They’re the best Anime that 2017 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Mahoujin Guruguru (2017), Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season, Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon, and more!
10: Mahoujin Guruguru (2017)
English: Magical Circle
MAL Score: 7.85
Nike was a simple boy from Boering Village, and the last thing he ever wanted was to become a hero. But when a sign appears from the king of Ainshent Castle Town recruiting heroes to slay the Demon Lord Giri, Nike’s father enthusiastically forces him out the door. Along with Kukuri, a member of the Migu Migu Clan, Nike sets out on an adventure to become the legendary hero that the world needs.
As Nike and Kukuri travel across different continents, they attempt to learn the secrets of Guru Guru Magic, a strange but powerful type of magic used to seal Demon Lord Giri’s power. While reluctantly taking on their assigned quest, the duo does not fail to acquire new comrades and have fun along the way.
First of all it is important to note that Guruguru is a goofy but clever, frenetic and never-stopping comedy. It’s a story based on a classic quest to save the world, adorned with constant RPG game references and tropes, which main purpose is making fun of itself. It’s probably the only type of narrative that can manage to move faster than what it used to, and yet only take advantage from it.
When it comes to the main protagonists, they benefit from the fact that they’re both as important and relevant to the whole picture. They also care for each other in an organic and noticeable way, which is rare for this type of shows where the characters tend to be quite flat besides their counted quirks (in plain terms, they’re one of the CUTEST couple/duo in anime as a whole).
In regard to the art, Mahoujin depicts an overly colorful world with an updated but faithful approach to its original character designs. These are peculiar in the sense people appear to be quite short and young, which might be appealing by itself after a while, but also help to transmit emotion and gesticulation in a more fluid manner. Really well animated to keep up with the inherent rhythm of the series, it does take some extra liberties like momentarily portraying the characters and world in a pixellated 2D version, as if they were part of an early 90s Final Fantasy game.
Most anime of this kind has a major inconvenient: it gets boring fast. Gags repeating over and over, hit-or-miss episodic approaches, annoying secondary characters one always wants to ignore but can’t… Surprisingly, Guruguru is seemingly free of all these issues, affording the viewer a nice variety of lovely side characters and even villains that work nicely with the main duo, as well as a storyline that both for obligation and determination, moves in the hastiest of paces.
Who knows if bringing back gems like these is an attempt to capture nostalgic people, or simply to make old works available for the newer generations. What is clear is that, if all results were to be like this, nothing left to say but welcome!
Note: Even though this remake adapts the whole original manga and story, since 2012 a sequel manga has been publishing. Considering what the series hinted at the end, there is a possibility we get to see this in the future.
Thanks for reading.
What I expected, as the synopsis suggested, was a cute and somewhat fun show about video game tropes. However, what I got was a show that was far less focused of video game tropes or being cute and much more on comedy…good comedy. This show is absolutely hilarious! In the beginning of the show the parents of MC tell him to become a hero and, when the boy refuses, shoot him of with a giant slingshot! Who thinks of this stuff? This show is comedic gold! And it isn’t just a good joke occasionally; this show is funny constantly. This anime is a remake of a 45 episode show from the 90’s and a 38 episode show from 2000, but this one is only 24 episodes, so they could skim all the fat and as a result this show is dense. There are constantly jokes flying left and right and you’ll find yourself constantly entertained.
The show mostly advertises itself as a show about RPG-tropes, but you don’t actually need to have any interest in this subject. Sure, being into old jRPGs helps, but the meat of the story is the personality driven comedy. Old RPGs aren’t the subject matter, but the theme. It can be fully enjoyed as a comedy show or even a fantasy show, without caring about RPGs.
The two main characters are a young boy and a young girl around his age (They’re 12 at the start of the story). The boy is lazy and easily seduced, but seems to at least have the heart of the traditional hero. The girl is a typical girl of around her age who is very concerned with her image and who is infatuated with the boy in a very endearing manner. The two are absolutely adorable together. Also, a lot of the comedy around these characters is based on the contrast between them being normal teenagers and the fact that it is expected of them to be capable warriors, ready to take on the big bad and any of his henchmen (which they are not).
One of the first things you’ll notice about the show is the art style. The character designs look very young, which will turn a lot of people off, but if you take the time to look at it you will realize they are actually very nice to look at and incredibly cute. Also, a lot of work is put into their outfits. Half of the time they’ll be walking around in their usual clothes, but whenever they go on an adventure they put on cute outfits that look adorable and have a lot of work put into them. And also, because the designs are very simple, they are permitted to constantly be moving and often in interesting ways. The show is constantly animated and oozes style. Besides that, the backgrounds are fantastic and especially the landscapes are incredibly nice to look at. It’s a very visually pleasing show.
Despite all that, the show is still a comedy show and the main appeal of the show is this comedy. If you watch one episode of the show and you didn’t like the comedy you’ll probably not like the show at all. If you do find it funny, then you’ll love the show as it just gets funnier and it stays funny throughout.
Now I am here talking about Mahoujin Guru Guru (2017).
Now I was originally going to avoid this show altogether because since I didn’t like Konosuba 2 all that much and I thought this show would just be a repeat of that. However, some of my friends have recommended this show to me because they said its really great comedy/parody series that is really funny and it doesn’t have problems of other comedy series such as Konosuba and School Rumble.
Since my friends have told me great things about I decided to take the bait and watched it and after watching al 24 episodes of Mahoujin Guruguru (2017) all I can say is its one of the better comedy animes out that I have seen but at the same time it does have some problems which I will explain throughout this review
Now with that hello everyone this is Shawn aka KurataLordStage and welcome to of Mahoujin Guruguru (2017) and with that out of the way let’s get started.
The story follows a young boy named Nike who gets sent along to a quest against his own will to defeat the newly revived devil king. He soon meets a magical old woman where he gets entrusted with caring for a young girl called Kukuri, who still doesn’t know how to control her mysterious Guru Guru magic. From there Niki and Kukuri head off for an adventure together.
The story of Mahoujin Guruguru (2017) is not that special in fact it’s pretty generic. However, while the story is generic it makes up its comedy, gags, and RPG (Role-Playing Game) references which for the most part this show does a good job.
The best part of Mahoujin Guruguru is the RPG references that this show does. From the word, items are “acquired” instead of Nike has picked up a bunch of items.
As for the comedy itself its pretty good for the most part.
Now unlike most comedy anime ever made this show, for the most part, knows to times its jokes and gags. Because of the jokes and gags being almost well timed the show can be really hilarious at times.
However, the show has some problems.
For starters, the show is not always consistent with its pacing as the show sometimes the show goes way too fast for its own good and it makes the average viewer feel confused about what is happening on screen. I also find that ironic because the original series had the slow pacing and not to mention filler.
Another problem that I had with the show that shares with other comedy animes such as School Rumble and Konosuba 2 is some of the gags/comedy start to get repetitive over time such as the Kita Kita dance gag which got annoying as the series went on and that gag alone made me heavily dislike certain charter in this show which I will get in a bit.
Overall the story while being generic was still pretty funny thanks to its comedy, gags and RPG references.
When it comes to the characters I thought they were pretty great overall minus a certain character which I will mention in a bit
First, we have Nike. I liked him as a character. Yes, he’s just your typical male fantasy protagonist but what makes him so enjoyable to watch is he’s gags, reaction to situations and character interactions with other characters especially with Kukuri.
Next, we have Kukuri.
She is easily the best character mainly due to her character development which was great. Yes, Nike gets a bit of character development as well but Kukuri character development was more impactful.
As for the rest of the characters, they were range cool to annoying.
Udberg Eldol is easily the most annoying in this anime. His gags were funny for the first couple of times but after the 6th time, it got really annoying to point where I cringe every time he appeared on screen doing that god-damn Kita-Kita dance. Not only has the Kita Kita decent that it general became unfunny and repetitive had hell. The only redeeming thing about this character is some of his references that he does throughout the show. Other than that this character is an annoying piece of shit who actually ruined my enjoyment of the show quite a lot and every time I hear the Kita Kita I just close my ears. Because of that he’s easily one of my least favourite characters from 2017 period.
Juju and Raid are funny characters overall that being a lot of good comedy. I just wish Raid and especially Juji had more screen time in this show over a certain character that I really dislike throughout the series.
Overall besides from Eldol the characters were funny, likable and enjoyable to watch.
Visually this show looks good but at the same time, a bit disappointing.
The backgrounds were great and they have that nice flat retro color feel to it that perfectly represents the classic JRPG games from the 90s but in an HD format.
I also loved the 8-bit style of the show as it reminds of the fantasy games from the NES library like the legend of Zelda to Final Fantasy.
As for animation is pretty basic and it fits well with the show however I wish they did more with it.
Now the things that I don’t like about the visuals.
For starters, if you compare to other anime from Production I.G such as Haikyuu, Guilty Crown and even to Ghost in the Shell stand-alone complex from 2002 you find out the animation is kind limited especially for Production I.G standards which are known for they great productions values. Am not trying to say the animation of Guru Guru was bad or anything. In fact, I would it has unique animation, however, I still have to say it’s one of Production I.G weaker animes in terms of production values.
Another problem that I had with the art-style constancy. I have no issues with the many art styles of the show as it fits with the show, however, the show like to change its art style way too often.
Overall the visuals were good for what they were but it could a lot better if it was more consistent.
The soundtrack is good for what it is but ultimately is not that memorable.
However, the sound effects in this anime are amazing and well executed. It feels like you’re playing a real JRPG game with these sound effects.
The openings are pretty great overall.
Opening 1 Trip Trip is a great catchy theme that fits well with the adventure tone perfectly.
Opening 2 Ryuusei Dance is good but I prefer opening 1 more.
As for the ending themes. Both of them were fine but they were not that memorable.
The voice acting is great overall as each of the seiyuu did a great job with the roles that they were giving. My favorite performance of the show was Konomi Kohara as Kukuri. She did a wonderful job voicing this character.
Mahoujin Guruguru (2017) is a pretty good series overall.
The show has a lot of good things in it but at the same time, it has its fair share of problems. The pacing of the show could have been a lot better, the comedy/gags were not always great as some of them got repetitive as the series went on, Some of the characters became annoying over-time and while the art style itself was unique as it represents an RPG world it actual animation was pretty lacking for a production I.G as well its art style constancy where the show likes to change its art-style way too much. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad as the show had pretty good comedy overall that when it was done right it made me laugh quite a lot as well having great JRPG references and great characters like Nike, Kukuri, and Juju.
If you a fan of pure comedy anime then you will definitely like this show.
Final Score 7/10
9: Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season
English: Hozuki’s Coolheadedness 2
Japanese: 鬼灯の冷徹 第弐期
MAL Score: 7.88
Just as in this life, the afterlife needs a calm troubleshooter to deal with the bureaucratic headaches that come from keeping things in order. Enter Hozuki: a cool and collected demon who’s badly in need of a vacation.
Hoozuki’s Coolheadedness centers on Hoozuki, who works under King Enma. It is possible to say that the Japanese hell only functions because of Hoozuki, who manages hundreds of demons, greets delegations from other hells, and keeps King Yama, focused on what he is supposed to be focused on. However, he is not the only one to accomplish such an uneasy task—manage the whole Japanese hell; he also has many companions to help him. Hoozuki is, perhaps, the most efficient bureaucrat in the underworld, who actually invented the system of the modern Japan’s hell. Hozuki’s Coolheadedness season two answers many questions: including hell’s structure, Hoozuki’s childhood and many many more. (Side note: King Enma (the King of Hell, King Yan or Yanluo) is a wrathful god, who judges the dead. That mythological figure is also known in countries, where Buddhism is practiced, including: China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Bhutan, Mongolia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos).
Hoozuki no Reitetsu is massively popular in Japan; the manga regularly sells 200 000 plus per volume. That is why you might want give this show a try. It took some time for the next season to air, due to Wit’s being a huge ass and a director’s change. Anyways, here we are. Although, it was unclear which path season two is likely to follow, it turned out to be a pretty solid continuation of Eguchi Natsumi’s dark comedy work Cool-headed Hoozuki.
Animation wise, my biggest concern here was studio switch. There are some changes in season two, you will surely notice, but at the same time these minor changes are something too minor for you to notice. As you already know, Hoozuki involves Buddhism that is why the anime’s animation should be: rich, vivid, and colorful. And it manages to do so; many new characters are being introduced, many new types of scenery are being shown to the viewer and I dare say, Hoozuki is still the same as it was 3 years ago; somewhere even better than season one. Sound wise, nothing major to mention. Voice actors are still the same; opening and ending themes still have the same feeling as in season one. There are also many tracks that are heavily laced with folk elements and traditional Japanese instruments. They do help to dive in the atmosphere; however, you will hardly find anything memorable.
Perhaps, the best part about this show is its characters. The show follows two main protagonists, the first one being: Hoozuki, who is the chief secretary of the Great King. He is literally the only person to maintain order in a Buddhist hell. King Enma is the second main character of the anime. He is supposed to be the second man in hell: cold-blooded and a wise judge of the underworld; however, he is displayed as some dunce old man. In addition to this, Hoozuki no Reitetsu has also an ultra-rich variety of supporting characters, involving: Karauri and Nasubi. Their childish absurdity always creates some comic moments that will surely make you smile. Many new supporting characters are being introduced, including: Izanami, who is a goddess of both creation and death, Zashiki-warashi, who are gods that live in storage rooms; they also like pranks, and many others.
Anyways, for those who still have not seen the first season and are reading this review, I must say that Cool-headed Hoozuki is a very unique comedy, unique in a sense that it might be problematic for you to understand the humor. On top of that, the anime makes fun of Satan and Beelzebub. For instance, Satan is displayed as some horrific creature that acts like a princess. That being said, it might be popular among Japanese, but I do not think that this show might have the same popularity rate among the western viewers. Nevertheless, the show still has some good comedy in it. Cool-headed Hoozuki is also somewhat similar to Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san, Gintama, and Beelzebub. It is not a masterpiece of the comedy genre, but still is a good anime to kill your free time.
The story picks up where the first season had ended. It retains its original storytelling style of comedic episodes with a central theme. Each episode is well-knitted to each other that the story’s flow isn’t disrupted and rushed. Moreover, the anime also did not fail to give its characters a new side of them that we did not see in the first season. The anime’s second season revealed a lot of things about the characters in which it aids to the characters’ development. We learned more about the Ten Kings and how each King conducted their trials.
Aside from teaching and introducing Japanese folklore and mythology, the anime also did not shy away from comparing Japanese mythologies with other cultures’ mythologies. This is not a new thing for the anime as it is applied in the first season. Moreover, we could see a lot of similarities and differences in the world’s mythologies. For instance, in that one episode, the deceased’s trial and punishment in the afterlife is both presented in the Japanese and Egyptian mythologies. Hence, the anime itself, aside from branding itself as “entertainment,” it did a little bit of comparative mythology (an academic field of studying mythologies wherein identifying the shared themes, motifs, and characteristics of the world’s mythologies) in its own pace.
Moreover, the second season also added more information about Japanese Hell without summarising it too much that might lead oversimplification. However, the anime does simplified Japanese folklore and mythology; but the anime’s production did an excellent job of trying to make it easier and simpler for both enthusiasts and the new viewers. Nevertheless, the anime did careful steps in presenting Japanese folklore and mythology without being lackluster and condescending.
