An amazing and personal love letter to literature and overcoming obstacles to turn farfetched dreams into passionate ambitions.
"Magus of the Library" is a fantasy manga written and drawn by Mitsu Izumi that focuses on a young mixed-blood boy called Theo Fumis who is an avid fan of literature, but because of his pointed ears and impoverished life, he isn't allowed to use the village library and on top of that, ostracized and mistreated by most folks in the village, particularly from his classmates in school. As he endures the prejudice and hatred of the village, he aspires of traveling to a place where such things
don't exist; the City of Books, also known as, Aftzaak. But one day due to 'fate', Theo encounters a Kafna, a librarian who works for the great library of Aftzaak, and this encounter would change his life forever.
Now that I've gotten the synopsis out of the way, let me explain my short, brief thoughts on why this manga with just reading 4 volumes, is one of my all-time favorite manga and a manga that everyone should give a shot at some point.
1. The passion behind literature
The key aspect to what Mitsu Izumi brought out to this series which I admired so much, was portray how valuable books are with various applications that really showcase so many different sides behind them. Whether it has to do with entertainment, or knowledge regarding cultures and traditions, or grimories, or knowledge regarding educational subjects, or autobiographies and preserving works from many, many years back and making sure the community, rich or poor, could experience such wealth of knowledge with freedom, the story manages to portray why books can be such a special, special thing to experience, with a lot of practicality that could even relate to real life, although we also have the Internet to thank for all of this information.
Because of books, characters can be inspired to have dreams like Theo, can be more culturally aware and diversive, and communicate a lot easier with others without worrying about offending other races, can be a lot more knowledgable in various areas that could benefit in the future, and much, much more.
And the writing also not only goes into why books are useful, but also shows the amount of work put into actually maintaining so many books, translating and making sure different cultures benefit from this, and so much more. Books hold so much value there and getting to know the behind-the-scenes antics behind them through the eyes of what the kafna do, and being aware of how valuable they are to society there despite being presented as a luxury only in the past, is just fascinating. The writing really benefits from amazing, natural pacing to organically present books in this sort of light without making it feel like forced propaganda.
2. Theo Fumis and Sedona Bleu
Theo Fumis is such a wonderful character since he is so lovable, endearing and honest, and you could feel his desire to become a kafna and help with the future of books to be inspiring of sorts. Even with a background that makes many people wary of him and being shunned a lot, he still aspires to one day travel to the City of Books and join the library where he would feel the happiest in his life, a place where many different races could be seen and he can blend in without being ostracized, as well as being surrounded by tons and tons of books of all kinds. His character is not only lovable, but his journey to becoming a kafna is also quite challenging since there is a ton of competition to successfully become one, so the actual path to see him succeed feels intense and exciting too.
Sedona Bleu is also a really great and compelling character, and I loved her advice to Theo, basically telling him that she loves his appearance despite what everyone else thinks of him, since he has to be the hero of his own story, and having a unique appearance sounds fitting and cool. In so many shounen manga, wacky appearances like that seem like the norm but for this case, his appearance and her advice to give him the boost of confidence to push forward is amazing to watch. And on top of that, loads of mystery is surrounding her too so she's lovable and interesting in various ways.
Furthermore just for other characters than these two, they're all really charismatic, lovable to read and fun too. Also display tons of passion that makes reading this series feel more heartwarming.
3. The artwork and world building
The setting, the details put into the world, and even just the little details with how books were handled and maintained. All done to beautiful levels, with amazing character designs too. I also love how multicultural the series is, and seeing so many characters be presented with different attire that befits their races makes the world feel more like an actual 'world' than a lot of other anime/manga I've come across. Due to how well written the whole element of books and uniting everyone is, the world building really shines.
And to further elaborate on how good the art is, I love how at times, they depict Theo's state of mind as he's focused or inspired with books with detailed imagery of him for example, intensely writing while having papers representing his entire journey surround him as he pours all his heart and soul into utilizing his whole journey of ups and downs and turn that into success for his ambitions.
I could go into more detail but for now, that's enough to just showcase a glimpse of why this series in 4 volumes is already incredible and why there's so much potential for this series to be even greater than what it already is right now. The journey is slow, and updates will take time, but the actual adventure would be guaranteed greatness in my opinion. A true emotional rollercoaster at its finest.
"If you but learn to unlock the secrets of books, you can carry yourself to any place you wish to go."
Nov 7, 2020
Major is one of my favorite anime franchises of all time, let alone my favorite sports anime franchise by quite some distance. It’s characterization, intense matches and long-running storytelling present in many seasons with consistency always captivated me in so many ways. With its successor, Major 2nd having a very impressive first season (especially for being the sequel to a long-running success story already and not disappointing like a Boruto compared to Naruto), I was quite excited for this new season of Major to drop back in April. Here are some of my thoughts on the 8th overall season of the Major franchise and the ... 2nd season of Major 2nd by Takuya Mitsuda!
