This show is how an isekai should be made… but at the same time how an isekai should not be made.
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka doesn’t look very promising at first glance, the premise is pretty much the same as your average isekai anime, with our main character dying and reincarnating in another world with RPG videogames terminology. Not even the fact she revives as a spider monster is something new or original at this point (but at least is more striking than a lame slime!). But what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in personality and self-awareness, while taking enough care of
important things that other animes of the genre don’t bother to even show. Let’s address it by parts.
Our protagonist, simply and unofficially named Kumoko, was reborn as a spider monster, the weakest monster race, inside the most dangerous dungeon in this new world, while still remembering her previous life as an antisocial loner otaku (of course it should be that way). Sooner than later we are introduced to the main selling point this serie has: Kumoko struggling really hard to survive in this new world, trying not to get devoured in the process, while getting new skills, becoming stronger and learning about the world. All this is done in the most energic, charming and amusing way, thanks to Kumoko charisma and positivism. Now, this is not the only thing we’ll see, alongside Kumoko, her classmates and the teacher died and reincarnated as well, having enough luck to get way better lives.
Don’t let this innocent and rather simple premise taunts you. Which may initially appear just a fantasy story about a spider monster striving inside a cave, turns out to be a way vaster and more convoluted plot as it appeared, borderline on pretentiousness. Outside of the dungeon we see there are factions, nations and politics issues, going for wars between races and churches ideologies clash, which get more fraught as the series moves on, to ancient god and demons scheming over the world origins. Not only that, the skill system by itself, initially just appearing as a hook for RPG fans like in many other isekai animes, ended up being an important part of the mystery of the world, and the reincarnation itself.
Yet those topics are touched in a very basic way, the serie fills up this ambition with a solid narrative going hand in hand with the story. The narrative switches over two different POVs: the inside of the dungeon with Kumoko, and the outside world with a little group or reincarnates. Yes, this isekai does focus on story and worldbuilding, and while these two perspectives are rather different, they actually complement each other really well, sharing information actively, and explaining terminology that is going to be used in the next segment, without feeling forced. Subtlety is well-handled as well, mentioning topics or terms that are going to be important later on the serie in a very natural way (ex: talking about a skill that will be important to explain the MC motivations, or why the skill system by itself can be dangerous). Some people couldn’t notice at the beginning that both perspectives, Kumoko’s and the reincarnates’, are actually from different timelines, considering they were born in this world and the same time, but we see Kumoko from her birth, while we see the reincarnates when they are teenagers, and it’s only later on when the reincarnates’ side mentions Kumoko existence as a kind of legend, without directly telling it’s her; they don’t even cross paths until the very end of the serie. This kind of subtlety and naturality to show and explain important topics in a narrative this ambitious is pleasant to see nowadays.
Story and narrative are very good by themselves to support all the serie, because the rest of it is… not so impressive. Characters, for example, are like day and night:
>On the one hand, we have Kumoko. As previously stated, she’s pretty much the main selling point of the serie: if we search the definition of “charisma” in a dictionary, it would be her. Kumoko is charming, funny and very optimist, always doing her best to survive even with all the rough situations she goes through. Her role in the serie is pretty much acting like a guide to the viewer, constantly breaking the 4th wall and making comedy with a lot of references to popular culture, yet she’s witty enough to be aware about her situation without unnecessary edgyness; this serie touches dark themes in the least dark way, and Kumoko it’s the living proof. For a lot of people she alone carries all the serie over her thorax, but she’s not so perfect, she got little to no development along the serie (it’s not like she needed it) and remained pretty much the same even with all the harsh moments she went through, the things she learned and the power she got. Still the most solid character in the serie.
>On the other hand, we have a little group of reincarnates who were Kumoko classmates (and the teacher). While Kumoko, as plain as she is, can still be described with a lot of adjectives, those guys can be described with just two words: boring and generic. Unlike our eight-legged MC, this group reincarnated as humans (most of them), living in prestigious families, so most of the outside world is showed by them:
-First, we have Shun, we can say he’s the deuteragonist. There’re not enough words to explain how PAINFUL and INSUFFERABLE is to see this guy taking the lead. He’s pretty much your generic isekai protagonist, with all the cliches included in the pack: bland design, lack of personality, cringe hero complex (and yes, he was born in the Hero family, so he got blessed by the power of script) and harem pandering. He’s basically an Emiya Shirou, less pretentious but way naiver. And is this naivety by far the worst part, to the point every time he got the spotlight, the serie handled to make fun of it for being such a silly. He’s so misplaced to the point he got into a war he has noting to do just because “I can’t allow these people to suffer” (yep, even his sentences are prefabricated). Honestly, I can’t blame people for thinking human side is boring just because this dude.
-Katia is Shun best friend in this and previous life, and your typical tsundere chick, with the plot twist that she was a boy before reincarnating. Actually there was a moment when this character faced her inner conflicts and decided to be honest with herself and becoming a full girl instead of a boy trapped into another body…moment that was never well-developed.
-Hugo is your edgy vain and power-thirsty villain who thinks he’s better than anyone else.
-Filimos is the students’ teacher who got reincarnated as an elf (excuses to introduce a loli character it seems). While started as a mysterious and a bit interesting character, later on it’s revealed her motivations, which are very dull, and she’s way naiver than Shun.
-Generic crazy yandere girl is a generic crazy yandere girl who got brainwashed by the church.
-Fei was actually the most decent character in this group. She, like Kumoko, reincarnated as a monster (a dragon), and she was a bully in her previous life, especially with her (she doesn’t know she’s alive living as a spider). She feels guilty, she feels this new life is a divine punishment for her actions, and she was always concerning about Kumoko and wanted to meet her to apologize. Sound like something that could drive to an interesting catharsis… except when she gets a human form and forgets about all of this.
Initially, the serie got a 50/50 split between Kumoko and humans sides, but in the second part of the serie, when the politics themes and war calls became the main focus, human side got more spotlight. If it weren’t because, again, story and narrative by themselves are good enough, this would be really painful to watch because of this bunch of generic character. But at the same time, watching Kumoko getting stronger and destroying any trace of tension would be even more boring (and we don’t want such a thing to happen, right, Rimuru?), so the change of perspective was more a win than a miss. But actually… there is a third side here! Kumoko goes in her way, humans go in theirs, but there are a bunch of character that walk another path, this includes other three reincarnates (only two of them are worth it), some demons, and even Kumoko can be placed here under certain circumstances. What makes this group different from the other reincarnates, is that they were born under different circumstances, which push them to live under this new world rules, instead of being attached to their previous lives like Shun group. This group is by far more interesting that Shun groups, it’s a shame they weren’t fully showed in this season.
Having this ambitious story and this charming MC would be worthy of a decent direction, right? Sadly this was not the case. I don’t really need to explain why this show has a very hideous animation, especially the CGI, everyone can see it, but the direction has to be the worst I’ve ever seen in many years. Not only it was disastrous in action-packed moments, where transitions and cuts were so random that was really hard to tell what was happening, and it seemed director forgot some frames in the middle, but also covering up all the scream with that hideous CGI instead of trying to hide it a little at least with dust or light rays. Even in slower or more serious moments it was a mess, like the catharsis of some characters like Katia and Filimos, they were so shallowed portrayed it’s hard to even care about what they said, even more to care about them at all. Luckily the music was decent enough to partially conceal this, and seiyuus work is really good, especially Aoi Yuuki as our favorite arachnid girl, big part of her charm was there. Yet there were a couple of good action moments with a decent -in this context- direction, like Kumoko vs Alaba.
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka is how an isekai should be made, with an interesting and promising new approach to an already burned-out genre, focusing on a deep plot with a witty narrative but shallowly developed, and a great main character to carry the serie.
Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka is how an isekai should not be made, with really bad side-characters, going hand in hand with an appalling animation, and a very weak direction that doesn’t do justice to such an ambitious premise.
Even with all its cons still is one of the most decent isekai animes out there, and I'd love to see another season, considering all the potential it has.
Dec 21, 2020
“I’m not locked in here with you… You’re locked in here with me!”
The tittle is a big lie, don’t get fooled. Maoujou de Oyasumi is not about a moe kidnapped princess trying to get a good sleep. It is not. Of course not. Absolutely not. This is about a psychopath, serial murder going rampage, mercilessly killing and torturing helpless and unaware demons, without any sort of empathy or regret in her big, star-speckled purple eyes. Her cute, harmless appearance and monotonous, expressionless voice don’t stop her from doing the most atrocious actions, from stealing important army stuffs, torturing people under questionable excuses, or emotionally manipulating ... people with noticeable self-esteem issues… to ripping off bodies to use them as materials, making people explode, flaying alive someone’s skin then wear it, and convincing a platoon to use their leader’s limbs (previously dismembered by her, of course) as building material. There’s no demon, not even the Demon Lord itself, who can run away from her visceral outrage.
Savage. This girl is really savage.
This may sound as a top tier comedy material, but in fact, this is an undertone the serie uses in a very shallow way. As a personal concept, comedy should be more than “it made laugh, hence it’s good”, in a comedy, execution and wit are keys in order to make a joke funny and keep the humoristic mood fresh. if a friend tells me a bad joke, so bad it made me laugh, doesn’t mean he’s a good comedian, but if he manages to pull out expressions or use body language to make the joke a little bit funnier, then he will success. This serie is just that: good and original concept, but rather simplistic and poor execution, wasting most of its potential, and while it is successful to provoke some laughs, it’s not enough to put the whole show in a high place.
