Sunday, October 8, 2017

[New][Ended] Bulk Post Continued

That's right, another bulk post, because somehow I forgot to come back and finish whatever that train of thought was from last time. Can't even remember. Oh well.

ON WITH THE SHOW.

--
Another World Smartphone: Honestly, I would have waited to lump this into a bulk post even if I didn't have a bunch of shows I've finished to catch up on. This show was the most
MEDIOCRE
thing, I've seen in a damn long time. Pull up any generic description for a Harem, a Deus ex Machina, and then spice it with the recently popular Different World setting, and you have literally this show. This is the most bare-bones, empty-hearted, soulless show...just....ARGH.

WHY DID I WASTE MY TIME ON THIS SHOW!? I knew it was trash bin material by the second episode, but I kept wanting to see him call God! I thought that would be the most hilarious joke theme ever, having God on speed-dial! Instead, the main character may as well have BEEN GOD HIMSELF, he was so stupidly powerful and vacuous. He is LITERALLY the Deus-ex-Machina of the show!
Whatever, Youtube already has at least one review talking about how empty this show is because of it's ridiculously Over Powered main character, so I'll leave that part alone. Let's talk about the Harem for a second. At first, I found it novel that-


A) There was a fiance declared very quickly, and
B) She then immediately offers for everyone else in the Harem to become his wives as well.

Those were very avant-garde for the harem genre, usually it just faffs about with fan service and 'reasons to slap the main character' jokes all day, and no progress towards any kind of a meaningful deep relationship ever happens. I thought maybe the show would touch on how impossible the idea of keeping more than one person at a time happy or satisfied was, or emphasize how the only reason the Main Character could do it was because he was basically God Incarnate.

Instead,
"
...it just faffs about with fan service and 'reasons to slap the main character' jokes all day, and no progress towards any kind of a meaningful deep relationship ever happens."
Zetro, 2017.

In all due honesty, as far as anime goes, there is nothing strictly speaking offensive about the show. As long as you don't count how soulless it is. There are several pieces, like the two I just pointed out, that are original and creative in the show, but it is just so determined to not do anything risky or bold that everything is as flat as a pancake, and about as exciting as watching paint dry. I think the only useful or productive thing this show will ever be credited for is creating the "Slip Meme" I predict should show up at some point. Got a problem? Use Slip. Need help with something? Use Slip. Enemies knocking on your gates, ready to loot your worldly possessions, rape your women, murder your children, and burn everything to the ground? Use Slip.
--

Twin Star Exorcists:
Well this is old isn't it? This was a Good Shounen genre show. However, in case you couldn't tell by how long it took me to get my lazy arse around to finishing it, there was nothing especially riveting or exciting about it. Well, okay, the show being a shounen, is all about hype and excitement, but nothing outside of the norm. It's just a repeating cycle of "train to beat the big bad of the week, brief joy, new big bad of the week, repeat."
If nothing else though, it does execute on something that A CERTAIN SHOW JUST MENTIONED BUT REMAINING UN-NAMED, failed to accomplish:
A meaningful relationship between its main characters. A shallow relationship, yes, but a meaningful one in the context of the show, that grows over time, like a proper character arc should.
If you want to kill about 50 episodes worth of time real smooth, I recommend this show for that. Double points if you like Shounen genre shows, which this sits in quite firmly.

I found the show kept my attention pretty much riveted, right up until the Sae-Arc. At that point, it just felt so...forced. I dunno, maybe that's just a Me thing. Take it or leave it as you will, it was a pleasant series to watch to the end.
If you like shounen shows: I give this series a Recommendation.
--
Girlfriend Gal: Meh. Why did I finish this show again? With Smartphone, I'm outraged at myself for having put up with it, but I literally cannot remember why I kept watching this show. At first, I found it interesting that the main girl wasn't a cardboard cut out. The show seemed determined to underline how her appearance was deceiving, and it actually fleshes her out really well in the first few episodes. She's probably the ONLY character in the show with any depth worth noting. Everyone else is mostly defined by a stereotype.
Just going to go ahead and get this out of the way: I don't like the male protagonist. I especially hate almost all of his bickering inner-self segments. That's about all I have to say on the matter. He gets points for being morale when it counts, and for having a goal and sticking to it. I really respect that much of him, but for whatever reason, something about him as a whole just rubs me the wrong way and I'm not completely sure why. 


Honorable mention to the Glasses support character, I would absolutely watch an entire series dedicated to him working at his part-time job. Or, just dedicated to him, period.

Also, we need to talk about the fat pedophile. No, not "the fat lolicon" I mean THE FAT PEDOPHILE. There is literally a pedophile in this show, and it's suppose to be comedic entertainment! That's fucked up. I understand and tolerate the lolicon theme and character trope, I've even enjoyed and laughed like hell at it in such settings as the show 'Working!!!', but this show goes out of its way to make sure you understand that the fat guy is without a doubt a pedophile, and it's really creepy. No, it does not get a pass for every character in the show being creeped out and trying to tell him he's going to end up in jail, especially not after they SEND HIM TO A PART-TIME JOB AT A DAYCARE CENTER.