Major 2nd season 2 takes place a couple of years after the first season where Daigo Shigeno is now in Junior High, where he turns out to be the captain of the Fuurin baseball team. A team that is mostly full of girls (which also has his crime partner, Mutsuko Sakura from the Dolphins days) since a lot of the fellow guys on the team got kicked out due to a shoplifting incident, leaving Daigo alone with one guy (later two), to join the girls to form a baseball team with the thinnest roster imaginable. Hell, there isn’t even a proper coach in this team so, despite Fuurin’s previous reputation of being a competitive team, the lack of personnel automatically put Daigo in a tricky situation.
Compared to the second season of the original Major where it had Goro conquering so many physical obstacles like returning from a potentially career-ending shoulder injury and switching to being a southpaw pitcher, to joining rival school Kaido along with Toshiya and go through multiple trials to get a taste of the immense competition awaiting his baseball future, this season feels a lot more tamer than that but presents its own challenges that Daigo and Fuurin have to go through. This occasion, mainly as a team that is all over the place – some players have talent but no real desire to get down and succeed through it all, some players have a lack of talent completely, some players have talent but are too rough and inexperienced to conquer against competition that is much highly skilled and have much more depth too than all of them, the fact that most of the team are comprised of females which a lot of teams tend to look down on, etc. This is a season that surrounds itself through teamwork as a whole, and working together to grow as a cohesive unit and try to pose a challenge to opposing teams despite the handicaps and hardships that they have had to endure as a team altogether. They may not have a coach or a proper bench (hell, some starters are barely classified as rookies despite some others playing baseball in the past in Little League), but through Daigo’s development as a leader, they still fight on; even with an obvious glass ceiling that hangs above them given how the state of the team is.
The story itself for me is really entertaining for the most part as with a refreshing take on a cast and a more long-term focus on the Junior High section of Major 2nd which will extend past this season, it showcases the more gradual build that this show is laying the foundation of with this edition. The next season is where a lot of the big-time matches will kick off so this season focuses more on the development to get to that place and to build some tension for Daigo and potential rivals too for the future. For the most part, I feel like everything’s done well and organically too. There are points in the story where the pacing feels rushed, like at the end of certain matches and an oddly placed timeskip, but despite those flaws, I found the development of the cast and most of the matches itself to be extremely well crafted and drawn out for the entire season. Compared to a lot of anime this year which lost my interest narratively really quickly, Major 2nd offers some of the best character writing I’ve seen this year as well as in the franchise itself. It may not have the epic matches in season 5 or the great emotional punches in season 1 but the focus on teamwork with an evenly matched cast that doesn’t rely itself on Goro Shigeno makes it one of the most enjoyable and lovable seasons to date.
The Furin Junior High Baseball team consisted of a mix of female and male baseball players (mostly females). So already, the cast, in general, feels very different from the traditional cast you would find in any sports anime let alone a Major season. Here, this anime showcases one of the rare times where both genders play important roles to work together as a team so that whole dynamic is pretty interesting and refreshing for the most part, and I’m glad Takuya Mitsuda chose to go with this direction, especially since for High School onwards, he can only mainly focus on Daigo and males due to the Koshien not allowing guy-girl teams to participate together unlike with Junior High.
Daigo himself I felt was a really good protagonist again like the previous season but takes on a much more different role than the traditional sports protagonist. Daigo isn’t as hotheaded and charismatic as Goro in the original edition of Major, but with a more confident, serious, and determined personality at hand, Daigo came across as a genuine leader in this one. A leader who would work as hard as he could to bring the best out of his teammates to make up for the many obstacles that they have to overcome being a team that had no coach and barely a cohesive squad due to a lot of the older players being kicked out for shoplifting. He’s showcased some nice development from the first season and played a really good role in being the quiet but tactical and observational captain who also had the passion and heart for baseball to motivate his teammates to try and succeed alongside him.
Another character that returned was Mutsuko Sakura into having a more prominent role this season as probably the 2nd main character instead of Hikaru last season. While her personality hasn’t changed much, her passion for baseball has grown immensely and she’s become a pitcher now compared to being a slogger previously. Given the lack of teammates in Fuurin, she took the responsibility for becoming a pitcher and the show did a good job with her development to be a competent pitcher than can compete with a lot of teams in tournaments (still not the best of the best ones though). Plus, she was also the support that the team needed at times given strained times as she could relate to her teammates but also to Daigo too if he was under pressure or was putting too much work down to improve everyone else. Plus she’s still charming, sweet, and likable too so those are all bonuses to how good she is.
