They’re the best Anime that 2013 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of White Album 2, Golden Time, Hataraku Maou-sama!, and more!
10: White Album 2
English: White Album 2
MAL Score: 7.66
Haruki Kitahara’s light music club is on the verge of disbanding. At this rate, the third year’s dream of performing at the school festival would never be realized. However, as his exhausted fingers drift through the chords of “White Album,” the first song he would ever play, an angelic voice and mysterious piano begin harmonizing with his lonely guitar. It is a momentous performance that marks the beginning of everything for Haruki.
White Album 2 orchestrates Haruki’s final semester with complex romance and exhilarating music, as the curtains of the stage he so desired begin to open…
An adaptation of a Leaf and Aquaplus visual novel White Album 2: Introductory Chapter, White Album 2 itself was produced by Satelight, directed by relative dark horse Masaomi Ando, and scripted by Fumiaki Maruto, who was also the original scenario writer for the source material. A qualification before going any further is that outside sharing the same universe, using the same name, and borrowing a few of the same songs, this show is completely unrelated to its predecessor, White Album. Do not expect the same characters or story from then, which I’ve heard from general consensus is less than favorable, to be present here.
Another qualification since this particular plot device’s the bane of a number of viewers: this show is driven under the auspices of a love triangle. Feel free to refrain from watching if you absolutely can’t stand them. This love triangle, however, does something somewhat different from the usual one male, two female dynamic. Haruki Kitahara, Setsuna Ogiso, and Kazusa Touma are friends. The best of friends. Friends of the dearest kind. The viewer’s left with rather maddening issues, monogamy withstanding. How can the guy pursue one girl and avoid hurting the other? How can one girl pursue the guy and leave the other unscathed? How can we all remain close? Each main character wants to have their cake and eat it too, yet the show makes the reality clear: You can’t. The heart wants what it wants when it’s found it, despite any one party’s attempts toward the contrary, and to deny it that when it’s within grasp, combined with each character’s own baggage, is tantamount to torture, agony of the most existential kind.
The agony’s even more poignant when they’re written as more than just fictional characters. For the female leads, it wouldn’t be incorrect to group them under a certain personality, a certain archetype, the warm, popular school idol and the cold, aloof musical prodigy. And yet, they’re more than that, never relegated to the distinction of mere stereotypes. They may be extroverts or introverts, but no one girl’s one absolute. No one girl’s simply the life of the party, just as no one girl’s simply a shut-in. Neither is unconditionally anti-social, and both are, by their own past experiences, insecure. Loneliness is an issue for all, manifesting as much in a crowded class as in an empty room. Not one girl is perfect, their masks, their mischief, their indecisiveness, cowardice, impulsiveness, selfishness… they all show, despite themselves and their counterintuitive efforts to preserve the status quo. More than just characters, they’re people, female, adolescent, and flawed through and through. And for the male lead? Outside of his sex, he’s no exception, especially towards the second half.
If what you seek out of this show is your idealistic conception of what a romance should entail, then read well: that’s not going to happen here. The ordeals are messy, frustrating, not because they’re emotionally manipulative, but because they’re real, because the characters, being who they are, are complex, conflicted, and real themselves. It’s what would happen in this unextractable web of complexities and contradictions of “I wills,” “I won’ts,” and “It hurts,” where cutting one thread leads to the mangling of another.
Then there are those little touches, subtle, never exaggerated, that give these characters sincerity as well as charm. Overly sweetened coffee black, for instance, to match my craving for black milk tea in the morning for every morning.
And the show exploits these touches and others, subtleties of all kinds and layers, scattered, embedded, and incorporated into the narrative to outstanding degrees. Barring the first episode, this show’s direction and script is all about subtly, about inference, of “show” and not simply “tell.” Where the camera pans, zooms, cuts, and lingers. When the facades of facial expressions slip into distress and recover to overcompensate, the eyes, the lips, the bangs. The deliberate tones in lighting, or the selective shades of lack thereof, complemented by the beautiful looking set pieces. The conversations, highly nuanced, roundabout, indirect, and, when it’s called for, blistering. The use of flashbacks before the show’s start, combined with the retracing of new and carefully omitted ground within past scenes at the most heart-wrenching of moments, the foreshadowing, and even the character of the character designs and clothes. Barring Episode 1, with masterful strokes of minimalist direction, interwoven seamlessly and purposefully with the music, whether bgm or insert, no one direction is ever oversold. They perfectly illustrate the personalities and emotional states of the cast at any given moment, whether they are bubbling underneath the surface or blasting corkscrew out of it. The best part, and perhaps the most refreshing part, is that it takes its time to do all of this, so that every form of direction feels natural.
The last of three qualifications, this show has a sex scene, one without shots of anything particularly precious, but it’s easy to infer what’s happening. That being said, it’s completely within taste, substantially enhances the narrative, and subscribes to a rather waning view that sex is emotional consummation rather than just physical titillation. Also, adolescent intercourse does happen in the real world, and I personally congratulate the staff for including it in, but if you happen to be allergic to sex scenes regardless, then you’re going to have trouble fully enjoying the show.
Music’s, unsurprisingly, a strong element in this series. Outside of tackling the technicalities or philosophies behind notes, though practice does make perfect, the series does everything else in exploiting the medium to create meaning in the music. Outside noise fillers and mood setters, they express powerful sentiments that put the thoughts and actions of characters within context, especially with Touma, whose feelings unseen and unspoken, given her reserved nature, bleeds into her piano pieces. It adds another layer of “show” through melodies and harmonies, and even the lyrics of the songs that have them are loaded with meaning in hindsight.
And then there’s the OP, “A Love That Cannot Be.” Known in romaji as “Todokanai Koi 13” by Rena Uehara in one track and Madoka Yonezawa, Ogiso’s seiyuu, in another, its vocals, combined with electronic keyboard, electric guitar, and a synthetic backtrack, rocks and croons of a passionate nostalgia, of happier times in younger days past caked in a film of melancholy. The visual detail’s not quite Kyoto Animation or P.A. Works standards, but it’s still really good, and the visual content corresponds excellently with the music, blurs, glare, overlays, and the waning light from sunsets. It also features visually vague moments that occur in the show that contribute to this aesthetic, but aren’t really spoilers since they’re only fully significant in, once again, hindsight. It’s best thought as a bittersweet reminisce by an adult of his or her turbulent youth. White Album 2 is winter-themed, and snow can be beautiful, if chilling. In addition, the transitions are handled with a quiet, yet powerful mix of grace and dignity. It also attempts to do this interesting thing with omitting Touma’s face until Episode 3 to reflect a certain in-show direction, which would have been clever had it not been compromised by something in Episode 1.
The ED for Episodes 3-6 and 8-10 (Episode 7 doesn’t have an ED), “Sayonara no Koto,” or “Goodbye” also by Uehara, flows in the same thematic vein, with recaps of scenes of the episode now past, an evolution from a delicate, yet noble instrumental chorus of electric synthetics, keyboard, classic guitar, violin, then vocals, then electric bass, then drumset, then electric guitar, before it reaches a climax with a vigorous and progressive rock beat, and, finally, settling back down to its quiet origins. Episodes 2, 11, and 12 have their own Uehara EDs, “closing 13,” “After All ~Tsuzuru Omoi~,” or “After All ~Writing Down My Feelings~” and “Twinkle Snow 13” respectively are also great in their own ways but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll refrain from their music other than saying they accompany rather significant moments with a certain someone. And after all, they’re better enjoyed in context than not. That goes double for the insert concert songs, “White Album,” “Sound of Destiny,” and the OP, since, outside of singing, they contain some really nice surprises involving solos.
Episode 1. It’s not a bad episode, all in all; in fact, I think its conclusion was very well choreographed. Still, compared to its successive sisters, this episode has a couple of things that stick out like a sore thumb. There’s a questionable amount of exposition within it that I think was a bit superfluous. A few carefully chosen words especially towards the end, coupled with the music, would have been better for the mood, but by far the biggest concern I have was the beginning, where the show previewed portions of the concert from Episode 7. I suspect it was supposed to be kind of a hook, but, returning to an earlier instance of direction which could have been clever, the omission of Touma’s facial features seemed to be intended as a means for suspense that also worked in character, given her cold, aloof exterior. While it may have been no surprise that she would play one of the center role, what she looked like would, had it not been spoiled earlier by that flash forward.
He has to know, climbing the stairs to the roof, treading the outer walls of the school from stories high to get into the adjacent room’s open window. The rest is history.
It’s been an unparalleled experience to have watched this show and I sincerely hope after reading this review, everyone who’s interested watch it as well. It is one of the most finely told romantic dramas I have ever had the pleasure to see, and while the ending was conclusive, since this is only the Introductory Chapter, the story’s not even over yet.
I give White Album 2 a 10 out of 10.
Thankfully, White Album 2 is not one of those adaptations.
Adapted from the ~introductory chapter~ segment of the bestselling Leaf visual novel of the same name, White Album 2 (henceforth referred to as “WA2”) manages to retain a lot of the strengths of the source material while approaching it in a different, but appropriate, fashion. It is important to note that, despite the title, WA2 is not a direct sequel to the first White Album, related only by setting and a number of references, so viewing of the first series is not required.
With that said, WA2 is, simply put, a romance. To be more specific, it is a love triangle. It begins with a student named Kitahara Haruki trying to revive his high school’s light music club. In doing so, he eventually finds himself involved with the two girls who join the club: Ogiso Setsuna and Touma Kazusa. Certainly, this is a fairly basic set-up for the genre. WA2’s romance is played out in a straight and down-to-earth manner, and its strengths lie with the subdued execution of that romance. In a genre filled with stories that often resort to predictable archetypes and tropes to drive themselves forward, WA2 avoids the pitfalls of many other titles by doing away with the excessive melodrama and roundabout confessions. It does not strive beyond the boundaries of its genre, and thus certainly cannot be compared to shows that feature Titans being screamed at.
Consider the very beginning of the show, which reveals some key events that will occur at the end of the anime. In this brief sequence, viewers will be made aware of the kind of road that WA2 is set on. Both readers familiar with the source material and newcomers may initially find this to be a questionable directorial decision. However, in the grand scheme of things, WA2 is not focused on the fact that these events occur, but on how the characters and their relationships caused these events. After all, there are only so many ways a romance can turn out without treading on the grounds of bizarre or convoluted narratives. In general, the genre should focus on the chemistry between the characters and how they deal with the emotions of love.
And the characters are undoubtedly central to the romance in WA2. The characters are not dolls made to fulfill a given role, but believable people with distinct personalities. In particular, the main lead Haruki seems like an excellent student, yet so obviously flawed. His altruistic personality leads him into making many unintentional mistakes, and he is unable to avoid the problems he is causing despite being aware of them. And just like Haruki, Setsuna and Kazusa also try to avoid the problems in their own way, but inevitably end up hurting the others in the process. These characters make sensibly human mistakes that some viewers will resonate strongly with, while others may find themselves incredibly frustrated. The notion that viewers opt for a favorite heroine need not apply when the characters can be both endearing and detestable. The alleged title of “best girl” might as well be given to Haruki.
Of course, much of the characterization is owned to the wonderful script written by Fumiaki Maruto, the original scenario writer for WA2. The characters and their interactions are brought to life through clear and purposeful dialogue. The lines illustrate the chemistry between the characters and the gradual build-up of romantic tension as the show progresses. As an adaptation, the script is very much condensed to serve time constraints in the animated form, and Haruki’s insightful narration is lost. Thankfully, this is substituted by visual expressions and gestures used by the characters to show certain emotions rather than tell them. Setsuna’s physical distancing during some conversations in the earlier episodes, for example, indicate her perceptions toward Kazusa. In many cases, this use of storytelling adds to the scenes, improving upon the original. On the other hand, some lines in the script are altered, perhaps changing the nuance of the original scenes. A particular example of this is with the scene that introduces Kazusa, in which she speaks with an angry tone as opposed to a confused one.
Despite the show’s use of visual storytelling, the technical aspects of the animation suffer from a number of problems, particularly due to the production by Satelight. While the character designs themselves are arguably an improvement over the original’s, quality mishaps are abound regarding the anatomy of the characters in some shots. There is also a general lack of “liveliness” in the animation, resulting in dull movements and stills. A notable offender of this is when the concert scene occurs in the story, and repetitive shots of the school’s scenery are seen as music is playing. Moreover, a few other important scenes feature questionable fanservice shots and odd angles, intruding on the mood of these scenes.
Fortunately, the aural aspects of WA2 make up for the mishaps in the animation. The soundtrack, featuring tracks that are played by an actual pianist, really complement the nature of the show, more so due to the focus on music. Dramatic sequences are accentuated with powerful yet delicate melodies, such as the instrumental of the aptly-named ending theme, “Sayonara no Koto.” Vocal songs are also prominent, reinforcing the show’s themes through their lyrics. Ultimately, the music is an integral part of the experience in WA2.
And the experience is certainly something else. Despite being only a prologue to a larger story, the anime adaptation of WA2 offers a sense of completeness that most adaptations, and anime series in general, should strive for. It is faithful as an adaptation, yet carries its own unique charm. It has a fairly simple premise, yet goes much deeper than that with its characters. The season of White Album has gracefully passed us by, but it won’t be forgotten so easily.
I did. I still am.
White Album 2 is set after 10 years of the events that occurred in the original White Album. Despite the title being White Album 2, the story isn’t a sequel but is pretty much a standalone or what you could say an alternate setting which has minimal relevance to its predecessor. The only apparent connection are the songs which were sung in the first anime and the people who wrote them, and that it is set in the same world. In simple words, you don’t need to watch the first anime to understand this and I would not recommend in doing so since I find the first one to be the complete opposite of what this is – a true masterpiece.
The story of White Album 2 is pretty straightforward.
The entire story revolves around the three main characters namely Kitahara, Touma, and Ogisa. These three are so relatable that I’m pretty sure some of us could even picture themselves living and experiencing the different social dillemmas each character is facing – they’re as real as it gets. At first they might look common, typical or plain but later on as the characters reveal more and more of their personalities and problems, they’ll also grow on you. With the intent of being good friends, a simple admiration turned into something more but the intrusion of another led to a love triangle conflict without even realizing it. The story grows beyond from here but as much as I would like to tell more, I would rather have you watch it as it would only spoil all the fun.
People tend to do crazy things when in love.
As far as beyond what logic could measure, humans would do anything when it comes to love. Love is such an extraordinary phenomenon that people would do something they normally won’t do. Trust, betrayal, and even sacrificing one’s good for the sake of another – as long as love is present, there is so much an ordinary person could do yet there’s so much to lose. That’s what I find so great in this anime; it depicts real human emotions at its finest, and at its worst.
For a mature and a serious drama/romance anime, the animation is as fitting as it should be. The characters and the backgrounds are very well drawn, the movements are fluid, and the shadings too are very well applied. Not only is the animation good on its own but it also compliments the feel to its amazing music.
As one would expect from a musical anime, the music is really good. In fact the soundtracks are absolutely breathtaking from the first episode and it never did go any less up to the last. The lyrics of the songs completely fit the atmosphere adding up to the emotional feeling of the scenario they were on. The voice actors too did their roles very well, might it be just a simple conversation or was it through singing; you can really feel the emotions flowing.
At its shining moments, the drama intensifies and the confrontations would make your heart skip a beat. You’d even start to wonder why is it so wrong when it’s supposed to feel right, or the opposite. But if you were a person in love, you would know why. After all has been said and done, I could understand why some would feel a bitter aftertaste but let’s face it – because even in real life, not everything goes the way we want it to.
