S.P.O.I.L.E.R.S. - Scammed Personally by Outstandingly and Incredibly Lame, Excessive, and Ridiculous Series
Full spoilers, at that, so don’t read if you haven’t seen it. And if you have, you probably like this series and will thus disagree with me. Basically, don’t read this review for any reason.
The anime industry seems to have finally learned that making sequels is a good idea, as many popular series are finally breaking their future-depriving curses: After many agonizing years, beloved anime like Bleach, Mahouka, Konosuba and Isekai Smartphone have all made highly anticipated recent comebacks, with even Spice and Wolf having something on the horizon. Of
course, it’s not a party without a few guests that literally nobody in the entire world (I’ve decided I speak for everyone now) asked for or is happy to see join in, like Mushoku Tensei. Or Masamune-kun’s Revenge.
Not that this series and critique is about me, but in 2017 my review of the first season said word-for-word: “Oh god, could you imagine a second season of this?” That wasn’t meant to be a challenge for the industry to manifest my worst nightmares, rather it was a mark of disproving bewilderment at the series’ own lack of execution. It opened with the promise of a likable, easy-to-root-for main character getting one over on a rude, bratty, insufferable antagonist who had wronged him in the past. It’s so easy to imagine Masamune-kun as fun, quirky take on the romantic comedy genre with its (promised) anti-romantic conclusion, one that could easily fill a 12-episode run; but instead, all progress eventually leads to… uh… I’m not really sure what the point is anymore, actually.
Let’s be clear, I didn’t expect anything from this season. I’m over the first season’s lack of conclusiveness. I watched S2 because some bone in my brain insisted on knowing what in the world could even happen to this weird series at this point. The first season swerved off course so hard with its many retcons and rewrites of what I thought the series was that I wonder if all of this is some kind of prank by the author. A prank, or just a means of milking a series so that it extends to infinity like Saw (hey, there’s another weirdly revived series), whatever. I’m wondering what kind of weird excuses this story is going to give itself so it may continue chasing its own tail.
I’ll give you a brief rundown of this season: Masamune-kun (the show) continues its parade of nonsense for another few episodes, picking up where last season ended mid-arc and “resolving” its weird plot holes and inconsistencies. And then the weirdest thing happens: it becomes a straight-up, almost no-nonsense romantic drama. I mean, the series wasn’t at all funny to begin with, but it hardly even attempts to be in the back end, as various character arcs converge into a big emotional climax that’s yet another sucker punch to the audience. You WON’T believe what happens next (Episode 10 will SHOCK you!!!!!!!)
Of course, that’s *still* not enough to end this series, because somehow there’s a sequel manga after this (although it still counts as the original manga but it has another name??? Somehow this has to be needlessly complicated as well) which I will just accept to be adapted some time later and I’ll take my L now. I mean it “ends” in the way that a Pokemon game “ends” when you beat the Elite Four or whatever, the gang goes on more adventures later and shit, where was I again? I got lost, I thought this was about getting revenge on someone. Spoilers, there is no revenge to be gotten in this series titled Masamune-kun’s Revenge.
Turns out the entire cause of the plot itself is one big, hilarious and super kooky misunderstanding, as is the case for all brilliantly-written stories. This season really delivers some banger plot twists like “Actually the girl who made fun of Masamune as a kid was just someone who disguised herself to look and sound completely identical to Adagaki and then they felt bad so they later orchestrated everything else later as an apology.” Because, uh, admitting to the people whose lives were quite literally ruined from this experience just isn’t a funny plot detail. Just like how the fat kid who showed up at the end of season 1 isn’t some nice guy in an arranged marriage with Aki for business reasons, they’re actually orchestrating some weird, manipulative plot to take her money and also they’re not even a guy???
It seems this series is more of a spectacle of nonsensical writing, kind of like famously convoluted series such as Saw (how did this get mentioned twice here?) and Kingdom Hearts where part of its audience probably does truly engage with and enjoy the twists, but another part of it is just laughing at how weird the excuses to make things happen get. Why do Masamune-kun (the character) and Aki spend time together in the first place? Because if they don’t, some Fr*nch guy is gonna sic the mafia on them unless his weeb sister harasses them into inspiring a rom-com manga for her. I didn’t make any of that up. I wish I had the courage to write things this obnoxious; instead I settled for the fortuitous path of the MyAnimeList reviewer.
It might be a good time to mention they go to Fr*nce (trigger warning) and meet the most annoying character ever, but she more-or-less disappears from the story after a couple episodes and nothing she does is of any consequence. I love having my time wasted!
Credit where it’s due, I suppose, there is tangible progress made towards the revenge ending, finally. Masamune the Tokyo Non-Revenger achieves step 1 of getting Adagakiakiakiakiakiaki to like him, woo yeah baby that’s what we’ve all been waiting for etc. But this comes so laughably late into the story that the driving motivation to bring about that revenge is dissolved. So once the series finally approaches its endgame, it takes on a completely new, never-before-seen identity: the boring, generic romantic drama, where the entire female population of argues over who gets to win the Reddit Best Girl contest and the main character mentally scrambles about wondering who he wants to vote for. Is it the girl whose main personality is wearing no panties and……………………………………… Is it the girl who was supposed to be the main antagonist??? Or could it be the soft-voiced and softer-chested maid girl who actually has some semblance of chemistry with him??? I wonder which character I’m supposed to root for!!!
Credit where it’s due, again, this emphatically dramatic tone of the second half is actually a much more tolerable version of the series. There’s not much I can say to criticize and make fun of it; it just comes at the consequence of being really, really boring. I mean, this is just my personal, subjective, biased, totally not yours dont cancel me opinion, but with a cast so boring and a plot so jumbled up, I wasn’t all that interested in the nuanced and in-depth (I’m saying this to be nice) emotional arcs of… anyone, really. I wanted the revenge ending. Am I a bad audience member for wishing the series didn’t change into something else?
Shout outs to him picking the girl he actually had a little bit of chemistry with, though. In my head I shipped these two together (a headcanon, one might say) as it felt like the only thing that made any amount of sense in this series. It’s nice that, in a series that is so nonsensical, it can at least end in a way that makes sense.
Just kidding. Of course that doesn’t actually happen. Masamune and Yoshino are so well-established of a couple that he literally gets physically sick around everyone but her, but she isn’t the poster girl of the series so of course she doesn’t win. Eh, whatever. It’s not that big of a deal to me; in fact I could… kind of see the logic of this relationship remaining non-platonic. While it’s not mind-blowing character writing, relationships forming and breaking as a result of people being more exposed to each other becomes a theme for the latter part of the series. I can appreciate that.
I feel like I could go on, but doing so would uselessly extend my feelings of this season and the series as a whole, and who am I to make things too long while complaining about things being too long. Masamune-kun’s Revenge Season R, which is a way-too-easy setup for an offensive joke, is not very good. That goes for the series as a whole. I didn’t find it funny, didn’t laugh, lost subscriber, but the second half of this season made small improvements by turning into a faceless romantic drama instead. It now simply occupies the category of anime for sickos who love it when conflict is generated by characters not talking to each other. It retains its below-average production values with its crudely drawn, mediocre character designs and its over-exciting soundtrack and a star-studded voice cast each giving in inoffensively uninspiring performances.
Maybe it's poetic; at first I assumed this would be a passably generic 5/10 or so and I’d be fine with that. That actually happened towards the end. It just… took a while to get there. Kind of like how Masamune and Adagaki accepted each other, rejected each other, and became decently accepting friends of each other by the end. I guess Masamune-kun’s revenge is the friends he made along the way.
Story - 3/10
Art - 3/10
Sound - 4/10
Character - 3/10
Enjoyment - 3/10
Revenge - still 0/10
Overall - 3.25/10 (Range: 2.5 - 4.0)
Recommendation level - Very low
Sep 18, 2021
“Both sides lose somebody. Somebody dies, somebody goes to jail.” --Kid Cudi
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” --some goofy mf named mitch or something idk
Tokyo Revengers is an anime about middle school kids, but they’re actually RUFF N’ TUFF DUDES who spend most of their time punching people, riding motorcycles, and punching other people who also enjoy punching people and riding motorcycles. Given such a gritty subject matter that is rarely touched upon in shounen anime, it’s pretty clear to see why there’s so much hype for this series. And I certainly respect that.
But in reality, the display of violence and conflict in ToRev is comical, to put it ... nicely. To put it meanly, it’s a mafia anime for children. Every conflict in this series begins and ends with characters punching each other, and other characters scream so often that Ear Revengers would’ve been a more appropriate name.
A lot of the screaming is done by our boy Takemitchi. I wish he was Takenoutoftheshow. *pauses for pre-recorded studio laughter* His entire character is that he has regrets about things that happened in his current life (if that wording threw you off, we’ll get to it later), he gets scared by everything, is in constant disbelief at every element of his surroundings, and is constantly FUCKING SCREAMING. Many assume this MC has a special power of time travelling, but no. His power is yelling to draw attention to himself, where every other character in the show can only express confusion and then go along with it like a practical joke.