Then you have the rest of the team who mostly are enjoyable to watch and a really good supporting cast as a whole to the anime with a few standouts being Yayoi Sawa, one of my favorite characters of the year for just her calm, cool and collected personality as well as Chisato Fuji for being really sweet, charming and quite the devilish little troll at times when teasing others, especially her sister Chiyo. Some characters like Tanba didn’t quite receive much spotlight as well as Kandori but for the most part, the baseball club all shined together due to how much this season focused on teamwork and how each player is important to the success of the team, especially since none of them aren’t as talented, fiery and motivational to win like a Goro Shigeno.
The rival teams also had a nice mix of new characters, old characters returning from Little League (Andy, Urabe, Michiru) and old characters returning from the original Major edition (Goro, Fuji) to all have their good moments too whether in playing baseball against Fuurin or just by being a small part of the Fuurin journey to grow and develop like with Goro.
So overall, I really loved the characters as a whole and this club as a whole might be one of my favorite sports clubs I’ve seen in anime based on the teams. Teamwork made the cast grow nicely together, especially chemistry wise and it really shows here.
Major 2nd season 2’s art for the most part looks really different not only from previous Major seasons but from sports anime in general. It has more of this slice of life-like feel to it less than the typical sports anime but for the most part, I loved this refreshing change.
While the episodes down the line do look a tad weaker than how it started (mainly due to the number of delays this show suffered due to COVID-19), the show looked damn good. It was colorful, the character designs were great, the animation for the baseball matches was better than ever with the subtle details brought out really nicely – especially seeing the pitches feel more realistic and varied and just seeing the runners slide and batters swing look more satisfying and real as ever. The colors also pop really nicely too overall in this show as well. For a baseball anime, while it may not have the intense Haikyuu or Hajime no Ippo like moments in terms of animation, this edition of Major leaned more towards the calm, realistic style, which looked amazing. OLM brought the best out of this anime and even with having to deal with COVID-19 delays, they did such a stellar job overall with bringing this anime to life with how fantastic it looks overall.
Some of the visuals for the openings looked fantastic too, especially the colorful nature of the 2nd opening with the paint flying everywhere while showing all characters there.
The sound department was strong here, as usual for a Major anime. The background music has a nice variety of calm tracks, funny tracks for comedy moments, and intense tracks when getting down to the clutch moments in a baseball game. Major’s always been strong for me when it comes to music and how it fits a variety of moments, and this season is no different whatsoever.
The opening songs were really catchy for me as well since I never wanted to skip it at all due to how fun it sounded, especially the first one ‘Answer’. The songs again, not the traditional sports opening songs as it felt more like a josei/slice of life song but for the atmosphere of the show, it works nicely.
The voice acting also was great, with some standouts being Kana Hanazawa as Mutsuko and Sumire Uesaka portraying the perfect cute devil in Chisato. For the most part, all the voice actors/actresses fit their roles really well for the entirety of the show and delivered nicely in the range of emotions that the show provided overall.
In a year where I’ve been disappointed by so many shows and dislike so many shows, Major 2nd season 2 has been a genuine breath of fresh air. It’s not only a refreshing show since it’s actually great but also gives a refreshing feel to the Major franchise and the sports genre as a whole. And given how this Junior High arc is not over yet with this season, it feels like one of the most important Major arcs to date which makes it more exciting. The matches and characters were just really great overall, and I had a blast watching this anime when I desperately needed something decent from this year.
The journey for the airing of this 2nd season was a damn bumpy one, to say the least as it got hit with numerous delays in the earlier half of the season, where episodes would not air for more than a month to make up for production scheduling to ensure that the season can finish somehow. But in the end, it managed to actually finish and I’m glad since unlike Kingdom season 3, I get to actually complete a clear anime of the year candidate this year itself.
Major 2nd season 2 was an excellent anime and an excellent addition to the Major franchise despite feeling a lot different from the other 7 seasons overall (Major + first season of Major 2nd). Definitely recommend the whole Major franchise as a whole, let alone just this one anyway but for Major fans, this anime should be a treat just like the rest.
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Jun 24, 2020
Silver Spoon was a manga written by Hiromu Arakawa (most famously known for creating the international sensation known as Fullmetal Alchemist), that surrounds itself around agriculture, farming and personal growth - which does feel already pretty personal knowing Arakawa's background, as she was born and raised around a massive farming background of her own.
Whilst I've always been a city boy, shifting country to country to live in the urban areas where take out for food is easy, and everything is convenient from internet, to meeting up to partake in various kinds of fun activities in places like malls, parks, game centers, etc, I was very ... lacking and uninformed in the other side of the spectrum. I never really gave a thought to how a lot of food, a lot of the activities that I enjoyed, a lot of the culture that I enjoy nowadays, how much it was because of the other side (the rural side surrounding farming), that makes me feel more blessed with what I have now. And this manga does a brilliant job in showcasing the beauty of farming, agriculture with maintaining its roots and realism with tons of detail, passion, and charisma too.
