Anime Review 129 Yu-Gi-Oh Vrains (The Dark Side Of Yu-Gi-Oh)

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You know folks. There’s some animes where you pick them up and try to watch them then you start to question why you even bother doing anime reviews in the first place because an anime like Yugioh Vrains comes along and I got to be perfectly honest with you. I have no idea who this anime was actually made for because I thought this was made for me because I liked 5Ds with its realistic written characters and gritty setting but Yrains is not that at all that, I also thought that Yugioh Vrains was made for people who like tightener plot and characters but once again Yugioh Vrains isn’t that. Finally, I thought Yugioh Vrains was made for people who loved MNORPG games but once again Yugioh Vrains isn’t that.

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Even though the series has quote ”sightly has improved towards the end.” with its somewhat interesting third season but when I got to a point I stop caring because by then I wanted this show to end or to a very least get cancelled due to executive meddling or poor ratings in Japan. To be perfectly honest with you. When I watched this anime. When I commuted 2880 minutes of my life to this show the only thing I could think while watching it while experiencing what the anime had to offer from start to finish it only took me about 6 episodes to come to this conclusion.

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This is quite simply the most soulless, tedious, broken and uninspired anime I have ever watched in my entire life.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have more fun watching Darling in the Franxx, Fire Force and Wise Man Grandchild than this because to know what I can work with bad anime because with bad anime I can find some things that I can laugh about or I can see where the anime went wrong and I can point out aspects that could have improved upon but what I cannot work with is something that is soul-crushing boring and tedious and Yugioh Vrains is the embodiment of that.

First and foremost I loathe the writing in Yugioh Vrains.

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Not only it was horribly written to the core but it’s embarrassingly cliche. The sci-fi elements in Vrains is what happens when you take the most generic and stock sci-fi story imaginable and shove it in without any context. It was painful to watch and it constantly made me facepalm and roll my eyes out of embarrassment. The same thing can be said for the duels which were predictable as hell especially with that annoying link spam that is on par with Yuya action card asspulls from Arc V in terms of annoyance.

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This is only made worse by how pathetic the world-building is if you can call it that. The series is set in a virtual reality space known as Link Vrains, where duelist from all over the world can duel each other for fun or competitive.

If that’s the case so why does Link Vrains feel so empty and lifeless. There’s barely anyone interacts with the world of Link Vrains and the VRMMORPG aspects more often than not feel like a hamfisted plot device for the show soulless writing. In many ways Link Vrains is no different from the virtual reality worlds of Sword Art Online as both worlds were heavily unexplored, and they often used as plot device. There’s no casual to competitive weekly tournaments for players to participate to win prices, no adventure quests, no online store nothing. What kind of competitive VRMMORPG game is this?

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The one thing that really infuriated me about Vrains is how it tried to be more epic and deep than it actually is. Compared to any other Yugioh instalments Yugioh Vrains is story focused which was great on paper but it all comes crashing down thanks to abysmal writing which I already mentioned as well lack of self-awareness that exposes its pretentious nature, I honestly hate using the word pretentious when I review an anime that has an inept story but Vrains is a special exception. Vrains tries to tackle serious topics and themes of abuse, victims, survives, virtual reality, loneliness yet not only they were executed badly but the series at many cases shouts out how mature and smart it is when it actually not. Just because you threw away many story elements in the franchise such as a laid back tournament arc in favour of mature sci-fi/virtual reality elements doesn’t automatically make you series mature.

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You have to prove yourself that these new story elements are well written enough to justify of removing key aspects that the franchise is known for. Vrains doesn’t do any of that and your left with an insufferable pretentious sci-fi series that barely resembles Yugioh at all. Now I mentioned it Yugioh Vrain doesn’t feel like a Yugioh show at all as it feels like I’m watching a awful sci-fi series that has been rejected by various Japanese TV producers and I believe that the only reason the badly written script even saw the light of day because they had to slap in a well-known franchise in to the mix that being Yugioh. You can tell that from the very first episode that the tone, pacing, character establishment and dialogue were off even for Yugioh standards.
You could say the same thing for 5Ds but it proved itself that even with its mature approach was still a Yugioh show. Vrains feels like an unneeded gimmick just like the link format itself. I can write an essay of how it four of it’s summon methods being Fusion, Synchro’s , XYZs and Pendulums were shut down thanks to the forced link mechanics that effectively killed a big wave of decks and archetypes but I won’t do it here because this review will end up being over 3000 words long.

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The kicker of Yugioh Vrains is the atrocious pacing. If you thought Black Clover, Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul re, Index Season 3 and Darling in the Franxx were atrocious in pacing you have not seen an episode of Vrains. I am not exaggerating when say I this but Yugioh Vrains has the absolute worst pacing I have ever seen in my life. It’s so padded, so rushed especially for seasons 2 and 3 I cannot help to notice that the series was going through serious production issues which it actually did because the people who worked on Vrains actually talked about the numerous production issues to the public. I will give the Vrain’s staff credit for addressing the production issues to the public on social media but I wish the Vrains staff had handled its plot, charterers and visuals better because they were garbage.

 

 

 

Season 3 is not much better.

 

I will give the season some credit for having a interesting final villain and the somewhat decent ending that managed to better than Arc V ending but unfortunately the damage from the poorly constructed first 2 seasons has already been done.

Now we have the characters who are somehow even worse than the lifeless plot.

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Yusaku is the main protagonist of the series and my main problem with him is that he is a Gary sue brick. He has zero personality just as he barely has any facial expressions other than a straight face. He also has little to no character development as by the time you get to season 3 he’s still the same brick character from episode 1.

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Let’s not forget he is a complete dick to he’s friends as well the fact he’s an overpowered duelist who never loses. One of the main reasons why I liked Yusei a character from 5Ds is that the cool and relatable character. Sure he never lost a duel in the anime, but he’s character chemistry towards the cast as well he’s well-written backstory and collective personality completely make up. Yusei is a character. Yusaku is an emotionless sack of shit husk who has no friends, no personality and no ideals. That is why he is the worst protagonist I have ever encountered in an anime.

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When I was binge watching Yugioh Vrains with a friend he mentioned that the supporting characters are nothing more than soulless archetypes, and he couldn’t be more right.

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One of the few good characters.

 

 

The supporting characters like with Yusaku don’t develop at all and unlike the protagonist they are utterly useless with a few exceptions like Ai, Shoichi, Roboppy and Revolver which were the saving graces of this travesty of a show.

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The Yugioh franchise has always lived with diverse and colourful cast of characters. There’s a reason why both anime and Yugioh fans grow to love characters like Yugi, Kaiba Ryo, Joey, Zane, Aster, Jaden, Akiza, Sheery, Jack, Leo, Kaito, Anna, Ryouga, Rei, Shun, Yuto, Sora, Dennis Serena etc..

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They have personality and are interesting to watch, regardless of if they’re playing card games or not. Characters from previous Yugioh series all have good to great character chemistry with each other due to amazing character interactions that play each other well E.g Sora and Shun, Sora and Yuya, Zane and Aster, Jack and Yusei, Jack and Carly, Jaden and Chazz. Rei/Vector and Yuma.

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Yugioh Vrains doesn’t do any of that as every single character apart from Revolver, Roboppy Shoichi and Ai are lifeless husks that barely do anything worthwhile other to be plot devices and cannon fodder. How pathetic.

 

 

 

Now I mentioned before the visuals in this show were garbage, and I still stand by that. I can forgive the inconsistent character designs, the choppy animation, the crappy CGI and the messy shot composition since this is a long-running series and long-running series tend to have lower budget compare to seasonal anime but I cannot forgive is the consistent still frames, camera shake and motion filer that were heavily abused throughout the 120 episode run. It just makes an already poorly constructed series even more painful to watch.

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The music is nothing to write home about. The soundtrack features a generic score of sci-fi, electronic and forte tracks that while fit the anime is not all that memorable.

The opening themes are pretty good especially  the first one With the Wing, the ending themes are fine, the voice acting are fine. Overall the sound aspect of Vrains is the most harmless thing about it.

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For the first time I will be suggesting improvements for series that I hate.

I know that’s a bizarre move on my part especially when I just tor this show apart but I believe that with the rights tools and staff. Yugioh Vrains could have been just as great if not better than 5Ds.

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First off give Yusaku a likeable personality. Until the end of the series Yusaku had little to personality as he was a Stoic guy just pulls a straight face. Not to mention he was a complete dick to everyone. I understand he was abused as a child, but he has no reason to take his frustration on others. My suggestion for Yusaku personality is to be cool and friendly individual who tries to move on with his past while occasionally having PTSD from his dark past that causes him to have a change of personality.

Also, have him lose a duel please…

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Establish the world of Link Vrains. There should have been some downtime where the characters are just hanging exploring Link Vrains doing in-game activities It could help spice Yusaku characterisation early on as he mostly Stoic. Even Gundam Build Divers did that and that show was more unfocused than Fallout 76.

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Have a tournament arc. Having an arc like that in the show could have not only brought the world of Link Vrains to life but it could have fleshed out it’s supporting characters. This is something that Cardfight Vanguard and Future Card Buddyfight did as it made many of the supporting characters for those shows are just as memorable as the mains.

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Feature a child character like Leo (5Ds) or Sora (Arc V)that accompanies Yusaku on his adventures in Link Vrains. Having a kid character could have made the plot more interesting. It could have showcased the lighthearted side of Vrains with the added comedy. Finally, the kid charterer could have helped Yusaku come out of his shell as well paralleling Yusaku’s old personality from childhood before the abduction that caused him to be an anti-social individual.

So that was Yugioh Vrains. A broken, soulless, half fast, insufferable mess of a show that has some of the worst characters, production values and writing I have ever seen. It is a series that tries to be different compare to any other instalment yet it lost its own Yugioh identity along the way it devolved into this boring and uninspired sci-fi series that barely resembles Yugioh at all. On top of all that there’s no passion whatsoever.

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Everything that Yugioh Vrains did were done better in different anime. This is not only my least favourite Yugioh instalment but its also one of the worst animes I have seen in long while and that is sad because as much I hate to admit it Yugioh Vrains had the potential to be great.

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It had a lot of great ideas that could ‎have made Yugioh relevant again in the main stream side of anime but instead we get a broken, unpolished and soulless mess an anime that will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

2.5/10

Anime Review 128 Wise Man’s Grandchild

The Isekai genre has a problem.

It’s a problem that has been going on ever since 2016 with the release of Konosuba and Re:Zero. It is also a problem that more often or not ruins the industry image from outsiders as many people from other mediums would say that the anime medium is vapid shit that has no substance base on the self insert/waifu pandering that were shown by various Isekai anime.

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Wise Man’s Grandchild is the embodiment of this as it’s not only a horrendously made anime that is void of passion and creativity it also shamelessly represents everything that is wrong with this genre.

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The plot centres around a self insert Gary Sue named Shin Walford who is reincarnated as a baby in a fantasy world after getting ran over and killed by truck kun in his previous life. He is soon adopted by an old wander named Merlin Walford and soaked up Merlin’s teachings, earning him some shocking powers and abilities; however when he turned 15 Merlin realised that he forgot to teach him quote “Common sense and social skills’. Unquote. I wish I joking.

Anyway with the help of Merlin’s friend Shin enrols into Shin into a prestigious magic academy where he can not only socialise with people but to also hone his skills and abilities. Thus he’s adventures begin.

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If I had to describe the story in one world is lazy. You know when you have that one 12 year old in class that constantly shares their bad anime fanfics to you.

That’s what this show is. It’s a collection of generic anime cliches and fantasy isekai story elements that don’t mesh well together thanks to the shows vomit including writing which I will get to in a bit.

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There are no stakes whatsoever as the protagonist would overpowered the villains at any time. The setting is a generic boring setting before. There’s no world-building to speak as the show rather spends it’s time on sick self insert pandering.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the writing was so trash. You cannot watch a single episode of Wise Man’s Grandchild without face slamming your head on a iron table.

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This is only enhanced by the 12-year-old tier fan fiction dialogue which was downright painful to watch on screen.
The worst thing about Wise Man Grandchild is how lazy it is. I know I just described the story as lazy but this is only the thick of it as it not only rips off plots from other isekai/fantasy anime it also reuses locations with little to no changes.

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My favourite being Kazuma’s Mansion as despite being slighting brighter as well-having adding and removing a couple of outdoor mansion decoration the mansion is the bloody same. I understand that drawing hundreds of backgrounds for an anime is hard, especially on a tight deadline and budget but nobody has been stupid enough to recuse background scenery from other isekai animes as plan B. It’s like I’m watching a anime equivalent of a asset flip of steam.

The asset flip and poorly written story is made worse with the soulless characters are a void of personality.

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Shin is a boring Gary Sue who is overpowered and has no flaws.
He has a personality of a brick and he has no motivations other to project his friends and city because plot reasons.

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The supporting characters are just a collection of bland anime stereotypes that you have all seen before.
You have the shy blue hair girl with big boobs, the tsundere red hard girl, the yellow hair kindhearted best friend boy and couple of old farts. How lazy and uninspired can you get.

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Finally we have villains and to be honest the less I speak about them the better because you can tell what type of villains they are going to be based on the amateur hour poster that was done in Photoshop.

The presentation is a mixed bag. While the animation is subpar and fight choreography at times is laughable the character designs, background scenery and lightning were pretty solid minus the stock images.

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The soundtrack had as much passion as the plot and characters. It uses various generic fantasy tracks that don’t keep the viewer interested due to how bland they are.

This is only made worse by poor direction as various times it doesn’t know how to properly place it’s own tracks to create tension to the fights and narrative.
Both the opening and ending themes are generic pop songs with meaningless lyrics.

The voice acting for both languages is alright but nothing too special.

Wise Man’s Grandchild.exe has stopped working.

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Wise Man’s Grandchild is what happens when you have no creativity and passion. It is an infuriating garbage fire that relays on cliches and tropes just to please the lowest common denominator of anime fans with it’s cringely dialogue and fan fiction writing.
Wise Man’s Grandchild may decent production values and voice acting but it ultimately don’t matter if your plot and characters were at the bottom of the barrel.

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The only thing that you should do as Wise Man’s Grandchild is concerned is to stay as far away from it as possible as this is just another Isekai anime that has no soul and passion.