How anyone takes Takemitchi seriously is the biggest mystery in this anime. He yells at people to try and get his way, he’s too cowardly to hit anyone and too weak to deal any damage anyway, and whatever he does is motivated by time travel reasons, so nothing he does comes off as logical to other characters. Instead they just say “well he’s a nice guy I guess” and keep him around. If these middle school biker gangs were realistic, Takemitchi would be accepted into the gang as a joke, then have him go on a “secret mission” that ends with him getting raped by a beaver or something. No one in their right mind would actually give him the time of day, but I guess no one in the show is in their right mind because they get punched all the time lol
It’s Talk-no-Jutsu and Power of Friendship taken to incredible degrees, two of the most picked on tropes in shounen anime. These aren’t automatically bad tropes; a lot could be said about one’s way of reasoning and motivating others. Takemitchi doesn’t have the charisma or intelligence to do either of these things. At best, his screaming and whining is so childish that others get lifted up by thinking “Ha! What a dumbass!” Seldom does he have any real consequence on anything happening.
And not to mention, this dude has to express shock and disbelief at EVERYTHING in this series. Even twenty episodes in, when an all-out gang war has been set up for episodes--this being some days or weeks in anime time--he enters the battle like “Wow! I can’t believe this is actually happening!” It doesn’t help that when something occurs within his general vicinity, the camera has to keep cutting to Takemitchi’s look of surprise, as if we need a reminder as to how he feels about something.
While we’re at it, the other goofy shounen trope this anime has is the comically old-looking “middle schoolers”. Not that I really care, it’s just funny seeing some dudes be like “i had a rough childhood” bro you’re like 12 you ARE a child ☠️
But a bad main character can be made up for with a good supporting cast, right? To an extent I can see the potential Tokyo Gang:re has with its characters not named Takemitchi. The two that get the most screentime, Mikey and Draken, are practically the best characters by an objective margin. Mikey has a childlike demeanor that doesn’t go too far and stands out among the rest of the cast, and yet his goofiness doesn’t go too far for me. His calm presence mixed with some weird complexes he has are genuinely fun. His sidekick, Draken, comes off as genuinely tough compared to everyone else, with a strict personality that clashes wonderfully with Mikey. Plus his design is the one in this series that properly rides the line between cool and ridiculous and I actually like it.
Others are just acceptable, albeit forgettable, save for Hina Tachibana--nice to see she’s doing well after everyone fucking hated her in Domestic Girlfriend--who goes slightly above and beyond the token gf that need protecc. Her sweet, innocent and girly character is fine enough for a boys’ series, but the moments where she stands up against danger and acts like a bad bitch were surprisingly good.
It’s likely thanks to these characters that Tokyo Revengers doesn’t end up being completely miserable to watch. As eye-rolling as some parts of it may be, little of it was particularly disastrous. Perhaps the key to enjoying this anime fully is embracing Takemitchi, like how people say Black Clover is good because Asta has character development or something. Is that a good comparison? Do y’all like Black Clover? I’m out of touch with this generation, I’ve been too busy listening to obscure music artists like Hideki Naganuma and Lil Nas X like a fucking asshole.
But now we’ve finally come to the Snorlax in the road. Because it’s TIME!!!! to TRAVEL!!!!!!!!!! Into the section where we talk about time travel in this anime. It’s a very straightforward concept: Takemitchi returns twelve years into the past, but can travel forward back to the present day by shaking hands with some dude. What’s interesting is that time moves forward in both timelines simultaneously, but unfortunately there’s not anything done with this concept so far, other than seeing the present day change as a result of what Takemitchi does in the past. Honestly I don’t care too much about the time travel because, at least in this stage of the story, it doesn’t seem like much of a story concept.
Maybe I could be more harsh about that, but the only qualm I have for now is that, like seemingly any time travel series that isn’t actually sci-fi, the TT isn’t used smartly. Since time moves forward in both timelines simultaneously, it would make sense for Takemitchi to be in the past during the day, then check the present day overnight so that he can consistently live both lives. It’s a notable drawback that his life in the timeline he’s not present in is run on autopilot, so maximizing the time between both makes the most amount of sense to me. But like I said, Revengers isn’t really here to impress with any of its high concepts, just to have dudes punch the shit out of each other.
The real Snorlax on the road, or rather, the colossal 800-pound dump it just took, is how Tokyo Revengers is presented. I’m sure some will defend this lovely adaptation by saying “well it looks better than Ex-Arm!” as if we give humans accomplishments for having ten fingers. Bad art and animation can often be summarized with buzzwords like “cheap” and “low-effort” (sorry to you folks at Lidensfilms who probably made like 200 yen off this whole show), and my buzzword for this art style is: lifeless. Dead. Unresponsive. Shots often linger uncomfortably long, a problem that’s exacerbated by an unhealthy amount of still-frames. Body animation is often stiff and awkward, a death knell for an action-heavy series. When characters hit each other, the animation is slow and lacks weight, like moving around a couple of layers in Photoshop, or they just have a still-frame of someone getting hit and then slowly sliding across the screen in one direction. Then, they’re further marred by gross and sometimes excessively-loud noises of flesh splashing. Characters have un-detailed faces that often look deadpan and unemotive, and the designs aren’t much to write home about either. Even the background art lacks any personality when there could be potential for some of the rugged settings of some episodes, such as the junkyard in the Bloody Halloween arc. All of these problems run deep and go beyond what one would normally blame on “budget”. Who really knows what happened, but sometimes, things just suck.
Occasionally the OST has some highlights, but a lot of the best songs are played over, and over, and over again, like there can only exist one song for an emotionally uplifting scene, one for intense action scenes, and so on. Maybe it wasn’t as repetitive as I remember and more of the general style of hard rock-driven orchestration blurred everything together. Who knows. Either way, it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t leave too much of an impression. The OP is okay. The vocals have a nice singalong melody throughout the whole song, but nothing else about the song interests me. I fuck with both the ED’s, though. The first ED is kinda like a smooth mixture of soul and city pop that cools you down like a good ED typically would, but then some amped guitars crank up the energy to get you hyped at the end. It’s hella good. The second ED sounds like Silversun Pickups but if they weren’t fucking shit. I wish the drums and bass, or really just the entire instrumentation lol, was louder because it kinda sounds like a weird moany dude groaning over fuzz. But it’s a cool song anyway.
Anyway, usually I end reviews with some sort of summary but generally speaking I write these things on the spot and have no idea what I’m doing so I don’t know what I just wrote actually. Tokyo Revengers Not Good I guess. Tell you what, I’ll come back and fix this section in twelve years. Now for a joke, what happened to the swastika in the title of the manga? They removed it so that you could not see it.
Overall: 4/10, ranging anywhere from a light 3 to a strong 4.
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Jun 25, 2021
Minor spoilers I guess.
When something exists in our lives as raw goated swag peak fiction, all we want to do is talk up and down about why thing good so that everyone else can understand exactly how we feel. Unfortunately, reality is cruel and says that we’re not allowed to do this, because other people have feelings for some reason. We don’t have all day--well, THEY don’t, rather--to hear a 25-hour lecture on why thing good, so you condense and paraphrase it as much as possible to get to the heart of it, but only kind of making your point so that people ... get it but not really. That’s what The World Ends With You’s anime is like for me.
To say that Twoo-Wee has had a major impact on my life would be like saying the invention of oxygen wasn’t necessary for the survival of humans, cats, and trees alike. Without this game, I may as well have never been born, and I would probably be doing something meaningful with my life instead of writing stupid anime reviews for weirdos on the internet. This is my raw goated swag peak fiction, my ultimate “thing good.” Evidently, the anime has a lot to live up to.
And it doesn’t. Because this isn’t the same thing. A good video game tells its story beyond character dialogue and actions. It immerses you in a setting, a culture, a window into a world. Roaming the streets of Shibuya while listening to SICK JAMS, swapping clothes and buying 300 Big Macs until the girl at the counter has a crush on you, peering into NPCs’ nonsensical thoughts and catching up on all the small talk with your partner. These are just a few examples of how TWEWY functions as a great game, and how it’s sustained a cult following after more than a decade. In other words, it ReALlY mAKeS YoU FEeL liKE YOu’rE iN ShiBUyA\\\\\\
T. UwU E has a great story because it uses every element of the game to tell it. As a result, the anime falls flat even before I could point out the things it changed or outright removed (which I won’t do because we don’t have time). Watching this felt like an adaptation of a Wikipedia article explaining the basic plot of the game. Ultimately, you’ll know the story. You’ll know what you need to know about Nekky Sockramen and the Reapy Creepy; you’ll get the cool plot twists and the character arcs, but you’ll just get the plot.. . . . . of the plot. . . . .. . . does that make sense?
In other words, this anime exists to get newcomers up to speed so they can play the sequel game that comes out in a month. That’s really what this is all about. There’s a new game coming and it could probably be played standalone, but it probably helps to know what happened in the original game, but that costs like $60 because Nintendo sucks and that’s not even talking about the ORIGINAL original game which is a DS game that came out in 2007 or something so have fun trying to get that one because emulating the thing sucks. So they made this as a cheat sheet instead.
