They’re the best Anime that 2018 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Overlord III, Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season, and more!
10: Overlord III
English: Overlord III
MAL Score: 7.92
Following the horrific assault on the Re-Estize capital city, the Guardians of the Great Tomb of Nazarick return home to their master Ainz Ooal Gown. After months of laying the groundwork, they are finally ready to set their plans of world domination into action.
As Ainz’s war machine gathers strength, the rest of the world keeps moving. The remote Carne Village, which Ainz once saved from certain doom, continues to prosper despite the many threats on its doorstep. And in the northeastern Baharuth Empire, a certain Bloody Emperor sets his sights on the rising power of Nazarick.
Blood is shed, heroes fall, and nations rise. Can anyone, or anything, challenge the supreme power of Ainz Ooal Gown?
Alright, so what’s Overlord III about? What has Ainz-sama achieved so far till this season? What were the main events that took place before this season? Has the premise of the series changed?
THIS REVIEW MIGHT CONTAIN MILD SPOILERS.
So, previously in the first season we see Momonga somehow “mysteriously” getting teleported to a new world or getting trapped into a game called Dive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, also known as DMMO-RPG Yggdrasil (while Yggdrasil being the new release of the game), on which he spent his whole life at, and finally created the guild weapon, the Staff of Ainz Ooal Gown, a symbol of the guild namely Ainz Ooal Gown. Now when the game’s about to see its end, we see the guild members leaving the guild, and hoping to spend their lives much better since they had spent most of their life on this game, which they realized was worth nothing. Momonga, being the guild master, was quite furious over the shutdown of the game and blamed his guild members for not spending their last moment with the game. And calling them traitors, when they actually had spent their whole time on the game and without their efforts, the Overlord, Ainz-sama would’ve never achieved such strength and power. Or shall I say such arrogance and ignorance? Now being teleported to a new world, and being shocked at how this event took place. Momonga summons his guardians and orders Sebas, the butler, to investigate the surrounding of the great tomb of Nazarick. And see if they had really been teleported to a mysterious place/world, while ordering the floor guardians to stay on guard. Then we see Momonga-sama taking a tour of the first floor in his great tomb and being discovered by Demiurge. We see Demiurge outsmarting Momonga-sama. Which outrightly surprises Momonga-sama. But being the great overlord, it also meant him being “all-knowing” and he just couldn’t let any of his harem members realize that. Now, while being accompanied by Demiurge, Momonga-sama utters, “…taking over the world might be enjoyable.” Which he obviously didn’t mean it at all, but Demiurge was really surprised and felt outclassed by such thoughts of Momonga-sama. Thus being a side premise of this season.
Continuing on, we see Momonga-sama using the Mirror of Remote Viewing magic item. Where he notices a village being attacked by the knights. To which Momonga-sama rushes to their aid, of course, not with the “true” intentions of saving them. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to call himself an evil overlord in front of his harem. Now Momonga-sama outclasses every knight, and chases them away and meets the Royal Head Warrior, Gazef Stronoff. Now the Slane Theocracy strikes back with a trump card at their hands, a 7th tier magic item. Which again is outclassed by the great Momonga-sama. After the visit to the Carne Village, Momonga-sama decides to change his name to Ainz-sama i.e. the guild name. To which the sole purpose was to spread this name, the name of the guild, and see if he meets anyone else in the new world. His objective was to explore this world and see if there were other players from Yggdrasil, and trying to figure out how he could return back to his own world. Which was the main premise of the season.
Now Ainz-sama orders Sebas Tian and Solution to explore more about this world. And orders Shaltear to accompany him. While him visiting the E-Rantel Fortress City accompanied by Narberal Gamma, one of the maid pleiades, as wanting to be adventurers. To spread the name of Momon, the great adventurer, and again to gain knowledge about the new world. The potion given to one of the adventurers by Momon is taken to the best pharmacist. To which to her surprise is the potion that has the healing abilities of a God. Thus, leading to the meeting of Nphirea with the great Momon-san and Ainz-sama. Momon-san joins a guild for new adventures, since those adventures were of no match to him. Also, so that they could be witnesses to the power of Momon-san, the future’s greatest adventurer. But now, even Ainz-sama or Momon-san isn’t perfect, Clementine, a member of the Slane Theocracy, ruins the plan of the great Momon-san by killing all of the adventurers. To which Ainz-sama responds to by crushing her to death, and killing the rest of her comrades. Meanwhile, we see Shaltear, Sebas and Solution on their mission. And at the middle of their travel, a group of mercenaries halt the carriage and attempt to take them to their place. But they are massacred by them, and later they find out the nest of the humans that attacked them. Now Solution and Sebas part ways from Shaltear. And Shaltear heads towards the nest of the humans to test out the skills of Brain Unglaus, a man who knew martial arts and had fought Gazef on equal terms. To her surprise, is disappointed by the the abilities of Brain as he even fails to pass as a nail clipper. Now Shaltear absorbs all the blood, she had gathered by killing the humans and goes berserk. Massacring even the adventurers who arrived to explore the base of the soldiers turned mercenaries. Until she recovers by seeing the red potion, the potion which Ainz-sama had given to an adventurer. And discovers that the adventurers were actually split in two teams, and the second team was already headed to E-Rantel. Knowing that, she immediately chases them in her blood-frenzy mode. At the end someone amongst that group casted a mind-control spell on her, causing her to revolt against Ainz-sama. Accepting the quest as Momon, Ainz-sama heads towards Shaltear for battle. During this battle we see how great Ainz-sama is, completely surpassing Shaltear. And later revives her and plans to use Sebas and Solution as decoys. Sasuga Ainz-sama was secondarily the premise of the series.
Now outraged by the brainwashing of the only loli in his harem, Ainz-sama immediately launches an attack on the lizardmen. And completely overwhelms them and kills the leaders of the tribe. And makes them accept him as their ruler. This arc was of no importance to the series. The whole event took four episodes of the season. Afterwards, we see the second season focusing on Sebas and on the kingdom. Which again was of no significance. Overlord sure knows how to waste its time on insignificant bullshit. The rest of the season focuses on the Eight fingers. Who are captured by Ainz-sama and are experimented on by his harem. While capturing them, Entoma, one of the insects in the harem, suffers a serious damage by the adamantite adventurers. Who’s later saved by Jaldabaoth, the Demon Emperor. At the end, we see Momon emerges as the greatest adventurer of the world. Since he defeats the great Jaldabaoth. And adds another member to his harem i.e. Evil Eye. Perhaps, the only two lolis in his harem? In this season “Sasuga Ainz-sama” had become more or less a primary premise of the series. The second season itself had so many plot holes, but since the review is about the third season, I’ll only mention the least concerning one in my eyes. That is, no one ever questioned Momon-san about how was he able to beat Jaldabaoth, a magic caster whose power level was of 66+ according to Evil Eye, without casting away his humanity? There’s no way a human could beat such monster. Yet no one bothered asking him anything. And if they had Ainz would’ve had to reveal his identity. Of course, they wouldn’t either, since the whole show is just “Sasuga Ainz-sama” or “Sasuga Momon-sama.” Ainz sure knows how to get praised in every single form.
This season begins with a filler episode; the only episode which was actually worth watching in the whole season. In the episode, it’s revealed how massive the harem of Ainz-sama is; completely unparalleled, incomparable to any harem anime in existence. After the first episode, the story begins its focus on the objective of Nazarick. And thus, the words that Ainz-sama had uttered in the first season. Now Ainz-sama trying to outsmart his harem clearly fails, and then tries to play along their plans, otherwise he wouldn’t be an evil overlord. In simple words, being controlled by them since he’s supposed to be “all-knowing” and great, otherwise, you know, he really wouldn’t be the Sasuga. And the whole premise is “Sasuga Ainz-sama.” The show either forgets its main aim or just casts it away since “Sasuga Ainz-sama” is a very important premise.
In this season, we see Ainz desperately trying to prove he’s the only Sasuga in the world. He tries to stoop to the lowest level just to prove he’s the Sasuga, instead of acting like all-knowing or all-whatever. This season shows that the whole plot of Overlord isn’t as complex as it was meant or shown to be in the first season. From watching this show, it has become clearly evident that it’s just Ainz-sama and his harem squashing ants. And the series gives off the vibes as if even an amatuer could come up with such a mediocre setting.
Since the first season we’ve been seeing Ainz desperately trying to appeal and please his harem. And now, he even goes further by killing and torturing innocent people and accusing them of being evil. Ainz still thinks about his image, despite getting such loyalty and devotion. They wouldn’t dare say “Ainz-sama are you really an evil overlord”? He’s already a god for them. At this point he shouldn’t care about what his harem thinks and just give them orders, yet he doesn’t dare so. Ainz, despite being an evil overlord, still worries about meaningless things.
Continuing on, this series has no plot. We’re constantly introduced to new characters, we get entire episodes of how their lives are, their aim, who they love, etc. What has happened to this series? Why should I care about the ants which will indefinitely get squashed? Ainz will without a doubt rule the world, their fates are sealed from the very beginning. Everyone will either submit to his will or get killed/tortured by him and his harem. This show keeps on introducing more and more insignificant characters who are killed miserably usually with one hit from even the least powerful members of the great tomb of Nazarick. This is a waste of time, yet the show still gets dragged on pointlessly. Ainz can easily conquer the whole world without even using a fraction of his power, yet he and his harem play from the shadows. Plus, the whole series is very slow-paced.
This show has a very terrible character development. For example take the four episodes in the second season, where we were introduced to lizardmen, their lifestyles, who they love, what they wish, etc. and then they get killed and become test subjects. The third season also does the same, this season has been nothing but a waste of time. Where time is spent on developing minor characters who have no future and will contribute nothing to the plot since no matter what Ainz will have his way and they’ll either get killed, experimented, or becomes slaves; just like lizardmen contributed nothing and their struggle i.e. the drama was pointless and useless.
The 3D animation looks very cheap and is of extremely low quality. For a third season, this is completely unforgivable. And as for the rest, it’s nothing special. The overall quality has dropped immensely. And almost every character looks the same.
The voices of the characters in the series was quite satisfactory. This series has been re-using the osts of the first season. It hasn’t even introduced any of the new osts; neither this season nor the previous one. It keeps on playing the same osts which were played in the first season. A very very low effort indeed.
From the second season, this show had gone down abruptly. And this season is nothing but a disaster with a lot of useless development and unnecessary crap. But I do get the appeal of this show and why many would enjoy it. For example for the harem members. This show has quite a variety of members like vampire loli, a wolf, an insect, a lizard, etc. and there are many other reasons too…
Why do I say that? Well I’m about to tell you. Sit back, relax and make sure you demand SILENCE! while you are reading this review as I present to you the anime review for Overlord, Season 3. Let begin shall we.
So Ains Ooal Gown (or Momonga, or Momon or Papa Bone Daddy, whatever you want to call him) has now established Nazerick in the world they they still have no idea how they got there. Now that he has established Nazerick, his next course of action is to take over the world as is power and presence must be known across all of the kingdoms and countries. Or at least that what Demiurge believes and Ains is just rolling with it. In order to maintain control of Nazerick and his subjects, he must essentially go along with it although he never planned it in the first place and confront the nearby kingdoms in order to rule the world.
Once again the show is separated into two story arcs where each arc follows different characters and how they are tied to Ains’ plans and objectives. The first arc follows the village that Ains saved back in season one and how they are progressing. The second arc follows the actions of the Empire, a faction that was teased at the end of season two, and how they are tied to Ains progression of ruling the world. Now world building is once again, focused in Overlord and it is one of its biggest strengths. It doesn’t just focus on the inhabitants of Nazerick but the people outside it. It helps give depth to this world and its characters. You get invested into these characters to the point where once they interact with Ains Ooal Gown, you hope that they make it out okay.
Speaking of which, the polarity of who to route for in this show has taken full swing in this show. While season two also did this, season three is where I think it now has more weight. As the escalation grows in this show, you hope that some of the world’s core characters make it out unscathed, especially when they confront Ains or his subordinates. You want to route for Ains because he his the main protagonist and the character we get invested into the most, but you still want to route for the “good guys” because they are developed enough to get invested into them. Sometimes that is the case. Sometimes it is not. This just shows you how defined the world is and how putting investment into it helps flesh it out.
This season really does give us more insight into the mind of Ains Ooal Gown as it shows that he is just going along with the ride. Like I said earlier, Demiurge believes that Ains is now planning to take over the world whereas Ains didn’t think on doing that. Now that the other floor guardians believe that, he essentially must do what they believe he will do in order to maintain control of Nazerick. He is portrayed as always being 3 or 4 steps ahead but in reality, he is just making it up as he goes along. He also has to practice his lines and poses in his spare time in order to maintain his image. It’s a nice reminder that he isn’t some all knowing, all seeing Overlord, but rather a simple, human businessman who was invested into an MMORPG pretending to be an evil Overlord.
Of course that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it well because when he requires to do some evil deeds, he will do them without remorse. This season just reminds you that Ains is indeed a straight up villain. The previous two seasons sort of portrays Ains as both being good and bad. While he did some evil things, he also did some good things as well (Mainly when he is under the disguise of Momon). BUT NOPE. This series pretty much gives you a solid reminder that Ains is indeed the main evil that puts all other evils to shame. This season is by far the darkest season we’ve had because the actions that Ains took in this series are just pure villainy. Word of advice, if you ever threaten Nazerick, dig a grave. Then immediately fill up that grave because your body isn’t coming back. Then stick a bunch of red flags into your head as you skip ever so gracefully into Nazerick to never be seen again as you will be remembered as the idiot who went into Nazerick looking like a t**t.
As for the characters that were focused on in the arcs, we have two to talk about. First there is Enri Emmot, a member of the village that Ains saved personally and Jircniv Rune Farlord El Nix (we will just call him Jircniv), the ruler of the aforementioned Empire who is always at war with the kingdom from the second season.
So Enri is the main vessel from where we see how the village has progressed since season one. She is somewhat the figurehead of the village as she also the leader of a platoon of goblins that were summoned to protect the village. We see her over the course of the season take more responsibility as she it put into situations where she requires a level head and figure out the best course of action. She is essentially the kind and courageous person you would see take charge as the lead character, unaware that she is serving Papa Bone Daddy who is completely evil. But the problem I find with her is that I don’t see nothing more than just a vessel used to show the progression of the village in the show’s world building. I don’t get invested into her as much than say Zaryusu Sasha from season two because his motives were defined enough for me to get invested into him. For Enri, everything develops around her, rather than she is the main person involved. However, there is good use of foreshadowing where she will have to take center stage and have situations that involve around her in the future.
As for Jircniv, he is a good case of how looks can be deceiving. First impressions might describe him as a pompous a***ole who doesn’t give a s**t. But actually, he is not that. He is cunning as he needs to think what is best for his Empire and plans out what the best course of action is that will benefit him and his Empire and to make sure it does not crumble, mainly when confronting Nazerick and Ains Ooal Gown. While he gets less screen-time than Enri. He is the kind of character that you can get invested in because you know definitely, he is going to play a big part in the future.
That’s not to say other characters in this show do not get defined enough. From the workers who raid Nazerick to the goblins who protect the village to more established characters like Gazef Stronoff and Nfirea Bareare. Each character is defined enough to get invested into and to look forward to see what happens next for them. Not all of them are hits but the majority of the cast is enjoyable to watch.
I think that I should come to expect that the animation quality isn’t going to change for the better. So the animation will always be stuck on good but not great. However, I have also noticed that this season has increased the use of CGI animation and yeah, it does not look good. It just lacks detail and polish as it loses some of the impact of some scenes in the anime. Anyone that has watched episode 12 will pretty much agree with that statement. Trust me, you will notice it when the quality of the CGI animation gets bad. What I don’t get is that it uses both CGI and hand drawn animation on the same models and likes to switch between them. Why Madhouse won’t stick to one type is beyond me. Probably for budget reasons but that just feels like a sorry excuse of not allocating resources properly. While it does make sense for some character models like the Death Knights since they are larger than the average human, it just looks bad for other character models like the goblin and human soldiers.
Once again, the same soundtrack returns to Overlord III with haunting instrumentals and bombastic choir vocals. It is the soundtrack that can only be associated with a bad-ass, freaking Overlord. But my problem is a lack of notable new soundtracks (if there were any). The ones that I remember are the ones that we are already established with, which is quite a shame. It is not bad as the OST overall is still good but lets get some new stuff in here shall we? Before we start looping in circles.
The opening is something different and yet familiar at the same time. This time, MYTH&ROID swap with OxT to do the opening and my word, did MYTH&ROID and Tom-H@ck do a good job on the opening. The opening, “Voracity,” is much better choreographed than the previous two openings and is the most visually impressive out the three openings. The instrumentals as well are much better with them sounding much more heavy than the previous two but still sounding like an Overlord opening. This is also backed up with the lyrics being catchy as hell and able to stop and start without it feeling tedious. This all culminates to being the best Overlord opening out of the 3 IMO and one I have listened to countless times.
I’ve never appreciated Overlord’s ending sequences till now because this one was an enjoyable ending sequence. OxT did the ending sequence this time with a more slower piece of work than their openings but still using heavy, electrical instruments to match the instrumentals with the opening. But what really stole the show were the illustrations used in the ending as they looked gorgeous; somewhat reminiscing the art style of the Light Novel’s. I’ll have to make sure not to skip these from now on if they keep up this quality.
So what did I mean when I said Overlord is taking its stride? Well what I meant by that was where we are in the story and how established its world and characters are, Overlord is now going full steam ahead with its trajectory and it doesn’t look like its planning to stop until it reaches its destination. While its animation quality has taken a dip and the OST is now starting to go in a loop. Its heart and soul will always be its world and characters because that is what it does best. We always look into the world and its inhabitants and get attached to them before Ains and co. swoop in and probably take over their lives. It is kind of funny how this show has gone from finding out where they are and if there are other players there as well to watching a powerful Overlord start to take over the world.
If you were not a fan on how Overlord II was structured and how the attention was always driven away from Ains, then this season won’t change your mind as it is pretty much more of the same. If you were a fan like I was, then you should be happy. I would imagine Madhouse would want to see this anime through since it is popular enough to have three seasons already. And you know what Madhouse? I will still continue to watch Overlord and bow down to THE GREAT SORCERER KING, AINS OOAL GOWN!!!
My Personal Enjoyment: 9.5/10
Overall score: 7.9/10 Recommendation: Watch it (If you haven’t already.)
1) Protagonists are villains.
2) Protagonists are ridiculously overpowered.
3) Protagonists are non-human.
4) Solid world building. Works well as a hi-fantasy series.
These points summarize Overlord well, and if you find them appealing then this series is just for you. Tired of goody two- shoe protagonists who are holier-than-thou with no moral faults? Overlord’s protagonists are nonhuman and villains. Have you had enough of linear progression in storytelling, where the protagonist overcomes progressively stronger antagonists, almost conveniently? Overlord’s protagonist and his minions and the minions of his minions are overpowered compared to the vast majority of everything else in the world. This is not a tale about knights in shining armor who save the day. This is about the strong and the weak- with heavy emphasis on the strong. No “friendship triumphs over all” speeches to be found here.
The last aspect, which does not apply nearly as much to the anime as it does to the light novels it’s based on, is it’s world building. The map is fairly large, with different countries and a large selection of recurring characters representing each country showing up periodically. They all have different traits and while I wouldn’t call most of them “deep,” the little things they do help give the world of Overlord meaning. They’re not cookie-cutter background characters that do the most predictable and straight-ahead thing. It’s showing the world is alive with many individual people pursuing their own goals. The story is basically a “MMO isekai,” but that it doesn’t go as far as others in the same genre. The MMO feature is just used to explain easily the mechanics of the world and just how powerful Ainz and his minions are. You could almost ignore that fact and the plot works just as well. In essence, this series is almost like Lord of the Rings, with the protagonists being villains.
I mentioned in the above two paragraphs the appeal of Overlord’s story and characters. To date the series biggest weakness for the light novels has been pacing. Books 4, 5, 7, and 8 are the weakest entries in the currently 13 volume series, and it was primarily because of that fact. A slew of characters for books 4 and 7 in particular were introduced. Many of them weren’t interesting and most of them weren’t important to the plot beyond their respective books.
