They’re the best Anime that 2016 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Boku no Hero Academia, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, Diamond no Ace: Second Season, and more!
10: Boku no Hero Academia
English: My Hero Academia
MAL Score: 8.00
The appearance of “quirks,” newly discovered super powers, has been steadily increasing over the years, with 80 percent of humanity possessing various abilities from manipulation of elements to shapeshifting. This leaves the remainder of the world completely powerless, and Izuku Midoriya is one such individual.
Since he was a child, the ambitious middle schooler has wanted nothing more than to be a hero. Izuku’s unfair fate leaves him admiring heroes and taking notes on them whenever he can. But it seems that his persistence has borne some fruit: Izuku meets the number one hero and his personal idol, All Might. All Might’s quirk is a unique ability that can be inherited, and he has chosen Izuku to be his successor!
Enduring many months of grueling training, Izuku enrolls in UA High, a prestigious high school famous for its excellent hero training program, and this year’s freshmen look especially promising. With his bizarre but talented classmates and the looming threat of a villainous organization, Izuku will soon learn what it really means to be a hero.
*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*
Inspired by American superhero comics, Horikoshi Kouhei’s Boku no Hero Academia (or ‘My Hero Academia’ in English) manga started publishing two years ago, but got gained a lot of popularity only after the release of One Punch Man anime. But being honest here, I must say that I was somewhat disappointed by it.
The story is rather childish. In the world of My Hero Academia, on one fine day, out of nowhere, new born babies started having some random super powers which are called ‘quirks’. With that, evil villains emerged, and with that heroes emerged too, which soon became usual and was accepted by the society. Our main protagonist of the show, Izuku Midoriya, who is always bullied by his childhood friend Bakugou Katsuki who has a great quirk, wanted to join the prestigious ‘Hero School’, UA, and become the best hero in the world like ‘All Might’. But he discovered in his childhood that he is ‘quirkless’, but finding the potential in him due to various situations, All Might passes on his quirk to him which is somewhat like ultimate strength, speed and endurance. But due to his weak body and lack of practice, he always hurts his body due to the recoil. Anyway, he manages to clear the UA entrance exam and now he must struggle in the school to pass out as a pro hero.
Okay, so far so good. But from this point, the excitement goes downhill. Bad jokes, predictable events, childish plot, and what not, makes it seem more like an American Cartoon than a Japanese Anime.
Bones Studio, very popular for it’s work in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, delivers some of the best artworks out there. But this time, it gambled with My Hero Academia. The graphics are very sketchy and it feels like we are reading a comic book. It may be a hit for some people. But honestly speaking, it was a miss for me.
There is no doubt that Porno Graffitti, the most misunderstood band name, did an amazing job for the OP with the song ‘The Day’. The fast and catchy song and the visuals along with it are very good and fits the mood. ‘Heroes’ by Brian the Sun is another great ED. And guess what? Kaji Yuki performed the role of Todoroki Shouto! Also other talented voice actors like Okamoto Nobuhiko, Suwabe Junichi, Kitamura Eri, Yuuki Aoi, Inoue Marina did a great job. The OSTs during the action scenes are really good too.
This is the biggest negative point for the show. The characters, are well, lame. Everyone is either silly or one dimensional or simply annoying. They all have unique quirks which make them different from each other. But still, they are lame.
Bakugou Katsuki is the lamest and the most annoying of all the characters. He exists just to bully Midoriya Izuku to make the anime more shounenish.
Midoriya Izuku is no good either. A lame-ass who usually cries over stupid things instead of fighting like a man. He is a fan boy who cries tears of happiness like a girl when he is able to see some pro hero. That’s seriously lame.
All Might, the strongest hero in the world is the silliest childhood-hero like character. He has got some weird hairstyle and dialogues without any punch. He has one alternate form in which he shrinks to a thinner size with a gunny un-proportional face and body, which may have been shown for comedy, but I found it silly.
Eraser Head is the only character whom I found interesting and mature. Reminded me of Kakashi Hatake from Naruto. 😛
I enjoyed the show only in some parts of it (mostly the action part). The rest of the show was silly, childish, predictable and it felt like it was targeted for pre-teens. But anyway, if you have already watched a lot of good anime, then this anime is suited for casual watching.
If you are a pre-teen or younger, you will like or maybe love this show. It has all the scenes and factors which today’s generation kids love (I guess). If you are a matured adult who is not into silly comedy, bullied-kid-turned-into-superhero or someone who finds funny villains evil, you should probably avoid this anime.
+A few action scenes
+Good for audience below the age of 16 years
-Poor plot, many loopholes
-Silly and annoying comedy
-Silly and annoying characters
-Comic book sketch-like art
-Not good for mature audience
It’s like a rip off of Marvel, DC and One Punch Man. But a bad one. Good for casual watching, if you have already watched a lot of good anime and have nothing new to watch. If you like shounen super power anime, then you will like this anime. I have a feeling that the sequel is going to be better. Let’s wait and see.
Being satisfied with maintaining a status quo in a medium that constantly pushes the envelope may seem like the wrong direction to take until you come to realize the confines the show is working with. While some shows of this nature tend to sabotage themselves with poor narrative decisions, most are usually knocked off, not by their content, but by their desire for more, despite not having the material needed to back it up.
Shounen stories by design are meant to facilitate the fundamental building blocks of easily digestible themes. It’s for that reason that the main demographic targeted is first and foremost young boys to teens before concerning themselves with any other group. While some titles have successfully escaped this genre’s trappings to garner appraisal from a more demanding audience (Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter X Hunter, etc.), most of it tends to fall apart when they attempt to push beyond the capabilities of its written material (Owari no Seraph, Blue Exorcist, etc.). This isn’t to say that a creator shouldn’t attempt to do more if they think they’re capable of pulling it off, just that knowing what material you have to work with is also key to creating a successful work. You can’t exactly create thematically rich content from something that didn’t contain it in the first place, but what you can do is make the best product possible with the hand you’re dealt.
And this is where Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) comes in. It’s a shounen story that isn’t ashamed about its humble offerings, nor does it display delusions of grandeur for accolades out of its reach. While other content creators are busy navel-gazing, Academia uses that time to create something that’s full of whimsy. It’s an anime that lives comfortably in its realm of customary standards. And really, isn’t that enough? Academia doesn’t work because it offers more than other atypical shounen titles, it works because it decides to be the best it can be in its current position that it’s given. And what better way to show strength within one’s limitations than by having the story revolve around characters that put forth their best effort in the face of adversity.
Academia tells a story that I’m sure most anime viewers are familiar with. The classic underdog story; the naive boy growing into his own, the bonds he forms with like-minded individuals, and the life lessons he learns along the way. It’s a simple tale, one of perseverance, childish ideals, and believing in oneself. Izuku “Deku” Midoriya is that naive boy, and the object of his admiration is that of All Might: the idealized embodiment of peace and justice. The story chronicles his attempts to become an admirable hero like the one he looks up to, as well as seeing him overcome the obstacles he’s bound to face in the uphill battle that he’s undertaken to get there.
Set in a universe where superpowers manifest itself in 80% of the world’s population, becoming a professional hero has become commonplace. These innate abilities that people find themselves with are referred to as “Quirks.” Naturally, the 20% that’s born without a Quirk is at an inherent disadvantage to the rest of the population. And as you would guess, our protagonist Midoriya is one of these unfortunate people that life handed lemons to. Despite his situation, our protagonist still desperately seeks out the chance to become a hero. But it isn’t until a fateful encounter that his dream could become a reality. Fast forward a few months later, and Midoriya finds himself at the gates of one of the most respected schools for heroes in training. And so begins our tale.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Academia is just how expressive its art and animation looks. The show looks like colored panels jumping right off the pages of its manga counterpart. This is further illustrated by the dynamic movement of the characters, instantaneously eye-catching character designs, and an ultra-vibrant color scheme. Studio Bones rolled their sleeves up with this one, delivering a visual spectacle that they’re known to be capable of. A firework display of showboating talent that the studio has earned across the many years in the industry. And since they’re adapting the material verbatim, none of their infamous plotting issues makes its way into the narrative, making Academia into a cohesive body of work, the likes of which wasn’t pulled off by Bones since their adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It’s the studio at its best, which not only spotlight its talents to others but also helps Academia to shine its brightest.
To further heighten the visual treat, we’re also given a soundtrack composed by Yuuki Hayashi, which was, for the lack of a better term, hype-inducing. Lending his talents to Kiznaiver, Death Parade, and other projects, Hayashi is quickly making a name for himself within the industry and is a talent worth keeping on your radar for future works to come. With veteran Sound Director Masafumi Mima lending his talents to the project, together these two men help shape the auditory section of Academia into what it is. It’s a commendable effort that’s deserving of the praise received.
And just like the presentation of the show, the characters are just as lively, with a broad range of personalities and superpowers to boot, as to be expected from a show dealing with superheroes. While they’re all fairly stereotypical, what they lack in layered character detail, they more than compensated with spunk and attitude. Their eccentricities added to the show’s tone and lighthearted nature. They’re in no way innovative or new to the genre they’re a part of, but they still serve their purpose for the content at hand.
This extends to our protagonist Midoriya as well. He is your archetypal lead in every way possible. Replacing him with almost any other shounen protagonist would yield very little change. What is interesting about him, however, is the handicap that he’s strong-armed into working with. Because of the inherent nature of his power, he is forced to make compromises to avoid extensive injury to himself. Since he spent his entire life taking notes of the anatomy and capabilities of other heroes, he’s more astute than his peers. This allows him the ability to plan accordingly, especially under stressful conditions that force him to be quick on his feet. As the show goes on, this analytical prowess of his doesn’t go to waste. He brings this talent to each physical encounter he’s placed in, making combat situations a balancing act between outsmarting his opponent, as well as mitigating potential risk to himself.
Speaking of physical encounters, since our protagonist makes an effort to think tactically in the midst of battle, the skirmishes he gets into are far more entertaining than what you’d typically expect from superhero brawls. Of course, he’s still a kid, so these tactics may not be the most riveting things to see play out, but it still beats seeing senseless bishounen cock-fights that resort to shouting and punching wildly to achieve results. This was also prevalent in other physical altercations throughout the show. Again, while not the most imaginative fights, they were still a cut above the usual standards of the battle-shounen formula. This doesn’t mean that hotheaded characters grew a few brain cells all of a sudden, they still acted in a brash manner befitting their personality; but for those that have powers or limitations that needed adjustment, they found ways to innovate whenever it was necessary.
With the trend of superhero stories becoming ever-present across all storytelling media in the last few years, the marketplace has gotten to a point where it’s on the verge of stagnation. For the general populace, that point may not be that prevalent yet, but for those vigilant viewers that recognize the pattern, it’s a backlash shit storm just waiting to happen. Boku no Hero Academia is just another drop in the bucket. Inconsequential. A blip on the radar. But that’s also the beauty of it. It’s not an anime that hurts the medium, nor is it unwarranted to most that sit down to watch it. It’s just an honest-to-god shounen. No gimmicks, no underhanded attempts into duping its viewership to take it more seriously than they need to. It’s just a sincere piece of media made for the sole purpose of entertaining its audience, and perhaps even more than that for those wide-eyed youths that sit down to view this type of story for the 1st time.
That sort of honesty in a time when desensitized audiences have grown jaded to what’s offered to them might just be the remedy needed. I always want to see the medium push forward, but when a break is necessary, I more than welcome the likes of shows like Academia. It’s fuel in the fire to keep going. Easygoing entertainment that I could trust at face value won’t give me the runaround.
Academia is a rare case where it’s good because it’s average, and I know that may leave many of you questioning how something could possibly be both, but really, that’s the only way to explain this show’s predicament. We could commend a show for trying and succeeding at doing more, as one should when a title pushes beyond what’s standard fare. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating a title that chooses to be good in a way that’s not necessarily innovative in the market it’s a part of. This will be an instance where the score of “5” isn’t used to insinuate inferior goods, but rather one of accurate assessment of the product at hand. It’s a good show for its target demographic, just an average one given its placement in the broader landscape of shounen material. Its modesty is endearing. And in a time when titles either conflate their worth or uninspiringly follow a checklist for a quick profit, Academia proves that just being yourself is never a bad thing.
The story is set in an alternate universe where 80% of the population have received superpowers (Quirks) and evil is running rampant. To protect society from these villains, numerous heroes have emerged over the recent years in order to make justice triumph and bring peace to the citizens. Our protagonist is Midoriya Izuku, a shy 14 year old boy who’s aspirations ever since he was little were to become a hero. Unfortunately for him, he is not a part of the overwhelming majority in the sense that he has no Quirk of his own which is why he is regularly ridiculed and looked down upon by the people around him.
All of this is put to a stop when he is conveniently placed under the strongest hero of all time, Allmight. After going through a harsh training routine for a solid 10 months and gaining a Quirk of his own, he is finally deemed worthy to join the ranks of other overpowered teenagers alike and enroll at the Hero Academy in order to groom his newly-formed power and finally qualify to be a real hero, thus making his dreams a reality. Though that is just the glorified way of saying it. Around here I noticed that the story often struggles with balancing whether or not it wants to handle this plot in a serious manner or a not-so-serious manner, which makes up for some rather rough transitions down the road when the serious arcs role around.
Anyhow, the premise of the story is not the problem I have with it, but rather it’s the way they went of doing things. I was personally hoping to see the plot move in a bit more serious fashion or maybe have a bit more focus on the implications and alternation of society as a whole from suddenly receiving these bizarre super powers out of the blue. Though this is a shounen after all, so we ended up taking a more shounen-ish approach to things as we follow Deku and friends through their many trials and tribulations. Unfortunately, when compared to series of the similar nature like last year’s One Punch Man, it ends up falling short.
With other genres to the side, a big portion of time and effort is spent on action and comedy, as you would normally expect from a shounen series. The action scenes are usually handled fairly well due to the bizarre nature of the Quirks and there being basically no limitations to what one can and can’t do which in turn makes up for some interesting scenarios. And Bones being Bones, the animation is as consistant as you can imagine. The comedy, on the other hand, is very lackluster and more often than not just ends up falling completely flat. And if it miraculously does somehow end up being even remotely funny, then you can be sure that they will re-use the same joke 5 times over and run it to the ground. A good example of this would be the gag of Allmight being anorexic.
This section plays a significant role in the series decline as like with most other shounen, the characters aren’t developed that well at all. Though, that is not something I should entirely fault it for, especially considering the genre at hand. However, Boku no Hero Academia misses a very crucial opportunity here. Do you know what all the top-tier shounen all have in common? They have an actual likable main cast of characters.
Thus, we enter Midoriya Izuku, otherwise known simply as Deku. Deku, being the protagonist of the story of course doesn’t have a quirk of his own and was therefore looked down upon by his peers throughout his entire life. The amount of victimization they give to this character can get pretty overwhelming at times, seeing as at one point he is laughed at by everyone in his classroom even with the teacher being present and everything. They really went all-out to make this guy the ultimate underdog, to the point where it sometimes just irritates me to watch him. He’s weak, can’t stand up for himself and is socially awkward around girls. However, this all changes when he conveniently meets up with his favorite and most powerful hero in all of existence and gets taken under his wing. After that, he is fed a piece of hair, thus receiving superpowers. Hooray!
I really thought it couldn’t get any worse but here we are. Bakugou Katsuki is Deku’s psychopath of a childhood friend, his biggest bully as well as his possible rival later on. He is usually a tool from which Deku’s victimization during the series stems from, as Kacchan here is completely mental. It is heavily implied throughout the series by Deku that he became the way he is now after “straying off the path” and receiving his Quirk, yet it was clearly shown in multiple flashbacks what an egotistical maniac he was even during his childhood. There really aren’t any justifiable factors for this guy. His character is very basic and doesn’t ever go beyond him being a self-absorbed cunt who wants to be the best at everything for extremely shallow and selfish reasons.
Then there are some other main characters that didn’t leave me much to write about either because they either weren’t utilized properly or were just not very good. Allmight is the object of Deku’s admiration as well as his questionably-anorexic mentor. He usually ends up defeating the villains in a few seconds and has some semi-inspirational dialogue throughout the series but is ultimately overshadowed for the majority of the show, up until the final 2 episodes. Uraraka is pretty cute and ends up giving Deku panic attacks whenever she talks to him due to his seemingly crippling anxiety around girls. I don’t remember the armored guy’s name but he’s pretty cool. As for the antagonists, their motivations never get explored and we’re just left to our imagination.