Avoid the series like the plague and watch That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime or The Saga of Tanya the Evil instead.

2/10

Anime Review 127 The Rising Of the Shield Hero

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime was great. It was a show that brought me back to the isekai train after watching that certain broken heap of an isekai anime from the Summer 18 season that shall not be mention. The story was fun and nicely written. The characters were fun and enjoyable especially Rimuru.
The visuals were beautiful and the music as well voice acting for both languages were great. It’s was the best isekai anime that I watched despite its few faults.

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Naturally I decided to check out Shield Hero as I thought it would be the next best iskeai anime that will surpass Slime based on the amazing premise. It had potential to the savoir of this tiresome and uninspired genre. Maybe that was my mistake and I expecting too much for a isekai anime.

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So what exactly went wrong here?
Story, characters, themes, world-building, direction all of the above?

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In order to not immediately begin destroying this contrived mess of a plot I’ll start talking about what I liked and that is the revenge aspect of Shield Hero.
One of the main things that made Shield Hero stand out of the isekai crowd is that it was the first true dark isekai anime. You could say that Re:Zero was the first true dark isekai anime however it only had one episode that was truly dark while the rest the show is tamed in comparison.

From start to finish as we follow a broken damaged lead trying to save the world while trying to endure and fight the endless hatred caused by the people he was summoned.

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This alone really made Shield Hero unique in the story aside of things as it ditches most of the story elements that were in other isekai anime in order introduced new story elements that not presented in other isekai anime until now with Shield Hero.
Shield Hero is a core a revenge story.

The revenge story may not be as special when it comes to anime but Shield Hero is one of the most fascinating and rewarding revenge stories I have seen period. While it may not as well written like Skip Beat and Gankustou it was still a fascinating ride I really enjoyed.
Seeing Naofumi humiliating and take down the people that caused his reputation to get shattered put a smile on my face as he really went through a lot order to have the will to take them down. This all thanks to the shows fairly competent writing when it’s not being incompetent pandering feast and that is where our problems begin.

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While the revenge aspect of the show was strong from start to finish I cannot say the same thing for the other story elements such as the save the world from the waves. The waves are basically your typical survival arenas that you see in video game and they are not that interesting in the slightest thanks to weak execution.

I give the show credit trying to make the waves interesting toward the end but by then the show was already over by the point.

Another major problem that would later plague the anime is how they make everyone minus the protagonist dumb and contrived. This alone really takes a massive shit of Naofumi’s revenge tale as it could have been avoided if the characters just shut up and behave like actual human beings.

Furthermore why did no one in the capital cast a lie detector spell on both Naofumi and Malty chest. Any person with a brain would have put a lie detector spell on someone in case they are lying where they could receive a shock. The fact that the series showcased that the slave crest can also detect lies in episode 21 was infuriating and it really highlights just how contrived and poorly written the series is as it could have used in episode 1 for Naofumi’s trial.

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Don’t get me started with the lacklustre world-building. I will give it Shield Hero credit for least trying to establish it’s own world in certain episodes it compared to most other isekai animes but it’s still lacklustre as the world at various points feels so lifeless and empty.

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The UI system is not interesting in the slightest as just an another generic UI system that has been done in other isekai anime in the past.

Now Shield Hero has a lot of themes yet most of them were poorly executed. My favourite is how the show tackles the topic of slavery. Not only it was handed incredibly poorly due to how preachy it was but the topic of slavery more often gets shafted (especially in the second half) in favour of stupid pandering.

By far the biggest problem with Shield Hero is that it doesn’t truly know what it’s want’s to be.

At first the show is a dark revenge story then it’s a power fantasy and then it’s adventure series then it’s a harem. This alone really screw up the tone, direction and pacing of the series.

The first 4 episodes of Shield Hero is very grim and dark that has a lot of tension and atmosphere thanks to the subject matter of rape and humiliation. Naofumi is portrayed as a cold lead who just wanted to revenge of the people that humiliated him. unfortunately episodes 5 and onward the series decided for the most part puts it’s revenge plot in the bus just so the series can put add generic isekai tropes and cliches for a show that didn’t need it in the first place.

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It’s not like the revenge has been shafted the revenge aspect it’s but doesn’t appear all the much post episode 5 as series decides to wastes it’s time of sick self insert loli pandering.

Finally the final 4 episodes which is without a question one of the most boring and lacklustre final 4 episodes I have ever seen period.
Not only did the series completely jump the shark where it introduced plot threads up it’s ass but it also lost it’s purpose.

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Episode 21 in terms of atmosphere and direction feels like I’m watching a finale of anime and it really shows. The episodes after that feels like episode fodder as it’s filled with fan-service and plot threads that won’t fleshed out due to the low episode count. I give the final 4 episodes credit for showcasing Naofumi’s new powers and abilities then again could have ended with a cliffhanger.

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The final thing I want to point out it’s the controversy the first episode. When Shield Hero first aired it was met with controversy thanks to it’s offensive content where Malty (aka Bitch) falsely accused Nafoumi for raping her. I can definitely get why people get mad of this shakely storytelling as it was done much better in Persona 5 but what I cannot forgive is a bunch of SJW try-hards trying to put down a show just because it deals with more serious themes and topics.

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This is why I didn’t give two shits about the Goblin Slayer controversy as that series as it was awful show regardless of the controversy being there or not.

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The characters aren’t much better as all of them minus Nafoumi and Raphtalia ranged from bland, annoying, poorly written or the combination of the three.
Let’s start with Nafoumi who is easily the best thing about Shield Hero.

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He start off a grumpy individual who doesn’t trust people but is the series progresses with the aid of Raphtalia not only does he open up to people he also becomes a proper badass especially towards to final quarter of the series.

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Another strong aspect of Naofumi that is not overpowered as he mostly relay on his partners to take down various enemies. Finally he is not a bore to watch which more I can say about iskeai protagonist as they all lifeless self insert husks.

Nafoumi is tied with Rimuru for being my favourite isekai protagonist.

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Another character that I really liked is Raphtalia. She may not be as good as Naofumi in terms of development but she’s a good character in her own right.

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I liked her chemistry towards Naofumi despite being a loli she will do anything to project Naofumi from falling into darkness.

Sadly this is where my praise of the characters end the show has lot of characters yet all of them are cliched and poorly written to the core.

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The other heroes are bunch of soulless character archetypes. They don’t develop as characters whatsoever and they all incredibly contrived. The bottom dog of the bunch a spear hero who is one of the most contrived and dumbest characters I have seen. His dialogue is painful to listen as he incredibly preachy for the sake of it and he’s the main source of the shows major contrivances. In many ways he no different Sugou from Sword Art Online thanks to comically evil appearance and dialogue.

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Finally the less I say about his confrontation towards the Shield Hero the better. The same thing can be for said Malty and Filo as they are literally loli trophies that constantly suck of Naofumi hairy crotch for a living

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The villains are garbage. They are all evil for the sake of being evil especially Malty who is probably the worst female villain I have ever seen in any fictional work. Her motivations are contrived beyond belief and she’s overall a slag.
She’s comically evil and not even treating in the least. Her contrived motives aren’t explained or given any depth whatsoever.
Our villains ladies and gentleman.

As for overall presentation Shield Hero looks beautiful for the most part . It may not be as colourful as 8bit That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime but it still has that special visual flare that helped it stood out from the crowd of other isekai anime. Character designs for the part were appealing to look at. The background scenery has a lot of attention that is only made better by the use of dark soft colour palette.

The animation is for the most is good. The fight choreography is solid, character movement is smooth and there’s rarely any recycled footage.

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Unfortunately Shield Hero visually is not perfect for one the animation does dip a bit for certain episodes as it messes up the overall good fight choreography of the series. The second and final notable issue was the crappy use of CGI as it was not only ugly to look at it also didn’t blend in with the 2D animation.

Now we have the soundtrack and it’s shocking subpar. The series features a dull score, of fantasy music that don’t keep the viewer interested with the scene due to how bland they were.

Sure there were a couple of decent tracks ever now and then, but it wasn’t not enough to save this mediocre soundtrack.

The first opening theme Rise by MADKID is a fantastic opening that not only fit’s the tone of the series it also a generally well-produced song that is filled with great vocals that screams hype.

The same cannot be said for the second opening theme FAITH by MADKID. It’s still a good opening on on its own right but it was missing the intensity that was from the first opening.

I may be the minority when I say this, but I really dislike the ending themes. Everything about them scream generic and lazy with they boring vocals and mediocre ending visuals.

The voice acting is great for both languages. The voice actors for both the dub and sub did a fantastic job with the roles that they were given. Notable performances go to Kaito Ishikawa as Nafoumi (sub), Billy Kametz as Nafoumi (dub), Erica Mendez as Raphtalia (dub) and Rina Hidaka as Filo (sub).

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It’s honesty sad what happened here. Shield Hero had to be great premise but it totally blew it.
It has underwhelming characterisation, a shitty executed plot that is only made worse by plot contrivances and a subpar soundtrack.
The only thing that saved this show from being terrible is the visuals and main two characters everything else was a mess.

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I honestly though that Shield Hero and Slime would save the isekai genre for me but I guess Shield Hero was not suitable for the job as it showed its true colours which was being an another generic isekai anime.

I hope season 2 and beyond will be better.

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Least you tried Shieldbro.

5/10

Anime Review 126 That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Saying the iseaki genre has overstayed it’s welcome in recent years is a understatement. 

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Once upon a time, the isekai used to be a respective genre for the anime medium. Many of isekai anime that came out before 2016 range from good to great. Some of my favourites being Escaflowne, Fushigi Yuugi and El Hazard. Unfortunately ever since Konosuba and Re:Zero has rapidly going downhill. Not only many isekai anime since Re:Zero were fundamentally bad in every way, but they such a mockery of the genre. Instead of exploring fascinating world, stories and characters we get horrendous dere tropes, sick waifu pandering, beta husk main leads, recycled and shameless world-building.

 

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How did this broken amateur hour get a UK release

It doesn’t help at many of the authors behind are clearly inexperience writers that no passion of telling a story and only doing to for the money. This is not to say that every isekai anime post Re:Zero were bad in fact there were a couple of isekai anime that I liked and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is one of them.

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A show I had no exceptions manages to be the best modern isekai I seen period.

The plot setup is what you expect from this genre. Protagonist gets killed by an accident in the real world. The protagonist gets sent to a fantasy world, the protagonist has to adapt to the new surroundings you get the drill. In spite of the typical isekai set Slime actually manages to do some things partiality different.

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For one our protagonist is middle age man instead of an another teenager. This aspect alone really made Rimuru Tempest stand out of the as he’s to be much more mature and layback protagonist for the viewer to relate to.

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One thing that I appreciated is how self-aware it is. The show loves makes fun of cliches and tropes for the fantasy/isekai genre for example in one episode Rimuru comments on the glowing angry red-eye cliche. (Goblin Slayer and Berserk 2017) I found so humorous that I could not stop laughing, Speaking of comedy the comedy in Slime is also very good.

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It has a great sense of humour from start to finish, many of the jokes seemed to land perfectly thanks to comedic timing and structure and the show is generally funny.

The show is for the most part is well paced never dragged or rushed.

The writing least for the first half is one point with very little hiccups. My favourite arc in the show was the Shizu arc. Not only that arc was amazingly well written from beginning to end but this was the arc that made me love Rimuru. I already said he was different from other isekai protagonists but this was the arc that demonstrated it the most especially with he’swell written dialogue.

 

 

 

 

 

If there was one thing that Slime has over other isekai anime is the amazing attention to detail with it’s world-building. The world-building for Slime is outstanding because not only the series was capable of making the world feel alive but the attention to detail from the monster races, lore and various locations were stunning. Everything I said so far ties up to the main theme of Slime which is cooperation. We see characters from various races and backgrounds come to work together to build the ultimate monster village, so they can live in peace.

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Sadly this series is not perfect. For one, despite the fascinating simple nature, I feel the show barely had stakes when it comes to conflict. Many of the conflict that happen in this season were solved with ease due to overpowered Rimuru and his pals were. It may not be as bad compare other isekai anime it doesn’t make it less jarring knowing that Rimuru and his pals would quickly solve any conflict with little to no struggle.

Hopefully, this problem will be fixed in season 2.

The second half is notably weaker than the first half. Not only the show became mostly directionless, but the writing started to go kinda off rails. It was shocking cliche overall.

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The dialogue became less charming and the final arc of the season wasn’t all that interesting. It’s such as shame that this season ended on a weak note yes it second half had some great moments but theses moments didn’t save the second half from being inferior then again I’ve seen worse isekai second half’s cough Shield Hero, Re:Zero and Konosuba.

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Now we have the characters which are surprising pretty great. They may not be the best written cast in the world or anything but they are still a likeable and fun bunch of characters that you can grow attach to in some way.

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At first glance, Rimuru Tempst may be a another self insert isekai protagonist with no personality and quirks but as the series progress you will start how unique and different Rimuri is compared any other isekai protagonist and that is he is mature. Before this series all isekai protagonist were either goofy, load and over the top and that trend got tiring overtime as they were a bunch of isekai anime especially in recent memory just featured a generic teenage protagonist. Besides those differences I really like Rimuru as a protagonist.

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I found him to be very smart. I really liked his determination of making his own town and it was very likeable for beginning to end despite him being overpowered then again I blame the writing rather than the character.

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The supporting characters are also very good.

Each of supporting characters is unique in terms of characterisation and personality.

I also liked how developed alongside the plot meaning they are not just mindless minions that follow Rimuru for the sake of it they all follow Rimuru’s because of various reasons why they want to

My favourite supporting characters were Milim, Souei, Shion, Benimaru, and Shizue.

Studio 8bit is a pretty niche studio when it comes to anime as they haven’t made anything that is the worth of  apart from numerous throwaway animes. So, I expected this series to have mediocre visuals, but animation staff of Slime proved me wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

The characters designs were well drawn especially Rimuru’s human form. The background scenery is beautiful to look at, and it’s fulled with colour.

The animation is smooth, crisp, well animated and consistent. It didn’t relay on still frames nor recycled animation.

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The soundtrack was done by Elements Garden the same people that produced the soundtrack for Uta no Prince Sama and Symphogear. Personally I thought the soundtrack was pretty good for a isekai. The soundtrack features a good score of adventurous, upbeat, 8bit and fantasy tracks that perfectly captures the tone of the series.

