workers are dealing with worse things than a loose dog.

Still not unpopular enough, you could always venture into the 1000’s though I’m not going to vouch for what you’ll find there given most of the anime seemed to be specials, spin-offs or OVAs of more popular shows or in one fantastic case a recap of the first four episodes of Darwin’s game. Well, you can’t argue that its too mainstream popular.

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Following on from being too mainstream, another common argument will be that shounen anime are just too long. Which if you look at any of the big hitters and the ones that people come back to again and again, they run into the 100’s of episodes (chunks of which are actually filler which have nothing to do with the main plot) and the time commitment is just a little too intense.

I kind of get this argument and the only real mainstream shounen I’ve rewatched multiple times and bought the entirety of on DVD is Bleach. Mostly because D-Gray Man still isn’t finished and I can’t actually buy half the original anime on DVD in Australia anyway (if anyone knows where you can buy episodes 52 and on in Australia, let me know). Even rewatching Assassination Classroom with a friend from work who is kind of casually into anime has become something of an ordeal as our watch has now spread into its second year despite being less than 50 episodes, as we can only really watch a handful of episodes in a sitting and it is sometimes several weeks between viewings when we are both available for it. That said, we’re committed and we will complete our watch of season 2 sometime this year and then we’ll finally pick a new show that only has 11 episodes.

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It may not be risky to watch a longer show together, but it is definitely a challenge sometimes.

Of course, as much as I understand the argument, I also see a really obvious way around it. Pick a shorter anime. What is their upper most episode limit? Are we talking less than a 100? You can still hit Fullmetal Alchemist. Less than 50? Death Note which tops the list of shounen anime in terms of members on MAL comes in at 37. Lesson than 20? This gets a bit trickier but not impossible. Like you could watch season one of a show like Noragami which only has 12 episodes, and the first season alone is pretty entertaining though does leave you wanting more. However, I’m not going to cheat this one. Highschool of the Dead could be an interesting choice depending on their tolerance for anime boob-physics and zombie horror but it doesn’t actually conclude. Similarly Deadman Wonderland is kind of a ride if you can handle literal buckets of blood and a lack of ending.

Actually, I just thought of the perfect show. 12 episodes, conclusive ending, a space adventure with a cute cast and a pretty good mystery that has a resolution that actually makes sense. Kanata no Astra. Astra Lost in Space was one of my favourite seasonal anime when it aired and it was an anime I binge watched with a friend fairly soon afterward and it definitely held up to a second viewing.

Astra8i
Yeah, I know Kanata looks like an idiot, but trust me, he grows on you.

Basically, for whatever reason someone will give you for not liking shounen, you can almost always find something wearing the tag that avoids that particular mark. Whether they don’t like the fan-service, younger characters, even violence, there are plenty of ‘shounen’ anime out there that might just work for the non-shounen fan.

I get that shounen anime is generally summed up with colourful pictures of the big 3 or similar anime and the past few years have been dominated by Attack on Titan, Boruto, My Hero Academia and, of course, Black Clover but there’s a lot more to shounen than some people might expect.

Images from:

  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Dir. Y. Irie. Bones. 2009
  • D. Gray-Man. Dir. O. Nabeshima. TMS Entertainment. 2006
  • Attack on Titan Season 3. Dir. T. Araki. Wit Studio. 2019
  • Black Clover. Dir. T. Yoshihara. Studio Pierrot. 2017
  • Bakuman. Dir. K. Kasai. J.C.Staff. 2010
  • Assassination Classroom. Dir. S. Kishi. Lerche. 2016
  • Kanata no Astra. Dir. M. Andou. Lerche. 2019


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


I’m No Anime Connoisseur: I’m An Anime Glutton

Feature Glutton

Are you an anime glutton?

I’ve always described myself as a consumer of anime but lately I’ve been looking at my diet in general and somehow my brain decided it was a good time to take stock of my anime diet… The connection made sense to me at the time but to be perfectly frank it is probably a little tenuous.