The art for Boku no Hero definitely isn’t bad by any means, it’s just very unappealing so to say. With a very cartoonish style to it, it has a sort of unique feel to it, yet still somehow looks ugly. This complaint is nearly nonexistent when it comes to the backgrounds but is very much there when I stare at the character designs for too long. Midoriya’s design faintly reminds me of diarrhea, for one reason or another. Bones has continuously produced some of the best animation through each passing season for years now so no surprise here. Since it heats up during the intense moments of the show the fights are quite nice to watch. Most of the tracks from the OST were unnoticeable apart from the main theme and another track which’s timing was nailed very well every time to enhance the feeling of dread once the antagonists showed up. I enjoyed the ending and especially the opening theme a lot and the voice acting was solid, albeit there were some performances that I found to be annoying.
The enjoyment of the show will mostly depend on how big of a fan of shounen you are. If you go in with the assumption that it will suck, you may be pleasantly surprised like I was when the latter half rolled around. It has deplorable humor which is a miss in 90% of cases which can easily ruin a series for me and that really was the case for the first few episodes, but eventually I just tried looking past it. The final 3-4 episodes of the show is where shit hits the fan and I don’t remember the last time I was this entertained while watching a seasonal anime. Essentially, if you’re a shounen fan looking for some dumb fun you’ll probably love it, and if you’re coming in with a skeptical mindset then try to look past the first few episodes, as the show gets better the longer it goes on.
In conclusion, I don’t think Boku no Hero Academia is that bad of a series. Sure, it has its fair share of problems here and there but what my rating mostly stems from is when I compare it to other series in the same vein, be it a regular shounen or the example that I have previously mentioned which is OPM. It has a story with some potential to be found but a very mediocre and slightly disappointing execution, with every character in the show being either extremely unlikable and annoying or simply bad. At times it takes itself too seriously and at others not seriously enough, which makes up for some pretty awkward transitioning.
If you’re a fan of shounen series, I’d recommend Boku no Hero with a grain of salt as hopefully you don’t come in with your previous completed series being FMA and end up setting the bar too high. Though, if you’re an easygoing person who’s just looking for some dumb fun then this is definitely your go-to this season. All in all, it’s not bad and is certainly not good but mainly fails to live up to the hype created by the community.
9: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
English: KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!
MAL Score: 8.14
After dying a laughable and pathetic death on his way back from buying a game, high school student and recluse Kazuma Satou finds himself sitting before a beautiful but obnoxious goddess named Aqua. She provides the NEET with two options: continue on to heaven or reincarnate in every gamer’s dream—a real fantasy world! Choosing to start a new life, Kazuma is quickly tasked with defeating a Demon King who is terrorizing villages. But before he goes, he can choose one item of any kind to aid him in his quest, and the future hero selects Aqua. But Kazuma has made a grave mistake—Aqua is completely useless!
Unfortunately, their troubles don’t end here; it turns out that living in such a world is far different from how it plays out in a game. Instead of going on a thrilling adventure, the duo must first work to pay for their living expenses. Indeed, their misfortunes have only just begun!
This review will be rigged with League of Legends references. If you don’t get it, you obviously need to start playing the game right now. And no there’s no spoiler.
Konosuba > DotA 2 *Grabs boobs*.
At a quick glance, Konosuba might be as average as any other RPG harem where the MC is Faker playing against a bunch of Crowns and Kuros, where all he has to do is perform a barrel roll on stage then proceed to win Worlds. Three times.
WRONG. It’s far from that yet it was so good that I would consider this anime to be THE anime of the season. How? (MF support duh)
After 10 episodes directed by Mr. Michael Bay, our party of Bronze V garbage feeders still hasn’t managed to get out of the ghetto ass town made for noobs and losers, let alone destroying the enemy Nexus. Basically, the plot moved SLOWER THAN THE FUCKING CLOCK WHEN I’M AT WORK. At the very least, they did manage to slay a super fed Mordekaiser (but he did nothing wrong ;_;), farm that clueless Tahm Kench over and over and survive a debacle of One-for-all Renekton gank.
30 SECONDS UNTIL MAIN CHARACTERS SPAWN
The art was bright and colorful, reflecting the overall mellow mood. the background and water art were especially beautiful that they gave me eyegasm. The skin, textures and animation is fairly good, but at times they were sloppy like a bunch of chimpanzees were substituted in to take charge of production.
The soundtracks and OP/ED songs were okay, fairly relaxing, mellow which captured the overall silly and light-hearted nature of the series but not that impressive (to me at least). It would’ve been better if the troll music from Random LoL Moments on Youtube were used. On the other hand, the voice acting was superb which greatly contributed to the comedy and overall enjoyment of the series. Kazuma’s “Hai, Kazuma desu”, Aqua’s cries and rants were so hilarious I can’t even.
What made Konosuba highly enjoyable was the team of 5 totally dysfunctional, insufferable trash players and the comedy that resulted from their inability to cooperate, which led to their flaming one another and getting utterly raped by whatever’s going on around them. Konosuba makes fun of the RPG genre and its cliches in general instead of following them, leaving a stronger impression on me, the viewer who’s obviously tired of SAO, Log Horizons and such. Furthermore, no anime would be complete without this most fundamental rule: Cute girls. Konosuba’s cast of girls (and Kazuma) were cute, yes, they’re even highly distinctive and did not fall into apparent tropes that are so overused nowadays, making them relatively fresh.
“Baa…….kaaaa Ta…taaa……taric-kun, it’s not like I wanted to go bot lane with you or anything… Don’t misunderstand” – Tsundere Ezreal.
“I’m sorry Lux-chan, I, Taric, Ezreal-tan’s eternal lover will be the only one allowed to go bot lane with him” *Swings hammer* – *Rainbow splatters* – Yandere Taric
No, no, we don’t need any of that, get outta here.
MAIN CHARACTERS HAVE SPAWNED
– The adc: Satou Kazuma, leader, our hella weak dickwad of an adc compared to Jesus-kun of the RPG world Kirito, but he’s got the brain and he actually fights smart despite his auto-flaming. His cynical and realist attitude separated him from our usual never-give-up nakama-powered MCs, which might as well make him the best MC of the season. He’s the only adc to not dive into the middle of the enemy team, as rare as it sounds. He’s surrounded by idiots and the way he deals with them is uber hilarious, reminds me of how I deal with my own League party. You did not realize that the adc is a melee, and you’re not going to question it. Move on
– The Mid Laner, One Explosion Girl a.k.a Michael Bay’s waifu: She’s basically Ziggs but with only the Ult, thus she’s literally useless after using it, requiring someone to carry her (literally and figuratively) else she’ll feed the enemy team’s Tahm Kench and Mordekaiser. She is, of course, flamed by Kazuma throughout the series. She’s cute, yeah, but she’s not like your average moeblob. She’s got explosive personalities, explosive ambitions and explosive love for explosions. Hue
ENEMY DOUBLE KILL
– The Top Laner, a.k.a MasoLeona: What’s better than a tank? A MASOCHISTIC TANK!!!!!!! She’s tankier than Rammus, Malphite, and Alistar w/ full tank build combined but her aim is worse than mine in the morning trying to piss while blinded by the Satan God Teemo (he’s the real Demon King they have to kill). Needlessly to say, she joyously took all the aggro and flaming like a real M. Scenes where she verbally “abused” the honorable Dullahan were priceless. Poor Dully. If only she could aim her E properly… Who even plays Leona top nowadays? This is like fucking Dyrus trolling every game when he’s streaming after having retired from TSM.
ENEMY TRIPLE KILL
– The Support, Best Girl (sorry Michael Bay fans): Basically your toxic feeder Nami with legs building ap instead of support items while going around trash talking to people and fucking shit up with wataah. She’s super derp, always trying to ragequit, feeds Tahm Kench furiously and is constantly flamed by Kazuma but that’s where the fun comes from. She just needs a hug and I wanna give her a big hug so badly because she was forced to play support by Kazuma, it’s not her fault guys!!!
ENEMY QUADRA KILL
– The Jungler, Wizzlestick (because ap jungler w/ drain, but then again it’s a contradiction because she is… well… thick, while Fiddlestick is… well… a stick): The one who is super fed but only came to gank like twice during the entire anime but who cares? She’s kind and cute af, and she destroys the enemy when it matters most. Unfortunately the support absolutely hates her guts because she’s not playing a meta champ, but this is the only time when not everyone blamed the jungler for their misery. If only she ganked lane more often, she’d be a best girl contender. Let’s be honest that she’s only here because I don’t want to have a team of 4 when implementing League of Legends in my review.
Everyone is 1/10 fed and 9/10 feeder, however due to the circumstances they have to stick together because 4 is always better than 1 (5 if the Jungler actually showed up). This is where Konosuba is most different and in a good way, the characters slowly get stronger, better at teamwork, more sympathetic and understanding of one another over, (still weak in the end), not shitting out powers and eternal bonds of friendship all of a sudden. Nobody gets ult from Level 1 guys…
OUR TURRET HAS BEEN DESTROYED
I could relate to Kazuma so well, being a decent League player who prefers to stick to a group of average feeders and make them better, rather than joining a bunch of diamonds because then victory doesn’t feels like a true accomplishment, and there’s no fun curb-stomping the enemy team all the time. Believe me, I raged hard the night I wrote this review because we played like retards lol.
OUR INHIBITOR HAS BEEN DESTROYED
After successfully defending the base from Super Siege Minion spawned by Warlord’s Banner of Command, our gang must head into the counteroffensive to be brought by season 2. But until then, let’s just say that season 1 was exhilarating to watch. I especially appreciated the silly comedy, the anti-harem and anti-OP MC themes from the series.
Michael Bay would be so proud of Megumin and Konosuba, someone needs to show him this series please.
DEFEAT…. barely avoided.
I’m pretty sure everybody has said this already, but, it really is true. After the extreme success of Sword Art Online the reality to game genre has become an insanely overused trope. Konosuba does have one thing going for it though… Instead of choosing to become ridiculously powerful like almost every other protagonist, this protagonist decides to take the wish granter with him to the ‘subarashi sekai’. I can tell you, I wasn’t expecting that!
The art itself in Konosuba… is bad. Really bad. As in, it looks way too old for 2016 quality. It could have been worse, MUCH worse, but it is by no means impressive. What is impressive however, is the animation, especially in episode 10, with all those explosion scenes. Radiant colors flaring everywhere, shapes of all different sizes, but most importantly, in the episodes with the succibi and in the mansion….. HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THOSE JIGGLE PHYSICS?!
Ugh… well, here goes. Konosuba’s sound factor. The opening theme is very catchy. But not the kind of way that makes you want to sing it all the time, the kind that makes you regret ever haring it because you can’t stop singing it. The ending theme as well, is just plain and not something anyone will remember. I did like how some characters got themes to match their personalities, but even then the music was mediocre at best. The voice acting is done decently, but is nothing special. The sound effects were also average.
I’m actually scared to be writing this right now, because the amount of butthurt fanboys is going to be insane. But, here goes… I’ll start off with character design. Unrecognizable. Every. Single. One of ’em. They have the traditional ‘fantasy world’ clothing and design, through and through. As for their personalities: Kazuma is a funny lead that tries to defy the harem cliches. Aqua is funny as well, and memorable for sure, but she is outshined by Darkness, a masochist. Yep. You heard me. A masochist. Hilarious! And of couuuurse, how could I forget fan favorite Megumin! Super cute and always unleashing explosions, what is NOT to love about these characters?!……. They aren’t funny anymore. Usually unique characters being fit into a 10 episode anime like this are praised and loved by all, because there isn’t enough time to realize the flaws in the character. (I’m guilty of this also). That’s not the case with Konosuba. I think it was around episode 7 when I stopped laughing because I had heard the same jokes over and over again. By episode 10, they were straight up annoying.
Konosuba… ok, I’m not even going to say it had potential, because it didn’t. It was doomed to fail from the start. If you consider this anime funny it is definitely something to try, but if not, don’t bother. I would only recommend it to extreme fans of the reality to game genre, and…. well… that’s it. If you enjoy it, good for you! As for me, Konosuba was not my cup of tea.
KonoSuba spews out pure joys and rainbows. With other shows telling great stories or exploring philosophy and other themes, Konosuba ignores all that and focuses on pure entertainment! With genuinely hilarious albeit niche comedy, any flaws this series has are just parodied to still become enjoyable. There’s very little to criticize about this show, because I’m not even sure whether or not all of these “flaws” it has are there on purpose or not.
KonoSuba is the obligatory goofball of its season. It’s so over the top, but it manages to execute its quirkiness in a way that’s super hilarious and lighthearted. Instead of pursuing a serious story, it focuses on slice of life shenanigans that make fun of stereotypes, like character tropes and MMO characteristics. KonoSuba is an amazing anime to just sit down and relax to. Other shows getting on your nerves with their turtle or cheetah pacing? Pop an episode of KonoSuba. Feeling down because you just finished an amazing show, and you have fallen into a showhole? KonoSuba will cheer you up with its refreshing comedy, and it will get you back into an anime watching mood in no time!
– Cast of characters are funny and resemble other awesome characters.
– Parody references of MMO mechanics are creative, funny, and now that you think about it, MMOs make no sense at all!
– For a silly series, the animation and art is gorgeous and the soundtrack is awesome too! The ED especially has a Fairy Tail feel.
– Just pure joy comes out of watching this.
– MY CABBAGES!!!!
– The show is so cliche that it’s anti-cliche.
– There is very little relevant plot.
– Only 10 episodes. Really? Are you kidding?
– Has promises of going somewhere yet never does.
– Since characters are parodies, they don’t have much character of their own and aren’t very unique.
Despite the fact that there is almost no actual story, and that it’s more like a slice of life of a stereotypical MMORPG world, the little events that happen are creative and enjoyable, especially to you hardcore MMORPG gamers out there. Konosuba’s first episode is actually one of the better first episodes in the medium, as it tells you exactly what you’re getting yourself into. The show parodies the mechanics of MMO games to the point of boner inducing laughs, such as highlighting the outrageousness of what MMO skills can do, as well as the randomness and weirdness of MMO events and quests. It also parodies anime by using subtle 4th wall breaks in reaction to what the characters say or do. The show is a parody and the characters know it. Konosuba has this quirk of doing something so stupidly outrageous that you can’t even get mad at it. This show is incredibly self aware of its silliness, and as a result, takes it even higher.
Konosuba has this thing it likes to do, and that’s bring everything full circle for the laughs. And when I say full circle, I mean literally full circle, as in by the end of all the outrageous things happening, the story hasn’t progressed a single step. Even so, there is a sense of a growing bond, perhaps an unhealthy bond but a bond for sure, between the characters, and this is definitely something that progresses throughout the series. Unfortunately, this developing bond leaves the story in the dust. Konosuba is like parkour: it takes the most insane and outrageous route to get to where it wants to go, except it doesn’t go anywhere.
Even silly anime have high budget art and animation, and KonoSuba is proof of that. The animation is actually really gorgeous (for example, the animation of the DNA strands are actually pretty cool!) The characters look like shit but for all the right reasons, Aqua’s design highlights her adorableness and cynical nature. The other characters also have fitting designs for their characteristics, and have some little resemblances to other characters that they could possibly be based off of. However, this is Deen we are talking about, so it never keeps this quality of animation, and it lowers in quality constantly. KonoSuba is one of those shows that actually benefits from its shitty art at times, and the really poorly drawn faces make me laugh that much harder. In fact, I was under the impression that Deen was making fun of their own shitty animation with this series.
The OP is catchy and the ED is amazing. The OST is pretty good, but the main highlight is the Voice Acting. The seiyuus match their characters amazingly, each line being executed with passion and energy. I wouldn’t know for sure, but it sounded like the seiyuus were having a blast. The execution of the punch lines hit home every time. This show is a very loud show, characters are constantly screaming at each other and laughing in distorted ways, and I’m sure it’s tough for the seiyuus’ voices. When it comes to comedy, the jokes are only as funny as how funny it is told, and in this case, it was told well.
This cast is so outrageous, they essentially make the show. Each character parodies a stereotype, and they do it very well. The MC, Kazuma, is the smart but talentless trope who is the only sane one around, and whenever his mindset matches the viewer, which happened a decent amount with me, it made the situations comedy gold. Aqua parodies the dumb but full of potential clumsy character, Megumin is the chuunibyou trope (except not really cause her powers are real) and has a lot of confidence. And of course, Darkness is the obligatory perverted masochist! They take their tropes as far as they can go, and it makes this show that much funnier.
However, gimmicks like these can only go so far. The real value behind these characters are their interactions. These days, character interactions are the base of comedy anime and if the interactions seem unnatural or forced, the jokes can only be so funny. In Konosuba, not only are the interactions very natural and flow well, but they are so god damn unpredictable. Despite the apparently clear cut tropes these characters follow, the interactions end up being stuff you wouldn’t expect. Timing and predictability play as important of a role as the quality of the joke itself, and the cast of Konosuba goes out of their way to execute jokes perfectly.