The anime does glaze over many details from the novels. This works both in its favor and to the vexation of hardcore fans. It skips over many of the details which help make the world feel so alive, while also “fixing” some of the pacing problems a few of the middle volumes in the series had. Season 2 was a good representation of this. This third season adapts volumes 7, 8, 9, so expect more of the same in that regard.
The anime’s biggest flaw. Although the CGI they use works out in it’s favor at times, particularly with some battles, at other times it can be jarring. Some animation scenes are lazy, such as the one involving Leinas face in a frame. The goblin battle in episode 11 was borderline comical. It’s unfortunate because So-bin, the illustrator for the novels, does a fantastic job. Sometimes it’s good, but there is a lot of mediocrity here as well.
There are a couple of good soundtracks used here and some of the sound effects work well. The English dub is also respectable. Overall it’s good, even if it’s not outstanding. I still think the first season had the best OP and OST. Still good, however.
There are a lot of them, and like any series this can be both good and bad. With so many characters, it’s hard to get significant development on individual characters. When you do get good development, afterwards they may have long absences from the story when the focus shifts to other characters. On the other hand, having so many characters helps make the world feel alive, and with the wide variety, it gives everyone at least a few characters to care about.
As mentioned, this series biggest allure is its ridiculously overpowered, nonhuman villain protagonists. Yet neither are they evil for the sake of being evil. They are wholly dedicated to themselves- and if that means killing a few hundred thousand people in the process, then so be it. There’s just something so self-satisfying about seeing a protagonist like that. You don’t get to see that often enough.
I think an understated emotion for any series is that of admiration. When you admire someone, you tend to overlook their flaws. The relationship between Ainz and his subordinates is a tender one. Unsurprisingly, the light novel does a much better job than with developing it’s characters. The anime is only the general story and cuts some details from the novels.
The animation drags it down, but the story is unique and the characters are engaging enough to keep you invested. Ultimately the most satisfying things in life are the things you didn’t know you wanted until you got it. Overpowered, nonhuman, villain protagonists trying to conquer the world in a high-fantasy setting turned out to be just that. If you love Overlord and are still here for season 3, I highly recommend picking up the light novels ASAP.
9: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken
English: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
MAL Score: 8.11
Thirty-seven-year-old Satoru Mikami is a typical corporate worker, who is perfectly content with his monotonous lifestyle in Tokyo, other than failing to nail down a girlfriend even once throughout his life. In the midst of a casual encounter with his colleague, he falls victim to a random assailant on the streets and is stabbed. However, while succumbing to his injuries, a peculiar voice echoes in his mind, and recites a bunch of commands which the dying man cannot make sense of.
When Satoru regains consciousness, he discovers that he has reincarnated as a goop of slime in an unfamiliar realm. In doing so, he acquires newfound skills—notably, the power to devour anything and mimic its appearance and abilities. He then stumbles upon the sealed Catastrophe-level monster “Storm Dragon” Veldora who had been sealed away for the past 300 years for devastating a town to ashes. Sympathetic to his predicament, Satoru befriends him, promising to assist in destroying the seal. In return, Veldora bestows upon him the name Rimuru Tempest to grant him divine protection.
Now, liberated from the mundanities of his past life, Rimuru embarks on a fresh journey with a distinct goal in mind. As he grows accustomed to his new physique, his gooey antics ripple throughout the world, gradually altering his fate.
The anime starts off pretty good actually with our protagonist (who is a not-so-social-virgin at 37) dying, with his dying wish being “If I ever get reborn, I want to be OP af and want to screw as many girls as I like”; to be fair, I would probably also wish something along those lines. After citing his wish, “the great sage” reincarnates him into another world as the most OP slime ever. Stuff happens and he ends up saving a tsundere dragon from eternal imprisonment by eating him and also saves a village of goblins from direwolves. He, then names all the goblins and direwolves and takes it upon himself to create an ideal living environment for the monsters to live in. Just because he worked as a “contractor” in his previous life, he’s able to plan out a whole city mostly by himself. He also becomes an expert in holding a conversation even though he was lonely and awkward in his previous life. I don’t know how that works, but good for him right?
After planning a whole city mostly by himself, begins the directionless adventure of the slime. This is one of the main problems with this show, it does not know what it wants to be. There’s no overarching narrative, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but audiences at least need a sense of direction of movement in order not to be bored. There was something about there being a demon lord or something, idk it’s probably the same guy that’s present in every other isekai. What the show does is, it makes one of the characters say “Demon Lord” in some way or the other and the anime is like “well that’s enough plot progression for one episode. Who wants tiddies?”. Instead of actual plot we get “plot”. Not “plot” plot, but PLOT. Every girl the slime ever comes across is infatuated with him because we need to construct a harem or it will not be an isekai. Thus, the slime turns into chad slime and is swimming in tiddies, literally. The second problem with the show is that the danger does not feel real. Since the slime, who gets the name Rimuru by the way, is as OP as Goku in his Rainbow Super Saiyan Ultra Instinct Super Saiyan Legendary Super Saiyan God Ultra BS Level 5 form, nobody stands a chance against him. Anyone who challenges him, gets their ass handed to them in about 5 milliseconds. The fights usually go like this:
1. Rimuru’s henchmen fighting evil guy.
2. Evil Guy: You are just cannon fodder.
3. Henchmen lose; evil guy laughs; Rimuru arrives.
4. Evil Guy: You’re just a slime, you can’t do anything.
5. Rimuru beats the shit out of evil guy.
6. Evil Guy: *gasp* *starts following Rimuru for no reason*
Seriously, everyone who ever comes in contact with Rimuru becomes as loyal to him as you’re to anime. There’s this direwolf whose father is killed by Rimuru, but he’s like “meh, shit happens. You killed my father and dozens of my friends with whom I’ve spent my life till now, but you gave me a name so I instantly forgot about them”.
The comedy is ehhh??? I know comedy is subjective, but I can distinguish between well written comedy that isn’t funny just to me and just plain bad comedy. There’s this character who doesn’t speak and just says “mmmhh” and whenever he does that Rimuru goes “Speak up, man”. It was funny the first time but became annoying after it was repeated for a million times. There’s this lizardman who’s arguably the most irksome character in the show because his only purpose in life seems to be to make stupid decisions for the sake of tasteless humour. But, the most annoying part is that those actions, those asinine actions that he takes in the show which we took for granted, actually contribute to plot progression. He overthrows his father, the king of the lizardmen, from the throne during an invasion just because 3 of his henchmen told him that he is strong *annoyed nose exhale*.
The characters are painfully mediocre. Except for one female character, all others are there just to show some cleavage and get wet over Rimuru for no goddamn reason. Rimuru himself isn’t that interesting of a character. We never get an explanation to his motivation or what he wants to do, he just does whatever is presented to him. That’s weak writing. If your character holds his/her characterisation only in the context of the story then that’s weak character writing. There’s not even much to write as the characters are the definition of average. If they were on either end of the spectrum you would have something to say about them, but the characters in this show don’t have much of a personality. Only one character gets anything resembling a backstory which was so cursory that I forgot about it as soon as it happened. The characters are introduced as some kind of badasses only to further paint them as only superficially badass. There’s a character who tames the orcs and has a calm demeanour in his first scene but loses his mind when his plan fails. He’s portrayed as smart and shrewd but isn’t even able to figure out that his own slave is going to kill him.
The female cast consists of useless fanservice character #1, useless fanservice character #2, useless fanservice character #3 up to useless fanservice character #10, and Shizue. You can literally replace the female cast with boobs and it wouldn’t make a dent of a difference. Every female in this show, in one way or another, is only present to hold Rimuru between her boobs or to get angry for absolutely no reason in order to provide “comic relief”. I’ve put comic relief if massive quotations because all it does is annoy the viewer or pad for time as every episode needs to be 20 minutes long. The “comic relief” usually (and by usually I mean all the time) consists of girls vying to get wet over Rimuru or having other characters eat food that they’ve prepared; usually (and by usually I mean all the time) the food is very unpalatable and causes the person eating said food to faint. As you can see these are entirely new concepts that have never been executed or seen before in any anime, ever.
There’s a demon loli who runs around in bikinis blowing up whatever she wishes and is supposed to be a “demon lord” who are apparently the most OP people in the world. The demon loli is defeated by Rimuru by stuffing her mouth with honey; a feat which is applauded by his loyal followers quoting it as “A feat which only Rimuru-sama can accomplish” *exasperated sigh*. The demon loli (that’s what I’m gonna call her because she was only present in the show to appeal to pedos and was such a superfluous character that I don’t even remember her name and can’t be bothered to search for it), becomes besties with Rimuru because, well, we need an excuse to shoehorn in a loli with enough helium in her voice to lead to dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness and ultimately death.
You might be thinking that despite shitting on this show why have I still given it a 4/10. Well, that’s because even though everything about this anime is utterly mediocre, I still had an urge to click the next episode and ended up finishing it in a day so it gets some points there. Even though the fights themselves can’t be considered anything other than one sided massacre, they were still fun to watch.
Oh, almost forgot. The music is ok, the OPs and EDs are just fine and with the exception of one piece (which I just can’t seem to be able to find), all the others are forgettable. The animation is pretty solid though, especially during the fights. But, what good is animation when the majority of the show is as bland and tasteless as frozen dry fruits.
If isekai is your thing, then go for it, but again if you really like isekai then you’ve probably already watched it. If you don’t like isekai and are going to try it because you’ve heard so many good things about it, then I’d recommend you to refrain from watching it. This is another one of those mediocre isekai that has been hyped to high heavens by the anime community. It’s literally like any other isekai.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has one colossal issue preventing it from being the fun wholesome D&D comedy it wants to be. There are no stakes because of the insanely overpowered protagonist—Rinmuru. He was a 37-year-old office worker randomly murdered and then reborn in a new world as a blue slime in a JRPG-like fantasy world. It’s an original twist on the typical isekai plot. Except, it’s marketing bait. Rinmuru turns into a kid, and the whole slime thing gets thrown out of the window. Like most isekai power-fantasies, there’s not much tension. Anything Rinmuru encounters in the world can be effortlessly defeated, draining any suspense out of the show. Instead, the story focuses on comedy and constructing a peaceful civilization.
Isekai power-fantasy anime with video game logic are nothing new. Still, this anime’s premise isn’t inherently flawed—mainly because it aims for a light-hearted tone in a genre full of dreadfully serious and boring shows. The animation in the first episode was excellent, and the background art was highly detailed. The quality quickly went downhill—however, it never lost its goofy colorful style. It balanced this light-hearted tone with some offbeat drama from time to time. At first, the stakes were always low because Rinmuru wasn’t the focus; side characters’ stories were at center stage. Rinmaru would defeat a group or save someone, and then they would join his civilization. After that, they would just become cardboard cutouts destined to sit in the background like furniture. No one in this anime ever gets developed. Most of them barely get any lines other than side comments. The dialogue isn’t substantial. Instead, they make blatant observations. All of the humor got drained out. The writer resorted to the same dumb jokes repeated over and over. Haha, the monster girl has big boobs—peak comedy.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is dull, stupid, and can’t decide what it wants to be. The massive cast of characters have no personalities, no individual sense of humor, and we get no sense of who they are. Once the show gets too bored of it’s ‘slice-of-life’ aspects, it tries to pit Rinmuru against gruesome enemies like the man-eating ogres. There’s no point to these action parts except mindless entertainment. There’s no permanence because no one is in danger. As soon as the foes are defeated, it’s right back to silly, vapid comedy and fanservice. Inevitably the tone became so mismatched that it was no longer enjoyable, even as passive entertainment.
Every supporting character is irrelevant—they’re cannon fodder and fools to entertain Rinmuru. He never needs any of them. They linger around Rinmaru like his giant harem, showering him with praise and occasionally make quips like NPCs. By the midpoint in the show, the most important supporting character is Shion. She is continuously onscreen getting her boobs jiggled by the Rinmaru in slime form—that’s the only time he becomes slime again. Anyone Rinmuru defeats pledges their loyalty to him. One character exceeds him in power, but she comes so late in the series and does nothing. Imagine an immovable object meets an unstoppable force—their fights could’ve been epic. Instead of building off one another, she acts like an idiot, then gets ordered around by Rinmuru. He’s pretty much the only character, so this show earns one whole point in its character category. Rinmuru is mildly entertaining while he’s a slime. After that, you realize you’ve got baited.
The tone has two settings: either unfunny comedy or overly serious. Rinmuru cracks jokes in the heat of combat, and it comes off as tone-deaf. The violent action scenes are quite strange because they clash with his irreverent personality. It tries to blend humor with seriousness in one scene, and the result is just confusion and boredom.
From time to time, the dialogue doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and it’s the show’s best, but also the worst feature. The only thing that made it watchable, that kept me awake for all twenty-five episodes was the occasional funny line. They get sandwiched between bland lines of dialogue, breaking up the monotony. When Rinmaru quips at a weaker enemy for being stupider than him, it feels self-aware. Someone finally acknowledged the show is ridiculous.
Conversely, there is some palpable tension after one plotline gets developed for episodes and Rinmaru’s underlings work to succeed. But after all that build-up, he steps in with an annoyed expression, taunts his enemy with a quip, then easily defeats them. It’s boring. Who wants a main character like this? Before a fight, Rinmaru often says, “this fight won’t be easy,” BUT IT IS ALWAYS EASY. He is too ludicrously overpowered for what this show wants to be. He drains away all of the tension like a vacuum.
Another major problem with the broken story structure of this show is the pacing. The author has so little attention span that there can never be more than one plotline occurring at once. No time for character development. No time for world-building. We have a conflict, and we’ll have to see it to its boring unsatisfying conclusion before the show can even introduce the next plotline. I never thought I would miss Overlord, but at least that show made an effort to tell a story. Every arc in SlimeTime but one ends with an anticlimactic letdown; even ones with flashy action set pieces are still unsatisfying. Any giant final boss monster can easily be killed in one punch as if Saitama himself was reincarnated instead of a boring-ass salaryman.
*Spoilers in this paragraph*
Dozens of potential plot threads get cut off for the sake of the final arc. Unresolved plot threads are left open to be revisited in the next season potentially—though I wouldn’t count on it. And this is not a writing technique the author is intentionally using. Instead, this is a ‘Plan B.’ When the main plotline becomes monotonous and tedious, the author shifts gears into another one. The final arc in the show comes out of nowhere. The new characters, a group of kids, have no personalities other than one trait if we’re lucky. Hollow, bland characters are par for the course in Slime Time, but this is where the show went from boring to painful. It tries to make us care about the new NPC kids. We were told by the show that they are going to die if Rinmaru doesn’t help. Thankfully he doesn’t care about anything, so he ditches his small civilization temporarily to help them. He resolves the conflict by himself, totally separately from the kids. They end up just following him around, trying to act important like the rest of the supporting cast in this terrible hackneyed series. But of course, they teased a second season. I can’t wait for another 25-episodes of this mediocrity.
Overpowered main characters are a staple of the isekai genre, and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is no different. Studio 8bit’s stellar art style and the first two theme songs were fantastic. However, the production was not enough to carry such a disjointed and underwhelming story. If you’re a fan of the isekai genre, then you might enjoy the irreverent humor for a little while; Until that too gets devoured by the slime-loli-thirty-seven-year-old-virgin.
After being turned into a light novel, Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime) is one of the few isekai shows that I genuinely looked forward to this year. While it subscribes to usual fantasy gimmicks, this show also does a unique job at entertaining the audience through its charismatic main lead, world fiction, and creative storytelling. I refer this show as more of a fantasy isekai, one that has a slime as the superstar.
Can the isekai genre really have potential to be more than just what’s on paper? It certainly could for some franchises. This show is one of them. Satoru is reborn as a slime and his role is crucial to everything around him. Taking on the alias “Rimuru”, he makes up for his appeal through a variety of personality traits: kind, witty, laidback, sarcastic, courageous, and among others. When you look at all these character personalities together, Rimuru can be very likable. In the early portion of the show, we see Rimuru’s charisma and being able to lead supernatural creatures without fear. He even gives names to his new friends while showing his compassion. Rimuru is built to be special in the show. This is established through his immense abilities (such his Predator skill), where viewers can easily point fingers at him for being overpowered. Indeed, this isn’t an overstatement. In most of his battles, they are more like curb stomp face offs where Rimuru dominates his opponents. From isekai shows in today’s world, overpowered characters aren’t uncommon. What actually sets Rimuru apart is his unnatural charisma and human behavior. The witty conversations and small talks he engages with others often makes his fights much entertaining than they should be. Even in serious conflicts, Rimuru finds time to make jokes while being strategic enough to formulate a plan. Now, that my friends, is setting a likeable isekai protagonist by example.
Yet, this show can be a tearjerker at times too. The emotional context draws important value with a character named Shizu. After a titanic battle against a demon known as Ifrit, we learn about her past and Rimuru even inherits her will. Taking on her form, Rimuru realizes that he can’t save everyone regardless how powerful he is. It sets the path of his journey to keep promises such as being a mentor for younger kids. In the latter half of the show, Rimuru finds a group of children with magical potential and tries to lead them as a positive role model.
Even as an isekai show established with such a powerful protagonist, its character cast shouldn’t be overlooked. We meet a variety of characters with colorful personalities during Rimuru’s adventures. Some of the most noticeable ones includes his allies such as Shion, Shuna, Gobuta, Benimaru, Ranga, and later on, the Demon Lord Millim. Through Rimuru’s character interactions, it’s easy to see how his charisma inspires others. Many of Rimuru’s followers shows great respect for him and similarly, he deeply cares about them. Even Millim, a Demon Lord with overwhelming powers, takes a liking to him as the two forms an unlikely alliance. Respect of course isn’t just demanded but earned. Thanks to Rimuru’s abilities, he manages to make alliances with the most unlikely races. Under Rimuru’s leadership, he even sets forth to build a new country with his allies. The central element of storytelling relies on Rimuru’s way of showing his will. He proves this throug his actions and words. Really, by the end of the show, I felt like I understood Rimuru far more than I originally anticipated.
Despite my love for the show’s witty humor, colorful character cast, and storytelling, I should point out the anime still suffers from pitfalls. Fan service scenes with baths are common and Rimuru is still vulnerable to earthly desires in the fantasy world. In fact, I dare say the author made the monster girls as cute and sexy as possible. Millim and Shion are prime examples for their character designs. Just take a close look at them. Millim is pretty much half naked in her default outfit while Shion gives more of a mature lady vibe. Like most fantasy isekai, elves are characterized as desirable by males. This is shown early in the show when Rimuru encounters them and finds himself in brief moments of lust. While the storytelling has adequate development and carries an emotional weight, it’s hard to say that it’s great writing. In fact, many of Rimuru’s battles are extremely predictable even against the strongest of adversaries. In most of those fights, you should certainly expect Rimuru to be the winner. While the series also gives some of its supporting cast time to shine, most of the spotlight falls under our little slime-kun. Perhaps a bit too much…
Finally, 8-bit is back. After years of mediocre light novel adaptations like Infinite Stratos and Knight’s & Magic, Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken’s sets a bar for being a marvelous example of world fiction. The magical world contains fruitful amount of content such as the various nations we see. Tempest is the most prominent one ruled by Rimuru. Located in the Jura Forest, it’s a prime example of a monster country filled with larger than life characters. Meanwhile, other locations such as Brumund Kingdom and Dwargon reminds me of the high fantasy elements of the isekai genre. While the visual quality can look a bit cartoonish at times, it remains vibrant, bright, and contains a fine degree of palette. It suits for this particular show with its lighthearted humor. The character designs are of course worth mentioning in the case of Rimuru, the Demon Lords, his monster allies, and the infamous Veldora Tempest. At times, I feel like the author really put his thought into making them look as otherwordly as possible. The battle choreography also delivers a visual direction of what isekai shows should be. Nothing too groundbreaking but being able to showcase what characters’ abilities can really do. You should definitely not expect a DBZ-level style of action quality but be prepared for some jawbreaking cinematography.
