Winter Anime Season 2017 – Review April 10, 2017Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Review, Winter Anime Season 2017
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This anime season was one of the weaker ones I’ve probably watched. Minus Gundam Orphans, I initially started watching a few of the several shows airing, only adding Masamune-kun no Revenge and Seiren mid season to the list. I also had a lot of things going on IRL that kept me from watching consistently each episode every week as I usually do. 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:
Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.
From a first glance, this anime doesn’t seem to be anything too special besides the “Monster Girls” aspect. However, instead of the “monster” being the main focus, the anime explores the themes of understanding and inclusion of different people into a normal modern society.
The main character Takahashi-sensei is a biology high school teacher who has an interest in studying and understanding demi-humans. Luckily for him, there are three students and a teacher who are different demis. Through certain events, he finds himself helping the Demis by helping them understand their own nature though science and logic, and in turn gets to interview them for information that sometimes breaks stereotypes of their kinds. In short, he lowers the wall that may keep normal humans and demi-humans from interacting normally, possibly from assumptions made based on fear or rumors.
I like how this anime stayed on focus with this theme, as well as keeping a light atmosphere even when dealing with sometimes sensitive issues. A lot of what is discussed in this show regarding the differences in people and how they should be seen by others can be used in real life. In essence, don’t judge a person based on rumors or stereotypes, try and get to know them personally and understand who and where they’re coming from. Your opinions about them can come after, but only after you attempted to have some dialogue.
This anime was my typical “slice-of-life school comedy” of the season. The show is basically about the life of an angel named Gabriel who has transferred to an Earth High School as part of her angel training. Originally a textbook example of a perfect angel, during her early days on Earth she discovered video games which quickly took over her life. She became a “fallen angel” of sorts, now being a stereotypical hikikomori. With her at the Earth school is Vignette, a very responsible and nice person, contrary to her actual role as a demon; Raphiel, a fellow angel who tends to enjoy teasing her friends, especially Satania, self-proclaimed future ruler of the underworld who tends to run into back luck with her schemes as a demon.
It was an alright series, entertaining in it’s own right about how modern day angels and demons would interact with each other and the world between them. One thing I’d like to mention, I noticed a reoccurring theme going on with some its dialogue scenes, using just a character head in a bubble while they’re talking off screen. While that’s nothing new in anime shows, the abundance of its use here made it stand out to me. Whether or not it was to save on the animation budget, or if it was actually following how the original material looked (I’ve only seen the anime), I don’t know. It may sound like I’m saying this was a negative aspect, but I don’t think that way. The humor was enjoyable, and the characters were unique in their own ways. Not a standout anime, but at least one that I don’t fall asleep to.
Another KyoAni classic, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid may sound like a comedy fan-service anime, but it’s actually much more than that. I’ll leave a synopsis from MAL that will do better justice than I can write up at this point:
As Kobayashi sets off for another day at work, she opens her apartment door only to be met by an unusually frightening sight—the head of a dragon, staring at her from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute, busty, and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, introducing herself as Tooru.
It turns out that the stoic programmer had come across the dragon the previous night on a drunken excursion to the mountains, and since the mythical beast had nowhere else to go, she had offered the creature a place to stay in her home. Thus, Tooru had arrived to cash in on the offer, ready to repay her savior’s kindness by working as her personal maidservant. Though deeply regretful of her words and hesitant to follow through on her promise, a mix of guilt and Tooru’s incredible dragon abilities convinces Kobayashi to take the girl in.
Despite being extremely efficient at her job, the maid’s unorthodox methods of housekeeping often end up horrifying Kobayashi and at times bring more trouble than help. Furthermore, the circumstances behind the dragon’s arrival on Earth seem to be much more complicated than at first glance, as Tooru bears some heavy emotions and painful memories. To top it all off, Tooru’s presence ends up attracting several other mythical beings to her new home, bringing in a host of eccentric personalities. Although Kobayashi makes her best effort to handle the crazy situation that she has found herself in, nothing has prepared her for this new life with a dragon maid.
