Kuromukuro Review


It’s time for an anime that mixes sci-fi with classic samurai characters. This one never seemed to get all that big as I’ve never seen it mentioned at all online but it’s a pretty good show. The action is on point and the story is good although the ending definitely has a massive cliffhanger so some may be wary in jumping in with no season 2 in sight. That said, the ending is really hype for that reason as well. You’ve got a well balanced experience here.

The show starts with Kennosuke fighting off alien invaders in his mecha with the princess but a giant explosion occurs and she seemingly dies/possibly gets whisked away into a portal while he falls back into the planet. 450 years later he is woken up by a girl named Yukina who looks just like the princess that he used to serve and she was able to activate his robot to wake up from its stasis. She is just a normal girl and doesn’t understand what is going on here but neither one has much time to think things through as we find out that the aliens are returning. Their goals are unknown but humanity will need to be ready if they want to survive and that means training up more pilots. Many years have passed so we should have great robots now but will they be enough?

The show’s got a reasonably large cast for a 26 episode show and it covers a whole lot here. While I say that the characters don’t have a chance for downtime initially, they do get that time later on in the series. So we have a lot of fights but also some day to day adventures for some slice of life adventures. The series is very character driven in addition to having the action scenes ready and there is even some romance thrown in here as well with a lot of characters getting involved.

I would say the title is at its best when dealing with the main alien invasion though. One thing that helped to add some more layers here is that there isn’t just one alien race involved. There’s a mysterious man with a mask who claims to be from a different alien race and he actually looks more like an ogre than what the main aliens that Kennosuke claims are the enemies. In fact those look like humans so the main characters have to determine if Kennosuke is actually being honest with them or if he’s hiding something. Naturally any secrets can hurt the morale and unity of the troops so you need to know that sooner than later.

Lets start with the technical elements though. The animation is very sharp for the human scenes. The colors pop out and there is always a lot of movement going on. The robot suits can be a little clunkier but you still get a lot of fun battles which only get more impressive as they start growing wings and using swords. I have yet to see an unimpressive aerial battle with robots and this was no exception. The fights do get good here and I didn’t walk away with any real complaints on the animation. It remains consistent throughout the whole run.

The soundtrack is a little more on the forgettable side. It’s not bad per say but the opening is a little underwhelming and you will have a hard time really remembering any of the tunes in the episodes. I actually looked up the ost while writing this review to check some of them out and some of the tracks are good but they will mostly blend together in the background as opposed to dominating the scene.

Kuromukuro can have a bit of a fanservice issue at times though. Mainly this tends to always occur when Yukina’s classmate Mika shows up. It’s a shame because Mika is easily one of the best characters in the series as a loyal friend always ready to help out and cheer everyone up. So she would have been cool without those scenes and it distracts from her quality moments. There was also an odd massage scene that seemed to be going out of its way to be a bit iffy when they could have just played the scene straight as a good recovery method. Naturally there is no fanservice during the fights so this really just shows up during the downtime so it’s not super frequent but does happen enough to be noticeable.

Now with the aliens running around a common trope is that the government will make the wrong choice and turn on the heroes right? That happens all the time here and for a while you figure maybe this will be the exception but the government looks really awful by the end of the series. It’s unfortunate because they last for quite a while but in the end they basically just decide to self sabotage themselves. The show doesn’t portray this as the ultimate betrayal you would expect it to be and the ending is still rather light as there isn’t much that the teens can do about all of this but most of the adults here lost all my respect by the end. Only certain characters who took a stand and made their choice were exempt. It’s no wonder Earth falls so easily in pretty much every sci-fi story.

Okay back to the story though. So Kennosuke has sworn to protect the princess for his entire life and so he still wants to find her but in the meantime he vows to protect Yukina as well since she looks like the princess. Also, as she woke the robot up, they are now linked as pilot and support for the mech. It can only work at 100% power with two riders and nobody else can connect so in a way their destinies are connected now. Some characters aren’t so thrilled about this but what are you going to do right?

It starts off as more of a monster of the week setup but gradually we meet the main villain cabal and get more of an ongoing story here. For example there is a mysterious lady named Muetta who looks just like the princess but is working for the villains. What’s going on there? Then you have a guy from school who likes Yukina and is super jealous of Kennosuke but is also feeling a huge lack of confidence because Kennosuke is just so much more powerful and talented. This guy can’t hope to beat him in a fight so what else can he do? So starts some of the drama.

In general I would say the romance here isn’t great. There are quite a lot of them going on here like with the classmates even outside of the main romance. The problem is that for a lot of these it’s too soon. Take Kennosuke, he liked the princess and then falls for Yukina who looks just like the highness but is he really liking her then or just seeing the princess in her? The show actually deals with this fully so I’ll give it some props there. The reason why I also give the romance some more credit is it doesn’t go 0-100 and even by the end of the series it’s still ongoing and now years have passed. So they’ve actually had time to develop even if Kennosuke can still be a little iffy about the cosplay pictures.

The romance with Mika and the shy kid Jose was more on the cringe side. I mean that’s his whole thing like when he tried to make an emotional message appear in a video he shot for the class and nobody noticed. I never ended up liking Jose though, he tries really hard but didn’t have a ton of personality by the end. The rest of the slice of life elements could be fun enough though. Perhaps filming a movie dragged on a little bit but playing sports and going on field trips was a nice way to explore the characters more. It was successful enough in that the whole class (The named characters at least) remain memorable even after you have finished the show. You won’t forget any of them.

In terms of balance it would probably be nice if the heroes had more resources though. They seem completely doomed if the villains got serious about fighting them. Keep in mind that it’s Earth against the whole villain empire which is apparently many, many planets strong. The only reason Earth hasn’t been wiped off the planet is because they want some resources and because the villains are too proud to ask for backup. See, there are 5-6 main villains in the cabal and they figure asking for back-up would cause them to lose face…so they just don’t ask. I mean perhaps they would be blown up so it may be a smart move but Earth really gets lucky all the time because they aren’t ready for a huge fight which is made clear every time the villains attack. If Kennosuke wasn’t around they would have gotten eliminated rather quickly.

Now lets jump into the characters. First up we have Kennouke who is a loyal samurai. He doesn’t know much about the modern world so he has the classic fish out of water arc but manages to not be very annoying about it. Considering all the hoops the government has him jump through, he does his best to comply. He’ll still stick with his sense of justice though. The only time he wavers a bit in a bad way is with dealing with Muetta since she looks so much like the princess. He froze up when it counted which was unfortunate but beyond that I wouldn’t say that he made any real mistakes. His fighting abilities are the real deal as well.

He does try to keep Yukina away from danger a lot but aside from the fact that it makes sense in a historical setting since you would usually try to keep women and children away from the battlefield, he also knows that she can’t fight and they’re up against aliens who show no mercy. So it’s totally reasonable on his end but of course the choice is quickly taken out of his hands considering that he can’t even pilot the robot without her. He tries to fight one while on foot but that doesn’t go very well. I tend to like characters that are very honorable and so Kennosuke made for a good lead.

Meanwhile Yukina is a solid heroine. At first the whole thing is a little too much for her and so naturally she wants out but once she sees that this is really happening then she gets on board. Yukina does her best to help out, even fighting when necessary. She may not stand out as much as some of the other characters but her bravery can keep pace with them and I don’t really have any negatives for her. I was also glad that she flat out rejected Ryoto as opposed to keeping him guessing.

Ryoto is the guy who likes Yukina but you know that he’s doomed from the start because he’s not the main guy. Apparently he also used to lightly bully/tease her back in the day based on some of the character dialogue although it was all prior to the series starting. This guy tries his best to get her to notice him but ultimately she just says that’s not going to happen and by the end of the series he has slowly started to accept this. He didn’t have a whole lot of purpose in the series but at least he was never selfish about the whole thing. He didn’t try to sabotage the heroes or do anything petty. He was upset with Kennosuke the whole time of course but that was about it.

Jundai is another one of the classmates who gets a fairly big role. He likes filming everything which is his big gimmick. Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot to him beyond that. He also tries filming Mika a bit when she’s not aware of it which quickly dropped him all the way down. That’s usually not part of his character but one time is all it takes. I already talked about Mika being a fun character so not much more to say about that. She never doubted Yukina or Kennosuke no matter what others said and she helped him get used to modern day life without making a big deal of it all.

Marina is the school counselor but she’s woefully unprepared for virtually every situation in the series. She really wants to be helpful but just has a super tough time with it because she’s too scared to actually talk with people straight on. I wouldn’t say she ever got to be a very great character for me personally. If she was more confident that would have gone a long way.

Then we have Sophie who is a prodigy and is very good at using her mecha even though she is still a student and not yet a professional. She has actual practice with the sword and this translates into her piloting skills. She seems to like Kennosuke initially but gradually gets out of the race as the series goes on. She usually keeps a calm head and is always a reliable ally to have. Since most of the supporting characters didn’t end up being too helpful in the actual fights, it was good to have someone who could really fight here.

Hiromi is a character who could have easily ended up not being very good but the show handled her well. She is Yukina’s mother and also one of the chief scientists. That means she is often put in a position where she has to side with the government and can’t trust Kennosuke all that much. She is also always very busy so Yukina feels like she is neglectful. In some shows this may be the case but this time I actually thought she did a good job of always being there for Yukina. Later on when she is forced to really have to choose between the government and her daughter, she wisely picks Yukina. That was where she solidified herself as one of the better characters here. There comes a time in every character’s life when they have to make a choice and you always want to make sure you make the right one.

Tom and Liu are two of the professionals who lead the defense force. They are quickly rendered moot once Kennosuke shows up but to their defense they are still a tough combination and hold their own against the villains. Tom is the hot heads of the group while Liu tries to hold him back and is definitely the calm member. They make for a good duo but you do feel like their role in the show isn’t huge either way. You could probably cut them out and not much would change.

Takehito is another character who doesn’t appear all that much. He’s Yukina’s father and seemingly died a long time ago in the woods but it’s hard to tell if the aliens got him or something else. As the show goes on we do learn what really happened to him but I can tell you that it’s a little underwhelming. Ultimately I didn’t think his plot ended up being all that engaging. It’s mainly used for world building which is great of course but it tends to be more on the dry side so you’re always waiting to see the main characters again.

The same is true of Zell to a large extent. He’s the mysterious alien from a third party faction and at least he has the whole intrigue on his side. Is he friend or foe? You have to decide how much you actually trust him as the series goes on. Sure, he did end up saving the heroes once or twice but sometimes that’s just a tactic to try and get into their good graces so you can’t afford to let your guard down. In the end i thought he was okay. A bit soft spoken for my tastes though and he tends to fade into the background instead of stealing the scenes that he’s in.

Then we have Sabastian who is Sophie’s butler and you might expect him to have a small role but he ends up doing quite a lot by the end. He can fight and knows how to pilot a robot. He takes his job of protecting Sophie very seriously and you end up being impressed by the commitment that he puts into this. Most butlers would have absolutely faltered before he did. Meanwhile you have Koharu as a nice little character. She’s Yukina’s sister so she’s too young to do much here but helps make Kennosuke feel at home and is generally a nice person.

Then you have Arthur who is the big government general but he looks pretty bad. Mainly my issue with him is the fact that Kennosuke helps out so much and the guy still won’t trust him at all. More specifically, it’s fine if he doesn’t trust him so long as he doesn’t do anything about it, but he handcuffs, arrests, zaps, and ultimately keeps betraying Kennosuke at every turn. This guy is actively working against his planet’s own defenses after a while. A key moment in this is when he sends out the robot army against Kennosuke.

Keep in mind that the planet only has maybe 3-4 active robot fighters at any given time and so each one Kennosuke is forced to damage is just leaving the planet in further ruins. Arthur always just appears as very shortsighted and he just looks awful at the end of the series. The characters probably should have just did a full revolt by the end of it all. With him as the leader they aren’t going far.

Now as for the villains, the most important one is probably Muetta. After all there’s the mystery of her looking like the princess which is a big deal. She’s a fun fighter and can fight in close quarters as well as in her mech. She has some amnesia so she doesn’t remember a whole lot…makes it easy to theorize some things. She added a fun bit of mystery to the series so it was definitely fun to have her around.

Lefil is the leader of the villain cabal but unfortunatley he doesn’t live up to the hype. 90% of his screen time is sitting upon his massive thrown and talking tough but when it comes time to put his money where his mouth is, the guy falls short. He just isn’t able to keep up. Sure he is technically a good fighter but the show really needed to depict him doing a little more to justify his position at the top of the foodchain.

Meanwhile Mirasa gets a big role because of how jealous she is of Muetta. Mirasa wants to be known as the top villain and so she goes around lying and trying to take Muetta down. After a while keeping up the lie of Muetta having died is rather difficult since Muetta is still running around. Mirasa really digs her own grave here and while it’s always fun to have villains in-fighting and creating their own factions, I was rooting for anyone to take her down. Mirasa just felt very petty.

The rest of the villains mostly don’t have big character arcs or anything like that. Imusa and Hedo mostly just blend in with the others but the way Hedo goes out was almost funny so he loses extra points there. Finishing yourself off is almost never the right way to move up the ranks. Fusunani at least had the moment of busting out of jail and taking a lot of names to bump him up the list. That was a very impressive sequence. Finally Yoruba had a flying mecha which was really impressive since that is exactly the kind of suit you want to have to fight the more impressive opponents.

Yeah there were quite a few characters here and it helps to get the feeling across that this is a true war. It’s an alien invasion that the main characters are fighting off and so of course you should have a number of different villains to go up against. Having just one or two just wouldn’t feel right. I would definitely be hyped for a sequel to this someday though. How I see it, they are going to have to introduce a bunch of new characters and weapons for the heroes to stand any chance here.

Without going into details, there is quite the large time skip at the end and considering that Kennosuke was heavily outnumbered I’d assume that logically he’s dead by the enemy’s hands. If we get a sequel I’m sure he will be alive so best bet is they captured him but if somehow he’s winning I won’t be able to buy that. He has trouble just fighting a 2 vs 1 battle, how can he handle hundreds of these guys? The ending doesn’t paint a very hopeful picture for his odds even with Yukina getting ready. At least she can fight pretty well now too but there’s a big gap between fighting very well and conquering historic odds.

Overall, You should have a good time with Kuromukuro. I’d consider it to be a fairly strong Sci-Fi adventure. It gives you a lot of time to really get to know the characters which is something that many shows don’t have time for. The battles are always a lot of fun but it’s also nice to be able to just hang out with the characters. There is plenty of time for this in titles like Naruto and Bleach which is part of why they’re so huge but titles under 30 episodes usually don’t have as much time for it. There’s a good balance here and that’s why I’d say it’s a fundamentally sound show all around. I’d recommend checking it out even if the government will annoy you the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Romantic Killer Review


Romantic Killer is a bit of a different romance title but you can probably guess that from the title. The main heroine isn’t going to make things easy and that’s why she refers to herself as the Anti-Heroine. It’s a nice spin on things which you’ll see once I get to the plot. The ending doesn’t drop the ball on this either so it stays true to the plot and I would say this is a pretty good adventure.