Story & Writing (9.99/10)
If Arakawa-sensei was healthier/her family was in a healthier situation, and she was able to write more to flesh out the ending sequences even more, I would have given this a 10.
But regardless, the actual content of Silver Spoon is phenomenal for me, since it presents something I have a lack of awareness of, in a very interesting, humble, charming, and even introspective way. Arakawa manages to create a compelling story about a boy who is lost in the world with no aspirations, escaping to a completely different environment to try and enjoy doing something in his life with no shackles of pressure and depression to hold him down (that was caused mainly by his family's expectations and his own lack of self-worth as he constantly pushed himself away from everyone by trying to study and not enjoy life whatsoever that it became too much of a burden on him). It's very real, and the way he develops over time with a natural flow of storytelling is very nice to see.
Arakawa-sensei utilizes her childhood experiences with farming and presents her own ideologies about how the realities of farming is, with there being bitter undertones to them (like with the treatment of animals and growing them up to turn them into food/products to sell). She chooses a clear side, of what's the way she would go with when it comes to farming, but presents both sides of the spectrum really well when comes to questioning the ethical nature of the farmers' actions at the school through Hachiken.
Since he was brand new to farming, he wasn't sure of what was right or wrong but rather than being too preachy, he naturally understands both sides and tries his best to adapt to how farming works in Arakawa's head but still showing tons of respect to the animals involved to make their sacrifices worth it in an ethical fashion by treating them very well consistently. I love how this question of what's right or wrong, not only presents interesting arguments to both sides, but also characterizes many people incredibly well, and builds fascinating conversations and hearty chemistry between everyone.
Seeing Hachiken grow and adapt as a person, seeing how farming is incredibly fascinating to learn about from a non-rural resident's perspective, seeing how harsh realities can be but also seeing how beautiful it can also be when it gives fruit to so many great aspects of life from tangible to intangible ones, Silver Spoon is a rollercoaster of emotions with its narrative. Ends nicely too with solid build for its romance too.
Heavily described what the appeal was for the characters in the last section, but I'll just say Hachiken is one of my favorite protagonists in all of manga and anime. A guy who's very relatable to me, in terms of not knowing what the hell to do for his future and having high expectations of everyone else to succeed, to escape and drag his life out in a completely new environment to see his real self-worth. And seeing him grow over time with his charming personality, with bonding with tons of people from varieties of farming culture (like with cattle, pigs, cheese, vegetables, etc) was astounding.
The side characters come from various backgrounds and due to that, all play very good roles in creating tons of entertaining dynamics between characters.
And when they come together for events like festivals, or pizza parties, it creates such a heartwarming storyline full of passion and love that I rarely feel from other casts in anime or manga. Real bonds right here.
Other than how fantastic Hachiken's characterization was, Arakawa-sensei also did wonders with Mikage and Komaba's characterization as they go through their own personal struggles and try their damn best to overcome them and succeed with their aspirations (even with some unpredictable events in life trying to shackle them down). Hachiken's influences on those two, and everyone else, and everyone else's influences on him were so goddamn great to see from an outsider's perspective. Seeing people like them give me hope in a way to find my dream with the right people.
It's not the most brilliant looking manga out there, but it oozes simplicity and charm. Love the designs, love the detail and it really fits the setting well too. Great looking covers especially for the volumes, with lovely artwork present.
It's really one of the heartiest, most compassionate and emotional rollercoasters I've been on when reading this. It doesn't have explosive shounen-esque battles, or the most dramatic scenes in the world, but there is a lot of aspects that made me feel so happy (pizza party), made me feel sad (the end of the festival and some dreams being shackled), and gave me hope in a way with life with seeing the evolution of all these characters.
Gin no Saji/Silver Spoon is one of my favorite manga and anime of all time. I wish Arakawa-sensei could have fleshed out the ending portion a bit more but regardless, the amount of growth, development, and emotional rushes I got through watching and reading it was too much for me to not include it in my top 5 manga list. Exceptional work from her, and I even like this a lot more than her Fullmetal Alchemist manga.
And my god, it's made me appreciate the agriculture and farming culture so much more than I ever gave it credit for before. I really sincerely thank all farmers out there for providing tons of great quality ingredients and other materials for us to enjoy our lives with. They're all truly a blessing.
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Jun 14, 2020
The Promised Neverland was one of the first manga I ever read, the first manga I bought and was a manga I stuck with for many years, so I clearly feel a little bit sad that this manga is finally complete and the journey was over. But sadly those emotions are also clouded by tons of disappointment by the end as it was almost depressing seeing how far this manga fell from grace overtime.