The serie format is like a videogame, where every time there is a new quest, with -allegedly- new goals as the difficulty increases. Problem is: this format is almost the same during most of the serie; not the quests by themselves, because of course, the final goal is always the same, but the execution instead. In just one episode can be noticed how the jokes’ sequences are exactly the same most of the time:
1. Hime wants to get something to sleep better
2. “It’s time to go havoc in the castle” *QUEST STARTS!*
3. Maou-sama and crew discuss about attacking Yuusha, usually involving a rare, powerful item
4. “There’s no way someone can come across with that important item lolololol”
5. Hime comes across with that important item
6. “This might be useful, I don’t know how, but I’ll find out even if it kills me, because who needs to breath if I can get a good nap?” (Spoiler time: she got killed a couple of times)
7. Some gratuitous demons abuse in order to get the item to work (the funniest part, actually)
8. Hime gets what she wanted, demon in turn got hurt, and Maou-sama’s plan got ruined
9. “Suyaa~…” *QUEST COMPLETED!*
10. Rinse and Repeat
This is repeated two or three times per episode, and while initially it can be funny, doesn't take too long to get repetitive and dull, especially when she CONVENIENTLY gets the scene to work as she needs it, like coming across with the item needed the moment Demon Lord mentions it, finding the demons (or they automatically coming across with her) with the knowledge or feature just at the moment she requires it, or “accidentally” falling into secret places, making the whole scene feel unnatural and ruining the immersion.
At that point, the show would fall into the “average/mediocre comedy” category, where comedy starts to falling apart when it gets stuck in the same kind of joke without varying the context too much, and characters become more like walking tropes than actual characters… Luckily, the last five episodes (and some segments in the previous ones) were more successful at bringing better and more varied situations, exploiting pretty well the original concept of the serie, and even building some good character interactions. We learned a little bit more about Hime’s past and how demons were able to form bonds with her, even in that unorthodox situation, but still keeping her sassiness which is the main core in this serie humor. It’s sad this came a little bit late, but still saved the serie from falling intro repeatability and complete mediocrity.
Characters are pretty simple and straightforward. Aside from Princess Sya (not surprised if you didn’t remember her name) who already have been talked about; the rest of the cast are just there fulfilling their roles: Demon Lord as the clumsy yet reliable “evil” leader, Big Dog-san as the strict rule lover, Demon Cleric as the caring old man, Alraune as the kindhearted onee-san, and then the rest of demons being the tsukkomis.
Audiovisual aspects are good enough. The whole serie looks charming and colorful, having this Fairy Tale book aesthetic combined with RPG videogames elements, including HP and MP bars, text boxes and pop-up messages; some of these elements are actually part of the world itself, and characters are aware of them, creating some unique style. Character design is cute and fluffy, especially Hime’s; her big purple eyes are like a big abyss: once you look at them, you’re trapped and can’t escape, no matter what you do; cutest design I’ve seen in a while… and that’s why it’s even more shocking when you realize how is she in reality. Demons come in the more varied ways, from just a bunch of ice blocks, going through Teddy bears with little bat wings, to Alice in Wonderland’s Hatter with an arm full-made of scissors. Having this variety of designs it’s good to easily identify each demon… since they don’t really have any other memorable trait, actually. Music is… ok, I guess. Opening is cute, funny and catchy as hell, and that’s enough.
There’s not too much left to be said. Maoujou de Oyasumi can be a little surprise if you expected a typical moe comedy, instead you’ll get a badass princess going rampage and gratuitous demon abuse. Comedy is simple, a little bit repetitive and a lot of bokke-tsukkomi abuse, but it can be quite enjoyable especially when it starts to exploit better its potential and creating different comedic scenarios. Not bad comedy serie, but I wouldn’t recommend watching the whole show in a row, it can be kinda overwhelming; instead watching one chapter by week or day can keep the experience fresher.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Sep 25, 2020
This show is getting too much attention for the wrong reasons.
Among the people trashing the whole show just because of Uzaki’s design, the people trashing Uzaki’s haters and overpraising the serie just for being contrarians, and the people trashing people who trash Uzaki’s haters… it seems no one cares about investing time to see if the serie is actually good or not.
Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai became popular some years ago after being part of a tendency of “female character teases her male classmate” series, alongside others like Takagi-san and Nagatoro. Takagi-san bet on a more innocent approach of this, having the two MCs trying to outsmart ... each other, with male MC failing miserably each time and making the serie repetitive in the process; Nagatoro went to the other end, making the tease factor harsher and one-directional to the point it’s almost bullying. Uzaki-chan fell in the middle, having female MC teasing male MC, but with a more lighthearted tone and enough interaction between them to avoid the serie falling into repeatability. It’s far from being revolutionary, but it works enough for setting Uzaki-chan aside from the other two.
At this point you sure are wondering: “what interactions? This serie is just about Uzaki pestering Sakurai and a lot of ecchi jokes about boobs, isn’t it?” And the answer is: yes, it is, partially. Elements should be judged according to how they are portrayed, instead of turning down the whole element by itself. Initially, it seems Uzaki teases Sakurai because she thinks he’s a lonely guy and she’s worried he is not living his life, while Sakurai just respond to her approaches with the common tsukkomi reactions, this is basically their dynamic during the whole serie, but some changes in the way they relate each other are noticeable while the two go through different experiences and we are shown more about them and they learn more about each other. Execution remains almost constant, but context, and jokes based on that context, starts to differ.
That being said, comedy is a hit and miss, especially when the tease remains almost one-directional. Scenes of Uzaki pestering Sakurai and he just going into rage would be almost the same no matter if it is in the college, in the work or the street. What would make the different is the aforementioned context (especially if it involves other characters). A good reaction from Sakurai and then a nice response from Uzaki can make the difference, and this serie has enough wit to make most of the jokes charming even with cliché situations, even some others are just plain boring, pasted with no wit or originality at all. Also, this serie doesn’t have a lot of ecchi jokes as it would seem, yet most of them are about boobs so it can portray the wrong idea of the anime being just about ecchi jokes.
Now, let’s talk about characters, because they’re the most important part, and in this case, they can set the difference between a joke, or even the whole show being funny or dull:
>One of the most common complain people have about Uzaki is that she’s annoying, and indeed she is, she was supposed to be written like that to appeal to the main theme of the serie, so it’s understandable people don’t like her a lot. Uzaki is very energic, and she only wants to have fun, I think this is where a lot of people have misunderstood her; the fact she teases Sakurai is not because she is a bully who enjoys doing it just for the sake of it, or feels sorry for him. With the passing of chapters, we are shown how they met during school and how they formed a bond, even when the first impression wasn’t the best one, so after they met again in college, Uzaki only wanted to rebuild their relation, and even when she enjoys making fun of him, what she really enjoys the most is just hanging out with him doing different things, not only things she forces him to do, also things he likes, such as videogames or sports. So, the relationship is not so one-directional after all.
>Sakurai is the opposite, he’s quieter and more reserved, and he prefers to do indoor activities, yet he can be really explosive if pushed enough. Again, some people seem to misunderstand the real intention with this character; portraying introverts as “freaks that need to be forced into society” was never the goal. Uzaki likes to make a fun of Sakurai for that aspect, though she really doesn’t think he’s a bad person for that; she invades his personal space a lot just because she really likes to hanging out with him, as previously stated, not because she thinks that he needs to change. Then there is Sakaki, Sakurai’s best friend and his perfect opposite, a popular and self-confident guy who reacted a little bid exaggerated about him when he was introduced in chapter 5; in the next chapter we learned that he actually respects Sakurai lifestyle, but he thinks it’s a waste to not going out of our comfort zone once in a while. He really cares about Sakurai, that’s why he wants him to try different experiences during his college life before it’s too late. A relatable and realistic approach, may I say.
>With the passing of chapters Sakurai learns to tolerate Uzaki, and realizes about her intentions, then he tries to give a positive return to that, since at the end of the day, he enjoyed all the time they passed, as himself stated it in chapter 8. Uzaki, on the other hand, starts to be more honest about her feelings and being closer to Sakurai, acting more tsundere-ish while toning down the tease. THIS is what this anime is about.
>Secondary characters are an important part as well, since they complement both the comedy and Uzaki and Sakurai’s relationship in order to make the serie more dynamic. Ami and her father basically represent us, the viewers, as they prefer to stay away from Uzaki and Sakurai and see how their relationship evolves naturally, sometimes acting as narrators, adding some charm to a scene. On the other hand, Sakaki thinks otherwise: it’s better to interfere into Uzaki and Sakurai, adding some “seasoning” and see how the things moves forward, because they do sure move forward very slowly by themselves.
Slowness is actually a bad aspect, because even when we can tell how Uzaki and Sakurai relationship evolves, at the end of the day nothing is concreted between them, and gives the sensation the serie never goes to a clear end. This sure can bring down some people’s motivation to continue the serie, or watching it in the first place.
Audiovisual aspects are nothing too impressive that deserve to be talked about, except for voice acting that nailed it pretty well (I personally was expecting another VA for Uzaki, but Naomi Oozora did a really good job and fit very well) … and of course, there is Uzaki’s design topic. Not gonna discuss if it is realistic or not (there’s a lot of information on Google), or if it needs to be realistic in anime in the first place, but is it consistent with the anime at the very least? Let’s see:
>She’s short, with big eyes and boobs. We can tell this was made like this on purpose by seeing the rest of the cast and noticing how they have a “more normal” design. Uzaki is like a sort of pet for the manga (kuso cat doesn’t count) so her design needs to be outstanding in any way.
