jump to navigation

Winter Anime Season 2018 – Review March 31, 2018

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

This season of anime has been a very comfortable, adorable, and laid-back one for the most part. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Citrus

Dagashi Kashi 2

Darling in the FranXX

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

Miira no Kaikata

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho

Yuru Camp△

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


 

Citrus


It’s yet another yuri anime, this time between “sisters”. Yuzu Aihara gains a step sister after her mother remarries. This girl is Mei Aihara, busybody Student Council President whose cold exterior makes her hard to approach. After certain events happen between the two at school, and learn that they are now sisters at home from their mom, “Mei forces her to the ground and kisses her, with Yuzu desperately trying to break free. Once done, Mei storms out of the room, leaving Yuzu to ponder the true nature of her first kiss, and the secrets behind the tortured expression in the eyes of her new sister.” – Via MAL.net

I feel that yuri animes of this nature seem to follow the same kind of drama approach: girl meets girl, one takes a step forward while one steps back, the one who stepped back tries to figure out her feelings, eventually trying to hook up with the girl who initiated the sexual approach. End. OK so I haven’t really seen that many yuri anime of this kind, the only other one I can think of is Netsuzou TRap, but I feel that this is likely how most shows like this go. It’s not a bad formula, but it’s basic in the extreme. What I mean by that is within this storytelling approach, in order to break the monotony of romance formulas, they raise the drama levels by making the conflict go back and forth like the rocking of a ship in a storm.

This anime was fine to watch, but the “romance” felt too forced on either side. It felt like they were just using it as an excuse to vent their stress on one another, sometimes to the point that when one person was trying to deny the approach, you could call it attempted rape. It never really got too extreme with this thought, but if this was a live action show (which I could imagine becoming a thing), then maybe it might be too graphic to watch for certain audiences.

———————————

Dagashi Kashi 2

In this now anime short format second season of Dagashi Kashi, Kokonotsu Shikada continues to deal with the people and problems surrounding him. The first half of the season is more or less like it has been, with Hotaru hanging out with the gang marketing new kinds of dagashi to them. However, after the disappearance of Hotaru and the hiring of Hajime, the anime wasn’t really the same anymore. It was more focused on developing Kokonotsu’s character to some extent, to push him to figure out what he wanted to do in the future: Become a mangaka or takeover the Shikada dagashi store. While the opportunity to become a manga author came and went, Hotaru’s return brought back some of his confidence upon her return. Kokonotsu seems to aiming to move forward with help from his friends, with whatever pursuits he may have for the future.

Dagashi Kashi 2 was alright. It wasn’t structured advertising a dagashi per episode as it seemed to be in the first season, but rather more story based to develop Kokonotsu. I know people were noticing Hotaru’s extended absence, but even when she came back in the end it felt low key as she was not as crazy eyed as we have come to know her. Nothing really concluded in this second season, but somewhat entertaining at least.

———————————

Darling in the FranXX

This anime will be ongoing to the next season as it is a 24 episode series. I’m on episode 11 and so far things are progressing well in terms of setting and character development, by using each episode to focus on a single person. I remember when I first started watching the first few episodes, I wondered how they were going to flesh out the story in a 12 episode series, though I was relieved to find out later that it was going to be 24 episodes.

DARLING in the FRANXX I feel is a combination of Trigger’s previous anime series Kiznaiver, a little bit of Kill La Kill, with A-1 Pictures art style and story pacing. The beginning felt rushed but at this point we’re getting into the heart of things. There’s still a lot of mystery to be revealed, and powers to be shown, so I’m looking forward to that.

———————————

Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan

In the everyday peaceful life of Emiya Shirou, he cooks delicious dishes for the ones he calls his friends and family, bringing them all together for dinner. That’s pretty much what this show is about, another spin-off of the Fate series. While familiar with the Fate series, I haven’t actually watched any of the dozens of variations that this series has. This show however is just a simple show about how meals can bring different people together for the sake of warm company.

———————————

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

Synopisi via MAL.net:

“”If you blush, you lose.”

Living by this principle, the middle schooler Nishikata gets constantly made fun of by his seat neighbor Takagi-san. With his pride shattered to pieces, he vows to turn the tables and get back at her some day. And so, he attempts to tease her day after day, only to find himself victim to Takagi-san’s ridicule again sooner than later. Will he be able to make Takagi-san blush from embarrassment even once in the end?”

This anime plays on the innocence of middle school youth between an easily embarrassed boy Nishikata and playfully teasing Takagi-san. Most of the time it’s the little things that Takagi-san does to Nishikata that gets him easily flustered. Sometimes you could argue that Takagi-sans constant teasing can be a form of light bullying. All in all though, neither one goes too far with teasing and is seen as light-hearted playing between a boy and a girl. And through their interactions, grow to learn and like each other.

———————————

Miira no Kaikata

When I first saw some clips of this anime, I thought it was one of those anime short series where each episode was only several minutes long. Turns out it was a full fledged 24 minute 12 episode season. At first, based on a few clips I saw online I wondered how an anime of this nature would fill the time and keep me from sleeping while watching….

