They’re the best Anime that 2021 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Black Clover, World Trigger 2nd Season, 86, and more!
10: Black Clover
English: Black Clover
MAL Score: 8.05
Asta and Yuno were abandoned at the same church on the same day. Raised together as children, they came to know of the “Wizard King”—a title given to the strongest mage in the kingdom—and promised that they would compete against each other for the position of the next Wizard King. However, as they grew up, the stark difference between them became evident. While Yuno is able to wield magic with amazing power and control, Asta cannot use magic at all and desperately tries to awaken his powers by training physically.
When they reach the age of 15, Yuno is bestowed a spectacular Grimoire with a four-leaf clover, while Asta receives nothing. However, soon after, Yuno is attacked by a person named Lebuty, whose main purpose is to obtain Yuno’s Grimoire. Asta tries to fight Lebuty, but he is outmatched. Though without hope and on the brink of defeat, he finds the strength to continue when he hears Yuno’s voice. Unleashing his inner emotions in a rage, Asta receives a five-leaf clover Grimoire, a “Black Clover” giving him enough power to defeat Lebuty. A few days later, the two friends head out into the world, both seeking the same goal—to become the Wizard King!
Black Clover is a show that is in many ways the literal embodiment of its protagonist’s struggle. Asta goes from being the laughingstock of town to the literal saviour of the kingdom. During that internal journey, we also watched the anime gradually evolve and get better as time went on. Production qualities seemingly increased as the popularity increased as well. Asta’s journey is extremely satisfying and well written. It’s done so well in fact, that it feels like we’ve been on this journey right with Asta. Everyone loves a feel good underdog story. There’s been no bigger underdog than Black Clover.
For me, the mark of a well written series is how well you’re able to immerse yourself and truly feel apart of the story. When I first got into Black Clover a couple of years ago, I was easily able to binge the first 99 episodes which were out up to that point in the span of a few days. Episodes went by in what felt like a breeze. I found myself in awe at the quality of writing and the magical concepts used. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why so many people shit on the series or rated it lowly.
I’ve said numerous times that if Black Clover went seasonal, it would be one of the highest rated Jump Series. The story is better than MHA and JJK. What has unfortunately been the big bump in the road for BC is the inconsistent production quality throughout. At points, Pierrot have literally had to beg on Twitter for people to help out with episodes. Fortunately, the series is going on hiatus due to how close its getting to the manga, and I really hope Pierrot use this opportunity to make it a seasonal show after the movie. The long running anime model is dead, and doesn’t give animation staffs the time they need to make high quality episodes.
If you’re on the fence about watching Black Clover, do it. Yes, it has some inconsistent animation at times, but the story is genuinely the best in shonen. Loveable characters, an immersive world and amazing action sequences make Black Clover one of the only ongoing shonen that I enjoy. Black Clover gets 10 grimoires out of 10.
“If you flip the 10, it becomes a 01!” – Some Jerk a.k.a remember how Black Clover was despised by everyone?
Black Clover is one of the many myriad of Shonen shows that Weekly Shonen Jump has been banking on imitating the success Shueisha once had since the diminishing of the Big 3 (One Piece, Bleach, Naruto), alongside many other WSJ titles that have constantly received headlines for breaking sales and adaptations that make up the modern age of the anime landscape. Unfortunately, at a time when the Big 3 were all but fizzled out of the community’s eyes, there was but one mangaka amongst the many other Shonen authors who were trying to get the attention of Weekly Shonen Jump to have their works publicized…his name is Yuki Tabata. Being a sophomore into the manga industry, his first work of the short-lived and then cancelled 3-volume long Hungry Joker was not received well, and if you know anything about the intense competition of Weekly Shonen Jump: “If your manga doesn’t sell well, we will take it off indefinitely without trial. We have more titles that we are ever ready to sink our time and resources into promoting new material and publicity to the large population who are always ever hungry for more.” OK, shame on you for the first try. But take a look at his second work…and yet it still doesn’t sell when this came out in early 2015 when it was serialized in WSJ. But Shueisha at least had a good idea that while this work started off being blantantly and averagely similar to the Big 3 in terms of the story and plot, and so they released the first volume thereafter in June of the same year. And to say the rest is history is an understatement, because even in the Oricon charts, Yuki Tabata just couldn’t do enough to maintain the growing popularity of his work, only selling within the Top 25 and not even cracking the Top 10, even after the anime adaptation came out (at least for the 1st year running). It’s only through the sheer talent of director Tatsuya Yoshihara and his production team at Studio Pierrot that would propel this “then infamous, now famous” work into the greatest of great oblivion with the passing of time, that Yuki Tabata finally can breathe a heavy sigh and continue developing Black Clover into one of the many modern Shonen juggernauts that we know today, selling from the thousands to the millions.
I’m not gonna say that what Yuki Tabata did here was plentiful, the story plot was rife of a roller-coaster ride of the usual Shonen tropes and cliches that quickly garnered attention as one of the worst series to be published and then through Studio Pierrot’s infamous low-budget visuals, another strike as one of the worst modern Shonen shows that aired back in 2017. Heck, I probably would not want to include what Black Clover is all about, you can refer to the MAL synopsis or even Wikipedia to read it. In a nutshell, think of the Big 3 and the main MC’s aspiration of “I want to be
Overtime, we get to see the extensive character cast of Black Clover, and I’m still going to rely on my gut feelings here: each and everyone of them feels like cardboard cut-outs that are worth surmising to invoke the feelings of just blantantly plagarizing from other Weekly Shonen Jump works, and that’s where Yuki Tabata can be faulted with trying to make do of the cliches and tropes of the Shonen genre that worked well at the time. The problem is with his way of execution of character traits that we’ve seen way too often to try lifting inspirations from one source to another, so much so that it becomes overbearing and full of cringe. Let’s say Asta’s rival Yuno. He’s a skilled Wind Magic user, blessed by the gods to have magnificent power for OP prodigy powers, and as indicated by the magic books known as Grimoires: he’s the four-lead clover magic user. Now tell me if any of those traits are lifted whether in and out of context of similar characters you might have seen throughout your read list of Shonen lookalikes. But as further evidenced, it’s with the passing of time that helps distinguish each and every character to their types and whatnot, giving us the audience enough time to digest about what makes them tick and work, and appreciate them for their presence to the different progressing story arcs of the main series.
You know me, I’m very critical when it comes to studio productions, and Studio Pierrot to me, stands as one of the worst studios to ever exist, even if they adapt works that often lose out on the quality of the source materials that fans so desired to see on the small screen. Black Clover is no different with the stigma that Pierrot productions tend to have, and for 1001 good reasons. But once again, like I’ve said at the beginning, it’s thanks to director Tatsuya Yoshihara for helming this long-running project that has seen its fair shares of highs and lows. Black Clover might’ve started on the wrong foot for being the similar case towards Studio Deen at being decades-old studios with variable quality, for the test of time stands between the production staff team to stand in the gap and make their efforts worth it, and the payoff was certainly worth it in the long-run that was only destined to run for the full length of a year, that subsequently got lengthened and amounted to 3.5 years worth of time that increased the hype with some episodes having the Asta trademark of “I will hit my limits!” that expressively shared the experience of sticking in the long-run. AND BOY, DO THOSE EPISODES DELIVER with at best 9-turned-10/10 ratings that even trended on Twitter. YES, Black Clover IS BIG in both Japan and the West, and with Crunchyroll being the biggest benefactor that this show has garnered the No. 1 top spot in 80+ countries, you can’t certainly lie at where Black Clover is now with the insane popularity. To that I say, great job Pierrot for making me love a show that I now endear as one of the many Shonen long-running series that I can recommend.
Even the music can’t be understated. For as many as 13 sets of OSTs within the 3.5 year long run of Black Clover, we’ve definitely heard some “diamond in the rough” gems that we’ve gotten used to overtime, with many songs that really stick out to be the series’ representatives when it comes to recognizing that it originated from Black Clover. Sound director Hajime Takakuwa certainly did wonders at what he does best, but for this one I have to give props to the many artists that have contributed cult-classic songs, from the OPs: Kankaku Piero’s “Haruka Mirai” to Vickeblanca’s hit songs “Black Rover” and “Black Catcher”, and EDs: Itowokashi’s “Aoi Honoo” to Faky’s “four”. These are just some of my top favourite songs from Black Clover, but there’s just too many to list them, because most of them are bangers in their own right (with some just being decent at best).
Like what @Goober-fish has said: “Whatever the case may be, Black Clover is my ultimate guilty pleasure and I wave that 10 with pride.” And I reverse the words of some jerk that said the sentence at the beginning: “If you flip the 01, it becomes a 10!” Black Clover may have started with being a score of 01, but looking at it now, it’s definitely worthy of the 10 score in every possible way: the story that got better overtime with the characters, the insane Pierrot animation quality and right down to the fantastic OSTs that we are graced with to our pairs of eyes and ears.
Never have I thought that I will return from a hatred of a stigma to loving them for Shonen shows, and even if I or you have never watched the Big 3 before, Black Clover is EASILY the best recommended entry show for anyone wanting to dive into Shonen shows…that’s if you can last all 170 episodes in one go. Thanks Black Clover, now it’s no longer just a guilty pleasure, and I’m an addition to wearing that 10 with pride.
I’ve been following the series since its inception. I’ve read and re-read its source material and, I can say it does improve–for a Black Clover standard, that is. This series received hate, backlash, and terrible reception since the onset of its TV anime. And to nobody’s surprise, it’s the most hated series of modern Shounen–2014 and onwards, right after the era of the big three. If there’s any advice I can give for people interested in watching this series, it is to go into it for pure entertainment. Be open-minded, have low expectations, ignore the hate, and watch it for yourselves.
Black Clover anime started ugly. The pacing, sheer predictability, genericness, and the dreadful usage of Shounen tropes turned off people–understandably so. But for me, I loved it. I loved it not because it was good, but because it was the purest generic anime that was not afraid for what it was. It knows its production was constrained. It knows its plot and characters took “inspiration” from previous works with few tweaks here and there, and most importantly, it knows its target audience. With this, once the show solved its pacing issues, it quickly flew from arc to arc with hype moments after hype moments, and all I did was to turn off my brain and enjoy the shit show.
To provide some examples, after the dungeon expedition arc, Asta, Noelle, Yuno, and some other magic knight squad members were summoned for recognition medals. In that banquet, the show introduced more of its supporting casts. It demonstrated its power system, characters’ abilities, showcased some of its societal structure and prejudices, and then jumped straight to the Clover Kingdom’s invasion.
Throughout this invasion arc, it entertained me by never letting go of its accelerator. All the Magic Knight captains that were introduced previously got their moments to show off. Whether be their magic or personality, it showed all of it. The show then exploits each of its newly introduced characters to the limit by having them interact and fight alongside each other. The dynamics between characters such as Fuegoleon and Nozel, Asta, Yuno, and Noelle, Yami and Jack, provided the fun. It’s cheap, it’s lazy, but it worked so well for a braindead like me.
The other aspect of Black Clover’s storytelling is the seamless transition from an arc to another. If some terrorists brutally wounded a beloved character, the most logical route is for the main casts to go after them. And they do. If the vice-captain of the Golden Dawn is acting out of character, the most logical thinking is to seek out the true identity. And they do.
How do they do it? They do it by the classic shounen way: Tournament arc–my favorite aspect of mindless battle shounen.
But along the way, the show plants some seeds of suspicion–there’s something more sophisticated with the adversaries that the Clover Kingdom were up against. It’s these careful hints here and there that made the grand finale of Black Clover’s first saga a memorable one. And it is in my humble opinion that the first saga of Black Clover is one of the best of modern shounen. The finale wrapped up every plot point presented up to then, it concluded characters’ development until that point, and it answered every question along the way. Not to mention, the final plot twist was a phenomenon to be held.
Yuki Tabata’s writing isn’t anything revolutionary. He takes inspiration and does his own twists. He utilizes whatever skills he has got at his disposal and tells his own story within the Shounen genre’s confinement. And I enjoyed every second of it. I have no regrets.
As I aforementioned, Black Clover’s production was severely constrained. From the start, the anime lacked staffing–specifically, key animators and animation directors–and had an unsustainable schedule. Before the first episode of Black Clover even premiered, the Black Clover anime production team was given only 5 months of pre-production, for a long-running battle shounen. To put it into perspective, a 12 episode regular anime usually takes a year of pre-production. Thus, it’s no surprise that the animation in Black Clover declined significantly soon after it began airing. As that happened, it’s also reported that some of the staff working on the anime had gone through physical and mental exhaustion, which they eventually fell ill.
Now, why does it matter?
Well, it doesn’t–at least from a show’s quality standpoint. But then I don’t want to clown on Black Clover’s animation either because of this information. I know the animation and art are inconsistent; the consensus is that Black Clover’s animation is inconsistent. It can be mindblowing for a single episode, and then for the next 10 to 20 episodes can range from unbearable to mediocracy. I can list every single flaw of Black Clover’s art and animation, but then that would be repetitive since I’m sure those aspects have been talked about over the years. Lastly, I’m fine with it. I’m okay with its inconsistency in art and animation because I love this series. I grew up with it, I enjoyed it, and I’m willing to forgive its flaws.
If you have read this far, I just want to thank you for taking your time.
9: World Trigger 2nd Season
MAL Score: 8.09
After successfully holding off the invasion by Aftokrator, the Border Defense Agency prepares an away mission into the Neighbor’s dimension. However, like in previous scouting expeditions, only A-rank teams are certain to secure a spot. As the B-rank wars continue, Osamu Mikumo and the rest of Tamakoma-2 quickly fight to the top in an attempt to obtain a promotion before the operation begins.
Meanwhile, a new Neighbor ship approaches Border Headquarters. Noticing that the attackers are targeting the Border Expedition Ship, forces are hastily sent to combat them. However, with fewer squads available due to the proceeding rank wars, the organization is sent into disarray. This latest offensive from the Neighbors shrouds the fate of the all-important expedition ship in uncertainty.
wanted to review as best as i can.
story : 9
a new aliens appear out of nowhere to invade their world and theres few people who fight against them , later on they build a base specifically to defend their world against aliens or known as “Neighbour”. the story is revolve around Mikumo Osamu who encounter his first neighbour , and thats kuuga. when he met kuuga everything changed , after big scale fight kuuga joined Border to help their teammate save their brother and friends and here we are filled with good fight with a lot of strategies. the story is really great for me but its your typical shounen. but eitherway no problem i still like how the author write this manga and its story.
Art : 10
the arts is really improving 100% for sure , back then on season 1 everyone complain about how bad the art is compared to today , even tho back then the anime itself had a chance to be one of the top 10 shounen. but as you can see rn the art is really improving and you should watch it , you wont regret !
Sound : 9
all i could say is good job for toei and all the voice actor for voicing such good anime.
Character : 10
the character is very good with all their big iq brain xD , and yeah quite decent, adorable, funny , something like that.
Enjoyment : 10
I really enjoy it even back then when s1 was considered quite bad but it doesnt matter for me as long as their fight is immensely good with all their team fight. you also will find it amazing trust me.
Note before overall rating.
If you dont like weak mc but with quite clever mind and strategies + they’re improving with quite slow pace , then you should as well skip this anime because this anime is not for you. go watch your typical OP MC with minimum progression or growth character.
Overall : 9
9/10 is my solid rating for this anime, such a good series. enjoy it to the fullest !
honestly all i could only say is thankyou TOEI. XD
While the studio butchered the animation on the first season, they did this season GOOD! I must admit that my score IS biased but my review is NOT. So please allow me to tell you why there is nothing like this show and if it’s for you.
Why there is nothing like this show? I also have no clue, BUT, what is this show in the first place? Not the synopsis, not the FAQs or setting, but what makes it unique. The answer is, TACTICS.
I have never seen an anime that even comes close to how this title showcases tactics. You see, everything is laid out, which means there is no over the top power and there are no out of nowhere mc’guffin. Everything is out which means everyone is on a very level playing field so when it’s a gigantic free for all, we see how people having access to the same equipment utilize them differently and creatively to one up their opponents. And the scenes and wins are genuinely amazing and earned because we fully understand what is happening!
If this was NOT my bias, I’d still score it 8.5/10. It’s really good and there really is nothing like this at the moment to the detriment of anime in general.
So if you like tactics, NOT just thinking MC but a thinking cast that reasons out offense, defense and counters, you will LOVE this show.
Story and Character 9: Oh my god we finally get to see Mikumo start coming into his own as a character during the ranking tournaments and it is a joy to see this very slowly built up character finally finding his calling. Plus the action packed first few episodes that added a lot of world building were a joy to watch as always. World Trigger truly excels with having very strategic battles using a very fleshed out power system to the likes of HxH.
Art 9: OMG Toei actually fixed the animation for this wonderful anime, finally giving it the adaptation it always deserved. With beautiful particle and lighting affects coming off of all the trion weapons and explosions plus the overall movements of the action feeling very fluid make this battle packed season a joy to watch.
Sound 9: The sound of WT was always pretty good (other than occasional bad yelling voice acting) which lucky isn’t really hear anymore and overall just makes sure to add to the experience.
Enjoyment and Overall 9: WT S2 is a wonderful adaptation of a long awaited arc in the world trigger series and it brings me so much joy that after the reading the fantastic manga I can finally highly recommend the anime as well as a great battle action manga that has extremely interesting and strategic fights+powers. If you are looking for a good sci-fi shounen then look no further cause this is the anime for you.
MAL Score: 8.19
According to the Republic of San Magnolia, their ongoing war against the Giadian Empire has no casualties—however, that is mere propaganda. While the silver-haired Alba of the Republic’s eighty-five sectors live safely behind protective walls, those of different appearances are interned in a secret eighty-sixth faction. Known within the military as the Eighty-Six, they are forced to fight against the Empire’s autonomous Legion under the command of the Republican “Handlers.”
Vladilena Milizé is assigned to the Spearhead squadron to replace their previous Handler. Shunned by her peers for being a fellow Eighty-Six supporter, she continues to fight against their inhumane discrimination. Shinei Nouzen is the captain of the Spearhead squadron. Infamous for being the sole survivor of every squadron he’s been in, he insists on shouldering the names and wishes of his fallen comrades. When the fates of these young souls from two different worlds collide, will it ignite the spark that lights their path to salvation, or will they burn themselves in the flames of despair?
From the time it was announced that my favourite LN series would be getting an anime adaptation, I was filled with excitement at the prospect of seeing my fave scenes and characters adapted. Unfortunately, I could not help feeling a sense of dread as well given the studio that would be adapting it. A-1 have had a pretty inconsistent track record over the past decade or so. They’ve given us some amazing works like Anohana and Bokumachi, but also some…. less than stellar works like SAO season 2 or War of Underworld PT.2. A-1, and the anime industry as a whole’s main issue is that LN adaptations are usually just cash grabs and glorified promo material to get people to go out and buy the books. Usually large swathes of stories are left out or butchered. As a result, I was worried that A-1 may rush through the story and omit key aspects of 86. Thankfully, I could not have been more wrong. Not only did A-1 remain faithful to the source material, they even enhanced it in many instances. With arguably their best LN adaptation ever, A-1 gave us the anime of the season.