Now when it comes to my real diet, I’ve always been a major chocolate fiend. What makes chocolate ice-cream better?

A) Chocolate chips

B) Chocolate topping

C) Chocolate brownie that’s been cut up

D) Mint Slice biscuits

E) All of the above

Let me assure you, my answer would definitely always be E.

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Now, I don’t necessarily have a weight problem and my health issues are not related to my weight or diet (as some of the first things they ruled out were diet related illnesses), but I decided 2020 was the year I was going to get serious about looking after myself just a little bit better as I knew I’d be dealing with work stress and if I didn’t make an effort I’d probably end up skipping meals and just slamming down a chocolate bar to keep me going when I got busy. A month into the year and I’m giving myself a gold star (and I’m going to eat a chocolate brownie with choc-chips just because I can).



However, let’s bring this back to anime (you know, the whole point of the blog which is not my tired ramblings about things that don’t matter to anyone else). When I turned a reflective eye onto my anime viewing habits I had to draw the conclusion that I’m no anime connoisseur. Nor am I particularly concerned by that particular realisation.

Being an anime glutton has its perks.

are you an anime glutton?

Now this is working off of the definition of ‘connoisseur’ as being ‘an expert judge in matters of taste’. I think it would be hard for anyone who enjoyed watching an anime like King’s Game or whole-heartedly and un-ironically loves the original Sailor Moon series to claim that they are an expert judge of things. More importantly, I’m kind of firmly of the opinion that taste is an incredibly unique sense.

Honestly I’m mystified by people who like pineapple and tell me it is sweet. I just wonder what planet their pineapples are coming from because the ones I’ve tried over the years are sour, pulpy, and a pain in the neck to cut up in the first place (totally not worth the effort).

pineapple
Like, why?

Besides, when it comes to things being entertaining, sometimes what amuses, relaxes, or is just fun is pretty tasteless when looked at objectively and it only kind of works in the context of the actual product being consumed. Kind of like tofu really… That tastes awesome when cooked into something but by itself…

So yes, I would have to draw the conclusion that I am an anime glutton. I watch in excess (at least according any guidelines around how much screen time a person should have), I devour as quickly as I can and then with very little time to savour the previous flavour I dive into the next dish hoping for an exquisite treat but consuming it anyway even if what I end up with is a viewing experience akin to eating raw kale. That said, I most definitely draw the line at watching an anime that feels like eating pineapple.

Eizouken4c

But whether you are the picky anime viewer, the light eater, the binger, the glutton, or a connoisseur, the question you’d have to ask yourself is ‘are you having fun?’. And if you’re anime consumption habits are giving you endless joy, then by all means continue to do your anime, your way.

What does come up a lot from anime reviewers though is a sense that they are falling out of love with anime. That they find each season increasingly devoid of inspiration. That nothing really calls to them anymore. That they are just tired and need a break from anime.

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When your entertainment leaves you feeling drained and like you are losing your passion for a medium you love, it is definitely time to take stock of your viewing habits and whether they are causing part of the problem. I may be in love with chocolate but I don’t eat it for every meal (okay, I don’t usually eat it for every meal).

If you are finding yourself losing your love of anime, it might be time to take stock and determine what kind of consumer are you?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Is There A Right Anime To Watch Right Now?

Friday's Feature Banner Image

Undeniably I’m the kind of person who over-thinks things, which is part of the reason why I don’t give a numeric score or use a star system or the like for my anime reviews. So thinking about what the right anime to watch I usually spend far too long going through options and then default back to what I know or what I’m already watching.

When someone asks me for a recommendation for something to watch, my first impulse is to internalise and start sifting through everything I know about that person and every possible anime option that might apply. Needless to say I end up either listing dozens and over-whelming them or draw a complete blank as I mentally cross out each and every title.

A recent experience at New Year’s when going through my collection we went through the whole thing twice before settling on Yuri on Ice because making a decision was just too hard. Not that I minded. Yuri is awesome.

Given ep6 3 4
You want me to recommend an anime? But there are so many. Oh, but what if you don’t like it? What if you do? Ahhh!

