2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: May Recap

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I am once again delayed in writing my end of month wrap up because I have no concept of time passing. I think generally I’m doing really badly at my challenges, especially since I’ve starting learning to draw which seems to be the only thing I do with my time these days as I’ve got really into it. It’s a lot of fun but it’s not getting any challenges done.

Watch 45 anime

May end total: 7

Progress is so slow on my anime watching, I only watched one show, Love & Lies, through the whole of May. I’m going to do Anime August again this year, and I had a brief thought that August was ages away, but in actual fact it’s really not.

Read 50 complete manga

May end total: 2

I actually haven’t completed any more manga for a really long time. I desperately need to rectify this but I find reading manga such a huge time sink and as I said in the intro I’ve been putting a lot of time into drawing and I just don’t have that much time (or inclination if I’m honest), to do much else.

Watch 30 films

May end total: 7

I did manage to watch a couple of films in May, it’s something I’ve been consciously trying to do more of. I watched Moxie and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire, both of which I enjoyed (Eurovision more if I’m honest).

Watch 30 anime films

May end total: 4

Like with ‘normal’ movies I’ve been making an effort to try and up the numbers on this one. I managed to watch a couple more – Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (in a cinema and everything!) and Anthem of the Heart. 

Get 35 platinum trophies

May end total: 13

I had a pretty slow month for platinum trophies also, because drawing, so I only added one to my total – Call of The Sea, which I also reviewed if you check out my previous post.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

May end total: 1

*sigh*

Play 12 Switch games

May end total: 0

Oh dear, oh no. I just, don’t have time to do everything. I need to clone myself or something, I swear.

Read 12 books

May end total: 4

After a slow start to reading the Percy Jackson series, I managed to finish the first book in May (and actually the second in June, so I’ve now started the third). They’re a pretty easy read, and I’m enjoying them. I wish I’d read them when I was a teenager as I would have loved them then.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: April Recap

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I was panicking that I was so late with my April recap post, and when I went back to my blog to check something, I realised I didn’t even do a March one! Terrible. All the days are blending into one big blob and I can’t even tell what month it is anymore – if my birthday hadn’t been in April I think I wouldn’t have even realised how far through the year we are. So, apologise for no March update, here’s one to look back on the first third of the year!

Watch 45 anime

April end total: 6

Whilst my total shot up in March and April, I am still way behind on this challenge. Terrible progress is being made and I just don’t ever seem to have the time or inclination to sit down and watch anime. I hope this changes soon, as anime is one of my biggest passions but I don’t want to force it and end up hating it so I’m just sort of letting it go a bit!

Read 50 complete manga

April end total: 2

Absolutely terrible and this is looking less and less likely to be a reality as the year goes on. In addition to Haru’s Curse, I also finished reading That Wolf-Boy Is Mine.

Watch 30 films

April end total: 5

I’m up to 5 films on this challenge, not too bad considering a very slow start. I really need to pick up, much like uhhh…. every other challenge on my list.

Watch 30 anime films

April end total: 2

Good grief, progress is slow! I’ve had Anthem of the Heart out and sitting on my coffee table since New Years Day and I STILL haven’t watched it. But, I have watched the given movie, and Yes, No, Or Maybe?

Get 35 platinum trophies

April end total: 12

Doing suspiciously well at this challenge actually. Not only have I got 12 challenges as of April end, I also have many more in the works and lots of games downloaded and ready to go. I’m quietly confident on this one.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

April end total: 1

God, I am so slow at playing games these days! I finished Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy back in March after having it in my backlog for a good couple of years. I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to when the next lot of Phoenix Wright games come to consoles!

Play 12 Switch games

April end total: 0

Still can’t believe I haven’t even finished a Switch game this year, terrible!

Read 12 books

April end total: 3

It took me what felt like an age to read my third book – The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford. It’s not that I didn’t like it necessarily, it just felt very average and didn’t grip me. I’m one book behind at the moment, but I’ve moved onto the Percy Jackson series which I’m really enjoying so I’m hoping that I’ll claw it back on this challenge.

