Welcome to part 1 out of 5 of my Symphogear review series. This post will cover the first season of Symphogear.
Symphogear is a magical girl action series that was released in 2012. It has gained five seasons over the course of the decade and all of the seasons were done by Studio Satelight, the same studio that gave us Macross Frontier, Bodicous Space Pirates and Noein. When the series first debuted it had mixed reception towards casuals and critics, however, as the years went by the series had gained a big positive reception towards casuals and critics. It also gained a big following over the
years and some of the fans state that Symphogear is the anime underdog of 2010s era of anime.
Naturally, I decided to check out the series just to see what all that fuzz about as well as seeing if the series is as good as people it is.
If I had two words to describe Symphogear Season 1 it would be fun, and predictable.
Before I talk about the problems of Season 1 I will be going over the things that I liked about the season.
Right out the gate, I was amazing how the show presented itself. It does a great job of establishing its world and tone to the viewer. I liked how the first episode had the guts to hint the main character Hibiki in the season but it also how brutal this series would be. The Tsubasa and Kanade concert was a fun and a depressing sight to watch as it did a nice job of setting up character development for Hibiki and Tsubasa. I honestly tear up when Kanade died as she was a brave and cheerful person who supported Tsubasa.
The music was top-notch. The music does an outstanding job at capturing the high energy of Symphogear with its rock and pop tracks that fit the anime. The insert songs were top-notch as not they were amazing songs in their own but they had a lot of substance to them.
Finally, the best thing to come out from season 1 is Chris Yukine. I absolutely adore her because not only she was a badass but she was a well written and compelling character. Seeing her developed and change over the season was fascinating to watch as she becomes a better person.
Sadly it’s time to talk about what didn’t work starting with the visuals.
I honestly don’t know what Studio Statelight was thinking in the winter anime season of 2011 but Symphogear Season 1 was frankly unpolished. The fight choreography ranges from mediocre to subpar. There were constant still frames in every episode, and characters often go off-model, especially in fight scenes and the camerawork feels cheap.
As much I love Tsubasa as a character to a point she became my favourite character in the series her debut season was very rough.
I found her to be kinda annoying in this season. I understand she lost her best friend in a tragedy is sad and all but she didn’t have to unleash her angst and frustration on Hibiki like that. She just came off as unpleasant for the majorly for the season even if her character development in this season was good
Another character I had a problem in season 1 is the main character Hibiki. She’s a textbook definition of a Mary Sue as well as an annoying brat in this. She might be worse than Tsubasa because at least Tsubasa has a justifiable reason for being the way she. Sure I may not like her mean-spirited attitude but I could understand her. Not to mention she had brilliant character development from this season and onwards. Hibiki barely felt like a character in this season.
She’s more for the ride if anything and as a result, she was bland despite having good moments especially with her childhood friend Miku.
Remember when I said that the first episode does a great job at setting. Well, that great setup gets thrown out the window as the season from that point on devolves into a cookie-cutter shockingly magical girl series. The Chris stuff may still be unique but everything else that this season has to offer has been done in other magical girl anime.
It doesn’t try to take any risk, it’s way too safe for its own good and boringly predictable. Themes of moving on, sacrifice and friendship were not executed well due to the messy direction. The Noise as well Finé were one dimensional and the writing overall degraded as it progressed.
The worst thing about Symphogear Season 1 is the show is full of plot holes. Granted Symphogear as a whole has never its strongest aspect and each season is filled with holes but least the following seasons had brilliant character writing as well as excellent production values that overshadow the questionable writing. Symphogear Season 1 rarely does any of this and as a result of the season sadly became a slog to get through especially with the countless plot holes.
This is not to say I had no fun watching this season whatsoever, in fact, I had a lot of fun watching this season.
Season 1 when it's competent is very entertaining to watch that is filled with great moments. The pacing minus the first few episodes was well-paced and the season was shockingly fun despite its glaring flaws.
I feel the creators behind this season did the best. Even if the season ended up being mediocre I felt a sense of passion and determination from the people who worked on this season and I will believe they will learn from their mistakes and failures in future seasons of Symphogear,
Stay tuned for part 2 where I go over Symphogear G.
The season that made me love Symphogear.
Apr 7, 2021
I remember when the mecha genre used to be one of the most popular genres in the anime medium.
Around the early 80s to the late 2000s anime studio’s used to produce and release a tone of mecha anime ranging from Gundam, Brave series, Gurren Lagann, Ideon, Macross, Patlabor, Evangelion, etc. A lot of anime fans that grew up around that period loved the mecha genre and the genre helped the industry from crashing down in the early 90s.
Unfortunately, as time went on the mecha genre granted faded out to obscurity thanks to the rise of the isekai and ecchi genres in the 2010 ... era. It didn’t help that many of the popular mecha anime from the last decade weren’t that good or at the very least pale compare to the mecha animes from the 90s, 00s. Darling in the Franxx, Aldonah Zero fall into the bad category while SSSS Gridman and Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans fall into the decent but pale other mecha anime from the past category.
Excluding Gundam the Origin and Promare many of the great mecha anime were more on the obscure side such as Gundam Build Fighters (Season 1), Planet With, Gundam Unicorn, Little Battlers Experience Wars and my favourite of the bunch Shinkalion.
A show that I never expected to good due to its kid’s label ended up being one of my favourite animes as being one of the best animes I have seen from the last decade.
Shinkalion is at its core a celebration of the mecha genre. It homages every well-known mecha series out there from Gundam, Brave, Getter Robo and especially Evangelion, one of the most important anime ever made packed with the soundtrack and character appearances notably Shinji Ikari.
Shinkalion also features Vocaloid Hatsune Miku, who’s a recurring character in the show, as a full-fleshed pilot.
When the show is not homaging various mecha anime from the past it delivers and man what a plot this is.
The story of Shinkalion may not be the most original thing ever but, the execution and story structure are what makes it stand out.
Evolution is the key to Shinkalion’s successes. It starts as a simple monster of the week however as early as episode seven after the show establishes Hayato, Akita and Tsuraunki characters with their two-part introductory episodes the show break takes a spin of the monster of the week formula that we all use to seeing.
Sure the Kitoralsus still ditch out monster of the week objects to fight the heroes, but from episode seven onward will you discover they are strategic and well-calculated villains that analysis our heroes every move, so much so that will start to gain an upper hand in various fights causing our heroes to think before they act.
This alone really made the story engaging as I was always thrilled of what the Kitoralsus are going to do next. From reducing enemies numbers to summoning monsters that exploit various Shinkalions weaknesses the Kitoralsus are forced to be reckoned with. Speaking of Kitoralsus they are a fantastic group of villains.
Not only they are an engaging threat from beginning to end they are also well written. They may appear as your typical black and white kids villains but again as episode 7, they grow out of the black and white villain status to a point they come just as human as the heroes, despite their race.
When the show is not showcasing mecha fights the show spends its time at world-building and comedy and speaking of world-building. The world-building in Shinkalion is fantastic. If you want to learn about the Japan Railway System, and Japan lifestyle then you came to the right place. Though the 76 episodes run you will learn how trains operate in Japan, discovering different Japan city lifestyle that is different from Tokyo and certain places where people with certain interests would hang around.
The world in Shinkalion feels accurate and alive and that aspect really strengths the writing in the series.
On top of all that the show is simply self-aware of itself. Similar to Symphogear, Assassination Classroom and Martian Successor Nadesico the show pokes fun of its humour, for example, each character has a catchphrase that enhances the show self-awareness especially when certain characters would steal their owner character catchphrases.
Oh, the show is simply funny. Many of the humour that the characters ditch outflows thanks to great comedic timing and chemistry.
All of this was made possible by the show’s great pacing and writing. Toy/Card product shows tend to struggle in that aspect as their promoting Toys/Cards products rather than telling a meaningful story that kids can learn and while Shinkalion is certainly a toy product anime it has enough substance to make it stand out from its peers.
Shinkalion moves at a consistent smooth pacing nether feeling rushed or dragged. Every single episode has a purpose wherever for character development, world-building, or story advancement. Themes of bonding, friendship, humanity, and communication are beautifully executed in the series.
Shinkalion is a simple series that has focus. It doesn’t off rails just to meander to a certain target audience nor does it try to do something that is clearly not to a point it becomes incomprehensible gibberish. Shinkalion knows what it wants to do, and it achieves it with minimal hiccups.
The beautifully crafted story won’t be effective if the characters weren’t not up to par. Thankfully the characters were not only fun to watch but they were nicely written.
Let’s start with Hayato and man what a brilliant and lovable character he is.
From the first two episodes of the series, I knew that he was going to be a compelling, interesting, and fun protagonist to follow. I love his fighting determination as well as his nerdy passion towards trains to a point where his friends have to speak rail language just to get his attention.