“When high school student Sora Kashiwagi finds himself staring down a mysterious oversized package sent to him by his self-proclaimed “adventurer” father, the last thing he expects is for it to be opened from the inside… by a little mummy so small it can fit in the palm of his hand!” – Synopsis Via MAL.net

Adorableness is the heart of this anime, and it’s something that pulled me in from the get go. Mii-kun the little mummy is like a little pet who loves attention, but at the same time is quite intelligent and listens to Sora. There are the other mythical beings that show up as well; Conny the stubborn oni child, Isao the mini dragon, and Mukumuku the super sprinting dream-eating baku. All of them are like animated stuffed animals that are just so cute, especially how they show they care for their owners.

While Mii-kun and friends are in the spotlight, I also noticed and enjoyed seeing the friendship growing between all of the main human characters. Sora is the extremely friendly type who always tries to help everyone else before himself. Besides his glaring-eyed childhood friend Tazuki who encounters Conny , he also befriends Motegi-chan and Daichi and helps them befriend their respective supernatural creatures Isao and Mukumuku.

This anime is great for people who would love a perfect pet or animal partner to look after. Who wouldn’t like a palm-sized plushie type of creature who loves your company and responds by helping you out when it can? I know I would, and for that is why I recommend this show for Slice-of-Life anime fans.

———————————

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho

This anime is all about the roller coaster of youth and figuring out how you want to fulfill it. Here’s a synopsis from MAL.net:

“Filled with an overwhelming sense of wonder for the world around her, Mari Tamaki has always dreamt of what lies beyond the reaches of the universe. However, despite harboring such large aspirations on the inside, her fear of the unknown and anxiety over her own possible limitations have always held her back from chasing them. But now, in her second year of high school, Mari is more determined than ever to not let any more of her youth go to waste. Still, her fear continues to prevent her from taking that ambitious step forward—that is, until she has a chance encounter with a girl who has grand dreams of her own.

Spurred by her mother’s disappearance, Shirase Kobuchizawa has been working hard to fund her trip to Antarctica. Despite facing doubt and ridicule from virtually everyone, Shirase is determined to embark on this expedition to search for her mother in a place further than the universe itself. Inspired by Shirase’s resolve, Mari jumps at the chance to join her. Soon, their efforts attract the attention of the bubbly Hinata Miyake, who is eager to stand out, and Yuzuki Shiraishi, a polite girl from a high class background. Together, they set sail toward the frozen south.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho follows the captivating journey of four spirited girls, all in search of something great.”

Originally I wasn’t planning to watch it, but midway through the season I heard good things about it so I decided to give it a try. This show has a fantastic story about growing your own dreams into reality, though hard work, willpower, and the help of teamwork. I enjoyed watching them all make it to Antarctica, a place that they could only image back in Japan. It’s like that feeling of how you plan for a trip a year in advance, and once you finally go and get to your destination, you feel like you’ve accomplished a big goal leading up to getting there.

My only issue with the show was the ending; it felt a bit rushed. It was like they just arrived at the Inland Base, and all of a sudden it switches to a frantic search for any sign of Shirase’s mother. I felt there should have been a scene in-between those two where Shirase realizes that she is where her mother was last before going off on the search. Besides that, the moment where she sees all the unsent E-mails was very emotional, and I almost shed a tear at that point. Their farewell to Antarctica was well deserved after all the hard work they did as part of the team, and I’m glad that they all had a fulfilling time there. I feel that all four of them will be able to move on in their lives, proud of a trip that most cannot say they have done before, exploring a place farther than anyone can really go on our planet, besides space of course.

———————————

Yuru Camp△

Clearly the winner for the most comfiest anime I’ve seen, Yuru Camp is an anime about winter camping in Japan. In this Slice-of-life show where cute girls do cute things, I found myself loving the laid back style of the anime, alongside the humor and scenic vistas that the animation art had to offer.

Yuru Camp doesn’t have much of a story, as with most Slice-of-Life animes. In this case, each episode or two had camping scenes where it either focused on the solo Rin or the Outdoors Club members planning and camping. It showed the best of both worlds; Rin the solo camper tended to like going out on her own to enjoy her own pace, something I can understand. There are some benefits to traveling on your own, primarily not having to worry about planning around others especially if the trip is something that you are the planner of. However the best camping scenes usually happened when Rin and Nadeshiko and company camped together. Because Nadeshiko is new to camping, her reactions to discovering the joys of it are purely blissful. As an experienced camper, Rin seems to enjoy seeing their first impressions of things that she is used to.

You can probably say that this anime is a good marketer of camping supplies as well. Most of the items mentioned in the show are real, like the different kinds of sleeping bags and tents, and cooking supplies. It was interesting to have explanations for how to use them and for what specific purposes they were best for. And to keep it more or less down to reality, real prices were shown as a key point for what the high school group could actually afford. I’ve gone camping once myself with friends, and it was definitely a learning experience: Bringing the essentials, managing space in a car, knowing the area around the campsite, anticipating changing weather conditions, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed this anime though seeing Nadeshiko’s initial reactions and experiences, and learning about things about camping I did not know. As I mentioned before I have not really gone camping besides the one trip I had last year, and I’m also not much of an outdoors person. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to try new things, as I’m a naturally curious person just like Nadeshiko is, which is why I can relate to her. When I finished this anime I actually started looking up campsites in my area, just to consider options if I were to try going camping on my own as an overnight trip.