The opening themes for Slime are absolutely fantastic Both of them give that peaceful and lack back vibe of the series. My favourite out of the two openings is the 2nd opening Meguru Mono.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing for the ending themes as they forgettable. They weren’t bad ending by any means it just they didn’t resonate with me compared opening themes.

The English dub done by Funimation is one of the best dubs I heard in a long while. It is very well acted, the audio quality was clean and all the English actors did they a game in terms of voice acting.

The best performance in the dub is hands down Brittney Karbowski. She did a magnificent job voicing the quirky and laid back Rimuru Tempest.

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Despite it’s issues with second half as well the lack of stakes I had a great time with Slime.

It’s may not be winning any writing awards anytime soon but it won the best isekai series award due it’s amazing world-building, charming characters. Strong English dub, beautiful production values and great soundtrack.

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With that said I hope future authors will follow on Slime’s footsteps because I want to see a good isekai anime that will be on par or even surpass Slime. I don’t want to see another isekai anime that priorities waifus over storytelling nor a half fast isekai anime that has no passion or soul.

Take some time and put some effort that’s all I task.

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Follow the Slime, avoid the Smartphone.

8/10

Anime Review 125 Goblin Slayer

The fall 18 is a pretty interesting season for anime. It was the season that gave us the nicely written romcom anime Bunny Girl but at the same time, it gave us the ultimate train-wreck of 2018 that was Tokyo Ghoul re where that season completely shat itself.

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It was also the season that gave us the very underrated Release The Spyce, the epic and fun continuation Golden Kamuy second cour and the lovely sweet Bloom Into You.

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However all out all the anime from the fall 18 season there was one show that totally shocked the anime community when it first aired and that anime was Goblin Slayer. When the show first aired it gained a lot of controversy as it contained a lot of rape scenes that shocked the anime community. The first episode was so shocking.

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Crunchyroll themselves had to change the rating from PG13 to R17+. Despite that, the first episode of Goblin Slayer didn’t bother me all that much as I already knew by an advance that the series would have a lot of shock values thanks to people’s reactions and unfortunately that is where Goblin Slayer starts to fall apart quickly because this is not a good series at all. If you remove the rape scenes, you’re just left with a lifeless husk of a fantasy anime that fails to impresses the viewer outside its dark content.

So what went wrong with Goblin Slayer?

What caused this show to be so bad where it becomes one of the worst animes of 2018?

Because I think everything about the story is horrendous, I will be spiting the story section into small parts starting with the first episode.

This is the worst first episode I seen for 2018 as a whole. Outside of the cringe-inducing over the rape scenes the episode is poorly directed mess that is filled plot contrivances. For starters, the Guild lady is such a pushover because instead of being this strict but helpful builder she is a brain dead idiot who lets a bunch of first timers go ahead with the dangerous adventure without a veteran member of the guild.

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It’s all your fault…

This is incompetent writing at it completely goes against nature and appeal of the fantasy genre that has a rank/level system. How would you like it if there was no one stopping you from going into caves that contained high-level monsters that can one-shot newbies? That defiantly wouldn’t be fair as the newbie would have a big disadvantage from the beginning.

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The whole point of having a rank system is to not only identify players ranks but to also the people who have an edge in terms of battle experience. On top of all that we don’t see the new adventurers even get prepared at all as stuff like testing out gear, magic, training by fight low-level creatures and even stocking potions/revival herbs are non-existent at all.

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There’s a difference of being realistic and being downright incompetent there is no way in hell that an inexperienced group would do a quest without even getting prepare for it.
This is almost as stupid as fighting the giant in Skyrim at level 1 carrying weak battle gear with no potions.

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Keep this in mind this is just the first episode. The series somehow manages to get even worse as time goes one as show literally betrays itself as a dark fantasy as where it decides to become the laziest and unoriginal light-hearted fantasy harem anime I have ever seen in my life. Many fantasy story elements from Goblin Slayer were done so much in other fantasy anime and some of the episodes feel like boring filler content.

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Really…

The tonal shifts were out of control at various points, the pacing is below average and the writing itself is straight out incompetent. My favourite example of this incompetent writing happens in episode 7. After Oona pees herself off out of pure fear Giant goblin grabs her. Instead of biting her head off the goblin decided to bite a small part of her arm causing her to scream very loudly. This contrivance causes Goblin Slayer to get a random berserk power where despite him bleeding a lot in the progress he makes to take various goblins in his way until they eventually run away.

All of this is due to Goblin Slayer having writing comparable to bad fan-fictions done by 12-year-olds and I’m sure that one of that the same 12-year-old writer who wrote Akame Ga Kill also wrote this.

Before I talk about the worst thing about Goblin Slayer let’s talk about the shows pathetic excuse of world-building. The world-building is Goblin Slayer is absolutely abysmal because not only does the series goes a horrendous job at establishing its own world but the people into the universe have absolutely no regard of the people are living in it.

Some of the examples include how the group of adventures don’t seem to have a reaction to the wagon that is filled with traumatised women who have been raped by goblins. Another example of how people in this universe don’t seem to care about the goblin race as they all say that Goblin is weak creatures even though they have been capable of killing and raping people including experience adventurers.

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As for the world establishment in Goblin Slayer itself, it’s pretty awful. The lack of establishing monster races other than Goblins, blacksmith, inns, the name of the country that the series is set and I could go and go. The world-building in Goblin Slayer it makes the world-building in Akame Ga Kill and Re:Zero (White Fox other fantasy show) look competent by comparison.

Now if you thought the world-building is dogshit, the series direction is somehow even worse.

In my Tokyo Ghoul re: review, I mentioned that it was the worst directed series I have ever seen. Goblin Slayer made me seriously question what it really was. For me to answer this question is yes. Tokyo Ghoul re: was direction ultimately way worse but the direction in this series is still a complete abomination to a point where it makes the series direction for Tokyo Ghoul Root A and Gantz look competent by comparison.

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You may think that I’m just skipping the character selection together to talk about the shows visuals but trust me this shows direction is so utterly horrendous I literally had to start talking about the show technical aspects.

Some of the examples of the show abysmal directing happen in the first episode where get a bunch of disjointed shots off our adventures fighting the goblins. It was not pleasing to see thanks to abysmal camerawork and framing and it only made the scenes look more pathetic than actual fear.

Another good example happens in episode 11 where the character model of Goblin Slayer keeps changing to bad CGI model to 2D model. What had me face-palming hard was when he talked about the hoard of Goblins planning to attack the outskirts of the town the character model of Goblin Slayer kept on changing even when he isn’t moving at all..

The best example of this show horrible  direction happens at the end of episode 7. Normally in anime when an episode ends, a show would have nice transitions to the end credits. While not all shows are perfect of transitioning to the end credits it still does a good job of telling the audience visually that the episode of set series has finished. So what does Goblin Slayer episode 7 do you may ask?

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Well instead of closing the episode like every other anime the series decides to have looped a still image with an eye-opening and closing for two minutes. TWO MINUTES!!! This decision boggled my mind so much that I thought I would intensely drop dead on the floor. How did anyone in Japan greenlight this broken directed mess of a episode?

The most infuriating part about all this that the dub version still kept that looped still shot. Could the production in this show be any more incompetent? Did someone in the editing room simply forget to do a transition to end credits? I’m sorry but this was simply unacceptable. I honestly cannot believe that this shit was a thing. Also, we don’t speak about the recap episode of Goblin Slayer as it was just a horrendously compilation of poorly edited clips of the series that we already have seen before.

The characters Goblin Slayer are awful and I was being dead serious when I said that. They all just a bunch of uninspired one-dimensional shitheads.

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Goblin Slayer is one of the worst written characters in 2018. Not only he’s an unlikable and unrelatable to the eye but he only has a single character trait that he just wants to kill Goblins for the rest of his life. I understand the series tried to make him as this stoic badass character but didn’t work thanks to terrible writing. In many ways, he’s no different to the typical silent protagonist that you will see in Video Games.

Onna is not much better, in fact. She is even worst then Goblin Slayer as she is a just a plan useless girl from start to finish. There’s nothing else to say about this useless husk of a character who just incompetent with her role and pissing herself whenever she gets scared.

The rest of the characters in Goblin Slayer are nothing but the bottom of the barrel collection of fantasy characters tropes.

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Old drunken fart (Dwarf Shaman)
Generic fantasy girl (High Elf Archer)
Tits girl (Cow Girl)
Bootleg Guts (Heavy Swordsman)

I could go on and one talking about how lifeless these characters are I won’t because since this show doesn’t care about making these characters interesting so why should I bother. They are just a bunch of empty husks that exists in this lifeless husk of a fantasy show that prioritises pandering to a certain audience being the edgy 12-year-olds over actually telling a story that has a purpose.

Goblin Slayer visually look liked they been lobotomize. There is not a single frame of decent art here let alone okay animation. Now I think about it this show seriously looks like it was fished out of a toilet. Some of the visuals in Goblin Slayer looked bad in 2002.

 

The characters designs in Goblin Slayer uninspired as they all looked they throw away concept art for set fantasy anime. The same thing can apply for the background scenery.
The fight choreography ranged subpar to awful as many of the battles outside the rape scenes don’t seem to have any impact or weight to it as the animation is stiff and terribly animated.

Let’s not forget the shows horrendous use of CGI for the Goblins and Goblin Slayer himself.

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The soundtrack has about much effort about put to it as the characters and visuals. The tracks are all uninspired fantasy that you all heard before. Many of the tracks sound like bad ripoffs from Overlord, Akame ga Kill and Berserk. Not they are generic but they sounded generically bad. The same thing can apply for the opening and ending themes.

The sub was okay for what it was as all the Seiyuus did an alright job with the roles that they were giving. So I have no complaints whatsoever with the sub.

The dub for Goblin Slayer is absolutely awful in every way possible. I seriously don’t know what the hell was Funimation was thinking when they decided to dub the because it sounds like ass. The worst dub is Goblin Slayer himself as the actor who voiced him sounded like he was holding a tin can walkie-talkie.

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Goblin Slayer is a disgrace of a fantasy anime. It tried to this epic fantasy anime that contained a lot of blood and rape but it ultimately falls completely flat its face thanks to dreadful directing, empty characters, horrendous world-building that puts Akame ga Kill to shame and dreadful writing.

Studio White Fox may be a shit studio when it comes it fantasy anime but after watching Goblin Slayer it made me realise that they are not capable of making/adaptation fantasy anime as the studio would pander to the lowest common denominator rather than make a story that is worth telling.

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You’re better off watching Berserk and Slayers rather than watching this bottom of the barrel fantasy anime that toys around the viewer with its stupid fan-service and awful shock value.

2/10

Anime Review 124 Fruits Basket 2019 (Best Shoujo Anime From This Decade)

I enjoyed the original Fruit Basket anime.

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I know that’s an unpopular opinion as the author and manga readers despised the original anime for dropping the ball in terms of adapting the manga but I thought it was a pretty good show, despite its flaws.

When Fruits Basket 2019 was announced around late 2018 I was very excited as I finally got to experience this tragic tale in complete form.

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I went into Fruits Basket 2019 with very high exceptions as I expected the series to deliver it’s promises and fortunately the series managed to meet and surpass my high exceptions as Fruits Basket 2019 is only the best anime I have ever encountered but it’s easily the best Shoujo anime I have seen from this decade.

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Watching Fruits Basket 2019 story unfold was like picking up light hearted fairy tale book only to find out that the fairy tale book that picked has a lot of dark and mystery elements in it. That’s Fruits Basket 2019 plot in the nutshell. It’s a dark and intriguing story that was disguised as a fluffy and light-hearted story.

One of the things you begin to notice while watching the first couple of episodes was how it simply got straight to the point. The series wastes no time establishing its characters, themes and mystery elements to the viewer. It felt like a proper introduction and the way the show did was astounding.

Naturally this is an anime remake and the whole point of an anime remake is not only to fix the flaws were presented in the original adaptation for that particularly series but to also tell the present the classic story again to newer anime fans. This is Fruits Basket 2019 second biggest strength.

You can clearly tell that the Fruits Basket 2019 director Yoshihide Ibata had passion, respect and ambition towards this remake as he made sure it was accurate to the manga from story elements, themes and characterisation and it shows especially in the second half where the original anime went out of bounds.

Before we talk about Fruits Basket 2019 biggest strength I want to talk about the other aspects that it does well-staring with the well handed tonal shifts. One of my biggest issues I have with modern anime is how they struggle to have a consistent tone and many anime that shall be nameless end up being bad.

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Thankfully Fruits Basket 2019 doesn’t suffer from this as it knows how to use its tonal shifts and it never feels out of place due to the show understanding pacing.
Speaking of pacing that’s an another aspect that Fruits Basket well.

The plot moves at the smooth and consistent pace that never bores the viewers. The smooth pacing also gives characters as its mystery and plot elements enough time to shine. Which leads me to Fruits Basket biggest strength theme exploration.

The series explores the themes of child abuse, family, bullying, memories, pain, love, accepting your true self, guilt child abandonment and discrimination. I loved how the series was able to execute and present its theme to the viewer without feeling forced or hamfisted thanks to great writing and direction. This was in retrospect absent in the original anime.

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Obviously a well-written story like this is nothing without strong and likeable characters and fortunately the characters are just as great as the well written plot.

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Thoru is one of the best Shoujo protagonists I’ve ever encountered in a long while. I know you guys are thinking right now. But you called her a great character already in your original Fruits Basket review.

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It is true that I called Thoru a great character in my review for the original anime however the reason why she was not one of my favourite Shoujo leads period is that she a bit of a Mary Sue. 2019 Thoru is not a Mary Sue whatsoever she a caring but mentally damaged person.
Throughout the series we see trying her best to break the Shoma family curse by getting to know the Souma family as well not losing her cool in life due to her tragic past that damaged her mentally as a person. She also a nicely developed character as she changes through the plot with each new Shoma counter.

In the original anime Momiji was my character in series however in the remake Kyo is my favourite character. I just low how aggressive and caring he is when interacting with other characters. Kyo is also a well-developed character as he goes from an angry individual who hates everyone especially to a friendlier person who is able to his peers. Kyou strong characterisation is only better with his sad and well-written backstory.