This show is incredibly refreshing and, most importantly, holds a lot of rewatch value! It’s a good example of a show that is good and feels good.
This show is so fun to watch. If you want a show were you don’t have to think about anything and you can just sit and enjoy whatever is thrown at you, this show’s gotchu! Of course, many watch anime expecting a plot that actually goes somewhere, and Konosuba is definitely not going anywhere, but I implore that you at least give it a shot.
TL;DR: Take out all the flaws of SAO and replace it with comedy, and you get this show!
HERE IS TO A GLORIOUS AND OUTRAGEOUS SEASON 2!!!
8: Diamond no Ace: Second Season
English: Ace of Diamond: Second Season
Japanese: ダイヤのA[エース]～Second Season～
MAL Score: 8.31
After the National Tournament, the Seidou High baseball team moves forward with uncertainty as the Fall season quickly approaches. In an attempt to build a stronger team centered around their new captain, fresh faces join the starting roster for the very first time. Previous losses weigh heavily on the minds of the veteran players as they continue their rigorous training, preparing for what will inevitably be their toughest season yet.
Rivals both new and old stand in their path as Seidou once again climbs their way toward the top, one game at a time. Needed now more than ever before, Furuya and Eijun must be determined to pitch with all their skill and strength in order to lead their team to victory. And this time, one of these young pitchers may finally claim that coveted title: “The Ace of Seidou.”
A collaboration of Madhouse and Production I.G., two of arguably the greatest ever studio’s in this industry. With loads of experience behind them and even highly in the sports genre (Madhouse: Hajime no Ippo, One Outs and Chihayafuru. Production I.G.: Haikyuu!!, Kuroko no Basket and Prince of Tennis) coming together for the first time. And it was a long runner at that, so you could always expect them to deliver the goods. This will be a combined review of both the seasons, and also may contain spoilers.
After having agonizingly lost in the finals against Inashiro a year ago and missing out on an opportunity to play at the National level, it was no other way but to try again for the highly lauded Seido High School of Baseball. And with many of the acclaimed senior players retiring from the team, things looked bleak for Seido. With new freshmen joining the team, it was always hard to build back the team and try to challenge other clubs.
The characters as players also go through quite a lot development as they try to ramp up their game and take experience from the matches they play. Although Sawamura (aka Bakamura :p) remains the same idiot as ever, he actually does show what he’s capable of and gets close to Furuya to become Seido’s ace, and that inner battle between the two pitchers was amazing to see as always in the show. Miyuki Kazuya is the new captain of this refreshed Seido side, and we’re treated to his super abilities as a captain and a catcher. He’s the pillar of Seido which keeps the team intact. Quite a few of rivals and players have stepped up their game too, and we see a new rival for Seido in Yakushi with Raichi the monster-slogger and the cunning Sanada Shunpei, coming to the scene being better than before.
The music for DnA too has never seized to amaze me. One after the other, DnA boasts of exciting new OP and ED songs. It also has a great set of OST’s and Background Music that totally ignites the fiery and tense moments in a game. Good consistent voice acting all around, too. The animation is convincing for the fifty one episodes. They’ve stuck to the basics with little exaggerated movements and it doesn’t have any sort of flashy moves or any otherworldly techniques that would be impossible to execute in a real match. The better players realize the situations and play accordingly, occasionally taking inspirations from what their coaches or fellow players might’ve said in the past. So DnA has had that realistic appeal all the time, something that makes this show all the more enjoyable. It’s one of the best long-running sport anime there is. The enjoyment is worthwhile for the huge amount of episodes.
DnA is a very simple show. We follow the dream of aspiring young baseball players and a club to play in the Nationals. It’s a roller-coaster ride filled with endless excitement and emotions.
You’re probably thinking of an 7/10 a bit of a low rating, but I’m taking in the account of 5/10 being an average. That, I consider an exceptional score. I also currently follow MLB (Major League Baseball) and used to play baseball. I just want you to keep all that in mind.
I first thought the 2nd season will be like the 1st season, this was going to be a long drag and have a pretty cliche/predictable story. This is considering having to go through the previous season’s 75 episodes, but still enjoyed it enough for the nostalgia and epic moments.
Boy, I was so wrong.
For sports anime, there always the main team’s goal to win nationals or blah blah blah, win the tournament. However, for this one, that wasn’t really solely that goal. I can’t give away anything (cuz spoilers), but this gives a twist to the series I wasn’t totally expecting. Still, generally a sport anime story though…
What really makes this a great sport anime is the characters. There are so many character that I can’t even keep up. Each character has some kind of unique quirk, style, backstory, or even the way they’re drawn is what makes them stand out. This certainly the case for Sawamura and new characters to follow. Many aren’t really one dimensional.
The art direction is still solid, but not amazing. What really brought this score down was the art. There wasn’t really improvement since the previous season. I don’t mean the art was bad to begin with, but a lot of the characters are drawn inconsistently and the background NPCs are even worse. The backgrounds are sometimes inconsistent too. But the little details like the strings on the fielding gloves and the designs on the batting gloves are a plus.
As for the sound, the OST is still amazing as in the first season and the openings/endings are just as good as well. Sound effects are nice too.
This was also prominent in the 1st season as well. I’ve been hearing complaints of during the 2nd season of: “Oh is this Furuya no Ace?” or “When will Sawamura have the spotlight?” It seems some people don’t really understand why this is necessary. Although it is painstaking that Sawamura doesn’t really get to show his stuff and Furuya still butts in, this helps the MC develop. Without Furuya, Sawamura wouldn’t have a burning passion he does right now. Furuya completes Sawamura. Please don’t be like those butthurt fans. I just want you to keep that in mind into the 2nd season from the 1st.
Overall, I really enjoyed the 2nd season, well worth going through the 1st. Oh don’t forget the dreadful cliffhangers! 😉
This go around, I was really able to appreciate how the music was working to further the plot. I don’t believe the main pieces were changed too much, but they were used just as well. You can perfectly understand what’s going on in the story just through the music, and that’s really special. It’s even better when the plot follows suit and then completely switches gears immediately after. The sound design did really well to draw the viewer into the moment and then kick them out just as quickly. When the music stopped, you knew something was up, even if the plot hadn’t revealed it yet. It’s so well done.
Since I’m bringing up the plot, I wanna talk about the story. I was serious about my heart racing like that of an athlete in the middle of a match. The first season did well with tension, too, but this season stepped it up for sure. You absolutely cannot know what’s going to happen. Even if you guess correctly, the plot is gonna make you second-guess it over and over. The result of the story using tension so well is that the successes and failures hit that much harder. It’s able to make you hope, and then it either rewards it or snatches it way in the most technically amazing way possible. Something unexpected always happens, and the story becomes so phenomenal because of that.
This series also takes brilliant care of its characters and their development. It’s something I have difficulty describing while still keeping it vague, but any time a character gets a chance to grow, you really feel like you’re taking every step with them. Whether they’re good steps, bad steps, or something in between, nothing is written lazily. This anime has made me connect with certain characters more than any other anime in this genre. Since the writing takes the care to develop the characters slowly and realistically within the parameters they’ve set for realism in the anime, it makes them a lot easier to sympathize with and love.
I can’t praise this anime enough. I’m never gonna be able to stop praising it, and I’m glad I get to have all these new experiences because of the quality of it all. I’m sad that it may end soon, but it’s something I’d never give up because… I’m having so much fun. I guess I’m off to burn more calories through stressful watch-time, so I’ll see you at the end of the next one.
7: Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan
English: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
MAL Score: 8.43
To the average person, psychic abilities might seem a blessing; for Kusuo Saiki, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Gifted with a wide assortment of supernatural abilities ranging from telepathy to x-ray vision, he finds this so-called blessing to be nothing but a curse. As all the inconveniences his powers cause constantly pile up, all Kusuo aims for is an ordinary, hassle-free life—a life where ignorance is bliss.
Unfortunately, the life of a psychic is far from quiet. Though Kusuo tries to stay out of the spotlight by keeping his powers a secret from his classmates, he ends up inadvertently attracting the attention of many odd characters, such as the empty-headed Riki Nendou and the delusional Shun Kaidou. Forced to deal with the craziness of the people around him, Kusuo comes to learn that the ordinary life he has been striving for is a lot more difficult to achieve than expected.
The protagonist in this story, Saiki, is a boy that was born with psychic powers in a normal world. He can read minds, he can teleport from one place to another, he can restore things (people included) to their previous state in the past… and these three are just a few examples of all that he can do. Saiki is so powerful that, if he wanted to, he could singlehandedly take control of the Earth in a few days, is that his intention? Hell no! He just wants to live a quiet life, and I can already tell you that he isn’t even close to have one.
From his family, to his classmates, to seemingly anyone he meets, everyone is a weirdo, and they are all hilarious and awesome in their own way and won’t let Saiki alone for a second. There is Shun, the chuunibyou that believes in the existence of Dark Reunion, an evil organization that only he can defeat (even if in reality he is a complete weakling), Nendou, a character that is so empty-headed that Saiki is not able to read his mind, Teruhashi, a girl that is considered perfect by everyone (especially herself), and so, so many other awesome characters that will grow up on you and make you laugh so much.
Saiki itself is a fantastic and unique character, he’s a straight man (and the only sane person around) that doesn’t fully act like one, instead of shouting like it’s the usual, he stays silent for the other characters, and we can listen to him internally complaining in his normal tone, there is something so funny about seeing him wondering what the hell is wrong with everyone, all while keeping his trademark deadpan face, that rarely changes outside of when near his biggest weakness: coffee jello, he absolutely loves it and he will do anything for them.
The variety that having psychic powers provides to the story makes this anime so great, every episode feels very different to the others thanks to the multiple uses that they have. The humor itself is quite fast paced, and manages to be constantly funny, you will be laughing all the time while watching this anime. All the side characters get the right amount of screen time to become memorable, yet never feel like they are overused. The 4th wall breaks are fantastic, and I really have to mention the parodies, that are mostly from other popular games and series that everyone knows about, so one is not left with a “well, I don’t get it” reaction everytime they happen.
The art style and animation of this anime is honestly pretty average, it doesn’t look bad, but it’s definitively not a high budget work at all, I personally don’t give much value to that since the main objective in this type of stories is to make us laugh, and actually, if used properly, that can work pretty well in their favour, this can be especially be seen in scenes featuring Nendou, where the intention is to make him look as derp as possible and that helps making it even better.
In the sound department, as most of the time with comedies, the songs are quite forgettable and mostly there to simply go along with the events that happen, there is one big exception though, and it’s the “JUDGEMENT KNIGHTS OF” song that follows some Shun scenes and makes them so much better. Both two opening and ending themes are pretty good, especially “Ψ desu I LIKE YOU”, the first ending theme (or the opening one if you watch the shorts), that is a very catchy song.
This next and final point is meaningless for the new watcher now that this anime finished, but I really need to still mention it, Saiki Kusuo aired as both a series of shorts (4 minutes episode per weekday, being 5 episodes in total each week) and one episode each Sunday, that was all of the shorts from that week together, this format was simply fantastic and I want it so much to become more popular in the future. In my timezone it meant that each weekday, when I woke up, I had one new episode available, there is simply no better way to start the day than with a good laugh, and I appreaciated it so much.
In conclussion, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan is a very original and hilarious comedy, full of lovable characters that will make you laugh from start to end. If you’re a fan of comedy anime, make sure to watch this one, and if you aren’t, I still heavily recommend you to give it a try, because it’s probable that it will greatly surprise you!
You probably want to do the best you can to get out of his line of sight… right? So you’ve finally managed to make it behind him, but then, just as you think that you’re safe, the creepy dude stays facing forward, but SWIFTLY does a horrifying 180-degree HEAD-ONLY turn. He then, with a derp face, looks SOLELY at you out of everybody in the crowd. In a shocking development, you’ve somehow been spotted! That “wtf moment” that you’d experience makes for comedy at its finest! You will find that type of comedy and much, much more in Saiki Kusuo no psi-nan.
Funny does not even begin to describe this anime! That’s right, it’s hilarious! It’s one of the best, if not the best, comedy anime that I’ve ever seen. It’s very original and has definitely become my new favorite comedy anime.
TL;DR at end
Saiki, the main protagonist, comically takes being overpowered to a whole new level. He’s basically a god-level psychic that can do anything. He’s smart, has x-ray vision, one punch man level strength (or maybe All Might?), time warping, can change the laws of the universe, has telepathy, teleportation, memory wiping, there’s basically nothing this guy can’t do. The story follows him in his everyday life as he, an extremely superior being, has to deal with ordinary folk. He’s a pretty sarcastic guy and is always doing a hilarious internal commentary about the bothersome events that happen to him throughout the anime. There is no overarching goal of the plot (it’s kind of just a linear succession of skits). The pacing is often very fast, but I think that its speediness actually benefits the series because the series continuously hits you with jokes like they’re bullets from a machine gun (if some jokes miss, np there are like 20 more incoming). I truly cannot imagine how they could have improved the story in this series. This story’s comedy is a 10/10 masterpiece.
The artwork was very plain and the animation was a bit choppy, but it didn’t take away from the series in my opinion. The simple art may have actually enhanced the series in a way. Perhaps you would have missed the comedy if you were too focused on the art? Who knows, but there’s really not much to talk about when it comes to the art.
I loved the opening of the 4-minute shorts. The background music were mostly very unique, well-suited, and catchy (8.5/10 for music). I think it should be strongly noted that the sound effects were masterful in this series. Sound effects in anime often go unnoticed, but this anime’s sound effects really enhanced the comedy if you took notice of them. The voice acting was absolutely fantastic! The diverse characters and their personalities were well acted out by each of the voice actors/actresses. Normally music is what largely determines the score when it comes to sound, but I feel the other areas of the sound were so strong that this category actually does indeed deserve a 10/10.
A riveting cast set of mostly original characters. I mean, c’mon. This anime had a fucking “Nendou”. Once I discovered this “Nendou” creature, I just knew that the characters deserved a 10/10. Just kidding, but in all seriousness, this series had many really diverse characters including: a Nendou, dramatized narcissistic perfect girl who attracts everybody but Saiki, average girl, chuunibyou guy character, thug character, tsundere grandpa, workaholic, deliberately annoying kids, shitty magicians— there’s too much substance here to list them all! All of the main characters get pretty well developed as well.
This series had me laughing very hard every day! The simple and fast humor was perfect for my tastes. Often other popular comedy anime, like Nichijou for example, take much too long to get the jokes across and consequently make the watchers feel bored. Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan usually hits you with the jokes so fast and repeatedly that you only have a few moments to let it sink in before it hits you with the next one. I’m so glad this anime had a bold, new type of episode design where it did 4-minute comedy sketches released once a day (most days). I was so excited to watch a fun new skit from this series every day. At the end of the weeks, the five 4-minute sketches were compiled into a single normal-length episode. I think this anime will be setting the precedent for future 4-minutes-a-day comedy anime. I look forward to season 2!
This is one of the funniest comedy series I’ve ever seen! You WILL laugh if you watch this series. The story was non-complex and in the form of multiple short skits with no overarching unifying plot (It’s just following Saiki as he lives his god-like superior being life). The art was pretty basic, but it didn’t take away from the series much. The background noises and voice acting were all great, but the opening song and the “shit’s going down” BGM were the only memorable OSTs for me. The main characters were all very unique, diverse, added to the comedy, and well developed by the end of the series.
Should you watch this series?
If you’re looking for a comedy series, then hell yeah you should!
If you want to try a new type of series that you haven’t seen before, yeah watch it!
If you’re looking for a sci-fi, then ehh it’s not THAT sci-fi related but you can give it a shot.
If you’re looking for a serious, complex, and/or linear plot with an end-goal, then you’re definitely in the wrong place buddy.
This series was too great! You should definitely watch it!
If you thought this review helped you make your decision please let me know by clicking the “helpful” button~ If you thought it was wrong or inaccurate, let me know why so I can improve my reviews in the future ^^.
One thing that works in favour of the show above others of the same format is that Saiki-kun lasted for many more episodes while also airing a new episode everyday. My main problem with these types of shows is the weekly formula as they’re airing; once the episode stops and the next one begins the following week its hard to keep track of what has happened and the show feels like it is going nowhere. Sure, this problem is eliminated after the show has finished airing but the lack of episodes also means a lack of characterisation and story progression which, fortunately, Saiki-kun does not lack.
Saiki-kun tells the story of a teenager who has physic powers but ends up living a life in which these powers are more of an annoyance then a gift. The show follows his life and how he uses these various powers for different situations; very basic stuff for a basic type of show. But the main strength of this show lies in its comedy and its characterisation. Each character has an interesting gimmick and quirky personality which all bounce off each other rather effectively throughout the show as they find themselves in various scenarios and situations. Most characters have more depth and personality traits to them then just what is on the surface which invokes a lingering sense of anticipation as each character will act in a different way based on the situation at hand keeping the comedy fresh and interesting.
