Saturday, October 12, 2019

[New][October 2019] TRIPLE FEATURE POST! Covering: ORESUKI, High School Prodigies in Another World, and Ascendance of a Bookworm.

Alright! Finally got two episodes of each of these down, time to review. I do not feel like throwing down the gauntlet and making the fully detailed post, and from my ... less than stellar performance on keeping up with posting, let's say working in bulk sounds like an efficient idea. I actually was planning on saying I only really cared to write a full post for one of the three...but having just watched the last set, I think we have two promising prospects at the moment. On with the show!

For all three shows,
Last Seen: Episode 2.

First up, we have:

Ascendance of a Bookworm: Also known as...seriously? *checks other titles* god damn. I guess this is a trend for this set, but whatever, titled in "romanji" it's known as
(Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen)
That is one hell of a mouthful. Anywho, now that I've got that out of the way, lets just establish that I'm going to list the full title for the shows only once, and then after that it's all shorthand nicknames okay? Okay. Okay!

Summary: Paraphrasing MyAnimeList:
"Motosu Urano, a book-loving college student who just got her Librarian certification and was supposed to enter the job of her dreams after graduation, was killed during a massive earthquake crushing her underneath a pile of her own massive collection of books.
Wishing for reincarnation in order to read even more, she got reincarnated to a world with a low literacy level and very few books, limited only to the nobility of the world. As she reincarnated as 5-year-old daughter of a lowly soldier, Main, no matter how much she wants to read, there is no way there are any books around. If there are no books then what do you do? You make them yourself of course... With her goal of becoming a librarian no matter what, and to live a life surrounded by books."

(Aside okay really though, why do both websites get the spelling of the name wrong? One is Myne, the other is Maine. Even if they wrote it before episode two showed us it in writing, surely a little more effort to spellcheck via studying couldn't hurt? Or at least patch it after the fact! I know Crunchyroll could have, they got it right in the subtitles! Aside end)

There's actually a bit of a fun personal fact to throw at you with this set of three: I've had them sitting on the shelf for a while, explicitly waiting for them all to have 2 episodes ready so I could get a better read on them for making posts here. Initially, the ones I was most looking forward to were Bookworm...and maybe hoping that Prodigies didn't bomb out instantly. Instead, now that I've actually watched them, Bookworm is going first because...it's actually the one I'm expecting the least from.

My Opinion: Now, It is by no means bad. Just...not my personal style. The core plot point is a very interesting sell on its own rights, the Another World bandwagon is steaming ahead unmolested in japan it seems, so I'm not going to comment on that any further. Instead, I was most interested in the fact that a simple librarian bookworm, even if she had read and perfectly memorized tons of knowledge, would not have the means to actually implement and apply that knowledge in a new, lower tech world. Unless they explicitly framed them studying medieval techniques, but that's just dismissing the challenge instead of meeting and surpassing it for profit. Fortunately, they didn't take that route...it's just...

The first episode wasn't really to my tastes. It goes out of its way to really deeply establish just how not-serious a tone they're going to have in the show, which is great! Honestly, it really is best to get your tone set right away, unless you're planning a half-way point shocker tone-flip. I doubt that for this show, but getting back on point. It's a bit too...blunt? for my tastes I guess I could say. The main character having to adapt to a new world and all the conditions that come with it is...more or less just hand-waved away in the first episode. Not in sum-total of course, just...cherry picked. Like they went through and said, "okay THIS problem we'll address, and THIS problem, but THESE problems we're just going to drop in the bin and hope no one notices." Most especially it rubs on me the wrong way that the main character doesn't seem to be doing anything at all to try and hide her out-of-character personality shift.

That's right, they didn't just show up in this world with their own body, nor did they spawn in with a personal fresh body, they reincarnated into someone else's body. Yet, they never seem to pay much attention at all to trying not to act out of character or giving away their new personality. I will take my usual probably-reading-too-deeply route, and take a guess based on the fact that the few times you get her alone to herself, and she broods on the problem, things are a bit...more interesting. I'm going to guess that the source material spends more time fleshing out the "there are two voices" thing that we start out hearing in the first episode. I'd like to talk more about my theory, but spoilers, they're a bummer right? So!
Instead I'll just comment that I'm much happier with the show and the way its progressing as of episode two. Like, immensely. I'm not sure of the blunt methods of the first episode weren't deliberate for comedic effect or not, but I much more so loved the pace and tone in the second episode, so this one doesn't get a recommendation, but it's also not getting any negatives from me, just personal nit-picks. You should absolutely check it out if the premise interests you, and you don't mind that it isn't going to be super detailed and serious.

On to the next Show:

High School Prodigies in Another World: Also known as: *takes a deep breath*
(Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!)

Summary: Paraphrasing Crunchyroll and MyAnimeList:
"Seven high school students are involved in an airplane crash. When they woke up, they found themselves in a parallel world where magic and beastmen exist.
But they do not panic at their current situation?None of them is a normal high school student, each of them are super human high school students that stand at the top of Politics, Economics, Science, Swordsmanship, Illusions, Espionage, and Medicine!
This is a story of a dream team that possess earth's greatest wisdom and technology, that without any self-restraint bring a revolution to a different world with over-technology!"
My Opinion: In case you missed it in the first shows talk, I was half expecting this show to just bomb itself out in the first episode from reading the summaries. But, I give everything a shot after all, for I have no Humanity left to lose!

HA HA HA!