Despite his rail obsession, Hayato is still human and character development and flaws showcase that from his naive drive that causes him to do reckless things at times, his fear of heights, to overall lack of psychical discipline, and he thankfully grows as a person through the influence from his friends that he encounters in the series that lead him to become a better leader.
Lastly, I love how he influences various characters in the series to become better people, and his hobby reflects that as the true reason why he loves trains so much is he wants to protect everyone’s dreams by people’s using the Shinkansen as transportation.
Hayato is the main component of Shinkalion successes and without him, the show wouldn’t be the same time. Easily my second favorite character in the show, as well is one of my favorite protagonists alongside Sana Kurata, Nagisa Shiota, Lelouch, Atsuko Kagari, Ciel Phantomive, Sena Arata and Iruma Suzuki.
I liked Akita more than I should. He could have easily been the most boring character in the due to his distant personally that contracts Hayato and Tsuraunki happy personalities respectively, but the show proved me wrong thanks at his great character development.
I also enjoyed his character growth throughout this series. He starts off a cold and less talkative individual, but he quickly starts to open up to others as the series progresses with the help of Hayato and the group. He’s has a catchphrase where he comments about where is the story is heading.
Finally, I found his chemistry towards the other characters especially Tsuranuki and Shinbou to be impeccable.
Tsuranuki is my favorite character in the series.
From the minute he appears in the show I knew, he was going to my favorite character in the show. Hayato and Akita are strong characters in their own right Tsuraunki won my heart. I love his hot-headed and humorous personality. He also has the most sympathetic background out of the main cast coming from a family of engineers.
What made him so special compared to the rest of the main cast for me is that his unpredictable mature. He’s still the hot-headed one of the team with his flashy catchphrase, but he’s more mature than his usual archetype. He doesn’t have a massive hot-headed egao nor does he think his superior to the other drivers. His a passionate friendly person who respects his friend’s strengths and weakness.
He also a good exposer and roaster.
Lastly, I adore his development as well as character chemistry towards the cast, especially to the Red, and Blue oni dynamic with Akita. They play off each other with their contrasting personalities to a point where they grew to respect each other as teammates and friends.
His character development about the value of being a kid instead of jumping to become an adult was fascinating to watch as thanks to Hayato and his friend’s we see him enjoying the kid’s life as he rarely got to experience it since the passing of his dad.
I’m honestly shocked by how much I liked Shinbou. I thought he would be the generic ninja kid character of the show, but I was shocked by how the show handled him as well his development.
He starts off a skilled but quiet individual who rather work on their own but as the series progresses thanks to Akita and his peers he dramatically comes off from his shell becomes more talkative to his fellow peers.
He’s increased screen time in the third fifths in the show is also a reflection to as he hardly presences for the slice of life bits in the first two-fifths of the show.
Sadly I cannot talk about Sieryu without going into massive spoilers, but I can say he’s a wonderful character that receives the one of the best character development in the series, and I liked his interactions towards the cast.
I also liked the other Shinkalion pilots. Sure, they aren’t as focused compared to the main four excluding Rei and especially Ryūji (My third favorite character in the show) who are just as well-developed as the main five but I still found the other Shinkalion pliots to be entertaining and likeable.
When I first lead my eyes on Azusa, I thought she would be a useless character, but she ended up being one of the fun characters in the show. Even though she’s not a pilot, she provides great support, humour and chemistry towards the main pilots.
The beauty of Shinkalion cast is they are human. Scriptwriter Kento Shimoyama has a clear understanding of how kids would behave and act in real life. They are not just a bunch loud kids who aimlessly worship the same hobby being mindless railgeeks just marking greed.
Each kid has their own goal and ideals that they want to achieve in life and all the hobby that the kids have all tied to key elements in real life such as creating, surviving and discovering. It had been a long time since I watched a kid’s anime that feature characters that resemble human beings.
Granted the whole kid’s characters resembling human beings thing has been before such as Cardfight Vanguard Season 1 and Digimon Tamers but the since then the majority directors that worked on kids anime have frankly played it too safe to a point where characters from their respective series feel like husks that only exist promote a certain toy/deck with no soul nor passion. Shinkalion doesn’t fall to those traps as the characters in Shinkalion are not only fun to watch but there were very well written.
For a kid’s series that came out in 2018, I found the visuals to be polished. It may not be on par with stuff like Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, March Comes in Like a Lion and Land Of The Lustrous, but it’s still one of the better-looking anime I have seen from the decade, especially for kids show when they usually have average production values.
Character designs are distinctive from each other. The background scenery was well detailed due to the bright and smooth color palette and the actual animation is competent for what it is.
The mechanical designs are beautifully designed. Each of them has their strength, weakness and gimmicks that make them distinctive from each other.
For example, E5 Hayabusa is a balance type that can combine with various Shinkalion, E6 Komachi is a range type, E7 Kagayaki is a power type, E3 Tsubasa is the Speed type, N700A Nozomi is the close combat type, 800 Tsubame is the flight type, etc.
My favourite’s mecha designs are the E5 MK II, Black Shinkalion especially its berserk mode form, E7 923 Doctor Yellow and N700A Nazomi.
The stunning mecha designs were only better by the show’s good use of CGI. It fits well with the traditional animation. The CGI is smooth, nicely drawn, crisp and it rarely felt out of place with the 2D animation. Excluding the stable super robot transformation sequences as well as the finishing moves at times the anime doesn’t have much stock footage used.
The soundtrack by Toshiyuki Watanabe is nothing short of outstanding. The soundtrack features a strong mix of upbeat, bright, sci-fi and orchestra tracks that fit the tone of the anime.
Opening theme Evolution Theory is an upbeat catchy song that perfectly captures the spirit of the show.
Shinkalion has 5 ending themes and all of them were fantastic in their right. My favorite ending of the bunch is Go Way by SILENT SIREN due to lighthearted and upbeat the song is.
Voice acting is strong all across the board. Every Seiyuus did a fantastic capturing the spirit of their respective characters with strong line delivery.
The best performance goes to Ayane Sakura as Hayato who also voiced Ochako from My Hero Academia, Nero from Black Clover, Tsubaki from Your Lie in April, and Yuzuki from Selector Wixoss. She perfectly nails the dorky railfan Hayato.
Rie Murakawa, who beautifully portrayed the highly spirited Tsuraunki who also voiced Ram from Re: Zero, Anzu from Hinamatsuri and Constanze from Little Witch Academia.
Kei Shindou perfectly captures the ambitious Seriyuu who also voiced Ranma from Buddyfight Ace, Kyouka Jirou from My Hero Academia and Wang Liu Mei from Gundam 00.
Ryota Osaka superbly disciplined Ryuji who also voiced Sena Arata from Little Battlers Experience Wars and Ikki Kurogane from Chivalry of the Failed Knight.
There’s currently no English dub for this show, but I am perfectly fine with the show not having a dub in this case, as this is one of the shows that wouldn’t work in English without completely butchering it.
“No one who loves Shinkalion could be a bad person!”
Shinkalion is the end product of passion and ambition.
It is a series that knew wanted to be and never abandoned its objective in favor of dumb pandering.
Shinkalion is also one of those series that made an impact of me on how I view anime as a whole.
Every single episode of Shinkalion has a purpose whatever it’s for characterization, story development, and world-building.
I’ve learned the Japanese Natation Railway System as the people who live in cities that operate the system.
It is a series that can be enjoyed for both kids and adults due to how simple and well written it is.
Shinkalion is a series from beginning to end that made me laugh, cry and smile, and all of this was made possible due to the staff having ambition and passion of making a series that is worth something.
With that said anime studios please, take notes. This is how you make a good modern mecha anime.
Not that corporate greed nor that power fantasy crap. This how it’s done and I hope future mecha/kid’s anime will follow on Shinkalion’s footsteps.
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Apr 7, 2021
Its save to say the second half of the 2010s Shounen Jump has been dishing out a huge chunk of franchises into anime pleasing a lot of fans of the source material in the progress. Naturally, the adaptations are varied in quality it was nice to see some of the beloved series adapted. In 2019 we got Demon Slayer, Dr Stone and The Promised Neverland in addition to My Hero Academia 4 and Black Clover 2 season. Out of the three new shounen jump series that premised in 2019 Dr Stone is the best of the bunch. It may not the visuals flare of Demon ... Slayer or have the strong psychology mind games of Neverland but Dr Stone makes up it for having a well-thought-out character cast, tight world-building and smart human vs nature social commentary.
Immediately I was impressed by how not action-heavy the anime as it primarily focuses on world-building and characterization over instead of fights. We see Senku and the cast interact with the post-apocalyptic finding and crafting material in order of them to survive and invent. This is not to say it has no action there’s plenty of action scenes every now and then (mini-tournament arc in the middle) but the action is reserved when the story calls for it. There’s no action for the sake of action. I wish more Shonen Jump series would do this more often.