>Bouncing big boobs surely are annoying to see, if it’s the only thing the serie bothers to show, which is not the case, since ecchi jokes are a tiny part of the whole comedy. This is also an internal joke, as people watch this short girl, wondering if she’s is a secondary school student until they see the boobs and realize she’s indeed an adult. Funny? after a couple of times of seeing the same joke, not anymore, but the motive is there.
>”She looks like a boy”. I’d like to answer that with the most logic sentence, that it “girls with short hair do exist”, but the lacking of details in the character design of the anime surely lend people (blinded or not by the hate) to think that way. I personally don’t have problem noticing she’s a girl, but that might be I got used to it by the manga.
>The “meat fang” is, ehh… odd, certainly. It’s not the same seeing this in a non-colored manga that in a full-animated serie, yet the commotion around this issue is too big than it should be.
The intention is not to change people mindset about liking or not Uzaki’s design; it’s more about clarifying that design has reasons of being and they should look at them before going rampage about insignificant issues other animes have previously shown.
At the end of the day, Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai, full of controversies for the wrong reasons, is another approach of that “female character teases her male classmate” trope. Simple and straightforward with that it pretends to show, nothing going out of the formula, full of clichés, yet doing its best to make use of its elements and bring a charming and funny serie. Still amazes me how this show got so much attention and a lot of critics, even when there are other animes resorting to the same formulas already seen thousands of times, with the same mediocre comedy and dull fanservice with zero substance, who were well received and even highly overpraised. This is certainly not an excellent serie, but not and horrible one either, just an average one.
So… let’s summarize:
>”Am I allowed to dislike this serie or Uzaki character?” Yes, why not. Comedies are subjective, and Uzaki is certainly someone detestable in some aspects. Just be aware of why you personally don’t like the serie, instead of blindly follow a trend.
>”I really like this serie, why other people hate it that much?” Again, comedies and tastes are subjective. If you think someone has very questionable reasons to dislike the serie, let them be, unless they are open to discuss.
>”I don’t find any joke funny”. It’s a valid criticism, as previously said, most jokes are cliché situations which you could be tired of already. Consider stop watching it if bores you, it won’t get any better.
>”Is this show about portraying introverts as freaks and bad people?” Of course not. And I’m telling you this as an introvert myself; you should not take what you see in anime too personal.
>”Uzaki’s design is really ugly because it’s unrealistic! Worst design ever! People liking this shit have problems and should be erased from earth!” This is not the first time an anime character with such features exists. It’s ok if you dislike it. I just hope you remain consistent and are not telling this with Danmachi, Maid Dragon or Gatchaman Crowds in your Favorites ;)
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Aug 27, 2020
It’s amazing how this serie improved after that bland first part and that dreadful first season. But what did this serie do to get better in such a way? Simple and straightforward: it started to raise the stakes.
First part ended up with a plot twist: Eldora was a real world, instead of a GBN part, so everything the characters went through was real. Now they have actual reasons to go back and fight, making the main issue as a real threat and changing the mood to a more serious one; but before, they have to overcome their insecurities. This Build serie differs from the rest ... in that it is more focused on characters and plot, so raising the stakes was a big bet that could go wrong in many ways. Fortunately, this was not the case:
First, Eldora NPCs, represented by Freddie, acknowledged the big problem they were into after that catastrophic attack that wiped out a reasonable part of them. Even when they weren’t fully aware of who is behind this rampage and why, they decided to raise and prove they deserve to live in this planet instead of feel sorry, getting some sort of “humanity”.
But characters got the spotlight here. First part did a shallow development attempt by throwing out random flashbacks with little to zero context and called it a day. Here, characters were broken down after facing the reality of being in an actual planet trying to help real people, forced to fight against their demons:
-Hiroto, who started as a boring stoic guy with no apparent motivations, got fleshed out not only as a GBN player, but also in real life by her childhood friend. Hinata described him as someone who likes to help others, but after losing someone special for him in GBN, he lost any motivation. He went through this “secret mission” almost by inertia, but after discover the truth and facing his past, where he swore to protect the world his special person loved, he found the courage of fighting for others, alongside a group of people that share his goal, people that now he can call comrades. Hiroto grew up as a better person thanks to his friend and family in real life, and his comrades in GBN, which whom he formed bonds in real world as well, allowing him to learn to work together.
-Kazami got the biggest perspective change, starting as your typical noisy, arrogant blockhead guy, putting his pride over his common sense. Kazami thought being a hero was just about showing off, and after acknowledging his own weaknesses when he was unable to save real people, he realized the true value of a hero; this got represented by changing his playstyle to a more defensive one, and prioritizing shield usage. Kazami went from the most infuriating character to the most relatable one.
-Parviz resorted to GBN as an escape from the reality, where he was doomed not to be able to enjoy what he loved: flights, because of an accident. Not only that, but now he was invaded by fear, fear that also fed his inexperience in GBN, fear that resurfaced again after discover the truth about Eldora. Parviz was afraid to come back, afraid of falling down again, but he put his own fear under Eldora people’s who were struggling to survive, yet never gave up. He somehow found the courage of flying again.
-May was the simplest one, but not in a bad way. As an EL-Diver, her only purpose was to look after GBN safety; similar to Hiroto, she got involved almost by inertia, but she took this role more seriously than the rest, even was willing to go on alone, but she got a real reason by meeting Alus, the main antagonist, who, pretty much like her, is an artificial being created with a purpose, but after losing said purpose, he lost his way. May took this personal, so she was aiming for “saving” him. For the first time, she wanted to do something by own and pure will, instead of a sense of duty. Of course, she wouldn’t be able to accomplish it by herself, that’s why she started to concern about forming bonds with the rest of the group. At the end, May achieved to develop a sign of humanity.
Not only each of them improved individually, but as a team too. By sharing a common goal, they improved as GBN fighters for the sake of others, and this is portrayed in their constant alterations to their Gunplas and playstyles over time: Hiroto started to concern more about teamwork than do it all himself, and adapted his Gunpla’s armors for that; Kazami started to focus on a solid defense and more strategy, instead of just showing off; and Parviz lost his fear to flying and reconnected his bond with “Morgiana” -his Gunpla-; May also started to resort to her Mobile Doll form when needed. Also, how they went over the GBN boundaries to meeting in real life gave more weight to the group dynamic, and settled the importance this “mission” has for them.
With that being said, the fact this serie was more focused on this serious approach doesn’t mean the action part was set apart. In fact, battles were one of the most well-done aspects. Not only because of the strategic component most battles had, who also showed how well the team dynamic was fleshed out, but also the narrative weight and meaning; every battle had a background implication that cemented their importance. This aspect was never done so well since the first Build Fighters serie. Also, having a full hand-drawn mechanical battle is always a good bonus! Soundtrack adds up to this as well, though is not as memorable as Yuuki Hayashi’s work in the first two Build Fighters series, it is good enough to hit on point when needed, thanks to a good sound direction.
It’s a shame than can’t be told that, as a whole, Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise was a really outstanding experience, because of that first part that, looking in hindsight, worked as a base of a good development; and still lacked of some Heart and energy, compared to the first Build Fighter serie. Even so, Re:Rise 2nd Season could live up to expectations, evidencing that improvement is possible, and raising the flag in the Build franchise to keep it up alive.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Sep 19, 2019
Short and simple: this serie is perfect. Why? Because Latina is the CUTEST LOLI IN ANIME HISTORY!!... Yep, that's it. Nothing more.
Let's forget about how shallow the worldbuilding is. This is your typical fantasy world with adventurers, magic, mystical criatures and different races where all of those topics were barely touched because of course, you have seen them thousands times before and you don't need to get them introduced in this story. This is all about Latina!! not about... non-Latina things!!. Now you might be thinking: "Hey! But this is a SoL anime, not an adventure one", and yes, that's true, but you still need ... to develop your world in order to complement characters growth with their environment, especially when one of them is a demon child (a supposedly hated race) and the other is an adventurer (a supposedly important one). But who needs logic and actual worldbuilding here when you have you cute loli eating desserts and wanting to learn how to cook? Latina is such an ADORABLE SWEETHEART!!
Let's forget about how mediocre audiovisual features are. Plain backgrounds, simplistic colour palette, forgettable soundtrack and inconsistent characters design. From facial deformities to shifting heights; I didn't even know if Latina was naturally growing up or chara designer could not decide how old he wanted her to look... But did you see Latina with that bear outfit? She's HELLA CUTE!!
Let's forget about how weak the direction is. This serie suffers from a big plot rushing, even for a SoL anime. One chapter Latina is learning how to talk and the next one she's got an almost full vocabulary. One chapter she is pretty clumsy at serving glasses and the next one she's an expert. One chapter Latina meets some children and the next one they are lifelong friends. You don't have to fully show those trivial things but natural progression is basically non-existent. This is made worse by weak direction where transitions and timeskips are not clear enough. How much time had passed? Just some hours? One day? A weak? Three months!!? We'll never know. But time is a unimportant concept when we have Latina filling up our empty lifes. SO FUCKING KAWAII~!!