There is also a variety in jokes keeping the comedy from becoming too stale or repetitive and the four minute formula only helps with this. There are also many references in the show to other manga and anime, which if you’re like me, then you’ll enjoy since I like referential comedy. What’s good about this show is that it doesn’t rely solely on references (which can become tiresome after a while) as most of the comedy is derivative of the interaction between the characters. In terms of an over-arching story there is really none aside from a few mini-arcs which sees one particular scenario play across a multitude of episodes. The animation and art style were not always the best and could at times look plain ugly and strange but it was nothing bad enough to take any pleasure away from the overall experience.
In conclusion, Saiki-kun was a refreshing four minute show that actually has substance with fun characters and great comedy. I would recommend it.
6: Mob Psycho 100
English: Mob Psycho 100
MAL Score: 8.48
Eighth-grader Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama has tapped into his inner wellspring of psychic prowess at a young age. But the power quickly proves to be a liability when he realizes the potential danger in his skills. Choosing to suppress his power, Mob’s only present use for his ability is to impress his longtime crush, Tsubomi, who soon grows bored of the same tricks.
In order to effectuate control on his skills, Mob enlists himself under the wing of Arataka Reigen, a con artist claiming to be a psychic, who exploits Mob’s powers for pocket change. Now, exorcising evil spirits on command has become a part of Mob’s daily, monotonous life. However, the psychic energy he exerts is barely the tip of the iceberg; if his vast potential and unrestrained emotions run berserk, a cataclysmic event that would render him completely unrecognizable will be triggered. The progression toward Mob’s explosion is rising and attempting to stop it is futile.
Even if you’re unfamiliar ONE’s work, you’ll easily recognize that Mob Psycho 100 isn’t just a show with traditional artwork. The visual follows the manga pretty closely while the action sequences are animated by a famed studio, Bones. Plus, we got director Yuzuru Tachikawa on board as part of the staff. Known for his work such as Death Parade, Terror in Tokyo, and Kill la Kill, it’s definitely something to get excited about. Fans of the franchise will be also be pleased to know that Kawai Kenji is the sound director, known for famous works such as the Ghost in the Shell franchise, Gundam 00, and the more recent Joker Game. Still, Mob Psycho 100 is beyond what just the staff has to offer.
It’s not always so simple to understand the visual representation of Mob Psycho 100. Taking a closer look at the storytelling will give you a better idea as we are introduced to the main characters. At its core, we have main protagonist Shigeo Kageyama, otherwise known as Mob. He is a 14 year old kid attending a school with an average life. However, it’s immediately obvious that he is a special because of his ESP powers. Events in the story causes his powers to go unstable and Mob finds himself difficult to be “normal”. The premise is pretty simple on paper, right? An ordinary kid who tries to live a normal life with abnormal ability is the basic idea. However, the series delivers many scenarios where Mob uses his powers way more than he should. For a kid who wants a normal life, he gets into many abnormal situations which puts himself at risk. Still, this isn’t exactly the case as we’ll see how powerful Mob is. While he isn’t a Saitama 2.0, Mob’s abilities are not to be underestimated. In many battles he’s been in, Mob is able to overpower his opponents, sometimes without even realizing it. It’s interesting to also see what often triggers Mob to get involved in such unusual events. Social peer pressure and bullying are a few factors. Mob also seeks admiration and even wants to impress a girl he likes so this leads to him making mistakes at times. I mean, he is still human and humans make mistakes.
Even though he is the titular character, the show doesn’t neglect its others especially with characters such as Reigen, Ritsu (Mob’s younger brother), Teruki, and Dimple. Ritsu has really grown to me as a very interesting character. Unlike Mob, he is very clever and often uses trickery to get what he wants. Sometimes, he even treats life as if it’s a game where playing the right cards will win. What most impresses me about Ritsu is his own self-awareness and how despite being powerless in the beginning, he is able to rise up as a leader. It’s also shown that he has an inferiority complex compared to his brother (because he originally lacked special powers) and that causes himself to express doubt. This eventually also turns into guilt and there’s reasoning for redemption.
Reigen is also an interesting character who is known as “Mob’s master”. He claims a lot of things and often speaks and lies with the truth. Despite being manipulative, he isn’t a bad guy and often looks out after Mob’ well-being. He also offers good advice to Mob including what really makes someone a “better person”. One weakness that I do find about him though is his unwillingness to admit mistakes. Somewhere in between, there’s Teruki (“Teru”). I have to admit though, this guy has one of the most ridiculous hair styles I’ve ever seen from ONE’s work. Unlike Mob, he freely uses his esper powers like if they are God’s holy gift. What makes him interesting is how after meeting Mob, Teru undergoes a big change in his character. It’s like a bully that reinvents himself after getting put to his place for the first time in their life. Quite iconic if you ask me. Finally, Dimple strikes to me as the most mysterious character. In fact, he isn’t even human! He’s actually a spirit who even at one time had his own cult. What makes him interesting is despite having a God-like complex and ego, Dimple also wants others succeed in particular Mob. With such a colorful character cast in this series, expectations are met especially when it comes to creativity.
Despite the story looking complex, it really isn’t. The first few episodes introduces our main characters while most episodes for the first half just follows Mob’s life in his daily misadventures. The latter half focuses more on linear plot though as dangerous individuals are introduced that truly tests the strengths of our protagonists. This puts strains on Mob as he must overcome his personal demons. Because remember, Mob just wants to live a normal life and when he gets stressed, rage follows. When that rage explodes, we get Mob Psycho 100%, literally. And it’s not a very pretty sight.
As a source reader, I am impressed at how they adapted the character relationships. Mob and Ritsu has one of the most complex relationship even as brothers. Teru’s evolution from a bully to a sidekick/ally to Mob is both amusing and also impressive to see as changes aren’t always easy for characters to accept. Reigen’s relationship with Mob is also based on respect and trust. Mob genuinely cares about Reigen and in one episode, his rage level almost goes out of control after seeing his master being put down. On the other hand, I am slightly disappointed that the season is only a 1-cour of 12 episodes. Some episodes are rushed as I was hoping they would adapt more into the story. For most parts, the series is still directed with good faith.
Ah yes, the artwork and visuals. Even though I already talked about it before, it’s really hard to ignore Mob Psycho 100’s quality with its artistic style. It is very stylistic to the manga and unique in quality. When things get serious, the artwork really works with its hardcore cinematography. Violent scenes really do feel impactful while body movements never really suffers in the show as character designs are simple enough to avoid that. In addition, Mob’s character is portrayed as pretty plain normal just as he should be. Other characters such as Teru and Dimple stands out with some unique physical traits; seriously, I still can’t get over how ridiculous Teru’s hair is at times. In retrospect, Bones did a fantastic job with the production for the show. With talented animators such as Yoshimichi Kameda and Matsumoto Norio involved in this project, Mob Psycho 100 stands out extravagantly in the artistic field.
Don’t underestimate the soundtrack either. The OP and ED theme songs are also stylistic and as a whole. The OST is instrumental and often intense during many segments. Character voice expressions are also noticeable especially when Mob’s mentality reaches 100%. And because the show is so filled with personality, the speech pattern and dialogues of the more prominent characters are often very memorable.
The amazing thing about Mob Psycho 100 is the excitement while feeling less of an anime but more like a comic action flick. As an adaptation, the show is stuffed with action, personality, and creativity. I can’t remember any episode where I was watching the clock and in fact often feel like episodes goes way too fast.
“What? That episode felt like 5 minutes?!”
It’s because of how entertaining it is that is more than just pure popcorn entertainment. Sure, this might not be a series that’s suitable for everyone. However, Mob Psycho 100 stands on its own merits and is definitely not just a One-Punch Man-wannabee. Crafted by ONE, it’s a show that’s more than a supernatural character drama. It’s just a damn good piece of greatness.
Uninspiring, highly overrated, and cheap. Brilliance and creativity are the last things to come to mind while watching Mob Psycho 100.
The story is a complete joke. It is a major step-down compared to One’s other work, One Punch Man. The entire story plays out like a tale a 5th grader would write and present. Of the many terrible presentations Mob Psycho 100 has to offer, One of the most bothersome reoccurring things is that the show lacks of creativity. The main character in particular, shares the same characteristic traits and personality of Saitama from One Punch Man. The plot and story always feature an overpowered main character that is socially awkward trying to save the day with his inexplicably obtained powers. The main characters in his works usually lack any motivation unless they’re triggered more than the typical girl on Tumblr. Rinse & repeat for every this process for just about every episode and that my dear readers is the show. If this continues as a re-occurring theme for his stories, One needs to do a better job with creating and introducing a story, plot, and characters that doesn’t appear too similar to his other works.
Fun fact: Did you know that you can pretty much get an idea of what the plot is about for the rest of the series based upon the opening title sequence alone?
One was either sitting on the toilet or taking a shower when he thought about what was going to happen next for this series. The director could have easily changed specific things to make it more intriguing however; there were no signs of that happening. Now perhaps one of the interesting things involving the story was that certain episode’s do like to focus on more serious matters. It wasn’t all nonsensical fighting. To contradict what I said about the toilet thing earlier, there were a few moments in the story were the characters did try to improve their powers while trying to understand the most complicated things about their psychic powers and abilities.
There were multiple scenes featured within the story where tense emotional dialogue would temporarily take over action scenes. It made the show a little more “dramatic” however; I don’t believe that most of the parts where these “dramatic moments” had taken place were proper. This was evident during many of the fights. The pacing of the story was pretty straight-forward. Often times there didn’t seem to be a reason to go back and explain certain details within the story. Depending on how you perceived the show, I didn’t thing that the story was as awful as others make it out to be.
In conclusion, the story could’ve have definitely used some touching up! Plot developments lack excitement; it’s constantly riddled with predictable moments, and lacks an interesting narrative.
Animation, character designs, quality and background settings. The following are the shows weak points in the art department. There were some pretty decent fighting and action sequences. The bad thing is that they are plagued with awful choices made in quality, setting, and special effects. I look back at earlier episodes like 4 & 5 prospectively, and believe that within the entire series 4 & 5 had the best fight scenes; this is me being nice by the way. Although the background setting featured in those particular episode were plain and dull. The school yard setting reminded me of old anime from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. In those days, background settings were not that important unless it had meaning.Of course it being 2016 at the time of this review, it is highly unacceptable by today’s standards..
The animators often times put a lot effort into the details of a fight. Characters muscles, facial reactions, and body reactions along with the well fitted dialogue, worked out pretty damn well. Sometimes, it made for more believable and intense fights. Not all fights were good though, I use episode 8 such as, during the time Mob is getting Rekt, the animation, facial expressions body movements looked a complete mess. While it may be fixed in the Blu-ray it still doesn’t change the fact that it was terrible at first.
Moving on, special effects like the rain and the auroras surrounding characters while they are using their powers. It looked as if the animators just went into after effects or even Sony Vegas, created them, and put them into the final product. It seems safe to say that this series was on a budget.
This could be good or bad because if you’re reading the manga then you can tell that the animators decided to stick with the original designs created by One. Bad thing is that, if you’re like me, and care about seeing animators put a lot effort towards making an original work look better with upgraded character designs, special effects, and lots of great details in various scenes, you would be disappointed. Now I’ve seen many, many titles where the manga or LN designs look, and are much more beautiful than the anime however, now is not the time to discuss it.
In short, Mob psycho is a visual disaster! Characters designs in the manga, as mentioned earlier lack any kind of beauty or aesthetics. But, I’m focused on the anime now. Getting back on the subject, anime character designs are a pain to look at. Every other character appears to look exactly alike in facial features. This ranges from the head shapes, eyes, along with facial structures and hair. The appearances of characters, background settings, clothing, and background objects seen within the series are poor in quality and design.
The sound was pretty decent. There were less than a handful of tracks and sound effects that made the show stand out. The music composed for certain scenes that express sadness, depression enhances the mood and atmosphere. Songs created for the fight sequences were lacking an edge to make the fight more engaging. The voice actors were “okay.” I didn’t think the actors had the right attitude for the series.
Some seiyuu’s are dedicated to making their characters sound more realistic by remember something that made them angry in the past and expressing the anger they felt from that experience to make a more believable attitude or sound for their characters vocals. For the most part, I did not feel that the voice actors were putting forth all their potential.
In ONE’s future work I hope that he introduces more original characters. The characters are too one-dimensional. I wanted to drop this show on episode 2 because of this. The main character Shigeo is a blatant, lazily copy & pasted Saitama. I had trouble trying to like Shigeo because he doesn’t have the same appeal that Saitama does, despite being a rip off. Shigeo’s most unappealing trait is his socially awkward and clueless demeanor.
Sometimes it’s cute when girls in anime are shy and awkward, however guys, not so much. Side characters are a joke. You know, as I’m writing this, I don’t even think that’s a good word to describe them because they were not in any way funny. While some give a little entertainment others are so annoying. I found this true mostly with the antagonists. The so-called “supportive” characters are more like comic relief than anything else.ONE appears to lack the ability to create characters that have a more “unique” and “rich” personality. His bad habit of copying and pasting the same characters from his different work is getting stale.
Enjoyment during the span of this series ranged from “awful” and “okay.” I usually drop titles after four episodes however the fourth was a deal breaker. I gradually continued to hope that maybe a new development in the story and characters would come along to change my negative feelings for Mob Psycho. This simply was not the case. Some may argue that “most people fail to see the shows appeal” or that “You shouldn’t judge a show based upon appearances.” I argue back that when it comes down to Mob Psycho, the show tosses away fluent story-telling, creative writing, lasting appeal, memorable characters, good character designs, creative background settings, quality animation and a soundtrack with songs you can keep on repeat.
The real question is why and how? How could a show that has such awful traits be so highly praised? The answer is simple. Simplicity is what the show builds its foundation upon. The entire show is simple enough for anyone new or old to anime understand easily and most importantly enjoy. Its’ welcoming, the show doesn’t need good character designs or a good introduction. Having high quality animation? Forget that! Everything is kept simple, and that’s’ actually a good thing. I think of it as an old Nintendo console. You play Super Mario bros 3. You’re having a good time, sure the graphics aren’t the best, but the important thing is that you’re having a good time. You’re having fun seeing the simplicity and joy of Mario flying around in a tanooki suit crushing goomba’s and turtles.
Overall Mob Psycho 100 really needed work in creativity. Mob Psycho would’ve continued to do well
as just a manga title. As for whether I recommend this or not, I would actually say yes. Mob is a pretty good despite the fact that it lacks appeal, creative story-telling, and quality. Referring Mob, or even considering Mob Psycho 100 to be less than or equal to One-Punch Man is an insult.
I felt that Mob Psycho 100 deserved a solid 4/10 for trying… if you even want to call it that.
Story – 8/10
To be entirely honest, I didn’t think much with this series. I was going to skip over it and not even bat an eye at it–why? I heard it was by ONE and even though I enjoyed One Punch Man, it wasn’t something I’d rewatch and go after again. I tend to steer away from “stereotypical” shounen series nowadays. I thought this series was going to be the same formula. I was wrong. Yes, the anime starts off slow–yes it appears to be recycled garbage at first. But it really evolves into something very charming.
The premise of this series is pretty simplistic. Mob is the main character and he’s a middle school boy who’s an outcast from most of society, including social circles. What separates him from the norm is his psychic abilities. It’s quite a quirky show with a lot of comedy elements. Each episode consists of Mob going after spirits and performing an exorcism using his psychic abilities. Along the way you meet different characters that add to the comedy aspect of this anime. With this said, story-wise. It’s more of a character driven show, but honestly, I like the simple story and how it goes deeper and deeper into the world building. Conflicts arise later in the series and the way it’s handled between the characters is nothing short of amazing. I don’t know about you, but I’m really sick of melodramatic sequences in stories where characters act really stupid (i.e. romcoms) and it ruins the quality of storyline.
Mob Psycho 100 doesn’t do that–it propels a simple story with endearing characters. I’m honestly so surprised how much world building we got in 12 episodes without it feeling rushed (I’m an anime only so I do not know how well paced it was compared to the source material).
Art – 10/10
Bones has done it again with another incredible job with animation! The art is probably what makes this anime stick out so much–and why people probably turned a blind eye to this series. Which is such a shame given the beautifully fluid animation; especially in action scenes! The style may come off more cartoony than the traditional “moe” anime style we are all used to, but I promise you that it’s not a reason to overlook this anime. I personally think the style is unique and really sets a tone for the series. It’s simple in nature much like the story.
Sound – 9/10
The OP “Mob Choir 99” is such a catchy tune and you start counting with the song every week! The visuals that go with it is also very catching! You notice something new every time you look it. The ED song is very simple and mellow–this captures the easy going nature of the series (until the battles scenes though lol). The OSTS are also very interesting to hear.