*ahem*
Getting back on point. This show was...a roller-coaster for the first opening minutes of the first episode. Probably just for me.
They start out by really beating you over the head with a massive underline on the statement that our seven protagonists are amazing and so on. Not with monologue, no, instead each of them gets their own personal introduction, explanation, and a small on-screen demonstration of what they can do. It's basically the first thing they do in the episode, and it is one hell of a janky introduction. Really though, that mostly just made me bored. No, where we really get into the up and down is when our first member of the Seven wakes up, and proceeds to start unpacking the situation, only to be interrupted by some...ah...Nursing? from their resident member of the village looking after their wounds. On my honor of No Spoilers, I'm just going to sum up the emotional nuclear explosion that scene caused by saying that literally the only thing that saved this show from going right into the bin was:

A) the main characters level headed reaction highly appropriate to his position as a Politician, and
B) That it was interrupted from a Round Two.

Let me put another underline on that. Literally the only thing that saved it. Having said that...

I'm actually rather invested in the show so far, from episode 2. Clearly, they're not playing this one very serious either, on account of the fact that
*Spoiler White Out*
[One of the characters literally has an American Football sized NUCLEAR REACTOR in their luggage!]

ahh right no spoilers uh...well. Let's just say that for whatever reason, Crunchyroll's translators couldn't figure out that a more accurate translation for this shows title than "prodigies" would have been "Super-humans". Like, their knowledge and expertise literally borders on super powers. Also, as a matter of course, two of them are a samurai and a ninja. Because why the fuck not, it's japan!

More seriously though, there's a reason I edited the summary to say "Espionage" instead of ninja, because while she does occasionally make that stupid "Nin-nin" sound, and it makes me want to throttle it out of her every time she does it, they frame it that she is basically just a super powered journalist/spy. Which I appreciate. They haven't had much time set for fleshing out the "samurai" yet, but from the OP and ED animations I can guess that she's basically going to file down to the 'muscle' of their team, in terms of combat power. She quite literally has had nothing going for her character yet besides "is really good as swinging a katana". Yet, somehow, I haven't held it against the show.

I think that draws back to what I said just above here, about how its very important for you to set your tone for the audience in the first episode. Oh boy, and did they ever make sure to set the tone in this show as WAY crazy over-the-top ridiculous. Wanna know just how ridiculous but aren't sold on watching it? Go ahead and highlight the whited-out spoiler line. You literally cannot understate how absurd this show is going to be after that line.

Anyway, I'm still kind of worried about the fact that the uh...'Nursing' scene was laid out to us so fast, but if it's handled with the same levelheaded'ness as that each time...well I'll begrudgingly give this show an early

Recommendation.
You should at least check it out, just be braced for impact on how insanely over-the-top it is.

Finally, last, but certainly not least:

ORESUKI Are you the only one who loves me?: Also known as:
(Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo)

Summary: Paraphrasing Quoting Crunchyroll, (good job for once crunchy!):
"Question: What would you do if a girl you liked asked you out on a date? Now imagine it’s not one, but two beautiful girls, the cool beauty, Cosmos, and the cute childhood friend, Himawari!! Of course, you would make plans with both. Except for the “feelings” they confess to you are… Asking me for "romantic advice," since they’re both in love with someone else. Hahaha… That’s it! I’m not gonna take it anymore! I’m giving up on this obtuse, harmless persona and going back to my true self. But I can’t give up hope here. If I give them my advice, at least one of them may fall in love with me!"

Okay so yeah, let's draw attention to the fact Crunchyroll did a great job writing the summary for once. Just saying.

My Opinion: This was the show I was expecting the least from, now, instead, I'm giving this show a whole-hearted

Recommendation,

You should absolutely be watching this show, this season, every week.

By the end of the second episode, it was literally a case of


and I'm not even joking, that was the exact meme that popped into my head as the episode cut to the ED animation.
This show strikes a very delicate balance between rehashing the same gag, and ingenious undermining of expectations. Despite laying out the entire plan for you pretty much from the start, it's the little ways they sneak in unexpected tweaks that has you rolling in laughter.

Honestly, I don't frame this show as a comedy, for all that it had me in stitches laughing. Instead, I think 'Drama' would be a tidy fit. That genre title tends to imply a lot of baggage that I'm not fond of, but at the very least, you can take my word for it that while I suspect this show is going to have at least one, if not more, emotional sucker-punches in it, for the most part it's going to be a pretty level-headed and engaging affair.

You should absolutely start watching this show. I know it's probably not going to be for everyone, but don't be thrown out by it being the standard high school 'Rom-Com' setup, it is anything but standard, and you'll only need two episodes to be sure. I guarantee it.

Also, by the third time our main character is asked to "please, have a seat" you'll know in your heart of hearts, who the true antagonist of this show is going to be, and you'll be looking forward to each and every one of their appearances.

[Aside]
I would like to point out that you should eyeball those tags. Yes, look at that nonsense. There is literally not enough room for me to put in english copies of the names, or even my usual Recommended tag for when an show earns one, because there is a 200 character limit for tagging. God Damn.
[Aside end]

Friday, October 4, 2019

[New][End][July 2019] Isekai Cheat Majutsushi (Another World Cheat Magician)

You are literally the only one that was expecting to fail here.
We know what's up.


Last Seen: Completed

Summary: Paraphrased from MyAnimeList.com:

"High schooler Taichi Nishimura and his childhood friend Rin Azuma, are on their way to school one morning. A glowing light suddenly appears beneath Taichi, and despite him shoving Rin out of harms way, she jumps back in with him, and it transports them to a fantasy world full of magical creatures.