Let's forget about how this serie is terrible with mood handling. Comedy and -supposedly- quiet moments are so over-the-top with Dale yelling all the time that end up being the opposite they tried to be. And serious issues like discrimination are so exaggeratedly and superficially portrayed that can't be taken with the correct seriousne- I mean, how dare that stupid bitch to harm Latina like that while doing Kakegurui faces with no subtlety at all!! SHE DESERVES TO FUCKING DIE!!
Let's forget about how bland characters are. Latina is fin- I mean, SHE'S PERFECT!! It's good seeing how she grows up and learns, but of course it's not her fault if the world is so black and white where everyone loves her like a kind of godness or hates her like she was the Demon Lord itself. How did I dare to say our beloved Latina is a kind of mary sue? of course not!! Dale is pretty much your average adventure anime MC, but he's kind of an special hero. What kind of "special"? Who knows, that was never clarified even when his influency was notorious. Then what is Dale's function? I guess being just an important person for Latina. How? I guess being a paternal model who doesn't even act as proper one, because most of the time he's just there yelling "NOT ENOUGH LATINA", but I guess that's enough for normal people to find him as "the most relatable character ever".... Oh right, he calmed down a bit during the traveling arc (actually the best part of the serie when some of the issues like the worldbuilding and characters bond were fixed up a bit) and we finally saw him as a proper character out of the Latina thing and with a -wait for it- 5 seconds flashback!! It's a shame that doesn't count as character development (the sooner people realize showing characters pasts is not character development, world will be a better place).
The rest of the cast? They are... ok... I guess. They are not Latina, that's the only important thing here.
Tl;dr: I CAN'T GET ENOUGH LATINA/10
*Sarcasm ends here*
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Mar 25, 2019
Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken may be one of the most decent isekai recently released… But please, can we stop pretending this serie is perfect?
The premise of this serie is pretty much the same as other isekais: MC dies and gets transported to a fantasy/RPG game world, but in this case he reincarnates as a slime. Slimes are well recognized to be the most basic and weak creatures in fantasy worlds, but sometimes they have some traits like broken skills, elemental resistances or ailments inmunity, that may make them powerful creatures which shouldn’t be underestimated (Dragon Quest is a well-known example).
Slimes in this world ... are pretty much like that, but since they don't have intellect enough they are not considered as a threat. Here is when our MC appears. MC, subsequently named Rimuru Tempest, wakes up in a cave in this amorphous and gummy body, after a quick review he is informed about his condition by a kind of inner voice just called Daikenja (think of her like those pop ups tutorials in videogames) and without much else to do, Rimuru starts to explore the cave.
Now talking about the serie in general, one of the best aspects about TenSura is the worldbuilding. Yes, this isekai actually HAS worldbuilding. The serie basically explains everything, the current situation, the world and its creatures, terminology, skills, magic effects, you name it. Of course this means there is a lot of exposition, sometimes too much (like in the first chapter), but it is presented in straightforward and concise sentences instead of walls of texts, so it doesn't end up being overwhelming. Most of this exposition comes from Daikenja to Rimuru and hence the viewer, but sometimes Rimuru himself explains the situation.
Slimes have an unique skill called Predator that allows them to absorb, keep and analyze materials and enemies, so Rimuru spends like a month in the cave farming materials and gaining experience, stats and skills, becoming very powerful in the process. Soon he meets a sealed dragon named Veldora, and after a cringe but funny conversation, Veldora helps him to see, gives him a name and they become friends. Rimuru is also told more about the world and how he is not the only person transported from another world. That’s how, after absorbing Veldora in order to eliminate the seal, Rimuru leaves the cave with a new objective: to find more people from his world.
Now Rimuru and the viewer are facing a new world, a… pretty common fantasy world. The serie is honest and doesn’t hesitate to show a normal and lighthearted fantasy enviroment with its typical creatures like goblins, dwarfs, orcs and of course humans. Helped with a decent palette of colors and nice backgrounds, this world feels alive and charming. TenSura is self-conscious about what it’s showing, without pretensions of being what it’s not, the plot is not supposed to be taken so seriously so you can get in the mood pretty easily.
From this point the plot can be summarized in Rimuru getting involved in some races’ problems and helping them solving those problems, either by meritocracy or by force, and in the end making these creatures his subordinates and building a big “family”. Pacing is another positive point, every arc lasts enough to introduce new characters and main problem, it handles to explain all the important information and resolves the situation without rushing or lengthening.
Even so, there is a big issue this series has: Rimuru gets so OP that he gets basically everything with little to no effort at all, even when the serie justifies everything. Predator and Daikenja are very broken tools, not only Rimuru can use all the skills he absorbs to beat all enemies he faces with ease, not only he can stock almost infinite materials and use them without caution when it’s necessary, but he also gets convenient explanations of what he doesn’t know via Daikenja. All of this breaks the tension and makes the serie predictable.
But major issues around the serie are not just because of Rimuru’s powers, it’s the way the plot is too convenient to him that it puts the perfect situation so that Rimuru can solve it very easily. Just look at the first chapters, for example: He CONVENIENTLY appears in a place full of materials and monsters he CONVENIENTLY can absorb with his OP skill, then he CONVENIENTLY meets a powerful dragon that helps him to escape, and after that he CONVENIENTLY finds a goblin village with a problem he can easily solve because of his absorbed skills. Now he has a village of goblins and wolves which revere him, but he needs blacksmiths so he goes to a city to get them, he CONVENIENTLY meets the best blacksmith dwarfs in the city which have a big problem that Rimuru can CONVENIENTLY solve by just absorb a sword, analyze it and make a lot of copies with all the materials he CONVENIENTLY kept from the cave, so now the dwarfs are happy to revere him… Again, the serie at least explains the basics about every individual situation so it’s possible to justify them (like how he was able to make sword copies because he had enough saved materials), this is enough to put TenSura above others of the genre, but it’s not enough justification for all the plot conveniences surrounding Rimuru. This is just a mediocre writting.
This is a big problem especially for action moments because no matter how powerful the enemy is, you know Rimuru and his gang can easily get rid of it without much complication. You know the good guys are going to win against the bad guys, like a shounen, but unlike shounen or actions series in general, here tensión is non-existent because how OP good guys are. Actions scenes are not always supposed to be good because of the sometimes obvious outcome, but the scene by itself, to see how good guys handle to beat bad guys against all the problems they might go through (and even they may lose). Here nothing of that happens, making actions scenes pretty dull and uninterested in the long run.
Since there’s an overall lighthearted mood around, there are comedy moments too, but comedy is a pretty weak aspect of the serie. Most comedic scenes are summarized in dull boke-tsukkomi gags and plain jokes using cliches LNs are plagued of, making comedy in general feel very forced and fail to be funny. This serie is also overwhelmingly cliche, almost every trope of the manual can be found here: lolis, onee-sans, fanservice, bishounens, bouncing boobs, harem elements, and going through typical situations like OP characters wrecking everyone and everything easily, bullying the ineptest guy, harem chicks arguing each other, mortal cooking, onsen, etc. All of those issues aren’t bad per se, but in this case they are just flatly placed onscreen with no subtlety and with the vague intention of being funny. Tropes that have been heavily used and are no longer funny. Even when there are scenes with gags, situations or jokes that at least can make you smile, in regards of purely comedic scenes there’s not creativity, there’s not enough wit to make a genuinely funny scene, just the same well-known cliches reused.
Characters are by far the weakest part of the serie. Rimuru as a character is just ok, at least he has personality unlike other Light Novels MCs, but it’s a pretty basic one. That’s not entirely bad because it fits with the lighthearted mood the serie has and makes Rimuru easy to relate with. Actually the main issue with that is the lack of any depth, making the character plain, and for a MC this is bad because it might make the viewer get bored or lose interest, also limits a lot the character’s potential. It doesn’t have to be a big depth, but something that says Rimuru is more than just your average MC. Also, it’s really hard to believe how someone that basic and limited apparently has so much charm as the serie puts it; just some kind words and a demostration of his powers are enough to convince people that Rimuru “is such a very nice and reliable slime” and instantly they are willing to be part of his family and revere him… That’s the kind of things that make Rimuru look more like your typical Gary Stu light novel MC.
Even all said before, Rimuru is maybe the best character in the serie, but that’s because the rest of the cast are just stereotypical characters who barely have personality (and some of them mainly for “comedy” purposes). Actually there are pretty interesting characters there, but the main problem is that they revere Rimuru so much that they lose any hint of characterization or development they might have:
-Ok, goblins and wolves were just simple monsters so initially they didn’t need characterization at all, but after they evolved some of them were shown with actual personality, but they just kept there as background characters revering Rimuru, with no evolution or something that would make viewer get interesed on them as individual characters, like Gobuta, Rigur or Rigurd. This may also apply to Kaijin or Gabiru who had characterization before becoming Rimuru’s subordinate.
-Ranga actually started with personality, doubts about his father and former leader, but after this latter were defeated and killed by Rimuru he just… accepted him, and became one of his most loyal subordinates, losing basically any trace of personality. I mean, for real? He saw how his father was brutally killed in front of him and he didn’t get mad, sad or decided to take the leadership, he just forgot everything and became so affective with his new leader in a way you can’t believe it. You may blame the fear of see how someone that strong easily kills his leader as a reason to surrender to him, and in fact it is a reasonable justification to that, but not to become so affective and losing any personality in order to be just a guardian dog.