Dr Stone also provides interesting social commentary about humans vs nature where how the people that been free from petrifaction comment on how they would take advantage of the post-apocalyptic setting. People like Senku try to restore civilization, the village people trying to build a community town to Tsukasa using the setting as a weapon to achieve he’s a harsh but understandable goal.
To top it all off the pacing and writing is for the most part fantastic. It moves at a smooth pace that keeps the viewer interested of what is going on, and the script is top-notch with little holes.
The characters minus two unfortunate expectations were superb and entertaining to watch.
Senku is the true star of the anime. He’s the character that stitches everything together. He’s a cynical and self-egotist person that wants to restore civilization.
Despite his jerk moments at times, he actually cared towards people around him like he doesn’t force people to take part his experiments as priorities the safety of his friends rather than them die due to a failed experiment.
I also appreciate how he has flaws for example he’s physically weak meaning he cannot fight let alone take too many hits. Rather than cheese out his flaws through random powerups, he has to gains the trust of people that will eventually cover up his physical weakness.
Lastly, I love how creative he is. He treats the whole prehistoric setting as a science playground as he gathers material for his inventions. I always get excited whenever Senku creates an object as it show’s that anything is possible even with the harshest setting.
Senku is a cool and well thought out character.
I also loved the characters from the village that Senku stays with. They are all fun, likeable and interesting to follow. Special highlights go to Kohaku for being a tough female warrior. Chrome for being the closest thing to a scientist in their village, He even becomes Senku appearance later on. Kinro for being a better and more realised version of a certain character that I will talk about soon. He’s the stoic guard of the village that has vision problems that limit his fight ability. He, later on, receives a mask that lets him fight at his full potential.
Sadly this intriguingly scientific ride is not perfect.
For starters, the first 6 episodes are not as good as the other episodes that followed. This is due to the show around that point has Taiju as the protagonist and to be bluntly he sucks. He’s loud, underdeveloped, annoying and not funny at all, He has a story arc where he wants to save the girl that he loves and is boring as you expect.
I have been told he gets much better in the manga but, the man did he leave a weak first impression.
Yuzuriha isn’t much better as she’s boring as hell and has no personality to speak off. She feels like a plot device rather than an actual character.
Throughout that portion of the story, I thought the series would become another Demon Slayer it had a cool premise, but annoying side characters. I love the Senku character, but could we get rid of these two annoying potatoes already. Well as lucky happen that what actually happened. After a certain conflict between Tsukasa and Senku. Taiji and Yuzuriha get kicked out of a story for the rest of the season as the rest of the season focus on Senku trying to win over the village and the show greatly improves in quality due to this.
What saved the first 6 episodes was the villain Tsukasa. He just a well-done and interesting character from the beginning. He’s the perfect foil for Senku as he’s only saving the young, weak and promising people ideals confit with Senku saving everyone. Meaning he would purge all the adults from the young and weak. I wish we got to see more of him as he’s one of the better characters in the show.
The only other issue I had with Dr Stone was the comedy. To its credit, Dr Stone is generally funny and well-executed but I felt the show overdid too much where it became distracting.
Regardless of its faults, Dr Stone plot and characters were excellent.
Dr Stone visually is a beautiful looking series that is filled with so much life and detail. From the smooth animation, fascinating cinematography, stunning background scenery to the unique character designs Dr Stone has it all.
I feel like TMS in recent years has ramped up their production values with their works first Fruits Basket 2019 and Dr Stone. Hopefully, TMS will stick to that visuals memo in the near future.
Dr Stone soundtrack is fantastic to the ears. Phenomenal music composer Tatsuya Katou (Food Wars, Ensemble Stars, Horizon On The Middle Of Nowhere, Revue Starlight) delivers a believable musical score that fits the pre-histrionic tone of the series.
All the opening and endings were catchy fanatic to listen in their own ways.
Dr Stone English Dub is one of the best English dubs that Funimation has ever put out.
This is Assassination Classroom and Fruits Basket 2019 levels so great filled with rich and passionate acting, and outstanding fateful dub script.
At the end of the Dr Stone a fun and intriguing ride of a series that I enjoyed a lot. It would have been another throwaway shounen project that tried hard to be smart but what instead is a clever, informative and relaxing show that greatly respects its viewer. It’s a breath of fresh air compare to your usual shounen outings like Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia and Black Clover and I hope we get more shounen jump series like this in the near future.
I hope Dr Stone Season 2 Stone Wars will still keep the charm and magic that made Dr Stone so special.
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Apr 7, 2021
One of the most difficult phases for any person to go through. It’s naturally made difficult due to the varied teachers out there that all have various ways of teaching students. Unlike the student’s teachers have the powers to command students to do whatever tasks that the teacher tells them to do.
In our world, there are two types of teachers. Good teachers and bad teachers.
Bad teachers usually don’t care about the class future as they usually only do it so fill in their bank account. They can also be downright bad people who abuse their students.
Good teachers, on the other hand, always care about ... their student’s future and they would go the extra mile to support them.
Assassination Classroom perfectly reminds us that are good teacher’s out there who are willing to give it their all just so everyone in the class had a future.
First published in 2012 Assassination Classroom by Shounen Jump by author Yuusei Matsui the series has gained a lot of popularity for its charming characters, very good sense humour and numerous life lessons. In 2015 I discovered the Assassination Classroom Anime by with the now mediocre crossover arena brawler called J Stars Victory at MCM London Con where Koro Sensei was a playable character.
After playing it, I decided to check out the anime itself and while I thought it good show it never clicked on a personal level like many people. It was until when I started buying the DVDs (later on the Blu-Rays) I started to love the series to a point where became one of my favorite animes and it’s still is to this day.
At face value, Assassination Classroom appears to be your typical comedy + killing stunt of the week show where each character would have a shot of killing Korosensei in creative ways but, the anime quickly becomes much more. Assassination Classroom is a coming of age tale, and it’s one of the best ones I’ve along with March Comes in Like a Lion, Kodocha, Marmalade Boy, Nana and Yu Yu Hakusho. The students of Class 3E all come from dark and problematic backgrounds which caused them to be in Class 3E the lowest of the low of academics. These ranges from bullying, poverty, discrimination, low grades, social anxiety, to even developing personal egos. Due to these characters in Class 3E have lost the confidence that they need for the future. Assassination Classroom spends the majority of it’s run developing its cast, so they come out of their shell and it does it perfectly.
One of Assassination Classroom’s biggest strengths is how well focus it was. The anime know what it wanted to be from beginning to end, it didn’t have shamelessly meander its writing just so it can appeal to the lowest common denominator and most importantly Assassination Classroom was proud to tell its story. It’s frankly upsetting that recent jump series My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer and to less extent Black Clover often have ADHD when it comes to focusing as their spend their time delivering sakuga and cringey jokes just to mindless distract the viewers rather than tell a story.
Another strong aspect of Assassination Classroom were its themes. It delivers into serious themes and topics of poverty, loneliness, bullying, gender discrimination, pride, trust, revenge, redemption and most important life in this showcase. Once again Assassination Classroom perfectly executes these themes thanks to great writing and viewer trust. The show didn’t include some of these sensitive themes just for cheap shock value the show included them because they had a purpose to the setting and narratively. From Karma’s trust issues with adults to Nagisa’s gender discrimination caused by his mother, Assassination Classroom managed to make these sensitive topics feel real. To this day I still get the chills by watching Assassination Classroom.
Of course, Assassination Classroom balances its serious tone with its comedy, and Assassination Classroom is the creme of shounen comedy. Sure other shounen jump anime like Hunter x Hunter (until the chimera ant arc where it becomes dead serious) Rurouni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, Haikyuu, World Trigger and Food Wars have provided strong comedy filled with excellent humour and comedic time but Assassination Classroom is on a whole level when it comes to comedy to me. The humour lands, character interactions during and after these comedic scenes feel natural, it has a brilliant understanding of comedic timing and most of all the Assassination Classroom knows how to balance its serious and comedy tones respectively. Seriously My Hero Academia and Black Clover take notes this is how you do comedy. Having you cast mindlessly scream to having a character hamfist the unfunny gag is not comedy. It’s just mindless noise and it’s just padding the runtime.
My favourite arc in the series was the Civil War arc in season two Despite the arc only having two episodes the arc was super intriguing to watch due to how retable Nagisa and Karma ideals for Korosensei fate were and having these ideals clash without through the two-episode run made the arc more intense. The best part about the arc is how grey it was. Karma and anyone that joined the red team are not going against Nagisa team and the Korosensei there are doing it for respect and they feel like the whole save plan will more likely fail due to time and lack of resources to make it happen. Outside of that, the arc was just a blast to watch especially with Nagisa and Karma’s strong chemistry going on.