So the show starts by introducing us to Anzu who is really having a great life so far. She has a nice pet cat, her collection of video games, and a whole lot of chocolate! Yeah life is pretty much perfect but one day a fairy named Riri infiltrates Anzu’s home and announces that Anzu’s top 3 possessions in life will be taken away from her. Anzu can no longer eat chocolate, her cat has been taken away, and her video games are also gone. The only way to get these back is to fall in love with a guy. Yes, Anzu is being blackmailed into falling in love by this fairy who basically says that she is doing it for Anzu’s own good. Anzu refuses and says she will not get a boyfriend no matter what happen and Riri puts this to the test by using her magic to summon a bunch of guys in the most contrived situations in order to break Anzu. Can she stay strong?

I think part of the big thing that separates this from the other shows is how Anzu is so completely against getting a boyfriend. In a lot of these shows the heroine technically wants to find a guy but it’s either tough to confess her feelings or things just weren’t working well. Here, Anzu is against this but you are supporting her because of the situation.

If a fairy shows up to ruin your life and said you would only get it back by getting a boyfriend, wouldn’t you want to rebel? You want to control your life and how things go but letting yourself get manipulated is not a good idea. You’re completely rooting for Anzu because of this without a doubt. You could even say that there is a tragic angle to this as it means that Anzu really can’t give any of the guys a fair shake as a result. I can’t say I felt bad for them though…this is just how it goes sometimes.

The show’s almost like a competition between Riri and Anzu or you could also think of it like a video game. Every time Anzu stops one guy she is met with an even tougher challenge in the next level. Since Riri has magic it’s also not like there is any chance of this stopping anytime soon. The game is set up against Anzu for sure because there is no end date to this. In theory Anzu could be doomed to not have her possessions forever which is pretty rough to think about. So time is on Riri’s side as Anzu’s resolve could theoretically start to shake the more the days/months/years go on.

It goes without saying that I don’t like Riri for this reason. She is just trying to force Anzu into love which is absolutely the wrong approach. I know Riri is merely an employee working for some really tough bosses who will do whatever they want but Riri still has a choice not to do this. The only possible way I could defend Riri is if she gave Anzu some kind of a chance and a reward to even things out. For example, declaring that Anzu has lost her 3 possessions for a full year and if she makes it through that period without a boyfriend then she will get something extra. I dunno, a million dollars or something. That would really raise the stakes.

I’d say Riri is also annoying because you can’t count on her when the going gets tough. Things get serious near the end of the series as we get a real villain and some life or death stakes and suddenly Riri’s magic isn’t so helpful. Either the wand is dirty or she’s too slow to help but it’s just annoying. Seriously what’s the point of magic if you can only show up in time to annoy everyone?

Riri also sometimes acts against her best interests by getting Anzu into tricky situations that make the other guys a bit wary. I suppose the long con here is getting the other guys jealous enough to make a move but eh…..doesn’t seem worth it. There’s really no point in Riri shapeshifting into a guy except to make things tough on Anzu and cause misunderstandings. At least Riri does one nice thing by the end but that’s about it.

Now for Anzu, well I was quite pleased with her character from the start. You absolutely empathize with her because her top 3 hobbies are very relatable. Who doesn’t like to just enjoy time with their pet, video games, and eating some chocolate on the side? Those are the top 3 hobbies out there and so when they are taken away you can understand her anguish. The fact that she immediately takes such a hard stance against having a boyfriend was brilliant.

Throughout the show she conducts herself well. One thing I appreciated is that she isn’t rude about it. Anzu is quite straight forward about not wanting to get romantically entangled with anyone but is still willing to be their friend and just a nice person in general. It would have been so easy to make the main heroine a jerk but the show doesn’t do that.

Anzu is also potentially putting herself at a disadvantage by letting herself be close to these guys but she just wants to do the right thing and that’s great. Doing the right thing is its own reward after all. Anzu can also fight a little bit as needed even if she doesn’t get to go hand to hand against the main villain. That would have been nice but she stood in there and didn’t give up.

She is also able to talk back to any bullies and defends her friends. We get a quick flashback later on in the series with her best friend Saki and see how Anzu just squashed all of the bad rumors. Anzu doesn’t let any injustice happen on her watch and this continues into the present when she tells off the girls who were going after Tsukasa.

A lot of times when a girl asks if the heroine can let her meet up with the main guy, the heroine relents. Usually it’s a mix of “Well, he’s not my boyfriend so I don’t care.” or “Sure, I don’t see any harm in that.”. This was better as she just said she wouldn’t be a party to any of this and wouldn’t set up anything since Tsukasa obviously didn’t want to hang out with these characters. Anzu speaks her mind which is a big upgrade from many characters.

Her friend Saki doesn’t get a whole lot to do here since most of the show is about Anzu meeting up with the various guys but she did good in her limited screen time. She had a really rough backstory that also shows why she is so close to Anzu now. She really rebounded from how things used to be to still be popular and nice in the present instead of jaded about everyone.

Now lets talk about the guys. As they’re all effectively boss battles, I’ll describe them like video game fighters. I should note that Riri does make sure to mention that she isn’t mind controlling anyone. That would have been a very dubious moment after all so while she dos create circumstances to play matchmaker, the characters all do actually like Anzu of their own accord. This was a good move by the way as all of the romances would have really been doomed otherwise.

Of course I can’t say that I was really on board with any of the romances here either way. I stand with Anzu in staying strong against these guys since the fairy is trying to play matchmaker with blackmail the whole time. So without that then maybe they’d have a chance but nah that’s game over until the deal is over.

So first up we have Tsukasa. He’s the cool guy in school who is mega popular but really cold to any girls that are around. He’s got a tragic backstory and his best asset is the fact that he is always around. Put it this way, Riri flooded his house so now Tsukasa has to live with Anzu for a while. That means since they are together a whole lot there isn’t a way to really avoid him.

It would be difficult not to become friends after that and so keeping the line drawn is the tough part. For Tsukasa it’s easy to see why he falls for Anzu because up until now he’s always been around a lot of very judgmental people. Anzu is the only one who treats him as just an ordinary guy and is super casual around him instead of putting on a persona.

Then you have to also factor in Tsukasa’s childhood tragedy involving a stalker named Yukana. basically Tsukasa was traumatized by her because of how unhinged she was. She would buy him clothes and follow him around and ultimately even drugged him. He was very fortunate that things didn’t escalate past that. So he’s unable to really feel free outside as he doesn’t want her to find him again.

He easily has the most amount of screen time and development so even though there are a few guys here and it’s more of an ensemble show, it’s fair to say that he is the main guy here. The climax even revolves around him so at the end of the day you figure that while he is the first boss battle of the show, he also works as the final boss. Anzu has to be careful around him.

Then we’ve got Junta and his biggest attribute to watch out for is that he’s the Childhood friend. He moved away for a while but he’s back now and is ready to try and make a move. He’s loved Anzu for many years and never got over her but of course she never really noticed this. I mean that’s on Junta for not saying anything though. When you’ve got a crush you have to either silently get over it or let the other party know but staying silent is the only way to really lose.

Junta is great at sports and is a super nice guy. As the nicest member of the guys that is another aspect of his to watch out for. He gives everyone a fair shake but can be stern when needed. He lacks self confidence which may make it easy to give him sympathy points though so that’s something else to watch out for. On one hand, the fact that he’s liked her for years helps in the romance angle because it’s not super sudden like Tsukasa. It’s more of a believable romance even if Anzu never noticed him before.

Of course at the same time ending the plot as an unrequited love while tragic always makes things a bit more compelling as you get to see him slowly accept that just being a normal friend really isn’t that bad. If he was a bit bolder then I would like him more but I rarely like the characters who really aren’t confident like this. He tends to throw in the towel early until he’s given a motivational speech.

Then you have the third main guy here named Hijiri. Well he’s rich which is always a very tempting attribute in any character. If Anzu ends up with him then she will be set for life and will never have to worry about anything ever again. You should never marry for riches of course…but it is probably the single most tempting thing aside from pure love.

Hijiri is used to everyone throwing themselves at him so of course the fact that Anzu isn’t interested at all just makes him want her even more. He has a tough time acting normal though and tends to throw around insults by mistake and can be generally annoying. Showing him how to live life as a normal person is something Anzu might feel instinctively so she has to worry about that. Of course she also has to be careful that she doesn’t just feel bad for him since he’ll be crushed. Pity dates are never a good idea.

Those are all of the main guys. There are a few supporting characters like Tsukasa’s friend Makoto who is around but it’s not like he’s ever involved in the romance. There is one extra guy for romance but his role is really small. His name is Ryuya and he’s really just annoying. He’s another childhood friend who liked Anzu but unlike Junta who was too shy to make a move and stayed quiet, he ended up teasing her a lot because of his crush.

You don’t see that happening as much nowadays but I do remember it being a really big thing for a while where they say you would tease and bully the person you like accidentally because you didn’t know how to interact with them normally. I gotta admit I always thought this was a super lame excuse. Seriously, your way of dealing with your feelings is to be mean to the person you like?

That’s just awful so nah I wasn’t going to root for him. Ryuya is super petty and nearly messes up the reunion for everyone by getting into his feels like this. It’s just not a good look for him at all. Maybe a tiny part of you feels bad for him…but it’s a super tiny part that is almost nonexistent. Anzu didn’t take any of it seriously at least and barely even remembers him so he should have just taken it in stride and kept it moving. They could totally be friends in the present without all the awkwardness but he really makes a spectacle of himself for a while there.

Finally we have some of the supporting characters from Tsukasa’s plot like his sister Arisa. She’s probably the only super nice member of the family. His father is a bit crazy as he blames Tsukasa for everything and unfortunately his mother tends to be a bit more passive about the whole thing. This really forced Tsukasa to have to move out and live on his own.

In part this would help him avoid the stalker but it’s also because he wasn’t getting any real support here. His father seemed to have a very old fashioned idea that if there were issues with a girl then it means that the guy led her on. He never even tries to hear Tsukasa’s side of the story and blames him entirely. This even continues on to the present. I wasn’t expecting him to stay as a villain in the present but it gave Anzu another really good moment.

Considering how much he went through, Tsukasa definitely turned out well. I also can’t say that he really made any big mistakes with how he handled the stalker situation. It’s really hard to know just how to handle something like that but he tried ignoring her, talking to her directly, but nothing would work. With someone like that who is clever enough not to break laws too openly escape can feel like the only real option. Especially since even once the courts get involved it doesn’t deter her.

Yukana is the stalker and the final boss of the series. It was nice to have some action at the end here for sure and when she took out the knife you knew things were going to get intense. It is crazy that with such a big cast, one person can make so many waves but the whole situation is handled pretty realistically. The show is mainly comedic but the whole stalker situation is handled super seriously. Riri at least helped a bit in summoning everyone at one point to deal with some bullies (Who had the least believable redemption arc in the franchise. They looked awful and were actually going to beat up Anzu so they shouldn’t have been forgiven so easily. I thought they should have been arrested personally) but Riri’s reasoning for not taking down Yukana directly was really weak.

Riri does need Anzu alive and well to get the mission completed so Yukana is an active threat. Ergo it should be reasonable to take her down but Riri is not convinced and can’t make a move without that confirmation. It’s definitely annoying and feels a bit contrived since otherwise there would not really be a big climax like this. With magic ending it all would be easy.

The humor in the series works well. I would say that it is rarely laugh out loud levels of funny but you can appreciate the humor. I liked how fake they made the first dating sim look which helped to illustrate just what Anzu thought of the whole thing. A whole show with those graphics could actually be rather fun. You can also appreciate this from the guy’s point of view here as well since they all like her and she just has no interest in returning those feelings.

Think of it like everyone falling for the popular girl in school. Usually in the movies there is the main guy who ends up breaking past the pack and they get together so this show is more like if there was no guy. Everyone here are the bit players in the average movie who are doing their best to get her to notice them and it’s all to no avail. None of their feelings are being returned and that’s just how it goes sometimes.

Meanwhile the animation for the show is good too. I get the feeling that it wouldn’t work too well with a lot of movement because it feels a bit rigid but at the same time the colors really stand out. Everyone has eyes that are really sharp and the colors are on point. For a show like this where there won’t be big action scenes I think it makes sense to focus on the artwork than on pure animation. Because of that the visuals will really age well even several years from now. It’s why all of the screenshots look so sharp here as well. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side though. I really couldn’t recall a single tune by the time the show was over but I want to say that it did work well while watching the show.

There is an interesting gimmick where any bugs are turned into different cakes in the show. It’s super random but I’d say that it works because of that. It’s almost like the show is throwing in some photoshop and you can’t go wrong with that. I guess Anzu needed one weakness as well since otherwise she was shredding all obstacles. So since she is scared of bugs that throws the guys a little lifeline to use.

Overall, Romantic Killer is a pretty fun show and I definitely had a good amount of fun with it. It succeeds by focusing more on the challenge and comedic aspects than the actual romance. The serious stuff was handled well too but to me the comedic moments are when the show is at its best. I’d be down with a season 2 to see how this continues on and if they stick to those fundamentals then I think it would be in good shape. In theory Anzu should still be trying to stay strong and it would focus more on the guys doing their best to win her over. It would make for a fairly unique spin on the whole romance genre and if it balances in the humor like this one did then I think it would be a success. Of course the ending is always really important for a show like this as well so they do need to make sure to stick the landing. I believe the show can pull this off though. The ending here could have easily been dodgy but it wasn’t so that worked out.

Overall 7/10

Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea Review


At long last, it’s time to dive in to the aquatic romance drama from a while back. This is quite possibly the most dramatic romance that I’ve seen to date. Just about every episode seems to end with a massive cliffhanger like someone confessing or being (literally) swept away before they can do something. It’s a very interesting show so you’ll stay engaged the whole time and ends up being a solid show for that reason. That said, while there are a lot of romances in the show, I can’t say that I could get behind most of them, but the main romance was on point which is what counts right?

The show introduces us to a world very much like ours except for one big difference, a huge chunk of people live underwater. This started ages ago and so there is a divide between those who live underwater and those who live on the surface. They don’t tend to get along very well but at least the kids are allowed to attend school on the surface. They have Ena which effectively lets them breath and interact as normal but they must stay hydrated by swimming or splashing water on themselves every once in a while or they could dry out and die. It certainly makes everyday life a little trickier.

The surface dwellers are all completely normal while the underwater factions get a bit more supernatural too. See, they serve the Sea God and he is represented by a familiar/high priest who accepts their tokens and free meals in exchange for keeping things peaceful. You get the feeling that the surface dwellers wouldn’t buy into that as much. There is a whole world out there but the series mainly sticks to one village. I found myself wondering how the rest of the planet handles the situations and disasters that come into play later on in the series. I guess there wasn’t much time for that but it would have been interesting.

Now lets get to the main story. We follow a group of kids from underwater, Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname and they’ve always been a very close knit group. They would like for things to stay the same always but with their having to go to school on the surface and growing up that seems impossible. They’re all changing and there is no way to turn the clock back now. They can at least do one last big project together which is to create a Lady Ojoshi doll to celebrate the annual Ofunehiki festival. This used to be an annual thing before there became a lot of bad blood between the two factions of humans.