Upon their arrival, Taichi and Rin are attacked by a monster. They are saved by a group of adventurers, who advise the pair that traveling unarmed and inexperienced makes them vulnerable to the recently increasing monster attacks. Taichi and Rin are directed to the Guild, where they can determine their magical aptitude and register as adventurers. However, the test produces strange results: It gives a very strange reading for Rin, and Taichi straight up breaks the device! They suddenly find themselves changed from typical high school students to the ultimate cheat magicians.

The Guild calls in a specialist to help Taichi and Rin learn to grasp the full extent of their powers and familiarize themselves with their new world. However, while the duo seeks to uncover the reason behind their transportation and a possible way back to their original world, unexpected trouble lurks in the shadows."

First Impression: Favorable, and sustained my interest. Absolutely a better story than Another World Smartphone. (don't mind me, trying to start a new version of the "a better love story than Twilight meme").

My Opinion: I remember saying something while talking about Abandoned Sacred Beasts, to the effect of "I feel like I would have liked this more as a book than a show". Let me go ahead and refine that even further with this show: I am certain that I would like this show better as a book, especially more than as an Anime in particular.
I think I've pinned down what it was that was off-putting about Sacred Beasts...and that is, unfortunately, the medium. Sacred beasts is very much so a rather gritty and grim setting, meant to be more depressing than anything else really...but that is not something that the conventional art style of Animation lends itself to. Quite the opposite really.

It was much easier to notice and pinpoint this time around, because I had the opportunity to watch this series in bulk, filling in blank days where I didn't have new episodes coming out during the week.
Cheat Magician suffers from its art style choice to be animated. Despite what the initial impression of the story and setting presents, (hell it has >Isekai< in the title right up front, that's not really a good sign these days), it has a good deal of thought and value in it.

I think that it's fair to say that if one wanted an example of an Overpowered character presented well without using One Punch Man's method of comedy, this show is probably as close as I've ever seen...or at least can recall. At least on the point of the character being ridiculously overpowered right out of the gate, almost all anime protagonists eventually become brokenly powerful, but that still can mesh with a typical Heroes Journey style writing archetype. From a literary stand point, starting with your character having the power they would normally only acquire at the end of their journey, right from the start, presents a lot of interesting and unique challenges. Challenges that, if done correctly, can be overcome to make a unique and fascinating story. I believe Cheat Magician pulls this off...

It's really really jarring to have the characters and voice actors trying so hard to be serious...and the art style just completely undermining it. I remember this briefly from Slime Reincarnation as well, it may just be a Japanese industry standard of some kind. They shied away from showing any kind of disfigurement of one of the main characters, despite their horrible burns being rather a potent part of their character. Similarly, in Cheat Magician, Rin ends up with what the show clearly wants you to believe is a serious burn wound...but just looks like someone bruised her with something covered in glitter. It was the first time I've ever experienced such a jarring disconnect with a scene that wasn't already a train-wreck to begin with.

Having said that, I'm going to do something...unusual. I looked it up, and this was indeed an adaptation from a Novel series rather than a Manga or other source. So, I'm going to present this show with a

Conditional Recommendation,

To check out the show, and if you like what you see after the first few episodes, maybe consider changing over to the Novels instead.

I'll be the first to admit, I am acquiring an ever larger preference for Novels over Anime the older I get, and I can't really keep that under a rug anywhere while presenting my opinions.
This show however, was the first time where it was very clearly obvious that the normally light-hearted art style anime typically has was under-cutting what the scenes were trying to present.

To wit, I can think of a few examples where this was used to great effect: The Saga of Tanya the Evil is an amazing one. There, the cutesy style of anime is actually to the strength of the show, because it's such a contrast to the main characters true nature, and helps the audience see her the same way the world around her does at face value. It then frames it for our enjoyment of that stark contrast.

To a slightly less effective example, I would present: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: There, the idea is to mislead you into thinking it's just another normal light anime show...before the show then goes out of its way to make sure you're as completely confused and off balance as possible. I'm not sure that the art style necessarily lends itself to any great effect after the big twist is delivered, but its not like you could (reasonably) drastically change the art style mid-season, not without a budget that would make most companies collectively shit every one of their employees pants I'm sure.

I'm almost certain there was another example I wanted to make, but instead I'll just bring it back to Sacred Beasts. There, the studio seemed to be a lot more self-aware of the difficulty of the presentation they wanted to make. The backgrounds and character designs strike a stark contrast if compared to the art in Cheat Magician, they very clearly made the effort to make things as sombre and grounded as possible. That's probably why I could never pin down what was so off-putting. Now, it rather makes sense. The reason I found Schaal so grating and she seemed to stay overly-naive for so long can likely be attributed to how anime's art style probably made her appear far more frail and meek than the author probably wanted her to appear after a certain point in the story. It doesn't help that as a character that wouldn't be prone to monologuing to begin with, a live-playing medium like a TV show isn't going to let you just listen in to a characters thoughts like you can get away with in a book, to really understand how a character is interpreting events and maturing.

In particular, I want to go out of my way to point out how amazingly mature the main characters in Cheat Magician are, especially for being high schoolers. These days, I'm as liable as not to just throw out any anime that says the main characters are high schoolers if they're even remotely annoying in the first episode or two. I've just had far too much of that.
I think a lot of it may be attributed to how well they play off of each other, and that they really do present to the viewer as actual human beings, rather than cartoon characters playing out tropes. They even had the token "walked in on a girl in the bathroom" scene, and I literally sat back in my chair, un-clenched, and thought "...yeah. that is actually how it would play out in real life. Bonus points for this show."