Character – 10/10
I’ve seen comedy series get 25 episodes and do absolutely nothing with the characters and shove repetitive rubbish in my face episode after episode. Whether you like the comedy or not is entirely subjective, but regardless, in 12 episodes I never once felt that rubbish shoving in my face. The characters manage to get more development in such a short amount of time compared to anime with 24 episodes.
Our main character, Mob, starts off fairly easy to read. He’s introverted in nature and isn’t good with social interactions. The only thing he seems to be good at is his psychic abilities–he has deep admiration for his little brother who seems to be the top at everything except what Mob is good at. Later in the story, we see how Mob expresses his emotions and feelings. We see how complicated and powerful he truly is. But what separates him from most main shounen characters is his modesty–he doesn’t want these powers and he never once in the 12 episodes ever desires to be stronger. He’s never egotistic about it. He never shows it off. He’s almost always kind to anyone who returns kindness to him. He tries his best and he’s deeply supported by those around him. He’s a misfit in theory, but he’s managed to have so many people care about him and despite his struggle to express feelings, he’s close to them as well. He never wants to hurt anyone unless it’s a spirit. He’ll do anything to protect his brother and friends even if it meant throwing away personal values. And even when he’s been knocked down and defeated, he gets back up and though he may lose his way, he still tries. Maybe not with strength, maybe just maybe, in the end he will win without really winning. Maybe he’ll succeed with only restoring those personal values and the faith others have given him. Mob, the main character of Mob Psycho 100.
Anything else I say about the characters would be considered spoilers, and I wouldn’t want to ruin it! But for the sake of summary, Ritsu (Mob’s brother) has great development and beautiful characters bonding between brothers :’) Reigen (Mob’s Master) comes off as an asshole in the beginning and you come to think that he only uses Mob as a tool for his own personal gain. Later on however, you come to realize there’s way more to him than at first though. He will also have his shinning moment! Ekubo (Mob’s spirit friend) starts off evil but then develops a bond not just between Mob, but the other main characters and even some of the supporting characters. He went from bad to not so bad haha.
Any other characters that have some sort of role are likable and charming to say the least. It’s just all well balanced with a full set of cast without making it feel overwhelming! I’m just so impressed with how Bones handled this anime–so very impressed.
Enjoyment/overall – 10/10
Through the comedy, stunning action, great characters, and unraveling plot, this anime didn’t fail to assume me! I’m so excited to see a season 2 ASAP! I highly recommend this anime 🙂
5: JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 4: Diamond wa Kudakenai
English: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
Japanese: ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 ダイヤモンドは砕けない
MAL Score: 8.50
The year is 1999. Morioh, a normally quiet and peaceful town, has recently become a hotbed of strange activity. Joutarou Kuujou, now a marine biologist, heads to the mysterious town to meet Jousuke Higashikata. While the two may seem like strangers at first, Jousuke is actually the illegitimate child of Joutarou’s grandfather, Joseph Joestar. When they meet, Joutarou realizes that he may have more in common with Jousuke than just a blood relation.
Along with the mild-mannered Kouichi Hirose and the boisterous Okuyasu Nijimura, the group dedicates themselves to investigating recent disappearances and other suspicious occurrences within Morioh. Aided by the power of Stands, the four men will encounter danger at every street corner, as it is up to them to unravel the town’s secrets, before another occurs.
I understand this TV series stays pretty true to the manga, but I feel that the writer Hirohiko Araki simply ran out of ideas after the EPIC Stardust Crusader arc and made this filler arc (for the money) about nothing significant, creating characters that were hard to appreciate because they were whiny, talkative, immature, stupid, and simply lucky, in some sense, when defeating these super random unmemorable opponents with vaguely-defined abilities. I understand the characters are supposed to be young and immature, but I got tired of constantly seeing the characters suddenly act immature over and over in the middle of life-and-death situations.
I really enjoyed the JoJo series as a whole because of amazing powers and the characters having to be clever and creative in order to win, but this arc barely tries. Or perhaps the characters are so unlikable I don’t care if the main characters actually lost/died.
The series brings back the main characters from the past storylines, Joseph Joestar and Jotaro Kujo, but Joseph is completely useless in this series and the reasons change from him barely having any memory and barely able to walk to being able to walk and think but having to take care of a pointless baby. I assume the baby becomes a major character in a future arc, but it’s super lame how they introduced the baby and how Jonathan was completely out of commission.
If you are a hardcore fan of the series like I am, watch it just to get it over with. If you are new to the series, I highly recommend checking out the first 3 arcs over this one.
A new enemy Stand makes its entrance; veins protruding through swollen biceps; wrinkled brow plaster the expression of a robust figure; eyes fixated on the opposition; pompadour takes aim, a tangerine sky hanging above; onomatopoeias floods the screen—BAM! MENACING! RUMBLE!—with wall-to-wall color dancing around on the border of psychedelia and pop art. Head titled, shoulders rolled back, chest puffed out; an epic pose is struck. A feeble old geezer hunched over in the background, hands clasping his cheek, lets out a compulsory “Oh my Gawd!” in Engrish. A powerful aura exudes from the frame of the young Joestar. A muscle-bound, apparition clad in lavender emerges from within him, as he lets out a herculean roar: “CRAZY DIAMOND!!!”…, Gritted teeth, fist wound up, body arched back—fades to black…, trumpets blare, cue intro, welcome to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable!
Since 2012, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has been spearheading a campaign to bring GAR and all things manly back to the limelight; introducing newcomers to an anime staple that’s been underrepresented in the 2000s, while also shamelessly serving as a form of fanservice for veteran viewers who self-indulge in all things retro. For those people that miss the blockbuster era of beefy action heroes that were deep-rooted in the product of 80s Americana. With a dedicated following that only grows bigger year after year, Jojo’s crusade for “manly ass men doing manly ass things” has proven to be a successful one. A fact that’s made all the more surprising when accounting for the current cultural shift in anime that favors infectiously cute shows or those garishly showered in 2edgy4u content. Jojo stands firm, pressing forward to the beat of its own drum while giving sensitivity the middle finger as it flexes its biceps in the name of awesome.
But perhaps the strongest aspect of Jojo isn’t this flippant disregard towards popular trends, but the way it goes about expressing itself within it.
There are a few cardinal rules that most writers try their best to abide by, one of which is maintaining some semblance of plausibility within the realm of the written work being presented. Whether the story in question is grounded in reality or contains plenty of fantastical elements, maintaining some level of plausible “cause and effect” is what helps the audience experience immersion. Even in a fictional universe that contains many otherworldly themes, there are still constants that are expected to be maintained. In the same way, the theoretical law in our universe remains consistent no matter the time or location; the same is also expected with works of fiction. Anything that doesn’t uphold established in-world laws tends to be perceived as poorly constructed or just outright “bad writing.” We may not always identify it up front, but somewhere in our subconscious, the “bullshit” meter is going off.
And yet, even with this unspoken rule in mind, there are some stories that purposefully leave common sense at the front door. They’re shows that are propelled by nonsensical conclusions, improbable physics, and pure absurdity. But somehow, despite this, or perhaps because of it, they have been adored the world over. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is that kind of show. A show driven forward by madness, adrenaline, and a gratuitous amount of machismo. It embraces the “Bizarre” in its namesake to the utmost extent, doing whatever it pleases with total conviction and never looking back at the body count trailing behind it.
And like the hyperactive installments before it, Part 4 continues to keep the ball rolling, following the lineage of the Joestar family and all the inherent problems that come with the blood-line. This brings us to the next Joestar tasked with carrying on the legacy, the ever-fabulous Jousuke Higashikata; a man of few words, unless the words addressed to him are insults directed at his ultra sleek Greece Lightening hairdo. Unlike the hard-boiled demeanor of Joutarou, Jousuke actions are driven by hot-tempered impulses, choosing to punch first and ask questions later. He wears his heart on his sleeve, an attribute that would usually be perceived as weak in the testosterone-filled world of Jojo, except for the fact that Jousuke kicks all kinds of ass with his Stand, Crazy Diamond. A Stand that grants him the ability to restore any damage inflicted to something back to its original state or alter it to its base elements. Pairing that with his hair-trigger personality makes for a formidable combo, something that many enemy Stands find out the hard way.
As the aftermath surrounding Dio Brando begins to settle down, remnants of his misdeeds are still spreading when the Bow and Arrow—the weapon used to create Stands—ends up in the wrong hands. Because of this, Joutarou finds himself traveling to the town of Moriah where his illegitimate nephew Jousuke calls home. And as the Joestars team up to rid the town of Stand users hellbent on causing harm to the citizens, they find themselves encountering greater threats along the way.
With a narrative that solely exists to have as many physical encounters as possible, Part 4 manages the impossible task of circumventing the trappings of episodic content while using that exact structure to create bottle episodes filled with high-octane battles. Whether it’s pounding the snot out of an enemy Stand or simply going to a restaurant to eat, Part 4 is continuously pressing down on the gas peddle. For those that don’t like stagnation, this sequel is a Godsend.
There’s no calm moment of clarity to reflect on the situation at hand, all that’s left on display is brittle logical leaps followed up by gonzo wall-texts flying in with a flurry of saturated color. It’s vivid, it’s spastic, it’s a mural hacked up on PCP. And while this commitment to never slowing down may seem like a detriment for any other show, for Jojo—a show that’s as straightforward as the content being displayed—there couldn’t have been a better marriage of purposeful storytelling.
Jojo’s brilliance is in its simplicity. It isn’t a show that’s out to have an intricate story-line filled with multifaceted themes, nor does it try to craft layered personalities that appear 3-dimensional. Jojo personifies the mindset of a neanderthal, where problems are solved with fists and beating enemies into submission. Loyalty is proven with actions and not half-baked words. And motivations that’s as explicit as the expository dialogue being used to express them. The only thought process being taken is assuring that they properly utilize their Stand abilities to defeat their enemy with optimal results. These muscle-bound brutes painted up like Easter eggs leave no room for interpretation, what you see is what you get.
This isn’t to say there’s no thought placed into Jojo’s production. The show is littered with inventive encounters that overlap Stand abilities to create a chess game of wits, seeing both sides constantly fighting for the upper hand over one another. Matches that eventually dissolve into pissing contests to see who would cave in first. Each Stand ability is accounted for, creating interesting back and forths between the combatants. And with there being countless possible Stand abilities that could manifest in someone, the end result is no two fights being the same. The battlefield is forever morphing, with something as simple as the changes in partnership or location altering the very course of a how a match can turn out.
It’s this very ingenuity that demonstrates that behind the burly men clashing fists, there’s still a thought process keeping the madness together. This also includes the more straightforward parts of Jojo’s production, such as the naming of the characters and the reasoning for its brightly-colored world.
If you’ve made it all the way to Part 4, then this should come as no surprise to you that Hirohiko Araki, the creator of the Jojo manga, has consciously decided to name characters after musicians and songs, mostly from western pop culture. It’s an inconsequential bit of trivia that doesn’t do much for the long-haul but despite that, adds to the overall appeal of his work. And with French post-impressionist artist Paul Gauguin being cited as an influential person in his approach to color theory, there’s always a sense that Jojo was much more than just a whim being held up by simple admiration for a particular era. If you’ve ever felt like the colors used was oddly at home despite the constant clash of sassy meet gusto, that’s because of this conscious effort on Araki’s part to blend the two. This well-cultured sensibility is what gives Jojo such a distinct personality from its counterparts. It’s an entity birthed outside of typical circular influence, having a unique appeal while winning the admiration of a broader market in the process.
But let’s not mistake all this appraisal of Jojo as the show being a flawless creation, it does suffer from its fair share of issues. For one, because of its straightforward approach, there’s never any questions posed at the actions being taken. And as such, this is an anime that only works because of the universe pre-established before it. Had we not seen the impossible happen time and time again, Jojo would have never worked. Its absurdity disallows genuine immersion in the circumstances taking place. You’re entertained but never for a second buy into the ridiculousness of it all. It’s a show where you laugh at the nonsense and take enjoyment out of how committed it is to seeing it through, despite the apparent shortcomings of said actions making close to little sense. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is always entertaining but never something to be held up as proper literature. It’s the show’s greatest strength but sadly its greatest weakness as well.
This issue also means that all of the characters are usually dwindled down to becoming internet memes or lovable caricatures. No one is looking onto Jojo for enriched characterization. All that’s expected out of it is hyperactive personalities with cool abilities trading blow for blow in an environment that allow these occurrences to go on undisturbed. This is usually the trade-off for dumb-fun entertainment. Finding a balance between the absurd and tightly written is a rarity that escapes Jojo. But what it still has is an unshakable commitment to do everything at 110%, so even when you question the logic of a scenario, it doesn’t take long before you accept it for what it is to continue seeing the Joestars pummel enemies into submission.
And if this fact can be accepted for what it is, then Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable should be nothing short of an entertaining ride for most fans of this bizarre adventure. With more epic poses, more stands, more cool ass character designs, and too much awesome shit to know what to do with, Jojo Part 4 has been one hell of a ride. And with this being another successful adaptation by David Production, here’s hoping it’s an adventure with many more iterations to come.
-Sepia bathe the screen, title card cropped in an arrow: To Be Continued-
JoJo Part 4 tells the story of Josuke Higashikata, Joesephs illegitimate son. In Josuke’s home town Morioh someone used a magical bow and arrow to transform normal people into Stand users. This time we get to know a little bit more about the origin of the Stand abilities, which has something to do with these arrows. Of course, Josuke and his friends have to stop them.
Most of the time they just encounter random enemies, but later they try to find out the identity of a certain someone with an especially dangerous Stand who is living in Morioh, who is the main focus of the second half of this story arc. This person is commiting gruesome murders for several years, but was never caught, so it’s up to JoJo and his pals to stop him.
The reason why this plot works so much better than Part 3’s, is because it feels much more natural. In Stardust Crusader, the plot felt very video game-ish, but in Part 4 fighting Stand users is more of a daily routine and not part of a journey to save the world or something. Araki succesfully mixed Part 3’s semi-episodic structure with some slice of life elements. Since they never leave their home town, there is also a lot of attention to the city Morioh itself, almost like the city is it’s own character. I wouldn’t go so far and call it “world building”, but all these little things about Morioh + the recurring places definitely gives this arc it’s own flavor and identity compared to the rest of JJBA.
Most enemies they fight turn into friends later on or are at least somewhat relevant for the plot later. This causes the team of allies to be very large, almost twice the size of Part 3’s.However the last third of the show has very simmiliar issues as Stardust Crusaders (TOO obvious monster of the week) and some episodes are obviously more exiting than others, but in the end Part 4 feels much more tightly written than it’s predecessor.
The characters are great in Diamond is unbreakable! Almost all of them are interesting and their interactions are super entertaining. Of the 4 JoJos that are introduced at this point, Part 4’s main character Josuke is probably the most interestig. He is introduced as a polite delinquent, but he gets series when it comes to his hair: when someones insults it, the person get’s his ass kicked! This is pretty much Josuke’s thing. Joseph had his predicting thing, Jotaro his “yare yare daze” and Josuke has his hair thing.There is even a little flashback about why he is so sensitive about his hair in the first place. He doesn’t use it as much as Joseph and Jotaro though and his tick is pretty much dropped later on and his flashback never received any further explanation, but it was still a nice touch.
The main villain of Part 4, Yoshikage Kira, is also great. He is not as “EPIC” as Dio, but he is very memorable in his own way. Unlike Dio, who was more of a cartoon villain (wants to take over the world etc) Kira just wants to commit murders without being disturbed by other people. He doesn’t want world domination or anything like that, just a quite and peaceful life. Unlike Dio or Kars, Kira feels like a person who could actually exist in real life, which makes him legimately scary. The final battle against him was a little messy and the way he died was pretty anticlimatic, but I guess that made sense in this context and steting, since Kira is a more of a realistic villain. The fight was still exiting nontheless and the way they used their Stands was pretty creative.
As you would expect from JoJo, the fights are awesome. The Stands are much more creative than in the previous story arc and they are used in very creative ways. You can really tell how much Araki improved the fighting mechanic in this arc. This is probably the most bizarre aspect of Part 4: melting bodies together, turning people into books or trapping people in a time loop; these are just a few examples for the crazy abilities. There were even new types of Stands introduced: automatic Stands and Stands that evolve into a more powerful form over time.
Sadly DiU is much less “GAR” and manly that the previous parts. The characters are also not nearly as buff anymore. This was around the time when the mangaka started to change up his art style. David Production chose to make the whole arc look more like the second half the DiU manga, insteadt of having this (admittedly awkward) transition from bulky to skinny.