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Yuki is an another character that I really liked. I loved he’s clam, charming and mysterious personality when he talks to other characters in the series. He also develops through the anime as he goes from an isolated individual who has a hard time communicating to his peers due the Shoma family curse in him to a more spoken individual who is able express his feelings towards others.

The supporting characters are just good and well-written as the main characters.

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In the original series Saki and Arisa were mostly comedic relief characters that only embraced the comedy nature of the original series.

They were hardly relevant in the original plot minus a few key scenes notably episode 25. The remake turns Arisa and especially Saki into more serious and relevant characters and it was honestly for the better.

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Seeing them properly characterised in this remake put a smile on my face as my wish for the now defunct season 2 of the original anime was granted. They finally became more than just tools of the plot as both Arisa and Saki as just as interesting as the Shoma family.

This is not to say Saki and Arisa aren’t funny characters at all they still retain they gags and personality quirks that never fail to make the laugh their asses off.

The other Shoma members are also great. Every Shoma member is unique in terms of personality and seeing them interact with Thoru and the other Shoma members was fascinating due to Fruits Basket 2019 outstanding character chemistry.

The series also manages fantastically characterise every Shoma member to a point where you can sympathise with them including the some of the more loud and bizarre members like Kagura and Hrio.

If there was one word to describe Fruits Basket 2019 it would be gorgeous. Studio TMS did an outstanding job at bring the show to life with the smooth and sharp character designs that were only the enhances by the smooth bright and vibrant colour palette.
The background scenery is bright, well-detailed, and the lighting is spot on. As for actual animation it’s pretty good. Character movement is smooth and there’s hardly any still frames used.

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The series may not be visually stylish as Demon Slayer and March Comes in Like a Lion but it makes up by great direction and shot competition especially towards the final 4 episodes.

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Fruits Basket 2019 soundtrack is for the most part very good. The soundtrack features an upbeat, cheerful and melancholic score that perfectly the tone of the anime.

The first opening theme Again by Beverly is a beautifully composed song that perfectly captures the tone of the series.

The second opening theme Chime” by Ai Otsuka is an upbeat and sparkling song that captures the more light-hearted elements in the series.

The first ending theme Lucky Ending by Vickeblanka is one of my favourite ending themes of all time due it’s calming and beautiful bass. Fun fact the singer who did the ending theme for this also did the famous kickass third opening theme for Black Clover Black Rover.

The second ending One Step Closer by INTERSECTION may not be as great as Lucky Ending but it’s still a pretty solid song.

The voice acting is strong in both languages but if I had to pick between the original Japanese audio and the Funimation English Dub I would easily pick the Funimation Dub. Not only the dub was very well-acted, but the audio quality was top notch. Returning voice actors Laura Bailey, Jerry ewell and Eric Vale absolutely blew the Seiyuus counterparts away.

The new voice cast for certain characters is also very good. My favourite newcomer for the dub is Mikaela Krantz who did a great job of portraying the bubbly Monoji especially with that German accent.
Overall its personal preference but I suggests giving the English Dub a shot.

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Watching Fruits Basket 2019 reminded me why I love this medium. It is a fantastically written and charming series that screams passion and love.

Compared to FMAB and Hunter x Hunter 2011 where you have the opinion to check the original adaptations for more detailed versions of earlier arcs there’s little to no reason to watch the original anime as this remake from head to toe did everything better.

Sure the original series may have nostalgia factor but nostalgia is only as good as it’s overall quality and that where Fruits Basket 2001 unfortunately falls flat on that regard.

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Fruits Basket 2019 is not only great it’s the type of great that makes you laugh, smile, cry and happy.

Studio TMS and Yoshihide Ibata thank you for bringing this classic story to the modern day.

10/10

Anime Review 123 Zombieland Saga.

If there was a word to describe Studio MAPPA it would be disappointing. Being the spiritual successor for Studio Madhouse many of the shows least, in my opinion, fell flat in they face mainly because MAPPA loves the play the field spell card called style over substance where the writing for these shows seemed to fall by the side in favour of pretty colours and flashing scenes. Because of that I grown to dislike MAPPA as a whole as they seem to prioritised flashing visuals over storytelling. Zombieland Saga is, unfortunately, no exception to this as despite the show being advertised as a parody idol anime that had a lot of potential to be good. Unfortunately it the end it ended being another generic seasonal anime that you will easily forget once the anime season is over.

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If I had two words to describe the story of Zombieland Saga it would be missed potential as the series had potential to be this fun parody of the idol genre as a whole would made me laugh for days. Unfortunately as the series progresses the series starts falling apart as it eventually showed it’s true itself where it ended up being a generic idol anime that barely doesn’t do anything different apart from the zombie-idol gimmick. Before I talk about the problems with Zombieland Saga I’m going to talk to quickly talk about the things that I liked about Zomebieland Saga.

The one thing that sold me watching Zombieland Saga is that it was a nice parody of the idol genre as it showcases all the tropes and elements that were using in the idol anime genre and no surprise the first 4 episodes actually did just that as it never took itself too seriously.

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The best and most memorable part of Zombieland Saga was the rap battle in episode 2. Not only the rap battle was very hilarious and entertaining to watch from start to finish, but it was very well set up and timed narrative and visually

If only the rest of the series was as consistently good as the rap battle in episode 2 and with that said it’s times to dive into this show problems.

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Remember when I said that Zombieland is a nice parody of the idol genre. Well the second half did something that it should have not done and that is devolved into a generic copy and paste idol anime where not even the zombie idol gimmick can fully save it. Many character drama aspects in this show were copied and pasted from other anime of it’s generic and the dialogue just became trying. It did have some story moments with Saki and Sakura but other than that the show complete loss of what it made it unique in the first as it sadly devolved into a generic idol anime.

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The worst thing about Zombieland Saga is that simply not all that funny as many of the comedy comes in the form of characters doing dumb things and screaming. The comedy timing was terrible for the most part and many of the jokes ended up becoming forced and boring.
Overall, despite the show being a decent parody of the idol genre that has an interesting zombie gimmick it ultimately ended falling apart into this generic style over substance anime that lost a lot of charm.

The characters in Zombieland Saga were just okay. Not memorable but at the same time they are not bad.

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This may come off as an unpopular opinion, but I don’t like the producer Tasumi all that much. Yes, he had some cool moments every now and then but a lot of the time I found him pretty irritating especially when most of his dialogue is consistent screaming and screeching at set idol.
As for the zombie-idol girls themselves well I thought there was one note. Yes, there was 2 expectations being Saki and Sakura (which I will talk about in a bit) but other than that the zombie idol girls are nothing more but idol cliches on screen.

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Saki was by far my favourite character in Zombieland Saga as well being the most entertaining. She may appear to a typical badass jerk at first especially to Sakura as the series progresses she slowly starts open up to Sakura after proving that she isn’t as completely gutless. I really liked her character development in the series and it really shows in episode 9 where she meets up with her old best friend and biker gang.

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She proves to Reiko daughter that if she contiines acting the way that Saki did when she was alive then she would end up falling in the same fate that caused Saki to die.

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What really made Saki my favourite character happens in episode 2 during the rap battle with Sakura ” Who cares if you’ve got memories” “you won’t get to see your friends and your Tamagotchi’s long dead” We’re done got it?!

Sakura herself was a pretty good character.

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She as this typical idol protagonist archetype at first however as the series progresses she becomes more of an interesting and somewhat relatable character that we can relate. Her backstory in episode 11 was the prime example of this as perfectly showcases of what Sakura would have been as a person if she didn’t get hit by truck kun and as a result, she starts going into heroic BSoD.

The visuals in Zombieland Saga are a mixed bag. While it had a solid colour art-style that fits well with the setting of the series I feel the animation especially the CGI moments hold the visuals back from being great. The models both the human, and zombies are nicely drawn appealing to look at. The background scenery was decent, and lighting was solid.

The animation itself ranged from pretty good to okay. That’s about it really.

The only thing left I say about the show visuals is the use of CGI which was horrendous. I understand the show was meant to parody CGI in idol anime but there’s a difference between actually parodying the CGI and actually making worse than thing that your parodying.

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For a show that mainly focus of music I thought the soundtrack for Zombieland Saga to be underwhelming at best. It’s not a soundtrack I consider to be awful, but it failed to impress me especially when many of the tracks in Zombleland Saga just comes off as generic background idol noise. While the soundtrack was lacking the insert songs completely make it up because they are actually pretty damm good. My favourite insert songs in the show would be Mezame Returner and Dance.

The opening theme Adabana Necromancy sung by zombie idols was a decent opening theme. While I really liked the opening visuals for it, I cannot say the same thing for the song itself which I found to be pretty forgetful.
The ending theme Hikari e sung by the zombie idols was a pretty enjoyable ending that has a nice clamming song that contained good-looking visuals art.

The Seiyuus in the sub did a pretty good job with the roles that they were given. As much I don’t like Tatsumi I thought Mamoru Miyano did a fantastic job voicing the character. Asami Tano as Saki was a also another great performance as she really made this hot headed badass girl come to life.
The dub, on the other hand, was pretty bad as it’s filled with mediocre to bad performances that actually ruins key scenes in the anime. Not only that but the comedy in the dub version is pretty insufferable to listen. Also let’s not forget how Funimation was incredibly lazy when they decided to do the rap battle episode 2 because frankly they didn’t bother to dub at all.

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Zombieland Saga is a bizarre series to judge. There were some strong areas that I really liked like Saki and Sakura, the rap battle in episode 2 and the idol parody stuff unfortunately the flaws in Zombieland Saga outweigh the good. Not only that but the same the series got to the second half the series devolved into this generic flashy idol anime that has a zombie gimmick that contains repetitive/forced comedy and underwhelming characters.

If the series actually stocked to of idol parody routes than this show would have been one of the better animes of 2018 but we ultimately didn’t get that and what we got instead is a typical idol anime that could have been a lot better.

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It’s not a bad series by any means but at the same time it’s not all that memorable outside the rap battle and Saki’s character development.

6/10

Anime Review 122 Tokyo Ghoul re:

This review will cover both Seasons of Tokyo Ghoul re:

“YA DONE FUCKED IT UP”
Angry Joe.

Back in the summer 14 anime season, there was a little star anime called Tokyo Ghoul. After that first season ended the series quickly gained popularity from anime fans from the world making it the success.

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While manga fans beg the differ around due to its content skipping the first season was a decent adaptation that did a good job at bringing in anime only fans to Sui Ishida work.

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One anime season later the second season of Tokyo Ghoul came out which was titled Tokyo Ghoul Root A a confusing, poorly animated and horrendously adapted train wreck not only saddened the anime-only fans but pissed a huge chunk of manga fans. When I finished Root A. Tokyo Ghoul Root A was so bad it killed off a big chunk of the anime fanbase for the series where they all decided to read the manga which while reading it they opinions of the anime drastically changed for the worst where people my self-included no longer consider even the decently handle first season to be good.

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Now fast forward 3 years later we have the Tokyo Ghoul re anime adaptation and let’s just say that this show was dead on arrival.

Am not kidding when I say this but Tokyo Ghoul re is one of the worst animes ever made because not only this show is an absolute failure a manga adaptation but it’s also a failure of an anime product to a point where simply doesn’t function correctly and trust me when I say this that nothing more infuriating than an anime that doesn’t function at all.

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With that said let’s begin with this broken butchered feast.

There are so many things wrong with the story alone I seriously don’t know where to begin and even then talking about this shows problems gives me physical pain. I honestly cannot believe of how awful this series and with that said let’s start talking about this dreadful story.

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One of the first mistakes that Tokyo Ghoul re was how the plot presented itself to the viewer. Instead of getting a half recap episode where it shows us showcases the Kaneki vs Arima you know the fight that was non-existent in Root A the show decided to jump to straight to the action while horrendously introducing its new characters.

I understand that Studio Pierrot wanted to get straight to the action and all but there should be least some decent transition piece from original series to re: This is just straight up ADHD pandering and this poor transition piece alone really highlights how poorly directed this series is especially re:S2 where everything goes to shit in terms of writing and dialogue.

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The pacing in Tokyo Ghoul re is an absolute disaster. Despite this show being 24 episodes mind, you the series moves at a fast pace like a typical battle shounen the fast shounen pacing clearly doesn’t work in Tokyo Ghoul re as the series was meant to be this psychological horror drama series that has a lot of character and story building. Not this broken ass shounen series that completely butchers everything that the original series has set off.

The final nail of the coffin for this broken mess is the direction. Am not kidding when I say this but Tokyo Ghoul re is easily the worst directed series I have ever seen in my life. So many awkward scene transition, awful camera positioning and abysmal shot composition and framing.

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You may be wondering why I haven’t touched the plot for Tokyo Ghoul re: Well that’s because the plot is a complete lobotomised bastardisation of its own source material where all the story elements that happened in the source material have been butchered to oblivion where it no longer makes any sort of sense.

The story was so horrendously broken Funimation had to go out of the way to explain the all the events of Tokyo Ghoul re on a live stream and even then they are having a hard time explaining thanks to this shows pathetic pacing and directing.

The characters don’t fare much better and that’s the tragic part because these characters can be good but the pacing and direction completely kill these characters before they can even open them damm months. Another thing that makes the characters even worse is how the series loves to introduced new characters and like with the original series they barely left an impression in the narrative as they show once or twice then they are never seen or at times ever heard from again…

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Kaneki/Haiseki is a boring and inconsistent husk of a character. Outside of him being a broken adapted character to the core thanks to Studio Pierrot and the staff being the show being incompetent as hell he just boring and inconsistent edgy who does edge/nerdy things for the sake of it.

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Now if you thought Touka was already useless enough in Root A you ain’t seen nothing yet because apart from having set with Kaneki in S2 she literally does nothing at all. What a way to kill a character even harder.

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The Quinx Squad are all bland and uninteresting as they just exist to move this broken plot along. The same thing from Arima as well all the returning characters from the previous series.

As for the other characters. Well, let’s pretend I never said that because they all just appear and disappear as they please.

Overall the characters in Tokyo Ghoul re were about as interesting as watching DSP Gaming Persona 3 let’s play and the way the characters were treated were worse than reading a bad Naruto fanfic.

