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Fall Anime Season 2019 – Review December 31, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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I was playing catch up so much this season. I usually watch animes on a weekly basis, but due to a busy schedule I’ve had to binge watch a few of these get myself to finish it in time for me to write my final post for the year, if not the decade. The variety of this season was a mixed one; good, bad, happy, and sad. 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:

Azur Lane

Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai!

Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!

Dr. Stone

Enen no Shouboutai

Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen

Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo

Psycho-Pass 3

Shokugeki no Souma: Shin no Sara

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld

Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!

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


Azur Lane

Starting off with Azur Lane, an anime that I actually have not finished watching yet, and it’s mainly not because of the broadcast delay to March. Due to me being busy with real life, I only watched up to episode 4, and with the announced delay figured that there wasn’t much reason to catch up until the broadcast started up again next year.

As for what I think of the Azur Lane anime so far, it’s alright. The story and animation that I’ve seen is decent, but I feel it’s more of a fan service to Azur Lane players and fans. As one who has been playing it since its US launch a couple of years ago, it’s nice to see our shipgirls in action. I’ll write up an actual review for the anime once I finish it, which means it will be a part of my winter anime season 2020 review, so look forward to it then.

—–

Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai!

The second season of Bokuben has ended, but I feel that there wasn’t much of a conclusion. While everyone has graduated and is moving on to what they want to study in college, I felt that the relationships were put on the side, put on hold for that matter. While I completely understand wanting the build yourself up academically with the goal of having a good career afterwards for financial stability before thinking about relationships, how you put those people on hold will probably affect how they will see you when you eventually come back from your studies. For Nariyuki though, because his goal is to become a teacher, I feel that in his situation he will always be around for his friends and students, remembering all the times they were together. So much so that when they come back to him he will welcome them with open arms. I’m not sure if a third season will happen, but if it does it would be great to see how their fairing in college, as well as progressing their relationship a bit more than just a teacher/student.

I’m not saying that this season wasn’t great, it was. Each heroine had relatively equal screen time, though people would argue otherwise though their bias of who they like and not like. Nariyuki as a male protagonist in a harem type show may have that “dense MC” moments, but what makes him a bit different is that he learns from his mistakes and tries to reach out to each of his friends more so everytime, advancing his relationships to at least being close to everyone of them.

Overall Bokuben has been a great rom-com that balances the romance and comedy, with sprinkle of important lessons and fanservice that appeals to everyone. I’ll look forward to more from this series in the future.

—–

 

Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!

An isekai that is somewhat different from previous ones, this one is pretty self explanatory from the title. As you expect from people who are at the top of their fields, they dominate the typical medieval like setting with their knowledge from our modern world. It was an alright anime, mainly entertaining from seeing how our world’s knowledge was integrated into a whole new world. However I felt that the anime got a bit too busy, though the outcome was expected. Because the story is far from done, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new season happened sometime in the future. I don’t know if I would continue to watch this anime, but knowing my tendencies I probably will.

—–

Dr. Stone

One of my favorites of the season if not of the entire year, Dr. Stone was a unique and fun anime that mixes reality with anime. The second half focuses on Village Arc where Senku meets a group of people who have been living over many generations. We find out that the founders of this group is actually Senku’s father’s astronaut group. Through science and stories, information from Senku’s father reaches Senku thousands of years through time. It’s this that gives Senku reaffirmation that science is the right thing for this stone world, and proceeds with his goals: To bring everyone back with science and figure out the cause of the petrification, as well as bringing back the modern world he remembers.

After the Tsukasa Empire discovers that Senku is alive, plans are made for war between them. Senku’s main plan to combat this is… making a phone. Information is everything when it comes to a battlefield, so Senku and the village works to create a working phone, which they succeed in doing so. The season sends with Spring looming close, the season of war. The Stone Wars will continue in 2020, where we’ll see science tackle the non-scientific.

—–

Enen no Shouboutai

Fire Force ended at a good place, laying the foundation for what the bad guys are doing, as well as building Shinra’s power to the upmost extreme to fight against equally extreme circumstances. I admit that the middle part of the season got slow at times, causing me to fall asleep, but once they got to the old underground subway tunnels, things got back to being interesting. Things will heat back up with a second season in Summer 2020.