Other noticeable arcs include the Summer Island arc which perfectly characterizes Nagisa’s characters as well-foreshadowing his future for later arcs, the Final Exams arc which masterfully concludes the Karma and Asano School rivalry as well characterizing Karma and the Daycare arc which provided the series core messages that you can rise up from your failures.
Speaking of messages the entire series itself is a life lesson. It pulls off these inspiring messages such as Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard, Life is about balance, growing from your mistakes, Anything can be your blade as long you Polish it enough and I could go on.
Couple that with excellent story arcs and strong writing as well-one of the best endings to a series in recent memory got yourself one of the most influential anime stories ever made.
Masterful job Yūsei Matsui.
Assassination Classroom’s biggest strength is without question its characters. It has a large character cast yet the anime managed to make to them memorable and fun even if some characters got more screentime than others.
KoroSensei is one of the most influential characters I’ve ever seen. He’s funny, very trusting, and he packed with so much charisma. He could have been a total Gary Sue that is perfect at everything but he isn’t. He had a lot of personality flaws that prevent him from bringing a great person. Nevertheless, he receives a good amount of character development and his backstory that lead him to become a teacher. Koro-Sensei is the ultimate teacher/father of the cast and that’s why I adore him as a character from beginning to end.
Nagisa is my favorite character in the series as well as one of my favorite characters in anime.
From the first episode alone I know I was going to love him as a character. To begin with his way different from your typical shounen jump protagonist by both personally and appearance. He defies most logical shounen protagonist dreams like becoming a Hokage, becoming the world’s greatest hero, the wizard king to simple revenge for a loved one. For the majority of the series, Nagisa doesn’t know what he wants to do for his future. This alone really made Nagisa such a relatable character to follow as it reflects on high school student mentally in this day and age.
So many options so many opportunities yet he still doesn’t know what he wants to do in life.
He lacks the confidence and motivation to do it The same thing can be said for his appearance. He’s not muscular or generic-looking he’s a petite-framed boy with a feminine face. As I just described, he gets dragged into the trap category of male characters where they often as mistaken as female due to their appearance. Hideyoshi (Baka and Test), Ruri (Gatchaman Crowds) Saika (My Teen Romantic Snafu), Chiori (Dangaonropa), and Astolfo (Fate) fall into the trap category.
Assassination Classroom nails the trap concept perfectly as it’s not just used for a gag for the show it’s a stable of Nagisa character showcasing his insecurities and struggles to stand out from his peers.
Everything that said thus far ties up to Nagisa’s outstanding character development. He goes from a timid boy that has no idea what he wants to do in life due to his deep insecurities blocking his progress to someone who’s confident and determined about his future. Coming off his shell in the progress.
Furthermore, he also manages to avoid the pitfalls that plagued shounen protagonists before and since. For example, he doesn’t steal characters arcs he just lets his peers handle their issues. This is perfectly showcased in the Karma vs Asano exam rivalry where never at one point in the series interferes with their rivalry by suddenly beating Asano with the highliest grade of that subject just to avenge Karma. He just gives them space, so they can develop naturally instead of stealing the spotlight because he’s the main character.
In a sea of typical Shounen, Jump protagonists Nagisa Shiota stand out as fascinating and unpredictable protagonist.
Now, we have Karma, and he’s just as brilliant as Nagisa. He’s the polar opposite to Nagisa in every way possible from personality to fighting abilities. I adored his character development in the series. He goes from being a narcissistic individual that knows it all to someone who stands on equal ground with his friends/opponents and respects his failures. His chemistry Nagisa was nothing short of amazing as their complement and bounce each other well.
I was impressed with how the show handled Kadane I thought she would be another token female character that solely exists to blush on the male lead, but I was proven wrong. Without going into heavy spoilers, I adore her plot involvement especially later on as well her characters. She was truly a took me off guard the most in the series and for that alone as well as her hilarious antics she’s one of my favorite characters in the series.
This would have been another Naruto and My Hero Academia character management issue where a handful of characters got development while the rest did nothing. Thankfully this show took the Hunter x Hunter/Black Clover approach where even some of the least focused characters get their time to shine. This is helped by the characters are distinctive for each other and while some are more typical than others they still feel like characters rather than empty background characters.
Noteworthy characters in Class 3E include Manami, Terasaka along with his group, Tomohito, Rio, and Itona.
There are also other characters like Tadaomi, Irina, and the Asano family, and they were a joy to watch especially Gakushu Asano due to his amazing rivalry with Karma in the academic fields.
Studio Lerche did a phenomenal job of bringing Yūsei Matsui’s art style to life. Throughout the 47 episodes run Lerche managed to keep the art and animation consistent with very minimal hiccups. Character designs were distinctive and appealing to look at. My favourite being Nagisa, Karma, Okuda and Itona.
Furthermore, the show is visually well-directed as it was able to set the appropriate colour and contrast for each scene where it’s light-hearted or more dramatic.
This is Lerche at their best, and I don’t it can be ever be topped.
The soundtrack of Assassination Classroom is absolutely fantastic. Naoki Sato perfectly diverse score of cheerful, dramatic electronic, upbeat, and a bit of jazz musical pieces that fits the tone of the series.
This is without a question my second favorite soundtrack I’ve ever heard in a shounen only losing to Hunter x Hunter 2011.
The opening and ending of Assassination Classroom are nothing short of amazing. Not only there were super memorable and catchy they also have a lot of visual substance behind it as each of them feature visuals that highlight the events of every arc in the series in good detail. My favourites being opening four Bye Bye Yesterday and ending 1 Hello Shooting Star.
Assassination Classroom’s Funimation English Dub was a perfectly executed experiment.
Despite being one of their first simi-dubs this is still their best simi-dub they have ever produced. Not only that but this dub is still to this day one of the best dubs in their entire dub catalogue.
You can tell the level of sweat, determination and effort towards this dub as everything from the line delivery, voice acting, script, audio quality reeks of perfection.
Best performances go to Austin Tindle as Karma, Micah Solusod as Asano, Jerry Jewell as Isogai, Lindsay Seidel as Nagisa and Sonny Strait as Korosensei. Amazing voice works you guys.
This is not to say that the original Japanese audio is inferior. I loved the amazingly talented Seiyuus did an excellent job of voicing their characters but, the English Dub just delivered a bit more than the sub.
It’s very rare where I get super attached to a fictional story yet Assassination Classroom is one of the few animes that made me feel so emotional. It has a fantastic well-written story that contains some of the best-executed themes and messages I’ve ever encountered in any fictional work. I adored how interesting, charming and well-written the cast was especially Nagisa and Karma. Superb Production values, well-composed music and one of the best English Dubs I’ve seen in anime.
Assassination Classroom is still not only one of the best shounen animes I have ever seen but it’s also in my top 5 favorite anime series of all time.
It’s truly a remarkable anime that no one should miss.
Thank you, Lerche and Yūsei Matsui for making this shounen timeless classic a thing.
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Mar 8, 2021
There was a time when I consider the rom-com genre to be underwhelming. For a long while, I use to dislike the genre mainly because found the majority of rom-com anime to underwhelming. Many of the rom-com anime that I’ve watched back then barely had any real romance or at the very least had good character chemistry with each other.
My negative mindset was left intact until I watched His and Hers Circumstances (Kare Kano) for the first time back in 20114 His and Hers Circumstances was not only the rom-com anime that made like romcom anime again but also the first anime that I ever ... reviewed. It had fantastically written characters that all had the purpose of in the plot, the story was well-paced, interesting and entertaining that fully delivered it’s romance aspects. I loved the experimental animation that was used to cover up the obvious low budget and I adored the 1960s style soundtrack.
It was a fantastic anime that I love, and I held it in high regard. However, that was 2015 it’s now 2020 and I’ve seen a lot more romcom anime since my first watch of it.
Some of them were better than others but finally understood the appeal of the rom-com genre. Naturally, I decided to revisit His and Hers Circumstances just to see if I still hold on high regard and it ultimately did.
Right, out of the first scene, the series gives a very strong first impression of our female lead Yukino trying her best to keep her image intact around her classmates by being this perfect high school student. However, while Yukino is being this perfectly high school girl some of her peers and family comment that how she’s not being her self. I liked the commentary because not only it makes the setting feels more alive but it also plays with the show’s themes and narrative which I will talk about in a bit.