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Oh boy, where do I even being with this trash on a visual level? The first 2 seasons of Tokyo Ghoul did not have the best production values but both seasons at various point had some decent animation that actually worked. Tokyo Ghoul re: both seasons has none of that as it contently remanded to be a poorly animated shit show from start to finish.

Studio Pierrot took very good looking art from the manga and reduced them into the muddy toilet bowl as the show at various point looked like it was drawn and coloured in freaking DeviantArt in the year 2004 and as a result, the characters designs in this show look like dogshit.

The background scenery is even worse as the show loves it uses its blacks, greys, white and dark blues for the scenery giving the show a dark, depressing feel. Unfortunately, I don’t think Tokyo Ghoul re understands visuals directing because despite the show being Quote “dark” the show’s dialogue as well the fight scenes that scream shounen bias all over the place.

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The animation itself is somehow even worse.
Saying that Tokyo Ghoul re: animation is a travesty is a fast understatement.

I am not kidding when I say this but Tokyo Ghoul re has the absolute worst animation I have ever seen from this decade. Yes even worse than The Master of Rock Bottom. While the animation of the master of rock bottom was a complete abomination least you can somewhat laugh at the animation on that because it was pretty hilarious at certain points.

Tokyo Ghoul re has none of that, in fact, I can go as far that even hentai’s are better animated than Tokyo Ghoul re: Where do I begin with this nightmare. For starters the consent still frames are out of control as scenes look like it was done in Adobe After Effects in under a day.

The fight choreography is piss poor the use of budget cuts were out of hand and show is simply a poorly animated shitfeast that had no care or soul.
The worst thing about the animation about Tokyo Ghoul re were the horrifying camera shake for the action scenes Holy hell I have never seen relay on camera shakes to simulate character movement in my life and I have seen The Asterisk War, and Black Clover where both of these shows abuses its camera shakes to quote simulate epic moments however, its so much worse here as unlike those two shows were they some okay animation every now and then this series feels it was animated by someone who has just learned to use Adobe After Effects.

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The final nail of the coffin of Tokyo Ghoul re: is the second season poster. Not only the poster is filled with massive spoilers that can annoy the viewer especially anime-only fans who haven’t touched the manga but it looked it was done in Adobe Photoshop in less than an hour.

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Like the shows broken plot and production values the soundtrack for Tokyo Ghoul re: is bland and uninspired. Yes, it may had some iconic track that played from the original but the show poor direction kills it as the show seemed to play them in very inappropriate scenes. The example of this happens in the last episode of season 1 as the series decided to play happy ending song while all the sad scenes were going on.

Both the opening and ending themes were pretty decent for what they were but the ultimately not that memorable
As for sub vs dub well let’s not go there as it just as bad as a whole script and production.

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Never before I have seen an anime this incompetent and broken in my life.
The story is a badly paced mess that with filled with asspulls and plot holes that are never explained at all to the viewer.

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The characters were all not only blander than cardboard but they are all empty shells of their manga counterparts. The production values were horrendous that is filled with trash directing, abysmal music including voicing acting was terrible. This is easily hands down the third worst anime I have ever seen period completely de-throwing The Asterisk War and Darling in the Franxx.

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If you haven’t seen the anime yet please do yourself a favour and read the manga and pretend the show got the Tsukihime anime treatment..

Season 1 4/10

Season 2 0.5/10 one the worst things to ever come out in anime.

Anime Review 121 Bloom Into You

My exposure to the Shoujo Ai genre was let’s just say very minimal.

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Apart from blind buying the DVDs for My Hime and Simoun from the net I never knew the existence for the genre let alone knowing that those two shows that I brought were part for the Shoujo Ai genre.

When I finally did research about the Shoujo Ai genre I immediately became curious about the genre itself which ultimately led me to check out a couple of anime from the genre including My Hime and Simoun.

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After liking My-Hime and Simoun as well-despising Citrus and Riddle Story of Devil I came to a conclusion that it’s a polarising genre where you have to people who love it and the people who hate it.

Personally, I’m in the middle but I am leaning towards love and that love it’s thanks to a little 13 episode anime from the fall 18 anime season called Bloom Into You.

Unlike a lot of seasonal anime, I decided to wait for the dub for it and for once the wait was totally worth it because Bloom Into You is not only a great show on its own right but it’s easily the best Shoujo Ai I have seen thus far.

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Bloom into You is like watching a Sunflower seed grow into a perfect healthy Sunflowers. It is a very decided and beautiful realisation tale of our two leads finding love in the most relatable way possible without the relationship being too rushed nor forced.

Themes of Love, Reject, discovery were masterfully explored in this beautiful tale as we see the characters especially the main two couple go through them.

If there were any faults into this beautiful tale was the very slow pacing in the middle and while it didn’t bother me too much as the slow pacing actually synergies well with the show core themes but I will acknowledge it’s a problem.

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On first glance, Yuu may be no different to your generic looking seed that grew from cheap seed that you brought from a cheap flower store. However, as the series progresses the generic seed Yuu grows into a bud that has a lot of depth due to how realistic and human she’s is.

By the end of the series, she becomes an attractively written character who is not only a joy to watch but a charmingly human being who finally understands true love. Just like a beautiful sunflower that had a healthy growth span.

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While Yuu was a strong character on her own right Touko is on a whole another of beauty as she is easily the best character in the show.

On first glance, she appears to be this typical student council member who has a crush on Yuu however as the series progresses we get to see her various beautiful layers peel off right down our eye as we finally get to see her true persona. Now I could easily dive in into her characters but that would lead me heavy spoilers and I don’t want to do that but I can say that she’s a fantastically written character that has amazing character develpoment.

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As for the other the other characters in the show. They were fairly good. While they were don’t get much development compared to the main 2 they were still fun, interesting and likeable characters in their own rights.

Saying that Bloom Into You visuals is blooming with beautiful perfection wouldn’t do this show visuals any justice. Studio TROYCA did a fantastic job with the character designs from the lighting, background scenery, shot comparison and I could go on.

Watching this show in 1080p is a must or else you won’t be doing this show justice by watching the show in 480p or below. It’s is pure Sakuga candy that has strong substance.

While the art itself is very appealing to the eye the animation is more on the simple side however it is made by outstanding directing that over shines the simple animation.

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Bloom Into You sound wise never shies away from being amazing as it contains a lot of smooth, upbeat and relaxing tracks that help add atmosphere and tension in the series, especially in key moments.

This is all thanks to the very talented Oshima, Michiru who also did the soundtrack for the original Fullmetal Alchemist, Boys Over Flowers, Tatami Galaxy and Little Witch Academia. After listening to the soundtrack of Bloom Into You she became one of my favourite music directors and I will be keeping on eye on her in the near future.

The opening theme Kimi ni Furete by Riko Azuna is a beautifully composed song that fits the show well.

The ending theme hectopascal sung by the voice actors for Yuu and Touko is a good upbeat song that does a good job of closing a episode of Bloom Into You.

Voice acting is good on both languages. The original Japanese audio features a lot of high profiled Seiyuus that did a great job with the roles that they were given. The best role from the original Japanese was by far Minako Kotobuki as Touko. She did a fantastic job of portraying the withdrawn and quiet Touko. Even though I only saw half the series subbed I can definitely it was a very good sub.

As for the English Dub of things well I can it was a good dub but it has one major flaw that holds it back from being one of Sentai Film-works better dubs as well better than the original Japanese audio.

First the good stuff. The voice acting is fantastic. Lucy Christian and Tia Ballard were fantastic at voicing the main two characters. They fitted their respective roles perfectly and I really liked how their portraying theses characters especially in key scenes in the show. The supporting were also pretty good as well. They may not be as great as the main two voice action but they still did a solid job voicing the lively supporting characters.

Unfortunately the strong voice acting and casting is for now hindered by the weak audio quality which at various points ruins the impact of the scene.I feel the this was one of those shows that was dubbed just for the sake of simi-dubbing meaning they had to rushed this dub to a point where I feel the dub staff forgot to watch the series just to spot audio quality issues. I feel like Sentai should have dubbed this 3 months after the final episode had aired back in December.

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Regardless this was a sloppy job on Sentai Filmworks end. The saddest part about this was that Release the Spyce and Tsunrne both anime from the season as Bloom into You that had simi-dubs by Sentai didn’t have this audio quality issue at all.

Hopefully, the audio quality will get fixed in the Blu-Ray.

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What else can I say about this blooming festival of a show? It is a beautifully crafted Yuri tale that has likeable characters, amazing production values and a well produced soundtrack. The only things that hold this show from being truly amazing was the slow pacing in the middle portion of the series as the unfortunate rushed Sentai Dub.

Bloom into You is beautiful and it knows it and for that reason I think Bloom into You is a worthwhile modern anime classic.

8.5/10

Anime Review 120 Inazuma Eleven Orion (Childhood Destroyer)

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Inazuma Eleven Ares was one of most disappointing series comebacks I’ve ever seen. The story was incredibly rushed thanks to it’s dreadful pacing. The writing was shallow at best, most of the new characters sucked and the visuals were underwhelming .

It had some good moments but those moments didn’t save the anime from being painfully disappointing.

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Before Inazuma Eleven Ares finished airing OLM announced a squeal for it called Inazuma Eleven Orion. Like with many Inazuma eleven fans I was super excited for it as I thought Orion would be the tasteful main course that would overshadow its amateur hour starter that was Ares. I thought this series would be amazing. So, I watch it and I wish I haven’t.

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I just going to say this right now Inazuma Eleven Orion is not only the worst entry of the series but is also one of the worst animes I have ever watched in a long while. It’s like the staff took everything that was wrong with Ares and managed to crank it up to 11.

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One of the main problems you will notice right out of the gate is its fanfiction nature when it comes to it’s writing. This was a massive problem in Ares that ultimately plagued it but Orion takes it to the next level to a point where became unbearable. The writing in Orion feels like it was written by a clumsy student who had no creativity and passion. The same student thought it was a brilliant idea to add dark themes and topics on a franchise that rarely had dark themes and topics in it. Ladies and Gentleman that’s the plot of Inauma Eleven Orion in a nutshell. It’s vapid, boring, hollow, ham-fisted and most importantly tedious to watch.

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As for the Orion Foundation plot itself it was hot garbage. Not only it was terribly written it’s also incredibly generic. This plot is only interesting if haven’t seen an organisation plot in your life. It is the most generic and stock evil organisation plot imaginable and it’s not even handled well. This generic written plot was only made worse by the inclusion of politics in the second half.

I wish I was making this up. The show had the nerves to throw in politics in a series that was meant for kids. This wouldn’t been a problem if the politics stuff was foreshadowed in Ares but nope it popped out of nowhere just like the rest of the so called plot twists in this show. With the inclusion of politics the tone, pacing even dialogue go to shit as the devolved into this uninspired and badly written political, sports, spy series that contradicts everything that this franchise has stood for since 2008.

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It doesn’t help that the main villain of the show Irina Girikanan is so one dimensional. She is evil for the sake of being evil. She has no motivation whatsoever other than to use children from various countries to take over the world with her contrived Orion Foundation plan.

Now if you thought the pacing in Ares was bad than guess what the pacing in Orion is somehow even worse. For a long semi-tournament arc we don’t see the characters actually train let along bond with each other. Sure the show has some downtime moments but it’s not the type of downtime that you expect. It uses its downtime to focus on the Orion Foundation plot instead of developing its characters through training and bonding.

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The lack and character bonding really hurts the pacing as well the characterization because the show would rather focus on it’s contrived written Orion Foundation plot which was very rushed instead having a couple of episodes where the characters are just getting along with each other. Inazuma Japan never felt like a actual team. Sure they play in matches with each other, and they attend coach meetings but the majority of the characters in Inazuma Japan have little to no chemistry with each other.

 

 

 

When Endou interacts to Gouenji or Kazemaru it feels natural because they have been good friends and teammates for a long time but when he interacts to any of the new characters it felt so forced and unnatural especially when some of the new characters like Kira, Hazaiki and Hiura never had a single sentence with each other. That’s not all because there’s hardly any training all of the hissatsu that the characters pull off for the first time felt like asspulls.

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The biggest problem with Orion’s plot by far is the over-reliance of plot twists. Not only they were heavily abused but the majority of them were just stupid. Don’t get me started with the final plot twist that happened in the final 3 episodes.

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OOF!!!

I won’t mention it here due to heavy spoilers but I want you to imagine the worst type of plot twist. The type of plot twist that completely betrays everything that the show previously set up. The type of plot twist that rips off another series plot twists in the different continuity.

That’s the final plot twist in Inazuma Eleven Orion in a nutshell. It’s so bad, so tasteless it made me want me to slam my head on a wall for half an hour.

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Oh the characters aren’t much better at all. I even go as far that the characters were way worst than the god awful plot.

Inazuma Japan has over 20 characters yet almost all of them aren’t develop for shit. Prime examples include Kira, Gounji, Nishikage, Hiura, Iwato, Mansaku, Norika Sakanoue and Kozoumaru. They don’t do anything noteworthy in the plot and they have no character development whatsoever. Heck some of the members are literately there just for memes I wish I was joking…

The OG crew are somehow even worse. All of the character development and personality quirks have been thrown out the window and what you left with are empty shells of characters we grown to love.

Fudou went from being a likeable jerk with a heart of gold to an annoying edgelord who just exist for bench memes.

Hiroto went from being a well written badass to a worthless background character with no personality.

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Kazemaru (My favourite OG character) went from being a competitive and loyal friend to Endou to a boring and hollow background character.

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The biggest insult of them all was Endou (My second favourite character). Endou went from being a likeable, funny, well written and developed character to a infuriating, overpowered Gary Sue with no personality and development.

The only two OG characters that still had their personality quirks from the original series is Kidou and Goeunji and yet they were victim of the shows plot contrivances where they were shafted in favour of Ichihoshi who is garbage.

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Ichihoshi is not a character. He’s a husk. A husk that is so contrived and unoriginal . He’s backstory is a complete ripoff off of Fubiki with his tragic backstory. He even go as for antagonistic the OG characters by either getting them injured in a match or kicked them out of the team with some evil scheme. All of this happens because Ichihoshi couldn’t control himself and he had to take out his frustration towards others.

I honestly cannot for the life of me stand characters that behave like douche-bags just because they love ones have died. I understand losing your loved ones is tragic but there’s no reason to take it out on others.

