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 Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin, Go! Princess Precure, and more!
10: Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
English: Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions
MAL Score: 7.67
Fear, survival, instinct. Thrown into a foreign land with nothing but hazy memories and the knowledge of their name, they can feel only these three emotions resonating deep within their souls. A group of strangers is given no other choice than to accept the only paying job in this game-like world—the role of a soldier in the Reserve Army—and eliminate anything that threatens the peace in their new world, Grimgar.
When all of the stronger candidates join together, those left behind must create a party together to survive: Manato, a charismatic leader and priest; Haruhiro, a nervous thief; Yume, a cheerful hunter; Shihoru, a shy mage; Mogzo, a kind warrior; and Ranta, a rowdy dark knight. Despite its resemblance to one, this is no game—there are no redos or respawns; it is kill or be killed.
It is now up to this ragtag group of unlikely fighters to survive together in a world where life and death are separated only by a fine line.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is a rather unique watch. Shows throughout time have had a tendency to force characters from 0 to a 100 in an unrealistic time frame. This often pertains to the widespread demands of instant gratification. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar challenges these demands by emphasising the natural growth of characters: step by step characters are built through every interaction with the plot. Closely observing this and the plot is paramount as to not miss the abundance of implicit detail dedicated to their development and characterisation. Due to this profound nature of the show, reflection is commonplace and as such, the watch is recommended for anyone who enjoys reading pensively into things.
An inherent feature of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is its large main cast. There’s a greater emphasis on characterising and developing the group as opposed to the individuals; however, it is decently balanced between the group and the individuals such that neither don’t feel completely neglected; the viewers are briefly enlightened on their individual daily lives (roles, recreation, style of living etc.) and personalities. This opportunity to learn about how each character interacts with the group is one of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar best point. Note this orientates Hai to Gensou no Grimgar more towards those who are interested in group development.
The show starts off on a weaker foot but eventually progresses superbly, making it worth the watch if the initial set of annoyances can be endured. Such is also true for the pacing, as it evolves into superbness. Though, it is sometimes deemed ‘slow’, but slow is not bad. It is only when it is incongruously or meaninglessly slow it can be considered such. In this case, the creators have done a superb job at pacing the show such that the story and characters (development and characterisation) are often progressing and the right mood is established. Also, the isn’t show is absolutely slow. Explicitly it might seem so but when explored implicitly, there is profoundness behind most interactions and moments (plot-wise and character-wise). Bluntly put, the show might seem slow or idle if one focuses on the explicit details and misses all the implicit detail, which is possibly consequential of not understanding the purpose of the show (detailed later).
Now regardless of the pacing, it is possible for something to be rushed. To rush something is to reach something without having the necessary details or time for the viewers to follow or agree with the outcome. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is subject to such with the limitation of 12 episodes. This is especially pertinent to an important moment that coalesces some of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar major elements. Whether or not its failure can be pardoned (if it is viewed as such) will ultimately dictate one’s enjoyability of the show. It has been identified and explained it in the spoiler section.
Hai to Grimgar’s paramount feature is its realism. The characters will have to manage basic needs, such as food and shelter. The characters will have to face the reality of the world. The dialogue, development, and interactions are all seemingly realistic. One example of such realism is the fact almost nothing major happens at the beginning. Though why should anything extraordinary happen? They lead basic lives and hold little significance. It is abnormal for much to happen outside of their daily struggles. Another excellent feature Hai to Gensou no Grimgar employ is not having over-the-top combat abilities. They were mostly just minor extensions of the human ability, which harmonises well with its realism theme.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is tailored to fans of slice of life. The combination of realism and narrative focus on character lifestyle and relatively slower progression makes it a natural watch for such people. A conspicuously common issue is approaching this show expecting an action, most likely consequential of the initial action scenes and seemingly shounen setup, and receiving a slice of life instead. It is also important to note that while the premise of the show was to toss the average teenager into a fantasy-themed world, it is not a deconstruction of the fantasy genre—the show lacks the focus on and the necessary intricate details characteristic of a deconstruction to be considered such—and is only one of its enjoyment factors. The watch is instead for those who are interested watching the growth of a group, the bonds they develop, the building of the character etc. It is much more of a character oriented show (60–70%) than a plot oriented one (roughly 35%). It is a show where learning about the characters is essentially progression. Understanding this and what a slice of life entails is critical when encountered with such works.
The art was dazzling at most times. The beautiful scenery heavily complemented the story by aiding the development of the desired mood. Most noticeably, the watercolour backgrounds evoked a tranquil slice-of-life feel, similar to that of Mushishi. The backgrounds were also unobtrusive allowing a higher focus on the projected characters, which is excellent because Hai to Grimgar is a character-dominated show. However, this conflicted with the action scenes as the projection of the background with 2D art instead of 3D sometimes lacked stimulation, detracting from its thrill.
My praise for the audio component is similar to that for the art. Furthermore, Hai to Grimgar uniquely features many montages. They aided the conveyance of the mood and story and were fairly enjoyable to watch. There were however two misuses. They have been mentioned almost immediately below as to avoid spoilers.
This section henceforth contains spoilers. This section will offer the main criticism and other comments regarding the show.
Its first use (town settling) was inappropriate. It is only warranted once the characters have truly settled in, which was not the case.
The second use (graveyard location) clashed with the mood. The pacing of the song was too fast inhibiting focus on the melancholy scene. The usage of the scene also felt extremely abrupt as Manato’s time with them was seemingly short.
Shihoru is a frivolous character. She can be removed from the show with slight amendments and little difference. This was most apparent during episodes 1–5. She was, however, vital in combat post-episode 5. They need to rework her such that she serves a purpose (plot-wise) outside of combat.
Due to the limitations of 12 episodes, the development of the bond between Manato and the group is rather lacking. 2 episodes were certainly insufficient for evoking the desired sympathy for the characters grieving Manato’s death. The end of episode 4 is the weakest of the series (somewhat rushed outcome) as it draws heavily on Manato’s bond with the group. Common sense dictates that they were distraught but it is rather limited and superficial. This foundation of knowledge would have also fostered understanding of and sympathy for Haruhiro as he confronted his inner-conflict.
More application of the characters is desired; while Hai to Gensou no Grimgar does build the character, they lacked the time to further display the final product. This was most evident in episodes 11 and 12 where new details were introduced to the character but without application. This plays into the 12-episode limitation.
It was exasperating when Haruhiro uttered ‘It would be nice if you could mend clothes with magic as well.’ and proceeded to blatantly explain it. It seemed as if that line was attributed to him solely to inform the viewers. While it was natural, the interpretation should have been somehow left to the viewers.
Ranta escaping at the end was illogical. He was surrounded and barely knew the mine’s caving system as opposed to the Kobolds, which know the place inside-out. Haruhiro’s skill is essentially the visualization of that.
Experience from fighting enemies will yield knowledge about their weak points and effective engagement. The streams of light that direct Haruhiro can be interpreted as the visualization of that. However, this ‘skill’ should have not appeared or appeared so quickly against the Death Spots at the end. As he lacked combat experience specific to Elder Kobalds, it should have been a challenge not something his ‘skill’ could easily relieve him from. It was an opportunity where the creators could have explicitly and satisfyingly displayed the development Haruhiro’s combat abilities and maturity over the course of the show. However, it was wasted by rushing the fight to a conclusion.
They actually fully (and superbly) developed the concept of the main cast being unnatural inhabitants of the world. The main cast were evidently briefly aware of this fact, but overtime the characters neglected it such that it eventually faded. This suggests of their adaption to the world and prioritisation of their survival in the realization of the triviality of pursuing such an oddity as opposed to meeting to the demands of their daily lives; the corroboration follows. At the utter end, Kikkawa (the drunkard) shouted ‘Australia’ in a carefree manner. They could have chosen any word or omitted it all together, but why did they attribute that specific line to him? They deliberately chose ‘Australia’ to connect it with the real world and had Kikkawa, the most carefree character, utter it in such a manner to hint their accordance with and acceptance of the new world. Also, when heard in the context of the characters, the statement sounds greatly insignificant, as it was randomly blurted out by a drunkard, suggesting the same of their unnatural inhabitation of the world.
In conclusion, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar deserves an 8/10, which accordingly to MAL denotes a ‘very good’ show.
With that being said, I believe that this is quite close to the epitome of what an anime should not be – from the embarrassingly awful execution to the completely obnoxious and meaningless characters. It honestly baffles me that some people see this title as average, yet alone good. From the legendary A-1 Pictures who’ve produced such magnificent works of art such as – Sword Art Online, The Asterisk War, The Perfect Insider, Fairy Tail, every single bad light novel adaptation and many more mind-boggling series for our entertainment over the years, comes the awe-inspiring Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash.
So the story takes place in a videogame setting, a town called Grimgar and it follows our protagonists as they each individually grow as people, go through hardships together and face the cruel reality that 10 of them can’t kill 1 retarded goblin. This is not an exaggeration, our protagonists are so weak that it takes them 5 minutes to kill a single goblin. However, I thought this was a very interesting approach, as it obviously differs from the usual Jesus-kun format. Sadly, this doesn’t last for long. There was no big transition in between their entire party not being able to kill a single goblin to them doing full-on raids versus an entire castle full of goblins. It just sort of happened overnight, I don’t know.
While I did think it was a neat change, I see this argument used way too often. “Grimgar is special because its story is very realistic unlike the other RPG anime!” I think there is a fine line between realistic and different. A different approach doesn’t mean the title is going to be good and this is what people tend to be missing. If it really wanted to be that realistic then it should have cut down a bit on stuff such as discussing a girl’s breasts in front of her for 3 minutes straight. Here lies the thesis and basically anything the positive reviews ever say about this show. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually people started calling it a deconstruction of the RPG genre for this sole fact.
The world of Grimgar itself is for the most part very uninteresting and leaves a lot to be desired. It is barely touched upon within the first 2 episodes in some hasty introduction to the basics and the rest of the series is action-driven and focuses more so on the characters. All we know is that there are normal townsfolk and these adventurers who have to fight off goblins in order to survive. We don’t know anything about the town, we don’t know anything about the goblins, etc. Basically we don’t really know much of anything and it would of definitely been better if they tried to implement some sort of interesting lore and went more in detail since it just felt lazy on it’s own. Not that I find RPG settings to be particularly interesting anyway but yeah, the worldbuilding was bad.
Some people may tell you that this anime is simply not for you though, due to it’s slow pacing which a shonen fanboy such as yourself cannot appreciate. As a fan of shows that take their time in properly developing it’s world, themes and characters, I can safely say that Grimgar left me disappointed. It really did not have to be as slow as it was. It just felt like a mere blunder on the production staff’s side, rather than a necessity for good development. So even if you do prefer slower paced stuff, I can’t really guarantee you’ll enjoy Grimgar.
So instead of filling up the weaknesses of the show, they go ahead and introduce irrelevant plotpoints such as: none of the characters having their memories from the real world. I thought this was incredibly useless and stupid, what would knowing anything change? Was this implemented in here just so they could have an easy way out of dealing with character backstories? It is shown early on that none of their items from the real world are transported here to begin with, so why bother? Actually why even bother making the setting a game? Why not just some fantasy world? It’s because A-1 knows the demographic it’s appealing to far too well.
Okay, gotta give credit where credit is due. The artstyle used in Grimgar is very original and nice, with a watercolor/painterly feel to it. This was definitely a breath of fresh air due to how bland I thought most of the art in these recent seasons looked like so a change of pace was much appreciated. The backgrounds look especially nice, as if you’re looking at a painting of some sort. The animation is alright and it clearly excels when the girls’ tits bounce. You can just see how much time and effort was put into those jiggles.
Unlike the art and animation, the sound isn’t anything spectacular. Sure, you’ve got some good songs thrown in there, but for every good song you have the same amount of poor utilization and engrish vocals. This is quite a problem as Grimgar tries rather hard to make you emotionally invested, and when such scenes came along, they mostly felt underwhelming due to the mediocre musical direction. For a series that takes itself seriously, I thought the voice acting was rather lackluster. None of the performances stand out and most are just borderline annoying. The only decent performances were Yume, Mary and Haruhiro (although this is probably my bias due to his role as Shichika in Katanagatari).
All aboard the cringe train. This is no doubt the worst part about Grimgar, showing further how A-1 has no clue how to make decent or even half-decent characters. This luckily changes as the series progresses but I still felt like touching upon it – every character interaction between members of the opposite sex has sexual themes or implications in it which makes me wonder if the writer is out of his early teens yet. Adding on to this, it is very impressive when in the first scene of the series it is able to portray the females as useless and clumsy damsels in distress, unable to do anything on their own apart from scream and cry until their beta-male white knight companions come to the rescue. This makes for some of the cringiest scenes I have ever seen, like talking about Shihoru’s breasts for a good 3-5 minutes.
You could say that this is just taking the easy route since no matter how bad the actual series in question may be, it’s bound to garner some sort of audience. However, I still feel as though it is a very big problem and is ultimately what a lot of modern anime suffer from. While I guess that it just knows what demographic it’s appealing to and it’s not so bad on it’s own, it also means that we have to depend on the male cast to be good or get the proper development. Feel free to take a guess on how it’s handled in Grimgar. Yes, not very good…
A lot of people would argue this point because of how well developed they all become upon facing loss! No! The characters can grieve all they want but it won’t make them more likable or realistic. Coping with sadness is a great characterization tool if utilized properly and on good characters, but despite these characters being borderline terrible, they barely develop! Most of the characters don’t even have a personality that defines them to begin with, apart from Ranta. And, well.. Ranta is just Ranta.
For example, one of the characters was only memorable for his death, nothing else. They didn’t even bother to make us feel anything for the character, he was just a bland teenager who got killed off in order to “develop” everyone else. You aren’t supposed to remember a character for their death, you’re supposed to remember them by their life and their accomplishments BEFORE their death. The drama also felt awfully forced and doesn’t work 90% of the time. ” Hey guys, let’s go to that place where most of Mary’s party got brutally murdered which left her scarred for life 😀 😀 😀 Oh Mary why u mad bro?? ”
I giggled a couple of times when the goblins were screeching so I guess some enjoyment was to be had. Sadly it was all just nullified by Ranta and the female cast’s cleavage. The pacing also played a key factor in this but it did get noticeably better as the series went along. Despite this, it is not an exaggeration to say that I was forcing myself through most of the show as in the end, Grimgar struck me as incredibly bland and boring.
This is a series that had a lot of initial potential and sounded pretty good on paper but A-1 went the wrong way of doing it. Especially if the characters were handled properly, Grimgar could of been the highpoint of the RPG genre, covering stuff like how detrimental loss can be in some cases. Sadly, the script looks like something from an otaku’s basement, the pacing and execution are incredibly poor and the characters are very bland, uninteresting and have no defining personality.
(If you couldn’t give a tuna glass about this review and just want to know if you should watch this, skip all the way to the “What to expect and enjoyment” Either way, read this review if you want an insight of the flaws it had. This is my first review so don’t judge and give me a break lol. My usage of words might come off as wonky so sorry for that)
Grimgar is an anime that doesn’t necessarily bring anything distinctive to the tables. I personally believe that Grimgar was just an anime of progression, where we would have an insight on a group of six and the enhancements to their amnesia and how they develop from it. Even then, an apparent anime like this had its deficiency and I’m astonished to know it does.