For all my misgivings about the choice of medium, I really do recommend the story on display here. I think it's a good balanced presentation of an overpowered character, and it loses nothing from pulling from the "Isekai" trope that everything in Japan seems to be bandwagoning on. Give it a go, I say it's worth your time.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Several Months in Review: Catching up

Hokay so, I'm probably going to be moving to a new city for my job soon, (but mostly because I just want out of the dead-end nowhere I am now and from the vultures I occasionally call family), but that's actually absolutely nothing to do with why I forgot that I should be posting here. Anyway, on with the show:

If It's for My Daughter, I'd Even Defeat a Demon Lord
: Last Seen: Episode 12
20$ bet says this was adapted from a light novel. I WONDER what might have given that away without me even looking it up...could it be the absurdly long sentence for a name instead of a simpler title?
Anyway, I'm 85% positive 12 was the finale, so time to talk about it. It's simple and heartwarming. There may or may not be a new genre being formed that you could summarize as "cute girls doing cute things", I don't belong to any kind of loop to be in the know, so don't take my word for it. This is basically a derivative of that, where it's just A cute girl, Being cute, and her guardian gushing over her.
I give the show a very simple Recommendation with no bells and whistles. I'm actually more interested in the lore and world the story is set in than the two main characters, go figure, but whatever. The entire story arc with Maya was especially interesting to me for how many subtle details they managed to convey about the differences between Beast-folk, Humans, and Halfs, without setting aside a monologue for it. Even when they did stop to monologue for an while in an episode, they kept it relevant and interesting to listen to. I appreciate that. Go give the show a try, especially if you want something heartwarming and charming to perk up your day.
[Aside]
It would be remiss of me not to mention that I kept getting "Usagi Drop" vibes from the show. I'm not talking about the anime either, I'm talking about the manga which I read from start to finish. Being a social outlier I didn't have the knee-jerk reaction to the ending most people around that time had, I thought it was put together and portrayed properly enough. Idealistic beyond belief and impossible outside of fiction, but that's neither here nor there. I remember thinking at the time that the author would basically never live it down, but honestly I couldn't have cared less one way or the other. I mention it only because I get the distinct impression that ... (okay I'm just going to call it "this show" instead of thinking up a clever shorthand for it), This Show has a very high probability of containing a similar ending in its future. Certainly seems to be laying enough foundations for it, and like in the past, I'm okay with that so long as they are actually doing it to tell an interesting story, and not just for shock value or worse reasons. Anyway, that's my two-bits, take it or leave it.
[Aside end]

To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts: Last Seen: Episode 12
Again, I'm about 90% sure that was the finale episode for this show, so time to talk about it.
I'm rather on the fence about this show. I really feel like I should have been more invested in it, more hyped for each episode. Yet I continuously wasn't. I can't really put my finger on why either. So, I'll just kind of ramble about various points.

*-All told, I get the feeling I'd have enjoyed reading this story as a book more than watching it as a show. There are several time's I thought that during the story.
*-Schaal comes dangerously close to being "that character", the one you constantly wonder why the hell they're even in the story, almost completely useless. I think that's because the story feels like it needs her to be a balance to all the violence and war by being a "naive" and "innocent" person slowly being broken in to the horrors of war and humanity. Except...I don't feel like this particular story needed that element in it. Certainly, she needed to be there to be a foil of sorts to our other main lead, Hank, but more as a grounding force rather than a child being led by the hand. It gets better later, but I felt like she stayed "naive-acting" for a bit too long.
*-Really, it would be remiss of me not to admit that while I wholeheartedly support cybernetic augmentation as being straight up better these days, both as a "if I was offered the chance, would I" thought exercise, and also as a plot device...I used to be a huge buff for shape-shifting. Any kind of shape-shifting at all was, and to a degree still is, awesome to me. Especially the limitless shifting you can get out of some pieces of fiction.
So really, this show should have been right up my alley, rubbing up those old nostalgic memories. Instead, I just ended up remembering why I concluded cybernetics comes across better for most of the same plot uses. Biological shape-shifting almost always ends up shoehorned into the same niche as the Super-Human-Soldier tropes, for obvious reasons. It can be really interesting when it's not, but it's usually how it's introduced in the story and world, so the setting can be all about reacting to it from a relatively relatable view point for the audience.
*-If I had to put my finger down on one thing I definitely didn't like about the show, it's how completely and utterly one-sided the Incarnates getting shafted was. While it's fine to get across that societies majority reaction was such, the fact that we see, what? One, maybe Two if we get technical, people accept the horrible situation the Incarnates are in... its kind of awkward and boring. Grant, I did enjoy the "monster of the week" story framework it ended up setting up for Hank, but I'm just splitting hairs at this point.

All told, I won't give the show an out and out recommendation, but I did think it was quite good at the end of the day. I'm just kind of vaguely confused why I didn't like it more than I do. I feel like I really should have. *shrug*

Demon Slayer, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Last Seen: Episode 24
I certainly fucking hope that wasn't the finale episode, but it probably was, and now I'm sad.
Recommendation with ALL the bells and whistles people. Got it? You should be watching this show. It is literally god-tier at this point. I can not recall a single time in my life where an anime managed to so consistently raise the stakes every. single. episode. Gurann Lagann might count, but took breaks and a lot longer to do it? I dunno.

Now, especially so as a guy who literally gives no shits about graphical quality,
this show is so God-Damned pretty.
But not in the same kind of way that Ancient Magus Bride was...that was pretty in a very straight-forward kind of way, like every scene could be framed as a painting and hung on your wall. The amazing graphics on Demon Slayer are all in the action, the motion and way things happen...and absolutely in the amazing special effects on the "Breathing Arts" the characters use. Anyway, show is great, 'nuff said.