By the time this Fubiki knockoff opens up to the team he becomes a total plot device where the only two things that he does is to be loyal to Asuto and be the tool for the Orion in the second half.

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Why Inazuma Eleven Orion why did you have to ruin one of the best written characters in Ares Haizaki. In Ares he had a well written backstory that made him more then just another typical soccer player. He was fighting through the Ares system as a act of revenge due to what happened to his childhood friend Akane. It was an amazing subplot that had a strong payoff.

So what did the writers do to him in Orion? Well you take all of his character development, threw it out the window and turn him into the second coming of Shadow the Edgehog.

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The only good character in Orion is Nosaka. I really liked his character development in Orion. He went from being a distance individual who barely interacts to anyone to a badass tactics captain who is able to lead Inazuma Japan as the secondary captain.

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Finally we Asuto who is without a question the worst character in the entire show. Not only he was one dimensional as hell but he was also downright infuriating to watch.

He’s basically Tenma without the charm and quality that made him a great character in the first place. Sure Tenma did some dumb things throughout the GO saga but he’s character development across the series as well his personality and interactions make up his shortcomings. Asuto has none of that. He is just a soulless, annoying, inpet, vapid, and exasperating little dipshit from beginning to end. Let’s not forget that he’s a total numskull. He aggressively defends Ichihoshi even though everyone in the team is against him due to his nasty actions that he committed to the team. One of those actions almost had a teammate (Endou) killed and yet this asswipe still has the nerves to value him as a teammate.

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Get the hell outta here with your contrived bullshit.

The final nail in the coffin for this pathetic excuse of a protagonist is that he has no character development at all. From episode 1 of Ares to episode 49 of Orion he’s still the same static character that we all know and hate.

There’s bad characterization and there’s not giving a damm and Asuto is down the ladder leading towards the rabbit hole. That’s why I cannot stand this dipshit of a character and he’s the main reason why I hate Inazuma Eleven Orion so much. If it wasn’t for this sack of shit I wouldn’t have hated this show so much.
It would still be a massive disappointment due to it’s character shafting and terrible plot but I wouldn’t have been so mad at it but because of Asuto annoying presence I went from mildly disliking Orion to utterly despising it.

Curse you Asuto you good for nothing dipshit.

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So how about the supporting characters? Aren’t they any good? No.

They are just as bad as the main team.

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The teams that Inazuma Japan face-off have no personality as they were full blown plot devices especially the Perfect Spark and Ole de Samba teams.

 

 

 

Now let’s talk about this show technical aspects Let’s be real honest with our self’s.

This show came out in 2018-2019 and yet the show looks it was made over a decade and a half ago mainly due to the because of the terrible production values. The animation if you can call it animation at times was terrible. It had a lot choppy animation, heavily relayed on stock footage which became jarring fast and match choreography was clunky.

 

 

 

The only decent thing about the visuals is the art and even then it’s inconsistent as character models would go off model.

The soundtrack is just as lame as the plot. The old tracks while good lost a lot of charm thanks to how overused they were. As for the new tracks they were absolutely terrible. Not only they don’t fit the tone of the show at all but the tracks seem to mindlessly drown in the background with no melody to it.

To Orion’s credit the opening themes were catchy and memorable tho I cannot say the same thing for the ending themes as they were dull.

All of these problems tie up to the biggest problem with not only Orion but this alternative timeless as a whole the lack of creativity and passion.

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When I first watched Orion I thought the series would go back it’s classic routes that we all know and love but just after watching the first quarter of Orion I started to notice that there was a little to no passion towards this series for example almost all of the matches themselves were a void of life and excitement. The production values for the matches didn’t help it at all and the matches feel like a vehicle for the shows pathetic and poorly written drama.

What makes it even worse is how hamfisted the plot is. The series tried to tackle serious themes and topics such as child abuse, political control, grief, acceptance but not only they were poorly executed due to poor writing and direction but it also has the nerve to shot out how brilliant and complex it is when it’s actually isn’t.

If, you don’t know how handle and execute than don’t put them in the show. It’s makes your series more vapid and dumb than it already is.

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Even with my bias love with this franchise I still detest Inazuma Eleven Orion with a burning passion. It’s an insufferable garbage fire that completely contradicts everything that’s this franchise stood for. It’s like this show was done by 25 Inazuma Eleven fanboys who had no communication with one another.

As a result the plot, pacing, themes, dialogue, characters, visuals and music is broken. Not even Nosaka can save this pile of shit.

Orion is not only the worst anime I have seen in 2019 (worst than Fairy Gone, Wise Man’s Grandchild Index S3 and Arifureta) but also one of the worst animes I have ever watched from this decade. It’s a boring, insulting, unfocused, lifeless, miserable and broken mess of an anime that has no passion and soul.

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I feel so betrayed.

2/10

Anime Review 86 Inzauma Eleven Ares (Revised)

I am a big fan of the original Inazuma Eleven series. While it wasn’t a masterpiece by any means it was still a great anime that I really liked. The story while predictable at times was engaging and entertaining to watch.

The characters were for the most part great and well written, the visuals while not being great had its own charm and style and the soundtrack while a bit repetitive at times was great. It is a show I loved and to this day I hold it on high regard.

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Then, we have the Inazuma Eleven GO saga and while it was pretty good it had its fare share of problems especially when you into Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy where series being pretty weird.

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When I heard that Inazuma Eleven is coming back in full force I was really excited because it has been 4 years since the final episode of Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy aired. I thought the alternative setting of the show would be the series back to its great routes in a different way. I thought Inazuma Eleven Ares is going to be one of the best animes of 2018. Sadly Inazuma Eleven Ares was not one of the best animes of 2018. Inazuma Eleven Ares is easily the single most disappointing anime of 2018.

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Where do I even begin with this fan-fiction mess.

For starters, we don’t see the Inakuni Raimon team train at all but yet as the series progresses we just see them unlocking and mastering overpowered hissatsus right out of the gate. This alone created some serious plotholes and plot contrivance that at various time damages the narrative. I know the Inazuma Eleven were not the best in the narrative directing but some of the stuff that happens here is downright unacceptable even for Inazuma Eleven standards.

For example, where did Iwato even learn the hissatsu technique call the wall. There’s no flashback of him practising to that hissatsu technique he just mastered the hissatsu out of fin air.

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Next up the pacing especially in the first episode. I will admit the original series and the GO saga did not have great pacing either but least these two did a pretty good at establishing it’s setting, tone and character. Here they did the exact opposite.

The first episode is nothing but a series of emotional manipulation for the main protagonist who not only he loses his soccer team, but he loses his mother due to an illness. I honestly don’t like when a show starts like this because it just feels like a cheap way to make the audience feel bad for set main character that we barely even know yet. When I saw the first episode for the first episode I did not care about Austo struggle because all events were so rushed.

What made this even worse is that the show doesn’t give Austo to probably grief as after he cried in the hill about his mother died a couple of scenes later we him perfectly fine and happy like nothing has happened.

We don’t see him baring his own mother, nor we see him grief alongside with his friends we just see him behave a happy kid. What makes this worse it the directing where in one Asuto is a happy and cheerful kid however what the plot decided to talk about Asuto’s mother he literally goes full crybaby at times emo on the viewer. This is poor directing at its finest.

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Another case of this show messy direction is how almost every single match gets interrupted by sudden flashbacks where the show tries to develop it’s quote new “characters” but the most part it failed miserably due to how uninteresting the new characters were.

It doesn’t help the fact the three main characters are all forwards instead of being a different soccer role killing the show variety.

Another problem with Inazuma Eleven Ares is the new characters absolutely have no character chemistry.

Yes a couple of the new characters in the series were inspired by certain old characters, but they really don’t interact with each other. This alone crated a chunk of plotholes where the series does a poor job at explaining of how certain new characters were able to know the old ones.

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Speaking of plotholes the amount of plotholes in this show is insane in even for Inazuma Eleven standards.

Where did Austo mother get burial othe Island?

Why did Kazemaru decided to become a spy?

How did Kagayama escape from prison?

How did some of the new charterers learn new hissatsus?

Who is the person controlling the Ares programme?

I could go on and on.

The worst thing about Inazuma Eleven Ares is that is so god repetitive. Almost every single episode has a random soccer matches. There’s hardly any down time all as the series just want to get back into the soccer matches and it ultimately kills all potential character development.

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Before I talk about the old characters that we all know and love from the original series let’s go over the new characters first because I have a lot of complaints.

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First, we have Asuto. I really tried to like him but direction and pacing of the series completely ruin him to a point where it only ends up being an unlikable and annoying character for the first half. His motivation of playing the sport it dumb as he wants to play soccer because his dying mother said so. This is just stupid anyone can write such a script. Asuto doesn’t develop well all that much as he still is the same annoying kid from episode 1 and his interactions towards the other characters feel so stuff and unnatural.

 

 

Let’s not forget that his an overpowered player who learns some of the most powerful hissatsus even though we don’t see him train for shit. In many ways Asuto is no different to Kirito in Sword Art Online where he unlocks some of the most powerful skills, weapons and abilities in the games that he plays.

What a waste of a character if I ever think of one.

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Next, we have Ryouhei. Ryouhei is a pretty good character and easily more interesting and than Asuto. I really enjoyed how Ryouhei uses football as a tool of revenge as he tries only beat Nosaka but the whole ares system and his reasoning overall fill justified as we can sympathise with him thanks to he’s well-told backstory.

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Now we have Nosaka who is by far the best character in the show. Unlike Austo and Ryouhei he’s the character that I enjoyed on a emotional level. He has a pretty solid backstory where before the events of the series he was diagnosed with a brain tumour where he only has 3 months to live before he dies. The show also a pretty job at making Nosaka a pretty sympathetic character where we know the full existent of his backstory and motivation of playing Ares programme?

Now with Nosaka out of the way let’s talk about the weakest characters on Inazuma Eleven. the New Ramion team. They are just a bunch of Mary sues who not only don’t develop for shit but they are incredibly bland and unoriginal to a point they can put you to sleep.

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Honestly the only other character that is even noteworthy is Hiuru aka Kazemaru 2.0 who had the potential to be good but the pacing and fanfic writing completely ruins him.

Now with the new characters done with let’s talk about the returning characters.

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Now if you thought the new characters were bad enough you ain’t seen nothing yet. While the new characters were mostly a bunch of empty shells avoid with personality.

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 Endou for example went from being a charming, passionate soccer freak to this one dimensional kid who likes to yell a lot.

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The character that got the worst treatment is my favourite Inazuma Eleven character Kazemaru.

What a way to kill a character that I adored. In the original series he was a friendly competitive guy who love to face off strong opponents in Ariesto this dark, soulless and one dimensional spy who barely did anything.

 

 

Inazuma Eleven Ares visuals were underwhelming even for Inazuma Eleven standards.

The one thing that I didn’t like is how it tried to look too modern by being up to date with the current sport anime but it completely backfired itself as the show can be pretty rough to look at.

The character designs in Inazuma Eleven Ares range from okay to terrible as many of the characters designs in this show feels like the animation staff took rejected characters designs from the original series and Go and decided to put them in this series and it really shows.

I won’t mention any of the characters but if you’re a Inazuma Eleven fan such as myself you can easily tell of which character designs that the animation staff decided to scrap while making the original and Go series.

The animation in Inazuma Eleven Ares is below average. I will admit that the original series wasn’t the best when it comes to animation but least it had it unique flare that prevent it looking dated. Ares animation on the other hand felt like it was done without a second thought.

The soccer matches in Inazuma Eleven were dreadful because not they ridiculously predictable but the matches themselves feel stiff, uninspired.

I have never seen Inazuma Eleven soccer matches this lifeless and lazy. It honestly makes me want to turn off my computer due to how boring they are, It is almost as bad as Megalo Box boxing matches am not even joking. The worst thing about the animation is the hissatsu. The hissatsu were meant to be this special skill for each player to use in a match. However, the way the hissatus are portrayed in Ares is horrible. Some of the hissatus feel like they came straight from Dragon Ball Z

 

 

Some of the hissatsu were so bad it can literally piss off anyone inducing Inazuma eleven fans. When I saw Fire Lemonade in the last episode of the series I wanted to slam my head on a solid wall because who thought that having a hissatsu like that was a good idea.

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The soundtrack of Inazuma Eleven Ares underwhelming at best.  I don’t mean the old track from the original series as it still great as ever the problem the new track is very dull and lifeless.

The same thing can apply for the opening theme Teppen e Dash!  by pugcat’s which is a generic kid’s opening theme that barely has any energy put to it.

The ending theme Koisuru Otome wa Amemoyou by alom is a mediocre ending theme.

The voice acting thankfully is still pretty good overall as you expect.

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Inazuma Eleven Ares is one of the most disappointing shows I have ever seen in a long while.

After waiting 4 years for a new Inazuma Eleven I felt insulted of what I got.

The story is poorly directed mess that is filled with plot holes and conveniences. The characters for the most part were subpar and uninteresting thanks to the shows fanatic writing. The visuals were at best underwhelming and the soundtrack is lifeless.  Unless you’re  into bad fanatics I strongly recommended especially Inazuma Eleven fans to avoid this show at all cost because this series is ultimately not worth the wait at all as it will only disappoint you.

Hopefully Inazuma Eleven Orion won’t be a disappointment.

4/10

Anime Review 119 Future Card Buddyfight Ace (A engaging friendship tale that has a few faults)

Future Card Buddyfight has been part of my life for quite some time now. Thought my time with this franchise I have met a lot of people, I got into the card game for a short while before quitting due to money and I watched all the seasons.

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Future Card Buddyfight came out a perfect time when Cardfight Vanguard was taking a dark turn with the release of Legion Mate and later on Vanguard G. I personally enjoyed all the Buddyfight seasons including the less good seasons being DDD and X. Similar to Cardfight Vanguard after the 4th season the series would star a entire new cast of characters for the new season and thus Buddyfight Ace was born. I was both excited and worried when going to it because I wanted to be as good as the first two seasons but at the same time I was worried that it would be another Vanguard G. Fortunately Buddyfight Ace ended up being a mostly great as it brought many elements that Buddyfight special in the first place.

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The plot centres around Yuga Mikado (the son of Gao Mikado) who’s the ace of games. He’s a passionate and talented individual who is very good at what he does. He has a best friend named Ranma Kakogawa who helps him document and record his experience on the RanGa Channel using a Paltube account.