Overall, the anime did a creative and entertaining way of presenting Japanese folklore and mythology in a more comfortable and lighthearted pace that will enjoy by both its’ old and new audiences.
The art is definitely unique unlike your traditional anime with fine line art, this anime combines both traditional japanese art styles and modern day animation to create an visual experience that seems almost normal to a person’s eyes.
Each character has their own personalities and backstory, famous japanese folk tale characters make appearances through the entire the anime and befriend Hoozuki whether he likes it or not. I mainly really like the Dog named Shiro who is the pet of Momotaro an ancient japanese hero who set out to fight demons with a dog, monkey, and a pheasant as companions. Every character is special in their own way.
Overall, this show is just amazing and I think you should watch it as well.
8: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
English: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
MAL Score: 8.00
As Kobayashi sets off for another day at work, she opens her apartment door only to be met by an unusually frightening sight—the head of a dragon, staring at her from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute, busty, and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, introducing herself as Tooru.
It turns out that the stoic programmer had come across the dragon the previous night on a drunken excursion to the mountains, and since the mythical beast had nowhere else to go, she had offered the creature a place to stay in her home. Thus, Tooru had arrived to cash in on the offer, ready to repay her savior’s kindness by working as her personal maidservant. Though deeply regretful of her words and hesitant to follow through on her promise, a mix of guilt and Tooru’s incredible dragon abilities convinces Kobayashi to take the girl in.
Despite being extremely efficient at her job, the maid’s unorthodox methods of housekeeping often end up horrifying Kobayashi and at times bring more trouble than help. Furthermore, the circumstances behind the dragon’s arrival on Earth seem to be much more complicated than at first glance, as Tooru bears some heavy emotions and painful memories. To top it all off, Tooru’s presence ends up attracting several other mythical beings to her new home, bringing in a host of eccentric personalities. Although Kobayashi makes her best effort to handle the crazy situation that she has found herself in, nothing has prepared her for this new life with a dragon maid.
And unlike many of their more recent titles, it knows what it wishes to be and never compromises its vision in a futile attempt to appease everyone and anyone. It doesn’t play around with drama, and it never centres on action and explosions despite its cast of malevolent dragons. It’s silly. It’s relaxing. And it can even be a bit heartwarming when it tries, too. Have I also mentioned that Tohru is cute as all hell?
Some may immediately wince and groan upon reading the series’ synopsis. Maids plus dragons does not make for a very promising setting, nor does it seem like a combination that required much more than two or three seconds of thought. Everything that could possibly exist has, or inevitably will, receive some sort of series with cute girls indiscriminately slapped onto it. Modern anime has trained people to be cynical.
But to treat Maid Dragon as just another silly comedy with moe characters wouldn’t be entirely fair, as there are a number of things it does quite differently. Kobayashi, the show’s title character and languid protagonist, is a working adult rather than the conventional teenager. Whereas most anime of its nature would choose instead to play a teenager as some pseudo-adult (“my parents are conveniently away on a business trip, so, hey, I have this house and this maid lady all to myself”), Maid Dragon chooses instead to portray real adults with real issues. Kobayashi is so bored with the office-lady routine that she will choose to drink herself halfway to death after a long day’s work. Such is life in much of Japan.
By portraying adult characters, the sense of family between Kobayashi, Tohru, and Kamui feels genuine. Kobayashi is the mother of the household, and she will snap back at her dragon friends whenever they do something unreasonable. She is strict, yet also caring, and tries her best to understand their difficulties with getting used to the human world. Even little things such as peeling oranges for the two on their kotatsu makes it clear that she appreciates their company, even if she may not always be clear and forthright about it. Maid Dragon is true slice-of-life.
Kobayashi being female also helps to keep the show away from any unnecessary sexual undertones. If she were male, the show would no doubt be a harem, and it would be all the worse for it. It is hard to care about a cast when the only thing characterising them is accidental breast fondling (yay) and walking in on (and screaming at) each other in the bathroom. Yawn. While Tohru’s feelings for Kobayashi are humorously exaggerated as being romantic, that is not Tohru’s actual intentions, and indeed, her reactions come more from gratitude and a desire to protect her guardian, rather than anything genuinely romantic or sexual. The one exception is that, yes, there is a compulsory beach scene, although I suppose I can’t fault it too much as it was relatively short and harmless (and because Tohru’s body is a lovely sight indeed).
Maid Dragon can occasionally be funny– Tohru visiting Kobayashi’s workplace and repeatedly tripping her crabby boss, or challenging one of the other dragons to a fight in another dimension only to close it on them– but it isn’t an anime that is particularly defined by laughs. It is meant more to be relaxing, and, undoubtedly thanks to Kamui’s presence, cute, at times adorable. I just wish it didn’t have to repeat the same joke about Tohru cooking her tail a million and one times over.
The anime is at its strongest when it focuses on these main three, which makes the scenes with the other three dragons and Kobayashi’s otaku friend, Takiya, significantly less appealing. Takiya’s split personality is so jarring and exaggerated that he is often more obnoxious than anything, and Quetzalcoatl is pretty much a non-character whose only defining traits are that her boobs are large and that she likes to dress in scantily-clad clothing. If they were taken out altogether, I don’t think anyone would find much reason to complain. More time should instead have been spent developing Kobayashi’s cynical worldview, and Tohru’s newfound interest in human society, the show’s two most compelling themes. It would be nice for Kamui to also have something else to her besides simply being cute and snugly, but then I suppose it would be difficult to develop a character who is essentially the equivalent of a six or seven-year-old child. I sure as heck did not have anything else defining me at that age besides a love for candy and temper tantrums.
Kyoto Animation’s artwork is generally excellent, but it certainly stands out in Maid Dragon’s case. While there are few scenes that draw particular attention for their animation, the cute and humorous expressions the characters make (notably Tohru and Kamui) make the anime a ripe for grabbin’ screenshots. Tohru’s eyes are especially detailed, and draw attention to her nature as a dragon while never seeming overtly inhuman. Bright colours and soft edges also do well to enhance the fluffy, relaxing atmosphere the anime strives for. Part of the problem I had with some of KyoAni’s other titles, such as Hibike Euphonium, is that they just looked so bland and dreary all the time. It’s always welcome to see them return to a more traditional style, as traditional, it seems, is the very thing that KyoAni is skilled at.
To label Maid Dragon as something stellar or ground-breaking may be giving it a bit too much credit, but there is little doubt that it is at least a return to form for a studio that has been losing its way for many a year. It is as well a fun time in its own right, an almost nostalgic recollection of what slice-of-life anime used to be, and could, can be once more.
In the Japanese culture there are two really heartwarming greetings that represent the core of the family bonds: ‘Tadaima’ (ただいま) and ‘Okaeri’ (おかえり), respectively meaning ‘I’m home’ and ‘welcome home’. The exchange between these greetings happen when one person arrives home, and there is another one to welcome them back. While not strictly restricted to family members alone, and can be used colloquially between friends and acquaintances, even in workplace and school, these greetings carry a deep and strong meaning behind them, which is no other that ‘this is the place I belong to’.
Although there are many factors that determine the place we could call ‘home’, and some of them may, naturally, not include a physical person, in my personal opinion just because there is someone eagerly waiting for your return, and acknowledges that is only natural for you to come back, because this is your place, is nothing less what I would call ‘the feeling of getting home’.
While it is impossible to chose which family born in, the choice of what to call our ‘home’ is entirely up to us, and that includes, the circle of people that will come to form part of it. Claiming that ‘there are many types of families as there are stars in the sky’ might be quite a silly over exaggeration, however it is not entirely wrong to say there are countless combinations and bonds that shape, what we would later call, ‘our family’.
Moving one step back to the things impossible to chose, and the next one in the list is: Falling in Love. However this might be a completely biased opinion since I am a total, silly, romanticist, but there is a thing I believe we all have to agree: It is a completely unexpected chapter in our lives. After all, while all the other emotions arrives from the front door, this little bastard show itself from the back door while you were standing there like a dumb trying to see if Happiness was also in the group. Falling in love with someone takes you completely by surprise, and so as well, in some cases, is the person fated to mess around your entire existence.
Falling in Love + Different race + same gender = Love problems?
In this particular case, to scramble our protagonist life, is a certain dragon’s unconditional Love. Blind as it is, but really really that blind that gender, age, and even race, represent nothing but just tiny details, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid features a mighty powerful dragon who falls in love with a female human, and although remaining an important lead, the show’s gimmick does not spin entirely around it, to the extent that it would not fall under the Romance category, the show has way more to offer than a simple fairytale love story.
As previously mentioned, the story follows super mighty dragon Tooru, and her time in the human world after becoming Kobayashi’s maid, the person she’s completely infatuated in. Kobayashi is a young office lady leading an existence of the prototypical Japanese salaryman. Work until late hours, almost nonexistent private life, (sometimes forced) drinking parties with the boss, and obviously getting home so tired that just opening the home’s door is the last action before collapsing to the floor, everyday repeat, repeat and repeat. And so the gray and monotonous everyday life of office lady Kobayashi starts to gain, definitely, more color.
Meet the Kobayashi’s household – Residents: 1 human + 2 dragons + ♥ = Family
Being a Slice of Life series as it is, the anime narrates the everyday life of Tooru, self-proclaimed ‘Dragon maid’, the somewhat stoic office lady, Kobayashi, and little dragon, Kanna. What I really liked the most about this show is how the three of them, with the progression of the story, started to develop the bonds of a real adoptive family, satisfying the affective desires of each other, and caring deeply for the wellbeing of the members. These developments can be seen throughout the great writing of the dialogues between the characters, I specially adored the interactions between Tooru and Kobayashi, as they were the ones that contained the themes which I expressed in the very beginning of this review, ‘the place I belong to’.
Tooru’s inner turmoil regarding the human world, and her love for Kobayashi, which contradicts the apparently hate and fear for the humanity, are a constant recurring theme for the entire anime’s progression. The series explores other themes such as the diversity and integration, something entirely affecting the dragons living in the human world, and their feelings regarding it’s inhabitant, because living among them does not necessarily means living with them.
Unknown world + Unknown people + Being different = Trust problems
Going back a bit to the part when I mentioned that all the family members satisfy the affective desires, we can perfectly observe how the relationship wheel spin, and how much these interactions affected the lives of our three main characters. Kobayashi is a really stoic, passive person, and the difficulties she has maintaining a relationship with the other characters are plenty visible to see, specially towards the affection that comes from Tooru, as she has never been close to anyone before, she does not know how to behave. The exchange is bidirectional towards the dragon maid’s inner chaos due to the new life and her love for the female human, that allows her to soon discovering that even though she sees humans as inferiors, she does have indeed desire to understand them. And finally little Kanna, the dragon which embraces the new environment with curiosity and willingness to integrate.
Being realised by Kyoto Animation, we can aspect some really cute designs, fluid quality animation, and bright colors, as per the studio’s standard procedure. Also the Original Soundtrack was very great too, they accompanied the events perfectly, I could not ask for better.
In my personal opinion this is a great Slice of Life, although moving perfectly according to the standard of the genre, bringing nothing original nor unique to the industry, it succeeds wonderfully in developing the main themes the show reached out to us, transmitting the message and the values, that were set as a primary goal for the accomplishment of what I consider, Quality.
Wonderful characters + excellent development + Great rhythms = Must watch
[Español – Traducción con la ayuda de mi querido amigo OnionSoda]
En la cultura japonesa existen dos saludos de verdad reconfortantes los cuales representan el núcleo de los lazos familiares: ‘Tadaima’ (ただいま) y ‘Okaeri’ (おかえり), que significan respectivamente ‘Estoy en casa’ y ‘Bienvenido a casa’. El intercambio entre estos saludos se verifica cuando una persona recién llega a casa, y a su vez, es recibido por la otra persona que se encuentra ya en ella. Si bien no es restrictivo al uso familiar, y puede ser utilizado entre amigos y conocidos, incluso en el lugar de trabajo y escuela, estos saludos cargan el peso de un fuerte significado con ellos, el me gustaría describir como no más que ‘el lugar a donde pertenezco’.
Si bien hayan mucho factores que determinan el lugar que llamaríamos ‘hogar’, y naturalmente, algunos pueden que no incluyan una persona física, en mi opinión personal sólo por el hecho que haya alguien que espere ansiosamente por tu regreso, y reconozca que es normal para ti el hecho de retornar, porque este es tu lugar, es algo que nada más ni nada menos llamaría ‘el genuino regreso al hogar’.
Aún siendo imposible la decisión de escoger en que familia nacer, la elección de lo que decidimos llamar nuestro ‘hogar’ es enteramente al alcance de todos, y con ellos incluye, el círculo de personas que se vendrían a formar alrededor. Exclamar una frase como ‘existen tipos de familia cuanto estrellas en el cielo’ llegaría a ser una tonta exageración, de todos modos no estaríamos en el error al decir que son incontables las combinaciones y lazos que vendrían a formar, lo que llamaríamos luego, ‘nuestra familia’.
Haciendo un paso atrás, a cuando hablábamos de las elecciones imposibles, la próxima en la lista sería: Enamorarse. De todos modos, esto podría ser una opinión parcial ya que soy un completo, tonto, romántico, aún así hay algo en que creo que todos tenemos que acordar: Es un capítulo totalmente inesperado en nuestras vidas. Después de todo, cuando todas las otras emociones pasan por la puerta principal, este pequeño bastardo se presenta por la puerta posterior mientras tú estabas ahí parado como un bobo tratando de ver si Felicidad estaba también en el grupo. Enamorarse de alguien te toma completamente por sorpresa, y lo es inclusive, en algunos casos, la persona destinada a revolver tu total existencia.
Enamorarse + diferente raza + mismo género = Problemas de Amor?
En este caso particular, a desbaratar la vida de nuestra protagonista, es el Amor incondicional de un cierto dragón. Ciego como es, pero realmente ciego que el género, la edad, e inclusive la raza, representan nada más que pequeños detalles, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid se enfoca en un potente y temible dragón que se enamora de una chica humana, y si bien quedándose como un importante desenvuelve, la esencia del anime no gira completamente entorno a ello, al punto que no caería en la categoría Romance, este show tiene más por ofrecer que una simple amorío de un cuento de hadas.
Como mencionado anteriormente, la historia sigue al potente dragón Tooru, y su estadía después de ofrecer, forzadamente, sus servicios como maid a Kobayashi, la chica por la cual perdió la cabeza. Kobayashi es una joven trabajadora cuya existencia sigue los pasos del típico ‘salaryman’ japonés. Se trabaja hasta tarde, casi inexistente vida social, (a veces obligadas) salidas a beber con los jefes, y obviamente el llegar a casa tan destruido que, la última acción antes de desplomarse al suelo, es abrir la puerta de casa. El continuo repetirse de los días, una y otra vez. Es así que con la llegada de los nuevos huéspedes, el gris y monótono día a día de Kobayashi comienza a ganar, seguramente, más color.
Conozcan la residencia de los Kobayashi – ocupantes: 1 humano + 2 dragones + ♥ = Familia.
Siendo una Slice of Life como lo es, el anime narra el día a día de Tooru, autoproclamada ‘Dragon Maid’, la apática joven trabajadora, Kobayashi, y la pequeña dragón, Kanna. Lo que realmente me encanto de esta serie es como las tres, con el desarrollo de la historia, comienzan a establecer los lazos de una verdadera familia adoptiva, que satisfacen las necesidades afectivas de cada uno, preocupándose mutuamente por el bienestar de los miembros. Esta progresión es llevada a cabo gracias a la buena escritura de lo diálogos entre los personajes, especialmente adore las interacciones entre Tooru y Kobayashi, ya que fueron los que contenían los temas con los cuales, anteriormente, decidí abrir esta reseña, ‘el lugar a donde pertenezco’.