Despite the very slow adaptation, there was no exhilarating tension or motivation to the anime till the very few episodes. Grimgar was a story that was going nowhere till they picked up an objective that wasn’t even enthralled upon at the few last episodes. Very repetitive episodes as only a very few things would happen as it’s a part of the progression within the anime, which it would conventionally be the party just going out to kill some goblins then coming back.
As the other reviewers stated, it’s very hard to not reference a spoiler so yeah, spoilers up ahead in the next paragraph.
The characters felt very disengaging because of the lack of condolence felt for them. The fact that they killed off Manato in just four episodes immediately created a plot hole because of the lack of profundity put into Manato. I didn’t get to know him as a character; we didn’t get in depth of him at all hence why I couldn’t empathise for him. The fact that the characters would consistently drag Manato throughout the plot and weep for him made me feel excluded. It’s as if the plot was trying to renounce me to comprehend them or empathise for them in the slightest. They were trying to make Manato as pertinent to the story as possible because it’s the only thing they were dependable towards. Also the foreshadowing of Manato’s death was too heavy; which made his death very obvious, and yes, in a bad sense.
End of spoilers
Grimgar fails to give any cognizance or impression of the world the group of six are living within by constantly focusing on them and nothing outside of their party. We are not given an perception of how other parties evaluate and evolve in the world they are living within a.k.a the world we are being shown. When the group of six are struggling to kill goblins, how are another party handling this? How did they handle this when they were or are in their position? Sure, this anime is not deliberately trying to focus on other people but just by describing how other parties are doing within the narrative occasionally would have been justifiable. Also there’s no clarification as to why Haruhiro and the rest were chosen to be summoned within the world we are shown. Why is it that they are chosen but no one else?
There were a very few illogical clarifications for the people’s amnesia. How is it that they are well efficient of remembering their names but nothing else? There’s something about that that is very impactful on the characters. Does anything remind them of their name or something? And how is it that they remember the particular words they use but nothing else? Does anything remind them of the words they use? Grimgar fails to justify this. But even then, Grimgar badly brings the significance of that if we’re not going to know about the life the characters had before they came into this world. It’s pretty obvious that the characters came from Earth but Grimgar doesn’t really make that transparent.
The fan service within this show is what I’m truly dissatisfied about. At first, this anime gives you the intuition that it’s one of those soothe animes that seems to have some kind of abhorrence towards ecchi and all that sort, till you watch it, only to find that it adds a lot of unnecessary fan service itself. Oh but the art style of this anime definitely gives you a sense of suspicion. When it comes to wanting to be goofy and thrilling, Grimgar is very dependent with its fan service and jokes about Yume’s flat- chest for that, which it’s very subjective whenever you like it or not (Which I didn’t really) It’s just the fact that Grimgar would execute these at the wrong time, which is where the issue lies.
The pacing of this anime felt like complete torture. Grimgar didn’t manage the time of the twelve episodes properly and just tried to slowly progress the anime, most of the time being way too sluggish. Grimgar was way too enthralled on developing the characters that they completely overlooked everything else, which is giving the plot a resolution and getting into depths of the characters perhaps?
The amnesia concept completely stripped the opportunity to get in depth of the characters to begin with. However, even though the anime had the chance to tell us about the back-story of each character before they came within the world of Grimgar, something is telling me that that will barely bring any significance to the tables. Their amnesia gets in the way of getting in depth of the characters because there’s nothing to say about the characters within the party of six except Mary. The amnesia concept brought a huge plot hole among the characters at the very start. The characters only came off very one dimensional expect Mary, who was the only three dimensional character.
No character within the show was likable. This is more of a personal preference, keep that in mind. Every character was just pure mediocre. Even their character design was so generic. Each character just had that stereotypical role of their own. With Mary being that cold one but really when you get to know her, her attitude is very justifiable, Yume being the flat chest yet humble, Shihoru being the shy one who always cries, always has the oppais, Manato being the “Justin bieber” a.k.a the perfect, Moguzo being the quiet, peaceful, Ranta being the obnoxious and the Haruhiro being “the MC”. Heck, even the outside characters had their own stereotypical roles etc, Barbara = Fan service, Renji = the brave, admired.
Despite Mary, Haruhiro was a well executed character regardless of his lack of back-story (Something good about Grimgar?) Haru was nicely done depiction of the current reputation of the group. Haru alternatively came crucial; I’m quite astonished to see how the anime was capable of making Haru essential to the plot and the group. He is what created the perception put into the party. Haruhiro claimed his own hindrance and concerns as much as he represented that of the whole group’s, and he overcame his own as much as the group did as a whole. Some of you may be thinking “What about Ranta?” Sure, I will applause Ranta for his mentality and perspective on the group and how he’s just doing his part, however because of how unlikable he is and how this mindset completely changes within episode twelve, Ranta is just as mediocre as a character could get within his type.
Grimgar had rather good characterization (Yes, finally, something positive about Grimgar again) Why is it that they have good characterization? Well, because the plot was much focused on this that they received good results. However, don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not really anything bewildering, it’s just that Grimgar was capable of handling this without any issue. Grimgar was very victorious with what it wanted to do here and it’s very comprehensible with what they were trying to depict, how the struggling, amateurish and primitive managed to develop into a tactful and rational. Very simple and nicely exposed.
The water colouring a.k.a art of this anime was very heart-warming and made me feel comfortable and pleasant. I could go on describing it. As an artist, it was very admirable and motivates me into doing some water colouring with its warm colours. I adored how the background was done as well. Little to no effort put into doing it but in a respectful way.
Even though the opening and ending song has a very tedious tune to it, it’s very memorable. It’s something I hum from time to time and I think that’s a good thing. Something about the opening and ending was very clingy and addictive to listen to. It’s even more memorable than the Erased opening and I love that opening more than the Grimgar opening. The first half or the series and the ending song has very lazily done visuals and the second half of the series opening has some effort put into it but I still find something indolent about it. I’m not really concerned about the OSTs; it’s okay.
What to expect in Grimgar of fantasy and ash and Personal enjoyment –
But the real question is, is this anime enjoyable? Honestly, this may come off as anticipating but it depends. Yes, this is one of those “It depends” types of animes. If you enjoy looking at very slow progressive anime, this is the anime for you. However if you want a nicely done anime but it gets to the point and it has an objective, stay away from this anime. Be bound to expect a very slow anime with very torturing pacing, one dimensional characters expect one, unsympathetic death (not telling who), nicely done MC, nothing happening between the episodes and much more!
What makes this anime special is how it’s very considerate with its development so kudos to that! “But Pramma, did you enjoy this anime?” Honestly, no. It was so boring and it wasn’t really convincing or motivating to make me binge it till the very end. I wasn’t capable of watching episode 11 or 12 because it was that boring but I pushed myself to finish it lol.
Grimgar had bright potential but just didn’t use it to its full extent. A lot like to say how pragmatic this anime is but if you look into it, it’s not really that realistic. If you look through the flaws this anime had, the realism of it just suddenly vanishes. For a very straightforward concept like Grimgar, I’m rather disappointed that it has this much mistakes.
– No exhilarating tension or built up –
– No story or point was made till the very end –
– Disconnecting characters; lack of sympathy –
– Repetitive episodes ;nothing happens in between those episodes –
– Lack of information about the world of grimgar or their way of life. –
– Illogical clarifications for their amnesia –
– Shows nothing besides group of 6 –
– Awfully slow progression and pacing –
– Unnecessary fan service –
– Trying to make dead character relevant to the story –
– Too dependent towards this dead character; killed off too fast –
– Characters amnesia strips the purpose of characters and getting into depth of who the characters are –
– Unlikable characters –
– Don’t get an insight on every single character –
– No reasoning for Haruhiro and the rest that were summoned presences. They’re just there.
– Good Characterization –
– Good art –
– Memorable opening and endings –
– Okay usage of OSTs –
– Despite Mary, Haru = nicely done character
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash = Overall 4
9: Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin
English: Alderamin on the Sky
Japanese: ねじ巻き精霊戦記 天鏡のアルデラミン
MAL Score: 7.69
Ikta Solork is a carefree young man who only wants two things in life: a woman on his arm and a place to nap. Unfortunately, his peaceful life is destroyed when war breaks out between the Katjvarna Empire and the neighboring Republic of Kioka. Ikta and his childhood friend, Yatorishino Igsem, join the army as military officers, where they meet the infantryman Matthew Tetojirichi, the sniper Torway Remion, and the medic Haroma Becker on a boat heading for the military exam site.
However, after a rogue storm sinks their vessel, the five of them end up in enemy territory near a military outpost. There, they discover that the heir to the Katjvarnan throne, Princess Chamille Kitora Katjvanmaninik, has been taken hostage. The five are able to rescue her, and as a reward, each one of them is granted the title of Imperial Knight—one of the highest honors a soldier can receive. It seems that Ikta will have to put his dream of tranquility on hold, as he must now become the hero he never wanted to be.
The anime is essentially composed of a few sections, which each section tidying up neatly, while still being open to the next section. This allows the anime to flow nicely, though unfortunately, also leaves the series with a somewhat open ending; though the arc is tidies up, the viewer is left knowing that much is to follow along with foreshadowing, and it just isn’t covered. Granted, anime based off of light novels serve not just to gather and entertain viewers, but to serve as an advertisement of sorts for the novel series, so this is to be expected.
As for the specifics, while the whole premise isn’t made entirely clear, enough information is given to where the viewer won’t dwell on the lack of information; also keep in mind, it’s common for lots of details to miss making it from the novel series to the anime, so for minimal omission to seem apparent is pretty good on the anime’s part. The setting seems to be perhaps a fantasy enlightenment period, with the main contrast being the female military uniforms, which have leggings and school skirts (since how could any anime girl not wear a pleated skirt as part of her main outfit?). Though the fantasy element is light, involving only the use of spirits (which some scenes may have you wondering whether they are fantasy or more sci-fi), the implementation of the spirits in the series adds to the fantasy feel.
What can I say? It’s not terrific, nor experimental, but it’s clear and crisp. Nothing to wow over, but nothing to complain over either.
The voices suited the characters well I feel. The opening and closing also fit the series. The series does a good job overall with using music in scenes, though there were a couple times where it bordered annoying for me.
While the main characters fall into stereotypes, they were portrayed well, to where they helped the story. A few of the characters remained rather static, while a few of the others grew over the course of the anime, which fit into the character types. The series also does a good job in reminding us that the characters are in a war.
This series had a mix of my favorite genre, favorites character types, and was based of a novel series so I started watching it expecting to highly enjoy it; thankfully, for me at least, it met my expectations.
Overall, I give this series a 9. I can see someone who’s into “typical” shounen anime finding this series slow and boring, so if fast-paced action is what you’re looking for, this series may not be for you. While this is a fantasy military anime, this is of a totally different strain than, say, the Gundam series. If you enjoy seeing what happens behind the action in war scenes, with action scenes involving character’s planning counter-actions as much as actual action, this series is one you’ll likely enjoy. If a semi-open ending is something that will bug you, you’ll have to personally decide whether it’s worth watching; if you enjoy this series, by the end you’ll be wishing the light novels were being published by Yen Press. Hope this helped!
The plot isn’t original, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Alderamin is mainly focused on the war between two neighboring empires Katjvarna and the Republic of Kioka, and the struggles of Ikta and his comrades fighting in the war. Besides the ongoing warfare between the two countries, there are also tension within the empire and other battles with various clans. The usage of strategies are pretty good and the battles are meaningful. Unfortunately, early on, Alderamin suffers from a slow start, taking around three episodes to really get going and not really explaining too much during that time. However, after a couple of episodes, Alderamin quickly grew on me. The first real battle scene they showed brought a lot of promise, and it brought a much needed darker tone to the story. One thing I would’ve liked explained earlier though, was this little things called spirits who help fight in battle. They are there, but aren’t exposed enough until late in the show. To be really honest, I feel like the show could’ve done just fine without these little creatures.
These problems could’ve been fixed had there been more episodes. I always feel like 13 episodes or 1 cour isn’t enough for many, especially action/war based anime to really accomplish their full potential in terms of storytelling, characters, and the overall depth. Most of the times, the story will be rushed, and in Alderamin’s case, since it started of very slow, the anime suffered from pacing and development issues.
The animation is the standout point of the series for me. Although a bit inconsistent in pacing at times, Madhouse still impressed me in the end. The efforts they put in each episode in terms of the action is refreshing to see. In an anime like this, awesome battles need to make you feel excitement and hyped, and madhouse delivers just that. The battles are brutal and bloody. The character designs are pretty good and the animation as a whole was crisp.
The op and ed are great, but a part of me wishes that the soundtracks were more memorable. It is good for what it is; doesn’t feel out of place or anything, but it could have been better and more impactful. The voice acting is pretty good for each characters and personalities. We could’ve used a little bit more emotion in their voice though.
One of my favorite aspects of the series is definitely the MC, Ikta Solork. He isn’t like all those generic, hardworking MCs like other series. In fact he is lazy and doesn’t hide his love for women. However, beneath that layer, you really get to know that he is very intelligent and caring for his comrades. He isn’t afraid to take risks in battles and forming strategies. He manages to somehow be badass while having a lazy personality. Although he isn’t the greatest character, he is a breath of fresh air from the overdone MC cliches. In a way he could be compared to Itami from the Gate series. Both are lazy and aren’t exactly that “hero” type but their other personality shines in battles.
Although the other main cast is on the generic side, one other character that deserves a mention is the main heroine Yatori. Although she herself could be classified as a generic female MC of any battle anime, it is her relationship with Ikta that makes her likable. Although she is the stronger fighter, you can tell that she still looks up to Ikta’s talents and believes in him during when others might doubt his strategies. She isn’t annoying nor thinks she is supreme to the MC in any way, which was refreshing to see at times.
Besides the two MCs, the other characters, besides Chamille are a bit underdeveloped. The unfortunate thing about this is that normally, if the characters were entertaining enough, I wouldn’t have minded if the development happened later on in the series, but for Alderamin, the other characters aren’t just interesting enough. One thing I did like is that the main cast all had a purpose for fighting in the war, whereas in many other anime, the purpose can be buried away without explanation. Also they are actually helpful. However, they certainly could’ve been written a bit better.
Overall, Alderamin on the Sky is an good show, but nothing outstanding. It starts slow but once the pace picks up, it becomes an entertaining show for what it is. The plot could have been better, the characters could have certainly be explored more, and it indeed stayed on the generic side of things at times, but the intense battle scenes and the fun personality of the MC kept me wanting for more. With the story not yet being finished, we are left with an open ending. Alderamin on the Sky is definitely a worthwhile show to pick up.
This anime was actually quite the surprise where it was presented at first as a typical battle harem anime, but instead brought us an anime about tactical warfare and two rather unique main characters.
The plot of Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin is more focused on it’s war themes as well as their religious elements that enforces the war themes and puts them in conjunction with it’s interesting characters.
Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin’s chaarcter like Ikta Solork voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto and Yatorishino Igsem voiced by Risa Taneda are some very interesting characters, Ikta is forced to be in the army after an incident where he wanted to have a more relaxing life and commonly disobeys the the higher ups (or be smarter than them in general), he is by all accounts a genius tactician but wants to use the easiest or the most peaceful way to resolve things…sure he’s a womanizer typical of the battle harem anime, but this really isn’t a battle harem anime. As for Yatorishino, she is more or less the main heroine of this anime and is the “OP class character”, but she develops as to why she has her deadpanned and loyal behavior to both the Empire and Ikta. As for the other cast members like Chamille Kitora Katjvanmaninik voiced by Inori Minase, the third princess of the Katjvarna Empire, Haroma Becker voiced by Haruka Chisuga a medic, Torway Remion voiced by Ryousuke Kanemoto a sniper and Matthew Tetojirichi voiced by Junji Majima the second lieutenant in the main cast group although some do get their small character arcs like Torway and Chamille, the plot tends to focus more on Ikta and Yatorishino as well as it’s more serious war storyline than anything else. But for LA’s favourite character in the anime it easily goes to the badass Yatorishino…because she’s a BADASS, not to mention her relationship with Ikta is a rather unique one from “typical battle harem fair”. Which brings up a good point, as much as Yatorishino is LA’s favourite character and an utter badass, it’s Ikta that steals the show with his genius level intellect and tactical cunning on the battlefield.
Really the “typical harem fair” isn’t a bad thing as it hardly IS a battle harem, instead it’s more of a tactical warfare anime and brings up it’s themes of war as a template, quite easily it tells us about how “tradition” although makes the foundation can’t withhold without the passing of time as such Ikta is showing us that things need to change for the “tradition” to stay and “evolve”, tradition being in place of the Empire’s military regime and it’s evolution in Ikta and his strategies and evolution in military power and really even the themes of this anime can hold the anime on it’s own as it is profound in how they execute it. On a grander scale, it also shows the corruption of the “side” Ikta is in and how he with his different outlook and genius intellect on the battlefield can change the tide of the WHOLE Empire and raze the corruption with his beliefs of protecting those closest to him and NOT for “winning” the praise of the corrupt Empire he’s serving under forceful pretenses.
As later down to line, the plot changes to two “genius commanders” going at it a la L and Light just under a warfare setting and really it really exposes how Ikta is on the OTHER side of the “great battles that whittle down or outright decimate the opposition”, it also once again develops Ikta by going into detail what kind of mental gymnastics he’s trying to think up trying to both protect his army and defeat the opposing warring army (by the way it’s these kinds of tactical warfare LA really gets invested in). On the supporting side it also shows that Yatrisino will always have Ikta’s back even in DEATH really cementing this dynamic of commander and soldier. Because of this kind of focus on Ikta and Yatorishino as well as the “other genius-equal to Ikta”, the focus really kicks Torway, Matthew and Haroma into minor character status and are really turned into pawns for Ikta in the process. The least developed character all round actually goes to Chamille the Princess as she is essentially in the sidelines as Ikta and his army is trying to defend against this new warring army.
The plot twists really comes in once Ikta has an equal fighting against him from the later storyline and just seeing the “game of chess” these two play and how they outwit each other makes the “warfare plot twists” all the more intriguing. Outside from that storyline, it is expected Ikta to survive along with his group and yes for the most part he does, but when other minor characters get into the mix and Ikta WANTS to protect them, that is where the plot twist deaths comes in and some are really unpredictable at times which again hones in in Ikta’s belief to protect everyone but even if he has the intellect to do so but doesn’t have the power to also comes in. Because of this, Ikta really is a fleshed out character from his beliefs to his intellect to his focus on the plot itself.
In terms of animation, the animation done by Madhouse, well it’s expected of Madhouse to put this much detail in everything and they succeeded once again, from the tactical battles, to the medieval-ish anachronistic weaponry to the polished character designs make the animation look very nice to watch and as for the battles, well some of the best battles and gorn goes to Yatorishino’s battles, but the more widespread out tactical warfare has it’s animation moments as well.
In terms of voice acting, well across the board, the voice acting was amazing, though LA’s favourite voice actor HAS to go to Risa Taneda as Yatorishino, her “himedere” vocals were always great to hear. Not much to talk with voice acting section other than it was amazing and expected LA was gonna go for Risa Taneda.
Ohh boy the ending…guess Madhouse has ANOTHER sequel LA wants outta shows they made and Nejimaki is no exception. Yes the ending left at a really great point in the story and focuses in Princess Chamille and Ikta about the Empire itself and because of what Chamille wants Ikta to do and “complicated” notion of doing such a thing has gotten LA intriguing and wanting more which was why yes, it left in a “read the manga” ending. Before that the previous “arc” between Ikta and Jean (the other genius commander) was left though anti-climactically, once again the tactics Ikta used was GREAT in making the climax of the battle of attrition Ikta and Jean went through all the more worth it no matter how anti-climactic it was.
Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin by all means has it’s problems and strengths as typical for any kind of media but for LA, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin shined when talking about the tactical warfare element as well as Ikta and Yatorishino’s relationship as well as in the animation, it’s flaws came in that the supporting cast members were nothing but that and some people might see that Ikta as the source of the problem as he is your “win all OP protagonist under the “genius” character”. But with this LA can say that Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin has been more of a hidden gem of Summer 2016, seeing a fictional land give realistic terms of warfare and it’s implications it has before and after the battle has been done and the dynamic between Ikta, Chamille and Yatorishino shows it in the form of the Empire’s corruption, ideals and hierarchy.
8: Go! Princess Precure
Japanese: Go! プリンセスプリキュア
MAL Score: 7.71
Ever since she was young, Haruka Haruno has always aspired to become a princess. Despite being mocked for this seemingly childish wish, Haruka perseveres to make her dream a reality, ultimately culminating in her acceptance into the prestigious Noble Academy—the birthplace of people’s fantasies.
When Haruka arrives at her new school, a chance encounter with a pair of magical creatures influences a series of unbelievable events, and Haruka awakens as “Cure Flora,” the princess of blooming flowers. After two of Haruka’s classmates also transform into legendary princesses, a story of self-discovery unfolds as the newfound team “Princess Precure” carries the responsibility of protecting everyone’s dreams. Engaged in a battle between hope and despair, Haruka may find the key toward becoming the princess she has always dreamed to be.
“I want to be a princess!” Said our clumsy, but hardworking and absurdly lovable protagonist Haruka when she was a kid, the rest laughed at her for having such childish dream, maybe you did you too after reading this thinking about how absurd that might be, but that hurt her, a lot. Thankfully, one day she met a mysterious person who looked like a prince and he cheered for her dream and that she could become one, and that moment is what pushed her to stay that way and continue having that dream she wanted to reach all the way to when she joined Noble Academy, a school where this fantastic story is set.
In this entry, the antagonist side is an organization called Dysdark, that focuses on bringing despair to the people by locking away their dreams (and them in the process inside of a cage), they already showed their power by taking full control of Hope Kingdom and the people living there, with the few who managed to run away asking the Precures of this entry for help. While some comedic interactions with the girls are still there, I have to say that Princess clearly went more serious when it comes to showing the villains as the evil force they are, and how threatening Dyspear (the main antagonist of the story) is definitely helps on that.
And this is where the Precure come to action, and what a nice job they made, the cast of this anime is so likeable and this is especially true for the main characters of this story and Yui, another student who isn’t a Precure but is always with the girls, we follow them in their way to accomplish their dreams and this includes all the happy, sad, and very emotional moments of that, it’s so easy to root for them and each episode is really enjoyable no matter who takes the spotlight, I was hooked to this anime from the first episode and it only made but get better, reaching godlike status in the last cour where it became a string of amazing episode after amazing episode into a conclusion that left me immensely satisfied.
The animation of the series is fantastic, especially delivering hard in the transformations and action scenes that are characteristic of the series, it’s honestly surprising how consistent the quality is considering that Precure never really stops airing.
With that said, it’s time to tackle the only negative I can think of this anime: some use of the CGI. Together with the “real life looking” issue I have with the toys the franchise obviously wants to advertise to keep going as mentioned in my Heartcatch Precure review, the magic spells and the CGI models that come along with them can be pretty jarring, but it really becomes a minor complaint when everything else in the series was just so great.
The series is also very solid in the music department, and god, I love the second ED of the series so much even if having the issue I mentioned, it’s a great song and it also has different versions (one for each of the Precure), alternating between them, most of the time fitting with who was the main focus of the episode, it was unskippable and a fantastic way to end the episode.
Princess Precure is no anime “just for kids”, the themes of the story and how well they are handled are made in a way that anyone can enjoy this anime and feel connected with the cast and their dreams, maybe also being able to relate with your own ones and feel an extra push for your objectives. One of the best series I have watched and an anime I can’t recommend enough to everyone.
Go Princess Precure (or GoPri for simplicity) is my second watched season of the Precure franchise. It was a phenomenal time of my watchthrough of Precure. Having just come out of Heartcatch, one of the best seasons of the franchise, this season had big shoes to fill. And oh boy, did this season smash it.
Going into the season, I thought this season will have a more simplistic and direct story without too many surprises. But partially why I love this season is exactly that. The story is themed around hopes and dreams and the main character Haruka’s desire to be a princess- But a different kind of princess.
Now, before I watched the season I scoffed at the idea of princesses being the design theme. But that’s because I didn’t know the depth of the theme. Princess, in this series, is sort of referring to Cures growing into someone mature, hopeful, and full of aspiration. This is a very intricate and marvelous surprise the season gave to me.
A clever theme like this must come with good development and good slice of life. Indeed, the show did well in both aspects, utilizing each character and suspense very well. The dynamics of the Cures are excellent, and the show is just brimming with amazing and emotional scenes.
You all know what time it is. XD
GoPri is extremely praised for having the greatest animation in the entire Precure franchise. The detail, the mood, the designs, the fights, EVERYTHING! It is done to near perfection. I was absolutely impressed by how beautiful everything is, not to mention the Cure designs. They might be a bit over the top sometimes but mostly they’re truly gorgeous.
The sounds are great this season, but its importance pails in comparison to the background music. Some of the most iconic tracks are the violin motifs from Prince Kanata and Princess Towa. Another great track is Conditions of Being a Princess. Fantastic stuff in this department.
Everyone’s character development in GoPri is amazing. All of them have their dreams and aspirations very fleshed out. The suspense and problems the Cures face are portrayed well, they are quite realistic and relatable in some moments. Heck, even the fairy episode this season isn’t half bad.
Minami and Kirara, as mentioned, have greatly fleshed out developments toward their dreams and bring out many valuable lessons in correspondence to the theme. One tiny problem though, perhaps it is that which made their arcs not as eye-catching than the other two despite how good their lessons are.
Meanwhile, Haruka and Towa both have insanely powerful arcs and that made them extremely lovable and admirable characters. Haruka’s story is bubbling with life and joy, and Towa’s is an amazing roller coaster of emotions. Their determination makes them some of the best Cures of the franchise in my opinion. Add onto the fact that they’re super friendly while casual, yet fierce and awesome in battle? Just perfect.
The light-heartedness of the story and how bubbly everyone’s personalities are both truly wonderful to see. The occasional suspense is on point, especially when pretty much every Cure experienced an identity crisis during the show.
And may I take a moment to praise THE FIGHT SCENES! This season, in combination with the best animation of the franchise, also delivers some of the most beautiful (And maybe the most unrealistic due to their extravagant dresses and hair) fight scenes. I am a sucker for fight scenes and Cure Flora’s performance right off the bat got me in the ring. The others? Of course, they don’t lose either.
It’s just an extraordinary blend of action, pleasantness, tears, and ecstasy. And I adore it.
Overall: 9.6/10 (Rounded up for convenience)
Go Princess Precure prints a revolutionary picture of what it means to be a Princess and the theme of aspirations and dreams in my mind. Everything is done to almost perfection- The story, the music, the art, the characters. Truly, I see this season as one of the pinnacles of Precure in its entirety.
But don’t take my word for it- You may all have your own judgment!
As I’m writing this, I literally just want to boast this anime and say it’s a masterpiece and that everyone in the world should watch it, and that’s truly how I feel about it cause that’s how much I personally enjoyed it.
This anime is just a surprise every episode. You think you’re getting yourself into some boring cutesy anime aimed at children, and while it is aimed at children, there are so many themes treated (mainly about dreams) and they’re obviously not crude or hardcore, but they can touch you and I’m not ashamed to say I cried multiple times throughout the series.
The animation is just great. There are very few episodes where the quality decreases, but even so they never fail to deliver amazing fight scenes and gorgeous magical girl powers. Some episodes probably have one of the most amazing animation of 2015, and you’ll be surprised to see such details and smoothness in an anime like this.
The music fit the anime really well. The OST really does sound like something out of a princess movie, so the princess theme is very recurrent and never feels out of place. Take a listen to the transformation music and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Overall I gave the anime a 10 because I can honestly say this is the best magical girl anime I’ve ever seen. It might be an exaggeration to some, but I felt so good each and every episode and I really don’t feel like giving it any less. It deserves everything.
Give it a chance, you won’t regret it for a second.
7: Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri 2nd Season
Japanese: GATE（ゲート）自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり 第2クール
MAL Score: 7.74
Several months have passed since the infamous Ginza Incident, with tensions between the Empire and JSDF escalating in the vast and mysterious “Special Region” over peace negotiations. The greed and curiosity of the global powers have also begun to grow, as reports about the technological limitations of the magical realm’s archaic civilizations come to light.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Youji Itami and his merry band of female admirers struggle to navigate the complex political intrigue that plagues the Empire’s court. Despite her best efforts, Princess Pi?a Co Lada faces difficulties attempting to convince her father that the JSDF has no intention of conquering their kingdom. Pressured from both sides of the Gate, Itami must consider even more drastic measures to fulfill his mission.
…Anyway, season 2 picks up where the last one left off. Beyond the titular gate is a fantasy land with elves, dragons, catgirls and whatnot. The place has been annexed by Japan and with much creativity and sensitivity named the Special Region. Now the virtuous Japanese Self-Defence Force (SDF) proceeds to help the local population against tyranny and oppression. And they carry it out honorably despite being hindered by incompetent politicians, propaganda-spewing journalists, and other countries such as the US who like to mess with Japan’s business.
What? The Japanese constitution forbids using the SDF abroad? Don’t be silly. If you annex the place, it counts as part of Japan, duh. Or maybe since the gate is inside Japan, they decided all its contents are too. If they have a team of lawyers, I’d like to hire them too.
Plus they loot, err I mean procure, whatever natural resources there are in the area. That’s right; Japan strikes oil. Get rekt, Middle East. The local lords had no idea oil is even valuable when they signed the mining deal. Suckers.
As you might expect, the SDF wrecks the natives with ease. Again. Which is not really surprising because the local royalty and feudal lords have not learned much in the ways of warfare or diplomacy. Actually, forget the guns; they can’t even match the SDF in a fistfight. And when the SDF isn’t overpowered enough, the otaku protagonist’s harem of mages and demigod lolis swoops in and wins in a few seconds. There is also a CGI dragon that is thankfully at least a bit more challenging, and that is probably the reason why it exists in the plot to begin with.
Also, the best cure for psychological trauma is apparently revenge, best achieved by having a traumatized person operate a bazooka. What could possibly go wrong?
The timing of the comedy and drama is brilliant, with random fanservice right next to slavery and war crimes (not committed by the SDF, don’t worry). Just the way I like it. Romance is also handled with subtlety: near the end we even get a montage of all the latest crack pairings.
So if you are looking for lots of fanservice, explosions and nationalistic right-wing sentiment, this is the anime for you. Season 3 hype?
Returning for a second season, GATE focuses on two major arcs. A few things first though. The series has already build a lot with the first season as we were introduced to Itami Youji, a lieutenant from the Ground Self-Defense Force. Also known for his otaku characteristics, Itami’s encounter on the other side of the world (beyond the GATE as I’d like to call it) leads to extraordinary discoveries. Elves, mages, dragons, and even demi-gods. These are just a few of the otherworldly that Itami encounters. Of course, between the two worlds, there’s also a lot of conflict.