—–

Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen

Ascendance of a Bookworm is a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. This isekai anime may look all innocent and basic, but it has a good story that draws the viewer in the further you watch. Definitely something that differs from what I felt when I saw the premiere at this year’s Crunchyroll Expo. Here’s the synopsis via MAL.net:

Urano Motosu loves books and has an endless desire to read literature, no matter the subject. She almost fulfills her dream job of becoming a librarian before her life is ended in an accident. As she draws her last breath, she wishes to be able to read more books in her next life.

As if fate was listening to her prayer, she wakes up reincarnated as Main—a frail five-year-old girl living in a medieval era. What immediately comes to her mind is her passion. She tries to find something to read, only to become frustrated by the lack of books at her disposal.

Without the printing press, books have to be written and copied by hand, making them very expensive; as such, only a few nobles can afford them—but this won’t stop Maine. She will prove that her will to read is unbreakable, and if there are no books around, she will make them herself!

This synopsis is just the tip of the iceberg. With Main having a clear goal in mind and passion to push her forward towards her goal, she does all she can to achieve it. This makes Main take different paths, experiment and adapt to her current situations and surroundings. Her decisions build new relationships, and new meaning to her new life as Main, in this strange new world she finds herself in. I don’t want to spoil much more about this show, as it’s best to experience it for yourself, but I’m glad to say that a second season will continue the story in the Spring 2020 season. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

—–

Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo

Amatsuyu “Jouro” Kisaragi is a completely average second-year high school student who has two dates over one weekend⁠—with the student council president Sakura “Cosmos” Akino on Saturday, then with his childhood friend Aoi “Himawari” Hinata on Sunday. Sadly for Jouro, both girls proclaim their love for his best friend Taiyou “Sun-chan” Ooga, the ace of the baseball team. Accepting each of their requests for advice and guidance, he is now responsible for helping the two girls win the heart of the same guy.

Unbeknownst to his friends, Jouro’s friendly and obtuse image is all but a ruse designed to cast himself as the clueless protagonist of a textbook romantic comedy. A schemer under his cheery facade, he makes the best of this unexpected turn of events with a new plan: get Sun-chan to fall for either Cosmos or Himawari and take the other as his own prize. But Jouro’s last-ditch effort is threatened by the gloomy, four-eyed Sumireko “Pansy” Sanshokuin, who surprises Jouro with not only her knowledge of his secret personality but also a confession to the true self he hid for all this time.

Stuck in this hilariously messy situation, each of the five students must navigate countless lies, traps, and misunderstandings to come out on top.

In this rom-com parody-ish series, Joro finds himself in all sorts of relationship problems that stems from everyone around him having a mask or sorts. Diverting intention with deceit for goals unknown until investigated and discovered, is basically what this anime is all about. When the mask is finally broken, can people finally truly talk face to face.

To be honest, as crazy fun this anime can be, I wasn’t really into it as much as most people are, as seen as how slow I was to finishing this season. Partially because of my busy life, but mostly because of how irritating it is to see people hiding behind masks, something I can relate to in real life. I guess in this case though, the anime portrays this well if it’s enough to make me get annoyed of that aspect. I will probably watch a continued season of this series when it comes out to see more of the shenanigans that will happen with this colorful cast of characters.

—–

Psycho-Pass 3

I wasn’t expecting Psycho Pass to return when I was browsing the Fall anime lineup. I didn’t know what to expect when I saw a whole new lineup of characters in the anime artwork. I was thinking that maybe it was a spinoff of sorts at first, following a different team in the same setting as the previous Psycho Pass seasons. I was partially right on that, as the “3” isn’t part of the title for nothing.

Taking place after the last couple seasons and movies, Psycho Pass 3 follows a newly reformed Unit 1, doing their duties of protecting the city from people with high crime coefficients. One crime after another leads Unit 1 closer to finding the true masterminds behind the issues that plague the Sibyl controlled city.

It’s great that this series has returned, even greater when old characters show up to assist our current Unit 1. However if you’re a fan of the Psycho-Pass series, it’s probably best to watch the movies first before going into this season. I haven’t watched any of the films, so I didn’t fully understand the circumstances of the old Unit 1 characters. There are four films: Psycho-Pass Movie, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System Case.1 – Tsumi to Bachi, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System Case.2 – First Guardian, and Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System Case.3 – Onshuu no Kanata ni__ . While the Psycho-Pass Movie is a direct sequel to Psycho Pass 2, the Sinners of the System movies seem to jump around to certain important events, not necessarily in chronological order, but still important towards each characters’ they star. I’ll get around to watching these films when I have the chance, but at least I’ll know where they’ll end up courtesy of Psycho Pass 3.