La confusión interior de Tooru acerca el mundo humano, y sus sentimientos por Kobayashi, los cuales contradicen su aparente odio y miedo por la humanidad, son temas recurrentes por el entero arco narrativo de la serie. La serie explora temas como la diversidad y la integración, cosas que afectan principalmente los dragones que viven en el mundo humano, y sus sentimientos acerca sus habitantes, porque vivir entre ellos, no necesariamente quiere decir vivir con ellos.
Regresando un poco a la parte donde menciono que todos los miembros de la familia satisfacen sus necesidades afectivas, podemos observar como la rueda de las relaciones gira al rededor de la nueva presencia en sus vidas. Kobayashi es una chica de verdad estoica, y las dificultades que tiene al mantener las relaciones con los otros personajes son fáciles de individuar, especialmente cuando se trata del afecto que le proporciona Tooru, siendo el caso de nunca haber sido tan cercana a alguien antes, no sabe cómo comportarse. El cambio es bidireccional hacia el caos interior que tiene la dragon maid debido a la nueva vida que enfrenta y a los sentimientos que tiene por la chica humana, el cual le permite descubrir que aún reputando los humanos como inferiores, tiene de verdad deseo de entenderlos. Y por último esta Kanna, la única que acepta el nuevo ambiente con curiosidad y empeño a integrarse. Aun teniendo una mentalidad similar a la de Tooru, al ser un infante ella logra ver un mundo bajo una diferente luz, un lugar lleno de cosas que esperan a ser descubiertas.
La serie fue realizada por Kyoto Animation, por lo que podemos esperar diseños bonitos, calidad de animación fluida, y colores brillantes, como suele proceder el estudio normalmente. También el audio fue bastante bueno, se acompaña a la perfección a las escenas y eventos, no podría pedir algo mejor.
En mi opinión personal esta es una gran serie SoL, si bien moviéndose perfectamente de acuerdo al patrón del género, trayendo nada de nuevo o revelador a la industria, logra desarrollar, magníficamente, los temas que se propone, trasmitiendo el mensaje y los valores que fueron puestos como objetivo primario para el resultado de lo que reputo, Calidad.
Personajes geniales + Excelente desarrollo + Muy buen ritmo = No hay que perdérselo
Remember when anime was pure, unadulterated fun? Racing home as if on a quest to save a dying loved one, plopping your giddy ass on the sofa and turning on your favorite after-school cartoon? Nowadays, myself included, people get ignorantly pretentious and critical when it comes to anime… most likely due to the accessibility of other’s opinions on the internet (you’re guilty MAL!). But what happened to the days when you could share a bond with another over some good, old fashioned Chinese cartoons? God forbid you meet some dragon t-shirted, fedora wearing pleb that only cares for mainstream shounen… whilst peddling Magic Cards out of his mom’s basement. Sometimes even I fall into an over-analytical stupor and forget what makes anime so damn entrancing and fun to watch.
The undeniably successful Studio KyoAni’s 2017 release of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a breath of fresh air in a barrage of unoriginality and criticality. It’s endearing, cute, charming and hilarious, and most of all is that it doesn’t rely on “2deep4u” plot lines or edgy characters to become a hit. It’s an anime that breathes nostalgia for me, crafting a diverse, likable cast that has one character for everyone to enjoy and although ramps down, never gets stale. Of course Kobayashi isn’t perfect, but moreso perfectly imperfect. Accompanied by an outstanding script and stunning, extravagant visuals, KyoAni smashes the target of a true feel-good anime, leaving self-proclaimed pundits with little ground left to criticize.
When it comes to story, sometimes simple is best. Nothing in Dragon Maid seems contrived, but moreso plays out like a situational comedy. The story is straightforward:
-A shut-in girl (Kobayashi) gets drunk and accidentally makes a deal with a dragon concealing herself under the masquerade of graciously endowed maid. (Tohru)
-Tohru and Kobayashi take in an adorable loli dragon, Kanna.
-The three of them (and some of Tohru’s mythical adversaries) live out the seasons in an episodic, heartwarming anime that’ll be sure to make you smile.
The writing in Dragon Maid is the pillar of the entire anime. As previously mentioned, the simple structure of everything helps add to the endearing, carefree atmosphere that the show contains. Whether it’s a scene about cooking or a candid beach/Christmas episode, the script is constructed in the most efficient manner possible. There is an array of characters from Tohru’s mysterious homeland deriving from mythology. There’s Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of learning and self-reflection, as well as the Norse referenced Fafnir, who was cursed and turned into a dragon. Seeing these fictional personalities personified and placed into ordinary scenarios like playing video games… most specifically the scene where Fafnir was playing the Dark Souls-esque dungeon crawler.
The comedy is often slapstick or quick-witted, emphasizing the quirky nature of Tohru and her friends. Jokes are subtly slipped into scenes without being corny or abundant, and there more than a few historical and pop culture references thrown in to liven things up as well. It reminds me of a less overblown version of Nichijou (thank you KyoAni!). Above all other aspects of the writing, Dragon Maid has a unique tendency to make me feel just, comfortable. Whether it was the family bond that Kobayashi, Tohru and Kanna emulated or the cozy scenes where they just wanted to sit around and watch tv, I truly felt at home with these “peculiar” characters. I certainly didn’t expect such a simple show to hit my nostalgia buttons.
As with any show, there were some aspects I didn’t care for, or that could’ve been done better. There was a lingering yuri theme present between Kobayashi and Tohru that acrobatically teetered between friendship and something more. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that noticed this, but I can’t say it was entirely necessary. Echoing this opinion was the relationship between Quetzalcoatl and her “master”. Fanservice is one thing, but her intrusive nature and suggestive sexuality was starkly convergent to the atmosphere present in the rest of the show. Lastly, the charm of Dragon Maid can tend to wear off over the length of the show, so I’d recommend watching the anime in stages to prevent this.
Kobayashi is a 9-5’er; a twenty-something introvert who takes out her aggressions from her job over a beer or twelve at night. She’s what most of us in that age bracket don’t care to admit that we are. Tohru is a self-proclaimed servant, attempting to erase her past and start a more peaceful life on Earth. Tohru and Kobayashi both developed significantly throughout the series, and played off each other very well. Most importantly is that the writers did this without making it the focus of the anime. Kanna is truly the cutest thing in existence, and everyone knows it… and Fafnir’s deep hatred for the human race slowly dissolved the more time he spent around them. The slow addition of side characters, and their mythological influence was reminiscent of The Devil is a Part Timer, only done significantly better.
KyoAni nailed it again when it came to animation. Colors are vibrant and lively, with Tohru’s eyes set ablaze with a mix of red and orange hues. Although not “technically” superior to shows like Hyouka, Dragon Maid’s art style takes on a life of its own. The character models are all so original and inviting, and the action scenes were a joy to watch. More similarities were present with Nichijou, especially Kobayashi’s “dead fish” eyes, and the sporadic expressions on various character’s faces. Beautiful work for sure.
The OP is one of the most jolly, alluring OPs I’ve ever come across, both due to the upbeat music and flawless animation. It tells its own story, one of innocent fun and excitement. I definitely put it on my phone already 😛 The ED is just as good, and acts as the punctuation at the end of each episode. I don’t always listen to the ED all the way through, but I made an exception for this anime. I also enjoyed hearing the variety of tracks in the OST… with its overall cheeky tones and beats. The voice acting is superb, especially considering most of the cast is relatively unknown. Some of the better performances coming from Kobayashi and Tohru themselves.
I enjoyed the hell out of this anime. The simplicity, coupled with the characters and overall coziness make a show I won’t soon forget. I prefaced my review with a paragraph discounting criticality for a reason. Go into Dragon Maid to relax and have fun, nothing else. It’s not intellectually stimulating, there’s no abstract symbolism and there’s no unnecessary ecchi moments. Enjoy it for what it is. I’d recommend this to fans of other heartwarming shows like Barakamon or Usagi drop, or fellow KyoAni-ites. They really surprised a lot of people with this show, and I’m certainly happy that I watched it. Thanks for reading!
7: Black Clover
English: Black Clover
MAL Score: 8.05
Asta and Yuno were abandoned at the same church on the same day. Raised together as children, they came to know of the “Wizard King”—a title given to the strongest mage in the kingdom—and promised that they would compete against each other for the position of the next Wizard King. However, as they grew up, the stark difference between them became evident. While Yuno is able to wield magic with amazing power and control, Asta cannot use magic at all and desperately tries to awaken his powers by training physically.
When they reach the age of 15, Yuno is bestowed a spectacular Grimoire with a four-leaf clover, while Asta receives nothing. However, soon after, Yuno is attacked by a person named Lebuty, whose main purpose is to obtain Yuno’s Grimoire. Asta tries to fight Lebuty, but he is outmatched. Though without hope and on the brink of defeat, he finds the strength to continue when he hears Yuno’s voice. Unleashing his inner emotions in a rage, Asta receives a five-leaf clover Grimoire, a “Black Clover” giving him enough power to defeat Lebuty. A few days later, the two friends head out into the world, both seeking the same goal—to become the Wizard King!
Black Clover is a show that is in many ways the literal embodiment of its protagonist’s struggle. Asta goes from being the laughingstock of town to the literal saviour of the kingdom. During that internal journey, we also watched the anime gradually evolve and get better as time went on. Production qualities seemingly increased as the popularity increased as well. Asta’s journey is extremely satisfying and well written. It’s done so well in fact, that it feels like we’ve been on this journey right with Asta. Everyone loves a feel good underdog story. There’s been no bigger underdog than Black Clover.
For me, the mark of a well written series is how well you’re able to immerse yourself and truly feel apart of the story. When I first got into Black Clover a couple of years ago, I was easily able to binge the first 99 episodes which were out up to that point in the span of a few days. Episodes went by in what felt like a breeze. I found myself in awe at the quality of writing and the magical concepts used. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why so many people shit on the series or rated it lowly.
I’ve said numerous times that if Black Clover went seasonal, it would be one of the highest rated Jump Series. The story is better than MHA and JJK. What has unfortunately been the big bump in the road for BC is the inconsistent production quality throughout. At points, Pierrot have literally had to beg on Twitter for people to help out with episodes. Fortunately, the series is going on hiatus due to how close its getting to the manga, and I really hope Pierrot use this opportunity to make it a seasonal show after the movie. The long running anime model is dead, and doesn’t give animation staffs the time they need to make high quality episodes.
If you’re on the fence about watching Black Clover, do it. Yes, it has some inconsistent animation at times, but the story is genuinely the best in shonen. Loveable characters, an immersive world and amazing action sequences make Black Clover one of the only ongoing shonen that I enjoy. Black Clover gets 10 grimoires out of 10.
“If you flip the 10, it becomes a 01!” – Some Jerk a.k.a remember how Black Clover was despised by everyone?
Black Clover is one of the many myriad of Shonen shows that Weekly Shonen Jump has been banking on imitating the success Shueisha once had since the diminishing of the Big 3 (One Piece, Bleach, Naruto), alongside many other WSJ titles that have constantly received headlines for breaking sales and adaptations that make up the modern age of the anime landscape. Unfortunately, at a time when the Big 3 were all but fizzled out of the community’s eyes, there was but one mangaka amongst the many other Shonen authors who were trying to get the attention of Weekly Shonen Jump to have their works publicized…his name is Yuki Tabata. Being a sophomore into the manga industry, his first work of the short-lived and then cancelled 3-volume long Hungry Joker was not received well, and if you know anything about the intense competition of Weekly Shonen Jump: “If your manga doesn’t sell well, we will take it off indefinitely without trial. We have more titles that we are ever ready to sink our time and resources into promoting new material and publicity to the large population who are always ever hungry for more.” OK, shame on you for the first try. But take a look at his second work…and yet it still doesn’t sell when this came out in early 2015 when it was serialized in WSJ. But Shueisha at least had a good idea that while this work started off being blantantly and averagely similar to the Big 3 in terms of the story and plot, and so they released the first volume thereafter in June of the same year. And to say the rest is history is an understatement, because even in the Oricon charts, Yuki Tabata just couldn’t do enough to maintain the growing popularity of his work, only selling within the Top 25 and not even cracking the Top 10, even after the anime adaptation came out (at least for the 1st year running). It’s only through the sheer talent of director Tatsuya Yoshihara and his production team at Studio Pierrot that would propel this “then infamous, now famous” work into the greatest of great oblivion with the passing of time, that Yuki Tabata finally can breathe a heavy sigh and continue developing Black Clover into one of the many modern Shonen juggernauts that we know today, selling from the thousands to the millions.
I’m not gonna say that what Yuki Tabata did here was plentiful, the story plot was rife of a roller-coaster ride of the usual Shonen tropes and cliches that quickly garnered attention as one of the worst series to be published and then through Studio Pierrot’s infamous low-budget visuals, another strike as one of the worst modern Shonen shows that aired back in 2017. Heck, I probably would not want to include what Black Clover is all about, you can refer to the MAL synopsis or even Wikipedia to read it. In a nutshell, think of the Big 3 and the main MC’s aspiration of “I want to be
Overtime, we get to see the extensive character cast of Black Clover, and I’m still going to rely on my gut feelings here: each and everyone of them feels like cardboard cut-outs that are worth surmising to invoke the feelings of just blantantly plagarizing from other Weekly Shonen Jump works, and that’s where Yuki Tabata can be faulted with trying to make do of the cliches and tropes of the Shonen genre that worked well at the time. The problem is with his way of execution of character traits that we’ve seen way too often to try lifting inspirations from one source to another, so much so that it becomes overbearing and full of cringe. Let’s say Asta’s rival Yuno. He’s a skilled Wind Magic user, blessed by the gods to have magnificent power for OP prodigy powers, and as indicated by the magic books known as Grimoires: he’s the four-lead clover magic user. Now tell me if any of those traits are lifted whether in and out of context of similar characters you might have seen throughout your read list of Shonen lookalikes. But as further evidenced, it’s with the passing of time that helps distinguish each and every character to their types and whatnot, giving us the audience enough time to digest about what makes them tick and work, and appreciate them for their presence to the different progressing story arcs of the main series.
You know me, I’m very critical when it comes to studio productions, and Studio Pierrot to me, stands as one of the worst studios to ever exist, even if they adapt works that often lose out on the quality of the source materials that fans so desired to see on the small screen. Black Clover is no different with the stigma that Pierrot productions tend to have, and for 1001 good reasons. But once again, like I’ve said at the beginning, it’s thanks to director Tatsuya Yoshihara for helming this long-running project that has seen its fair shares of highs and lows. Black Clover might’ve started on the wrong foot for being the similar case towards Studio Deen at being decades-old studios with variable quality, for the test of time stands between the production staff team to stand in the gap and make their efforts worth it, and the payoff was certainly worth it in the long-run that was only destined to run for the full length of a year, that subsequently got lengthened and amounted to 3.5 years worth of time that increased the hype with some episodes having the Asta trademark of “I will hit my limits!” that expressively shared the experience of sticking in the long-run. AND BOY, DO THOSE EPISODES DELIVER with at best 9-turned-10/10 ratings that even trended on Twitter. YES, Black Clover IS BIG in both Japan and the West, and with Crunchyroll being the biggest benefactor that this show has garnered the No. 1 top spot in 80+ countries, you can’t certainly lie at where Black Clover is now with the insane popularity. To that I say, great job Pierrot for making me love a show that I now endear as one of the many Shonen long-running series that I can recommend.