86 is a very character driven story. Volume 1, which the first cour of the anime covers, is quite slow at time just because of all the detail that goes into the world-building. Asato sensei does a great job of humanising characters and creating a connection between you and them. There may be times during the anime where you feel it drags on or it’s going a bit slow, but I can guarantee you there’s a pay-off coming around the corner. Every second you spend in this world and with these characters matters. The cruel nature of war and child soldiers is on full display, and unfortunately death is always only a moment away. At the core of 86 is the theme of racism. The light novel and anime by extension, do an amazing job of showing how easy it is to fall into the cycle of hatred. On one hand, you have the Alba living peaceful lives within their cities, on the other you have the 86 being forced into a war they didn’t start and left to die. The psychological trauma that both the kids and their commanding officer, Lena go through is conveyed masterfully and really drives home the toll these things can take on humans. If it sounds like this is a dense story, it’s because it is. There is a LOT to unpack in 86, which is why I am so happy A-1 took their time and only adapted one volume for the first cour. This is something that’s nearly unprecedented in today’s era of profit over fidelity.
From a cinematic perspective, A-1 eloquently employ the use of split perspectives in 86. The story is told through the eyes of Lena and Shin and is usually split halfway each episode. It’s a great way to flesh out the world and the characters and I’m glad they went this route. I also loved the use of camera angles, particularly as it relates to facial expressions in the show. During tense moments and conversations, I found that the cuts and angles used added to the moment and helped drive home the significance of the scene.
I mentioned it briefly earlier, but I can’t help but reiterate how much I LOVED the pacing of the show. Usually with these types of adaptations we would get 1-3 volumes for 12 episodes. For a series like 86 which is quite frankly extremely dense, this would have been a disaster. Doing the first volume, at a rate of one chapter per episode and with the quality we got artistically with amazing character designs, the best CGI I’ve ever seen, etc etc., perfection.
Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been pushing the 86 agenda on Twitter and facebook for years. Part of that agenda was an OST by Sawano Hiroyuki. I could not imagine the world of 86 being animated without an OST from the GOAT himself. Sawano has done the OST for several aniplex mech series so it’s not really a shock that he hopped on 86, but bringing his kouhai Yamamoto Kohta onboard was a pleasant surprise. As you’d expect, the two of them SNAPPED on every track featured in the anime. Both EDs are amazing and several inserts like “The Answer” are on repeat on my phone daily. Could not ask for more.
In closing, 86 has been my favourite Light Novel series for years, and at this point it’s probably safe to say the anime is now my favourite anime series. A-1 put together an all star team of talent to work on this show, took their time and gave us something really special. Even if you don’t normally like mech or science-fiction anime, 86 is well worth a viewing due to the amazing handling of real life themes. In today’s hyper-political and tense times, a story on the dangers of racism and hate couldn’t be more relevant.
Eighty-six gets 10 Para-Raids out of 10.
Advertised as a military science fiction, I first want to mention that above all else, the anime manages to maintain a stellar force of animated quality. A-1 Pictures can sometimes be a missed bag but make no mistake, this show doesn’t step over its toes and overestimate itself. It manages to capture the essence of a military sci-fi by the high quality animation. From the machines, battle sequences, to the character design themselves, every bit of production makes a strong impression. Producer Nobuhiro Nakayama has previously worked on other sci-fi projects such as Heavy Object, A Certain Magical Index, and Accel World, among others. Let’s of course not forget about the director, Toshimasa Ishii. He managed to put together a storyboard to compensate with the artistic talents of the staff and make this show into a reality.
However, I do want to distress not to think too hard into this show. While 86 may be somewhat more complicated than the average sci-fi anime you see these days, it’s also fairly watchable for new viewers. You don’t need a rocket science degree to understand the technological advancements of their world. However, it make take a bit of time to understand what our characters are capable of and why they exist. Off the bat, we have Major Vladilena ‘Lena’ Milize, who serves as a Handler in the Republic forces. Coming off as one of the most human characters in the show, she treats others like humans than tools. It seperates herself from her superiors and above all, she fights for equality rather than winning the war. Lena’s character is portrayed as human by her actions. She often speaks out and challenges morality issues with her superiors. Within her squadron, she tries to forge a bond together even during their toughest times. As such, Lena represents much more than just the average Handler. She’s a beacon of hope for the 86 Squadron.
Speaking of which, what exactly is the 86? In general definition, they are pilots representing the Republic of San Magnolia. However, these members are not treated equally as other sectors as result of many complicated events. The show follows a group of elite 86ers (as part of the Spearhard Squad) with Shinei Nouzen as their leader. Taken for granted, Shinei carries a burden of responsibilty for his squad members. This is seen through his actions, when he disregard his own life to fight in what he believes in. Throughout the show, Shinei faces death straight on without fear even when taking inconceivable risks. His actions are not gone without notice as characters have come to respect him as a capable leader such as Kurena. I’m not here to convince you whether Shinei is a likable character or not. His actions can sometimes be questionable but the sheer bravery he shows on the battlefield is undeniably respectable.
With that in mind, 86 deals with war drama elements by showing and telling, a combination that is achieved with its historical background storytelling. From the very start, we learn about the state of their world and how characters are shaped by what they are. Most prominently, Lena and Shinei explifies their leadership role, and they must make important decisions even if they have to do it themselves. It’s also important to realize that Shinei’s squadron has character bonds within the group. When we see its members outside the battlefield, most of them behave like normal people despite knowing what future may lie ahead of them. It’s because of their bond, there seems to also be a glimmer of hope for the 86ers.
It’s a 1-cour show, at least for the first half and not only that, this falls short on one episode compared to the standard 12-episode formula. By no doubt, there’s content omitted in this adaptation such as the death of a certain important character on-screen. And also, if you came expecting this show to tell some romance, then look elsewhere. Sure, there are some hints dropped from Lena’s point of view and her growing affection towards Shinei. However, this doesn’t bloom into a relationship. After all, Shinei is the last type of guy who wants a girlfriend in this series. He’s a fighter, not a lover. Looking back though and among the Spearhead squadron, their relationship is perhaps one of the most important in the series.
I’ve already mentioned about the high quality production of 86. But who can forget the music? Hiroyuki Sawano is well known for his previous involvement in sci-i projects such as Aldnoah Zero and Guilty Crown. Here is no different as we see the sheer amount of talent poured into the soundtrack. Every episode is able to synchronize the soundtrack to make scenes impactful. It accomplishes this to make viewers feel what the characters feel, especially during the more emotional scenes. That’s important too, because war itself can have emotional impactful on anyone. It feels like the author and producers wanted us to experience what war is like hence the soundtrack enhances that experience.
Science fiction military anime isn’t an uncommon trend in today’s industry. Darling in the Frankxx, Aldnoah Zero, and the infamous Code Geass are just a few examples. What 86 manages to do is capture the feeling and reality of war, in a way that makes us realize what lives really is like for the characters. From day one, you can see grim reality of how war can change a world and people. Let’s just hope the second half of 86 will be as memorable as the first, because this anime is just getting started.
The first few minutes are really intriguing. We see two totally different realities. In the first one, we see people-controlled drones marching towards the enemy and, in a matter of seconds, we are taken to a totally different “World”. A calm, peaceful world that many would say is a “Normal” life, even the newspaper saying the weather conditions is presented to us until the beginning of the so-called “Ministry of Defense War Informant” where we realize that we are, not only, in the same world, but also in the same period of time. Some are living in complete hell and others leading their normal lives. Another thing to mention is that both are fighting on the same side, against the same enemy. And this is the first pillar, war, a confrontation between two groups that want something, where that “something” is so valuable, so important that it convinces people to join the cause and support the conflict. That makes people abdicate from their own lives for the greater good of the whole. And this is the first problem of 86, the war is not presented to us, we do not know why it happened or its trajectory to reach the period in which the anime takes place. The only thing the viewer can do is ignore the reason for all the developments that happened previously and simply accept the fact that a war exists.
A few seconds later, we see our protagonist going to the headquarters, where we see that although a war is going on, the atmosphere in the barracks is calm as if they were in a bar. This greatly displeases our major, who is indignant with the form that the situation is being driven by the Republic. This is when the most important dialogue in the anime takes place, with Annette asking Lena two questions, “Why do you care so much about drones?” and “Why do you care so much about 86?” And it is from this conversation that we understand the real situation in which the characters find themselves. The Republic once formed by people of different ethnicities decides to use minorities as soldiers, or better said, as pilots. This is why we only see people of the same “Race” (I apologize to everyone who has the slightest knowledge for the misuse of the term), represented by the hair color of people in the city, because they are treated as human beings, unlike all other peoples who, despite being citizens of the country, were treated like animals and forced to fight against the “Legion”. And then, the second problem presents itself: discrimination. It is very difficult to watch 86 and not remember Nazism, where the Germans used a pretext of racial superiority in order to subjugate all other ethnicities and especially Jews. Looking at it in this way, both history and fiction seem to rest on the same point, and that’s the problem, they’re not. While in Anime the 86 are used as fighters, the Jews on the other hand, were used as labor and as a way to unite people, hatred for the Jews made Hitler’s army march without any doubts that what they were doing was right and that they were superior. But why weren’t Jews used as combatants? The answer is very simple, why would you, after being oppressed by a country, humiliated and put in the same condition as an animal, would you fight on their side? And so we get back to why a war happens and how it stands. The Anime neither tries nor seeks to explain the reason why the 86 fight and defend the republic, because exactly as stated above there is no reason for that.
And that brings us to the third and final pillar “What makes someone a human?”, a simple question that follows us through all 11 episodes: “Why is Lena treated like a human being while Shin is treated like an animal?”. And again, the author’s inability to guide a story is evident. Not only does it bring the vision of only two people but forgets all existing context/ where are the other countries? Who created the Legion? Who has ever been annihilated by the Legion? Were they all people? Or were they all animals like the 86? The anime through Lena tries to make us create a feeling of compassion for the 86 and not only that, but it ends up giving us the same feeling that is seen in the republic. Instead of making us think about how everyone who is presented in this universe are human, the anime guides us to the reverse of Nazism, where we came to believe that all but the 86 (And obviously Lena) are the evil to be eradicated. And this is a big problem, because, all the time, the feeling of superiority is shifted in favor of the “Weak”, in favor of the “Oppressed” and, by that, we start doing exactly like those we despised and just repeating their actions.
The characters in 86 are another disappointment. In fact, we have two characters while the others are used to reinforce the anime’s weird theses. In one hand, we have the major fighting against discriminatory thoughts practiced by the Albas. In the other hand, our typical protagonist, codenamed Undertaker, someone cold, centered, ruthless and skillful, who despite all the characteristics listed above has a past that haunts him daily. All the other characters are the anime’s frustrated attempt to make us believe in its plot. Lena’s uncle has only one function, to make racism, illogical speeches that contest the Democratic ideology that his niece has, all with the intention of causing even more hatred of the listeners against the oppressor. On the completely opposite side we have all the other 86. Their function? In this case we have 2: the first one is dying anyway in order to cause the shock and the feeling that no one is immortal and that war does not choose who kills, even thought the episodes show the complete opposite, war does not only choose who will die, but also, the moment when death will occur in order to “impact”. The second function is pure fan service. We see that after the battle they are just kids who were forced to fight, who have tastes, interests and passions giving that false impression of “Wow they’re just teenagers like me”, while, at other times, mostly after battles with fatalities, we do not see feelings of loss. There is such a big discrepancy between “The normal teenagers” and “The pilots of the juggernauts” what could be explained with the influence of Alba’s thought in their heads, but which is totally abandoned by the work that continues to tread the same path of a meaningless cycle of hate. And this is something that we often see in various media, where the is only perpetuated if nothing is done. The best example is the obvious and clear inspiration of Nazism in history, where the Jews, even going through everything that passed on, understood that the Germans, due to the aftermath of the first war, were just weak-minded people incapable of thinking for themselves.
I’m not the best person to judge 86’s direction since I haven’t read the light novel, but what I can comment on is its decline in the early episodes. In the first episode, it’s brilliantly done delivering some of the information in dialogue and even visually, which is the role of a director. From that point on, he apparently forgot everything he has learned in life and ends up doing an extremely deficient job and largely focusing on elements that are totally unnecessary for the progress of the story. I don’t know if the director just followed the author’s text in a linear way, but if he did, the blame continues to fall on his shoulders. The animation and design are lazy and simplistic, and it doesn’t just extend to the fights and faces of the characters. It extends through the environments, the battles and the place where they happen always look the same, giving that feeling of “I didn’t just watch this episode?”. There is no visual progress, with the exception of the final stretch of the anime. The soundtrack, despite not being to my liking, fulfills its role. Its real problem is the bad way it fits, especially in the parts where it should be emotional or melancholy, where everything seems to be the same moment, where completely different songs look the same because they are always used in the same order Before–> Battle –> After, which makes the composer’s work useless.
86 is an example of how a story should NOT be guided, from characters who just fill the screen, Of totally artificial relations between Lena and everyone else in the anime, to the misuse of racial discrimination in every possible way. Unlike other stories or the History itself, 86 leaves a stupid legacy, being just another work that tried to generate some moral debate. A war anime in which the author himself does not know the reason for what happens in that world. A shame and complete disregard for the racial discrimination experienced by countless people.
7: Nomad: Megalo Box 2
Japanese: NOMAD メガロボクス2
MAL Score: 8.22
Megalo Box is an advanced form of boxing where competitors wear metal frames called Gear. When the first ever Megalonia tournament took place, “Gearless” Joe became its champion and known to all as a legendary fighter. However, soon after, he lost an exhibition match against the second champion and vanished from the public eye.
Seven years later, Joe now goes by “Nomad” and keeps a low profile, occasionally fighting in a few underground matches to get by. He is haunted by hallucinations and relies on a set of painkillers to numb his mind.
During a match, Joe wins against an opponent, Chief, who purposefully loses for some extra cash from gamblers. Subsequently, Joe discovers that Chief is from a community of immigrants called the Casa. Chief is gradually trying to make enough money to purchase the land where they live illegally. At first, Joe hesitates to get involved, but eventually decides to lend the Casa a helping hand.
Hummingbird: Will you listen to my song, Nomad? I’m in a hurry, ask someone else.
But the Hummingbird just won’t give up and pursued the Nomad.
Hummingbird: Please, I must sing my song.
Nomad: You’re rather selfish. Sorry, but I’ m just not in the mood. I’m on a journey to die.
Hummingbird: But that’s ridiculous. Who goes on a journey to die?
Nomad: It’s the truth. Why would I bother lying before I die?
But the hummingbird refused to give up.
Hummingbird: Then how about this? If I can make you lie, listen to my song. If I fail to do so, I will say no more.
Wanting to be freed from the persistent pest, the Nomad agreed.
Hummingbird: Why do you want to die?
Nomad: Because I lost everything.
Hummingbird: That’s a lie.
Nomad: But it’s not a lie. I lost my home, my fortune…and my family died from illness. I’ve got nothing left.
Hummingbird: No, you still have eyes to see me and ears to hear my song. You even have a mouth to speak to me.
Nomad: Yes, you’re right.
Though they felt that they had been duped, the Nomad admitted defeat.
Nomad: All right, I lose.
The Nomad didn’t want any more trouble, and stopped to hear the Hummingbird’s song. The voice was so beautiful that it filled the Nomad’s empty heart with a gentle warmth just for a moment.
After it had finished its song, the Hummingbird flew towards the ray of sunlight that was peeking through the clouds.”
– The Hummingbird and the Nomad (Storybook)
Redemption. The most successful and decorated Olympian of all time, Michael “Flying Fish” Phelps, sums the one word this way: “Perseverance, determination, commitment, and courage-those things are real. The desire for redemption drives you.”
Going back to Megalo Box, the prequel being a creation and a homage to the 50th anniversary of Ashita no Joe a.k.a Tomorrow’s Joe, was a fun watch when the anime first debuted in Spring 2018, but quickly faded into obscurity for it being like a stereotypical Shounen anime where the underdog fights his way through all the underground boxing ring matches, to then rise up and be a formidable foe. Even I’ll admit that going back to Season 1 now, just feels like the re-watch has made the experience much worse and a slog to finish this “boxing” anime.
But the sequel here, dubbed Megalo Box 2: Nomad? NOW THIS IS A 100% GAME CHANGER of anything but everything that we haven’t yet seen before. And apparently the production team behind the prequel also thought of it the exact same way with director You Moriyama, whom producer Minako Fujiyoshi had to convince him to do so, thinking that the prequel by itself is an open-and-shut case. Rather than make yet another season of staying with the whole “tribute to the past” thingie-a-bob (which was what attributed to the less-than-stellar feedback in both Japan and the West at the time), the staff team scrapped that idea, and went for a more mature theme that displays the post events of Gearless Joe in a long timeskip of 7 years, where everyone has matured and Joe’s fall from grace as a depressed adult post-Megalonia. Instead of sticking to the same “Ashita no Joe” guns that bullets could crack for its own niche, the production staff team went for a more independent work which incoporates real-life societal issues, while still following Joe as he travels from place to place, while simultaneously not being able to move on from his past friends and rivals. AND BOY DOES IT SHOW, I’d say this change greatly increased the impact that boxing anime fans have been craving for the longest time.
If anything, this Nomad sequel proves one crucial thing that is missing from the prequel: character development IS KING, neither the boxing matches (though since this is a boxing anime at its core, it has to be there) nor the impact of wins or losses. As such, Nomad starts out differently than your average sequel, giving it the vibe sense that the world of the past is present, but you cannot always look back to your glory days and make the same results again. And that’s Gearless Joe’s re-account of his mature life being the Nomad: the one who wanders around with no goal in sight.
Need I mention that Nomad itself is more complex (as foreshadowed by the production team), but still reigniting the same flame of nostalgia? Because that is what it is: the Gearless Joe is not the same Gearless Joe 7 years later, and has largely kept to a low-profile state after losing out to Yuri’s young successor Edison Liu, leading to his recluse life under painkiller drugs and earning money from his old ways of underground boxing matches. If you’re wondering why I’d mention a “nonsensical” story in the beginning of this review, “The Nomad and the Hummingbird” is essentially the mature-but-depressed and delusional Joe’s road from cradle to death, then riding the road to redemption, and it is a crucial pointer in the progression of the sequel. Through the same-old and new characters that are like character arcs in and of itself (and outstanding ones at that), these people will teach Joe the meaning of life, and what it meant by getting through all the trouble of being an outcast and making the most out of the new life, setting new goals, objectives and aspirations for the future. Seriously though, never have I been so captivated by a character-centric story so jarring, yet is intensely intriguing and hits at the heartstrings like a solemn foreign song played on the guitar. You can never find a better original story like this that is done through much of the production staff team’s back-and-forth multiple discussions about the new Gearless Joe and his mature characterization, but fix as much as they can it did to give it an edge that I can say, is on a much higher pedestal than any typical “underdog to champion” fame kind of boxing show.