The social commentary really gets stronger as the series progresses through the first half as thanks to the student gossiping confits and confits keep appearing on the path of the leads. Stuff like one teacher having a strong disagreeing with Yukino and Arima dating during school life, the whole class ignoring Yukino’s after finding she’s a fake idol to a love foil that wants to grab Yukino away from Arima. It makes the school setting of His and Hers Circumstances feels alive That’s not all to this show. The comedy is brilliant and well-directed thanks to the show’s understanding of comedic timing.
Every single joke that the anime ditches out perfectly land due to this show’s specular comedic writing. Hardly any joke feels dry or hamfisted to the viewer and comedy has a unique visual direction that made it stand out from most anime of that era. It feels like am watching an old school cartoon straight out from Boomerang.
I feel this series and Kodocha has inspired Kaguya Sama Love is War when it comes to comedic timing. For the most part, His and Hers Circumaces is a beautiful narrative experience that has focus.
Pacing (excluding the final two episodes and recaps) is very good as the show moved at a steady focus pace with little hiccups. Writing quality ranges from great to near perfection especially in the first.
The romance elements in the show were excellent as the main couple keeps on development their love beyond just a kiss status.
My favourite episode 11 His and Hers Circumstances happens in episodes 11.
Despite being a simple episode on paper the episode perfectly captures Yukino’s character growth as well the themes of friendship and making up from their past mistakes.
Since this show was directed by Hidekai Anno the same guy that did Nadia and Evangelion you will naturally expect the same themes of not running away and over your problems to be present and while all the themes from Evangelion were present here I feel the themes were better executed here. I felt the themes had a better sense of direction as it didn’t feel as hamfisted compare to Evangelion.
This is not that to say that the thematic execution in Evangelion was bad or anything in facts the thematic execution of Evangelion was brilliant and iconic but I felt like His and Hers Circumstances perfected it. Not only that but the expended them into newer heights that Anno couldn’t achieve in Evangelion. Relating to a person’s flaws and completing each other is the central theme of His and Hers Circumstances. From the couples Yukino and Arima to the friendly duos Yukino and Maho, Arima and Hideaki.
What made His and Hers Circumstances truly stand from other rom-com before and ever since is that the main couple engage with sexual intercourse and it’s not hamfisted or anything of the sort it felt with general love. These two have come a long way since their first encounter and seeing them grow so much to a point where they got to do the act was truly satisfying. His and Hers Circumstances basically broke the whole kiss equals love and nothing else barrier.
Having the main couple kiss is good and all but I wanted to see the main couple development go beyond a kiss and this is what His and Hers Circumstances and a couple of 90s anime rom-com did.
It honestly makes up all the issues that I had with the series which I will talk about now.
For a 26 episode series, it spends a good amount of time recapping various events that we see already. It wasn’t that bad in the beginning but it becomes more apparent once you enter the second half especially when the show ran out of budget. Speaking of the second half the ending was unsatisfying.
The series just ends leaving various plot threads in the final third open. Not helped by the fact that the mangaka of the series was fed up with Anno for making a series a comedy instead of a serious character drama that the manga was.
Yukino could have been easily another generic rom-com heroine where all she does is being dense for the sake of drama. She’s a very realistic and compelling character that grows a lot in the series. The one thing that made Yukino stand out from most romcom leads before is that she’s capable of solving their problems without relying on men. One of my biggest pet peeve of the Shoujo/Romcom genre is that the female heroines more often rely on men to solve their problems. Sure that are expectations like Haruhi, Sana, and to a less extent Misaki but most heroines seemed to rely on men to solve their problems. This alone really breaks the viewer’s emersion as the female lead stops resembling a people as the author starts to use the heroine as a tool for their fantasy.
This doesn’t happen with Yukino at all, and it’s perfectly showcased in episode 10 where not only she shut down two of her foils that were screwing around with her new unmasked honest school life she also told Arima and the teacher to stand down and allow herself to handle the problem.
This are the stuff I want to see in heroine’s being able to stand up for themself without relying on people. Combined with an adorable personality as hilarious character interactions towards the cast and you got yourself one of the best romcom heroines’s ever made.
Arima is one of the most intriguing romcom males I’ve seen. From the minute he started interacting with Yukino to his dark past I knew he was going to an interesting character.
That’s all I have to say about Arima without going into heavy spoilers and I don’t want to do that since you should experience his character arc for yourselves but all I can say that’s he’s a fantastically written character that develops beautifully.
Maho is a character that had grown on me. When I first watched it I didn’t care for her all that as but as I re-watch this series I started liking her to a point where my second favorite character in the series outside of Yukino. She’s the perfect foil and later on a friend of Yukino.
Maho and Yukino bounce each other flawlessly.
Tsubasa is also another character that I really enjoyed. She’s filled with personality, loved her two-episode arc in the show that tackles the subject of family issues and she was just a joy to watch especially when she makes funny faces.
One other thing that makes His and Hers Circumstances from modern romcoms especially in recent memory is the inclusion of family’s. That’s right the characters in this series have families and there are well-established ones on top of that. From Yukino’s chaotic family to Arima’s cautious family the series feels once again alive. On top of being fascinating characters in their own right they also the centre couple grow and I like their respective parents get along with each other despite them coming from different social backgrounds. The only other two rom-com that I have seen that especially the families of the protagonists is Marmalade Boy and Kodocha. I wish the family element of romcoms would make a return someday because some of these recent romcoms lead need family support.
The rest of the characters range from good to great overall as their all aid the main two couple growth in the series.
His and Her Circumstances was produced by Gainax. The same studio that gave us the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann as well other lesser-known works like Nadia The Secret Of Blue Water, Medaka Box and Mahromatic.
It was also done by J.C staff who also gave us Toradora, Slayers, Raildex and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Compared to Ganiax previous work Evangelion His and Hers Circumstances didn’t have a good of a budget, to begin with.
This is not to say is visually bad tho. Some of the scenes especially the first couple of episodes featured some great looking scenes that are on par with other anime in the 90s. It just that theses not as visually appealing compared to the other anime 90s let alone other anime from Gainax before and after His and Her Circumstances.
Despite its low budgets, His and Hers Circumstances has one thing that most animes from 90s lack and that’s direction. Hideaki Anno is a master of handing low budgets and His and Hers Circumstances is no exception. I really adored how visually creative can be from it’s over the top character expressions, the use of live-action footage, the paper cutouts to the various experimental animation which give the series is unique visual flare despite being low budget.
The soundtrack was done by the talented Shirou Sagisu the same person who did the soundtracks for Bleach, Kimgure Orange Road and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Needless to say, the soundtrack of His and Hers Circumstances is excellent filled with classical, upbeat, old school, piano 1960s style tracks that enhance the tone of the series. Both the opening and ending themes are memorable and catchy.
This may come off as an unpopular opinion to many, but I really adored the Engish Dub for it. Sure the dub is cheesy and showed its age, but I feel it fits the series perfectly. You can tell the dub actors have a blast voicing their characters.
Best performances go to Carol Jacobanis as Maho, Lisa Ortiz as Tsubasa and Veronica Taylor as Yukino.
It has been over seven years since my first watch of His and Her Circumstances and after re-watching it for the fourth time I can that this show is still just as brilliant as I remembered. The story was a very enraging and well put together romcom tale that had me at the edge of the seat (minus the crappy recap episodes) The characters were very likeable and masterfully written. The visuals despite its low budget were mostly fascinating to watch due to the superb direction by Anno and the animation staff. The soundtrack done by talented Shirou Sagisu was astonishing.
His and Hers Circumstances is not only one of my favourite anime romcoms period it’s also the best anime I have seen from Studio Gainax. Yes, I prefer it over Evangelion, despite it also one of my favourites series. Everything that did EVA was executed better here. From the character drama, experimental animation, the soundtrack to the overall direction.
I am glad that the series has gained a strong following over the years, despite the author and some manga readers despising the anime. Sure the anime may not be as dramatic heavy as the manga but I feel the anime has what the manga lacks and that’s determination.
The anime knew that it was willing to be an incomplete adaptation. It knew that it was going to be various budget restraints by Gainax, It knew that was going to get robbed away from but despite all that, the show never gave up and we end up getting one of the best rom-com ever made.
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Mar 8, 2021
I had a blast watching Prison School. It was a rare ecchi series that not only was funny for the most part due to the writer’s having a great understanding of comedy it also presents a well-written story and characters. Does the anime hold up its ultimately just another throwaway ecchi anime?
The thing you will notice about Shimoneta immediately how explicitly sexualised the series is. From the very first episode to the climax Shimoneta dishes out a lot of sexual content from sexual references, bizarre fetishes to crude humour. Light comedy stuff as you expect however, as you watch the series you will find ... out it goes beyond being a light-hearted comedy which leads up the main theme of Shimoneta censorship.
We rarely get to see ecchi anime tackles a sensitive topic like this and Shimoneta does it very well.