White Album 2 is such an emotional rollercoaster. At times you’ll find yourself smiling along with the characters, and at some you’ll find yourself crying. You’ll be totally engrossed that you’ll find yourself glued onto the screen wondering what would they do next then asking yourself if you would have done the same thing. But by then you won’t have even realized that you’re already teary-eyed because of how you care and sympathize for the characters that have already grown on you. It is just that good.
I’ll be honest. I enjoyed every single bit of this anime. But I guess “enjoyed” is an understatement since I pretty much fell in love with this anime. And know what, people do crazy things when they’re in love just like what White Album 2 made me do – to once again write a review in which I swore I would never ever do.
9: Golden Time
English: Golden Time
MAL Score: 7.76
Due to a tragic accident, Banri Tada is struck with amnesia, dissolving the memories of his hometown and past. However, after befriending Mitsuo Yanagisawa, he decides to move on and begin a new life at law school in Tokyo. But just as he is beginning to adjust to his college life, the beautiful Kouko Kaga dramatically barges into Banri’s life, and their chance meeting marks the beginning of an unforgettable year.
After having a glimpse of college life, Banri learns that he is in a new place and a new world—a place where he can be reborn, have new friends, fall in love, make mistakes, and grow. And as he begins to discover who he was, the path he has chosen leads him towards a blindingly bright life that he will never want to forget.
The ending, I admit, was fairly disappointing. They crammed into one episode what they should have put into at least two. And when I first finished watching it, I felt like they hadn’t answered the main questions at all. Particularly with Linda – but it was only after I’d sat and thought about it for a while (particularly with some symbolism through tennis shoes) that I understood their answer. Yet there were many other characters whose plotlines got vague symbolistic answers, and you just sort of had to accept that. And with Banri’s whole amnesia thing… I found it a bit ridiculous, so I decided to interpret it as past self v present self, with the amnesia creating a more defined divide between the two. And then it made a bit more sense for me, as well as was more tolerable.
Oh, and a quick other note – the voice acting, especially on Horie Yui’s part, was amazing. There were literally some scenes where I just thought “DANG that’s good acting”, as dumb as that sounds. The OD/ED were both forgettable, unfortunately. I actually skipped the 2nd OD most of the time because I couldn’t stand it. And while the music isn’t a big problem, having songs I can add to my anime playlist is always a big bonus. Also, the art, for an anime, is perfectly fine. The OD/ED both have some great scenes, but I always skipped them, so… From what I’ve seen of the manga, that has truly great art.
Overall, I’d say, if you’re not willing to put in the mental work to really understand this show, don’t bother. Not that it’s a ton, but… basically, if you’re looking for a light, fun show that you can watch while doing other stuff, Golden Time is not that show. But a lot of the answers you need to be satisfied, you have to come up with yourself. The hints and tools you need to get there are all provided for you in the show, but you have to keep an eye out for them. Otherwise this show can easily come off as two whiny, overdramatic college kids who cause their own problems.
Every once in a while, you watch something bad that doesn’t feel like a total waste of time, because it’s just so bad that you learn from it exactly what you never want to see from any form of media again. Or teaches you exactly what NOT to do if you write something yourself.
Golden Time was honestly such a terrible experience that it was almost rewarding.
The entire show was like an empty shell; you could keep looking long and hard for a pearl as much as you wanted and nothing but disappointment would surface. I give them credit for at least trying to escape the ordinary by setting the whole thing in a college instead of a high school, but in the end the scarce focus on the setting and the way the characters behaved like incomprehensible children instead of young adults made it all pointless. The use of tons of romcom cliches (amnesia as a plot device, sad childhood friend, half-assed love triangle, misunderstandings as source of conflict) was constant and just as poorly done as the attempts to make the whole thing stand out from other bad, stereotypical romcoms.
The entire plot revolved around Banri’s amnesia and his relationship with Koko, with no focus or backstory for the side characters and relationships at all. Not only the whole thing got excruciatingly tiresome after a while, but it was clear that there wasn’t enough of it to fill 24 episodes: the conflict dragged its feet for much longer than necessary, and there were lots of episodes that were so useless you could just cut off entirely and it would make no difference. They started to appeal to source of new conflicts that were so silly and uncalled for it was impossible not to question what the hell the author was even thinking. Also, the main conflict itself was done in a way that made it completely unappealing and dull; It’s especially notable how they made Banri’s “past self” a literal ghost that follows him around sulking, which let’s face it, makes it hard to take everything seriously. Not to mention that they asspulled the most boring, predictable conclusion they possibly could for this storyline right on the last episode. Amnesia is a cliché that may work if done right, but in Golden Time it isn’t compelling at all.
Moreover, the main couple’s relationship and scenes were absolutely unnatural, forced and cringe-worthy. The show gives them no time to develop feelings for each other, forcing them together 6 episodes in. Their personalities don’t mash at all, making all of their interactions feel extremely awkward. There was no enjoyment whatsoever in seeing them interacting, no heartstrings pulled, no fun, no cuteness, nothing. It wasn’t organic, or realistic, and it sure as hell wasn’t convincing. It just fails into delivering.
The main problem with Golden Time’s writing, though, doesn’t even lie on the awkwardly put together plot, no. It’s on the characters.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Koko and Banri are among the worst leads in any romance anime I have ever seen. Banri is absolutely plain – no distinguishing personality traits, no quirks, no ideals, no goals, NOTHING about him is interesting. He’s the boy with amnesia, boyfriend of Koko, and nothing more. He’s just there. The fact that he lost his memories is really no excuse for his boring character either – come on, even Elfen Lied’s Nyuu had more personality than this guy, and she didn’t even remember how to go to the toilet. Koko, on the other hand, is painfully unlikeable. She’s an annoying cheeky brat who’s always causing trouble and victimizing herself. Right off the bat she’s shown to be stalking her childhood friend and wanting to force him into marriage, and then screams at him and acts like a vulnerable damsel who has been wronged when he shows to be uncomfortable and creeped out. Once she engages on her relationship with Banri and shows a kinder side and some acceptable character development, she becomes considerably less unlikeable, but still annoying, to the point where I caught myself thinking “Of course she’s with him, only some boy with zero personality and sense of self would willingly spend time with this girl”. It’s that bad. And because of this, whenever the drama kicked in, it was really hard to care. Why should I? How can the viewer possibly relate with these two? Why would I get sad over characters who keep acting like dumbasses instead of like sensible human beings?
The other characters are barely worth commenting, with maybe the exception of Linda, Banri’s senior and friend. She is infinitely more likeable than Koko, but her role in the story is confusing and unclear – is she supposed to be another end of a love triangle? Is she in love with him, is she jealous? Is her relationship with Banri only sister-like, and she really doesn’t see him as more than a friend? We don’t know (at least not until the final ten minutes of the last episode in a really plain and threw-this-scene-in-for-the-sake-of-explaining-her-feelings development – oh, well). Aside of Linda, the side characters might as well not even exist. Literally – and I mean that – every dialogue they have among themselves is about the main couple. Their personalities are pretty much non-existent, and the sad attempts of giving them some depth of their own are so fribble it’s laughable. They’re only there to talk about the main couple and act like idiots on their own accord.
The art and animation are savorless. It’s pretty below average and there’s nothing special about it, except if you count some dramatic scenes that were animated so exaggeratedly that became hilarious. The character designs are pretty flat and unoriginal, Koko looks pretty much like a grown-up Aisaka Taiga. The music isn’t noteworthy either – Horie Yui did a good job voicing Koko, Kayano Ai’s voice is cute as usual, but that’s about it.
Golden Time was definitely not an enjoyable experience . Watching it every week felt like a task and I got bored regularly. But at the very least, it definitely reminded me of some of the things that can make a story dreadful, and taught me to avoid it. And maybe next time I watch a good romantic comedy, I can think back to this show and enjoy the good aspects of whatever I’m watching at the time even more.
Story: 3/10 – Empty, poorly written. Drags its conflicts for more time than necessary, doesn’t know how to distribute its focus, suffers from melodrama.
Art & Sound: 4/10 – Below average.
Characters: 3/10 – Act stupidly for the plot’s sake, are either unlikeable or have no personality at all, questionable character development.
Golden Time is something that tingles in my mind for a few days after i watched it. Back in the November, i was already put Golden Time in my plan to watch, since so many sites recommend that this anime is your-must-watch anime in winter season and so after it has finished aired, i watched it and i must say i have a really “golden time” when watching it.
As far as you can see, Golden Time is labeled with comedy and romance genre. The genre that we often said as the most generic in anime industry. JC is one of those production house that often adapting romance-comedy manga into anime, Bakuman and Ano natsu is one of their success romance comedy anime. But how about Golden time?
Golden Time is anime that must we consider where romance-comedy anime is not all about cliche and the endless loop “would they be date or not”. There is so many things that makes golden time is a worth anime to watch. One of those is how the story goes. The plot moves smoothly and with the narration giving a sense that Banri is showing and telling the story, its really make us understanding what Banri are thinking.
Golden Time is like a puzzle, each episode provide us a single piece that if we’re combining all of them would make the completed one and so this one. This basically because Golden Time focussing on how Tada Banri collected his lost memories and how his amnesia affecting the people surround him including his friends or lover. And so we would be presented so many flashbacks that would tell how he was in the past including how he have forgotten the life before amnesia.
As i said before, Golden time is like breaking the endless loop of “would they be date or not” . In this anime, we would see a progression of romance relationship. This is not merely they would lovey dovey all the time but we would see the struggle and obstacle between them which is nice and represents how life is not always easy and there would be always some obstacles that blocks our way.
Other things that makes golden time interesting is the comedy. The humor primarily comes from the interactions between his friends and minor characters, In this anime we would see a comedy that basically happen in our real life like how we get pranked by our seniors when just enrolled in university or jokes that can only be understand by our circles. Golden time is realistically represent this in their show which is makes watching golden time like watching our life itself.
The art in this anime is not too good neither bad. But this is suitable with the anime. The background is quite vivid and colorful. But sometimes the art is kinda messed up, like how they drawn characters sometimes the characters look so weird. JC seems like doesnt do their best in this anime, there is just so many times when the characters look bend in the other way but despite of that, it doesnt decreasing the pleasure from watching this anime.
The sound in this anime is amazing, first from the seiyuu parts we would find a few famous seiyuu like Yui Horie as Kaga Koko or Ai Kayano as Linda, of course the quality of them doesnt need to ask, they perfectly fit with their roles especially Yui Horie as Kaga Koko. Her sound really loveable and the phrases “oh, wow” is kinda attracting. But thats not just all, one thing to notice is how Furukawa Makoto for being Tada Banri as seiyuu. As a new comer, his quality isnt like the beginner at all. His angry or serious tone are really magnificent and really suitable with Tada Banri.
Not just the seiyuu parts, the soundtrack is also good. From the opening we have “Golden Time” by Yui Horie itself. The song is quite lovely and easily grasp people’s heart. There isnt any problem with their OP and ED songs, it had a really nice combination of OP/ED to start the series off which helped with that great first impression. they were particularly is suitable with the themes of love. Moving to BGM, Yukari Hashimoto is the one who responsible for this. Honestly, she is the best when it comes to romance music. His works in Toradora is enough to represent his quality and this time he also success in this anime. The BGM is really mixing well with each scenes.
The other thing that is noticeable from this show is the characters or the whole cast in this anime. The entire character and cast is so realistic and full of “normal people” that would we meet in our real life not some overly attached-girl, the little sister that have a thing for his big brother, a girl who is expressionless, or anything that anime provides us oftenly. More than that, In other words, the characters feel real and human. They are filled with multiple facets and glaring contradiction, just like all of us.
In the end, this anime is a good way to represent what a romance anime is. The realistic views is probably the most prominent in Golden time and i think this is how all anime should be especially when they bring ‘romance’ tags. Unrealistic romance makes the love story become cliche and good things golden time isnt like that. So, if you want a good romance with realistic, light-hearted comedy, Golden Time is probably one of the anime that you should watch.
8: Hataraku Maou-sama!
English: The Devil is a Part-Timer!
MAL Score: 7.80
Striking fear into the hearts of mortals, the Demon Lord Satan begins to conquer the land of Ente Isla with his vast demon armies. However, while embarking on this brutal quest to take over the continent, his efforts are foiled by the hero Emilia, forcing Satan to make his swift retreat through a dimensional portal only to land in the human world. Along with his loyal general Alsiel, the demon finds himself stranded in modern-day Tokyo and vows to return and complete his subjugation of Ente Isla—that is, if they can find a way back!
Powerless in a world without magic, Satan assumes the guise of a human named Sadao Maou and begins working at MgRonald’s—a local fast-food restaurant—to make ends meet. He soon realizes that his goal of conquering Ente Isla is just not enough as he grows determined to climb the corporate ladder and become the ruler of Earth, one satisfied customer at a time!
Whether it’s part-time work, household chores, or simply trying to pay the rent on time, Hataraku Maou-sama! presents a hilarious view of the most mundane aspects of everyday life, all through the eyes of a hapless demon lord.
The basic premise of the show is that the overlord of the demon army and one of his generals are attacked by the hero during a large scale war to take over ‘ente isle’. They attempt to temporarily retreat to an alternate dimension, but find themselves trapped in modern day japan and are unable to return. So must work menial jobs to survive while they attempt to find a way to recover their powers and return to ente isle. It’s a solid premise that’s fairly original and had a lot of potential, but ultimately failed in its execution.
I know what your thinking, the main character of the show is a demonic overlord trapped in human form, working in McDonalds. So we’ll get an evil anti-hero with dark tendency’s who goes on to become good, accepting human values, and seeking reconciliation for his dark past. But instead we get your typical self sacrificing “emiya shiro” right from the get go. He becomes your generic harem/action protagonist, and never displays any regret over his past actions despite this. As such Maou gets no concrete development over the show, and the fact that he is a demon has no relevance to his personality whatsoever.
The show then goes on to introduce more and more female characters to the point where it becomes a slice of life harem with a little action and comedy scattered throughout. We also see scenes from ente isle but bizarrely there are no demons present at all, despite being on the verge of conquering the entire world before Maou left they apparently just got up and left.
Most of the “plot” starts feeling like filler after each of the characters is introduced which ultimately meant they ran out of time to develop any real closure on the romance side. Making the ending feel like a half season break, rather than a satisfying end to the show. So you’ll have to wait at least another year for season 2 to get any closure.
The comedy starts off okay but there was never really enough of it to sustain the show purely on laughs, and as the show goes on the comedy becomes less and less frequent and much more repetitive (oh we are so poor, that’s still hilarious the 1000th time we’ve heard it)
The opening isn’t present for the first two episodes, because when it is finally introduced it just recycles footage from the first two episodes. The music in the show isn’t awful, but it certainly isn’t a selling point for the show. The art is of the same high quality we’ve come to expect of modern anime but doesn’t do anything exceptional in that regard.
Overall I believe it is a very overrated mediocre show. Whist its premise is fairly original its poorly executed and there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done much better elsewhere.
While I scrolled through the list the title is was caught my eye, “The Devil is A part Timer”. There are many thoughts that came to mind so I decided to please my curiosity. From the start to finish the plot flows in a consistent manner. The characters development is great despite the short amount of episodes that are allotted (13). The animation is great as well as a decent english dubbed version.
Can’t really point out anything bad in particular other than the stereo typical loud tsundere chick.