Having kids from the sea and surface work on this together could help to finally heal the divide but it won’t be easy because Hikari isn’t particularly happy about this. He started off on the wrong foot with the surface characters because a guy named Tsumugu is among them and Hikari’s childhood friend Manaka seems to like him. This is where all of the drama starts. The chain of events seems to be: Kaname likes Chisaki who likes Hikari who likes Manaka who likes Tsumugu. With everyone chasing after someone else, that means almost nobody can have a happy ending here.

This is a very character driven show of course so you can expect a whole lot of development for all of the characters here. The romances are a big factor in the show as well so I’ll talk about each one and how they stack up. The cast is at a decent size here as well but fortunately the series is over 20 episodes as 13 probably wouldn’t have been enough to really handle this one. As it is, you feel like the show did a good job of covering a whole lot of ground and even changing things up with a big time skip midway through the series.

The animation is fairly good here. I wouldn’t call it anything super special but as this isn’t an action series they don’t have to worry about big fight scenes or anything. The backgrounds with the water are on point and that’s what counts. The visuals underwater can be good as well and I liked the ice effects. The show could have a bit of fanservice at times but for the most part stays away from that so you could still call this a classier romance story. Falling into that trap would have been bad for the show.

The soundtrack is really good. In this case the second ending particularly jumps out as it plays early for a few of the cliffhangers and works really well. Whenever you hear the song picking up you know that something big is about to happen. It’s suitably emotional and works really well for the show. I’ve listened to it quite a few times and the normal tunes during the episodes are good enough as well. They really serve to enhance the scenes.

Where the show does particularly well is with the drama. The show takes itself really seriously and it works here. Typically I am more of a comedic romance fan if I have to watch something that’s part romance but everything here was dialed up to 11 and it just worked. The show doesn’t do anything halfway and the drama kept me interested so it succeeded. I’d say that’s a credit to the writing as well as to the strong character cast here. You wouldn’t be able to pull off a romantic drama otherwise which is why the genre is so tough to get right. There are some really annoying characters here but that tends to be intentional. The pacing is good as well but now lets go into the characters in more depth.

Lets talk about Hikari first. As the main character he will be getting a ton of screen time here. Initially he is very headstrong and always getting into fights as he lets his jealousy over Manaka get the best of him time and time again. He’s quick to fight and constantly gets into a lot of trouble. It’s hard to root for him at this point in time because he’s just causing so much damage. It’s also the wrong approach to try and win Manaka over as well.

After the time skip he’s a lot more mature and a much improved character. He definitely did good by that point and does his best to keep everyone on track. He really grew into the leadership role out of the main group of friends and by the end I liked him a good amount. Then you have his best friend Kaname who is much more of a quiet figure. He tends to keep his feelings to himself most of the time and just enjoys being part of the gang. Gradually as he sees everyone else making moves he starts to make his.

Unfortunately while Hikari went up as the series went on, Kaname kept on going down. He started out well as the smart member of the group who always had Hikari’s back but then things started to get rough when he would do whatever it took in order to try and win out in the battle of relationships. This would cause him to put Hikari on the spot and try to stir up trouble. He went way too far at different points and there was no going back for that. It’s quite possibly why his ending isn’t quite as bright as some of the others.

Manaka is the fun heroine here who always has a good time and sees the bright side of things. She’s always a fun character and also gets quite a bit of development as the series goes to the end. I don’t think she stuck out as much as the other main characters as her personality is a bit more simple and she doesn’t have as many big character moments to have to fight through. Still, she is always at the center of things so you will see a lot of her.

Chisaki is Manaka’s best friend but of course she likes Hikari so that makes things a bit tricky. Chisaki is always trying to be the very mature member of the group so in a lot of ways she is like Kaname there. That said, the more you bottle stuff up, the tougher it can be and so she makes the situation a lot tougher on herself. She just isn’t able to voice her feelings as easily as Hikari can. Chisaki certainly has her big moments here and of the 4 characters I would say that she gets the most tragic scenes. You feel worse for her than the other 3 in part because you really know that she’s doomed from the start while for the others you figure that they could possibly have a shot at some point.

Tsumugu is the guy from the land who is here to help out and he at least treats the ocean kids well from the start. You can’t say that about a lot of the other kids who were around. He knows a good amount about the ocean children which makes sense as the series goes on. I like that he has a cool head on his shoulders and doesn’t panic a ton the way the other characters do. Tsumugu calculates every move and then tries to find the ideal outcome. He takes this approach to romance as well and this makes for an interesting approach. I liked him well enough. He may have broken up the main dynamic of the main 4 which left them a little sore but he always meant well and he doesn’t tend to make any big mistakes.

Then we have Miuna and she starts out as a girl who causes a lot of little problems for the heroes but after the time skip she becomes a fairly big character. She likes Hikari but of course that’s a problematic crush there and so you can’t root for her and have to hope that she can get over it. Miuna feels doomed from the start due to this and while the whole thing is sad, you just need her to move on. Beyond that plot she was much improved after the time skip to the point where she could now think up plans to help with the festival and do her best to pull her weight.

Her friend Sayu gets a bit less of a role. She starts studying really hard though and does her best to be a bit of a genius. She tends to also be good at being direct with the other characters like Miuna and isn’t quick to get too discouraged or depressed. Her romance may have some of the least development to it but at the end of the day she has spent years on improving herself and putting herself in the best possible position to land her guy. I appreciate the effort into that.

Lord Uroko is an annoying character though and now he’s someone that you won’t be rooting for. He likes to remind everyone that he is just a scale of the sea god so he can’t do much but he rarely helps the heroes out. He tends to feel like a pawn all the way through but one who makes the wrong decisions. Attacking the heroes was already uncalled for with the ice but then helping with the tidal waves? This guy’s a villain if you ask me and I’m glad that Hikari didn’t give the guy a second thought as he went to save Manaka. Sometimes you just have to go out there and save lives even if the cryptic characters claim that it’ll just make things worse. You can’t listen to them.

Akari is a reasonable character for the most part. She was one of the first to rebel from the village since she liked someone from the surface world. I did not approve of the relationship but I agreed with getting out of the village. Those guys could be a little too dicey at times. She did her best to still mend the relationships with everyone in the meantime. Akari ended up being a very memorable supporting character. More so than her husband Itaru. I was less sold on him and he didn’t feel quite as pro active as she was. He was mostly just around but not doing much of anything.

Atsushi doesn’t have much of a role in the story at all except to be someone who likes Miuna but doesn’t seem to stand a chance. As soon as he appears you figure that he’ll get to do something though. I never really liked him much but his role is so small that you won’t really think about him anyway. Now Tomoru was a very annoying character. This guy is the chief of the village and yet he can never be bothered to actually help Hikari out. Worse than that is the fact that he will get in the way. The old traditions are just too important to him and he takes forever to act. He really needed to have Hikari’s back no matter what and helping out earlier could have also solved some of the issues they all faced ahead of time. By not doing that he just put them in an even deeper hole. He has got to be one of the worst characters in the show.

Now lets talk about the final pairings for the show and I’ll tell you which one(s) worked and which did not. This will of course have spoilers to skip the next 7 paragraphs if you haven’t seen the show yet. This is really about romance and drama so if you know all of the final pairing then it’ll probably take away from your enjoyment a bit. So yeah this is your big warning on skipping it because it’s time to dive right in!

First up we have Hikari + Manaka as the first final pair and this one you will probably have guessed. They’re the main two and the show is about all of the obstacles that get in their way. Hikari openly liked her from the start but it always seemed like Manaka liked Tsumugu so things weren’t working out. It turns out that she didn’t like him in that way and just appreciated having him as a good friend. Some scenes may make you think twice about that but at most I suppose you can write it off as her having a very temporary crush on him when they first met. That said, this is easily the strongest romance of the series.

It’s a romance where both of them were the top option for each other and that’s a good thing. There were no rebounds here and Hikari did try real hard for her. He got rejected several times for moving a bit too quickly and I’m all about slowing things down so that wasn’t bad of Manaka. Ultimately I could give this romance a thumbs up because a lot of time passed and so the relationship developed naturally rather than being rushed. It was a good romance all things considered.

Next up is Chisaki + Tsumugu and this one is definitely a lot weaker. Keep in mind that Chisaki has liked Hikari all this time. Tsumugu wasn’t even on her radar until deeper into the series once the time skip happened and Hikari wasn’t a realistic option anymore. Even then she didn’t want to get together with him because she figured that it just wouldn’t be right but by the end she “settled” for him. Second choices never really work and so naturally this one’s going to get the thumbs down. It’s still a rebound even if it’s slightly less so compared to some of the other romances coming up.

After those two is Kaname + Sayu and this is probably the weakest romance. Kaname was desperately after Chisaki and even played dirty with the other characters to knock Hikari out of the running but in the end she just never ended up liking him in that way. He still likes her by the end of the series and only gives Sayu the hope that one day he will like her. On one hand the pairing doesn’t actually happen yet so perhaps it never will but if it does then it wouldn’t work as another rebound. This romance also gets less screen time than most of the others. At the end of the day you felt like Kaname was probably going to lose out and as the show went on that is what happened. Playing dirty never pays.

Then we’ve got Miuna + Atsushi as another romance that takes a nosedive here. Atsushi likes Miuna a lot but the guy barely gets 10 minutes of screen time in the show. Miuna is flat out not interested because she likes Hikari. Glad that ship didn’t work out but Satoru would be a very obvious rebound if it happens. As with the last ship it was only starting to be set up and hadn’t actually gone through so that gives me a little leeway to not give it the full thumbs down yet.

Akari + Itaru is next up and this one is definitely a full thumbs down. Look, Itaru’s wife died fairly recent given how young their daughter Miuna still is and yet he is now going out with the wife’s best friend Akari? It’s easy to see why Miuna was so upset. It’s an unspoken rule that you never go out with friends and so that was a bad idea. It really didn’t make either character look good and while it’s supposed to be a very emotional moment, I wasn’t buying into it. This was a romance that didn’t really need to happen.

Finally we have the Lady Ojoshi and the Sea God. We get to learn more about this one and it just makes the Sea God look really petty and awful. He broke up a perfectly happy couple on a whim and while Ojoshi tried to be happy it was clear that this was not the case. By this point it’s not like you could take things back and so their relationship ends rather tragically. The Sea God then decides to be petty for the rest of his existence and becomes another one of the worst characters here so that’s definitely not a good look for him. In the end the only romance I actually thought was good was the main one with Hikari and Manaka. The rest of the romances lose out but the show is written well so it’s still a fun adventure.

I’ve mentioned quite a bit about how the writing was good for this show and it’s important because as a non action title you’re really counting on the writing and characters to be on point. Without them there is no way the show could have succeeded. It also made some really bold choices like having the big time skip midway through. Part of why that one was interesting was because only some characters aged as the ones in a coma did not. So that really served to change the dynamics up. A few years may not be too crazy and you could make it work in a relationship but at the same time it is still tough because you know that you missed out on several years of your life.

A lot of the show is about The Ofunehiki festival and creating a Lady Ojoshi. To be honest this tends to be the most dull part of the show relatively speaking as you’re more interested in the interactions than the actual play. It is used to great effect though as tragedies always happen around this festival. You can see why a lot of people don’t even want to do it anymore even if the adults handle it in a very petty way. Hikari really has to handle most of it which is a bad look for the grown ups. The time skip was a good way to show how things have changed for a lot of the characters and not as much for others. It’s almost like having two completely different shows rolled into one. Hikari is still stuck in his season 1 mode but everyone else has changed so much. Even the attitude when doing the festival again was very different for the adults and kids who had aged up. There was a lot less petty fighting and everything this time around as people saw the very real danger from last time but also the bonds that came through it. Still would have been interesting to see more of the outside world and I wonder if the threat was as apocalyptic as Lord Uroko made it out to be. Something tells me that he exaggerated a bit. This wasn’t the point of the show but it still made me interested.

Hikari also gets the best hype moments of the series like when he saved Manaka from the sea god’s trap. The shoe is not generally going for hype but it does have its moments. Due to the drama there will also be times during the show where everyone makes a mistake or two. I don’t think there is a single character here that acted perfectly but at least most of them are likable so it’s cool. Some moments may feel like they’re just here for drama but it just works out. Each episode has some kind of big development and that’s key for this kind of show. There is also some humor but for the most part this is a very serious show. A happy one as well as a sad one but you’re just along for the ride. It’s so eventful you may be tempted to say that it isn’t a slice of life but I think that’s still appropriate.

Overall, A Lull in the Sea is a good how. It’s a very emotional tale about romance and characters having to grow up. They all deal with a lot of drama and issues that pop up because no matter how hard they try, they aren’t able to keep the old dynamics the way they once were. It’s just not possible and the show is really about accepting change. While it may sound a little too dramatic on its surface, the show does a good job of keeping you invested. It just dives in 100% to being a super dramatic show and that really works out. I would recommend this if a drama sounds appealing to you. Then you won’t find ones much better than this title.

Overall 7/10

Lost Song Review


The power of song is definitely not something that you would expect to be the ultimate weapon but this show has characters weaponize it which makes for a pretty interesting story. The show is held back a little bit by rather sub par animation and it feels fairly low budget but at the end of the day the story is good enough to keep this as a good anime. It certainly tricked me a bit on how good I thought one character would look though.

The series starts off by introducing us to a girl named Rin who has the Power of Song. Basically her lyrics can turn into tangible power and so her grandfather forbids her from using this technique. Rin doesn’t get why he won’t even explain his reasoning but mostly agrees but one day while in the forest she runs into a guy named Henry who was attacked by a lot of foes and so she uses her songs to heal him. Unfortunately the villains notice this and burn her village to the ground which destroys her grandfather, sister, and everyone living there. She must now get to the capital and achieve her dream of singing in the choir to at least honor their memories.

Meanwhile in the other plot, Princess Finis has the power of song as well. Unfortunately the army is determined to use this ability in order to win their war. Prince Ruto says he will destroy Henry, the man she loves if Finis does not agree to this. So Finis uses her power to destroy opposing forces and heal their allies but each time she sings, a part of her life is drained away. If she doesn’t stop soon then she will die but how can she get around this hostage situation?

I always like having dual main characters so that you can eventually see the two meet up in a climactic moment. That appeal is lessened a bit in this show since it’s not a full action but either way you still want to see them meet up. The show is rather low key for the most part but things change in episode 7 and then the show kicks it up to another level. That moment is so good that it single handily elevates the show and from there we get some time travel shenanigans and alternate timeline routes which is great. It gets complex like Kingdom Hearts with a lot to think about but it works out really well.

As mentioned, one weak point of the show is the animation though. Sometimes it feels like they pretty much ran out of animation and so characters will barely move and the fights leave a lot to be desired. This show doesn’t look very good even if it occasionally has some decent shots. One that looked pretty bad though was one character burning to death but he looks just fine and you would almost think that he was casually tanking it if not for yelling. With the fight scenes being no good as well there just isn’t much to catch your eye.

The soundtrack isn’t all that memorable aside from the Song of Mortality which is really on point. It is fun how characters will just break into song though. It feels like an old Disney cartoon in that sense with how out of the blue it is. You’re definitely not going to see it coming. The first time it happens it will take you by surprise but in a good way. If it was overdone then it wouldn’t be good but I’d say that it works out well enough.