What I liked about the series, besides the obvious adorableness of Kanna, and the awkward naiveté that is Elma, was the interactions between Tooru and Kobayashi. Focusing on the main internal conflict Tooru has with herself about humans and the world she comes from, you can see that she has had a hard life. Whether it coming from her upbringing from her parents, to the constant human raids attacking her when resting, or the wars between the dragon factions, she has been fighting for a long time during which materialized and cemented her hatred for humans. Only on the verge of death did she find one human who would not only listen to her, but save her life as well. You could say that Kobayashi was totally drunk, which seemed to be the case, but even after meeting Tooru and listening to her stories about her past, she still listens, understands, and accepts her for who she is despite her differences. They are both able to live together, even if the laws of the universe are against it. Tooru learns to treasure those special fleeting moments, rather than having doubts about the future, because they may be more valuable than a lifetime of memories.
I started watching this anime a bit late in the season, as it did not have my initial interest at the beginning. I eventually decided to watch it because of video clips I saw on social media. This anime is about a guy who was rejected by a girl when he was younger. During his young days, he was fat and a bit snobby, gaining the nickname “Pig’s Foot”. Due to this, he decided to change himself by working out into a handsome young man, to shed his former image. Upon entering high school, he finds himself in the presence of the girl that rejected him all those years ago. This time though, he plans to get revenge on her; by dumping her as bad as she did to him. However for this plan to work, he has to make her fall for him. This is where the story starts and gets interesting, sort of.
The anime for the most part was alright, getting a laugh or two every time a part of Makabe’s plans fall though. But that was more of less the bulk of the anime, the tug of war between progress with his plan, and her tsundereness kicking him away when he makes a critical mistake. What I didn’t like was the wrench in all of this, Gasou Kanetsugu, the proclaimed Masamune of Adagaki Aki’s past. I knew that he was going to play some sort of role towards the second half, due to him appearing in the opening sequence looking against Makabe, though at the time not sure how. I at first thought that he was a younger middle school version of Makabe, staring back at him as a reflection of some sort. First off, Kanetsugu doesn’t seem to be a mean person at all. He’s nice to everyone, including Makabe, and even volunteers himself to help Makabe’s class when he did the same for his. He seems to be playing the Masamune role under someone else’s instructions, possibly for financial reasons as he would be marrying into Adagaki’s rich family. He’s not unlikable, but because he’s tricking Adagaki he’s framed in that negative way to the audience.
Overall, the ending of this season ended with a number of questions, as well as a hint of a future season. I do hope that more of the story of the past can connect with the present, because we are still more or less running with the basic facts of girl dumped boy, boy seeks revenge by doing the same to her, an eye for an eye. There must be more than meets the eye, more facts to the story that can explain everyone’s actions both then and now. I will look forward to a new season if it can clarify and progress its plot line.
Gundam Orphans is finally over, a what a roller coaster it has been. Spanning two seasons with 25 episodes each, I felt that we went a full circle in terms of the story. Struggling at the beginning to create a name for themselves, to the edge of glory at the end of the first season/start of second season, to the fall and destruction of Tekkadan, I feel more or less satisfied with the ending, even if it was bittersweet. At least it wasn’t predictable or cliche like them getting all the way to the top, as they were always the underdogs who just got by. Their luck wasn’t always going to hold, especially with their small group size and resources against Gjallarhorn, a full military might that spans multiple regions of the solar system.