Dr. Stone: Last Seen: Episode 11
If I had to be the one to tell you that this show is amazing, you're doing something wrong. Almost 100% positive this show has a hype train a mile wide, but just in case you live in a hole under a rock like I do, let me lay it out for you:
Recommended all the way. 'Nuff said.

Fire Force: Last Seen: Episode 10
*cracks fingers* Okay, probably going to have to work a little harder to convince people on this one.
SO. Right out of the gate, not gonna lie, this show fits right into your typical Shounen-Genre framework. There is literally no way I can categorize it as anything else. However, don't let that discourage you, I very much think this show has so far shown a lot of promising merits. First of all though, lets get my big-ass-elephant-in-the-room bias out of the way:

I absolutely adore this shows opening music and animation. I've had the full version of the song playing on loop as my background music while I'm at work for going on 2-3 weeks now (maybe longer I'm terrible with time), only just today turned it back onto shuffle instead of repeat-song. I think I like it for the animation more than the music itself, the music is merely a portable utility to help me rewatch it in my head. Speaking with authority for having looped it for so long, the music itself isn't particularly amazing in any specific way, so I don't think it's a case of the composition being genius or anything. It's probably 100% a personal bias since I can't think of or pinpoint any reason why I like listening to it so much.

*claps* Right, now that I've got that out of the way. Let's make a quick comparison for reference. Black Clover which is still airing right now, is what I would call a through-and-through Shounen show, right down to its bone-marrow. Fire Force meanwhile, is a show I would say is simply using the Shounen-Genre framework. I would attribute most of this to the absurdly high level of maturity all of the main cast display. I mention this, because of their age.
[Aside]
Recently, I've noticed that there is a good 60-90% improved chance of me liking a show if its main character is at least 20-something-plus, and a progressively exponential formula in the opposite direction for every year of life you shave away from them. That is to say, yappy naive youths are utterly annoying to me anymore. Might be because of a job working with the public, but I don't seem to be as wholly apathetic about them as I used to.
[Aside end]
Which is why Fire Force stands out to me for their main cast acting...well, appropriately for their stations in life. Young or not, these are people applying, and more importantly being accepted into a Fire-Fighting Force. Fiction or no, that's a position of immense risk and responsibility. I've heard that on-average Japan treats officers, fire-fighters, and other such positions, with a lot more respect and decorum than the average American, (which from personal experience I will attest to as not being that high of a bar to jump over these days depending on where you live in America). Maybe that's why the cast isn't as typically ... immature? as your standard Shounen protagonist.
Hell, one of the main leads is...well...practically bordering on autistic with his personal self-image, and not a bright bulb by any measure of Watts. Yet, he's functionally eccentric. Rather than feeling like someone let a lunatic onto the force and should lose their job for it, it instead comes off as a person with personality flaws and positives being given the pass for his exceptional ability to actually perform. I think this most comes across in how he's constantly bickering with the main character, and it's straight up admitted that he changed his self-appointed-title to spite him. Yet, when they're actually doing their job, they basically never bring it up unless they get a break to stop for a few moments. In your standard Shounen, that dead-horse would be beaten on literally every two seconds the characters are on screen.
Who knows, maybe I'm just reading into it too much, I have a tendency to do that, but I could tap a few more things about the show that I like as well, more or less along the same lines as this.
I do have to mention that I find the newest addition, Tamaki's ... Lucky?/Unlucky? running gag rather grating, but the way they've framed it is mildly amusing so I'm giving it a pass for now.

All told, I give this show a solid: Recommendation.
If you gave it a pass because it looked too Shounen for your tastes, I would implore you to give it a second look. By the time the first Infernal has been killed in the first episode, you should already have a good feel for the general impression of the show. Maybe that's a bit intense of a thing for me to say, but I gotta try to be bold at least every once in a while. Give the show a shot.

Midnight Occult Civil Servant: Last Seen: End
This show was good. ... Well that's about it. Honestly I was hoping for more from it, but it didn't do anything wrong. That's literally the only problem I had with it: I loved the setting and world lore so much that I just wanted so much more of it, and there was only a small serving given to us. The last story arc especially still gives me a nice warm brain-fuzzy, I really liked it a lot.
Other than that though, it's not a particularly outstanding show in any special way beyond it's great level-headed tone and good pacing. They did a fantastic job with the...Anti-hero? in one of the arcs, I SO wanted to punch that shit-head right in his smug face. You'll figure it out when you get there. It's especially potent because that's the entire point of the story being present from the main characters perspective of being able to actually communicate with and understand Anothers, while for everyone else, the Anti-heroes stance is technically the safe professional way to handle things, even if that's not entirely the reason for him taking that stance.
A good Recommendation.

--

Okay that's what I could scrounge out from my, frankly, massive and bloated episodes list of stuff I've been watching/finished. I know there's more in there I should talk about but for now this is what I could skim off real fast. I'll try to remember to post more often here. (shush, I know I've said that multiple times. I'm working on it.) All told, I hit the high notes

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

[New][April 2019] Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba)

So hard to find good spoiler free shots...
Really wanted to use some from the fight in ep1...

Last Seen: Episode 5

Summary: (Paraphrased from Crunchyroll and MyAnimeList)
Since ancient times, rumors have abounded of man-eating demons lurking in the woods. Because of this, the local townsfolk never venture outside at night. Legend has it that Demon Slayers also roams the night, hunting down these bloodthirsty demons...


Ever since the death of his father, Tanjirou has taken it upon himself to support his family. Although their lives may be hardened by tragedy, they've found happiness.
For young Tanjirou, these rumors will soon become his harsh reality...

First Impression: Cleverness and practicality! Not two things you see in anime often.