The most annoying character in the show is definitely Prince Ruto. For starters, he’s your classic prince who is using Finis and Henry the whole time but they don’t mess with him because he’s the prince. I always thought that was an annoying plot because they should just take him out. I never like it when the hero just holds back because of their station or because they don’t want to cause an uproar. This guy is actively murdering Finis by forcing her to sing so all bets should be off and you just stop him. Likewise Finis could take him out and then his threats on Henry wouldn’t work anymore.

The show makes Finis and Henry look really bad on this note though. They know that the guy is super evil. He hasn’t been subtle in this with the threats and forcing Henry onto the front lines. Yet, when Corte tells them that they should escape, they look shocked. They’re absolutely flabbergasted when she starts talking about just how corrupt he is. Then later on Prince Ruto summons a bunch of guards and asks Henry to come with him to his tent. Henry suspects absolutely nothing and walks in there without a care in the world. It was one of the most bizarre scenes I’ve watched in a long time. It’s like the writers left a bunch of scenes on the drawing board to explain why he wouldn’t suspect the obvious villain. Something wasn’t right here.

I did like Henry well enough in the show and he was my favorite character until Finis reached in and snatched that title by the end. Henry’s a good guy who is a soldier and is willing to risk his very life to protect his friends. There’s just one problem I have with him aside from being super naive and being an awful tactician. He is really weak. This is what took me by surprise by the way. Henry loses a whole lot in this show. He starts off episode 1 by losing to the enemy fighters but I figured it was a fluke. From there he is easily kidnapped on multiple occasions, loses every fight to the villainous Bazra until someone else has to literally fly him into the guy, and he doesn’t get any solid wins in the show.

The rough part is the show acts as if this guy is a super strong prodigy fighter but we never see that. The show definitely made some questionable decisions and this had to be one of the big ones. Then the supporting cast is a big weak here. We have Doctor Weissen as the quirky scientist character but there’s not much to him. It’s great that he was able to invent some good items but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say that he did much. There are several allies who follow Rin in order to help her but two of them don’t really contribute.

They are Monica and Allu. Monica is a girl who falls asleep whenever she is in danger. Yes that’s her entire gimmick here and it’s not a good one. Then there is Allu who has the amusing gimmick or hitting her legs like a drum whenever she talks but beyond that doesn’t have a whole lot of character. I really think the show could have left these two behind and kept the core hero group a little smaller which would have worked out better.

Finis has one ally in Corte but unfortunately she isn’t a great strategist just like Henry. She figures she can poison Prince Ruto but keep in mind that the guy knows she can’t stand him since she works directly for Finis. So one night an attendant is bringing Prince Ruto a drink and Corte quickly grabs a poisonous one. Okay this is brilliant, switch them out and the attendant will bring Ruto the wrong one right? Wrong! Corte says she wants to bring it herself and that’s where the plan died. Why would Prince Ruto accept a drink from her now of all times? Then she’s not subtle in staring him down to the point where he asks why she is so interested in him drinking this wine. It’s clear that she doesn’t usually act like this and that’s too many mistakes to come back from. She meant well but handled this really badly.

I’d also say that Rin’s grandfather Talgia didn’t handle his side of things very well. He should have just told Rin that if she used her powers then the army would come to kidnap her since they are kidnapping all users of the power of song. That’s it, just give that quick explanation and at least the odds of Rin listening go up dramatically. By acting like he just didn’t like songs and not giving a reason, it made him look completely unreasonable.

Now lets talk about the characters who were a lot more on the solid side. First up is General Bazra who is actually a really solid villain. He also uses Finis in order to attack the other armies but is a lot more strategic about it. He isn’t just randomly being petty and super evil but is doing it strategically in order to win. He has his reservations about her and is always on guard but in general he does well. It helps that I gained respect for his fighting ability every time he beat Henry over and over again. That’s not easy after all but he made it look easy.

Then we have Rin’s friend Goodlight. She’s a travelling singer and can be a little selfish with how she doesn’t want to pay for her room but as the series goes on she is a nice character who helps the heroes out. She is always ready to fight which is a good thing and really comes in clutch. Her fighting abilities may not be enough to get them out of trouble most times but it is a good start and the kids would be in trouble without her.

Rin’s best friend here is Al and he’s not really my kind of character ordinarily but I thought he did a good job of holding it together. When he gets emotional he breaks off from the group so that they won’t notice and while his inventions aren’t very good at the start, he does contribute later on. He definitely had a rough path in the show but did about as good as you could reasonably expect him to without any super powers that he could use.

As for Rin, she’s a decent main character but definitely a lot less interesting than Finis. Rin wants to sing as it was her dream but the dream doesn’t really feel like a big deal compared to most. With her village burning down, you’d almost think that she would be on a quest for revenge or something like that. Maybe it’s for the best that she didn’t go that route but singing still feels like it would be really low on her list of priorities.

Her songs are quite strong though and it is fortunate that she is able to keep on singing without losing her life force the way that most do. Rin gets a lot of big moments as the series goes on. The way her character arc ends isn’t particularly satisfying but at the end she made the hard calls and was a trooper throughout. I just think there should have been more to her character. There’s not much you can say about her beyond the fact that Rin was a good person and that’s more of a statement than a whole personality.

Finally we’re up to Finis and I have a very high opinion on her character. Now she didn’t start out great. At first she is rather clumsy, naïve, and tends to get into trouble. She may be a royal but she doesn’t really know much of what is going on around her. She is super popular and everyone looks up to her but she isn’t really able to leverage this into political power because of her lack of experience.

So at the start it’s annoying because she lets the prince do whatever he wants with her. This all changes in episode 7 and from there on she becomes a great character. I’m now going to get into spoiler territory here so if you haven’t seen the show then you can skip the next 6 paragraphs but it involves timelines and such which is always way too much fun not to talk about. So again this is your last chance and I’ll see you at the ending.

In episode 7 Finis is tricked into murdering Henry via being burned to death. She wasn’t able to react quickly enough to dowse him with water but in part this is also because she ran out of songs. This was the last one that she could use and now she would die. At least…that’s what everyone had said and Finis believed this as well. Desperate times call for desperate measures though and she decides to sing the Song of Mortality. This is a song that will cause doom and devastation and Finis intentionally uses it on a global scale to try and destroy the world. It’s her last big revenge against everyone who has wronged her.

The whole plot of the show changes a bit from this. Finis succeeded in a sense but the song also granted her complete invincibility. Now she has to live through life over and over again and each time it ends she wakes up in a new timeline. Each timeline is similar to the first but different in some ways. In one of them Henry became a scholar for example. But no matter how many times she lives, dies, and repeats she can never be happy. It seems like it just never works out for her. So her plan is to find a timeline similar to the original one but this time she will sing the song while being powered by the choir and can destroy everything absolutely. This can break the chain of immortality and put her at peace.

The plan isn’t foolproof because it’s possible that her immortality just can’t be broken but it’s a plan at least and so I suppose you’ve got to go with that. She has to cling on to some kind of hope at this point because otherwise living out countless lives while never being able to age or die is rough. It doesn’t help that people are corrupt in every timeline and always try to attack her. She also found out that her abilities didn’t have a limit and now she can freely use them to attack others. She puts this to good use in working for the villains as a means to an end.

Therein lies the main twist which is that the timeline we’ve been following was not the original but the latest one which is why there were two of her. The original timeline failed a long time ago, it reminds me of Eden Zero where they do something similar. I do like the idea that for once the original timeline wasn’t the chosen one or anything like that. We’re in a whole new one at this point and in a sense it’s the final one if her plan doesn’t work. Finis makes for a great villain, much better than as a hero. She was a lot of fun to root for as a capable opponent for the heroes.

Realistically if she went all out then they would have been doomed from the jump so don’t expect a real fight. It’s more of a conversation with hope and all. Rin also gets a big role to play but that’s why the ending of the show is no good. It turns out Rin was a song and so she ends up dying at the end to bring Finis back to full power as her role was over. It’s not the ideal ending and you were hoping that she would just come back to life. Instead, she is reborn as a baby where she can now grow up. Of course this means that Al is out of luck since their romance isn’t going to happen now.

This is the only part of the loop that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Rin ended up being the baby in the timeline she came from that wouldn’t have been possible. Song or not, the age of the event wouldn’t have added up. Perhaps there is an essay somewhere to explain it but I definitely thought that was a little on the sketchy side. The show tried a little too hard to make everything interconnected with lots of twists and such there. This time they probably just should have let that one go.

Overall, Lost Song is a fun show. It starts off a bit quiet but the second half is on point. Episode 7 is the turning point of the show and where things get good. The Song of Mortality scene is easily the highlight of the whole anime and you won’t soon forget the music or the animation there. On the whole the show doesn’t look or sound like anything special but they put out all of the stops. The ending may not be very good but it’s also not awful so it’s not going to completely derail the show or anything like that. I’d recommend checking this show out if you want to see a fun music based title. It’s only 12 episodes so it won’t take long.

Overall 7/10

Clannad Review


Clannad is one of those romance anime that you had to have heard of at some point. It got really big back in its day after all as one of those shows that would get really emotional. Well I’ve finally gotten to check it out and it’s definitely a solid title. From the big 3 I would say it beats Air but loses out to Kanon. Ultimately the ending is probably the most satisfying out of all 3 but Kanon executed the mystery elements and ominous snow the best. You always felt like something crazy could happen at any moment and it did have someone fighting off monsters so it wasn’t afraid to get supernatural. This one gets supernatural as well but in a different way.

The show starts off by introducing us to Tomoya who is your average student just trying to enjoy his life to the fullest. He suffered an injury which prevents him from playing Basketball though and this has caused a big rift with his father who was seemingly at fault for this. So Tomoya is still bitter at this whole circumstance but tries to bury this beneath his carefree personality. His best friend Sunohara is even more carefree so the two of them get along just fine. As the show goes on Tomoya befriends 5 girls at the school and helps them deal with their own personal challenges and trials. Perhaps in helping them he will be able to get past his own issues as well.

So at its core this is a bit of a slice of life. Each story arc will focus on one girl in particular as Tomoya gives her his full attention. There are overarching plots throughout these arcs though and it’s not like the girls vanish. The main story is really about helping Nagisa get the drama club up and running. It’s tough though since the Student Council is all powerful and there aren’t enough members. That’s the general focus. So there’s always a lot going on but you can clearly tell who is the focus at any given point even while the main plot is going on. I would also consider this to be part harem as well since inevitably everyone seems to like Tomoya and you have to guess which girl he ends up with. It’s done in a classy way though where they’re not all trying to seduce him or anything like that. Plus the show is very tame with the fanservice.

I would say the amount of fanservice here is close to 0. Perhaps not at absolute 0, the ultimate technique of the Cygnus, but it’s close enough. That’s definitely a good thing, the show is going for a very mature vibe where the characters actually have real interactions with them and the drama isn’t forced. The show never has to try getting really edgy or flashy to keep the audience’s attention either which helps out quite a bit. In general this is what I expected though because this company is always good with that. I also appreciate that the series isn’t quite as depressing as something like Air which would absolutely have hurt the score here. Instead while not everyone gets a happy ending, nobody gets a terrible one either.

So lets go through each character and I’ll touch on their story beats. First we should start with Tomoya. His plot is ongoing as he talks to everyone else but perhaps because of this, his plot feels the most rushed and the one that doesn’t really get to end. Of course he doesn’t get along with his father which is a big plot point but surprisingly this doesn’t really get resolved. The final scenes with them give you the hope that things will start to change but it’s not really confirmed.

We don’t really see enough to truly get why Tomoya is so upset with the father though. Not being able to play Basketball ever again is definitely rough but was the father actually a vicious person back then, was it more or less an accident? You can make some good guesses based on how we see that he’s a full alcoholic now but it doesn’t seem like Tomoya really tried to help either. My interpretation was the show used this to tell us that Tomoya was actually the unreasonable one here. The contrast would be that he’s always ready to help everyone else out and be a super nice guy but he was too bitter to solve his own issue.

It’s an interesting angle and every scene we get in the show is the father trying to reach out and rekindle their relationship while Tomoya acts out. I just wish this could have gotten more closure. It’s the only part of the show that isn’t very satisfying. It didn’t need to show more of the flashback but just give more of a final conversation between the two of them. They didn’t even have to get along, having Tomoya decide that he just can’t do it would still work. Just something more than what we got.

As a character Tomoya is otherwise very solid though. While I didn’t agree with how he handled his personal issues, he was really helpful to everyone else. Tomoya was always willing to stick his neck out and try to improve a situation. He saved a lot of lives in that way and he was also quick on the uptake and always ready with some banter. The only times he would go too far with his teasing was with Fuko. He definitely should have eased up on messing with her while she was zoned out and it felt more mean spirited than funny. So as a main character he probably loses to the other two big KEY protagonists but there are more positives to his character than negative.

His friend Sunohara is a good character to talk about next because he doesn’t get much of a character arc. He’s the comic relief character of the group so as you can imagine things tend to be rather dicey for him. Unfortunately he’s the kind of character who is obsessed with girls the whole time and so most of his scenes fall flat. He’s easily got to be the worst character here and I think he should have just been cut out. I know a lot of times you need a second guy around so all of the characters can compare him to the lead and make their choice but this guy just isn’t needed.

At best he has a bit of a character focus in that he doesn’t like when characters make up excuses not to try so hard. He takes it extremely personal and uses that as extra motivation during the Basketball game. At his core he’s not a bad person as most of his scenes are just for laughs but even then I just wouldn’t say that I was a big fan. His sister Mei also doesn’t have a lot to do here and comes across as one of the more random characters. I guess she’s nice enough but since Sunohara already doesn’t have much of an important role here, you can probably guess that her role is really small as well.

First up is Kyou and she’s probably the most selfless of the heroines. She likes Tomoya but basically buries her feelings because her sister Ryou likes him. As a result she does her best to try and ship them together at every point. Unfortunately Ryou just isn’t able to capitalize on this and I’ll get into that more on her section. Kyou is easily one of the standout characters of the series and kept on fighting with Tomoyo (Not to be confused with Tomoya) as the best character in the series. She doesn’t really have a big character arc compared to the other girls. At most you could say that she had to come to terms with her feelings more directly as the series went on but she had no inner demons to conquer.

This is part of why she is such a great character. While everyone else was dealing with things, she was just putting others first and intentionally staying in the background. She’s also a very high energy character who is always acting really confident and getting the ball rolling. Kyou adds a lot to the dynamic in every scene and so you always appreciate having her around.

Now her sister Ryou just isn’t as solid. Of course you probably know that I’m not really big on the very shy characters. They just aren’t as entertaining and Kyou basically set her up with the bases loaded several times and Ryou messed it up every time. Even if Ryou is super shy, you’d think that she would at least honor Kyou’s constant sacrifices and try to talk to Tomoyo right? This is the main reason why I could never root for her. You’ve just got to give me at least an inch here. If Ryou isn’t willing to work towards her goal at all then it’s game over.