But all in all, quick and fun just like I like it.
This anime is the one.
While sucky reboots and trashy sequels keep spreading their vice like grip among people who haven’t breathed outside air for a long time, Hataraku Maou Sama is the odd kid in the block. It has a totally new concept which totally works for its genre. While most other stuff still don’t know their true identities after 10 episodes, this anime knows where its comedy lies and executes it very well. It may not send you into hysterical fits of laughter, but rest assured you will be having a loony grin plastered on your face while watching it. The best word to describe it will be ‘Delightful’. And it has a pretty decent story as well. Being 11 episodes only it will be a short journey though. But at least its a memorable one.
Characters make or break a show. HMS has great characters with their own idiosyncrasies and attitude. From the Lucifer who turns into a NEET to our own hero who turns from being a apathetic dark lord to a guy who works at Mc Ronalds. Yeah you read it right. This makes up for interesting situations which never fail to amuse.
Should you watch it? Yeah. Once in a while you need an anime like this to clear your mind and relax
7: Nagi no Asu kara
English: A Lull in the Sea
MAL Score: 8.03
Long ago, all humans lived beneath the sea. However, some people preferred the surface and abandoned living underwater permanently. As a consequence, they were stripped of their god-given protection called “Ena” which allowed them to breathe underwater. Over time, the rift between the denizens of the sea and of the surface widened, although contact between the two peoples still existed.
Nagi no Asu kara follows the story of Hikari Sakishima and Manaka Mukaido, along with their childhood friends Chisaki Hiradaira and Kaname Isaki, who are forced to leave the sea and attend a school on the surface. There, the group also meets Tsumugu Kihara, a fellow student and fisherman who loves the sea.
Hikari and his friends’ lives are bound to change as they have to deal with the deep-seated hatred and discrimination between the people of sea and of the surface, the storms in their personal lives, as well as an impending tempest which may spell doom for all who dwell on the surface.
Nagi no Asukara (or Nagi-Asu for short) takes place in a fantasy world where there exist two different subspecies of humans. In this story, people originally came from the ocean, however over time there were ones who started crawling up on land as well to see what lay above the surface of the water. Now, ages later, the population has been split completely into land people and sea people, and they generally live quite isolated from each other.
The story follows a circle of childhood friends from the sea, living in an underwater village called Shioshishio. For various reasons their local middle school closed down, and they had no choice but to transfer schools… to one above the surface. Trying to adapt to a life on land is not an easy thing, as they constantly have to keep themselves wet in order to not dry out their Ena; the protective shell given to the sea people by the Sea God, which is what enables them to live and breathe underwater in the first place. Furthermore, there is substantial discrimination and tension between the land people and the sea people which keeps raising new hurdles for the group of friends.
There are numerous areas that the plot revolves around over the course of time. There is the diplomatic relationship between the two groups of people, the mysterious supernatural aspects concerning the Sea God and Ena, and last but not least Nagi-Asu has some of the most complicated love drama I’ve ever come across in anime. However fear not, because Nagi no Asukara is an exceedingly rare case of romance done right.
You see, unlike 99% of all romance anime out there, Nagi-Asu is actually unpredictable. Normally you barely have to watch five minutes of the first episode of an anime TV-series in order to know with almost complete certainty which couplings will end up taking place before the end (unless there turns out to be no development at all, which is even worse), but not this time.
For one, the main character cast of Nagi-Asu is rather large as well as evenly divided in gender. There is also no one that really can be called a protagonist in this series; Hikari probably gets the most screen time but I wouldn’t really go as far as to call him a “lead” character. Point being that it never really feels like anyone has any innate “advantage” when it comes to love rivalry simply due to the concept of plot armour, because they all appear to be on fairly even grounds from start to finish. Above all though, if you would draw up all the characters and their various crushes in a relationship graph, you would very quickly realize that there are just way too many arrows… and there is no obvious nor optimal solution in sight. Hence, I honestly didn’t know how any of this would turn out until very close to the end of the entire series, and that is something extraordinarily rare in anime (which in itself is a pretty sad realization for the sake of the anime industry).
Anyway, all the love drama aside, the character development in Nagi no Asukara is fantastic. Each and every character feels like he/she actually serves a purpose, and adds something crucial to the bigger picture. The anime covers a quite large timespan and there is plenty of opportunity to see how everyone matures and changes over the course of the story. All the members of the main character cast have very specific and detailed personalities and depth behind them, and you never get the feeling that any of them are any less important than the other. I guess the best way to explain it is that the supernatural aspects aside, there is a constant sense of realism when it comes to the characterization in Nagi-Asu and it just kept getting better and better the longer it went because of it.
Oh the burden of not having an 11/10 rating.
If there is one thing you will realize within the first few minutes of the very first episode, it is that the visuals of Nagi-Asu are simply out of this world phenomenal. I’m not talking as much about the facial expressions etcetera although those are certainly very good as well, but this category is all about the environments. Everything involving the sea in this anime is breathtaking. Absolutely stunning. The underwater world and its submerged town has all kinds of marine creatures swimming around everywhere in perfect detail, and the lighting coming through the ocean surface (which works sort of like the sky in this case) and how it refracts with the water looked almost futuristic at times. P.A. Works really outdid themselves this time around.
That is not to say that the surface world is that much less impressively looking in any way, as the animation quality of this show is just all-round top notch. I don’t really have much to say about it however other than the fact that it is really solid throughout; it’s just that it kind of gets outshined simply by how gorgeous the water world of Nagi no Asukara is. I really cannot praise it enough.
Anything starring Hanazawa Kana is always an immediate potential winner in my book, but she’s not exactly the only factor to take into account regarding the audio of Nagi no Asukara. As far as the voice acting goes, I think pretty much everyone really lived out their characters’ roles as good as you could possibly ask for. While there was no one character that really stood out for me as being above the others in this regard, the amount of feeling that was put into the voice acting should definitely not be understated, and consequently I think it was a really good performance by the seiyuu cast in general.
Regarding the soundtrack… this part is actually pretty hard to comment on. The reason for this is that the music of Nagi-Asu is generally pretty quiet. It doesn’t have any sort of epic OST or catchy/emotional music; rather it goes with a generally ambient theme that tries to up-play the atmosphere of the anime in general as well as its key scenes. As far as that goal goes, I think it does its job very well, but on the flipside it also results in the individual tracks not being very memorable as they’re pretty much only good alongside the show itself and not as something you would ever listen to on its own in a music playlist. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but it’s simply the way it works.
The various OP/ED themes would probably all fall into the category of “good, not great” to me; originally I wasn’t too fond of them but they kind of grew on me over time as the show kept getting more and more emotional.
Overall I feel that the music of Nagi-Asu was mostly intended as a supporting aspect for other categories of the show rather than something intended to be great on its own. It’s not the most common way of approach but if that was indeed the producers’ goal then I think it was executed fairly satisfactory.
This show took up almost all the spare time I had available over the course of the three days it took me to marathon it. Normally that is not something I manage to do quite as much anymore, at least not for anime of this type of genre, but in the case of Nagi no Asukara I really could not stop watching it. It has this constant drive of making you want to know more, both regarding what is going to happen to the characters in focus, but also regarding the entire population of the two human subspecies and the world itself. It is extremely immersive and has a huge sense of realism to it that makes it really hard to not get absorbed by it. Also, like I mentioned earlier, it is less predictable than most anime series out there so you can never take what is going to happen next for granted.
Nagi no Asukara is a series for people seeking feels and beautiful landscapes. It utilizes environments you normally never get to see in anime and it does so in style. It once again showcases that a seemingly stereotypical concept can be extremely successful when you add one or two twists to it on a very basic level, as well as boost it with very high production values. It also makes you care, not just for the main characters but for everyone and everything in it as the scope of Nagi no Asukara is unusually large.
This anime made me bask in its beauty as well as sob silently. It went above and beyond all my expectations and now I have to consider it as one of the best I’ve seen in ages. A gem not quite like any other.
It was crap from start to end, they took a nice idea about a fantasy world that could totally become decent and turned it into the most senseless idiocy about “love”, a kid’s fairytale with no goal whatsoever.
The best ideas such as enviroment and history were completely skipped and left unexplained, the setting under the sea could become absolutely awesome and they botched it, because instead of adjusting it to the situation they simply stuffed a copy of a normal village on the bottom of an ocean with no change at all. They even have stairs. They drink broth. I just don’t understand what was the point of such a forced setting.
There are loads of things that I don’t understand, but just to say a few: why in the world do people from the sea and from the shore hate each other so much if they don’t differ among each other in the slightest? They have the exact same culture and habits, they eat the same stuff, they even put the same designs on curtains; Why the hell should salt fall from the sky? I’m fine with fantasy but you could at least try to come up with some kind of explanation; Did someone tell those guys that they didn’t have to go as far as to make every possible pairing? There are fanfictions for that; Just where did the other students of the sea school go? That’s kind of creepy, they simply melted away, right?
Oh, and yes, I totally agree that the series did a 180 turn. The characters visibly leveled up in annoyance.
The ending was the best part of them all, it just wrapped things up as uncomprehensible as they were and gave it all that sickly sweet taste that dulls every black hole in the plot to a triviality.
The dialogues were awkward, trite and embarrassing to listen to.
When I first saw the description for Nagi No Asukara I really didn’t know what to expect. The synopsis didn’t really give off much of an idea of what this show was going to be like. So thinking that Nagi no Asukara would be another cheesy romantic comedy. I began watching with low expectations. Little did I know that what I was about to watch would be one of the most enjoyable slice of life anime I have seen in a long time.
A long time ago people lived and flourished in the sea. But one day some of the sea people wanted to live in the land, and thus they moved to the land and away from the sea. The story revolves around 4 middle school students who are forced to attend a school on land after their school in the sea village closes. Many problems such as adapting to new environments and dificulties making friends follow.
The story presents itself as a slice of life in the beginning with the main focus on problems the main characters have on the surface. Now for some people the pacing in the first half might be a bit slow, but There is good reason for that. As a character driven anime, Nagi No Asukara has to focus on its characters a lot and flesh them out properly, and Nagi No Asukara does just that. The show uses a lot of its time developing its characters and making sure they feel more like actual people rather than flat characters that you care little about. Was it worth it? Definitely.
But don’t be fooled. Nagi No Asukara doesn’t always stay a fun, light slice of life. The mood changes dramatically darker in the second half. The show takes a turn from slice of life to being more dramatic, and this is where Nagi No Asukara falls short on. Many slice of life romances that try to implement drama in their plot tend to be overly melodramatic, and this also seems to be the problem with Nagi No Asukara. Nagi No Asukara’s second half is chocked full of drama. From unrequited love to arguing. The show sometimes becomes quite frustrating in the dramatic parts. Many parts felt uncomfortably lengthened because of the melodrama and how the characters are so unwilling to talk and make up after an argument. Now although to me this wasn’t a major problem. It still dampened from the experience as a whole.
Story isn’t the only thing Nagi No Asukara focuses on.The animation of Nagi No Asukara is top-notch, with animation that rivals even The big studios like Kyoto animation The show looks absolutely gorgeous. The backgrounds were created with such detail that it felt like I was watching an art gallery. Character designs were also very appealing and detailed. Seriously, Nagi No Asukara’s art is definitely some of the best I’ve ever seen in the anime industry. I’m not exaggerating at all.
The sound of Nagi no Asukara is also paid much attention on. “lull ~Soshite Bokura wa~” by Ray is a great first opening that fits the slice of life aspect of the show perfectly. The second opening “ebb and flow” also by Ray has a more serious tone to it and is also a great song to listen to. ( I have already listened to it 20 times). The soundtrack also doesn’t disappoint. Pretty much every track and tune fits the mood well. Nagi no Yanagi also does a great job on the ending song.The first ending song “Aqua Terrarium”, is a calming song that fits the show very well. The second ending song “Mitsuba no Musubime” is also a very good song that fits with the second half very well.
As a character driven show, the characters are the aspects that make or break the series, and I can honestly say that Nagi No Asukara has quite the cast. The main cast consists of 5 characters. The crybaby Manaka Mukaido, the hotheaded Hikari Sakishima, the calm and collected Kihara Tsumugu, beautiful and caring Hiradaira Chisaki, and the handsome Isaki Kaname. Now at first the characters felt very stereotypical. Hikari is the main character that gets mad at many things and gets the viewers pissed off because of how much a jerk he can be. Manaka felt like those characters that were made to be cute and cater to the audience. Tsumugu was the smart one in the show that would preach life lessons to the other characters. Kaname was the handsome guy, and Chisaki is that kind girl who also joins in on the love triangle. As you can see. The cast doesn’t seem to be very likable or original in the beginning. What P.A works does an extraordinary job on though, is putting a serious amount of depth to the characters and developing them immensely over the course of the show.The characters develop dramatically and feel way more alive throughout the show. As you get to learn more about the characters through the show. You end up feeling way more connected to the characters.They turn into characters that you actually care about. Not second dimensional characters that you forget about in a few weeks, but characters that really make an impression on you.But that’s not the end. There are two more main characters added through the show. Shiodome Miuna and Sayu Hisanuma. Although they only receive development in later parts of the show. They recieve a lot of development through the series and although they might not get as much depth as the other characters. I ended up caring for them just as much as the main cast.Another very interesting part of the show is that Nagi No Asukara has one of the biggest and most complicated love webs I have seen in a while. Almost every important character in the show loves someone else. And watching this web unfold was truly an enjoyable experience. As I watched the characters grow up and see how they coped with their unrequited love. I began to root for their happiness from the bottoms of my heart. The characters truly made an impact to me, and it was a bit sad for me to finish the show.
Nagi No Asukara isn’t for everyone. It’s slow pacing in the beginning and it’s focus on the characters are enough to scare off people who have little patience and want immediate action . But for people who are patient enough. Nagi no Asukara is a show that will deliver. With its beautiful atmosphere, great characters, and a very interesting story. Nagi No Asukara is that gem in the rough that should definitely be watched by fans of romance and slice of life.
6: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.
English: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
MAL Score: 8.04
Hachiman Hikigaya is an apathetic high school student with narcissistic and semi-nihilistic tendencies. He firmly believes that joyful youth is nothing but a farce, and everyone who says otherwise is just lying to themselves.
In a novel punishment for writing an essay mocking modern social relationships, Hachiman’s teacher forces him to join the Volunteer Service Club, a club that aims to extend a helping hand to any student who seeks their support in achieving their goals. With the only other club member being the beautiful ice queen Yukino Yukinoshita, Hachiman finds himself on the front line of other people’s problems—a place he never dreamed he would be. As Hachiman and Yukino use their wits to solve many students’ problems, will Hachiman’s rotten view of society prove to be a hindrance or a tool he can use to his advantage?
Not everyone of course has had this experience, but it’s certainly something that people experience. And so this is what Yahari Ore does best, it gives us a perspective of those in school who have been rejected so much, they decide to play by their own rules, and that of course is excluding everyone else from the game. Afterall, it’s much easier to get on by when you only have yourself to rely on.
This anime doesn’t preach to the audience. And certainly, the view points of these characters are sometimes flawed. But it’s an interesting look at how some people deal with their failure to connect to others (or rather, what can happens to someone when people reject and shut them out). Yahari Ore also looks at it from the other perspective, and isn’t trying to paint one side as the victim/aggressor. We get a look at how mean and cruel we can be to each other when trying to fend for ourselves by fitting to the status quo. But this is true of both the rejected and those that reject.
