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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.

—–

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.

—–

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.

—–

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.

—–

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.

—–

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.

 

—–

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.

—–

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.

—–

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.

Spring Anime Season 2019 – Review July 7, 2019

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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I started with a few that I knew that I wanted to watch, ended up once again having about 9 total from this season. It always seems to be that way for me. There was a few big titles airing this season, but besides those there was a good few smaller ones. 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:

Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu

Kimetsu no Yaiba

Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

Nande Koko ni Sensei ga!?

One Punch Man 2nd Season

Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san

Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Part 2

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

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


Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

When I first learned about this anime at the start of the season, I didn’t initially see a reason to watch it. I had assumed that it was similar to last season’s The Quintessential Quintuplets, where the poor MC is tasked with helping a number of girls study. Now to be fair that does describe both animes basic premise, but that’s where the comparison ends. Unlike in the former anime, I feel that our MC Nariyuki Yuiga really helps each of them with their respective bad subject, as he is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to academics. It’s also nice to see that his pupils are actually willing to listen and learn from his tutoring, as it did get somewhat irritating to see Fuutarou’s (From The Quintessential Quintuplets) efforts go to waste so quickly at times. What makes this anime different from the former is that each of the girls are geniuses at the opposite subject they actually want to pursue, mainly for the reasons that they either want to prove the naysayers wrong, follow in a loved one’s passions, or simply want to understand a subject that they are not well versed in.

Each of the main female protagonists as mentioned are great at one particular subject, such as math, literature, sports, etc. While they may excel at their genus subject, they don’t take the easy road for their futures by just doing what their good at. Their reasoning and drive to work on their weak subject is adamant, and lucky enough there’s someone who is good at all subjects who can keep up with their questions gauntlet. Of course, it goes without saying that besides their academic prowess, they have their own personality and charm that Nariyuki is aware of (to some extent). Once again the “waifu” generators are at it again, but this time I’m liking these girls more than the Quintuplets one. I’ve been ranking them in my mind in a couple of ways: Them to Nariyuki and to the viewer. For Nariyuki in this order; Furuhashi, Takemoto, Ogata, Kominami, Kirisu. Originally Takemoto was lower in my opinion, but her pushes in the end pushed her up. My second ranking based on (my) viewer opinion; Furuhashi, Kominami, Kirisu, Ogata, Takemoto. Furuhashi is consistently on top as she is the one most sociable, despite not initially thinking herself as attracted to Nariyuki the way the others are. However she finds herself getting closer to him even while trying to support Takemoto (and Nariyuki) and Ogata, as seen in the final episode of this first season. Someone in real life who is like Furuhashi would be nice to be friends with. Takemoto is the childhood friend of sorts whose liked Nariyuki since middle school. Her playful personality hides her true feelings from him as she’s shy in that regard. As for someone like her in real life, she would be fun to hang around but personally for me it would be a bit hard to deal with. Ogata is the logical math wizard who has trouble understanding reading emotions and the like. She’s not emotionless herself, she just has a hard time justifying emotional reasons. Short, plump, and diligent, Ogata’s slight tsundereness but willing to understand what she doesn’t makes her a rounded character to enjoy, both in anime and real life. Kominami-senpai had the least screen time but she came through strong, with Nariyuki masquerading as her boyfriend to her father to convince him that she’s working hard to eventually take over the family clinic business. As a senpai to all of them, she understands the trials and tribulations of studying a subject that’s hard for a person, as well as dealing with entrance exams for college. Last but not least, Kirisu-sensei. As the eldest person of this group, she doesn’t hold up very well as an adult compared to the others. Before Nariyuki came along to tutor, she was in charge of tutoring Ogata and Furuhashi, but failed to help them after coming to the conclusion that they should just stick to their best subjects for their futures. Her weakpoints, or rather her charm points, have made her a favorite among fans. Under her cold and professional exterior is a maiden who makes mistakes in the most embarrassing ways. I guess she’s a tsundere of sorts as well.

I enjoyed this anime, more than Quintuplets. I wished that I didn’t initially judge it in the beginning based on its synopsis, but it is what it is. Now with many shows sharing very similar stories (I’m looking at you Isekai genre), filtering out what to watch and what to skip is becoming more common for me. I’m glad that a second season has already been announced for Fall 2019, which reminds me that there’s also going to be a second season of Quintuplets as well in the future. Just like with the former, all the heroines are on the Nariyuki board. Once they achieve their academic goal, what will happen after? Kominami-senpai brought it up to Nariyuki, so now he has that to ponder about. He can’t stay the dense MC forever, right?