Anime

Anime Preview: Spring 2021

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I definitely took on too many Winter seasonal shows, and I found it really overwhelming to keep up (spoiler: I definitely didn’t keep up at all). Have I learnt my lesson? Absolutely not. I really enjoyed writing up my Winter 2021 Preview post, so I wanted to do it again for the Spring seasonal shows. I’m hoping that I will manage to finish the bulk of my Winter shows before Spring kicks off properly, otherwise it’s going to be a mess of me watching anime on an infinite loop. Again, I’ll try to avoid going over plot points and just focus on my feelings towards the opener for each show. This season, aside from the sequels I’ll be watching, I know nothing about any of the shows at all, so I’m going in totally blind.

Tokyo Revengers

tokyo revengersloved the first episode of Tokyo Revengers. It had everything I love in an anime – it was really suspenseful, it made me laugh a lot, and the cliffhanger at the end of the episode definitely left me wanting more. I got some real Erased vibes from Tokyo Revengers, which is definitely not a bad thing as it’s definitely up there in one of my favourite shows.

 

 

 

To Your Eternity

tyeWow. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much at a show since Banana Fish, and this was only the first episode! To Your Eternity was beautifully animated, it felt so cinematic, and honestly just heartbreaking. The first episode was an incredible opener, and I’m so invested in it already.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro

nagatoroI was really looking forward to Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro because I’d seen screenshots floating around on Twitter and I thought the character design for Nagatoro was really cool and that she looked really cute. Unfortunately, I don’t really have anything good to say about it. It was a really uncomfortable watch from start to finish, as Nagatoro relentlessly bullies her senpai – who is so bland I’ve forgotten his name entirely. It’s not even in a lighthearted making fun of someone because you like them kind of way, it’s just out and out bullying and not something I’m interested in watching.

 

Fairy Ranmaru

fairyThere is a lot going on in Fairy Ranmaru, and honestly it just felt like a total mess. It starts off as a kind of isekai as the fairy characters are sent to the human world, then there’s a sort of magical boy element, and then it turns into a musical with a song halfway through. I honestly felt like I had whiplash watching this show, it just was all over the place. Its saving grace was that the male characters were quite interesting, otherwise it doesn’t have a lot going for it.

 

 

Farewell, My Dear Cramer

cramerI don’t think I’ve ever watched a girl’s sports anime, but Farewell, My Dear Cramer looked really cute so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s about girl’s high school football (I will not succumb and call it soccer!), and the first episode was mostly about the girls joining from their various middle schools and joining the club. It was a really interesting episode as it gives you some backstory about the kinds of players the main girls are, and sets up the premise for the series nicely.

 

 

Koikimo

koikimoI’m a little bit sceptical of this one. Playboy business man falls in love with and pursues his high-school sister’s best friend. I’m sure you’ll understand my reservations. That aside, I did actually really enjoy Koikimo. I thought it was really nicely animated and it made me laugh quite a lot. I’ll still hold onto my scepticism for now, but I was pleasantly surprised.

 

 

 

Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved And Took In A High School Runaway

higehiroAnother seasonal show with a huge age difference! Again, like with Koikimo I went into Higehiro totally wary and ready to bail at any moment, and honestly, I almost did. Yoshida is a 26 year old salaryman who takes in teenaged Sayu after seeing her on the street under a lamppost. She quickly propositions him and tells him she’ll sleep with him if she can stay which is how she has been managing to find places to stay. Yoshida rejects Sayu, which is the only reason I kept watching, but instead he offers to have her live with him in exchange for doing the household chores. Again, like with Koikimo, I’ll remain skeptical as I feel like there’s definitely potential for this to cross some boundaries. I’d really love it if Yoshida and Sayu’s relationship developed into more of a brother/sister one, but I fear that will not be the case.

Oddtaxi

oddtaxiI definitely didn’t expect a show about anthropomorphic animals to be so dark and mysterious. I’m so intrigued by where Oddtaxi is going, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

 

 

 

 

Those Snow White Notes

snow whiteThose Snow White Notes totally took me by surprise. I thought I’d be getting some sort of high school music club situation, and this is far from that. It’s actually quite dark and deals with some pretty serious themes. I was really pleasantly surprised to be wrong, and it’s definitely one I’ll try to keep up with.

 

 

 

86: Eighty Six

86Maybe I’m stupid, but I found 86 really hard to follow. I think by the end of the episode I’d sort of got the gist, but all the way through the episode I just felt baffled. It’s hard to say whether I enjoyed the episode as for a lot of it I felt totally lost, but I think by the end I can say I liked it. I’ll definitely give it another few episodes.