Similar to the earlier seasons of JoJo, the animation looks very low budget at times. However David Production makes up for that with an unique artstyle, great use of color and lots of crazy effects. In the end it’s very nice looking anime, despite some derpy faces and low quality character models here and there (they’ll be probably fixing these things until the Bluy Ray release anyway).
The soundtrack however was a bit less memorable than in previous parts, but I guess that’s a matter of preference. I like how they remixed Jotaro’s theme from Part 3 and the way they mixed up the opening theme in the last couple episodes was really creative.
In conclusion, Part 4 has all the bizarre action, manly tears and likeable characters that would you would expect from this series and it even improves quite a bit on some of the flaws in Stardust Crusaders. How do I say this…? It’s a bit crude, but…hehe…I got a boner!
General production value: 7,5/10
4: Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2nd Season
English: Assassination Classroom Second Season
Japanese: 暗殺教室 第２期
MAL Score: 8.52
The students return as school is back in session for the second semester. Following their exploits on the island during summer vacation, Class 3-E continues to sharpen their blades with their sights set on their teacher, the slippery Koro-sensei. They have more to worry about than just their teacher, however, as enemy assassins, both old and new, are out for the increased bounty on the octopus’ head.
Moreover, their rivals in Class A, as well as Kunugigaoka Junior High’s fearsome principal, stand to block Class E from achieving academic excellence. With all of these obstacles opposing them, the group must continue to work together in order to overcome their foes and accomplish their goal of successfully assassinating their teacher.
During the shows first season I was not interested in the anime nor manga. I felt that the story was absolutely ridiculous and a complete waste of time reading/watching. It wasn’t until 2013 that I saw “Funny moments” or “best moments” in anime videos on Youtube and saw Assassination classroom on it and thought to myself, “ha, this does look pretty funny” “I’ll try any show once”, gave it a watch and was for the most part blown away.. like the moon… (Puns intended.)My favorite thing about the story and plot is that it connected to me, the viewer on a personal level. I could relate to how most of the characters backstories in E classroom were treated at school. For the most part, mainly towards the ending of the season 2 I felt that the build up towards the final episode were very well executed… or should I say.. assassinated.. wait, I don’t think that word works.. whatever. The begining of the season 2 has ups and downs however for the most part, it remains pretty solid. I don’t want to use the term “roller-coaster” but I think I will use that to describe it. For example, 1-4 episodes will be about the daily lives of certain students, or the students working on something unrelated to the story. It felt more like filler episodes for the most part. Now for the second part season 2 the backstories about certain characters past and the history of class E finally begin to unfold. We are introduced to more characters and both shocking, and sudden plot developments, as to be expected. For the most part each arc of season 2 is all over the place and honesty, I felt it lacked a sensible amount of balance. The plot for certain episodes can feel a bit confusing at times because one second the students are honing their skills then next episode they are helping re-build a shelter. So balance does seem to be a reoccurring problem within the story-line. Overall I l was generally impressed with the story, I believe that Yūsei Matsui did an amazing job with his work and that Lerche did an amazing job following the work.
Number one thing that annoyed me about the series overall is that the animation or lighting in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, even without the show being censored it’s really dark. There are multiple moments in the show where areas are unnecessarily darkened to the point where I actually start questioning myself “This is the uncensored or raw version right?” The background settings looked poorly done so maybe that’s why the animators decided to use darkness in multiple scenes. Character designs still remain the same so I do not have much to add to the subject. I felt like the artwork, especially the background settings needed to be re-done. I hope to see whoever is in charge of editing the Blu-Ray discs, brightens things up.
The sound wasn’t anything to special, I don’t want to say lackluster however most of the times I’d be watching an action scenes I didn’t feel like the music playing enhanced the situations(s) occurring on screen. I also didn’t care for both opening songs and the latest ending song Mata Kimi ni Aeru Hi by Shion Miyawaki. The ending song from PT 1 was my only favorite track. Seiyuu’s are always amazing in this show. Of course my main man, a hundred grams, N*gga’s just don’t understand, Jun Fukuyama reprises his role as the lovable and somewhat admirable Koro sensei. Perhaps my favorite thing that Jun does with Koro sensei is his laugh. Every time I hear “Nyeh heh heh heh heh” or “Nyu fu fufu fu” I burst out laughing too. Nagisa, Karma, I really liked that their voice actors went through good lengths of studying English so they could speak it properly for certain episodes. While Karma’s actor Nobuhiko English sounded a bit “broken” I did however like that Nagisa’s voice actor Mai
Fuchigami was able to enunciate or pronounce English better. Everyone else did a great job with their roles and I think that Ansatsu Kyoushi has one of the best cast of voice actors for an anime series. Each of the actors are able to express a good amount of feeling with their characters in order to make their characters feel more… realistic.
The characters are the most vital part of Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. The main focus for all characters in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is growth & development. These two things are literally the key in what makes this series work out so great. As to be expected of course, during the beginning of the series season 1 until the ending, the characters are lacking strength, potential, and skill. My favorite thing about the series characters is that I felt like I got to experience growth along with the students, and the teachers in this series. The way the characters react when they learn new things or acquire a new skill, because I felt so involved while watching it made me feel like I learned something new too. For example, if Koro-sensei is speaking directly to the students about studying for an exam and he’s giving them both words of advice and encouragement then I, the viewer am also receiving some sort of acknowledgement too. Another thing about the characters is that they’re all made to be either relate-able and or likable. That way viewers like me feel like they are on the same level as the characters in the show. Out of all departments listed from the “rate the anime” category I would say that characters are my most favorite thing about the series.
Enjoyment and pleasure is always experienced while I’m watching Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. I don’t think for a second I’ve ever been truly unsatisfied with an episode. I have to give the series some praise because for 25 episodes and not a single one for me to dislike, I think that’s amazing. I think to myself, even while writing this, “hmmm, I know there has to be at least one episode I hate” but I just cannot think of a single episode. Overall I was very satisfied with Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. I think although it may not have been the best of the current season it still stood out enough to earn the 4th spot in my top 5 airing the spring season. 9/10 for a memorable and joyful experience.
Ladies and gentlemen, tentacles all over (yes, I’m saying that again), here is my review of Assassination Classroom Second/Final Season.
For those unfamiliar with Assassination Classroom, it centers around Class 3-E, which is considered to be the lowest class in Kunugigaoka Junior High (and gets poor treatment from both teachers and students because of it). They end up getting a new teacher, which is a huge, yellow, octopus-like thing capable of Mach 20 speed and, as it is said, mass destruction; you see, he is apparently responsible for the recent destruction of the moon. He claims to be destroying Earth next in a year, but first, he wants to teach Class 3-E. Thus, Class 3-E is given the assignment of killing this thing, now named Koro-sensei, by graduation, and they will earn the 10 billion yen bounty on his head if he does so. Needless to say, Koro-sensei proves to be an excellent teacher to the students by not only teaching them the regular school subjects and assassination, but also life lessons.
The second season of Assassination Classroom picks up from where it left off, and boy, does it get great from there! A few parts of the story in this season feel a little rushed, but it was certainly never boring! It provided a lot of character development for each character in this series, even some of the ones that started out unlikable. For example, the principal of Kunugigaoka Junior High, Asano, starts off as someone with a heart of stone, but when you get to see his backstory, you start to sympathize with him even a little bit. Speaking of backstories, Koro-sensei’s backstory is finally revealed in this season, as well, and while trying not to give too much away…. man, is it intense!
The art and animation in season two of AssClass (still amused by this abbreviation) is pretty much the same as in season one, seeing that it’s still Lerche animating it, so there really isn’t much for me to say here. It’s still well-done animation that especially stands out in the easy-to-get-into action scenes. The Japanese voice acting for this season is pretty good, too. Now, as for the music, I honestly thought that both the opening and ending themes of this season left more of an impact than the opening and ending themes of the first. I especially liked “Bye-Bye Yesterday”, the second opening theme; it’s really sad that this anime is ending, and this opening really made me feel the impact of its upcoming end.
Overall, while I did enjoy season one of Assassination Classroom, season two was even better. If anyone has seen season one and wants to know how it ends, you’d better watch this. I’m personally looking forward to seeing more of these interesting characters in the spin-off, Koro-sensei Q, but for now, we must say goodbye as Class 3-E graduates from their assassination classroom.
“The journey is the reward” – Steve Jobs
In some cases, plot armor works to help the anime. Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is one of these rare examples. Sure, we know what’s going to happen. Sure, it’s the greatest moment when the entire show builds to it’s climax and then it explodes into a colorful rainbow of nostalgia and emotion. But it can’t wash away all the screw ups of the show in the past, right?
Thankfully, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu rarely screws up, but even if it had, most of it would have been forgotten with the climax to top all climaxes. Ansatsu gets most of it’s praise from how unique it is, and I won’t argue with that. It’s a very strange concept that almost makes you forget it’s a shonen at points. ALMOST. Being a shonen isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. It just means that it’s prone to the flaws of shonen – arcs that are inferior to others. Again, Ansatsu pretty much blows that out of the water though. None of the arcs are inferior to others, which I feel even works against it at a point, when the final arc was just as exhilarating as one from the halfway point. And, most of the arcs follow a common pattern in shonen – bad guy shows up, minor struggle, you beat him, the next bad guy shows up, slightly larger struggle, you beat him, boss shows up, big struggle, you beat him, recovery episode. Which brings me to the ending. From the very beginning, straight out of episode one, you had been waiting for the death of Koro-sensei. The moment was just as filled with sadness as everyone had predicted, it wasn’t surprising at all. But looking in the episode discussion, you don’t find anybody complaining, even the manga readers were impressed with how well it was handled. In conclusion, Ansatsu is creative, but not quite groundbreaking.
Lerche isn’t a very famous studio, and even if you had heard of them before, it probably wasn’t for their mind boggling animation and more likely for their screw up of Daganronpa. When the original season first aired the animation was still pretty mediocre, but it hasn’t improved since then, and the animation around it has, which has made it even more underwhelming. Both the art and animation are bad.
The first opening theme screams average to me. It sounds like I’ve heard it before, kind of thing. The endings are slightly better but still, 99% of people won’t care to remember or even listen. But every once and a while, there is an theme song that completely outclasses the rest, the one people remember the show for. Bye Bye Yesterday is one of the three openings I’ve listened to so many times in a row I got tired of it. Usually it’s one or two, but with this one it was probably 20 – 30. That’s insane. Actually, I’m amazed I was able to, writing that down. It may seem unbelievable, but it was THAT good to me. The soundtrack gets completely ignored because most of the openings aren’t spectacular, which is such a shame because the innovative soundtrack is one of the show’s best features. Some of it feels a little out of place, like it should be in a mystery show, but it’s still great nonetheless. The average sound effects are made up for by the highly praised seiyuu that voice the characters. Koro-sensei and Karma, in particular, are voices that I could put to the face blindfolded. Ansatsu has it’s ups and downs in the sound department.
Really, Koro-sensei is the only character that I felt was good. He works really well as the series mascot, but if that wasn’t enough, he was also hard not to love. Despite this, I can see why others consider him to be annoying. The other main character, Nagisa, is pretty average for a main character. Acts-weak-but-is-actually-the-best-in-the-class kind of thing. As for the supporting cast… well, this is why Ansatsu is so praised. All of them get their own little development arc, which seemed forced to me. On top of that, the characters really are just templates, design and personality-wise. Just because the show does a good job at featuring them all doesn’t necessarily make them good characters.
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is definitely show that was meant to for you to not expect anything at all, and then take the viewer by surprise. Did it take you by surprise? Or did you like it anyway? Feel free to comment on my profile and tell me what I did wrong with this review, I’m always up for feedback. Thanks for reading!
3: Haikyuu!! Second Season
English: Haikyu!! 2nd Season
Japanese: ハイキュー!! セカンドシーズン
MAL Score: 8.67
Following their participation at the Inter-High, the Karasuno High School volleyball team attempts to refocus their efforts, aiming to conquer the Spring tournament instead.
When they receive an invitation from long-standing rival Nekoma High, Karasuno agrees to take part in a large training camp alongside many notable volleyball teams in Tokyo and even some national level players. By playing with some of the toughest teams in Japan, they hope not only to sharpen their skills, but also come up with new attacks that would strengthen them. Moreover, Hinata and Kageyama attempt to devise a more powerful weapon, one that could possibly break the sturdiest of blocks.
Facing what may be their last chance at victory before the senior players graduate, the members of Karasuno’s volleyball team must learn to settle their differences and train harder than ever if they hope to overcome formidable opponents old and new—including their archrival Aoba Jousai and its world-class setter Tooru Oikawa.
Story: The story is the best one you can get from a sports anime. Of course there’s nothing complex, such as a great mystery or an awesome plot full of twists and something like that. Nevertheless, it’s still awesome and original. We actually get some background on almost every character, even the less important ones. Our main characters are a yin-yang duo: they are opposites of each other, and yet, they become a single destructive weapon for their team. We also have Hinata’s ambition on the Little Giant and the rivalry between Tobio and Oikawa. But overall we have a typical shounen plot: a lot of action given by a group of friends trying to become the strongest.
Art: I don’t have much to say about this because I don’t understand too much about drawing and art style, but Haikyuu!!’s one of the best i’ve ever seen on a shounen anime. The style is unique and very well made, you can see the mark of the mangaka on each character despite the fact that they are all very different.
Sound: The soundtrack is very good. Every scene has a song which fits perfectly. Each track is able to get us in the mood for the specific moment, being it sad, funny or exciting.
Character: Here’s the best part of the show. Haikyuu!! has incredible characters on every team. This is not that kind of show where we care only about the protagonists. We actually love all of the players and the teams. It’s hard to decide which one we want to cheer for. The character development is something amazing. We see how Karasuno’s pinch server who used to be a shy and weak boy become something essential for his team, while growing his confidence and pride. The relationships between team members is also very well executed, like the one of Hinata and Kageyama or even with opponents, like Hinata and Kenma.
Enjoyment: Extremely exciting to watch. I get goosebumps on every game and I almost cry with the flashbacks. The animation studio is godlike and each movement flows like magic on the screen. Haikyuu!! is also funny and is full of “chill out” moments that make us smile. The background stories, the side characters talking on the bench, everything is just amazing to watch. One of the best shows ever, it never gets boring.
I think for some people, this show is able to connect with them on some deeper, meaningful level. The way that this show engages with its audience is truly something else. The way Karasuno interacts, the way they crack jokes, and their never-ending drive to succeed – it makes you feel excited. It’s as if you are there physically with them, cheering the underdogs on as they take on the world around them.
For me, I appreciate how some individuals who were disregarded in the first season are now given much more depth. Consider Tsukishima, for instance. After losing to their ever-so-favorite rivals, the Karasuno team is rebuilding as a team and honing their skills by attending training camps. It is during this when Tsukishima’s time to shine came. In a single episode, we learned why Tsukishima is so deeply affected by his brother’s betrayal and why Tsukishima is such a lone wolf. Thanks to a push by his close friend Yamaguchi, Tsukishima finally learns the true meaning of teamwork, and, from this, he begins to participate in team-building activities (i.e. playing mini-games against with other schools in the training camp). In the first season, you know he would never ever do something like this. It is very fortunate that Tsukishima decided to change; if he didn’t, he would never have been able to hone his skillset, which becomes especially important during the spring qualifiers. Another example: Ennoshita. He becomes a key motivator for the team. He has some big shoes to fill, and he would never have been in this position if it weren’t for Daichi.
Another thing that I really liked about what Haikyuu is how the antagonists (i.e. Karasuno’s rivals) are also characterized. How many shows out there have you watched where you have had one-dimensional villains (or antagonists or bad guys or whatever you want to call them) that you couldn’t relate to? Too many, right? Fortunately, Haikyuu breaks away from this by giving a lot of the antagonists some serious backstory. Most of the time we are able to learn what volleyball means to the rival, what kind of a team player they are, and why the match means so much to them.
But there’s only one major downside that I can think of: there’s an obvious imbalance regarding the characters. Haikyuu has a tendency to characterize just one individual at a time. People who were given a decent amount of screen time during the first season (e.g. Nishinoya) are suddenly ignored this season; others (e.g. Hinata and Kageyama) decrease in significance. On the other hand, some of the second year benchwarmers still get no screen time. It’s a shame, really. If the show were able to balance out its characters better, we would have been able to understand better how the team operates as a whole and see much more team synergy as a result.
Now moving onto the plot – the plot is more of a mixed bag, to be honest. Yes, it’s exciting to some degree, but the pacing of the plot is not Haikyuu’s strongest point. It’s rather sluggish, and it’s usually due to the following factors:
– The characters talk a lot. Like a lot. Imagine you and your best friend talking. Multiply that by 10.
– They all think a lot too. They are trying to anticipate their opponents.