Who the hell...oh whatever, I don't care anymore. As far as I can tell, the show wants you to be creeped out by him when you're not laughing at him. Assuming you were laughing at him and not just creeped out all the time like I was. I've said my piece, and any more would just be wasting time beating the dead horse.
I'm going to go ahead and give this show a
BADrating. It's not a waste of your time, but you'll probably regret the time you spent on it if it isn't your cup of tea. It's through and through an 'ecchi humor', as I believe they call it, show. At least it isn't a Harem.
--

In other news, I've finished Knight's and Magic, and it is good, but I'm going to take the time to write up a proper end post for that one.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

[New][Ended] WELCOME TO THE BULK POST

OKAY SO. I may have...fallen behind on anime for a while. So we have here another bulk post to catch up on some things that have been and gone that I either didn't get to post at all, or forgot to make a post for.

-[April 2017]-
Natsume Yuujin-chou Six

Summary: A beautiful yet fleeting story about people and spirits. Natsume Takeshi has been able to see Yokai ever since he was young and inherited his grandmother Reiko’s Book of Friends. He spends his days with his self-proclaimed bodyguard Nyanko-sensei, and freeing the Yokai that were bound to the book. Natsume continues to find ways to protect the precious days where he tries to find which path to follow through his connections with spirits and those involved with them.

My Opinion: This is more of what we already love. Need I say more? What should one say about the sixth sequel in a series besides that? I mean, some show's shake things up, or at least try to, but this isn't really that kind of show. If nothing ever changed, (besides character growth, you can't do without character growth, and we have that here), we wouldn't really have anything to complain about. Or at least, I wouldn't be complaining. I could happily watch an episode of this show every day of every week for the rest of my life and never get tired. It's just not realistic to expect the author to be able to come up with that much original content, so we know that eventually, it must end, but for now...
Everyone, gather round, and sit down, it's time for another season of Natsume and the Book of Friends.
For this show has but one flaw:

THERE ISN'T NEARLY ENOUGH OF IT--

World End: What do you Do at the End of the World? Are you busy? Will you Save Us?

My Opinion: This gets a double big thumbs up as a
Greatshow.
With a strong Recommendation on top. All of the characters in this show end up being splendidly fleshed out, and the story is just...wonderful. I can't say much beyond that without spoiling stuff, I feel like. I wish I had gotten to write the end review back when I watched the last episode, so I could have filled it with more passion. As it is, I've just got this pleasant feeling of Euphoria from the spot in my brain it occupies. If I had to sum up this show, I would say 'Not Cheap'. Fair warning, this show doesn't get the happiest ending, but it does have a great ending.

The story has a passing level of depth to its plot, which is good because the driving force of the show is definitely its characters more than its over-arcing story. It provides some background driving force behind the scenes, and that's all it needs to do. Give this show a shot. I was a bit worried about the show to begin with because they were going for the cheap lewd jokes, but it was ultimately just me being trigger happy and easily annoyed around those elements in shows. It never becomes a problem. So, go pick this show up and give it a shot, I say it's worth your time!
--

KADO: The Right Answer
My Opinion: For as high as they raised the stakes, this show ended quite well. Honestly, once you take your story to the Universal Dimensional Forces level and beyond, you're just...what are you suppose to do with that?

I feel like this show could have been god-tier quality with a longer run time and more time to do things slowly, but as it is, it's great for what it has. It's the first time I've seen characters animated in 3D-CGi that look good. Like, really good. I've never really believed that I'd see 3D-CGI be good for anything but monsters that are meant to look weird and out of place with the rest of the show. This show proudly proved me wrong, the characters look just fine, amazing in fact. The question is, does doing it this way actually save the industry money and time? I couldn't even begin to guess, let alone make a statement. Hopefully it does, and it will raise the bar of quality.

As far as story goes, it's good. Not the most amazing thing ever, but it's very pleasant and it keeps you engaged. The characters....feel strong. Looking back on it, the show really felt...rushed. At the time, nothing seemed amiss, and honestly nothing was. However, with hindsight, I feel like I can say that if they had more time to flesh the characters and story out in a more methodical manner, things could have been even better. No one can deny that the climax just sort of....explodes onto the scene. For a while there, I thought the show would devolve into a Shounen-style battle for the finale. It didn't, I'm happy to say. I guess they just wanted to show off some of their more flashy special effects in the CGI.
The show is a slow, almost intellectual affair. More something to stimulate you thinking about things than pure entertainment itself. I'm not sure how to describe it much further than that. Give it a shot, see if it's your thing. If nothing else, make sure you watch a bunch of clips of the 3D-CGI, I think it's amazing how well they did with it.
--

Okay, that will have to do for now. Blogger is whining that I'm about to go over the Label/Tags character limit, so more at a later date.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

[New][July 2017] Knight's & Magic

In Cave! With a Box of Scraps!