 

 

 

Backflip!!

backflipI love a sports anime, we all know it. Backflip!! is about men’s rhythm gymnastics. I’ve always enjoyed watching men’s and women’s rhythm gymnastics at the Olympics and such, so it’s cool to see an anime version! The plot hasn’t really kicked off yet, with most sports anime, this first episode was really just about the protagonist joining the club, but it looks to be quite promising. The animation of the performances looked really nice too, I was worried it might go full CG like in an idol anime dance, and whilst I think there was an element of CG it still looked pretty cool.

 

Burning Kabaddi

kabaddiAnother sports anime! This time one for a sport that I was entirely convinced was totally made up until I Googled it after the episode, and was shocked to realise that this contact sport version of tag is real. That aside, Burning Kabaddi was totally unique and chaotic, but in a good way. The protagonist doesn’t even want to be in the club, for one, but he’s basically blackmailed into joining. It made me laugh a lot and I’m really intrigued to see where it goes and how actual matches of this weird sport work.

 

 

Let’s Make A Mug Too

mugThis is a totally wholesome school club anime about a pottery club. Episodes are short, which is just as well because not a lot happens, and they’re surprisingly informative about the Japanese pottery scene. I’ll keep watching it because it’s quite sweet, but I can’t envisage it being a standout for the season.

 

 

 

The Pretty Boy Detective Club

pbdcI’d seen a lot of people hyping up The Pretty Boy Detective Club online so it felt like one I wanted to watch – who doesn’t like pretty anime boys, anyway? I’m not sure how I feel about it after the first airing, I like the premise of a detective club filled with pretty boys, but they all felt very shallow and there didn’t feel like there was a lot of substance to the plot, feeling almost like a knock-off Ouran. The animation choices were really interesting though, and there were some beautiful moments.

 

 

Sequels-wise, I’ll be watching the new seasons of My Hero Academia, Moriarty the Patriot, Zombieland Saga and Fruits Basket. What a great season!

Film Reviews, Films

Review: Yes, No, Or Maybe?

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Yes, No, Or Maybe? is a fairly short film – standing at 53 minutes. There’s a lot packed into the short run time, and for the most part it’s a joy to watch. This review will contain spoilers for the end, but I’ll warn you before it’s about to be mentioned, so read with caution.

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The focus of Yes, No, Or Maybe? is Kei Kunieda, a friendly newscaster with a sunny disposition. Kei has a secret – he’s actually pretty grouchy and is pretty much constantly inwardly cursing at other people. This is done to great effect throughout the film showing Kei’s inner thoughts as a little chibi figure on screen, so whilst IRL Kei might be thanking someone profusely, chibi Kei will be cursing them up a storm. It’s a really funny juxtaposition that works really well, and is much more effective than just having a voiceover show Kei’s inner thoughts.

One day, Kei is asked to interview Ushio Tsuzuki, a stop-motion animator. Following the interview, an off-duty and disguised Kei bumps into Ushio (quite literally) outside a convenience store, and after unleashing a barrage of abuse at Ushio reluctantly agrees to help him with his work after injuring him.

What follows is a back and forth between Kei and Ushio as Kei interacts with Ushio both using his work persona and his true self, and struggles to reconcile his feelings with who he truly is as a person. Being a shounen ai, there’s obviously a romantic undertone and typically of a BL anime, there’s some struggle as Kei deals with his romantic thoughts towards another man.

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Yes, No, Or Maybe? presents two really well written characters. Kei and Ushio are both really well developed and each have their own nuances and motivations. I really related to Kei having his private and public personas, as I feel like often I’m very different publicly to how I am privately, and as I said before, the way the film presents this is really effective.

I really liked the animation of Yes, No, Or Maybe?, it felt really soft and natural, with a pretty realistic colour palette, which added to the romantic tone of the movie. Whilst Yes, No, Or Maybe? is primarily a drama, it does have some really funny moments, especially between Kei’s private persona and his inner thoughts. 

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Whilst I wouldn’t want to get into spoiler territory, I feel it’s worth mentioning the end as it could be a huge trigger for viewers and could be the difference between someone watching it or not. If you don’t want to know spoilers, don’t read the next paragraph and just know that I really disliked the final scenes of Yes, No, or Maybe?