One day Ranma introduces Yuga into the world of Buddyfight and from there Yuga’s Buddyfight adventure begins.

There are a lot of great things in Buddyfight Ace that I likes but at the same time it has a some that could have been a lot better.

Let’s begin with the things that I liked about Buddyfight Ace starting with the first 14 episodes. This is without about the best first 14 episodes I’ve seen in Buddyfight because not only the series did an outstanding job at establishing it’s new set of characters but it’s was also generally interesting.

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Despite being a tournament arc it’s actually about the friendship of Yuga and Ranma as they are put in the test thanks to Ranma bring him to the world of Buddyfight. My favourite part of the first 12 episodes is how it was able tackle the theme of jealousy to the viewer. The moment when Yuga got a buddy he has gained a handful of friends by himself while Ranma is behind shadow.

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At insight Ranma getting jealous may come off as contrived but you do have to mind that the characters in this show as kids and kids often or not get jealous on their friends and peers if they got the newest and rarest product first. Theses aspects alone really makes Buddyfight Ace stand out the crowd.
Adding realistic themes in a card game anime. The only other card game anime that I saw that featured realistic themes is Cardfight Vanguard 2011 as well the remake Cardfight Vanguard 2018.

Another great thing about Buddyfight Ace is the soundtrack. The series has a great variety of Sci-fi, spooky, electronic and upbeat tracks that only made the overall Buddyfights in the series more engaging.

The opening theme Saa Ikou! by Poppin’Party is a good cheerful and catchy song that for the most part fits the tone of the series.

Both endings were great in their own ways but ending 2 specially Niji no Yakusok by Shuuta Morishima is one of my favourite ending themes of all time. It was a sad and happy song that that perfectly captures Yuga and Ranma’s unbreakable friendship even if they are apart in the second half of the series. Not only that but the song was well-composed.

The voice acting for the original Japanese audio is spot on. The Seiyuus fitted the characters well, and they give it their all.

The best Seiyuu performance is Kei Shindō as Ranma

She did an outstanding job at voicing the cute and demotic Ranma.

The dub is very good. Yes it’s nowhere near as great at the original Japanese audio but it’s very well made dub that is fulled with talented voice actors who did a good job with the roles that they were given.

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The best part about Buddyfight Ace without a question Yuga and Ranma as characters. These’s are hands down the best characters to come out from this series. Not only they are well written and developed but these two were realistic in nature.

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What I mean by this is that theses two characters represent actual people who are into card games in real life. Ranma who despite being a powerful buddyfighter hasn’t got a buddy due to his bad luck while Yuga he’s best friend who despite never being a buddyfighter pulls a buddy rare card thanks to Ranma and dives into the buddyfight where he makes new friends.

What makes them so special compare to any other character in buddyfight is a masterful character chemistry. Theses two perfectly play off each other whenever they are buddyfighing each other or just normally talking to each other.

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My favourite out the two is easily Ranma.

He was a interesting character from day 1 thanks to his dialogue and personality that only got more intriguing overtime the more you watch the series. The theme of jealously really enhances Ranma’s characterisation.

Ranma is at core a friendly individual who just wanted to become the strongest buddyfighter as well being a loyal friend to Yuga.

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However thanks to Yuga gaining new friends as well getting better at the game he starts to feel left behind to a point where he starts getting jealously of Yuga that he’s doing all of cool things while he at the bench supposing him. Ranma overall jealously not only strengths it’s own characters as well it’s story and themes especially at the end game it also gives the show it’s own identity and purpose of existing other than to be an another generic card game anime.

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That’s the reason why I love Ranma as a character and he’s properly one of the best characters I have ever encountered in a kids anime.

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This is not to say that Yuga is totally inferior to him because he’s isn’t. For one Yuga hasn’t got much plot armour compared to Gao. Not only that he hardly asspulls whatsoever making he’s buddyfights more exciting to watch.

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On top of being a skilled buddyfighter he’s also a fun person to be around with. He’s competitive and energetic personality always seem to enlighten the people around him especially to he’s close best friend Ranma. He’s character development from beginning to end was well handled and I really enjoyed his chemistry with other charterers in the series.

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Sadly this well-crafted friendship tale starts has some flaws starting with the visuals.  OLM is one of the most underappreciated anime studio Iv’e ever encountered. Outside of the popular Berserk 1997, Pokemon and to a to a less extant Inazuma Eleven the studio have produced of a lot underrated kids anime that were better than your usual kids anime. In 2018 along they have produced 8 kids anime many of them airing along each other. This practice alone affects the of overall for certain anime where some anime will be visually gorgeous while other would be borderline unpolished. Buddyfight Ace is the mixture of both worlds.

Buddyfight Ace at it’s best is a visually colourful series that filled with beautiful lighting, good characters that were well drawn, and impressive background scenery that is only better with the soft and sharp colour platte. Unfortunately the colourful visuals had it’s ugly side which actually hurts the anime on a technical standpoint especially on the later episodes. The latter episodes of Buddyfight Ace weren’t as good visually.

It had it fair share of still frames. a tone of animation errors to characters going off model.

This problem is only worse with the rabid use of recycled footage which hinders the experience.

To it’s credit the final 2 episodes of the series did not had theses animation and art problem. as theses two episodes were gorgeous in terms of art and animation.

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Least it’s not Inazuma Eleven Orion levels of bad.

Another problem with Buddyfight Ace is has to do with it’s inconsistent pacing. The first third of the series is very well pacing neither feeling rushed or dragged out but after a certain plot twist the pacing takes a major noise dive. Many of the events that happen seem to either rushed or dragged out. This is perfectly show in the middle of the series where it just series of uninteresting buddyfights that barely progress the plot.

This pacing issue wouldn’t have been a problem if the supporting characters weren’t so forgettable and often used as plot devices.

I am going to be honestly with you but I really tried to like Subaru and Masato. They had the potential to be great characters on they own right however thanks to pacing problems as well later on executive meddling they don’t get the time to shine as characters and as a result they just come of as kinda bland especially when you compare them to Yuga and Ranma

Sure they did have some cool moments every now and then notably when they faced off each other in a buddyfight in one episode but those moments hardly show up as they spend most of the series but being Yuga’s sword and shield for the plot. They aren’t bad characters but they could have been a lot better.

The same thing can be said for the Seiji and Daijiro who are  basically Subaru and Masato but on the bad side.

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If you were a fan of any of the supporting characters in Buddyfight ace then be prepaid for disappointed as they only buddyfight once or twice in the entire series before they get reduced to cheerleaders.

However the biggest problem with Buddyfight Ace is the lack of emotional impact Exuding Ranma and Yuga emotional impact which were well handed the rest of the characters simply have little to no emotional impact.

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The lack of emotional impact is fully shown in the final couple of episodes of the series. When Subaru and Masato faced off Daijiro and Seiji I couldn’t care about their problems due to how underdeveloped they were as characters. Subaru vs Ranma is even worse because the series tries so dark to make us sympathise with Subaru despite being massively underdeveloped vs a characters that is well developed from episode 1. To be honest while watching that particular episode I just wanted Ranma to body him because him trying to save him from the darkness was impossible thanks to the painfully predictable last quarter of the series.

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One example of executive meddling Code Geass R2

All of this wraps back around the series executive meddling as well it’s unfortunate hiatus. Buddyfight Ace is one of those series that was unfortunate enough to cut short. When you watch the first three quarter of the series you can definitely tell that the series that the series was going to be over 50 episodes long however thanks to Bushiroad bizarre decision the series was not only cut down to 47 episodes (43 if you’re if live outside Japan) the series would go on a Hiatus meaning there will be no more Buddyfight seasons until further notice as they wanted to focus on crossover sets with Detective Conan, SSSS Gridman and Sword Art Online? As the result the final quarter of the series was really rushed.

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To the final quarters credit I absolutely adore the final two episodes.

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Not only the production values and soundtrack were outstanding but emotional impact and character writing were impeccable that fantastically close the series with a strong note.  Theses episodes alone more than not make up it’s flaws.

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At the end of the day Buddyfight Ace is a good series that got hold back due to execute meddling. However despite it’s numerous flaws I still really like Buddyfight Ace.

It’s a heartwarming friendship tale about Yuga and Ranma trying to keep their friendship. The music was for the most part great and I really loved the dynamic, bond and chemistry of Yuga and Ranma.

It’s honestly sad to see this good card game anime leave in the anime world for now. Sure the card game is still around but people such as myself encounter Buddyfight by watching the anime back when it first aired in 2014 on Youtube. I remember watching every episode single episode of Buddyfight on Saturday mornings when my phone would loudly ring to notify that the latest episode of Buddyfight is on YouTube. I have met a lot of people thought watching all 5 seasons of Buddyfight on various social media sites.

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My standards may have change through it’s 5 years run but Buddyfight is one of many series that I can look back in positive light.

Yes this franchise is no means perfect as each season has it’s fair share of flaws but despite all of that Buddyfight has one thing that over anime of it’s kind don’t is the series knows how to have fun. I seen many kids anime that try to please a different target audience where take themselves way too seriously for they own good to a point where they become soulless, boring and vapid. (Cough Yugioh Vrains and Inazuma Eleven Orion) Buddyfight doesn’t do any of this it’s a fun and engaging franchise has a lot of heart despite it’s shortcomings and I personally won’t have it any other way.

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Farewell my good friend.

8.5/10

Anime Review 118 Banana Fish (A flawed but passionate thrill ride)

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The summer 18 anime season was very problematic . It was the season that was dominated by anime that contained 12/13 episodes and many of the anime unfortunately fell flat in the face either because there were either bad throwaway shows or they ended up getting crippled by the 12th/13th episode count where some of the show they had enough content of to make a 24/26 episode but set studio poor decisions making these show only ended up having the episode count that they ultimately got.

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This doesn’t say that the summer 18 anime was a complete failure as it did give a couple of great shows that I liked such as Chio’s School Road, Revenue Starlight, Planet With and High Score Girl.

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After looking at the countless 12/13 episode animes that summer 18 season had to offer in the charts I saw two anime that had 24 episodes and these anime were Banana Fish and Mr Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues aka the Kaiji spinoff. I obviously skipped the Kaiji spinoff as from the time of this review because I have only seen a first 4 episodes of Kaiji and I wanted to watch the whole series first before going into that show. So that leaves me with Banana Fish done by Studio Mappa.

Despite me having a negative opinion of Mappa thanks to them making a bunch of shows (Not counting Yuri on Ice) that barely don’t much substance to them aka Rage Of Bahamut Virgin Soul and Days I decided to give Banana Fish a shot just to see if they learned from the past mistakes that caused me to dislike them as a studio.

After watching all 24 episodes of Banana Fish I can say yes Mappa has kinda learned a lesson from the past mistakes but at the same time I feel Mappa at times is still playing that style over substance card.

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The story follows Ash Lynch a 17-year-old man has been adopted off the streets by the head of the New York mob papa Dino as a sex toy. However, after he comes across a man left for dead in an alley, he has added a necklace with a bullet attached to it which contains a secret white powder.

Ash now has the ability to fight back against pana Dino and to possibly free himself from his grasps and this is all because what is in that bullet. While this was happening a journalist named Shunichi who come to document the gangs in New York City. He brings a cameraman assistant named Eiji to help him take pictures however he ends up getting caught in the confit between Dino and Ash and from there Ash journey towards freedom begins.

I have mixed feelings for the story of Banana Fish as it has a lot of good things in it but at the same, it has quite a lot of meh things in it which I will talk about in the bit but first let’s talk about the good things in Banana Fish’s story.

 

On the surface, Banana Fish has a unique setting that is very different compared to most anime these days.

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Instead of being set in Japan Banana Fish is set in New York Urban style. Despite the show having a different overall setting, the series goes a solid job at establishing the New York setting as it fullest where see people doing gang/mafia activity left and right and we also see the people who are not part of the plot live they daily lives in peace. This aspect one of the stronger things in Banana Fish because it really makes the world feel alive as the viewers know that New York has a dark side where it’s filled with gangs, mafia and druggies who do these dark acts that would have been illegal.

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The one thing that I really liked of Banana Fish was how it was able to show the ugly side of humanity as it does showcased a lot of acts that only the worst of people would commit such as rape, human drug experiments, gang warfare, etc. On top of the shows, nice portrayal of showing the worst of humanity comes with the shows excellent theme exploration as the show explores themes of freedom, regret, betrayal and the show does a great job at respecting its core themes and topic s

If there was one thing that Banana Fish nails at its the emotional moments. This easily the most emotionally engaging anime from 2018 period because not only they are beautifully well executed but we see the characters break down into their worst state. The best example of this happens in the second half episode (Spoiler Ahead) After Eiji gets shot and sent to the hospital room we see Ash mentally broken.

Some other great emotional moments when a character named Shorter gets drugged while Eiji couldn’t do anything about it. What really made that scene even more sadder is that both Ash and Eiji cannot cure and as a result Ash had no choice to shot him to simply end Shorter pain and as a result of Ash mentally breaks down due to the fact that he couldn’t save his one of his close friend from being drugged by the Banana Fish by Abraham.

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Unfortunately, Banana Fish has problems. Lots of problems and many of these problems ended up hurting the anime.

For starters Banana Fish at various times feels like a style over substance flick as the show seems to highlight it’s visuals over storytelling at times. To Banana Fish credits it’s not as bad as something like Days or Virgin Soul but still, consider it a problem that ruins the overall writing quality in the show at times.
Another problem with I had with Banana Fish that is pretty repetitive.

It was fine seeing Ash and Eiji getting kidnapped/arrested the first couple of times but after a while, it really got trying seeing one of these two characters getting kidnapped/arrested than later on getting rescued by set person. I understand that this kidnapped is meant to be part of the show theme of freedom but could they least not make happened every 2 to 4 episodes of Banana Fish.

The biggest problem with Banana Fish is without the question is the pacing. While the first four episode of Banana Fish pacing wise was good and engaging but after that pacing moves a blazing speed where it was actually hard to tell what is going on in the narrative. I understand that the show trying to adapt a 19 volume manga into a 24 episode series but I feels the episode count for this series actually does more damage to the show then it helps especially when the show starts rushing/cutting out content in the second half of the series.