-Onis are where the serie wasted a lot of potential. When I said that there were pretty interesting characters I was referring mostly to them. They are more than simple monsters unlike goblins or wolves, each one of them have different personalities that were kept after becoming Rimuru’s subordinates, and actually they had a goal before that, since they lost their village. So… what happened after they reached their goal and decided to stay as Rimuru’s subordinates? Were their personalities and pasts developed or even exploited? Of course not! Well, they are treated as more than just NPCs unlike goblins and wolves, but most of their interventions are very shallow, like if they weren’t so important as characters. We have the proud leader, the wise old man, the mysterious silent man and the big quiet one just fulfiling those roles, some “comedic” moment and nothing more. The two girls are worse, they are just waifu baits with opposite personalities that the serie uses for the classic “harem chicks arguing about MC attention”, even worse, they are kind of like Ranga when they suddenly became so affective towards Rimuru that you can’t believe it, losing any posibility of individual characterization thanks to that extreme loyality.
-Millim is the loli factor in this equation and your typical “ridiculously powerful but kawaii brainless chick” who allied with Rimuru because plot said so (really, she didn’t have a reason at all) and we need another waifu bait for the weebs. Nothing more worth mentioning.
-You may have noticed I haven’t talked about Shizu yet even when she’s supposed to be important for the main plot, that’s because her characterization was so shallowly shown she can’t even count as proper character, and it’s the main proof this serie is terrible in characterization. This girl is, like Rimuru, another person invoked from his world, and when they met she established their situation is not so uncommon, potentially making this a pillar for the main plot and for Rimuru and Shizu’s development and relation. So what the serie did after that? Instead of giving Shizu an important role and time to develop her, the serie just showed her cruel past when she arrived with excesive victimization, then she “unleashed” her power CONVENIENTLY after meet Rimuru so he could “help her” absorbing her power (becoming more OP) finishing her life in the process and then giving him her “last will” by allowing Rimuru to absorb her body and appearance… All in an attempt to create cheap drama around Shizu, trying to make the viewer empathize with her but in the wrong way because at the end there’s nothing important left to bond with, all that just makes Shizu more a plot device than a proper character. That was actually one of the worst arcs of the show, and it evidences that the serie is bad at dealing with dramas and serious issues, which also affects narrative of those serious arcs.
-Veldora is in a similar situation. After he got absorbed by Rimuru he just stopped existing as a character and more as a plot device, because his absence just worked as a reason to move the plot.
Of course the serie can’t be expected to develop all characters since there are a lot, but at least it should pick the most important ones and give them some depth (especially for story purposes) instead of just treat them like walking tropes.
Then we get to the final arc, which it’s about the other invoked people Shizu talked about, and which I said it might be a pillar for the main plot and for Rimuru’s characterization, so it’s supposed to be a pretty important arc… And what did we get? This arc sums up basically everything that is wrong with this anime: Rimuru’s skills and OPness killing any tensión (now he can assemble spirits too? Are you kidding me?), wasted characters with tiny to no characterization (none of the supposedly important kids’ personalities or pasts were explored, they were just mere plot devices), A LOT of plot conveniences (in just one chapter Rimuru got kids’ respect by killing a dragon that CONVENIENTLY appeared from nowhere, that was seen CONVENIENTLY by a merchant that accepted to do business with Rimuru, and one of his girls CONVENIENTLY knew where Spirit Queen can be found) and otaku pandering. On top of that, a new problem the serie hadn’t faced up to this point: the pacing was very rushed (several weeks of bonding between Rimuru and the kids passed in just a few minutes, for example), making the plot even more convenient than the rest of the serie, and the introduced characters were forgettable. This arc makes clear that this serie isn’t going to improve in any way. It’s a shame.
With everything said above, I just can ask: why is this serie, full of those issues commonly criticized in most LN adaptations, getting a free pass? Why is getting too much praise and high scores even when it falls under the same tropes that mediocre and much more criticized LNs also fall?
But please don’t get me wrong, with all its ups and downs TenSura is a decent serie I pretty enjoyed. But the serie is far from being perfect, and I thought it would be good bringing some criticism to the table pointing out all the good and bad things the serie did instead of just say shallow claims like “it’s good because I liked it and characters made me laugh” or “this is utter crap because Rimuru is so OP and nothing happens”. So yeah, the reason this serie stands out as one of the most decent isekais recently released is more because most of those isekais are pretty bad rather than by its own merits. But hey! It actually HAS merits.
tl;dr: Interesting premise, charming mood and decent worldbuilding, but terrible characters and bad handling of serious issues when tries to be more ambitious. This serie is fine but it’s not a masterpiece or even something close. Please stop overrating and overhyping things, THAT is the real cancer of the community.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Dec 8, 2017
After the bunch of generic movies that the franchise was bringing (especially XY's), this film felt like a breath of fresh air, a necessary change and an interesting experience. Even so, it could have been handled much better.
At first, the film was very ambitious, trying to mix classic elements with new elements in a single story with the classic theme of "chosen by the legendary", which is not bad, but that same ambition made the development of the film was very inconsistent: they added key elements of the first season, such as the way Ash and Pikachu became friends, Caterpie's capture and subsequent release and ... the abandoned Charmander, beautiful scenes that contributed to Ash development, but didn't impact as they intended to do (speaking from the perspective of the new generations of fans, which is the main audience to which the film aimed). In addition, the new elements were incorporated in a very superficial way, resulting in a very hasty plot, which handled too much issues: Cross as an antithesis of Ash, Verity and Sorrel, even the same legend of "chosen by Ho-Oh", the old man who wrote the book and Marshadow as an evil being and his world of illusion were treated very superficially. While the subplots were placed "just because", the main plot was developed inconsistently.
The plot is not the only thing that remained half developed, the characters too:
-Both Verity and Sorrel, although they are not the most original characters in the world, they are charismatic and have interesting motivations, respectively: wanting to show your real value and being a professor due to a traumatic experience that made you see things from a broader perspective, each one was introduced with quite remarkable personalities, but once they joined to Ash, all that disappeared, and they went into the background in such a blatant way that it's offensive, giving the feeling of wanting to see more of them.
-Cross and Marshadow were only used as a plot device. The first as the typical edgelord who treats everyone badly, considers that everything is brute force and friendship is useless but without the redemption that differentiates him from others like Paul and Trip, who in the end was the one who unleashed the chaos due to his imprudence. The second as the evil entity that has to stop our characters "just because", if there is a real reason for its participation, this was not very clear or was never explained properly.
-On the other hand we have the same Ash as always, but due to the focus they gave him, his development as a newly initiated Trainer was better appreciated, in the best way that has been seen in the franchise so far, as well as his relationship with Pikachu... But yes, the way he "revived" was one of the most cheeky deus ex machina of all the anime, and don't tell me it was Ho-Oh because he was not present and the Rainbow Wing had disintegrated.
In short: very ambitious plot, mixing new and old elements in a very superficial way, focusing on some things and leaving aside many others, hasty development and interesting characters but very badly used. As I said at the beginning, it was a renewed experience with respect to the last films, and it was pleasant to see, but it doesn't prevent that it could have been better.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Sep 29, 2017
People often think that because an idea seems uncommon on paper, it is already good.
No, it's not. A plot may seem to be as attractive as possible, a character may appear to be interesting for not following a common stereotype, but if those are not developed correctly, or at least, they are not well used in the universe that the same serie proposes, then can’t be said they are good. This is the case.
Two things to keep in mind before continue reading:
1. Minor spoilers ahead.
2. This is an ANIME ONLY review.
Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e, also known as "Classroom of the Elite", this ... name already summarizes what the series is about: a prestigious school where only "the best of the best" attends, students are separated by categories (classes) and a score system is managed according to the test results, which are necessary to literally survive on this island/school. Of course the best class usually has most of the points, while the worst, that is, the D class (where the series focuses) have few to none, so the goal of these students is to improve on their exams in order to get more points and survive, even thinking ambitiously and trying to get down the other classes. If we ignore the fact that no one in the D class except the protagonist group was so smart to not see the obvious working of this system that promotes competitiveness and instead they all believed they would earn 10.000 points at the end of the month just for their pretty faces (was not supposed to be a school of elites?), we have a plot that, on paper, sounds very good, and can lead to a story with an interesting development.
Among other positive aspects, animation is very good, has enough fluidity and is very colorful, character design is generic but well done (especially girls design). Soundtrack is not bad but it's very forgettable, and there were few times where it actually stood out, however, the serie has a good handling of audiovisual quality and a decent sound direction most of the time, they really knew how to make the few scenes where the sound is important (intrigue or "revelations" scenes) able to impress and engage the viewer.
And those are the only good things I can say about the serie...
Now, what's the problem with this show, having so much potential? Just the fact that they don't take advantage of that potential, and instead, the series focuses purely on exposure: they show MC analyzing and understanding how the school system works, and then acting when it's required; but not the reason of his acts. They show several background characters moving around and prowling, as if they had some evil plans (even with funeral background music included!); but in the end, little or nothing happens. They show how protagonists pretend to make their class climb ranges; but they are so rough and socially inept that they don't even bother to relate with their classmates, classmates who are shown as mere extras or victims, in order to make protagonists shine even more. This is not a story about "how the D class improves and climbs ranks", protagonists go on their own way, and the rest of the class have little to zero presence in the plot. Then, when the show tries to give them characterization or at least some screen time in the moments where they were meant to be important, it isn't even done well, just extra dialogues that mean nothing and call it a day (Sudo, Ichinose, Sakura, the sensei, etc.). Characters remain plain and dull all the plot.