Advertisements

Fall Anime Season 2017 – Review January 17, 2018

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

This final season of the year wasn’t particularly interesting, but it had some good ones none the less. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Blend S

Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken

Himouto! Umaru-chan R

Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season

Net-juu no Susume

Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara

Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara

UQ Holder!: Mahou Sensei Negima! 2

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Blend S

One of my surprising favorites of this season is Blend S. Our main heroine Maika Sakuranomiya has a bad habit of glaring at people, making her look mad and sadistic especially when she doesn’t mean to. After having trouble finding a part time job, she is scouted one day by an Italian man who is also the manager of Stile, a café where its waitresses are given unique traits. Maika is given a sadist trait because of her looks and has to adopt a dominant and cruel persona when servicing customers, particularly masochist ones.

This show to me is like a combination of the animes Working! and a bit of Kiniro Mosaic; Mostly for its customer service workplace environment and somewhat from Maika’s interest in foreigners and studying abroad. I love the humor and moments of fanservice, but I also enjoyed the shipping developments between some of the characters, especially Akizuki and Kaho. I can sort of relate to Maika as I have a natural angry look on my face, especially when I don’t mean to or am not paying attention to my surroundings. The season ended on a good note, but it did not feel like a true end. Maybe we’ll see more of this show in future, at least I hope so.

—–

Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken

If you could already tell from the looks of it, yes it’s another one of those ecchi harem type animes. No it’s not great as it ends up becoming a constant double act of our protagonist being the straight man to the girls who throw out perverted lines all the time. If you want a better version of an anime like this, try Seitokai Yakuindomo.

—–

Himouto! Umaru-chan R

The adventures of Umaru continues in this second season, where not much has changed. She still enjoys lazing around playing video games and eating junk food. However I felt that she shows more heart this time around, caring more for the ones around her even in her chibi mode. We also got more screen time for the other characters of the show, as well as being introduced to a couple new ones as well. Umaru redeemed herself in my eyes that she is truly a person who can balance family, friends, and her own personal desires.

—–

Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season

Continuing off from the Love Live loss from the previous season, Aqours prepares for the next Love Live. They still had the looming problem of their school closing without enough applicants, so this was their last chance to attract new prospective students by trying to win Love Live! Despite their best efforts however, they could not reach the goal set by Mari’s father and thus closure was imminent. Winning Love Love for their school has always been their goal, but now that focus was shifted to use Love Live to immortalize their school’s name in history. With enough determination and teamwork, their efforts paid off and were victorious. They gave their old school a memorable send off and in the end, Aqours went their separate ways.

I thought that this second season worked much better than the first, primarily because Aqours distanced themselves from their inspiration, μ’s. Not once did I ever remember μ’s mentioned in this season, and I think it’s a good thing because it’s to show that Aqours is their own thing, not just a copy or shadow of something else. There was also a decent amount of character development, allowing almost each character an episode to tackle a personal issue with the group usually helping out. This season wrapped up Aqours story in the most ideal way, and while a bit too clean for my taste, closed up most of the plot holes that I can think of.

—–

Net-juu no Susume

This was one of the best animes of the season, at least in my opinion and age group. Here’s a synopsis from MAL.net:

“For the first time since graduating high school, 30-year-old Moriko Morioka is unemployed—and she couldn’t be happier. Having quit her long-standing job of over 11 years, Moriko quickly turns to online games to pass her now-plentiful free time, reinventing herself as the handsome and dashing male hero “Hayashi” in the MMO Fruits de Mer. With the pesky societal obligations of the real world out of the way, she blissfully dives headfirst into the realm of the game, where she promptly meets the kind and adorable healer Lily. Befriending each other almost instantly, the two become inseparable just as Moriko herself becomes more and more engrossed in her new “life” as Hayashi. Eventually, Moriko adopts the reclusive lifestyle in its entirety, venturing out from the safety of her apartment only when absolutely necessary.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Moriko, a timid 28-year-old corporate worker named Yuuta Sakurai has also logged onto Fruits de Mer from the other side of town. Coincidentally bumping into each other at the convenience store one night, both write off their meeting as no more than just another awkward encounter with a stranger—however, fate has more in store for them than they think.”

Because I’m a 27 year old part time worker and avid anime/video game fan, I connected with this show quite easily. I know the feeling of working constantly, and having it wear you down. I also know the great feeling of unwinding by playing online games with friends. I may not play MMOs much specifically, but I get the gist of how Moriko feels in general with video games. As with any anime that doesn’t focus on a student, it’s a breath of fresh air. What’s also charming about this show is the development of our main characters Moriko and Yuuta, two individuals who meet by chance but grow closer to one another through a shared interest. The show had a healthy conclusion that we can assume leads to a bright future to the both of them.

—–

Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara

This was an adorable anime short series to watch, that shows the absolute trust and love a married couple can show for each other. Here’s a self-explaining synopsis from MAL.net:

Chisato Mizusawa is a reserved but excellent and pretty assistant manager in her company. She has a secret that only her husband Sora knows, which is that she likes drinking alcohol, and she can become very cute when she is drunk! Even tonight, she gets relaxed (with the phrase “Shifuku~”) and drunk with the cocktail Sora makes♥. It’s a “Yoidere (Drunken Dere)” cocktail comedy of Japan’s closest husband and wife.