The end scene is really hard to bear and features the worst of all BL tropes – dubious consent. Except, it’s really not dubious, it’s pretty clear and repeatedly said that it’s a firm no. It’s a real shame, because up until this point, the movie was golden and the whole scene just sours the wholesome and romantic vibe of Yes, No, or Maybe? up until that point. I’m really interested to pick up the light novel to see how that compares to the film, I would hope that it isn’t so non-consensual but my experience with BL makes me think otherwise.

8 stars

Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: Given Movie

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The following review contains spoilers for the Given Movie and the anime series. 

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The Given movie is the 59 minute follow-up to 2019’s smash anime series of the same name. Adapted from an ongoing manga series, Given centres around a band of boys – two highschoolers and two college students – as they fall in love with playing music together, and with each other.

Of course, the anime left off with Mafuyu and Uenoyama getting together after some mutual pining and dealing with some underlying trauma. The focus of this movie shifts to their bandmates Akihiko and Haruki. We discovered in the series that Haruki has been in love with Akihiko for some time, whereas Akihiko seems to be a lot more of a playboy and has a different girl on his arm constantly.

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Having read the manga past this story arc, I was a little hesitant to watch the film. There was a lot I didn’t like about the arc portrayed in the film when I read it in the manga. That’s not to say it’s not good, it’s just very raw and a little bit darker but this shouldn’t be a surprise with the content from the first series of the show in mind.

Throughout the movie, it’s very clear that Akihiko has a very toxic relationship with his live-in lover Ugetsu. Neither of them seem to really want to give the other up, but they’re absolutely no good for each other. This is pretty clear throughout the whole movie. Akihiko’s behaviour ends up spiralling as a result and he acts in a truly despicable way. There’s an interesting juxtaposition between Akihiko’s behaviour when he’s influenced by interactions with Ugetsu, and those with Haruki which further cements the toxicity of Akihiko’s relationship.

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Throughout the movie there’s a multitude of levels to the characterisation. At first glance, Akihiko and Ugetsu seem like thoroughly despicable characters, both only looking out for themselves, and whilst there certainly seems to remain an element of this, there’s also a lot of depth to their relationship which becomes uncovered and you can begin to kind of see why they act the way they do. There’s also a undertone of not being able to let your first love go, which I think a lot of people can relate to.

With Ugetsu in mind, I’m really pleased at how he has been portrayed. I think it would have been really easy for him to be vilified as the mean man who is keeping Akihiko and Haruki apart, but there’s actually a really soft side to him and he is characterised really well. His interactions with Mafuyu are especially touching, as we see him helping Mafuyu to write a new song and eventually learning to trust him enough to talk about his feelings with him.

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As you’d expect from a film centred around the lives of musicians, the music in Given is impeccable. From Ugetsu’s classical violin playing, to the rock stylings of the band, the music throughout is evocative and emotional. The music always really adds to the emotion of any scene, and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the moment.

A lot is packed into the Given movie’s short run-time, which can kind of leave your head reeling, but there are some really sweet and tender moments in amongst all of the angst. The Given movie is a near perfect continuation of a series which was so beloved, and won’t disappoint fans.

9 stars

Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: Blood Lad

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Anime: Blood Lad
Studio: Brain’s Base
Crunchyroll description: Staz is one of the toughest vampires in the demon world. But unlike his ancestors, he finds being a vampire to be a serious pain in the ass and prefers to spend his time watching anime and playing video games instead. When a Japanese girl named Fuyumi wanders into his territory, Staz cannot hide his excitement at finally meeting a living human from his favourite culture.
Genres: Action, Comedy, Supernatural, Seinen
Original run: 08/07/2013 to 11/9/2013
Episodes: 10

blood lad

As much as I love supernatural genre anime, I’m often put off. I’ve watched some really great shows which fall in the genre, but I’ve also watched some duds, and my search for my absolute favourite supernatural show continues (though props to Erased and Parasyte which are leading the pack). Supernatural shows can be convoluted, packed with conflicting lore and hard to follow, but done right, they can be exciting and a fun break from reality.

Blood Lad follows the story of Staz. C Blood, a vampire and the boss of his territory, one of the most powerful demons in the demon world. Staz is an otaku, fascinated with the human world and amassing a collection of manga, anime and figurines that would put most IRL weebs to shame. When a Japanese girl named Fuyumi enters the demon world by accident, Staz feels like he’s hit the jackpot – that is, until she dies. Staz vows to resurrect Fuyumi, who is now living in the demon world as a ghost.