Confusion aside from not watching the movies, with all the names and associations that are talked about, it can be hard to follow along with the story of this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if I felt this way a bit with the previous seasons. At least towards the last few episodes things got more straightforward. The final episode does not close this case at all, if anything this definitely hints at more Psycho Pass in the future, whether in movie or TV anime format. When that happens, I should be caught up with the movies so I’ll be ready for more then.

—–

Shokugeki no Souma: Shin no Sara

The true food war takes place in this fourth season, where it’s the Rebels vs. the Azami Administration in back-to-back Shokugeki battles. Long story short, the Rebels won and now control the school. The old Top Ten Elite graduate and move on, while Yukihira and gang focus on improving themselves further by allowing Shokugekis at any time to challenge their seats.

While this would sound like a good place for the series to end, it’s not over yet. A fifth season has been announced, which I presume will be the last. As they are now second years, and hints of new characters entering the fray, it seems that the cooking battles will only continue as long as they are in the best culinary academy in the world. How Yukihira and company will turn out in the end? We’ll have to see when this next season starts in Spring 2020.

—–

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld

Sword Art Online: Alicization was already the best SAO season we had, and with the story continuing in War of Underworld, things have only gotten better. With Kirito out of commission, it’s up to Alice and the rest of the Integrity Knights to protect themselves from the Dark Territory. Unfortunately things aren’t as simple as that, as secret US forces are trying to steal the AI fluctlight Alice for their military. In order to counter this and save Kirito, Asuna dives into the battlefield.

Every episode has been quite good, building up momentum towards what we hope will be an epic conclusion. The reason why I sound like things aren’t done yet even with the season over is that this season was actually just part one of War of Underworld. The second part of War of Underworld, or the third part of the Alicization saga will continue in Spring 2020. Even if Kirito is taking a backseat for the longest while, his return will be glorious. We’re all waiting for him to wield his swords again fighting side by side with friends to right a wrong. How he will do it is the question left for us to watch to figure that out.

—–

Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne!

Another isekai anime I first saw as a premiere at Crunchyroll Expo, this one was pretty much the light toned anime of the season.

Having stood out from others most of her life due to her exceptional character, Misato Kurihara has lived without neither the joy of having close friends nor the experience of having a regular life. However, after a sudden death, she was transported to a divine realm to be reincarnated—and granted one wish to top it off. Thinking about the ordinary life that she had always wanted, she wished to be born as a normal person, with abilities that are average for the world she will resurrect in.

Reborn as Adele von Ascham—the daughter of a noble—she possesses magic powers completely exceeding what one would label average. Still desiring to carry out the life she wanted, she leaves her home and enrolls at a hunter school in a faraway kingdom using “Mile” as an alias. However, try as she might to hide her overpowering potential, attaining her goal will be difficult—especially when facing against the crazy situations that ensue!

This anime’s unique quirk is references to popular anime culture, as well as Mile’s somewhat overpowered abilities. It was quite an average anime, as Mile would want. The one thing that caught my interest was at the very end, where it was hinted that this isekai world could actually be one that is actually far in the future from Mile’s original life in Japan. If they could build upon that I would be more inclined to watch, as I like the post-apocalypse genre.

BASIC Piano Melodies Series – 10 Year Anniversary November 13, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Other/TO.com news.
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“This video is to show how to play the basic melody of this song, right hand only. This is meant to be a basic piano video and not a piano skill video. It’s for people who can’t play piano that well, to be able try to play a bit and enjoy piano. I learn the melodies of the songs by ear (meaning I don’t use sheet music) and play them at a slower speed for others to like and learn. There may be some mistakes but hey, no one’s perfect.” – Video descriptions of my piano videos.

The simpler reason I make piano videos; I enjoy anime and music. When I get the melody stuck in my head, I want to be a part of the music. By playing alongside it, I feel I can truly immerse myself in the power and emotion of the song. I make these videos to share my interests to the world, hopefully to reach people who feel the same.