—–

Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara

In this third season of Shokugeki no Soma, Yukihira faces new challenges in the form of taking on the elite 10 directly. Through trials and tribulations he grows his cooking skills to new levels, but not before a new enemy appears to change and destroy all that Soma believes in….

I enjoyed this season as it wasn’t just all about Shokugekis and all, but rather about the whole school and about how divided the ideals of cooking are between all the students. Because of that rift, and the fact that the majority of its source comes from the top tier students, Soma is forced to face his toughest battles yet, pushing him towards the top as well. Will this be enough to change things for the better? We’ll find out hopefully when the next season begins.

—–

UQ Holder!: Mahou Sensei Negima! 2

UQ Holder! is a sequel manga to the Mahou Sensei Negima! series both by Ken Akamatsu. Knowing this is important because I feel that you really need to be familiar with Negima! in order to understand all the references and general story. In this anime adaptation, it has been decades since the events from Negima! This story follows Tota Konoe, a young boy who grew up in the countryside. Two years prior, he was saved by Yukihime (Evangeline A.K. McDowell) after his parents was killed by an unknown person. Due to this he loses his memories before the incident, and Yukihime takes him under her care. Back in the present, Tota enjoys his everyday life with his friends until one day he is attacked and is left on the verge of death. Yukihime saves him once more, though this time by offering to live as an immortal vampire such as herself. He learns then that he is the grandson of Negi Springfield, and that the answers he seeks about his life lies with him at the space elevator tower in the city.

As a fan of the Negima! series, I’ve finished the manga and was quite interested in UQ Holder! when I discovered it on Crunchyroll’s manga page. With how rushed and incomplete the ending of Negima! was, I was hoping that this sequel would iron out the details about the Lifemaker and the fate of Negi and class 3-A. As of writing this, I’ve read up to chapter 127, but that was over a year ago since I last read a new chapter. When it was revealed that Tota was a clone of Negi in the anime, I wasn’t sure whether or not that was in the manga or just added for the anime. I’m also pretty sure though that the encounter and battle between Tota and Negi in the anime probably didn’t happen in the manga, as I knew that they needed to have some sort of climax and ending to the anime season…. At least not yet anyways. I felt that UQ Holder!’s manga didn’t have enough chapters for them to have a proper story to animate, so my expectations were not high for the anime. Though I guess having anything Negima! related animated is something good regardless, especially looking at the track record that the series has when made into an anime.

While the first couple of episodes adapted the manga well, I felt the rest of the season was too fragmented and rushed due to lack of content from the manga, and tied in an original ending to conclude the anime. I could be completely wrong as I haven’t kept up with the manga, but seeing how Akamatsu’s series-turned-anime tends to end up, I would not be surprised if this was the case. I do have hopes that UQ Holder! will eventually flesh out the Negima! universe, as well as becoming its own thing from the child professor, but only time will tell.

—–

Summer Anime Season 2017 – Review October 9, 2017

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

This season was sort of a strange one for me, watching wise. Because I was busy with other stuff while these aired, I didn’t get to watch them until most of them were completely done. I’m usually the kind of person who watches week to week rather than binge watching. I noticed that most of the animes I watched this season were romance based. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Aho Girl

Gamers!

Hajimete no Gal

Netsuzou TRap

New Game!! 

Re:Creators

Sakura Quest (Dropped)

Tsurezure Children

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Aho Girl

This was the first show I checked out of the Summer Season as it was one of the short episode animes that were easy to digest. The name of the show pretty much explains the main character; a stupid dumb girl named Yoshiko obsessed with bananas and doing what she wants. All of the other people around her have their quirks as well, like an abusive childhood friend, a perverted disciplinary committee member, etc. I found the show to be annoying at times, mainly because of Yoshiko. At times though, while she has showed that while she lacks book smarts, she knows how to enjoy life and tries to spread that to others, whether it’s wanted or not.

——

Gamers!

This is a story that revolves around certain students and one hobby. Amano Keita is our lonely protagonist who has a passion for gaming and becomes friends with Uehara Tasuku, who is secretly a fellow gamer and is someone who believes his life is perfect. We also have Karen Tendou, the club president of the video games club and Chiaki Hoshinomori, who constantly bickers with Keita. This is a story filled with a non-stop sequence of comedy scenes and misunderstandings. Our chaotic romantic comedy now begins!

Gamers! was a good anime that kept throwing the misunderstanding ball back and forth, enough to make you pull your hair out. The main character Amano Keita is not quite your typical lonely protagonist. He initially makes himself this way because he thinks of himself as inferior to others around him as a self-proclaimed gamer. As a person though, he is passionate about games that he will converse and argue with anyone who shares his interests. He eventually opens up to the people around him to the point where he cannot be called a loner anymore, and can easily talk to people without being nervous sounding.