At its core this show is very funny. The MC’s biting sense of humor and harsh views of the world is hilarious (even if it always has an underlining seriousness to it). And to be clear, this isn’t a serious drama. However, my praise focuses so much on the serious elements of the show, because I think that is what elevates this to a truly great Anime vs. a typical comedy. There is a lot of truth to this show, and it feels very realistic. Through the lens of the MC’s harsh view on the world, we get a deep look at social behaviors and how often everyone is just trying to be something that won’t be shunned from the pack.
If you are someone looking for a romance anime to watch, this might not be it. The romance in this anime isn’t non-existent, it’s actually well written in a realistic manner (it doesn’t fall into the typical tropes). However, if you are looking for romance with a lot of action, then you might be let down. The romance in this anime is more about feelings, and how they can grow towards others. This is to say, the romance feels like something special here, but you will not get any closure or sweeping action between specific characters (maybe later in the LN or if we get a season 2). Although I don’t think that’s what this anime is about, as ultimately its focus is more on how people internally deal with their emotions, and the fear of sharing them with others.
Yahari Ore is an example of why comedy is such a great asset to art. Comedy allows us to look at aspects of life that aren’t always good and allows us to examine the darker aspect of our humanity, and laugh while also getting a better understanding of it. Yes, this is a comedy that is for the most part, snarky, sarcastic and deadpan. But it’s also a very interesting perspective on how we treat other people, and how those that don’t fit in, (or those that choose not to play the game and try to fit in), deal with a world that heavily relies on being social.
Spring “blesses” us with yet another highschool anime about a guy who comes into contact with a bunch of girls in a school club.
What started out generic also ended generic and nothing of value has been gained.
It’s not only sad for the industry but also sad for Brains Base to produce such a subpar work, when in the past they were responsible for great shows like Baccano and Mawaru Penguindrum.
“Yahari” has no overall story, it’s just about a boy named Hikigaya and his school life. The show goes in no direction, builds up no goal to aim for, no romance no drama, no big lesson. While other slice of life school romcoms have at least something to aim for like, graduation, a romantic relationship or a different goal in life, Yahari stays true to slice of life and just shows us character interactions and some events.
If it doesn’t have a story, does it have anything else to offer?
Yes and no.
While shows without story have normally things like, great artwork, soundtrack, interesting characters, settings or concepts. None of this was found in Yahari, the jokes were sometimes funny and sometimes you didn’t care. I was wondering why I am even watching this anymore as it was clear nothing was going on. It revolved around the same thing the entire time without any clear path to go. Stumbling from one boring school event to the next it felt so dragged out and couldn’t keep me interested.
Even for its genre it did nothing new or groundbreaking. There are a lot of better shows similar to Yahari that were at least enjoyable to watch.
It all boils down to Hachiman, the anti-social protagonist with witty comments on the insignificance of school life and school friends. While at first I liked his cynical view on his surroundings as it reminded me of my own view on school life, it became very dry at some point as it was the same thing over and over.
He showed no real progression and he alone is not enough to save this anime.
Yukino was the other half decent character, she also had a very cynical outlook on life but was a more honorable student than Hachiman. Her personality though stagnated and became boring after a while. Besides being cruel and insulting she had nothing else to offer.
Yui was a possible love interest for the MC but the show decided to just leave that alone and make absolutely nothing with it. She is just a naive girl and totally bland and boring. Like the rest of the support characters.
Saika was the only one who had an entertaining interaction with the MC but only because of the homosexual tension. Besides that he was a personality less trap just for fan-service.
You know, if you have no story to offer then please offer an interesting cast. Yahari has only one interesting character and that is not enough to keep me interested and entertained for 13 boring episodes.
Art and Animation:
You know how well Baccano was animated? The surreal art style Mawaru Penguindrum had? Or the pretty colors in Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun?
Well Yahari had absolutely nothing like that.
It looked so cheap, the character designs were pretty generic and bad executed. The surrounding were so boring to look at, it had no special effects or interesting artistic treats for the eye.
Yahari looked just really really generic to borderline bad. I’m confused how Brains Base could produce such a cheap looking show.
Really it fails already in 3 categories, no story, boring character and cheap look…
But it doesn’t stop there. The overall soundtrack in Yahari is so forgettable, even bad at points. It’s just such run of the mill music that plays in the background without sticking out for a second.
The voice acting is good as usual, I would have face palmed if they would have fucked that up as well.
The opening is terrible and I always skipped it, the ending song is just as bad.
Four Strikes… Yahari what are you doing?
As you’d guess from my previous sections, yahari couldn’t keep me enjoyed through the course of 13 episode.
While I didn’t hate it (because then I’d have dropped it without a second thought). I just felt really bored at some point and just finished it so I had it finished.
Here and there it was funny and even entertaining. The start was pretty okay as well, but around the middle it just dropped deeper and deeper into insignificance. Such a boring show, it didn’t even had potential it wasted, it was wasted right from the start.
(Story) Content 3/10
Premise and Setting -1 (highschool boy with highschool girls in a club…)
Genre Execution 0 (sometimes funny but mostly boring)
Dialogues and Cleverness 0 (some good dialogues but overall too mundane)
Interest Keeping -1 (nothing was happening!)
Personality 0 (weren’t too bad)
Behavior and Chemistry 0 (very generic)
Development and Progression -1 (absolutely none)
Motivation and Backdrop 0 (simple)
Likability -1 (even tough 8man was good everyone else as terrible)
Art and Animation 5/10
Artstyle 0 (generic and boring)
Quality 0 (not impressive)
Background 0 (boring backgrounds)
Character Designs 0 (bad executed and bland looking)
Visual Effects 0 (simple)
Voice Acting 0 (normal)
Opening and Ending -1 (terrible)
Soundtrack -1 (unengaging)
Sound Effects 0 (normal)
Art and Animation -1 (bad)
Sound -1 (bad as well)
Story and Content -1 (boring)
Characters -1 (annoying)
Value -1 (an anime without any significance)
Yahari does nothing new or good in the romcom genre. it’s yet another school anime with an antisocial main character forced to interact with a bunch of girls. The events were mundane, the side characters annoying, art and sound below average. Truly a show not worth of any ones time.
If you want to watch an enjoyable RomCom try Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun made by the same studio last year. It’s not really great or anything, but by far better than Yahari.
Or why not try out really good ones like ToraDora or Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojou by JC Staff. Even Kyoto Animations Hyouka has more to offer and a similar cool main character.
~3/10 (Very Bad)
Somewhere along the way, I read that quote. The source is unknown to me, but I found that it struck key point in life. Well, I guess I can’t generalize and say everyone’s life, but I would say most people have had times they felt they couldn’t count on anyone. Life is full of things that make us want to isolate people we don’t understand and make us want to quit life. High school is full of those moments, those “emotional roller coaster” kind of moments. Basically, it can be related to my understanding of Oregairu, I’ll kind of explain…kinda later on. Maybe.
Story – Meet Hikigaya Hachiman, pessimistic protagonist. Alliteration wins the day. Just kidding. Basically, this romantic comedy is centered around this social outcast. Along with Yuigahama and Yukinoshita, these three characters make up the main cast. Of course it’s easy to start assuming and stereotype this as the “usual” romcom. I beg to differ. The premise for the story isn’t super original. I’ll admit that. But again, most things aren’t. What might have been another generic and boring romcom with mediocre ratings actually was just a disguise. After watching the first episode, I began looking forward to the next week. As I sat myself down each week to watch Oregairu, I realized just how well done the entire story was. Pacing-wise, I thought it was perfectly fine. There are minor issues, but none that truly sparks any debate.
Characters: Here was the biggest “fuck yeah” moments I’ve ever had. The characters in this show were phenomenal. Let me explain: from start to finish, how they started off as, how they developed, and the amazing interaction between the characters, especially Hikki and Yukinoshita, were just amazingly done. There really isn’t a show I enjoyed more than this based solely on character development. Gotta love the bantering back and forth.
Truly, there are some gems of knowledge we can all learn from. Hikki, pessimistic and messed as he may be, truly understands the world far better than most of the other characters in the show. Despite his twisted views on life, he tries his best to help others. Not always in the nicest way, but definitely in a way that is effective. Throughout the show, there was nothing more captivating than listening to Hikki’s thought process and views on life.
I won’t go into too much details about the others, but know this: the premise for each character is nicely brought out and it truly was the highlight of the entire show. The characters I mean. Interactions were perfectly portrayed and drew us in. How nice of them. I laughed my ass – pardon my language – off so many different times throughout the show just because of how well the interaction of the characters. Truly a masterpiece.
Art – Ah, I really was a little turned off by the art. Throughout the entire show, there was some episodes where it just didn’t look great. But it isn’t so bad to the point I wouldn’t watch it. Somehow, as I watched more and more, I cared less and less. It was quite colorful, I’ll admit. All in all, it wasn’t something bad, I just thought they could have done better. But really now, who cares about some subjective views of a random young adult? Probably not you.
Sound – Well, I must admit that the opening was something I never skipped. I really enjoyed listening to it. And throughout the show, the soundtrack really fit well for the mood. I have nothing bad to say about it. Though I must confess I never stayed for the ending.
After finishing the show, that quote really hit me. Not so much about what it meant, but that quote truly was something that describes Hikki so very well. He truly understands the meaning of “walking alone” and just doing what needs to be done.
Basically, I gave this show a 9/10. I couldn’t part to give it anything higher because despite how much I liked it, there were some parts that I couldn’t enjoy (like my subjective views on the art and stuff but anyway). Despite all that, and minor details, it was a show I thoroughly enjoyed. Don’t let the long name fool you, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, or “My youth romantic comedy is wrong as I expected”, or Oregairu. Whatever you may call it, this show truly is one worth watching.
Recommended. Highly. Yeah. Now go watch.
5: Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen
English: The World God Only Knows: Goddesses
Japanese: 神のみぞ知るセカイ 女神篇
MAL Score: 8.05
Having freed a myriad of women from the runaway spirits possessing their hearts, the “God of Conquest” Keima Katsuragi is confronted with a new task: find the Jupiter Sisters, the goddesses that sealed Old Hell in the past. Diana, the goddess that resides inside his childhood friend Tenri Ayukawa, explains that they have taken shelter in the hearts of the girls he had assisted previously. Moreover, once Diana and her sisters are reunited, their power can seal the runaway spirits away for good and relieve Keima of his exorcising duties. Though he is initially reluctant to get involved in yet another chore, everything changes when tragedy befalls one of the hosts.
Discovering that the goddesses are being targeted by a mysterious organization known as Vintage, Keima is caught in a race against time to reunite the sisters and rescue the girl who has already fallen prey. With deeper resolve than ever before, Keima works together with demons Elsie and Haqua to recapture the hearts of the girls he had charmed in the past. However, the road ahead is a difficult one, as he is soon met with the consequences of his previous conquests.
Now the story has focused on the Goddess Arc of the manga, which a lot of people have criticized this aspect because it skipped a large portion of the manga to get to this point. Which brings up the point that should always be said when judging a show based on source material: Always judge a show based on its own merits rather than how well it follows the source material. What’s more important is how it keeps telling the story in a concise and detailed matter that is true to the spirit of the manga rather than how specific scenes followed the manga well. In Megami-hen’s case, the pacing and how they develop the story, while not necessarily perfect in some areas, compliment each other exceptionally well in terms of emotion and clarity. While it does jump around in certain areas a little too fast, especially in the later episodes, it doesn’t deter the show from having an emotional impact whenever it is on-screen.
As always with each passing season, the art and animation are spectacular to look at. Tamaki Wakaki has a creative eye when he draws his manga and to have his drawings come to life in animation is both a perfect representation of them and an adorable treat to watch with great easy-on-the-eye animation. The characters look lovely with the colorful backgrounds that compliment each other with high excellence and creativity in a limited scope of the Moe and Slice of Life genre.
One thing that I’ve always admired The World God Only Knows, both the manga and anime versions, is how it can pack in so much depth and development into every character that you come across in just a short amount of time. In this season, the characters are now fully developed after two seasons, and after all this time, not a single inch of charm is lost in each one of them. Keima is still the cynical but often hilarious protagonist that we’ve all grown to love but also kind of hate at the same time. His sense of courage and intelligence make for an enticing protagonist and a larger than life character in general. It is now at this point in the story where we finally see a bit of humanity in his role. It is portrayed with immaculate maturity and pure excellence that makes Keima a three-dimensional character rather than this one-sided gamer otaku that he is often depicted most of the time.
The girls, once again, are as cute and charming as ever. Now that Elsie has replaced Kanon for Keima to find the other Goddesses in the girls he’s conquered, Haqua is now Keima’s buddy, and man do these two make for such a hilarious duo of detective and partner. The only slight problem I do have with this is that they don’t really go far enough in showing us Haqua and Keima’s relationship develop further as they go through these conquests. Despite this, they do a great job of adding a lot of chemistry between our two main leads regardless of the amount of screen-time they get.
As for the rest of the cast, not all of the girls return from previous seasons. Only a select few can have the honor of getting the most out of the story. For what it is, the girls and the comedy that they bring on the table can still be quite enjoyable to anyone who appreciates great parody in their spare time. One, in particular, is Shiori, who is trying to write a story of her own that she got inspired by her conquest by Keima. What results is them bickering by writing to each other with them together that create a funny parody of how people tend to criticize how people typically write a story in context with the show.
Now we turn to the girl who has the most significant presence in the season: Chihiro. Her personal development with Keima couldn’t be any more heartwarming than any anime character relationship story in recent years. Heartbreaking and sentimental as it might be, there is still this aura within Keima that completely changes him and morphs him into a new kind of way that we’ve never seen him as before. It is times like this that make The World God Only Knows a very excellent harem show. It treats the subject matter in a parodied manner but at the same time it is able to emote these heartwarming scenes that not only work in a writing standpoint but also in a pacing one.
Music in The World God Only Knows have always tread in the territory of J-Pop, what with Kanon’s songs in Season one and other character songs in the past. The songs in Season 3 are just as good as previous seasons even though they don’t necessarily step on any new ground in terms of instrumentation. The opening to this is oddly enough sung in English by Saori Hayami, who does it very well! Her pronunciation of the English language is spot on without many awkward attempts at sounding both Japanese and English or Engrish as it is often called in slang term. Unfortunately, I felt the ED was mostly forgettable after repeated listening. All singers do their jobs well, but other than the voices I found myself often skipping them most of the time.
As for voice acting, which is often the bright spot in the series, the seiyuus all do a fantastic job in their roles. Hiro Shimono is as charismatic as ever as Keima, the always beautiful Saori Hayami does a tremendous performance as Haqua, and a surprise performance by Kana Asumi as Chihiro who wholly owns her role through the latter half of the show. Though it could’ve shown more of Kanae Itou as Elsie; When you have her on a show, you want more of her sexy voice on-screen.
There will no doubt be a lot of debate with this season in particular. Whether you agree that watching the show and criticizing it for not following certain things correctly in the source material is a valid reason of not liking it or not, you have to set aside that in the back door and appreciate the show on its own merits. This is what all the seasons were building upon and the result was most definitely worth the wait. There are moments in the anime that will make you remember certain moments for years to come whether it was something that made you laugh with exquisite delight or cry with overall genuine emotion. For me, this one line in the show is the one that will stick with me for years after watching it: “You don’t need a reason to fall in love.” Words of wisdom by Chihiro.