As for the second season’s main plot dilemma, it was McGillis Fareed versus Rustal Elion for who should rule Gjallarhorn in their own way. Because McGillis allied himself with Tekkadan and vice versa, we more or less viewed Rustal as the bad guy of the show as he was the one who always tried to plot their demise. As Rustal was the cold and calculating type, it was easily assumed that he had larger ambitions for ruling Gjallarhorn than McGillis, who proclaimed that he would destroy the corruption that had grew within it since its beginnings. However, when McGillis sought power from the original founder of Gjallarhorn, Agnika Kaieru’s Gundam Bael, things wern’t so clear as to who was right and wrong anymore. McGillis’s grab for power from a relic of the Calamity War was seen as nothing more than a coup d’etat for greedy reasons. Tekkadan’s decision to pair up with McGillis did not happen easily, nor did it seem likely that at that point that things would end well for them in the end, seeing as what happened to the Turbines who were destroyed by Rustal’s Arianrhod Fleet prior to McGillis obtaining Bael. As the end grew closer in this season, the odds were becoming more and more stacked against Tekkadan and McGillis, to a point where winning a battle against Rustal was out of the question. Surviving was all they could try to do, reminding us of Tekkadan’s beginnings of being human debris. Slowly the footprints left behind by McGillis and Tekkadan were wiped out under the rule of destroying out of control elements.
With their total destruction, things moved forward in a way that was quite unexpected; Rustal became the leader of Gjallarhorn, reforming it into a more democratic organization than one that was once ruled by the Seven Stars families. He downsized the Gjallarhorn Mars branch giving the people there the independence they always wanted, and finally worked together with the Martian Union to create the Human Debris Abolishment Treaty in order to prevent further exploitation of children as soldiers. He also meets with now Chairwoman Kudelia Aina Bernstein and promises to support her endeavors. In the end, everything is settled in the way mostly everyone wanted by one man, a man that was the antagonist for the entire series that won a decisive victory over the protagonists, as ironic as it seems.
When you think about it, there may have been a way that this all could of happened without the loss of McGillis and Tekkadan. Each side wanted more or less the same thing in the end, but what differed was their methods, both seemingly extreme. The main difference that separated Rustal and McGillis/Tekkadan was that the rebel duo were both people who were treated as disposable individuals; Long ago McGillis was a kid on the streets who learned the hard way that power was the only way he could survive, and once adopted into the Fareed family, learned of Agnika Kaieru and the power he possessed. From then on his goal has always been to become the ruler of Gjallarhorn and finally have the power he always craved. Tekkadan, being an organization consisting mostly of kids without a home, their goal was loosely to find a place for themselves without having to fight anymore, to live a life they feel they deserve. While they may have gotten lost along the way a few times, their end lead to their future, not just for them but for the future kids that would be saved from becoming human debris. While not much is known about Rustal Elion’s past, his actions seemed to be shrouded in vagueness as he always took the opposite stance against out protagonists, basically looking like a villain. Because of this it was automatically assumed that he wanted power for his own reasons. However, seeing what he does during the epilogue conflicts with the feelings I had (or probably most of us did). Whether or not there was a chance for any type of dialogue between the two without it blowing up, I’m not sure, but it was their means that created the war, not the shared end everyone wanted.
I enjoyed this series from start to end. It was my first Gundam series that I watched. I liked that this series is independent from the other Gundam series, so that I didn’t really need to know history or terminology of the series to understand and enjoy. It definitely didn’t feel like 50 episodes, and that’s a good thing as there wasn’t much fillers for the story. Interesting how the “bad” guy won, but at the same time things end on a high note with no loose ends. I’d probably like to try watching future Gundam series, but probably ones that are independent from its parent story like how Gundam Orphans was.
Synopsis via MAL:
“Shoichi Kamita is an ordinary high school boy, who is faced with the university entrance exam and worried about his future. This campus romantic comedy, “Seiren”, which means honest in Japanese, depicts his pure relationship with three different heroines. Each story is the unique and mutual memory between him and the heroine.”
This series was a nice casual watch about anime romance. Out of the three heroines, I thought Kyouko Touno’s was the cutest and sweetest, though Hikari Tsuneki was the most complex, and I like how she was still somewhat involved in the other characters’ routes.
Fall Anime Season 2016 – Review January 16, 2017Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku, Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Fall Anime Season 2016, Review
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For this season, I didn’t have a lot of time to watch as I used to, mainly due to work and other personal priorities. This actually caused me to stop watching some of the listed animes half way throughout the Fall season. By the time was free to watch, my reduced interest for a couple of them made me drop them. I probably won’t have as much to say about these animes of the season, but I’ll put my two cents in anyways. 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:
Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Dropped at Ep. 6)
WWW.Working!! (Dropped at Ep. 5)
Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.