Story & Writing (3/10)
The manga in my opinion, easily has one of the best starts in all of manga for me with the Escape Arc. It's a simple concept but with the ... showcase of mindgames between Isabella and her children in the orphanage as they tried to find a way to escape and survive, it was incredibly thrilling, captivating, mysterious and left me on the edge of my seat. Each single step towards escape was well crafted and planned, and seemed to have a good payoff too.
But then after the arc, as the mystery themes faded a bit and it transitioned to a new kind of storyline, mainly focusing on survival and discovery, The Promised Neverland was slowly faltering a bit. It still was progressing fairly well in the Goldy Pond arc with good mysteries and plot elements being set up to understand what is happening with the world, but minor cracks were showing here and there with it.
Unfortunately after that arc, that's where the manga starts to fall apart for me - with the final arc.
All the plot twists, cliffhangers, tension building, well crafted storytelling for its mindgames and world building, were all thrown out of the window as the manga lazily tried to end the entire storyline in the most passive, underwhelming ways possible. Twists felt like they underdelivered massively with payoffs, or some twists felt incredibly rushed, some felt like it was too easy to solve or that the consequences were barely present that it came across as comedic. All the amazing detail and writing just washed away and the manga ended in such a timid, and mediocre fashion that it truly was depressing to witness as a long term fan of the past. Shame that Shirai could not tie the plot threads together whatsoever and instead just slapped on some bullshit to somewhat end it.
The main trio were very likable at the start. You have the optimist and charming girl in Emma, and the guys who were incredibly smart and observational and cunning too in Norman and Ray. With a main trio that's likable, well written and even fascinating to watch at the start, as they try to scheme against an interesting villain in Isabella, the caretaker, the cast was well set right from the get-go. Even the other children were fairly nice too.
But again, after Goldy Pond, a ton of characterization felt incredibly wasted due to meaningless twists, ruining the potential of what could have been a great cast. Not to mention, a lot of the motives were one dimensional and that led to affecting the plot massively, especially with Emma in the second half of the manga not being able to change her ways of thinking which led to her acting as a driving force for a ton of the plot issues that led to happen afterwards. Norman's character was just a massive clusterfuck too by the end with so many inconsistencies added to his character that resulted in little payoff whatsoever.
Not to mention, the antagonists in general were mediocre as hell except Isabella. Uninteresting, underwritten and as one dimensional as Emma. Even stupid to a degree I would say.
I feel bad for Posuka Demizu since her art actually was really good except some inconsistencies at times with designs, especially with Norman in the middle of the manga.
Her art was very expressive, with great character designs and amazing cover art that look truly wallpaper worthy. The designs were fantastic, the setting was well portrayed and even the antagonists and monsters looked good. Sadly, Shirai let her down with poor storytelling big time.
The enjoyment was a 10 for me in the first half, but a 0 for me by the end given the number of failures in writing that occurred every single chapter, leading to more and more issues and frustrations.
Overall, a manga that had everything amazing going for it, but washing it away with its final arc due to bad writing and failures of solving mysteries and delivering great payoffs for the amount of tension and twists that were setup that led to a 10/10 worthy manga limping all the way to an average rating.
It's amazing how many Shounen Jump manga have brilliant starts but throw it all the way in the middle or at the end, and The Promised Neverland may personally be the most painful example of that for me. What a shame.
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Apr 23, 2020
I'm an avid fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, having absolutely loved the original Ghost in the Shell movies, as well as adoring the original Stand Alone Complex anime (enough to have that show in my top 10 anime of all time). Arise was a massive misstep though but it's in a different timeline from the other ones so I can avoid talking much about this though.
So whilst I saw a lot of negative reception towards the trailers for this new edition of Stand Alone Complex or SAC_2045, it didn't really hinder my excitement too much. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece but still ... excited just to get more solid quality Ghost in the Shell content.
Now that I've officially finished the first season of SAC_2045, I can say that this show truly was a mediocre and forgettable showing overall and was clearly designed for mainly the newer Western audiences in terms of the direction of the storyline and even the visuals themselves as a sort of a cash grab from the looks of things. It somehow fell below my low expectations for it.
The story for the most part without spoiling anything was pretty underwhelming for Ghost in the Shell standards, but okay for the most part. It's not really thematically fascinating but at least has enough action and twists to make some of the portions seem exciting for me. The narrative wasn't too interesting but it was paced fairly well and had solid buildup progressively, with a big cliffhanger by the end that left enough meat on the bone for me to have some intrigue left for its next season.
Regarding the characters, I felt this was the aspect that disappointed me the most from what I expected.
Motoko Kusanagi is one of my favorite characters of all time so seeing her be treated like more of a side character for the most part in this season was pretty disheartening. Her inner thoughts and narratives always fascinated me when seeing the previous shows so the lack of that definitely was a turn off for me. Besides, whenever she was on-screen, she was underwhelming to watch here and never really was compelling or interesting to watch unlike other editions of her (besides Arise since she was annoying there). The other main characters though in the show were solid, especially Togusa in this show. And the tachikomas were fun as usual.