Just about any scene with Ryou is one where she is getting saved by Kyou. So I give Kyou full credit and top marks here but I have to give Ryou the big 0 if this was a test. She’s easily the least interesting of the heroines as well because there isn’t anything more to her than being timid. You could have her missing from an episode and I wouldn’t even notice.

Back to the high quality characters though, next up is Tomoyo and she aspires to be the student council president. She will help make a difference in the school and the current school council isn’t very good anyway so they really need to be bumped out. She’s a straight A student and top of her class but unfortunately her association with Tomoya may start affecting her reputation. She doesn’t care though and still brings in her best effort to not just be a guiding light to the best students but to the worst ones as well.

I liked her drive and she definitely went the extra mile. I think part of what makes her a good character is that she wasn’t just helping Tomoya because she liked him. I think she would have done the same thing for a number of other characters. I also appreciated her putting Sunohara in his place time and time again. That guy was definitely asking for it. She also gets more of a backstory than the others as she used to be a school delinquent which is where she learned to fight. This reputation has followed Tomoyo around to the point where it is hurting her future prospects as well.

So she has to try and get away from her past. The tough part is choosing between following her ideals or worrying about her self image. Of course she’s also got the romance plot to consider as well. I thought the show did a good job of making her a very well rounded character and someone that you could root for. She doesn’t hang out with the rest of the cast quite as much so in terms of full screen time she may have a bit less than the others but she does get a full epilogue episode in the what if scenario so that’s impressive.

Yes, past the final episode there is a what if episode about a different timeline and she’s one of the main characters there. That has to be fun for the fans since it seems rare that you would actually go far enough to check out another route like that. I’d say she earned it though, like I said she was always in the mix for being the best character here.

Another really good character was Kotomi. She probably has the toughest backstory to get around. Basically she was a child genius but the problem is that her parents were geniuses too and always had to balance a very difficult career. They were never home and so she was often neglected. One day they died in a plane crash and it really stunted her emotional growth to the point where she can’t really talk to people normally. That’s Tomoya’s queue to step in and talk to her. Gradually she learns to open up more and also confronts her past which she had been intentionally avoiding.

Now as a kid she did make some pretty big mistakes like a certain burning scene but as she was a kid it’s hard to blame her too much there. The oblivious character type isn’t often my favorite but the show doesn’t go too far with it. There’s also a twist about her knowing Tomoya back in the day which didn’t really help her recovery either. It’s easy to sympathize with Kotomi which is part of what helps her be a strong character her. I’d also say that being oblivious also helps a bit in the romance sense as she isn’t really trying for Tomoya. You can still sense the romantic undertones but it was nice to have someone who was really more of a friend the whole time.

Then there is Fuko who feels younger the whole time so it’s hard to see her as a romantic rival either way. Now she’s close to being dead so in a way you could say that she had it hard as well but living in a spirit body isn’t so bad. I’d say that the show doesn’t play this up as a super sad affair the whole time and the emotional parts are really about people not remembering her at times. It makes a case for being the saddest arc in the series. To counter that, Fuko is also the most cheerful member of the cast. Her arc is all about getting starfish to people and that gets tricky.

See, people don’t tend to remember her after a while. The rules of the supernatural follow the same ones as in Noragami where you need to constantly be around or have a powerful tie to the world or you will be forgotten. This arc definitely does get emotional with that because in a way you feel like there’s no way she can win in the end. In fact, the arc is even sadder in hindsight as the show goes on and the characters actually do forget her.

Again, the show doesn’t dwell on this so it’s not played up as a big tearjerker moment whenever she’s around but it’s definitely sad when you think about it. Until her real body wakes up, she is doomed to just wander the town for eternity with nobody recognizing or acknowledging her in any way. Only once a while when she charges up enough energy can she quickly catch someone’s attention but it’s always a very fleeting moment. It was always fun to see her although I think the show could have done a little more with her cameos down the road.

I wouldn’t say the show completely dropped the ball but there’s a lot of fun they could have had with this but all of her scenes basically end up being filler each time. That’s part of the gag but I think having a good heart to heart moment or something would have been nice there. Or maybe have the show end with her showing up and saying hey to the cast in her real body. Perhaps it would have taken some of the focus away but it would be worth it since I’d say that she earned her moment.

Finally we have the main heroine Nagisa. Now there’s a lot of pressure on being the main heroine. I’d say that goes without saying and it’s definitely the case here. Nagisa is a good character even if I would only put her 4th among the 6 girls. Nagisa really wants to be in a drama club but as for why that is, the show takes a little bit to build up to it. She can be a bit spacey and really likes the big Dango family. It tends to distract her and of course Tomoya is always distracted in helping the other girls so I guess they have that in common.

As the show goes on we naturally get a big backstory for Nagisa and it’s a sad one although not as sad as Kotomi or Fuko’s. Nagisa always feels like she did something wrong back in the day and as a result she is always acting very cautiously. Nagisa thinks her parents are hiding this so she never really confronts them. (They are hiding some secrets but nothing that they blame Nagisa for) So you’ve got a little drama there. Ultimately this works as a big trial for Nagisa but I would say it’s a bit harder to connect with it. She takes the situation rather hard but I just didn’t find it nearly as emotional.

Nagisa tends to fall for a lot of Tomoya’s gags the whole time but always means well. She tries to defend him when things get tricky and she fights hard to get her own club. So there isn’t anything really bad to say about her. She does well as the main heroine and gets her moments to shine. I can’t say I’m super on board with the romance angle but it’s not bad either and I’ll go more into that later on. I think something that could have helped her here would be to have had some kind of big moment outside of her arc. Mostly Tomoya did the heavy lifting in each arc and that makes sense as the main character but maybe having Nagisa come in with a clutch assist in one of them would have been good. Something to put her ahead of the pack.

Akio and Sanae did well as the parents. Now this is a subplot that the show really executed well as they initially start out as very gimmicky side characters but their plot actually gets rather serious. We learn more about their past and see why they are so protective. I also like how close they are even after being married for so long. You could make the very strong case that they have the healthiest relationship in the whole show. Akio may end up saying the wrong thing a lot and getting himself into hot water but he is always looking out for Sanae. He also has a very critical moment in Nagisa’s character arc.

It’s rare to see the parents actually getting a quality role like this so I was all for it. They also got to show Tomoya what a healthy family dynamic looks like which helped him in his own character arc as well. Sanae should probably start baking more to improve her cooking skills but low key I think she likes the attention since it gets Akio to chase after her. Again, it’s just a fun dynamic and even more so if you think she’s trolling him a bit there. He certainly likes trolling Tomoya a lot so it just runs in the family.

Now there is one plot that I found to be really pointless though. So at the beginning of every episode we start with a dystopian future where a girl is talking to a little robot she created. See, this kid had the power to create life but only once and so she created a robot but now he’s lonely and she’s sad too. The two of them are doomed to live forever in a world without life which is kind of depressing. The story feels like a very vague meta commentary on something and you’re just trying to figure it out. By the end of the series it makes sense but I just didn’t think it added to anything. It was just a bit boring and the only part of the series where I could even say that. Remove this and just keep the series on the main characters. That would be for the best.

The animation is pretty good. There isn’t much time to show off because this isn’t an action anime or anything like that but we do get a few action scenes with Tomoyo once in a while. The show never looks sloppy or off model so that alone is enough to fit the bill. It’s good enough for the title. The soundtrack is a bit more on the forgettable side though. The opening is one of the weakest ones I’ve heard in a long time. It’s just way too soft. This may be an emotional series but I feel like you could still add a little more energy to it. It’s one of those openings you probably would never re watch. Then the ending is even weaker. I appreciate the dedication to the Dango gag but this isn’t the place for it!

At the end of the day Clannad really succeeds because it’s really good at every genre that it tackles. It’s a really good slice of life title as you actually have time to see the characters hanging out and just relaxing in all kinds of settings. It’s a good way to build up some character development and the characters can hold their own so it doesn’t get boring. On the drama front the show manages to build up a lot of emotional scenes and get things sad for everyone without overdoing it and making the whole thing try hard. It never gets to be too traumatic or gritty while still keeping the emotions high.

Then for the romance, well that’s always a little trickier but I will say that on average it did the romance better than most. One of the key staples to a good romance is that it needs to take place over a long while. Any romance that is instant will be a weak one guaranteed. Likewise you don’t want rebound romances and that’s one advantage that harem titles actually have. Usually the lead doesn’t pick anyone until the end and all of the girls liked him from the start so there is no rebound. Some of the less classy ones would mess this up but not Clannad. The show cheats a bit by showing an alternate route but since it is expressly an “alternate” path it did choose one girl in the end so I’ll give it props there.

I won’t say which girl wins out but it’s probably pretty clear from the start. Some shows can actually keep you guessing right to the end like Lull of the Sea, but this is one where you can just tell based on who gets the focus and everything. The show isn’t trying to be very secretive about this at all. The main romance takes place over a long time and develops naturally so yeah I’d be able to confidently say that it’s one of the better romances. That’s a good thing because the show is part romance after all. I still didn’t ship the characters but if it happens then I guess I’m cool with it. I did like some of the other characters better than this heroine though.

During the show there is one Basketball game and it kind of made me wish we could have gotten some more sports. The game itself was very interesting because of course Tomoya can’t really lift his arm to play the way that he used to. So he’s at a disadvantage the whole time and has to try and win with pure strategy alone. I think making that a full episode would have been a blast even if it may not have really flowed with the rest of the show. Hey, sports and tactics are always a great mix and the show got me invested so it’s definitely a complement. I wonder how bad the injury was that Tomoya doesn’t feel like he can ever rehabilitate it though. The show doesn’t go into specifics and surely there’s a way to rebound. At least I figure there would be.

Overall, Clannad is a title that I could safely recommend to just about any anime fan as long as you aren’t looking for an action title. It’s just a well written title all around with a lot of strengths. Perhaps it isn’t as funny as it wishes it could be but there are still scenes that will make you smile here and there. Perhaps not laugh out loud funny but I did like a lot of Tomoya’s witty comebacks from time to time. It also never hurts to see Sunohara get beat up. The voice actor does a good job with the reactions.

Overall 7/10

Pokémon: Hisuian Snow Review


It’s time to take a look at a fairly quick mini series. This one only had 3 episodes and combined they’re only about the length of one normal one so it’s over pretty quick. I’m always up for more Pokemon animations though so it’s good to have it and hopefully we get some more in the future. This adventure takes place in the far past to tie in to the recent Pokemon Arceus game. The setting may not be quite as interesting as the modern areas but it’s been a while since we got a snow adventure.

The story follows a kid named Alec who had always been fond of Pokemon. Unfortunately he was born into an era where people don’t get along with them. Humanity is afraid of these powerful creatures and think that it is best to just leave them alone. Keep a safe distance and then they won’t bother you. Humanity even build up walls around their village to ensure that no Pokemon gets close but one day while outside, Alec gets separated from his father. He injures his knee but is helped by a Zorua. Now he has to find his way back to the village with his Pokemon companion but will he be taken in with open arms?

The story also jumps to the present with Alec returning to the village in time for another Pokemon incident. The humans definitely are never too accommodating here and it does make them look a little ungrateful. Especially the father who is quick to be antagonistic to Zorua despite the Pokemon saving his kid’s life. That was definitely a shame but at least Alec was able to settle things later on. Ultimately Zorua was a true friend who helped out even if no gratitude was guaranteed. That’s the kind of Pokemon that you want to have your back without a doubt.

Alec wasn’t bad for a kid either. At least he did try to help the Pokemon out. In the present he even became a bit of a doctor and really went out of his way to be a good person. He’s someone who learned the right lesson from his experiences. The rest of the humans are not impressive at all though and don’t really stack up. The next best character would definitely be Zorua for being a good pal. The special shows that the Pokemon at the end of the day are always the most heroic ones.

In the final episode we even see two Abomisnow’s defend Alec as he tries to heal their injured partner while the humans just stand around. We get a pretty decent fight scene there too although it’s very short. Action isn’t really the main genre of this special after all, it’s really more of a full time adventure. I always enjoy the action when we can get it though. The animation pops out when Pokemon use their special attacks. I wouldn’t say it’s anything super high end but it does look nice and works well for what it’s going for.

The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side. With quality writing and good pacing, this is a miniseries that you could recommend to anyone. It’s still too bad that it was only 3 episodes as I think you really could have turned this into a much longer adventure. Give more time for Alex and Zorua bonding by having them get lost deeper into the forest. With the outside world not being explored all that much, it would be reasonable for the humans not to be able to find them for a while and so a few episodes could just be them walking around and trying to survive.

It doesn’t quite hurt the show that it’s so short but it does mean that it’ll be a little less memorable. Down the road when talking about the various Pokemon titles and all, it would be very easy to just forget this one entirely. Maybe one day they can bring the characters back at least but it seems like they are having more fun just experimenting with a bunch of different characters so I would be surprised to see them again.

Overall, Hisuian Snow is a good episode’s worth of content. It may not be action packed but the story is interesting enough and it’s good to see Zorua getting his hype. The Pokemon always end up taking the high road even when the humans don’t. The world has certainly come a long way since these days as in the present even little kids play with Pokemon. You could say that the Pokemon world got something close to world peace by the end. Sure, you’ve got Team Rocket and friends but by and large it’s a very peaceful world. I still would have liked a formal apology from Alec’s father and the rest of the village by the end though.

Overall 7/10

Noragami Review


Noragami is a title that’s been around for a while and is even still going but always seems to be hidden behind all of the other big ongoings. You just never see anybody ever talking about it and the same with the anime. This one isn’t even that old and yet I don’t remember seeing it make any headlines. It’s a shame because the production values on this show are really way better than I expected. Yukine single handily sabotages the show enough to keep me from calling it great all around but you’ll have a lot of fun with this one.

The show starts by introducing us to Yato who is one of the gods of this realm. He accepts any mission for 5 yen and one day hopes to have his own temple where people can come worship him. In the meantime though he is pretty poor and so nobody really wants to work with him. His latest regalia (partner) decided to quit so Yato is on his own one day. He gets someone else into trouble when a girl named Hiyori pushes him out of the way as a bus was about to hit him. Of course it wouldn’t have hurt since Yato is effectively a ghost but she didn’t know that and her spirit self was shot right out of her.

Hiyori now has a rare condition where she will just fall out of her body at times. Her spirit form can then run and jump across buildings but the danger is that it attracts evil spirits. She is now a prime target for all kinds of villains and so she hires Yato to heal her of this condition. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like he knows all that much about her situation so this may not be as easy as all of that. He does finally find a new regalia in Yukine but this kid has a lot of issues. Will they be able to form a true team and save Hiyori or should she turn to another god for help?

Right off the bat I like the setting for Norgami. It’s a very classic city but one that actually makes use of this. You have the characters fighting while jumping on buildings, checking out the sites, and the place always feels very modern. It’s very much the kind of place you would see in a slice of life title, only you’ve still got your consistent action here. Additionally, the gods dynamic is fun with how they’re always around and normal people just have a hard time seeing them. Whether the god stays alive and powerful or not depends on if people continue praying to them. It adds a sense of urgency for why Yato wants to keep on clearing missions and to get bigger. If he doesn’t then he’ll literally cease to exist.