Trying to shove twenty hours of content into a five-hour TV series is difficult and generally not recommended, and it shows here. TWEWY’s anime presents the story and pretty much nothing else. All of the dialogue and every small event is tied to the narrative, which is a really dumb and obvious thing to point out without context, but it’s true. When watching TWEWY TA, I can’t help but feel how serious, tense, and, frankly, dull the tone is. It’s like a business being run.
The original game is lively and fun and often witty and charming. Characters small-talk and joke around or argue sarcastically with each other frequently. Their personalities are flashy and over-the-top like another reassurance that you can enjoy yourself and not take everything too seriously while watching dead emos try to reclaim their own existence in the world. Was that a spoiler? Whatever, it’s revealed pretty early on anyway.
The Animation has a muted tone to it, almost outright neutering the game’s own narrative. Neku’s cynical and sarcastic personality was toned down, but as a result he comes off as completely lifeless. . . . Well, I mean he IS lifeless but shut up. His character arc of learning to trust and value others is significantly less earned, to the point where has to practically scream what he learned over the course of the series. The fan-favorited Joshua was also punished here, as his hateably-endearing, charming, smug piece-of-shitness was almost totally removed in favor of someone who. . . isn’t that.
These might seem like gripes, but if something seems off in or about the anime, understand that it’s an anime-exclusive issue. While I don’t think it’s a completely butchered adaptation, the main takeaway is that the game is just a lot better. As an anime, I do still think it has a pretty cool story with the Reaper’s Game and the rules that dictate it. It’s just missing a lot of the bells and whistles that set it further apart.
For what it’s worth, there are some good moments that the adaptation nails. Beat’s character is handled pretty well, Shiki and Neku have some good scenes together, and the best character of all time, motherfucking Sho Minamimoto, was carried over pretty much 1:1 in this, making him as brilliant here as he is in the game. The adaptation is far from perfect, but it does have its high points that can make diehard fans happy.
Even among all of that, the most controversial element of this adaptation was probably the way it was presented visually. 3DCG is that thing that anime fans just won’t get over, and for many, you’re either Berserk 2016 or you’re Studio Orange. Personally, I would say the anime actually looks pretty good, and not just by narrowing the field down to CG anime only. To be more specific, it’s a mix of 2D and 3D, often for the sake of blending the game’s unique artstyle into animation. This is probably the biggest W this adaptation has, as I genuinely love that the anime staff was able to translate the explosive character designs into a movable format. The animation and set pieces generally look good, but the fully 3D Noise (monsters) are where things get a little rough.
Finally, the anime brought back the game’s composer (no pun intended), and he fulfilled his task of bringing in some SICK JAMS to the anime. A few old tracks pop up with some new ones, and it’s all of the fun pop and punk rock and hip-hop from before. It doesn’t disappoint. But a lot of the time, the anime feels eerily quiet, and probably not in a way that was intended. Like there just wasn’t enough of a soundtrack made. It’s very weird. The OP is Twister Remix #210582 and frankly it’s not a very good one, at least compared to others. But this is less of the anime’s fault and more of The Drummer From ALI Who Is A Fucking Moron’s fault for having the OP replaced literally one day before it came out. The ED is a hard rock banger that would fit perfectly with the game’s soundtrack, and it has some cool art by that Russian artist Ilya or whatever his name is. So that’s nice.
All in all, TWEWY TA wasn’t terrible. As a fan, I enjoyed it. But I would also hesitate to recommend it, unless you just REALLY want to know what this is about without playing the game. If you want my recommendation on the game, here’s my list of reasons on why you should get out your old DS and buy this game second-hand off Ebay *unravels a long scroll that rolls out of the room*
Speed: Zetta Slow/10
Overall: Low 6, ranging anywhere between a low 5 and a high 6
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Dec 18, 2020
Fiction is all about perspective, and what can be taken from a piece of art will depend on the person viewing it. This is an incredibly generic opening statement that can be plastered onto any review for anything in existence, but such a primal notion is paramount to The Journey of Elaina. It’s a series that lives and dies by your appreciation of the main character, or lack thereof. It’s a collection of vignettes that can either move you, or have you mumbling “What the hell was the point of that?” at the end of twenty-two minutes.
“Who’s that hot witch who’s also a bad bitch? ... That’s right, it’s me.” --Elaina (probably)
Welcome to the wonderful witch waifu show! Elaina has a big hat that looks really cool and she has long silver hair, 10/10 flawless character design. Also she’s smug as shit and that’s funny and also based. Good show.
Elaina is a terrible person who willingly enables bad things to happen to other people; she has the power to make positive changes but chooses not to out of her own convenience. She’s incredibly stuck-up, self-centered and rude whose only likable trait is being cute.
This is all well and good and all but it’s basically Kino’s Journey again, just with more magic and less talking motorcycles, and also less set rules for the main character.
I’m not trying to throw you off with conflicting opinions, these are just various things I’ve heard others say about the series. And they’re all valid statements. Elaina’s journey is not a clear, focused narrative, largely guided by the actions and personality of the titular character. As simple as that is, it’s plenty of cause for division.
Elaina is not a hero and it’s made clear rather quickly. More often than not, she chooses to stay out of conflicts, even if she seems to have the power to take action and solve them. Her main interest is her main interest, and all she wants to do is see the world around her. On top of this, she thinks highly of herself, not just by keeping herself out of harm’s way, but also by never sparing a moment to compliment herself.
As said, your opinion of Elaina the character will completely influence your opinion of Elaina the show. So what do I think of Elaina?
Oh, ho ho ho………
You want to know what I think?!
Ha ha ha ha!!
She’s a great character.
You might be wondering if my infatuation with witches and their stupid ass hats is the reason why. Well, anon, let me tell you, I’m not so shallow as to completely set aside all personal beliefs for cute girls in big hats. But yes, that’s correct.
Joking aside and alongside, Elaina is funny. She’s witty, she’s relatable, and I think she’s interesting. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a character in an adventure series like this, and many of her moments had me smiling. With a series of short stories about different pieces of the world, the two options are to make the world good or to make the character experiencing the world good. Ideally, you’d like to have both, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen in this series, and we’ll get to that. Not all stories are created equal, both in regards to the entire medium of fiction and the collection of Elaina’s travels. Some episodes were quite interesting and memorable and others felt rather pointless and silly. Despite an unbalance of quality, one element was consistently amusing: Elaina herself.
With a large world offering many different concepts, a more plain character is typical, as it allows the world to shape and develop them while also letting us project onto them more easily. Elaina isn’t an example of this--although I do relate to her much more than a generic adventure protag. Her laid-back attitude was what related me to the character, and her bold self-appreciation, often stepping into pure entitlement, was endearing and made her stand out a lot. She’ll often ask the audience directly who’s “that beautiful girl with ashen hair flutters in the wind, etc.” but her own self-entitlement will bleed into her everyday actions, like in episode two. After a clumsy apprentice mage crashes into her, sending them both falling onto a roof and destroying it, Elaina shows more concern for the lack of an apology from this girl rather than the blood trickling out of her head.
It’s a quiet, subtle savagery that just makes her so enjoyable. Her reactions to things around her are often sarcastic and witty, and despite a general lack of initiation she’ll take to conflict, anything bad that happens to her will immediately enrage her to the point of threatening to kill. Said bad things include cutting her hair, swapping bodies with her, or making fun of her chest (or lack thereof lmoa).
Most of the series is whimsical and largely undramatic, but Elaina doesn’t go entirely unchallenged. Occasionally, she WILL face an unpleasant situation and find herself unable to do anything about it--not actually from a lack of desire, but due to the laws of a region or her own lack of experience and power. Whether it causes a grimace on her face or a full blown meltdown, the dark realities of the world don’t leave her completely unfazed, and her weakness comes out.
If there’s any big problem with the journey, it’s that these moments don’t occur enough. Most of Elaina’s stories hold little to no consequence to them, which is why the character becomes so centralizing to its enjoyment. Some of these stories just happen and they could be mildly amusing for what they are, but a lot of them can feel largely unimportant and forgettable. For that reason, episode 9 truly stands out as the one episode with consequence and impact, where it feels like Elaina is truly tested and affected by this story. Even its music and cinematography are elevated much more seriously to the point where it almost feels like an entirely different show, and it’s a shame that it didn’t bleed into the episodes after it, because it was a genuinely terrific episode.
The other exception is the final episode, and without spoiling anything, it actually does connect the pieces together and ties Elaina's journey up into a nice, satisfactory ending. It highlights the consequences of Elaina's actions by showing different outcomes that might've happened had she done something differently, reinforcing the story's themes and giving weight to the past stories. It's also delivered in the most Elaina way possible, and I mean that in the most literal way possible. The finale is definitely worth the eleven episodes that build up to it.