Don’t you just wish life was simpler these days? Looking back at Rimuru’s adventure, I confess that I am a bit envious of his life. He is so carefree despite being an such a prominent figure in his world. Whether taking on the form of a slime, human, or Shizu, Rimuru makes everything look so easy. As such, watching this show felt like an easy way of passing time and enjoying what the author creator wanted us to experience. Now I wish life was easier.
8: Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season
English: My Hero Academia 3
MAL Score: 8.15
As summer arrives for the students at UA Academy, each of these superheroes-in-training puts in their best efforts to become renowned heroes. They head off to a forest training camp run by UA’s pro heroes, where the students face one another in battle and go through dangerous tests, improving their abilities and pushing past their limits. However, their school trip is suddenly turned upside down when the League of Villains arrives, invading the camp with a mission to capture one of the students.
Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season follows Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, an ambitious student training to achieve his dream of becoming a hero similar to his role model—All Might. Being one of the students caught up amidst the chaos of the villain attack, Deku must take a stand with his classmates and fight for their survival.
Season 3 started of with a typical generic school trip. Few attempts of comedy here and there that simply didn’t land. Other than that some todoroki development and deku vs muscular build up were only things worth seeing first 3 episodes.
Characters training was much longer than it should have been. Wasted some time imo. Deku vs muscular fight was okay. The animation was great but again it was so generic and it lacked both creativity and choreography. No tactics used at all. It was just a flashy fight with 2 dudes punching each other with fists. I know, i know you are gonna say “BuT MHa fIgHTs aRe ABouT StorY” so is almost every fight in anime, that doesn’t mean it should be mindless. On the plus side deku got some development.
Am i the only one that noticed how repetitive mha is?
Season 1 is basically characters training, villains invading
season 2 is trounament arc, villains invading and finally season 3 is characters training and villains invading. There is nothing new. There is no bigger, deeper plot to get invested in to.
Like always bunch of dumb villains that lack motivation appeared and i simply didn’t care for them. There was that tsundare girl, that discount dead pool guy, mindless musuclar who is just killing for the sake of killing, that discount stain guy that was like a lizard or something, dude with big lips and uhhh what was his name again? That dude that’s obviously todorokis brother or something. It’s so predictable. On the plus side one thing that mha does good is the character desgins. Despite them looking goofy at times. At least they are memorable even tho the characters themselves aren’t.
Long story short students fight some villains and bakugo gets captured even tho bakugo clearly could have prevented it but he didn’t because… he is a angry brat that wants to be acnkowladged.
Next up is AFO vs All might fight… Again some good animation even tho there were some errors. We still don’t know anything about AFO’s motivation like with almost every vilalin in this show. He was supposed to be badass and his OST was supposed to be scary but it just wasn’t. Not to mention his generic quirk… All might vs AFO was the peak of the season tho. It told the great story and it was good for all mights character. But we all knew all might was gonna win and he wins the most generic way possible. With final punch… The fight was dull from the actaul fighting perspective.
This show is just too safe. There is no suspenese, we just know good guys are gonna win. Even when bakugo was kidnapped he got retrieaved at the end. Everyone was just injured and they recovered. Even tho all might is my favorite character, his death would have made this show so much better.
Second arc was sooooooooo boring even tho it was filled with action. There was literally almost nothing big happening. There was a whole episode dedicated to rooms lmao. And again we get to the generic tournament arc with too many boring side cahracters that i don’t care for. Mha is introducing too many, too fast. Side characters are very forgetable and the development is unievene. Even tho the cast is better than the terrible plot of this show it’s still highly overrated. Too many bland characters with generic motivations and view points. Bakugo vs Deku was actaully good. I like bakugo more now even tho i still think his peronality is forced. Like why do you scream so much? I get that people had high expectations for you since birth but why so much? Tone it down ffs lmao. He is literally yelling at everyone around himself. It makes his personality unbelievable. The fight itself had the best choreography out of the 3. The animation was great too. “The big 3” was pretty overhyped. In temrs of character designs they are basically naruto, sasuke and sakura. Mirio is only one with potential out of the 3.
The art style this season is basic like always. All in all mha is enjoyable show with terrible plot. This season has very little story progression. The show itself doesn’t stand out in any way.
P.S people are giving mha too much credit for executing the generic tropes well. It doesn’t do it THAT well. It’s a overstatement.
Season 3 is bad. It’s the point where you finally realize that all the potential the earlier seasons flashed was no more than just that: unrealized potential. And all the problems with the writing weren’t blips, they become a constant problem that deflates the tension and drama in every arc.
Every time Deku we’re told Deku is risking his body only for him to be fine after a day in the hospital, every time a villain is hyped up only for them to lose while barely accomplishing anything, every time stakes are established and then retreated from immediately. It all starts to add up.
Decline of Visuals 1
Now, one thing that’s important to note is that the decline of the MHA anime is not entirely due to Horikoshi’s writing. A fair amount of blame should be attributed to Studio Bones, as well. I complimented the show based on how there was a lot more effort than I remember in season 1, and the reason I was surprised by that is because of how low the quality of visuals is in seasons 3 and 4.
MHA’s visuals in general have never been that sharp (especially in terms of backgrounds), but season 1 did a good job of covering for that by being loose and creative with the visuals. That is no longer the case. The visuals are flat and the tone is overly stiff. Which uh, is a lot less fun to watch. And if you’re not enjoying what you’re watching, you tend to be less engaged. And when you’re not engaged by what’s in the foreground, you start to zone out and look at the backgrounds out of boredom.
At which point, you start to notice how cheap-looking and shoddily thrown together the backgrounds in this show look. You’ll notice the same tree copy and pasted over and over again, stale coloring, buildings with no style or personality put into how they’re drawn, and sometimes you can’t even tell what you’re looking at. (I’d put a screenshot of a scene from episode 53 like I did on AL, but MAL’s decrepit review interface doesn’t allow for that. So instead, you get homework. Go to episode 53 at 9:00 and look at the wide shot of the city.)
This is supposed to be an establishing shot of the city. What the hell is this? Looks like a bunch of digital garbage.
(Now go to S3E53 at 4:00. AL has image embedding in their reviews btw. And video embedding! And proper formatting! Go read my review over there! @Bubblesssssss)
What the hell are those things in the background even supposed to be?
Forest Training Camp Arc
The first two arcs of season 3 are the forest training camp arc and class raid arcs, and they are both very bad. So bad that season 3 (and really, the whole series) never recovers from it. What you realize while watching these arcs is that all the bad aspects of Horikoshi’s writing thus far aren’t going to go away: the problem has actually gotten much worse and is deflating any potential drama and tension for new arcs.
The Forest Training Camp arc isn’t as bad as the Class Raid arc, but…its still bad and starts season 3 off on a very bad note. Most of why I dislike this arc is the emergence of Horikoshi’s writing becoming…lazy. The problems that pop up in the Class Raid arc are recurring issues that have spun out of control, but The Forest Training Camp arc started to make me question if he even had a plan for where the story is going.
Here’s a brief summary:
Students go on a class trip to train. Deku meets Kota, a kid who lost his parents and hates heroes as a result. Villains attack, Pixie Bob is injured, Deku fights this muscle guy and beats him, Bakugo gets kidnapped, arc end.
There’s a lot of dumb shit all over the place here, but let’s start with the villain’s reason for the raid:
“To make them see that their peace is resting in our hands” S3E41 13:10
What the fuck does that mean? Something I’ve noticed while re-watching is with the villains, you kind of have to ignore what they say at times to make the writing coherent. Like with Stain when he says that money and fame worshippers are ruining hero society, despite there being sort of 1 example of each that fit that description even existing. What he does in the alley though, points to a more coherent ideology. Iida ignored an injured hero because he was too busy trying to get revenge on Stain for his brother. That selfishness and inability to control his emotions is bad and holds Iida back. You gave me an example of something Stain opposes directly and showed me rather than told me, excellent.
And then you have this shit. I don’t know what the fuck “make them see that their peace is resting in our hands” means. That’s confusing, vague nonsense. Later on, they explain that they want to kidnap Bakugo and try to show him that there are options other than being a hero. So why not just say that to begin with? You want to kidnap students to convert them to your cause. It conveys your motivations better than whatever the hell “make them see that their peace is resting in our hands” is.
Anyways. Most of the villain attack is standard MHA stuff. Villains attack, have mixed results, students counterattack. Blah blah blah.
The real garbage starts in the scene where Pixie Bob gets hurt. Here, Chatora starts talking about how the villains are bad because they hurt Pixie Bob because she’s apparently thinking about getting married, something that was never brought up until now.
This is lazy, last minute garbage. Last-minute characterization is something I really don’t care much for, and MHA had done well to avoid this sort of lazy writing. This is literally just Horikoshi saying “Hey I know you barely got to know this character, but you should feel something because I’m abruptly telling you she’s getting married”. There’s no emotional anything here. I don’t know how important marriage is to her, I don’t know who she’s getting married to, I don’t know anything about this woman! If this plot line had been developed ahead of time (aka Horikoshi had scenes where we saw her doting over her fiancé, or just scenes of the 2 together in general), then there would be grounds to put this line here. Because then, the show would have actually earned it. But you can’t do it like this. This is lazy. We’ll get back to this problem in part 4, as it (like the other parts of Horikoshi’s writing) snowballs out of control.
And then we get to the big fight from this arc, Deku vs muscle guy. I don’t care what his name is. His design is bad, he’s badly written, his only notable feature is how muscley he is. He’s muscley guy.
Before getting to the fight, we need to talk about Kota. His parents are heroes that were killed in the line of duty, and he now he hates heroes. Which is whatever. Generic backstory, depends on what you do with it. It’s fine by itself. But what I dislike about this is Deku’s reasons for wanting to help him. The show treats Kota as though his opinion about heroes is…wrong. Something that needs to be corrected. This is an annoying part of the way MHA is written, and is yet another problem that spirals out of control in seasons 3 and 4. On its own it isn’t a big deal. But when you take into consideration the fact that Horikoshi very clearly wants to write villains who represent problems with society, but at the same time is unwilling to write flawed superheroes or hold accountable UA or his society’s heroes, and also seems to treat all criticism of the heroes as wrong…like which is it? You can’t have both, they clash with each other.
So obviously, this muscley guy is not a very good villain. Kota’s backstory with his parents was already pretty token, but did you really have to make muscley guy the same guy that killed his parents? That’s like the lamest twist ever. It was the first thing I thought of when I was guessing plot twists they might do in this arc. Never mind how infinitesimally small the odds of that same guy coming to attack this particular training camp, and just so happening to show up right in front of Kota and Deku are. It’s a lame thing to try to make a twist to begin with. It’s too obvious.
Then you have the fight itself. Which is…whatever. There’s some neat animation here I guess, but overall I don’t care much. The villain is bad, the drama is bad, and there aren’t really any stakes with Deku injuring his body because I know after the arc is over, he’ll sit in a hospital bed for a bit and then be fine. Speaking of…
Before we get to the episodes after the forest training camp arc, I’d like to highlight one thing Deku says during this fight:
From E42 15:40: “a hero’s job is to turn the lip service into reality”
Remember this quote. I’ll refer back to it a lot going forward.
Fake Stakes 1
The episodes between the end of the Forest training camp arc and the class raid are important, in that they highlight the one problem with MHA that it has proven unable to escape from:
Horikoshi is deathly afraid of taking risks. His writing is among the stalest and safest in a popular shounen I’ve ever seen. He’s overly attached to his characters, he never provides long-lasting consequences for the actions of his characters, and he seems terrified of moving a single piece out of place.
There are 2 categories of this I’d like to highlight here:
The first problem area when it comes to fakes stakes is this ongoing storyline with the media’s criticism of UA and their failures to protect their students. Or rather, it’s just Horikoshi pretending there will be consequences for the students getting into trouble for both UA and the students, but then immediately retreating from it because actual consequences would be hard to write. Anyways, we’re gonna establish the details of this subplot that are important, and I’ll explain why this part of the story is a problem in a bit.
In season 1, the media manages to sneak onto school grounds after Shigaraki blows up the wall. This one isn’t as notable as the others, but I just wanted to point it out because in this instance, UA couldn’t even keep reporters off their school grounds. Maybe a wall and sensor isn’t a great security system in a world where nearly everyone has superpowers, yeah? You think maybe someone might try to just jump over the wall or blow it up?
Anyways, then you have the villains that attack students at the end of season 1. Also does not reflect well on the school, and they receive criticism for it. This looks even worse when you consider the people that got in were proven to be morons. That’s basically the subplot. The media goes after UA for letting the students fall into danger, and that’s uh. That’s it. As for the students:
In episode 31, the police guy tells Deku and friends that they and the other heroes are going to receive strict punishment…and then they don’t do that at all.
Not a huge deal they don’t follow through here. But next time they get into trouble, there needs to be actual punishment for the students or UA. This could just be to establish stakes for the future. All you gotta do is follow through next time.
There you go, that’s how all that…stuff is setup. The important part of this plotline is that somewhere along the line, the show has to be able to establish real consequences for UA for not protecting its students, and for the students of class A for getting into trouble. And…we’ll get to that in a minute.
Deku Destroying His Body
Another recurring problem is Deku’s body.
The threat of Deku damaging his body so badly he can’t be a hero anymore is established pretty early. It’s a good way of keeping One for All from feeling overpowered, and a constant source of drama during Deku’s fights. At least, it would be. If Horikoshi was willing to actually commit to it. Knowing that Deku could permanently damage his body so badly he could never walk again is an interesting subplot, but it can’t be if every time he risks his body, he stays in the hospital for a day and then he’s fine again. This is, again, something that isn’t a struggle for other popular battle shounens:
We’re back to Naruto and Hunter x Hunter again.
In Naruto, when Rock Lee uses his Hidden Lotus ability, it has very similar risks to Deku’s ability, with Lee’s being a bit more extreme the further he goes with it.
Anyways, when we see Deku and Rock Lee overuse their ability to try to win, we do see them exhausted, crippled, etc. But it’s what the writers do after the fight ends that separate the two.
Rock Lee’s body is torn up really badly after his fight with Gaara, and they tell Guy that it’s likely he’ll never fight again. But then, they follow through on that. He is absent from combat for the next 76 episodes, but it is a source of ongoing drama as we see his recovery process and struggle to come to terms with the possibly giving up his entire way of life. And then, several arcs later when he pops out to fight Kimimaro, you get a huge adrenaline rush. This happens for 3 reasons: one, Rock Lee was gone for so long. Two, the last time we saw him he was in the most entertaining fight of the show thus far. And most importantly three, we saw his recovery process and knew how hard it was for him. So when he jumps out here, we know that his recovery is complete, he’s back as a ninja, and we finally get to see him fight again. Great moment, and a great example of establishing stakes for a fight and actually sticking with them.
In Hunter x Hunter, Gon loses control of his emotions after he finds out Kite is dead. His anger leads him to use “everything” to kill Pitou. But since Gon is nowhere near strong enough to even fight Pitou, he has to sacrifice…well, everything. Based on what we know about nen and the way it works, seeing him suddenly obtain this much power means the amount he sacrificed is so great he will probably die.
Okay, so our main character has taken on a colossal risk and the stakes are his sacrifice took a massive toll on his body, and he could die. How do we follow up on this?
(This is where I would post the screenshot of Gon’s fucked up hand. But since MAL doesn’t allow image embeds like AL does, go to the scene in episode 145 of Hunter x Hunter where Gon gets healed and look at his hand when its getting unwrapped by Killua.)
This is what it looks like to create stakes and stick with them. Gon nearly dies, and Killua has to go through tons of hoops to save him. And while yes, Gon does recover. He is completely absent from the manga for the following arcs. No, really. The protagonist is out of the story for several major story arcs. He can’t use nen because of what he did to beat Pitou. Kurapika is the main character during the prince succession arc, which is the current arc. Togashi was willing to take that risk to make it clear that when he declares stakes, no matter how great, he will follow through. As a result, when they say something like “we could die”, I believe it regardless of who its referring to.
And yet with Deku, we are told time and time again that he is risking his body by being reckless, and every single time he goes to the hospital, the nurse heals him, and he’s fine again. There are no stakes here. Deku has the strongest plot armor on I’ve ever seen.
This isn’t even that hard to fix either. Here’s how you do it:
Have the nurse heal him a couple times, then have the villains kill her; cutting Deku off from having an insta-heal every time he’s reckless with his body. He will then be forced to actually deal with the damage he’s doing to his body, and for the first time in the series actually following through with the stakes it established. It would also ground Deku, preventing him from just doing whatever he wants with no consequences.
But killing the nurse lady would be a risky choice to make, and we can’t have that!
Or alternatively, stop reminding us of this plot point if you refuse to do anything with it. If you’re gonna keep saying he’s risking his body, then show the stakes! Have him damage his body so badly that he’s absent for an arc. Naruto did it with Rock Lee. And Hunter x Hunter is doing it with Gon right now. The other guys don’t seem to have a problem with it, and if MHA is as great as people say it is, Horikoshi shouldn’t either.
Class Raid Arc
Now. The reason I brought up all of that now is because the episodes between the Forest Training Camp arc and the Class Raid arc are so fucking stupid, and it’s because of the issues with the writing I just talked about. Deku suffers colossal damage to his body. He is up and walking immediately after. The heroes say that they’re going to keep a closer eye on the students, and LITERALLY THE FUCKING NIGHT AFTER THEY SAY THIS, THEY LET THE STUDENTS SNEAK OUT. You even have the stupid fucking press conference the teachers put on, acknowledging all the criticism UA has rightfully gotten for putting its students in danger.
AND AS THEY ARE SAYING THIS, NO ONE IS WATCHING THE INJURED STUDENTS AT ALL, SO THEY ALL SNEAK OUT.
Do you remember this line I mentioned earlier?
E42 15:40 “a hero’s job is to turn the lip service into reality”
This is My Hero Academy summarized in a single fucking line. Say you’re gonna do one thing, and never follow through. It constantly contradicts the message of its own main theme because of its incompetent and lazy writing.
“Yes, we’re taking the criticism seriously and are making changes” as they are letting the students sneak out because no one bothered to keep an eye on them. Deku is threatened with losing his arms, and yet THE LITERAL DAY AFTER THE ATTACK, he sneaks out with the other students to go get Bakugo back! Ridiculous.
And Iida understandably objects to this stupid ass plan, but since Horikoshi refuses to take a risk like slowing down for a bit to enforce the stakes he just established, Iida backs down and goes with them.
This was the point where I could no longer deny the truth: My Hero Academy is a big piece of shit. Horikoshi is unable to establish any drama or stakes or tension due to his overly safe and lazy writing, and Studio Bones’ effort in its production has gone down significantly.
It had another chance, though. It had one last chance to fix its villain problem. This could have done a lot to ease my growing irritation with the series. But again, it blew it.
All for One, and Why the Villains Need to Kill
So, a growing issue I have had with MHA is the villains. Like yes, they’re bad. If we’re keeping track of only the ones we’ve seen so far, Shigaraki is an idiot (allegedly on purpose) and Stain doesn’t accomplish much on-screen. That’s in terms of writing though. Another big problem I have is that they never kill anyone.
You see, when you have a problem with weak villains like MHA does, a great way to establish a new villain as a threat would be to show them killing a hero we know on screen. Not in the past, not telling us they kill people; actually showing them kill someone. This ties into my problem of Horikoshi being overly attached to his characters and not wanting to make sacrifices or take risks with them. Because there are tons of expendable ones.
Anyways, the reason I bring this up now is because the class raid arc is where we are introduced to All for One, the Ying to All Might’s Yang and supposedly the strongest villain there is. He has dozens of quirks stored away. He can use multiple quirks at once. This guy is a FORCE. So naturally, I’m expecting him to have a big impact in his first appearance. After all, All for One is THE GUY. Finally, a competent villain! This is gonna be great!
…Oh. Oh. (I would show screenshots of All for One getting punched and arrested here like I did on AL but MAL review interface lmao)
All for One is disappointing for a number of reasons, but really All for One being disappointing is a backbreaker itself. He NEEDED to succeed, and needed to make an impression on the audience.