However, the other characters weren't too compelling at all, and haven't really added anything to the show so far at least for this season.
Now, the visuals. I've seen a LOT of people discredit the visuals for being fully CG, and looking like an old video game from the PS2/PSP days; and to be honest, I'm not particularly against that for a franchise like GitS on paper.
The visuals for the action is a bit awkward with its CG nature but it easily could have been much worse than it turned out to be. Battles while PS2 game-like, were smooth enough while not being too janky and rough to watch. The characters looked pretty rough though (Motoko looks way too young, and some others look like wax figures). Some of the animation even outside action sequences were pretty bad to look at and inconsistent/awkward too (like when characters are walking or drinking).
I will say Kushivnov has good art in general, but it's hard to translate his art amazingly into CG. And whilst its not bad overall, you can notice some of the obvious consequences for the awkward transition for the most part.
For people that were turned off by the visuals in the trailers, this full show won't change their minds. Especially considering how phenomenal the original edition looked from character designs, to action and everything else about it,
The sound was probably the worst part of the show for me. The opening and ending songs just don't fit Ghost in the Shell whatsoever (especially the opening for being way too jazzy and upbeat in an environment that's supposed to be more intense and subtle). We went from having some of the best opening songs of all time in Inner Universe from season 1 and Rise from season 2 (rest in peace Origa), to this really annoying song by millenium parade that should be absolutely nowhere near a franchise like this. Disappointing as hell.
This also correlates to some of the soundtracks as they just feel out of place in this environment. At least the voice acting was still okay but far from the top-tier standards that the original GitS set for sure.
This definitely isn't a great showing from Production IG and Sola Digital Arts as the show came off more as a cash grab like I mentioned than a proper sequel to one of the best anime of all time. Some aspects felt incredibly phoned in, and the visuals are a turn off for many, many people that it ruins the opportunities for this show to succeed with a majority of the audience, including other big Ghost in the Shell fans. This could have been great, but it'll remain a show that just looks massively inferior to the original rather than stand out on its own.
At least it's still better than Arise.
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Apr 18, 2020
A manga that truly is a magical experience for me.
"Destroy all humankind. They can't be regenerated.", is a manga that takes place in the 1990s where the central theme behind the manga is a popular card game that took the 90s and 00s by storm, Magic: The Gathering. A game which I played a ton with my friends when I was a very young boy myself, and a game I cherished back in the day.
This manga is also created by Katsura Ise and Takuma Yokota, the combo that created one of my favorite manga of all time, Onanie Master Kurosawa. Hell, Takuma Yokota also created ... Chikan Otoko by himself, another one of my favorites, so clearly I have had experience and trust with their successful works from the past, so when I saw that they did a magic surrounding Magic, I immediately stopped what I was doing and read this till I caught up. And by the time I did, despite its few number of chapters released, I was amazed.
I won't review it like I did my other reviews in the past due to the lack of chapters, but I just want to talk a few things about why I absolutely love and cherish this manga.
1. The main characters
This manga focuses on the two main characters of the story, Hajime (a lovable but very shy geek) and Sawatari (a girl who's confident and smart, but also has a hidden side to her that she loves) and how their bond with each other develops over time with the power of Magic... the game.
I love their characters. Their individual personalities are incredibly likable and charming, but they truly shine whenever they are together. Whether they're playing against each other as rivals or supporting/helping each other improve not only as players but also as people in general, they both have amazing chemistry that just drew me into the manga.
The manga focuses a lot on them and whilst there are side characters who may not have been the best written, they still have likable personalities that contrast well with the main duo and overall, creates a great atmosphere to enjoy.
2. Takuma Yokota's artwork
I've always admired Takuma Yokota's artwork. From the incredibly rough, sketchy yet charismatic and unorthodox drawings for Chikan Otoko, to a gritty yet intense artstyle integrated in Onanie Master Kurosawa, his designs always have clicked for me. And this was no exception.
It's much cleaner and more refined than his previous works, with looking much less rough around the edges as his other works, but it still gives off so much charm and personality here too (especially for the character designs). He manages to keep the drawings simple yet refined, and complimented the 90s setting very well in my opinion (whilst modernizing and refreshing his style to fit the new age of manga).
3. The development and battles themselves
The Magic games here aren't just presented like its a full on battle manga, but it's presented in a way that it mixes the intensity and passion of Magic players with the fun and relaxing atmosphere of the general setting itself in the 90s. It makes it not only easier for people who aren't Magic fans to get into, but also gives the manga more layers to it that make it so much fun to read. If I just wanted to see Magic only, I would just play it myself. But by using it smartly and not forcing the battles down our throats and mixing it with light hearted romance, it creates such an engaging atmosphere. It has its intense moments, and its light hearted moments and both harmonize superbly. I recommended it to some of my friends in real life who weren't even into Magic since I couldn't stop talking about this manga to them, and even they managed to get into it due to the chemistry of the characters themselves, and were charmed by the battles too after.