At the time of this review I have not read the manga as I decided to approach it as a anime only but I can easily tell that the show, especially in the second half, is rushed as hell. If this show had 39 episodes like Jojo Part 4 and 5 then this show would have been a better experience but as it stands the pacing in Banana Fish is a mess.

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Overall, I found the story of Banana Fish to be above average. It did a quite a lot of good things in it but at the same time, Banana Fish has a lot of problems story-wise that prevent it from being a well-told story. I understand this show is mainly a character driven rather than a story driven but if your pacing is inconsistent like this then it’s honestly hard for me to care about some characters which I will talk about now.

While the story ended up being above average overall the characters least the main 2 protagonists completely make it where I can somewhat forgive the pacing issues of Banana Fish.

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First up we have Ash Lynx who is a former. Not gonna lie he is easily the best thing about Banana Fish. He is a very well written character who simply wants to be free from Dino’s antics. His journey was very satisfying as we see him not only to find freedom by stopping Dino’s plans but he also wants to protect Eiji from any harm caused by Dino and the villains. During his childhood years in Cape Cod, he was raped by his Little League coach, and the cops did do anything at all until Ash himself had to kill him with the gun.

He was eventually sent away from his father to live with his aunt however he soon gets captured by Golzine’s man as soon got send to Club Cod as a child sex object. Why am I telling you all this you may ask?

That’s because Ash is literally a broken person who just wanted to live a normal life and every time Ash breaks down we can see his pain and suffering he has endured throughout his life and because of these reasons, Ash is great character and he’s easily one of the best characters of 2018.

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While Eiji may not as memorable as Ash he still a pretty solid character. He’s a polar opposite to Ash where he gets sucked into a mafia world being completely naive and clueless about the situations that Ash managed to drag himself into. Despite his naive attitude at first, he is willing to help Ash accomplished his goal of freedom from Dino and the rival gang.

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The rest of the characters, on the other hand, were underdeveloped, and that’s the sad part because the other characters in Banana Fish could have been great but the rapid pacing leaves them totally underdeveloped where you ultimately don’t care for them. The best example of this was with Skip and Shorter.

Outside of the introduction episodes, I couldn’t care about them all that much because they didn’t enough arrive screen time thanks to the rapid pacing. Shorter’s death as much I enjoyed Ash perspective of that scene I couldn’t care on Shorter perspective as the show failed to give him a decent spotlight.

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As for the villains, I thought they were one dimensional and lacked any real depth whatsoever especially Dino who is a just a typical villain who likes experiment people with drugs. Even though the villains in Banana Fish lack any depth to speak off I feel like the show does a beautiful job at making the viewer loathe them so there that.

The visuals were pretty great.

 

 

MAPPA did a good job with the character designs, background scenery for the setting of Banana Fish. The cinematography and use of urban colour palettes were very polished as it the show did a fantastic to bring key scenes from the 80s manga to live in anime in such brilliant ways.
The animation is filled, consistent and nicely animated. Yes, it had a couple of shotty visuals cut moments episodes 13 in a nutshell but least it’s not as bad as something like Goblin Slayer and Tokyo Ghoul re:

I may be the notoriety here, but I found the soundtrack of Banana Fish to be underwhelming. It’s just a selection of generic mafia/gang that you all heard before in any action thriller anime.

The opening and ending themes on the other hand are awsome. Not only they songs perfectly captured action emotional thriller of Banana Fish but they so catch and memorable. They completely over-shine the mediocre soundtrack.

The voice acting in Banana Fish was outstanding. As a person who usually a dub only watcher, I was blown away of amazing and well acted the Seiyuu were. My favourite performance was hands down Yuuma Uchida. He did a wonderful portraying a broken lovable character Ash and it really makes the anime as the character struggles feel alive.

Unfortunately, Banana Fish from the time of this review hasn’t got an English Dub and as a dub fan, this hurts because this show would be perfect for a semi-cast Funimation dub thanks to its American setting, themes and tone that is way different from the typical anime that is set in Japan. I hope this show gets a dub one day done by Bangzoom Entertainment and if it does get a dub I hope Johnny Yosh Bosch would voice Ash.

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Despite it’s issues I had a good time with Banana Fish. It’s a fun, emotional and engaging thrill ride that does a lot of things right. Yes the pacing and at time the writing could have been a lot better but the outstanding thematic exploration, well written main characters, brilliant production values and astounding emotional impact make up the anime shortcomings.

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The show may not a masterpiece but its one hell of a good anime that I respect.

7.5/10

Anime Review 117 Release The Spyce. (Underrated Spy Series)

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I really love the spy anime genre. Despite being a niche genre in the anime community they have grossly intrigued with great action scenes, fun and likeable characters and interesting narratives. Read, or Die TV and Princess Principal are my examples of this because not those shows had well-animated actions that perfectly.

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It was no surprise that Release the Spyce was my most anticipated anime of the fall season as I really wanted the great spy action anime to continue and in the end, the show ended up my great spy action streak. It may not be as great as Princess Principal and Read or Die TV writing and character wise but I still believe that Release the Spice is still a great spy action series that has a lot of heart.

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Momo Minamoto is your average, everyday Ordinary High-School Student, who goes out for a walk one night and sees five suspicious figures running across the rooftops of the factory across the river. It turns out that her city is a secret battleground between Tsukikage, an organisation of ninja spy girls dating back to the Warring States era and Moryo, a Mega-Corp with sinister motives. Momo is scouted to join Tsukikage… the members of which turn out to be five of her fellow classmates! From there Momo’s life as a spy apprentice begins.

The story itself may start off as this typical cute girl with guns doing cute things with guns as they do a bunch of spy work that was given, however, as the series progresses the goes into dark territory where the series dives into serious topics and themes which I won’t mention due to spoilers.

The one thing that separates Release the Spyce from other anime of its genre that there spy training and mock test. As much I liked seeing the Paper Sisters from and the small spy group do they spy tasks we don’t see them train all much.

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This is Release the Spyce really starts to shine as from episode 2 we see the main protagonist Momo doing through spy test and trails to not only prove herself but to prove her mentor that she’s fit for the spy position. This was such a great of pace as compared to other spy anime because it’s generally a great introduction to the characters as well origination setting itself. The spy missions in Release The Spyce were pretty entertaining as each of the girls use clever strategies and tactics to achieve the mission goal.

The final thing that I want to talk about was how the show set traitor towards the end very unpredictable as set character through the series had no signs of the traitor whatsoever but when set character was revealed to be a traitor I was left speechless because I really set character to be a traitor whatsoever thanks to the lack of suspicious facial expressions.

If I had any issues with Release The Spyce, it would be the very slow pacing at times at the show sometimes seems to drag plot aspects way longer than they should Other than that I found the story of Release The Spyce to be pretty good.

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The characters in a release the spice are pretty solid. While they aren’t complex characters by any means but least they were pretty fun and likeable.
Momo is a nicely written protagonist. She starts off as a clueless spy but as the grows a person whereby the end of the series she becomes a powerful spy girl.

Tsukikage group are all a fun, badass and likeable bunch.

Yuki: The strick badass swordsman spy of who is very skilled at martial arts. She’s is Momo trainee where she uses harsh training methods in order to make Momo a more capable fighter in spy missions.

Mei: The cheerful spy who is filled with life who trains Fu. Outside of spy missions she plays the guitar and holds street performances in order to gather intelligence.

Fuu: The ninja spy in disguise who has an obsessive relationship with Mei. Outside of spy missions, she works as a maid in a maid to gain money.

Hatsume: The genius spy of the group who is very friendly towards others as well as being extremely skilled with gadgets.

Goe: The powerful but shy spy out of all the bunch who uses a sniper rifle at long ranged combat to take down her enemies. She also has a big love for cute things.

If I had to pick my favourite character out of the bunch, it would be Mei I really liked her cheerful personality as well as having great chemistry with her apprentice Fuu.

As for the other characters, I thought were pretty solid. They may not be as memorable as the main characters but I thought there entertaining characters who served they propose of the plot pretty nicely.

Visually Release the Spyce is pretty good.
The characters design while more on the moe side was nicely done. The background scenery is very good, and it fits the tone of the show well for the most part.
The animation is smooth, consistent and well animated making the spy cases and the fights more thrilling to watch.
The soundtrack for Release the Spice was pretty good for what it is. The series uses a series of dubstep, electronic and smooth track pieces to give the action and slice of life scenes more weight.

The opening theme Spatto! Spy & Spyce sung by the Seiyuus who voiced each of the Tsukikage is an amazingly catchy song where despite being out of place at times it’s still a joy to listen to thanks to the upbeat. Easily one of the best opening of 2018 by a long shot.

The ending theme Hide & Seek by sung by the Seiyuus who voiced each of the Tsukikage is a pretty good ending theme.

Both languages  are great in their own ways but if I had to pick which one is better it would be the dub. Not only the acting was very spot on but the dub general just fits better with the show set and concept.

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Overall I really liked Release The Spyce. Despite it having saddening MAL score of 7.00 from the time of this review this series ultimately managed to be a financing experience.

While it was nowhere near as amazing as Read or Die series and Princess Principal Release the Spyce was still a fun and great spy anime that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

8/10

Anime Review 116 Kimagure Orange Road (Age is not a excuse for failure)

 

700fullI’ve been recently watching a lot of 70s and 80s animes recently. It was a great change of pace for me as I got the taste of what anime medium used to be like. Some of my favourite animes from the 70s/80s are Ashita no Joe, Anne of Green Gables, Touch, Rose of Versailles, Patlabor TV, Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Zeta Gundam.

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Sure there were a couple of 70s/80s animes I was not a fan off notably ZZ Gundam, Maison Ikkoku and Space Runaway Ideon but I still respected for what they are if I don’t like them.

This leads me to the next 80s anime that I decided to watch thanks to Maison Ikkoku fans on the net consistently comparing theses two series together. That anime in question is Kimagure Orange☆Road.

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Similar to Maison Ikkoku I had high exceptions for it as it was an another series that declared to be epic. So, I watched it and I once again regretted that discussion.

I am not going to beat out the bush the story was dull and uninteresting. I didn’t care about of many of the story events because I was bored by them and they were horribly executed thanks to poor writing. Despite being one of the first romcom ever made the series was reasonable of terrible cliches and plot lines that affected various romcom anime in the future.

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Another problem with Kimagure Orange Road is how disgustingly repetitive the episodic episodes are. I personally don’t mind a episodic series as long is the episodic content is good. Not only that but the show has to make sure the story can fit into the format without feeling awkward.

The show doesn’t do any of that and as a result you end up with a boring episodic slogefest that accomplishes absolutely nothing. Add up the poor writing, bad directing non existent thematic exploration and you got yourself a soulless train-wreck of a plot that has no idea of what’s it’s doing.

Honestly this entire story could have been told in a three 1 in the half movies.

The most important thing that you will need to make a romcom lead is likeable characters. After all if you don’t care about the character, then why you should care if they start forming a relationship. This is where Kimagure Orange Road completely drops the ball because not only the characters in Kimagure were deeply unlikable from beginning to end, but they are incredibly poorly written and cliched.

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The series is centred one character Madoka but the problem is she’s a terrible character. She a self insert Mary Sue who exists just for Kyousuke.

The series tries hard to make Madoka this epic female being this perfect badass but the poor writing completely contradict the writer intentions and what you got in a end is an lifeless husk of a character who just exists to be babies first waifu. Lame!!!

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Kyousuke is your cookie cutter beta romcom lead that all have seen before. There’s nothing special or unique about him and just like with Madoka he’s a overall bore.

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The word definition annoying would be a total understatement what talking about Hikaru. Despite having a hyper personality she actually the most annoying character in the entire thing.

To add insult to this already annoying brat is that she a full-blown plot device for the show poorly-written plot. She has no character arc whatsoever and she’s just there to be this quote ”love rival” for Madoka.

She is hands down not only the worst character in the series but she’s also made be the worst love rival I’ve ever seen in my life. Yes even worse than Yagami from Maison Ikkoku.

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The annoying and poorly written characters also leads me to other biggest problem with Kimgure Orange Road as a whole of the lack of care towards it’s characters.

Now because the series wasted most of it’s time of badly written episodic bullshit the anime didn’t a chance of creative some sort of character chemistry with it cast.

When the series decided to give chemistry to it’s characters towards the end being the 3 episodes OVAs not the 48 TV series I couldn’t give a damm ass about the character because I was sick of them after the first half of the TV series.

There’s hardly anything to talk about the supporting characters as just exist.

Honestly why did the show have to be so cocky and epic with it’s plot and characters when it can’t even do basic romcom storytelling right. I just hate when shows like this do this is as it just makes a already bad show =even more insufferable.

The technical aspect of Kimagure  Orange Road is mixed bag. The art of Kimagure Orange Road is surprising great for a 80s. The background scenery is very beautiful to look at thanks to the sharp and smooth colour palette. The character designs for the most part were wonderfully drawn as it captured the beautiful art-style (Izumi Matsumoto) from the manga.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing for the animation which is subpar. It relies on stock footage and the overall movement is rather choppy. This is not the say that the animation was bad but it could have been a lot better especially for a late 80s anime.

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If this show has any positives at all is it its music. Shirou Sagisu did a outstanding job with the soundtrack as most of the tracks had that 80s pop goodness that the fits the anime tone.

It may not save the poorly written story but listen to the great Shirou Sagisu score made the anime a tad more tolerable.

All of the opening and ending theme were fine but nothing special.

The voice acting (with the exception of the late Hiromi Tsuru as Madoka) was terrible. Not only the audio quality was bad but the voice acting in general was annoying and stiff.

There’s currently no English Dub for it but to frankly honest I’m glad there’s no dub because can you imagine watching this amateur hour romcom dubbed. Yeah! I don’t think so.

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I depressingly wanted to like this show but it’s utter incompetence from its broken structured plot and horrendous characters completely killed my enjoyment of the series to a point where I cannot respect the anime well it’s legacy. Being an old anime is not a excuse for being bad and the series pales compared to other anime in the 80s.

Even Maison Ikkoku a show that I personally really dislike had more things going for it compared to this.

I don’t recommend this anime to anyone unless you want to see just how certain old anime simply cannot stand the test of time.

The series may have been a classic back in the day but classic and legacy do not equal quality and Kimagure Orange Road is no different.

2.5/10