The World God Knows III is adapted from the manga of the same name written by Wakaki Tamiki. The series continues as the third installment of the franchise but has some noticeably changes. Perhaps the most important of these changes is the fact that the anime decides to skip material from the manga. As this series covers the GODDESS ARC, some conquests left from the manga are left in unexplored territory. Therefore, if you want to get more insight on what you’re missing out, give the manga a try from chapters chapters 42-55 and 66-113. (this assumes you have watched the Tenri OVA) At any rate, the series decides to go with the Goddess route and oh boy, this sure brings a new twist to Keima’s life.
Because the series skips material, it is important to absorb most of it in the very first episode. At any rate, this series adapts the Goddess Arc and the Goddesses are the main task that Keima must deal with. The Goddesses themselves seems to be sealed into the girls that Keima conquered previously. The minor problem is that some of these girls’ routes (when they were conquered before) are omitted from this adaptation. Therefore, expect some flashbacks and brief scenes that might not make sense if you’re coming fresh into this series as an anime only viewer.
The story stretches out in a quick fashion as even in the beginning with the conflict immediately comes to fruition with the introduction of an new enemy. Part of what makes this Goddess Arc exciting is because Keima is put on the stress of reconquering some of the girls’ hearts but at the same time also with a friend’s life in danger. It obviously puts Keima in the driver seat of a stressful player. This is evidenced through the seriousness that he takes the situation at hand as his obsessive habit of playing games and dealing with 2D girls is significantly reduced. Furthermore, Keima feels guilty at himself for getting others involved and seems to a bear a sort of responsibility of some of the events in this series. Indeed, the Goddess Arc takes this series to a whole new level with new surprising challenges. There’s a blend now between fiction and reality. Previously, Keima only wanted to conquer girls in order to get it over with and return to normal life. Now, he is fighting for someone else other than himself. Now that my friends deserves some respect.
Most of the main and supporting characters makes their appearances in this arc. Some gets more screen time than others while the supporting characters get their spotlights in a set up of ‘conquer of the week’ format. Keima’s mind at the same time is put to significantly use because what’s at stake. It still revolves around conquering girls though but this time for the sake of drawing goddesses out of them. It’s a hunt where Keima has to play the role of a player. Furthermore, it’s racing the clock to save a friend. By the typical TWOGK concept as previously seen, Keima often relies on strategies he gets from his experience off of the games he plays. This involves triggering flags, making the perfect date plans, or formulating strategies to respond accordingly to situations. Luckily, the boy also gets a little help as well.
Simply put though, we have two girls or rather supernatural beings who serves as guides to Keima. If you guessed Elsie and Haqua, then you’re right. In particular though, Haqua’s relationship with Keima is one of the more interesting factors to examine. It seems that her character has become more and more prone to jealousy especially in situations where it involves dealing with the Goddesses. Perhaps the girl now has feelings of her own based on some interesting reactions to his mission. In particular one moment, she blunts out that Keima is needed by her. It does gets more frustrating at some points though especially since Keima is so focused on his task that he fails to notice these certain triggers from Haqua. At the same time, Keima wants to make triggers of his own through whatever means. These usually have various results but viewers can be satisfied that Keima is more of the level headed protagonists of this harem series.
As a harem series goes, the show still maintains its themes well. The girls are diverse ranging from a shy library girl, to an idol, a tomboy, an ice queen, or the rich type. It offers a multitude of conquests in a variety so viewers gets a new experience of that TWOGK feel again. The addition is the introduction of the Goddesses (also known as the Jupiter Sisters) Based on the names of the Roman mythology, they are some of the key players of this series. It’s also important to note that each of them resides in a different girl and all of them has a different ability. Their personalities seems to also reflect on their hosts as well which makes it much more comfortable for viewers to get to know them better, especially for those who have read the manga. Whatever the case, the Goddess Arc takes a full swing at this new concept and makes it that much more exciting once again. (well maybe not so much fun for Keima)
For the adaptation, there are certain elements left out. I won’t compare this to the manga but some scenes should have been there for a more pleasurable experience. As being a harem show, it doesn’t avoid fan service either that either results in misunderstandings and some skin being shown. Luckily though, Keima is the main male protagonist and not the type that prone out like a typical dull kid from a harem series. When misunderstanding happens, he tries to take advantage of it and makes it into a strategy. In fact, Keima still is confident and calculating which makes him independent and even admirable.
There’s also certain elements of this series that makes it stand out with the new twists such as the new enemy. However at the same time, we see comedy packaged with hilarious dialogues, misunderstandings, and awkward moments. These usually involves Keima in a situation where he is uncomfortable with or something that he didn’t anticipate as part of his plan. At other times, there’s the comedy that seems to be a bit forced and repetitive. Another factor that might of prevent a better success for this series is the way the tension of the romance aspect seems to feel somewhat weaker. This could be the result of the rushed sequences of a series that is condensed into only a mere 13 episodes. But what’s more than that though could be a lack of new transition as in new girls/targets. Rather than introducing any new girls for conquest, some of the conquests feels like deja vu in a way that might once again seem a bit repetitive. Additionally, some of Keima’s choices might seem controversial for viewers especially for those has their favorite girls already made up in their minds.
Visual wise, the series makes both good usage of coloring and style. Manglobe again is involved with the production so expect a similar if not the same format of the designs. The characters themselves are designed to look different and reflect on their personalities. For instance, Yui is designed to look like a tomboy while Kanon has that style of an idol. Keima of course stands out as the main protagonist as a “God in one world, otaku in another”.
The OP song “God only knows -Secrets of the Goddess-” by Oratorio The World God Only Knows reflects on the nature of the arc with the Goddess being the highlights. There are also montages of some of girls are shown along with possible foreshadowing. The voice actors and actresses does a great job in their roles. Keima’s calculating voice is reflected in his style while most of the supporting characters fits in their own. Some of the voices of the girls also matures their personalities well. In contrast though, the OST seems bit mediocre and barely noticeable.
For a harem series, this sure takes its themes to a different style. Season 3 of TWGOK deals with the Goddess Arc so expect new surprises and a little more emotions here and there. At the same time, there’s the fun and nostalgia bought back from the previous series. Just be aware that this series skips some of the manga material involving certain routes. After all, it adapts the Goddess Arc. Therefore, it’s best to re-read some of the chapters that were never adapted. (maybe will be in the future in OVAs?). I hope you enjoy this series though just like the previous ones if you’re still a fan of TWGOK. It’s time to conquer the 3D world once again!
The story of this season continues in a similar fashion to the other two, however in this season Keima has to reconquer his former heroines from the past. Unlike the other two seasons, by the end of this anime we get to see hints that Keima will develop a lot as a character, but still remain the same Keima we know and love.
The art of the anime is very similar to the other two seasons. Nothing really changes with each of the characters in terms of design, and art. The art remains phenomenal, I very much liked how there’s a great amount of detail in each scene, you can pause at anytime during a scene and see the level of detail within the frame, definitely makes me appreciate this anime more. In terms of sound, everything seems fine. The voices of the characters seem well suited for each of the personalities of each one of them. Background music was appropriate was appropriate to each specific scene during the anime. The OST is quite charming itself, although it might not be a cup of tea for everyone since the sound is quite intricate.
Now for the characters, most of the characters remain the same, but unlike the other two seasons we definitely see character development, however it is mainly just Keima. Unfortunately Elsie is not a main character in this season, which was a little upsetting for me since I liked her as a character and her bubbly personality, but for the focus of this season, I think it was natural that she was not put in as a main character just because this season sets a different aura than the other two. In terms of Keima’s development, as I said before we get small hints here and there near the end of the anime that he’s going to mature, and potentially give up his love of gaming?
For the enjoyment, I definitely enjoyed this season a lot more than the other two. In my opinion the first two seasons were very similar, it was just Keima going around conquering females and helping Elsie with her quests. This season it is quite fresh, similar yet different compared to the prequels, but the concept of conquering females remain, which is what the viewers and fans want when watching this anime. The only problem I had with this season was with the last Heroine, it felt very rushed and the flow of the anime just felt off at that point. Even though that was the only thing I did not like, it still wasn’t enough for me to enjoy this anime.
Personally I’m not a big fan of harems, but this is one of the few harems that I did enjoy. Overall Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen was an excellent anime; I’d rate it as a 9 out of 10. But in order to really appreciate it you must watch the first two seasons. With that being said I would definitely recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys a good romance or comedy, but watch the first two seasons first!
This is first review on MAL. Please comment on my profile to give me feedback !
4: Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo
English: The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
MAL Score: 8.14
When abandoned kittens and his good conscience force second year Sorata Kanda to move into Suimei High School’s infamous Sakura Hall, the satellite dorm and its eccentric, misfit residents turn his life upside down. The decidedly average Sorata finds it difficult to fit in with the bizarre collection of dorm residents like Misaki, an energetic animator; Jin, a playwright playboy; Ryuunosuke, a reclusive programmer; and Chihiro, the dorm manager, art teacher, and party girl.
Sorata’s friend Nanami, a second year student and aspiring voice actress, pushes him to find new owners for the many cats so that he can quickly move back into the regular dorms. However, his desire to escape Sakura Hall wavers when the pet-like and infantile second year Mashiro Shiina, a world-class artistic savant looking to become a mangaka, transfers in during the spring trimester and quickly latches onto him.
Supported by each other’s quirks, Sorata and Mashiro come out of their shells and trigger change in the lives of those around them. Based on the light novel series of the same name, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo explores the fine threads connecting talent, hard work, romance, and friendship with its ensemble cast.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a rom-com slice of life anime, so it’s a good watch by default, right? Well, not quite. This genre has a shtick for being oversaturated, particularly with many poor productions. Why should you watch Sakurasou in particular, over the many other rom-com slice of life’s? Well, read on to find out.
Sakurasou does one thing especially well that makes it stand out among its competitors, and that is its character dynamics. That is an aspect of it that is simply fantastic. As such, this review contains a fairly lengthy discussion of the plot, which I will highlight with spoiler tags.
The main characters of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo are Kanda Sorata, Kamiigusa Misaki, Shiina Mashiro, Aoyama Nanami and Mitaka Jin. Already, Sakurasou can be seen as a highly unique anime. With 5 characters that are all equally important to the story, the audience gets five times the character development than most rom-coms. However, the story technically follows the adventures of Kanda Sorata, who has been banished to Sakurasou (“Sakura Hall”) due to the regular school dorms not allowing the keeping of cats. As he cares deeply for his cats, Kanda ends up biting the bullet and chooses to live at Sakurasou. There at Sakurasou, he lives with other would-be delinquents. And so, the relationships between the five characters at Sakurasou would serve as the backbone of this anime’s story.
Presumably, this should already be heaven for any rom-com slice of life lover; after all, there are five main characters and 24 episodes. The real thing that does it for Sakurasou, however, is the romance aspect of the anime. And by “doing it”, I mean doing a disservice. The romance in this anime is quite horrid, honestly. This is especially hard for me to say as I thoroughly enjoyed literally every single aspect of Sakurasou, except for its romance.
I’m going to be discussing the story in mild detail, so if you don’t want to be spoiled at all, skip to the [endspoiler] tag.
My first problem is Misaki’s relationship with Jin. Due to the nature of the anime and the nature of Misaki’s personality itself, her quest for love was simply a joke; I never really took it seriously. Whenever she cried after her numerous failures, I did not feel sympathy for her, nor did I feel emotional as a viewer. Misaki’s love struggles never really had any weight to them, and they even got resolved fairly quickly (as if to further undermine them).
The other problem: Aoyama and Kanda’s relationship. Oh boy. This relationship single-handedly “ruined” Sakurasou for me (not really ruined, but it basically kicked my pairing hopes in the nutsack). I personally rooted for Aoyama and Kanda to get together throughout the series, but man was THAT wishful thinking. Before watching this series, I read many posts touting Sakurasou as being “the bad kind of predictable”. And I certainly see why now. Right from the first episode, you could already see Shiina x Kanda being established. Them getting all touchy-feely so early on, the sexual innuendos, the peeping moments… it was all meant to be from the very beginning. So why then, did the writers decide to create a second relationship branch in Aoyama x Kanda? It makes zero sense to me, and Sakurasou’s execution of the pairing itself made just about the same amount of sense. The entire time, Kanda is as blunt as a block while Aoyama is as pitiful as a bug. It was just painful for me to watch Aoyama each time she tried to confess to Kanda. Her constant failures were just really disgusting, and especially so since I’m one of the viewers who prefer Aoyama over Shiina. Not by much, because I do love Shiina as a character, but some preference nonetheless. Aoyama’s unrealized love was truly cringe-worthy; two especially disgusting moments were when she confesses her love, only to play it off as “good acting”, and when she gave a half-ass confession to Kanda after her audition. Seriously, it’s like the producers were purposely getting my hopes up simply to laugh at me afterwards. Two times, we were supposed to get Aoyama to finally confess to Kanda, and for Kanda to (more than likely) go out with her or reject her. But, we get the worse-case scenario; Aoyama’s love is never realized! As I have said before, the chemistry between Aoyama and Kanda really pissed me off not only due to how poorly it was coordinated but also by how unnecessary it was. The producers did NOT need to include a second girl for Kanda; this isn’t a harem anime. Shiina would have been good enough, and the story could have simply focused on Kanda x Shiina being realized. However, just as this anime put the final nail in the coffin when it came to pissing me off with Aoyama x Kanda, episode 23 came about: the graduation episode. And boy, let me tell you. This was one of the greatest episodes in anime history; I’m just going to say it now. The emotion displayed in this episode by all the characters (students, school staff members, Sakurasou residents included) was simply unreal. This scene does not necessarily make you want to cry. However, you can sense the genuineness within each characters’ sadness, their speeches, and their feelings for each other. Instead of being a giant cheesefest, the producers of Sakurasou actually managed to make the graduation episode an honest-to-goodness emotional episode. And I felt it. However, I found myself asking: “Why wasn’t this the final episode?”
The last episode (24) made it seem as if there was still plenty more for Sakurasou to cover. It introduced two new characters, and it was the start of a new year; everything was fresh. We were going to see Kanda and Shiina being isolated from the other main characters for the first time, and maybe even having their relationship furthered. We even got a glimpse of the two new members of Sakurasou, and they are not bad characters in the slightest. All in all, the producers had quite a lot of quality material to work with if they wanted to create another season. So why didn’t they? After I finished watching all 24 episodes of Sakurasou, I was left wanting more. The series didn’t really “end” at all; why start a new chapter if you’re just going to cut it off right away? The ending makes no sense to me. You could say that this is a sign that the producers are thinking of a second season, but there hasn’t really been any news yet. It’s just wishful thinking as of now.
In every other department, however, Sakurasou excels.
Story [9/10]: Probably the most important aspect of an anime, Sakurasou has an exceptional story. While its romance is admittedly weak, as previously discussed, it doesn’t take much away from the story. There were quite a lot of aspects of Sakurasou that I had a critique for, and yet I found myself excitedly watching every episode regardless. I constantly wanted to find out what would happen next, and I was definitely held in suspense during many moments throughout the anime. The moments of drama, in particular, gave Sakurasou such great depth.
Art [10/10]: One of the absolute KILLER aspects of Sakurasou! The art implements a fairly unique style, using mainly warm and bright colors. Most animes have art that uses colors and shades from a generic palette, which causes them to look to look very similar to each other; Sakurasou strays away from this. All of the characters are drawn nicely, along with all of the minute details in the animations being perfectly executed. However, if there was one thing to really set Sakurasou apart, it’s the art used to portray Shiina Mashiro’s artistic virtuosity. As the viewer, I was able to completely comprehend the extent of Shiina’s skill due to Sakurasou’s magnificent art. Not to mention, whoever drew Shiina’s drawings was quite talented themselves.