My Opinion: You should watch this. Right out of the gate, I'm giving this a

Recommendation,

because this show just screams quality. At first I was afraid of it being just another Shounen copy-paste pile of mediocrity, and I gave it a pass on reading the summary. Then, it got a favorable view from a reviewer I like, so I decided to pick it up and try it. Five episodes later, I wish I had waited until it was done, because now I'm chomping at the bit for the next episode.

You only need the first episode to know what you're getting. Despite the very Shounen story and setting, the characters are the driving force so far for me. Which is quite impressive considering one of them can't even talk! Most fights in your standard shounen are very...one-dimensional. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but basically there isn't a lot of thinking going on in the fight. Maybe a lot of thought was put in to making that fight, but the fights themselves are usually very straight forward. Usually with a lot of yelling and emotions... and Emotional Yelling.

Demon Slayer surprises out of the gate by having an actually clever fight right in episode one. I really really like that, but I can't say literally anything else about it without spoilers, so just give it a shot. Things are a bit quieter after that first surge, but it never disappoints after that, it's just on a slow burn. I'm really looking forward to more episodes.

I've seen a few people hyping themselves up over one of the names in the credits, "ufotable", but I've never heard of them before this so I can't comment.
Regardless, now you know, in case you do recognize that name.

[Aside]
That doesn't mean I haven't liked their stuff, just that I haven't ever tracked studios, actors, authors, or anything like that my entire life. It's a really recent development that I've started to try and occasionally check for new productions from White Fox studios, and I don't think I've even been doing that. So much for my resolve eh? I'm very much a case-by-case consumer.
[aside end]

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Quick Summary of Shows that are Worth your Time: Because I'm Daft.

RIGHT SO, REAL QUICK NOW:

Dororo 2019: Last Seen: episode 13
 Hype. Are you ready to suffer for a good story? YES! Then you best get your body ready, and hop on the Pain Train, because wE AiN't GoT NO BRAKES MOTHERFUCKER, TOOT  TOO! wheesh.
 Seriously though, it's honestly not always depressing. They have some very heartwarming stories almost every other episode. A clean(if bloody):
Recommendation

Mob Psycho 100 season2: Last Seen: Complete
 I felt kind of shaky about the first episode or two, but it's actually even better than the first season, if you can believe that! I absolutely loved my main man Reigen's time in the spotlight, getting fleshed out.
Recommended if you already were watching Mob. It's good stuff.

Shield Hero: Is still fantastic, and I'm going to buy literally all of the light novels. 'Nuff said.
 100% Recommendation if you're not a wimp or a Fem-Nazi, because hoo-boi, you gonna hate you a woman so hard, your head might explode.

KONOSUBA Season 1-2: Last Seen: Complete
 So I saw someone post a couple reaction episodes on youtube to this show, liked what I saw, and then ended up binging the entire series, and making myself sad there isn't more.
 It's all comedy, all the way, so it may not be your cup of tea, depending on your personal tastes in humor, but everyone should at least try it hence:
 A sound Recommendation that you at least try it.
Love Kazuma, very well balanced character.
Found the bath scene with Darkness headache inducing though, played that joke out way too long.
(double posting because I didn't have room to tag it in a previous post. Stupid character limit on tags...)

Overlord season3: Last Seen: Complete
 More Overlord, 'Nuff said.
I'm seriously frothing at the mouth trying to get my hands on more of the light novels faster, hunting down fan-translations now.

Reikenzan Eichi e no Shikaku: Last Seen: Season 1+2
 Oddly enough...this turned up in my youtube recommendations. It took me a while to track down the actual name, since it was constantly just called "Powerful Sage". Very annoying. Anywho:
First season is SUPER PRETTY. Second season is SUPER NOT.
 But the story is a bit heavier, and more fleshed out, so I'm happy with both. I'll probably track down the source material for this at some point. I saw a bunch of people complaining about the tone and art shift from 1 to 2, but honestly, the new art style suited the new tone of the story arc they were telling.
 That's my opinion on it anyway, it is still very clearly a budget cut, or new animation studio, or both.
Go give it a try. It was very interesting, but just barely falls short of a Recommendation.

SAO Alicization: Last Seen: Completed
 I've always been a moderate on SAO. The first season is literally just a shounen that thinks its better than being a shounen, but pretty good as a shounen no-brain action flick. The second season with the fairy game is a train wreck, possibly for entirely personal reasons. The Gun Gale season was mildly interesting, and confirms that Kirito has plot armor so thick it can cut bullets.
 Gun Gale Alternative was really cool. I thought so anyway. May just be because interesting things can happen when Kirito isn't on screen, ready to hand-waive everything away with some plot armor.
 Finally, having completed it, and therefore safely being able to render an opinion now that I know it won't suddenly tank...
 It was really good, for having Kirito in it. It took an entire fucking government backed research development team on a fucking man made island, but they finally managed to peel most of the plot armor off of Kirito. Good. Fucking. Work.
 Not that it's in time to matter to anyone. You'd still have to consume the previous shit. GGO Alternate has that going for it, you can literally watch it out of context and its still great.
 If you weren't already planning to watch SAO, I don't know why it having a properly balanced season now, would be the thing to change your mind, but hey now you have my opinion. Do as you will.
Recommendation for GGO Alternative with the Pink Devil, and nothing else. Alicization would get one, if it wasn't dragging the Kirito baggage from the previous seasons for you to watch it. Come to think of it...would I recommend it...if it wasn't being considered outstanding for rising out of mediocrity? Talk about having a really low pedestal to climb to stand out.