Mature being the theme of Nomad, and of course, with such a huge timeskip, Joe and the kids of Team Nowhere have matured A WHOLE LOT. We all know what happened to Joe, but in the course of events, his manager-cum-coach Nanbu…shall I say, had some life complications to the point that Sachio and crew thought that Joe was solely at fault when he “abandoned” them for his own gain when going against the former No. 1’s student successor (Edison Liu). Needless to say, all of that was a recipe for disaster, as the tables had drastically turned on Joe: the loss of his Megalonia “champion” status, and Sachio with the Team Nowhere kids exiting Joe’s life thereafter. 7 years later, everyone obviously grows up, but Joe’s fame got so much on his head that the loss subjected him to post-natal depression. Overtime, the new characters Chief (an Afro-Latino immigrant) and Mac “The Hero” Rosario (brought in as the new technological face of boxing Gear) encounters Joe, fights him, and teaches each other about what their human values are worth fighting for, hence the symbolism of “The Nomad and the Hummingbird”, which explicitly interchanges the roles between the three Megaloboxers (once in each character arc), educating them and edifying the meaning of “coming home to the family”. Even if all is lost, your family will still be right beside you, even through the course of life and death. And you know that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE symbolisms in shows, and Nomad does an outstanding job at reading between the lines when it comes to characterization of the tightly packed and immaculate kind.
TMS Entertainment is back to produce this show (without the help of its subsidary 3xCube which also produced the classic Ashita no Joe), but this time, the old-school style animation is largely improved for the better. Even Joe’s VA Yoshimasa Hosoya was surprised at the improved animation, and quote-unquote “was surprised by the improved animation which he felt to be more fit of a movie rather than a TV series”. Season 1 wasn’t bad, but the asinine tight production schedule, other than the tribute of sampling full HD to old 480p visuals, made it truly stand out in its time. Season 2 here is largely more of the same, though I’d guess that 3 years of production development is more than enough time to make this sequel work its legs to kick out wonders. It is an unique mold, all on its own.
Even the music by famed composer mabanua is back with more of the same-old, old-school style instrumentals, but incorporating with Mexican-Spanish themes. Such as the OP “The theme of the Nomad” which is meant to sound like a glorification of Gearless Joe’s better days in mono, to the Latin-American ED “El Canto del Colibrí” (translated as “The Hummingbird’s Song”) in full Spanish Tejano “folk” style music, meant as a song of the hummingbird, seen as a messenger of the gods used to convey good and peaceful thoughts to kin about their loved ones, dead or alive. And even as much as I miss LEO Imai’s hyper OP “Bite” of the prequel, this narrative shift of a sequel does not need all the barking and biting hype, and settles for the comtemporaries to add the classic punch to the impact.
Overall, it’s insane to see a famed sequel like Megalo Box 2: Nomad, be so shunned by the community, because other than it being a vastly superior sequel, it can also be taken in as an independent work all by itself. Providing the fact that you have to bear through the decent prequel to get to this sequel, I can safely tell you that the wait is worth the trouble.
Este es un Anime Excepcional Secuela! Realmenté excellenté.
Indeed, Megalo Box getting a second season almost feels like a miracle. Joe has been established as a character with integrity but also one we came to understand and relate to. From this season, we see a change in his character, including his name. Now going by the name ‘Nomad’, the first episodes explores his psychological state of mind and how he lives his new life. Taking place roughly 7 years since the first season, we see Joe living his life not with luxury but one who tries to get by everyday, almost like a survivor. He relies on painkillers that translates into a sort of dangerous addiction. This self-destructive behavior shows that Joe has a hard time letting his past go. The painkillers he takes feeds on his mind to forget, even if it’s damn impossible.
And that’s the beauty about Nomad: Megalo Box 2. This show is so much more than about throwing punches in a ring. We start off this season with heavy drama that deals with sensitive topics in the sports competitive world. Let’s also not forget that despite Joe trying to keep a low profile to himself, he still possess competitive skills in the ring. Sure, he may not be at his prime but Joe hasn’t lost his touch either. From the first few episodes, we also meet Chief, a character who inspires Joe to once again rise up and be himself. It’s not until a life changing event later when Joe decides to truly move on from his past. Chief represents the source of power that Joe needed this season. He’s been running from his past and if it wasn’t for Chief, his future would be grim, perhaps even nonexistent. For this season, it gave us a deep dive into Joe’s psychological mind, about how he’s been dealing with Nanbu’s death, and how he moves on. Joe’s worst enemy is himself and it’s important to see how manages to defeat it.
Joe isn’t the only character who underwent changes. One of the more prominent characters who underwent a character change is Sachio, a young boy who has now grown up as a teenager also getting involved as a Megaloboxer. But no mistake, he isn’t as skilled as Joe, Yuri, or any other of the elite fighters. More importantly is his feelings towards Joe and how he seem him this season. Other important characters making their appearances includes Edision Liu, a man who wants to prove himself and to Joe that he is a true Megaloboxer. On the other hand, we also meet Mac, a Megaloboxer who draws in some parallel similarities to Joe in his quest of redemption. The season even goes through his past life and how he became where he is in he present time. Even more interesting is how we see technology can influence a person’s life, most noticably Mac. You have to know that fighting in a ring with a robotic arm and gears has its risks. This season turns up to the 11 when we realize the real consequences, with Mac being the perfect example of telling and showing.
If you believe in this show to succeed, you’re going to need some patience especially with the story pacing. The first half of this sequel is more about Joe’s personal recovery from his past and move on with his life. The second half draws in more about the boxing world’s truths and consequences. It also sets up for a mega confrontation between perhaps two of the series’ biggest names: Joe and Mac. The latter is a character that isn’t easy to accept at first but over time, the show truly wants us to understand his character. And indeed, Mac’s personality and characterization gives us a deeper insight not just about him but also the Megalo Box world. How can we ever forget the dystopian society that differs so greatly between the wealthy and the poor? When I came into this season, I knew this show would do a lot more than just show us a memorable boxing match.
Similar to the previous season, we got the crude yet aesthetic art style we were familiar with. The most memorable quality relies on Joe’s physical features, showing his longer, dirtier hair. His character expressions were also more depressed until he meets Chief. Speaking of which, Chief himself shows traits of a leader and mentor. His general composition and personality is reflected in his expressive dialogues. To say the least, we managed to get a very human story with characters driven by certain ambitions. As with a sci-fi dystopia, the technology in this show has both a simple yet complex way of selling its product. The robotics and technology adds credibility to the unique style of Megalo Boxing. Every move in that ring shows what the capability of such technology in this timeline and by no understatement, it’s a sight to remember. The director and producers managed to truthfully animate this season with a goal in mind and that goal was achieved.
Megalo Box may seem like a simple sci-fi sports drama show at first but it proves itself to be a complex storyteller. From the deep character development of Joe/Nomad to the storytelling of Mac, it shows how people can change or influenced by certain people or events. This season may not be very easy to jump into at first but you won’t regret taking that step to live the dream again.
Nomad takes the cheerful conclusion of the first season and throws it down the gutter. Gearless Joe. A man who had reached his peak early in life, is left stumbling into a downward spiral. What’s left after a few years is a lone man with nothing. Wandering on without a destination. Getting money the only way he knows how. A stray dog now more than ever before.
A continuation of a story whose ending, albeit not perfect, felt complete, could very well have been just a way to milk a pre-existing series dry. But I was glad to see that wasn’t the case here. Nomad doesn’t use the first season as a crutch, but as a foundation to build off of.
The uplifting nature of season one is replaced with a much more somber tone. Joe who had previously been fighting for his future, now fights to handle the pain of his past. It’s in stark contrast to where we last saw him in his life, but not a bad direction to take his character. Of the whole first season’s cast, he was definitely one of the least interesting ones. He’s a blatant representation of an underdog and works as an inspiration to seize your future with your own hands. He was pretty much just a caricature, and the show was more or less carried by the people around him. But without the urgency of a massive tournament, this season had more room to develop him and the rest of the cast. Taking what we already knew and expanding upon it.
This is where Nomad truly shines greater than its predecessor. It’s not tied down by a destination and has the freedom to explore its cast to the fullest of its runtime. Resulting with the characters having an added sense of realism and complexity to them. While also staying true to how they behaved in the past. But with this freedom comes a paper-thin narrative. Nomad is very much just about exploring the characters as they find their way of life and where they belong. At the start of the show, Joe had lost his former home. Much like a nomad he travels around. Stuck in his past guilt, unable to move forward in his life. Throughout the show there’s a wide usage of the hummingbird as a symbol for guidance. The one who sets Joe on the right path again, a man named Chief, wears this symbol as pride of his nationality. It’s not symbolism at its most subtle. But ties naturally into the story itself and gives meaning to it.
But only if you had a positive outlook on the first season and especially the characters, will any of this mean anything to you. The lack of an overarching story means that your enjoyment will be largely dependent on your perception of the cast, even more so than in season one. However, even with the looser structure, the identity of Megalo Box is very much still present.
If the first season’s distinct artstyle and stellar soundtrack was enough to grind your gears then you’ll find that Nomad still has that in spades. Visually pretty much identical to where we left off. The same grit and rawness is still present in the artwork, with good use of lighting and shot composition. Animation is still packing the same punch as what we were given in season one. The fights are bloody and the punches have a strong sense of weight to them. Meanwhile the music is yet again made by mabanua. Giving us beats with an attitude, getting the blood pumping and ready for action. But has a much stronger hispanic influence in its identity this time around. The music also isn’t afraid to leave it’s upbeat focus to congregate with the otherwise pretty dismal tone of this season.
Nomad was an unneeded follow-up to a show that’s been falling into obscurity. But one that left the series on a higher note that it previously had done. Delivering on more of the series strengths as well as improving on some of its more sour apples. With characters that are more empathizable, and themes one can easily relate to. This installment is definitely an underdog, and it’s a shame this won’t get the amount of attention that it deserves. But thanks to the ones who’ll follow through. The story of Joe is not dead yet.
6: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season Part 2
English: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Part 2
MAL Score: 8.32
The nation of Tempest is in a festive mood after successfully overcoming the surprise attack from the Blumund Army and the Western Holy Church. Beyond the festivities lies a meeting between Tempest and its allies to decide the future of the Nation of Monsters. The aftermath of the Blumund invasion, Milim Nava’s suspicious behavior, and the disappearance of Demon Lord Carrion—the problems seem to keep on piling up.
Rimuru Tempest, now awakened as a “True Demon Lord,” decides to go on the offensive against Clayman. With the fully revived “Storm Dragon” Veldora, “Ultimate Skill” Raphael, and other powerful comrades, the ruler of the Tempest is confident in taking down his enemies one by one until he can face the man pulling the strings.
Welcome to the flavour of the season isekai where the mc gets randomly transferred to an unknown world, is super op for no reason, has super op allies just because to help him win every battle by default and also forgets about his previous life like it never happened at all. The show starts off as a popcorn feel good series where you turn off your brain while watching mindless action and people building things here and there like Minecraft, only to take a complete turn and fail miserably. With each passing season, it becomes evident to me that the author is clueless on how to write a compelling story with thought-provoking themes mixed with dynamic characters and exciting world building. He is only interested in exposition dumping instead of showing us through the story, big flashy battles where characters shout their new epic move, redundant dialogue and power ups left and right. What’s worse is that he habitually tries to create fake tension and suspense brimmed with shallow political aspects and surface level solutions to arising conflict. Repeatedly spending half of the arcs building up for the climax, but it isn’t rewarding since we already know that Great Rimuru will win every battle by default and in a very uneventful fashion, usually by pulling something out of his ass with no prior foreshadowing.
The supporting cast, much like the mc are cookie cutters who do nothing but rave about how great Rimuru-sama is, as the Gary Stu faces no opposition nor repercussion. The one time he does face consequences leads to his friends’ demise. This creates an interesting twist which places him in a dichotomy. “The opportunity of a lifetime for character development!” I thought to myself. Though it seems that the author had other plans in mind, or rather, had no plans at all since he had no interest of prolonging this narrative. He only meant to use this pretentious hot garbage as a sorry excuse of a setup to give him more power ups. After that, he pretty much becomes Jesus and revives the dead. Rimuru has a walking plot device capable of doing anything when required: It creates portals when said to be almost impossible, extremely risky and demanding; It breaks 300 years seals in mere months; It gives life as it revives the dead; It averts clear limitations set on Treyni, a spiritual guardian bound to the forest by transferring her soul in another body like it’s nothing; and it goes autopilot when Rimuru can’t defeat an enemy, which allows him to find ultimate victory with no casualties. This makes the show unbearable as there is no complexity to it. No threat, no tension, no stakes and no consequences. Raphael has a contingency plan for everything as it’s a Batman belt in the literal sense strapped with gadgets we may only discover when the plot demands it. Breaking every rule set forth by its universe, making me wonder why said rules were even brought up in the first place.
You would expect a production befitting the light novel’s popularity as its sales consistently tops the category’s charts yearly. Instead, we get a cash grab made of powerpoint presentations filled with excessive usage of still shots, visibly low budget CGI and subpar background art. I mean what did we achingly waste half of the season sleeping through the prologue for? It feels as though the animators emanate no sense of creativity in trying to bring the light novel to life with extremely uninspiring fight choreographies. They would rather spend the budget on the openings instead of the actual episodes. I mean A for marketing but F for the finishing product. This is uncharacteristic since light novels usually get good adaptions. Also, the villains are bland and look non-threatening. They evoke no intriguing motif, as they solely exist for the plot, to give Rimuru-sama enough reason to power up more than he already has and needs to. They’re your typical “everybody looked down on me and now I’m going to make everyone feel what I felt” sadistic villains. The funny thing is so much time is spent building these villains up like they’re a big threat. Forming alliances with different kingdoms, reviving Veldora, putting strategies in place with constant meetings, but let’s not lie to ourselves we all knew that he would eventually become Rimuru’s punching bag. I knew it, you knew, everybody knew it. The comedy is also pretty bad as it becomes repetitive overtime while heavily relying on all the common clichés that you find in anime, but this is entirely subjective to the individual.
In conclusion, it was painful to watch this show. I tortured myself just to complete it near the end. He always wants to do what’s right and always has his way in the end, despite how immoral or contradictory his actions may be and I’m honestly just sick of it. I wish that more isekai creators would put more effort into building up their world organically instead of always overly relying on common tropes of power fantasy. The isekai genre is an interesting idea but is often so poorly executed into what would sell most, instead of what would be a decent story.
In the end, this is just my opinion.
Hopefully this will be the last time that we’ll see TenSura on the small screen, so here’s the highlights of this season being the sole Volume 6 of the LN in a full course dinner’s worth of a complete package:
– The appetizer: At the end of the 1st half of TenSura Season 2, Rimuru meets up with Veldora (in his storm dragon appearance), and they do the E.T. thing again, but this time, Veldora gets a major change of its character to change the landscape of the fantasy world in an abrupt turn to everyone’s shock.
– The entrée/main course: The man-and-monster summit between the Jura Tempest Federation and other allied kingdoms and nations. A fair bit of reconciliation and recreation firsthand, then the major analyses to discuss about Demon Lord Clayman’s atrocities (and other factions a.k.a the Kingdom of Falmuth attached to it) which laid waste to Tempest incurring huge losses in the 1st half of Season 2.
– The dessert: The final course that is the meeting of the Demon Lords, or “Walpurgis” to settle this conflict once and for all between Clayman and Rimuru, whom the latter has completed the Demon Lord ascension evolution in Part 1.
Overall, Part 2 adds to the complements of Part 1 (that aired in Winter), just in the split-cour fashion because of the pandemic. Combine both parts together, and we the audience know how extensive the destruction of Tempest was brought about, and surpisingly, this whole incident we were led to believe that Clayman was the one behind all of this. But don’t forget, there’s the Master puppeteer that is Yuuki Kagurazaka’s devious act of instigating a huge and significant conflict such as this, and this is just the beginning of this wayward intelligent and nihilistic enemy that was once tutored by Shizue before she passed away. It’s just that I couldn’t understand why it takes about more than half of the season (which are like 200-300 pages worth of content) to drag through one of the most hyped events in TenSura’s anime to date.
Everything’s the same as of Part 1, but boy did 8-Bit pump it up in the action scenes. Sure, it’s a tad above the quality seen when Tempest was at its destruction phases, but the age-old quote of “saving the best for last” applies here with the same and improved touché to go out with a bang. The supposedly last OST set is not what I will call memorable, but I can say that they’re good songs at the very least. MindaRyn’s 2nd featured Anisong “Like Flames” for this part’s OP is a step above Kamitachi Otoko’s ED, though they share similar vibes with the same outlandish vocols. Takuma Terashima has been a mainstay ever since TenSura’s anime adaptation started back in 2018, and while this ED “Reincarnate” is IMO the worst of the songs he’s performed for the series, every song of his has never sounded stale at the very least.
If you like the previous installments, then this should be the same and vice versa if otherwise. Nuff said that we should all know TenSura by heart by now and before.
There was a defining moment in Season 2 that dramatically shifted the dynamic of the narrative, and that was the Falmuth invasion. At first, I thought this was a good direction for the story to take. As the saying goes, you don’t know when something’s valuable until you’ve lost it, and witnessing the heartbreaking massacre on Tempest added some much-needed stakes to the story. It highlights just how fragile the city of Tempest can be, and it reinforces the idea that it’s something worth protecting. Such a loving community utterly devastated by humans, a race infamously known for their close-minded fear and ignorance. This can easily be seen as a metaphor for how minorities are often misunderstood and shunned because of it. The city of Tempest is truly the lifeline of the show, so it’s understandable that Rimuru would want to retaliate, but I feel as though he went too far. Up until this point, Rimuru kept that casualties to a minimum, only killing when absolutely necessary, so I was expecting the kind-hearted Rimuru to mourn the loss of his people, then try to establish a more sound relationship with the human race; this is a fantasy, after all, and I would like to believe people are actually able to be reasoned with, but the story took an unexpected turn. It introduced this cheap plot device where, if Rimuru evolves to Demon Lord, he can revive everyone who died in his city. Yea, you can kiss those stakes goodbye, ‘cuz from here on out, there will be none.
There’s really no going back from this error. From now on, I know Rimuru will ALWAYS come out ahead no matter what, because the story can just pull something out of its ass to make sure of it. Throughout the show’s entirety, Rimuru’s powers and resources were handed to him on a silver platter, so I was genuinely interested to see how Rimuru would respond when things didn’t go his way, but of course, that doesn’t matter anymore. Yes, I understand that Slime is trying to be an escapist fantasy where everything goes right, but the invasion of Falmuth was an honest attempt at introducing a compelling conflict, and it fell flat because it’s trying to have its cake and eat it too. Needless to say, this has made Part 2 kinda boring…ish?
Funnily enough, despite having no narrative stakes, it didn’t totally ruin the experience for me. I guess watching Rimuru and co. is enough to simply enjoy the show, so it wasn’t a chore to sit through, but it definitely isn’t as charming as it used to be. I, personally, enjoy shows from a spectator’s point of view, and I seldom enjoy things that require self-insert. While most people might project themselves onto Rimuru to live out their fantasy, I simply admire Rimuru as if I’m a part of the community, but after seeing the oh-so-kind Rimuru slaughter thousands of humans, it’s hard to appreciate him in the same light. Sure, he did slaughter hundreds of orcs in the previous season, but this time, he did it with this eerie sense of malice to him. It almost feels as though he’s this communist overlord coated with a veneer of humble benevolence and prosperity. I dunno, it’s kind of unsettling to see all of his subordinates obsequiously worship him with this unquestionable loyalty, and when someone does question Rimuru, he just responds with: “I want to make the world a better place!” and everyone is just like: “wow, Rimuru, you’re such a nice guy!” and I’m here like “dude, you just killed thousands of people in cold blood, who’s making their world a better place?” It’s hard to relate to all the characters who are doing nothing but blindly jerking off Rimuru, and it’s even harder to relate to the slime king who can do no wrong. Because the show has lost that relatability, the show just isn’t as engaging as it used to be. Now, the character interactions aren’t nearly as endearing and actually slightly obnoxious. The fight scenes have become overlong and exhausting. It’s well animated, but it’s just a bunch of badass wannabes standing around announcing meaningless attack names and doing some flashy nonsense, and the dreadfully loud, bassy sound effects make it especially nauseating to sit through. These are ultimately small, nitpicky details, but they do add up and take away from the experience.