Occasionally, Elaina is joined by some other characters--I’m sorry if this statement caused you to leap out of your seat. Her mentor satisfies the trope of stupidly powerful characters with lovable, lackadaisical personalities, especially with the voice of Kana Hanazamallamasama. Saya is the main subject of consequence from Elaina’s journey, as she enters the series as a fledgling mage who Elaina coddles somewhat, to quickly becoming a witch herself who then spends her screentime simping for Elaina as hard as she can. It’s good to have a character I can relate to so well. Her mentor, Shiela, is somewhat unremarkable outside of her tomboyish personality and the fact that she smokes out of a pipe and rides a motorized broom, so actually she’s really fucking cool. They’re alright.
The art is often quite good; never bordering on the territory of fantastic, but characters are well-designed, detailed, and animated with care. Background art is often given a great amount of attention-to-detail, but can easily go unnoticed for the settings themselves being fairly normal and uninteresting. Nothing in this series would win any sort of awards for presentation, except maybe the directing of episode 9 which was actually fire, but it’s all cleanly above-average and contributes enough.
Elaina deserves its divisive reputation, and maybe that was the point all along. Good stories aren’t necessarily made to be agreed with, it’s the way they’re told and what happens that defines them. Having clear, set attributes will only appeal to those who can appreciate them, and for me Elaina’s personality is what helps me get through the day. But it’s true that the series could have done more, and one can only hope that future installments can elevate it to the heights that it’s teased us with.
In other words, Elaina is my waifu and she can do whatever she wants because I said so and if you don’t like it then fight me irl punk
Witch hats: 10/10
Overall: 7.75/10 (Range: 6.5 - 8.5)
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Sep 29, 2020
This is the greatest piece of animation ever constructed by human beings. It must be known that I am only guessing that human beings made this, because the nature of this video is so other-worldly amazing that it is not out of the question for it to have been made by celestial deities on a higher plane of existence. And also Bump of Chicken.
After merely two minutes and change, your eyes will be shitting out pieces of your brain. Your life will be forever changed and you'll temporarily forget the collapse of civilization occurring outside of your place of residence, because this video is ... good enough to change humanity. The human eye can see a million colors, but this animation has several trillion. It exceeds the limitations of the third dimension and stretches beyond infinity. It is all-consuming and limitless. It is universe-defining.
From the first sparkling notes to the ending chant of GOTCHA!, love from all sources penetrate your eyes, ears, heart, soul, red, blue, dick and cum simultaneously. Starting with four boys walking on railroad tracks and ending with two original characters passing by billboards of post-game bosses through each generation, GOATCHA! is a death blossom of nostalgia that will bring even the most hardened of cynical fans to their knees. Not a single split-second is spared in shoving in every personable animation possible. Whether it's a silent protagonist, a charismatic rival, an iconic Champion, an intimidating Gym Leader, or Diantha, each face in the lightning-fast carousel of callbacks is given a brilliant moment to shine; one more grain of Stardust in the bag. GOTCHA! leaves nothing behind and never forgets. The limits of time mean nothing.
Included in the tornado of nostalgia are strikingly well-designed original characters who traverse various locations, allowing the animator gods to deliver more scenes in dazzlingly clever ways, with the perspective often changing to connect the pieces together. Many flashbacks of intense, memorable Pokemon battles are played directly in their respective locations in between the journey of the two adventurers, who pass by legends casting shadows over cities and video screens continuing the montage. GOTCHA! is not just an orgasmic celebration of the series, it's a journey forward. A new adventure with new characters. They, too, have been injected with an abundance of charm and likability.
Art exists to enrich the lives of others. GOTCHA! is the reason why art exists. When art was invented in My Hero Academia by Walt Disney in 1690, his exact words were "I have created art because one day a Pokemon music video will be created and it will make Mozilla Fennekin shit his fucking pants." On September 29, 2020, art officially peaked. Nothing better has ever existed before, and nothing greater will exist ever again. We are free from the pressures of success and achievements. GOTCHA! has saved us all by being everything that we are not. Perfect.
Also, the music was good.
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Mar 28, 2020
Magia Record is not Madoka 2.0.
I feel like that really needs to be said. Despite “side story” written in the title, being a part of the Madoka franchise comes with huge expectations--expectations that Magia Record never attempts to meet. This is not a sequel to Rebellion, nor an attempt at recreating the magic (heh) of Madoka. After all, the original was practically a statement for mahou shoujo and was such a groundbreaking and well-acclaimed series, you only really get one of it per genre.
This doesn’t excuse all of Magia Record’s potential faults, but I think a large wave of backlash towards it ... is largely based on comparisons to the original. It’s not even really clear how MR relates to the original series, it is just a story using premade rules and concepts of the original series, so although it’s not something you should watch without seeing Madoka, it exists as a seemingly separate entity. Stop bullying Magia Record, it did nothing wrong. Just like Kyuubey.
Now, as for Puella Magi Magia Magica Mahou Madoka Gaiden Getcha Gacha Godoka Gotcha Record Shoujo (TV) (2019) itself, there are actually lots of problems just on their own. For example, the story jerks you around and doesn’t really stick to one plot thread; while the overarching narrative is Iroha figuring out the mystery of her missing sister, it gets distracted by all of the other character arcs and thematic concepts that it’s easy for you to forget it yourself. Sometimes a reveal happens and you’re like “Oh. Yeah. That was a thing, I guess.”
And while I can’t say the story itself is bad, it leaves you in the dark for a long time--so long that it only reveals its cards towards the very end of the season, meaning things won’t really pick up until the inevitable sequel. Not that I’m unfamiliar with stories getting better as they go along, but with the helter-skelter plotline, it could be difficult to invest yourself with what’s going on.
What about the characters? Well, they’re… usable. Iroha is rather plain as a main character, but Yachiyo’s maturity along with her development are pretty strong. Tsuruno’s passionate excitement and Felicia’s rowdiness also make for plenty of fun moments, but it’s not necessarily a cast that dazzles. There’s no standout star (because Alina Grey only has one scene 0/10 trash anime), but there wasn’t any character who was particularly bad, or even forgettable. It helps that everyone has a memorable design, whether it’s a good design or not.
“U gave it a 7 but complained all the time bruh moment” Yeah, here’s the oddity of Magia Record. There’s not a lot on this base level that really draws me in or is worth celebrating. But, damn, can this show be a blast to watch.
Gekidan Inu Curry takes the director’s seat (or, seats, rather), originally just doing design work for the series and other Shaft works when things need to get extra fucky. And damn, does this duo deliver. Every moment of Magia Record has some sort of presence, for lack of a better word. They bring in every Shaftian trick in the book, like backgrounds cluttered with one object copied infinitely, or mysteriously empty, stark environments, and uncanny CG is used liberally. It’s nothing short of odd, and most of the time it’s downright unsettling, even in many casual instances.
That’s nothing compared to the abstract visuals of rumors and witches and fantastical scenes of exposition. I don’t even know what to say to pitch them in a succinct way, all I know is that this anime trips you the hell out in so many areas. Characters are framed and positioned, lit and posed in eye-catchingly brilliant ways, or they converse in the Monogatarian manner of “doing what the fuck ever” while they speak. Easily the best thing about Magia Record is how it’s presented, as it promises to engage you with every second.
It even comes to a fault, as Gekidan Inu Curry’s lack of anime direction shows with some inconsistencies. These could be basic things like animation errors and cut-corners, which can be very noticable (but also could be blamed on Shaft themselves, which I hear ain’t doin’ so well these days), but sequences and cuts can sometimes be incredibly messy and disorganized. This becomes especially true with action scenes, which devolve from being irregularly captivating like much of the rest of this series, to absolute clusterfucks where it’s borderline impossible to follow along.
Still, the ambition of Magia Record’s presentation cannot be overlooked, as it is the true selling point of the anime right now. The soundscapes help bolster these beautifully jarring visuals by mirroring their strangeness, most notably when rumors are described through an erratically pitched voice. The soundtrack might not live up to the incredibly high precedent that Yuki Kajiura set in the original Madoka, but it faithfully recreates the celestial tone it’s best known for.
Overall, Magia Record certainly has its share of issues and can be disappointing for not comparing well to its original series. Yet, I can’t help but praise it for how well it was presented. The best parts are that it didn’t screw up a lot--at worst, it was just mediocre. Although gacha games are labeled as “cheap” by many (fair), this adaptation was actually a significant improvement over a largely boring game. The passion presented by Gekidan Inu Curry in this project really shows, and I expect it to be even better when it returns.
If anyone is playing the game and wants to add me, my Player ID is cWUz52LU. My supports are pretty decent, and one of them has a cute witch hat but she’s not in the anime so basically what I’m saying is that this anime sucks actually goodbye. Also the game closed so this was completely pointless. Nothing has any meaning and everything is suffering. Die.
Gacha: I got Sayaka out of my free 10x roll today so 4*/4*
Overall: 7.25/10 (range: 6.0-7.75)
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Dec 28, 2019
[Spoiler Warning. The part I actually spoil is labeled later on, so you'll know when it happens. But I was forced to put a full spoiler warning at the top. I guess you can't be too... cautious... eh?? ...I hate this.]