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Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu

There are a lot of shy people out there, me included. Some of those people just accept it and turtle themselves away from society, some break that shell and become something new. But in this anime, Bocchi who is shy in the extreme, tries her utmost to befriend as many people as possible in her new school in order to keep a promise that she made to her childhood friend. Originally this show didn’t show much interest to me, but decided to check it out anyways. With Bocchi’s premise being that she had to befriend everyone in her class in order to stay friends with her childhood friend Kai (who is now attending a different school), I had initially felt this to be a bit too mean of a condition to put on someone, especially with Bocchi’s level of shyness. I guess the reason Kai did it was because she knew that as Bocchi’s only friend at the time, she knew that Bocchi didn’t want to lose her, and Kai knew that Bocchi needed to grow and make new friends so that she could have more people to depend on and eventually help her to get over her shyness. I’m glad to see that while Bocchi’s shyness is her weak-point, her willingness to overcome it shined through.

Bocchi’s new friends were unique on their own, all happy to help out poor Bocchi in her times of need. From what I heard, each of the characters names in this series is actually a Japanese pun relating to them. For example, Hitori Bocchi’s name means “loneliness” or “solitude”, and Bocchi’s first new friend Sunao Nako is derived from sunao na ko, which means “honest child.” If you want to read the article about this, check it out here.

This show is great as it shows the slow but steady development of a relatable character. Sure, maybe we’re not on Bocchi level shyness, but we’ve experienced it in one ways or another. Simply by taking the first step into something new can you discover something exciting and helpful to yourself and others. Also, I was grinning at the random DeLorean that was shown among other cars in the credits of the final episode. Kudos to the anime staff for adding that randomly in.

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Kimetsu no Yaiba

Demon Slayer is one of the top animes this season, as it’s being headed by Studio ufotable, known for their animation works from the Fate/Stay series among others. Also featuring Kajiura Yuki for the BGM and a decent cast of seiyuus, this show has the ingredients for success. While the main story is following a standard Shōnen formula, the character development of this series is key to making this different from others before it. This season is 26 episodes long, so we’re just under halfway done and so far things are going well for Tanjirou and company. And when I mean well I mean that he hasn’t suffered too much yet from his battles against the night-loving demons. In the story, He and his little sister Nezuko are trying to find a way to turn her back into a human after she was turned into a demon by one. After a couple years of training, Tanjirou joined the Demon Killing Corps in order to protect himself and his sister from them, while following clues that could help him reverse the demon curse. Luckily Nezuko was able to mostly keep her human emotion and thought, but has the power (and weakness) of a demon to help fight alongside her brother. Together they are a powerful duo with a goal in mind.

For some reason when I first saw this show from a trailer, I had thought it was some sort of parody anime. It was a combination of so many well known quality people that made it a “Too good to be true” kind of thing. The unique animation also helped to make it seem like a one off title; the water that flows with Tanjirou’s blade or the (literal) directional arrows that fly from a demon’s hands to attack by pulling the target as if it was being dragged by a mouse cursor. I now know that Demon Slayer is the real deal.

What do I think of the show so far? It’s pretty good, but pretty standard when it comes to its story. The animation is the highlight for me, smooth on all sides. I’m not really invested in the endgame plot for turning Nezuko back into a human yet, but if they can get me interested in the mystery behind the Demons I’ll be all for it.

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Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

A slightly ecchi but mostly pure love story about a high school girl named Ao Horie whose father happens to be a bestselling erotic author. Embarrassed throughout her childhood as her origin of her name comes from her father’s erotic work, she aims to get into an elite university and achieve independence from her father once and for all. What makes matters worse is that her classmate Takumi Kijima confesses that he likes her. Internal conflicts arise as she battles two things: Her original goal of studying to get into college, and her teenage mind which can’t think straight when love is in the picture.

On paper this sounds like a show that uses fanservice as its main feature, but I felt that it was just one aspect of it. Ao pushed away at thought of love as it was associated with her embarrassing memories from the past. And while she was exposed to her father’s work, she became desensitized to what she read from them. When she encountered love for herself, she thought nothing of it except from what she knew from her father’s books which were not based in reality. A combination of a young mind going through puberty and having someone confess that they love you is a lot for someone who thought it was something bad. Ao slowly learns to understand how to deal with love on her own, which has produced some interesting scenes, whether real or just all in her head.

An enjoyable short episode series I thought it was.

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Nande Koko ni Sensei ga!?

This series was purely fan service, from whatever you could see (or imagine) anyways. Basically teacher and student finds themselves in strange (ecchi) situations, where they ask themselves “Why the hell are you here!?” Not much more I can say about it.

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One Punch Man 2nd Season

One Punch Man Season 2 was definitely a different experience to the first season, a lot to do with the change of animation studio from Madhouse to J.C.Staff. Besides the downgrade in visual and animation quality, season 2 was more plot based, focusing on the Hero Hunter Garo in his quest to destroy the Hero Association. At the same time, monsters from the proclaimed Monster Association also are rampaging across multiple cities in order to wipe humans from the face of the Earth. While most heroes are busy at work protecting the people, our titular protagonist Saitama (aka One Punch Man) is as bored as ever. He tries a couple of things to combat this: Joining a martial arts tournament masquerading as someone else to learn more about martial arts, and playing video games against the Hero King. In-between these he One Punches some monsters that get in his daily life.