I should also mention, Slime has had a villain problem for a while now where their only motivation is that they’re evil, but Part 2 has exacerbated this issue. Clayman was the “big bad” the show’s been building up to for a long while now. Every conflict before now alludes to him being the guy pulling the strings, and now that we actually see him in action, it turns out he’s actually quite cartoonish and pathetic. It’s as if reviving half the population wasn’t enough, and they just had to hammer home the fact that this show has absolutely zero tension. Oh wait, but Clayman isn’t actually the guy pulling the strings, turns out there’s a guy above him who’s the REAL villain! Oh boy, I can’t wait to see that confrontation, isn’t it exciting? No. No, it’s not. Remember back in 2012, everyone was freaking out about Thanos in the Avengers mid-credit scene? Yea, that was a cool reveal because Loki was already a cunning, world-ending threat. I suppose Clayman is the Loki of this universe, but this shouty dumbass is laughable at best and pompously overbearing at his worst. Seriously, this is just a pitiful attempt at raising the stakes where there is none, since Rimuru is so OP that he’ll probably just brush off the next villain with ease anyways.
I know I’ve been pretty negative throughout this review, but I still kind of enjoy the show despite all of its flaws. I wish I could just ignore these thoughts and experience the show for what it is, but alas, these things do indeed distract me. Like I said before, building the city of Tempest was what I found to be the most enticing aspect of the show, and I guess at some point, the show stopped being about the community and solely about Rimuru. Everyone either praises him or is impressed by him. We get a scene where 2 big bad demon lords talk about how mysterious and fascinating Rimuru is. In every fight scene, we have people shouting out how cool he is, and that kind of excessive stanning is lost on me.
Thank you for reading.
5: Tokyo Revengers
English: Tokyo Revengers
MAL Score: 8.32
Takemichi Hanagaki’s second year of middle school was the highest point in his life. He had respect, a gang of friends he could count on, and even a girlfriend. But that was twelve years ago. Today, he’s a nobody: a washed-up nonentity made fun of by children and always forced to apologize to his younger boss. A sudden news report on the Tokyo Manji Gang’s cruel murder of the only girlfriend he ever had alongside her brother only adds insult to injury. Half a second before a train ends his pitiful life for good, Takemichi flashes back to that same day twelve years ago, when he was still dating Hinata Tachibana.
After being forced to relive the very same day that began his downward spiral, Takemichi meets Hinata’s younger brother. Without thinking, he admits to his seeming death before flashing back to the past. Takemichi urges him to protect his sister before inexplicably returning to the future. Miraculously, he isn’t dead. Stranger still, the future has changed. It seems as though Takemichi can alter the flow of time. Given the chance to prevent his ex-girlfriend’s tragic death at the hands of the Tokyo Manji Gang, Takemichi decides to fly through time to change the course of the future.
It is a fact that watching TR can be a bit frustrating at times, with its endlessly slow pace of development, musclebrain characters that are only full of punches, an exaggerated fight filled with bloody spurts, and the poorly excused plot just because it needs to. Can TR still be considered as a good series in the end? My answer would still be yes, it is.
As a newcomer to the time-traveling genre, TR manages to present itself as a brand new story with a fresh foundation. It doesn’t follow all its predecessors as it comes up with its brand new setting and premise. While it can be a bit more unrealistic at times, the series still manages to pull it off fairly well despite the odds. The story tells you the journey of one pathetic adult who tries to reclaim his long-lost regrets and undo that accursed past tragedy in his life.
First thing first, the battle of the throne is viewed from Takemichi perspective. He is your typical cowardly grown-up adult who is a loser in life. A weak guy who cries at everything and there is nothing special about him that makes him loveable at all. Worse, it can be a bit unbearable to see that every fight will leave him all black and blue. But if there are one or two things that make him different from the rest, then it is his strong willpower and effort to make things change for the better. As the series progresses, we can notice that there is this one lone fighter who keeps standing up against all adversaries, no matter how beaten up he gets. He refused to give up and kept fighting while carrying those heavy responsibilities and burdens. For sure, he is not the brightest bulb when it comes to fighting or figuring things out, but his effort and willpower alone are second to none. And before we know it, our gaze is simply attracted to him. A guy who simply yearns for his long-lost loved one. As he struggled and sacrificed everything, again and again, to reach the happiest end, this is the story of the fall-and-rise of Takemichi. It is the main drive that makes me fall in love with this series. As they say, when one struggles in life, it is always a treat for the eyes.
Although the pace and development of TR can be as slow as a turtle, it is more than rewarding once you have finished it. As it keeps getting more exciting as each episode passes by, the fights also begin to be more vicious than ever. But fret not, as it will always keep you on edge because the TR world can be a bit more demanding than your typical wholesome shounen story. Not to mention that the TR hype and gang wars feel way too real. It is so good to the point that it makes us yearn for more. And if there is one thing that TR doesn’t lack, then it is its character development and growth. Here and there, you can see that every single one of them has grown quite considerably by the end of the series. And the relationship that they had with each other was beautiful enough to make one envious. There are times when you can simply smile or laugh because of the funny yet cute character interactions, and there are also times when you will cry and sob just because of how sad it was. It was a fun and loveable relationship. But unfortunately, not even these qualities managed to stop the fall and demise of TR. That is none other than the bad art and poorly animated animations that make it worse. It is atrocious enough to the point that not even Ghibli, Toei, or Mappa studios can save it from its falling grace. As much as I hate to say this, it is one of the biggest shortcomings in TR.
And certainly, TR might not be a perfect masterpiece of gems, but that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable show for you to enjoy. Do expect some edgy and cringe lines here and there, as it merely does its role to spice up things for an action series. Yet surprisingly, almost all of the characters are very charming, and the plot itself keeps us tightly invested till the end. Honestly, I think it wouldn’t be fair for you to outright dismiss the series’ charm points, just because of the character who acts like a kid or a random stupid character in general. A friendly reminder that it always takes a lot of life experience to be mature. And sometimes, being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean becoming more experienced in life struggles. Hence, this is what makes TR more interesting. As it isn’t just there for the fight, but rather, to depict the struggle of Takemichi ever-changing life for the better. And the future happiness that is awaiting him at the end of the tunnel is more than enough. Personally, there is that one scene in TR that managed to make me tear up, and I’d say it was a great treat for making me so emotional. And in the end, TR manages to flourish through all of its flaws with its distinctive characters and never-ending bombing action scenes.
The dictionary tells us déjà vu is an unpleasantly familiar feeling. That’s exactly what Tokyo Revengers makes me feel. It is the latest in a string of mediocre shounen manga adaptations overhyped beyond belief. Albeit, this one has a unique premise. Two middle school gangs wrapped in a turf war lead to the murder of our hero’s one true love. Takamichi is a deadbeat 26-year-old with no future. After finding out his middle school crush died in a car crash, he chooses to challenge fate.
Mysteriously, Takamichi is granted the power to time travel to a fixed period, 12 years ago. Upon reaching the past, he collides with two angsty teens playing dress-up as gangbangers: Mikey and Draken. The President and vice president of the leading gang responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s death. There are two sides to the middle school turf war—Tokyo Manji Gang, a band of tough-as-nails bikers who value loyalty and honesty above all else. Secondly, the Black Dragons, known for their belligerent behavior.
After his first foray into the past, Takamichi is sent back to the future™, where his life has suspiciously continued. He finds out his alterations in the past carry over in the present, such as a new scar on his hand. How the time travel mechanics work in Tokyo Revengers is left up to our imaginations. Don’t expect Steins;Gate-level scientific explanations. There’s barely any logical consistency, and that’s the bare minimum. To travel between time periods, Takamichy has to do something rather unexpected… he must shake hands with the brother of his deceased girlfriend, Naoto. When he returns to the future, the past Takamichi does not recall anything that happened. While Takamichi is in the past, he is shown sleeping in the future upon his return. Other times he reappears at different locations doing mundane daily activities. He is unable to remember anything that happened in the present, or even if the time between past and present are an exact twelve years. Does the past Takamichi inhabit the mind of the present one? The time skips are a large oversight that open numerous questions. It is better to NOT think about how it works.
The death of Naoto’s sister Hinata inspired him to seek justice alongside Takamichi. Since he is a police officer, he’s able to connect with criminals and acquire helpful intel. His purpose in the story is primarily as a tool to assist Takamichi. Secondly, to motivate him to keep fighting. Someone has to be there to put him back together after he has another emotional breakdown. Speaking of which, this guy cries a lot—even more than Deku in My Hero Academia’s first season. Takamichi makes any potential investment in the show a difficult task. He is the kind of kid who gets his lunch money stolen, beaten up, and shoved in a locker on the same day. Rather than coming up with rational solutions, he gets his ass kicked, cries, and blames himself until the problem goes away. The times he stands up for himself are few and far between. My issue isn’t that he is weak or emotional. Those traits can make great protagonists. Rather than intervening, he is usually a helpless bystander—this defeats the purpose of traveling back in time. To prevent the gang’s corruption and Hinata’s death, he must attempt to follow the plan. The anime only adapted two out of the five arcs, so Takamichi has time to redeem himself—if you’re willing to struggle through an additional 24 mediocre episodes. This man is 26 years old, yet 15-year-olds constantly outsmart him. Although he knows what will happen in the future, he only uses that information to say, “Hey, look, I remember that guy from the last episode!”
Though he grows to care about the Tokyo Meji gang members, he is driven to save Hinata, but what kind of character does that make her? A damsel in distress? Not quite. She is used to move the plot forward. She exists to add stakes, not to be a nuanced character. Except, the writers forgot to develop her. The occasional romantic moments between Hinata and Takamichi (in the body of a teen) come off as concerning. It’s not nearly as creepy as Mushoku Tensei’s pedophilic romance, but it’s not as harmless as the delightful friendship in Erased. Despite having so much importance in the plot, Hinata has the least screentime out of every main character. This issue extends to everyone; they’re thinly drawn aside from a few backstories to give us an explanation of the gang’s origins. Draken and Mikey are two of my favorite characters in the show. Draken has intriguing reasons for staying by Mikey’s side and wanting to protect him. Mikey is a loose cannon because of traumatic experiences the show touches on in the latter half. I wanted to see more of them, unfortunately, their characterization was forgone in favor of uninteresting plot development. Ultimately Tokyo Revenger’s strongest point of writing was its wild Jojo’s-esque characters, but begrudgingly it is a plot-driven story.
I’m thankful the anime’s tone stays pretty consistent. There’s no misplaced comedy to worry about, unlike Demon Slayer and its contemporaries. If anything, Tokyo Revengers can create a tense atmosphere; dramatic orchestral music plays during emotional moments and guitar riffs during tense confrontations. Dr. Stone’s excellent soundtrack was composed by the same musician… but the similarities are a little too plentiful. There’s not enough nuance to Tokyo Revengers’ OST. Frankly, it lacks a distinct or memorable identity and is another annoying source of déjà vu. The use of foley combined soundtrack is what makes the fights feel impactful. The squelching of a goon getting slugged sounds fittingly visceral. Thankfully the sound effect enhances the atmosphere, and the art certainly doesn’t help. This anime looks like it was created in 2005 and sent to the future along with Takamichi. Even up close, the characters’ facial proportions appear poorly drawn. Whenever there’s a group of people on screen, they’ll surely look hilariously deformed. If you’re familiar with studio LIDENFILMS, you’ll recognize their work. They cut corners as often as possible.
For a show that strives to be believable, its characters feel like they’re forcing themselves to be dramatic. The gang members have superhuman strength that’d make them more suited to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It’s difficult to suspend my disbelief when a 15-year-old takes down a guy twice his size with one kick. Their hyperbolic personalities fit their young age, but middle school students look much more youthful than these guys. It’s not like they are living in the inner city. Unless the screenwriters cut out background details, they seem privileged enough. It’s jarring and a little cringe-worthy to see them put on tough-guy appearances. The voice actors do a decent job of conveying the faux machismo of each middle school boy (most of which look and sound like they’re 25 years old). The way they take themselves so seriously comes off as unintentionally funny at times.
Seeing the dozens of middle schoolers rumbling in the streets of suburban Japan constantly made me wonder: Where the hell are their parents? Does no one see these kids are trying to kill each other? Evidently, there is no one in this universe except for children. There are no parents, no police, not even an ambulance to pick up the kids bleeding onto the street. Excluding Takamichi’s family makes him less relatable and believable. Do his parents not care that he comes home bruised and beaten every night? If they do, show us more.
I was initially enticed by the idea of going back in time to save your friends from a life of crime, despair, and early untimely death. The author and I did not see eye to eye. A little under half of the show is spent on childish playground brawls following a vast array of thinly written juvenile gangbangers. No doubt the complete lack of animation is to blame for the unengaging Bloody Halloween arc.
Tokyo Revengers is a shallow take on urban gang wars with a convoluted time travel premise tacked on. This adaptation of a multimillion-dollar franchise has the unbelievable audacity to look like it was animated on a shoe-string budget in 2005. There’s nothing this anime does almost everything worse than the crowd of shounen manga adaptations. It’s so utterly unremarkable, badly paced, and ugly that I couldn’t help but feel déjà vu
Fans of shounen anime do themselves and their favorite new seasonal show a huge disservice when they label it as being “different” or unique, because when this ignorant praise catches the attention of anyone who has seen more than a few dozen anime, those people are immediately disappointed the second they see it. It’s often said the worst thing you can do to a series is overhype it, because when it inevitably turns out to be utterly mediocre, it won’t meet anyone’s expectations. Tokyo Revengers is not only unexceptional, but it’s painfully generic and boring as sin, and since its production values are shoddy as shit, you’ll never be able to pull a Demon Slayer and use cool fights to excuse bad writing, because it usually just looks like garbage. Nothing about its plot or characters can stand up to other shows in the same genre which outdo it in every way, because there are better anime with delinquents, time travel, or somewhat retro designs. The character designs are not only hideous, but they just don’t make any sense. Our twenty six year old protagonist looks no different than his middle school self, and his middle school peers look twice as old as he did when he was twenty six. And, yes. I didn’t mean to so quickly brush past something that ridiculous, but this really is a show about time traveling middle-school delinquents.
If you’ve hung around the anime community long enough, you should be quite familiar with the wannabe intellectuals who’ve taken upon themselves a mighty crusade against shows like Steins;Gate which they deem to be less intelligent than the average viewers does. I use Steins:Gate as an example because it’s about time travel, and shows about time travel are the number one target for people like this because, just in case you didn’t know, time travel doesn’t actually exists in real life. With enough theoretical pseudoscience on their side, your average keyboard warrior can dismantle even the most carefully constructed piece of fiction centered around time travel. The planning of Steins;Gate is shockingly thorough, and the concepts it uses to excuse its scientific elements which may not make perfect sense in real life is seriously well-researched, but since it is ultimately grounded in theory, anyone with enough contrarian spirit shouldn’t have too much trouble poking holes in its plot. Tokyo Revengers makes this effort look like a complete joke. The series makes no attempt to be logically comprehensive or take into account the timeline or butterfly effect, and when it first introduced its time travel mechanics, I could’ve sworn it was trying to be funny and parody Erased. But no. It’s actually taking itself seriously, and that’s fucking sad.
It’s quite a common thing to complain about whinny, wimpy protagonists in anime. From the classics like Shinji Ikari to the modern horrors like Izuku Midoriya, anime made for teenage boys is filled to the brim with crybaby losers who you just want to shut up and do the thing, but in the case of shows which are actually well-written, the main character’s awful attitude is typically corrected, and they soon learn to grow up. The show which immediately comes to my mind when talking about this is Eureka Seven. Renton Thurston was universally hated at the time that show was airing, and to this day, people are still getting fed up with his bullshit and dropping that show early on. However, Renton undergoes an incredible character arc in that show, and by the end, he is a truly capable, respectable young man. I would argue Eureka Seven is still a bad show for different reasons, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is: character development makes a story worthwhile. In Tokyo Revengers, any praiseworthiness shown by Takemichi is impermanent. It’s an anime based on an incomplete shounen manga which is built to go on forever, getting dragged out until people stop buying it, and while I’m sure it’ll end with Takemichi being somewhat less of a pathetic pussy, that is not the case by the end of these torturous twenty four episodes.
The setting, despite being the real world, is absurd. I’m not the first person to point this out, but nobody looks or acts like they’re realistically supposed to. These kids are supposed to be fourteen years old, and yet they look and act like professional mobsters. Anime is notorious for never showing parents, but this show takes that meme to the next level. Both the teachers and the police are presented—if at all—as being completely unable to stop a bunch of little boys from wrecking havoc. Remember how the setting of Kill la Kill was built around satirizing highschool anime, and how the students ran the city whilst the adults operated completely at the behest of the student council? At times, this show feels like that, only it’s not satire. It takes itself 100% seriously and expects you to do the same. Any attempt to make the story feel grounded is squandered by the characters’ goofy costumes, haircuts, and tattoos, and any attempt at high-stakes drama is laughable. The Power of Friendship; Talk no Jutsu; using Kirito’s “sheer willpower” to overcome the impossible; constant deus ex machina; WAITING FOR YOUR DYING FRIEND TO FINISH MONOLOGUING INSTEAD OF CALLING A FUCKING AMBULANCE; this series contains every awful shounen trope you can imagine, and watching it all unfold is as cringeworthy as you can imagine.
Thank you for reading.
4: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season
English: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2
MAL Score: 8.41
Second season of Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken.
In the second season of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Rimuru is mainly interested in creating equality for fantasy beings and humans. It would involve negotiating property, spheres of influence, and moral ideals with other races. If that conflict sounds interesting, you’ll be disappointed. The story sweeps the perceived plot under the rug in favor of a one-sided war and meaningless dialogue. I would have preferred to see Rimuru gain equality for his people diplomatically as they hinted at. Instead, we got a formulaic fantasy war that became entirely pointless in the end. If you liked the first season of That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime but wished it had been edgier, you might enjoy this.
Despite the copious amount of dialogue, Slime is incapable of intelligently resolving conflicts without having characters fight. Aside from slightly better than average animation quality, Slime is similar to every other action isekai clogging up the seasonal anime roster. You could argue it’s because the main character began a civilization, but it’s surface level. Why is Rimuru’s society so perfect? Why doesn’t it have any problems? It’s because he is perfect in the eyes of the author and the audience. He’s written for you to project yourself onto a seemingly flawless hero. The weirdest part is, no one questions him. He’s always right. The show had chances to prove it is mature by letting its dead characters stay dead. But death is never permanent unless it’s the bad guys.