Last Seen: Episode 6

Summary: A genius programmer and hardcore robot fan freak is reborn into a world of knights and magic, where huge robots called Silhouette Knights are common military features. Now reborn as Ernesti Echevalier, he uses his vast knowledge of machines and programming talents to begin to make his ultimate robot. But his actions have unexpected results, and his simple dream begins to drastically change his new world.

First Impression: This is actually...not stupid. In fact, quite good. Very easy to Hype up for.

My Opinion: Pick it up, Give it a shot. It's not your standard 'here there be robots, watch them smash into each other every episode' affair. A lot of thought and detail has gone into the world as much as the big mechs. Most important of all, the characters are well made. Not necessarily deep, but no one has really come off as binary or flat. They change and adapt subtly. I'm not precisely sure why I picked this up and started watching...maybe just to flesh out the number of shows I'm watching this season. Nevertheless, I'm greatly enjoying this show, and I have been sick to death of mech-based anime since forever and a half ago.

Also, no, I have no idea why I keep seeing its name spelled " Knight's ". It's like that in multiple places.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

[Ended] The Royal Tutor, Simple is as Simple does.



My Opinion: This is a Pretty Boy show, or Bishounen as I believe it is called. It's just fluff about a bunch of charmingly drawn guy characters faffing about in whatever colorful slice of life setting the author chooses, in this case, the tutor of a Monarchy's second to fifth princes. Honestly, that's about all it amounts to at the end of the day. There's never really any suspense, because right out of the gate they establish that Heine is the be-all-end-all solution to all problems. I will give the show credit for Heine's backstory having proper depth, but since all of the show is otherwise shallow, that amounts to merely average instead of outstanding. Leonhard was especially annoying for the early episodes, but since I ended up finishing the show, I guess I can't say it was too bad, he grows out of it to a decent degree. A realistic degree, I'm tempted to say.
I fell like with a longer length, they could have played a few things weaker and slower, and also given the First Prince more screen time, and more material to flesh out the Counts story in all this in relation to the First Prince. It seems like there could be some dramatic depth there, but there isn't enough in the show as it is for me to judge whether that would have been well executed or not.

Impartial Opinion: This is a lovely and simple show, and nothing more. Nothing amazing stands out, but it also doesn't have any glaring flaws. Some tropes may grate on the nerves, but that will ultimately amount to a personal problem, because the whole point of the show is that the Princes grow as characters, so things never grate for too long.

Do you like Bishounen shows? Maybe you want to see what a Bishoujo show looks like in the mirror? Honestly I never cared for these kinds of shows, but I watched this all the way through to the end, so if nothing else, it's easy on the eyes and mind.

I do not feel strongly about this one, one way or the other.

It doesn't feel like I wasted my time, but on the same foot, I strongly wish I had more shows begging for my attention over this one. Perhaps in a more exciting set of season releases I would have overturned or dropped this one, but it filled time nicely and without incident.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

[New][April 2017] World End: What do you Do at the End of the World? Are you busy? Will you Save Us?


Last seen: Episode 3

Summary: Quoted from My Anime List:
Five hundred years have passed since the humans went extinct at the hands of the fearsome and mysterious 'Beasts.' The surviving races now make their homes up on floating islands in the sky, out of reach of all but the most mobile of Beasts.

Only a small group of young girls, the Leprechauns, can wield the ancient weapons needed to fend off invasions from these creatures. Into the girls' unstable and fleeting lives, where a call to certain death could come at any moment, enters an unlikely character: a young man who lost everything in his final battle five hundred years ago, the last living human awakened from a long, icy slumber.

First Impression: Deep Story impaired by cheap humor. Also, seriously, that IS the name of the show. I hear Light Novels are generally responsible for these kinds of ridiculously long names? I mean, even in Japanese its that god damn long, just look at the Romanji Tag of it at the bottom of the post. It's ridiculous.

My Opinion: Could do without the vaguely erotic or 'ecchi' humor. It has shown plenty of aptitude for more conventional humor, the ecchi jokes just feel tacked on. Maybe that's just me though? I've never much cared for them, so I highly doubt I have any say in whether they're quality or not. I can vaguely think of maybe two times in my life that I actually approved of that kind of joke in an anime, one of which being a scene from the second season of Utawarerumono.

ASIDE FROM THAT. Great show. Very moving concepts on display, and some quality characters so far. Things don't always move in predictable ways, at least as far as tropes go. You could still quite easily see some things coming, but only if you think outside the Archetype's box. I don't really feel like recommending this one yet, despite being decently invested in it. Perhaps by the end I might, but not yet. I still have some vague misgivings that I can't quite put my finger on. Mostly having to do with the risk that the show's not taking itself seriously enough like it should. I have seen a Lot of shows in recent memory bomb that should have soared because they lacked confidence, and going for the cheap harem/ecchi humor has been a hallmark of it so far.
Grant, they haven't gone towards the Harem route yet, but it's fucking looming all around on the horizon, so at this point I'm just kind of bracing for impact.