Sound [10/10]: The only proof I need to verify the greatness of Sakurasou’s soundtrack is the fact that its OPs/EDs are among my top-played songs on my iPod. Initially, I wasn’t really feeling the first opening; it sounded somewhat generic. However, after listening to it multiple times by virtue of watching the anime, I fell in love with it. The openings completely portray the mood of the entire anime (and the openings very cleverly display the fantastic art style, too). The second ending in particular went very nicely with the characters dynamics at that point in the story.
Character [10/10]: Sakurasou’s characters truly give it that extra dimension. For a rom-com, all five main characters are surprisingly deep. Throughout the story, we get to learn of all of their backgrounds. What makes them so amazing is the fact that despite vastly contrasting upbringings, all of the Sakurasou residents are accepting of each other. There is never any sense of dislike or resentment among them, and they are all genuine friends. That chemistry between them is what makes them so special to watch.
I thought long and hard about my final rating. Admittedly, there are quite a few problems with Sakurasou, such as its romance. However, for an anime that has left such a huge impact on me, Sakurasou deserves nothing less than a perfect score. Along with other viewers, I have been left wanting more. Few other animes have managed to make me feel this way. And while I was watching it, Sakurasou provided countless laughs and a fair share of quality drama. Never was I bored at any moment while watching the series. The greatest thing about Sakurasou, however, is the fact that it manages to meet and then exceed the standard expectations of a romantic comedy slice-of-life anime; it truly is a fantastic production. Rarely can anyone recommend an anime of this genre as a must-watch for anime enthusiasts of all kinds, but that is exactly what I’m doing with Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
The very first line in the anime coming from the protagonist himself. Frankly, I felt exactly the same after watching the first dozen episodes of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. J.C. Staff, a studio which animated numerous titles such as Toradora, Zero no Tsukaima, Toaru Majutsu no Index, now it’s Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo or in English, ‘The Pet Girl of Sakurasou’.
Story? Kanda Sorata was told to move to a place called Sakurasou, a dorm where the problem students dwell in. One day, Shiina Mashiro, a genius, moves to the Dorm. And so, Sorata’s dorm mates given him the task to take care of Mashiro. So there ya go. You can probably predict the outcome of the show before you even watched it.
Sakurasou is a somewhat-more-than-generic romance/comedy anime. So, what are the common features of rom coms? Generic protagonist lives alone, story set in high school, extraordinary female protagonists, transfer students, probability of the transfer student living next door, childhood friends, imoutos having brother complex, beach episodes, protagonist is a chick magnet and lots of other distinctive features. It’s those shows where you watch simply because you’re too bored. Sakurasou is no exception.
However, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is slightly more different than the usual. While it does have most of the features mentioned, but this time the protagonist lives in a dorm, filled with problem students and Sakurasou have a slightly better plot…and I guess that’s pretty much it.
Since it’s a romance/comedy anime then you’re expecting some humor. Regrettably, the “comedy” part is appalling. Sakurasou provides the viewer with lots of humor throughout the series, but none of them were hilarious. All in all, Sakurasou fails to be entertaining in terms of humor.
In most cases, ecchi scenes and fanservice in these kind of anime are tolerable, as long as there are few but if too many, it affects the quality of the show. Indeed, I knew there were going to be ecchi in the series, but Sakurasou has more than expected.
Finally, it’s the story. Sakurasou starts off as boring, tiresome, especially the beginning and it may also be the biggest flaw of the anime. Brace yourselves, because boredom strikes very early. The starting episodes may give a bad first impression to the viewer and some may even stop watching the series solely because of that. Sakurasou is one of the few anime I’ve watched that left a terrible first impression.
However, once you’ve covered the dull early episodes, at one point Sakurasou eventually starts becoming more intriguing later on(if it ever does for you). Personal point of view: I might have enjoyed Sakurasou more if it only had 12 or 13 episodes, not with 24 episodes. Why? for me, it starts becoming more interesting roughly at episode twelve. Some of the characters’ past were interesting to watch such as Shiina Mashiro’s however the enjoyment only lasted for couple of minutes. Sakurasou did have some memorable moments; both happy and sorrowful, but most of them were in the middle or near the end of the series. Luckily, the ending was pretty decent. Not the best ending I’ve seen, but still it’s ok.
Character? I’ll show you in a list.
These are the characters who dwell in Sakurasou Dorm.
Scores are out of 5. Lowest(1) being Hated. Highest(5) being Loved.
Kanda Sorata:(1/5) Boring male protagonist; essential in most rom coms. Now, only more irritating.
Shiina Mashiro*:(3/5) Female protagonist. Neutral.
Aoyama Nanami:(3/5) The common tsundere type. I feel sorry for her at the end of the series.
Mitaki Jin:(3/5) Looks like he lost his virginity years ago.
Kamiigusa Misaki:(2/5) Energetic, noisy type.
Akasaka Ryuunosuke:(3/5) A Hikikomori.
Chihiro Sengoku:(3/5) Dorm teacher of Sakurasou.
A couple of supporting characters.
Kanda Yuuko:(1/5) She has brother complex. I’m not surprised. Most of the imoutos nowadays have brother complex anyway.
Rita Ainsworth:(3/5) Kawashima Ami…is that you?
From the list above, any scores below 3 means they’re disliked. None of the characters were interesting. Of course, all of the scores above are just my opinion. Though, it’s nice to see character development going on.
*In some of the scenes, Shiina Mashiro really reminded me of Akemi Homura, a character which I really love in Madoka Magica. Perhaps the last two episodes of Madoka Magica are simply too memorable…
Art/Visuals? Overall, it’s great. Colors are bright and artstyle is gorgeous. Backgrounds are nice and Shiina Mashiro’s artwork are incredible.
Sound? Voice acting is pretty good(Sorata yelling almost every time is rather aggravating). OP and ED are all J-Pop themed songs and I’ve only bothered to listen to them once. I do like J-pop songs, but only selected ones. There’s some very beautiful background music being played during the sad scenes.
Conclusion? Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo isn’t the worst rom com I’ve watched and its far from being the best. To sum up, it’s pretty average, despite the number of flaws it has. Unfortunately, Sakurasou just didn’t live up to my expectations. Not even close.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. When I first read the little summary of it on MAL I got the horrible feeling in my stomach it would be very sexually forward with a lot of fan service and very little plot/char. development. I thank God today that I’m terrible at guessing plots to anime, and I will take this second to simply say “I apologize” to the writer for having low expectations. Because I could not have possibly been more wrong.
This story is about a group of what I can only describe as misfit geniuses. These are the rejects of the school, and at the same time some of the most artistically gifted students at Sui High. For various reasons, be it financial or social, they each have ended up in the cheapest and fairly rundown Co-Ed dorm at the school, Sakurasou. Kouhai (The main male protagonist) was forced to move into the dorm after he tried to take care of a stray cat he found, however dorm regulations forbid him to keep it unless he moved. So of course, he decided to move until he could “find another owner for it”. However, by the time the show opens up on the present at the start of out story, rather than him making any progress, he has actually taken in like… 10 more cats. As I said, so at the open of the show Chihiro sensei (runs the dorm) asks Kouhai to go pick up a transfer student who will be moving into Sakurasou. That transfer student is none other than the beautiful, quiet, legendary artist Mashiro. He comes to find out she is essentially incapable of taking care of herself on her own, so in the same nature as his cats, he takes on the responsibility of being on “Mashiro duty”.
The misfits have many little adventures and antics and overcome many trials during their time at Sakurasou. As time passes friendships form and grow, bonds grow stronger, fights, love, tears, all come into play among the six friends of Sakurasou.
Now Ill do that thing where you separate it into sections
Actually, even though I’m not big on being able to tell huge differences and intricate details between different anime, this show’s art really stood out. It felt smooth, clean, and beautiful. I daresay it was made to look so as to reflect the fact that they are all artistic students in their various fields, to match the level of beauty they themselves can create. The only other anime I know of with animation better than this would be Nagi no Asakura. So that’s pretty darn good. I appreciated the high quality.
Not a pro on music, I can basically tell you whether I
1. Liked the OP and ED. (I really did)
2. thought the music distracted me from the show or helped to amplify it. (It blended well and I liked it just fine. Nothing to report back negative on.
Story Quality/ Why I Enjoyed It
This has to be one of the best stories of friendship and love I’ve ever seen. Now when I say love I mean it in a universal way. Not JUST romantic love, although there is plenty of that. I mean also the love between friends. Best friends. Think of a friend of yours who is the absolute most important friend you don’t want to have to be without. Now take six of y’all and go live in a dorm together. That’s in essence what you have here. The plot was paced very well, nothing happened too quick or too slow. The pain and struggles each character went through had me feeling like I was right there struggling with them. Is that not a powerful thing? When a story can draw you in so much that when something big happens, whatever it may be, it has the power to make you FEEL emotion. And no I’m not talking about “man I’m so pissed the plot went in this direction”. No… I’m talking about when you see a character get their heart broken, you feel for them, you cry with them. It’s really not easy for an anime to do that. But for me, this did.
I’m telling you, Misaki’s graduation speech TORE ME UP (that means it made me cry).
I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves a good story about the bond between friends. And young love. This show is as funny as it is sad, as it is heartwarming as it is beautiful.
Hats off to Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo.
3: Little Busters!: Refrain
English: Little Busters! ~Refrain~
MAL Score: 8.21
Following the Little Busters after they lost their first baseball game, the team decides to have a pancake party. It has been almost one semester since the return of Kyousuke Natsume. As usual, Riki Naoe continues to help the Little Busters’ members—both old and new—with confronting their inner struggles. However, strange happenings begin to occur, leading Rin Natsume and Riki closer to unraveling the truth behind the “secret of this world.”
Little do Rin and Rikki know, their discovery will end up changing the peaceful everyday lives created by the Little Busters once and for all. Little Busters!: Refrain brings a conclusion to the colorful stories of its ensemble cast—forged with the weight of emotions and strengthened with the bond of friendship—as they come to terms with their regrets and weaknesses.
As somebody who regards the Little Busters visual novel as one of the most emotional stories they have ever experienced, I was sceptical hearing about an anime adaptation of Refrain. Did it turn out to be some dreadful abomination in the end? I don’t believe so, but the visual novel is still undeniably the superior experience. Large sections of story (including half of Rin’s route) are skimmed over or ignored entirely in the anime. Other important scenes, such as Masato’s backstory, are misrepresented as something silly when they should be serious. There are so many things that could have, should have been better, and yet it still manages to be one of 2013’s best anime. Perhaps that is a testament to how strong the characters are.
For anime-only viewers, Little Busters: Refrain is certainly no featherweight. The story directly follows the events of the first season by developing characters who were largely overlooked in the past. Perhaps you found Rin adorable or Kyousuke amusing, but Refrain succeeds in elevating the main five much higher than that. It is one of very few anime where the relationships between the characters feel genuine rather than forced or manufactured. As a series rooted in the theme of friendship, Refrain does a magnificent job of making the viewer feel like they are a part of the story rather than merely spectators. That is no easy feat in a visual medium.
Little Busters does not rely on fanservice and other cheap tricks to hold your interest. Surely, there is an ever-present feeling of ‘moe’ among the girls (isn’t Rin just the cutest thing?) but it is never used as a crutch for characterisation. Even Komari, arguably the weakest character in the first season, is given a considerable amount of depth through her relationship with Rin. Refrain goes further than giving more– it makes us care. It does not find complacency in characterisation without meaning.
What about Kengo and Masato, then? There was never much depth to them in the first season, amusing as they were. Masato in particular seemed to exist solely as comedy relief, like a more idiotic version of Clannad’s Sunohara. That is no longer the case with Refrain. An entire episode focusses on Masato’s backstory: why he is obsessed with the idea of strength, why he acts like an incessant moron in front of others, and how he became friends with Kyousuke and Kengo. The only issue is that the anime portrays these scenes as something silly (zombie eyes and battle music blasting in the background) when it is meant to be emotional. I’m not so sure the anime-only viewers will appreciate his characterisation as much as they could, which is a shame, as all the characters enrich the story in a pretty significant way.
Kyousuke’s characterisation is where the writing truly shines. While his presence as a leader is often taken for granted in the first season, Refrain shows there is a far deeper reason for why everyone respects him so much. It is more than mere charisma. He cares about his friends more than anyone else and will go to any lengths to protect them from harm. Even if it requires him to play the role of a villain. And often he does. It is easy to be frustrated or even infuriated by Kyousuke’s actions, but once all the pieces start clicking together at the end, you can’t help but respect the poor guy. He’s a deeply flawed person, and that’s the way it should be. He is not perfect and makes mistakes like anybody else. Rarely do we find a character as genuine as Kyousuke.
While the handling of Rin’s route is disappointing, Rin manages to stand right beside Kyousuke by the end of the story. The second-to-last episode focussing on Rin is so touching, so masterfully directed that it genuinely surpasses the visual novel. I do not say that lightly. Unlike many other Key stories (and even anime in general), there is no melodrama. The entire series has been building towards a very specific point. Once Rin starts crying into Komari’s arms, it is nearly impossible to resist choking up a bit. It’s similar to the ending of K-ON’s second season in many respects… although I might argue that Refrain does it better.
And that is to speak nothing of how powerful Kyousuke’s episode is. Or the lyrical significance behind the insert song “Haruka Kanata”. Or all the subtle details hidden in the first season, or even how it gives meaning to all the alleged dei ex machina within Kud’s and Mio’s routes. Little Busters is Jun Maeda’s masterpiece, and while not everybody may appreciate his style of storytelling, there is almost nothing to criticise about his work on Little Busters. Even if the anime only captured a tiny fraction of the visual novel’s charm, I still believe it would be a satisfying experience. J.C. Staff’s adaptation isn’t fully there– but it comes close.
“Comes close”. I wish it could have been on par with the visual novel, but that is regrettably not the case. The amount of scenes (and important ones, no less) that are skipped over is truly disappointing. All J.C. Staff needed to do was simply tone down on the foreshadowing (which can really undermine the surprise) and find the budget needed to double Refrain’s episode count. If the anime did reach the same heights as the visual novel, I have no doubts that it would be regarded even more highly than Clannad: After Story.
The artwork has been noticeably improved over the previous season, though. A surprising amount of effort was put into the first episode, and J.C. Staff has worked to eliminate most of the bizarre, off-model faces that were so prevalent before. There are still occasional scenes where the animation quality dips but it is nowhere near as egregious as it used to be. My only complaint is that many important CGs from the visual novel (“called game”) are lacking any sort of visual impact in the anime. The visuals should have been used to enhance the story rather than merely assist it.
Refrain makes near-perfect use of its soundtrack. “Boys Don’t Cry” (Kyousuke’s theme) is a subtle track that does not seem to carry much significance at first, but eventually evolves into what I believe to be the most emotional track in the story. It is a perfect tribute to Kyousuke. Most people will also find themselves pulled by the sheer emotional weight of “Haruka Kanata”, the farewell song of the series. Considering the lyrical significance and all that was building up towards this point, it achieves more than simply being sappy; it is a massive tsunami of emotion. Special props should also be given to “Song for Friends” which achieves much of the same impact as the previous two. While Little Busters may have one of the best soundtracks in anime, it also has one of the best uses of music.