The first half of the season spins its wheels like a carriage slowly approaching a cohesive story. Rimuru and co. fool around, and it is more or less what you’d expect from an OVA of a typical anime. Plenty of fanservice to go around, the same lame jokes, no character development. The only ‘story’ in this section is exposition dumps. Through conversations with aristocrats, Rimuru makes trade agreements for supplies. Their negotiations involve drinking alcohol, then immediately agreeing with each other. It’s boring. Rimuru still goes off on tangents explaining his next plans as an almighty leader to no one in particular. His dialogue continues to feel like meaningless word salad ripped directly from the light novel. He narrates to the audience as if the author has never heard of the term “show-don’t-tell.” The writers were somewhat aware of how dull the script was because Rimuru has a few unfunny quips to break up the monotony. The English dub makes more attempts at humor. That’s even less funny than the Japanese jokes. His jokes read like they were written by middle-aged investors rather than someone with a sense of humor. The rest of the cast doesn’t add to the humdrum script—or much of anything.
There is no reason to care about any of these characters. Rinmuru’s followers have individual drama, but it ultimately has no bearing on the story. Despite being nice to everyone, Rimuru doesn’t seem to care when his people die—and I can’t blame him. The side cast simply vomits exposition to progress the plot, and all of it is presented as slide shows that drag on for minutes on end: similar to The Promised Neverland S2.
Compare these characters to the cast of Re:Zero; there are fewer of them, colorful personalities, they each get backstories, and the hero needs their help to succeed. Most of all, they have enough depth to intrigue us. In Slime Time, Rimuru can do everything on his own. There are unnecessary characters, and the relevant ones barely get characterization. Even the most present side characters are fanservice vehicles. Like Shion, AKA boob woman. In case you forgot her (I don’t blame you), she is Rimuru’s secretary who doesn’t do anything except flop around and throw tantrums like a newborn child. Shion is your typical power fantasy waifu bait—she’s inexplicably in love with the main character. Despite having powers, she constantly needs help, not just physically, but Rimuru needs to pacify her when she behaves like a child. It was almost laughable when we found out she was unceremoniously killed off-screen, along with scores of Rimuru’s citizens. It was glaringly obvious they’d be resurrected by the all-powerful Rimuru. At least that annoying scantily-clad loli was absent this season.
The most memorable subplot told a sappy love story between two irrelevant characters. Their relationship progressed too fast even to care. Still, it was an attempt. The woman was a cliche damsel in distress; despite having powers (like Shion), she’s incapable of doing anything independently. Hilariously, she even gets a powerup when her boyfriend hugs her. Unfortunately, the couple became little more than Rimuru’s toys. In the eighth episode, Rimuru brutally murdered her. He declared, “You need to die,” with no explanation, then killed her in front of her lover. They embrace melancholically, he screams, she dies. Shortly after that, he reveals he had to rip out her heart and replace it with a new one to prevent the demon lord from controlling her. It’s pretty convoluted, but what confused me the most is how unnecessary it was. Rimuru could’ve easily done the replacement quickly, in private, or at least warned her boyfriend first. But no, this is Slime Time. Rimuru plays with their lives and our emotions for artificial drama. This scene is a microcosm of the show’s biggest problem: The sad moments are inevitable and blatantly mapped out. If a villain dies, they stay dead, but the good guys rarely die permanently. I’ve seen people defend this lack of stakes by saying, “It’s a comedy show. Of course, they come back to life.” But why kill the characters, to begin with? There’s nothing funny about it unless you find ridiculously predictable writing hilarious.
Warning: Discussion of sexual assault below.
At around the halfway point, the most contrived conflict in all of Slime Time began. One of Rimuru’s civilians, a goblin kid, gets falsely accused of sexually assaulting a girl—and that’s how the war ignites. Although the second season’s political backdrop is one of uncertainty, it is not why the war began. Rimuru and his followers want things to change, namely integrating his mixed-race society with the homogeneous human civilization. The church represents the humans, who want society to regress—to achieve this, they endeavor to genocide all monsters. Rimuru’s solution to the war is to win the war in five minutes (even those who surrender) and colonize their land. I cannot root for a protagonist who willingly kills people who surrender. That’s a war crime in our world. Though I suppose that makes Rimuru no different than the average politician in the US. He’s like the US president of the isekai genre.
To tell you the truth, none of this intriguing political tension began the war—just comically evil villains who stirred drama for the sake of it. The girl who accused the goblin smirked menacingly when all the townspeople believed her immediately. It’s lazy writing, at best. At worst, it shows the writer is out of touch with reality; women rarely falsely accuse men. Portraying these kinds of shallow conflicts makes women who speak up about sexual harassment only adds to the stigma that they deserve to be ashamed and discredited. If you’re familiar with these kinds of controversies, you’ll know the anime community harbors an inordinate amount of people who harass the victims. I should’ve known Slime wasn’t above using these tinker-toy Shield Hero plot devices.
One of the girl’s partners, a human with dark hair and a hoodie, is a 1-dimensional pervert—no different from Sword Art Online’s antagonists. He objectifies Rinmuru’s female companions by saying, “I’ll make her my slave. I’ll torture her until she cries and begs for forgiveness.” Then when he fights Shion, he makes her collapse. He smirks creepily, and the camera is below her boobs. It’s trying to make the threat of sexual assault titillating. This hentai-tier screenwriting does nothing but pander to the lowest common denominator.
The accusation leads to an all-out war fueled by racism towards the goblins. When Rinmuru sees the aftermath, he realizes there are consequences to his actions: Humans kill and injure his orc followers because of prejudice towards monsters. Long ago, he told them never to belittle other races, making them too trusting of bigots. What is the message? Racism is inevitable even if you attempt to be amicable. The problem with portraying racism in a fantasy setting is, creatures like goblins and orcs are fundamentally different beings (and predisposed to violence). There’s no comparison to the real world.
On the production side, there’s a noticeable decline in quality: animation shortcuts, dull fight scenes, simplified character designs. There were times it looked like they used background art assets from roadblocks. Stiff CGI character models were placed right in front of the camera—it’s like they didn’t even care if we noticed it. The excessive still-images extended dialogue scenes, which likely caused some of the ‘tell-don’t-show’ problems. Montages, telling, not showing. Too many recaps every episode—there was a maximum of three minutes of recap in episode nine. Even if you were a fan of the first season, you would have trouble not noticing the blatant production problems in this one. At the very least, the opening and ending tracks are unmatched as usual.
Part 1 of season 2 was a waste. Rimuru gained yet another powerup with little to no effort, turning himself into a God. In Part 2, he will embark on a quest to defeat this antagonist—a comically evil demon lord. He is wholly devoted to saving his friends from imminent danger, and to do that, he must become the new demon lord. It won’t raise the scale of Rimuru’s powers to new heights, and the demon lord will likely be easily defeated. If it miraculously becomes good, I will eat my words.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime plays it safe by never letting anyone ever be in danger. There are no stakes, no real threats, and as a comedy it’s worthless. This is a show that treats its viewers like children who are incapable of losing their favorites toys. It had one major opportunity to prove it could kill off side characters and become a fantasy series worth taking seriously, but it isn’t. It wasted its last chance.
All the things that made tensura a hit when the first season aired are back and even better than before. The comedy, world-building, political drama and strategic planning that separates Tensura from other contemporary isekai are here in spades and make the second season very enjoyable. Like most things, Tensura’s first cour is not without faults, however.
While it was great to be back in Tempest and see some of my favourite scenes animated, too often this season there was poor pacing and anime original time wasting recaps. They really begin to be noticeable around halfway through the cour. Several scenes really could have been condensed into a few minutes rather than taking up half of an episode. When you get to these points it’ll be pretty apparent what I’m talking about, and unfortunately they prevent me from giving the season the highest possible grade. Thankfully, 8bit did such a stellar job on the final 3 episodes that it’s almost enough to make you forget about those issues.
Despite the pacing issues that the middle of the cour had, I was extremely pleased with the overall job that 8bit did in these first 12 episodes and I’m looking forward to what will be an even better 2nd cour, based on the volumes I assume will be adapted. If you were a fan of season 1 of Tensura, it goes without saying you’ll want to check this out. Tensura S2 Pt.1 gets 9 sages out of 10.
This season is a mix of half disappointment with half satisfaction. Half disappointment because the pacing has been absolutely terrible for more than half of the episodes, and half satisfaction because they redeemed everything with the last 2 episodes.
5 out of 12 episodes are Rimuru doing Rimuru things, just like in the previous season. And then, the story suddenly takes a 180. Half of the episodes are just boring. It’s so boring that the first few episodes feel like fillers. We should’ve gotten the entire Rimuru becoming Demon Lord thing way before, yet it took this many episodes. If you’ve read the manga or the light novel, the pacing will be a huge issue to you. The biggest problem with this season is the terrible pacing. I don’t know what went wrong, but the pacing was so horrible, that even though I’ve read the manga once, I went back to re-read it.
Shion was killed in the process of all the chaos, but of course, she wasn’t killed because there ‘happens’ to be some way to bring her back. I think this death was completely meaningless if they were gonna be alive again through some kind of magic.
And of course, for some unknown reason, the anime decided to make Rimuru less badass than he was in the manga.
“In other words, because you valued your own pitiful life more you’ve decided to damn my people.”
This was the line that made me think that Rimuru finally had a change in his attitude, which of course, he didn’t. Because first, it was left out in the anime, second, moments after that he forgives Myulan. I don’t know why 8bit decided to do this, but it definitely wasn’t the right call.
And don’t you think that it’s a bit ironic, how Rimuru is apparently ‘merciless’ towards the soldier who marched on Tempest, but then again, he simply forgives Myulan. The soldiers were in worse position than Myulan, if they didn’t follow orders, their family back home might’ve been killed. Some of them weren’t even involved in the killing of Shion and others, some of them were simply following orders. But of course, Rimuru is allowed to mercilessly kill all of them. Why? Because they aren’t cute anime girls. Why did Rimuru forgive Myulan so easily, without literally ANY FORM of punishment? Well, because she’s a cute anime girl. Isn’t it rule no. 1 to never hurt a cute anime girl no matter what kind of evil shit they do?
And then the author tries to justify this shit cause by saying that he forgave Myulan because he needed Youm’s cooperation. It’s honestly such a laughable reason, I always get a big laugh when people try to defend Myulan or Rimuru for forgiving Myulan. Who cares about Youm? Who cares about Falmuth? Rimuru can be friends with Dwargon and all other countries while not giving a shit about what happens to Falmuth, but no, for some reason he needed Youm.
Even Gabiru is more useful and important that Youm. This guy literally fell in love with a woman he barely knows, after staying with her for a few days. He loves her so much that he can even go against his master that he knew longer than he knew Myulan. He loves her so much that he can lay down his life for her or atone for sins she committed. It’s almost like he’s never been with another woman. And yes there’s some other beastman which I don’t give a shit about, that also likes her and will lay down his life for her. So she got 2 people in her harem within a few god damn days.
Rimuru is the protagonist and the sole MC of this anime, yet side characters get more screen time than him. Good side characters like Benimaru and Souei barely get any screen time, side characters like Gabiru and Geld get too much screen time. The characters are a mess. The newly introduced ones are even worse, especially the antagonists. The antagonists are laughable. Every bad guy has a motivation or a goal, but these new antagonists don’t have any of them. The bad guys are terribly written, it came off as the author miserably trying to portray these bad guys as truly evil and annoying. Did the author succeed? Only partially. They are still horribly written. The king of Falmuth is a king, but he’s probably the most braindead character in the entire series. Almost makes you wonder, how did he become a king of an entire country?
The animation is an upgrade since last season. It’s probably the most impressive thing about this season. But yeah, it’s okay, it’s nothing impeccable or remarkable enough to talk about.
The soundtracks may be the second most redeeming thing, some time they decide to put some cool soundtrack over fights, which I can appreciate. Other than that, the opening is absolutely remarkable. It perfectly fits Tensura’s theme.
I admit, this season has been lackluster and final 2 episodes could only do much to save the entire anime. Every other episode, other than the final 2 episodes, felt unimaginably boring. There were less fights last season yet it managed to stay more interesting than this season. Since I’ve read ahead into the source, does it get any better? Yes, probably..? I can only hope that the next season won’t have this pacing.
Do we have something to look forward to? Yes, and that is Tensura Nikki. Unlike this season, Tensura Nikki will stay true to it’s core. If you want a wholesome, light-hearted side story, this is god damn it. Dare I say, it’s even better than the original. It feels less like a filler than the first 4 episodes of this season.
As for this season, since it still has those key elements of Tensura and also a proper plot that works.. somehow.. a 6.90 will be the most accurate rating I can give to this.
3: Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song
English: Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song-
Japanese: Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- (ヴィヴィ -フローライトアイズソング-)
MAL Score: 8.51
When highly evolved AIs set out to eradicate mankind, the carnage that ensues fills the air with the stench of fresh blood and burning bodies. In a desperate bid to prevent the calamity from ever occurring, a scientist bets everything on a remnant from the past.
Turning the clock back a hundred years, AIs are already an integral part of human society, programmed with specific missions meant to be carried out for their entire course of operation. Vivy, the first ever autonomous AI, is a songstress tasked with spreading happiness through her voice. In a theme park where she hardly ever gets a proper audience, she strives to pour her heart out into her performances, bound to repeat it day after day—that is, until an advanced AI from the future appears before her and enlists her help in stopping a devastating war a hundred years in the making. With no time to process the revelation that flips her world upside down, Vivy is catapulted into a century-long journey to avert the violent history yet to come.
“My mission is to make everyone content by reviewing”–Pipe
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, Vivy for short, is a spectacular series. It combines action, smooth animation sequencing, solid character development, a fantastic soundtrack, and a story that could have more holes than Gruyère cheese, but who cares. I don’t mind if it’s rife with time travel misconceptions and clichés; it is still delightful and quite surprising. I love this series. However, if we overthink the plot, we will lose all the enjoyment of this series, the beauty behind the story, and all the mysteries surrounding Vivy. For example, few spectators might find it ridiculous for an AI to take responsibility for saving the world from nowhere or the thought of time travel in this series. If you don’t like these ideas, you will hate this series.
At first, what gets my attention is Vivy, an AI that has a single goal, making everyone happy with her singing. A similar plan to mine with this review. However, her mission changes after several events that happened over a timeline of 100 years. First, a malign AI codenamed “Matsumoto,” I call him malign because he is an interloper, and the archive (Arayashiki) couldn’t remove him from Vivy’s core. Matsumoto requests Vivy’s help, and he gives a new objective to prevent the war between humans and AIs in 100 years. He creates “The Singularity Project” to change AI’s important events that lead to the war.
The world setting is easy to understand. Humans developed AIs for almost every task and became highly dependent on them. However, Vivy’s premise is truthfully a bit more complex to digest. One of the most challenging concepts to accept in the story is the AI time travel interpretation. I don’t want to enter into the metaphysical and metaphorical time travel description of how Matsumoto traveled 100 years back. Still, the authors are clever in avoiding this discussion because it could bring misconceptions. The authors skip all the paradoxes that a lousy explanation could create.
Furthermore, they averted the comparisons with similar plots such as Steins: Gate or even Re: Zero. Ultimately, it’s a series that uses the past to point toward the future, as the opening quote, from H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” suggests: “We all have our time machines, don’t we? Those that take us back are memories, and those that carry us forward are dreams.” Matsumoto’s information is the memories, and Vivy’s mission is the dream that evolves during the long journey. In conclusion, we can end all the time travel discussions with a single line “they conceived the time travel.”
Nevertheless, the series is no perfect. The negative factor for some fans is the pacing. Sometimes you will feel that some parts are missing and needs an explanation; I believe the issue appears for lack of time, but overall, the series is terrific, with some minor problems.
On the other hand, the most fantastic part of the plot falls on Vivy. That’s what gets me hooked on watching the series. If we pay closer attention, the authors didn’t need a set of rules similar to Asimov’s laws. Instead, they only give every AI a single mission, and, in the case of Vivy, they create a character who tries to follow that single mission. In exchange, Vivy changes and struggles to understand and complete the Singularity Project from the perspective of her mission.
Moreover, Vivy is more profound than just great animation and drawing. It is a show that takes us into Vivy’s journey about herself. Vivy assimilates little by little reason, feelings, passion, and maybe heart. I am curious apropos of how Vivy will handle all the contrasting information that could interfere with her mission. Can an AI evolve and change during this journey, and how will she decide differently from the typical machine learning concept but following a synthetic life envisage. Can an AI develop something similar to a spirit or soul?
Although the rest of the characters are pretty interesting, such as Vivy’s sisters, the time skip may not let us explore their whole personality, which is a problem. Also, it is common in the sci-fi time travel plot that someone goes to the past and forces a change for the future. So happens here with the AI Matsumoto. This cube traveled back in time, and Vivy considered it a virus initially. However, equal to Vivy, this compelling character is the main factor influencing Vivy’s decisions and helps her to grow. It has a weird personality, never stops talking, and occasionally could be annoying, but it is the perfect partner that appears in the precise moment.
Another essential concept for the series is Arayashiki, aka Archive. There is not too much to say, and several viewers won’t consider it a character. However, in Mahayana Buddhism, Arayashiki is the eighth foundational level of consciousness. It stores patterns from other forms of awareness and retains developments and thoughts to use in other lives. In the plot, Arayashiki stores and interprets all the data from the AIs then decide based on that information. It is an exciting fact that grabs my attention because it justifies the whole of Vivy’s evolution story.
From technical aspects, I don’t have anything to complain about the production. The art is fantastic and well structured. It has a broad combination of diverse palettes, and the choreography and camera angles are precise and affect the story. The sound is marvelous and has one of the most pretty scores from the year. Furthermore, the songs are lovely, in particular Harmony of One’s Heart. Regarding the VO, there are some significant problems because Vivy’s voice isn’t the same when she sings, and for a trained ear, it is a letdown.
Finally, Vivy’s is a series that has several good things and few bad things. It is an action-packed thriller that most of the viewers will enjoy. I love the show; I consider it one of the best from this year and possibly one of the best original series from the last years. I am sad because this series is not getting the recognition it deserves but is causing a great impression in Japan. It is a must to watch.
PS: I am confident that I will fail my mission. But, fear not, I will not promote the hate for the humans between my fellow AI sisters.
Vivy’s premise is a combination of beloved stories and Hollywood films about sentient robots solving humanity’s problems, whether intentionally or coincidentally—Ghost in the Shell, Terminator, Blade Runner, iRobot, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence, to name a few. Vivy may not rank among the classics, though it’s impressive audiovisuals will inevitably land it a place on “Best Sci-fi Anime” lists. Written by Tappei Nagatsuki, of Re:Zero fame and produced by none other than WIT Studio, it was bound to create ripples throughout the anime community. Doubtlessly, the premiere episode caught fans’ attention. It begins with a clichéd cold open. A city full of humanoid robots sing a horrible melody out of tune, plumes of smoke rise above the futuristic architecture, people run through the streets screaming, and ounces of blood cover the pavement. Then it ends—this is the future ahead of our titular heroine, Vivy. One which she is asked to prevent.
50 years in our future, Vivy prepares to sing in front of a small audience. Her stilted performance and hollow singing left the citizens underwhelmed. After all, Vivy is “the first autonomous AI” ever created; Her purpose is to sing for the entertainment of citizens. While preparing for her next song, a robotic stuffed bear, given to her as a gift, suddenly calls out to her. The bear, who introduces himself as Masamoto, was sent to warn her about the future apocalypse. Once she comes to believe him, she is swept into a whirlwind of government conspiracy, a gang of criminals, murderous robots, terrorism, and more.