The villains up to this point have been a joke. They also kinda just…always lose. Not every villain can just inflict “psychological” damage to the heroes or whatever. Its the battle shounen equivalent of a moral victory. That’s what Shiggy did in season 1. His raid was a laughable failure that got him ridiculed by the students and All Might. Stain loses without killing anyone in season 2. Dude’s name is literally “Stain the Hero Killer” yet we see him kill no one and then he gets arrested. Eventually, a villain needs to actually win. Succeed at their goal, outsmart the heroes, kill someone. Just something, so I can believe for once that there’s some competency to these dumbass villains.
The most dangerous villain in the show has to establish themselves as a threat somehow when they show up. They can’t just not kill anyone and get owned. Why? Because it makes them look incompetent, and that has a trickle-down effect on the other villains. You REALLY aren’t going to take the other villains seriously. After all, if the biggest, baddest villain isn’t allowed to win; if the heroes all have plot armor that can’t be penetrated even now, …what threat are the lesser villains? I see them as a joke now as a result of All for One’s first appearance. His goal here is to kill All Might here. He does make All Might retire, but whatever. He still loses and gets captured. This is another moral victory.
The best way to shock your audience and establish this guy would be to have him cut down a hero. It would be great! Hasn’t happened before, so it would shock everyone. Horikoshi even has 3 excellent opportunities to do it.
Obviously the preferred choice would be All Might. Him dying in a fight with All for One is a better way of inflicting fear admist uncertainty among the citizens for future arcs than him just retiring. And it would display vividly the ultimate act of what All Might says is the most important qualification for a hero:
The spirit of self-sacrifice.
It doesn’t have to be him, though. Best Jeanist is incredibly expendable. He just took a massive shot to the gut. Why aren’t you killing him? Gran Torino is old and senile. They’re so expendable and yet Horikoshi just…can’t…let go of them.
You kill Best Jeanist here, and the following fight with All Might suddenly becomes incredible tense. Why? Because when you kill a hero like that, it firmly establishes the stakes as life and death. Something, that was kinda not established during the season 1 raid, Stain arc from season 2, and the forest training camp arc. And, it would completely shock the audience, thus raising their investment. And that shit is important for a series like MHA.
An important principle of being a hero in this series (and for…most battle shounens) is that they are fighting for their lives. As such, its important to establish that the stakes of fights are well, life and death. This is something I think My Hero Academy is trying to do.
But without examples of heroes we know LOSING their lives fighting or just generally, its hard to really say the stakes are that high. We’re told that people could die, but we’re never shown it. Because all the heroes have plot armor. They aren’t allowed to die because they’re heroes. Why? Horikoshi is unwilling to take risks. And no, heroes that died before the show starts don’t count. Heroes we know and that have been established, that we’ve seen in the series, dying. That’s what it is needed.
This is, again, something writers of other popular battle shounens understand. Let’s knock these down quick, I don’t need a paragraph to explain each:
Hunter x Hunter:
Everyone Hisoka kills during the Hunter exams: establishes Hisoka as a serious threat and that the Hunter exam is very much life or death, which is very much true.
Ponzu and Pokkle: displays how ruthless and cruel the chimera ants can be.
Kite: Juxtaposed with how Kite wiped out an entire squadron with one swing earlier, establishes how unbelievably strong the Royal Guard are.
Those 2 dudes at the beginning of the Zoldyck arc that get killed by Mike: establishes up front how dangerous the Zoldyck manor is.
Hughes: this is a message from the Homonculi to the audience and the Elric brothers: if you keep snooping around, we’ll kill you.
Basque Grand: makes it clear that Scar can kill any state alchemist if he gets the opportunity and Edward and Alphonse are not safe.
Jiraiya: establishes Pain as a huge threat. He just killed one of the legendary sanin for fuck’s sake.
Gaara mercilessly slaughtering those rain ninja in the forest of death and killing Dosu: establishes deadly stakes for the fight vs Rock Lee and vs Sasuke, respectively.
Orochimaru kills Hirouzen: makes it clear how dangerous he is, and more importantly makes the audience worry about what’s going to happen when Sasuke decides to chase after him. “Oh, shit. that guy killed the hokage. And Sasuke’s going to go with him?”
Stuff like this sends a message, and its usually pretty good at scaring the audience if they’re invested. When a villain kills someone, it says “this could happen to one of the protagonists if they aren’t careful”.
Killing a character is an amazing way to establish danger, something that MHA sorely lacks at this point due to how shit the villains are and how safe the writing is. This is especially true here, because it ruins what could be a genuinely great fight. On paper, the way it’s set up works. But to once again have no one die and the villain lose despite setting the stakes higher than ever? That just can’t happen here.
In Between Arcs 1/Fake Stakes 2
Now hold on just a minute. Because everything I complained about in the Fake Stakes sections immediately comes back again after the All for One vs All Might fight.
During the first half of episode 50, All Might yells at Deku for destroying his body and sneaking out even though All Might and the other dumbass teachers weren’t watching the students, and thus let it happen. Also, Deku is fine after all that. Walks away with some bandages.
In the second half of episode 50, Deku’s mom takes a stand against All Might and UA for continuously allowing them to endanger her son, and threatens to pull Deku out of UA. This, of course, does not happen. All Might begs and she gives up. The show declares stakes in the form of consequences for a student and UA, and this is again retreated from in the same scene.
E42 15:40 “a hero’s job is to turn the lip service into reality”
Despite episode 50 focusing on the fallout from the class raid for UA and the students, including showing several parents of class A students angry with the school…not one of those parents pulls their kid out. So, no consequences of any kind for anyone. The most we get is that UA has a dorm system now. Ugh.
Later in this same episode, Eraser says that he would’ve expelled almost all of them if not for All Might’s retirement. The fuck does All Might’s retirement have to do with anything? Just expel them. All Might’s retirement is just a lazy excuse to not follow through with stakes you yourself established. Stop being lazy and taking shortcuts with the writing. You keep saying you’re going to do one thing, and then you don’t because you’re scared of the risk. As I recall, that seems to contradict what you said earlier:
E42 15:40 “a hero’s job is to turn the lip service into reality”
Provisional Hero License Exam
And finally, we have the last arc from season 3. Like usual, we start with the stakes:
S3E53 “the Provisional License Exam has a 50% fail rate”
That’s actually pretty intense! Sure hope they don’t immediately retreat from that after the exam like they always do.
Overall, this arc is…bleh. I think its main problem is that it feels like it goes on forever, and due to the repetitive plot structure this just feels like the 10,000,000th exam stage. I don’t believe you about the stakes. Deku will be fine no matter what they do. None of this matters. I’m not invested anymore.
I think the training camp and Bakugo retrieval arcs were just so bad that the show can’t recover now. I am actively irritated with the show. Also, the tone is incredibly tiresome and stiff now. I miss the loose feel of season 1, where All Might swore in front of Deku and it didn’t take itself as seriously as a heart attack.
Seeing the number one hero in the world, the symbol of peace, swear in front of a young kid is hilarious. Made you feel like at least part of his hero persona was a front that he put on. As such, he felt a bit more human. I liked that side of him. I don’t really like him at all now. He’s boring. This exam stage in particular is really fucking boring. They’re doing a little with making the people they’re supposed to be rescuing assholes, but it isn’t enough.
Oh, and guess what? Just like I said, they waved off the stakes. Those who failed can take a 3 month course to get their provisional licenses anyways.
Since this is now a problem I can’t ignore, I’ll address it here. One of the biggest offenders of fake stakes in this series is the exam stages. Horikoshi has a crippling habit of creating stakes for the students during exams, only to backtrack as quickly as possible once the arc is over.
In episode 5, Aizawa threatened to expel the student that scored the lowest on an entrance exam. This is quickly retreated from the next episode. Not a big deal that they backed away from it here. Just make sure you follow through next time, that way I can believe there’s actual stakes to these exams.
In episode 38, the students are threatened with having to go to summer school if they fail.
This is again, retreated from after the arc ends. Now it’s a problem. Because twice now, you have declared there to be stakes via consequences for failing or performing poorly in an exam, and both times you failed to follow through. There will be more examples later. So, why is this bad?
Because 1, I don’t believe the show when it tells me there will be consequences when someone fails. Because there never are. Be it the students getting into trouble, UA failing to protect its students, or something as simple as student failing an exam. You always retreat from it afterwards. And because of that, I’m less engaged during exams. After all, there are no stakes because Horikoshi insists on giving plot armor to everyone in class A.
And 2, because its supposed to be difficult to get through UA, right? After all, they tell us that as early as episode 4.
Like a lot of things the show does, this is telling without showing. The show will tell us it is difficult to get through UA, but it really isn’t at all. The school bends over backwards constantly to keep students from failing. This is not really something that should be a struggle for a battle shounen at all, at least if you’re a writer that’s willing to take risks. Want some examples?
Let’s look at the Hunter exam from Hunter x Hunter and the chuunin exams from Naruto. These are basically the same thing as the exams the characters go through in UA. To become a pro hunter/ninja, you have to pass these exams. Naruto and Hunter x Hunter want you to know that these tests are difficult and making it through is a significant is a huge feat. So how do Kishimoto and Togashi support it?
Uh, by having people fail. A LOT of entrants fail in both the chuunin exams and Hunter exams. And not scrubs, either. One of the main characters fails the first time in Hunter x Hunter, and most of the entrants that you end up spending most of the show with end up failing in Naruto.
As for as numbers go:
Most of the characters lose before the finals, including main characters (Sakura, Ino, Rock Lee, Kiba, Hinata, Choji, Tenten). Killua fails in Hunter x Hunter. if you look at insignificant characters, all but 7 failed the hunter exam. 400+ examinees failed. In the chuunin exams, hundreds failed as well. There were only 5 genin remaining when the Konoha Crush interrupts the exams. (Failing is a bit different in Naruto. You can lose in the finals and still become a chuunin). Why does this matter?
Because part of the point of having these exams in the first place is to make it clear how difficult it is to become a shinobi/hunter. People need to fail out so 1, the threat of characters failing is established. 2, to establish stakes. and 3, establish the extreme level of difficulty to accomplish the goal, for the purposes of making the task seem daunting (which will be a constant source of drama), and to make those that have accomplished it (in this case the pro heroes) worthy of respect for having reached it.
Hunter x Hunter and Naruto wanted their exam stages to seem difficult and intense, so they supported it by being willing to have characters fail. It’s really that simple. Kishimoto and Togashi as writers are willing to take those risks to make their manga better. Horikoshi is not.
Another example of fake exam stakes that annoys me is how they keep telling us that if class A trips up, students from class B could replace them. This is another good source of drama, and adds even more stakes for the class A students. But like all the other stakes, the show never follows through with it.
I really wish they would too, because there are some weak characters in class A I really wish would get cut out. Like the animal guy, and the tail guy, and especially the tape guy. He’s boring and his power is boring. Get rid of him. I would love for Horikoshi to take a risk and move one of these boring dorks out for someone like Shinso, but Horikoshi is again too afraid to move even a single character out of place for some reason.
So once again, you say this one thing will happen, and then retreat from it afterwards. You never follow through with what you say you’re gonna do, which, again, contradicts this:
***E42 15:40 “a hero’s job is to turn the lip service into reality”
Deku vs Bakugo
Capping off season 3, we have Deku vs Bakugo. And look. I know people think this fight is amazing. And…I mean it could be. If it was organic to the narrative, had stakes, and wasn’t forced into a place in the story it doesn’t belong. The problem I have with this fight is it doesn’t represent a moment where past and/or current differences and philosophies collide naturally due to the narrative. The show is pausing its story to have this fight.
Deku vs Bakugo is MHA’s version of Naruto vs Sasuke. But with Naruto vs Sasuke, it was very much the right time for that fight, and there were real stakes. Sasuke wants to go off and join Orochimaru to gain power, but Naruto knows and we as an audience know that Orochimaru only wants to use Sasuke as a vessel to switch bodies. And while you might think Sasuke can handle himself, …we watched Orochimaru kill a hokage earlier. (One of the benefits of killing off characters btw). So we know he is a serious threat to kill Sasuke. That’s the kind of stakes and emotional drama you need for a fight between main characters. Which is what I think this fight lacks.
Granted, there isn’t really a rule to how you write a fight like this. And I’m not really advocating for it to just do what Naruto did. It isn’t a bad fight. I just think you need a little more here. Something to be lost for Deku when he’s defeated. And have it be written more organically into the story, rather than shoving it awkwardly between arcs.
In Between Arcs 2/End of Season 3
We end season 3 with episode 62. The first half of it is looking into the idea of how All Might’s retirement is affecting normal citizens. This is, of course, a very good idea. As the show hasn’t really put any effort into humanizing the citizens so we gave a shit when villains attack and put their lives in danger. It also is the start of the idea that Endeavor doesn’t really work as an All Might replacement. He lacks the charisma and people just don’t react to him the same way. It’s…interesting. And they follow up on it later. Uh, good stuff.
The second half is more fake stakes for Deku’s body and consequences after his fight with Bakugo. Deku is fine, again. Deku and Bakugo broke curfew, destroyed a bunch of shit, fought, and their only punishment is they have to clean more. Really? After sneaking out during the class raid? Have the teachers at UA learned absolutely nothing this entire time?
Big three arrives, season over.
This season picks up where the previous season left off, with the students preparing to go to an inevitably doomed summer training camp. The plot takes a much darker tone this season, with The League of Villains newly-emboldened by Stain’s actions in season 2, and full of fresh faces. The first arc of this season gives the new villains a chance to show off what they’re made of, and set up the league as a more immediate, tangible threat.
Without spoiling too much, the following arc goes even further into developing The League of Villains, finally introducing their leader and revealing his true plan. It also sets up for a changing of the guard for both the heroes and the villains, building towards Deku and Shigaraki becoming arch-enemies in the vein of their mentors.
While these two arcs excel due to their establishing a greater cast of villains and creating a sense of genuine threat, the following arc doesn’t fare quite as well. The Provisional License Exam arc doesn’t serve much purpose in the overarching plot other than to get the story from point A to point B. While there is some exploration of Todoroki’s grudge against his father, this isn’t anything we haven’t already covered elsewhere. Ultimately, without it being as firmly rooted in the emotional journey of its characters, it has a lot less substance than the other arcs, and feels awkward and transitionary.
This is exacerbated by some uncharacteristically bad pacing for this series, with two filler episodes sandwiched into it along with some added scenes and dialogue, presumably included to make sure that the season ended at a good point rather than smack in the middle of another arc.
While one of the two filler episodes (technically three, but the first was a start-of-season recap) follows a similar idea to season 2’s surprisingly good filler episode, in covering events that happened offscreen to secondary 1-A characters, the other is a completely unnecessary waste of time that accomplishes little more than plugging the movie. And even the better of the two fails to repeat the same success of season 2’s filler, partially because while the previous one came as a breather episode inbetween story arcs, this one directly interrupted the plot in progress. It also doesn’t help that Tsuyu is a better character than Yaoyorozu (fight me, nerds).
The writing is also noticeably worse during filler, in particular for Uraraka and Bakugo. Uraraka gets a lot of screentime in additional scenes, but almost all of her dialogue in these scenes revolves around her uncertainty around her feelings for Deku, something we had already established and which didn’t need repeating ad nauseam. Bakugo on the other hand plays up all his worst character traits in the movie-plugging filler episode, but where his recklessness in canon is usually due to his anger and frustration with Deku, here it’s pure idiocy.
Once the exam is over, however, the quality immediately picks back up. And whatever disservice the filler may have done for Bakugo, it’s easily forgotten after he gets some long overdue character development. While Bakugo was never a bad character, he wasn’t a likeable one either. But Bakugo’s character arc has been long in process – with his entire worldview being flipped on its head the moment Deku gained a quirk, Bakugo has been challenged with the thought that he’s no longer superior to everyone around him – a belief that he had always taken for granted until then. This season finally takes this setup and brings it to a conclusion redeeming an oft-maligned character in the process.
Overall, while the quality of this season does take a noticeable dip during the provisional license exam, even then it isn’t bad – just underwhelming in comparison. Outside of this arc, it matches (and in places exceeds) the benchmark the previous season set.
And for any mistakes the series may make, it still manages to retain investment in both the ever-evolving setting and its quirky (pun not intended) ensemble cast, the latter in particular benefiting not only from more character arcs, drama, and development, but from increased downtime letting us see more of these characters outside of their roles in the plot, fleshing out more of their personalities and character dynamics.
With the series ending on a foreboding note, Hero Academia promises great things to come – but for now, Hero Academia 3 is an impressive, if uneven, entry in the series.
For Fans Of: One Piece, Naruto
7: Lupin III: Part 5
English: Lupin the Third Part 5
Japanese: ルパン三世 PART5
MAL Score: 8.16
Genius thief Arsene Lupin III—along with the usual crew of Goemon Ishikawa XIII, Fujiko Mine, and Daisuke Jigen—finds himself in modern-day France, where he encounters both new and old adversaries, with Inspector Kouichi Zenigata still hot on his trail. As they steal from darker, more sinister entities, they will also have to find a way to deal with the newest technology in their escapades, as well as face the ghosts of their pasts. However, this time, Lupin’s choices begin to catch up with him as his pursuers use every tool at their disposal to take him down once and for all.
We got Lupin as he adjusts to a modern age of thievery, having to deal with modern technology as it’s used to thwart him at every turn.
The main episodes are truly brilliant, balancing humour, action and violence around amazing stories.
The side episodes have the obligatory Goemon & Jigen one off episodes, and odes to former parts with episodes based on Lupin’s past, shown by his change in jackets. All of which are truly brilliant, honestly there isn’t a single episode I don’t love.
The main cast are delightful as always, especially when showing the relationship and humorous interactions between Lupin & Jigen, and Lupin & Zenigata. The relationship between Fujiko and Lupin is also explored, which shows there really is more to them, other than flirting and trying to get one over on each other, plus might I add ‘pervy moment warning’ damn does Fujiko look especially good this season. The final arc also does an amazing job of examining the complicated relationship between Lupin & Goemon. The series also introduces a new brilliant young hacker called Ami, who is an amazing addition to the cast.
Overall Part V of Lupin III really is a brilliant series, that has taken all the best parts of Lupin and made something truly magnificent.
It’s great…watch it.
For everyone else:
There’s this tendency among Lupin enthusiasts to praise every iteration, giving it special treatment, regardless of it’s faults.
I’m one of those enthusiasts so forgive my sense of bias.
What makes a Lupin III series fun is in capturing the magic of watching the titular character and his crew of thieves do whatever the hell they want and getting away with it.
Parts 1-3 as well as the specials and movies used this in episodic adventures about kinetic fast paced heists and rescuing princesses and saving/destroying countries.
Part 4 is where that format changes and I’d say for the better with an overarching plot.
And don’t get it twisted, those episodic adventures are fun, but each episode feels like a slightly different Lupin depending on what his goal for the standalone adventure might be and who’s the writer and episode director staffed to work that day. Remember how episode 4 and episode 21 of Lupin Part 1 are BOTH green jacket series Lupin entries?
The overarching plot allows us to finally spend more in continuity time with Lupin, less about the cathartic payoff of watching hundreds of scores and plans come together, but witnessing the struggle in accomplishing a grand heist.
Part 4 also started the trend of introducing characters that act as recurring foils/sidekicks in order to create new situations for our criminal mastermind.
Part 5 is like Part 4, except instead of watching the struggles of a quasi married Lupin, we watch the struggles of a quasi internet famous Lupin.
And it’s amazing.
The series smartly has Lupin be quite handy with cyber security and the modernities of stealing valuable items in the age on the brink of a technological singularity. However, he’s not adept enough to beat hackers better than him. Ami is one such hacker and is the recurring side character/foil that succeeded Lupin’s ex-wife Rebecca Rosallini.
We witness him truly struggle against the eyes of social media, his attention we thought he craved since he loves sending those calling cards, has become weaponized against him. It’s a genius conflict to have and we watch him slowly have the rug get pulled from under him as he has to learn to adapt to his newfound paparazzi like celebrity. Never leaving the hideout without a disguise on after a certain point.
This is explored between 2 cours first in the form of a death game, and next as a supercomputer that can predict his every move.
The series also has fun in exploring these concepts and it’s fun watching Lupin and the gang get the much needed extra time they deserve to flesh out their characterization. They all act like who they usually are, but the times have worn on them a little. There’s always this hint of nostalgia you catch on the characters’ faces and you can tell they’re reminiscing about the more simpler times and it’s compelling character writing to add a ironically fresh perspective on characters who realize they’re not as fresh as they used to be.