Angels of Death: Last Seen: Completed.
Did I not post about this...*searches* I appear not to have. How odd, could have sworn I would have, but it's not tagged if I did. Regardless, this show gets a solid,
Recommendation for good quality suspense and interestingly unique characters. It's certainly an odd mish-mash of genres. My first instinct is to call it horror, but it absolutely isn't. Say what you want about "Another" and its quality, but nobody is going to disagree when you call that a horror story. Several people might if you try to blatantly call Angels of Death one though. I think you should give it a try, it may not be to your tastes, but it was very interesting and suspenseful.

Killing Bites: Last Seen: Completed.
I watched a show called Killing Bites. Now I'm reading a Manga called Killing Bites. I do believe, that means I liked it. It's not trying to be especially serious, but some very serious shit goes down in the story...more than a few times. I really like that despite them usually being quite simple, the characters still get some depth to them, frequently. Not sure how much of that is me bleeding the knowledge from the show and the comic together, but regardless I think you should give the show a try. It plays up its fan service in the visual marketing, but I promise there's a good story and characters in there too.

Morose Mononokean: Top quality, wholesome, simple and fun to enjoy. Reminds me a lot of "Yokai Apartments" in tone. It's not especially complicated, but it gets the job done with a fantastic:
Recommendation.
No action to speak of, it's very light-hearted even if it has its serious moments. It's never really dramatic, but it has the art of telling a soothing and heartfelt story in its pocket, for sure. Give it a shot if you need something more peaceful for a few episodes, it's tragically short, and I'm hoping for a new season at some point. Then again, aren't we all, for one show or another?

Okay...I think that covers all of it!
Probably not. Oh yeah, even if it's a double post, because I can't be bothered to check again, you should know:
Dies Irae: was shit. Dunno if that's the animations fault, or the source materials fault, can't be bothered to care or to check, but some comments were screaming about it being radically wrong and made-up on Crunchyroll, so maybe that's a thing. So if some of it seems good to you, maybe find the source whatever it was. The show crashed and burned hard though.



There. Now I think I've posted something about everything I've been watching/finished I hadn't written about. Hope something good turns up for you!

[New][April 2019] Midnight Occult Civil Servant - Charming and Subtle

How to solve a shit-ton of anime and horror plots.
My man Seo has you covered.

Last Seen: Episode 2

Summary: [Quoted from Crunchyroll (They actually wrote a good summary for once!)]
When Miyako Arata joins the Shinjuku Ward Office, he thinks he's gotten a normal civil servant job. But it turns out he's joined the Night Community Exchange Department, one of which operates secretly in each of Tokyo's twenty-three ward offices. Their job is to resolve occult issues concerning non-human beings. Accompanied by his senpai and department head Sakaki Kyoichi and the occult obsessed Himetsuka Seo, they work night after night, facing beings whose existence defies the laws of our world.

First Impression: Extremely calm and charming. I already liked it within the first 5-10 minutes.

My Opinion: There hasn't really been a lot to talk about for a while...is what I would like to say, but honestly I've been watching a bunch of good shows, and just forgot to post anything here about them. But I loved this show so fast that it made me hyped enough to remember this is a thing I'm suppose to be doing. Woops.

ANYWHO.

Charming. Calm. Normally, when you introduce the supernatural to your character for the first time, they freak out. That our protagonist didn't, was unexpectedly refreshing. I hadn't realized how tired and old that was getting. Having a common response is one thing, have literally no other kind of response in every single story, is aggravating. Viva La Trope, I guess?

Regardless, the story seems quite good and well thought out, but that could just be me really appreciating that it's so calm and soothingly paced. It has only been two episodes after all.

Regardless, just for being inspiring enough to get me to write again, and that I've got a good feeling about this one, (better start digging my own grave now that I've jinxed it), this show gets a high-speed:

Recommendation 

With no strings attached. That hasn't happened in a while without getting me super hyped up like Shield Hero did.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

[New][January 2019] The Rising of the Shield Hero: The Rising of my Hype

HA! Ha ha, HAHAHAH!

Last Seen: Episode 1

Summary: (Paraphrased from MyAnimeList.net)
Stories of old tell of four otherworldly heroes, wielding the sword, spear, bow, and shield who defended the land from wave after wave of calamity. With the fate of the world in balance, the kingdom of Melromarc summons these legendary figures: in modern-day Japan, the call is answered, and the unwitting heroes are transported to this fantasy universe.

Thrust into Melromarc and given the title of "Shield Hero," Casual Otaku Naofumi Iwatani is labeled the weakest due to his lack of offensive capability and apparent inexperience, not having any video game experience like his fellow summoned heroes. When the heroes part ways to start their journeys, he only has one willing companion: the beautiful Myne.

However, things soon go horribly astray, and Naofumi is not only branded a criminal, but
made an outcast of society, with no money or possessions to his name, and no one, and nothing, on his side, but the Shield he cannot remove that brands him as the Shield Hero.
 
With hatred filling his heart, he sets out alone, vowing vengeance against those who wronged him.

First Impression: Standard fantasy material...with a lot of attention to detail. Oh. OH. OH SHIT. Ooh, that got very bad ass, very fast!

My Opinion: This show got amazing, and absolutely enthralling, fast. ... Well, relatively fast. I think it was the studios #1 decision they'll make this year, to have made the first episode double length. If all we had gotten was those first 20 or so minutes of it, I wouldn't have cared much at all. It's attention to detail would have caught my attention, but I wouldn't be literally writhing inside my skull like I am right now, and have been since watching it, with an insatiable craving to see the next episode. That is exceptionally rare these days for me. I love this feeling. The need to see more, to know more, to understand more!