Even the music can’t be understated. For as many as 13 sets of OSTs within the 3.5 year long run of Black Clover, we’ve definitely heard some “diamond in the rough” gems that we’ve gotten used to overtime, with many songs that really stick out to be the series’ representatives when it comes to recognizing that it originated from Black Clover. Sound director Hajime Takakuwa certainly did wonders at what he does best, but for this one I have to give props to the many artists that have contributed cult-classic songs, from the OPs: Kankaku Piero’s “Haruka Mirai” to Vickeblanca’s hit songs “Black Rover” and “Black Catcher”, and EDs: Itowokashi’s “Aoi Honoo” to Faky’s “four”. These are just some of my top favourite songs from Black Clover, but there’s just too many to list them, because most of them are bangers in their own right (with some just being decent at best).
Like what @Goober-fish has said: “Whatever the case may be, Black Clover is my ultimate guilty pleasure and I wave that 10 with pride.” And I reverse the words of some jerk that said the sentence at the beginning: “If you flip the 01, it becomes a 10!” Black Clover may have started with being a score of 01, but looking at it now, it’s definitely worthy of the 10 score in every possible way: the story that got better overtime with the characters, the insane Pierrot animation quality and right down to the fantastic OSTs that we are graced with to our pairs of eyes and ears.
Never have I thought that I will return from a hatred of a stigma to loving them for Shonen shows, and even if I or you have never watched the Big 3 before, Black Clover is EASILY the best recommended entry show for anyone wanting to dive into Shonen shows…that’s if you can last all 170 episodes in one go. Thanks Black Clover, now it’s no longer just a guilty pleasure, and I’m an addition to wearing that 10 with pride.
I’ve been following the series since its inception. I’ve read and re-read its source material and, I can say it does improve–for a Black Clover standard, that is. This series received hate, backlash, and terrible reception since the onset of its TV anime. And to nobody’s surprise, it’s the most hated series of modern Shounen–2014 and onwards, right after the era of the big three. If there’s any advice I can give for people interested in watching this series, it is to go into it for pure entertainment. Be open-minded, have low expectations, ignore the hate, and watch it for yourselves.
Black Clover anime started ugly. The pacing, sheer predictability, genericness, and the dreadful usage of Shounen tropes turned off people–understandably so. But for me, I loved it. I loved it not because it was good, but because it was the purest generic anime that was not afraid for what it was. It knows its production was constrained. It knows its plot and characters took “inspiration” from previous works with few tweaks here and there, and most importantly, it knows its target audience. With this, once the show solved its pacing issues, it quickly flew from arc to arc with hype moments after hype moments, and all I did was to turn off my brain and enjoy the shit show.
To provide some examples, after the dungeon expedition arc, Asta, Noelle, Yuno, and some other magic knight squad members were summoned for recognition medals. In that banquet, the show introduced more of its supporting casts. It demonstrated its power system, characters’ abilities, showcased some of its societal structure and prejudices, and then jumped straight to the Clover Kingdom’s invasion.
Throughout this invasion arc, it entertained me by never letting go of its accelerator. All the Magic Knight captains that were introduced previously got their moments to show off. Whether be their magic or personality, it showed all of it. The show then exploits each of its newly introduced characters to the limit by having them interact and fight alongside each other. The dynamics between characters such as Fuegoleon and Nozel, Asta, Yuno, and Noelle, Yami and Jack, provided the fun. It’s cheap, it’s lazy, but it worked so well for a braindead like me.
The other aspect of Black Clover’s storytelling is the seamless transition from an arc to another. If some terrorists brutally wounded a beloved character, the most logical route is for the main casts to go after them. And they do. If the vice-captain of the Golden Dawn is acting out of character, the most logical thinking is to seek out the true identity. And they do.
How do they do it? They do it by the classic shounen way: Tournament arc–my favorite aspect of mindless battle shounen.
But along the way, the show plants some seeds of suspicion–there’s something more sophisticated with the adversaries that the Clover Kingdom were up against. It’s these careful hints here and there that made the grand finale of Black Clover’s first saga a memorable one. And it is in my humble opinion that the first saga of Black Clover is one of the best of modern shounen. The finale wrapped up every plot point presented up to then, it concluded characters’ development until that point, and it answered every question along the way. Not to mention, the final plot twist was a phenomenon to be held.
Yuki Tabata’s writing isn’t anything revolutionary. He takes inspiration and does his own twists. He utilizes whatever skills he has got at his disposal and tells his own story within the Shounen genre’s confinement. And I enjoyed every second of it. I have no regrets.
As I aforementioned, Black Clover’s production was severely constrained. From the start, the anime lacked staffing–specifically, key animators and animation directors–and had an unsustainable schedule. Before the first episode of Black Clover even premiered, the Black Clover anime production team was given only 5 months of pre-production, for a long-running battle shounen. To put it into perspective, a 12 episode regular anime usually takes a year of pre-production. Thus, it’s no surprise that the animation in Black Clover declined significantly soon after it began airing. As that happened, it’s also reported that some of the staff working on the anime had gone through physical and mental exhaustion, which they eventually fell ill.
Now, why does it matter?
Well, it doesn’t–at least from a show’s quality standpoint. But then I don’t want to clown on Black Clover’s animation either because of this information. I know the animation and art are inconsistent; the consensus is that Black Clover’s animation is inconsistent. It can be mindblowing for a single episode, and then for the next 10 to 20 episodes can range from unbearable to mediocracy. I can list every single flaw of Black Clover’s art and animation, but then that would be repetitive since I’m sure those aspects have been talked about over the years. Lastly, I’m fine with it. I’m okay with its inconsistency in art and animation because I love this series. I grew up with it, I enjoyed it, and I’m willing to forgive its flaws.
If you have read this far, I just want to thank you for taking your time.
6: Mahoutsukai no Yome
English: The Ancient Magus’ Bride
MAL Score: 8.08
Chise Hatori, a 15-year-old Japanese girl, was sold for five million pounds at an auction to a tall masked gentleman. Abandoned at a young age and ridiculed by her peers for her unconventional behavior, she was ready to give herself to any buyer if it meant having a place to go home to. In chains and on her way to an unknown fate, she hears whispers from robed men along her path, gossiping and complaining that such a buyer got his hands on a rare “Sleigh Beggy.”
Ignoring the murmurs, the mysterious man leads the girl to a study, where he reveals himself to be Elias Ainsworth—a magus. After a brief confrontation and a bit of teleportation magic, the two open their eyes to Elias’ picturesque cottage in rural England. Greeted by fairies and surrounded by weird and wonderful beings upon her arrival, these events mark the beginning of Chise’s story as the apprentice and supposed bride of the ancient magus.
So where did things go wrong? The plot? The characters? The worldbuilding? All of the above?
I’ll start with what I liked about Mahoutsukai no Yome. It’s beautiful. There were scenes that were, for a lack of a better word, magical. The soundtrack is also worth listening too.
But despite having high production quality and a magical world to explore, Magus Bride falls flat thanks to its dull cast and lack of subtlety.
The side cast is composed of characters with similar “blandly nice” personalities with few exceptions. If you described these characters by personality alone, you wouldn’t be able to tell most of the cast apart.
Our heroine, Chise, isn’t much better, which is really a shame. The story about a young woman overcoming depression through love and exploring a magical realm has great potential, but this supposedly traumatized girl ends up swapping overly dramatic and intimate backstories with every person she meets. It happens too often, which, in addition to losing its effectiveness, also makes it hard to believe Chise struggled to connect with people prior to the story.
She also makes a poor first impression. In the first handful of episodes, the only action she takes is selling herself into slavery. She barely even walks on her own. I get that she’s depressed, but a character is supposed to entertain, not act like a living blob.
Once she finally shows interest into something other than the 400+-year-old man-child who bought her, she grows more interesting, but falls into the same “blandly nice” personality as the rest of the cast.
Elias, our hero, has a personality at least, but it’s not one I’m a fan of. He’s a man-child who throws a magical hissy fit the second Chise talks to someone he didn’t tell her to. While the show does call him out for some of his more possessive behavior, it often gets played off as humorous instead of dangerous.
The show’s premise doesn’t do Elias any favors. He starts the story buying an underage girl and calling her his bride. I get that Elias doesn’t quite understand the connotations of the word “bride,” but the mangaka does. That is the connection the writers wanted the audience to make.
While I think people often overreact to this, since the story seems aware of the problematic aspects of Chise’s and Elias’ relationship, it takes all the mystery out of their relationship. It frames everything they do automatically in a romantic light, rather than leaving room for mystery, magic, and interpretation.
This might not have bothered me except that the entire show does this. Everything is so blandly obvious it feels like the producers are holding up cue cards to the audience saying “cry now” or “find this magical” rather than subtly guiding the audience or letting them make up their own minds.
Every single episode has some grand moment where the music gets big and characters exchange tragic backstory and Chise has some “magical” moment of character progression and on and on. This is fine if done once or twice, but it’s done so often it feels hamfisted rather than genuine.
The show also seems addicted to cliff-hangers. Characters how up and threaten Chise, only to reveal themselves as good guys within a minute of the next episode. It gets old quick and makes you wonder why these supposedly nice people wanted to come across as creepy kidnappers during their first impression.
I really wanted to like this show, but it lacks the magic similar shows like Natsume Yuujinchou and Mushishi mastered. In the end, when you look beyond the exceptional backdrops, stunning soundtrack, and excellent production, there’s just not much there.
Trying to be short, the show is a mess.
Most of the episodes in the beginning was the same rinse and repeat Chise getting into trouble.
Later on It feels like whoever wrote just thought of half interesting scenarios to put their MCs in.
The way they introduce characters for half of them to never appear again
really seems like they picked random stories out of a jar and decided to go from there.
Even their attempts at comedy with the characters having cute faces weren’t funny.
Also Chise and Elias they themselves being quite uninteresting despite their really nice character designs. They are supposed to be teacher/student, Chise being the “human teacher” and Elias being the “magic teacher”. Except they barely teach each other anything, most of the time it’s Chises actions that indirectly affects Elias. The story is all over the place not leaving enough room to see them together just learning.
Honestly if the show didn’t have it’s great animation and decent soundtrack it’d actually be worthless.
An anime adaptation of Mahoutsukai no Yome is pretty inevitable in the eyes of many fans who are familiar with the author’s work. Ever since we got the 3-episode prologue OVAs, a full TV anime adaptation would bring in fans hunger for more. This TV anime adaptation focuses directly on the manga as it chronicles the life of Chise Hatori and guide the viewer through her experience. The life she once knew changed forever after meeting Elias Ainsworth, a supernatural being with traits of fae and humanity.
Jumping straight into this TV anime shouldn’t be a problem even if it’s the first time you’ve ever heard of this show before. The first few episodes successfully introduces the story along with a beautiful imaginative world. It shouldn’t take long for viewers to begin and understand the type of person Chise is. To describe her, Chise can sometimes be a normal teenage girl while other times feel like she’s not. She’s been through a lot in her life before meeting Elias and many events influenced her to develop a more subservient personality. She can also be a bit of socially awkward but if you look beyond that, Chise is really a person with strong heart and will to change people. Throughout the show, she changes herself too after meeting certain characters and experiencing a new life she’s never began to imagine before.
That brings in Elias, a supernatural being with mysterious origins. In the beginning of the show, he became Chise’s master after buying her at an auction event. Now you’re probably thinking…is this going to be a show about a master and a slave type of relationship? The answer is far from it as we see the depth of their relationship development. Despite being a supernatural being and not understanding humans, Elias develops genuine feelings of care for Chise while displaying human behavior. On the other hand, Chise begins to grow more confident of herself and accepting her role as an apprentice mage. Throughout the show, we can see how much she grows from an average teenage girl to a strong and dedicated woman. The loyalty she displays for Elias and her friends is admirable and throughout her experience as a mage, she learns much more about them and their world. This is what really gave me a favorable impression of the show. It’s how characters change and able to influence others while we understand them. In many ways, the story feels very human for the main characters. Teenage girls at her age tend to change a lot and whether it’s a good or bad thing can be a controversial topic. However, Chise’s change is displayed in ways that I can’t help but find inspiring. The show crafts her character from the beginning and capitalizes on her every action without wasting any time. Whether it’s meeting new people/supernatural beings, experimenting with magic, or battling her personal demons, she’s a character that you can’t turn a blind eye to.
Of course, this show isn’t just about Chise and Elias. While they are the main stars, Mahoutsukai no Yome does a lot to make the viewers get invested into its story. One of the first things people will find curious is the world setting. While there’s the modern setting of urban cities and streets, there’s also magic and a world with otherworldly creatures. Dragons, faeries, goddesses, and will-o’the-wisps are just a few to name. Possibly inspired by English, Scottish, or other European lore, it shouldn’t take long for viewers to recognize some of them. Furthermore, the show displays a wealth of magic with the many effects they can bring. It’s also interesting to note that magic in this show is considered a power that’s neither good nor evil. It’s used as a power that can have consequences or can really make a difference. At its most apex, magic can be extremely impactful that it can affect the story and change people in ways they can’t even begin to imagine.
Making a show like this takes a lot of risk too. Characters would have to at least make an impression that give viewers something to remember by. I can’t say this for all the characters but there’s definitely a list of them that people should take notice. These range from Chise’s familiar Roth to the beautiful vampire faerie, Leanan Sidhe. Chise encounters them in the story and makes her realize certain aspects about herself. However, there are also others such as Cartaphilius (Joseph) who can really bring out a side from Chise that she hopes others won’t ever have to see. The psychology and character chemistry between the cast isn’t just impactful but also characterizes their personalities. While there are probably some characters that will be more forgettable compared to others, the show still gets its priorities right to give viewers something to talk about.
As serious as this show may seem, it still balances between its light comedy at times so it isn’t just a moody story. When business picks up, you’ll realize how the author wants to make you feel. Other times, I feel like this anime really did a great job at capitalizing most of its ideas. As a manga adaptation, the show is mostly faithful at capturing the story without delaying or accelerating its plot. In fact, I think some scenes adapted from the manga looked even more impressive in the anime thanks to the modern talent of Norihiro Naganuma. Just be aware that the manga is still ongoing and with 24 episodes, it was inevitable that the anime would still leave out what’s ahead.
Adapted by Wit Studio, it feels like this show is a work of art. I don’t mean the type that you can see at some art gallery but more as a world that you can enjoy freely with an open mind. The beautiful world consists of many elements from modern fantasy such as enchanted forests, land of dragons, and to a more civilized city. Visual quality exceeded my expectations as there were no episodes that I found lazily made or sloppily animated. The character designs also takes time to accept but is creatively crafted. The most noticeable character to land eyes on is Elias. He has no human characteristics and looks like a creature you’d imagine from some dark fantasy. Other creatures in the show may look more familiar but fulfills its fantasy expectations. Adapted from the manga, they consist of characteristics that is incredibly faithful. Oddly enough, Chise is possibly the most normal looking character despite being a bit of an oddball. With her signature red hair, green coat, and necklace, she’s definitely the type of the character you can easily accept.