Overall, this manga is excellent. One of my favorites I've come across that started in the past couple years, and it's definitely worth an attempt. Whether you love Magic or whether you want a nice, simple romance/slice of life with engaging characters. There's so much charm that the potential is high for it to be one of the best in my opinion.
For me as a Magic fan myself from when I was young, the mixture of amazing characters, an interesting setting and narrative, and pure hype from nostalgia just creates a wonderful experience.
I can't wait for more chapters to be released in due time but till then, hope this review convinced some of you to give it a chance.
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Dec 30, 2019
I haven't read the Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan manga, but Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan: Shidou-hen reminds me of Gintama's Slip Arc back in 2017, an arc showing some of Gintama's comedy arcs that were not adapted beforehand, and combining it into one to deliver a comedy only season that existed to deliver some laughs without really affecting the story too much.
I was surprised when I heard this was even happening, but I was curious to see how Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan: Shidou-hen would deliver and stand in comparison to its first two seasons.
These 6 episodes that have aired, have pretty decent comedy for the ... most part, that manages to bring what made the franchise to be a cult hit among anime fans, especially comedy fans out there.
The comedy is fast-paced, intense, and packs a ton of punches as you progress through every segment. It's a style of comedy that Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan had able to master for many episodes throughout its two seasons previously, and it showcases its strengths pretty well here.
The content itself isn't as funny as its peak episodes in season 1 in my opinion and feels a bit stale at times despite the chaotic pacing at others due to its slightly repetitive nature. But for the most part, I was fairly engaged with the comedic style that this season presented.
There was nothing brand new, but it brought out enough of the charm that the previous seasons had. I appreciate the nostalgia for the comedy more than the actual substance itself, but at least it's comedy itself outdoes most other comedy shows I've seen this year.
The characters have always been a peak for Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan with me, and Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan: Shidou-hen is no exception when it comes to delivering.
The cast is as colorful, diverse and eccentric as ever, with our MC being the most eccentric of them all (yet trying to live the most normal life despite struggling all the time to avoid the eccentric situations).
If you enjoyed the characters in the previous seasons, this season will retain your love for them here. In 6 episodes, they manage to make most of the characters that were showcased in the previous seasons and give them their respective moments to shine. Which I sincerely appreciated.
Not to mention, there were one or two new characters showcased in this season too like Hii Suzumiya, who was fine. Not special for me, but not a bad addition whatsoever.
If there is one aspect of Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan: Shidou-hen that does stumble in comparison to its predecessors, it's the visual aspect.
The art style itself is decent and I continue to admire the character designs used for the cast as they breathe so much personality, charm, and eccentricity into the air. It's crazy yet you can't help but admire the variety of designs at hand.
But the actual frames themselves look a bit cheaper, a bit choppier and lack a bit of consistency throughout. It felt like the drawings were rushed a bit, but luckily that isn't a major aspect that would necessarily ruin the show.
It looks fine but could have been refined a lot more with more time and effort.
At least just getting to see those creative character designs back is a nice feeling.
The voice acting in Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan continues to be stellar, especially with Hiroshi Kamiya continuing to bring out the best in his role as Kusuo Saiki. The quickfire, monotone delivery he brings to the table continues to amaze me, as it does showcase his true talent as one of the best seiyuu in the game.
The other voice actors/actresses continue to deliver well in their respective roles too, and I'm glad they brought their A-game into a quickfire project like this too. For 6 episodes that don't matter in the big scheme for the show, they did well.
The soundtracks are mostly the same from previous seasons. They sound good but nothing that original to admire. Not much of an opening was there this time, as they just cut to the episode with a small transition instead.
Overall, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan: Shidou-hen was a solid season. It's not as strong as its previous two seasons, but I appreciate the refreshing style of comedy it displays compared to most of the unfunny shows I've seen this year, and I appreciate the nostalgia that this show is meant to deliver with episodes like these.
They weren't necessary, but Netflix did a decent job of bringing extra episodes of this franchise. A quick, and fairly decent watch overall.
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Dec 2, 2019
Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun is a manga that is beloved by a bunch of my friends in real life and online, so when I heard it was getting an anime in 2020, I let my curiosity get the better of me by reading it before seeing the adaptation itself.
Excuse me if the review is poorly written compared to my other ones, I just wrote this on the fly without preparing well like the others (since I wanted to avoid spoiling much detail to the story). These are just brief thoughts.