It’s been 10 years since I started this series, and looking back on all those years I’ve progressed and done a lot with it. I’m grateful for all the viewers and feedback that I’ve gotten, whether good or bad, and I don’t plan to stop making these videos any time soon. Let’s look back at how this all got started, as well as how I make these videos, for anyone who’s curious anyways.

History

On a whim on Sept 26, 2008, I made a quick little video for YouTube using nothing else than my first laptop’s built-in webcam. It was me playing the melody of the Negima anime opening theme “Happy Material”, the first anime that got me into non-mainstream anime that wasn’t readily available in the US.

Over a year later on November 13, 2009 I made a piano video that would become the first of my Piano Melodies Series. As I was watching through the Shakugan no Shana series, I decided to play some of the melodies from the songs from the anime in a single video, hence the name “Basic Piano Melody”.

The style of my piano videos for those first few years was to play and record multiple melodies from either a single anime series or theme. As I could only record at the college’s piano rooms and not at home due to not having a great setup for it there, it took time to get the footage. Which meant I was consistently putting out Basic Piano Melodies videos every month or so.

A couple of years later, I changed how I produced my piano videos to both ease production and decrease the time needed to produce videos by making each one focus on one song, rather than multiple. This allowed me to produce piano videos more often with better quality, which in turn increased views and subscriptions. This was the transition to the Basic Piano Melodies videos. A couple more years later, not much changed except that I wanted emphasize the BASIC part of my piano videos. I now capitalize the word “BASIC” in my BASIC Piano Melodies videos, as I have mentioned in all of my piano video descriptions that I am in no means a good piano player, just someone who enjoys music and tries to share that by using my play-by-ear skill to transcribe the melody into its simplest form.

This was generally how I used to record my piano videos, later upgrading to a Canon EOS Rebel T3.

The hardest part of the process of creating my piano videos wasn’t really the practicing of the melody or editing of the videos. Rather it was just having a convenient place to record them. I didn’t have a decent enough set up at home that I wanted to use for recording, and I wanted to stick to a real piano as long as I could. From the beginning up to the end of 2017, I used piano rooms available at my local college campus, but as time went on it became harder to use them, due to a combination of policy changes, and me no longer being a student there.

Synthesia

Starting last year onwards, I finally made the leap from recording real piano footage to recording MIDI for the digital keyboard program Synthesia. This made things a lot easier for me, as I could finally do everything from home. I was already using my keyboard, a Yamaha PSR-170, for practicing and recording MIDI to create sheet music. I used to use a program called MidiPiano to record the MIDI for the longest while, but more recently found a much better software called MidiEditor. Switching MIDI programs allowed me to more accurately record as well as do minor edits to the sequences already done.

Creating the Videos

Since then, not much has changed. Whenever an anime song sticks in my head, I have an urge to play the melody out on my keyboard. A little practice later, once I’m confident that I can play it though, I connect my keyboard to my laptop and record the MIDI. I listen to the TV size version of the anime song using earphones and play alongside it. Once I have a good take recorded, it’s on to creating the actual video footage. I switch over to my desktop where I use Synthesia to play out the melody. I record Synthesia using Fraps, to create both an original speed and slower versions. I also then create the title cards for the BASIC Piano Melody videos with the paint.NET program, using either album or anime related artwork alongside the main info of the video.

With the assets recorded and created, it’s time to put the video together. Using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, I edit it all together as you see them in my videos, though in the old days (The first couple years) I used good old Windows Movie Maker. They’re then uploaded to YouTube; most of the info in the video description is from a template that I copy from previous piano videos, I just change the parts that I need to for each one. The same mostly goes for the video tags, listing all relevant items, and copying it for their Piano Tutorial counterpart.

That’s pretty much the whole process I go through to make this content. One thing though that I should be doing more after uploading is advertising it on my social media. I tend to forget to post them on Facebook and such, and sometimes when I do remember a few days after, I feel that posting it late lacks relevancy to the original time of uploading. It may not help much, but any help is better than none in getting the word out that a new video is out.

Feedback

Feedback from viewers and subscribers is always something to expect from making YouTube videos. And while a great amount of them are positive, the negative ones I either think of them as constructive or just missing the point of the video. I get a bunch of comments mentioning how poor my piano playing is, and that is true. It’s not like I’m hiding it, or that I’ve mentioned about it in every video description. These piano videos are BASIC, and always will be. Maybe they’re trying to help me, but I’d rather not try to compete with other anime pianists on YouTube, as I don’t see much people do what I do.