This anime short series is such a tease. Tawawa on Monday is a series of short stories about various well endowed women during their usual weekday lives. Mostly seen from the perspective of a male companion, it combines cute and innocent with innuendo like speech and actions, whether or not the women are aware of it or not themselves. The fan service comes not in the visual form, but rather in the imaginative one. It’s one that I’ll admit I liked watching, as many would say, maybe because these kinds of situations are somewhat feasible in real life, not that I’m hoping for anyways…
This anime was one that I stopped watching around midway, mainly due to not having time to watch, but got back to it and finished before writing this post. I had stopped watching right up to when they won their place in the Nationals, so continuing from there was not confusing for me, as there wasn’t any mid story I had to remember.
All the way through, this anime is solid in its art and animation, character development, music, and story. It all culminates to a very good drama anime that very much feels real. As I mentioned in my review of the first season, when I was in high school, I was part of choir. Maybe not exactly the same as a band or orchestra, but I could still relate to the ups and downs that the characters faced when dealing with a competition, because just like them we also competed in choir competition festivals in trips that took us hundreds of miles away from home against other schools of the country. Feeling nervous or doubt as the stage grew nearer, is something I remember feeling, though in the end we did what we practiced over and over again, during actual class or lunch break. And when it came to the hearing the results, the fruits of our labor bore fruit in the form of 1st Gold place. An absolute dream come true, as I felt at the time. Let it be known that I had no intention of pursuing music in college, or for anything professional in my future. I just enjoyed singing in school choir.
I enjoyed this anime because of how relatable it was for me and my past. As for someone who did not experience something similar, I don’t know how well they would connect with the characters and story, but I think that they would still be able to grasp the feeling enough to understand and enjoy some good storytelling.
This anime series ended on a very nice note, as it cleared most if not all the drama that the band faced throughout the year. I like how in the anime, the teachers of the band mentioned that with the coming of a new year, they can start from scratch. With all the drama that happens within their school band, it comes off as a positive thing. Instead of dragging the negatives and positives around of the past, they can continue to learn from them and move forward into the future. I think that’s also good advise in general for how we should live, and how we should thrive towards our own goals in life.
An ongoing series into the winter season, it continues from where we left off in the first season. I’ll just mention some of the differences I noticed between this season so far and the last. First off, Mikazuki is now more monotone and fiercer in battle than ever before. Of course its because he’s getting more experience with Barbatos, but it also seems to be taking a part of him every time there’s a huge battle where Mika calls upon it. At the end of the first season, he lost his sight in his right eye and use of his right arm. When connected to Barbatos however, he regains full control of his body again. More recently though, in the battle with the Mobile Armor, he ended up losing the ability to use his legs. He’s slowly becoming dependent on Barbatos, as with it allows him to use his full body at will, at the cost of not being able to disconnected from it. Besides that, Mika also seems to be losing his emotions, not that he ever was that emotional to begin with. An example of this was when back in the first season, in the scene right as Orga and Biscuit were attacked by Carta Issue, Mika calls out Orga’s name in a way that almost seems unlike his usual self. He also at least showed more facial expressions in the first season than the second. Maybe in part it has to do with what happened to him in the final battle in Edmonton, I’m not sure.
I’m looking forward to see how this all plays out: The merging of man and machine, and the stabilization of politics of the solar system. Whether or not Tekkadan will be triumphant or crash and burn, we’ll just have to wait and watch.
In this anime short series second season, we find our hero creating a larger harem by interacting with more of his classmates. Fan service ensues. Yeah not much more I can say about this one.
Advertised as an anime by some people who worked on other animes such as Code Geass, Izetta the Last Witch takes place in a world war where a small country called Elystadt finds itself under attack by the large nation of Germania. Elystadt discovers and rescues the last witch Izetta from Germania, and with her power turns the tide of battle into their favor. With magic used as a deterrent in the war, how will it affect the world? What consequences will it have for victory between all the warring nations? That’s what this anime more or less illustrates and answers in its own way.