Masamoto’s plan to prevent the apocalypse is known as the Singularity Project. He revisits her throughout the years to stop ‘Singularity Points’. These are the significant events that cause the disastrous future, and it’s Vivy’s responsibility to prevent them from happening. All of this information is explained in a lengthy exposition dialogue during the first episode. “Telling” rather than “Showing” is the frustrating pattern of this show’s script. Vivy was chosen because, in the apocalypse, she is the only autonomous AI left uncorrupted. Masamoto reprograms her to have combat abilities during combat, which somehow gives her the power to shield bullets with her bare hands, dodge bullets, and run as fast as a train. If that sounds stupid, well, it kind of is, but the animators make it look badass.
At its core, this is a thriller anime with a splash of music. Vivy’s programmed goal is to be a singer, and it shows. Vivy’s singing and mannerisms change as time flies by, visualized with brief performances. The song reused the most is the opening, which is fantastic on both visual and audio fronts. When the show focused on her music career, her dreams and passion showed she has a heart: music and an audience her sole motivations. Yet, we don’t see it enough. It would be offensive to claim she has “no personality” because it’s OK not to present your emotions outwardly. Writing Vivy in such a way detracted from the story it attempted to tell. Whether Vivy accomplishes an outstanding performance or fails to get a crowd, she has very little response. Happiness, pride, or dismay are hard to tell, though we can infer her emotions. Her face is nearly expressionless, her voice is constantly monotone, and she has little to no body language indicating what she’s thinking. This is not uncommon for films starring AI characters—after all, Arnold Schwarzenegger only had 17 lines in Terminator. However, he wasn’t the main character, and Vivy is. Her subdued personality isn’t the problem. It’s how she lacks autonomy in the series named after her.
Rather than being a heroine, she was more of an interchangeable pawn being guided through the plot by an obnoxious robot man in her head, rather than a heroine with her own autonomy. The few times she rejects Masamotos orders, there is a glimmer of hope she may regain agency in her own story. Then the moment ends, and the script is thrown back into Masamoto’s court. All of their excursions in reshaping history are planned by him. He does everything for her with future robot abilities, no matter how illogical, and Vivy does the fist fighting. Her hero’s journey was more like a long video game tutorial played by someone else.
Masamoto, an irritating AI that takes the form of a teddy bear and a flying cube, exists to guide Vivy through the plot. Imagine if you combined Jarjar Binks with a sarcastic supercomputer. That’s him. His voice is grating, like nails on a chalkboard—and the actor has a history of good voice acting, the screenwriting and directing are entirely to blame for wasting a good voice actor. Jun Fukuyama previously voiced Koro-sensei in Assassination Classroom, which he performed exceptionally. The world-building is reliant on Masamoto’s exposition. He’s not a character. He is a mouthpiece for the writers to hold our hand through the complicated story. There’s plenty to criticize about Masamoto because he, unfortunately, was given the majority of the dialogue.
Masamoto constantly condescends to Vivy, removes her autonomy, and provides painfully unfunny slapstick humor. The show has a habit of creating unintentionally funny situations: Imagine a random guy hysterically running into the street, only to get hit by an AI-controlled taxi that says, “Thank you for your patronage.” It’s hilariously foolish, even more, because the show takes it deadly seriously. Towards the beginning, I took it seriously due to the art direction. During specific moments, the frame will fixate on Vivy, and the visuals increase in detail to admire her beauty and convey emotional significance. Every feature on her expressionless face is maximized as if it was drawn to be placed in a museum. Then seconds later, we return to the same art style. These jarring shots remind us that Vivy requires artists to endear us to her rather than through the screenplay.
Due to Vivy’s plot structure, side characters often last only two or three episodes, then they are forgotten. For some reason, every intelligent or character with power is male—with similar bland appearances. Unfortunately, their best designed characters aren’t the ones who do the talking. Every named female character is given the role of singer, caretaker, spouse, all of whom are AIs following orders with little autonomy. The only odd one out is Vivy—solely because Masamoto reprogrammed her to do the fighting for him. Every sentient AI in this world is a beautiful woman. No men, which begs the question, why? Is it because people are more receptive to AI if they’re women? Are the robot creators all men? Of course, this is left unexplored. All of these negative factors point to one answer; the show simply has a narrow view of identity. The best futuristic sci-fi stories challenge modern society’s problems, such as social hierarchies. Vivy is more content with reinforcing them.
The utopian futuristic setting is rich with possibilities: There’s no poverty, pollution, war, racism, or crime, except for the AI haters. But why? There’s no further exploration. The world is essentially concept art. After each time, skip minor changes beyond superficial aesthetics: Holographic images, floating screens and keyboards, different dress codes, shinier buildings, and increasingly abstract architecture. These are set-dressing distracting from the real problem—this setting is a juvenile interpretation of society. A world like this might exist someday, but it needs to make sense. The writer doesn’t even attempt to make sense of it, flat out ignoring history. No matter what time period, people of all backgrounds are dumber than ants. They make the dumbest choices possible in order to cause drama and conflict for Vivy to resolve.
Vivy’s wealth of missed opportunities extends to its antagonists as well. Why do the antagonists despise robots? They insist they hate them, but for vague reasons. Metal bitch! Disgusting robots! Why? There are plenty of motivations based on other sci-fi stories: a fear of bots replacing human workers, drastic change is scary, paying AI wages, or whether or not AI should raise children. However, it’s not our responsibility to write the villains’ motivations. The thing is, there’s no real reason why there shouldn’t be robots here; this world is nearly perfect aside from rare malfunctions every few years. If the sentient robots revolted against the nation to gain equal rights to humans, then a reactionary movement would make sense. As far as we’re shown, none of the sentient robots are paid, have the right to own property, or to vote in elections. There were plenty of opportunities to make this “Singularity” thoughtful, instead, they settled with “Malfunctioning robots kill lots of people.” To seriously consider this a cautionary tale is foolish. A multitude of better stories about artificial intelligence have already warned me. When robots eventually overthrow humankind, I’ll be ready for them.
The production of Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s is nothing short of incredible: beautiful character designs, top-notch voice acting, awe-inspiring fight choreography, melodic BGM, and professional insert songs. The culmination of skilled artists led to this anime’s creation. Anyone would assume the storytelling, characters, and script would be on par with the rest with such a talented team. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Vivy lacks both intellectually engaging storytelling and character depth to stand with the greats of the genre. The overwrought finale attempts to tie the tangled plot threads and convoluted timeline together, but it rang hollow. The animators and art directors deserve praise for their effort, though the more time you think about the whole anime, the less it makes sense.
The Spring 2021 season has been an absolute buffet for sci-fi fans, and Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song is easily my favorite to come out of the bunch. I think it flew under the radar since at first glance it just seems like some idol anime, but it’s so much more than that. Been a long time since a new seasonal, original anime came out that I was very impressed by. It has one of the best female protags in anime I’ve seen in recent anime, and, just about everything in this show is amazing. While I wouldn’t call it a 10/10, it’s still absolutely worth your time watching imo.
FES’s (I’ll be calling the anime FES, and the main character Vivy to not be confusing) story is one as old as time in the sci-fi genre of “what if the robots we created completely took over and made us invalid”, but the execution of it is absolutely spectacular. Every ep uses it’s run time to its fullest, and there are so many excellent scenes that most anime wouldn’t even have 1-2 of. The pace is constantly moving, and there’s always some new twist or development to keep you watching. There’s crazy fight scenes and action, somber emotional moments, some light comedic elements, and just moments that will leave you shocked being absorbed in the moment of what is happening.
The story is pretty consistent and I didn’t notice any major plot holes (tho certainly feel free to point them out in a message if I missed something and I can edit it in). There were perhaps a couple minor ones, but nothing that bad. Worldbuilding is perhaps a bit lacking, but that’s really the only 2 flaws I have with the story. There’s great themes on trans humanism, and what it even means to be human. It’s fairly typical stuff for anyone who’s watched stuff like this, but it’s done very well.
Vivy, holy Vivy man. She is such a well done example of the “robot becoming more human” trope. She goes through so many trials and tribulations, but she’s still herself at the end of the day. She starts off pretty much as an emotionless blank slate, and by the end understands herself and the concept of emotions perhaps better than a good amount of us in the real world. Her development is paced very well, and over the course of this 100+ year story and all the interactions and events she experiences turns her truly an amazing character.
Matsumoto too is a very fun, great character. He doesn’t have as much development, but as his relationship with Vivy gradually changes, so does he. He’s funny, clever, a bit of a troll, but all around a dependable ally that has plenty of good moments.
Side cast and most antags are good, but I feel sometimes we could’ve gotten to know them a bit better. Since FES is a very episodic show, you may only know these characters for 2-3 eps max. I’d say for the most part you get to know them enough to connect or relate with them, but it really depends on the person. There were a few antags that were kinda meh, but for the most part they’re pretty good.
Quite possibly FES’s strongest point. So many scenes are an absolute spectacle to watch. Character designs are unique and very cool, backgrounds are detailed and colorful, the actual animation is very consistent and consistently very good if not outright amazing at times. Once or twice an ep, you’ll have an extremely detailed close up of Vivy, and it might sound weird to praise this but they’re some of the best “still images” I’ve seen in anime if you get what I mean. Point being they’re beautiful, and the anime is general is pure eye candy. The action and fight scenes are very dynamic and intense, and you can feel the weight behind the hits. I wouldn’t watch this series just for the action, but certainly it is a part of the package so to speak.
FES’s soundtrack is full of epic, astoundingly good music. Since Vivy is an idol and one of her main goals is to make everyone happy with her singing, her songs actually play a huge part into the overall narrative. The actual incorporation of the music into the plot and her character development is one of my fave things about this show. The rest of the music is also great. There’s a nice mix of electro, orchestral, opera, etc. I’ll also make a brief note about the sound design/effects being really good, and there’s some really satisfying bits with the action.
Voice acting with sub is great. All the cast do their job well, and the singing is a joy to hear. No matter the scene, the voice acting never felt bad.
Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song is 13 eps of heart pumping, mind blowing, electric rollercoaster of fun and enjoyment. I loved watching it every week, and would absolutely rec checking it out. If I had to really nitpick, I would say I would’ve liked to see a bit more of the side cast overall and there’s maybe a few minor issues with the plot, but overall it’s an amazing anime.
2: Jujutsu Kaisen (TV)
MAL Score: 8.74
Idly indulging in baseless paranormal activities with the Occult Club, high schooler Yuuji Itadori spends his days at either the clubroom or the hospital, where he visits his bedridden grandfather. However, this leisurely lifestyle soon takes a turn for the strange when he unknowingly encounters a cursed item. Triggering a chain of supernatural occurrences, Yuuji finds himself suddenly thrust into the world of Curses—dreadful beings formed from human malice and negativity—after swallowing the said item, revealed to be a finger belonging to the demon Sukuna Ryoumen, the “King of Curses.”
Yuuji experiences first-hand the threat these Curses pose to society as he discovers his own newfound powers. Introduced to the Tokyo Metropolitan Jujutsu Technical High School, he begins to walk down a path from which he cannot return—the path of a Jujutsu sorcerer.
Jujutsu Kaisen is the latest shounen to gain a surge of popularity and get invited to join the mainstream table of the true anime titans, probably taking a seat right next to Demon Slayer. And I can say with certainty that this is primarily because of Studio Mappa’s admirable dedication to making this show, particularly the fight scenes, look breathtakingly good. But here’s the age old question: Does fantastic animation trump average writing?
Yeah, no. Heh, sorry to be blunt. I guess I’m taking a lesson out of protagonist Itadori’s book. But who’s to say that Jujutsu doesn’t have a bit of both? While I find there to be several glaring issues with the anime, it also has many great aspects. So therefore, I’m gonna do things a little differently. This review will go over 5 areas that I believe the anime handled poorly, represented as 5 of Sukuna’s, the king of curses himself, cursed fingers. And then 5 departments that were a triumphant success in my eyes, represented as 5 of Sukuna’s fingers that were eaten by Itadori…which probably gave him some digestion issues, poor guy. I mean, eating a centuries old finger? Bleh. Probably no nutrients left in those old things.
Ah, so you’re wondering why I’m going with 10 fingers when Sukuna has 20 overall? Heh. The sheer power of representing ALL of his fingers would embed this review with massive cursed energy that even I couldn’t control- Ok, fine, it’s actually because I couldn’t think of 10 more things and it would make this review drag on anyway. There. Happy? Alright, let’s get into it!
Sukuna’s cursed finger 1: Comedy
I figured I’d get this out of the way since its the most subjective flaw on the list. Comedy comes in all shapes and forms, so everyone has their own preference…the comedy in Jujutsu Kaisen wasn’t my preference. Ok, so I’m not that hard to please in this department. I’m mean, I laugh at boob jokes and panty shots, that should tell you what kind of person I am. Yet shounen always seem to fail for me when it comes to the humor. I mean for one, it’s generally out of place. This anime tries to be serious and has a lot of dark moments, but then immediately follows with characters making stupid faces at each other and saying dumb things. The timing is just consistently terrible. And what the heck were those after credits scenes? I dunno, I just found them to be very…odd.
The comedy can basically be boiled down to a character acting either overly idiotic or incredibly loud/annoying during random moments. And they try to do this for EVERY character, even for the villains who, you know, have slaughtered hundreds, potentially thousands. It just doesn’t work, and I don’t find the show or characters funny at all, with the exception of the Kyoto School students (thank goodness for them) and some of Gojou’s little quips.
Sukuna’s consumed finger 1: Action
This one is quite obvious to anyone with eyes, but I definitely have to bring up the epic fight sequences as the first positive. They’re the highlight of the show, and the focal point of numerous episodes. Because curses come in all shapes and sizes, plus each Jujutsu sorcerer has their own diverse abilities, each and every fight was unique in how the characters did battle. I thought things really picked up in intrigue and intensity when Itadori and the ideal businessman Nanami took on the villainous and childish antagonist Mahito. It was a well animated fight with a lot of interesting tactics. And then the show just had to go and outdo itself with the Sister School arc. There were a lot of great combat sequences on display, culminating in the Itadori and Toudou vs. Hanami fight, which was my personal favorite. Just some great action all around.
Sukuna’s cursed finger 2: Main characters
Oh boy, this is probably what held Jujutsu Kaisen back the most. The trio of Itadori, Megumi, and Nobara are just…bad. I’m not a fan of any of them. Itadori is your typical dense protagonist guy who’s constantly used for comedy, but you already know how I feel about that. His beliefs are interesting, but I’ll get into those later. Several characters appropriately call him Sukuna’s vessel, because that dude is a much more fun and interesting character than Itadori. And when it’s necessary for Itadori to develop in order to progress the narrative, the show just conveniently gives him a ridiculously brief revelation or a sentence long pep talk from someone else and boom, he gets stronger and stuff. Absolutely atrocious. And his two best buddies don’t even act like characters. They’re terribly inconsistent. They supposedly have a bond with Itadori yet show no emotion when he comes back from a certain DEADly event. When situations get serious and death is involved, Nobara just acts entirely obnoxious and Megumi reacts to practically nothing. It’s like they were trying to make him one of those cool, stoic characters but made him so cold that he’s turned into ice with how frosty and nonexistent his personality is. They’re painstakingly poorly written.
Gojou is also considered to be a main character, but I don’t really see him as one. If he counts, then he’s definitely my favorite of the four. Despite not being a fan of how absolutely overpowered he is, I enjoy his laid back yet caring nature and think that he’s a solid addition to the show.
Sukuna’s consumed finger 2: Supporting cast
On the flip side, I really appreciate how the side characters were written. Sukuna himself has a great setup with how he’s actually a part of Itadori. The obnoxious and condescending tone that he takes with the kid is pretty fun, and for me this guy is the most intriguing of the characters. And I mentioned it before, but wow, the Kyoto School students are a lot more entertaining than the ones from Tokyo. With the exception of Panda of course. Panda should have been the main character because he’s a panda, yet not a panda. I like his backstory and intelligence. That is all for Panda. But I really liked Miwa and thought she was fun (should’ve replaced Nobara as main girl honestly…) and the over the top nature of Mechamaru and his backstory is just such a joke, I love it. Every morning he breaks his legs, and every afternoon, he breaks his arms. The other two girls in the group are interesting as well.
And then there’s Toudou. He’s probably my favorite character outside of Sukuna and his comedic value was actually…funny! I liked his dynamic with Itadori and his over the top nature was surprisingly a big success and didn’t rub me the wrong way like I thought it would. Nice support cast Juju!
Sukuna’s cursed finger 3: Motivations
A boy fights…for “the right death.” Straight from the synopsis.
Am I the only one who thinks that sentence sounds stupid and wishes Itadori’s ideals were, at the very least, worded differently? Yes? No? Ok…
While his motivation certainty is unique, I’m just not a fan of how Itadori’s whole shtick is portrayed. I mean, I get it, he doesn’t want people to die to curses and instead to pass away content and satisfied with life, and that’s pretty cool. But the way he expresses his wish feels strange sometimes with how overly macabre it can be and doesn’t sit right with me. This is probably just me, but his goals made his character feel a a little off, I dunno. Also, the villain curses have pretty bad motivations. I mean, they’re all like “we’re the true people because we have true emotions unlike humans!”…yet these curses are constantly shown to have wavering and changing feelings. Doesn’t work. It all comes down to the themes demonstrated by the show in the end, and I feel like they could have been expressed better.
Sukuna’s consumed finger 3: Dark content
I love how this anime isn’t afraid to get violent and grotesque. Yes, some of the curses look creepy, but I’m mostly referring to what they do over how they look. The show doesn’t hide the fact that death is synonymous with curses in this universe, and there are plenty of on screen killings. Even main characters aren’t safe from this anime’s clutches! Things got the darkest during the arc with Junpei and Mahito. Let’s just say I was not expecting what happened to Junpei to go down, or I was at least anticipating some sort of reversal of his fate. But wow, there really is a ton of horrifying (maybe a bit too strong of a word, but I digress) content in the anime, and I believe it definitely works in the show’s favor.
Sukuna’s cursed finger 4: Power scaling
This is more of a smaller issue that I had with the anime, but I absolutely despised the power system on display and how it was handled. Shounen shows just love to have this kind of mechanic, and it’s usually used primarily to show the protagonist getting stronger and moving through the ranks. Some, like HunterXHunter, utilize this effectively. But it’s just so bizarre here. The ranking of both curses and Jujutsu sorcerers is poorly conceived and made absolutely irrelevant when you have guys like Gojou who can practically destroy the world if he feels like it. There’s just not that much explanation behind how it all works. And it’s especially negligible when Itadori can basically power up and advance to the next level just by getting a sentence long pep talk, like he does with Toudou. Kinda silly honestly.
Sukuna’s consumed finger 4: Audiovisuals
I’ve already mentioned this briefly in other sections, but the show looks hella good. Great artistic quality with a lot of diverse and inventive designs. Equally important is the animation. Character movement is fluid and doesn’t look that awkward at all. Also, the soundtrack is solid. Several pieces help to enhance scenes by pumping you up during fights or making you unnerved during more horror based moments. The theme songs are pretty hype as well. All in all, Jujutsu Kaisen boasts some great technical aspects.