The conflict continues into GATE Season 2. The first few episodes also sets up for quite a bit of events for the reminder course of the story. Characters such as Zorzal El Caesar (first prince of the Empire) and Tyuule (ruler of the warrior bunnies) are just a few that causes controversy. The emperor of the Empire also seems to be planning for big things while Pina still tries to maintain a state of peace between the two worlds. Then, there’s also characters like Sherry Tyueli, a young girl who has a surprisingly crafty mind. GATE Season 2 introduces a variety of characters to instill the purpose of role diversity. It also goes to show that characters of any age, gender, or race can potentially influence a great deal in the story.
Of course, Itami is still the main guy along with the three girls that we fondly adores from the first season. Furthermore, Itami’s relationship in particular with Tuka seems to have grown much deeper in one of the later episodes. Lelei development as a mage is also evident as we witness her skills against even an almighty dragon during the Red Dragon Arc. And who can forget about Rory? The ever so cunning demi-god also develops a special connection with Itami as she gets involved with an old rival. In essence, every main girl shines in their way while Itami still plays the role of being the leader of the squad. In the meantime, there’s a lot of political tension building up that really makes the second season darker than it seems.
These include attempted assassinations, human slavery, and a plot to overthrow the empire within its own forces. If you remember Pina, she also becomes entrenched with controversial affairs that takes unexpected dark turns. It goes to say that GATE still maintains what it tries to do – developing story episode by episode while feeding a lot of its ideas towards a climax. It works out quite well once we realize the purpose of its intent. And while it’s at it, GATE isn’t afraid to show death and make it into a reality. War exists – both in the fantasy and real world with GATE still developing on that throughout the season. Also, don’t forget that the show has a lot of military themes and we can easily see how Japan adapts its propaganda fueled by its technological arsenal. Also, it’s noticeable that GATE continuously maintain a high level of world building. It’s easily recognized and has always been one of the show’s stronger points.
Unlike the first season, the sequel has less comedy and much more on plot emphasis. By the third or fourth episode, I think it’s easy to adapt with the style as the show has already introduced enough concepts. But like most adaptations, the show does omit some material although nothing too crucial. Some of the more controversial content like sexual slavery and abuse is subtly hinted at while there’s less gore. In addition, pacing becomes somewhat rushed in a few episodes. With the story that introduces new characters, it’s not always easy to like them. Zorzal is likely to become one of the most hated characters for his cruel actions. In addition, some of the content such as sex may be uncomfortable to sink into your mind.
The art style of GATE generally remains the same. As I mentioned before, the world building is one of the strongest aspects of the show and we get a good amount of quality of the fantasy world. From powerful looking dragons to artistically decorated structures, the show knows where to go for when it comes to fantasy content. This also extends to character designs that really shows their distinctive appearances. From bunny warriors to apostles, you can expect a lot of unique ways the show does to make characters look different. Similar to the first season, there’s also some realistic content like with Japan’s military. From impressive fighter jets to heavy duty mortars, the show demonstrates what military is really capable of. Supplementing its impressive technical features, the soundtrack of season 2 retains its style that fans are used to. The OP song has a familiar tune while the majority of the action choreography is nicely performed with its stellar OST. Character voice mannerism is also noticeable with Zorzal’s egoistic nature, Tyueli’s manipulative personality, or Noriko’s innocence.
Well, I can’t say that season 2 of GATE is miles better than what the first season offered. However, what it does have is concrete storytelling that builds more and more. It makes viewers anticipate what’s to happen next while skillfully adapt with some of its controversial content. I am a bit disappointed that it does omit certain content though. (read the LN and manga for more details) And to add on to the fire, GATE still has characters that can make people pull their hairs out. That aside, GATE Season 2 maintains a nice balance of storytelling and characters. With less comedy and more serious business picking up, it’s a show that just keeps on giving.
^^ is honestly a fitting title for this show.
Why? ‘Cuz there’s more JSDF propaganda in this season. However, that doesn’t mean I love this .
Also, when I say JSDF propaganda, I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s Japan’s show so they can do whatever the hell they want with it. People who criticize this show for having “too much JSDF Propaganda” are a bunch of hypocrites anyways because I can bet you, they’re the same people who watches American films that contains a ton of “F*ck Yea! America!”.
(There will be some SPOILERS in my review)
Ever since first season of GATE wrapped up, I became a big fan of this show and despite the issues that the first season had, I still ended up loving it.
When they decided to split the show into 2 cour, I patiently waited for the 2nd Season every single day for 2-3 months before it aired. I was like one of those fanboys screaming like a girl…I was just so excited. Now that the series has finished airing, is it better than the first season and did my hype die down? You’ll find out soon enough.
The 2nd Season of GATE continues right from where the 1st Season left off and is picked up from there. The show is separated into two arcs and adapts the “Fire Dragon” arc and the “Douran” arc. Let’s focus on my most anticipated “Fire Dragon” arc.
I was really hyped for this arc ever since they teased it during the last season. Mostly because I wanted to see how Itami, his harem and his platoon will handle the Fire Dragon. However, the 2nd Season didn’t really start off with the “Fire Dragon” arc just yet. It starts off with the Japanese Senators and the JSDF holding a peace talks with the Empire. This part of the show was a bit slow but also appreciated because it shows us how the JSDF aren’t just there to cause mayhem and destruction. They’re also there to help out the mysterious world’s citizens. Their first step was to try and improve the lives of the civilians by setting up a Healthcare System. After the setup, this is where the actual arc begins.
Ahh, the “Fire Dragon” arc..So what did I think about this arc? For the most part, I enjoyed it but I don’t think it was great. In the previous season, Tuka’s father died and we all knew that except her. When a certain someone decided to open Tuka’s eyes and forced her to face the reality, she entered into a horrible state of PTSD. This is actually the first time this show made me feel sympathetic for someone else. Let alone, a female character who I thought was just some member of Itami’s harem and nothing more. He then decided to do the unthinkable so she doesn’t have to face the reality which is a horrible way of dealing with someone’s PTSD. I gotta give props to Itami though for being a badass but sooner or later, people need to face the reality so I’m going to have to side with Yao on this one. I think he kind of did the right thing. Here’s the part that I don’t like. I didn’t really like the way they handled Itami’s past to try and relate to Tuka losing her father. Appearantly, something similar happened to Itami’s parents and that’s the whole reason why Itami helped Tuka kill the Fire Dragon. It felt like it was shoehorned in and it was done really poorly. Itami’s backstory wasn’t properly explored, it wasn’t expanded and they only spent a short amount of time on it which made his backstory seem like an asspull. The arc got a nice payoff though so I can sort-of let it slide. How the arc ended is what I always wanted to see from this show and I got it. The JASDF (Japanese Air Self Defence Force) raining down democracy and freedom and the JGSDF (Japanese Ground Self Defence Force) going there and showing us what happens if you mess with the JSDF
The next arc is the “Douran” arc. I was actually surprised that they adapted this arc. I mean, when they advertised the second season, they only showed the Fire Dragon arc on the trailers so I thought it the entire season was just the FD arc. Anyways, this arc focuses on two events. The first event is Itami accompanying Lelei to a town that looks so futuristic but it’s not. To be more specific, it’s an Academy City that trains mages. The second event is a coup inside the Empire in an attempt to destroy the peace between the Empire and Japan. Honestly, this arc is slightly better than the first arc because a lot more things happened here than the Fire Dragon arc and also a lot of politics are involved in this arc, which plays a huge role in everything that’s been going on so far. For example, we get to see why the JSDF wasn’t deployed earlier to save the Japanese Senators and why they didn’t liberate the Empire sooner.
I talked about the pacing issues in my first season’s review and I want to talk about the pacing issues in this review again. Just like the first season, this season’s first arc was rushed and the 2nd half was still somewhat rushed but not by much. They shouldn’t have rushed the 1st half because that’s the whole reason why I didn’t like the Fire Dragon arc that much, despite its nice payoff at the end. Instead of rushing the arc, they should have spend more time on Tuka’s PTSD and Itami’s backstory which would have made a huge impact at the end of the FD arc if those 2 aspects weren’t so rushed through. I have no issues with the 2nd half’s pacing because it was mostly politics and Itami’s journey to a mage town and what he and the girls did in that town.
I’m sure you noticed this when you watched the first episode but Gate Season 2’s atmosphere is a lot darker than the previous season. I actually never expected this show to touch on subjects like Rape, Abuse, and etc. They’re obviously censored but they’re still somewhat disturbing as shit.
So my first issue with this season was the pacing and now, to the second issue that I have with this season. The side characters DON’T getting enough screentime and by side characters, I mean the soldiers in Itami’s platoon. I really liked their character interactions and their personalities from the first season but in this season, their screentime was gutted in half in favour of developing Tuka and Lelei’s character…which wouldn’t have been a big issue if the main characters’ development weren’t so rushed either. The final issue that I have is with the ending. It was cheesy as hell and it made it look like an ad saying “Join the JSDF and you’ll get a waifu for your war efforts”. I have no problem with JSDF Propaganda but that scene was really cringey as f*ck.
The 2nd Season’s art and visuals looks exactly the same as the first season and no surprise there, as the show was originally intended to be 24 episodes. So because of that, my rating for this section will be the same. I don’t know if this is just me though but the background looks a bit weird. Remember when you used to colour those colouring books and no matter how hard you colour, there’s always a few remaining white small dots? That’s what the background looked like which made it seem like A-1 Pictures’ budget was running dry or they ran out of time.
Just like the Animation, every soundtrack was re-used from the first season. Although, I don’t have any complaints with the soundtrack since they weren’t bad to begin with. In fact, I preferred they kept the soundtrack because they’re goddamn amazing and it gives me goosebumps all the time. Especially that soundtrack that plays when the JSDF shows up and gives those Empire bastards and the Fire Dragons a sweet taste of democracy and freedom that we all take for granted. Now the OP and ED theme song(s)
The OP theme song is “GATE II: Sekai wo Koete “ by the Akeboshi Rockets. Ok, I gotta give the Akeboshi Rockets some credit for changing how their latest song plays out. There’s still the usual drumbeats at the beginning but at least it didn’t sound the same as HOTD’s first 5 sec of the OP. Overall, I liked this song and I thought it was good but I want to talk about the OP Animation. 90% of the scenes were re-used scenes from the first season, 5% were ripped off from the opening of one of their shows called “The Asterisk War”, and the last 5% are a bunch of character’s face shots. Talk about being lazy…
The ED theme song is “Itsu Datte Communication” by Lelei, Tuka and Rory. I really love Gate’s 2nd ED theme song. It sounds so much better than that funky 1st ED theme song. It’s not like I hated the 1st ED theme song. In fact, I loved it but I prefer the 2nd ED. I just love it when the main heroines of a show sings the ED of a show. Hell, I wouldn’t mind if they form an idol group. Now, in terms of the ED Animation. Hands down, their best ED Animation yet. In the 1st ED, it’s just a simple Humvee riding through a tunnel with glowing lights. In here, the ED Animation is simple, yet hilarious. Call it a propaganda shots or whatever the hell you want but I really don’t care what you think.
In the previous season, a new character was introduced almost at the end of the first season. All we knew about her is that she ventured out in search of the “Green People” (She was talking about the JSDF) in order to ask them for help killing the Fire Dragon. In here, we get to know more about her personality during the Fire Dragon arc like how she’s an asshole and how she doesn’t have sympathy towards another person’s feeling. It seems like she does but the way she’s handling it makes her look like a bitchy, selfish, insensitive person by telling Tuka the whole truth about the fate of his father. This, however, makes Itami look like a badass by pretending to be Tuka’s father. Even though he “puts his hobby over work any day”, he did his duty as a JSDF soldier to help out Tuka. Itami felt empathy towards Tuka because he knows what it feels like to lose a parent. Like I said earlier though, Itami’s backstory about his parents seems like an asspull and for that reason, Itami’s empathy towards Tuka didn’t leave that much of an impact for me….Just a little bit, actually xD
While Tuka got much of a spotlight in the Fire Dragon arc, the show also focused on Lelei during the “Douran” arc. We learned that Lelei has a sister who fails at everything in every conceivable way. Though, I kinda understand now why Lelei’s teacher (from S1, Ep. 3) would rather “mount a curvy woman like her”. She has the hots but she’s one of those typical dumb blondes.
I still enjoyed the 2nd Season of Gate but compared to the first season, not by much. Just like the previous season though, I did enjoy the military aspect of the show because military in anime are portrayed as an incompetent unit who can’t stand for themselves whereas in Gate, it’s vice versa. I’m also a big military enthusiast so I have a bit of bias towards this show.
“Gate: And So the Special Defence Force Fought There – Season 2” is an enjoyable-but flawed sequel that finally concludes the story of Gate. I am aware that the Light Novel still has some stories to be told like “The Civil War” arc but I’m satisfied with how the anime version ended. I’m also happy that they finally explained how the “Gate” works which I thought would never happen. If you watched the 1st Season of Gate and you enjoyed it then I can still recommend that you watch this season. Don’t expect it to be better than the first season though.
+Show’s atmosphere is darker than the previous season
+Good story, despite some flaws
+A-1 Pictures kept the amazing soundtrack
+Tuka and Lelei’s much-needed character development
+Just like the last season, portrayal of JSDF and their weaponry/military vehicles are almost realistic.
+They finally explained how the “Gate” works
-Itami’s backstory seemed like an asspull
-Side characters didn’t get enough screentime
6: Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
English: Poco’s Udon World
MAL Score: 7.75
Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Souta Tawara returns to his hometown in Kagawa. Though his parents are no longer around, his former home and family-owned udon restaurant reminds him of the times his family was still together. Reminiscing about his childhood, Souta enters the udon restaurant and discovers a grimy young boy sleeping.
At first, Souta thinks nothing of the chance encounter and provides the boy with food and clothing. However, to his surprise, the boy suddenly sprouts a furry pair of ears and a tail! Souta soon learns that the nameless boy is actually the rumored shapeshifting tanuki that has been inhabiting Kagawa for many years. Thinking that the boy has been living a lonely life, he decides to take him in and name him Poko.
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari follows the heartwarming relationship between Souta and Poko, and through the time they spend together, Souta recalls his own past, the place he left behind for the city, and the relationship he had with his father.
Considering this is a Slice of Life anime, story isn’t something of total necessity, however there is a fair supernatural backdrop of Poco being a Tanuki which was something I liked during the early stages, however as I delved into the series, I don’t particularly believe that it was something of true value, as the whole scenario hardly plays a part during the series, but I assume it was something added to differentiate this series from others that are within the same regime. Regardless, I felt it could have been improved, but it didn’t hurt the series either, so don’t assume as such in order to have incentive to avoid the series. Other than that, the story is bare bones SoL, so you shouldn’t expect much here.
The characters is where this genre truly shines, and I feel this series does a fairly good overall of portraying them. All characters I feel from the cast felt refreshing and unique, and most importantly memorable due to those features. Although there are some generic tropes re-used here and there with them, but I feel they still do the extra than your bare average series. Character development is also very much vocal for its positive aspects. The ones most affected, as you would expect are the main two, Souta and Poco. For Souta, he became a person that didn’t want you shoulder responsibility, to something a parent would dream for. Poco, on the other hand, becomes human in personality. I really love Nakajima’s character, and I’m not sure if this is intended, but I feel he is, what Souta couldn’t become. He inherited his father, whilst Souta couldn’t. He did it before he could regret. If this was intended, kudos! One character that stood from other background characters for me was Rinko; Souta’s sister. I enjoyed her transition from being a quirky and lazy woman to one that makes the effort, as she become pregnant, she speaks for many people in real life that change to accommodate their later family. There are other background characters, who whilst don’t develop per se, they continue to show up throughout the series, and just assist our main characters, as you would expect from an SoL.