Another aspect is that most arcs feel disconnected, add little to nothing to the plot, or are unnecessary. In some cases it's not even explained how things turned out like that (survival test arc, for example). It almost feels like most arcs were only introduced to force the plot and create artificial drama, because at this point it's hard to feel something for such a shallow character cast. With all this, the central issue in this serie is practically lost, it's unknown what is the point the serie tries to reach. Everything ends up being boring and disinterested.
The worst part is this: The serie pretends to be a serious and dark story, with discrimination and arrogance from high-ranked classes issues, people prowling in the shadows, and D class being victimized by being the lowest rank. But then, the series resorts to exposure of this arrogance and this "dark atmosphere" (the high-ranked classes bullying Sudo, Ryuuen punishing members of his "gang", the almost rape scene, the president plotting things, cane girl and bald guy talking cryptic nonsenses so they appear to be planning something "interesting", etc.), everything in a really exaggerated and nothing subtle way, to the point where the series ends up being immature, bordering on stupidity, instead of being serious and dark as they would have wanted. Inmature and stupid, for not knowing how to handle such issues with the seriousness they were meant, and instead, the serie just uses them to pretend to be intellectual and interesting, or in the worst case, to "shocking" the viewer and thus disguise the poor writing and development, even resorting to cliches and fanservice situations that just buries even more the serie's real pretentions.
It's not really bad to have cliches and fanservice, as long as you make use of them in a way that are acceptable to see, this is not the case. Hell, even the fanservice is explicit to the point it's just ridiculous! Other series show you subtle, fleeting or according to the situation scenes: falls, wind raising skirts, rays of light coming out of nowhere, etc. Here, they throw out tits in the whole screen just because, without conceal, without having nothing else to show in the scene, not even people talking, and with no other goal but to appeal otaku pandering. Yes, even fanservice in this serie is shallow and dull! The real issue is that this actually creates a contrast to what the series is trying to achieve, and instead of being serious and interesting, ends up being ridiculous. At this point, the serie is just pretending to be something that it will never be, resorting to exposure to hide its failures and showing exaggerated and unnecessarily explicit situations in an attempt to simulate maturity, which ends up being the opposite.
Pretentious, that's the perfect word that describes this trainwreck. Yes, this is a term often used as a "generic argument that people usually use to denigrate a job they do not like", regardless of if it really applies or if those who use it know what it really means, but personally, I wouldn't use it if in this particular case it doesn't apply, and DOES apply. With all the issues previously mentioned, the series insists that those points must be taken completely seriously; despite the big failures in development, despite their cliche characters and exaggerated situations, bordering on ridiculousness; all this creates a big contrast with the heavy atmosphere. If one tries to take the serie seriously, it's not possible, because the atmosphere is very forced and doesn't go according to everything that happens on the screen: complete arcs that contribute little or nothing, cliches in the middle of a plot that tries to be dark, irrelevant characters doing nonsense here and there and "serious" situations so anticlimactic and explicit that they end up being simply stupid, so the seriousness the show tries to transmit is not given. And if one tries not to take the serie seriously, it's not possible either, because the plot tries to convince you that EVERYTHING that goes on screen, including the most insignificant nonsense and the most exaggerated situations, is serious and dark, situations that obviously you can't take as such. They went to far to even try to put comedy, which was so dry, forced and simple that ended up being shameful and cringy. In more than one occasion I ended up banging my head on the keyboard, because I couldn't bear the cringe of those pathetic attempts to be "comic."
Another negative aspect is this series doesn't know the term "subtlety": every time something happens, it is shown in the most crude, explicit and anticlimatic possible way:
—Starting with the same plot. Being an elite school that seeks to mold highly skilled people, a fairly realistic goal, is the highly exagerated competitive environment that even people are talking about "destroying the other classes" so necessary ? Is discrimination so necessary ? Are the "evil" and complicated plans to only expel a single student so necessary? Is a Btooom! style Survival Test in a high school with relatively normal students so necessary? Things that have little or no place in the genres that the series handles, just to forcing the plot and generate dramatic situations that ultimately mean nothing, because arcs development is so random that they don't transmit what they want to show.
—Horikita's traumatic past and her inferiority complex towards her brother, the student council president. This character is so bad written that she changes from a strong willed person to a weakling waifu bait at script conveniences just because of him. Similary, the way they show her brother as an almighty guy whose presence is terrifying, and a sort of evil final boss who even went so far as to almost hurt his sister to "show her that she can never reach him". It's not necessary to exaggerate the situation to that point that it's so unbelievable.
—Kushida's revelation, where she went from a caring and friendly girl to a soulless bitch, and the way she showed it was so cringy: screaming, flailing and threatening MC with rape accusation if he reveal it... There're not enough words to express how stupid this was. If the intentions were to reveal a dark secret, at least, do it maturely, otherwise, it ends up being edgy and ridiculous.
—Constant fights with the other classes, which were portrayed as a kind of mafia that punishes its members when they don't fulfill their duties and always go for the most violent and problematic option possible, as if they were real criminals. Would not it be enough to portray the friction between classes without trying to make the whole situation looked as a yakuza war?
—Sakura's trauma with the potential stalkers, exaggerated to the point that they show a man like a sick and obsessive who almost raped her, which was not necessary to show his problem (just by making it clear that she was being harassed and then doing the pertinent report would've been enough), and shows how the serie handles a serious subject in a very immature way, because of course, all men are disgusting beings whose first thing they do when they see sexy photos of a girl is harass her to try to rape her... Also the fact that she is an excessively shy girl who shows her provocative photos both on the internet and in the middle of a serious trial, supposedly to increase her self-confidence, but then she implies she "doesn't like to show a lot of skin" and being looked in a "lustful way" makes her feel uncomfortable. Is not this a bit contradictory?
Now, let's talk about the other aspect that ends up completely burying this serie: characters. I would like to remind you what I said at the beginning: the fact something looks good on paper or looks different at first glance doesn't imply that it will be good. The fact the characters, mainly the MC, do not seem to be the stereotypes commonly seen in this kind of stories doesn't make them automatically good. Characters are by far the worst aspect of this serie, flat and completely artificial, but with "plot twist" added to make them look more interesting and complex, complexity that doesn't really exist:
—Ayanokouji,the main character. At first he looks like he doesn't care about anything, but actually he is someone analytical, who only observes what happens around him and then he draws conclusions about it, plus he does not want to highlight. In this sense he's very similar to Hachiman, which is the reason a lot of people consider him a good character (Hachiman is not that good to begin with), and in fact, this sounds like a good approach, but, SURPRISE! it turns out that the guy is super smart but he gets mediocre scores apparently on purpose, he is an expert in melee combat because why no? it's something cool for a high school student, and he ends up being surrounded by a lot of girls who "notice how special he is" just by being his boring and personality-less himself. Why is he so skilled? The most silly excuse: he was a laboratory rat created to be perfect; and no, showing a character flashback is NOT characterization or character development if they don't portray how he develops his way of being and thinking from this fact, which they never did, they simply said "MC is perfect because he was created as such, and he's cool!", that's all. Based on this, the main problem with this character is: he doesn't really have a background to make his actions coherent, and then it's evident that he is not boring or doesn't care about anything, he simply has no personality. But even so, the series doesn't waste any opportunity to make him shine, since everything he does turns out well, everyone talks about him, everything important involves him and he seems to be the only character who thinks and acts rationally, basically a perfect example of a self insert character and a Gary Stu. He is with the same face all the time, immutable to everything that happens around him, even his own actions, How can be portrayed that he is living a tense situation (when the president confronts him, for example) if he doesn't express it? Besides, because he doesn't have personality or characterization, it's hard to know what really drives him to act, his actions can't be taken seriously because what motivates him to act is basically non-existent. He only acts because the plot says so. He doesn't move the plot: the plot moves him. Even though his inexpressiveness makes it somewhat unpredictable (despite it's implied Almighty MC-kun will always be there to save the day), which plays to his advantage, that is not enough for make up for all the issues surrounded this character. And this needs to be cleared up once and for all: The fact a protagonist doesn't seem to be your typical dense MC does NOT automatically make him a good character, much less "the best MC of the season".
—Horikita is the typical edgy elitist bitch who believes herself better than the rest, looks down on the whole world because "making friends is unnecessary" and she's all the time with her arms crossed to show superiority over "scum". Currently she is the one that really wants to raise the class despite treating her classmates as trash. Why? SURPRISE! (again), she also possesses a typical traumatic past (which is never explained), an inferiority complex toward her brother, and a lamentable desire to show him that she can be at his level, all in a pathetic attempt to make her see her not so rude and viewer can feel empathy for her. Then, the rude and super serious elitist who tries to do everything for herself (although she knows she should collaborate with others, which she never does) becomes a passive weakling which the MC has to rescue, and a kind of tsundere badly made to justify his mood changes at script convenience. She is the the synonym of inconsistency... And speaking of script conveniences: it's funny how she doesn't trust anyone because she thinks everyone has a double face which can be dangerous, but she fully trusts Ayanokouji who obviously hides many things, just because "he saved her", when all he did was to be in the right place "by casuality" (that is, when the plot told him). Curiously, she was the only one to have something vaguely close to a development (yes, THE ONLY ONE) as we saw how little by little she began to trust and appreciate her classmates more (although she is still rough). Apparently, some of those scenes must have been from another character, and I saw a lot of people complaining and whining about that, but in fact this change was partly a success, mainly because the other character in question (Karuizawa) was never introduced correctly in this adaptation. Would not have been something out of place to give too much screen time suddenly to a character we barely know? Instead, they gave this screen time to a previously established character, so it was not a bad decision at all. As a side note: that Senjougahara-style compass scene was very pathetic, andthe tickle scene was even worse, a bad attempt to make it look more moe. Not to mention the bathroom scene in Chapter 11, because it was clearly important for this dark and serious plot, right?... right?!