I decided I’d like to stop that practice and actually just answer the question and so I started wanting to break down some of the issues with answering this question. Keep in mind, this isn’t the same as trying to select a watch list for the purpose of review, which is something I’ve looked at previously in a feature. In that case the assumption is that the person wanting to select the anime already watches a great deal of anime and is simply trying to narrow down their options, rather than someone new to anime who is trying to pick something that might actually make them want to watch more.

Does making an anime recommendation
stress you out?

For me, making an anime recommendation is stressful. I start thinking through all the what-ifs. What if the person doesn’t like the anime? What if they think I deliberately got them to watch something they hated? What if they really like it and want another recommendation? And round and round in circles the argument goes. It is worse when I know I’m going to watch the anime with them because I end up watching them more than the anime and try to gauge how they are responding to it. Nothing is more disheartening than seeing someone pull out their phone and start to text during an episode of a show you absolutely love.

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But even when you think you’ve gotten it right, there’s always those moments you forget about. Recently I had to explain why a character’s nose started spurting blood mid-episode in an anime and I realised just how many things I simply accept without even noting them at this point because of how many anime I have viewed. For someone new coming to anime so many of these seemingly incidental moments are actually quite extraordinary and can be a little off-putting.

Am I recommending an anime
for me or is it for you?

There’s also the question of whether I have an ulterior motive when recommending something. Did I recommend that anime because I thought the person would genuinely like it based on what I know of their viewing experiences, or am I recommending it because I like it and I want to talk about it. Admittedly, if I’m close enough to someone in the real world that they actually take an interest in the various anime I’m watching and ask me for a recommendation, there’s a fair likelihood we have similar tastes and something I like will work for them, but that isn’t always the case.

Is this the right anime for you?

Most recently I talked someone into watching Astra Lost in Space with me. Partly this was because I genuinely believed the person in question would enjoy it, maybe not as much as I was but enough, but part of the motivation was definitely that I wanted to rewatch the first couple of episodes to confirm a few points that I needed confirmation of in order to think through where the story was going.

Fortunately, the person did end up really enjoying the episodes and we’re now working through the rest of them and he should be up with the most recent episode by the end of this weekend, but I definitely think that recommendation was more for me, even if it was a valid recommendation.

Perfect ingredients don’t
necessarily make a perfect anime

The other complication here comes from the subjective elements of entertainment. There are countless examples where something is the right genre, has great characters, good visuals, and is a solid production in general and yet for whatever reason ends up missing the mark for some viewers. Even taking into account everything you know about a person and thinking through what kinds of shows they like, just because the show you recommend might tick all the boxes it still might be a swing and a miss.

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This makes the entire process of choosing an anime even harder. Let’s be honest: you want the person to like it. You want them by extension to then like anime, or at least be willing to try more. Otherwise, there’d be no point to the entire exercise. And yet, just because an anime is objectively great doesn’t mean someone it is actually the perfect choice.

I’ve introduced many a person to anime via Sword Art Online, and while the anime community is heavily divided on that and some will still insist it is the worst thing ever, that anime is ridiculously easy to get new viewers sucked into its story and they end up genuinely wanting to see Kirito escape the game (admittedly, with new anime viewers I tend to stop once they wake up from SAO because Fairy Dance is a whole other story).



How to know what anime
to recommend

So how do you know what anime to recommend?

Honestly, there’s no right answer. Over time, through trial and error, I’ve learned that Sword Art Online works well for fans of action and fantasy but DanMachi doesn’t if the person is less familiar with anime in general. Snow White With The Red Hair works great for fans of romance and Disney but My Love Story seems to be a bit harder for the same audience to get into. Psycho Pass almost never misses with fans of Dystopian, Sci-Fi, or Psychological stories however Death Note depends on whether the viewer finds something interesting about Light or not.

snow white with the red hair episode 10

You have to match the recommendation to the person, and you also have to think, weirdly enough, about how ‘anime’ the anime is. While you still might not get it right, at least you can learn which shows are definitely off-limits until the person has a bit more anime experience.