What I also really enjoyed about this series is all of the visual imagery, especially during the introductory episodes. I felt it did a good job for rural Japan. But its key purpose I feel was to reflect the emotions of the characters. There was a scene where the sky went dark to represent the darkness in the heart of Souta, but it cleared up, as he found someone he can finally cherish in his life. He and Poco are alike in that approach, as Poco has lived for 1000 years under the same loneliness. However, this series delivers a touching, bubbly bonding of the two, which makes you forget the dark connotations underlying their origin. One complaint I have however is how perfect they can be together, in a sense it can be unrealistic at times, but who cares right when you have the “kawaii”.
Something I didn’t like was the structure of this series as it honestly felt out of place. To put it in retrospect, the beginning and the latter parts of the show had a serious tone, however their transition into your typical SoL or out of it, which was the body of the show felt almost incoherent. I could piece those two jigsaws of a puzzle and they would fit with each other, but they don’t fit how they are currently locked. However, tying up some loose ends of the series made it soothing to watch as I slowly got used to it. I feel like this anime, similar to many others, suffers from the lack of episodes provided to it. Had it been 24/25, it would have made for better pacing.
Artwork for this series is clean and simple, as it should be, there’s nothing truly too melodramatic about a slice of life. I liked the use of the white outline as a colour of purity, which sums up this series whole. OST is also befitting the series, as they use violin/piano/acoustic guitar for light sounds which complement the scene, but never take your attention away from it. The opening, conveys a feeling of brightness, whilst the ending chooses slow tempo to again follow suit with the simplicity aspect.
Overall, I feel this anime is worth giving a shot, as it exhibits the tranquilising yet loving father-son relationship between Poco and Souta, loving characters and beautiful visuals. Aside from that, it has a mild overarching plot which I believe is hardly worth mentioning, however doesn’t interfere with your viewing experience.
If you enjoyed series like Barakamon or Usagi Drop, you’ll probably find yourself falling in love with this one, too.
~This is my first review, but I plan on writing more in the future.~
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari is about a guy called Souta and his chance encounter with Poco who turns out to be a shape-shifting tanuki. The story progresses with Souta remembering things about his past (regrets and stuff) and gaining acceptance about the same and understanding them better thanks to Poco. Souta nad Poco develop kind of a father son relationship which helps Souta understand his father better which again is an important premise of this story, that is, Souta’s relationship with his father.
Udon no kuni is a really cute anime which does the job of absolutely soothing you. Now talking about art, music and other also important aspects while reviewing an anime I would say the voice actors definitely suite the character designs and the art is just easy on the eyes. Not too much detail and not too little to make it look like a cheap production. Music that goes time to time with the episode add to the emotions that the episodes try to convey so that is definitely well done.
All in all this is the anime one should if they do not want to worry about continuations and just feel cheerful. That ends my review. Thank you
5: Magi: Sinbad no Bouken (TV)
English: Magi: Adventure of Sinbad
Japanese: マギ シンドバッドの冒険
MAL Score: 7.87
In the small, impoverished Tison Village of the Parthevia Empire, a boy, Sinbad, is born to the jaded ex-soldier Badr and his kind-hearted wife Esra. His birth creates a radiant surge throughout the rukh, a declaration of a singularity to those who stand at the pinnacle of magical might: the “Child of Destiny” is here. Despite his country being plagued by economic instability and the repercussions of war, Sinbad leads a cheerful life—until a stranger’s arrival shatters his peaceful world, and tragedy soon befalls him.
Years later, mysterious edifices called “dungeons” have been erected all over the world. Rumored to contain great power and treasures, these dungeons piqued the interest of adventurers and armies alike; though to this day, none have returned therefrom. Sinbad, now 14, has grown into a charming and talented young boy. Inspired by the shocking events of his childhood and by his father’s words, he yearns to begin exploring the world beyond his village. As though orchestrated by fate, Sinbad meets an enigmatic traveler named Yunan. Stirred by Sinbad’s story and ambitions, Yunan directs him to a dungeon which he claims holds the power Sinbad needs to achieve his goals—the “power of a king.”
Magi: Sinbad no Bouken tells the epic saga of Sinbad’s early life as he travels the world, honing his skill and influence, while gathering allies and power to become the High King of the Seven Seas.
Fair warning, if you haven’t watched Magi, you really won’t get the same satisfaction from watching this. I suggest watching the Magi series first before watching this.
It begins with Sinbad’s birth. Showing the background story of how Sinbad ends up becoming the swashbuckling man he is in the Magi series. These episodes drew me in right away. If you’re a fan of the Magi series you will really enjoy this part. I loved being able to see a baby Sinbad interact with his family and grow into this heroic, lovable teenager. You get to see him conquer his first dungeon and decide that he wants to create his own country and change the world. It leaves you feeling satisfied.
However after the first few episodes it becomes less about Sinbad’s character and more about the characters that will end up joining him on his journey.
Don’t get me wrong I love the nostalgic feeling of seeing the characters from the Magi series pop up in this series. However, it cuts the character development of Sinbad short. It becomes more focused on the character development of his comrades and how each of them has come to make their decision to join him in his efforts to change the world. The most touching story was Ja’far’s. His story and character development really provides those with prior knowledge about his character in the Magi series some interesting insight to when and how his unwavering loyalty began to blossom.
As for the development of Sinbad’s character, it continues to stay the same after the beginning episodes for the most part. I understand maybe the creators wanted to keep the image of Sinbad as this all powerful character untarnished, but we didn’t even get to see how he discovers the true power of his Djinn.
All we see after the first few episodes is how great Sinbad is and how wonderful he is at everything. I’m ready for his world to be shaken a little. To see him transform into the complex character that he is in the Magi series. Riding the waves between good and evil. Taking the path less travelled on.
Only in the very last episode do we see a small glimpse at an obsessive but mostly motivated look on the face of Sinbad as he contemplates his future. His curiosity about Magis grows intensely in this episode, and you can see in his face he is hungry for more knowledge. It foreshadows a possible adventure where he goes in search of a magi. This leaves a pretty good set up for the next season, which I expect to be a much more exciting season for Sinbad. I foresee some actual character changes and I’ll remain hopeful for that.
Even if the focus wasn’t really on Sinbad so much as the people joining him on his journey I still enjoyed watching this. Seeing more of the unique world that Magi is set in, and getting to see the origin stories of Sinbad’s party has been really great. It’s an upbeat adventure and at times you’ll find yourself smiling at the silly comedy. All that it is lacking is a bit of depth.
The story is brilliant. Depicting the life of probably the strongest living character in Magi. This is a prequel series that shows us the life of Sinbad and his journey to change the world. Such as the struggles that he experiences and the people that he meets to get stronger. The pacing seems rather okay at times, sometimes it does feel a bit rushed, but apart from that I find it easy to get into the mood. I have found the story filled with adventure and comedic aspects that have honestly grabbed me, and have cracked me up.
I enjoyed the art. Not much I can say about it. The characters are drawn rather well. Animation is great.
Having that amazing soundtrack present is what makes me engaged in Sinbad’s story. Those opening and ending songs really grab you and make you want to join up with Sinbad as well.
They have managed to grab the same voice actors from the OVA and from the anime adaption, so I would deem this impressive. The characters in this anime feel like they are being voiced according to how they behave. They have such fitting voice actors for their respective characters.
Lets just say that if you want to know more about the characters that Sinbad has worked with then go with the manga as well. You have Sinbad, Yunan, Ja’far, Dragul, Serendine, Badr (Sinbad’s father), Esra (Sinbad’s Mother), Barbarossa, Mystras, Spartos, Baal, Hinahoho, Pisti, Piprika, Zamil, Tabi etc. All these characters will be expanded on or introduced, the anime has gone through a few and helped set up the cast that Sinbad will be travelling with. Some of that cast has already been shown in the Magi Season 1 and 2 anime adaptions as well. So it would feel rather nostalgic.
I am a major Magi fan. More Magi is never a bad thing. After waiting 2 or so years after the OVA(longer after Season 2), then you can realize how much of an amazing feel this is. This contains probably one of the most interesting characters throughout Magi. Finding out about his adventures and how he became the man that he is now is worth the adventure of watching this series. So, even though I didn’t get a certain Fanalis or Magician I can say that I enjoyed the cast that we had and I found them rather hilarious.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. It does seem a bit funny at times, but just wait it will get so much better. Has always the manga is a preferred option, but this adaption is pretty good. The history of Sinbad, Sinbad’s friends, family and so on. If you are here to witness who he was as a child, why he became who he is right now and what caused him to become great, then this is the anime for you.
Let us all hope for that Season 2 everyone!
I loved Sinbad since the Magi series and he easily became one of my favorite characters.It felt so good to be able to witness his journey to become king and to create Syndria.I loved the pacing and all his adventures that came,how he matured and captured all the dungeons.It was a series full of surprises as well because of the turns it took such as his quickly mastering the djinn equip and his courage to face everyone with an open mind.The story I enjoyed the most was his adventure in the Imuchakk kingdom as part of Valefor arc.Also to see elements such as amazons and legendary warriors assimilated into the lore of the series was great.I hope that we will get a season 2 because what is to come is even better.
I loved Magi’s series art and to see it back it was a complete delight given the fact it was by the same author.
There were very few occasions when I felt that the sound was out of the place but usually the songs chosen made the situation justice.
Sinbad is a young man born into a war-torn world that needed desperately a hero and with his ambition,intelligence and ability to make the others follow him he ended up being a great leader as well as being really handsome.Hinahoho was transformed through Sinbad into a fierce warrior able to have a family and responsible enough to be a father.Jafar was a soul full of darkness and the moment when Sinbad hugged his dark and his pure self-was heartwarming because he gave him a purpose to live for.Hinahoho’s father,the king of Imuchakk,the knight king of Sasan and the queen of Artemyre were all characters who despite the problems each had in their country and the traits each one exposed:fierce warrior,religious zealot and a lonely queen who rules by the law of iron were brought to a point where they needed to expose their qualities in order to face and join Sinbad’s company.The Djin we saw are various and each I think was given time to shine individually and my favorite was Valefor.
I sincerely enjoyed this series far more than Magi,each episode made me hunger for more and each time I wanted it to deliver it did,sometimes more than expected.
I loved the ending because I interpret it as a preview of a possible season 2 that can’t come faster.
MAL Score: 7.92
At the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Toyohisa Shimazu is the rearguard for his retreating troops, and is critically wounded when he suddenly finds himself in a modern, gleaming white hallway. Faced with only a stoic man named Murasaki and hundreds of doors on both sides, Toyohisa is pulled into the nearest door and into a world completely unlike his own.
The strange land is populated by all manner of fantastical creatures, as well as warriors from different eras of Toyohisa’s world who were thought to be dead. Quickly befriending the infamous warlord Nobunaga Oda and the ancient archer Yoichi Suketaka Nasu, Toyohisa learns of the political unrest tearing through the continent. Furthermore, they have been summoned as “Drifters” to fight against the “Ends,” people who are responsible for the creation of the Orte Empire and are trying to annihilate the Drifters. As the Ends grow more powerful, so does the Empire’s persecution of elves and other demihumans. It is up to Toyohisa and his group of unconventional heroes to battle in a brand-new world war to help the Empire’s subjects, while protecting the land to claim for themselves and challenging the Ends.
Adapted from the manga of the same name, Drifters initially will leave the impression of a dark fantasy tale. The first few episodes easily establishes its premise as we meet the Drifters, the main protagonists of the show. They are based on historical figures who are based from their timeline. Still, throughout the series, you’ll probably designate them more as anti-heroes by their actions. The primary cast composes of Shimazu Toyohisa, Oda Nobunaga, and Nasu Suketaka Yoichi. Thanks to a mysterious man named Murasaki, they are bought together to stand against evil. Against them are the Ends, characters who ironically weren’t evil during their timeline. At the same time, Drifters are aided by a mysterious group of magicians known as the Octobrists. Get the idea now? Drifters is essentially a dark fantasy war that brings together history’s most infamous figures into one big oddball package.
From the first few episodes, the show will test a viewer’s patience. This is because even though the show has a dark and grim atmosphere, it also tries to sell its comedy and humor. That’s right, the show adapts humor to spice up the entertainment. This can be seen as a throwback as people may not take the show seriously. However, if you can get with the momentum, then Drifters will be a pleasant surprise. Understanding the show’s lore will also enhance your enjoyment of this show. To be honest, what really can draw an audience’s interest is about the characters. Each of them possesses a rather intriguing personality and their roles in the story often spark curiosity.
Shimazu is the main protagonist and also leader of the Drifters. Shimazu is pretty much a natural leader as he is courageous with no fear. His charisma is also a characteristic that inspires others (such as elves) to follow up during the war. We can easily see that he is driven by determination by putting himself above others. The elves and dwarves respects him not just as a Drifter but also a friend. On the other hand, we have Oda Nobunaga. As a strategist, it’s no surprise that he has a brilliant mind. However, he is also a character to be wary of even by his own allies. His sarcastic personality becomes a big joke throughout the show as he brings in the most comedy. As part of the group, Yoichi can be mistaken for a trap because of his feminine appearance. However, he is a guy to be feared when facing against his bow. Later on, we also meet others that joins in their quest as the war turns into a chaotic pandemonium.
The main antagonists are the End. Perhaps the most mysterious and also recognizable would be the Black King. His ultimate goal is to destroy humanity and replace it with a new race in his vision. As leader of the Ends, we don’t find out too much about him. This is perhaps where characterization in the show suffers a bit. We get this all mighty character that operates from the shadows yet not much is known about him, even his past. Luckily, the other Ends brings in more interest such as Easy, a young woman with odds against Murasaki. Anastasia Romanov and Joan of Arc are also ironically the villains in this show, as people may recognize them as heroines from other lores. The one noticeable trait that separates the Ends and the Drifters though is power. Ends seems to possess supernatural abilities, something that the Drifters lack. While Drifters rely on their own natural talent, weapons, and technology, Ends can perform superhuman feats. For instance, Anastasia is able to freeze others while Gilles de Rais can use inhuman strength and durability. As you may guess, the show pits them in battles between the Drifters and Ends like fate. The war itself has a purpose although everyone has their own reasons for fighting. However, it’s up to the audience to decide if those are meaningful or not.
As I mentioned before, the show has a lot of comedy. Whether these may be character interactions or historical in-jokes, it’s always there. One thing that does hold the storytelling back at times is the pacing. It seems at times, the show emphasizes a bit too much on the humor at the expense of other elements. While Oda Nobuanga is a big example of this, others such as Count Saint-Germi from the Orte Empire adds more. The buildup of the story between some episodes can also feel lacking depending on preferences. And because the series is created by Kouta Hirano, you can expect some Nazi references to be introduced as well. That’s right, if you’re thinking Hitler then you’re correct. The show even has a bit of fantasy racism! On the other hand, do take in for granted when the action picks up. This show is no joke when it comes to making a spectacle of battles. When the pacing picks up, it’s where the series really shines and will make you feel that all the buildup worth the wait.