—Kushida is the typical cheerful and caring girl, with more breasts than brains, who wants to be friends with everyone, but in such a obsessive way that it's just annoying to see, but SURPRISE! (again, again) it turns out that the girl actually hid a kind of second, darker and manipulative personality, all in a very pathetic attempt to give complexity to the character and to "shock" the audience that perhaps did not expect that. The worst par about this? That second personality was never explained, never showed the background and also had absolutely no impact on everything that happened in the rest of the show, so what was it all for? A cheap way to make a character look interesting and keep people to the expectation.
Now you see why did I say complexity in these characters doesn't exist? All of them are just cliches already seen with a plot twist that tries to fill the void of a real characterization.
The rest of the characters are not worth talking about. Sudo is the typical rude and troublesome boy, Ichinose is another less annoying Kushida, Sakura the typical excessively shy girl who is complexed by his past and/or actions, Hirata the popular, kind and helpful guy (SURPRISE! He also seems to have a "dark" personality), the president the typical evil boss "just because" who is even more elitist than his sister, Ryuuen the gang member, Ibuki the Rem— I mean, the passive dependent girl with no personality, Arisu the mysterious loli THAT DID NOTHING, etc. Do you see how all of them can be described in a single sentence? The worst thing is that no one was given some screen time to even know more about them, in fact, in their respective arcs they were treated more as victims or plot devices than actual characters... And do you pretend I take all your plot seriously with this cast of characters?
Dialogues and interaction between the characters are almost as bad as themselves. To name one of many examples: Chapter 4 was particularly stupid, another "friendly girl" of another class gets a love letter, but since she doesn't know what love is, she makes the only "logical" choice she has: Asks MC, with which she hasn't crossed more than 10 words before, that he pretends to be his boyfriend to reject the girl who sent her the letter... This was so contradictory and senseless in almost any way. How many cliches in such a forced situation, literally a beautiful girl with big tits fell from the sky to our personality-less MC and asked him to be her boyfriend "just because" so that in the end, he gave a her sermon where he was portrayed as a mature guy... a complete situation of self-insertion that also adds nothing to the plot (like almost everything else up to that point). Then in chapter 5 we have our Almighty MC advising a "shy girl" to be honest with herself and only with these simple words that anyone could say is enough to make her fall in love, from this point onward, this character (whose excessive shyness is FREAKING ANNOYING, "Best Girl" my balls) only was dedicated to be fanservice and otaku pandering material by trying romantic approaches with MC... Ah, and let's not forget about Chapter 11 when MC tells Ibuki that he trusts her and immediately she falls in love with these "pretty words" like any Rem— I mean, passive dependent girl with no personality... Of course he is not a self-insert! Similar situations happened throughout the series, which are summarized in boring, out of place and edgy dialogues that are just cringy, and relationships so forced that feel fake. Characters are not related naturally, but because the plot says.
Seriously, why does this serie get so much praise and high scores? At this point more than one may be thinking this review is written by an elitist that "don't enjoy watching anime", but if you look at my list you may notice that I'm someone of simple and irreverent tastes, and doesn't prevent me to enjoy series like this or any other series that even I may consider bad, but in this particular case, when the flaws are so notorious, the plot pretends to be taken so seriously by putting such ridiculous and stupid situations that it's impossible to do so, development is disastrous and characters are so horrible and poorly done, even with low standars (because it would be idiotic to expect a "Mushishi" or a "Rakugo" from series like these, right? The correct thing for these genres is to lower the expectations to have an at least enjoyable experience) the same mediocrity of the series prevents it from being enjoyable.
This BY FAR IS NOT AOTY. And no, it's not that "the show started good and became bad in its second part", the series already started bad and became worse with the passing of the chapters.
I will end with this phrase that summarizes this anime, again: the fact something looks good on paper or looks different at first glance, doesn't imply that it will be good.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Mar 23, 2017
This is a story about... revenge?
Masamune-kun no Revenge is definitely an anime that gives enough to talk about. Just by reading the synopsis you get attracted and curiosity makes you watch it, and what do you find? Masamune wants revenge. Why? Because his feelings were rejected as a child. How will he do that? Wasting his life finding the chick who rejected him, and then wasting even more time making her love him back to reject her and breake her heart. Wow, how mature of his part!
This is supposed to be a romantic comedy, so the plot should not be taken so seriously, but that's ... the main problem. While it has comical moments, the serie wants you to take the revenge issue (the main focus the serie gives) as something totally serious and justified, which fully collides with the fact that the serie is EXTREMELY CLICHE. Having cliches is not the problem, as long as they are used in a way that makes something entertaining to watch at the very least; this is not the case, the "serious" revenge issue is contradicted by cliches, ending up in a ridiculous, pitiful and generic development, since the revenge gradually fades off to make way to the inevitable: Masamune and Aki end up falling in love, then the serie resorts to plot devices out of nowhere in order to force the revenge and introduce unnecessary drama (Gasou and the moron bodyguard trio), because we already know how this will end, as the synopsis itself tells you: "However, his friendship with Aki begins to grow, Masamune begins to question the objectives of his devious plans".
All this also carries the fact that, with the passage of time, the goal of revenge disappears, leaving the serie's main focus as a nonsense, and emphasizing how poor and predictable the development is. But do you know what's the worst part? At the end, nothing happened! Revenge? No. Real love? No. Absolutely nothing happened. THIS is the real nonsense...
Some people defend this serie saying the initial approach to the revenge is something original and rarely seen among other animes of this genre... Which is true, but no matter how original the approach is, if its development is disastrous and it's supported by cliches, then the serie will end up being more of the same with other condiments, exactly what happened here. In this sense the serie reminds me to Oregairu, where it pretends to be something different from the usual and ends up falling in more of the same already seen in other animes of the genre.
But if there is anything worse than the poor plot development, those are the characters. EVERYBODY AND EACH OF THEM are awful. Starting with the central axis: the protagonist. In the case of many romantic comedies (with or without harem), no matter how fun it is or how nice the girls are, if the protagonist is insufferable, the serie becomes insufferable too, albeit this obviously depends on how much focus it gives to him. In this case, the whole serie is shown from Masamune's perspective, so it's expected this character to be interesting or likable at least. Of course, it's not the case. I will not deny that Masamune stands out for not being your typical dense loser harem MC, and his internal monologues add some depth to the plot and the character in general, but a lot of people think that this, and only this, make him a good character, which is false:
-His revenge motive is stupid: as a child he was a target of bullying, and when he met someone who accepted him, he was rejected by that person, which motivated him to change. This is actually not bad, but this change was driven merely by the fact of wanting revenge and not by personal improvement. Not to mention all the time wasted on something so empty. Also, just by getting fit he thinks he matured, how innocent...
-His narcissistic attitude is both annoying and unnecessary. It's possible to show self-confidence without resorting to narcissism. Besides, the serie focuses TOO MUCH on how every girl that appears on screen drools for him (something VERY ridiculous to see), feeding more his ego. As if they wanted to force his philosophy of "only handsome boys win in life", or narcissism was a necessary and obligatory part of his characterization.
-His personality is ambiguous, and changes at script convenience. He goes from being bold and self-confident (supported by the aforementioned narcissism), to an insecure boy who is afraid even of talking to a girl, and gets lost in his own plans. Basically, he turns in that typical dense loser harem MC for moments. Where is the supposed maturity he was talking about? A very bland characterization, and a very bad written character in every way.
Then we have Aki, "The Cruel Princess". The girl who is cruel to everyone but is actually insecure and has a "cute side" with chibi faces included to make up for her bitch side so half world can treat her as waifu... This is by far the worst character in the whole serie, and one of the worst "tsunderes" I've ever seen. A poorly written character, with a shallow and non-existent development, and a very insufferable attitude that changes to the script convenience, as well as Masamune. Her motives for being cruel are quite questionable and her current personality doesn't go according to them. Her attitude contrasts with her "feed me with 20kg of food while I make moe faces" and "I want you to kiss me or tell me you like me... but you're still a piece of crap. Get away, you scum!" traits. The worst thing is that, I insist, the serie wants you to take this bitch side so badly written seriously to justify Masamune's revenge.
Similarly, the way her attitude goes from being aggressive to being totally passive according to Masamune's plans is quite fictional (again, as the plot forcibly requires it), and from one moment to another she goes aggressive again. You can't see an actual evolution on her, how her hard exterior breaks and she reveals her dere side little by little. No. you see how she changes from "tsun" to "dere" in a very fake way when the setting requires it. This is not to be "hard in the outside, fragile in the inside" as normal tsunderes, and neither is a gap moe, this is to be hard and fragile at the same time, a mixture of personalities, as if they didn't know how to give her a fixed characterization, and it remains as something that changes conveniently. Something that is demonstrated in Chapters 4 and 5, for example, hell, even Masamune himself says it in Chapter 9!