It perfectly showcases the effects of censorship in both a positive and negative light. On paper, censorship is a great thing to have as people get to live purely however in Shimoenta’s case it has gone too far to a point where you have a generation of people who are clueless about sex. Sex is nothing to be ashamed of as it’s a part of life that we humans cannot avoid.
It’s about finding the person that you love and after spending time with each other long enough the couple get eventually to have sex where they get to feel each other’s pleasure which can potentially produce a baby that can repeat the same human life cycle for centres to come. In Shimoneta’s world, people cannot engage with sex let alone do any sexual activities therefore couples in Shimoneta’s world feel incomplete.
This is a rather dark subject that I was amazed that Shimoneta can pull up and while Shimoneta is for the long run a light-hearted comedy it knows to take itself seriously where doesn’t feel forced.
As I stated before Shimoenta is a light-hearted comedy and like Prison School, it’s actually funny. The show has a brilliant sense of humour, the jokes never overstayed their welcome and I loved how the anime visual presented its humour.
One of the funniest pieces of comedy I found was one of the main characters Kosuri has a back hair that resembles a penis and the anime took advantage of her design for humour, I won’t tell you what type of humour it is as I don’t want this review to become uncomfortable for readers but all I can say it’s hilariously clever.
There’s also Ayane curing with using her smartphone that enables her to use curse words for a very short amount of time and its pure gold especially how it’s time. My favorite is when she rolls on the floor with her cellphone while cursing her lungs out.
There's also more humour like that in the show but, I feel like you experience the rest for yourselves.
The characters of Shimoneta can be best described as fun and while some are clearly better and memorable than others Shimoneta was still able to an entraining cast of characters.
Our protagonist Tanukichi sadly more of the typical side. He isn’t a bad character by means (in fact I take Tanukichi over any ecchi anime lead) but he clearly gets overshadowed by other characters in both memorability and substance. To his credit, he does have some good moments, and he has a brilliant character dynamic with Ayame but, it doesn’t fully save him from being one of the least memorable characters in the show and that’s a shame.
Next, we have the best character in Shimoneta Ayame aka Blue Snow
She’s has a crazy personality that often ditches out a dirty joke at every turn. She’s driving force of Shimoneta’s and without her presence, the show wouldn’t be as funny. Also, despite her crazy personally, she’s very retable. She’s has a strong sense of dictation to bring down this unfair system that’s ruining people relationships, and I feel her struggle.
Then we have the sexual artist loli Otoami who loves drawing dirty pictures using her mouth as her arms have PMS in them which causes them to go off if she draws sexual stuff.
We have the scientist named Hyouka who’s curious about human reproduction.
Then we have Kosuri who’s a fangirl of S.O.Xs and becomes a member use to her hair resembles as a penis.
You may be wondering why I didn’t go in-depth about these three characters well that’s because they are primarily gag characters and lucky they are funny. Their humour spices up Shimoneta to a tea.
Lastly, we have the most controversial character in the show Anna Nishikinomiya. I liked Anna l liked how the show handled her from beginning to end. She’s a pure girl that is immune to dirty thoughts but after the incident with Tanukichi she develops a yandere ego where she wants to get a taste of Tanukichi’s “Love Nectar” (Yes that’s her catchphrase in the show.) I clearly understand why people are not a fan of Anna and I do agree with their criticism but, Anna is one of the main things that made Shimoneta so memorable.
The scenes that she appears in that state rarely get old and her interactions towards her cast are Prison School levels of brilliance. The funny thing is that I hate Yandere’s with a passion yet, Anna is one of the few Yandere’s that I liked let alone tolerate as not only she’s actually funny despite the weirdness it, also has substance to the grander narrative of the series as it perfectly highlights the dangers of censorship
The side characters are about the same as Tanukichi. Enjoyable characters in their own right but not memorable.
Shimoneta visuals is what I can label as excellent. It may not be striking as Prison School but it’s still one of J.C staff better-looking anime from the past 5 years and that’s saying a lot as until Railgun T most J.C staff productions were significantly lower quality in the visual department.
Characters designs were splendid to look at, background scenery while basic fits well the world of Shimoneta and the animation is consistent.
That’s all I have to say about Shimoneta’s visuals as it gets the job down bring this series to live.
Shimoneta soundtrack is decent nothing remarkable. It competently suits the anime tone, but it’s not a soundtrack I will remember aside of a few tracks.
Opening and ending themes are on the other hand were catchy and memorable.
Plus opening theme has this super sentai vibe going for it.
Funimation delivers an excellent English dub that is filled with talent and effort. It also suppresses the already strong original Japanese audio due to fantastic line delivery and overall acting (R.I.P Anna’s Seiyuu) You can tell that the actors have a blast doing this dub.
Best performances go to Jamie Marchi as Ayame, Brittney Karbowski as Otome and Monica Rial as Anna.
Even though I adored Shimoenta, I don’t think it’s a masterpiece. Tanukichi is a rather weak lead compare to Ayame and I consider the writing to be a tad lower quality compared to Prison School but is it a great ecchi show.
It’s truly a pleasant experience compared to other ecchi anime before and since. Shimoneta as well as Prison School proved that it can be an over the top ecchi comedy well having to present a well-written story that has meaning.
In a world where crappy and empty ecchi anime exist, I’m glad that Shimoneta was able to exist where it hasn’t.
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Mar 8, 2021
If, there was an anime genre that I can label as wasted potential is would be ecchi genre. Despite the genre itself having 758 animes including squeals only a handful of them are actually good or at least competent. The reason why I say this is that the majority of ecchi anime tend no purpose other than to meander to the lowest common denominator of anime fans. They love to showcase numerous sexual shots yet the show’s don’t have anything to say.
Look am not expecting every ecchi series to be Evangelion or other cynical series out there but there should be a fine line between ... fun and goofy ecchi to the hamfisted ecchi. High School DXD, Testament Of Sister Devil and To Love Ru Darkness are solid examples of how to be fun and goofy ecchi anime
Granted not all of them were necessarily good but their least hey had character and charm which I cannot say the same thing for shows like Maken Ai, AntiMagic Academy, Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia, Ikkitousen, Dears, Photokano etc where their hamfest fan-service without any effort, commentary, charm or substance.
Then again there were 2 ecchi series out of the 758 ecchi series that not only embraces and comments on all the cliches and tropes from the genre, but they managed to be very good anime in the progress making them stand out from other ecchi anime.
These are two anime are Prison School and Shimoneta. Prison School and Shimoneta came out the same anime season. I watched these two show’s as they aired in their unfortunate censored form. In the Funimation clearance Christmas sale I brought these two show’s at the same price £4.99 and they arrived at my house at the same time. What I am about to next may be confusing or even strangely.
Prison School and Shimoneta are oni twins. Sure their approach towards comedy and ecchi are different but the way their constructs its themes are similar to each other. Prison School is the Blue Oni while Shimoneta is the Red Oni and this review will be about Prison School and how it managed to tell a complement grounded tale about sex while being one of the funniest ecchi animes to ever made.
The main thing that I appreciated right out of the gate is grounded the main cast are. They may appear to be your typical sexual lowlifes as they just wanted to take a peek on the girl’s underwear but the anime throws that negative out of the window due to the paradise but cruel solutions that they are in.
They attended a school where almost all the girls hate men which is unlikely for them due to later events where they get physically and mentally abused by the underground student council. The moment when our leads get caught by the underground student council just for honestly peaking at the girls at the shower changing room their lives at the school literally go to hell. The word honestly perfectly describe the main cast. They knew it was wrong to do that just wanted to embrace their sexual fantasies. If, this was another show then the male lead would either be a coward or a dense idiot.
Furthermore, the girls in those shows despite knocking the male lead out will be on the male lead crouch for the sake of fantasy. Prison School avoids this by making most of the girls immune to the boys sexual pleasure. It’s honestly a breath of fresh air if you ask me.
Over the course of 12 episodes, we follow our honest leads who live their lives at Prison School where do chores as well as getting physically and mentally beaten up by the underground student council for wrong acts. That’s basically the plot of Prison School simplified but there’s much more to it. Despite the story itself being borderline plotless it still managed to be interesting due to the anime exploring a rather dark subject of gender empowerment.
These guys get humiliated and beaten up daily just for doing something wrong or even breathing by the student council. Prison School showcases the lowest point of the female gender. If this was another situation then the girls would either told smack them or simply tell the teacher not mentally or physically beat them to a where they may receive life-threatening injuries. Sure boys can be creepy but you don’t have necessarily cripple their lives. The subject of gender empowerment comes in full in the final episodes which I won’t talk about due to spoilers but the show delivers two meaningful messages that gender rights should not be broken and there are other ways to deal with sexual harassment problems than mindless violence. I’ve learned something from an ecchi series.