What happens when your anime
recommendation is wrong?

If even after thinking it through your anime recommendation is wrong… well, maybe the person won’t pick up anime viewing as a hobby, maybe they’ll try another title you suggest, or maybe they’ll find something else on their own anyway. It isn’t the end of the world.

Attack on Titan - explosion

This is something I need to keep reminding myself of and just answer the question when asked what anime should someone try.

But the questions I have for my readers are: How do you feel when someone asks you for a recommendation and what anime do you recommend to someone who hasn’t watched much anime?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Friday’s Feature: 3 Reasons That Bunny Girl Anime is Worth Trying This Season

Bunny Girl Senpai - Episode 1 - Mai Sakurajima and Sakuta Azusagawa

While it has probably become apparent from my episodic coverage of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai, this absurdly titled school-romance-comedy thing with a bit of the supernatural thrown in has really managed to grab my attention in a season packed with titles that I was greatly looking forward to. The anime I took one look at the promotional artwork and the title, rolled my eyes and clicked start on episode one expecting to dislike, drop mid-way through the first episode and maybe write a snarky first impressions post of ended up sucking me write in and forced me to pay attention to it. Then over the first three episodes is proceeded to tell a very endearing, if slightly emotionally overwrought, story before episode four transitioned us fairly solidly into a new arc that has enough promise to make me believe that maybe this anime is going to maintain its consistently high standard.

Bunny Girl Senpai - promotional image
Though if you are expecting Mai to remain in Bunny Girl costume, you are probably out of luck.

So other than the fact that I like it, why do I actually think you should try it (assuming you haven’t already)?

01. The two characters we primarily follow during the first three episodes, Sakuta Azusagawa and Mai Sakurajima, are individually both fairly ordinary characters but when thrown together they have some incredible chemistry and the dialogue flows between them in a way that is almost mesmerising. Both characters like to verbally push their conversational partner but exchanges between the two are almost light-hearted sparring matches with each one making sure not to miss their beat and working to score points off the other.

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 2

Now I wouldn’t actually say the dialogue is natural sounding as both characters pull off some retorts in a split second that most people would take at least a moment to frame. They are also very big on discussing things like the ‘atmosphere’ of the school and how people are perceived and while this is contextually appropriate it doesn’t exactly lend itself to sounding natural. But then again, that isn’t really what this anime is looking for. Everything about the situation the characters are found in is a gross exaggeration of reality and so the dialogue sounding that cut above what the average teens would discuss fits perfectly with the ideas this story is choosing to delve into.

02. And on that note, the basic premise of this story is pretty great. It isn’t original. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer had an invisible girl (and it wasn’t original then), made so by being ignored by her peers, so the concepts at work here about rumours and hearsay having an impact on the way reality is perceived isn’t breaking new ground. It doesn’t need to. The concept is still fascinating and it isn’t the over-ploughed ground of the isekai or high school club anime where cute girls/boys do cute/silly things. There’s plenty to explore with this concept and the first arc covered over episodes 1 – 3 clearly demonstrated that this anime has a firm grip on its writing and pacing to do a decent job of exploring the issues at hand without dragging them out or rushing to a hasty conclusion.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senapi Episode 3

It also makes me wonder what else will be explored and whether things will come together in the end or if each situation is just going to be a stand-alone arc and either option could be fine provided they continue to deliver stories like the first one.

03. Finally, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai knows how to ride the audiences’ emotions. Admittedly, those who dislike overt emotional manipulation may find it a little twee but if you strap in for the ride and just go with it, this anime will take you through the whole array of human emotions having you smile or laugh at one line of dialogue before plunging you into introspection and then we’ll transition into being contemplative, annoyed, or even really sad or embarrassed and these transitions feel perfectly natural while watching the episode (largely because we’re kind of riding along with Sakuta’s emotions as the story unfolds).