And if all that was not enough, she ditched all this tiny characterization with Gasou's coming. What happened to what she said about "I always hurt people so they don't hurt me"? Someone who said to have changed and promised not to fall in love, said to hate men and rejects everyone in a cruel way, then falls in love instantly... That's plain stupid. Even if she thinks this is the Masamune of her childhood, it's not justified if she said she has changed. This is just to force the plot in a terrible last minute plot twist. Now do you see what I meant with ït changes at the script convenience"? I insist: the worst character in the serie, and one of the worst "tsunshits", because she doesn't even deserve to be called as a "normal tsundere".
Watching this pair of protagonists interacting is a real cringe festival. Their "love-hate" relationship feels so forced, so poorly executed and without any sort of charisma. However, in most of chapter 6, Aki does not show up, so there was not much of this interaction and revenge issue was barely touched. They also explored better the relationships between Masamune and the other characters, which was kinda nice to see. In the same way, in chapter 9, where a fairly mature discussion happened between Masamune and Neko, and then some comic relief among the other characters, again, the revenge issue was not touched. These two chapters were the most tolerable ones of the entire serie. Coincidence? I don't think so…
Yoshino is the typical clumsy and moe kuudere who has a "dark side". That stereotype has always seemed illogical and senseless to me, since you can't take this dark side seriously (again, what the serie tries to do) with a deadpan chick who barely talks and keeps falling down showing the pantsu. Nonetheless, she is arguably the most decent character in the serie, her role is actually interesting and adds to the plot, even her actions can be unpredictable and leave to the expectation... But her characterization is not, and makes you quickly lose a little interest in her. I also dare to say she is maybe one of the most decent Inori Minase characters, something that is not very difficult to actually achieve...
Neko is the top of the cliche between the characters: a generic rich girl who falls down from the sky and then immediately falls in love with MC "just because", and in the end, she will be the first friendzoned girl from the harem (well, that was the class rep)... So many cliches and so little creativity in a single character! literally she is a Tachibana 2.0. Even is just as sickly! She seems to have no personality beyond Masamune. What is the real reason why she loves him so desperately? "Because he is kind"? Albeit she said her motives, those are not enough justification to why she loves him with such determination. The only answer I find is: because the plot says, and they need another waifu bait that shows love interest in him so the story doesn't feel so linear, even when her intervention didn't contribute significantly anything more than the classic Team War. It's worth clarifying, that I think her rejection was right (although Masamune's motives remain stupid), after all, we are talking about a liar who is in love with him for questionable reasons, the logical thing to do is refuse. After that, we were shown a conversation between them where they clarified their motivations in a kinda clear way, showing maturity from both characters and a good management of the subject of a love rejection. Point for Masamune and the serie in general, because not everything has to be "That stupid Masamune should accept her... Because she's my waifu!... And she's the best girl... And... And she kissed him!"
There were other characters we can summarize with a simple archetype, like the genki girl (it's a shame she has fallen in love with an idiot like Masamune who, aside from rejecting her, he didn't care about and only increased his ego, more negative points for this character), the trap, the loli and the sassy sister. We also have Gasou... Who shouldn't even count as a character, since he has no characterization, he's literally a plot device with legs (and a very forced one), someone who only got introduced to set up unnecessary drama and force the disastrous plot development even more, like Aki's "bodyguards" trio, stereotyped girls that only showed up at the end to works as a wall between the inevitable. A whole cast of characters with almost no glow or charm. I don't ask for complex characters or deep development, only likable characters, according to what the serie tries to be. They don't have to be 100% original either, but that doesn't mean they have to be archetypes already seen a thousand times pasted on it without subtlety and basically any change.
There is no reason to talk about the audiovisual aspects: nice but generic designs, decent quality, an acceptable but very forgettable soundtrack. The important general aspects of the serie are pitiful, the comedy, even when it made me laugh in several occasions (after all I enjoy this genre), is just cringe most of the time, and characters are mediocre and horribly written. The plot from the beginning is ridiculous and stupid even when it sounds attractive in lyrics, and after focusing on it in a serious way (because I insist that this is what the series tried, even with all comedy in the middle), the minimum to be expected is an acceptable development, but this is lousy. It's worth mentioning that I usually like harems no matter how generic they are, as long as the girls AND the MC are charismatic and interesting. This is not the case. This will undoubtedly endure as one of the worst romantic comedies I've ever seen, only surpassed by Nisekoi.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0
Mar 15, 2017
KonoSuba is back stronger than ever.
Well, not so much.
To some extent, this review can be considered for both seasons in general ¿why? Because from my perspective both seasons are absolutely the same, the serie didn't innovate in anything, but neither have any downfall except for the animation sometimes. It's exactly the same.
The story follows where it remained the first season, with Kazuma being arrested for an alleged act of terrorism. Up to this point it isn't necessary to speak much more of the story, after all, it's about mini arcs with stories in the purest style of RPG games and "isekai" animes, plus we all ... know that is not the central axis or the main thing that makes KonoSuba so attractive. The story itself is not what matters, but how it influences the main topic: the comedy that goes around the picturesque characters, with some satire to the clichés of RPG, although falling into them on several occasions.
¿What do I mean by this? KonoSuba does the same thing as several comedy series like Nichibros, One Punch Man or Seitokai Yakuindomo: repeating a single joke, but in different ways depending on the context in which they are. In the case of KonoSuba, this context is the story, the joke is the characters: Kazuma tsukkomi (although it is usually the most unpredictable character and with some more variety to his jokes), Aqua useless, Megumin chuuni and Darkness masochistic, the serie focuses on their characteristics to make the jokes, ¿then what makes it so funny even though it sometimes falls into the repetitive? That such jokes vary according to the context, as the story progresses and different situations in each arc are presented, the characters develop in them, which makes it appear that the joke is renewed and makes him retain his grace. So, although it doesn't seem so, the history is important in KonoSuba; if there is no progress, the comedy serie would remain very stagnant. Now, isn't as if this is the formula of success, it doesn't always work and in more than one occasion it feels forced or simply boring, but in this also favors the small number of chapters: it's not the same to see the same joke in 10 Chapters in one year to see it in 24, so there is no "saturation", and the serie feels "light", to call it somehow.
Now, the main focus of the comedy in this anime are its characters who, although they may seem rather flat and simple, have enough charisma to lift the serie by themselves:
-Kazuma can be described as the typical otaku hikikomori, and in fact he is, relying on their cliches, as his perverted fantasies and the constant allusion to his virginity, but also stands out for not being the typical loser dense protagonist. Among the main characters he seems to be the only sane and with feet on the ground, which doesn't prevent him from time to time make decisions or act in an unreasonable way, this coupled with the fact that he's usually the tsukkomi make him an unpredictable character at the time of being funny, so it has more "variety".
-Aqua is a goddess who welcomes the deceased to give them a better life after death. She should be a loving and kind girl, is not she?... No, Aqua is just the opposite: narcissistic, haughty, manipulative and immature. By chance chance (the unpredictability of Kazuma) ends up in the fantasy world where she reveals her main feature and the main source of her jokes: she is a complete useless, something that the serie does not bother to hide from the beginning. Many of the problems that face the group protagonist are the result of her actions, directly or indirectly, is here where the context favors Aqua's uselessness: you know that sooner or later she will ruin it, but of all the possibilities you don't know how, and even if you know, the situation could take an unexpected turn, as in the last arc where her own followers accuse her of being a false prophet ¡and even want to burn her as a witch! I don't know about you, but while it was an expected outcome, the development of it was hilarious.
-Megumin (her only name is a recurring joke) belongs to a tribe of wizards with chuuni characteristics, and she is not the exception: she is an obsessive of explosive magic, which leaves her completely immobile after using it. In itself it's a very simple joke and not very easy to exploit, but outside these characteristics Megumin is perhaps the most "normal" character after Kazuma, and like him, she's usually unpredictable and contribute to the comedy scenes in various ways.
-Darkness (whose real name is Lalatina, which I personally like more) is a paladin willing to receive damage to protect her companions, but all because in reality she is a complete masochist, with only the idea of facing something dangerous excites her. The jokes around her are usually the most varied, due to the many forms of masochism that she herself thinks, however, it's the joke that loses grace more easily. What makes the character pleasing is her reactions, and curiously enough, she is usually amashed at several other situations instead of getting excited.
There are other characters who also contribute their grain of sand, but I will not go too long talking about them. The interaction of the protagonists between themselves and with the characters usually give more variation to the jokes. A clear example is the scene where Vanir takes over the Darkness body, one of the most fun of the serie in general, due to the charisma of Vanir and the way in which Darkness made him exasperate with his perversions.
As for audiovisual quality, I don't see reason to give it many turns. The sound is acceptable, it attaches well to the series and the moment situation. The animation has always been the subject of controversy: the series in general presents a fairly average animation (although it highlights in some specific moments), but it's not the type of serie that needs an ufotable animation to achieve its purpose. Sometimes it was a little awkward to see, of course, but it was more favorable than what it affected, after all the exaggerated reactions of the characters emphasized ridiculous comedy (in a good way), whether on purpose or not.
KonoSuba is a serie that has elements that by themselves are not the big thing, but together they create a favorable result and a great synergy. It could be summarized as "simple comedy" or "situational comedy". Finally, I think that is not enough to clarify it: This is a comedy with some parody, doesn't seek to be anything serious, neither pretend to show deep characters or a development of them, and despite having satirize to the fantasy worlds, also counts as one of these, so, if you like these genres, there is no lose with watch this serie. It's not a serie for everyone, not everyone likes these comedies, but if you like them, you'll feel pretty satisfied with the result.
What did you think of this review?
Love it 0