“I get it. It ain’t making me laugh, but I get it.” --Meatwad (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
Although I didn’t enjoy it all that much, I respect how Tueeeeeeeeeeeeeee repeats its own themes of caution within the writing by explaining every single joke and detail of the story. Even the title itself is an act of caution: ‘Cautious Hero: The ... Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious’, the subtitle of which is literally just a much longer and more inconvenent way of saying “CAUTIOUS FUCKING HERO”. White Fox themselves delayed the broadcast of a couple episodes to make sure they would be of watchable quality before pulling an Arifureta in back-to-back seasons, and there was even a recap episode JUST in case you really didn’t get the plot.
But what this cautious anime overlooked is that the isekai genre has been more saturated than Guitar Hero games in the late 2000’s, leaving even the bottom of the deepest barrel empty of any scraps for more uncreative literature geniuses to feast off of.
Not that I think isekai is a bad trend or anything--at the risk of handing over my e1337ist anime reviewer card, I think there is a genuine amount of potential in the story concept of an “ordinary” character summoned to a fictional world where his real-world skills and logistics are tested in another dimension. It’s not the Goddess of Isekai’s (probably some big-titted bimbo sitting up in some other-worldly realm watching me from a glass ball or some shit) fault that like 1% of people actually gave a shit about trying.
And it’s not even that I crave a particularly unique or creative story to enjoy something--catch me celebrating the arrival of the Slime 300 adaptation. But… at some point, I have to wonder “When is this going to end? When will enough be enough?” I’d like to think that the diarrhetic bombardment that we got from isekai last season would have dropped its stock a fair bit, but I guess now that we got one that is “acceptably not shit” immediately after, everything is hunky-dory again.
Let me get to the point. Cautious Hero is an extremely typical RPG-like story, but the twist is that the main character is ridiculously over-cautious to the point where he has to kill a minimum-level monster with a much more high-level spell--dozens of times. He spends incessant amounts of time grinding before taking on boss fights and his outlandish actions spread to NPCs. As a result, his actions are often questioned by the world around him, including a goddess from the Divine Realm who accompanies him.
Given the relationship between this goddess and the main character, the #1 comparison to this anime is KonoSuba, but I would actually say this is more similar to How To Not Summon A Demon Lord. The reason why is because of a shared flaw: In its attempt to parody typical RPG stories, this anime becomes mind-numbingly boring to watch. Cautious Hero features a completely recycled, by-the-numbers JRPG plot about finding a legendary sword and armor and killing the Demon Lord and its four generals. Late into the story, the author tries throwing some high-stakes plot twists, but they’re lateral moves. They changed things up to be slightly less generic than before, but they don’t actually make the story better--in fact, they feel more like time-wasters. More on that later.
I’m trying to think of more to say about how boring the story is, but that’s just it. There’s nothing to say. All I can think of is how the anime spent several episodes on this quest to a dragon village with these two slapdick NPC kids. I get it, Cautious Hero, the joke is that these kids are traditional RPG protags and Cautious-sama is much stronger than them so they’re actually useless great job everyone. It doesn’t change the fact that these characters are not even slightly amusing to watch. Look, if you want to have a guy take down this big colossal threat in an unconventional way, go for it. But pretty much all of the side characters could’ve been replaced with mannequins modeled after Mads Mikkelsen and nothing of value would have been lost.
The other problem with this anime is the incredible amount of repetition, how it even repeats itself beat for beat sometimes. Seiya goes to a new town → Seiya uses facts & logic to piss off the locals → Locals/Ristarte question his status as a hero → Seiya goes into the god realm to get trained by a god or goddess → said god or goddess is completely mind-broken by Seiya’s OP-ness (say that out loud for maximum comedy!!!!) → Seiya ultimately defeats the big ultimate omega god threat and kind of sort of wins the locals over. This exact process happens more than once.
Aside from parodying typical JRPG elements, the other main source of comedy is from the goddess, Ristarte. Or, rather, her having extreme overreactions to every single thing that happens on screen. This is actually one point in favor of Cautious Hero, the handling of Ristarte as a character. She herself claims and believes herself to be this perfect, heavenly being who graces those around her with her mere presence, but her true personality is a very short-tempered, unlikable brat who throws a tantrum when things don’t go her way. This is where most of the KonoSuba comparisons come in as she’s almost identical in personality and role to Aqua; I can’t really deny this myself, but Ristarte is still enjoyable. Or, at least, enjoyable with how the animators deliver her reactions. She distorts, stretches, changes colors, her character design gets outright abused in animation with her expressions. And even though I stopped finding her general personality enjoyable after a while, White Fox never stops the crazy train with her faces, always willing to deliver a new, bizarre expression.
For some other notes on this character, Ristarte thinks she can seduce Seiya, but instead Seiya is so magnificently handsome and brooding that she’s the one mega horny for him instead, and of course Seiya gives zero fucks about her. It’s a pretty funny joke, but it also gets done to death by the halfway point. Also, this might be a reach, but I like to believe that the ED is a shitty CGI dance to exacerbate her hypocrisy as this cute, endearing godess. Because the ED itself is meant to be cute and endearing, but with such tacky animation it is anything but.
The other role of Ristarte and most other characters is to loudly repeat everything that happens on screen, just in case some deaf people had it in them to watch some colorful Chinese cartoons. I don’t necessarily mind this sort of thing all the time--characters reacting and explaining things and all that. But CH has to do it every. single. fucking. time. Seiya does something weird, and then someone has to loudly exclaim “SEIYA DID THIS FUCKING WEIRD THING! WHAT!!!!”
I specifically remember a fight where Seiya devoured a plump bag of stat-boosting seeds in one gulp. This is a funny joke because Seiya is always a very serious, straight-faced man, and now he’s drawn in a much more comical way, with the mouthful of seeds making his cheeks puff out like a chipmunk. Then Ristarte says out loud, “LOL he kinda looks like a chipmunk!!” Once again, thank you to the real Cautious Heroes, the writers, for being cautious enough to make sure that I understood this 200 IQ joke.
Speaking of 200 IQ, the writer(s) realized at some point that this anime isn’t actually doing anything special, so the last few episodes dish out a few plot twists. But as I said, these are lateral moves that don’t really improve the anime. Do they make it more surprising? Sure, I guess. But was the anime better because these things happened? Would it matter if these twists were taken out in favor of a more straightforward plot? It’s not like these twists did anything to change my perspective on the series or anything.
Let me explain, and SPOILERS by the way.
I’m sure the mods want me to be a little more CAUTIOUS with the spoiler warning so here you go.
This section is where spoilers start.
This section is where spoilers start. (x2)
These spoilers spoil things that happen.
Do not read the spoilers if you do not want to be spoiled on things that happen.
Go to the point that says the spoilers are over if you do not want to read spoilers.
Ready perfectly. I am completely what the fuck ever.
So one of the main goals of the isekai story is to find a legendary armor, because apparently all other armor is useless against the Demon King or Demon Lord or Demon God or Demon Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself or whatever. Instead, the armor is destroyed by a boss, who sacrifices himself and a literal entire village to summon some transcendent phantom thing. The phantom has glitched stats and all attacks cause it to multiply instead of dealing damage, and when Seiya and company retreat into the Divine Realm with all of the other goddesses, it actually follows them, because that makes a lot of fucking sense. Ultimately, a goddess uses a big fuck-off instant kill move on it, which makes me wonder what the actual point of all this was because I’m here to watch Cautious Hero, not this bitchlord.
Weeeelll, it turns out the point is to have Seiya learn the move instead, because the penultimate episode reveals the big, mind-blowing plot twist that it’s had saved all along. Seiya was already isekai’d before and had a pregnant gf in his party; he ultimately failed at the final boss because he wasn’t cautious enough and this girl died and reincarnated into a goddess as Ristarte. And so Seiya has this instant-kill move that also kills him because, underneath his hard, cold demeanor, he’s a selfless and deeply caring person who is cautious at every turn because he doesn’t want to lose anyone else.
Except all of this was not really that surprising, and some of it was already established from the get-go. I’m not gonna say I had this entire backstory in my head from episode one or anything, but--wow, Seiya is really cautious because there was a time when he WASN’T cautious and he suffered from it? Genius! Ristarte got a restart on her life and that’s why her name is Restart, wow! Okay, cynical comments aside, I really don’t get why Seiya is such a shit to Ristarte if this girl is supposed to be actually meaningful to him. Even if it’s like the show implies, where he’s cold to others because he wants them to be pushed away so he doesn’t have to risk losing them, he can be a little brutal to her sometimes.
And more importantly, this big reveal that deep down Seiya is actually very compassionate was already explained in one of the earliest episodes. Seiya trains in the Divine Realm for a while instead of fighting a dangerous threat head-on, and when Ristarte berates him for it, Seiya explains that he must be as careful as he can, acknowledging that if he dies then the world is fucked. Boom, done.