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 3

While I won’t declare this anime perfection (just watch some of the running animations and I’m still kind of scratching my head about the scene where Sakuta kicks that girl in the butt after she asked him too) I will definitely say this is an anime worth giving a go to this season and so far the ride has been great. While I’m not a huge fan of scores, this one is currently sitting third for the season on MAL beaten only by JoJo and Fairy Tail that both have massive brand recognition and it has come out ahead of SAO and the two isekai entries of Slime and Goblin Slayer.

For a show that had almost no buzz prior to beginning, it has definitely made an impact on viewers and while jumping on a bandwagon isn’t a great reason to watch an anime either, there are some really good reasons why this anime might be worth your time.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 3

I’d love to know your thoughts on Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai so if you’ve watched any of it so far I’d love to know what you’ve thought (no spoilers if you’ve read the source, please).


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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SEISHUN BUTA YAROU WA BUNNY GIRL SENPAI NO YUME WO MINAI 1/8 SCALE PRE-PAINTED FIGURE: SAKURAJIMA MAI

Autumn 2017 Week 2

autumn 2017

The second week and I think most shows have now premiered which means I really need to get serious about actually deciding on my final watch list. There’s a lot of shows this season that I am interested in the genre or premise but I may not be yet sold on the show and there’s a few other shows that could go either way. Still, I’m a little more interested in even the not so great shows this season compared to Summer so things are looking up.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the season so far so be sure to leave a comment below.

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Must Watch

(For shows I am counting the minutes down until the next episode. They may not be perfect shows, but I’m hooked at the moment and I want more.)

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 23)

This one is definitely riding on my feelings from season 1 given this first episode on its own isn’t particularly strong. However, it does tap right into all those feelings I have for the main character and reminded me just how much I’ve missed seeing these characters in the six months since the first season ended. Really great to have this show back and it is definitely a must watch for me. The review will be out Tuesday.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 2)

I liked the first episode of this but was worried it would be a bit slow, however episode 2 kind of laid that fear to rest. I loved how they gave the audience enough information without spelling every little thing out and I loved how the characters and their choices were presented throughout the episode. While this may not last here is we get a run of slower episodes, this second episode really impressed. The link is for episode 1, episode 2 review will be out later today.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 2)

I’m sold. This is beautiful and sweet with just enough bitter and potential for darkness to keep you paying attention and waiting for the next thing to happen. It is gorgeous to look at, has an amazing soundtrack and so far the characters have all been really interesting even though we’ve  only got a tiny glimpse of them so far. Really looking forward to where this goes. Weekend Otaku and I reviewed the first episode of this already and the second episode review should be up soonish.

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Usually Entertaining

(For those shows that are enjoyable enough but have some flaws, or I just personally love them even though I know they aren’t particularly good.)

King’s Game (Episode 2)

This is getting one more episode before I decide it probably doesn’t belong in this category. Giving most of the second episode to a flash back of the first King’s Game really didn’t help – if they’d wanted to tell us that story they probably should have.

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Okay, I Guess

(For those shows that aren’t technically broken and I’m watching them – and may even enjoy some aspects of them –  but they aren’t exactly going to get a glowing recommendation.)

Anime-Gataris (Episode 1)

Absolutely not my usual genre so I don’t know if this will last the season, but this first episode had me laughing along and generally involved in what was happening. We’ll see if the pink-haired protagonist can stay out of the critically annoying zone for a whole season and see whether they actually have enough material to make each episode feel fresh or whether we are in for a rehash of the same joke over and over again.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 2)

Objectively I would have to say this is pretty bad. From an entertainment point of view though, I’d had to say that I’m being entertained. Switch the brain off and watch the pretty vampire boys all fall in love with pretty ordinary girl. At least they aren’t all attacking her every three seconds and mostly they actually seem to want to help her. All and all, not something I’d recommend but I’m having fun here.