As for when people make requests for certain songs I should do, as much as I would like to indulge them, I usually only do songs that I get into sync with. Most of the time the songs I do are new ones that are part of the current anime season, or ones from a favorite artist/anime series. If a request aligns with that then I’ll probably consider doing it for a video.

 

The Future

I don’t have a grand plan for improvement or expansion, but I will keep this series going as long as I’m able or willing to. I may not have the viewership that I used to have in my prime years (2014-2016), but recently I’ve had a bit of an uptick of viewers so I know that my content is still relevant to what some people want to watch. I guess this piano series is tied to my love for anime as well, as the majority of the songs I do are from them. The only way things may wind down with these videos is if I start to stray from anime, but I don’t see myself doing so any time soon. As small as my channel is on YouTube, I will always be proud of the piano videos I make, regardless of how unprofessional my piano playing is. These are made for people like me, someone who enjoys these kinds of music and wants to try to play them on piano but doesn’t have much experience doing so. Starting with the BASICS from me, taking that first step, you can learn to see if it’s something you want to do. If you want to go to the next level, I will gladly recommend other YouTubers who also make fantastic anime piano videos.

Summer Anime Season 2019 – Review September 29, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This anime season probably had the most animes I’ve watched from a season. A few of them are popular ones, a couple are short anime series, and others were either straight up strange or underrated. Overall it was a good mix of the good and alright, the serious and the comedy. 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:

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.

Dr. Stone

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka II

Enen no Shouboutai

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2

Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?

Kimetsu no Yaiba

Sounan Desu ka?

Tejina-senpai

Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator

Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka?

Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai.

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


Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo.

This show was a roller coaster of young emotions, revolving around the thoughts of relationships and sex. “The girls in a high school literature club do a little icebreaker to get to know each other: answering the question, “What’s one thing you want to do before you die?” One of the girls blurts out, “Sex.” Little do they know, the whirlwind unleashed by that word pushes each of these girls, with different backgrounds and personalities, onto their own clumsy, funny, painful, and emotional paths toward adulthood.” – MAL.net

Due to each girl’s situation, they are all at varying levels of experience when it comes to this taboo topic. Reading about it, observing others from a distance, and imagining it can only get you so far. Actually experiencing the good and bad, the happy and sad moments of pursuing a relationship and what comes from it is the only way to know for sure how it feels for yourself. I’m not just talking about the sex part, but all the thoughts and emotions that lead up to that moment when you open yourself up to that. Personally I’ve not been at that point, but I can at least understand how the characters from this anime felt. Emotionally so much so that I’ve watched this a few episodes at a time rather than all at once. (Normally I keep up with animes on a weekly basis, but because I started this when a few episodes were already out, I watched it in chunks.) I found out that Mari Okada is responsible for this work’s script, as well as others such as AnoHana, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Nagi no Asukara, and Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms to name a few. Guess that explains why I was so into this show. I’ll look forward to future Mari Okada works in the future now that I’ve realized that I love her style of animes; they really absorb you into the story’s emotional themes.

—–

Dr. Stone

One of my favorites of the season, Dr. Stone is all about science. After a blinding green light strikes the Earth and petrifies mankind around the world, Senku awakens thousands of years later to find that we’re back in the stone age. As a man of science, he is determined to bring civilization back from stone to modern age in record time, as well as figuring out the cause of the petrification. We’re at the halfway point in the season, and I’ve enjoyed every episode so far. Each one takes a step towards Senku’s goals of using science to bring everyone back. Whenever he reinvents a new technology, it makes you appreciate what we have now and realize how far we have come from the days of old. (The scene of the creation of the light bulb filament and powering it on using a hand crank generator, I had a tear in my eye from that.)

I’ll say that initially I was a bit off-put by some of the looks of the characters in the beginning, namely Taiju and Yuzuriha, but the art and animation grew on me. I’m somewhat glad that those two were put on a supporting role away from Senku, but I’m wondering what’s happening with them in the Tsukasa Empire. I know we’ll find out in due time, but the fact that we’ve seen barely anything of the anti-science side bothers me somewhat.