I originally was not interested in watching this series, but decided to give it a shot after seeing a bit of it through social media. It was sort of cool watching actual military based weaponry being taken down quite easily by Izetta’s magic, even if it was simple in the extreme. It’s basically the opposite of the anime GATE where modern military might dominated almost medieval level weapons. Towards the second half of the series however, with the introduction of the cloned witch Sophie, it became clear that the end would be a battle between the two; It became predictable. While the ending was positive, it didn’t feel all the satisfying as the buildup throughout the series dropped off when it became clear that this series was just going to be a classic good versus evil thing, with nothing making it interesting in the middle. Overall it was an OK anime, but the battles and story became stale in my opinion.
I dropped this series midway as it didn’t interest me much anymore, mainly with it’s characters. I know that this anime is catered more to females, but I was originally attracted to it by scenes I saw on social media. What annoyed me was how you could tell that some of the guys were seemingly attracted to her mainly because of her looks and not for her personality.
In this spin off of the Working! series, we find ourselves at another branch of Wagnaria with a new cast of characters. These characters though I felt were random and didn’t mix very well. Because of this, I tended to fall asleep while watching this anime because everyone felt mad or gloomy or superficial. I did not feel like a workplace I’d want to work in.
I was attracted to the original Working! series before I started working at the retail store five years ago, because I wanted to see and feel what it was sort of like to work and interact with co-workers. Mind you of course this is an anime which cannot be applied to real life, but that’s how I wanted to see this anime series back then.
Summer Anime Season 2016 – Review September 25, 2016Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Summer Anime Season 2016
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This season was comparatively light in terms of must watch animes. A couple of them were from series I’ve watched before, some were short series anime, and the rest were just casual watch ones. Still entertaining, but nothing special. 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:
Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.
This anime is one that makes you smile as you watch. Also know as Sweetness and Lightning, it’s about Kouhei Inuzuka taking care of his young daughter Tsumugi after the death of his wife. As he’s no good with cooking, one day they go out to eat and stumble across a closed small diner that is run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori Iida. It turns out Kotori is often alone since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.
The adorableness of Tsumugi and the hard work of her dad Kouhei to take care of her makes this anime bittersweet, as they find the little things in life that makes them happy, but at the same time still struggling with the relatively recent death of the mom/wife. Most of the time the atmosphere is light, but when things get sad you can relate to the characters as their situation is probably common in reality. The main theme that keeps everyone happy in this anime is everyone getting together, whether it be for a party, school, or cooking tasty foods. Even if you are alone, there are others like yourself that probably see themselves in the same situation. Just reaching out towards one another can bring up everyone’s spirits, which is what helped Tsumugi and Kouhei to get together with more friends who can understand and support each other in times of need.
Food is what brings everyone together in this anime. Because Kouhei couldn’t cook, and found himself at a restaurant that was mostly closed because Kotori’s chef mother was always out and busy, he decides to learn how to cook more. Under written instructions from Kotori’s mother, Kouhei, Tsumugi, and Kotori work together to learn how to make great food that is best enjoyed with company. They are eventually joined by more friends which almost makes it a party every time. The directions for making the food seem simple enough that you could possibly make it real life, as the instructions was written for people new to cooking.
I enjoyed this anime for the simple fact that it made me smile. Seeing that Tsumugi was in good hands from friends and family despite losing her mother at a young age, makes me think that she will grow up happy and healthy none the less. Of course if this was an anime that showed her at an older age, such as middle school or high school, I could see it being more of a drama type anime exploring how many years of growing up without one of your parents affects you. As this anime revolves around Tsumugi at around the age of 4 (I presume), within a year of her mom passing, she doesn’t have the full understanding of what it means for her mother to be gone. It would be interesting if this series were to do something along the lines of a new season that takes place 10 or so years in the future, but that would dim the lightness this anime has, unless they don’t go in the direction I imagined. Either way, I recommend this anime for casual watchers.