Black Clover (Episode 2)

The choice of spending most of this episode on flashback was not the best. After the fairly generic opening, this show really need to step up in episode 2 and I know a number of reviewers have already called it a day on this title. I’m still hopeful of an improvement once things are set up and it gets going, but so far there’s a lot of work still to do.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Episode 2)

Definitely cute romance going on here though I’m feeling the MMO part is actually the weakest part of the show so far. I kind of look forward to seeing how these characters progress.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Episode 2)

The second episode hasn’t much helped my opinion of this as I still haven’t really been given any reason to care about the events going on (nor do I even know why they are going on). This is well animated, there’s certainly potential given a death match premise is kind of hard to completely derail, but at the moment I’m not exactly loving this and found myself a bit bored at times.

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 2)

Another episode, another pretty boy, and another round of really cheesy dialogue. In honesty it wasn’t that bad, but other than looking pretty there’s not really a lot to recommend this or to help it stand out from the trillion other shows that have blank slate female protagonist surrounded by harem of pretty boys. At least not yet. Episode 2 review will be out tomorrow sometime.

UQ Holder (Episode 2)

I’m probably not going to ever be raving over this one, but despite being cliché and not exactly having an amazing narrative, I kind of had fun with this second episode. I’m hoping at this point the show maintains a sense of fun even while it hits us with way too much fan service and violence because that’s really all its got going for it. But, that might be enough.

Evil or Live (Episode 1)

This actually could end up interesting, or it could end up in the ‘They Made This’ category, or if it goes in one particular direction it will end up dropped. There’s little to recommend it at this stage but there is potential and I’m kind of interested. Definitely trying hard to shock though not really succeeding given they haven’t done enough yet to establish the characters as people we should care about.

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 1)

Hmm, I’m kind of hoping they forget the ecchi and keep the sweet but I’m suspecting this won’t take many episodes before it crosses a line I’m not willing to and I’ll end up dropping this show. Still, I’m going to give it another episode.

Dies Irae (Episode 1)

This kind of got better in its first episode but I would be lying if I said I had any clue what this show was actually going to end up being about yet. There’s plenty of intrigue in amongst fairly generic high school set up and it could be good but it could also end up a total disaster. Wait and see. Episode 1 review will be up tomorrow.

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They Made This?

(For those shows that for whatever reason, usually curiosity, I did not drop but I should have. Usually the narrative is a mess or the characters are hopeless or visually they are painful to watch. Or maybe all three of those. Sometimes these shows recover and move up later in the season. Usually they don’t.)

Nothing yet.

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Tried and Dropped

(This one is tricky because not all these shows are bad. Sometimes I don’t have space in my line up and drop a show that I may later end up picking back up or watching and enjoying. Othertimes I drop a show that I know is very good but it just isn’t a genre I enjoy and it isn’t working for me. However, these are shows I did start and I indicate how much I watched before dropping.)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)


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Karandi James.

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Autumn 2017 Week 1

autumn 2017

I don’t know about everyone else but I am super excited to start a new anime season. While there were some shows that grabbed my interest last season, they were kind of few and far between and so I ended up watching shows that I might have otherwise passed on. Not the most satisfying viewing experience but Autumn is a new season and we have a new line up of shows to start watching and then we’ll see what happens.

Obviously I don’t have anything resembling a watch-list just yet and so I’m still in the making snap judgements and trying to work out what I’ll keep and what I’ll pass on (and then in two weeks time I’ll probably change my mind on a few of those choices) but by week three I should more or less know my line up for the season. As such, don’t take the categories particularly seriously just yet as there is always a lot of movement in the early weeks before shows settle more or less into the appropriate grouping.

As always, I am definitely looking forward to checking out what everyone else has decided to keep on their watch list and their thoughts on these shows as they develop. Please feel free to leave a comment below and hopefully I will get to everyone’s blogs and see what they are up to.

However, you will notice I’ve decided it was time for my overviews to get a facelift (read: I got bored looking at the same images every week so changed them again). I also added in a brief description of each category title that will disappear later in the season but I’ve picked up some new followers and I must admit they aren’t the clearest titles ever.

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Must Watch

(For shows I am counting the minutes down until the next episode. They may not be perfect shows, but I’m hooked at the moment and I want more.)

Nothing yet.