Matching its artistic elements, the soundtrack also brings in great value such as the OST and theme songs. The first OP song “Here” by JUUNA is masterfully crafted to showcase the potential of the show with its style. Similarly, both the ED theme songs capitalized on its fantasy setting. Unfortunately, the second OP song dropped the ball and didn’t manage to hold a candle compared to the first with reused footage. However, the OST manages to fully capture the thrilling feel of this adaptation. Some scenes adapted straight out of the manga is what I had pictured would be and with the music, it made it that much more alive. Character voice mannerism is also easy to take notice with characters such as Elias, Cartaphilius, Titania, and among others.
Every book has its meaning and intentions. For a show like Mahoutsukai no Yome, jumping into the story and world is like reading the text and realizing what the author wants us to know. Throughout watching this anime, I learned a lot about the characters and what it means for someone like Chise to experience her new life. The world setting remained committed to its premise while avoiding the mistakes of going overboard. While I can’t say this anime is for everyone, it definitely manages to elevate the heights of a fantasy tale.
5: Uchouten Kazoku 2
English: The Eccentric Family 2
MAL Score: 8.12
After uncovering the truth behind their father’s untimely death, life for the four Shimogamo brothers returns to relative peace with each trying to live up to their father’s greatness in their own way. For the eldest, Yaichirou, who aims to become the next Trick Magister and leader of the tanuki society, it starts with reinstating the popular shogi tournament. For Yajirou, it is restoring his former shapeshifting abilities, whilst little Yashirou is content with continuing his work at the family’s factory. But for the third son, Yasaburou, it simply means embracing the “fool’s blood” he inherited from his father and living a carefree but interesting life. This, of course, includes hunting for the mysterious and elusive snake-like creature known as a tsuchinoko, and causing ripples of trouble at every turn.
However, these ripples threaten to turn into waves with the return of Nidaime, the estranged son of the brothers’ tengu teacher, Professor Akadama. Nidaime bears a grudge against not only his father, but his father’s apprentice Benten as well. His loyalties suddenly brought into question, Yasaburou must use his tanuki wit to appease all sides without getting caught in the crossfire, before the delicate balance between human, tengu, and tanuki is overthrown and all hell breaks loose.
The eccentric family is one of those extremely rare anime where the story doesn’t make any effort to spoonfeed it’s audience explanations or justifications for what’s happening. Watching the story unfold in this anime is like watching a river flow, you might not know the in-depth details of every little intricacy of the universe, but the flow of the story is that much better for it. The stories told in this anime are fun, light-hearted, relatable and incredibly genuine.
The art style, like the rest of the elements in this anime, is calming yet also incredibly deep. I would almost use the term therapeutic as it provides great continuity across many different settings where other styles come up short. Overall a great style for mid-air fight depictions or simply to watch the characters sit in a room and have an inspired dialogue.
I usually don’t notice the sound of an anime, or it gets drowned out by the other elements if they are good, but for The Eccentric family, the sound completely introduces another beautiful working element to the whole of the project. It’s not the type of sound one might imagine an anime like this to have, being gritty and calming all at the same time, and it squarely ties everything together for a wonderful sensory experience.
Where The Eccentric Family really shines is its characters. The development of each individual character in the show, even going as far as characters that only have a couple lines the entire show, is second to none. I find that this is due to the element that I mentioned above where characters don’t spoon feed you the motives for what they do, so you’re left as an audience to determine if Yasaburo is constantly thinking of everything or constantly thinking nothing at all being led by his fools blood.
I couldn’t recommend an anime higher than The Eccentric Family Series, and that’s really all I have to say about that.
As for the characters there’s not much to say. Several new characters are introduced into the show, but the show just scratches the surface on them. There’s not much character development since some of the characters went through their character arc last season, and all that’s left is to see it come to fruition which in the end was unrewarding. Everyone else mostly stayed the same, and by this point it had gotten harder to give a damn about these characters.
I’m not really going to delve into the art and sound since not much has really changed since last season, however I did find the show to be lacking in the sound department this time.
Overall the show just felt very monotonous as it took the least interesting bits of the first season, and did them all over again. For a show called eccentric family, eccentric would be the last thing i would call it.
As I said, I wasn’t sure where this show could advance any further with its story, but I had to admit: it was as good (or even better), than that of the first season. The flow of the show stayed similar, following the acts of young Yasaburo, yet somehow still managed to avoid being repetitive. The little side stories added up nicely to the main line, and it all became merry.
It can be felt, how this piece was adapted from a novel, not from an LN or a Manga, the story has a concrete way to flow, with little pieces of foreshadowing making it a lot more interesting.
I might be biased, but I don’t think any studio can compete with P.A. works’ unique artstyle, when it comes to stunning backgrounds, and this show excels even between other works of the same studio. It’s original, and just great to look at, I found myself staring blankly most of the time at the mountains and vegetation, and having to rewind the video, beacuse I didn’t pay attention to the story.
As for the character design, it lacks every bit of fanservice, leaving us with a bit solid westernish look, but all the same likeable style. The design of the tanukis is still bloody cute.
It might not be the best to write this part after finishing the series, as the music grabbed my soul, and took a piece out of it with the final fight scene’s outstanding music and audio.
It satisfies every need one could have towards this facility, the sound effects are just great, mixing traditional japanese sounds, like that of the bamboo water fountain and such, and some modern sounds that could be found in every other anime.
The music is soft, where it needs to be, funky where it needs to be, and serious where it needs to be.
This might be the strongest point of the show, so I feel inclined, to give it a 11 instead of 10.
It’s not that they are overly realistic, or have strong character traits, it’s just that they mix so well with together, and the story. Yasaburo is an incredibly interesting personality, who always gets in trouble, but somehow everytime finds the way out of the mess.
His brothers are just fantastic, it feels like a true and real family, when you add the late father and the caring mother to the mix.
I can’t deny how much I looked forward to the next episode every week, right after finishing the newest one.
The music, the sounds, the art and the characters just blend so well with the whole story and the magical world that is Kyoto, it will leave anyone speechless after finishing this series.
Add a cachy opening and a beautiful ending theme to it, and you get the 10 star enjoyment.
I can’t praise this anime enough, about how good it is in every field other anime fail so miserably.
It’s just put so well together, the characters interact in an unrealistic, yet believable way, the comedy is just first rank, and the overall laid back feel of the show can change into a serious tone in just a matter of seconds.
I would definitely recommend watching this season of the show, even if you didn’t quite like the first one, just like I did.
4: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2
English: KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! 2
Japanese: この素晴らしい世界に祝福を！ 2
MAL Score: 8.29
When Kazuma Satou died, he was given two choices: pass on to heaven or be revived in a fantasy world. After choosing the new world, the goddess Aqua tasked him with defeating the Demon King, and let him choose any weapon to aid him. Unfortunately, Kazuma chose to bring Aqua herself and has regretted the decision ever since then.
Not only is he stuck with a useless deity turned party archpriest, the pair also has to make enough money for living expenses. To add to their problems, their group continued to grow as more problematic adventurers joined their ranks. Their token spellcaster, Megumin, is an explosion magic specialist who can only cast one spell once per day and refuses to learn anything else. There is also their stalwart crusader, Lalatina “Darkness” Dustiness Ford, a helpless masochist who makes Kazuma look pure in comparison.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 continues to follow Kazuma and the rest of his party through countless more adventures as they struggle to earn money and have to deal with one another’s problematic personalities. However, things rarely go as planned, and they are often sidetracked by their own idiotic tendencies.
Where most other anime in the fantasy genre– Danmachi, Re:Zero and others of its ilk– attempt to be absolutely and relentlessly serious at all times, Konosuba does away with the very notion of seriousness. It exists solely to be laughed at. And sometimes it does a pretty OK job at creating said laughs. It never aims to be a ‘good’ anime (least not in the traditional sense), and criticising it for not being such is kind of missing the point.
It just becomes a bit difficult to keep laughing when they repeat the same jokes for the fifth or fiftieth time.
Darkness is a thundering masochist who mentally orgasms and gets foamy-mouthed whenever she is treated poorly. The first season already made this joke several dozen times, so I get it. Kazuma will threaten her by promising to do unspeakable (!) things to her body, and, the deviant that she is, squirms in delight! No, look, I get it already– I really, truly do. Her mind is so perverted that she will twist a friendly conversation into a suggestion of her being sexually assaulted by monsters and— PLEASE, KONOSUBA. I GET IT. I get it, OK?
For as much of a joke as Konosuba’s characters are, there is only so much comedy they can create by repeating the same punch-line until the ends of time. There are other, more interesting things that can be done with Darkness’ character, surely. If this were pornography then maybe, perhaps, her characterisation would get a pass, but comedy requires considerably more effort than “oh gee golly I am like so horny right now.”
Aqua, as tantalising as her mini-skirt is (and I have spent many a moment admiring her womanly curves), falls into much of the same issues, with her two defining traits being that she is a narcissist with an ego the size of Darkness’ breasts, and a crybaby who falls on her knees and wails at the top of her lungs when she doesn’t get her way. Her gags, almost invariably, follow a pattern of these two traits: she uses her status as a goddess to demand favours and respect, and then breaks her character and cries immediately after. A little bit more involved than Darkness’ ‘gag’, sure, but it is still repeated to the point of nausea.
Kazuma is likely the more interesting of the lot, since he at least exists as more than a vehicle for a single joke. He is not developed by any means– lord, no, he is a complete dunce from beginning to end– but his frequent switching from idiot to straight-man does at least provide some variety to the gags. Kazuma is a jerky little twat, incapable of respect and prone to molesting the opposite sex, and his assertive nature does well to set him apart from all the other spineless protagonists of the genre. His over-reactions to all the ridiculous nonsense around him (often the direct result of Aqua’s or Darkness’ actions) are often still amusing, too, even if ‘dude yells at stuff’ may not exactly be the most artful style of humour. You almost feel bad for the little bugger – I would probably want to off myself in his situation, too.
There’s not a whole lot to say about Megumin, considering she is pretty well non-existent for 90% of what happens in the second season. She’s unquestionably the most sane of the four (though that isn’t saying a whole lot…), and the one least susceptible to repeated gags. While the first season pushed it a bit by making her defective explosion magic and chuunibyou nature a recurring theme, the second season has next to none of it. And that’s a good thing. I just wonder if, cute as she is, she might be a bit too normal the second time around.
Konosuba just never capitalises on what made absurd comedy series like Osomatsu-san and Gintama so clever. There is wonderful opportunity here for it, as one of the only non-serious fantasy anime, to take the piss out of other titles in the genre and properly satirise them. Part of the joke is that the Gang of Stupid are woefully incapable of combat, unable to progress as one typically would in an MMO or fantasy world, and are able only to defeat monsters and enemies through luck and by surprising them with their colossal stupidity, provided they don’t just scream and run away altogether. That’s an amusing reversal of the genre’s tropes. But that’s all there is. There’s no actual “satire”, no parody to be found in Konosuba – it is standard manzai comedy, living, and dying, by its own strengths and weaknesses.
That isn’t to say that Konosuba is without merit, or that watching it can’t still be a fun time. If you enjoyed the first season or just want a short, easygoing anime that doesn’t require much thought or focus, then, hey, it does its job just fine, even if it may at times feel more like a greatest hits compilation. Konosuba is a big, dumb show and it knows it. I just don’t think that being dumb is an excuse for laziness.
One of the strongest points of this series is the characters and their interactions, Kazuma is one of the weird cases where I find the protagonist to be the best character of a comedy anime, he’s just such a lovable troll that has to deal with the weirdos around him, the first of them being Aqua, a cute but useless crybaby that has a godlike talent for performing party tricks. However, outside of that she lacks any other abilities despite being an actual goddess. Most of the time she’s a hindrance to the group but damn she’s great. There is also Megumin, a chuunibyou that wants to see the world explode (and she will be the one doing it, one explosion at a time). Last but not least there’s Darkness, a holy crusader that does her best in the front line, blocking the attacks of the enemies in order to defend her allies… well, that and to enjoy the pleasure of being hit, just masochist things.
While the main cast are great, the side characters are certainly capable of stealing the spotlight. For example, there’s Wiz, who is supposedly on the bad side but is probably the nicest person around, and Yunyun, another crimson mage like Megumin that really needs some love and headpats, poor girl.
The characters are very enjoyable to watch and their wacky, random adventures are always hilarious. Their gags stay fresh and funny due to all the different situations the characters are thrown into.
The RPG-like world adds a lot of variety to the comedy via fantasy elements and characters/monsters. Most series that use this type of setting tell a more serious story but KonoSuba uses it for comedic purposes. It’s a great, well-executed parody of the genre. Even the supposed ‘enemies’ are hilarious characters that add a lot of fun moments to this anime.
Excluding the first episode, that for some motive had a derpier look, the art of this sequel was like in the first season, shining in showing the multiple reactions of the characters with comedic faces that add a lot to the humour of this anime. The music is similar to the first season, with a special mention for the new opening “TOMORROW”. It does a great job of showing what the anime is about, a bunch of weird people having lots of random, fun adventures. It’s so easy to get in the mood for an episode once that opening starts playing.
As someone who really enjoyed KonoSuba, this sequel offers the same great comedy while putting the characters into new different hilarious scenarios. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the first season.
There was little to no story. This anime felt more like a slice of life than an adventure type anime.
The art was a big let down compared to the previous season. It seems they just rushed this out to get some profit quickly. People say it fits the anime, but an anime can have good art while having their characters making retarded faces. I feel like detailed retarded faces would be funnier. I honestly think even fan animations on youtube have better quality.
Nothing really caught my ears during the anime, but I never skipped the opening and ending songs at least.
I don’t think I like any characters and that’s in a bad way. In It’s always in Sunny in Philadelphia, they are all assholes to each other, but I like them as characters. But in this anime, they are all assholes and I don’t like their characters. Darkness in any situation is a pervert and is never serious. This really gets annoying and it was never funny in the first place. Aqua reminds me of an annoying version of Shinpachi from Gintama. All she does is scream and complain. She has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Megumin is an alright character though. Besides from the refusal to learn another trick than explosion to help the group, she’s probably the least annoying. Tbh I kinda like Kazuma as a character. He’s interesting and steers away from the usual cliches. He doesn’t take shit from other characters even if they’re a girl and voices his opinions on things. Like equality and such. Most of the characters are presented as is and they don’t seem to have another side to them that we can learn about.
Although this anime overall was disappointing story wise and comedy wise, It still got a few chuckles out of me, just barely. Nothing major really happened. I don’t mind anime with no story or being episodic, but at least be really really funny like Saiki, Gintama, The Daily Lives of Highschool Boys, Nichijou, etc.
I’m not being a hater towards this anime, I just wanted it to go in a different direction. This had the potential to be one of my favorite comedies, but all the jokes were just sex jokes and they explored nothing more than that.
3: Houseki no Kuni (TV)
English: Land of the Lustrous
MAL Score: 8.40
In the mysterious future, crystalline organisms called Gems inhabit a world that has been destroyed by six meteors. Each Gem is assigned a role in order to fight against the Lunarians, a species who attacks them in order to shatter their bodies and use them as decorations.