For a lot of people, including myself, did find the changes in season 2 to be a negative thing when compared to season 1. However after finishing this season, I thought it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. For starters, the story in better in this season, giving the spotlight to someone who is less OP or predictable. We’re already aware of Saitama’s power and abilities, and as such small fry are no match for him. The only one who gave him a somewhat extended fight was Boros from season 1, but it still ended when Saitama got serious. Garo as a character is interesting for a couple of reasons. Because he trained under Bang, he is a very capable martial arts fighter, so he’s more technical than just overwhelming power in a single hit. Besides his physical prowess, he also has strong motives for what he’s fighting for, highlighted by flashbacks to his past. The season ended without a big battle like we had in the previous season, but it definitely alludes to the story to continue in a future season, whenever that may be.

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Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san

The soothing series of the season, The Helpful Fox Senko-san was a simple series about an adorable foxgirl goddess wanting to serve and pamper a hardworking salaryman. Nakano comes home one day to find (the 800 year-old) Senko-san cooking and cleaning his apartment. She explains that she’s there to pamper and spoil Nakano to his hearts content. As a adult, Nakano initially refuses her help, but slowly grows to accept Senko-san’s warmth, both figuratively and literally.

As sketchy as this may sound, its absolutely a pure anime about having someone at home to take care of you after grueling hours at a unfavorable workplace. Whether that be through having a clean living place, delicious cooking, or just having company to heal a broken mind, heart, or soul.

At first I thought this would be a short series anime, you know shorter than normal episode length. When I saw that these episodes were full length, I was thinking “How will they fill each episode with new content that didn’t feel drawn out?” Something as simple as taking care of someone at home couldn’t be that entertaining? Boy was I proven wrong. Not only did I find episodes going by in an instant, by no means did I feel that things repeated or were boring. Just the sight of a loving kitsune wanting to do things for someone without feeling like they expect anything back, it’d want anyone to have someone like Senko-san. Of course we’d want to do things for her as thanks, but she would always turn down the offer. It reminds me of how a grandmother would treat their grandchildren.

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Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Part 2

The second part of Season 3 of AOT really moved the story along, finally retaking Wall Maria and getting to the basement that many fans have been waiting for. With the info found there, it opens up a new world of possibilities for how the story will continue. I don’t read the manga, but I know that it’s already ending if not already ended.

This season really felt like a big culmination of everything that the story has been building up to. And luckily the hype was definitely met with the same energy with the ending of this season. As a pure AOT anime watcher with no info from the manga, I liked the progression that has happened in the third season. I’ve felt that I’ve grown with the characters, as with many others who having been watching from the beginning way back in 2013. Looking back at it now, there have been many characters that have died since, but their deaths don’t feel like a waste. Every single sacrifice has brought humanity closer to the truth. Where we are now is proof of that.

I know that normally I speak with spoilers freely in my reviews, but I won’t for this one, as it’s best to watch and find out for yourself. Overall I thought Season 3 ended on yet another big cliffhanger on a couple of things. The story of course, but also about the future of AOT itself. Wit Studio who has been animating the series since the beginning has mentioned that they might be done doing AOT. With the announcement of the Final Season coming in 2020, it’s not confirmed who will be animating it. Wit Studio has done an amazing job of bringing the manga to life, and unless a parallel level studio can take over, I think a lot of fans will not like the difference if the animation quality is not as good as its been. A good example of this is One Punch Man which also aired this season. Season 1 of OPM was done by Madhouse while Season 2 was done by J.C.Staff. The difference between the two is very apparent in a bad way. I do hope that Wit Studio will hold on for the final season of AOT as a way to please fans, as well as finish what they started. I think it will cement their reputation in anime history as having done one of the greatest animes in this decade.

One more thing, besides the animation the music in this anime is as always phenomenal. Done by the one and only Sawano Hiroyuki, it’s thanks to him that this show is as epic as it is. Visually the show is great, but pairing it with a equally great soundtrack truly gives this show life and personally that few can match. I’m a big fan of his music, and I don’t think there’s a day where I don’t listen to his work. He has worked on plenty of other shows with memorable songs, and while his music is recognizable due to it having the same kind of style, I can’t get enough of it.

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Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

As one of the better Isekais around, Shield Hero has proved itself to be a popular choice for its genre. In this second half of season, we finally see Naofumi getting the justice he deserves with the revelation of the King’s and Myne’s schemes. Even with his name cleared, his relationship with the other three heroes are still shaky at best. His efforts to get all of them to work together has not been successful, causing him to try and build himself and his party up to become the greatest fighting force against the waves, seeing that the other heroes won’t get over their egos.

Shield Hero was a nice watch, though I felt that the last episode was rushed. There was a lot going on, with the dialogue also being fairly abundant to give as much info as possible. I think they wanted to get this season to end at a good point to set up for an eventual future season.