Did this backstory really need to happen? Cautious Hero is an absurd comedy. Did there really need to be an emotional reason for everything? And more importantly, did I care that they bothered to add it? Ultimately, this didn’t change my perspective on the characters or the story, and with these characters being so one-note, I didn’t have the investment in them to be hooked on this story beat. I wouldn’t say this was necessarily a bad thing, because I would imagine someone being really into this episode if they were really into the show already, but coming from a neutral-or-worse opinion, it was a flop.
End of spoilers.
The spoilers have ended.
You can read the next part if you skipped the spoiler section.
The rest of the review does not have any spoilers.
At the end of the day, what draws me into Cautious Hero is the potential for an absurd story. An extremely overpowered main character who fights bigger and badder threats each time, with a bizarre personality quirk to boot. The early episodes did pretty well to deliver this. But as time went on, the lack of creativity really showed. It became too invested in telling a “real” story, and that story just wasn’t very good to begin with.
And to add insult to injury, it’s another light novel series that absolutely loves to overstay its welcome. Although a second season hasn’t been announced as of this writing, the novels themselves continue. There are more arcs to this story, more worlds to explore. Seriously? What the actual hell are they going to do from this point? This series had literally one job: Cautious Hero kills Demon King. Boom, done. End of story. Why do we need to explore more excess bullshit?
One thing that slightly props up this anime is the production--the visuals are often loose, but colorful and expressive where they need to be. Funny enough I thought Mash and Elulu, the two most pointless characters, were actually very well-designed and maybe deserved to have a real show together. Seiya is good as far as generic, edgy-looking LN protags go, and I’m overall neutral on the designs of the gods and goddesses, although I did really like Adenela for her crazy Hex Maniac-like design.
Sound-wise, the two frontline characters are well casted. Yuuichiro Umehara, known for his role as Goblin Slayer, slips into the place of Seiya seamlessly. Aki Toyosaki hams up her performance as Ristarte effectively--even though I got tired of her screaming after a handful of episodes, I wouldn’t blame the actress for the script.
The OP is fine, but I wouldn’t listen to this song outside of this anime. The so-called metal instrumentation is so cheaply produced that it’s like eating reheated pizza after a week. I can fuck with it, but I’ll take the real thing instead any day. I mentioned the ED as being fun if the intent was to be bad, so I guess you can take that as you will. The soundtrack exists.
To glaze over everything I’ve said to this point, there wasn’t a lot about Cautious Hero that was outright bad--at worst the show is tiring and repetitive and uncreative, but all of that would just be a bit disappointing instead of disastrous. It has some highlights, especially early on. It overall balances out to being mediocre. Which, I guess is worth something nowadays.
Overall: 5.25/10 (range: 4.5-6.5)
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Dec 29, 2018
Goblin Slayer makes me upset.
Not because of its content, mind you. But because THIS is what the community decided to make a whole brouhaha for, rassling endlessly about how “DAE RAPE IS BAD???”
Now, I apologize, we’ll talk about the show itself in a hot minute or two. But the community discussion of Goblin Slayer really is integral to the series itself. Like an album cycle from Kanye West, public reaction is all part of the seasonal anime paradigm, after all. Even if this anime is lost to the weight of time (read: four months), it should be noted that this anime ... caused quite the stir for its first few weeks of airtime, until everyone finally realized that SSSS.Gridman and Zombieland Saga were the actually worthwhile shows.
It was hilarious.
Apparently, no one’s seen Berserk. Devilman: Crybaby wasn’t a thing. But this little ditty had an ape beginning with the letter ‘r’, so the community became a monkey house about it. Many parts praising the anime, with a loudmouthed bunch absolutely horrified over it, causing the latter half to be even more vocal. And that’s why, at the time of this writing, Goblin Slayer is the most popular anime of Fall 2018, ahead of the new Sword Art Online, and the much more beloved adventures of Slimeboi and Bunny Girl. Nevermind the fact that, two seasons ago, Mahou Shoujo Site literally did everything in its own first episode that Goblin Slayer did, plus change, and was outright buried by the community for it, the general seasonal community doesn’t like to dwell on things too much. Not that I’m implying anything~
All this, for what? Is Goblin Slayer REALLY that daring of a show? Is it showing a brutal, grimdark reality? Is it making a scathing social commentary?! Is there an intellectual masterpiece lying underneath all of this terror?!?!
Ha ha ha!
No. Like the Elf’s chest, the answer is a flat, uninspiring no.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Goblin Slayer a lot. I think this show is a blast to watch. But I don’t consider this anything more than what I mentioned earlier. “Cheap entertainment.” It’s not gonna mentally challenge you, unless you’re a literal retard. In fact, as far as graphic violence goes, I’d say there isn’t really enough to recommend the anime based on that single element. It’s there and it’s nice, but it’s something that’s lurking around the corner, rather than a relentless bombardment.
But, it’s true. Goblin Slayer--the character--has no personality. The goblins themselves act as a mindless force who do bad things so the audience will root for their defeat. The supporting cast is gimmicky; the setting, mild; the story, basic; and an artstyle uninspired.
And to what end? Well, the thing about Goblin Slayer is that it never really tries to offer a fully immersive adventure series. The show doesn’t ask you to think. It doesn’t ask to be questioned. As dumb as it is, Goblin Slayer is exactly what the label says. It’s about Goblin Slayer. His name is Goblin Slayer. His occupation is being a Goblin Slayer.
What Goblin Slayer--the show--does, is strip everything down to its very basic elements and present something simple and blunt, and that’s what makes it a hilariously amusing show. Goblin Slayer--the character--this is getting out of hand--has a brutal honesty and charisma more dull than his armor. See, this guy is not just A goblin slayer--he is THE Goblin Slayer, and the lengths of which his dedication go to are quite fascinating, and, honestly, really goddamn funny. His entire brain is geared to destroy every goblin on the face of the Earth. He constantly wears his armor “just in case”, he only ever accepts quests that involve killing goblins, and he even mutters “Goburin…” every now and then when he’s about to embark on a quest. It’s like Ash Ketchum on the Genocide Route; it’s a simple, childhood-like dream that’s continued into adolescence and consumed everything about you. He’s a man on a goddamn mission.
And when I say this anime is funny, I don’t just mean “ha ha, graphic violence, what a spectacle!” like I normally do. Although, that is pretty funny tbh. But I truly, genuinely think that Goblin Slayer presents itself as a comedic show many times throughout its run. With things like Goblin Slayer’s--goddammit it, this is hard to express--MC-kun’s blunt personality will create some funny back-and-forths with the characters he regularly parties with later into the show.
“What is that?” says the Elf, gazing upon the birdcage which this Undyne-looking motherfucker is holding.
“You don’t know what a bird is?” he replies.
It’s that Sheldon Cooper, possibly autistic mentality that makes him enjoyable. His inability to properly communicate with other people lead him to say things so sharply honest that it has a witty sensation, and as you’d expect, it has an effect on the people he interacts with. In a scene where Goblin Slayer’s party--he forms a party, by the way--gives their own noble speeches about why they became adventurers and what it means to them, they circle around to Goblin Slayer, who begins to say the usual “to slay Goblins”, he gets cut-off mid-sentence by the Elf, essentially saying “yeah, we fucking know.” And that one scene with the Sword Maiden. . . do I even need to explain why that’s funny?
And when I say--shit I already said that. Oh well.
And when I say this anime is stripped down to its basics, that’s not me being reductive. That’s not a 0IQ comment of “lol turn ur brain of cuz its dum!!1”, I really mean that it’s basic. Every character in the show has a name that is exactly what they are. The priestess is called Priestess. The elf is called Elf. The hot receptionist waifu is Guild Girl. The girl with big titties is Cow Girl. The setting has room for full exploration, but chooses to focus on this one little story instead. You know the template isekai plotline of “I’m the main character and I need to defeat the Demon King God Emperor Overlord!!” Well, that happens in the world of Goblin Slayer. The big boss is actually defeated. Not by the Goblin Slayer himself, mind you, but by a completely unrelated character known as The Hero. Imagine that. The world has more areas to explore. Adventuring is a given; ranks are awarded to those who succeed, and many other characters do as such. But, among all that, this anime is about one thing and one thing only: a guy who just really likes to kill goblins.
I commend this story for sticking to such basics. Say what you will about it, but it doesn’t ever stray off its path. It’s delivered just as advertised, no refunds allowed. If you want a more expansive fantasy, that’s fine. But Goblin Slayer never, ever promised to deliver that, and it really doesn’t have to. Not every fantasy needs to have the long, thorough exploration of One Piece. Not every conflict has to have the moral greyness of Shinsekai yori. If you don’t like that, well, you should probably just watch another show instead of bitching about this one. It din’du nuffin’.
For what it’s worth, Gobby Gobby Kill-Time has a surprisingly believable world. Mr. Slayer isn’t a character who is worshipped and respected. He’s not a self-insert made to look badass. He’s a fucking weirdo and is treated as such. Other adventurers look down on him, gossiping about his disgusting habits: not ever cleaning his armor, never talking to anyone and only taking the most redundant of quests despite his Silver ranking being quite high up the board. His job is not admirable.