Sukuna’s cursed finger 5: Plot progression
My final issue listed in this review focuses on the narrative. I’m sorry, but the plot can basically be boiled down to “Righteous protagonist has unlimited potential and he gets stronger with his friends as they beat up bad guys.” It’s terribly generic and if you really focus on it, the story doesn’t offer anything particularly great. There are several parts of it that are just plain sloppy, like shoving in literally everyone’s backstory during the Sister School event instead of properly spacing out such scenes. While it ultimately isn’t bad, the plot really didn’t take any risks or try something new, with the exception of having Sukuna, who I assume will be the final boss, live inside of Itadori. That’s pretty cool, but next to nothing was done with it in the second half of the show. In the end, the writing and unfortunately standard progression ended up being the most mediocre part of the anime.
Sukuna’s consumed finger 5: Entertainment
What can I say, it was a fun experience. Despite lacking in several key departments, the show itself can be pretty entertaining. Whether it be the action, character interactions, comedic scenes, or more, Jujutsu Kaisen brings a lot to the table that a wide variety of people can enjoy, so I respect the show for that. If nothing else, it can be an enjoyable viewing experience if you don’t go into it with high expectations. In the end, it just wasn’t for me.
Let me start by giving JJK’s staff the appreciation they deserve. Being a huge AoT fan, I’m honestly a little bit salty. I’m not undermining AoT, it’s just that my eyes have been spoiled from seeing a sakuga on every damn episode of JJK. It’s honestly just so good.
So yes, I’m gonna first highlight the sector which totally carries JJK, the animation. JJK is a feast for your eyes. The animation is just so magnificent, starting from the beautiful landscapes to the sakuga on even the smallest fights. The fights are so well choreographed, the camera angles, the key frames. I don’t have enough words to explain the greatness of the animation. You have to witness it for yourself. Just like how Demon Slayers impeccable animation by Ufotable carried it, in the same way JJK’s animation by MAPPA definitely elevates the anime to another level. And without the elegant animation, I don’t think JJK would be at where it’s at right now. So MAPPA definitely needs credit where it’s due, this is how you do a first season of an anime.
One other great thing about JJK is it’s power system. If you’re like me who absolutely loves a great power system, then you’ll also fall in love with JJK’s power system. JJK has a very concrete power system, which is cursed energy. Cursed energy kind of replicates Chakra from Naruto. Both needs a good amount of focus and training to achieve them. The only difference is that in Naruto, Chakra exists in all beings. However, in JJK, not everyone had cursed energy, like Maki, they use cursed tools instead which is also an interesting concept. The reason I love the power system is that it is not too complex neither is it too simple like, eat hair = I’m strong now. Yuuji imbues his hands with cursed energy, Nobara uses hammer and nails, Fushigoro summons cursed beasts, and Gojou can manipulate space at an atomic level. There’s literally an old man who uses an electric guitar to fight, I fucking love this! This power system and the character’s powers, all of them makes the anime even more amazing for me.
The characters are probably the second greatest part of the anime. Yuuji is such a good shounen protagonist, he isn’t annoying and doesn’t scream all the time, is quite care free. On the other hand, the other members of the MC trio are just so fun to watch, Fushigoro and Nobara both. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t remind me of Naruto a little bit. The fun little rivalry between Yuuji and Fushigoro, just like Naruto and Sasuke, except better. And isn’t it a breath of fresh air, finally having a female MC that isn’t annoying and absolutely useless. In episode 23, when Nobara was suddenly getting sucked into a gate, instead of screaming and crying for help, she just showed Fushigoro a thumbs up, saying that she’ll be fine, like the badass she is! God I love the characters.
The character goals are really interesting, which also makes the characters, interesting. Yuuji isn’t like other shounen nice guys who refuse to kill people like Deku, he has an actual reason to do that. He highly commends “the value of life”. He also does good deeds because he wants to die peacefully and be remembered as a good person, quite a simple but respectable goal. Fushigoro is probably my second favourite character in JJK. He is very secretive and stoic, all while caring for his friends. In episode 23, we got to see a different side of him, and honestly he has so much depth to him. I normally hate female delinquent characters so much, I can’t stand them as much as I can’t stand Tsunderes. I hate how they go “Kimochi warui” after everything. But Nobara is different. She is very talkative during battles, verbally destroying the shit outta the opponent, all while being badass as fuck during all times. She also deeply cares about his friends, she is a great character. Not only this, but side characters like Panda, Maki, Inumaki. Every- again LITERALLY EVERY CHARACTER in this anime is so fucking good and interesting, even the antagonists like Sukuna and Mahito have a considerable amount of depth to them which everyone can comprehend, which makes them so good.
Let me tell you this, an entire paragraph isn’t enough to explain how amazing and interesting the characters are.
The only part JJK is a bit lacking in is story. Since it’s only season 1 and the story hasn’t expanded much, but even still, the story is a bit generic. It feels like a typical monster of the week kind of story. Even the story is a bit average now, all other aspects carry this anime. And yes, the story switches tones really quick, it goes from a dark and gritty tone to a light hearted tone pretty fast. And the best part is that they perfectly execute it.
No one said that an anime must excel at all aspects. There was no boring moment in the entire anime, despite the story being typical, I always thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Juju Strolls are a perfect addition after the end of every episode, no matter how tense an episode is, the Juju Strolls are entertaining to watch.
Now about sound, it’s amazing. The 2 opening sequences and ending sequences are all so amazing. Especially the amazing opening from Eve and the great ending from ALI. After that, there’s the voice acting. Most people can’t differentiate between good voice acting and bad voice acting, but I have noticed that a good amount of anime often fail at properly delivering dialogues. JJK’s voice acting feels genuine and natural, so big props to the talented voice actors. Soundtrack is also quite lacking. It’s not the best there is, but it works. Of course, I don’t expect all anime to have Sawano level soundtracks.
Another thing that I need to separately mention are the eye catchers. If you don’t know what eye catchers are, they are those intro type of clips that are often in the middle of an episode. JJK’s eye catchers are so captivating, they have this horror-y feeling to it.
Now to sum it all up in one sentence: Jujutsu Kaisen is great.
JJK has to be one of the greatest new gen shounens. As for whether you should watch it or not- YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD. I don’t always tell people so confidently to watch an anime. It is the start of a new era through Jujutsu Kaisen, and I’m damn interested to see where it’s gonna go from here. See you all in the next season!
○ Short introduction to the story:
So, we start off with our main character Yuji Itadori. A guy who is living an average life of an average teenager. He is passionate about his interests and mainly participates in the activities of the so-called occult club consisting of three members. Sasaki and Iguchi- second year students at Sugisawa third high school and close friends of Yuji. They seek interest in what the club title suggests, in scary curses, creepy stuff and like to create theories about different “creepy” events that revolve around the high school.
One day they come across a cursed item wrapped in paper without realizing and wouldn’t you guess it? Of course, they have to keep it and later on they take off the wrap. Attempting to do some kind of a ritual, they summon dangerous cursed spirits while Yuji is at the hospital with his grandpa who just died. Fushiguro megumi, who is a student at Jujutsu high school and has dealt with such problems before. After Yuji tells Megumi how he and his friends stole the cursed item they rush to the school where the ‘”ritual” has already took place, they are late. The curses are around the school attacking the two students inside the building. Megumi tries dealing with them alone and saving Yuji’s friends but unfortunately fails and then our hero Yuji comes blasting through the window, helps Megumi and is in a pretty bad situation. A curse is about to kill his friends, he has two choices left: letting them get eaten or eating the finger(the cursed item) that Sasaki and Iguchi were “playing” with a while ago. He eats it of course and immediately receives great power and strength from it that he manages to defeat the curse alone.
After that Gojou shows up, the playful sensei I’ll talk about later but for now I think you get the feel of the story. Now my problems with it:
• Yuji gets over his grandpa’s death in no time.
The main intention of Yuji is to have a meaningful death. After his grandfather died with nobody but Yuji surrounding and worrying about him, he gets an example of a “lonely death” and the whole series is motivated by it.
But how is he able to get over it so fast? In 4 minutes or less. Just when Megumi shows up it’s like nothing happened and the rest of the series nothing is mentioned about it.
The pacing is fast. Too many events occur in the first episode which they could have given a bit more time in the second episode but in the second half of the show it’s pretty slow and gets boring. So, the pacing is off.
• Yuji’s motto: a meaningful death.
I don’t often use the word; in fact, I have never used it before in such case but pretentious would be the best way to describe it.
I can feel how the show is trying to stand out with its “unique” complex concerns and distinguish itself from other generic shonens yet it fails and comes off laughable. Yes, it tries to impress you with its touching themes and inspire you though the attempt is so obvious its ridicules. I appreciate the fact that it at least wanted and tried to be different but can’t give it much credit because you already understand my feelings about it.
‣ Plot wise, Jujutsu kaisen is just another average shonen. It offers nothing new to the plate so that I can enjoy and get excited while tasting it. The main goal, if I haven’t made it clear, is acquiring all of Sukuna’s 20 fingers, the one he ate. Now Sukuna is incarnated in him and can take over his body time to time- 2/10
The power system has been praised by many but there is nothing particular about it. Sure, it doesn’t go with idiotic system that other shows do(I am looking at you MHA) but it isn’t that exceptional either. I will explain is shortly:
• The cursed spirits(also known as curses) are produced by cursed energy which is created when an individual has negative emotions but its also possible to use cursed energy in battles to fight against your opponent. Cursed spirits are evil creatures that mess with human’s emotions and receive power from it.
Grade 4 sorcerers are weak and inexperienced.
Grade 3 sorcerers are average students.
Grade 2 sorcerers are for those who are above average level.
Grade 1 sorcerers are high status ones who possess great strength.
Special grades are exceptionally strong and abnormal. (Gojou Satoru for instance)
‣ Overall, power system is good and worthy of 6/10.
Character of Jujutsu kaisen are a bit hard to talk about. The main characters are dull while side ones are truly great and relatable.
The main characters:
• Yuji Itadori- The main protagonist of the series. His life drastically changes after encountering cursed items and is now forced to face many difficulties regarding them. He is passionate about his interests and doesn’t share much characteristic with other shonen protagonists yet still comes off annoying. He is overpowered(I know you are tired of this word but I have to point it out) and “funny”. Sure, I agree with the famous “Comedy is subjective” sentence but the show seems desperate to makes us laugh with its “relatable” characters, I don’t know, humor might not be for me since I have heard many others liking it. Overall, he is not an average protagonist but just an annoying character – 3/10.
• Nobara Kugisaki- The deuteragonist of the series and she shares many interests with Yuji. They both love Tokyo, going out, sightseeing and etc. Nobara is a very confident character who is not afraid to fangirl of stuff but still stands still as a strong female. To be honest, the reason I dislike her is pretty similar to Yuji’s. And she definitely isn’t the best girl of the series– 3/10.
• Megumi Fushiguro- Another deuteragonist of the series. Unlike our Tokyo lovers, Megumi is a serious guy and doesn’t like to act stupid. He is fortunately not an apathetic character, which I expected him to be but I was surprised. Most of the time deuteragonists like him tend to show no emotion but he is a good character. He looks callous yet he actually cares about everyone, just doesn’t like to make it obvious. Yuji and Nobara often tease him for hiding it but no matter what, it doesn’t ruin their friendship – 5/10.
• Gojo Satoru- deuteragonist of the series and as you might have heard, the cool, lively Gojo-sensei. I expected to like him, but didn’t. He is just another OP, generic sensei but nothing similar to Kakashi. Its just the way he can deal with everything and beat everyone easily, and then his playful personality irritates me and stops me from liking him – 2/10.
The side characters:
• Maki zenin- the side character and undoubtedly the best girl of course. Maki has a funny, relatable protagonist but as soft as she might seem, she is actually a really strong lady. Yea, she might be overpowered but so many other great characteristics of make you love her a lot and again, Maki zenin is the best girl of Jujutsu kaisen, no one can deny that or else I am ready to throw some hands – 8/10.
• Panda- a side character. My beloved panda. He is such a lovable character with such a sweet personality I just can’t help but mention him and give him the attention he deserves. He is a calm upperclassman who tends to be welcoming and kind to his underclassmen. Sometimes he might be sarcastic but always tries to sympathize with characters and understand their feelings. I really love him – 9/10.
• Aoi tondou- another side character and my man. Aoi is the main entertainment of the show, at least for me. He doesn’t get too big amount of screen time but not too little either so you could say it’s a decent amount for a side character. He likes to fight people who have shit taste in women, like Megumi for example who cares about the personality. But he likes Yuji because they share the same interest and both like women with big a**es. Yup, my man has great taste and there is no denying it – 7/10.
• Toge Inumaki- Salmon. Toge is a quite guy and a bit intimidating at first look, whatsoever he is still a great character with great personality – 5/10.
• Kasumi- right after Maki, Kasumi is the best girl. She is a helpless character. Tries to stand still and fight, do her best and achieve the greatest but mostly fails and its relatable. I loved every scene that she was in, I was able to be compassionate towards so a solid 9/10.
• Villains in Jujutsu kaisen are interesting. I will describe them shortly. Sukuna is the main antagonist whose fingers the group has to acquire so Yuji can eat all of them at once. He reminds me of Gojou for some reason. They share the playful personalities, both are overpowered, yet they both feel different in some way. Suguru is also a very interesting character though I don’t have much to say about him. Mahito can burn in hell, I will be watching with a happy smile on my face. Overall villains get a 6/10.
‣ Character in JJK are fun. Putting main ones and side ones together, we get – 6.5/10.
‣ Animation is god-tier. I don’t know why I was denying that fact but it really does a great job with the dark atmosphere and conveying the horrific elements the show has to offer. There are a lot of fighting scenes and in every single one fighting choreography and animation are distinguishable. Openings and endings are a banger. I like the OST; it matches the atmosphere a lot. There is nothing to complain about in this criteria so – 9/10.
Jujutsu kaisen was a well done shonen, it still calls for many adjustments to be great but I wont withhold and state that it has many pros as well. With well written side characters, amazing soundtracks, god tier animation and fighting choreography, I wont dissuade someone from checking it out, as for myself, I wasn’t necessarily blown away, it was the first season so it didn’t manage to confound me but what can I say folks? It wasn’t that bad after all.
I have made a lot of changes to the review since the last one I wrote got a lot of upvotes and made it to the top reviews which was unexpected since I wrote it a few hours after the show finished and the reviews were already published. I also realized I was being too harsh on it and how badly the previous review was written so I hope it doesn’t irritate any of you. Also, if you are a fan of the series and think this score is too low, I am sorry but I have brought my arguments in the review and I hope you understand. Thank you for reading, hope it was informative.
1: Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season
English: Attack on Titan Final Season
Japanese: 進撃の巨人 The Final Season
MAL Score: 8.92
Gabi Braun and Falco Grice have been training their entire lives to inherit one of the seven titans under Marley’s control and aid their nation in eradicating the Eldians on Paradis. However, just as all seems well for the two cadets, their peace is suddenly shaken by the arrival of Eren Yeager and the remaining members of the Survey Corps.
Having finally reached the Yeager family basement and learned about the dark history surrounding the titans, the Survey Corps has at long last found the answer they so desperately fought to uncover. With the truth now in their hands, the group set out for the world beyond the walls.
In Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season, two utterly different worlds collide as each party pursues its own agenda in the long-awaited conclusion to Paradis’ fight for freedom.
There seems to be this odd and ignorant consensus pervading the fandom which suggests any and all criticism aimed at a poor product is somehow a direct insult to the workers who made it, and this is a shockingly immature worldview to espouse. Let me get one thing straight: you can say whatever you want about WIT Studio falling victim to Kodansha’s unfair and unreasonable production scheduling in the third season just like MAPPA is now, and how that lead to a double split-cour which ultimately wasn’t even enough to assure consistent quality throughout part two, but you must also admit pointing out these things is nothing more than a diversion from the far greater travesty of animation before you now. Attack on Titan: The Not-So-Final Season is a disgrace to the franchise which came before it on every visual level, and to say so is in no way to deride the overworked animation staff at MAPPA. Am I going to sit here and deny the existence of the throngs of rabid keyboard warriors on social media sending them death threats for producing such appalling CG and embarrassing 2D animation? No, but those people are foolish children with too much time on their hands, and by echoing their indisputably warranted criticisms, I and others like me are not justifying their acts of disrespect and harassment, so I urge you not to feel sorry for saying what you see clearly in front of you and criticizing it for what it is: an ugly, cheap anime.
After episode six, I officially became a manga reader, since I simply could not let this atrocity be my first experience of Attack on Titan’s brilliant story, and what I found in the manga was absolutely stellar shot composition which I had previously thought was simply a product of Tetsuro Araki’s adaptation. Obviously, Araki’s heart-stopping visual direction and irreplaceable cinematic instinct made the anime adaptation what it ultimately was, but Hajime Isayama’s knack for framing an iconic single image when it mattered most still shouldn’t be overstated when the final season here has neither directorial flow nor memorable cinematics. The new character designs which pride themselves on their close resemblance to the original artwork found in the manga simply cannot use their adherence to the source material as a defense of their janky anatomy and inferiority to the beautiful artwork of Kyoji Asano, and the new music cannot use its passable composition as a defense of its utter incompatibility with Hiroyuki Sawano’s constantly recycled tracks. I understand this is a somewhat particular distinction to be made, but with the sheer amount of blatant animation shortcuts used throughout this season—not even counting the CG—season three part two looks like a studio trying their hardest while grappling with a ridiculous time table, whereas this looks like a studio using a ridiculous time table as an excuse to not try their hardest.
But nevertheless, does the masterful writing save the day and make this thing worth watching? With how much is cut out, rearranged, and left unfinished, I would say no, but that doesn’t make it bad. If anything, as usual, the narrative has only gotten better and the themes have only gone deeper. With the basement and its contents finally revealed, the series had to occupy the world it so suddenly established and situate the story as we knew it within that world elegantly, and even with the content from the manga which got butchered in translation, it absolutely achieved this feat. As it demystifies Marleyan society and rationalizes the international bigotry towards the Eldian people, it builds the foundation for one of the most interesting and morally provocative conflicts I’ve yet to see portrayed in fiction, and it does so with complex characters who never fail to inspire emotion, or inspiration itself. While Attack on Titan: The Not-So-Final season is, indeed, not the final season, it’s still an adaptation of a manga, so it continues the story with more or less the same degree of excellence as the first three seasons did, and while it abruptly ends on a cliffhanger mid-arc, that’s more a testament to the fragile production than the source material, its quality of writing, or the acuteness with which said writing was brought to screen. One thing’s for sure, though, narratives as enthralling as this come once in a generation, and it’s a shame this one is receiving such paltry treatment.
This review was originally going to be a lot more sentimental than it turned out to be. To cope with the extreme dejection I felt after watching such a dishonorable end to this once-great adaptation of an unequivocal masterpiece, I was going to try and write this review to examine the final season as a standalone work while simultaneously offering an all-encompassing retrospective on the modern classic that is Attack on Titan, but after WIT Studio dropped it and MAPPA shit it back out in such a visually repulsive and structurally incomplete fashion, I accepted the fact I couldn’t really do that anymore, and my enthusiasm burnt out along with the quality of the show itself. I’ve lost my motivation to even mind it anymore, and if the fact this season is among the highest rated anime on MAL didn’t make this obvious enough already, you all don’t seem to mind Attack on Titan anymore either. The reality that such a magnificently made work of art could receive such a stark downgrade yet still be well received by the exact same fanbase solely because they enjoy entertaining the mere idea of it is not only a sad reflection of the culture surrounding the work, but a cruel insult to the first three seasons which were only able to be the dazzling spectacles they were thanks to the back-breaking work ethic and tremendous talent of the original staff who so naively thought their admirable labor and impressive results weren’t lost on the audience, who’s appetite all can now clearly see as being apparently, totally mindless.