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Straight off the bat, it’s revealed that Staz hates being a vampire, he finds it incredibly arduous and has no interest in doing ‘typical’ vampire activities, like drinking blood. He’d much rather stay indoors and watch anime, or play games. I really liked this juxtaposition and it was fun to see Staz reluctantly using his power, as well as see how he feels about other demons.

Blood Lad is chock full of fan service. All female characters have boobs that are disproportionately big, not to mention which employ their own laws of physics. There are upskirt shots aplenty, and situations where Fuyumi in particular is found in compromising positions. It’s a little off-putting, and I definitely think the show is strong enough to not have to rely on these sorts of things to keep interest. However, I’m not a fan of overt fan-service in the first place, so even if this was perfectly placed and tonally perfect, I probably wouldn’t have liked it anyway.

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Around the midway point of the season, the show introduces a ‘big bad’ who is supposed to be a super demon, the toughest ever and who noone can defeat. This turns out to be incredibly anti-climatic, and easily defeated. There’s a hint that this could develop in the future, but as I’ll discuss later, this goes nowhere.

The fight scenes themselves are really cool and well animated. With the anime being set in the demon world, each character has their own strengths and powers, and it was really interesting to see these powers being used and the different tactics of how the powers could be used to their advantages and even against them.

Blood Lad features a great cast of supporting characters, from Staz’s own allies to his enemies and beyond. I didn’t feel like there were any weak characters, apart from perhaps Fuyumi herself. She just sort of goes along with whatever everyone tells her to do, and doesn’t really ever voice her own opinions or say what she wants. I get that she’s in a strange world (and also kinda dead), but she was just sort of subservient and submissive, which was disappointing.

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Speaking of disappointing, the end of Blood Lad is infuriating. Don’t go into this anime if you like things wrapped up neatly. For whatever reason, there isn’t a second season, so it just ends with no resolution. It’s all perfectly set up for another season, but it just doesn’t exist, and the only way for me to get closure is to add the manga to my to read list.

Blood Lad is super fun, and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. I laughed out loud on several occasions throughout the series, and came to really love a lot of the characters. The lack of a satisfactory standalone ending loses Blood Lad some points, but in general it’s an enjoyable watch.

7 stars

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: February Recap

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February was a significantly better month than January, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I still have that sinking feeling that my challenges are really optimistic, but I’m still going to give it my best shot. Here’s where I’m at on my challenges as of the end of February!

Watch 45 anime

February end total: 1

My anime watching in 2021 has been abysmal. I definitely took on too many seasonal shows, and everything else has suffered as a result. I’d like to say I’m up-to-date on the seasonal stuff too, but that would be a colossal lie. Anyway, I have managed to watch Blood Lad (review pending), so at least I’ve got one under the belt!

Read 50 complete manga

February end total: 1

It felt like in 2020 all I did was read manga, but 2021 is not proving the same. I’ve read one complete manga – Haru’s Curse. I’m definitely going to up this, but I’m focusing on reading novels for now whilst I seem to be in the swing of reading.

Watch 30 films

February end total: 1

I cannot believe I haven’t watched any more films so far! I still only have Jojo Rabbit on my list!

Watch 30 anime films

February end total: 0

Unbelievable and embarrassing.

Get 35 platinum trophies

February end total: 4

I had a much better month for platinum trophies in February than I did in January. I picked up a few cheap indie games in the current PSN sale, which proved very quick to get. On the list for platinum trophies obtained in February are We Were Here, Road Bustle, Chickens on the Road, and JigSaw Abundance. 

Clear 30 games from my backlog

February end total: 0

I am very much working on this, but games take a long time, you know?

Play 12 Switch games

February end total: 0

I am also working on this, but there’s only so much time in a day!

Read 12 books

February end total: 2

I felt like in February I got back into my reading groove – I read The Last and The Poppy War. I also started reading another book, but it’s still ongoing. My aim is to smash this target early, and then free up myself to work on other challenges.

blog, purchases

January Purchases

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Collecting up everything for this post, it looks like I had a sensible month. My bank balance would say otherwise, but I think that’s mostly due to paying for preorders and I bought a lot of stationery which I’ve already talked about in previous posts.

IMG_8659We’ll kick off with my new anime additions. If you remember back to the Anime Limited mystery box I got, in the box was Welcome to the Ballroom part 1. You’ll all know by now, I can’t leave a collection unfinished, so I bought part 2 with a code for 20% off. I also added O Maidens In Your Savage Season to my order, as I’ve heard really good things about it.