The show had a load of references to games that were easily recognized, especially in the opening intro: Horror games like Resident Evil, Shoot Em’ Ups, the Super Smash Bros. Series, FPS (First Person Shooter) games like PUBG (which I’m real surprised to see here as it’s a new and upcoming game that apparently is popular enough in Japan for it to be perfectly shown in anime form), platforming games like Mario, Visual Novels, Rhythm Games, RPGs (Role Playing Games), Classic fighting games like Street Fighter, and MMORPGs set in a fantasy setting. Within the show were some direct usage of game footage as well like from a Persona fighting game. Crane games (UFO catchers) and smart phone mobile gaming was also shown as well. The last episode was almost all about explaining DLCs (Downloadable Content).

In this show, love triangles are overrated; it’s more like a love star as the five of them were constantly in doubt of who liked one another. That’s one of my issues with Gamers!, is that the beginning and end of the anime had game aspects, while the middle was more of just a rom-com style of anime. You could entirely remove the game aspect with another topic and still have the same dynamic and situations. The series was created to cater to games and the culture that goes along with it; to attract said audiences that have been increasing at a steady rate due to the development in technology and ease of obtaining.

The conclusion of this series’s season was no conclusion at all. It was just simply another episode that offered no closure for the characters or plot. The only thing that it did was sort of sort out the love star but besides that, not much progression in terms of their relationships. Sure I did say that the romance is more like the filling in the middle of the sandwich, but it’s still part of the series none the less. And because of its integration with the story and characters, I wish it was more fleshed out and balanced so that it did not feel like a completely separate topic from the title of the show. It was the characters themselves that tied the “games” and “romance” themes, and I do hope that if another season is created, that these could be blended in a way that shows that only Gamers! can do it right.

——

Hajimete no Gal

This anime was a mixed bag of sorts. This show is basically about a virgin guy trying to lose his virginity to a gyaru gal he confesses to as part of a prank from his friends, under the misconception that they are sluts. Most of the main male characters were immoral and sometimes downright wrong to the point where he not being a part of the show would have decreased the cringe factor. Besides that point, the show worked to try and show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case a gyaru/virgin guy.

——

Netsuzou TRap

Emotional tug-of-war between two girls who have boyfriends basically explains what happens in Netsuzou TRap. Here’s an actual synopsis from MAL.net:

Yuma and Hotaru have been friends since childhood, so it’s only natural that when Yuma is nervous about her new boyfriend, she asks Hotaru for advice. But when Hotaru starts coming onto Yuma for what feels like more than just ‘practice,’ what does it mean…? With boyfriends in the foreground but a secret, passionate tryst in the background, will Yuma and Hotaru try to forget what happened between them or have they fallen into a trap of true love and betrayal?

Mid Season Thoughts: This anime is one that makes me sort of hate it, in a good way I mean. I find it interesting to see the amount of people who don’t like what’s going on in the anime, from comments I’ve seen from each episode on Crunchyroll. Naturally the anime is trying to evoke mixed to negative emotions. It’s as if people don’t see the capitalized letters of the show’s name “NTR”. If you want to know the full meaning of the genre term, just do a search of it on your own, but in basic terms it’s “designed to provoke jealousy in the audience by proxy by having a character indulge in sexual activity with someone other than the protagonist.” I obviously don’t like what’s going on storywise, but I’m still interested to see how it all ends. Everyone involved just seems to get deeper and deeper predicaments, and it will have a bad end…. probably.

Overall thoughts: Now that I’ve finished the anime, it’s time for me to lay out my thoughts. I suppose things ended in the best way possible: The girl gets the girl, stays friendly with the guy she was going out with (Technically they never officially broke up so ???), and it’s assumed that the abusive boyfriend leaves them alone? Sounds ideal I know, but I’m not sure whether or not this is a true end, or just a conclusion that everyone watching can digest. I was expecting things to spiral all the way down, but it didn’t. On an emotional richter scale I felt it never went beyond a 5.5/6.0 out of 10, so it was relatively mild. I think that’s for the best as it probably didn’t want to scare people away from the NTR genre, rather it gave us a taste of the delicious poison that could potentially have people wanting more.

——

New Game!! 

In this second season anime about the game making company Eagle Jump, progression through trials and competition that create drama sums it up. After finishing up Fairies Story 3, a decision is made to create a brand new game. Ideas from employees of the company put theirs’ out, but Aoba’s is chosen. While her concept wins, to the company it may not sell without a notable name behind it so Yagami Ko is directed to be the public character designer, while Aoba is the internal (and true) character designer. With her co-workers and new interns on board for this new series, they work to create a cutesy game called Peco.

I enjoyed the increased drama when compared to the first season. It gave the characters more of a push to work harder at their goals, instead of the show being more like a slice-of-life kind of show that the previous season felt like. I also noticed that the shippings between most of the characters was much more pronounced, but at the same time a bit lighter at the same time. Think of it as more love spread evenly all over.

The ending summed up everything nicely, and with an important moral ending: Keep working hard towards your goals. Don’t stay in your comfort zone too long or you’ll grow complacent. By going beyond your comfort zone, you can learn and achieve more than you would if you stayed safe. Don’t just survive, live. I won’t spoil the ending, so that you can experience that feeling yourself, that moving forward is the way to accomplish things that you may or may not have expected to.

——

Re:Creators

This review for Re:CREATORS is for the second half of the season episodes 13-22, as well as an overview for the entire series.