Phosphophyllite, also known as Phos, is a young and fragile Gem who dreams of helping their friends in the war effort. Instead, they are told to compile an encyclopedia because of their delicate condition. After begrudgingly embarking on this task, Phos meets Cinnabar, an intelligent gem who has been relegated to patrolling the isolated island at night because of the corrosive poison their body creates. After seeing how unhappy Cinnabar is, Phos decides to find a role that both of the rejected Gems can enjoy. Houseki no Kuni follows Phos’ efforts to be useful and protect their fellow Gems.
Do you ever wish you could change and transcend the limitations of your body? Phos’ journey in Land of the Lustrous (Houseki no Kuni) is a compelling exploration of a person who desires to physically and mentally change themselves. Studio Orange’s adaptation of Haruko Ichikawa’s manga is unlike any anime you’ve ever seen. Stunning CGI, visceral yet graceful nature to which it portrays bodies, and a dense analysis of the human condition makes it unforgettable.
In the distant future, Earth has been ravaged by six meteors. The meteors broke off parts of the planet and formed six moons. Earth has been reduced to one single shore, and the rest of the planet is the ocean. This single shore is, while beautiful, has entirely infertile land. Only one organism populates the ground because they don’t eat food. They photosynthesize. Evolved from the microorganisms that live in the ocean’s depths, they became beautiful gems who reflect sunlight with every move they make. Creatures that live on one of the moons known as Lunarians travel down to Earth to capture the gems for their desires. The prettier gems being the most desirable. As long as the moon hangs above the characters’ heads, there is a constant feeling of fear for their lives. In turn, this creates continuous suspense for us as viewers. We can never be sure if a character may be swept away or shattered into pieces (and no amount of perceived plot armor will stop them). We continuously see a full moon in the background with gems framed below its vastness as if it is preparing to encroach upon their temporary safety.
Land of the Lustrous tells the story of the youngest of the 28 gems, but they’re all immortal. Our main character Phosphophyllite brought to life by Tomoyo Kurosawa’s exquisite performance that can capture such a wide range of emotion and tone, is inherently relatable thanks to a lack of seriousness and plenty of recognizable mannerisms.
Phos ranks near the bottom of the “Mohs Scale” used in real life as well, which dictates how high or low a gemstone’s hardness is on a scale of 1-10. If you’re born with a low hardness in the society they live in, you have no choice but to take on a role suitable to you, but if you have a high hardness, you’re expected to protect others in combat. And because they’re immortal, positions are permanent. Unchanging. It’s a roulette that’s spun for the gems, spun for us all. It doesn’t matter what body you get because you’ll be stuck with it. It’s up to you to decide what to make of the body you’re given. However, Phos is so useless in their society that they fill no niche or role. Thanks to their upbeat and irreverent personality, they’re able to live optimistically, if pointlessly. It’s a stark image of the unmotivated youth, struggling to find direction or even motivation. An idea that I resonated with immediately. And more than likely, you’ll appreciate the path Phos takes to better themself and help their fellow gem suffering from a similar struggle, Cinnabar.
In the beginning, Phos is descending into pointlessness (like an actual rock), berated by the other gems for lack of talent. They say things like “Are you good for anything?” and “You don’t do anything at all.” It’s all played off for laughs, if a bit mean-spirited, but the truth is, Phos only has a 3.5, which is so low that they’re not even allowed to fight. Phos would fall to pieces if they were shot by just one of the arrows the Lunarians use. Phos comes to hate the limitations of their body, regardless of how desirable the Lunarians find their peppermint green color. And other gems envy Phos for their alluring color, of course, without Phos fully understanding that they have qualities worth being jealous of. This is just one of the many ways the show incites introspection, saying that we all have some notable characteristics no matter who we are.
While Phos doesn’t technically break themselves, throughout the show, they throw themselves into danger with the desire to be broken, hidden beneath their silly personality. Through being broken with intense physicality and repeatedly being put back together with a light but audibly satisfying sheen, Phos grows to become a new person from who they originally were. After all, if the gems lose a piece once broken, they lose an equally sized chunk of their memory. Occasionally, after a battle, one of them may forget the other’s name, but in more severe cases, there are harsher consequences later on. In one of the most chilling moments of the show, Phos is beckoned to danger by an unseen force (assumably their desire) that says, “You must change.” It’s that scary feeling we all have at one point, and Land of the Lustrous delivers fear-inspiring moments like these now and then, but most of them come in the later episodes. These moments successfully connect the viewer to the central character and their turmoil by vivid fever-dream visualizations. Phos’ journey is the central narrative throughline of the show, and thank god for that because seeing them grow and learn more about their world makes for a rewarding adventure. The main character isn’t the only one suffering from inner turmoil. Every gem has some sort of anguish that torments them. Even Diamond, with a hardness of 10.0 who Phos idolizes, feels excellent envy for the slightly more challenging Bort. These subtle nuances to each character aren’t shoved onto us either. They’re minor details, subtly woven into the script so that the generally upbeat mood doesn’t become melancholy. Still, it’s enough for you to pick up on, so it will feel rewarding to see their progression in the background of Phos’ story.
Make no mistake, this is not only a compelling journey through the main character’s struggle against themself, or even about the three-dimensional supporting cast that serves as foils to Phos. It’s about bodies—how you deserve to live in harmony with it rather than in spite of them.
Bodies are treated as sacred totems in Land of the Lustrous. To place them in the purest form possible, gender is removed entirely, each gem referring to the other with they/them pronouns only (as I have thus far). They’re quite literally artifacts that glisten in the sunlight. The gems are constantly framed with vast negative spaces highlighting how valuable their beauty and vibrant color is to the desolate world they grace by inhabiting. The director displays the gems in symmetrical shots as if they are the focal point of a work of art, hanging in a fine art museum. Even the more enigmatic supporting characters like Bort and Antarcticite are portrayed with beauty and elegance through their immaculate fighting style that each gem uses. The fighting choreography appears as graceful as a ballet dancer but has the visceral impact necessary for them to take on a fleet of eldritch creatures. The action is unlike anything you’ll ever see. And it’s brought to life amazingly with the most stunning CGI I have ever seen in a TV series. The previous works of the director Takahiko Kyogoku include another CGI oriented show (Love Live! School Idol Project), and it shows because he’s improved on that show’s animatronic dance numbers in just about every way. Action scenes are where the director shows us his best abilities, and they only get more impressive as the show progresses. The “camera” work during action scenes is so dynamic. The smooth camera motions coupled with the gems’ fluid movements make for scenes that entirely devour your attention. Even during the scenes with less action, the gems are still quite vibrant. Their vividly colored crystal hair causes light to reflect off of them, always making the visuals eye-catching.
The respect that each gem’s body is treated with makes it all the more distressing when they’re shattered in combat. This, coupled with intense visual and audio feedback, makes the battles to be some of the most thrilling action I’ve ever witnessed. Even though the gems are immortal, there is still a fear for their lives. If they are broken and become immobile, then they will be trapped in their bodies forever. Endlessly. Arguably that is a fate worse than death. Even worse, the Lunarians may repurpose you into a weapon or jewelry (as seen in episode one).
The orchestral soundtrack backing most scenes maintains the mystifying tone of the show and is fantastic throughout. The music swells during combat, and during some scenes, it matches the instruments the Lunarians play when they come down to capture a gem. Sound effects are also incredibly satisfying on the ears; the sheen of a gem being put back together after a tough battle, the airy wisps of the cloudlike Lunarians, the clinking sound that can be heard as gems walk across the marble floor of their home. Lustrous is never harsh on the ears, yet it has an intense audible impact. Both the opening and ending credits are quite good. The ending Kirameku Hamabe shouldn’t be understated. With awe-inspiring images of the moon, the poison metal alloy that flows around Cinnabar, and a few references to the later turns the story takes, the ending perfectly encapsulates the darker themes of the show. To contrast this, the song that supports the visuals evokes hope. Beyond just being an audio-visual wonder, Land of the Lustrous is an analytical masterpiece. The director brought excellent talent to the table, but the source manga by Haruko Ichikawa deserves credit for being rich with symbolism. Thankfully, this carries over into this compact but well-paced adaptation. Not a second of screentime is spared. When we’re not delighted whimsical conversations, mesmerized by the visuals, terrified by the Lunarians, or sometimes all at once, we’re being delivered the themes through visual imagery.
The thematic throughline in Lustrous follows the idea of change. The changing of one’s self, the change that Phos and their fellow gems desire. As such, concepts like death and rebirth are showcased with symbolism. When are gems are broken, they’re placed in black bags that strangely resemble body bags. It’s as if they’ve died are being remade once the doctor puts them back together. This intrinsic connection the show shares with death explains why each gem wears a black tuxedo resembling funeral attire. As if they’re mourning for the pieces of their comrades (and selves) that are lost in battle. The show is also doused in Buddhist imagery at nearly every corner. Whether it be the enigmatic “Sensei” that all of the gems respect and rules over them like a deity, the ritual-like behaviors and designs of the Lunarians, and the frequent references to rebirth. If you know about the Buddhist philosophy, you’ll see the religion’s goal is to relinquish the body that carries your soul so you can be liberated and proceed on to Nirvana. There’s even a scene in which a particular character is supposedly reborn as a small animal to more suit the karma that they obtained in life. It can’t get any more clear than that. Seeing all of these different concepts clash together with excellent visual quality and artistic direction makes for one of the most bewildering yet beautiful experiences ever. No details added to Lustrous were done, so without reason, everything is purposeful. Everything is necessary. It may have helped me learn about Buddhism in tandem with Lustrous’ tv airing, but knowledge of these themes enriched my experience. Keep in mind, there are many interpretations with such an abstract and ambiguous story like this one, so you may find different meanings in the show from the ones I did.
Before closing, it’s worth mentioning that this anime does not have a complete ending as the source material is still ongoing. Enough plotlines ended on a satisfying (if incomplete) note, and a few new ones were opened to give you a sense of the direction the next season will take. The story is not over, so I will be patiently awaiting the second season, but until then, I’ll be happy to dig through the show’s lore and alternate meanings as there is plenty of rewatch value.
Land of the Lustrous is, for the most part, a joyful adventure that may even inspire laughs, but let your guard down too long, and the Lunarians will steal away all you hold dear leaving you devastated. At its heart, it is a pure and simple story about how impossibly flawed we are as people. How we’ll always search for means to become better, endlessly until we finally reach the end of the cycle. Whether or not this series has all of the answers, you’ll want to listen to the tale it has to tell about the questions.
The setting is so interesting and full of mysteries and unknowns to discover, what happened to the world to become like this? Who are the gems, or the moon people that seem to be after them? Houseki knows how to make the events ocurring hooking to watch and it’s such an enjoyable experience from start to end.
Along with the intriguing story we also have a fantastic cast that brings it life, the characters are inmortal humanoid gems with the qualities that represent them (like Diamond being the hardest mineral, but relatively easy to break in comparison), their interactions are interesting, varied, and at the same manage really funny when the situations requires it, this anime handles very well the comedy and it fits nicely without breaking the mood of the scenes. Phosphophyllite (or Phos in short) is the protagonist and goes through fantastic development over the duration of the series, becoming a very memorable character.
Now it’s time for the art department and I will be honest here: if every CGI anime has to look like Houseki, god, I want so many more of them! The animation is amazing and had some scenes where I just had to replay them of how good they looked, and the excellent cinematography that goes with it just makes it even more impressive, with some shots that left me speechless. The use of this type of animation is also really fitting considering the constitution of our characters and for details like how they can break depending on the situation, which looks better with this style.
The music is also a strong factor of the series, always fitting with the tone of the scene and improving them, the theme that plays when the Lunarians appears gets an special mention from my part because it never failed to make me shiver, so unsettling. The opening and ending themes are also great in both song and visuals and grew on me as the series progressed, definitely playlist worthy.
Houseki no Kuni was an unique and fantastic experience I really recommend everyone to try out, you won’t regret it.
Houseki no Kuni begins as a simple story of immortal, genderless life forms, the Gems, with each individual based around a gemstone from which they take their physical characteristics. They are being hunted down by Lunarians for what seems to be collector’s fancy. Slowly, the story moves on, teasing the layers of mystery of its world and a more intriguing aspect of the entire dynamic unravels, one more conducive to philosophical discourse. The introduction of a third faction, the Admirabilis, elevates the nature of their conflict and is poised to bring the series higher should its story continue.
The CGI nature of the show doesn’t really take away anything from the narrative but rather enhances and prepares it with its CGI portrayal of the three factions telling a story: the Gems, with their janky yet solid movements, aimless and unmotivated beyond mere survival; the Lunarians, ethereal and eternal, purposeful in action; and the Admirabilis, frills and filaments galore, excess made manifest, seductive and ephemeral.
Underneath the trappings of a fantastical concept, however, Houseki no Kuni is a thesis of how our place in our world is intricately intertwined with our purpose. It’s a story about identity.
It’s a story of Dia, valued, vaunted, a tier above other gems, yet struggling to find a moment in the light under the vast, dark shadow of a peer better and stronger.
It’s a story of Cinnabar, self-exiled, isolation poisoning the mind, bereft of a shoulder to lean on.
Most of all, it’s a story of Phos, aimless slacker, wanting to do more than just making an encyclopedia that has no equivalent value assigned by other Gems. Phos wants to fight, swept up in the idea that Gems prove their worth in the only way their circumstances allow: fighting the Lunarians. Phos’ initial value was demonstrated when, devoured and broken to bits and pieces, the grim, though temporary, fate evoked nothing but cruelly nonchalant reactions from fellow gems.
How can someone so brittle prove their value when, to paraphrase Einstein, the fishes are judged by their ability to climb a tree.
Houseki no Kuni’s approach to the problem is a rather straightforward one. Instead of changing the playing field to a pond, our little fish is given an opportunity to be better, losing parts of itself in the process. Part of its identity must give, in the hopes that the best version of itself can be achieved. And that hopefully the best version of itself is its truest self. Whether it’s true or not remains to be seen.
And I must say, this conflict of identity and the show’s solution ties in fully with the larger, grander aspects of the narrative: the three factions, each crucially lacking traits the other two possess. Can the three factions be so much more together much like how Phos had become much more than the Mohs scale of hardness? We’ll see.
For now, enjoy one lost little fish trying to scale a tree, struggling to find the right balance lest it loses sight of who it is.
2: Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2
English: Attack on Titan Season 2
Japanese: 進撃の巨人 Season2
MAL Score: 8.49
For centuries, humanity has been hunted by giant, mysterious predators known as the Titans. Three mighty walls—Wall Maria, Rose, and Sheena—provided peace and protection for humanity for over a hundred years. That peace, however, was shattered when the Colossus Titan and Armored Titan appeared and destroyed the outermost wall, Wall Maria. Forced to retreat behind Wall Rose, humanity waited with bated breath for the Titans to reappear and destroy their safe haven once more.
In Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2, Eren Yeager and others of the 104th Training Corps have just begun to become full members of the Survey Corps. As they ready themselves to face the Titans once again, their preparations are interrupted by the invasion of Wall Rose—but all is not as it seems as more mysteries are unraveled. As the Survey Corps races to save the wall, they uncover more about the invading Titans and the dark secrets of their own members.
After over three years of silence, its second season comes as something a bit more surprising. It trims away its grimy, cacophonous exterior and presents something, somewhat, more refined. The killing has found a purpose. The world the characters inhabit possesses some semblance of depth. There exists a story with a direction, which is exactly why it will disappoint fans who were expecting it to perpetually wander amidst blood and steel.