Overall, I’m definitely looking forward to more Dr. Stone, which I feel is a breath of fresh air in terms of anime shows. It’s not a high school anime, or an isekai, or something magical/supernatural. It’s something new (to me at least).

—–

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru?

If you can’t tell by the title, this anime series is all about working out; Specifically in a gym and exercising using real proper techniques. I think it best to drop the synopsis here for context:

“Sakura Hibiki is your average high school girl, with a voracious appetite. Noticing her clothes tightening in lieu of her slowly expanding waistline she decides to look into enrolling in the nearby gym. There she runs into a girl from her grade named Souryuuin Akemi. Akemi, who has a muscle fetish tries to get Hibiki to enroll in the gym despite its high ratio of macho men. Thankfully a beautiful trainer, Machio, appears and unknowingly convinces her to enroll and start her quest to a great body.” – MAL.net

It’s a pretty standard story for an anime, and one for why people probably join gyms as well. As basic as it is, I really enjoyed this show even though I don’t workout at all. First thing, they really nailed the exercise/workout information, showing how to exercise in the proper manner and explaining the benefits of doing so. As mentioned, I don’t workout (which sometimes I feel I should with my scrawny arms) so I wouldn’t know if the info from this show was actually accurate, but I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt. If there was any inaccurate info, I’d bet people would have commented about it, but so far I’ve not seen anyone complain. I also like how the show would make fun of itself. For example in the beginning, Machio’s appearance would command attention, especially when he would rip through his clothes with his muscles. As everyone got used to it though, no one would even take note, something that the characters would comment on. Coming off of this example, the fan service was also fairly tame. I got used to the obvious attention shots that was to show the results of a certain exercise.

I always like seeing who is the voice behind the characters, recognizing the popular or veterans of the seiyuu industry. I was surprised when I researched who voiced Hibiki Sakura, Ai Fairouz, a relative newcomer to the seiyuu industry. On her MAL.net page, it only shows this sole role, making me believe that this is her first major work that she has worked on as a Egyptian-Japanese voice actress. (Her official website shows she has worked on several other anime prior to, mostly in minor roles.) What’s impressive is that she doesn’t sound new, having a decent vocal range and emotion. She also performs the opening theme for the show alongside Kaito Ishikawa (Machio) which gave her singing experience as well. I’m looking forward to what future anime voice roles she’ll play as.

—–

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka II

In this second season of DanMachi, there wasn’t much dungeon exploring but more of Bell picking up girls, as in adding more to his harem so to speak. Story wise this season had two main things going on, the Apollo Familia Battle and the Ishtar/Haruhime arc. As this was a 12 episode season, there wasn’t much time to really develop these stories, as I felt like while more was done to explore the town and the familias, Bell and company didn’t really grow their characters. On a positive note, I did feel that animation wise it was as good as this anime could get. A third season has already been announced, also hinted if you watched the last episode of this season to the very end. I do plan on watching it in hopes that DanMachi gets itself back into its dungeon roots.

—–

Enen no Shouboutai

Fire Force is one of the hot animes to hit this season, one of the reasons is that this series comes from the same creative mind that created the popular series Soul Eater. With excellent animation and backstory, Fire Force has gained many viewers but it’s not without flaws. My main concern is the portrayal of the women in this series. At first we are introduced to Maki and Iris, who are both part of the SFFC 8. They are shown doing their respective roles within the group, with some mild fan service thrown in, typical of what to expect in the first few episodes of a new series. Later down the line we meet Tamaki and Hibana, both who are also involved in fan service in their own ways; Tamaki being the unfortunate target of a “lucky lecher”, and Hibana who rules over her men in a sadistic manner. Most of the serious spotlight goes to Shinra the self-proclaimed hero as well as to the other male members. Look I’m fine with fanservice, but not when it seems like the only use for a character is strictly for fan service.

Right now we’re 11 episodes in to this 24 episode long season show, the next episode to show after a two week hiatus transition into the Fall Anime Season. This is the second hiatus Fire Force has taken, the first was when the Kyoto Animation Arson Fire took place back in late July. Don’t know if this will hurt Fire Force in terms of viewers (combination of people forgetting about it for new incoming anime), but I do hope that the producers are using this extra time to turn things around in this second half of the season. This show has potential, but has yet to show that it will take advantage of it.