Outside the show’s intriguing take on the dark subject, the show is fun-packed with mostly rich comedy and humour to back it up. The anime is proud to display its crude humour to the viewer. This is anime where have people sticks up their ass, people crapping themselves in Class to one person commanding someone to pee in front of them. This was made possible due to the author having a clear understanding of comedy.
The main characters are the stars of Prison School. Despite the show having a primary protagonist being Kiyoshi, the show spends it developing its 5 leads each with importance and personality. They are all distinctive from one another and most if not all the ecchi scenes are divided among them making some truly fascinating character interactions. A similar thing can be said for the Underground Student Council as well as Chiyo and Anzu who each have importance to the plot as well as being entertaining to watch from beginning to end.
J,C Staff was tasked to bring Akira Hiramoto art style to life and they’re perfectly succeeded. Not only the art style was extremely fateful to the source material but it’s also visually impressive to boot. From the character expressions, background scenery, attention to detail, superb shot composition, to the sharp contrast colour palette the anime managed to be a visual spectacle that’s filled with a lot of effort and passion by the animation staff.
Along with the fantastic production values comes to music and sound effects.
Code Geass/Yu-Gi-Oh Arc V music composer Koutarou Nakagawa delivers an excellent score for Prison School.
Both the opening and ending themes are memorable and catchy.
I usually don’t talk about sound effects in my reviews as I usually don’t much attention to it but, Prison School is one of the few expectations as the sound effects they were used are phenomenal. The sound team must have used high-quality equipment for the record the sound because the sounds of whipping, crushing and sweating sound realistic.
The English Dub controversial aside from the TV broadcast is pretty good. The dub actors did a good voicing their respective characters for the series.
This is not to say Prison School is a masterpiece.
There’s an obvious lack of character development for certain characters in the series especially from the underground student council and some of the humour eventually got grading overtime but Prison School achieves something that most ecchi anime don’t and that’s honestly and the word honesty is the best word that sums up Prison School.
A show that’s not scared showcasing its cruel content but, it not only managed to be funny most of the time but managed to have a well-written story, excellent production values, a fun character cast, a good English dub and a nicely composed soundtrack.
I’m happy a show like this was able to exist.
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Mar 8, 2021
It was the year 2000 the anime medium was going through a transition period where they are phasing out of cell animation in favour of digital animation. It was a rather tough transitional period as not as anime studio has the budget, experience or resources to produce digital animation. As a result, we ended up with a wave of shows in the early 2000s that visually haven’t aged well compared to the majority of anime from the 90s.
It’s truly sad where well-written stories around get turned down by weak visuals.
Studio Gainax FLCL is one of the many lucky series from the early 2000s that showcased ... how to use digital animation in a corrective, creative and experimental way.
From the complex 3D camera movement, the experimental art-style in each episode, the fluid animation to the use of manga panels FLCL screams passion when it comes to visuals. Furthermore, it features a lot of symbolism which presents the central theme of the anime being puberty.
FLCL’s soundtrack is one of the best I’ve ever heard in anime.
The Pillows deliver a masterful musical score of jazz, rock and electronic tracks that accompany the series tone.
The English dub is pretty good overall. Filled with excellent line delivery and audio quality.
The story is also very strong. Despite the energetic tone, FLCL's story is very simple and intriguing to the eye. It’s effectively a coming of age story that deals with the subject of puberty and I love how the anime executed it. Each episode is filled with a nice balance of style and substance that often made the anime such a joy to watch. The writing is good, and the pacing is excellent across the board moving at a steady fast pace.
The characters are where this show truly shines.
They are a fun, flawed and sympathetic group of characters that you cannot help but love them.
Naota is one of the most interesting, coming of age protagonists I’ve encountered. I loved his cold and cynical personality in the series as it perfectly captures the theme of puberty were he doesn’t want to accept kid life let alone try different things. His character developments were incredible to watch as he goes from being a cold and insecure person that refuses to value of kid life to a person who’s able to act his age and experience all the things that kids do.
At first, I didn’t care for Mamimi as I thought she was just the awkward third wheel of the main cast along for the ride but as I kept re-watching the series multiple times I began to really love and appreciate her as a character. She’s a broken and flawed person that struggles to move on with the past which was Naota’s brother leaving her in the cold.
Her smoking habits to her treatment Natoa like a pillow for comfort are all signs of her dealing with stress.
It perfectly demonstrated the theme of loneliness and social anxiety in a visually and coherent way. Seeing her develop in the series was satisfying as she goes from a broken shell of a person that struggles to move on to someone who’s able to move on by starting over.
Lastly, we have Haruka who’s by far my favorite character in the series. She may not have the complexity as Naota and Mamimi but she makes up by being a fun character to watch whos filled with energy that often gives some of the most memorable moments in the anime.
There are also side characters.
Each of them are memorable in their own ways helping our main cast grow. My favourites being Amarao and Eri due to how entertaining and interesting they were.
FLCL is the prime example of how to blend in style and substance. It has a lot of visual flair that makes the anime exciting to watch but at the same time has a lot of substance that make it a provoking story that makes you think.
If, you’re looking for a short but effective coming of age tale that has excellent visuals then FLCL is the anime for you. After FLCL Gainax would for 7 years, unfortunately, enter Gainax as their go-ahead to produce a ton of mediocre to bad series that nobody cares about but what FLCL is worth it was a worthwhile experience.
FLCL is the definition of an experimental anime done right
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Sep 28, 2020
It has become apparent now that webtoon anime has become a failed experiment. The concept of adapting these highly praise webtoon series was amazing as we viewers get to see South Korea based anime. It was frankly a breath of fresh air as the webtoon catalogue is filled with various genres that were produced by passionate authors that cared about their works even if the works vary in quality. Unfortunately, the overall execution has been bad, really, really bad.
Tower Of God was released in the Spring 20 anime season in an awful and unfinished state filled with non-existent worldbuilding, laughable power system, empty characters, outstanding ... awful production values and horrendous writing. It was a series that I deeply despise to the core it made me wonder if the source material was bad but, I have been told that Webtoon itself was good and the anime was an utter bastardization to the source material. Honestly, if Crunchyroll did not hamfist the living crap of the show right down my throat on social media then I wouldn't have hated it all that much. Sure I still would have heavily disliked, but I wouldn't have it in my top 30 worst anime I've ever completed list.
One season later The God Of High School was released, and it sucked. It like Crunchyroll never learned their lesson with Tower Of God and decided to crank up to 11 and that is sad as I really wanted to like it as I love my shounen animes like this.
Before I go over all the problems about The God Of High School I will be talking about the good as there's a quite a bit of good in it that prevents it from being in my worst anime list.
What The God Of High School Does Right.
The art and animation by Studio MAPPA are fantastic as always. Character designs and colourful and distinctive from each other.
There were some rough scenes every now especially towards the end with the jarring use of CGI but the show still remains consistent with its art style and animation. This is one of Mappa finest works when it comes to art and animation.
The fights scenes are excellent and really gives the fights series justice that they deserve.
Special mention goes to the Jin and Hau fight in episode 5 that's filled with a lot of cool sakuga that resembles a comic book.
The soundtrack is generally good all around and fits the tone of the series.
The opening and ending themes are okay I guess, and they decently fit the tone of the series.
Also, both the sub and dub are amazing.
That's pretty much it really.
What The God Of High School does wrong.
Where do I even begin with The God Of High School maybe with the characters?
The main 3 characters look very promising and appealing on the surface however the moment, they started talking, my positive expectations went down the drain.
I grandly feel bad for both the Seiyuus and the English Dub for wasting their amazing talents voicing these shells of characters.
Jin is basically Goku 2.0 who loves fighting. Other than his generic dad backstory, there's nothing special about him, and his character design reflects that.
Yu is your typical tsundere glasses action girl that wants to find a suitable husband to carry on the school bloodline.
Han is the typical quiet hard-working third well of the trio who wants to save a friend life.
On paper, the trio had the potential to be fascinating and charming characters but the horrible pacing and especially later on the writing don't give these characters justice, as a result, these main trios feel empty and half baked. I wanted to see these three go past their character traits so I could love them but they sadly don't. This is what happens when you have crappy pacing that moves at a rapid pace where you don't have time to develop your characters.
As for the story itself well it has no story to speak off. It's just a bunch of one-dimensional character entering The God Of High School tournament because self insert cliché … backstories
There's nothing more beyond that. Now, this wouldn't have been a problem if the characters were fun or at the very least interesting but their not. As I stated before Jin, Hau and Yu bland characters but the side characters are the worst in fact calling them characters would be a massive insult as their actually like robots that are specially programmed to fight while ditching spit out they self insert backstories by inserting robot voice clip. They are that empty. Due to the characters being empty shells the show becomes a depressing slog filled with abysmal writing. Non-existent worldbuilding, a messy power system that goes out of control half way in, endless meaningless flashbacks that only exist to break the pacing of the fights that are happening, unfunny chibi comedy, annoying tonal that are on par with Your Lie in April, consent asspulls, cheap power-ups, lack of overall stakes, tired shounen tropes and cliches up the ass I could go on.