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Usually Entertaining

(For those shows that are enjoyable enough but have some flaws, or I just personally love them even though I know they aren’t particularly good.)

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 1)

Every bit as beautiful as its prequel episodes indicated it would be, the story isn’t really in a rush to get anywhere. I’m thinking this will be a must watch but I’d like to see what the next couple of episodes do first. Still, this was a great first episode even if it was a little over-reliant on emotions rather than plot. (Review for this episode will be up on Weekend Otaku’s site later as part of our collaboration this season. )

King’s Game (Episode 1)

Alright, it is one episode, so ‘usually’ might be a stretch. Still, I really enjoyed this first episode. Supernatural horror is kind of my favourite genre outside of fantasy and I really liked how this set up the story. Okay, there’s the usual issues that horror shows suffer from and so far the characters haven’t been amazing (not to mention you’ll be pretty wary of getting close to any of the designated victims so might be hard to get attached to the characters) but I really enjoyed this first episode and I’m hopeful of getting a decent horror out of this. It might not last in this category but fingers crossed.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 1)

Again, one episode isn’t really usually but this first episode was pretty good. The story seems like it will be episodic and fairly slow so I may end up dropping this one for personal taste reasons, but it actually gave us a pretty decent opening act and has a lot of potential. Watching this space and seeing what happens. (Review out later today.)

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Okay, I Guess

(For those shows that aren’t technically broken and I’m watching them – and may even enjoy some aspects of them –  but they aren’t exactly going to get a glowing recommendation.)

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 1)

This one is either going to become usually entertaining or it will end up being the series I wonder why on earth it was made. This first episode was pretty entertaining even if it wasn’t particularly good (though it is really pretty). Still, time will tell whether they can deliver a story from this or whether we’re just going to be dragged along with self-insert female protagonist through the warring states conflict without much else of interest happening. I’m hoping for entertaining because this certainly has potential to entertain even if it isn’t a masterpiece of storytelling.

Black Clover (Episode 1)

Okay we have a shouty protagonist type who is also a bit of a moron who by the end of episode one gains some weird power. Also has a quiet and seemingly smart best friend. Where have I seen this set-up before..? This first episode wasn’t bad, but it hasn’t done anything yet to really distinguish the show. I will say that the episode got better as it went so I’m kind of hopeful that this may find its feet in a few episodes.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Episode 1)

I was a little disappointed with this opening episode (though that is kind of my fault for going in with expectations). Still, this story seems like it would be right for me given my love of Future Diary, Btooom, and a whole slew of other contrived reasons to kill the cast anime. Yet, this episode didn’t do much for me. Hoping for an improvement but not really sold on this yet.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Episode 1)

I don’t think this is going to ever amaze me, but the first episode was pleasant enough and overall this could be kind of fun. It could also be generic, repetitive and silly so I guess I’ll watch a few more episodes and see. Still, not a terrible starting point.

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 1)

Great, this show has two tildes in the title for no discernible reason other than punctuation in anime titles is apparently meaningless. Okay, thoughts on the show… meh? I’m going to give it another episode or two but I’m not overly optimistic here. (Review will be out on Tuesday.)

UQ Holder (Episode 1)

No idea how I actually feel about this one yet. The basic story seems pretty generic and the characters haven’t really done anything to make me like or dislike them yet. This one is going to need a couple more episodes for me to make a decision on. Still, when the show opens with a magic sneeze blowing various girls’ clothing off that isn’t the best way to impress.

Dies Irae (Episode 0)

This looks like a great candidate for the ‘They Made This’ category but in its defense this is an episode 0 so maybe once things get started for real it won’t be that bad. Maybe I am being unnecessarily optimistic and maybe I’m just going to drop this after another episode, but here it is for now. (Review will be out on Monday.)

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They Made This?

(For those shows that for whatever reason, usually curiosity, I did not drop but I should have. Usually the narrative is a mess or the characters are hopeless or visually they are painful to watch. Or maybe all three of those. Sometimes these shows recover and move up later in the season. Usually they don’t.)

Nothing yet.