The fact the series is broken into 2 cours with 2 separate (to an extent) plots allows the series to move at a brisk pace. even having room for side stories that don’t necessarily connect to the main narrative but are still welcomed nonetheless.
And as far as the sound is concerned? It’s Yuji Ohno…so…it’s nothing short of amazing…. The opening is nostalgic with a playful Parisian twist that gets you excited for every episode and the ending is sung by Miyuki Sawashiro (Fujiko Mine’s voice actress) and uses footage of Lupin and Fujiko during an unexplored time in their relationship. What could have just been a simple ED is made all the more intimate as it ends up being more of a bittersweet love song about Fujiko and Lupin’s breakup. Something that plays a key point in the plot and is used as a recurrent source of tension between the two. It’s strange how most series don’t incorporate music into their plot like this series does.
In the last episode they even cued the famous Samba Temperado from past adventures at the climax and I wanted to tear up at how the series ties up everything about the best parts of this series’ history so well.
The character designs are sleek and Blue is definitely a great color for Lupin. Jigen and Goemon look great too. Fujiko Mine looks even sexier than before, and might be my favorite version of her character design since she got her own spin off a while back.
You’d think background designs would end up suffering from the fact that this is a show about globe trotting super thieves, and the studio would try to cut corners.
NOPE EVERY SET PIECE IS DETAILED AND BEAUTIFUL AS ALL FUDGE
And these guys animate great too, so as not to make the iconic trio of Zantesuken, .357 Magnum and Walther P-38 not act like simple props. The action has weight and reads easy on screen. Sure there are alot of uses of cut reverse cut here and there. But there’s also a crap ton of shots were everyone is in the wide and you just watch people duke it out.
Shootouts, car chases and hand to hand combat are stylized and beautiful to watch and with the number of series using CGI in excess it’s great to see series use what modern technology can offer anime in less jarring fashion to create some fluid and aesthetically pleasing animation.
So if you can’t tell, I love this series. Part 5’s strongest element is the fact that it knows what made watching these characters fun over the years and instead of trying to change everything out of a need to keep things fresh, or changing nothing in order not to anger the fans, it instead acts like the cast of the show and did whatever they want and had fun doing it.
I can’t wait for future movies featuring Blue Jacket Lupin, as parts 4&5 have dropped enough cool unused plot threads and explored such new territory with the gang as to leave me clueless for what will happen next. Like that plot twist at the end that makes you question everything about Lupin…you know the one if you’ve seen it.
Seriously it’s a 10/10.
Go watch it if you haven’t already. I know this was just an enthusiast gushing like a schoolgirl at a Bieber concert but that’s what Lupin III is to me… it’s like being a schoolgirl at a Bieber concert. A subjectively phenomenal experience for Lupin fans, and a solid way to get into the franchise as a whole. I’d recommend starting with Part 4 before this one but I’m sure that those just wanting to get in to the newest iteration won’t get lost.
In Part 5, Lupin and his gang are having adventures in France, the home country of Lupin’s famous grandfather. Technology and especially social media play a big part this time. While Lupin has always adapted to the technology available, this is the first time that it’s getting such a focus. I wasn’t sure how to feel about this at first since I like Lupin because of the sleek, classic feel of the franchise, but the social media aspect was actually used in a clever way that felt natural. The Lupin Game that was introduced in the first story arc was especially fun.
I’ll start by listing everything that I think the series did well. From a technical standpoint, the series is amazing. The backgrounds bring the locations to life, especially all the little back alleys in French towns and quiet countryside with its fields and villages. I don’t think the world of Lupin’s adventures has ever looked this good, even in movies. The animation and character designs are also impressive and retain a high quality all through the series. While certain scenes or episodes are better animated than others, there weren’t any moments where I noticed a clear drop in quality. Combine the visuals with a great soundtrack by Yuji Ohno and the Lupin experience is nearly perfect.
Another thing that I think made Part 5 stand out positively is the group of new side characters. Ami is the young hacker girl with a tragic past who becomes involved in Lupin’s adventures and brings some fresh perspective to the group. Out of the new characters, she plays the most important part in the overall plot, and it’s lovely to see her grow and find herself as the series progresses. There are some details in her story that some viewers might find tiresome and trite, but the series never takes this far enough to make it truly tasteless. Another new character is Albert d’Andrésy, a mysterious man who knows Lupin’s past. I can’t really say much more without spoiling the story arc in which he plays a major part, but he was entertaining, particularly well voiced, and brought some interesting elements to the franchise since we very rarely get any backstory for Lupin. The third new character, Zenigata’s new partner Yata, is a welcome addition and fun to watch because of his reactions to everything, but I wish he’d gotten to play a bigger part.
Finally, I think Part 5 had a lot of cool, fresh ideas that it brought to the table. Part 4 already changed the formula somewhat by introducing an on-going plot rather than featuring just self-contained episodes. Part 5 takes it further with tightly plotted story arcs that slowly push the main story onwards. The stakes are higher than in any other Lupin TV series and watching Part 5 is an exciting experience that makes you feel absolutely anything could happen to the characters.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the series ever really fulfilled that promise. After a while it became clear to me that even though the series liked to introduce new ideas and tease the possibility that it’d reveal something revolutionary about the characters and push them beyond the usual limits, it never had the guts to deliver. The series raises interesting questions but never answers them, instead burying them as soon as the story arc is over. For example, the second story arc hints at things in Lupin’s past and the Lupin bloodline that could shake the foundation of the franchise, but the series never touches on these ideas again after casually dropping them in dialogue.
One of the central themes is Lupin’s relationship with the rest of his gang, particularly Fujiko, and this is where the biggest disappointment for me lies. Those expecting Fujiko to be part of the gang’s adventures and play a big role in the series, lower your expectations right now. She’s absent for most of the series, and there are frequent hints that something happened between her and Lupin that drove them apart. You don’t get the answer to this question until the very end, and I didn’t find it satisfying, especially when keeping in mind that the price to pay was not seeing Fujiko in action except for a couple of episodes around the middle of the series. Lupin and Fujiko spend most of their scenes together exchanging wistful dialogue that is clearly meant to be deep but just comes across as too try-hard.
I think the story arcs drop in quality one after another. The first one is easily the best because it delivers a coherent story and ends at a point that feels natural and deserved for all the characters. It’s the only one that gets five episodes rather than four, and that gives it more time to develop its story and characters. I enjoyed the second one a great deal when I first watched it, but the series never returned to the elements and potential it introduced there, making the second arc feel like it doesn’t belong among the others. I didn’t enjoy the third one much because I feel it was the spot where the series should have resolved its Lupin and Fujiko plotline, but instead it prolonged it by pushing her aside for no good reason just to keep the questions unanswered until the end. I know others loved the action, political themes and Ami’s character growth, though, so there might still be something in the third arc for you. The only arc I’d describe as a total failure is the last one because there is simply way too much material to be covered in just four episodes. The arc rushes through a lot of elements that I think needed more time to be effective and instead chooses to focus on random cameos by old characters, badass action scenes, and meta about who Lupin is, and eventually reaches an ending that I feel is a lazy cop-out in every way. It’s similar to the ending of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine in the way that it gets you invested in the questions it raises about the characters and then tells you that actually, none of this matters enough to be resolved because we’re all just in for a fun ride, right? So whether you like the ending of Part 5 will probably depend on whether you liked the ending of the Fujiko series.
One element that I didn’t enjoy at all (but which a lot of other fans loved) was the number of random cameos by old characters and the clear attempt to build continuity between Part 5 and all other entries in the franchise. Personally, I have always chosen to see most Lupin titles as their own thing with no connection to the others. The way Part 5 tries to tell me that its Lupin is the same one from The Castle of Cagliostro, all the other TV series and a few random TV specials breaks the world in my eyes because Lupin comes in many different flavours and they aren’t all consistent with each other. At the same time, the series never goes full meta like Green vs. Red, so I’m not sure what the creative team was trying to do here.
The story arcs are separated by one-off episodes that play homage to earlier versions of Lupin. Some of these episodes are great, some not. Personally, I would have rather seen these episodes spent on deepening the plot and characters of the main story, but I can’t deny that there were some gems among them. In particular, I liked the silly Pink Jacket episode and the sniper battle episode with Jigen.
So, all in all, I don’t think Part 5 is without merit and it’s certainly a complete pleasure to look at and listen to. The plot and character themes were interesting in theory, but the way they were handled left me completely disappointed. I really miss the fun adventure feel that a lot of earlier entries in the franchise offer. I’m not opposed to taking a bleaker look at the gang’s dynamics, but Part 5 spends too much time telling you that it’s exploring those themes without actually doing it. I think the movie The Secret of Mamo is a much better example of how to shake the core dynamics of the group.
Despite all this, I hope we will return to this continuity and characters in the future. I think there’s still lots of potential to be explored and the series made me care about its new characters. But knowing how the franchise operates, it could very well be that we never hear from them again, at least outside cameos.
6: Golden Kamuy 2nd Season
English: Golden Kamuy: Season 2
MAL Score: 8.22
In Hokkaido, it is rumored that there is a stash of hidden gold. This gold was supposedly stolen by a man who killed the original Ainu owners; and before being captured and imprisoned by the police, he hid it in a secret location. In order to relay the gold’s location to his comrades on the outside, he tattooed the map on the bodies of his cellmates and promised them a share of the gold—provided they managed to escape and find it.
In Golden Kamuy 2nd Season, First Lieutenant Tokushirou Tsurumi plans to give the 7th Division an advantage in the war for the tattoos by getting a taxidermist to create skins that only he can distinguish as fake. Meanwhile, Saichi “The Immortal” Sugimoto, Asirpa, and their companions continue their hunt for the skins by following a strange rumor: a thief who broke into a home in Yubari found taxidermied human corpses, among which was a torso with strange tattoos.
Remember, this sequel continues from the first season and now indulges on the continued quest of Sugimoto and his ever daring adventures. It makes a memorable return with the first episode introducing Edogai Yasaku, a taxidermist. Right off from this season, he shows his true colors with his expertise related to human skin. While not being an actual killer or sadistic as Tsurumi, I dare say that he’s not someone to be underestimated. An early alliance also sparks between him and Tsurumi. Speaking of which, do you remember Tsurumi?
Serving as the lieutenant of the 7th division, Tsurumi is one of the key antagonists in this show. Many words can be used to describe him such as erratic and unstable. In the second season, he shows his ruthless behavior again although at the same time, I find his sarcastic tone and unpredictable personality to be most welcoming. It adds surprising elements that makes the plot much more fluid. But of course, who can forget about our Saichi Sugimoto and his companion, Asirpa. The pair became inseparable and their adventures continue with even more stakes on the line. Joining them is also Yoshitake Shirashi, the goofball butt monkey. While many see him as a comic relief with his carefree attitude, he does play valuable roles in this season. It’s easy to sugarcoat him as the middleman between the two main characters as well.
However, I believe the second season is both plot and character driven. Early in this season, Suigimoto’s group deals with Edogai but we also shouldn’t forget about the man known as Hijikata. His past with Shinpachi is important to recognize due to their similarities during their younger years. In addition, we also take a deeper dive into his past when he was once a prisoner at Kaboto. And I think it’s one of the many things that makes this show stand out. It makes the audience care about characters like Hijikata. Even though he isn’t a prominent figurehead like Sugimoto, his past made him evolve as a person to where he is today. I should probably warn you though. This show is not light on violence, whether physically or mentally. But by showcasing its content in such way, it makes this anime that more realistic.
Speaking of the plot, Shirashi gets caught that puts his life into jeopardy. While the audience may dismiss his capture as lesser importance, we should remember that he is in the hands of the 7th division. That’s the same group known for their sadistic tendencies thanks to their charismatic lieutenant, Tsurumi. The plot also brings in new characters like Kiyohiro Suzukawa, a deceptive man who is able to slip into the ranks of enemies. I should probably also mention that while Kiyohiro is more or less a con artist, his role brings in suspense to the plot. It makes me want to see them succeed in recusing Shirashi regardless what dangers await them. Eventually, the plot turns into a cat and mouse game. We get to see the main conflict escalate into fights for survival. Thankfully, Sugimoto still retains his military skills and we see them in action against the 7th division. On the other hand, the show also explores the character connection between Tanigaki and Kenkichi. I’ve mentioned before but this sequel is also very character driven that explores the past relationships between important characters. Kenkichi may seem like a minor character at first but the show reinforces the idea of how human lives can be so fragile. The second season establishes an important concept about how broken their world is and what characters can do to change it.
Now while I can say this season can get deep and emotional, there’s also a decent amount of lighthearted moments. If you remember from the first season, food is a part of the show that eclipses more than just a gimmick. That’s because food is essentially for survival and we get no shortage of those from this season. Asirpa brings in her knowledge of the Ainu culture with her as well those survival skills. We even get woodcock hunting as a showcase of one of her many talents. I should say that Aspira is a breakout character. She and Sugimoto has been through a lot together and despite some of their personality differences, they work together well as a pair. My impression of Aspira this season is no less different than the first season as she continues to educate viewers about Ainu culture. In later episodes, her eyes also play important role in a case that adds suspense to the story. But don’t let that fool you from the show’s motives. It has a great amount of balanced content between the light and dark. In other words, this season has an emotional and serious story but always has time to find moments to make fun of itself. If you don’t believe me, just check to see how much man service this season really became.
Thanks to what it has established, I say without a shadow of a doubt that Golden Kamuy Season 2 is more than just watchable. It’s a show that manages to capitalize on its variety of genres and bring in a exhilarating story. It has a larger-than-life character cast with important purposes. With each passing episode, I felt more compelled to watch more. And so should you.
We continue on with Immortal Sugimoto, Asirpa and Co. on their journey to find not just the gold, but the man responsible for the whole fiasco in the first place: Nopperabo, the big eyes Ainu of a traitor, which is also Asirpa’s father in cold spirit and truth. In the context of having watched Season 1, Season 2 here is more grim, fast-paced, and the amount of violence and action doesn’t hold the series back, with some of the greatest scenes designated at moments where predicted but last for as long as it should be, so long as the balance was held. So, with the new season, you’re getting twice the action, twice the excitement and worries that are just chillax; the surface of the iceberg.
Golden Kamuy’s characters are always the crew that we always find it intriguing, solely at first with people like Hijikata, Ogata, whom get their characterizations more heavily involved. And with how Season 2 ramps up the ante, along with the alliances of everyone working together for a common goal, the risk of betrayal is something that cannot be taken lightly. Quite possibly the biggest detractor is Lt. Tsurumi himself, looking through Season 2 lists quite a good range of capabilities of the 7th Division captain himself, from being the model for other calefares to being more relentless in the final stages of the cat and mouse chase to Sugimoto and Co. I’d say that with everything out of the bag this time, Lt. Tsurumi is the most fearsome character (even more than Season of 1), but everyone has upgraded their game into the series, and it’s a firm foundation.
Once again, Geno Studio did an amazing production on Season 2 here, omitting the awful CGI bears in change for some great action and backgrounds. However, the drawback is that for the night scenes, the entire show goes into entirely black mode and it’s barely discernable when put in comparison to Season 1. Maybe some lighting would have been fine, but for what it is, I’ll take it any other day.
The music got a good upgrade and a better follow-up over Season 1, with Sayuri and MY FIRST STORY’s collab for the OP, that not just sounds a whole lot bad-ass and better in every regard, but also aesthetically. With that said, the ED, featuring some loud-banging and bashing uncle that’s on drugs, most would find this very noisy and distracting. Golden Kamuy is a series that just needs a good balance of substance, not some over-the-top values that cue the series. But on hindsight, it couldn’t have been the perfect ED but hey, it’s better than nothing.
What an amazing series from start to end. Definitely would recommend this series to historical action fans, but first, go watch Season 1 then come back for the sequel.
Why I say confusion is that the narrative has a rollercoaster trend. The light at the end of the tunnel seems to always get closer, then farther, then closer, then farther. It isn’t clear whether you can determine if the next episode will get you to the promised land or if we will see another hinna hinna episode, but frankly that is the charm of the show. I can feel the passion and charm of the characters when they just interact with each other over nature and survival of the fittest tactics. The down time really brings out the characterization and gives a nice break to high, fast paced scenes regarding the end game. All of a sudden, it is hard to determine each character’s true goal and when the plot twists hit, they hit hard. They kept me on the edge of my seat and I started appreciating the seemingly pointless down time scenes because of the little things that we can see in characters. This confusion of the narrative actually made me enjoy the show more, because it diversified the content while also jumping themes/tones. I’m more of a fan of the light hearted side, where we can just learn the history of the Ainu and learn more about cultures we otherwise would’ve never hear of.
However, the animation overall is not part of Golden Kamuy’s strong points. *CUE CG BEAR*. There are a lot of shortcuts with stills with slightly moving animated blood or things like that. The face animations are great though. Each character display their emotions and disgust so vehemently, it is hard to not appreciate them and just laugh. Some scenes were more gorey than what I expect from TV Anime, but they weren’t as appealing as it could be. It got the point across though and I can appreciate why in certain areas in the narrative, they upped the gore. It displayed the stakes and importance of the respective scenes.
Golden Kamuy took me by storm, I wasn’t sure if it was going to hit the right notes for me. But I soon realized how much charm and passion went into the writing, especially developing the characters, who carry this show. The plot is interesting, but loses steam in certain parts. It overall hinna hinna’d all over me though and I can’t get enough of the witty humor, the stupid jokes, the idiocy of the characters, the food wars like eposodic episodes, and its charm.
Now onto the real review: Go read the manga.
5: Banana Fish
Japanese: BANANA FISH
MAL Score: 8.51
Aslan Jade Callenreese, known as Ash Lynx, was a runaway picked off the streets of New York City and raised by the infamous godfather of the mafia, Dino Golzine. Now 17 years old and the boss of his own gang, Ash begins investigating the mysterious “Banana Fish”—the same two words his older brother, Griffin, has muttered since his return from the Iraq War. However, his inquiries are hindered when Dino sends his men after Ash at an underground bar he uses as a hideout.
At the bar, Skip, Ash’s friend, introduces him to Shunichi Ibe and his assistant, Eiji Okumura, who are Japanese photographers reporting on American street gangs. However, their conversation is interrupted when Shorter Wong, one of Ash’s allies, calls to warn him about Dino. Soon, Dino’s men storm the bar, and in the ensuing chaos kidnap Skip and Eiji. Now, Ash must find a way to rescue them and continue his investigation into Banana Fish, but will his history with the mafia prevent him from succeeding?
Drugs. Rape. Pedophilia. Gangs. PTSD. Violence. Corruption.
These are the terms at the core of Banana Fish. Though at the same time, the crime and gangster backdrop is not all the story is about and confining it within those boundaries massively undersells the broad scope of topics this anime covers. Because while Banana Fish’s pragmatic and deplorable world is filled to the brim with death and sexual violence, the tale it tells of its main character, Ash Lynx, is a visceral story about life and love. And just as deliberate as its juxtaposition of death with life and lust with love, Banana Fish is a carefully woven story about dichotomies. Its two halves, like the darkness and light reflected in its two main protagonists, Ash and Eiji, permeate this character drama in numerous ways to paint a grounded tale about both the ugly and beautiful aspects that make us human.
With little exposition to back it up, Banana Fish sets up intrigue from the outset and primarily uses its early episodes to build character back stories, motivations, and tension until its first major climax. From there, the copious amount of setup spent on its foundation gets grounded and becomes meaningful. Although Banana Fish has an overarching narrative, its story can be broken down into multiple arcs. The narrative shifts seamlessly from arc to arc; however, the tone between them can vary drastically. These tone shifts combined with Banana Fish’s brisk pacing, does cause sudden mood swings, that at times lead to whiplash. But overall, its purposeful tonal dissonance is used to great effect to accentuate the light and dark themes that imbue its story. Its pacing allows eventful occurrences to happen every episode but sometimes hurts the show in its calmer hours. And unfortunately, the anime rushes a few episodes in the second cour to accommodate the daunting task of adapting nineteen volumes of manga into twenty-four episodes of anime. While in its other weaker moments, Banana Fish can suffer from clumsy plot developments, become somewhat fantastical, and get repetitive with both innocuous and annoying elements, overall, the story rarely ceases to entertain and because it is comprised of many moving parts, it often takes unpredictable turns that keep its audience on their toes. Though because a large amount of finer details were cut, viewers are required to pay close attention and often read between the lines, which at times, can lead to the discovery of surprise character nuance.