Despite that, there are people who believe in him. There’s his cow-titted sister or what the fuck ever who appreciates his work. Priestess was initially saved by him, and follows him around to not only learn various things as an adventurer, but to also normalize him as a person. Elf and the others--actually, I forgot why they’re there. Oops. And then the receptionist waifu commends him for his dedication in one of the anime’s most underrated moments, where she expresses her appreciation for doing the things he does. Because, at the end of the day, it’s a job that needs to be done, even if it sucks, even if no one wants to do it, something that many people can likely relate to.
There’s no bullshit. No real asspulls or crazy powers. The anime has a good sense of rules, balance and logic for its battles. Different weapons are used depending on the environment; magic has very limited usage, items are consumed in very specific circumstances with preservation in mind, and many different approaches are used to killing goblins. Do they storm into a nest and rampage through them all, or do they lay traps and smoke them out? How do they deal with an ambush, or a boss? And better yet, what happens when shit really hits the fan? This party isn’t perfect, and there’s a threat of very not good things constantly lurking. While I wouldn’t say Goblin Slayer has any real strokes of genius with its combat, it certainly gets the job done well enough to make it a believable and interesting enough action series.
Goblin Slayer is a fun show. It’s as simple-minded as the title implies and plays the role it signed up for. It’s a very simple action/adventure series with an edgy streak to it, but please note that it’s really not the edgiest thing in the world or even really this season like holy fuck watch Golden Kamuy you fucking cotton-humpers. Anyway, at the end of the day, it might seem strange; I’m giving this a positive review but also saying it’s not that big of a deal.
That’s because it isn’t. Y’all just need to calm down.
Overall: 7.5/10 (Range: 6.0-8.0)
These are bonus sections because they don’t really add anything to what I was saying, but some people might still care for some reason.
The art is mud. Rapist Slayer Guy is CG in some scenes and not CG in others. It doesn’t look good when he is, and the fact that he isn’t all the time makes it very weirdly inconsistent. The director sometimes does good things, but also tries a little too hard to make some shots look cool; it’s very hit-or miss. There's also a countless number of horribly tacked-on blood splatters that makes every kill look hilarious. The backgrounds are nothing to write home about and the setting itself is pretty generic, but the character designs are actually quite good. Mr. Slayer has a cool red eye for when he gets cereal and Priestess-chan can get the dick; I’d go as far as to say they look iconic for how strong their designs are. Elf has some cool, sharp features and Lizardman looks pretty rad.
The OP has one of the most interesting songs that I’ve heard in anime this year, to the point where White Fox seemed pretty clueless as to how to animate it. Some of the shots feel very strangely timed and there’s little consistency to its visual themes. Still, the song alone makes it a great OP with its somber introduction going into mysterious vocal melodies, crescendoing into an action-packed verse until it lets out a long vocal stream, layered over another melody about wanting to kill goblins and shit. It’s actually really well-written, but the percussion sounds like someone farted on the audio waves somehow because it sounds like shit. The ED sucks.
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Nov 24, 2018
It’s hard to say why exactly this is a bad movie, because, at the end of the day, I’m not really sure what this is supposed to be.
At first glance, it looks like it’s a remake (of sorts) of The Power of One, the second Pokemon movie. The title “The Power of Us” is a great mirror of that and it stars Lugia as the centerpiece. Except it’s not. This movie isn’t about Lugia, it’s about Zeraora. So if you think this new Electric-type fursona looks super cool, then this movie’s gonna be up your alley 10/10.
So let’s throw all immediate comparisons out the window. ... That’s fair, I don’t mind at all. But I’m still completely unsure as to what this is supposed to be. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with I Choose You, that movie isn’t even referenced in this. Forget that really cool potential development Verity might’ve had with her Mom--not important or anything it’s just the fucking Champion of Sinnoh--she’s out of the picture forever, I guess. But they’re still continuing this theme of Ash and Pikachu’s journey starting from scratch, considering Ash is wearing the same cap from ICU. Whatever, maybe they were afraid people wouldn’t keep up with the movies enough, so they didn’t wanna make a whole new storyline with them, fine.
So this movie isn’t a sequel to I Choose You, nor is it a remake of The Power of Us. Alright. I still don’t know what this movie is.
I guess they decided to remove the ‘adventure’ part of Pokemon to make a drama instead, since the only settings in this film are a boring town and a boring . . . mountain. Cool. It’s not necessarily terribly written--most things make the proper amount of sense with most of the causes and effects lining up, but it’s just so . . . boring. Two seconds with all of the characters will tell you everything about them and the arc they will eventually follow. The uncle guy lies to his niece to impress her. Even a Slowpoke could predict that he’d be found out halfway through the movie, become hated, and become part of the heroic plot later to redeem himself. Amazing.
Look, I get it. It’s Pokemon. I’m not expecting an Academy-level plot here. But . . . I also enjoy the Pokemon anime most of the time, because it’s not so thoroughly bland and uninspired?? The Sun&Moon characters have tons of quirks, tons of personality, and they’re tons of fun to watch even though literally nothing happens in that series. Power of Bum feels equally pointless but pretends that something interesting is happening the entire time.
This movie just has too many pieces. It ultimately spreads out into a three-pronged conflict where its bloated cast is scattered all over the place. As a result, tons of things need to happen and need to be explained, causing many of these pieces to have extremely minor uses. Two Pokemon Hunters appear in the beginning of the movie for a couple seconds, obviously scheming something, and then they show up about halfway through to start shit, and then they disappear off-screen forever. The gyaru-looking chick has a brother just so that he can magically guide her through the forest for one scene later in the movie. And there’s the incredibly dumb “plot twist” about how Zeraora was condemned by a past generation, only for the leader of the current generation to know the truth all along, but keep that a secret from everyone for absolutely no reason when he could’ve settled that dispute years ago, but that’d pre-emptively erase half the conflict of the movie.
Also, can we talk about the fact that, of all things, the “forest guardian” in this movie is an Electric-type . . . thing? What is this? What is “forest-like” about this creature? Have they just completely given up on symbolism with their legendaries? Marshadow is one of the coolest Pokemon ever, how did we go from that to this in a single generation? Its only defining trait is that it’s fast so that they can play the same scene of a thing falling on top of a guy, only for Zeraora to swoop in and catch the falling thing at the last second. Every. Single. Time.
. . . Wait, hang on. Pokemon Hunters . . . forest guardian . . . this is actually a remake of Pokemon 4Ever. What the fuck. Those LIARS!!!
Even as a general Pokemon story, it doesn’t really capitalize on anything about Pokemon. The biggest opposing threat in this movie is an oh-so-ominous gas cloud. No, I’m not talking about Gengar, it’s just some poison gas that Ikoma from Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress made. Sure, it’s Effect Spore, sure it’s an actual Pokemon thing and they use Lum Berries to cure it; I like practical applications of small Pokemon bits like this. But that’s all they are. Small bits. Who the fuck wants to watch a Pokemon movie about Ash and Pikachu fighting against toxins. Pokemon should always be about THE Pokemon as much as possible, and these mechanical elements should take a backseat and serve as tools instead of being the plot themselves.
So, again, what IS this movie? What is the point of it? That Pokemon and people should work together? You know . . . the theme of EVERY FUCKING POKEMON STORY IN EXISTENCE??? It doesn’t even scratch the itch one might have of seeing animated Pokemon battles in the big screen--you get some, for sure, and for what it's worth the Pokemon Catching contest was pretty fun--but the movie’s more of a problem-solving thing than anything. I guess. But, beyond that, it’s just a bunch of really boring characters involved with a plot that has too many things going on. And then Lugia appears for like five seconds.
I just can’t recommend this. If you’re a Pokemon superfan who just likes watching Pokemon then you’ll probably just shit on me for posting this and go watch the movie anyway and have a great time. Whatever, I don’t look down on that. But I’m not that kind of person. I’m giving this a 2 because it feels so pointless and boring and did absolutely nothing for me. It didn’t do anything to insult my intelligence, necessarily, which is why it won’t go lower, but it feels like a waste of money and a waste of time more than anything. Maybe “The Power of Us” refers to the people who made the movie and their power of siphoning my wallet. Can’t wait for Smogon to ban that shit.
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Sep 28, 2018
It’s only stupid if it doesn’t work.
Nowadays, the shows I fight to defend are highly misunderstood because their appeal is too specific, causing the general audience to flaunt their standards around like they’re supposed to mean anything. Past examples include Mahou Shoujo Site, Jashin-chan Dropkick and Hand Shakers. Yet, Happy Sugar Life is a different sort of… thing, whose plot setup is about as logically sound as riding a lawnmower during a hurricane, seemingly leaving not but a select, niche appeal for the sickos like me.
A high school girl is basically holding a little girl hostage in a populated apartment complex; she hides ... this among her normal daily life of going to school and working part-time jobs. You know, like all teenagers do. If this is your first time reading the synopsis, then you’re probably asking a lot of questions like “Huh?” or “What?” because the basic rules and structure of society suggest that this shouldn’t even be possible. And for me, knowing that much is what made this story interesting--HOW these characters are living such lives, and what will happen when it inevitably shatters. Because there’s just no way it won’t--and the very first scene of the anime suggests that it very much will.