HENCEFORTH, I shall refer to this show as 'World End: Are you busy?' Because apparently there's a bunch of shows featuring 'world end' in the title. Meh.

[New][April 2017] KADO: The Right Answer


Last Seen: Episode 6

Summary: Quoted from MyAnimeList.net:

Cool-headed and rational, Kojirou Shindou is a government official and master negotiator with a well-earned reputation. While departing on a business trip, a giant cube materializes and his plane is taken undamaged into the mysterious, indestructible structure.

As Japanese authorities attempt to identify the cube's properties and origins, Shindou encounters an otherworldly entity known as Yaha-kui zaShunina, who materializes in the form of a human man. He assures Shindou that the passengers are not in any danger and requests help in negotiations with the human world.

Hailing from a higher dimensional universe known as Novo, Yaha-kui zaShunina is able to transfer information between Novo and Shindou's universe through a cube called Kado. Despite having these unfathomable abilities, he does not appear hostile. Instead, he announces that he has come to this world with only one intention: to "advance" humanity—starting with Japan.


First Impression: Oh no, not more 3D CGI... wait... this is actually pretty good...

My Opinion: Absolutely Amazing. Really. What better solution can you come up with for 3D CGI in 2D animation looking so utterly alien and immersion breaking, than to Literally make it something fundamentally alien to the rest of the show in every way? It's Brilliant, and that's not the only amazing part of the show.

I dare say we may be looking at the to-date utter peak of the Fantastical made Realistic. That bomb drop at the end of episode 6 was just...Figurative and literal Minds Blown.
Aside from the general impression and theme being spot on thanks to the 3D CGI, the characters and plot of the show are amazing as well. I was so utterly invested in this show by the second episode but...I wonder how everyone else will take it?
I always have a weak spot for the realistically fantastical, but there's a lot of people out there that enjoy simple off-the-cuff ridiculous and fun styled fantasy, like most entries from the Shounen Genre.

Having said that, this show is taking us on a wild ride of what would happen if an 'Alien' showed up, and was expressing an explicit intention to be beneficial to humanity. Pointedly, how several segments of humanity would outright resist change, because that's what we naturally do. The show includes a large segment of Human Politics.
[Aside]
Again, America is represented by an utterly hilariously antagonistic president but...well. We did elect Trump so, we kind of validated every hilariously vaguely villainous President in anime...
[Aside end]
Give the show until at least the resolution of the 'Wam' arc. I believe that will give you a succinct summary of everything you may expect and encounter in the show, because I sense a pattern. Introduce problem, Debate over solution, Have the 'ah-ha!' moment, and then gently hide the answer just long enough to give the audience a chance to come up with their own ideas, and see if they had the same one. I enjoy that, personally.

I'm finding it very difficult to talk about this show without spoilers, but at the least, I can easily say:

I give this show a huge Recommendation. It's very thought provoking, and I like that.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

[Retro][January 2016] Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash



Summary: Thrown into a foreign land with nothing but hazy memories and the knowledge of their name, one can rely only on fear, survival, and instinct. A group of strangers is given no other choice than to accept the only paying job in this world: 
The role of a soldier in the Volunteer Soldier program, and eliminate anything that threatens the peace in their new world, Grimgar.
When all of the stronger candidates join together, those left behind must create a party together to survive. Despite its resemblance to one, this is no game. There are no redos or respawns; it is kill or be killed.
 
Manato, a charismatic leader and priest; Haruhiro, a nervous thief; Yume, a cheerful hunter; Shihoru, a shy mage; Mogzo, a kind warrior; and Ranta, a rowdy dark knight.
The story follows them as they try to work together towards no greater goal than simply keeping food on the table, and a roof over their heads.
But, their equipment isn't free, and it will cost money to care for it, just as it will cost money to pay a Guild member to teach them new skills and spells. When they struggle to kill even a single Goblin, 6 on 1, how will they endure?

My Opinion: This was a magical ride from start to finish. If I had to use a single phrase to sum up this show, it would be "Kill or be Killed". The show sits in this magical little niche between the gritty realism dark and edgy shows fall into, and the light-hearted revelry of friends working together in a magical world. It doesn't really suffer from the drawbacks of either extreme: It doesn't faff about with excessive romances, and it doesn't grind your face in the mud saying, "IT'S SO REAL, REALITY SUCKS DOESN'T IT".
I think the magic behind the show is that it focuses on the characters survival, to keep things moving forward. I don't mean the life-or-death fighting, but the day-to-day need to buy food, and repair clothes, and pay for lodging. In real life, you don't have eternity to mourn or lament your failings and mistakes, you need to get up for work in the morning, no matter what happens, because if you stop thinking, if you stop working, if you give up, all that awaits you is death. It keeps the show rolling, which is important for a 12-episode season.