 

IMG_8661I started the year by playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and it reignited an interest in mythology within me. I wanted to read more about Norse mythology so my knowledge wasn’t just formed from Valhalla and Marvel movies. I also bought a book on Japanese folk tales, which was on my Christmas list but actually became really difficult to buy around that time for some reason, but I managed to get my copy on eBay for pretty cheap!

IMG_8660And finally (I know!) rounding off the post with some manga. I bought the latest volume of My Dress Up Darling despite still not having read the previous volume. I wrote a quick review of the first volume and I really liked it a lot, so I’m looking forward to cracking on with it. I also started to buy a new series, The Kingdoms of Ruin. I haven’t read this yet either, but I really liked the general premise and I thought the cover art looked really cool. I’ll write up a review of it when I’ve read it!

A pretty short post this month, but I have a lot of preorders due to arrive in February so the next purchases post should be a lot more exciting!

Anime

Anime Preview: Winter 2021

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Historically I’ve been pretty rubbish at starting a bunch of seasonal shows and actually keeping up with them but I actually managed to do it for Winter 2020 with the few shows I watched. If I’m anything it’s a person who doesn’t do things by halves or learn from past mistakes, so I’ve gone through the seasonal shows for the rest of the Winter season (Winter part 2?), picked out what I want to watch, cried at how many there are, and wished myself luck keeping up with them all. I thought I’d write up a little preview with my thoughts of the first episode of each, so here you are! I’ll try to avoid going over the plot, because I think with some things you want to find out for yourselves.

2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team

2.43An anime about a boys high school volleyball team? It’ll never work… It’s so difficult to watch 2.43 without comparing it to Haikyuu!!, but once the initial weirdness wore off, I actually really enjoyed the first episode. The tone of 2.43 is totally different to that of Haikyuu!!, it’s still serious and feels fun, but seems to have a slightly more adult tone, with some quite heavy story being introduced straight away. The main characters, Chika and Yuni, both seem interesting at first meeting and I’m intruiged to see how they can develop.

 

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki

tomozakiI don’t have super strong feelings about this anime, but it seems pleasant enough and has made me laugh a few times! I like the characters, and I’m interested to see if it goes where I think it’s going or if it’s going to take not quite such a predictable route.

 

 

 

 

Horimiya

horimiyaHorimiya feels like a really cute love story from the first episode. It seems like both of the main characters, Hori and Miyamura, both have feelings for each other, so I’m interested to see where that goes as more outside influences are introduced. The animation in the show is impeccable, such high quality it almost seems like it belongs in a movie. Both Hori and Miyamura are really interesting and likeable characters, and there seems to be a pretty large supporting cast waiting to be introduced if the promo image and first episode are anything to go by. I’m looking forward to this one!

 

Kemono Jihen

kemonoI love me a supernatural type folklore anime, I think it’s so interesting to see folklore tales from other countries. I really enjoyed the first episode of Kemono Jihen, I thought it was really mysterious and exciting, and I hope it explores more of a detective side of things in future episodes.

 

 

 

Otherside Picnic

othersideI’m not really sure on Otherside Picnic at the moment. I really like the animation, but there didn’t feel like enough focus on the characters for me to get attached to either of them, or really care about the situation. I hope this changes for future episodes, because the premise seems really interesting so far and I think it could have a lot of potential!

 

 

 

Scar on the Praeter

scarThis show had so much exposition in the first episode, it felt really busy and chaotic. I think this also has a lot of potential, but I really hope they don’t cram too much in and slow down a bit from the first episode, as I know it’s only a 13 episode arc. I’m hoping that the first episode was just a lot of set-up and that going forward it might be a lot clearer, so we shall see!

 

 

 

SK8 the Infinity

sk7I really loved the first episode of SK8 the Infinity! I felt like it did a really good job of establishing the world, and the characters, and it was really energetic and fun. It was so colourful and vibrant too, it had me hooked on the first episode!