Happy Sugar Life makes use of its own flaws. The sugar-coated scenes of the main characters in their unnatural habitat are not just for show; they’re presented as a true illusion from reality. The conflict is all the outsiders learning more about their lives and trying to tear it down, a plot that snowballs as the situation becomes more and more complicated. A situation known as “reality”.
What’s more, is that the aforementioned little girl doesn’t even seem to be a real character. Shio Koube lives and breathes, but her actual personality is baffling. She’s constantly happy and cheery and trying to do the best she can to help her caretaker. She doesn’t question the life she lives or the outside world she’s prevented from seeing. She is simply “a daughteru”: the ideal child anyone would want to have--no, scratch that. Megumin and Chtholly are daughterus to me, but that’s because they actually seem like real characters, because real characters have flaws. Shio Koube does not. Shio Koube is not a real character, nor a daughteru--she is a pet. A Shia pet, if you will. She exists to be cute and fluffy; you feed her and play with her a bit, and if you can do those two things, then she’s not gonna be a bother to you outside of the occasional natural fuck-up. That’s cool and all, but that’s not how a human child actually acts.
But what’s smart about the anime is that it actually addresses this. Shio’s personality is the result of past trauma that’s she’s forgotten; and as she learns more and more about herself, it starts to crack a little. By the end of the series, Shio outright states that she’s meant to be more than a living object used to draw mental security from, practically breaking the fourth wall by stating she’s a real character who has a functional and realistic train of thought that accurately feeds into her personality.
In other words, Happy Sugar Life was only pretending to be retarded.
Because, with the way it handles its plot by addressing its flaws and nailing its appeal with few problems, I can’t help but think that Happy Sugar Life is actually pretty clever. As dumb and over-the-top it may seem, it was in full control of itself and did what it set out to do.
Suffering, violence, trauma and psychosis. Of course an anime called “Happy Sugar Life” would be about anything but. Characters have very specific, intricately detailed mental issues, so much so that I can’t guarantee the anime doesn’t take place in some sort of high-tech asylum that simulates society as therapy for its patients. The way they’re presented are interesting on their own for what they are, but the main character herself acts in a surprisingly grounded manner.
In the first episode, she verbally beats down her employer over a payroll cut, explaining how she was fully aware of the manager’s schemes but played along for the sake of being nice, only to still be punished. She completely dismantles this person mentally and challenges her, but her tone of voice is what sells the scene. She doesn’t scream or shout, the soundtrack is dark but sparse with details, and the visual direction is simple but effective. It’s not dynamic, over-acted, or over-the-top. This scene could’ve easily been a screaming match between two idiots, but… that would just be silly and unnecessary. Quiet words speak louder than loud words. That’s totally how the saying goes.
Satou Matsuzaka, aka “Holy Shit Is That A Motherfucking Mirai Nikki Reference???” is fully in control of herself, able to function like a normal person in most circumstances. And by “control”, I mean she seems to be keeping a deeper anger pent up within her, choosing not to do any more than what’s necessary. It’s a contrast from the manager in episode one, who fights back with shouting and more body language, among other characters that I’ll get into later. The stability of Definitely Not Yuno’s mental condition is part of the snowballing conflict--as her Title of The Anime becomes harder and harder to keep, her psyche decays, and as her psyche decays, she becomes more and more dangerous.
Basically, if you know what the fuck a yandere is, you know what’s up.
Watching Pink Yandere fall further into despair as the story progressed, as well as her drastic shifts in attitude, are a blast to watch. Hana Kanazawa delivers one of the best performances in her incredibly prolific career, at times sounding completely unrecognizable to me. She’s not just using her Akane Tsunemori serious drama voice, she’s speaking in a tone FAR lower than almost every anime she’s been cast in. And, as a huge fan of Mirai Nikki, you bet your ass I loved episode 11 when she tied her hair back to look exactly like Yuno. Praise be.
The other characters in the series are in various stages of sanity, for better or for worse. The most notable is Satou’s Aunt, who hoardes trash and lets weirdos beat the shit out of her for pleasure. You know, like all loving aunts do. But, like Satou, she’s fully in control of her actions. Rather, this is a matter of one being so deluded of themselves that they believe their behavior to be healthy. AILF (aunt i’d like to fuck) even convinces herself to have a fulfilling role within society, accepting hostility and fucking it out of them. She is indeed quite over-the-top, but the long dialogues she provides make her believable enough to be enjoyable.
And then there’s the lolicon guy… oh boy. This fuckin’ guy. As a result of things happening that cause him to distrust adults, he becomes so fully attached to Shio that he takes passionate inhalations of her missing poster flyers. THIS is the over-the-top character that you’d expect to see from a full edgelord show, and really, your opinion of him just depends on how much you’re into that kinda stuff. To me, this character is no more than a punchline--more like a punching bag, actually, given all the shit he goes through. A full display of maximum disparity and lack of self-control, his actions are so cartoonish and ridiculous that all he ends up doing in the series is suffering. A lot. He’s just a dumping ground for all the negative consequences brought on by the other characters. Overall, not a character to be taken seriously; he stands at the border between Happy Sugar Life being a completely serious drama and a goofy, edgy comedy. I like the mixture of both worlds.
But the crowning jewel of this anime are some of the more psychologically-based scenes. For as weird and silly as the anime can be, there are scenes of actual genius scattered throughout--most notably, the first half of episode eight. It explores the backstory of Satou’s and Shio’s apartment through the eyes of its former resident. All of it is in first-person view with no music, and the resident never speaks. Instead, their moments of “dialogue” are replaced with a glitchy audio clip over a fluctuating black line. The pauses before these clips make noise and their varying intensity fill in the blanks of Satou’s conversations perfectly. It’s a tremendously well-done scene that I would recommend to anyone, even if you haven't seen the rest of the anime.
Sound manipulation is a motif in this series; characters’ voices will become static-y and distorted in key moments to intensify their dark expressions. Several different visual tricks are used for similar reasons--glowing eyes, static, reflections, scratchy lines, lighting, shadows, tactful shot compositions and other things are all deployed for the show’s depraved, depressing and dark moods without overdoing any of them. Meanwhile, happier moments are shown with sparkles, bubbles, clouds and bright, poppy colors; so corny that they’re almost vomit-inducing, and I mean that in the best way possible. Happy Sugar Life doesn’t necessarily excel with animation, set pieces or character designs, but the various tricks it uses to communicate its feelings are excellent.
Similarly, the soundtrack doesn’t particularly stand out, but the sound design is quite good, I’ll say again. Rising violins, static, vocal manipulation and prestigious voice acting get the job more than done. The OP is one of my favorites of the entire year, using a song perfectly toned to this anime with its siren-like guitar riffs and optimistic, upbeat tone, shifting in and out of muttered, paranoid passages. Bizarre, photographed objects float about in the background; a Shio-like angel flies over shadowy figures of the characters, and various trappings by glass jars and thorns lay over Satou as the video glitches with inconsistent timing. It’s easy to see what’s going on in the OP based on a few episodes of the show itself, but it’s communicated in so many incredible ways that the OP never got skipped. The ED is good… for an ED, that is, which is to say not much, but the animation of Satou and Shio is cute, and the song itself is quite touching.
If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that I’m completely and 100% serious in all of my reviews, and I never make any jokes whatsoever, so when I say this is a 9/10 anime, I mean that it should be watched by all eyes, no matter what.
Now, if you’ve ACTUALLY read my reviews before, you’d know I like to play around, that I don’t really care about ratings, that I’m not all that interested in seeing a fully-serious, masterfully-crafted story. But with its combination of surprise turnarounds, smart directing and just the right amount of silliness, I’d truly say that Happy Sugar Life is a quality anime; not just by my standards, but for drama and psychological anime as a whole. Indeed, it is not perfect--some people will be unhappy with some of the characters or not be willing to see how the anime fixes itself down the line. In fact, I myself have room to complain about the teacher not having any real exploration to his character, as well as some scenes that simply would not happen in the real world, such as Satou's Aunt seducing the police officer, as good as it was. A lot of it is conveniently written. The characters aren’t particularly deep and more idealized than realized. But, overall, Happy Sugar Life is FUN. It is an exciting series that takes little time to light its first match, and once it gets going it doesn’t let up until it has burned everything down.
I dearly recommend this anime to anyone who’s into not just edgy comedies, but anyone who’s interested in a kinda wacky psychological drama that even manages to unnerve you a little bit. Perhaps it is not the most effective at what it is, but it is, nonetheless, effective.
Story - 8/10
Art - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Characters - 7/10
Enjoyment - 9/10
Yandere - 10/10
Overall - 9/10
Favorite episode - 8
Favorite character - Satou. Or her Aunt. Depends on how I’m feeling or how horny I am I guess. Pretend I didn’t type that out.
Recommendation level - Medium-high
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