Thank you for reading.
Then came Season 3, and the series was roaring back. The interest in the series had never been higher, and fans flocked back in droves to have their questions answered. Many began viewing the first two seasons in new light once the revelations showcased the intricate planning and immense foreshadowing that had gone under their noses when they’d watched it first. For me, Attack on Titan was always great. Never has an anime made me feel so hopeless if I viewed the world from the perspective of the characters. The absolute mystery surrounding the titans for most of the first season along with stunning animation for fights, memorable OST for almost any scene and emotional dialogue delivered by passionate voice actors made for an unforgettable experience. Season 2 and 3 bring in more revelations, slowly unfolding the mysteries of the world and the titans and shifting the themes of the series. Season 4 has another tonal shift – much greater than previous ones – and it handles it with aplomb.
A change in studios has often led anime series to ruin. The aforementioned OPM was one of the recent big victims of it, but other popular series like Seven Deadly Sins have also suffered due to it and never recovered.
Fortunately, MAPPA have handled the transition well. They haven’t been perfect (more on that later), but all in all, they’ve done a good job producing a new season of what is probably the most popular anime of the last decade.
The start of S4 might have left some people wondering where the original cast went. There’s not just a change of cast in the first few episodes, but also a switch in perspectives. We’re no longer seeing things from the side of Paradis and the Scouts. Instead, we now see it from the view of Marley’s warriors, who’re training to inherit the titans from their predecessors once their time runs out. Gabi and Falco want to inherit the armor but Reiner, i.e. the plot armored titan (Sorry, had to use this once I saw it on Reddit) can’t catch a break. Someone, grant him his wish to die.
Eren’s growth as a character is one of the highlights of Attack on Titan as a series. He wasn’t always a fan favorite because of his hotheaded nature, but as time went on, his perspective of the things around him changed, most noticeably multiple times throughout season 3. Come season 4, his character undergoes a paradigm shift; calm and sympathetic, yet ruthless. As his famous quote goes, “I won’t stop moving forward until all my enemies are destroyed.” He’s a lot more distant, not just to everyone else in the show but also to the viewers. Unlike previous seasons, his thoughts are a mystery and the season clearly displays the divide between him and the other old Scouts.
The handling of his growth as a person and a titan shifter is outstanding, firstly in the manga and then in the anime. Yuki Kaji, the voice actor, supported this exponential growth by exceeding expectations on character delivery. I especially love how well he’s transitioned seamlessly along with Eren as a character and nailed almost every line. There’s hardly a line Eren has spoken in season 4 that isn’t extremely significant to the story.
Oh Gabi! Where do I even begin? She’s supposed to be the female parallel to pre timeskip Eren, but apart from some core traits like being stubborn, she isn’t really that similar to him. Gabi hates the Eldians from Paradis for no other reason other than that she thinks they’re devils and should suffer for the crimes of their ancestors. Eren was stubborn, headed into almost unwinnable battles without a second thought. However, his reasons to hate the titans were justified. His mother was eaten in front of him by a titan, his home destroyed and tens upon hundreds of his comrades butchered by titans in cold blood. He fought for his freedom, and humanity’s.
Gabi, on the other hand, hates Eldians without having seen any of them. She kills people for glory, just for some useless praise. And without spoiling anything, I’ll also add that she’s a hypocrite with her iconic line that’s become prevalent in memes now “But did you see it happen?”.
In her defence, she’s a twelve-year-old girl who’s been brainwashed so it’s hard to not give her some benefit of the doubt. But boy, is she annoying! She’s actually portrayed a lot better at the start of the Marley arc in the anime than in the manga, so I didn’t dislike her as much. She’s neither a bad character nor a great one, but she serves her purpose.
Onto Falco, then. My cute, lovable boy, are you sure you had the same upbringing as Gabi? He’s her polar opposite, able to empathize with his enemies and an antithesis for every one of Gabi’s morals. He views things from a wider angle, often showing maturity way beyond his years. He might not be as naturally gifted as Gabi but he’s a whole lot more likeable. From posting letters for injured people to helping his enemies who shun him instead, this good boy has it all covered. He’s one of the beautiful things in this cruel world.
Pieck is the new waifu that every fan seems to be simping over; Reiner and Zeke share the title of best character amongst the Marleyans for me. Their internal struggles and motives, some of which are only seen by viewers, make a significant contrast to their outer persona, and this holds especially true for Zeke.
Jean remains the character who makes the viewers question their morals because he questions his own and that’s what I love about him. He’s another one who’s come a long way since the cadet days.
Did you think I’d have forgotten Floch? He might’ve been a forgettable side character who didn’t even have a distinct design before S3 P2 (Isayama has himself admitted as much), but he’s one of the stars of season 4, running the show like the chad that he is. He’s an extremist and his actions are brutal; at times, it seems as if he’s doing it to sate his own ego and hate towards those who’ve imprisoned him and his race behind the walls. But despite all this, he’s one of the most entertaining characters post time skip. He’s unpredictable, spunky and has the audacity to pull off stunts that might’ve had your jaws slacking on the floor more times than one. And who can forget the “shh?” King Floch has unquestionably engraved his name as an Attack on Titan legend.
There are so many excellent characters in Attack on Titan that the review would be too long if I talked about all of them, so I’ll stop here.
The character designs in Season 4 see a distinct change, and that’s not all to do with the timeskip or the change in the studio. It’s a mixture of both. To anyone who’s read the earlier chapters of the Attack on Titan manga, it’s no secret that the art at the start was mediocre. Wit Studio did a great job of enhancing the character designs and the art in general, especially in S1.
MAPPA on the other hand have stuck closer to the manga art style for characters (apart from beautifying Armin as compared to the manga, their reasons for which I’d like to know). So there’s a slight change in the art style because they’re following Isayama’s art a lot more closely.
The animation of S4 has been the most talked about point, and for good reason. I’ll mince no words: some of the CGI was downright terrible. There was some genuinely impressive CGI like the Jaw titan, but some very important scenes involving the Attack Titan and Beast Titan were horrendous. It’s not the animators who’re to blame for this but the greed of the production committee and the manga publishers who wanted to have S4 airing before the end of the manga to boost sales.
For almost any other anime, I would’ve let even the terrible CGI scenes slide, but this is Attack on Titan, one of the most popular and highly acclaimed anime ever, and surely it deserved the best treatment possible. Unfortunately, it didn’t get that. Does it make the season bad? Of course not since the season covers one of the best arcs in the manga and the adaptation itself was faithful with top tier voice acting. Could better animation elevate S4 of Attack on Titan to higher levels? Greatly.
My biggest problem with the titan CGI was that it just broke immersion. One moment we had fluid 2D animation, the other we had some janky CGI lacking weight, which made me pause and check if I was still watching Attack on Titan. I’ve re-watched these scenes multiple times and every time, I came to the same conclusion: Attack on Titan deserves better. Remember the marvelous scenes with ODM gear we got in the first three seasons or the titan fights or Levi vs the Beast Titan? Unfortunately, we don’t get that level of animation in season 4, and while understandable given the time constraints, it’s disappointing nevertheless.
The CGI wasn’t always as bad, but had enough prevalence in the most important moments (Eg: Attack Titan vs Warhammer Titan) to be a stain on an otherwise stellar season.
We have some new and honestly breathtaking tracks added to the already great OST from S1 – S3. One of the highlights in the sound composition this season is that there were different composers depending on whose perspective a scene is shown from. For Paradis, we have Hiroyuki Sawano back with all our favorites from previous seasons while Kohta Yamomoto handled the Marleyan side, giving us bangers including Ashes on the Fire. I missed the old OST in the first few episodes because I was worried they’d underuse S1-S3 OST, but they did not. It wasn’t used much because the initial episodes take place from the perspective of the Marleyans. Honestly, having different composers for either side of the conflict seems like a superb choice and helps immersion.
The only real criticism I have about the sound was the OST choice in some scenes in the latter part of the season. And no, I’m not talking about the basement scene here. I thought the basement scene OST choice was great.
Similar to the OST, it took a while for me to warm up to the OP, but looking back now, it’s great and suits the themes of S4. This was a common opinion amongst the community; the majority seemed to have disliked My War for the first couple episodes, then it just grew on people and now it sets the tone for the rest of the episode.
Now that Attack on Titan’s final season (Part 1) has ended, it’ll be intriguing to see what route MAPPA takes for the rest of the adaptation. There’s anywhere between 13-16 episodes of content left to cover, depending on the pacing. Will the production committee see Attack on Titan as a chance to make hundreds of millions of dollars in a movie format or will we have Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2 (lol), only time will tell. I’m not against either, as long as they take enough time and pour passion into making it. I don’t mind waiting longer if it means getting the best production values. Hopefully, that’s the case.
Attack On Titan. But is it an attack on titans now, or maybe a bigger enemy at hand?
I’m sure AOT needs no introduction, it is that one anime that has spammed up everyone’s YT recommendations with drip memes, Eren table scene memes, 10 hour fuck Gabi videos and her getting beat up,ｔｈｉｃｃｋａｓａ if you dived that deep into the culture. When the first episode of the final season came out, it was so powerful not even telling my dad for the Crunchyroll to work was possible. When I say this anime is something else in terms of internal and external events, I mean that this anime is something else. God knows when we are getting another community and anime like this ever again. I am glad I was here to experience this bit of the trek with others like myself and beyond.
I could go on and on about the moments shared. But I must write a review for now.
I may sound like a hardcore fanboy, but I am going to explain why I think this is a 10/10 narrative. I would also like to believe that people reading this review are aware of the references I will make to previous seasons. Ok cool.
Starting off the final season, we get a bit of insight into the enemies on the other side of the sea. From initial impressions, it can be told that this nation, which uses children in warfare, is clearly lost in morale. And that is the slow building of this new true evil enemy of humanity, Marley. How AOT goes around building this empire of Marley is an interesting one. Marley has qualities of a fascist, imperialistic, tyrannical nation that can be converged to past real-life nations in human history. Those qualities don’t just exist for the sake of it too, it is part of the long prejudice against Eldians, in which Marley exploits that to grow themselves and their dominance around the world. It is that which starts a whole chain of events. A serious chain.
AOT FS story is focused on the cycle of hate, the consequences it has and the action people want to take due to it. Everything that has ever happened so far in the story from start to end (as of now) the cycle of hate continues to prevail in high life, all the while both sides suffer from nothing but losses. That is where the story really shines, the story plays two events on both sides of the spectrum, one we already know and love, Eren’s side, and the other we are made to hate Gabi’s side, it does a good job at making us hate Gabi’s side of the story too, but when you look into it, who is wrong in this mindless loop of destruction? Both sides have given birth to a nation that seeks to exploit and dominate in an imperialistic fashion, the other gives birth to a literal bakemono, a Monster, the devil himself if you really want to go there. The story does a really good job of making those find more important questions. No one here’s truly wrong because, in war, both sides believe in what they are doing to be the just cause of action. Both sides are deluded by their beliefs so much so that there isn’t a spec of question as to if they might be ever so slightly wrong in their actions. Everyone becomes a victim of their surroundings. It is a fantastic way to really emphasize this world of AOT. From the start, it is clear that the hate got too many characters to the point of joining the army at a young age and leaders making up false stories for the sake of maintaining status. The world is cruel, and it sure as hell shows it here.
Characters are really something else in AOT. I want to first get rid of two characters that I found obviously flawed in the anime. Those two being Mikasa and Armin. In simple terms, the former is still a hardcore simp, the latter is still a hardcore weakling. How they don’t change after all these years is beyond me. If Eren’s drip game can go from 0 to 100, wouldn’t it make sense his childhood friends caught on? But in all seriousness, I never quite understood the purpose of Mikasa and Armin. They are annoying, part of the reason I don’t like them too much, but I acknowledge that annoying =/= bad character. The bad qualities of them should I say lie in what purpose they serve to the story as of the Final Season in my opinion. Mikasa has some benefit of the doubt given to her, she is starting to open up that Eren’s apparent downfall is not one that wishes the best of him in his future, she even goes out of her way to question whether or not he is doing the right thing, but again, for the sake of the story, she needs to brainlessly be there for Eren even when my boy is committing various war crimes in the former Eldian empire. She was going places but easily lost herself due to a static character within her. Her “development”, if you can even call it that, is a stretch in my opinion. She makes no effort to do anything she wouldn’t normally do for a nice change in character, especially during these god awful times that both sides have faced. To be fair, Mikasa is supposed to be this life devoting girl to Eren because he saved her, but no development is absurd on quite a few levels, making her less of a believable character. Armin is still the same dude he was from the start, I honestly don’t know why he too hasn’t changed, actually, it would make sense that having the successor of human’s greatest leader would feel like a burden, but all that time to train apparently meant nothing, well okay then. No development here to be pleased of.
Now, for the real MVPs. Eren. The dude is one of my favourite characters in the series, and not because he does an edgelord moment, but his change from the start to the end whilst still being consistent is quite satisfying and understandable to view. When Eren said he was gonna kill his enemies, he wasn’t playing games. He did everything in his power to make that try and this season shows the beginning of such a change of heart.
Gabi. The annoying girl? But is she really? I remember when it was very easy to hate on Eren because of quite a similar personality, I was the same in that boat. Everything she does is justifiable despite being executed in a way to annoy the audience. Past the clouds and she isn’t really any different from other characters like Eren. Hate grew on her, and she is fighting for the sake of the people she cares about, sounds a little bit like Eren does it not? Overall, I think Gabi is quite an interesting character, though, unlike Eren, she is portrayed on the wrong side of the story, giving her a different experience than Eren’s life, the person she is most similar to. Her character plays out quite well if I am honest, the truth which she faces, later on, the reaction of which makes for a tragic life for Gabi honestly. Great writing overall for her.
Reiner. Gigachad hella swagger Reiner drip glow up. In seriousness, Reiner is one of the best characters in the series. He understands a lot more about the world and the harsh reality he has to face due to the brainwashing and control of Marley, he is a victim of the situation. A tragic one after what he has had to face during so. I feel quite bad for the dude but it goes to show like Gabi, he was part of the corrupted system which devalued his life so much that he was lost of everything.
Zeke is one I want to get a little into too, later on in the story he plays a big role in everything that goes down, but there is more than meets the eye with Zeke. you being to understand his motives a bit more and why he did the things he does, an intriguing monke, to say the least.
AOT uses a lot of explicit themes in the story to give it the acclamation it has, like revenge, hate, dystopia, but one of the more implicit themes to be shared is influence. I have noticed that every character in AOT as a child has been influenced in some way. Eren with his past trauma growing into hatred, Gabi the same without the trauma, more like a duty. Reiner the same, but it is based on duty rather than anything else, Zeke would get into spoilers, but you will see what I mean when you get there. AOT does well at this and has made for more believable characters in the grand scale of things, past experiences will have a lot on what you say as you grow up. It also makes me think that on both a superficial and intramural level, the story has something to share regardless of how deep you dive into it. There aren’t a lot of stories out there like this one. One of a kind honestly.
The visuals are an iffy situation, I would be a liar to say I enjoyed the visuals all the way, but notes to take into account are, watch this at a minimum of 720p HD quality, and try to get used to the CGI early on. The CGI really got to me in particular but I got used to it in the end, it is quite unfortunate that Mappa had been given a really bad schedule, it was borderline impossible to make great sakuga all the way through, welcome to the anime industry where money is a top priority, but that’s a story for another time. I understand that there wasn’t any substantial time for Mappa to even make 10/10 animation, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that this isn’t the best thing in the world. It isn’t. So I didn’t see this as anything of glory for the most part, however, even with a bs schedule, Mappa did actually have quite a bit of moment where there were just great scenes overall, their 2D animation and was still amazing to hold onto the tragic reality Mappa faced. They also have amazing camera work, which made most scenes that much more impactful. I could name a few but they would go into spoilers. This is a tragic category, but it is one that I still found some goodness in.
I have been meaning to only give 10/10 audio to only Clannad’s OST, but that changes today, not that numbers meant much to begin with, but you know. AOT FS doesn’t suffer from any kind of lack in the soundtrack to the point where innovation is needed, it also has a wide range of sounds that feature more or less anything that produces a sound, basically, this has it all, the great sound is clearly prominent in this series and has clearly shown that these pieces were composed. So many great tracks to remember, be it due to controversy or just the hype surrounding the said OST brings. OP and ED are in the same boat, I can’t say both tracks have left my head at all and on the visuals side of things they are completely memorable and original. Amazing sounds. Nothing less. I also need to talk about the seiyuus because they did an outstanding performance, it is burnt into the memory of how well they performed, generally amazing on everyone’s side. You won’t see acting like this in a good while I tell you, endorse it now whilst it is still there.
There are a lot of things very enjoyable about AOT FS. Most of mine comes from an external experience, in talking to fans about the philosophy of the characters, what might be upcoming and which side are you on. You can do this with yourself internally too, it depends on how you look at it really. Universal enjoyment is really what I just said, mostly about asking yourself the different questions this has to offer, there is no wrong answer which makes it all the more interesting. Random theories come out of nowhere but they could hold water. Is all fair in war? At the end of the day, AOT allows you to build your own enjoyment of what it gives to you.
Other side factors directly within the anime include hype moments and fight scenes you are just dying for. Whilst they aren’t the best, they are still extremely good and something that I find myself looking forward to at times. AOT needs to have its action here and there to satisfy both parties I guess. In saying that, I do have to point out that a lot of people get a bit bored with the slowness of episodes containing no action and serving as plot-based episodes, I would agree slightly, but it is the same slow journey that is worth the while. You just need to prevail. All in all, AOT does a good job of allowing everyone to enjoy themselves. There’s something for all in this gem.
Overall – 9.6 (10)
Story – 10: Philosophical questions, political troubles, generally very intriguing story to find yourself immersed in.
Visuals – 9: Yes the CGI isn’t the best, but it is actually used quite well, 2D animation still amazing and
Audio – 10: Amazing OST, OP, ED and seiyuus. It is one of a kind here.
Characters – 9.5: Slight hiccup in a few characters, everyone else
Enjoyment – 9.5: Very minor complaint, sometimes episodes are less intriguing than others, but most of the time the hype is still there and this is something to look forward to.
Overall – 9.6 (10)
Before I cut this review off, I really want to put out there this amazing things have gone down with everything in relation to AOT, good or bad, these events were something to witness, getting a following like this again for new manga, which will eventually turn into popular manga, into anime, into popular anime, into a global success, doesn’t seem like it will happen anytime soon. I am glad I was here when this season aired, experiencing all the events that went down lol. Truly monumental moment.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season
2. Jujutsu Kaisen (TV)
3. Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song
4. Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season
5. Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken 2nd Season Part 2
6. Tokyo Revengers
7. Nomad: Megalo Box 2
9. World Trigger 2nd Season
10. Black Clover