 

 

 

 

Skate-Leading Stars

skateAny anime wanting to focus on figure skating has a hard job ahead of it after the success of Yuri on Ice!, but I think Skate-Leading Stars does a good job of stepping away from the traditional figure skating perceptions but introducing a new concept in skate leading. I love sports anime anyway, and I’m definitely spoiled for it this season. Skate-Leading Stars worries me somewhat because I think it’s quite hard to create a convincing concept for a sport you’re inventing for the purposes of a show, but hopefully the characterisation and the concept is strong enough to pull through! It certainly seems like it so far, but whether they can maintain that through the season remains to be seen!

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

mushokuI haven’t watched that many isekai anime, I think really only Rising of the Shield Hero in fact, and Sword Art Online if that counts. It’s just not a genre that overly appeals to me, but the promo picture for this looked cool and the concept was interesting; a 34 year old recluse is killed and reincarnated in another world as a baby named Rudy, who then grows up and learns magic and decides to live the life he always wanted in his previous life. If I’m honest, I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with this. For the most part it is pretty cool, I really like the concept and seeing Rudy learning magic and it’s kind of fun to see his inner thoughts which have retained the memories of his previous life and the actions of him as a child. My issue is it’s so crude. I’m not a prude by any means, I’ve watched my fair share of ecchi, but this just rubbed me up the wrong way. One of the first things Rudy does is internally comment on how big his mothers boobs are and makes an remark about looking forward to breastfeeding. There’s also a comment later Rudy’s internal voice makes later on about wondering if another character has reached puberty yet in a really crude manner. I’m uncertain how long I can stick this one for, but I’ll see how I go!

I-Chu

i-chuAs I stated in my IDOLiSH7 review, I’ve got really into idol music and IDOLiSH7 has opened the way for me for idol anime. I-Chu seems pretty generic so far, it was enjoyable enough but nothing really stood out to me in the show in terms of characters or concept.

 

 

 

 

I’m also watching the second seasons of Quintessential Quintuplets and The Promised Neverland, and the second season and spin-off of Cells at Work! A busy season for sure!

Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: IDOLiSH7

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Anime: IDOLiSH7
Studio: TROYCA
Crunchyroll description: A group of aspiring idols gather at Takanashi Productions and are entrusted with the company’s future. The seven men who have just met represent a variety of totally different personalities. However, they each have their own charm and possess unknown potential as idols. Forming a group, they take their first step together as “IDOLiSH7.” Their brilliantly shining dancing forms onstage eventually begin captivating the hearts of the people. In the glorious but sometimes harsh world of idols, they aim for the top with dreams in their hearts.
Genres: Music
Original run: 07/01/2018 to 19/05/2018
Episodes: 17

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If I remember 2020 for anything other than being an all round dumpster fire of a year, it’ll be for being the year I got really into anime idol music. I had a lot of IDOLiSH7 songs on various playlists way before I watched the anime, and I loved them, so I thought it was finally time to dive into the show. For context, I haven’t played the game.

In my limited experience with idol anime, they tend to be quite formulaic; band forms, band has some issues bonding which they get over, band hits success and all is well. Throw in a rival band who are mostly assholes, and you’ve got yourself a show. Whilst IDOLiSH7 does play on a lot of these tropes, it does them really well.

The anime follows the creation of the band, IDOLiSH7, and their journey to debut and beyond. IDOLiSH7 are given a new manager, Tsumugi, who is brand new to the company (that her father owns, nepotism much?), so it’s as much a new experience for their manager as it is for the boys in the band.

Anime based on music live and die by their songs, and IDOLiSH7 has some great ones. I was already pretty familiar with some of them, having listened to mostly idol music all throughout the year, so it was really cool to see them in the context of the show. In the few idol anime I’ve seen before, during performance scenes the animation style switches to CG and it’s really jarring. It’s still very strange to me to see the sudden switch in animation but fortunately, in IDOLiSH7 I didn’t find it too bad and it seemed quite natural and well done.

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What I especially loved about IDOLish7 was the characterisation. Often with a big cast like this, you run the risk of a lot of the characters being under developed and treated very much like a supporting cast. IDOLiSH7 does a great job of giving each of the main characters their own plots and time to shine. Sure, some characters do seem more ‘main’ than others, which is probably an inevitability, but it’s done in a natural way that doesn’t make it seem like these characters are overshadowing others or stealing from their screen time.

IDOLiSH7 is an example of idol anime done correctly. From great characters to catchy songs, all paired with solid animation. It’s really fun to take a journey like this with characters who are so endearing and well meaning, and I’d recommend IDOLiSH7 to anyone who likes idol music or shows!

8 stars