Adapted by Hoods Entertainment, the show is pretty accurate with its manga art style. This is what impresses me a lot when I first watched this series as it’s on spot, almost frame by frame for the character designs. Not to mention, both the Drifters and Ends are characterized with their badass look ranging from Shimazu’s weapons to Yoichi’s sharp eyes. Speaking of that, the show has a distinctive style of adapting its character features. This is especially recognized by the intimidating looks of Ends as they look convincingly menacing. The setting of the battles is also decorated with a dark fantasy look with ruins, ancient castles, etc. Add ultraviolence and minimal censorship and you get Drifters at its finest.
Soundtrack is also pretty noticeable throughout the show ranging from especially the theme songs. It’s stylistic and filled with creativity. While some people may call it silly, I see it more as a expressing the show’s humor and almost feels satirical. The OST and soundtrack has a hardcore instrumental tone during the battle scenes that is highly entertaining. Character voice mannerism throughout show is also noticeable even at times when the dialogues gets overly silly. Perhaps the most noticeable are those of Oda Nobunaga mainly for his commanding voice.
By the time I finished watching Drifters, I was not only impressed by the overall content but also for its ability to entertain. If you have a sense of humor, then this will definitely be worth every minute of time. If you take it too seriously though, then Drifters will probably feel more like a chore to watch. I would definitely recommend Drifters even if you’re not a fan of the author’s works. I can’t say this enough but Hirano’s ability to express his ideas are just too damn entertaining to evade.
*SPOILERS FOR DRIFTERS*
War is hell. We know this to be true by now. This also applies to the fact about there being a lot of “sent to another world” anime adaptations. You really need to do something really unique to stand out if you’re one of these shows, and while I’d like to say that SAO and Re:Zero conditioned me to think otherwise, its obvious that their additions to the concept alone (bloodthirsty video game world and reset after death respectively) were what made them stand out, even if the actual concept, for most part does the exact opposite. With this show, they decided to make it have a full-fledged war, with loads of carnage peppered throughout. The concept is very interesting, especially since the war consists of famous people from many different eras of different countries. It’s sort of like the Fate/ series, except that this time, all of the combatants were based on real people instead of sprinkling mythological people into the mix. So, was this a true breath of fresh air for the genre? Did it manage to do that while being a genuinely great war story? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
So, there is some kind of conflict between Easy and Murasaki (which doesn’t get explained or fleshed out) that caused them to start sending people to this unidentified new world in which there are two main factions at war: Drifters (deceased war heroes), and Ends (once noble beings who have gone bad for their own reasons tying into their demise, but not all of them have their backstory shown to us). There are also humans who enslave two kinds of demi-humans: elves, and dwarves. Drifters are fighting to bring down the human governments of this world via conquest, and destroy the Ends, while the Ends are fighting to destroy the world and all inhabitants (despite the fact that their leader just wants the demi-humans to be the main inhabitants). So, what the hell happened here?
Ultimately, the first few episodes were rough. Not only were there some minor plot holes, but there is one gigantic issue that really damages this series: the tone shifts. You can have a moment in which villagers all horrifyingly stab a man to death in brutal fashion, and then seconds later, they show cracks a random joke. They do this so often, and sometimes, in the most inopportune of times, ruining some of the darker and heavier moments of the show. Sure, this means that, inevitably, a few of these end up being funny, but, for most part, they end up harming more than helping.
The series does pick up, but a few new issues really hamper this show. Every time one of the Ends is about to die or be defeated, we suddenly get their backstory in order to make the story sad, and that just doesn’t work. In order for that to work, we need the characters to be more than just one-dimensional baddies before-hand, and they pull this stunt three times! Also, the finale just…ends, without any major resolution. Just, a battle ends, and here is one image of where each Drifter is at the moment, in an obvious, and quite frankly, rushed sequel-hook, particularly because some of the characters, like Scipio and Butch Cassidy, have been left by the wayside, especially Scipio with the fact that he has been left in the jungle but suddenly he’s in a navy ship with a character that has only been seen for one brief moment. Hell, there are other moments that required some time to explain, like how the Drifters suddenly got human armor when their last battle (which was two episodes prior) didn’t have nearly as many people killed to remotely equal the amount of armor and weapons present. Shame too, since if this concept was explored more and the story were tightened up, this would’ve definitely been a good first season to what looks to be an otherworldly war epic.
It’s really hard to tolerate these “Drifters” early on. I mean, they were all a bunch of quarreling assholes without anything interesting about their character, and by the end of it, some of the more minor additions (like Hannibal and Scipio) were still like that. Luckily, our main trio grew. Toyo is a crazed warrior who loves decapitating enemy warriors, as long as they are male. His culture and all Japanese war cultures at the time do not like the thought of women engaged in combat. He ends up also being a bot more chivalrous towards females and children than his cohorts while understanding people more than he probably should (reminding me a lot of Ragna the Bloodedge, from the Blazblue game series) and I’ll touch on that in a bit. Nobunaga is a much more brutal tactician as well as being a hardier individual than his allies. His violent streak, as a result of his culture and his multiple times being betrayed, makes for some of the best usages of military tactics I’ve seen in a war anime in quite some time. Yoichi ends up being more in between when it comes to his companions’ traits, but with more of a tragic war past, which is shallowly explored via his commander, who ends up chatting with him once, and that’s it. He’s probably the least interesting of the trio, but at least, he ends up being the crux of some of the better comedy moments of the first 3 episodes.
Butch Cassidy and the other Drifters are infinitely less interesting, but he is easily the most tolerable of them (along with The Sundance Kid for how little he shows up), with him actually doing some cool stuff. Sure, Naoshi takes down some dragons in a WWII plane, but he’s just there to provide some refreshing amounts of swearing, which ends up becoming excessive. There is also Count Saint-Germi (the son of Hitler) with his coup d’etat scheme, and his annoying posse (Alester and Flemi), but they are mostly there to be annoying and provide bad comedy until the count himself starts that plan with the Drifters to overthrow the human government.
The Octobrists are overall very uninteresting, except for Olmine, who is constantly made fun of for her voluptuous breasts, but has some genuinely great interactions with Toyo, as he shows her some good chivalry and allows her to use her spells to great effect in the latter half of the series. She is literally the only remotely interesting Octobrist. As for the Ends, with exception of The Black King, all of them are as plain as they come (with the slight exception of Anastasia, who is barely in this show). Then, they (except for Anestasia and Rasputin) get their backstories to explain why they are so evil and a bit about how that ties in with their powers (Only Joan of Arc does. Gilles de Rais and Hijikata doesn’t get anything relating to his powers, and nobody gets their power origins outright explained) in a poor attempt at making these lame characters come off as tragic, which is really horrible given their real-life counterparts.
The Black King is an interesting figure, wanting better civilization for the demi-humans, and being able to create food as well as grow cells (to regenerate, but also to harm, as shown with the Bronze Dragon in episode 10), but even with his somewhat interesting motivations and enigmatic figure, he can’t really make up for how bland his subordinates are. Easy is the one who sends the bad guys in, is moody, and that’s about it aside from having a cutesy and girly room to herself. Murasaki is even more bland, though. Overall, despite a few characters that grew to be legitimately interesting and compelling, the cast is stupidly bland at best, and irritating at worst.
Hoods Drifters Studio (not to get confused with Hoods Entertainment, though they may or may not be affiliated) is brand new to this game, and they did a really good job with their first series, which is, of course, this. As if to make up for the writing quality, the action is refreshingly brutal, with loads of decapitation and blood, and no censorship anywhere. It’s pretty fun seeing how much of a chaotic gore-fest the action scenes are, and they detail some of the bullet moments and impacts very well. The character models, while looking similar to Kouta Hirano’s most popular work, Hellsing Ultimate, they also feel realistic and sorta unique. The only problem I have isn’t with the art-stye change during most of the comedy moments, but rather with the usage of CGI for the dragons and some of the soldiers. They try to cover it up and make it work with everything, but it doesn’t really help much, as it looks awkward. Luckily, that problem is barely present in the second half. Some moments in the earlier episodes are a bit off though. Still, I really hope to see this studio grow since they did such an impressive job with their first project.
I don’t have such high praises for the music, sadly. Gospel of the Throttle (by Minutes ‘Til Midnight), the OP of the series, doesn’t fit the show as well as I wish. On its own, it’s a slick piece, but I don’t feel it works here. Luckily, the ED, Vermillion (by Maon Kurosaki) is a very good song, with a more epic and buildup heavy feel to it that really fits with how gruesome and heavy the show can be. The rest of the OST isn’t memorable or worthwhile at all, save for one ok piece. The dub is pretty alright. No major hiccups here, but nothing spectacular in terms of performances. It’s a relatively solid dub so far.
Honestly, despite how cool and refreshing the action scenes were, this show kinda left me feeling bored and annoyed every now and then, especially in the first half. I admit, the action is fun, and some moments were definitely bleak, the horrible tone-shifts really leave me dazed and confused, and completely taken out of the experience, which is horrible given that one of these moments take place immediately after the darkest moment of the show! If not for the cool action, this wouldn’t have engaged me at all, especially since the first 3 episodes left me with the feeling of darkness-induced apathy. I nearly dropped it during those first 3 episodes and even then, outside of fight scenes, this show is still very boring at times. Plus, not a lot of the gags make me laugh, but at least some of them do.
Unfortunately, while this is a very gruesome action show and some of the gags get a laugh here and there, this show is a tonal mess that’s hard to care about on any level that isn’t related to primal, epic bloodbaths. At the very least, I hope that this series ends up bringing some notoriety for Hoods Drifters Studio. Still, this show is a bit of a disappointment. With all that said, I bid you adieu.
Drifters: Battle in a Brand-new World War, Drifters, orドリフターズ, is a fantasy, alternate history Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. The manga started serialization in Shounen Gahosha magazine, Young King Ours, on April 30, 2009. It received an anime adaptation, which was announced in May, 2015 and aired between October 7, 2016 and December 23, 2016. A second season has also been announced.
Toyohisa of the Shimazu clan is in the heat of the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, which signaled the start of the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan; the only thing he thinks about is how to behead the enemy commander and he is ready to achieve this goal by all means. Having fatally injured the enemy commander, Toyohisa is also about to die. Suddenly he finds himself in a white corridor, facing a man in strange clothes sitting at a desk in a white corridor. A moment later he is sent to a new land, where some unknown historical figures treat his wounds. Shortly after that he finds out that he, as well as his new companions, are Drifters. Why were Drifters sent to this world? Find out the answer now!
The story-line of Drifters is worthy. There are still; however, some things that should be explained, but I would not call it a problem, since a second season was announced a day, or two ago. Drifters is violent; all history anime should be like Drifters. However, I have one major complaint and I am sure that you will not like it either: humor. Being a fan of Hellsing, I was expecting a portion of Hellsingish humor, but Drifters clearly overused it: it is not funny and outdated. I mean, come on, boob jokes? Really? Why not spend more time on characters and story-line? Is it that difficult? Anyways, it is not a big problem and you will still enjoy Drifters. To be precise, that is the only problem of Drifters.
The art and music are very similar to Hellsing, so if you have already seen Hellsing Ultimate, you will recognize it immediately and will not have any problems with it. If you have not seen Hellsing Ultimate yet, it will not be a problem, either. The art style is amazing, every single detail of all characters is just beautiful. And, yes, that Japanese themed Alucard is just badass. The music, however, did not leave a huge impression on me. Of course, the voice actors did one hell of a job, but I was hoping to see something close to what was in Hellsing Ultimate. Anyway, the music used in Drifters is a mix of traditional Japanese music, jazzy beats, and rock.
The characters are very entertaining. As I have already mentioned, some of them did not receive enough development, but they will surely receive enough development in the new season. With that being said, we spend a lot time with the Japanese warriors: Shimazu Toyohisa, Oda Nobunaga, and Nasu Yoichi Suketaka. Their trio is very interesting, because they all are different. Shimazu is a warrior that only wants to behead his enemy; however, at the same time, he is also a true warrior, who will never harm a woman. Nasu is a young archer, who does not have any leader qualities; yet, he is also a fearless warrior. Oda is the most dangerous person in this group, because he is a true leader, he does not care where he is, because he is a true genius that will capture any town even with a bunch of amateurs.
Anyways, the characters are very interesting to follow. As the story-line progresses, Drifters shows us more about its characters’ background. And while some of Drifters do have regrets, they are still ready to go on and it is very exciting. However, there is also one problem I would like to mention, the comedy part. Jesus Christ, it is simply awful. I do agree that the comedy part is needed even in some gruesome anime, but it should not be overused. The problem is that you are watching a serious episode and you are trying to understand the problem; however, Drifters shows you these comedy moments disturbing you. It is simply impossible to concentrate and it is very annoying.
As for enjoyment, this anime is very enjoyable and if you are a fan of Hellsing Ultimate, you will not have any problems with it. If you have not seen Hellsing Ultimate yet, I would highly recommend you to watch it first, but it is up to you, of course. It is not a must do.
All in all, Drifters is not flawless, the comedy part ruined this masterpiece, in my opinion. Yes, it is very annoying, but you should not ignore this anime because of it, please do not do it, it is still awesome. On top of that, the most important thing is that it will receive a continuation, so you will not have to wait years predicting if it will, or will not receive a new season. Drifters is an anime I would highly recommend to every single anime fan; however, if you are a big hater of Hellsing Ultimate, I would highly recommend you to think twice before watching Drifters.
3: Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season
English: Snow White with the Red Hair 2
MAL Score: 7.98
Shirayuki and Zen Wistalia have finally confirmed their romantic feelings for each other, and everyone has resumed their daily lives. Shirayuki remains an apprentice court herbalist at the royal palace of Clarines, and Zen continues his duties alongside his aides.
However, their daily routines are disrupted when Crown Prince Izana, Zen’s older brother, receives an invitation from Raji Shenazard, the prince of Tanbarun. The herbalist finds herself ordered to go to Tanbarun for seven days, to build a new friendship with the formerly selfish and haughty ruler who once ordered Shirayuki to become his concubine. Along the way, Shirayuki is bound to run into trouble once again, as she is sought by a mysterious boy named Kazuki, someone she has never met.
As a girl I really enjoy this Shoujo romance anime. It’s sweet,innocent, motivating ,love story between a prince(Zen) and a commoner girl(Shirayuki). Zen also has loyal friends who aid him in tough times and have fun.
Story wise is nothing too extraordinary, but is relaxing, the slice of life part is good and funny. I love how the other male characters have good feelings towards Shirayuki, but as a friend or maybe not?
but I was hoping there will be some quarrel because things is just too good to be true, is a fairytale like story after all.
The simplicity remains, same for the cuteness, the comedy, the slice of life feeling and the sweet romance. What differs in this season is the events, which are more interesting and intriguing. There is a hint of amusing action now as well. Everything about the plot was really great IMO.
Nothing changed from the previous season, everything and everyone is a pure beauty still.
Nothing really changed here as well, the score remains really good and a perfect fit for the anime’s nature.
The great characters remained, and became even better. This time we got an even better characterization for some supporting characters and the main cast shone more through the energetic events they faced and due to having some backstories revealed about them. These backstories actually explained some things about their current way of living and behaving. Due to that, I was able to love them, because each one got a unique emotional pallet and a trademark, and the result was excellent.
All the features that made me enjoy the previous season weren’t absent from this one at all. But some extra suspence and the flawless characterization added something more, something more capturing and addictive. I can now say that if there’s gonna be a third season (I SO HOPE FOR THAT *-*) I won’t treat this show as a way to spend my spare time, because now we have a great basis for a great evolution in a really entertaining story and it has become a must for me. Since the manga is still coming out and since there are still questions to be answered, I can only wait and hope that Studio Bones will announce a third season.