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Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 2

Season 2 of Takagi-san felt more or less like season 1 did, at least in the first half of it. I’ll admit that sometimes I did find myself falling asleep during the slow times during the first few episodes, but I always went back to watch the stuff I’d miss from that. Towards the end of this season though, you could feel that Nishikata was starting the develop feelings that would go beyond his meekness. The moment that he finally decided to ask Takagi out to the festival (without a reason to get back at her for her teasing) felt like a win for both sides. This show continues to be a cute little story about young love growing from the small moments in life.

As an extra note, there was a scene that hints that Takagi and Nishikata do get together/married in the future, an older Takagi looking back an a photograph of them as kids. I am aware that they do actually get married and have a kid, all thanks to spoilers that many people have mentioned in comments sections, even if it was obvious that it would be the case. Whether or not we’ll see an anime based on their future life together I don’t know, but the end of this season would be a good segway to that if they wanted to move the story forward.

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Kawaikereba Hentai demo Suki ni Natte Kuremasu ka?

This romcon explores different fetishes as each girl that our MC Keiki knows has a quirk she’s interested in. To name a few there’s the masochist, sadist, fujoshi, lolicon, and exhibitionist. After finding a love letter addressed to him with nothing more than a pair of panties left as a clue as to who it was from, it’s up to Keiki to sniff out the truth from the girls around him who he suspects could be his “Cinderella”.

Despite the synopsis, the fan service scenes that are expected are short and tend to mostly be tame, though as tame as it can be to have a PG-13 rating (on MAL.net anyways). The story isn’t deep, as it seems to focus on a girl or two every episode. And while the girls are fine and all, the same cannot be said about our main protagonist. Keiki wants a normal relationship with a girl, something he won’t get with the girls who he’s surrounded with. He’s not dense, but he’s nothing really special either. I guess the reason why that’s so is that he is suppose to be the all around nice guy, who would be compatible with anyone who is nice in return. It wouldn’t be the same if he had his own fetishes that didn’t mix well with another’s. At the very least, while the girls have their interests, they don’t indulge in it all the time, knowing that time and place means everything for a healthy relationship.

I won’t spoil who the Cinderella is as Keiki figures it out quite brilliantly, but this anime overall, as kinky as it may sound, explores the hidden tastes that loom in peoples’ bodies as well as the amount of respect and trust one must have to willingly tell others about it. I personally though this was an OK series, but there are other romcom series that entertain better.

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Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer has finally ended its first season, and boy has it been entertaining. What’s refreshing about this shonen series is that it’s not just some straight up power house protagonist who yells his way though. Tanjirou has built himself up, all from the sole reason to protect his last remaining family member, Nezuko. He may not be the strongest physically, but his will to fight the odds to turn her back into a human is what makes him truly powerful. He uses his head (figuratively and literally) to plan a means of attack, rather than betting on sheer strength as he knows one wrong move may kill him. And even though Nezuko doesn’t fight for any extended period of time, her contributions to the battle has saved Tanjirou in turn. The beautiful moment when Tanjirou and Nezuko attacked together showed the true power of the Kamado family.

As for the other main characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke, initially I found them a bit annoying because they either had really bad fears or egos. After the battle against the spider demon family, they all got injured quite bad and had to go to rehab for recovery. During their healing Zenitsu and Inosuke calmed down, though Zenitsu was still protesting about things he hated when he could. Inosuke was quiet for quite a while, realizing that he wasn’t as strong as he thought he was. After seeing Tanjirou’s improvements though his recovery training, the two finally decided that they didn’t want Tanjirou to one up them, so they joined him on his Total Concentration Breathing – Constant training, eventually mastering it. With this, the three of them should be significantly stronger, though whether or not this would be enough to take on the Twelve Moons Demons, we’ll have to wait and see.

As mentioned in my last seasonal anime review post about Demon Slayer, this show has the ingredients for greatness. I did enjoy watching it, but something about it just doesn’t make me think its a masterpiece either like a lot of other people think. I can’t describe this feeling, maybe it has something to do with the saying “If it’s too good to be true, then it is.” A movie has been announced for the next arc, Infinite Train, and I will continue to watch this show as it will probably have a new season in the future. Maybe as I continue to watch this my feelings about it will change, but only time will tell.

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Sounan Desu ka?