It is a very uninteresting story that felt shoddy in terms of consistency. There were a few ... plot conveniences that popped up as the story progressed, and the direction itself was pretty uninteresting too for me and in the end, feels like a dreadful waste of time.
The comedy was a big miss for me too. It had its cute moments, but there were a lot of awkward spots and unfunny jokes. The anklet stuff never got me one bit.
The pacing is fine, and I admire that there is an underlying narrative for this manga (which I expected no real story at the start). But, the actual story and execution of it left me severely underwhelmed and drained so far.
The cast for this manga was pretty dull for the most part. Full of unlikable characters and forgettable characters too.
The story wasn't beautiful, but I'll admit that the art was.
The characters looked really well-drawn, with cute and charming designs mixed with a creepy atmosphere too surrounding them. It's very interesting.
I normally try and best not to go with expectations in mind whenever I see an anime or read a manga, but due to how much I've heard about how amazing it was, I couldn't resist.
And I'm more disappointed in myself, for letting them get to me than by the manga itself.
Due to my expectations, the lackluster experience of this manga stung me more than I wished. This manga started well but ended up being underwhelming and even full of issues itself when I caught up by the end.
Overall, it's a manga that I can see why many would love, and I could also see it receiving rave reviews for its anime adaptation in Winter 2020. But sadly, the manga could not capture my interest and I've lost a lot of hype that I initially had for the anime when the announcement came.
It's a shame, but the manga is just a major drag where the art is the only thing of positive value. And given how many manga out there have good art nowadays, having good art isn't enough to cut it. It's very easy to see manga with great art but it's the gems that have great storytelling and characters that are much more rare to find and much more lovable to cherish. This unfortunately not coming anywhere near close to that area. Very disappointed overall.
The quality of this manga is bound to end up in the toilet, as my time got flushed down reading this.
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Sep 17, 2018
Yakuza idols. Welcome to anime, where fucking yazuka idols exist. Quite the premise to take in when reading about this show.
When I first heard about it, I thought it was so stupid.
And after finishing it, it's still so stupid.
But I still wanted to make a short review on my thoughts on it, so here they are:
... Back Street Girls takes overexaggerated humor to the max and way past that to the degree that the jokes can get played out really quickly.
It's just screaming with dramatic sound effects in the background and that's your comedy. That's just it. Because of that, the show just became a drag to watch by how unfunny it became with the amount of repetitive humor that the show provides (especially in the middle portion). It got old really fast.
The sex changed idols were... interesting to say the least on paper. They all had some eccentric personalities to say the least, but no one stood out that much nor were likable whatsoever in the long run. Same really goes for the supporting cast as well. Pretty flat overall.
Art & Animation (1/10)
J.C Staff's art looks like every episode was drawn in 5 minutes. It looked horrendous.
The OP song was pretty catchy, not gonna lie. Better than I expected for a show like this.
The voice acting was decent but the overusage of sound effects like shocking thuds, was absurd. Felt really cheap listening to it with those stock sound effects playing over and over again.
It got incredibly repetitive, unfunny and stale really quickly with the obnoxious presentation and delivery of the humor. Reading the synopsis is probably the sole entertaining element about this anime.
Back Street Girls: Goku Dolls was a disappointing comedy due to overdoing its comedy and underwhelming in its production. It sounded better on paper compared to how it was delivered, that's for sure.
It's a shame since the same studio made Prison School, and they nailed that show's comedy and production.
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Sep 16, 2018
The Summer 2018 season is wrapping up slowly and it's that time again.
Today, I will be reviewing Island, an anime with time travel, romance and lolis!
Island had a really terrible story.
The writing immediately suffers from absurd pacing where it either goes too slow with nothing happening at all, or goes too fast with major plot twists and elements failing to work due to being rushed to hell.
... And whatever content that was given, was super boring and for a guy that loves SciFi shows a lot, this did not interest me one bit.
It felt like they were writing this anime but it had no soul to it, since shit just occured with no real heart put into it.
Overall, a very boring, lackluster and terribly paced story that had to be one of the most boring SciFi stories I have ever witnessed.
Setsuna was not the worst character ever. He ain't annoying nor a dick.
He was just a guy. Didn't feel anything for him but he isn't bad.
And the girls also feel very generic and the relationships between Setsuna and all the girls lack a lot of depth to it, with poor writing to blame.
Rinne looks cute but was nowhere engaging for me as a character and Karen & Sara were just there too.
Art & Animation (7/10)
feel. did not make this look as good as Hinamatsuri last season, but the art looks very good with some nice character designs.
The OP and ED songs weren't that great but the OST was really nice and fitting for this show, especially its calm songs.
However, the voice acting was not good for me.
Rinne and Karen's voices felt off for me as they sound too striking for their characters.
Island was a massive letdown and a poorly written show from the get go. One of the weakest shows of this season and year for sure.
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