Episode 13, aka the recap episode was done in a way that I’ve never seen before. It summarized the story up to the current episode, but with a few twists from narrator Meteora. I loved how besides just retelling the story, it also threw in some jokes about the creation of the anime, such as the difficulty of animating Altair’s hair or easing qualms about the use of a recap episode, which is usually seen as a cheap way to have filler.

Mid Season Thoughts @ Ep. 15: I’m liking the set-up that’s going on for the final battle. Whether or not we’ll see any kind of major fighting between now and the end, I’m not sure. As they said in the show, “No one knows how the story is going to end”, and I feel this can be interpreted in a couple of ways: The first interpretation is what most people would think; that because the “story” is being created to prevent an end-of-the-world crisis, and with the many uncertainties that lie within that plan, the characters in the show won’t know how it will all unfold when the end happens. Maybe though, there’s another reason why the characters in Re:CREATORS won’t know what will happen until the end. My second interpretation is more out there than feasible, but it would be quite amazing if it was the case. The way the show uses the term “audience” and talking about getting “acceptance” from them, in order for the elements that they are planning to use to lure and trap Altair, feels like they are talking about not only about the people in the world of Re:CREATORS who consume media related to the characters in said universe, but also directly to us viewers as well. After all, the main world that the anime takes place in is parallel to our own, a place where we create stories for our own entertainment and business. Imagine if our feelings and “acceptance” affected the series ending as well. That the creators of the anime were tracking our ratings of the show and incorporating it’s influence as part of the show. I know it’s a far fetched idea as most anime productions are done under a strict schedule, but it would be so meta if it was possible.

The second opening “Sh0ut” is another Sawano Hiroyuki masterpiece. What I love about his style when it comes to him making anime openings is that they are straight up serious songs with attitude. The beats and drops he uses are so addicting to listen to, even if it can get a bit overused at times. Either way, he’s my favorite anime soundtrack composer and I almost always check out an anime that he’s involved in. The opening sequence that goes with “Sh0ut” is simple yet effective, and is amplified by his music. The timing of the transitions, each character’s showcase at an angle where you can’t see their face directly deep in thought preparing for the final battle, Altair’s cute faces (which look so unlike her from what we’ve seen in the show so far), sneak peak of the battles yet to come, along with foreshadowing for additional story elements in between. I’m enjoying it so much that I can’t help but wave my hands to the transitional beats that is the second opening sequence of Re:CREATORS.

Direct after thoughts: I just finished watching the final episode, and else can I say but that this anime was exciting and emotional all the way to the end, in a word fantastic. While this anime was a great watch I will not say that it is flawless, but it definitely was interesting meta wise. As I mentioned in my mid-season thoughts, I had speculated that the “audience” could of referred to us actual viewers as well. Now that I’ve finished watching I can say that this is probably false, but it definitely still could of influenced how the audience was talked about in the anime. Most of what was explained about how they would approve what was shown, I could understand if those theories were used for actual shows marketing.

This next part will be my summarizing of the story episodes 14 through 22. SPOILER ALERT if you don’t know already.

Episodes 14 though 16 was the set up towards the final battle, which was called the “Chamber Elimination Festival”. This was the lull of the series, where scenes dialogue and work by the Creators to prepare for the finale. This part got a little repetitive with the episodes ending with the reinforcement that their plans will bear the fruit that they’ve planted, even with the amount of uncertain factors in play. Luckily when this thought came to my mind, it was the last time this was used.

The final battle started in episode 17 onward, and it was all over the place, in a good way. We didn’t get the usual match ups which was a breath of fresh air. I didn’t want to see more of Alicetaria vs. Selesia, Yuuya vs. Blitz, etc. What I didn’t initially know was that Alicetaria had already planned to change sides to fight against Altair. It wasn’t obvious to me, but there were some hints when I look back, like when she visited Magane and what her Creator hinted she would do in the battle. I suppose that she decided to take a step back and look at things in a more clear perspective. Whether or not she knew that Altair killed Mamika before telling her so I’m not sure. It started with Alicetaria attacking Kanoya who hasn’t been in much of the battles sue to his large mecha. I did find it to be a strange matchup at first, but it was exciting none the less, to see how powerful Alicetaria was against a mecha defending with an energy shield. This was when it was obvious that she was planning to team up with him against Altair when she lead both of them away from Altair to avert her gaze during her clash with Selesia to set up for a combined attack against her.

All of these episodes had something different towards the progress of the battle, with trump cards being played by each side when the timing was right.  The first trump card was the reuniting of Blitz with his daughter. The creator of his story used the crossing of Meteora’s story from the overarching Chamber Elimination Festival series as a way to introduce magic that could bring back his daughter in a convincing manner. By doing so gained Meteora another character who would fight against Altair. In the combined attack with Selesia, Kanoya, and Alicetaria, things were going according to plan; Selesia was able to trap Altair while Kanoya and Alicetaria teamed up to charge at her. This was when Altair played her card, Charon, to stop the attack and to cause ruckus between Selesia and Kanoya. Charon is Selesia’s battle partner in her story who she sees as a mentor and love interest(?). She ends up having a conflict of interest when he explains his stonewall thoughts about how the world of the gods (the real world) should be changed or destroyed for their gain or revenge for how their fictional world turned out to be, as Kanoya and Charon fight each other. As this new fight began suddenly, Alicetaria makes her stand known to Altair, who tells her that indeed she was the one who killed Mamika, a relief of sorts because of how strong minded Alicetaria is. They attack one another, with Alicetaria ending up on the receiving end of her own attack, thanks to Altair’s own powers. This eliminates yet another Creation from the story.