To be sure, Eren and crew killing (and conversely being killed) is a formula that proved moderately entertaining in the first season, if only mindlessly so. But a second season? A third? Would it still be exciting, or would people begin to tire of it? I was in the latter camp, and so I find myself glad the goalposts were changed altogether.
That’s not to imply that all of AoT’s flaws have been erased. The characterisation remains a sore spot for the series, with Eren continuing to scream nonsense at the top of his lungs, incapable of anything but being a hot-blooded child who is somehow the centrepiece of everything in the world. There’s nothing to his character except his being angry all the time, which is why I make no intentions of defending his presence.
So who is there to defend instead? Mikasa and Armin, the two other primary characters, while less frustrating and less offensive to listen to, don’t possess much that wasn’t already immediately apparent. They are flat, as are the side characters, so numerous and disposable that I found myself Googling the name of one of the story’s new villains because I couldn’t for the life of me remember who they even were. Other characters– Sasha– are so devoid of character that the only thing they are defined by is the quantity of food they eat. And while the second season gives you marginally more reason to empathise with them throughout their numerous backstory scenes, it still remains difficult to care much about the fates of any of them – a significant issue in a story centred upon war. It is why I never thought much other than “ew, gross” and “wow, that sucks” when any of the characters (of which there were dozens) were chewed, dismembered, and/or squished by abhorrent-looking humanoids.
This is why I think the best way to appreciate Attack on Titan is to focus less on the pieces, and more on the board itself. Attack on Titan’s setting is genuinely fascinating, and uncovering its secrets is likely to be the greatest delight for viewers unsatisfied with mere violence. While walled-off communities on the verge of extinction isn’t entirely new to anime (Space Battleship Yamato went there in 1974, and Macross in 1982), the massive scale of the cities behind the walls creates ample room for an animated (yet ever so bleak) world to exist. Discovering how the world’s agriculture functions, its geography, the state of politics within the Castle, the cultists’ activities, and the design of the soldiers’ Vertical Manoeuvring Equipment is some of the most fun I’ve had with an anime in this year or last. More Attack on Titan isn’t exactly a proposition that gives me thrills and tingles, but books and other media focusing on its world is something I would absolutely be interested in. A rich setting it is, and with the scale of the world now extending far beyond the walls, there is almost limitless potential. Potential, I suppose, which will probably never extend into its largely mediocre story.
A mediocre story is still a step up from last season, perhaps. The violence is now more of an accessory to the plot, rather than the inverse, which allows things to follow down a more linear road instead of one winding and circling around ad infinitum. Eren and his allies, as well as his enemies, now have a mission that extends beyond survival. There are antagonists excluding the Titans mindlessly chewing every fleshy thing in sight, which creates a more interesting dynamic, certainly, as the villains are treated as human beings rather than mindless lunatics bent on world destruction, as is seemingly the case in nearly every anime that has ever existed. Some fans may be disappointed that they aren’t given a villain to detest, but I’ve always been of the opinion that a conflict in which no true ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side exists is a more compelling tale to tell.
The second season’s highlight is no doubt its halfway point, a twist so suddenly and casually revealed that it is natural to doubt one’s ears, provided you hadn’t already guessed one of their blatantly obvious identities well-beforehand. The ensuing fight scene is neat, as it carries a level of emotional weight so lacking in anything that existed previous. But the extent to which some people have been praising the scene, as though it is the craziest and most “epic” thing that has ever appeared in anime, is certainly without much merit.
(It also deserves to be mentioned how downright silly some scenes can be, such as when Armin and Mikasa ’emotionally’ eat their rations upon the wall. Moments like this make it considerably harder to take everything else seriously.)
The production quality of Attack on Titan’s second season is a minor downgrade from the first’s, a fairly disappointing detail when considering the three-year wait and shorter-than-expected episode count. The aforementioned reveal doesn’t hit as hard as it should when one of the villains, who is supposed to be menacing, is suddenly given the cheap CGI treatment. The fight scene fares better, with its eyes moving and monstrous fist pausing in slow-motion, but by that point the damage the first impression has created is irreversible. Mediocre animation for AoT may very well be stellar in contrast to the average seasonal anime, but standards are different here, and the ballpark much larger.
If loud orchestrals are your jam, then things have not changed all too much between 2013 and 2017. The music is still loud and climactic, and the opening, while not quite as memorable as the first two, is a solid addition to the series from both a visual and musical standpoint. But if you’re a bit like me, and don’t exactly enjoy noise constantly pumping into your eardrums, then Attack on Titan can be a great way to receive a headache. And this is coming from someone who listens to The Money Store on occasion.
It would be a lie to claim I didn’t enjoy my time with Attack on Titan. But I am uncertain how much of that is a result of my fascination with the setting, and what, if any of my enjoyment pertains to the actual anime. To claim Attack on Titan is something of great critical merit isn’t something I could do without being disingenuous. Decent? Certainly, and a noticeable step above the turgid Hollywood fare its first season was, with the introduction of new antagonists and an actual, tangible story. But for those who waited years for more Titan slaying, I do start to wonder: were they ever really giving the rest of the medium a look?
Make no mistake. The second season jumps right into the meat of the show like a bullet train. It doesn’t rely on boring narratives to recap dialogues but instead presents them through events. The first few episodes reintroduces the main characters such as Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Reiner, Bertolt, Sasha, Hange, etc. Time hasn’t passed long either since the defeat of the Female Titan. However, we are introduced to new enemies and conflicts. One of the more noticeable fans will notice is perhaps from the trailer – a beast-like Titan covered with fur. Other conflicts in the second season includes the evolving mystery of certain characters. The secrets they hold close gets more and more complicated as the story progresses and we learn their motivations. Furthermore, the second season builds more into the character relationships outside of the main cast. To say the least, Season 2 isn’t just about the war against Titans but how certain characters’ roles can impact the entire world.
Snk Season 2 attempts to do a lot of things. At times, it feels like a fantasy war-drama while other times, it feels like a mystery story. When you mix a lot of genres together, the show can be interpreted from many angles. Mystery will no doubt be one of the key factors that keeps the story engaging for the viewers. From this season, we’ll discover revelations about certain characters and what influences them to become what they are. These are often told through flashbacks and is done effectively through insightful storytelling. It shows rather than tell about events. Furthermore, it makes us understand the characters better. Now for some fans, this could be a sign that the show will fall victim to “slow pacing”. It’s slightly true as I do wish some episodes to pick up the pace more. It can hold the show back for fans especially if it’s a character that they don’t care about. However, it’s also important since SnK doesn’t toss away characters in favor of just the main cast. Major supporting characters such as Sasha, Ymir, and Krista gets more characterization that was not seen from the previous season. In addition, the series still spends time to get viewers to understand more about the trio of our main cast – Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. Unfortunately with just 12 episodes, don’t expect the second season to give all the characters their chance to shine. If you’re a fan of Levi, then I’m afraid I got some bad news.
Despite the engaging story, season 2’s mystery elements aren’t exactly difficult to decipher. It’s actually quite easy to piece certain pieces together. Every episode builds more and more into the story but some hints will be much more obvious than others. It leaves open to some predictable outcomes. However, I would also argue that season 2 succeeds at building up the suspense regardless how the outcome comes out to be. It injects psychology into the show through effective usage of narrative, dialogues, body language, and character interactions. In some of the later episodes, we can see how certain characters show their true selves in ways that will be very memorable. It’s made even more effective through the timing of certain scenes. Directing a show like Shingeki no Kyojin requires a creative mind to connect the script and I have to say, it did that pretty damn well. Finally, I am satisfied by the faithfulness of the adaptation as it adapts many manga chapters that I had anticipated. In fact, some episodes are actually adapted even better than the manga thanks to the cleverly timings of key events.
To sum up the production quality of the show, it’s pretty easy to say that Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 is a firm example of how dark fantasy should look like. I actually had some complaints regarding the first season’s quality but those are pretty much are nonexistent in this sequel. Every episode looks fluid ranging from the intense action, character expressions, and choreography. To an extent, even the CG is done well and that’s no easy accomplishment for many shows. Character expressions highlight characters personality as it gets the fans more excited about them. Season 2 pulls that off flawlessly with characters such as Eren, Mikasa, Reiner, and Ymir. I can also safely say that the Titans in this season look just as intimidating as fans can remember, if not more.
Known for its high level production quality, season 2’s soundtrack doesn’t come far off either. Theme songs sounds familiar compared to the previous season but has more symbolism and scenes poured into showcase its story. Like most fans of the show, expectations for the OST should be high as Hiroyuki Sawano returns with his craft. It lives up to those expectations especially in some of the key moments that will leave you in awe. Finally, character voice mannerism just works wonderfully as the cast fits right into the shoes of their roles especially for characters like Reiner and Ymir. As I mentioned before, there’s a good amount of psychology that season 2 brings and some characters’ voices really brings to a level that’s larger than life.
Once again, Shingeki no Kyojin gives what the fan want ever since the first season ended in 2013. It’s been 4 years but upon watching the first few episodes, it felt like yesterday. It does its job at selling its story with its variety of genres mixed in together. With such a colorful cast of characters, it gets the fans excited to see what their roles will be. With a studio like Production IG, it’s safe to say that the quality remains in good hands. Now, I am slightly bothered by the length of the sequel. It’s half of what season 1 turned out to be and after all the waiting, it felt like a slap in the face for fans. Still, I’d say that the wait is worth it as time didn’t do its damage and it deserves a pat on the back.
For me, Attack on Titan is one of these anime. Which essentially means that the four year gap between seasons felt like an EXCRUCIATINGLY long time…
However in all seriousness, I perfectly understand why it took so long to produce the second season of Attack on Titan (AOT). A few anime sequels that I’ve seen have felt rushed and poorly put together. The plot lines becomes less cohesive, characters become more dull, and the animation quality either remains the same or dips in quality. These sequels are usually made within a year or two of the original’s initial airing date. Now while I’m sure that AOT fans would have much preferred an earlier release date for their beloved show, I respect the creators for realizing that they would have received far more backlash for releasing a swiftly produced anime that didn’t live up to the hype of its predecessor as opposed to putting a lot of time and effort into a sequel that matches the caliber of the original.
In fact, we should all be rejoicing that WIT studio spent time making AOT season 2 as great as it could be instead of releasing a half-assed sequel just to make a quick buck. And you KNOW they would have profited off the sequel no matter how abysmal it might have been. Its Attack on Titan after all, you know, the most popular anime in existence?
Since you probably already know the premise of this show, I won’t bother writing a lengthly (and boring) summary of it. AOT season 2 starts out directly after the last episode of season 1 and dives right into the story. While the first season focused on world building and brought about many mysteries, the second season begins unraveling some of them while revealing even bigger twists then the first season. Even though it was only 12 episodes, half the amount of season 1, I felt like the pacing was, for the most part, rather good. Action scenes weren’t too short or too long, and there were enough of them to keep me entertained while leaving enough time to properly develop the story. Flashbacks were used to further develop the characters, though I question the amount used in the anime, since it is only 12 episodes long.
I just love the setting of AOT. There really is nothing quite like it. Well, I guess that knock-off show involving trains has a similar setting, but that doesn’t count. The interesting and well thought out setting along with the anime’s precise execution really gets the viewers invested in the story, and I constantly kept wondering things like “What exactly are the titans?” and “What’s in Eren’s basement?” Ok, that last one sounds really lame on paper, but its a legitimate question that I’m sure many viewers are curious about. Luckily the anime answers some of these mysteries (which I can’t talk about because of SPOILERS!), but in explaining things, even more questions are posed that make me want to go to my local bookstore and buy the entire Attack on Titan manga just to find out what the heck is going on.
The most mediocre aspect of the first season for me was the characters. None of them really stuck out to me except for Mikasa, who is pretty awesome, but somewhat lacking in the personality department. Eren always felt a bit one dimensional to me and Armin only got a modicum of screen time, so I never really felt a connection with either of them. In the second season, we see even less of the main trio, but I actually agreed with this approach since it allowed for something that the first season desperately needed; developed side characters.
Season two dedicates a lot of time in developing the side characters, particularly Reiner, Bertolt, Krista and Ymir. This really helped to flesh out these characters which caused me to start to feel a bit of a connection with them. I respect an anime that takes the time to fully evolve its side characters instead of having a bunch of generic wastes of space that no one cares about whatsoever. This development also provides many new perspectives on the AOT world instead of having us simply see Eren’s somewhat narrow minded “I GOTTA GET STRONG AND KILL EVERY LAST ONE OF THOSE DAMN TITANS!” perspective, which was quite refreshing.
Linked Horizon returns to preform the opening theme song for Attack on Titan. I initially wasn’t all that impressed with the piece (it needed a bit more YEAGAR!), however as I continued to listen to it, the song really started to grow on me. Behind the anime’s masterful soundtrack is Hiroyuki Sawano. He has consecutively produced many brilliant compositions for other anime, including the first season of AOT, and the quality of his music is no different here. AOT’s soundtrack boasts many powerful orchestral pieces that help to amplify the atmosphere for many situations presented in the anime. The music is so good that I found myself on multiple occasions being captivated by the power and beauty of a few of the compositions present in the show.
The sheer emphasis on detail for some of the animated scenes in the anime (primarily when nothing was moving so that it looked like something taken straight out of a manga) is breathtakingly good. The overall visual presentation of the show is, to me, far superior to that of the other spring 2017 seasonal anime. However the animation is not without flaws. Probably the biggest problem that I’ve heard from the anime community regarding the visuals is a general dissatisfaction with the CGI colossal titan. I unfortunately have to concur, since I felt the the CGI was sort of choppy and didn’t fit in with the rest of the animation. My friend was even more disappointed, and he said that the CGI took away from the big armored and colossal titan reveal. Luckily the use of the CGI is very limited in the anime, and it started to look better to me anyway as the show progressed.
Where AOT really shines is its entertainment value. This anime is the most exciting thing that I’ve seen in awhile. Part of this is due to the cliffhangers that appear at the end of literally every episode that left me constantly craving more. Whether it was developing the story, presenting a crazy plot twist, or showcasing an epic battle between titans, AOT never failed to keep my attention, a feat that very few things have ever been able to accomplish for me, so for that I give AOT major props.
I love Attack on Titan. Even with all of its flaws, it still manages to be an incredible viewing experience. Even if the anime doesn’t quite suit your tastes, I almost guarantee that anyone who watches it will be thrilled by AOT’s exhilarating presentation. Its not one of the most popular anime of all time for no reason you know. If you decide to watch this anime or have already done so, I hope that you are as captivated by it as I am.
1: Made in Abyss
English: Made in Abyss
MAL Score: 8.70
The Abyss—a gaping chasm stretching down into the depths of the earth, filled with mysterious creatures and relics from a time long past. How did it come to be? What lies at the bottom? Countless brave individuals, known as Divers, have sought to solve these mysteries of the Abyss, fearlessly descending into its darkest realms. The best and bravest of the Divers, the White Whistles, are hailed as legends by those who remain on the surface.
Riko, daughter of the missing White Whistle Lyza the Annihilator, aspires to become like her mother and explore the furthest reaches of the Abyss. However, just a novice Red Whistle herself, she is only permitted to roam its most upper layer. Even so, Riko has a chance encounter with a mysterious robot with the appearance of an ordinary young boy. She comes to name him Reg, and he has no recollection of the events preceding his discovery. Certain that the technology to create Reg must come from deep within the Abyss, the two decide to venture forth into the chasm to recover his memories and see the bottom of the great pit with their own eyes. However, they know not of the harsh reality that is the true existence of the Abyss.