With the soon upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV, in order for people to get a taste of what’s to come, a five episode ONA was broadcast on Crunchyroll. In this this short series anime, our main characters (Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, Gladiolus) are traveling by convertible car towards probably the capital city where a war is taking place. Each episode focuses on one of the characters, showing their backstory and relationship with Prince Noctis. As a prequel to the game, this series introduces us to the characters in anime fashion.
I enjoyed watching the 12 minute ONAs, though I wasn’t sure (and still am) if they were going to the Kingdom of Lucis to deal with the problems that seem to be happening there. Maybe it was because there was a lot of dialogue for me to keep up with in the beginning, or my unfamiliarity with the setting, probably both. What I mostly got out of it was learning more about each of the main characters that will be part of the game when it comes out in November. As for whether or not this animated series attracted me more to the game, it didn’t really. I’m probably not going to get the game, at least not right away anyways, especially that I don’t have a PS4 yet, but I will be keeping an eye out for it at the very least.
Love Live! Sunshine is a spin-off title of the main Love Live! series. After the success of the school idol group μ’s, a new generation follows their footsteps. Chika Takami aims to form a high school idol group, inspired by the past school idol group μ’s. With friends by her side who join up one by one, she also learns that her school is planned to be closed down in the near future due to low amounts of new applicants. Naming their group Aqours, they aim to attract attention to their town and school and save it from closure, all while doing their best together as school idols.
This new entry into the Love Live! series features an all new cast of characters, each of which also features relatively new seiyuu (voice actresses). I thought that these seiyuu did a very good job, despite having limited roles in other animes. Each character of the main cast is unique in their own way, though can be compared with some characteristics from μ’s. While Sunshine is its own story, the similarities between it and its predecessor are numerous and sometimes takes away from its uniqueness. Whether or not intentional, near the end of the series it’s made certain that Aqours, while inspired, will make their own path and will not follow in the shadow of μ’s, which I felt was a step in the right direction, but a little forced at the same time. The reason I say forced is because I felt that the last few episodes were rushed to get the story to an ending. The majority of Sunshine focused on the relationships between Aqours members and not a lot of actual idol training. I’m not saying that they did not do enough training (it’s probably implied that it was done off screen), but compared to what we saw with μ’s which I would say had a 50/50 idol activities/character focus airtime, it didn’t seem enough to justify how they were able to become as good as they were in the end. I doubt that all of them had the ability to sing and dance well in the beginning, but maybe I’m not suppose to think that way, I don’t know. In my opinion it didn’t seem realistic. (Its an anime I know.)
I enjoyed Love Live! Sunshine, like I do most idol animes as I like seeing the progression from beginning to end. Seeing something come from nothing is a great example of results coming from passion and hard work. I just wish it was fleshed out a bit more to give it more individuality. I know its using the brand name to its full advantage, but if showed more of their idol and character progression more gradually, it would of been more enjoyable I think.
Momokuri is a romance, slice of life comedy that has a simple synopsis, courtesy of MyAnimeList : The story revolves around Yuki Kurihara, a girl who has finally been granted her wish of dating her crush Momo. At first glance, she just looks like a normal but very cute girl. However, she is in fact a maniac over Momo, taking notes of his activities and never missing the chance to see him in a cute moment. Momo, on the other hand, is inexperienced in love, and just wants to make Yuki happy.
This series was originally aired earlier this year in an OVA format that was reformatted into full 24 minute episodes for TV broadcast, which I watched on Crunchyroll.
I decided to watch this series as it seemed to fall into the categories I usually watch. Since this series was originally a 26 OVA episode series, I felt that the progression of the story and characters would be better paced than if it had less. On the exterior, it looks to be a charming but simple story of a young couple. However in some scenes, it tackles the more subtle but important issues and feelings of being in a boy/girl relationship. I felt that this gave the series some depth and serious tone, that its exterior doesn’t show outright.
As for the other characters surrounding our couple, they are helpful and supportive of them. None of them are annoying like some can be in other anime series about couples. They give advise when needed, and help to ease tensions when one or the other is stressed out. In general they’re all good friends, even though other alternative shippings are hinted….