Beautiful, relaxing, light, simple but solid, interesting, funny, intriguing, upcatching and all the other adjectives I used in order to describe the second season but the whole Akagami no Shirayuki-hime franchise as well, make this season, and the whole anime in the end, deserve such a high score and a place in my heart.
In case you are not familiar with this series, Snow White with the Red Hair follows a girl named Shirayuki, who is an herbalist known for her unusual, apple-colored hair. When the prince of her country of Tanbarun, Raj, tries to make her his concubine, she cuts her red hair and escapes to the neighboring country of Clarines. On the way there, she meets Prince Zen and his two aides, Mitsuhide and Kiki, who help her when she’s in a real pinch involving Prince Raj. Upon arrival to the castle in Clarines, Shirayuki aims to become a court herbalist, working diligently toward her goal. Oh, and should I mention the blossoming romance between Shirayuki and Zen?
The art in this anime is as beautiful as ever; Bones really does a great job in this department. The ending theme, “Page ~Kimi to Tsuzuru Monogatari” by eyelis, is also quite a beautiful song, and I honestly liked it more than the ending theme for the first season. As for the opening theme, “Sono Koe ga Chizu ni Naru” by Saori Hayami….. well, it can never be better than the opening theme for the first season, but it’s still a very nice song! Unlike the first season, which I watched the English dub of, I watched the Japanese version of the second season. I must say, these seiyuus really nailed their roles, especially Saori Hayami as Shirayuki! (Maybe I’m just being a Saori Hayami fangirl when I say that, but still!)
The story is still kind of easygoing, but there is one arc in particular that may really leave you on the edge of your seats. As for the characters, along with the great character development for the characters already in this anime, there are even more likable characters introduced in this season, especially Raj’s younger siblings; they just put a smile on my face! Speaking of Raj, I never thought I’d come to like him, but believe it or not, I did; his character developed into one that was less….selfish, to say the least. The romance between Shirayuki and Zen was as sweet as ever, too, and it never failed to bring a smile to my face in this season.
Overall, season two of Snow White with the Red Hair is as great as season one. If you watched season one of Snow White with the Red Hair and liked it, I recommend for you to watch season two. Now that I’ve finished the anime, I’ve either got to read the manga or wait for a third season of this anime about a romance between a girl with hair the color of apples and a prince of the country she arrived in!
2: 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!!!
1: Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu
English: Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
MAL Score: 8.26
When Subaru Natsuki leaves the convenience store, the last thing he expects is to be wrenched from his everyday life and dropped into a fantasy world. Things aren’t looking good for the bewildered teenager; however, not long after his arrival, he is attacked by some thugs. Armed with only a bag of groceries and a now useless cell phone, he is quickly beaten to a pulp. Fortunately, a mysterious beauty named Satella, in hot pursuit after the one who stole her insignia, happens upon Subaru and saves him. In order to thank the honest and kindhearted girl, Subaru offers to help in her search, and later that night, he even finds the whereabouts of that which she seeks. But unbeknownst to them, a much darker force stalks the pair from the shadows, and just minutes after locating the insignia, Subaru and Satella are brutally murdered.
However, Subaru immediately reawakens to a familiar scene—confronted by the same group of thugs, meeting Satella all over again—the enigma deepens as history inexplicably repeats itself.
But Re:Zero isn’t something. It reaches for its dear, dear life, but remains in the end wholly unremarkable shounen fare interested more in shocking the viewer with gore and theatrics than in telling a genuinely meaningful story. Re:Zero may not be terrible and irredeemable, but it certainly struggles throughout most of its twenty-five episodes to demonstrate that there is more to it than this. What is there in Subaru’s tragic story that the audience can take with them at the end? What does it want to say? Not a whole lot, to be sure. Re:Zero is ambitious in mediocrity, notable only for its perverted sense of drama.
(Minor spoilers will follow from here, as it is near-impossible to discuss an anime like this without revealing anything.)
I have seen many people compare Re:Zero to Steins;Gate in the months since its airing. This is a great disservice to Steins;Gate. Where Steins;Gate spent nearly half its runtime developing the setting and its characters before asking the audience to empathise with and feel for them, Re:Zero does so immediately and does not ever ask for consent. It never develops its setting in any meaningful way– about all you know for the duration of the story is that it is generic fantasy-land where people hate witches and bad things happen all the time– and it throws death and gore at the viewer from the very first episode, when nobody even knows or cares about who Subaru is. It is shocking to see major characters die within the first episode, to be fair, but it no longer feels shocking the second, third or eleventh time.
If there was any consequence to these events, it is immediately brought to nothing by the show’s contrived gimmick of rebirth and time-travel. It doesn’t really matter if someone does die, as time will conveniently bend backwards for Subaru’s sake– never to the beginning, and always to the last major event in the story. There is no cost and no meaning to anything that happens. Subaru’s mistakes are immediately erased upon rebirth, and he can go on about his day with nothing but his own guilt holding him back. He is the God of his story and the world is his playground.
What Re:Zero does to compensate for this is killing its characters off in increasingly brutal ways. They will lose their limbs, be hacked to death by chains or tortured to the point where they no longer resemble a human being. It is violence without meaning, as artificial as can be, extreme and over-the-top to the point that it can almost at times resemble satire. Everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong for Subaru and friends, long before you are given any reason to care about their fates in the first place. The fifteenth episode is easily the biggest offender in this regard as it is nothing more than one massive slaughterfest, intent on making you feel bad for Subaru and his many waifus, him screaming in rage and gurgling on blood like it is some sort of torture porn. It is entirely possible for fiction to contain elements of death and gore without it negatively affecting the story, and in some cases it is even necessary, as it is for stories focused on issues such as war. Death is an entirely natural phenomenon, and humans are evidently not above committing acts such as murder. The issue with Re:Zero is that its death and gore exists for itself. It exists to shock and enrage the viewer, rather than serving as a product of the setting or as a vehicle for more substantial themes. For some people, this works, and throwing a character through a hurricane of awfulness is enough to instil sympathy. That’s great, and I don’t hold any ill will against these people. If anything, I am envious of how easily they can feel emotion. What actually bothers me is how effortless this method of storytelling truly is, and the audacity Re:Zero has to pretend it is something profound and on-par with film, as it did in the credits of the fifteenth episode. Re:Zero is visceral and sensually striking, and yet ever so empty.
“Empty” can easily be used to describe the characters as well. Emilia, for example, exists as little more than a personification of the average anime fan’s ideal woman, similar in many ways to Asuna from Sword Art Online, and lacking in any meaningful characterisation besides her occasionally getting upset at Subaru. It’s even more baffling that Subaru chooses her in the world of romance when she has done very little to win over his affection or help him, aside from giving him a place to stay for a couple days. She may as well not even exist– the only reason she even does is to create more senseless tragedy for Subaru.
Rem and Ram are much better characters, as they actually have legitimate characterisation, backstory and development over the course of the story. The issue with them, particularly Rem, is that this development occurs so suddenly that it feels more like a complete change in character than an extension of who they really are. Rem goes from hating Subaru’s guts to being so completely in-love with him that she is willing to follow him to the ends of the Earth and sacrifice anything for his sake. To be fair, there is reason for this abrupt change in personality: Subaru is one of the only people who has ever shown her kindness, and he did so selflessly, on several occasions, without regard for his own safety. He does a great deal to win over her trust and respect. But the extent to which she loves him, especially when she was still cursing his name just a couple short episodes before, is so extreme that it feels less like a natural progression of her feelings and more a way to instil feelings of love in the viewer, to make her palatable to otaku, an ideal girlfriend of sorts, a “waifu” much as Emilia is. It is very hard to convince me that her feelings are anything more than a fleeting puppy-love when merely showing her a bit of kindness is enough to immediately turn Subaru from her most-hated person in the world to her most-cherished one. It feels fake– it feels like a lie, as many things in Re:Zero are revealed to be.
Betelguese, as creepy a bastard as he is, is by far one of the most obnoxious presences in the entire show. He is there, presumably, to create a sense of horror, as he will bend his body in unnatural ways, chew off his fingers in anger and bleed from his creepy little eyeballs, among other things. In reality, he is so loony and ridiculous that anything he says or does feels immediately silly, destroying any of the supposed horror he was supposed to generate. See, the thing most anime get wrong with horror (and indeed even most fiction in general) is that a truly terrifying character is not a raging lunatic, but rather someone totally ordinary and conscious of their actions. Hannibal Lecter is scary. Betelguese is anything but. If you want me to feel scared, do so in a way that resembles a reality humans can actually relate to, rather than a fantasy made of the likes of ghosts and goblins and bowl-cutted priests who eat their fingers for no reason.
Most of the side characters are weak and one-dimensional as well, as they either serve as more empty harem material (with flat-out catgirls and lolis), are defined by a single-trait or catchphrase (as Beatrice and Roswaal are), or are there as a weak attempt to instil more horror, like the stupid kid on the carriage (whose name I forget because I was too busy being angry at his annoying voice and how dumb the scene was) who completely breaks character and turns into a raging lunatic in another shallow attempt to push the story in a dark direction. The one main exception is Wilhelm, whose backstory and motivations truly do feel meaningful and justified. It is just a shame that he is immediately thrown to the benches again once this backstory reaches its quick end, serving afterwards as little more than some old dude who is skilled with the sword.
This leaves our buddy Subaru. I think, without exception, he is the factor that determines one’s enjoyment of Re:Zero. If you can put up with his utter stupidity, you will find it possible to empathise with the trauma he goes through and his mental breakdowns that follow. If you are annoyed and disgusted with his presence (as I regularly was), it will be virtually impossible to care about most of what occurs. Subaru is the difference between being a fan of Re:Zero and being someone who actively dislikes it.
In many ways, he resembles a typical shounen hero. He is hot-headed, makes frequent out-of-place jokes (which I never once found funny, by the way), and refuses to ever think things through in a logical process, preferring instead to jump into battles he cannot win or to lash out at innocent people merely because his pride and fragile ego are called into question by his own mistakes. He thinks he is the coolest dude in the world, that he can save everyone through his own power, and the mere presence of someone with more skill than him offends him right to the very core. He yells and cries on a regular basis and seems incapable of having a normal conversation with anyone. Subaru is a child, and without any doubt one of the more infuriating characters I have witnessed in perhaps ever. There were points in the story where his characterisation legitimately made me angry and made me want to stop watching the show. Some moments were honestly baffling, too, such as how he switches from being completely mind-broken during the events of the fifteenth episode to being totally normal (albeit with a desire for revenge) in the next.
I say all this, but the eighteenth episode is actually one of the best episodes of anime I have seen in quite some time.
Let me explain.
Where the first two thirds of the anime spent its time showcasing unnecessary gore, Subaru’s stupidity and empty characters who exist for little more than space on hug pillows and other creepy merchandise, the eighteenth episode redeems the anime and gives meaning to all that has happened, even if it doesn’t erase its mistakes. It is an episode dedicated entirely to characterisation. It is a single conversation where Subaru shows remorse for his actions, recognising all the mistakes he has made and why he kept making them. He understands that he is a deeply flawed, broken person incapable of saving anyone or indeed even himself. It is at this moment that Subaru becomes aware of who he is. And you know what? I stopped hating him as a result, even if I still fundamentally disagreed with his actions and his character. He showed himself to be a human being for the first time in the entire story.
I have great respect for scenes such as these. It’s not often we get entire episodes dedicated to something as ordinary as a conversation. Re:Zero didn’t need to use gore and death to identify its characters or make us care – it did so merely by giving Subaru a stage to speak. This leaves just one question: why didn’t Re:Zero do this from the very beginning?
It’s a bummer, as there was actually potential for a great anime. The pieces were there, and the writer and the staff behind the anime demonstrated that they had the talent to execute things in an effective and honest way. The music is excellent, complimenting Subaru’s struggles without ever going overboard in sappy piano pieces and cacophonous orchestral pieces as many shows of its type tend to. Its visuals look totally fine, maintaining a consistent quality despite the longer-than-average episode count and abundant battle scenes, while the facial expressions, if occasionally a bit excessive, are undeniably effective at demonstrating the characters’ pain and anguish. Re:Zero is very much a well-produced anime; you can tell that the people at White Fox truly wanted to create something special.
I think this is why, even if I was bothered by most of the things I witnessed during my viewing of Re:Zero, I don’t think it is a truly awful anime. It may not be a good one, not by any means– its mistakes cannot be so easily erased– but I do think its consistent effort and its eighteenth episode do at least redeem it to the extent of being a passable anime. It’s why you see me giving Re:Zero a mediocre rating in my review rather than a poor one. I dislike much about Re:Zero, but for that one episode, I was a fan.
I have a feeling I am in the minority here, as opinions on Re:Zero almost seem to be split into a dichotomy. It is the best anime ever made for some, a life-changing adventure packed with emotion, and for the rest, it is a pile of irredeemable refuse aimed at the lowest-common denominator. To be perfectly fair, I am far more critical of Re:Zero than I am supportive of it. Its issues are certainly more numerous than its good points, and having one great episode can only take things so far when the other twenty-four vary from terrible to merely OK. But I’ll be damned if I said it wasn’t worth putting up with all the nonsense to get to that one point in the story. I just don’t know if others are nearly as patient as I am, and I do have my doubts that future material will ever come close to that level of quality again.
Chances are, you’ll have a better time with Re:Zero than I did. Many anime fans aren’t looking for anything especially profound or complex in their entertainment, and I do not say that to be arrogant or dismissive. It is perfectly valid to watch anime for its entertainment value– I do it as well, and so does just about anyone who is honest with themselves.
But this is a review and not a fan-piece. I am here to share my opinions and to judge the anime with a critical, yet fair eye. Re:Zero has a great deal of issues when viewed under these lenses, and none of them are insignificant. No matter how emotional its copious amounts of death and suffering made you, it would be quite hard to argue there is much more value to Re:Zero than its spectacle. It is a master at manipulating the audience’s feelings, and while it succeeds at entertainment and has one special little moment, Re:Zero fails at making the case that it is anything more than lavishly produced, yet cheap theatre.
The question is, is that enough for you?
It wasn’t enough for me.
From my perspective, we are living in a time where well crafted anime with a myriad of originality and detail are unfortunately being released at a frequently declining rate. Because of this, many in the anime community are constantly on the lookout for something new and creative. So naturally, when an anime like Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu airs, a show that boasts morbidly unique twists on the popular but overused fantasy/game world genre, it gains a lot of popularity and is generally well received in the anime community. However just because something is innovative doesn’t mean that it is a good show overall. No, there are other characteristics, such as a detailed plot and a well developed cast, that can elevate a show from being simply different to something great. So is Re:Zero a great anime? I honestly believe that it is.
And not just because there’s a totally badass adorable maid in it who fulfills the desires of every man’s heart besides the romantically challenged main character who blatantly rejects her feelings for him. What a heartless monster!
I never thought that any anime would be able to effectively combine dark psychological elements with an upbeat fantasy setting. However the genius behind Re:Zero, Tappei Nagatsuki, was able to expertly mix the two seemingly incompatible genres together, and the results are quite impressive. The show begins with our protagonist Natsuki Subaru getting suddenly transported to a fantasy world after leaving a convenience store. Being an otaku who has probably dreamed about something like this happening to him for years, Subaru is naturally excited to be in this new world. However, to his dismay, Subaru quickly learns that he doesn’t have any special abilities or powers. Or so he thinks…anyway, he encounters the beautiful half elf Emilia when she saves him from a group of thugs. Thus the two of them start their adventure. This beginning seems quite clichéd, however everything changes dramatically when Subaru soon finds himself dead.