Here's a perfect example of this empty writing is how the main three grow a bond with each other. Jin meets Yu by accident during a chase of the thief. Yu yells at Jin for breaking her glasses, A couple of minutes later in the case Hau stops bag thief, and they're all introduced themselves before the qualifiers started in the waiting room. After the qualifiers the main three argue with each other yet again then Jin accidentally throws Yu family sword in the river causing Yu to get pissed off at Jin telling him to back off. Then Jin comes to help find Yu looking for her sword in the river giving her light to make it easier to find it then moments later Hau joins in the search to find Yu's sword by bringing in a big light that brightens the rivers in a large scale.
This is on paper is great having our main leads look for the sword as well reconciling with each other through inspiring dialogue that builds an eventually creating unbreakable bond and to its credit the show did that in the beginning but the moment when Hau shows up it that intriguing character-driven scene breaks. Instead of the show actually showcasing the trio finding the sword as spending some decent time to get know each other like most character-driven narratives it transitions into a tournament scene in the waiting acting they are best buds.
This is where The God High School School true intentions start to rear its ugly head that simply does not care about substance.
I really wanted to like these characters as they appeal to me more than anyone of Tower of God especially Yu and Jin but due to terrible directing the anime totally disregards their character writing in favour of fights and, as a result, the story becomes a tedious slog and the characters become empty shells.
When the show decides to have a story at the very end after a series of soulless fights, you find out it's so contrived and convoluted you will wonder if a show was written by a 7-year old that has no understanding of writing and pacing.
Speaking of the pacing my god it's a disaster. The show moves way too fast to a point where it became hard to comprehend what is even happening.
Keep in mind the target audience for The God Of High School are teenagers who are into shounen's yet they can't do that correctly as this show is that empty that's devoid of passion, effort, and creativity.
The final insult of The God Of High School is the hamfisted advertisements. For some reason, Crunchyroll thought it will be a smart idea to splatter their and webtoon logos all over the show especially in fighting arenas. I absolutely hated this every time I saw as it felt I was watching an ad and a lazy one on that. This is immersion breaking at it's finest and it already made the already terrible series even worst.
The word empty perfectly to describe The God Of High School. It is a show that has nothing going for it other than showcasing fights that barely has any meaning or substance behind it.
Sure the anime had decent moments but they ultimately don't save the anime from being terrible. Even though I ended up kinda hating The God Of High School I actually prefer it over Tower Of God. Least the anime despite having a lot of empty moments thanks to horrible pacing least wasn't completed bored or insulted by it.
Crunchyroll please just end this failed experiment. If you're not going to properly adapt your source material then why even bother doing it. You're just making the source material and yourselves look bad.
Have some pride of and admit defeat
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Jun 24, 2020
In your mind what's makes a good epic fantasy anime.
Well, detailed power system?
High and impactful stakes?
These are the elements that make a worthwhile fantasy anime. Vinland Saga, The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Hunter x Hunter are great example of fantasy series that follow the requirements of an epic fantasy setting.
Sadly now and then we get a handful of bad fantasy anime that fails to have elements however very rarely do we get a downright horrendous fantasy series that not only is incapable of doing at meeting the basic requirements of a fantasy anime but also frequently treats the viewer like idiots ... with its inept writing and directing.
That's Tower Of God a broken, unpolished and cringy pile of waste that fails to achieve anything.
Let's address the ugly elephant in the room the visuals.
This may very well be the most unpolished modern I've seen. This show came out in 2020 yet looks like it came out in the early 2000s with its messy camerawork, uninspired background scenery, ugly as sin Microsoft Paint character designs are not appealing in the slightest and the animation is messy that is filled with mediocre to bad fight choreography.
Combined with the poor lighting and jarring use of CGI and you got yourself a visual nightmare.
"Hey, viewer do you remember Hunter's Exams arc in Hunter X Hunter and how good it was. Well, let's make the whole anime about it expect to strip everything good about it, and we are going to heavily advertise it on social media like as the second coming of Hunter x Hunter"
Random Crunchyroll employee.
That's the Tower Of God story in a nutshell.
It's hollow, poor written and devoid of substance.
Worldbuilding is frankly non-existent in this series. It's labelled an Epic Fantasy series yet the show doesn't bother to establish its world. It just shamelessly dumped us the world without explaining shit.
What's the power system in the universe?
What's the lore of the world
What are the main characteristics of passing each test?
What's the mystery of the world and the tower itself?
The show never tackles any of these things of theses as it rather spends showcasing its poorly directed fights and abuses the luck factor where the Bem would pass the exam with ease due to dumb luck. No skill, strength, no strategy, nothing. This is only made more jarring by the atrocious writing in the series.
Right from episode 1, the show wastes no time showcasing how atrocious the writing in the series is. Cardboard Beta kun I mean Bam loses his potato love interest, Rachel, because of reasons. Due to this Bam decided to enter the tower so he can save Rachel. Then for whatever bizarre reason he receives the most overpowered weapon in the series by this plot device woman starting that the reason why gets the sword because I was not making this up, he looks cute... After watching episode 1 I knew I was watching to be plot armoured written shitshow featuring a one-dimensional beta protagonist that will pass at everything due to his disguising plot armour. Right after episode 1 the writing quickly deteriorates to a point where it started to on par with really bad fan-fictions from the mid-2000s.
The best example of this show's compete disregard of writing happens in episode 7. Anak and Endorsi are fighting and at the same talking about their issues. Typical fight shounen stuff I have no complaints. What happens next is so unbelievably dumb it makes me wonder that this show was written by human beings. Endorsi high heels break, and she falls but she was able to grab arm then if this horrendous written and directed piece of tripe wasn't bad already the show decided to do an over the top tone shift thank frankly killed off the mood and tension that the fight had for no reason. It has truly been a long time since I watch a series this incompetent. That fact, that putrid writing was allowed to be pitched infuriates me to end. I know we get just in the new decade of anime and all but Tower Of God has the worst writing I've seen from this decade.
What's pushes Tower of God into beyond awful territory are the characters.
Bam is overpowered beta cringelord.
Now I usually like my beta protagonist as they can be interesting and compelling characters e.g. Nagisa Shiota, (Assassination Classroom) Saika Totsuka (Snafu), and Elliot Craig (Trails of Cold Steel) but Bam is anything but that. He spends the majority of the anime being an overpowered beta for sake of it. He's boring, has no character development and he's just annoying site from beginning to end.
Rachel may very well be the worst female characters I've encounter in recent memory. She's bland, a plot device has she has a personality of potato and she's a hypocrite. I will never forgive what she did in episode 12 as she efficiently made the contrived journey worthless.
Aguero Agnes Khun is lame. He may not be as insufferable as Bam and especially the plot device thing that is Rachel but he still a subpar character overall. To his credit, he is the most entertaining character as he kept me awake while watching this amateur hour but his still, not a good character in the slightest.
He's a Killua/Nagisa/Karma knockoff that lacks depth, development and substance.
The rest of the characters just exist because why not. Forget character development just, have the rest of the characters either be plot devices or background noise. Frankly, the characters in Tower of God are just interesting as potatoes.
The only decent to come out in this scrapheap is the soundtrack done by which is alright but, it wasn't enough to redeem the anime from being a garbage fire. You can go on youtube and listen to the soundtrack and OPs/ENs from there. You don't need to commit to 13 episodes of unpolished poorly written gibberish to listen.
Tower of God is just pathetic.
It's a series that fails to do even the basics required for a fantasy series. It's a series that has ugly as sin production values, It's a series that features empty characters who are a void of personality and creativity. It's a series that can't even entertain the viewer due to its bad fan-fiction tier writing.
It is a series that gets nothing right yet Crunchyroll think this is the second coming of Hunter by hamfistedly promoting the series on social media.
Crunchyroll listen I understand you want to make money by promoting a popular series please do not shove a series right down our thoughts in social media especially when some people such as myself don't like this series.
You did the same crap with Twin Star Exorcist back in 2016 as you promoted as this epic, complex shounen show yet, in reality, is a half-baked anime adaptation that doesn't adapt the source material correctly. If you didn't hamfistedly advertise the series then I would have been less harsh about it heck, I would have dropped it after episode 4 and left it alone.
The damage has been done and for that, I hate this series and everything that its stands for! One of the worst shows I've ever watched in recent memory and I recommend you to avoid this amateurish series that has no passion and creativity like the plague.
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