Gods also have special privileges here like how they don’t suffer penalties for committing crimes and such since they are supposed to be above good and evil. You can see how the rules are slanted in their favor but they made the rules so of course they would do that. Season 1 doesn’t introduce us to too many gods yet but it’s clear that there are quite a lot of them running around. They’ll just be slowly incorporated into the mix.

Noragami also has a lot of really solid humor. One of the best gags was when a guy decides to finally end his life and gets to the roof. Yato approaches and you figure he’s going to talk this guy down but by mistake he falls on him and so the whole group (Yato, Yukine, Hiyori, and this guy) all fall off the building. So Yato is still talking him down as they are plummeting to their doom. They’re falling for close to 20 minutes and the characters even comment on this but Yato takes it in stride and never panics. There are some twists about how this guy’s life went so crazy and the show turns what would usually be a rather grim moment into something rather amusing.

The show just has a good sense of humor and a lot of that comes from Yato. He’s really an ideal main character who is strong but doesn’t take life too seriously. In a few ways he reminds me of Train Heartnet. The guy’s been in the game for a very long time at this point and so he has learned to not take everything too seriously at this point. He’ll eventually clear all of his goals so why stress about it right? It’s a pretty good motto tbh. Yato’s just a lot of fun and really does a good job in carrying his part of the show. He has a lot of the best scenes without a doubt and never gave up on Yukine even when it seemed like he should.

Yato’s certainly someone who owns his mistakes. Now he probably could have handled Hiyori’s case better, I won’t argue against that but for the most part he’s always on point. Then the show also has a really great soundtrack. It’s just epic and always has a very electronic kind of vibe to it. At the same time the slice of life moments can be low key. The opening song is really catchy and there are even a bunch of lyrical songs that play from time to time. This is close to a 5 star soundtrack for me and it just never lets up.

Then the animation is also a cut above the rest. It has aged really well and could hold its own with any of the newer shows. The fights are on point and I like the effects they use for when a villain is exorcised. The whole show has a lot of extra detail thrown in the whole way. A lot of care and effort was put into the presentation. There isn’t much in the way of fanservice also which is always nice to note. There is a bit here and there so I can’t say that it’s devoid of this but for the most part you get to dodge this issue.

So as you can see the show was just great all around. I thought it exceled in every area that a show can in order to enhance the manga quality. Of course it still does have to follow the story and the show’s only weakness is Yukine who can be almost unbearable at times. He doesn’t learn from his mistakes and just keeps on making them. I’ll get into him more in a moment but yeah the show would have easily reached an 8 without him. That kid just gets to be too much.

In fact, Yukine’s plot is most of the season. So his dilemma is that he is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he is dead. This can be an issue for a lot of characters for sure but he takes it really poorly. Yukine feels like he died so young that he never got to experience what it meant to be alive and to have friends. As he is a kid right now, that means that was the age in which he died so you can see how the whole thing was tragic for him. We’ll certainly find out more about that in the future but for now it’s a mystery and it wouldn’t be good for Yukine to find out more.

Yukine decides to rebel as a result. One rule I haven’t mentioned yet is that if a regalia feels bad, has malicious thoughts, or actually commits a crime, then this is all transferred to the god through a searing pain/curse. These stings will eventually destroy the god and so for that reason, most Regalia are tossed aside after a single burn. Yato doesn’t do that since he wants to stand by Yukine all the way to the end but unfortunately that just means that Yukine continues to do this without stopping.

Now, in Yukine’s only defense I feel like the characters could have been a bit more straight forward about how his sins impact Yato. Yato says it but in a way where everyone seems to think he’s joking at first. To an extent I’m not sure if Yukine ever actually believed Yato until Yukine mentioned it in the climax of the arc. That’s the one weakness of always joking around, when you’re actually serious people may not even believe you at the time. It’s something that Yato should really keep in mind.

This in no way absolves Yukine from what he’s doing though. He’s smashing windows, stealing stuff, etc. The guy has no moral compass and even came close to taking advantage of Hiyori when she was asleep if Yato hadn’t come around. These things are really tough to come back from and so Yukine was easily the worst character in the series. A whole lot of focus is on him too which hurts the season a bit. After a while we get it, he’s an awful person so you just wish things could speed up a little more because you want to go back to seeing Yato and his crazy shenanigans. That’s when the series is at its best along with the solid action.

Yato probably would have been better off with a different regalia. Meanwhile Hiyori is a good heroine. Jumping in front of the car to save Yato was very heroic and she takes her new condition in stride. Of course she isn’t thrilled about how Yato is always giving her the runaround but who would be right? He’s clearly just stringing her along and she knows that. Still, Hiyori takes the situation into her own hands several times like when she tries to fight some of the monsters in her ghost form or when she tries to find Yato a regalia.

Hiyori always throws herself into the plot and does her best to try and find a cure as well. I liked the fact that she wasn’t just waiting on Yato all day with no plan. Hiyori was doing everything that she could and that’s a good thing. Her two friends are also reasonable with how patient they are about Hiyori’s “sleeping bouts” (Which is what it looks like to people when her spirit form runs off) and her having to ditch them from time to time. I doubt they’ll ever get a big role but they’re nice enough.

Then we’ve got some of the other gods like Tenjin. He’s a fairly nice guy but probably not the god you want to work for. He’s quite extreme with how he’ll toss out a regalia over a single infraction. He also doesn’t seem like he would be quick to help Yato in his time of trouble. So in the end I don’t see him as being too reliable. Then you have Kofuku who is a lot more likable. She is the goddess of misfortune so she does tend to make the situation worse but it’s by accident so at least she isn’t trying to do that. I can certainly give her a pass and of course she is willing to help Yato in his time of need.

She steps in when Bishamon shows up and even threatens the war goddess. So Kofuku’s got Yato’s back and that’s appreciated since you probably couldn’t say the same for most. There’s also her regalia Daikoku who is decent enough. He’s very protective of her and always has a tough exterior. Ultimately he means well but his priorities are clear, Kofuku is the one who matters above all else. A fine attitude for a regalia to have since that’s their purpose and fortunately she likes Yato so he ends up helping out a whole lot as well.

Bishamon is one of the goddesses with the biggest role here. She has had a long standing feud with Yato for some time now over him apparently murdering one of her regalia. There’s clearly more to this story than it appears as her regalia Kazuma considers himself to be in Yato’s debt but she seems unaware of this. Either way she makes for a very solid antagonist as a result as she gives him no breaks or any room to explain himself. She just wants him dead at any cost. It’s not like he’s trying to explain himself anyway though, for some reason it seems like he wants to keep that a secret.

As for Kazuma, well he’s good in this season. He does aid the heroes even if he has to keep a secret and the guy comes across as being rather reasonable. It would be nice if he could explain exactly what the situation is to Hiyori, but it’s not like he’s under any obligation to do so. Ultimately he does still work for Bishamon and just helping out in the climax is good enough in order to repay his debts.

Nora is a mysterious figure who is also tied to Yato’s background. Apparently she used to work for Yato during his darker days when he was murdering everyone. Now Yato doesn’t want anything to do with her so she has gone further and further into the realm of the dark. Her role is rather large at the end of the season since she orchestrates the whole scenario with the heroes having to fight Rabo.

As for Rabo, I like this guy as a villain. He doesn’t have a whole lot of motivation beyond just wanting to fight Yato at his best and causing general mayhem. Rabo is a rather simple villain but an effective one. He has one singular goal and will do whatever he can in order to accomplish it. It doesn’t get much better than that for a villain. He’s also strong and his battles with Yato are really solid. Rabo even had the upper hand for good portions of that fight but of course you know that Yato would absolutely be able to claim victory if he was truly going all out like in the old days.

Now while I did enjoy the animation a lot, I do think the show could get a little lazy at times. There’s one flashback they show where Yato murders these two guys a ton of times. It was almost every episode after Hiyori found out about his past. They would play the same scene over and over and over again. It got old really quick and felt obvious as a way to save time on the animators part. In general I’m not usually a fan of recycled animation. Even when used stylistically, I can’t help but feel that it’s just really lazy. It doesn’t have to be lazy all the time of course but that’s just the vibe that I get. There is also recycled footage for when he’s entering into battles so it’s just a bit much.

Still, like I said the show’s excellent on a technical level. It’s just got really good vibes and is a blast to watch. Each episode is over in an instant and Yato’s such a good main character. This is a perfect example of an anime elevating the source material quite a bit. It’s all a lot more impactful than in the manga and if anything helps you to get more involved/invested in the current material.

Now that Yukine’s finally not acting like an awful delinquent making you cringe at every opportunity, I fully expect that season 2 should see a boost unless production values drop off or something. I can’t say I remember too well what happens next since I read this part of the manga so long ago but something cool should be around the horizon at least. Hopefully a lot of good action as well and then we’re really set. In general I also wouldn’t mind just seeing more of Yato being a nice guy. Even the small things like cleaning around the house and showing someone that violence was not the way when he was getting bullied were really good tips on his part. Yato actually does give good advice even if he acts aloof all the time.

I think part of what makes the series so much fun and what gives Yato time to shine is that this is an action show that still has time for its more day to day scenes. Who doesn’t like to see the main cast just hanging out and having a good time between the saving the world events right? I would argue that was always a strength in titles that happened to get huge globally like Naruto, Bleach, and other titles like that. While the action is still the biggest point for these titles, a strong case can be made that these got big because we got to know the characters on a personal level as well. For me the humor was just as important as the action in making this show a success. It really helped make the whole series an all around balanced title.

Overall, Noragami is a lot of fun. Yukine keeps me from calling it great, but it’s still a solid show that I would recommend to anyone. Whether you are a big action fan or just want a show with some good humor, you should have a good time either way. I see this show as being very accessible to everyone and that’s one of its many charms. I don’t want to overhype it or anything but it’s just got that calm vibe that really works out. I would compare it to Shenmue in some ways. We’ll see if Yato can ever reach his goal of being a really big god. He’s not close yet but at least the guy hasn’t lost heart.

Overall 7/10

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Season 2 Review


Season 2 should always beat season 1. That’s the goal of every sequel after all, to beat the original. Well, this one pulls it off. I thought season 1 was good, but not very good. The cast was a bit weaker than your average Shonen title and there wasn’t a ton of action. This one dials things up on the intensity and there is a good amount to enjoy. It may not go down as one of the great titles but being very good is already an accomplishment in itself. If you enjoyed season 1 or just want a good magic title then you’ll have a good time here.

Season 2 starts off quickly as a curse is put on Nana’s friends through the shady game known as Kokkuri so Muhyo (reluctantly) and Roji head over to help. Thing is, there’s a new group in town led by Goryo. He is a talented mage like Muhyo but the guy has less ethics and scruples. He will do whatever it takes to clear the mission and get a lot of money. If he isn’t paid then he will actually let the client get cursed or will take revenge on him. Muhyo and Roji can’t stand for this so the two groups have a little battle. The winner claims control of the city while the loser has to leave. With the stakes this high, will Roji be able to help at all?

Season 1 was more about character introductions and the like instead of throwing you into the action. Season 2 is able to benefit from that by getting you right into the plot. We see from the start that Goryo isn’t a particularly nice guy to the point where it’s fair to just straight up call him a villain. He is certainly no hero after all. The battle between groups is also a nice way to kick things off because you get to see them fighting off monsters. If you’re new to the series you can quickly get acquainted this way.

A running plot in this season is that Roji feels like he is holding Muhyo back. Of course that is true but you’re still hoping he can get his confidence back eventually. Muhyo is certainly tired of Roji’s whining and I want to say that just about everyone is by this point. He’s had a long time to get good but he never shows much improvement. You feel like he isn’t training as hard as he should, at least we rarely see him training so it feels that way.

I wouldn’t say Roji is a bad character but I don’t really care for him all the same. I rarely like the whiny type of character. I prefer my heroes to just be way more confident. Muhyo fits the bill there. Sure, he can be a bit lazy and is probably not the most dependable hero around but at least when he focuses he can beat almost any threat in his way. Even now he is portrayed as one of the most powerful characters in the series. He is absolutely someone that you want on your side. I wouldn’t say he stands out as one of the better main characters or anything like that in Shonen, but he is one of the better characters in this show.

Nana is still a good main heroine as well. She has to put up with a lot when Goryo shows up since he really puts her in harm’s way. Not to mention that several characters act like creeps around her so she has to always keep her guard up. I like Nana, but I do wish she would get some powers so she can beat people up. It would be nice to see her deal some big damage like that and then she could also be inserted into the various cases a lot easier.

Biko is still annoying in this season though. She just isn’t ready for combat on any scale. Wanting to save Rio is great and all, I never fault a character for ultimately wanting to make the hero move, but she really isn’t doing much to get closer to that goal. She helps Muhyo during the mass summoning later on but just isn’t really a fighter and ends up being on the outside looking in most of the time. For this character type to work, you have to try and save the person you want to save but also have to be tough enough to knock them out as needed.

As for Rio, it’s finally sinking in that she made the wrong call I’d say but the problem is that it’s way too late for her. She’s in so deep with the villains that she can barely even function at this point. She is at the mercy of Enchu and his gang so she really didn’t think this through. She certainly serves as a cautionary tale on why you shouldn’t be so quick to trust the villains or expect that joining their side will suddenly make things easier.

With the two new characters, Goryo is much better than Ebisu. Goryo is petty and certainly someone who relies on cheap tricks a lot of the time, but at least he can fight. The guy has bad habits but if all of his tricks were to be squashed, at least he can fight to a degree. He is a very prideful man about his clan and so at least there are things he can get serious about. I still see him as more of a villain than a hero but at least there’s some toughness to him.

I can’t say the same for Ebisu. Ebisu is your classic pervy character who is always whining and acting like the world is against him. In reality the issue here is that there is no reason for anyone to be nice to him. Ebisu’s just a jerk right from the jump who does whatever is asked of him without thinking about it. Nobody needs a minion like that and all of his scenes were pretty sad. The guy can talk tough if he wants but you won’t be taking him seriously.

After the opening battle saga with Goryo’s group, Muhyo and Roji split up for what’s pretty much the rest of the season. For Roji’s plot, he heads back to school to really learn how to be a proper magical sidekick. He gets to take the exam with some familiar faces like Ebisu and also some new characters. Trying to fight off monsters without Muhyo is definitely difficult so while he would end the threat in an instant if he was here, the idea is to see Roji thrive. I can safely say that the Muhyo plot is a lot more interesting.

Sure, it’s nice to see the school again and the characters are fun enough, but you are just waiting to get back to Muhyo and the more serious stakes here. Roji just can’t hold his own episodes in the same way with how nervous he is. The twins at the school talk tough but ultimately can’t back it up at all. Then you have the teachers who barely know how to run a school and really all need some serious training after this. There are some good fake-outs like when the students initially thought they all failed the test but for the most part it’s fairly standard stuff. It was nice to see more of Reiko though. She’s a fun supporting character and is omeone who can at least contribute in the fights while Muhyo is away.