Having said that, I want to talk about something I've noticed. I remember thinking vaguely like this before when Rokka the Six Flowers came out. Is it just me, or are people super hostile to any fantasy setting show that doesn't drown itself in almost shounen'esque shallow action? It's like the only thing people can accept coming from a fantasy settings is big flashy magical effects and battles, and characters screaming for power and bravely hero'ing it up. I understood it more from Rokka, because that show gave all of the wrong impressions of what it was going to be, but Grimgar never onces makes itself out to be full of flashy action. It's always zoomed in on the characters and their life struggles.

So let me take a moment aside to tell you: This show is very close to being a straight up Slice of Life genre. It just happens to be a Slice of Another World's Life.
I happen to think it's wonderful, but every episode on crunchyroll had several comments bitching about either the pacing, the characters, or just in general nit-picking everything. Hilariously, they even nit-picked about how Haruhiro gets riled up by and nit-picks everything Ranta says and does. Hypocrites criticizing hypocrites eh? It sometimes amazes me that people fail to see that characters acting hypocritically is a Human trait. 


To be fair, the characters have a bevy of old archetypes on display, but for once, I think they felt natural. It's very rare you find anyone who isn't a narcissist, that is perfectly happy with every aspect of how they are. To me, it makes the characters more human, that they endeavor to grow outside of who they were yesterday.
The entire time, I was just waiting to hate Shihoru for being the shy-quiet archetype...but I didn't. She actually puts in the effort to grow. In a longer running season, would I have expected her to completely leave her shy nature behind and become out-going and boisterous? Ha, hell no. Anyone with a scrape of sense in their head knows that people don't change so easily. It's not a matter of her changing her nature, or any of them changing their nature. Rather, it's a matter of them becoming more comfortable with who they are, and realizing that they don't have to be someone else to fit in and get along with others, even people they don't like. Ideally, if you have the option to avoid someone you don't like, you do. But life is never so simple, and sometimes you have to put up with people you dislike or hate, and that's a good thing, because it helps you to grow as a person. To learn how to accept things as they are, and work with them.

That's this show in a nut shell, besides the touchy-feel-good moments all over the place. A group of individuals, learning how to live with each other, because they have to, if they want to survive.

Normally, I include an Impartial Opinion section, to basically try and summarize how my opinion of a show changed throughout its run, and what I think of the show overall at the end, but...
I watched Grimgar basically all at once. So my opinion exists only for the whole, didn't have time to let it slowly develop week by week. Since I didn't have the chance to deduce misconceptions, or make assumptions on what would happen next, I don't really have any fallacies to dispel. So I believe my simple opinion will suffice this time.

All things accounted for, this show was:

Great
and I give it a whole-hearted Recommendation.

So long as you understand you're getting into an almost Slice of Life show, where the draw is the characters and their story, there's a lot to love here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

[New][April 2017] The Royal Tutor

Roughly my reaction

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: The "Royal Tutor" is a special tutor carefully selected for the task of teaching the prince, and a title given only to the best teacher in the nation. Heine Wittgenstein has been called to the kingdom of Grannzreich to take on the role of the Royal Tutor. He's been ordered to raise the princes into worthy candidates for the throne, but he's greeted with four princes of completely different and unique personalities, all brothers, and all appear hostile to him from the start. How will Heine handle these princes who the previous Royal Tutors all fled from?

First Impression: Waste of Time. Episode 2 softened that up a bit.

My Opinion: At the first glance, this looked like Man-Service anime. What do they call it...Bi-Shounen I think? Basically a reverse harem. By episode two, I'm willing to roll back on that a pace. For starters, the main character is also a guy, not a girl, and he seems to pointedly be here for his own private interests, or so he says. The first episode made this show seem ridiculously shallow, and I'm not going to relent on that point. It is shallow, just not as shallow as I thought. Each of the characters are going to be defined by their generic archetype. The one thing I'm willing to 'spoil' from the second episode is that the main character, Heine Wittgenstein, is the Deus ex Machina of this show. That's basically all you need to know about the show, I believe. It's going to be about him interacting with four archetypes, and magically having the resources to always know the answer, while vague and effervescent 'plot' skulks around in the shadows. For the time being, I think it's amusing. I'm eager to see episode 3, and apply some more concrete material to my thinking. So far, we've only just seen the main character introduced to the four other mains. (five? six maybe? Does the dog count?).
Watch at least to episode two to get a grasp of the basic idea of the main characters, and if they're annoying you, I don't think there's going to be anything particularly amazing here, just a sort of light drama-comedy maybe. I'll report back with more if anything changes, of course.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

[Ended] Kobyashi's Dragon Maid, Quality from Start to Finish

The Manga made him seem shorter...maybe just me?