The next trump card in my opinion was the new and improved battle version of Hikayu Hoshikawa. Her first appearance in her new gear was used as a comedy/fan service break, but she showed that she could fight in her own right with her martial arts super powers. She gained her new abilities through acceptance from a spin off fan disc that her Creator made for the battles. She could pack a punch that blasts the ground, even easily kick away a fully charging magic mecha without problem. The complete change from a non-combatant to powerhouse fighter made her an easy target for Altair’s reset-to-origin ability, which reverted her back to a regular high school girl in love.

An unintentional trump card came from spoilers of Sho and Yuuya’s series, where Yuuya revealed that he did not in fact kill the ones close the Sho as he thought Yuuya did, and that the one who gave him his “persona” like partner is the one responsible. Apparently Yuuya played along with this lie because he thought that was Sho’s way to hang out with him. With this fact now public, Sho and Yuuya partner up once again, alongside Blitz and Hikayu against Altair and Charon.

With Charon being Altair’s shield, it became evident that he needed to be removed from battle to get to her. Because he was in his own flying mecha, this only allowed Selesia and a damaged Kanoya to do battle with him in the sky, with the others attempting to fight Altair. They both are unable to singly keep up with Charon, who was a formidable fighter in his world. His motivation for fighting through Selesia’s understanding and acceptance of her Creator and his world, is that he is tired of fighting and just wants it all to end, regardless of how it ends. Selesia ends up having to sacrifice herself to take out Charon as he will not back down, assisted by Kanoya who initially refuses to but does under the honor of being a hero in his own story. With this Altair was now on her own, but with the loss of yet another couple of characters.

Even with the loss of troops on her side, Altair was able to gain sympathy and acceptance from the audience giving her control of the story within the Birdcage (separate dimensional space). In order to get control of the situation, the Creators summon their secret weapon, a new character based on older designs of Altair that shared the same power as her, the Holopsicion (reality bending powers). This new entity named Sirius is able to fight on Altair’s level and is even able to seemingly subdue her by trying to take over her being. However, it seems the opposite took place as Altair gained control over Sirius, changing her appearance to look like a mix of both characters. With most of the characters out of commission to take on Altair, the end loomed near.

Souta who was watching with the audience decides to try and use his secret weapon that he ran by Matsubara. Souta’s plan was slightly hinted earlier, so it wasn’t totally out of left field, but I figure for people who were not expecting it, or that it felt out of place, that the anime tried to justify it by explaining it thus so. Souta created a new character for the story, or rather one based on who was central to the conflict of the story, Shimazaki Setsuna. Yes, Souta created Setsuna so that Altair can meet her Creator. A Creation meeting another Creation who was created by a close friend, who both created Altair. When Setsuna was talking with Altair, I felt that Setsuna wasn’t just talking for herself, but also for Souta as he is partly her creator as well. I could feel the emotions coming from Altair, who only wished to meet her Creator. Because her motives came from Setsuna’s feelings towards the world at her own end, it was sad to hear that Altair’s life was caged to those feelings as well. I felt sorry for Altair at this point, as she simply fought for the injustice that she felt Setsuna was subjected to. Setsuna explained to Altair that while she created her, she is also everyone else’s creation as well. While she may be trying to destroy the world, she is not just a villain but also a protector and inspiration for the weak, like Setsuna. Altair’s Creator accepted her fate, but Altair herself would not take that as the only path for Setsuna to take. When Setsuna was created, she was also formed at her final setting, a train station. An alarm signaled the arrival of a passing train, which she attempts to fall in front of. Altair sprung to action to fight her creator’s destiny, by trying to destroy the train and reaching out to her. Altair says that she can use her power to create a world for Setsuna who can then make stories once again. Upon grabbing her hand they are transported to another world where they will both exist as Creations and Creators. Setsuna remembers Souta, who tears up thinking about Setsuna and what she meant to him, before the screens glitch out towards a “The End” screen.

It seems that the audience mostly approved the story as Altair is now gone, in a better place in everyone’s minds. The Birdcage disappeared and the world was saved from destruction. While losses were made like with Selesia, Meteora assures Matsubara that even if she died in this world, that was only one of the many possible branches her story could have gone. She still exists in the story that he continues to write.

With the world slowly but surely stabilizing its Restorative (logic) Power, the Creations decide to return to their own worlds while they still can. They say their final goodbyes to their Creators before leaving through a magic gate created by Meteora. As the final Creation left, the Creators say their goodbye’s to her. However, it is revealed that as the caster of the Gate of Return, she is unable to go through it herself, hence she decides to stay in the real world, to everyone’s disbelief. She eventually loses her magic power due to the world’s logic, and states that she wants to become a Creator of her own right. The overall moral of the story of Re:CREATORS is that everyone has the ability to create something beautiful. Whether or not it is widely accepted, it does not matter. What does is how you express your passion and despair into a story that captivates and motivates others to read and relate.