Wizard1a

Tried and Dropped

(This one is tricky because not all these shows are bad. Sometimes I don’t have space in my line up and drop a show that I may later end up picking back up or watching and enjoying. Othertimes I drop a show that I know is very good but it just isn’t a genre I enjoy and it isn’t working for me. However, these are shows I did start and I indicate how much I watched before dropping.)

TWOCAR (Episode 1 – actually not bad just not for me, review for this episode out Tuesday)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1 – probably going to watch but not review)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1 – no review)

Urahara (Episode 1 – no review)


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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Friday’s Feature – On Watching Trash and Finding Gems

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If you’ve been reading my blog you probably already know that I watch a lot of anime. Watching anime and reading novels are my two main forms of entertainment when I’m not working and I consume a lot of stories. I previously did a top 5 list on reasons why I drop a series that I’ve started watching but in today’s feature I want to look at why I continue watching some anime even after it is quite clear they are going to be complete and utter garbage.

Just warning you that this one is definitely more of a ramble than a focussed post.

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Storytelling isn’t a science. Two stories with a nearly identical plot structure and character archetypes can be told in two entirely different ways and feel completely different. One might be amazing whereas the other might be ordinary or dreadful. Good storytelling involves the careful manipulation of a range of elements in order to convey a decent story. Even then, just because overall a story isn’t well handled doesn’t mean that everything in it is bad. There could be one idea, one character, one scenario that just nail whatever impact the author was hoping for.

Because of this, while I might drop an anime in the initial few episodes if it fails to grab my interest, once I’ve decided I’m interested in something (whether it be the premise, a character, a setting or whatever else it might be) I rarely let something go. The result is watching and reading a lot of things that I probably should have let drop.

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Here’s the thing though, if you don’t finish it, you’ll never know. You’ll never know if they somehow brought those elements together. You’ll never know where those characters ended up. You’ll never know if you missed that one moment with a character that could have changed your entire outlook on them. And maybe you’re fine with not knowing. If something is bad enough you may be perfectly happy to cut ties and to never speak of it again. But… that nagging voice always gets to me.

When episode 10 of Taboo Tattoo came out I actually didn’t watch it on my usual day. I found other things to do. It wasn’t a conscious decision but I just wasn’t in the mood. The show was dreadful. I hated most of the characters. The action had never looked as interesting as the first episode and the plot had seriously thrown itself off a bridge more than once. The next day I saw it still sitting there in my Crunchyroll queue and I sighed. I wanted to drop the show.

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So, I continued. Did it get better? Nope. Was it still pretty much trash? Yep. Do I regret that I didn’t just let it go at episode 10? Surprisingly, no (although while I don’t regret dropping it I do wonder if maybe another show could have entertained me more for the season).

At least now I know that the show didn’t ever rise above it’s first episode (which was completely generic but watchable with a half-interesting set-up). Every episode after seemed to find a way to cripple the plot or the characters and visually it deteriorated as well. I’m not having to rely on others telling me it wasn’t good. I know it wasn’t and I judged that for myself.

More importantly, if it had become a hidden gem, I’d have had the chance to see it.

And even when something is bad it provides opportunities. You can think about why it isn’t working and compare it to other stories and why they are better. You can discuss it with others and either share a dislike for something or have a fun back and forth about the redeeming qualities or lack thereof. You can imagine ways it could have been better and share your views with others.

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The other reason I feel watching shows that just aren’t good can be helpful is because it definitely puts things in perspective. I remember after the summer season ended reading the views of the reviewers on Anime News Network as they selected the best and worst shows of the season. While they are entitled to their opinion, the number of them that selected Cheer Boys as the worse show kind of stunned me. Sure, Cheer Boys has a lot of issues, but it is hardly a walking disaster of a show.

Which made me wonder how many of them had waded through some of the truly worst shows of the season? I also wonder this when someone spends a long amount of time trying to convince me that SAO is garbage. Is SAO perfect? No. Is it garbage? Not even close.

All and all, sometimes it’s watching the not so great anime that make the great anime shine.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
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Karandi James