– The characters are given a backstory.
– Characters are trying new flashy moves. Groovy.
– Sensei is playing the “I’m new to volleyball please explain everything to me” or the “listen to my wise words” role for you.
– The team that Karasuno is playing against is surging ahead in number of points, and the characters are trying to think of a way to fight back.
– Or they’re literally just hitting the ball back and forth endlessly. Who’s going to get the point?
This constant pattern causes each major match drags out over 2-3 episodes. I’m not entirely sure if this is necessary – although they are all technically well-incorporated, there is a point when you become impatient and want to know what the results of the match are. As for non-matches, there is sometimes extraneous information that really serve no purpose in the context of the show. I wouldn’t say 10 minutes of eating BBQ after a nice, long training camp and male volleyball players commenting on the superficial looks of the high schools’ assistant managers was necessary.
And then there’s plot armoring. I really hate to say it, but for shows like these, plot armoring is inevitable (would you want to keep watching a team that keeps losing? Unless you’re a diehard fan, I didn’t think so), so it really is a question of how well-balanced it is. It is easy to say, “You know, they deserve it, they’ve been working hard as a team” and allow the underdogs to keep winning consecutive matches. Fortunately, for Haikyuu, plot armoring is heavily restricted to what is absolutely necessary. For instance, Karasuno doesn’t have to win every practice match (as an audience member, however, I know you’re secretly praying for them to win. Don’t worry, I did that too) and good thing they don’t – otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to learn from their mistakes.
Now briefly for one more positive thing about the plot: there’s humor and it’s well-incorporated throughout the show. Haikyuu would have been utterly flat without it. The way the characters interact and make fun of each other came off as very natural. It kept the ball rolling, especially when things got extremely sluggish.
Art and sound were all excellent. Animation was done very well by Production I.G (see Ao Haru Ride, Kuroko No Basket, and Kimi ni Todoke), although nothing was truly that remarkable. For sound, the OP was very moving and embodied the whole competitive spirit. Voice acting was decent too for the context of this show.
So is it the best sports anime ever? Eh, debatable. It has a lot to offer in terms of characters and will keep you on your toes, but the show is terribly paced. Given this, if you thoroughly enjoyed the first season, don’t worry; you will like the second season too due to its similar execution.
Now that that’s all out of the way, it was a fun ride when it lasted. I can’t wait to see what the third season has in store for us.
Author’s Disclaimer: Please remember, this is my own personal opinion. I critique anime primarily on how the story is executed and how well-rounded the characters are. This review is not meant to target any other review but was intended to provide a more holistic analysis.
It should also be noted that this is a full-fledged review of the entire season.
Now how does Haikyuu, a simple series mean that you miss out a lot?
Well, a lot of sports genre is usually thought the same way as battle shounen where “friendship is magic” since many times in sports anime, as well as in Haikyuu also, shounen genre plays a great role. Even tough there are some moments that give you the shivs, make your hair stand up or get you super thrilled by a game, that’s just one part of what makes Haikyuu so amazing. The real awesome parts are the most memorable characters, their individual in-depth development and the great comedy.
The story isn’t anything new. A team sport: our main characters are obsessed with winning and want to make it to the nationals with their team. This is the basis for many team sport or solo sport game. It’s just executed so well that you forget that it is kinda generic. While Haikyuu’s storyline revolves around their team progressing towards the nationals, the ultimate goal, it is not the focus point of the story. In other sports animes, like KnB (Kuroko no Basket) or DnA (Diamond no Ace) where the team aspect is important they focus more on the skill aspect rather than, like in Haikyuu, the team synergy/team synchronization.
As the story progressess the team evolves. Sure their individual skills grow as well but that’s beyond the point. One of the main characters, Hinata Shoyo, is a great example of that. The only time when we have focused on his individual development and skill growth a lot was in one or two episodes. Before that, we were given a quick flashback in the beginning of the first season of how he became what he is now. The first seasons’ story as well as the seconds’ focus on the combination plays of the team more than Hinata’s solo growth.
there are two main art styles here. The shounen artstyle, very riveting and intimidating which makes your heart throb. The other one is the more comedic artstyle, which is actually used quite a bit. One great plus of the show is how they use these two styles together. Because of the nature of the main characters, the comedic artstyles can be used everywhere. Because one of our MC’s is so hyper and energetic it creates many great opportunities to use both artstyles. And when it comes to the former one, the shounen style, it makes everything extra exciting because we normally see our main character used in the more comedic artstyle.
The other main character that our story focuses on, is Tobio Kageyama. As he is seen as Hinata’s partner throughout the series, he is characterized on the contrast side to Hinata. Where Hinata is energetic and easy-go-happy, Kageyama is more silent, serious and intimidating most of the time. Because he is the counterpart to Hinata and is the complete opposite of him, you can almost guess it, when he is normally used more in the shounen style, and suddenly used in the comedic style.. it is super hilarious. These two create one hell of a combination which benefit from each other in every aspect.
While other shows usually use quite flashy colors *looking at you KnB*, Haikyuu actually is one of those series where the color differentiation is not that flashy. Sure you can make the argument that Hinata has different colored hair than anyone else and one member of the core team, Nishinoya, has one part of his hair way different than the other but that’s about it. It isn’t used as generically as in KnB (it is the easiest one to compare this show to xD).
The general artstyle of the show, how the characters are drawn and what kind of backgrounds there are is very simple but still unique. I just love the way Haikyuu looks like.
I guess there is not much to say about characters anymore. The one and only being that Haikyuu really explores one or two players of the opposing team always. To some of the antagonistic characters we are given a full detailed backstory and Haikyuu really does that well. In the long running series it’s always great to have a full in-depth backstory to every main- and side character (well at least to the bigger side characters).
What really is the advantage of this show is the fact that you can’t hate anyone (at least I couldn’t). Every single character is made so lovable, so interesting in their own way or relatable that they just seem to stick in your head. It is rare for team sport games to have memorable side characters since they usually are shown only for a little while and are not given much of a perspective. This is what separates haikyuu from every other sports anime. The second season of this show is the prime example of this.
The shounen aspect of this anime really brings out the greatness of the voice actors/actressess. Be it Hinata’s screaming “give me the ball!” Or the whole team giving the simultanious “bring it on” it is always a great moment that really highlights the characters themselves as well the team aspect and Haikyuu’s own athmosphere. During the intense matches there are always playing these ‘shounen type’ songs which really lift the athmostphere to to max.
It isn’t only during the games that the sounds are great. When giving a flashback, or Hinata and Kageyama are riling themselves up for the upcoming match, there can be heard awesome music playing in the background. So the soundtracks and voice actor/actress performances are alwyas top notch but what really highlights the most Haikyuu’s sounds are the openings. The opening songs are probably one of the most intense, mood lifting and hyping song you could’ve hoped for.
You are most likely familiar with One Punch Man or Fullmetal Alchemist. Their openings are really the ones that get you riled up. They set the mood and get you ready for the epicness that is going to be unfold. Haikyuu rivals if not for some, exceeds these two. Haikyuu’s openings, be it from season 1 or 2, are the best to get you ready for the show when it comes to the sports genre.
ENJOYMENT & OVERALL
Most of you who are reading this probably are a fan of sports genre. Then you should know that sports genres’ anime are really enjoyable, especially when there are lovable characters and epic moments to share. These are what Haikyuu offers to you. Great characters, awesome shounen moments, intensive games featuring aspects from comedy to drama.
I thoroughly enjoyed this series and can proudly say that this is one of my all time favorites. As far as a single season by itself, it did pretty frickin’ well. You can easily see that from MAL’s score. Throughout the season it was always in the Top 20 highest rated of all time. When the season ended, no surprise, a sudden increase came, and now it is almost rivaling a place in the Top 10. That’s how good it is.
Should you watch this series?
Fan of sports genre or not, yes. Absolutely yes. This is a great show to start the sports genre with or if you’re familiar with it, why haven’t you already seen this? Sure KnB was probably more popular but this is what sports anime should be like.
2: Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou
English: Haikyu!! 3rd Season
Japanese: ハイキュー!! 烏野高校 VS 白鳥沢学園高校
MAL Score: 8.81
After the victory against Aoba Jousai High, Karasuno High School, once called “a fallen powerhouse, a crow that can’t fly,” has finally reached the climax of the heated Spring tournament. Now, to advance to nationals, the Karasuno team has to defeat the powerhouse Shiratorizawa Academy. Karasuno’s greatest hurdle is their adversary’s ace, Wakatoshi Ushijima, the number one player in the Miyagi Prefecture, and one of the country’s top three aces.
Only the strongest team will make it to the national tournament. Since this match is the third-year players’ last chance to qualify for nationals, Karasuno has to use everything they learned during the training camp and prior matches to attain victory. Filled with restlessness and excitement, both teams are determined to come out on top in the third season of Haikyuu!!.
In today’s anime age; a world filled with over-analyzations and deconstructions, it’s always nice to see a series like Haikyuu come along as if to passively antagonize critics with its immense amount of hype. I’ve been quite guilty of it in the past, often thinking there was no other reason to watch a series than to critique how much it made you ‘think’. But to all the fault-finding reviewers and critics out there (myself included), I have one thing to say… just save your words for once. People aren’t watching this anime to tirelessly dissect its story or characters on a philosophical level. Haikyuu is about having fun, comradery and the love of volleyball. The ultimate underdog story. That’s pretty much it.
If you told me a couple of years ago that an anime franchise involving high school sports would become one of my favorites in the medium, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. But I’ve come to realize that the quality of an anime goes beyond how it makes you think. How it makes you feel is just as important… because at the end of the day, most of us watch anime as a means to escape the repetition of everyday life and just enjoy ourselves. It transports us somewhere exciting, somewhere we normally don’t experience ourselves. Anime should be fun, and Haikyuu is no exception to that.
Haikyuu’s third season could almost be viewed as an expansion pack to the main series, or as one reviewer put it, much like DLC for your favorite video game. This is a fair assessment given the truncated 10 episodes compared to the first two seasons of 26 episodes each. Karasuno finds themselves pitted against the powerhouse Shiratorizawa, in a 5 set match no one expects them to win. There is less character development overall, but more than enough action to make up for it. I’d say this season emulates the intense tone produced by the last few episodes in season 2, my favorites of the entire series. The result is a nail-biting, pulse-pounding thrill ride to the match’s epic conclusion. It’s just what I needed to get me through a relatively lackluster fall season.
There isn’t much in the way of story this season, due mostly to its shorter run time. Being in a 5 set match is unfamiliar territory for our favorite Karasuno team, which begins to show as the series progresses. Exhaustion starts to become a factor, and for the first time I can remember in Haikyuu, players begin to tire mentally and physically. This incorporates an important aspect of playing sports, making the characters that much more relatable to someone who’s been there. We also see a culmination of the variety of new skills Karasuno’s players have been practicing come to fruition when they matter the most. Whether from Nishinora’s jump-setting or Tsukishima’s read-blocking, each player plays a pivotal role in turning the tides at one or more points during the match. The writers of Haiykuu also continue their emphasis on the backgrounds of Karasuno’s opponents throughout the match. It was a tad watered down from last season, and I would still have liked to see Ushijima’s past elaborated on more.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole series up to this point is the sudden mental involvement displayed by none other than the deadpan Tsukishima. Normally Tsuki exhibits a personality as dynamic as a cardboard box, but shocks us all as he begins to become more engaged and driven to help out his team. He emulates the mentality that no one likes to lose, and I found myself actually cheering out loud for him when he blocked Ushijima for the first time. Another refreshing point to bring up about the cast is how passive a role Hinata and Kageyama actually play in this season. As the series progresses, the narrative shifts from the drive and determination of Hinata as an individual to the importance of teamwork and synergy. The result is truly powerful and I’ve begun to really get attached to every member of Karasuno’s team.
Obviously the hype in Haikyuu is beyond unreal, and the third season is the best example of this. Even the relatively stone-faced members of Shiratorizawa get wrapped up in the excitement. Anime has proven time and time again that you can breathe life and intensity into any subject matter. Some people may fault the series for its plethora of overreactions and such, but at this point the viewer should come to expect it based on the precedent laid out by Haikyuu’s first two seasons. It’s the necessary evil of sports anime, but one I have grown to forgive Haikyuu for because I love it the series that much. Even up until the last episode, the result of the match was unclear and allowed me to stay glued to my screen for the entire 10 episodes. Karasuno doesn’t always win, and that vulnerability makes you cheer for them even harder when they do.
Is it better than Season 2? Unfortunately, the abridged format coupled with less interesting characters cause it to fall short of the brilliance surrounding the second installment. Many of the training camp episodes from last season did more to add to the story than I realized, causing viewers to really bond with the opposing players that much more. Not to mention Oikawa being the character you wanted to cheer for but couldn’t. Another aspect of the series I didn’t find to be irritating until this point was the lack of family members from Karasuno’s players being shown in the stands. Instead we are limited to a select few that are grouped together while the rest of the crowd seems to consist of the student body. From attending many high school sporting events in the past, it can be somewhat hard to fathom how the parents of these kids aren’t even in the picture in their matches. A small complaint, but one I just don’t understand. Maybe Furudate (creator) though Haikyuu had enough characters already!
Voice acting is still solid and the music is consistently upbeat and powerful. There are quite a few recycled tracks from the earlier seasons, which I actually found comforting more than stale for the series. The sound editing and effects are some of the best in the business, as Haikyuu delivers again with its realistic gymnasium sounds and crowd noises. The animation also seems like it received a significant upgrade from the show’s debut season, rivaling other sports series like Ping Pong in its level of “over-the-top-ness”.. Granted, only having to edit together one setting for the entire season probably allowed the animation team to expand their skills in other, more intricate areas.
To sum up this season in one sentence (as recommended by one of my MAL pals), Haikyuu S3 is “A white-knuckled underdog story driving 100 mph over the speed limit, wearing a huge grin the entire time.” It’s a series best viewed in one binge-watching session rather than enjoyed week by week, and is only bested by it’s previous installment. If you’ve seen the first two seasons, you’re already behind the curve by not picking this one up… it’s a hell of a good time! Thanks for reading and be sure to look out for more of my Fall ‘16 reviews!
If you’ve watched other sports anime such as Kuroko no Basket, the overall storyline is rather predictable, almost to the point where the anime becomes less enjoyable (as it lacks on that overall sense of surprise that is important in anime). Luckily, Haikyuu isn’t about the overall story as much as it is about character development and backstory.
They really went all out with the art this season. The action scenes’ animation looks incredibly good. Furthermore, they incorporate a lot of interesting visual metaphors which I find appealing (ex. http://imgur.com/a/9Oh9z ).
The soundtrack for Haikyuu is godlike. Voice actors are good. A lot of people complained that they didn’t like Coach Ukai’s new VA, but I think it’s fine. (R.I.P Kazunari Tanaka).
The characters are probably why so many people like Haikyuu. Haikyuu creates deep, interesting characters that have their own personality. Each set of members on a team will elicit feelings from the viewer. If you personally enjoy character development, Haikyuu has a lot of it, and I mean A LOT (ex. Tsukki).
I looked forward to watching this every week; so much so that I don’t want to read the manga since I’m afraid it will lessen my enjoyment of the anime adaption. After the first season, I became unhealthily attached to the characters (save me).
You might see the 8 I gave the story. But all that matters is my personal enjoyment so Haikyuu gets an easy 5/7 from me.
This third season picks up right where the last one left off, throwing us right into the Spring Tournament regional finals between Karasuno and Shiratorizawa. And that is pretty much the entirety of what this season is about as it is significantly shorter at merely 10 episodes, and all of that is spent on this single best-of-five finals. However, the shorter length also means that there is very little downtime, and thus pretty much every single episode of this season is action-packed and engaging, unlike the second season which spent its entire first half on nothing but lackluster training arcs, so I definitely consider this to be an improvement on paper.
Now I will admit that generally speaking I am not really a fan of hot-blooded shounen series, nor am I particularly fond of sports outside of real life, so this definitely has an impact on my enjoyment of Haikyuu as well. In short, this anime is very predictable. It is one thing to be able to guess the eventual winner, but for example I should not be able to so easily say in which order the sets are going to be won by the respective sides, because it is all made to play out in the way which creates the maximum amount of hype for the viewers. It just… feels pretty fake. And even the rallies within the sets themselves are generally pretty predictable; the camera focuses especially on one player for a bit and lets you see things from his perspective, at which point you can rest assured that the next point or two is going to be decided by him. Eventually the other players will adapt to whatever strategy he is using and then break his streak, at which point the focus will shift to someone else where the same thing will play out. It feels like it is all following a script. That said, I do have to admit that even though it feels pretty unnatural, it is undoubtedly quite effective. Thanks to the stellar directing that Haikyuu has, it really manages to make every point feel important and engaging, and the amount of emotion stemming from the players is not to be underestimated. You can really feel how much this means to everyone and how badly they want to win, no matter the cost. However, that still does not change the fact that the progression of the actual sets is simply too clean and perfect, and feels like it is following too much of a rigid pattern rather than portray the chaos that volleyball so often becomes in real life.