With the Muhyo plot, well he needs a new super summon if he’s going to beat Enchu and pals. He already has some strong ones but “strong” won’t be enough to win the day. So he has to team up with Biko and Yoichi in order to do this. To obtain a summon you have to deal a lot of damage and convince it to come to your side with a spell. I’d compare it to catching a Pokemon but of course Muhyo is aiming for the absolute strongest summon there is so he’ll have to fight rather hard. We get to see quite a few powerful summons in this season between Hell Boy, Thousand Arms, Yuuri, and Hades. The fighters definitely aren’t playing around at this point.

So yeah this was a very engaging saga all the way through. Also, since Nana wasn’t around there was no time for Yoichi to be acting awful all the time. I still don’t like Yoichi since he should really be serious and not constantly messing with Nana though. Too bad Muhyo or someone hasn’t called him out on it yet but by this point I think he’s just too far gone to ever rise back up. It’s all over for him.

We also got to quickly see the origin story of how Muhyo and Roji met around this time. I always like seeing the first encounters with the main character duo like this and I think it’s a good idea not to include it right at the start. Now that we know both characters so well, it makes the whole thing a lot more emotional. I can see why Roji has low confidence since even back in the day he didn’t seem all that qualified. I still say he should have been training a lot harder the whole time though but better late than never.

This kicks off the final arc now. The heroes all reunite to take on the villain group known as ARK. Enchu has seemingly made his move and the Goryo group is taken out real quick. The main villain now is Tomas, someone who has a lot of talent like Muhyo but ultimately went to the dark side. The power sure corrupts quickly when you think about it with the strongest fighters always turning evil. I would say that Muhyo does still outclass this guy in a straight fight but there are usually a lot of circumstances going on at the same time which keeps this from being too easy.

Naturally as this is a full group you can’t expect them all to really appear and fight. In fact, Tomas is the only one with a big role here. Rio is around but her role isn’t big at all. She spends most of the season still being knocked out and then at the end she is finally ready to help the villains get to the next level. Enchu is around and talks tough as the leader but he technically doesn’t do a whole lot either. You can tell that they’ll save him for a while yet. Likewise with Teeki who has built up quite a lot of hype by this point so we’ll see if he lives up to it.

As for Tomas, well this is his chance to really look good. I would say that he is impressive in his fights. It’s clear that he does have a good amount of magical power and that he hasn’t gotten sloppy. His armor makes him a solid threat and there is a good amount of back and forth between him and Muhyo. This fight is a fitting one to end the season with and it’s a good thing that Muhyo got his new summon. Yuuri is probably still my favorite one because of how consistently useful he is, but it was a real team effort here.

Personality-wise, well Tomas is one of those guys who cracked rather quickly so I wouldn’t say he’s all that good. He makes for a solid boss fight and a good villain in that sense but as a character he’s nothing special. I would say that Teeki and Enchu are already quite a bit higher than this guy. We’ll see if season 3 comes out but if not, this one does end things rather well. There are a ton of loose ends and plot lines to look forward to, but what way to end things off than with a big battle right? The heroes will eventually have time to head on out to take the villains down.

The animation is good here. It does use a lot of recycled animations for the magic attacks which makes me feel like the budget wasn’t too big. I mean it’s partially a stylistic choice of course but even so that’s always my default reaction. The colors are good though and we do sometimes get real animation with the summon battles. This isn’t the kind of show where there are usually a lot of martial arts or anything like that though so there is less time for the animation to really shine. Either way it’s serviceable.

The soundtrack is not as impressive though. There isn’t really any singular theme that really stands out as a great one to me. The opening is okay but nothing special either. On a technical level the show just won’t be impressing you there. It makes for a good adventure as the story is solid enough but all of this combined is why this title doesn’t hold its own against the big shots. The anime tells the story without really enhancing it. So at the end of the day it’s like a very standard anime. In fact, you could say this is a pretty decent pick as a starter anime for someone as season 1-2 sort of embody what I would consider the general anime experience. It’s got a little of everything and is a fun watch but it won’t be smashing any records.

There is some fanservice here but fortunately not a whole lot of it so there aren’t a lot of negatives to hurt the show with either. In general the weak point of the show is that the cast isn’t all that great. I like Muhyo well enough but for the most part the characters never really excel to the next level. It’s been a while since I read the manga so I don’t remember if any more big characters are introduced for the hero side but I would enjoy it quite a bit if they could add one more hero to the mix to enhance the dynamic a bit. Give us the cool rival character and that’ll go a long way.

Overall, Muhyo and Roji season 2 is a step up over season 1. With the introductions out of the way we got to have more action scenes which is always good and the villain group finally making their move was solid as well. More lore is introduced too and seeing another group of sorcerers was a good way to make the world a bit bigger. If we were to get a season 3 that could potentially raise the bar even higher if this trend continues. Never say never after all so maybe one day it’ll be here and I wouldn’t complain if they could polish it up just a bit more.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight!! Vanguard overDress Season 2 Review


To put it mildly I was not a big fan of the first season. For a franchise that is used to getting 9s and 8s before, that one only got a 6. It had a lot of glaring issues and would have been a whole lot lower if not for Tohya taking the whole season on his back and keeping it afloat. I’ve rewatched his fights many times on Youtube while I have not rewatched any of the other episodes at all. Well, season 2 seems to have gotten the memo as Tohya is a full main character now and we even got a big fight between groups here. Season 2 is a complete step up in every way and while Tohya still carries all of the best moments, the episodes without him as the focus are finally solid here. We’re not quite at the great level yet but now I can say this season is pretty good.

Last time Tohya torched the banner of Team Blackout and Danji ran off somewhere. So this season begins with the fallout from that. Tohya is trying to make amends for what he has done and is starting by getting the banner back together and fixing the amusement park. He’s done rather well for himself and gradually everyone starts hanging out with him and acknowledging him as a good guy. Tohya is not very comfortable being part of a group and so he has to get used to this. There isn’t a lot of time to take it easy though as a group has started going around burning other team’s banners and they’re doing this across the country.

Tohya’s old partner is in on this but the mastermind is Mirei, the leader of team Daybreak. She will have to be taken down to restore peace in the Cardfight community. It won’t be easy though as she is the head of a multi million dollar company and her bodyguard is…Danji? Why has he crossed over to the villain’s side and will Tohya be able to take him down this time? So far he has not proven up to the task but now is his chance to win the rematch and help his new friends out at the same time. He can’t afford to lose!

With season 1 one of the many issues was just how aimless it could be. You would barely have a cardfight even happen sometimes. The humor didn’t work and Yuyu was a rather sad main character. Well, season 2 works on this by having more of a plot right away. Having Tohya work to atone from last time is already a good starting premise since it reminds you of the stakes from last time. We’ve also got an actual villain that isn’t comic relief here. (Referring to Tohya’s partner from last time) So the stakes are higher and the season is a lot more personal. Danji’s got his own plot here too but I’ll stick to the heroes for now.

Tohya is still my favorite character and it isn’t even close. He just does a really great job and you can tell that he’s a very responsible person too. He’s not taking the easy way here. He also didn’t have to be the guy to shut down team Daybreak but he goes in anyway. Then when he fights Danji he doesn’t back down and challenges him to a Cardfight. That’s exactly what I want to see from the tough rival here.

There are a lot of callbacks to the original fight. When Tohya asks Danji if he has any drive left that’s when the music starts up and you get pumped. Man that episode has a ton of great replay value and you could watch the fight so many times. There are fake-outs and moments when both combatants seem like they are going to win. It just doesn’t end and you can really feel satisfaction for the victor when it’s all over. It’s a spectacular fight and a 9/10 episode. Definitely the pinnacle for the season even if it wasn’t the end arc fight.

But we already knew that the Tohya parts were going to be great. We knew that he was the guy who carried season 1 so you are probably more curious about the rest of the cast and events. Well, that’s definitely fair and that’s exactly where this season excels over the first. So lets head over to the Danji plot now. Mirei is his younger sister and she is blind which is naturally quite rough if you want to play the game of Cardfight. They were very close back in the day but one day she was to be put into an arranged marriage and Danji found out that the guy was no good so he caused a scene and cancelled the wedding.

Only he knows the truth and everyone else thought he was acting out since Danji used to be a bit of a delinquent. So Danji was basically forced out and Mirei’s guardian Haruka told the world that he was dead. They even had a funeral for him. Well, now her overall goal is to use Cardfight to bring people together in a way where everyone can be equal. By each group having their own flag it means that can’t happen so they all have to be burned. Additionally no emotions are allowed during the games so that people don’t feel sad when they lose.

In a way she has turned her tragic past into her drive to make Cardfight the safest game around. A game where you can always be happy and the groups she takes out will thank her someday. It’s definitely an overly optimistic view of how things would go since you can probably imagine how each of the groups are quite upset at her for burning their flags. Who would be happy about that right? To an extent she has been tricked by Haruka who just wants Mirei to be happy but it’s also partially that Mirei has been sheltered from the actual effects of her policies. A lot of people also support them so she just doesn’t have a proper worldview now.

Danji is basically blackmailed into being her driver by Haruka. He is not to let her know that he’s the long lost brother and has to play it cool. He does want to be with her so this is how he does it but along the way that means he is basically overlooking all the crazy things that the group is doing. I heavily disagreed with Danji on this and in general he doesn’t look great in this season. He should have come clean to Mirei a lot sooner. Sure he might get sued and chased out of town again but she deserves to know and the longer he doesn’t say anything, the more it is like he’s basically tricking her too.

Particularly as we see later on that Haruka records all of their conversations. Danji knows this and doesn’t say anything so now this is also an invasion of privacy since Mirei is talking to him in confidence and doesn’t realize that she’s being recorded. Danji is passive as she meets with the heroes and debates. It’s all rather hard on him but he’s just not as outgoing and decisive as he was in season 1. He’ll be back to normal for season 3 but he’s just disappointing throughout the entire season. He makes all of the wrong calls and found himself on the wrong side. In a way the show may have been paralleling how Tohya atoned the right way and Danji as being in the wrong here but I’m not sure if that’s 100% intentional. It makes a lot of sense so I can roll with that though.

This shouldn’t be used as an excuse for Danji during his battle with Tohya though. Listen when you take the field in a Cardfight battle then you have to accept the results no matter the outcome. So even if he was dealing with some things, there is no backing out now. Danji may have been super annoying the whole time but at least he still does have a lot of skills and I doubt Yuyu would have been able to stop him.

As for Yuyu, he is still the main character and it’s fair to say that he gets the most screen time but at this point he shares so much time with both Danji and Tohya that it’s not by a huge margin. I’m completely cool with this because I’m still not a big fan of his. He does make some good speeches during the duels but he’s another character who is just a bit too passive and doesn’t just get out there. He has a little more confidence than he used to, but still just lets Mirei walk all over him in their verbal debate. If he keeps up the upwards trend then he should be set for season 3 but we’ll see how that goes.

As for Mirei, she’s the main villain and will be appearing a lot so it’s important that she be a good character as well. Fortunately I would say that she is fairly solid. I wouldn’t say her goals make a whole lot of sense when you think about it and she gets manipulated a lot but that’s why making her blind was a very smart decision. It makes a lot of her choices believable because your whole worldview is just so different if you have to rely on what other people tell you your whole life. I can’t really imagine what it’s like to be blind and this did have a big toll on her.

So while I think she could have handled things differently, it’s not something that I would seriously hold against her. Particularly when the heroes have multiple opportunities to talk to her and end up chickening out each time. Perhaps they would have been able to have gotten through to her a little sooner. Her guardian Haruka is also responsible for a lot of this as she takes the job a little too seriously. Haruka tries to keep Mirei in a bubble and make decisions for her but this doesn’t tend to end well. I can appreciate her intent but I would say she handled things poorly as well. If Haruka had realized the truth behind the arranged marriage and why Danji broke it up then that would be one thing but without that she is on the losing side here.

Then there’s Megumi who is still the main heroine…sorta. I feel like her role is so small that you almost forget that she is the heroine. She is around a lot of course but doesn’t get a whole lot to do. In part this is because she doesn’t have a big rival like the others although they try to play the kid up as her rival. He’s not much of a threat compared to the others but he can duel so I suppose that will have to do. Megumi is a solid character either way.

Tomari gets some action here and shows that she can still duel with the best of them. She is a member of the team after all so you’d expect her to be able to duel. I was glad she got a little shine here. Tomari tends to serve as one of the more experienced members of the group so she should absolutely be able to pitch in when needed and she keeps the characters sharp. Zakusa is also around but I was never as much of a fan of him. He has his whole punk angle where he starts to talk tough and then he’s usually mild mannered but that whole dynamic never works. It definitely doesn’t for Zakusa and he just isn’t very interesting to me. It doesn’t help that he’s another very passive character.

This may be why I like Tohya so much since he actually goes out there and gets things done while the other characters prefer to just talk and talk all the time. The cast isn’t very strong yet which also didn’t help season 1 since that was all about the characters. Here we have a lot of duels and the impending threat of team Daybreak so that kept everyone focused. The duels are really good so I do want to emphasize that the show did that justice. The stakes are high and the music is very fitting for each one of the duels.

Finally there’s Masanori and I still can’t take him seriously as a villain. I get that he’s always around and seems to be the mastermind behind everything but he takes so many Ls and at what point is he supposed to start being a serious threat? Right now it doesn’t seem like he can beat the heroes even if he tries his best and I don’t get the feeling that he even knows what he will do next. The guy is a true wild card without a doubt but not one that you need to fear.

The soundtrack is quite excellent. The gyroaxia song returns for Tohya as he questions Danji’s drive and it really is a song that gets you pumped up. The animation is also fairly solid. I don’t think there’s any scene that quite matches when Tohya pulled off his special transformation in season 1 but it’s all pretty solid though. You shouldn’t have any complaints on the technical side here as they don’t phone any of that in.

In terms of negatives, I’d say the only thing here is that the first half of the season can be a little weak. The show builds up to the war against Daybreak so in the first episodes you hear about them and see Mirei through the Danji subplot but not a whole lot happens. It’s got that season 1 vibe of being more of an aimless slice of life. It’s better this time though because it isn’t truly aimless, not to mention the episodes aren’t as weak. We don’t get a whole episode of Yuyu being sick after all.

In the main plot we have Tohya trying to get the town to accept him and in the B plot we have Danji getting absolutely devastated in every scene. So at least things are happening and there’s always a duel around. It’s just not until the second part of the season where we kick things into high gear with the big battles of clan against clan. The show’s humor is also fairly decent. The heroes running around trying to get a free meal was decent enough. If the whole show was like this then I’m sure it would have lost a star and been around the first season’s level but we did get the action so this ended up making it.

Cardfight also tends to be about a clash of ideals. Whether it is power vs enjoyment in Aichi vs Ren, Acceptance vs Change in Chrono vs the kid who lose his parents, or now Discarding vs Embracing the flames in Danji vs Tohya. There always tends to be something deeper behind each duel which is part of what makes the series is a blast. Naturally we have those themes in these duels as well. I would say in particular Danji vs Tohya and Yuyu vs Mirei would fall into those camps so lets quickly look at those two duels since they were some of the best in the season.