There are a few things I want to address that affected my overall rating for this show. The first obvious one is the lack of Magane at the very end. All of the Creations whereabouts except her were shown. I can only assume that she stayed in the real world as she was not present at the Gate of Return. I doubt that she would been able to go using her own power based on the fact that a large amount of power is needed. If she did decide to stay in the real world, she would eventually lose her abilities as well. If spotted she might be arrested for her previous actions before being allowed to live freely in the real world. Knowing how she is, without her power she would just be seen as a sort of creepy character. I don’t know how she would live in a world like ours without her power to make things “interesting” for her. The only hint of what might have happened to her was from the last time she makes an appearance. She is seen at an airport when aiding Souta to summon Setsuna. She probably planned to journey far away, probably to never be seen again.

The second factor that bugs me slightly is the story convenience factor. Playing off of the “impromptu” idea that the Chamber Elimination Festival was based around, the Creators had ideas that they would implement for the Creations to use as firepower against Altair. How it was used was purely up to them, which is what made the ending mostly unpredictable as I like it. However, what I found didn’t seem to flow well with the story was the sudden “flashback” to Setsuna. If I was an audience member, and I’m seeing the moment where Altair takes over Sirius, it would have seemed a bit weird if all of a sudden a flash a light happened and another new character showed up that was emotionally close to the main character Altair. Maybe the premise was suppose to be that Sirius, who was an earlier version of Altair’s concept, at the very least awoke memories within her of her Creator, hence the flashback looking setting. I didn’t have these initial feelings when I first watched this scene as I was in the moment, emotionally invested to see how it would turn out. Now that the high of binge watching this show has faded away, I notice how planned the final battle was; organized but fragmented so that the story ideas could be used whenever was best. Even thorough this negative aspect, the show acknowledged this from the scene where it was shown that some people did not like how the story seemed to be made up along the way.

The third is the lack of explanation for how all this could have been possible. We already know about Setsuna and what caused her to die. What I don’t understand is where Altair came from in terms of her materialization into the real world with powers that are beyond logic. After that it’s easy to say that everything that’s happening is because of Altair and her reality bending Holopsicon. Altair’s abilities comes from the many fan created stories that have spawned on the internet. However if the Creators world is suppose to be a reflection of our own real world, then what can explain how enough “acceptance” can create magic and weapons that can not logically exist in said world. This is what I cannot wrap my head around, and I wish there was something to fill in this gap in the story, so that I can accept it as well.

The visuals and story may be the cake, but for me the music is the frosting, or flavor. As I mentioned earlier, Sawano Hiroyuki’s music is what gives life to this show, and others he’s a part of as well. I don’t think I would of liked this anime as much if he wasn’t doing the music for it. The atmosphere the music gives the battles, as well as the calm times, it’s almost always perfect for the situation. The only kind of Sawano music that I don’t like are for funny scenes which end up sounding either cheesy or just strange, but I can live with those as long as I get everything else he creates. My only complaint is the overusing of some songs for certain scenes in this show, especially “BRAVE THE OCEAN”, which was first played during the first fight between Selesia and Mamika, but more known in episode 10 during Selesia’s Revise temporary power up. It has that “miracle has happened” or “going according to plan” aura that faded with each use.

Overall this anime is my favorite of the year and probably will be a recent favorite for a while. Yes it may be dialogue heavy, and yes it has issues and plotholes, but that’s besides the point. I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching this show from start to end. I may have been in the heat of the moment during my marathon of the second half, but to me that does not change my feelings for this show even after looking at it after cooling off. Re:CREATORS was an exciting show that I had on my mind most of the time before I had a chance to finally sit down to finish it. I just wish I knew people who liked the show as well.

——

Sakura Quest

I stopped watching mid-season and never had enough interest to continue it. It’s not that Sakura Quest is a bad anime, but it’s extremely laid back. Compared with the other interesting shows of the season, I ended up dedicating my time to them over this.

——

Tsurezure Children

This short episode format anime was a breath of fresh air for the rom-com genre for me, as it wasn’t the usual scenario where the progression is slow and cliché.

Tsurezure Children depicts various scenarios of young love coming to fruition, along with the struggles and joys that it entails.

This description courtesy of MAL.net is what makes this a good watch for people who like romance animes. It has multiple couples with their own circumstances, with similar reactions to how you’d expect it to turn out in real life. (Hard for me to say this as I don’t have experience of my own….) I enjoyed watching how their relationships struggled and grew through like and love for one another. My favorite couple was Sugawara and Takano, a classic couple where Sugawara likes an oblivious Takano, who slowly grows attracted to him due to his kindness. Takano’s love inexperience makes it entertaining watching her deal with her new feelings, to the point where she likes him too.

I do hope for another season of this anime, as it only gave a couple of the couples a conclusion at the end. There were maybe as much as 10 couples/pairings, and with the episodes only being half the duration of a standard episode, there was just not enough time to give justice to them all. I want to see more of the pairings that are working steadily towards the couple status, as well as seeing the progression of the couples that have established themselves already.

——