This is where I should probably mention that I am by no means an expert on volleyball and my knowledge of it is limited to what I have learned in PE class and from watching it on TV. However, this also proves a point of mine even further because despite my lack of expertise on the subject matter, I still find that I legitimately know more about the sport than these players do a lot of the time. I feel like Haikyuu oftentimes treats me like an idiot. Why is it that these supposedly national level athletes are just now taught what certain basic positions and tactics like angle blocking are? That makes no sense at all. I mean yes, I realize that the mangaka wants to teach things to the readers/viewers who have little to no understanding of volleyball whatsoever, but could you not have done so in a way which does not straight-up lower the story’s sense of realism? For example, you could have just thrown in some short non-canon tutorials for the sake of the audience without interfering with the plot progression at all. On top of that there are also a couple points which are just plain implausible, like that it is supposedly harder to play against left-handed players than right-handed ones. What kind of sense does that make? This is volleyball, not football. The ball reaches its destination in less than a second when spiking so there is absolutely no way the opposite spin direction would have time to curve the trajectory in any relevant way at all, and given how lightweight the ball is I do not see how the spin would make it any harder to pass or receive either.
Another thing that really annoys me about this third season (which is a problem which actually did not exist in the prior seasons) is the complete lack of preparation from Karasuno prior to the finals. I mean think about it; Shiratorizawa is supposed to be the most famous team in the entire region for their age bracket, and they have won multiple big tournaments over the last few years already. On top of that they have a superstar ace player in Ushijima who seemingly everyone knows about. So why is it that Karasuno are seemingly learning who their opponents are during the actual finals itself? They should have tons and tons of easily accessible information about every single one of the starting players they’re facing since ages ago, and should thus have been appropriately prepared for what was coming well ahead of time. Especially considering that this is a shounen series where pretty much every player has some super specific skillset like Ushijima’s raw power spikes and Tendou’s “Guess Monster” gimmick, rather than just being all-round solid players like you generally expect high-level players to be in real life. In other words coming up with hard counters should be much easier here than in reality as long as you know what you are dealing with ahead of time, which again, Karasuno really should have known. Like I can sort of understand the opposite scenario with how Shiratorizawa may have been confident enough in their victory to not really care about researching their opponents, and similarly Karasuno’s matches in earlier rounds and tournaments have been against lesser opposition so I guess that excuse might somewhat apply there too, but for this finals, not so much. It is like taking a college exam without studying for it and just hoping that your raw talent will be enough for you to figure out the answers on the spot. Sure, maybe that will work out for you, but it still seems a hell of a lot smarter to just study ahead of time instead. The same logic applies for Karasuno in this tournament finals.
Speaking of skillsets, I also have to say that the aforementioned abilities in particular are pretty ridiculous. Does any professional volleyball player base their moves around trying to read their opponents’ eye movements and similar like Tendou does? You think you have time to do something like that in a sport as fast-paced as volleyball? I highly doubt it. And as far as Ushijima goes, I find his ability to be really dumb. For one it is rather uncreative with how it is basically all power and very little strategy involved, but more importantly that kind of strength makes no sense at all. As briefly mentioned earlier, a volleyball is pretty lightweight, and even the most forceful spike can only generate so much kinetic energy as a result. So the fact that Ushijima’s spikes could be so strong that they can just go straight through blocks is just ridiculous. There is no way that should happen. In summary, there are quite a lot of aspects of Haikyuu which are just plain unrealistic, which is ironic given that one of the common praises I keep seeing for the show is its supposed realism.
All that said though, I still consider Haikyuu to be a pretty good anime in general because despite its flaws, it is a lot of fun to watch nonetheless, and it is both addictive and engaging. The problems with it mostly lie with the details, but the more general aspects are all quite solid. For one, the production value is extremely good. I am not sure if I have ever seen a sports anime with as fluid animation as Haikyuu has, so Production I.G definitely deserves a large part of the credit for the show’s success. And similarly, the soundtrack serves to both severely ramp up the level of intensity of the matches as well as enhance the emotional impact when need be, with all-round crisp and stellar timing. The characters are perhaps not utterly amazing in terms of writing but they have a lot of development, and discounting the part where they sometimes seem clueless to things they really should not be, they generally do feel quite believable and admirable. In this particular season I think it is especially Tsukishima who gets the most development as something that had been building up since almost the very start of the show ends up paying off in full, which was quite satisfying to see. Looking back at how he used to be, it almost feels like watching a completely different person by the end of this season.
Finally, before ending this I would just like to touch upon something concerning this anime’s fan base which has always annoyed me and I did not know where else to put it. Time and time again I see people (especially those that have not actually seen it) label Haikyuu as “homosexual volleyball”. In a sense this is understandable given the unbelievable amount of Haikyuu-themed male-on-male romance fan art and fanfics there are out there, often sexual in nature, so clearly in terms of how the fujoshi treat it this is not incorrect. However, the actual anime itself is not gay at all. It is not like Yuri on Ice which has blatant homoerotic tension shoved into your face pretty much every episode; Haikyuu has nothing of the sort. I have never seen the guys in this show stare deeply into each other’s eyes, be bashful in each other’s presence, end up in any compromising positions with each other or shown any signs of being interested in one another beyond mere friends and teammates. I may not be a volleyball player, but I did play football for many years so I can at least say that there is nothing remotely homosexual about simply playing in the same sports team as a bunch of other guys and passionately wanting to win together. So please stop trash talking Haikyuu for supposedly being yaoi-bait and avoiding it solely because of that, because it is not only a silly reason but also just plain incorrect. Blame a certain obsessive minority of the fan base if you so desire, but not the show.
In any case, the third season of Haikyuu is an overall solid addition to an already well-established franchise which for the most part maintains the same strengths and weaknesses as its prior seasons despite being less than half the length. It is also more straight to the point than ever before as there is significantly less fluff, and as a result every episode feels fast-paced (but not too fast) and important. And while I wish that it had done a couple things differently, as a whole it is nonetheless a very enjoyable anime which is definitely worth checking out. Not that I see why you would not watch this season as well if you have already invested enough time to get through 50 episodes of it previously. If you have seen and liked the first two seasons already, there really is no reason to not watch this one as well.
English: Gintama Season 4
MAL Score: 9.09
Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Kagura return as the fun-loving but broke members of the Yorozuya team! Living in an alternate-reality Edo, where swords are prohibited and alien overlords have conquered Japan, they try to thrive on doing whatever work they can get their hands on. However, Shinpachi and Kagura still haven’t been paid… Does Gin-chan really spend all that cash playing pachinko?
Meanwhile, when Gintoki drunkenly staggers home one night, an alien spaceship crashes nearby. A fatally injured crew member emerges from the ship and gives Gintoki a strange, clock-shaped device, warning him that it is incredibly powerful and must be safeguarded. Mistaking it for his alarm clock, Gintoki proceeds to smash the device the next morning and suddenly discovers that the world outside his apartment has come to a standstill. With Kagura and Shinpachi at his side, he sets off to get the device fixed; though, as usual, nothing is ever that simple for the Yorozuya team.
Filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and moments of heartfelt emotion, Gintama’s fourth season finds Gintoki and his friends facing both their most hilarious misadventures and most dangerous crises yet.
Besides starting out with heavy action, comedy is one of the best ways to make people continue watching a show. To hook the viewers into the first few episodes is what the producers try to do each season. If you don’t start off with something funny in a show that is so well-known for its way of doing parodies and comedy, then there’s no way the viewers are going to continue watching. I mean, who doesn’t like a good ol’ DBZ parody to start itself off? I know I do.
If there’s one thing I didn’t like about how the season went is the skipping of some of the smaller arcs. Gintama has always been faithful at adapting all its arcs, but this season was quite different. This may be due to pushing it for OVAs to sell, or maybe they just didn’t have the time slots available. That or something came up within the studio to make them adapt the bigger arcs earlier.
With that, I guess we should talk about the highly anticipated arcs that a lot of people have been waiting for since the announcement of the season. Without trying to spoil, these arcs provide a lot to the watchers as to what’s happening to some of the most known groups/people in the Gintama franchise. The first arc is the Shogun arc which obviously focuses on the Shogun himself but also his enemies. Compared to the other big arcs, I’d say this was a pretty good arc and rivaled some of the other ones from the past seasons. If you thought that was all for the big arcs, then think again! Not only do we get one major roller coaster arc this season, but two. The other being the Shinsengumi arc which focuses on the Police force of Edo and two other “prominent” groups—the Joui rebels and the Mimawarigumi. Unlike the previous arc, this arc is more about emotion than it is about action. While this arc does have action, I wouldn’t put it ahead of the arc before it in that sense. I still enjoyed this arc though because it shows us some backstory of some of the Shinsengumi, the Mimawarigumi, and even Gintoki. These two arcs go hand-in-hand as the former leads into the latter. Just what is in store for our beloved characters?
Visually speaking, it has been up and down here and there. Mostly a hit though. Like most shows, or at least ones that want to stand out in scenes, the visuals will go above and beyond then the usual to look when it needs to. The comedy arcs were also pretty good in terms of its animation, but there were times when the animation took a turn down and looked pretty bad. Expect the animation budget to be really good during the action arcs, especially for the final two arcs. Thankfully it wasn’t bad when it needed to be so there’s nothing major I would note down.
As for the soundtrack, it has been really good. The OST was done pretty well and matches the overall mood of what the scene is trying to portray to the viewer—whether its during comedy or action. The OP/ED songs I have mixed feelings for because I’m mainly a fan of catchy songs, but they sounded good and is no different from past season. I’ve been mainly a fan of Gintama’s OP, but this season there was a few EDs I quite enjoyed more so than its OP counterpart, so props to the singers for that.
And just like that another season of Gintama ends. The waiting once again begins as per regular tradition. If you haven’t enjoyed this season, then the season to come, which will most likely be the finale, is definitely not for you.
Gintama hasn’t changed one bit; it will continue being its same old self until it finally brings a closure to all the characters we love and find so hilarious.
Now to the review of this season!
Well, Gintama had never been an anime with high budget so please don’t expect ufotable’s godlike level of animation. For a long-running anime though, I think Gintama has the better animation out there, and especially during the last arc, the animation was pretty top notch. The characters design and the setting has always been distinct (I’ve always been a fan of their portrayal of ‘modern’ Edo) and I always thought that Gintama has good art anyway so in this season it still deserves a high score.
This is one of my personal favourite aspects of Gintama. I like how they could make a recurring theme to give off different feelings according to the scene they’re accompanying. The new OSTs for this season are very good too, especially for the last two arcs (there is one theme song for a new character that I really like in this season, it gives me literal chill everytime I hear it haha).
This season started with a very controversial comedic episode which reminded us that Gintama won’t ever be afraid to make jokes on pretty much everything. The episodes which followed are great too (the lottery one is still my fav though) and the comedic arcs in this season are among my favorites (soul switch arc, dekoboko arc, afro arc, feigned illness arc, confessional arc…). They are very well written and always left us with an afterthought in a classic Gintama way.
The serious arcs, particularly the last two, are among the best in the entire series. The strength of the serious arcs in Gintama is that the pacing of the story is quite fast that our hype was always being kept at high. Also, as an anime-only watcher, a lot of the twist really caught me off-guard, and all I can say is despite some of the twists being typical shounen tropes, the way Gintama handled them are very tasteful. I guess it’s because Gintama isn’t your typical shounen with teenagers as MCs, which bring us to its endearing characters.
Characters : 10/10
The characters are the reason why I finished all the previous seasons in only two months. If you asked me when I started to love a particular character I would never be able to answer that; they were all slowly creeping on me.
Gintama’s character are well-rounded. Nobody is perfect; in fact some of the characters are really gross that it may seemed impossible to love them at first, but given the time, they are all endearing in their own ways. I mean, I can sympathize with a gorilla stalker that sometimes walk around naked and a gross homeless old man who seemed to have no ambition in life. My other favourites includes the clumsy leader of a rebellious faction nicknamed “nobleman of fury” who keeps an alien (duck?) as a pet, an inhumanely strong little girl with a weird accent who always eats like there’s no tomorrow, and a police officer who should have been arrested for exposing everyone with secondhand smoke and for ruining all the good foods in this world with his disgusting mayonnaise addiction.
The new characters this season are also memorable, but what hits me the most is the development of all the supporting characters. We’ve known them for 250+ episodes and we’re very much already knew their personality traits. However, Sorachi gradually exposed bits by bits of those characters so what I feel that watching Gintama is not about the characters growing, but me knowing them better. I don’t know if this makes sense or not, but watching Gintama feels like knowing your friends better in life instead of rooting for a celebrity you’ve only seen on TVs. So when they’re hurt or something bad happened to them, the feels hit me as if something happened to someone I hold dear (okay this is getting out of hand because my inner otaku coming out but whatever).
So yeah, the supporting characters in Gintama are too good that they can probably lead their own series. That being said, the MC is by no means being overshadowed by them. Gintoki is deservedly the leader of the bunch, and this season just cemented the fact. There are many instances where Gintoki shines as the best shounen MC I’ve ever seen, both because his persona and how he deals with his relationship with other characters. He handled all the cliche shounen tropes in a surprising manner that keeps me rooting for him (there’s one moment in this season when it’s shown that he’s really emotionally strong and mature and that was something I rarely saw in shounen jump’s heroes).
Gintoki though, has always been a contradiction; he had always been annoyingly talkative but actually he rarely said anything important, he always seemed greedy but when we think about it, he is actually very selfless. In this season, I feel that Gintoki had opened up and showing his true self more (he’s talking about his past more, and he’s also openly expressing his wishes). All in all, his relationship with all the characters, especially with his Yorozuya family and the Shinsengumi, is the highlight for me in this season.
Hell yeah the fast pacing keeps the enjoyment and the hype real and high. If you still don’t get it from my ramblings above I really enjoy this season. Wednesday had been the day I waited the most for these past year (even more than the weekends!)
Oh, and the seiyuus is another highlight (especially Sugita and Nakai!) because without them masterfully voicing these weird characters, it won’t feel the same. I believe I will listen if Gintama was made into radio series, their voices are already the heart of Gintama.
Watching Gintama actually makes me very picky in watching other anime. It has a complete package that is hard to beat; I bet you it’s not easy to make a series where you can laugh a little in between tears because they decided to put a slight comedy in an otherwise very emotional scene. Or makes you laugh like a madman because sometimes it’s too funny that you need to stop watching to collect yourself first. And this season just has that perfect mix of comedy and action (and drama too) that I cemented it as one of the best series ever made.
Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes upon the most overhyped anime of all time! Watch as our main protagonist uses his wooden sword of sentimentality, cutting into the bleeding hearts of all you emotional thinkers, corrupting your rotten brains with the stench of intellectual destitution!
In this particular season of Gintama, the author’s masterplan finally takes shape. Every episode of comedy filler, every laugh, and every smile it has pulled from your innocent lips, it was all a ploy to steal your souls. He can now freely attach your emotions to these characters of absurd fiction. With emotional manipulation the anime makes you care for a bunch of clowns, and then takes a darker turn as you become complacent.
With superior animation it uses thrilling action-scenes and atmospheric direction, blinding you with pretty colors. The show’s visuals are fast-food for the soul, delicious upon tasting it, but ultimately detrimental to your IQ, making you more creative and in touch with your emotions rather than with your cold and logical side.
Allow me to wreak havoc on your lowly opinions, by pointing out Gintama’s greatest flaw of all, the horrendous writing and characters. The show has a tendency to make characters relatable and fascinating, only to retcon events so that you can retain those emotional connections, while the story just goes wherever it wants. It is one thing to play with expectations, but another to betray them by doing plot-twists that don’t live up to my personal golden standard. Some characters will receive tragic backstories, only for it to be revealed that none of it mattered, because some current event undid it all or it was all a lie to begin with. Worst of all, on several occasions we see death-flags get raised, only to be ignored in the name of dramatic convenience, just so the few who DO die have more impactful farewells.
I would call the author spineless, but that’d be an insult to invertebrates. I would ask you all to make a drinking-game out of every time you notice plot-armor at play, or a character making an inspirational speech. When you all die of alcohol-poisoning I’ll be left in a more agreeable world, one where only I rule over the anime-hegemony.
To summarize, Gintama has reached a level of worship among anime-fans like no other. To think that the social nature of humanity would override their ability to think logically, it makes me want to give up on everything.
Oh and happy April Fools. This show is awesome.
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