A survival tip themed anime with four anime girls stranded on a deserted island, of course when every episode is a beach episode you’ll also expect some fan service as well. Sounan desu ka? (Are you lost?, also a pun on the phrase “Is that so?”) is a short episode anime series that seems to use real world survival advice. Enjoyable as entertainment and educational too, I found this show to be a light hearted take on the deserted island scenario.

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Tejina-senpai

Magical Senpai is a short episode anime series about boy who stumbles on upon a senpai who loves performing magic tricks, but due to her massive stage fright, always messes up in the most comedic ways. After becoming her assistant (unwilling at first) he watches over her as she practices, often being her audience and receiving the brunt of her failures. This series was one that I’d watch just after watching an episode of Sounan desu ka? as they came out nearly at the same time on Crunchyroll. The entertaining part of this show is mainly from when senpai messes up her tricks while being watched, but it turns out that behind her stage fright is a truly skilled magician. If she ever got over it, she would definitely be one to watch out for, like those magicians who perform to talent shows like America’s Got Talent and the like.

 

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Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator

When I first heard that Accelerator was getting his own manga series, it made me hopeful that eventually he would get his own anime similar to Railgun. Our wish was granted this year for the “To Aru” series with both Season 3 of Index and Accelerator’s own anime series based off his spin-off manga. I’m also glad to report that Accelerator’s anime was not rushed like Index 3 was.

A quick synopsis: “Taking place after saving Last Order at the price of much of his power, he is faced with a new conflict in the form of a sinister organization called Disciplinary Action which plots to use Last Order for a dangerous mission. Using his Misaka Network powered abilities, it’s up to the world’s most powerful esper and his newfound companion to protect Last Order and defend Academy City in the process.” – MAL.net

Looking past the star of the show, A Certain Scientific Accelerator wasn’t exactly complex or unique, storywise or animation wise. Unlike Index and Railgun, I felt that the art style was more toned down to a more generic look. It’s not to say that it was bad, more like a noticeable downgrade when compared to its other animated counterparts. The story was also pretty bland too; bad guys intruding on another bad guy’s turf, you know it won’t be pretty, but if you know Accelerator it will always go his way. One thing that bugged me was the fact that the Misaka sisters were pretty much helpless in this, being the damsel in distress. Even when she was saved she barely was ever useful, being just dead weight. Does she not remember that she is a Level 3 electromaster with vast fighting experience from numerous bouts with the number one esper? I would have liked to see her in a better light as a way to show that she’s able to use what she learned to protect herself and others fighting alongside Accelerator.

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Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Ni-kai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka?

If you can’t tell by the title, this anime is all about mothers in a virtual isekai-like video game. Masato finds himself in a video game that’s designed to get a mother and her child to reconciliate. He meets others in similar situations and helps them with their mother problems throughout his adventure, all the while keeping his own mother at an arms length. Unfortunately he keeps getting himself and his party into a bunch of situations that you definitely wouldn’t want your mother to be a part of, usually ones involving fan service.

I found this anime to be a strange one indeed. Of course it’s because of the mothers aspect, especially how jarring it is to the setting of the show. They try and make it work for the story, but at times it feels forced even though this virtual world is designed for the specific purpose of having mothers and children adventure together. This might work better when the child is of younger age, but it’s just wrong when we have high school age kids with their mothers in a video game setting. With the fan service being cringe worthy at best, this was one that no one asked for except for meme making.

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Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai.

This is one of those cute stories about a young child and a parental figure, in this case Latina and Dale. Dale who is a renowned adventurer comes across Latina during one of his beast hunting jobs in a forest. She is alone, dressed in rags, and bears the devils’ symbol of a criminal: a broken horn. Concerned for her wellbeing, Dale decides to ensure Latina’s safety by bringing her to his home, eventually leading to him adopting her.

Just like with other animes with similar premises, this one was all about Latina and her growth. Maybe not much in terms of age, but of mind. She’s bright and pure, who treasures her family and friends. She learns new things fast, and has magical ability due to her demon lineage. She’s also lucky to have Dale who cares for her so much, even though he’s quite young himself. While his job tends to have him leave for sometimes months at a time, his duty is always towards Latina’s care, always thinking about her even when he shouldn’t worry. It would be interesting to see what becomes of them in the future, but I’ve seen some comments with potential spoilers, so I’ll just wait to see for myself if the anime continues.