My Opinion: This ends on a great note. They went for the pure Feel Good ending, instead of trying to shoe-horn in some last minute plot elements from the manga. After seeing how they handled it, I came to the realization that either of the two dragon introductions could have been done in either order. There's absolutely plenty of space for them to make a second season, and the current one isn't left with a crippled ending. It's complete, whole. That's how you should bloody well be doing it, anime industry!

From start to finish, this show is a wholesomely straight forward good time. It hits all the right notes, in the right order. I must say, whoever was in charge of the budget on this anime should get a gold medal for their work, the animation balance is perfect. The show looks great all the way through, without looking like the Attack on Titan budget-busting-level of animation that makes me wonder how overworked the studios employees must be.
Yet they still have reserves to splurge on all of the Dragon Fights in the show. I think that's impressive.

Impartial Opinion: This is no action-packed show, despite the stunning animation level on the fights. It's not a high-stakes drama, romantic or otherwise. While you could make an argument for it, Tohru is the only one here who thinks the show is a romantic-comedy. If I had to pin a genre down for this show, I would say Slice-of-Life. I'm tempted to say comedy as well, but really, the show isn't about its gags and jokes. It really is just about some extraordinary people, living an ordinary life, and the ways they have to cope and adjust, learning as they go.
As a bonus, it's a slice of life that isn't set in a high school! Isn't that amazing?
*Ahem*
You should watch this show. Give it a shot, even if you don't normally like Slice of Life. Why?
Because this show has a very special mature and level-headed tone to it, all through out. I honestly can't remember ever having felt like that about a show, through all of the shows I've watched. Certainly, many anime have a deep and meaningful story, plot, characters, Et Cetera.

But for the first time that I can recall, the mature tone isn't a brooding one, or a dramatic one. It's just quietly straight forward about everything that happens, giving everything a realistic, but not gritty, sheen. I suppose I could say, that everything in this show feels very human, without coming off as excessively so, or trying too hard. Demi-chan Interviews was similar, but that had a much weaker comedic element, and was much more light-handed with its tone and depth. Despite its stronger comedy element, Dragon Maid is more enthusiastic about touching deep questions about interpersonal relations.
To be fair though, I do feel like for her background, Kobayashi is always just a little too well prepared with the answers all the time. She just always seems to have the right answer, and while I didn't notice that in the manga as much, it comes off a bit stronger in the anime. It's just something I noticed.

Maybe this show is just very appealing to me personally, but I can't help thinking everyone should give this a try, to find out how they feel about it.

Oh, and if you liked 'I can't Understand what My Husband is Saying', you should absolutely give this show the go ahead. They're quite different from each other, but you can absolutely tell they were both made by the same author.

Finally, I give this show a:

Great
Recommendation.
Go enjoy 13 quality episodes of feel good fun.

Hope to write for you all again on a second season!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

[Ended] Interviews with Monster Girls, No-Strings-Attached Goodness


Hey folks, I'm gonna cut the 'pros and cons' part of my end review posts, since more often than not, I talk about them in the 'my opinion' section in great detail anyway. Just a little something to speed up how fast I make these.

My Opinion: Hey, so, in case you didn't know: I hate fan service.
[RANT ON]
Or at least, that was what I believed until this shows final episode aired, and I found out that...
Really, I hate what fan service has become. These days, we hear 'fan service' and we just accept that it means titty shots, panty shots, lewd camera angles and jokes, and all that nonsense. That's bullshit. Why is it bullshit? Because there is more than one way to skin a cat. Or a dog for that matter, but back on point:
Lewd service isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Because Sex Sells. Does that annoy me? Sure it does, but I'm an adult and I can deal with it. More importantly though, I've been trying to remember an older time in the industry, when I was younger, when it might have meant more. Before it even had a proper name that everyone used to refer to this kind of stereotypical construct in a show. I mean, think about what it actually means. Service, for the fans. Sounds straight forward right? So why is the result anything but? Why is it one of the top reasons why you'd be uneasy about sharing your favorite anime with friends? Peers? Your parents? Your GRAND-parents?
[Rant off]

Demi Interviews contains the perfect example of what Fan Service should be. An understanding of what the audience that would have watched all the way to end means. What they stayed to see, what they were here to see. What they like to see. What they want to see. Then it takes this trope, this 'accepted practice' of the industry, and it bends it to their will.
I have come to understand that the reason I hate fan service so much, is the insult it is to every show that uses it. That does it just because it's 'what you do if you're an anime'. It's debasing and insulting for characters that we've spent time getting attached to, learning about, and connecting with, to suddenly turn on a dime and do 'fan service' scenes, then turn on a dime again, and resume as if nothing had ever happened. How many times can you say that anything of importance ever happened, or changed, during a fan service scene or episode? Unless you're looking at a romance focused anime, not often.