If you’re looking for a moe comedy about making a Japanese game, then New Game! is for you! Aoba Suzukaze is a new hire at a game company that made her favorite game series. Learning on the job, she gets to work on the latest installment of the series under the mentoring of the character designer who made her love the games in the first place. Alongside fellow friends and co-workers, they strive towards completing a new game together.
I like New Game! for a couple of reasons, mainly that the characters were cute, and that I wasn’t overloaded with production terms like I experienced when watching another anime about making something, namely Shirobako. With at least several main and supporting characters weaving in and out of the spotlight, the anime did well to balance out each of their appropriate airtimes with their importance to the show. The comedy gave me some laughs that didn’t feel added out of necessity. Towards the end though it did feel a little rushed, but satisfying none the less for Aoba and her team. Make sure you watch after the ED on the final episode, as there’s a little scene after it.
ReLIFE was a nice little high school drama about Arata Kaizaki, an unemployed, single 27-year-old who has just been cut off from his parents’ financial support. Unable to find a job due to him leaving his previous employer within three months, he meets Ryou Yoake, a man who offers Arata pills to turn him back into a 17-year old so he can redo his life. After agreeing to the experiment, Arata joins a high school class, and meets Chizuru Hishiro, a socially-awkward silent beauty who yearns to have friends. Through connecting with her and other classmates, Arata must find what he lacks to live a happy life in the real world within a one-year time limit.
It came to my surprise that all 13 episodes were available on Crunchyroll all at once. Even so, I paced my watching so that I’d finish around the same time as the other animes of the season were ending. I enjoyed this series, though something felt a bit off about it. Not necessarily in a bad way, but maybe it’s because it was released all at once that it makes me think that it wasn’t worth taking up airtime in Japan. Like I mentioned, I liked the show but it felt like a budget anime. The art, music, and character designs were nothing fancy, only the story itself shined. As a person around Arata’s age, I can relate to his situation and feelings, and that is what I think made this anime a great example of having a second chance at life, even in a restricted fashion as the anime used. The ending of ReLIFE ties up most of the branching plot-lines, but does not conclude this series proper. This may give way to another season in the future, but that will remain to be seen.
The second season of Shokugeki no Soma continues directly from where the first season ended, during the Autumn Elections. The top 8 compete for their ranking among the first year Totsuki students. The majority of the season focuses on the cooking battle between the 8, showing each of their unique talents and skills. After the end of the elections, the students are put into a Stagiaire program that requires students to take up residence at various restaurants outside of the school, aiming to leave their own impressions there in order to pass.
I was a little surprised that at the start of the second season, there was no recap at all, as if this was just more episodes to the main season of the series. I did remember generally what happened at the end of the first season, so I wasn’t lost on what was going on. As usual Soma’s ability of adaptability makes him a high contender, but it also shows that he has a lot to learn and that he’s willing to put the time and effort to show that he’s in it to win it. He’s confident, but humble. Experienced, but curious about new experiences in the cooking world. Wins most of the time, but that doesn’t stop him from improving over his victories. Soma is a character that exemplifies how a passion can drive oneself to achieve great things.
The other characters also show great ways of cooking, which is probably done in real life by chefs. It’s cool how this anime really showcases deep levels of cooking, down to the science. It’s not always taste alone that dictates how good the food is, sometimes food can affect all the senses, even psychological ones. I guess that’s why I was not totally surprised at the results of the Autumn Elections, because they’re all excellent chefs in their own regard.
I know that this anime is not for everyone, especially with the fan service that the series could do without. What is serves to do is to overemphasize and sell how the judges of the food experience it. Anyways, with what I’ve noticed with other animes, the fan service is more so used in the beginning of the series, especially in the first episode of the first season of this series, to attract fans with eye candy. Later on however the story sets in, which becomes the main course for entertainment. Fan service decreases and is used more sparingly, only used for emphasis for certain scenes, but even then it’s not too bad. I wish that either animes would not use fan service in this manner, or people try and give a series more of a chance down the line even if its initial “cover” looks one way.