Well, that was unexpected. The protagonist dies before the first episode even ends? Really? Well we soon learn that Subaru actually does possess a magical ability, called return from death. However this power only works when Subaru dies. When this skill activates, Subaru essentially travels back in time to a certain checkpoint to relive that part of his life in order to change it to a future in which he successfully completes a certain objective and lives. Being a fan of shows involving time traveling, I was excited to see where Nagatsuki was going with this, and I wasn’t disappointed with the result.
I was initially worried that Re:Zero would end up getting boring with the protagonist constantly failing and traveling back in time to relive the exact same scenarios over and over again. However with each new life, the progression of the story alters, sometimes dramatically, and many new elements are revealed to Subaru which were previously unknown that help him to solve the problems he faces and move on. This kept the anime fresh and exciting since something different happened with each life. Also, with every passing arc, Subaru’s situation seemed to become substantially more dire, which lead to an increased intensity in the anime that kept me constantly entertained.
One negative aspect of the show that I’ve noticed is that Re:Zero seems to rely and focus on Subaru’s ability a bit too heavily. This consistent emphasis on return from death takes away from other things, such as the detail revolving around the royal selection. This is seemingly an important plot point, but it is significantly overshadowed by the constant focus on Subaru and his continuous retakes at life. The anime spends an episode or two describing the royal selection and emphasizing its importance in relation to the characters only to practically drop it and hardly mention anything about it throughout the rest of the anime. There are some other similar occurrences present in Re:Zero as well. This resulted in the loss of plot points that could have made the anime more well rounded.
The character designs are very lovely. They are usually rather detailed, especially their facial expressions and features during moments when their faces are zoomed in on. Vibrant colors also help to bring the characters and scenery to life. Unfortunately, like many other shows in the industry, the animation dipped in quality as the anime progressed. The most notable example would be the fight scenes. Those showcased in the anime’s initial episodes were highly detailed and well executed. However some of the later battles seemed more sloppy and not as well animated. Also, the CGI used on some background characters was utterly appalling. Luckily the use of CGI is very limited in this show. But hey, at least the female characters still maintained their lovely features throughout the entirety of the anime, and that’s what really counts, right?
I was excited when I learned that Konomi Suzuki and Myth&Roid would be performing the theme songs for this anime since I enjoy music produced by both of them. Overall, I think that the theme songs are rather good, with my personal favorite being the first ending, Styx Helix, by Myth&Roid. The soundtrack was successful; it played upbeat and relaxing songs during lighthearted scenes and transitioned to dark and distorted themes during psychological moments. Subaru’s seiyuu, Kobayashi Yuusuke, does an excellent job at vocally expressing the character’s utter pain and misery through his voice acting talents.
At first glance, many of the characters in Re:Zero appear to fall into generic character categories. However as the anime progresses, the cast seems to evolve from their seemingly average state into much more dynamic, unique, and sometimes even lovable characters.
Subaru surprisingly isn’t some overpowered MC who can unexplainably beat every other character at practically everything. In fact, his only ability worth noting is return from death, which, while being extremely useful since it gives Subaru multiple chances at life, is the main source of his psychological trauma. Although he initially acts positive, Subaru slowly cracks and falls further into despair and insanity as the anime progresses. He is one of the few characters I’ve seen that, for the most part, actually acts like a real life human would in the dark situations that he finds himself in. Of course, this may mean that you’ll want to punch him in the face sometimes when he acts all cowardly, stupid, and obnoxious, but you have to understand what the poor guy is going through. Plus he redeems himself in the later portion of the anime.
Emilia is a beautiful, kind, and lovable girl; in other words, the type that many view as great waifu material. However the thing that I like most about her is the fact that she, unlike so many other female characters like her, can actually live WITHOUT the male lead. During one point she actually decides that it’s best for her and Subaru to go there separate ways. I find this to be rather admirable, since it shows that Emilia can be an independent person who doesn’t need to rely on others. There’s not much else to say about her since she hardly gets any screen time in the second half of the anime.
Rem surprised me the most out of all of the characters. In fact, I believe that she’s much more developed than the “main girl,” Emilia, and is simply a superior character. The first few times that we see Rem, she humorously makes fun of Subaru with the assistance of her sister Ram. However as the story progresses, we get to learn so much more about Rem. I don’t want to spoil any particular moments, but I will say that she has a badass yandere mode where she slaughters practically everything with her spiked mace in an epic fashion. Rem also develops feelings for Subaru, who she becomes admirably loyal to and saves numerous times, that lead to some really adorable moments between the two. Rem is also super cute and she just looks stunning, especially when she smiles. The sexy maid outfit is also a plus. Re:Zero really showcases a rare gem in Rem, who is the best anime character that I’ve seen in awhile.
Re:Zero also boasts a strong supporting cast. This group of characters includes the cute and sarcastic maid Ram, the adorable and magical loli Beatrice, and the utterly insane and slothful antagonist Betelgeuse. While obviously not as much as the lead cast, many of these characters receive adequate development and possess unique personality traits that make them more likable and entertaining to watch.
This show combines the best aspects of different genres to create something that is very entertaining to watch. It has fun characters and settings that kept me entertained. I was constantly on the edge of my seat in excitement hoping for Subaru to succeed and tensely waiting to see the repercussions of his failures. Cliffhangers were effectively used at the end of multiple episodes that left me craving more, though they were a bit excessive. While some episodes focused on dialogue and lacked any “excitement,” I still enjoyed watching them because they helped to flesh out the characters and gave me valuable insight on the characters’ emotions, thoughts, etcetera. My main issue is that I feel like the anime peeked at around episode 18, and while the final portion of Re:Zero remained pretty good, it didn’t quite reach the level of greatness that the mid episodes had. Nonetheless, this was definitely an entertaining anime from beginning to end.
Re:Zero impressed me. This anime wasn’t afraid to take an overused idea and combine it with a myriad of originality that resulted in a very well produced show. While there are some minor errors (then again, what show doesn’t have any flaws?), Re:Zero managed to succeed at being both an unique and a well executed anime. This is a show that I would most certainly recommend watching.
Just to get things out of the way: this score deserves a 10 not necessarily for its metrics per se, but for the fact that for people who like anime in general it is a show that needs to be seen.
What I’m sick and tired of lately, which will probably never be stopped, is reviewers or fans comparing shows to other shows. It’s a huge anime circlejerk that people are really adamant about. Honestly, it could be said about a lot of things. Video games are a very good example, but that’s for another time.
Let’s start off with my initial reaction. I usually pick a few shows to watch each season and continue from there. When I watched the trailer, I was immediately reminded of KonoSuba. It wasn’t off putting, but I was just surprised to see an almost identical setting so soon. Of course, people are using ‘isekai’ as a description, but I never really heard of that until recently. Where a character gets transported into a world, etc…
I ended up only watching the first half of the hour long opening due to time constraints and it was kind of a “whatever” show to me. Big mistake. I took this for granted and ended up with friends on social media blabbering about the show weeks later. Around episode 14 or so.
I asked one of my good friends, who I’d actually say is pretty hardcore into anime (he’s been using MAL for years and has a very strict rating guideline and watches almost every show that releases), what the concept of the show was. Remember, I didn’t bother to look into this show at all. He basically just told me what happened at the end of the second half of the season premiere and I totally regretted my decision that night. I’m a sucker for that device- being able to start again or go into the past. I may have a bias on that genre (please don’t look at my favorite shows… 🙂 ), but this show executes it very well. I ended up binge watching until 15 and it was totally worth it. Since then, I’ve been trying to make the first thing I do every Sunday morning is watch Re:Zero.
Beginning with the story; it is wide and vast, but at its core a very deep, and emotional heart string puller. I’ll say it here: I read a bit of the web novel a few weeks ago because my mind could not wait. I do like to spoil myself sometimes, but that’s exactly what this show made me do. I did the same with Erased, and Shingeki no Kyojin. Why? Because there was so much information I wanted to know that I feel like the show could not explain with a few episodes left. And albeit it is disheartening that they exclude some crucial information regarding characters or story, it does not take it away from the show at all. That’s why I said it is wide and vast.
At initial glance, it seems as a very typical “otaku/neet character gets transported into a different world…” (as mentioned earlier), but it gives it a twist with strong character development along the way, which I will explain later. Being able to “start again from zero” is a common trend recently, but I honestly will never get tired of it. We all wish to be able to time travel or start things over, and it fills my need by watching these shows. This executes the concept incredibly well. It’s hard to talk about the story without the characters, because they really are the backbone than the story rather than the lore of the world.
The main protagonist is Natsuki Subaru, and it’s very much his story. I hate him. I hate him a lot. Many people actually do, but it’s not a bad thing. Why do we hate him? Because he makes horrible decisions and does things we do not want, at all. He is…very real. Many viewers and other anime fans like characters who have crazy magic powers, look super cool, wields some badass sort, or something along those lines.
There’s nothing special about Subaru. He’s definitely no Sora from No Game No Life. He also didn’t have the luxury Kazuma Satou (KonoSuba) had being able take Aqua with him and join a guild/get a job.
We hate this guy. He’s a crybaby and practically useless. However, that is what drives this show. We get to see him evolve into a better person. He treats his adventure like a game, and gets punished for it. We realize the struggle he goes through, and that is what we would go through if we were transported into a world like that. We play it off like a game that we see or know, but it’s not a game, it’s very real.
Subaru doesn’t start off as some overpowered character that can trump the bad guys or continuously one-up them. He literally dies- over and over again. And he still doesn’t learn his lesson until he deals with love. The love for Emilia. When it gets that deep, we’re already attached. He’ll do anything for her, and makes us feel the same way. Also, he doesn’t automatically attract this “harem” that people seem to think he has. He earns it. He gave up blood and sanity to learn these people and they became a part of his life in this world.
For 25 episodes, we don’t see the finish line straight ahead, but we wish we could see the course from above. Obstacles have been overcome, but there are a more to come, and some block in the roads as well.
There are many characters to love in this show, hell, Rem is already tons of people’s waifu. What makes her that though? Her personality and determination is what all of us want, but not Subaru. She is everything to him, yet he stays faithful to Emilia. A lot of fans also have this as a reason to hate him; rejecting the perfect girl for someone who doesn’t even feel the same way for him.
What is the fun if everything went the way you wanted? Of course- that’s what we want in our heads, but not doing what we want creates tension, which is completely fine for this kind of genre. The last thing you want to think about is that it is a silly harem/comedy. It really isn’t. It has twists, turns, loops, you shouldn’t be wanting something, you should be wanting to know what direction is coming ahead.
Let’s talk about the cast in general. It’s great, just like I rated it. It’s hard to find a perfect set, but they’re close to being one. Everyone that gets air time, for the most part, has a developed background and importance in the show. They all mesh well together and have some sort of connection to Subaru. Characters that simply might be thought of “side characters”, may have more than a meaning than you think. The feeling this show makes when Subaru gets so close to someone and have them dying off, and seeing them in a different timeline alive again is eerie as hell. You feel the realization that they were just dead- you became really close to them, and now you are back at the point where you just met them. There are some characters who get a decent amount, but are still unexplained in the show, but will be eventually…hopefully.
You want to look through the eyes of Subaru when looking at the cast, since this is his story. There are people you are going to hate and it’s perfectly acceptable, because Subaru hates them as well. The same goes for being attached. That’s why this is such a great cast. And People hating Subaru? That is fine too, because he shows that he truly hates himself throughout the entirety of the show. He wants to do better and you want him to do better, but keeps doing worse, and worse. He then realizes his faults, and so do we. When he develops, we develop.
People would say, why wouldn’t he just do or say this? We need to realize that he portrays a neet or otaku and thinks it’s a game. He thinks he can get away with what he knows about that culture, but is completely wrong. His method and thinking is not the same as ours watching. Being there is entirely different and that’s the way he went through with it. He thinks he’s Kirito, but obviously he’s just a random neet stuck in a fantasy world. He doesn’t have good social skills. He’s awkward and cringey.
But his willingness to learn and his determination he promised since episode 1 is what makes him strong. He does get it over his head, way over his head, but he learns and realizes his mistakes, which makes him an amazing character. Not many characters these days accept their faults and mistakes. They’re just already the best person in the universe and can overcome anything. We see why Subaru is able to do that in the end.
I can go over the other main characters or lead support characters just as much as Subaru, but I’m just going to shorten it here and say that Emilia is the X-Factor of the show. She pretty much preemptively decided Subaru’s fate. I mean, she IS the main female protagonist. Rem and Ram help build his character, and I say this in the least descriptive way possible to keep this review shorter so I don’t bore you with reading. They are the main support characters. And to make it generic, they support him pretty damn well.
The other characters, they beat him up (both mentally and physically), but he learns and builds from it. Every character he has a moment with is important to him. He learns to use his past knowledge about people to help him get through the world. They’re not just people to him. As mentioned, at first, he completely naive, and we hate it, but we should stay in our seat and watch as his flaws become traits.
No need to get into too much detail about this. The design and visuals great, but the random CG background characters really take it away from me to be honest. Like especially when there are drawn background characters mixed in with CG background characters.
The character designs aren’t anything to be in awe about. I mean, Subaru is in a track suit for Christ’s sake. Emilia’s outfit is cute, Rem and Ram are just in kind of skimpy maid outfits. I do like the outfits the knights have.
The settings and locations are incredible though, like the city, mansion, forest, and open fields. Great variety colors. I’m not too keen on art, but in the end, it’s all great except the super obvious CG.
The background, fighting, and setting music aren’t really memorable to me, but they’re not bad whatsoever. There wasn’t a time where I felt as if the music was off or anything, so it was just fitting.
However, the openings and endings I really enjoyed. At first I thought the second opening song was a little odd, but it really grew on me and I actually ended up wanting to watch the opening every time it came on, so that’s good new. Myth & Roid is cool.
The second ending is fantastic. Like, when the episode would end and that song would play without the actual ending being played. It’s kind of a slow and sad sounding song, so during intense moments it really brought out my emotions even more.
The voice acting, oh let me get started on the voice acting. So there’s this bad guy named Petelgeuse/Betelgeuse. Just look up some clip and try to guess who the voice actor without looking him up.
-Yeah, it’s Matsuoka. The guy who voices Sora, Soma, and Kirito. He does an AMAZING job differentiating his normal tone and voice. Even Subaru’s voice actor does a breathtaking job. You can feel the anger, angst, and struggle with his voice. He’s portraying an insane villain and has some crazy lines and phrases that are unforgettable.
Uh, maybe by this review and its score you can tell if I enjoyed it or not. 🙂 I binged this show like 15 episodes straight and was wanting more every week. I could probably say I enjoyed it, a little. It’s a ride that I want to keep staying on. Ups, downs, loops, turns, jumps, you name it.
With the individual scores, it comes to about a 95%, which I rounded up to a 10/10. So in actuality, this show is a 9.5. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However, the only thing I would have to say is that I’d only recommend this show for people who have already watched a few shows already. I wouldn’t say it’s a good first show to watch if you’re just new into anime, as good as it is. You kind of need to have background knowledge of other shows. Even though I say not to compare, but to just be aware and see the difference it really has to other shows, or that it takes in different aspects and genres to create this wonderful show.
Thanks for reading guys.
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