Are you looking for a wonderful, sci-fi thriller? This has its thrilling moments.
Are you looking for wonderful chemistry between the characters? This presents that.
Do you want an anime with well-animated fight scenes? This gives us that.
Are you looking for an anime that has a wonderful staff backing it up, always checking to make sure they bring out the anime’s fullest potential, based from its manga source, faithfully adapting it? They both have, and do that.
Made in Abyss is an anime that can abide to almost anyone’s taste in anime. I personally believe that Made in Abyss is an anime and manga that will ring throughout time as one of the best classics to come out in recent years.
Why? I’ll tell you.
As said before, Made in Abyss has a staff of people running it that always checks to make sure that every episode is doing great, always trying their hardest into their works. A wonderful story, great character chemistry, a harmonious soundtrack, effects, and voice actors, and beautiful, fluid animation. All of that came onto the screen because of such a wonderful staff (except story, for the most part. Credit to the author, Akihito Tsukushi!). Everything about the series was able to grab me and pulled me in like a roped hostage on a train or bank scandal. While that may sound rough, what is truly meant is that, just from the first episode, I could tell that Made in Abyss was going to be great.
In the first episode, it panels off immediately into a beautiful waterfall within the first layer of the Abyss and then into an abundance of flowers, trying to make you feel as if you’re standing right next to the lead in their journey into the abyss. The staff did that to have world build for the viewers, but it was a lot more than that. With the waterfall and pacing through the first episode, the waterfall and what happens after foreshadows what is to come later in the story. EVERYTHING that happens in the first episode is foreshadowing the story within the Abyss. But let me get back to what happens shortly after the waterfall and flower clip. We are introduced to the lighthearted driver of the story and her friend, Riko and Nat. They walk down a path where they see a gondola, foreshadowing that Riko will be going down into the abyss. Then she goes on an excavation to find relics, only to find a dead body in prayer.
And then.. The craziest part of the episode that foreshadows the darkness of the story.
A child, an inch away from death, from being eaten by the monster with the most peculiar characteristics that will have importance in the show. The monster can be compared to that of a Manta Ray, a slug and a snake.
Of course, because Riko is the main character, she cannot just standby and watch it all happen. So, she tries to attract the monster away from the child by blowing her whistle, and she runs away as hard as she can, and she gets hurt. Just when it seems everything is hopeless, A robotic child, or maybe I should say a knight in shining armor, saves Riko with a blast of light, and is found unconscious shortly after. Riko can’t just leave him, being the main character. So, she brings him. That robot’s name is Reg.
Thus, starts the wonderful character chemistry between the characters.
With the first episode, whenever the characters interact with each other, it always brings great joy for how well they work together. It might be that the leads are kids (no, not lolis, they range from ages 10-12, and Kiwi is, like, 4), but because they are kids, it makes me feel as if I, myself, am a kid again. Just watching them do what they do across the screen, pulls my heart even more into the story. It truly feels as though I’m standing next to them during their interactions. Due to the leads being kids, they give off the light-hearted sense of adventure. Living joyously, actively, and having fun. This is just between Nat, Riko, Reg, and Sigy. Don’t even get me started on the interactions with Lyza, Ouzen and Nanachi. Their interactions are some of the biggest reasons why this anime is great, along with the fight scenes. Lyza being the narrator, Ouzen being the badass grandmother, and Nanachi (My favorite!) breaking your average anime tropes. If you want to know how great they are, just watch the anime. After the encounter with Ouzen, the story shows that, not even the main characters have plot armor. The definition of humanity treads onto many uncomfortable grounds for its viewers to display dark desires from within.
Another great attachment to the anime is the sound.
The soundtrack is beautiful. In an instant, from hearing the insert song from the first episode, I pre-ordered the soundtrack. The soundtrack sounds as if it came straight out of a game, and really has an adventurous beat to it. Thank you, Kevin Penkin. However, if I were to compare the soundtrack to the sound effects, the sound effects are some of the best sounds I have heard out of anime, especially when Reg shoots his arms or laser. What I can describe those sound effect as, is organic. With the voice actors, the kids sound like kids, and the old adults sound like old adults. But, when the intensity rises, comedically and dramatically, or narration within the anime, say, the fight scenes and Maaya Sakamoto (Her narration is wonderful to hear), the voice acting is great. It rounds about the sense of adventure, just like everything else the anime provides. With the voice acting, one can tell that there is passion going on behind the scenes.
One more thing to talk about that the anime provides is the animation.
I have not seen many anime with such fluid flowing animation besides those of Ghibli films. Speaking of which, the background animator of Made in Abyss comes from the Ghibli films! Will that motivate you to watch and finish Made in Abyss? …No? Okay, then I’ll provide more than that to motivate you. Time frame 19:57 to 20:10 in the first episode. That should be enough to talk about the animation, because animation like that is all the anime will provide, making eye candy for the viewer. From the grainy wood, to the cavities on rock walls, and the sun coming over the horizon are wonderful details added by the animators.
Overall/TL;DR | Enjoyment: 10/10.
Made in Abyss is quite original in handling the fantasy setting, and I have to say that I’m glad something like Made in Abyss was able to come by. How the author was able to build a culture around an enormous crater is quite plausible. Made in Abyss provides variety and satisfaction, and it even provides the knowledge of the author, such as medical assistance and ecological terminology. Made in Abyss is an anime I can universally recommend. A great story that compels the viewer to finish from the start, active and lively characters that can be described even more as such through their interactions, the wonderful music from the soundtrack, sound effects, voice actors, and the Ghibli-comparable animation. I utterly, truly, from the bottom of the abyss within my heart, recommend this anime to anyone who seeks a great story. Made in Abyss provides just that.
Sincerely, a great fan.
Many anime give off the facade of maturity: gratuitous gore, sadistic and loony villains, self-serving themes ripped from entry-level philosophers such as Nietzsche – features that make a story palatable to rebellious teenagers, rather than the adults they so desperately wish to be.
But Made in Abyss doesn’t fall into these trappings. It contains graphic, violent scenes, occasionally even outright disturbing, but never is there a moment where it feels unnecessary. It is a story of adventure, of survival, and of finding life within death.
Made in Abyss has one of the most interesting settings in anime. A city built around a giant pit, gaping downwards for tens of thousands of metres, its nature unknown, treasure and terrifying beasts awaiting any who wish to test their luck. What’s at the very bottom of the pit? How deep can one truly go before death is an inevitability? In many ways, the pit is reminiscent of Hell: for each layer they reach, they encounter something more ghastly than the last, the stench of death progressively growing stronger. But Riko and Reg press onward, determined to find Riko’s mother, no matter if they succumb to the dangers and find themselves a permanent resident of the abyss.
While there exists ample world-building, the story instead puts the focus on the duo rather than the world at large, preferring instead to carefully reveal the details of the world through their eyes and ears, evolving the viewer from mere spectator to active participant. You don’t know much about the pit’s third and fourth layers until they reach that part themselves, and the fifth and beyond remain a complete mystery because nobody has ever actually survived to tell the tale. It’s an elegant way to keep the viewer interested: I don’t want to be told what to expect – I want to see for myself what monsters and contamination and other awfulness await the further they fall, and so I find myself with the next episode playing as soon as the credits hit roll.
It can be difficult for some (myself included) to empathise with child characters in anime, but Made in Abyss does an excellent job of making the viewer concerned about and emotionally invested in the survival of Riko and Reg. Their friendship with one another is deeply heart-warming, as they have, much like real children, no ulterior motives, and genuinely enjoy their time together. They rely on one another, their abilities complimenting the other’s: intellect and cooking in Riko’s case, and combat and acrobatics in Reg’s. There is no journey without the other— it is either two or it is zero. And so it is difficult not to have a visceral emotional response when one of the two is desperately, miserably trying to save the other’s life.
Some caution should be taken when watching Made in Abyss, as it is by no means a happy adventure. With every episode, there is fear that one of them may die, that they may be betrayed, that they may become permanently disfigured or forced to kill or commit some other horrid act. This is seldom a concern for most anime, as the protagonists will always survive and reach some sort of happy ending to their story. But not Made in Abyss. It makes very clear that bad things are inevitable, which, given the setting, is perhaps only appropriate. Corpses, vomit, grossly deformed wounds, blood bleeding from and seeping into the eyeballs— Made in Abyss is by no means something that should ever be viewed by children, and even adults would do well to prepare themselves if they are not accustomed to these sorts of horrors. The abyss is not a wonderful land of treasure, but an awful place where awful things happen.
There are still some minor issues with the story, however. Most prominent is the fact that there is as of yet no actual ending, something I did not realise until the final episode when I looked at the source material and found out that, oh, the manga was still ongoing. This ceases to be a problem in the event of future seasons and adaptations, but will there be any? Will this be where the anime ends, in the middle of their journey? “Hey, this is the end of the anime, so go and read the manga” is not quite what you want to hear when you are emotionally invested in an anime. But, I suppose, a faithful, if potentially incomplete adaptation is still preferable to the dreadful anime-only endings that plague many unfortunate adaptations. The story is too grand in scale, too personal for it to end after only thirteen episodes.
The story could have also done without the more sexual situations— the references to penises, and one ungraceful moment where Reg returns from trying to save someone’s life, only to blush and freak out immediately after when he sees Riko being undressed. With how serious the mood was at that point in the story, it effectively killed all the tension that had been building for the entire episode. That’s not to imply this scene existed to create sexual arousal in the audience— Made in Abyss has more integrity than that— as she was being undressed solely for health reasons, but certainly it was not a scene that felt in any way necessary. There’s a time and place in the story for comedic relief, and that was not the time.
Made in Abyss is fairly impressive in terms of its sound and artwork. The background music starts adventurous and gradually becomes more ominous as the story progresses, even if the ending theme remains almost hilariously light-hearted and incongruently so— its lyrics being more appropriate to Barney & Friends than a graphic life-or-death struggle. While the artstyle may not be to everyone’s taste, it at least remains detailed and consistent throughout the series (the map after the ending sequence being a nice addition), although there are perhaps two or three odd moments during the action sequences where the animation will suddenly become sketchy, for reasons that are mystery to me.
In one of the weakest seasons for anime, where interesting series may well be nonexistent, Made in the Abyss is a genuine surprise. While I might reserve claims such as it being the best anime of the year (Sangatsu no Lion takes that one for me), it is a truly special anime, one which had me worried and invested in the characters’ fate in a way that very few anime ever have.
I want to see a future where Riko and Reg return to a happy life on the surface. But, much like them, I am determined to see their journey to its end, no matter the result.
An anime with a good story. It has everything, mystery, emotion, sadness, love, action, tears and much more. The story could be straightforward and conceptually very simple, several details are added as the story progresses. The show highlights concepts such as friendship, trust, why the abyss became important to the locals and the curse that surrounds it without being too complicated for the viewer to understand. Also, we can observe the constant need to find the truth and the need to resolve the abyss’ mysteries. Besides, the story blended very well with the art and soundtrack to produce a beautiful animation.
The abyss is an incredibly creative world. For me, it has its own set of laws where all the characters converge. The story never contradicts the abyss but uses it to propel the mysteries and characters. The plot is very attractive, and the details are revealed at the right pace to keep you hooked to the end. Also, some details are never shared, we can try to guess about them.
Lowering the abyss is a dangerous task. However, it is gratifying to see the consistency between hazards and depth. Perhaps the only negative point I have is that the story is not going to be finished as the manga is still going on. In addition, it was only adapted to chapter 26 of the manga. I’m sure we’ll have to wait a while for an ending.
The main characters are Riko and Regu. I consider Nanachi and Ouzen as secondary characters but those two added important details to the story.
Riko radiates great enthusiasm. She wants to explore and to understand the abyss. Besides, she is anxious to go deeper because she wants to see her mom. She suffers, cries, worries, but always tries to be active no matter how weak she is. She is brilliant, but her body is not that strong. She trusts Regu unconditionally.
Regu. Is it a machine? Is it a hybrid? This character has a mystery that maybe will not be explained. He is powerful but lacks thoughtful analysis. For that reason, he is the best partner for Riko because she is the rational one and they trust each other.
Ouzen (Ozen): She is a human being but could be a monster. She does not care if you’re weak or strong. She will show you the reality and if necessary will put you in your place.
Nanachi is more a survivor of the abyss curse. She (I’m assuming she’s a girl) is very intelligent and has suffered a lot. However, there may be an error in her age. She might look young as Riko, but is she so young? I think she’s older than Riko and Regu.
The characters look good together because their traits are very different. The show portrayed them very well. However, I would consider the characters as the weakest link in the series. Do not get me wrong, they are good, but they were not explored enough to explain some parts of the story. At times I felt that we just touched the surface of these characters. There are some background questions, and I’m sure we will get the answers in the future.
The best of the season. They pay attention to details. For example, in episode one at the end, we can see the talent of this group when they combined the shadows and the lighting at dawn and created a perfect movement. The precise colors and design created an impressive effect that for the spectator’s eyes could be one of the best of the year. That quality remained throughout the series. In addition, the choice of colors and a smart move adjusted within the scenes helps you to focus on what matters, not forgetting or letting go of the details if you choose to focus on other parts of the scene.
The action sequences have an excellent design and do not lose quality. They also combine very well with the sound mixing.
With one word I want to praise this “exceptional” sound.
The OST has several scores that help the storytelling. For example, a mixed composition such as “Underground River” (Ep1, Disc1), “Hanazeve Caradhina” (Ep1), “Swings and Roundabouts” combined with an intelligent sequence, an impressive story and a witty artistic direction created the perfect environment to catch any viewer and make them anxious for more. We can find another example in the score “The first layer.” This score helps to add to the plot the feeling of the unknown and the expectation for the future.
The music runs in the best time possible. It creates excitement, drama, conveys feelings to viewers and makes the plot and characters shine.
The songs Deep in Abyss (OP) and Tabi no Hidarite, Saihate no Migite (ED) are the perfect complement to this anime. These songs are very catchy and have a great rhythm.
Finally the VO. I’m not used to talking about it, but in this case, the voices helped to portray the characters. For example, Ouzen’s voice. That voice adds excitement to the scenes and creates a great twisted mystery to the character.
I really liked this anime. It does not matter if the characters were not explored in detail, no matter the lack of answers about some characters or if the story did not end. The show brings a lot of excitement to any viewer. The story is solid, well structured and consistent almost all the time. The pace is good and the details never hurried. Another good point is that they followed the manga so none could complain. The art and sound led the narration out of the chart.
I was tempted to give a 10 to this anime, but the questions about the characters and the unfinished story lowered the score. Unfortunately for us, we do not know if we will get a continuation of the anime in the future, but it does not matter. I recommend this anime, the art, the adaptation are exceptional with a unique soundtrack. It was the best of the season so skipping it will be a mistake. In the end, I became a fan of this story and I don’t regret it.
PS: Yes! Another messy review by Pipe and I didn’t proofread again, sorry.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Made in Abyss
2. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2
3. Houseki no Kuni (TV)
4. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2
5. Uchouten Kazoku 2
6. Mahoutsukai no Yome
7. Black Clover
8. Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
9. Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season
10. Mahoujin Guruguru (2017)