Everything in Demi Interviews last episode, its fan service episode, is spot on. It knows why we are here, and it gives us what we want, even if we didn't fully understand how we wanted it, because we've gotten so used to 'the way things are done'. How can you tell? Because you don't need to keep it in a separate head-space from the rest of the show, it feels canon because it is canon. The characters and story play the same way they always do, only now they're in a pool. Tetsuo is still the best-damn-teacher-ever learning as he goes about Demi traits because he enjoys doing so and it helps his students, Hikari's still an energetic ditz, Satou is desperately trying to find the right balance of her ability in a relationship, Et Cetera.

It doesn't pan the camera for crotch and boob shots, it doesn't flip skirts, it doesn't pull anyone's swimsuit off through 'magical coincidences', no one gets slapped because of a FUCKING ACCIDENT. The only character whose swimsuit reveal they focus in on, is Satou's, which makes SENSE, because she's a succubus, and it means something that she even does it at all.
The show does its few lewd moments in ways that make sense for the show. Satake falling out of the tree is by far the most hilarious thing I've seen all week. A close second goes to everyone in the pools reaction when Tetsuo turns around without his shirt on. That these moments are highlights instead of nuisances to me, is an amazing mark of quality for the animation studio on this one. Do I even need to mention that of the only two lewd'ish moments in the entire episode, it's equally distributed to one male, one female? I honestly don't care about 'Fan Service Equality', because I hate(d) it so much, but there you have it, equality for the masses.

I would like to believe that the way they handle this episode is also indicative of the quality of the entirety of the show.

Impartial Opinion: This show is not for everyone. It contains no action, its drama is light-hearted, and it doesn't have over the top comedy. It doesn't even really have a plot to speak of.
What it does have, is touching feel-good moments. It has those in Olympic Gold Medal quality. It never gets too dark, it never gets too silly. Demi-Chan Interviews aims for balance, and it does a good job of achieving it. Everyone has their own tastes, their own ways of spending their precious free time. For some, this show will be boring. Maybe they have better ways of getting their 'feel-good moments'.
But if you like touching heart-felt stories and characters, without the long drawn-out dramatic build up that most shows seem to require to get you attached to their characters, this show will be perfect for you. It sets up a simple premise: Demi-humans exist, and they're no longer ostracized, but they haven't fully integrated yet either. Then it introduces its characters, and lets them tell their own story from there.
If you come to this show looking for something, what you're looking for should be to quietly smile, laugh, and brood on the simple joys and struggles of coming together with people that are different from everyone else, but still want to be together with everyone.

I give this show a glowing:

Great
Recommendation.


[Aside]
Incidentally, I'm only going to use the colored ranking systems where I feel it's relevant. Not every show needs to be slotted into some formula of ranking. Judging everything against everything else gets very complicated, very fast. As you fill out the list of things in a Bad versus Good system, even with my addition of a Mediocre, you begin to start second guessing yourself. Thoughts like, 'well, Show-X is bad, yeah, but it's not as bad as show Y in the Bad category, so maybe I should just make it Mediocre?'
So I'll only be using these color markers for shows that I really want to draw attention to. Specifically drawing attention. They aren't necessarily a marker of 'the-best-thing-EVAR', just things that for one reason or another I think you should pay more attention to than you otherwise would have, maybe easily overlooked shows, Et Cetera.
[Aside end]

Saturday, March 18, 2017

[New][January 2016] Kobayashi-san's Dragon Maid


Last Seen: Episode 10

Summary: 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 and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, and introduces herself. The stoic programmer had come across the dragon the previous night on a drunken-stupor excursion to the mountains, and since the mythical beast had nowhere else to go, Kobayashi had offered the creature a place to stay in her home, and now Tohru has arrived as promised. Kobayashi immediately refutes it as impossible, but as she watches Tohru leave, her guilt, and a glance at the clock, convince her to allow her to stay...and rush her to work with the speed of a Dragon!

First Impression: At first, it seemed a simple comedy. It quickly becomes so much more.

My Opinion: As it turns out, this is actually the work of the same author behind "I can't Understand What my Husband is Saying". (I have relevant in-site links for once! Neat!).
As a quick summary, that show was the first ever short-form anime I had ever actually completed, and I love it so much. I believe I found this factoid out around about episode 3 or 4 of Dragon Maid, but I had already hooked myself on this show by that point. It just made for a lovely bit of trivia by then.

I have enjoyed this show so much, that I've actually re-watched all of the available episodes while I was waiting for 10 to release. Let me make a long story short by saying that with the way that my memory works, I never re-watch shows without at least a measure of years since the last watch, and even then it's usually only to show it to someone else, or because I learned something and want to see it for myself.
[Aside]
For example, Steins;Gate. That's a show I re-watched when at the end I noticed all of the amazing foreshadowing it had spiced that first episode with. It was amazing.
[Aside end]
That I re-watched a show while it is still airing is a glowing mark of quality.