The seiyuu work is also commendable. The actors do not simply state their lines. During the more emotional moments in the story, you can clearly hear the actors choke up as their character begins to cry. We do not often see this level of effort in anime. Kyousuke’s and Rin’s seiyuu evidently care about getting into the role of their character, and the result is some of the best voice acting in years.
Little Busters: Refrain is a superb anime. It is an experience that is more than the sum of its parts. Few anime have managed to create such a thoroughly endearing cast of characters, and even fewer have managed to strike such an emotional chord with its audience. It may not be as good as it should have been, and while the visual novel is still several steps above, the anime adaptation is a solid alternative for those unable to dedicate the fifty-some hours into reading the visual novel. Those expecting a deep, convoluted story brimming with ‘mature’ characters may not find what they are looking for. Little Busters Refrain is particularly well-written and well-produced, but it does still rely on your ability to empathise with the characters. I don’t think that is a bad thing at all.
And I wonder, why do we live in an era where stories are judged solely by their complexity? Why must a critic feel forced to act is if they are too high-brow to value emotion? Human emotion is a powerful, powerful thing that gives our transient existence a meaning and a purpose. If a story is capable of bringing you to tears, it is a damn good one, I would say.
First things first, this series is a massive improvement in every aspect compared to the first series, be it art style, script, or timing of music. If I were to choose one stand out improvement however, it would have to be the animation. I found the previous series almost unbearable at some points but this series, well was top class compared to what we have already witnessed within the Little Busters universe. This series blitzes the first series. One thing I must add is that to those who didn’t watch the first series and have noticed the popularity of this series and wondered ‘can I watch this series without watching the first?’, you must watch the first series to fully embrace this series.
This series kicks off right where the previous series left off, focusing more on the ‘Secret of the World’ and the original Little Busters themselves. When the ‘Secret of the World’ starts to become more apparent, one realizes that this series itself is far darker and serious compared to the first. A personal love of this series is how subtle hints are dropped throughout concerning ‘the secret of the world’. Some moments are incredibly clever and well, blow your mind!
One thing that is very apparent in this series is that it is very emotional. In the first series, there were incidences that weren’t emotional at all and yet in the VN, they had me reaching for the tissues. This was due to things being lost in translation, literally. For me this was most obvious during Haruka’s route but let’s save this rant for another time. However, I was simply blown away at how well they transferred the emotional scenes over from the VN. I even felt that at certain points, the anime was actually more emotional than the VN!
Unlike the first series, Refrain actually contains character development! Hooray! This in turn makes you feel more connected to the characters and thus enjoy the series more. Whats more is that this ‘character development’ didn’t just apply to the ‘original little busters’ but the newcomers aswell such as Kurugaya. Happy days!
Now, before I tie up this review, I wanted to dedicate a section the music. The music in LB is simply astounding. Be it instrumentals like ‘Lamplight’, which sends a shiver down my spine due to how harrowing it is or songs like ‘Faraway’ or ‘Song for Friends’. I must add ‘Faraway’ is simply one of the most emotional songs I have ever heard.
This story is full of so many twists and turns that you couldn’t possibly predict what could happen. Its a compelling, sad and funny story all in one! But the main reason I gave this series such a high rating is simply because of how well the JC staff adapted this story into an anime. I knew what was going to happen and yet I was glued to the screen from the get go.
This is a must see. One of the best of 2013!
I should mention at this point that this again would fall under the category of high-school life (almost all of the action occurs here), fantasy and slice of life perhaps. As we have come to expect from key, LB Refrain is just as emotionally hard hitting in its own way but I will leave you to decide that for yourselves.
Now for the actual show itself. It picks off basically where LB left off and continues to develop characters stories from there. However the way it goes about this is in much more depth and each and every episode will invoke strong emotion. They only give themselves 13 with it all to do and they pull it off pretty well. You may be wondering if it is possible to further develop the characters stories in such a short time however the pacing and the mixture is just right.
Where LB was a rather nice, slow setting into the story, you really have to feel that it was all building up to LB Refrain. Be warned, LB Refrain takes a much darker angle right from the outset, some sensitive themes are explored and are very thought provoking. It goes to show that not everything can always go smoothly and it is here that you can really start to connect with the characters.
STORY + CHARACTERS: The story itself continues in the high school, we still don’t know the answer to the universe (to those who have watched LB) and the episodes go through with each character. They all have very different stories and they are all fascinating in their own right. The characters you may have thought to be on the fringe suddenly make much more sense and everything is never as it seems at first ;). The best bit of this show in fact how well all the episodes were integrated with each other right from the first episode of LB to the last of Refrain. When you reach the climax, which personally I found very satisfying you can come to appreciate everything that has occurred in the previous episodes, it all suddenly fits together with amazing effect.
One thing I found with LB Refrain which was distinctly different to LB was the way they just dropped bombshell after bombshell without really ever giving you any chance to recover, the plot gets thick and very fast. In order to wrap up the show in 13 eps, each of the eps feel meaty and full of content and in fact the intricacies all make it more pleasurable to watch a second time once you know what is actually going on.
The soundtrack was very good I thought, the music complemented the action just as you would expect from a key adaptation and once again it was used to add an extra dimension to the atmosphere, made you feel something a little extra. The OP in my opinion was especially pleasant as well.
As a final word on LB Refrain, if there were one thing that I would stress the most, it would be that you have to keep yourself aware and keep your mind open. The story really does take you on ups and downs in the 13 episodes and it executes it so well in such a short period of time that there are various emotions that are evoked. The characters of this anime are probably some of the best worked characters or rather collectively they are the most interactive bunch with everyone having an affect on the other.
Expect the unexpected on this emotional rollercoaster that is Little Busters Refrain.
Kyousuke, Rikki, Rin and co. make for one heck of a show with perhaps my most favourite story line full of twists and turns.
2: Bakuman. 3rd Season
MAL Score: 8.56
Onto their third serialization, manga duo Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi—also known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi—are ever closer to their dream of an anime adaption. However, the real challenge is only just beginning: if they are unable to compete with the artist Eiji Niizuma in the rankings within the span of six months, they will be canceled. To top it off, numerous rivals are close behind and declaring war. They don’t even have enough time to spare thinking about an anime!
In Bakuman. 3rd Season, Muto Ashirogi must find a way to stay atop the colossal mountain known as the Shounen Jack rankings. With new problems and new assistants, the pair continue to strive for their dream.
The story is still great with the usual pacing style of the previous seasons. There’s just something very addicting in the pacing of the story, it feels like no second is wasted at every episode. Each one brings something new to the story, good news and more hurdles at the end of the episode. The cliffhangers really get you excited to watch the next episode too. The plot twists are still the same as ever, they seem pretty petty and weak for an anime but they’re realistic and you can really relate to them because they fit the slice-of-life genre very well.
Art is still the same, it’s different but it’s neither bad nor good. It doesn’t stand out and that’s actually what makes it fit for it’s genre. Bakuman isn’t about flashy art, dramatic music and all that glitter. It’s good as it is. Though the quality drops at times, it doesn’t really affect the viewing enjoyment.
The sound is like the art, it’s the same.. not bad and not good. The OP is decent and the singer’s voice is kinda weird but it doesn’t really bother me. The EP is good, nothing to say about that. No objections about the sound really.
Characterization is the same and still good. Same goes for character development, in fac there’s actually a little bit of character development as soon as the first episode.
Bakuman is still addicting as ever, that’s all I need to say.
Overall, the quality didn’t drop one bit. It’s basically an extended Season 2, which was already perfect in my point of view. It’s as interesting as ever and I don’t think it needs any improvements at all. Any plans to change some things up ‘for the better’ would’ve backfired on them. Bakuman 2 and 3 is one of the best Animes I’ve seen.
Ahh, Bakuman once again returns as the third installation of this trilogy, known as Bakuman 3. It’s amazing how this show can still keep it together after several years. The series is written and illustrated by Tsugami Ohba, who is known for his famous work Death Note. In contrast though, the series does not give off psychological impressions but rather follows a slice-of-life style of presenting its story. The series has achieved universal success with its manga predecessor and likewise, I find that the third and final installation manage to keep it together once again.
The series follows two best friends, Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi. Collectively known by their pen name, Muto Ashirogi, the duo hopes to make a name for themselves by getting serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump. With a little hard work, motivation, determination, and luck, they might just be able to do just that.
Like its previous predecessors, Bakuman 3 presents itself as a slice-of-life style series. Dreams are hard to make into a reality but we can clearly see that Muto Ashirogi hopes to do so. It follows their youth lives in a natural way as opposed to normal teens. Most teens often think about their future and dream jobs later on in life but at only 9th grade, the duo Muto Ashirogi has already began to climb that ladder to success. It’s not easy though as becoming a manga artist is a very stressful way of life. In fact, Moritaka already knows this with the unfortunate circumstances of one of his family relatives. It even strived him away from thinking about the dream in the beginning. Furthermore, there is competition. Becoming a manga artist is a lot harder said than done. In fact, it can be compared to climbing the world’s tallest mountain, winning an Olympics gold medal, or achieving a world record in the Guiness Book. Okay, I’m probably exaggerating a bit here but you get the idea. It is not easy.
Surprisingly, Bakuman 3 incorporates many ideas from the art of manga creation itself. It presents to viewers how manga is made with the ideas, how to get the material published, and how the industry works directly with many of its episodes. It looks hard and definitely requires a lot of effort. Yet at the same time, watching this series makes the career seem fun and exciting. In fact, it’s that much exciting when Muto Ashirogi gets recognized for their work at various circumstances. In a way, Bakuman adapts its series of manga-in-manga but in a way that makes it look like a lifestyle.
The slice-of-life continues to exist just like its previous predecessors. It follows the duo in their every day live mixed in with comedy, drama, and romance. The drama part comes from Nakai who continues to linger his ways of going after Aoki despite their previous encounters. It doesn’t stop there though as a love triangle ensures between him, Aoki, and Hiramaru. It’s two guys and one girl in a triple threat. As silly as it sounds, the love triangle plays more of a progressing role for Aoki as she makes her stand and point known.
With the dramatic romance part aside, the technical part of Bakuman 3 also comes into play with some controversial events. In fact, Ashirogi Muto gets some unprecedented media attention after some unfortunate events. The duo wanted to make a name for themselves but not in the way that they see it this time. It gets a bit complex and even causes stress to the duo for their dreams. Forget dreams, it’s more like a nightmare now after such an event. It should be no surprising though as the author of the series wants to visualize what manga artists needs to deal with in the real life. It’s realistic in many senses from this case as becoming a manga artist is never easy. There are challenges every day whether it’s competition, scandals, overworking to meet due times, and bringing out ideas to audiences in its finest form. The imaginations that manga artists comes often requires extensive thoughts and planning as well. I personally found that the ideas used by Ashirogi Muto is a bit repetitive and even borrowed from themes used by the real artist/illustrator of Bakuman. In other words, although the series’ manga ideas are fun to read, they often lack a bit of uniqueness or set themselves differently from others. It’s often hard to present ideas when so many others exists beforehand but overall, I only considered the ideas that Ashirogi Muto came up to be….average.
Fortunately, I find Ashirogi Muto and their way of working to be quite interactive and fun. Often when working together, the duo seems to have more fun than expected with their ideas. It’s not in a workaholic way in which the duo tries to be the very best or earn cash but rather to do what they enjoy in while hoping to achieve success. Even when the duo are arguing, the dialogue is presented in an entertaining way. The words spoken by the characters are colorful and often or not, becomes an inspriation for their ideas. These ideas are transformed into their product for the world to see. Of course, success isn’t easy to come by especially with competition. Major supporting characters as Eiji are obstacles for Ashirogi Muto and they must overcome him to achieve that success.
On the more dramatic side, Bakuman 3 also introduces what some fans may see as a real antagonist in the form of Toru Nanamine. He represents the antithesis of Ashirogi Muto. On the surface, he looks like a fun and outgoing guy with a chill personality. However, deep down he is seen as a hot-tempered, manipulative, and an individual who is willing to do absolutely anything to achieve success. The construction of his character makes him an antagonist by the way he compete against Ashirogi Muto because he even relies on underhanded tactics to ensure his assumed victories. To him, making manga is about winning and being the best in contrast of Ashirogi Muto who wishes to achieve their dreams.
Bakuman 3 does seem to continuously adapt a slow pace. Furthermore, the many dialogues used between the characters often gets dull, lacks flavor, and dragged. The seemingly antagonist Nanamine is also easy to predict by viewers as the villain by the way of his actions. It’s not hard to see him as a two-faced individual who wishes to become the best even relying on iniquitous tactics. These tactics of course doesn’t always go the way he wants to.
The artwork of the series remains intact compared to its previous seasons. J.C. Staff adapts the anime based off of the manga and does a fit job in making its artwork intact. And of course, because this is an anime series based on making manga, the artwork created by the various artists themselves also are presented artistically well. The artwork in fact is edgy but gives off that realistic look at the series from the outside. In the inside, the manga and characters’ designs gives off a natural sort of look. It looks realistic and doesn’t look too flashy, not that it needs to be anyways. There is no fan service and fans shouldn’t be surprised at this considering it’s NHK network known for airing lighthearted series.
For the soundtrack department, everything seems to remain the same. Both the OP/ED song for the first and second half depicts on a montage of the main characters. Some of the soundtrack does to be repetitive but still retains its natural vibrations. It balances it out with the general lighthearted outlook of the series.
Overall, Bakuman 3 is a pleasant series for me and I think for fans, especially those who’ve watched the previous predecessors. Even if you don’t like the idea of making manga, the series makes it interactive with its extensive dialogues, competitions, and characters’ interactions. And of course, some of the manga ideas themselves can be entertaining. It’s not easy making dreams come true but Ashirogi Muto sure has great hopes. They’re climbing that ladder of success and opening doors to imaginations.
Story is a 9.
As with the previous season, it hasn’t lost it’s edge on story telling and pacing. It’s easy to follow and easy to understand. My only issues are some arcs are a bit uninteresting and unfulfilling, like the Nanamine arc.
Art is 10.
Great art as always. Proper visual effects, no awkward animations or anything etc. Pleasing to watch, I should say.
Sound is 9.
Good soundtrack and proper voice acting. OP/ED were not really anything special though,
would prefer Bakuman. 2’s OP.
Character is 10.
The character development was great and I really like how they interact witth each other. Eiji is definitely the standout as I appreciate how his eccentric behavior hasn’t changed at all. Kazuya Hiramaru also improved also, not only in the comedic sense.
Enjoyment is 10.
Every episode makes me either laugh or feel emotional. The scenes will always put a smile in your face because they are just so great.
Overall is 10.
It deserves the title of masterpiece because it isn’t just enjoyable but also it has been considered a piece of art. This is an anime you can watch over and over and still end up not being bored.
1: Monogatari Series: Second Season
English: Monogatari Series: Second Season
Japanese: 〈物語〉シリーズ セカンドシーズン
MAL Score: 8.78
Apparitions, oddities, and gods continue to manifest around Koyomi Araragi and his close-knit group of friends: Tsubasa Hanekawa, the group’s modest genius; Shinobu Oshino, the resident doughnut-loving vampire; athletic deviant Suruga Kanbaru; bite-happy spirit Mayoi Hachikuji; Koyomi’s cutesy stalker Nadeko Sengoku; and Hitagi Senjogahara, the poignant tsundere.