So for Danji and Tohya I mentioned there were a lot of callbacks to the first season’s fight. That time Danji won as he pointed out that Tohya was too fixated on power and ended up losing his strength as a result. So initially Tohya thought he had to discard his flames and completely change himself but instead of doing this he ultimately decided to embrace them. Danji didn’t particularly agree but also said it’s a choice each person had to make. Tohya won the duel but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s right. It does mean that he successfully defended his ideals though.

Danji wasn’t defending anything in this season which is part of why Tohya’s win was so important here to get Danji back into his groove. As for the Yuyu duel, well of course he believes that you should be able to have fun and laugh while playing Cardfight. This emotionless way of dueling that Mirei teaches goes against Yuyu’s ideas here. Instead of making the game completely equal, it takes away from the fun.

Neither character is as eloquent in this duel since they’re both a little on the younger side but they still do their best and it is a pretty intense battle. There’s a lot of good back and forth here and I will always say that my one complement for Yuyu is that he gives good speeches. Sometimes they are thrown right back at him like Tohya when he turned the tables but Yuyu has a lot of passion in his duels. If he could keep this up outside of the dueling table then he could definitely join Chrono and Aichi as some of the higher tier main characters someday. As long as we keep up these emotional duels then the series is in a great spot and I don’t see that changing.

Overall, OverDress still has a ways to go if it wants to catch up to any of the other parts of the franchise but an upwards trend is always good. As long as Tohya is here you know you’re guaranteed to have at least one excellent match in the season too. He always brings in the passion and emotion that you want to see from the main characters. He could really teach the other characters a thing or two. The third season looks to be finally adding in some tournament action so that sounds really promising. Who knows, it could end up being the best season yet!

Overall 7/10

SSSS.Dynazenon Review


Gridman was definitely a really fun show and so it’s nice to see the franchise continue on. This one’s sort of a mix between being a sequel and a spinoff. I would call it a spinoff because even if it takes place after the original show, the cast is completely different. I tend to think of sequels as still being mainly connected to the original. I heard a lot of good things about this show from everyone who had watched it previously and I would say it lives up to that. Ultimately I would give Gridman the edge here but this is a show that keeps up with it in all areas and makes it a close fight. If you liked Gridman then you’ll definitely like this one as well.

The show starts with Yomogi running into a rather odd guy named Gauma. Yomogi gives the guy some food but runs off because he doesn’t want to get roped into something strange. He’s asked out by a girl named Yume but she has a reputation for asking guys out just to not show up for some reason. Yomogi accepts but she stands him up as well. Fortunately Gauma shows up and chews her out about this. Before any of them can really process what’s going on a Kaiju attacks so Gauma absorbs them as well as another nearby kid and they fuse into the robot known as Dynazenon to take down the Kaiju. They are now a team that will have to train together to save the world but these kids barely even know each other. Will they really be able to work as a team?

I do like the idea of these kids never even meeting before and suddenly having to work as a team. It does make for a pretty tough dynamic on them. The kids all do mean well though and try their best to show up and get a lot of training. Each character is dealing with their own drama though and I’ll get into that individually. There is also a villain group of Kaiju followers who basically think Kaiju are the greatest and should rule the world. They dominate them using mind control powers and try to destroy everything in their path. Gauma seems to have had some kind of connection to these guys.

One way in which the show doesn’t quite match up to the original is that you can’t really take these villains seriously next to the ones from the first show. These guys are usually played for comic relief after all and by the time they get their act together the show is pretty much over. It’s an interesting enough dynamic to have these guys kind of like Team Rocket but it also means that none of them will have you on the edge of your seat. Their overall goal is worth discussing though.

So…Kaiju rights are important and all but immediately their goal is invalidated when they have to mind control the Kaiju. If they seriously just wanted Kaiju to be free to do whatever they want…why mind control them? Aren’t the Kaiju smart enough to defend themselves? In that case then you’re not actually helping them out and this is all just an excuse for the villains to put their own goals into the picture. They’re basically projecting their objectives onto the Kaiju. We’ll have to see the leader in the next movie or show if she ever shows up to maybe put some better perspective on this but for now the group’s motivations just aren’t the best.

As for the villains themselves, well they try to get their own rivalries and everything. Mujina doesn’t feel very emotional about anything so she continues to work with the villain group but barely even knows why. She’s along for the ride so to speak and when she tries to help it doesn’t always work out. So along the way she learns how to tap into her emotions and it’s hard to say if this was her or just some feedback from the Kaiju control. Either way it made for an interesting arc but I did think it was a bit random how they tried to make her rivals with Koyomi.

The show seemed to want each villain to have a counterpart on the heroes’ side but this was a bit weak since they barely interacted. They did meet 1-2 times which seemed like it was getting close to setting up a romance plot but that never happened. Then you have Juuga who seems to be the smart member of the group. He talks tough but gets a little less to do than the others. He’s upset at Gauma not being with the group any longer but can’t exactly do much about that. From the villains he just didn’t have a ton of personality.

Onija is the member who almost dies in every episode which is a bit of a running gag there. He’s one of the most enjoyable members of the group so I’ll give him that. I also liked his dynamic with Mujina as their personalities may be complete opposites (Emotionless and the most emotional) but they did look out for each other and even got in sync at one point. It was a good way to give the group a little more humanity and make them leave an impact.

Then you had the leader Sizumu who takes the most steps to contacting the heroes and trying to stay on top of things right from the start. He was interesting and also seemed to believe in the ideology the most. I would have liked to have seen him explain his view on things a bit more though because he just doesn’t talk much. I also thought he blew it in the climax by not blowing up the main characters while they were in their human forms. Come on that would have been perfect for him. They would not have been able to do anything and it would have been game over. Ultimately he didn’t do that and I feel like that was a mistake on his end.

Next up is the third party group with Knight and The 2nd. I never would have guessed the 2nd’s true identity tbh. I knew Knight’s right away because he looked pretty similar but she really grew up. I only found out when looking up the names for this review so that’s pretty cool. She does well in finding gadgets to use and giving the heroes a chance. She’s a solid support character the whole time.

Knight is the guy on the field saving the main characters a lot of the time. He looks pretty strong initially but quickly becomes someone who does take a lot of Ls here. Either way I was glad to see him and he’s definitely my favorite character. He was a nice way to connect things to the Gridman show and he has certainly learned how to take charge. He doesn’t tend to goof off or make mistakes like the others but of course being so serious can have its own risks as well. It seemed like he wasn’t going to break out of the dream world on his own and he won’t ask for help even if he’s getting crushed. That’s just his style.

Now that means it is time to talk about the main cast and the plots that come with them. We’ve got quite a few characters here so lets jump right into them. First up is Chise and she is really eager to be one of the main team members. She is always present at training and even learned how to fight a bit so she could be a backup fighter for any role. You definitely have to admire her dedication here but unfortunately she just doesn’t have the skills to be a main member. I figured this might end up turning into a big jealousy subplot but ultimately she does handle things well.

Then she ends up getting an ally of her own so in a way she is finally a full member of the team. Chise’s a nice enough character. She may not have gotten quite as much to do as the other characters but she was nice enough and never really complained. She would do her job as well as possible and that was that. Her Kaiju Goldburn was also a fun ally to have around. I’m glad that the heroes ultimately didn’t try to take him out and that he was a hero right from the jump. It’s always nice when the heroes are being reasonable like this and it worked out well for everyone involved. I do think he should have been able to stick around and help out. In a lot of ways I feel like the heroes didn’t make the best decisions at the end.

Lets just say that the Earth isn’t in a very safe place at the moment. You shouldn’t weaken its defenses unless you absolutely have to and I wouldn’t say that this is one of those cases. Keep the Earth in tip top shape as far as the defenses go and you will never regret it. Now you have to hope that the people with the defenses arrive on time and considering that they could be anywhere, that’s putting the planet in a lot of danger.

Koyomi is the next character and I never really warmed up to the guy. He’s fairly timid the whole time and basically just spends all day in his bed playing video games. His story is really about gaining confidence, confronting his past, and getting a job. Right now he has no motivation for any of that but I guess being a sci-fi warrior defending the planet will help out on any confidence issues. Throughout the show he runs into a girl he used to have a big crush on back in school but in the present she is already married. This is the plot where I didn’t think he handled it well.

Koyomi clearly still likes her and can’t really get over this or think of anything else when they’re having a drink. She seems excited to chat about old times and get reacquainted but he’s not able to do this and just gets super jealous when her husband arrives. He ends up hanging up on her at one point and severing all ties but it didn’t seem like she was messing with him or trying to lead him on. I got the feeling that she was just being a nice neighbor. Perhaps a very oblivious one since Koyomi wasn’t subtle but she didn’t really know that things were in an awkward spot for him. Ultimately things end on a good spot for them all but it wasn’t due in large part to anything Koyomi did.

Gauma is the leader of the Dynazenon group and he’s got his whole past with the villain group. We see bits and pieces of this and ultimately you can piece together why he left their extreme group but you’ll probably still have some questions involving the leader and more exact circumstances. It’ll be interesting to see more of that but in the present he’s a solid enough character. Gauma is one of those loud guys who is absolutely not afraid to speak his mind and call someone out. He doesn’t waver in his sense of justice and so he can always fight at 100% power. That’s what makes Gauma a fun character and he tends to get some of the better comedic scenes. He doesn’t really have a subplot or doubt that he’s fighting through compared to the others.

Yume is the main heroine here and naturally she does start off in a very rocky position. Standing guys up for seemingly no reason is a very interesting way to start a character’s journey. She seems rather mean at first although not in a direct throwing insults at everyone kind of way but just in how she doesn’t care about the emotional damage. She seems rather off initially and we gradually learn more about her. Her sister Kano died a while back and the circumstances were vague so Yume hasn’t felt good about this. She has no closure because it seems like it may have been an accident, a suicide, or even a murder.

Yume wants to find out the truth but barely even knows how to start and it’s a tough task to be alone on. Fortunately Yomogi wants to help out and so gradually Yume gets a little bolder and is more prepared for the world. The show even got to let her have some closure via a time travel, dream like world. It was a pretty cool way to use those. Usually when the villains pull this off the heroes get all mad about it but in this way it does at least allow you to get some last words out. Since for all intents and purposes this is the real Kano, Yume was able to confront her.

The whole thing is a bit tragic as it seems like they were just never on the same wavelength. Yume wanted to be friends but both found the other to be rather unapproachable. With Kano the show still leaves it a bit vague on exactly what happens. On one hand, Kano basically tells Yume that she didn’t jump off the building so that only leaves an accident as being the main possibility. It seems very happy but once Yume jumps into the portal and vanishes, Kano gets dangerously close to the edge and starts singing that odd song again. It felt like the show really wanted to bring it to a complete 50/50 chance where you just have to decide what she was going to do and even if it’s the same thing.

Surely after talking with Yume she wouldn’t go through with this but if she was close, does that mean that without a talk with Yume she may have jumped? I don’t know, the show makes it hard to really guess but personally I choose to believe it was an accident. The alternative is just too tragic and it would have been a shame to go out like that. We do see that her life wasn’t all smiles and happiness but on the other hand you like to think that she would have been able to stay strong through it all and at least confide in someone to help her.

Yume definitely had to go through a whole lot either way and that’s why she is so broken at the beginning of the series. With help from Yomogi she is ultimately able to go past this. They have their rocky moments as well but it ultimately works out and Yomogi doesn’t back off. Fortunately he has friends giving him good advice as well so the two of them were very fortunate in that respect.

As for Yomogi, well he’s a bit of a pushover initially so I was worried that he would be like the latest protagonist from the Cardfight Vanguard show. Fortunately he gets over that phase pretty quick and does stand up for himself more than most. At one point it was time for a training session but Yomogi mentioned that he had work so he wouldn’t be able to make it. No hesitation or anything like that, he just didn’t go and he misses several training sessions as a result. I was glad that he was able to stick to his guns on that.

He may not be the natural leader type so you won’t see him yelling like Gauma about drive and friendship but he does well in a support role. It’s fairly unique to see the main character not be the leader here and the show did well with that. He had a good dynamic with Yume and the rest of the characters as well. One advantage I would give this show over Gridman is the character dynamics for sure. I thought the main characters just had a better connection than the Gridman ones and in general I would say the human characters were better as well. Certainly the good guys were better at least.

Naturally the animation here is really solid. The battle scenes are epic and you get to see both the heroes and villains utilizing absolutely devastating combos and bursts of speed. Each of their abilities are always nice and unique, plus I like the robot designs. I also thought the human character designs were pretty good. This is one of those shows that pays attention to detail with the eyes and so everyone has a distinct look to them. It helps each character really stand out. The show is just nice to look at.

It also pairs well with the rather relaxed atmosphere that the show has. The stakes rarely feel as high as in Gridman and the show typically isn’t as trippy either like with the train into nothingness. You don’t have the city being a world made out of tetris of dark villains running around. Instead it’s more of a romance story to an extent as the main characters grow close and everyone else deals with their own baggage. You rarely feel a sense of danger but I don’t think the show was going for that anyway. This is more of a slice of life drama with the creature of the week thrown in and the show executes this well.

I also liked the soundtrack a lot. There are a bunch of really solid tunes here for both the heroes and monsters. They’ve all got that techno vibe to them and work really well for the action. You’ll always get pumped in each scene. I was less impressed with the opening visuals but the music itself was good. You definitely won’t be disappointed with the music while watching the show.

Dynazenon’s strength is in the human plots and so that’s where I can see how this one beat Gridman for many people. It certainly does win on the emotions and writing, but for me Gridman won on the villains, story, and action. You felt more like the world was at stake and nobody was playing around there. While the humor here tended to be rather fun, it was also frequent enough where it would lower the stakes. You never really felt like the heroes were in danger here compared to Gridman where everything was moderately serious. So you’re going to be more pumped up in Gridman as you eagerly devour every episode but you’ll probably grin and earnestly enjoy the interactions more here. Based on which aspect of the show you’re more excited for will determine which one you like more.

If we’re going to use this as a tiebreaker, I will say that the romance in Dynazenon is considerably better than Gridman’s as well. There you had the villain trying to pull the moves on the main character and the slight romance with the main heroine but you’re not likely to be invested in it a whole lot and may even be rooting for the villainess since she’s more direct. Here the whole show is really built around the main romance and it’s handled in a very gradual way that’s fairly effective. I can say it’s one of the better romances I’ve seen in a while and is much closer to something like Tsubasa and Nisekoi than the average romance that I usually take shots at. I wouldn’t call this one rushed, obligatory, pointless, or anything like that and it’s automatically in the top 10% of romances that I’ve seen. It’s rather high praise. Yeah nobody’s watching for the romance but it’s a fairly big point of the show so it’s worth pointing out.

Overall, Dynazenon was definitely a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the crossover with Gridman. There is a whole lot you can do with having these two groups together and I’m all for it. Ideally you’d have the human characters return from both series so they can interact but in a way I don’t mind if only the heroes from this show return while the villains from Gridman do. It would be an interesting matchup since both sides aren’t familiar with the other. We’ll definitely have a lot of solid robot action which is always a plus so no matter what it should be a blast. If you like a good character drama show or just want some classic mecha action then this is definitely a title to check out.

Overall 7/10