What's appealing about this show? For starters, let me polish off the tin that probably looks rusty and dusty to most common anime viewers:
This is not a Moe show. It is not a fan-service show. It has a strong comedic tone. Most importantly of all, it is a light-hearted emotional comedy with a beautifully mature setting and tone, all throughout it. The characters are charming, the world is meaningful, and the story is heart-warming, and it all has a plot hiding behind it. Does it have Moe elements? Fan-service events? Over the top comedic happenings? Absolutely, but they're not the burning pillar in center stage. As a matter of fact, they're not even annoying or obnoxious. They happen because it's cute, or because it's funny, and then the show moves on without shining a god-damned neon-spotlight all over it.

As a matter of fact, while I was trying to confirm that this released in January for this blogs tags, I came across an article written about this show, and it sums up my opinion perfectly. Credit to the writer, who I now Quote:
"It could have been so easy for Dragon Maid to treat Kobayashi and Tohru's relationship as a fanservice-laden romp with minimal plot and character progression. And yet with each new episode, we see Tohru's one-sided adoration of Kobayashi evolve into something that, while Kobayashi doesn't explicitly accept as romantic, is still incredibly reminiscent of a parenting dynamic over their new dragon daughter, Kanna.
Kobayashi herself acknowledges that she's become the husband to Tohru's wife, and it's when the two fall into these "ordinary" roles that the series begins to shine. The snippy back and forth between characters makes them feel not like fantastical creatures imposing on a computer programmer, but a family unit we can relate to and laugh alongside with. Kobayashi and Tohru acting like a married couple is treated so matter-of-factly because their relationship isn't the entire point of the show. Unlike other anime that either pin a romantic or sexual relationship as their central conflict or one-note gag, Dragon Maid treats this like every other mundane aspect that makes up its slice-of-life style. The show's strength comes from how it normalizes relationships and finds humor in their mundanity, especially considering that dragons are involved."

On another note, I liked the show so much I picked up its manga, and after humming and hawing for awhile over it, continued reading even when I had caught up to where the anime was. I have some news to report thanks to that: This show will end well. The manga is still in progress of being translated to english, so that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how the anime is pacing itself. They've shuffled a few events around, and appear to be drawing a lot of content from a spin-off manga about Kanna (that I haven't read at all yet), and it appears that they're doing this to a purpose. They're either going to end the show on a quiet happy note, leaving it as a completely feel-good thought provoking show, or they're going to build up a climax that will succinctly end the current story, while hinting at the much larger plot that is building beneath the surface, that they've so far been subtly avoiding in the anime.
The fact that a short-form anime like "I can't understand" got two seasons is extremely promising combined with the methods the animation studio is currently using.
I dunno, I just thought this seemed like something positive to report on, given how pessimistic I usually am about endings and sequels.

Short story: Watch this. Watch it so hard, you watch it twice.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

[New][January 2017] Interviews with Monster Girls

Pffahahahahaha

Last Seen: Episode 4

Summary: Succubi, dullahans, snow women and vampires... they're a little different from humans and called "demi-humans." Lately, they've been called "demis." This is a stimulating and heart'ful school comedy featuring those very unique "demis" and a high school teacher named Takahashi Tetsuo, who's highly interested in learning more about their daily lives and habits

First Impression: Null.

My Opinion: Since I literally picked up this shows Manga in December and burned through all of the translated chapters in a single sitting, I think it's safe to say I don't have a first impression of the anime that's worth mentioning. (Read as: That isn't Gibberish squealing in joy).

This show does not have action. There is basically no drama. There won't really be excessive comedy. It's...kind of slice of life.
Mostly, it's just charming, Thought-provoking, and heart-warming. This is a show you watch to chill and calm down after a bad day, or a long work shift. It will make you laugh a bit, maybe smile at some characters antics, think a bit about this, that, or the other thing.

Think of it this way:
Take the show "Everyday Life with Monster Girls", remove the erotica, the harem, and the main character being daft and dense, and you have this show. A pleasant fairly comedic slice of life, mostly focused on learning about the peculiarities of demi-humans living their everyday lives. As an added bonus, one of the main Demis isn't even a child, it's one of the teachers, and that makes me so happy. We are drowning in so much bloody high school in anime, and have been for a while. It's nice that some of the main characters aren't the students for once.

Personally, having actually read the manga for once, this is a lovely adaptation of a lovely story. There isn't really a plot to speak of, but the telling of the story is a joy unto itself.

Also, I was a little caught off guard by the math teacher being brought to life in the anime, I wasn't expecting them to be so...vibrant. I guess I pictured them as a little bit quieter of a person. Perhaps it was just a liberty they took to increase the shows run time, as there was an extra scene that the manga didn't have to reinforce this image, or I may just have formed a misconception of the character. Just thinking out loud really. If anyone else has read the manga as well, what are your thoughts on it? Was I the only one that thought she seemed a bit quieter, or maybe a bit more subtle, in the Manga?