So far, the only complaint I have is a nit-pick, about how fast Naofumi adapts to and begins improvising in his critical state. I mean, there's absolutely plausibility for how he goes about things, and everything he's doing at that point, it just feels like it happened too fast. I'd chock this up to the anime speeding things up. I'd be willing to bet money that a few more transitional mental states occurred in the source material, and some brainstorming to come up with the absolutely fantastic ideas he uses in the later half of the episode.

It goes without saying that this show gets an astoundingly glowing

Recommendationfor its first episode, no strings attached!

[Aside]
On a side note...I've been seeing White Fox Studio's name and logo plastered in the credits of a lot of the anime I've been loving in recent years... This time around, it looks like it's just some staff that was borrowed, but I think I'm going to, for the first time in my life, actually pay attention to and try to follow something/someone's work, instead of exclusively hunting on a unit-by-unit basis like I usually do with books, games, and shows. The only other entity to ever receive my attention like this has been From Software, and I've not regretted that yet. Here's to hoping I don't regret this one either!

Quick Catch Up: Because I'm a forgetful one.


ALRIGHTY THEN.
Seeing as I forgot about this for...*checks time stamps* about 3 months? Let's just quickly catch up on some stuff.
--
[Ended] Goblin Slayer: Fantastic. In hindsight, I feel like they could have saved themselves some of the drama if they had provided more build up for that first episode punch in the face. Having received all of the available Goblin Slayer Light Novels as a Christmas present, and having read all of them, I am happy to report:

Goblin Slayer anime is good.
Manga is better.
Light Novel is best.

The Manga takes more time to emphasis the eponymous Goblin Slayer himself struggling to maintain his humanity, and just how monstrous he appears to the Goblins themselves, by stepping inside of their heads more often than the Light Novel does, and basically at all, as far as the Anime goes.

The Light Novels take more time to flesh out the world and properly explain things. If I hadn't already read the Novels by the time I watched the Sword Maiden scenes, I wouldn't have understood basically anything that was going on, and would have wrote most of it off as tasteless fan service. As it is, I still think all of her scenes were rather terribly rushed, especially since I think she's a great character overall, very well put together in motivations and personality.
Still, the anime's not bad in any regard. Just not as polished as I would like it to be.
--
[Ongoing, Episode 14] Slime Reincarnation: Why. Aren't. You. Watching. This. Masterpiece.

Once again, I purchased all three books as soon as I finished the second episode, and having done so, I can happily report that the anime is doing an absolutely fantastic job of literally everything. In fact, they may even have done a slightly better job with Shizue's story.

It was mostly done to make it work for a live motion medium like Animation, and I do feel like maybe her story had more punch spread out bread-crumb style like it is in the books, but that most certainly wouldn't have gone as well in an anime. So far the only changes I've noticed have all been quality of life touch-ups, things done to smooth over the adaptation, without damaging the main impact of the story and characters. Hell, it may even have improved at least one scene. The Orc backstory was actually a bit misleading with how it was worded in the book, I didn't realize I had misunderstood until I saw the anime episode equivalent.

The animation is  gorgeous, and I say that as someone who literally couldn't give a rat's ass to a cat to care about graphical appearance 99% of the time. I tend to always drop graphics quality on all of my games first thing, to make sure they run smooth and never risk hiccups while playing. In that context, you should properly understand just how god-damn-me pretty the show is. The last show I remember thinking was this pretty, was Ancient Magus Bride. WATCH THIS SHOW ALREADY, AIGHT?
--
[New, Ongoing, Episode 13] SAO Alicization: Eh. It's okay. It's more Kirito, the black hole of Plot Armor, so I don't expect a lot. I actually really like the GGO alternative season they made recently, but I don't have high hopes or anger for mainstream SAO stuff.

I really don't understand how Hyped and/or Rage'y most people get about SAO. It's just a slightly more pretentious shounen show. Shut off some of your brain cells like you do for the rest of the shounen genre, and just enjoy. (I still call bullshit on season ones 'I can hack this Operating System I know literally nothing about!', and the tentacle hentai in a later season, I have not forgiven, I have not forgotten, I just don't fucking care anymore).
--
[New/Ended] KONOSUBA season 2: I had to stitch my ruptured sides back together after I collected them from all over the room after I started watching, and then proceeded to binge-watch this, stopping only to go to work, sleep, and maybe occasionally remembering to eat. This show is comedy Grade A gold, and if you've skipped it for whatever or any reason at all, like I did, you owe it to yourself to go back and correct this mistake you have made. By all that is good, this show is amazing. I love it to pieces, and I dearly desire another season. It's straight up comedy genius from start to finish, so don't expect any high-brow deep plot or such, but it has a good story and I really like the main character, and for that matter, pretty much the entire cast. I'm pretty sure you're suppose to hate on Aqua though.
--
[New, Ongoing, Episode 14] Majutsu no Index, season 3: HYPE! or I'd like to be.

I'm super glad to finally be getting more of one of my favorites, but jesus there is a lot going on, and its going by fast! I tend to be great at keeping up with things, and even I think they're rushing through a lot of stuff, really god damn fast.

But hey, I got another hit of my Accelerator addiction right into my veins, so whatever, I don't care. Fill the next needle and stick me up baby, I'll take all the side effects and then some for some more of that sweet, sweet, Accelerator goodness!
And yes, that is most assuredly a complete and total personal bias. So sue me.
--
[New, Ongoing, Episode 1] Mob Psycho 100, season 2: Tentatively hyped! The first episode started out kind of weak, then got really good really fast. I am most pleased. I expect good things from this show!
--
Up next...a proper post for the most hype show currently airing....