While Banana Fish’s story can be described as its weakest element, its characters are its strongest. Despite having a rather large cast of relevant main and supporting characters, Banana Fish adeptly characterizes the important ones in a short amount of time and consistently develops them throughout the narrative. As a result, characters as well as their interactions are both dynamic and engaging. At the center of this ever-evolving maelstrom of personalities is the two protagonists, Ash and Eiji. No other character in Banana Fish is as carefully realized or developed as Ash, who teeters between his hardened persona and vulnerable self seamlessly, but the complex, multi-faceted relationship Ash and Eiji share come close. Their relationship, while not the focus of the story, is just as important as the plot. It never becomes physical because of Ash’s past, but the emotional connection between the two cannot be understated as it develops both protagonists and organically becomes the emotional foundation in which the narrative is founded upon. However, unfortunately, due to the limited episode count, several side characters are stripped of their more nuanced character traits that can be found in their manga counterparts. And even Eiji was regrettably simplified in the anime. Antagonists of varying degrees of depth and competence will come and go. All are twisted in their own way, most will be hated, and some are more than they seem. While Banana Fish is not one to have overly complex antagonists, mainly because writing sympathetic rapists and pedophiles goes against the themes of the piece, they all serve the narrative purpose that they were written for even if it is not entirely clear from the outset. However, Yut-Lung and Blanca deserve special mentions for not only being complicated and interesting, but for also highlighting Banana Fish’s themes by serving as impressive foils. Each character has been made to life by talented voice actors, but most notably, Uchida Yuuma, the voice for Ash, has given a powerful performance with resounding care and heart put forth in conveying all of Ash’s complexities.
Consistent with other series produced by studio MAPPA, the animation and art quality are spectacular for the first several episodes before eventually becoming a series of ups and downs. The latter half of the show and the action-oriented episodes in particular have suffered as the anime progressed. For this sole reason, it is recommended to watch the Blu-Ray release, which has already been confirmed to have touchups. Despite its dips in animation and art, Banana Fish’s cinematography remains very strong throughout its entire run. Storyboarding is consistently dynamic, and when applicable, framing is done with a certain message in mind. The music composed by Shinichi Osawa, also known by his stage name, Mondo Grosso, while not necessarily memorable, is distinct, stylish, and fitting.
As an adaptation, the anime does a commendable job in keeping the manga’s spirit in spite of its brutally short episode count. MAPPA makes predominantly solid decisions on the material to cut and while the anime loses some of its plot cohesiveness as a result, prioritizing the character moments was the correct call. And in general, the manga is a highly recommended alternative for those interested in the gritty details that the anime had no choice but to leave behind. However, despite the strengths of this production, not all of MAPPA’s adaptational choices enhance the experience. Most notably, the decision to update the original manga’s 1980s setting to modern day in the anime has been baffling. Character designs have been modernized and smartphones have been given to the majority of the cast but the world continues to exude an anachronistic 80s vibe. While this may seem to be a harmless cosmetic overhaul, contemporizing Banana Fish means covering dated topics. This becomes most apparent when the anime delves into political maneuvers that would be more plausible in the Cold War environment that the original manga was written in. And because Banana Fish is a product of its time, the anime, though not always through the fault of MAPPA as Amazon has also mistranslated generic insults into homophobic slurs, contains elements that can be considered tone-deaf in today’s sociopolitical climate. If anything, this adaptation should be treated as if the setting was still in the 1980s as the moderization Banana Fish’s world received are largely superficial and even leads to plot inconsistencies.
With the vast majority of anime released nowadays abiding by successful formulas and character stereotypes, Banana Fish stands out as one of the rare few that is unafraid to take risks. Its brashness in that regard will inevitably land itself many criticisms but hidden beneath its rough exterior is a gem worth digging for. It touches upon heavy subjects without sensationalizing or sugarcoating their brutality and its grounded approach makes it a unique work that is more reminiscent of old Western action films and television than that of anime. It shows us the truly wretched sides of humanity but also reminds us of the hope and love individuals all possess while expertly invoking an array of emotions. From start to finish, it is a hauntingly real depiction of the very essence of being human. And despite the flaws in its story and adaptation, it leaves much to ruminate about. It is a deceptively simple story that can become complex in the themes it explores and the topics it leaves its viewers to ponder. Even the series’ namesake, derived from the short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J.D. Salinger, and references to other American literature in the form of episode titles or overt mentions offer food for thought. Banana Fish is far from perfect, but at its core, it is an unforgettable rollercoaster of relentless action and raw emotion. The manga broke genre barriers over thirty-years ago and while the anime regrettably does not retain all the qualities that made the manga as groundbreaking as it was, it does deliver its own one of a kind experience with much of the same heart. There really is no other anime like Banana Fish. And it is one no one should miss.*
*Disclaimer: but only if you can stomach the long list of heavy content this show has
Now I have to admit, I’m not too familiar with Akimi Yoshida’s work or her style of writing. The only other series I’ve read by her is a manga called “Yasha”. It has no relation to this series but the artwork is distinctive with her work. Not to mention, her series evokes a sense of mystery that’s present in Banana Fish. Yet, just what exactly is Banana Fish?
To be clear, the original manga was published from 1985 to 1994. This adaptation serves as a celebration of her 40th anniversary. It’s also somewhat unusual that Noitamina adapted this into 24 episodes rather than their usual 11/22 format. Regardless, Banana Fish strikes to me as a refreshing experience. First impressions are important and this show accomplishes that with the aesthetic story setting. It shows New York in a crime driven state and conflicts dealing with mature content. It’s also interesting to note that the series has a more modern feel compared to the 1980s. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A main appealing factor that drew me into the show is the character relationship and development. We meet Ash Lynx, a snarky young man who ran away from home. Despite his not-so-friendly attitude, Ash has charisma that makes him a person not to be underestimated. He also possesses a variety of skills that puts him on the wrong sides of the law. Being incredibly daring and never afraid to take risks, Ash stands by example as a daredevil. It’s almost if he anticipates his death at any moment and isn’t afraid to risk it for what he believes in. This puts him on the opposite side of Eiji Okumura, a photographer’s assistant and college student. Unlike Ash, Eiji is a kind young man but often easily manipulated or gets caught into complicated circumstances. The story goes to show his character relationship with Ash. Now I’m just going to throw it out there but there’s heavy implication of BL context between the two. While not being too explicit, it’s shown that Eiji develops a growing love towards Ash. On the other hand, Ash shows his own devotion with action that speaks louder than words. Ash’s acts of self-sacrifice becomes a central part of their relationship as he takes on many risks to save his life. The story often involves with Ash’s enemies exploiting his weakness and that would be Eiji.
Still, the million dollar question remains. What exactly is Banana Fish? To be clear, the title itself isn’t necessarily just about what Banana Fish really is. Rather, it’s a pivotal component of the plot that has Ash investigate into. In essence, Banana Fish delivers a sensation of mystery and suspense. The main premise focuses on how Ash’s fight against the mafia in this rebellious age. Crime lords like Dino Glozine is the stereotypical antagonist you’ll quickly love to hate. I don’t mean that in the sense of him being a distasteful human being. Rather, Ash has a personal agenda to settle with him considering their dark history together. The series isn’t shy to deliver mature context in the form of drug deals, criminal activities, sex slavery, or gang wars. If you’re here to stay for the show, then be ready suck it up and indulge on these controversial topics. In the meantime, we also meet allies that Ash meets in his quest of vengeance. Characters such as Ibe, Max, Griffin, Alexis, and Jessica join to fight the good fight. In many cases, their roles all are important for the overall mission. On the other hand, their most prominent adversary is Corsican Mafia consisting of Dino and his crew. Deep down, this anime crafts these antagonists with intentions to destroy Ash’s life. It becomes a crime thriller that often tests the limits of the main characters and how much longer they can last. Later in the show, we also meet other dangerous groups such as the Chinese mafia. Among their members includes the cunning Yut-Lung Lee who wants Ash’s head on a plate.
At its core, Banana Fish shows that in their society, crime is more than just a social problem. In our society, criminal activities are not tolerated and punishable. In the world of Banana Fish, characters believe they are above the law. Some even believe they are the law. Let’s take a closer look at Ash for instance. Having being raised by Dino, it’s clear that he has a dark past that’s explored more and more as each episode progresses. While I don’t consider Ash to be a villain, there’s no doubt that he has committed questionable acts. As this show takes place during a period of gang warfare, Ash stands out as more of an antihero to me than a protagonist. And of course, the man who raised him wants nothing more than to destroy Ash. I think in many cases, Dino wants to destroy Ash’s soul rather than just his life. It’s a fate perhaps worse than death and just one of the few examples of how cruel characters can really be. Indeed, Banana Fish contains mature content that isn’t suited for a younger audience. Going back to what I said before, Noitamina’s audience expands beyond than just a general audience and Banana Fish is an example of that.
Adapting a manga from over two decades ago isn’t an easy task. Manga being resurrected again after all this year tends to lose steam but I can say with supreme confidence that Banana Fish hits the marks. It manages to recreate a sensation of the 1980s while the anime takes place in a more modern setting. Rather than going with any flashy style of presentation, it commits to bring the manga’s characters up to date. Characters such as Ash and Eiji are designed to look exactly how their personalities are meant to be. Gang wars and violence are showcased without holding back with the intense bloodshed. There’s also some daring scenes of man service present that may be nerve wrecking or pleasing to watch. As I mentioned before, there are cases of gay moments although it’s not distracting to the point of losing its main focus. Watch this series and you’ll see that it’s more than just a homosexual relationship between two men. In addition, I have to give some well-earned praise to the voice acting in the show. These characters are older than your typical high school students and crime lords like Dino isn’t easy to portray. Yet, they all looked pretty damn believable in such a time period.
Banana Fish is a show with a peculiar title that could probably be quoted often. It’s Akimi Yoshida’s most well-known work and MAPPA manages to produce such a series with commitment. Director Hiroko Utsumi worked on Free! in the past so it’s no surprise that you’ll see some man service along the way. But really, Banana Fish isn’t just about a gay romance story between two guys. It celebrates the chance to showcase a crime story in a setting of corruption, revenge, and politics. Now it’s your chance to experience that story.
“He very definitely told your father there’s a chance – a very great chance, he said – that Seymour may completely lose control of himself.” – J.D. Salinger.
A soldier’s life is one of hardships. Seen as the pride of a nation, they are tasked with defending the honour of their motherland with both flesh and blood. A life that requires chivalry, discipline and steadfastness. Their existence serves as a beacon light to the tame and cowardly; a source of inspiration for the youth to grow strong. But underneath all the glory and medallions reveal a darker tale more telling of their lives. Ordinary people before donning a uniform and sent off to war, a life of violence and suffering entails them. A hellish nightmare seeming to never end makes it near impossible to return to their former self. One must be physically and mentally tough to ever hope to survive such a turbulent time, but not everyone is capable of carrying that weight.
J.D. Salinger was one writer who certainly understood the pressures put upon people in severe circumstances such as war, through first-hand experience being drafted into the US army in 1942, even being hospitalized by ‘combat stress reaction’ months after Germany was defeated in World War II. He was clearly affected, going so far as stating “[he] found it impossible to fit into a society that ignored the truth that he now knew.” These events all informed his writing of the short story titled “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”. While numerous interpretations of the story do exist, the common belief is that it symbolizes those soldiers sent off to war and came back traumatized; gorged by the anguish brought on from war and stained of bloodshed. Decades later this short story would be loosely referenced to in the successful shoujo manga series Banana Fish, written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida that would later be considered highly influential to the BL subgenre. And now over 20 years since the manga’s initial release, Banana Fish received an anime adaptation produced courtesy by Studio MAPPA to run for 24 episodes in the latter half of 2018.
Banana Fish focuses on the relationship between Ash Lynx, a cold ruthless teenage gang leader in New York City, and a naïve assistant photographer from Japan in Eiji Okumura. Both men, despite appearing as polar opposites in personality and upbringing end up being caught in a fallout over an entity known as “Banana Fish”, that also happens to be related to Ash’s brother and what occurred on his stint in Iraq. The pursuit of this mystery further pulls Eiji to the centre of this conflict, thereby leading to Ash pushing against the wishes of his bosses and gang members who put the safety of his newfound friend in jeopardy. It would be easy to summarize the story as simply a developing romance between two men, but the series is more concerned in making the story and overarching weight of it at the forefront of the tale, causing the narrative, despite being heavily reliant on genre tropes, to work effectively as a fast-paced charming thriller. The series uses heavy topics regarding drugs, sexual abuse, corruption and other mature themes to craft a careful drama that avoids sensationalizing the sheer brutality inherent with such subject matter. Likewise, these ideas further accentuate the thematic correlation between Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and this loosely inspired adaptation.
No other character is as carefully crafted nor developed to the same degree as the main protagonist Ash Lynx. His backstory alone would be enough to garner the sympathy of many: a boy who ran away from home at 8 years old only to be taken into custody by the head of the Mafia. Having been kidnapped as a sex slave numerous times later before being granted leadership of a street gang years later, he has seen his fair share of violence and trauma. Part of his likability derives from him never seeing himself as a victim and therefore is able to overcome adversity. However, his meeting of Eiji is what ultimately acts as the cause for Ash to slowly reveal himself emotionally and properly recover from trauma accumulated throughout the years. His character easily parallels that of Salinger’s protagonist, as someone who has been exposed to so much that the idea of recovering from it all is improbable. Both of these characters take a liking to their more innocent counterparts, seeing in them what they once had but now have lost for reasons that were outside of their control. Clinging to that one person in the hope to keep them sane, and in the case of Banana Fish, no matter how the world might see Ash, Eiji will remain by his side. But similarly to Salinger’s short tale, it may not be enough to help Ash change to a more civil lifestyle.
Despite the original manga being set in the 1980’s, Studio MAPPA decided to move the setting to a more modern time and as such caused various changes to the anime that deviate from the original source. Some of the most obvious examples include using character designs typical of the current animation standards rather that the original’s well-defined character models, and the implementation of technology such as smartphones used by the majority of the cast. These changes, whilst they may come off slightly off-putting are fairly harmless in the grand scheme of things. Although when it comes to contemporizing the story and its themes, there are numerous issues that arise. For example, by revising the setting to present day, many of the topics covered can be considered outdated and requires a certain suspension of disbelief not to lose any immersion the viewer has with the world established. This take also renders most of the social commentary the original story had as nearly obsolete, which was one of the aspects that made the manga so important for its time. It’s something that most viewers probably wouldn’t have a problem with, as it still remains a piece of fiction that can be enjoyed without social context. But for those that want to look at this show deeper that the ordinary fan, it’s an issue that can easily cause disappointment amongst certain anime fans.
Another key issue that I personally had throughout watching was how many elements regarding the plot and characters slowly become narrowed as the series continues. Allow me to elaborate; the beginning of this show was really appealing, not only on a visual level with how vibrant the settings were and the distinct designs on display, but with how many different moving parts there were to the plotline. From the main characters, to the supporting gang members, to the various villains, to everyone else involved, each of these groups felt like their own intricate parts to the storyline and had the potential to create something truly special. But as the plot continues, it becomes apparent that the storyline is only meant to focus on the relationship between Ash and Eiji. This is not necessarily a bad thing – Banana Fish revolves around this in particular. But I can’t help but feel disappointed when a show with so many moving parts to begin with are funnelled out to prioritize all the screen time on the core plotline. Especially if comparing the anime to the manga, which gave more balanced attention to the large cast of characters intertwined. The villains all had varying degrees of depth but none of which I would honestly call complex, most characters not associated with a gang are shafted halfway through the anime and the gang members that are fleshed out are always given time and focus corresponding to their relationship with Ash. This is not a severe knock against the show, but I can’t help it when I see a series like Banana Fish have so much potential and not seriously capitalize upon it.
The visuals for Banana Fish are a solid outing for Studio MAPPA. While I have my personal preference for character designs, the animation present here is energetic in how it depicts character movements and expressions, as well as providing the audience with some very exciting action scenes. The dynamic colour palette and background art are both visually appealing that while some might consider it detrimental to the tone of the show, I believe do better to initially attract anime fans to the series in general, acting as a pleasant treat for the eyes at first glance. The framing of the most controversial events that took place in Banana Fish was also commendable in giving the series a good sense of artistry.
The audio for Banana Fish is also praiseworthy with strong performances for voice acting overall, really capturing the essence of each main character. The soundtrack also fits most scenes well despite none particularly standing out, except for the OP and ED tracks which is just simply fun to listen to. No matter what your music taste, these tracks are pretty accessible and make for fun openers to each episode. The translations however could definitely act as a detriment to the series as a whole depending on your take of the sensitive topics covered in Banana Fish. Personally I found it funny when Ash calls a separate character a “fag” in the translation considering what the series is about, but some could easily take such as a homophobic slur and the anime as a whole as tone-deaf. Just be careful what you’re getting yourself into, k? 🙂
Looking back on Banana Fish, I see a series with a lot of upside to it. A carefully handled crime drama, innovative for its time, critically acclaimed source material, etc. And despite having my own criticisms against the series I would still recommend this to anyone interested in the series at all. Despite creative liberties it is at its core a well-made drama with emotionally powerful moments that are likely to entrance you in a tale barely brought to light by anime. There may be homoerotic undertones present, but the series was not made solely for such. Instead it clearly values a strong appreciation for storytelling, for that is how people from all different backgrounds are able to relate to what is told here at a fundamental level.
4: JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze
English: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
Japanese: ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 黄金の風
MAL Score: 8.59
In the coastal city of Naples, corruption is teeming—the police blatantly conspire with outlaws, drugs run rampant around the youth, and the mafia governs the streets with an iron fist. However, various fateful encounters will soon occur.
Enter Giorno Giovanna, a 15-year-old boy with an eccentric connection to the Joestar family, who makes a living out of part-time jobs and pickpocketing. Furthermore, he is gifted with the unexplained Stand ability to give and create life—growing plants from the ground and turning inanimate objects into live animals, an ability he has dubbed “Gold Experience.” Fascinated by the might of local gangsters, Giorno has dreamed of rising up in their ranks and becoming a “Gang-Star,” a feat made possible by his encounter with Bruno Buccellati, a member of the Passione gang with his own sense of justice.
JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze follows the endeavors of Giorno after joining Bruno’s team while working under Passione, fending off other gangsters and secretly plotting to overthrow their mysterious boss.
I am a fan of JOJO, a big one at that, but this part, i.e. part 5 is kind of overrated. Now, before you guys unleash the 7-page Muda on me, let me address this first – overrated does not mean bad, it just means that while the show is good, people put it on a pedestal reserved for the greats. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.
JOJO Part 5 aka “Golden (Experience) Wind” aka “How does King Crimson work?” aka “Araki flexes on you with his awesome taste in music” aka “Girono’s piss drinking adventure” is the fifth instalment in the Jojo franchise. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the few shounen that does something which most other shounen don’t, that is, it’s actually manages to be interesting. This season we follow Giorno Giovanna as he has a dream in which he pledges to become a gangster and kill the reigning mafia boss. The plot is as simple as it gets but the way it is crafted is what makes Jojo an amazing series.
The characters are colourful and flamboyant as has been the case with previous instalments of the franchise and each character brings something new to the table. There are many characters that have been introduced thus far in the series and no two characters feel the same. They all have their unique personalities and powers. That being said, many of the characters in this season are quite boring. Comparing the characters in part 5 to those in part 4 or part 2 makes me feel like there’s something missing with the characters in this part.
The characters in part 4, along with being awfully stylish and making me self-conscious of my own image, had their own distinct personalities and received immense characterisation which helped solidify their place in the overall narrative, but Golden Wind decides to not have as much depth to the characters and instead gives them some kind of unique trait, which, when applied to minor antagonists works to some extent but, when the same strategy is used for main characters, it falls flat.