Monogatari Series: Second Season revolves around these individuals and their struggle to overcome the darkness that is rapidly approaching. A new semester has begun and with graduation looming over Araragi, he must quickly decide the paths he will walk, as well as the relationships and friends that he’ll save. But as strange events begin to unfold, Araragi is nowhere to be found, and a vicious tiger apparition has appeared in his absence. Hanekawa has become its target, and she must fend for herself—or bow to the creature’s perspective on the feebleness of humanity.
Everyone wants to hear or tell a story people will remember by. It doesn’t matter if the story is fictional, realistic, sarcastic, humorous, imaginative, mysterious, psychological, speculative, or even twisted as it can be. Stories are created by ideas that are formed from the very thoughts we experience in our lives. In order for stories to be told well, they have to evoke feelings, reactions, and attract audience that appreciates its ideas. Monogatari Second Series – the anime that not only attracted me to its franchise – but also presented it in an extravagant way that takes the art of storytelling to a whole new level.
That level of storytelling was already clearly evidenced from its predecessor that achieved international success. Yes, I’m talking about Bakemonogatari that debuted back in 2009. Its success has later spawned other series in the forms of Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari: Kuro, and the soon-to-debut Kizumonogatari . Now, it’s back once again as an ongoing story narrative. Monogatari Series: Second Season is an anime adapted from the novel of the same name written by Nisio Isin with artwork by Vofan. If you’re a fan of the previous Monogatari series franchise, then this should be no shadow of a doubt be part of your watch-list as we are told stories at its most definite form.
Similar to what some people might notice in the past, the Monogatari series presents itself in an unique form of storytelling. The term ‘monogatari’ itself defines as literature. For a series based on storytelling to succeed though usually requires a character base with insightful plot, creative setting, descriptive ideas based on connections, and a strong literal sense of execution. Monogatari series plays on most of these concepts but constructs it like an experiment. Whether you dare to take on the experiment might have different experiences. However, there’s no doubt that this series and its franchise has tested their experiment and succeeded in their message. Indeed, the storytelling of Monogatari mixes itself with visual arts and dialogues. The strength of the series comes from its dialogues that creates humor, sense, and might evoke people’s minds to think its true meaning. Most of the time, the meaning of the dialogues are metaphoric and conveys to many ideas. Its usage of word plays presents its unique art style to attract viewers toward its messages. Through these messages, viewers will find out just how exclusive this shows’ storytelling separates itself from most forms of storytelling.
Monogatari Series: Second Season isn’t just about storytelling though. As mentioned before, a strong character cast will attract viewers to almost any form of genre. Luckily, this show has plenty of that starring our Koyomi Araragi, a high school student whose life has changed forever after a certain incident. Obviously, I would assume that you have seen the original Bakemonogatari to understand this but Araragi makes his return in this sequel. He makes his presence well known as other characters in the series speculate him as many things – a lolicon, dangerous, pervert, just to name a few. However, we know that Araragi is a character of loyalty as seen through his relationship with Hitagi Senjougahara. More importantly though, he is also protective towards others including his friends, family, and even strangers. Some of his actions might be interpreted in the wrong way by other characters but the guy definitely has proven many times that he is the type that others can depend on. He seeks to achieve the endings that allows characters live in peace. However, this often puts a burden on himself as Araragi finds that sometimes, he can’t achieve everything alone. This even puts his own lives at risk many times. But hey, he is that type of that guy that takes risks. From a narrative perspective, his actions are often awarded although he doesn’t always takes everything for granted. Instead, he keeps his more of the ‘it’s the right thing to do’ attitude.
Most of the supporting characters from the novels makes their appearances in the story arcs including Tsubasa Hanekawa, Mayoi Hachikuji, Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku, Shinobu Oshino, and Hitagi Senjougahara. All these characters plays their different roles that fulfills some sort of theme or morality to its title. Each of these titles present a different insight on our characters as we see a sort of journey to embark on. And of course, every journey begins with the first step. There’s already trouble in the beginning as we get a hint of supernatural madness going on. To make matters worse, Tsubasa herself finds trouble with her life as sudden changes occurs.
The first story arc initially reintroduces its narrative aspect to get viewers to familiarize themselves the format of how Monogatari works. Its supernatural themes takes on a more gruesome turn later on but there’s also hope and prosperity. As for the other arcs, each of them has a different theme and plot. Some of these arcs also explores the back stories of our supporting characters. Along with that, there’s character interactions that are dynamic with development. Additionally, each arc contains a similar style of storytelling through word plays, visual presentations, and dialogues. As the series contains supernatural elements as well, expect legends to unfold and discoveries to be made. These include spirit apparitions, vampires, mythic cats, and even Gods. The power of its dialogues enhances the experience with the power of its words. It’s an experience you won’t forget especially with some plot twists like one with a snake a girl.
Judging on another level of the series is its humor. The style of Monogatari invokes humor in a sense that is quite peculiar. By peculiar though, I mean it as as a brilliant way because the show likes to experiment. Its stylish dialogues often mixes in parodies of other genres and themes for experimentation. These accompanied with the expressions of our characters creates a lavish theater of animation.
As good as the series sounds, there’s a few aspects I found to be lacking. Namely, there’s perhaps a bit of too much fan service in the beginning that can be distracting. These don’t seem to have any meaning or dynamics and sometimes may distract viewers from the words play and dialogues. Other times, Araragi’s interactions with some of the other characters might even seem a bit creepy or hard to take for granted. This is especially true in one of the later arcs involving Shinobu that takes itself to a rather defiled way with their interactions. More importantly is the fact that the show sometimes likes to get a bit carried away with its conversations. Some of them might even drag on with small talk that can seem to be mundane. Other times, they flash way too fast to be read that can frustrate viewers in attempting to fully understanding its meaning. (if it has one at some occasions) Finally, there are some recap episodes between each story arc that drags the series together. They might help refresh a bit of its previous predecessors but can also be a waste of time for people who wants the series to accelerate itself.
Shaft handles the production of this series. You know what that means right? If extraordinary is a word that just popped into your mind, then you’re on the right track. By that term, Shaft is known to pull out a variety of series over the past year that have impacted the world. Names such as EF: A Fairy Tale of the Two, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica are just a few that comes to mind. The artwork of Monogatari is in a sense that can be both visually attractive and descriptive the same time. When not presented as comedy, they hold a deeper meaning or metaphor behind them. Other times, they are connected to the dialogues spoken by the characters to convey their thoughts and feelings. Speaking of characters, most of them are designed in a similar way as their predecessors. Araragi still has that noticeable hair-like antenna sticking out of his head while his girlfriend still retains her haircut. Other characters like Shinobu, Nadeko, and Tsubasa all possesses artistic traits similar to their supernatural counterparts.
Soundtrack wise, the series maintains an eerie like atmosphere. During more of the climatic scenes, the series shifts its gears to a more dramatic tone with explosive entrances and executions. Other times, the series likes to keep its more balanced atmosphere along with comedic vibrations. The soundtrack might not be the most powerful device of the show but its various OP & ED songs makes up this department with its various styles. Almost every arc has a different song accompanied by the voice involving the star of that story. Similar to its word plays, they contain a pattern of artistic visuals to brings out the power of its orchestra. With its cast members also lies in the strength of their voices. Almost every characters demonstrates this with their voice mannerisms. These include the cunning Shinobu (Maaya Sakamoto), the kuudere Senjougahara (Chiwa Saito), innocent Nadeko (Kana Hanazawa), the mature Tsubasa (Yui Horie), the playful sisters of Karen and Tsukihi, and Araragi (Hiroshi Kamiya). Because the narrative aspect of the show is so strong with the dialogues, it is important to characterize each of their voices as a focus in order to bring out their best. And yes, I am grateful that these characters all bought forth their best thanks to the talents of their voice actor/actresses.
So,this anime might not be for everyone. That’s something I’m sure most people have heard about the Monogatari franchise before. But if you pass this up for whatever reason, I still would recommend at least giving the first arc a try. That way, it might refresh a bit of experience of what you get out of the other series. However, I highly recommend watching this series only after you have completed its previous predecessors to gain full experience of its presentation. The Monogatari franchise has already achieved universal success thanks to its unique narrative, powerful dialogues, artistic word plays, and unique characters. Its humor will knock you out with high doses of laughter accompanied by its strange twist of stories. It even has bits of action too so violence is not out of the question there for fans looking for some intensity. (that and maybe its goal of achieving anemia with its fan service.) But all in all, Monogatarai series definitely took on the storytelling concept like never before creating an enjoyable experience. Now that is the ecstasy of success.
On that note, the second season (although technically third or fourth depending if you count Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari) of the Monogatari Series was promised to be a two cour delivering viewers the excellent experience that the first season, Bakemonogatari, did. Rest assured that if you enjoyed Bakemonogatari, you will not be disappointed by the second season.
Story: (10/10): Monogatari S2’s story is the driving point of the anime itself, the beating heart at its core. The storytelling in this anime is top notch, as it is an almost completely dialogue driven anime. If you don’t like characters sitting down and fleshing things out, exploring the facets of their inner thoughts, strengths and flaws, then you might not enjoy this season. However, assuming that you watched the first season, you probably would have already figured out whether the Monogatari Series was right for you or not. Needless to say if it is for you, you’re in for a treat. The story covers additional stories for Hanekawa, Hachikuji, Shinobu, Nadeko and Kaiki. Most of the characters from the original series make an appearance, although there is a bit of absence of Kanbaru. Shaft’s unique way of organizing the anime leaves the free flowing story to explore the great characters within the story, as well as progress through the life of our lively MC, Ararararararagi. All the arcs seem to have different flavors to them, some being more action oriented, others being a lot more explorative, and some very emotional. Shaft has done an excellent job of succeeding the original series, as the viewer truly never finds themselves disappointed by the story aspect of Monogatari. The arcs only get better and better, leaving with a truly memorable experience in the final arc (Koimonogatari) which I’ll leave you all to discover for yourselves. The fact of the matter, or the conclusion rather is that on the story basis, Monogatari is outstanding, and it makes me sad that I won’t be able to experience the great storytelling until a hopefully additional season comes out.
Art: (8/10): The art in Monogatari S2 is very much like its predecessors. The characters are all well defined, and all have unique aspects to them, however if you’re someone who is very picky about animation and slick transitions, you might feel a little disappointed. Shaft cycles through animations during dialogue, zooming in and accentuating different nuances to the speaker’s body. The famous slow motion head turn and zooming right into their face. It helps to keep the viewer enticed in the dialogue while they are talking, but other than that it does get repetitive. Besides that, the avant garde nature of some of the apparitions and environments (things made completely of Kanji) are always a treat, as the peculiarity only seems to add to the experience. That being said, since Monogatari S2 is such a dialogue based anime, this really isn’t a problem. Besides that the transition slides usually have a bit of text, that you can choose to neglect or to pause and read, and people may find that annoying, although I didn’t seem to mind it as much. As I mentioned before, if you don’t like the way the art and animation is done, you probably would have figured it out in the earlier seasons.
Sound: (9/10): The sound in Monogatari S2 is great at doing what it was made to do. Complimenting dialogue with a good soundtrack is very difficult. Fortunately, it’s done very well in Monogatari S2, as you will find that what would have been a more stale conversation is brought to life a bit more by the beautiful pieces in the soundtrack. The OPs and EDs are some of the best I’ve seen, as the music is always great, as it was in the previous seasons. There’s a few clips of ambient sounds when transitioning to other scenes, but they only add to the experience.
Character: (9/10): The characters in Monogatari S2 really help define what the anime is like. Since it is a storytelling anime, the storytellers should be interesting as to keep the viewers interested as well. Luckily the unique set of characters we have are very well defined and interesting to the end. One of the great parts of Monogatari S2 is the way that it highlights the flaws of people fundamentally. This is through the apparitions that they get latched onto, as the apparitions themselves target weakness and the vulnerable. You have a cast of characters who all have their unique flaws, but all find ways to get through it, and that is the beauty and joy that you will experience through the expert storytelling of Shaft. As expected, the character development is very good, as there are plenty of learning experiences of the characters as they tell their stories. You will grow more attached to your favorite characters, and learn to understand the characters that you don’t like as much. The beauty is, there’s plenty of choices.
Enjoyment: (10/10): Frankly speaking, Monogatari S2 was a very enjoyable experience for me. I loved Bakemonogatari, and watching the series finally get back on track with a two cour season was a delight for me. Picking up on the nuances of the dialogue, and watching the characters retell some amazing stories really never gets old for me. Since this is a sequel, I’ll word it like this. If you liked Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari or Nekomonogatari, you will find something to appreciate in Monogatari S2.
Overall: As 2013 winds down, Monogatari Series: Second Season serves as one of the highlights of the year, allowing fans of the series to rejoice once more in Shaft’s excellent work in creating an atmosphere and story truly unparalleled. You will feel for the characters, you will laugh with the characters, and you will cry with the characters through their toughest and most jovial experience all told amazingly through clever dialogue and plot.
Verdict: A solid 9/10. There are some things that can’t be explained in words, and I definitely recommend this season to fans of the previous ones.
By writing this review, I want to show you my view on this show, not to force you to have the same opinion on it as I do.
As you are familiar with the series (I assume, since this is the review on the SECOND SEASON of Monogatari series), I will skip the intro and get right onto what made me like this anime so bad, and that is definitely the creativity of the story, and the unique way of storytelling. Monogatari Series: Second Season is featuring five new stories (+ and additional Hanamonogatari) showing us, once again, how human mind can be sick and twisted. Nisio Isin is playing with endless possibilities of the universe he has created, as our heroes struggle in this psychological adventure. While the plot in Bakemonogatari was highly repetitive and stereotipical (where Araragi happens to run into a girl in trouble and helps her), Second season is way more creative. Each story is darker, deeper, and more f*cked up than the ones in Bakemonogatari, and through each story you can find a bit more about the characters, their past, relationships, and a mysterious connection with the supernatural entity, while being trapped in a twisted paranormal adventure.
Of course, there would be no story without the characters themselves, having in mind that everything happening in the show, is subconsciously created by the characters themselves. Through this philosophical masterpiece, you can see the protagonists of the Monogatari series in totally different way, discover their backstories, dreams and fears, and even get inside of a parallel what-could-be universe. Also, you can see them changing due to all the paranormal happenings, both psychically and physically. Second Season can probably show the best interaction between the characters in the entire series.
The art style and the background music remain fantastic as they always were, since they are done by the SHAFT studio. The art is even better, and the animation is more fluid, which makes your personal enjoyment more a nd more superior. As the studio is getting used to the show, each segment is being more perfected. Atmosphere remains flawless, either if it is a horrific mystery scene, or the super-hot ecchi scene. It is so enjoyable, that I have finished the entire Second Season in three days.
Keep in mind that this show is not for all the audience, as it contains lots of mature content like gore and nudity, and it can sometimes be really hard to follow the story line, or to read the subtitle and watch the show at the same time. Also, the SHAFT’s way of presenting and animating can be awkward at times, so it can easily cause a headache to ones unfamiliar with it.
If you are fan of the series, and you happen to like it so far, I highly recommend you check this out, as it is by far the best Monogatari yet. If you are somehow reading this review and thinking about watching this series, you should first go check Bakemonogatari, and then find out whether you like it or not. And if you are in a not-so-small group of people that were not satisfied with the first one or two parts of the series, I still recommend you checking this one out, as you might change your opinion.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Monogatari Series: Second Season
2. Bakuman. 3rd Season
3. Little Busters!: Refrain
4. Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo
5. Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen
6. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.
7. Nagi no Asu kara
8. Hataraku Maou-sama!
9. Golden Time
10. White Album 2