There are 6 main characters this time, viz Girono, Buccellati, Mista, Narancia, Abbacchio and Fugo. Girono is a great main character and so is Buccellati. Both are well characterised and I really enjoyed their backstory, I really wish I could say the same for the rest of the characters. Mista is a character who religiously believes that every person in this world has a destiny set out for him and a man cannot deny his destiny no matter how hard he tries. He believes this because he was sent to prison and then got out. That is all it takes for him to follow his religion of fate.
Abbacchio is a dick to Girono for some reason and only trusts Buccellati because he has “lost faith in humanity” due to him, with his own volition, receiving a bribe from a criminal which ultimately resulted in the death of his partner. Can you find the logic in here, because I surely can’t.
Fugo and Narancia can be described as 150 IQ and 50 IQ respectively and that basically sums up their character. Any attempt to flesh out their characters via backstories felt cheesy and banal. Instead, I would’ve preferred if they’d developed throughout the show’s run. I am admittedly shitting on the characters but I can’t deny the fact that watching these characters’ dynamics with the plot and each other was a Golden experience (heh, see what I did there?). Anyway, I don’t hate the characters, but I don’t LOVE them either; I just wish more care was put into the characters.
The main antagonist, Divolo, is great. His end goal is to completely erase his existence so that no one can trace him, but he acts in pretty questionable way in order to achieve his target. Questionable not in the sense, “Oh boy, that was a pretty evil thing to do”, no not that, but questionable in the sense, “wtf is he doing?”. The next few lines have to be spoilers in order for me to explain my statement.
He wants to kill his daughter Trish with his own hands in order to protect his identity as she could be a mean to uncover his past, and thus he cannot entrust this job to anyone. So, Girono and the gang take his daughter to a secluded island and are ordered to take the girl into an abandoned building accompanied by a bodyguard. Why didn’t he call his daughter in by herself? I’m pointing this out because this is the crux of the second half of the show. Had Buccellati not gone with Trish, he never would’ve found out about the true nature of Diavolo and the second half would’ve been about 50 episodes long or maybe would’ve never happened.
——————————————–Spoilers End ————————————————
Now, let’s get to the two main appeal of Jojo which is the fights and the stands. Araki really let out his creative genius in this part as almost all the stands are unique and have a very specific set of abilities which give rise to some great fights in the series. The stands in this part are my favourite as even though there are a ton of characters in this part who posses a stand, no two have the same abilities or even remotely feel the same. Girono has a stand that can give anything life, Bucellatti has a stand that can create zippers on any material, Abbacchio’s stand can replay any past scene etc. There are many great stands in this part; I can’t explain them all due to spoilers but trust me when I say that the stands are absolutely majestic and better than they’ve ever been, at least when viewed through a creative perspective.
Now, the fights. The thing I like about fights, especially stand battles, in Jojo is that no matter how outlandish or cheesy they get, they are never boring. Battles are won through wit and shrewdness, not with “nakama” power and boy are there some great fights in this part. Since every new minor villain our heroes encounter has a different stand than the last, the Jo-Bros have to come up with new tactics every time in order to ensure their victory. No two villains are defeated in the same way and the stakes are higher than ever.
All the fights in this part are great…, which is what I would say if they were. The stands themselves are great and utilised to almost their full potential, but the same is not true for the users’ brain. I could feel myself being irritated during some fights especially the one in which Narancia’s tongue was replaced with a stand and he was spewing nonsense. Instead of realising that they’re under an enemy attack, the protagonists start an argument among themselves. This shit goes on for two whole episodes until the enemy is finally defeated.
I said that the stands in this part are my favourite, but there is a stand, an important one at that, which is just ridiculously overpowered and admittedly was an asspull. Gold Experience Requiem is Girono’s Gold Experience evolved and it comes out of a shell like any other non-mammal baby and that stand’s abilities are more broken than the shell it came out of. Before good old Gold Experience evolves, the protagonists are being overpowered, then literally 2 seconds after the appearance of Gold Experience Requiem they have the upper hand. I might be nitpicking, but it did take away from the overall experience of the boss fight.
The art and animation are godly. Even though I prefer Diamond is Unbreakable’s art style, the art of this part has gradually grown up on me. The background art is fantastic and the whole show is vivid and vibrant. Every colour palette chosen for a particular scene is probably the best it could’ve gotten.
The music is amazing as well. The first opening, Fighting Gold, is just pure epicness and the character themes are pure perfection. The sound that the stands make while doing stand stuff is well suited for each stand. The voice acting is great and there isn’t an insipid moment.
What I like about JOJO is the fact that it does not try to be something that it’s not. The characters adopt the Robin-hood ideology but it’s not forced upon the viewer as is the case with many other anime. The characters simply are the way they are, they follow their own philosophies and are not brought down by or question the ideals or morals of others. Most of the fights are great, the stands are amazing and even though the characters do fall flat at times, it’s still an enjoyable ride and has probably the best villain you’ll see this year. All in all, Golden Wind is another great addition to an already great franchise.
Go watch it.
The general premise of a Jojo part, is no brainers for anyone familiar with the series, we have our megalomaniac villain to defeat, a group of idealistic heroes, the clear distinction between good and evil. And, of course the oldest way of resolving conflict, proving your rightness, by simply eliminating the other guy, and his objection. Fighting and beating the crap of bad guys is the main element of Jojo, with its bombastic, masculine fights and weird powers. To an extent I am not much of a fan of mega complex power systems in general, those are simply endless rules, limitations, specific powers, which mean nothing, and just amount for the author playing really complicated logistic chess with himself in every battle (with endless exposition). Nevertheless, I respect the variability, and immense number of circumstance those create.
Really, there is nothing wrong with this premise; it can amount to some of the more interesting works of fiction. Araki himself, has already proved repeatedly, he can spun this mold, to something at least interesting. Playing such stupidity earnestly, filling simple narratives with energy, a grand scope, and comprehensible dramatic and logistical stakes, can generate great entertainment.
This was sadly not the case here. Araki takes out most of his dry stupid humor, the situation awareness, and pleasure in indulging in baffling scenarios. There was always a tendency at looking at the humorous, seeing conflict, world and the general scenarios as a joke in Jojo’s, the climax of part 2 being exactly about how nothing makes sense, and the protagonist poking fun at the antagonist, and chain of events. There was always an unbelievably childish humor, filled with eschatological occurrences (fezzes everywhere), pointless gore (lots of killed animals), endless sadistic unbelievable murders, waiting at every corner. The characters were smartasses, just throwing one liners, and witty dialogue at one another, overreacting to everything in the most enjoyable way possible.
Now most of this is gone, or toned down. The bizarreness remains in name, but is sadly lacking in attitude. Those were replaced with more drama, serious naturalistic reactions, and long moments of people staring at another, rationally thinking the best course of option. Or in the endless joyless fights, that comprised most of any specific episode. Levity is kept to a minimum, self-importance of specific situations and conflicts raises to unbelievable heights. Character interactions, witty dialogues and bouncing personalities, that were mandatory in any episode of parts 3 or 4, are barely here.
A shame none of this serves to make a more meaningful narrative. Characters are barely anything more than skilled stand users, which fight really well. There is strange case to be made for them, because they seem to make the impossible, start to get less interesting the more the story progress. It is as if you know less about this people at the end of the line, than at the end of first quarter. The flashbacks and introductions are promising, presenting group dynamics, personalities, their wants, needs and troubles in life. When finishing their specific episodes, any main character narrative is over, their motivations go nowhere, development is nonexistent, ideals are barely there, specific quirks and attitudes are so rarely remembered they barely count as there. There is no one with a comprehensible, well-developed mentality, and specific mindset. The cast mostly consist of the same guy, all mechanically dealing with the next enemy of the week most of the time, with not much else going on.
However, those pale in comparison, to the disastrous structure. Events and objectives come and go, with seemingly very little progression, or any meaningful change. There is no reason for the climax to not have happened maybe 15, or even more episodes earlier, and nothing occurs of substance in most of the side quests. You have these awful character deaths being sold as grand twists, when they actually mean nothing in the grand scheme, change nothing, and are not even culminating or cathartic for the characters themselves (with one exception). Those amount only to sappy excuses for everybody to get sad for a moment, and then quickly move on as if nothing happened. This ends in a climax, where the main conflict is resolved with no internal change, or the protagonist learning something, but by being granted the ultimate bullshit power up, and everybody stands (including the audience) having no idea what the fuck it does. Of course, there is an even better epilogue, about a minor story before the events of the main series, which helps not to inform or close character or story, but just to give a better sense of the brilliant recurring theme of destiny. Those priorities are just so completely wrong.
Despite still considering Araki a good writer, there is no other label than disappointment to part 5. Because of overextending a simple story, while removing everything that made it fun. While some individual moments, and battles are actually enjoyable (Araki is a master at twists, constantly changing and messing a fight scene), those are completely eclipsed by a messy whole. Obscuring the weirdness and coolness of narrative, in cloth of self-importance and pretentions is a mistake I did not expect from the man, and found nothing in his vision to compensate.
A journey into the Jojo franchise may take some time for newer viewers to get used to. Luckily at this point, any fan jumping into Golden Wind should be familiar with the Jojo experience. David Productions managed to bring their A-game into the show with fluid choreography and stylistic action scenes. Almost every fight feels unique with the mind games, Stand abilities, and occasional trash talk. Dialogues added in makes the fight feel engaging because let’s face it, who wants to watch a dragged out battle filled with nonsense? Some shows with similar genres fall for this mistake but Golden Wind makes the best of it. Plus, you can be sure to experience some awesome battle music such as Bruno’s theme song in the anime.
With another 39 episodes, you may wonder the overall direction of the story. Jojo has been known to be faithful to its fans when it comes to adaptation standards. The previous Jojo anime series followed a formula of adapting each arc at a careful pace. Golden Wind compresses approximately 155 chapters to work with and the roadmap seemed like it would be difficult to fit into 39 episodes. In fact, this show actually inserted some anime original scenes to flesh out the overall tone of the story. Mind you, accomplishing this feat is not easy as it would require omitting some content. Thankfully, the show managed to stay intact. Some of the more prominent battles (such as against King Crimson) makes a huge impact to show how dangerous the antagonists can be while making the protagonists looks strong at the same time. Speaking of which, who are the gang of characters joining this season?
One of the most prominent characters is none other than the Stand user of Gold Experience, Giorno Givanna. Now I’m not going to lie but compared to other previous Jojo protagonists, he stands out more as a lesser heroic guy. With his tactical mind and colder personality, Giorno can take some time to get used to at first. Comparing to other Jojo characters, he is also much more serious and thus have lesser time to make jokes in the show. Luckily, this season still has a lot of room for entertainment with its balanced cast. The most important one consists of the group led by Bruno Bucciatari. This group consists of mainly outcasts and in general, characters who wants to bring a purpose to their lives. Their main mission is to protect a young woman named Trish Una. The group itself consists of a unique character cast of various personalities. What really sells their characters is how each of them are carefully developed with their background stories. Their presence in the show got me invested into each of them for not only their roles but how they became who they are in the present storyline. This list includes the Leone Abbacchio, Guido Mista, and even the childish Narancia Ghirga. Even Bruno’s right-hand man, Pannacotta Fugo becomes an important figure despite being a side character. Trish’s character also develops throughout the story that sees her growing up from a spoiled brat to a courageous companion in the group. At the end of the day, it’s easy to pick out at least one or two characters you can relate to or find likable.
Similar to previous Jojo series, Golden Wind has a diverse range of antagonists and groups. The Italian mafia gang known as “Passione” is easily the most dominate group led by Diavolo. With a large amount of operatives and secrecy, Passione tests the limits of how powerful a group really can be in the Jojo franchise. The boss Diavolo himself is also a mysterious character whose secrecy makes him one of the most intriguing characters in the show. As the owner of one of the most dangerous Stands, he’s no pushover and in fact becomes the biggest threat to the main characters. Other prominent members of Passione such as Polpo, Zucchero, and Luca brings unique problems in each of their arcs. While it may feel redundant at first with the familiar “monster of the week” adventure formula, Golden Wind makes the most of its villains to make them as memorable as possible. This also extends to the assassins from La Squad Esecuzoni as each arc feel like an adventurous thriller with the antagonists trying to kill Trish. However, we shouldn’t also declare the protagonists in the show as caped heroes. Honestly, it’s easy to see the main protagonists as anti-heroes. If we take a look at some of their actions, they include killing if it means getting the job done. This is a take on a darker version of the previous Jojo protagonists but also brings in a refreshing side of the show. Whether you agree with their actions or not, it stands firm that Golden Wind contains some questionable content. I’m just glad the anime adapted the content for what it is and didn’t fall victim to dreaded censorship.
Golden Wind hits the ball out of the park with its technical elements. The art style looks fantastic with its character details. In particular, the Stands in this show are all decorated with unique characteristics that makes them stand out. The camera angles of the battles scenes also makes every fight feel impactful. Even the close up frames and character expressions are captured with importance. Director Yasuhiro Kimura makes a strong impression with its art direction and deserves praise. Similarly, the music in the show carries a great amount of charisma with its OST. Fighting Gold became one of my favorite OP songs of the year for its fighting lyrics and choreography. Keeping in pace with its other bizarre elements, “Uragirimono no Requiem” also hits the mark with visual dynamics.
After weeks and weeks of bizarre adventure, we’ve finally arrived at the end and it’s been an unforgettable journey. Following Giorno and his comrades together is more than just a golden experience. Having read the manga, I had high expectations for this adaptation and it left me with no less than being impressed. This show may be over but the Jojo universe is still open for exploration. And when the anime adaptation of Stone Ocean inevitably gets announced someday, we can relive another bizarre adventure again.
3: Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3
English: Attack on Titan Season 3
Japanese: 進撃の巨人 Season3
MAL Score: 8.62
Still threatened by the “Titans” that rob them of their freedom, mankind remains caged inside the two remaining walls. Efforts to eradicate these monsters continue; however, threats arise not only from the Titans beyond the walls, but from the humans within them as well.
After being rescued from the Colossal and Armored Titans, Eren Yaeger devotes himself to improving his Titan form. Krista Lenz struggles to accept the loss of her friend, Captain Levi chooses Eren and his friends to form his new personal squad, and Commander Erwin Smith recovers from his injuries. All seems well for the soldiers, until the government suddenly demands custody of Eren and Krista. The Survey Corps’ recent successes have drawn attention, and a familiar face from Levi’s past is sent to collect the wanted soldiers. Sought after by the government, Levi and his new squad must evade their adversaries in hopes of keeping Eren and Krista safe.
In Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3, Eren and his fellow soldiers are not only fighting for their survival against the terrifying Titans, but also against the terror of a far more conniving foe: humans.
Coming into Attack on Titan season 3 I was slightly nervous because I heard that this season was going to be more focused on Human vs Human, but by the second episode all my doubts had been relieved and thought It was the greatest shit ever.
Visuals and Animation – 10+
Out of nowhere Studio Wit upped the quality of the production values to a point I didn’t was possible in a TV anime. The Levi vs Kenny Squad sequence in episode 2 had some of the best Sakuga and animation I had ever seen All of anime, let alone TV anime. The amount of shit going on in that scene literally just made my brain go like, “what the fuck that just happened.” Not only did the animation improve but also the art quality improved. In some scenes I was just in awe of how Wit Studio crafted the world of attack on titan so beautifully.
The only thing I had a slight issue with was some of the CGI cuts. The rod titan was done pretty well but some CGI cuts were not pretty. I Also liked how they designed the crystal basement, thought it looked nice.
Sound & Music -10+
Hiroyuki Sawano, the man, the myth, the legend. This dude has composed almost everyone of my favorite soundtracks and is always consistent. Some uneducated people might say all his work is too similar, but guess what? Who tf cares if it is similar all his music amazing and on top of that Attack on titan has in my opinion the best soundtrack in anime EVER. PERIOD. Everyone song in attack on titan sets the mood and tone perfectly and can strike a range of emotions, whether it be sad,inspiring,hype,heartwarming,scary, or nervous every emotions can be felt. Also the last scene when they played the scouts theme and Erwin was getting the scouts and the people hype was fucking heart pounding and gave me goosebumps.
Not only is the soundtrack good but the voice acting and sound effects are excellent as well. Dub and Sub both do a great job.
Characters – 9
Eren- had some pretty good development learning that he is not special and developed some chemistry with historia and became overall more mature, only issue I had was he sometimes got a little over dramatic and the stretch of episodes where he wanted to be eaten and was called constantly crying got a little old. Though even did come up clutch with that crystallization power and was badass when he through the barrels in rod titans mouth
Levi- We get some much needed depth on Levi’s backstory and see how his mom died and was a prostitute, how he lived with Kenny and when Kenny died how he really showed sadness that his father figure died. Also we get to see how fucking badass he is taking out every mf in his path. He went off against Kenny Squad twice and even injured Kenny. But that chase sequence was something else and just shows us how super human Levi is. Also the scene at the end where he is threatening to break Erwin’s legs so he can’t go on the mission shows how much he cares for Erwin and doesn’t want to see his friend dead, but at the same time when Erwin reveals that he values going on the mission to retake Wall Maria more than humanities victory Levi has to respect Erwin’s dream and let him continue. Also we see how Levi has to mentor the new Levi squad – Connie, Eren, Mikasa, Jean, Sasha, and Armin, to kill other humans and hardens them as shown when the new recruits see that there faces have changed.
Historia – she gets a lot of development in this season, first we see her backstory how her mom was rod reiss’ mistress and didn’t care for her in the slightest. We also see her develop a relationship with Freda, who she remembers when rod shows her the erased memories through his magic bloodline power. Historia for the first half of the season is manipulated by rod who wants her to become a titan so he can get off on his God fantasy. Historia who is blinded by the memory of Freda blindly follows and at the last second changes her mind and breaks the syringe and flips Rod. This a huge development because historia is finally taking control of her own destiny and doing what she feels is right. When historia was made queen I thought it was going to be weird but AOT pulled it off and Historia gets her huge payoff when she cuts ties with Rod completely by cutting the last piece of him, thus ending his life and breaking historia completely free of her past. Also Historia gets closer with eren and Mikasa catches wind of this in episode eleven when she gives Eren the Death Stare.
Erwin – Uh oh, the Erwin death flags are high after episode twelve, with Levi showing concern for his safety on the mission to retake Wall Maria. Moving on, Erwin starts of this arc being arrested for murder he didn’t commit and having dramatic conversations with pixus and Nile.
He then comes up with a badass plan to fake a titan invasion and turns the table on the aristocratics running the government, who panic and want to quarantine Wall rose. This doesn’t sit well with pixus or Nile so they overthrow the government and head for eren. We also see Erwin’s backstory and how his father was killed because he found out too much about the world and that drives Erwin to uncover the truth of the titans and the world. Finally, Erwin gets the send off he deserves rallying the crowd and the soldiers.
Mikasa- she doesn’t really get that much focus into her character but does have some pretty cool fight scenes but we do see her mood improve when eren goes back to his normal scrappy self when he fights jean.
Armin- in ep 2 armin gets his first human kill and gets emotional about it, he starts to show maturity and is more useful to the scouts also he cross dresses and gets felt up which was weird, reminds Eren about dream to go she the sea
Jean, Connie, and Sasha – we get see just how More mature they become when in the first battle vs Kenny squad they are indecisive and nervous and then in the second fight they just straight up murder people from the Kenny squad. When I saw my boy Jean slice that dudes neck and Connie also kill someone I was like “fuck they really out here killing people.” Also that scene when they are hype for the send off was pretty funny
Kenny – personality was super unique and he was a really cool character his fights with Levi were pretty hype and the whole gunman style of him in his squad was really dope. His death was pretty sad and the story of how he came to live with Levi was well done only issue I have with him is he died before his character was completely fleshed out.
Plot – 9.5
Finally the PLOT! I appreciated the change in direction and commitment to focusing on character development rather than Titans. Although I did think the bloodline power thing was sorta whack the story was overall good. All though I am pissed that series is taking a break because I was hype to see them retake Wall Maria but whatever.
Half of the season is practically a collection of cliche action scenes. People teleport from the sky to save the day, others swing in the sky with spider-man gears, evil people sit on the face of someone just to prove that they indeed evil, Levi declares he is an insane badass by committing an act that distantly resembles the twisting of an arm. So fucked up! I am scared, literally how can man be this insane. Please, no, not the arm.
The other half is practically a parody of politics except the narrative itself doesn’t recognize this lameness as a parody. People with might and power declare a thing, but another thing happens — much like with the teleporting nakama in the action side — other big guys teleport whenever important decisions are supposed to be made. Essentially every part of the politics is so one-dimensional it hurts and serves as an excuse to create more bullshit to fill the story with. These vary from random kidnapping incidents to people thinking one of their nakama dies if they don’t hurry up. I am not sure how exactly am I supposed to be fooled by this when it is clear plot-armors in the series are thicker than the walls itself.
The best part of this show are the supposedly evil people and “our” enemies. Whenever our main squad gets called subhumen or pseudo-soldiers by them, I agree whole-heartedly. The opposing party did nothing wrong when looking down on our plebeian children at arms. Which this show really is all about. Some kids acting like they matter, fighting against titans or being titans or hiding from titans behind walls made of titans. At least the first season was fun to watch because it was a complete disaster and so overboard idiotic. This isn’t even ironically fun anymore. More meaningless events one after another.
This season doesn’t achieve anything. It’s just Eren being chained half the time + farming, characters pondering over some action for half an episode each episode just to see the thing itself never happening. It’s all false tension, all words no reward, no payout. Boring substance that is repetition of the same over and over while the fallacy that something might actually happen being there to fool those who are still buying this. Oh no, titan appears for the 700th millionth time, what a shock, I wonder which one of the two things that ever happen when a titan appear, happens this time around. Literally can’t wait for the next cour.
After only a year, Attack on Titan made its grand return. Given the popularity of the franchise, this was inevitable but the big surprise was how soon it got announced. The first season ran for 2-cour in 2013 while the second season ran for only a single cour in Spring 2017. Yet, here we are with a third season after just one year. As a fan myself, I’m more than pleased to say that the third season continues to live up to its household name. It’s a franchise that truly deserves its acclaim.
Watching the third season will make fans quickly realize the change of mood in the very beginning. In fact, this season may not be what you are used to and will take some time to adapt with. The lack of Titans is evident from the first few episodes. Attack on Titan has been praised in the past before for its great action. Not only does the production quality and rhythm enhance the experience, the show itself always managed to capture the momentum of every battle. Here we are in third season and it takes a step back with the fighting between Titans and humanity. Rather, we have humanity dealing with its own problems – internal issues and political conflicts along with deep secrets that runs in the veins of key characters.
For a long time, we’ve seen the political conflicts inside the walls and government. Coming into the third season had me wondering how much we take a dive into exploring that side. And to my pleasant surprise, this season made a clear point that Titans are not the only enemies in their world. In fact, humans are also part of the problem and our main characters have to find a way to deal with it. For instance, Levi’s Squad faces off against adversaries that challenges them to life-and-death scenarios. Levi also faces a dangerous individual from his past, a man named Kenny. You may have heard him screaming in the promotional video but that scream isn’t just a battle cry. It’s the realization that he has to deal with his own personal demon. It’s not just him either but the realization of actually having to kill humans will test the mental limits of our characters.
As in all of the Attack on Titan seasons so far, we take a look at background storytelling for some of the important characters. From this season, we take a look at Historia, Kenny, Keith, and even a bit of Eren’s mother, Carla. The key selling point is how these characters’ stories connect with the overall plot. It’s imperative that viewers understand them as these stories reveal characters’ motivations and how their actions influences the present. To me, I think Attack on Titan always managed to capture a viewers’ attention through its characterization. The creator wants the audience to understand these characters by both telling and showing. It’s accomplished with important dialogues and actions motivated by a clear set of goals. I can’t really talk exactly the precise details as it would be spoilers but the big picture to realize here is why these characters are created. Attack on Titan Season 3 also made me understand why characters are motivated to do certain things and is an accomplishment not to be overlooked. The amount of psychology and emotions makes the story impactful too even for newer characters like Kenny. In terms of plot elements, the show continues to heighten the mystery. Attack on Titan has been known to create a feeling of suspense and there’s no doubt this season will surprise you.
In the present, main protagonist Eren finds himself in more trouble than just a death sentence. I would say this season made him feel less relevant at first until you realize what’s at stake. Eren’s connection to the past is one of the key mysteries in the show that probably had fans formulate theories all the way back in 2013. Here we are 5 years later and some of that mystery has answers. In the meantime, characters such as Erwin and Pyxis also play important roles with consequences. The plot evolves to become much more complicated than just a war against Titans. It becomes an internal war of complex ideologies. There’s also many revelations that shows how certain characters have connections with each other. And to add on to the cherry on top, we do still get fighting segments for you action junkies.
Season 3 takes a different approach this time but retains its ability to tell a memorable story. It managed to hook me in the beginning once realizing how important character roles are. Through its characterization, it showed me that the show doesn’t need fancy action and cinematics to make a well-polished anime. Sure, that part isn’t entirely absent but is limited compared to the previous seasons. Whether that’s an appeal will be for you to judge. Just do realize that Attack on Titan doesn’t always need people drawing out their blades and sticking it into Titans’ necks.
2: Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen
English: Gintama.: Silver Soul Arc
Japanese: 銀魂. 銀ノ魂篇
MAL Score: 8.82
After the fierce battle on Rakuyou, the untold past and true goal of the immortal Naraku leader, Utsuro, are finally revealed. By corrupting the Altana reserves of several planets, Utsuro has successfully triggered the intervention of the Tendoshuu’s greatest enemy: the Altana Liberation Army. With Earth as the main battleground in this interplanetary war, Utsuro’s master plan to destroy the planet—and himself—is nearly complete.
An attack on the O-Edo Central Terminal marks the beginning of the final battle to take back the land of the samurai. With the Yorozuya nowhere in sight, the bakufu all but collapsed, and the Shogun missing, the people are left completely helpless as the Liberation Army begins pillaging Edo in the name of freeing them from the Tendoshuu’s rule.
Caught in the crossfire between two equally imposing forces, can Gintoki, Kagura, Shinpachi, and the former students of Shouyou Yoshida put aside their differences and unite their allies to protect what they hold dear?
Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen adapts the first part of the Silver Soul arc, the end game of Gintama. So if you haven’t watched anything related to Gintama yet, this season will not be for you.
Silver Soul continues the story after the Rakuyou’s Decisive Battle Arc (Gintama.).
All the build-up done in the past it’s now coming to it’s climax, we see a lot of early plot elements and characters come back, and becoming relevant once again.
This arc has a lot of action, sad and fun moments blended together without altering the pacing or the story itself. It’s great.
The art has been mostly consisent, but there are some still frames that doesn’t look so good. Nevertheless, the backgrounds and characters design look good.
The animation is good, but not amazing. It’s understandable though, since this arc is realy action-heavy.
There are some new tracks, but it mostly uses the good ol’ soundtrack from past seasons, which is good.
The opening ‘Katte ni MY SOUL’ and ending ‘Hana Ichi Monme’ are catchy, and blend well with the current mood of the series.
Remember how I said the build-up was coming to it’s climax in regard of the story?
The characters are the best thing in the series, in Silver Soul, this is no exception. This arc features a lot of characters from past arcs and it’s done in a really well and realistic way.
All characters have their moment to shine, and this is incredibile rewarding for everyone that watched the series since the very beginning.
Silver Soul continues using the formula of past seasons. There are new gags, while some older ones return.
While sometimes the comedy may be a little “too japanized”, it’s still understandable.
This is arc is the most ‘Gintamesque’ arc of the series, and while it’s not finished yet, the first part of Silver Soul is amazing for every fan that has watched the past seasons, and this is why I love it so damn much. I feel rewarded for watching the series since the beginning.
Thanks for reading my review!
Silver Soul is Gintama arc. The representation that what Gintama is. This seasons shows your goal since the first episode: The blend of comedy and action that represents Gintama. And this is the strong point of this season!
This arc follow Utsuro plot, adding some facts extras that make a more complex development of the events of the war. Enshou wants to destroy the earth because your fury. Utsuro want to destroy he and all, because he is sick of living, but at the same time is sick of human existence. And our protagonists want protect what they love, those they love and the place they love.
Better than last two seasons, this seasons animation has some problems, but this doesn’t change the fact that most of the time the animation is good. The art is more consistent and fights was very good.
Nothing to complain about. This season has the same OST of past seasons. Great.
Several old characters return in this season, this fact creates a nostalgic feeling. Many characters has a great development, as Hata, Elizabeth, Gintoki, Tama, Kintoki, Nobume and mainly NobuNobu, that is becoming increasingly a better character.
Exciting, funny, epic. Simply great!
Gintama is my favorite show. This anime always shows that because is loved for several. Was a very funny season with great characters, good action and story. I hope the same in the Part 2.
Since the end of Gintama: Enchousen, every season of Gintama that has been released has had less quality than the previous one; reaching a point where It has lost its former essence and gets painful to keep watching.
The reasons of why this season is the worst and kills the anime, are these:
1 – Almost all the characters that have appeared in the series (even side characters from 2 or 4 episodes of 350) make cameos and participate in the action, and everyone says a motivational speech a couple of times while fighting. It happened the same in the arc of Shogun’s death, every character gives a speech with sentimental background music; it ruins the mood and gets annoying.
2 – Everyone is overpowerd for the sake of plot twists.
3 – There are a lot of flashbacks, some last half an episode.
4 – Gintoki lost his personality somewhere in the series, and now he is just a guy who yells at people, vomits at people, and tramples hordes of enemies.
He was a young adult with financial problems, drinking problems, gambling problems, diabetes, who cared more for sugar or taking a nap than getting involved with women. Now he has become someone who goes around doing barely nothing.
In my opinion Gintama should have stayed as a full comedy series with ocasional half comedy half serious arcs, and have an open ending; this is just a bad shonen.
In conclusion, I give this series a 6; but I recommend you to watch this. Why?, because you are going to watch it anyway; and is a good way of learning how to kill a good show.
1: Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen – Kouhan-sen
English: Gintama.: Silver Soul Arc – Second Half War
Japanese: 銀魂. 銀ノ魂篇 後半戦
MAL Score: 8.88
Second Season of the final arc of Gintama.
Other factors: 9/10
Many Gintama watchers may notice something from the beginning of the story, something many end up disliking. That is the fact that “Gintama has no plot”. The thing is that it doesn’t…. But it does…. But doesn’t. Without spoiling anything, Gintama is a mostly comedic series, only driven by the characters’ actions and development. People will often refer to that as the story itself, which I disagree with. The plot is actually existent within the series, but we can say it happens “off screen”, since the main cast is often not involved with it. The author does however throw out certain plot points and foreshadowing here and there, which later turn into an actual plot. Fans will often refer to the series’ “serious arcs” as the plot, which is valid, since they do tie in with the plot itself. But shortly said: Even though Gintama has almost no plot, watchers still stay for the rest of the content, until the plot actually begins at (surprise, surprise) not episode 1. They way Gintama does it, is brilliant, since even though the plot is to be looked forward to, there is so much else before it that is both appealing and worth watching. Something the plot alone will never justify.
The characters of this series are clearly the strongest points of the series’ quality. Not because the rest is bad (look at my rating), but because they are just so well established. I’ve heard many fans state that “Gintama’s cast will be the most lovable cast of characters you will experience”, and even though many may argue with that, I agree with the statement, since it does make a point. Gintama has a huge cast, with maybe 20+ cast members that you will often see throughout the series, including the three protagonists: Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura. Aside from them, you will experience that almost all of the characters will get their own depth and quality, which make them unique and memorable characters. Almost everyone has their own quirks and problems, as well as backstories, experiences and later development. You will often watch them as you laugh at them and with them, as well as cry with them. Each one of them is lovable in their own way, not because you are guaranteed to relate to them, but because how much the author respects and loves them to write them the way they are. I could sit here and ramble on how deep and lovable the main character Gintoki is for instance, and how much his past experiences and present connect to each other to make a good character, but nothing I say any more, can do the characters’ quality justice. If you feel like you don’t like even one of the characters, then I do not know how to defend myself.
This is finally something to complain a little about. The animation in this series has never been particularly good, nor has it ever been horrible. A very episodic series like this has no need for extraordinary or consistently stunning animation like the Fate-series or Violet Evergarden. In comedic and “calm” episodes, the animation is not the main point, since it is the comedy and the short-term storytelling that matters. You can say that intense scenes like battles, duels or chases require good animation for better experience, and that is exactly what Gintama has. Whenever a fight or an intense scene occurs, the animation will always step up (a lot) to make the scene great, but you cannot expect all of the 350+ episodes to have animation like that. Why I did not give the animation higher than 8/10, is because it would be to generous, but I do not complain too much either, since I do not require better animation than I need. If this is a problem to you, I will excuse myself, since this paragraph may have been useless in that case.
I will try to make my points shorter here, so that the paragraph won’t be super long. MUSIC is an important part in a story, but for Gintama, it is not exceptionally good (but not bad at all). The “beautiful” soundtracks do not match with for instance Naruto’s, and the motivational/intense tracks do not match with One Piece’s. However, what Gintama does great, is creating few tracks that are associated with a certain scene or a character. There are a few songs you will hear maybe 2-3 times in the whole series, which you will associate with one powerful scene, which will make a good experience.
THE COLLECTION OF GENRES, is also an important factor that makes Gintama, in my opinion fantastic. It is mostly known for being a comedy series (which it excels in of course), but there is much more to it. You will see many other genres or elements from other genres all the time, since it can go from lung-paining comedy, to touching and calm Slice of Life, to (sometimes) deep and emotional romance, bombastic and exciting action and, not least: Tear jerking and painful drama. All these genres get switched between all the time, and it is made in a way that is not absolutely messy or not understandable, but instead very structured and well-made. That is something many pieces of fiction have a hard time with.
Since Gintama is very episodic, we are bound to enjoy some arcs and episodes more than others. Even though there has never been an episode or arc that I really hated, some episodes end up being a little weaker in both quality and enjoyment. Another complaint is that since the cast is so large, some characters will be a little less developed and more flat. And as said before, as there are characters you will most likely relate to, there are some you will not care about so much, and that is difficult to avoid. But these complaints compared to the rest of the praise do not push the series to a 9/10 for me at all, so the series is still pretty much perfect in my eyes (sorry for being a little biased there).
If you want to start/continue with Gintama, there are things you must remember. This series requires patience, so do not expect it to become a masterpiece right away, but please know that as you go on, you will be rewarded with better and better stuff along the journey. When you finally reach the end, you may think “This series was long, but it was absolutely worth the time”. But to be more straight forward, think of it like this:
The first serious/plot heavy arc (around 5 eps long) arrives somewhere between episode 50 and 60, where many watchers learn what Gintama can be and WILL be except just comedy. But if you still hate the show after episode 87, then I do not know how to defend myself lol. You will se more arcs like these of course, especially in the last 50 episodes. One more thing: since most of the comedy is based around parodies and references from other anime, it will be better if the watcher has some experience with anime and manga beforehand. Having watched between 5 and 10 animes is enough, I feel, so the comedy will become better. If this review helped, I greatly recommend this series, as it is the best anime (in quality) I have ever seen. I wish you a happy journey, and I hope you will enjoy this greatness of a series.
Let’s start with the comedy because that’s the main reason Gintama is so horrible. Gintama is often called “a comedy series without any comedy”, and that’s very accurate. The “comedy” in Gintama consists of colorful bunch of jokes… at least if our color vision is limited to two as practically every joke is either a) a penis joke or b) IT’S a PRank BrO. Be it a gorilla mistaking someone’s dick for a banana or 7 feet long sword ending up inside someone’s anal cavity, Gintama has it all. But don’t worry. It’s all made with self-awareness and 4th wall breaking so it’s very funneh even after 700 chapters and 360 episodes. The parody side is really either a) an excuse to write something absolutely terrible and then claim it was made as a joke, or b) references that are so inaccurate and irrelevant that they could be used in E3’s pressconference. The banter on the other hand is almost as hideous as seen in the movie Deadpool 2, but thank God not as meta. The comedy is so bad and badly timed that even during the more serious and decent moments, it comes there and completely ruins everything the series accomplishes by inserting some dude there who farts or does something equally lame.
The characters are something that could be decent — to be frank, if the characters were a separate entity, they could all be said to be of respectable quality — but the author practically never uses their personalities for their benefit. Almost every single reaction they show is ridiculously, even absurdly overreacted because the author doesn’t trust that his characters’ personalities alone could carry the content and the jokes he presents. The work is filled with moments where characters just yell some nonsense to each others because apparently, acting like overdramatic clowns is much better than actually creating comedy based to their characteristics. The sentence “it’s so damn anime” is pretty much the perfect way to describe how Gintama’s cast works. The only character who gets dealt with the respect they deserve, is Zura, and that’s not enough.
The art is very clever. At least if we consider edgy 10 year old kids who are vandalizing the town by drawing pictures of genitals on every damn thing they see, clever. When it comes to Gintama, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone put so much effort into making every goddamn background object resemble the shape of a penis. Perhaps my favorite part of the art is how often it focuses on puking and blood and assholes and dicks, yet every time these are censored and pixelated so its readers/viewers won’t form a trauma because let’s face it, most of them are also like 10 years old. It’s beyond me how the main content is penis, farts and in generally, dirty jokes, yet they are presented pseudo and aimed for little kids. At least series like South Park went all out with their content and remained loyal to the idea to the very end. Gintama is just censorship aimed for people whose sense of humor was formed in elementary school toilets but never developed it more mature and over the top direction. Gintama is like a person who ages, but never grows up or matures.
As a conclusion: I laughed something like ~50 times during the entire run. Gintama is not a good series. It’s characters are pretty much always used as comedy elements, the jokes get old in 50 episodes (starting from 80 because the first 80 don’t even have any jokes), the writing is often ruined by stupid “gags” to a point that the good things become less good. Every cringe and downright awful piece of writing is justified by it being a parody. “So you’re denying all the good things the show accomplished.” Not really, I am just saying that even the worst of things have good sides in them and just like that, I won’t be praising Gintama for its achievements.
When someone who doesn’t know Gintama asks me to tell the synopsis, I can’t explain it. I’m sure you can’t either.
But on the other hand I can describe my different states: one second I start laughing and crying, the next I cling to my chair, the next I hold my breath, the next second I scream, the next I applaud, the next I want to cry so much because the emotion is so intense. In short, Gintama is a manga that does not leave anyone indifferent.
If Gintama has not lost her sense of humour, this season is barely letting us breathe. When you think Gintama can’t do better, a new twist appears!
The arc where everything makes sense!
Let’s talk about this new arc. For me, it is the arc where everything makes sense. In 15 years, Hideaki Sorachi has introduced us to characters who are all more atypical and marginal than each other. This arc is an opportunity to see all of them again: the ones we love and the others we love a little less and where we always wondered what they could bring to the story (Prince Hata for example).
A new approach to the main character.
In a typical shōnen, we are used to the character being the one who fights the most fearsome antagonist of each arc. And yet! Gintoki may be charismatic and badass, but he will not solve every situation on his own. This arc is a good example of this as he faces the strongest antagonist of Gintama. EVERY character has a role to play and it is together with their strengths and weaknesses that they will succeed in overcoming the challenges. Friendship, common purpose, teamwork are the key words of this season.
Verdict after 15 years:
Gintama has proven over and over again that it belongs among the greatest mangas shōnen. The mangaka masters the art of intensity with sometimes short, very short arcs (less than 10 episodes). So I was afraid when I saw the manga lasted so many years (700 chapters) and embarked on much longer arches. Well, I have to say, I’m speechless. So many plot twists and all of this without pretension with a dose of humour that makes Gintama a unique shōnen.
Bonus: an opening 21 full of emotion…
I invite you to look at it.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen – Kouhan-sen
2. Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen
3. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3
4. JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze
5. Banana Fish
6. Golden Kamuy 2nd Season
7. Lupin III: Part 5
8. Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season
9. Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken
10. Overlord III